Kids + Vacations = ?

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I’ve found that the first question that I have received after people find out we are going to Hawaii is “Are you taking Xander?” My typical response involves me raising my eyebrow, making a confused face, and replying “Ummm…. why wouldn’t we?” Yes, I believe parents should get away occasionally because there are certain things you can’t do when you have a kid in tow, but for me Kid + Vacation = Fun. I can’t imagine NOT taking my son; I want to show him the world.

I realize that isn’t always the case and many probably disagree with me.

There’s probably a long list of reasons why they don’t agree. Some kids aren’t accustomed to travel or have trouble sleeping in beds other than their own or don’t do well with altered schedules and new situations. Or perhaps taking a family that includes 2, 3 or more kids means more work than relaxation.  Or maybe parents think a kid vacation means only doing boring kid stuff.

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{Trip Report} Southern Caribbean Cruise

Warning: This trip report is rather long! It’s nearly 6400 words, in fact! I mostly detail my experiences in the ports of call rather than the cruise ship experience. I’ve cruised numerous times to the Caribbean and even to Alaska and the Mediterranean. I now have diamond status on Royal Caribbean, so for me, the ship is a means of transportation. It is not the destination. I do love food, so I will take note of that in my report. The purpose of trip reports, in my mind, is to help future travelers and to document the vacation experience so the memories are never forgotten. We traveled with our neighbors: Sal, Meow and their two little kiddos.

Day 1: PRECRUISE

The Sleep Inn of Buffalo, NY is where I laid my head the night prior to our trip. We had enough points to book two free flights to San Juan (a 400-odd dollar per ticket in savings), but we had to fly out of Buffalo, a two hour drive from home, at the crack of dawn. We like the Sleep Inn because they offer modernized rooms and an excellent sleep and park package (my opinion changed later… more on that at the end). My alarm went off at 3:45 a.m., announcing the beginning of our vacation. Xander popped up exclaiming, “See, I’m not cranky!” We had a quick breakfast, before meeting the shuttle. We texted our travel partners (who were flying out of a differ airport) with a pic of our exhausted, yet excited faces, and they returned the favor. Our uneventful Southwest flight took off at 6:15 and landed on time in San Juan, Puerto Rico at noon.

Ahh, hello San Juan. It’s been 10 years since I’ve seen you last! And how I have missed you!

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St. Kitts Through My Lens

The tropical mountains of St. Kitts and Nevis are dramatic, lush and a brilliant emerald green. They remind me of the voluptuous mountains of Hawaii… or at least the photos I’ve seen of Hawaii.  Maybe next summer I’ll venture west to Hawaii to double check that comparison. Homes do not dot the steep mountains, but rather the towns are scattered at their feet. Large fluffy clouds hang in the sky, kissing the tops of the mountains and breaking up the vast blue Caribbean sky. If you are a lover of fruit, St. Kitts is your Eden. Avocados, mango, papaya, soursop, and breadfruit (Google these last two!) grow in abundance in people’s yards; additionally, you’ll also see plentiful almond trees and sugar cane. Men on street corners sell sugar cane sticks in a plastic bag for a small fee, and women market their colorful fruits from tables set up in the shaded alleys of “downtown” Basseterre. In case you were wondering, to enjoy sugar cane you must gnaw on it using your back molars. Then, suck on the sweet, sugarwater-like juices it releases. When the juice is completely released and swallowed, spit out the left over pulp. It’s like candy.

Overall, I witnessed poverty on the roads near Basseterre, yet received great welcome from the people of St. Kitts. As I watched my son play on the black-sand beach with some St. Kittitian children and as I sipped on a local Rum cocktail garnished with freshly grated nutmeg, I recalled why I love to travel.  It can best be summed up in this Mark Twain quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Oh, and if you ever visit St. Kitts, don’t be surprised if you end up having a diapered monkey put on your shoulder…………..

Here is what St. Kitts looked like through my lens.

We’re Baaaack!

All good things must come to an end… we’re back in St. Louis after an eventful 2 week vacation to Florida & Mexico. We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends and basking in the warm temperatures (well, at least the temps in Orlando and Mexico were favorable. Not so much in Largo!). And we ended our vacation with a short cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya via the Grandeur of the Seas! We already miss the warm sun (there’s snow on the ground here in St. Louis–boo!) so I thought I’d post a couple photos of this divine sun! Ahh, I’m ready for spring and summer! More pics to come soon. I’m off to do some laundry. Back to reality!

warm sun above our cruiseship

Sunrise in Cozumel, Mexico

Early morning sky onboard the Granduer of the Seas

The sun peeking through in Costa Maya