Clearwater Marine Aquarium

I am worried my words can’t do justice to the day we spent at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

After 2 years and 8 months working on this, on Monday May 5th, I woke-up and took this picture.  My girl slept like a rock the night before.  I thought the excitement would keep her awake but I guess the flight and shopping tired her.

I got us all dress in matching outfits. That’s a sight you will not see that often!

We rented a car and started driving from Orlando to Clearwater.

We saw this!

Eventually, this!

And finally these!


It was a gorgeous day in Clearwater.


We were VIP’s 🙂


This is Emily looking at Winter.   She had tears in her eyes.

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Emily relates to Winter in a way that none of us can see or feel.

None of us!

Which is why I’m worried my words can’t express the magic we witnessed that day.

Since the very first movie preview…

Emily wanted to know more about Winter the dolphin that never gave up.

Winter who, against all odds, survived and now thrives.

Winter, the dolphin who inspires thousands to move forward.

We took a behind the scene tour… We learned about the history of the place, we saw the turtle intensive care unit, Emily asked questions and contributed to the tour.

When Emily heard Winter whistled, it was as if the whole world made sense.  She was so happy.  She had stars in her eyes.

I probably have a couple of hundreds of pictures of our day.  Picking the ones included in this post was challenging.


Here is Emily getting ready to meet Hope (Winter’s buddy) and finally, Emily listening to Mallory and playing with Hope.

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I cried while taking these pictures.

I can try to explain why I cried…

When Emily was diagnosed with cri du chat syndrome, we were told she would do nothing.

Never walk, talk, not recognized us, not show or even comprehend emotions.

When I saw her listen to Mallory and reach out to Hope I was slightly overwhelmed.

New parents assume their kids will do things and experience life.

After Emily’s diagnosis, all of our hopes and dreams were crushed.

All those new experiences, small or big, they are all big wins for us!

So, I cried.

Just a couple of tears really.

One tear for my baby girl who struggled with everything from drinking, to gaining weight, to sleeping…

One tear for my 24 year old self who cried so much.

One tear for all the doctor and therapy appointments who took over our lives.

One tear for our crushed dreams who are slowly coming true.

Thank you Becca for your help in making this dream come true.

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We saw Winter getting her tail put on.


Emily received the cutest USB key ever made.


Our visit continued at the museum.


And concluded with a Sea Life Safari tour.

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Thank you Sunshine Foundation of Canada and Thank you Clearwater Marine Aquarium


When the stars are aligned… a simple day can turn into an amazing one!

Saturday April 11th 2015

I have had my new camera since Christmas but haven’t had a chance to take it out yet….

I could have taken it out but there was just too much snow for me to care but today… today was going to be different!

First, we went out for breakfast and I sat across the table from Emily and took pictures…  Emily had a big bright window behind her so I had to play with the settings quite a bit.

I also told Emily not to worry about me taking so many pictures.

I LOVE those 2 pictures!!!

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My girl, just being my girl.

Next, we were scheduled for make-overs at our MAC store at the mall.

Remember how we were there for the Cinderella at MAC release?  After spending a small fortune, Alicia invited us back for make-overs.

Today was make-over time!

We arrived just before 1pm and Alicia was kind enough to book Emily and I sitting next to each other.  She also booked us for a little bit longer than the allotted 30 minutes as she had noticed that Emily needed  a little more time to be comfortable enough to be touched by a make-up artist.

I was assigned to Rachel who was great and allowed me to stop and take pictures of Emily whenever I had a chance.  I also made sure I had their permission to use their names and pictures in my blog!

Ladies if you read this, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being so accommodating and for making my daughter feel like a top model.

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Emily picked her colors and decided what she wanted to get done.

She went with purple!


Emily allowed Alicia in her bubble.

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Emily and Alicia!


To all employers out there!  You can’t train someone to be like Alicia was with Emily.  This ability to make someone feel comfortable is a talent, not a skill.  Alicia must have been in contact with others that have special needs or she has an affinity…  or both!

She is now part of a select group of people that have reached out to Emily and made her feel just like everybody else.  She is now a friend of Emily.  Not someone Emily will call to go out but someone Emily will say hello to and chat with and return to the MAC store to buy more stuff because Alicia is there!

Maybe this is what “they” mean when “they” talk about inclusion.

For all the kids that are being in proximity to someone like Emily, a percentage will go on with their life and remember that they had school mates that just wanted to be treated like school mates…  Those kids will grow-up treating people around them with respect, regardless of their differences.

Today, Alicia did just that.  She gave Emily more time, she allowed her to be herself and made her look beautiful.

Thank you Alicia, my girl looked like she belonged on a magazine by the end of our session!

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What Emily didn’t know at this time… is that we had a big surprise in store for her at 3:30pm

We had a late lunch/early dinner planned with family members…


She figured out as soon as she got to the table that this was no ordinary lunch.

Barb did such an amazing job decorating the table and wrapping Emily’s box.  We are so lucky to have relatives in the same town we live in.

Most people take family for granted.  We lived far away from families for many years so now that we have relatives near by, we enjoy them and I think they enjoy us!

Today, Emily finally got the confirmation that she will be meeting the dolphins from The Dolphin Tale movies.

We are going to Florida:

  • We will go to the American girl doll store in Orlando
  • We will go to Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter
  • We will visit the Harry Potter theme park
  • We will visit Animal Kingdom
  • We will visit Epcot (eat in Japan)
  • We will visit Magic Kingdom


Thank you Sunshine Foundation of Canada.

I sent my first fax to the foundation in September 2012…. 2 years and 8 months later….

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See the tears of joy?  This is the girl who wasn’t supposed to understand and show emotions…

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The table looked awesome and Emily was so excited that she barely ate….

So after this early dinner, we decided to end the day with a hockey game.  We went to see our beloved Moncton Wildcats play the Halifax Moosehead in the second round of the play-off.

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Th game wasn’t good at all for us!  But, on the way home, Emily was still saying “Best Day Ever!!!”

Now, we start counting sleeps…