Over the last two weeks we have been on our first holiday as a family of four.
It has been a time of immense joy, but also one of heartbreak. It has been a time for reflecting both inward and outward, for making discoveries about ourselves and each other.
The children adored seeing Mickey and Minnie, both grew in confidence at dealing with strangers and both made new friends among the crew.
The Lion gave everyone lots of laughs by his habit of wearing only one shoe and sock, discarding the other only seconds after it has been placed on his foot.
He also reached the top of the milk ladder, and even had his first taste of ice cream.
Promptly followed by the sign for cold. He definitely prefers the cones to the ice cream itself!
The Bear enjoyed reconnecting with old friends.
It was lovely to see my big girl look a little less worried as she chatted to Mickey, hatched plans with Donald and tickled Pluto.
We realised though just how hard secondary school is going to be for her, she struggled with the kid’s club – despite there being very few children onboard, and found eating out in unfamiliar places hard because of her fear of germs.
Her heartbreak at leaving the ship that has always been her safe place was evident, and we know that we will begin saving again now we are home just to give her those few special moments with the characters once again.
We, the grown ups, have returned home more exhausted than before we went.
Travelling with an 18 month old, definitely ensures you need your wits about you at all times.
My pre-holiday hopefulness that the Lion would sleep through the night because the rocking of the boat would keep him asleep turned out to be completely unfounded. And he’s now back to waking between five and ten times a night.
My plans for reducing breastfeeding were foiled by a combination of our inability to find Oat Milk whilst we were there and the fact that the Lion was especially clingy because he was far too busy searching for characters to take a proper nap.
After much deliberation, I took two full weeks away from blogging whilst we were away.
In fact I took two full weeks away from any kind of technology and social media. It was a much needed break, and I loved having the time to really focus on the children without feeling torn into multiple pieces.
And as for the Other Half, it was a little bit of a cruising baptism of fire, as Hurricanes Maria and Irma meant that we ended up with four consecutive sea days, missing a visit to Canada (one of the main reasons he’d agreed to the holiday), and very choppy seas.