Okay, it will be a WHOLE LOTTA SUNSHINE in the wintertime - on my cruise! I just finished booking a winter vacation for James and I this coming January.
This is a big deal for me on many fronts.
First of all, going away, period. During the summer my parents offered to stay and watch the boys for a week in January if James and I wanted to get away. Done deal, right? Wrong. Benjamin will barely be a year old, and I just wasn't sure I could leave him. Plus I really wanted to continue nursing, which might be difficult after a week away. And even if he still wants to nurse, the added "feminine" benefit of nursing will likely end as a result of being away for that long. So what changed? Well, Benjamin is still nursing at 8pm, 11pm, 1am, 3am, 5am, and 8am, and then throughout the day. The daytime I don't mind so much. The nighttime is killing me. I haven't slept more than 2 hours in a row in almost 2 years, and even then I only had a couple months of sleep between my pregnancy with Benjamin and having gone through all this with Caleb. All told, it's been 4 years since I really had a run of good sleep. I need some time away.
Second, I hate booking vacations. Strange, I know, since most people get really excited about it. But I get online and start surfing around and am inundated with a billion websites and cruise ships and ports and locations and prices and flights and hotels and...and...and... after 30 minutes I generally throw my hands up in the air and declare "I'm not going!" An all-inclusive vacation is slightly easier, because at least it's a one-stop shop. Getting the best deal on a cruise involves booking everything separately, which only causes more stress. Right up until last night I had simply told James "You research and book it, just hand me a ticket and tell me when to pack my bags." Thankfully, a good friend with plenty of experience pointed us in a couple directions which made the decisions obvious and easy. Once we were able to narrow things down, the vacation came together amazingly.
Third, I've never been on a cruise. I've traveled lots, and have no problem hopping on a plane and landing in a foreign country with little pre-planning. I like to go with the flow on vacation. But having never cruised before, I felt like I couldn't make the best decisions for myself relying solely on the experience of others. My preferred level of activity, interest in daily excursions and size of my wallet are all vastly different than those friends and family who have "gone before" on a cruise. So this involved a huge leap of faith for such a large amount of money.
In the end, it all worked out. We even scored free flights using points James collected, which cut the cost of the trip by 1/3, and gave us the ability to fly out of Toronto instead of Buffalo (usually cheaper) and fly direct instead of making connections (and worrying about getting to the port on time!). So, come January, we'll be off to the seas of the Caribbean!