Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vacation - History & Traveling

I've just come in from the pool and am thoroughly enjoying the air conditioning in our house. The only thing that *might* make this moment better is if I were sipping on a pina colada right now, to officially put me back into my vacation mindset.   Guess my sun kissed skin will have to serve as inspiration enough to start telling you about our trip!

For those of you who may be relatively new to the blog or may not actually know me in real life, here's a little back ground on our family vacations: My grandparents {Bamps and Bami} celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary back in 2003 and as their gift, took our whole family (only 11 at the time) on a week long vacation to Aruba. They had been to Aruba several times on their own, sent my parents, aunt and uncle on vacations for anniversaries and finally wanted to share the experience with the whole family. Of course, we had such a great time and the trip was such a hit, that two years later {2005}, they gave us another family vacation as a Christmas present.

For our second family vacation, we went to Iberostar in Playa Del Carmen. By this time, there were 15 of us on the trip, as my cousin Eric was now married to Micah and Erin and her husband Johnny got to come too, plus my aunt Debbie. {Erin, Johnny and Debbie missed Aruba due to a 4 month old baby!} While we had a great time in Aruba, it was more of a couple resort with not a lot of activities going on. I'm probably one of only a few people whose grandfather taught them how to play blackjack and then took them to a casino too! Aruba couldn't really compete with Iberostar. It was an all-inclusive resort that had a TON of activities to do, both during the day and shows to attend at night. It was such a nice resort and we all had a really great time.  Such a great time that come 2007, we one again received a special Christmas present and we were headed back to Iberostar! You can actually see the pictures from this vacation here and here.

By this point, you could probably say same song, third verse. Of course we had such a great time again! It was like a dream in 2009 when we received *another* family vacation. If I remember correctly (some of the years blend together!) Bami actually gave us a word search puzzle and sheet of questions as a contest between the family members. All of the answers had to do with our previous trips and you could see everyone's eyes starting to get excited, yet not wanting to be the greedy one to think we might get lucky enough to get another trip. The surprise came at the end of the night... we received money as our Christmas present and while we were all busy, Bamps and Bami surprised us by a sign that said "Shopping... but where?!" It was so surreal! We really had no idea where we were going. Bami would send us a new clue every 2-3 weeks in a green envelope. I was actually blogging here by that point. You can read a few pre-vacation blogs here, here, here, here, here, or here, our actual vacation recap! We ended up going to Jamaica that year. It was a nice change from Iberostar and we had some great, once in a life time memories! {How many people are lucky enough to say that went ziplinning with their grandparents!} In case you want, you can see the photos here. Our group was actually up to 17 by this point, as both my cousin Laci and I both got married in 2008. The Jamaica trip came about 1 month before Cody and I celebrated our one year anniversary, so we just rolled it into one celebration :)

Fast forward to Christmas this past year. We're all smart enough to know that it's been two years since our last trip, but no one wanted to be the greedy one thinking we would get that lucky again! It was almost the end of the night, but we did in fact were blessed to get another trip, this time to the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos. My grandparent's travel agent told them this was the "best of the best" and oh my, was she ever right!

So, there you have it, a longer history than I intended of now our family vacations started!

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We flew out on Saturday, June 4 at 9:30. This was actually very late for our family, as we're used to flying out at 7:30! {I should mention that our group is now up to 19 members!} 17 of us flew out of Amarillo and met up with Laci and Josh in Dallas.

Here's our trip sponsors waiting at the airport:


Cody and I waiting before going through security:


We had a very long day of traveling, but we really had the perfect amount of layover time at each location. We had about an hour and a half in Dallas, then 2 hours in Miami and finally arrived at T & C about 8:30, though we didn't make it to our resort till about 9:45.

Here are a few of us enjoying lunch in Miami:




{if you wonder why we all look so happy, it's not only because we are on vacation, but because we've been on the south beach diet and finally got to eat some real food!}

The flights were all uneventful, but it was quite an ordeal to make it to the resort. We found the guys that were supposed to take our group, but as we started looking for our names on the list, more than half of us were not listed! Talk about make your heart stop! It was a little bit of a tense situation as we were all tired, it was black out and he wasn't going to let us on the bus without seeing out names on the list!

Eventually they figured out that they listed the guy's middle name as their last name. So, after we looked under Rinn, Cody - they found us and we were all able to load up and head to the resort. We checked in, grabbed a semi quick dinner and went to our room and crashed! We were a little surprised as we walked up to our room and our bags were waiting OUTSIDE of the door! We all assumed they would take them into the room for our, but not so! They must have quite the honor system at Beaches :)

I think the post has gotten wordy enough - Check back tomorrow for our first day on the resort!


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