Thursday, June 13, 2013

Philadelphia (Part 5, Last One)

After meeting Stan Lee we wanted to explore downtown Philadelphia some more and see some of the historical sites.  We first walked to Reading Terminal Market, which is an amazing place to eat.  There were so many delicious food places to choose from in this cool historic building. 

On the Man vs. Food TV show, Adam named the Roast pork with broccoli rabe at DiNic's as "Best Sandwich in America" (below).  So of course Jason had to try it, but was disappointed.  Tanner got one too and didn't finish it so I ate some of his and I don't think it was all that impressive.  Oh well, I got a delicious fruit smoothie and Spencer got carmel apple crapes, they were really good.

After lunch the limo picked us up and dropped us off near the Liberty Bell. 

The Benjamin Franklin building (above) and the boys in front of The Liberty Bell (below).

Then we walked to Franklin Fountain, which is an old fashion ice cream parlor and soda fountain where they keep it old fashioned and serve hand-made ice cream.

The workers are even dressed the part.  They use an old register.

Mmmmm, look at that!

It's a good thing we shared because they were large servings. 

Preston and I shared, so yummy!!!

Then we took a public bus back to our hotel and the boys and Jason swam.  The pool was outside on the 8th floor and very windy.

We relaxed the rest of the evening at the hotel and ordered in pizza.  The next day we flew back home.  Thanks Make-A-Wish, we all had a memorable and fun time and you made Spencer's wish come true!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spencer's Wish Comes True (Part 4)

Spencer's Wish Day was finally here.  There were two other Make-A-Wish boys who had wished for the same thing, to meet Stan Lee.  All three of our families were picked up in a H2 Hummer Limo.  There was plenty of room for all 14 of us.  Spencer was very excited!!!

While we waited to go into Comic Con, there were fun things to see such as R2D2.  He was like the real thing rolling around making R2D2 noises.  The guy controlling him let us get a picture with him.

Who doesn't like the Ghostbusters?

For those of you who are Doctor Who fans, there was a great look-a-like Doctor taking pictures with fans.  Our boys were the aliens coming after the Doctor.

All three of the Make-A-Wish boys finally got their dream come true, they met with Stan Lee in a private room.  All of them are great artist and wanted to show Stan their art work.  Stan Lee was great, he made us laugh a lot.

I love Spencer's smile, I can see how happy he is!

Spencer also had a book for Stan Lee to sign.  Stan said, "This is a good book, I know because I wrote it", of course we all laughed.  Stan was very kind to grant these boy's their wishes.  Thanks Stan Lee and Make-A-Wish!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New York City (Part 3)

Since we were only a 2 hour bus drive to NYC, we couldn't go this far and not go there.  We rode a bus from Chinatown in Philadelphia to Chinatown NYC.  It was a nice drive, we were able to see the country between the two big cities.  It was green like Washington, but flat no hills and mountains.

After we were dropped off in Chinatown, we started to walk to the pier.  Chinatown was interesting, a lot of food and raw fish, it felt dirty and a the kids especially thought it stunk.  After we got to the pier we got on a water taxi to see the sights in the New York harbor.  It was about 90 degrees and humid, so it was hot.

I highly recommend going on a boat ride in the harbor if you ever have the opportunity to visit.  We got a great view of the city and the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge.

The Statue of Liberty was closed because of damage done by hurricane Sandy, but will re-open again July 4th.  It was really neat to see the Statue of Liberty in person.

It's always different seeing something in person than in pictures.  The boys thought the statue would be bigger.  I thought it was pretty cool.

Below is a picture of Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site where the Twin Towers used to stand.

We got off the boat and walked and walked viewing the city as we walked towards Times Square.  Times Square was crazy busy.  Busy with people and advertising everywhere.  When walking on the streets we tried to keep up with the hustle and bustle, you can't stop in the middle of the sidewalk or you'll mess everyone up.

We cooled off and got T-shirts for the boys at the M & M Store, which overlooks Time Square.
(notice the Spider-Man advertisements in the background)

We took a small break near Radio City Music Hall (squint, it's in the back).

The boys really wanted to go to FAO Swartz Toy Store.  You know the one in the "Big" movie with Tom Hanks and the famous giant piano scene.

Then we took a New York City cab back to Chinatown to catch our bus ride back to Philadelphia.  We made it back to Philadelphia and we were hungry.  We hardly ate at all in New York because we were so busy and didn't have much time to see everything we wanted to, but no one complained.

The Hard Rock Cafe was close-by and we thought it would be fun to eat there, mostly just to say we've been there.

We had a long, but adventurous day and loved it!  Thanks Make-A-Wish!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Make-A-Wish Trip (Part Two)

We were picked up for our trip bright and early the morning of our Make-A-Wish trip.  We were all ready and excited, and to make it even more exciting we were picked up in a Limo to take us to the airport.  It was all of our first time except for Jason's.  Of course, it was pretty cool and exciting for the kids.

Here we are at the airport, where Mark met us and helped us get checked in.  We flew on Southwest Airlines, who gave our family star treatment.  We had a Southwest employee escort us to the front of all the lines and did everything for us, she was great.

Another perk was getting on the plane first.  The pilot let the kids check out the cabin and even gave Spencer a lesson on how to fly the plane.

Only two of our kids have been on a plane before, but they were babies, so technically this was their real first time flying.  Some were a little unsure, but after take-off they all thought it was so awesome.

Our flight was delayed a couple hours because of avoiding storms in the Midwest, but we made it to our hotel in Philadelphia about 9 pm in Eastern Time.  We ate at the hotel restaurant and got some rest for our big day the next morning.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Make-a-Wish (Part One)

Our oldest son was born with Congenital Heart Disease called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome a very serious heart defect. It was very scary for us expecting our first child and hearing that he may not live. Fortunately, the heart surgeons had a plan to save his little life and less than one day old he had his first open-heart surgery and a pacemaker put in. After many more surgeries mostly before the age of two, he only improved and is still with us today. We know he's a miracle, especially after losing our youngest, Alaina who also was born with a heart defect, but less serious, and sadly surgery didn't go so well for her.

Last year Spencer's nurse in Portland asked if Spencer would be interested in Make-a-Wish, where children with a life-threatening disease are granted a wish.  At first, I was worried that she thought he was going to die in the near future, but I soon learned after looking up Make-a-Wish that's not what it means.  Of course Spencer would love to have a wish granted!  When I told him about it, only a few minutes of thinking about it he knew what he wanted and since he has never even second guessed himself.  Then we moved to Phoenix and Make-a-Wish contacted us there and began the process of granting him his wish.

Spencer's wish:  He wanted to go to New York City and meet Stan Lee who is the creator of Marvel Comics and heroes like Spider-Man. 

Mark and Erika, two volunteers were assigned to Spencer to make sure everything goes well during the wish granting process.  We got a call from Mark that Spencer's wish was going to be granted.  Stan Lee was going to Comic Con in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and they were going to fly our whole family there to meet him.  When meeting a celebrity it depends on their schedule of when and where they are able to meet you.  Spencer was excited and after we realized that Philadelphia was only a 2 hour bus ride to New York City, we decided to do that too, which is what Spencer was hoping for in the beginning.


The weekend before our big trip Mark and Erika threw a send off party for us at a fun pizza place and Erica brought yummy cupcakes from Sprinkles.  Mark and Erika are really nice Make-a-Wish volunteers, who do this on their own time and they really enjoy it.

to be continued...