This February we went on what feels like a trip of a lifetime, although I sincerely hope that is isn't the last or only time I visit Belize. I enjoyed it too much.
This year we were unable to take our usual road trip down to Baja Mexico for various reasons that include most of my kids returning to boring old public school and having a foster baby. We really wanted to get away from the cold and needed to have a break from the stresses of normal life. We could only be away for two weeks so spending two weeks driving somewhere was out of the question.
My parents recently bought a home in Belize. They are semi-retired and leave my husband to keep track of things on the farm while they are away for the winter. So with some money scrimped and saved, lots of airmiles points, and cheap seats we flew our crew all the way to Belize. Other than Aili, this was the first time our kids have flown.
We bought our tickets and planned our trip when we thought our foster baby would be leaving us by January. Basically we thought we would need the distraction when the time came. When we realized that she would be staying with us longer, we hoped that she could come along with us since she's under two and can share a plane ticket. We were unable to get the necessary paperwork for her to travel so we made arrangements for her to stay with friends (who recently completed their foster training and are waiting for their first placement). We were nervous leaving her but in hindsight it worked out great for everyone involved. She adjusted beautifully, and was well loved during those two weeks. We were able to facetime with her while we were away, and I had made up a little laminated booklet with all our photos for her to keep and play with.
It was an amazing trip. For the first time we travelled as a family simply for the purpose of vacation. Although visiting family and seeing their new house was part of it too.
Hauling five kids around is never actually a "break", but a change of scenery is nearly the same thing. It was restful, and peaceful.
It is such a small country that we were able to stay with my parents and yet do short day trips to all sorts of fun locations.
The kids really enjoyed the Belize Zoo.
Tons of fresh fruit and orange juice with breakfast was one of my favorite things about Belize.
We did some snorkelling with sharks and sting rays at Caye Caulker.
We climbed some Mayan Ruins. These ones are Xunantunich.
Cece and Elijah climbed up part way and then waited at the bottom with Grandma.
It was scary having even the big kids up there!
Skippy, impulsive, Silas was nearly giving me a heart attack. It was so high and as you can see there was no railing...just a drop off. The view was incredible though.
We spent a couple nights in a little cabin right on a beach in Placencia.
It gave my parents a break from the noise and mess, and gave us some time at the ocean. We soaked up sun until we were all thoroughly toasted.
It was absolutely stunning.
The hotel let us use paddle boards and the kids played happily for two days. As long as they weren't disrupting anyone else on the beach (even though it was virtually empty) we pretty much gave them free run of the place and a lot of independence to experience things. They played on the long dock, kayaked, paddle boarded, swam and snorkelled.
Me and my camera at 5:30 am. Yes, one of my kids woke me up that early while on vacation. I did get to see the sun come up though.
My parents front yard. Its so great to see them so happy and active. One thing about Belize and it's gorgeous climate is that you can practically live outside. Even the misquotes weren't nearly as bad as Saskatchewan in the summer. I only saw a few of them in the evenings or if we were out hiking in the jungle.
It's so easy and fun to be physically active there. There's so much to do and the scenery is always beautiful. My Dad goes running every morning and he just completed a 4 day canoe race called Rute Maya, with two Guatemalan friends.
I'm so happy for my parents to have this little farm (They have a turkey, goats, chickens, and fruit trees so I guess that qualifies) away from the farm. It's perfect for them.
Poinsettia's growing outside!
One of my parent's dogs had puppies.
Silas and Roman helped Grandpa plant rows of orange trees.
We hiked to a "blue hole" for a swim.
Behind Grandma and Grandpa's house is a small river. The boys enjoyed playing there. I was forced to get over my fears of slithering reptiles and jungle creatures and let them.
After months of seeing nothing but snow I thoroughly enjoyed the flowers and plants.
My pictures loaded out of order and all mixed up.
Here we are back up on Xunantunich.
And on the beach in Placencia.
To each his own.
One morning we helped with some projects. My folks have done a lot of minor renovations, and sprucing up of the place.
Where my laundry goes to dry.
Colour. Wonderful colour.
Roman's river catch. He ate him for supper. The lobster, not Roman.
"Look Dad, I have a moustache"
I really enjoyed driving around (or rather sitting shot gun enjoying the scenery while my husband watch the pot holed road). Most of the houses are up on stilts like this one. I fantasized about building my own little wooden stilt house. Because in my personal alternate reality we all move to Belize, clear a little spot in the jungle, (but also close to the beach) and build a tree house or a house on stilts.
Here is our first attempt at a GoPro video. I wish all of you could come along for the ride, and experience Belize, but making a video for you to see is as close as I can get. There was a few other little day adventures we went on that I only got video of and no photos. Enjoy!
We are so thankful that we were able to have this experience as a family, give our kids some great memories, experience another country and culture, and see more of God's beautiful creation.