We’re back from Jamaica and a deep depression has set in. A week was not enough in paradise, especially after planning it for so long.
The plane rides both went really well. Charlie is a born traveller! He hardly fussed at all, and had big sleeps both the way there are back. The most awkward part was being sat next to Cory’s groomsmen, and trying not to let Charlie play the ‘expose Mommy’s boob’ game.
After landing in Jamaica and getting our luggage (and Mike going back to get the stroller that we almost left behind), we got on the bus. It took Abby awhile to decide that it was okay not to wear a seatbelt, and then we were off, driving through Montego Bay, passing the awesome resorts, and slums, on the way to the Gran Bahia Principe. It took about an hour and 20 minutes to get there, but it wasn’t that bad. We were excited, and it was nice being with family.
When we checked in to the hotel, they met us with fancy fruit juice in the lobby, a really nice lady at the desk and an awesome bell hop (who had to go back to the lobby 3 times for us to get our key to work). We finally got in our room and then went to the buffet for something to eat.
The first day was overcast and rainy at times, but we still managed to go down to the ocean for all the kid’s first time sticking their feet in ocean water, and to the pool for a good swim. Bella discovered she loves waterwings (even wore them to the lobby bar afterwards), and Grumpa managed to still get a sunburn and overheated in the overcast, rainy weather.
We spent the next 3 days beaching it in the morning, having lunch and a nap, and then hitting the pool. It was awesome. Well except the brutal sunburn Abby got on Sunday – the first day of sun. On Monday Gramma bought the girls t-shirts, and they wore them the rest of the week while swimming. Mike and I managed to do a little snorkling, just off the main beach, but it wasn’t that great.
The nights were filled with dancing and fancy drinks (for the girls too!). Almost every night, there was a Kid’s Disco – where the girls got to perform. One night was a fiasco, because the girls actually didn’t nap that day, and when Musical chairs started, Bella didn’t want to play, and Abby cheated. Tears ensued, and we hauled them off to bed. The next night was a ‘talent show’. The kids got to choose – on the spot – what they were going to do. Abby went first, with a fantastic dance number, and then it was Bella’s turn. All eyes were on her. The lady asked her her name, and asked her what she was going to do. I held my breath. Would she start crying? Would she dance like her sister? Then finally, she said, “Sing”. WHAT?!?! She’s going to WHAT?!?! Then she opened her mouth and started, “if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”. My heart melted. She was so sweet up there. She looked at me – I was overcome with shock, pride and tearing up – and got flustered with the words. But that was okay. She did it. And I was so freaking proud of her!
On the last night we were there, the Kid’s Disco was at the pool party – complete with Raggae dance lessons. At the end of the lesson, the kids got to lead the group, one by one. Same scenario. Abby went, and was awesome of course, and then little Bella went and stole the show (sorry Abby). The girl MC-ing it was speechless at the end. It’s all on video!
The wedding was on Wednesday and was amazing. It was beautiful, Chelsey was beautiful and all my babies were beautiful – the girls were amazing flowergirls, and Charlie looked dapper in his tie and matching hat & shoes. The steel drum band was a perfect addition to the amazing ceremony, and the petal-throwing walk down the super long aisle went off without a hitch. They walked nice and slow…which was actually a little like torture, as it was about 36 degrees and all the guests were standing in the sun.
The minister sounded just like Barry White when he spoke (a Jamaican Barry White), which made me have to concentrate very hard to get Barry White songs out of my head and listen to the vows. And, it made the Bride and Groom pick up a little bit of a Jamaican accent while reciting their vows, as they took ‘repeat after me’, very literally at times.
Other than that, it was all just fantastic. Loved the pool, the swim-up bar & the “Dirty Monkeys”. Abby saw lots of lizards, a couple crabs, a snail, mussels and hermit crabs so she was thrilled. Right after she saw the snail and the first crab she said, “this is the best day of my life!”. The food wasn’t bad – in my opinion. Grumpa wasn’t a fan of the buffet most times, although we discovered the lunch was great and some dinners were better than others. I didn’t mind it. It was so huge that there was a lot to choose from. Dad just wanted hot potatoes, which became a huge joke after awhile. We went to the Japanese restaurant the last night, and after Bella’s birthday experience at Japanese Village, we were a little scared, but she did well. She knew what to expect, and that’s the trick with Bella!
Banff used to be where Mike and I spent romantic weekends away from the girls. Now that Charlie is here (and nursing), we decided to take a last minute, whirlwind trip there and take the kids this time.
It was Abby’s idea actually, she had been asking to go to the mountains, so we thought, why not? Mom had given us a one night stay at a hotel in Banff of our choice for Christmas last year, so I okayed it with her and away we went!
We stayed in a loft suite at the Douglas Fir Resort, the same place I used to stay with my family when we went there when I was a kid. It was even more fun than I remember it! When we got there, we took the bus into town for dinner at the Keg (the girls were super excited for the bus ride!). When we got there, Charlie pooped, and we didn’t have any diapers (!!). Mike took off, and ran all the way to the only drugstore we knew of, only to find out when he returned that there was a Safeway across the street! lol.
We stopped at the candy store before catching the bus back, and the girls were like, well, kids in a candy store! Abby is very indecisive at the best of times, and it took a lot of convincing before she decided.
The next morning instead of wasting time and going for breakfast, Mike just went down to the grocery store and bought a box of Fruit Loops. Then we went to the indoor playground, where we met up with an old friend I haven’t seen for years and her family. We hung around there for awhile, then hit the waterslides. Charlie was awesome, he slept the entire time we were in the pool, so I didn’t even have to get him changed into his trunks!
All in all, it was a very fun mini-vacay. We’d love to stay for two nights next time, and that will be our hotel of choice for the family for sure.