One of my favorite parts of blogging is the ability to connect with people whom I otherwise might never have known. At the start of this year, I got an email from someone named Kevin who found my blog while researching fish extenders. His search landed him on my website where–in addition to fish extender ideas–he found a few of my posts about Cassidy and my reflections on life raising a child with Down syndrome. Kevin and I had a connection in that Down syndrome has been a major part of both of our lives. Kevin’s sister, Nancy, has Down syndrome. Next month, she’ll celebrate a very special 50th birthday aboard the Disney Dream.
This is Nancy way back when.
Kevin was planning for Nancy’s birthday cruise when he stumbled across my blog. To make a long story short, Kevin and I exchanged a few emails and I quickly decided to send a little something to add to Nancy’s celebration. Fiftieth birthdays don’t come along every day, after all. Any old fiftieth birthday is a reason to celebrate life’s accomplishments. Give the obstacles and challenges Nancy has most certainly faced throughout her 50 years, this particular birthday is cause for a big fuss.
And so I set to work.
I sent a few emails to folks that I thought might want to help shower pixie dust over Nancy on her birthday. The response has been pretty awesome. But don’t take my word for it; just look at what we’ve got in store for “Fancy Nancy” (the name my son has taken to calling her).
Isn’t that a cute tote? I just love it. My favorite details are the hidden Mickeys coming from the smokestacks. Jennifer from Sew Sweet Boutique graciously donated the bag for Nancy. Her Etsy shop features this bag as well as several other super cute Disney-inspired clothing, jewelry and accessory items.
You’re wondering what is inside the bag, aren’t you? I thought you’d never ask. Come have a look.
First off, there is the Disney Dream scrapbook album I made a while back.
Next up is a Disney Cruise Line beach towel I picked up during our most recent cruise.
We’re also sending along a Disney Cruise Line lanyard so that Nancy can conveniently carry her Key to the World card once she boards the ship. And, of course, I had to pick up a Disney Dream vinylmation. I can’t say for sure whether they do this on the Dream or not, but on the seven night cruises I’ve been on, they’ve always had a Captain’s signing during which the captain of the ship, well, signs stuff. If they do the same event on the Dream, Nancy could certainly have her Vinylmation signed by the Dream’s captain.
Of course, I wouldn’t dream of sending Nancy off to sea without a little bit of spending money! We’re including these Disney gift cards with a total value of $50. These were graciously donated by Destinations in Florida, a travel agency specializing in all things Disney. I have personally used them for all of my Disney cruises as well as my recent Adventures by Disney trip and I can tell you that they are not only completely professional in their handling of my bookings but also extremely helpful when it comes to planning.
This is what the whole kit’n'caboodle looks like unpacked.
Fun, right? But wait, it gets better. I wanted to ensure that Nancy’s gift would be beautifully presented and so I turned to Shirley at The Perfect Gift. The Perfect Gift is a florist based in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Shirley has a reputation for creating amazing gift baskets and personally delivering them to the cruise terminal. Her gift baskets are incredibly creative and can include almost anything your heart desires. In this case, Shirley has kindly offered to spruce up Nancy’s gift with a few surprises of her own before packaging it festively with some birthday balloons and delivering it to the port. I only wish I could see Nancy’s face when she finds this surprise waiting for her in the stateroom when she boards the ship.
I have to offer a great big thank you to all of my partners who have so graciously donated items for Nancy’s gift. I am positive that she will be thrilled with all of it.
The last thing I’ve left to do before I ship the box to Shirley is to find a perfectly-suited, Disney birthday card. There is a quote I want to include. Appropriately, it’s something Christopher Robin said to Pooh: