Florida Vacation Recap

Ahh, vacation! The Keller Kids and I have recently returned from our Florida vacation. Can you believe that little MK had never been on a vacation! When I realized that, I knew it was time to take a trip!

BK, MK, and I headed down to Florida at the end of April. Poor Mr. Keller had to work, but the kids and I were still excited to take a vacation!

We were able to snag a deal on our airfare, and, even better, it was a direct flight to Punta Gorda, FL. We even lucked out and obtained first row seats. The Keller Kids were thrilled. Heck, they were thrilled to ride the shuttle from the airport parking lot to the airport before we even arrived in Florida! BK very excitedly announced as we stepped onto the shuttle, “I’ve never been on a bus before!”

Florida Vacation

We’re so excited to go on our Florida Vacation!

Florida Vacation

So excited!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It only got better from there! As we took off down the airstrip, both kids were convinced that we were preparing to go into outer space. They were enthralled. Neither take off nor landing bothered them a bit, and, frankly, the landing was rough! They spent the entire flight happily coloring (BK) and talking away (MK). The only trouble I had with them was when MK was absolutely convinced that she wanted to go yell at the pilot for not coming out to meet her.

The cutest moment we had during the flight was after we landed. MK turned around (remember, we’re in the very first row) and very magnanimously says “Welcome to Grandma Pat’s Florida!” (we were arriving in Florida to visit my grandparents, Bob and Pat).

My grandparents and mom were waiting for us upon arrival. We grabbed our suitcase after it FINALLY appeared (sidenote: why does it take so long to claim checked baggage??),

Florida Vacation

MK and Andy. He’s a labradoodle who was trying so hard to be a good friend!

and we headed to my grandparents’ home in Punta Gorda. From there, we jumped into their pool! BK and MK still both need to take swimming lessons, but they still absolutely love the pool!

Ever cautious, BK swam around the pool with water wings on and pool noodle clutched in his arms. MK, on the other hand, is on the other side of the spectrum when it comes to risk tolerance. She was happily splashing around and swimming with only water wings, and, I suspect, would have relished the opportunity to try swimming without them. Hopefully we can get the kids enrolled in swimming lessons this summer.

Our vacation also included a couple of trips to the beach, of course! I think the beach is what both kids were looking forward to the most. BK had been to the beach before, but it was when he was very little. He really had no memory of it.

Florida Vacation

The Banyan trees in Boca Grande

Florida Vacation

They loved the beach!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was surprised this time, because BK absolutely threw caution to the wind as he played in the waves! MK was actually more concerned than he was, but that was probably because she caught a mouthful of the water early on and did not like it! Both kids enjoyed playing in the sand and building little sand castles.

We took the kids to the Mote Aquarium, too! I’m not a huge fan of fish so I can’t say that this was my favorite part of the trip, but my kids aren’t hampered by the same phobias. They really enjoyed it–BK probably more so. He had me take a lot of pictures to send to back to Mr. Keller, but we really focused on the jelly fish. BK is, apparently, a big fan!

Florida Vacation

The kids really enjoyed the Hurricane Simulator. For $2, I wish it had lasted a little longer!

Florida Vacation

Brayden’s Favorite Jelly Fish at the Mote Aquarium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sister joined us on the last part of our Florida vacation. We hadn’t seen her since Christmas time so we were pretty excited! Both BK and MK could hardly contain themselves when we picked her up from the airport. They were even more excited when they learned that she had brought her hula hoop!

Our Florida vacation was a great opportunity to catch up with family! Our once very close knit family is now spread between Texas, Illinois, South Carolina, and Florida, and it really makes me sad. I’m thrilled that modern technology allows us to bridge the distance regularly between travel and FaceTime conversations, but it’s just not the same. I stayed near home… they should all come back to me!

Florida Vacation

My mom gave the kids these Care Bears Build a Bears

Florida Vacation

Enjoying the splash pad and slide in Punta Gorda

Dreaming of Somewhere Warm & Sunny

I am definitely dreaming of somewhere warm & sunny right now!  So much so that I have found myself pulling up pictures from Mr. Keller and I’s 5-year anniversary trip.

Moon Palace Resort

The view from our Room

Mr. Keller and I visited Moon Palace in Mexico this past July!  It’s a large, very nice all-inclusive resort about 15 minutes from the airport in Cancun.  As a matter of fact, the resort is right under the flight paths going in and out of Cancun.  Most of the time, it was no issue and you barely noticed the planes, but every now and then they got a little noisy.  The resort is a AAA 4 Diamond Resort and a TripAdvisor.com Top 25 All-Inclusive Resort for Mexico.  It is family friendly (though we left BK and MK at home for this particular trips!) as it has a very nice club house for the children and lots of pools.  One pool even had a wave rider!  We also noticed that the drinks here were a little weaker than some of the adult only resorts!

Moon Palace Resort

Room 1923

Our room was #1923.  It was on the Concierge level which meant that we were supposed to get better service.  It also meant that there were not supposed to be any children on our level.  I noticed later that both of those things seemed to be incorrect as there was definitely a baby just down the hall, and neither Mr. Keller nor I felt that the service we received was very good, let alone the spectacular service for which we had been billed!  The rooms themselves have all recently been updated.  Ours contained a king size bed, large jacuzzi tub, well-stocked mini bar, and snacks (potato chips and M&Ms–not exactly anything to get excited over).  The bathroom was nice, but, again, nothing spectacular.  Each room also had a little balcony with chairs and a hammock.  I spent a fair bit of time on the balcony and truly enjoyed it.

There were tons of places to eat at the resort!  Just like anywhere, we found that we loved

Moon Palace Resort

Mayan Coffee — It was spectacular and I don’t even care much for coffee!

a few of restaurants, liked a few more, and did not care for a couple.  Our favorites were Palapa Fragata (seafood),  El Caribeno (Caribbean), and Arricefes (Brazilian).  The service at Palapa Frata and Arricefes was truly superb while the food choices at El Caribeno were just delicious.  Additionally, Arricefes was just really neat as the waiters actually went around from table to table with different types of roasted meat from which they would slice you off a few pieces.  It was quite a variety and right up Mr. Keller’s alley!  I often ate lunch poolside and truly enjoyed that, as well.  There were a variety of buffets set up along the pools from which to choose.  The buffets were everything from nachos to Sushi!  We also loved the cafe in our lobby.  They had sandwiches, coffees, homemade Popsicle (I loved the hyacinth Popsicle!!), and the most exquisite chocolate!  I gained 7 pounds while we were in Mexico, and I blame most of it on the chocolate!

Moon Palace Resort

Golf Course where Mr. Keller pretty much lived

Mr. Keller went golfing nearly every day.  The resort featured 3 very nice Jack Nicklaus golf courses, and he had a great time!  He golfed well most days (which always makes it more enjoyable, right?), and he made some friends.  For those of you who know Mr. Keller, this is hardly a surprise!  He managed to meet up with his new friends nearly every day at the golf course and at the pool or a restaurant.  Most of them were British as we traveled during Europe’s summer holiday, and, frankly, nearly everyone at the resort while we were there were British!

Moon Palace Resort

The only part of the golf course I saw: The pool at the clubhouse!

Moon Palace Resort

The idyllic beach (just don’t mind the seaweed!)

While Mr. Keller golfed, I went to the spa and lazed around the pool and beach.  Unfortunately, I never had an appointment at the Awe-Spa which was actually located on the golf course.  I heard that spa was amazing!  My appointments were booked at the smaller spa in our lobby.  I really enjoyed my mani and pedi, and I thought they both turned out wonderfully!  Unfortunately, my massages with Daisy cannot be recommended.  She shorted me on my time and applied a great deal more pressure to one side than the other.  I felt quite lopsided at the end!  If I were to go again, I would make sure to have a different masseuse as I’m sure that several others are more skilled.  I did really enjoy my time at the beach and the pool.  The service was pretty good with drinks being plentiful and easy to find.  I often stayed by the pool until it became too hot around 1:00 or 2:00 at which point I would go inside for a nap before dinner.

Moon Palace Resort

One of the pools! There were several, and all were well cared for and clean

The nightly entertainment at the resort was actually really good!  We enjoyed the Fire Show the most!  The karaoke night was also a really big hit with us.  Some of our fellow guests could really sing!   Another night we enjoyed the a ’70’s style music show; if we didn’t attend the entertainment for the evening, we walked around the resort.  It’s absolutely huge with 4 sections!  We were able to observe several weddings taking place at sunset, a few parties, and I even allowed Mr. Keller to talk me into a round of (mini) golf.  We’ll pretend that I won–ha ha.

Moon Palace Resort

The entertainment!

Mexico fire Mexico fire2

We only went on one excursion this trip:  Tulum.  It was a half-day trip, and if you ever have the opportunity to go, please do!  I can’t post any pictures because they’re all on a my real camera. That wouldn’t normally be a problem, but the battery is dead and I can’t find the charger right now.  Regardless, Tulum is my favorite set of Mayan ruins.  It’s a smaller village, but it was very important to the Mayan culture as it served as a port into Coba, the Mayan capital.  It was one of the last inhabited Mayan cities, and the ruins are still in great shape today.  Our tour guide was actually part Mayan, and he seemed very knowledgeable.  Mr. Keller was hugely impressed, though part of me wondered if the tour guide was really as knowledgeable as he seemed.  After all, we wouldn’t know any better!  That may have been a little bit unfair, but as we walked around, I could hear other tour guides, and they all seemed to have their own version of history!  In all seriousness, if you get a chance, go to Tulum.  It’s entertaining, beautiful, and it may even be informative.

If I could book a flight and go back to Mexico tomorrow, I’m telling you, I would do it!  I’m sitting here listening to the wind howl and the rain pour down while I’m all warm in my flannel pajamas, and all I can think about is how great it would be to hear the Caribbean splashing again while holding a drink in my hand!  Who else is dreaming of somewhere warm & sunny?