What follows is another yearly installment in our family’s complete history told via the 1989 Flanders Family Christmas Update. To see a full listing, see Our Christmas Letters. For tips on writing your own family history in this fashion, follow this link. In the meantime, enjoy!
The Flanders Family Update: 1989
January 1989 Happenings
This year proved to be a very eventful one for our family: In mid-January we attended a “Family Restoration Seminar” which dealt with God’s intended design for family life and the role the family is to have within society. It was an excellent and very challenging study.
We found out only a few days after this workshop that Jennifer was pregnant again, and it thrilled us to think that God is building our little family even faster than anticipated. What a special way this was to start the New Year.
February 1989 Happenings
In February, Doug transferred his church membership to Town East Baptist where Jennifer and her parents were already members. He was asked to teach his first children’s sermon the Sunday he joined, and he continued to teach these on a regular basis during the months that followed. He’s an animated story-teller, and the object lessons he incorporates are always lots of fun. Do you know how they trap monkeys in South America? Ask Doug. He’ll tell you.
March 1989 Happenings
We did a little traveling over Spring Break in March, first driving down to San Marcus and Corpus Christi with Jennifer’s parents and sister, then making a quick trip to Oklahoma (just the three of us). We stayed home this year for Easter, and it’s a good thing we did — Jonathan cut three teeth on Easter Sunday. That made it a long day for all of us.
Also in March, Jonathan learned to stand alone, to whistle and to clap his hands. By April he was feeding himself, drinking from a cup, sorting blocks, taking his first steps, and saying “mama” and “dada”. He was walking by the first of June; now he runs. He can also do front rolls.
Jonathan’s vocabulary has expanded to 10-12 words now, though he seldom uses them, preferring instead to communicate using his own contrived language: a rolled guttural “r” means “helicopter”, clicking sound means “cracker”, head cocked to side with palm to ear means “bed”, sucking air between his forefinger and thumb means “candy”, kissing his palm means “please”, wiping two fingers across his chest means “peanut butter”, and patting the top of his head means “put me on your shoulders, Daddy, and take me for a ride!”.
April/May 1989 Happenings
We had many things to celebrate during late spring: Doug’s and Jennifer’s 22nd and 24th birthdays and the anniversary of the day they met (3 years ago) in April; the completion of Doug’s first year of medical school, Jennifer’s re-acceptance into the Dallas Symphony Chorus, Jonathan’s baby dedication, and his first birthday in May.
June 1989 Happenings
In June, our entire family signed up for summer courses through the Mesquite community center. Jennifer and her mother took a ceramics workshop together, Jonathan enrolled in “Mom and Tot Diaper Gym”, and Doug started karate lessons. One afternoon, Jonathan observed his dad practicing some of his karate kicks and later began to imitate them. Thereafter, whenever he heard the word “karate”, Jonathan would immediately stop whatever he was doing and hike a leg….
Toward the end of the month, Doug’s parents paid us a visit. This meant a lot to us since we so seldom get to visit with them now that Dad is pastoring in New Mexico.
July 1989 Happenings
Jennifer’s mother’s family held their annual reunion in Oklahoma in July, but with the baby’s due date so quickly approaching, we had to miss it this year. Those reunions are such fun. Nana was thirteenth in her family, so Jennifer’s always had more cousins than she could count.
August 1989 Happenings
Jennifer’s parents kept Jonathan for us so that we could attend the Basic Life Principles seminar the second week of August. This was Doug’s first time to hear Bill Gothard. We had a tremendous time and are hoping to attend the advanced seminar together next spring.
September 1989 Happenings
In September, God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl — Bethany Ann, 9 lbs. 3 oz., 21 inches, born at 9:23 a.m. on the 20th. Although she was 17 days late, when it finally came time, she really came fast. She was born in the labor room. Her appearance so caught the attending nurse by surprise that she screamed for help, bringing a flood of nurses and residents into the small room. Fortunately, Dr. Howard, Jennifer’s obstetrician, was among them. (At least, we think he was — somebody was on hand to catch the baby, and we vaguely remember seeing his face in the crowd at the foot of the bed).
From the very first few days of her life, Bethany slept six hours at a time and woke up happy. At about two weeks, she developed severe colic, causing her to cry inconsolably for three to five hours a night. We really believe that this was God’s way of insuring her some individual attention, though, since she slept so contentedly the rest of the time (during Jonathan’s waking hours). As a result of this concentrated time spent with our daughter, we’ve gotten to know her and grown to love her in a very special way. She really is a precious little girl!
As an added benefit of being up with Bethany five hours a night, I (Jennifer) have been able to get a good bit of reading done, finishing 14-15 books in the course of three months (six of these were James Dobson’s — all excellent; the most recent ones were Larry Crab’s Marriage Builder and Mary Pride’s All the Way Home — must reading for all young couples).
October 1989 Happenings
By October, Jonathan had learned his various body parts and would point to his eyes, ears, nose, shoulders, knees and toes whenever we asked him to do so. He now enjoys demonstrating this same knowledge on his little sister, which leaves her somewhat bewildered. He is very affectionate with Bethany and also very protective of her. He loves to kiss her forehead and to blow bubbles on her tummy and is always the first to her bedside whenever he hears her crying.
November 1989 Happenings
We made another trip to Corpus in November to spend Thanksgiving with Doug’s grandparents. The long drive is more difficult with small children than it was before (you should try spending eight hours hunched over a car seat attempting to nurse a fussy baby yourself sometime), and we are consequently not able to make it as often as we’d like, but we always enjoy seeing them so much! We try to alternate holidays between both sides of the family and will therefore be spending Christmas with Jennifer’s family.
It’s hard to believe it’s already that time of year again, isn’t it? We’ve already decorated the tree and wrapped the presents and are surprised that Jonathan is being so patient about waiting to unwrap them (though we’ve occasionally caught the little Grinch trying to crawl up the stairs with a couple of smaller gifts clinched firmly between his teeth). We’ve also driven the family around the neighborhood to look at lights. Jonathan nearly hyperventilates every time he sees a decorated house or yard.
Toward the end of November, we took the children to see The Little Mermaid. It was a delightful movie, the music lively and the animation beautiful. The story hinged on a deal the mermaid struck with a sea-demon, which would have cost Ariel her soul had her father not paid the price for her mistake by taking the consequences of her foolishness upon himself. We thought it appropriate that this movie should open during the Christmas season, reminding us of the price Jesus paid for us.
December 1989 Happenings
As we celebrate His birth, it is our prayer that all would be reminded of the great provision God has made in sending Christ to die in our place. May all of you have a very merry and meaningful Christmas!
With love from the Flanders –
Doug, Jennifer, Jonathan, and Bethany
Do you prefer to do your reading offline? You’ll find more of our family’s embarrassing moments, hard learned lessons, and hilarious antics all in Glad Tidings, a compilation of the first 25 years of Flanders Family Christmas letters. It also includes a few favorite recipes, seasonal quotes, time-saving tips, and fun family traditions. Volume 1 is on sale now. We’re hoping to release Volume 2 in the year 2037.