Saturday, April 29, 2017

Our own birthday card

When a kid in Callum's class has a birthday, his teacher has all the kids make birthday cards for that child as a way to celebrate their day.

The birthday child, in turn, makes a card for his/her parents.

This is what Callum made for us. ❤

I've been horrible at blogging this last week or two because I've been laid out due to my back (which I'm sure is what he's referring to). But, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel .... I've been on steroids for the last few days to help with the pain and inflammation, and will be starting PT again on Monday. I'll see my back Dr for a follow up next week too, since I had another MRI done this last week as well.

Thankfully, now that the boys are older and more self sufficient, I feel like I've been able to take better care of myself and recover faster than past flare ups. (I'm also, generally, in better shape, stronger and weigh less than I did several years ago, which no doubt has helped!)

Of course, cards like this always help too.😊

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Feeling old....

Callum got a birthday card signed from our friends at Disney.... 

the boys asked us, "What does 'hashtag one' mean?" 😂😂😬😱👵🏼

Sent from my mobile device

We have a 7 year old!

Happiest of birthdays to our crazy rock star. Love you more than words can say. 😘😘😘

Sent from my mobile device

Monday, April 17, 2017

Thank you Make A Wish!

Well, I think it's safe to say we had a fabulous time on this amazing trip from Make A Wish!

The boys were showered with gifts and goodies every day at the Give Kids The World village, not to mention all of the great toys they bought on their own while in all of the parks. I thought I should take a few pics of Callum's biggest score yet - he found the very last Hank (the septopus, from Finding Dory) on our very last day at Disney - Hank is one of Callum's favorite Disney characters, so we were all happy to see him get it. :)

Our flight home was pretty long and tiresome, but we made it!! Callum took a couple hour nap, which I'm glad he was able to do, since he was pretty tired and overstimulated by the entire trip. I'm not sure how I lasted, I guess because I had to ;-) but I'm pretty sure I was the happiest of us all to finally be home. Heehee

Still, we owe so much to Make A Wish for such a grand trip! Thank you thank you!! It was really special and everything we could have hoped for!! We originally thought we wouldn't do a Wish for Callum but I'm so glad our oncology team talked us into it. I'm sure the boys are going to remember this one forever. ❤

Fun in the Village

Jon and the boys toured other attractions in the Village, riding a few more times on the Carrousel, getting a last ice cream cone, playing some video games and a few holes of mini golf.

Meanwhile, I found a bench in the shade and laid on my back - sitting is the worst and walking/standing isn't that great either when it's this bad - plus I knew I needed to "store up" some time because we had a long day of travel ahead of us.

So, most of my view yesterday was the last pic - watching the clouds move across the sky. ;-)

Callum's Star

We took it easy yesterday morning since it was our last day of the trip (and my back was still extremely aggravated). We spent most of the morning packing up all of our millions of stuffed toys in our bags and loaded everything up in the car to check out.

Since our flight wasn't until the late afternoon, we spent our last hours hanging out in the Village. While Jon checked out and returned our keys etc, the boys and I went back to the Castle to see where the Star Fairy had placed Callum's star. It's in the Star Tower, in the Panda circle (the last pic shows where exactly it is, recorded in their system, in case we ever want to come back to see it again). Speaking of coming back, we are now Give Kids The World alums, and can come back to visit the Village anytime we want! :)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Magic Pillows

After we gave Callum's star to the Star Fairy, we walked around the castle and explored a little. We met another fairy (I can't remember his/her name), who lived in a tree and made the boys each their own Magic pillows to take home with them. After they each got their pillows, we grabbed some ice cream from the ice cream parlor, and then Callum rode the carousel a few more times, before walking back to our villa.

While I'm bummed my back decided to fail me this trip, I'm glad it allowed us time to get back to the Village early today, so the boys could spend a few more hours in this very special place.

Castle of Miracles

Within our Village is the Castle of Miracles, which has many different activities for Wish kids to participate in. As a part of our visit, Callum received a gold star which he wrote his name on tonight and placed in a treasure box for the star fairy, Stellar, to pick up and place in the Star Tower later tonight. We can come back tomorrow to find out where Callum's star is placed, which will remain for eternity.

Right now, there are over 130,000 stars lighting the ceiling and walls of the castle! :)

Give Kids The World Village

Once we got back to our villa, I took a hot shower to try and relax my back a bit and laid down for awhile. Meanwhile, Jon took the boys to the pool to play and wrestle some energy out of them.

All around the Village are these water hydrants painted as different characters that kids will enjoy. Callum has pointed out this Harry Potter one so many times, I figured I better get a snapshot of it before we go home. :)


The first thing Callum wanted to do, once we got to SeaWorld, was to see some whales. So, we went to the One World killer whale show, which was starting soon after we arrived.

Because of our Make A Wish passes, we got front row seats in "the Splash Zone". For the first half of the show, as the sides to the left and right of us got wet, the boys (and mostly Logan), kept turning to me and saying "but we're not getting wet, Mom!!" Don't worry, we will.....

Finally, towards the end of the show, the whales starting splashing everyone. And they had absolutely NO MERCY for us front and center folks. We proceeded to get completely soaked, over and over, which really upset Callum a great deal. He turned from the happiest camper on earth to a scared crying little boy who wanted to leave ASAP. :(

So, I ran out with him to avoid any more of the splashing and took him outside to sit in some sun, warm up a bit, and calm down. Poor kiddo.

After the show, we grabbed a bite to eat and at some time between leaving the stadium and walking out to find food, I did something wretched to my back (I have no idea what), and it just completely gave out. :( Jon says it's probably the last 4 days of nonstop walking but I think I must've done something to tweak it since it was totally fine and not bothering me for the last few days. :(

So, I limped along while we grabbed some food and headed to a "family friendly" Shamu Express roller coaster that the boys wanted to try out (they're sitting in the front in the pic I took). But my back was clearly disabling me more and more by the minute.

Luckily for me, the boys and Jon were all running out of steam themselves, and sadly, most of the rides were for either very small kids or really big kids :( so we went on one more ride where we got to see some penguins afterward, and then headed home.

A slower day

Check it out, I'm posting at a normal hour today! ;-)

Callum woke up a bit earlier than Logan, so he and Jon headed over to the cafeteria for breakfast while Logan and I bummed around our villa.

While they were out, they checked over the water park/pool area, and Callum rode the carousel many times over. Meanwhile, after he woke up, Logan hung out at the playground across from our villa, with another boy who was staying near us.

We finally headed out about noon for our last park day of the trip! Today was a visit to SeaWorld. :)

An amazing time at Disney

Our final day, clocking in 3 parks (technically 4, but we only went into Epcot to take a bus transfer to another park)..... we left our hotel a little after 11am, and this was how I found Logan, after I told him to wait for me on those comfy couches (while I waited in a long line to pick up some pictures from one of the rides we were on), around 12:25am. :)

The boys were great our entire time. Only a few whiny complaints but really, overall, we couldn't have asked for a better time.

I'd say we did Disney right. ❤

The grey stuff

Apparently this "grey stuff" dessert is super popular, so we got one to try. Callum was, surprisingly, not a fan. :)

Be Our Guest Restaurant

We had a lovely dinner in the fancy schmancy Beauty and the Beast castle and saw The Beast walk by many times (we didn't stick around for pics because the line was too long and we wanted to get a couple more rides in before the park closed).

What a nice way to end our last evening!

Back to Magic Kingdom

Hollywood Studios closed early yesterday (7pm) because of a special Star Wars event they were holding in the evening (there's a 40th Anniversary Star Wars convention in Orlando this weekend), so we headed back over to Magic Kingdom after they closed.

One of the rides we did at Hollywood was the Rock n' Roller Coaster, which was a super high speed, high thrill roller coaster, complete with huge drops and corkscrew spins. Callum was not a fan, but Logan had a blast (he's now discovering the fun and thrill of roller coasters this trip - pretty fun). :)

So, once we got back to Magic Kingdom, we had a necessary ice cream break and then caught a few fun rides, one being Space Mountain for Logan (he absolutely loved it) and back to the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train coaster that Callum loved.

We wanted to time it so that we could have dinner during the fireworks show, and miss the crazy packed crowds (both in the park and leaving the park). But, as we waited for our table at Be My Guest, it just so happened that the fireworks were going off RIGHT above us (that's the Be My Guest castle, not Cinderella's castle)! So we got an amazing view for the first few minutes of the show, before heading inside. :)

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Another horrible pic but it's the best I got with my phone (I have better ones with my camera that I'll upload later). But again, I didn't want to forget about squeezing in a fun lunch at the as Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, which we did in the Hollywood Studios park (park #2 for the day!).

Here we entered the 1950's, and dined in old cars set up in a drive-in theater, where we watched old black and white Sci-Fi movies! :)

Callum's Monkey

On our way out of Animal Kingdom, Callum snagged the last of these orange-brown hanging monkeys (not sure what type - we'll have to research what their names are!). The arms/legs are long and able to wrap around you so he basically walked around the rest of the day with this little monkey hanging from his neck. It was pretty darn cute.

But there were times when it also looked like some mink stole, especially paired with 3-D glasses from various rides we went on. So, I had to snap a couple of those moments too. ;-)

Safari Ride

This is a crappy pic but I wanted to make sure not to forget our Safari Ride in Animal Kingdom.

So, since it was our last day of our 3-Day Disney pass, we knew we still had to squeeze in a few things! We started off at Animal Kingdom to take a Safari Ride where we got to see all sorts of amazing animals! We loved it. 👍🏼

Our last day at Disney

Got home too late last night - so time to catch up on yesterday!!

Another pic of the boys snoozing around 9:35am. Yes, another late start (we've just decided we might as well keep operating on West Coast time at this point I think!) :)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Seuss Recycling

As we walked out of the Islands of Adcenture park, we walked through the Dr. Seuss world which Callum got super excited about. He even made me take a picture of the recycling bins that were painted differently than the rest of the park. ;-)

We took a fun ride in the Seuss Trolley Train Ride to check out most of the world, before heading back on our merry way out of the park!

We had a fun day but everyone was pretty beat by the time we got back to our car. It was about 8:50pm so I decided I better call the restaurant before we trekked over to Downtown Disney and then we couldn't get in. Sure enough, the wait was about 2 hours (!!) they said, and they closed at 11pm.

So, I did a quick search to find something else to stop at for dinner instead. We found a funky little restaurant that had pretty good food (and most importantly, no wait!). We all four scarfed everything up like we had been walking for miles all day ;-) and once our tummies were full, we climbed in the car and headed back to our hotel. Another late night (the boys didn't wind down until a little after 12am) but still a really great day!

More spells!

Once in Hogsmeade, we headed over to the Hogwarts Castle to check out the Forbidden Journey ride (super amazing, the boys' favorite of the entire day) as well as the Flight of the Hippogriff (small roller coaster). The Hippogriff ride was super fast so the boys probably rode that about 6-7 times total!

We were trying to coax the boys to start working their way out of the park by then, because it was getting close to dinner time and we had wanted to try a place that I didn't get reservations for (so we knew we'd have to walk in and wait for awhile).

But, it was pretty tough to drag them away. They had a blast practicing more spells around Hogsmeade as well and were actually getting quite good at it by the end! :)

Hogwarts Express

After we explored every nook and cranny of Diagon Alley in Universal Studios, we took Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade, the Harry Potter world in the other park (Universal's Islands of Adventure). While on the train ride, the boys enjoyed their chocolate frogs. ;-)

Meanwhile.... Jon grabbed a real beer to enjoy :)

Casting spells

Throughout the Harry Potter worlds, there were various places where we could use our wands to cast spells and make magic. The boys (and every other kid around) loved finding new little spots where they could practice their magic. :)