Vacation Recap in 1,000 words (and photos) or less.

On to the promised vacation summary. I finally feel ready to tackle this post, well, not really. I’m definitely still in vacation mode, but I know I had better do it soon, so I don’t forget what and when it all happened. Plus the photos have been up over at Flickr for a few days now, and you might like to know the stories behind some of them. And then again…maybe not.

There were a few things I was a little worried about before we ventured on this vacation.

  • I was worried about traveling to another country with the girls (especially Mexico in the middle of the crazy stories coming out of there) without J.
  • I was worried that cruising in the Caribbean in July would be ridiculously hot.
  • I was worried that I may be a little stir-crazy on the ship with nothing to do.
  • And I was worried that we may have a repeat performance of last year’s “all-inclusive” type vacation. (Pretty UNimpressed with the value, service, pretty much every aspect of it)

But I’m so very happy to say that NONE of these were even factors in the vacation. The girls were great and completely entertained, I’m constantly pleased with what great travelers they are.

It was hot, but not TOO hot. There was a lot to do, and when there wasn’t, it was nice to just “be.”

And the Carnival cruises have hands-down the best service of any place we have ever visited! Incredible.

And the food was great. Mmm…I’m still dreaming of the chocolate melting cake that I had every single night for dessert.

At any rate, I give you our Cozumel Cruise vacation in all of its loveliness…

Day one: Traveling to Miami
I woke the girls up before dawn to make our 6am flight to Miami. As anybody traveling with young children knows, this could very well have been a disaster-waiting-to-happen. But, no, both girls were so excited that they didn’t even notice that they were in a two-hour sleep deficit.

J. had equipped us with his iTouch packed with music, movies and entertainment, we had Em’s “puppy” game (Nintendo DS), art projects and snacks. We were set and the five-hour flight was completely uneventful, like a trip to the park for the girls. They were great.

DJ and Meesh met us at the airport to save us a long, expensive shuttle ride and we grabbed dinner and headed back to the hotel – not a moment too soon. Emma could not wait for the “cousin reunion” to begin. I think from the moment we arrived til the very moment we walked into the airport again on Friday, Emma and her cousin Madey were only apart for a grand total of maybe 5 minutes. They were inseparable!

We finally found the elusive park near our hotel and let them run off some steam…

Searching for the park in Miami

And then swam in the hotel pool that overlooked this…

Sunset over Miami - from our hotel pool

Pretty nice start to the vacation.

Day two: Setting Sail
Monday we finally got onto the boat and set sail…
Setting sail

Miami sure looks pretty as you are cruising on by from the water…

Leaving Miami

And we not only tried the pool, but also discovered that they have ice cream – around the clock – on the ship. So we naturally had to sample some of that…

Addie mad that her ice cream is dripping everywhere

The girls tried out the Camp Carnival (kids program) and we had to tear them away to get them to bed the first night.

More sisters

They all slept amazingly well on the ship. On first glance, the rooms seem very small, but we got into a routine, put all of our gear away in the closets and it actually wasn’t too bad. Madey and Em slept in the bunks and Addie slept with me, well, mostly.

She wanted to sleep in the corner the first few nights – I swear it was her idea! So Meesh made her a little bed out of a down comforter, and the little space was totally “Addie-sized.” She curled up and was out. And since we didn’t have a window, they slept hard until 8am or past every morning. It was so dark in the rooms Emma would wake up and say, “Is it morning yet, Mama?

Day three: Key West
We only had a few hours in Key West, and it was a pretty hot walk, but we got to see most of Key West and got to spend a bit of time at the Hemingway house. I have been there a few times before and love it and I knew the girls would because of all of the six-toed cats (who are descendants from the cats that Hemingway had when he lived in the house!).

We were right they were all in cat heaven!

More with the cats

These two little cats would chase and play with anything you put in front of them….

Kitty Parade

Ella had her diaper changed on Hemingway’s veranda, how many babies can claim that?

All the Girls on the Verandah

If you ask Em what her favorite part of the vacation was she’ll say, “I like that house with the guy that had all of the cats!” I gave up trying to explain to her that he happens to be known for more than having cats…someday she’ll appreciate him as a writer, hopefully.

And we found a few other Key West characters as well…

A Sea Captain and two girls

Then it was back to the ship for a little rest time. Doesn’t it look like there is a lot of resting going on?

All aboard the rollercoaster bunkbed

Tuesday night was our “formal” night and the girls just wanted to go to Camp Carnival again – so we were (almost!) kid-free for our dinner. It was fun to get dressed up and to not have to cut up anyone’s meal.

Michelle relieved that the waitstaff was not in fact going to sing Happy Birthday to her…

Birthday girl

Since you eat at the same table each night we had the same waiters, Rey and Eric, and they were so incredibly great. The service all over the ship was amazing, in fact.

And every crew member loves kids! Not just the crew in the Camp Carnival (although they were fantastic!), but everyone from the head waiter to the housekeeping staff would stop and ask the kids if they were having fun, make little frogs out of menus, animals out of napkins, flirt with them, basically anything to entertain them and pretty much cater just to the kids. It was incredibly cool.

You have a concierge for each “section” on your deck – ours was Alberto – and seriously anything you ask for or need they have within five minutes. One day I just stuck my head out of the door to see if the girls were coming down the hall and Alberto popped out and said, “Did you need something? More towels? Did you get your safe working ok?”

A girl could totally get used to service like that.
Waiting for the show

Day four: Cozumel
Come to find out, Cozumel feels pretty much like every other island we have been to in the Caribbean, not really at all like you are in Mexico. It is a pretty little island, very dependent on tourism, so everyone seems pretty eager to “help” you out. We ended up going to a beach that had just about everything, so we were all very happy.

Em got to practice her swimming…

Still practicing the swimming

Addie got to search for (and found) coral and seashells…

Looking for shells

The dynamic duo got to continue their quest for cramming as much quality time into a week as possible…

Sand nymphs

Could they be any happier together?

Down they go

Oh, and they both had a turn holding a monkey…

I always said she was a monkey.

And the monkey got a little excited on Em and pooped on her shoulder.
Mmmm…Mexican monkey poop. Probably pretty sanitary, No?

Before the monkey pooped on her

And we did a little shopping. Looked for a sombrero like this one for the girls…

A burro in a sombrero

But only found this one…

Senorita in a sombrero

Since it would not fit in our suitcase we decided it stays in Mexico.

Cozumel at night

And we were back on the ship in time for a late dinner. (And ice cream, of course!)

Day five: Day at Sea
The girls wanted to Camp Carnival again, so off they went. Michelle and I worked out.

A word of caution about that…it is really hard to take a spin class when the boat is rocking side to side. We did manage that on Wednesday.

But run? On the top deck of the ship? Impossible. It was so incredibly windy up there, I seriously didn’t want to take Addie up there for fear she would blow right over the railing. I am not exaggerating. (Well, maybe a little.)

But they had fun at Camp…

Funship models

Until “Funship Freddy” came in. Addie was not very fond of their mascot….

Not a fan of Funship Freddy

Ella didn’t seem to mind him though….


And the girls participated in a talent show. Lexer did a great job, especially considering she had to go first…

Lexer singing in the talent show

Emma was a little nervous, but she and Madey did great, too…

The girls in the talent show

And we had our last dinner with our new friends Rey and Eric…

The whole gang + our fantastic waiters

Then (remember the wind?) we tried to do a little photo op on the deck after dinner. This is us trying to “hide” in a corner to get out of the wind…

Hiding from the wind

I actually love these photos, because it is such a fun memory. We were all laughing so hard and trying to hold down our skirts. Papa borrowed some of Addie’s hair…

Papa, Nana & all the Girls

And then we put the kiddies to bed and headed back to karaoke (we attended a few nights and Michelle and DJ even sang one night!) to make fun of all of the contestants. (God love, Darrin!)

Making fun of the karoake singers

It was kind of sad that last night since we knew our vacation was coming to a close. And this really was our first family vacation since Meesh and I were probably in high school. It was a really fun time.

But back to reality. And Daddy! The girls and I were really missing J.

Day six: The Airport
We all tried to get on earlier flights since we got off the ship pretty early in the morning, but were unable to do so. So the girls and I sat in the airport for a good six hours with Papa and Nana (and Ella who was along for the ride!) before we got to board, for the five hour flight. Yeah, Friday was a very long day.

But the girls did great, again, thanks to the entertainment we had along…

Em and Papa killing time at the airport

Addie fell asleep before we even took off, and Emma fell asleep as we were landing. Both were back asleep as we were pulling out of the airport parking lot heading home. Exhausted. But we were all in that happy, exhausted, post-vacation fog for the rest of the weekend.

Oh, wait…I’m still in it.

We should do that again soon, guys!


18 Responses to “Vacation Recap in 1,000 words (and photos) or less.”

  1. 1 cara July 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    I am so totally jealous. The photos are awesome and you guys look like you had a great time.

  2. 2 Maggie July 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    What a fantastic vacation! That looks like it must have been amazing!! I’m so glad that you took lots of pictures — that way I can take a little vacation just by looking at them! Too bad the pictures don’t come with a piece of that cake…

  3. 3 Amanda July 15, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Love the recap and the photos! I’m so very happy that this birthday celebration went so swimmingly!

  4. 4 Elisa July 15, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Wow – great summary of your trip!! Sounds and looks like you had a blast!

    You look great. I LOVE the look on Addie’s face when she is in your arms….the cheshire cat’s got NOTHING on her!

    Welcome home!

  5. 5 Erinne July 15, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Great post – looks like you had a great vacation – how wonderful for you and your girls. All the photos are fantastic.

    I LOVE COZUMEL too – so beautiful.

  6. 6 Mike July 16, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Looks like everything turned out well. Love the face paint photo.


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  7. 7 msscatter July 16, 2008 at 4:59 am

    What a fantastic family vacation! My family should do that.

  8. 8 ksmcnulty July 16, 2008 at 5:42 am

    sounds like lots of sunny fun! love your pics as always :o)

  9. 9 golightly July 16, 2008 at 8:12 am

    That looks like so much fun! I want a vacation.

    Let me know where your all-inclusive was. We did that for our honeymoon and loved it and we want to go back next year with Harrison.

  10. 10 Kim July 16, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    First of all, that was an awesome recap. Quick, but informative, with lots of story enhancing photos.
    Sounds like such a great vacation!!!! I’m soooo jealous!!

  11. 11 Sassy July 16, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I clung onto every word. I found myself wishing I was your sister. I just know that my girls would have a blast with yours. I even recognized a few tops 🙂

    Hey, next time, I wanna go, please…..I will make the girls a few outfits….(hehe)

    Glad you have a fantastic lifelong memory to hold close to your heart!

  12. 12 Christina July 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    My goodness, what a recap! What a vacation! It sounds incredible, down to every detail. I am even more jealous now than before. 😉 But so very happy for you, too! LOVE all the photos…don’t even ask me to pick a fave. So great you have all those wonderful memories now!

  13. 13 thelandofka July 17, 2008 at 6:31 am

    That looks like such a fun time! Great pictures of your time…how will you choose which ones to scrapbook??? What great family time, too. That would be so much fun. Now, I think that taking the kids on a cruise would actually be fun. We will have to try that out, too.

    Brian and I had our honeymoon in Cozumel, and it is a beautiful little island. Very slow paced which is what we needed after a stressful time with work and then getting married in my hometown and me doing EVERYTHING for it. Yeah, I needed a slow paced island life for a bit. 😉

  14. 14 MelodyA. July 17, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    You know, it’s so much work but the girls will have some memory of it forever! What a great thing to give them.

    We went to Cozumel for a week two years ago and loved it. Natalya swam with the dolphins for the first time there. 6 hours at the airport?! I would have freaked. Just got back from our Bahama trip. I dread unpacking, grocery shopping, going thru mail, going thru pictures…

  15. 15 Jackie July 18, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Looks like you had a marvelous vacation! The pictures are gorgeous and I’m glad you had so much fun.

  16. 16 MommyBrain August 31, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Oh my gosh, that looked like such a great trip. I must confess that the 24/7 ice cream was a highlight of the last cruise I took. Great photos!

  1. 1 ll cool j Trackback on July 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm
  2. 2 Summer Fun ~ Theme Thursday « Barely Controlled Chaos Trackback on July 24, 2008 at 1:02 am

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