Thursday, May 19

We've Made It to Six Months!

We did it!  We made it to half a year!  Bella is thriving, and Mommy is having fun, too!  One week into parenthood, and I'm not sure I would have predicted us making it this far.  Okay, just kidding.  It was never that bad.  But still, it's amazing to look back and see how far we've come.

By God's grace, Mike and I are being equipped each day to handle- and even embrace- all the new stunts Bella has in store for us.  Her personality and her little legs have both really taken off!

And won't you look at that!  She can sit up all by herself now.  Just yesterday, she managed to sit up for the first time without my help.  I turned my head to put out some fire in the kitchen, and lo and behold, I look over and <pop!> there's a cute little head sticking up!  How did she do that?

Other new accomplishments for Bella include:
- She loves her army crawlin'.  And she also does this crazy downward facing dog pose on her tippy toes.
- She rocks back and forth... a lot.  Let the real crawling commence!
- She eats pears, sweet potatoes, sweet peas, bananas, peaches, yogurt... but NOT avocados.  It's like child abuse when we try to feed her that stuff.  The gag reflex is intense.
- She is almost sleeping through the night and therefore helping Mommy recover her sanity.  Ahhhhh.
- She loves to put her feet in her mouth.

Other new accomplishments that must be thwarted include:
- Her love for every single cord plugged in to an outlet.  Blue, black, brown.... she does not discriminate.
- Her pterodactyl noises.  And no, that is not an exaggeration.
- New decibel levels for crying/whining.
- Her diapers since starting solids.  Woah.  How do you stop that?

Oh, but my favorite accomplishment of all has to be her chub.  Is chub considered an accomplishment?  Well,  this baby is rolling in baby chub!

From her cheeks...

... to her arms, to her tummy, and her toes!

Is there any other time in life when you can count fat rolls and then want to kiss each one?  No.  Absolutely, positively NOT.  These are the only cute rolls she'll ever have.  And I love them!

Saturday, May 14

It's in the Gene Pool

I grew up playing in cardboard boxes.  They make for great make shift kitchens and covered wagons.  

And Mike has a little obsession with Costco.  He goes there just for fun, and he gets sad when I go during the day to run errands without him.

So should this really surprise anybody?

Here's Bella playing in her first Costco cardboard box (aka my version of a pack n' play while I unload groceries).  I mean, you have to document these sort of milestones in a child's life.

She makes us proud... so very proud.

Monday, May 9

Master Mannina Week O' Celebration, Part II

I know you all have been at the edge of your seats waiting to see how the end of  Master Mannina Week O' Celebration went down.  Well, you can relax now, because here we go:

On Saturday, fabulous co-host Emily and I put on a graduation party for two!!

Introducing the graduates, Rachel and one chubby legged chica.

BBQ and all the fixin's.  (I keep taking pictures of my food displays after the fact, and it just doesn't look as appetizing.  I promise it was yummy, okay?)

Texas sheet cake!  Take a look at that fine handiwork by yours truly (ha!).  And look at those big time degrees back there!

And people!  Actually, there were a lot more people... and even some actual men, believe it or not.  Oh, I stink at party photos!  Really.  I wish I had documented this a bit better.  I blame it on the crazy fit Bella threw at one hour in... and then at two hours in... and then at two and a half hours in.  Let's just say it was a rough night for her and a good dose of parenting reality for me.  She must not do well at parties where she's not the center of attention.  Or maybe it's the fact that we didn't take her home until 10 pm.  Ah, it's a toss up. :)

Anyways, congratulations to my Master Mannina!  You did it!  Four years of hard work, and you're done!  Your family is so proud of you!

Sunday, May 8

Mother's Day, Take One!

Look who brought Mommy breakfast in bed!
"Hey guys, where did all da muffins go?"

There they are!  Mommy Muffins! Actually, they are Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs made by Chef Mannina and his little helper.  Seriously, Mike made something with "French" in the title.  Fancy, fluffy muffins rolled in butter, sugar, and cinammon... like a dolled up donut if you ask me.  Yum!

Someone's been working hard this morning.

Flowers!  Presents!  Post-it artwork!

"Here Mom.  I got you a pwesent.  Will you wead it to me?"  Bella got me the hot off the press children's book from my favorite blogger and recipe queen.  (It was a Pioneer Woman Mother's Day if you haven't caught it yet.  When I tell Mike I like something, he runs with it.  He's a smart one, I tell ya.)

A happy mommy with her French muffin and the "You Are Special Today" red plate!  Oh, and a fresh sprig of mint from our new garden.  It's still alive and growing!

Bella, you fill this new mommy's life with such joy.  Thanks for the best first Mother's Day!  

And Mike, thanks for being Bella's special helper. ;)

Thursday, May 5

Master Mannina Week O' Celebration

On Sunday night, he did it!  Mike made his final touches, clicked submit, and officially completed his Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies.  And shortly thereafter, Osama Bin Laden was announced dead.  No kidding.  That's how our night went.  I don't know what that says about this new Masters, but let's just say that final paper made quite the impact. (All kidding aside, there are two good posts here and here on a Christian response to the death of Bin Laden, in case you're interested.)

To celebrate the end to a long four years of hard work, this week we are spending our time doing things together that haven’t happened in a while.  For example:
Do you see what I see?

Spring flowers on our porch!  Hello there rosemary and basil.

Hello there pretty plant whose name I don't remember.

That "Plantus Unknownus" up there to the left about sums up my knowledge of plants.  But I'm learning...Master Mannina is teaching me.

Monday night: We declared a date night!  Sorry Bella… you weren’t invited.  We held hands because we weren’t holding a baby.  We looked at each other over our table for two because we weren’t admiring our baby.  We stayed out past eight o’ clock because we didn’t have to put a baby to bed.  And we didn’t take any pictures... because we’re not as cute as the baby.  Sorry.

Tuesday night:  We had a picnic!  The baby came, so we got pictures!

Dad's back!  I will give him slobber kisses.


I want to squeeze and kiss her forever.

Wednesday night:  We had out of town friends over for dinner.
Aren’t they the cutest family? 

We ate a long dinner and had good long conversation over berry cobbler.  Was it 9:30 or 10 pm when they left?  I don’t know because we lost track of time!  Why?  Because Mike didn’t have to run off to study, that's why!  We could just relax and enjoy.  And so we did.

These are our "relaxed and having fun because no one has to study" faces.

So today is Thursday, and there is more fun to come! “Master Mannina Week O’ Celebration” is to be continued…

Tuesday, May 3

My New Favorite Toy

Doo, dee, dooo.  Doo, dee, doooo...

What's up?  What I'd do?

This is fun!  Want to play?

What?  Put them back?  You're not seriously angry at this face, are you?