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Christmas 2002
by Brad & Shawna (Chittick) Heuer

December, 2002

Family 2002. Smile!
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Happy Holidays! As I sit down to write this letter I can see green grass in the yard. I should be looking at snow, but we do not have any. Hopefully we’ll have a white Christmas.

The year started off busy and cold, I changed jobs and now work part time for Idaho Forest Industries, my former employer. I work two days a week in the office and one day a week at home. Brad took a trip to Yellowstone with his pal, Darrin for a snowmobile trip and a view of some wildlife.

With few complications, Thaden Bradley was born April 25th. He was a healthy 8 pounds 8 ounces and is a perfect duplicate of our little Ally. He has blue eyes and cheeks everyone wants to squeeze; I guess that is a Chittick trait. The transition from one child to two came easily and Ally adores her little brother. She can’t pronounce his name properly (th’s) and refers to him as “my brudder, FAD!” Ally turned 3 years old one month after he was born. It was a fun day and we had their photos taken together for the first time. She definitely is the proud big sister.

My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary the week before Thad was born, and then my mom celebrated her 60th birthday May 25th. We had a surprise party for her with all my siblings and spouses here. It was great fun and now everyone knows her age. Ha ha.

I say that Thad was healthy, because after a month of projectile vomiting, dehydration, no weight gain, and a lot of sleepless nights, he was back in the hospital at 8 weeks old for surgery on his abdomen. He was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis. The pylorus muscle is at the bottom of the stomach and controls the food let into the intestines. His had become enlarged and closed off, causing no nutrients to flow through. Evidently, after a bit of research, we realized it is more common in first-born males (1 in 200) with Thad’s blood type (O negative). It begins with vomiting around 3 weeks of age and increases in frequency until the muscle stops functioning, which is what happened in Thad’s case. Doctors know how to fix it, so there is little or no research done to find out why. We were in the hospital for 2 days and he began eating again within 24 hours. He has had NO problems since, and weighed in at 20 lbs. 12 ounces at our last doctor appointment, just before Thanksgiving. He has a scar on his belly; but then again, boys like scars, right? He’ll have a story to tell I guess. It all happened so fast, we had little time to freak out about it. He is the picture of health and happiness and we are very thankful. He is looking more like his daddy.

Ally is still our little entertainer. She took swimming lessons this spring with her Grandma Michele and really enjoyed it. We spent a lot of time at the park this summer and playing with friends. Over Labor Day we took her to a farm for her first pony ride. That led to her being a horse for Halloween. She is now in preschool class, learning her letters and numbers. She has been singing ‘Jingle Bells’ lately, changing the words of course, but enjoys dancing around and making her brother smile.

In September, Brad’s dad (Denny) hit a deer while on a motorcycle and was in the hospital for 3 weeks. The deer and motorcycle didn’t survive. Denny broke his back, neck and many ribs. Most recently he had surgery on his neck to remove bone fragments and release pressure on his spinal cord. He is slowly recuperating and will begin therapy in January. Brad’s mom was a trooper through the whole ordeal and we are all aware how lucky he was. Needless to say, we saw the inside of our local hospital too much this year.

On a happy note, Jill, Brad’s younger sister was married October 25th to a wonderful man. Jeff is from the Spokane area and they met through a mutual friend. With a dose of medication and a cervical collar, Denny was
able to walk Jill down the aisle with a smile on his face. It was fun to have the family all together.

As always with winter approaching, Brad is anxious to head to the hills on his snowmobile. He and some friends are planning a trip to Canada for their annual getaway. We hope you enjoy your holiday
and have a great New Year.

Take care and keep in touch,
Brad, Shawna, Ally & Thad
9400 W. Thompson Rd., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

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