Friday, February 24

Lovin' Birds & New Words

Favorite Bella memory of the week?  Feeding the birds down at the Capitol's reflecting pool.  The weather was cool enough for a sweater but sunny enough for Bella's sun hat.  Picture perfect!

This girl is in love with birds.  So in love in fact, that every now and again she'll share her Joe's Os with them. It's pretty hilarious to watch the look on her face as she determines whether to throw them to the birds or shove them in her mouth.  She's clearly a Mannina and doesn't really enjoy sharing her food. ;)

Most un-favorite memory of the week?  The post nap, clingy, whiny, temper tantrum.  It's here.  In my house.  Let's not spend time dwelling on it.

Yes, so moving on, Bella is picking up words right and left.  Get ready, because this girl's attempts at her own name are pretty funny:

I think she's just about got it!

And yes, our rocker is officially a jungle gym these days.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 15

I Love Lucy & Girls in Tutus

I hope everyone had a fun Valentine's Day out there!  I've enjoyed hearing about all the fun things people did out there: from traditional dates, to "nerd themed" dinner dates, to heart shaped pizza dates, to fancy family dinners with the kids. Valentine's Day takes on many shapes and forms for people out there.

For Bella, it looked a little something like this:

That's right.  A play date with our man, Behr!  They had a romantic, candle-less picnic date with plastic sandwiches and huge, red forks.  

Mike and I actually celebrated on Monday night with a special trip to the Hill Country for real Texas BBQ (yes, we actually think that BBQ sauce dripping off our chins and elbows is romantic).  And then we threw off the whole Texas vibe by heading to Adams Morgan for coffee.  And just to let you in on a little secret, we actually celebrate our engagement anniversary the day before Valentine's Day.  Every year, we kind of feel like we steal Valentine's Day's thunder.  Take that, Cupid. :)

Celebrating early also freed us up to invite some college friends over for dessert and "I Love Lucy" episodes on Valentine's Night.  No joke, more guys showed up than girls.

Must have been the chocolate cake.  And yes, those are our wedding napkins.  How many of you out there are still trying to get rid of those things?

One more quick sidenote: thank you for bearing with me I while I have way too much fun applying all sorts of funny filters to my pictures.  Instead of flowers, Mike got me my first iPhone for Valentine's!!  I'm currently in iPhone app wonderland and loving it!

Finally, to complete our Valentine's Day news, Nana sent us a little tutu so we could get our twirl on.  I think all our practicing has paid off.  Check it out!

So there's our report.  Lots of love going on in this house the past few days.  And as I've celebrated all my various relationships-- Mike, Bella, extended family, and various friends-- I keep coming back to how grateful I am for the love I've been given in Christ.  He basically makes these holidays possible for fallen people like me.  

What great reason He has given us to love!

Friday, February 10

Cozy Coupe Love

Does everyone know what a Cozy Coupe is?  They generally look a little something like this:
Except without the face.  Must be a new thing since Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater made their debut.

Well, one faceless and very special Cozy Coupe found it's way to our local playground during late summer this past year.  It arrived looking all shiny and lightly used, and Bella immediately fell in love with him.  Cozy Coupe arrived right around the time she gained an interest in walking, and so she loved using him as a walker.  She would spend her whole time at the playground pushing him in circles around the other kids and toys.  And if another kid jumped in, she would just push harder and give that kid a ride.  She couldn't get enough of him, and the playground experience was not complete unless she had an encounter with Cozy Coupe.

Cozy Coupe back in his prime.

But months have since passed, and many a child has loved him, driven him, kicked him, fought over him, crashed him into a tree, and knocked him over trying to dump their little sister out of him.  Yes, I've witnessed all these things.  He's aged quickly, Ol' Cozy. And I'm sure at this point in his life, his hair- if he still has any- is gray and wiry.  His eyes are worn and googly from all the tumbles. He's not mentally stable.  And for this reason, I've stopped encouraging my child to play with Ol' Cozy.  In fact, I'm just waiting for the day when we show up at the playground and witness him being hauled off by the city.

I mean, just look at him:

His door fell off months ago.  There's a crack in the seat from that big kid that tried to sit in him.  The awning is held up by one shaky support.  The gas cap is missing.  And his front, left wheel... well...

... the tree stump got him.  It got him bad.

So yes, I confess that in more recent days, I've done my best to help Bella avoid Ol' Cozy.  Upon arrival at the playground, I've put her down to play as far away from him as possible. I've hid him behind trees to no avail.  I've even encouraged other kids to give him a try so I can have a legitimate reason to tell Bella "no".  I know.  I've been mean and manipulative.

But Ol' Cozy isn't going away.  Every time we visit the playground, kids continue to fight over who gets to sit in his broken seat.  Kids still jump at the opportunity to pretend they're driving him, because you see, he doesn't move anymore.  He just sits there.  Sometimes he squeaks out a scoot or two for old time's sake, but really, he's had it.  He's done.

And still, sweet Bella remains faithful to Ol' Cozy.  I'll never understand why she looks past all the awesome toys on the playground and b-lines it to him... every single time.  She loves him, mental instability and all.  And truth be told, my child has helped me find a place in my heart for this beaten down friend.  I'm sure it won't be the only time my child causes me to see life a little differently.  

Ol' Cozy, you've been good to us.  You and I may think you're on your last leg, but you're not.  These kids will love you until you magically sprout an engine and speed off to bigger and better things.

Because that still happens to all the extra loved toys.  Right?

Wednesday, February 8

Playing with Cow Patties, Spaghetti, & Fire

Here's the latest collection of happenings from our world:

Last weekend, we gladly accepted an invitation from some of our dear friends to do one of our most favorite things... escape from the city to wonderful, rural Virginia!  Bella loved it.


No really.  She loved it.
I think she and that cow are channeling the same sentiment: "Get me out of this cold, cow patty minefield." 
Okay, so Spring can't get here fast enough for this girl.  Back to our warm, little nook in the world...

So, I've got this new strategy when it comes to spaghetti: 
Spaghetti in the nude!  It's working out great for everyone involved... um, everyone being just Bella.

 And there's that smile we've been looking for!

 Also, new at the dinner table this week:  Bella's adopted a love for blowing out candles.
They don't even have to be lit, and she practices all the same. That equals extra peace of mind for me.

Daddy's coaching her for her next birthday.  

I hope you're able to enjoy the simpler things in life this week.  
From farm to tea table, it's pinkies up from our world!