Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A little get away

Since we opted to not travel for a chunk of summer and recognized that we wouldn't be able to last until our trip in May, we decided to do a cruise with the kids as a stop gap.  Scott and I had gone on a cruise once before that I gave him for his 40th birthday (before we were married).  While the two of us had a great time on that trip many moons ago, we found the food and atmosphere on the boat to be lacking.  So this time, we decided to try taking the kids on a little nicer cruise line with some better stops.

We left on Sunday last weekend, spent a couple of days traveling on the sea, stopped at Roatan (Honduras), Belize, and then Cozumel.  The weather wasn't too cooperative for the kids to spend a great deal of time in the pool on the boat, but that was just fine by me.  There was ice skating, rock wall climbing, arcades, kids clubs, and countless other things to do on the boat.  In Roatan, since we hadn't scheduled any excursions, we talked to some of the locals near the pier and ended up on a secluded white sand beach.  It rained a little bit of the time, but Scott and I sat at the beach side restaurant with cover, while the kids played until they could hardly walk in the sand and water and rain.
In Belize, because of the all the rain they had received the several days before our arrival , the cave tubing we had scheduled was canceled.  So instead, we decided to go to another local beach.  The kids played on the 90' slide and the rope swing for hours.  While I thought I was watching them have fun, what I was evidently doing was serving as meals for hundreds of sand flies.  I found out in the middle of the night that night.  To say that my legs and arms itch is an understatement similar to saying it is sprinkling in the middle of a hurricane.  Had I been around anyone with smallpox, I would have been certain that I had contracted it. Fortunately, the swelling has gone down now (5 days later), but now my legs look like I have track marks from drug use.  Highly attractive.  No.  Really.

Cozumel was another beach day, but (aside from the itching) it was better with weather.  The upside about the cruise was that it allowed us to see some new sites and also experience a little of two new countries.  Royal Caribben offered in-room babysitting, so Scott and I had opportunities to go out a few nights.  Our babysitters were awesome.  They come as a two-fer and the kids really liked them both.  The man was from Croatia and the woman was Russian.  It was interesting hearing their stories and the "happenings" behind the scenes on the cruise boat.
We spent a fair amount of the mornings on the boat doing schoolwork.  Keali was "skipping" school and Caden was just required to do his bare minimum of schooling there.  It was amazing how many people inquired if the kids were skipping school and how "lucky they were that their parents didn't think they needed to be in school".  At first I acknowledged their comments and assured them that the kids were doing their work on the ship, but by the end of the trip, I'm sure my responses were a little more snarky.  It is interesting to me that one of the big objections of non-homeschoolers is that the kids don't get proper socialization.  When people who went to traditional school ask me about socialization or our private business as it relates to schooling, I really do want to point out how badly their own "social" skills are that they acquired in traditional school.  So far, I have minded my manners. I will hope that continues. Anyway, the whole trip was a learning experience. In addition to new countries and new surroundings, the kids experienced new things. We all were treated to an ice skating show (on the boat!) and the kids experienced ice skating for the first time since living in Amsterdam.

Scott was able to secure a tour of the bridge of the ship for the kids. They learned so much that when they came back from the tour, they were overflowing with facts about the ship.  Overall, it turned out to be a great get away.  Now the countdown starts for the big trip in May!

Honorable mention pics:

A pic to prove that I was there, just usually behind the camera. By the way, the ship in the background is a Carnival Cruise ship that was usually within line of vision from somewhere on the ship throughout the week. 

Keali tackling the very tough rock wall on the ship...

Someone being very enchanted by the ice skating show.

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