Celebrity Parents Colton Dixon Marks Twin Daughters Dior and Athens' 1st Birthday: 'Best Year of Our Lives Thus Far' "We have learned so much, been challenged in every way, and have grown exponentially," Colton Dixon and wife Annie tell PEOPLE By Benjamin VanHoose Benjamin VanHoose Twitter Benjamin VanHoose is an Associate Editor on the Movies team at PEOPLE. He's worked at PEOPLE for over three years as a writer and reporter across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial to the Oscars. He regularly covers red carpet events and has interviewed stars like Drew Barrymore, Ryan Reynolds and Kirsten Dunst. He previously worked as a copy editor at Topix Media Lab. People Editorial Guidelines and Anya Leon Anya Leon Anya Leon is a Senior News Editor and the Parents Editor for PEOPLE. She's been at the brand for over 14 years in various roles across the Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams. She has appeared on PEOPLE's podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, and covers everything from exclusive pregnancy news to every single Kardashian birth (11 and counting!). She resides in Northern Virginia with her family. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 18, 2021 05:09 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Janel Tackett Photography; Rick Diamond/Getty Colton Dixon is marking one full year with his baby girls. The 29-year-old American Idol alum and wife Annie share exclusive photos with PEOPLE from an adorable celebration for twin daughters Ava Dior and Athens Elizabeth's 1st birthday. "This has been the best year of our lives thus far," the parents, who tied the knot in January 2016, tell PEOPLE. "We have learned so much, been challenged in every way, and have grown exponentially." "The most challenging circumstances often heed the biggest reward," they continue. "We know we are just getting started, but we are grateful to be on this journey together — what a gift." Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. Janel Tackett Photography RELATED GALLERY: Buddy! Aspen! Hal! See Which Celeb Babies Celebrate Their Birthdays in August In June, the "Made To Fly" singer told PEOPLE, "I love being a girl dad, first and foremost," and explained that despite being identical, Dior (who goes by her middle name) and Athens are already showing their individuality. "They're already blooming into their own person. It's so cool to see. The older they get, the more personality you see, which so fun." L: Caption . PHOTO: Janel Tackett Photography R: Caption . PHOTO: Janel Tackett Photography Dixon also said the past year with his little ones has been "incredible" and he is "so thankful" for the extra time he's had with them at home during the pandemic. "I never really understood what parents meant, when they're like, 'Man, I didn't realize I could love someone so much.' But then you have kids and you go, 'Oh my gosh. I would literally do anything.' There's nothing I wouldn't do for them," he said. "It's just a whole new layer of what love looks like and it's been amazing. Just trying to be the best dad I can be, even at this stage, but it's been so fun."