Several of our friends and family members wrote to us after Christmas last year to say they hoped our news this year would be more pleasant, so we are happy to report that this has indeed been a very good year.
January brought with it many changes for our family, as we rang in the New Year with a longer list of resolutions than in all our previous years combined. (We even managed to keep a few of them!) Doug devised a schedule for Jennifer and the kids, effective January 1st, Monday through Friday, 8-11 a.m., consisting of lessons in Scripture memorization, reading, math, art and science. The children loved having so much of Mom’s undivided attention and learned quickly. By the end of the first month, Bethany’s vocabulary had expanded to include 75-80 words, and Jonathan could identify a dozen written words, major organs of the human body, numbers 1-30, and scores of different bird, animal and insect species.
Our rent was supposed to have increased by $75 a month this year (our lease expired in December); however, we received a call from the leasing office toward the end of January asking if we’d be interested in answering phones for the apartments three nights a week. If we were to accept (which we most gratefully did), they would forward the calls to our home and reduce our rent by $180 — effectively cutting it in half!
In February, we took a weekend trip to Tyler, Texas, with some close friends, Mary and Warren Robbins and their two children. We all had a wonderful time. The zoo there is great (free, too!) and the rose gardens spectacular (though just beginning to bloom when we visited).
We continued our travels in March, flying to Corpus Christi one weekend to visit Doug’s grandparents, and driving to Oklahoma the next to see Jennifer’s kin. We were back in Mesquite for Easter, just in time to dye eggs with Nana and Papa and to eat Sunday dinner at their house. Lest you think the eggs, baskets and bunnies caused the children to miss the true meaning of Easter, we overheard Jonathan in the bathroom one night explaining to Bethany why Jesus was nailed to a cross: “He died for our sins, Betsy, and I just love Him so much!”
Our travels ended in April, with a one-day visit to friends in Ft. Worth. The following weekend, we attended Greg Harris’s home-schooling workshop at Criswell College. Some friends of ours from First Baptist’s Family Class, Fred and Sarah Cooper, have long been involved in coordinating this seminar in the Dallas area and asked this year if we would serve as exhibit hall chairmen. We were happy to oblige, and in return for our labors (which were few), we received free admission to the seminar, a $25 gift certificate for workshop materials, and dinner with Mr. Harris and the seminar coordinators….
Jennifer’s parents began a big landscaping project in June, so for the following two or three months, Jonathan spent every Saturday morning at their house “helping Papa dig in the dirt”. We joyfully learned mid-month that Jennifer is expecting again. This baby is due February 28th (which should put him here on St. Patrick’s Day if he’s as late as our last one!).
Jennifer and the kids took a break from school in July, though Doug had no summer vacation this year. He finished a rotation in anesthesiology, his field of choice, on June 28th, then began senior year courses July 1st. He volunteered to edit the course guide for anesthesia and ended up getting paid ($500) to do it! This gave him an excuse to buy a new computer so he could work on the project at home. Once that job was completed, he began the long process of requesting and submitting applications for residency programs.
Jennifer’s mother’s family held a reunion in Oklahoma the first weekend in October. We rode up with Jennifer’s parents, sister, and brother-in-law in a 15-passenger van Nana and Papa had rented for the occasion. This made the 5-hour trip almost as enjoyable as the reunion itself! We experienced a real victory this month when the children began once again to go to bed without a fight (this had somehow become a three-hour nightly battle, in addition to the two-hour struggle we encountered at naptime).