San Diego

San Diego was a quick break from the deep winter in Park City.  The school district gives us a week off in February to ski; we opted to get out of town for some sunshine.  San Diego provided plenty to do with much warmer temperatures.  Legoland was at the top of our list and as it turns out, theme parks are not our thing.  Long lines and crowds make us all a little tense.  We ended up at the beach by evening where we were “free and in the wild” as Wild Kratts would say.  Our next stop was the San Diego Zoo Safari Park where we had an up-close encounter with tigers – a dream come true for Johnny.  We were all amazed by their exotic presence.  Finally, the seals were calling for us in La Jolla Cove – just seals and sea lions being stinky and barking at the sun.  Our kids loved every minute.  San Diego is checked off the list… for now.   I’m sure we will be back to discover more.

Things to remember:  Charlotte and Johnny sleeping in the same bed and Johnny’s cough, the best truffle fries ever, long Uber rides, watching the Olympics at dinner, Four Seasons Aviara, watching Coco together, and ice cream scooper sand toys.

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Christmas in Playa del Carmen 2017

Playa del Carmen is a place we hold dear; it’s where we were engaged and where we spent several of our first holiday seasons.  It took some time to go back, but we found a family-friendly place that was just right … Rosewood Mayakoba.  The perfect combination of Mexico, kids, family, Christmas, beach, ocean, kindness, and the list continues.

To keep with our tradition, Christmas and Santa were a mere accent to seven days spent together in Mexico.  Santa did find us and brought a few small gifts which were quickly forgotten.  Going against the grain with our tradition certainly isn’t perfect, but ultimately we hope the memories of time spent together as a family make up for not unwrapping Christmas presents.  Our fingers are crossed.

The days were simple; walk to breakfast, then beach, pool and repeat.  We attempted to snorkel and after some coaxing were successful at an open water cenote.  It ended up positive, but we only have one picture due to the emotional, hands-on experience.

We also took the kids on their first catamaran experience.  The boat just happened to be named Moana and one of Charlotte’s dreams came true as we “sailed to an island on a Moana Boat”.   We anchored at Isla Mujeres and had a lovely lunch made by the captain/chef.  We were also able to jump into the open water and pretend to be mermaids (or Moana) which made mama’s dream come true as well.

Christmas in Playa del Carman was a total hit in every way!  Our little family continues to grow closer together and these days added a little more to this bond, especially between Charlotte and Johnny.  We’re grateful we can do this in such a beautiful setting.  I guess we must have been good this year… Thanks, Santa 😉

Things to remember:  Rosewood Mayakoba, Charlotte and Johnny’s sleepovers, seeing a coati the first night, outside showers, Johnny saying “oh yeah”, building sand creatures, Charlotte’s talent show, golf cart rides, green juice at breakfast, water taxi to dinner, Santa’s visit, feeding fish, ecotour on the boat, spotting a baby crocodile, the lagoon, massages, spicy margaritas, uno mas, Johnny’s doctor visit on Christmas day, the catamaran, paddle boarding, hot dogs, french fries and nachos on the beach, the hawk, my roundoff back handspring, endless days together without distractions…

Can we please go back?

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San Jose del Cabo (November 2017)

San Jose del Cabo (November 2017)

The sun, the sand, and great friends made Cabo an amazing trip for our family.  There were six adults and five children which made for a perfect vacation ratio.  Both of our kids had one of their best buddies to play with all day while enjoying a secluded beach and house in Mexico.  All the adults were on the same page; wake up with the sun/kids, coffee, apply sunscreen, chase after kids, prevent fights and drowning, more sunscreen, and repeat.  The evenings got a little more quiet as the sun went down.  We were able to enjoy a cocktail and great conversation while the kids continued to play and our dinners went late into the night.  The days blended into one which is the magic of Mexico.  We feel grateful to have friends to do this with and for the memories our kids made at their tender age… This posse abroad is just getting started.

Things to remember:  Sunrises and sunsets, tide-pooling for sea creatures, Flora Farms, Johnny falling in the pond, being off the grid for water and electricity (and running out of both), John motorbiking in Baja, a continual face-off with the waves, secret plans by Charlotte and Pax, adult dinner at Acre (miscalculating the exchange rate by a zero – oops!), 9 Palms Beach, massages, an epic bonfire on the beach, the stars, and so much more where words and pictures fall short.

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Paris in November

Paris in November seemed like a lovely idea.  John was working in Europe and after a long work trip, he asked me to meet him in Paris for the weekend.  I obliged.

It was a quick trip so we tried to stay on Utah time as much as possible, meaning we stayed up until 3 a.m. and slept until noon (something we haven’t done since becoming parents).  We were finally able to do as Europeans do and eat dinner at 9 pm.  We found quaint, “locals only” types of restaurants and enjoyed talking the night away in dim candle light until closing.  We would then wander back to our hotel to enjoy a glass of wine and do the same for a few more hours.  It was thrilling to know this type of romance exists within us and in this beautiful city where we found many others feeling the same.

Things to remember:  The incredible Four Seasons Hotel George V in full Christmas regalia, John taking our kids with us through Polaroids he kept in his wallet, walking in the rain, slow dancing to Perfect, feeling extremely grateful.

When the mundane part of life creeps up on us, we know we will always have Paris.

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Bali

Last July we were lucky enough to visit Bali.  John was working in Asia for a couple of  weeks and in-between Singapore and China he had a free weekend.  We decided to feed our wanderlust souls and meet at a tropical location in Southeast Asia.  Bali seemed a wild, enticing and obvious choice. 

Bali was amazingly complex with sandy beaches on the coast and rice paddies in the mountains with an underlying spiritual presence throughout.  The people were humble and kind.  I actually had my first experience with meditation here, thanks to John.  At one point I half jokingly said “we ate, prayed, and loved through Bali” as Julia Roberts once did 😉  We felt free and calm and in love.  We missed our kids but enjoyed our time alone in such a deeply foreign place.  We spent most of our time on the beach side in Nusa Dua but explored to Ubud for one day to see the monkeys and rice paddies.  Our short visit left us enthralled and hopefully coming back someday when we get that itch again to travel to the other side of the world.  

A few things to remember:  the Rock Bar that faces 1000’s of miles of open ocean, people flying kites, how they spelled taxi, feeling like ballers when we looked at our bank balance in Rupiah, and celebrating our anniversary for about the seventh time that summer.

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London and Paris 2017

London and Paris 2017

We adventured to Europe with Charlotte AND Johnny for the first time; a monumental experience for our little family.  The kids and I took the direct flight to London to meet John after a long work week.  We were able to spend a weekend in London and then Paris for the rest of the week.  It was probably our favorite trip as a family so far.

The trip started off with a pretty flawless flight to London and of course we were all so excited to see daddy after a week away.  (John met me after Customs with a coffee in hand:-))  We enjoyed London’s beautiful parks and great food!  Our most anticipated moment was seeing Lion King live at the Lyceum theater.  We all loved it!  Charlotte danced in the aisle and Johnny, in a moment of complete audience silence, shouted out “Scar is not nice” for everyone to hear.  The kids had their own room connecting to ours and they woke us up at 3 am the first night when they broke into their minibar for a jet lag party with KitKats, Sprite, M&Ms, etc… all memories we never want to forget.

Highlights from London:  The swans, a phone booth, The Lion King, Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, break dancers in Piccadilly Circus.

Below are pictures from London (Paris follows):

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After London, we found our way to the lovely city of Paris via the Chunnel (not sure the kids totally understood the awe of being on a train under the ocean).  Paris did not disappoint any of us.  We visited a new park every day and planned our meals accordingly.  The weather was warm and sunny but not too hot.  We could wander for hours with the kids while stopping for gelato, a carousel, or to pet the next cute dog.  The parks, food, weather, and the people made five days in Paris feel magical.  Of course, there were meltdowns and Johnny was asleep in my arms by the time we finally made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but we thoroughly soaked in Paris on a new level.  Experiencing this together as a family makes it oh so special and I hope we never forget some of these memories.  

Highlights from Paris:  Arriving on Mother’s Day, the top of the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Tuileries Garden, Jardin d’Acclimatation, Mr. Pistachio, two cute kids named Charlotte and Johnny.

Below are pictures from Paris:

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Christmas in Mexico 2016

Here we are again… escaping the hustle and bustle and/or running away to Mexico for Christmas.  The sun, the sand, the chips and guacamole, the seven days alone as a family is what Christmas means to us (mostly the later).  Santa subtly dropped by with a Barbie and a Captain America, which were both forgotten about within an hour as we made our way to the beach, and so went Christmas 2016.

We spent endless hours in the pool and at the beach.  This trip Johnny’s confidence in the water was at an all time high.  He seemed to think he could swim just like Charlotte (bless his heart).  John and I never took our eyes off of him for a solid seven days.  Charlotte pushes him in every way, which is mostly a positive.  This theme lead into one of our adventures of “swimming with the dolphins”.  Charlotte set the standard and Johnny followed.  They both rode the dolphins, fed and danced with them, and mostly were the coolest kids when it comes to anything new and challenging.

The next highlight of the trip was Charlotte surfing.  John and I had scheduled a day to surf and thought we should have Charlotte join us.  Of course, within minutes, she was up on the board and gliding gracefully to shore.  Her intensity and coordination combined with her inner mermaid made surfing only natural.  I stand amazed.  (Video below)

One more thought to add to our journal is when I tried my hardest to get the perfect “Christmas/beachy” photo of Charlotte and Johnny.  We brought down the Santa hat and the reindeer antlers along with the fancy camera.  After about 20 minutes of enticing them to get on board or just to indulge their mama, I totally gave up and captured everything that is Charlotte and Johnny (also pictured below).  Maybe this means staying in the moment and embracing the chaos – things you slowly learn as a parent.  Thank you, Charlotte and Johnny, for the lessons you give us daily.

I’m especially grateful for the progress we’ve made as a family which made this trip so fun.  I’m also extremely grateful for the opportunity we have to spend this time together over Christmas as a family in Mexico.  It might not be traditional, but this is our Mellor family tradition.  Feliz Navidad!

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