Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

Here is our Christmas letter and year-end slide show (scroll down; it's at the end of the letter) for your enjoyment. I hope you each had a wonderful Christmas yesterday and are looking forward to the New Year.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

2010 is almost over! It really did blow by. I was trying to explain to Isaac the other night why time seems to pass more quickly for adults than for children. It really is true. It seems like ever since he entered kindergarten, time has sped up. Nevertheless, we are enjoying our life that is going by so quickly. We try to take advantage of each moment---take a picture so we don’t forget---try to freeze time for just a bit. That’s what Christmas letters are for, to try to share some of those joys of the year that’s gone. Here we go!

Jaylie is 5. I can hardly believe she is. She is a fun little girl with lots to say. She is busy all the time. She loves to be outside as much as possible. Jaylie is taking ballet again this year and is gearing up for The Christmas Dream. Although we have never seen it, it is supposed to be a really Big Deal. It is the ballet studio’s take on the Nutcracker. I’ll post pictures on facebook. Last March she danced at our Talent Show at church while Eric and I sang. Then she danced in her first recital in May. She really likes to be on a stage. Jaylie will start Kindergarten in the fall. I’ll let you know how I handle that next year!

Ethan is 6 ½ and in the 1st grade. He loves school! His teacher is so perfect for him. Ethan continues to love reading. I am so proud of how well he reads. We gave him a big kid Bible for his half birthday last month and he has been doing the readings for our Advent devotionals. It is such a joy to hear a young voice read God’s words. Ethan had a speaking and a singing part in the Thanksgiving play at school. It seems we have another child who likes the stage! Ethan has just started his first ever stint in organized sports. He’s playing UPWARD basketball. Eric is coaching his team. We’re looking forward to a fun season. Ethan is a sweet little soul and a treasure to be around. His dimples are quite potent!

Isaac has just turned 10 years old! He’s in the 4th grade and enjoys school immensely. This year, he has done two notable things in school so far. 1: After a unit on the brain, his PATHWAYS class dissected a sheep’s brain. While I think it sounds pretty gross (I always managed to have a sympathetic lab partner who did all the dissecting in biology) I think it’s cool that he got to do it. 2: Thanks to his PE coach, he has discovered Speed Stacking. If you don’t know what this is, look it up on youtube and prepare to be amazed. On the last day of school before Christmas break, there was a tournament. Isaac won 2 1st place trophies for both of the 4th grade events. He went on to compete against the 1st place winner of the 5th grade and won there too! So he was the school champion of Speed Stacking at his school! Pretty good for his ego, let me tell ya. His UPWARD season has just started as well and he loves basketball. He’s just over 5 feet tall (inching up on me every day) so we’re looking forward to all the rebounds he’ll be pulling down.

Eric continues his ministry at Meadowbrook. We are just about to celebrate 5 years here! He graduated from Lipscomb in May (for which we are exceedingly thankful) with his Masters in Theology. With school out of the way for the next 15-20 years (I hope!) he has tons of free time! I’m kidding. He’s always busy with…well, with lots of stuff. Too much to write down. He serves Meadowbrook well with his time and talent. He and Isaac have started learning how to play guitar this year. It is really neat to hear them improve.

I haven’t added anything noteworthy to my daily routine. Jaylie and I hang out and stay busy during the day. I am treasuring our last year at home together. I got a bicycle last year for Christmas so when the weather is nice, we would go for a ride around the neighborhood. Me on my bike, she on her pink and purple Big Wheel. I think we probably looked pretty cute! I have been teaching the 6th grade class at church and enjoy them so much. I’ve had that group since they were in 2nd grade. It is such a joy to see how they have grown and changed.

In May, we all (my parents included) went to Nashville to celebrate Eric’s graduation, Ethan and Audra’s (our niece) Birthdays, and Mother’s Day. It was such a great weekend of celebration. The next weekend, Eric’s folks came down for Ethan’s birthday party and Jaylie’s recital.

A few weeks later we made our annual trek to Galveston Island for a week of fun on the beach. The week didn’t start out that fun though. Mom and Dad had taken the kids to Galveston a few days ahead of us. They slept at my Pawpaw’s house on the way and wouldn’t you know it, Ethan’s head and the corner of Pawpaw’s dresser met with a crash. 2 stitches later, he was ready for the beach. The worst part of the whole thing (for me) was that I wasn’t there with him at the doctor’s office. But this particular doctor is beloved by (and takes care of) my whole family in Jasper, TX so I knew he was in good hands. The rest of our trip was fun, but blessedly uneventful.

A few weeks after that Eric and I took Ethan on his completion-of-kindergarten trip. This is a little tradition we started with Isaac (we took him camping). This time, the 3 of us road the Amtrak train down to New Orleans. The train ride was a fun experience. It is definitely easier than driving. It took about the same amount of time. We walked the whole time in NOLA, which is definitely doable if you stay in close proximity to the French Quarter. This was our first trip to NOLA and we really had a great time. We went to the IMAX and to the Children’s Museum. Whenever Ethan would get tired of walking, we’d duck into a candy shop or toy store. We hope to go back as a family sometime soon. Ethan had a great time and still talks about it.

In July, Brad, Dawn and the girls came for a few days. Audra and Carmen are our kids’ only cousins and so we try to get them together as often as is possible. We love how they love each other so much.

In August Eric and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. In celebration we went to New York City in September. We went on a Monday and came back on a Friday. We had such a great time. We saw 2 shows on Broadway, went to the MET, road the subway, saw the Statue of Liberty, toured several cathedrals…it was really a wonderful time. Thanks to Mother and Daddy for keeping our kids. We know we couldn’t have done it without them.

Eric’s parents visited us in September for Jaylie’s Birthday. We are so grateful for them being willing to come visit as often as they do. Grandpa took the kids fishing and they are still talking about that!

Thanksgiving saw us back in Nashville! Eric grandparents and aunt and uncle from MO drove out. It was so fun being around extended family and remember we have so much to be thankful for.

Eric’s parents are hoping to come visit during the Christmas break. Eric’s dad has just had a partial knee replacement so when he gets a bit more comfortable, they’ll be coming. My Pawpaw got here on Isaac’s birthday and will be here for a couple of weeks. My brother, Jason, drove in to town last night to stay for a few days. He is actually en route to Lubbock, TX, where he’s starting a PhD program at TX Tech. It is going to be a family filled Christmas---the best kind.

Our 2009 ended on a sad note and it continued into the beginning of the year. Both of our Grandmothers passed away within a couple of weeks of each other. My Grandmother died pretty much on my birthday last year. We had just arrived at Eric’s grandparent’s house (500 miles from MS) and got the news. We traveled another 700 miles to south TX for her funeral and then another 650 miles back home. It was a lot of driving. Right after the first of the year, Eric’s Grandma passed away. Eric and I drove out to MO to be with his family. As we anticipate the joy of this season, I am acutely aware of both of our mothers and how the absence of their own mothers is a constant ache. Praise God that He came and will come again. We long for that day of reunion.

Enjoy this Christmas and the people around you. We have all been given so much. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us…

Merry Christmas

Eric, Dixie, Isaac, Ethan and Jaylie

Eric’s blog:
Dixie’s blog:
And you can find us on facebook too!

Livingston 2010 from Eric Livingston on Vimeo.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas is Pretty

I have been struggling with what to post lately. This isn't an entirely new thing, but usually it's because I haven't made time to do it. Lately, it's been that I just don't know what I should say. What? Me? Speechless? Well, apparently. I even noticed that my facebook page has no status next to my name. I don't think that's happened before. So, why am I status-less? Who knows. I have lots going on; lots to think about, I've just been second-guessing what to say, or how to say it...sheesh.

Here's a fun thing you might want to know. Isaac has been speed stacking in PE for the past couple of months. If you don't know what speed stacking watch this:

Anyway, he has been getting better and better and faster and faster. This week, his PE coach has been timing them to qualify for the school tournament next week. Isaac's class goes to PE on Monday and Friday. His time was the fastest in his class on Monday. The top 2 fastest from each class go to the tourney. Today he beat both of his times from Monday and his coach said he's the fastest in his grade and maybe the whole school. He's excited for next week. I think we'll get to go watch the tournament.

I have gotten our Christmas letter written and the pictures picked out for our annual slideshow. It is always such a blessing to go through the year's events and relive these memories. Look for that on facebook and via email real soon.

Isaac's birthday is right around the corner. Then Christmas. Then my birthday. It's the best time of year and I love everything about it. Our tree is pretty, the house is pretty, the street is pretty...Christmas is just pretty!

Enjoy the weekend

Merry Christmas


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A sweet Facebook friend (whom I have never actually met but wish with all my heart I will someday!) tagged me in her last blog entry. I'll do my best to answer these 8 questions and then figure out if I need to tag some other folks or not.

In case you ever wondered...

1: What is your favorite scripture or inspiration quote?

I have 2 favorites scriptures:

1: The second half of Matthew 28:10 when Jesus tells us "And surely I am with you always, even until the very end of the age." This meant a lot to me as a kid, moving around so much. I knew I was never alone, no matter how many friends I had left behind.

2: 1 Peter 1:3-12 but especially verses 6 and 7. Here Peter says "
In all this (this being the things discussed in v. 3-6, namely the salvation we are receiving) you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
This passage came to me when we were in the midst of losing a pregnancy (after Isaac before Ethan) and it has come to represent to me the answer to the question: Why does God allow bad things happen to good people? So that our faith will be proved genuine...and that's worth more than gold. I always had assumed my faith was genuine, but I never knew until it was tested in that trial.

2: What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?
Well, let's see. I'm always in the process of reading at least one Diana Gabaldon book (which I've read numerous times and which I don't recommend to everyone) and something else. Oh, I know. I picked up Max Lucado's An Angel's Story at Lifeway last week and I read that. I would totally recommend it. I had read it years ago but didn't own it. I've looked for it over the years and came across it at Lifeway (it was on the bargain bookshelf but it was NOT a bargain---but totally worth it) Yes, read it. Especially as Christmas approaches!

3: What is your favorite comfort food meal to cook?
Easy. Chicken and Wild Rice. This was my favorite thing that my mother made when I was a kid. When we got married, Mother printed off some of my favorite recipes of hers and gave them to me. We had it Monday. Delicious!

4: If you had an afternoon with absolutely nothing that you absolutely had to do, what would you do with the time?
Just an afternoon?! I'd probably read, outside on the patio if the weather was nice. I really like to read, and I really enjoy the peace of my backyard.

5: Tea? Coffee? Diet Coke?
Super sweet tea (a la McAllisters) I also enjoy coffee. I like my coffee hot in the morning but enjoy iced coffee at any other time of day.

6: What's your favorite candy?
Plain m&ms. No contest.

7: What weird talent (or talents) do you have?
I don't know that it's a talent but I am double jointed in both of my index fingers. Oh, and I can write backwards with both hands (not at the same time). And I am also rather direct, which isn't really a talent either but it does sometimes make me seem weird.

8: How many hours do you spend on the computer on an average day?
As if I sit around keep track! No, I think the answer to this question shames me...I have no idea how many hours I spend on this darn thing. I do know that it is probably too many. I communicate on the computer; I bank online; I get all my news online; I do a good bit of shopping all adds up.

And now you know...

Enjoy the rest of the week.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I thought that I might just start titling my posts with the name of the month, since I may well become a once a month poster! Oh well, it's better than nothing, right?

It has been a month since my final NYC post. Funny how time flies. Our wonderful trip seems like it was so long ago already! When the kids are noisy and grumpy, and we're rushing around, I'll look at Eric and say, "Remember when we were walking around NYC by ourselves doing whatever we wanted?" And he'll say, "Yeah, that was nice." :)

Let's see. We went to the fair earlier this month. We hadn't been in 3 years and the kids were really wanting to go. We had a good time, spent too much money and Eric says we'll enjoy it again in 4 years. Kinda like the Olympics, every 4 years is enough for him.

We've all had a bout with a cold over the past month. It has sorta come and gone and come and gone. Isaac is finishing up his second round with it. Ugh. Ready for everyone to be at 100% again.

Halloween was this past weekend and we had a really good time. Isaac was Harry Potter

Yes, his hair is painted black!

Ethan was Woody (with Green Crocs)

And Jaylie was a rainbow ballerina for the trunk or treat at church

And a medieval princess for trick or treating on Saturday night because we had a pretty significant temperature change from Wed. to Sat. (note Woody's socks with his Crocs--you know, so his feet wouldn't get cold)

Jaylie is mad at me in this picture because I wouldn't let her take her baby Cinderella trick or treating (I didn't want to carry her). I'm mean like that. Isaac opted to stay at home and hand out candy with Eric instead of trick or treat this year. I was surprised, but happy for him to be doing something new. The littles and I were out for about an hour and a half and had a great time. Ethan would update me on what candy he received after every house, "They game me some Reeses Mom." "Oooh! I got some Nerds Mom!" He did kindly hand over the plain m&ms since he knows that's my fave. Not many of those this year :(

So we're pretty much caught up. Today is voting day and I am not going. I know that makes me a bad American, or unAmerican or whatever but I promise not to complain about the government for at least 2 years! Actually, I don't really complain about what goes on in DC anyway. I do think most people who want to serve in public office are good and honest people. But I think those same people wind up having to compromise too much that they are unable to do what they set out to do when they first ran. Call me disillusioned. I'll jump back in in 2 years.

Today is wet and rainy. Be careful out there if you're on the road. Come on Fall! We're ready:)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Coming Home

I think I've put off this post because it is about the return to real life. Don't get me wrong, I love our real life and I missed the kids, but our trip was so great. It was nice to just be me and Eric for several days.

On Friday morning, we woke up kinda late and packed up. Eric had found a bakery place that was close by so that's where we headed for breakfast. It was delicious! I wished we had found it early in our visit instead of at the end. We each had a bacon and egg sandwich (which were so big we could have shared one) on a home made roll. I think they were $2.75 each. Which brings me to say that things weren't quite as expensive in NY as we had thought they would be. We had thought taxis would be outrageous but paid $35 for the airport ride. A subway ride is $2.25. Dinner everywhere we ate was reasonable. Now, I know that there are LOTS of places that are super expensive, but it was nice to know that we didn't have to scrounge to eat well.

We strolled back to the hotel. Finished packing and went downstairs to get a cab. The ride was the same except that this guy had trouble staying in his own lane. He also hardly said a word the whole time.

We made it to the airport plenty early to get through security and to the gate. Which brings me to say something about security. It really struck me this time how much headache (I mean, beyond the actual destruction--which is incalculable) a handful of terrorists have caused. Not just at the airport, where security makes sense but has also been taken to ridiculous extremes (we had to get rid of brand new deodorant and shave cream because they were too big, and my bottle of perfume because the container was too big. I said,"If I pour most of it out, can I take it on?" The lady said no because only 3.75 oz or smaller was allowed. This makes no sense to me, if you know and 8oz container only has a couple of ounces on it, what's the big deal? We did have the option of checking our carry-on bag, which would have cost $35 but we're not idiots so we didn't pay $35 for something that costs less that $10 to replace. It was just irritating) but also at the statue of liberty, where security is just as strict as at the airport, and the cathedrals (they have people stationed near the entrance to look in bags) and even the NY Public Library. It just seems a shame to need to distrust everyone because a few bad people did what they did. There's no other way, of course. It just seems like a lack of basic trust is another casualty of 9/11.

Our flights home were uneventful and we arrived on time in Jackson to 3 happy kids excited to see us. We are so grateful to my parents for keeping them and letting us have this time away. I encourage you to find the time to spend with just your spouse. It is so great to remember that we are a unit apart from our kids. We love and treasure our 3 kids, but the 2 of us were happy before the kids and we need to be able to be happy without them, since they won't be here forever. I'm not trying to rush they're exit at all but it is good to know that, in many years when our house isn't full of children and their needs, it will still be full of love.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thursday: Legos, St. Patrick's, St. Bart's, the Waldorf, Library, Stardust, WICKED!

Thursday we had an open morning so we decided to do some souvenir shopping. We went back up through Times Square to Rockefeller Center. Our destination was the Lego store which we had seen our first night there but it was closed. This would have been the highlight of the trip if Isaac had been with us. He is a Lego fanatic. We spent a good bit of time in here and bought him a Lego Empire State Building (which took him about 10 minutes to put together when we got home but which he has since converted into a larger scale model using a bunch of his other Legos) The Lego store is right across the ice rink from 30 Rock.

30 Rock
Lego store
We bought a few things at another gift shop and then headed to St. Patrick's for the 12:00 mass. St. Patrick's is the only Catholic cathedral that we saw. The rest were all Episcopalian. I was really surprised that there was a difference. As ornate as the ones we had seen were, St. Patrick's was even more so. It was also the best lit. It was also the only one we saw actually being used (except for the prayers for peace and reconciliation at St. Paul's) and I think that made a difference. It was a beautiful place and an interesting service, especially for a non-Catholic. We got to hear the organ, which was huge and awesome. The lady who led the singing part of the service had a beautiful voice which echoed in the huge space. Here's some pics:

Next on our agenda was to go see St. Bart's. We saw SALT (with Angelina Jolie) when it came out in the theater and part of it was filmed at St. Bart's. That is what gave me the idea to see as many historical cathedrals as we could. There just aren't all that many in the US (compared with Europe) and it's not like anyone is building churches like this anymore. They really are a sight to see. That said, I was a tad disappointed in St. Bart's. It was fairly gloomy in there.

I will say this about cathedrals. They offer quite a respite from the noise and crush of people on the street. It can be super loud with horns and sirens and jack hammers outside but when you step into the cathedral, it is hushed and peaceful. There were people praying in almost every church we looked at; if not in the main sanctuary than in the small chapels that surround the nave. I was impressed at people who would come and pray in the middle of their busy day and I wondered about what had led to that habit. And I envied that I don't have that sort of discipline.

Since St. Bart's is on Park Avenue, we decided to stroll down the street a ways to see what we could see. Well, lo and behold, we came to the Waldorf Astoria! Now, when I was researching hotels to stay in I did actually look at the Waldorf's site, you know, just to see. It's pretty much waaaay out of our price range. Anyway, we stepped in, saw a sign about a dress code for men (coat and collared shirt) decided to just walk through the lobby and snap a few pics (they didn't turn out very well) and then step back out, just to say we've been to the Waldorf.

We got some chicken over rice at a corner vendor and then headed to the New York Public Library and sat on the steps outside to eat. The Library was pretty impressive because of it's size and age. I've never been in a library that looked like this. There is a copy of the Gutenberg Bible there that we wanted to see and that was pretty neat. The art and architecture was really amazing.

After the library, we headed back to the hotel to change for supper and the theatre. We had had Ellen's Stardust Diner recommended to us and were looking forward to that. Since we had eaten a late lunch we weren't all that hungry so we ordered nachos to eat. The thing about Ellen's Stardust Diner is that all of the wait-staff are aspiring Broadway actors so they sing the whole time. They are really good and it makes for a really fun dining experience. Here's some pics.

We shared a strawberry soda for dessert (I don't know what is wrong with my face in this picture!)
And a black and white cookie. ("Look to the cookie!")

After dinner we walked the couple of blocks to the Gershwin theatre where we were to see Wicked. This theatre is way bigger and a lot nicer than the one where we saw the Addams family.

Wicked was awesome. It was the absolute quintessential Broadway magical fairytale show. The set was awesome, the costumes were awesome, the cast was was just great. We thoroughly enjoyed it. That said, I did enjoy myself more at Addams Family. It was just more fun, to me. If Wicked ever comes to your town on tour, or if you're ever in NYC, you gotta see it.

Wicked was over at around 10:45 and we headed back to the subway to ride back to the hotel. I was pretty worn out after this night. It had been a great day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday: the MET, Central Park, St John's, Tom's Diner

Wednesday we slept til about 8:30 and didn't get out of the hotel til about 9:45 putting us a shocking hour behind schedule right off the bat. But we didn't have any 'set in stone' things Wednesday; meaning, we hadn't already paid money to be at a certain place at a certain time, so we were fine with it. We road the subway uptown to central park and then walked through it to the MET. I immediately felt more comfortable in the Park and uptown. The Park is beautiful and green and full of mom's with strollers and small kids: my kind of people! We had seen very few children up until this day and, I kinda really like kids and had missed them. So we strolled through the Park to 5th Avenue which is where the MET is located. It was very different uptown then midtown and downtown. The sidewalks were wider, people moved at a slower pace, there were still lots of tall buildings but they seemed to be more residential, and there were lots of folks with kids. Here's what I mean:

Down town:


Now I don't know if this is the case everywhere but these were differences I noticed.

The MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) was very impressive. We had heard that you could spend all day in there and I suppose that's true, if you really like museums. They had a really neat Ancient Egypt exhibit with artifacts (and pieces of pyramids) that are thousands of years old. I really enjoyed the art from the Renaissance period and their exhibit of musical instruments, and the religious art exhibit. I get all that stuff. I have really no appreciation for modern art, unfortunately. I don't understand how a large canvas that's painted brown (and only brown) constitutes something that is MET-worthy. We ate lunch on the roof of the MET amidst a giant bamboo structure that is also art somehow.

The view was great from up there.

We spent about 3 hours looking at everything and then decided to be finished. We headed back to the park. We wanted to see the fountain that Giselle dances around in Enchanted which happens to be called the Bethesda Fountain. We found it without much trouble. Since there were lots of folks there, I decided not to reenact that part of the movie!

It was a really beautiful place. Incidentally, when we were done in the park and making our way to the subway, we were back on schedule, just in case you were wondering!

We were headed further uptown to St. John the Divine's cathedral. We wanted to go here because it is the biggest Anglican cathedral in the whole world and the 4th largest church in the world. The place is massive. No pictures we took could capture the gigantic scope of this place. Here's some of our attempts:

the high alter
the above picture is taken from the steps up to the high alter facing back to the front door. It's a long way. Surrounding the back of the high alter are several small chapels that are dedicated to this or that saint. They were pretty to look at too. Eric was interested in this plaque:

there were a few more plaques having the Morton or Livingston name on it, this is near the organ the others were near the choir stalls. Funny that these Livingstons were musical as well!

After looking around St. John's we headed over and up a couple of blocks to Tom's Diner. This is the diner that Seinfeld's hang out on the show was based on. Look familiar?

I ordered a salad, but not a Big Salad, because I wasn't all that hungry :)

After supper we navigated 2 subways to get to Grand Central Station. That place was BUSY. It was like an ant hill that had been stepped on. Everyone was going a different direction really fast. We made our way into the middle and snapped a few pictures.

We saw what we wanted and then headed back to the subway to go to the hotel. It wasn't all the late but we were ready to be in. It was a great day and with a relaxed schedule, but we still got a lot done.

Next time, I'll tell you about our last full day in NYC. It went too fast!

Blessings to you