|03-25-2010, 12:25 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2010
The Week of YES!
I guess I'll just jump right into this trip report. To recap the cast, there is myself (amber) my wonderful hubby (Mike) and our children: Dakota (17) Caelan (15) James (wish boy 12) Macylea (12) Elijah (10) and Mackenzie (5). We live in Alaska and are a pretty happy family James ad Macylea were born preemie and spent about 3 months in the PICU. Macylea had ROP and needed surgery on her eyes at about 1yr old, after that her only ongoing problem was glasses. James spent most of his first three years in the hospital... heart surgery, meningitis, and lots of pneumonia. James ended up with CP and an immune problem. About a year ago James' health started a steady decline. He use to walk and swim, and while he was delayed, and uncoordinated, he was pretty healthy overall. Then last may he got pneumonia and from there severe stomach pains, and then his neurological system just went haywire. We still do not have a diagnosis, since CP is not progressive. James has spent much of the last year in the hospital, either locally or in Seattle. Our doctor nominated him for our local wish group "Wish upon a North Star" and he was granted his wish to go to Disneyworld, and GKTW. We had less than a month to plan, because James is scheduled to go back to the hospital soon...we had to "fit in" his trip. There, you have the back story.
Let me tell you a little about how we are. I am a stay at home mom, which when you have a child with an illness means almost no staying at home. We do not allow the kids to watch tv, but do let them watch video's. We do not drink soda, or eat fast food. We almost never have pizza or ice cream. My DH is a bit of a health fanatic, and we eat mostly pretty healthy. You need to know all of this, so you understand the "Week of Yes!"
We had intended to leave for Anchorage, a three hour drive, about 3pm on Saturday. We had a dinner scheduled with the wish people, and then we had to be at the airport at 11:30pm to check in for our 1:30pm flight. Then we got our first change of plans. Our daughter Macylea had a wrestling tournament Saturday, with weigh ins at 9am. So we packed everything Friday night, and Mike, Macylea, Caelan and I drove to Anchorage for the tournament. We had to leave our house at 5am, so everyone was already cranky and sleepy. The tournament had 580 wrestlers, yikes, and Macylea had to wrestle 5 matches. Here she is on her first one.
She got a pin! Then so on and so on…..
James after about three hours was beat, and I took him and Caelan back to the hotel to rest. Macylea had her last bout, and we anxiously awaited the final tally. So how do you think she did?
THIRD! Ok, it’s not first, but it was amazing to us!! Here she is on the podium…..
And getting her medal…..
That’s my girl!
After the tournament, all 12 hours of it! We went back to the room and slept. Knowing we had a long day in front of us, we slept in the next morning too. Then we spent a few hours shopping and playing in Anchorage until it was time for my dad to show up with the other 3 kids, and get to our Wish upon a North Star Dinner.
Here’s us at the hotel, DH Mike, with Macylea and Caelan
We ate at a place called Gwennie’s and the food was terrific.
This is Ron Rice (president of WUNS, and my dad)
And all the kids…
Our favorite picture of James from the dinner…
We have more photos of this dinner coming soon!
A lot of the board members were there and met James for the first time. Of course our dear Ron Rice, who is the president, was there, as well as Rich Owens who does all the travel arrangements. We found out that WUNS is all volunteer; these guys who made our dream come true did it without any remuneration. 100% of money in is money out! WOW!!! Rich who is like a silly uncle, sat next to Macylea. When he sat down he said, “Hi, I’m Rich” to which my daughter thought, “well good for you!” During the dinner, Rich kept stealing her French fries until exasperated she finally looked at him and said, “If you’re so rich, get your own fries!” We all got a laugh. He then told Macylea that he “works” at an ice cream shop. This got her attention. She asked how he got the job and he said, “Well since they wouldn’t hire me, I bought the place!”…So Rich is rich after all, lol! Don’t know if you have them there but his ice cream shop is Tasty Freeze
During dinner we had another visitor. Channel 11 news showed up to do a story on WUNS, and James. Everyone was super excited. It aired that night, and we heard it was wonderful. Then we got our expense check, and wowee were we ever surprised. As to not be rude, I won’t tell the actual number, but it was by far more than we expected. Dinner ended at about 8pm, and we all piled into the car. We drove around Anchorage for about an hour trying to figure out what to do, in Anchorage on a Sunday night. We finally decided to just go to the airport. We checked in at 9pm for our 1:30am flight.
The Magic Begins
We were checking our bags and the flight attendant noticed James’ Wish shirt (so glad we made it!) and asked if this was a wish trip. She then waved the baggage fee ($15 per bag) and told us to let the flight attendant know when we boarded it was a wish trip.
Here are a few pictures of my children at the airport. We usually require them to be much calmer, but we had officially entered the week of yes….
The kids had found an airport wheel chair, and right behind our gate was two of those moving sidewalks, so they had wheel chair races and every other kind of game involving wheelchairs. James was so excited because it was a game he could actually play
About an hour before it was time to board my hubby called us to the window to show us our plane….
THE DISNEY PLANE!!!
Once we boarded, we discovered two of the eight seats were about 10 rows away from the rest of the family. The attendant quickly went into action and after about 3 minutes had people moved so that we were all together.
Dakota, Elijah and Mackenzie
DH Mike, Macylea and Caelan
James, before the plane even took off
After that, one both planes, we were compt all of our food, and digi players, and treated like royalty. Then it happened, DH started to feel ill…he fought it for the first plane to Seattle, and kept saying he thought he’d eaten something bad.
We had a three and a half hour layover in Seattle. It was 1am, and the kids had barley slept. So what did they do?
They slept! DH however, lost his battle and was in and out of the men’s room. The next flight was worse and he spent most of the 5 hours in the little airplane potty By the time we landed he was actually feeling a bit better. But still weak and tired. Mackenzie who I was most worried about slept on both planes and woke up 30 minutes before we landed, she never had time to do any activities we packed. James also slept almost the whole trip. I, being the good mother hen, read “The Lovely Bones” a book I’d vowed not to read, because I’m not ready to think of a child in Heaven, and don’t like to be sad. I finished it by the time we landed and actually loved the story very much, but I still think the idea of kids in heaven is no fun.
Finally, we arrived, exhausted at 5:30pm Monday, in Orlando. I’m so excited because I know what we’ll see in just a few minutes. It’s that one sight that lets you know it’s actually real, you are there and it’s going to start…. the GKTW greeter.
And so it begins.
NEXT: Finish your ice cream so we can go eat breakfast….and go to the Magic Kingdom!
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