Forgive me for leading you to believe that I am live-blogging this adventure; I am not. I just don't dig getting online on vacation.
Let's get packed!
Ok, so Southwest allows you two carry-on items and two checked-bags. It's like they are daring me to pack 20 suitcases.
And going through airport security, Natalie had on a princess crown she made at the wish granting party while Daniel was wearing his eye patch. Security personnel asked us where we were coming from, apparently thinking we were leaving some sort of pirates and princesses party. Nope, this is just what we wear when we travel.
Would you believe this was the kids' first time flying on an airplane? Sure you would. Why the heck would I want to fly with three kids?
Fortunately, Daniel was kept more than occupied looking through the Disney guide book we were given from Make-A-Wish. He can't read but that doesn't matter. I can't carry a tune anymore but that doesn't stop me from belting out some Journey in the shower.
The back of Southwest's napkins show a US map with little dots signifying airports all over the country. Dan asked me where we were on the napkin about every 3 minutes. Not only do I have eyes in the back of my head, but I also come equipped with Mommy GPS.
Once we arrived in Orlando, we were greeted by a Give Kids the World volunteer with a sign that said Give Kids the World Welcomes Eve Griffith! It was the first and probably only time I will ever be in someone's entourage who is greeted at the airport by someone with sunglasses holding a sign.
The volunteer asked if we had anything checked or if we just had our carry-on items. When answering his question honestly, he replied, "You've got to be kidding me." No sir, we don't kid. We pack. Heavily.
We got loaded up in the shuttle and headed to the village. I miss the 5-point harness on Eve already. Looking back, I would totally give Eve some Dramamine before her first car ride without a carseat. Don't look at me like that- you would, too, if you had to experience her less restrained than usual.
At last! We arrived at Give Kids the World Village! Yes, children, we are here yet.
The villa would be known to Eve as "my new blue house."
Inside were some presents waiting for us. Eve got a Mickey Mouse and Nat and Dan each got their own Shamu. There were also some singing Christmas animals, which just so happen to be Eve's favorite. (How do I know they are her favorite? Well, it's obvious. Why else would a three-year-old turn on every singing animal in the toy aisle at the store?)
Oh. And there was candy. So we ate some of that.
Then, it was off to the Gingerbread House for dinner. I have never seen people so excited to take my kids to get food and then sit with them so Matt and I could get ourselves some food. I mean, our parents used to be like that when Nat was a baby but that sort of excitement wore off a while ago.
After dinner, we left the Gingerbread House and were stopped by a cookie cart. No, guys, literally. This was a cart with two people on a mission to deliver cookies. They don't take no for an answer. (Or I'm assuming they won't. We said yes pretty fast.)
We ate our cookies and visited Ol' Elmer, the snoring tree. Eve tried to wake him up to no avail.
Ol' Elmer's been here many years, he grew up on this spot. He used to be quite active but now he sleeps a lot. He dreams of searching for his "roots" through rain and snow and fog. They must be pleasant dreams because he's sleeping like a log!
Then we headed off to the Ice Cream Palace. Because I had almost walked off that whole cookie.
After that, it was Mayor Clayton's Birthday Party. Mayor Clayton is a 6-foot-tall bunny who is in charge of the village. It's like a really sweet Donnie Darko parallel universe.
When you're in a place this magical and sugary, this is what happens when you film a video:
The kids got to make him birthday cards as they waited for ice cream, cotton candy, and cupcakes. Now, you know I didn't let them eat more ice cream, cotton candy, and cupcakes after that candy, cookie, and ice cream.
I stopped them after the cupcake. After all, we had to go back to our villa and eat the cake that was in our fridge. It's a good way to get the kids into a nice sugar-coma for bedtime.
Oh, January 1st. You sure are setting the bar high for the rest of the year.