Thursday, March 13, 2014

Grand Cayman or bust

The wind chill outside is currently in the single digits. In March. In Washington DC. Yet there is hope on the horizon, in the form of an anniversary getaway.

We've spent our last two anniversaries in New Orleans, as you might remember. It's one of my favorite cities in the world, and there's something about the vibe there that just speaks to us. Strolling the streets hand in hand, music in the air, our bellies either full of delicious food or on the way to eat more delicious food... my kind of city in every way. This year, though, with baby in tow, New Orleans just didn't feel right. We also really wanted to get away, to take real time off (unlike our usual long weekends), to celebrate each other but also our little gal, and to go someplace new. Here's what we settled on:

Yes please.

We've rented a condo at Grand Cayman Island for a week in May. A week! T and I have actually never been to the Caribbean together, so it'll be new for all of us. H will turn six months old while we're there, and I practically squeal when I think about her baby toes in the Caribbean. I'm also excited that we have a condo instead of a hotel room to help create more of a "home away from home" atmosphere. Other good things: having a washer and dryer, having baby furniture already there, and being able to toast English muffins for breakfast instead of having to order $30 omelets every day. (Ever practical over here!)

We've booked a direct flight and to T's chagrin, I've placed us in the very back row of the plane to hopefully limit the annoyance factor if she's fussy. Fingers crossed!

For those of you who've taken your wee ones on beach trips, do you have any recommendations that were vacation-savers on the beach or in the pool together? We'll obviously be taking swimsuits, rash guards, and hats, but what am I missing? I have my eyes on a tented pool float that packs flat, for one. Anything else? Flat-packed beach tent? Oh, and what's your favorite baby sunblock?

Now excuse me while I stare at those palm trees the rest of the afternoon.

8 comments:

  1. Well that just sounds heavenly. Can't wait to see pictures of Hazel in her suit, relaxing in the Carribean! As for baby sunblock, California Baby has a good line without a lot of extra chemicals. I like to use a stick sunscreen for the face because it covers well and you don't end up with sunscreen in their eyes. California Baby makes one of these too but I think the one we use is Waterbabies?

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  2. We went to the Caymans in August for my sister-in-laws wedding and we LOVED it! Everyone was very friendly and we were never afraid to leave the resort like we were in Jamaica. You will love it.

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  3. We took Mac to St. John over Christmas when he was 6 months old too, so we know exactly how much you need the trip and how excited (and scared) you probably are. Honestly, my most valuable advice would just try to be as relaxed about the whole trip as possible and go with the flow. We were too hard on ourselves about making sure everything was packed and perfect and taken care of that we didn't enjoy ourselves as much as we thought we would. Be relaxed about naps and her "schedule" if you can. We were slaves to Mac's nap schedule (still napping 2x a day and not at the beach), so that really limited what we could do during the day. We spent way more time at the rental house than we wanted to, which wasn't terrible, just not what we expected. I don't think we fully appeciated how much a baby would slow us down and change our normal vacation habits. It wasn't a bad trip, just different. Subsequent trips have gotten MUCH better b/c we've learned to let go. As for beach stuff, take a giant beach blanket that you can put baby on where she'll be out of the sand. Stick sunscreen. Baby powder is great for getting sand off the baby. A hat or sunglasses for the baby b/c it's really bright. Mac absolutely would not get in a floatie thing, but it can't hurt to try. Let me know if you have any other questions. We've now done 3 beach trips with Mac and it gets better/easier each time. Have fun!!!

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  4. Thanks for these great tips already, everyone!

    @Sara: It's so funny how different everyone is (and what makes life so fun, right?). We probably suffer from the opposite mindset - being too laid-back and unstructured! Haha :-)

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  5. Totally bring a portable beach cabana, if you can find one. Set it up, baby inside, let her sleep there, enjoy the beach!

    And tie on cloth baby hats with a very wide brim:). Also, if you are still nursing, a tunic you can just pull up when necessary.

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  6. I have no advice. I just want to tell you that I am cold, yet hot with jealousy. Ha! Seriously, H is one on the most adorable babies I have ever seen.

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  7. Yay Grand Cayman!!! We did the beach with L at 3 mo and 5 mo (Cabo and Lake Michigan...which qualifies, right?). CA Baby makes a great sunscreen for the body, and, as others have said, a stick is easiest for little faces and ears - CA Baby makes one and I also think Aveeno does too?

    One of those pop up mini cabanas is great for napping and play on the beach (or just find a shady spot with a huge towel!).

    My only gripe about GC is there are a lot of Mosquitos on the beach if it happens to rain a bit. I'd pack some baby friendly bug spray as well!

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  8. I posted this on Elefantitas Alegres when she asked for Cayman recs, so here are a few more if you need them! We were married in Cayman and have been lucky enough to visit that gorgeous place at least once a year - please be sure to dine at Calypso Grill (sticky toffee pudding WHAT), eat fish tacos and tiny ice cream cones at the Sunshine Grill (totally random location but worth the walk!), have sunset drinks at the Royal Palms, and read all day in a hammock at Rum Point! If you can obtain a sip of one of their famous mudslides, all the better!

    Try to sit outside at Calypso if you can - the moonlight on the water is so gorgeous! If you can get to Papagallo, it's also worth the trip: http://www.pappagallo.ky. I've been underwhelmed by the food at The Wharf the last few times we've visited, but the scenery is lovely and feeding the tarpons is fun/gross/interesting. We were married at The Grand Old House - another wonderful splurge for dinner, but Calypso is our favorite by far. We don't have a trip planned this year but you're making me want to go back!

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