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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ama & Alexa

Chris’ mom, Karen, (better known as Ama around these parts) paid us a visit in mid-June. I’m sad to say we didn’t take many pictures during her stay – we seemed to keep very busy – which happens with a 15-month-old running around. Chris finished up his summer school class while Ama and I managed to do some baking, strawberry freezer jam making, catching up and lots of playing with Alexa. Ama didn’t mind watching Alexa while I ran much needed errands and Chris projected around the house. We also enjoyed Alexa’s 1st dip in her little swimming pool and her 1st trip to the zoo (which I’ll post later). But perhaps the biggest blessing (for me at least) was her willingness to cook several dishes for us to enjoy now and later. Ama – I’m so, so grateful for your servant’s heart! We continue to benefit from your tasty and nutritious treats. What a blessing!! Alexa loves her Ama (and she missed her Opa)!! We look forward to seeing Ama, Opa, and Great-Grandma Rachel very soon.

Alexa and Ama at the OKC Zoo. I just love Alexa’s “cheese” smile.

Alexa and Ama “painting” the cement with water.

Ama took Alexa to the local park several times. Alexa loves to swing & slide.

I don’t think we need to worry about Alexa staying hydrated (see the 3 sippy cups).

“Cool . . . this is way more hair than Daddy has.”

A true expression of love & care = a full freezer of yummy meals. THANK YOU AMA!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jeff’s Visit & Adventures in OKC

In mid-May, Jeff Gulden, Chris’ lifelong friend from California, visited our family on his way to NYC. The last time he visited Oklahoma was just a few days shy of Alexa’s arrival so it was special for him to see the result of my big belly from over a year ago. We had a wonderful time staying up late to catch up and laugh as well as do a bit of local sightseeing. Jeff, we’re so thankful you took the time to visit us and love on our little Alexa. We are praying you have a wonderful 1st semester of grad school at the University of Utah. Here’s a rundown of some of the places we visited during Jeff’s stay (Thanks for sharing your pics with us Jeff!) . . .

Our first stop was the Oklahoma Capitol. The House & Senate were actually in session so there was a lot of buzz and security inside. Apparently, we just missed Governor Mary Fallin – maybe next time.

Another view of the Capitol with a statue by Allan Houser – As Long as the Waters Flow. As evidenced by the flags, the wind definitely blows in OK.

Jeff, Alexa & Chris at the Capitol’s entrance.

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Alexa could have gone up and down the steps all day. I’m not so sure about Daddy!

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A nine foot tall replica of The Guardian by Enoch Kelly Haney. The actual statue, which is 22’ tall, stands proudly atop the Capitol’s dome. (Nice photo Jeff!)

We’re not so sure what Alexa is doing here but she seemed to like The Guardian.

Alexa didn’t get the memo that Governor Fallin had already left the building.

Alexa “cacking” at the ducks at the Bricktown Canal.

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She also enjoyed feeding these ducks as much they enjoyed eating her Cheerios.

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Chris and Jeff standing in front of the Oklahoma Land Run Centennial Monument near Bricktown (commemorating the historic land run of 1889). It was created by Paul Moore and is one of the world’s largest bronze sculptures including 38 people, 24 horses, 3 wagons, a buggy, a sulky, a dog, a rabbit and a cannon.

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Another view of the Land Run Monument. You can see figures all the way to the right.

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I love this shot Jeff took. It really captures the movement in the piece. It’s amazing to see in-person.

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The day ended with a trip to the OKC National Memorial. It was a beautiful sunset.

Alexa avoiding the paparazzi. However, she can’t escape the wind.

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These are beautiful images courtesy of Jeff. This is the reflecting pool.

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The perspective of the reflecting pool from the other side of the Memorial with the lit chairs to the right representing those who died in the bombing.

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The following day, we joined Chris on OU’s campus for lunch and a little walk. Alexa loves to walk on campus. A glimpse of Evan’s Hall (home of President Boren’s office).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

15 1/2 months of Alexa Hope

IMG_1385CHEESE!! Alexa bears a toothy/gummy grin.

It’s been a while since we’ve devoted an entire post to Alexa Hope (and let’s be honest, that’s why you check this blog). Her 15 month check-up to the doc gave me the perfect opportunity to fill you in on all the latest stats and excitement. The last couple of months with Alexa have been FULL of activity. A friend ask the other day, “Does she ever slow down?” My answer – “Only if she’s asleep.” Our little girl is always on the move – full of curiosity, full of spunk, full of personality and full of independence. I wish I could capture in words just how much she is changing and learning every day. It’s so much fun! Chris and I are constantly swapping stories of her antics and adventures. She brings us great joy and lots of laughs. Probably what amazes me most is how much she understands & how often she mimics whatever we do. Although her vocabulary is still developing, her grasp of it is pretty amazing. Here’s a rundown – with plenty of pics – capturing the last two months o’ Alexa.

IMG_1589Alexa enjoys wearing Dada’s hat. What a “cool cat.”

Alexa’s current stats:
Weight – 19.8 oz (6%)
Height – 30 1/4” (45%)
Head Circumference – 17 1/4” (5%)

Alexa’s Highlights & Adventures:
--Getting her 4th tooth (a central incisor on the top).
--Having Jeff Gulden (Chris’ longtime friend), Ama & Pop visit us.
--Visiting Oklahoma’s Capitol, Bricktown and the OKC Memorial with Jeff Gulden. (A separate blog to come).
--Experiencing the OKC zoo for the first time. (Another blog on this one too).
--Celebrating cousin Layton’s 8th birthday.
--Playing on her new play yard in the backyard.
--Swimming in her little swimming pool and the big one too.
--Using a spoon all by herself.
--Brushing her teeth (all four or them), of course, by herself.
--Enjoying a jog or two with Mommy (in the jogger stroller).
--Pushing the regular stroller on walks instead of sitting in it.
--Eating more big girl food including – green beans, broccoli, asparagus, pineapple, yogurt & peanut butter . . . hooray!! The girl loves mini muffins too.
--Developing a distinct “Alexa” vocabulary and signing “please,” “more” & “all done.”
--Singing – it’s so sweet. She loves “Oh How I Love Jesus” & “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
--Throwing her first temper tantrums. Oh my – discipline, here we come!!
--Drinking entirely from sippy cups (I weaned her at 15 months. . . sniff, sniff).
--Still enjoying two naps and 12 hours of sleep at night (Mommy enjoys this too).

A Sampling of Alexa-speak (spelled phonetically):
--Cack – the sound a duck makes or a cracker
--Outh – outside
--Side – inside
--Dowh – down
--Baah – ball
--Cuck – truck
--Bubo – bubble
--Nana – banana
--High – saying “hi” or a chair of any kind (originated from high chair)
--Baybee – baby, her Praise Baby DVD, or “bitty” for Itsy Bitsy Spider
--Cowd – cloud
--Baloo – balloon
--Bees – green beans
--Pees – please
--Eyes – eyes
--Taku – thank you
--Pi-ap – pineapple
--Wuhee – whee (expression for sliding, spinning, or swinging)
--Cheese – cheese, string cheese, macaroni & cheese
--Gapes – grapes
--Ah-Ah-Ah – pacifier (it’s from a game we play with her)
--Ry-Ry – Rylen
--Pop – Alexa’s Pop, my Dad
--Shuus – shoes
--Yow – Meow
--Hooo – sound an owl makes
--Cock – sound a rooster makes
--Beep-beep – sound Alexa’s belly button makes
--Roar – sound a lion, tiger & bear make
--Woooooo – sound an elephant makes
--She also does a brilliant airplane impression

IMG_1556Why we change outfits many times a day. Alexa loves to pour water from her swimming pool on herself with her princess bucket.

IMG_1560Here she goes. Ahhhh – so refreshing!!

IMG_1307”Yeah, Mommy, I think it’ll work.” Alexa giving her forward facing car seat a trial run.

IMG_1521Alexa’s not for sure she wants to get into her swimming pool. The water’s cold!

IMG_1574Alexa’s getting ready to swim in the “big girl pool” with her buddy, Eva Westerman.

”I love this rocking chair. It’s just my size!” Ty Aunt Hol, Uncle Mark, Ry-Ry & Layton.

IMG_1434”Me want cookie – me want cookie!” Alexa enjoying her first chocolate chip cookie.

IMG_1440She’s trying to get every chocolatey crumb.

IMG_1276Alexa will make sure there are no remnants in her Greek yogurt container.

IMG_1313Here she is enjoying her first chocolate pudding (and her nose - another favorite pastime).

IMG_1419Alexa enjoys pushing rather than pounding the pegs into her toy. Such a little lady.

IMG_0118Alexa loves chairs – even if it’s a Boppy. Here she’s pointing to a “cuck” (truck).

IMG_1268”Please join me in my house.” She thought it was fun to close the flaps like a gate.

IMG_1445Alexa loves watching the American flag wave in the wind. We do too!

IMG_1451Pounding on the garage door – a favorite outdoor pastime.

IMG_1344It’s a tight squeeze in the Outback with Alexa and her cousins – Layton and Ry-Ry.

IMG_1568She adores her cousins. Such a cute trio.

IMG_1583Alexa with her Dada. I had to include this sweet pic.

IMG_1377How many adults does it take to install a play yard?

IMG_1378Hmmmmm . . . looks like five. Thanks Hol & Mark for letting us borrow the big toy.

Alright – even more pics coming your way this week of our trip to the state capitol, the OKC zoo and a special visit from Ama.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Retail Therapy

About a week after the miscarriage, I told (rather asked) Chris if I could purchase some new running clothes and running shoes. After all, I’d been into road biking the last eight years. My work-out attire consisted of cycling jerseys and spandex. I had decided if I wasn’t going to have a growing belly, I was going to have a flat one. I knew sweating would be a way for me to not only get in shape but also to process and heal. Exercise has always been an outlet for me. I wanted goals to push myself and see progress – something to get me out of bed on the tough days. For the last several weeks, I’ve enjoyed pounding the pavement while listening to my heart pounding in my head – yes, I’m VERY out of shape. Alexa loves riding in the jogger stroller and I enjoy listening to my Nano since my sweet hubby added several new albums for me to rock out to. I’m loving it!! I’m definitely not ready to run a 5k or 10k but I’m getting there and feeling stronger every day. I know Chris thought the receipt for all of this shopping madness was a bit absurd (I forgot to mention I also ordered a new swimsuit and purchased a 2 mos tanning membership for further motivation) but I told him “retail therapy” is a lot cheaper than the real stuff. He agreed and has enjoyed a few runs with his girls too. Can’t wait to go shopping (I mean jogging) again!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dada & Alexa Hope

I had mentioned in the Father’s Day blog that I didn’t get a pic of Daddy & Alexa on the actual day. What I forgot (which is so common these days it’s scary) is that I had set aside some sweet pics of the two of them together for the Father’s Day post. Well almost a week later, I’m finally remembering & and can share these images with you.
Alexa loves her Dada so much. She runs to the door when she hears Dada walking in from work. She says his name in the morning when I get her out of bed. She loves how he tickles her, chases her, throws her up the air, and takes her for rides on his shoulders. Chris reminds me so much of my dad in that when he is with Alexa – he is TOTALLY present with Alexa. Nothing else matters to him. She gets Dada’s undivided attention and that does so much for a girl’s confidence and development. I was a “daddy’s girl” and I suppose I still am. I think Alexa is already falling into that category as well. I truly believe Alexa will be a strong, confident, courageous, well-spoken, free-spirited and very active young lady because her Dada loves her so much. Here’s a glimpse of their sweet relationship.

Getting ready for a walk with Daddy enjoying a little pre-walk snack – Cheerios.

Alexa is still getting used to Daddy wearing a hat during the summer. How funny!

Alexa reading a Bible story to Jasper and Dada.

Apparently, Alexa thought Daddy needed help changing the oil in the car.

Alexa provides some oil-changing entertainment by drumming on Daddy.

Swinging with Daddy is so much fun – weeeeeee!!