Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vacation Part 1:

It's finally here!  The moment when I can talk about our vacation.  As I've mentioned on the blog before, we decided to take a family vacation with Working Dad's side  of the family.  It involved his sister and her family (husband plus 5 kids) and his parents.  We took a cruise out of Ft.Lauderdale and enjoyed a week on a Holland America Ship.

We flew out on a daytime flight leaving at 2:30pm for the east coast.  EG had a good flight, and finally my MIL was able to get her to go to sleep for a quick nap.  By the time we got luggage and everything it was after 11pm to arrive at the hotel.  Getting the crib (they always promise, but it's NEVER there!) was a hassle, but finally EG went to sleep.  In the morning we took a shuttle transfer to the cruise terminal and got aboard the cruise very very easily.  

The ship we sailed on is called the Noordam:

Taken from the beach, with my water camera- hence the spots...
It's one of Holland America's older ships, and believe me it showed.  Not that it wasn't nice, it's just that despite their best intentions, the ship showed it's age.  Our room had a bed, a couch and a few tables.  The couch showed the internal sleeper springs the moment we walked in, despite us never opening it for a bed.  It had worn looking coushins, and I swear there was a crack in our bathtub.

Despite that, it's still a nice ship.  Not all the crazy bells and whistles of the celebrity ships, but two nice pools, good running space, and a lovely atrium.

Our first day was a day on the ship, and we basically spent it sleeping.  We didn't wake up to eat our in-room breakfast until after 10am.  Then we loafed around, and eventually made our way to the pool. 

The best parts of the trip for me were definitely all the time spent in the water.  EG is totally a water baby- she's loved it since she was super tiny and this trip was no exception.  We bought her this lifevest, which is a class V from the coast guard.  It gave us a bit of extra protection, but still allowed her to enjoy moving her arms and swimming.  No, she didn't wear it all the time, and yes there was that one moment when she fell in the pool.

Yup- you read that right.  EG just jumped straight into the pool- totally terrifying, but it worked out okay as I was right there to jump in after her. All of the kids had a great time that day in the pool, then we got ready for our dinner.  I'll have pictures from the dinner, but we bought one of the official cruise ones, and my father-in-law is making copies/prints for everyone...

The next day we landed in Grand Turks and Caicos.  Working Dad had his scuba trip planned, so he took off early early at 7am leaving me and EG to sleep a bit more.  We finally got our act together and departed the ship for the beach around 10am.

The beach here was totally lovely, and just a short walk from the cruise terminal.  The kids had a great time playing the in water with my Sister-In-Law, Brother-In-Law and Mother-In-Law.  Let's just call them Aunt K, Uncle S and Grandma.  Grandpa went with the my oldest niece to take her snorkeling for her first time.

None of my nieces are great swimmers (yes, they are from San Diego, but oh well).  However, the oldest were having a blast no matter what...
Not the best group shot, but it's almost everyone!

EG loves the water!  She floated and swam, and the life vest made us feel very safe.  Though I wish I had thought to get a brighter color for extra safety.  Here she is with her Uncle S, who just adores her.  They had so much fun together throughout the trip.

I have to say that was my other favorite part- watching EG really get to know her cousins.  Saying their names, wanting to be held by them, just totally loving on them...

Grandma was brilliant and rented this sun shade for our littles.  There's B, and J with EG having a grand time with the buckets and toys.  We had brought a bucket, shovel and rake from home for the sand, and Aunt K bought two sets for her littles, since she forgot to pack hers.  Definitely worth it.  So much entertainment, and one of EG's favorite words is bucket.

These fish were just floating right beside us as we were in the water, and it was great for all the girls to get to see them.  They definitely had a nice extra in seeing those fishes.  By the end of the trip EG could identify fishes from all sorts of places.

Aunt K and her littlest, plus me and EG.  Not to mention the fact that both me and Aunt K are both pregnant with our next littles, due about 10 days apart.  It's so much fun to see these girls grow up together, and I know they had an awesome time on the trip together!

So that's Grand Turk.  We got back on the ship and had a great dinner that night.  We moved to a different table on the 2nd night that suited us a lot better.  And all of the girls started getting into ordering something more interesting than the kids hot dog.  My little EG's favorite words during dinner "My soup..."

More pics and review coming later this week!

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