Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Trip Summary

All in all, we had a really good time on our trip.  Sure, it was a long drive and pretty hot in Florida and we were completely and utterly exhausted!  But we had such a great time!  We made some wonderful memories and the children got to do things they hadn't even dreamed of!  We were treated with amazing care, far beyond what we ever anticipated and we are as grateful as can be...

We had a good time at William's return party, showing William's pictures and talking about the trip...

And we thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship of good friends! And a little entertainment from Mr. N and Smith and Benjamin!  (I have some really embarrassing pictures of Smith and Benjamin - you can thank me later, boys, for not posting them!) :)

Our Miss Leslie got her own private showing of Sarah's slideshow...

Thank you, Miss Johnnie and Miss Leslie for making William's wish come true!  And he really enjoyed all the gifts!  Thank you for your sweet thoughtfulness!

As for me, I think the thing I appreciate most wasn't necessarily the trip itself.  Sure, it was so much fun for me to see the children's faces and hear their exclamations as they saw something new or experienced something fun.  But what I appreciate most is that this trip gave me the opportunity to see my family in a new light.  A light that isn't 100% focused on medical needs or treatments.  Of course, it was difficult for me to let go and just go with things and of course, we still met William's medical needs.  But ALL of our traveling in the last 7 years has involved some sort of medical treatment.  Everyone we've stopped to visit or every landmark we've seen has been ON THE WAY to a doctor visit of some sort (or on the way home).  This trip gave me the opportunity to see that it's good for our family to just enjoy a trip with no medical agenda, to specifically plan something just for fun.  And, with a little care and pre-planning, William can do it.  He's stronger and healthier than he's ever been and though he's still fragile and has some limitations, we know what those are and can prepare for the worst while planning for the best.  This trip taught me that it's important for him to get out there and do things that are a little scary, to do new things, to let loose, and to not be restricted all the time.  It showed me how important it is for him, and for all of us, to live life.  And for that, I'm truly grateful.

Make a Wish trip slideshow:

**** Side note:

I changed William's side bar.  Instead of having individual links to his videos, with pictures, I've just listed his videos (and added a few new ones).  Just click on the link to watch.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Discovery Cove

This was such an amazing part of our trip!  I probably will not be able to adequately describe how much the entire family enjoyed this day!  I can begin by saying that when we went to bed that night, I had at least 3 children tell me it was their best day ever!

Discovery Cove was an absolutely beautiful place with so much to do.  Since it's an all day event, we were somewhat concerned about sunburn...especially for the younger children, but as it turned out, there was no need to worry.  The majority of the park is nicely shaded and we didn't even need sunscreen!
We started the day off with breakfast at the park...Adelina - she's so adorable!

We had a great time swimming next to the otters and marmosets, enjoying the lazy river, snorkeling with the fish and rays, feeding the birds in the aviary, and OF COURSE swimming with the dolphins!







William's tow was difficult for me.  I really wanted to give him the freedom to do this how he wanted, but because he doesn't have great body control, I was nervous.  I took him out for his picture, but when it came time to swim, he wanted to do it BY HIMSELF.  I had already talked with both trainers about his needs and abilities, so with a deep breath and a silent prayer, off he went with the trainer.  It was only difficult for me and Michael, though!  LOL!  He had a GREAT time and was very proud of himself!  He got a little scared when the dolphin first started swimming and his head dipped ever so slightly and Michael and I were concerned about him going under, but he recovered himself and it all turned out well.  Even though he got a little bit scared, the pride he felt in doing it by himself was immense!  (Honestly, I'm so glad he did it, but I'm really glad it's over!) :) Whew!

Wallace was so funny!  He didn't want to kiss the dolphin and wasn't going to go out to pet it until the trainer told him she wouldn't make him kiss it!  He tried to climb on the dolphin's back and the trainer had to remind him it wasn't a horse!  He had such a good time on his tow and thought it was SO MUCH FUN!  He's really looking forward to doing it again!

I really had no desire to swim with the dolphin and only went to help William because I'm a control freak and couldn't stand the thought of him in the water without me.  I wasn't even going to go out with the dolphin and said no a couple of times, but the trainer and my children talked me into it.  The dolphin felt strange and I couldn't keep my feet under me and it kind of freaked me out a little bit.  I don't really see myself ever doing it again.  I got MUCH more enjoyment from watching the children enjoy it than from actually doing it myself.  The trainer had the dolphin play with Michael a little bit, though, and that was fun to watch.

Since you have to be at least 6 to swim with the dolphins, none of the younger children were able to do it, but they all enjoyed watching.  They are all looking forward to our next trip!

Michael and the older girls participated in the Sea Venture portion.  It's almost like scuba diving, but you don't carry a tank, your connected to a tube and it's only like 12 or 15 feet under.  They had fun walking around on the bottom, swimming next to the sharks, playing with sea urchins and starfish.  Sarah was cold and somewhat nervous to let go of her helmet.  In fact, I don't think she ever did! :)  But they enjoyed the experience.