Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Fun!

Festive photo fun...

My apple pie! Yes, MINE, I made it! This is actually the third apple pie I've made, I made two for Thanksgiving last year. I've now been officially designated as the apple pie maker for Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with Chris'!
Grace with Nana on Christmas Eve -- a time-honored tradition. These are ornaments of the nativity scene, and Grace is doing what Katrina and I did for years and years. Nana and Grace talked about the Christmas story using the ornaments, and then Grace put them on the tree.

Grace in the Christmas dress that her Daddy picked out for her!

Mommy and her girls! The one of Chris and the girls turned out blurry! :-(

Rachael knows that the fun part is the box, right? (She's actually sitting ON the toy!)

Rachael walking! (Still a little unsure, but she's getting the hang of it!)

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Rachael Report!

This kid has been busy! Not only is she sprouting teeth, but she decided to hit several milestones at once! Just in the past week or two, we have heard her calling "Mama-mama-mama!" if she's on her way to Vanessa, and "Dada-dada-dada!" if she's on her way to Chris. That is good enough for us -- we're officially marking those as her first words!

She's also started clapping, and she'll even give us a "high five" if we ask for it -- Grace thinks that is great, she loves it when Rachael smacks her hand! There have also been a couple of times when Mommy's gotten a big, sloppy baby mouth on her face when she requests kisses!

And, the biggest news, we've got a walker! Several times she has taken tentative but completely unassisted steps! The poor thing is usually wearing pants that are too long for her, so she doesn't get far before those get in her way -- we're working on that! Her big motivation is FOOD! Boy oh boy, if we're eating something and she thinks she wants a bite (which is most of the time), nothing will get in her way!

In one month this little kiddo will be a year old -- where has the time gone??

Here's a picture Papa took of the girls after Grace's Christmas choir performance -- don't they look like good buddies?

Let me hear the, "Awwww!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just in case pictures!

Just in case we can't manage family pictures for Christmas, before we went upstairs after Grace got home from school I had the girls sit down for some pictures. I figure maybe I can turn them black and white, slap them on a Christmasy background and manage a Christmas card... Or a New Year's card, which I've done before! :-) They were really cooperative, and as always, CUTE!

Definitely the most natural of all of them!

Grace was hugging on her sister, she was being very sweet! Always good to capture on film!

I don't know what they were looking at, but I liked that Rachael was kind of smiling!

I tried to get a few of each of them on their own, but Grace stayed for ONE and then went to toss grass in the water. (No, I don't know why.) Rachael gave me some pretty interesting faces!

Before she bolted!

Her most thoughtful look...

"What is Grace doing over there?"
CHEESE! She was smiling for her sister here -- and you can see her teeth (top and bottom) poking through in this one!

Monday, December 10, 2007


A great shot of Rachael's top teeth, and you can see more on their way! "Power teething" as one friend called it! She's got two on the bottom coming in the same way, only it's the one on the left that's coming in further on the bottom, so she's all snaggle-toothed! :-) But it's precious to see her smiling with those pearly whites, even if they're all mismatched! Check out those sweeping eyelashes too! Daddy's in TROUBLE with these girls!!


"No haaaaiiiir for my hairbrush!" ;-)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I love my husband!

Happy Anniversary, Chris! I love you so much!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving (a little late)!

Well, Thanksgiving came and went, and I began to panic! I didn't take any pictures!! Rachael's first Thanksgiving and I had nothing to show for it! Thankfully, my nephew, Blake, took several pictures and was kind enough to share them with me! Thank you so much, Blake!

We had a great time visiting with my sister and her family while they were here, celebrating not only Thanksgiving but my niece, Savannah's, 2nd birthday!

On Savannah's birthday, the whole gang went to the zoo. It was the best time I've had at the zoo in a while because we had a full day and got to see everything we wanted to -- without splinters!! :-)

Uncle Jerry was sweet enough to get crackers so Grace could feed the giraffe, and helped her reach!

Here's Rachael doing her giraffe impersonation!
This isn't the sharpest picture, but it shows all the girls!! That's me pushing Rachael with Katrina (carrying my new niece or nephew in her tummy) next to me, and that's our "new" sister, Ashley, up front with her little nieces tagging along with her. GIRL POWER!

Here are Savannah and Grace taking a look at a book in Nana's kitchen.

It's hard to get preschoolers to smile on cue, especially on national holidays! But they had a lot of fun together!

This is Rachael on Thanksgiving Day! Playing with the beads, every kid's favorite thing!

Thanksgiving was full of good food and great visits, and well-behaved children! What a blessing! Hope everyone else enjoyed theirs as well!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lovely Little Lovelies!!

As promised, here are a couple of pictures of Rachael sporting one of her new hair clips! These are wonderful, I cannot even begin to tell you how great they are! They stayed in her hair for almost 5 hours -- through car rides, 3 of Daddy's softball games, and some touching from Grace as she exclaimed, "It's so cute!" Rachael never messed with it once, she didn't even notice it was there!

I got these from a this shop at -- if you've not heard of that website, you should check it out! Everything on there, from art to clothes to accessories, is handmade. Many of the shops I've gone to are run by stay-at-home-moms, and I like the thought of supporting their endeavors! I have only made two purchases (so far... "window shopping" at Etsy is addictive), but they were so quick and easy and I got what I ordered right away!

As far as these clips go, I wish they had been around when I was first doing Grace's hair! We managed because she had so much, but these would've made life easier -- it was rare for me to find a barrette that would stay put! If you have a little girl, especially a baby girl, and you want to doll them up, these clips are for you! I have seen pictures of them on baby girls with less hair than Rachael!

Can you tell I'm excited about these? I doubt I'll ever have Rachael out without one in her hair! ;-) And now I can just let her curls fly! :-D Her hair is flat in those pictures because Daddy insisted on brushing it flat after her bath last night! :-D

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hair-Raising Adventures

I can't take this family anywhere without someone getting injured! ;-) We took the girls to the zoo last weekend, and right before we went into the vulture exhibit, Grace started crying that her finger hurt. *sigh* Sure enough, she'd gotten a teeny tiny little splinter in it! Chris tried to get it out, but after Grace terrified numerous other zoo visitors with her shrieking, we decided it might be best to go to their First Aid station. Guess what -- they don't have one! The woman in the office got Chris a splinter kit and the drama intensified. Rachael watched with great interest as I sat Grace on my lap to hold her still while Chris worked the teeniest, tiniest splinter out of her finger. You would have thought he was taking her finger OFF with how she carried on! (She comes by that honestly, stories of my reactions to shots at the doctor's office are legendary.) Anyhow, the splinter was removed and the kind employees at the zoo gave Grace water in a Dora cup, a page of Little Mermaid tattoos (two of which I had to wear on my ankle to convince her that they wouldn't hurt), a Band Aid (essential, you know, no matter what the injury), and a Curious George doll. That was actually another reason I wanted to go to somewhere more "official" for the extraction process -- I knew they would spoil her and that might offer her some comfort!

We had a great time at the zoo, the weather was gorgeous! Grace got to feed the giraffe (you can see him here clearly enjoying his snack), and I had to take a picture of this alligator because he really creeped Grace and I out with his toothy grin! He just sat there like that for the longest time, completely still, showing his teeth! Maybe alligators do that all the time, I don't know!

Now, Miss Rachael has been providing us with much entertainment because of her hair! It's been curling and flipping all over the place, but mainly we've been calling her "Spike" or "Mohawk" because of the curls at the very tippy top of her head! As you can see, she's got a little Alfalfa thing going on! Yes, it's really adorable, but if she's not in head-to-toe pink, her hairdo has her mistaken for a baby boy sometimes! You moms know how frustrating that can be, but thankfully we may have a solution! I found out about these adorable hair clips, and I have seen pictures of babies with less hair than Rachael wearing them! We ordered a set for her and I can't wait to try them out -- and you can bet I'll show off some pictures!

Rachael has been showing more and more personality lately! She offers big ol' gummy grins when people talk to her, and she'll wave hello and good-bye as well! That gummy grin may be soon be a thing of the past, we are pretty sure we see some pearly whites ready to poke their way through! As if that wasn't enough, the girl loves to cruise and she now manages to play with whatever is fascinating her at the moment while standing up. I cannot believe that in two months we will be celebrating her 1st birthday! Where has the time gone?!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

True Florida Girls!

I thought those of you living where you actually get four seasons and cool weather would get a kick out of this. The weather was significantly cooler here today -- interesting considering yesterday we had a record high of 89. When we walked outside to take Grace to preschool this morning, we turned right around to get her a sweatshirt and a blanket for Rachael! This afternoon after Rachael's nap, I decided that we'd walk to get the mail and we ended up just taking a nice stroll around our complex.

This was the temperature according to the gauge on the stroller:

Here's how the girls were dressed:

Quit laughing, they are 4th Generation Floridians, their blood is THIN! ;-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Family in the Fall

Today was Pumpkin Patch day with our ME (Mom Enrichment) Time group! The church that held it offered a story time, goody bags, a small pumpkin for the bigger kids, and of course many photo opportunities! Here's the one shot I managed of the girls together in their matching shirts, courtesy of Grandma!This past weekend when Lisa and Darryl (Chris' sister and brother-in-law) were in town, our friend Sarah took some great pictures of all of us with Chris' parents. If I get permission, I'll share one of those, but here are some she took of our little family...

Yay! All smiles!

Mommy & Her Girls ... Rachael had already about had it at this point!

I put these in black and white -- I was hoping it would decrease the look of the "expression lines" around my face! Bleah! But doesn't Grace look sweet? Her being a little bit of a ham pays off on days like this!

I know it isn't the sweetest face ever, but I love this scowl! I love the faces she makes!

Well, I'm going to have to go out and take pictures of Chris with Grace, but here's a shot of Daddy with his biggest fan! Take my word for it, she's actually squealing with delight here!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nine Months!

Rachael is 9 months old now! She goes in for her checkup tomorrow morning, so I may update this with her stats after that. She's crawling around like crazy, and she loves to crawl after Grace -- and when she does, she hollers something that sounds an awful lot like, "Hey! Hey!" It's so cute! She babbles a lot, and most definitely squawks a lot! If you are on the phone with us, you might get an earful! She's pulling up and sometimes standing on her own -- but she can take her time on the whole walking thing! As you can see from the picture on the left, no teeth yet! She is definitely still a Daddy's Girl and she still gives the most laughs to her big sister! We all love this girl!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Toy for Two

Grace has never had a bunch of toys. I don't know if we're stingy or picky or what, but Chris and I could probably count on one hand the number of toys we've actually purchased for her. Here, I'll go ahead and shock most of you -- we've never bought her a Christmas present!! She's always had enough just from what she's received at her birthday and Christmas from family and friends, and from the couple of times that we've received hand-me-downs when someone had a toy that needed a good home.

Having two children has been a fun social experiment for me, it's always so interesting to note how different Grace and Rachael already are, and how different I am as a parent! Grace would play independently for what seemed like an eternity before "asking" us to join her, that was how she was from the beginning. I never would see anything on TV or in advertisements and think, "That would be great for Grace!" Rachael just loves to be entertained, she wants to be part of whatever's going on! And as for toys, I cannot tell you how many times I've seen something on television or in a parenting magazine and thought, "I want one for Rachael!!" So when a friend from church offered some toys, I gladly accepted!

One of the toys will live at my mom's house, but I kept two for our place. She gave us a bunch of Peek-a-Blocks and the Press and Go Train (which my mom has at her place already), but she also gave us a Playskool Ball Popper. I thought Rachael would get a kick out of it... Well, she does, and so does Grace! It's my first chance to watch them play together, and it has been so much fun! Today I sat and watched them play for a while, and then I decided to get some photographic evidence of it. Even though I'm praying that they will be sisters and friends -- I had a sister, I know the ups and downs of that kind of relationship! ;-)

A Playskool Ball Popper unites The Manning Girls...
Check out how Rachael is kneeling -- she does that a LOT! She'll sit like that for a while and then try to stand on her own! I'M NOT READY!! ;-)

Beautiful Rachael

Beautiful Grace

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pump It Up!

Even though Grace's birthday was a couple of weeks ago, she had her BIG birthday bash yesterday at Pump It Up, and indoor play area with inflatable slides and bounce houses. The party was for her and her buddy, Noah, her friend from Sunday school and preschool -- they've been together in Sunday school since they were babies! The party was a BLAST! There were nearly 20 preschoolers running around, along with their parents, and everyone had a great time! Grace played so hard that she asked to take a nap when she got home! That ought to tell you something!! It was FUN!!

Oh, and some of you already heard about the great boxing match that took place -- we may have pictures of that later... Chris and I got in one of the inflatable bounce houses and "duked it out" with the huge boxing gloves they had there! It was quite a sight! But two couples followed after us, and we've all decided that it makes for great marriage counseling! ;-)

Here are a few pictures from the day...

Grace & Noah - Birthday Buddies!

The cake! Noah's mommy got this from Sam's -- a sheet cake with their picture on it! So cute!

Grace "sticks the landing" after coming down the slide!

We couldn't believe it, but Rachael fell asleep just like this!

After this, Chris put her in the stroller and she slept through the rest of the playtime!

Princess Grace -- she and Noah each got their own inflatable throne!

It was such a fun day! Hey, Lori -- thanks for inviting us to yours so we were able to find out what it was all about! :-)