Monday, July 22, 2013

Puerto Vallarta Family Vacation 2013

We had a blast on our family vacation in PV this year! The only bummer was that Uncle Chris and Aunt Melanie couldn't make it. Otherwise the whole Kirkland Crew traveled through customs with our passports and high hopes into Mexico.

This was our second time at the Sheraton Resort there in Puerto Vallarta, but I'm not sure how much the boys really remembered from the last time we were there 3 years ago. They are the perfect age for a beach vacation. And, although they did actually spend a lot of time on the beach with Gampa 'looking for treasure' and playing in the waves I didn't get any photos of that because I didn't want to take my camera near the sand and risk getting grains in the lens. (A mistake I learned a long time ago that caused me to say goodbye to my favorite zoom lens.)

There are several pools at the resort, but we mainly hung around the one with the waterfalls and large kid area where the water is only a foot deep. There are also a few iguanas that frequent the waterfall and bum crumbs off the pool visitors after lunch. The boys love trying to feed the iguanas bananas and pieces of tortillas. (That was until Joaquin got his finger nipped from one that was an aggressive eater.

A typical day would be waking up around 7:30 - sorry, there really is not sleeping in with kids, some strange internal clock that refuses parents those extra hours to slumber. The boys would usually head to breakfast at one of the resort restaurants under the main palapa that offered a breakfast buffet and some times Ian and I would try to take a morning walk on the beach while they ate breakfast with Gamma and Gampa. 

We would lounge around and in the pool for most of the day, ordering from the swim up bar for lunch and snacks, with occasional breaks to check out the ocean, paint pottery or watch afternoon cartoons in Spanish. Then we would head back to our rooms around 5pm, get dressed for dinner and all catch a Taxi (one of the boys favorite things to do because they don't have to ride in car seats) into the small Colonial down-town.

After dinner, most nights (if it wasn't raining by then) we would walk on the boardwalk, which is called the Malecon, and watch the street performers while eating an ice cream cone for desert. We would finally hit the sack around 10pm, after the sun was down, when the boys were exhausted and some of the adults would hang out at one of the bars downstairs chatting the night away.

It was a much needed vacation and such fabulous family time. Here are some photos from our week in Mexico. 

This picture was one I could have taken every day because the boys would hang on daddy and/or some other family member in the pool pretty much all day.

Ian had a blast just playing with the boys. It is a special memory that Ian learned how to swim when he was a boy in PV and so they worked with the boys while we were there to gain their confidence in the water. I'm happy to say, by the end of the week, they were comfortably swimming without their floaties.

This was the morning view of the bay. PV is in the Bandaras Bay, one of the largest bays in the world.

Lita and Gamma hanging out by the pool.

Uncle Stu, Daddy and Elijah about to head out for dinner one night

This Dia de los Muertos lady was a greeter at the door of a restaurant where we had dinner the first night. The boys loved that there were so many skeletons and skulls in Mexico, since they already had a pirate obsession.

dinner with the crew

Ian and Stu walking with the boys on the Malecon. Joaquin had just finished his bubble gum flavored ice cream so he wasn't so happy. :)

the boys riding on Aunt Katie and Daddy's backs, under the bridge and through the shallow pool

they called this 'riding the sharks'

and here they are trying to surf on their backs... pretty good balance

Gamma and Gampa at the swim up bar while Elijah and Lita practice swimming with only one floaty.

Aunt Katie and Lita took the boys over to do a painting activity one afternoon to take a break from the sun. The boys loved it and Elijah requested to do it every afternoon that followed! 

Joaquin chose a ceramic skull to paint and Elijah chose a turtle.

They put the pottery in some sort of heated kiln and glazed it overnight so the next day we went to pick up their creations and the boys were so proud!  It was a special time with Aunt Katie and Lita as well.

Lita, Daddy, Katie and the boys

Uncle Stu joined the crew

this was my attempt to get Elijah to smile for a cute photo op with Uncle Stu before we headed out to dinner. Unfortunately, Elijah doesn't really cooperate when I ask him to smile so this is what I got instead.

After a while of seeing that Elijah was only into silly faces, Uncle Stu went with the flow and put on Elijah's tiny hat for fun.

Dinner at PiPi's 

The Kirkland's have been going to this restaurant for years and years and years...

PiPi's had a fun Mariachi band that went from table to table and everyone that knew the songs sang along.

Elijah watching the sunset on the Malecon.

There is a tourist old fashion pirate ship that comes into bay every night around sunset

The boys loved watching it put up the sails and hoist the jolly roger

Gorgeous sunset view off our balcony from the 16th floor where our room was located. 

One morning the boys were surprised with clowns during breakfast. They roamed the resort doing magic tricks and giving out balloon animals to all the kids.

There was also the hotel turtle that came out to high-five all the kids under the main palapa.

Aunt Katie and Joaquin about to head out to dinner one night, waiting for the cab in the the hotel lobby

Mother and son having a chat over margaritas in the mid-afternoon

Elijah posing for me while he took a break from the pool

His favorite drink to order from the swim up bar (which he loved to do like all the other big boys did) was a Conga, which had a mixture of local Mexican fruit juices.

I wanted to get a photo of the jungle from looking out the opposite direction of our hotel room on the 16th floor. It's not just the beaches that are beautiful, but the jungle that surrounds the town is gorgeous in its own tropical right. 

The boys in their bed watching cartoons in Spanish before we head out for dinner

This is another family favorite resturaunt. It is a Cuban place that always has live music downstairs and the best Mohitos in town. 

The walls are covered with signatures and they bring you a marker with your menu.

The boys had a blast writing on everything. They even were able to spot their hand prints that we put on the walls three years ago when we were last here.

Our last family dinner out was at an upscale restaurant further down at the other end of the Malecon called Oscars. We attempted a family photo before dinner but the waiter didn't stand high enough to get the sun behind Chris' back. 

Katie's boyfriend, Chris, had been planning with Gamma and Gampa and surprised Katie to fly down for the vacation with the family. It was really special to get to meet him and all spend time together.

Elijah and Daddy loved pulling coconuts off the coconut palm trees when they were ready to fall off.

Gamma and Gampa at Oscars

Family photo op after dinner

Elijah wouldn't exactly stand still for the shot, but we tried.

It was such a special time of family and memories. Ian was insistent that the boys practice using their Spanish with all the other kids at the pool, since most of the tourists are from Mexico themselves, and all the waiters and staff.  

Puerto Vallarta has such history for the Kirklands. They have a condo there and Ian spent so many of his childhood summers there so it is extra special to share all that with our boys and continue traditions. Here's to many more!