Sunday, January 27, 2019

A wedding interlude in Punta Cana

Our son, Dan Ruegamer, found the best partner, Julia Jevec. They decided to make it permanent at a small, intimate wedding at Dreams Resort, an all inclusive in Punta Cana.

I have to be honest and admit we wondered why we needed to travel all that way for almost a week to attend a wedding. We've never done this before. We had plenty of questions like what will we do when not at the wedding, what if we don't get along, why should we be on Dan and Julia's honeymoon, what if... what if...

We were wrong about everything. This experience changed our entire perception of these weddings. We love our new in-laws, Cookie and John. Although we are a blended family, we all got along so well. I like to think of it as these separate elements came together to form something more beautiful than we ever imagined. Like flour, milk and eggs turning into cake. Our family recipe created a delicious concoction!

We had a wonderful time sharing with our closest family and friends. In attendance for this amazing experience were the bride and groom, Julia Jevec and Dan Ruegamer; son Brett Ruegamer and his lovely partner Julie Walsh; daughter Marissa Burik; the boys' mom Diane Ruegamer; dear family friends Dan and Marilyn Lipka; maid of honor Nicole; Dan's friends Tom and Serena; Julia's parents John and Cookie Jevec. A small but intimate group.

As far as timetable, we arrived on January 13. The wedding was on Wednesday January 16. The Lipka's left on Thursday January 17. Marissa, Nicole, Kermit and I, and Tom and Serena left on Friday January 18. Diane, Brett, Julie, John and Cookie were supposed to leave on Sunday January 20 but the terrible weather in NE Ohio caused their flights to be cancelled. They ended up staying an extra day, returning to Ohio on Monday. This left Dan and Julia with only one day alone. Not sure what I think of that.

Fair warning. I included a bunch of pictures here because a few family members who could not travel with us will be reading this blog. THAT MEANS YOU, GRANDMA HELEN!!! We missed you!  

With that said, if you don't want to participate on our wedding indulgence, you can skip the rest. I will write shortly about the next stage of our journey when we returned from Punta Cana and started heading south. Eventually we have to get this boat to Fort Pierce.

Back to the wedding.

Julie, Diane and Tom
We spent the entire time at the pool lounging in a tight little circle enjoying the free drinks at this all-inclusive. After sampling almost every kind of cocktail we decided our favorite was called a Toucan, a combination of a bunch of liquors that form many colorful layers that tastes like Hawaiian Punch. We read, walked around in the water, talked a little, laughed a lot and slept a bit. It was heavenly.

Julie, Dan and Marilyn, Marissa and Katherine with Brett, 

Dan, Marilyn, Marissa and Katherine

L: Diane, Julia, Julie, Brett, Dan

The whole gang


L: Marilyn, Marissa, Katherine, Dan


Dan and Julia

Dan Lipka working hard

Julie and Brett

Marissa and Katherine

Marissa, Katherine and Julie

L: Brett, Julie


Marilyn and Dan Lipka

Cookie and Julia

L: John, Cookie and Julia Jevec

The flamingos hung out with us

The grounds are gorgeous

Marissa showing off

I did beach yoga most mornings. You know sand makes yoga much harder?

Critter alert: birds, turtles, and a fascinating but dangerous Tarantula Hawk, a wasp that hunts tarantuals. Best of all were the flock of flamingos that wandered around entertaining us at the pool every day.

Flamingos on the march

The flamingos really liked Brett (R); that's
Dan in the center

Tarantula Hawk wasp

Yoga on the beach
Not as easy as it looks

Marissa checking out the
Flamingos just wander around

Brett, Kermit Marissa and I took an excursion to a cigar place. We thought we were going to see a factory where they roll cigars but actually this guy picked us up at the resort and took us to his home. We all wondered if we were being kidnapped by a mass murdered but we willingly marched up to his attic into his special cigar room.
Kermit, Marissa and Brett
waiting for the
cigar guy to pick us up
Kermit getting a demonstration
on how to smoke a cigar right

Afterwards we spoke about how crazy that was and how glad we were that Brett was around to protect us!

Brett enjoying a cigar in Cigar Guy's attic

Lots to talk about re cigars

Marissa blowing smoke through her nose,
evidently that is a good thing

The cigar guy talked non-stop about cigars and tobacco. He and his partner grow tobacco and make the cigars for the Vivaldi brand. Check it out. The cigars smell wonderful!

The other 3 smoked sample cigars. I did not get my own although I must admit I took a puff or two... and it was nice!

Marissa regaled us with her ability to send smoke out of her nose. Brett figured it out but Kermit could not do it. Evidently this trick, called "retrohaling", intensifies the nicotene and enhances the taste.

The guy showed Kermit how he was smoking cigars all wrong. Some of techniques really help, like new ways to relight a cigar, how to blow out the bad toxins to cleanse the cigar and enhance the flavors at the end of the cigar.

We drank really strong DR coffee which was delicious and sampled "mamajuana" the indiginous drink of Dominican Republic made out of twigs and berries soaked for years in red wine, rum and honey. Both were really awesome!

After a few hours, Kermit, Brett and Marissa bought cigars and we went home. It was a great interlude out of the resort and away from the pool.
Waiting for the wedding to start
The wedding was wonderful. Here are some pics of the wedding and the after party dinner. 

Tom and Serena

We were a small but mighty crowd

Kermit and Diane

Tom and Serena

Katherine, Marissa and Marilyn

Simple yet lovely decorations

Waiting for the party to start

Add caption
Brett and Nicole

Brett, best man and
Nicole, maid of honor

John and Julia

John and Julia walking down the isle

We are waiting!

Cookie and John

The ceremony was brief 

All parental units happy and accounted for!
L: Diane, Kermit, Cookie, Katherine, John

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Dan, Julia and Nicole

Serena, Tom, Marissa

L: Diane, Cookie, Dan

The cake was delicious!

Julie and Brett

Diane, John and Cookie

With the Moms: Diane, Dan, Julia, Cookie

With the Dads: Kermit, Dan, Julia, John

John, Julia and Cookie

Marissa, Dan, Julia, Katherine 
Julie, Marissa, Brett, Diane, Dan, Katherine, Kermit

John, Cookie, Julia, Dan

Marilyn Lipka

Diane, Brett, Julie
Katherine, Kermit, Marissa

Tom, Serena, Kermit, Katherine, Marissa, Marilyn, Dan

Brett, Julie

Then we went to dinner