My little family!

My little family!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Aruba...

We are back!

The past ten days, our little family of four was away on vacation and it was FABULOUS.

We had such a lovely time - and as quickly as it went, now it seems like a distant memory (and I'm already planning our next vacation -- hello Turks & Caicos!)

I wanted to give some details about our vacation as several people have asked questions and I'd love to share our experience!!!

SO...

Two Sundays ago, we flew to Ft Lauderdale. A side note -- I'm now realizing that flying with a 33 month old & a 14 month old is NOT fun. It used to be pretty easy to travel but these last 3 trips down South have been pretty rough. Layla gets antsy and bored quickly - Benny can't seem to get comfortable and never sleeps longer then 40 minutes (despite it being during his nap time) - it's never fun and I always feel like the people around us want to throw me out the plane. BUT.. alas,  I know this will pass and we'll be traveling easy again soon (ya know..until we add a 3rd baby one day and everything goes completely bananas, ha!)

Anywho...we had a great couple of days in Florida. I was able to have breakfast with my dear friends Amy & Stacey in Boca along with their babies (Kole, Connor & Colin). I took Layla along with me while Benny napped and we had a great time. After breakfast, Josh, Layla, Benny & I went to Laura & Clay's to have a playdate with Owen!! I love seeing our babies together. They were also babysitting their niece Kylie so it was truly babies galore!! We had a great time. Josh went to hang out with friends & I finished packing for Aruba.

Tuesday was spent with family -- that night -- Josh & I were Aruba bound!!

My first recommendation -- John's Car Service . Josh's family lives in Ft Lauderdale & our flights were from Miami Airport. This is about 40 minutes South of Ft Lauderdale and a tough place to drive. We contacted John's Car Service and it was excellent. He picked us up in a town car, it was easy - not too expensive and he was SO nice. We ended up using him for the ride home too. If you are in the Florida area and ever need a ride to one of the airports - I'd use him! (He also specializes in cruise transportation)

Anyway.. Josh & I left for Aruba. Can I just say... traveling without children feels like a JOKE - it is SO easy!! haha! We flew American Airlines. It was a great, easy flight and we made it to Aruba no problems. It was late at night so it was hard to see how gorgeous the country was (but we saw it the rest of the trip). Our main hotel was booked so we stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba. It was a gorgeous hotel and I was so pleasantly surprised. If we are lucky enough to head back to Aruba, I'd probably stay here. The rooms were gorgeous, the pool and beach was really beautiful and it wasn't very expensive.

As a side note -- Aruba is VERY expensive across the board. I'd compare it to Manhattan in that everything is just more money then in the states. It was a huge surprise to me -- if you decide to travel to Aruba, be aware nothing will come cheap (except for taxis -- they were much cheaper then expected). 

We woke up and realized how GORGEOUS Aruba truly is. The weather is better then anything I've ever experienced. Hot (average of 85 degrees everyday) with a bright, bright sun (the country is very close to the equator) -- but the crosswinds and intense. I couldn't believe how windy it got at times -- I LOVED it - I don't think I ever broke a sweat despite the hot temps!!! It makes it perfect for the beach or pool. So when we woke up -- we decided to start our day (after I slept until almost 9 AM - holy moly) -- we had a (not great) breakfast at the Holiday Inn buffet and quickly checked out before heading to our hotel. I figured we'd take a cab but found out we were only a few minute walk to our hotel -- the Hyatt. I need to explain Aruba -- it's unbelievably clean & you feel SO safe. Normally when I travel (Punta Cana, Jamaica, Bahamas) -- I stay in my hotel (never really walking the streets) - total opposite of Aruba. We walked everywhere -- it was SO amazing and the best feeling. I really loved exploring and wish we stayed longer so I could have seen more of the country (to be fair, Josh wanted to take a drive one day to explore and I convinced him it was a better idea to be lazy by the pool - ha!) -- so we made our way to the hotel and checked in. Our room was nice - nothing incredible (and the balcony was tiny which was annoying - i love reading outside and this wasn't an option) -- but it worked. We made our way to the pool. It was beautiful and extremely relaxing. I found it annoying that every single day, we had to quickly reserve seats at the pool or they were all taken. If you wanted seats at the beach, you had to go EXTREMELY early in the morning to reserve (or pay $35 for "better" seats") -- this was a pain. If I'm on vacation, I don't want to have to rush around to make sure I have seats. We had a great day at the pool - got ready for dinner - and went to one of the best dinners I've ever experienced. We ate at Passions on the Beach -- it was a few minute cab ride from our hotel - the driver pulled over and said we're here! I looked around a little concerned - I saw a small sign and a small hut but nothing more. Quickly I realized the entire restaurant was ON the beach - close to the water! We kicked off our shoes and walked to our table - feet from the water and enjoyed the sunset. It was incredibly beautiful and a wonderful experience. The food was very, very good too!!A great first night! I was exhausted so after playing a bit in the casino I went to bed and Josh met up with his work friends.

Thursday morning, we woke up to find out the water main broke in our hotel. UHHH - no water from 8 AM until 5 PM, quite literally. We made the best of it and spent the day at the pool reading. We also picked up our free gift from Josh's company - a pair of Ray Bans! We both love the pair we chose. We had breakfast at an AWESOME local place Dushi Bagels -- its was so yummy. We spent the rest of the day reading, eating (we had lunch every day at the hotel), riding the awesome water slide & of course playing Bingo every afternoon (we even won one day, two free smoothies!). The water was fixed but our shower barely let out a slow, cold trickle. We made it work and went to the welcome dinner thrown by Josh's company. It was on the beach at the hotel and really beautiful. That night, Josh & I went to the casino and had a blast. It was so nice!

Friday morning, we had breakfast at the buffet in our hotel - SO good. I really loved it. We decided to go to the beach that day and it was really nice - they said they'd find us a free set of chairs - it was nice they did that except our chairs were really far from the water so it was HOT -- we spent some time in the ocean before switching to the pool for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, we went back to our room to shower only to realize our shower still wasn't working. After a couple of hours of back & forth, it was (sorta) fixed. We missed our first dinner reservations at Gianni's and ended up eating at Amazonia  -- a really yummy Brazilian steakhouse. We loved it and it all worked out. That night, we went to the casino and did AMAZING!!! SO much fun playing poker!

Saturday morning, we ended up having breakfast from Dunkin Donuts (ha -- we are loyal) and spent our last day at the pool. I loved every second and really tried to just enjoy the quiet and music and sun and warm air. We missed our babies so much but it's so nice for the two of us to spend time together. I think every married couple needs & deserves time away to just enjoy marriage. (That's a post for another day). After explaining to the hotel that our shower still wasn't working, they fixed it again and took care of some charges on our room (as well as giving us $100 from the water main break) -- it was very nice of them. That night, we had our goodbye dinner again thrown by Josh's company on the beach - it was SO good. The food was amazing (I had lobster for the 2nd time in my life) -- loved it!! They even had entertainment - I felt like I was watching the Mummers! Great costumes and live music. We tried our luck one last time at the casino but lost it all - oops. Lots of fun anyway.

Sunday morning, we woke up and had breakfast at the buffet one last time. We packed, hung out and before we knew it - it was time for the airport. :( Another important part about Aruba -- you MUST allow 3 hours pre-flight. Customs for Aruba AND America is done in the Aruba airport. This means LOTS of lines and lots of security (you basically go  through customs and security once for Aruba and once for USA) -- it was crazy intense but i liked it - upon landing in Miami, we were able to just get off the plane and leave. Much easier.

So that's that -- I highly, highly, highly recommend visiting Aruba if given the chance.

Side note -- we left our very expensive good camera in the room and the hotel found it and saved it for us -- I'm extremely impressed as they could have told me it's gone. Good job Hyatt!!


Happy traveling, ya'll!

The night before our vacation, we had a wedding - the kiddies loved spending time with Miss Jenn!

On our way to the wedding - red-light selfie ;)

Playdate! Owen, Layla, Kylie & Benny

Kole & Layla!! (Can you melt???)

Family picture before Josh & I left them in the fabulous hands of Grandma & Grandpa!

Hellloooooo Aruba!

Smooches at the pool

Bingo obsessed. It's like I'm 30 going on 75.

Lovers.

Passions on the Beach

Dushi Bagels - YUM!

View from our balcony!

Sporting our new sunnies!

<3

haha

<3

Beautiful sunsets.

Crazy beautiful

Reunited with our babes. 

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