Home Sweet Home

Wow! I can’t believe we have been here for 6 months. The time had already come to go home to Iowa to renew our Visas and visit our family and friends. The last few months absolutely flew by, but we were ready to eat some home cooking and go to a few of our favorite restaurants and drink our favorite beer and whiskey.
On the morning of November 22nd our friends saw us off at the ferry (Aaron even tried to slyly hide between us to go with us) and we were on our way.

We just had a ferry ride, bus ride, airplane ride, car ride and we were home. Easy peasy! 😉 There are flights from Cozumel to Cedar Rapids but we are economical (I.E. cheap-skates) so we do the “bag drag” as they call it. So after a few hours of travel and much anticipation we landed in Chicago (cold) got through customs and hurried to the door to find my Mom’s Honda Pilot with Marvin, Emily and my Mom jumping out at us with coats and hugs for us. We traipsed around Ikea arm and arm, went to Lou Malnati’s pizza and made our way home getting us there at around midnight.

We woke up the next morning and immediately started opening up boxes looking for our winter clothes I had packed away and put in Mom’s basement. We headed out to Johnathan’s Parents house and reunited with them. I still wish I had that on video. Let’s just say Dony wins the award for most happy to see Johnathan by way of longest hug but Marvin you come in at a close second. After hanging for a bit and eating a home cooked lunch we drove off to see Johnathan’s Sister, Brother in law and our beloved Nephew. It was so nice to see everyone.
So after being reunited with more friends, evening came along for one of my most anticipated times of the year…. BLACK FRIDAY!!! It’s a long standing tradition between my bestie and I to shop until we drop and I promised her I would be back for black Friday and boy was I keeping my promise. Jamie joined in on the tradition a few years ago which added even more fun! We were joined by our Husbands and my Mom this year, you brave souls you. We stocked up with homemade treats and were ready to go.

We always go to Tanger outlet, Kohl’s, and usually JCPenney’s and Younkers. We don’t get home until after 3:00-4:00am, with a trunk load and smiles on our faces. I think we figured out this year we shopped for 8 hours straight. We lost Marvin and Mom around midnight but we brought two cars just in case. It’s always fun to run into friends at the outlets too.

So this whole time leading up to going home we kept saying, we are not going to make too many plans, we are going to take it easy, we don’t want to be too overly busy and make the time home go too fast. Well that all went out the window because the next week and a half are pretty much a blur. I can’t type out everything we did because we did something morning, noon and night. But I will say that our hearts and stomachs are very full! We had so much fun, we saw so many people and we ate WAY too much food.

Here’s the highlight reel:

Johnathan and his baby reunited. Miso is comforting Johnathan after his night of strenuous shopping.

Went to the English assembly in Des Moines and got to reunite with many more friends.

Got to go to a few different friends homes that provided us with wonderful meals, laughs and great memories. (I don’t have pics of everyones houses we went to)

Saw Johnthan’s Grandma a few times and we got to see her new place at an assisted living center. Which was a big change for her this summer, she sold most of her belongings and is selling her home of over 54 years. It was fun to eat lunch with her so she could show off her Grandkids to all her new friends like every proud Grandma likes to do.

Spent an afternoon with Uncle Kenny and helped him rearrange his house for his upcoming hip surgery. We had some Goldie time and John setup Kenny’s record player which made my Uncles day I think.

Went to several meetings at our old congregation and we went to Leonardo’s after one of the meetings

We had Fondue night with the family

Traveled to Wisconsin for a day of beer and cheese

My Brother and Sister in law drove 7 hours to see us

And finally headed back down to Chicago for another round of Lou Malnati’s and the next day did the bag drag back to Mexico, this time in tow with my Mother in law to start her own 10 day Mexican adventure.

I don’t have pictures of everything we did which I am sad about but it was nice to just unplug and enjoy the moment instead of worrying about taking pictures. It was a whirlwind but it was fun. Plus we had some not so fun things like Doctors appointments and tons of errands.
We do feel really bad about the friends that reached out and we just couldn’t get everyone fit in this trip. We wished we would have stayed another week or two. Also to our jobs, CR Eyecare and Marco we really wanted to stop by to say Hi but there was just not enough time in the day to make it work. We miss everyone and hopefully next time we come we will stay longer.

I can’t believe how many people mentioned to us how much they enjoy the blog. That really warmed our hearts to know you are reading it and getting a chuckle out of it. It gives us motivation to keep posting content.
Next up I am hoping to have Dony guest post about her 10 day adventure here. I am sure she has a lot to say about it, she said it really opened her eyes up in a lot of ways and I know she took a daily journal and got a lot of photos.
She went home a few days ago and I am getting over a severe bout of Montezumas Revenge that put me out for a several days so once I’m back on my feet we will be getting back into our normal Mexican routine. These Mexican sicknesses are no joke and I seem to be getting them all.

Please feel free to post any comments below if you have questions or suggestions.

Blog Credits:
Author- Brandi Paxton
Photography- Brandi & Johnathan Paxton


  1. I had a blast! The non stop eating was so much fun. It must have looked like I had been deprived of food too😂 because I ate so much!

  2. I love love LOVE hearing about your adventures, thank you for this blog! I was beyond thrilled to be able to share some laughs with you this trip. Chubby Bunny takes the cake! 😂 I hope you feel better soon and I eagerly look forward to your next post and next visit ❤️

  3. I love your blog too. You are such a great writer cousin. We loved seeing your gorgeous faces and am glad we got to spend some time with you. Hope to have you over next time. but no pressure. It’s only appropriate that you are so strapped and pressed for time here so that you appreciate your life in your new home even more.
    Love, Dawn, Michael and Ollie

    1. Thanks you for the compliments! I’m glad we got to spend some time together and I’m glad you enjoy the blog. We miss you guys!

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