Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Few Weeks in Review

Between school and studying, there isn't much time to do things these days, but I did finally find some time this weekend to index some old pictures and upload new ones from Brighton's baby blessing. So here are a few that brought some smiles to my face.

First off, no post would be complete without including a few pictures of Greg. We love Greg and are so grateful for the precious spirit he brings into our home. He is quick to say sorry and never goes to bed without first a kiss and hug. This summer he really learned to love the pool and we spent many summer days splashing in the kid's pool. I found this picture while preparing the annual family album and thought it epitomizes everything Dickens...pool, hat, crocs, swim shirt, and board shorts.

Every photographer finds an image that despite it's poor composition and a billion other photo faults that they fall in love with. This one is mine. For those with children, you know how hard it is to capture "the" image of your children w/ your point and shoot. The natural motion blur and wide eyes define everything about being a parent with a fun and energetic son...simply love it.

What most people don't know is that we really have four children, Greg and Bear, Brighton and Elephant. We would have had many horrible nights if Greg hadn't found a friend to sooth his sleep. Thanks Bear!

Here we are after Brighton's blessing. Because stake conference being the first weekend in December and the lack of other available weekends we decided to hold the blessing immediate following  stake conference. Thank you for those that were there and the many who couldn't make it but were there in spirit. We are so blessed to have a healthy family and are so excited for the addition of "Bubba Chubba." Like usual I had a hard time keeping back the tears during the blessing. Some of the highlights that I can remember include a blessing upon Brighton to be an inspirational figure in our family and to set a good example to those he loves. I felt impressed to bless him with a kind heart and the ability to discern good friends from bad. That is about all I remember.

Being married is as easy as the spouse to whom you are married. We have had our moments over the last 6 years, but being married to Amber is like eating chocolate...awesome! Plus, how could you ever become angry with a smile like this.

We are in debt to wonderful parents who have set good examples and instilled in us moral, ethical, and religious values. Despite a hectic winter schedule, my parents were able to make it for Brighton's blessing and I was able to snap a few images of them with Bubba Chubba. It was particularly nice snapping a few of my father who for years has been on the opposite side of the lens.

When Brighton was born, both Amber and I had this set image in our heads about how Brighton would look...Greg's head on an infant's body. We both know how crazy that sounded, but we just didn't know what to expect and when Brighton came we were so excited to meet a new and distinct little Dickens (although not so little). Brighton is his own little self and despite a lack of sleep we are finding how much depth he adds to our family. 

This is the last image of the post and it is another favorite of mine because you can really see Brighton's recession line. Love having babies that look like they are 1 month going on 65. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One of the Best Thanksgivings

Every year Amber and I find it harder and harder to travel for the holidays. Ticket prices keep rising, our family gets bigger and unfortunately I never have a true vacation because vacation simply means extra time to study. The last two years we have been lucky to have Great Grandma and Grandpa Minick, "Skinny Lynney" and "Gordie", and cousin Christie and her beautiful family the Crockers visit our home and spend a crazy yet fun Thanksgiving. This year, however, with family unable to visit we were able to spend some much needed and fun family time together.

Lectures finished Wednesday so when I got home around noon I took Greg to Lowe's to pick up light switches and outlets. Greg had a blast running up and down the aisle telling me all about the many "manly" things he found. He particularly liked the washer/dryer aisle as he could open the doors, stick his head in and hear his voice echo. Since Brighton's birth my time with Greg has been limited and I loved having a little bit of free time just being a dad. Thanks Greg for your enthusiasm, constant conversation and fun spirit! That afternoon after his nap, Greg helped me work around the house replacing the switches and outlets. Although he never found a use for his wrench, he certainly tried. Here is a picture of Greg with his "blue" work light.

Thursday morning we awoke to an exciting day of turkey roasting, stuffing baking and pie making. Once again we cooked the turkey in the slow roaster and like good old Dickens' tradition we made 5 pies (3 pumpkin, 1 mixed berry, and 1 apple). YUM!!! 

At 1pm the Thanksgiving crew arrived and we dove into the food at 1:30. Our extended family the Jacksons and Jones joined us again this year. We were also joined by the Petersons, Skanchys and Jared Nimtz. Everything was soooooooo good (as evident by my weight gain)! We are so thankful for the friendship of each of these families and for the many different talents they share with us. Thank you for allowing us to share time and laughs.

Friday morning we awoke to a dusting of snow covering the ground and bright sunshine! A perfect day to reflect quality family time. Both boys slept in until 8am and Brighton only woke up once during the night.

Greg and I finished replacing switches and outlets and Amber enjoyed a nice breakfast. Fatso Brighton let us put on his "workout" outfit (the one in the picture below) and Greg got to run around in his "McQueen" pjs for half the day.

Saturday was spent doing nothing (except for me...studying). I did make it a priority to see the BYU game over at the Griggs. I am hoping that just one year BYU will absolutely blow out Utah but it at least won't happen until next year. That night we spent playing "Ticket to Ride" with Jeff and Melea. Sadly and happily the Birds will be graduating in May from dental school and will leave Lexington. We are saddened about the prospects of them leaving but are excited about the many opportunities awaiting them post-graduation. 

Today was our first Sunday back to church as a family. It was nice riding together as a family to church and although Brighton wanted to be fed twice during sacrament I felt normal again sitting next to my favorite person - Bumber. I am grateful for this short vacation, for the chance to be with those that I love. I am grateful for the sealing power of the Priesthood and its associated blessing of eternal families. I want to take the time and give my thanks to those that have helped me become a man and father, who have provided good examples and sacrificed in my behalf. I feel that the world doesn't say thank enough and so I just want to say, "THANK YOU!" 

To finish the post, I thought pics of Turbo and Teddy would be nice.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I have been very blessed since Brighton was born to have help from family members. Lynne was here the week after he was born, then my mom came, and my sister came the week after that. I'm not quite sure what we would have done without so much help. I'd like to think that I would have figured it out, but I'm not so sure about that.

Brighton with Grandma Aston

Brighton with Aunt Nichole. As you can tell from the picture, he was very sad that she had to leave. :)
Here are some more pictures of Brighton.

First bath time. He wasn't a fan but has gotten used to it a bit. He sure does a good job of peeing while in the bath (sorry... probably TMI).

My adorable boys.

Trying to eat his fist. He's definitely a good eater.

I think he looks like he's partying in this picture. :) I sure am lucky to be a mom!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stylish Dentist

The 4th year dental students recently had their annual clothing sale and this year I decided to purchase a cranio-cap and a t-shirt for G-reg. When the t-shirt arrived we realized that 3T really meant 18-24 we put it on Greg and let him run around in his new "Muscle" shirt.


Brighton spent last night being sick...thanks in part to Greg being the source of all IDs in the house. As a consequence Amber and I placed the two culprits against the wall and shot their picture. Of how cute can craziness be!?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween w/ Additions

This weekend the Dickens celebrated Greg's first true Trunk or Treating experience and the addition of Brighton Theodore Dickens to our family. Friday afternoon Skinny Lynnie arrived from New York to help watch Greg while Amber and I spent time in the hospital. This is my mother's third straight week living out of a suitcase and we are extremely grateful that she could make it to Lexington. That evening Amber and I went to the hospital to begin Amber's induction. After filling out the paperwork we waited only about 10 minuted before we were brought back to the delivery room. The nurses placed Amber's IV and started her on a low dose oxytocin regiment.

Saturday morning Amber's water broke and she started to have regular contractions. After a relatively rough morning of contractions and pain, Amber delivered Brighton Theodore Dickens at 1:24pm weighing 10lbs. 3oz. and measuring 22in. long. Both of us are super excited to welcome Brighton into our home, but even more excited was his older brother Gregory. First chance he had, Greg wanted to hold his little brother and luckily I caught the two of them together.

Brighton is doing great despite having a slightly irregular sleeping pattern (aka. awake at night and sleeping in the day...uh oh!)

Here are some images of him with Amber, the family, and "Grandmi".

As parents we are blessed to have two healthy and active little boys. We are even more blessed to have Greg as our first born and wonderful example. Despite our lives this weekend revolving around the birth of Brighton we made it a priority to make Greg feel special as well. So Saturday evening Grandmi and I took Greg to the ward's Trunk or Treat where he was able to spend time getting candy, seeing his nursery buddies, and being the super little guy that he is. Here are some of the pictures from the Trunk or Treat.

 As closure to this post, here are some more random pictures.

Above: Greg in the hospital room trying to push every button he saw. His favorite part of the hospital, however, was the "fast bus" ride from the parking structure to the main entrance. 

Above: Greg trying to show Brighton that it is ok to be naked :) and also to demonstrate his rippling abs to the female nurses.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh How the World Changes

We love Greg, but oh how his life is going to change. Thanks Greg for the some great memories! Can't wait to see you with your new brother.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Almost Done

This weekend was Amber's birthday. That means that one pretty cool lady became one year older. In order to celebrate, Amber and I went out to dinner and enjoyed some nice quiet time. For her birthday Amber received a steamer mop (trust me, I asked if she wanted anything more "exciting") and a electric tortilla press (who would have guessed that Amber loves tacos) from my parents.

Greg's new room received another addition as I finished his toy chest. Amber suggested adding a lid to the chest. However, when it was finished we both noticed that it resembled a coffin. Oh well, too late now to remove the lid. Hopefully Greg doesn't hold it against and in 20 years come back and murder us in our sleep.

The weather here has been incredible minus the 0" of rain this fall. Because of the lack of rain I haven't mowed the grass in nearly a month (compared to 2x a week in the spring). Today was another gorgeous day with temperatures hitting the low 80s. Greg particularly liked wearing shorts on our evening walk and running up and down the sidewalk showing off his new halloween shirt. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Sick and Long Weekend!

The weekend is sunny and warm and what did the Dickens do this weekend?...we were sick and studying. Bummer! We did catch Greg eating crackers in his new boat (aka Thomas the train box). 

Between studying breaks I also finished Greg's jungle mural. As you can see, he really liked it...especially the monkey.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Greg's New Room

When we finished Greg's first room, we dropped to the ground in exhaustion and decided to never ever design a room again. Too much work, too much detail, and never enough time. 

Fast forward 2 years and we are at it once again. Little Dickens #2 is due in less than a month and Amber and I decided to decorate the spare bedroom in preparation for Greg's exodus from the "baby" room. Is it not sad that Greg is no longer a baby and now a toddler?

With a little help from some friends, I discovered some online sites that cater to building your own furniture with detailed plans and cut specifications. Since Greg will be adjusting to a real bed, we decided on something that would be low to the ground...the Pottery Barn Stratton Day Bed. I went to Lowes, picked up the wood, had it cut, borrowed a miter saw and disappeared for about a week into the garage working on the bed. Since the new room would have a jungle color scheme we decided on a dark oak wood stain. The bed turned out really well and you can see it below. It has slots for baskets and if needed I can add drawers. Better yet, the bed is segmented into 3 parts and so when we move I can easily break it down and pack it up. 

This weekend we painted the new room and replaced the light switch and wall sockets. Lots of paint and many hours later, here is the finished room. Two walls are "Cream in my coffee", the third is "La Fonda Tortuga" and the last is a mixture of the previous two with "Stampede", "Cincinnatian Hotel Carl Tan", and "Summer Splash". Once again we said never again.

The room still needs a dresser which we picked out and I am in the process of completing a toy chest for Greg. And lastly the room will be decorated with some curtains and a jungle mural above the bed that is currently in process.

Yikes! Sometimes it pays being the first child. Even Greg was exhausted.