Thursday, March 6, 2014

Walk For Wishes Wednesday

It's Wednesday and you know what that means.  I get to tell you how amazing Make-A-Wish is.  Last week I told you about our flights and celebrity status and now I want to tell you about our arrival at our home away from home.  We stayed at a place called Give Kids the World.  GKTW is a village built on one man's dream in order to give wish families a place to stay and play on their wishes.   The place unbelievable!   GKTW works with several wish granting organizations and is not directly affiliated with Make-A-Wish.  They run almost entirely by volunteers.  Check out their website for more information about their mission
On our trip we were greeted at the airport by a volunteer holding a sign with Maddie's name on it.  We were given detailed instructions on how to get to the village, help with luggage, and walked to our waiting rental car.   When we pulled up to the security gates at the village the first thing the security guard said to us was "welcome home."  GKTW wants the village to feel like home for everyone there and they go out of the way to make it feel comfortable.   The kids were also given a giant stuffed Mickey Mouse when we checked in. We were given a tour of the village which includes an arcade, putt putt golf, a castle, an awesome pool area, a gingerbread house where meals are served, and most importantly an ice cream parlor that opens at 7 am.  Every family is encouraged to have ice cream for breakfast at least once during their stay.  We may have indulged more than once!  Everything in the village is free and tips are never accepted.  The families NEVER pay for anything.  We were given a book that detailed the village events because everyday they have special things going on.  After the grand tour we were taken to our villa.  The outside of our villa looked like something from a fairy tale.  It was brightly colored and whimsical.   The inside of the villa was large and spacious with a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a big living area, a large handicapped roll in shower big enough to qualify for a bedroom itself and a jacuzzi tub.   The pantry and fridge in the villa was already stocked with some goodies for us too.  The kitchen table also had some surprises for the kids and everyday when we returned from our adventures we would find that the wish fairy left the kids gifts.  To say that this place is magical doesn't even do it justice.
     Every week the village celebrates Christmas; complete with a Christmas parade, Santa, and even snow.  The gingerbread house even serves a holiday meal. We couldn't wait until it was time to celebrate Christmas.  We ate our Christmas meal, watched the parade and then it was time to see Santa!  This is one of those moments that makes the village so special.  While we were waiting in line to see Santa; Maddie had peed through her diaper.  I didn't want her to get Santa wet so I told him that we would just take her picture next to him in her chair.  Santa said, "ABSOLUTELY NOT!   Every child sits in Santa's lap!  It might be the only time some of these kids can sit in Santa's lap.  We'll get a towel and I will hold her."  I told Santa that wasn't necessary but he insisted.  He explained to me that he wanted every child to have that experience at least once and that's why he volunteered.   Santa did hold my baby girl that night and she loved it. It was truly a memory that I will not forget.   Of course no Christmas would be complete without presents! Every child gets to pick out a brand new toy from their giant toy closet.  You can imagine the excitement there.
     I could go on and on about the village but I won't.  I'll save some for another time.  What I do want to remind you is that Make-A-Wish made our trip possible  They set everything up for us.  They made sure we could experience this one of a kind magical place.  Please help us spread the magic and support Make-A-Wish financially.   Our family is walking in the Walk for Wishes this summer in honor of Maddie.  I invite you to join us by clicking the link and joining our team.  If walking isn't possible please consider a donation.  Share this with everyone you know because every penny we collect helps grant wishes! JOIN OUR TEAM OR MAKE A DONATION

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