Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Christmas Letter - 2011

Christmas 2011

Dear Friends and Family,
It is with love and gratitude that I’m writing this letter this year. We have so much to be grateful for!
This year has been a year of challenges and growth for our family.
In July we welcomed another son who was very tiny. We named him Bradley Herrick Brinkerhoff. He was 4lbs 8oz and 18 inches long. Within two weeks he was admitted to the children’s hospital for failure to thrive. When he was in the hospital they discovered that he was missing his parathyroid gland, which regulates the body’s use of calcium. He also was aspirating liquids into his lungs, which was giving him pneumonia. He was given a surgically inserted feeding tube in his stomach wall to make it easier to feed him. He came home 5 ½ weeks later at 6lbs 4oz. In November he passed a swallow study that observed he was no longer aspirating liquids! He has physical therapy weekly and follow-ups with all his specialists including a geneticist who will be looking at his genes for abnormal connections. It’s possible that he may have a syndrome of some sort but it takes 6-8 months to be seen by the geneticist and so we are patiently biding out time. We love him and we feel that his special spirit has entered our home to teach us more about this life and eternity. He nearly died in the hospital and we know his tiny life is a miracle we were meant to witness.
Madeleine is in the second grade this year. She has received straight A’s so far and we are all impressed with her abilities. She chose to be baptized in October. Tom was able to baptize her and we are so proud of her for being such a great example to everyone around her. Her sweet spirit radiates from her face and when she is home she is a huge help to me!
Jacob started Kindergarten! He’s slowly learning his high frequency words. He’s quite the popular kid and everyone knows his name. He has a personality that everyone loves. He always has something funny to say and keeps us all entertained. We just love having him in our family!
Charlotte turns three in January. Where did the time go? She loves being a big sister and spends most of her day alone with Bradley and I. Grandma has been a big help in caring for Charlotte when Bradley and I have appointments. She loves to sing and dance. She loves taking care of her baby dolls  and reading books.
Tom and I continue to toil along as parents and providers. Most nights we are exhausted from everything there is to do. But we know that God sanctifies our work. I have an online business of handmade fabric flowers that is having lots of success; and I am so grateful for the help it is providing.
We hope that this letter finds you all well! Hopefully this year you too have seen the hand of our Savior Jesus Christ in your life.

Tom, Mary, Madeleine, Jacob, Charlotte and Bradley Brinkerhoff