Saturday, October 25, 2014

God Keep Our Land, Glorious and Free

Today Hannah and I were blessed to participate in a beautiful Canadian tradition.  When Canada loses a soldier in action their body travels down the ‘Highway of Heroes’ on it’s way to Toronto.  How moving to be part of such a special ceremony and surround ourselves with proud Canadians trying each in their own small way to say ‘thank you.’IMG_5414

Wednesday a lone gunman took the life of an unarmed soldier in Ottawa (our Nation’s Capital) who was guarding a treasured Canadian monument.

stevenson and cirillo

Today that soldier, Cpl Cirillo’s body travelled from Ottawa to Hamilton where he will be laid to rest on Monday.  Each and every overpass of the 7+ hour drive his honour guard took, looked like the one you see in my first picture as Canadians stood to pay their respects to one who selflessly gave his life for ours.  He is one of many over the years who have done this and to each and every one of them I am thankful.  Today I had an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and to use this as a time to begin introducing such moments of respect and thankfulness to Hannah.

She was a trooper!  Since we didn’t know exactly what time the motorcade time would pass by I signed her out of school a little early and we made our way to an overpass not too far from home.IMG_5411

She doesn’t really know what was going on so I explained to her today we had an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to someone who did good things for Canada.  In time she would learn more (we talked in more detail on our way home) but truly, this was a thankful time.

In the end our wait was about 2 1/2 hours but we chatted, she collected rocks and, enjoyed more than one piece of candy from a sweet senior standing near us.  LOL – grandparents = candy in pockets!  It cooled off by the end and a sweet lady shared her blanket with Hannah who quickly ‘made a cocoon.’


From the moment we arrived and joined those already waiting there was a steady stream of honking from those who travelled the highway below us who in their own way saying, ‘Thank you’ and I must say, I had forgotten this part and was constantly reminded just how important this tradition is to all Canadians.  We are blessed to live close enough to participate in this tradition.

As the motorcade came into sight it was my sweet girl who quietly began to sing ‘Oh Canada’ and soon others around us joined in.  What a precious moment!

I couldn’t hear what Hannah was saying when we were there but the camera captured her sweet, innocent remarks.  Sadly she will all too soon learn the truth of why we were there but for this moment she was there with the innocent, thankful heart of a 5yo who was just excited to see police cars. 

Cpl. Cirillo’s mother was riding in the motorcade and I can only imagine what this support meant to her in her grief as every single km of their ride was with motorists pulled off the side of the road, standing outside their cars and covering each overpass in respect for the gift her child gave Canada on Wednesday.

Thank you Cpl. Cirillo.  Canada thanks you.

And friends, I cannot help but think of One who gave His life for us over 2000 years ago.  If only we as a country and those around the world showed such respect, love and thankfulness for Him too. 

John 3: 16 – 18  “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.’ (The Message)

Thank you God for sending your Son.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 8 (Epcot)

(Saturday, September 27, 2014)
Today was a day that Hannah and I shared together as each family did their own thing and went our separate ways.  We were excited to go back to one of our favourite parks, Epcot, and enjoy the rides and shows there!
Knowing that the ride Maelstrom was in it’s final days before being closed to be turned into a ‘Frozen’ ride we secured a FP+ reservation for it.  Hats off to my kiddo who was willing to ride this with Mommy even though the troll in it her was scary.  A snuggle in to mommy and closed eyes helped that.  I was glad to ride it one final time but must say I’m really excited to see what it looks like as a Frozen ride.  I’m just hoping they can extend the length of the ride as I’m sure the wait will be long when it opens!  Time will tell….
Since we were right next to ‘China’ in the International Gateway we went back for a 2nd visit with Mulan.  What a sweet picture this is!  I love their gentle hands holding one another as they shared a sweet time together.IMG_5260
Hannah has always been a kiddo who loves stuffed animals and this trip she took a liking to Duffy the Bear.  As you can see by the sky behind Hannah another storm was on it’s way but we decided to wait for Duffy unless the storm arrived before he did.  I call this one, ‘Princess in Waiting’IMG_5266
Doing the ‘Warrior’ pose with Duffy that Mulan had taught her.IMG_5271
After riding Soarin’ IMG_5283
we went to one of our favourite restaurants at Disney, Coral Reef, and dined at a table right next to the aquarium. IMG_5276
A visit with a Goofy guy!IMG_5293
Our final ride of the day was Hannah’s choice – Test Track!!  Here she’s showing you the amazing car she designed!IMG_5306
Within minutes of this picture she asked me to pick her up so that she could ‘rest’ on my shoulder.  If you know my gal this was her code for ‘I’m done and going to sleep now’ and that’s exactly what she did! Since we were so close to the ride I popped her in anticipating her waking up as the ride started moving.  LOL – Nope!  Even though it’s fast, slow, swerving, has flashing lights and loud sounds, she was still out.  It wasn’t until the moment we entered the outdoors in the fast part that she woke up….with a big smile!  (I had been holding Hannah’s head during the ride so that it didn’t flop around and this pic was snapped by the ride cameras at the moment she woke up.)IMG_5309
Sadly we had only one more day in front of us but we were ready to enjoy it to the fullest!  Tomorrow…Magic Kingdom!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 7, Part II (Downtown Disney)

(Friday, September 26, 2014)
After we dried off from our day of fun at Blizzard Beach  we contacted Uncle Dave and Auntie Trish to see if they might like to meet for supper at Downtown Disney.   We were glad to hear they were thinking of heading there too and would like to meet at Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe for supper.
Hannah and Pascal on the busIMG_5238
While we waited for our meet-up time we took our traditional pics at the Winnie the Pooh statue.
By this point in our trip I realized that we had quick service credits in abundance and the fun of sharing was in full swing!   Sharing our extra credits is one of our favourite ways of sharing Disney Magic with those around us.  (Last year we’d had enough credits left to buy lunch for my cousin and her 6 kiddos who were just starting their vacation.)  At lunch we’d bought lunch for a teen boy who was in line behind us.  He was so thankful and as we ate our lunch he even brought his mom over to us to say thank you. So sweet!
At supper we still had some sharing to do so as we waited in line I began to approach people around us to see if they were on the Disney Dining Plan.  I came across this group of 3 who were preparing to pay cash for their suppers.  It was a treat to offer to buy their meals for them including a drink and dessert.  They were so excited!  It ends up the one gal has just started working for Disney and the 2 in the pic below were friends of hers who had arrived at Disney that day for their very first trip to Disney.  What fun to be able to bless them in this way!  They asked if we could take a picture together so I snapped one too.IMG_5242
After a long week of Disney adventures the kids were pooped and by the end of the meal all 3 were asleep at the table!IMG_5243
One of Hannah’s favourite stores at DD is Goofy’s Candy Store.  I had to snap this pic to show her she’d been there even though she slept through it.IMG_5246
We were glad to share this meal with Dave and Trish as Saturday we had plans that took us in separate directions and we weren’t going to see much more of one another before heading home.
Hannah and I had 2 more park days in front of us and after this day at Blizzard Beach and Downtown Disney we were ready to visit Epcot the next day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 7, Part I (Blizzard Beach)

(Friday, September 26, 2014)
On the Friday we changed things up a bit and went to Blizzard Beach for the day rather than go to a park.  What fun we had!!IMG_5178
Check out the beautiful blue sky in these pics!  Around noon we hopped out of the wave pool and got some lunch.  Unfortunately soon after that typical FL thunderstorm blew in and we were grounded. 
What do we do when waiting out a storm?  Why take on a challenge issued by Uncle Scott before we left.  We barely dented this beast but it was the same price as 2 cones and fulfilled the challenge to eat a ‘huge ice cream sundae!’  How’d we do Uncle Scott?photo-1
Once the storm passed the place was e-m-p-t-y since the delay was almost 2 hours long.*  We had such a great time riding slides over and over again without a moments wait!! 

Unfortunately the one thing that didn’t reopen was the ski lift to the top of the family tube slide which meant walking up over and over again.  Good for the legs though! IMG_5206
Hannah had a blast in the kids/tween area!  Check out my strong girl!  I saw some kids much older than Hannah struggling with the ice bergs.

Pardon the nasty hair and no makeup.  Just need to say how happy I was that we took a day away from the parks and enjoyed hanging out at Blizzard Beach!  We’ll do that again another year for sure!!IMG_5194
*Note:  I found out after we’d waited out the rain delay that since we’d been in the park less than 4 hours when they closed it for a rain delay we could have gone to Guest Services to request a rain check that would have been good for a year.  We stayed because I hated the thought of paying around $100 for only a couple of hours of play but in the end it was all good as we had the place to ourselves and had a couple of hours to sit, talk and hang out together. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 6, Part II (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

(Thursday, September 25, 2014)
One of the highlights for us this day was to participate in the Frozen Sing-Along.  What fun we had!!IMG_5141_thumb
Hannah couldn’t help but jump out of her seat when it started to ‘snow.’  She also tried eating it and quickly discovered it was soap.  lol!
There’s snow in my hair!
Bonnie isn’t a fan of the big thrill rides and was happy to watch the kids for us while Dave, Trish, Paul and I rode Rock ‘n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.  I have to say Trish was hilarious on this ride as she began screaming the second they closed the doors.  One of the other gals on the ride even turned around and laughingly said, ‘She’s my favourite!!’  Heh!  Trish, you’re the only reason I’m smiling and not also screaming in this pic.  In fact, I think you’re why everyone is smiling in this pic!  Thanks for taking one for the team sis!IMG_5155_thumb
What a great day we had at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!!IMG_5162_thumb
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