Looking back at 2015...

We celebrated: to the fullest! Holidays, our 8th wedding anniversary,  a "super" Halloween and a white Christmas. And birthdays- Cortney turned 28, Nolan turned 3, Caitlin turned 5 and my Maverick baby turned 1. But Paul showed us all up by turning 30.

Our family traveled more that 33,000 miles for amazing trips including Europe, Texas, Mexico, southern Utah and New York (and that's NOT including Paul's extensive work travel OR our recent trip to the "North Pole"!)

Paul worked out and worked hard. He broke his PR for a half marathon and Vivint solar broke ground on a new building. They also got acquired.

Cortney acquired lots of other things (when I told Paul the number for miles traveled he asked if that was number of times I'd been to Target 😂) and for the first time this decade was not pregnant for any portion of the year.

We hunted, hiked, RZRed, and ran. As a family we logged 114.4 miles raced on foot this year. Caitlin learned how to ride a 2 wheeler and read, Nolan learned how to ride a bike with training wheels and write and spell and his name and Maverick learned how to do pretty much everything he knows how to do!

It was a great year! Time moves so fast and little lives change. I look forward to this upcoming year and the surprises, plans, fun and trials it brings. Bring it on 2016!! We're surviving and thriving! 
Dec 26th: We went sledding with Meads on a hill by our house and had so much fun. We also pulled the sled behind the RZR. We tried to go buy new sleds and they were absolutely sold out everywhere! We borrowed some. The kids loved it, including Maverick! He would tottle on over whenever he saw an empty sled and want to climb in.
That night we went to "Funtopia" which was basically an indoor climbing gym just for kids. It was awesome! The kids were fearless and tried climbing, jumping and all sorts of things.
Dec 29th: Caitlin and Nolan have been busy "planning parties". Pretty much every day they wake up and decide what kind of party they will have. Then they decorate one of their rooms to fit the theme and plan costumes and activities. they REALLY wanted to have a Hulk/Superhero party and invite friends so we did! We had about 8 little friends come over and basically they ran around the house pretending to be superheroes for a few hours! It was crazy fun! I love their big imaginations.

Dec 30th: We headed to Salt Lake for a family getaway. First we went to Soldier Hollow to go snow tubing! The kids loved it, including Maverick who was technically not even supposed to go down the slopes but he did and he loved it. Turnbulls met us there and then we went to lunch and then to Little America. We swam and hot tubbed for awhile and then the kids stayed (with a sitter) and played together at the hotel while adults went out for dinner. It was a lots of fun catching up with Turnbulls, we miss living by them!

Dec 31st: The next day we got breakfast then they left and we stuck around Salt Lake- we shopped a little and went to the Grand America to look at their Christmas windows. Then we rested at the hotel for a bit and then went and got cookies at a yummy place. Then we headed to go see the lights at temple square. It literally lasted about 10 minutes and then we realized it was WAY too cold and the kids started breaking down. We ran for shelter in the Joseph Smith building while Paul brought the car around. I was trying to point out the pretty lights and beautiful temple along the way... at least we tried right? After that we met Gottfredsons at the City Creek food court for a quick dinner and then took them and met Meads back at the hotel for more swimming! We ended up driving home in PJs that night and putting the kids to sleep in their own beds. Paul had decided to go to hunting early the next morning so we celebrated the New Year with the East coast and turned in early too, which was just fine! We had a fun getaway and we were definitely tired. I told Paul theres no one I rather go to bed at 11:00 on NYE with than him.


Christmas 2015

Christmas Eve we spent the day building a snow cave in our backyard. It was awesome. The opening in the cave got huge and we were still able to sled off the top. We literally were in and out all day working on it, and prepping food and treats inside. We also had visits from Grandma and Grandpa Goulding and Chelsea and Zoey.

That evening we had our Christmas Eve party with the Meads. We did: appetizers, games, dinner (Paul's smoked brisket YUM) more games, decorating sugar cookies for Santa, and then doing the nativity play. It was a lot of fun.

After the party we got in our Christmas pajamas and opened our Christmas Eve gifts: yearbooks, socks and "Santa Spotter" binoculars. We went out to the driveway to sprinkle our reindeer food and the kids were positive they saw Rudolph's nose through their spotters. We took a quick drive to see if we could see anything more and then went home and set out Santa's cookies and milk and read "The Night Before Christmas"

Christmas Day was bliss. We had a beautiful white Christmas and on Christmas day we were literally snowed in at our house with fresh snow everywhere and had a great day just being home together.

Nolan came into our room at 6:55 AM and he was ready! We kept him in our room and held him off long enough for Caitlin to wake up and to make sure everything was in order.

Santa was good to us! Caitlin had asked Santa for a dollhouse when we saw him in the mall and she held true to that request so sure enough she got her dollhouse. She also got gymnastics practice mats and outfits, and play makeup and goodies. From family she received some new princess dresses and shopkins and play makeup. Nolan had three categories on his list: cars, legos, and superheroes. Anything in those categories. So that's what he got! A lego table, iron man suit and legos, all kinda of Lightning McQueens, incredible Hulk things (his favorite) and lots in between. Maverick got a train table and a little barn and some cars and an instrument set, and mostly just had fun checking out everyone else's stuff! My best gift from Santa I found under the tree Christmas morning and it was my Madsen bike! I had wanted one for a long time and given Paul endless hints and I'm so glad he took them! He chose the color and I couldn't have been happier with it! I also got spoiled rotten with lots of other gifts. Paul got some new hunting gear and my gift was a surprise entry to an archery course for him to do in the summer.

After seeing everything from Santa, we sorted gifts and took turns opening. Which quickly turned into the kids taking turns opening (adding mom and dad in the rotation took too long) so we let them open theirs and we played with everything and opened everything and then Paul and I finished up. We also stopped for breakfast too. We just took our time and had the loveliest morning. The rest of the day continued playing with toys and drinking lots of hot chocolate.


The most wonderful time of the year!! This year was no exception, we had a fantastic holiday season. Here are some highlights:

Dec 1: We heard the doorbell ring and found a package from the North Pole on our doorstep! Inside was new jammies for all the kids, some treats and best of all our beloved elf Jingles had returned!

Jingles brought us notes, gifts, treats and sent us on activities. Some of our favorite were: visiting the reindeer at Thanksgiving point, Driving through an awesome light show "Christmas in Color," making a gingerbread house, growing candy canes, going to the festival of trees, "Polar Express Day" (wearing their pajamas to school on the last day before break), and building a new nativity- piece by piece.

Dec 7th: We rode the Polar Express to the North Pole! We had a blast doing this. The kids remembered it from last year and they were so excited to go again. We saw Santa and had cookies and hot chocolate. The kids loved talking to our "elf" helpers on board and it was a magical night.

Dec 11th Preschool Christmas Program: the kids were SO excited for their performance and had practiced for so long. They knew all the songs and would sing them all the time in the car and at home. Caitlin had a speaking part and she nailed it. She came to the microphone and said her little part clearly. She sang every song and had every word and action down pat. After every song she would make eye contact and wanted a thumbs up or smile from us. Nolan came out strong in the beginning and was singing but lost interest pretty quickly. After a while he was just going through the motions and not really singing and was just making faces at us and getting fidgety. He was hilariously "over it." He pulled it together to belt out "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (his favorite) towards the end. It was pure entertainment and we loved it.

Dec 12th: We hosted a "North Pole Breakfast" for family and friends and had a fun time. We had regular waffles, red velvet waffles, lots of syrups eggs and fruit and donuts. We had a hot cocoa bar and other drinks. We all chowed down and the kids played. We set up a movie projector in the basement and put on a Christmas movie. At one point all the kids lined up for "whip cream shots" given by Paul and it was hilarious. We also had a station to make "magical reindeer food" to use on Christmas Eve!
That night Paul and I got to go to an Ugly Sweater couple's party.

Dec 15th: Caitlin had a Christmas Dance performance at her studio. She and her class did a cute little dance to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and she did a great job. She had an awesome fan club come to support her and of course Dad brought her flowers for after (she's kind of come to expect it and its probably her favorite thing about performances).

Dec 15-18th: Paul and I got to take a quick trip to New York City. We were there for two full days. He had business meetings and I got to sleep in, eat out, visit the 9/11 museum and stay up late in Times Square. We also shopped in SoHo, admired the Christmas lights on 5th Avenue and the Rockefeller tree, and saw a broadway play. It was a really fun little getaway and seemed to miraculously work into our busy schedule.

Dec 20th: Christmas Sunday we had our "Birthday Party for Baby Jesus" We played with our manger and talked about the story of Jesus' birth, we each decided on a gift we could give to Jesus over the following year, we decorated cupcakes (and ate a few) and we ended it with a talent show (showing a few of God's gifts to us).

Dec 21st: Caitlin and I went to see "The Nutcracker" with a few other moms and friends. She loved watching it and was full of questions and comments literally the entire show. The costumes were great and so was the dancing. And it moved a long at a nice pace (luckily, because the one negative thing she said was, "I really liked it but it was a little too long") When the sugar plum fairy came out for the first time to dance to her song Caitlin exclaimed, "This is my favorite song ever!! I know this dance!" and stood up in the tiny aisle to do passes with the fairy. Later during the sweets scene when all the visitors from other countries come, Madama Bonbonaire comes out with her huge hoop skirt. I told Caitlin she had a surprise and Caitlin was chomping at the bit to know what her surprise was. A few seconds later when they lifted her skirt and all the little "bon bon" girls came out from under it Caitlin YELLED, "WHAT?!" and started laughing hysterically. She had never expected such a surprise and her reaction was priceless. Everyone within earshot was laughing (at Caitlin) and she didn't even realize, she just kept giggling about the dance. Taking her was like a show within the show. Nolan and Maverick stayed home with Dad and built a Lego train that Nolan was so excited to show me the next morning.


joys of motherhood: november

Both of my kids have very active and amazing imaginations. Caitlin makes up stories all the time, so much so that I've had to teach her to be sure to tell me "just kidding" if it isn't true because they can be very realistic. She plans parties and awesome adventures.  Nolan plays with toys like it's his job. (i guess he's a kid so basically it is). He loves just playing in his room and he makes us the best scenarios for his toys and he does voices and everything. It's hilarious and it's one of my most favorite things to (sneakily) listen to.  

The other night Nolan was having a stick horse race against some invisible opponents and he ketp yelling, "come on boy were gonna win this race! Come on (new name every time Around), victory! Victory! We're the fastest!" I was laughing and loving every second of his genuine encouragement for his stick horse. Oh, and they won. 

He has been really into superheroes and can often be hear shouting, "I fight for justice!" I don't know where he learned that and it took be of guard when i first herd him say it. 

One of Caitlin's best quotes ever (after asking me what we were doing that day and I guess not being impressed with our "normal day routine" plans): "I don't like having normal days, I just like doing awesomer stuff like getting candy and stuff." 

Of course life happened in between our #dicksondailythanks so here are a few other highlights from the month:

5th: We visited the Hogle Zoo with Chelsea and Zoey and although there were literally snowflakes falling on and off, we had a great time! We got to see so many animals up close and enjoyed the time together.
6th: We had our first little snow at our house! The kids got out in their snow clothes and their favorite thing to do when it snows is jump on the trampoline! That night we took the kids for pizza and then to "Color me Mine" to paint and they loved it.

7th: We celebrated Cason's b-day. It was an "Inside Out" party and I didn't get any pictures but it's no mystery how much my kids LOVE Cason and love living by their cousins!

The kids have been riding their bikes absolutely every chance they get! They both got new bikes last month and they LOVE riding. They are becoming really great riders.

11th: Had our first big snow at our house! This was Maverick's first time to get out in the snow and he wasn't quite sure what to think! But he lasted a little while.

13th: I took the kids to go see "Home Alone" in the movie theaters for it's 25th anniversary. Unfortunately the movie player was having issues and the movie started cutting out and had to be stopped. Lucky for us I discovered I had bought the DVD from the $5 bin and we owned it at home! So we finished it the next day and the kids have been asking to watch it ever since. They think it's hilarious and Caitlin the other day called someone (jokingly) a "filthy animal" which made me laugh really hard. And glad that THAT was what she picked up on out of the movie and not other things! (They always seem so innocent in your memory and then you watch movies with your kids and realize how many things are in there you never noticed before!)

10th: went with a few friends to the dinosaur museum! It ended up being a freezing cold day so we were happy to be doing something fun indoors!

13th: I got to go decorate the Walker's home for Christmas. I have decorated their home for about 6 years now. I love doing it and getting in the Christmas mood and using my talents. Also my parents were in town for a quick weekend trip to attend a wedding.

14th: I decorated the Lewis' home in preparation for Christmas and also the wedding I am helping with. We also went to the tree lighting at Traverse Outlets, which has the largest real tree in Utah.

18th: The kids went to the dentist to get all their cavities filled. Yup, more than one on each of them. They were awesome at the dentist and even Nolan did so well. Now we will be stating from a clean slate and hopefully no more for a long time!!

19th: Grandma and Grandpa Dickson were in town and we had a fun time going with them to visit the Gottfredsons and Great Grandpa Dickson. We all helped to rake a huge pile of leaves and the kids loved playing in them.

20th: Baby Reese was born! Rebekah had a very fast labor, I almost missed it! But I was so glad that I made it and was able to be there for the birth. It is always such an amazing experience to see a baby be born. Reese is an adorable baby and has some really great parents. We are happy to have another baby niece!

21st: The kids got to come meet Reese and of course they were enamored.

28th: We came back from St. George and woke up the next morning to a bunch of snow! We took the RZR out and pulled the sled behind it and it was a blast!