when mark became a mommy blogger

I am partnered with Fisher Price this year as an ambassador for their company. I'm a huge fan (have been, literally, all my life -heh) so I was thrilled when they asked me.  As my daughter India once said, "God makes everything. Except for toys. They come from Fisher Price".

Fisher Price invited all of their ambassadors on a trip to the gorgeous Azul Hotel in Cancun last month. Much as I wanted to go, the trip came on the heels of my Ethiopia trip and BlogHer, and I just didn't feel good about leaving the kids again. I asked if my husband Mark could go in my stead, and they agreed.  I thought it would be a nice treat for Mark - although as I looked at his photos, I quickly realized that his first trip as a mommy blogger was somehow better than any trip I've ever taken.  I'm gonna let Mark tell you about it:


OK, I just got spoiled! Staying at The Azul Beach Resort ruined me for any future vacations. They have set the bar so high that it has become my gold standard by which all other vacations will be compared. The Azul Beach Resort was first class. I have never been so pampered in all my life.

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As soon as you walk in, you can see the ocean from the open-air lobby.  When I walked in, I was greeted by name, offered a cold drink, a refreshing towel and a seat with my personal check in host. The personalized service was wonderful. The hotel partners with Fisher-Price to make it a family-friendly resort. Not only do the adults get personalized options for their stay in the resort: things like pillow preference and aromatherapy scents for turndown . . . but the kids also get a personalized check-in experience where they can choose what Fisher-Price toys they want in to play with during their stay, which are then delivered to the rooms.




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There is a part of my personality that is half feng shui, half anal-retentive, and that part of me is very happy when I get to stay in a room that looks like this without the sweet little hands and feet that bring the clutter into my normal life. This room was amazing. (Edited by Kristen: I'm going to say 80% anal-retentive. Love you!)


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This view was helpful in those dark moments when I so deeply missed Kristen and the kids... I stood here on this balcony, took several deep breaths and searched for the inner strength needed to press on. (Very funny, Mark. -K)

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The family style suites are designed to sleep five or six which works for a big family like ours.  It really was hard not to think about how fun it would be with the kids.
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I love the"Swim-up Suites" idea. It is so nice to walk out of your room and take a dip in the pool. 
  
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I met the whole cast and crew from Fisher- Price and Azul Hotels, and we had some really interesting discussions. I really enjoyed hearing Kathleen Alfano, PhD from Fisher Price discuss the research and intentionality behind toy development. As a dad and a marriage and family therapist, I was so happy to hear that that Fisher-Price is committed to developing toys that stimulate the child's mind, foster healthy development, appropriate social interaction and have FUN at the same time.

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Throughout my time at the Azul Beach Resort, I appreciated how they held the balance of being a first-class resort for adults and couples and at the same time including kids and families. One of the ways they cater to girls was a special spa experience for moms and daughters. I could only imagine how much India would have loved a spa treatment with Kristen.

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The quintessential beach cabanas with the playground on the beach was a nice family balance.

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This is Hans, he's the head butler for the resort. He's showing us how you can request a picnic lunch to be prepared and delivered to your cabana (at no extra charge) so that your relaxing beach would not be interrupted by having to walking 50 yards to the any one of several restaurants or bars.

I forgot to mention that everything is included at Azul Resorts! Food, drinks, everything. They call it called Gourmet Inclusive. I call it Good Living.

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There are daily activities on the beach for kids. 

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You can bask in the sun in your cabana while your child does crafts and someone else cleans up the mess. Winning! 

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As a parent, though, this has to be one of the most appealing features: the kid's club.  If parents want a little alone time they can drop kids off at the Azulito's club for fun activities and play.

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This is a kids dream playroom, fully stocked with Fisher-Price toys and great child care staff. 
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I love creative and effective collaboration in business and life. I actually get really excited about seeing ideas that work well together. In fact that is a big part of why I love counseling and coaching people.  Azul Hotels and Fisher-price are doing it right by partnering up.

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Back in the rooms, everything you need is supplied for a family traveling with a baby or small kids. Cribs, high chairs, strollers, baby monitors, bottle warmers, baby toys, even baby sitting (for a small fee). 

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Even baby robes.... Are you kidding me!

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Changing table... got it. How about someone to change the diapers?  No. Bummer, I guess you still have to be a parent sometimes on vacation.

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The food was out of control. Everywhere we turned we were offered  delicious and innovative snacks, meals, and drinks.

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One of the restaurants is a sushi restaurant with a little river with floating boats of seemingly endless sushi pieces and rolls. Jafta would have been in heaven.

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The hotel even has a theater for nightly live show and entertainment.  

  
And yes, for the record, I missed my family like crazy and consistently thought about how much fun this would be with my whole Howerton Crew. I am very grateful to Azul Resorts and Fisher-Price for allowing me to be their guest. I can't wait to go back with the whole family.

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