Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day Two of our trip

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

Jillian, too

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

Dude, I'm so not into this

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."

After swimming, it was time to visit the castle.
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.

The sign at the La-Ti-Da Spa

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.


From Tracie said...

Thank you for bringing all of us along with you on your trip! =)

It looks like a truly special place they set you up in...I love seeing all those sweet joyful faces!

Cari said...

so happy for you guys getting such a wonderful family vacation! hope you enjoyed that adult dinner time!! :)

Adeye said...

BEAUTIFUL pics. I wanna go too :) So much fun.

Glad you're home. I'm sure it will take a few days to recover.

Lori said...

Oh, Karin!! What am amazing vacation that will be etched in your memories forever!

Love that Jake, I'm tellin' ya. Those backward pics just make me crack up every single time!

Kim K. said...

How much fun! Your pictures are so lovely. I'm so glad your family was able to do this. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

sara said...

you kids look so happy in these pictures! what a wonderful trip!

hey your resurrection eggs will be coming next week....sry it's taken me so long!!!

trustandobey said...

Wow, what a fun time!! What a lifetime of memories made in a single week. Cannot wait to see the rest of the photos. Glad you are safely home.

Kristin Ferguson said...

Glad you're home safely and that you're blogging again! :) Tell my buddy, Taylor, that I'm sorry he got sick of ice cream. I kind of did that on a cruise one time so I know how he feels!

Looks like a fun time was had by all! Love the backwards Jake photos.


Sharon said...

This looks like SO much fun! I can't believe how much the older kids have changed since we saw them last. SO glad you had a good time!!!

Gretchen said...

So glad you posted. I was ready to see some more pictures of your trip.

I will send you the pictures I have from our dinner, but the guys took SO MANY that in almost everyone of my pictures someone is looking somewhere else (ha ha)!! Guess we know what it is like to have the paparazzi taking tons of pictures at once. I think I am still blinded from all that flashing!

I am so glad that we were able to at least meet for dinner. I too would have loved to have met your kiddos, but we will definately be making a trip to visit you all in Boston. I so enjoyed our dinner together.

Ally said...

Looks like you had a time to remember for a life time. Love the photos so full of color!

Kara said...

Hi Karin, Jeff and family,

I hope this comment finds you well! I wasn't sure where to email, so I'm hoping you'll see this. I work in the Communications Department here at GKTW and recently came across your Our Treasures from Afar blog. Needless to say, I just had to write you.

You have some amazing photos and I wanted to see if you’d consider letting GKTW use some from SaraGrace’s wish trip. As you probably know, we take fiscal responsibility very seriously at the Village and rely heavily on donations. While I have volunteer photographers come out as much as I can to capture photos for our stock photo collection, we still don’t have enough on file to share our mission with the world.

I’m currently working on refreshing our collection and wanted to reach out and get in touch with you. At the moment I’m specifically working on updating our trade show materials. Would you be willing to share a few photos, and a brief, one sentence quote about your family’s GKTW experience? I’m very confident that your powerful words, along with one of your captivating photos, will help us garner more support for our mission.

Please let me know if you are comfortable with this. I’d be happy to send you photos of the tradeshow materials or hard copies of anything we end up using this in.

Thanks for your time and please tell the kids a big HELLO from GKTW!