I'm still pinching myself. I feel like a rockstar, but now that I'm back to reality, I'll take the time to fill you in on what the Warman family has been up to...
Last week, my family and I spent an amazing fun-in-the-sun-filled week at the Azul Fives resort by Karisma in Riviera Maya, Mexico — courtesy of Transat Holidays. It was a five-star experience we will never forget, and there were many "firsts" for our family on this trip. It was our first time flying as a family of four (well, five technically, since we brought my mom along too!). And guess what? It went surprisingly well.
Air Transat offers the Air Transat Kids Club program (it's free to join!) and since we are members, we got:
Despite my fear of my kids screaming their heads off for 4 hours straight at 34,000 feet—they were both champions and mostly slept and played the whole time (with the exception of one tired toddler meltdown when the seatbelt sign came on). But hey, that's pretty standard I think.
Once we arrived at our resort in Mexico (aka: paradise) we continued to experience more family "firsts."
I felt like a celebrity at this resort! As part of the Family Collection Package, we were assigned a personal butler/concierge who helped take care of our needs while we were at the resort. He would check-in with us several times throughout the day to ensure that we were well looked after. He booked our dinner reservations, brought Cole an ice-cream sundae, and hunted down a pack of diapers for Maeve when we embarrassingly realized we forgot to pack enough for her! (Oops!) His name was Cesar, and he rocked. We gave him many high-fives and fist bumps. He also made sure our fridge was full of all the good stuff including water, and most importantly: beer.
In addition to this stellar personal service, we were beyond impressed with how kid-friendly the resort was. Upon arrival in our rooms we found 2 strollers, 2 cribs, a baby monitor, and a bottle sterilizer and warmer. All of these things are available upon request prior to the trip.
At the buffet breakfast they had a selection of toys the kids could borrow and play with at their tables, and every restaurant on the resort was stocked with a large supply of high chairs. The Family Collection package even offers babysitting for a small fee (which we didn't need because we had my mom with us) but seriously...they thought of everything!
As you can see, it was pretty easy to settle into life at Azul Fives, and it really allowed us time to focus on one thing, and one thing only: having fun as a family!
So we did just that! We spent our days building sand-castles, lounging by the pool, swimming in the ocean for the first time, and playing at the awesome Azulitos Kids Club: Cole loved it there, Maeve too!
They had a large play gym for the older kids, and a colourful play room full of toys for the younger kids. They had a video game room, a nap room, and activities and events planned all day, every day. The staff were awesome too! They hosted parties every night at 8pm, and I was happy that Cole was able to stay up late enough at least once to experience breaking his first pinata at the Mexican party!
"There's CANDY in the pinata?"
"Yes son, there sure is. And yes...you may even eat some before bed. Just brush your teeth. And remember: when we get back home to Canada, the madness STOPS. No more marshmallows for breakfast either..."
Maybe it's the calming effects of the warm Mexican sun or perhaps it's the tequila, but we sure did relax and say "yes" to just about everything while we were on vacation.
Yes, Cole ate pancakes every single day. Yes, I drank two cocktails consecutively for the first time in six months and got somewhat tipsy. Yes, I'm a lush. And yes — it felt amazing.
In addition to the stellar service, the food at this resort was unbelievable. We filled our bellies more than we should have with the finest the resort had to offer: fresh sushi, yellow Thai curry (the best I've ever had), three cheese tortellini, and, of course, authentic Mexican cuisine. They offered something for everyone. The hardest part will be pacing yourself and saving room for the next delicious meal. I suppose that's a good problem to have...
It truly was a family trip of a lifetime. The Azul Fives by Karisma offers the perfect blend of luxury and kid-friendly activities, the kind of blend that is perfect for families. You can spend your mornings at the spa (note that there is an extra fee for spa services), I spent some time there getting a massage and my first facial! You can also spend your afternoons playing ping-pong or life-sized chess: there's no shortage of activities for every age. We absolutely loved it there, and I certainly hope to go back in the future.
Now, please, let me share a little video I created and some of my 1,500 or so photos. Then you can see for yourself what a family vacation in paradise looks like, and why you should join us next time! :)
Are you my friend—in real life or online? There's a good chance you are. I have a lot of friends. I'm not bragging, but it's true. I've worked hard to stay in touch and stay connected with my friends. I've even gone out of my way to make new friends (gasp!). I like having good people in my life.
But lately, I feel like I've been slipping. It might take me days to respond to your text. If you're a new friend I've met at the park, it's probably been months since we've met up for a play date...if we've even met up yet at all!
If you've phoned me recently, you're probably wondering why I haven't called you back yet. I'll be honest—I dread phone calls. It's almost impossible to find a time during the day when I can talk without a baby reaching for the phone or a toddler trying to get my attention. It's almost as much effort as going to the gym. By the time 8pm rolls around and both kids are in bed, the last thing I want to do is talk. To anyone. I reduce myself to grunts and vague hand gestures. I'm completely and utterly spent. I barely have enough energy to fart.
So, friends, I'm sorry. I know I'm not performing as the award winning friend of the past, but I'm pretty sure this is my new reality for at least...the next three years.
But guess what? I've decided not to give myself a hard time about this! I'm not allowing myself to feel guilty (too guilty)...
I'm very busy these days doing some very important work and research in Human Development. I'm trying very hard to raise two happy and healthy children. I'm trying to teach them how to be thoughtful, caring, creative, and respectful little humans. I'm trying to teach my children to hold the door for you when your hands are full, and offer you a hug if you're crying. Basically, I'm trying to make sure they don't grow up to be serial killers. I'm sure we can all appreciate that.
So in the meantime, something has to give. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I still love you, I still want you in my life, but it might take me a while to respond to you or remember what day of the week it is. If it's any consolation, I've also given up the idea of wearing my hair down, eating any meal sitting down, or staying up past 10pm.
My life right now is a hurricane of diapers, cooking, snuggles, books, breastfeeding, frequent night-wakings, coffee, and dump trucks. I try to throw in a few play dates, and the odd yoga class (note to self: go to a yoga class). I can't watch the news, because it's too violent for my 2.5-year-old (and even for me some days), so I rely on social media headlines to vaguely tell me what's happening in the world. There seems to be a lot of crap going on, so I genuinely hope that when I raise my head and come out of this vortex, the world will have magically found peace. I hope that's not too much to ask.
And now that naptime is over (I hear someone stirring), it's time for me to leave this comfy computer chair and play fire-rescue with Cole while playing "don't-eat-that" with Maeve.
I'll text you back as soon as my hands are even somewhat free. I love you. Sit tight. We'll hang out soon.
To read more about friendships and babies, check out the post I wrote called How Not To Be A Jerk When Your Friend Has A Baby.
Recently I've been feeling an urge to eat my children, so I figured I should write about my love for them before I actually take a bite out of their soft little arms.
I don't know what it is about extreme love that makes us want to place our chompers on new baby skin, but we do. We all do. Right? We take little nibbles of their toes and cheeks. We bury our faces in their hair and take long deep inhalations, hoping to capture that smell and memory for all of eternity.
I've found myself doing this a lot lately. Maybe it's because I'm halfway through my maternity leave, and I know this might be my last baby, so I'm trying to cherish every last work-free moment. Or maybe it's because my daughter is entering a fun age where her personality is really coming through, and my son is just pure awesomeness 99% of the time. Whatever the reason, I'm loving this time, and I want to make it last. If only I could patent a technology that would capture and store emotion so I could recall these moments and relive them again whenever I was having a bad day. Truly, there would be no better medicine in the world.
I look at other Mom's around me who have older children in kindergarten, high school, even University, and I think, "Wow, that will be me someday. Someday soon. It's going to happen. So. Fast."
I've never been one to wish time to stand still, but right now, for the first time in my life, I sort of wish I had that magical power. So I'm doing my best to soak it all in.
I find myself staring at them, listening to them, enjoying them, every moment I can. When I'm driving, and stopped at a light, I look at Cole in the backseat, kicking his feet happily, singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Right now his biggest concern in life is that he wants a toy impact hammer...
Maeve sits snuggly beside him, chewing on a toy and babbling something incoherent. I'm pretty sure her biggest mission in life is to do anything and everything her brother does. She's a fierce and determined little girl. I love it.
I sometimes close my eyes when I'm squeezing them and try to fill them with my love. Hoping they can feel it, on a cellular level, for the rest of their lives. "Remember this. Remember this love. I don't even know how to say it in a way that can express the magnitude of feeling I have for you, sweet child."
And then...out come the teeth. Small little nibbles, deep inhalations. Ten thousand kisses. Sweet little giggles. Sleepy eyes, heavy heads. We snuggle. We sleep. We love.