Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year End Update

At long last, Eric and I have completed the year in review movie and letter. Also, be sure to check out this link to see our 2008 Year In Review Family Video. I hope you each had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a year full of blessing and promise.

Dear Loved Ones,

I know, I know. I’m late. This is the first year EVER that I have failed to get the update letter completed by Christmas. I’m sure your holiday seemed hollow and empty without it:) I suppose I should call this a New Year’s update instead.

As you can imagine, it’s been a busy year. I’ll try to fill you in on all our goings-on as best I can.

Probably the most significant thing that has added a new dimension of busyness to our lives is that Eric has gone back to school. He is working on his masters degree in Theology at Lipscomb University in Nashville. This requires him to study and write a lot and also to make trips to Nashville for the classes. (This is either 1-3 weekends a semester or 1 full week a semester, depending on the class.) Since he already works a lot at church, this is an added load. So far, so good. I’m very proud of his A’s and if he would tolerate gold stars, I’d stick them on his papers:) Besides school, Eric continues to love his job of service at our church. We are honored to be blessed with such a loving church family to serve.

Isaac is now in 2nd grade and turned 8 last week. He had his first ever spend-the-night party. He invited 3 friends and we took them bowling. We all had a great time. I was glad he had so much fun, but wow – those boys were noisy! Isaac has had many firsts this year. He played his first season of baseball this spring and loved it. He did great. Isaac lost his first tooth in March. (this was followed by 2 more in the same week—very exciting) He learned how to mow the grass, much to my delight! Isaac has also started his first season in basketball this fall. He thrives at school and really enjoys his PATHWAYS class the most. He hates to miss those days. He now knows about 35 or so Greek roots that he has started using in regular sentences. It’s a little unnerving that he will be smarter than I am in a very short time. He is already almost as tall as I am. He passed my shoulders earlier this year.

Ethan is 4½ and started preschool this fall. He goes 3 days a week with Eric to our church’s preschool. It is just in the mornings for about 3 hours and he has a blast. He has never been a bit sad or unsure about going to school like Isaac sometimes was. Ethan loves his teacher and his friends. He is very matter-of-fact about the things he’s doing in his class. He gets all serious when he talks about the activities he has done. Ethan is such a fun little boy to be around. He is almost always happy and if he isn’t it’s usually because he’s ‘worn out’, which is what he says all the time. He continues to bother Jaylie on a regular basis but a lot of times, it’s just payback for something she has done earlier. Ethan loves to spend time with my folks and it is great to have them so near. Ethan learned to swim without floats this year. It is so fun to watch him in the water.

Jaylie is now a 3 year old. That’s right! There are no longer any 2 year olds living here!!!!! This is quite a happy thing for me, however, Jaylie seems to be a rather sassy 3 year old:) She is terribly sweet and really cute. Her hair is still wildly curly. As a matter of fact, she got 3 Shirley Temple movies for Christmas! Whenever she sees other people with curls she says, ”Look, he/she has curlies like me!”. Jaylie is very clever and swipes things very frequently. Not to be mischievous, but just because she sees a little something that interests her and she pockets it. This is sort of cute until it is car keys or shoes or the top to a brand new lipstick…you get the idea. Jaylie learned how to swim without floats as well this summer and now swims like a fish. She loves the pool. Jaylie still enjoys dressing up in her princess clothes. Her favorite color is pink or purple. She loves babies. She also loves to shop…go figure:)

I have had my hands full as usual. I am now on the PTO board at school which takes up a bit more time and requires me to deal with several more people, but I enjoy it. I am also helping with the Hospital House ministry at Meadowbrook. Every year since we have been here, I, and another friend of mine, have taught the same group of kids in Sunday school. We just keep moving up with them. This year they are in 4th grade and it is so exciting to see them grow and mature in their faith in God. They are a wonderful blessing to me.

This past March, my mother and I took the kids to TX for the week of Spring Break. We spent 2 nights with my Pawpaw and then 5 days with my grandparents in Beeville. Many of you know that my Granddaddy past away the day before Thanksgiving so that week we spent with them is really a precious memory to me. There are some pictures in the slide show that are at their place in Beeville. I love that place. I miss him a lot. My Grandmother is here in MS right now, staying with my mom and dad for a few weeks. It is good to get to see her all the time. She is doing well but still needs prayer cover.

We went to Gulf Shores to the beach for a week in July with Eric’s sister and her family. We had a great time playing in the water and sand there.

Eric and I had a STAYCATION this past September when my parents took the kids to Galveston for a week. They had to come home a day early because of hurricane Ike (a name Isaac did not appreciate) but they had a blast.

In September we rescued a Bassett Hound from the Humane Society. Her name is Gretchen and we (that means me and the kids---Eric is tolerant) love her. She’s about a year old and very good natured. She’s small for a basset, which is good. The kids have a lot of fun with her.

In October we went to Nashville for a week, tagging along with Eric since he had school. We hung out at Dawn’s house and enjoyed a relaxing time…poor Eric was busy the whole time. We had a great time trick-or-treating with cousins.

This Christmas has been very special as Eric’s parents came to be with us for several days. So we had them over here and my Grandmother at my parents’ house along with my brother, Jason, who was here for a week from Florida. It has been a rich time of blessing being with so many of my wonderful family.

I think this is pretty much the gist of our 2008. I hope it has been a year of peace and blessing to you. I am looking forward to the upcoming year and praying that the world settles down a bit. If you’re like me, you may have felt an uneasiness with the global economy falling apart and all. I hope that as the calendar turns, things even out. But if 2009 is a year of turmoil, my prayer is that God’s people handle themselves well. I hope that you allow yourself to be attentive to the voice of the One who made you. You are precious to Him and a gift to me.

Much love to you all
Eric, Dixie, Isaac, Ethan and Jaylie

Eric’s blog: www.ericnlivingston.com
Dixie’s blog: www.lookaway-dixieland.blogspot.com
Email: ericdixie@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Isaac

Isaac turned 8 today. It is so hard to believe that I am the mother of an 8 year old.
When Isaac was a toddler, I remember looking at him and, every once in a while, I thought I could see a glimpse of what he would look like as a grown man. But I never saw glimpses of the school-age time. I couldn't imagine what it would be like keeping up with homework and science projects and helping him navigate his ever-widening world of relationships. Now, here we are, right in the thick of it.

To celebrate his birthday, Isaac invited 3 friends over to spend the night (our first sleep over party). So he and I picked everyone up by 4 and headed to the bowling alley where my folks were waiting with Jaylie and Ethan. Eric got off early and met us there. We had a blast. Isaac had the high score with a whopping 102 and I lost. My score was pretty bad. I got a lot of gutter balls. None of the kids made gutters, however, because they put the gutter guard things up when kids under 12 have their turn. I guess they figure adults ought to be able to keep in between the gutters more often than not...they figured wrong in my case.

After the bowling we headed back to the house to grill burgers while the kids played. Everything was moving along real well until I went into the dining room and saw Gretchen (you know, the dog that I wanted for a long time and pleaded for and have tried to be so good with...that dog) sitting in a chair with her paws on the table, eating Isaac's birthday cake. It was half gone. Her belly was gigantic. I tossed (literally) her outside and threw the rest away then hustled off to the store to see what I could do. Well, it was 6:28 and the bakery counter had closed at 6 so I had no choice but to get one of the ready made things. I wound up purchasing a cookie cake (which Isaac loves) but it was decorated with red and green icing and said, "Merry Christmas" on it. I also bought another cake mix and frosting to redo his birthday cake that I had made. I got home and told him what happened. Isaac handled it fine, after all, what he mostly cares about is that he gets to blow out candles and eat something sweet. Eric smeared the red Merry Christmas words around to make a red background and then I wrote Happy Birthday with green icing on it. All was not lost. Gretchen laid around the rest of the night looking miserable. Serves her right, if you ask me.

The boys were all asleep by midnight and were up by 6:30 or so. Isaac had a great time and I think all of his friends did too. He has been blessed to have so many boys to be friends with and it is one of things I am really grateful for as well.

Eric and I couldn't be more proud of Isaac. We are thankful that God chose us to be his parents. We know the Lord has great plans for him.

Happy Birthday, Son.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

God bless us, everyone

Children's Christmas programs are almost as classic as the quote in my title. Ethan's preschool at our church had their program on Monday. It's a small group, but they sure had a lot of volume.

You may hear me laughing. In my defense, I was really unprepared for how funny it was. The song I'm posting (Frosty the snowman) was the first number they did and the kids were excited. It seemed like they were all singing different lyrics until the last word in each phrase. Anyway, it was hilarious and I was glad he enjoyed himself.

Here's Ethan's contribution to the Christmas spirit.

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy the last week!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


There are always flowers to pick in the spring

One of the hibiscus plants Granddaddy and I planted
Bluebonnet in their yard (This is TX's state flower for those of you who don't know)
Ethan in the front drive
The kids helping Granddaddy fill in some holes
More helping
Isaac playing in the wonderful Live Oak trees
All of the above pictures are from our week in Beeville this past March.

I mentioned last week that I wasn't sure I would post about my trip to Beeville for my Granddaddy's funeral. Well, I'm going to take a stab at it. This isn't so much about the funeral as it is the place where they live. Beeville is nothing to get excited about--really. It is a small, rather rural community that is about an hour west of Corpus Christi.

Last year my mom passed me the movie 'The Lake House' they had from Netflix. I watched it not really thinking I'd like it. Well, I watched it the next day too. Then I sent it back and that night, in the pouring rain, I drove to Best Buy and bought my own copy. I think that what I love about that movie (and what I love about my favorite series of books {ask me about those some other time}) is that it is a story of love that is not bound by time. I also don't mind that Keanu Reeves is in it:) Anyway, there's a part when the boss of Sandra Bullock's character tells her to get away from the hospital (she's a new doctor) on her day off and go to the place where she feel the most like herself. For some reason, I think Beeville is that place for me.

I mentioned early on in my blogging career that depending on my mood, my response to the question,"So, where are you from?" is either "Everywhere" or "Nowhere". Because my dad was in the military I moved every 3 (or so) years of my life. Continuing on into married life, this address here in Mississippi is the one we have had the longest. We'll have been here 3 years at the end of Feb. But throughout all of my moves, one place has remained the same: my grandparents house in Beeville. Down to the smell, it is the same. It is the place that when I have gone back to visit, things are in the same places. I know where the silverware is without having to look through lots of drawers. The toys that are in the closet out in the 'big room' today are the ones that belonged to my Uncle Miller and that I played with when I was little. It was very surreal when I took my 3 kids to Grandmother and Granddaddy's house before we moved here. It was my first time there as a mother. To have my children playing and discovering the same things that had had meaning to me at their age was just downright bazaar to me.

Before my dad got stationed in Germany (I was 6) we would each get to spend a week at Grandmother's house in the summer. After we got back to the states (when I was 9 and Jason was 11) we would still make the trek from North Dakota and then from Nebraska down to South TX to visit family. Grandmother's house remained unchanged. When I got into middle school, and old enough to fly alone, we got our week alone back. This is when I started going to Camp Bandina with the youth group from Grandmother and Granddaddy's church. I counted the days until it was time to go. I loved and treasured that time.

So I come back to that line from the Lake House. I think that Beeville as a whole and Grandmother's house in particular is so important to me because it is the one place that I can go to that connects my past to my present. When I was there at Thanksgiving, the feelings that washed over me were so immense. I was in the house that was (literally) full of people that I loved. Granddaddy's absence wasn't so tangible to me in the crowd as it was outside in the yard. He loved to be outside, puttering in the carport with all his stuff. He loved to be taking care of the yard and making things grow. I saw the 2 hibiscus plants that he and I planted during this past spring and I was just so sad because...because my Grandmother will move pretty soon to be closer to family and then my one place that has remained the same will be gone. Is that terribly selfish? She needs to be near to Mother or one of my Uncles and she needs to be closer to good medical facilities. I am anxious for her to get this new start. I can't imagine what it will mean to her to leave a place she has lived for 35 years. I know what it will mean to me though.

For some of you, you have deep roots. There are roots that are grounded in people; family and such. I am so blessed to have those kinds of roots. I have a wonderful family that I am grounded in. But some of you also have deep roots that are grounded to a place. I kind of feel like I have one of those, and it's in Beeville, and it will soon be dug up.

So, I hope this hasn't been too depressing to all of you. It is cathartic to be able to write my thoughts down and if you have a word or 2 of wisdom or encouragement, I'd be happy to hear them.

Thanks everyone.
God bless.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More funnies

I realize that you're probably wondering why I'm so chatty all of a sudden. I have no idea but there keep being things I think are cute or funny that I want to remember so I figure I'll record them here. These may be random, sorry about that.

Isaac had his first basketball practice tonight. He's the tallest on his team. He is playing in UPWARD so he was so excited to come home and tell me that he got to talk about Jesus tonight at basketball.

I overheard him telling a friend that it is bad to write 'X-mas' because it takes 'Christ' out of Christmas. I asked him if his teacher told him that and he said yes. I love that a pastor's wife is my son's teacher at school and I love that it is ok for kids to talk about Jesus in school here (public school no less) Last year, they regularly prayed before their snack. It was all student led and initiated, but she did participate and love that.

When Jaylie wants to take a nap in just her undies she says she wants to 'sleep in her tummy'.
She also calls our dog Gretchen, Skretchen, for some reason.

I love that Ethan enjoys school so much and would like to go everyday but is consistently 'worn out' when he comes home. He always is grumpy and says "I'm just worn out. I need to go to bed."

I also love that Ethan has started to say, "You're pulling my leg!"

I love that Advent has begun and that my kids know what that means. They look forward to the lighting of the candles and the special time together. When we got the nativity set out today, Jaylie carried around baby Jesus and said sweet things to him in her high little voice. She thinks Mary is pretty.

I may have more tomorrow and I may not. Everyone have a wonderful weekend.

Funny Things

This was the conversation Isaac and I had on the way to school this morning:

I: Let's play 'Are you Smarter than a 2nd grader' How many degrees does the earth spin in one hour?
M: I don't know.
I: 15. You lose.
M: I didn't know that. I know how many days it takes for the Earth to go around the sun.
I: That's easy. 365
M: I know how many hours it takes for the Earth to spin on its axis one time
I: 24
M: Wow. I've already learned something today. Good job

I told Eric about this when I got home. He said you just divide 360 by 24. (Like, DUH why didn't you just do that?!?!?) Like I would have thought of it. I keep wondering when Isaac will realize he's smarter than I am. That age keeps getting smaller and smaller. I just hope I am able to teach him about humility before it actually happens...that and honoring your parents:)

I'm off to pick him up from school. Thank you God for my sweet son!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Being Thankful

For those of you that don't know, my Granddaddy passed away this past Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving. We left Thursday morning to make the long trek to South Texas for the funeral that was on Friday. Thank you so much to those of you who were vigilant in prayer on behalf of my family. He is going to be sorely missed but we also know that he is perfect and whole now in the presence of God. I wish I could see with different eyes to know how it is for him now.

I'd sort of like to tell you all about our trip and I may later on. Each time I've tried to finish this post, I just get bogged down in the details of everything and the emotions that were wrapped up in everything we did. Since I'm a talker, I will (and have been) talking to some of you about it but I may not spill it all out on this blog simply because I have no way of organizing my thoughts right now. Please just know that I am so very thankful for the family I have, both immediate and extended. It was such a blessings to be with my cousins and their families and my Aunt and Uncle and my sweet special Grandmother. God has put me in the center of so much love and I am so SO humbled by that.

Christmas is just right around the corner and I'm feeling the rush come on. As soon as our tree is up, I'll feel more ready for it I think:) Hopefully this weekend.

Much love to you all.
Have a blessed day