Monday, January 31, 2011

Amazing People - Amazing Opportunity!

Too awesome...I couldn't wait to share.
January 22, 2011
Word vomit - or so my best friend likes to call it.
That's what I apparently get when I get nervous.
I am an incredibly shy person and some people make me nervous.
I can't tell you why some people and not others, but there are a select few who seriously make me nervous and when that happens, I talk...a lot.

I think that is what happened when I met the O'Hara's.
I don't think I shut up the entire time.

Jenn O'Hara contacted me two years back after Hanna was born.
She found the blog during a web search...on Microcephaly.
From that point on, I don't think that a week has passed that we haven't emailed one another.

Jenn and her family live in Canada.
They planned a winter trip to Orlando and she was gracious enough to ask if we wanted to meet somewhere along the way.
We decided that since Atlanta is just a short drive from us (well...a short drive for other people), that we would drive over for the day.

It wouldn't have mattered what we had to go through, we were not passing up the opportunity to meet this amazing family!
Chris, Julien, Addie and I made the trip to Atlanta and had dinner with Jenn and her family, including her awesome Mom and Dad.

The O'Hara's are the type of family that I am awed with.
They are beautiful, kind-hearted people and I am honored to have met them.

*Most of the photo credit goes to Jenn. We got an awful lot of pictures...but Jenn's were much better, so she offered hers up to me for blog posting*

Addie and Julien were beyond thrilled to play with Hanna and Gracie - two of the cutest, sweetest girls I have ever met!

The girls danced by the table and I had no shame in allowing them the chance to enjoy themselves.

I couldn't have cared less if people thought we were awful for allowing our children to dance in a restaurant!

The girls had no problem becoming instant friends!

Julien wanted nothing more than to hold Hanna and was so amazed at how wonderfully perfect she is!

Gracie and Addie loved sharing hugs!

Oh my goodness, Gracie is the sweetest ever!

Kisses and more kisses!

Addie kept reaching over to Julien and patting him.

She was trying her best to get him to take Hanna out of Jenn's she could have Jenn all to herself!

By the time we met up with Jenn's family, they had been driving for 13 hours.

They were so tired and so it meant that much more to us that they took the time to meet up with us.

I didn't want to leave, but when the time finally came, Jenn gave Addie a magical baby to bring back home with her.

The magic baby was to help Addie in the car on the way home.

So sweet...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Addie woke to find her new toys right beside her.She was thrilled and wanted to show everybody!
Donald Duck was her very favorite of them all.
Breakfast...and more presents.

E.R. Baby made the trip as well.
As if we really could have left her behind!
After breakfast, we loaded up and headed out...for a fifteen hour car ride.
We are all still traumatized!
We had an amazing week though and look forward to our next trip back to Orlando.
Disney World 2010 - that's a wrap!

Saying Goodbye (and Good Riddance)

New Year's Eve 2010
After Addie's party, we went about enjoying the last few hours before the end of 2010.
We were beyond thrilled to be putting 2010 behind us - and we were thrilled to be welcoming in a year of new beginnings.

You can't exactly tell from this picture though...Julien was just about done with all the picture taking!

Yep, we're dorks.

The best kisses ever!

Waiting on the electric parade to begin.
Pretty neat stuff!

We had to do the parent swap on a few rides, so while Addie and I waited for the others to come back, we danced to the fun music that was streaming through the speakers all over the park.
Addie wanted to try on the hat that everybody else in the park was wearing.

After I took the picture, I put the hat back on the stroller and put the camera away.
Addie walked over and grabbed the hat, ran back over to the wall and pointed at the camera.
She was not "all done" taking pictures just yet!

People watching!

This is the only thing that Addie "asked" for the entire trip!
There was no way that I wasn't going to buy it for her.
At around 11:00 p.m., Addie just couldn't take it any longer!

We started making our way back towards the park entrance.
By that time, the "snow" had started to fall, the music was blaring and they were announcing every five minutes that we were nearing the end of 2010 (YAY!).

Julien was exhausted too and by this point, was completely done with picture taking!
We had been at the park for sixteen hours.

With the sound of the horns blaring, people yelling and music at full volume, Addie was in her own little peaceful place.
Fungusville USA.

We decided to try to get ahead of the crowd.
We timed it perfectly.
Just as the monorail left the station, the fireworks started.
We began our new year watching amazing fireworks as we were whisked away high above Magic Kingdom.
It was beautiful, we were together and it was the perfect way to end our magical week.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Addie!

December 31, 2010
Such a special day for us!

I think my Plan B worked out fabulously!
We went into this whole trip with the mindset that we would just "go with it".
We knew that we were going at the busiest time of the year and we knew that we didn't want to be bound by appointments, reservations and restrictions.
We knew that however the trip ended up, would be based on our attitudes, so we just went with it!
I was perfectly fine with ditching our reservations and patching together a birthday party for Addie.
After all, it was what we made of it.
I gave Julien some cash and pointed him in the direction of the balloon guy.

I found a bakery that served sandwiches (think Edgars) and had mini birthday cakes available.
The staff were extremely accommodating, especially on such short notice.

When the cake was brought out to us, the staff member was super sweet and told me that she would be more than happy to ask everyone in the bakery to sing along with us.
(I never noticed the lady that you see on the left hand side of the picture until I was looking through these pictures when we got home.
I have absolutely no idea who she is, but she is in almost every picture - before I cropped her out.
She appears to be having a grand time singing "Happy Birthday"...)
I was so caught up with Addie, that I didn't notice that Addie's "Happy Birthday" song was being sung in several different languages...until my sister told me.
It was really, really neat.

I spared you all the picture right before this one where Addie is crying, on the verge of hysterics.
As soon as everyone started singing, Addie started crying.
What I thought was amazing, is that she leaned forward and tried to blow out the candles while everyone was still singing.
Apparently she thought that if she blew out the candles, the singing would stop!

Candles out, singing over...she's a happy little clam!

I'm surprised Addie didn't come home with a few fractured ribs.
She got so many birthday hugs from all of us!

Not such an Addie-friendly photo, but it perfectly captures her thoughts.
She was done with the singing and the pictures and frankly wanted to just get on with the business of diving into her cake!

Addie saw these in Publix a few days before.
We planned on taking them with us to dinner and using them to decorate her cake.
They ended up just going along for the ride.

When it was all over, I was pleased.
Addie was happy and so were we.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Final Decisions and Parades

Day 7
December 31, 2010
It took a lot of conversation, but finally I reminded myself that Addie didn't care where we had dinner for her birthday.
Honestly, we don't know if Addie even understood that it was her birthday...although I told her all day long.
I knew all that mattered was that she had a good time...and got cake.

I called and cancelled dinner reservations and found a Plan B.

On the way to Plan B, we stopped for the parade.
Addie was in love with the characters and said, "hi" and waved like crazy to all of them!

She desperately wanted to get up and dance, but there were so many people!
We were so worried about her.
Afraid that she might trip or fall onto someone.

Finally, we decided to let her stand up and we all watched her like a hawk!