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I am sure there is sooooo much more to Jamaica than just the image of the artist who made it famous, but jamming is the kind of mood I am in, so we are jamming.

As such, please press play on that nifty little window I inserted above…

Jamming because in less than 48 hours my entire little tribe and I will be on a plane departing on our annual family vacation. An unexpected twist of fate dictated that this year it would be spent on this island paradise and all five of us (OK, 4, let´s be honest, Nicky has no idea what is going on) all four of us are so excited.

Chip, for instance, decided to learn to snorkel last weekend at a friend´s pool. No, he doesn´t swim, he won´t even really leave the step these days, but apparently he does like to put the cart before the horse, so without further ado….

 charlie ready to snorkel,snorkeling

And that, my friends, is how to snorkel without swimming. Now it just remains to be seen whether or not he actually is willing to wade into the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean. I´ll let you know on Sunday…

Granted all he has seen so far of the ocean are the grey waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Argentina and that was in early Spring. The kind of Spring weather where you still have to wear a hat and gloves and a scarf, and lots of sand blows into your eyes and if you are over 6, you probably ask yourself why your parents brought you to the beach in the first place. So maybe not the best beach experience to build on, but Chip is 3 so I don´t have to answer those sorts of questions yet, hallelujah!

But hey, kids are flexible, right? Plus we are going to be on/near/looking at/walking along/etc. the beach for the next TWO WEEKS so I think these snorkeling techniques will come in handy and I am sure Chip and the ocean will be fast friends. Either that or he will get really good at building sand castles in the shade, grow up to be an architect and support his old moms, which wouldn´t be so bad either… (yeah I got the memo on the fact that this doesn´t happen any more and made sure to resend it to my parents, just wishful thinking…)

Miss MM is ready to go and I know this because I took her shopping last weekend to “round out” her wardrobe. (That´s what you call it when you buy a thirteen year clothes that you want them to wear and they don´t really want to wear but understand that since you are taking THEM on vacation, there will be times when they will have to wear them). This supplement to the standard teen attire of too short and frayed jean shorts and muscle tees and those weird boxy tees that show your bellybutton AND the sides of your bra that only tweens can really wear anyway (and people who live in trailer* you know what, I am not going to say it, I want to be funny, but not mean funny, I´ve decided. Easy class jokes = Nope, not my style, never mind). Add to the list above similiarly frayed Converses and maybe a pair of plastic flip flops and there you have it… As such the rounding out consisted of:

1. A sleeveless button down cotton shirt with a collar – yes, think soccer mom if you are my age and nerd if you are MM, it´s true, but you know what, here´s a little tip: there are moments in life that require a collar and the sooner one realizes that, the more you can enjoy all of the moments that don´t…there, ´nuff said.

2.Then I bought her the same shirt in some sort of silky material for dinner. She likes this one a little better and while it looks a lot exactly like something she already owns, but there is virtue in  consistency, right? As someone who likes a t-shirt and proceeds to buy it in three colors, only to wear one, I understand where she is coming from.

3. White shorts, made of twill not jean and with a botton hem actually created by a sewing machine and not your best friend and a pair of scissors. And while they might be an inch longer than the rest of her shorts, there are definitely still the requisite 6 inches above the knee, no worries there. I have long legs too and thanks to my five crazy Cross Fit sessions so far (yeah, I´m not saying anything more about that and yes, I am still going) I too can and do choose to wear short shorts. So I´m not knockin´em. But like the faithful collared shirt, years of preppyhood have taught me that there are places and moments in life where it is better if Daisy Duke did in fact wear shorter shorts that you.

4. The cherry on top of the “rounding out” was of course the dresses for the rehearsal dinner and wedding we are attending in Jamaica. It was the best part. Now there is truly NO tongue in cheek in this next statement: God bless the poor people of Bangladesh who makes the clothes that Zara sells around the world. I wish I had other options, more money to spend and stronger commercial ethics but I am afraid last Sunday morning I didn´t and we bought two adorable, affordable, age appropriate and attractive cocktail dresses in EXACTLY 20 MINUTES! We walked in smiling and we walked out arm in arm in less time than it takes to get a coffee at Starbucks in this town. SIMPLY AMAHZING. My work here is done.

Now while I like to poke fun at my role as wardrobe police and evil stepmom in general, I would like to make the following clarifications: MM is always a grateful recipient of any gift, articulate in her likes and dislikes and understands the concept of a budget, all of which make what I am describing SO MUCH LESS PAINFUL than any shopping outing I ever had with my mother at her age. (Yes, raise your hand if you were a brat who did not understand these things at age 13, I know I sure was).

So there we go. One kid has a new skill, the other has a new wardrobe, the baby has a little bit of both, mom has some KILLER new dresses (because after passing a certain self set spending limit the other day, someone might have just thrown caution to the wind, taken the no-interest 6 month payment plan that ONLY Visa in Argentina has to offer and bought herself not one, not two, but three fabulous beach boho chic dresses.)

So yes, ladies and gentlemen, this family is to head to Jamaica for some serious JAMMIN´ at a number of venues, including but not limited to, the event of the year, my sister´s wedding to her best friend. If ever there was a reason for me to pick up my little family of five, fly through Panama to get to the Caribbean and figure out how to keep us busy on an island for two weeks, this is it. So look out little island nation and #Jamaicanmegorra because here we COME!

*on my ride home I thought a bit more about the joke I started to make and still feel implicated by since I chose not to erase it and use the (brand new to me) blog-friendly strikethrough. Which I see now I am clearly not ready for. I would like to take this opportunity to mention that i have nothing against trailers, people who live in them or the clothes they wear. As a matter of fact, in the summer of 2001, distant though it may sound, I lived in a musty double-wide in someone’s back lot, while working as a sort of union rep on
the backside of a racetrack in Chester County, VA. All of my social activity that summer occurred at the local trailer park, where all my friends lived, in trailers. I’d like to think now that the above was meant more as a style reference than a demeaning reference to those who occupy mobile homes. Thanks for your patience as I exercise my innate Catholic guilt away, one meanless little life story at a time.