2011: Best. Year. Ever.

2011 was the best year ever.  No, seriously, I’m not kidding.  So many incredible things happened this year and I’m sad to see it go.  Hopefully 2012 will fantastic, but I’m pretty sure not much can rival this year!

We started the  year off with a bang by going to the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh!

In February, we bought our first house!

We got thisclose to President Obama at the Memorial Day Wreath Laying at Arlington National Cemetary!

We got engaged!

We got married!

Added a new country (Curacao) to the passport!

…and we hosted our very FIRST Thanksgiving!

Bon Voyage, 2011 – you’ve been amazing and I’ll remember you forever.  Xoxoxoxoxoxo!

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Honeymoon: Day Six

I think snorkeling Curacao may have been one of the best things we’ve done not only on our honeymoon, but as a couple.

We boarded a gorgeous catamaran around 10am with six other couples and an awesome crew and we set sail towards the Spanish Waters before heading into the Caribbean to get our snorkel on.

I loved snorkeling with Chris.  As a nervous swimmer, he made me feel so safe and it was the best feeling ever.  Even jumping off the boat I was nervous (irrational fear of being pulled back into the boat), but he was right there to grab my hand and pull me away from the boat.  We had a great time in the warm, shallow water, as he held my hand and we swam through the pretty water.  We saw beautiful fish, coral and even an octopus!

When we got back on the boat, the crew had prepared a delicious BBQ lunch which we ate and then Chris proceeded to jump off of the boat a few times just because he could.  :)

 

Crew BBQing

 

Jumping huzby!

 

Cruising back to land.

On our way back to shore, Chris discovered “Coca Cola Light,” and then this happened:

Yep, that's my husband.

After we got back to the hotel, we relaxed for a while before our last dinner in Curacao.  We had our last sunset dinner at one of the restaurants at the hotel and it was delish and super relaxing.  Oh, but first, check out these dutch mosquito repelent stickers.  Weird:

Last sunset in Curacao.


It’s now Friday morning and we’re relaxing before we have to pack and head to the airport.  It’s been such an incredible time and one that we’ll definitely remember forever.  :)

Honeymoon: Day Five

Wednesday was another completely relaxing and gorgeous day. We spent the morning by the pool and hotel beach, enjoying the sun and gorgeous view for a few hours. We made our way from the chairs on the side of the pool, to chairs IN the pool, and eventually to the cabana beds by the pool. Choices, choices! We had drinks and lunch poolside, and after about 3 hours were zapped from the sun and heat and made our way back to the room. Then we promptly fell asleep for another 3 hours. Whoopsie!

Cabana life.

Dinner was going to be in what we called “Dutch Wonderland” (giant Dutch neighborhood nearby), so we got ready and headed over to a place called Zest. We watched the sun set and then grabbed a table on the beach and enjoyed an awesome meal. We started with an amuse of tuna puree, followed by a starter of a duo of shrimp, and for our entrees, Chris had duck for the first time, and I had delicious veal. We’ve finally gotten used to the leisurely pace down here, so when dinner took two hours, we weren’t surprised and really enjoyed the view, talking and people watching.

One downside in the past few days is that I’ve been eaten alive by radioactive mosquitos. I have at least two dozen giant bites on my legs which have now turned into large welts. I can’t even begin to explain the itchiness discomfort. I found some bug bite medicine from Belgium and it’s kind of doing the job, but the red welts all over my calves and ankles are NOT hot.

Nice.

Thursday, we’re heading out on a snorkeling trip for half of the day! I’m looking forward to it because we’ll take a boat to a few good spots which should be good. When we snorkeled off the beach the other day it was awesome, so I’m super psyched to see how awesome it will be to actually be taken to snorkel specific places! More later!

Honeymoon: Day Four

I think that we achieved the “perfect” Curacao day on Tuesday.

After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we took the best beach recommendation from a few locals, and we headed to the northern part of the island to Cas Abou.

The thing about Curacao is that you would expect to see pristine beaches everywhere, but it’s different.  It’s hilly, so you have to really seek out beaches that are lower elevations in order to get that true beach experience.

Once we arrived at Cas Abou, we had to drive down a really windy, narrow dirt road that led us to the beautiful waters we had been seeking.

Crazy roads leading to the beach.

haha

“I see clear water,” I yelled to Chris.

Amazing.

We parked and made our way to the white sand.  In a word, it was magical.  It was almost like a little lagoon…clear, turquoise water surrounded by cliffs on either side.  There weren’t many people there either, so it was calm and very relaxing.

We parked ourselves under a leafy umbrella, rented some snorkel equipment and headed into the water.  I’m a nervous swimmer in the ocean (apparently even in calm, clear water), so Chris grabbed my hand and we checked out the coral and fish below.

The day was spent swimming, snorkeling, reading, listening to the ipod, eating lunch and drinking daquris (banana for me, strawberry for Chris).  We left around 2:30pm for the hour drive back to the hotel and rested until it was time for dinner.

Perfection.

Chris really wanted to this place he had researched before we had even gotten on the island, so off we went.  It was an Argentine restaurant located near the hotel and when we walked in, I was amazed at the view.  It is on the side of a cliff and offers sweeping views of the water and the city below.  Really incredible, and we went at sunset which made it all the better.  Dinner was incredibly delicious and since we went early, we were the only people in the restaurant which made it almost like our own private dinner on a terrace.

Happy guy.

Oh, footnote:  While we spent the day in the sun, I used 50SPF sunscreen at least six times and I STILL got a little burned!

Today is Wednesday, and I’m currently outside on our balcony as I write this.  Chris is still sleeping (It’s only 7:30am afterall), and I’m watching crazy pelicans throw themselves into the water.  It’s the most bizarre thing.  They take off and circle the water, and then BAM, they kamikaze themselves straight into the water with a giant splash.  Over and over and over they do this and it’s hysterical.  Our first day at the hotel beach, one splashed about five feet from me and I nearly fell over.  Stupid birds.

Not sure what we’re doing today — maybe a lazy day at the hotel pool, or maybe we’ll go see if we can find something interesting to do off property.  Either way, I’m sure it will be great.

Honeymoon: Day Three

Today we ventured out of the resort and headed into downtown Willemstad for the day.

Happy girl.

After a delicious breakfast on the terrace, we got ready, jumped into our rental car, and navigated to the center of the city.  Thank god Chris has a good natural sense of direction.  The roads here are crazy (as in, zero street signs, narrow lanes, goats and chickens crossing the street) and I would be a disaster trying to get anywhere.

We arrived safe and sound downtown and were going to walk across the pedestrian bridge, but a giant oil tanker was making its way through so the bridge was moved (it floats, pretty neat), so we boarded the free water taxi instead.

Water taxi fun.

We made our way around town and popped into some shops, including one jewelry store where Chris bought me a Pandora charm to remember our trip (a sun) which was really sweet.

We had lunch on the water which was terrible, honestly.  We both got burgers because most of the food was Dutch and we had no idea what it was (hello, language barrier).  Not sure if either of us had a worse burger in our lives (I even questioned if it was beef), but we did down some cold beers and Chris had a pineapple/coconut/blue curacao concoction which were delicious.

After walking around town, we made our way to a local casino to cool off from the extreme heat and seek refuge from an afternoon rain storm.

An hour later, we made our way to the car and decided to drive up to the northern part of the island to scout out the beach we want to visit tomorrow.  The island is small, but it takes a while to get anywhere because of the hilly, one lane roads.  We drove around checking out the scenery for about two hours, found our beach, and then headed back downtown for dinner.  We were super excited for this dinner but it was a disaster.

We’ve tried really hard to engage in “island time,” but oh my god….dinner was a nightmare.  We waited for about 10 minutes before we ever even got service, our food took an entire hour to arrive (we were the ONLY table in the restaurant) and our waitress kept disappearing.  Oh, and I got eaten alive by mosquitos since we ate outside.  Chris was still eating when I stood up to get away from the mosquitos and pay the check – we’ve never run out of a restaurant so fast.  Chris loved his spare ribs though, so it was worth it since my huzby was happy.

 

When we got back to the hotel, we took advantage of the post-rain evening and enjoyed some cold beers on the balcony and played Uno for a while.  Great way to end a great day.

I’m looking forward to the beach tomorrow.  The beaches in Curacao aren’t long white beaches, they’re more hidden lagoon style beaches which you don’t really see unless you go look for them, so I’m hoping for a great day of fun in the sun.