What follows is another yearly installment in our family’s complete history told via the 1993 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: 1993

January 1993 Happenings

What a busy, busy year this has been for our family! Doug got free tickets to see the Dallas Cowboys play in January. He and our brother-in-law Jeff cheered them on at Texas Stadium just three weeks before their super-bowl victory. It was a bit chilly, so the guys had to bundle up well to stay warm.

Doug was grateful for an excuse to wear a cap, since Jennifer had slipped cutting his hair a couple days before and left him with a terrible bald spot above his left ear (it took six months for his head to fully recover!).

February 1993 Happenings

The following month, we learned Jennifer was expecting. Jonathan began thanking God for “little Hannah or Samuel” a couple of weeks before Mommy even started to suspect, but a test February 5 proved him right. David celebrated his first birthday February 20. He learned to wave bye-bye this month and took his first step. Within a few weeks, he was walking everywhere!

March 1993 Happenings

Bethany had tubes put in her ears in early March. The surgery restored her hearing to a normal range and brought a welcome end to the chronic ear infections she’s suffered the past couple of years. She was a real trooper for this procedure — even offered to let the doctor operate again if she could eat another donut afterwards….

1993 Happenings - Bethany gets ear tubesJennifer had a sonogram mid-month when, at 11 weeks, the baby’s heartbeat could not be located. The ultrasound, which was completely normal, indicated this baby is another boy. When Bethany heard the news, she protested, “I love my brothers, Mommy, but I’m just a little bit mad at you that I don’t have any sisters!”

Jonathan decided it was time he found a job this month, so he posted a sign in our front window offering to sell advice for two cents. Unfortunately, this little business venture was not extremely profitable — he did much better during the summer months peddling original artwork and grape Kool-Aid.

Jon Goes Fishing

We spent the last weekend in March at Pine Cove for our Couples Class retreat. Jennifer and the kids rode down Friday with another family from the Chapel, and Doug met us there Saturday afternoon once he got off call. The weather was beautiful, and we all had a great time.

April 1993 Happenings

We bought tickets to fly to Corpus Christi for a visit with Doug’s grandparents the first weekend of April, but Jonathan and David both took ill the night before we were to leave, so Jennifer stayed home with the sick boys while Doug and Bethany went on alone.

Throughout the entire trip, Bethany kept repeating, “I love you, Daddy. I like getting to go places with you, Daddy. You’re very nice, Daddy.”

David weaned this month, added a couple of words to his vocabulary (for a grand total of five), and learned to follow simple instructions.

Jonathan learned to ride a bike without training wheels, which has been a great source of exercise for him. He was soon riding so much that his insulin requirements were reduced by almost 40%.

As has become our annual tradition, we attended the Mesquite Rodeo when it opened in April. Jonathan was determined to win the calf scramble this year, so he got a pair of new running shoes and practiced for weeks in advance. When the time came, though, he forfeited the race in order to help a younger child who’d fallen on the field. Winning isn’t everything — he passed the more important test.

1993 Happenings - Kids with Molly

May 1993 Happenings

By May, our new baby had grown big enough that Jennifer could feel his constant kicking. With this reminder that we’d soon exceed even further our apartments’ limit of two-children-per-room, we began browsing for a bigger place to live. We spotted a house May 5 that suited us perfectly and signed a contract on it two days later.

One of Doug’s classmates from Southwestern got married in Tulsa on May 22, so we decided to drive up for the wedding and visit Jennifer’s grandmother and a couple of her aunts on the trip there and back.We had almost made it to Oklahoma City when our Voyager broke down. A clog in the oil pump burned up the engine (note to self: never keep driving when the engine light’s on), and it had to be completely replaced.

We ended up leaving the van in Norman for repairs and renting a car to get back to Dallas. We could have flown to Europe for what that trip to Oklahoma cost us once we’d paid for the tow truck, taxi, car rental, gas, engine repair, and one-way airfare (so Doug could drive the van back home once it had been fixed) — and we missed the wedding, to boot!

June 1993 Happenings

Jennifer’s high school graduating class held its 10-year reunion in June. We attended, had a wonderful time, and even won an award for having the most children (the baby in utero served as a tie-breaker). Jennifer’s parents celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary on June 25, the same day we closed on our new house.

We had already gotten Molly, our little Lhasa Apso puppy, in anticipation of having a yard in which to keep her, so it’s a good thing the contract went through. We spent the last week of June getting things ready for our move: we painted the master bedroom teal green, Bethany’s room pink, and the den white; had the vents cleaned, the carpet steamed, the new appliances delivered, and the house exterminated inside and out. It was hard work, but we were happy to do it.

July 1993 Happenings

Having finished his internship year at St. Paul, Doug began Parkland anesthesia July 1. Two days later, we packed up our belongings and began moving into our first house. It has three bedrooms, two baths, one living and dining area, a galley kitchen, a separate utility room, and a double car garage. By the time we moved over the last of our stuff in mid-July, that garage was so cram-packed with boxes that we wondered how it all ever fit in that little two-bedroom apartment which had been our happy home for the past five and a half years.

We were eager to sort through the mess and put it in order, but other responsibilities slowed our progress. In the midst of every-third-night call, Doug had to take the eight-hour anesthesia boards this month. (He scored 91st percentile! Don’t you know we’re proud of him?).

Jennifer and the kids took a break from school work, but continued their summer reading. When the library held its awards ceremony July 30 for the “Read-to-Me” Club, Bethany came in first place having read 420 books in eight weeks, Jonathan took second with 396, and David got fourth with 236 (he was still taking two naps a day and couldn’t stay awake through as many books as his older siblings).

1993 Happenings - Playing in the Sprinkler

August 1993 Happenings

August was our month for mishaps. We bought a set of bunk beds for the boys’ room, but within 30 minutes of our getting them home and assembled, David fell from the top and broke is left arm! He wore a splint for ten days, then a fluorescent orange cast (his color choice) for three weeks. The accident brought an abrupt end to his finger-sucking habit — the cast prevented his getting the fingers of his preferred hand into his mouth (and, you know, the fingers on the right side just aren’t the same).

A few weeks earlier, he chipped his front tooth while climbing off his dad’s weight bench, so we made an appointment for him to see the dentist at the same time his brother and sister had their check-ups. David’s tooth was fine, but the incisors Jonathan damaged three years ago had become abscessed again, despite a root canal and multiple caps.

It’s a small miracle such a diagnosis was even possible, considering the fact it takes six adults to pin Jonathan down for an x-ray. Those bite-wings and lead aprons elicit quite a gag reflex in this boy. He had to have the teeth pulled, but was fitted with a partial plate once his gums had healed.

Jennifer developed a painful kidney infection this month, and David endured two and a half weeks of chronic diarrhea. We were kept so busy hopping from doctor to doctor, there seemed to be little time for anything else.

We did manage to plant two pecan trees in our back yard and to hold a garage sale. Jennifer and the kids went to Fort Worth to ride the Tarantula Train with two girls form the Chapel and their children (one of many delightful field trips we enjoyed with these friends through the summer), and our entire family (including Nana and Papa, Aunt Kimberly and Uncle Jeff) attended Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus while it was in town.

Doug’s parents (recently retired and living in Bandera again) came up for a four-day visit mid-month. They kept Jennifer company on our sixth wedding anniversary while Doug was on call at Parkland.

September 1993 Happenings

Kids in costume Jonathan (5) and Bethany (4 this month) began kindergarten at home in September.

We are concentrating primarily on the “Three R’s” this year, although we do read a variety of science and history books from the library (Jonathan considers himself too mature for children’s picture books anymore and insists on making all his selections from the junior non-fiction section). The children have developed a real love for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, so we’ve been reading several of those, too. We finished the fifth in her Little House series this month.

September was also a great month for finishing home projects, as we raced the clock to get as much as possible done before the baby was born. We painted the kitchen walls, tile, and counters white to match the cabinets Jennifer had painted back in July. In the front flowerbeds, we planted new boxwood shrubs and set out two dozen red begonias.

Jennifer’s Aunt Irene brought her machine and spent three days sewing things for Bethany’s room. She made the bed skirt and ruffled pillows in pink gingham while Jennifer stitched the curtains and comforter from a Waverly print of large pink and yellow roses on a wide, dusty blue stripe.

1993 Happenings - Bethany's Room

Doug built two sets of free-standing bookshelves and a fabulous workbench for the garage. Then, after emptying the last of the moving boxes (hallelujah!) and tearing down the existing piecemeal shelves, hooks, and miscellaneous boards, we sheet rocked the exposed studs, then painted the garage walls and ceiling white and the floor Victorian blue.

With those projects completed, we took a break, as did our air-conditioner. The temperature was 90 degrees indoors and we didn’t feel like working up much more of a sweat until the AC was repaired (blessings upon Jennifer’s father, who coaxed enough life back into our old unit to keep it running a few more weeks until we could have it replaced)!.

The only big job left to do was wallpapering the hall bathroom (mint green stripes with a lavender and pink floral border). After Jennifer prepared the walls, her dad came over to show her how to hang the paper. Of course, the bath is so small, he finished the job before he finished the demonstration. Still, she learned a lot by observing his meticulous attention to detail and was able to paste up a border the next morning without incident, thereby completing our list of projects and the month of September. Thanks be to God for the time and strength He gave us to get it all done!

October 1993 Happenings

Doug had requested to take his vacation the first week of October, knowing that the baby was due at that time, but Parkland scheduled him for every-other-night-call that week, instead (!). He was on duty when Jennifer’s contractions began, got off just in time to drive her to St. Paul’s and witness the birth, then worked another 24-hour shift before bringing wife and baby home from the hospital.

God blessed us with another healthy son, Samuel Christian Flanders. He was born at 2:55 Saturday afternoon, October 2, weighed 9 lbs. 3.4 oz, and measured 21 inches long. He is a beautiful baby and so very sweet!

He is also very well-loved by his family. Jonathan is becoming an old pro at caring for younger siblings. Even David has been surprisingly gentle with his new brother. He has recently learned to kiss and delights in so expressing his love for Samuel. Whenever he sees Samuel awake, he runs to fetch a pillow, then sits patting it in his lap, waiting for his turn to hold the baby.

If Bethany were still disappointed at not getting a sister, she certainly didn’t voice it. Her only complaint now is that she’s not the mommy (“that way I could hold Samuel whenever I want!”).

November 1993 Happenings

SamuelWe really had to shift gears after Samuel’s birth, but by November things were beginning to settle back into somewhat of a routine.

The baby was a little fussy in the evenings, so we held and cuddled him, and used that time to read some of the books we’d neglected in the months following our move. We finished Larry Burketts’s The Coming Economic Earthquake within a few days of each other. In addition to stimulating some interesting discussions, the book prompted Doug to accept a moonlighting job in For Worth practicing general medicine at a primary care clinic (in his “spare” time). He also took a second moonlighting job working six-hour shifts at a Dallas radiology clinic.

Reader’s Digest sent us a $400 check this month for an item Jennifer submitted to “Life in These United States” almost two years ago. The story is printed on page 82 of the December issue.

Doug and Jeff ran in “The Human Race” at the Dallas Zoo November 13th (Doug’s first 10K — part of the marathon training he began this fall).

Doug got his wish for a “real dog” mid-November when we rescued a friendly black Lab named Midnight, which our neighbors were taking to the pound (a fate we postponed for a few weeks, at least — just long enough for the dog to demolish a couple of pillows and potted plants and to dig up the flowerbeds). He was bad about jumping our fence, but the neighborhood children always brought him back.

Those kids weren’t the only ones watching out for our dogs — a neighbor lady we’d not yet met showed up barefoot in the freezing rain one night to warn us thatMolly might get sick if we left her out in the cold.She came back the following day and dressed Molly in a sweater, then the next day she brought Molly a windbreaker, a blanket, and a brand-new, fully carpeted dog house!

Doug had Thanksgiving Day off, so we flew to Corpus Christi to spend it with his family. It snowed in Dallas while we were gone; our plane was one of the last allowed to land before DFW shut down.

December 1993 Happenings

December promises to be a full and joyous month for our family, if we can manage to survive Doug’s augmented work schedule. Christmas is such a glorious time. We pray God’s richest blessings and most abundant joy for each of you as we celebrate again the birth of His Son and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Peace be to all of you and a prosperous New Year!

With love from the Flanders –
Doug, Jennifer, Jonathan, Bethany, David, and Samuel

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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.

Glad Tidings - The First 25 Years of Flanders Family Christmas Letters

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