Special Olympics and Anna’s 10th birthday

Anna’s had a very special two weeks! During her ARD about a month ago, her Adaptive PE coach asked if we’d considered letting Anna join the Special Olympics. Since she’s always been athletic, we’ve been thinking about it for several years, but she had to be 8 years old to join. Between 8 and 9, she was having so much difficulty with her health and emotional well-being that we put the idea on the back burner. So this was a perfect time to get her involved. Coach Kelly suggested individual skills soccer which sounded perfect. Though we were late in signing up, the staff let us join just a week before practice started. Anna has had two practices so far and is loving it!


Last week’s practice fell on her birthday, so the whole group gathered in a circle and sang her Happy Birthday. She was so happy that she jumped up and down!

Speaking of her birthday, she had a very good one this year. Grandma sent her flowers with a big balloon, Grandpa Curt sent her a gift card, and Grandpa Tim sent her cash. Nana made her a homemade chocolate cake with homemade white frosting, it was delicious! She also wrapped all of the gifts as well as giving her a few of her own… there are definite advantages to having Nana live next door! 🙂 Thank you so much, you all are wonderful grandparents! We got her a few books and little things but her big gift was very, very special… for more than one reason.

Ever since Santa brought Zachary, the baby reborn doll, to Anna for Christmas, she’s been asking for a sister for him (like George has Audrey). She’s been wanting a baby girl doll with eyes open since Zachary is a sleeping doll. I’ve been searching and shopping, but the prettiest dolls are just too expensive. Then I found Theresa with Angel Kisses Nursery on eBay and noticed that her dolls were reasonably priced and she gives a portion of her proceeds to charity. I was intrigued, I very much value giving back (in fact, I give a good chunk of the money I make from Digital Star Design to the girl I sponsor, Irma, with Mayan Families in Guatemala), so I looked at her profile on eBay to get more information about her and her dolls. There I discovered that she lost a granddaughter to cancer just a couple of years ago. Her name was Cheyenne and she was 9 years old, just like Anna was at the time. I got a shiver and immediately felt that we were brought together. Theresa donates her reborn doll proceeds to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County where Cheyenne received treatment. I looked over the dolls she had up for auction but decided to write to her personally to see if I could commission a doll for Anna. I told her how much Cheyenne’s story touched me and how moved I was that she donated her proceeds to helping other children with cancer. I wanted to help with that endeavor so I offered to take a look at the photos of her reborn dolls before she put them on eBay to see if  I could edit them to have proper exposure and that sort of thing. I also offered to design a thank you card to accompany the shipment of the babies that had information about Cheyenne and how people could learn more if they wanted to help. She wrote right back and said we should do a trade! I was blown away. Theresa offers to make a baby free for a child with cancer but I never thought she would want to help Anna in the same way. What generosity!

Thus begun an instant friendship and many, many emails over the next few weeks. Baby Jessie had joined our family and Anna was so excited and happy to receive her on her birthday. She is a beautiful baby! Thank you, Theresa!!!

Here are some photos from Anna’s birthday.

Curtis and I went up to the school to join her for lunch. I wish it was a good visit, but Anna was so upset that she couldn’t come home with me, that she started crying 10 minutes into the visit. We left her sobbing. I felt awful.

After school, we had her party right away since we had soccer practice that evening. She opened her little presents first.

Anna is obsessed with watching reborn baby videos on YouTube and there are several videos where girls get their reborns delivered via UPS and then open them on camera. Anna has been acting out these videos with a plain box and Zachary for weeks where we wrap him up, seal the box, put it outside, ring the bell and say, “Oh Anna, UPS brought a package for you!” Then she squeals with delight as she opens the box and finds Zachary. Well we wanted to recreate this event for real with Jessie, so we had Chris sneak out during the party and put the box on the front step and ring the doorbell. You should’ve seen her shoot up out of her seat! Oh my gosh, she was so excited!!! We actually made a video of it to share with Theresa and I’ll post it here too after the photos.

Here she is seeing Jessie for the first time. I think her mouth makes a perfect O.

She didn’t let go of her until it we went to soccer practice!

Jessie came wrapped in a swaddle blanket. Theresa was incredibly generous with the amount of clothes and goodies that accompanied Jessie!

Anna had to try her out in the carseat. I have to admit she is really, really cute! And fun to cuddle. 🙂

We did a little photo shoot with her right before bed. Isn’t she adorable???


And here is the video of Anna getting Jessie on video! Curtis had the Flip recording and I setup my laptop to record from the webcam (which recorded everything in mirror format so everything looks backwards). So… there are two videos that I tried to splice together and a few seconds of duplicate footage. It’s about 8 minutes long if you are bored and want to watch it, ha.

If want to help honor Cheyenne (and we would just be tickled pink if you did), you can donate to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, order a reborn from Therese Artique at Angel Kisses Nursery, or donate to the Forever9Foundation. I made a $100 donation since I felt that my editing and design skills were not nearly enough to say thank you adequately.

After soccer practice it was time for cake! Yay!!! My mom makes the BEST cakes ever!


Can you see how happy she was? So cute! And if you want more torture, we have a very short video of us singing Happy Birthday to her here:

Thanks for sharing in our special day!!!

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