house guests.15

Right on the heels of my brother and his wife ending their first visit in Grand Cayman came the arrival of my sister, N's sister, and a third sister-like friend. We'd had such a great experience with our last sister invasion in the summer that having three girls in the house didn't even phase N!  As you can see, he got right down to proper hosting duties shortly after they arrived:

Mmm, Baked Chicken Parm + roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts. Great family meal!

I love those nights when N spends more time in the kitchen than I do: After dinner, some of our "regulars" came over to meet the girls, and BK and NS treated all of us to their classic homemade donuts. The donuts are always a crowd-pleaser, and I make sure to gush just enough to ensure N makes them again next time. No reason to break up a good thing!

I don't know if it was the windy conditions the next day or the need to burn off all those calories, but we were out on the water early for some Cayman kiting.

Here AS is helping me pump up the 12m Bandit, while N takes photos
(before coming over to finish the pumping - it's hard!)

I intend to devote an entire post to a kitesuring update sometime soon, complete with photos and videos. For now, you'll have to amuse yourself with N in the air (being watched by a helicopter) and horses on the beach:

I love having family in - I can be so relaxed about our daily activities, and it doesn't feel so unnatural when they cook for me. One night, ADP (one of our most conscientious guests ever), made a couple homemade pizza pies for all of us.

She used my mom's classic Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix dough. I remember Mom teaching me how to make pizza with that dough, making it one of my favorite meals growing up, but I haven't had it in years.

What a treat to re-live it with family!

But we didn't keep the girls cooped up in the house with just the pool and sun and sea to entertain them. During the day, they took the car (or the public bus!) into town to shop or to Governor's Harbor to visit stingrays.

    photo credit: Captain Marvin's

N even took AS diving, while the rest of us snorkeled near Eden Rock.

                      photo credit: ADP

One evening, the five of us met B&K at (where else?) Sunshine Grill. Despite it being the windiest night of the year, we ate outside, which meant pretty green palm trees for photo backdrops.

I went out on a limb and ordered the chicken quesadillas instead of my standard island fish tacos or the occasional snapper sandwich. Another winning menu selection! You can hardly go wrong at this islandy bar and grill...

And the cherry on top: Mini ice cream cones for everyone.

N then took all of us ladies to Camana Bay for a post-dinner stroll. I snagged ADP & MW for photos outside the Lily Pulitzer store while N&A checked out the waterline.

Doesn't this furniture just scream girly-girl?!

I love this "action" shot.

     photo credit: ADP

Camana Bay is designed to draw visitors to "the crescent" - the central portion that contains the large, un-walled fountain. By day, parents bring their kids to run through the cool water to counterbalance our perpetually warm weather. By night, we adults just tried to get some photos near the partially-lit water spouts.

As I said, it was the windiest night of the year, and every single one of us ladies complained about wild woman hair while trying to get a photo. It was all good when N was acting as a shield...

...but AS and I found ourselves doing backbends just to avoid the whirlwind look.

ADP found a more sheltered spot near Camana Bay's cinema... of course, the rest of us followed suit while N patiently snapped away. (He really has the patience of Job. Just had to put that out there.)

I think it's obvious that I couldn't have a house full of adorable girls for a week without a legit photo shoot. Or two. Why not? Everyone was at their tannest, and I can always use some extra practice with snapping some portraits.

Our first shoot was at West Bay public beach - westward-facing and perfectly situated for evening photos (as evidenced by another group getting professional photos taken just as we pulled up.)

Check out the best shots here, all of which were taken with my 24-70mm f/2.8L and 50mm f/1.4.

After our short shoot (the sunset waits for no man! or woman!), we crossed the street for dinner at Tim-Buc-Tuu - seriously one of the best deals on the island, with their generously-served fresh catch offerings. [And they deliver!]

Our second photo shoot took place right behind our house on the dock.

It started out as a birthday beach photo shoot for AS (with ADP as my indispensable assistant), but we couldn't help but get everyone involved in the end.

    photo credit: MW

Check out the best shots (mostly taken with the 70-200mm f/2.8) here.

The girls' vacation week sped past quickly for all of us. I couldn't believe it when it was time for them to say goodbye. I liked this little note that MW left on the counter for us.

And that's what makes it all worth it.


  1. you look so tan in those night-time pictures!

  2. Such beautiful ladies in such a beautiful place~!