Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vacationing in Cabo with Tropical Storm Juliette

I've been throwing around the idea for a week now of trying to put in to words how our vacation was in Cabo San Lucas. However every time I've gone to talk about in person to anyone I find myself kind of like, I don't know... choking up a bit. Which is not really what people expect from you when they ask you how awesome your vacation was. They want, "It was amazing!!" so when you start to do the "swallow" thing like you might just cry, they definitely look at you like, "You should be smiling- not crying, no?" And trust me, I know. I definitely was not expecting to give people a "choked up" response to my amazing vacation- I am not even a "choke up" kind of girl. I wanted to wait to blog about it all until I was OK enough to not choke up every time I thought about it. Because writing about it is going through it all over again... Not to be dramatic, but one part of the trip was dramatic.

Let's start at the beginning of the vacation... the not-so-dramatic part...

This week I've been joking with friends that one of the titles I've thrown around for this post is, "You Can Take The Girl Out The Ghetto, But You Can't Take The Ghetto Out The Girl!" The reason for this is these two little words I've never really contemplated: all-inclusive. Let's be honest, resorts in general are not really something I ever saw myself vacationing at. And not that I haven't vacationed in my adult years- I totally have. I've traveled Europe by Eurorail- staying in youth hostels along the way... I've done a ton of tent and RV camping and I've also even stayed in some crazy nice hotels in my Mattel days. But never an all-inclusive resort.

Upon arriving at Dreams Los Cabos we were whisked off to an internet lounge on our floor where we could go for snacks/drinks any time of the day. I'm not talking Cheez-Its here people. I'm talking home made guacamole, mini sandwiches, shrimp cocktail in little shot glasses, bite size cheese cakes... I could have lived in that lounge. Even though I knew in my head everything was included (aka free), going in to this mini snack-laden paradise made me second guess it. You mean I could just reach out and take a raspberry tart? Just like that? I was hesitant at first, very hesitant. Would I get a bill under our door for it later? Because I cannot afford to just be eating raspberry tarts all day, that is for sure.

We went down to the pool and immediately a pool side staff member came up to me and said, "To drink, Senora?"  I wanted to yell at him,  "I just got here and you already want my money, do ya!?" but again- I had to keep telling myself, "Gratis Kenna, gratis!" Still- I couldn't get my head around it. Free smoothies? Free poolside fries? It seemed way too good to be actually true! Now my husband on the other hand... he was eating 6 mini sandwiches and smoothies in every flavor within the first hour- he was making up for all of my hesitation.

The first night we were there I felt almost emotional about being at a place like Dreams. Like look-at-our-view, emotional. Good Lord, I'm getting soft in my mid-thirties. You see, I am literally from a family that NEVER- and I mean never took a family vacation. We were next to broke, always- and even though Shawn and I have vowed to do family vacations however we can (road trip to Texas is a perfect example) we could never afford to do anything of this scale on our own. Have I mentioned we're living on a youth pastor's salary? Oh, I have. So let's get this out of the way really quick: this was a gift from my mother-in-law to her kids/grandkids. An awesome gift we will always be grateful for.

The next two days were nothing short of perfect. We lounged pool side, were waited on hand and foot... took full advantage of the water slide and ate whenever we wanted. We took Cormac to the bungee jump trampoline and he and Shawn even rode horses on the beach with Shawn's brother's family- you know, because they could...

Wednesday morning was even more awesome than the 2 previous days. All 9 of us took a shuttle down to the marina and booked a boat tour of the Sea of Cortez: Land's End. We saw The Arch, Scooby Doo Rock, went snorkeling at Pelican Beach and walked over to Lover's Beach to see inside the caves...

I was really feeling like the vacation couldn't get much better. And then it did. Back at the marina, we stumbled upon a Mexican woman who wanted to braid the kids hair. Um.... yes! We had Cormac's entire head done and part of Birdie's. I was so stoked- I love stuff like that. I mean, "When in Rome!" right? We all ate together at Tacos Claros- a place our boat captain highly recommended. On our way to lunch it was starting to sprinkle a bit, something we were expecting at some point in our stay. As one that doesn't exactly love rain- it didn't bother me at all... I actually quite liked it because it was so hot. After lunch we all went over to the open market to do some shopping, something I was so excited for. If you know me, you know my vacations revolve around shopping- particularly open market style shopping. The boys grew weary quickly, so my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and myself stayed behind. This was really fun for us girls to have a day out alone bonding over [as one vendor said], "things we don't need!" I haggled my way in to some authentic Mexican garb for Birdie, Shawn and myself... and some huaraches for Cormac. By late afternoon it was starting to rain harder... but still nothing that would cause any of us to think we were heading in to a serious storm.

There's a reason she only got 3 braids.... Does the face tip you off?

We got home before dinner time and decided to get everyone ready for a night out at the Sushi restaurant at the resort. We headed out around 7pm, still some rain and now some new found winds- but nothing that would stop anyone from eating free sushi! 


As we got settled in and began to order the rain was really starting to come down. As we started eating the storm was becoming increasingly louder with thunder and some crazy winds. To me, it was exciting in a weird way... After my kids were finished eating, my husband and his mom went to take them to see a scheduled dance performance- we'd figured that it must have just been moved inside to the ballroom or something. Upon leaving the restaurant they got the full brunt of Juliette, while carrying our kids and running as fast as they could. The roof of the snack shack had huge pieces blowing off of it- one nearly grazing my mother-in-laws head. They were told in the lobby the show had been cancelled and that no one should be walking around outside. The were placing yellow tape all around to let people know the resort was closed down for the night. 

Shawn was gone 20 minutes and when he got back in to the restaurant, (where we'd just ordered another round of sushi!) he was adamant about the fact the storm had gotten much worse and that the staff was recommending everyone go to their room for the night and bring in their patio furniture. Shortly after the windows in the restaurant started blowing open and the power went out. Shawn and his brother wedged an umbrella through the handles of one window to stop it from opening- handy men at their best. At this point our nephews (6 and 9) were starting to get freaked out and Shawn was really wanting to leave to go check on our kids and his mom. The rest of us were hesitant if leaving at this point was the right thing to do. Should we be running in these winds and this rain? We're talking 82 MPH gusts (not that we knew that at the time but we knew it was dang windy). We all went to the door of the restaurant. Shawn told us to stay and he would go, and he bolted head down, into the storm. I thought the rest of us were staying... and praying. Then Eric, Angela and my nephews decided to run too and I figured if we're going down we're all going down together... so I ran with them. They had kids so I got ahead of them and lifted up the yellow tape to the lobby- all 4 of them ran underneath. I ran after them... and then it happened. I fell. I fell on marble on my butt and the minute I hit, I knew I wasn't going to be hopping back up. When I looked up I saw Angela, who was carrying my younger nephew had also fallen, but they were getting back up. She was screaming for Eric, "Kenna's fallen, get her!" This moment was like a nightmare... at Dreams Los Cabos. I was screaming in pain (and fear I assume?) and my brother-in-law and a staff employee picked me up and carried my up 6 flights of stairs to Shawn who was so confused because he thought we were staying behind. My butt was on fire with pain, and my wrist was killing me too because I tried to brace my fall with it. Shawn's foot was bleeding as he'd stepped in glass running and my sister-in-law was bruised up as well. 

There was no electricity in any of the rooms and I laid on a bed in the dark with my family asking me how I was and all I could do was just cry, uncontrollably cry. For the next 30 minutes I experienced some crazy shock... I have had a panic attack before- and this was different in someway I can't even really explain. I was so emotional... and I knew I wasn't even that injured, but I couldn't help it- I just kept crying. The thought of being separated from the kids... and so many other things, really got to me. The manager of the entire resort came to check on me and he said he was sending a doctor, courtesy of Dreams. The doctor came and her written diagnosis stated, "confused and hurt bottom". Amen to that sister.

Shawn put all 4 of us in our bed together to calm me down but who are we kidding, I barely slept that night. The next morning I went on a walk by myself, snapping pics on my phone of the damage and chatting it up with anyone who wanted to talk about the night before.

The workers at the resort blew my mind. Hardest working staff I've ever seen. They were out in the middle of the storm making sure no one was out and about, risking their own safety for the safety of their guests. They were so compassionate and caring and would literally give you the shirt off of their back if you needed it. My brother-in-law was talking about our experience with a worker in the lounge the next day and she started crying and told him that yes, she was so scared but had to hold it together, it was her job to. Just amazing people.

Me standing in the exact spot I fell the next day!
I felt like the first time I went to eat (in the make shift ballroom-turned-dining room) every guest was looking at me like, "There's the girl who fell in the lobby and wouldn't stop crying!" But I had to get over it quickly because there was no way I wasn't eating. That day was calm at the resort as some of it was still closed for clean up. After the pool was reopened I spent a good chunk of time in the jacuzzi healing my "hurt bottom"- doctors orders! I even met a girl in the pool who told me about, "a girl who had fallen pretty hard while running in the storm!" Wow, what a klutz!

Even though that day was kind of a blur (ok, a major blur) the rest of the vacation was back to amazing. Everyone went ATVing and had a blast (I stayed behind with Birdie and my hurt butt). On Friday I took the bus to San Jose (30 minutes from Dreams). Looking back maybe I should have brushed up a bit on my Spannnnnish.... Let's just say I was on the bus a wee bit longer than I needed to be... well, an hour to be exact. We'll chalk it up to a learning experience! I got what I went for, lots of fun souvenirs and even some Christmas gifts... So regret it? I don't think so. Regret not paying attention in Spanish class? Totally.

Coming home on Saturday was bittersweet. Cormac wore his new Mexico soccer uniform and Birdie wore her new hand-embroidered birdie dress.We had a great time in Cabo but I thought I was ready to be home... and then I got home, and nope- turns out I totally wasn't. I could do the whole free-meals-on-the-beach-thing pretty much forever. And the maid service wasn't too shabby either.


All in all (and I'm going to try and not be too cliche here), the trip taught me to step away from the blog for a bit, step away from the party world as a whole. It's not all THAT important. When I'm in it, I think it's crazy important. And then you fall on your butt in a storm and you realize, gosh I love my family and I want to spend time with them making memories whenever I can.

I've had that perspective since I've been back... which is why I haven't been blogging much. I'm in no way walking away from it- but I am just trying to keep my priorities straight, hope you can understand.

xo Vacay or Die xo

PS- Thanks to my extended family for all of the great pics since we forgot our camera at home... Who does that?


  1. I almost choked on a tortilla chip at the "confused and hurt bottom" diagnosis!! Glad you escaped with nothing worse than some bruises…you just keep enjoying your family and partying when you can…the blog world will both move on and wait for you…it's weird like that.

    1. When I read it I got a good chuckle too- I love that she just owned it and called me "confused". Thanks for the blogging advice, so true.

  2. It was most definitely worth the wait. I love the pictures, especially the one with Cormac's hair braided. So CUTE!!! Thanks again for the laughter & smiles that you always bring to me & my honey. :)

    1. Thank you for saying it was worth the wait! :) Cormac kept his braids in for 6 days!

  3. Having been through some intense storms myself, I cannot imagine being caught totally off guard, and not in my actual home, with my family. That is just so many variables and totally worthy of a minor breakdown. So glad that you all were safe and being watched over!

    1. Thanks friend. The storm thing is scary, not sure how you do it. I have a new respect for people that live with them.


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