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Monday, June 12, 2017

10th Anniversary Trip to Punta Cana

Not that it's abnormal for me to go a week without blogging lately, but in case you don't follow me on social media and were wondering where I was, Brian and I were spending a glorious, kid-free week of rest and relaxation in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) celebrating our 10 year anniversary a couple of months early. We stayed at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro, an adults-only, all-inclusive resort on the beach and it was every bit as wonderful as you might imagine- I highly recommend that you visit if you ever have the chance!

Last Saturday, we kicked the kids to the curb dropped the twins off to spend the night with the Olivers before Brian's parents picked them up for the week the next day. I will probably say this multiple times, but we are so, so grateful to both the Olivers and Brian's parents for taking such great care of our kids, dogs, and house all week- this trip would not have been possible without them!

Brian and I had to wake up at 2:30 am (!!!) to make our early morning flight on Sunday, but it was a worthwhile sacrifice. After several hours of traveling, we were pretty excited to see the view above as our plane started its descent into Punta Cana.

We arrived at the resort and were greeted with champagne, pina coladas, and plenty of friendly faces. We got settled and then quickly set out to explore our home for the week. It was pretty ugly, but we decided to tough it out anyway ;) Bottom left pic was the view from our room!

After dinner (wherein Brian consumed a sea bass that appeared larger than Clara was at birth), we hit the hay and prepared for a very busy first full day...

Ok so that's a lie. It was not busy at all and it was amazing. We laid on the beach, swam in the ocean, ate some food, enjoyed a few drinks: lather, rinse repeat. 

Top left: Brian playing volleyball with a bunch of strangers after we participated in a rousing game of poolside BINGO.
Top right: We FaceTimed the twins from the beach and Colby asked why we didn't have any clothes on, ha!
Bottom left: Brian posing with the giant ship in the middle of the resort.
Bottom right: Brian wading in the ocean. 

We ate dinner that night at a Japanese restaurant, which I'll touch on in a bit. I also implemented our nightly ritual of taking pre-dinner selfies and kindly compiled a collage of them all for you below:

Please note that for better or worse, I made the excellent decision to not bother attempting to blow dry or straighten my hair once the entire trip. 

Day 2 was spent very similarly to day 1, though we did take a break to sail a catamaran (ok, Brian sailed it while I sat and did nothing) and play another round of BINGO, where I scored this bottle of Dominican rum (and showcased my sunburn)!

Themes of the week: lots of reading, lots of beverages, and lots of selfies

On day 3, we shook things up a bit and left the resort to go zip lining. It was physically a little more challenging than expected (vs. sitting on the beach and doing nothing, that is), but we had a good time and were glad we did it! We made it back in time for lunch and made sure to recover by heading back to the beach. One highlight of the afternoon was Brian getting to drink coconut water straight out of a coconut!

We finally asked someone to take a non-selfie picture of us before dinner and then got to enjoy this amazing view from our balcony after dinner, so I had to share both.

The middle pic was from that evening when we ate dinner at French restaurant, where Brian accidentally ate chicken liver pate. I'm still grossed out thinking about it. Left pic is of me trying sushi for the first time (gasp) at that Japanese restaurant I mentioned. I did not like it at all and will not be trying sushi again, thank you very much. And pic on the right is from the surf and turf restaurant- I informed Brian that his plate had far too many eyeballs on it for my liking. (So basically, yes, I am the world's least adventurous eater, I know.)

Day 4 was our last full day in paradise, so we continued our quest in taking it easy. We got massages in the morning (top middle pic showcasing our post-massage stupor) and Brian snorkeled some in the afternoon, but that's about as active as we got. 

On Friday, we slept the latest we had all week, which was good because we had another long day of travel ahead. We enjoyed one last breakfast and stroll on the beach before debating staying there forever heading to the airport. The Punta Cana airport is open air, which explains why the random stray cat pictured above was just wandering around our terminal. 

We made it home late on Friday night and made sure to (briefly) wake up Colby and Clara to let them know we were home. Leaving paradise was hard, but coming home to them made it a heck of a lot easier!

What were they doing while we were gone, you ask? Well the week got off to a rocky start with Clara coming down with some sort of stomach virus. But thankfully after a day or so of taking it easy, they were able to head to VBS at our church for the rest of the week. Brian's mom even volunteered at VBS every day and took them to the swimming pool and a local indoor play area afterward on two of the afternoons. They missed us a little but it was clear they had a great time while we were gone- thank you times a million, Mimi and Granddaddy!

So yeah, it was a pretty great week. None of us are looking forward to heading back to work/school today, but hopefully we'll adjust back to reality quickly!


  1. This sounds AWESOME. Brings me back memories of our honeymoon in an adults-only all inclusive resort that was overflowing with booze. I miss it soooo much. Glad to hear you loved it and sad you still don't like sushi but I'm proud you tried it!

  2. Okay, this looks like a pretty amazing week. I'm envious of all the beach and reading time. Also, it made me laugh when you said you didn't do your hair all week because I was all impressed that you were curling it every night! :)

    Along with Emily, I am said you don't like sushi, although really the only sushi I LOVE is California rolls which have crab, avocado, and cucumber. Most of the rest of it, especially sashami (big pieces of raw fish), grosses me out.

  3. Sounds like it was a perfect mix of relaxing + staying busy! And it was a well deserved getaway (especially after your last "big" getaway ended so poorly)! Also, I need you to remind me exactly what you do with your hair once you get out of the shower to make it curly.

  4. I am very surprised and impressed that you manage to chill so much on a vacation! I would have thought you WOULD have been go-go-go, activity to activity all week long...based on your usual weekend style. :) So high five from a fellow lazy vacationer! Love your hair curly. Oh and love seeing Brian's facial sunburn progression in the dinner selfies, hahaha. Punta Cana looks amazing...I definitely want to go there sometime! :)

  5. Will be showing Brandon this post asap so maybe, just maybe, we can finally plan a "real" vacation just the two of us!

    Looks so fun and I'm so glad you had the chance to sneak away for some well-deserved time off!

    Love your curly hair, too!

  6. Given the baby is not quite 6 months old, I think a kids free beach vacation is a ways off, but this looks WONDERFUL. I also need details on your 2 strapless bathing suits - SUPER cute. My sad nursing boobies might not look good in them, but I'm in the market for some new suits that cover the tummy (sad, sad, sad stretch marks and saggy skin) but don't scream YOU ARE AN OLD LADY!

  7. What an amazing week!! I'm so glad you got to go! If you can promise me that Punta Cana is Iguana free then maybe we will look into it for our belated 10 year anniversary trip! ;) You look beautiful and relaxed in all of the pictures!