Our third stop was in Basseterre, St Kitts. We did a Mount Liamuiga Volcano Hike Tour offered by the cruise ship. It was listed as a strenuous tour, but we had been on cruise ship “strenuous” tours where we couldn’t figure out what was actually strenuous. This one was actually fairly physically demanding, we had to climb up some rocky areas making me wish yet again for longer legs. 😉 Within 5 minutes we had left 4 people behind with one of the three guides because they were “less skilled” in the words of our lead guide. The remaining 11 of us all made it the 2.5 miles up to the top crater of the volcano (3000 feet above sea level). The hike wouldn’t have been bad at all but they kept a fairly quick pace, it felt like we were almost running on the way down. I guess they wanted to make sure we got back before our ship left port. Luckily it was a little cooler than 90 degrees in the rain forest but it was still very humid so by the time we got back down Jeremy and I were both soaked with sweat.
Next stop was Oranjestad, Aruba. We did a trikes island tour and got to see about 70% of the island which was even drier than I was expecting. It was interesting to talk with our driver, he was from the Netherlands and came to Aruba a year ago to do something different from the high stress job he had in the Netherlands.
After a day at sea we stopped at Willemstad, Curacao. We had booked an outside tour (not through the cruise ship) based on many favorable reviews at CruiseCritic. We went to the place and time specified in the email and there was no one there. We stuck around for a little bit longer in case they were on “island time” but no show. Jeremy emailed them using Curacao’s free wifi and got a very apologetic email about the mix-up with an offer for a deal next time we were in Curacao. So we walked back towards the cruise ship and went on an island tour with one of the many tour operators hanging out around the port terminal.
Several of the people on our tour were from Puerto Rico so he did the tour in both Spanish and English. He usually did the Spanish first so it was interesting to see how much I understood with my high school Spanish before hearing it again in English.
We drove around town and saw a lot of the colorful danish architecture, this is the most photographed building on Curacao, the Wedding Cake house, named because of it’s unique architecture. But our guide informed us it had nothing to do with Weddings or Cake, it was actually some sort of state building.
Our first stop was at The Curacao Liqueur Factory. The Spaniards had bought the orange plant to Curacao but in the arid climate the fruit it produced was much too bitter to be edible. It wasn’t until sometime later it was discovered the peels when thoroughly dried by the sun had a pleasing odor that anything was done with the plants.
On our 11th Anniversary (October 4th) Jeremy and I flew to Puerto Rico for a southern Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas. It is one of their “smaller” ships but we found it more than big enough. The ship was full but the only time we found it overly crowded was for breakfast on the last day. Otherwise while on the ship we hung out in the adult pool area (with the drink of the day), the quiet decks on the lower levels, or in the Schooner bar for trivia. We won trivia once and were runners up 4 other times. Ella and Abby were very impressed with the Royal Caribbean highlighters we won.
The food and service in the main dining room was excellent, and the casual Windjammer cafe was good for buffet food. There appeared to be plenty of vegetarian, gluten and dairy free options on the menu which is something new from when we cruised 6 years ago. The nightly shows were ok, not as good as on other cruises.
Since this is already getting long I will save the islands stops for another post or posts.
Abby’s first day of official preschool. She had done preschool playdates at the rec center in the past but this is “real” school. She has been anxious waiting for this day.
I just picked Abby up and she loved it. Her favorite part was snack and the art project. I hope her love for school continues this year and through the coming years.
Ella is so excited to be starting second grade, she was outside waiting for the bus 20 minutes early. We met her teacher and saw her classroom yesterday when we dropped off school supplies. Her teacher recognized Jeremy’s name, she went to Holy Trinity for elementary school but was a couple years behind him. Ella has a good friend from last year in her class again this year. There are 7 classes in her grade and they mix them up so there isn’t much overlap from year to year but she was happy to hear Olivia was in her class again this year. I can’t wait to hear how the first day went!
Ella did a week of Big Fat Messy art camp this summer, she loved it! She made a pinch pot, a wooden pendant with eggshells, a homemade scratch board with pastels and paint, a pastel still life, a canvas painting, a watercolor horse painting, a music inspired posterboard, bookmarks with shaving cream and coloring and lots of free draw pieces with paint and markers. Here are all her beautiful creations …
“Ella’s art projects from Big messy art camp.”
Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2
Just got back from a great vacation. I called it “camping” because we did stay in a cottage and not a tent at Old Forge Camping. Jeremy’s parents and siblings (and families) went too, so 8 adults and 7 kids in all. Everyone did their own thing during the day and we ate dinner and did camp fire together in the evenings. Our family went hiking up Bald Mountain. We made it 98% of the way to the top but decided against doing the last rocky bit at the top with the kids (Jeremy had Mia on his back). Once they got into it Ella and Abby had a blast. Mia fell asleep in the carrier for part of the time. We also went out in a paddle boat and a canoe, spent some time playing at the beach and in the lake.
Well it was supposed to be 18 months but we got behind. Here are her stats …
Height: 35″, >97%
Weight: 29 lbs 9 oz, 94%
So she is still big. 😉 I looked up Ella and Abby’s numbers since it seems like Mia is much taller than they were at this point. They were both only 32.5″ at 18 months. It will be interesting to see if Mia ends up taller than her big sisters.
The doctor was impressed with Mia’s language. She says quite a few words – mama, Dada, Ella, baba (Abby), doggie, keys, bye-bye, ball, no, woof, baaa, mooo, and maaa animal sounds. Her latest word is Minnie for Minnie mouse, her favorite character. She can also point out many body parts. She can say ‘no’ and we have taught her sign language for ‘yes’ which helps a lot. We can ask her yes or no questions when she is starting to head for a tantrum.
Mia wants everything her sisters have, a big girl cup, barbies, silverware, go on rides at Seabreeze, climb up the slide (which she can do by herself see photo below) and especially markers. She pounces on any marker or glue stick left out by her sisters. Luckily they are washable!