Thursday, August 13, 2009

Favorite Vacation Spot(s)


This week on Kelly's Show Us Your Life tour, we are visiting favorite vacation spots.

I sound like Guy Fieri at the beginning of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. This week on Triple D, we're visiting western pennsylvania for some killer pierogis. haha.

Normally I would say that my favorite vacation was my honeymoon to Jamaica, but since you all just heard about that last week, I'll pick another one (or three) to highlight today.

I apologize for not including any pictures but blogger won't let me. I did include a couple links to earlier blog posts, so hopefully you'll check them out.

Bethany Beach, Delaware

This has been my family's favorite vacation spot for many many years. My earliest memories involve renting a huge condo on the beach for me & my parents, my aunt & uncle, and my grandma. Sometimes I got to bring a friend along. I love Bethany Beach. It is known as "the quiet resort" - it is located between Ocean City, Maryland and Rehoboth, Delaware. It has a boardwalk, quaint little shops, lots of ice cream, safe streets for bike-riding, and of course, the beach. Now the beach isn't huge and the ocean isn't pretty like the caribbean, but it's sand & water, and I like it.

I was so delighted when I was able to take Bobby there for the first time two years ago. He loved it like I knew he would, and we made arrangements to go back there last summer and this year as well. I am very sad that we are moving so far away from my favorite little beach community, but I can't wait for the day when we can return and hopefully have a little kid or two to take to the beach there. It has been my greatest desire since I was in high school. Lord, please grant me this wish!

Laguna Beach/Hollywood/Beverly Hills/Santa Monica

Bobby and I got to travel to southern California 4 years ago to attend his (extended) family reunion. After the festivities, the two of us decided to extend the trip a few days and see where the celebrities hang out.

I can't get Weezer's Beverly Hills lyrics out of my head now...
Beverly Hills... That's where I want to be!
Living in Beverly Hills...
Beverly Hills... Rolling like a celebrity!
Living in Beverly Hills...
Anyway... we loved everything about SoCal and you can read all about here.

Southern Africa

My trip of a lifetime! Words really can't describe what it is like to be in Africa. Seriously. But I'll try anyway. The full version of my trip is here, complete with MANY pictures, but I'll try and give you a short version. I worked for a deluxe travel & tour operator company as one of my many jobs while living in St Louis, supporting my darling seminarian husband, and on thursday, september 9th, 2005, I was offered a free spot on a trip to southern Africa that left in two days. There were 7 of us total on the trip and we left on September 11th to fly from Atlanta to Johannesburg. I kid you not.

We spent the first five days "in the bush" going on game drives and touring some amazing camps. Did I mention that these were 5 and 6 star camps? Again, no words to describe this experience. Then we flew to Cape Town and enjoyed all the civilization and sights there... we drove to Cape Point, went to the top of Table Mountain, visited wineries, chilled with some penguins, went shopping, and toured a bunch of hotels. (we were there to work after all. ha!)

Our last big place to visit was Victoria Falls! (That's in Zimbabwe. Seriously, who goes to Zimbabwe?!) It was so awesome, and I hate to say it, but prettier than Niagara Falls. Definitely less commercialized anyway. We went on a sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River that night, and the next day drove over to Zambia. We were so fortunate that we had next to zero major incidents worth mentioning. The worst thing was probably my terrible sinus infection & head cold that left me deaf, sleepless, and just plain miserable for the first couple of days.

Oh, and there was that one time when I couldn't get in my hotel room/cabin because an elephant was blocking the door. You know, just a usual day at the office...

Monday, August 10, 2009


I think the heat has gone to our heads and we've lost it. Up to date, this summer has been so cool and mild (not to mention cloudy, rainy, and just plain dreary) but all of a sudden we got a heatwave yesterday (sunday). I'm sure most of you all reading it had a similar situation. Meanwhile, Bobby has been in need of a haircut. This is a very common occurrence because his hair grows really quickly and we hate spending money. well, on haircuts that is, not furniture, because I love spending money on furniture. And so because of these two factors, bobby has had many hair styles over the years. In fact, let's take a look at his many hairstyles.

First, the long haired hippie style he had when we first met.

Then after we got engaged he sported a really short style.

It got a little longer when/after we got married, but then he worked at UPS for 4 years so he had to keep it pretty short with no facial hair. And while we're at it, he's had a lot of different facial hairstyles too, but that's a post for another day.

Once he graduated from seminary/UPS, he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted with his face & hair, so he went with this.

I'm kidding. He did that as a joke.

This is his normal look with a beard (my favorite.)

But other times, it looks like this.

Sorry for the link instead of the actual photo, but I have been trying to post it for 4 hours now and I give up.

And then yesterday (sunday) we just plain lost our minds and we did this:

Are we crazy? Yes. But it was fun. And hey, he only has two more weeks to get away with doing stupid things using the excuse that he's in youth ministry and he's doing it for the children... (and by the way, they think it's hilarious.)

ugh, what's up blogger?

I have been working on a really fun post but I can NOT get blogger to work with me. I have been trying to post pictures since noon today. now it let me add pictures to the post, but it won't let me save or publish it. UGH. will try again tomorrow.

some stuff about the house

We have two big house updates. #1 - the appraisal has gone through and it was appraised at a higher amount than we are paying for it! yippee. that's "instant equity" bobby tells me. I'm still not 100% what that means, but I know it's good. and #2 - we bought a couch! a red one. my st louis friends know that we have an antique green one already, but they also know that it's not really comfortable or practical. It's really best for a parlor or a big sophisticated office, but since we have neither, it will most likely be sold in the near future. here is a picture of it when it was in our apartment in 2006. I don't blame you if you're distracted by the lovely ladies that are sitting on it, but try and look past us.

It's a pretty couch, but I need a plush comfy couch with big pillows to lay on when I watch tv. And I decided when we were house hunting that if it matched the house, I wanted a red couch. Since our house has hardwood floors and I'll be painting the walls a light neutral tan and all the trim white, I think a red couch will be lovely.

So here it is, America. the Griffith's new red couch.

(I tried to get the picture to post on here for 45 minutes and it just wouldn't go. sorry for the lame link.)

It is a bit more on the contemporary style than I prefer, but there were several factors that made this couch a must-buy. (I guess I'm all about the numbered lists today...) #1 it's red. it's not pink at all, which the picture sort of looks. (I hope.) no, in person it's definately a strong red. not orangy or pinky. just red. probably not quite OU crimson, but close. #2 it's made of that micro-fiber material that is very easy to clean. if you've met bobby, you know that is a must have. #3 it was cheap. $299 to be exact. for a new couch in perfect condition. you can't beat it, so we bought it.

We couldn't decide whether to get the matching loveseat or chair & ottomon, so we didn't get either. we can always order them later. (they do have furniture stores in oklahoma I'm told.) but what we're thinking is that since we now have a red couch and a toupe-colored la-z-boy, we might get a large printed chair to tie it all in together. so be on the lookout for me. I'm really excited about buying grown-up things. at age 31, I figured it's about time.

Well, it figures that I would spend more time talking about a $300 couch than the much more expensive and important appraisal, but like zach (a kid in our youth group) would say, that's how I roll.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Reception & Jamaican Honeymoon

This week on Kelly's tour is "Show us your Wedding Reception and Honeymoon." Easy.

So here we are leaving the wedding, just minutes after pledging our lives together, and heading off to the reception:

Yes, I held my dress up nearly halfway down the aisle. I forgot to let go after coming down those steps!

And here we are in the limo.

We were received at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle, PA. Otherwise known to us simply as, The Cathedral.

No, we are not masons, nor do we support their mission, but this building has been a fixture throughout my entire life. I've danced in many recitals there, attended many banquets there, been to shows, sales, concerts, and even quite a few other wedding receptions. When we were looking for our reception hall, this was one of the first places we looked. They have a HUGE ballroom, but with just 250-300 guests, we would have been lost, so we chose the more intimate, yet beautiful, crystal ball room. Even the name of it sounds lovely!

The room was so pretty by itself, it didn't need a lot of embellishing. It had hard wood floors, pillars, and crystal chandeliers. But we hired a professional decorator anyway. haha. The reception began around 6, so I wanted to go with a candlelight glow, so we had lots of candles and white twinkle lights.

I was super excited when I came up with the idea for our reception favors. Chocolate covered pretzels, sprinkled with lavender-colored jimmies, and a tag that read, "Bobby & Jennifer tie the knot, 3-15-03!" Get it? Tie the knot... pretzel... ?!?! Wish I had a picture to show you how cute they were.

After our grand entrance and the blessing, we had a delicious dinner of rigatoni, meatballs, chicken, potatoes, carved roast beef, salad, rolls, and I'm not sure what else.

For dessert we had cake (of course) - you can see a picture of it in my post from last week - and a humongous cookie table. Have you all heard of these cookie tables at receptions? They are all the rage up here in this part of the country. I've never been to a reception around here that didn't have one. I'm thinking about taking the tradition out to Oklahoma with me and spreading it around there. So where do all the cookies come from, you ask? Well, a couple months before the wedding, family members & friends contact the bride or MOB and ask what kind of cookies they would like them to make, they tell them and then they make several dozen of that kind. And pretty soon that adds up to about 100 dozen or so. Yummo!

This picture hardly does it justice.

While everyone was eating and mingling, our parents had assembled a little slideshow of pictures of Bobby and I through the years. I'm a sucker for those kinds of things.

We didn't have much for entertainment despite the fact that we had a DJ. Since Bobby's family doesn't really like too much dancing, we stuck to classy background music mostly. We did a couple of the regular dances like our first dance which was to, "When the Rain Comes" by Third Day (since they were the impetus for us meeting in the first place, we figured it was only appropriate) and the father-daughter dance.

But I think the highlight of the evening was when I threw the bouquet. We had about 6 single ladies come up for it, including my sweet great-grandmother Tillie.

She did not catch the bouquet, but darnit, she tried! haha. I love that lady.

This is our staged photo of us leaving the reception. :)

Oh boy, I spent all that time talking about the reception and I haven't even started on the honeymoon.

So I went to one of those bridal fairs/shows that everyone goes to, even though you never use any of the vendors there. You go for the free stuff, right? I do. After we made our rounds and collected bags full of junk, I stopped and filled out a little card for the raffle they were having. Then about two weeks later I got a call. Actually, no, they left it on my answering machine at my parents. When I listened to the message, my chin dropped to the floor and I cried. I won a 7-day, 6-night honeymoon (including airfare for 2) to the all-inclusive Grand Lido Negril Jamaica resort! I got to choose the dates (we left at 6 am the morning after our wedding, yikes!) and everything was reserved for us, it was amazing. The only thing we had to pay for was souvenirs and excursions (we weren't even allowed to tip!). We never could have afforded a honeymoon like this otherwise.

Our favorite parts of our honeymoon were the luxurious ocean-view room, 24-hour room service, the yummy food, the beautiful and warm ocean water, the absolutely perfect weather (so if you want to go to Jamaica, go in March), snorkeling, water-skiing, kayaking, shopping at the local markets, sunset cruise aboard the M/Y Zein (Princess Grace Kelly's honeymoon yacht), seeing rasta farmers, and our excursion to the Black River/YS Falls. And did I mention it was all free?!?!
Can you believe that I do not have a single photo on a computer of my honeymoon? Not one. I had to scan all of the wedding photos, but the album that my honeymoon pictures are in is packed away in a storage unit in Oklahoma. :-(
We were in Jamaica from Sunday evening (the day after our wedding) until the following Sunday morning. We arrived back in Pittsburgh LATE Sunday night, drove one hour to my parents' house, arrived around midnight, then stayed up until 2 am talking to them and opening all of our wedding presents. I hear about these people who have these big events, even brunches, when all of the friends & families come over to watch them open their gifts. Not us! I sat there in my pajamas and braids in my hair, in the middle of the night/early morning until I collapsed.

Then we had to get up early the next morning and drive far away, to a place called Oklahoma. (we lived there for 2 1/2 months, in Bobby's bachelor apartment, before heading off to seminary in St Louis.) It was such an emotional day for me. I just got back from the most wonderful vacation of my life with my new husband and then had to leave my hometown and parents for the first time ever in my LIFE (since college was a mere 30 minutes away). We all ran to Walmart that morning and when we picked up an atlas for our trip, I started bawling. In the Walmart checkout line. It was so bittersweet. I was excited to begin my life with Bobby, but I was struggling to leave my comfortable, happy, safe life with my parents. And now I have to do it all over again in THREE WEEKS!!! Why do we keep doing this?!??! Oh, because God is leading us there. That's right...

Sunday, August 02, 2009


We really haven't been up to too much, at least not anything that is really worthy of blog material. Most of our free time is spent packing and visiting. We enjoyed a great Mexican dinner Friday night with some folks from church. You know, since we won't get to eat much Mexican food once we move to Oklahoma. ha! Then over the weekend, Bobby's dad and sister drove up all the way from OK with a pickup truck and small trailer to take a bunch of stuff home with them. Well, not to their home, but to Norman. To a storage place, just 1/2 mile from our house. We sent all the non-essential stuff with them like Christmas decorations, winter clothes, books, camping stuff (like that gets used so much), etc. This way we can rent a smaller moving truck on our moving day and all of that stuff will be out of sight/out of the way when we move in at first. And since it's so close to our house, we can go get it a little at a time as we make room for it.

Speaking of our house, the appraisal is this week, I think. That should be one of the last steps in this home closing process. I hope, anyway.

We've also been spending a lot of time with the youth group kids. Sunday night youth group used to last 2 hours, lately it's been 3 or 4. Plus we've added extra gatherings during the week like pool parties, and bobby's golfing tomorrow with a couple of the boys. These kids have been our friends and family over these past two years. This move is going to be so bittersweet. I know, they all are...