Last year we went to Disney World for the 2nd year in a row for a mid-winter vacation to escape Michigan winter blahs. By the end of the week, we were all kind of “meh” and ditched the parks on our last day and spent the day at the pool. Seriously the kids were stoked about that and said the next year they wanted to jus tho somewhere warm with a pool. Done.
So, I planned a trip to somewhere warm with a beach. Now… I love planning trips but I’m terrible with making decisions. It took me like a month to decide on a resort. i was looking at Dominican Republic, Punta Cana, Cancun area, Puerto Vallarta, Jamaica… all over. I finally decided on the resort that Ryan and I went to for our honeymoon. When we were there, 13 years ago, we had LOVED it. We said we’d come back on our 5 year anniversary with kids. (or maybe it was 10?) Anyhow… it never happened. So, I felt like we should go back because we loved the tropical, lush grounds, the sprawling pool, the kids club, the buffets. I’m sure most all-inclusives have pretty much the same stuff so we figured why not just go there again. We really didn’t want to go somewhere that felt like a “hotel” with a pool and concrete and just a few trees popped in here and there.
Iberostar Paraiso Beach it is.
DAY 1: THURSDAY
The short version:
-We’re always late
-Don’t board the plane first with kids
-This trip my kids were NOT good plane travelers (they really usually are!)
-Our flight ended in both Eloise and I crying
-I’m not sure the fantasy of traveling around the world with all 4 of my kids is as great in reality as it is in my head. Maybe we’ll get there at some point. (It’d probably be a hell of a lot easier if my kids were more like… 4, 6, 8 and 10….)
-We were all hangry and overly exhausted to the point of being crazy by the time we got to the resort around 3:30
-The resort is WAY bigger than I remember 13 years ago, sans 4 kids
-We need a map to navigate
-Our rooms are great. “Family Room” = 2 adjoining rooms. Perfect. (Though making me rethink our hotel plans for our next Disney trip)
-However, our room is on the 2nd floor with no elevator…. which is not convenient with a stroller (which is kind of necessary with how big the resort is)
-We almost got kicked out of the restaurant for having wet swimsuits on (we were desperate. It was food NOW or I eat my children’s heads off)
-The pool is flipping cold
-Afternoon is busy at the pool. Here’s to hoping tomorrow its not as busy in the morning. And maybe warmer?
-Although I feel like the size of the resort is huge and will be lots of walking to get anywhere… it’ll be nice to actually be walking around and exercising HAHA! Just a little inconvenient when you have to “run back to the room” or want to do anything quickly.
-Bottom line though… we’re somewhere warm, the sun is shining and we’re all healthy and tomorrow is a new day.
The long version:
Our day started out EARLY… with Porter waking US up at 5am. What.The. Hell. If you know this kid, he’s super moody and crabby even when he’s had sleep, so all I could think was how shitty he’d be by mid morning with zero sleep. Anyhow, we got up, got ready, and my mom was taking us to the airport. She’d stayed the night so she could drop us off. We left our house at 6:45… for an 8:45 flight. What the what. We should have left at 6 no doubt. We ran into tons of traffic and literally got to the airport at 7:30ish and had to be checked in by 8:42 for our flight or they’d lock us out. The curb side check guys stood and talked while our family stood there waiting. Then we finally asked if they’d check our bags and they were like “Oh sure!” WTF. Turns out Eloise not having a seat on the flight was an issue so we had to go inside. The lady inside was taking her sweet time and chatting it up with us and I finally had to tell her we had like 2 minutes to get checked in. We made it to our gate, thank goodness, with time to spare.
The flight felt like it was 8 hours long. Ryan jumped in line when they called families with kids so we were like the first people on the offing plane at 8:10. Then, we had to de-ice so we sat on the runway for awhile. We didn’t take off until 9:15 or so. So we’d been on the plane for an hour before even taking off! Amelia could not be content with anything she had and was asking for something different every 5 minutes. She got a new little “blind bag” pony toy… but then it was can I watch a movie. Can I have a snack. Can I get a drink. Can i have my gum. Can I have the earphones….
Eloise… ohhhhh lord. This girl. She was fine for about half an hour into the flight and then it turned south. Let’s just say that she was overtired, discontent and she head butted my chin about 5 times, the last time she made me bite my tongue so hard it bled and the flight ended with both Eloise and I crying.
Once we were off, it was oh 1pm… and no one had eaten a real meal yet for the day… we’d had toast or a banana or snacks on the plane but nothing to really fill our stomachs. Everyone was hungry and tired and whiny. They didn’t have our immigration forms on the plane to fill out so we had to fill out all 6 forms after we got off the plane (aka: more waiting for the kids to do) then wait in line for immigration, then wait in line for customs. By this point Amelia was hopped up and hyper from exhaustion, and Porter was just being… Porter… and Hudson was whining and Eloise was screaming/whining/fussing. I kept trying to remind myself that this was a dream of mine… to travel with all 4 of my kids… to explore the world with them… that a few years ago I’d have only dreamt of taking this trip with our children. That this was a PRIVILEGE. We were LUCKY to have such drama. But, in the moment obviously its not that fun.
More waiting as we waited for our private transportation to get to the hotel (by this point Eloise has passed out. Thank the Lord!). Fun Jet Vacations… stellar. Hooked us up with a sweet ride to the resort, including carseats for the girls.
By the time we got to the resort Porter and Amelia couldn’t stop screaming “Coconuts” and wouldn’t shut up about wanting to grab one from the tree and stick a straw in it. I literally had to tell them to SHUT UP and not say the word coconut AGAIN. Obnoxious. We got our room, and decided to walk to it since we’d been sitting for EVER all day. The resort is huge.. and we were put in building 32. The closest building to the lobby/restaurants is building 42… the closest building to the ocean is 30. So… we had a ways to walk. 7 minutes is what the guy told us. So, we walked.
Turns out we’re on the 2nd floor of the building (they’re 3 floors). No elevator. Fine. We only have an umbrella stroller so we’ll suck it up. However, after having to run back to the room a few times during the day with the stroller we realized it is SO inconventient. Whatever.
Our rooms are great… we have 2 adjoining rooms, which are what Iberostar calls their “Family Room.” One room has a king bed, one has 2 double beds. We typically split up to girls rooms/boys rooms. It just works best for us splitting the kids up.
Despite not eating, they couldn’t shut up about the pool so we threw on suits, lathered up in sunscreen (I’m being anal this week b/c I had a scary mole check the other day and have to have a mole biopsied as soon as we return from this trip), and ryan read that we could order food from the pool bar. Sweet. We’ll go down and swim and order food.
We walk to the pool and realize… its crowded! Like… no seats anywhere. Its a huge pool so we just keep walking around to different branches of this ginormous pool (literally its like 5 pools connected by lazy river type channels). We finally find a quiet pool way down towards the end. The kids jump in and I’m like… where do we get towels. Where is food. I forgot the floaties and goggles in the room. How do we order food. I need a map of this damn place!
I went looking for a map or something and run into a lady who sees me looking lost. I ask her where food is. I tell her we haven’t eaten since 6am and I’m about to eat my children alive. She points us in a direction so I thank her and bark at my family to move.
We find the restaurant and go in. Turns out we can’t go in with wet suits. Oops. So Ryan and the boys had to leave and go find the towels.
We spent more time at the pool after eating, but Ry and I didn’t really get in. The water was SO COLD. It was about 5:30pm and the sun was not overhead so I’m hoping that tomorrow it’ll feel warmer!
Around 6:30 we showered and went to find the lobby and a map and to order a crib for Lulu. We went to a buffet restaurant and the kids were just exhausted. Hudson was overwhelmed with food choices and everything seemed strange to him so he sat and silently cried with 2 slices of watermelon on his plate. We finally got them all to eat, let them pick out dessert and they were happy little fools. ON our way back we stopped at the theater and watched the kids club dance and sing. Everyone was exhausted so we didn’t stay long.
Bedtime. AHH I write this at 10:30pm after trying to get Eloise to sleep for a freaking hour and a half. Us girls are in the king bed. Eloise wanted to sleep in the middle with Amelia and I so I decided we’d try it. Amelia complained about 30 times about this arrangement “See this is why I don’t want to sleep with a baby” “See this is why I want to sleep with the boys” “See this is why she should sleep in her crib” OMGGGG. I was just exhausted and wanted to fall asleep. I dozed off a bit but then was open by Lulu who kept tossing and kicking me and sitting up and flopping around. I spent 20 minutes firmly telling her to STOp every time she move and did something. She FINALLY passed out. HOLY HELL. All I could think was… I’m canceling the damn Disney trip I have planned of the fall. We were going to attempt to stay in the Polynesian in a room with 2 queen beds and a twin couch… and a crib for lulu (this would be the last year we can pull this off at the Poly b/c Lu will be under 3 yrs old)… but SHIT there is no way we’re going to survive long days at Disney, overtired people…and then having to all be in the same room and try to get kids to sleep?? OH MY WORD I don’t know!!!!