fatz 4 go to mexico

(shakey didn’t go (sadly) so i’m counting the fatz in utero to round out the 4).

this year’s trip was to the mayan riviera.. a very kid-friendly, all-inclusive resort called azul beach. we were lucky enough to have our friends the patons there to join us for a week of fun in the sun.

the trip started in the wee hours of superbowl sunday. a car picked us up for the ride to the airport at 4:15am. we scooped dane out of bed and put him in the car in his jammies. he woke right up, of course, but was such a trooper for the whole morning. despite the super early flight, the airport was already jammed with long lines of bostonians in patriots jerseys eager to get the hell out of boston.

our flight was delayed which felt like the end of the world at the time because we had a tight lay-over and… superbowl sunday. but we made our connecting flight – just barely. it was a huge jet and we had a whole row of 4 seats to ourselves where dane was able to sprawl out and take a heavenly nap.

we got to the resort in the early afternoon (a really quick van ride from the cancun airport), ordered room service, swam in the pool and did a whole lot of nothing until the big game. we were so nervous and excited and i was just stupid happy about this vacation and life. it also happened to be my birthday. we ate birthday cake and i drank a whole beer. it was seriously heaven at this point.

it was so nice to have dane a bit more independent on this trip. it was much easier to sneak in some reading and laying in the sun (compared to our past trips when he was one and just barely two… wobbly and in diapers). having his buddy chase there with us especially helped. this was their set-up for the first half of the super bowl.. some snacks and daniel tiger and they barely made a peep.

this was my photo (“en vivo!”) to commemorate the INSANE final minutes of this game.  i SO wish i had the camera out for mike’s dance after the butler interception (picture the grape-vine across the room with arms flailing).

our team won the superbowl!!!! oh man.

the next few days we just vacationed our little hearts out. the weather was perfect and we loved the resort.

alicha brought these two little water squirters and the boys were so cute parading around and squirting each other (and us) then running back to the showers to fill them up again.

these big cabanas were perfect for a long morning at the beach (you had to sign up for one at 3pm sharp the day before but it was totally worth it). we tried so hard to get dane to nap in it, but it wasn’t happening. the swim-up pool room was so nice to have during nap time. if you ever go here, GET a swim up room.

we had a million green smoothies from the juice bar. they were so good!

dane made that little bracelet on the beach and wore it the whole week [cuteness overload]. they had “kids club” workers walking around the resort each day with little activities for kids.

these loungey swings were in a central area called aquanox. this became our little home-base where we hung out before or after dinner or before meeting up with the patons.

fond memories of this spot! sigh.

the resort was so clean and beautiful. there was plenty to do and see but it was small enough to easily get anywhere with short legs.

the only real negative was the seaweed and the mushy ocean floor. there were guys with rakes and tractors every morning clearing away the seaweed,  but even in a clear area it was a bit unpleasant walking into the ocean water. i prefer swimming in the ocean and spending more time on the beach than at the pool, so this may be a deal-breaker for me in terms of going back here.

despite the weedy shore line, i still would totally recommend this resort to anyone traveling with small kids. they have everything you need here.. kid’s meals and toys at every restaurant, stools and kid-sized things everywhere. they provide cribs, bottle warmers, changing tables, little bathrobes, strollers, floats, and sand toys galore.

can you even stand these two in their lounge chairs?

and dane, who squealed and panicked the first time we got in the pool together, turned into a little fish in no time. insisted on only swimming “all by himself!”

this whole pool was 2 feet deep!

the patons left wednesday which gave us thursday and friday to ourselves. the weather clouded up a bit the last couple days with some passing showers, but we were able to get plenty of sun in between rain storms.

una leche por favor!

i think what i will remember most about this trip was how much dane was part of the fun and such awesome company. instead of just being along for the ride he would weigh in on what he wanted to do and we could see him get excited about the different fun activities and play time. i’m just so lucky.

little things like not worrying about cooking dinner or cleaning up after meals were SO NICE for me, personally. i think all-inclusives are the way to go with young kids. they seriously give you a BREAK.

the views during those meals weren’t half bad either!

just one of the many daney faces…

these pictures are from our last morning of the trip. we woke up early and came right down to the beach. the sun was sparkling on the water and there was hardly anyone around. it was so nice and bittersweet.

we were all so happy here. it was so awesome spending these long days together without rushing into the car or folding laundry/washing dishes while urging dane to entertain himself. there was this one night late in the week where it was really hard to get him to sleep and i felt a little run-down the next day… but aside from that, he was pretty perfect with naps and sleeping in his little crib and our daily routines. he didn’t even put up much of a fight with the sunscreen which was a refreshing change.

being pregnant at an all-inclusive resort… not ideal. i mean, you could jump off our balcony and swim up to a bar for crying out loud. i had a few virgin sugary drinks and some sips of beer and it honestly wasn’t as torturous as i might have thought. no hangovers was of course a positive. i was about 24 weeks at the time which i think is the ideal amount of pregnant for a trip like this.

oh so there were these big pelicans and mike was so into them. i had to delete like 40 pelican pictures off the camera (sorry mike – here you go, this was the best one).

due to some annoying flight changes, we had a really long lay-over in miami on our way home. but again, dane was so good and fun and we made the best of it.

i never went on family vacations growing up, so i love that dane will be able to look back on all these trips and experiences when he’s older. sure this money could have been spent a  million other ways, but life is so short… i can’t believe there will be a new family member on our next vacation(!) and i’m really glad we squeezed in this last special get-away as a family of 3.