"You can't take your turn back!" shouts Jason Liu, 6, of Naperville, after his opponent tried to take back a bad move during a game of Connect Four. The boys are attending the YMCA's Safe and Sound program at Welsh Elementary School on Wednesday, January 13, 2011.
"I finally feel like I am coming back to the Lord," said Arlissa Dockery as she sits in an animal trough ready to be baptized on Sunday, August 7, 2011 at Lighthouse church in Aurora. The start up church doesn't have a building to call it's own so it meets wherever they can find a home. Their congregation tops out around 15 members but to them, faith is all that matters.
Dorothy Morrison of Aurora, left, and Pat Paku, Aurora, right, practice entering and clearing a room during the Citizen's police academy at the Fourth Street Methodist Church in Aurora on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. The class is intended to give Aurora residents and business owners the chance to walk in the Police's shoes and learn a little about how they do their job. "The Police have always fascinated me and I respect them a lot." Morrison said.
Charlie Fein passes the time as names are called by blowing bubbles during the graduation ceremony at Naperville Central High School in Naperville on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.
West Aurora High School senior Darryl Stewart breaks a watermelon rind over his head on his way to winning his heat during the 13th annual Battle of the Big Butts competition held at West Aurora on Thursday, July 21, 2011. The event is for the linemen from various high schools to compete in events to prove who is the best. In the watermelon eating event, contestants had to finish a quarter melon in under a minute with the cleanest rind moving on to the next round.
A street performer dressed as Elmo stands on a corner in Manhattan, waiting to take pictures with tourists.
Players hug each other as Naperville Central High School's Matt Randolph, far right, is consoled by his father, Bruce, after Central fell to Bolingbrook High School at Naperville Central 22-19 during the 8A semi-final game on Saturday, November 19, 2011.
15 year old Lily (last name withheld) finds out that she is going to have a boy during an ultrasound at Rush-Copley hospital on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Lily is one of the first underage mothers living at a maternity home on the campus of Mooseheart Child City in Batavia, Ill. The home provides the mothers with a place to stay and offers support before, during, and after the pregnancy when they would otherwise not be able to care for themselves or their baby.
Jacob Taormina, 11, far right, leads the rest of the Dubai Falcons including Yash Sachdev, 12, center right, and Fuad Hasan, 13, center left, in stretches before practice at the Nike Sports Complex in Naperville on Wednesday, June 30, 2011. The Falcons traveled from Dubai to play in two local tournaments before going to Poland for a chance to make it to the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania.
The sun sets on another day at Jericho Circle as young men play a game of Basketball on Tuesday, August 23, 2011.
Every year a mini city forms in and around the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill when Nascar comes to town. This year the race took on extra meaning as it kicked off Nascar's playoffs know as, "The Chase for the Sprint Cup." Whether they come for the cars or just to party for the weekend, the infield of the speedway is transformed into a campground where people showcase their homemade trailers and tailgating accessories that are as diverse as the drivers themselves.
Fans hang on a fence waiting to get a glimpse of their favorite Nascar drivers before the start of the Geico 400 kicks on Monday, September 19, 2012 at Chicagoland Speedway. Constant rain postponed the race for the first time since the Chase for the Sprint cup began in 2004.
Pit crew member Jon Royer of the #20 Home Depot car stretches before the start of the Geico 400 on Monday, September 19, 2011 after it was postponed on Sunday due to rain at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.
Pit crew members double check and stack their tires as they prepare for this weekends race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet on Thursday, September 15, 2011. At a typical race each car will go through nine to 14 sets of tires depending on the races length and track conditions.
Marine Color Guards Sgt. Javier Sandoval, right, of Chicago and Sgt. Juan Sanchez, left, of Chicago, hold the colors before presenting them at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill on Friday, September 16, 2011.
Zeke Ackert, left of Barrington, and Jennifer Craig-Biondo, right of Barrington, do a jello shot that was left over from the night before on Sunday morning at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill on Sunday, September 18, 2011. With a scheduled 1:00 pm start and a constant drizzle throughout the morning officials struggled to keep the track dry.
Cars in the field race around turn four during the Geico 400 on Monday, September 19, 2011 at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.
A "beer bump" lines one of the roads going through the infield on Sunday morning at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill on Sunday, September 18, 2011.
The pit crew works on changing all four wheels of Cole Whitt's Chevy during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill on Friday, September 16, 2011.
Race winner Austin Dillon raises his arms in victory after doing a victory burnout for winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill on Friday, September 16, 2011.
When Casey and Ericka Solgos found Therese they knew they were ready to adopt again. The Solgos' have two biological children and had already adopted daughter Sitota from Ethiopia a few years earlier. Orphaned in her home country of Burkina Faso, West Africa, Therese was adopted by the Solgos family of Aurora because of a heart condition similar to what their son Carter has. Casey and Ericka knew that with their connections at Lutheran General hospital because of Carter, they would be able to give Therese live a better life in Aurora.
Therese looks out the door of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge as she prepares to go in for Surgery on April 13, 2011. Her condition worsened quicker than doctors or the family anticipated and they had to rush her into surgery.
Minutes before surgery the Solgos family, including (from left) Evelea Solgos, Therese Solgos, Erika Solgos, Charolette Lukas and Casey Solgos all laugh after Therese cracked a joke to ease the tension of the impending procedure in the pre-op room at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
"We love you very much Therezy," said Casey Solgos as he kisses his daughter on the forehead before she undergoes open heart surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. Therese was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta which is a narrowing of the aorta. After months of debates and doctors visits, Thereses' condition was getting so bad she wouldn't be able to walk in the morning because of the loss of blood flow to her legs.
Therese Solgos is wheeled into the operating room at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital for her open heart surgery at on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. Therese was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta which is a narrowing of the aorta. Since her adoption in December, the surgery was pushed up from later this year because her aorta was nearly closed completely.
"A lot of kids are born with this condition," said Dr. Michel N. Ilbawi, right, "but we can usually catch it early on." Thereses' condition went undiagnosed for 10 years which made her surgery more complicated according to Dr. Ilbawi. Here, Dr. Ilbawi prepares to cut into the aorta at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.
"Are you up honey?" asked Erika Solgos, left, with her daughter Evelea, right, after her adopted daughter Therese underwent open heart surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. When Therese was was adopted she was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta which constricts part of a vein in her aorta. The condition is normally fixed at birth, but because of the lack of medical treatment where she is from in Burkina Faso, Africa it went untreated and was almost completely closed.
Fluctuations in her blood pressure caused doctors to delay Therese's release another 24 hours. The unexpected extra nights stay put a strain on the Solgos', especially Ericka who had been at Therese's bedside the entire time. "We will go home tomorrow," Ericka told her daughter as she and Casey tucked her in for what they hoped would be their last night at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge on April 17, 2011.
Holding a sign made for Therese, Erika smiles as she packs it in the car April 18, 2011 to head home after spending five days at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
With the help of her mother Erika, Therese Solgos walks into her home on Aurora's west side for the first time since her open heart surgery as her sisters, Evelea, right and Sitota, left, greet her at the door. Last December, Therese was adopted by the Solgos family from an orphanage in West Africa. "She wouldn't have been able to be treated for her heart condition there," Erika said, "we knew we had the resources here to help and were ready to adopt again."
Therese Solgos looks out the window back home in Aurora after her 5 day stay at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital on Monday, April 18, 2011. Because of her unstable blood pressure, doctors kept Therese two extra days for monitoring before releasing her.
Brian Powers, Staff Photographer for the Beacon-News and Naperville Sun