Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas In Lee's Summit

Ashlyn has met with several news outlets over the past few months. Most recently with Terra Hall of Fox 4 News. After finishing our last interview on November 14th, she was invited by Terra to help Mayor Rhoads light up downtown Lee's Summit on November 18. This our hometown so we were super excited. I work for the City, so Ashlyn had met the Mayor before, but this time it was going to be for something more fun than just going to my work.

I thought Ashlyn might actually get a bit shy as we approached the stage that evening. There was a large crowd gathered around the stage for the lighting and to see Santa Claus. Oh yeah, that was an extra bonus. She would get to see Santa FIRST! My worry was for nothing. She didn't get shy at all. She loved the attention. Go figure.

As Terra introduced her on stage and explained that Ashlyn was born missing her left arm from the elbow down, Ashlyn proudly held up her little arm and grinned from ear to ear. As she finished the introduction Ashlyn said "Merry Christmas!" loudly into the microphone and resounding "Ahhhhhhh!!!" came from the crowd. *proud mommy smiles*

She did a most excellent job of helping Mayor Rhoads and his grandson turn on all the Christmas lights downtown. She enjoyed every single minute of it.

She's so going to be in the movies someday. Hee hee!

Monday, November 14, 2011

In the news!

Ashlyn and I have been interviewed my several local news outlets over the past couple of months. We have shared her story and that of Winter the Dolphin with anyone that wants to listen. Check out some of these stories:

Fox 4 News
NBC Action News
Channel 9 News
Independence Examiner
Lee's Summit Journal

I am a single mom that hasn't really found the extra time to do special things to raise awareness. (Do single mom's get "extra" time? :) ) I've met some fantastic people that are doing great things to inspire and educate and I hope you take time to check them out as well.

Born Just Right and Lucky Fin Project.

Thanks for visiting!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 6 - On our way back home.

Sadly, Sunday, October 6, 2011 marks the end of our time in Florida.

We woke up late again. No reason to rush to the airport today. I gave Ashlyn a much needed bath after her princess makeover left her hair a bit stiff...and glittery.

We all got ready to go. Had our bags delivered to the airport and enjoyed one last lunch at the resort. We had no idea that we almost missed our bus, but we made it just in time.

We were headed to the airport at 1:30 pm. When we got to the airport, Ashlyn found one more princess to have her picture taken with. She doesn't miss a princess. *smile*

She also found a nice big giraffe at the Sea World shop.
Giraffe's are one of her favorite animals so we HAD to take a picture.

From there we made our way through security and waited for our plane. Ashlyn was getting a bit cranky and finally fell asleep on moms lap about 30 minutes before our plane was ready to load. I was hoping that meant she would sleep quite a bit on the plane. No such luck.

We arrived in Kansas City around 6 pm. My uncle met us at the airport and we headed home.

We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. Mom, Ashlyn and I got to spend a lot of quality time together. This is a trip that none of us will soon forget.

(Pedometer Steps: 8,670 - A mostly "sitting and waiting day")

P.S. By the time I got to work on Monday it seemed like it had never happened.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 5 - Epcot and Downtown Disney

Saturday we headed to Epcot! We FINALLY had the chance to meet some blogging friends that I've gotten to know since before Ashlyn was born. It felt as though I already knew them...but getting to meet them for the first time in person was exciting. They are great people and just as fun in person as they are on Facebook and blogging. So glad we got to meet them!

(Thank you Trish and Marty for showing us around for a while. Still sorry we didn't make it back in time for our picture. Maybe we could photoshop something? *smile*)

align="center">We all made our way to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. What a cute little ride it has. Just takes you on a search for Nemo. Then project Nemo, his dad and Dory into an actual fish aquarium so it looks like they are really swimming with real fish. That was great!
align="center">We even found the REAL Nemo and Dory!!

align="center">After Nemo, we walked around looking at the different fish and aquatic life including seahorses, eels, manatees and yes, even dolphins!

After checking out all the animals, we went to Turtle Talk with Crush. This was super cute. All of the kids got to sit on the floor at the front of the theatre and the parents sat on benches behind them. Crush is animated but interacts with the audience. He would talk to you, make faces, move around the screen as he interacted. It was MAGIC!! We all loved it.

align="center">We went our separate ways from Trish and Marty after this as they were going to ride something that looked awesome ("Soarin'") but Ashlyn was too short and the fast passes were for MUCH later in the day and I wasn't sure we would be there then (and we weren't). We thought we would catch up with Trish and Marty later...but that didn't work out. *sad face* It was still great to visit with them for a little while. *happy face*
We had lunch at Epcot and then headed to Downtown Disney. There was a lot a wanted to see and do there. Who knew that there was no straight shot there from Epcot. Bah! align="center">As soon as we arrived in Downtown Disney, Ashlyn was ready for pictures. She found some odd little soldier fellows and without me even asking she posed perfectly with them...and Mickey and Minnie too! She's such a character.

We then went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for Ashlyn to get a princess makeover. I didn't even think about it being Saturday afternoon and that they might now be able to do it. Fortunately I was told they were accepting walk-ins which was highly unusual, especially for a Saturday afternoon. Shew...that was close. They got her right in. She got to pick her hairstyle, color and make up. She sat so perfectly still that I wasn't sure she was still my kid. She NEVER sits that still when I'm doing her hair. *shaking head*

The transformation was unbelievable. When they pulled all of her hair back she looked several years older. If you had walked me out of the room while they were doing it and back in when they were done, I'm not sure I would have recognized her. Seriously. Look.

Just getting started...

Halfway done...

Then final touches... GLITTER!! The final prodcut.

I TOLD YOU...she looks like she's 6+ years old now!

We completed our tour of Downtown Disney and enjoyed dinner at Wolfgang Puck's. Mmmm!!! Then we returned to the Magic Kingdom for one more evening of princesses, fireworks and light shows. We would be heading home the next day so we wanted to make the most of it!

We decided to try to get in to see a princess before they left for the evening. We actually got to see THREE! The fireworks were getting ready to start, so the line was incredibly short. Yay!

After the royal visit we went to Adventureland and got to meet Tinkerbell and Terence.

Another short line due to other things going on in the park. Woo hoo!

Finally, her autograph book was full!!
We then went back to the hotel and I began the process of getting things ready to go home the next day. Ashlyn wasn't much help. I got all of her make-over undone and she passed out. Oh yeah...her hair was hysterical the next day. Thank goodness we had time for a bath 1st thing in the morning! Hee hee!

(Pedometer Steps: 19,682)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 4 - Hollywood Studios and Relaxing

We decided to venture to Hollywood Studios on Friday. We got a late start to the day as it was raining first thing in the morning. We decided that we would take it easy. No need to rush around ALL the time. So we ordered room service for breakfast and ate on our balcony. We watched people walking around the courtyard with umbrellas and ponchos. Yep, no reason to rush anywhere with the rain.

We finally made it to Hollywood Studios around 11am. The rain had stopped and the sun was shining once again. We wandered aimlessly for a little while and then found that we would be able to meet Mickey at one of the locations we were planning to head to a little later. We went ahead and made our way there. We didn't have to stand in line too terribly long....considering it was Mickey and all.

We did go to the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" attraction, but Ashlyn took off like a bolt and I couldn't catch her. It terrified me everytime I could just catch a glimpse of her up ahead of me, but due to the other children and parents I couldn't actually reach her. Finally I caught up with her at the bottom of the slide and drug her out of the play area. She threw a humdinger of a fit and I felt bad for making her leave, but I panicked at the thought of her getting separated from me and not being able to find her. So after a several minute fued, we found some snow that she got excited about.

No, not real snow...not even soft snow. As a matter of fact, when she fell on it her knees got pretty scraped up which began another crying fit. Man, oh man. It was time to head back to the hotel. As we made our way back through it appeared to be an epidemic. 6 out of 10 children where screaming and crying. We all just shared the knowing look and smile. I guess it was just that time of day. Time to head back to the hotel. Yay!

There was a lot going on at the hotel that evening. We grabbed dinner and then headed to the beach (sand beach on Buena Vista Lake). We roasted marshmallows and then got to sit back in chaise lounge chairsand watch a movie (Mars Needs Moms) on the beach. When the movie ended we moved to another part of beach where you can see the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. That was pretty neat.

Then we saw a line of boats. Then we heard them playing fun carnival type music. They were all dark except a single green light on their bow. They stopped infront us and then they light up with animals made of lights. It was parade of lights on the water. How cool is that? When the animal song ended, then the lights changed to stars and american flags. Very very neat. Glad we didn't miss that.

Ashlyn played with a new friend for a while on the beach and playground while mom and visited with her parents. Then it was off to bed. We were meeting friends the next day at Epcot! Yay!

Pedometer Steps: 10, 126)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3 - Animal Kingdom and Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Today we set our sights on the Animal Kingdom. Another amazing place. Full of animals, characters and fun rides. Our first stop was at "It's hard to be a bug". First off, I didn't know this was from A Bug's Life and I had been warned it was a little creepy. Once inside, I realized I might have made a mistake. It's a 4D movie type thing. Ashlyn thought it was great until Hopper (the mean grasshopper) came out and proceeded to call on the mean bugs to take care of us human folks. The spiders are what really got Ashlyn. She was DONE with it. LOL. It was pretty neat though to have air blown at you, water sprayed at you, smells in the air and "critters" moving in your seat. She laughs about it now, but at the time she was so over it. Ha ha!

We wandered around quite a bit until we found a ride that she enjoyed. It was just a ride that goes around and around and up and down (at your control) as we sat in a dinosaur. We could see a lot of things from up there as she liked me to us as high as we could go. She's such a little dare devil.We also got to meet several characters such as Pluto, Goofy, Chip 'N Dale, Donald, Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and Pocahontas.
We had so much fun walking around, visiting with the characters and seeing the animals that it was hard to make ourselves leave. However, just as we were making our way back out of the park, my little princess fell fast asleep. This made the walk back to the bus a little bit more difficult carrying 30+ lbs of dead weight. LOL. But we made it and she slept the whole time we were on the bus back to the hotel. She woke up at just the mere mention of going swimming for a while before the party.

The pool at the hotel was beautiful. A bonus to stopping by mid-afternoon is that there weren't as many kids in the pool either. We got to enjoy it for about an hour before we had to head back up to the room and get ready to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party. How exciting!

I got Ashlyn all dolled up and ready to go as Cinderella. She looked so adorable. As you might have guessed, in Disney World she was not going to be the only Cinderella. She was one of probably 1,000 of them. But she was the cutest one in my eyes. *smile*

We made our way back to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy all the wonders of the party. We walked. We danced. We watched the parade. We rode a few rides (including the infamous teacups).

We watched the incredible fireworks. We trick or treated. By the end of the night we were completely exhausted and ready for bed.

It was another wonderfully busy day. We were ready to rest up for Hollywood Studios the next day!!
(Pedometer Steps: 21,148)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 2 - A Day with Winter!

This was what the trip was all about. Earlier in the year Ashlyn and a fellow blogger's daughter ( Jordan had the incredible opportunity to meet Kevin Carroll, Vice President of Prosthetics for Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics. Mr. Carroll is co-creator of Winter the Dolphin's "helper tail". This was also the first time the girls had the opportunity to meet each other and there was an instant bond. We had no idea at the time that we would be presented with such an incredible opportunity!!
After this meeting Ashlyn and I began the process of working with Hanger Prosthetic and Orthotics in Independence, MO for her new myoelectric arm as well and her swim arm. They have been so fantastic to work with. From there we had the opportunity to meet with several media outlets to discuss the opportunity to meet Winter live with the help of the Hanger Prosthetics foundation. Oh yeah. You better believe we were excited. We made plans with the other family and worked with Mr. Carroll's assistant (Ms. Carol Wade) and set our sights on Florida for this October trip! Fast forward to last week - we woke up early on Wednesday (after arriving at 1am the night before) and headed for a quick breakfast. Our limo was waiting outside promptly at 9am to take us to Clearwater, FL for the big day. The limo was impressive to say the least. Jordan and Ashlyn sat behind Jen (Jordan's mom) and I and picked up where they left off several months earlier and as if no time had passed at all. It was definitely an "Ahhhhh" moment. *smiles*

We arrived at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 2 hours later and ready to meet the animals. We were given the royal treatment with a tour guide showing us the ins and outs of the aquarium and the different aquatic life that has found their new home at this very special place. Ashlyn and Jordan looked at the animals swimming above as soon as we walked in.

After touring the facilities the girls (and Jordan's brother, Cameron) were given an even better special treat. The chance to get up close and personal with Winter herself. Yeah, I'm jealous that I didn't get to touch this beautiful creature. However, watching the kids enjoying this moment was even better to me. It made my heart all warm and fuzzy. *smile*

They got to touch her, feed her, wave at her, talk to her. It was more than incredible...but I am at a lack of words to describe how awe struck I was. It was....beautiful!

Oh yeah...Ashlyn totally kissed her!! *squeal*

We enjoyed the afternoon at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, learning about the different animals that live there, how they came to be there and how the aquarium gives them an incredible place to live, make friends and be happy critters.

After the aquarium we managed to squeeze an hour in at the beach. Clearwater is absolutely gorgeous. I could easily live here. We walked into the water and strolled around on the beach.

On the way back to Orlando, we all caught a quick nap in the limo. We needed a little refresher before heading to the Magic Kingdom that evening.

We made our way to the Magic Kingdom to change our Not-So-Scary trick or treating tickets from Tuesday (when we got in at 1 am) to Thursday so we could enjoy this special treat. We decided to explore the Kingdom while we were there. It was nothing like I was even BETTER!
We stayed for the fireworks and then decided we were exhausted and wanted to get some good sleep in order to enjoy a full day at the parks on Thursday.

Ashlyn barely stayed awake for the ferry ride back to our hotel. We had a terrific day with Winter and friends. This was probably the best day EVER!!

(Pedometer Steps: 9,682)