Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Warm Escape On Winter Break

Aside from college and law school visits, we hadn't gone on a family vacation in over five years, so we were looking forward to relaxing in Nuevo Vallarta. We arrived early at the airport in anticipation of holiday crowds. While we were going through security, we removed our shoes and belts and placed them in the baskets on the conveyor belt. My husband and my two sons added their phones and wallets next to my purse. As they were putting their shoes back on, I grabbed my husband's phone and wallet before I left the line. Shortly after, he realized his belt was missing.

We went back in line to check with security, but there was no sign of his belt. Hubby hadn't packed a spare, and I feared that his Dunlap's Disease would cause his pants to "done lap" down to his ankles. Fortunately, we found him a replacement at an airport kiosk. For the low price of $12.99, he was able to keep his pants on without losing his shirt, not to mention his new love of pleather.

This was the first time that we traveled to a warm climate in the winter, since our boys started grammar school. The few times that we did get away were for ski trips when they were very young. I was thrilled not to worry about skiing into a tree, but with this trip came other worries. Death by food poisoning, sun poisoning or gunfire were at the top of the list. We were armed with Hepatitis A vaccines, 45+ sunscreen, and we didn't venture too far from the resort.

We stayed at an all inclusive resort that provided unlimited food and drink including a fully stocked bar in each room. This was our first trip where my 20 year old son could drink legally, fortunately, he had his older brother and roommate with him, so I knew they would look out for each other.

By day we would play volleyball in the pool or at the beach. One day my younger son went parasailing right on the beach. The Three Amigos also went zip-lining, and swimming with the dolphins. The weather was always sunny and between 80 - 82 degrees, which was perfect for long walks on the beach.

We took a taxi to the Old City in Puerto Vallarta to have dinner and walk along the boardwalk. There were flea markets, performers, restaurants, and clubs with all of the glitz of a mini floating Las Vegas. We walked along cobblestone streets that felt like we were transported back in time.

Though I'm not supposed to spend a lot of time in the sun, I was hoping to get some color. I ended up with red blotches in the corner of my nose, between my upper lip and the tip of my nose, and a red streak on my collarbone . To even things out, I contracted pink eye. This occurred on the day before we left, so I couldn't join the family in the pool, but hubby and I still took one long last walk on the beach together, while the boys played basketball.

On our last night, we dined at an Asian restaurant at the resort. Toward the end of dinner, our younger son loudly let out an inappropriate word. While I was reprimanding him, I noticed blood was trickling down his nose. Then we noticed the weapon lying on the table. Several feet away, a piece of a broken dish somehow flew into the air, and landed in between my boy's nose and upper lip; around the same location as my now peeling sunburn. Within seconds, the waiter came over with napkins, and an alcohol swab to stop the bleeding. Shortly after the host, manager and security medic arrived on the scene. He was examined, and bandaged in time for dessert. Apologies were given in Spanish and in English. Then we adjourned to another location to play cards, before they went off with their new friends.

We left Nuevo Vallarta relatively unharmed substituting gunfire for porcelain pellets, and conjunctivitis for hepatitis.  Our boys didn't seem to mind spending time with us, and were very appreciative. We arrived home on Christmas Eve, which was also the fifth night of Hanukkah. Our greatest gift was the satisfaction in knowing that we really like the young men our sons have become. 


  1. Isn't it nice when you not only love your family but like them as well?

  2. Sounds like you guys had a great time! Except for the broken plate. Really, what are the odds?

  3. You all are more adventurous than I am. I'll travel the U.S. and if opportunity arose I'd go to Canada, but these days I have no interest in going to Mexico. Glad you're back safely and had a somewhat enjoyable time.

    Wrote By Rote

  4. Looks like a great time was had by all.
    Pleased you managed to get away from it all.


  5. What a nice trip for you, and to be able to take your two boys with you. Those vacations are precious and don't happen nearly often enough.

  6. Delores - I remember when my mother used to say, "I love you but I don't like you," after I did something wrong. I may have borrowed that phrase once or twice over the years. It is easier for the boys to be likeable when I don't have to clean up after them!

    Alex - That really was a fluke! Fortunately, it didn't hit him in the eye.

    Lee - We knew other friends who visited there before, so we were confident we'd make it home safely. The ideal weather was the deciding factor.

    Thanks Yvonne, we really wish we could've stayed longer than a week!

    Mary - So true, and it's even more difficult scheduling around their school breaks!

    Delores, Alex, Lee, Yvonne and Mary,

    Wishing you and your families a happy and healthy New Year!

  7. Such a nice blog wish we were there!

  8. That sounded like a fantastic time! Isn't it great when the kids get older and you can get away on Christmas vacations like that? We went to the Dominican Republic this summer with the kids. It sounded very similar to your trip. They also were legally to drink there, as well. Kinda strange to be drinking beer with the kids while mom was doing an aerobics class (yeah. aerobics. at a resort). In a little twist this summer, my wife came up with a great way to help with her depression after we drop our youngest off at college-jump on the next plane to Vegas. I think I'm okay with that.

  9. Jules- you have the gift...I love reading your blog and hope someday soon to open a women's magazine and see your byline....... So glad you could get away and enjoy your family and you are such a good sport about the "hiccups" in the trip. Happy, Happy, New Year to you my friend. Did you psych up for GT's before you went????

  10. I'm happy to hear that you had such a wonderful vacation. I'll be heading to Mexico in November to stand up for a friend's wedding. I can't wait as I have never been.

    I hope 2012 brings you and your family all good things. Here's to joy, peace and dreams come true.

  11. What a heart-warming end to a rather scary story. I love the photo of the four of you and yes, it is good when you discover that your kids actually do like to spend time with you. Hope you had a happy Chanukah too.

  12. Thanks Anon!

    Al - I've heard the Dominican Rebublic is beautiful! I love your wife's idea about Vegas!

    Chris - You always know how to make my day! Yes we did "psych up for GT's!" Happy New Year to you and your family! Hope to see you soon!

    Melissa - You will love Mexico, and it's a great place for a wedding! Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year "Sexiest Female Blogger!" You have such a positive attitude and I know things will only get better for you in 2012!

    Rosalind - I just hope it lasts! Thanks Rosalind, we did have a happy Chanukah. Wishing you and Mr A a happy and healthy New Year! Julie

  13. An exciting adventure! Glad you all survived :)

    Happy New Year!

  14. Wow, what a trip! The pictures are wonderful, you and your family look so happy together, and the place looks absolutely beautiful. I'm sorry about the mishaps, but glad no one was seriously hurt! I had to laugh about your red blotches and peeling sunburn, as that describes me whenever I spend any time in the sun. The only color I've ever been able to get on vacation is red.

    This was a great read, thanks for sharing about your trip. Happy New Year to you and your family, Julie! :)

  15. You have a handsome group of men around you! Glad you had such a great time, with minimal injuries and illnesses.

  16. Sounds like you had a great time, regardless of a few minor mishaps. Last time I went to Mexico (on my honeymoon), my husband was stung all over by jellyfish, contracted a serious case of Montezuma's revenge, and got seasick then almost run over by a fishing trawler. I only contracted a hideous case of sunburn, then proceeded to cover myself in vanilla and liquid novacaine. (Wish they sold that stuff in the states!) All in all, a delightful time aided by muchos cervesas! I hope I can take my son there someday.

    Happy New Year, Julie!

  17. Carol - I'm still laughing at your "top ten New Year's resolutions!" Happy New Year!

    Julie - We both have to be extra careful in the sun! Thanks for everything Julie, and all the best in the New Year!

    Thanks Susan and have a happy and healthy New Year!

    Nancy - Were you the inspiration for Haunted Honeymoon? No, you're much too young! Sorry you had to go through all that, especially on your honeymoon! Oh no, I just remembered the jellyfish sting remedy! Nancy, happy New Year to you and your family!

  18. Hi Julie .. loved the pictures and the story .. wonderful you were able to get away en famille and be looked after .. well after you'd found another belt. Those things are frustrating .. I'm always worried something will disappear as one slides stuff through the machine ..

    Glad all is well .. Happy 2012 .. and lots of success too .. Hilary

  19. What a beautiful family and trip. It was all sounding so ideal until your pink eye and son's bloody nose. At least those details added excitement to your adventure. And then, the ending was/is perfect. Glad you all enjoyed.
    Have a great 2012, Julie.

  20. Hilary - The case of the missing belt will probably remain an unsolved mystery! Thanks Hilary, and have a happy and healthy 2012!

    Robyn - I just found out on Friday that I made the wrong diagnosis. My eye doctor told me that I had a broken blood vessel instead of pink eye. Just thought I'd clear the air so this doesn't turn into another Million Little Pieces episode. Thanks Robyn, and all the best in 2012! Julie

  21. Love those warm winter getaways! You must have had a wonderful time. Happy New Year and here's to more of those family travels.

  22. I remember vacations - haven't had one in a long time with mom living in my house. Maybe 2012 is the year.

    We love the mountains and the colder climates. I love Maine and Alaska. I have never been to Canada and would very much love to visit that place. Of course, those places are best visited when they don't have feet of snow on their ground!!! :-)

    Happy New Year to you.

  23. HA! Dunlap's disease! That must be similar to what I've always called Furniture disease, when your chest drops into your drawers.

  24. It sounds like (pink eye and pottery missiles aside!) you had a lovely vacation! And it must be gratifying to discover what a good job you did raising your sons! :) Happy New Year, Julie!

  25. Well, they say a bad honeymoon makes for a great marriage. I think that must be true! Anyway, I left you a little something over at my place today.

  26. Looks like a wonderful trip. Glad you had a great time.

    Happy 2012!

  27. Thanks Lee, and happy New Year to you!

    Elaine - Many retirement communities and nursing homes do offer short respite stays if you want to get away for a few days. I know you've had your share of hospital and rehab facilities with your mom, but you may be able to negotiate a good deal on your terms. Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family Elaine!

    Julie - I heard about Dunlap's Disease a while ago, and was looking for the right time to slip it in. Thanks for sharing Furniture Disease, which I think is the female equivalent, though you can mix and match.

    Susanna - Ah the old "pottery missiles" attack! Thanks Susanna, I think I'll keep them for now!

    Nancy - Thanks so much for the Great Comments Award! I'm really honored and will do my best to continue to fulfill my duties!

    M Pax - Thanks Mary, and I look forward to spending more time with you in the New Year! Julie

  28. Wow, Julie, what an awesome vacation, except for the missing belt, pink eye, and flying plate injuring your son. There's always somethin', isn't there? But all in all, it sounds like a wonderful time, and your sons look like they've grown into fine young men. How nice that you all vacationed together. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  29. Wow!!! I thought my vacations were interesting, but you win. You could have your own TV show with the things that happen to you. Hopefully all your vacations turn out this well despite what happens. Thanks for the smiles.

  30. Lynn - Thanks so much, and happy New Year to you and your family!

    Barb - Interested in being my co-host? I can always count on you to make me smile too! Thanks and happy New Year! Julie

  31. Sounds like a pretty good holiday - except for the flying dishes and the the conjunctivitis - (which, in my opinion, would be far better than hepatitis)

  32. We took a trip with our three kids to Costa Rica last Christmas. It was our first time to do the warm climate. I thought I would hate being so far away but instead I loved having my three kiddos all to myself. Is that wrong?
    Like your boys, my kids seemed to really enjoy it.