So many things have happened lately... we made it to the one year anniversary of Sadie's liver transplant. One year ago we didn't know how we'd make it through each day. We have survived! With the anticipation of Christmas and Sadie's wish trip, a change came over our girls. The girls began to dream again. The began to hope again. They became kids again. It has been wonderful to see them let go of so much hurt and pain.
Shortly before Christmas, one of our Make A Wish volunteers, Becca, stopped by our house with a trip itinerary and a gift for each child. Who knew that there is a Make A Wish barbie? The girls were thrilled. Christmas came. (One year ago on Christmas we were all healthy and had no clue how quickly or drastically our lives were about to change.) Then came our final check up at Primaries. Sadie's doctor approved her trip. Mid January, we left on our adventure (you know, the day after it was 20 below zero at our house).
Sadie's wish? To be a photographer at Disney World in Florida. David and I felt so much apprehension before going. Trevin has been battling ear infections, our girls have been disappointed so many times this past year, we wondered what would go wrong to prevent us from leaving. In the end, I don't know that David and I really believed we would get to go until the morning we drove away. Sadly, we did leave Trevin. Happily, he stayed with Grandma LaNae and was pretty happy to not be traveling.
Our trip began with a drive to Logan, Utah to drop off a car at Uncle Ethan's shop (Elite Auto). We ate lunch with Grandma Susan, and then took off for Salt Lake. We attempted to get a good night sleep before getting everyone up at three to hurry to the airport. David and I were so worried about missing the alarm that I think we were both up most of the night.
On the plane, Sadie and Alyssa were invited to come meet the pilots before out flight. As the wheels lifted off the ground, a little five year old voice yelled, "Wahoo!" The passengers burst out laughing at Alyssa's antics. Both Sadie and Alyssa made announcements over the intercom. Sadie said, "Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated for the duration of the flight." The passengers clapped for her. Alyssa got to say, "Welcome to Denver." Between flights, Natalie and Rachel were able to meet the pilots and pose as captains. The next flight crew also let us meet the captain. We were given royal treatment.
|Rachel took this fun picture as we were flying into Orlando.|
Next, we drove to what could be the best place on earth, and where wishes really do come true. Give Kids The World is a village resort just for Make A Wish families. Each family there has a child with a terminal or life threatening illness. The village has a staff, but is mainly ran by volunteers. Over 1500 individuals come weekly to serve. We met persons from Kansas, Ohio, New Jersey, and more. The youngest volunteers were about 10 and one man told us he is 87 and serves breakfast each week. They were so kind to us. Again, we were treated like royalty for the duration of our visit. Each night there is a party for the kids. The resort has a carousel, castle with a wishing well, train, miniature golf, Candy Land Playground (just like the game), splash park and swimming pool. January is Give Kids the World's slowest time of year. It felt like we had the place to ourselves. Wonderful!
|Alyssa's favorite movie of all time? Any of the Chipmunk flicks.|
|Singing Sensations! The dazzling duo sang and danced to "Love Song" in front of a live audience on our first night at Give Kids The World.|
|Princess Rachel at the La Ti Da Salon at Give Kids The World.|
|Natalie and "Little Miss Hollywood" as people around the resort called Alyssa. The tree behind them has a face and snores. Alyssa yelled at it to "wake up and talk to me" each time we passed it.|
|The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Natalie's all time favorite books come to life!|
|Christmas comes once each week at Give Kids the World along with a winter carnival with characters from the game Candy Land.|
|Surprise! Sadie's wish was to be a Disney photographer. We met three official park photographers who taught her to take pictures of her models (the rest of our family). Guess who showed up just to meet Sadie? Mickey Mouse!|
|Mickey gave Sadie an official award that names her a professional Disney Land photographer.|
V.I.P. access to the rose garden in front of Cinderella's castle with our photographers. Sadie felt so special!
|Waiting in the rain for lunch in Belle & Beast's Castle. (Please note the bunny ears-- they are in a good portion of all pictures taken.)|
|Natalie picking her friend's nose at the castle.|
|Rachel mouse with the blue Make A Wish buttons we wore everywhere.|
|Alyssa was too little for many rides so we amused her by taking pictures around the parks. This one is to scare her friend Eli with. Roar!|
|Each wish child is given a magical star to decorate. Stella the star fairy then hangs it in the Castle of Dreams at Give Kids the World. It will always hang there. We can go look at Sadie's star 100 years from now.|
|Miss Merry came to tuck us in-- it was the gigglingest bedtime I have ever heard. This had to be a highlight of the trip for the girls. Laughter filled their room.|
|The magical pillow tree at the Castle of Dreams. Each girl got a pillow to help their dreams come true.|
|Ice cream... all day long, everyday. We LOVE Give Kids the World!|
|Sadie in front of the swimming pool/splash park at Give Kids the World.|
|Getting home we swarmed Trevin with lots of love! Thanks for watching him Grandma. We sure love this boy.|
Our family hopes to be able to volunteer at Give Kids the World when our kids are older. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. You will never know how emotionally healing it has been for our family to have something positive to look forward too. We are grateful.
Make A Wish of Idaho's website: http://www.idaho.wish.org/
Give Kids the World website: http://www.gktw.org/about/