...and so we say goodbye for now.

Tomorrow morning we will wake up early. Get all 3 babies dressed in their color coordinated outfits, love them, kiss them, pack a bag of goodies that I pray will keep them quite through a one hour mass, and be prepared to answer alot of questions. We are going to their Grandmas funeral.

On Sunday morning my mother in law Helen, or "Mama Manno" as I called her, passed away after a 20 month battle with cancer. She led an extraordinary life that I would love to tell you a little about.

She was married to the same man for 51 years. She was the mother of 9 children, and I married her baby, Jimmy. It's always been the running joke in the family that Jimmy is a momma's boy. Let me tell you, that is an understatement.

I couldn't do justice to the connection between Jimmy and his mom with words. It's not something I can describe, it's something you had to see for yourself. A big part of his healing is comfort in the fact that he knows he did everything he could for her while she was here. He has zero regrets. He will never ever carry the burden of "I should have visited more, I should have called more, I should have done this or that" because life is about the little things like dropping off a piece of cheesecake we bring home from dinner, or calling her to celebrate when Pujols hits a grand slam. It was so much more than a mother-son relationship. They were best friends. Best, best friends. I am grateful for the example he has set for our children, especially our son Rocky. If our kids treat me with half the gentle love and care he gave his mom, I will be one blessed mommy.

She loved to dance, I can remember winning her heart in her kitchen as "Jimmy's new girlfriend" when I could do side by side "time steps' with her (tap dancing term) on the kitchen floor.

She loved to cook and had every grocery store in town memorized. I can't count the number of times I would call her on the phone and say "Where does Shop and Save keep the Olives?" and she would know better than the employees, what aisle, what side, and what shelf.

Mama Manno and my Grandma Sally (who passed away 3 years ago) were cut from the same cloth. They were close to the same age and at any family event you can bet they would migrate to one another and sit and talk the whole time.

They both shared a devoted and faithful love to the St Louis Cardinals. A couple years ago when they built the new stadium we took them together to a game. It was one of the best memories I will ever have in my whole life. The weather was gorgeous, our seats were phenomenal, and the Cardinals? Well, they won that game. I have a feeling Mama Manno and Grandma Sally have their angels wings parked right above Busch Stadium and they no doubt have the best seats in the house.

In the last years and months of her life she often complained about how bad it stunk to grow old and how much she despised her old failing body. I'm happy in my heart to know she has shed that burden and now spends her days truly free.

My husband was the one who found her Sunday morning. Which was fitting, he was the last baby she brought into this world and he was the first one to be there when she left. In the end, she died an old lady, warm in her bed, in a house she'd lived in for 40 plus years. She watched her 9 children produce 14 grandchildren. She spent her final days surrounded by the huge family she created sobbing, laughing, sharing stories, and bonding. She did it the way you're suppose to.

So, are we sad? Yes. We will miss her? Yes. Do I sorta want to give the middle finger to this whole "Circle of Life" crap? You Betcha. But if you tilt your head and squint a little bit and see it from a little different perspective the whole thing was pretty damn beautiful.

I love you Mama Manno, and yes, I will take care of your "Baby",

Love, Your 10th kid.


~ Ellen and Bill ~

Ellen and Bill had perhaps the most light-hearted, fun, laid back wedding I've ever shot. Add in alot of goofiness (the mother-son dance involved an interpretive dance with glowsticks) and ALOT of love and you get a really fun day.Remember the goofiness I talked about earlier? Yeah, try getting these guys to behave for family photos :)
They wanted alot of fun silly pictures running and jumping and things like that...
I wont lie...I sort of feared for my life in this shot...but no worries, he cleared me!
I have a feeling this one might be one of their favorites, I know it's one of mine.

Thank you Ellen and Bill for giving this photographer a fun and easy day. Thank you Kim for stepping up and being my right hand gal! You were awesome!

~ Sponsors and Prizes and Goodie Bags OH MY ~

I am wrapping up all the loose ends for our big SHOT PARTY on August 18th! This is your last week to register!


You're gonna be real sad when you see all the photos of all the fun we had if you don't sign up!

Click here for more information.

~ The State of the Manno Family Address ~

Oh Libby Lu, where does the time go? Are you REALLY 6 months old and do you have to keep growing?
Her little presence in our lives is nothing short of magical. She is officially 6 months old, has 2 teeth sprouted up from her bottom gums which makes her look a little like a "Hill-Billy" but we still love her.
She has mastered rolling over, grabbing mommy's nose, and can almost sit up. She basically can lean forward and balance on her little chubby rolls, and then she topples over and we all cheer "Yay Libby Lu" and she just smiles, and giggles.

And Luci, itty bitty Luci, I have rocked her world with a little something called...."Ballet Class" - she was finally old enough to join (kind of :) in June and it was like the heavens opened for her. She walked in and saw all these other little girls just like her, cute little bows and tutu's twirling around to music and you could see the excitement take over whole little body.
Look at that form! Perfect Jazz hands, pointed toe, girlfriend was BORN for this.

She has a recital in August which is pretty much going to be treated like a national holiday in this house.
...and for Rocky, we just ended an awesome season of Little league and we are looking forward to soccer starting in a few weeks. I don't know when my baby became a "little man" but the other day I noticed hair on his legs and he started his sentence with "Dude, Mom.."

I'm not gonna lie, he knocked the snot off this one.
He is 100% in the "question" phase of childhood, our average drive to the grocery store sounds like this "Mom, Are there swimming pools in heaven", "Why don't ducks have teeth", "Why can't Daddy's have babies", "Is heck a bad word", "How many minutes until my birthday"
it's pretty much a never ending stream of conscious from his growing little mind.
I struggle everyday with wanting them to stay babies forever, yet wanting to fast forward 20 years and see all the neat things God has in store for them. For now I will just try and soak in every moment and memory I can.

~ Less than a month away ~

We are officially less that a month away from the SHOT-PARTY~ Woot! Woot! Are you pumped???? Do you have your ticket yet?

Ticket sales CLOSE in 10 days....don't say I didn't warn you :)

~ It's all about the LOVE Baby ~

You've seen this family on my blog alot...after all...they've had 3 babies with me :)Jeff is also my oldest friend, we went to the same pre-school and stayed friends all the way through high school. He and his wife Jamie, whom I've also know a very long time, just welcomed baby # 3. A Baby girl they named Leighton.
This is Jamie, just 5 minutes after giving birth, glowing.
Maybe I am biased because I have 3 children too. But there is something magical about welcoming that third baby. The fan-fare is far less, the nerves are eased and it's just bare, raw, intimate, stripped down love.
Jamie was smiling ear to ear and just kept telling Leighton "I'm so glad you're here, I'm so glad you're here"
There is usually a routine Dad's do when their baby is born. I've seen it a thousand times. They stand about 5 feet from the baby, pale as a ghost, staring into the clear plastic bassinet like a deer in the headlights. They nervously look back and forth from the baby, to the momma, still being tended too by Doctors. Once in a while a nurse will snap them out of it and say "Come on over Dad' "Meet your Baby...you know...you can touch her if you want" They almost always go straight for the babies little feet and softly run their thumb over those tiny toes.
Jeff has always been different, from Day one and Baby one, he would elbow the nurses out of the way and crawl into those bassinets if they would let him.
She weighed the exact same as my Rocky, 6 lbs 12 oz
I really try not to push my "Over the top, the bigger, the pink-er, the better" props onto people, because, after all not EVERYONE wants to dress their new baby like a cupcake, but Jeff and Jamie have known me long enough...I don't think they expected anything else :)

Big Sissy Morgan

Big Brother Ryan
One very busy and blessed household. It's all about the LOVE baby :)

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