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Old 06-17-2013, 04:40 PM   #46
Kirbo
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Your description of sleezy-guy

Baby Ems

Can't wait for more. Loving the recap and pictures.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:43 PM   #47
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Your description of sleezy-guy

Baby Ems

Can't wait for more. Loving the recap and pictures.
You know what was weird, Ems was the only person to get car sick. I was so surprised because I thought babies don't get car sick. Oh well, maybe she knew Mama was mad at Sleazy Guy
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:45 PM   #48
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Day 14 -- Our Last Sea Day & Scrambling to Finish Our FE Gifts

I have a confession to make. I woke up super grumpy this day. Not only because we had a million loads of laundry to do today (DH was in charge of it, and he was telling me about the laundry room gossip amongst the ladies), but because I had to pack 4 suitcases, 2 backpacks, 1 diaper bag, organize them appropriately for the next leg of our journey, FINISH our FE gifts (that's right), and basically get us ready to get off the Ship by the 6:30 show since I wanted our suitcases out before dinnertime.

Unlike usual, we had not done any tastings, any seminars nor any demos the entire week. I was so sad. No time at all.

DH took the girls to do a few last minute character photo ops (Daisy and Princess Minnie). I stayed in the cabin and tried to pack our lives into tiny suitcases.





At lunch, we met up with the family and I (gasp) made our FE Gifts during lunch. That's right, I made them on the last day. Sue me. But it took DD and I over 4 months to gather everything! We worked really really hard on them. Back in 2012, DD was changing preschools and she had a really hard time adjusting and making new friends. We took a socialization "class" organized by our school district. The teacher encouraged us to find an activity that would help DD overcome her shyness. Since we are Disneyland AP holders, we took up pin trading.

I am SO proud of my daughter. Every single pin that we gave away as an FE Gift was a pin that she personally traded at Disneyland. We gave away 40 pins, to 20 cabins. It took us over 4 months to trade 40 pins, and countless trips to Disneyland (Oh, the sacrifices we make for our children hehe). Of course we had tons of fun doing it, and she was enormously proud of herself. I never meant to delay putting our FE giffs together until the last minute, but it just seemed I never had the time. Before we left home, I printed out Pin Backings on DCL logo. Each stateroom who had a child in it also received a Carsland button according to his or her gender. The Carsland buttons were given to us by some kind CMs at the Cozy Cone Motel while we got churro bites. They were excited for us about our gift exchange. Our gifts looked like this:









DD had a great time passing them out.

We actually had enough Carsland buttons to give to each adult in the cabins, but DH got confused and didn't drop them in the gift bags. We ran out of time so the FE gifts were left as is.

Attending the last show (Dreams) was bittersweet. Dinner was fun, but a big farewell for those within our family as well since PB&J were going home after the cruise. They hadn't seen my aunt in a year and wouldn't see her for another year. Tears all around. The lobster was tougher than usual (oh well), but the party was super fun. Baby Ems had a great time. Our dining team sang Happy Birthday to DD, but she was too shy and didn't enjoy it. We lingered over dinner and missed the See Ya Real Soon party....went to Shutters and laughed at some of our pics then went to bed.




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Old 06-17-2013, 08:45 PM   #49
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Yuck to Sleazy Naples guy! I'm sad you missed Positano and Sorrento...they are gorgeous too. Now you have to go back! Good for Baby Ems for barfing...although you should have aimed her at SNG!


Baby Pirate Ems is a doll! So cute!

So glad your DD#1 got into pintrading and had so much fun passing out the pins. Those were awesome FE gifts and a great idea!

Boo for laundry and going home!

Jill in CO
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:25 PM   #50
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Good for Baby Ems for barfing...although you should have aimed her at SNG!
I was thinking the same thing when it happened!
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:31 PM   #51
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Baby Ems is a smart cookie
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:35 PM   #52
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Baby Ems is a smart cookie
Haha, thanks. Sometimes I think she's Stewie (the baby) from the Family Guy. She's secretly smarter than all of us.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:37 PM   #53
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Day 15 -- Disembarkation, Parc Guell & More Yummy Tapas in Barcelona

On disembarkation day, our habit is to grab a tray from the buffet and we snack while we pack. We did the same for this trip. Here's what we had.



Surprisingly, we were all ready to go by 7:45 a.m. DD was still sleeping but Baby Ems was up. We took her upstairs for a quick 10-minute photo op on Deck 10 since she's never had any pictures taken up there. It was starting to rain and you could see the storm a-brewin'.

For anyone who is curious, disembarkation was a breeze. We met up with the family at 8:10 am, and simply walked off the ship by 8:20 am. Our luggage was waiting for us and we tipped a handler 10 Euro for all of our stuff. He rolled it about 30 seconds to the curb and Barcelona Day Tours was already there waiting (10 minutes earlier than our scheduled time, I might add). Great service by BDT.

The van was clean, our driver was a polite younger guy who spoke great English. The plan was to go up to MontSerrat, visit for 1.5 hours, then get dropped off at the EasyJet terminal for our flight to Paris. We started the drive up the freeway and it was raining slightly. By the time we got close enough to see the mountain, the rain was coming down in pellets. It was starting to get pretty dangerous on the road. Visibility was low, and it was obvious that the weather was worse on top of the mountain. After discussing alternatives with our driver, he dropped us off at Parc Guell and gave us 20-25 minutes to walk down the hill. It was a fast visit, but we still got a lot of photos in:















When we got to our van at the end of the Park, the rain started coming down pretty hard. We jumped in the van and pondered what to do. City tour? Can't really see out the window. Marina? Obviously not. Um.....well we like to eat!! The driver and I consulted on a restaurant I had read about, he made a call to make sure they were open, and off we went to Cerverseria Catalana. Yummers. We ran in to dodge the rain (it was seriously pouring) and feasted:













The rain stopped when we got dropped off at the airport early, and we checked in for our flight to Paris. A 2.5 hour delay later, we made it to the land of Gaspard & Lisa (this was DD's dream come true).

For that night's dinner, we majorly failed. DCL spoiled us so much that we temporarily forgot how to find a real dinner restaurant. We were staying in a very non-touristy neighborhood near Montparnasse and for some reason kept going in circles trying to find a place to eat. We ended up at a Japanese restaurant. Ewh. The udon was awful, the rice was awful, and beef had sugar in it. It was a mess. Dang it DCL---stop spoiling us to the point where we don't know where to eat for dinner! Where are my servers? Where were Inyo and Jonathan? Where was my 3rd appetizer? Where's my 2nd entree? What happened to my Mickey Bar? We talked about our dining team all during dinner, ate our fake yucky udon then called it a night.

Let's end it on a bright note. Here's the Eiffel Tower.


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Old 06-17-2013, 09:41 PM   #54
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Your last day in Barcelona sounds like my first day...rain! Ah Paris, I miss Paris. LOL on not being able to find dinner...I have a hard time adjusting to actually having to pay!

Jill in CO
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:50 PM   #55
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Your last day in Barcelona sounds like my first day...rain! Ah Paris, I miss Paris. LOL on not being able to find dinner...I have a hard time adjusting to actually having to pay!

Jill in CO
Oh I know! The prices It was 9.50 Euro for a plain udon and 13 Euro for my beef bowl, which was basically like Yoshinoya or Panda Express at home. I asked DH not to show me the bill at the end of the meal.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:56 PM   #56
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Days 16, 17 & 18 -- Following in Gaspard & Lisa's Footsteps: Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower & Notre Dame

Day 16 (Versailles & Arc de Triomphe)
DH and I were very excited to share Paris with our DDs because this is where we got engaged. A million years ago, DH proposed at Gerard Mulot by asking them to write the proposal on a cake. It's a whole other story for another time.

I know this part of my TR isn't purely Disney related, but in a way it was made possible (and interesting to my 4YO DD) due to Disney-ish things. We sparked DD's interest in travel to Europe by letting her watch shows/movies such as Gaspard & Lisa, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins and Beauty & the Beast. When watching these shows, we tried to find a landmark that was recognizable so that she'd feel more involved when we went sightseeing.

I also let her do silly things like, scream "Baileywick!" when we were in the Palace of Versailles. Versailles was the first place we went on our "2nd" day in Paris.





We visited the Gardens of Versailles, where I convinced her that she could chase butterflies like Sofia. When the butterflies were nowhere to be found...we decided they were still sleeping. DD looking for butterflies:



After Versailles, we went to the Champs Elysee for DD's first glimpse of the Arc de Triomphe. She was genuinely excited about seeing this, since she's seen in on the show Gaspard & Lisa. I made her scream "Triumph" (like they do on the show) at the Arc. Yes, I'm a nut. But I like to get my kids involved. She doesn't understand embarrassment yet so I still have years to go on that end. Here's a rainy shot.



We hopped into the Disney Store for shopping break, then called it a night.





Day 17 (St Chappelle, Eiffel Tower & Notre Dame)

St Chappelle is a beautiful little church with 360 degrees of beautiful stained-glass windows. There is a stone spiral staircase that leads you from the chapel downstairs to the 2nd story upstairs. It's breathtaking when you finally see the entire church covered in stained-glass. DD loved it since it reminded her of the glass from Beauty & the Beast. It also helps that there were castle motifs actually on the columns. She said it looked like Sleeping Beauty's castle.







We did the HOHO Tour (boring), but it brought us to DD's obsession: the Eiffel Tower. Poor thing. She's been screaming "Eiffel Tower!"at every electrical pole, light tower and freeway off-ramp we've passed by for a year now. She was ecstatic to see the real thing.



DH took my aunt to the airport after our HOHO tour ended. We said teary goodbyes and rested at the hotel. At night, we walked to the Notre Dame and saw an amazing street performance--a fire show. I can't really describe it. It was kind of like fire burning at the end of strings and people swinging it back and forth. The man put fireworks powder all over the floor and ignited it, with fireworks going off around him. Great way to cap off our night.

Macarons near Notre Dame:




Day 18 (Louvre, Shopping & Goodbye)

Since the Louvre was closed today, we thought it'd be a good idea to let the kids run that area around to take pictures.



We spent a nice afternoon here and then headed to Galleries LaFayette for some gift shopping. Picked up 3 boxes of Macarons from Pierre Herme. YUM.

Pics of Baby Ems with the Eiffel Tower in the background from LaFayette Cafe:



We were all too tired to eat out, so we bought take-away and ate in the hotel room. DD, Baby Ems and I watched the Hunchback of Notre Dame, "Cendrillion 3" and Lilo & Stitch (all in French) on Disney Channel. Couldn't understand a word. DD giggled when they sang songs which were familiar to her in French. Very amusing. This was our last night....good bye Paris!!



Up next -- Home Again and Some Thoughts

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Old 06-17-2013, 10:48 PM   #57
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Love, love, love that first picture of the Eiffel Tower!
All your photos are lovely.

That rain in Barcelona was something else!

I really enjoyed your TR and photos. Thank you.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:56 PM   #58
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Love, love, love that first picture of the Eiffel Tower!
All your photos are lovely.

That rain in Barcelona was something else!

I really enjoyed your TR and photos. Thank you.
Thanks for following along. It's been fun to re-live the trip and to piece together the pictures.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:02 PM   #59
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Home Again, and Some Thoughts

Writing this trip report made me fully realize that I am blessed with kids (and family) who love to travel. Traveling brings such joy to my family that it is truly a part of our lives.

On each and every trip, I sit there and marvel at how lucky I am to be there, no matter the circumstance. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have. On this particular trip, my resolve was tested as I was challenged with physical issues. For anyone who has had any kind of chronic pain, the physical issues eventually turn into emotional ones. The very idea of this trip carried me through some low days that I've had this year. Being on this trip helped me realize that I could accomplish more than I thought.

While there were bumps along the way, the only thing I would have done differently is more planning. If I had more time, I would have planned more. If I had more time, I would have done more. On the days where we had no planning done, we were less prepared and had less opportunities.

Of course there are exceptions. Portofino was a lovely surprise.

As always, I would like to leave things on a positive note. So here again is my favorite picture of the entire trip. The colors, light and life in this photograph represent everything this trip was to me, and everything I hope for in the days to come. Thanks for following along.

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Old 06-18-2013, 01:06 AM   #60
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Thank you so much for this wonderful report! I am sure I am not alone when I ask that you let us know from time to time how you are getting on with your 'mesh'. I for one hope that you soon find yourself free from the chronic pain.
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