1.03.2010

Dream Come True















Wow! What an amazing Christmas I had. I'm sorry I haven't posted in over a month, but Mommy was caught up in the Christmas rush, and we had to get everything done before we left for our trip to Disney. Yes... I said, "DISNEY!"

The wonderful Make-A-Wish Foundation recently sent Lily, Daddy, Mommy, and me on a seven-day trip to the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. Our adventure started with a limo ride to the airport on Sunday, December 20. Lily and I had a blast not riding in our carseats and touching the "stars" on the ceiling in the fancy car. We survived security, though it took Mommy and Daddy about 15 minutes to put everything back in and on all of us. The airplane ride was awesome, and the passengers around us got a kick out of the giggles from Lily and me during takeoff and landing. I even made a new friend on the airplane. A really nice lady, Ms. Amy, sat next to Mommy and me on the plane, so we both enjoyed talking with her for the entire ride. She works for Universal Studios, and we were hoping to see her there, but we ended up not going to Universal while we were in Florida.

We got into the Give Kids the World Village after dark, so we weren't able to see nearly how spectacular it was until the next day. I could tell that I was going to like it from the moment we pulled through the gates and entered the House of Hearts. The sweet woman checked us in, provided Mommy and Daddy with some information (and a huge packet), and gave Lily and me our first of many special gifts. We got to ride in a golf cart to our own villa, and we had fun running around to check out our home for the next week. Our energy ran out quickly, though (no naps on the plane), so we had dinner delivered to our villa, and we went to bed early.

Monday morning, we headed to the Magic Kingdom, as did everyone else in the Orlando/Kissimmee area. Throughout the day, Lily and I had our photos taken with Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora), Cinderella, Belle, and the fairies (Tinkerbell, Fawn, and Terence). We also rode some fun rides including the teacups, the Dumbo ride, It's a Small World, and the train. Lily and Daddy rode Space Mountain while Mommy and I took a tour of Mickey's and Minnie's houses and played on a cute little playground. Getting back to the village after dark again, we decided to veg out on the couch and have our dinner delivered. We wanted to see some of the cool things Mommy had read about in the village guidebook, though, so we donned our princess dresses to investigate the Castle of Miracles for spa treatments (face painting, manicure, and airbrush tattoos), a few carousel rides, the creation of our magic pillows, and to see the star fairy. We finished out the night with some hot fudge sundaes at the Ice Cream Palace.

On Tuesday, we ventured to the Animal Kingdom (which was also a very popular place). We got into the Lion King show just in the nick of time, and boy was it fabulous! I really enjoyed singing and dancing to the music and seeing my friends from the movie. After that, we got our pics taken with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Goofy, and then hiked over to the safari. This was one of my favorite things from the trip (oh... and the teacups). We rode in a huge truck with like 30 other people, and we saw lots of cool animals that we don't normally get to see. Our tour guide/driver made the trip so much fun that I wanted to do it again, but we were getting hungry and tired so we left to go back to the village for lunch and naps. Having not really experienced a lot of what we heard about at the village, we chose to check out the life-sized Candy Land playground before dinner. It was the most fun of anything we had done so far, and we had been having loads of fun. Daddy called it the "cardboard boxes" of Christmas (whatever that means). Dinner at the Gingerbread House with Rocky the (fake) raccoon as entertainment, more ice cream at the palace, looking at the moon and Jupiter through a really big telescope, and a magic show at the Safari Theatre complete with ICEEs and make-your-own pixie sticks completed the evening.

Wednesday morning started with horseback riding at Keaton's Korral, breakfast, more rides on the carousel, and our first visit to the pool. Though the air was still relatively chilly, we knew it was supposed to get up to around 70 degrees during the day and the pool was heated. It felt great until the cold water fountains started spraying at 11am, but they warmed up within a half hour. The water playground was spectacular, too, but a little too cold for my taste. I chose to play in the sand with one of the volunteers instead, but Lily tried it out. Something feels so right, and yet wrong, about swimming at Christmastime; however, I think I could get used to it! The clouds moved in and cooled things off in the late afternoon, so we put on our sweatshirts and jeans to visit the playground again before dinner. During our meal at the Gingerbread House, one of the volunteers mentioned that Village Idol would be going on at the Safari Theatre that night. Mommy said, "Thanks, but we are going to have an early night." Daddy then waited a little while and asked me if I wanted to stand up on a stage to sing with a real microphone in front of lots of people who would clap for me. My reply was an emphatic, "YES!" As contestant #10, I sang a couple of lines from (yes, you guessed it) "Dancing Queen," and people did clap! Though I was a bit shy, I enjoyed the limelight and signing autographs after the show.

No rest for the "star" on Thursday morning... we had places to go! Mommy rushed us over for pictures with Mickey, Minnie, Belle, Pluto, and Goofy, then we grabbed a quick breakfast at the Ice Cream Palace before heading to Mauiva Air Tours for a private flight. It was a perfect morning when our pilot Jason strapped us in, gave us headsets, and took off over Kissimmee. We saw the Epcot ball, the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, Shaq's and Tiger Woods' houses, and we even got to fly over the Give Kids the World Village. It was neat to see it from the sky, and we were able to pick out our villa, as well as the playground. Lily, Mommy, and I wanted to swim again, but Daddy decided to fish. He started feeling a little sick, and he's not really one to hang out at the pool much anyway. In the late afternoon, my cousins Rachel and Ricky, as well as Aunt Louisa and Uncle Rick came to visit. They were down at Disney for a 10-day trip, and it was Christmas Eve, so it was neat to see family. We went for ice cream first, then we raced around the playground, ate a nice dinner, rode the carousel, watched the Winter Wonderland parade, and visited Santa. It was a great night, but Daddy was feeling pretty awful, so we all went to bed early.

We woke up to lots of rain Christmas morning, and even more was predicted throughout the day, but we had planned to spend the day at Sea World thinking that most people wouldn't go there on Christmas. Mommy and Daddy debated just staying in all day with us, but Daddy really wanted to see Shamu. We made the wise decision to buy some rain ponchos and take a risk. It turned out to be a pretty nice day after all, and there were just a few sprinkles and one steady rain while we were there. We were able to feed and pet the dolphins, see the dolphin show, pet the stingrays, ride some rides, play in the sand, eat some lunch, and watch the Shamu show. Unfortunately, we're probably not welcome back at Sea World because of the tantrum that Lily threw following the Shamu show. It lasted for about a half hour in the park as we raced to the exit (in time for the downpour), half an hour in the car ride back to the village, and another half hour once we returned to the villa. I really shouldn't talk, though, since I had thrown a fit on the way to Sea World that morning. It might have just been me, but Mommy and Daddy looked quite exhausted; Daddy was sick on top of it. Needless to say, naps were taken, then we had pizza delivered to allow Daddy some rest. It was Christmas, so Mommy wanted to get us out for the evening (and away from our green daddy). We attended the princess and pirate party with Shamu and Dolly (the dolphin) with lots of other families, and of course, we rode the carousel again.

Saturday morning rushed by quickly. We had to pack up lots of stuff (we had accumulated more than we anticipated while we were there), eat breakfast, and check out so that we could make it to the airport early. Daddy was the sickest I've ever seen him, so it was an excruciatingly long day at the airport. Between his chills, coughs, and trouble breathing, I don't know how he made it. I asked Mommy not to write about the fits Lily and I both had on the last day, so she'll leave the gory details out. We didn't get to ride next to a really nice lady on the plane this time, but it was a relatively good flight. Frank met us with the limo, and we were whisked home to eat dinner that Nana and Papa had waiting and to rip open the Christmas gifts that Santa had left.

Poor Daddy! He went straight to bed and didn't even get to see us open our presents. Still feeling horribly the next day, and knowing he didn't want to give what he and Mommy decided was the H1N1 to the Kniskern family, he stayed home. Mommy, Lily, and I headed to Nanna B's and Poppa's house to celebrate Christmas with them, my cousins Mason and Avery, Aunt Renee and Uncle Jon, Great Nanna, and all the family dogs. We had a fun time, but it sure wasn't the same without Daddy.

Finally on Tuesday, Daddy went to the doctor. It turns out that he had H1N1, which turned into pneumonia, a sinus infection, and an almost-ruptured eardrum. By Wednesday midday, he started feeling a ton better, due to the strong antibiotics and steroids, and I could play with him and hug him again. Lily and I sure missed him! We spent lots of time this week making sure our new toys worked. It was great to actually play at our house. We also spent the night with Nana and Papa, visited with Great Nana and Great Papa, and spent the night with Nanna B. and Poppa on New Year's Eve.

So... did I have the best Christmas ever? What do YOU think?!

Mommy, Daddy, Lily, and I want to sincerely thank the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Give Kids the World Village, its sponsors, and thousands of volunteers, for making my dreams come true this holiday season. I said I wanted to meet the princesses, but who would've guessed I could feel like royalty, too? I had heard that they made it really special for "wish kids" and that there would be lots of surprises, but I had no idea of the extent to which these terrific organizations would go to make our trip so perfect. I would have to say that this was definitely the best week of my life, and I believe my sister would say the same. Mommy is working on a video with more pics from the trip (you KNOW she took a lot), but it's not ready yet. She'll post it to You Tube when it's finished. You can see from the few photos above, though, that we truly enjoyed ourselves!
Tomorrow morning I'm off to the Liberty Township campus of Children's for chemo. My counts are awesome, so they'll probably boost my oral chemo dosage again. They want to keep my ANC between 500 and 1000, and I'm above that (which is great). After tomorrow, I'm down to eleven more monthly chemo treatments at the clinic! I'm seeing that light at the end of the tunnel...

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