I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white
As one of three girls in a very musical home we spent every Christmas season singing and watching "White Christmas". We loved the movie and knew all the songs by heart! This Christmas the movie came to life for Chris & I.
A few weeks back Chris found a special at The Mountain Top Inn of Chittenden Vermont. So we booked it and have been looking forward to seeing the sites and experiencing a New England Christmas - just the two of us! We headed out on Tuesday the 23rd. It was a short 4 hour drive with lots of beautiful scenery along the way. We arrived at the Inn and got everything unloaded and into our Ike's View Luxury Suite! That's right we stayed in the room where President Eisenhower spent many of his own vacations. The view was amazing! We then made the short drive to Woodstock Vermont and did some shopping and walking and eating. Woodstock is such a cute little town and the perfect place to be at Christmas. Just a week before we arrived the area had gotten about 2 feet of the powdery white stuff! It was beautiful! That evening we had dinner at The Prince & the Pauper. Great food & a great atmosphere. Afterwards we walked over to the Woodstock Inn to look around. Then we headed back to our Suite for the night.
The next morning we drove back to the Woodstock area to Quechee Vermont. Quechee is home to one of only a few Simon Pearce galleries. Simon Pearce is a famous glass blower. The work these craftsmen produce is unbelievable! I could have bought every piece in the whole shop (although it would have cost me millions!). They also dabble in pottery and we spent a few minutes talking to one of a few potters. I probably could have watched he and the glass blowers for days. It was so interesting to watch. The tools and molds they use are fascinating! There is also a restaurant on the premises so we did lunch there as well. The food was great and the view was awesome! All of the Simon Pearce workshops are hydro powered and very environment friendly. This location sits on a waterfall and right next to a typical Vermont wooden bridge. We took in a few more shops in the Quechee area and a few in Killington before we drove back to the Inn for the evening.
Christmas Day was WHITE! It snowed all morning! We slept late and then laid in bed just enjoying the snowstorm. I was kidding around with Chris and asked him where all my presents were (we traditionally only exchange an ornament - this year we bought them together in Woodstock). He reached over to his side of the bed (I had no clue what he was doing!) and pulled out a box from Simon Pearce! What in the world! He totally got me and it was a wonderful surprise! Our entire afternoon at Simon's I had been eyeing these little Christmas trees of glass. We even had them on our table in the restaurant so I took a picture to remember them. He snuck out at lunch to "go to the restroom" and he bought me one then he hid it in the car! Seriously he is the best husband ever! The little Christmas tree made my day :) We did lunch at the Tavern downstairs at the Inn and then Chris did some serious sledding! That afternoon we snuggled up in our room and just relaxed. About 5pm we went over to the Activities center for our horse drawn sleigh ride. It was cold! But we really loved it! Such a special way to spend Christmas! We had dinner reservations at 7pm in the Dining Room.
Christmas 2008 was the kind dreams are made of.
We hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to 2009.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 1:51 PM
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 8:27 PM
Monday, December 15, 2008
Life in The Meadowlands can be rough....but we have survived and now we have overcome! We watched the Sunday night game with our Giant loving friends the Horn's. Everyone devoured some hot wings, french fries & even a few Christmas cookies. It was so much fun! But I am probably biased because the COWBOYS WON! It was a rough game, but a win like that is still a big win. Josh and Heather were great sports! Alyssa on the other hand changed her ways and cheered on the COWBOYS much to her parents dismay. She loves Chris and at least for Sunday night showed her love for the COWBOYS!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 9:46 PM
Sunday, December 7, 2008
This past week Brad & Emily came to visit. Emily's birthday is TODAY, but we all celebrated early with a few evenings in NYC. We had dinner on Wednesday night here in NJ at Nellie's (our favorite pizza place), Thursday we all met up at Union Square and had dinner and most importantly dessert at Max Brenner - Chocolate By The Bald Man, and Friday we hit Virgil's for some local BBQ. I think we probably all vote Max Brenner as the best! The smell as you walk through the doors is AMAZING! Brad would say you could "lick the air"! For dessert Emily & I shared an ice cream bar dipped in chocolate sauce, nuts and chocolate candy. What a great combination! Chris had a Concoction - not sure what all was in it but he basically licked it up! Brad was the brave one. He had the Mexican Hot Chocolate. Yes that is hot chocolate with a pepper kick - weird but he loved it :) In between all the food we had some wonderful conversations and caught up on life. Christmas time is so exciting in NYC! So many decorations to take in and the shops are buzzing. We visited Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree - it is beautiful this year! At Union Square we stopped and look at the holiday shops. They are my favorite! The Christmas Season is officially here!
Thanks for a wonderful week guys! We hope to see you again soon!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 6:58 PM
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
We are so thankful to have spent the past week and a half with our families in Texas. We left NJ on November 20th and returned just last night. It was a wonderful time with friends, food, family, football & a few other things in between. By the time it was all over we had eaten THREE Thanksgiving dinners! Needless to say that will make up for not being home at Christmas.
We hit Dallas first to see Chris' family and our first Thanksgiving dinner. That Sunday we had lunch with several friends. It is always so nice to catch up with everyone. Monday night we had Thanksgiving dinner with my old Life Group. They cooked a fried turkey and it was so tasty! Due to my October and November work schedule I was able to attend 3 Life Group meetings - AWESOME! One night we managed to do dinner with all the siblings at RA and then dessert! We had a wonderful time and wish we could do that more often. I guess we will have to hope that they come visit us in the big city soon!
Wednesday we made the short flight to Lubbock to see my family. Thursday we spent the day at my aunts house stuffing ourselves with STUFFING! We watched the COWBOYS win, and Chris watched his Aggies lose. I guess maybe those even each other out :) Then Friday my sister and I braved the early morning black Friday sales. Mostly we did it just to say we had. I can almost guarantee it will never happen again! Chris slept in and so did Drew. Saturday we took family pics and then headed to the TECH game. It was chilly, but we had a great time! Sunday we ran a few errands and then headed to my moms for a Chicken Fried Steak dinner - Chris' favorite (my mom loves to spoil us). Then we made our way back to Dallas in route to NJ. We filled ourselves up with the last Texas food we could get and the flew out.
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 3:26 PM
Monday, November 17, 2008
Kendra, Kristin, Linn & Me - Brad is taking the picture!
Last weekend was a sort of reunion weekend. My college roommate and I met up for a girls weekend of sorts. We shopped and ate and stayed up way to late catching up on life :) I can't believe we let so much time go between visits, but we never seem to skip a beat. Linn & I spent one evening with a few other close college friends. It was like freshman year all over again! Except for all the conversations surrounding every ones kids :) I honestly cannot explain the friendship we all share. We basically lived our entire freshman year together, every weekday and every weekend. Believe it or not most of it is caught of tape! Man I miss those days :) These are people I always love sharing life with! They are the most amazing people I know, and the most amazing parents I know as well! I love you all! I miss you all!
Linn & Me
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 8:55 PM
October & November have been traveling months for me. I have been working on a project in Dallas and have taken advantage of the opportunity to see family...especially all our nieces and nephews! I just can't get enough! My first trip to Dallas fit right around Halloween so that was a real treat! During the week I was able to meet my sister and her crew for dinner. Then for Halloween I went with Chris' fam to their church fair. It was a great trip!
We love being an aunt & uncle!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 8:50 PM
Back in October we finally got to spend a weekend with the other Farrell's, Chris' dad & step mom. Rod & Marsha took the train up overnight from Savannah to Newark for a visit. We had a wonderful time! It was our first chance to really show off New Jersey. We had the most amazing dinner at Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange. The food was fantastic and the view was even better! What a great way to celebrate a few late birthdays. Then Saturday we started our day with the largest pancakes ever! Next we headed to Princeton for some apple picking and taking in the sites. We enjoyed Terhune Orchards (thanks Marcy) and ice cream at Halo Pub. To top the weekend off we did lunch on Sunday at Nellie's - our favorite pizza place. It was so great to spend time with family!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 7:02 PM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Today someone sent me the blog posting of Pastor Joe Stowell. I believe what you will read below it great words of wisdom so I hope you'll think about what he says.
Our Only Hope
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
The early days of November in America signal election time, when the politicians maneuver for votes and the people cast their ballot for their favorite candidates. And, like it or not, for the next few years we are stuck with whoever wins. If it’s not our kind of candidate, Christians can get pretty down in the dumps.
To hear some of us talk, you’d think that our only hope for righteousness and godliness lies in the hands of the government. I’ll never forget the time when I was speaking to a group in Florida regarding the importance of living for Christ in the deepening darkness of our changing culture. I said, “America has changed, and we’re not going to get our good old America back”—to which a man in the front row blurted out, “Oh, no, that can’t be! If that’s true, we have no hope!”
Since when was our hope to be found in Washington, DC? When did we start thinking that it’s the government’s job to uphold, promote, and protect biblical truth and values? Actually, it’s not such a surprising misunderstanding. Christians in the US have experienced an unusual phenomenon in the history of the world. Rarely, if ever in modern history, has there been a nation built more squarely on the fundamental tenets of a biblical heritage than our nation. But that has all changed. We join Christians throughout time that have lived successfully in nations where Christ is not honored as they light up their dark and decadent world with the light of Jesus.
If you feel betrayed when the government doesn’t advocate truth and righteousness, then you have misunderstood the biblical mandate for those in authority over us. Romans 13 tells us that their job is to keep the peace, collect the taxes, and rule in authority over their subjects—hopefully for the good of the people. Other than the unique relationship God had with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, He never assigned government the task of upholding and advancing biblical truth. That’s our job as His followers. The advancement and articulation of godly values is up to us, and quite frankly we no longer have the luxury of always expecting our government to help us in the process.
Christians through the ages have lived under hostile, oppressive, pagan systems and have often thrived in those kinds of environments. This was true of the early New Testament believers who, during times of ruthless political regimes upheld their faith under great cultural pressure. They understood that they, not their governments, were the light of the world. They followed Paul’s instructions to submit to the governing authorities, pay taxes, and even honor, respect, and pray for those in authority (Romans 13:1-7). And they understood that a Christian’s only hope is in the protection that God provides.
When we follow this biblical mandate, we will shift our hope and confidence from the White House to the throne room in heaven. It will realign our attitudes toward our leaders, and release us to get on with the business of being the torchbearers God intends us to be. So no matter who wins the election, remember that it is your high privilege to be the light of your world.
* Read Romans 13:1-7. Paul emphasizes: “There is no authority except that which God has established.” How does your view of God’s sovereignty challenge your attitude toward those in government today?
* What can you do to show your submission to the government and at the same time uphold truth and righteousness?
* Paul instructed Timothy to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2). How often do you pray for government leaders?
* As you meditate on the verses for today, do you feel your attitudes aligning with God’s calling to advance what is good and godly in your world? What kind of actions should grow out of your refocused attitude?
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 4:06 PM
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Its official, Tim McGraw's words have come true in our small household! We celebrated Chris' birthday all weekend long. Saturday he got to watch football all day and then we headed to Hoboken for more football and dinner at Bonefish with our friends Jeff & Cindy. After dinner there was a little more football - big surprise! Then we spent the night in Jeff & Cindy's guest room with a spectacular view of Manhattan. Sunday morning we had breakfast all together and then we headed back to Hawthorne for church. After church we had lunch at Dave & Rebecca Schuits and then came home to our community group to celebrate yet again. There was plenty of cake and candles to last the NEXT THIRTY YEARS!
I think Ill take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now its time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years
Hey my next thirty years I'm gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things Ive done
Maybe now Ive conquered all my adolescent fears
And Ill do it better in my next thirty years
My next thirty years I'm gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I'm doing here
In my next thirty years
Oh my next thirty years, I'm gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe Ill remember my next thirty years
My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 7:53 PM
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Hard to believe last week we were basking in the Jamaican sun & tonight we are in NJ and the temperature is expected to be in the 30's. At least I still have a TAN - well sort of :)
In just a few days Chris will officially be thirty! So to celebrate this milestone we spent last week in Negril Jamaica at the Sandals Resort with our friends Matt & Nicole.
SIDENOTE: Chris and Matt actually met as infants in the hospital, they share the same birthday. Matt's mom Dee & Chris' mom Diana met in their birthing class and developed a friendship. Not long after they met again at the hospital - this time both were in labor! Matt was a week late & Chris a week early - both arrived on October 12, 1978.
It was such a wonderful VACATION! We slept late, we ate fancy meals, we toured the jungle on a river and on a rope! We took way to many pictures, but there was so much to see. We even made a few friends along the way. It was really fun to just play for a week! I think all of us wish we were still there :) Take a peek into our Jamaican vacation....
Video 1 - Chris' jamaican TOOTSIE ROLL!
Video 2 - Canopy Tour. Riding a zip line at 250 feet high through the Jamaican jungle.
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 10:00 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Have you ever been to the Promised Land? Who knew it was in Pennsylvania!
This weekend we spent some quality time with our young marrieds group at church camping. We drove out to none other than PROMISED LAND STATE PARK in PA. It was a short drive to paradise (or a form of paradise). We borrowed a tent, because we are not regular campers. However we actually ended up sharing a tent with our friends Bob & Sara because the ground was so rocky we could not put both tents up. Thank goodness Bob & Sara have a large tent - we actually had our own private room :) Friday night was REALLY cold and we basically didn't sleep at all, fun times! So Saturday night we took things into our own hands & took some Tylenol PM prior to hitting the sleeping bag. Let's just say we won't go camping again without it :) There was lots of smores eating & volleyball playing - I enjoyed a restful afternoon reading. It was wonderful! Perhaps we have started a new tradition.
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 9:56 PM
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The best part of living near NYC is that we have had the opportunity to see many friends while they were here on vacation. Yesterday was the perfect example. It has been forever since I saw Bill and DeeDee last. We were so thrilled that they could make time in their schedule to meet us at Virgil's for dinner! It was wonderful for them to actually meet Chris and to just catch up on everything. We can't wait to plan our trip to Brussels to see them in the next few years. We love you both very much!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 5:45 PM
We have officially survived our first year in NJ! This time last year we first experienced the Jersey Shore - I guess you could say that is now a Labor Day tradition for us because we did it again this year and it was wonderful! We also did several other fun things this past weekend. Chris' Aunt Debbie and Uncle John arrived last Thursday and stayed until Tuesday. On Friday we had breakfast in Ridgewood (or some of us did, I actually was at the salon getting all my hair cut off!), then we headed to the Natural History Museum in NYC to see Cosmis Collisions. It was a great museum. Saturday we had lunch in Ramsey at Brady's, then we ran by Abma's farm. Chris preached at church that evening and then we went to Nellie's for dinner with some more friends. Sunday we had tickets to the Yankee game, they lost but we enjoyed the festivities. It is the last year at the old stadium so we are glad we got to be apart of a game there. Monday morning we headed for the shore. We spent the day relaxing and watching others play around the rip current. Chris braved it for a short bit - mostly we just relaxed. I love the beach! The weather was beautiful all weekend.
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 5:11 PM
Monday, August 25, 2008
A few weeks ago my grandfather passed away. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather,& great-grandfather. We had a wonderful celebration of his life and were able to share with friends and family just how loved he was by all. My cousin put together a video that really captures his life and his Legacy of Love.
To watch the video copy and paste this link into your browser:
Just a few memories....
We lived just a few blocks from he and my Granny growing up so we were able to spend many hours and many nights at their house. He had a blue pick up that I thought was so cool - we would walk to their house and he would drive us home in the back of the pick up. Grandad loved orange slices! He and Granny had the most beautiful backyard and garden. It seemed that their roses were always in bloom. They always had a special cabinet full of snacks. I remember many Christmas Eve's in their living room & decorating the tree a few weeks before. Grandad was a hard worker. When we were young he would come and help my mom around the house - he also would mow the lawn and do yard work. He could not get enough of his kids and grandkids. He always wanted us to sit in his lap or to ride the horse on his leg. I was thrilled a few years ago when he was able to meet Chris and to really get to know him. He could never be replaced. Most importantly he loved the Lord and all who knew him knew that. He was a special man of God.
We know that he is celebrating today in Jesus' arms!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 4:26 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
We are back to reality after a wonderful vacation in Rome, Italy! It was an amazing trip. We saw all the major sights and all the little stuff in between. The pictures really tell the best story....so enjoy the show!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 7:44 PM
Friday, July 25, 2008
We have had a wonderful week with a collection of the Hodge family. My mom, her husband Joe, my Uncle Don & Aunt Phyliss, and Aunt Gayla arrived last Thursday from Lubbock for the New York/New Jersey experience. We took the Greyline bus tours all over the city on Saturday, attended church and hit the outlet malls on Sunday, Carmine's for dinner on Monday, a few went to the Yankee game on Tuesday night, most everyone visited Ellis Island & The Statue of Liberty on Wednesday and then we relaxed all day Thursday. During their visit we also did some serious home cooking! It was amazing! We had chicken and dumplings, spaghetti, pecan chicken, chicken fried steak, chocolate rolls and a few things in between! I think everyone really had a great time! Here is a glimpse of all the excitement!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 4:21 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
We have had a busy few weeks and are headed for several more. It's summer time and it's what we do!!!
We spent the afternoon of July 4th at a family picnic. Our friends the Meyers and all the family came together for food, swimming & bocce ball. Chris even participated in the bocce ball. Maybe he can explain the rules - it reminded me of shuffle board except on grass. Anyway evidently its an Italian family tradition for picnics. Then that evening we headed to Hoboken for fireworks and BBQ at Jeff & Cindy Thompsons. We played Guesstures until the fireworks started over the city. It was a nice night - but the low clouds and smoke did not mix and eventually blacked out the show. I guess that's when a nice TV comes in handy. We watched the rest from the couch! Good times!
July 5th we had plans with our friends Nick & Sue Passaro. We had an amazing dinner at Ruth's Chris in Hoboken. This was Chris & I's first visit to Ruth's Chris - we can't believe how long we have been missing something so good! It was a wonderful night of great food and fantastic conversation! We hope to do it again soon! Thanks Nick & Sue!
The next week we spent an evening in the city. I had to work late so Chris drove in to hang out with me. We made our first trip to the Seaport Village - just a few blocks from my office. The pictures are below. It is still so awesome to live basically in NYC!
This past weekend Chris performed his first wedding. He was excellent! We recieved many wonderful comments. It was a beautiful wedding and the dinner reception was so much fun! I even danced - which for those of you that know me is a big deal. Don't worry Chris got pictures of the whole night. Congratulations Chuck & Nikki!
This week my mom, Joe, Aunt Gayla, Aunt Phyliss & Uncle Don arrive so there will be more pictures to post soon.
We hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!
Posted by Chris and Amanda at 7:35 PM