Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend 2008

We had an awesome Thanksgiving with great friends and amazing food! It was fun to spend the day with friends that we made in Texarkana, who have moved close enough to be able to get together. Sadly, I completely forgot to pull my camera out... ALL Day. So no pictures of our day , but some of our favorite moments were:
*Starting Black Friday shopping early and stocking up on all the FREE stuff that CVS pharmacy had to offer with Rebecca, Krystal, and Aubrey.
*Zenock is getting so good at folding his arms when we say prayers. Every time we say a prayer we say, "Fold your arms like this" and then we show him. As we were all standing around saying goodbye to the Atkinson's, Zenock thought it was time to say prayers and folded his arms. He then would point to people and say, "like this" and fold his arms and show them how to fold their arms. Everytime someone would unfold their arms, he would point to them and do it again. He doesn't usually keep his arms folded for the entire prayer, but at least we know he is getting the idea. It sure makes you feel like your doing something right. :)
I decided to give up my Black Friday shopping this year... (I know, crazy, right?!) JC had volunteered to work... (even crazier!) and so I thought it would be a great day to sleep in, relax, and enjoy some leftovers. I was so WRONG! JC called me about 8:00 and told me I should see about finding a hotel in Hershey Pennsylvania for that night, work was really slow and he was thinking about taking the day off. (Our friends the Cook's were already planning on going.) I found a hotel for a great price and told JC... He then told me he had just talked to the Cook's and that he would be home in 20 minutes and to have the bags packed so we could walk out the door... Ummm... Yeah right.... (I was still in my pajamas.:) BUT, 25 minutes later, WE were out the door. Impressive, right!? Ok, not really, I looked like heck all day... :) BUT, we sure had fun!
(Home of Hershey Chocolate.)

Hershey's is the HOME of Hershey Chocolate.. (All my favorite treats. Reeses, Kisses, KitKats, etc. etc. Not a good thing for the day after Thanksgiving.:) Hershey's is also a Theme park. During the month of December they decorate for Christmas and hold Christmas Candylane. Right next door to the park is the factory... as soon as we stepped into the park, the Heavenly aroma of Chocolate engulfed us and surrounded us for the rest of the day. Christmas carols were being blasted from the speakers, it was FREEZING, and it was a perfect day for having fun! I highly recommend it to anyone close by.

We got there by noon and spent the next NINE hours enjoying the rides, the smells, the chocolate, and good fun company! (Thanks Cook's for letting us tag along.) We didn't even notice the cold. One of our friends little boys kept saying to his dad, "Isn't this like the BEST day of your life." It was so dang cute!

Getting ready to ride the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Challenge...

We really enjoyed the chocolate! How often to you get marshmallows and freshly made milk chocolate smashed between two giant chocolate chip cookies... at a theme park! Wow. It was amazing and makes me want another one just thinking about it. Mr. Hershey is a genius! (I think he is also about 4 ft. tall.... ok, not really. haha.)

We were able to go see a Christmas play while we were there. We took this picture right before JC so "lovingly" drug me onto THE CLAW... (sounds scary, right. It was intense.)

Santa was visiting that day as were ALL of his reindeer... Zenock's reaction was, "WOW." Love it.

My own little Marshmallow man enjoying Hershey... He didn't take a nap ALL day and finally crashed on our way back to the car when we MADE him sit in his stroller. He was so GOOD!

Inside Hershey's World (the factory), you can go on a tour of how they make the their chocolate and try and navigate your way through all of the shops and bakery's... This is the Christmas display inside Hershey World.

These were the cute cows on our tour that kept singing... "It's the Milk Chocolate..." The song has been stuck in my head for a week. We LOVED Hershey and like I've said in many posts before... WE can't wait to go back. Thanks Cook Family for a very FUN day!
The next day after a great nights sleep we headed to Lancaster County Pennsylvania to take in some of the Amish living. We were so excited as we entered the town and saw this...
No WAY! They really do that?! haha...

Buggies outside of the Farmer's Market we went to.

We even paid (way too much) to go on a Buggy Ride. Zenock loved ALL of the horses.

... JC waiting for our Ride...

... Zenock waiting for our ride...

We were extremely educated about the Amish lifestyle during our Buggy Ride. The lady who took us works for the Amish, but is not Amish. She has lived in Lancaster her entire life. I USED to think the Amish lived such a SIMPLE life... (stop reading now if you want to keep your perspective of the Amish.) BUT, we were completely wrong. They are different from what we thought in every way possible!
Things we learned:
*They live in HUGE homes... most of them are brand new too.
*Amish really isn't a religion, it is a culture. There are many different religions inside the Amish culture. For example: One guy in a congregation decides he wants to be able to use a tractor, a cell phone, etc., so he separates and becomes a preacher of a NEW group with followers who all wanted to use tractors, cell phones, cars, or whatever... Really weird.
*There are many different names and religions: Old order Amish, New Order Amish, The Brethren, Nebraska Amish (they went to Nebraska and didn't like it, so they came back.), etc.
*Many of the Amish people you see really aren't Amish at all... they are Menonites. (There are very few who are Amish.)
*Talking about your "religion" and lifestyle is considered boastful or prideful. They do not talk about themselves.
*In the Amish culture you are baptized when you are an adult. This is because you choose to become Amish. You accept it when you are at age. Not everyone who grows up Amish, stays Amish. They believe God chooses them to be Amish.
*You can tell what religion Amish or Menonite group they are by the women's hairstyle and Apron and by the Men's buggies (round top, square top, gray, black, 2 seat, etc.)
*They may not use electricity in their homes because they are self reliant, but they do use electricity in their shops. So that nice wooden table you paid extra for and thought was carved by hand... yeah, well, it wasn't. Most likely it was made in a shop using a POWER tool.
*They use propane in most Amish houses and outside of the house is another little "outhouse" that holds their phone. (sneaky aren't they.)
*The Amish are businessmen... They know how to run things. Most of them use cell phones, internet, fax machine, copy machine, etc in their businesses.
*When you become "of age" you join a gang... (basically your church group). You marry only inside of that gang. You do not mix with other gang members. (hmmm.)
*Amish people worship and get educated mainly in their own homes.
*They can drive cars, if that is what their Preacher allows. One teenage Amish kid drives a brand new red Hummer. (He is a hit with all the girls in his gang.:)
*The Amish are BILLIONAIRES....well some of them. A rule in some congregations is when you make too much money you have to sell your farm and start over again.
*** One thing to keep in mind is there are still some Amish called "THE OLD ORDER AMISH" that live the way you probably have always pictured, but they only make up about 1 percent of the Amish people that live in Pennsylvania.

An old Amish cemetery we passed on our buggy ride...

I do have to admit they picked an absolutely beautiful place to live.
We were only about 2 miles from where the Amish school shooting took place. No one in the town will talk about it. Since the shooting they have taken the school down and planted a field. There is no memorial. You will only know where it once stood if you are a resident.
I hope I didn't shatter your image of the Amish too much. :) JC and I are still completely jealous of where they live. It is so pretty. We just aren't sure about being in awe of their "SIMPLE" life. It was very interesting to learn about their culture and we really enjoyed our visit.

As we were coming home, we rounded the corner and out of nowhere this is what came into view. It was an awesome site. The Washington D.C. temple stands out in the middle of no where. It was beautiful, especially after our day. How very greatful we are for our religion. For a prophet who guides us and has simple beliefs for us to follow. We Believe...


Shawn and Krystal said...

I totally want to go to Hershey's! I just want to eat that big Reese's in the picture! Yum! That's crazy about the Amish...of course JC had to go on the buggy ride ha ha! It was SO cute when Zenock was showing and telling everyone to fold their arms on Thanksgiving ha ha! So good to see you guys!

Kami said...

It looks like you guys had so much fun. How much chocolate did JC eat? Be honest. I wish I could have seen him in Amish country. For some reason I picture that as an obsession of his, like leprocauns.

Erin said...

You guys are always doing something new and fun!! I am jealous!

The Noble Steeds said...

Im so jealous! You guys are so lucky to have old friends so close. I can't wait till we can go on vacation!

Michael . Heidi . Mason said...

I want you to come visit! :)

The Trees said...

There are so many great places to see near Washington. How fun that you guys are all close enough to get together. Sounds like good times. Zenock is adorable!