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Showing posts from 2014

a work in progress

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Hello blog (and any loyal readers out there). I've missed you! I haven't written lately because I just plain have not been able to find the time. Kindergarten and two pickup/drop-off locations is a game changer. You know how it feels when you turn the clock ahead for daylight savings and you lose an hour? I feel like that every day now. I am struggling to get everyone out the door in the morning with full tummies and in clean clothes. And then again at night everyone must eat, bathe, sleep. Basic events that have to happen and should be so easy but sometimes feel impossible (someone in our house is 3 years old. Need I say more??) We're all working on sight words and letter sounds. Learning to read is important stuff! And yet where does it fit in the mad dash of the post-work-pre-bed rush? It is a work in progress for sure.

I've written here in the past about the pros and cons of my career. I love the variety of my days that sometimes have me in the research lab or in t…

Remembering Blue October

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It is the second week of November and I'm just getting around to our pumpkin patch pictures taken a month ago. October for me was a whirlwind and all my time seemed to disappear in long baseball games and grant reviews. I love experiencing Fall and October with the kids - pumpkins and costumes and falling leaves are a welcome change from hot summer days. But it is also one of the busiest months of the year for me at work with grant reviews and travel that cause all my other daily work to pile up and up and up. The month finished in a frantic blur of our first kindergarten Halloween parade and class party, our last soccer game and end of season pizza party, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating. Somehow we fit it all in.  
Since the end of October, I've been enjoying the lull between holidays and pretending another one is not just around the corner. I'm looking back on this sunny day in October when we wore short sleeves, Royals' blue, and boots to the pumpkin patch a…

Chocolate & Pumpkin #TBT

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While this pumpkin bread is my go to fall recipe, the muffin version is my new favorite. The recipe makes almost 2 dozen muffins - those that don't disappear immediately go in the freezer. They are a great addition to our weekday lunches or for a quick snack on the way to soccer. I really should consider making this recipe a bit healthier (in my spare time) but for now, it is a fave fall treat!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread 
Fall is one of my favorite seasons. After a long, hot and sticky summer, I look forward to the chill in the air, seeing bursts of colors in the turning leaves, carving pumpkins, and wearing sweaters! And I love the kitchen to be filled with the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin. This pumpkin bread recipe has become a new seasonal favorite in our house. It is easy to make and utilizes simple ingredients. Plus, it combines pumpkin and chocolate, a perfect combination for fall baking. 

I recently made this recipe with Charlie's class at school. They have been talkin…

These Royals!

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Thanks to last minute tickets and grandparents willing to pick up the kids, we got to #BeRoyal for a day!  All I can say about this Royals team is WOW. I love the way they play the game. The World Series is next. GO KC!



Captured on camera

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We had a ton of pictures taken this past week. We had a photo session at Modern on Meadow for an upcoming spread in a local KC magazine on the house. It was no easy feat to have the house clean and staged and all four of us picture-ready by 5pm on a very busy Thursday afternoon of a very busy week. Whew! Glad that is over. I am really curious to see the pictures. I hope we like them.

We also took family photos this weekend - everyone was so thrilled to spend an hour trekking around the Nelson in their fall finest. Ok, I was the only one happy to be there and to be getting what I hope are new and fabulous family pictures. The kids are growing up so fast and we haven't had a family picture taken in 2 years, and not a professional one since before Izzy was born. It was time.


Like everyone else in KC, we have baseball mania in our house. As Cardinals and Royals fans, we are in baseball overdrive right now. I'm avoiding thinking about the scenario that everyone in STL and KC is thi…

Weekend Rewind

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These days our Saturdays begin with ballet (notice the excellent plie in the photo above - with boots!) followed by a soccer game. This past Saturday we also took in a KU football game which meant the kids required three sets of clothes to get through the day. I went to Lawrence early Saturday morning for an alumni rowing event and left Ryan to be Super Dad and get the kids to their events. But first, I set out all the necessary outfits...


They all managed to join me for the second quarter at the KU game, in their game gear and with smiles on their faces.


The game wasn't very exciting, but the kids have fun playing on the hill afterwards. 



And here is a short video of me rowing for the first time in almost 20 years! I am the third rower from the front, in the blue t-shirt. I didn't realize how much I missed the sport until I felt the run of the boat underneath me - so fun! 


My friend Allison and I were two peas in a pod while we were on the rowing team. We were roommates, co-…

Of Sundays and Mondays

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I'm not sure which one of us registered more shock when our neighbor, fellow kindergartner, and Monday morning carpool friend, hopped out of her minivan and onto our driveway in full cowgirl attire this morning. Charlie turned to bury his head in my legs, while my brain churned ever so slowly back to an announcement that came home on Friday about Spirit Week. I'm not sure if Charlie was upset about his lack of western attire, or if he was just overwhelmed by the exuberance of an unexpected cowgirl on Monday morning. The cowgirl's mom smiled and muttered something about how she had thought about reminding me. I stood frozen, with Charlie attached to my legs, trying to think. We had nothing he could throw on at the last minute - no vest, no cowboy hat, not even a bandana. It was a major Mom Fail to start the week.

As I drove to work fighting back tears, I marveled at how something so insignificant could completely wreak my morning. Turns out nothing is insignificant when it …

lower case letters

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We are still adjusting to our new Kindergarten schedule in the Maniger household. We are out the door earlier every day and have to stick to a strict bedtime schedule or everyone is tired and cranky these days (kids too!). And because I know kindergarten is so much more tiring for Charlie than what he was used to at daycare, I try to pick him up earlier each day. School is out at 3:10 and then he goes to aftercare at the school where he essentially plays and gets out all his energy after sitting all day. I try to pick him up from aftercare around 4:30. This means we are home just before 5:00 most days and I am loving it. It feels like a huge amount of time, even compared to coming home just one hour later. When we are home at 5:00, we aren't so rushed to make dinner and get to bed and instead can ease out of our day.

This time after school and before evening has become my favorite time of the day. Charlie is usually starving so I make the kids a snack and they sit at the counter …

Growing up

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I started this blog 6 years ago when I was still pregnant with Charlie. It has been many things to me over the years, most importantly a place where I can think out loud. Motherhood can be completely overwhelming and I found myself unprepared for the onslaught of new information, skills and knowledge I would need to be a parent. No matter how excited you are to become a parent, no matter how many years you dream of the day it will happen, there is no way to prepare yourself for the role. This blog became my outlet for all that was mysterious, interesting, challenging and rewarding about motherhood.

I've written about the fright we had when Charlie entered this world, making my own baby food, and finding time to exercise. I've posted favorite recipes, shared my working mom struggles, the fun aspects of my work, as well as my views on cooking, nutrition, and exercise. I've posted photos from birthdays, vacations, farm table dinnersweekends around the city, our home remode…

Kindergarten, one week in

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The first day of Kindergarten went amazingly well. There were smiles all around, hugs, tears of joy and sadness, but overall, we made it through and felt good about our accomplishment. There is so much excitement about that first day - pictures are taken, parents are welcomed into the classroom and everyone is on cloud 9 about kindergarten. So in some ways, that first day is the easy part.


We are one week in and doing OK. Some days we're up, some days we're down. Charlie was so tired after his second day of kindergarten that he literally collapsed in a heap on the floor of the kitchen and fell asleep the minute he got home. I wanted to do the same. One week in, I have his schedule and snack calendar on the pantry bulletin board for everyone to monitor, and am getting a routine going for making lunches and filing away the myriad of school work and notices that come home each day. Charlie sets his clothes out the night before and gets dressed before breakfast. Our mornings are …

A letter to Charlie

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Dear Charlie,

I am so proud of you! You did it - you are now officially a kindergartner. Your first day could not have gone any better. Daddy thought we would be late, but we were way early. We even had time to play on the playground before going to your class. That was fun. You were a total champ this morning and only got a little nervous as we were leaving and that was probably only because Mommy was crying. I was a complete mess. I told you I would cry and there was nothing I could do about it. But you were brave and that made me brave, too.

I worried about you all day long, though I shouldn't have. You didn't even need to take your family picture out of your backpack because you weren't sad. I wondered who you sat next to in the cafeteria and if you ate all of your lunch. Did you fall asleep at rest time? I thought about you and wondered if you remembered the hand sign that meant you had to go to the bathroom and if you would have gym or music on your first day. Did y…

Last day of summer

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Charlie and I spent the day walking our legs off at World's of Fun. The weather was perfect and the park was nearly empty. We rode several of his favorite rides three times! There was ample hand holding for me and a day of distraction for both of us. Just what we needed. 
We're both ready for kindergarten! Bring on the Kleenex. 






17,000 steps wore this guy out!

His hand in mine

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Charlie likes to hold my hand. If we are out walking, especially if it is just the two of us, he will grab my hand and hold it firmly in his. We've established a natural rhythm to our hand holding. I start walking and angle my hand back just slightly and his hand reaches up to meet mine. I don't have to look, I know his hand will just be there. Sometimes he will hold my hand if his sister is around, but most of the time he is distracted or she is demanding my attention and our hand holding is interrupted. But when it is just the two of us, we are content and happy with our joined limbs.

I don't know if Charlie holds Ryan's hand the same way when they are out just the two of them - I hope so. We've always considered Charlie our non-cuddly kid. He will dictate how close you can sit next to him on the couch and where you can place your arm - not on his leg, sometimes around his shoulders. Izzy, our super cuddly child, doesn't like to hold my hand. Most likely bec…