Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Punta Cana oh how we miss you

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I have finally forced myself to sit down in this little space of mine today, because what I'm learning from having 4 little kids these days is that it's getting harder and harder for me to find the time to actually sit down and write.

So it's the middle of the day, the baby is sleeping and Sophia is in quiet time...and the laundry is waiting, I'm ignoring the dishes from snack time, I still have to make dinner and I already hear the baby stirring. So this is going to have to be quick. 

It was one of those spur of the moment decisions, where I turned to Terry late one night and said "Let's pack up the kids and go away for a week".

And he turned to me with that look of, "That seems crazy, and sounds like a lot of work".

I mean, sure we had a 13week old at the time...but no better time than the present, right?

So we scanned the internet for a resort. asked friends for recommendations, invited our whole family to come along (and sadly Jen and Jeff and the kids couldn't make it, but both my parents and Terry's mom were in), and finally we booked ourselves a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican for a few weeks from then.

This is going to be great, I told myself as I packed a million bags full of clothes, diapers, swimsuits and soothers and tried to ignore the understandably concerned people in my life asking me if I was crazy for taking so many little people on a trip like this.

It'll be fine, I'd repeat to myself--everyone will be fine.

And you know what? It was.

It was amazing.

I told myself don't get stressed out no matter what happens. Stay calm no matter what happens. If everyone is crying on the airplane? No problem. We'll work through it. If noone wants to go to sleep at night? Well, we've all been sleep deprived before--no big deal. If our luggage gets lost? Well, it's just stuff.

Cool, calm and collected. This was my mantra.

And you know what? All of the things that I was worried could happen, didn't happen (minus the luggage getting lost--and when we found out Terry's and my suitcase was missing, I actually did say to myself and everyone around--no big deal, it's just stuff. Not to worry).

We knew that our actions and reactions would set the tone for the whole trip, so Terry and I purposed to be cheery, calm and relaxed as much as we could, especially during the getting there part. Terry and I always give eachother the pep talk before we go away anywhere fun with the kids. This is pretty much how it goes every single time: "For our kids, the family trip starts from the moment that we start packing up the van and pull out of the driveway, so we need to be careful about what kind of memories we want to leave them with. Stressed out snappy parents trying to get everyone into the car or onto the airplane really is what will be left as their memories if we let it happen"--so we try really hard to keep our cool as the chaos of departure begins.

We started our adventure at 4:00am that morning, as we woke up excited kids who were desperate to get on that airplane. We packed them all into the van on that cold, dark morning and drove off as the rest of the world slept.

And after a flight full of lots of snacks, books, movies and nursing a tired baby, we landed safely and hurried through the Dominican airport constantly counting little people, hauling suitcases, waiting in unbelievable lines and stripping kids down layer by layer as the heat hit us hard.

But we made it.

Tired. Exhausted. Hot. But we made it.

And the resort? Well it was incredible.

We arrived to cold drinks and wash cloths being handed to us, and we were introduced to our butler (that's right--we had a BUTLER).."for whatever you need, whenever you need it" we were told.

Geeze, I could get used to this.

And with 24hr room service included, we could have stayed in our room the whole time essentially--but we headed out for meals all together each day and the food was amazing and delicious.

 And at night time, the kids got to be a part of the evening shows, acting in plays in front of huge audiences...(see that cute little sheep on the back right?..that's Mya).

and Carter was one of Snow White's seven dwarfs (green guy at the front).

We all stayed up late dancing to live music,


and had a blast jumping in the waves at the beach and walking through the most beautiful, soft sand that you could ever imagine... 

while someone collected all of the seaweed that had washed up on shore.

 The kids indulged in ridiculously decadent ice cream treats by the pool,

and listened to story after story from each of the adults at the table, in an attempt to keep a bunch of little people to sit still in the restaurants for all of the meals that we had together.

 And entertainment? Well, they were set. With a water park right in the resort, we spent our mornings going down water slides...


and our afternoons were spent swimming in the gigantic pools... where they had kid performances right on the deck each day...

and water aerobics that mom, Mya and I loved doing together (two blond pony tails are mom and I sweatin' it out)

And just in case you needed a bit more excitement, all of a sudden a circus show was being set up right there in front of you by the pool 

so Chloe watched from under our sun umbrella, and the bigger kids were encouraged to actually become a part of the entertainment...


and they finished off each morning by blasting fun music and having the kids do the actions in front of other guests in the pool while we sat off to the side under huge umbrellas and cheered and clapped and took lots of pictures. 

And when all of the excitement was over, we rested in the shade...

and drank copious amounts of pineapple juice and other said beverages for the non-nursing folk. 

*we may have encouraged the grandparents to do some double-fisting by the end of the day, just for kicks. 

And with nighttime entertainment designed to blow your socks off, the kids still can't stop talking about Michael Jackson and now constantly ask to watch old YouTube videos of the pop star back in the day.

So we made it, our little family of ours. We had a ridiculously fun time and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Family time together is really what this life is all about. So we soaked up the fun, soaked up the memories and we really can't wait to continue to create some more.

*this was one of the highlights of the trip for this 2yr old. Mini sinks built just for her height. Perfection.

So the lesson in all of this? JUST GO.

Don't wait until they're older and it's easier. Don't wait until the perfect time. Don't wait until you don't have to haul diapers and wipes and blankies and stuffies. And it doesn't have to be as big of a deal as getting on an airplane. Just go to a hotel for a night with the kids. Go on a day trip to the park or somewhere local and free. Swim in the pool and eat breakfast at a buffet. Just get the kids out and have fun together as a family. The kids will never forget it. 

And I highly suggest getting some rest in when you can. Cause no matter what, traveling with little people is just plain exhausting...

but a million times worth it.

Happy whatever day it is today everyone. All the days just seem to blend into each other these days.

Thanks Nana, Papa and Grandma for coming with us. 'Til next time Dominican. 'Til next time.

Erica xo

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