Our Trip to Paradise

Tonight, Beau and I are home from our trip to Mexico, a six-day adventure to celebrate five years of marriage and sneak in some quiet relaxation after a stressful, complicated semester. After a day of flying, a day of trying to re-assimilate into the world of instant access and social media after being away for nearly a week, and a long awaited night of reuniting with our little one, I am exhausted. We had a wonderful week away, rejuvenated by the white-sand beaches, the refreshing waters and beverages, and the careful attention of the staff at Secrets Silversands in the Riviera Maya, and are happy to be back to Iowa, back to our garden, and neighborhood, and water, and especially back to our Cruz.

It sounds like Cruz had his fair share of fun while we were gone as well, spending half the time with Beau’s family and half the time with mine. There’s no doubt he was given lots of love and ample attention –- he visited the spillway at Beed’s Lake, played on the beach at Gabe and Gina’s, went to the pool with Grandma Mary, and sang hymns in church with Mom and Dad on Sunday. He, too, worked on his own tan in his very own baby pool at Mom’s, and spent the day playing outside and eating milk and cookies with his Great Grandma and Grandpa Hoodjer. While I’d sure love to know what goes through his little mind while his mommy and daddy were away, it doesn’t seem to matter after that first reunion – scooping him up in our arms, kissing those cheeks, and smiling big as we ask him to recount his adventures and tell him of ours.  We are so thankful that our family is close and able to take over every now and then, and I hope Cruz grows up with as fond of memories as I have of special days and nights spent with Grandma and Grandpa...

It’s crazy that there are places like this that exist in our world. Little pockets of paradise, nestled deep within another world, away from technology, and busy, and all that constitutes the motions of every day life. A cozy retreat of California King beds, dusted with rose petals each and every night, drinks and al a carte delicacies at your fingertips 24/7, and the refreshing waters of the pools, the Jacuzzis, and of course, that amazing Gulf. Everything is pure perfection, from the infinity pool that stretches your view as far as the eye can see, to the chenille napkins that get draped on your lap at each and every meal, and even the sea shells drawn in the sand of the ash tray dispensers.   It's mind boggling the thought that goes into the aesthetics of a place like this...

Our life on the Riviera Maya was simple. We woke up early each morning, around 7:00 (we can't sleep in anymore), threw on our swimsuits, and headed to breakfast. We ate, drank fresh orange juice, and planned our day’s events –-- beach or pool? Mai Tais or Pina Coladas? Seafood or Mexican? Then, we spent the day lounging by the water, and every half hour or so, in the water, wading on floaties, ordering mojitos from the swim-up bar, reading our books, or making small talk with the amazing staff and other happy travelers. After a day in the sun, we’d retreat to our room, order some room service, get dolled up, and head down to the lobby for some pre-dinner drinks, dinner, and late night walks along the beach, games of pool, or the resort’s nightly entertainment.  It's the good life, and although it's impossible to replicate in this 'real world' back home, I wish we could learn to cultivate more of the laid-back atmosphere.

Ten of My Twenty Favorite Memories From Our Week in Paradise...

1. Four days of sun, pool, swim-up bar, and books.  We'd read for awhile, take breaks and talk, jump in the pool, and start all over again.

2. The way my feet felt in that refreshing salt water pool. After dinner at night, we’d often take a walk through the resort, sans shoes, and dip our feet into the pools. Even at 9:00 at night, the temps were in the eighties and the pools felt amazing!

3. An excuse to wear long maxi dresses and fun, exotic prints.  Every night, I loved getting ready and walking out of our room together, sun-kissed and refreshed, feeling like a million bucks.

4. Just how crisp your skin feels after a day in the Mexico sun.  Holy, aloe vera!

5. Our first night in Mexico – we wasted no time getting reacquainted with the all-inclusive amenities: a four course meal at the seaside seafood restaurant, two shots of tequila, a dip in the jacuzzi, and room service before bed! For getting to Cancun at 9:30 at night, we sure made up for it! 

6. The yummy coconut ice cream served at lunchtime. Holy cow did that ever hit the spot!

7.  How romantic it is - the peaceful feeling that illuminated over this resort every night was spell-binding.  The dark wicker bed chairs stuffed with cream colored pillows surrounding the bar, the hammocks built for two, and the walnut steps leading down to the beach gave everything such a private, romantic feeling.  The resort was full of people, but at times, we felt like to the only two people there.  It's impossible to not feel all kinds of love at a place like this.

8.  A pretty sunrise and beautiful morning on the beach.  We got up early one morning, a little before six, walked the beach, and chased the sunrise.  We had the beach to ourselves, watched the sun come up, and listened to the waves crash.

9. Standing in the ocean – the hundreds of little fish brushing up against your legs, the vast backdrop of crashing waves and infinite blue, the resident pelican that dove headfirst in the water just feet away from us, and the two little sharks, taking an afternoon swim just in front of us.

10.  The lovely, lovely people.  Everyone is so sweet, so accommodating, so helpful.  It's obvious that their one and only mission is to make you feel special, to do all they can to make your time as special, as memorable, and as luxurious as possible.  From the napkin in your lap, to the Spanish lesson before heading into town, and the warmness in their face when you ask them about their family at home, you can't help but fall in love with them.

We had a week to remember in paradise, and I smile when I think of all the moments I get to tuck away from this trip. Now, I feel ready and excited to get on with our summer at home.

Viva la Mexico!