Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happiest Place on Earth!

The saying is true, Disneyland is definitely the happiest place on earth. At least for us it was. We made sure we were financially ok for the trip, had no kiddos with us (which meant no meltdowns for an entire week, other than the ones we had around day 5) and everyone everywhere is smiling!

We started off conference at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA. Want an adorable place. Every time we walked out of our hotel room there was princess music playing in the background. Needless to say, I was in heaven. Bouncing around singing "Someday my prince will come" all over the place. We spent the first few days in conference and learned a ton of information. I can't explain how appreciative we were to get the wealth of knowledge from those workshops. Every time we go to a conference I leave wishing I could do this for the rest of my life. Learning and teaching. We even learned a lot about some steps to help Bella at home and at school. Funny, in our special needs world we call other kids the "typical" ones. In our world Eddie is more of the typical one. So a lot of times Bella seems "non typical".  Simple things that seem normal for other families are almost foreign to us. Almost to the point where you're looking for a diagnosis for age appropriate things since you spend all day focused on development. I wonder if any other parents of "typical and non typical" kids feel this way. (By the way I hate the term "typical or "non typical" but I use them for lack of a better term, feel free to edit a better one in there).

So, back to conference. We met some great families and really felt connected. SB is so rare around here we don't always get to talk to others that are in our shoes. It's not like Autism or Down Syndrome where there are support groups everywhere. SB is somewhat of a tiny community. I will say the one thing that I was a bit disappointed of was that the vendors we're lacking in variety. It was mainly catheter companies or catheter suppliers. I would have really liked to learn more about assisted devices and orthotics that are out there to choose from. I feel like every conference we've gone to from SB conferences to the Abilities Expo. There was a lot about chairs and catheters and less for the more mobile kids that also need some assisted devices. I'm also very very interested in learning more about companion dogs, I think one would be great from Eddie. Something to make him more motivated to be independent and stay on his feet more and on his knee less. Especially once school starts.

Our hotel was right on Downtown Disney so we spent a lot of free time down there. We also had a wonderful pool to hang by. Most nights we were so beat we were in bed by 9:00. Wednesday was the day that I got to speak with Hollister. I was really excited mainly because I was going to be able to see the video we made in Chicago for the first time. It went good. Not as many people as I think they expected but the video turned out great and we even made it into the handout. Little Eddie turned out adorable! I spoke briefly about my experience with Secure Start and our family and answered a few questions. There were some health care professionals and I feel like it may be a good resource to hear a parent's perspective on things. Most of the workshops we went to were always healthcare professionals or parents that are also healthcare professionals. I would love to give people a chance to hear from a parents perspective. I may not be an "expert" but in some ways I am more than they know.

The video is here at Hollister's website. Please check it out. Secure Start is awesome and is for everyone. You don't even have to be a customer to take advantage of it.

After all of that on Wednesday we snuck into California Adventure which was a part of Disneyland. We had a lot of fun there! It was super hot but we managed to keep cool. The lines we're too bad so we got a chance to see everything we wanted and acted like total kids! We did all the kiddie rides and the big "kid" rides. Thursday we got up early and went into Disneyland. This was the day of the trip I had been waiting for. I am a huge kid at heart if you didn't already know. When we walked in at the opening of the day everyone was on the street giving Mickey gloved high fives. It was awesome! We flew through all the great rides and barely waited in any lines. Some rides the trip through the empty lines was longer than the actual line itself.

Friday and Saturday we headed into LA to meet up with a friend of mine from back home. He's a singer songwriter who headed to LA recently. It was awesome to have lunch with him and catch up. We tried to then drive up the Pacific Coast Highway and see some of the coast but we forgot it was 4th of July and the beaches were insane. You couldn't drive anywhere. So unfortunately we didn't dip our toes in the Pacific Coast. Oh well, maybe next time! Friday night we got to go to dinner with my cousin Phil and his beautiful wife Stacey. Eddie was dying to have good Mexican food and where else do you get that but in SoCal. My cousin was so nice to let us crash at their house Friday night and we stayed up chatting for a while that night catching up! Saturday morning we woke up slowly (we slept in later than I think we have ever!) and headed into LA. We did the usual "LA Sightseeing" stuff and then drove around the Hollywood Hills a bit to look at all the homes we'll never be able to afford. I have come to the realization that Cali is amazing and I may have to live there one day. I can't wait to go back and see more of the awesome state. I'd love to see some of Northern California!

We feel so lucky lately to have these great opportunities to travel to places we would never have otherwise. We've been blessed with such great family and friends that take our kids in so we can explore this awesome country and learn as much as we can for our kiddos. These kids mean so much to us and if it weren't for them we wouldn't be the people we are today. They've given us more then they'll ever know.

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