Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010

Our trip to Jamaica was something really special. We probably would never have gone there if it weren't for my work sending us, so we made the most of it and WOW, what an amazing time we had. You know you've done something great with your family when it seems as though you were in a completely different world and time. What did we do? Mainly stayed close together enjoying the pool and being pampered by the staff at the Ritz. Jamaica was suffering "civil unrest" at the time, and were were advised to not leave the property. This made for a great reason to really just "be" together--I'm so glad for that. Dania is getting ready to leave for school in one year and I always wonder how many more of these times we will get, all together. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the 8 dreamy days we were there.

Time spent with my kids was amazing. I love being home with them on a day-to-day basis, we certainly have a lot of great home days. But going away seems to add the perfect accent to those memories. I loved that we had no cell phones while we were away. No texting or competing with calls or reminders of the real world. Our focus was just time together and boy did we make the most of it! Benny was passed around a lot, but I usually got him when he was tired and/or hungry. I don't mind. What better place to comfort a baby than in paradise?
My favorite times with the girls were kayaking and going on our rain run. It was POURING outside, but really, it was like liquid sunshine. The water was actually VERY warm! The girls stomped in puddles (we were all running barefoot) and I just kept it steadily moving forward, trying not to get swept away in the rivers of warm water. That is by far the best run I have ever been on. Barefoot, warm, great company, Heaven, excitement!

The girls had a few times where they could just enjoy the resort together. I love to see them as friends as much as they are sisters. Tori makes Dania laugh and Dania always has an entertaining story. It was even nice to just see the two of them resting by the pool with a book and a smoothie. Could life get any better?

The kids in general really played hard. Benny especially was running way beyond his normal routine. He was pretty exhausted by the end of the day, but so were the girls. They usually caught a nap in the middle of the day (during the hot sun hours) sometimes all on the same bed! There was no shortage of things to do or places to explore. We went sailing and kayaking, swimming and snorkeling, running and walking, and shopping and roaming, and soaking up the sun wherever we were.
Ya mon! Naps were a critical part of our trip. The heat and humidity was very draining, since the week we left home, it snowed enough to break trees in half! We needed some time to acclimate to the area. Now that we are back to the mountain hot/cold weather, I miss our warm blanket that surrounded us in Jamaica.

I have to give Dania credit right away. She was our official photographer of the trip, and she did an excellent job capturing everything from the big fun events to the small Jamaican insects. She was fun to watch as she explored the grounds looking for a beautiful image to save--and she found a LOT! Dania had a good time generally soaking up the lap of luxury here, before she left the next week for her 2 1/2 week "service mission" to Fiji where she would be digging toilets. Benny seemed to want to make up for lost time with Dania--she's been so busy with school and activities, he didn't see her much during the school year. This trip made up for that!


Dave and Benny were a great pair in the pool from the first hour we got there. The two of them are really water buddies and Benny learned to jump into the pool, whether any of us were ready to catch him or not! This pool was a kind of healing spot for us. We all went there to rest and recover from a long year of hard work. We had many lunches, smoothies, and treats poolside, and quickly grew to feel at home there. I miss it already.

Tori was probably one of the more excited family members to go on this trip, and contributed a lot--especially at the pool and beaches. Benny liked walking in the sand with her and she was happy to take him. We were all a little disappointed that we couldn't see more of the country, but all things considered it was good we got to see what we did. I loved watching Tori listening to the staff at the hotel, with their strong Jamaican accents. I think she had a hard time understanding them, but from time to time I could see her connecting with them. I could really see her traveling the world some day--she is a natural and really seems in her element when she's out exploring. I hope she can do more of it sometime soon.

The first night we were there, the girls were really tired from the long day traveling so weren't feeling hungry for dinner. Dave and I, however, were ready to check out "Horizons"--the restaurant at the hotel; Dania and Tori crashed in the hotel room. The food was fabulous, and matched the service as well. Benny fell asleep in Dave's arms, so the staff created a bed out of two chairs, a pillow, and a tablecloth. Dave and I had an amazing night together just enjoying eating outside, listening to the waves in the distance, and having some peace and quiet--just the two of us.
Bliss. All in all the trip was something we will never forget. More than the beauty of the island, the service of the staff, the poolside therapy, or the fabulous food, I enjoyed being close to my family with no outside distractions. Thanks PARAGON, you made our year!