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Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas in Big “D”

We had a wonderful week in Dallas celebrating Christmas with my extended family at Mimi & Pop’s. Here’s a peek at how Alexa spent her 2nd Christmas


Alexa with her favorite cousins (Rylen & Layton) on Christmas Day.

Alexa enjoyed staring at Mimi’s Christmas village – especially the houses that played music. My friend, Martisha Green, made Alexa’s sweet Rudolph shirt. Love it!

Hanging up the final ornament on her Advent calendar, the nativity.

Yep – that’s what it’s all about – the birth of baby Jesus!

We’ve tried both years to get a picture of the kids in front of the tree. Well, two of them cooperated this year! Alexa was too intrigued by Layton’s Scooby Doo stuffed animal. This was Nonie’s Christmas tree. My mom got her tree, and I got the decorations.We all treasure having a piece of Nonie with us when we open gifts.


I love this precious pic of my niece & nephew. I can’t believe how grown-up they’ve become. It’s hard to believe Layton it 2 1/2 years younger than Rylen. I think we have two athletes on our hands.

Alexa trying on her new sheep slippers from Mimi & Pop. She’s pointing to his eyes.

Building a tower of Legos with Daddy. Alexa will say, “Daddy . . . Legos!” It’s her way of saying, I want “whoever it is” to play Legos with me.

Leave it to my sister to build the exact replica of the picture on the box. I think it’s her OCD way of making sure we have all the Legos. She also pointed out the diagram on the box that tells me how many of each Lego size we should have. From one “Type A” sister to the other – thank you Hol!!

Alexa was trying out her Heisman pose with her OU football. Yes - a girl can have a football. Mommy wanted her to have it. Alexa is all about balls & we think it’s great!!

Alexa “the hooded wonder” swinging on her indoor trampoline. Unfortunately, you can only catch a glimpse of her backside as she wasn’t dressed for a blog post. 

Layton & Rylen with some of their spoils – a new basketball & a nail art set.

Uncle Chris & Aunt Kels ensure the kids are stylin’ in 2012. BOOMER SOONER!

Mimi’s festive Christmas table. One can see I came by my love for red genetically.

Nonie (my grandmother) made these felt Santa napkin holders when we were children. The china was from my parents’ wedding. Yes, they were married in 1970 – but I do believe daisies are making a comeback. 

The day ended with frozen treats. Layton, Chris & Rylen served as official taste testers for the first round of popsicles from the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. Amazing & delicious! It makes three popsicles in seven minutes! Alexa got a brain freeze on her first attempt which ended in tears.

While in Dallas, Alexa enjoyed quality time with some of her favorite people.

Reading a Bible story with Pop (aka – Pop-Pop, Poppy) whatever suits Alexa’s fancy.

Totally relaxed while enjoying a good read with Mimi. Ironically, the title of the book was “Five Little Sleepyheads” – quite apropos.

Coloring with Ry on her DSi. Rylen was very kind to share it with Lil’ A (often).

Deep in their imaginary worlds, Layton and Alexa build another creation together.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Celebrate Christ!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'” Isaiah 9:6
So, It’s the day after Christmas. The packages are unwrapped. The turkey is officially a “leftover.” And, I’m sure most of us are feeling a bit let down as the reality sets in that Christmas 2011 is over. However, if we set our hearts on the true reason for this season – there doesn’t have to be any let down at all (just a resolve to get the decorations back into the attic – sigh). 

Yesterday, my parents' pastor challenged us to celebrate Christ . . . not Christmas. This resonated with my heart as I’ve meditated on the incarnation of Christ this season probably more than I ever have. A leader in the Bible study I attend said, “The incarnation of Christ is just as important as His resurrection.” I never thought of Christ’s birth in that way. It always seemed Easter trumped Christmas and with good reason. However, if Jesus didn’t make the sacrifice to come to earth wrapped in humanity (and yet fully God), He couldn’t sacrifice Himself on the cross for our sins as the perfect Lamb of God. He had to become one of us to redeem us. It’s so hard for me to wrap my feeble mind around this reality. The Truth of Jesus’ incarnation and all the prophecy He fulfilled is a much more fantastic tale than Santa Claus, and the best part is – it’s TRUE! It’s been a joy teaching Alexa the amazing details of Christ’s birth – from the angel’s visit to both Mary and Joseph to the Magi following His star to worship the King. It’s also been a joy listening to her learn the many names of Jesus. 

I think this meditation from Augustine of Hippo (Sermon 191.1) expresses the profound mystery of Jesus’ incarnation beautifully . . . 

Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.
As I’ve read this meditation, I’ve thought about who Jesus really was – not just a sweet little babe in a manger but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And the beauty is He never changes. He remains King of Kings and Lord of Lords today!! Here are just a few of the attributes that have been running through my heart and mind this season . . .

Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God (Alexa’s favorite attribute when we sing Isaiah 9:6) 
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace
Bread of Life
The Way, The Truth, The Life
Great High Priest
King of Kings
Perfect Love
Son of God
Son of Man
Christ the Lord
Name Above All Names
Blessed Redeemer

What attribute of Christ has meant the most to you this year? Although Christmas is over, we can celebrate Christ today and throughout 2012. He won’t disappoint!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I’m Dreaming of a “Green & Red” Christmas

For the last five years, I’ve definitely dreamt of a “White Christmas.” I love the look of a white tree. It’s dazzling. Most of my white decorations came from Nonie, my grandmother who always had an unbelievable tree. So, a “white" Christmas holds sentimental value for me as well. However, this year, I finally gave in to my hubby’s request for a traditional Christmas tree. (I suppose it also had to do with a little girl who loves “ormanents”). I have to admit adding green and red to our Christmas décor really jazzed up the place. I grew up with a traditional tree so I find great delight in reminiscing over the ornaments that trim our tree and the new memories we are making with Lil’ A. Here’s a look at the facelift from bright white to vivid color. I always joke that when we live in our “grown-up” house I’ll have both kinds of trees on display and they’ll be big! Mommy LOVES Christmas!!

This year’s décor included column candles wrapped in ribbon and a new tree skirt & stockings. We will get the stockings embroidered. Another project for 2012.

Here’s my white tree . . . sniff, sniff. The tree was bequeathed to us from my sister and brother-in-law. The decorations were Nonie’s. She had brilliant taste and I love having a piece of her with us every Christmas. The column candles and garland were from our wedding. I’m feeling so “green.”

There’s nothing more magical than starting at the Christmas tree, Christmas music playing in the background, and a holly berry candle burning . . . sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows adds extra bliss to the ambience. Even Alexa enjoyed laying down with her blankie by Mommy to stare up at the tree. 

I pray each one of you has a very Merry Christmas Eve whether it be “white” or “green and red.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our “Cheesy” 21-month-old

Last week, Alexa crept a little closer to becoming a two-year-old. She now holds the rank of a 21-month-old. She is such a hoot and we truly love to watch her learn and grow everyday. She has a fairly large vocabulary these days. So much so that I can’t keep up very well with the words she knows or the phrases she puts together. I can say all of it is precious. We enjoy listening to her communicate with us. It’s a delight to watch her figure out how this good ol’ world works. Here are just a few things she’s been up to this month . . .

ADVENT SEASON – “Jesus Coming”
Alexa LOVES Advent. When we light the candles, she’ll say “Jesus Coming.” She’ll hold baby Jesus from her Fisher Price Nativity Set and always insists on singing “World” (Joy to the World) when we finish the Advent devotional (or during the devotional). She also enjoys singing Isaiah 9:6 – especially the description of Jesus as “mighty God.” This is a memory verse we’ve worked on all December. As well as quoting Luke 2:11. Her greatest delight is helping snuff out the candles and watch the smoke rise. Then, she immediately runs to our Advent Christmas tree calendar to hang her “ormanent” on the button of her choice. I sort of wonder what we’ll do when Christmas is over because she has truly loved Advent season.

The Advent candles. I will buy an Advent candle ring next year but this works.

Alexa helping Mommy with the scripture reading. She enjoys using her pink Bible.

Helping Daddy snuff out the lights.

Hanging her “ormanent” on the Advent tree. It’s great to watch Alexa’s face when she sees the new ornament every night.

This is the Advent tree Chris had growing up. His mom, Karen, made it for him. Now it will be passed down to Alexa – or I might make her a new one so we can keep Chris’. We’ll see how crafty Mommy can be in the years to come.

We brought Daddy’s rocking horse home from CA. Charlie made this horse for Chris when he was a little tike. The horsey suffered a broken leg from the flight home (silly TSA inspectors) but Daddy fixed it. Alexa will say, “Broken. Daddy fix it.” She insists on wearing shoes to ride her horse although these pictures indicate otherwise. And she enjoys feeding her horsey carrots (orange crayons) for breakfast & dinner.

Rocking in her new Christmas dress.

Rocking & howling at the moon. Yeah – I have no idea what she’s doing.

Rocking & watching a video on Daddy’s iPhone.

Rocking & staring off into space.
Aside from trotting around on her horsey, Alexa enjoys boating in her box. She has a sailboat, a large box, and a tug boat, a little tiny box that provides just enough room for her bottom to rest in while her legs & arms plop out.
BEING A SUPER HERO Alexa knows nothing of super heroes but she went to a friend’s birthday party where the theme was Wonder Pets. She received a cute little cape as a party favor, and oh, the power of suggestion. Alexa loves to run around in her cape wearing Daddy’s belt.

Alexa flexes her super hero muscles before saving the world of impending doom.

Just look at that sweet face of anticipation as she gets suited up. Dressing up is so exciting Mommy! Come on Daddy – this girl’s got to get to crime fighting.

Had to share the back of the cape with you – so creative!

Alexa loves her books. In fact, a babysitter mentioned recently how amazed she was by Alexa’s excitement for reading. We’re thrilled she loves her books. I feel like it’s been the key to her vast vocabulary and ability to recognize so many facets of her world and memorize like a champion. She has learned to express phrases with lots of emotion too. The girl’s got drama!
It got quiet one afternoon while I was preparing lunch. I was curious what Alexa was up to when I found her nestled in the big recliner immersed in the wonder of trucks.

Reading her “Thanksgiving” book from Aunt Kay & Uncle Jim. This is Alexa’s new favorite. When we ask Alexa what she wants to read for bedtime, one of the first books on her list is “Giving.” She loves the page where the pilgrims thank God for bringing them safely to America.

I don’t know but it must’ve been a big story.

Umm . . . excuse me. I’m reading a book with Ama right now. No flash photography!

More reading with Ama.

Reading with Opa after bathtime. Who doesn’t like “Winnie the Pooh” after a bath!?

Speaking of baths, I had to share this random pic. Alexa gets a kick out of her spike.

I could share picture after picture of Alexa simply being Alexa. She’s just a hoot.

Alexa wanted to throw her leaf into the pond just like the rocks the grown-ups were throwing in. As you can imagine, it didn’t work so well.

So, Alexa decided the leaf would look perfect smashed onto Daddy’s head. Yep . . . that’s our sweet lil’ Alexa Hope.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post – you deserve a good laugh. Here are two priceless pics from the family session Shannon, my dear friend & gal I work for, photographed for us ( I’ll be posting more pics from our session, but these two are definitely worth sharing when it comes to Alexa being, as we like to call her, a “goose monkey.”

We call this pic Alexa’s Braveheart pose. All she needed was some blue paint on her face and her super hero cape.