Colin’s mom, or “Grandma Tuki” as we like to call her, had a big birthday this year. I won’t divulge her exact age but let’s just say it was big enough to gather the entire family together to celebrate in Cancún, Mexico for one whole week.
We couldn’t take Jake and Joey, so they stayed behind at an Angels family’s home. I cannot impart to you the magnitude of loss and guilt I experienced leaving our two new babies behind, but there was nothing we could do about it. The trip was planned so long ago, we couldn’t miss it. At least we knew they were in good hands.
But we enjoyed time with family in such a beautiful location. It was a great opportunity to reunite and catch up with those that are too far away to see regularly. The following captures some snap shots of our trip.
Enjoy this condensed version of our fun-filled week!
Day 1: Travel Day to Cancún
It went just as you might expect an 8-hour, double layover travel day with two children to go: we were tired from the start. But the kids actually did pretty well. Maddie even slept on the plane. And at the end of the day we were dining with family, sipping our first virgin Piña Coladas.
Day 2: Church at the Cancún 1st Ward
Some of the more adventurous took the city bus to attend Sacrament Meeting that Sunday morning. The rest of us rode in the rental car. We sang hymns in Spanish with the good people of the non-touristy part of the city and remembered that the Gospel is true no matter where you are in the world.
Day 3: Pool Day and Spa Day (part 1) and Christmas Pageant FHE
I’m not going to lie. I was disappointed by the colder weather we experienced while there. We made the best of it, though, and headed down to the pool for some time in the fleeting sun. The boys were brave enough to go in the semi-heated water, but the girls decided that the deck chairs were more appealing in the high winds and clouded skies.
But to make up for the lack of rays, the ladies took advantage of the resort’s amazing spa and signed up for massages and facials, with full use of the facilities throughout the week. Thank heavens the boys were so willing to babysit the kids!
At the end of the day, we gathered together to eat a dinner (provided by Jared and Laura) which might have been something like what Mary and Joseph would have eaten the night before the Savior was born: fish, dried fruit, nuts, cheese, and pita. We read Luke 2 and acted out the story of Christ’s birth. Colin took the prize for best costume assembled in 5 minutes with supplies from the hotel.
Day 4: Zip Line Adventure
My mother-in-law’s one request was to take the girls on a zip line through the jungle. The excursion we actually did was much more than that. Think adventuring for the ADD. We went rappelling, canoeing, zip lining, swimming in a cenote, and hiking through the jungle to the ruins of Cobá, an ancient Mayan city. Amazing. Every last part of it.
Again, thanks to the boys who allowed us an outing sans children. The cousins spent time building forts and otherwise being silly.
Day 5: Chichen Itza
Since we’d already visited Tulum back in 2007, we decided to venture out the other direction with Jared and Laura and see Chichen Itza, the largest accessible Mayan city.
The long bus rides to the ruins, out to another cenote, over to our luncheon location, and then back to our hotel provided ample time for me to finally learn the time-honored family game: pinochle. Folks, if I could have avoided this rule-laden, nearly impossible game any longer I would have, but after almost 12 years of marriage, I decided to oblige my sweetheart and learn his game-playing ways. Thanks to Jared and Laura for their patience in teaching me. The cheat sheet pictured shows you just how detailed this game can be.
The ruins are absolutely phenomenal. I just wish we could have skipped the guided tour portion and explored on our own the entire time.
We enjoyed our quick dip in the cenote filled with blind fish… a little creepy to think about. We all jumped off the high edge into the pool but Jared and Colin continued the adventure by climbing up again and goading each other into diving head-first. The anticipation of the dare is half the fun.
Another incredible day exploring the ancient world.
Day 6: Mercado 28
The boys went on a field trip to the heart of the city where more of the local people shop, Mercado Veintiocho (28). They were in search of a few items, mainly those brightly-colored, native embroidered dresses that all three little girls could wear to match. After dining on authentic beans and rice dishes, hearing some roving mariachi bands, and donning some magnificent sombreros, they found success.
Later that evening I used my new-found skills to participate in a group round-robin tournament of pinochle. I believe I’m officially part of the family now.
Day 7: Tuki’s Birthday and Spa Day (part 2)
The sun finally decided to shine for longer than 10 minutes and the air was warmer than it it been all week. Just in time for Tuki’s birthday. The morning was spent taking pictures of Grandma and the three girl cousins in their adorable dresses and enjoying some of the sunshine by the pool. Later, the ladies went to the spa for the last time and finished the week off right with a facial. And Colin and I finally got to go in the ocean to body surf. It was short-lived, however, since the waves and undertow were wicked strong. At least we can say we got some time in the Caribbean waters this trip.
At the end of the day we celebrated Tuki’s birthday with a family dinner at the neighboring restaurant. The waiters even came out to sing Feliz Cumpleaños. I believe it was the perfect end to a great week.
Day 8: Traveling Home
If we thought 2 layovers were bad, the way home allowed us to reconsider since we had to ride on three different airplanes for a total travel time of 12 hours. Cancún to Charlotte, NC to Phoenix to Santa Barbara. We came home to the worst rain storms this city has seen in a while, and Christmas preparations to be made, and two little boys to reacquaint.
A full trip! We’re especially glad that we could enjoy so much time with family that live so far away.