Christmas Cruise 2009

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I know everyone has been waiting for our Christmas Cruise post and photos, but we have so much to talk about and so many photos to share that I’ve been struggling with the best way to organize it all.  I’m not sure I have a plan yet, but here goes nothing anyway.  I think I’ll do a quick overview of the whole vacation and then will do random posts over the coming weeks that will focus on one thing or another as they come to mind.

How it all started….. Great Granny (Jim’s grandmother) decided to treat the family to a Christmas cruise so we could all be together and just get to know each other better.  Seriously, how nice was that?!  From the start, our plan was just to hang out with the family and take it as it came.  We weren’t into all the excursions and booking our time at each port.  We wanted to hang out with everyone and just spend time together.   Lets take a minute to meet the family that was involved in this Christmas Cruise…..

Great Granny

Great Granny – the one responsible for putting this all together and treating the family to such a wonderful experience and time together.  She has traveled the world and has amazing stories to share with everyone.  Ryan absolutely loved spending time with her and still talks about “Great Granny” from the ship-boat!  Thanks Great Granny for everything.  No words can express how much we enjoyed our week together with the family.

Grandma Ellie & Ryan

Grandma Ellie – both boys enjoyed seeing Grandma and spending time with her.  Her and Grandpa Paul live in Philly so it’s always nice when we can spend some time with them since they live so far away.  Luckily we do get to see them several times a year so that is nice and we all enjoy time together.

Grandpa Paul & O-wee

Grandpa Paul – Ryan adores Grandpa Paul and loved playing with him.  Grandpa Paul took Ryan swimming in the ocean and had a blast!

Silly Uncle Al

Uncle Al – a fun loving and silly guy who lives in Kansas City.  Ryan would laugh at him and the goofy things he would do.  He brightened up the room anytime he was in it!  And he provided alot of fun entertainment at the dinner table.  We only wished we lived closer to them and could spend more time together.  Uncle Al and Aunt Karen were the first family that I met of Jim’s when we started dating.  It’s funny to think back to that weekend so many years ago; I had no idea that one day we’d be on a cruise all together!

Aunt Karen

Aunt Karen – just as silly and fun as Uncle Al.  What a perfect match for each other.  Unfortunately, Aunt Karen had a stress fracture on her foot and was on crutches for the entire trip which made the beach a little difficult and walking around the ports impossible.  Ryan was always very concerned about Aunt Karen’s boo-boo and knew to be careful to not bump her foot or crutches.  But Aunt Karen being who she is always had a smile on her face and you’d never know she was in pain or bothered by it!

Miss Linzy

Miss Linzy – Ryan absolutely LOVED Miss Linzy!  He asked about her nonstop when she wasn’t with us and Ryan was always concerned with what she was doing and where she was.  This is Jim’s only cousin on his mom’s side so it was great to spend some time with her and not only for the boys to get to know her, but for Jim and I to get to know her better as well.  We were able to spend ALOT of time with her and now we all miss her!

Mommy & her boys!

Mommy – we all know mommy already, but on this trip she was definitely the “organizer” and made sure we had everything and everyone we needed for all ventures on and off the boat.

Daddy & his boys

Daddy – we also know daddy very well already, but on this trip he was the resident photographer.  He got a new camera (Nikon D90) for Christmas and rented a 18-200mm lens for the trip so he was in his own little world and documented every portion of our vacation with some amazing pictures.  Thanks Daddy!

Ryan taking in the sights

Ryan – the energetic 3 year old who absolutely enjoyed every single second of our vacation.  He was very well behaved and used his manners throughout the entire vacation.  He was very involved in everything we did and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it all.  The best was on the last night at dinner when the crew did a dance and he clapped along and waved his napkin over his head with the rest of the people.  He also took very good care of his little brother and always looked out for him.  He held his hand when walking around the boat and shared very well with him.

Owen Loves to Eat

Owen – our curious little 16 month old.  He changed so much on the trip and further developed his little personality.  I love that everyday he becomes more and more independent and knows what he wants.  He still can’t communicate like he would like so we’re dealing with some biting issues when he’s frustrated or mad, but we’ll get through it.  His favorite game was “Owen in the box”at naptime or bedtime.  We’d tell him “head down” and he would go down, but his little hands would stay on the top of the pack and play and then all of a sudden up would pop O-wee!  Both boys would giggle and giggle and giggle!  Mommy and daddy were laughing too, but we had to hide our face so he wouldn’t see us since this was naughty and he was supposed to be going night-night.

Ok, now that we know everyone it will make a little more sense as we give the overview of the trip.

Holland America's Westerdam

Beautiful Beaches in Ft. Lauderdale

We cruised on Holland America’s Westerdam ship and left out of Ft. Lauderdale on December 20th and cruised to Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, Tortola and Half Moon Cay returning to Ft. Lauderdale on December 27th.  There were highlights of each port and we had a great time at each stop.

Owen building castles in Grand Turk

Ryan building castles in Grand Turk

Daddy and his boys

Owen in Grand Turk

In Grand Turk we enjoyed a little beach time and built some sand castles and splashed around in the ocean.  We then moved to the pool area and hung out with Great Granny and Miss Linzy.  Both boys thoroughly enjoyed swimming despite the absolutely freezing cold pool water.  We finally had to pull Ryan out because he was turning a shade of blueish purple!!

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico we walked around Old San Juan with Miss Linzy and took some photos of the architecture.  We ate lunch at McDonald’s in hopes of using the bathroom (mainly for our potty trained 3 year old), but no such luck.  Old San Juan had a water main break and therefore the entire area was without water.  So after a little walking we headed back to the ship-boat and hung out with Great Granny, Miss Linzy, Uncle Al and Aunt Karen.


Ryan taking pictures in Tortola

In Tortola we walked around and did some sight seeing with Great Granny and Miss Linzy.  Ryan’s favorite part of the island were the chickens running around all over!  Great Granny had bought him a camera for his birthday and he had a blast taking some photos of the crazy chickens (although you won’t find a chicken in most of his photos since his aim is a little off!).  I will be posting Ryan’s photos in another blog post because they are deserving of their own blog post; they are so cute!

Mommy & Boys in Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay

Owen Chilling in Half Moon Cay

In Half Moon Cay we had a blast!  This was by far our favorite stop and enjoyed every bit of it.  The beach was absolutely gorgeous with the fine white sand and the blueish green water.  They had a water slide and animals for the kids to play on in the water.  Ryan was intrigued with the alligator to play on and for some reason he talks about them all the time at home too.  Grandpa Paul took Ryan swimming and Grandma Ellie built sand castles with both boys.  Mommy and Miss Linzy REALLY enjoyed the water slide and took the kids down it several times.  I’m not sure if the boys had more fun or if Miss Linzy and I did!!   We ate lunch with Uncle Al and Aunt Karen and then after lunch daddy and Miss Linzy went horseback riding and mommy chilled with her two favorite little men on the beach.  They were being so good so I just let them play and enjoy our last day of vacation.  I too was enjoying every minute of it and hated for the day to end.

Grandma Ellie & Grandpa Paul

Handsome brothers

Owen with his favorite toy - a cone!

As for our time on the boat (when we weren’t at port) we had a blast!  The food was amazing and mommy (and Grandpa Paul) enjoyed lobster several nights.  We also discovered that Owen LOVES lobster!  Before he’d be done eating a bite he would already be asking for more.  His next favorite thing to eat was Mac and Cheese so much to his surprise one night they served Lobster Mac & Cheese!  Seriously?!  What are the chances of that happening?!

Other than lobster we enjoyed steak, lamb, pasta, seafood, salads, soups, delicious desserts and ice cream.  Anything you could possibly imagine or crave, you could fulfill that want.  We had french toast, omelets, waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and yogurt for breakfasts.  We had tacos, burgers, hot dogs, pasta, pizza, french fries, sushi and Chinese for lunches.  We ate so much food and enjoyed it all.

Ryan & Dolly

The last night they had a chef’s dinner and performance and Ryan really got into it.  He was clapping and laughing and waving his napkin over his head just like everyone else.  And our waiter, Dolly, was amazing.  He took such good care of the boys and had their areas cleared of all the fine china and crystal before we would arrive at the table.  He would bring their sippy cups filled with apple juice to the table on a silver platter and he even got them ginger ale in a champagne flute with a straw when we did a toast for Great Granny’s birthday!

Blowing out Great Granny's Candles

Ryan Toasting to Great Granny

Which leads me to the next highlight of the trip…. Great Granny’s celebrated her birthday on Christmas Day while we were on the ship-boat!  We all sang to her and Ryan got to help blow out the candles on her cake.  He was so excited for her birthday and since he had just celebrated one of his own the week prior he was thrilled to be able to help her celebrate hers and to sing to her.  We are all so happy we could celebrate your birthday with you this year Great Granny!!!

That was our trip in a nutshell.  It was a long post and if you’ve made it all the way to the end congrats to you!  I’m sure we’ll be mentioning the trip from time to time and will do some specific posts over the coming weeks about it, but that was a very quick overview of our awesome vacation. Specifically, I will be doing a post about Christmas on the cruise, but for now this is it.

Again, thank you Great Granny!  The trip was everything we could have hoped for.  Time with family and just hanging out with everyone.  We really enjoyed our afternoons visiting in the pool area and just talking with everyone.  We loved spending time with each of you and getting to know you all a little better!

Yahres Family

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  1. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the holiday…can’t wait to see more pics!

  2. Christmas rain in the ATL vs. food, sun, and sand in the Caribbean… ATL wins hands down.


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