Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bienvenido a Miami!


(That's "welcome to Miami" for all those non-Spanish speakers out there)

This past weekend - in order to celebrate our one year anniversary - Michael and I took a mini-vacation to Miami! Neither of us had ever been to Miami and (considering it's less than an hour and a half from the area we recently moved to) we decided to check it out. After all, we didn't want Gabriel's first trip to be too far away (for his sake and ours) - so a weekend trip to Miami seemed to be the perfect baby-on-vacation "trial run."

Friday morning the preparations seemed endless as I bathed Gabriel (didn't want to deal with that in a hotel), packed his things, showered and got myself ready, printed off the e-tickets we needed for some of our excursions, and packed all of Michael's and my things (whew!). Michael worked longer days last week so he could take off early on Friday and (by the grace of God) I managed to accomplish all these tasks by the time he made it home at 1:00ish.

Before long it was late afternoon and we were checking in at our hotel in downtown Miami. Then, we took a short stroll to Bayside Market - where our first official vacation outing began! We hopped on a boat for a scenic, hour and a half long tour of Biscayne Bay. It was a great, relaxing way to learn more about the city's history while soaking in the sights of the Miami skyline, South Beach, and various other islands (including where most of the millionaires live). Not to mention, it was Gabriel's first time on a boat (ex utero - because we did go to Mackinac Island back in May) and his first time riding in our new baby carrier for more than 15 or 20 minutes. I'd say the boat tour was a success all around!

Friday night we ate at a Peruvian restaurant that, sadly, was a disappointing experience (especially considering it was our first time eating Peruvian food!)...but we shook it off and went back to relax at the hotel. It was Michael's first time hearing Gabriel wake up at night since we moved him into his own room at three weeks old - so Michael didn't sleep that well but I definitely did. Our son is such an easy baby to take care of (thank the Lord) and I'm pretty sure our hotel neighbors would have been clueless that we even had a baby, which is truly noteworthy considering he was almost-but-not-quite 8 weeks old this past weekend.

Saturday we ate breakfast at the hotel then headed across the bridge to the island of Virginia Key, where we spent the majority of the day at the Miami Seaquarium. Hands down the best parts of this excursion were the "Flipper" dolphin show, the sea lion show, and the Pacific white-sided dolphin & killer whale show. It was the first time I had seen a killer whale in person so I was every bit as excited as the children around us!

I was giddy over this whale

We went back to the hotel to cool off for a bit before heading to Little Havana for the evening. We ate traditional Cuban food for dinner, shared some Cuban coffee, and ended with some guava and mango ice cream (delicious!). We did all of this on the infamous "Calle Ocho" (8th Street) right by Maximo Gomez Park, which is a popular hangout for the locals to play chess and dominoes. All in all I'd say we got a pretty good taste of the Cuban flavor Little Havana had to offer (plus I got to use my Spanish!).

One of the sweetest, most simple memories I have of the entire weekend happened shortly after Gabriel woke up for a diaper change and feeding that night. After I took care of him I climbed back into bed, only to discover that my husband had also woken up. We both looked at each other, realizing that it was officially September 29th. We whispered "Happy Anniversary" to one another, kissed, then Michael said "One year..." and we drifted off to sleep once again. Be still my heart! This is the stuff everyday love is made of and truly "I found him whom my soul loves." :)

Sunday morning we got breakfast at a little Italian bistro then walked over to Gesu Catholic Church - the oldest Catholic church in Miami and all of southern Florida! When we were planning out our morning timeline before we went to bed Saturday night, Michael asked if they had confession available and suggested we go (have I mentioned that I love my husband?!). Sure enough, they offered confession a half hour before the mass we planned to attend. Last year we each went to confession right before our rehearsal dinner...so it was nice to not only ensure that we were in a state of grace, but also to begin this second year the same way we did the first - with the compassionate and loving, divine mercy and forgiveness of our Lord. 

We proceeded to have a truly wonderful experience at Gesu Catholic Church which I fully plan to write about soon - but will omit from this particular entry because it really does merit an entire post all to itself. :)

Gesu Catholic Church in downtown Miami

After mass we changed clothes, ate lunch, and headed out for our final Miami adventure at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. It's basically a fancy, early 20th century mansion surrounded by the loveliest gardens. Not to mention, it's located right on the water...which gives this already-gorgeous location the added bonus of quite the desirable view. Even though we naively brought Gabriel in the stroller instead of the Baby Bjorn (seriously, if you go there - a carrier would be significantly easier than anything on wheels), it was still the perfect way to spend the afternoon of our first wedding anniversary. Everything about Vizcaya screams "romance"...which is probably why it's a popular venue for wealthy individuals to rent out for weddings and such.

Clearly Gabriel was enthralled by the museum and gardens....

You would think that our weekend-long celebration stops there, but we weren't done yet! Upon returning to Palm Beach we went out for a delicious sushi dinner - and were given a complimentary dessert in honor of our anniversary.

Green tea and vanilla ice cream

Finally, we wrapped things up with a glass of wine and a movie back at home (we watched The Notebook...and it was Michael's choice! What a keeper). I was so so excited to break out this particular glass of wine because it was given to us as a wedding shower present by my brother-in-law's parents (as in, my older sister's husband's parents - they are so kind!) and we had been saving it all year for this very occasion. What was so special about this wine, you ask? Well, it was none other than wine from Cana!

I know that the wedding feast at Cana is an insanely popular choice for the Gospel reading at many Catholic weddings, but that passage has special meaning to Michael and me because of our shared Marian devotion and therefore doesn't seem cliche to us at all. We used the Cana reading in our nuptial mass so it was fun and romantic to drink the Cana at Galilee wine as we celebrated our first year of marriage. :)

Interestingly enough, this tastes like my very favorite communion wine
(blood of our Lord) I've ever had

We had a wonderful anniversary, which also happens to be the Feast of the Archangels (and Michaelmas) and therefore the "name-day" for my husband, Michael, and my son, Gabriel. So.much.love. Thank you to those of you that wished us well and/or prayed for us on our special day! I can't wait to see what this second year holds in store for us. :)

“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.”
-Fawn Weaver


  1. I love this post! My parents are both Cuban and grew up in Miami, and most of my extended family still lives in the area. We love getting delicious batidos and "un cafecito" on Calle Ocho—so glad you guys enjoyed it. And my uncle got married at Vizcaya! It's one of my favorite places in the world and it's so nice to hear you had a good trip there!

    1. Thanks, Tess! :) We had a really fun time. I kept envisioning what a Vizcaya wedding would look like the entire time we were there - I bet your uncle's wedding was absolutely breathtaking!