Monday, July 30, 2007

So Staley Da Bear, we meet again!


Jason ditched worked on Saturday so that we could go to Bourbonnais, IL to watch the Bears at their training camp. Jason has always been a huge Bears fan, and goes every year to watch the bears train for the season. Of course this year was very crowded. I'm thinking it's because the Bears made it to the super bowl last season. Everyone has high hopes for them this year.

Two summers ago we brought Anna with us to training camp for the first time. This was also the same summer we went to Disney for Anna's wish trip. Anna was afraid of the team mascot, Staley the bear, that summer. She wanted to see him, but once we got up to him she freaked out. He acted as though he was upset that she didn't want to see him, and walked away with his head down. Later on she decided that she wanted to go give him a hug, but we couldn't find him. She was three, but almost four that year. We were actually afraid that she wouldn't want anything to do with the characters at Disney, but it turned out that she gave each and everyone of them a hug! Maybe she didn't want them to feel bad the way she made Staley feel. Anyway, after I wrote about this in Anna's old caringbridge page Staley must have googled his own name and found the post about himself on Anna's page. He ended up writing her a letter in her guest book. Unfortunately I had to erase Anna's page because someone spammed the guestbook it with porno(how anyone could do this to a little girls Caringbridge page is beyond me)
After he wrote it, I printed it out for her and put it in with her baby book, and other stuff I save for her. This is what it read:

Dear Anna,
My name is Staley Da Bear and I just read the article your mom wrote about Training Camp last year. I wanted to let you know that you didn't make me sad. It's ok to be afraid of the big brown grizzley bear. Sometimes I wish I didn't look so scary, but that's just the way I am. I hope you are doing well. Please visit me this year at training Camp!

Love your friend,
Staley Da Bear

I'm sure you can imagine the excitement Anna had over this letter. Heck, so did Jason, Mary, and I.

Anyway, last year we went to family fun night at Soldier Field. All Anna did the entire time was look for Staley so that she could give him that hug. We found him and she did give him a hug and this time I did not forget my camera!


As you can see, in both of the pictures Staley has got a hold of Anna's hair! When he pulled Anna's hair this last time, he did it, he made Anna totally obsessed with him. Since we stayed for the whole day (got there for their 9am practice, and stayed the day to go back for the 7pm practice) all Anna could talk about was how Staley remembers her because she hasn't seen him pull on any other girls hair and she couldn't wait to go back to see him later. When we saw him that evening, she asked him if he remembers her and if he remembered writing her the letter. He pointed to her and nodded his head. She was ecstatic! For the whole two hours, every time he would come near where we were sitting, she called out to him. She wouldn't stop. She kept on talking about how he knows her, like they were best buddies. She is friends with a celebrity! It was so precious.

Anyway, it was a great time this year at camp. The weather wasn't so hot because the sun was hidden behind the clouds. We hung out in the van and watched Harry Potter movies and ate the packed lunch Jason made that morning. The evening practice was awesome, they had a little kiddie training camp set up for the kids, which they got a kick out of. Through out the day we got some autographs, Mary thought that was really cool because last year she was really into watching the games with Daddy, so she knew the people. It was hard to get good pictures of the players we got autographs from just because everyone was pushing to get through, but I got a few good ones!

Robbie Gould #9; Tyler Mcmeans #62

Bears Training Camp Bears Training Camp

Roberto Garza #63; Fred Miller #69

Bears Training Camp Bears Training Camp

Drisan James (rookie); Lovie Smith!!!!! (head coach)

Bears Training Camp Bears Training Camp

Muhsin Muhammad #87; Greg Olsen #82 (rookie, Jason says he'll be awesome!)

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Here is a good one, three in one. Tommy Harris #91, Devin Hester #23, and Charles Tillman again

Bears Training Camp

This one Alex took of the Mary and Anna


This one is scary, all three of the girls with Robbie Gould faces!

Bears training camp

And these are of the girls in training camp!

Bears Training Camp Bears Training Camp

Monday, July 23, 2007

Illinois Donor Diaries

I was browsing the blogging world last night and came across this blog, "I am. Are you?". The blog is a part of the Donate Life of Illinois campaign.

One of the reason's I started Anna's place was to tell Anna's story. To let people know the importance of organ donation and what good it can do. My blog has since turned into more of a family journal. Not that that's a bad thing. There is just not much to report on Anna, health wise. She has been in great health since her transplant!

After leaving a comment on "I am. Are you?" I recieved an e-mail from the creator of this blog asking me if I would like my story in a Illinois Donor Diary entry. I will have to write our story along with a picture of Anna and describe my personal story/tie to organ donation. With hopes that this would help others to register as donors, I would love to help!

Upon discussing this with a friend I was asked why my story would help; because I was Anna's donor. This took me by surprise, she knows us, knows our family, and she knows what Anna has been through! I explained to her that even though I was Anna's donor I still like to promote oragan donation. Living donation is not possible in every case, and a living donor can only donate part of a liver, or one kidney. What about hearts, lungs, ect....... This pushed me more into wanting to do this. Some people don't understand the importance of organ donation. If myself, or any of my family, weren't able to donate to Anna, I would have hoped that someone would have made the selfless choice to donate their own or their loved ones organs. We were very lucky in our case, but not everyone is.

Here are some statistics:
Almost 100,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants.

Every 12 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.

An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.

In 2005, there were 7,593 deceased organ donors and 6,895 living organ donors resulting in 28,108 organ transplants.

In 2005, 44,000 grafts were made available for transplant by eye banks within the United States.

Approximately 1,000,000 tissue transplants are performed annually.

According to research, 98% of all adults have heard about organ donation and 86% have heard of tissue donation.

90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

So stay tuned, I will let you know when our story is up, but for now you can read other stories here!

These are other ways I have been promoting organ donation awarness:

My car is decorated with this: You can purchase this, and other great items here
And This:

And My family Wears these:


I wear these


And Anna wears this:


I know it doesn't seem like, but I get a great response to these and then I get to tell our story. I get people thinking. Anna has touched so many lives around her. A lot of people come up to me and say that they changed their minds about donation and register to be donors after knowing about Anna.

Friday, July 20, 2007

More fun at the zoo

I'm a little behind on blogging again. There is just not much going on here. We went to the zoo for the third time this summer. We have season passes that my good friend Jenny got for our family as a Christmas gift. It's really nice to take advantage of Brookfield Zoo being so close to us and being able to go anytime. You pack your lunch, even bring along one of the neighbor kids and you have yourself a nice outing that doesn't break your wallet. This zoo is big and unless you feel like spending the ENTIRE day there, you can't see everything. This time we spent a good amount of the time at the Children's petting zoo and near the bears, who were being very entertaining! Also, in the restrooms, since Alexandria is being potty trained and anytime a 2 year old says she has to go, you better get her there fast. Anyway, here are some pictures and a video of the brown bear there. He was doing the back stroke over and over again! It was so cute, and you just wanted to jump right in there with him because it was so HOT!!!!

This is so Cute if you want to check it out! This Bear was having a grand time swimming and showing off for everyone!

Mama Bear and baby Bear playing in the water, and piglets (Alex swore that one of them was Wilbur from Charlotte's web!
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Miss Anna trying to brush a Billy Goat. This one kept running from poor Anna! Alex really enjoyed the petting zoo and brushing the Goats as well!

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Mary wasn't as thrilled as the little ones (or at least she didn't want me to know she was, but I told her to smile). Then one of the girls with Shantana (the neighbor friend that we snagged to come along with us)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In a few years???????

Mary has been taking Viola lessons weekly from my little (soon to be married) sister, Deborah. Today we went to her 3rd lesson and Deborah says that, for this being only her 3rd lesson, Mary is doing very, very well. Deborah thinks that by the beginning of the fall, when Mary starts Viola in school, she will be way ahead of everyone. I wonder if they might transfer her to the fifth grade Orchestra? Deborah says she might be playing actual songs by this time, and fourth grade Orchestra will be teaching reading notes and plucking songs(something Mary can already do). Mary loves everything that has to do with music. She has a guitar and has taken lessons from a friend of Jasons. Mary also has a piano (keyboard) which she teaches herself to play. She just has it in her blood. She totally looks up to Deborah and hopes to play as well as her some day. Deborah said she has had students in the past that just don't seem interested at all, but Mary is different. She wants to learn, she practices all the time! a few years...if she sets her mind to it...she could very well be as good as Deborah (or at least close to it)!

Once again, my little digital camera isn't the best for recording, but it is all I have. The sound doesn't do Deborah justice. Deborah has studied mostly Violin since she was in fourth grade, but this is her on her Viola.

Mary has a ways to she is practicing her notes.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Celebrating Family!

I feel terrible. The only pictures I took for the fourth were of Alex and her cousin's. We were going to stay home and just have Jason's parents over for the fourth of July, but we were invited to Jason's cousins house instead (along with Jason's parents because Jason's mom is Jason's cousin's auntie). The more the merrier! It was nice for the girls to get to see their cousins, but I didn't get to see my 2 oldest girls much that day. Samantha who is almost 8, had a friend over who was just one school year younger than Mary, and they all thought it would be cool to go to the park down the street instead of hanging out with the old people and the babies (meaning Alex and the littlest cousins Michael,3 and Mathew,2). Normally Alex would have wanted to go with her sisters but she was having too much fun getting her pig tails pulled by her very boyish, and active cousins. I think she loved being chased down by them, and they loved having a little girl around to torture, that wasn't their sister. I'm sure Samantha lets them know who's boss! Sooo, I got pictures of Alex playing in the back yard with the boys while the older girls were at the park. They came back, we ate, and they went back to the park. When it came time to see the fire works I made sure that my camera was in my purse. Since we had to carry chairs, blankets and a cooler for 3 blocks, I decided to leave my purse in my car. Forgetting of course, about my camera. The pictures would have been great too! There was a park that the kids played in before the fireworks started. Rob got the kids all an ice cream and they all made such a mess since it was so hot and humid out. I LOVE messy pictures! Oh well. The girls loved the fireworks as always. We had a great night with family!

Even though I feel guilty that I don't have a picture with all of the kids from the fourth, I will still post these of Alex and her cousins. And just so that I don't leave the other girls out, here's some that I took outside today of the girls riding their bikes.

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Speaking of family, this August we will welcome a new member to the family. My little sister called me this morning to announce her engagement! She is having a little wedding in early August. She sure didn't leave herself enough time for planning! Deborah will be starting her third year in college this fall, and I guess she wanted to get married soon so that they can find an apartment near her school in the city. I mentioned to her that she CAN move in with him before getting married.....but my parents raised a good Christian girl! She will not live with him unless they are married, that is her reasoning behind getting married so soon! I still think of Deborah as being Mary's age, it seems so weird that she is in College and is getting married! She is studying music, and is planning on being a music teacher/instructor. She was so excited to learn that Mary has expressed an interest in playing the Viola this fall. Deborah plays the violin, the viola, piano, cello, and bass I think. She is so good, she can make you cry and she can make you laugh when she plays. For the past few weeks she has been giving Mary private lessons. She doesn't ask for payment, and she refuses my money. She looks at it as a learning experience for herself and Mary. Like they are both getting something out of it. Guess I'll just have to get her a few things on her bridal registry! Since my mother only lives about 20 miles from my house it's not a big deal to drive there weekly, but I don't know about driving out to the city for Mary's lessons! (We'll talk about this next week Deborah!)