February brought snow, which thrilled even the biggest “kids” in our family. We built two squatty snowmen in the front yard and did some cardboard sledding on the bank of a nearby creek. We must have played outside too long, though,because three of the children came down with ear infections the following week. Bethany’s tubes had fallen out, and she became so congested she could barely breathe.
when we spread it on the front yard; but our neighbors forgave us once the air had cleared, and it did make for a plush, green lawn this summer! Our impatiens were magnificent this year — Jennifer finally clued-in to their need for regular watering, and it really paid off. Benjamin began “combat crawling” (elbow over elbow) this month. Dragging his belly on the ground didn’t seem to slow him down a bit, but it eventually forced into retirement most of the hand-me-downs which had served his three older brothers so well. We realized we could spare his clothes all this wear and tear by letting Jonathan teach him to use that skateboard. It might have worked, too, had the baby’s fingers not gotten tangled up in the wheels. It took four months for his nail to grow back! Our almost eight-year old Jonathan began giving his own insulin injections this month, after meeting a diabetic girl his age at the playground who does the same. This, and the near-constant attention he gives to keeping his hair neatly combed, reminds us that his childhood is steadily slipping away. He was baptized April 21 (his mother’s 31st birthday). His favorite pastimes include leading “Bible Clubs” for his siblings and neighborhood friends, working out with his dad (in their matching muscle shirts), and hand-feeding the nearly-tame squirrel who visits our pecan tree several times a week.
We missed seeing much of the Olympics this year, but we staged a few summer games of our own, including a competitive round of cherry pit spitting which Doug won easily with a distance of 39 feet. While our summer activities may not have garnished us with any gold medals, they were not without their rewards: The kids earned a stash of books, swim passes, rodeo tickets, golf games, and free yogurt and hamburger coupons through the library’s summer reading program. Doug was given a handsome bonus for scoring 97th percentile in the nation on the seven-hour anesthesia boards (his second year in a row to do so). Jonathan and Bethany won $20 cash in the State Fair’s folk art competition and $75 merchandise from Crossings for their original book illustrations. David got a free copy of Disney’s Aristocats video in a Dallas Child drawing. Samuel won four tickets to Six Flags and a 10-piece chicken dinner in a Grandy’s coloring contest. Jonathan received free passes to Ringling Brothers Circus through a Subway promotion. And Jennifer won tickets to a Dallas Stars game at the grand opening of Baylor Mesquite
Doug had a week off in August, so we drove the family to Arkansas, bringing our child-care reinforcements (a.k.a. Nana and Papa) with us. We spent three lovely days in Hot Springs golfing, boating, shopping, hiking, and seeing the sights. Our antiquated 386 suffered a major malfunction this month, giving Doug the excuse he needed to upgrade our computer system. Jennifer’s Uncle Herbert was later able to resurrect the desktop, but Doug had already bought a portable Pentium by then. The timing on this purchase was really providential, as just a couple of weeks after we got the new system online, we were given the opportunity to begin evaluating educational software for a Dallas radio station. Jennifer may now be heard live every Thursday night at 7:30 on KSKY (660 AM) or via the Internet at cyber-line.com. In exchange for her (extremely brief)weekly program, “Schooling with Software”, we get to keep all the programs she reviews. Thus it happened that David was sitting in his mother’s lap one evening, trying out a new CD-ROM, while Samuel stood patiently at his elbow, watching and waiting for his turn. After so passing a tranquil half-hour, the silence was suddenly shattered by hysterical wailing from both boys. David insisted his brother had bitten him, unprovoked, and pointed to the teeth marks on his arm as proof. When Jennifer questioned Samuel, all he would say (between sobs) was, “…but, Mommy… I wanted… something… to eat!” Evidently, he had fallen asleep on his feet and dreamed it was dinnertime (thought you can tell by looking he hasn’t slept through many meals).
Doug’s long hours had begun to catch up with him by September. One week after a family dinner at Chili’s, post-call, he excused himself to go to the restroom. He washed his hands and waited five minutes for a stall to empty before realizing he’d entered the ladies room by mistake! You can imagine his complete embarrassment when the person he’d been waiting on turned out to be a woman! Actually, Doug’s school schedule did not demand as much of his time this month as his job search did. Although graduation is not until next June, many medical groups are hiring early. Doug had nine interviews, each of them lasting six to eight hours. (Some of these practices were so large, it took that long just to make the rounds and meet the partners).
Our little Sam-I-Am turned three in October. He has definitely reached that age where it’s important he do things all by himself. To this end, Doug took him shopping for some Velcro shoes he could fasten without help. Who but a man would buy size 12 shoes for a size 8 foot, thinking they’d be easier to get on and off? Jennifer wasted no time in exchanging them for a better fit, and Samuel can still manage to put them on without our assistance. Benjamin celebrated his first birthday and received his first haircut this month. Mom had to trim it a little shorter than she’d intended, after Samuel planted a juicy wad of chewing gum in the middle of baby’s crown. Walking early gave Benjamin a new sense of independence, but he keeps a firm grasp on Mother’s apron strings, rarely letting Jennifer out of his sight without a fiercely indignant protest. Despite his being such a Mama’s boy, the first word to cross his lips was “Daddy”. That hardly seems fair, considering all the stinky diaper changes and late night feedings Jennifer’s endured, but she’s tried to be mature about it and forgive him this show of ingratitude.
We’re excited about living in Tyler, but sad to be leaving behind our wonderful family and friends. We want all of you to come visit us once we have settled into our new home. If you’ll drive out in April when the azaleas are in bloom, you’ll understand why we fell in love with this town the first time we laid eyes on it.