Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas 2011

It's been quiet on the blog lately but I didn't want to leave 2011 without posting about Christmas. Just doesn't seem right :)

We had a low-key Christmas Eve (just the four of us at home) which was nice. Despite the relaxing evening, we forgot to put the "reindeer food" on the lawn and leave cookies for Santa. I'm not sure how that happened. Maybe we got a little too relaxed :)

I'm never sure what Christmas Eve/Christmas morning will hold for us. Will the kids have a hard time falling asleep? How early will they be up? Will we be able to eat breakfast before we open gifts or will the kiddos head right for the tree?

This year, Luke and Maddie fell asleep right away. I heard Luke tell Maddie that Santa wouldn't come until they were fast asleep and sleep they did! They woke up at 6:13 am and it was down stairs to open their stockings and have breakfast. (I still can't believe I get away with having breakfast before we open gifts. I would've freaked as a kid!!)

Luke and Maddie opening their gift from Santa.

Luke studying his Lego Harry Potter video game. He LOVES playing video games!!

Maddie has always enjoyed a good chair and this Rapunzel
chair has been at the top of her Christmas list this year.

After everyone had a chance to play with their toys and get dressed for the day, it was off to the Mancini's for Christmas morning part two. So fun!!

Maddie hanging with Aunt Kate

Three - yes three - Harry Potter movies. Oh, my!

(Dan, Luke, Anna, Kate, me, Cristee, Nick, and Maddie)

The family getting ready to chow down. Love these peeps! It was a great day celebrating the birth of Christ and hanging out with the family. We are incredibly blessed!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

The kiddos love Halloween. In fact, Luke claimed Halloween was his favorite day of the year. I'm going to go out on a limb and say he really didn't think that statement through... But I digress.

Celebrating Halloween was interesting this year. This was Luke's first experience of not dressing up in his costume for school. Luke was trying hard to not freak out as Maddie was getting her costume on this morning. I must admit it seemed strange even to me. After I dropped Luke off in the carpool lane, I parked and went into the school office to double check. Sure enough, no costumes in kindergarten. So sad!

Maddie left the house ready to participate in the Weekday Costume Parade and then tragedy hit. Long story short - Maddie had an accident in the car and couldn't wear her costume in the parade. Yeah, she was crushed. Poor girl!

But the Mancini Family rallied and headed out after dinner to partake in trick-or-treating!

Rapunzel and Darth Vader - a very scary combo!

She is one cute little girl!

He is getting so big!

They got a bit of a workout running up and down driveways and navigating stairs. I swear they both fell asleep not more then five minutes after their head hit their pillows. They were TIRED! Maybe Halloween is my favorite day of the year too. Hum...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roller Coaster

That's what Maddie calls her scooter.
Girl makes me laugh!

I'm not sure what the face was all about. She was loving riding on the roller coaster. I wonder if I caught her while trying to stop or something. Who knows? Even with the face, I think she is still a super cutie!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome Fall

The first day of fall was yesterday. Yahoo! I absolutely love the fall. Yes, I adore summer with time spent at the pool as a family, playing in the water, reading novels that I consider "mind-candy", and enjoying the sun's rays. But I also love the change from summer to fall. I love the cooler weather and enjoying outdoor activities that don't involve sunscreen and a bathing suit :)

Today it was crisp fall day in the ATL - a cool 79 degrees. So, of course I was in the mood to bake! I decided to fully embrace the fall season and baked a...

homemade pumpkin pie.

It may seem too early in the season for pumpkin pie but this pie is so stinkin yummy. This pie is like "slap your momma" good.

My secret to baking a delicious pumpkin pie?
Find an awesome recipe and follow the instructions to the letter.

Ha! In all seriousness, that is my secret for all of the dishes I cook. This pumpkin pie recipe is from America's Test Kitchen. It's a little bit involved but the results are awesome.

Fall never tasted so good :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Maddie, do your face!

When she isn't giving me hell, she is making me laugh!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saying goodbye to the A-Man

Today was a very sad day. Today we said goodbye to our 19 pounds of pure personality...

Austin D. Powers: International Man of Mystery

He was selfish. He would get his dog tags in his mouth as a puppy and growl at you if you tried to touch them.

He was devious. He once brought in a charcoal briquette from outside, hid it under a chair, and then waited for us to leave to get it out and play with it all over our living room.

He was smart. After going through obedience lessons, he behaved like a show dog but only on the black lash we used during the training. On the flexi-lead, he was a complete jackass.

He was like black velvet. After he was groomed, his coat felt just like a piece of velvet. So soft!

He never ran away. Why would he run when home had all the comforts he needed?

He was fickle. He favored the person who was in charge of taking care of his needs.

He was social. He assumed that all visitors were here to see him.

He had a classic Napoleon complex. He was small but mighty. He insisted on always being the alpha-dog.

He was love. For 13.5 years, he unconditionally loved us and thought we were the best people. We were his pack. I wish I was half as awesome as my dog thought I was.

I'm going to miss you A-man. You will be remembered as the best dog ever.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All in a day's work...

This post is for those who wonder what I do for a living. You know I work for a church and you see the status updates about wonderful volunteers, circles, connecting peeps, life change, etc. and you wonder what does that girl do? Well, here is a brief look for those of you remotely interested or extremely bored at this moment ;)

Bottom line - I help people who attend my church connect into small groups. The main way we do this is by holding a two-hour event where people have the opportunity to meet people in their same stage of life, same area of town, and choose which group they would like to join.

We take our auditorium which seats about 3,000 people and clear it out!
(And by "we" I mean our awesome facilities team. They rock!)

We then turn the auditorium into what we call a Starbucks on steroids.
There are cafe tables, living room arrangements, coffee, and desserts.

Here's a picture of the stage.
I include this just because I think our production team is completely AWESOME.

Below is a picture of approximately 700 women forming groups at the event on Friday night. Wow!

Here they are at a photo booth in our lobby taking pictures with their new small group.
How fun!

We form men's groups on Thursday, women's groups of Friday, and the married couples' groups on Saturday night. It takes about 150 trained volunteers and about 8 weeks of planning and working on tasks to pull off the weekend. We work hard to organize all the details of the weekend and then watch as God shows up and connects 1,377 people into small groups. Wow!

Of course, I don't do this by myself. I work with two fabulous women who are very talented and gifted. Here is Amy with our Married Couples' Event Team.

Amy is in the second person from the left in the front row. She is a wiz at logistics, processes, and details. She also loves leading our Event Teams.
Doesn't she look like she having a ton of fun?!

Here is a picture of Jill and I after the last event...

Jill is responsible for connecting the men and women into groups. I'm so grateful for her and her leadership. She is not only awesome to work with but a wonderful friend!


Dan and I've been involved in small groups since 1996 and love having a community of people who are tracking with us. We love circling up weekly with five other couples and looking at God's word together and talking about what is going on in our lives. It's where we are known. This has been a way of life for us as a married couple even before it was my job.

I feel so blessed to get paid to do something I'm so passionate about and for the privilege to be a VERY small part of what God is doing. I'm ridiculously blessed!

And if you have made it this far into the post, I'm also seriously impressed :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Now that's a lot of pink!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pea is Alive!

Maddie's favorite CD (or DBD as she calls it) is North Point Live: Awake. She would listen to this CD 24/7. And I'm not exaggerating. Of course, as a parent my heart swells up when Maddie is belting out worship songs. It helps me feel like I'm doing my "job" as a parent and influencing her to grow in her love for and knowledge of Christ.

Her favorite song is God is Alive. She loves to the sing the following line:

He is alive, He is alive. And we are free!

However, she has done a slight modification to the words:

Pea is alive, Pea is alive. And we are afraid.

Yeah, I'm rocking it out as a parent!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Angry Eyes

On the way to the beach in July, the kiddos watched Toy Story 2. Dan and I laughed at the scene where Mrs. Potato Head packs Mr. Potato Head's "angry eyes" just in case he needed them.

She may be wearing sunglasses but I'm pretty sure she is also wearing her angry eyes.
Next time we need to pack her "happy eyes"!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday

Six years ago today, I learned what it meant to have my heart walk around on the outside of me. This very active, extremely verbal, creative, empathetic, highly emotional, always thinking, and funny little boy changed my life. I feel so blessed that God decided that I should be this boy's mommy. He is such a source of joy in my life and I'm so grateful for this little man.

Happy 6th birthday, Luke! Your mommy loves you very much!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Celebrating the Boy!

Luke turns 6 tomorrow. How crazy is that?

The theme for this family party was Iron Man. Power up!

It's a well documented fact that I'm all about the birthday cake. I decided to make Luke's cake this year instead of doing a bakery cake. (It's a long story and I won't bore you with the details.) So, I did a little research and give it my best try.

I realize Ace of Cakes won't be calling me anytime soon but I thought it wasn't a bad first attempt. (BTW, all my research indicated writing on a cake is the hardest thing to do. I'm here to confirm that statement is true!)

He blew out all six candles in one breath.
He was pretty satisfied with himself!

Such a fun kid!

Love this little dude!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Today was the first day of kindergarten and of course Luke rocked this big transition as he usually does. A little bit nervous but not anxious. A tad excited but acting pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. Such a little dude!

I tried to get some pictures of him but this was pretty hard to do. It was dark in our house because it was so early and using the flash with Luke gives you icky pics. So, here is the best shoot of him:

Luke navigated carpool like a pro and jumped out and went right into school. I don't think he even looked back (sniff, sniff). It really is strange to watch your baby become responsible for himself. To watch him grab his book bag, lunch box, and head off into school. The child who seems incapable of completing a simple task without numerous reminders is now going off into the world. It really is surreal. (Side note: I hadn't prepped Maddie for the strange woman who would help Luke out of the car and sweep him away. She freaked out. Not good!!)

Maddie and I then parked the car and brought Luke's supplies to his classroom. He was already in his seat and coloring when we arrived. We dropped off his supplies and Maddie got to tell Luke a proper good-bye, which made her very happy. There was a little girl at Luke's table who was really upset about her mom leaving. Crying and screaming...the whole bit. Luke looked a tad concerned and before he could get upset, Maddie and I quickly left the room. When we got to the hallway Maddie said, "She freakin me out!" Funny, I was feeling the same way.

At the end of the day, Maddie and I picked up Luke and then we went to Dairy Queen to celebrate the first day of school. I made him tell me all the details about his day. I wanted the play-by-play but I think I only got the highlight reel (why must boys frustrate their mommies with a lack of detail?). I asked if he had any "friend prospects" and he said he had one. That dude is so friendly I'm sure they'll be best buds soon :)

As for me, how am I doing now that my firstborn is in Kindergarten? I haven't had time to process. There has been no time to stop, get lost in my thoughts, and really evaluate what I'm feeling. The day has been packed with getting kiddos out the door, carpool, Maddie telling me she had to go pee while we were driving on the highway, back-to-back meetings at work, carpool, ice cream, pool time, dinner, baths, and now blogging to document this milestone. It has been a full, full day.

I think God may have planned it this way. He knows how I'm wired and I think he was being very gracious to me by keeping me busy today...

My baby is growing up...sniff, sniff...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Excited and a Little Nervous

There are only three more morning commutes to Buchkead Church left with Luke.
The six years have flown by.
I asked Luke if he was excited about going to kindergarten.
He said he was excited and a little nervous.
Yeah, me too!

Friday, July 22, 2011

GNO - Girls Night Out

With the boys out seeing Captain America, Maddie and I were footloose and fancy free on a Friday night. Woo-hoo! What can two wild and crazy girls do in Atlanta on a Friday night? Go paint pottery, of course!!

I decided I wouldn't paint my own piece but focus on teaching Maddie how to paint the pottery. There were so many fun pottery options to choose from and I successfully steered Maddie towards choosing a plate. I know that isn't the most exciting choice; however, the plate seemed like it would be the easiest thing for her to paint. We painted the plate pink and lets face it that's the most important thing as far as Maddie is concerned!

I made the design in the middle with a stencil (it'll be dark purple after it is fired) while Maddie "wrote" her name on the table. Then we made poke-in-dots as Maddie says. She got a bit crazy so I did a little clean up and we tried again.

Much better :)

Maddie tried her hand at working with a stencil.

The back of the plate.

As we drove home Maddie said, "I paint good. I paint great. I paint awesome!" Girl has some self confidence! Love it!

We stopped and got a special treat at Bruster's and then it was home to watch "Strawberry Shortcake Movie: Sky's the Limit." My girl's night out activities sure have changed over the years and I'm more than okay with that!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Synchronized Inner Tubes

Here is what we do for fun on the weekends....

I hope that didn't make you dizzy :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Building Sand Castles

Our last day at the beach, the ocean was pretty full of seaweed. Icky! So, we built some castles.

Maddie loves when we all play together. Look at that smile!

Luke was a big helper!

Maddie's job was to fill the bucket of water to fill up our moat.

She was very on task!

Of course, Luke had to do some on the job "coaching".

Ta-da! Our own little castle by the sea :)