Azalea 10K Results

Ryan…

Chip time: 46:50.9

Pace: 7:33/M

Overall: 74th out of 485

Age Group: 10th out of 37

Traci…

Chip time: 55:37.7

Pace: 8:58/M

Overall: 184th out of 485

Age Group: 10th out of 46

I’ll post more about this race, along with some pics, later. It was so much fun! :)

Too much?

Is anyone else this paranoid about taking their kids to public potties?*

*Disclaimer…this was a park restroom. You know, the kind without hand soap or lights.

First day of…Spring?

The first day of Spring here in Texas, well…it wasn’t very Spring-like to say the least. In fact, this is what our front yard looked like first thing this morning…

And it continued to snow all day long! 30’s & snowing today. 65 & sunny  tomorrow. Crazy! So needless to say, we’ve remained indoors all weekend.  But, regardless of the weather..the weekend has been a great one…

Ryan is working audio at another show at the college – this time its the Apache Belles Spring Show. He had rehearsal all day yesterday & will be busy w/that all week…which is always bitter sweet -because we miss him so much when he’s not home, but he does get paid extra for it! So yesterday, the girls & I stayed home all day in our pj’s – relaxing & lazy…but we were also very productive! Addi & Kam drew a few pictures, we organized their toy room, cuddled & watched a movie on the couch, cleaned house, did laundry, redecorated the master bath, etc. Then, we went up to take Daddy a coffee & check out the rehearsals, which the girls LOVED watching the “dancing girls” as Addi calls them. We look forward to seeing the Spring Show later this week!

Look at these artists in the making…

Extreme Makeover: Toy Room Edition

The weather & Belle’s rehearsals this weekend have interfered with my running schedule…in fact, I haven’t run at all this entire weekend. Normally, I wouldn’t care too much about this…but the Azalea 10k is next Saturday! However, I did run 5 miles last weekend & 3 miles two times this week – so I’m certain I can handle 6. Just not quite as ready as I’d like to  be. And I know I’m not ready for the hills! Should be a blast regardless though! Hopefully the azaleas will start blooming before next weekend…should be a beautiful run. For those of you participating, feel free to park in front of our house & walk over to Bergfeld Park, where the starting line will be. Also, a group of us are going to grab some breakfast after the race at The Eatery in Bergfeld Center…feel free to join us! The more the merrier.

Hope you all have a great first week of Spring!

Heavy heart.

Ryan is at the studio and the girls are tucked away in their beds. I am sitting on the couch under a blanket with my laptop listening to nothing but the sounds of the keys as I type. And a cricket outside the front window. Sometimes it is just good to sit still and absorb the silence – the peacefulness.

There is a lot on my mind right now and quite honestly, I feel sad. My heart is heavy. A lot of people in my life are going through some serious issues. From family members, to friends at church, to coworkers, to blog friends. There is just a lot of hurt and various problems going on with many that I love & care about. I am very much a “fixer”…and when I can’t fix something, it makes me sad & I don’t know what to do. But here is what I do know – when something or someone is broken…God can do mighty things. Sometimes, we have to be broken first in order to be used to our full potential in life. God is shaping all of us into what He wants us to be.

This morning as I walked the two blocks from the parking lot to my office, I thought of these 2 verses & tried to meditate on them all day…

“…do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” –Nehemiah 8:10

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” — James 1:2

I’ve heard it said before – you have to choose joy. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with this one. But, on the other hand – how could I not be joyful when I think of Jesus, what He did for me, how he’s doing a great work within me, and the end reward of heaven?

“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” — Colossians 3:2

Spring has sprung!

I am absolutely loving this beautiful weather! Today was perfect. 70 degrees & sunny. We spent a lot of time outdoors. Took a walk, played outside with bubbles, kicked a ball around the yard, chatted with neighbors, grilled chicken kabobs for dinner. I love this time of year. The changing from one season to the next is exciting…each season has its perks & I always look forward to each. Spring is the time of year that stuff starts to come back to life, flowers bloom, people get out of their houses more, running is easier & a lot more enjoyable, its acceptable to wear flip flops, grilling is a must, and there is just a freshness in the air. Spring is just good for the soul.

Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing

Do you like chocolate & peanut butter? You should definitely give this cupcake recipe a try…its fabulous!

Ryan saw Ina Garten makes these on Food Network the other day & has been wanting to try them out ever since. So, we took a stroll, on this gorgeous afternoon, to the grocery store for the necessary ingredients & whipped up these yummy cupakes! My favorite part is the icing. Gooey, sweet peanut buttery goodness.

You can find the recipe here.

Updates with Pics

We have been without internet at the house for about a week now. Its amazing how you feel so out of the loop and in the dark when you aren’t online!  But we are hooked back up & back in action now. I’ve been meaning to post some pics for a while, so some of these go back several weeks…but hey, better late than never right? Soooo….here are some recent (and slightly random) happenings around the Dixon household…

> Grandma & Grandaddy Dixon sent a box full of goodies for Valentine’s Day….we love boxes that arrive on our doorstep from Virginia! The girls loved their cute cards, pink purses, new bears, toenail polish & girly lotion/bath sets…and Mommy & Daddy enjoyed the chocolates.

> Ryan recently did all of the audio for the musical, Singing in the Rain, up at the college where he works. He hooked us up with some free tickets and I took the girls, along with my friend Cristy & her beautiful twins. It was a lot of fun & all of the girls enjoyed it! Addi was a little disappointed because she thought she was going to be the one dancing & singing on the stage…not just watching from the crowd!

> My cousin Christi has two little boys with birthdays close together. Brody & Mitch had a combined birthday party at McD’s and the girls had a great time playing with their cousins! Plus, they loved the cake & icecream & the kazoos.

> Grandma Clark bought Kam & Addi some new sleeping gowns last weekend and they LOVE to wear their “dresses” to bed. I mean really, I know I’m biased – but does it get any cuter? And notice how they are just about the same height these days.

> With the warmer temperatures & Spring in the air, we have been spending a lot more time outside & loving it! Walking around our neighborhood, taking a jog with the new stroller at the trails, or just hanging out & playing in the yard is a fave around here this time of year. Ryan & I have made a goal for ourselves to become more “neighborly” and really reach out & befriend those living in our area. We moved into this house last Fall and the cold weather hasn’t really allowed for much outdoor time until now…so we’re hoping to intentionally get out & get to know those living around us this Spring. We have a cookout in the works w/our next door neighbors…they have little ones too (and an awesome meat smoker that Ryan secretly hopes to borrow on occasion).

> My little brother Jeff recently moved to Tyler. It is still crazy to me that he is in college now…much less living in his own house! Makes me feel so old. Little Jeffrey is growing up! Here is a pic that my mom took at one of our normal Sunday lunches at their house…us with Jeff & his sweet girlfriend Amy.

> Is anyone else having a hard time believing that its already March? Much less mid-March! 2010 is seriously flying by. On New Year’s Eve, I posted this blog with my 2010 Resolutions. For those of you holding me accountable, here is an update for you…

  • I’m on track with my “Everyday Bible” reading plan. I’ve missed a day here & there, but caught up the next day. I have to be honest…I LOVE IT. Reading every day has become like an addiction for me. I can’t wait to get up & read. It has been SO good for me in my walk with Christ. Even reading through Leviticus. :)
  • As for running…we are training now for the upcoming Azalea 10k that is at the end of this month here in Tyler. Also, Ryan, Dad, and I are all registered for the Capitol 10k in Austin in April. Two 10k’s back to back should be a lot of fun! Once I get those under my belt, I’ll start upping my mileage and start preparing for the next half.

I guess that’s about it for now…I apologize for the randomness of this post. Have a great weekend friends!

How we conquered pappy.

Little Kamryn has always loved her pacifier, also known as pappy. Whenever she gets sleepy, hurt, mad or pouty, she would ask for it. Pappy and her blanky. Her two sources of comfort, other than mommy of course! I mean, with a face like this- how could you ever say no to giving her what she asks.

I have always thought it was adorable. However, what is not adorable is to have a 2 year old that still wakes up throughout the night when her pappy falls out and on the floor…and you have to get up several times a night to retrieve it. We decided several months ago that when she turned 2, that was it. No more pappy. Well, her birthday came & went and she still had pappy. I never had the heart to just take it away completely. Plus, she only used it at night…and Ryan & I had a hard time wanting to interrupt our nightly routine to try to wean her off…maybe a little laziness on our part.

So here are the steps we took to finally conquer the pacifier. We heeded the advice of other parents & devised a plan. It took a couple of months, but it finally worked! First, we started trimming a little bit off the tip of the pacifier. Just a little at first. Kamryn noticed something wasn’t quite right, but it didn’t bother her too much. Second, we started talking to her about how she was a big girl and big girls didn’t need pacifiers. Then a few weeks later, we trimmed some more off. It was about 1/3 cut. She would say, “pappy’s broke..want nother one.” But we stood our ground. She got used to using the trimmed pappy…only using it at night, but still sucking away! So again, we trimmed it down…over half way gone now. You could tell, she wasn’t liking it – but she still asked for it at night. She was not using it the same anymore…she mainly just played with it or chewed on it. It slowly was becoming less & less important to her. We would tell her off & on – “You can throw it in the trash if you want. Pappy’s broke. You’re a big girl now, you don’t need it.”

This goes on & on until…well, this past week. After breakfast on Wednesday, Kamryn went over and on her own accord, threw pappy in the trash. We made a big deal about it – jumping around dancing and clapping – and she was SO proud of herself. We took her to Toys-R-Us to buy her a special toy that she could sleep with instead of pappy. She loved it. She tells everyone, “throw pappy in trash…no more pappy.” SO adorable. She now has a Barney doll that she sleeps with instead. The first night without pappy, she did cry and asked for it. She cried for about 30-45 minutes in fact. I went in there several times, picked her up and reminded her that pappy was gone, she was a big girl & momma was so proud of her. She only cried one night. Yep, ONE. Since then, she gets her blanky, her Barney and crawls right into bed and goes right to sleep. My big girl!!!

Get real.

Over the past few years of my life, I have set a goal for myself. BE REAL. Be open & honest. Be transparent. Be…well, be myself.  Hi, I’m Traci. Nice to meet you. If you want to know something, I’ll tell you. If I’m excited, hurt, upset, happy or angry about something, believe me you’ll know. This may or may not be a good thing all the time! My life is an open book. I don’t hide things well and now I think, its OK because I don’t want to hide things anymore. Ask Ryan. Ask my family. Ask any of my friends. Ask my coworkers. I have come to determine that life is way too short to be something  you aren’t. To put on a facade just to impress people – well, I’m just over that. Its very tiring! And its a lot more stressful trying to “play it cool” than to just be honest. Being who God made you, now that IS cool. Being the same person at work that you are at home & that you are at church – that is incredibly freeing. Living from the inside out. I strive to please God with my life & yearn to be more like Jesus daily. But I fail and I screw up all the time. I am not perfect. Because of God’s grace, as long as I am running towards him – I am on the right track. He is at work in my life, molding me into who He wants me to be and I love that! At a college bible study I used to go called Paradigm, Jon Randles used to say all of the time, “What’s in a man, comes out of a man.”  What’s on the inside, shows on the outside. You can’t hide what’s going on in your mind & heart from God – He knows. And I’ve come to find that if you are transparent with your life to others- God can use that in awesome ways – this can be such a great testimony to those around you. Being real helps to hold you accountable in your walk with Christ. As I’ve mentioned on here before, I’m so thankful for our community group. We have made some dear friends through this & for that I am truly thankful. True community is a beautiful thing. Ryan & I have been starving for this for quite some time and have just found it recently. Friends that can come together, share and be real with each other – its amazing to have this. So I want to encourage you two things here in this post. 1. Try to live from the inside out. Let others see the real you. If the real you needs work, thats OK – we all do! Set your eyes on your Maker and He will help direct your steps & give you the strength you need to get through. There is such freedom in Christ! 2. If you don’t have a community of friends that you can share life with – find one immediately! Pray for this. Having people come along side you, pray for you, encourage you, and hold you accountable, its vital. Not to mention a lot of fun!

Just a little something from my heart to yours…love you all!

Traci

Pizzagna

Need a new twist on lasagna, pizza, or spaghetti?  Try this! It’s a Rachael Ray recipe that I found on Food Network’s site. Super easy, doesn’t take long, and delish!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta curls (recommended: campagnelle by Barilla; short fusilli or cavatappi twists may be substituted)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a couple of handfuls
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, quartered then thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 12 crimini mushrooms (baby portabellos), thinly sliced
  • Black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounces) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Loaf of crusty bread

Directions

Preheat broiler.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add pasta and salt the water.

While the water boils combine ricotta, Parmigiano, parsley and pepperoni in a large bowl and reserve.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 6 to 8 minutes until tender and mushrooms are dark. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and reduce heat to low.

Add a ladle of starchy cooking water to the ricotta just before you drain the pasta. Drain pasta then toss with ricotta and pepperoni mixture. Pour pasta into a baking dish and top evenly with peppers, onion and mushroom sauce. Top with a layer of mozzarella, oregano and red pepper flakes. Place under hot broiler and melt cheese until golden and bubbly. Remove and serve with crusty bread.

Our new (used) jogging stroller.

Thanks to our sweet friends Matt & Cristy – we now are proud owners of a double jogging stroller – yay! We’ve wanted one for a while, but never wanted to fork out the dough for a nice one. They had this one just sitting in their garage not being used, so they said we could just take it. Um, OK! This morning, we took it out to the trails for the first time and had a great time. The girls LOVED it and now, Ryan & I can run together. Gives us a lot more options of ways to work running into our schedule. Especially with Spring approaching!

On the calendar…

We are officially registered for two 10k races that I’m rather pumped about. At the end of March, the Tyler Azalea 10k and in April, the Austin Capitol 10k. Yay! The one in Tyler begins right across the street from our house at the park & runs through a beautiful historic neighborhood, called the Azalea District. This race is supposed to be very pretty because of the azaleas in full bloom! Ryan & I along w/several of our friends are doing this one. The race in Austin is the largest 10k in Texas. It starts on Congress by the Capitol and ends along Lady Bird Lake. REALLY excited about this one! Ryan, Dad, and I are doing this & I’m hoping some of my Austin family/friends will join us. I need to start training for both of these races very soon…like tomorrow. Hoping for some warmer temperatures so that running outside in the mornings will be an option again! I miss it.

Something else we put on our calendar today that I am totally stoked about….we’re going on a CRUISE!!! This Fall, we are joining Aaron & Jamie along w/a lot of other friends on a Carnival Cruise that leaves from Galveston and stops in Cozumel & Progresso. SWEET! I know its months away, but I already want to go shopping for a new bathing suit & some fun dinner attire. Twill be a blast, no doubt.

Move that bus!

The show Extreme Makeover Home Edition is here in Tyler! They had the kickoff this morning and are surprising the family & starting the build next week. How cool is that?! I went with some co-workers to the kickoff event this morning and it was SO cool. I don’t know about you, but I can’t watch that show without crying. Well, being at today’s event was no different! Cue the tears. Listening to the guy who created the show share, watching vidoes from past builds, hearing from the design team, and seeing so many people from our community rallying together to help a family in need…it was very moving. I am pumped to see all of this transpire next week here in Tyler and help out & get involved when/where I can. They will also be collecting cans of food for the East Texas Food Bank during this process as well as accepting blood donations. If you live near or around Tyler and can help in some way -you should! There is a website dedicated to this specific Tyler episode, you can view it here and get all the details, dates & even sign up to volunteer for a specific time slot.

Snow Day & Date Night.

Yesterday we woke up to a beautiful surprise – SNOW! It rarely snows here in East Texas, so for us- it is very exciting! The college where Ryan works was closed for the day and the girls school was delayed. So that morning, we all played in the snow & made a snowman…it was a total blast! Kamryn wasn’t quite sure about snow…she didn’t want to stand in it. But Addi absolutely loved it and never stopped smiling the whole time we were out in it. Our electricity was out for a long time as well – so we were thankful to have a gas stove so we could make french press coffee & pancakes. It was a great morning! Then, last night – Ryan & I got to go out on a date (thanks Uncle Jeff for babysitting). We met up with some other couples from our community group at this yummy new Italian bistro. Had such a great time! We are truly thankful for the friends God has blessed us with and the true sense of community we are starting to feel here in Tyler.

Wonderfully Made.

Our two kids are complete opposites. I mean totally different. Sometimes I wonder how they both came from the same place!

Addi is very curious, very sensitive, always thinking & contemplating, always talking or singing, incredibly sweet and caring, rarely relaxes, very particular about everything, has a loud girly high-pitched voice, doesn’t like to be alone, very outgoing, likes to be the center of attention, and she looks just like her Momma.

Kamryn is laid back, easy going, loves to cuddle, has a soft deep voice, doesn’t say much, cries if made the center of attention, plays well alone, has a temper like no other, can scream absurdly loud, is such a Momma’s girl, gives the best bear hugs, gets shy around strangers, loves her blanky and pacy, and she looks just like Ryan.

Completely different and yet both perfect. Just the way God made them! I wouldn’t change one thing about them. I love that they are both unique in their own ways. Sweet babies.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” –Psalm 139:13-14

Patiently Running.

I’ve heard from a lot of people recently, well maybe over the past 6 months or so, who have started running. I love to get emails or Facebook messages from friends saying they have started running and what programs they are following and what goals they have set for themselves. Its inspiring! It makes me feel so honored when someone asks me for advice or tips to get started…I feel all legit & like a real, true runner!!!

Something that I have shared with a few of these friends who are just starting out is this tid bit of advice: HAVE PATIENCE. This might be the most important advice I could give.

When people begin running, they usually have a goal in mind – a certain amount of weight they want to lose, a certain distance they would like to achieve, 5K race they want to run in, etc. Its so easy to run a few times – not enjoy it, struggle through it, not lose 5 pounds off the bat, and just want to give up. Here’s the deal, when I first started running about 5 years ago, I could honestly barely make it 1/4 mile before I felt as though I would pass out and/or die. I was training for a 5K, that was my goal and why I started. So, what I had to do is slowly (and I mean, s-l-o-w-l-y) work my way up to 3.1 miles. I ran 0.25 on the treadmill several times & then I would just go a little farther each time. And now, 3 miles is my normal week day run! With 3 half-marathons under my belt, I tell people – ANYONE can do it. If I can, anyone can. For real.

Also, don’t try to do too much too soon – because there is a good chance you could cause an injury. So, be patient. Start slowly, add to your miles slowly, give your body time to rest, and be patient with yourself. Pounds will come off in time and you will be able to achieve your goals in time.

If you choose to train for a longer distance run – like a half marathon. Patience comes into play a lot as well because running for an hour to two hours at a time can be daunting. You have to let your mind escape from your body and not dwell on the time it takes. This is where good music on my ipod helps me SO much.

So if you have just started running or are considering it, awesome! I highly recommend it. But remember, patience is key. There’s my little piece of running advice for you today. For what its worth! :)

Run on friends.

Whatever you do.

This is where I work.  My office. This is where I spend a good 8 hours of my day, five days a week. On average, about 40 hours a week. 160 hours a month. 1,920 hours a year. Thats a lot of hours! I’m thankful for my job. I love it and I’m blessed with some very awesome co-workers, who I consider friends.

This past week, while running on the treadmill at the gym, I heard a great message. An awesome message in fact. I’ve been listening to podcasts from Matt Carter. If you’re looking for some good, challenging podcasts to download – I highly recommend checking these out here. This particular message, Matt talked about working. A lot of people struggle to figure out what they want to do in life, what they want to be when they grow up, not liking their current job, not liking their boss, feeling as though what they do is unfulfilling, etc. But here’s the deal…God has you where you are for a reason. If you really stop & think about that – it will (should) change your attitude about whatever you are doing. I mean if you truly grasp the fact that whatever you are doing for a job right now – whether its a stay-at-home-mom, a bank teller, or a CEO – God knew you would be there. He has a plan for you there. He has a plan for how you will affect others while you are there. You are working FOR HIM there. If you keep that in your mind – the 1,920 hours you spend at your job each year, those hours will have a ton of purpose. If you currently feel as though what you do is pointless or ineffective – DON’T! If you focus daily on the fact that you are working to please God, not your boss – it changes things. You will go above & beyond what’s expected because you are pleasing God, not your manager. You will work hard each day to bring a smile to God, not your boss. Not only will this help to give you a purpose each day at work, but you will fill a sense of accomplishment knowing that you are working on eternal things, not earthly treasures. This life is not about us...because of Jesus and the gospel, each day should be infused with purpose.

My business card holder on my desk, has the following verse on it & I love the daily reminder…

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

Christy's Chicken & Rice

Chicken & Rice

3 cups MInute Rice, white/brown or mixed

Add: 1 can condensed cream mushroom soup, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can chicken broth + 1/2 can of water or broth, dash of pepper.

Stir rice and soups and pour into casserole glass pan. I usually use a 13×9 inch pan.

Lay chicken strips on top of rice (6-8).

Brush with melted butter.

Sprinkle with dry package of dry onion soup.

Cover with foil and cook for an hour at 350.

Uncover and cook 30 minutes longer or until done.