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Monday, November 19, 2012

A Pacifier & a Pair of Shoes


I’ve had so many clever titles for “the last pacifier” blog post . . . “So long, farewell“ . . . “It is finished!” . . . “Another one bites the dust” . . . But, the title above says it best. After approximately two years, eight months & three days, our little girl gave-up her dearest companion - a pink silicon pacifier – for a pair of sparkly, light-up shoes. If you’re female, I’m sure you agree it’s a brilliant trade. Alexa thought so as well when we began talking to her about giving up her last, beloved paci for “light” shoes (that is, until she fully realized what that meant).

I knew the inevitable end was near when I heard her paci squeaking (that means she bit through it). We had informed her this would be her last paci and if she bit through it, we’d have to throw it away. She knew that, and we had to stay true to our word (as much as I really didn’t want to). So . . . as with all parents placed in this situation, we begin to think about how this transition could be easier, how it could be rewarded as a rite of passage and not just a long-standing luxury denied.

Light bulb! The perfect incentive – light-up sneakers. This girl has been wanting a pair for several months. I personally think they are a bit tacky and most of them are ugly. However, it was my leverage and it made me feel less guilty about forcing her to give-up the one thing that has provided her immediate comfort for over two years. You’ve got to understand – this pink paci calms her, soothes her, beckons her to sleep, encourages self-control when nothing else can & even entertains her. This paci has rescued us through several flights, road trips, restaurant & errand outings. It has provided 12+ hour nights of sleep, 2+ hour naps and has been a soothing substitute when Mommy wasn’t around. We deeply love & appreciate the pink paci!! 

But . . . the day had come (last Friday, that is). The pink paci had officially become a choking hazard and it wasn’t worth the ulcer I had every night worrying about the paci’s tip getting lodged in Alexa’s throat. So, I called Stride Rite and found out what light-up shoes (without princess characters) they had in stock in her size. One pair of pink mary janes.“Good enough for now,” I thought to myself. I prepped Alexa this was the day. For the most part, she was elated. For the most part, she understood the trade-off. Light-up shoes on . . . paci trashy.


I have to say, as much as I dreaded weaning Lil’ A from the paci, the transition has been surprisingly seamless (a far cry from the trials of potty training). She was quite sad the first night, but we knew with all things thus far in parenting, the crying/sadness wouldn’t last forever. I’ve had to sleep with her on the floor to act as a human paci a few nights. Of course, she struggles going to sleep but . . . she does. And, when she wakes-up each morning, she stands up in her bed and proudly says, “Mama, I sleep without my paci!! Can I wear my light shoes now?” She puts them on proudly and rarely takes them off. I even coordinated her church clothes to accommodate the light-up kicks.

It’s a big day, my friends. And yes, we’ve ordered a purple pair of sneakers when she grows out of these. We think she deserves it (and they were on sale). Little did we know these three blinking lights could encourage such a big step & so quickly. It’s just one of the many blessings we will count this Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Falling for foliage


When the leaves started blushing this October, I was itching to go on a leaf adventure with Lil’ A. In BSF, we were studying the creation in Genesis and we had just spent a week focusing on God’s creation of the trees & leaves in Puggles (the little people version of AWANA). All of this creation talk was the perfect excuse to get outside, talk about the changing seasons, work on colors & thank God for His unbelievable creativity. Alexa was game, so we hunted for leaves over the course of a week. We walked to trees in our neighborhood & a nearby park. We drove to tree-lined streets in search of the perfect leaves (if there is such a thing as leaf theft – we were guilty). We even ventured down a less traveled road when a bright red bush caught our eye. Unfortunately, all of this took place in October before the color in Oklahoma reaches its height. But heck, it’s all about the journey, right!? And so, we surveyed our collection on the counter - threw some away, kept the others, and pressed them in my hefty Gardner’s Art Through the Ages to dry for a couple of days (I knew that five pound art history book would come in handy someday).

I had this brilliant idea we would make Fall bookmarks to send to our family by making cutsie leaf arrangements & melting the leaves between waxed paper. Now, I’m not a Pinterest gal (I struggle with all forms of social media); however, I did read a few “how to’s” online and I guess I can’t comprehend instructions too well because this is how the waxed papered beauties turned out. Hmmmmmm . . . not quite what I envisioned. In fact, you can barely see the leaves at all. It’s like looking at leaves with cataracts. I clearly didn’t earn my degree in Early Childhood Education.

Luckily, the waxed paper pulled away from each other about two hours after ironing it (without damaging the leaves – thank goodness), so I went to plan B – good o’ faithful contact paper.


At the end of the day, these were a few of the beauties we managed to save. I know what you’re thinking . . . they make for huge bookmarks. However, they work great when you’re enjoying a few chapters of art history.

Since I’m on the topic of leaves, I can also show-off our lil’ October Glory maple that finally teased us with its gorgeous foliage. We planted it three years ago and it has either been too burned by the dry/crazy hot summers, too damaged by hail, or too windblown to have any leaves to show for itself when Fall commenced. This year, however, it got a chance to shine and we basked in every minute of it (literally). After three days of “ooohhhs and aaahhhhs,” the leaves were pretty much gone. This made all of us a bit sad, especially Alexa. She’d look out the window during breakfast and say, “Oh no! Where did the leaves go?” Another hard life lesson for a two-and-a-half-year-old. Now . . . to explain why I’m pulling out the frostbitten flowers.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Special Delivery – a take-home baby!

“From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.”  Psalm 71:6


As with all things concerning Brooke’s pregnancy, even Chamblin’s arrival came as a surprise. Although doc’s scheduled Brooke’s C-section today at 11:15am, the little man decided Monday, Nov. 12th was a much better birthdate (11.12.12). After Brooke’s platelets dropped again along with continued spotting and consistent contractions, the docs decided to take Chamblin early Monday evening. The result? Chamblin Spencer entered this world weighing a whopping 6 lbs. 15 oz. with a full head of dark hair. At just shy of 37 weeks - he is healthy, he is a beautiful and he is a take-home baby!!

Pop (Spencer Hutson) holding his namesake – Chamblin Spencer. A handsome pair indeed!

I have yet to speak with Brooke since the delivery but the latest from her hubby was she was doing fine (tired and emotional, I’m sure!) I know Brooke & Timothy would like to say thank you again for all of your prayers on their family’s behalf – especially as they begin the transition back home as a family of four. We praise the Father for His faithfulness, His provision and His perfect timing (which is certainly not ours in most instances). We already love this little man so much and we know God has a tremendous purpose for his life. As I wipe away a tear, I thank God for His miracles!! (If there’s a line for miracles, the Kennedy family is certainly lining up, wink, wink.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday pick-me-up


Ya’know when you snap a pic and think to yourself, “That’s going to be a keeper.” You have a feeling that pic will make you smile every time you see it. Yep, this is one of those moments. It was a beautiful fall evening and Alexa decided she wanted to pretend cook in her “kitchen” (i.e. our flower bed & bushes). To make her face the camera, I was chanting a sing-songy tune Ama & Opa taught us . . .

Jack in box, Jack in the box,
Sitting so still.
Won’t you come out? Won’t you come out?
(Then Alexa jumps up & says) YES! I will!!

It worked like a charm and the result was a pic of my sweet girl in full personality. It makes me smile and I hope it makes you smile today too! Here are a few more pics that deserve a place on this Monday pick-me-up post.





Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brooke & Chamblin


Just wanted to give you an update on my dear friend, Brooke, and her lil’ man, Chamblin Spencer. As of Wednesday, Brooke celebrated 36 weeks! Even more exciting is the countdown to next Wednesday, November 14th at 11:15am. The docs have decided to deliver Chamblin by C-section at this time. Although he is only weighing in at 5 lbs. 12 oz., they believe he will be a healthy, strong, “take-home” baby. Can I hear a whoop, whoop!?

Brooke has been on steroids the last couple of weeks to boost her platelet levels so she won’t need a platelet transfusion beforehand. However, we need to pray the Lord keeps Chamblin inside until Wednesday as Brooke continues to have inconsistent bleeding and contractions. There is always the chance her placenta could abrupt before that time.

Would you continue praying that God will safely sustain Chamblin’s life in Brooke’s womb until Wednesday? Would you pray the delivery will be complication-free and Chamblin will be a “take-home” baby? Would you pray for a joyful reunion & transition when Mommy & Chamblin return home? Thank you friends!

Brooke is so thankful for all of you who have been faithfully praying for her and her family throughout the last three months of bedrest. After so many ups and downs, the reality of a 37-week-old baby is truly a miracle. My prayer is that I’ll have some very exciting news (and hopefully pics) to share with you next Wednesday and not a day sooner.

Thank you for your faithfulness Father! Even when we don’t understand your ways or your plans, you are in control. Throughout elections, throughout pregnancies and throughout life’s curveballs, you continue to show yourself worthy of our trust and praise. 

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced.”
1 Chronicles 16:11-12

--the memory verse Brooke included in her last update

Monday, November 5, 2012

An addendum – Pray & Vote!

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”   Dietrich Bonhoeffer

”It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.”   Charles F. Aked

Dear friends, regardless of who wins tomorrow, we must be good stewards of what God has given us . . . religious freedom, the ability to fight for our constitutional rights, the opportunity to vote and the power to pray (and continue praying) for our leaders and the greatest nation in the world.

I wanted to end with a quotation from John Newton. He wrote this over 200 years ago, and yet, how true it reigns today. Thank you for sending this Karen. It is sobering to think about what may take place tomorrow in our nation. No matter what – it is in the hands of our all-powerful Father. May He grant us mercy.

The whole system of my politics is summed up in this one verse,

"The Lord reigns! Let the nations tremble!" Psalm 99:1

The times look awfully dark indeed; and as the clouds grow thicker--the stupidity of the nation seems proportionally to increase. If the Lord had not a remnant here, I would have very formidable apprehensions. But He loves His children; some are sighing and mourning before Him, and I am sure He hears their sighs, and sees their tears. I trust there is mercy in store for us at the bottom; but I expect a shaking time before things get into a right channel--before we are humbled, and are taught to give Him the glory.

The state of the nation, the state of the churches--both are deplorable! Those who should be praying--are disputing and fighting among themselves! Alas! how many professors are more concerned for the mistakes of government--than for their own sins!

- from the letters of John Newton

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Boo-tiful Day!


We couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular couple of days to enjoy the Fall festivities (i.e. Halloween). On Monday, Alexa attended a pumpkin painting party. She walked away with this beauty (more pics of Lil’ A in pumpkin painting action below). On Tuesday, we took in all the tastes, sights & sounds of our church’s Trunk-or-Treat. Alexa donned a Minnie Mouse costume, and we didn’t even have to layer the outfit with warm weather gear . . . truly a first in my history of trick-or-treating.




This is as close as I got to a smile & looking at the camera. CHEEEESE!!


Sorry – I can’t resist a close-up of those sweet cheeks & rosebud lips.


We had to stop & hug Ms. Brenda – Alexa’s Sunday School teacher. Ms. Brenda is a big reason Alexa loves going to church now.


Alexa’s “shock & awe” face as she checks out our Miss Caitlin’s face painting (a.k.a. Miss Flamingo). Caitlin is one of our precious adopted students. When Alexa saw her face painting, she said, “Oooooohhh, a butterfly!”

Posing with Emma, A’s friend with great costume taste. They hugged afterward
but Alexa sure doesn’t seem too friendly at the moment.



Had to a get a “before” shot of Mr. Jack-o-latern.



Alexa decided balancing a paintbrush on her ginormous pumpkin was more fun.


She enjoyed checking out all the colors of her pumpkin once it dried.


Here’s to a blessed Fall . . . now to the Month of Giving Thanks!