Friday, July 27, 2012

Getting Started In Cabo

So, the day we arrived, we were so stoked to get out and do something. Doug, Chad, and I borrowed some snorkeling equipment and headed right down to the beach. I have never before snorkeled, and was a little unsure. But Douggie led the way and once we were in the water, it was so refreshing. The waves were strong, and we didn't get close to any rocks or reef in order to see any fish, but it was good to get the feel of things. We really just bobbed in the waves and visited...and tried not to lose equipment!The next day we booked spots on a boat that would head out to the famous arch at Land's End. This is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez at the Baja California Sur Peninsula. Although it was a long, hot walk to the marina, the boat tour totally paid off.
 Wind in our hair, ocean views--wonderful!

 This is a really popular place. This was a huge cruise boat that apparently made port here.
 The arch. (Try getting a picture without other boats in it.)

 It really is so beautiful. The shifting of bluegreen colors as you come closer to the beach, then the sand and rock and sky.

 Mom and Dad arrived this day. Looking fresh!
 Gabby with her brother and mom:
 We ate all our meals at the resort. It felt like a real pampering, not having to concern myself with what meals to prepare. Just come when you like and enjoy! (I must say, though, that after a few days I had a serious hankering for some american candy.) Left to right are: Teresa, Gabby, Chad, Chris, Doug, Dad, Mom, Leo, Ligia, and Tim.
 Chris and Doug catching up:
 Just downstairs from the lobby is where we made buddies with the concierge, Anthony. He was so wonderfully helpful to us. We had an incident on the 4th of July with our bank. We'd forgotten to notify them we'd be out of the country and to approve funds spent in Mexico. We were up a creek, but he set us up with his iPad and Magic Jack. Thank you, Anthony! (Not to mention Amber, who we frantically contacted and she did her best to help us out a couple of times while we were gone.)
 View from the main entrance into the lobby:
 From the lobby's balcony, overlooking one restaurant:
 On the balcony. We spent the majority of the week in our swimsuits. It was too hot to do anything else.
 The lobby. Lots of comfy seating and a great view of the resort, pool, ocean.
 One of the garden areas. We flew in and didn't see any grass. Lots of cactus and palms. There was grass at the resort, but everything was really well cared for. From what we understand, the hotels and resorts along the coast (there are tons of them!) are each required to have desalinators for all water they use. Pretty incredible if true!

 There were fireworks on the 4th. We had a great view from our back porch. I was definitely thinking of the kids back home, wondering what they were doing for the 4th. I know Janna and Amber took them earlier in the day to the West Jordan parade, which was so sweet. Later that evening, the babysitters took the kids down the street to our block party and enjoyed some of their own fireworks. But Matthew didn't love the fireworks. He snuggled up to the babysitter, covering his ears, and fell asleep. So glad they were able to celebrate, though! I know the older kids had a ball with neighbor friends.

Reunited with the Brothers in Cabo

Chris let us know months ago about his and Gabby's plan to have a destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Thrilled to have an excuse to meet up with my family and play, Chad and I booked out tickets. Doug flew the farthest from Germany. He had a day before anyone else arrived to adjust to the time difference. By the time we arrived, he'd already been out snorkeling and packing in what he could. I was so happy to see him.
 I love my brother to pieces.
 We were impressed by the resort. Blue skies and water, contrasted with the dry land was really beautiful. It makes for some good pictures. The weather was very hot and humid. In the 90's with close to 50% humidity. For us Utahns, it was kind of a killer.
 Here's the view from our room's front door. Everything's manicured and lovely.
 Doug, Chad, and Chris. Chris and Gabby had arrived a few hours before we did. It was great to be around a few of my favorite men.

 View from the resort looking out to the ocean.
 Beautiful evening.

 I kept thinking I'd get a picture of our room when it was all made up, but I never did! Our room was a sanctuary from the heat. We would be sweating, no matter what we did, and we'd walk into our air conditioned room. It was divine. The last couple of days I was totally spent and did my share of napping and relaxing here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Oliphant Family Reunion in Santa Cruz

I think I was born to live somewhere like Santa Cruz. It is absolute heaven to me when I think of the climate, the oceans and beaches, and mountains. It was a wonderful gathering location for our family reunion. Cousin Chris Finelli graciously offered up his Harbor Inn as a point of gathering. Mom and I flew in on Thursday and spent our night at Aunt Diane's in San Jose. We made our way to my cousin Alexis' house in Morgan Hills. She lives in a gorgeous area. Here are Alexis, Corinne and I gathered around her kitchen table. Corinne was a wonderful hostess, serving me cold water from a princess teapot and yummy baked goods: 
 Austin wanted to show us his little play space:
 Apparently Ted (Alexis' husband) likes to brew his own beer. He even grows his own hops:
 They've got a lovely backyard with an amazing view.
 When we got over to Santa Cruz, everyone else had gone to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, so we made a beeline for the beach.

 The weather was perfect. It was divine.
 Alexis brought her two children and stayed a few days at the Inn. We enjoyed spending time with her.
 I was so glad to see Aunt Shelley was there. She looks great and it was good to catch up.
 Uncle Wolfgang and Aunt Diane are wonderful hosts. We felt so comfortable at their place. I remember many times growing up, spending time at their home. They've always treated us kindly and generously. Although they're now in their 70s, they are in good health and keep busy with grandkids, travel, and a little work.
 A view of the seating around the fire:
 This is one spry woman: Aunt Marjorie Oliphant Hobbs from Marietta Oklahoma. I loved her Oakie accent and ways. She came with her children, one of whom had returned back to OK by the time we'd arrived. This is Larry and his wife.
 Alexis and Clare Finelli:
Mark (Aunt Marjie's son), Shelley, and Mom:
 Getting settled on the beach:
 Alexis, Austin, and Corinne:
 Alexis, Aunt Shelley and I loving life on the beach:
 Austin and Corinne had a ton of fun getting down and dirty.
 Shelley, Mary Jane, Mom, Chris, Mark, Nicole, Aunt Marjorie, David, ...Larry
 Lisa Nguyen Truempler's sister Tami and her significant other:
 Aunt Marjorie and Chris:
 After we'd been there a couple of days and had done plenty of visiting, the Oakies left for home and we had some time to kill. I mentioned to Chris Finelli about going surfing, and he sounded up for it. (He's an avid surfer.) Aunt Shelley wanted to give it a go. Chris brought a couple of soft boards for us newbies, and we rented figure-flattering wet suits (if you've ever had on a wet suit you know what I'm talking about). That day the waves were itty bitty baby waves which ended up being kind of perfect for us. I was able to get up for microseconds a couple of different times. It was really fun to give it a try. I can see that if I had more time to practice, I'd love to do this. It's not like snowskiing. Once you have a wetsuit and surfboard, the admission to the beaches is free!
 Chris worked with Aunt Shelley and I got my smokin' -cousin, mind you!- Michael. They were both so patient and encouraging. Thanks a million for the memory!
Once I mentioned going to the reuinion to Chad, he gave it some thought and said, "I think we should make it work." I'm so glad he backed me up in this. It was a wonderful trip that I'll always remember. So glad I went! Thanks, Mom, for the time together.