Long time coming....
Back in November we took our annual family trip, this year we traveled to the Dreams Resort in Puerto Vallarta. It is an all inclusive resort, located on its own private beach near the airport, but not too close to the city. It was perfect and the price was right...super cheap for a week long trip.
View from our balcony
We started our adventure on a Tuesday morning, heading to the airport at 7:00 am to make our 9:00 am flight. We kept Natalie asleep until right before we were supposed to leave - she slept through getting her clothes changed and hair done. I had packed a little back pack with new toys and books. She insisted she wear the backpack to the airport, she wanted on the plane!
Once we got to the airport, we proceeded to check our bags and were told that there was a small delay on the plane, but nothing to be concerned about. We got right through security and to our gate in record time. Our flight was supposed to leave at 9:00 am, taking us to Mexico City and after a 4 hour lay over there, on to the final destination. That was the plan...
For some reason the Delta rep was only able to print boarding passes for the first leg of the trip, but we were reassured that we would get our boarding passes for the second leg when we got to Mexico. As the "slight" delay continued to get longer and longer and we all continued to get more and more stressed that we wouldn't make our connection, we were told over and over it wouldn't be a problem.
We finally got on the plane and left for Mexico City. Natalie was clearly tired and hungry; but was SO good! She loved sitting with Auntie and GF and had a few snacks before taking a 30 minute nap on Grandma's lap right before we landed. As we landed in Mexico City, we realized we had 30 minutes to make it through customs, recheck our bags, get our boarding passes and make it through security before getting on the plane. Phil and GF went first and rounded up the bags in customs; then we were told to go upstairs to get boarding passes and go through security. Auntie and GF had boarding passes, so even though they couldn't recheck bags they were both able to make it through security and on to the plane while we argued with the Delta rep to give us boarding passes. She wouldn't and they wouldn't let us through security without them...vicious cycle. GF and Auntie and our plane left Mexico City for Puerto Vallarta without us on it. There Grandpa, Grandma, Natalie, Phil and I stood, with all our bags and no plane to get on.
The Delta rep informed us that the last flight of the day from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta was full and we didn't have a very good chance of getting on it. Also, to make matters worse, ALL the flights the next day were oversold and it would be "very hard" to get us on any of them. It was all getting worse by the second. The Delta rep gave us a few vouchers to get some food and a voucher for a hotel room "Just in case we couldn't get on the plane that night". We were also told to be back at the ticket counter at 8:00 to try and talk our way onto the 9:30 pm flight. We went to the hotel, dropped our bags, washed our hands and proceeded to the food court to use our food vouchers. Well, to try and use our vouchers...we were informed that none of the establishments accepted the voucher, so back to the hotel bar we went. They also informed us that the Delta rep had indicated they were to be used for "lunch" and because it was after 5:00 pm they couldn't honor them. How nice! Didn't matter, none of us had eaten anything but the pretzels on the plane and decided to just order food and beer (for those who could drink).
Natalie and Mama in the hotel bar. She is eating an orange I brought from home before our actual food arrived.
We decided we should all go back to the ticket counter and hope and pray that we get on that last plane, so off we went. When we got there we were informed that they couldn't help us until 9:00, so off I went to find another Delta agent who would be able to help us. Don't mess with a mad, tired pregnant woman who wants to be on vacation. I found a rep and explained the situation. He found his supervisor and they agreed to talk to the other agent who had told us to wait until 9:00. They then explained to us that they would most likely be able to get one or two of us on the plane, but it would be very hard to get four seats...So Phil explained to them what a bribe is. He told them he would give them $100 US cash if they got all of us on the plane that night. So off they ran and down we sat to hope, hope, hope.
At approximately 9:25 pm, the Delta agents came running and screaming, "We got you on, come now, come now". They each grabbed one of our bags, I grabbed Natalie and we ran to security. They talked us through security with all of our large luggage bags and off to the plane we ran. It was a miracle, and well worth the $100 to get us all on that plane, $100 we shouldn't have had to use if Delta was on their game enough to get us there on time...
We arrived in Puerto Vallarta around 11:00 pm and were at the resort around midnight. GF and Auntie were waiting for us and very happy to see us make it that night. We settled into our rooms, ordered room service for dinner and promptly crashed in our extra large bed! Heaven. The next day we got up late, ordered more room service and then went to find our first drinks and more food. Ahh vacation.
Our favorite breakfast spot
The rest of the trip was much more relaxed, we spent most of the time sitting on lounge chairs on the beach or in the pool. Natalie and I took naps every day after lunch and most nights ran around on the beach. Natalie LOVED the sand and could have stayed on the beach all the time just digging. She also loved the ocean. We had been talking to her about the fact that Godfather would take her swimming in the ocean, so one of the first things we did was let GF take her in the ocean. She loved it and only once did she lose her footing and get a good dose of ocean water and sand in the face. (to clarify, this wasn't on GF's watch)
in the water with GF
That dot clear out in the ocean is Natalie with GF and Daddy
Lifeguard on duty
Enjoying pool time
Jumping on the beach trampoline with daddy
One of the mornings of the trip Phil had arranged a deep sea fishing adventure. We were up at the 6:00 am - otherwise known as the crack of dawn (especially for vacation standards). I packed up clothes and supplies for Natalie and we decided to let her sleep in my arms until we got to the boat, which she did. She woke up as we were walking onto the pier and was very excited to see all the cool boats.
The boat we were going to be on wasn't exactly like the photos on the website, but it worked for our needs. Friends had warned me to stay off the boat while I was pregnant and that it would be awful and I would be sick the whole time; but I would have none of that. I'm not missing out on fun! We all got on the boat and headed out to the "Deep Sea". We had 4 hours on the boat and everything was fine, until we stopped at our fishing spot and the boat started rocking and I started to feel sick. I hadn't eaten anything except for a half slice of toast and cup of decaf coffee, not smart in retrospect. Natalie was starting to fall asleep on my lap when the feeling hit and I basically tossed her to my dad and ran to the side of the boat. It was the only time I have ever been sick while pregnant...not bad I say! After that I was a refreshed woman and was able to fish and move around and enjoy the rest of the boat ride.
We all (including Natalie) caught fish - very small fish - but we each got to reel in something!
On the boat - early morning - Natalie still seems a bit shocked to wake up and then jump on a boat
Still not fully awake
Just leaving the bay
Exchange of hats
Other events of the trip included tennis matches between the Phil's and trips into the city to explore "real life". One of the stops we made in the city was to get drinks (lemonade for me, margaritas and mojitos for everyone else). The place we chose was right on the beach and was offering a 2-for-1 deal on drinks and the sun was starting to set, couldn't have been better. The only issue (which isn't really an issue for us) was our order was lost in communication. We ordered margaritas and mojitos and explained that we would all be sharing - so each boy ordered a 2-for-1 expecting to share with the girls. Well, the waiter thought we all wanted drinks and brought each person at the table 2-for-1 drinks. So instead of 6 drinks we ended up with 10, again not a problem for this group!
After a hard fought tennis match
On the beach
After we got back from the city, the resort was hosting a "traditional Mexican party night". Natalie had fallen asleep on the way back, so missed the first part of the party, but then woke up and enjoyed getting her very own balloon hat, seeing the Mexican dancers and eating. Grandpa was also selected to participate in a competition in front of the crowd. When asked his name he said "Juan", so we all started cheering "Go Juan". Natalie thought this was hilarious - so she started saying it too. When you ask her what Grandpa's name was in Mexico she says "Juan".
The trip home was much easier, it was a direct flight home, and even though it was also delayed, we didn't need to make a connection so we weren't as worried. Phil and I also got upgraded, which made it easier to let Natalie sleep, which she did for almost the entire flight home.
This trip once again confirmed that we have one of the most easy going kids around.