Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

I have been writing this post all month... Well, I've been writing this post in my head all month.  :)  For those of you who didn't catch it before now, the month of February is American Heart Month

While America has an entire month devoted to heart health, having a day where people wear red to raise awareness of heart disease.  It was spotlighted at least weekly on the Today Show, and the reminder is even on the side of your Diet Coke can. (hahaha... or you could have just thought it was cute hearts for Valentine's Day...!) 

I WAS planning on writing this post at the beginning of February, but decided I wanted to wait until the END of February because it is something that is important to everyone to remember and think about through all months of the year. 

Heart health is an important subject to me.  While I DO have family who it effects, lately I have been hearing MUCH more than just family stories of heart problems.

This past year, I have made some amazing friends, Annie and Paul who's son Connor was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (CHD) called Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF).

Annie and Baby Connor when he was only a day old.
Paul and Connor
Basically, Connor was born with a hole in his heart.  Connor was born 3 weeks early, and  he was admitted to the NICU for having a hard time breathing.  Annie and Paul were told that the NICU staff thought that Connor had a CHD, and he was sent to Primary Children's Hospital here in Salt Lake City where their thoughts were confirmed.  Connor spent the next 2 1/2 months in the NICU at Primary Children's.  While he was there, he had a feeding tube in his nose, but he was able to come home.  He also developed severe Acid Reflux.  He was scheduled to have open heart surgery, but the surgery had to be rescheduled 3 times before he was able to have surgery this past June to repair his ToF.  His surgery lasted seven hours and was very successful and he stayed in the hospital for two weeks.

I LOVE this picture of Connor!
He had a cardiology checkup in November, and the cardiologist said that his pulmonary valve is leaking more than they would like to see, so in a few years, Connor will have to have open heart surgery again and have his entire valve replaced.  He will probably need to have some type of surgery or procedures throughout his life to replace and upkeep his valve.

Connor at 1 years old
Also this month, I read an amazing story of  my friend, who's grandfather was admitted into the hospital for a heart attack.  He too had emergency open heart surgery and died on the table SIX times.  The second time was the longest duration of the six, and the doctor was looking up at the clock to pronounce the time of death when her grandfather's heart began to beat again.  During his open heart surgery, a team of twenty-two worked to partially clear one of his main arteries that had become 100% blocked.  Her grandfather is still alive, and "24 hours after his surgery, he was sitting up in bed, chowing down on his first solid meal in three days, and had ditched 3 of the 4 IV machines he'd had the day before.  Onward and upward!"

This month, these two stories have really helped me become more thankful for my health and that of my family.  It has made me want to help, even if this blog post gets read by only Annie and a few others, I still feel that putting it out there has somehow made a difference.

YOU can help too by helping yourself. The American Heart Association has a great program called "My Life Check: Life's Simple 7 Success Plan".  It is a fun quiz you can take to see how you are doing in your optimal health.  It's a great way to start

YOU can help too by helping your family.  If you are a mom who plans the meals, plan some that are yummy and heart healthy.  If you are a dad who is sick of your "family fun" watching a Disney movie on the couch, take your kids out for a walk around the block or go play catch at the park.  Encourage your family to have checkups and get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.  If you are expecting a new baby, talk to your pediatrician about testing your baby for a Congenital Heart Defect.

One in One100 babies are born with some sort of Congenital Heart Defect. Remember how the Super Bowl was this month?  Well, the Dallas Cowboys stadium can seat 80,000 people.  If you took every baby born THIS YEAR with a congenital heart defect and put them in a seat, they would fill nearly HALF the stadium.  Between 35,000 and 36,000 births a year.

YOU can help too by raising awareness.  Tell your friends and family how important it is to take care of their Hearts.  Volunteer.  Write or call your legislature and ask to have CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training given to students (at least) before they graduate.  Ask for better screening for heart problems to the uninsured and under-insured.  Ask for basic screening for newborn babies for congenital heart defects before they leave the hospital by pulse oximetry screening after 24 hours of life.  (For a great example of a mother who went before her state of Indiana's legislature demanding this very easy and life saving screening click here to read Cora's Story.)  Even asking legislature for a basic mandate for schools to have regular GYM CLASS, RECESS and HEALTHIER FOOD in your child's school helps immensely!

You can help too...!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Marcus and his Molar Man Adventures

Marcus went to the dentist yesterday.  It was his first time EVER going, and I think that we have found the right fit.  We go to Burg Pediatric Dentistry and boy are they awesome!  Their office is all themed around their very own superhero.  "Molar Man!"  New patients get to tell them the secret password (ssshhh... it's "molarman" in case you need to know!) and then they get a cape!  Marcus loved it so much he didn't take it off for two days-- except for sleeping.

Marcus and his cute dental assistant
after his first checkup and cleaning

Marcus and his Molar Man cape before his appointment today

While at the dentist, we found out that Marcus had (GASP!) a cavity!  It was so sad!  I was expecting it though, right in between his two front upper teeth.  So, we decided it needed to get filled ASAP.  We got an appointment scheduled for today.  We picked up a mixture of sedation meds and gave it to him an hour before the appointment.  They started to kick in on the way and Marcus kept telling me how happy he was.  "Mommy... I'm just SO HAPPY right now!"   and, "Mommy, driving is SO MUCH FUN!"

Good honey.  I'm glad you think so. 

So we got to the appointment and Marcus did so well!  They gave him some bubble gum flavored laughing gas and he got to watch Tarzan "on the TVs in the sky!"

This is my favorite picture of the day.

Putting on the gas!
Watching Tarzan! (I love his bright red Molar Man cape!)

Getting all numbed up.

He was such a trooper and did so well!  At the last appointment they gave us an option of conscious sedation or IV sedation.  This was the first time Marcus has had any sort of medical/dental work done at all and has never had to have any sedation... so we opted for oral conscious sedation in hopes that he would do well and we would not have to come back another day for the IV.  I'm so proud of our little buggy!  He did great!  Needless to say, his cavity is all filled, and he is doing great.  I'm hoping that he doesn't have to have more filled!  Keeps mommy and daddy on our toes about sticking to our bedtime and morning routines including brushing AND flossing!

Picking out a prize for being such a good kiddo!

When we left, the staff at Burg gave us another piece for Marcus' Molar Man costume...A Molar Man mask! Marcus was so happy... only, he started crying when we left.  He had such a good time, he wanted to go BACK to the dentist.  

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Its A Baby!!!

Okay everyone!

Last Wednesday we had an ultrasound done to find out if this baby is...

roses and dollies 

or if it's...
worms and monster trucks!

 Well, this baby.... Has a cute little face...

Cute little nose!

I always hate these ultrasound pics!  They look sooo weird!

And this baby... Has cute little feet...!

aaaw!  Feet!

This baby is a natural model!  Posing for cute 3D photos!

Rubbing its eyes...

Already can suck it's thumb!

And... this baby... is ALL GIRL!

Don't you love how you find out what your little baby is
and then you proceed to post their bits
all over the internet to tell everyone! 

There you go!  Marcus is a big brother to a beautiful baby sister!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Family, The Beach, Disneyland and Elder Cody Jenson

A recap of the Jenson's Jaunts recently....

Well... We got to spend time on the coast of lovely Orange County with Cooper's family this past week.  It has been so much fun.  


We went Paddle Boarding. (Well...Gpa M, Auntie M and Gma S went paddle boarding... Coop TRIED paddle boarding, and I supervised all beach activity!)

Paddle Boards All Lined Up Waiting to Go...

Auntie M and Gpa M Going Into the Water...Auntie M is a Natural!  She Got Right Up the First Time Trying...

 Marcus Enjoying the Sand

 We Played at the Beach.  It was so sunny and Warm!

Building Sand Castles and Getting Some Sun.

We enjoyed Disneyland! (Twice!)

Marcus Showing Off his New Annual Pass to Disneyland!  
He was so excited.

Sporting his New Hat

 Buzz Lightyear...TO THE RESCUE!

 Fun With Daddy!

 Every Trip to Disney We get Marcus a New Set of Ears... 
So Far, He has Four... and These Are What He Picked Out This Time!

 The Castle Was Lit in Pink for Valentine's Day!

 It was not a trip with all fun and games though!  The REAL reason why we went to California is because Cooper's little brother Uncle CJ is serving an LDS mission in Mexico City for the next two years!

Marc and Stori got a Bit Life-Size Cutout of Uncle CJ!  
It was so Funny to Come into a House you Know is Empty 
and Be Greeted By Cardboard Uncle CJ!

We Went to the Temple...

Me and Cooper Posing With Cardboard Uncle CJ Before we Left for the Temple.

The Newport Beach Temple is Sooooo Pretty.

We Listened to Uncle CJ Give an Amazing Talk on Sunday...  And it really made you think.  It was all about being thankful.  It started out asking the listeners if they Thanked Heavenly Father today for even the little things.  

"Wow.  Thank you for my toothbrush....Or when you put your pants on this morning, Thanks for this Belt!"  

I LOVED listening to Uncle CJ talk.  He is so eloquent, and for being 19...he is one smart guy.  I love being able to call him my little brother!

After Church Sunday...Family Picture time!
(From Right, Melanie, Marcus, Grandma Nancy, Grandpa Bill, 
Gpa M, Cooper, Uncle {Elder!} CJ, Auntie M and Gma S)

Our time in the California sun was over... Back to reality.  We, Cooper, Marcus and I packed up the car on Tuesday morning and drove home.  To the pretty chilly 801...

But it wasn't over yet!  When you are called to be a Missionary, you are first sent to the Missionary Training Center.  Cody is going to Mexico City, and there he will be speaking Spanish... Well, Uncle CJ doesn't know Spanish!  He is going to spend the next nine weeks at the MTC learning how to be a good missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and learning how to speak Spanish.  There is a tradition here in Utah that before dropping off your missionary at the MTC, you go and eat way too much at The Brick Oven, and then you say your goodbyes for the next two years.  Gpa M and Gma S flew with Uncle {Elder!} CJ Wednesday morning and we all ate there and had one last family hooplah to celebrate  Uncle {Elder!} CJ's mission.

Marcus,  Uncle {Elder!} CJ  and Cooper 
(those are the greatest glasses ever, right!?)

Me and Elder Jenson

Elder Jenson and Auntie M

Uncle {Elder!} CJ's good friend Ian from California came and surprised us there.  
Ian is leaving on his Mission later this year.

Then we dropped him off at the MTC...

Look at this handsome guy.

Bye bye  Uncle {Elder!} CJ !  

Rockin' two years in Mexico City for the Lord!  We love you.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.  

Oh how I love this kid.  He is so great.  Award for best three year old ever.  (Although I know I am completely biased, since I made up today's award... then I feel its okay to give it to my favorite three year old...)

This pregnancy has been completely different from my last one.  With Marcus I was fine, no sickness, no symptoms, nothing, until about 10 weeks and then every single one in the book until the day I delivered.  This one however, I was sick from before we got the good news.  Sick and tired.

Anyway, he has been such a trooper.  This is our conversation this morning as I had my head in the toilet:



MARCUS: Are you okay Mommy?  You throw up again? 
MOMMY: Ya baby, I'm ok.
MARCUS: Do you want some mommy medicine?


MOMMY:  Aawwwww!  Thanks baby.


MARCUS: It's okay Mommy, it's just throw up.





MARCUS: You need a story.  The Very Hungry Ca-piller...


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Thursday, February 3, 2011

So what DO you do all day?

Recently, we went on a Date Night with our good friends Paul and Annie.  We went to dinner at a yummy Indian place and then to get Boba Drinks, at a new coffee shop/hangout place, and then to a place called Laughing Stock in Downtown Salt Lake City.  It was lots of fun to watch my own "Whose Line is it Anyway" Played out on stage in front of me.  

If you are in the 801 and are wanting something to do on a night on the town and are not wanting to do a movie or something similar, Laughing Stock is a fun thing to do... good use of 11 bucks.  I'm sure that our sweet friends Paul and Annie didn't think I had much of a blast, but I really did.  (Sorry guys, I was grumpy, and exhausted.... it was after all way past my bedtime..!)

Of course in my I'm so exhausted not too much is funny right now state they decide to sing a song about someone in the audience.  READ: They Decide to Sing a Song about ME and Cooper.... sigh.  Me.  The conversation went something like this:

Announcer Dude: Ok, this song is going to be about someone in the Audience.... How about....this lovely lady right here!
Tired Melanie: Oh no.
Announcer Dude: Ok, What's your name?
Tired Melanie: Melanie.
Announcer Dude:  Hi Melanie.  And who is this man next to you?
Amused Cooper: Cooper.
Announcer Dude: Hi Cooper, and what do you do?
Amused Cooper: Well, I run a medical manufacturing company.
Announcer Dude:  You run a medical manufacturing company?
Amused Cooper: Yes.
Announcer (to Tired Melanie): Now, What do you do?
Tired Melanie: I stay home.
Announcer Dude:  You stay home?  Ok...And What hobbies do you have?
Tired Melanie: Um... I don't have any.
Announcer Dude: Um... Okay.. well, what is your favorite show that you watch while you stay home all day?
Tired Melanie: Um....Trading Spaces?

And then they continued with four guys singing a badly improved song about how boring my life must be staying at home all day doing nothing...

It was embarrassing...  Really embarrassing.  And now I just shared it with the world.  Sigh.

Well... Announcer Dude and the people who laughed at this boring housewife who has no hobbies... 

This is what I do all day...

I get to be three and a half.  

I make faces, and have way too much fun.  
I go on field trips.  
I get to color. 
 I get to dance around like nobody is watching... but someone is and he is three and dances along with me. 
When we are hungry, we get to have a snack.  
When we are bored, we make sock puppets, 
or sing songs, 
or play legos. 

We use our imagination....a lot.

 When we are tired, 
we can cuddle, 
or snuggle, 
or just lay on our big comfy couches and 
just take a nap.

I have way too much fun.  

That is something that I bet almost everyone in the audience laughing at me can't say.  Because they don't get to spend twenty four hours a day with a goof-ball three year old named Marcus.  

(I even sometimes get to pick my nose...)

And yes, I DO TiVo Trading Spaces... And we watch it... and it's awesome.

Take that.
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