Monday, October 29, 2012

Insta-Memories: Puerto Rico

Five days in Puerto Rico came and went, and just like that, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming. Except we’re not quite there yet. Sunday was our first full day back, and my girls were complete beasts. Today, things are a little calmer, but that’s because one of them is in school. The other, sporting two new teeth, have not been able to leave my side.

Being with them 24/7 on our trip spoiled them. The pools and ocean, as well as the lack of a schedule, spoiled them. Watching TV on the mobile phone while having breakfast at a restaurant or while we were getting ready spoiled them. We were only gone five days, but it’s amazing how easily they get used to something when it’s in their favor.

A little Dora the Explorer at restaurants? Oh yes!

Ice cream for breakfast? HELL yes! (Uh-huh, we really did that.)

It’s also incredible how easily we found ourselves breaking our own rules while we’re away. We figured, hey it’s a vacation – we’re loose on convictions because we’re tight on time. We only had a mere five days to relax (and I use this term lightly) so why fight the kids on everything? We needed to chill too.

And that’s why our kids are finding it difficult to go back to business as usual. Because “usual” means one kid show a day (and not on a whim), ice cream on special occasions (certainly not as a meal), and going to bed on time, in their respective beds (unlike the snuggle fest Little Miss had when she slept with us in our hotel bed). What a drag, I know.

So they want to go back to their happy place. I get that. I do too. Because, in all honesty, it’s so much easier saying yes than saying no. They also seemed to like me better when I wasn’t putting my foot down every seven minutes. Heck, even I liked the vacation me better.

But I know I will hate myself later if we let them rule the roost with their agenda. And that’s why what happened in Puerto Rico, will have to stay in Puerto Rico. And perhaps that’s why they miss it so much. It’s good to be the king after…even if it’s just for five days.

They may not be able to get back there very easily, but at least, thanks to Instagram, they will have these memories to tuck them in bed at night.

Just before dreaming about waking up to ice cream for breakfast.


IMG_0853 Day One was all about exploring Old San Juan. As a fan of architecture, I was quite taken by the city’s well-preserved buildings from the 19th Century. Little Miss, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to get back to our hotel to get into her bathing suit.


IMG_0854One of the highlights of our trip was our hotel – La Concha Resort. We had an amazing ocean-view suite so the girls could be in bed at night, and we could still be up with our bottle of wine while we caught up on our favorite show, Dexter, in the next room.

IMG_0859The hotel lobby - it has quite a night life, so we heard. With sleeping babies, we had to trust what we read because we weren’t able to partake ourselves. Not that we had any energy left after an entire day wrangling kids in the water or while exploring the city.

IMG_1027We were rained in one morning, but the hotel had plenty of space for our little monkeys. Here’s another part of the lobby. I have a thing for white furniture.

IMG_1028The stairs we took every morning to breakfast. This is just another architectural detail I loved about the hotel.

IMG_1148Maybe I have a thing for stairs, too. Or maybe it’s the floor-to-ceiling windows and the view they provide. But it took my breath away every time we saw this on our way back to our room.


IMG_0863For the first time in my life, I used a hotel fitness center on vacation. I think I’m a little addicted to this running thing, which is probably good, considering all the breakfast buffet I had to work out of my system.

IMG_1104On the subject of firsts, I dusted the cobwebs on my bikini and wore them for the first time since the summer before Thumper was conceived, which would be close to 2.5 years.

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Yup, breaking our own rule here of using a mobile device for distraction. We did that at bus stops and restaurants. Anything to give us a vacation state of mind, right?

IMG_0957All they wanted to do was to play in the water, and who can blame them? Thumper asked for it by saying, “Fish?” as in swim like one. And that they did.

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My Guy fell ill (thanks to Little Miss’ preschool germs) and slept in one morning while Little Miss opted to rest with some iPad games. Always restless and ready to explore on vacation, I took Thumper with me to see the sights in our neighborhood, Condado, where we discovered a little gem of a park that contained interesting sculptures and beautiful old trees.

IMG_1029We had a memorable dining experience at this restaurant that overlooked a little plaza in Old San Juan. A little Puerto Rican / Spanish tapas and a pitcher of sangria were just what we needed to battle the vacation-with-kids blues.


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What’s a tropical vacation without some poolside dining…


IMG_1146…and a little bit of romantic rendezvous (while the kids napped)?



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On our last evening, our kids lingered downstairs to catch a glimpse of life after sundown. Little Miss was in awe of the pool lights, and the girls danced to a live jazz band. There’s some truth to this night life after all!

In the morning before our 3pm flight, we spent the longest time in the water, both in the calm, clear ocean (while Hurricane Sandy was brewing a havoc somewhere) and in the hotel’s three pools. Just before leaving, I was transfixed by the pool’s illusion of infinity, knowing that our time there is anything but.

So here we are, with a phone full of photos, and some jewelry and hot sauce from that restaurant we loved as souvenir. In the coldest, longest nights of the coming winter, we’re going to have to dig really deep and really hard to find that warmth that followed us everywhere on our vacation.

We will hope to be back, where both kids and adults can play. Where rules become suggestions. Where everyday worries stay home.

And it’s that much easier to see the rainbow.


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What kind of vacation-parent are you? Do your rules relax with you or do they still stay the same? If so, how do you relax? Please let me in on your secret!

What’s your favorite kind of family vacation? Beach? Mountains? Active? Pure R&R?

If you’re on Instagram with me, you may have seen the above pictures already. If not, follow me, IHaveLanded.