You might have noticed that I didn’t blog much last week. Probably not surprising because it was Christmas week and most people were offline spending it with their families. You were probably offline yourself— trying to create that holiday magic we hear so much about.
Or possibly you were online more than ever because you created the magic and needed to share it with all your social media friends to prove that it actually happened.
Either is fine! I hope you had fun no matter how you were annoying your families.
I was in Jamaica last week taking a semi-break. Meaning, I didn’t blog much and stayed off facebook but found myself doubling down on snapchat, which proved to be a no-stress fun way to record/share my vacation.
I saved each snapstory but when I tried to put them all together to post on YouTube, I found that it was really quite boring and decided to memorialize the vacation through photos instead.
The last you heard about my vacation, the kids were falling down the tiled stairs of our amazing (yet very non-child-friendly) villa and getting stung by jellyfish in the ocean. Thankfully, the incidents seemed to cease by the third day when everyone got more familiar with the space.
The kids stopped slipping and the adults stopped losing the children in random closets and what not. (Seriously consider your level of comfort before you opt for a villa over a regular old hotel room where there is little chance of misplacing your kids.)
The safest place for the kids (which also meant it was the most relaxing for the adults) was in the pool. Who would have thought?!
There were two big factors that were great about the pool besides the fact that it was the water version of a cage and kept all the kids happily contained.
1) Half the pool was a kiddie pool at two feet deep, so Harlow could play in there with no issues.
2) The pool was 90% in shade the entire day so while we still applied sunscreen, we didn’t feel the need to stress out about the kids burning up in the hot Caribbean sun.
I would stay at this villa again for those two reasons alone.
We were staying at a place called Tryall in Montego Bay. A lot of people on Instagram asked if I would recommend it and it’s hard to say, because your stay is really dependent on the villa you rent.
We got really lucky and were upgraded to our villa because the villa we paid for was under renovation. I think we would have had an entirely different trip if we were in a different house. The resort itself is a little sleepy and the kid’s club was not quite right for our kids. Although the people who ran it seemed great, Mazzy was too old for it and Harlow flat out refused to stay there after the first day.
Not because anything bad happened, just because that’s just who Harlow is.
The kids loved the golf carts which get supplied to each house to ride around the resort. It’s about a 5-10 minute golf cart ride to the beach and they requested to leave the villa just for the ride sometimes I think.
The resort put on a really fun Christmas Eve celebration. During the day, they had a few big bouncy castles set-up by the beach which they sprayed water on to create a water slide.
The kids LOVED it.
Then Santa arrived by boat which was quite a sight. You can see a video of it here.
Harlow got antsy while waiting in line to sit in Santa’s lap so Mike ended up taking her back to the room. Mazzy stayed and patiently waited her turn. Once on Santa’s lap she was instructed to say, “Merry Christmas Everyone!” into a microphone to the crowd, which was pretty funny hearing from my very Jewish daughter.
Santa gave her a present and she was thrilled. We took one home for Harlow too.
Mazzy got a fake Barbie and Harlow got a fake Elsa. They were cheap gifts (understandably) and it was funny to hear the girls remark on the differences without realizing what exactly they were talking about. “I think her dress is paper!” “Mine is bald in the back!” They thought pulling off their arms and legs was hilarious and all part of the experience of playing with their new toys.
Remember when I said I was trying to teach my kids about the spirit of giving during the holidays? We had this brilliant idea to have the kids make something to give as gifts to the hotel staff who worked over Christmas. They found rocks on the beach and painted them.
Then I realized giving the hotel staff rocks for Christmas was perhaps the worst idea ever. So we bought them a little something too. Still not sure if they learned anything but at least we’re trying!
When we weren’t trying to school our kids in generosity and gratitude, we were at the beach…
Picking up sea glass…
Going to bonfires…
Riding around on the golf carts…
Eating waffles by the pool…
Eating more pancakes than I thought humanly possible…
Riding a boat (that made me seasick)…
and watching our iPads.
The power of Minions can fix anything— even a rainy day in Jamaica.
We also took one day trip to Mayfield Falls. Seri and I took the big kids while the little kids stayed home with the dads.
Mazzy and Gavin both seemed terrified, but they were brave and walked through the freezing cold water hanging onto their moms for dear life. In the end, the waterfalls became the highlight of the trip for them and they would not stop talking about “the washing machine” (the name for the biggest waterfall they went under) for the next few days.
A big key to this vacation was traveling with friends. It meant nicer accommodations and people to hang out with (both for us and the kids) the entire time.
In the evenings, we would feed the kids dinner, bathe them and then play Go Fish until it was time for them to go to bed. When they were sleeping, we would meet back downstairs in the outdoor dining area for dinner. We’d drink wine, stay up late talking and get just a taste of what it was like before our worlds got taken over by our kids.
Thank you Seri and Adam for traveling with us. I will do it again any time.