Wednesday, 21 April 2010


Today I am going to rewind my head back to this day and remember this very excited little face...

And try to forget this...

We plan to leave at 4pm today to head for Twlight Check In and then our hotel at Gatwick Airport - for once I hope the sound of planes keeps me awake!

I am also looking forward to stopping having to check these sites every two minutes! Great if you like watching planes though:D I am their number one groupy now! Richard Branson must think he has a stalker:lol:

But most of all I am not going to miss trying to analyse these pictures every 4 hours!

Pilot forums are now being swapped back for scrapping forums - I think Simon began to think I was a little over keen on pilots for a while there! and piles of clothes are now being swapped for packed cases.... but fingers and toes are still crossed until we are on Orlando soil:D

I have learnt a lot about myself these past few days and have deduced that a) I don't always have the strength to cope as well as I thought when something is thrown at me b) I need 8 hours sleep a day to function - I think I have had that in total over the past five night c) true friends are worth their weight in gold and throw themselves at the challenge to support you through things even when you are a pain to be around! and last but not least I realise that Harry's trip means so much to us as a family and how much we are looking forward to seeing his reaction to swimming with dolphins and making lots of happy memories:D


A Bit Lost...

that is how I have been since Sunday TBH!

We had to finally break the news of the ash cloud to Harry yesterday as he went back to school and we didn't want to risk everyone talking about it and him not be aware. It was hard to break that magic bubble he has been in for weeks but I know it was the right thing to do so he was better armed for missing out on the flight on Friday.

However today we received an email from Make A Wish...

Hi Lorraine
At this moment it all seems ok, please just go ahead with your
itinerary starting tomorrow with your flight on Friday.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries and I will
of course contact you should anything change.
Kind regards

So fingers crossed with the airports being open (for now anyhow!) that we do indeed get to fly out on Friday.

Thank you to everyone for your posts, emails and messages - they have really kept us going and Harry also says thank you to all of you for sending him lovely messages too:D


Sunday, 18 April 2010


to keep a sense of normal routine going on whilst we wait for news over on the NATS website. We are hoping for a weather change on Thursday that they predict!!!

So in the attempt to create some 'balance' to life yesterday we decided to take Harry to Aldeburgh and have a fish and chip supper followed by a somewhat chilly play on the beach. It done us all a world of good to get out and grab some perspective back rather than the all consuming and emotionally draining constent checking on the Met Office and NATS sites!

So today we plan to do the same, jobs and a bit of packing as planned followed by getting out in the fresh air :D


Saturday, 17 April 2010

Unsure and Somewhat Apprehensive

For the past 48 hours I have kept changing my mind whether to make this blog entry or not, I fully know that there are much, much worse and sad problems in the world but to us on a personal level this has been (and probably will contunue to be until Friday) the most stressful and worrying few days... why - the flippen' ash cloud!!!

In the end I have decided to write down my fears, thoughts and even some totally irrational things I am sure, in the hope it will ease the churning feeling I have inside about what happens if we can't fly on Friday and how we will deliver that news to Harry if the worst comes to the worst:( For us this is now part of the run up to Harry's Make A Wish trip whether we like it or not so I guess deserves a place in the 'story' to read back on one day.

I am normally a great sleeper, infact I can even sleep in a hospital chair with all the noise, lights and mayhem going on and not batter an eyelid:lol: so for me to only have 2 hours broken sleep last night is a huge thing and has really made me release quite how much this trip means to us as a family and the 'lift' we really need to see Harry get from it all.

This weekend was set aside for the pre holiday spring clean and ironing etc, Simon has the weekend off which is not the norm and Zoe and Kirsty are here all day too and we were really looking forward to a busy day of chores and sorting. At 3am this morning I was having in a conversation with myself (like you do!) on whether to still do all that and go about doing what we have planned right up until the moment we leave on Thursday afternoon. One part of me wants to go hide under the duvet until that time and pretend this isn't happening but the stronger side of me that tends to come from somewhere gave myself a good talking too and said to carrying on as normal and not let it spoil anything.

How can you NOT let it spoil it when it is at the back of your mind the entire time? I have in the realms of preservation made plans to phone Make A Wish on Monday and ask the big horrible question of 'what if' so we know what we will be telling Harry is the truth, I know that if one of us was too ill to fly then they just wave that magic wand and reschedule so I am guessing (hoping!) that the same things happens for cancellations.

I am trying not to let my slightly OCD side creep in which keeps wanting to check the NATS sight and Met Office sight like every 2 minutes - why I think there may be a personal message that says right across the screen 'Lorraine do not worry' I don't know but hey postive thinking is good isn't it?

So it is offical I HATE the volcano that lies under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland - it sucks!!!


Thursday, 15 April 2010

It's Here!

Harry has been waiting on the doorstep this morning as he knew his Make A Wish pack would be here! The postman let him sign for the special delivery which was exciting enough in its self:lol:

The pack contained lots of written information and e tickets etc but also some little envelopes for Harry to get a special photo of his swim with the dolphins and also a sealed letter for the flight crew... I wonder if that is to warn them that there is one very excited and hyper boy on their flight or that his Dad doesn't like flying:lol: Also in the pack is some gold star badges, these are really special and we will treasure them forever I am sure!

We have had a quick read through altogether and will read in more detail later but I think for now we must get dressed as it is nearly lunch time and we don't have a crumb to eat until I have been shopping!

I will leave you with what I think is THE most precious photo we captured this morning, check out this excited face!


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Emails and Post

We received a further email from GKTW today which has really made Harry hyper today already! He loves the fact that it is addressed to him let alone what the contents say :lol: He loves it when he gets letters though the post too, we used to send him things like Cbeebies magazines through the post just to see his face light up so I can't wait for the next stage of his Wish pack to come through and see the reaction, I must remember to keep the camera really handy this week!

Dear Harry,

Just over one week before we welcome all of you to Give Kids The World Village - we are really excited and hope you are too! Your wish granting organization has partnered with Give Kids The World Vacation Planning Services team to make sure this is a most magical, memorable, and stress-free vacation of a lifetime. To ensure we are ready for your stay, we would like to confirm the following information:

Travel Information
Wish Child: Harry
Confirmation #: ******
Number in party: 5
Lodging: Give Kids The World
Arrival Date: 4/23/2010
Departing Date: 4/30/2010
Transportation: *****
Flight #: ***
Time: 15:25:00
Arriving: Orlando
Rental Car: Avis

We look forward to meeting all of you on your special wish vacation. Check out the following link to help you further plan your trip!

Have a safe trip and we'll see you soon!

Your friends at Give Kids The World

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Think This Will Work?

Sitting down and planning has been fun but have we got it right do you think?


6:pm Leave for Gatwick hotel


6:30am Leave hotel for airport check in
11:15am Virgin Atlantic VS27 Gatwick

15:25 Arrive Orlando
Meet & Greet Avis

6:30pm Dinner

Lorraine to orientation meeting 7:45pm

7:30pm GKTW - Pirates and Princesses Party with Shamu and friends on the Avenue of Angels


8am - Breakfast

8:30 am GKTW - Horseback Riding Keaton’s Korral


6pm Dinner

7:45pm GKTW - Mayor Clayton’s Birthday Party on the Avenue of Angels


8am - Breakfast


6pm Dinner

7:30pm GKTW - The World’s Largest Candy Land game at Matthew’s Boundless Playground.


7:30 am - Breakfast


5:45pm GKTW - Kids’ Night Out/Grown-ups’ Night Off at Amberville Train Station

9pm Dinner at Villa


8am - Breakfast
8:30am Nickelodeon Character Photos in the Castle of Miracles


10pm - Dinner in villa


8am - Breakfast


7:45pm GKTW - Village Idol in Julie’s Safari Theatre.


8am - Breakfast


6:30pm GKTW - Winter Wonderland on the Avenue of Angels and the Castle of Miracles +Carriage Rides from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
7:45pm Winter Wonderland Parade on the Avenue of Angels +Santa Claus in Julie’s Safari Theatre from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


7:30am Breakfast

8:30 am - Pack car


2pm Leave for airport

17:55pm Flight VS28 Virgin Atlantic

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Yesterday we found out the day of Harry's swimming with dolphins experience, Monday 26th April is the day!
Harry's actual wish was to 'swim with sharks' which luckily Make A Wish interpretated as swimming with dolphins... phew!

I have never really looked into the whole swimming with dolphins and Discovery Cove as TBH it never really seemed something that would in reality happen or be reachable with a family of 5, especially with one daughter in uni and one in college for the next 4 years! As a family we have been really lucky to be able to go to Disneyland in California and Disneyland Paris but never did we think we would get to go to Florida! I have been for a flying visit to Orlando for CHA last Summer and I must admit it was really hard to go there without the family but I preserved that feeling by staying well away from anything tourist, Disney or other things that would happen if you were in Orlando as a family on holiday - no mean feat in Orlando I can tell you :lol: It meant all that was to do after work was shop at the outlets and eat!

So this morning I have endulged Harry and I with some website visits to Discovery Cove, clicking all the links of what you get to do has made our hearts beat very fast today and Harry has been running round in circles screaming:lol: He is very excited he gets to keep his snorkle too! Although looking at the wetsuits I think the idea that I had back in October to lose 2 or 3 stone was a great idea.... opps forgot to do that, bit late now you think?


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Castle of Miracles

OMG 16 days now!!!!!

The excitement has been further induced by over endulgement of chocolate this weekend:lol:

We have been trying to talk to Harry about the meaning behind Give The Kids The World (GTKTW) complex and why it is there, I feel we not only need to make him aware of why it is there and the work all the volunteers do but also in some ways to prepare him for what I really think will be an emotional place. I am expecting it to be more of a roller coaster than Disney has to offer for raw emotions, there will be endless happy and positive memories made to last forever but also a humbling experience too. There will be children staying on site that may be in the middle of chemo or other treatments that make them feel quite unwell and although Harry has experienced many, many situations meeting and playing with children having chemo it will be the first time he has seen this in a 'holiday' setting as 9 times out of 10 he experiences treatments within a hospital setting.

You can't lie to children, can't hide the truth of how sad and unfair life can be can you, but how can you actually put into words that many of the children that are at GTKTW will not make it to their next birthday - on top of that how can you get that fact over without frightening your own children that has been granted a wish to the very same place because they too have a life threatening illness... see it is definately a journey I am taking on many different levels and TBH my head hasn't quite got round that part yet - not sure that it ever will really either. I am excited, I am really happy for Harry that he has this opportunity but amongst all those positives the one wish I would love granted is that he wasn't eligible for such a trip and that he didn't have to face the challenges he has before him.

A section of the information we have been sent about Harry's trip (The Castle of Miracles) is what started me off on these deep thoughts and feelings today but now I hope that by getting those sadder feelings and fears down on my blog that I can move on to all the fun and exciting things that will make the next 16 days fly by preparation wise!

Within our information we have been given it details a beautiful place called The Castle of Miracles, each wish child creates their own gold star on arrival with their name engraved on it - whilst the child is asleep that first night the 'fairies' come and place it in the ceiling with all the other stars to stay their forever and ever. There are hundreds, and hundreds of these stars each made by the little hands of every wish child - now you can see what got me started!


Saturday, 3 April 2010

19 days... ready to pop already!

With all the preparations for the Getaway last weekend I made myself put Harry's Make A Wish trip to the back of my mind so I could fully concentrate on the work in hand but now that we have arrived back, unpacked and sorted everything back into the warehouse and have a routine ready for staffing and packing over the Easter break I can now truly say that I am too so very, very excited!

We ordered a guidebook which came this morning, Harry has since been sat on the settee looking at all the pictures - fat chance of him getting dressed before noon I think:lol:

I have also started to think about how I will approach documenting Harry's Wish, yes of course I will be creating a scrapbook dedicated to the week but I just know that there is going to be so many, many things I want to put down, keep and record that I think I may need to think a bit more about how to go about it!

I want to make a scrapbook that can be picked up and looked at again and again, one that has lots of meaning not just fancy pages but also one that has thoughts, feelings and memories from the whole family about our trip. I think it is going to be a hard thing to capture from all those sides, maybe I need to rethink and perhaps get all the family to create their own travel/art journals... thoughts, ideas and suggestions always appreciated!

I plan to write a diary whilst there, a place where I can put some thoughts down as well as highlights of the day - I may use this to help record some memories in a scrapbook but I guess I will probably also keep it is a personal 'journey'. Can you tell my head is a little all over the place!

One thing I do know is that I want to somehow recreate the sketch logo of Give The Kids The World village onto a cover of an American Crafts album - the ones that have the colour binding but 'bare' front and back. I wonder if the image would print clear enough onto Bazzill... I think I may be experimenting this weekend.


Thursday, 1 April 2010

21 Days!

I still can not get my head around Harry's trip later this month, we were told back in November that Harry had been granted a wish by the Make A Wish Foundation to swim with dolphins and it felt so unreal then and it still does!

Harry received a welcome pack from Give The Kids The World yesterday which has made things seem a bit more real - yes we are excited for Harry and excited that we will experience lots of things that will make the best memories for life but also the flip side that I am still trying to sort in my head is that children like Harry only get these wishes granted because they face life long challenges facing life threatening illnesses - TBH a fact that I hide deep away in my head, a kind of self preservation skill that gets me through life at times!

The village where we will be staying is amazing, a place I didn't even know existed, a place that they state is 'where happiness inspires hope' - kinda says it all really doesn't it. It looks such a happy, fun and bright place don't you think...

The list of things on in the Village itself has got Harry bouncing from the walls :lol: although I will hold my hands up and say 'ditto' to that too...


The World’s Largest Candy Land game from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Matthew’s Boundless Playground.
Twinkle Hope’s Tea Party from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Castle of Miracles.
Village After Dark teen party from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in Julie’s Safari Theatre


Disney Character Photos at Julie’s Safari Theatre from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Kids’ Night Out/Grown-ups’ Night Off from 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Amberville Train Station
Discovery Cove Animal Exploration from 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Avenue of Angels
Safari Double Dare in Julie’s Safari Theatre from 8 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Nickelodeon Character Photos in the Castle of Miracles from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Family Fun Night begins at 7:30 p.m. in front of Julie’s Safari Theatre

Horseback Riding from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Keaton’s Korral
Kids’ Night Out/Grown-ups’ Night Off from 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Amberville Train Station
Village Idol in Julie’s Safari Theatre from 7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Disney Character Photos in Julie’s Safari Theatre from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Winter Wonderland from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the Avenue of Angels and the Castle of Miracles
Carriage Rides from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Winter Wonderland Parade at 7:45 p.m. on the Avenue of Angels
Santa Claus in Julie’s Safari Theatre from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


Universal Orlando Character Photos from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. in the Castle of Miracles
Pirates and Princesses Party with Shamu and friends from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the Avenue of Angels


Horseback Riding from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Keaton’s Korral
The movie “The Big Surprise” at 7:30 p.m. in Julie’s Safari Theatre
Mayor Clayton’s Birthday Party from 7:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the Avenue of Angels

I think the next month my blog will be more like a diary of the run up to Harry's trip and the experience itself - and yes I am of course going to be documenting it somehow in the form of a scrapbook - it has really bought home to me WHY I scrapbook. I guess it will be a journey of many levels and one I feel I would like to share here.