Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vacation - 2008

About once a year the Dickens get together and do a family vacation. This year they decided to get together in Florida during Thanksgiving where both of Noel's grandparents live as well as his aunt Gayle and cousin Scotty and his wife and children. Noel had not been to Florida to visit his grandparents, aunt, and cousin since he returned from his mission and was excited to see them and the changes in their lives. The following post is series of pictures from the vacation.

However, before the pictures begin, we would like to take the time to go over a list of things we are grateful for.

1. Our marriage - We are eternally grateful to have been married in the temple and enjoy the blessings of an eternal marriage. Nothing is better than family prayer together at night after a long day...Love you Amber.

2. Greg aka. G-reg, Gregorio, Chachi, Turbo-(man) - Our lives have forever been changed...luckily for the better :) We love you Greg.

3. Family - just as Nephi said that he was born of goodly parents, so have Amber and I been blessed to count Gordon, Lynne, Susan, and Paul as our parents...we love you! We also wish to tell our siblings how much we love them and miss their presence in our lives. We wish you the best and hope you know we continually pray for your safety and happiness.

4. Tates Creek Ward - This really is an extension of our family. We were apprehensive about moving to Kentucky, but Noel had a strong feeling that this was where we needed to be. This ward has taken us in and treated us like family. We are grateful for the each member that has blessed our lives. We love you...you know who you are :)

5. Education - Each step our lives has been touched by learning and we are grateful for the quality of education we have received and for the chance we had to do so minus financial restrictions.

6. Home - We are grateful for the home in which we live and the relative tranquility we enjoy within its walls

7. USA

8. Testimonies - This year our testimonies have grown by leaps and bounds. We wish to give gratitude for our callings in the church and friends that have strengthened our knowledge that Jesus Christ lives and that he is our redeemer. We are also grateful for the knowledge that our family will be together forever.

Now, without further ado...


Above: Grandma Dickens...sharp as a needle and ever becoming the BYU fan.


Above: A cold root beer margarita after a long day's work at the beach.


Above: niece Julia and her personal bodyguard.


Above: Check me out...I'm on an airboat and going to whoop that gator.

Above: Greg's first swim...we hoping it would be in the ocean, but a pool will do.

Above: Our little boy and his man-boobs with aunt Maren.

Above: Amber driving the airboat and me pretending I am airport grounds crew.

Above: niece Julia...you think she is so sweet until you see...(below)

Above: She really is sweet...:)

Above: Greg loving up on his aunt Hayley...work the mullet boy...work the mullet.

Above: Pelicans trying to grab our catch after some deep sea fishing.

Above: Hip uncle Jordan and his want-a-be groupy Hayley.

Above: Two blonds conferring over whether peanut m&m's are better than original m&m's.


Above: Sunset over Marco IslandAbove: What is my mom doing to me?!?! Was that broccoli she ate last night?

Above: Beautiful people.

Above: LesliAnn and Julia checking out their future mega-yacht.

Above: Mama's boy

Above: Heaven

Above: Family - Noel's Aunt Gayle, Mike and LesliAnn (Noel's sister) with their two children Luke and Julia, Hayley (Noel's sister), Lynne, Maren (Noel's sister) and Jordan


Pseudo-Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday for college students or young couples as the parents expect you to spend that time with them. It is not that you don't want to spend that time with family, however, until you attempt a Thanksgiving dinner yourself you truly are not an emancipated adult.

This year we decided to have a couple of friends over for a pre- or pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner to earn the much sought after certificate of emancipation. Overall the dinner was a success. The turkey was well cooked, the mashed potatoes were the masterpiece of Jeff Bird and Bryce Jones working together, the stuffing was acceptable, the rolls were to die for, and the vegetables and pies were rockin'.



We love our house, but one defining characteristic of it is the lack of space to store decorations. As such, we have limited our decorations to two holidays: Christmas and Thanksgiving. It was fun to pull out one of the two holidays we have and decorate the kitchen table accordingly.


The best part of the dinner was enjoying the company of good friends. We assume they enjoyed the dinner as we have no reports of upset stomachs or midnight rendevous with the toilet.
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3 Months

Let's make this simple...Greg is 3 months...Peace.

Alright, Amber got mad at me and I have to list some of his accomplishments.

1. Can now aim his spit-up
2. Smiles even when Amber passes gas
3. Can sit up
4. Can officially post a picture of himself on Mullets.com
5. Sleeps through the night...Dad really likes this one
6. Diapers require gas masks
7. Loves to swim
8. Follows voices

Ok...that is enough.

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Bumbo!

Everything good comes from South Africa...including the Bumbo seat. That is right folks, Bumbo seats are made in South Africa and are the product of some Umama's imagination. This week Greg graduated from the bouncy seat to the Bumbo seat and mom and dad are super excited. Yeah Bumbo!!


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Rolling...Rolling...Rolling with the Homies

When your head weighs half of your 17 pounds of massive baby tummy time and rolling becomes your nemesises. So far Greg can roll half way, but tends to get stuck by his arms. Below are some pictures of his latest attempts. We will be sure to add pictures when he actually completes the roll.



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Killer Frisbee Golfing

Frisbee golf is a huge sport in Lexington with two 18-hole courses within a mile of our house. Amber shot this video of me during our last frisbee golf expedition of 2008.

Special thanks go to Jeff and Melea Bird who put up with our craziness and who lent us the frisbee in this video (which I nearly lost).

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Adventure Race - 60 Miles of Fig'n'Pain

Adventure Race 2008

Most people don't realize the serious locos the Tates Creek Ward is blessed to have. Now when I say "locos" I do so with the up-most respect for Scott Price, Jonathan Bylund, and Tony Mendez.

After a grueling month and half of exercise (ok...maybe not so serious exercise) and serious carbo loading I participated in the Red River Gorge Adventure Race 2008 aka 60 Miles of Fig'n'Pain. The race involved canoeing, rappelling, mountain biking, and running 60 miles worth of terrain in the Red River Gorge. All teams had 12 hours to complete as much of the course as possible while carrying all of the supplies needed for the entire day. Our team, "Malpractice" (as it composed of a Periodontist, 4th Yr Medical Student, Chriopractor, and Public Health Specialist) finished in 12 hours 12 minutes very sore, dehydrated, and hungry. Despite the immense pain experienced throughout the day, the race was the experience of a live-time.

Shout-outs go to:

Scott, our bona fide team leader and psycho cyclist, was responsible for preparing us for the adventure race.

Jon, team motivator, for amazing resilience.

Tony, team brains, for being ultra-prepared by being the only member to wear shin-guards.



Below I have included some of the pictures I took during the race. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of us finishing, but all they would have shown is four very tired and exhausted...yet brave!...men.

Below: Scott and Jon trying on their rappeling harnesses.


Below (3): Early morning as we began our canoeing for checkpoints.





Below: Scott rappelling.

Below: Malpractice at mid-day before running to the rappel site.