Thursday, March 28, 2013


Thank you to my loyal blog readers out there that have pushed me to get off my tookis and write again.  There are so many wonderful things to share lately, life is just pushing us through, taking us on this wild crazy journey and that include selling our house in the blink of an eye.  The universe is awesome like that.  A sweet friend mentioned to one of her friends that we were going to be listing our home and what do you know, two showings later, paperwork signed, inspection done and closing date on the calendar, wham!  The best part is, they are amazing people, in fact, I am sad not to be their new neighbors!!!  But we are glad that our home that has meant so much to us and housed all of the memories of our sweet babies is going to an awesome family that can keep the love alive.  And it's just nice doing business with nice people!

 Our trip started off a little bumpy with a cab not showing up to pick us up and requiring us to pay for parking at the airport and long lines since the hubs lost his amazing status on the airlines, one of the few perks I miss due to him no longer traveling that much.  But, off we were and a smooth perfect flight, we landed in Miami and the kids were most excited to go in a cab, their first ride in one, you'd think that little old yellow car was a limo with free suckers for how pumped they were.  Graham said, "wow I haven't seen grass in a long time!" I still get a kick out of that kid daily!  It's honestly the best part about traveling with little ones, the joy they find in barf bags that they can decorate with crayons and intently reading the instruction manual on the flight.  They remind you how much wonder is in the world if you take time and slow down, and I needed that.

 We got in line for registering for our room and getting on the ship, they were oohing and aaaahhing over every part, their minds spinning of what was next.  Some common phrases, "The ship is sooooo huge."  "Where does the captain sleep?"  "Our room is really small?"  "How do you flush the toilet?"  With about an hour before our room was ready, the kids instantly changed into their swimsuits- yes pack them, the pool will never be that empty again...I mean ever.  Down the slide they went, 70 degree weather didn't bother their little albino bodies, they sucked up that sun and fun. 

 The night brought us to our dining room and this is where Disney lost me.  It was loud, chaotic, and the wait staff seemed way over worked.  Our drinks took 40 minutes and for those of you that have cruised before, you know that is UNHEARD of.  Typically you are annoyed with how much attention they pay you, in this case, our kids were bouncing off of walls despite the crayons and coloring sheets, 40 minutes for food of any kind or drinks on a cruise is completely unacceptable and startling.  We made the best of the 2 year old at the table next to us screaming and throwing tantrums almost the entire evening, and when she wasn't there was another near by that was.  There were 1000 kids on board, yes, 1,000.  Our kids are rather quiet and polite and know when we are eating at a restaurant how to behave themselves, I can't say this for many of the other kids.  It wasn't all bad, they made Mickey heads out of the ketchup and had a menu geared for kids so they didn't have to have scallops and beef tartare.  But, our staff interacted with the kids very little, which again, we were not used to based on previous cruises.  We did see some characters walking around the first day, but the rest of the trip there were set times to see them and that was about it.  We thought that kind of stunk, as Jeremy said, put a guy in a costume and let him walk around as Mickey  Our kids really expected to see them more as did we.  

key west a crazy fun stop

fun purse from the Bahamas flea market, the kids had a great time negotiating their prices

Our room was a balcony and on the higher end, and one of the smallest rooms we have had.  I know I sound like this is awful, but honestly, it was kind of that disappointing from an adults perspective.  The pools were sooooooo overcrowded, I can't believe our kids went in them, about 50-75 kids screaming and jumping and insanity.  But, again, Graham and Audrey loved it.  They also loved the shows and so did we.  It made for a long day/night, as they didn't start until 830 since our dinner didn't get done until around 730, so they went to bed around 10 every night and if they were younger, I think that would be tough, as evidenced by all the people forcing their 18 month old's to sit in a dark theater and "try" to stop crying!  Are you getting the drift that there was a LOT of screaming, whining, kids around??? One night Audrey decided she wanted to check out the clubhouse during our dinner time and have dinner and play there, Graham agreed, so we dropped them off and said if they were bored or didn't like us, to call us.  They have these cool wave phones that look like cell phones and you can text people using their room numbers or each parent as there are two in each room.  We didn't get a call, so I went back to check on them and they were coloring and basically to me it appeared to be a day care.  I thought it would involve more characters, entertainment, fun crafts, etc.  But, not so much.  That was the only time they were there.   They said they asked to call us back but we never came.  Apparently because they weren't crying they didn't want to bug us, that annoyed me because I specifically said to call if they wanted us.  Not a huge deal, but just added to my frustration with this cruise. 

 Pirate night came and Graham was elated to dress up as was Audrey, she kept asking why they didn't have a princess night and I kind of agreed.  They got their Autograph book signed by captain hook and Mickey and were so pumped.    The dining room was fun and full of life and we got to dance all around and limbo, well Audrey and I did, the boys chickened out.  The fireworks were at 1030 and Graham and Audrey were too tired to stay awake for them, but still a cool feature!

We met the princesses and other characters at a variety of places and got their autographs and the kids definitely felt this was the best part, it involved some waiting but not too bad if you planned it right.  They only allowed the characters to be out for 20 minutes so you had to line up fast, after about 50 people they stop the line.  They let you take your own pictures with the characters which I thought was really nice, or you could buy their photo. 

 I could go on and on about the rest, but really, the best part was how much fun the kids had.  Is it worth it to do a Disney Cruise, I say yes and for no more than 4 days, I can't imagine that chaos for 7 days.  I will say, it may have been that we went during mid march spring break and maybe it'd be better in January, although our weather was not warm, so I think that may be risky.  Either way we are glad for the kids and the memories we made.  And we were especially elated to have my dad waiting in Miami to drive us to Naples where we got to spend a few days relaxing.  Having nice dinners alone and the kids were fish in the pool. We tried to go the beach, but the weather was not cooperating, so we hung at the house, played hours of war, and it was a lot more like our vacation a year before.  Where we loved, hugged, laughed, giggled and appreciated moments together more than a big, grand, to do. 

Combo of margaritas and small children....wiped the old man out :)

yes graham wore his life jacket upside down- don't ask!

Jeremy and I took in a preseason game for the twins in amazing seats, it was awesome, so were my nachos (what can I say that's my favorite part!)

All in all it was a great time.  What I learned was, our kids last year didn't make nearly a whiny peep and on the cruise they were raging, greedy maniacs.  Ok, ok, not that bad, but really, it did bring out the worst in them.  I talked to my wise aunt upon return and she said she doesn't like Disney for that reason, it's so indulgent and I felt very much the same way.  It turned my thoughtful, loving kiddos into saying, "I want..." about 100 more times.  I think they just get so filled with more and more and more fun that it's not so great.  Yes they had fun and yes they had smiles ear to ear.  And yes they didn't want to leave that ship, but honestly, they had a lot of fun and smiles hanging at a house with a pool in the warm weather and getting ice cream and playing cards.  All in moderation, the key to all of life's big questions, balance. 

Coming home, well, that was bittersweet.  I missed the smell and cuddles of our babies, yes.  But, the appointments, sickness, bottles and diapers, not so much.  I tried to tell myself if they were typical I would have felt the same heaviness landing in MN that day.  I am not sure.  There is something about the weight of having special needs children that you don't realize you carry until you are reprieved in some way.  It was glorious to be with our typical big kids that can do for themselves and communicate and you can just enjoy them.  It pains me to write the truth that it was hard to come home.  I feel such guilt about that.  Like "wow, I must be some lousy mama to want more time away", but it's true.  I did.  I am hoping that isn't always the case, that eventually, the stares of people when your kid has braces on their feet or questions about how old your almost 9 month old baby is, when he is only 12 pounds and looks like 3 months, it's not easy or simple.  It gets exhausting and you appreciate a life that is simplified to "normal" for a bit.  It felt good to be "normal."  I know that our new normal will set in and soon enough those reprieves won't be as needed or guilt ridden.  But, for now, we are grateful for amazing family that helps us find those times with our eldest two, it's essential for them too.

We only got one pic of the four of us, and I deleted it.  It's not whole, there's a gaping absence of two babies and one day when they are with us in that wonderland we will take them then.  Despite the difficult times and stress numerous diagnosis' has on our daily life, they belong with us and are a part of what makes us the Robbins Family.  

This video was taken the day before we left, I think I watched it 100 times while we were gone.  I especially love his chubby little fingers signing stand up.  So proud of our boy and the strides he is making and did I mention he's the cutest thing ever?