6/6/10 Today is Mindi's birthday. We try to stay upbeat, but the lingering news of her sister's illness, coupled with the fact that we cannot seem to find a hot vegetarian dish that is not Pasta Primavera is obviously making our vacation a little less carefree. In addition, we realize, to our dismay, that there is absolutely NOTHING for Harris to do on the cruise. There is a children's program, but they will not accept any kid in pull-ups, or under age 3. When I asked them if I could sit in a corner of the children's area and play with him and their toys, they told me that it was not allowed. "Didn't you bring any toys for him to play with" she says, with an innocent look on her face... grrrrrrr... oh, you mean, in between the diapers and formula that required their own duffel? well, noooo, I thought that we might have access here. I didn't even want to leave him there, I just wanted him to have something new to play with. Her only other suggestions were to let him run around on the tennis court, and to take him swimming. 2 problems with that, if the weather was nice, the courts were occupied. If the weather wasn't nice, the weather was NASTY, and, as far as the pool goes, no children were allowed in whilst wearing swim diapers. I buck the system there with a big F U, and take him in the pool WITHOUT a swim diaper... heh heh heh... On a good Samaritan note, I ask him politely to tell me if he has to pee... does he tell me he needs to? No. does he pee in the pool? probably... On a positive note, Harris tries his first chicken leg, and loves it.
6/7/10 Over 48 hours on the ocean, we are going stir crazy. After the quick discovery that this cruise is meant for the "older set", and noting the interesting contrast between "aaaaw, look at the cute little one", vs the evil eye that says "your child is single handedly RUINING my vacation", we are ready to GET OFF THE BOAT. We dock in Juneau, Alaska, and proptly begin our search for our first letterbox. (Even more info about Letterboxing Here). While we don't find the letterbox, we do discover a park! With a swing set! And a slide! Wow, who gets that excited about a park? It reminds me of the time we drove from Chicago to Seattle over the course of 4 days, and after 24 hours of corn fields, we finally spotted a few cows, and nearly pissed ourselves with excitement...
6/8/10 We receive news about Mindi's sister. She has passed away. Long story short, she died at 27 from complications of a gastric bypass (almost 3 years ago), coupled with poor life choices. At this point, the rest of the trip becomes blurry.
6/9/10 We eat our way through another day, and buy a new toy for Harris at port. Which port? I have no idea.
6/10/10 We eat our way through another day
6/11/10 We eat our way through another day
I was with the 2 kids alone Sat, Sun, Monday, and part of the day Tuesday. It was not a big deal- not too difficult for me to be alone with the kids, so that was good. Mindi and her mom and remaining sister are doing as well as can be expected. It is so sad to think that Feb14th, 2007, Mindi lost her father, David, to cancer, and not more than 3 years later, she lost her younger sister too.
The icing on the cake? We came home to a broken microwave.
And now, a tidbit about cruising with children:
Cruising with kids is AWESOME. I know that some people might be nervous about the whole thing, but once you get on that ship, it is like you are in a town on the sea. There are lots of things to do (assuming you pick the right cruise) and, like I mentioned before, the food is spectacular and plentiful. (I gained 5 lbs in a week). I beg you, however, to really do your homework if you are cruising with children. Some cruise lines are better than others at entertaining families with small children. We cruised with Holland America. Now, I thought that the ship was nice, the food was excellent and the rooms were great, but it was obviously, like I said before, a cruise for the older set. Upon arriving home, I did some research into other cruise lines, and discovered that the 3 best cruises for families with little ones, are Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney cruise lines.
If you have had a good experience on a cruise with kids, I would love to hear about it!! In addition, if you have any questions about an upcoming cruise, I am happy to answer it!