And here's the latest...-Wedding-
Our wedding was absolutely fabulous. Everything went off without a hitch. The place looked gorgeous, everyone was there, and things ran smoothly. I cried during our vows that we wrote but it was just because they were beautiful. We got a ton of compliments on the ceremony and how beautiful it was. Lots of people told us that they cried - even our caterer who was just there to get the event started with us. The reception was so pretty. Everyone said the food was delicious, even though we didn't get to eat a lot of it ourselves. We tried to get around to talking with everyone but as one of our friends pointed out, if we had spent only one minute with each guest it would have taken us over three hours to talk to all of them! The reception was only five hours so we did our best to talk to the closest family and friends and then met others on the dance floor. Sadly I know there were people I never saw. They all seemed to have a great time though and that's what we really wanted. By the end of the night we had to head back to our house, finish packing up some last minute stuff and head to the airport. It was a late night but worth every minute.
We flew out of Dulles at 8:45 Sunday morning. We were both so exhausted that we couldn't hold our eyes open but so uncomfortable on the plane that sleep was out of the question. It was a rough 4 hours. We landed in Aruba at 2:00 local time (1:00 EST) and it was raining, just like in D.C. when we had left. Fortunately the big difference was that it was 80 degrees in Aruba compared to D.C.'s 33. It was clear by the time we left the airport and our week in paradise had begun. We went to the beach every day and also spent some time at the hotel's pools and lazy river.
We didn't venture far from the resort except for a few activities we decided were musts. One evening we went into downtown Oranjestad (the capital) for some shopping only to find that stores close around 6pm. With that we were off to find our fondue restaurant where we planned to have dessert. After walking about 10 minutes through some back streets - not labeled, mind you - we found the place in what I would consider the semi-ghetto beside the police station. It looked like a gingerbread house. I took a picture of Josh standing beside it (it looked to small for him to fit in) and we went in. The place was totally empty. There wasn't even a person at the host/hostess station. Finally someone came from around a corner and asked us if we had a reservation, then assured us we "didn't really need one." Who knew? It was awkward but we ordered our dessert and enjoyed some chocolate fondue with the usuals- strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, cheesecake, brownies, and some others. When we left it was dark so we walked a little faster to get back to the main road and hopped the bus back to the resort.
Another night we took a sunset pirate ship cruise. It was basically a boat with an open bar. They took us to this cove where some people swung from a rope out into the water. It looked like fun but we hadn't brought towels or anything like that so we just watched. When people were finished with that we began sailing back to where we started from and watched the sun set the entire time. I took a million pictures.
On our last night we dressed up and went out to a fancy dinner at an Italian restaurant beside the lighthouse at the north point of the island. Our reservation was for 6:00 so we were guaranteed a fabulous view of the sunset from our corner table on the patio. It was super romantic. Everyone was getting up and taking pictures. I had to put my fork down because of where we were sitting, I would have been taking a bite of food in everyone's pictures. Just after the sun went down a huge storm cloud rolled over. We were moved up to the covered patio where we enjoyed probably the most delicious meal I've ever eaten. I had some huge tortelinis stuffed with 4 cheeses in a vodka sauce with baked chicken. Josh had chicken parmigiana. We both had a drink and dessert to follow, of course. Any restaurant where you can order a plate of strawberries and a chocolate cupcake filled with hot chocolate is a place for Josh and I. YUM.
Sunday morning we had to check out by 10:00. We were a little early so we just headed to the airport. Our flight out didn't leave until 4:00 but we had plenty of reading material so we figured we'd make ourselves comfortable. As the time got closer we heard that our plane was late because of a mechanical problem. Everyone loves to hear that. Turns out we didn't get off the ground until 8pm. Fortunately, we didn't have any connections, once we landed in D.C. we were getting in the car and going home. Although a place like Aruba is painful to leave, once we were home we were happy to be here.
We got home late on the 23rd, spent the 24th trying to recover and clean up the house a little. Tuesday we went to Josh's parents' for Christmas in the morning and then to my mom's in the afternoon. At her house we eat dinner when everyone gets there, and then open presents after that. We finished everything up around 10pm and loaded up the car. Ben and Jenna decided to come back to our house with us because the boys wanted to play Rock Band on Josh's XBox. We ended up going to bed at 3:45 am. Ben and Jenna spent all of Wednesday with us also. Our parents and other siblings came that evening to see us open our wedding gifts. After they all left Ben and Jenna hung around to play the Newlywed Game with us (lets, face it, they're practically married) and they ended up winning the rounds that we played. Hahaha. We also watched Superbad which I thought was pretty funny. Josh and I love Michael Cera from his Arrested Development days. So finally around 2am they decided to head home after being here for something like 28 hours.
Today has just been a struggle to get wedding and Christmas presents put away. I've washed more dishes than I ever care to for the rest of my life and I know there's more to go. Josh ran out to the store and I need to make a quick pie to take to my mom's tonight. We're exchanging presents with my step brothers and talking about weddings / wedding pictures. Oh what fun! Tomorrow should hopefully be a quiet day and then Sunday is my family's big Christmas party. Monday will be new year's eve and I think we're having some friends over. Tuesday will be my very sad last day of vacation before going back to work. I'm lucky that I'll only have 3 days before another week. That will hopefully make the transition smoother.
Alright, it's back to cleaning for me. I'm looking forward to more regular posts now that things have calmed down considerably!
Don't forget to check out our pictures - http://picasaweb.google.com/emilybeck07