Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Our Trip to Morgan's Wonderland

Our family traveled to San Antonio, Texas a few weekends ago to stay with my uncle and aunt and visit the amazing Morgan's Wonderland. It was the absolute best.

While staying at my relatives house we quickly realized what will be recommended to Santa Clause as Clara's Christmas gift. . . a hammock. That girl would. not. get. out. Give her a hammock all day every day. It was the cutest thing to witness. She would walk outside and stand by the hammock, patiently, until someone would lift her up and plop her in. Several times she grabbed a hand and pulled a few of us over to the hammock as her way to say, "Swing with me."

We also learned that Camille's favorite part was throwing corn and waiting for the deer to come feast. As cute as this was, we will not be informing Santa Clause of her heart's desire, a deer for the backyard.

Little Miss also enjoyed filling empty baggies with acorns. Kept her busy for one solid hour Saturday morning.

Clara convinced not only daddy, but sister to join in . . .

We spent all day Saturday at Morgan's Wonderland. For those not familiar, Morgan's Wonderland is an adventure park designed specifically for persons with special needs. I teared up not once, not twice, but three times while we were there. Is your family member in a wheelchair? No problem. Wheelchairs could be loaded on any and every ride, swing, or activity.

My new favorite photo of the girls . . .

Riding the ferris wheel . . .

Checking out the swings . . . 

Clara loved the interactive musical stations . . .

Camille was over the moon excited to ride the train, and I think Clara enjoyed it as well!

There is an indoor portion of the park, "Sensory Village," which has all types of sensory activities. You can't tell from this picture, but Clara was giggling hysterically at the flying butterflies!

We basically had to pry Clara off of the carousel . . . :)

Driving cars around the track . . .

The park had an interactive water station which both girls enjoyed. Clara tried to climb in several times. :)

After three hours at the adventure park, we walked down to the water park portion of Morgan's Wonderland. The water park is a fairly new addition and so fun! Think 5-6 huge splash pads.

If your child is in a wheelchair you simply trade it out for one that can get completely wet. Watching kids experience the joy of something as simple as fully participating in water activities was beyond magical. Breathtaking.

A blessing I didn't expect going into the weekend, was how the day at the park would impact Camille. It was so good for her to see other families, a lot like us, which was reassuring for her little heart that there are other kids like her that have siblings like Clara. While she might feel alone on the day-to-day, there are in fact many families like ours, little girls who have a sister who doesn't quite interact like her friend's sisters and who doesn't quite talk back to her like her friend's sisters. We talked through this a bit and it was so good for her three-year-old soul.

At one point in our day, as we waited our turn in line, a little boy ran up to me from his parents and pulled on my shirt. The mom quickly prompted his hand away and apologized. Approximately half a second into her apology I simply told her, "I get it. I SO get it. Please, there is no need to apologize." She replied with, "You're right. Not having to explain your child's behavior or apologizing for it is the coolest part of the trip for us. We come every year. Parents just get it." Amen and amen.

What a blessing for me to experience. Parents who are living it so they get it. Parents who don't get out of sorts when my daughter twiddles their purse strap or starts chewing on their belongings. Parents who understand why you literally cannot let go of your child's hand if they are not contained in a stroller. Parents who don't judge when you have to give your child the iPad for the 20th time so she will eat lunch, sit still, remain calm, etc. What a gift!

Clara conked out after an hour at the water park. Brandon had to basically force me to sit and hold her for two hours. Or not. Give me all the cuddles.

I held my special girl watching many other special children (and adults!) enjoy and play and laugh and hug. Some talking, some not. Some walking, some not. Some with legs and arms, some without. It was beautiful to witness and I am a better person for those two hours. . . thanking God for the very good gift that is Clara and this journey, this hard but amazingly precious journey He has called us to.

Regardless of whether you have a child with special needs or not*, I highly recommend visiting Morgan's Wonderland if you are ever in the San Antonio area. I promise you will leave with a smile and a wider and deeper view of God's good gifts that come in many different shapes, forms, personalities, and abilities.

The treats aren't half bad either . . .  :)

*Anyone can visit the park, not just special needs families! Special needs children/adults get in for free. Typical children and adults are charged for admission.  My guess is that a typical child up to age ten would enjoy the park. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

First day of school 2017-2018

And we're off!

Camille started preschool today (delayed two weeks thanks to Hurricane Harvey). She was beyond excited and didn't think twice about walking into class. She would go to school every day if I let her! I had to basically beg her to give me a hug before running to her seat.

Clara goes to school year-round, thus doesn't have an official "first/last day of school." In an effort to track her growth school year to school year though, I started taking pictures of her last year, just like I do Camille.

Meet the teacher on Monday 9/18/17
 And here's my attempt at "cute front door first day of school pictures" . . .

A look back at last year . . . Man, take me back! Honestly, I love each stage/age more and more, but I do miss these tiny, baby faces.

Praying for a new school year full of growth, maturity, new milestones achieved, joy, and a blossoming of new relationships.
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