Thursday, January 10, 2013

Disney Day 1 cont. and Disney day 2

Day one...Part 2

     We seriously did nothing the rest of day one. We explored, relaxed and ran to walmart to get some much needed items. I also attended a orientation where we got all of our tickets to the parks. Oh my goodness people, we were so spoiled! If time allowed, we could have gone, done and seen nearly everything in Orlando! I was in tears nearly the entire meeting. It was one of the many moments where my heart ached. While I was so thankful we were there, on this once in a lifetime trip, I so wished Malachi didn't have to experience what he did to get us there. And then to see a room full of parents who were also there because one of their children had been to hell and back...ugh. I'm crying now, months later. It was a moment I will never forget. Needless to say we all went to bed EARLY!

Day 2...EPCOT!

 In preparation for our trip I did some research on the best times to attend which parks. I read that the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom we the most popular parks and the ones that people usually are most excited about going to. The websites suggested we do those later in the week, which we decided to do. Epcot was obviously not the more interesting for the boys but we we still had fun exploring the park and riding a few rides. This is also the park that they got to meet Mickey and Mini in!
 




   









We are so thankful that my parents decided to head down for a few days! They were a HUGE help with the boys especially since I was some what limited in lifting sue to my arm. They loved watching the boys take in the excitement and the boys loved having them there! 

It was sooo freaking humid this day, probably the worst of all the days. We had a blast regardless. Josh and I enjoyed walking around The World Showcase, sampling yummy food. The boys enjoyed people watching and obviously the few rides we went on. Elijah was a bit scared while on many of the rides. We believe it was because of the low light. Malachi LOVED them all. He would laugh and point. Unfortunatly due to the heat we had to call it an early day. Everyone was getting grumpy and needed to cool down. We headed back to GKTW and enjoyed some swimming, ice cream and dinner. 

This was also the night we did Malachi's star. Each child that is given a Make-a-Wish is given a small star upon check in. One night they are asked to go into the Castle of Miracles and write there name on the star. This is a VERY special time so I don't want to give away to many of the details, for other families who may get to experience this. 






These pictures are sobering. Each star represents a child who has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Thousands of stars fill the sky, so many kids, so many stories and many of those children are no longer here. For some is a badge of strength and courage, for others is a reminder that they don't walk alone. For us? Its a little bit of both. 

After Malachi was done decorating his star we headed out into the village to see what was going on. Each night was a different theme and this specific night the village volunteers were hosting the worlds largest candy land game. There was music, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones and street performers. It was an all our street party! Kids running, laughing and parents chatting. We didn't last long, it was clear that they boys needed to go to sleep, especially because the next day we were heading to Animal Kingdom for Malachi's special adventure!





These are just a few pictures of the fully accessible playground. Our villa is the orange one that you see in the background. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Disney Day One

Back in October, our family of 4 left the cold Illinois fall and flew to sunny Florida for a week of fun! Make a Wish sent us on a magical vacation to Walt Disney World. I don't think I can put into words just how amazing our trip was! Everything was perfect and we were able to spend and entire week stress free!

Day one... TRAVEL!
     Our flight left SUPER early... like 6:20 am. So the night before we left our wish coordinator had us stay in a hotel right by the airport. It was great to be able to be so close and allowed for an easy morning. We arrived at the airport, got out tickets and headed to our gate. The flight was long, but the boys did great! I believe they both fell asleep, which was part of the reason we chose to take such an early flight.



Once we arrived, we were greeted by a GKTW (Give Kids the world) volunteer who helped us get our luggage (she even knew which baggage claim to go to!) and showed us to our rental van! She made sure we had directions and that we were all loaded up and ready to go.I wish I would have thought to get a picture with her! She was WONDERFUL!

Its a quick drive from the airport to GKTW. Once we got there we met with a staff member who filled us in on everything that the village had to offer. We were then whisked off to our villa!


Our villa was amazing! It had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen and living room. It felt like home! I think I was most amazed at the special care they put into providing us with extra things. There were gift bags waiting for each of the boys, filled with toys, post cards, sun screen, stuffed animals and snacks! There were a few snacks in the kitchen also including pop and water. We brought all of our stuff in and got settled. We then headed out to find lunch! The boys were starving!

I am thankful that the staff gave us a cd with pictures of the village on it. I was really bad at remembering to take pictures! Please note, the following pictures were not taken by me! 


At the entrance.


House of Hearts, aka check in.


Back side of where we checked in.



This is the gingerbread house where they served breakfast and lunch daily. The food was wonderful! They even have volunteers to bring you tray to the table for you! This was a wonderful surprise and much needed with 2 small boys!




Inside the gingerbread house. We LOVED eating here. We met some really amazing families who had some really amazing kids! 

The ice cream palace! Here you could get ice cream 7am until 10pm. Needless to say the boys LOVED it here! Since it was a once in a lifetime trip we allowed them to visit this place every single day! 

Inside.


Castle of Miracles and the carousal. 

I will post the rest of day 1 in another entry. Blogger is having issues! :)





Friday, January 4, 2013

2013...A new Begining

2012 was a magical year for the Horton's! The boys have grown and developed into amazing little beings, full of personality. Josh has enjoyed teaching more than ever in the past year and I have continued to love my time at home! We were blessed in 2012 with great health, new friends, a magical vacation and boundless laughter. While I am always emotional when reflecting back, I am so freaking excited for 2013!

2013 marks a new beginning. With that comes new goals and new adventures to be had. Josh and I are trying to eat healthier, exercise more and lose some of the weight we have put on over the last 4 years. Personally, I am striving to yell less, forgive more, love sweeter, laugh more often and give quicker. I want to take more pictures and blog more. Hench the reason I am posting! The boys are growing so fast, learning new things each day and I want to share that with our friends and family, those who read this blog.

Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about our Make a Wish trip to Walt Disney World! Way back in October we spent 1 magical week in Florida experience Sea World, The Magic Kingdom, Universal Studio's, The Animal Kingdom and Epcot! Our Make a Wish trip was simply amazing and I am looking forward to sharing some of the magic with you!

Cheers to a great 2013!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

One little sheet of paper

It is done. Three little words that bring me so much happiness. Elijah's adoption is 100% complete and the little piece of paper that arrived in our mailbox today was simply the icing on the cake. Our names are listed as his parents. The name he has been called since he was 2 months old is listed and our address is given as his home. Folks, we received his birth certificate in the mail today! The last little piece of paperwork that was still out there is finally here and we are overjoyed! 


Monday, September 3, 2012

32 days!

The Mickey Mouse countdown has begun! We leave for the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World, in a little over a month! We are thrilled and oh so excited! We are beyond thankful to the Make A Wish organization for making this trip possible!

Malachi and Elijah have no idea what is in store for them. We will be staying a Give Kids The World, which I hear, is absolutely magical. We will get to go on a private safari at the Animal Kingdom, walk Main Street at Magic Kingdom, travel around the world at Epcot and experience Disney's best at MGM. We are looking into a special dolphin experience at Sea World too. I am 100% positive that we are not going to want to leave!





I created a paper chain countdown to help the boys visually see the amount of days until we leave. Today Malachi got to rip the first chain off! I also made there Disney luggage tags. I think they are super cute!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The "R" word

I feel like it is a never ending battle. The fight to educate those around us, our community, our world is a challenge. I question if I am doing any good, if my words change their hearts. Often I feel like I am casting my heart out in a lake only for it only to fall in the water and make all the fish swim away. I'm asking you dear blog friends, what is your most effective way to educate those around on the use of the "r" word? What boundaries do you have set up in order to keep your children safe from the word? How do you gracefully deal with those who, despite knowing your thoughts on the word, continue to say it around you? What are some of your favorite websites on the issue? I'm revamping my "R" word arsenal and I really need your help!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Going places

My boys are adventurous explorers, on the move constantly. They like to jump off couches and and throw balls. Wrestling matches are in abundance and black eyes are inevitable. They never stop moving. These simple facts make trips to the park with them nearly impossible for one person and visits to friends houses challenging and sometimes their energy drive me nuts. Seriously, there are days when I wished they would just sit and play with a toy like it is supposed to be played with rather than turning it into a demolition derby. Today was one of those days.

Elijah and I went to a beach. Our individual plans for the day were obviously different and was apparent the moment his little feet hit the sand. He was off, right to the water. I was looking forward to a relaxing day building sandcastles, munching on snacks and visiting with friends. My reality? I spent the next hour keeping Eli away from the nasty green stuff (why does every lake have a collection of green goo on the shore? Seriously nasty.), keeping him in shallow enough water, picking him up when he fell, chasing him back to our area...the kid was on a mission and while I was chasing him around I found myself wishing he would just sit still and play with the freaking sand like the other kids.

After an hour I was done-zo. As I tried picking up our sand toys with my feet (my arms were full of screaming toddler) I grew frustrated and it got even worse as I tried to collect our things so we could get in the car to get the heck out of there. Just when I thought the spectacle couldn't get any worse...my cheap old navy flip flop broke. This mamma could have cried. Why can't he just sit and wait for me to pack up the car? Why can't I trust him to not run away? Why can't he sit still like the other kids? After what seemed like forever we were finally on the road. That's when the tears came and the mom guilt started. Am I giving him enough attention? Am I strict enough? Does he not get out enough? I could go on and on about all the questions running through my head on the hour drive home.

About 10 minuets from home, I looking in the review mirror and saw Elijah drifting off to dream land. I found myself stopped at the stop sign a little longer to watch his eyelids grow heavy. His hair was a mess, his skin tanned from the sand and his sweet little hands rested quietly in his lap it's then that I realized how thankful I am for all that energy.

Elijah will never be content to just sit. He is a born explorer, always looking for the next thing to be discovered. He lives for adventure and has no fear. He is a mover and a shaker. He loves to create excitement and dance until he falls over. Elijah is full of life and that is going to take him far!