We’ve spent the past ten days away from North Dakota, our wintry prairie homes and away from our usual Christmas traditions. The idea to spend time away started with a quick conversation with my father-in-law, Eldon, last March during the week of his 73rd birthday.
My husband, Nathan asked if I would buy a gift for his dad for his birthday. I walked into Eldon’s office at our lumberyard and asked for gift ideas. I said if he didn’t give me a specific idea he would end up with another flannel shirt or fishing pole. He laughed and leaned back in his chair and pointed to the shoes I had already bought last winter, explaining he didn’t need any more stuff.
Rather than stuff, how about experiences? I asked. He said he had thought about where else he would like to travel and thought going on a Disney cruise with all of his family and going down the Aqua Duck water slide with his grandchildren would be pretty fun.
He laughed and I ran to Nathan’s office. Nathan’s initial reaction was his dad and he cannot both be gone from work at the same time. Ever. But with some more researching and ideas we started putting the plan in motion. We’ve cruised on Disney with our kids before but always at “off-peak” season times at much lower costs. We looked at other cruises for lesser costs but in the end came back to Disney for their Merrytime Cruise in the Western Caribbean.
By last April we had booked it. Nathan said the hardest part would be me not being with my parents and grandparents at Christmas.
He was right. Leaving North Dakota, leaving the farm and the traditions I cherish and hold onto was my challenge. And maybe getting our laundry all done to pack for a family of five for 10 days!
I am a 37 year old…for this last week at least (birthday pending) who had NEVER been anywhere else for Christmas, other than my beloved North Dakota. Maybe an occasional Christmas jaunt into Minnesota, but I am a prairie woman who likes my white Christmas routines.
But new traditions and experiences in a our short earthly life need to be grabbed and lived out. That’s what we have done for the past ten days. New experiences in new places, a long list of treasured memories and endless laughs and “if your pants aren’t tight you aren’t doing it right” we were told on the Disney Fantasy.
Truth! So many foods and rich dishes and desserts. We did walk a lot and exercise too. Hunter is a 19 year-old football player that never misses a workout! I did eat like a football player but didn’t workout as hard as one. At least probably not enough to burn off the extra donuts delivered to our room each morning, ice cream after swimming and popcorn at the Walt Disney Theatre where we watched Broadway quality shows.
I haven’t downloaded any photos from my camera yet. I posted a few on Instagram with spotty wireless throughout the week. The pictures in this post are straight off a USB from Disney and pictures from the ship. Soon I will share Caribbean photos from our excursions and stops at Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Castaway Cay.
This Pinke Christmas adventure would not have been possible without Eldon and Nathan’s hard work, a lot of plans, our employees’ willingness to keep our businesses at home going, friends caring for our homes, dogs and cats and many other details taken care of by “our tribe.” I hope when I am 73 years old I still have a tribe adventuring with me like we have together on this trip.2016 is finishing strong. We are grateful. A happy and safe New Year’s Eve to you!