On October 12th around 7PM, my family and I landed in rainy Toronto after a bumpy ride home from Riviera Maya. We had any amazing trip, albeit there were a few minor blips. That goes with anything though.

We were very weary about the weather forecast in the days leading up to our vacation. You see… Rainy season in Mexico is from May to mid-October. Being that we would be arriving at the tail end of rainy season, we knew we were taking a risk.  A risk that our entire vacation could be a total wash out. We had traveled to Riviera Maya in mid-April  2010 and the weather was monsoon-like… So going into this vacation we figured we had nothing to lose. Luckily the rain gods were with us, and it only rained at night. Our days were hot, hot, hot and filled with sunshine.

The Night Before: 
We stayed at the Travelodge Hotel Toronto Airport. We managed to score a deal for $105.00 which included our one night stay, parking of our car on their lot for a week and shuttle service to and from the airport.

Day 1:
We arrived at Pearson International Airport at 6:30AM for our 9:30AM flight. This gave us enough time to meet up with my Mother-in-Law (she came on the vacation with us), watch the airplanes and get breakfast.

Cadence was very excited to be going on an airplane.

After boarding the plane, I started to have anxiety that we were going to have ‘that baby‘… you know the baby that cries through the whole flight. From the moment we sat in our seats, Cameron started to cry. Thankfully just as we were getting ready to head down the runway for take-off, he zonked out.

Air Canada provided each passenger with their own personal TV on the back of the chair in front of them. EnRoute was a savior. Cadence had many episodes of The Wiggles just at her fingers tips for the duration of the flight. Awesome.

Cancun International Airport customs officials gave us a bit of slack about Cameron’s baby food upon entering the country. I was seriously worried that they were going to confiscate it. We had never encountered this hassle when we flew to Cancun with Cadence in April of 2010. Thankfully they were understanding, and let it slide.

We arrived at our hotel – Occidental Grand Xcaret – around 2PM. Our room wasn’t ready upon arrival so we headed to Le Buffet for a late lunch. After lunch we checked into our rooms. Our room number was 19307. I hadn’t thought anything of it initially. As we were walking to our building… building 19… It dawned on me. We had requested a first floor room and clearly we had been given a 3rd floor. After speaking with the concierge, she confirmed we were 3rd floor and they had no elevators in the building. Huge problem. We wound up heading straight back to the lobby to complain.

The customer service rep in the lobby tried to tell me that they couldn’t do anything for us. That all rooms were booked. I told them that was impossible. The woman insisted a lot of rooms were under renovation and the only place she could move us was building 12 – the lobby building. I refused. There was no way I was accepting a room in the lobby building. Just steps away from the theater, bar and disco. Not an ideal situation for a family with young children. I muttered under my breath that we were returning guests and this would be our last time visiting the resort. That was when the representative changed her tune and miraculously a room became available. We were moved to a first floor room in building 21. Not only that we were upgraded to a swim-up suite. Awesome.



After getting settled in our room, I took Cadence for a swim and James watched from our deck while Cameron napped. We then took a family walk along the ocean shortly before dinner. It was nice.

Day 2: 
We started off the day enjoying a very yummy buffet breakfast overlooking the ocean. The Beach Bar was our prime breakfast spot each morning. The service was always phenomenal. After breakfast we all split up. I took Cadence for a walk around the resort. We enjoyed some quality mother-daughter time. I never realized how much I actually missed my sweet little girl until we got this alone time together. Cadence and I toured all the Mayan Ruins on-site. We went down by the ocean and swung on one of the sun beds while staring up at coconut trees. We went for a dip in the ocean and had our picture taken with a Toucan. Fun.



Day 3:
We spent the day by the ocean. I wound up with a sunburn on my back and shoulders. It hurt like a bitch. I was so liberal with my sunscreen too. It’s way to easy to get burnt when you have fair skin… especially when you’re in a tropical destination.

Cadence had been very unsure of being in the ocean with tropical fish up until today. Today she was all about going out in the ocean and squealing with excitement as the fish swam around and in between our legs. It was so adorable.

My Mother-in-law was kind enough to watch both the kids, so that James and I could go out to an a la carte restaurant for a nice quiet dinner. We went to Sonora Grill. The best parts of dinner were the salad bar and dessert. We had really been looking forward to enjoying steak… However our steak was served to us charred and raw on the inside. Not at all appetizing.

After dinner we enjoyed some drinks by the Disco and theater. We caught a glimpse of the show… Dancing in the Showtime. It was pretty good, albeit cheesy. There was one female dancer in the group who clearly did not know the choreography. If she had ever tried out on So You Think You Can Dance… she would’ve been laughed off the stage. Yep. She was that bad.

Day 4:
After breakfast, we took  the kids for a walk around the resort. We checked out some of the many animals on premise. Cadence and Cameron loved the flamingos and deer in particular.  Once their excitement died down, we headed over to the Fun Club pool by our building. We decided to switch things up, rather than chill by the ocean for another day. Plus… James really liked that the bar by this pool in particular played rock music. It’s the little things.

There was a fair bit of excitement that escalated while we were at the pool. A venomous snake came slithering out from beneath a British woman’s towel on her lounger. It made a really presence for itself. Thankfully the woman had been in the water at the time and not lying on the lounger sunbathing.

On a lighter note… Photographers from Ocean Photo came around the pool with a spider monkey and we all took a turn getting our picture taken with him.

After dinner we went to the theater to watch the resorts evening show – Jazz Club. It was definitely one of the better shows. It was very much burlesque, which made for a lot of men to be enamored with the women on stage. The men in the show weren’t that bad looking either. Haha.

Day 5:
Today we went to Xcaret. Xcaret offered a little something for the whole family. Some of the main attractions included, underground rivers, snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins, tropical trails, butterfly pavilions, spider monkey island, and so much more. The only pitfall was that the map of Xcaret was poorly designed. We had a very hard time navigating our way through the park; Thus we missed a lot of the attractions.

If you ever visit Xcaret, you must make a point to go to their evening show spectacular. It features a lot of the Mexican culture and music. The performance was mind boggling.

Cadence and Cameron fell asleep during the show, which made for a great opportunity for us all to enjoy drinks in the lobby bar before heading back to our room for the night. We had so much fun shooting the shit, sipping drinks. Unfortunately though when we got back to the room both kids woke up. James had limited patience and wound up storming out on us for a breather. Our room situation wasn’t ideal. Cameron had been co-sleeping with me in a separate bed all week. I barely slept. Everything just caught up to us both. The day didn’t end on a very good note. Sadly. It happens.

Day 6: 
Today was the day I’d been dreading. October 10th.  In all honesty… I’m sure part of the blow up the night before had something to do with this day. No matter how hard I tried not to think about it… I couldn’t shake it from my mind.

James decided to do something extra special for me, and arranged for he and I to go on an excursion without the kids. Swimming with the dolphins. Something I’d been vying to do since our honeymoon in 2007.

Swimming with the dolphins was everything I had ever imagined and so much more. Our group had 60 minutes in the water with the dolphin. We went on a belly ride, exchanged kisses, hugs, hand/fin shakes and smiles.

Our dolphins name was Atlantis. Atlantis had a baby 4 months ago. During our session, Atlantis kept taking off to check up on her baby. It was beautiful to see her motherly instincts shining through. She was so protective of her little baby, and always wanted to keep on top of what the trainers were doing with her. Too sweet.

 After our dolphin swim, we enjoyed a drink in the terrace before catching the shuttle back to our hotel. James, if you are reading this… thanks for bringing a smile to my face when I needed it the most.

Day 7:

Our last full day in paradise. The trip went by all too fast. We spent the day hanging out by the ocean. We went swimming, played in the sand, lounged and drank many drinks. I ended the day with a really bad sunburn on my thighs. Before dinner, I was sure to fill up on pedialyte and water to try to prevent sun stroke. Yes. My burn was that bad.

I had a bit of a Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident while we were on the beach. I had been lifting Cameron up over my head when lo and behold my tankini slipped… exposing my whole breast. I’m not sure if anyone noticed or not… but man I was embarrassed. Haha.

Day 8:
We got up at 6:30, packed up our bags, and headed for one last breakfast in paradise. Our shuttle picked us up to take us to the airport at 9:30AM for our 1:30 flight. When we arrived at the airport, we enjoyed lunch at Johnny Rockets and shopped Duty Free. Our flight was delayed by 30 minutes as a result of storm systems moving over the Gulf of Mexico.

Cadence didn’t cope well on our flight home. She didn’t want to leave. She was also overtired, cranky and refused to nap. Whereas, Cameron slept for most of the flight.

We arrived home to rainy Toronto shortly before 7PM. First thing I did after getting off the plane was try to connect with people on Twitter and Facebook. Priorities, right?!?! Ha! Little did I know that there was a BlackBerry outage. I just couldn’t swallow that my BlackBerry wasn’t working. Haha.

So all summed up we had an amazing vacation! We had a few minor blips, but that goes with anything. I can’t wait to go away again… but hopefully next time we can leave the kids at home.

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