Thursday, June 30

Welcome Home!

To my dear KB:

Yes, that's right. This gourmet and patriotic wonder is coming to your doorsteps tonight!  Mike and I are so excited for you both!  All your hard work has finally paid off!  Congratulations!

Thrift Store Adventure

Many thanks to my friend and neighbor, Shannon and baby Behr over the at the Scribble Pad, for taking me and Bella on our first crazy consignment warehouse adventure.

And crazy it was.  We pilgrimaged almost an hour outside DC to join other crazy money saving mommas in the hunt.  We got there so early that we literally had to stop and have a picnic on the floor of Panera... because how else do you kill two hours with two little movers and shakers?  And yes, that means we literally threw out a blanket on the floor of the restaurant and ignored all looks from people who don't have babies and therefore can't relate.

As the hour drew near, we pulled up to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, nursed both babies in the front seat of the car, laughed at the thought of what this must look like to a watching world that thankfully wasn't watching, secured a fresh change of diapers, and took our place in a long line of politely anxious mommas with babes strapped in Ergos.

I felt like one of those crazy brides on the hunt for a half price wedding dress that camps out the night before so she can mad dash in to some store and rip her wedding dress out of another bride's hands while tackling her to the ground lest she protest.

That feeling scares me.  I'm actually not a huge fan of places that bring out the aggressive side of women and put them all together in one room.

But thankfully our hunt actually went without any big bumps, rips, or tears.  No one ripped anything out of my hand, I didn't see anyone pulling anyone's hair out, and I didn't pull my own hair out.  No, I maintained composure.  And some moms even helped me find the right size I was looking for.  Now, that's the spirit!

I came out with some great finds.  Check it out!

1 Jacket, 2 dresses, 3 hard back books, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 footed sleepers, 1 set of 3 travel bowls for food (not pictured, in the sink), 1 table placemat (also in the sink), and a bathing suit for our Davis Family Beach Trip next week(!)... and all for the whopping low price of $48!  That's 14 items for $3.43 each!  Yes!

Thanks for all the money saving and fun memory making, Shannon!  I think Bella and Behr are really starting to hit it off.  The way they traded off screaming in the backseat on the way home leads me to believe that something really special is going on there. ;)

Wednesday, June 29

Splish, Splash, Bella's Taking a Bath

Bella is doing a lot of graduating these days.

Graduating to finger foods, to full out crawling, to pulling up, to lots of "da da da da da"...

And yes, to big girl bath time.  For the past seven months, she's been using one of those little bath contraptions that really places a limit on one's fun in the water, especially as a certain someone's chub has begun to displace all the water in the tub.

So last night, we transitioned to the big bath tub.  I suppose we could have just put her in the actual bath tub, but I've really enjoyed not having to bend over a tub to bathe her.  So even though this means I have to disinfect the kitchen sink before every bath, I figure that's probably a useful habit to add to my life.  Plus, when I plop my kid in the kitchen sink, it has this strange effect of making me feel more like I live on a ranch instead of the big city.  And I need more of that feeling in my life.

So, here is Bella enjoying the world of water!  Oh, and just to set the scene, Mike was singing "Under the Sea" before the camera started rolling.  You know, just in case you need some music to put to this.  Or you just want to laugh at the idea of Mike impersonating a crab.

Move over Michael Phelps!

Monday, June 20

Has Anyone Told You Today...

...what a terrific dad you are?

You used to love mountains and bikes- well, not that you ever stopped loving them- but now you lay them down so you can spend more time with me outdoors.

You used to sleep in and do whatever your heart desired on Saturdays.  But now, you lay down your Saturdays just to make sure I feel better.

You used to lay out and relax on the beach during vacation.  But now you lay down your naps and suntans so I can wake you up at 5:30 am to change my dirty diaper.

You used to enjoy a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A.  But now you lay down "getting back on the road" so you can take me to the playground.

You used to spend your evenings going out with friends.  But now you lay down evenings with friends just to put me to bed.

You used to be all serious in that suit of your's.  But now you lay down your businessman cover just to play with me when you walk through the door.

For all the ways you count it a joy to lay down your life for me and for Mom, we thank you.  

Mike, since becoming a dad, you have grown so much in the way you model Christ to this family, and this weekend we celebrated the good work He is doing in you.

We love you, and we think you're terrific.

Sunday, June 19

A Special "Da Da" Day Message

Bella has something special she would like to share with everyone on this Father's Day:

Her communication skills are nothing short of amazing, yes?  I think I heard "Da Da", don't you?

Perhaps I'll have something else to say about Bella's Daddy later on, but for now, this about sums it up.

Happy "Da Da" Day!

Saturday, June 18

A Father's Day Wish, Round 2

It's time for our next honoree of the weekend... Papa!

That's my dad down there.

He sure does know how to hold his girls in his lap.  This was always my favorite place in the house... Daddy's lap.  It's the safest place in the world.  And that's a fact.

Remember this special moment, Dad?  I love the picture of a daddy handing off his daughter to her husband.  At that moment, a lot of faith must go in to entrusting another man with the girl you once held securely in your lap.  Bella has given us a whole new perspective on this front.

Dad, you truly stand out in the crowd of fathers.  In fact, you could and probably should write a book on how to raise girls.  

From the creative ways you told me you loved me by sneaking "I love you" in to any moment you could.  

To your deliberate telling and display of God's grace.  

To your humble servant's heart and the sacrifices you'd make just to see us smile.  

To the way you loved mom.  

To our bedtime prayers and stories told in your fun voices.  

To jubee bugs.  

To Father Daughter dates in costume

To our first dozen roses.

These memories only scratch the surface.  

Of all the dad's in the world, I still think you're the best.

I love you. Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 16

A Father's Day Wish, Round 1

We've got a couple rounds of Father's Day wishes coming down the shoot, so get ready for pictures of some good lookin' men.

Our first honoree for Father's Day 2011 is... Poppi!

Poppi popped in to town last week, and so we met up for a special breakfast date at the ever so popular Old Ebbitt Grill.  
Poppi loves Bella kisses and coffee, and Bella loves Poppi's lap and spoons.

What a fine lookin' bunch!  Thanks for being such a great father to Mike.  We are all blessed to be loved and supported by you.  Have a great Father's Day, and know you are loved!

Tuesday, June 14

Graduation, New England Lobster Rolls, and "Stroller"boarding

Last Thursday morning, we got up before the rest of the world to begin our pilgrimage to Mike's graduation ceremony at the Naval War College.  From Washington, DC to Newport, RI is about a seven hour drive per Google.  Per baby, it's about a 10-11 hour drive.  Our strategy was to get up super early and trick the baby into thinking it was still sleepy time.  Here's how that strategy worked out for us:

Eleven hours later we arrived in Newport.  The view from our adorable beach house made everything better.  Our little spot was "out of a storybook" cute and quite literally had a million dollar view overlooking the historic mansions of Newport.

Ahhh, vacation.

Our next plan was to pick up Grandma Gigi at the airport.  The end of this video gives a clue as to how that plan worked out:

One quasi-hurricane, a canceled flight, an overnight train trip, and a quick shower later, Gigi and family finally arrived at Mike's graduation with big smiles on our faces.  A gold star to Gigi for her amazing travel efforts!

Here's the super important Naval War College where my husband graduated from.  I only wish they had stuck him in one of those white uniforms for the day.  What's better than a man in uniform?  Perhaps a handsome Italian man with a beard in a dark suit?  Ah, it's a toss up.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the moment we've waited four years for!  Go Mike!  You did it!

(P.S. That's not our baby crying at the beginning of the video, although I can't say she endured the two hours without a tear or two.)

Speaking of Bella, here's our little girl trying to get a handle on all her Daddy has just accomplished.

And here's a precious Father/Daughter pic.

And why not add Mom in there, too!

And here is proof that Gigi actually made it!  After a night with no sleep, I'm surprised she still has a smile on her face.  Bella however, is looking a little rough.  That's what one morning without a nap does to her.

Although graduation was definitely the highlight of this trip, Lobster Rolls came in at a close second for Mike.

Cupcakes and champagne on the beach were my close second.

Bubbles on the beach were Bella's close second.  Or maybe it was "Stroller"boarding at the skate park on the beach. (Seriously, if you only have time for one video in this post, this is the one.)

Vacation with a baby is hard work, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

Signing off for another grand Mannina adventure!

Friday, June 3

Dear Nana,

I have been working hard these days because Mommy says something big is happening in your life, and I have to be ready!

So I'm getting out the big books...

... and brushing up on my history...

and I'm learning how to calculate my alphabet... err, I mean, numbers.

I'm doing all this because Mommy says your teaching days are coming to an end.  And since there will be no more students left for you to quiz, I was thinking you might try to quiz me!

Mommy says you just want to spend more time loving me, but I'm going to be ready just in case.  Oh, and I already love George Washington just like you!

So I have a little message for you today:

Happy LAST day of school!  Happy retirement!  My mommy and daddy say they are so proud of you!

Enjoy the day, and eat it up!  I can't wait for more play dates!