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Old 12-27-2013, 10:23 PM   #46
Luv2Diz
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Enjoying your TR and photos. We did the Alaska cruise in 2012 and loved it! Fun to relive it via your TR!
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:31 PM   #47
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hi - great report - love that you have kids with a wide range of ages - i've got the same problem - with kids going to different areas -

got a question - is it relatively really cold & rainy the 1st week of september - we have july booked - but are thinking of a back to back for alaska & the california coast - but my husband is concerned about the weather -

thanks for all of your help & can't wait to read about the rest of the trip
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:40 PM   #48
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I am so enjoying your TR!

DCL Alaska 2012 was our first cruise! We loved it SO MUCH! It's fun to relive everything through your TR. (We tried out the Fantasy this August, and it was a blast as well!)
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:56 AM   #49
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Thanks for the great report, keep it coming! You are getting me excited for our July Alaska cruise!
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:47 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2Diz View Post
Enjoying your TR and photos. We did the Alaska cruise in 2012 and loved it! Fun to relive it via your TR!
Thanks! I am enjoying reliving the trip as I post as well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiddisney View Post
hi - great report - love that you have kids with a wide range of ages - i've got the same problem - with kids going to different areas -

got a question - is it relatively really cold & rainy the 1st week of september - we have july booked - but are thinking of a back to back for alaska & the california coast - but my husband is concerned about the weather -

thanks for all of your help & can't wait to read about the rest of the trip
Well, our weather was fantastic. But I know it can be hit or miss in Alaska at any time. The coldest day was Tracy Arm and it was cloudy all that day as well. But since we were on the ship it was easy to just go inside and warm up or grab some of the hot cocoa that was always available on deck.
Some excursions were cancelled in Juneau due to fog (heliocopter/plane/zipline type, all the whale watching went as planned). Ketchikan, which is one of the rainiest places in the state had the best weather, the locals couldn't believe it! It was warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky!

Honestly, the weather in Alaska is not a factor like it would be in the Caribbean. I was actually looking forward to getting a free Disney rain poncho since I heard they give them out on rainy port days, but we didn't even see more than a sprinkle the whole trip! We had a little rain on embarkation day in Vancouver in the morning but we did have our umbrellas.

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I am so enjoying your TR!

DCL Alaska 2012 was our first cruise! We loved it SO MUCH! It's fun to relive everything through your TR. (We tried out the Fantasy this August, and it was a blast as well!)
Thanks for following along! I am hoping for the Fantasy sometime in the future, although I think we will try the Magic first. I think my son would really like the new Avengers themeing!

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Thanks for the great report, keep it coming! You are getting me excited for our July Alaska cruise!
Oooh! I am jelly! I would go to Alaska again in a heartbeat! You have SO much to look forward to!!!
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:04 AM   #51
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Saturday, September 7th

The week was absolutely flying by, as I figured it would. We got everyone to the character breakfast on time and had a great time visiting with our some of our favorite friends! Sadly, this is where my moms issues started coming to a head. She had complained several times to guest services already about the jostlings she had received while getting on and off the ship. She was particularly upset by crew members pushing past her on the gangway. She was also upset that her food was not coming out with the rest of the tables and she was getting her entree when the rest of us were about ready for dessert. She starting thinking that Nick, the head waiter, was incompetent and going out of his way to make things unpleasant for her. She ordered turkey sausage with her breakfast and I suggested that maybe that might not be the best idea since sausage frequently has some sort of pepper/paprika in it. She replied that it was Nicks responsibility to find that out. Sigh. Nick brought us the side of the sausage box with the ingredient list on it, but it was for the pork sausage, not the turkey she had ordered. That took any confidence my mom might have had with Nick and the dining staff and threw it right out the window. She was so frustrated, she got up and left at this point. She also had an issue with Kadek, our beverage server. She wanted Ĺ decaf and Ĺ regular coffee each time he poured her a cup. He didnt mind, but he would always do hers last which irritated her to no end. She came back into the dining room as we were leaving and the next section's beverage server didnt see her and almost bumped into her. He actually fell down to avoid her, and she claims that he did bump her and almost caused her to fall. She was in tears at this point and headed back to guest services. They were very apologetic and arranged for her to meet with some of the officers in that evening. Meanwhile, John and the kids headed up to the arcade and sports deck where I joined them for a bit before I did some more laundry. We pulled into Ketchikan around 11am and since we didnt have any excursions planned, we sat on deck 9 and enjoyed lunch from Plutos and Goofys. John and I also had the drink of the day, the Ooh La La. It was very refreshing, similar to a mojito but with elderflower liqueur.

Andrew is not into the hat thing, but he did enjoy the characters coming by!



At least Goofy is still taller than Anabelle!



Love the hats!





This was originally John's hat, but Rebecca liked it so much she stole it from him.



So John got a new and improved hat!



You can see the table of older couples behind us. They were such good sports! They were not traveling with their families, just as sweet couples celebrating 40+ years of marriage. We enjoyed seeing them at dinner! They got the full "Injun" treatment!



Quick pic with Daisy!



Then on to the arcade to spend some more $$$$$!



Sailing past Ketchikan's airport, it is only accessible by plane or boat. No roads, guess that simplifies parking.



Andrew in a pick up game on the b-ball court. You can see how warm it was, everyone was comfortable playing in shorts.



Always time for a nap on vacation.



Nearing port and the window washing machine.

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Old 12-29-2013, 10:26 AM   #52
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We got off the ship and were just planning on walking around Ketchikan, I wanted to see the salmon ladder and the girls wanted to get the various free charms from the jewelry shops and take advantage of their last chance to shop in Alaska. The day was absolutely gorgeous! Ketchikan in in the rainforest and usually overcast and rainly. It was brilliantly sunny and 75 on our day there! The locals couldnít get over it! Anyway, we walked to the visitor center right at the dock to get a map and use the bathrooms. While we were there, my mom started talking to some of the vendors about their tours. The kids really were not interested in a tour, but my mom really wanted to go on one and we ended up going on a 2 hour bus tour that claimed we had a 90% chance of seeing bears. So, I told the kids to suck it up for the sake of family harmony and to not complain on the tour. We boarded a big greyhound type bus and proceeded to the Saxman village. We spent about 45 minutes there, enjoying the history of the totem poles. Our guide was local and very knowledgeable, but it was obvious that he was out of the habit of giving tours. (He was one of the owners of the company filling in for the regular driver).

There is an eagle nest and eagle in the tree.



The sky was so blue! So much for the rainiest town in Alaska!





This one represented a very disturbing cautionary tale for the kids. The boy went down to the shore against the wishes of his parents and proceeded to get his hand caught in a giant clam. The village heard his cries and came down to try to get him out but they couldn't so they sang laments on the shore while the tide came in and he drowned. Yikes! Kids, listen to your parents!!! Natalie insisted on having her picture taken with him.



Andrew was a bit bored by this time and began drumming incessantly.



We then drove to a river area where bears are often spotted, especially during the salmon runs. The guy selling the tour said it was "the most beautiful place in Alaska". Well it was nice, but I think he exaggerated quite a bit! Plus the buses had to park on the side of the road and you had to dodge traffic to walk down there. There were tons, and I mean TONS, of salmon but nary a bear. Since it was so hot and sunny and high tide to boot, the guide said our chance of seeing a bear was very slim. So much for our 90% chance!



Salmon, salmon, and more salmon.



Exhaustion was catching up with Natalie.



We then got dropped at Creek Street (we could have been dropped at the port as well, but chose to get off there). We browsed the stores and bought a few thank you gifts for our house and dog sitters and headed up to the salmon ladder. My mom came through the shops and headed back, there was no way she was going to be able to climb up the steps to the ladder viewing area. It wasnít a hard walk, but more than she could handle. The kids really enjoyed seeing the ladder and the salmon making their way upstream. They would cheer each time one made it. It was amazing how determined they are! They would jump, slam into the cement wall, fall back, jump, slam again, jump, and maybe, just maybe, make it through to the next level. Truly fascinating!









At the port, the NCL Sun docked shortly after we did.



We ran out of time to get closer, but Anabelle is posing across from Annabelle's Saloon.



We headed back into town and John took Natalie and Andrew back onto the ship, none of them were interested in shopping or collecting cheap charms! My mom had already headed back . We had about an hour before we needed to be back on the ship to make the ďTaste of AlaskaĒ dinner. I really wanted to try this menu, but I would have liked to have stayed in Ketichikan just a little while longer. The girls and I really wanted the 2+ hours we had spent on the tour back! It was the only time I wished we had the later seating. The line to get back on the ship was huge, we didnít have time to go back to the room before dinner so we just headed to Parrotís Cay. After our busy day, I ordered the Cranberry Cinnamon Spritzer. I really enjoyed this, so much that we have been trying to recreate it at home with some success! John was really excited to try the elk and Anthony brought him a double order. I enjoyed tasting it, but I donít usually enjoy game very much so one bite was good for me! John was very happy with it. I had the sirloin (not very Alaska-y, I know!) and it was cooked just right! By this time, Nick was hand delivering my momís meals. He wanted to be sure that she was happy, but unfortunately since he did have other duties as well, her food was not arriving at the same time as the rest of the tablesí and this really, really bothered her. She left dinner to meet with the officers. I donít remember their names, but there were at least three at the meeting. I do remember Francois, the officer in charge of all the dining. I believe the Operations manager and hospitality manager were there as well. They listened to my momís many complaints and took notes promising they would look into all of them. They also offered her a wheelchair for the remainder of the cruise, which she took them up on. After the meeting, she was somewhat mollified but still pretty upset. She headed back to the room and I headed to the theater for the ďComedy and Ventriloquism of Michael HarrisonĒ with John, Andrew, and Natalie. The girls opted to hang out in their clubs. The show was pretty funny, the kids absolutely HOWLED with laughter! Andrew could hardly breath he was laughing so hard! Michael Harrison took a volunteer from the audience and while Andrew didnít volunteer, the boy he was talking to right in front of us was chosen and that made the whole skit even funnier for Andrew! Andrew decided he wanted Harrisonís DVD for his souvenir and proudly showed off his signed copy. I took a quick turn by the DVC desk to answer the trivia question and get our goody for the day (light up bracelets?) then it was back to the room for the night. One sea day left!
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:02 PM   #53
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Sunday, September 8th

Our last full day! How was it here already? I will say that I made an effort on this trip to try to appreciate each passing moment. I knew that the time would fly by, vacations always do. And while at the end of each trip to WDW I know that we will most likely be back in a year or two at the most, I doubt I will be in Alaska again any time soon. I was up again early and headed out to enjoy a final quiet morning. I had a delicious mocha and some pastries at The Cove Cafe and enjoyed talking to some fellow early risers. Back in the room, I got Natalie ready for the big Princess Gathering! I had read that the second Gathering was usually much less crowded than the first so that was my plan from the start of the trip. I was second in line about 45 minutes before the start of the gathering. John took Andrew and Natalie to get some breakfast while I stood in line. I had a nice time chatting with the dad who was first in line. His wife was getting their girls ready.

Here they come!





The gathering was perfect, Natalie was in her Cinderella finest and Cindy was very impressed! Ariel and Tianna remembered her from the tea. Natalie had huge smiles the whole time! It was a great way to see all the princesses in one fell swoop. My pictures are dark since they are stills from the video I was taking. I didn't take into account that there would be no flash. Oh well!



The big girls were still sleeping and I knew they didnít want to sleep their last day aboard away so I woke them up so they could get going. We just relaxed until our chocolate tasting at noon.

Enjoying some of the leftovers from our room service breakfasts from the previous days! It was handy having the fridge.



My mom decided to back out of this one, she wasnít feeling well and spent much of the day in her room on the deck. The chocolate tasting was fabulous! Well worth the $30 in my opinion. Of course, I love chocolate and putting it together with ďadult beveragesĒ was perfect!



We decided we needed some real food so headed to Parrott Cay. My mom wanted to try the seafood buffet. Francois, the hospitality officer, met her there to discuss the issues she had been having with the dining team. He was very kind and actually took a custom order for her for dinner that night. He also had the chef at Parrot Cay prepare her some things for her lunch. The buffet was really good, lots of delicious seafood choices. The kids werenít as impressed and I believe they got some burgers from Plutos. We headed to the arcade for a few minutes to use up a few cards. Francois had also given the kids each an arcade card which they happily used up. We played a few games of foosball and pingpong as well.




There was a farewell dance party in the atrium with Mickey, Minnie and their pals. Natalie enjoyed it for a bit, but it was a bit crazy and loud so we ducked out after a few minutes.




John and I had our final tasting, Tequila and Margarita, at 4:00pm. The big girls were out and about with their friends. Andrew and Natalie decided to stay in the room and watch TV for a while. My mom was resting next door, so that worked out fine. Jesus was the bartender for this tasting as well (we had a different guy for the chocolate tasting) and we learned more than I thought possible about blue agave, tequila, Jalisco, and Margaritas. I am not a huge tequila fan, but I did enjoy it.



We fairly staggered out of the Cadillac lounge just in time to gather the kids and head to Tritonís for our final dinner. Dinner was tasty, but again the service just fell flat. Anthony obviously had been instructed to not bring anyoneís food until Nick brought my momís. Well, after about 20 minutes the kids were at the end of their patience.




Anthony had tried to get Nick over there several times and it just wasnít happening. I finally told Anthony to serve our food, which had been sitting at the serving station for quite a while. My mom was very upset when Nick finally brought her specially prepared Halibut (the off menu dish Francois arranged for her) half way through our meal. She was basically in tears she was so frustrated with the whole thing. They were running around trying to get the parade of flags and baked Alaska dance going as well so it was very chaotic.



Natalie was running around the table, she really needed to get out of there but I didnít want to leave my mom to eat alone. Natalie eventually fell and hit her nose on the table and much crying followed. Not the best ending to our last dinner.

Natalie and the ice they brought her for her nose.



By the time we were all finished, it was closing in on 7:15 and pin trading with the officers. Andrew ran up to the room to get his lanyards and dove in to trade. We hadnít been able to find Natalieís lanyard before we left home but one of the officers magically pulled a pin out of Natalieís ear and gave it to her. She decided to trade it for another pin and shortly thereafter had an acute case of tradersí remorse. We headed over to ďuntradeĒ with the officer but the original pin had already been re-traded. Much sobbing followed and an all out search began for the original pin. She ended up with that one and three more, officers were fairly throwing pins at her her make her happy. Several years ago, Rebecca had gotten lost at MGM (see link below for the trip report) and ended up with new pins from CMís as a result. I do not recommend either method for acquiring pins, but these methods have been very lucrative for my girls. Andrew was very interested in getting the entire DCL "secret" set and managed to get all but one. One of the CM's asked what we were looking for and had someone run down to find the one he was missing! Collection complete, he was very happy!



We caught the 8:30 show of Dreams. It was very good and Iím glad we all went, but I guess we are not ďshow tunesĒ people. The big girls headed off to their respective farewell parties in their clubs. We got a few more souvenirs and headed back to the room. I got our suitcases out in the hall and then realized I had put one of the wrong ones out. Our steward ran down the hall with me and we were able to get it back before it went down, so no debarking in our jammies for us! We headed off to our last nightís sleep at sea.

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Old 12-29-2013, 12:19 PM   #54
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Monday, September 9th

Shockingly, I was up early again! I headed out to the balcony and watched us sail back under the Lionís Gate bridge and head into dock in the predawn light.









Love the floating Chevron!



We got everyone up and dressed and actually made it to Tritonís for our farewell breakfast. We waited in the Promenade Lounge for our tag to be called, Tinkerbelle. Since we didnít have anywhere in particular to be, we waited in the lounge until the line went way down and just strolled off the ship.

Natalie and her "grandpa" for the trip, he was one of the group that sat next to us at dinner. They were from Pennsylvania and Natalie wanted a good-bye hug and picture!




My mom had to wait for them to clear the gangway so they could get a port wheelchair up to transfer her. Finally they got her off and we hopped in two cabs with the luggage to go back to the Delta Suites for one more night. We got to the hotel around 9am. We had early check-in at 10am and they thought one room would be ready so we just sat in the lobby and took advantage of the Wi-Fi. The kids were getting hungry so once we got our rooms we headed out to find something to eat. We ended up at the Smile Diner which was like a throwback to the 80ís down to the Michael Jackson and Sylvester Stallone posters on the wall.

Chillin' at the Smile!







My mom didnít like the choices on the menu after she joined us (she told us to go on ahead) so she didnít order anything. We then used our second day Big Red Bus ticket and headed to Stanley Park to explore.

Already getting ready to sail away on the repo!



The girls had about 3 hours of sleep between them on the last night!



Andrew bought a moose puppet in Gastown. He loves puppets (especially the Muppets!).




My mom took the second bus that does a 45 minute tour of the interior of the park. The kids really just wanted to walk around and explore so we played on the playground, walked down to the beach and just enjoyed the gorgeous day.

No life jackets this time!



They had so much fun just playing!






The girls had been looking forward to doing some shopping on Robson Street all week after seeing all the stores available when we drove by on the tour before the cruise. John enjoyed another bubble tea, I got a Starbucks and we let them browse. John took Natalie and Andrew back a little early while I spent a good while with the girls in Forever 21. We just walked back to the hotel since the bus would have taken us on the long portion of the loop and it was only a few blocks. My mom had already gotten back to the area around the hotel on the bus and had gone to get some sushi. We were planning on all going out for sushi that night but she had not eaten anything for lunch and had to eat something to keep her blood sugar up. I had tried multiple times to get her to eat something around lunch time but she refused saying that there were food options all over Stanley Park. Apparently not, we only saw a concession stand like place and she was on the bus the entire time anyhow. So, she did not want to go with us for dinner. We ended up going to the same sushi place that she did, Momo Sushi. It was really good but the service was not the best. The quality was great, although not really that much better than what we get here. It was WAY cheaper though!

YUM!



Don't all sushi places have a British Barbershop sign?



We were all exhausted so we headed back to the hotel and hit the sack. My mom was in full martyr mode by this time and slept on the low hidabed instead of the real bed so the girls could have the bed. They didnít want it, but she insisted and then complained the next day about how uncomfortable it was and how poorly she slept. Sigh.

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Old 12-29-2013, 12:38 PM   #55
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Tuesday, Sept. 10

We had a noon flight out of Vancouver, changing planes again in Toronto. Anabelle and I ran out to get breakfast sandwiches and coffee from a bakery down the block. My mom didnít want to eat yet due to her medications so I just carried her pastry in my backpack. We walked to the train station and were soon back at the airport. We picked up a few snacks and drinks at Starbucks. Our layover time was less this time, which I thought would be fine since we wouldn't have to go through customs until Atlanta. Well, I was wrong! We had to go through customs in Toronto and then had to hightail it to the very other end of the airport. Most of the Toronto airport is so nice and modern but we were departing from the armpit of the airport! If they didn't have continual signs telling us to keep going, I would have thought we had made a wrong turn into an old service corridor! Our flight ended up being delayed about 30 minutes which was good since it gave us time to use the facilities and get something to eat from the bagel stand. My mom showed up not too long after we did, she needed wheelchair assistance. There is no way she could have made it walking, it was SO far! We even had to go outside and used the old fashioned stairs to get on the plane! That was an issue with my mom since she was having a difficult time walking, much less going up steep stairs. But we finally got situated on the plane and headed back to Atlanta. The attendant had called early in the flight to get a wheelchair at the gate for my mom but never got a reply. I was overall very disappointed with Atlanta and their lack of service when it came to wheelchair assistance. The captain of the plane finally walked out and brought a wheelchair back for my mom and pushed her off the plane himself! Ridiculous! Then we got the luggage, hopped the shuttle from the international terminal to the domestic, got the shuttle to the hotel where the van was parked, loaded up and drove home. Needless to say, we were exhausted! But it was a fabulous trip overall and despite some bumps definitely an experience of a lifetime! Thanks for following along and I try to answer any questions anyone might have about Alaska!

Our multi-purpose captain!

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Old 12-30-2013, 02:56 AM   #56
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Thank you so much for the great trip report!

I swear, is your mom my mother-in-law reincarnated? She tried to ruin our wedding pulling the same crap your mom was pulling. That just stinks. I could go on and on, but I will send you some hugs to give you strength to deal with her.

My wife is a tough cookie, works in a jail, deals with rapists and murderers alone all day without getting a hair out of place or her blood pressure up one beat...but her mom would call her and have her in tears in ten seconds.

On to happier topics...I am very thankful that you banged out the rest of your trip report! Maybe I can take a picture at Annabelle's for your daugther?
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:31 AM   #57
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Thanks, TwinDaddy! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, my mom is a piece of work. I do love her but as a family friend once said, "she is not an easy person to love"! She actually wasn't going to come to our wedding. She ended up coming, wearing a dress she had worn to her gynecologist's son's wedding. She is smiling in none of the pictures. Guess we showed her cuz we are still happily married 23 years later! Christmas Eve is the first time my DH had seen her since the trip (she lives 15 minutes from us). I am only back talking to her somewhat regularly now. I am just glad I don't go through life so negatively! And believe me, I edited quite a bit out. I finally spoke up to her on the last night about how poorly she was treating one of my children in particular and she responded with "well, after this trip we can just cut off all contact. You never have to see me again." Yes, she really said that, but honestly it is par for the course with her! I'm sorry you have a similar issue with your MIL but it is comforting to know I am not the only one out there! Sending hugs right back to you and your DW!!! ((((hugs)))) And I'm sure Anabelle would love a picture of "her" saloon!
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:34 PM   #58
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Oh wow. Huge hugs to you. My mom made a similar scene to the ones you describe on the way to my wedding shower. It is so hard dealing with negativity. And I am truly sorry one of your little ones was treated poorly, that is what my MIL does. Your family is just precious and I appreciate your honest and down to earth report!
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:53 PM   #59
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Thanks, TwinDaddy! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, my mom is a piece of work. I do love her but as a family friend once said, "she is not an easy person to love"! She actually wasn't going to come to our wedding. She ended up coming, wearing a dress she had worn to her gynecologist's son's wedding. She is smiling in none of the pictures. Guess we showed her cuz we are still happily married 23 years later! Christmas Eve is the first time my DH had seen her since the trip (she lives 15 minutes from us). I am only back talking to her somewhat regularly now. I am just glad I don't go through life so negatively! And believe me, I edited quite a bit out. I finally spoke up to her on the last night about how poorly she was treating one of my children in particular and she responded with "well, after this trip we can just cut off all contact. You never have to see me again." Yes, she really said that, but honestly it is par for the course with her! I'm sorry you have a similar issue with your MIL but it is comforting to know I am not the only one out there! Sending hugs right back to you and your DW!!! ((((hugs)))) And I'm sure Anabelle would love a picture of "her" saloon!

Wow, my MIL and your mom are seriously the same person! She would say the same thing your mom did!

After our wedding, she said she was going to sue the wedding venue because she fell on the walkway and laid there for 30 minutes and no one helped her. This was the walkway to the bathroom, right next to the patio where we were having the reception. We would have noticed and heard her. I told her I would testify for the venue and make sure they gave her nothing, as I knew all her dirty secrets. She backed down.

At the wedding, we put disposable cameras on the tables for guests to take pictures and turn in afterwards. One was missing. When she passed away I found the pictures from that camera in her apartment. She would do the emotional blackmail "cut off all contact" thing all the time.

I heard a great quote once...you get two chances to have a mother daughter relationship. The first one failed, set that aside and make the best of your second chance.

You are not alone in your struggles, believe me!

Thank you so much for all the work you put into your trip report, I am only 189 days away!!! When we are in Ketchikan I will see if we have time to find Annabelle's!
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Old 12-31-2013, 06:38 AM   #60
nancipants
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Thanks so much for your trip report! I'm sorry you had a rough go with your mom. Traveling with parents can be really fun or really bad. Glad you had a good time beside that, though!
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