IMG_0468We said

IMG_0425So… yes… we’re back. And here is – finally – the post that talks about the trip. But lets first spend a little time addressing why this post is so delayed. We flew back Saturday evening arriving in Toronto just ahead of ten in the evening. Knowing that the cupboards were bare and the fridge empty, on the highway just outside of London we put in an order for a couple personal pizzas from Boston Pizza to pickup and eat when we arrived at the house (which we did). A gluten free one for Danielle and a meat lovers for myself.

IMG_0428Precisely four and a half hours after inhaling that pizza and hitting the sheets exhausted I was awoken with an intestinal furor that kicked off twelve to eighteen hours of bed, bathroom, and wishing I had not even been on the same continent as that damned pizza! That’s right: food poisoning! I was horizontal until Monday morning and heading in to work. In fact, I didn’t feel one hundred percent until Monday evening. Trust me when I say this, while it did have a positive effect on the scale, weight loss by food poisoning is not the way to counteract all the amazing food I ate too much of on the boat.


IMG_0438That brings us to the trip. The week leading up (and from our last post) blew by in a whirl of getting everything that needed to be done, done. And before we new it, it was Thursday, the daycare kids were all gone and we were eating a quick meal before hopping into the truck and heading to Toronto for the night. Emelia was still ensconced in the storyline that Daddy was going to Toronto for work and they were tagging along. We got settled in to the hotel near the airport and readied ourselves for the early morning wake up.

IMG_0445That brings us to Friday morning — the best part of the trip and what we had planned and looked forward to for well over a year. When we got to the parking garage at the airport for what Emelia thought was to pickup a fellow manager from another store in Vancouver, that was where she learned that Danielle and I had maybe not been completely honest. With the car parked, as we got out I told Emelia that I needed to check an email on my phone to see where we were to meet Jim, Steve or Mike (or any one of the names I had given her for this manager we were picking up that I couldn’t ever remember – my continuity game was weak).

When I checked the email – slash – open my phone to the camera to record, that was where we let Emelia in on the secret. I told her there was a change in plans, that weren’t going to be staying in Toronto for the week, and unfortunately that we were doing something else. And that something else was the cruise!


Emelia’s reaction was exactly as I expected – she overwhelms easy and her curious nature leads to her wanting to know the intricate details of what is going on—even in ‘made up’ versions of what we’re doing as she is every bit the planner/organizer that Danielle is. But as I look back at the video of her reaction and her first statement “I knew you guys were lying to me” and then the subsequent controlled, organized release of realization and then excitement, it is every bit what I expected and the memory of a lifetime for us. What followed after I hit stop on the video was a million questions from Emelia working through how our version of the story didn’t work. But, for the first time in a year, we were now able to talk about the trip to Emelia!

IMG_0457And yet there was still another big surprise to come…

We made it to Florida and the hotel on Friday with little to no incident. We got situated in our room, picked up some supplies with our rental car and then got our swimsuits on with plans to hit the ocean. Little did Emelia know, there was another surprise coming her way. My cousin Bill, my Aunt Bonnie and Bill’s girls Riley & Ruby were at the patio restaurant on the way to the beach and they were all ready to let Emelia know that they too were going on the cruise with us!

IMG_0461In the hotel room I told Emelia that I found out my friend who lives in Florida just so happened to be at the hotel we were at and we were going to say a quick hello before hitting the beach. After having already started the day with a major reveal, her skeptical reaction of “are you lying to me again Daddy?” was to be expected. When we got into the restaurant and got to the table where Bonnie, Bill, Riley and Ruby were sitting, the look on Emelia’s face was priceless. And, I was finally able to assure her that was it for the surprises and (more importantly to her) the lies.

IMG_0462The girls were elated to be all together and better yet to learn they were spending a week together on a Disney Cruise Ship in the Caribbean. But the best two parts seemed to be the Aqua Duck water slide on the boat and that we had made the girls matching shirts to commemorate the cruise! We sat together at their table while they finished up there lunch and then hatched plans to go play in the ocean for the afternoon. The girls were immediately inseparable and it was awesome for Bill, Danielle, Bonnie and I to be able to just sit back and watch them build these lifelong memories – it literally was like watching the best movie ever.

IMG_0474We squeezed as much as we could out of our short stay at Cocoa Beach in that hotel right on the ocean. We had our first tastes of saltwater on the trip and got sand in our trunks. The last time we cruised we arrived late the night before, stayed at hotel in the airport and then boarded the shuttle to the cruise the next day, early. This arriving early the day before, getting to Port Canaveral right away and spending  the day on the ocean to unwind before boarding the cruise was perfect, and the only way I will ever do it again – special thanks to Danielle’s great foresight and planning!

IMG_0476The next day – Saturday – was all about packing up, and moving on as we were boarding the cruise ship. Once we had the rental car returned, boarded the customer shuttle to the port all the memories of the trip three years prior came flooding back to us. As we got up close to the ship and in through the boarding process, it was impossible for any of us to contain our excitement. And what made it even more so was on the shuttle with us was a family about to embark on their very first family Disney Cruise. There Danielle and I were with a window vision of what we must have looked like three years ago, not completely able to predict or rationalize the lifelong happy memories they were just about to create.

IMG_0482And with that, we were aboard the boat, in our cabins and ready to set sails. We dropped off bags and headed to the deck for the sailing party!


Next week: Our wonderful week on the ocean!