Friday, August 26, 2005

Anna's wish trip

Well, we are back from Disney World. I am a little sad that it is over, but glad to be back home at the same time. I was worried about us all being sick, but it passed for the most part, although I had no voice for a few days. The whole trip was just full of excitement and surprises. To start off we were picked up by a limo that took us to the airport were we were greeted by Anna's wish granters (wonderful people), who were there to see us off! They gave the girls each a bag full of goodies for the plane ride. When we got on the plane Anna was so cute, she kept asking when we were going to blast off! When we got to the airport a volunteer from Give Kids The world Village was holding up a sign with Anna's name on it, she then escorted us to get our bags and our rental car. It was sooo hot down there, but I can't complain, it was sunny, and the palm trees were beautiful!

GKTW is an amazing place! When we got there we had an orientation were they gave us our tickets for the parks, along with shirts for the girls. The tickets included a three day hopper pass to the Disney parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, MGM studios, and Animal Kingdom, a two day Hopper pass to Universal Studios and Islands of adventure, and one day at Seaworld. After that they showed us to our Villa. I never expected this place to be like it was. Our Villa was fully equipped, all the things you would need in your own house, and very comfortable. We spent the day unpacking, we went swimming, and just explored the Village. They had two pools, a miniature golf course, the gingerbread house were we were served all of our breakfasts and dinners, the ice cream palace were you could have all the ice you want all day long and lunches, a movie theatre, a little train, the castle of miracles which was like a big play room with a carousel outside, and much more. It's unbelievable!
Here is a picture of the outside of the Castle of MiraclesImage hosted by
This is the outside of our Villa
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The second day we went to the Magic Kingdom! When we first got there we saw some Disney characters, and Mary bought an autograph book. After waiting in the first couple of lines we were told by one of the workers that we didn't have to wait in lines, as long as they see our shirts and pins we could go straight to the front of the lines to visit and get autographs! Thank goodness we were told that before heading over to Mickey and Minnie mouse because those lines were the longest! The Characters even spend extra time with wish kids, and there we times that it was private time were we would get pulled to side with them. We also didn't have to wait in long lines at the rides, sooo cool! It happened by coincidence that friends of ours were in Orlando at the same time we were there, so we also meet up with them that day.

Picture of the girls with "Uncle" Justin and his girlfriend Brooke
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Meeting Mickey!
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One of mine and Jason's favorites of Mary on the carousel
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The third day we went to Universal studios and Islands of adventure. Man, we thought Disney treated us well! At Disney we would be able to go through the fast pass lanes, and still have to wait a little bit, but there they would escort us through the crew member doors, and not have to wait at all! There were more rides there that Anna was too small for. It was so funny the first ride she had to be measured for she was just a tad too short for. As they were measuring her and telling us that she wasn't tall enough she stood on her tip toes, and almost fooled them, nice try Anna! We had a good time, but it started to rain towards the end of the day, so we left a little early.

At Universal with Shreck!
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The fourth day Anna had her Disney princess breakfast at Epcot center, so it was another day at Disney! The breakfast was good and Anna and Mary were excited to see Belle, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, princess Jasmine, and Mulan. Anna was upset that Cinderella wasn't there, so she told Sleeping Beauty that SHE was her Favorite. After the breakfast we stayed at Epcot for a while, then headed over to MGM studios, then back over to Magic kingdom for the fireworks. The fireworks display was amazing! Wouldn't you know they call the display wishes? How perfect! It was beautiful to watch Anna watching the fireworks on her Wish trip and know that wishes can come true. Jason and I were teary eyed. It was a magical experience.
Mary and Anna with Sleeping beauty at the Princess breakfast
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Cinderella castle
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On the fifth day we went back to Universal Studios, and the Islands of Adventure.
Here we are with Scooby, shaggy and Mr. and Mrs woody wood pecker
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Spider man!
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On the sixth day we went to Seaworld. At this point I think Anna was sick of all the walking and complained a lot. We went to the sealion and Otter show, and Mary got picked from the audience to be a volunteer. I think it helped that she was wearing the wish shirt and button, and since we were with make a wish we got to sit up front. Anna was a little jealous that Mary got picked, but I think she enjoyed watching! We also caught the Shamu show. We sat in the "soak zone" which we sat in at the previous show and didn't get wet at all, but it was opposite here. That darn whale splashed out gallons of water on us. It felt good because it was very cold water, but Anna had a heat rash from our previous days out in the hot and humid weather and when that salt water got her it hurt. Poor thing, I felt so bad for her, and then for Mary because at this point we had to leave and Mary loves sea animals (she says she wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up.) On our way out of the park we saw the dolphin nursery, but not for very long because we had to get home to wash the salt water off of Anna. It was actually nice to get back to the village and swim, have lunch, and start packing to go home the next day. On the day we got there at orientation they let you pick between having a parents night out at a local restaurant, or a family night at medieval times and tournament. We have always wanted to go to medieval times, but never had the money, so we picked that and this was the night to go. It was cool, we all enjoyed the food and the show.
Here is Mary shaking hands with the sea lion
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The last day we had to check out by 11:00am, so we woke up early to make sure we had time to finish packing, eat our last breakfast there, and say goodbye to the village. This was a sad day. We also went to the castle of miracles to try and find Anna's star on the ceiling (On the day we got there they gave Anna a little star to write her name on and make a wish on so that the fairy can place it on the ceiling of the castle for it to stay up there forever.) We were told that there are over 10 thousand stars on the ceiling, all kids that have stayed at GKTW. It really is an amazing thing that there is a place like this for kids, but also a shame that there has to be one. We will never forget our time there, and it is nice to know that they won't either. After check out we had hours until our flight, so we went to the Animal kingdom. For lunch we went to the Rainforest Cafe, and as we were heading out the door we noticed a huge storm had started while we had our lunch. We bought some ponchos, and headed to the car in hopes of waiting out the storm and head to Magic kingdom one more time before we left, but there looked to be no hope of the storm leaving so we just drove around. We found an outlet mall and got the girls some shoes for school, then headed to the airport. The fun didn't stop there though, we were also picked up from a limo to take us home from the airport.

This is one vacation that we will never forget. Money could never buy a vacation like this, it was so unbelievably Magical. Thank you Make a Wish, and GKTW!

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We got Mary a shirt that says Thing 1 and Anna a shirt that says Thing 2
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

House of sick

Ok, two days to go to Disney, and the whole house is sick. Yesterday morning and the night before, Anna couldn't stop coughing, the baby had buggies all over her face when she woke up, I had a sore throat, and Jason had a tight chest. Mary, with her very strong immune system was fine yesterday, but woke up this morning coughing and has the sniffles. So, yesterday morning I called my pediatrician to make an apt for Anna, and they try to tell me that I couldn't bring her in, that they were booked for the next three days.
Here is how the conversation sounded:

"Hello, Dr. Jabri's office"

"Hello, I was wondering if you might have any open appointments today, my daughter Anna is not feeling well?"

"No, I'm sorry we are booked through Thursday"

"Well, we are leaving for Florida on Thursday, couldn't you squeeze her in?"

"No, I'm sorry, what day do you come back, I could make an appointment for her then!"

"Well, what should I do for my immune suppressed child that was up all night coughing until then, if you go ask Dr. Jabri he would want to see her, I'm sure he would."

Only minutes later she comes back on the phone,

"Ok, Dr. Jabri would like you to come in, could you be here in an hour?"

I don't know why they always give me a hard time, they should know us by now. My Dr. always sees Anna when she needs to be seen. I also brought the baby with us, just to basically ask him what to give her and how much. She wasn't very bad yesterday anyway. Anna only has a chest cold, but she sounds sooo bad. I almost feel bad that I brought her in for just that, but she has had bronchitis in the past that required antibiotics so it is better safe than sorry. The Dr. gave her a breathing treatment, then a RX for some heavy duty cough syrup. She wasn't coughing as much last night, but when she does she gets stuff up so that's good. Now, last night Anna slept fine, but Alexandria couldn't sleep at all. She was so stuffed up and she doesn't know how to handle it. She had to sleep in her swing because when she lied down she couldn't breath. I spent the night using saline drops and the nose plunger on her. This morning, everyone woke up miserable. Even though it is very hot and humid out today I have got the windows open to air out the sickness in this house. We are all lining up to take medicine. I need to do some laundry before we leave, but I am having a hard time getting started on my day. Poor Jason had to go to work today, and he might have it worse then all of us, he sounds horrible.
Please pray for us, that we will all get over this in the next couple days so that we can enjoy our trip.

Here is Anna not feeling so good being comforted by her daddy.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Countdown to Disney

It's almost here!  Four more days to go, then we are off to see Mickey.  This is what our whole summer has been based on, waiting to go to Disney World.  So, our paper chain is down to four links, then all that will be left is Mickey's head.  Yesterday Anna's wish granters came to give us our plane tickets, and final intinerary.  These people are the most organized people I know.  They have left us with no questions because they have covered everything already.  They, of course, brought over some more presents for the girls.  For Anna, a Cinderella dress with a tiara, wand and slippers. . 

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For Mary, the new Harry Potter book (which I can't wait to read myself!)  and for the both of them Make a Wish t-shirts and buttons, and wrist bands.  They encourage you to wear the shirts, for added attention when we get to the parks!   Anna loved her princess dress, she refuses to take it off!  I am guessing that we will see a lot of little ones running around wearing them anyway.   I am not sure if I will post again until we get back, I will be busy getting ready for the trip.  On my list of things to do there is making sure all of our pets have enough food for my neighbor who will be taking care of them.  Thanks Lorraine!   Getting diapers, formula, and all that stuff for grama who will be taking care of  Alexandria.  Mary will be starting school as soon as we get back so I must go shopping for school supplies for her too.

Yesterday we went to my nephews birthday party, then went shopping for a digital camera! I have been wanting one for so long now and now I finally have one. I got it for only a little over $100 and I think it does the job well. I need to get used to the settings and stuff, but I have taken a few photos on it already (like the ones of Anna above) So, beware. I will be posting a lot of photos now! Here are a couple more of Alexandria and Mary!
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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Scrapbook Page

(click on image to enlarge)

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I made this page for a scrapbook we did for classkids a while back. Classkids is a support group for parents dealing their child's liver disease, and transplantation. This book was sent around all over the country, and each of us added a page of our child. It came out great, but it was hard for everyone to want to wait for it go around again for everyone to view it. Then Laurie (a fellow member of classkids) offered to make a cd scrapbook and send one out to everyone that wanted a copy. So, I want to say thank you Laurie. It came out great, and all the pages look wonderful!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Anna's little hospital stay

Well, were back from an unexpected hospital stay with Anna. I guess we were due since she has gone three years without being admitted for anything.

So, all day Friday Anna was full of energy, and we were outside for most of the day just playing, and she wasn't playing with anyone that was visibly sick. Saturday morning was a different story though. She woke up before me and complained that her tummy didn't feel good. I asked her to go and lay down on the couch in the living room while I got the baby a bottle. I turned on the TV for her while I feed the baby, and then when the baby was done I put her down and went to cuddle with Anna because that is all that is usually takes. So, I went over by her and she had fallen back to sleep. I tried to wake her up but she only woke up long enough to crawl on me. I noticed right away that her heart was racing, and she looked very pale. I woke Jason up and took Anna to the ER nearest to my house right away. When I walked into the ER holding Anna it was VERY busy. After we got seen in Triage they told me to take a seat, and that it would be a long wait because there were 11 cases ahead of us. I told them that if we had to wait any longer at all I would just drive Anna to Children's (an hour away, but I would have been waiting there for 2 hours) and that since she was a high risk case they would take her at Children's right away. Needless to say, they got us a bed.

They took some blood, started an IV and took some urine to rule out a bladder infection. She didn't have a fever through any of this. After a couple of hours they got most of her labs back and her liver and kidney function were all normal, but her white blood cell count was at 30,000 (normal is 10,000) That usually indicates a virus or infection, but they couldn't pin point anything. They then called Anna's doctors at Children's, but since it was a Saturday they talked to a resident, who had to get a hold of Dr. Alonso, or Dr.Emerick (our very good liver docs) so that took a couple more hours. Anna's doctors wanted her there at Children's (which at this point I was very glad to hear) She was still so sleepy, and her heart rate was high. So, this was Anna's first ride in an ambulance. She was so good through all of this, didn't show any signs of fear, my brave little girl! By the time we got to Children's Anna seemed to feel better, at least she was able to stay up now. Anna was excited to be there, a very familiar place, and she asked to go to Mcdonalds! (there is one in the basement there) Asking to eat is a very good sign!

It was like a little reunion gong up to the liver floor. Anna hasn't had to be admitted since she was 7 months old. All of her old nurses were happy to see her and couldn't believe how big she was. We got a single room, but right outside the nurses station which is a little loud, but easy to get the nurses attention. They kept her on IV fluids, and started her on an antibiotic, even though they didn't know what they were treating. We got there around 6:00 pm on Saturday night, so we didn't get to see a real doctor until late Sunday morning. They sent blood cultures at the other hospital and they didn't grow anything, but Anna's white blood cell count was still high so they wanted her to stay one more night for observation, and to keep the antibiotics going. Monday morning Anna was feeling fine, so when the doctors came to make their rounds they told us we could go home. All of her liver functions were fine, as well as her kidney functions, and her white blood cell count was almost back to normal. It was scary not knowing why she was feeling the way she was, and the fact that they couldn't find anything wrong with her. Our liver nurse put it like this, "who cares what it was, as long as her liver looks good, and she is feeling better now". Today she is much better, but I am keeping a close eye on her.

I don't know how I ever survived staying at the hospital with Anna for weeks at a time. I was gong crazy for just two days. I also forgot about that 2 hour delay on everything that hospitals seem to have. Thank goodness Anna is home and healthy! I think Anna is just keeping us on our toes, to remind us to not take her health for granted. You did it baby!