As another holiday season approaches we reflect back and appreciate our lives as God has laid them out for us. There are so many blessings to be thankful for, but most of all, we thank God for our children because they are a constant reminder of how precious life truly is. Seeing things through their innocent eyes helps us remember what is important in life.
In February Jim started a new job with Cardinal Health as a Medi-Vac/Prep Specialist in Surgical Products. The new position requires him to travel to Northern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii. The traveling isnít that often and Jim seems to really enjoy the position.
Shea, who turned 1 on March 29th, is our little blonde haired, blue-eyed spitfire always in search of adventure. He seems to have no fear and loves to try to climb or hang from anything. He recently graduated from his crib, which he tried to climb out of, and gets a huge grin on his face every night as he climbs into his new big boy bed. He loves busses, Blues Clues and Barney. He is always smiling, laughing and chasing his brothers around. Shea is a very happy soul and brings all of us, including his 2 brothers who just adore him, constant joy.
Jake turned 5 on August 14th. He is still a huge sports fanatic, like his dad. He also loves books, dinosaurs, hotwheels, riding his bike and using his imagination. He is very smart and can already do some math and reading. He has a thirst for knowledge that is just incredible. Jake can be very shy and sensitive at times, but when he opens himself up he is such a loving boy. He adores his younger brothers and is always trying to teach them new things. The boys are best of friends and itís wonderful to watch them together.
Ryan turned 3 on August 23rd and is a very sweet, social, happy boy. Heís also easy going most of the time, often letting Jake or Shea have their own way rather than fighting over something. Ryan loves chalking on the patio, coloring/drawing, dinosaurs, hotwheels, sports, riding his bike and playing with his brothers. He is also extremely independent, wanting to do everything for himself. Much like every other three year old.
Once again, Ryanís special heart has kept us on our toes throughout the year. In April he was admitted back into CHOC for a couple of days where he had a cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and a stent placed in his right pulmonary artery. He continues to have a low heart rate and pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonary arteries) and will be admitted back into CHOC in February 2004 for another cardiac cath, angioplasty and stent placed into his left pulmonary artery. The right pulmonary artery stent will also be re-dilated at that time. Ryan is a special soul. He never complains or asks ďwhy me?Ē He understands that his heart needs continued maintenance to keep it working properly. He is an inspiration to us all.
Life is good and we are all doing well. We enjoy spending time as a family, whether itís going to Disneyland, taking a walk together or just hanging out in our backyard. This year Jim and I decided to take a little vacation, just the two of us. We went on a 5-day cruise to Mexico in early December while Grandma Smith stayed at our house with the boys. We had a wonderful time on the cruise and the boys loved being spoiled by Grandma. We feel very blessed to have so many wonderful people and opportunities in our lives.
With each new day that comes we continue to learn lifeís many lessons and thank God for the opportunity for growth. We hope the New Year brings you peace, love, health and happiness.
Jim, Cathy, Jake, Ryan & Shea Smith