Thursday, December 31, 2009

21 Day Fast

Most of you who visit me here know that Jeff (Buckhead Church's campus pastor) has invited the staff and congregation to start the year with 21 days of fasting and prayer. For those of you outside of the ATL here is a link to his blog post about why we are going on this journey.

As I thought about how I would participate, I really felt like a food fast was not for me. I've spent all of 2009 focusing on getting my eating in order and it didn't seem like it was the "thing". What keeps me from spending time with God? What keeps my mind busy with trivial matters and stops me from focusing on God's agenda? Well, you're looking at it. Social media. I love Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and reading other people's blogs. It is amazing how much time I can devote to documenting my life and reading about other people's lives. Please hear me, I'm not saying any of this is bad, I'm just saying it can be a huge time drain and distraction for me.

So, tonight I'm deleting Twitter and Facebook off of my iPhone. For the next 21 days, I won't be updating my blog or pulling up Google Reader to see who has updated their blog. Oh yeah - and no TV. I'm pretty sure I would just substitute TV for the list above. I want to spend the next 21 days unplugged. I want to spend time in God's word, pray, be quiet, and be still (well, as quiet and still as you can be with two small children in the house). Here is the thing - I'm very good at "doing" but horrible at just "being".

I will be praying for the 300,000 people in the Buckhead area who don't attend a church. It isn't about getting them within the walls of my church. The people who live and work around me are precious to God. He is offering them an amazing hope in Christ. Wouldn't it be great if they knew this too?

I'm also personally looking forward to this time with God. It will be hard; it is going to be challenging, but SO worth it. I know that God has been calling me to "pursue health" in 2010. I want to have healthier emotions, a healthier walk with Christ, and healthier relationships. I want to grow but that means pain. Before I dive off into the deep end, I think it is an awesome plan to spend the first 21 days of the New Year seeking Him.

I'll be back before you know it. See you soon! Happy New Year's!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

How he loves...

...the fact that she drops most of her food on the floor. Don't be fooled. Austin really has no use for her unless she is strapped into her highchair.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas '09

Celebrating Christmas with kids makes the holiday SO fun!! Here are the pics from the day:

Luke no longer needs my help to unwrap gifts.
I love how his tongue is sticking out. He is working hard!

Maddie still needs my help. Yeah!!

Luke watching Maddie open her gift from Santa.
We take turns opening gifts which makes the fun last longer :)

Luke and Maddie playing with their gifts.

Maddie loves her baby and stroller.

After the kids had time to play with their new toys, we then went over to Grandma and Grandpa's:

Aunt Anna and Aunt Kate (and Austin)

Luke played "Santa" with Grandma this year.
There is an art to handing out gifts and Luke did a good job helping this year.

Maddie taking in the festivities.



Since Dan is usually the one behind the camera,
I tried to make sure we got at least one shot of him on Christmas day.

Lots of family, food and fun!! I hope you too had a great time with family and friends celebrating the baby Jesus!!

Christmas Traditions

This Christmas season has been topsy-turvy to say the least. However, last year I gave some thought to creating some family traditions and I really wanted to try to make those happen this year. So, while the repair men were working on the bathrooms and laundry room, Luke and I where in the kitchen making cookies for trimming the tree and Santa. This year we added another helper:

We thought the family room would be fully repaired by Christmas Eve which is where we put the Christmas tree each year. We would be semi-back to normal. Woo-hoo!! Then we found out ON Christmas Eve it wouldn't be ready. Boo! I was so bummed. Would we really not have a tree this year? We haven't had the tree in the living room in about five years because we no longer live like college students and have furniture in there. But we decided better to be super-cramped in the living room then to have no tree at all. This means we got to put up our ornaments for this year. Yeah!!

Luke's was Handy Manny.
I love when Luke puts a pencil or crayon behind his ear like Manny. Ha!

Maddie's was Tinker Bell. Too cute!

Yep, that's a washer. One day we will laugh about this. Well, I hope we will.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let the Christmas Fun Begin!

My mom wanted the kids to open their Christmas gifts from her while we visited this year. Since we are always in the ATL for Christmas, my mom usually hears via phone how the kids enjoyed their gifts. Luke received some Match Box cars and....


Luke loves them and Maddie thinks they are pretty cool too! If flooding her house didn't upset our neighbor, surely the drums won't either. Right?!?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12/3/09 - The Great Mancini Flood

On Thursday, December 3rd, the kids and I pulled into the driveway after work. As the garage door was opening, I noticed there was a river of water running from the wall and water droplets were falling from the garage door.

It took me about two seconds to realize we had a leak. It wasn't the water heater so it was either the dishwasher (on the second floor) or the washer (on the third floor). Not knowing what was facing me inside the house, I got out of the van and locked the kids inside and went in. When I got to the second floor, I quickly realized it was the washer on the third floor since water was pouring out of the air vent and the light fixture in the ceiling.

You can't tell but that light fixture is full of water.

I went to the third floor and shut off the valves for the washer and learned that the water supply hose for the hot water had burst. The water flowed back into the wall. There was not a drop of water in the tray under the washer or the vinyl floor in the laundry closet.

The carpet didn't appear wet at first. It wasn't until you walked on it and realized you were leaving footprints that you noticed it was soaked.

I tried to put some buckets and bowls on the floor to catch the remaining water. I also got some towels to start drying the floor. I quickly realized this wasn't going to be cleaned up using Bounty. Oh yeah, aren't my kids still in the van in the driveway?

Dan got home and he called our "repair dudes" as I like to call them. It turns out they are a restoration company and specialize in this type of damage. They were at the house in less then two hours on Thursday night. They quickly went to work to prevent further damage and started the drying out process.

After five days of huge fans, huge dehumidifiers, having the house at 90 degrees, removal of vinyl and drywall, the house was dry. Well, except for the hardwood floors. They were as wet five days later as they were when the water first fell. Awesome!

Master bath

Wall between the laundry room and the master bath. Yep, that's the tub.

Half the wall in the TV room is gone plus some ceiling.

The garage

The down sides...
  • Every floor was effected. You can't escape it.
  • It happened just weeks before Christmas.
  • I hate clutter and chaos and I have it in quantity at the moment.
The positive sides..
  • None of our personal belongings were damaged. Given the extent of the damage, I find that amazing and I'm very grateful!
  • As we fix things we can update items. We want to someday put this place on the market and design has changed a little bit since we first moved in six years ago.
  • We have a fabulous restoration company taking care of the repairs. As soon as they got here, I realized it was going to be okay. It wasn't going to be easy but it was going to be okay.
Oh yeah. When we re-install the washer we will be using braided stainless steel washing machine hoses. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Okay, with all the craziness in the Mancini household these days, I'm just now getting around to posting pics from our annual trek to Chicago. Here are the highlights:

As predicted, Maddie didn't fair well on the journey. Since we've returned home, Dan has tried to say that she just wasn't as great of a traveler as the Luke-man. Granted, Luke is a fabulous little travel; however, crying until you throw-up when you have 20 minutes left in the journey does not make you a good traveler. In fact, it makes you down right horrible. There is more that could be said but lets move on to happier times :)

It was really fun watching the cousins interact and play together. This may have been one of the best parts of the trip.

Luke, Maddie and my niece Brianna

My other niece Mariah (isn't she a cutie!)

Thanksgiving Day

Luke and Brianna at the kids table

My sister Danielle and Dan

My brother Ryan and my Mom

My youngest sister Dominique and Isaac

Miss Maddie enjoying Turkey Day

The last stop before we left town was to visit Rick, Valerie and finally meet their son Ruben. It is always nice to catch-up with old friends.

Isn't that Ruben a cutie?!?!

Next year, I need to remember to take a picture of Rick and Valerie and not just the kids. It was a good trip and good Thanksgiving!