Mike and Susie Jensen Family
"Enjoy the Little Things in Life, for one day you may Look Back and Realize they were the Big Things."
~Robert Brault

Saturday, March 21, 2009

St. Joseph's Heart Day at the Park

Today we had the fun opportunity to attend the St. Joseph's Hospital Heart/Lung Institute "Heart Day at the Park" at Encanto Park in Phoenix. It was so wonderful to see the many DR's and Nurses and Staff that cared for Brynlyn while she was in the hospital. They feel just like family to us and this is like one big family reunion. And we were so excited to see wonderful friends that we have made during this process, as well as meet new friends that we've only known through Blogs (gotta love blogging!!!) And Mike and I even had the chance to be interviewed by Channel 15 news about our experiences with Brynlyn and St. Joe's. I've posted some of the pics that we took, but we didn't get everyone on camera and there were so many people there that we love and we were so happy to see again. We had a fantastic time and we can't wait until next year's party. Thanks to everyone for throwing such a fun event.

Molly Wright holding her baby Mark Wright while Brynlyn tries to give him a big bear hug. She fell in love with Mark and insisted she hang out for most of the time sitting right next to him. She was such a "big helper" to Molly with the binkie and the bottle! ha ha (Molly, thanks for letting Brynlyn "help out!" =)

Brynlyn, Me and Jenni from Child Life. She was the one who got to show Matt Leinart around the PICU when we had the fun chance to meet him. Love Jenni!
Rhonda (one of our wonderful nurses), Molly and Mark Wright, Mike, Brynlyn and Ashlyn just chillin' out.
Molly and oh-so-adorable Mark Wright. He's such a doll and such a great baby!!!
Rhonda, Brynlyn and Me. Rhonda works at night and she took care of Brynlyn many, many times during the first few weeks of life. Rhonda gets to take care of the really critical babies and she took great care of Brynlyn, even when Brynlyn was "misbehaving" in the night. Love Rhonda!!!
Mark Wright and the oh-so-sweet Bela Milne. Mark and Bela are both HLHS babies and they are both complete miracles in their own right. It was absolutely our joy and privilege to get to meet both of these families. They are awesome!!! Bela is such a sweet natured and gorgeous little gal and a true fighter. She keeps defying the odds and is rockin' and rollin'. She and Brynlyn now have their "feeding buttons" in common. Welcome to this new club Bela and Avery! =)
Our family with our hero, Dr. David Cleveland. He is the surgeon that operated on Brynlyn's heart both times. He's an incredible doctor and we are so grateful for him. We had such a great privilege meeting his darling wife, Lee, today. They are truly wonderful people.
Molly, Mark, Kristi (one of Bryn's nurses), Brynlyn, and Stacy Grohall. Kristi was in training when we had Brynlyn, but it was always wonderful to see her beautiful smile. She has such a fun personality and she always made me laugh and smile during this experience. And Stacy became such a great friend during this process. She was ALWAYS available and ready to answer my millions of questions, sit and have great chats with me to calm my nerves, put me in check when I was freaking out, and just became one of my absolute favorites. We could not have gone through that experience without her. Thanks Stacy!!! You are awesome.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Life's lessons

I just love my Ashlyn! She absolutely is such a joy in our lives and we love every stage that she comes and goes through. We were driving home from Cali on Wednesday night and she decided to hop on Mike's laptop to play some of her internet "girly games." She was getting frustrated when Mike's air card would cut out and she burst out, "This laptop is sooo slow, Dad! This is so lame and it's ruining my trip home!"

Mike and I burst into laughter and we had the great opportunity that parents get to have when they lay on their "when I was your age..." speeches. This brings a tremendous amount of joy to parents, not sure why. =)

I told Ashlyn about OUR roadtrips growing up and how we had a little portable red TV that had to be bungee corded down to this brown plywood stand and would tip over if Dad took a sharp turn. And we had to tape a paper plate over the speaker because it would blast out Dad's ears as he was driving. And we had to record on VCR tapes and we didn't own a CD to our name. Mom would have to rent movies from the local movie store and tape movies for months in prep for our long road trips. Classics that we still love and quote: "Strange Brew" ~ "Private Eyes" ~ "Clue" ~ "Man from Snowy River"

Oh, that felt great to be able to share all of that with her, yes it did. Nope, I really don't think she truly absorbed any of it, but one day she'll reciprocate with a speech to her kids about how "rough times were when she was growing up" and so that just made it all worth it to us!

Mel Curtis ~ Our sweet Bompa

At Nana's viewing in May 2008 with 6 of his kids
(from left to right) ~ Kelley, Pat (Mike's Mom), Bompa, Judy, Candy, Karen, Jon
Bompa having a tender moment with one of his great-granddaughters

On Christmas Day 2008, playing around with Brynlyn
Christmas 2008, Me and Bompa having a quiet talk and tender moment ~ I LOVE how he is holding my hand.
Christmas 2008, our last family picture with Bompa
Our sweet Bompa passed away peacefully from natural causes on March 17th, 2009. We had the opportunity to say goodbye to him a few days before he passed away and it was a sweet, tender moment that I'll always remember.

Bompa had an incredible work ethic, smart business mind, and great "tough it out" attitude towards life. He taught us a tremendous amount of lessons in his life on this earth. He taught us to always be honest in all of your dealings with your fellowmen, Diet Coke should be its own food group, pay a generous fast offerings, John Wayne is a national hero, always pay your tithing, root loudly for the Phoenix Suns, and work hard AND play hard! We were at Disneyland on the day he passed away and after we got the phone call from Pat that he had passed, Mike and I both got quiet, told the girls, got a tear, and then looked at each other and said, "This is exactly where Bompa would prefer us to be on this day!" He certainly knew how to have a good time and always tried to enjoy life.
One of the words I would most use to describe him would be "fighter." He had many wonderful times and many not-so-wonderful times in life. He dealt with them all the same: when the going gets tough, just keep on going!!! In the short 16 years that I have known him, I have come to really love, admire, and appreciate Bompa.
Thank you Bompa for everything you have taught us, for your wonderful example, and for being a wonderful grandfather and great-grandfather to us! Thank you for living such a wonderful life! We love you and we'll miss you ~ but we're happy that you get to go home ~ please give Nana and Aunt Suzy a big hug and kiss for us!!!
Melvin J Curtis ~ our sweet Bompa
June 28, 1920 - March 17, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Disneyland - Spring Break

We decided to take the kids over to Disneyland for a few days for Spring Break. We have the annual pass for the year, so we might be making quite a few trips over there just to make good use of our pass. We had a really fun time, as we always do at Disney. Just a note to self: Avoid going to Disney on St. Patrick's Day!!!

Girls with Handy Manny

After finishing the Brother Bear Challenge Course at
CA Adventure

Lauryn lookin' cute at Newport Beach
Riding California Screamin'...in 5...4...3...2...1...
Eatin' apples and lovin' them
Newport Beach
TK Burger at Newport Beach

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Announcing the birth of Caden Marshall Smith!

Hi guys,

We're so happy to announce that our friends, David and Melissa Smith, just delivered their new little sweet baby boy they named Caden. In utero, they found out that he had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and he will undergo his first surgery on Monday, March 16th.

You can see their blog at www.thesmithsbaby.blogspot.com

They could use all of our faith and prayers for them and for Caden as he starts his battle. For now, he's doing awesome and is resting in the NICU in their hospital in Illinois.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Girls just wanna have fun

These girls just wanna have fun, that's for sure! They came home from school with Ashlyn and partyed like crazy. It was so fun having them all over, we loved it.

Kendyl, Jade, and Ashlyn

Katelyn, Lauryn, Jade, Ashlyn, Kendyl, Brynlyn

Saying goodbye to Monica

Today was such a sad day for us. We had to say goodbye to our dear friend, Monica, who has been Brynlyn's physical therapist since she was 6 months old. So for basically the past 2 years, we have seen Monica once per week for an hour as she has come over to work with Brynlyn to get her to where she needs to be physically. Brynlyn has done so well and has come so far with Monica's help. We are sooo grateful for everything that Monica did for us during these past few years. She was here helping Brynlyn get better, but in the meanwhile she became a dear friend and we're going to miss her!

Good luck with your sweet baby boy, Monica!!! Thank you for everything you did for us and for Brynlyn. You are awesome!

Friday, March 06, 2009

She eats ice cream!

Here's the girl that is picky over food. She questions WHERE, WHAT, HOW, WHEN, and WHY when it comes to eating.


She eats ice cream. Anywhere...Anyhow...Anytime...for Any reason!

What a Stinker!!!

Lauryn and Valerie

Lauryn's good friend Valerie came over to play today. They are in the same school class and the same dance class together. They are CRAZY together (have you seen the movie Gremlins??? ha ha)

But...they are such good buddies and we are lucky to have Val so close to us so she and Lauryn can play all the time together.

Katelyn, Valerie, Lauryn: sipping down McD's choco shakes. Yummmm!!!

Landmark Golf Tournament

The company Mike works for, Landmark, sponsored a hole at a golf tournament in early March. We all wore bright green matching shirts and we got to hang out at the tee and chat it up with the golfers as they came by. It was fun to be there with the gang that Mike works with and to spend some time with Mike. And don't we look so cute in our lime green matchy-matchy shirts???

Rebecca and Susie

Susie, Rebecca, John, Patrick G., Patrick C., Dave and Mike

Landmark Crew: Rebecca, John, Patrick G., Patrick C., Dave, and Mike

Our Tee!