Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Over the kids week of fall break this year we took a trip to Mexico. We invited my parents to come along too. We were fortunate enough to have some friends donate a week at their beach house to us in an effort to continue to help Lisa with her cancer recovery. It was another fantastic trip.

Lisa and I used points for our airfare and took Blake and Cole with us. We didn't have enough points for all of our family, so we paid for the tickets for Tucker and Aubrey and they flew on a different airline with my parents. This was the first time the kids had traveled to a foreign country. We got all of them their passports and they were excited to use the Spanish that they had been learning at school. Lisa, Blake, Cole and I arrived at the house first Sunday night. While driving on the street of the house we saw some animals that we have never seen down there before. These first pictures of animals are not mine, but they are the animals we saw.

We saw some striped basilisks.  They run on their hind legs and can run on water. The first one we saw was running across the road on his hind legs, standing up. It was quite the sight to see.

We also some some of these rodents called agouti. They look like giant guinea pigs. It kind of reminded me of the ROUS's from The Princess Bride.

We saw some more coatis as well. We have seen these before, but it was fun to see them again.

And Lisa and I spotted a small Tapir that quickly ducked back into the jungle.  It was fun to see so many different animals.

Unfortunately we lost the pictures we took from our first two days. Cole accidentally deleted them off of our camera. Oh well, that's life. We didn't lose a whole lot from Monday. It was mostly a relaxing day for us that we spent at the house. The kids loved the pool and couldn't get enough of it. We did some snorkeling, and also some relaxing in the lawn chairs and hammocks. That evening when the hermit crabs were all coming out on the beach the kids were catching as many as they could. Some were huge, the size of a softball. They really enjoyed that.

On Tuesday we took a trip to Chichen Itza. It was the third time there for Lisa and me, the second for my parents, but the first for the kids. Thankfully I took these two photos with my phone.

On Wednesday we woke up to some more sunshine. Here are some photos of the beautiful views we had right from the house. 

Here is the pool. You could usually find our kids here playing.

That afternoon we went into Puerto Aventuras for a few hours. We did some shopping and my mom bought some fun stuff for herself. While she was buying her stuff, I tried these sombreros on the two little boys.

We went and watched some dolphins training. The kids loved it. We got to see them jumping out of the water and even doing flips. It was very entertaining for them.

After the dolphin show we went to the shipwreck museum in town. I told the kids it was a pirate museum, and that got their attention.  It's a fun, smaller museum that is free.

One of the coolest things about this house is that the bay right there has a coral reef. You are mere steps away from some great snorkeling. I took the kids out and taught them how to use their snorkeling gear. Tucker and Cole absolutely loved it. Tucker in fact would even go snorkeling on his own. He's becoming so independent and is growing up so fast.

We saw the usual awesome fish like tangs, angel fish, sargent majors, parrot fish, etc. Here are some photos that Tucker and I took.

A yellow tang.

A blue tang.

A damselfish.

My favorite, a couple of spotted juvenile damselfish. Their spots are so brilliant blue. They are so fun to watch.

Tucker and I even saw some sting rays while we were out there.

Like I mentioned previously, the kids loved the pool. They played, and played, and played there. It was fun to see them enjoy it so much.

That evening a storm started to roll in. Little did we know that Wednesday was the last day we would see sunshine. It provided a beautiful sunset that night on the beach.

Thursday morning we woke up and headed out to Coba. While driving on the back road to Coba and Chichen Itza we would see these huge tarantulas walking across the road. I stopped for one on Tuesday and got a picture of it. Unfortunately it got deleted. But on Thursday we saw some more. This one wasn't as big as the one on Tuesday, but the picture still shows how big they are.

I let all of the kids pet the giant spider. They thought it was cool.

I had a pet tarantula on my mission, so it was fun for me to play with them again.

When we got to Coba, we rented some bikes to quickly and easily access each of the ruin sites. It makes the visit so much better. We all got pretty wet from the rain, but getting rained on in the jungle isn't so bad. It's already so warm that you don't mind it.

Blake and Cole weren't big enough for the bikes they had available so I rented a taxi guy to chauffeur them around. Lucky kids.

Tucker and my mom smiling in the rain.

The main temple at Coba is the tallest in the Yucatan peninsula. It has some steep steps. I was pretty nervous about our safety going up those steps in the rain. They were slick. But everybody did awesome and there were no slips or falls.

My dad and mom enjoying the view from the top.

You can see in this photo all the water that was accumulating on the ground from the rain storm. Nobody in our group was complaining though. What a bunch of troopers.

The ball court.

We have always really enjoyed stopping at this tree with all the roots going everywhere. The kids had fun climbing on them.

When Lisa and I came here 12 and a half years ago for our honeymoon, we stopped at the same tree. Here is a picture of Lisa from 2003 climbing the same roots the kids were.

The kids found a creepy spider up in a crevice of this tunnel.

Me trying to act like a tough rock climber.

We were all loving the Mexican cuisine we ate while we were there. This restaurant at Coba also provided wonderful views of the main lagoon.

When we got back to the house the kids caught this gecko and were so proud of it.

These geckos could be seen all over the outside of the house. At nights we would sit on the patio and watch them eat bugs.

We aren't easily deterred from adventure by some rain/thunder storms. So Lisa and I headed out on the kayak and took Cole and Aubrey snorkeling.

Cole loved seeing all the fish. He was hooked.

Here's a picture of my dad snorkeling.

Friday we got absolutely dumped on. It was the most rain I've ever seen come down in my life. We weren't able to get out much that day. We were hoping to go to a cenote, and we even drove to it. We sat in the parking lot in a torrential down pour and gave up after 30 minutes of it not letting up.

On Saturday it was much of the same. We still went to Playa Del Carmen anyway to get the kids out and about.

When we woke up Sunday morning we found that the massive storm had dislodged this huge tree that was stuck on the reef and pushed it up on our shore. That storm was quite the doozy.

My parents had to leave early Sunday morning with Tucker and Aubrey to catch their flight. The rest of us had several hours to kill so we went into Cancun and took the little boys around. They thought the giant Spiderman at Coco Bongo was really neat.

Despite the rainy weather at the end of the week, it was a fantastic trip. Some of our kids are even saying that they liked it more than their trip to Disney World. Success.