Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Manning Family First

We went Trick or Treating! And it was so much fun! Well, the kids had fun running from house to house begging for candy. I've never seen so much candy. We've got more than enough to last until next year's Halloween. I'm going to have to get creative with distribution. This is nuts!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Making Crowns

On Wednesday, we read one of our favorite books, Alice the Fairy. In the story, Alice made a crown, so we decided we needed to make crowns as well. What fun!
Notice my Wednesday treat - leftovers from Daddy Daughter Breakfast - a Diet Dr Pepper!A loves to color. He scribbles a bit, then points attempting to say, "I did that!"
M is focusing with her scissors. She had so much fun cutting out "all the triangles!"
C's favorite part was the glue. She was very careful about not using too much.
My naked child. My poor, naked child.
M is ready to make crowns again. She had so much fun!
Tada! Here's King A!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Great Big Brother

E is so funny. She hates the vacuum cleaner. I think the loud noise scares her, but she starts crying as soon as I bring the thing out. She doesn't wait for me to turn it on; no, just the sight of the thing freaks her out.

As I was getting it out the other night, she started crying. A was near her and went to try to comfort her. Poor thing. He thinks grabbing her around the neck, attempting to pick her up by her head is comforting. Not so much. Mom to the rescue for the umpteenth time today. (I'm a true super-hero.)
I told A to sit down, and placed E sitting in between his legs. She rested against him while I vacuumed, and amazingly, she stopped crying. After awhile, she got heavy so he leaned her back onto his leg. So sweet. Such a great big brother - sometimes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

E plays Clarinet

E is practicing hard. Should we sign her up for lessons already?!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Midnight Conversations

Andy and I are truly blessed. All of our children are great sleepers. Most people assume we live a life of interrupted nights, but it's actually the complete opposite. Very rarely does someone get up in the middle of the night. My bladder bothers me more than my children.

But last night was one of those rare nights. M came to our bedroom shortly after midnight. She announced that something was touching her hand, and it was really bothering her. Hmm ... my sleepy mind tried to think as Andy reached out to love on her.

Me: Maybe it's a fly, hon. There was one in the living room,
bothering me earlier this evening. Maybe it went to your room.

M: No. It can't be a fly, because this thing is touching my hand
and pulling me off the bed.

Ok, that's just scary. Good thing Dad handles the "scary" around here. I just rolled over and went back to sleep while Andy went to check for extra hands in the kids' bedroom.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hanging with Dad

The boys hanging out.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lil' Sack of Steel

Andy calls A his "lil sack of steel, lil ton of bricks."
A had his turn at the doctor for his 2 year check-up.

Stats:
Weight -- 31 lbs
Height -- 34.5 inches

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sad Morning

The kids weren't too happy with me. They didn't understand why we had to leave Nana's. We'd been there only 12 hours, and ten of those were sleeping! It just wasn't right. And the tears flowed all the way out of town. Not I'm throwing a fit tears; honest to goodness, I'm so sad, tears. We love going to Nana's house.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healing Nana Love

A couple months ago we made a quick trip to Nana's - a real, quick trip. We planned to leave Monday afternoon after nap, and return early Tuesday morning. But when we walked outside to load up in the truck, we found a busted window. What?! So Andy and I spent the next hour taping it. We were going to DeRidder; nothing would stop us. We were on a mission to retrieve the X-Box for the youth to use when they come over to the house. We finally made it, and then E decided she wasn't feeling too good. I'm so glad we made it in time for some healing Nana love.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Well Baby Check-Up

We're approaching the busiest time of year for us - Birthday Season! We've got one in October, two in December, two in January, one in February and one in March. Then we're free for the next six months. It's party time, which is lots of fun. But it's also annual check-up time for the kids, which is not so fun. We're busy enough without adding doctor visits to the routine.

E had her 9 month check-up, and everything looks great. There is a definite dip on her weight chart from the past, but she's clearly back on track. The doctor even laughed at her and said, "Girl, I don't know what you were doing for those few weeks, but you've got it now."

E is the most difficult at the doctor's office. She loves the paper on the table. She rips it, chews it, destroys it. I have to keep her off of the table until the last possible second, because otherwise there will be no paper left. The doctor struggles to contain her as she wiggles around, destroying the paper, all the while squealing with delight. I've tried to distract her with toys, food, etc..., but she wants the paper. She loves the sound as she crumbles it in her little hands. This girl's a hoot.

Stats:
Weight -- 17lb 15oz
Height -- 26.5 inches

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tutu Lady

Too adorable. How could I ever get frustrated with this lil' bit of cuteness?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday Sundae!

Wow! What a treat!
Andy treated us to a super Sunday Sundae yesterday. I say he treated us because it was his idea, yet he's the only one in the family without a sweet tooth. As a child, his family would frequent Dairy Queen for ice cream cones, and he was the only one to choose french fries over ice cream.
We hit the road yesterday afternoon after the kids (and I) woke up from our long afternoon nap. We told the kids we had a couple errands to run, which was true. We just didn't tell them that the second errand was a stop at Dairy Queen! As we drove into the parking lot, the squeals and stomps of excitement from the back of the truck were almost too much to bear. The girls were so excited I had to remind them - "Calm down." (We even have hand motions to go with the frequently repeated phrase.)
The big girls were thrilled with their hot fudge sundaes. They even sat at a separate table - my big girls are really growing up. And A got his own sundae which he easily downed. No leftovers with that boy. E shared a Thin Mint blizzard with me. Yum! Yum! Andy got a Snickers blizzard, but after a couple bites, he set it aside for the big girls to share. I think we'll get him fries next time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's all worth it...

This never gets old. This is what pushes me when I think I can't go another step. This is my inspiration for life.

A couple Sundays ago we had a Baptism Party at the house. It's such a great reminder of why we do what we do. Remembering this makes getting up at 3AM on Sundays to prepare for service at Church Acadiana so worth it. What's a little missed sleep and sweat on the brow when we're talking about changed lives? I'm all about doing whatever I can to help others encounter Jesus.
Thank you God for your infinite wisdom in commanding baptism. It pumps me up and keeps me going. Praise God!

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Helpers

Sometimes I am amazed by my kiddos. To be honest, more often than not. They truly are precious, and I'm striving to remember that in the midst of the not so precious moments. But this was a true blessing.

On Monday nights, Andy rushes off to staff meeting right after dinner. That leaves my tired self at home with my five little boogers and lots of dirty dishes and counters and floors and faces, etc... It feels way beyond one on five. This week I thought of a plan recognizing that I could be making things worse for myself. But I was physically exhausted and longed for some help.

The plan: The kids (minus E) would transfer the dirty dishes from the table to the counter, wash them off in the sink, and load them in the dishwasher. This would free me to tackle the counters and floors. Faces would come later, or not. (It had been a long day.)

I put J and A on the transfer, C on washing, and M on loading. I tried not to watch because I can be a bit overbearing at times. I like things done properly, you know, like the way I do them. And with my exhaustion, I knew it would turn more into a fussing session rather than "Helping Mom" night. So I didn't direct traffic or get involved in any way. I focused on my tasks, ignoring the nagging thoughts of "how big of a mess are they making?!"

But they did amazing. After finishing vacuuming the living room, I rounded the corner to find this. Not only had they transferred, washed, and loaded all the dishes, they were attempting to add the soap! They had already dried the counter - especially the area directly behind the sink that my mom taught me will rot causing your sink to fall if you don't keep it dry. (I get it honest, and unfortunately I'm doing a pretty good job of passing it down the line.)

Thank you my precious kiddos, even E who sat and watched the festivities. I really do appreciate you, and I'm even looking forward to the next Monday night. Will you help your tired, 'ole Mom once again?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poo-doh

Someone is in trouble, trouble with a capital T. We experienced a big NO-NO last Tuesday. It's been done before; I'm sure it will happen again. And I hate admitting that I'm getting pretty good at handling it. Not much shocks me anymore.

Well A decided to create a learning experience during nap time. He's a great teacher - real "hands on" and creative. And what did he want to learn about? Poo. Isn't every soon to be 2 year old fascinated with their poo poo? Maybe not, but mine sure have.

BEWARE: Totally disgusting pictures follow. You've been warned.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh How They Grow: Part 2

My sweet boy. Kids grow so fast.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh How They Grow

Old video. The girls running around in the rain.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Remembering Dad

I'm remembering Dad this morning. It's hard to imagine that 3 years have passed since his death. It feels like I was talking with him on the phone just yesterday. Time flies when you're having lots of babies.

I recently met a pastor's wife, and it was so refreshing talking with someone who can relate with me so easily. As we were getting to know each other, sharing life histories, she discovered I was raised in a Godly home with Christian parents. She was so excited to hear that, especially since she and her husband are first generation Christians. As she learned more about my early (and truly deep) connection with Jesus, she began to drill me with parenting questions. I could see her heart yearning for her own two young, precious daughters, longing for them to experience something similar. She wanted to know exactly how my parents did it. Were they strict? Did they spank? What did we do as a family? And so on.
These are questions I'm continually asking myself. God greatly blessed me and my big brother Jim with amazing parents. Were they perfect? Of course not, which is highly encouraging to me as a very imperfect parent myself. But they did something right. By the grace of God, they garnered the wisdom and understanding to raise a couple of great kids. I think of my childhood often, many times imitating my parents because simple logic and success are on their side.
My prayer is that I will be able to take what my parents taught me in my life, build upon it and by God's grace take my parenting skills to the next level. Then in return, that my children will be able to do the same, far surpassing my efforts, blessing my grandchildren. And that's the greatness of generational godliness. Families, following Christ generation after generation, reaping the Lord's wisdom and blessings.
Thanks Mom and Dad for setting me up for success. I am who I am today because of your work in my life. You sacrificed a great deal in raising me and Jim, and for that I am forever grateful. I can honestly say I have the greatest parents in the world.
I'm missing you today, Dad. And to be honest, slightly jealous that you are enjoying an intimacy with Jesus that I have yet to experience. I'm happy for you and looking forward to the greatest reunion ever. Eternity is going to be out of this world!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Birthday Videos

Wake-Up Call

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Fascinated with ball giftbag

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Opening gifts - "Help."
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Poptart Breakfast!

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Birthday Blast!

Wow - we had a blast yesterday! I love the all-day celebration. It makes for a really special birthday. It's the one day of the year that it's all about them - well, almost all. We still nap and eat 3 square meals and obey mom and dad. But it's a fun-filled day, complete with special activities planned especially for the birthday kid.

A's birthday began with waking him up with the big girls singing "Happy Birthday." He wasn't too thrilled about us waking him up, but it was worth it. He didn't quite understand the concept of blowing out the candles, but he got it by dinner time.

Then A was greeted by a decorated living room, complete with presents and his new "ride." He sat at the table and ate Poptarts (even the ones with frosting!). While he was sitting, he pointed out his new shoes and the balls on Nana's gift bag. He was thrilled.

After a quite messy breakfast, he spent time exploring his new ride-on toy. It's great! It won't be long before he's riding all over the place. After riding awhile he wanted to look at the ball gift bag. He didn't even realize there was a gift inside. He was just excited to look at the pictures of the balls. Finally I encouraged him to pull the tissue paper out. When he saw the balls he squealed with delight. He spent the rest of the morning playing with his new soccer and basketball.

Then we headed to the mall for lunch - a rare treat. I can't believe we forgot the camera! Andy had a fabulous idea. After eating lunch we let A and the big girls ride on the toys - with them moving! Any time we go to the mall they play on the toys, but we've never added quarters to the experience. Our new 2 year old LOVED the train. He rode it 3 times in a row, laughing and smiling the whole time. It was precious.


After naptime we opened the rest of the gifts - a train set, shoes, shirts (which he tried to put on immediately - it's in the genes), and a book. He opened the book last. I asked him if he wanted me to read it to him, reaching for his new treasure. He said, "NO!" Then he walked to Andy and sat down, opening the book and pointing to the pictures. He loves books.

For dinner we had pizza and cookie cake. This time A knew exactly how to blow out the candle. He blew it out before I could get a picture of him blowing! After dinner he asked to go outside. We played, and played until dark. What a great day!