Early Anniversary Trip to Jamaica

So last week, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary a little early, and man we had a great time. We were able to experience the wonderful island of J-A-M-A-I-C-A JAMAICA! (Music Heads sang that part in a reggae tone). We stayed at the beautiful Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay. It’s an all-inclusive resort and boy did we get our money’s worth.

Day 1: Arrival at the airport was smooth we signed up for Mobay and, for us, it was worth it. It’s like a Disney Fast Pass for the airport thru customs. Plus we were greeted with Rum Punch in their lobby, always a great thing.
Check-in at the resort was smooth as well. Everyone was smiling, nice, helpful. Greeted with mimosas, always a good thing. Only thing we didn’t like was them trying to sell the breakfast club membership thing. I’m not big fan of pushy salespeople but I understand business is business.
Our room is in building 6, we have the swimout suite. We didn’t get a chance to enjoy it though, it rained most of the day. We ate lunch at the buffet, with a rum punch (it was super strong) which was good and a nice selection. We walked around the property some before dinner at Es Palau. I wasn’t a fan of their grilled snapper selection but my wife enjoy her beef tenderloin.
Day 2 was a great day. Woke up early to a beautiful sunrise and ate some breakfast at the Cornwall . We took a short walk and snapped a few pics and chilled by the water for a few. We met one of the locals, Cheap Charlie, and purchased a few things. He wasn’t pushy and actually pretty funny.

After an hour or two or so on the beach we stopped by the spa and booked a couples massage for later in the day. I was surprised they had something the same day but they had a few openings. We had about 2.5 hours until our appt, so we went to take a look at the excursions. We were still undecided so we left thinking about it.

After a few morning rum punches and pina coladas and a quick snack, we went to out spa massage. It was great. Georgia and Paddy were awesome. (Don’t forget your coupon). We headed to the shops (about 8 mins shuttle ride) for about an hour to knock out some souvenir shopping. Every business will “make a deal” but only a few had unique items. I think it’s worth the 8 min ride. You can visit most shops and be done in a hour when the shuttle comes back.
After heading back to the hotel and lunch at the buffett, we walked down to the beach again. More people were out by this time and most of the beach chairs were taken. We stopped by the water sports shed to see what they offered. We said we will try out the kayaks (free for an hour) and maybe the catamaran. Maybe. Depends on how many rum punches. We went back to our suite and decided to use our swim out portion of our suite. We found a trail of ants yesterday on our patio and management finally sent someone today to take care of it. The pool was super cold. I assume since it stays in a shaded area for most of the day, it doesn’t warm up much. It’s nice to have if you want be away from the bigger pool, but the water was too cold for my comfort. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Dinner at the Italian restaurant was great. Our server Kenneth was awesome and the food was as well. Rum punches were delicious too. We were invited to Margaritaville but the 1st shuttle didn’t leave until 930p and the next at 1130p. We were done with dinner by 800p. At 930p, we made the mistake of trying to take a nap before the 1130p shuttle. Needless to say, that nap lasted longer than expected… too many rum punches 不不不…
Day 3 was as close to a perfect vacation day as it could be.

We started off with room service for breakfast and then decided to do some kayaking. My wife wasn’t a fan of going to far out, so after about 15/20 mins of that, we headed back to the shore. We swam in the ocean for a while and people watched while knocking back rum punch and pina coladas. I then made the beautiful mistake of playing beach volleyball. I played 3 games with some wonderful people from Nebraska (they played like pros) and Smiley from the Star Friends, and now my body feels like it was hit by truck. After the games, my wife and I sat and talked with Coco from the staff. She has a wonderful personality.

It was then time for the crazy game at the pool. It was a basketball shootout which a guy I met from Maryland won. Right after that was dance class on the pool deck with the Star Friends. All of them can dance, but my wife and I held our own.
We then ate lunch at the outdoor buffet which was a little more packed than before. My assumption is that it was Friday and people were checking in, getting something to eat.
We took a quick shower and headed back to the shops to pick a few more souvenirs. *Quick note : make sure they dont try to charge you tax.
We came back to the hotel and rested up for a little before a surprise dinner on the beach for my wife for our 10th wedding anniversary. She loved it and our waiter Fenton was awesome as well. We finally made it to a show last night and it was great. The performers were great telling the story of Jamaica. We stayed to watched the singers and then went to the disco. The disco (what we call a club) was fun for us because we love to people watch. The DJ wasn’t great with music transition and song placement, but that’s just us being musicheads. He played some good songs, just in a weird mix. He played a decent mix on genre. Everyone seemed to have a great time, there was a good mix of people, most were drunk, but there were a group of guys doing Jamaican dances which was good.

We left about 1am but they were still dancing at the disco.

Day 4 was our last full day and it was bittersweet. Bitter because we have to go but sweet as we were able to have this experience.
Today, we ate breakfast at the buffet then headed to the beach to relax. Somehow, I got sucked into another game of volleyball but it went ok; my body isn’t too sore.
My wife won the game of bowling on the pool deck and she flaunted her shirt as she beat me by a few points. After the games, the bbq was ready and the band was playing. The food was great along with the coconut drinks.
We relaxed on the beach for a few hours until the Star Friends came out with more games. We play drinking games with our new friends from Nebraska. Then I took the title of Best Quarterback. I’ll be back soon to defend my title. 不不不
After dinner at Port Maria (Jamaican restaurant), we caught the Michael Jackson show. Personally, I thought the overall performance was just ok. The lighting was way off and I think my expectation was slighter higher than normal. The performers did a good job, but overall it was just ok. Other people gave standing ovations. To each his own. We decided to go back to the disco to people watch again, but left early as we had a flight in the morning.
This was our 1st all-inclusive resort and the Grand has truly spoiled us. We did not expect perfection because you can’t control everything. But the Grand Rose Hall comes close. We will be back.
A special thanks to Coco and Vanessa! These lovely ladies were funny and sweet. They made sure we had a great time and good laughs!
Also, a special thanks to Fenton, our waiter for our romantic beach dinner. His love for his job makes his customer service hard to beat.
Another special thanks to one of our butlers, Chambers, who always stopped by to check on us, or even if he seen us out and about, he made sure we had everything we needed.
Like I said before, the Grand has spoiled us and can’t wait to go back!
GB

Memorial Day

Today, we take the time to remember and honor those Armed Forces members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Please be mindful that today isn’t a “happy” day for everyone.

Today is not a day just for discounts at your favorite store or restaurant. Today is not about barbeques and cookouts, but if you’re at one, take the time to say a prayer for those Gold Star Familes and their lost ones. Take the time to check on some who has lost a husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, or friend who served. Today may not be happy for them and may not be in the celebratory mood.

We thank every service memeber who signed on the dotted line and gave everything for this country.

GB

SMART Goals – Furniture Building

So a few months ago, I gave myself a few SMART Goals. One of the of those goals was to learn how to build a piece of furniture by June of this year. Here we are in the middle of May, and I can say I have achieved this goal. I must say, that I feel pretty proud of myself. Do I see myself selling my furniture to big brand stores? No. Do I see myself with a new hobby? Possibly.
Wood making brought forth a new line of respect for furniture. A lot of time goes into making a wood furniture. The measurements have to be exact, there are 10000000000 different colors, the measurements have to be exact, there are many different designs, and did I mention the measurements have to be exact? Making furniture is an art but at the same time, it’s fun. After building this table though, I can honestly say it would be hard for me to buy a table from a furniture store again. With a little more practice, I believe I can make the same type of tables in the store for a fraction of the price.
Now I’ve completed this goal, I’ve opened Pandora’s Box for my wife. She loves her dining table and now she’s sending me my next projects (yes with an “s”).
GB

Happy Mother’s Day – GrowingUpKorean

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! Thank you for continuous life lessons, whether we want them or not.

Growing up, I remember my mom teaching me the art of having a green thumb (I still have a brown thumb). She taught me how to cut grass, use the weed eater, dig up weeds, plant bushes, and other fun stuff. When cutting the grass, we didn’t have trash pick up, so we would have to either burn the grass clippings or take it to the county dump.

So this particular Saturday, I was instructed to burn it. If you live in Fayetteville before they annexed the westside, then you had to call “Talking Fingers” (yall remember Talking Fingers?) for the burn code. The burn code was a number the fire department gave if the weather was good for fire burning or not. The lower the number on a scale of 1-20, the better it was to burn. Less wind, not too dry, etc.So on this day, the number was 14, which meant it probably wasn’t the best idea to burn grass. But my momma told me to burn the grass so I burnt the grass.

After burning the hill of grass, I went inside and fell asleep. I don’t remember how long I was sleep, but my sister woke me up and said “Joe, the fire started back.”I popped up to 4 out of 5 of my neighbors’ backyards on fire. I’m talking Smokey The Bear has failed in preventing the fire.

I had no idea what to do. I ran over to one neighbor’s house and used their hose to spray their back yard and their neighbor’s. The neighbor next to that house said “Let it burn my yard so I dont have to cut it”.

Cool.

So I run to the last house’ backyard but they didn’t have a hose. I run to their front door banging on the door, but no one came to answer. Their dogs have already jumped the fence and running around. The fire is 5 feet away from their house. I run back to the first house and I feel the “stare”. – All kids know their parents stare when they are doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing – I look back to my backyard and my momma is standing mid way in the yard with her hands on her hips. I froze.

All my mother says is “Finish it, dummy!”

Now I’m running and crying at the same time. I trying to unhook the hose but all I can think about is how much trouble I’m in.

Once I get the hose connected to house, I get the fire out. As soon as I get back in my yard, I hear firetrucks sirens. I panic. My mother is yelling at me and tells me to go in the house. Man, I just knew I was in big trouble.

The firetrucks pull up to my neighbors’ house and make sure the fire is out. My momma is in the backyard, watching. I’m in the house looking out the window, watching. The firemen come talk to my mom for a few minutes and they leave. My momma comes in the house and I immediately start to tell her my side of the story.

“SHUT UP!” my momma said.

I did. I went to my room unsure of my future… but I did get a whoopin and I’m here today so… My momma never told me what the conversation was between her and the firemen. I assume she told them we would make a donation for years, because for the next 3 years, we went to the fire station to take family pictures…

Momma, I appreciate all the lessons you taught me. Now as a parent, I understand the trials and tribulations that parenthood brings and I did not make it better when I was a child.

Thank you for not killing me, but raised me the best of your abilities, and I think you did a helluva job.

Love you momma!

GB

An open letter to my wife on her birthday

Happy Birthday Babe!

Today is your day! 30something years young and somehow, you getting finer everyday. And to think, the last 15 birthdays (and the days in between), you’ve allowed me to be by your side and I’ve loved every second of it. I love how you know every lyric to every 80’s and 90’s song (every genre at that). I love how you fall sleep on almost every movie you want to watch. I love how hard you work, not only at your job, but at home making sure Kodi and I are straight. I love how you love to give to those in need. I love how we can look at each other and bust out laughing because we’re thinking of the same thing (You gonna open my chair). I love how we are each other’s comic relief and able to laugh with each other and not at each other. I love how great of a mother you’ve become. And even though Kodi looks like me a little bit, she is a lot like you in the way she cares for others. Most of all, I love how I get to stand back as say, “That’s my wife” and I’m lucky to be able to say that.

Thank you for being my heaven on earth. Thank you for supporting me and sharing this thing called life with me. Thank you for your kisses every morning before you leave for work and when I get home. Thank you for simply being you.

I pray this birthday, and all the years ahead of us, is filled with love, laughter, and joy. I love you babe

GB

Adulting… yay…

I took a little break to get my mindset right for my new job. Being in a new environment takes some getting use to. I’m still learning names and faces, terminology and acronyms (military loves some acronyms), and where to go and not to go. So while soaking that in, throw in a travel for training, travel for leisure, and fighting all this pollen. One of my extracurricular activities had to take a seat for a bit. Sometimes taking a break from what you want to do in order to do what you have to do is part of the definition to the word “adulting”.

Now that I’m grown, I understand why my momma was tired when she got home. As a hard headed boy, I wasn’t helping; I was just adding fuel to her tired fire. (Probably why I got whoopin’s alot. Thanks Ma!)

As an adult, trying to balance what life throws at you is already tough enough; trying to add the things you want makes it tougher. Between work, work related events outside of work, married life, social life (what’s left of it), exercising (lol), house cleaning, parenthood, your child’s social life, outside the house work, laundry (ugh), folding laundry (more ugh), putting laundry where it goes… yea right, it stays where I folded it. Oh, can’t forget to eating healthy, drink enough liquor water, did I mention 8 hours of sleep…blah, blah, blah…. that list could go on forever and sometimes you tell yourself, “There’s not enough time in the day.” And sometimes there ain’t… (yep… ain’t)….

But that’s life… As we grow older, our responsibilities change. And as our responsibilities change, things that once were important now take a back seat until we find that balance.

So if you think you’re struggling with life’s lemon, don’t fret. You are doing just fine. (Say it again for the people in the back)

You are doing just fine.

We are all in this together. If you need help, ask. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. If you need to skip that after work function, do it. If you don’t want to put that folded laundry in the drawer tonight… no, go put it up 不不不

Take care of yourself first is what today’s rant was about. Adulting is hard, but you have everything you need to make it easy!

GB

GrowingUpKorean: The time I lost a toenail…

Have I ever told yall about the time I lost my big toe nail?

Well…

I was about 10/11 years old and it was the beginning of the school year. My friends and I had just hopped off the bus and we all decided to meet up at my house then ride bikes around the house. So as everyone was showing up, I was scrambling looking for my outside shoes. (Yall know about outside shoes) I had looked all around the house, front yard, back yard, man those shoes were nowhere to be found. I decided to put my flip flops on. (Here we go) So we’re riding around the neighborhood and get back round to my house. I see my mom’s car is parked in the carport so I was going to ask her where my outside shoes were. As I went to use my break, my hand slipped off the handlebar. In my mind, I was like “Just stop the bike with your foot”. Myself replied back “Cool.”

I put my foot down, toe first, to stop my bike, forgetting I had on flip flops and there went my toenail. (You know how you do something stupid and as soon as you do it, you’re just like “WTF”) Anyways, my momma comes out the house, angry. She just got home from work and now she had to deal with my dumb self.

Now most parents would look at a toe with no toenail, covered in blood and dirt, and say let’s go to the hospital. Not my momma. My mother got her blue tin can full on needles and thread and tied thread around my big toe, I guess to stop the bleeding. My mother proceeded to clean my toe with a cotton ball drenched rubbing alcohol, you know because alcohol doesn’t hurt. Then she put folded up napkins on my toe and taped it with black electrical tape (just in case I was too close to a socket). To make it worse, she whooped me for not wearing my outside shoes. When I told her I couldn’t find them, she said “They’re in the washing machine.” I asked how I was supposed to know that, her reply was “I don’t care!”

Yall, don’t let your kids go outside without proper outside shoes…

GB

Time and Change…

Today, I started a new job. It was like going to a new school in a new state (military kids know how that goes) and you have to do that people surveillance to see who is going to be cool or not. Everything went as well for a first day, but it still felt weird being the “new guy”.

I was at my last job for almost a decade and to toot my own horn, I was great at my job. I was the “go to guy”. But sometimes, when you’re great at your job, you get to do other people’s job as well (happens more often than normal), that eventually takes a toll on you, mentally and physically. Mental fatigue has a domino effect, and once I realized that I had fallen in that pit, I made a decision to take care of myself. Taking care of myself also meant taking care of my family. If I’m not there for them because I put my “job” first, then, in my opinion, I’ve failed as a father. I can get another job, but I don’t have another chance at life. Today was a reminder of that.

I always tell people, there are 2 things in the world that are constant: time and change. Time will wait for no one and a change is going to come, even if it’s not asked for. Don’t wait until it’s too late to make that move; don’t wait for such and such to do this and that. Make your moves, start a business, aggressively search for that new job and apply (the worst they can say is no), do something.

If you believe its time for a change, then makes moves. Let’s genuinely support and clap for one another, you’ll be amazed at the things that can happen.

Good night yall!

GB

Daddy in the Kitchen

Growing up, I was never “taught” how to cook. I just kinda figured it out. The first time I cooked food without help, I burnt it, messed up my momma’s favorite pot, smoke alarm going off… Yeah, it was bad.

Over the years though, I’ve learn how to cook, not only in the kitchen, but on the grill as well. I’m no sous chef, but I dibble and dabble every now and then.

A few of the past times I’ve been in the kitchen, I’ve let mini me “cook”. She has her age safe cooking utensils and I help her with the adult items, but I think her learning to cook now can help her in many ways later in life.

Here are a few things mini me experienced while cooking:

  1. Cooking for herself allows her confidence to increase. She can say “I made this”
  2. We get to bond together and share thoughts and ideas about what we’re making.
  3. She learns about fractions and measurements in a fun way.
  4. She also learns how to read recipes and how they give step by step instructions so your food will turn out right.
  5. Cooking is a life skill everyone should have. Starting earlier than later will help prevent burnt spaghetti’os

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

GB