Thursday, January 7, 2010

Get Ready... This Is A Long One...

The cruise... oh, the cruise. The cruise that was two years in the making. What an amazing seven days! My parents took Jason and I, the boys, Megan and Ryan, Jenny, Lara, and our cousin, Jewell on a 7 day cruise out of Ft. Laurderdale. We had a ratio of 9 adults to 2 kids and I don't think I would have tried it with anything less.

We spent Christmas Eve night at my parents' house so that we could all wake up Christmas morning and drive to Austin to catch our 11 o'clock flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Jenny had to work on Christmas day so she, Lara and Jewell flew from Waco to Dallas to catch the same 7 o'clock flight to Ft. Lauderdale that Megan and Ryan were on.

My Dad dropped us (and ALL of our luggage) off at the airport and went to park the car. While we were waiting Kyle became a Jr. TSA agent. An officer came by and gave him a shiny badge sticker.

We met up with my Dad and got everyone through security, and then there was just a little longer to wait at our gate.

I had no idea how the boys were going to do on the flight so I made up little bags with cookies, candy and gum to give to the people sitting around us. They all had a tag with a picture of Kyle and Kase and a note asking people to be patient with them. It worked like a charm... everyone loved them!

Two lap children can not sit on the same row on the same side of the airplane because there are not enough drop down oxygen masks. Jason and I sat on one side with Kyle and my parents had Kase one row up on the other side. We had two backpacks stocked with a water sippy cup, a milk bottle, plenty of snacks, and a zip lock bag full of toys and books that they had never seen before. Kase fell asleep, but Kyle stayed awake the entire flight. Kyle did really well until about the last 45 minutes. I got up with him and we hung out at the back of the plane while we made conversation with everyone who was in line for the bathroom.

We made it to Florida and Kase was up and ready to go...

but them Kyle decided that he needed a nap while we were waiting on our shuttle ride to the hotel.

It was a major pain, but we bagged the car seats and checked them with our luggage so that the boys would have a safe ride.

After a delicious Christmas dinner at Subway (it was the only place open other than a Chinese place with no A/C) we called it an early night. The next morning my Mom and I made a quick trip to Target to get diapers, wipes, and other random items that were forgotten, and then stopped by the liquor store to pick up the two cases of wine that I had placed an order for on line a few days earlier.

Then the entire group took the shuttle down to the cruise ship terminal. While we were waiting for our luggage to be unloaded and then picked up, the boys were on their best behavior (read were kept happy by loads of snacks).

We finally made it on the boat. Everyone was so excited!

This is about half of our cabin. Our room was next to my parents' so we were able to open up the dividing wall between our verandas. Notice Kase throwing a little fit on the floor!

And this is our room with the two pack and plays set up. They didn't really leave alot of floor space!

Our first stop was at Half Moon Cay. It is an island in the Bahamas owned by Holland America. The rest of the group headed to the island sometime after breakfast. It started to rain just a little bit so Jason and I decided to put the boys down for a nap and then head to the island after they woke up... and hopefully stopped raining. The plan worked. This is sleepy Kyle after he woke up from his nap.

This is the boys' first time ever in the ocean. We walked in with them and they didn't really like it at first. I think it may have been a little cold. But once they got used to it, they could not get enough.

Mom reserved two cabanas on Half Moon Cay so that we could get out of the sun. They were stocked with drinks, snacks, towels, and these cool water mister bottles. They boys loved playing with them.

That night at dinner Kyle fell asleep while sitting in his high chair. I think he played a little to hard on the beach.

Back on the boat the next day... an "at sea" day. Look at that water!

That night at dinner was our first formal night. The boys wore their tuxes!

The next day we stopped at Aruba. On our way off the boat we ran into another set of twins. They were just 25 days younger that Kyle and Kase and were also there with their parents and grandparents, and even stayed on the same deck as us, Deck 5.

Kase fell asleep we were walking off the boat. He and my Dad took a little break in the terminal.

We all walked around Aruba for a while and then my patents took the boys back to the boat so that the rest of us could go on a snorkeling trip. The second stop was a ship that was sunk during WWII... pretty cool!

The next day we stopped in Curacao. We hired a tour guide to drive us around and tell us about the island. One of our first stops was the Curacao distillery that makes Blue Curacao liquor.

Our guide drove us to a beach where there was a baby pilot whale that got separated from his pod. They were feeding him and taking care of him.

Our guide drove us by million dollar houses, some resorts, and also stopped so that we could take some awesome pictures.

After our tour we walked around Curacao and found some pizza and local beer.

We got back on the boat in time to take the boys to the pool for a while. The pool had a large area all the way around it with only a few inches of water. The boys loved crawling through the water and Kase really loved the fountain.

Kyle trid to get his shoe back on after swimming... so smart!

We went to dinner in the Main Dining room each night at 5:15. We had a large round table in the corner that worked great for us. As soon as we would sit down the wait staff would bring two glasses of milk, two bowls of mashed potatoes and one plate of green beans.

There was a Kids Club on the ship for kids three and older, but they had toddler time each night from 4-6. The boys could get down, crawl around, and play with the toys that were in the 3 year old room. It worked out well for either Jason or I to get ready for dinner and then take the boys up to toddler time so that the other person could get ready. Here Kyle and Kase are dressed and ready to go to toddler time and then to dinner.

The next day was New Year's Ever... and the boys' first birthday. Jenny made everyone shirts to wear that day that said "Happy 1st Birthday Kyle and Kase." It was an at sea day so we took the boys to the pool again.

They brought a birthday cake out for dessert, and the waiters sang Happy Birthday to the boys. Kyle had fallen asleep during dinner so we had to wake him up for his birthday cake.

My parents took the boys into their room that night so that we could all go out on the ship for NYE. We had SUCH a fun time. I can't imagine ever topping that NYE celebration.

We had one more at sea day before we were back in Flordia. We had to start packing our bags back up. Kyle was protesting having to go home by sitting in the suitcase so that we couldn't pack.

It was such an indredible trip. I grossly over estimated the amount of free time I would have... there was no lounging or reading by the pool, but I am so greatful that the boys were able to come and that we were able to experience so many first events with them.


Laura said...

Looks like you guys had a blast! Happy Birthday, Kyle and Kase!

JHP said...

So many great pics! What a fun trip! :)

Jen said...

So cool. What a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! The holidays, the boys' 1st birthday, your whole family on a cruise... that's wonderful!

Thank you for the comment on my blog -- I'm glad to have found yours!