Picture for Jesus

Addi, “Mommy, when can I go to heaven?”

Me, “Hopefully not for a while, why?”

Addi, “I drew a picture for Jesus and want to give it to him.”

Me, “That is so sweet, baby. Jesus can see your picture from here.”

Addi, “Well then, can I break open the window and let the picture fly up to the sky to him?”

This little girl has such a tender heart and is so very intellectual – she’s always thinking. Ever since my Dad died, Addi has constantly asked questions about or made references to heaven and Jesus. It’s so neat to hear what’s going on in that little head of hers and to see how God is already at work on her heart. I hope she always shares as openly with me as she does now. Often times when I answer her questions she will say, “Oh, I was wondering about that.” I love how she wonders. I also love how much she clearly misses her Poppy.

“Are the streets hard in heaven or are they made of clouds?”

“I don’t know what Jesus face looks like, but I bet Poppy does.”

“Did Poppy die on a cross like Jesus?”

“Can I wear a princess dress in heaven?”

“Can we have dance parties in heaven?”

“Before I was born was I with Jesus?”

Style.


This is what it would look like if my girls dressed themselves each day. Kam would always wear this purple princess dress. Addi would always wear tights and something pink. They love to pick out their own clothes. My prissy little girly girls. I enjoy seeing their own unique sense of style come out. Some days it’s a battle…like if we are going somewhere that we don’t feel like a princess costume and pajamas are appropriate. But other days, I say to heck with it, wear what you want. Today’s one of those days. As long as they are smiling like that, I don’t care what they wear!

My grandrock.

Ryan’s on Spring Break this week (yay!), so we’ve tried to jam pack our week full of fun & different things. Memory makers. Yesterday, we decided to visit Tyler State Park for the first time. It’s been on our list of “things we want to do” but we’ve never gotten around to it. We decided this would be the perfect week for that, so we packed up a picnic lunch and headed out. Other than the temps being a little chilly, we had a great time! From our house, it takes about twenty minutes to get there. Beautiful state park that surrounds a very pretty lake. There is a new playground for the kids to play on and walking trails too. Looks like it will be a great place to go over the summer also -with paddle boats, canoes, a swimming area, etc. We may even attempt a small camping trip w/the girls – there are some great campsites that overlook the lake. Plus, we’d be close enough to come home if we needed to…you never know what to expect w/prissy little princesses! Here are some shots from the day…

Anyways, I tell you all of that because I just had to share this story. After we ate our picnic lunch of heart-shaped peanut butter sandwiches & granola bars, we let the girls play for “5 more minutes” on the playground before heading home. Addi runs over to me and hands me a small rock and a piece of grass and says, “Momma, will you hold my baby and feed her this bottle just like this while I go down the slide?”

Um, sure…Mommy will babysit for you. Who knew I had a grandrock?! Gotta LOVE the imagination of a four year old!

A fun day at the park with friends.

My friend Jennifer just had a baby a few weeks ago…sweet little Gabe! Thanks to her and my other friend, Robyn, I get to cuddle with precious bitty newborns often. And, I have several other friends expecting this year too. We are literally surrounded by kids & I love it! Well today, we made plans to meet Jen & her wee ones at the park to walk & have a picnic lunch…she was itching to get out of the house & we always love an excuse to hang! The Springish weather this week is gorgeous and we wanted to enjoy some time outdoors while it lasts. When we arrived, we ran into Lauren & her kids (bonus) and so they joined along. We had such a great time walking, talking, playing, and eating. We are so thankful for the community of friends God has blessed us with here in Tyler!

[I just put new batteries in my camera, so I was on a mission today to get some great shots.Thought I’d share my faves!]

Like mother, like daughter.

Everyone always tell us that Addi looks like me and Kamryn looks like Ryan. Pretty balanced, I guess! Makes you wonder if we ever have a third, what he/she would look like? [side note: No, we aren’t expecting. No, we aren’t trying. No, we have no plans of trying anytime in the near future. I mean good grief, I was pregnant for 2 years straight -don’t you remember?!]

There is absolutely no doubt Kam looks just like her daddy and I love that! It’s adorable. She’s tall with long legs, she has a cute round head, she has his almond-shaped eyes, his pouty face, etc. Minus her toes…she does have Barney Rubble feet like her momma! See image below for proof.

Last week while the girls were riding bikes and playing outside, Addi happened to come across a small box in the garage filled with my baby pics. She opened it up and started looking through all of them and of course, she thought most of them were of her. It took some serious convincing for her to finally believe that they were actually of me! But then, we came across the following old pic. I smiled and held it up, “Who is this!?” To which both girls shouted, “Kamryn!!!”

Not sure what would make them say that, are you???

My sweetie.

Kam is our sweets-eater. She comes by it naturally, because Ryan is the same way. They could both eat cakes, cookies, ice cream all day and rarely tire of the sugar. Of course, this is irritating to me how Ryan can stay so skinny & eat more sweets than I get to! Addi is content with some popcorn or an apple, but not my Kam Kam.

Ryan loves it when I bake. I don’t love it. I prefer cooking. I don’t like to measure…it’s tedious and time-consuming. I’d rather chop stuff up and throw everything into a skillet, add a little of this and a little of that, stir & saute all day long. That’s how I roll. But on occasion, I’ll bake something up to make my man and my babies happy.

Well, for Valentine’s Day I made these cookies. They were quite tasty, if I do say so myself. Very rich and must be consumed with a tall glass of milk! As I was baking them Kamryn was in full anticipation of the yummy that was about to be in her tummy. While the oven was preheating, she was sneaking little pieces of dough off the cookie sheet. While the cookies were baking, she was watching through the oven door anxiously awaiting. Then finally, after cooling off and hearing “Mommy, can I have a cookie now?” over and over and over again, she finally got to have one! Then, after that cookie, “Mommy, I still hungey because, because I want anudder cookie!”

The Simple Things.

I love coming home from work. Like most (all) of us peasant workers it’s one of the best times of the day. Time to “clock out”, drive home and begin my favorite part of the day, “family time”.

With the onset of better weather, life is awakened. The birds sing more frequently. The trees turn from that drab brown hue to the colors of active life. Then comes the ability to spend extended time outside. Yard work however cumbersome and mundane is enjoyable just by being out. Cooking on the grill is a must and can be accomplished without bundling up. The breaths that you take have some kind of mystical molecule that…. anywho, back to the subject.

The other day when coming home I pulled into the driveway to see this.

I’ve heard it said recently that God has given us so many things in this life for our enjoyment. Sex, food, good wine, and the company of friends are just a few of the things He created for us to enjoy. These sacred things should never be the focus of our attention, time and passion but point us to the One who created them. That’s all by design. To lead us into worship. I worship and praise Him for those simple things that make life so awesome. To God be the glory for the simple things. What simple things urge you to praise Him?

Baby, it’s cold outside: Part 2.

If you missed Part 1 of this post, you can read it here.

What do you do if you are in the midst of winter, cooped up in the house and trying to refrain from going buck wild?

…you make hot cocoa with Mommy & have a tea party

…you “pretend like Daddy is a girl” and fix his hair

…you cover your baby up and strategically place it in a chair so that it freaks Mommy out when she sees it later

…you “play” dominoes

…you make cupcakes with Mommy and eat at least 2 each day

…you lay on the recliner watching movies with Bailey (who has laid on the recliner all.day.long. get a job Bailey!)

…you play hide & seek and hide in the same exact place each time

…you pick out a really stylish outfit all by yourself and then mop the house while you look absolutely fabulous

Just a little taste of our life the last few weeks! We are beginning to wonder if we still live in Texas. We’re expecting more sleet & snow today! Thankful for our warm, cozy house and also thankful that Spring is approaching, at least that’s what the groundhog told us.

Today Is The Day. VIDEO.

It’s been a while since we’ve posted a video, so here you go. This song has been inspired by Mr. Jon Jenz, our worship pastor at Grace. Have we ever mentioned that our girls love to sing?! Enjoy!

My little shadow.

Lately, whenever I’m working on my computer, I have a shadow. It’s the strangest thing. A tiny adorable shadow, normally wearing a princess costume. Does this ever happen to you?

Here’s what the shadow looks like…

If I sit down to work on my computer, Kamryn will say, “let me go get my computer.” Then, she will proceed to come sit next to me and “work too.” In fact, as I type this very blog post, she is right next to me with her computer punching away at the buttons. It’s quite adorable I must say. Sometimes distracting, especially since her computer is extremely loud shouting things like, “Push a letter button!” to which Kamryn always responds (loudly), “OK!” Or, “What’s your favorite game?” to which she responds, “Chutes & Ladders!” It’s a bossy & nosey little computer if you ask me. But, it’s totally worth the distraction because it is SOOOOO cute. I love it. I love her. I love how she wants to be close to me.

Ryan took this pic and sent it to me this past weekend. When I saw it, I was reminded of something we’ve been talking about in our community group. We’ve been doing a parenting study called Effective Parenting in a Defective World. Chip Ingram, the author, has been giving us principles for positive parenting. In the first week, he said, “Positive parenting demands we practice what we preach.” In other words…BE WHO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO BE. Wow, that is scary, humbling, and challenging all in one. He also says that the best thing you can give your kids is who you are. Awesome, really good stuff.

Kamryn, at three, is imitating me in small ways – like working on a computer. She will also start imitating me in other ways, especially as she continues to grow and learn. Makes me really take things into consideration more, like: the words I say, the way I respond, how I act toward others, how I treat Ryan, etc. If I truly want to be who I want my kids to be, it shakes up my whole day.

Do I want them to read the Word daily? Then I need to.

Do I want them to respond with love and kindness to others? Then I need to.

Do I want them to be involved in a local church? Then I need to.

Do I want them to love and date their spouse? Then I need to.

Do I want them to care for their body by eating healthy & working out? Then I need to.

Do I want them to be good citizens in the community? Then I need to.

Do I want them to love their neighbors? Then I need to.

Do I want them to worship God with all that they are? Then I need to.

Do I want them to be real? Then I need to.

You get the picture. This principle helps keep you in check and whips you into shape as a parent! Parenting is such a huge role. It’s quite the responsibility caring for and raising these little creatures that look like us. It’s also an amazing opportunity to grow and press into Christ as well. Obviously, Ryan & I will mess up and clearly we can never be perfect. But, the good news is – we don’t have to be. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real. God has given us Addi and Kamryn. So, He will also give us what we need to accomplish this parenting adventure. And our prayer is that we can truly be who we want them to be.

“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” – Luke 6:40

colored pages for sale.

Addi mentioned to us that she was coloring pages “to sell to people for money” so I decided to announce this to The World. She did mention that “Easton’s mom” was going to buy one. Please let Addi know if you’re interested. She’s selling these for “3 dollars to people”. Animals and aliens need not ask. I guess she’s trying to save up for her plot to take over the world or maybe invest in some new coloring books. Not sure really.

Baby, it’s cold outside!

What do you do if its 20 degrees outside with wind chills in the teens? Well, let me just tell you…

…you do a pilates video with momma

…you get bangs

…you go play at the indoor playground at mcdonald’s

…you make those moose & zee pillows you’ve been begging to make for months (thanks Noggin for replaying that commercial billions of times a day)

…you color picture after picture after picture after picture

…you arrange, mess up, rearrange, mess up the letters & numbers on the fridge

…you lay on the couch with a blankey. all.day.long. (get a job bailey!)

…you pretend to go camping on the ottoman in the living room and pretend to sleep while momma’s taking your pic

What do you do when it’s f-f-freezing c-c-cold outside and you’re stuck indoors?

Come Home.


Sunday at church Addi and Kam were taught the story of the prodigal son. For those who are not familiar with this parable of Christ in Luke 15, Jesus, by way of His story, teaches us of the never-ending mercy and welcome from our Heavenly Father.

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

This story relates to my life in so many way as I’m sure it may yours too. Often we choose to “do it our own way” and quickly find out that way leads to being lost and in shambles. My reality has lead me to my asking for help, receiving that help and me then feeling shame, guilt and defeat in my actions. Even in receiving His mercy and love I tend to drown myself in pity.

When we picked Addi up from her class Sunday morning she exclaimed “We had a party!!! The prodigal son came home!!!” She continued to tell the people we ran into that day this thing. “We had a party!!! The prodigal son came home!!!”

Growing up listening to the story and even participating in my own version of it, it’s easy to gravitate to the details of the trouble. He took all his money and wasted it. He lost sight of his way and didn’t have focus. He struggled through this period of his life in shame which grew into disaster. He realized he was wrong and was ashamed. He hoped his dad would still welcome him and accept him, even as a servant doing grunt work. Surprisingly to the son, he came home to a steak dinner party and plate full of caring, nurturing, forgiving, and merciful goodness. A party! A celebration!

It’s sad how I often tend to look at the negative side of situations. For me it’s easy to recall the bad in the story of the prodigal son. The squandering for “wild” living, the pigs, the shame, the ruin. I quickly glance through the part of the return and open armed embrace the son and Father share upon their reunion and don’t relish in that positive side of the story. Why is it like this? Am I just so tuned in to trajedy and negative drama that I often overlook the positive successes?

It’s amazing what you can learn from your children. They reveal the simple truths time and time again. “We had a party!!! The prodical son came home!!!” needs to be our attitude. Joy and thankfulness. Positive and jubuliant attitude. Maybe this is part of sanctification (growing to become more like Christ) as I know it is not natural for me to be this way. I really do want to be thought of as a positive person. I truly am grateful for all the mercy that has been extended to me and all the steak parties the Father has thrown in my honor.

Friday night we had the opportunity to attend a concert here in Tyler. Traci and I love concerts and have since the beginnings of our relationship. The band we went to see has a popular song on Christian radio now called “Come Home”. The band is Luminate and they live on our street. :) [Side note: I really want to take them cookies and introduce myself but I think that might be considered creepy.] Anyways, I wanted to share this video and song with you from Friday’s concert (thanks to the camera phone videographer) to maybe encourage you that that Father is always forgiving, always compassionate, always pleading with us to “come home”.  No matter where you’ve been or where you are now, He is right there waiting patiently for us to reach out to Him. Waiting to throw a party! Rejoice!

Pray now!

We can learn a lot from our kids, we really can. The other day, Kamryn reminded me of something I needed to hear…

Addi has sucked her two middle fingers since birth. I remember asking our pediatrician about it and her telling us not to worry about breaking her from it unless she doesn’t stop by the time she’s four. Well, she turned four last August and she still sucks them when she’s tired, upset, or nervous. It’s starting to concern us more, because it can obviously cause dental problems. So lately, we’ve talked a lot with her about trying to stop and praying about it. She told me, “Mommy, I don’t need to suck my fingers anymore, but I like to.” Poor little thing…I think she really knows she should stop, but she honestly likes to – it provides her comfort. She’s done it her whole life and it’s not something she can easily give up.

Some of you that know me, know that I have a nasty habit of picking at my thumb. I start to pick the cuticle and eventually, it goes all the way down to my knuckle. I will pick, pick, pick until it bleeds. This is a stress-related habit that I’ve always struggled with. I will quit, it will heal up and I won’t pick it for months, then something will happen and I’ll start right back up. It’s a vicious disgusting cycle. Well, I’ve been picking it non-stop since last summer…the longest I’ve ever done it. It’s bad, I mean real bad. I’m certain it’s going to leave a scar this time. I try to keep a bandaide on it, to prevent myself from touching it. Its a weird stress relief, what can I say? Sometimes I’ll do it and not even realize I’m doing it.

So, the other day we were riding down the road and I told Addi that if she would pray for Mommy to stop picking her thumbs, I would pray for her to stop sucking her fingers and hopefully the Lord would give us strength and help us both overcome these bad habits. Kamryn was listening and chimed in quickly, “Mommy, I’ll pray for you right now! Dear Jesus, help Mommy stop picking her thumb and for it to get better. Amen!”

So unexpected and such a sweet reminder for me. When we are faced with issues, we should stop and pray right then & there. Why wait? The Bible does tell us to pray continually, after all. When our friends/family are faced with something, we should pray immediately. How many times has someone told me something they were struggling with and I said, “I’ll pray for you.” And then, I hate to admit it, but time passes and life happens and I totally forget to pray for them! Not good.

Kamryn, with child-like faith, was a perfect example for me that day. I thank God for my kids! Since then, I’ve set a goal to stop and pray right when requests or situations arise…not just during my quiet time or at dinner or as I lay my head on my pillow at night. When Ryan comes home at lunch and is having a tough day at work, I will pray then. When a friend shares a concern, I pray then. When I am thankful for the things in life that God has blessed me with, I pray at that time. Obviously God does not want to be a sliver of my daily routine, He wants to be my daily routine. I feel that one way this can be made true in my life is to “pray now”.

“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Speaking their language.

I’ve always heard about “love languages” when it comes to your spouse…how to love him the way he desires to be loved. You’ve probably heard of the book by Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages. Such a great book and very eye opening! If you’ve never read it or looked into this concept, you should. In fact, there is a quick quiz that you can take to discover what your love language is, if you aren’t really sure. Knowing these things about yourself and your spouse is so incredibly helpful and will really benefit your marriage! Anyways, it wasn’t until recently that Ryan & I thought about the fact that our children each have their own love language already too! We are all wired differently and different things make us tick. Our kids are no exception! In fact, tonight I just noticed online that Gary Chapman also wrote a book called The Five Love Languages of Children.

Ryan and I have talked about this a lot recently…it really is so interesting to me. Once you realize the language that speaks directly to the heart of someone you love, so many things make more sense! Communicating and expressing your love becomes easier.

Here’s what we have figured out about each of our kids…

Addi’s top love language is words of affirmation, followed closely with quality time. No doubt in our minds. When you praise her about something, she just lights up. Telling her how great the picture is that she just colored, talking about how good she’s doing in school, how proud you are of her, and the nice way she treated her friends, etc. These things make her smile bigger than any other time. She also tells us how much she loves us all the time. “Mommy, I love you.” Words, of course, that always melt my heart. It’s very apparent that she also enjoys quality time. One on one time. Tonight, before I put them to bed I was thinking about all of this and so I asked her, “Addi would you rather me tell you I love you or give you a hug to show you my love?” And she responded knowingly without any hesitation, “I’d rather you take me to the park!” Hahaha…she’s a smart one. But she’s right, she does like for you to spend time with her doing activities, puzzles, games, coloring, cooking, playing, etc. You can tell it makes her feel special when you schedule time for just her. Although she may not want to sit in your lap or even close to you, she wants you to be in the same room. She likes the closeness and security of that.

Kam’s main love language is most definitely physical touch. She is our cuddle bug and has been since birth. Always wants to sit in one of our laps, be held, give big bear hugs, kisses (or smackers as we call them), dance, hold hands, etc. When we put her to bed at night, she will gently rub my face with her hand. She loves to comb Daddy’s hair or massage his back, which he loves and never turns down the offer. She still likes to be rocked. When we drop her off at school or in her class at church, she always has to kiss the top of our hands before we can leave. She also has used the same blanket since she was an infant…it’s actually her crib bedding! She carries it around everywhere and can’t go to sleep without holding it close. Every morning, she walks up the hall carrying her blanky and comes to climb in my lap for a while before we do breakfast. So stinkin sweet. Whenever I’m feeling down or having a tough day, I can always count on these sweet tender moments with her as we cuddle. I adore this about her!

I love our precious daughters and their sweet little hearts. I love how different they are. I love how they love. Our prayer as parents is that we can always speak their language so they understand, and never doubt, that Mommy & Daddy love them unconditionally!

I will follow you.

The girls love listening to music when we ride in the car. They mostly prefer Mickey Mouse, but we’ve been trying (for our own sanity) to introduce them to some other artists other than animated ones, no offense Mickey. Over the Christmas holidays, we got the new Chris Tomlin CD and have been listening to that a lot this past week. I think its very good by the way, if you haven’t bought it – you should! Addi picks up words to songs so quickly and after several times of listening to the songs on this CD, she knows most of the lyrics. Its pretty incredible really. Of course, I think the child is a genius, but I am a little bias. There is just something so sweet about hearing your children sing worship songs. Especially when they have thrown many fits, aggravated their sister a lot, and refused to eat their dinner that day. When their sweet voices lift up words to the Lord, it melts your heart & makes all of the frustration fade away. It reminds me that these children really belong to God. I just am blessed enough to care for them, teach them, lead them, love them and be called “Mommy.”

Today, on the way home after spending some time at Grandma’s, this song came on & Add sang right along with Chris…

As she sang, all I could think about was the fact that she would be starting Kindergarden this Fall and how THIS was my prayer for her. That she would choose to follow Him. I’m not gonna lie, I get so nervous when I drive by the big, huge building they call “elementary school” – its overwhelming to this momma to think that my baby girl will be there in a few short months! I’ve talked to several friends lately about this very subject. I have some friends that choose private school, some that are considering home schooling, and others that choose public. Its interesting to hear people’s stories and reasons for making the choice they made. I honestly believe that God presses upon parents’ hearts what is best for their particular child – He gives us the knowledge we need to do what’s right for them. We just have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit guiding us in our decisions.

Even though it scares me to death to think of my child entering into this new phase of life come this Fall, I have to trust and have faith. Knowing that God will be there with Addi and that He loves her even more than I do, helps ease my fears and nervousness tremendously. Our prayer for both of our little girls is that they will always choose to follow Him in every area of their life! Not only that, but that Ryan & I can be that kind of example for them.

2010 Recap Through Pictures

I am VERY excited about 2011. A brand new year. A fresh start with renewed motivation.

This past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. Over the past few days, I’ve been reflecting back on 2010 and everything that happened. By far, the hardest year of my life. The hardest year in my family’s lives. Looking back on 2010 for the rest of my life, I know it will always be known as “the year Dad passed”…however, I also know that some great things happened this year and some awesome memories were made. I started looking back through pictures reminiscing on the good things and thought I’d scrapbook in one post a recap of the year. I am thankful for the blessings of 2010. Even through the tragedy and darkness, the Lord provided rays of sunshine to give us hope and make us smile. A little over a month before my Dad died he sent me this email. I re-read his emails often and have shared some on this blog. But this one, although short & simple, means so much to me and I think of it often…

2010 was definitely hard, but I WILL keep smiling! I have so much to be thankful for. And even though 2011 will no doubt bring its own set of hardships, I know that THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME! The joy that only comes from the Lord is my strength.

I’m hoping to jam pack a bunch of new memories for the Dixon clan in 2011 and live life to the fullest. Cheers to making each day count!

Us at Kiepersol Winery on New Year's Eve.

With love,

Traci

2010 Recap Through Pictures

January

Ryan & I celebrated 7 years of marriage & went to Shreveport for a little getaway.

I hosted a Recipe Exchange party at our house.
Read this book with our community book and it knocked our socks off. Good stuff.

February

It snowed! The girls got to build their first snowman.

Went to the Extreme Home Makeover Kickoff here in East Texas!

Some friends gave us a jogging stroller and have used it non-stop ever since.

Got to see Singing in the Rain at TJC – Ryan ran sound for the show.

March

The weather turned beautiful and we started playing outside again!
We ran in the Azalea 10k right here in Tyler.

April

We started a Date Night Co-op with some friends.

Went to see Switchfoot at TJC!
Hunted easter eggs with cousins.
Ran in the Capitol 10k in Austin.
Went to a Texas Rangers game with Poppy & Grandma & Uncle Jeff!

May

We walked the Tyler Race for the Cure 5k with Poppy. This was the girls very first race to participate in!
We celebrated Mother's Day in Quitman with Grandma.
We had our family pictures made at one of our favorite places in Tyler - the trails.
Had a blast celebrating my 30th birthday!

June

Aunt Debbie came to visit from New Hampshire.
June 4th. My dear Dad passed away suddenly after his morning run. Now he is running and living it up in Heaven!

We enjoyed swimming in the evenings at our friends' pool.

Aunt Jen treated the girls to the Tumble Bus!

July

Addi played in her very first t-ball game at school.
We escaped for a family vacation to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.

August

Addi started Pre-K. Kindergarten days will be here before we know it, oh my!
Addi turned 4!
Kamryn had a blast at Jumping Jacks.

September

We made a trip to Lubbock to visit old friends.
We "adopted an Apache" through the TJC Tennis program.
Ryan did a live recording at KE Cellars.
We had a night away in Dallas to see a friend get married.
Got together with friends to give Robyn a baby shower. Mayleigh was born in November!

October

Got a new job working for Brown's Landing as their Marketing Director!
The girls started a new school on Tues/Thurs.
Went to Georgetown for Kelly's ordination service.
Started going to Story Time at the public library regularly with friends.
Ran in the inaugural Tyler Rose Half Marathon.
Ross came to visit from Minnesota and we went camping in Beavers Bend.
Andy's brought back Pumpkin Pie concrete for the season!

November

We flew to Boston to run in the New Hampshire Half Marathon in honor of my Dad. High five to the sky!
Ryan built our fire pit.
Another baby shower! Brunch with friends to celebrate Jennifer's baby boy on the way. He'll be arriving in the next few weeks!
I ran in the Bambi 5k Run while Ryan was at home sick.
Ran in the Dallas Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.
My mom cooked a feast for our Thanksgiving meal and Ryan carved the turkey.

December

Went on a Caribbean Cruise with cousins & made new friends.
Ran in the White Rock Half Marathon in Dallas. 3 halfs in 3 months achieved!
Kamryn turned 3! And I made my first decorative birthday cake.
We celebrated Christmas in Georgetown with family.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!

The Last 2 Weeks.

My 2 week Christmas break is officially over and man has it been great. Not due to any fabulous vacation or life changing events but just because. The time I’ve had to just chill and read and tickle and love have been fantastic. I look forward to this time of year and huge benefit to working in education since last years break. It always seems to go so fast. Fortunately I still have the weekend before Monday’s return to the workforce.

The first week flew by with mostly loafing. I really can’t remember anything significant about the week other than some great loafing. Then a trip to Georgetown for Christmas with my bro-in-law and his kind family last Thursday thru Sunday. The girls had a blast spending time with their cousin Kendrick and are still enjoying the fruits of giving friends and family. Christmas was great as usual minus the giant vacant spot at this years festivities. Makes me feel more mortal and family like.

This week has been different than the previous. My miles have picked back up and soreness has returned to my legs. Reading has taken a huge emphasis this week. I am about to finish a book that I started last Friday. More on this in future posts. We have cleaned house and rearranged. Early Spring cleaning? I have had a list of self declared projects that I have been wanting to accomplish during this year’s break. On the list were: leaves, oil change, replace bathroom cabinet door hinges and replace garage security light. Of these, all of them were accomplished. I’ve been working on the vast and overwhelming leaf removal project for about 2 months now. My West Texas friends have no idea what this even means. Man it feels great scratching even the littlest tasks off a to-do list. Makes me feel more handy and man like.

Most of all though, the time with my little family has been priceless. It really is amazing how the consecutive days with this much interaction with them makes me want to be around them even more. I am so blessed with this gift. Sure there are days when bed time cannot come any quicker but for the most part it was a great as my mom-in-law’s chocolate cake. The hugs and giggles are golden as I try to pause the moments in hope of somehow slowing down time. Time that’s quickly escaping like an opening handful of dry sand. A few nights this week at the close of our night time routine, Addi has asked with her eyebrows slightly raised in her face’s expression of excitement, “Daddy, is tomorrow another family day?” With much joy my answer has been a pause-less “YES!”. Questions of, “Can you tickle me?”, “Can we dance?” have been answered likewise. Moments like this make the whole break of great value. Makes me feel more fulfilled and daddy like.

It’s neat to see how they are developing physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Traci and I are really working on leading our precious girls by example. Teaching as we go and acting how we are wanting our kids to act. Fortunately we are about to start a parenting series in our Grace Community group as we could use so much help on aisle 10. We have began implementing a small “for girls” devotional with a story, verses, application and some questions. Still yet to see if it’s doing much at this age but really it’s about establishing a good habit/routine. One thing I want to impress on my family this upcoming year is to be more philanthropic. More giving of time and resources. More on this in future posts. Really when life comes down to final weight of worth, that’s what it’s all about. Adding value to others. Extending the grace that’s been so freely given to me. Fulfilling purpose. Makes me feel more humble and servant like.