Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SURPRISE!!! (Day Four)

We woke up Monday morning and Ry was feeling a wee bit energetic. I was content to sit on the balcony and read...but she wanted to swim. So, off she went, all alone in the pool at 8 am (she is a very strong swimmer and I watched her the entire time from our balcony) and plunged in!

Once we were all dressed for the day and looking quite...uh...classy...we headed to breakfast. By now, our "little" family was well known by the restaurants we frequented and our waiter, Carlos, was always quick to wave us over to his section.

Notice the Coke in Luke's lap. This vacation was the first and only time I have ever let my children have caffeinated beverages. (I can't speak for their father, but they know that is Mommy's rule.) They are hyper enough and they don't need any help! was vacation, after all. When is there a better time to break rules, if not on vacation? However, what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico. No more Coke (we don't drink a lot of soda anyway) now that we are home.
We spent the morning frolicking in the pools and then headed for a snack. (See? Again...not a lot of photos. I finally figured out how to be in the moment and put. the. damn. camera. down.)

I was happy to discover that I could still get my "green juice" at the resort. I believe the one pictured below was celery, spinach and cucumber. Who says you can't be healthy on vacation? (Would someone PLEASE alert my scale that I made attempts to be healthy on vacation?!?!) Luke, however, not so much. He became a piƱa colada addict and then...he discovered hot dogs wrapped in bacon. *slaps forehead* I kids do not eat like this in the States. Bek happily discovered seafood...but, I believe she came to the conclusion that the work to get the edible parts out of the shell wasn't worth it. (Crazy chick! Seafood, of any kind, is ALWAYS worth the work!)

After our lunch/snack/too much food, we dropped the kids off at the kids club. We had promised them that we would only be gone a few hours and only do it this one time, just so the adults could have some time to swim, without worrying that someone was drowning. (Little did we know that the three younger kids would LOVE it so much that they would beg to go back every day until we left!) We wanted to check out the adult only pool and figured this would be our only chance. "Adult Only"...sounds awesome, huh? Meh. We were bored and left after about 20 minutes. It was quiet and...boring. There was actually a lady just walking the pool...reading her book. Props to it being 50 Shades of Gray, at least. ;) We much preferred the people watching of the main pool and spent the rest of the afternoon there. When we picked the kids up, we discovered...they looked a little different...

For dinner that night, we went to a place that has a menu similar to Tepanyaki. I was super excited about the sushi and so were the kids! Well...some of them...

Avery, Peanut and Ry refused to touch the sushi and we already knew that Bay really loves it. Luke...he decided to give it a go, for the first time.

1. Dip in soy sauce.
2. Pose for picture.
3. Insert in mouth.
4. Contemplate.
5. IT'S GOOD!!
Cute girls!

After dinner, we had the pool to ourselves again, and we took full advantage! We knew that our days in Mexico were numbered and we weren't ready to say "hasta la vista" to the Barcelo Palace, yet!

(To be continued...)

Friday, June 14, 2013

SURPRISE!!! (Day Three)

We got ready for breakfast and encountered several people feeding the iguanas, on the way. They loved little bits of bread and would come scurrying out out the grass and plants to eat! There was a huge chess set off to the side of one of the pools and the kids thought it would be fun to pretend to be pieces. ;)

After breakfast we headed to the beach for a few hours. It was amazing, playing in the waves, laying in the sand and hearing the kids laugh. I will never forget the way they would giggle when a bigger than expected wave took them out, knocking them down. These few hours was exactly what I had pictured when I planned this trip. No stress. No worries. No responsibilities. Just the sand and the surf and laughter. 

We were all exhausted after a few hours, so we stopped by a beach side palapa for some snacks and then...wait for it...we went back to our rooms...and took. a. nap. :) Naps are unheard of, in my life. (Which, actually, I didn't nap. I read my book. But still...quiet time to read?!?!)

On this night we had reservations at the French restaurant. It was beautiful in there and the food was impeccable. I loved that the kids were willing to try foods that they never had before. 

Aren't we cute? :) And getting a wee bit sunburned! 

Upper left, then clockwise: Escargot, Mayan Coffee, Lobster Cappuccino and Chocolate Box
I tried the lobster cappuccino appetizer and it was super...fishy. Not what I expected at all. I loved the lobster chunks, but could have done without the broth. The Mayan Coffee was really, really strong, but good! Ryleigh tried beef wellington and loved it. (Bay's face in that photo is hilarious!)  Bek and Avery tried escargot...and actually liked it! Luke ordered ratatouille for dinner (thanks to the movie) and was disappointed to find out that it is just a plate of vegetables. But he ate most of it anyway. Avery tried lamb for dinner and really liked it, as well. 

After dinner that night, we went back to the pool until close to ten. We had most of the gigantic pool to ourselves and it was fun to snorkel in the dark, with just the underwater lights. We sure slept good, that night!

While looking back over this day, I was shocked with how little pictures I took. While I'm not posting every single photo I took the entire trip (I have close to 700!), there were not a lot of us playing; most of the pictures you see are when we are eating! Does that mean that all we did was eat the entire trip? Well, yes...but then I realized...there are minimal photos, because my kids were playing...and I was playing, too. I was in the sand and in the ocean and in the pool. I was too busy making worry about documenting them.  

"Never get so busy making a living...
that you forget to make a life."

To be continued...

Friday, June 7, 2013

SURPRISE!! (Day Two)

Day two, our first full day at the resort, we woke up to birds screaming outside our windows, at 7 am. So much for sleeping in on vacation...but we didn't care. We woke up in paradise and we wanted to enjoy every. single. minute. of it. After getting dressed, we all walked down to breakfast, enjoying our amazing view along the way.

Bay's tummy wasn't feeling too great, but everyone else sure enjoyed everything the breakfast buffet had to offer!

One of my favorite pictures of me and my two oldest. Where does the time go?

After breakfast we hit the pool! I have never seen a pool this large; it wrapped around a big chunk of the area between two buildings and had three bridges over it, to help maneuver from place to place. It was surrounded by lounge chairs, hammocks, lounge chairs in the water, palapas and had a swim up pool bar. 

While we were swimming, one of the scuba instructors, Adam, offered to give us all a short little lesson on scuba diving. None of us had been exposed to that before, so we were really excited to give it a try! Peanut was too little, sadly, to fit in the equipment, but she did great cheering us on! We paired off and started our lessons. Ry and Luke went first and they took to it like champs! I was shocked with how easy they made it look! 

When Ry and Luke were done, Bay and Avery had a turn. Once again, they suited up and swam away like pros!

Next, Bek and I got ready. Bek doesn't know how to swim...or even really float, for that matter, so I didn't know how she would do with this. Apparently, all the girl needs is a set of flippers! Personally, I was surprised with how easy it was to adapt to breathing under water. All I could hear was my own breath and it was incredibly relaxing. When we travel again, if time allows, I would LOVE to take the classes to become certified. (Which, I know that I can do here at home, but how awesome would it be to certify in the Caribbean???) It was amazing and I'm so glad that I tried it!

Originally, because Peanut was too little, Josh was going to sit out with her, but it ended up working out that I could just take her and Josh got a turn to try. Like me, he loved it and would love to certify one day.

Random pool pics
We decided to dry off and go have some lunch after scuba diving. Avery even tried muscles and LOVED them! I loved that the kids were able to try all sorts of different foods and drinks that we don't have on a typical day. Except for Peanut...that kid ate Jell-o at every single meal, the entire time we at the resort. I had no idea that the kid was so Jell-o deprived! 

After lunch, it was BEACH TIME! I absolutely adore the ocean and haven't been in one since our San Diego trip in 2009. I was long overdue for some waves and sand! The water was so warm, that it felt like bath water. The general consensus from the kids was that most of them liked the pool better. The waves caught them off guard one too many times and they didn't enjoy the taste of the salty water. Not this momma! I will always be an ocean loving girl!

The buildings throughout the resort were so interesting architecturally. Even though the kids complained a bit about walking, I loved walking through all the different areas, just checking things out. We even came across some coconuts!

Our evening meal was at the steakhouse restaurant. Poor Peanut was exhausted and fell asleep before her dinner came! We all agreed that the food was "meh" and the waiter was a jerk. He seemed irritated by the children (who were all acting completely appropriate) and really gave us some poor service. Thankfully, this was the only sub-par encounter that we had with food or the service, our entire time at the resort.

We went for a quick after dinner swim in the pool and headed to bed around 10 pm. It was hilarious trying to find English-speaking television stations that were playing family-friendly shows. Sometimes we would just give up and deal with the subtitles. :) Our first day in paradise had been a very busy, success!

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

SURPRISE!! (Day One)

On the second to last day of school, we picked up the kids and took them out to dinner. They had no idea that all day I had been doing this:

Nor did they know that for six months we had been planning a "little" vacation to here (in red):

Boy, was it fun to tell them!

The very next morning, we headed to the airport at 4:30 a.m. and left for a week! I discovered that I have some major anxiety when I fly...something I didn't know. I don't know if it's because my children were with me, or because of the extra turbulence due to the weather...but I really worked on my meditating skills during our flights! The children were great! We packed their bags with snacks, their electronics (DSi, Innotab, iPod), paper and colored pencils. I really thought they would be more scared of flying, but other than the need to check out the bathroom on every plane...they were pretty well behaved. Once we arrived in Cancun, we took a bus to Barcelo Maya Palace in Puerto Aventuras. It was about an hour drive and we were all super antsy to get to our resort. We kept passing other resorts that looked amazing, but once we saw ours...we knew we had made the right choice. 

Let me just take a minute to say that the driving in Mexico is like nothing else I have ever seen. Mix San Diego highways with downtown Boston, during rush hour, and you wouldn't even come close. It was complete insanity. The distance at which people drive from each other and how quickly they merge and pass, made all the adults cringe more than once. Our drivers never seemed phased, but I was instantly happy that we had paid for transportation for the entire week, rather than renting a vehicle and driving it ourselves!

We arrived at the Palace and were instantly blown away. The views, our rooms and the service was impeccable. We were a little frustrated at check in, because we did not get adjoining rooms, like we had requested several times over the four months since we had booked, however we quickly realized that we were going to spend so little time in our rooms, that it didn't matter.

We had been traveling for over 12 hours (with our layover) and we were starving by the time we checked in and got settled, so off to one of the restaurants we went. We met one waiter, Carlos, and he was the nicest man! He spoke Spanglish quite well and he got a kick out of our group. Every time we came in to that restaurant to eat, for the remainder of our trip, he always wanted us to sit in his section. (Maybe it was because we tipped the staff well?) I like to think it's because he liked watching our little circus. ;) The food at the resort was amazing! Anything you could think of to eat or drink, was at your disposal. The kids quickly learned how to order "Strawberry daiquiris, por favor" and appropriately said "Gracias!", when it arrived. :) After dinner, we took a stroll down to the beach, so the kids could dip their toes in the ocean, checked out the view from our balconies and tucked everyone in for the night.

To be continued...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ryleigh Roo!

Ten years ago today, I brought home a tiny little baby girl. I had brought home a tiny little baby girl before, but now...I knew things. I knew how much they cried. I knew how much of a mess they could make. I knew how many nights I would sleep in 15 minute spurts. 

I also knew how much a person, weighing less than a bowling ball, could change my life. I knew how hard I would fall in love and how wrapped around a tiny 2 inch pinkie finger, I could become. I knew that I would instantly give my life for this person, if needed and I knew that I would never ever be the same.

In the last ten years this child has amazed me. From potty training herself at fifteen months, to writing her name before she was three, to reading before she was seems there is nothing that this child cannot do...and do it well. In the last year she began gymnastics, quickly moved to the pre-competition team and just today began training on the competitive team. She will be beginning 5th grade in the fall and will be starting out in a 7th grade math class. She astounds me. She is still adamant about wanting to be an orthopedic surgeon when she grows up and I have no doubts that she will achieve this goal. 

First day of 4th grade.

My cute tiger!

Such a beautiful girl!

She was in absolute shock when she received "Rebekah", her first  American Girl  doll.
She just ordered "Julie" today, for her birthday. :)

Love this flexible kid! 

Crazy hair and sock day...looks like a picture out of a Dr. Seuss book! ;)

Gymnastics on a Mexican Caribbean beach.

I love you so much. You are such an amazing kid and I love watching you grow up. You have taught me so much about life and parenthood in these last ten years and I can't wait to see what the next ten years brings. Thank you for picking me to be your Mommy. I am the luckiest woman in the world!

Happy, happy birthday, sweetheart!