July 18, 2019

Our Mexican Getaway

Traveling abroad with our little family has been something we've dreamed up before we even started having kids.  Although this trip was a dream come true for us, it was nothing "easy" to say the least. 

Sometimes I have a hard time with social media and sharing parts of our life because I never want to come across that we have it better or easier by any means. What I do love about it is getting to share pretty photos and glimpses into our story, but only in hopes that it would inspire others to take on a challenge like traveling with littles, but know that it never comes without the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.  Our trip to Mexico left us with so many sweet memories with our kids and a handful of "believe it or not" stories that still leave us laughing and wondering how we made it through still sane, so I mainly write this to document our crazy trip to remember later on down the road.

The first part of our trip we stayed in the heart of Mexico City where we got to explore with the kids and experience some of the real culture of Mexico there. Something Shane and I love to do when we travel is see where the locals live and eat and play so we get a little insight into life of wherever we're visiting. I think there's so much to learn and gain from when we allow ourselves to enter into someone else's life and step outside our comfort zone for a bit. 

We walked where the locals would, we ate street food like they would, we were recommended some of the best restaurants and coffee shops in town they go to, and played at places where our kids engaged with people that didn't speak the same language. These were probably some of our favorite moments of the trip and every time I talk about it I recommend others to go to places they can get a small glimpse into the life of wherever they're visiting.

One of our favorite experiences of this trip was going to a friend's wedding we had been invited to a little outside of Mexico City--which was really the reason we planned this whole trip. When they invited us we decided to make it a big family event and tacked on a visit to cancun we had been saving up credit card points for for a couple years. 

The girls were so excited to be at another real life wedding (something they're super into pretending and playing right now). We were able to celebrate with our friends late into the evening dancing up a storm with our kids and we were pretty surprised at how long they made it into the night. A few hours after the wedding ended we were up early to head to our next flight to Cancun--which is where the series of crazy events for us began.

Throughout this trip I kept thinking how thankful I was that we had the chance to even do this--as exhausting as it was. I was thankful for the opportunity, for the work my husband put in early on to plan for our family to go and for the adventure of figuring out every curve that was thrown our way. 

I could ramble on and on about each detail that was hard, but I'm not sure I could fit every little thing on this one post! Instead, I started making a list while we were there of the things that were hard about it with a list written next to it of all the things that made it worth it. 

I think it can get really easy to get drowned in the hard stuff when you're raising babies and trying to do life on top of that. It can be easy to say "I'm never taking my kids on an airplane again" or "we will never do a family vacation with little ones" or so on. But I believe wholeheartedly that if we look for the things that make the challenges worth it, those are the places we can see ourselves start to grow. Those are the places we can see our capacity extend and be able to open our hands up for more beauty that could come our way. I believe when we choose to see things differently not only will we benefit from it's rewards, the people around us will get to benefit from it too. 

So below I'm sharing a snippet of the list I made that I think I will start doing more often. Even when we're at home and the days feel long and draining, I'll choose to get out a list and write down the hard--because the hard is REAL and just because there are rewards that come in between doesn't mean we need to ignore the reality of what is/was challenging. And I will write things next to it that made the hard parts worth it. 

The hard things:
-Loading 5 kids, 5 carseats, 3 suitcases, 2 strollers, & 2 adults through the airport
-Almost not making our first flight out of Phoenix due to a cranky airline clerk
-Unexpected hidden fees for our car rental in Mexico
-No air conditioning in our apartment
-Our rental car getting dinged up while it was parked outside overnight
-Starting another travel day at 2am to head to Cancun
-Our first hotel room being a 20+ minute walk from anything at the resort
-Travel day home: more unexpected fees, mama crying, broken air conditioner on flight, then cancelled flight due to broken air after already flying for an hour, heading back to Mexico to go back through immigration, loading up our luggage and kids (again), tiny hotel room for the evening, then up at 6am to find a flight home (I'm not making this stuff up!)

sparing more crazy, yet humorous details in between all of this...

-Made it back to the states with a 45 min layover to make our connecting flight
-Making it to Phoenix to have 3 kids and almost a husband getting sick as we landed (yep, had to clean all that up for a nice welcome home present into the states)

The "worth it" things:

-Getting to walk the streets in Mexico City and explore with our little family
-Talking each day with the girls about the new things we got to experience
-Eating Mexican street corn with the kids
-The girls getting excited to see the big statues in the middle of the city
-The girls saying "hola" and "gracias" to everyone
-Raleigh eating fried octopus 
- Finding a really good local coffee shop after wandering the city and feeling lost
-Talking to locals
-Seeing friends get married and being at a Mexican wedding
-Buying the girls Mexican dresses they wore practically the whole rest of the trip
-Watching the girls dance until midnight
-Arriving to our room in Cancun, feeling thankful we get to do this
-Sitting at the pool and swimming all day with the kids
-Seeing iguanas the size of raccoons and watching the girls get excited about it
-Watching their excitement over the sight of flamingos too
-Family night swimming
-Watching Jaelynn jump off the bridge into the pool fearlessly
-Watching Dash splash and getting braver about jumping into the pool
-Dancing on the beach with my girls to the Mexican band playing next to us
-Sitting next to Shane as we watched our kids play (these are the best of days!)
-The girls cuddled up next to each other all together on the couch each night
-Sitting with Raleigh on our big airplane home watching movies with her
-The kids being total troopers and going with the flow through it all

I hope through this post you don't hear me complaining, because I'm not at all. In all honesty, I would still do this trip and hope to do more traveling abroad trips with our kids as they grow. If anything, the hard moments just give me perspective. Perspective that the control I think I might have can be gone in a second. Perspective to remember that viewing someone else's life through the internet isn't always as easy or glamorous as I sometimes make it out to be. Perspective to look for the opportunities I can learn and gain from through the hard parts of raising kids. Perspective to trust God to take care of us and that even through the stress of it all I always have a choice to be kind and love well. 

There's no doubt this trip left us with a handful of memories and stories to share for years to come, so if nothing else--that's something alone I can be thankful for. 

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