October 29, 2008

Disney World REALLY is the Happiest Place on Earth

Hello all! I wanted to tell you about our Make-A-Wish trip ....don't worry, I'll give you the shortest version possible for such a mouthful of fun. Ha! Plus, I added some videos of our trip below. But, read this first so you'll understand the context.

First of all, the place we stayed was amazing. It's called Give Kids the World Village (Kissimee, FL) and works in conjunction with several wish programs. Disney is probably the biggest wish of any Make-A-Wish child so this man, Henri Landwrith, created this village and made it the fairytale land that it is today. Read his bio here: http://www.gktw.org/aboutUs.asp?a=1&page=henri

He's an awesome man who began as a holocaust survivor and ended up being closely connected to NASA and used his connections to make dreams come true for children all over the world. (I read his book...it was sooo good). Anyway...it all started with one man's dream. Visit the official website to learn all about Give Kids the World here: www.gktw.org

He is close friends with John Glenn and he took the GKTW flag on his final mission into space. Pretty Groovy!
See Below:

Moving along....the village was a child's fantasy come true. Free ice cream all day long...train rides,
, putt-putt, 2 swimming pools, a splash park, free pizza delivery to your villa anytime you want it (the villas were so cute too!), a beautiful carousel, free breakfast and dinner in the Gingerbread House (it was good as well), free tickets to not only Disney parks, but mostly any park, museum etc that you may want to visit it Florida for the entire family, gifts were layed out for the children, yes ALL of them in your family, every single night when we'd come back to the villa, there was a movie theater that was so beautiful inside (see below):

, a model train set that any child, or adult would love to play with, a game room, a pirate ship,
...the list just goes on and on. I can't say enough about GKTW..it was a magical place.

There was a castle in the village and inside on the ceiling were thousands and thousands of stars and each child that visits gets to put their name on a gold star and it's at the village forever. You even get a passport that tells the exact location and coordinates of the star. Aidan loved having the "star fairy" place his star for him while he was sleeping. We were in awe the entire time we were there. The most magical thing about the place is that every single person who works there are volunteers. They give their generosity every day to lend their time to these children who are so deserving of a very special time to remember forever. I could cry just thinking about it.

Make-A-Wish not only provided us with this wonderful place to stay for a week, but they also flew our entire family round trip for free, gave us a rental car and a nice size check to spend on souveniers and whatever else we wanted. It really was a dream come true.....for everyone.

Here is what we also got in our package:
3 day tickets to Disney World (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, MGM/Hollywood Studios)
1 ticket to Sea World (we never had the time to go :( )
2 day tickets to Universal Studios (probably our favorite park)

At Disney and the other parks we were treated like royalty. We wore a Gold VIP Badge that allowed our family to skip to the front of each line and we rarely had to wait, only for the ride to come around again. At first, we felt a little funny about it...like who are we to cut in front of all those people? But they usually took us in a back way so it wasn't noticable. This privelage allowed us the opportunity to ride almost every single thing we wanted. It was awesome. Also, we never had to point out our badge, they just noticed and ushered us right on in. The special treatment didn't stop there....we also got VIP meet and greets with alsmot every Disney character. It was really amazing. (Take note of all my lavish adjectives throughout the post-ha!)

One of Aidan's wishes was to be a chef, so Disney and GKTW made that happen for him! Aidan got to be a chef at Tony's Towne Square Restaurant in the MAGIC KINDGDOM!!! The photos are just too cute.
He loved it and had the best time. You'll see more of this in the videos. He got to keep his little chef coat and hat and they treated us to the most delicious meal I've ever had! No joke. There really are no words to describe the trip other than to say it was just MAGICAL. Disney World really is the happiest place on Earth! Aidan had such a wonderful time, as did the other kids....and us BIG kids too.

Before our trip we told the Make-A-Wish people that we wanted to go to the beach afterward (on our dime) for 4 days. So they arranged where our flight would leave later and also arranged for us to keep our car for the remaining days. After our week long excursion at Disney, we took ourselves to Daytona for 4 days and relaxed. We needed a vaction after that vacation!!!! We played on the beach, relaxed and just talked about all the fun we had. In total, our trip lasted 11 days. It was the best vacation I have ever had. I'm looking forward to creating more memories as time goes on.

Throughout the trip I took over 6,000 photos. Yes, you read that correctly AND my husband basically videotaped the entire trip as well. Family and friends always ask to see our videos and pictures, but it's just too much, SO I began making vacation videos to incorporate the two. I wanted to divide them into days, as each day we did and got to see so many things. Not only that, but when we watch them, we will remember them in the exact contect of our trip, otherwise it gets confusing. It's hard to get video that isn't jumpy etc while you are walking, so in order to snip them down and trim out all of the unimportant or "jumpy" parts, I had to edit .....A LOT. (Sorry hun)These videos are for us, so there are parts where you may wonder...why would they include this or that....so we can remember it!

Alright....so below are two videos. I've already completed a third and will post it soon. Hope you enjoy, I know we did :) You'll see me acting a little silly from time to time...in my defense...I was at Disney World for goodness sakes....where kids can be kids! That gives anyone the right to act as "Goofy" as they want. LOL

Thanks Give Kids the World, Disney, Universal and Make-A-Wish for making Aidan, and all of our dreams come true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Videos have been removed.

October 26, 2008

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Meet Cam:

Cam is my bestest friend, my source of inspiration, my lover and my closest confidante. I could hug him and squeeze him and kiss him and just keep him with me forever and ever. Cam goes with my where ever I go, he's my buddy. Cam is my most beloved camera. My graduation gift....the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT 350D.

I love photography and have wanted a digital SLR since before they existed and now I have one. ( jumping up and down with glee) I got him in December. I just wish I had more time to play with him. I still haven't learned all of his ins and outs, but will sit down for a major study session very soon. (keep your dirty thoughts in check people)

I believe some new photos are in order. Here are just a few that I like. I have thousands from our trip, but that would take forever. I haven't uploaded any new photos on here in ages...so check out some of my and Cam's work below: p.s....the reason there are so many of my youngest is because he doesn't run screaming everytime I bring Cam out to play. Ha. Also...how difficult is it to take vacation photos without getting some tourists big ole head in the frame? Let me answer that......VERY!

Click on the image for a larger view.

This is a picture of my son and I at Daytona Beach during his Make-A-Wish trip.
At the airport.

On top of my new camera...I also got something else I love with all my big, red beating heart....Photoshop CS4!!!
Below are some things I created using PS by blending images and using paintbrushes. Check-check-check em out:

Before, a picture of a forest that I found on the internet:

After: It's very whimsical. I wanted it to look as though she was scooped up and taken from home. Poor little fairy. he he he he.

One of my regular beach photos from Daytona-Before:

After: How fun! It's Goonie-ish. I added the pirate ship (obviously) by blending it into my normal picture. I also added the clouds with my paintbrushes.

I made this using only paintbrushes, meaning it's a painting, no images were used. It was fun to make. I imagined a place where I'd love to be...and voila! On a hill at sunset, she's probably daydreaming or something. LOL @ myself. You can laugh at me too...it's ok.

Added plane and lighting...

Used paintbrushes only. I love this and am proud of it. :) It's much more detailed up close.

This makes me laugh...but I like the colors.

My homage to Sex and the City:

Just because:

Well, I hope you liked some of my photos. Have a fantastic day... and go do something creative!