costa rica

jw-marriott.jpg

we survived our family vacation! honestly, it was awesome and it's been years since we went away, just the five of us.

when it works out, we'll head to bob's parents' in florida during a school break or my extended family will converge over july 4th at my parents' here in massachusetts but the last time we took the kids and disappeared was back in 2000. we spent easter in fort lauderdale when jack was in kindergarten, lulu was 4 and abby wasn't yet 2. it was fun but it was a lot of work, too coordinating lifeguard duty, nap times and I'm pretty sure I didn't even bring a book.

traveling with 18, 16 and almost 14 year old people was a breeze. tired of the sun? here's a key to the room. up early? head down to the pool to reserve our front row seats. we were able to enjoy time together and yet the kids are old enough to operate on their own within the resort without constant supervision. bob and I couldn't shake the EDT time zone so we were usually up by 6 or 6:30 and the kids would trickle out to the pool one by one. by 10 we were ready to eat so we'd head in to the buffet. if it wasn't an adventure day, we'd camp out at the pool/beach and so long as one person was manning the stuff the others could swim, go shell seeking, or go workout. I plowed through 5 books and everyone was in charge of their own fun or putting themselves down for a nap.

hammocks

the hotel and grounds are gorgeous and the staff is very accommodating.  these hammocks hang in some of the inner courtyards and are so comfortable. the kids tried to convince us to bring one home but we have no where to hang it. abby thought maybe in her room...

I got a huge kick out of all the crazy creatures in and around the hotel - howler monkeys in the hotel's mango grove, two foot long iguanas sunning themselves, hundreds of geckos all over the walls at night and swarms of dragonflies hovering above the trees and along the shore. they were HUGE!

jorge the grasshopper

my favorite creature? this prehistoric grasshopper/cricket the size of my iphone. bob and I first spotted it early one morning on the way to the pool and it let me get within inches to take this photo. we saw another a few days later in the grass and when it hops/flies its wings open to reveal a gorgeous magenta color. I named him jorge. see the spikes along his backlegs? should he land on you and you shoo him off, he'll dig those in to hold on.

first dip in the pacific cean

after a seriously early start to our first day, all we could really muster was some ocean swimming, mojitos, an early dinner capped off by our first stunning sunset.