Water Fun

We’ve had a great weekend. From a birthday party, to running at the trails, to cooking out, to our weekly trip to Quitman – its been enjoyable. We also spent a lot of time outside…in water! The girls experienced 2 firsts this weekend…

First thing…washing the cars! They had a blast helping us do this. And I have to say, they were actually pretty helpful!

Second, we went to the sprayground at a gorgeous local park. We took the girls as a surprise after dinner this evening. We put them in their bathing suits and loaded them in the car without telling them where we were going…they were so excited! They love to play in the sprinklers at our house, so I knew this would be a winner. Kamryn kept saying on the way home, “That was fun!”

Some things that make this mommy's heart smile…

Being a mommy is an incredible thing & I feel so blessed to have two beautiful precious baby girls! Here are some things (out of millions) that melt my heart…
  • when they say” mommy i love you” out of the blue.
  • when they give slobbery kisses or bear hugs that aren’t prompted.
  • when their faces light up when I walk into the room after a long day.
  • when they make each other laugh hysterically.
  • when its so very obvious how much they are in love with their daddy.
  • when they race each other on the trails.
  • when they hold each others’ hands in parking lots.
  • when they “help” us grocery shop with their mini buggies.
  • when they ecstatically squeal as we turn into the driveway at grandma & poppy’s house.
  • when they ask me to snuggle with them with a blanket on the couch.
  • when their daddy tickles them and they say stop while giggling & then ask for more.
  • when they dance around the living room to “ballerina music.”
  • when they sing any praise song together in the bath tub.
  • and the list goes on, and on, and on….

I love these munchkins!

Glory

Today, I was very touched at church. I sat up in the sound booth with Ryan, as I sometimes do. As the worship band started to play, I began to gaze around the room at all the people.  I love to watch people. How they interact, their expressions, etc. Maybe I’m a weirdo?

As we sang together, “glory to God, glory to God, glory to God forever”, I couldn’t help but tear up. Such a joy to join with your brothers & sisters in Christ to worship. From the guy on the front row with down syndrome and his hands lifted high to the middle-aged, bald woman battling with cancer on the back row wearing a bandana on her head and looking so beautiful & peaceful as she smiled & sang to the Lord. I thought to myself, if I were in their shoes, could I still sing with all that I am, “glory to God forever?” Touching.

It was inspiring for me to people-watch this morning.  To see all shapes and sizes, old & young, married couples & singles – all different kinds of people with different things going on their lives coming together to worship our great God. To lay our struggles at His feet and to fully focus on Him in that moment. Touching. Then Pastor Doug brought it about God’s glory out of the book of John and how our goal in life should be to bring Him glory, not ourselves – following the example of Jesus. Good day @ Grace Community today. Good day!

Running with the family.

Lately, when we go walk/run at the trails, the girls will ask to get out of their stroller at the end so they can go “running” too. I love this! So adorable to see them run with their rosy cheeks. Of course, Addi always wins. But Kam has the cutest little stride and arm flail that you’ll ever see!

Ryan & I strive to promote a healthy lifestyle in our family. This is very important to us as a couple and a goal we set as parents – take care of our bodies the best we can. For the most part, our weekly menu is pretty healthy. Whole grains, proteins, veggies, fruits. We do have our splurge days and enjoy our fair share of sweets often – but we try to steer clear of fast food, fried foods, and cokes. We also drink a lot of water, take vitamins, and run/workout often. We feel like including our kids in exercising is a great way to get them involved & enjoy fitness as well. Since our sweet friends gave us a jogging stroller, we have been going out a lot more often as a family to run/walk around the neighborhood or at the trails – we love it. And they love it. I hope that when our girls grow up, they will remember the times we would “go running” as a family!

Race for the Cure & Mommy's Day

Yesterday, the girls, my Dad, and I participated in the Race for the Cure 5K here in Tyler. Addi was so excited to “cross the finish line with Poppy” – that is all she talked about for the days prior to the race. And Kam is just always happy to do anything. We got up early & walked across the street to the starting line. Chilly morning, very surprising for May! It was a packed out race with over 6,000 participants! Dad & I enjoyed it…it was a beautiful day.

This morning before breakfast, I was handed a precious card that led me here for a special Mother’s Day message. Gosh, I am so blessed! I LOVED this. I am truly thankful for two beautiful daughters who make me a Mommy. And for my sweet husband who took the time to make this video for me. It definitely made me feel special! :)

After church, we went to Quitman to celebrate with my Mom. Ryan grilled steaks for everyone, Mom made all the sides, and I made a German chocolate cake..delish! I am grateful to have such a wonderful, loving mother. She is such a great example to me as a mom. At nearly 30 years old…when I need advice, I call my Mom. When I am sick, I call my Mom. When my girls are sick, I call my Mom. Her caring heart and Godly wisdom is something I admire. I love you Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my sweet friends who are Mommy’s…I love you all!

Mango Salsa

Oh my goodness, I could seriously eat it all of this recipe in one sitting. Chips & salsa is one of my all time favorite snacks! I am also a huge fan of sweet & savory type foods. I think this is why I love Asian food so much. Sweet & salty. Pineapple on pizza, brown sugar on ribs, strawberries in salads, peanuts with candy corn, mangos in salsa…that’s the way I roll. Here is the recipe to Ryan’s Mango Salsa….its amazing – try it!

Mango Salsa

1-2 mangos- cut around the core and diced like an avocado

1 kiwi- skinned and diced

1/2 red bell pepper- diced

1/2 red onion- diced

1/3 bunch cilantro- chopped

1 serrano pepper- minced

2 tsp lime juice

kosher salt and pepper

Thief in the night.

This morning, we walked outside only to find that our car had been rummaged through and our Garmin (GPS navigational system) had been stolen. The glove compartment was open and stuff was everywhere – they obviously were digging deep to see what all they could make off with. The good thing is that, the only thing of value in the car was the Garmin, which can easily be replaced thanks to eBay. This happened once before when we lived in Lubbock. While we were dating, Ryan had surprised me for my birthday by installing a CD player in my car. Not long after that, someone bashed out my window and took the CD player and all of my CD’s. I was so bummed!

It’s such a strange feeling to know that a thief has been on your property and taken something that belongs to you. It makes me feel very sad. Its like a slap in the face and a reminder of the evil that exists in the world. Its also a reminder of the desperation people feel to do things like this. I mean, if the person needed some sort of help, all they had to do was ask & we would have done what we could of to assist them. I’m praying for this person today.

As Christians, aren’t we thankful that material things are worthless in the big scheme of things anyways? All things here on earth are temporary…so really, what’s one little Garmin?!

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” –2 Corinthians 4:18

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding


Thanks Paula Deen for another great recipe! We made this tonight for some friends coming over for dessert & we really enjoyed it. Super easy, no baking, quick to make, and a great summer treat! The only thing I did differently is that I used Nilla Wafers instead of Chessman cookies. If you like banana pudding, you’ll love this – guaranteed! I mean, anything with cream cheese & whipped cream can’t taste bad right?

Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding

Ingredients

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chopping Block

If you like to cook, or know someone that does – you NEED this custom, handmade chopping block! I have one and LOVE it. My talented Dad builds these. And if you know my Dad – you know how much time, effort & thought he puts into things! These beautiful cutting boards are heavy duty and a great size. The legs help keep it sturdy for chopping.

Let me know if you are interested in purchasing one or have questions. You can comment me, or email me at tracidixon@mac.com. The cost is $60 plus shipping (if necessary). This would make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift!

Running Update

Ok, I have to admit running has taken a backseat over the past few weeks. Since the Capitol 10K in Austin, there has not been any kind of “routine” going on. One week, it seemed like we had something going on every night of the week…you know how it goes, life gets crazy!  Then, I was sick for 6 days and running was completely out of the question. Then, I had to recover from being sick.

But, now things are about to change. Over the past few months, we’ve been running in the evenings or on lunch breaks, which sometimes gets difficult when schedules won’t allow enough time. Now that its not pitch black at 6:15 a.m., I can start back to running in the mornings – which is so much better. Knock it out first thing. Plus, before we know it, it will be sweltering summer heat & mornings are really the only option if you want to survive.

I actually started up the morning routine again yesterday. Ran 2 miles at a slow pace…trying to get back into the swing of things & not wanting to over do it since having had bronchitis. Honestly, it was pretty hard & I struggled through it. Hoping my next run will be a little easier and not make me feel like I’m starting over from scratch! Good grief, I’ve been running for about 5 years now – you would think a girl could take a few weeks off & not struggle to do 2 miles!

I’m excited to get back on a legit schedule & start adding in some long runs on the weekends. I read through my latest copy of Runner’s World while I was out sick last week & got all pumped up. As far as upcoming races…Komen Race for the Cure 5K is next weekend here in Tyler. Then, we’re talking about doing Too Hot To Handle in Dallas again in July, which is a 9 miler. I’d love to find another 10K to do – that is such a fun distance for a race! Also, I’m looking at the Chosen: Half Marathon for Adoption in October in New Braunfels. And of course the White Rock Half in Dallas in December.

For those of you runners that read this blog–I’d love to hear how its going for you, what you’re training for, what schedule you try to stick to, etc. Comment me!

I feel human again!

Wow, last week was rough. Seems like a blur. I was sick  from Saturday until Friday. Stayed home from work for about 3 days. It was awful. I seriously don’t think I’ve ever been that sick…or at least not for many years. I didn’t eat hardly anything all week, losing about 7 pounds. I felt weak and my back was hurt from all the coughing. I went through boxes of tissue, bottles of Nyquil, and lots of Sprite. It was miserable! Gosh, I am so thankful for my loving husband who basically took care of EVERYTHING last week. I sure missed the “norm” of playing with my girls and kissing all over their faces. I hated missing out on life while I was cooped on on the couch for 6 days! I finally started feeling better late last week, but didn’t really feel back to human until, well today really. Thank you Lord!!! Health is such a blessing.

And I’m sure glad I felt good today because we had plans for a while now to go to a Texas Ranger’s game with my family. It was a lot of fun. We all went last year too. Its become an annual deal now and Addi & Kam LOVE it. From getting the tickets, to ice cream & cotton candy, to seeing the “dots” on the field (big colorful Ozarka circles that run around crazy on the field  – not really sure the point of this) – they have a blast! We always enjoy hanging with the fam and spending time outdoors.

Sick.

I have been sick. Real sick for about 4 days now. I went to the doctor yesterday to find out I have bronchitis – BOO! I hate to be sick. I am a fairly healthy person, don’t get sick that often. I don’t think I have been this ill in years…in fact, I don’t remember the last time I felt this bad. Totally sucks! I’ve missed two days of work now – which is also rare. I’m sure I’ll be swamped when I get back. Anyways, there really is no point to this post other than to say – I’m sick. Maybe I just need your sympathy! :)

Gratitude.

“Gratitude. More aware of what you have than what you don’t. Recognizing the treasure in the simple – a child’s hug, fertile soil, a golden sunset. Relishing in the comfort of the common – a warm bed, a hot meal, a clean shirt.” –Max Lucado

My coworker has a desk calendar with quotes like this printed on each day and she reads them to me almost every morning as we warm up & ease in to our day at the office, which I love. This one is the one from yesterday. Some days the quote will go in one ear and out the other…depending on how sleepy I still am, if I’ve had enough coffee, what’s bustling around the office, etc. But not this one. It touched me and has stuck with me since she read it. “More aware of what you have than what you don’t.” Wow. This is a challenge isn’t it? How often do we sit and think about everything that God has blessed us with as opposed to sit and thinking about everything we think we need, want, can’t change, or lack?

This thought, along with others revolved around servant-hood & helping those in need, is something Ryan & I have talked a lot about lately & are working on together. In fact, its been a recurring theme in our lives over the past several months. At church, at community group, in books we are reading, etc. Ryan even posted a string of posts on his blog about it too.

Being thankful & content in the simple. To be honest, this used to not be the case for us. When we were first married, all we wanted to do was to buy and own the latest & greatest, even though we didn’t have money for it. Keeping up with the Jones’, as they say. And because of that, we are STILL paying off credit cards from years back. And I’m certain paying ten times more for whatever it was we bought thanks to high card interest rates! Dave Ramsey would shudder at some of the stuff we charged.

But over the past few years (probably since we had our first child), God has been working on us – molding us in this area. Showing us that its not about what all you own in THIS life and its not about “living your best life now” in the world’s view. In fact – this life is not about ME at all! Its about God & the work he is doing through me. Its about loving Him & loving others. Putting others ahead of myself. Gosh, I still have a lot of work to do in this area – but I’m trying! And I’m thankful for a husband that is striving to do this as well. As Frances Chan so amazingly explains in the book Crazy Love- as Christians, our best life will come later. For that reason, we press toward the goal!

So I challenge you to “recognize the treasure in the simple” – bask in those moments & praise God for them. Each day is a gift and if we take time to count each blessing, we won’t have quite as much time to dwell in the negative. The next time your child hugs you – soak it up. When you kiss your spouse – relish it. When you lay down at night and cover up, snuggle in and say thank you. When you go out for your morning run, take in the fresh air and smile. And continuously seek out ways to help someone in need – believe me, you won’t have to look far.

Much love & gratitude for all my family & friends!

Traci

Capitol 10K

We had a great weekend in Austin! Ryan wrote a post all about it – you can read it here.

The Capitol 10k was a complete blast! Wow, this was such a fun race. Awesome city. Great route. About 20,000 runners. Cool weather. Plus (the best part), Addi & Kam were anxiously waiting for us at the finish line along w/my Dad & Jeff. You should have seen the smiles on their little faces – it made crossing the finish line even more special to this Mommy! We finished right at 9 minute miles…Ryan slowed his roll so he could run with me.

So so glad we were able to do this…its definitely one I’d like to do year after year. Next race on the calendar? The Tyler Komen Race for the Cure 5K in May!

Before…

During…

After…

Headed to ATX

I’m so excited about this weekend! Tomorrow, we will take a road trip to Austin. Looking forward to seeing my brother & his family, catching up with the Ivey’s, eating Amy’s icecream, running in the Capitol 10k, attending The Stone & TXT3, and hopefully squeezing in a dinner at Chuy’s!

I’m personally pretty pumped about this 10k. This is one of the races I’ve always wanted to participate in, but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t worked out in the past. But this year…it. is. on. Check out this route! The race begins running up Congress Avenue straight towards the State Capital & ends running along side Lady Bird Lake. Awesome. Plus, this will be the first race that our kids will get to be there waiting for us at the finish line – yippee! My dad, a.k.a. Poppy, and my little brother are watching the girls while we run. Fun!

Are you excited about me?

Yesterday, when I arrived home from work, I walked into the house awaiting the smiling faces & sweet hellos from two precious girls. I love this part of my day! It doesn’t matter what happens throughout my day at work, I always look forward to walking through the doors of our house. Handsome hubby & two adorable baby girls waiting for my arrival. I hugged each of them real tight, kissed them all over their precious little faces, and asked them how their day was…just like I do every day.  And Addi says to me, “Mommy are you excited about me?” I grinned from ear to ear, “YES baby, I’m always excited about you!” This comment made my heart melt. I always want my children to know how excited their Mommy is about them. And I always want them to know, and never ever doubt, my unconditional love for them. They bring so much joy to our lives! I’m honored & so incredibly blessed to be their Mommy.

switchfoot.

oh. my. word. the switchfoot concert tonight was AMAZING!!!

first of all, the tickets were free. can’t get any cheaper than that! second, it was at the college where ryan works in the auditorium…so we drove 1 mile to get to it. third, it felt like a private concert because it was in a small auditorium – not a huge arena, and there really wasn’t a ton of people there because of the holiday from school tomorrow. fourth, they played a good blend of old songs + some new songs…ending with “dare you to move” – awesome. fifth, i got to go with my love & my little brother & we had a blast together! great night.

thumbs and foreheads.

Do you have things about your physical appearance that you are or have been self-conscience about? Maybe something small & silly – or something big that really bothers you? If we were all honest, I bet we all have at least one thing about ourselves that we wish deep down we could change. Us girls especially.

Well, in the spirit of being open & honest on this blog, I thought I’d share two of mine. These two things have bothered me since I was younger & in hindsight, they seem silly now…but they bothered me for a long time. Sincerely embarrassed me as a teenager. A lot of it stems from lame comments made during my childhood by random people. Who? I don’t even remember! Goes to show you how words can really penetrate at such a young age & affect a child for years to come.

Let me just lay these things out there for you…here goes (try not to laugh too hard)….

1. my short, stubby thumbs

2. my bigger than normal forehead

My thumbs look more like big toes than thumbs. Its true. I used to struggle with this. So much in fact, that I remember being a young girl & hiding my thumbs when I would sit next to people, so they wouldn’t see them. I would tuck my thumb into my fist. But as I have gotten older and matured, I’ve actually grown to love my little thumbs. They are unique & I generally kick butt at Thumb Wars. So there. My mom always told me they were just the way God made them – which always made me smile. I didn’t realize how right she was until I was older…at the time, I was just thumb shy & sad that they appeared different than everyone else’s.

Also, as a child, I always had bangs. It was the style in the 80’s – big & poofy, massively hairsprayed bangs. One time in the 90’s, when styles were changing, I decided to pull my hair back with a headband, and someone told me my forehead was big. Maybe they were joking? Maybe not. But regardless, from that moment on, I had a complex. I felt as though my forehead was the hugest thing ever & bangs were a necessity in order for me to be pretty. How sad! I remember being in a cheerleading competition where everyone pulled all of their hair back into a cute ponytail, but me. I couldn’t do it because of my forehead phobia. I look at it now, and while yes, it is in fact bigger than some people’s (don’t we all have different sizes of everything), I don’t feel like its as large as I had once perceived it to be. In fact, I actually grew my bangs out several years ago and expose my forehead to the world daily now!

So what’s the point of this post? Here’s the point. At nearly 30 years old (yes, I will be 30 this year – yikes), I could care less if my thumbs are big toes or my forehead is taller than Mt. Everest. Seriously. There are much bigger problems & concerns in the world. But back then, it was a big deal to me. When I think back to how obsessed I was growing up about these two things and throughout my high school years, it makes me so sad. How dare I question the work of God’s hand?

Kids are like sponges, ya know? They soak everything in. Thinking about this today & also listening to a friend of mine who has a daughter in the pre-teen stage & all that she goes through…made me think of my precious girls & everything they will go through over the next ten to twenty years in their lives. Gosh, I hope they have enough self-esteem to not let stupid comments affect them the way I did. And I pray that I can always remind them, like my mom did to me – God made YOU this way and beauty comes from the inside.

So if you struggle with issues like I did, small or big, or have children dealing with these kinds of things, remember this verse…

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14

Love to all of my beautiful friends out there! Hope you are having a great week.

Pictures Galore

Brace yourselves…I’ve been camera happy this weekend!

My friend Shae designed these adorable Easter shirts. All I had to do was iron on the graphic & wallah – cute new personalized shirts. This was taken before we went to our church’s Spring Block Party – which the girls had a blast at.

The Azalea 10k this past weekend was SO much fun. Several of my awesome coworkers (who I am blessed to call my friends) joined in on the fun too & walked it & cheered us on. Great weather, beautiful scenery…and to top it off, we just had to walk across the street from our house to the starting line! It was also great to see some people from Q-town there too. I was excited to break a 9 minute mile pace…a personal best for me in a race of that length. So proud of my friend Hallye – this was her first race & she rocked it. Afterwards, we stuffed our faces with an amazing breakfast at The Eatery. Fun day!

Spring is here & the flowers are blooming! Its beautiful around Tyler this time of year. I really do love this town. These are a few shots we took in the front yard tonight, while we were outside enjoying the awesome weather! This first one makes me smile…

Have a great week everyone! We have a lot to celebrate as Easter reminds us.

Homemade Granola

I love granola, especially on top of my greek yogurt. It’s really good for breakfast or a snack. I thought I would try making it myself and it actually turned out rather tasty!  Super easy & most of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Easy Homemade Granola

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds & sunflower seeds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 5 more minutes, then remove from the oven. Let cool completely. Store in airtight container.