Saturday, May 22, 2010

We're Back!

We left last Sunday at 8 a.m. for Dear Son's Make a Wish trip to Orlando, Florida and arrived home this evening. We had a fantastic trip! I took along all of the suggestions everyone had given me prior to the trip and made a list of them for each of the theme parks. It really helped having some good ideas as I planned each day. In addition, I kept a journal of our activities each day and some of the highlights. I took a ton of pictures and will take you through our trip each day. In addition to photos of the activities and Dear Son, I also took photos showing the accessibility of each of the rides or the parks so you could see how it was done. I'll need a few days to get through the 800 plus photos but I think it will be worth it.

Some of the things Dear Son really enjoyed were the following:
  • Dear Son loved the takeoff! This was his first plane ride and he seemed a little scared and was crying a bit when the plane started to move. He actually was holding both of our hands. I talked to him and told him how exciting it was when the plane takes off. I told him that it was my favorite part and that the pilot would step on the gas and go really fast. I said that "men" really like that part and that most pilots are men. (He likes when I tell him that men like things, lol!) Anyway, as the plane took off, he was smiling ear to ear as his head fell back into the headrest from the takeoff! Today, one of the flight attendants gave him some "wings".

  • He got to see Barney at Universal. They did the show and he wasn't sure what to make of it all. We bought a big Barney pillow and had pictures taken with him. On Friday, Barney was scheduled to appear at Give the Kids the World and when I told him Barney would be there, he got really excited. He started getting it after a few days. The first few days I think it was a lot to take in.
  • At Epcot, we went on the Soarin' ride! It's a virtual reality ride and you sit in these seats and they move the seats up into the air as you watch the screen. Trust me, you really feel like you are there! I tried to take some pictures while I was on it to show you however I am not sure if they turned out.

  • At Sea World, we saw Shamu and the sea lion show which was fantastic! Very entertaining. We enjoyed it.
  • Dear Son went swimming several times this week at the Give the Kids the World pool. We used an accessible wheelchair to get him into the water. It took him a little bit to relax and finally he layed his head on his Dad's chest while I held the wheelchair. Eventually, he relaxed and brought his knees up the surface of the water and just floated like he did at school. He loved it! After that, he layed on the lounge chair and closed his eyes. It was extremely hot and humid this week so the pool became one of our favorite activities.
  • He ate ice cream three or four times this week! Dear Son hasn't eaten anything via mouth in around 18 months since he can't swallow very well however he was able to eat a few bites of ice cream and a softened vanilla milkshake!

  • He had pictures taken with a few characters-Mickey and Minnie, Scooby Doo, Goofy and Barney!

  • I got a cartoon drawing of Dear Son done at Sea World to remember this trip.
  • Every day, the resort brought gifts to the room for him. Two of his favorite gifts were the picture frame that played the ESPN theme song and a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal.

Some of the things Dad and I appreciated this week were:

  • The wheelchair van. That made our life a lot easier!

  • The whirlpool in the room. I used that every day this week.

  • Not having to wait at the theme parks. Many of the parks had these accessibility passes that Give the Kids the World gave us; once you showed the pass, you were taken to the front of the line and got right on the ride. They really catered to people with disabilities since they often can't wait. In many instances, once Dear Son was on a ride, they asked him if he wanted to go again so we didn't have to take him on/off a ride.

But most of all, we want to thank our Make a Wish (MAW) sponsors, Laura and Angela, for providing us with the trip of a lifetime. At the MAW office, Courtney worked hard at putting everything together for us. And we have to thank all of the people who made it a great week for us. The entire staff at Give the Kids the World, plus all of their volunteers, made it a relaxing and enjoyable trip. I am sure I am forgetting a few people however I will be including them as I go through and post pictures from our trip.

It was a wonderful trip for so many reasons. It was great to pack and go somewhere other than the hospital. It was great to relax and not think about medical stuff 24/7. It was wonderful to see Dear Son experience so many things that he would never have a chance to see otherwise. It was great to see him happy. On a personal level, it was wonderful to relax for a change and put my feet up. I savored every moment of the week. There weren't any meals to cook, no cleaning to be done, just fun and sun.


Terri said...

It sounds WONDERFUL!!! Just what you all needed--just what it should be. I am so happy for you, dad and Dear Son!

Mama Pickles said...

I am so happy for you that you and your son finally got to go. I had tears in my eyes reading your post.

Michelle said...

so thrilled you got to have these experiences. GKTW is the most amazing place on earth. Cant wait to see pics. and SO glad to hear you got pampered a bit too. Hooray!

Kristin said...

You sound so happy and relaxed!!

I can't wait to see

MFA Mama said...

YAAAAAAAY!!! So VERY glad that you and Dear Son were both able to enjoy the trip and that his health permitted it. It sounds like the vacation of a lifetime and I smiled reading about Dear Son's enjoyment of each thing you described. Awww :)

Flygirl1 said...

I'm so glad you had an awesome trip! And glad you're home safely


Anne said...


aileen said...

Sounds like you all had a great time Im so happy you guys got there in the end,the memories will be with you forever,

Earl said...

Your post made me smile, a lot.

All of you deserved a break.

Ashley's Mom said...

My daughter loved GKTW as well as the parks we visited. Everyone just goes out of their way to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

I'm so glad Dear son got to experience this and that you were able to get a break also!

Anne in NY said...

Hooray, hooray, for all of you! So glad it was a super trip, we've all been thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

I have tears of joy in my eyes after reading your wonderful words!


Canucker said...

Ok, I am very teary eyed here. Dream Mom, there are no words to express the happiness I feel that you, DS and his dad got to experience these special moments together.

Big smile!!

Jaymie G said...

I have thought of you, Dear Son and Dear Dad so often this week. You were in my prayers.

It sounds like a 'dream' trip. One that created memories that will be treasured for years. I'm so glad for each of you.

Can't wait to see the pictures.


Gabriel said...

So nice to hear this story. I wish you all the best and happy you had those experiences. Best of Luck!!!

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