Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grown-Up Stuff

It's true... life changes after having a baby. And beautifully so! I wouldn't change a thing about the last 20 months of my life! From the minute I saw that sweet, sad, little face... heard his quiet, whimper of a cry, and held that teeny-tiny bundle... life has been... rich.

I am richly blessed with Ethan... and of course... my "Baby Daddy" :)

However! The labor didn't end in the delivery room. That was just the beginning of my... our... labor or love.

I've experienced sleepless nights (sometimes consecutively...), diaper blow-outs, hours waiting at the doctor's office, hours giving breathing treatments, nights in the hospital holding a sick, sad baby... and sometimes - just sometimes - it's nice to revisit life before "...and baby make three"

And this, my friends, is that grown-up stuff we like to savor when we can:

Celebrations with Friends!

Binh & Lexie got married in San Francisco on September 17th. Mark had the honor of being a groomsman and I had the honor of being a... guest! Really, it was a true pleasure! (All I have to do is show up? What?? Oh how wonderfully foreign it was!)
Warning: my pictures a really lame... no seriously... almost too ashamed to post them because their wedding was phenomenal... I said I am almost ashamed ;)

Mr. & Mrs. @ City Hall!

Ashley & Austin... future parents!

Posing with the celebrities of the night...

"Single Couple" are we... :)

Handsome Man!

Black Tie, Pink Dress.

Before leaving the city, Mark and I had lunch @ the Cheesecake Factory
 (since we couldn't decide what we wanted to eat and they have a small encyclopedia for a menu...)

Something else we have been fortunate to do twice now since E was born is get away, just the two of us, somewhere tropical and relaxing.

This year we totally lucked out!
Living Social had a fantastic deal that featured a 4 night stay @ Villa La Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta.
Where is that anyway?
Just north of Puerto Vallarta.
Why go there?
Because the package included unlimited massages!!
It's true... I would go just about anywhere for 5 days of unlimited massages...
We weren't expecting much, but the room, service, food, and beach were also
Ahhhhh-mazing! :)
Immediately upon arriving we regretted not staying for a full week.

Our days went a little something like this:
Wake up. Hour Massage @ 10am.
Gourmet breakfast.
Work on my tan (Mark under umbrella).
Order Tropical Drink Poolside.
Lunch with a tropical drink Poolside.
Back to the spa for 5pm massage.
Back to the room to shower and dress up.
Gourmet Dinner.
Long conversation, uninterrupted by anyone but the waiter.
Back to the room.
Rinse & Repeat!

This by far the best all inclusive resort we've ever stayed at!
It helps that we were one of maybe 5 other couples at the resort so the staff was dying to serve us out of boredom...

I honestly think we got such a killer deal because the resort is only 3 years old.
I hesitate to tell anyone about it because I don't want the prices to go up... but at the same time, I would like to go back one day (and for them to still be in business in order to do so) so... book a room, folks!

We didn't do any tours and opted to be crazy lazy!
This means less pictures than a usual vacation... instead, we each read a book... yes, and entire book, cover to cover.
Mark read Another Man's Battle, a true story about a Machine Gun Preacher (at least, that's what the Movie - coming out soon - is calling him) who is saving children in Sudan today by protecting orphans/orphanages and living out God's calling as a true Kingdom Worker.
I read Bringing Up Boys, by Dr. Dobson, did some Bible Studying, and started reading Living the Christian Year, which I am seriously pumped about! Giddy, really :) It's a super comprehensive book about why exactly we celebrate the holidays and what that really means? When does the Christmas Season actually start and how do we worship/live out the year as a Christian and not as the world does? The world got it from somewhere... oh, that's right. Christ.

Christian, Christ, Christmas...
How easily it all gets pushed aside.
Not in our home :)

*Back from my tangent!*
It was priceless to relax with Mark (well, not really, but you know what I mean!), talk all we wanted, sit next to each other in silence reading, swim together and give updates on what we were learning in our books...
I boast in the Lord's blessing because I know in allowing us this time, He will do great things with the knowledge we have gained.
Also, I know that in taking time to focus on us - our marriage - we are only strengthening the foundation of our family and that is priceless.

Here are some pics of our Grown-up Time for Two:

First drinks... Strawberry & Mango Margaritas

The Mango Margarita was so good I ordered one everyday.
Calories don't count on vacation! ;)

First dinner

Foot long Creme Brulee

Another Date Night with the Same Handsome Man!
What are the odds?!
Great!... when you're married ;)

Good night kiss

 Our room had 2 doors... one was a gate

We were given a one bedroom suite. I'm not sure why.... but we didn't complain!
I'm guessing they wanted us to be happy customers so we'd come back... and like I said, we were probably one of a hand full of couples there.

Breakfast Sweets (all danishes made from scratch! Choc. croissants were heavenly)

As Mark put it, "The french toast tastes like a churro!"
Yes. Yes it does.

We've been to some all-inclusives before in the Caribbean and Mexico but... I must have told Chef Eugene (yup, he came out to ask how our food was) at least 3x that my brother, Chef Ryan, should fly out here, do an internship, fly back home and open a restaurant.
It was that good!

Mexican Hot Chocolate & Mimosas
(Christina's Family still makes the best MHC)

Daily Devotionals poolside

Mark soakin' up the sun

I said to Mark, "I feel like I'm taking property pictures for their website... you know, the pictures of the resort with no guests on site..."

Pretty much!


As lazy as we were, we did spend a few afternoons swimming in the ocean.
Once we went boogie boarding and had a blast!
That's about as exciting as it was!
(thankfully not a stingray in sight)

I {heart} vacations.

I like writing in the sand... but it was tricky here!
The water kept washing up...

Nuevo Vallarta

Allie Mark
7 Years

They had an infinity jacuzzi with the most amazing sunset views

Spa Time!

I need to put this picture by my bed the next time we have a newborn in our house with the caption, "Hope"

As a new Mommy I can remember thinking, "Will I ever sleep again? I can't even remember what it feels like to be rested. Come to think of it... I can't remember much of anything these days!"
Days and nights were a blur....

The down pour shower!
(as we called it)


Can't imagine making memories with anyone else!

Last Date night... we beat the sunset!
Also, we found out most people ate around this time too :)

Bubble Bath & Turn Down
This place really knows how to make a couple happy!

Room Service and a Movie.
Don't be fooled... Mark ate all 3 of these!

So... there you have it. Some "Grown-up Stuff".

As amazing as it is to get away... alone... and as much as we look forward to it... the strangest thing happens when we do. It doesn't matter if it's a vacation, date night, or even when we get ready for bed, one of us always starts talking about our little man, Ethan Mark. Whether it's because we're playing videos I captured on my iphone or reminising about something he did or said... he's always in our hearts wherever we go.

I wonder if this - in any way - parallels with the empty nest syndrome.
Can anyone speak to this?

I notice that ever since I left the house, my mom looks for ways to see me...
(she really is an amazing Mama)
My Dad is always so happpy to spend time together with us too and I can tell his heart is full when he is with family... but something about my mom... she is still very much connected and even more so now that I have Ethan.

For better or worse, I am connected to Ethan in the same way.

It's bittersweet coming home from a vacation, but on the last day I was there... although I would have stayed longer in a heartbeat!... I remembered thinking that it would be torture staying in "paradise" the rest of my life without my baby.

And I think that's how you know - with certainty - that you wouldn't change your life for anything if it means leaving your precious loved ones behind.