I left my heart in Jamaica… it’s likely sitting somewhere beside my $25 swim goggles that I lost there. Genesee fell in love with the beautiful island country too, after she got over her initial disappointment about the absence of Cheetos and ramen noodles on all of the menus.
It definitely helped that my parents expertly planned our trip so that we missed the earthquake and tsunami upon arrival in Jamaica and returned home just hours before the winter storm dumped 9 inches of snow across the roadways. Plus, the resort was only at 40% occupancy so we practically had the place to ourselves while watching the Super Bowl and celebrating Bob Marley’s birthday.
But, we also loved visiting the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande resort because it was different from our typical trips to the Moon Palace in Cancun. This resort was smaller and more intimate, which allowed us to make new friends, like Lyla and Conner from Toronto, and David and Marie from Minneapolis! Jamaica also provided lots of new opportunities like snorkeling in the ocean, kayaking with Dad, encountering dolphins, watching cruise ships dock every morning, consuming the best jerk chicken ever, and getting our first manicures and pedicures! It should also be noted that the bacon seems crispier in Jamaica, the brownies are more delicious, and Genesee’s hair bends into perfect little curls in that warm, humid air and liquid sunshine.
In Jamaica, I learned new words and phrases, like “Yah mon,” “Wah gwan,” “Respect,” “No problem,” and “One Love.” However, even with this expanded vocabulary, there just aren’t any words that can accurately capture the stuff that Jamaican memories are made of so I’ll let our photos tell the rest of the story:
All packed up
Rainbow burger sliders at the Sugar Factory
Yum, yum, yum!
Now that’s a milkshake!
Grandpa, you need to step up your game.
All the candy!
Build a Bear at Mall of America
Me and mom on the plane
G and Dad on the plane, 3 rows behind us.
Our bus ride from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios
Genesee taking it all in
Our home away from home!
Super Bowl Sunday!
On the big screen.
I’m cheering for the winning team!
Touring the resort and sporting my team.
VIP seat sections for us!
The Momo experience where you don’t want to go go.
Beach Party for Bob Marley’s birthday.
Hanging out with David and Marie (friends we met on the plane)
The fire blower
The balancing act
Me… about to win the dance contest
Standing ovation from Dad
Not the best place to color
The soft smile
On the catamaran
G trying to get off the catamaran
G was sad that she couldn’t go snorkeling
G turned happy once Mom pulled out the starburst candy.
G unhappy once said starburst candy was all gone.
Sophie teaching Genesee the “peace” sign
Ready to get my snorkel on
Here, fishy fishy.
Skills. Can you eat an apple with no hands?
G is excited about her manicure
“Purple nails, please.” – G
“Oh, you don’t want me to splash my feet in this pool?” – G
Mom’s turn to get pretty nails.
I’m checking things out to make sure it doesn’t hurt.
My turn to get fancy.
Jamaican colors, please! Gotta represent.
“I’ll have one of each.”
Cruise ship watching
One of the pretty angles
Seashells for my classmates
Kayaking with Dad!
Lyla and Eric joined us!
This is so fun!
Heading back to shore
Exploring the beach
Yes, I got in trouble for going head first. No, I wasn’t sorry I did it.
G wanted to go down the slide.
Even mom got in on the fun.
Only once though.
Dad is a waterslide pro. Look at that form.
G loved this game.
Now it’s my turn to fly!
G loved her sand bucket.
And the other kid’s bucket too.
Me and momma
Cheese one more time.
“CHEESE!!!” – G
Don’t worry. That shark is just me in my shark swimsuit.
A fruity tooty drink.
On our deck, watching the ships come in
Michael Jackson show!
The Wired Lounge
Photo shoot before our evening meal
Who is that handsome fella, you ask? It’s me!
Time to swim with the dolphins!
G was really excited until she wasn’t.
Me, giving G a pep talk
It’s a family affair
My first kiss!
Ring toss. Nailed it.
Our beach villa
Miss Curly Q
G in the pool
G and Dad relaxing at the beach
The Sun Deck
Kevin from Heaven playing along with G’s diaper game
Nutella snack. Whatever keeps her happy.
G collecting more sand toys that aren’t ours
Mom on her floaty
Push-ups in the morning
When my legs get tired
When G gets tired
Ice cream cart
Me and Lyla
Genesee and Connor
Dinner with our Toronto friends
Racing at the Playroom
Mega Connect Four
Saying goodbye to Lyla
Little miss sunshine
The night scene
Jerk chicken and corn on the cob
Dirty feet (from our dance-a-thon)
Watching the nightly show
Building sand castles
Our own, private beach
Ice cream bowl #7
Breakfast at Pier 8
The wedding gazebo
View from our room
G loved the outdoor showers
Diving with Lyla
G learning how to drive
Our last breakfast
G showing off her flexibility
We like long walks on the beach
Help! I’m stranded on an island!
Snorkeling with Dad
Cheesin’ with mom
Hot tubbin at night
Some of the local artists
Leaving our mark in the sand
Jaeger was here
Question: What do you get when you combine a 25-day-after-Christmas advent calendar, a silly & challenging escape-room-type mission, and Chelsee & Ernest shenanigans?
Answer: An announcement and invitation for the nautical adventure wedding of our favorite power couple!
Port of Departure = Port of Tampa | Destination = Mexico & Belize | Most excited guests of honor = Me & G
Congratulations on your engagement, Chels & Ernest! We can’t wait to get “ship faced and a little nauti” with you!!