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Old 10-03-2011, 08:55 PM   #16
dianemom2
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Originally Posted by mom2pixies View Post
Just a note to say that today marks the day I received the best gift in the world! I was made a mama four years ago and I'll cherish the day forever.

Wishing my sweet B the happiest of birthdays today! May your fourth year be as incredible as your third, peanut. Lots of magic and memories, love, luck, and laughter. We love you!! Today, tomorrow and always....
Hope that Brooke had a wonderful 4th birthday! Can't wait to see birthday pictures and to read more about the trip!
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:24 AM   #17
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Aw....how exciting! I can't wait to read more!
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:50 AM   #18
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Just realized you had started your TR!!!

First off Happy Belated Birthday Brooke


what a wonderful start to your trip....so much pixie dust at the airport love the photos, the girls look so excited and happy!
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:58 PM   #19
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Still around!

Hi everyone,

Just a note to say thank you for the birthday wishes for Brooke and to let all of you know I have not forgotten you or my promise to update our trip report soon. Just seems like the to-do pile (as it is certainly not a list anymore!) has toppled over and DIS keeps getting shoved to the bottom! It never rains--it pours. First her birthday, then Thanksgiving this weekend, and today--I just got into the office to find a call from the school to go back home and pick her up, as they believed she has pink eye. She had runny looking eyes this morning, but I just figured it was part of the cold she acquired over the weekend. A rush to the doctor's and a confirmation--pink eye. Lovely. And, all that, while Pas is on a business trip this week! Ack!!

I do hope to get back to the story this week. I've already downloaded some of the photos and got my Photopass CD in the mail last week. So excited to relive the trip--just have to get back to work right now to make up some time lost from this morning's run around to the school.

Thanks again for still tuning in!
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:05 PM   #20
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Hope Brooke is feeling better. DS6 had pink eye and it was just nasty
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:30 PM   #21
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Chapter 2: Everyday’s a wonderland at GKTW

Okay---sooooo many apologies for taking so long to get back to this. Seems like one thing has fallen on another all at the same time. No worries--everyone is fine, but there's just been so much going on lately.

We have the Three Wishes Gala this weekend, in honour of Make-a-Wish. All wish families are invited to go and share stories and photos of their wishes. And, of course, there are some Halloween events to get through this weekend, too! Eeek. We'll survive!

Anyways, shame on me, I am finally finishing Day 1 of our trip. Here goes!

Chapter 2: Everyday’s a wonderland at GKTW

So, after changing into our Brooke’s wish trip t-shirts, we headed over to the main area of GKTW to get our first real ‘look’ at our home away from home. Wow! I didn’t even know where to angle my lens. So much wonder and so much fun tucked away in every corner of the place. From the talking garbage cans (which were a hit with Brooke. She would feed them all of our used napkins from the Ice Cream Palace) to the Mayor’s tiny cottage—every ounce of the resort was just imagination, plus!



On our way over to the main courtyard, we saw our first inkling of Winter Wonderland night. A horse-drawn wagon ride was meandering up the road. We waved to the driver and the folks on board.







Our first stop was to the Castle of Miracles. We went inside and had a quick look around. There’s just so much to see! The girls explored the little cave—Brooke was terrified by the dark and the sound of buzzing bees, but Avie loved it! She went up and down the slide the entire time we were there.



Brooke played with some Mr. Potato Heads at the centre tables, while I looked around in amazement at all of those stars! Just breath-taking to think of all the children who have passed through these halls and had their wishes come true. Amazing.



Then, Brooke discovered the animatronic box with the crown and robe. Spoiler alert!! A very regal crown and robe are displayed in a glass case and if you stand in precisely the right spot before the glass display case, and put your head through a mirror-shaped ring, the lights will turn on and some coronation music will begin to swell and it looks like you are wearing the crown and robe. A very neat special effect—and Brooke loved it. She would have to do it two or three times every time we stopped into the Castle.

We’d barely been there maybe 15 minutes before Brooke already wanted a tattoo. So, we stopped into the La-di-Da Spa and got her an airbrush tattoo of a mermaid (Ariel, of course!) on her leg. Of course, we also had to snap a few photos of the girls enjoying the ‘royal’ waiting room. Then, we were off again to explore some more.





By this time, a volunteer had come out to open the Carousel. Well, we needed to go on that! And, thus we truly discovered Avie’s obsession with carousels. She had been on one before at a local fairground and although she seemed a little curious at first, she really enjoyed it. Went on three times in a row and cried each time we tried to pull her off. Now, was no different—except that she is older and enjoys it even more now!



The smile that would explode onto her face each time we went on! It was ridiculous. As you can imagine, it was probably her favourite ride the entire trip. She just adored it. I have no doubt she will be asking Santa for a carousel horse for Christmas!

So, we went on it--twice, changing horses for zebras and hippocampi or roosters. The girls just loved changing it up. Brooke especially loved the hippocampi and named her ‘sea horse’ “Seaweed.”

Finally, we decided to get something to eat. We were a little nervous about Pas making it to Orientation in time and didn’t know what to expect in terms of crowds at the Gingerbread House. No worries! The place was warm and inviting and so were the volunteers.



They easily found us a table, showed us where the food lines were and how the meal card worked and we were all set. We enjoyed ‘Christmas dinner’ at one of the tiny, kid-sized tables. We ate turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, while the girls munched on chicken fingers and mashed potatoes and corn. Yum! And, can I say how much I love the Hawaiian Punch pink lemonade? Delish!

We also ran into Angie, Eva and AJ and family while we were there. They had just arrived a few days earlier and had been having a wonderful, if exhausting time. It was nice to finally meet a DISer in person!

After dinner, we had been told by a volunteer to go visit Santa at Julie’s Safari Theatre, so we went over there so Pas could see the girls meet Santa before heading over to Orientation.



We walked into the theatre and it was already crammed with people in the lobby. We got in line and the girls were so excited. Brooke went up and sat on Santa, no problem, chattering all about the plane that had taken us there and how she was going to meet Ariel tomorrow. Avie was not as keen, but with a little convincing and seeing how her sister was having a great time, she joined Brooke on his knees.






The girls were then allowed to go back to the lobby and pick a gift. We had missed the toy racks in the swell of people at the entrance. Avery was content just to watch the crowds from the stroller, but Brooke insisted and picked out a glowworm doll for Avie. Little sister loved it!





Brooke, meanwhile, took her time—perusing the games, My Little Ponies, baby dolls and Barbies. She finally settled on a doll I have never seen before—it’s a fashion doll (Lori, I think the name was?) about 16 inches tall with jointed hands, elbows, shoulders, feet, knees and legs. She came with two outfits and a pair of boots and her hair even comes off should you want to change her from brunette to blonde to redhead.



With their pressies in tow, we headed outside. Pas had to race off to Orientation, but I decided to take the girls around and enjoy some of the sights. We headed up and down the main thoroughfare, checking out the Christmas decorations. The girls had to stop and look at the inflatable snowglobe—and of course, stop and get some treats. Snow cones and cotton candy? Not our usual Christmas goodies, but perfect for a Not-so-Cool Yule! (It was so hot that Santa would have surely melted outside of that air-conditioned theatre!) Brooke proceeded to gobble hers up, so we got her a second snow cone to share with Avie.





The girls then asked to go back on the carousel. Who can refuse? So we went back on another few times, just before the parade began. Volunteers dressed up as Victorian carollers, the Grinch, a snowman, a gingerbread man, Buddy the Elf, angels and fairies, a penguin, a reindeer and a Christmas tree walked alongside a few small cars and carts, all decked out with lights and blaring with Christmas tunes. Mayor Clayton and Mrs. Merry had arrived in holiday splendour!







The group parked the vehicles in the courtyard and started dancing. Kids swarmed them. Elves appeared with velvet sacks and handed out the little toys (like ‘Naughty or Nice?’ bracelets and snowman notepads) that kids love so much. Brooke and Avie got out of the stroller to take photos with the characters and dance with them in the courtyard in front of the theatre.





Then, the snow began and Brooke couldn’t stop laughing and leaping in the ‘snow’ bubbles! She ran around with the other kids chasing the bubbles and picking up piles of it from the ground and throwing it in the air. I think we must have stayed there for at least an hour!


Avie had zero interest in ‘face’ characters—she would get shy as soon as any angel or fairy came over to see her, but if the penguin or the Claytons came over, she was all smiles and hugs! Avie loved the ‘fuzzy’ characters! She couldn’t get enough hugging from them.



The parade/dance party was wrapping up, so I bundled the girls back into the stroller and started back to our villa. It had been a very long day, but as tired as the girls were, they couldn’t stop smiling and chattering about what fun that party had been!

We returned to villa just a few minutes before Pascal returned, with his huge envelope of papers and tickets in hand. We gave the girls a quick bath before dressing them in their special ‘trip’ pjs and putting them to bed. They each went to bed holding their new Christmas and welcome presents. (Little did I know that this pile of toys would grow each day we were there! TIP: Totally bring a folding duffle bag for your trip home. It’s ridiculous how many toys and books and souvenirs the kids receive over the course of a week. We brought a bag—and then still had to buy a tote bag to carry it all home!)

As I was giving Brooke a goodnight kiss, I explained that tomorrow we would go to Disney and see Ariel—and that we had a whole week of fun ahead of us. She couldn’t believe it! This had just been the first day of our adventure—and it would only get better from here.

Last edited by mom2pixies; 10-26-2011 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:06 AM   #22
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Give Kids The World looks like an awesome place and your family looks like they were having a fabulous time! Your trip looks like it is off to a fantastic start. I can't wait to read more.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:17 AM   #23
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the party looks like so much fun! the girls look like they are really enjoying themselves!

we were blessed enough to go visit Judy (blessedmom4) and family when we were there at GKTW, the place is truely a "wonderland". and got to attend the mayor's bday party! was fun and full of lots of yummies too!
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:33 PM   #24
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Aw I love the update so cute!
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:22 PM   #25
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Joining in on the fun. You have two beautiful little girls. Looks like you had a great flight and first day there.

ETA: I just went back and read your PTR. I am so glad that Brooke is cancer free and doing well. She really is a trooper!

Last edited by reelmom; 10-27-2011 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:04 PM   #26
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Beautiful! The pure joy on their faces is so precious!!! I hope you all have a very fun-filled Halloween and Gala!
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:35 AM   #27
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Joining in!! Can't wait to hear all the details!
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:11 AM   #28
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Happy Not so scary halloween
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:41 AM   #29
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Interrupting this program for an important message!

Okay--so please forgive me for interrupting the trip report--especially, as I haven't gotten very far in it yet!--for a quick update on the Gala last weekend. Just an incredible moment!

Um....is there a word more powerful than 'pride' and 'love' and 'gratitude' for what your child can accomplish??!?!

Let me back up a bit.

Our wish rep, Anne, invited us to the annual Three Wishes Gala this year. It's a huge fundraising event where all wish sponsors and wish families come together to raise more money for MAW and just celebrate the wishes from the past year. Of course we were stoked to be invited!

Anne asked if it wouldn't be too much trouble to get Brooke to draw or paint some artwork for the gala, as they like to frame it and give it away as presents to the wish sponsors and have a silent auction of the artwork. Sure, no problem! As you all know, asking B to paint has never been a problem! She also asked that if I had time to put a collage together of some key photos of our trip. Sure, I could do that, too!

So, I had B sit down and draw some artwork, while I put together a collage that had me in tears, much less Anne and Laura and everyone else who looked at it. Brooke drew four pictures: a rainbow (shocking, I know!), a red-headed mermaid (big surprise, right?) and two huge paintings (one with just watercolours and the other was a mixed media piece using tissue paper bits from her actual wish delivery gifts—so extra magic—and glitter!) of Cinderella’s castle with a bunch of fireworks overhead. They were gorgeous--all colourful and bright and full or childlike wonder.

Pas delivered them to Anne and when he saw them, he really wanted one. He said he was going to bid on one of them because he wanted it for his office. Cool!


Anyways, fast forward to the gala. It was a huge, elegant affair, held in a convention centre. I dolled up the girls in some fancy dresses and glittery headbands (B even got to wear a little cream blush and lipgloss, which she carried around in a little silver purse! Adorable.). We went down and looked around and—suddenly 800 people knew who she was. That’s when we noticed that her photo (which I was going to save for the next chapter in the trip report, but am posting up early here because it is so wonderful and captures the true essence of the whole trip and wish) was everywhere! It was on the wish programs, on the two giant jumbotrons in the ballroom, on posters—everywhere! No wonder everyone knew who she was!




So, we wandered around a bit, talking to MAW reps and Anne and Laura and found our wish sponsor, Wayne (who were sat with for dinner—such a nice man! We brought him a Mickey frame we picked up at Disney and had included some photos of Brooke and Avie from Disney. He loved it.). We also found the collage of photos and two of Brooke’s framed pictures—both castle paintings. Lots of photos and chatting and having fun ensued.

Pas asked Anne how much the artwork typically goes for (since he wanted one) and she said anywhere from $500 to $2,500. Okay! Pas decided he’d let someone else have it instead. (He can always get her to paint him another one! She said she couldn’t wait to see the auction because even the framer was amazed by how beautiful her paintings were and how the artist was just four years old. I think the two smaller photos were framed as well, but were given as gifts. (I hope Wayne receives the picture of Ariel!)

Anyways—the night progressed and Anne asked if we would take Brooke up on the stage for the live auction, as they would be auctioning off her artwork (with two other children’s art pieces) at the end of the program. Sure. It was getting so late. Avery had dozed off in Wayne’s arms, which was a good thing, because now I was free to go up to the stage to take photos of Brooke.

When they finally got to the wish art auction, the first girl up was a teenager who went on a wish trip to England. She had taken a beautiful photo of Stonehenge one foggy morning and it was framed. Gorgeous picture. It went for $2,500! The girl was so pleased and proud.



Brooke was up next with her first castle painting. The celebrity auctioneer tried to get her to talk about her painting, but she was too shy, so Pas explained what the picture was about while I snapped away taking pictures.

And, what happened next was kind of a stunned blur. The bidding began. I expected a couple of hundred dollars—when the bid hit $2,000, I was shocked. I was gobsmacked when it hit $5,000 but when the bid went to $10,000, I was so blown away, the tears were just welling in my eyes as I frantically wiped them away!



It is the highest amount ever earned for a single piece of artwork.

Then, one of the wish reps who had attended our wish delivery stood up and bid $5,000 to commission Brooke to create a piece of artwork for his law office. In a few minutes, she had raised $15,000 for MAW!!!

But, Brooke wasn’t done yet!

The next boy who went up had drawn an adorable self-portrait and now that the momentum was going, his drawing also went for another $10,000. In fact, it was down to two bidders for his drawing, one at $9,000 and one at $10,000 when the auctioneer said “Tell you what. You two are bidding over this one drawing, but Brooke still has another painting. Why don’t I give each of you a painting for $10,000 and we call it a day?”

They agreed. Brooke raised $25,000 for MAW and everyone was just giving her (and the two other children, of course!) a standing ovation to thunderous applause and many, many tears from Wayne, Anne, Laura and all of our wish executives. We couldn’t believe it! B raised enough money for three children to be granted future wishes. Isn’t that amazing? There really is power in sharing a wish!

Overall, the event was a resounding success, raising over $70,000 for our local chapter—and we couldn’t be prouder of our little girl and her charming little paintings. Truly. Words can’t express how much this meant to us and to everyone in that room!

Anyways, there are lots more photos, but these are the only ones I have downloaded here! I'll post up more, so you can see us all in our gala finery and see Avie with Wayne, etc. I completely forgot to turn on the video camera for the live auction--I was just too stunned to do anything but stand there with my mouth hanging open!--and have yet to find anyone who took video, although I know there are a lot of photos of the event! If I find a vid link, I'll post it up as well.

Thanks for tuning in!

Last edited by mom2pixies; 11-03-2011 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:53 AM   #30
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Oh! And in case anyone is interested--maybe my Canadian friends will recognize these faces?--the celebrity auctioneers are Michael O'Byrne, a local newscaster, and Wayne Rostad, a tv host and musician. I wish we had had a proper chance to meet with them!
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