2002 January - December

January - December


For Christmas, Jake only asked Santa for two things... a hockey goal and a regular size soccor ball.

Jim and Jake playing hockey with Jake's new goal!

Ryan wanting to join in...

Ryan and Jake in their new Pjs from Aunt Amy...


The 2nd Annual February Heart Awareness/Heart Baby Reunion was held on February 10th. It was a wonderful event for all of the heart babies that had "graduated" from CHOC. We saw many familiar faces, including Ryan's favorite doctors, nurses, staff members and even two other heart moms, dads and their babies that shared the ICU with Ryan. I took Jake and Ryan with the help of my sister, Julie, and had a great time. (Jim, of course, was at B's annual Super Bowl Party...)

Ryan... dancing to the DJs music.

Jake & Mommy with CHOC-o Bear... Ryan only liked him from a distance.

Ryan and his Mom & Dominic and his Mom Audrey... Dominic and Ryan shared the NICU, both born with TGA within a week of each other.

Dominic with his Mom & Dad (Audrey & Joshua)

Olivia (also shared the NICU with Ryan) with her Mom (Diane) and Dad.

Ryan's buddies... Dr. Rebolledo (his cardiologist) and Dr. Gates (his heart surgeon).


In preparation of baby Shea's arrival, Jake moved to a twin bed and Ryan went from his crib to "Jake's" toddler bed. Jake loved his new big bed and Ryan also loved the freedom his bed brought. Ryan loves climbing in bed to watch a video or just relax. Although most nights he stays in bed all night, we have found him in the living room a few time at 2am - coloring... lol

Jake taking a nap in his new bed.

Ryan watching a video in his new bed just before bedtime.

Ryan sitting at the coffee table coloring... one of his favorite activities.

Jake playing hockey in the kitchen with his roller skates on.

Jake making a basket...

Ryan follows Jake everywhere... even on the basketball court.
(Although his hoop is a little shorter than Jake's.)

Ryan in the new car Terry bought at daycare.

April & May...

Shea's first bath... not to happy about it at first, but he loves his bath now...

Shea hanging out...

Ryan (and his Daddy) riding the elephant at the Santa Ana Zoo... anyone who knows Ryan knows how much he LOVES elephants!

Here we are at Disneyland - the boys were "reading" the maps trying to decide where to go first...

Jim, Ryan & Jake on Tom Sawyers Island.

Ryan, Shea and Cathy hanging out in the backyard...

Ryan & Jake in their pool.

David & Allie's Wedding.... Jake refused to smile!

Cathy & her Dad at the Wedding...

David with his 7 sisters at his Wedding....
(top row) Jenny, Mary, Jill, Joan, Jane
(bottom) Julie, David, Cathy


The boys had a great summer playing in our backyard. On hot days we has 3 pools and a slip n slide to keep them cool. We had a lot of fun!

Jake and Ryan playing in their pool...

...they love the water!

Here's we are at the LeBel's Annual 4th of July Party!

Ryan again...


Ryan was acting more tired than usual so we saw his cardiologist, Dr. Rebolledo and had an EKG and Echocardiogram done at CHOC shortstay on August 1st. August 2nd Ryan was asked to go back to CHOC to have a Holter Monitor placed on him for 24 hours. The Holter Monitor monitored his heart rate, which seemed lower than normal for Ryan. Later that month we met with Dr. Perry, a specialist, regarding the results of the Holter Monitor. Ryan did not need a pacemaker. Wonderful news since we anticipated the pacemaker being needed. Ryan's tests showed that the pulmonary stenosis in his pulmonary artery was back. Not severe enough to need treatment center away though. There was speculation on whether the low heart rate is caused by the pulmonary stenosis, or if the pulmonary stenosis is causing the lower heart rate. Ryan will have another ECHO and EKG in early January 2003 to check the stenosis and heart rate again. He will most likely have another cardiac catheterization and angioplasty at that point, possibly followed by the placement of a stent to help hold his pulmonary artery open.

Here is Ryan with the Holter monitor on - not very happy...

…and happy to have it off!

Jake turned 4 on August 14th, Ryan turned 2 of August 23rd. On August 17th we had a "Blues Clues" birthday party for the boys which included a "Blues Clues" bounce house. It was a great party.

Here's Jake on his birthday on his new bike (still in his PJs)...

...and here is Ryan, quickly claiming Jake's OLD bike for himself!

Mommy and Ryan at the boys' birthday party.

Daddy helping Ryan and Jake blow out their candles.

Ryan was loving the cake!

The boys had a blast in the Blues Clues Bounce House!

The party was over and the bouncing continued! LOL

Shea hanging out at the party.

Look at those blue eyes!

Ryan on his birthday - opening his presents... I think he likes his new book!

Testing out his new crayons and coloring book.



Playing baseball in the front yard.

Jake, Ryan & Shea laying on the floor together...
the older boys just love to crawl around the floor with their baby brother!

Shea with his "serious" expression.

"Look - I can get up on my hands and knees - I'll be crawling in no time!"
(or so he thought - he finally perfected his crawl just before Thanksgiving.)

This is the precious grin we see first at 5am every morning!

October... Halloween

For Halloween this year Jake decided to dress up as a pirate. Ryan was an elephant and Shea was a policeman. We had our annual party/trick-or-treating with mostly grown-ups and a few kids... but it was a lot of fun!

Ryan found cat ears when we pulled out the Halloween decorations... he wouldn't take them off all day!

Shea the Policeman...

Ryan the Elephant...

Ryan with Jake the pirate and Jonah as Captain Hook.

Too cute!

Here are all 4 of boys... ready to go "trick or treating".

The pirates out "trick or treating".

Let's not forget Brandon aka Batman!

November & December

Ryan and Shea with their mom at California Adventure.

Shea munching on cheerios in his stroller.

Ryan and Shea posing for pictures...

...and playing footsies!

Jake, Shea & Ryan...

Stockton hanging out with the two little guys.

They are so cute together...

Ryan and Shea...

Shea with “Santa” (Jim Ochoa)

Ryan with Jessica the “Elf” and Terry "Mrs. Claus"

Ryan & Shea at Grandpa Harper's house on Christmas Day

Shea with his Mommy & Daddy on Christmas at Grandpa's.

Christmas Card Photo: Jake, Ryan & Shea

Christmas Letter

Happy Holidays!

As another holiday season approaches we reflect back and appreciate all there is to be thankful for. This past year, as many years before, has been one of tremendous growth for our family. We are a stronger family today for all we have been through together.

As most of you already know, Shea Matthew was born on March 29th weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 19˝ inches in length. He is now over 8 months old with beautiful blue eyes and blond hair. He is a very sweet, happy baby. He crawls all over the place, following his big brothers around. He tries to pull himself up on anything that will hold his weight and grins from ear to ear with pride when he succeeds. His 3-tooth smile is precious. Jake and Ryan love Shea and are constantly hugging, kissing and playing with him. They all get along very well together and are an absolute joy to watch grow.

Jake turned 4 years old in August. He is still a huge sports fanatic, excelling at every sport he finds interest in. He seems to have a thirst for knowledge, asking question after question. He is learning to sound out words and will be reading soon. He is already adding and subtracting and can count to well over 100. Of course he still loves the basics, animals, cars, riding his bike, and most of all, using his imagination. He is a very bright little boy.

Ryan turned 2 years old in August. He is a sweet boy always full of hugs and kisses. He loves to follow Jake around and imitate everything he does. He is the artist in our family, constantly coloring or drawing on his magnadoodle. He also loves sports, cars, animals, and riding his bike.

Ryan’s special heart has kept us on our toes medically speaking. In early August he had been acting unusually tired. An EKG and Echocardiogram were performed followed by a Holter Monitor being placed on him for 24 hours. The Holter Monitor recorded his heart rate, which seemed low. We consulted a specialist regarding a pacemaker, and were relieved to find out Ryan didn’t need one. The tests showed pulmonary stenosis in his pulmonary artery again. (Which was corrected once already in last years open heart surgery). He is scheduled to have another ECHO and EKG in early January 2003 to further check the stenosis and heart rate. Ryan will most likely have another cardiac catheterization and angioplasty at that point, possibly followed by the placement of a stent to help hold his pulmonary artery open.

The evening of September 29th Jim’s dad died of cancer. We found out about the cancer shortly before Bob passed away, leaving us just enough time to say good-bye. Bob was a wonderful man and will be dearly missed by all of us. We are in the process of creating a memorial website for him. There will be a link added to our family webpage shortly.

Jim and I are doing well, enjoying our boys and thanking God for our many blessings. As life continues to change and some of our dearest loved ones leave us, opportunity for growth is always welcome. We look forward to each new day and the wonder it brings. Our family webpage has been updated with recent photos and Ryan’s medical updates. Please feel free to visit and sign our guestbook: http://www.ryansheart

May the New Year bring abundance of peace, love, health and happiness. We wish you all a very happy holiday season.

Jim, Cathy, Jake, Ryan & Shea Smith