We just returned from a weeklong vacation in the Riviera Maya. We took the boys and my parents and best friend along with her boyfriend met us as well. It was a fun, exhausting week of travel with two little ones.
First, packing for a family of four involved five pieces of luggage for a week, not including our carry on back packs! As usual, I over packed for all of us, except my hubby, he’s on his own. I don’t have the brain power to pack for myself and the two boys and the hubs, so sorry, not sorry? Traveling with a toddler, who sleeps with 14 monster trucks every night, and is still in diapers proves to be challenging and takes a carry on for the select few trucks we let him bring with us and the day time diapers, night-time diapers and the swim diapers! Can I just get this kid potty trained yet? That would eliminate one piece of luggage. Then we have the seven month old who needs bottles, formula, diapers, food packs, oat cereal and the list goes on. While packing up all of our belongings, I was thinking “why are we doing this again? Wouldn’t it be easier to stay home with all this shit (for lack of a better word)?” After I thought I had everything packed up, we decided at 11pm the night before our 8am flight to weigh the luggage. While this was a good idea, because the piece of luggage with the food packs, was 56lbs, it also kept us up for the next hour or so figuring out how to make it all work so the luggage was under 50lbs. So, it was time for food pack tetris, as my hubby called it. The packs of food we had to bring for a week weighed ten pounds by itself! We had to pack them into three separate zip lock bags and sneak them into the lotus crib we brought. (The resort provided cribs, but we brought our smaller one to use during the day for Lil E to play in while we were getting ready or needed to contain him). Again, why didn’t we just choose to stay home?
Once we finally made it to the resort, all worries subside, or so I think. I went into this “vacation” with relatively low expectations. I knew that this week was going to be more for the kids than us. While we were with my parents, this was their vacation too and they enjoy themselves at the pool with cocktails as much as we do. I’ve never been one to ask for much help because I just assume my kids are my responsibility, so why should I have someone else taking care of them. Yes, I know my parents would do anything for them and loved spending every minute with them, but lets face it, they are two and seven months and they are exhausting. I know, I’m with them all day, every day. But, we forged onward and everyone had a fun time.
Let me tell you why I love any resort that is 1. all-inclusive and 2. has an apartment like setting. All-inclusive is my jam. Drinks and food are prepaid, making it so easy for these parents to keep ourselves and the kiddo happy. Who doesn’t love room service every morning for breakfast? AJ is now a huge fan or room service. Luckily for him, he has built-in room service everyday. So, maybe that wasn’t that much of an exciting moment as it is for me. A few days in, we realized we also needed to “order in” for AJ so he could have dinner before we did. This kept him happy while we dined out. He could still enjoy some of the food and the occasional dessert we were eating, too. We love our cocktails and we were still able to enjoy those as well; not like we used to. This was more low-key cocktails at the pool than we were previously used to in our kid-free day.
I loved having two bedrooms with a kitchen and a balcony. Having the two kids, made it nice to keep us and them separate at night. However, we realized the reason we keep them in separate rooms at home. Normally when Lil E cries at night, we let him try to cry himself back to sleep for about ten minutes. We were so worried he would wake AJ since they shared the second room, we were constantly trying to check on him or I brought him to bed with us after a few minutes of crying, not something I normally like to do, personal preference. Having the full kitchen was nice, not that either of us cooked anything, but if we wanted to we could. It was nice having the space to store the ten pounds of baby food we brought. I’m a huge fan of balconies, and this did not disappoint. The first full day we had a thunder-storm roll in, so we sat on the covered balcony and listened to the music of the sky.
The first few days began early and we found ourselves at the pool around 10AM and we were there with the little fishies until the later afternoon where we thought naps should be happening. Low and behold, Lil E did great with stroller naps, however AJ was not having it with a nap for the first couple days. He was too hopped up on pool water to care about sleeping, ever! I will say he slept mighty good at night though and that’s all I cared about. We repeated this daily until we left. A little pool time, then lunch by the pool, then back to the pool, then up for a nap, or more or less quiet time before we headed out for dinner.
My bestie and her boyfriend were able to take some time and explored Playa del Carmen and had a day at XelHa. The hubby and I would have loved so much to do those things, but the littles held us back. Could we have left them with my parents or taken them with us, probably, but the thought of dealing with preparing to leave and the actual act of leaving made us feel even more exhausted. I think both boys are still too young for any kind of sightseeing at this point, especially if it doesn’t interest them. Besides, who was going to aruge with the two-year old about leaving the pool so mom and dad could go shopping? I wasn’t going to. XelHa is fun, I’ve been there, but the thought of bringing them and then taking bottles and diapers and food and missing naps just made it not worth going. Those places will always be there to visit so maybe someday we can take them back, when they are older.
We did get a couple of hours to ourselves, which was much deserved and much-needed. Nick and I spent one dinner alone and one dinner with our friends. We also had a spa date the night before we left for 90 minutes! Anything spa related is also my jam. It was nice to have a few hours alone and to interact with other adults. Some days I forget that I’m in my mid thirties and not a toddler. When I get around other adults, I wonder if I can even communicate anymore!
Not only did our vacation fall during Mother’s Day it fell during the anniversary of our engagement, five years ago and the anniversary of our Cancun wedding, four years ago. It was fun to be there during those special times, especially since we were married in the area and then returned with our two love children. We were hoping to make a pit stop to the place we said I Do, but decided to hold off. We plan to go back and visit when the boys are older.
The resort had photographers taking photos daily, so we thought a quick photo shoot with us and the grand’s was a fun idea. It didn’t cost anything, only to buy the photos, so we thought, why not? We rethought that idea when it was the hottest time of day and we were fully clothed at the beach. But, there was no way I was going to take family pics in our swimwear, so we sucked it up for 20 minutes and smiled through the sweat. They ended up turning out pretty cute so we bought a few pictures to remember our trip. I’m glad we did it on this trip because it was Mother’s Day and our anniversary so aside from our phone photos we have some cute family ones to hang and will serve as a fun memory from our first vacation as a family of four.
In the end, it was a fun time with family and friends. But, it was the most exhausting week of our lives. We spent the two days after we got back in our jammies, thanks to the rain we had here in the Arb. Staying home and keeping our routine would have been so much easier, but I’m not one to shy away from a beach vacation. We learn something new every time we travel with the babes and hopefully each time it will get better. I think traveling with them early sets them up to be successful the more they are on a plane or in new places. AJ already has a love for planes and enjoys going on them now. It makes it more difficult on us, but seeing the smile on their faces, having the time of their little lives makes it worth it. So much so, that I’m already trying to figure out what big trip we will take next year. Leave me your ideas on a great family vacation below or thoughts on traveling with the littles!!
Cheers to traveling!