I really want to recap our amazing/magical/perfect/want-to-go-back-immediately trip to Mexico, even though I am sure these posts will be a major undertaking and not terribly 'popular' for the general public. But I took tons of pictures (shocking!!) and want to relive the memories, so here goes nothing.
Last Memorial Day weekend, Erin and Ben visited us from Minnesota. One of the things on our agenda for that weekend was 'Convince Ben to Agree Upon a Tropical, Winter Vacation.' Erin and I had been emailing about this dream of going on a trip to somewhere with a beach, hot weather, and without our beloved children (i.e. NO RESPONSIBILITIES, ultimate relaxation possible). We somehow succeeded at convincing Ben and Nate was already all over the idea. But of course, I was still quite pregnant with Porter and we wanted to wait until he was born to make the trip officially official. I admit, the idea of leaving my then unborn baby when he would be approximately eight months, along with his two older siblings seemed like it would be a monumental feat. I've only been away from Truman maybe a total of 6 nights ever in his five years of life, away from Cecelia just 2 nights that I can recall, and I dreaded the idea of pumping for the entire trip while away from baby Porter (ha, no worries, Julia of last year!). But I knew that if this winter was anything like last winter, we would be in serious need of a kid-free vacation to warmer weather. And so I started talking myself up to be brave, leave the children for a few nights with very capable and willing grandparents, and enjoy the heck out of our time away.
My requests for the trip: 1. To be towards the end of winter, to allow for Porter to be as 'old' as possible and hopefully sleeping through the night (yes, good call, CHECK). 2. Somewhere with a beach and HOT weather, not likely to be raining constantly. 3. Direct flight from Milwaukee (not quite achieved, but still okay). We considered Florida but the weather isn't always a guarantee for 80+ temps and very little rain. We figured Mexico would be a great option and one that is relatively inexpensive when compared to islands in the Caribbean. Nate really wanted to stay on the Gulf/Caribbean side if possible because he thinks the beaches are nicer compared to the Pacific side. We didn't want to do an All-Inclusive because we wanted to eat at different restaurants and explore a little more than feeling restricted to one resort. Erin did all of the planning and research for the trip, and found us a privately owned condo on the island of Isla Mujeres, which is a 20 minute ferry ride from Cancun, Mexico. YES, PLEASE. It ended up being the perfect location, perfect weather, and easy travel. Really, truly, magical.
We booked our Nautibeach condo in September and got plane tickets shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, Milwaukee didn't have any direct flights to Cancun except for on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so we ended up flying in and out of Chicago, Midway. Not a huge deal since we drove the two hours down there the night before our early morning flight, and stayed in a cheap hotel near the airport. Definitely worth it to have a direct flight!
On Wednesday, March 11 my mom flew in from Colorado around 2pm. My dad was also supposed to come but he had the flu and ended up staying home miserable, and muttering truths like 'I NEVER get sick' while wishing he was a part of the babysitting crew. Tony and Lois were also very active parts of childcare while we were gone, so three grandparents to three children ended up being a very good ratio of adults to kids;) Mom got in that afternoon, we ate dinner, Nate got home from work, we put the kids to bed, and then Nate and I immediately drove to Chicago. So I didn't get to see mom much before we left, but I did manage to type up a four page instruction sheet to make me feel better about someone else being in charge of my children for days on end;) #controlfreak #leavingthreekidsishard #don'trockthebabytosleepPLEASE
DAY ONE: Thursday, March 12
Our flight was at 7:00 am, so we woke up at (the ungodly time of) 4:00 am in our hotel room by the airport, parked our car in one of the economy lots (only $15 per day, I thought it would have been a lot more expensive!), and blew through ticketing and security in no time. The morning was so early and I was kind of nervous/amped up about the trip, and I didn't feel all that great. I'm sure I was also overanalyzing every breath since I knew my mom had been exposed to my dad, who was pretty sick. I was extra worried about one of the kids getting sick while we were gone, or mom coming down with whatever dad had---mostly I was a head case about any and all germs. After our McDonalds breakfast, some coffee, and boarding the plane to paradise I somehow pulled through and felt much better once we were on our way to this vacation we had been planning for almost a year!
The flight was four hours long but it went by really quickly with Southwest's free TV, my laptop for working on Porter's eight month post, and a bit of the book I downloaded for Lois' Kindle (Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan---haven't read a book in years, and didn't even finish this one but it's good so far!). We landed, went through customs and got our checked bags, and walked to the end of the airport when we saw Ben and Erin. We were outside at this point and it was ridiculously hot and humid, which was much appreciated because we weren't in Wisconsin anymore, baby! Ben and Nate had a beer or two from the vendor outside of the airport while Erin and I had some water and we all discussed the logistics of getting to our condo. Erin and Ben had already reserved a shuttle from the airport to the ferry dock, so we found our driver and took in the scenes of Cancun while riding to the ferry. Once we got there (about 20 minutes or so), we saw that there was a fairly large line to get onto the ferry itself. But seeing the ocean and palm trees and feeling the sun on our skin made it seem like this was a real vacation instead of something we had just been talking about for so long.
I had to change clothes because I was dying in my yoga pants, hoodie and tennis shoes, the guys got some food, and us girls chugged more bottled water. We ended up getting onto the boat about an hour after we arrived to the ferry, and we were all pretty thrilled with the color of the ocean water. And our rock guitarist on the 20 minute ferry ride;)
He was really into singing Santana songs, and possibly one Guns-n-Roses tune. Entertainment!
Selfie with my big camera, because we are serious about documentation;)
We're on a boat!
We then walked from the ferry to our condo and I think we were all dripping in sweat at this point, extra-excited for the pool and ocean. The guys walked to the grocery store and apparently came back with many very heavy groceries that must have been a sight to see, as they hauled them back to our condo. Erin and I changed and went right to the beach. Snapped a selfie on the beach to mark the true beginning of vacation;)
Then we noted a small group of loud, topless girls in the water, shaking their coconuts and causing us to wonder if spring breakers *would*, in fact, be on our island and not just Cancun! Alas, we did not see anymore partiers the entire trip, and instead noticed many families with small children. I don't actually think there were too many kids at our resort but of course, like typical moms, we seemed to notice every single one of the little babes. Occasionally one of them would make me miss my own offspring until they began to melt down, cry, and give their parents general hell while vacationing. At that point I would simply take another sip of my adult beverage and soak in the non-parenting moments of our childless vacation. Love you kids! But mommy and daddy need time away sometimes, too.
Erin observing the once-topless girls who reapplied their bikini tops prior to this picture. Ah, different seasons of life.
The guys came back from the store and we all hung out at the pool for a bit. The flotation devices were KEY for maximal relaxation. I accidentally popped one of these babies with a stray bobby pin, too. Whoops!
Many-a-foot shots were taken on this trip. Be warned.
We attempted to find WiFi immediately upon stepping into our resort, but we quickly realized that the best signal would be on the patio of our condo. For internet junkies like us, this was a prominent location for out trip! (None of us took a single picture of the inside of our condo, but trust me when I say it was delightful).
Beloved patio of Internetting:
View from our patio, looking to the pool and past that, the ocean.
Such prettiness around our condo:
Palm Trees = NOT WISCONSIN
Then we Face-timed with the kids...
...got showered, and went out to dinner. Oh, and the boys and I began our love affairs with Pina Coladas before we left for dinner. Somehow they were able to concoct the most delicious, frozen, fruity drink ever and we may or may not have gone through nearly three bottles of rum during the trip. I blame that on the men for 80% of the consumption though. Poor Erin and her non-alcoholic vacation. We drank in her honor, obviously.
Had to take a few 'dressed up for dinner' pictures on the beach. Erin's belly is truly this adorable in person, FYI.
Parents vacationing on the beach. Watch out, Mexico!
Kind strangers took a few pictures of the four of us, many of which turned out really well!
Strolling the streets, looking for a place to chow.
We walked around the main street of Isla Mujeres (called Hidalgo Ave apparently, did not know this until I just read Erin's blog post about our first day) and eventually decided to eat at Lola Valentina for dinner. We started with guacamole and decided we would have to taste test guac at every dinner, and we were always quite satisfied with each version, every night. My pineapple ginger margarita and my flautas were both awesome for dinner. I like to think I'm fairly easy to please with food but I do not like anything remotely spicy, which can be a bit challenging in Mexico. But I avoided any of the burning-mouth-panicky sensations and found many tasty alternatives to breathing fire. Such as: badass margaritas.
And my 'flautas', I think there was chicken inside--not totally sure.
After dinner we walked home and hung out on the beach briefly before retiring to bed at an impressive 9:30pm. It was a long day of travel and we were all beat, so luckily our king sized beds turned out to be ridiculously comfortable. Although Porter is now sleeping through the night, getting uninterrupted sleep on a kid-free vacation was still especially wonderful. Because everything on vacation is wonderful, right?