We recently had the absolute best vacation with our family and friends at the beginning of May. It was our very first vacation as a family of four and the kids were amazing. We had so much fun visiting family and playing with friends for 10 days!
We wanted to wait until Holly was 2 months old to travel so she could get her first round of shots before we flew. She got shots on May 2nd and May 3rd we boarded the plane to Tampa. We spent our first two days in Tampa at Dan’s brothers house and we did a little house hunting while we were there to see if there were any condos we liked. We’re contemplating buying our own place that we can stay in when we go and rent out the other parts of the year. Once Ada starts kindergarten in the Fall we thought it would be nice to be able to escape during her school breaks.
Tampa was fun family time. We got to meet the newest (and first) Nephew, Louie who is 3 weeks younger then Holly, and Ada and her cousin Penny loved spending so much time together!
Dan’s brother and his long time fiance also made their relationship official (as if two kids isn’t enough) by tying the knot with a casual wedding. We had a nice dinner out to celebrate them at Steelbach on the Tampa Riverwalk followed by a great photo op as the sun was setting.
After two fun days with them crashing on air mattresses and couches, we headed off to our week long vacation with friends. We spent the week at the TradeWinds Resort, Guy Harvey Outpost in St. Petersburg. I’ll give my quick version of a review of the hotel followed by an overload of photos….
The resort itself was a tad outdated. The rooms were very small and not everything was in perfect working order. It was fine, but we paid a hefty price tag for our room because of the location (which I’ll get to next), and I had wished for something a little more luxurious. At $400 a night I expected higher quality, but I will say their customer service and everyone working there was absolutely amazing. We had a phenomenal experience at the hotel, I just wish it was a bit more updated for the price. The location of our room was obviously what we were paying for. We were ground level, walk out to the pool area. We traveled with 3 other families and we all had rooms next to each other, so we were able to step out onto our patio and hang out with each other, let the kids run around the pool area and be only steps away from our room (and the beach) at all times. We also were able to sit at the bar or each other’s patios in the evenings and our monitors all worked (for the most part). The convenience of that, especially with babies was worth every penny.
The kids spent about 75% of the trip in the pool. It was amazing to have it right out our doorstep, so they could jump in at 8am and stay in until about 2pm, when they would crash and head into the room for some quiet time. Quiet time meant the grown ups had a couple hours to sit poolside without watching kids.
The evenings were mostly spent ordering take out to our patio, followed by sunset pictures and s’mores on the beach!!
We had a super fun dinner at Rum Fish Grill which was right at our hotel and had a massive Fish tank where we were lucky enough to sit right in front of. We came in like a tornado with 8 adults and 8 kids under 5. So the restaurant staff was amazing at getting us in and outta there. They gave each of the kids their own iPads to play with while we waited and sent over extra wait staff to manage our group. Food was amazing too, we ordered take out from here a couple times during the week. It was even entertaining enough for an 8 week old, she loved watching the fish swim!
There was a touch tank right inside one of the shops at our hotel, so we took the kids there for a little bit as an afternoon distraction from the sun.
We loved having so much special family time together and making beach memories. It was a very relaxing week, despite having so many kids with us, and it was the most perfect way to wrap up my maternity leave. We got to escape reality for more then a week and enjoy the hot weather and sunshine.
More then anything though, we are so lucky to have this amazing group of friends to raise our kids with. The kids and the grown ups are all the very best of friends and we couldn’t be more thankful to have them by our sides. Its crazy enough raising kids, and it makes it so much more fun and bearable when you have such special people to help! It takes a village, and we have the very best (and maybe a little crazy!!)
** Side note: We were contacted prior to our arrival by the BlueGreen Vacations Team asking us if we wanted to attend one of those Timeshare presentations for a free vacation and some resort credit. We attended the presentation only because we had Dan’s parents with us for a few days so we were able to leave the girls with them while we went, and we were hopeful that our strong will would help us say no and quickly get out of there with our free gifts. The presentation went very long (over 3.5 hours despite being told it was 120 minutes) They were VERY hard to say no to, as most of these sales things are but after we finally finished up, we did get $150 resort credit that we spent at the bars and we have all the stuff for our free vacation. We selected Aruba as our destination and I registered our certificate. It does require a $100 deposit and we are responsible for about $300 in taxes and fees, but so far it seems like our 3+hours was worth it. We’re going to try to book Aruba in October, so stay tuned for another travel post later on this year for that family adventure.