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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween Little Princess!

Alexa Hope checking out the surroundings at our church’s Fall Festival this evening. Unfortunately, the pics aren’t spectacular since Mommy took Alexa by herself and was having difficulty keeping track of her little princess and the camera. Daddy was in night class earning his degree. Just so you know, the costume was given to us by one of my sister’s friends. We are so grateful for “gratis” costumes.

A close-up of our little girl. We prayed in the car on the way to Fall Festival that Alexa would wear her hat so Ama/Opa, Great Gram Graf, Mimi/Pop, and her cousins could see the costume. She didn’t bat an eye when I tied it around her neck. Thank you Lord!

Alexa didn’t know what to do about taking candy from the bins at the trunk or treat. I think her spoils for the evening included three suckers and a tootsie roll. I was like – seriously!? I did get some cotton candy for myself. I didn’t wear an orange shirt for nothing (something a true Sooner finds great difficulty doing)! I hope we have better luck with the candy next year (at least for Mommy and Daddy’s sake).

Alexa LOVED jumping on the inflatables (This is what she’d prefer to do on our furniture as well). Here she is checking out the tunnel. She would’ve stayed on this toy all night had I not convinced her to ride a pony and go down a big slide. We returned 3x. This girl is all about bouncing!

Alexa in action. Jump, lil’ princess, jump!

Alexa riding her miniature pony – Little Britches. She wouldn’t stop smiling.

After her pony ride, we had to get right back in line because she enjoyed it so much. Here she is on her 2nd ride telling a gentleman the sound a pony makes. Ama, you would’ve been so proud of how well your granddaughter rode her pony – like a pro!!

I wanted to add a few random pics of my favorite home in Norman on Halloween. I decided to take Alexa to this house today because she LOVES to drive by it and see the “pocanuts” (her term for pumpkins – don’t ask us how she came up with it). So, we stopped at the house today and knocked on the door to see if we could grab some pics of Alexa with the “pocanuts.” Miss Kathy was so kind and let us play there as long as Alexa wanted to stay. This house looks so neat and all the pumpkins are lit at night. You’ve gotta check it out if you live in Norman.

I love this home in the fall located on Peters between Main & Robinson.

Pictures don’t do justice to how many pumpkins are on display. All full of character.

Alexa honking the nose of one of the “pocanuts.”

She enjoyed drumming on the extra large “pocanut” under the wagon.

Her favorite “pocanut” was the one that said, “Eeeeeeek!!” We would say “Eeeeeek” every time she’d walk up to it. We were quite the pair.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our First Weekend Getaway

It’s been almost two years since Chris and I have been able to get away as a couple. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to take a little retreat, it was just a matter of figuring out logistics for childcare, selecting a time that didn’t interfere with commitments, and Chris’ class schedule. We both knew we desperately needed it and it finally happened this weekend!

Aside from having a 103.6 degree fever both nights, Alexa did very well at Mimi & Pop’s (along with greatly appreciated help from my sis, Rylen & Layton who were on fall break). We are so thankful for the time we had to simply rest, to pray and seek the Lord about decisions that need to be made, to have adult conversations, to reset & clarify goals, to sleep in and eat decadent food, and to remove ourselves from “daily life” so we could reconnect. It was a gift and we’re so thankful to my family for their willingness to watch Alexa so we could escape for a couple of days. I think we’re a much better team after this respite.

We stayed at an ultramodern loft style hotel called The NYLO in Plano, TX (about 20 minutes from my parents). I really enjoyed the aesthetic, and Chris endured it. I joked with him that it did resemble a bomb shelter with the concrete walls, floors, and ceiling. However, I still loved the clean, edgy look. Definitely not your standard Marriott hotel. We enjoyed eating at some delicious restaurants (thanks to recommendations from Urban Spoon and Trip Advisor). We also soaked up the beauty at the Dallas Arboretum. You MUST visit when you are in the area. it’s a great place to walk, to read, to picnic, and to bring your kids. Bottom line – it’s breathtaking. And, it wouldn’t be an “official” get away without some shopping.


The NYLO. Our room was located in the glass panels on the right side.

Our room is the one lit up on the 2nd floor. We stayed in a glass loft where the entire back wall is comprised of glass. We also stayed in a PURE room which is supposed to be free of allergens. I can’t say I am convinced it was worth the money.

A shot of the bed at night. I thought it looked like it was glowing. Loved it!!

A view of the room in daylight.

A view looking back into the room. Notice the curved glass shower (to right) with the industrial sliding door to the bathroom. All very cool touches.

We decided our next office chair will be this one. It was so comfy and great fun to scoot around the room. I think I drove Chris nutty with my rolling around while we talked through our budget & financial goals. A girl has to have fun. 

If you are interested in checking out the NYLO, here’s the site . . .


We definitely want to know who landscaped this place. Maybe they can recommend a good lawn care service for us.

Chris in front of a giant Whale’s Tongue Agave plant. Looks dangerous.

I could’ve sat on a blanket & written in my journal all day surrounded by this beauty.

Capturing a Monarch butterfly before it found another landing spot.

The illusion of a reflecting pool flowing into White Rock Lake.

I can’t remember the name of this plant but the color was magnificent.

The sign in front of this path asked children not to climb on the trees. You can definitely see why that would be such a great temptation.

This tiny flower is enough evidence for me to know we serve a powerful, magnificent & creative God.

This is an incredible canopy of Crepe Myrtles. Just another 50 years and ours might look like this too.

There were over 50,000 pumpkins featured at the arboretum including “Cinderella’s Pumpkin Village” which is totally comprised of pumpkins. This is a very small sampling of what lined the paths throughout the 66-acre site.

Chris scanned the whole park before deciding this was the “perfect” pumpkin.

This is only an example of the structures in Cinderella’s Pumpkin Village. It was an adventure for children and adults. I’ve never seen so many pumpkins in my life.

We definitely plan on visiting Dallas Arboretum again, but next time, with Alexa. And, we definitely plan on scheduling another “couple’s” getaway. This time, we’ll plan on three days!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alexa’s fascination with . . . Alexa!

Alexa admiring herself in a mirror. Lots more about this fascination below.

Well, we’ve reached the 19-mos-old milestone. This month we’ve traveled to St. Louis to see Brooke & Whitman, spent lots of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather with friends & family, discovered more exciting things Alexa can do, and attempted to nurture and shape Alexa’s personality into one that will glorify God (a definite work in progress). 

-- She took her first “big girl” bath. I know it’s ridiculous we waited so long but she loved her little tub and she loves routine. Good thing though . . . she loves the big girl bath even more. She runs into the bathroom when the water starts going and tries to climb in fully clothed.

-- She enjoys pretend talking to Daddy on the phone. She says “Hi Daddy – work. Miss you. Love you.” Not necessarily in that order.

-- She LOVES to jump on her bed or ours. When Daddy walks into the house, she generally says, “Daddy . . . bed.” I know, a horrible habit we need to break now.

-- She can count from 1-10 and loves to sing, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” or the “B-I-B-L-E.” She might even help you recite a Bible verse. However, she’ll only do this when she wants to so don’t expect her to perform.

-- She enjoys going to the park to hang on the “monkey” (monkey bars, that is). She also enjoys hanging off our table, the countertop, the coffee table and crib. I told her to enjoy it while she still weighs 20lbs.

-- She has tried the big girl potty too. She’ll tell me “tinkle” or “poopy” and then say “try.” She’ll sit on her little seat and I’ll ask if she has any tinkles and she’ll say, “Ssssss” and grab the toilet paper to wipe herself. Not too effective but cute.

-- We have two large traffic calming bumps on the street going to our house, so when she knows we’re getting close to home, she’ll say “Ready” right before we go over a bump and then we make a big deal about how it shakes us all around. She loves it and thinks it’s so funny.

Perhaps the thing we see most consistently from our little girl is her fascination with seeing herself (something I’m not so excited about as it’s becoming a challenge in how we approach technology). She loves to watch videos (or as she says, “bideos”) of herself. She will sit still lengths of time if she can scroll through images on our camera or iPhone. It’s unbelievable how much she enjoys it – scary really. I don’t think I’d call it narcissism quite yet. Perhaps it is seeing something familiar and she gravitates to it. She also sees other faces she knows like Mommy & Daddy or her cousins. Regardless, it’s a constant battle trying to take a picture or video of her because she wants to “hold it” and see herself. Here’s just a small sampling of the challenges in photographing Alexa because she wants to hold the camera instead of pose for it. In some instances, she’ll just throw a fit. Warning – these are those pics a Mommy rarely posts. You could see some scary outbursts of behavior.



Yes . . . she can work an iPhone, our camera, and our camcorder all by herself.

Watching a video with Rylen & Daddy.

Daddy is shooting a video of Alexa but notice how the screen on the camera is displayed – facing Lil’ A.

I was washing dishes the other day when I realized Alexa was being very quiet. I walked in to check on her and she was looking at our Disney World photo book. She proceeded to tell me about the pics from Mickey and Dumbo to Mimi and Cinderella’s Castle. Flipping through the pages of this book has become a regular activity. Who knows . . . maybe she WILL remember something from her trip to Disney World.

Long story – short . . . I think Alexa’s getting a digital frame this Christmas.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fountain Hopping - Sooner Style

Alexa LOVES fountains (all forms of water for that matter). I cannot overstate this fact. When we drive by OU’s campus (practically once a day), she says, “OU . . . fountain” (and occasionally she adds, “Daddy . . . work”). Most typically though, the word “OU” is first followed by “fountain.”
The University of Oklahoma is known for its many beautiful fountains, and we are trying to visit each one before it gets too chilly. Why? Because visiting a fountain requires removing socks/shoes, splashing and getting pretty wet. We have not accomplished our task yet but here’s a rundown from two visits. Unfortunately, I take Alexa to campus quite often by myself and without a camera, so I guess we have visited more than I expected. They just haven’t been documented . . . yet.
Intrigued by the lights under the water at Daddy’s favorite fountain – the several mini fountains outside Bizzell Library. The sound of the fountains is so peaceful, and it’s beautiful at night.

It wouldn’t be an official trip to a fountain if Alexa didn’t get some part of her body wet.

Alexa is all business at the fountain outside Ellison Hall, the College of Arts of Sciences. I think we totally annoyed a young man studying next to this fountain.

We’ve only started and Alexa is already spotted. Daddy had to keep pulling up her jeans as the weight from the water caused them to sag. She doesn’t seem to mind.

The newest fountain on campus at the Zarrow Building for Social Work.

We don’t understand why but she enjoyed wiping her face with the water.

Lil’ A tours the perimeter of a fountain. It’s standard operating procedure.


Checking out one of the largest fountains on campus located on the South Oval.

I have no idea why she likes to rub the water on her face. You can tell by the look on Mommy’s face, I’m a bit concerned by this behavior – mostly the germs.

Let the kicking begin!!

We let Alexa get her sandals wet in this fountain located just outside Oklahoma Memorial Union.

Alexa with her supporting cast – literally! This fountain has a shrub surrounding it so it does take a grown-up to assist in getting wet.

I believe this fountain located in front of the Michael F. Price College of Business is Alexa’s favorite. We frequent it more often than any other . . . could it be because it is located closest to Daddy’s office? Or could it be because it stands in front of the building from which Daddy has earned and is currently working toward another degree? Hmmmm . . . maybe I should see if Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication has any fountains. Mommy needs to represent.

Keep splashing sweet girl. These are the kinds of waves we don’t mind you making.