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May 2007

Back from Mexico!

As if the fact that I posted earlier today didn't tell you that... lol.  But!  In response to Steph's demand for blogging with pictures, here's a little recap of my trip last week.

I flew down to meet my parents and my sister (Nicole) for a week on the Mayan Riviera.  This was my first time to the Cancun area and it was just gorgeous.  We stayed at a beautiful resort between Cancun and Playa del Carmen that had killer swimming pools and beaches.  Here's a pic of the beach at the resort:Blog1_mayan_palace_beach

We mostly took it easy during the week, but we did get out to see the sites, enjoy the weather and the views, and of course, to do some shopping :D  We followed our Cancun explorations with a trip to Senor Frog's.  It was a bit over the top for my parents, but the butt-cheek barstools were highly entertaining for Nicole and I.  Blog2_cancun_beachesBlog3_senor_frogs


Tuesday, we took the ferry over to Cozumel.  If I get down there again, I'll make sure to do some snorkling while I'm there.  We didn't spend enough time on this trip to do too much, though, which means I'll just have to go back, huh?  We did find a very delicious restaurant a ways off the beaten path that had some killer guacamole and tacos for solamente quatro pesos.  And, of course, we shopped.  Bargains to be had.  My mom has like a bargain radar or something.  I learned quite a bit about bargaining with the shopkeepers on this trip.

Wednesday we spent the day at Xcaret.  It's a place just past Playa del Carmen that's kind of like a Mayan Sea World.  They have snorkling, diving and a gorgeous beach along with ruins (it used to be the port city of Polé), animals, cultural exhibits and displays, a Mayan village, and a very cool evening show.  Nicole and I rented some snorkling gear and went snorkling in the underground river.  It wasn't as good as it would have been at Cozumel, but it was pretty cool to snorkel through Mayan ruins!  Here are Nicole and I after the snorkling.


Also, here are the beach at Xcaret, an up-close shot of the stands in the juego de pelota stadium there, and a shot from the espectacular that night.Blog5_xcaret_beachBlog6_xcaret_pelota_groundsBlog7_xcaret_evening_show


Thursday we mostly just hung out at the resort.  They have this HUGE series of swimming pools - supposedly the largest free-form pool in the world (or at least the country) and it was gorgeous.  Surrounded by palm trees and thatched cabanas, tropical drinks at the ready and the beach just down the path.

Friday, however, is what I was looking forward to the most.  Anyone who knows me knows my passion for old buildings; especially if they're historically significant.  I just think it's so cool to walk in the paths of historical figures and think about how the things that happened in those times affect our world today.  It's just cool.  So Friday we took a tour to the ruins.  We hooked up with an LDS tour company, and our tour guide's name was Lemuel.  He assured us, however, that he's reformed.  His nephew Nephi drove us for a while, and we met one of his brothers, Limhi and one of his sisters, Alma, towards the end of the tour.  Anyway, it was so cool to go to the ruins and learn about them from a Book of Mormon perspective.  It really gave a lot of insight into the symbolism that we saw in a lot of the buildings and carvings.

We started out with a trip out to Chichen Itza.  It was hot.  Very hot.  But so very cool.  I didn't realize how much is there... over 2000 buildings!  A lot is still buried in the jungle, but I saw enough ruins to satisfy even me!  The big pyramid, many other temples, their huge pelota stadium, the observatory and more.  There were little vendors everywhere - lining the paths or walking around with masks and carvings.  "just one dollar!"  Of course, when you find out what they were selling for $1, you realized it wasn't as good as it sounded... lol.  We did see some good deals, though.  I could spend a fortune on that kind of stuff!  But anyway, here are a few pics from Chichen Itza.Blog8_chichen_itza_family


Blog10_chichen_itza_columns We left Chichen Itza and went to a nearby hacienda (now a restaurant) for a little Mexican food.  Pork barbacoa, beans and rice, some stuff that looked like flan but tasted like french toast, and candied papaya (mmm...). 

After lunch we headed back on a long drive to Tulum.  To pass the time, Lemuel put on a movie in the van.  We were surprised to find it was a church movie (although maybe we should have expected it, as both families were LDS) and it was Sons of Provo.  I hadn't seen that one, and most of those types of church movies are painful for me to watch.  This one was pretty funny, however.  That might have been the long-boring-drive-in-the-hot-Mexican-Sun talking, however.

Finally, we got to Tulum.  South of Playa del Carmen and set up on a cliff side overlooking the sea.  Just gorgeous.  We went through looking at the temples and seeing the evidence of how amazing the Mayans were with math and astronomy.  Then we went up to the edge of the cliff for a stunning view. 


Anyway, that's about it!  We drove back to the resort and relaxed with books for the evening and then hopped on our planes home the next morning.  I think I'll have to go back again, though.  I definitely need to check out some more ruins, spend more time at the beach (with many more books and tropical drinks), do a little more snorkling, and of course, more shopping ;)

If you're interested, the rest of the pictures are here.

And, just a final note, here's what was waiting for me when I got home on Saturday night (names have been blurred to protect the innocent... lol) :D  Counting the days until the next adventure!


Wednesday Thoughts

It's snowing.  Ugh.  April 18th and it's snowing.  Maybe I should have checked my weather report before I left the house in capris and sandals with no coat expecting the weather to be similar to yesterday... lol.  Oh well.  At least I'll get a little extra exercise while sprinting to my car after work today :-P

"If I had everything would I still want to live?"  Some words of wisdom from Buckcherry for your pondering pleasure today.  Heard their new song again on the radio this morning.  Love it!  But that line really caught my attention.  Deep thoughts by Buckcherry.  Nice.


We won't discuss how long I've been attempting to finish the wedding album I've been working on for Rick and Erin, but the people who write those wedding gift ettiquete books would be vexed with me.  Yes, vexed.  BUT!  After finishing Mel's Paris album, I felt the desire to pull it out and finish it.  I've been working on this forever - started it when I lived at home.  Worked on it in my condo.  Worked on it at the convention in Paris.  Worked on it in corporate housing.  Now, it's finished.  Some of these pages are well traveled.  And I'm now officially sick of working with purple.  I like purple.  But look at the album and you'll understand.  LOL.  So anyway, here it is, in all its glory (scroll down past the layouts from Mel's album).

I also finally managed to scan a few other layouts I've worked on recently.  I've been playing with hybrid - doing part of the layout in photoshop and printing it out and adding to it.  Very fun - I'm totally still a beginner, but I'm learning a lot.  So here are a few more (and a little nostalgia as well :D).

Afternoon_on_the_wharf Screen_on_the_green

This last one is from Costa Rica.  I'm still not loving it so these pictures will probably reappear on another layout sometime in the future... lol.  But in the meantime, this is from the Tabacon hot springs at the base of the Arenal volcano.  It was seriously paradise.  Pictures don't come anywhere NEAR doing it justice.  (and Nicole is imitating the serenity pose on the front of the brochure.  It was seriously funny.)


Easter Weekend

I had visitors this weekend and I've finally taken some pictures! (lol, despite Dustin's assertions to the contrary, I don't QUITE take the most pictures of anyone in the world.  At least not most of the time;)  Rick, Erin and Ben came down from Rexburg for the weekend.  I absolutely adore that cute little nephew of mine :)  P4070018 Saturday morning I made pancakes.  Ben LOVES pancakes and it's so cute when he reaches out for more of something he loves.  Saturday afternoon we went over to Melody's for her P4070050annual Easter party.  While she was putting the finishing touches on her south-western Easter feast, the guys hid a bunch of eggs and then the little kids had an egg hunt in the living room.  The kids were so cute!  Running (or crawling) all over trying to find them, even the babies P4070061getting into the action!  When they started running out of eggs that were easy to find, Dustin and Jason started pulling them out of their spots and making the kids guess which hand had the egg.

After the egg hunt, we had a fantastic lunch... MelP4070063 went all out with her famous guacamole, salad, corn bread and some delicious spiced pork chops with citrus salsa.  I'm totally stealing that recipe.  Of course, as soon as lunch was served, what did we see? P4070066 Exhibit A.  A circle of men surrounding the table with nary a woman in sight.  LOL.  Think they were a tad bit hungry?  After lunch we hung around and talked - Vic and I showed Jason the scrapbook from Paris and relived some of the funnier moments of the trip.  The guys started up a rousing game of chinese checkers (these guys have a talent for making ANY game rousing) and then we had some of Mel's traditional Easter bunny cake.

After we got home that evening, we went to the Olive Garden for dinner and then I took Ben to babysit P4070083for the evening while Rick and Erin had some getaway time.  Of course, none of us realized that Ben was in the middle of cutting a new tooth, which started to come out about 2 minutes after mom and dad walked out my front door.  Joyful.  It's a good thing he's cute ... lol.  You can see the tears in his eyes in this picture... poor baby.  But a pacifier and a new toy (he got Aunt Gwen's Easter present a day early) helped keep him occupied.  Finally I got him to sleep so I could finish my mounds of Easter cut-out cookies (anyone want some?  I think I have 4 dozen in my freezer.  lol).

P4080091Finally, Easter Sunday.  We went to sacrament meeting at my ward (where we won't discuss the numbers by the choir, but I think my ears still hurt.)  Other than that, it was a very nice meeting with some great reminders about the true meaning of Easter.  We came home and had a nice Easter dinner together before they headed back to Idaho.  The rest of the pictures from the weekend are here.

Then I got to spend my evening watching Colorado crush Calgary in their season finale.  Sigh.  One more point during SOME game in the season and they'd be in the playoffs now.  Oh well.  There's always next year, right?

Just Catchin' Up

Nothing too exciting going on here lately.  Last week we celebrated Mel's birthday with some delicious carrot cake from the bakery in Gardner Village.  Julie, Crystal, Dustin, Al and Tim all came as well.  We chatted while the guys played the Lost game, and then me, Dustin and Al faced off against Mel, Vic and Tim in a game of Scene-It.  Unfortunately I'm not familiar enough with the classic movies to do well at that game, but we did get to the final section first, even though we missed the question and got passed.  Oh well.  It was good times.  Can you believe, however, that I FORGOT my camera?  I know.  I got up the stairs to Mel and Vic's apartment and realized I had forgotten it.  Draper and Sandy are close to each other, but I was already late and just sucked it up.  I'll make up for it at the Easter party this week.  Just giving out some fair warning ;)

Anyway, since Mel still hasn't developed her film from our trip to Paris in October, and since she found out she was pregnant right after we got back and has been working like crazy to get ready for the baby, I figured there was no way she was going to have the time to make herself a scrapbook of the trip (let alone after the baby is born!  lol) so I got a bunch of the pics from my camera printed up and spent a very fun 2 weeks making an album for her as my birthday present.  I would post some favorite pages, but I can't decide which ones are my favorites.  Anyway, you can see the whole thing here.  We all passed it around doing a little reminiscing... I want to go back!  lol. 

Aside from that, I've been doing a lot of reading, discovering new music on Yahoo Music, and enjoying my Netflix membership (I've never been one to rent videos - too lazy.  Netflix is the perfect concept for me.)  I'm also playing around a lot in Photoshop - I'm on the hunt for the new Creating Keepsakes book by Jessica Sprague.  Can't wait to dig into that!

And finally, can you believe it's already April?  Here's to spring!  Can't wait until capris and flip flops come out on a full-time basis :)  Oh, and happy birthday one day early to my dad :)  Can't wait to see the fam in person in a few weeks!