Monday, July 19, 2010

NDSC 2010 conference, Orlando, Florida

It seems so long ago that we started our drive to Orlando. The morning of Wednesday July 14th went well; no rush, just pack the van, everyone get their items collected and then into Ft Myers to pick up a funding check for covering some of the conference fees. We were funded to attend this conference which along with our volunteer free day from the GIVE A DAY, GET A DAY program we were going to be in one of the parks this trip. I could not locate the children's good swim goggles which are a must in large public pools due to the massive amounts of chlorine and they all swim with their eyes open. WE stopped at Ross where I picked up actual training goggles 2 pair for $8 which is a great deal. We cashed the check after a couple more hours than anticipated wait which now I am so thankful we did. The drive up I captured on my phone through facebook as it was raining so hard we were traveling at points 5 miles per hour... NO DANGER TO TEXT AND DRIVE at walking pace. So the time up even extended later than we figured.

Once at the hotel it was not as pleasant as when we go for Family CAFE....KUDDOS to whomever arranges the Family CAFE hostesses because not much of check in was friendly..and we are not the only ones to express this. I cut our stay back a day and paid cash for the stay. They stated I had to pay the entire bill cash up front.. (good thing I cashed that check) then they said no way can I cut off a day.. well thank goodness I had called last week to explain we might not be able to stay all the days due to many commitment's.. and the almighty dollar of staying on DISNEY grounds.. well a demand to talk to a manager and sure enough they log all phone calls to folios so I was covered..It showed my call and my reply that I was told I had up to 24 hours prior to the night to cancel no penalty... I am days not hours early to cancel. Now this pain in the rump customer complains about the location they put us..MY OH MY I am a pain. See they assumed we would want near the convention center because it is a large laid out complex. BUT the pool with the slide is in the back 40 so I asked for a connecting room in the area near the pool (actually gave ideas of room numbers) This person said they do not have connecting rooms in that build..Hhhmmm I stayed in them a couple years ago.. so I ask next set of buildings and she says well she would have to call a manager back... I am not getting a bit upset.. here is their line of thinking. I am getting conference rate at $131.00 a night per soon (x2) and they want the higher paying customers to have rooms near the big pool... so I explain that 2 weeks ago I stayed in Rancorous rooms connecting for $119.00 per room (x2) and have a problem why everything is so much more difficult this week... I then get the room I had 2 weeks ago... Daaa don't say you don't have connecting rooms in building previous customers have already stayed in... so much for their Thank you for staying with us, you are welcome to return we enjoyed having you materials we get after every stay.... so back to our room and on to more pleasurable times...we have this hotel down to a science. I can unload, unpack and the kids know where everything goes so it all works out well. We are pool side, within the hour and the kids are getting in tons of slides.. I explain we must make it an early night 9 pm because we are going to the Disney park in the morning.. We can get, Keirsten and Kailtyn went for a late night swim until about 11pm.

Thursday, July 15th we set thealarm, up at 7am we can be in the parks at 8 am but not happening... we got to the bus by 8:30 and at Hollywood Studios a tad before nine but we were not the only ones there...mobs of people and I am hot and the day isn't even beginning... It is me and the seven kids..and we learn after one line we need to go to the will call line.. then in that line we learn that we can upgrade..UPGRADE to a three day pass for $50.00 HAD I KNOWN.... oh my goodness I wanted to back off and say..lets not enter today, come back in the fall and stay three days.. THREE DAYS would be so worth it...THREE DAYS>.. but in my attempt to explain the reason of my idea..MELTDOWNS occurred... and that is a totally capital M on the meltdown. SO we entered the park, had no problem getting the move to the front of the line pass and of course my mind is going a million miles an hour on how I can magically find $400.00 extra, within the stay. I know I had to shake it off.

WE entered the park and had a mission. Off to the smaller children's area, Emma and Lucas are being picked up at noon by the child care provider so we can ride roller coasters as a family this afternoon. We go to Little Mermaid first. The lines to get photos with characters are long and waiting is taking too much time. We need to move on.. The show went well so we headed for a ride, the ride Toy Story..they all loved that even Emma. We tried again to get photos with the kids and characters but it wasn't happening. We went to the High School Musical 3 show on the main street. We went into a few shops and had fun looking at all the things we would love to buy although have no NEED for. The weather has turned so we are trying to avoid rain. It is so very hot out.

We get the kids into care and back in the park about 1pm. Straight to the roller coaster.. I am excited. This is where the whole experience turns inside out and upside down for me literally. As we enter the short line to Rockin Roller Coaster, the little ones start to cry and say they do not want on the ride. Keirsten says this is how they do every ride. I am not sure how I feel about this. Jordan is freakin out. But he keeps moving toward the front of the line?? He says no but is moving forward... He wants to sit with me. I get into the seat with him, I am holding his soda on my back and have my good camera tightly fit into the seat. I know this ride goes fast quick and the force is strong so with my glasses on I position my head to the back of the headrest and straight forward asking Jordan to put his head back so it doesn't slam as it takes off. Jordan pretty much screams and cries the entire ride.. I try to console him but it wasn't working. Then upon getting off the ride I see the other are tear filled eyed and look scared to death...BUT THIS IS WHERE I JUST DO NOT GET IT.... as we go through the gift shop exit they ask can we do it again" I ask DO WHAT? They point back and I am shocked. We exit and head to the tower of terror. In the line the crying starts again and they walk to the front of the line crying...PH I FORGOT... as Jordan gets upset he starts passing gas..not a little peep but full on gas mask fogged gas.. making many people push back. So once we get to the elevator of tower of terror Keirsten says she doesn't want to do this ride.. She has done nothing but talk about this ride and she wants me to take her photo but she is starting to tear up. I am totally blown away. My kids ride all the rides at all the fun parks.. so we are met with Disney staff who talk them into getting on the ride. Front row is Tressa. Keirsten and Steven. Behind that is Jordan myself and Kaitlyn. The ride starts and they are somber and then it starts. full out screaming help me, crying terrified cries of help me...shacking and it all... I am shocked, why do my children wish to do this and why do they cry and then YEP, when we got off ask to do it again... Well Tressa and Keirsten who were totally crying after the ride ended said they did not want to do it again.... But clearly Jordan was terrified and he clearly wanted to do it again. Keirsten wanted me to buy the photo which clearly showed the children all crying in horror...$18.00 seemed odd to spend on such miserable looking photos at both places. Am I crazy, this was odd to me... I can only equate that because at Bush Gardens the theater piece is not there, it is like carnival rides open and lit. I asked them to stop and lets get some lunch and drinks. We seek something lite, cold and wet. Jordan only wants pizza, Keirsten wants to eat in a restaurant although it is so hot that much food would put us to sleep. We decide to move to Ice Cream, and drinks drinks drinks. The kids go on the back into movies ride while Jordan cries to call Ms Nelson. he wants to talk to his little girl friend from school. He has been asking for Lilly since school ended and I can not find her phone number. We make it through and move to the back 1/2 of the park. Playground, streets from movies and there it was CARS, none other than Lightening McQueen and Madder the tow truck. In the heat of the mid afternoon sun we stood to almost passing out. Kaitlyn looked like she was going to pass out. I was at my wits end and at the same time I grabbed what I thought was Jordan hand and headed quickly to the ice cream cart .. I get a ways and realize I am pulling Tressa and Kaitlyn. I race back to get Jordan and we find a woman cut in the front of my children.. OK, I was rude.... not at first but when she ignored my children I did make a comment not really necessary.... once hydrated things kicked back into normal. we finished out the park doing all the rides and skipping the Muppet movie because we just didn't have any more umpf in us to go back. I had a class at 6 pm until 9 pm and I am hot, tired and needing a shower. We go into one last show ..4 pm American Idol... What a great experience. We then face pouring rain to race for the Disney bus back to the hotel. Once we get to the hotel we change, I take a shower and get dressed for my first meeting. It felt nice without the baby's trying to get everyone ready to get back out to the hotel

When I got to my session Thursday night, it was with other support group leaders from the south eastern states. We met and made decisions for the upcoming year. This group of people got me motivated to get back in the drivers seat. I have a full day training Friday July 16th for support group leaders around the country.

When I returned back to the room the kids were asleep, the child care folks took my van to their camp site in Ft Wilderness so they could be back early in the morning since my class started at 8 am. They have a full day scheduled with the kids. Nancy is coming in to town and bringing another little girl with her mom. Friday morning the child care provider took three of the kids for hair cuts and over to the store for some times we were lacking to make for a easier week.

Friday 8am till 2:30, I enjoyed the day training for support groups which continued to fuel my need to move forward with the local support group. At the end of this event the actual conference kicked off. We had so many classes, speakers and activities to get to. Kaitlyn and Keirsten started their conference activities Friday at 3:30 and then after they have a dance 6 pm until 9 pm. This kick off called JUST DANCE is something they encouraged everyone to bring back to their communities. I plan to have several here. At the end of the night it was crash into bed...Up the next morning 8:15am classes begin and I have to have the girls into their groups. The child care company comes and we are out the door on track to more trainings.

Saturday morning up and out of the room I am in training for inclusion and then to genetic counseling. All so important so many I couldn't get to so a little of this and a little of that..

...more to come...

Sunday the session I wanted started at 10 am although Kaitlyn is playing in the talent show at 10:37 so this is where I must me. I take her stand and have her put together her clarinet along with a run through her piece. She made me so proud. I then ran to the Single parent group for sharing. I found that there are several single moms doing fine, some having similar issues and some fresh in their new role. The more amazing thing I learn EVERYWHERE is the lack of information families have on services and supports. I gave out my email to many young moms so I can help guide them to support. It was a new group so we will see who returns next year, and how everyone is doing. A short break and then into the peer group meeting on how to make a teen and young adult support group which I could see if we had a bigger newer home. Many families take turns doing BBQ's and other in home activities...If only we had that new home... so we will see how that can all unfolds, I then went into a session on how to write a book, the information on how to's.