Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jamaica 2014- (part 1)

Well, he did it!  He pulled off the best 30th birthday gift I could have dreamed of.  When I was 6 months pregnant with Ruby and rolling in the big 3-0 he gave me the option: Jamaica in 2014, or a surprise birthday party??  What????  Is that even a question.....not really- He knew the answer!

It was then that we started looking forward to another wonderful vacation.  In August 2013 we rallied our friends together, and booked our tickets.  Then the countdown began.  The extra fun part this time was that 2 of our couple friends from the cabin decided to join us on this trip!  We were excited for them to experience Jamaica, and to meet our awesome friends for the first time.  We knew they would love them too!

We had met our friends Dana & Tony, and Jill & Jerome when we went to Jamaica in 2012.  It was a fast/instant friendship.  It's amazing how that happens....It was like our friendship was just meant to be.  Luckily only a few hours separates us.  They are from the other side of WI, and us from central MN.  We have discussed the odds of that happening while meeting for the first time in Jamaica.  People from around the world vacation there....6 hours is a doable trek.

We hadn't seen our 'Sconny' friends since they came to MN to attend Nate and Ashley's wedding (part 2) which happened to be 1 1/2 years prior to our vacation.  Though we hadn't seen them in person, the constant text messages, Instagram messages, phone calls, and Facebook posts made it feel not quite so painful.  But, oh, how we were looking forward to the excited hugs!

We happened to be flying out right as the LARGEST snowstorm ever was hitting Charlotte, NC.  Perfect....the airport where we had our layover!  The original plan was to meet up with our Sconny friends at the Montego Bay airport on Thursday.  We had been scheduled to land within 20 minutes of them, and we had put in a special request for the shuttle to not leave the airport until we were all there together.  We wanted to make the most of our time together, and wanted to take advantage of the 2 hour shuttle ride.  Well- I'm not going to go into details, but the storm had other plans for us.  We were thisclose (literally) to not flying out until Saturday!  Saturday!!!!  That would have made us miss 2 1/2 days of our already too short vacation!  It was like what you see in the movies.  Delay, cancellation, connecting flight.  Booked on a new connecting flight, then another delay.  Over and over and over this went.  We FINALLY got to Charlotte, too late for our connecting flight, but happened to notice that another flight was delayed to Montego Bay!  We ran through that airport carrying bags, breast pump, and a purse faster than I have ever ran!  We made it just in time......Our flight flew out with only 21 people on the entire plane!  And- get this.....As soon as our flight left the terminal the entire airport was shut down!!  The next flight to Montego Bay wouldn't have gotten us there until Saturday....Unbelievable story!  We have already decided that for our next trip to Jamaica we will be taking a direct flight, and our vacation will be a week long!  Ok- I guess I did go into detail...sorry about that dragging on.  After all of that stress and anxiety, it just made getting there that much more exciting!

Now....onto the fun!

After our dramatic day en route, this was such a welcome sight!!!  Looking down and seeing that beautiful island again!

The water was just beautiful.

Last time we stayed in Jamaica we stay at Couples Tower Isle, which is in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  We loved absolutely everything about our trip there.  We knew we wanted to stay with the Couples resort chain because of the outstanding food, drinks, and hospitality they provided.  There are 4 Couples resorts in Jamaica, and though we would have loved to go back to CTI, we were also interested in experiencing one of the other resorts.  This time we stayed at Couples Negril.  It was absolutely just as wonderful.  Which was better??- I honestly couldn't say.  They were both phenomenal!

We would have room service deliver us breakfast in bed every morning between 7:00 and 7:30.  After we had a quick bite of fruit, and a cup of coffee we threw on our suits and hit the beach.  We would all meet at the beach, and when everyone was there, usually around 10:00 we would head in to the breakfast buffet.  We would then park ourselves by the pool for the rest of the day.  It was the life, my doesn't get much better than this!

Early morning ocean swims.

And this was our view by the pool for the day:

The guys spent a lot of time playing sand volleyball, or pool volleyball.  I didn't play one game of it.  I just wanted to relax, and that's exactly what I did!  

It was extra exciting that we happened to be in Jamaica over Valentine's Day weekend!  This made our vacation even more special.  And just as we thought....they did not disappoint going above and beyond to make Valentine's Day all kinds of extravagant!

It was just unbelievable how they would completely transform the resort to go with whatever event or celebration was happening, and then take everything back down, and completely transform the place again the next night.  Every evening was something.....happy hours, cocktail parties, buffet on the beach, managers receptions...

This was just a very small portion of the Valentine extras they put on.  We spent some time here with friends before we went to the Valentine lobster dinner!  Mmmmmmm!
Cheers!  To good friends, fun times, and great memories!

Our friends, Chad and Julie from our cabin joined us on this trip.  They loved everything about Jamaica....We had such a great time with them, and are so glad they joined us!

More of our early morning fun in the waves:

Chad found a starfish!  It was so neat...I had never seen a live one in person before.  A crowd gathered around to check it out, and then we let it free back in the ocean.

Tony and Chad were 'cheers'ing their coconuts.  Getting ready for another exciting, beautiful, memorable day in Jamaica!

Every day when we would head back up into our room after housekeeping had been there we had a new pillow-sculpture on our bed.  It was always fun to see what they came  up with!

Yes- those are my breast pump bottles on the table in the background:)  Mama wasn't quite ready to give that up with Ruby before we left.  I brought the pump to Jamaica, and pumped on the plane, and then 4 times each day at the resort.  It worked out very well....every time I would go pump I would FaceTime the kids.  I loved talking to them and telling them what we were up to.  It was also so nice to be able to see for myself how much fun they were having, and how much they loved being with Aunties and Grandma!!

Our days were spent just like this...poolside.  Relaxing and having all kinds of fun with our friends.  It was perfect!
We kind of claimed this spot in the pool as our own the entire time we were there.  A nice way to stay cool, catch some sun, and close to the swim-up bar!

So happy to be here spending quality time with him.

Chad and Jerome.

And then our cabin friends Jerrid and Michele arrived!!  And again...had a blast as we knew they would!  Our first night out to dinner with them there was great!

Chad, Jerrid, Michele.

It was so fun to get all dressed up each night to head out to fancy dinners with friends!  It was like 5 straight date nights.....The best date nights you could imagine!

Cheers to more great friends in Jamaica!

Chad was always off making new friends!  The workers here were so much fun!

Tony and Jerrid became fast friends.
Jerome and Jill deciding on dinner...there were so many yummy choices, many of the times we chose more than one item.  Why not- it was all-inclusive!

I guess blogger is telling me that my post is getting a little long.....I'll have to continue on with part 2 in my next post!

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