New Jersey


Steve and I took a 3 day trip to New Jersey for his best friend’s wedding (Bryan). We were so grateful to my sister and her family for keeping our kiddos while we were gone. We flew out Friday morning, arriving at the JFK airport around 5 pm. We rented a car and were a bit nervous about driving from New York to New Jersey at rush hour. Lucky for us, it was a holiday weekend. Most everyone seemed to be traveling north. We only had to turn around twice, and mainly right outside of the airport.


Steve told me about the Verrazzano Bridge and I really wanted to take a picture of it…but there were signs everywhere saying cameras were not allowed. Bummer. Steve said it’s probably because tourists would take pictures and cause an accident. With that traffic I could understand why! Luckily we made it to New Jersey with no problems and in decent time too.




I took this picture for Spencer…it’s only SOME of the train yard that I could get in the frame


And look what they have…2 highways…one for long distances, the other for local exits. Brilliant!


Steve took me to the best pizza place ever! Villa Pizza baby. He used to eat there often when he was working at a computer store (Bryan was his co-worker). Oh, and don’t forget…you have to fold your pizza. Don’t ask…just do it. πŸ™‚ The slices were huge and the garlic knots were the best! I want to steal the recipe! For both! Yum Yum YUMMY!



We checked into our hotel, went to sleep on Mountain Time…and the next morning the cleaning woman woke us up by knocking on our door after 10 AM. We got up, got showered and ready and went driving. Steve showed me lots of places where he spent time as a kid/teenager. I love the trees lining the roads, the view of the ocean (and New York) from Sandy Hook, and all the colonial style homes out there. They have MY wrap around porches!!!!




Does this look funny to anyone else?


Yeah…that’s right…if you want to do a U Turn or TURN LEFT, you take a “Jug Handle” – let me explain…instead of “Suicide Lanes” you have to go on a Jug Handle (from the right lane) so it can change your direction so you’re going straight where you would have turned left…if it was legal. This may or may not help….


These cars went off on the right and then are looping around to the left to the light (ahead of us) so they can go left. Confused? Hope not!

Look how gorgeous it is with trees EVERYWHERE! The streets are lined in them. It’s beautiful! We need more trees in Utah. Lots more.



We drove to his High School (Raritan Rockets) and saw his old home, his cousins’ home and a few others.



He took me to aΒ  look out point (don’t remember the name) that we also visited after we got married (6 years ago).





Can you see why it’s called Sandy Hook?


There was something new there….a monument. Once I realized what it was, I had tears brought to my eyes as I touched a piece of one of the Twin Towers that were attacked on 9/11.Β  Below the eagle (who had the piece of the building clutched in its claws) were the names of those who died from Monmouth County grouped by cities. It was a powerful feeling, especially looking at the New York skyline and realizing where those buildings stood. Wow.



We found the church building we THOUGHT was the church where Bryan and Melissa were going to be married that afternoon, but the address on Google Maps lead us elsewhere. We went back to the hotel, got ready and headed back to the church. We were so glad to see Bryan’s parents – we knew we were in the right place. I wish I would have taken my camera it to get pictures (Lucky for me I stole some pictures off of Bryan’s sister’s Facebook page!) of how beautiful Melissa looked, and how happy Bryan was to see her walk down the aisle. I started crying when I turned and looked at Bryan when Melissa came down the aisle. He was so happy and you could see how much he loves her.




She’s trying to dry his eyes by blowing in his face. LOL


I’m so glad that Bryan’s family are the great people that they are. When we were leaving the church, Bryan’s mom told us that this special day was even more special because we came and how much it meant to them that we were there for Bryan’s big day. They also invited us to their daughter’s house while we waited for the reception. It was fun talking to everyone there and boy did I feel like the odd ball out without a great accent!

The reception was a lot of fun. Different than any I’d ever been to. We arrive at the reception hall, and into the cocktail room. For those of you who know me, you know we don’t drink and it was quite humorous to see us go to the open bar and ask “do you have any soda?” and then say “Wow! That’s pretty neat!” to the soda dispenser that has 12 or so different kinds using one handle! The bartender even asked, “You’re not from around here are you?” LOL

After light hors d’oeuvres (which I thought was the actual ‘meal’) we were sent to the reception room. We were seated next to some of Bryan’s co-workers and they were some of the nicest people ever! We found out so much about them and what they do, and best of all, the co-worker and I snuck up to the chocolate fountain right when they were done getting it started and before they announced that it was ready. And he let me go first! YUM! The DJ was pretty good, although he was so loud that we didn’t understand half of what he was saying. There was tons of dancing, the garter, the bouquet, the cutting of the cake and the thing I loved most (****for those of you who are getting married soon or know someone who is…this is a great suggestion that I wish I would have done at our reception!***) was that the DJ had all married couples come dance. Then he started having couples sit down “Any couple married less than 1 year (minus the bride and groom), sit down”Β Β  “5 years”Β Β  “10 years”Β  “20 years”Β  etc until they found the couple married the longest. This couple was about to celebrate their 60th (I think). The bride and groom took a picture with this couple so that they could have an example to strive for in their marriage. I thought that was so neat!


Oh…I forgot…before the chocolate fountain came dinner. Yum-diddly-um. Filet Minon. Mmmm Mmmm Good. πŸ™‚ And another open bar….with soda! πŸ™‚ The reception started at 6 and we didn’t leave until 11:30. It was quite a night and the bride and groom were fabulous.Β  We knew we wouldn’t be able to spend much time with Bryan and Melissa but we were so glad to be there and share in their special day.


On Sunday we got up, got ready and packed and headed to Steve’s old ward. We walked in and a few people did a double take when they saw Steve. One man even said, “Hi. Are you new here?” and the guy next to him said “You really don’t recognize him?” Then it hit him. LOL We sat towards the back and Grandma Peggy walked in, saw us, gave a big smile and sat next to us. Grandpa George walked right past and sat by himself. After a minute he started looking around trying to find Peggy until he saw us! πŸ™‚ (PS – these are not Steve’s real grandparents, but they’re “adopted” grandparent….friends with Alec and Pat and they are just like family to us all). It was fast and testimony meeting at church and George kept telling me to get up there. I told him to since it was his ward, not mine. He said “So if I go up, you will too?” “Sure!”

So we sauntered up to the front, and George went before me. He said how glad he was to see teenagers grow up, go on missions, come home and start a family and how true the Gospel is. Then he gave me my own personal introduction. “And now we’ll here from Sister Emily Shaw” LOL What a hoot! I bore my testimony about how grateful I was for Temple marriages. I am so glad to know that once Steve or I die, we will still be together after this life and that our families are sealed to us.

After sacrament meeting we talked in the hallway with those who knew Steve and his family, said our farewells, and changed into jeans in the bathrooms. πŸ™‚ We were going to eat at a place called Friendlies (we typically don’t go shopping or eat out on Sundays since it’s the Sabbath day but we kind of had to since we were traveling). I BEGGED Steve to take me back to Villa Pizza. And he laughed and said OK. πŸ™‚ I am hooked! Little Ceasars is so Blah compared to Villa Pizza! Like really BLAH.

I don’t know why…but this made me laugh. We call them Speed BUMPS. LOL (Click on the picture to see it larger)


We made our way back to New York and took a few too many wrong turns. I think we might have added on an extra 30-45 minutes driving time. Luckily we left early enough! This time (coming from the Jersey side) the Verrazzano Bridge did not say that cameras were prohibited! So I took out the camera and started taking pictures. It was great.



The barges out at sea were so big, and there were so many big cities in the distance, I’m not sure which was which….Brooklyn, NYC, or what?! Then I saw these great signs. I love them!



We made it to the car rental place and inside the airport with plenty of time before our flight. Check in and security were not too bad, especially since there was an Italian in front of us and we started conversation with him. Steve got to practice his Italian and did really well but the noise in that place had him asking for the guy to repeat himself. I caught a word every once inΒ  a while that I understood but it was so fun listening to them talk back and forth.

We walked around the airport a lot…looking for things for the kids, finding a place to plug in our laptops (and Steve take a nap) and then got some dinner. Look what they have at the airport! (From different stores too)


We were ready to board our plane when we realized where we were headed was DOOR 12 at GATE #?….not GATE 12 where we were supposed to be. We had to book it across the terminals to get to our plane. Whew! That would have been bad!

I made Steve take a few pictures with me….

Pretending he was asleep


Trying not to smile


And finally a smile…although I hate the angles of me. ICK.


My sister came and picked us up at the airport and was sweet enough to drive home (driving our van). She had our kids in their seats asleep so all we had to do was drive her home then head home ourselves. The next morning we told the kids how much we missed them. Want to know what they said?

“Can we go back to Netty’s?”

WHAT? πŸ™‚ LOL Guess they didn’t miss us, huh? Thanks again Netty and family! You’re the best!