April 14, 2009

We survived!

Our first family vacation that is! I'm still drowning under all the laundry and unpacking, but we are still alive. For those that don't know, we took the Kaden family (Ian's parents, sister and brother, along with their families) to the Bahamas. We stayed at Taino Beach where my family has owned a timeshare for several years now. 

At first, we were dreading the plane ride to get there, but things seemed to go okay. Fortunately, we took a direct flight from Charlotte, NC - only a 2 hour flight with no connections. Riley did so well, only a little fussiness at take off. I attribute that to her lack of a morning nap more than anything else. She enjoyed looking out the window and making friends with anyone that would smile at her. There was a family of four right next to us with two girls (10-12 years old) that were quite smitten with her. By the end of the flight, they were playing peek-a-boo across the aisle and had given Riley one of their toys. (A spongy, stretchy, spider like thing that Riley loved. We still don't know what it's called.)

As soon as we arrived at the resort, we made quick work of unpacking our suitcases and donning our bathing suits. Riley took to the water like a fish to the sea. It was awesome seeing her have so much fun in the pool. It was a little cold at first, but she soon settled in. Her favorite part? Scrambling, crawling and squealing on the pool beds (raised tile beds just an inch or so underwater - you can sunbathe on them and still stay cool in the water). It was hysterical and nerve-wracking all at the same time. It took 3-4 adults to manage one toddler on that thing. 

Having all of the Kaden family together was the main theme for the week. All four grandchildren were together and boy did they have a blast. Anna and Asher (Kathleen's two kids) were awesome big cousins. They helped entertain the babies all week long and really seemed to enjoy it, too!

Riley and Sasha were best buds the whole week. With Sasha walking on her own now, it took some effort for Riley to keep up. You'd never know she was 2 months Riley's junior. A lot of people asked if they were twins while we were out and about.

As for activities, Kathleen's crew did the Dolphin Encounter and she and Ernie did some SCUBA diving. Ernie got in a shark dive - said it was pretty awesome. A group (Ian, Ernie, Natasha & Nicolai (Natasha's Dad)) went deep sea fishing. They caught two baracuda. They kept one baracuda had it fileted and Nic & Zoya cooked it up for dinner in the room. They had been warned about it being high in Mercury and not to eat it. It takes a lot to dissuade Nic & Zoya to waste food. They enjoyed it. Another group (Ernie, Nicolai, Anna, Asher & Kathleen) went reef fishing where the boat caught a Strawberry Grouper (Nicolai) and a Squirrel Fish (Kathleen). The grouper made it into a fish soup and the Squirrel Fish was made into chum as it is one of the few poisonous fish in the Bahamas. Thursday night, most of us (all except Terry, Natasha, Nic & Zoya - they watched the babies for us) went on the sunset catamaran cruise. It was spectacular as always! Carol & Rick rented mopeds for a couple of days and explored the other areas of the island. They hit the Lucayan National Forest, Garden of the Groves and a few high-end residential areas. In the end, they determined that Port Lucaya and Taino Beach were the prettiest and nicest parts of the island. 

We hit up our usual spots for food: The Pub (Pusser's), Giovanni's and Pisces. Terry, Natasha & Kathleen were very impressed with Zorba's despite our warnings based on previous visits. There were some new favorties as well: Agava (a new latin infusion restaurant near Shenanigan's) and the Unexso Dive Shop (who knew that little bar had such amazing hamburgers!). We didn't get to our old favorite the Ferry House, but will try next time. 

All in all, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable week. My only regret is that it only lasted 7 days. I could have done for a few more days. I want to vacation like the woman I met who had been there since October and wasn't heading out until June! What a life!

Slideshow on YouTube of pictures. Hopefully, it works!