Universal Studios

December 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

“Around every bend is another epic adventure”

“Around every corner awaits another once in a lifetime thrill”

This is what you’ll see

On the website of Universal Studios

This is the description

Of what awaits you

And they weren’t lying!!

Because it was most definitely

An epic adventure!

But here’s why….


It used to be

That I could handle maybe one adventure a week


And by adventure I mean

Going to the grocery store

Going to Walmart

Going to a sports event for one of my kids

And my kids knew the deal

If Annabelle had a soccer game

And Savannah needed something from the store for a school project

We had to prioritize

When is the school project due?

Because if it’s not tomorrow

Then it has to wait

Because we already did the ONE thing of the day that I can handle


If we had to go to the grocery store

That was one of the biggest adventures of all

Of course this was back

When I could still actually go to the grocery store

Because believe me

I held onto that ability for as LONG as possible

Before I finally couldn’t take it anymore

Before I finally had fractured my ankle so many times

That I could no longer risk it

I would be so exhausted after doing the simplest of things

That it would take me DAYS to recover


I would never do anything back to back

My heart just couldn’t handle it

If I went grocery shopping on Monday

It would be at LEAST Friday

If not the following week

Before I could even fathom the thought

Of another big “adventure”


Around every bend Around every corner An Epic Adventure A Lifetime Thrill

That’s what the Universal website says

But you need strength

To go around every bend

To go around every corner

And this time I did!!


Disney one day

Universal the next!

Two full adventures

Back to Back

The morning before we headed out to Universal

Charlotte said this to me

“Mom…are you going to be ok?”

To which I replied

“What do you mean, Charlotte?”

And she said

“Well we had a really long day yesterday at Disney.  Do you think you will be ok? I mean…I don’t want you to overdo it


Charlotte has heard the phrase “overdo it” many times in her life

Because I used to say that frequently

She has grown up with a mother

Who couldn’t handle a lot

A trip to the bathroom and back

Used to be my “epic adventure”

I literally would have to spend 10 minutes catching my breath

Once I returned to the recliner


My kids LOVE the changes in me

But they still have to adjust to the idea

That I will be ok

That I won’t need oxygen

Or collapse

Or have an ambulance come for me

If we go to Disney all day

Followed by Universal Studios the next


You see, I tried to do something like this

Once before

A few years back

It was at Sea World here in San Antonio

And I made it to the gate


And that long walk from the car to the gate

Brought me to my knees


I collapsed near a bench unable to breathe

And they had to call the paramedics


And no one will ever forget it


So as you can imagine

This is in our minds

This is our memory

Of Mom collapsing at the gate

And an ambulance having to come get her

Having to give her oxygen

And here we are doing a similar thing

And Charlotte is wondering

Will it happen again ??


So my kids were concerned


But still concerned

Because this is it

This is the day

Where all the hard work gets put to the test


You know what?

I more than survived

I more than walked in the gate

I fully enjoyed every minute

No pain

No shortness of breath

And never ONCE did I have to stop anyone

So I could rest



But this is where all the little things we do every day

Begin to make sense

Saying no to the food

Saying yes to the exercise

Now it pays off

Because you’re with your kids



I took my kids to Universal Studios

To the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I stood in the looooongest line EVER

At Olivander’s Wand Shop


Where we went into a crammed little space

And into the gift shop after that

So crammed I could not have taken a picture if I wanted to

Because I could barely reach into my own pocket

THAT was how tight it was in there


I never could have done that before

Because I would not have fit

I would not have had the stamina

The strength

I would have had to wait outside

I would have had to let my brother take the kids in there

But then again…

That still assumes I am THERE

And I wouldn’t have been


Because to get there you have to walk past the entrance gate

Of Universal Studios

Where the former me was laying with an oxygen mask

Because the walk from the car to the entrance gate

Had already defeated me


And even if I could have made it to the gate of Universal

How would I have EVER fit through the turnstyle?

Turnstyles have plagued me for years and years

Because I never fit

I did not even come close to fitting



This time I was there

I fit

I kept up

I went on rides

I saw it all

I missed NOTHING


The smiles on their faces

Made every drop of sweat I have spent over the past 16 months

Worth it!!!!

More dreams

Coming True!!!



Here I am fitting through the turnstyle!!

The epic adventure has already begun!

The turnstyle at the gate

Might as well have been a ride

For all the excitement and overwhelming joy

Felt by us all!!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter…here we come!


One hour in line for Olivander’s Wand Shop and another crammed into the tiny store

But we emerged victorious!!



And Savannah

She is 16 years old

But I got to see her fulfill a childhood dream


My oldest daughter

Who has been my faithful helper

When her father left

She changed diapers beside me

When I let the depression take me

And I sat bingeing on bags of candy

To the point where I could barely walk

She stood at a kitchen sink and washed the dishes for our family


She deserves more than I could ever repay

Although she asks for nothing in return

But my heart overflowed

When I saw the little child in her come out

And love every single minute of this day

She made sure that her younger sibliings

Squeezed every ounce of fun from this moment

And I know we will remember it forever!








“Around every bend is another epic adventure”

“Around every corner awaits another once in a lifetime thrill”

But the truth is this
You don’t have to go to Universal
Or Disney
To find this
Because the real epic adventure
Is waking up in the morning
And working out
Even when you don’t want to
It’s sitting down to eat something on your food plan
Instead of something on the McDonald’s Menu
Even when it’s tough
Because once you get through that trial
That’s when you’ll find
That around the corner
Awaits another lifetime thrill
Like fitting in a chair with arms
Like fitting in a booth
Like fitting ANYWHERE AT ALL
Walking through the store without needing oxygen
Playing with your kids in the backyard
Riding bikes
Sharing in their laughter
And once you get a taste of it
You will never go back
Because there truly will be
Another lifetime thrill right around the corner
Waiting for you
Islands of Adventure!!


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

cindy December 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I had tears in my eyes of happiness for you and your children. The looks on their faces were priceless and you should be so very proud of yourself. You inspire me every post!!


Linda Kuil December 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I love hearing all of the things you AND your children are enjoying now. While I didn’t have a life-threatening emergency or an embarrassment, I was always tired and lethargic. Not feeling well breeds inactivity and inactivity just exacerbates the problem. Thank God you drummed up the courage to stop the vicious cycle!
Linda Kuil recently posted..I’ve Got To Keep On Movin’My Profile


John Hulsey December 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I love everything about this amazing blog entry, your inspiring story, and your beautiful family enjoying a day they will always treasure. Thank you for sharing your pain and, more importantly, your joy with all of us.


Lady Amanda December 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

The picture of them with the wands is still my favorite. I absolutely love it! So thrilled that you guys had the time of your lives. Awesome!!!! Loved the pic at the entrance. This is a day they will never forget. Love all of the pics!


Mike December 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Count me in among those sitting here with tears in my eyes reading this amazing accomplishment!! The look of joy on your face in that turnstile is just truly stunning to see. Your efforts are amazing and commendable. Your care for your children and willingness to do this for them, and for yourself, is outstanding. Thank you for sharing the journey with us all!


jennxaz December 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm

what beautiful pictures and an awesome experience for them and YOU! Love it!!! Absolutely love it!


jen December 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

So moving – thank you for sharing this.
jen recently posted..State of the union: An update on recent goalsMy Profile


16blessingsmom.blogspot.com December 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Well, you made me cry this morning! I am so happy for you. You encourage me to stick to this, to get healthier for my own kids. And God bless your Savannah, what a sweetheart.



Daphne @ Daphne Alive December 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Wow! I’ve always wanted to go to Disney world and Universal. I’m still afraid of not fitting in the rides though. Your trip looks like such a blast!
Daphne @ Daphne Alive recently posted..Decorating the tree!My Profile


Sara Thornton December 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

This made me cry a lot. I got to do things as a child pretty often enough, but most of it my dad did with his ‘new’ family and I never got to go with them to Disney. I went when I was 13 because my grandmother paid for the entire family to go, but soon after my parents divorced.

I try to enjoy every childish moment I can, using the term loosely. I get excited, for the holidays, for doing fun things like museums or any adventure. The kid in me pops out and instead of shying away I just embrace it now. Because these things just seem to spill out of me ever since VSG and I embrace it instead. I love this post.


Pam December 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm

What a wonderful vacation you had Holly! Isn’t it amazing how we can delight in such tiny things as fitting through a turnstyle or in the aisles of a tiny gift shop, or just being able to walk all over without getting breathless, without having to search out a place to sit down and rest? Your kids look so happy–I love their Harry Potter scarves and hats–so cute. And that oldest daughter–she is a beauty like her Mom. I’m glad she is getting to do things finally that a kid ought to be able to do, and no longer have so much responsibility. Good for all of you and God Bless!!
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Sofie December 6, 2012 at 4:06 am

So exciting and awesome. We are headed there next week and your blog has given me the extra will power to channel every ounce of strength to have the best day ever for my kids because I have spent too long watching their smiles from the bench.


Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 6, 2012 at 5:10 am

I know you will have a blast Sofie!!!


Amanda December 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I am so jealous that you went to the world of Harry Potter!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm

It was awesome Amanda! You have to go!!


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