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Old 07-29-2012, 02:21 PM   #46
AmberGreenawalt
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Originally Posted by DMGeurts View Post
Amber... I just love seeing all these pictures... Such wonderful memories in these trips, and so wonderful that Disney sprinkled your family with pixie dust a few times. Thank you for sharing with us!

D~
Thank you D~

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Originally Posted by carebearkidney View Post
DMGeurts - just had to say I'm in LOVE with all the Donald in your siggie!
I love the Donald too! I need to talk to you about ordeing one of your famous bags
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:26 PM   #47
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Disney Trip January 2011

I mentioned in my first post that the journey that we have been on affects how we choose to spend our money. One thing our wild ride has taught us is how important it is to spend time making memories with those you love and how unimportant the acquisition of “stuff” is by comparison. With this truth in our hearts we decided that for Christmas 2010 instead of Santa bringing our kids big ticket toys for Christmas he would bring Disney tickets for a January 2011 trip.

Here are some photos from Christmas morning…

At the top of the stair our kids found these notes from Santa attached to strings...



The strings wound all around the house...












At the end of the string the Disney tickets were hanging on the tree inside Disney luggage tags...









This letter was left by Santa...





And inside were personalized Disney maps...





And Santa also brought a set of DVDs about the parks for the kids...



The kids could not have been more excited!
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:03 PM   #48
AmberGreenawalt
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2011 January Disney Trip Part 2

Our January 2011 trip had once again come at a point where we are at the crescendo of crazy and needing to check out for a while. By now you know our history of taking a stand that we would not let sickness rob us of our vacation. Though it has tried. From 2007 when little Siennah had a cold to two days before our 2008 Make A Wish trip when we had Sebastian and Savannah in surgery and all three on antibiotics to Savannah’s devastating Mitochondrial disease diagnosis coming weeks before we went in 2009.

By the time we booked this trip we learned to buy the insurance. And once again it looked like we might need to use it. Before we left Savannah was one dehydrated prolific pooping sick cookie. Sebastian was puking and next thing I knew I was down for the count myself with a winter virus.

Yet somehow the planets all aligned in the last hour. The puke storm passed for me and Sebastian. Savannah was still having pale awful diarrhea but she was eating and drinking again. I rallied with an ironing, packing, car loading frenzy.

And from the moment our Sterlite packed van rolled out of the driveway the stress of everything leading up the that point melted away and things felt just as they should be...and iPod cranking, Disney movies playing on the DVD player I remember thinking, This here? This is beautiful.

With each trip I’ve felt like if we could just get there, to this restorative, healing, battery recharging place that we could come back and rock out the rigmarole again. I know. Some of you must be thinking Disney, recharging? Yeah right.

Well maybe not in a physical sense. It’s tiring to be sure, walking and pushing and carrying three hooligans. But spiritually there is something about it…It's a place where we can simply be. Existing contentedly, happily amongst lands of fantasy and adventure. Where our biggest struggles are over stroller seating and how to use all of our snack credits.

There amongst the castle and crowds and characters...it's as if all the good in our life is turned up a few notches and all we have to do is enjoy it. Celebrate it.

The theme at Disney in 2011 was “What Are You Celebrating?”
For us it was…Our life. Our Family. Making it to Main Street together.

When I look at the big picture the timing of all of our Disney trips is actually perfect. Juxtaposed waves of sick ebb followed by Disney flow reminds me that life has a trillion trials, but it also has the potential for sheer wonderfulness and happiness and go-out-and-get-it grandeur.

We made it there!!! And it WAS magic! Here are some of my favorite Disney January 2011 Memories…


Our traditional Incredibles family photos...



Savannah in her glory watching the Beauty and the Beast show…





And the Pixar Parade...



Oh sweet girl. She had the time of her life. She complained that her belly hurt every single day (she has serious GI issues as part of her mito) but she was easily distracted with shows and rides and her oh so beloved Princesses. She was plum worn out.



Brian and I feel like we can take on the world when at Disney...



Siennah loved her some Hollywood Studios shows too...



And here is Sebastian all smiles as we wait to ride our favorite ride at the parks, Toy Story Midway Mania...



Sebastian celebrated his 6th birthday during this trip...



Here he is joining in on some pre-parade entertainment...



We had dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-In Drive-In Theater...



We had a great first day in the parks...



The next day we headed to Epcot....



We tried on silly hats in Mexico...







Siennah got to ride Test Track for the first time...





I enjoyed World Showcase with my favorite person in the world...



At the American Adventure one of the cast members directed Sebastian to pick up a phone (and Brian to enter a number) and Sebastian recieved a special birthday greeting from Goofy!...



Everyone enjoyed our dinner at Teppan Edo...







We met the Cast Member in this photo when we stoppped to ask for a bandaid for Siennah. He loved the kids out-fits I had made and was happy to find the flag of China on them. Siennah made fast friends with him and he gave her a light-up Tinkerbell toy. He also offered us VIP viewing of the Illumiations show! He entertained the kids with balloons while we waited for the show to start.



We had a great view!...



It was the perfect way to end our day at Epcot.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:53 PM   #49
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I love seeing all of the pictures and hearing the stories from your trips!!!

You are so creative - what a cool idea for the Disney tickets from Santa!!



And I love the pictures of the kids!
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:23 PM   #50
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OK - I just almost have tears in my eyes with that picture of Brian holding little tuckered out Savannah - that has to be just the most precious picture in the world!

And I love hearing all about your trips... The tickes to WDW are just priceless! I love how you did that!

You have such a beautiful family Amber.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carebearkidney View Post
DMGeurts - just had to say I'm in LOVE with all the Donald in your siggie!
Thank you very much!!! I loved making them - Donald is my favorite!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberGreenawalt View Post
Thank you D~

I love the Donald too! I need to talk to you about ordeing one of your famous bags
We'll chat when I am in Charlotte.

D~
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:28 PM   #51
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I am joining in, now to go back to read it all
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:48 PM   #52
AmberGreenawalt
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Originally Posted by DMGeurts View Post
OK - I just almost have tears in my eyes with that picture of Brian holding little tuckered out Savannah - that has to be just the most precious picture in the world!

And I love hearing all about your trips... The tickes to WDW are just priceless! I love how you did that!

You have such a beautiful family Amber.



Thank you very much!!! I loved making them - Donald is my favorite!



We'll chat when I am in Charlotte.

D~
Thank you D~ I love that picture of Brian and Savannah too. She hangs in there until she crashes and even though she was sick she had so much fun! I don't know how she slept through the entire American Idol show!

Look forward to seeing you in Charlotte!!!


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I am joining in, now to go back to read it all
Welcome!!
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:13 PM   #53
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2011 January Disney Trip

Our next day we headed to Disney Hollywood Studios.

We started things off with a great surprise! Sebastian was SUPER excited to come upon these two in a rare photo op...





We did some rides and got in line to see Lightning McQueen...





Still one of Sebastian's favorites!...



Our pit crew in the Cars outfits I made...





Then we played in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area...







And of course could not resist another turn on our favorite ride, Toy Story!...



That evening we headed to 1900 Park Fare for dinner. The girls wore these gorgeous outfits made by Benita...





And Sebastian looked sharp in a tie shirt I made to match...



Here's the whole crew ready to dine with Cindy...



The dinner was great fun!









Afterwards we went over to the Magic Kingdom and watched the Electrical Parade. The kids all gave it two thumbs up!...









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Old 07-29-2012, 07:15 PM   #54
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Nothing better than a wish trip! GKTW is the most magical place ever! Every time we go to Florida, we go visit. We hope next summer we will have time to volunteer!

Can't wait to hear all your plans!
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:46 PM   #55
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2011 January Disney Trip

Next up was an early morning at Animal Kingdom...



There was magic right from the get-go! It's rare these days to spot the characters wandering around the park. Usually you can only find them in a qued area. But just as we were headed to Asia for some Everest fast passes we came across these Baloo and King Louis. They had been sitting on a bench frozen still and came to life just as we passed. It was adorable!...





We got on one of the first safaris...





Everyone wore what's become our traditional animal print outfits...





That Siennah, always smiling...



We had free dining on this trip! I love free dining! And we love the Garden Grill where we had dinner that evening...



With Farmer Mickey...



We hit the Epcot Character spot on our way out of the park. It was raining out that night and there was no line at all so the kids got lots of time to play with the fab five...



I heart Minnie!



We were at the Magic Kingdom bright and early the next day...



Ready to ride Dumbo!



We spent the morning in Fantasyland...



Then took the train over to Frontierland...



Sibling revelry on the Jungle Cruise...



Siennah can make friends with anybody! Here she is chatting up a cast member named Jason while we waited to see Rapunzel...



Soon they were swapping Disney secrets...





The girls LOVED gettting to meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider and dancing with them. The way this Meet and Greet was organized was fantastic! The kids colored and played with cast members....



Savannah also got meet her beloved "Sleeping Billy" (her name, to this day, for Sleeping Beauty)...





The girls beautiful dresses were made by ultra-talented Mr. Tom Jordan...

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Old 07-29-2012, 08:16 PM   #56
AmberGreenawalt
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2011 January Disney Trip

Look at Savannah's face as she saw Rapunzel for the first time...



Had to include this one of my handsome Disney loving hubby...



And me with my Ennah...



Savannah was passed out...again...While the big kids rode Thunder Mountain...



On days when the kids behave really well Tink and her fairy friends visit our hotel at night and leave little surprises for the kids...



We were back at Animal Kingdom the next day for my favorite show at WDW...Finding Nemo the Musical...



And this Dude who plays Crush is THE best!...



My girls loved that I made us all matching outfits...





We saw Bugs Life...



And finished off with some fun photos...















That evening we went to see Fantasmic...





We brought our own glow in the dark necklaces from the Dollar Store...



Jessica Sines Lee made the kids adorable shirts and I made their pants...



Fantasmic was Fantastic!...



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Old 07-29-2012, 09:00 PM   #57
AmberGreenawalt
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2011 January Disney Trip

We were back the Studios the next morning for Rope Drop...





We rode Toy Story Mania first thing and then went to see our favorite Pixar Pals...Buzz and Woody!



The girls showed off their amazing dresses made once again by Cathy Peckiconis...



Sebastian reunited with his hero Buzz!...



Next we made our way over to the Magic Kingdom...











'Ohana is my favorite restaurant at Disney! We enjoyed a delicious dinner, learning to Hula and Coconut races!...







While we were enjoying the heavenly pineapple bread pudding with banana's foster's sauce the Wishes fireworks show started. We had an awesome view from our window-side table. The audio was piped into the restaurant and I realized for the first time how beutifully the fireworks are timed to the music...



Sebastian was surprised with a special birthday cupcake...



On our last Day we had breakfast at Crystal Palace before the park opened...



We rode each person's favorite ride...



Siennah hammed it up some more...



Savannah smiled her big beautiful smile...



I got to just "be" with my kids...



And then we waved goodbye to the most magical place on Earth...

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Old 07-29-2012, 09:35 PM   #58
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I loved the Magical Christmas reveal of this trip! You guys always look so great in your matching outfits and seem to really enjoy the moment! Look forward to this journey with you. It helps make my May/June trip get here all the quicker!
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:42 PM   #59
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I love the looks of joy and wonder on the kids faces. You have given them such fantastic memories and that is what life should be about. You are so right, accumulating stuff isn't what matters, family and memories are.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:07 AM   #60
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Alright, it seems I am going to have to coordinate my son's wish trip with your daughters. Partly because you are an AWESOME photographer! And all the outfits...WOW! Beautiful!
I'm going to cross my fingers that this trip goes off without any hitches prior to your leaving. No sickness, no surgeries, no surprises...except GOOD surprises!
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