The Farrells

The Farrells
Matt, Nicki, Owen and Nora live in the San Francisco Bay area. Matt is a research analyst at CBRE and is loving his job. Nicki spends her time playing with Owen and Nora, reading, crafting, and taking lots of pictures. Owen loves to read, sing, throw toys, and quote movies. Nora is growing quickly and loves to be the center of attention. We have a wonderful life!

About Me


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Isn't she lovely...

This is Matt writing. I just wanted to take a minute and publicly say how much I love my wife, and how amazing she is to me.

Nicki is the most amazing person I know, and I really do come to love her more each day. She is my best friend and someone I never get tired of talking to, even though she knows what I'm thinking without me saying a word. She is so creative and I love all of her projects that she takes on. She recently made a Woody costume, a pirate costume, a superhero costume, and a fireman costume for Owen for Christmas. She also made me a carpenters pouch for my woodworking tools, and an amazing tree skirt for the Christmas tree. Not only that, but she also recently played violin in several performances on Temple Hill of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. I don't know much about classical music, but from what I do know, Tchaikovsky isn't easy. And she is so talented she barely has to practice, she just sight-reads the whole thing. How awesome is that!

Not only is she very talented in her hobbies, but she is also an amazing home-maker. She cooks incredible dinners all the time, and is always reading cookbooks to try and find the next greatest recipe. Some of my personal favorites are her spinach keish, chicken tikka masala, and something I think she calls homestead chicken (it's got tomatoes and rosemary... you've got to try it). Of course I've got to mention her deserts too. Like today, I came home from work and she had made some of the best cookies I've ever had. No joke.

Of course I have to mention how much of an amazing mother she is. She is so kind and patient with Owen, even when he is in one of his moods. She takes time every day to play with him, read to him, color pictures, watch a show, or whatever he feels like doing. And of course she always has plenty of cuddles and kisses for him. She also spends time with him almost every day working on his letters and numbers. No joke, Owen will be reading before he turns 4. One of the most frequent things I hear around the house each day is the little guy saying, "Mommy, I love you". What greater proof do you need than that?! I know she is going to be just as amazing with our little girl as well. Oh, that's something else, she does all of this every day with a watermelon strapped to her stomach! Can you say, Superwoman?

Anyway, I just wanted you to know what I have known for a long time; that Nicki is truly one of the most amazing women on earth. I count my blessings every day that she would condescend to marry such a dork like me. I love her and I always will.

Oh, and can I just say one more thing... Isn't she the cutest pregnant woman you have ever seen?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Caroling party and Live Nativity

Matt's family gets together with the Peterson family in their ward to do a caroling/pie party every year. We start out singing songs and whoever wants to perform is welcome to. Then we go around to people in the ward and carol, then come back for pie! It's a fun laid back night with good friends.

Lauren, Lindsay, and Michelle sing a song.

Hanging out.

Opal Peterson and Owen watch from the balcony.

Lindsay sang us a new Christmas arrangement she wrote.

The two moms setting up music on the piano.

Mike Peterson always sings "Oh Holy Night" - it's a great tradition!

Owen and Opal had a great time together.

Grandpa Farrell playing Polly Pockets and My Little Ponies with the kids.

Lots of picture taking!

Just before the "sock game". Everyone takes off their shoes and has to stay on their hands and knees the whole time (no standing up). The last person with a sock on wins. It gets pretty brutal.

In the middle of the game... it's a free-for-all....

Matt and Clark gang up on papa Peterson.

Every year the Oakland Temple goes all out to get people to come and experience Temple Hill. There are concerts and speakers and other events almost every night. There is also a live nativity that people from the surrounding stakes act in. My family volunteered to do the nativity last night. You show up and get dressed up in costumes, then act out the nativity about every 5 minutes for an hour straight. It was pretty fun. I'm glad we got to do it.

Kevin, Madeline, and Becca were the three wise men.

Matt, Owen, and I were shepherds.

My mom and dad were also shepherds. This is them acting out "American Gothic", though I just realized that we put them in the wrong spots - my dad should be on the right. :)

There are some smiles!

The whole family hanging out waiting for the nativity to begin.

They even had sticks for the shepherds to hold. Owen loved this pointy pitchfork.

Michael and Hilary were volunteered to be Joseph and Mary.

All of us in the nativity.

Pretty lights on Temple Hill.

Only a few more days till Christmas! We can't wait!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet

I have the privilege of playing violin with the Temple Hill Symphony Orchestra at the Oakland California LDS Temple. It's tons of fun - it's a volunteer orchestra that pulls people from all over the bay area. We do several regular concerts a year, and at Christmas we do a special performance of the full Nutcracker Ballet with a ballet school from Fremont. Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet is pretty difficult music, and it really takes a lot to be able to commit to the time and energy it takes to learn 70+ pages of music. This is the second year in a row that I've done it, and I loved it even more this time. It really helps to already be familiar with the music. :) Still, it was a long haul to make it all the way through rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and finally the performances. We finished our performances last Saturday night, and I have to say that this weekend's performances were the best that we've ever played the music. I LOVED being part of this concert, but I'm also glad it's over - now I can actually think about Christmas, instead of stressing about the music. :) Here are my favorite songs from the ballet... listen to them - they can't but help get you into a great Christmas mood!

The Waltz of the Flowers
The Waltz of the Snowflakes (this is probably the most difficult piece in the whole ballet, due to timing issues, but after working SO hard on it and playing it nearly perfectly in the performances, I love it!)
Grand Finale

In April, we get to perform The Lamb of God by Rob Gardner for the second year in a row. I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

We've had a pretty stressful Christmas season so far, but we've been trying really hard to make time to do things with our little family to get in the Christmas spirit. We've had some pretty fun family nights and family movie nights. We made a countdown chain with a scripture about Christmas on each link that we read each night. Owen is getting more and more excited for Christmas, and if we can make it through this week (this is the week of my dress rehearsals and performances of the Nutcracker ballet with the Temple Hill Symphony Orchestra) without getting any sicker than we are, it's shaping up to be a pretty good Christmas. Here are a few pictures of the things we've been up to.

Decorating the Christmas tree.

This was at the Pleasanton town Christmas parade. It was an hour or two after we found out that our car couldn't be fixed and that we'd have to start searching for a new one, and Matt and Owen's faces pretty much show how we were feeling that day. Needless to say, I didn't take any more pictures.

Decorating the tree at grandma Auman's house. Owen loves her toys and was way more interested in playing with them than in decorating the tree... Matt ended up doing most of it.

This is the first year we've been able to use the nativity advent calendar I made... it's been packed in storage since I made it. I was so excited to pull it out this year!

Owen LOVES the calendar. He loves pulling the pieces out of the pockets and spends all day moving them around the scene.

Owen pausing while eating lunch to play guitar to whatever song we were listening to at that point. We've had a Christmas present factory going in our house for the past week and a half, and our table is covered with sewing machines, cutting mats, fabric, glue, paint, and pretty much every craft supply you can think of.... so we've been having lots of picnic meals on the floor. :)

This is one of the projects I've been working on - a Christmas tree skirt. We haven't had one the whole time we've been married and the lack of one started to bug me as soon as we put up the tree.

There are definitely some things I'd do differently next time, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. And mostly, I'm just really glad it's done. That was a LOT of sewing in straight lines.

Owen and I made toilet paper tube people the other day - Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and an angel. I try to do something crafty or fun like this every day with him. He loves these guys.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Colorado Thanksgiving...

Matt, Owen, and I flew to Colorado for Thanksgiving this year. We met up with my mom, my three youngest siblings, and Lexie and her husband and we all stayed at our friends the Birds' house. My mom and Lynda Bird have been best friends for years, and all of the kids are right around the same age - we each had a buddy. When we were growing up, our families did everything together. It was so fun to go back and visit... I miss Colorado so much! We did TONS of stuff, so I'll just get right to the pictures... there are a lot!

Owen was SO excited to go on the plane. This is the first plane trip that he can remember.

Owen ended up not liking the take-off or landing... or really any part in between.  He closed the window so he didn't have to see the ground outside. He did like that they brought him free drinks and snacks, though.

Riding on the train at the Denver airport!

Waiting for the bus to our rental car... we hit almost every mode of transportation that day!

Sleepy boy in the car on the way to Longmont. We had to tie his head to the carseat. :)

We went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Owen got to dress up as an astronaut and sit in the cockpit of the spaceship!

Trying on some deer ears.

....and some moose antlers.

In the new health exhibit.... each person got their own card that you got to stick into each place in the exhibit and it recorded your results. This one told you how tall you were and how big your wingspan was.

They also had a wall of nails... kind of like the kids toy, but supersized. Each and every one of these faces and hands belong to Owen. Crazy kid. 

T-rex bones! Right after this we went into the room that had animatronic dinosaurs that roared, and that didn't go over so well. Owen was yelling "Get me out of here!" the whole time. We only stayed for about 30 seconds. :)
We went to Casa Bonita one day for lunch.... it's the worst Mexican food you'll ever have (really), but it's the coolest restaurant you'll ever see!

Waiting in line for our food.

Cute Lexie and Ryan.

The view from our seats... Casa Bonita has an indoor waterfall and pool. The whole thing is decorated like a Mexican town surrounded by jungle and caves. They have a cliff diver that does awesome dives off the water fall into the pool. That's what Owen is watching in this picture.

Two of the actors doing a gunfight.

Madeline, Kevin, Owen, and our cousin Maddy (who lives near Denver) exploring behind the waterfall.

Waterfall on the right, guy juggling fire on the left.

Matt watching the show from our table.

During one of the skits, this gorilla escapes and runs around the whole restaurant. It kind of freaked Owen out. :)

Exploring the restaurant... on weekends and nights this place fills up - they have hundreds of tables all set up in caves or Mexican houses or the jungle... pretty cool.

Another view of the restaurant.

Madeline and Owen being goofy while exploring.

More restaurant...

On our way out.

Maddy and Owen waiting for our tour of Hammond's Candy Factory in Denver.

Watching the cooks make candy canes.

Holding the samples they picked out after the tour.

We went to the town of Lyons (where my dad's office was in Colorado) and explored.

It's a tiny little town in the foothills of the mountains, but they've recently redone the whole downtown, so we went to visit. It took us about ten minutes to walk the entire thing, and that included a visit to the people in my dad's old office.

Owen jumping off his Thanksgiving dinner. :)

After Thanksgiving dinner we took a walk around McIntosh Lake behind the Birds' house. The two big mountains in the middle are Longs Peak and Meeker Peak. The two smaller ones on the right are the Twin Sisters. They are part of the Front Range, and are the mountains that I got to look at every day growing up. :) I miss them.

We visited Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder.

Can you see those tents in the background behind those lightposts? Yeah, that's the "Occupy Boulder" movement. There are about five tents. Bunch of hippies. I would have taken a closer picture, but I'm pretty sure the majority were smoking weed, and I didn't want to aggravate anyone. 

Playing in the coolest toystore! It had tons of old toys - ones that I used to play with growing up - plus whole sections dedicated to juggling, puppets, kites, build-your-own kits, and tons of other things. A bit overpriced, but it was fun to wander around in.

We saw Santa on Pearl Street! As you can see, Owen barely held it together. We decided he could write a letter to Santa to tell him what he wanted instead of having to talk to him. :)

At the Swiss Army knife store.

Owen loves Lexie and Ryan.

More Pearl Street.

Driving into Estes Park for their annual Christmas parade the day after Thanksgiving.

Estes is a beautiful town in a valley up in the mountains.

It is the home of the Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. Parts of the mini-series of The Shining were filmed here.

It was pretty cold and windy with clear skies when we got there, so we bundled up and found a spot to wait.

Waiting for the parade.

Calling grandma Farrell to wish her a happy birthday.

Ryan, Lexie, and my mom standing in a few flurries....

We started getting a little bit of snow, so Ryan decided to put on another coat.... this is my mom trying to zip up his coat backwards, so he can then put on another coat forwards. Yeah, I didn't get it either.

.....and just as the parade was starting, this happened. A huge wall of snow blew into town and blanketed everything in minutes. We all got soaked and were pretty darn cold, but it's our tradition to stay during the whole parade no matter what the weather, so stay we did! I had to put away the camera after this picture, though... it was too wet. :)

Driving back to the airport... love these plains and mountains. Those tall buildings in the distance are Denver.

The front range... I'll miss it.

The Denver Airport... the main building is covered by huge white tents that were built to look like the mountains.

Well, we had a great trip, and I was happy to be able to show Matt more of where I grew up. I miss Colorado already, and would definitely be happy to go back frequently. :) Thanks Birds for hosting us - we had a great time!