Just another sunset in Cayman...
I’ve gone to the beach for a week each summer since I was a young child and this year was no different. I know I’ve been awfully quiet around here – but it’s been busy behind the scenes and there are lots of good things happening around here. I’ll share more over the next few weeks, but one of the reasons for my absence was our annual family vacation at the end of July. Today I thought I would give you a glimpse into our week!
I love the fact that some of my children’s favorite childhood memories include family time at the beach. We’ve been to Ft Meyers, Panama City, Myrtle Beach, The Outer Banks, Destin, Perdido Key, Gulf Shores and this year Grand Cayman. Some years we go with just the five of us, others have included girlfriends, boyfriends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or friends. One thing is constant – we always go to a beach.
This year my friend and business partner Margie invited us as her guests for a week at one of her Conch (Konk) Point Villas in Grand Cayman. Also visiting from Jamaica was her nephew David, along with his adorable wife Indi and their beautiful children Seana and Thomas. The following week, Margie’s daughter Lisa (of PickMeYard) and her family visited Cayman. You can read about their fabulous Cayman Bee Adventure here.
Our family is pretty laid back when it comes to vacation, meaning give us sunny skies, a beach, lots of sunscreen, food, a place to sleep and you can call us happy. Throw in a fishing rod, a cold beverage (cold Red Stripe or Lemon Ginger iced Tea, thank-you very much), a round of tennis, swimming with Stingrays and you got it…it doesn’t get any better than that.
Note: If your children are in love with someone back home, make sure to throw in the internet and a laptop. Tyler’s girlfriend Jaimie was planning to join us for a few days, but her flight plans didn’t work out and Ashley’s firefighter man Greg was working. Thank God for Skype. I don’t know what we ever did back in the old days without modern-day technology… how did we ever survive? Haha! Sharing a lone laptop caused a bit of drama, but hey, seriously, what family doesn’t have drama? Oh, to be young and in love again…
Anyway, last year’s vacation was to be a very special one celebrating my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, but an act of random violence put my youngest son in the ICU and quickly ended that vacation. The unexpected death of my father-in-law a few days later made it worse. I haven’t written about that time in our lives for a lot of reasons, but here’s a public statement I released about it after it happened and here’s a recent article about my son’s miraculous recovery. Continued prayers are welcome! Needless to say, we were looking forward to a quiet vacation this year and it didn’t disappoint.
In the spirit of less talk and more visuals, here’s a recap – enjoy!
Hello Cayman! We made it! Here we are going on 36 hours with no sleep. We almost lost the fishing rods and hit a tiny snafu regarding passports, but hey we are here ... happy to have arrived and loving the steel drums that welcomed us.
Fast forward 20 minutes and vacation was on!
If you wanted to find my husband all you had to do was look towards the beach. Chances were you would find him in his chair with a cigar in hand.
Michael could be found soaking up the rays in his shades.
Ashley of course, after a morning of sun was always ready to shop
Tyler really did try to get a tan. Here he is after a morning run making friends with a neighboring dog.
My intentions were to read Eat, Pray, Love... the truth is I got to page 32. I did get to finish it during the 7 hours of travel time we had on the way home. Looking forward to seeing the movie!
The kids and Mike fell in to a routine of playing a "friendly" round or two of tennis every morning. I usually spent that quiet time straightening up from the day before, but did take a moment one morning to show them my serving skills! There was never a dull moment in tennis: let's just say no one likes to lose. Notice the laptop in the foreground? That is one of the places where Ashley and Tyler Skyped during the week.
Here's Tyler showing Jaimie the beach from his spot at the pool.
Some days you could find Ashley and Margie looking for shells...
You could always count on seeing a friendly Iguana or two...
To the left of our villa was a wall in the sea, perfect for fishing.
Mike paid fifty dollars to bring his rods from home.
We learned from our new friend David that all you really need is a roll of line...
and a good hook.
Didn't catch any fish? No problem... a quick trip to where the local fishing boats come in every night is a great place to get fresh fish for dinner!
Dinner was always delicious and it was fun to dive in learn new things! As you know, I have to lots to learn about cooking and am like a sponge when it comes to trying new things. Just make sure you explain to me exactly what you want me to do... chances are when you tell me to mince something I'm not always exactly sure how to do it, haha! Dinner was often followed by a spirited game or two!
One evening Michael found a friendly crab on the beach and brought him up to visit. And yes, he released him back shortly after I took this photo!
We had lots of new adventures like when Michael and Tyler found a coconut and decided to drink its refeshing juice.
...one day Mike went straight to Hell!
Later we all saw the amazing Art of Guy Harvey.
That same day we drove the length of the Island and stopped to see the famous Blow Hole...
Looks pretty peaceful doesn't it? But, looks are deceiving...
Ashley was the good child and stayed a respectful distance away...
But trouble one and trouble two didn't listen to their mother and Tyler just about went into the blow-hole. He was a bit wet for a while after that!
From a distance it was pretty spectacular.
We stopped at rum point and looked around... it was like a ghost town since the cruise ships had long since sailed.
Down the road, we found a lovely little beach-side restaurant to have dinner. Seana and Thomas had fun on a swing and playing along the shore as we waited for dinner.
One of our favorite adventures was to Stingray City. Everyone told us to go there and we weren't disappointed!
Turns out that Stingray City is a shallow area out in the middle of the ocean. The only way to get there is by boat and it was breathtaking
We set anchor and jumped in to join the fun!
Stingrays were everywhere and the boat next to us was feeding a group of them. The stingrays were loving that and so were we; we were surrounded by them instantly.
They were so happy to see us... they rubbed against legs and this one gave us a great big smile!
Ashley even gave him a big kiss!
Seana hung with me for a while as we made some new friends
Thomas donned his snorkel gear so he could see everything underwater.
Michael of course had to catch his own stingray and our guide said he was hired!
Ashley was brave enough to hold one too...
And of course... Mr. competitive wouldn't leave until he caught and held one too! We had a great time!
Mike and Ashley on the way back...
Yep. Life is good
Ashley wanted to do some Island shopping and I had my first adventure of driving on the left with the steering wheel on the right. I have to say I loved it and was actually pretty good at it... maybe being left-handed helped? No comments about my driving allowed here, Ashley 🙂
We made a stop at the local firehouse to get a t-shirt for her firefighter man back home and she talked the first fireman she saw into giving her the shirt of his back - literally. Oh, to be young and adorable again!
Of course a local shopping trip wouldn't have been complete without a stop for a Margarita at Margaritaville. Note: I was driving and had ice tea!
The time flew by and before you knew it, it was time to go home...
Oh Cayman, we will miss you! Thanks to Margie for sharing her little piece of heaven.
Did I seriously just post that many photo’s? Haha! Couldn’t find one to cut! xoxox Amy