Thursday, June 30, 2011

Memorial Weekend 2011

I've waited a while to post about Memorial Weekend, only because I didn't want to post without any photos!!  I used Aunt Betsy's camera and have been anxiously waiting to get my hands on those pictures!  ( and still waiting )

Well the weekend really started a year ago when the "Hicks' Annual Memorial Weekend Campout" all began . . .  We all had SO MUCH FUN at Devil's Den that we decided to keep it going!!  This years destination was decided when mom and Darrell decided to get hitched the same weekend!! LOL  5 weeks notice really limited our availability options when it came to campsites ( & cabins for those too city-fied to camp HA! ), a pavilion to hold 100 guests, and a beautiful location to say their "I Dos" during a holiday weekend.  So Mt. Nebo it was!!  And we couldn't have been happier.  The high elevation allowed for an amazing cool breeze, the small campground gave privacy and plenty of space, and the surrounding views were just breath taking!!  We planted ourselves across from the playground which made the little ones ( and big ones ) very happy.  We had plenty of space between 3 sites and a large shaded area behind us to play bocce ball and golf, plus it was just steps to the bath house, pool, and tennis courts.  Hunter could live his entire life outdoors so to him, this is heaven and Andrew takes care of most of the cooking and "doings" around camp . . . so camping to me is just so RELAXING!!  I love hanging around camp just visiting and laughing, playing games, hiking, fishing, and of course snacking on all those deliciously unhealthy camping treats!!  But probably the BEST part - lounging around the campfire with the stars shining brightly overhead . . .  And being with the Hicks family makes this even more special because we have many talented musicians that strum & sing beautifully together ( plus a few that didn't get that gene but just enjoy getting in on the fun! LOL )

This year was even more special because mom and Darrell decided to get married that Sunday morning!!  So everyone in the Hicks family tried to come plus Darrell's 2 sons and a few extras.

There was a lot of friendly competition on the tennis courts, playing bocce ball, bing-bag toss, and horse shoes.  We also enjoyed playing in the (freezing cold) swimming pool! Hunter LOVED the waterslide and, with chattering teeth and blue lips, kept begging for "un mor!)

Wedding Day!!

We woke up early for a morning walk and then it was off to the community bath house!  We broke down camp and then sat around the camp fire and put our make up on, momma and Abby even ironed their wedding attire on a rock . . . it was very nature-y and pretty comical.  We finished getting ready in the boys' cabin and then it was off to the ceremony.  
Momma was absolutely gorgeous, she just radiated joy and happiness.  And we are all so happy for her . . . although it is going to take some effort from me to "share" her!  And we are sure going to miss her living just a couple blocks away!
The ceremony and setting were PERFECT!  God blessed us with a beautiful sun shiny morning, a gentle breeze, and fantastic views off the mountain.  Our dear family friend, Bob Fant, preformed the ceremony which was very short and sweet (I think 11 minutes start to finish!)  Mom didn't want anything formal or too traditional so there was no "walking down the aisle" or even any music; so friends and family just gathered around them and they exchanged their vows, simply and beautifully.  Then it was up to the pavilion for BBQ and Chocolate Sheet Cake (mom's favorite home-made by several friends!)  There were no decorations or flowers (besides her bouquet - which I insisted she carry to make her a little more bridal!) but honestly, none were needed!  The room glowed from sunshine streaming through the open barn-door style windows and was overflowing with love & laughter.  It was wonderful to visit with so many loved ones and such a blessing to have so many come to celebrate and share this special time with us.
After a quick clean-up with the help of several guests, the newly weds were off to Little Rock and then to Dreams Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico.  Colt and Andrew spent the rest of the day golfing while Me, Hunter, and Abby played at the pool before heading back home to NWA.  Overall the day was glorious and as momma said, "It was just perfect, better than even expected . . ." ( minus the horrific mommy moment I had with Hunter asleep in a hot car, Thank you Jesus for watching over us! )  

Memorial Day!! 
Was spent as a three-some . . . After Andrew made us a nice breakfast of French Toast, we spent the morning walking through Fayetteville's magnificent Botanical Gardens; keeping the tradition going from last year.  While 'Momma and Da' enjoyed the beautiful plants and flowers, Hunter loved the 'choo-choo and kickens'!  Then it was off to one of our summer favorites - Tropical Smoothie - Yummy!!  A full belly and a couple hours splashing in the pool brought on a nice long nap for Hunter, that gave mommy some much needed quiet time and daddy a few hours to play!  This weekend was a terrific start to hopefully an absolutely amazing summer!!

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth... 
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." 
Genesis 1:1, 31

Monday, June 20, 2011

Living Excellent at the Excellence!!

It only took us 5 years, but we FINALLY made our way back to Mexico for a much-needed getaway!!  After our honeymoon to Los Cabos, we promised we would return quickly . . . but Life and Hunter took over and it took us longer than planned.  I really had wanted to jet away sooner but it literally took 2 years for me to be able to leave my little man for more than 24 hours, which I had only done twice up until this point! (yes, another one of those things I had to eat my words over)  So, after a looooonng goodbye to my little man, me and my Big man stayed up all night packing and caught a 6 am flight that landed us in paradise just in time for lunch... We decided on the Excellence Riviera Cancun All-Inclusive Resort and could not have been more pleased!  It was EXACTLY what I was wanting and needing.  Pure relaxation, peacefulness, tranquility, and beauty . . . A place to recooperate ourselves and refresh the love in our marriage!! 
5 years of Love & Life to Celebrate!!
The room was gorgeous! Crisp, Clean, Fresh, and Free of a toddler!)
We were exhausted - We grabbed some lunch and CRASHED for about a 2 hour nap!  It was such a wonderful, indescribable, feeling of no responsibility and utter selfishness!!
Our Balcony faced the Miile Spa and Lazy River
Absolutely Beautiful
We headed straight for the beach and found a comfortable bed/lounger with palapa for that wonderful, afternoon ocean breeze. . . Ahhh

1st Evening Out
With nine restaurants to choose from, we finally decided on The Grill. It was a beautiful, giant thatch-roof palapa that served our exceptional steak dinner alfresco. It was so nice to share an actual conversation and meal with my husband without the buzzing energy of a 2 year old at the table. (Although I believe he came up in conversation many times!!) :)

 It was also Mother's Day... a little bitter sweet - but my thoughtful husband had (helped) Hunter give me a card before we left home and had another one for me before dinner - PLUS I was able to call home to hear that my little man was doing amazing and having so much fun with (and already wearing out) his Grandmommy!
I think he looks so handsome...
After dining under a moonlit sky at the AMAZING (and it truly was because I don't usually care for mexican food) Agave, an authentic mexican outdoor hacienda-style restaurant, We joined the crowd for "90's Night" at the disco!  We danced the "Macarena," sang "I Like Big Butts," and obviously shared alot of laughs and good memories . . .   Oh how we loved the 90s!
 Day 3:  Living the Good Life in the X-Lounge
This was the ultimate in comfort and relaxation!!  The plush lounging beds hung out over the beach, intensifying the magnificent beauty of God's creation
"You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." 
Nehemiah 9:6
 A REAL Mexican Fiesta on the Beach!!
 Day 4: 
"Hmmm . . . What do you wanna do today? Relax on the beach or by the pool?"
I wish all of life's decisions were this tough . . .
 We made this "our spot" for several days - It was the best of both worlds, the beach on one side with the pool on the other!!
 So we actually did DO a few other activities!!  We splashed our way through water aerobics everyday with our new friend Daniel (Oh My Gatos...) and we found our inner yogi early in the morning on the steps of the spa.  I let Andrew win a few times at shuffle board & bocce ball and even joined him in the gym for a crossfit workout & long tread around the lazy river!!
This day involved archery. Our team, The Mojito Bandits, came in 2nd place . . .
 Only because the team that came in 1st actually brought their OWN GEAR!! SERIOUSLY?? Lol
 We also joined in on a bike tour!!  This took a small amount of encouragement from my hubby, hehehe, but I was so happy I went!!  (Whoever came up with the saying, "It's just like riding a bike," clearly did not have me in mind! And I came home with bruises to prove it!!)
 We stopped at a cute little market and bought an extremely overpriced toy truck for Hunter and Christmas tree ornament to commemorate our travels - Andrew said we were doing our part to help the economy!  
 Andrew found a souvenir also . . . that we left there  :)
 My Sexy Havana Hubby
 Puerta Mujeres
 The Catch of the Day
 Turquoise Waters
After a fun filled day, we were really excited about dinner at Spice! (a hibachi style restaurant)  And we were not disappointed - it was Andrew's favorite of the week!
 Day 5
Mid-week the mommy in me resurfaced and I truly missed my Little Man, messy chaos and all!  But after a (couple) phone calls home and a few tears, I was reminded that we only had 3 days left until reality would come BOUNCING back and peacefulness would only exist during nap time; and then there is always the laundry!  :)
 On our way to the Lobster House we noticed our outfits matched the beautiful stain-glass ceiling
 Mille Spa in the evening glow
 Day 6
We treated ourselves to a trip to Mille!  We decided to make this our "excursion" and were so glad we didn't allow ourselves to miss out on this venture!!  

Our spa experience began with a 90 minute Temazcal treatment which started with an indigenous steam treatment in a beautifully aqua tiled cave. After becoming completely relaxed, we were escorted through a series of showers: a full body Sensations shower, a tropical rain shower, and shower that involved dumping a bucket of water over our heads. Next we were off to the water treatment pool where 2 swans and 2 waterfall high-pressure water hoses massaged our necks and backs (so powerful it even ripped out my ponytail holder). Then we were led through a hot river-stone pathway to a bubble massage bench that worked our abdomen and legs. A VERY HOT dry sauna awaited us next, followed by a unique snowball couples massage, and a dive into an ICE cold plunge pool and a warm fuzzy bath robe! We ended our truly wonderful adventure with a couples' massage. The whole experience left us feeling renewed, invigorated, and utterly relaxed!!
 This is Andrew relaxed :)
 To top the day off we ordered in room service!  A rose petal-filled bubble bath in front of the tv, comfy pjs, and cuddling in a super cozy bed completed an unbelievably incredible day!
 Day 7
We spent our last full day doing all of our favorites!! We ate our perfect breakfast; omelets, hash-browns, toast, watermelon, peanut butter and bananas!  We relaxed in our favorite spot! We did water aerobics and Andrew attempted wind surfing, we ate our best lunch and then had a 2nd (late) lunch that of course included guacamole & pico de gallo and that oh so yummy ice cream!!  We played a few games and took a nice long walk on the beach and soaked up as much paradise as we possibly could . . .
Day 8 - Time to Go Home!!
What an amazing vacation . . . Once again we are saying it won't be another 5 years till we visit again!  (Especially after we arrived home to 50 degree weather, rain and more rain...) Good thing Hunter was waiting for us or we might would have stayed!!

"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun."   Ecclesiastes 8:15