After 5 years of dreaming of the day that we would be able to take our children to Disneyland, we finally were able to make it happen!
In January of this year, my good friend, Rachelle Allen told me about the
Disney sponsored "Give a day, Get a day!" program that had just begun. The program required that as volunteers, we sign up for an activity that benefitted the community in some way, complete that service, and then, in return, anyone 6 and older who helped would receive a FREE day at Disneyland or California Adventure or Walt Disney World.
I was ESTATIC to have such an opportunity. Every time I had worked up the cost of going to Disneyland for our large family, I would end up shaking my head and thinking, "I don't know how we are ever going to make that happen!"
In February of this year, we went to glean citrus fruit to be donated to a food bank.
We worked for 4 hours as a family, picking every fruit we could reach (and then some), and filling a huge food bank box (about 3 ft tall and 4 ft wide) 2/3 of the way full.
We had the 5 oldest children with us and got a babysitter for the 2 youngest (which was odd, I haven't had to call for a sitter for a very long time!)
The excitement of helping others, AND knowing that we would benefit with a day in Disneyland made the day extremely memorable.
Once the tickets were in hand, we debated about when the best time for our family was to go.
It didn't take long to settle on April...and we started looking for the specific dates we could go.
Then...we waited...excitement mounting...for the day we could leave for DISNEYLAND!
It felt surreal walking onto Main Street, USA in Disneyland the morning we arrived.
To say that it was a dream come true is not an exaggeration, and it was was heartwarming for me to know that my children would be able to build lasting memories with their siblings at Disneyland. (We also got to see the Rob and Tracie Halliday family one night while we were there! Talk about the ultimate play date.) :)
The pictures we took were minimal.
Even when I wore the camera around my neck, my thoughts were on keeping track of my children, not on capturing the moments on camera.
Our family did wear the same color of shirts while we were there, so keeping track of the kids was easier than if everyone had worn random colors...but still, ensuring the kids were all safe and accounted for was a job that took all of my time and energy.
I was with Isaac and Sam while the others went to Space Mountain. We waited in line to get on It's A Small World. The boys LOVED it...and Sam was singing the song for most of the morning. It was very much as I remembered it, although I didn't have a high tolerance for the repetitive nature of the music.
It's a great reminder for all of us.
Everyone except Isaac and I played extensively in the water.
It was truly amazing to see my children experience one of God's amazing creations for the very first time. I love the ocean and how I sense the reality of God and His hand in creation every time I see it.
As trite as it may sound, I know that the Lord has a hand in our lives.
I view this entire trip as a blessing, a miracle, and a dream come true.
To be able to share it all with Pat and the kids...even better.
I will treasure this vacation for a lifetime.