And Now We Are Six

maggieseyes.jpgThere’s just never a dull moment around this place lately! Our biggest news, of course, is the addition of Margaret Ashley McMains to our ranks. She joined us on October 10, 2000 at 8:34pm, after Kathy’s shortest but most painful labor yet, weighing in at 8 pounds, 9.8 ounces, and either 21 or 19.5 inches, depending on who you believe. She’s doing marvelously well, growing like a weed, and charming anyone who comes within a stone’s throw of her. If you have a fast connection or prodigious patience, you can see her birth video on the Introducing Maggie page. Lacking these, there are a few more stills of her on the Margaret page.

We were grateful to receive a lot of help from many quarters during Maggie’s birth. My employer was gracious enough to give me a week of paternity leave, which made the transition much easier than it otherwise would have been. Special thanks go to, in no particular order: my brother Chris, who watched the kids while we were in the hospital. Mom McMains, who cleared her schedule at her pediatric practice for two days so she could be around and help out. Dad McMains and Lana for their visit and gifts. The Johnsons, who made off with our three elder children for several hours so we could have a little time to relax and fed us. The Corleys, for taking care of making announcement phone calls for us and for feeding us. The Ardilas and Coxes, for providing meals and friendship for us. The Isaacs, Salases, Lopezes, and more for their gifts and frequent and generous offers of help. There are probably more I’m not remembering offhand; if I’ve forgotten you, please accept the apologies of a still-somewhat-bleary new father.

The other kiddos are also doing well. Kathy and Emily have been having some really good, heart-to-heart talks lately. She’s starting to turn into a little person, rather than just a kid! Since Emily has started doing school at home again this fall, Abigail has been eager to join in and do some schoolwork as well. Kathy’s been trying to come up with good stuff for Abby, but she’s still young enough that she needs a lot of guidance and help. Emily’s doing great with going off to the schoolroom and working on her assignment for an hour at a time. We’re often in there working together, now that I’ve started my two days a week at home. Liam still charging around the house, being mostly adorable and getting into everything. His new favorite toys are the train cars from a model train set Kathy picked up cheaply at a garage sale. Unfortunately, the cars aren’t designed with 22 month olds in mind, and are rapidly becoming less railworthy. Good thing they were cheap.

All 3 kids seem to be adjusting well to Maggie’s presence, though Liam still hasn’t quite grasped that what is playful to him can be very painful to others. Shortly after her arrival, he discovered the power of the word “No,” and has been getting more ornery and obeying instructions less readily, so it looks like we may be in for some increased parenting challenges for a while. He is, fortunately, still unfailingly kind to his new little sister; we’re not sure whether this was brought on by her arrival or whether he’s just reached that point in his development. In either case, he’s spending a bit more time in solitary confinement in his room, where he pushes the screen out of his window and drops his blocks out onto the dirt below where the neighbors kindly retrieve them for us.

One amusing incident in the wake of Maggie’s arrival: On the first day I was to return to the office after my paternity leave, I blearily headed to the car and began loading up my gear. I suddenly realized that instead of picking up my laptop and its docking station, I had instead grabbed my guitar. A Freudian slip, showing my repressed desire to be doing music professionally, or just Sean being a dummkopf? You be the judge.

The New Church started meeting in late October on Wednesday nights. For the time being, we’re using the great big front room in our house as a meeting place, but we’re quickly outgrowing it and hope to be in a regular space soon. We have been discussing the vision for the church, what directions it should be going, and what part we’ll all be playing in that. Everyone is really enjoying getting together, meeting a number of new people, and getting things underway at last. Though we don’t plan on being up and going with regular Sunday meetings until Easter, these Wednesday night meetings will help to build our little community until then.

I’ve recently picked up a hammered dulcimer, an instrument with which I’ve been in love since hearing one at a Renaissance Fair as a teenager. After 2 weeks with it, I’m able to plunk out some basic melodies, and am enchanted by the beautiful instrument’s sound. I still lack the percussionist’s dexterity required to play it well, but as I put more time into it, the wrong notes become fewer and farther between. I hope to be able to start doing a bit of public performance with it for church and celtic gigs in a few more weeks. Steve and I have been playing regularly at The Coffee Pot in town, which is still a lot of fun. Travis has gone off to Russia to do a few weeks of missions work there, so we’ll lack his excellent percussion skills for the next several gigs.

Our friends and neighbors John and Beth Morisett celebrated 50 years of marriage this past weekend. They are an inspiration to us, as they’re still very lively and involved with each other, their church, and their community after all that time together. It’s great to have people with that joie de vivre living nearby whose company we can enjoy and experience we can lean on. Congratulations, John and Beth, and thank you!

Kathy has been continuing her improvements to the house, installing chair rails she hand-painted in the girls’ room, painting and decorating the great big front room, adding shelves in various places, repainting the entryway, and generally making our house a warmer place to live and visit. Though I’m rarely unhappy with things before she starts on a project, she has the visual taste and good sense that I lack, and does a great job of transforming spaces for the better. What a woman.