Friday, January 3, 2014

Keeping My Eyes on the Horizon

I talked about cruises for a long time. I hinted, cajoled, teased, pleaded. To no avail. So, I eventually went on my first cruise without my sweet hubby. I went with my mom and my oldest sister in 2006. And it was actually a scrapbooking cruise. There were some hiccups, but overall, I loved it. I then knew it was only a matter of time before hubby was going to say yes. By Captain Hook or by crook. 

I finally discovered the missing link. Disney! I knew he would not be able to resist a Disney cruise. I was right! We took our first Disney cruise in 2008, a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas. We four immediately fell in love with all floating things a la Disney. So, naturally, we cruised again in 2009, going this time for 7 days. There was just too much goodness on that ship to explore and take in and enjoy over a mere 5 days. 

Admittedly, in retrospect, back-to-back was probably not ideal, but like I said, we fell in love. And we're never great at deferred gratification. Consequently, after cruise number two, the boys were ready to go back and do "some cities", so in 2010 and 2011, we did San Francisco and New York, respectively. But, as our twenty-fifth anniversary approached, my eye was back on the horizon. That beautiful line where the sky meets the ocean and all is calm.

We had always talked about going to Europe for our twenty-fifth, but as it approached, it just did not seem feasible given us working around the boys going to England on a student ministry mission trip. So, enter Plan B: a Disney cruise to Alaska. It seemed like a foreign country, right? And it would get me back on that beloved Magic. So, how does one have a "romantic anniversary cruise" with two teenagers aboard? Enter Uncle Mark.  We booked two cabins and the three single guys were together in one, we were in the other and odd we headed into the setting sun on our Alaskan adventure.

It was a grand experience, it truly was. I'll remember it all of my life. And if I forget, I have 1,118 photos to jog my memory! It was just the perfect way to get a glimpse into the many beautiful parts of Alaska, and whet our appetite to all desire to someday return. {The youngest son asked before a year was up if we could go back!} And there was no dull moment to the trip. Every moment there was something to see, because even when you were on the boat, you were whale watching, or taking in the glaciers. Truly a stunning glimpse into creation.

There was one really funny, okay ironic, moment. Disney always does a PIRATE night on their cruises. It's usually your 3rd or 5th night at sea, following your first 1 or 2 nights at sea and your first formal night. It's a clever way for them to push the Pirates of the Caribbean hook, if you will, and you get to see pirate Minnie and Mickey. Peter Pan and even Captain Hook show up. And if you're actually cruising in the Caribbean, you might even spy Captain Jack Sparrow. 

The pirate night has a special menu and everyone gets scarves to wear on their head and the photographers troll around to catch your pirate faces, After dinner, there is a show up on deck 9 that involves a zip line and a duel between Mickey and Captain Hook. Mickey always prevails. You know, good over evil. And rum punch is served and at the end of the duel, fireworks light up the sky. It's always really amazing to see the fireworks over the ocean.

Now, I've never seen fireworks that rival Disney. And we've been on cruises where other cruise lines tail the Disney ships on firework night, so their guests get a free viewing. It's just one of Disney's iconic things. And at this point, I should interject that our anniversary is actually ON July 4. Yes, July 4. So many firecracker jokes over the years, and understandably so. We've literally had fireworks on every anniversary we've ever had. So, who better to set off our twenty-fifth anniversary firework show than Pirate Mickey himself?

Well, anyone reading this that has ever been to Alaska knows where I'm headed. Apparently, unbeknownst to us until July 4, 2012, Alaska is an entire natural preserve. And, you guessed it. Fireworks are prohibited on the inside passage. {And maybe everywhere. Who knows?} I only know that on our silver mega anniversary, our giant celebration of all things July fourth-ish, we spent our twenty-fifth anniversary firework free. It was really so funny that we had planned on having such a grand fireworks show...and the only fireworks we saw that night were pictures on the dinner menu and the backdrop screen of the family photo op!

It was funny, to be sure. Like any good character, we followed the age-old "the show must go on" adage and went with it. We loved pirate night all the same. And of course, even without fireworks, it was my favorite pirate night thus far of all our cruises. We all wore the silly scarves and even stumbled upon Pirate Minnie for an impromptu photo op. And we had our photos made in front of the photo op backdrop with the fake fireworks going off behind us.

As the boys get older, they are so much more fun than I ever imagined. They are funny, they are fun, they make me laugh. They are the best of us. And I wanted to capture just a little bit of that fun, silly nature that runs through all of our hearts. That silliness that let us all don scarves and make pirate faces and become excited over Pirate Minnie. If only we were in fact able to sail the ocean all the day long. Oh, that would be a little bit of heaven to me. I can just hear Captain Jack leading, "Yo, ho, yo, ho, a pirate's life me!" and I would be there by his side, singing right along with him. 

Yo Ho, Yo, Ho, A Pirate's Life for Us! ~ Alaska Disney Cruise ~ July 2012

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Fancy Pants
Title: Silhouette Cut File 9329


  1. Love your writing and such a beautiful layout ! You're so talented for choosing colors that compliment your photos.

  2. I am so glad you shared your blog with us! Your layouts are lovely...

  3. GORGEOUS Penny, just simply gorgeous. Love the color scheme and how you incorporated the theme thru it all. I really enjoyed reading the story behind it all. Just wonderful. I hope you copy your blog post and include with the layout. What a great addition. And you can also download your blog entries and make into book form- Laura Vegas does it all the time. What another great 'scrapbook' to have as each year ends. Thanks for sharing your time and talent for us all to enjoy- HUGS!!!!! ~ Janet

  4. I really enjoy your stories and I am so glad there is now one easy click to get inspired by your beautiful layouts.

  5. Gorgeous paper for a Disney (and pirate) themed layout. Love the story - Happy Anniversary! What a perfect way to spend a 25th anniversary - doing something you love with your Beloved,, and also those amazing kid's that God has blessed you with - so much to celebrate! Love it!