Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Family Vacation - Part 2

If you missed part 1, you can find it here. It covers our time in St. Kitts, Antigua, and St. Lucia.

Jan 6th - Barbados - Barbados was our last port of call. We went in with no plans for what to do while there. We had originally hoped to visit the Mount Gay Rum distillery for their Bajan buffet lunch tour, but the days they offer it didn't match up with when we were there. I stayed in the room with the kids each night after they went to sleep, so the night before our stop in Barbados, I researched while they slept. I wasn't impressed with any of the beaches, it's hard to top the beaches we'd already visited, but luckily I came across Harrison's Cave. Not only did it look cool, but I felt we needed to go since it shares a name with Harry. After breakfast we grabbed a cab and headed toward the cave. It is a 20-25 minutes drive there. Simon, our driver, did a great job telling us about the history of the island and how moving to Barbados increases life expectancy 15-20 years. The cave was really neat. The tour consists of a quick video and then a tram ride through the cave. The tour lasted 30-45 minutes, and the kids enjoyed it except for the 15 seconds they turned out the lights and we sat in complete darkness. After the tour we did some walking and were hoping to find monkeys. The walkway we needed to take was closed and without cell/internet coverage on the islands, we went the wrong way and didn't realize it. What did we do before cell phones? Oh right, Mapquest.

We had planned for my mom to sit with the kids after dinner so Robbie and I could enjoy some adult entertainment. There were so many things on the ship we didn't get to take advantage of. Scarlett had other plans though. She had a double ear infection when we left and was on antibiotics for the whole trip. She was particularly congested this day and had already coughed so much she threw up twice. Once on our bed, and once all over me. Yay motherhood. Half way through dinner it became obvious the babies weren't going to make it, so I took them back to the room to put them to bed. Everything was going fine until they had dozed off, in our bed, and Scarlett started coughing. I had to sacrifice my dress in order to save the bed, and she and I both wound up needing a shower. After that ordeal, We didn't end up going out.

Jan 7th - Cruising - Both babies were up bright and early again, and Scarlett was thankfully feeling better than the night before. Since the whole last day would be spent cruising back to San Juan, we had a pretty relaxed day. We walked around the ship a lot and checked out the babies and tots play area. It was just a room with a few toys, but it was nice for the babies to get to play with toys instead of the trash can in our room. We got to watch the parade of flags where all of the crew's countries are represented. The Philippines was the most represented country among the crew. On days at sea the kid's pool is open all day, which meant swimming and sliding for the big kids. The babies weren't allowed in any of the pools, but there happened to be a shower next to the pool that was perfect for them to splash in for a few minutes. We made a quick visit to the helipad before doing our nightly dinner and bedtime routine.

Each night during dinner our room attendant straightened the room and left a towel animal on the bed. The kids of course loved them. One night after dinner Harrison walked into the room and started yelling. He came back to the door, threw his arms out to block us from coming into the room and said, "Mom, you can't come in, there's a dinosaur in the room!!" He was so excited and serious about it. It was hilarious.

Jan 8th - San Juan - We had to have our luggage out of our room the night before, and we had a set time we had to get off the ship. We ate breakfast, said some goodbyes and were off the ship and to our hotel by 9:30am. Our hotel was great about letting us check in early, and checking bags for our family that was still with us even though they weren't staying at the hotel that night. The kids got to play in the pool for a couple hours in the morning before they all took a nap. Harrison and Brooke napped for almost 3 hours, so by the time they woke up it was time to get dinner. There was a great traditional Puerto Rican restaurant within walking distance from the hotel. Casita Mirimar came highly recommended from the hotel staff, and it did not disappoint. By far, the best meal of the trip. Seafood stuffed avocado, pumpkin fritters, sangria, tres leches cake. All so delicious.

We flew back the following day and were so happy to be home. All 4 kids did really well on the trip, but by the way home the babies were tired and just wanted mom. There was definitely some crying on the flights home, but we managed to get them both to sleep on both flights. My parents were on the same flights home, and having my mom as an extra set of hands was priceless. Somehow it always happens that as soon as both babies are finally asleep, one of the big kids needs to go to the bathroom. 

We made it back to Fort Wayne, picked up the dogs, and had everyone in bed by 9:15pm. The babies are still working on getting back to their usual sleep routines. We are no longer waking for the day at 5am, but after a week of sleeping with mom and dad, there's some definite separation anxiety when we lay them down in their cribs. Overall it's back to life as normal after vacation. H and B are back to school, laundry is done, and I'm already dreaming of another vacation, or at least for summer to get here. 

Traveling with out family was amazing, and definitely something we'll do again in a few years. This cruise was on RCL Jewel of the Seas, and while we had a great time, it wasn't really a baby friendly ship. If we cruise again we'll pick a different ship or cruise line. Disney anyone? The cruise was a really great way to get a taste for each of the islands. They were all great, but St. Lucia and St. Kitts are the two I'd really like to visit again. The locals had a very relaxed vibe, plus the islands were gorgeous. 

Where are your favorite tropical vacation spots?

Need more vacation pics? You can see the rest of our pics here.

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