Archive | October, 2010

DIY: Fire pit.

31 Oct

Ryan and I have been wanting to get a fire pit for our backyard for a while. Well, really ever since we went to visit my brother in Austin a few months back and sat out by their’s one night. So relaxing and provides such great ambiance! Plus, we love camping so much – we thought this would bring a part of that experience right into our backyard. We shopped around some and even looked into chimineas.

My very creative and super manly husband (wink) decided he was going to build one of his own. It seriously took him maybe thirty minutes and it looks awesome! I know I was impressed with his skillz. We used it last night and loved it. We sat out by the fire and enjoyed some chocolate chip cookies while cuddling with the girls – memory maker.

So, for anyone out there who’s interested in building your very own fire pit, here’s how we did it!

1. Find a spot in your yard for your fire pit location. Obviously a safe distance from your home and other burnable stuff. We used 16 – 1 ft x 1 ft path stones for our base.

2. Dig up the grass where the stones will be placed so the base will be level with the rest of the yard. Place stones about a 1/4 inch apart, pressing each down into fresh dirt. Then cover with one bag of paver sand and press into cracks.

3. Assemble flagstone landscape blocks of your choice into a circle. We bought 20 blocks total, 10 for each layer. Leave a small space between each to allow for better air flow.

4. We found some river rocks in the base of a potted plant, so we used those inside the circle of blocks along with the excess sand to create a safe burning spot.

5. On the second layer of landscape blocks, lay them offset from the first layer for strength and aesthetics. Then, sweep up remaining sand and put in center of pit.

That’s it! Our very own custom built fire pit. Super easy and cheaper than buying a store bought one. Plus, it was fun to do! It will last for a long time and provide many opportunities for relaxing Fall evenings of great discussions with friends around a fire and smore making with our babies.

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My cousin, Christi.

29 Oct

My cousin, Christi, was born two weeks after I was and literally ever since then, she has been one of my very best friends. We grew up together. We were always together as kids, played together often and fought like sisters. Then, when I was in sixth grade and Dad became a pastor- my family moved away and we were heartbroken to leave one another. But, we always kept in contact and visited each other. We went to college at Tech together and shared an apartment…us, along with her sister, Staci, and our friend, Amanda. Yep, 4 girls in a two bedroom apartment – fun times! We were in each other’s weddings. We were there for each other after the birth of our babies. We have been through a lot together to say the least. Now that we are older, have our own families, and live about an hour & a half from each other – we just don’t see each other as often as we’d like. And if we do, its usually at a big family function where we really don’t have much time to really talk. So we planned a night for just her & I to have a girls night out – just the two of us to catch up, share, laugh, and be silly like we used to. We did this last night & I loved it! We had a great time. I am thankful for her and the rest of  my family!

A recent conversation…

25 Oct

Addi, “Mommy, I want Grandma to pick me up from school one day, so she can see my new school.”

Kamryn, “Yeah and I want Poppy to pick me up so he can see my new school too.”

Addi, “Poppy can’t pick you up because he’s going to be in heaven for 100 years. Right mom, 100 years?”

Me, “He’ll be in heaven forever baby, but one day we’ll see him again when we go there.”

Addi, “I don’t want to heaven, I want to stay with Daddy!”

Me, “Oh, heaven is awesome, there’s nothing to be scared of there. It’s perfect! And we can all be there together with Poppy.”

Kamryn, “Well, I do. I want to go there. Mommy, I can hold your hand and we can fly to the sky to Jesus.”

Addi, “Maybe Daddy, Mommy, Kamryn, and Addi can all get in our car and have wings on it and fly there together.”

I love that my girls still talk about Poppy and they miss him so. He was a big part of their little, innocent lives. Addi recently had a bag of jelly beans and picked out all the black ones for Poppy, like she used to. He was the only one that liked licorice. She gets very sad when she talks about him and even tears up sometimes. They obviously don’t understand the whole concept of heaven and death at this young age, but they have surprisingly understood more than what I thought they would. So sweet and tender-hearted. I love my precious babies!

Happy birthday, Jeff!

24 Oct

My little brother Jeff has always been the hugest Rangers fan. I mean, he is serious about it. He watches every single game and if he can’t for some reason (work, school, etc), he records it and watches it later. Talk about dedication, do you know how long baseball games are?! When we would go to my parent’s house, Mom, Dad and Jeff would always seem to be watching the Rangers and usually all be wearing some kind of Rangers paraphernalia. It was cute.

My Dad took Jeff to a lot of games in Arlington – memory makers, as he called them. They would go early for hitting practice and stay through to the end, even if it was very late. And even when Dad had to work the next day. He even took the family a couple of times. Such fun! My Dad loved baseball & the Rangers.  This passion for baseball was a big thing that he & Jeff shared – it was “their” time together. Jeff also played baseball throughout High School and my parents loved being involved, going to his games to cheer him on.

I can’t tell you how special it is for the Rangers to make it to the World Series FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER the same year that my Dad passed away. Also, just so happened to be the same weekend as Jeff’s 20th birthday. What a birthday present! When the 9th inning came to an end and the fireworks started at the Ballpark in Arlington, tears were flowing all around. This is more than just about baseball for my family, it is more of a huge celebration of years of cheering them on together and all the wonderful memories that were made…especially for Jeff. I love you Jeff & am so proud of the man you have become! And of course, you know Dad is too.

Creamy jalapeno is heading our way!

22 Oct

Yes!!! Tyler keeps getting better and better. 🙂

(you can click on the pic to enlarge it so you can read it – its an email to/from the VP of Real Estate & Development at Chuy’s Corporate – ha!)

*Funny thing about this…I posted it on Facebook and was asked to forward the email to my friend, Joe Terrell, at KLTV and it made the news today. Haha!

It’s not about how I feel.

21 Oct

Ever have one of those days where you just aren’t in the best of moods and you let the whole day slip away being cranky? Um, I have. Guilty as charged. Maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, your kids were extra whiney as you got them ready, your coffee got cold, your hair was frizzy, or whatever the case may be. I’ve been there many a day. Its hard to shake. Today was one of those days for me. I woke up and still felt tired. Life has been busy this week. I feel like I’ve only seen Ryan in passing and our calendar is filled to the brim. Something every single night and extremely busy days. So, I was just not really feeling up to…well, being happy today. So, I dropped the girls off at school and drove out to the lake, to check in on things at work. I’m driving along, content in my poutiness and I hear this song by Seven Places…

Um, hello? Wake up Traci!!! Stop having a pity party and get with the program. Duh. Its not about me. Why oh why do I continually have to remind myself of this? I thanked the Lord for this reminder and prayed for a better attitude the rest of the day. Got some work done and headed back to Tyler, threw on my running clothes and hit the trails for 5 miles before picking the girls back up. I needed the swift kick in the pants! Gosh, we humans can be so selfish at times. We are so blessed to have each and every day and to simply let it slip away because of silly things – what a waste! Each day is an opportunity, an adventure…God has something planned for today. Embrace it! After all, it’s not about how I feel – I exist for HIM.

en-cour-age

19 Oct


I’m feeling good. Not too hot, gentle breeze, endorphins pumping…it’s race day. My iPod is filled with a wide array of awesome tunes courtesy of my husband working on the “ultimate running mix” for hours the night before. I had an awesome pasta dinner and a great night’s sleep. I was sporting my Garmin watch, my favorite shorts, my Saucony’s, and my Dad’s yellow “Livestrong” bracelet that he wore at races (see below). Things are looking good for these 13.1 miles I was about to log. I was ready.

As I made my way along the course of the Tyler Rose Half, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Go Traci!” a few times and see some familiar faces along the side of the roads waving and cheering us on. At about mile 8, a point where my legs usually start feeling tired, there were two cute little girls standing outside of their house on the curb giving out high fives to those who ran by, so I gladly took them up on their offer. They looked to be about my girls’ age, and I needed that sweet encouragement at the time! It’s amazing how much of an impact the smiles and cheers from the spectators makes on runners. It’s most definitely appreciated! Then, as I turned the final corner downtown and headed towards the finish line, I see my cute husband standing there smiling at me. I love, love, love this part of the run. Knowing he’s there waiting for me always pushes me to finish strong! Of course, I ended the run with a huge high five to the sky – my Dad’s life will always be an encouragement to me.

Ever since this race, I’ve been pondering on the word, encouragement. It’s so simple really. Webster defines encourage as follows:

The spectators along the course were an encouragement to me that day. My race was definitely made better because of them! My family and friends are an encouragement to me every day. I feel truly blessed to have people in my life who spur me on. They inspire me with courage and for that, I am so grateful.

On the course of life, it’s made so much easier & definitely more motivating to continue on when you have people like that around you. People who will cheer you on when you are down. People who will attempt to persuade you to stay on course. People who will walk beside you to help give you hope. Jesus was the ultimate example of this. We should strive to encourage those around us daily, we are a team after all. And there are so many ways you can do this! I genuinely hope that you have people that surround you that provide this source of strength for you! Again, it’s so very simple – but so very important.

I’ve set a goal, starting this week, to do something intentional to encourage someone else at least once each day. Whether it be my husband, my children, a friend, or a stranger. Because you just never know who might be ready to give up, and just a simple smile and a wave might be just the encouragement they need to keep going. Will you join me in this?

Beavers Bend 2010

17 Oct

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

15 Oct

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…

 

Happy birthday Ryan!

13 Oct

Happy birthday to my best friend, the love of my life! The one who makes me laugh harder than anyone and is there for me through everything, good and bad. The one who holds me tight when I’m sad and lets me cry into his chest. The one who slows down his pace two minutes per mile just to run with me. The one who makes me smile every time he walks into the room. The one who my children adoringly call Daddy. The one who is an amazing cook and plans awesome menus for us each week. The one who goes above and beyond in all he does. The one whose kiss still makes my heart flutter. The one who isn’t scared to go against the grain. The one who holds me accountable. The one who has big dreams. The one I feel blessed to walk through this life with…

I LOVE YOU RYAN MARC DIXON!!! Happy birthday my love.