Packing for any vacation can be tough but packing for a cruise might be the hardest thing I’ve ever packed for. It’s daunting because you don’t want to WAY over do it, but then you certainly don’t want to be wearing dirty stuff because you under did it either. I just couldn’t decide what was the right amount of stuff for myself or the kids and I ended up packing way more than any of us needed.
We ended up with quite a few bags to check and we brought a few bags on board the plane with us as well. We were still under our limit by a lot so I figured I hadn’t WAY over done it!
We had a van come and pick all of us up at our house around 9:45am. (Brandon dropped Zoe off at the airport.) Dottie and Mike came to our house so they could ride with us to the airport. Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until around noon, but since we were a big group (8 total) with a lot of different things going on (two young kids, and Umpa in a wheelchair) we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to check in and get where we needed to be.
We got through check in and security without any hiccups and then had some time to find lunch before our plane boarded. (There was such a frenzy of last minute activity that none of us had really eaten anything for breakfast and lunch at 11am was just what the doctor ordered!) We ate slices of pizza and sandwiches with chips and water picnic style in the middle of the airport…we had to eat quickly though because before we knew it they were calling our plane to board.
Since Mike was in a wheelchair, he and Mema got to board first. The rest of us had “B” boarding passes but because we had two littles with us we were able to board between the A and B sections. As soon as we got on the plane, Harper saw Mema and Umpa and decided to sit with them. I saw a couple seats right after that and grabbed them for Dakota and I thinking Tony and the big kids would grab the seats behind me. It didn’t work out as I’d thought it would and Tony ended up on the end of a row two rows behind me with two other people while Zoe and Landon got some seats together a little further back. It wasn’t the best situation, but it was okay.
Since I ended up sitting with Dakota (like there could have been a different way!?) she’s the only one I have pictures of on that flight.
I brought the kids’ iPads for the flight and thankfully it kept Dakota busy for most of the 2 hour flight.
Tony loaded Frozen on Dakota’s iPad and she was just as happy as could be to sit and watch that. When she got tired of it she switched to some games and then back to the movie again. I was able to read a little bit while she played. Tony loaded Harper iPad with Big Hero Six and that was a HUGE hit with Harper. He must have watched bits and pieces of that movie at least a dozen times throughout our travels.
All the activity wore poor Kota out and when we finally landed and were waiting for our luggage, she zonked out.
These two were excited to be in Ft. Lauderdale though!
When we landed it was bright and sunny but as we headed out for the hotel shuttle to pick us up, it was pouring rain. (We only missed my family flying in by about 20 minutes! They caught the hotel shuttle right after we did!) We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale. It was a great hotel and the kids just loved it! (The orchids are real, the lemon tree was not.)
Harper and Dakota loved watching the elevators from our room. They stood behind that chair talking and watching people for the longest time.
We ran back down to the lobby to greet my parents, sister, brother and nephew as they arrived (in the pouring rain). Once they got their stuff put away they came to get us…
We walked around chatting and going room to room for no particular reason until someone mentioned that there were complimentary drinks in the bar. Since it was raining we decided to go ahead and eat dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and drink our complimentary “Bahama Mama’s”.
It was a terrific beginning to our vacation (except when Jaron misplaced his wallet and then after a FRANTIC hour long search found it in his hotel room on a table under a suit case that someone had accidentally placed on top of it AND the moments spent looking around for Kyle’s misplaced (new) camera, which we also found). We didn’t stay up too late that night as we were all pooped from the travel but the two littlest one’s sure had a hard time getting to sleep that night. (They slept together on the pull out in our room while Zoe stayed with Mema & Umpa in their room and Landon had the couch in Meme & Papa’s room. Tisha, Jaron and Kyle had their own room as well.)