Sunday, April 26, 2015

Celebrations

This past week we celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary on the 19th and my birthday on the 23rd. On our anniversary we went to the Springfield Dance Alliance's Spring Bloom dance concert. It was a beautiful concert - Kerry and all did a great job organizing, dancing and choreographing!

Kerry and Mary at the Springfield Dance Alliance Concert
 After the show we went out for a delicious Italian meal at Avanzare.

Mary and Dan out for dinner
 We declined dessert at the restaurant in favor of home made creme brulees back at the house.

Mary bruleeing her creme
As an early birthday gathering I met up with Kerry, Elaine, their mothers and their boys for lunch at Tea Bar and Bites!

Kerry, Avery and Mary
 On my birthday Annie and Dan woke me up with a bouquet of flowers then we took a walk downtown where we ate breakfast at Gaileys afterwards we went to the European Cafe where we shared a decadent chocolate mousse cake with our lattes.

Mary and Annie enjoying the flowers
 The Drury Theatre department was putting on a performance of Tartuffe by Moliere this past week so Dan and I enjoyed the show together then went out afterwards for drinks and (more) dessert!

Dan and Mary enjoying a late night treat at Flame
 Today as a belated birthday celebration Madison, Heather and I met up for brunch at the Aviary where Heather gifted me with adorable mini-cupcakes - so artistic (and delicious).

Funfetti cupcakes
It was a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

This was my first time to Mexico - what a beautiful country it is filled with wonderful people, terrific food and gorgeous sights!

On the night before the wedding we went out salsa dancing to a Cuban restaurant with some of Alex & Aline's friends - the band was terrific as were the mojitos.
Paola, Mary, Alex, Aline and Pablo at La Bodeguita Del Medio
The day of the wedding we took the bus into town where we met up with Colleen, Peter, Nancy and Chris and did some exploring.

Mom, Ellen and baby Julian in the backpack with the Mountains in the distance
Audrey enjoying a swim in the river with Nancy and Chris
 The Malecon is the main boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta and it is covered with bronze statues along the way. We enjoyed a self-guided art tour of the sculptures.

Dancing Statues on the Malecon
 We also visited the most photographed church of Puerto Vallarta - it has an ornate crown on top. The original crown fell off in 1995 and was destroyed by an earthquake.
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
 Below is one of the more peculiar statues "The Boy on the Seahorse" by Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda who was only 18 when he sculpted this work.
The Dans in front of their favorite statue
 We also enjoyed a sand carving competition:
An Ornate Sand Sculpture 
We decided that one church visit was not enough:

The Dans and Erin climbing the steps to Our Lady of Refuge Church
 After the wedding we had fantastic days of exploring the beaches, waterfall hikes, dolphin spotting, snorkeling, para-sailing (for Alex and Aline) and boat rides through the ocean with our boat captains Alberto and Mariachi Mario.

We went to Los Arcos - a natural outcropping with several caves and reefs - while we were snorkeling around Aline spotted a twenty dollar bill on the ocean floor and Alex swam down and retrieved it! Who says there's not buried treasure? The snorkeling here was spectacular - all varieties and colors of fish. Luckily we didn't spot any sharks, although Durango Dan did spot a whale tail as we were zipping around in our boat.
Los Arcos
 We did two excellent waterfall hikes - Mom and Audrey had the good fun of riding a horse up to the falls. At the first waterfall we explored Erin went in first to tell us how the temperature of the water was and she took a mis-step and fell right in to the waterfall pool - quite the explorer she is!
Waterfall 
SO MUCH FUN - when are we going back?!?!

Puerto Vallarta

Last month we traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for Alex and Aline's wedding. The wedding day was spectacular - we had picture perfect weather, a beautiful ceremony, terrific music, delicious food and a night filled with dancing.
Mary and Dan enjoying a drink before the ceremony

View of the reception area

Alex and Mom before the ceremony
  The ceremony was incredibly sweet we heard about how Alex and Aline met for the first time and their personal vows were incredibly thoughtful and touching. Alex's friend Ivan translated the ceremony into English and Alex said his vows in English while Aline did hers in Spanish.

Alex and Aline Exchanging Vows
 After the bride and groom kissed in marched a 9 piece mariachi band! They were fantastic - incredible musicians.
Mariachi Band

The Newlyweds dancing to the Mariachi music

El Senor belting out a solo
Family

Alex's New Family
Dan and Chris shooting the breeze

Audrey was happy to find some stray roses from the bouquet Aunt Nancy caught

Julian observing the wedding festivities
 The food at the wedding was outstanding we had appetizers of all variety, ceviche, a Costa Rican tangerine salad and fish as our main course. The desserts were apple pie or Mexican wedding cake - a corn cake.
Aline and Alex cutting the special Mexican corn wedding cake
 Alex and Aline kicked off the night of dancing by performing their choreographed barchata wedding dance - their instructor was at the wedding and he agreed that their dance was awesome!
Alex and Aline dancing their bachata dance 
The newlywed also ended the night of partying and dancing by taking a leap into the pool! Poor Nelson, Aline's brother, was pushed in as he was trying to get a photo of them - he had two smart phones ruined . . . all part of the show!
Nelson, Alex and Aline ended up in the pool
What an amazing day it was - Felicidades a Aline y Alex!

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