Thursday, March 20, 2014

Florida 2014

We made it! Our trip was a success! But oh the worry we went through to get there.I had so many people praying for me, and I truly felt it. The plane rides were the hardest for me because of Coltan's lung. I really struggled to believe that he was going to be ok. I had timed his breaths before we left so that I could tell if he was breathing faster on the plane and that would indicate that his lung was giving him trouble. But all was well. All three kids did amazing on the way there and even on the way back, and on the way back we landed at 12:30am, by the time we got home, got the kids into bed it was almost 3am. So we all rested the next day and now they are back to school!

But enough about the travelling, now about our trip! There are no words to describe Give Kids The World. It is the most amazing place I have ever seen. What they do for families with sick children is truly amazing. Our entire stay there was paid for. We had a villa all to ourselves, and had more food than we needed. Everyday when we got back from what we were doing that day there were presents left on the table for the kids. It was a good thing I brought an extra suitcase because we filled it with toys on the way home!

The village is so beautiful. The villas look like fairy tale houses on the outside, so beautiful. All the grounds are perfectly manicured and the buildings all look like they are out of a story book. It was so fun to just be there and walk around, taking it all in. So often I had tears in my eyes as we walked around because I just could not believe how blessed we were to be able to stay there.

The volunteers are so friendly and helpful. They do anything for you and are happy to do it. Here are a few pics of what we experienced at GKTW.

This is our villa. Each Villa has the family's name on it, and it truly feels like a home.

Here is another pic of our villa. They are all side by sides, so it is only half of what it looks like here. The walls were a little thin, so I felt bad for the family next door as Coltan has quite the voice!

Here are the kids posing on the porch of the villa.

Chris was very used to ordering pizza every night. We aren't used to being able to order pizza for delivery and have it delivered in minutes...and free:)
And yes that's the crib in the kitchen. That's what happens when you put wheels on a crib and hand it over to a 2 year old!

This was the kids bathroom. It was HUGE!

This was the kids shower, it was also huge! All 5 of us could have easily fit into it!

This was the jetted tub in the kids bathroom.

This is where Noah and Holly slept, we tried Coltan in there with them but that was clearly not going to work! So we moved the crib into our room.

This is our room. 

This was our bathroom.

Here was the living room, this is very clean, must have been day 1!

This tree was part of the castle at the village. It snored all day:) When you are in the castle, you can go inside the tree. It's all lit up inside, very beautiful.

This was the view from our villa. There was a huge pond with a fountain. 

Here is the Merry Go Round located right outside the restaurant. The kids rode it frequently!

Here is the Gingerbread House. It's the restaurant in the village.

Here is the castle in the village. Inside it is filled with stars that each wish child gets to put their name on. The walls and ceilings are filled with them. It really puts it into perspective how many sick children have been there. It was very emotional for me to be in there. To know my son's name is in that castle. To see my friend's little boys star and know that he is no longer here. It was hard.

Here is Noah writing his name on his star. 

Now for some pics of the adventures we went on! We arrived late Monday, so Tuesday was our first day. We decided to go to Aquatica, which is the water park at Seaworld. 

Our first family photo of the trip

Coltan was sooo good in his stroller that week. I think he was entertained with the many things just to see everywhere.

Holly LOVED anything fast and crazy. Mom and dad thought this was FAR too dangerous for her to go on, this was just the beginning! 

Here they go marching up the slide...again

Dad and Noah taking a break. We parked our stuff in the sand at the wave pool.

Coltan loved the sand

So did Hol

Wednesday we went to Seaword. It was a LONG day, but great.

This is the Atlantis ride behind them. The questions about Atlantis are still coming in from Noah. 

I think Holly would still be dragging Chris on this ride if we let her!

This is what happens when Grandpa Friesen gets rooked into too many rides!

Thursday we spent at Legoland. This was the place that Noah wanted to see the most.

It was so amazing that all these things were made out of lego! This elephant was huge!

This whole car was lego

Holly and Chris on another roller coaster. That girl is a rider for sure.

These miniatures were really cool.

Thursday also was Coltan's 2nd birthday. At the village they celebrate Christmas EVERY Thursday so Coltan was able to celebrate Christmas and his birthday on the same day:) He also got double the presents!

The village had his cake ready and waiting for him.

There was also a balloon waiting outside our front door that morning. It was a special day for him.

Friday we spent the day at the village. We went to the water park there and tried to 'rest' a bit for the last leg of our trip. 

Saturday we went to Magic Kingdom. It was HUGE. 

This castle was so beautiful.

We went through the Swiss Family Robinson life size tree house. The kids love this movie and thought walking through the tree house itself was very neat!

We went on an Amazon Cruise, and seen some very real looking animals. But these were not real.

Although they looked it!

The elephants looked really real.

This was a HUGE steam boat that went by often. Coltan loved it.

This was a run away train roller coaster. The kids loved it, especially Holly.

All the buildings were so amazing. We went on a Peter Pan ride that was really cool. It was like you were flying above the city with him.

Holly was able to meet Rapunzel. 
And Snow White

And Sunday was our last full day. We spent it at Animal Kingdom. I loved Animal Kingdom.

Our first stop...Africa

This was a highlight for all of us. We went on a real safari and seen these amazing animals up close, no fences!

This was a baby giraffe, so precious.

The giraffes were very close to us

This baby elephant was a ways off, but still spectacular.

The rhinos were bigger than I thought!

This guy was very close. Kinda scary, when we looped around him, his mate was sleeping behind him. Very neat to see.

We were also able to see Gorillas in Asia. Although these guys were behind the glass.

All the grandparents posing in front of Mt. Everest.

Chris and Holly and Albert did this roller coaster.

And our Noah. The whole reason for this amazing trip:) I hope you always remember this my son. It was amazing! Let's not wait too long to go back:)

And that's it. A nice break in treatment. Noah is about half done. It was so nice to get away from our regular life for a bit. But now that we are home, it's back to normal pretty fast. Noah has chemo on Monday, and starting the steroids again. The next 2 weeks will be rougher than the last that's for sure. But this break was welcomed and will hopefully help us get through the next year and a half.

Thank you to all who prayed for us. Truly. Thank you.


1 comment:

  1. I am SO happy that you had a great trip! I love your pictures, and I love seeing little Coltan with his balloon! It looks like he had a fantastic birthday! Your family really deserved this trip, and I'm so glad you were all able to go, that you had a fantastic time, and that nobody got sick! God bless each of you!

    And the runaway mine cart was one of Marin's favorite rides too... I think her and Holly would have a great time on all of the 'fastest' rides in the parks, haha.