In May, Brad and I had the amazing opportunity to go to Cozumel for five days with just the two of us!
This time together as a couple was so needed and very refreshing.
I've been describing the trip as the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.
We found a good deal on Living Social and stayed at an all inclusive resort called Hotel Park Royal.
The infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
Perhaps my only complaint was the small beach area. Although most people preferred to lounge by the pools, so the beach was never crowded. It did have a nice little reef that we snorkeled and were surprised by all that we saw.
One night we came back to our room and enjoyed this little surprise.
Overall the food did not disappoint. When I was researching hotels, if there were several negative comments about the food, I crossed it off the list. I normally don't take pics of food, but the presentation warrented it this time.
The first day we were there, someone convinced us to attend a membership presentation (very similar to a time share). We have always said no to offers like this in the past, but with the promise of a free snorkeling excursion for two hours of our time, we agreed. It actually wasn't that bad and they didn't pressure us as much as I expected. I was still uncomfortable the whole time knowing we weren't going to purchase their deal. To my surprise, my husband really enjoyed the whole experience and like trying to be convinced to buy.
A couple hours later we were on a glass bottom boat headed out to snorkel three different areas. We saw starfish, baracuda, sea turtles and countless species of tropical fish. The diversity of sealife and visibility of Cozumel for the price from Texas cannot be beat!
The next day we went to Chankanaab National Park to swim with manatees. I booked this excursion weeks before we traveled and was really looking forward to it. When I was little, I was obsessed with manatees and remember checking out every book in the library about them one summer. I think I was drawn to them because they are so sweet, gentle and playful. When we went to Florida a couple years ago, I asked several locals were we could see some manatees and drug Brad and and Anna all over the place looking for them. We never found them. The point is, I was excited to actually have the opportunity to swim with them.
You can imagine my disappointment when they saw my belly and said I wasn't allowed to be in the water with them since I was pregnant (this restriction was not on their website). Brad, bless his heart, tried his hardest to persuade them because he knew how badly I wanted to do it. We were like "come on, this is Mexico, doesn't anything go here?".
Well, I was able to watch from the ledge as Brad and the trainer were in the water with two manatees for a whole hour. Brad got to snorkel with them, feed them (like 6 heads of romaine lettuce), and just play with them. He swam them over to as close to me as he could get. It was definitely an experience he will never forget.
Although they didn't think it was safe for me to get into the water with a docile manatee, they did allow me to do the dolphin encounter program. I'll admit, I was still sulking a little about the manatees, but little did I know what the Lord would have in store for me!
During the dolphin encounter, they bring you into the pen with like 12 other people who came straight off a cruise ship and have you take a bunch of cheesy photos with the dolphin in an attempt to get you to buy the very overpriced pics. Out of the 23 dolphins at the park, I happened to get the one who was a mommy with a 4 month old baby.
As the trainer was bringing Amaya around to each person for photo ops, he mentioned in passing that she could hear the baby's heartbeat. At first I thought he was talking about her own baby, but he was looking in my direction. I asked if she could hear MY baby's heartbeat. He brought her over to me and she put her ear right on my belly and stayed very still for about a minute. Then she started making little noises. The trainer said she had picked up the heartbeat and was sending sonar waves indicating she had detected the baby. I got tears in my eyes as this happened. Later, he even brought her over a second time because it thought it was so neat. It was amazing to bond with an animal mother in this way, and just a sweet gift from God to let me have that experience. Here is a youtube video I found that talks about dolphins detecting human pregnancy.
One thing I appreciated most about this trip were the long stretches of uninterupted time. I was even able to read 2.5 books.
My favorite part of the trip was just getting to be with HIM.
After 9 years of marriage, I felt like we were newlyweds again!
On the trip, I talked to three different older couples whose kids were grown. It was neat to hear about their travels and adventures and made me look forward to that phase in our own marriage. Of course, I don't want to speed up time and wish these precious years with little ones away. It just reminds me that our family started with just the two of us and will one day be that way again.
I started reading the book Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy on the trip and cannot recommend it enough. It was just good for me to hear this perspective during this season in our marriage.
I haven't been documenting many belly shots, so I figured I would throw in this one of me at almost 24 weeks.
One last shot before we left for the airport.
On the plane ride home, I told Brad that we stayed the perfect amount of time and as much as I enjoyed being in paradise, I realized that our little home was a paradise of its own. I was looking forward to returning to it. (Side note: it has been a few weeks since I made that comment and I'm not sure I still stand by it. haha:)
When we got home, my mom and the girls were waiting outside for us. Anna ran over to me and jumped into my arms and gave me the biggest hug. Haven put her arms around Brad's neck and would not let go for what seemed like several minutes. It was such a sweet moment.
All of it would not have been possible without the help of Grandy, Appy and Gigi. We are truly thankful to have grandparents who live so close and are so caring. While we thought about the girls on our trip, we never once worried about them.