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Friday, June 29, 2012

The Gift of Friendship

True friendships are rare, and I am blessed to have a handful of incredibly precious friendships. Ya’know . . . those friendships that never change despite education, careers, moves across the country, hormones, spouses, babies. When you are with these friends – nothing changes and you can totally be yourself. It’s like being home. I had the privilege of hanging with two of my “besties” this month – Denise & Brooke. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pics with Denise but I did manage to capture some pics of our time with Brooke & her son, Whitman. They flew in from St. Louis to spend some time with us. We also had the privilege of celebrating our goddaughter, Eva’s, 4th birthday. The Westerman family are very dear friends to us as well. It was a full week – full of blessings, laughter & memories.


Sweet Eva exudes joy. She is a sensitive little soul with a big, big heart. Eva has a signature squeal & giggle when she gets excited. Alexa loves to squeal now too. We call it the “Eva squeal.”

Alexa was just as excited for the cake as Eva.

Eva was delighted with her rose cake courtesy of Mama Kelly. Unfortunately, Kelly couldn’t find her birthday candles, so they settled on an Advent candle. Love it!!

A precious Mama & daughter.

This cake was deeeeelicious!!

Lil’ sis, Liberty, enjoying a big swing.

Eva working on her skills with her new balance bike.

Alexa exploring a bit.


Alexa & Whitman enjoying suckers at the airport.

The rowdy crew on a hot & windy Oklahoma day.

We didn’t bring a ball to the park, but a pinecone worked just as well.

Oh yeah – that’s how you do it, Whit!

Alexa preferred watching kids get wet instead of experiencing it herself.

Snack time was pretty great too.

You know Alexa was telling Whit a big story during a water break at the park.

The kids were engrossed with the video, “Elmo’s Potty Time.” I had to keep asking them to sit on the sofa. Let’s just hope something sticks!

Let’s just say Brooke LOVES her some Ted’s CafĂ© Escondido (and she’s pregnant too, so the cravings are even more legit). She has anticipated this meal for two years, and yes, she enjoyed every morsel of it.

Thank you, Lord, for precious friends. They are a gift from you!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Stepstool for Karis

If you asked me what I’ve done in June, I would point at this picture. I believe this is my 34th stepstool. I am currently trying to finish four stepstools I promised to very dear friends when their babies were born (most of their babies are now 1 or 2-years-old . . . sigh). My goal was to finish all four by the end of June but I only managed to complete this one. They just take a lot of time from assembling, sanding, priming, painting & sealing. I have a difficult time fitting in “painting time” with work, a two-year-old, domestic duties & Daddy’s summer school schedule. My next deadline – July.

This whole “stool painting” thing started back when I painted two lil’ stools for my niece & nephew. Then my dear friend, Denise, had her first child, Bailey. Karis is her third. Here are the stepstools I’ve painted for her children over the past several years. I told her she needs to slow down since I’m incredibly slow at painting stepstools, and I don’t know how many more stepstools I have in me. I don’t know if she’s listening – ha! I do hope Karis enjoys this for years to come!

Bailey’s stool (the older sister)

Laken’s stool (the older brother)

One down . . . three more to go!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy 42nd Anniversary!!

My parents are amazing. No really, I’m not just saying that – they are! Growing up they were always the “cool” parents. Our house was a popular place to hang-out. My dad was my youth minister and my mom was my teacher, yearbook adviser & missions leader. We were practically always together growing up . . . and that’s exactly how I wanted it. From a weekly Bible study at our home and numerous mission trips across the country to church camps, sports & journalism trips to New York City, they were actively involved in my life. Always encouraging, always supportive, always believing in me & praying for my spiritual growth. I consider myself incredibly blessed! I didn’t deserve to call them Mom & Dad, but the Lord granted me this privilege anyway, and I never want to take this relationship for granted. I know our family is rich indeed.

I say all of that to say this . . . My parents have given me so much throughout my life. There is no way I could ever repay them for what they’ve invested in me or say “thank you” enough. However, one of the greatest things they have done for me is stay married. Not just a “we’ll stay together for kids” marriage. Not a “we love each other but we don’t like each” marriage. It’s a marriage filled with unconditional love & respect. One that is abundant & growing – filled with laughter, sacrifice & service together for the Kingdom of God. As I watch my parents, I continue to see them grow stronger in their bond of love. Because of their example, I’ve seen commitment & covenant lived out right before my eyes. I have seen what it takes to have a thriving marriage. It isn’t a act. It’s for real.

Thank you Mom & Dad for making your relationship to God and your marriage a priority. I don’t have deep hurts, scars or fears of commitment like so many of my friends because you nurtured a healthy relationship with each other – centered on humility, sacrifice & lots of laughter. And, thank you for always being “cool.” (wink)

I pray the Lord continues to bless & enrich your covenant. Your relationship is my standard of how marriage is done “well.” Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it!

I love you bunches & am so grateful for your both. Happy 42nd anniversary!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday pick-me-up


Yep . . . we’re big Coldplay fans (we’ve seen them three times). Chris surprised me with tickets at Christmas, and I’ve been anticipating this concert ever since. So, we packed up Lil’ A, our Coldplay playlist and headed to Dallas for the opportunity to hear the band we love. By the way, Alexa stayed with my parents. She does know the song, “Paradise,” but we’re not about to damage her hearing at the age of two.

As usual, Coldplay didn’t disappoint. Chris Martin is an entertainer extraordinaire, and he didn’t stop moving until the band left the stage. Even the ol’ 33 and 32-year-old stayed on our feet the entire time. It was just too good to sit down, which is ironic since our “seats” cost so much!

As Coldplay came onto the stage, it reminded me a lot of what my mom said to me when we were at a Billy Joel & Elton John concert a couple of years ago. We were both going crazy when the two musicians made their way onto the stage (as were the other adoring fans) and mom said to me, “If this is how excited I get to see Billy Joel, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like to see Jesus!” I thought about that a lot during this concert. I love music . . . it is such an emotional vehicle. It moves me in a way very few things can. And although I have to admit I’m a big Coldplay fan, I am much more excited about the day we’ll see Jesus coming – the anticipation, the rush of emotion, the whooping-n-hollering! And, then we’ll have the biggest praise concert you’ve ever seen. Every tribe, tongue & nation singing praises to our God - in unison (for all eternity). It’s going to be something, isn’t it!? I smile just thinking about it. As much as I enjoy Coldplay, Christ’s return will put this concert to shame.

But back to Coldplay . . .

If you’re a Coldplay fan, we included a few videos below. If you have no idea who Coldplay is, you should check them out. Trust us, we have excellent taste - ha!

My first attempt at a self-portrait without using the display on the iPhone. A little off, but, ahhhh, aren’t we cute . . . so excited to see our boys play!

When we walked into the arena, we were given these colorful bracelets. I just figured they were a way to grant us re-entry if we left the building; however, the bracelets contained LED lights that lit up in-sync to Coldplay’s music during the concert.

So, they looked like this . . .

And with an arena holding 18,600 fans, the bracelets looked like this. It’s hard to capture the variety of colors represented but it was unreal. We tried to video it too.


This is the video that made me think about what it’s going to be like to meet Jesus when He comes! I think we’ll be going crazy like this too. Check out the bracelets as they light up at the intro to the first song and listen to the crowd’s astonishment.

Anticipating the arrival of the band, Coldplay. Listen to the excitement when they hit the stage, and everyone's bracelets light up in sync to the music.

One of my favorites – “Paradise”
- I put this on here for Lil’ A too. She likes to sing it with me. The video will flip. I was holding my phone incorrectly at first.

This was another fun song to watch our bracelets light up.

For the first part of the encore, the band surprisingly popped up toward the back of the arena and played right in the middle of the crowd. Everyone could see them on the big screens but couldn’t find them until a spotlight revealed their location. Shock & awe, friends, shock & awe.
Encore – “Fix You”
Just a glimpse of the energy Chris Martin has on stage.

I was elated when Coldplay encored with this classic. Look at Chris Martin.

Friday, June 22, 2012

This & That

I must admit. I’ve been a bit distracted with Thunder fever and the blog has suffered. Sorry for minimal posting the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the Thunder run is over (at least for this season), so I shouldn’t be too distracted again until the Olympics.

No reason for a post today. Just a few random pics and a video from the last couple of weeks. Alexa did graduate from her first series of swimming lessons last week! (Um, that basically means we showed up and got in the pool everyday.)

Alexa with her instructor, Miss Chelsey. She was precious & such an encourager. Alexa is super pumped about her group picture & diploma (in the Ziploc bag).

Working on her “scoops” and kicking. I think she went under the water five times during the two weeks of lessons. That was such a big deal.

Congratulatory tickles from Daddy. Our last lesson was in the evening so Daddy was able to attend and cheer Lil’ A on.
The last feat in swimming was jumping off the diving board. Check out Alexa’s very concerned face watching other lil’ tikes scream and kick as parents coerced them to give the diving board a chance. Alexa mustered up enough courage to walk out onto the board (because we told it bounced like a trampoline). She jumped up and down on it but never jumped in . . . maybe next year!

Alexa enjoyed smelling the roses on OU’s campus during an evening picnic.

She had to be fair and smell the pink rose too.

One of Alexa’s recent favorite attractions on campus is Foucault’s Pendulum. She is racing to see it. You should hear her say pendulum. She sounds it out – “pen-ju-lum.” It is absolutely precious and surprisingly accurate.

Alexa wandered into a “roped off” flower bed. I told her she could walk around but she could not step on the flowers! She enjoyed walking around the red “OU” flowers until the path got a little tight. She was a bit perplexed how to get out without mushing the flowers. Hmmmm . . .

After standing still & looking puzzled she asked if she could poop. I guess she found her perfect spot. She did ask me to leave while she did her business. No worries, she didn’t fertilize anything. She isn’t potty trained yet.

If you have some time on your hands. Here’s a video I captured of Lil’ A reading Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go” as well as book about a little mouse named Meatball. Unfortunately, the Dr. Seuss book doesn’t have much of a storyline & Alexa isn’t very familiar with it so you won’t hear her a stunning narrative. But, it’s cute to watch her read “Meatball” (that action starts at 3:49 into the video if you want to skip ahead). 

Alexa reading to herself in the bathroom.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday pick-me-up


I’m one of those incredibly fortunate people who grew up with an amazing father. By no merit of mine, the Lord blessed me with a dad who loved the Lord, followed His ways and desired to lead & serve our family well. He always made time for me whether it was sports, schoolwork or a walk to talk about life. I definitely was his “little girl.” Not only that, but my dad was and is very cool. He still makes time for me, and more importantly, time for his grandchildren who think he’s the greatest Pop ever! I love & respect you deeply dad!! Thank you for always providing the perspective and wisdom I need. Thank you for making me laugh often. And, thank you for investing in my life and the life of our family through your time and prayers.

I can also say many of the same things about my hubby, Chris. He reminded me a lot of my father, and I knew he’d be a great daddy someday. It’s one of the many reasons I was attracted to him in the first place. Alexa Hope adores her Daddy and just can’t understand why he has to go to work and class so often. She’ll simply tell him, “Don’t go!” We wish it were that simple. I love and respect you too, honey! Thank you for all you do to serve our family and balance life so well. You are an amazing daddy and Alexa will say the same things of you when she is older! Here’s a rundown of our Father’s Day photo shoot yesterday. I couldn’t narrow it down to one.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing fathers out there – including my father-in-law, brother-in-laws and uncles. I wish I could still celebrate with my grandfathers too. The world wouldn’t be the same without great fathers like you!!