East Coast Tour Stop 2: Asheville, NC

After leaving the beautiful state of Alabama, we headed north to Asheville, North Carolina for the weekend. Oh my goodness, was this a beautiful drive! This is pretty much what it looked like the entire way…

Wow, what a great drive – just gorgeous. These views never got old! Minus the traffic we got stuck in Atlanta, it was smooth sailing. We got to Asheville Friday evening, checked in to our hotel and headed to dinner. We went downtown to the Mellow Mushroom and devoured some amazing pizza. This was our first experience at Mellow – glad to know there is one in the DFW area. We will be visiting it! The girls thought it was pretty fun to be out passed their bedtime eating pizza! Took our leftovers and headed back to hotel to crash out after a long day of traveling.

The next day, I worked a bit that morning. Can I just say that I love being on the ground floor of a company that is growing exponentially – the opportunity, everywhere is HUGE! Makes it much fun. Anyways, after I got done talking with salons and spas…we swam, walked around downtown to see the sites, toured some breweries, saw some really cool art, ate more good food and just enjoyed our time in this beautiful city. Asheville really is a neat place!

Next stop: Virginia & Washington D.C.!

East Coast Tour Stop 1: Birmingham, AL

We had such an awesome time on our massive road trip! Surprisingly, we actually loved driving. We didn’t know what to expect, but it really wasn’t bad at all! The girls were so good and we had a ton of fun at each of our destinations along the way. As promised, I’m posting a series of blog posts on each of our 5 stops.

We left Tyler on late Thursday afternoon, after Princess Dance Camp. (Side note: How stinkin cute are these 2? Hannah is one of Addi’s BFF’s and they attended this camp together & had a great time.)

Anyways we got on the road after dance camp and a crazy busy/stressful day for Ryan. We popped 2 Confianzas and drove all the way to Birmingham, Alabama – our first of many stops. To kick off our trip, we decided to stop for dinner and have some true Louisiana cuisine. Aaaaahhh yes, Chickfila. What? Who doesn’t crave Chickfila on every single road trip? It has to be done. Local cajun food? Nah, give me waffle fries and honey mustard.

Louisiana on to Mississippi. It was neat crossing the Mississippi River, which I learned was the largest river system in North America. Bridges amaze me. To think of all the work, design, architecture that goes into building a structure that safely transports humans across a body of water – it’s astounding. I sort of wanted to get out & run across it, but realized that might not be the safest idea.

From about Jackson, Mississippi on to Alabama, it was dark so we couldn’t see much. Ryan and I had some great talks while the girls slept. We tend to solve all the world’s problems on the road. We brainstorm, make plans, set goals, talk about frustrations and things we’ve learned, etc. I love these sweet times with my husband. Two exciting things did take place during the course of the evening. First, we hit, or should I say exploded, an armadillo. I guess when this happens in Texas, it’s not quite as dramatic – they just roll over, legs up. But in Mississippi, this little guy didn’t stand a chance…it was like one of those alien scenes on Men in Black. Bam – a million splattered pieces. Good thing the girls were asleep while Ryan and I gagged for about ten minutes. Second exciting thing…I downloaded the ever popular app, Instagram and started using it on every photo for the entirety of the trip. I get to choose a cool background scheme or frame for each one? Neat! Why have I not done this sooner? It enhanced my already obsessive compulsive desire to photograph every single thing. My family loves and is never annoyed by this. Ever. Instagram Exhibit A: here’s what the trip from MS to AL looked like…

Thank the sweet Lord for creating coffee beans. We arrived in Birmingham well after midnight. I walk in to check us in and there is literally no one to be seen in the lobby or front desk. I stood there. And stood there. And stood there. I called the hotel and the phone at the front desk rang and rang and rang and rang. I was totally creeped out and felt like I was on a scary movie or Punked. I called again. I stood there some more. FINALLY…someone came around the corner (from a smoke break) to check me in. Clearly, he was not aware that we just traveled clear across America, for the love. We checked in and crashed out! The next morning, we enjoyed a yummy breakfast before mommy had to get to work. These girls are pure sunshine.

I had an appointment with a salon regarding It Works. After a great meeting, they signed up to join my team! I just love this company and how many new people I’m getting the opportunity to meet. The products are awesome, but the people make it so fun! After a few more stops in AL, we hit the road again headed to Asheville, North Carolina…which we L-O-V-E-D.

Stay tuned for more Instagram goodness headed your way!

Mini Vacay, My Amazing Team, First Tooth & Teacher Appreciation Gift

Wow! I’m a blog slacker! Seriously. I apologize for my lack of attendance here in blogland. Heck, no one probably even looks at this thing anymore. Is anyone even out there? Hello? Can you hear me? Anyone? Bueller? Attention: I’m finally posting a blog!

Mini Vacay

This past weekend, we headed down to San Antonio with friends for some time away. We had a blast! San Antonio is a great place for family vacations. It’s just close enough where driving is not terrible. There are plenty of options of things to do for both children & adults. We did Sea World and Schlitterbahn. We headed to the Mercado & had delicious mexican cuisine & margaritas at Mi Tierra. We rode a “Cinderalla” carriage ride. We laughed. We got up hastily at 12:30 a.m. & carried our sleeping children down 6 flights of stairs when the fire alarm at the hotel was going off. OK, so that part wasn’t fun. At all. Nor was it very funny to find out that someone decided to pull it for a dirty joke. I was sort of impressed by the fact that I followed all the rules of a fire drill: touching the door before opening it, taking the stairs, putting on a hat to cover nasty bed head, etc. It was a great weekend with friends!

My Amazing Team

My It Works! team is blowing it up. I’m quickly figuring out that “ground level” is an understatement. Thankful I jumped on board with my friend Ashley called me in January! I have a great group of ladies & a few men that are seriously killing it. I love this company. I love helping people get healthy. I love making new friends. And I won’t lie, making extra money is a perk too! We paid off our last credit card this month…woohoo! If you haven’t checked out our great products, click here. Good stuff!

First Tooth

Is it weird to get teary eyed when your first born child loses her first tooth? I mean really, enough is enough. First we did this thing called Kindergarten and now this? I can’t take it! She’s growing up way too fast for my liking. She was such a big girl about the whole pulling of the tooth deal. It has been loose for a while, but when she came home from school yesterday after consuming an apple for snack, it was hanging by a thread. So big girl went and got some floss and yanked that thing out like it was nothing at all! She was so proud. We were so proud. Tooth fairy came and left four quarters. Addi was way pumped by that (which thankfully she wasn’t disappointed since she made mention of “maybe the toof fairy will leave like one hundred dollars or something” the night before).

Teacher Appreciation Gift

My friend Amy was kind enough to share this crafty idea with me. I am lacking in the area of crafty, I’m just saying. So glad I saw Amy while in San Antonio and she gifted me with some of her craftiness. We have truly been blessed this year with fabulous teachers! As you recall, I was pretty worried/upset/depressive/anxious about Addi starting Kindergarten. Ryan & I prayed for her teacher months and months in advance. And boom, God provided an amazing person to us for Addi’s first year. Seriously couldn’t have asked for a better lady to teach and lead my daughter each day. And Kamryn’s preschool teacher has been awesome as well. Both ladies are super caring and give 110% every day. We are so so thankful for both of them. With it being Teacher Appreciate Week, I wanted to give them a little something to shower them with appreciation. Cue Amy’s crafty idea. How cute is this poem? I loved it! And I hope Mrs. Jeanes & Mrs. Kelley know that we mean every word!

Green is for the inspiration you give me each day.

Blue is for your patience in showing me the way.

Orange is for your warmth and caring style.

Yellow is for the way you always make me smile.

Red is for my life that you have touched this year.

You’re a very special teacher just like this jar, that’s clear.

You place knowledge In children’s hands

and melt into their hearts and lives forever.

You’re a “Magnificent” & “Marvelous” teacher

Thank you for being my M&M.

What happens in Vegas…

Last weekend, we up & flew to Vegas to surprise one of our very best friend’s for his birthday. It was SO.MUCH.FUN. Do you have those friends that you don’t see very often (maybe once a year) but when you do it’s like nothing has changed? No warming up needed, just instant comfortableness. <yes, I made that word up. Those friends that make you laugh until you cry. Those friends who you can be completely open, honest, and totally yourself in front of. The friends you can talk and talk and talk and never get tired of talking. I hope you have those kind of friends because they certainly are special! Our longtime friendship with Danny & Ashley is like that and we cherish it.

Some wild and crazy things happened in Vegas, I’m not gonna lie. I guess I’ll break the whole “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” rule and tell you about our mini-vacay. Here are the crazy things we did:

1. We ate an incredible amount of oversized portions of greasy yet completely irresistible food. I mean seriously, look at this. Prepare to drool…

2. Hold on to your hats for this one. We stayed up until at least 10:00 p.m. every night which was really pushing it. I mean good grief, that was midnight Texas time! We would go put on our glasses & comfy clothes, come back down & play the penny slots. We party THAT hard.

3. We actually hit the jackpot one night! $20 on a penny slot…what luck. Holla! Cash out, cash out, cash out.

4. We celebrated Danny’s 21st (ahem) birthday at a fabulous Italian food joint in Caesar’s Palace. I think all four of us could eat Italian for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Quite a carb-filled bond we share.

5. We walked around, shopped, saw the sights & new casinos, perused through art galleries, and just enjoyed each other’s company…away from everything else. It was a blast! Thanks again for devising a sneaky plan Ashley, we loved it. Until next time!

Our Trip to New England

We had a great time in New Hampshire & Boston last week. It’s beautiful there in the Fall – the display of oranges, reds, and yellows on the trees, snow on the ground, the hills and mountains, the coast, the history…it’s amazing. If you are new to reading this blog & don’t know the history of why this trip began, you can read all about last year’s special trip here and here.

The vacation was filled with much laughter, some sweet reminiscent tears, and good memory making. It’s always great to see my family that lives there. My Aunt & Uncle are great hosts and we always have a blast with them and my cousins. We did a lot of different things this time around, which was cool. And my brother Jeff and Ryan’s brother Ross (from Minnesota) came this year too, which was awesome! We ate a ton of food, tried some tasty New England brews, toured Fenway Park & Sam Adams, drove down the coast, walked on the beach (even stuck our feet in the ocean, even though it was frigid!), shopped a bit, ran the Manchester Half, and just enjoyed all being together.

The race was truly great experience for me. My little brother, Jeff, decided months back that he wanted to run his first half marathon in Manchester. In honor of Dad. So we put together a training schedule & he prepped for months. I decided that I would pace myself to run with him for this race. I wanted to absorb and enjoy the experience together as we trotted through the streets of this beautiful town in a race that my Dad did. Special. Jeff did great, tackled the tough hills, and finished. Quite the accomplishment & I was a proud big sis! Ryan and Ross together too, which was neat for them. Ross & my cousin Mary achieved their best time ever for a half. High five to the sky!

Summer Vacation

Last week was AWESOME. It truly was. We had such a great time on vacation to San Antonio. Away. Together. Making memories. It was a perfect blend of relaxation and fun activities. I am so blessed to have these people as my family!

Some highlights from the week were…

*Taking a boat ride on the river & Kam saying over & over, “How cool is this?!”

*Staying in a resort that was right on the Riverwalk and directly across from the Life is Good store and Ben & Jerry’s – BONUS! Let’s just say we went to both stores more than once. Or twice. Phish Food is GOOD.

*Listening to the giggles & squeals of two happy girls experiencing & seeing new things.

*Enjoying the sun and water fun at Schlitterbahn and our rooftop pool then relaxing in the hot tub on the patio at our resort each night.

*Spending the day walking on Main Street in Fredericksburg -what a neat town!

*Listening to jazz for a bit outside of one of our favorite places called The Landing.

*Checking out another place featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives – The Cove. Catching up with old friends over dinner while we watched our girls dance to the live band.

*Visiting the SA zoo, a local brewery, and of course dining on the Riverwalk enjoying the yummy Mexican cuisine!

*Hearing Addi say, “This is the best vacation ever!”

*Having coffee, quiet times & reading books on the patio overlooking the Riverwalk each morning.

*Taking naps each afternoon with my man.

*Finally, last but not least – pushing the buttons on the elevator in the resort! Ha. Apparently this was the most fun thing for the girls!

Kansas City is cool?

Who knew? Kansas City is such a neat place! We certainly had no idea. We made a plan to meet Ross, Ryan’s little brother, & his girlfriend there for the weekend. We were trying to find a decent halfway point between us here in Texas and him there in Minnesota. So, Kansas City it was! We booked a hotel and went with it, not knowing that there is actually a lot of fun stuff to do there. We were pleasantly surprised & had an awesome trip. KC has a lot of things to offer a tourist. Here are some of the places we went & some pics (sorry the quality is mega lame, I need to upgrade to 4G!).

Kansas City Zoo – highlight was definitely the new Polar Bear exhibit, it was awesome!

Country Club Plaza – 15 blocks of shops, restaurants, & fountains – so nice in this area!

Blanc Burgers & Bottles – amazing, fresh, juicy cheeseburgers & fries with a very cool modern vibe. Check out what they served the fries in – how cute! My girls would have loved that.

Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – WOW, this place was incredible. Definitely a hole-in-the-wall dive. We waited in line for probably 30-45 minutes, but it was well worth it. Tasty ribs & probably the best onion rings I have ever eaten!

Grinders Pizza – We love the show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, so I always check to see if Guy has visited a town we will be going to. This dive has been featured on the show, so we had to check it out! Plus they had pizza & live music – can’t go wrong with that! It was yummy & a lot o fun. Our chairs at our table were from an old airplane.

Gordan Biersch – We did a brewery tour & tasting here, which was interesting!

Shawnee Mission Park – Of course, we had to find a place to run. We fell in love with the trails here & went twice over the weekend. Gorgeous! Hills covered with trees and a nice paved trail that goes along ponds & a lake – it was peaceful & beautiful. Ryan & I ran 5 miles on Saturday & then went back Sunday for another 3.

Another perk of the trip were that I got to see my long-time friends Rachel & Amanda. Rach just moved to KC the Monday before our trip and Amanda (her sis) was there helping w/the move. I’ve known them since I was 16. We became friends when we moved to Lubbock and have been ever since, even though known of us live in the same town & haven’t for years! These girls are like family to me. They are the kind of friends that you don’t see often but when you do, it feels like nothing has changed – it’s automatically comfortable. Such a bonus getting to see them & Rach’s two baby girls!

Great weekend away & we really enjoyed spending time with Ross & Bre. And we’ll definitely add Kansas City to our list of fun places to visit!

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!

All aboard!

This Fall has been jam packed! We’ve had so much going on with races, trips, events, work, etc…it has been insane. Good, but busy. So hard to believe that next week is already Thanksgiving…what happened? Where did 2010 go?

We have two more races on the agenda for the year. The Turkey Trot in Dallas on Thanksgiving morning, which is 8 miles. Then the 3rd of our 3 Fall half marathons, White Rock in Dallas on the first Sunday in December. We have several friends who are doing this race too, some of them registered for the full marathon! Gonna be a fun one, for sure.

But with everything bustling around us, there is a thought that keeps going through my mind and is usually accompanied with a reggae tune and the scent of coconut…

In t-minus 11 days, we will be boarding on OUR CRUISE and heading to the Caribbean for 5 whole nights! YES!!!

A very special weekend.

This past weekend’s trip up north was awesome. From laughing hysterically to sharing memories to finishing 13.1 in honor of Dad to shedding tears together – it was a fabulous and very special time. The healing continues.

Ryan summarizes it so well, I figured I’d just send you over to his blog to read about it here.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and for those who sent us encouraging texts, emails, and FB messages! I’ll leave you all with some pics.

Tomorrow we fly to Boston.

Tomorrow morning, we are getting up early to take the girls to Grandma’s and then Ryan and I will head to DFW to hop on a plane to Boston! This upcoming weekend is one that is sure to be special. A memory maker.

We are going to Manchester, NH to run in a half marathon. But not just any half marathon. My Dad was registered to run in this race…the last race he had registered for and one none of us could have ever imagined that he wouldn’t be here to run in. He & my sister did this race last year and both had registered to do it again. Here’s a pic of them last year that I absolutely love. It captures so much.

So we are all headed North to run it in his honor. In fact, my brother Kelly is going to pick up my Dad’s bib at the expo and run as Kip Clark. Knowing my Dad – he would love this and think its neat.

My Aunt Debbie (Dad’s sister) and her family live there and we will get to stay with them for the weekend. I look forward to spending time with them. My Dad loved visiting Boston and New Hampshire – he along with my sister Jen have told me all about it there and I can’t wait to see the sites and experience it for myself.

Its going to be a special weekend and one of celebration of my Dad’s life. I will post pics and details about the weekend and race day soon. But, in the mean time, we certainly appreciate your prayers…for my siblings, Ryan, and myself as we travel and as we run – no doubt, it will be the most emotional race we’ve done.

Beavers Bend 2010

We had a great camping trip! Ryan, Ross and I headed to Beavers Bend, Oklahoma yesterday morning. We enjoyed canoeing down the river, cooking on the campfire, hiking some trails and I’m fairly certain we ate our weight in tortillas. Tort Fest 2010 baby! Very fun and very relaxing. We love going out into nature, away from everything else, and just taking a deep breath…it’s good for your soul.

Pardon my laziness, but I think I’ll just let the pictures do the talking for me on this post…

Friday the 15th

The last few day have been a lot of fun. Staring with Ryan’s birthday on Wednesday. I don’t know how most people do birthdays, but we celebrate birthday weeks! The full week is about celebrating that person. Much fun, especially when it’s your turn!

Wednesday afternoon, we headed to Dallas with three main things to accomplish. 1. Go to Apple Store and get Ryan’s iPhone fixed. It was recently cursed with the white screen of death. 2. Enjoy birthday dinner at Chuys…thanks to my Mom for the “gift card.” 3. Pick up Ross, Ryan’s little brother, from the airport! Mission accomplished.

Got home very late that evening and then stayed up talking to Ross until almost 2! He lives in Minnesota and we get to see him about once a year. The last time we saw him was in San Fran last July for the half marathon/Napa Valley trip. We are thrilled he is here!

Ryan took off work the rest of the week while Ross is here. Yay! So, Thursday, the girls went to school and we all headed out to the lake, so I could show off my new place of employment. I had some work to get done…have I told you lately how much I love my new job? Still praising God for it! Then we had lunch at BWW, a little shopping, and the night ended with Ryan & Ross making homemade pizza. Great day…almost. It was great until about 9 p.m. My stomach started killing me. I thought I was just overly full…ya know, with all of the creamy jalapeno dip, Caribbean jerk wings, and stuffed crust pizza I had inhaled the last couple of days. I was feeling miserable and thinking it was definitely time to go on a diet. I was hurting. Went to bed early trying to shake it…but apparently I had a little bug or something. Ugh. Feeling better today though, thankfully.

Tonight, we took Ross to another one of our fave places to eat here in Tyler, Villa Montez. Then, to have a cappuccino at Cafe Tazza – which, by the way, is amazing. Best cappuccino ever. Funny how much of our lives revolve around FOOD! Of course, that is one of the main reasons we run.

Tomorrow, we are heading to Beaver’s Bend for a camping trip! Ryan & I went last year and had a blast. We determined we wanted to make it an annual birthday tradition. Excited to spend some time in the peace & quiet of the woods down by the river.

Here are some pics from the last couple of days…

Monday. And it’s a GREAT day.

Its a beautiful Monday. I have spent all morning with two adorable munchkins and have constantly thanked God for this new opportunity he has given our family. I don’t actually begin work until tomorrow. I’m excited to get started, but am thankful to have a day off to recover from our fast and furious weekend to Austin. The girls just went down for a nap and I’m getting caught up on emails, FB, and laundry.

This weekend, we headed down to central Texas, one of our favorite places to be. Saturday after our last long run before this weekend’s half marathon, we drove into Georgetown. We had a relaxing evening hanging with my brother and his family as we chowed down on Cheryl’s chicken & dumplings. My girls LOVE their cousin Kendrick. It’s a bonus too, because when Kendrick is around, she plays with and watches the girls for us, so it gives Mommy & Daddy a break!

Sunday morning, we went to the 11:15 service of the Austin Stone and it was, as always, amazing. After church, we enjoyed a great lunch at a tasty pizza place with Ryan’s cousin, Aaron. We also went over the Ivey’s new house and recording studio. Ryan and Aaron spoke in audio language for a little while. You know…where to put this acoustic panel, how to position the monitors, how to trap bass, what sound absorption material should be on this wall, etc. All that stuff is way over my head! It’s so neat to see how God is using the Ivey’s as they intentionally live a life of mission there in Austin. Inspiring! We look forward to hanging out with them for a full week next month on our cruise…7 weeks and counting.

Sunday evening, we headed back to Georgetown. My brother Kelly is the Minister of Adults at his church there and was having an ordination service that night. It was a special service and I’m glad we were there. I am so very proud of Kelly and feel blessed to be his sister! My favorite part of the service was when he gave a high five to the sky from the stage. Dad will certainly be missed in everything we do, but never, ever forgotten. Love you Kelly!

Night away in the big D.

Ryan & I left the kids and escaped away to Dallas this weekend! My friend Loretta was getting married Saturday night, so we decided to go see her & enjoy a night away. We headed out and drove straight to Chuy’s for lunch. Obviously we couldn’t focus on getting anything else done in Dallas without going there first and consuming massive amounts of creamy jalapeno dip. YUM. I couldn’t be more excited that we are getting one here in Tyler!!! That rumor better be true or else I will be highly upset.

Anyways, after lunch we went to the Apple store to check out the new shuffles, which are very cool. Didn’t get one, don’t need one…just went to admire. Then, we headed over to Luke’s Locker. Such a cool place. There is something inspiring about going to running stores! Got some shoe recommendations and Ryan got a flashy light to wear when he runs in the dark. Next on the list…Central Market. The grocery store of all grocery stores. This place amazes me. The produce aisle is unbelievable. They also have a great wine selection. And a whole aisle dedicated to granola, are you kidding me? Are we weird that we love going to grocery stores while out of town? We are foodie dweebs.

Saturday night was the wedding and it was much fun. It was at the Biblical Museum of Art, which was interesting. Great to see Loretta and meet her man! We stayed the night with my cousin Danny & his wife Kelly at their new place in Las Colinas. Always good to see them…I love my cousins!

Then, Sunday morning, Ryan and I got up and ran at White Rock Lake. My Dad always tried to go run ten miles around White Rock every year for his birthday. Since his birthday is this coming Thursday, we decided we’d run around the lake while we were there in his honor. Perfect weather for our run. It was overcast and cool, with a slight breeze. When we started the run, I looked across the beautiful lake as the sun was rising and my emotions overcame me. I burst into tears. I so longed for Dad to be running his birthday run with us. I miss him so bad. I thought of him the entire time. I prayed that my life would be meaningful, like his was. I prayed that I would make a difference and make my life count, like he did. I imagined God calling Dad over and saying, “Kip, I want you to see something” as he pushed back a cloud to show him us running. That made me smile to think of Dad watching me. It was a great run physically, but tough emotionally. We finished with a high five to the sky and a few more tears.

We headed back, stinky & sweaty, for our normal Sunday lunch in Quitman and to pick up our babies. Great night away with my love!

Our trip to Lubbock.

We went to the good ole L-B-K for Labor Day weekend and had such a great time! Its been a while since we’ve been back to visit friends, so it was time. We also felt it would be good as part of our healing process, to see people who knew and loved my Dad. He loved Lubbock and the people there.

We got in late Thursday night or actually, extremely early Friday morning. A 7 1/2 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive somehow. I’m guessing a 2 and 4 year old had something to do with that. Oh and as a side note, never exit off the Interstate in Abilene…just saying. It was so neat driving in late because we got to see a lightning storm in the huge skies of West Texas. It was beautiful. There may not be trees and it may be flat, but the skies are abundant and the stars are gorgeous!

The first two nights, we stayed with our friends Tim & Christy. We love these two dearly and appreciate their friendship. Addi & Kam love them too! It was adorable because they would choose to hold their hands, instead of mine & Ryan’s when we would go out places. I think it gave Tim & Christy a taste of having their own kids!

Friday, we went by to say hi to some people around town – old places of work, church, drove by Tech (wreck ’em!), etc. Stopped by for lunch at West Crust Pizza, which was quite tasty I must say. We also stopped by the Veterans Memorial, so I could see my Dad’s brick. Just when I thought I could not be any prouder of him, I am reminded of yet another reason to add to the list that is still growing, even though he’s gone. Special. Then, Friday evening we met up with our old youth group for dinner & had a fabulous time. We are so very proud of our Fusion kids & the grown-ups they have become! This night was good for my soul. And Julie Patterson – YOU impacted MY life dear.

Saturday, after yummy homemade blueberry muffins made by Christy herself, we met up with my friend/college roommate Amanda for coffee. So great seeing her & catching up! Come run the Turkey Trot in Dallas with us Amanda!

Then, we headed out to Levelland for lunch with the Pace’s (Christy’s parents). These people mean so much to us and my family. When my Dad passed away, they loaded up their car, along with their son Jason and Tim & Christy and drove all the way to Quitman just to be there for us and hug us. It meant the world to me. I love all of you guys so much!

Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Danny & Ashley’s for the remainder of the weekend. Oh my word, we laughed so much! We had so much fun just doing absolutely nothing but hanging out. Their daughter Grace is so adorable, Addi & Kam had a great time with her. Baths, dress up time, watching movies, swimming, etc.When we got in the car to drive home, Kam said, “That was so fun!” and Addi has been saying, “I’m sad…I want to go back to Grace’s house.” One night while we were there, Ashley arranged for a babysitter so we could go out for some adult time. We went up to Stella’s, where she sings on occassion and got to hear her sing a set.  I got to meet Alison, a friend I have gotten to know through blogs and Facebook. She’s a runner too & is actually coming to Tyler next month to run the Tyler Rose Marathon. Fun night!

Monday morning, we loaded up, drove through & got a Josie’s burrito and headed back East. The girls were sooooo good and well behaved. Thank you Lord! It was a fun trip and a great Labor Day weekend. We miss all of our West Texas friends already. Now its your turn to come to Tyler!

Fall-tastic

As I ran at the trails this past Sunday morning, I noticed that a few leaves had already fallen off the trees. It made me smile…Fall is just around the corner people and I can not wait! I heart Fall. I do believe its my favorite time of year. The smells, the colors, the temperatures, the holidays, football, food, races…I love it all! The changing of the seasons always reminds me of how big God is – and how extremely creative He is. The ultimate artist, for sure!

We have a lot of stuff going on this upcoming season. Good stuff. The Dixon iCal is getting filled up! The next few months emotionally will be tough for my family – with Dad’s birthday coming up, my parent’s anniversary, the holidays without him, and running without him in races we’ve all done together in the past. Everything that is a “first without him” is tough. Definitely will be a hard season, as it has been a hard year. Incredibly grateful to have so many wonderful memories with him. And I am thankful we have some good stuff going on – and things to look forward to. Dad would want us to make the most of this beautiful season (he loved Fall too) and live life to the fullest – so I will try to do just that!

Some things coming up that I’m excited about are…

1. Going to Lubbock Labor Weekend to see old friends (leaving tomorrow actually – yay)

2. Joining a new downtown Women’s Bible study group

3. Attending a friends wedding in Dallas – a night away for me & Ryan!

4. Celebrating both of my brother’s, my sister’s, Ryan’s, and Kam’s birthdays

5. Running in 3 half marathons in 3 consecutive months & the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day

6. Ryan’s brother Ross coming to Texas and our camping trip to Beaver’s Bend

7. Trip to Boston & New Hampshire

8. Thanksgiving & Christmas

9. CRUISE

10. Several baby showers for dear friends

We’re outta here.

This week, we will be heading to the mountains to go on vacation & I COULD NOT BE MORE READY. Ryan’s parents graciously booked us a resort a few months back. Little did we know what was going to be taking place with my Dad & how badly we would NEED this time away.

Our plan is this. To not have any schedules or obligations, love on our kids as much as possible, read, lay by the pool, hike, run, sleep, cook some new recipes, and rest. Truly rest. Hoping and praying for continued healing during this time away and maybe even some restoration.

Addi and Kamryn are SO excited…this is their first official vacation. Up until now, Ryan and I have left them with Grandma and gone places alone…which is also very important and we will do this later on in the year on our cruise (yay!). So, we’ve been talking to the girls about “our family vacation” for months now and being that its just a few days away, they are pumped! Addi has been telling her teacher every day, “In _ days we will be going on vacation!” Of course she also feels the need to tell her sweet teacher and her friends, “YOU are not going…just me, Mommy, Daddy, and Kamryn.” Side note: We are working on our manners and the way we talk to people right now with this one especially. But needless to say, they are excited! And so are we. Happy to have time away, alone together – just our little family.

San Fran here we come!

 

On August 3rd, myself, Ryan, my sister, my dad, and my brother in law are all running in the San Francisco 1/2 marathon (www.runsfm.com) & I could not be more pumped about it!!!  Only 7 weeks left of intense training & we will be flying out.  I absolutely can not wait.  We have been training now for a couple of months and are up to 9 miles thus far.  Tomorrow, we go to Dallas to run at White Rock Lake 10 miles.  It will be challenging, but a beautiful setting!  Its always good to change up the routes you run.  Running the long runs in Quitman every week gets a little boring.  Part of this San Fran race runs across the Golden Gate Bridge…how stinkin awesome is that?  Woohoo…its gonna be a blast!!!  If you have any tips on running long distances or advise, I’d love to hear about it.