Sunday, March 1, 2009

bert's big adventure!

Have you ever been so excited about something that you didn't talk about it for fear you'd jinx it? That's how I felt about being chosen to photograph Bert's Big Adventure this year. I was afraid that if I blogged about it, or talked too much about it, they'd call and say "Uh, sorry...we were just kidding about you coming along". Thankfully, it all happened, and I was more affected by everyone than I could have imagined. I also now understand the Disney commercials that talk about how adults will feel like kids again. I think I averaged in at about age 7 the whole trip.

From the moment the kids arrived for the big send-off, it was a non-stop whirlwind of fun. I was amazed at how many activities had been meticulously organized, and it seemed that each one somehow out-did the last. I wish all the people who generously gave to this trip could see every resulting moment of joy experienced. There were too many to count.

All the kids were having such a good time, that I found myself forgetting the struggles these families have been through. These were just kids having the BEST time. I think that's the true magic of this trip. For a few wonderful days, the weight of the world becomes just a little lighter.

There is so much to write and there are acres of photos to post. I realize I may have to do a separate post for each of the incredible BBA kids. I already miss their smiles and hugs so much.

Here are a few photos, and there's a slideshow at the end of this post. Thanks so much to everyone at Bert's Big Adventure for trusting me to capture these joyful, moving, and definitely magical moments!

Here's Bert giving an interview at the send-off. He can only sit still for about 3 seconds before being swarmed by kids who want to hang out with him. I'm sure he has more friends under the age of 12 than any other adult you know.

Do you think Michael is having a good time?

I was SO thrilled to see the lovely and talented Alyson Hoag of Authentic Beauty at our send-off. She and her fabulous team gave makeovers to all the BBA moms. How cool is that? Here's a pic of Alyson and her adorable daughter rockin' the photo booth.

The kids and families got the total VIP treatment. So many big-hearted folks were at the hangar to wish everyone a great trip.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was when all the kids went to Cinderella's castle to be transformed into princesses or pirates. Sweet little Maddie's glass slipper fell off. This proves that she's the real Cinderella.

Here's gorgeous Raven getting the star treatment.

Here I am with my new pals Kaylee and Gracie. These two cutie-pies gave me an awesome back rub after this pic was taken. I certainly needed it after lugging 50lbs of camera equipment on my back. These little ladies are such sweethearts! I'm pretty sure it was Kaylee's mom Kathy that took this. Thanks Kathy!

I braved the treacherous Dumbo ride to get this pic of Wendy and Ashlyn. It was scary, but totally worth it. If Ashlyn asked me to pour honey on my head and dance in front of hungry bears, I'd do it.

One night, the kids got a special surprise. They had milk and cookies, and then Belle showed up to read them stories. Later, Cinderella showed up for a royal appearance. Here she is sharing a moment with Princess Mya.

I'll be posting more images, but in the meantime, I've made a slideshow so you can see some of our special adventure.

To view the slideshow, please click HERE


Courtney said...

Wow, Stacey! That slideshow was really wonderful. The kids look like they're truly having the time of their lives! I can tell that you were really part of something very special with this.

stacey said...

Thanks, Courtney! These families are SO fantastic, and it really was an unforgettable experience.

susie said...

I just hate it when you make me cry like this.
That was truly awesome and inspiring slideshow.
You rock Big Time!

Jeff Dauler said...

Stacey ...

GREAT GREAT GREAT job ... such amazing photos ... took me right back to Disney!