Saturday, April 30

God Save the Queen... and Our Home

I didn't want to be alone, in the dark, on my couch, watching the royal wedding early Friday morning. So this happened instead....

Royal wedding crazed girl invasion!!  I just knew I wasn't alone.

Pinkies up!  Like my weak attempt at hats?

They may be crazy, but they're super cute at 5:30 in the morning.

And look who else didn't want to miss out on all the princess fun?  "Front row seat, please!  5:30 is my specialty."

My version of scones and tea... ha!  As I researched scone recipes, I found out they contain way too much butter for my taste. So I made cinnamon rolls instead.  Don't judge.

What was my takeaway from this royal wedding tea party, you ask?  Was it something deep I gleaned from the vows exchanged, or my opinion on the fashion show of hats and dress or the double balcony kiss?  I wish.  Unfortunately, my big takeaway came at 5:23 AM when I stumbled from our bedroom to turn on the tea.  

I turned on the wrong burner.  

So that tea towel over the cinnamon rolls?  Poof!  Up in flames.  And that smoke detector in our kitchen?  Loud and angry.  My blood pressure?  Off the charts.  And my husband... and baby?  Up, dazed, and confused.

Let's just say that the start to our day/tea party was a little shaky.  

Lesson learned.


Thursday, April 28

Only Three Days From Now

Dear Mike/Dad,

Three days from now, you'll feel the same feeling you felt on days like this:  

Or perhaps even days like this:

Except this time, you'll have achieved something far greater and far more difficult.

Something you poured long hours over and achieved outstanding grades on, all while juggling the impossible.  Perhaps that is what makes this accomplishment stand above the rest.  While other degrees or mountain top experiences were major milestones and accomplishments, on this one, the odds were truly against you.  You persevered amidst things like:

Marathon training,

White House toiling,

New job applying,

Regular hours working,

Wedding day planning,

Honeymoon playing (thank God you didn't study there),

New home moving,

New wife loving,

Faithful church going,

Pregnancy surprising,

Overseas traveling,

Pregnant wife enduring,

Delivery helping,

Crash course parenting,

And sweet daughter loving.

All this you've mastered well amidst starting on, working hard on, and finishing your Masters degree.

And this weekend, you're finishing strong.

Almost there, babe!  You're almost there!

Your two very proud girls

Wednesday, April 27

The Crown of Thorns He Wore for Me

A little gem coming to you from Women's Bible study this morning.  

I've just joined in the last few weeks (since I'm now available during the day!), and wow, these women are wise.  We're going through the book of John and landed in chapter 19 today where Jesus is sentenced to be crucified:

"1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face."  John 19:1-3

Very little of Jesus' suffering and death makes sense outside of understanding God's plan to redeem mankind.  Amidst all the questions one might ask, have you ever thought, "Why a crown of thorns?"

To mock him?  Yes.

To cause him even more pain and suffering?  Yes.

But check this out.  Straight from the Garden of Eden comes God's first words announcing the curse brought about by man's sin:
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19  By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
Genesis 3:17-19

Did you catch that?  Because of man's sin, the ground now produces thorns.  And those thorns that represent the curse- and the prickly, hurtful, ugliness of our sin- were the crown that Jesus wore the day he laid down his life.  He was crowned with our sin.  And He defeated it.

It's the week after Easter.  My leftovers are officially gone.  My green Easter grass is being thrown in the trash today.  But does the cross ever get old?

Monday, April 25

I Give You My Easter Leftovers

I forgot.  I forgot to take pictures of my finished works of art.  The carrot souffle, the green been bundles, the Deer Valley potatoes, the homemade rolls, the three layer cake!  All forgotten.  The whirlwind of Easter and visitors and timing everything just perfect stole my pictures from me.

So here is what you get.  The leftovers.

Apologies if ham bone makes your stomach spin.

Anyone feel like doing the dishes?  (P.S. Thank you, Ana!)

Leftover Pioneer Woman Dinner Rolls, anyone? (By the way, these made their first time appearance at a Mannina holiday event yesterday and received five enthusiastic stars.)

Okay, but let's get deep here for a moment.  Please?  It will make me feel better.  The crumpled napkins, the dirty dishes, the leftovers... all represent a meal of celebration enjoyed together. That torn up ham bone... a masterpiece!

And see those well fed faces?  Masterpiece!

And my crazy daughter?  Oh gosh... wait for it...

There. That's better.  Masterpiece!

Cutest work of art ever!

The Mannina family.  All dressed up, at church on time, in a picture together, in front of Spring flowers.  Masterpiece!

Celebrating the resurrection that no one was expecting.  The resurrection of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The resurrection that conquers sin and death for those who believe.  The ultimate masterpiece!

Happy Easter, everyone!  

May the hope of His resurrection continue to amaze us today and always.

Sunday, April 24

The Coolest Party Ever: A Messianic Seder

Tonight, the Manninas were invited to one of the coolest Easter parties we've ever been to.  Ever heard of a Passover Seder?  I'd heard of it, but always thought it was something I should stay away from.  Like that's what Jewish people do, but we Christians believe something else.  So, a Seder can't be for me.

Wrong.  The rich history of remembering God's deliverance of the Jews out of Egypt is part of my history as a Christian.  So my dear friend Jennifer proved me wrong this evening by introducing me to a Messianic Seder.  A Messianic Seder basically takes things one step further and shows how all the Scripture and symbols in a Seder actually point to what we believe to be the fulfillment found in Jesus Christ.

So where do I start?  Food, let's start with food, shall we?

Okay, NO.  Blue, plastic cups aren't the cups traditionally used for drink, but let's focus on that plate there.  The bread, or the matzo, represents how the Israelites left Egypt in such a hurry they could not wait for their bread dough to rise, and thus we get unleavened bread or matzo. Also, leaven symbolizes corruption and sin. What's the connection for Christians?  We are made free from sin through the bread of life, Jesus.  The bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavery the Jews experienced in Egypt. As Christians, we can also connect that bitterness to our sin that holds us in bondage if but for Christ's work on the cross. The charoset, a sweet mix of apples and raisins, symbolizes the mortar which the Jewish slaves used to cement bricks. We also dipped egg in to salt water to remember the tears the Jews shed during their servitude.  Are you catching the themes of bondage and freedom going on here?  There are so many other symbols and discoveries we made throughout the dinner.  But I'll stop here for now.

The other enlightening part of this meal was realizing that we were observing the same Passover Jesus celebrated with his disciples before going to the cross.  Except Jesus was bringing in a new covenant.  How moving it was to recall his words:

"23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

So let's transition to a few more pictures, shall we?  So here we all are.  There's our hostess with the mostest in the background trying to make sense of everything.

A Seder is a family event done around the dinner table. There's our fearless family leader, Tory.  Mike got to play the roll of a child as we went around the table asking questions, reciting Scripture, and explaining the meaning behind the food and drink.  He's such a cute little boy.

There's our hostess again, and my old roomie Jess.  This really was a family event if you ask me- all my old roomies, my wedding planner, former co-workers.  Love them!

Oh, and in the middle of the Seder, you pause to feast.  And feast we did!  Check out this lamb!  Cooked to perfection!

And homemade bread!

The lamb!!  Oh yes, we already covered that.

I don't think dessert is actually part of a traditional Seder, but this little girl didn't seem to mind!

Hello there Scott and Hayden.  They also played the role of children.  Scott's a little too good at it.

Oh wait.  Hayden, were you planning on having children someday?  Our girls are attacking your husband.  Sorry.  That can't help the cause.
And there you have it folks!  A Messianic Seder!  

To my Christian family and friends out there, have a most blessed Easter.  Christ our Lord is risen today.  Hallelujah!

Friday, April 22

The Dark Horse Candidate

Yep, that's me.  Just call me Black Beauty... or not.

Thank you to all the sweet friends and family who have persevered with this funny voting system.  I feel like a write in candidate with all your sweet "likes" and messages.  There's a long story behind this craziness, but let's just say that you all are so awesome that I was finally given a real entry on Facebook... with a real voting button... and a real banner above my video that makes it look all official and what not.

So please.  One more time I'm asking you to hop on over to this new and improved link and show Bella's video a little love. It's never been easier to cast your vote!  And don't worry if you already "liked" my previous posting, that vote still counts, too.  Votes and "Likes" are all being added up.

Again, just call me the dark horse.

Thanks so much for all your support and encouraging messages!  That seriously has been the best part of this whole contest.

One more time, here's the magical link that will make all our dreams come true:  Thanks for voting!

Thursday, April 21

Help Me Hop n' Scout to Victory!

Well, hello there.  I have a favor to ask of all you faithful friends and family out there.  Will you help me and Bella win a little contest?

Hopscout is holding a contest to select five new Hopscout Editors.  What does the site do?  They sell one cool, vintage, classic toy each day on their site.  Each toy has been reviewed by a real mom so you know it's the real deal.  Sound like a cool job?  I think so.  So I entered by making a 90 second video showcasing the amazing talent of Bella.

So how can you help?  Super easy.  Just click on this link.*  It will take you straight to Facebook.  All you have to do is watch my video and like it.  That's it!  "Like" my video on Facebook, and it's as good as a vote for Bella.  If for some reason you are blocked from liking my post, then you may need to take one extra step and hop on over to the Hopscout page at:  "Like" them and then you can "like" my post.  Got it?

*Newsflash!  There's a new and improved link that makes it easier to vote than ever!  Click on this link and press the "vote" button.

If you're feeling extra helpful, then post a comment below the video.  Possible comments could include:

- Bella is cute!
- Bella steals the show!
- Diane, you're a nerd, but I love you and your baby.

See how easy?

And if you're feeling really helpful, then help me spread the word.  Here's the new and improved link:  Embed it anywhere you please (i.e. your Facebook page, your blog, your twitter account)!

And I promise, if I win I will fight for world peace.  Better yet, I'll let all my DC friends come play and review toys with us.


Finally, for all two of you out there without a Facebook page (i.e. mom and dad), here is the actual video for your viewing enjoyment.  You've voted for me enough in life.  I'll let you off the hook on this one.

Wednesday, April 20

Roll Out Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Sickness

Today is a sick day.  Sick daaaaaaay!   Stay home from work day!  Cancel all your plans day!  Family is together all day daaay!  I know.  I should hate sick days, but I secretly love them.  Especially when I'm the one not sick.  Sorry Mike.  He's got a severe case of allergies gone sinus on him.  It's sad.  Amidst all his sneezing yesterday, he went to the trouble to locate a map of all the oak trees spewing out their pollen on our block.  And then he emailed it to me like show and tell.  He's a desperate man.

So today he is home, and our medicine cabinet has slowly piled up on the kitchen counter.  Hot tawdies have also been a brewin'.  Ever had yourself a hot tawdy?  Nothing like a little whiskey in the morning.

Oh, and Bella threw up last night.  But she's back to normal again today.

Ahhhh, sick days.

Sick days also mean that the family gathers around the table for lunch.  What's on the menu?  White chicken chili for adults and applesauce for cuties.  How 'bout them apples, Bella?

And now, let this lazy, hazy, crazy day of sickness continue.  (Does anyone remember that Gilmore Girls episode where that men's quartet keeps singing this song in the town square during the First Annual Stars Hollow End of Summer Madness Festival?  It's maddening, yes, and for some reason that song keeps repeating itself in my head today.  I can't tell if it's from all the sickness, or lack of sleep recently... or if it's because it's finally starting to feel like summer outside...?)  

Well anyways, I'm off to start a load of  "throw up" laundry while Mike and Bella take a nap together.

Ahhhh, sick days.

Sunday, April 17

Sick, Sleepless, & Scootin'

That about sums up the past few days at the Mannina household.

No one told us that once you get your baby sleeping through the night they sometimes decide to stop.  As in, Bella has stopped sleeping through the night for a good month now.  Some nights are better than others, but recently Bella has also come down with her first case of the sniffles and cough combo.  That amounts to her being up beyond the number of fingers on one hand.  I always lose count past that and head into straight delirium.

Weekends are the worst, because I'm still trying to learn that weekends just aren't what they used to be.  I crave those endless hours of weekend sleep, but Bella knows no different.  Take last night for example:

11:00 PM  Mike and I crawl in to bed and say our prayers together, which includes a prayer about Bella maybe, just maybe, sleeping through the night.  And then we make it extra holy by telling God that it will help us be alert during His church service tomorrow.

1:50 AM  The whimpering starts.  I flinch.  I jump up and replace the pacifier quickly, thinking that maybe she'll forget she wanted to wake up and reenter dream world.

2:30 AM  Was that whining in my dreams?  Nope.  Out of bed.  To the crib.  Pacifier.  Where is it?  Hand in a frantic search.  Baby squirming.  There!  Under her head.  Okay.  Back to bed.  Yeah?

2:50 AM  Nope!  I dramatically head to the crib, as if someone's watching and might possibly feel sorry for me.  I give up.  I go against what all those crazy professionals in the books are trying to tell me, and I feed her.  15 minutes later, she's out.  There!  That will keep her until morning.  I so have this under control.

5:30 AM  Bella, really?  This does not count as the morning.   Let me try this pacifier trick one more time.  How is Mike still sleeping?  I fall back in to bed a little louder than normal just so he knows how hard I'm working tonight.  He rolls over.  Sleeping beauty.  Ugh.

5:50 AM  This pacifier is worthless.  All I can think about is how my life is pure misery.  I want out of this vicious cycle.  I'm trapped!  I pick my baby up in frustration and quickly learn that is not a wise thing to do.  The things going through a mother's head at these moments are not likely to translate well to other precious human beings in your life.  I'm better off to leave Bella in the crib until I get control of my self.  Mike!  I'll take my frustration out on him.  After all, where's he been this whole night?  Who cares if he's trying to finish yet another paper that's due tomorrow.  It's dark, I'm tired, and I'm all alone with a baby I have no control over!  I feed her in the midst of my fumes.  I re-swaddle her, extra tight.  She looks up and smiles, like she knows nothing of my horrible, ugly thoughts.  I decide I'll wait until morning to erupt my frustration on to Mike.

7:00 AM  Mike gets up to work on his paper.  Bella doesn't miss a beat and joins him.  She's been waiting for this moment all night long.

9:00 AM  I stumble out of the bedroom.  Mike shoots himself in the foot by asking, "How'd she do last night?"  I erupt on him.  Poor Mike.  He says he wishes I would have woken him up.  He'd love to help me despite that silly paper of his.  He feels so bad.  And he really didn't do one thing wrong.  In fact, he served me by letting me sleep in.  Bella is still smiling and so happy to see me.  Did I mention this is in the middle of her being sick?  I'm stuck staring at my sin in the face.  All I keep thinking is "He does not treat us as our sins deserve."  Then Mike shows me what Bella has been up to this morning:

Lord, thank you for this sweet, scootin' baby girl.  For my precious husband who loves me and this baby girl.  For a Sunday morning full of new mercies.  For the gift of church after a long night.  For your Son and his forgiveness when I have chosen impatience, anger, and self righteousness in the wee hours of the morning instead of grasping for your grace.  For not treating me as my sins deserve.  

 1 Praise the LORD, my soul; 
   all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 
2 Praise the LORD, my soul, 
   and forget not all his benefits— 
3 who forgives all your sins 
   and heals all your diseases, 
4 who redeems your life from the pit 
   and crowns you with love and compassion…
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, 
   slow to anger, abounding in love. 
9 He will not always accuse, 
   nor will he harbor his anger forever; 
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve 
   or repay us according to our iniquities. 
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
   so great is his love for those who fear him; 
12 as far as the east is from the west, 
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:1-12

It's a good Sunday here in the Mannina household.  Hope your's is just as full of His compassion and mercy.  And for those of you without scootin' action, I hope Bella via video has that covered, too. :)

Friday, April 15

Keep Jiggling, Peggy!

Last night, Mike completed his last ever, physical class for his Master's degree. (He still has one online class he'll be wrapping up by the end of the month.)  The end of this class included turning in a 15+ page paper he's been working on night and day over the past two weeks or so.  It's felt a bit like a marathon for all of those involved, and so last night was a momentous occasion.  When Mike walked through the day, we celebrated.

How, you ask?  Well, by plopping down on the couch with ice cream and plugging in an "I Love Lucy" episode, of course!  Mike gave me the complete set of "I Love Lucy" episodes for Valentine's Day this past year, and they have been the perfect study break over this Spring semester.

Our typical schedule for evenings has looked like Mike coming home from work, grabbing dinner with the family, and then heading back out the door to study until 10 or 11.  When he comes home, he wants something- just something fun- to add to his day in front of computers.  A 20-30 minute escape with "I Love Lucy" is the perfect end to our day.  We laugh.  We sometimes cry from laughing a little too hard.  We attempt to talk with Ricky accents.  And we poke fun at how we are a little too much like Lucy and Ricky in our own marriage.  Then, we brush our teeth and head to bed.  A perfect mini date night if you ask me!

And so, I'd like to introduce you to an episode that I fear most of you might not be familiar with.  For me, this episode ranks right up there with the likes of "Vita-Vegimen" and "The Chocolate Assembly Line".  Except with this one, we didn't see it coming.  It's a hidden gem of an episode.

So let me set the stage for you. In this episode, Ricky and Lucy discover they both have teenage admirers.  And these admirers are pretty infatuated, persistent, and well, obnoxious.  So in an attempt to discourage their teenage admirers, Lucy and Ricky decide to age themselves a few years.  The result?  Well, I'll just let you find out for yourself:

If you don't have a spare eight minutes to your day, fast forward to about 2:20 and watch the piece with Ricky.

Happy Friday, and don't forget, "Keep jiggling, Peggy!"

Sunday, April 10

The Moment We've All Been Waiting For

That glorious day.  The day when all Mike's dreams came true.  The day when we showed our little girl what true greatness looks like.  Yes.  That day arrived last week when we just happened upon THE Original Chick-Fil-A.  We didn't even realize what was happening  until we pulled up (We were just following a standard CFA highway sign!).

Wait.  Let's back up for a second.  For those of you who don't know, my husband has a slight obsession with Chick-Fil-A.  As in, he craves their milkshakes almost nightly.  As in, our road trips are mapped out so we stop at CFAs along the way.  As in, CFA is his idea of a good date night.  I mean, c'mon, the cow came to our wedding!  Just take a look at my husband's face:

He's obsessed.  Or is it possessed?  Or maybe he's actually both.

Anyways, that day- that glorious day last week when we pulled in to the original Chick-Fil-A parking lot- the clouds parted.  Mike started doing impromptu Chinese fire drills around our car in the parking lot.  We danced.  We cried.  We took pictures.

And then we ran in to the nearest booth to order off a full menu that includes fried okra, sweet potatoes, and chicken pot pie.  And yes, we got all those items from a Southern waitress, with helmet hair, who has proudly been working at the establishment for 16 years.  It said so on her name tag.  She also found out the cow came to our wedding and gave each of us a stuffed cow.  Bella really loved that part.

There are little round stools with red cushions right under this counter.  Grab a seat, if you like!

Yes. That's a full menu, Mike.  Now please close your mouth.

Look!  There's Gigi!  She shared in this glorious moment with us.  And do you see that mac & cheese and chicken pot pie I'm about to devour?

Them be some fried okra, corn muffins, and sweet taters next to the ol' classic waffle fries.  

And that right there is the original picture of this fine establishment.  And there we have it, folks!  That's one major life milestone for Bella and one proud daddy.  Thank you, Chick-Fil-A.  You never cease to amaze us.

Tuesday, April 5

Top 10 Travel Tips From Mannina Family Adventures

Tomorrow, we are off once again to visit family in Atlanta.  We will be visiting Gigi and Uncle Joey, but our main goal is to care for Poppi after some good ol' hip replacement surgery earlier this week.  I'll be cooking up some chicken noodle soup, and Bella will provide all the smiles and funny faces needed for a quick recovery!

For the record, this will be Bella's 9th flight since she was born.  We have a U.S. traveler on our hands!  And through those nine flights we've learned a couple tips I think are worth sharing.

Tips for travel preparations:
1.)  Leave your house clean!  Mike was a bit skeptical when I informed him of this tradition my family followed before trips.  We always cleaned our house before we left for vacation.  Why?  Because it feels awesome to walk in to a clean house after a big trip.  Not only does it encourage you to unpack and put away your clothes quickly, but it helps jump start you back into regular life.  You feel ahead of the curve when you walk back in the door.  And after doing it just once, my husband wholeheartedly agrees. :)
2.) Nothing stinks more than coming home to an empty fridge. The night before you leave, make a huge batch of whatever you're making for dinner.  Eat half, and then freeze the other half.  Tonight, I am making Bolognese Sauce with pasta.  I will freeze half of the sauce so that all I have to do on the night we return is take it out of the freezer and warm it up on the stove!
3.) Packing for babies change so much from month to month, so I really don't know what to advise specifically, except to advise that you always have an extra set of baby clothes in your diaper bag.  Plan to buy diapers and other bulky items at your destination spot so they don't take up room in your suitcase, and see if there are any items the people at your destination spot can already have on hand.

Tips for the airplane:
4.) Children under the age of two fly for free in your lap.  But here's a fun strategy.  Book your tickets in the back of the plane, one in the aisle and one at the window.  The farther back you are, the less likely that middle seat will be taken.  And if it's not taken, airlines are usually happy to let you bring your car seat on board and let you plop your baby in the middle seat for free.  Nice!
5.) Book your tickets in the middle of the day.  Early morning flights with a baby are tough (talk about messing up a schedule!).  This gives you plenty of time for things to go wrong earlier in the day.  This also makes it more likely that you will not be on a full flight, which increases your chance of being able to take your car seat on board.
6.) Remember, just in case an accident occurs right when "you are now free to move about the cabin", bathrooms on airplanes actually have changing tables right above the toilet.  Handy.
7.) Have a bottle, pacifier, or a good nursing cover for the change in cabin pressure on the way up and the way down.
8.) People have different strategies on this one, but Mike and I have found that we like our Snap n' Go and car seat combo for getting Bella through the airport.  You can check both at the gate for free.
9.) Try to book direct flights.  It's usually worth the extra money.
10.) Pray that you sit next to an old lady who misses her grandkids.  They are the friendliest and most forgiving people to sit next to.

So there you go!  Any other great travel ideas I'm missing?

Sunday, April 3

And Winner of the "I Made it Across the Finish Line" Award Goes To...

Me!  Yes, that's right, to the one who was nine months pregnant five months ago.  To the one who hadn't run since last February when she found out she was pregnant.  And to the one who had never run 10 miles in her life.  

<Audience cheers.  Diane steps up to the mic.>

Why, thank you.  I'm so honored to win the "I Made It Across the Finish Line" award.  But there are some key people I need to thank.

<Unfold my piece of paper.>

First, I would like to thank my sweet friend Kelli.  Kelli ran a marathon just a week ago, and at the 11th hour, she had to back out of the race so as to not aggravate a minor injury.  But she wouldn't give up on me.  No, instead, she gave her bib to my husband and took our baby for the wee morning hours just so I would have someone to run with.  I mean, she might as well have carried me over the finish line.

Next, I would like to thank Mike.  He gave up study hours and rest to get me to the starting line and then cheered me on the whole way. He also slowed up his pace by about a full 30 minutes so he could run across the finish line with me.  Oh, and he also surprised me before the race with two dozen cherry pink roses.  

And to Bella, you inspired this whole race before I even met you, and then you became my favorite running buddy for the past few months.  Yes, you do slow me down in that stroller of your's- and in life in general- and I wouldn't have it any other way.  

<Music starts playing to get me off the stage.>

Okay, okay.  I'm done.  Without further ado, here are some fun pics!

Mike and I at 6:45 AM watching the sun come up over the Capitol.  We're cold and ready to race in our matchy, matchy reflective hats.

The "Where's Waldo" picture around mile 6.  Although still running, I was feeling the burn somewhere between mile 5-7.  After that, I found a good stride until the end.  There were so many fun runners, volunteers, and crowds cheering us on today!

The "Eat My Dust" picture (ha!).  Do you see those amazing trees above me?  They literally line the last 3 miles of the race in a white blossom canopy.  Awesome!

So, what was the best part of the race, you ask?  There was a hill that went straight up to the finish line.  Remember my love of hills?  Well, being that close to the finish line motivated me, and I could hardly feel the hill... at first.  Then I looked at the crowd cheering us on, thought about how I was steps away from reaching my goal, saw my sweet husband next to me, imagined Bella at the finish line... sniff sniff, I was getting emotional... on a hill.  I started breathing weird, and Mike thought he might have to pick me up.  Nope.  Just had to regain control of my emotional self, and then we sprinted to the finish line to celebrate with Kelli and Bella.  Fun times.

The end to a wonderful race day!

Now off to help Mike finish his own "marathon" of studying and paper writing.  He graduates in just a little under a month!  What a finish line that will be!

Friday, April 1

Awkward Family Photo Friday!

So, a few weekends ago, my family went to a black tie affair.  Yes, a black tie affair.  Those things hardly happen anymore (which I actually think is a sad thing).  I don't think we- as in, the Davis family- have ever been to a black tie affair together.

After weeks of sweating over what to wear and discussing it multiple times over the phone, the event day finally arrived.  We donned our dresses and tuxes, waited for our limo (yeah right), and decided to take a family photo in the meantime.  Because how often does this happen?

But wait!  How the heck do you pose for a formal family photo?  We were all having flashbacks to high school prom.  Except wait.  That's my mom in a prom dress.  We stood outside in the backyard arguing over how to take this picture.  And here's what we came up with:

Now I know some of you are saying, "But wait.  You all look great."  

Why thank you.  No really, I appreciate it and all.  But really, my mom decided we would look weird if we just stood in a straight line.  Kinda like an old prom picture stored under your bed.  So she decided to not make it weird by sitting down up front.  Right-o.  If you ask me, she looks like the Queen Mother.

Which would make my my dad the King, of course.

And a few more beards, please.  Thank you.

And there you have it.  Our awkward family photo.

Happy Friday!  And if this counts, then Happy April Fool's Day to the Davises, minus Michelle and Dan.  Oh how I wish I could give Dan a cool beard.