Early morning on February 1st we packed up and headed out on our first family vacation since OBX in August 2012. This winter has seemed painfully long with subzero temps and snow (and more snow) causing school closings during already long holiday weekends. Our home was starting to feel more like a prison were we were hunkering down from our winter inflicted time-outs.
Thankfully we had this trip planned which gave us something to look forward to. The impetus for going was a CME course for Royce, the classes were relevant and the location perfect. We stayed at the Beaches Resort which is an all inclusive family friendly resort. This resort had it all…pools too many to count, a good variety of restaurants, large spacious rooms (with a door to separate us from the kids!), a kids camp, and of course the ocean with its clear blue water and sand.
Royce had classes each morning except Wednesday. We split our time between the pool and the beach in the mornings and the pool and enormous hot-tubs in the evening. It got a bit cool when the sun went down hence the reason for why we needed to play in the hot tub. The first time Syd went in she said “its like taking a bath with all your friends!”. After lunch each day we hunkered down for nap time which was needed after long mornings in the sun. I put the kids in camp a few days, but not as often as I thought I would…I just felt too guilty about it (and I’m not one to really feel much guilt about alone time!). Syd ended up going 2 days and Ingrid went 2.5 days so that Syd and I could spend a morning together at the beach. One of the days the kids were in camp Royce and I went out for a snorkling trip which was amazing in these clear blue waters! Supposedly this is a great dive destination but neither of us are dive-certified so we just stuck with snorkeling this time around. We saw many colorful fish, a turtle and beautiful reefs.
The resort was really kid friendly and had a strong Sesame Street theme throughout the kids camp and everywhere really. You would be sitting on the beach and the next thing you know Cookie Monster showed up! I think Syd enjoyed it and even though Ingrid doesn’t watch much TV yet she still seemed to identify some of the characters. The staff was also really nice and patient with the kids which was nice. Most of the people there had young children so this is likely status-quo for them…not to mention its what they advertise!
I’ll never say that traveling with kids is relaxing. Its really nothing more than a change of scenery (and this scenery was beautiful!) and sometimes can be harder work than just staying at home. We had our ups and downs that is for sure. It seemed one kid was cranky or upset at any given time. Thankfully this location didn’t incur any time zone changes so all we had to deal with was lack of familiarity when it came to sleep. Ingrid had a decent but wobbly crib and Syd had quite the large day-bed which also served as the suites sofa. After one night the girls had it down though and trips like this make me very grateful they share a room at home since they will almost always share a room when we travel.
I think the best thing about the vacation other than the sun on my skin was being disconnected from everything. My iPhone was nothing but a camera since I had no cellar signal and the resort wi-fi was $$$$$. It was nice to go off the grid for a while. No email, no texts, no Facebook nothing. Just me and my thoughts, my family and some books. I didn’t even bother to bring my work blackberry with me!
Syd loved the ocean and enjoyed running around the beach and into the waves. She is still pretty hesitant when it comes to swimming and getting her head and face wet but I’m hoping after our small-group private lessons this winter she will be swimming like a big-kid this summer. She was doing pretty good toward the end of the trip and even was able to float and kick on her own in the ocean with a life vest! Ingrid did OK at both locations but mostly ate sand, yelled “MINE” and enjoyed her snack time. Both girls loved the endless supply of strawberry banana smoothie drinks from the bar (and Mom and Dad enjoyed theirs with some rum in them!)
This trip definitely has me longing for summer and our return to our neighborhood pool. I miss the evenings there with our friends and the days spent there over the weekend. I also manage to fit in a decent amount of alone pool-time during my work-from-home Friday’s if my work schedule allows it with no meetings and a stack of reading. Considering we are currently buried in 12 inches of snow I think that summer is a long ways off. I tried to speed it up by ordering some more yarn to knit another scarf…I figured spring will come early if I start another winter project. 🙂
More photos from our trip are on Flickr.