Every other year or so, someone asks us to speak on a cruise. Instead of requiring a normal speaking fee, we bring some children along. It makes for an exciting adventure! Several years ago we took all of our sons (except for Talmadge who was a missionary in Brazil) and on another cruise we took our daughters (except for Charity who was on a mission in England). This year when we were invited by The Cruise Lady to speak on a cruise to Alaska, we decided that it was time to take our daughters-in-law.
Wow! Did we have fun!!! Aja came from Hawaii and left her responsible and very efficient 11 year old, gallant eight-year-old, creative five year old and spunky eighteen month old in the good hands of her capable husband, Jonah. Kristi came from San Diego and bravely handed over her ever-entertaining seven year old, delightfully strong-willed four year old, usually up to some mischief 2 1/2 year old and almost-finished-nursing baby (no one knows the pain she endured) to her fun-and-up-for-an-adventure husband” Noah. Julie, who is pregnant with their first child left our son Eli home to fend for himself (and he did very well, thank you). She is a nurse at the Children’s Hospital in Washington D.C. lovingly caring for children with cancer and their families.
Our other daughter-in-law was unable to come. She had just left her husband for two weeks while visiting her family in Switzerland and the cruise was the week of their anniversary and she was nursing a baby that she couldn’t leave. For some reason, cruises just don’t do babies, or at least the one we were on. They insisted that even a nursing baby had to pay full-fare. What’s up with that? Anyway we think she made a good choice to stay home.
Our in-laws are a delightful bunch and have even formed their own club. They call it P.I.L.E (Present In-Laws of Eyrealm). They slip off for a meeting or two during our whacky family reunions to talk about how to handle all us crazy core-Eyres and see what they can do to temper the cheesiness just a bit. They haven’t succeeded very well but we love their efforts and it is pretty valiant of them to try!
Man did we have fun with those three women! Aja hadn’t arrive yet below. She was clipping along the one-mile long parking lot with her luggage!
But here she is during the crazy “muster” call in case of an emergency that begins every cruise. If you’ve been there you’ll get this. If not, don’t worry, it only lasts a few minutes!
It’s hard to get those long legs all the way up….
How we LOVED having these three darling daughters-in-law with us for a whole week! We talked over way to much food about everything from their first impressions of their husbands to what our first impressions were of them to fun stories about the kids to religion and politics.
They helped us SO much on our three two-hour discussions. They were on a panel on our first discussion representing the view of the married kids in their families (the average age of the audience was about 60). On one of the days Aja gave a presentation based on a book she is writing about dealing with in-laws. It was awesome! Kristi was the note-taker on the a word document that the audience could see on the screen as Aja made her points. Aja gave her license to write whatever she wanted to as she took “live notes”. Among other funny things when Aja explained the concept of PILE, Kristi wrote. “She is the president.” Aja didn’t know why people were giggling.
The off-shore trips were so fun! We saw a salmon fishery where they preserve and proliferate the lives of salmon.
We loved seeing the fabulous scenery!
We enjoyed a delicious salmon bake…
The Tracy Arm Fiord with it’s narrow passageways and thousands of waterfalls was awe-inspiring!
It got a bit colder and rainier as we went north. Rick was sure happy for that blue shopping bag for his head during one particular rain storm!
We learned about the history of totem poles and visited a village lodge while the rain pelted down. One darling husband valiantly pushed his wife through the winding paths in a wheelchair so she could see too.
The wet and cold made the hot tub felt pretty awesome. Julie was a great sport in protecting that baby and never went in past the top of her legs. It was raining in the picture below so those shower caps, Julie’s coat and Dad/Rick’s hats really came in handy!
Julie was SO relieved to be away from the pressure of her demanding job working in the oncology unit at The Children’s Hospital for a few days! JK! Love her expression here but in actuality, she loves her job!
In a land where 13-20 feet and more of snow falls every winter, this is a pretty awesome snow plow to clear the train tracks.
The youngest couples by about 20 years in our group are below (sorry about the red-eyes but it’s the only picture I have). They had darling families and it was fun to hear their stories. Karl and Ana, just to the right of Aja have seven sons and one daughter. As luck would have it, Karl is an amazing juggler and he added a lot of pizzaz with his juggling demonstrations during our discussion about balance. They are a terrific bunch and we plan to keep in touch!
The Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan was fun. They showed us some pretty fancy maneuvers as they sawed and walked on logs, chopped wood and climbed poles in a rain storm. Note that our ship in the background was parked directly by the boardwalk that meandered through the town. That was truly door-to-door service!
Kristi and I didn’t get the memo about the fist pump!
Kristi made good use her shower-caps to keep her feet dry! Pretty creative!
Formal nights are always fun!
We enjoyed baked Alaska, lobster and beef wellington. Aja pretty much ordered a dessert plus all the ice cream choices every night and we helped her devour them!
The last night we spent a few hours in beautiful Victoria. While Dad/Rick and I visited the incredible Butchart Gardens…
…the girls hoofed it downtown to see the houses of parliament and some street performers.
While we were off having all that fun, how grateful we are for the dads holding down the fort with the inevitable crisis and demands of life with four little kids. Kristi was getting cute emails from Noah who hired a babysitter one night and came home to find that she had put liquid dishwashing soap instead of dishwasher soap in the dishwasher.
He also sent fun pictures of the braid he did in Lyla’s hair, getting her ready for her first picture day at school and the kids having fun on the trampoline.
Is she cute enough?
We know that Jonah was having similar experiences in Maui! Thanks to you three guys who gave up your wives for a whole week so we can have fun with them!
We know that we are truly blessed in having these amazing in-laws! They add so much to our family! We also realize that there are many in-law situations that are not so happy (to state it mildly). We heard some horror stories on board that we would not want to replicate!
Still what a time we had getting inside the minds and lives of these beautiful women who are an integral part of our family!
And we’re not sure how our in-law husbands would feel about sharing a bunk room for a week away from their jobs and their families. Not that we’re not going to try!