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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Sweet Girl!!

“For you have been my HOPE, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you . . . I will always have HOPE; I will praise you more and more.”  Psalm 71:5-6, 14 IMG_0183
It’s hard to believe but a week ago, Sunday, March 13th, we had the privilege of celebrating Alexa Hope’s 1st birthday. And it was quite a celebration indeed. Even with the time change and twelve guests, Alexa was a perfectly sweet party girl. My dad commented that perhaps Alexa knew the day was all about celebrating her. She sure performed as if she got it and it was a delight reflecting on Alexa’s life and God’s goodness & faithfulness throughout her journey. Chris and I created a slideshow we shared with our family at the party depicting this journey. Unfortunately, the music we used is copyrighted so we are not able to share it on the blog. Well, I guess we can but it won’t have any music. Regardless, here’s what you wanted to see. I’ve tried to share the birthday images in the order of Alexa’s big day.

It may be silly, but I thought it was important for Alexa to have a “party” dress. I remember we always had a birthday dress, so Alexa should have one too. Thanks Mimi for sponsoring the dress. Everyone loved it!

Mommy & Daddy heading to church with our “little” one-year-old. She’s holding string cheese in her hand. It’s her favorite.

Once we got home from church, Alexa changed into her party tutu and personalized tee handmade by Martisha Green (check out her stuff on Facebook). Thank you sweet friend. Alexa looked adorable! Here she is showing off her outfit with Ama.

IMG_0936Loved this sweet pic of her feet. They were kicking like crazy when she tasted her cupcake. The girl loves her empty calories.

IMG_0665Although the invites didn’t really match the birthday party colors, I used bright scrapbook paper of various colors for the base and then attached vellum with polka dot brads. Every person received a different colored invite.

IMG_0860We didn’t have a theme but used red and white polka dots for the cake & decorations. We were able to use Grandma Kennedy’s beautiful cake stand and Nonie’s (my grandmother’s) green glass plate. Grandma Graf’s candy dish held treats on the coffee table.

IMG_0862Perhaps Alexa’s favorite thing at her birthday party were the red and white balloons.

IMG_0865The delicious homemade red velvet cupcakes were created by the loving hands of Ama. Heart sprinkles garnished the top.

IMG_0866Mimi and Pop provided the red velvet cake from Sooner Legends. It tasted amazing and it was HUGE!! It was four layers and was about 7” tall. That’s a lot of cake! The pink “1” cake topper was the same one we used growing up. My sister and I always had a pink number on our cake as a child. 

EATING THE CUPCAKE . . . Once the family arrived (including both our parents, my sis and her family, and Denise & Karis Mills), we opened gifts & ate the yummy birthday cake. Here’s the video of Alexa trying out a red velvet cupcake for the first time. She was a very big fan of the icing – just like her Mommy! And she didn’t seem to mind all the flashes from the cameras one bit. She’s used to the paparazzi.

Clear proof that Alexa takes after her mother - enjoying butter cream frosting

Here’s a visual of Alexa’s first cupcake eating experience.

Getting ready for the cupcake with her “You are special today” plate.

IMG_0919Ohhhhh . . . I like the candle!

IMG_0180This is great . . . can we do this everyday!?

IMG_0923Just waiting to dig in . . .

IMG_0931I’m not so sure about this.

IMG_0186Oh wait . . . this is much better than squash. I love it!!

IMG_0944Hmmmm . . . what else should I eat!?

IMG_0950That was great. I love turning one!!

OPENING THE GIFTS . . . Here’s a video and some pics of a few of the gifts Alexa received. Thank you so much for all the spoiling. All of her gifts were just perfect.

Alexa having fun opening presents.
IMG_0153Checking out the cool cars from Mimi & Pop. Mommy always had Hotwheels growing up too.

IMG_0173Trying out her famous “pillow flop” on the teddy bear pillow pet from Mommy & Daddy.

IMG_0160Enjoying a great Eric Carle book from Great Auntie Janet and Uncle Tom.

IMG_0164A very cool wooden puzzle from Ama & Opa featuring different types of door locks.

IMG_0168Checking out her Noah’s Ark from my late grandparents and Alexa’s great-grandparents, Nonie & Paka. They had purchased the same Noah’s Ark for my niece when she was a baby. Thanks for such a meaningful gift Holly! I know they were celebrating with us on this special day. They just had the best seats in the house.


IMG_0962Alexa sans tutu chilling with her cousins, Rylen & Layton. They are watching Layton play a video game.

IMG_0960A very special guest, my lifelong best friend, Denise Mills who brought her newest addition Karis Hope (Alexa’s newest cousin). Denise was also present at Alexa’s birth so it was very special to have Denise with us. She traveled from Colorado Springs to join us and see her family as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a great pic of Karis. I’m so sad!

IMG_0964The leftover red velvet cake wrapped up and ready to freeze. Look at the banana as a reference to the size of the cake. Dessert anyone!?

IMG_0963A fitting way to end the party with Pop wearing Alexa’s tutu!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Alexa takes her first steps!!

“One small step for Alexa Hope . . . One giant leap into the world of discovery and independence!”
We would like to interrupt the promised birthday blog to bring you some exciting late breaking news. Alexa took her first “big girl” steps yesterday (Friday, March 18th) at my sister’s home . . . just five days after her 1st birthday celebration. We’re sorry the grandparents missed out. I guess she decided that one-year-olds should walk, so she finally decided to give it a try. Of course, she’s wobbly and the steps are little, but it’s a start. It was such a thrilling experience! Now, if we could just convince her that a sippy cup isn’t that bad!
I suppose our world will change, once again, with a little walker on our hands. And, I guess I should double-check everything in the house to prevent as many falls as I can. I know the bruises and tears are bound to come as Alexa learns the ropes of vertical mobility.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have our video camera with us, but we were able to use the video feature on our camera. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did! And, I promise, the birthday blog is in progress!

-- I did want to thank my sis, Hol, for teaching us how to hold Alexa when she stands up and is establishing her balance. You barely hold the child around or just below the hips. Holly basically said that when you do this, the child controls everything above your hands and you control everything below your hands. That is, until you let go! It’s very beneficial to have a physical therapist in the family! Thanks again sis!!
Alexa walking for the first time - she clearly wanted to show off for her cousins!
Alexa showing off the skill she has been hiding from us!
More fun - walking back and forth from Aunt Holly to Mama.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Alexa’s Stepstool on St. Patrick’s Day

Alexa tracing her name on her very own stepstool – hooray!!

Okay, so I know most of you are eagerly awaiting a “Happy 1st Birthday” blog . . . me too! I’m sorry it isn’t up yet (we’ve been busy and tired “1st birthday” parents). However, we’ve almost edited all of the images and hope to have the birthday blog up by this weekend along with the slideshow we shared at her party.
In the meantime and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day (and one of my fave colors), I decided today was the perfect excuse to share Alexa’s stepstool with you. After 32 painted stepstools over the past five years, I finally had the privilege of painting a stepstool for my daughter. What a “overwhelming” privilege – as you know I wanted it to be perfect!

It’s always hard to capture the true color of a step stool on camera but Alexa’s step stool is the color of her nursery – black, white and avocado green. If you know me, these are some of my favorite colors. The step stool should’ve been finished by the beginning of March; however, I didn’t like the finished product so Chris ended up sanding off the top design and I started over from the primer up. Crazy right!? Yes, I’ll probably never do that again!! Although it was stressful getting it finished in time for her party, I am pleased with the finished product and I pray Alexa will love it and use it for many years to come. I’m not too worried if she gets it scratched – I know the gal who painted it! And scratches (after all) mean the stool has been loved.
Here are a few more pics of the stool and our little one-year-old. She’s a hoot, if you haven’t already heard. Just take a look at these pics and you can see we just might have our hands full in the years to come. She’s our little Miss Personality!

IMG_0983Her famous “squinch” (part squint, part scrunch). If you notice – she’s standing up!! She just won’t take a step by herself yet . . . she’s close though!

IMG_0985Don’t ask me . . . I have no idea what she’s doing.

IMG_0987Maybe she’s trying to get away so I don’t pinch her since her green sweater is off.



Standing at the front door watching a furniture delivery across the street.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Welcome Ama & Opa!

In preparation for Alexa’s 1st birthday (March 13th), Ama & Opa (Chris’ parents) flew from California to spend a week with their little granddaughter. What fun waiting in anticipation to see Ama & Opa’s faces as they greeted the little one for whom they prayed faithfully. They’ve been here since Tuesday and we have all enjoyed their presence thoroughly – especially Alexa. She loves her Ama & Opa!! Alexa is still trying to figure out the crazy antics of her grandfather, but she certainly has fun watching him juggle. Not only have they been a tremendous help watching Alexa while Mommy and Daddy project around the house – but they have also been a great blessing to us as they eagerly volunteer for projects themselves like cooking, cleaning, mowing, etc . . . Ummmm, can you move your return flight to early June!?

Seriously, I know some folks who find it hard to be around their in-laws but I am blessed indeed!! They aren’t crazy (as we all know some in-laws are). They love the Lord. They accept me and they think Alexa’s pretty great too! It’s a sweet time to be together and we look forward to when my parents and my sister’s family arrive so we can really get this party started. God has been so good to us. It’s undeserved and we are so grateful for His goodness. Better stop for now as I’m occupying Ama & Opa’s guest room/office. Here are a few more pics of their time in Soonerland thus far.
Enjoying a walk on a lovely spring day!

Ama & Alexa reading a story before bed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five Years in the Making!

“Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3  - This is the verse inscribed on our wedding bands
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On March 4, 2006, I was privileged to marry my best friend. Although it was five years ago, I can still remember our wedding day vividly. I was scampering around to finish last minute details (I actually wrote my vows late the night before) and I hadn’t even packed for the honeymoon. But one thing I did know, I was going to become Mrs. Christopher Kennedy and marry an amazing man of God. I felt very privileged in that respect. I felt like the Lord had prepared us for marriage through our own spiritual journeys and some tremendous premarital counseling and that provided me great peace! I never doubted Chris was the right person with whom to share the rest of my life and that conviction has only grown through the years. I am a very rich woman indeed. Here’s a glimpse of some of my personal highlights from the past five years . . .
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Our First Date – January 25, 2005

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“Proposal Meadow” near Grandma Rachel’s home in Colorado – Sept. 10, 2005

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We’re homeowners!! January 2006
Our Love Story
This is the video we showed at our wedding before the ceremony began so our friends and family could know “the rest of the story.” This is our love story . . .

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It’s official!! Marching forth in marriage – March 4, 2006

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Honeymoon at El Dorado Royale in Riveria Maya. Loved it!!

Our 1st OU/TX game sitting in the Texas endzone. It made for a great memory!

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Our 1st anniversary with the infamous wedding cake top – it was delicious!!

We did it!! Our 1st century ride – 101.28 miles!! Look at all of my freckles! Aug. 2007

One of our IMPACT groups – we sure love those peeps! March 2008

Enjoying some shopping at Branson Landing in Branson, MO – Nov. 2008

Love & Respect Training in Rome, GA. Here we are with the Eggerich’s. Feb. 2009

Skiing at Wolf Creek near Pagosa Springs, CO – March 2009

Enjoying a walk in Sunriver, OR (We also enjoyed skiing at Mt. Bachelor) – April 2009

Sitting on a joggling board in Charleston, SC – Sept. 2009

Special K’s a girl!! November 2009

Enjoying a hike at Big Cedar Lodge – Branson, MO. November 2009

Hello Miss Alexa Hope – we’re so excited to meet you!! March 13, 2010

Our family – Alexa at 8 weeks. May 2010

Alexa’s baby dedication – January 30, 2011 (10 months old)

It’s been quite a ride so far and I wouldn’t change a thing. I love you CK and thank the Lord for bringing a California man into my life to grow me, refine me, love me, lead me, and teach me to laugh & laugh & laugh. Here’s to at least 60 more years!!