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Saturday, January 22, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things . . .

I received several comments about Alexa’s hat from previous posts so I wanted to share who made it as well another item I receive several comments on and use everyday. Ah yes . . . handmade delights! Especially wonderful when you know the hands from which they were made. I wanted to share two of my favorite “Alexa” items – her hats & “half”ghan. Both made by two very dear (and incredibly talented) friends of mine – Kelly Westerman & Melanie Taylor. If your are interested in checking out more of their creations, I’ve included their links at the bottom of this post.

Here’s a close up of one of the precious hats my friend, Kelly Westerman, made for Alexa. One in cream and one in brown with coordinating flowers to match. The little pearl button allows the flower to be changed according to Alexa’s wardrobe – brilliant!! Great for a walk on a cool day. The perfect accessory to keep her warm and adorable. Can I have one too?

I had to share this pic. This is what happens on a walk if Alexa moves around too much (especially with the friction from the hoodie on her coat) – the hat gets lower & lower and the flower migrates to the back. Especially as we try to adjust it without her noticing. It’s not worth turning it around if she’s happy. Despite the sag, Alexa doesn’t seem to mind as she sneaks a peek at a dog running around at a local park.

This is what my friend, Melanie, calls a “half”ghan. It is an 18” square afghan. It’s the perfect size for tucking Alexa into her carseat or stroller without having lots of blanket dragging or dropping. It’s the perfect weight for the carseat as you run in and out of chilly weather but don’t want to overheat her in the car. It’s just right. And when it’s super chilly, it’s a great layering piece. It would also make the perfect comfort blanket for the crib or wherever a little one takes their blankie. Alexa LOVES to play peek-a-boo with her halfghan in the carseat.

Alexa’s all cozy and tucked up ready to go to BSF.

If you’re interested in the hat, check out:
--Kelly plans to open an Etsy shop this fall featuring her hats, bags & slippers.

If you’re interested in the “half”ghan, check out:
--Melanie also makes note cards.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We in the ‘hood’ie . . .

What a surprise . . . Daddy got to stay home with us today due to icy conditions. Hooray for a snow day!! I was a bit surprised to hear the door unlock shortly after Chris left for work, but I guess the roads were considered hazardous this morning. Ironically, everything cleared up this afternoon.

It doesn’t matter to me. I was excited to have Chris around and Alexa was especially excited to see Daddy walk through the door. As he played with her, Daddy thought Alexa looked so cute in her little hoodie and he said it kept her ears warm. So, I snapped a few shots of her and decided they both needed to work their “hoodie groove.” Alexa got a kick out of seeing Daddy hooded.

IMG_0401Work the stripes, girl, work it!

IMG_0407Are you taking a pic of me & Daddy?

IMG_0413Yes I am!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mommy & Me

This post may seem a bit narcissistic (but I suppose the whole notion of a blog sort of is anyway). However, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a few recent pics of me with my lil’ sweet pea. As most of you know, the “Mommy” is generally the one behind the camera so I treasure pics that capture Alexa snuggled up to me – especially as each stage with her is fleeting (I realize some day I may not be as popular as I am right now – wink, wink). She just melts my heart with her contagious lil’ smile and bright eyes. Chris has been home a bit more since he hasn’t started back to grad school (starts tomorrow – sniff, sniff), so he was the one responsible for photographing some sweet moments of me with my daily dose of sunshine.

IMG_0353Karen (Ama) this is for you as you requested a pic of Alexa in her little sweater dress.

IMG_0320There is nothing more precious than holding a clean little baby next to you. Her skin’s so soft. She’s so cuddly and she smells so sweet. I love the way Alexa smells right after a bath. . . indescribable! Here we are enjoying some snuggle time while looking in the mirror.
IMG_0324Daddy caught us laughing at ourselves in the mirror. I’m glad he didn’t take a pic of my funny faces. Don’t you love that I still have my apron on!?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hooray – I’m 10-months-old!!

On Thursday, January 13th we celebrated Alexa’s 10-month-old milestone (and seven poopy diapers – whew!). I recently heard a pastor say, “We are governed by time – and we’re either wasting it or investing it.” It’s so true and I find it to be most evident in how quickly the months have come & gone as we try to seize, soak up, and celebrate every moment of our precious daughter’s life. Have I mentioned what a gift she is? We can’t make time stand still but we can cherish every second. We sure don’t want to miss out on these fleeting days due to our hectic schedules, to-do lists, or self-indulgences. Our desire is that Alexa knows just how very much she means to us by investing in her with our time, our love, and hopefully, our consistency in training her in the way she should go. Lots of prayer too. 

Alexa’s latest antics  . . . - Alexa loves to clap. We’ll sing, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,” and she’ll clap and squeal with delight. She truly projects joy.
- She can say both “Mama” and “Dada” and really mean it! I’ll never forget the day she 1st said my name – Tuesday, Dec. 21st. Talk about melting my heart!!
- When she drops something (which is often because she does likes to drop things purposefully these days), she’ll say “Eh” to mimic us when we say “Uh-Oh.”  
- She loves playing with her tongue. What a fascinating (and portable) discovery!
- She has quite the fake cough. She’ll fake cough and we’ll tell her what a bad cough she has. She’ll continue to do it over & over for laughs & attention. No doubt, we’ve got a little drama queen on her hands . . . she comes by it honestly though.
- She’s constantly on the move – be it crawling or cruising. I think we’ll have a little walker on our hands before too long.
- Alexa continues to be a champion sleeper – 2 naps a day and 12-13 hrs at night. We credit the humidifier, a small fan, 4 pacifiers, and her favorite night light (and a VERY healthy dose of God’s grace).
- She still isn’t much for solid foods but we keep trying and manage to sneak in oatmeal every once in a while. We’ve introduced a sippee cup but she only likes to gnaw on it. She makes a face when she tastes the water.
- Still no teeth and I’m still a very grateful Mommy who nurses her 4x a day.
- She loves, loves, loves the outdoors. If Mommy can brave the cold, we’re outside. Alexa’s much tougher than her Mommy.
- Her favorite toys – her magnetic alphabet & her pink monster that lights up when she shakes it.
- Her favorite books – “Ten Little Ladybugs” & “Baby’s First Bible.”

A day in Alexa’s life this month . . .
IMG_0305She loves putting her magnetic letters into the “doghouse” which sings a catchy phonetic tune for the appropriate letter.

IMG_0308Working hard to get the “G” to fit.

IMG_0336Playing one of her favorite games “Peek-a-boo!”

Getting an up close look at the washing machine which fascinates her. She’s quite the helper with every load of laundry. She pulls out the clothes for me be it the washing machine or dryer. She loves to push the buttons too.

She enjoyed the echo her voice made inside the drum.

IMG_0299Alexa at her favorite local haunt – under the kitchen table.

IMG_0217Couldn’t pass up this adorable pic of both Aunt Kelly & Alexa Hope.

IMG_0080This one’s pretty darn adorable too – Ama & Alexa giggling.

IMG_0222Crawling between the piano & piano bench at Ama & Opa’s.

IMG_0223And then through the legs for a little challenge.

IMG_0358Caught in the act – Alexa often digs in Mommy’s purse for buried treasure. In fact, she’ll dig into anything if she can pull something out. This particular day, she’s unwrapping all of Mommy’s gum.

IMG_0289Another delightfully warm day at the park. She’s always working that tongue!

IMG_0235Taking in a good read at Ama & Opa’s. I just love how she is sitting – so grown up.

IMG_0164I love sweet potatoes – yeah right, not a very convincing look!

IMG_0297I have to end with this. If a picture’s worth a thousand words . . . what do you think this one says?

Friday, January 14, 2011

HAPPY 2011!!

IMG_0267The cousins – Kylie & Connor Hammack, Alexa Kennedy, and Rylen & Layton Moore

I’m sad to say that I didn’t take any photos of our annual New Year’s Eve celebration with long-time friends, the Kilgores. This is the first year we didn’t take a huge group shot – so I can’t pass along any pics of our New Year’s Eve get-together including Mom’s traditional carmels & Janice’s decadent sugar cookies. What a shame as we’ve been celebrating with the Kilgore family ever since I can remember. We’ll get a photo in 2012. 

What isn’t a shame is that we had the privilege of spending some very special time with my cousin’s family (the Hammacks) on New Year’s Day. My mom & dad as well as my sister’s family were all there too. It was a wonderful afternoon catching up with family, laughing, eating lots of “invisible” delicacies (courtesy of the kiddos), and watching Rod & Robin balance life with a 5-year-old who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Trust me . . . it’s an education watching them in action.

Connor is a trooper and so laid back about the monitoring of his blood sugar. Thanks to his pump, Pistol Pete (an OSU themed pump), his mom and dad can keep an eye on his blood sugar without having to watch his every move. It’s truly amazing what technology can do – you would’ve never known Connor even had a pump. He was running around like a little crazy guy – full of life, energy, and lots of adorable personality. He is definitely evidence of God’s answered prayers. And, Rod and Robin are amazing. They are so educated on his numbers and what needs to happen to keep him going strong.
It was a blessing to spend this time with them as all of our lives are so busy. It was a gift to see all of our kiddos playing together as Rod, Holly and I did years ago. It was a beautiful commencement to 2011.

IMG_0268I love this sweet pic of Alexa checking out her cuz. I think Connor’s doing the same :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A West Coast Christmas

IMG_0079Alexa with her Ama – so excited to be in California! I think Ama’s excited too!

Alexa experienced her 3rd flight on Christmas Eve as we flew to California to spend some time with Chris’ extended family. We spent the first three days in Chico, CA, where Chris’ aunt, uncle, and grandmother live. Their families joined us and all fourteen of us were together including the two newest additions – Alexa Hope and Josiah Hayes (born in October). It was such a special time celebrating the gift of Jesus’ life on earth as well as the gift of family and the lives of Alexa & Josiah.
Then, the Kennedy/Chase crew headed back to Redding, CA, to spend the remainder of our time together. It was priceless to watch Alexa interact with her Ama & Opa (Chris’ parents) as well as her Aunt Kelly and Uncle John. Alexa is greatly loved and we couldn’t be more grateful for our time together. As soon as she adjusted to the time change and became very familiar with her east & west coast family, we had to pack our bags and fly home. Thank goodness for Skype and digital images.
Speaking of, there were myriads of pics from which to choose, so please bear with me as I try to capture our time in CA without uploading every image. I’ve broken them down into twp categories (Alexa & family/friends) so you can scroll to whichever one suits you. Or peruse them all if you desire.

Alexa’s 1st Cali Christmas IMG_0135 Alexa thrilled with her 1st baby doll from Ama & Opa. She loves kissing its face.

IMG_0132 Unwrapping a gift with Great Grandma Graf’s help. This is so much fun!!

IMG_0152 Alexa’s loving snuggle time with Aunt Kelly, Uncle John & her baby doll.

IMG_0271 All this paparazzi makes me tired Ama!

IMG_0273Alexa’s mesmerized by the woodstove & Opa’s mesmerized by his granddaughter.

Alexa taking a look at the Christmas tree and deciding what she wants to grab. don’t you think the back of her hair is so cute – look at that double crown!

IMG_0096 Alexa giving her cuz, Josiah, a little love poke. Who doesn’t need one of those!?

IMG_0200 Opening a gift from Great Grandma Rachel. Hooray . . . I love books!

IMG_0202 A glimpse of the tunnel & tent (background) from Ama & Opa as well as the “mad money” from Great Grandma Rachel. Alexa’s very perplexed by that . . . “Don’t we just use plastic cards, Mommy?”

IMG_0257 Alexa’s through with the tunnel, but look, Mommy made it through!

IMG_0207 I thought California was warm. Why do I have to wear mittens?

IMG_0220 Alexa loving her game of peek-a-boo with Aunt Kelly & Uncle John.

IMG_0214 I love this pic of Alexa checking out her Uncle John – she doesn’t even know how cool he is yet :) I mean . . . look at that sweet math shirt.

IMG_0270 Opa modeling proper spoon slurping etiquette – a must with pureed prunes & cherries.

Family, Friends & Festivities
IMG_0089 Chris with his sis, Kelly Chase.

IMG_0114 Grandma Graf with her grandkids – Lyndal Hayes & Chris (I’m the adopted grandchild)
 IMG_0116 Grandma Graf with the rest of grandkids – Ryan Hayes and his wife, Camille, and Kelly Chase with her hubby, John.

IMG_0157 Ryan, Camille & Josiah Hayes. I think he’s 10 weeks old. What a gift!!

IMG_0100 The proud grandmothers/sisters – Karen Kennedy w/ Alexa & Janet Hayes.w/ Josiah.

IMG_0218 The proud grandfathers – Tom Hayes & Charlie Kennedy.
 IMG_0146 The original Graf crew – Grandma Lois, Janet & Karen.

IMG_0201 Chris with his Mama.

IMG_0119 John & Kelly. John’s working the Christmas bow.

IMG_0261 Spending some time with our sweet friend, Sharon Ribgy. 

IMG_0238Love this pic . . . Alexa’s checking out Chris’ longtime friend, Jeff Gulden. Ironically, he’s one of the sweetest guys I know. No need to be suspicious of him!

IMG_0119 It wouldn’t be right without a pic of the festive Christmas table. Yum!
IMG_0123The place card holders were little ornaments – brilliant. After every meal, the place card holders were moved to another location at the table so the entire family had an opportunity to sit by and chat with each other – equally brilliant.