Monday, March 7, 2022

Hello Monday and Hello Aruba! (Aruba 2022 Edition)


Hi Friends and Happy Monday!  We got back from Aruba on Friday night and the weekend was spent catching up on laundry and getting organized for our week ahead...I am headed out to a routine medical procedure..more of a nuisance but so important and so necessary anyway I digress.....

I wanted to do an Aruba recap today and share with you all of the beauty and relaxation and fun that we experienced last week.

If you blogged today, don't forget to grab our graphic above and link back up with us below.  Sarah and I are so glad you stopped by!

Here goes nothing!


Last Weekend


We headed up to Manchester go get our PCR COVID Tests done...and then we waited a few hours for our results.  Once we got our results, we had to upload them to the Aruba health website and pay for insurance.  It was a process but it all went smoothly thankfully.  After church on Sunday, we completed getting organized and then ordered takeout Chinese and Zach joined us as he was staying the week to watch Remi and house sit.


We set our alarms for 3am...as rough as it was, we knew that our final destination would make it worth it.


Our driver, Bob, picked us up at 3:45am...we piled our luggage in and headed to Boston's Logan Airport.


The lines weren't bad and we flew through our check in and security...once there, we grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and headed to our gate.  We met up with our friends, The Millers, at the gate.


 Our flight was uneventful which was great- took a little over four hours.  I spent most of my time reading "The Nantucket Inn" by Pamela Kelley- the first book in the Beach Plum Cove series- loved it!


Once we landed, we grabbed our bags (which took the longest believe it or not) then flew through the health check and jumped into a cab.  We bumped into other friends from town in the airport too...so fun



Our hotel was a 20 minute ride from the airport- not bad!  Our cab driver was so helpful with recommendations and answering my questions about finding a Catholic Church for Ash Wednesday.


Once we got to our hotel, The Marriott Stellaris Resort & Casino, we were amazed...the hotel is so beautiful and the people were typical Arubians...so happy and friendly and helpful. Our room wasn't ready but they found us another and were just so accommodating!



We headed upstairs immediately and unpacked some things, changed into our bathing suits and cover ups and got settled.  Mama then went online to schedule our COVID tests to return to the US- you had to make appointments ahead of time but they had them right in our hotel which made things a bit easier.


After that, we headed down to the pool to decompress and I can successfully say that we were in the sun by 2:30 Aruba time- they are an hour ahead of us!


A few minutes later, Beth Ann and her fam found us and we were in our happy place...sunning...floating...grabbing our matching cups and enjoying our first cocktail together!

The rest of our friends made their way to us as well...so fun to catch up and IN ARUBA...ahhhh


We played a mean game of Pool Volleyball- SO FUN

After that, we went up to our room to freshen up for dinner- our reservation wasn't until 8:30pm and we were starved so we went down to the sushi bar in our hotel lobby and proclaimed it the best sushi we had in our entire lives- just outstanding!!!

Pidge's First Sushi- a California Roll :)

A few shots on our balcony before walking to dinner

As exhausted as we were after our travel day, we rallied and walked with everyone to dinner at Azzuro- an amazing Italian restaurant where they whip up pasta dishes table side in a cheese rind...no on at our table got one of those dishes but I snagged a pic of the deliciousness anyway

The kids had their own table on the other side of the restaurant- we didn't know if Pidge would make it through but she rallied and we were proud of her

Love these two gals

After this, we crashed....truly!


We were up bright and early...I decided that I needed to hit Eduardo's for their famous smoothie bowls...I got to try one on my trip in May...Suzy introduced me to this goodness.  Diana wanted to join me so we walked the strip to enjoy and our bowls were outstanding of course!

We got the Eduardo's Special Bowls which included Acai, Bananas, Strawberries, Granola, Peanut Butter and Nutella Drizzle- delish!

and nothing beat eating this goodness right on the beach!



Not a fan of birds as you may remember...this one was stalking me....eeek!

While we were on our adventure, Pidge and Daddy had breakfast and hit the pool

We ventured out with Beth Ann and Ella to enjoy the beach and ocean for a bit- so so beautiful!

These girls needed a photo shoot of course

After that, we headed back to the pool to meet the fam and hang....BA and I did our own "Blenders Photo Shoot" ha!

That night, we decided to keep things casual and go "bar hopping" to hit Happy Hours and snacks...so much fun....



Suzy and Rob's Fun Drink



I had the BEST Ceviche at Carlito's on the Beach...outstanding!



While we finished bar hopping, the kids hopped in our friends' hotel's hot tub to play some football :)


Oh and we witnessed a proposal on the beach!


First thing in the morning, I did my devotionals on our balcony...it was so relaxing and peaceful and beautiful of course...

The whole fam wanted in on Eduardo's so the four of us walked down to get our bowls...AND it was Ash Wednesday which started the 40 Miles in 40 Days Challenge I decided to join in on thanks to my blogging partner Patty...this was mile one of Lent and my family joined me :)

The bowls did not disappoint...we are all fans now!

This day, I reserved a palapa for us on the beach so we could hang there in between the pool and swimming and other activities.  This also ended up being our most active day! 

Thanks to our cab driver, I learned where the nearest Catholic Church was and Joe and Jess lent us their rental car.  Their friend Brian drove BA and me to church so we could get to mass and get our ashes.  The 11am mass was also the only one said in English so we made sure we got there for that one!  The church was so pretty

When we got back, we were hungry and decided to grab a sushi lunch in our lobby sushi bar- BA agreed- best sushi ever and perfect with Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough NZ of course!


This was our favorite- the tuna tar tar roll- so delish!

Group Shot!

After this, the girls wanted to try parasailing- we were a bit nervous but decided to let them go on this adventure so we met up with Suzy and her guys and went for it- BA and I were allowed to stay on the boat to watch

Rob and Brayden went up first

and then it was the girls' turn...eek!


Yeah Girls!  So Brave!  They both said they will never do it again though- ha!

Diana LOVES Suzy :)

After this, we had to race to get ready for dinner...and we did!  We made it to our taxi by 4:45 to get to our restaurant "Flying Fish Bone" by 5:30!  In the cab, Matt made us laugh so hard :)

Then we enjoyed an epic dinner watching the sun set...the kids had their own table again and the adults had many laughs over such delish food and drinks..this restaurant never disappoints!


Yes!  Had to get the "Aruba Salad" again....but this time it was missing the corn..boo...it was still great though!


I also got the Unicorn Fish again- delish!

Such a beautiful sunset with beautiful views!




 When we got back to our hotel, I hit the casino to watch BA show them how it's done at craps..she kills me...she is so good...and was hot!  

I have to mention that our hotel had EVERYTHING....it was so hoppin' every night...in addition to the sushi bar, there was a regular bar, nightly entertainment, a gelato shop, stores and the biggest casino on the island which was so lively and fun!

We agreed that we will be back and will never stay anywhere else!

I crashed hard this night after all of the fun!


Our last relaxing day in Aruba!

(Well relaxing after our COVID tests anyway)...we were up bright and early to get in line for our tests)


Pidge begged to go to Eduardo's with me and alone so we could have special time and we truly did- we enjoyed our walk and then grabbed our bowls and planted our butts on the sand and talked and ate and just enjoyed every moment!


 Then we headed to the pool for a bit....


Had to take a video and send to BA....our song being played...she hurried down after that :)


This one...must keep in dance shape 

 and then Eva got a great surprise when her bestie and fam stopped by for a great little visit- they were staying in the Marriott Surf Club right next door!


 and since we had an excursion planned for this afternoon, we all needed a quick lunch.  Rob took the girls to the pool bar for a quick lunch and BA walked down to Eduardo's...I needed one more bowl before leaving and was wow'd by their Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl for lunch.....


It was full of ahi tuna, seaweed salad, cucumbers, coconut rice, pineapple and mango- incredible


 We devoured them right on the beach and then headed over to the Pelican Pier bar for a quick cocktail while we waited for everyone to arrive for our catamaran (at this point, we got our COVID results and were sooo relieved we wouldn't be stuck away from home...we were all negative and could go home on time!)


Then we had an awesome excursion- private catamaran with a rope swing and slide that the kids loved and great music with two snorkeling stops, lots  of sun and fun...great afternoon on the water in Aruba!


We were so proud of Pidge!  She was so proud and tried and loved snorkeling :)



The Rope Wing ended up being the highlight of the excursion!

Diana doing the rope swing

Eva doing the rope swing

After our excursion, we headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for our final dinner in Aruba....the whole gang of us together....

Suzy got us a party bus to take us to and from dinner- it was actually cheaper than taxis for us to all travel together AND WAY  more fun....we laughed so hard!

(I laughed SO HARD)

Once we got to Madame Janette's I started snapping pics of course!

The food was incredible and Rob and I decided to share our dishes- the famous Almond Grouper and a Tenderloin...amazing!

It was another fun filled ride back to the hotel of course!

We grabbed one last gelato and crashed hard!




We set the alarm so we could get up early, pack and have a quick breakfast and coffee at Starbucks downstairs


After that, Daddy insisted on a few last shots on our balcony...and that is when Pidge started crying saying she was going to miss Aruba so much...we were all really sad to leave and agreed it was our best vacation yet...drama free..relaxing and our fave place to date...we will be back when we can do it for sure!


and then we experienced a very smooth departure- it did not take us long to get through immigration, customs and security due to it being a weekday...we were grateful....we grabbed a quick lunch at the airport and one more "Chill"...an Arubian Beer :)

Bye Aruba...we love you so much and miss you already!!

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Lauren D said...

Holly this trip looks incredible!! So happy you had a wonderful time

Maria Rineer said...

Your trip looks amazing! Love all of the pictures of the beautiful grounds of the hotel, the OCEAN, the food/ drinks and of course pictures of you guys having fun. It sounds like the trip was everything you hoped it would be- relaxing, having fun, and making memories with friends and family. Now I really want to go to a beach. Aruba would be swell but I would take anything at this point ;).

Natasha said...

This is THE BEST Hello Monday post! What a fun week, what gorgeous photos (those sunsets!), and how great that it all went so well!!! I'm so glad you guys were able to get away and that Covid stress didn't hold you back (or keep you there!).

Jaclyn Coffee, Pancakes & Dreams said...

Wow what an amazing trip!! The food looks sooo good! I definitely am adding Aruba to my travel list.

Joanne said...

That sounds like an amazing trip! I am so glad that everything worked out for you. That parasailing would have made me nervous too but I know at least one of my sons would have wanted to do it.

Tanya said...

What a blast! I bet all that sunshine felt great!

Sunshine and Books said...

Holly, I think it is safe to say that you did Aruba right!!! You had so many great meals, so many fun trips/excursions, and made the most of your time by the pool and in the sunshine!! I love how much fun you guys had traveling together!! Welcome home!

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