Friday was an exciting morning. I woke up sick, my back tire was flat, and Landon had the day off school so we were scheduled to get the kids' passports at the district clerk's office at 9:30. Except we hadn't picked up the do-it-yourself passport photos from Costco and it didn't open until 10 a.m. and the tire place was in the other direction and I was supposed to go to work at some point and I was nauseous and feverish and sniffly, but it ended up being a productive, if horribly expensive (three new tires!), morning. I had filled out all the passport paperwork online ahead of time (that was fun- height: 2'7"; occupation: smiling; hair color: n/a; eye color: can't tell yet!) and taken the pictures via a piece of poster board taped to our dining room wall. I'm glad it was me doing them and not a passport photo place because there were a lot of outtakes.
Cora could not understand why she wasn't allowed to move around or dance or clap or waive her plastic puppy or do much of anything else she wanted to do. The big kids got it in one take, but Cora used up several.
I was able to crop the puppy out of the last one and we had a winner. I still held my breath when we got to the passport office, but the clerk said we were good to go! JP had to drive back home to get our check book (who has checks these days?) because apparently the government can't take credit cards and I had exactly $3 in cash, but we got it done and in 4-6 weeks we can leave the country at will for the next 5 years.
Other than all the random jaunts to Paris I'm sure we'll be taking, the passports are for our 10 year anniversary trip to Jamaica this summer. We're bringing the kiddos along as we didn't think we had anyone to watch them and, when we started talking about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go, we felt that if we were going to spend a bunch of money and take enough days away to make the trip really big and memorable, then we wanted them along with us.
So starting sometime last year, I set about finding a resort that fit all of our criteria: (1) not overly themey or group-oriented; I would rather stick a fork in my eye than go to a karaoke/bingo night or Sesame street concert; (2) we didn't want a kids' camp so much as a babysitting type option to use as needed; i.e., we didn't want to drop them off anywhere, we really like playing with them during the day, but I also definitely want romantic dinners with JP and the ability to go walk on the beach at night while leaving the minors safely behind in their rooms; (3) all-inclusive; I want all the money spent so I don't obsess over it when I get there; I will never order a drink poolside if I know how much it actually costs; (4) not a hotel room; it is not a vacation unless I have a separate room from my children, preferably a separate room with rooms in between; and (5) private; normally I'm a really big fan of people, but I am NOT a joiner on vacation. I literally have no desire to talk to anyone besides my little family, except maybe in passing. Maybe.
And I think we found the perfect spot in Bluefields Bay, Jamaica. Private villa with 2 big bedrooms and baths, private pool, private stretch of beach, two nannies, private chef, super all-inclusive, even little things like washing all your clothes and packing up for you before you leave. A REAL vacation. One I expect to come home from more rested than I was before I left. I love our trips, but we're always doing them on a budget and making our meals from our pre-packed cooler, not staying in hotels or places with a/c, etc. I can't wait to enjoy what seems like the best combination of family fun + romantic getaway for our 10th anniversary with the three kiddos we've added along the way. We spent our honeymoon in Jamaica, so there's a nice full circle feeling to that.
I'm excited. We're going the very last week of summer; the only week JP's swim school is closed. I think it will be nice to get away as a family after JP's crazy summer schedule and this time it won't be to hike until we drop at 105-degree not-really-air-conditioned Palo Duro Canyon (not that we didn't love that trip!). While on the topic of travel, I added a new Travel tab to the top of the page with places I've been and places we plan to go. As we transition Claire out of daycare (Kindergarten begins this fall!) and start paying off our student loans, our vacation budget will get bumped up in priority. And as the kids get older, I can't wait to start taking them to more far flung places. Let me know if there's anywhere I'm leaving off our "to go someday" list!
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