Friday, February 21, 2014

Make-A-Wish Trip

Often when thinking back to Esther's cancer and treatment, I find it all unbelievable.  Did that really happen?  How did we do that?  Esther's Make-A-Wish trip was filled with similar this really happening?!

Esther's official wish was to go to a fancy princess ball at Sofia the First's castle.  This wasn't quite possible, but the Make-A-Wish Colorado foundation was as accommodating as possible putting together a princess makeover and a special time with some of the Disney princesses.  In addition to two days at Disney, we spent a day at the Pacific Ocean and a day at Knott's Berry Farm.

Our hotel room overlooked the California Adventure Park.
 In the distance you can see Cars Land, our favorite!

Meeting the characters was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  Esther was given a special pass to wear signifying she is a Make-A-Wish child.  As soon as any of the cast members saw her pass they would escort her right up to the character and they were all so sweet.  They would give her the sweetest embrace like they have been waiting just for her the entire day.

Mickey was so funny.  He kissed each girls' head and when it came to Rourke
he blew a raspberry that sounded like a "toot."  As you can see, it was

After some fun on the rides we had a special meet and greet with the princesses.  Make-A-Wish had sent some beautiful, long, to the floor, dresses for our girls, so we let them put them on.

Sleeping Beauty


Cinderella is my favorite princess and she showed some extra special attention to our children, even dancing with them, like at a fancy ball.  I think every girl wants to be recognized as the princess she truly is.  Esther watched Cinderella almost every day in the hospital and she was so sweet as she told the princess all about it.

 After a bunch of rides...yep, a bunch!  Esther's special pass also allowed us to bypass most lines and get right onto the rides.  I was thankful for the Make-A-Wish backpack to wear so no one started yelling, "Hey!  No butts, no cuts, no dirty coconuts!"

Anyway, after riding almost every ride in fantasy land, it was time for the Bippity, Boppity, Boutique.  When we arrived we learned there was a bit of a mix up and the makeover was supposed to happen before we met the princesses.  It worked out fine and the kids didn't know the difference.  Each child was given a fairy godmother in training.


They had their hair done, make-up put on, and their nails painted.

After all the primping it was time for the big reveal.  They would make a royal proclamation introducting, for the first time, "Princess ___________" After the proclaimation they would have the girls say the magical words, "Bippity, Boppity, Boo!" and then turn them around.  As they swung the girls around the curtains would part to reveal the princess in a magical, glittering mirror.

The Alvarado Princesses!

Protected by their Royal Knight, Sir Rourke

The royal knight, Sir Rourke

Rourke was a really good sport.  He even said, "You know, mom, meeting the princesses wasn't as bad as I expected. I actually kind of enjoyed that."  I'll bet you did, little man.  I do think he enjoyed this a bit more though.

Across from our hotel was a retail and dining area, including
a Lego store.  

After a full day of rides and fun concluding with a spectacular fireworks show, we went back to our hotel room to unwind.

The next morning we headed out for more fun.  We started out at California Adventure to ride the Cars rides and to catch a Disney Junior puppet show with Sofia the First!  It was a ton of fun complete with a snowfall, bubble drop, gold doubloons, and a confetti shower.

Then we headed back to Disneyland.

We rode the train and the monorail around the park.  

Some of the shots from the Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain,
and the best roller coaster I've ever ridden, the California Screamin.
Zoom in on these, there are some classics!

Our other favorite ride was space mountain, so thankfully the train has a stop nearby and we rode it a couple more times then it was off to meet the Frozen princesses, Elsa and Anna.  They had the longest wait in the whole park, 2 hours!  We were thankful for Esther's wish pass!

The kids took a picture with Elsa and Anna, but Esther wasn't finished.  She made sure to tell Elsa she didn't like it when she froze Anna's heart because "that wasn't very nice."  Ha!  She scolded a princess.  Elsa was quick to be sure to tell her that she didn't like doing that either and that it's okay because Anna's better now.

Cars Land was really spectacular.  It felt like you were walking down the streets of Radiator Springs.

We had a special seat for the "World of Color" light show.  It was amazing.  The lights were timed with sprays of water creating a beautiful show.  At points there was a mist used to project scenes from many of the Disney movies.

Wait...what about Belle?  Esther's favorite princess is Belle, and meeting her was quite the task.  We were alluded SIX times!  After missing her a few times We were told we could meet her after a show, so we watched her show, but she never came out.  Then we were told we could meet her the next morning, so we went back, but it didn't work.  They said come back again...but she was inside an open air theater (the same one we watched her in the night before) and they wouldn't let us in to meet her.  One lady said we could wait along the side and maybe get a wave.  Well, Belle did stop for Esther and then was promptly mobbed by a bunch of other people.  One lady even told her daughter to just "stand right in front of that girl" and took a picture.  I might've gotten a little snarky and played that cancer card.  Might've.

Right up front for a Beauty & the Beast live show,
where we didn't get to meet Belle.

Meeting Belle before the mob took over.  

We were extremely tempted to buy tickets and return to Disneyland for another day because Esther's pass was good for our entire stay.  However, we decided against it and told the kids we could get Mickey waffles for breakfast.  Thankfully Make-A-Wish gave us a food budget...we had no idea breakfast in the hotel restaurant would be as much as a dinner out at a REALLY nice restaurant.  The characters were fun and by this time the kids were pretty comfortable with cuddling right up.

We had discussed going to Lego Land, but after realizing how much admission would be, that we didn't have a wish pass, and that we really wanted to see Anthony's cousin who lives a couple blocks from the ocean, and we'd need to cut the day short, we couldn't justify it.  Instead we told Rourke he could pick out a cool new Lego set.  Deal!  We are certainly saving some dough that way.

So...we headed to the ocean.  It happened to be the coldest day we'd been there, but did that stop the fun?  Of course not!

Esther loved playing chase with the waves.

We love you!

 After lunch with Anthony's cousin, we drove along the coast for a bit and stopped at this pier in Oceanside.  Even with cold and haze, it was so beautiful.  I love the ocean.

On our last day we went to Knott's Berry Farm for Snoopy and the Gang and big roller coasters.

For some reason, the girls really liked these statues,
especially Zinnia.  I wonder if she thought they
were characters....

I love carousels!  They are so magical.  Esther
was so excited to ride a chicken because,
"I have a chicken named Carla and 'nwurse'
named Carla."

I stayed with the girls who weren't tall enough
for the big roller coasters.  Lydia was quite
the thrill seeker!

After picking up some jam, we headed down the street to Medieval Times.  The girls said eating with their hands wasn't too bad, especially because our knight, the yellow knight, threw them each a flower.  I was impressed with the skills of the riders on their horses, hitting such small marks with precision.  The sword fighting (sans horses) was also pretty incredible with sparks flying.  We studied a bit of knight history this year in school, so it's kind of crazy to think that men really battled in that way.  As you can see from Esther's face below, they were all enthralled.

As we woke up the next morning to head back home, we rose to the most beautiful sunrise.  I will admit I wasn't quite ready to head home.  I was overwhelmed with emotion watching the sun come up thinking...did all of this really happen?  It did and God is so kind to wake us up to a sunrise.

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
 24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
Lamentations 3:21-24

Monday, February 3, 2014


When I was a little girl, every birthday and fountain full of coins brought the same be a princess.

The day we moved into Brent's Place was a day I will never forget. Every corner I felt more and more blessed. Our experience with Make-A-Wish has been the same. After Esther made her wish a couple months ago, we've been getting little bits and pieces of the surprise. This last weekend Esther's wish grantors came and delivered all the details, as you can see, Esther was completely enamored.

Along with goodies for Esther, long to. the. floor. gowns and "real" crowns were delivered for each of our princesses along with a pirate hat and sword for Rourke. We will get to spend almost a week in California including two days at Disneyland where we'll have a special meet and greet with the princesses, front row seats for a beautiful light show, and appointments at the Bippity Boppity Boutique where the girls will receive a royal treatment by the Fairy Godmothers, and Rourke will get to step up to be the defender of these beautiful maidens as a royal knight. Esther can't wait to meet Sofia the First. We'll also get to spend some time at Knotts Berry Farm and Rourke is totally excited to eat with his hands (and not have do all that princess stuff) at Medeival Times. We're hoping to be able to see some family and friends who live nearby and to take in the vast beauty and power of the ocean for a day.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado has been phenominal, every need or request has been met with incredible grace and generousity. We are so thankful for this gift to our family.