We are home...and our exhausted kids are in bed. I am going to post about our trip over the next few days since I use this as a family journal.
On day 2, the kids begged us to stay at Give Kids the World (GKTW) all day and enjoy the activities available there. Not only did they want to swim, but they were not up for battling the crowds at Disney. GKTW is the most amazing place I have ever been privileged to visit. It is only for families who are sent there with a Wish Granting organization. There were people there from all over the world. There were children who were between chemo stages, those with chronic health problems due to birth defects, and those who had recovered from their life-threatening health conditions. There were many wonderful families who were given a week of being treated and served. It was truly the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Many of the workers at GKTW are volunteers. Retirees and very young people, middle aged--there is room for anyone who wants to help. Jillian and Jeff and are wanting to return as soon as possible to volunteer.
The village includes villa's for each family. They are built in duplex style, so we had both sides. There was a doorway between the two so that we could open the doors and not have to go outside to get to the other one. Each had a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and two baths. One of the baths was totally equipped for a child in a wheelchair. It made me realize how difficult it would be to take a child on vacation to a regular hotel.
The village had a restaurant called the Gingerbread House that served three meals a day. There was also a 'fast food' place that served Boston Market food. Sooo yummy! The kids' very favorite was the ice cream shop that was open from 7:30 AM to 9:PM. The first day, Taylor had 12 ice cream cones. ha. He kind of grossed himself out after that and could hardly look at ice cream by the last day. We all thought it was pretty cool to get ice cream whenever we wanted--and sometimes more than once a day.
There was a carousel, a train, a castle with many things to do, including a spa where one could get their nails done, make-up, and an airbrushed tattoo. There was a movie theatre, minature golf, ping pong, two pools, one of which was incredibly beautiful, and a horse paddock. (I'm sure I'm forgetting something...)
Jordan gets into the van in the morning to head to the Gingerbread House for breakfast. The van was a 12 passenger, so we were able to see what it was like to have all of us in one humongous vehicle.
Jake carries on his usual modus operandi of wearing everything backwards. Notice the hat....
Molly enjoying the carousel after breakfast
Zoey rode until I thought she would get dizzy but it never seemed to faze her
Katie-bug loved the pig and rode it every chance she got. The kids could ride as many times as they wanted without having to get off. How cool is that?
Jordan and Grandma, who have been special buddies since she went with us to China to adopt him.
Then, it was on to the pool! Oh the fun they had. I wish I could have audio with the photos so that you could hear their squeals of laughter.
The pool was huge and beautiful with fountains spraying all around it
Taking a break and schmoozing mommy out of the last of her Coke
Chloe is a fish in the water and this was a rare shot of her out of the pool
Hang ten, dude
Despite the fact that I originally put his swim suit on correctly, the next time I saw him, he looked like this...
"Hey, Zoey, wook at dis. I can get wadder in my mouth and spit it."
"Jake, it's just embarrassing how poorly you did that."
Just some fun I was having with my camera and the fountains
"I'm gonna jump, Dakie, and show you how its done."
Time for an ice cream break
The restrooms and storage area at the pool. It was so cute!
"Oh yeah, baby. Daddy is taking me for ice cream!"
"It is so yummy with chocolate and sprinkles."
The magic mirror: when you pushed the button, a beautiful crown and robe appeared
What would a castle be without a throne? There was a pair of them.
A peak inside
Some of us got tattoos. (Oh, okay...all of us, even grandma.)
Choosing the stencil for their tattoo
Jillian getting her butterfly tattoo
The photos come to an abrupt end here as my mom kept the kids while Jeff and I went to dinner with friends. One of the couples had gone to China with us when we got Molly and they were adopting their daughter. We had kept in touch but hadn't seen them since. It was fun to catch up and also to meet the other couple whom we only knew via email.