Happy New Year fellow Disney lovers! I hope you all had a magical holiday season. With my house finally back in order and today's wind chill expected to reach a blustery -25 degrees , I thought it would be the perfect time to snuggle under a blanket and reminisce about my latest exploit through the Panama Canal. For those of you who've read my previous trip reports, you may be thinking, another trip though the canal? Didn't she just go in August 2016 and April 2017? You would be correct. So, what led me to take this rather spontaneous trip? I blame it on a smidgeon of insanity, an extremely generous husband, and a touch of Disney magic. Without going into too many details, let me just say that 2016 and 2017 were difficult years for my family. I lost my father in March of 2016, my closest uncle in November of 2016, and my mother in December of 2016. As an emotional traveler, Disney is my go-to refuge. This trip, however, was only partially inspired by grief. Prior to my parents' deaths, due them suffering both physical and mental health problems, I had cared for them in one capacity or another for 22 years. Basically, I became their parent when I was barely a legal adult myself. While my next statement may sound insensitive to some of you, those of you who have been caregivers know that the loss of those you cared for not only brings with it immense sadness, but also a sense of relief. As if a great weight has been lifted not only from your loved ones, both living and gone, but also from yourself. When I returned home after my cruise in May, I was inspired to begin to take better care of myself. I changed my diet and increased my exercise routine. While I had done this countless times in the last several years, I'd had little success. However, with my stress level dramatically lower than it had been while caring for my parents, the excess weight I'd been carrying began to melt off. My husband, James, and I had made a deal that we would not cruise again until we'd both lost at least 25 lbs. The plan was to have the weight off by the April 2018 WBPC cruise we already had booked. Needless to say, that while James' motivation petered out after awhile, mine remained strong. By August 1st, I'd already reached my initial 25 lb. goal. It was then that DCL released some previously sold-out cabins for the October 27, 2017 EBPC cruise. When I initially mentioned the openings to James, I'd been joking about trying to go. Besides, he didn't have enough vacation days left to take such a trip, and the rather exorbitant cruise fare would have to be paid in full at the time of booking, and I assumed there was no way we could come up with the money. Let alone, we'd already taken two Panama Canal cruises in the past year! However, once I'd slept on it, the idea of going continued to blossom. Why not? I'd met my weight goal as we'd agreed. James thought I was insane. He said we could never afford it. With a bit of finagling that didn't involve our retirement savings suffering or us going into debt, I discovered that we could make it happen. James continued to remain skeptical. That was when I broke out the big guns. I recruited our children, Jimmy (13) and Emily (10). Industrious little homeschoolers that they are, they created a power point presentation and presented it to their father on why we should take this cruise. James finally gave in. Long story, short. James was unable to get the extra vacation days that would allow him to accompany the kids and I on this cruise, but allowed us to go without him. Am I married to an amazing man or what? So, on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, super excited and me another 11 lbs lighter , Jimmy, Emily, and I began our 3rd Panama Canal adventure! Up Next... Up, Up, and Away!