We have attended in previous years, and of course had a great time, although the event was a tad overwhelming for Clara, and thus a tad overwhelming for us as a family.
Photos from last year. . . and on a completely different note, my children look so very tiny in these two pictures!
This year our church/children's minister had the most amazing and thoughtful idea, of opening up the event one hour early for a VIP admission for children with special needs and their families. When I first heard this. . . tears. And while you might argue that I cry all the time thanks to ever changing pregnancy related hormones (seriously, I started crying on the way home from Chickfila a few days ago. Don't ask for a logical explanation. No idea.), these tears were due to an overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation that someone took the time and effort to make this event just a little more enjoyable for kids like Clara.
And y'all. . . this year. . . she had a blast! A smaller crowd = less noise = less sensory overload = more likely that a special needs child will relax, enjoy, and engage in activities offered. Success!
The girls started off by hunting eggs. . . Camille thought she owned the place. Someone just break it to her gently, ok?
Clara found this one egg and then was perfectly content just walking around the grounds. . .
Every once in a while she would stop to inspect it, to make sure it still looked like the perfect choice. . .
We invited our friends who live nearby, who also have a daughter with Cohen Syndrome. LOVE that Clara and Kathrine have each other and can grow to be the best of buddies. Thank you God for this good gift and colliding our worlds.
Kathrine hunting for eggs. . .
And then Camille attempted to take over the petting zoo. . . "Gentle hands, Camille," was said approximately 450x.
Our family pic with the Big Bunny. . . :)
But the best part of this event (at least in my opinion) was the bounce house experience. Because of the light crowd, I was able to crawl into the bounce house with the girls and bounce for a solid 20-25 minutes. Just the four of us! This type of activity is something Clara and Kathrine would not typically be able to enjoy at such an event. The girls were laughing and smiling while I bounced them up and down on their bottoms nonstop. These two might not be able to speak, but you don't need words in these moments. All you need is the look on their faces. Such joy in those 25 minutes. Precious, precious memories. . .
And P.S. If you are in need of switching up your workout routine, just go bounce on your butt nonstop in a bounce house for a solid portion of time. I am not kidding, my thighs are still recovering. I had to take a break in the picture below and Kathrine was not amused. "Mom, she is so lame. Wanna come in and take over for her???"