Christmas Time in the City

Last weekend, which seems like an eternity ago, my sweet parents came to visit us from some New York Christmas time cheer.  We had a night in when they first arrived, so we would have energy for our very full day on Saturday.  We started the day by going to Eataly.  I’ve been hearing about this place forever, but it was our first time going.  And it’s official.  I’m in love.

Look at the desserts!

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And THE CHEESE!
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And the fresh, handmade pasta!IMG_4566

Mmm and the beautiful produce.IMG_4567

There’s a restaurant in each department.  Pasta near the fresh pasta counter, a vegetarian restaurant near the produce, and so on.  The men sweetly secured a table and ordered us a selection of meats and cheeses when they got tired of following Mom and I around.  There was a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing.IMG_4568

Yum. Yum yum yum.

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All that was left a short time later- ricotta and wierd spotty bologna tasting stuff.  I believe those two pieces were supposed to be mine.  I reverted to a five year old not willing to try new things when it came to that stuff.
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Then it was upstairs to the Northern Italian restaurant.  I had prosecco, thank you very much.  And a lot of it too – apparently they don’t use champagne glasses in Northern Italy?IMG_4577

Dad trying a 60 Minute (90 Minute?) IPA from Dog Fish Head brewery.  It’s Scott’s favorite and he strongly suggested Dad try it.

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Mom and I split the most delicious chicken ever.  Scott and Dad got sausage, of course.  The food was indeed phenomenal.  However, we had all wanted to eat pasta, but the wait was 45 minutes.  And we couldn’t wait because we had a show to catch!

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The Radio City Rockettes!  Mom and Dad treated us to tickets.   I really like this tradition we are starting, Mom!  We are two for two seeing a show when you come visit 🙂

Who doesn’t love a ginormous, SPARKLY chandelier shaped like a Christmas tree!?

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This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Rockettes.  Which meant that in addition to the traditional dances they did a spotlight of the styles, milestones and costumes through the decades, complete with time-appropriate music.  I think that was my favorite part.  Mom liked the Toy Soldier the best.  Dad liked The Twelve Days of Christmas because it was a tap number (which I also thoroughly enjoyed).  I think Scott liked that there was no intermission so when the lights came up he was in the clear!

Here they are as reindeer.

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Radio City is HUGE inside.  And they don’t keep the lights and action to the stage.  When the lights dimmed to signal the start of the show, the whole place lit up as if you were inside of a snow globe.  So cool.

And heeeeeere’s Santa, our MC.  All of the kids in the audience when CRA-ZY whenever he came onstage.  I’m talking cheering and dancing in their seats.

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But all four of us agreed, our favorite part by far was the ending, when they read the Christmas story and created a live nativity onstage.  Christ definitely seems to have been removed from Christmas, at least commercially and especially in New York City.  So this was a breath of fresh air.  The music was beautiful and the scene was quite breathtaking.  There’s a live camel – how could it not be?IMG_4593
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From Radio City, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to see the tree at Rock Center.  So we did.  The plan was to see some Christmas windows from that point, but the crowds were a bit…prohibitive.  IMG_4597

So after a quick pose, we stopped by the New York Pulic Library and then did some shopping.IMG_4600

Mom got a great deal on TWO new sets of boots.  Lucky lady.  We then had a deeee-licious Mediterranean meze dinner at Beyoglu on the upper East.

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After church the next day, Mom and Dad partook of the grand New York tradition of brunching before they had to catch their bus home.

We had a lovely time.  Thank you for being willing to make the trip up to stay in our small apartment with us!  It was a perfect pre-cursor to Christmas with the whole family back together (I’m looking at you, Megan).

Heavy Heart

I have a lot I need to post about – we have had two parent visits, two holiday parties and general Christmas cheer going on around here.  But the victims of last Friday’s shooting in Newtown, CT have been on my heart and mind in a very real way since I heard the news.  My heart aches for them.

Having been through a terrible shooting while I was a student at Virginia Tech, I was taken back to that feeling of sickened helplessness and my heart is just broken for every single person in the community – for all of  the children, parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, care givers, first-responders, and loved ones.  I also feel for those in the community who may not have known someone personally, but who nonetheless feel the weight and violation in a very real way.

I don’t have any profound words to share.  Only my prayers.  In many ways, I cannot come close to understanding what the mothers, fathers, teachers and children are going through.  I still have nightmares and get uncomfortable sitting in a room full of people, wondering if tragedy were to strike again, would I have an escape route?  I hate that more people have been subjected to this.

All I know is that Jesus is the answer.  But I know that many people will use this as an excuse to get angry; to question God.  To turn away from His love and grace.  I’ve been asked by friends and acquaintances in the past why, if there is a God, he would allow things such as this, or any of the other tragedies of our history, to happen?  Their questions never caused me any doubt or pause, because I know in my heart that He is who He says He is.  He is our loving Creator, Savior and Father.  But I’m afraid that I have not done a good job of explaining this.  A theologian, pastor, wordsmith I am not.  But here is my attempt.

The problem is sin.  These tragedies break God’s heart, just as they break ours.  This is NOT what He wants for us.  In fact, he sent His Son to earth to save us from ourselves, from our sin.  Jesus lived a perfect life only to die senselessly, horrifically, in a way He did not deserve.  He died at the hands of the very ones he came to save. God understands the pain of losing a child.  He suffered not only the separation from His Son while he was on earth, but then felt the profound pain of losing his child to evil.  God understands suffering.  He didn’t have to come to earth and get “in the trenches” of suffering and pain with us.  But He loved us, even in our sinful, unworthy state, enough to send His son to save us.

This subject is obviously worth more time of study and reflection.  These are just one girl’s words and I cannot do the subject the justice it deserves.  And human understanding can only take us so far before you have to rely on faith.   Which I love.  To be able to fall, time and again, into the loving, capable arms of our savior and know that He is sovereign over this crazy mess we live in.  It is freeing.

Keep praying for those affected by Friday’s tragedy.  Keep praying long after the story has left the media.  The victims healing and coping process will take all of that and then some.  Pray hard and pray specifically.

Waiting until I can hug/squeeze/love on my mother (teacher), my sister-in-law (teacher) and my precious baby niece and nephew…and all of my other loved ones.

~Rebecca

Late Show with David Letterman

Yesterday afternoon, Scott and I got to go to a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman!

IMG_4608We aren’t really die hard fans of any late night show because we are usually in bed.  Or Scott is asleep and I am reading.  But we had the chance to get tickets through his work and we figured it was a great opportunity and we weren’t going to pass it up!

We showed up at 2:00 pm and waited in line.  Even while waiting in line the pages are already getting you pumped up, trying to get you excited and keep your energy up.

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When we got up to pick up our tickets, the young gentleman (all of the pages were definitely 25 or younger and had energy for daaaays) asked us a few questions about ourselves.  He scribbled something on a ticket and we were then sorted into two different groups.  We noticed that we were in a much smaller group of people and then were taken back outside by a very lovely, pretty page.  Oh yes, this is our friend, Fallon!  We know her through church and she is in our community group.  I don’t know if she planned it this way, but we were always in “her” group.  So Fallon took us outside and informed our small group that we had been selected to be “Audience Leaders” seated in the first three rows!!!  Whaaaa?  So exciting!

Hi Fallon!

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So we got our first of several pep talks and had to show off our ability to be excited and get loud.  We had about a half hour to kill so we decided the best use of time would be to get coffee – we apparently had a big job to get excited.  Caffeine was a must.

We came back at the specified time and were brought into an inner lobby.  We got to watch Fallon in action some more, complete with standing on a chair and using a fanny pack mic system (she didn’t need it – she was excited enough to be heard without it!).  We learned that whistling, cat calling and “wooo”-ing are not ok but belly laughter and clapping are the way to go.  Fallon did such a great job of getting the crowd pumped up and she was pretty darn funny in her own right.  And she reminded us of something very important.  We were in the Ed Sullivan Theater – some great acts have gone through there – including Elvis and The Beatles.  And of course, the Biebs.

When we finally got to go into the theater, we were led directly to the. front. row.  OMG. We were all giggly like little kids and were gushing about how lucky we were.  And I’m an extra lucky girl, because Scott took the seat behind the camera man so I would have the better view.  And then switched again with me (during a commercial break, of course) when the camera man changed positions and blocked my view of Anne Hathaway.

Oh yes! Anne Hathaway was the main guest and she is just as beautiful as you think.  And she is so tall and willow-y.  And she could walk in those stilettos like no one’s business.  Don’t you hate seeing girls teetering around in shoes they can’t handle?  She was fun to watch during commercial breaks, because she loosened up and grooved to the band.  You can tell she takes her job seriously because she would straighten up and get professional when she got the cue we were recording again.

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Johnny Manziel delivered the Top Ten List: Top Ten Perks of Winning the Heisman Trophy.  He’s ADORABLE.  Scott was just as excited about him as I was about Anne Hathaway.

The final guest was Jake Johnson (Nick from New Girl).  I think the “smaller” guests are usually a hit or miss whether you know/like them.  I happen to love New Girl and am hoping, waiting and  wishing for Jess and Nick to get together.  I was rather excited.  And he is funny!  It makes me like him even more!  This was his first big interview/show and he took his time walking off stage.  He stopped and scanned the audience and waved and I SWEAR he looked and waved at me.  I made sure to wave back.

The musical guest was the Marine Chamber Orchestra.  I secretly was disappointed by this since how cool would it have been if it had been a band that is actually on the radio?!  But they were phenomenal.  They played Sleigh Ride and did such a good job.  It sounded just like the recording you heard all the time growing up.

A few other interesting things:

  • The floor looks blue but it actually is black – and they are buffing it up until just before the show.
  • The Ed Sullivan Theater is small.
  • The band plays the entire time during commercials and for a few songs prior to the show (gotta keep the crowds energy up!).
  • There is no laugh track to be played – the audience provides all of the laughing/clapping.
  • Even though the show isn’t technically recorded live, they still break for commercials as if it were live.
  • There is an informational video which is played when you first find your seat.  Alec Baldwin is the MC.
  • There is a warm up comedian and he was awesome.
  • Dave comes out for a minute or two before recording to chat with the crowd.  He sets himself up for jokes he later does on the air, which is why we are laughing at things in the first few moments that don’t seem like they are actually funny.
  • There are lights, cameras and microphones everywhere!  The microphones were every few feet in the audience.

So fun!  If you have the chance, I’d definitely recommend going to a taping of a show.

A Very Merry Wedding

Last weekend we were able to celebrate the wedding of our very dear friends, Stu and Leslie.

The whole weekend was just warm, glowy and full of love. Being that the wedding was in December, Christmas trees, twinkle lights, and plaid straight from Scotland set the tone for the celebration.

Both the bride and groom went to Scott’s high school, but were several years apart.  So it was a bit strange for Scott’s friends (the “older” kids) to think about seeing all of the kids two years younger in a social setting – especially so long after graduating from high school.  Case in point – Scott walking one of his best friend’s little sister down the aisle.  Hi Sarah!  It was actually a lot of fun. Scott is so well-trained.  I wasn’t even the one working my camera at this point (I was on Flip duty for my father in law) and Scott knew exactly where to strike his pose.

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Here is the absolutely beautiful bride.  She had “the bridal glow” as her mother-in-law said.  Leslie married into “The Brotherhood” just like I did and we’ve become good friends over the past few years, especially since Scott and I made the move to NYC.  So I didn’t feel like I was only at Scott’s friend’s wedding, but was so happy to be there for BOTH the bride and groom.  I love those sort of weddings!IMG_4425

My photos are by no means professional or great quality, but I love this moment of Leslie looking at Stu.  The priest welcomed everyone by saying that he had never seen a groom waiting so intently and with such purpose for his bride.  Apparently, Stu took up his position and stayed there for quite some time before the wedding.  It’s easy to see why. 🙂  IMG_4430

Here they are as husband and wife!
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Then it was time for a little country clubbing – I mean, celebrating.  Let me tell you, the country club where the reception was held was unlike anything I had ever seen before.  It was gorgeous and the staff and the service lived up to the “Rebecca Standard.”  Two thumbs up.

Here we are!  I decided to go ahead and “opt in” to the Black Tie Optional part of the invitation.  I mean, Scott was in a tux, so why not match him?  I wore a Badgley Mischka black sequin number.  It was so fun!  And doesn’t Scott pull off the plaid bow tie well?  He’s so handsome.

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What really made my night was seeing Christian, one of the groomsmen from our wedding, wearing the cufflinks we gave as a groomsman gift!  Couple that with two (count them, TWO) of my bridesmaids re-wearing their dresses from my wedding (and getting compliments on them) and I was a happy little former bride.  I think you could also call that a “wife.”
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This is me and Millie, my mother in law.

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Look at the lovely ladies!  I think we all embraced the chance to wear long dresses, since this opportunity doesn’t come around all that often anymore.  Is it strange to miss prom just a little?

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And then this happened.

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I loved all of the winter-y warm and toasty details.  Like the birch branch place card holder which I may or may not have put in my purse after taking this picture…

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If I can make a list of the fictional additional weddings I will have (with Scott) in the future, add a Christmas one to the mix.  What a beautiful backdrop twinkle lights and evergreen make!

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For two people who don’t enjoy having so many pairs of eyes on them, they did an absolutely beautiful job with their first dance.  Completely stunning.

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After the sweet first dance, everyone took to the dance floor.  IMG_4491

There were some serious characters in the crowd and everyone had an amazing time.  Just look at Leslie in that dress!  It fit like a glove.

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The band didn’t hurt, either.  They were a Bruce Springsteen cover band.  Did I mention that the wedding was in New Jersey and the guest list was comprised of about 90% New Jersey natives?  Yeah, the Bruce was a big hit.  We literally couldn’t leave the dance floor because every song demanded we stay and rock out.

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Scott taking the dance circle by storm with Millie.IMG_4499

They did pretty well, until these two took the floor and tore it up with some “Footloose” style moves!  (That’s me and my father in law, in case you can’t tell).IMG_4503

And a Bruce medley wouldn’t be complete without a few Dancing in the Dark moves a la Courtney Cox.
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Oh my, I love these girls!  Lets be neighbors and have kids at the same time, ok??  I volunteer to take all the kiddos to the beach all summer while you two nurse it up 🙂Three Girls

Oh man.  Showing off the cumberbunds.

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I think I’ve mentioned a time or two what a wonderful group of friends Scott has.  Well it’s all thanks to these ladies.  It’s not a great quality photo but this is our men with their mommas.  Pretty special to have them all together in one room, celebrating one of their own.

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We all had such a wonderful time.  When the only complaint is that you don’t want to leave – I’d say the wedding is a success!

Leslie and Stu, welcome to the married club.  It’s pretty great.  We’re so blessed by you both!  Love, Rebecca and Scott.

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