Reincarnated As A Mother

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Downs and Ups

No dull moments
should be our mantra.
Lucky us.  Kean and I got to spend
much of Thanksgiving Day in the E.R.
After poking, prodding, X-rays (I refused to let
them catheter him for a urine sample)-- they determined
he has Strep and a virus.
Poor little guy.
 By the time we got to my parents, dinner was done
but leftovers still tasted heavenly.
 My Aunt and Uncle joined us-- along with lots of cousins.
And Kean perked right up once he got away from the hospital
torture chamber.
 The day after Thanksgiving, we have a tradition with all of
my cousins- we head up to the mountains, sled, snow mobile, play
in the snow and cut down Christmas trees.
My parents kept Kean so the rest of the family could go.
And Reese scored on finding the best tree.
No Charlie Brown Christmas tree for the Barker's this year.
Plus, we are thrilled to have a live one again.
We weren't able to have a live tree for the past three
years because of Kean's health.
Things are slowly getting back to normal.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hopelessly, Madly, Deeply (Make A Wish Part 3)

I've told you how spoiled we were with the never having to wait in lines.
Well, that coddling continued when it came to meeting the
"who's who" in central Florida.
In fact, Mr. Disney himself (along with several other super stars
in the eyes of my kids came to where we were staying).
 Kean was a bit taken by the beauty of Beauty.
She was so cute with the kids, signing autographs and
telling them how much she liked to read.
 And I don't know what it is about dogs, but Kean
was into Pluto
 and Goofy.  I think he would have been happy
to take either of them home as pets.
 I haven't quite figured out why there were "two" Woody Woodpeckers--
clearly, I am not a connoisseur of Woody cartoons.
But the duo was very sweet with the kids.
Santa even made an appearance one night at the Give Kids
the World Village where we stayed.
Kean easily recognized the big guy...
 and was so excited to (along with all the children)
pick out a Christmas present.
There was quite the selection and I guess it should
come as no surprise that Kean zeroed in on
a Tangled game with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider
(but no Maximus).
He was so funny, he kept turning the box
over and over and just staring.
 When we got to the parks, the pampering continued.
We were whisked to the front of the lines
to meet with everyone from Spiderman...
 to Dug and Kevin (from one of our all time favorite movies: UP)...
and Kean totally loved on Dug.
 One of Kean's highlights was meeting Curious George
(he loves that cartoon).
We laughed and laughed as Kean covered Curious
George with kisses.
Kean kisses, by the way, are tiny little licks
(like a kitten).
Thankfully, George was a good sport.
 Barney was another big hit for the boy.
And then there were the ladies.
Kean just wanted to take Marge's necklace.
 But oh, how he thought Jasmine was beautiful.
 And then there was Alice.
Oh my, Kean fell hard and fast for the blonde.
 I have never seen this side of him.
He ogled and giggled.
He flirted and fawned.
He kissed her and played shy.
 The Disney photographer was going crazy over every picture he took.
He kept yelling, "Ooh, I got that.  Ooh, I got that one too".
 And this is how Kean was in all the group shots-- he just 
couldn't get close enough or enough of Alice.
It was the funniest thing ever.
It was right after this-- my favorite moments of the trip-
that some poor guy who had to wait an extra 8 minutes in line
because of this- came up to my mom to tell her "watching Kean
was worth every penny he paid for his admission to the park".
Couldn't agree more.
It was classic.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kean's Make A Wish Part Deaux

I'm totally giving you the cliff notes on our "spoiled rotten" vacation.
Otherwise, this post would go on and on even more...
At every park we went to (Disney World, Sea World
and Universal) we had the equivalent of Willy Wonka's 
Golden Ticket.
We'd walk up to a ride that for example had an hour wait
and a "cast member" would sweep us up, escort us the back
way to the exit of the ride and as the folks got off, they would put 
us right on the ride-- and usually let us pick where we wanted to sit.
Let me tell you, you can hit almost every ride you want-
when you don't have to wait in any lines.
It was incredible.
 If that wasn't enough, Greer was picked to be
the "kid" in the wand ceremony at the wand shop
from the Harry Potter movies.  She, of course, was thrilled.
 Not to be left out, Reese was offered the captain's
position (she got to drive the boat) for our jungle cruise
and during the big Lion King production-- Reese was
asked to come up and lead the crowd in a "Roar"
to get Simba to come out.
 And then later, she and a few other little girls
were called up on stage to dance around the room.
She was quite the little star.
We had sweet moments every day.
For example, when I went to get everyone a pineapple/ice cream
float-- the guy at the counter would only let me pay for two.
We had another time where a guy walked up to us, pulled out
his employee badge (he was off that day), asked us if we were
enjoying our wish trip and then offered to buy everyone a treat.
People were so very, very kind to us.
Kean was a riot.
He LOVED the rides.
In fact, the faster, the crazier-- the more he giggled.
He adored the roller coaster and even the scarier 3-D rides
like Spiderman.  He thought it was the best when the
bad guys threw a fire ball at him (and  the air got hot) or
when he got sprayed with water.
That kid.
It was so great.  He loved this flying Dinosaur ride and the
attendants could tell-- so they let him ride it FOUR TIMES
in a row.  He never got off.
 At Sea World we watched the Sea Lion and Walrus show
and Kean was in heaven when we all got splashed.
 The manager at the big Shamu show put us in the VIP / Reserved
front row-- (the splash zone) and Kean couldn't have been happier.
 They gave all the children trays of shrimp
to feed the Sting Rays (Holland got the willies).
 We got so much in-- it was crazy.
Kean amazed us with how good he was.
Every day, he petered out (as expected).
But at several places we went, they had special "Wish"
lounges specifically for kids like Kean to go to a quiet place and rest.
My mom volunteered to take him each day and they'd both
usually get a nap.  (Kean would crash for about two hours,
then my mom would call us and we'd hook up again for more fun.
 Half way through the week, we took the afternoon off
and headed to Coco beach for some down time.
Kean was hilarious.  He was so cold in the ocean, he was
shivering (loudly) but anytime we'd ask him if he wanted
to get out and get warm- he'd shakily reply "no, no, no"
through some very chattering teeth.
Once again, that kid!
Okay, this is getting way too long.
Tomorrow I'll post about my hands down favorite 
moment with Kean.
It was so great, a man walked up to my mom
and told her "watching him was worth every penny
of the price of admission".
Sorry to be such a tease-- but this girl needs her sleep.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kean's Make-A-Wish (Part 1)

We got home this afternoon from an absolutely incredible vacation--
Kean's Make-A-Wish trip to Orlando.
I'll never be able to tell you all the wonderful details.
Let me just say we have been ruined forever for any other trip-
we were that spoiled.
 Make-A-Wish sure does it up.
They sent along a letter to the flight crew on Delta--
not only did they announce that Kean was on his big trip
but they invited all the kids into the cockpit.
 It was great until it was time to leave.
Kean wanted nothing to do with exiting the cockpit.
 Kean surprised us all with how well he did on all 
four legs of the flight (to and back).
When we got to Orlando, the kids were excited
to have someone there with a big sign (with Kean's name)
to greet us.
 As part of Kean's wish, we got to stay at a place called Give Kids the World.
It has to be nirvana for children.
It was started over 30 years ago by a man named Henri Landwirth.
He was taken prisoner by the Nazi's during W.W.II
and somehow miraculously escaped Auschwitz.
He came to America with 20 bucks in his pocket and
no knowledge of the English language.
He started out on the bottom rungs working for the Holiday Inn, 
worked his way up and eventually bought his own little hotel
in Cape Canaveral-- just before NASA and the astronauts
became household words.
He started Give Kids the World (a village/resort for
Make A Wish children) after a little girl contacted him years ago
wanting to meet Mickey Mouse.  While the arrangements
were being made, the child passed away.
Mr. Landwirth vowed this would never happen again.
He went to Disney and Sea World (Universal wasn't built yet),
secured three million in seed money and started to build the village.
From what I understand, builders, plumbers, electricians-- you name
it, donated time, talent and building materials.
For those who were not skilled, they showed up in the droves
with shovels, plants, trees and flowers and got to work.
Get this, they have approximately 1500 volunteers every week!
At the on site spa, we met the cutest mom and her daughter 
who came all the way from Houston.
They are spending their Thanksgiving week at GKTW.
They take care of everything for you-- and I mean everything.
In fact, the volunteers won't even let you carry your own food to the tables!
 GKTW has a huge talking tree, two swimming pools
(one has a huge pirate ship and stage), parades,
shows or parties every night, rides, horseback riding,
and a life size "Candyland" game for starters.
 From my count, they have about 150 villas to house
the families.  This was ours.
 One of our regular haunts was this place-- the ice cream shop
that was open early and open late.
 In fact, we had breakfast there on Sunday morning.
Yes, we had eggs and waffles-- but topped it off with
mandarin ice cream with chocolate sprinkles-- exactly
the energy food one needs for a day at Universal, eh?
 There were so many sweet little touches--
the "Gift Fairy" visited our villa every day while were
were out and about.
 The children came home with their bags bulging with
stuffed animals, treats, Disney swag and this little Candy Land
game that has each of the GKTW landmarks instead of the standard ones.
Oh, and did I mention, they have a carousel that Kean wanted to
ride every chance he got-- which was a lot!!
And if we weren't spoiled enough at the village, you should
hear what happened to us at Disney World, Universal Studios
and Sea World.
Let me put it this way, we have been ruined for any future trips
to any theme park.
(But you will have to wait until later.  I'm exhausted and off to bed).