2006 in Review

Greetings, Friends!

It’s that time again when we try to compress 365 1/4 days into a page or two of purple prose. Given that formidable challenge, we’ll doubtless fail to capture all the interesting bits, but will hopefully give our long-lost friends (and friends who wish that we were long-lost) a bit of insight into what these 12 months have included for us. On to the parade of stars!

[Margaret->] is now 6 years old, and started kindergarten this fall. She got the short end of the educational stick from us, I’m afraid — all the other kids went into school reading, but we got a bit lazy with her. While the first week or two was a bit tough on her, having not been away from us parents on a regular basis previously, she quickly got into the swing of things, developed a deeply-rooted affection for her teacher, and began to thrive. She’s a mischievous little rascal, and loves to climb on people, tell jokes (some of which even make sense), play games, snuggle, walk on Daddy’s feet, and be read to. One of Maggie’s bon mots this year, in reference to Harry Potter: “They should really make a book out of that movie!” She also named her hermit crab “Fluffy”, which made me very proud indeed, and stuffed a rock in her ear, which necessitated surgery to have it removed, and which made me considerably less proud.

[Liam->] just celebrated his eighth birthday, and continues to blaze the boy trail among the kids. He has joined Cub Scouts this year, and has been enjoying building boats and racecars, fishing, camping, and spending time with his peers there. He also loves computer games, playing ball, swimming, and sports in general. His scholastic performance is quite good — I was startled as we prepared for a Christmas church service to find him able to read through a couple of passages in Isaiah without any difficulty at all. One of the highlights of his year was knocking out two of his own teeth within 30 minutes of each other one day. He received a radar gun for Christmas this year, and has had a grand time sitting in front of our house trying to catch speeders as they whiz past.

Now 10 years old, [Abigail->] is still the most girly of our girls, showing more interest in hair, makeup, and matching clothes than the rest of the kids combined. Her sweet nature provides an amusing counterpoint to her incessant stream of rowdy jokes and pranks, which she harvests diligently from joke books, magazines, and her own fertile mind. (Thanks to her, I found bite-size Snickers bars cascading from the ice maker one morning instead of the ice I’d expected.) She has intermittently been doing some singing in a voice class and with her Daddy, and really enjoys doing fun and special things with the family. She’s also gone down to San Antonio to ride with Sean’s sister Meara a couple of times and is developing an affection for anything to do with horses as a result.

[Emily->] is 14, is firmly into teenager territory at this point and has a lively (and sometime ornery) sense of humor. She’s still doing spectacularly in her art studies at school, and has been making great progress learning guitar. She’ll occasionally consult with Daddy on chords or tricky songs, but has been remarkably diligent in that pursuit on her own. Her best friend got a bass guitar for Christmas, so I fully expect them to have a successful girl band by age 15 and to rake in enough royalties off of their music to support us in our dotage. She has continued participating this year in Youth Service Bureau, a local service organization that combines hanging out with friends and doing various community service projects.

The kids are all doing fine academically and have a good collection of friends. It’s a rare day, in fact, that we don’t have a few extra young ones running around the house playing guitar, hide and seek, Lazer Tag, or dress-up — sometimes all at once.

[Kathy->] has found herself this fall, for the first time in 14 years, without any child care responsibilities during the day. The adjustment has taken a bit of getting used to, but once the celebratory shouts died down, she settled nicely into regular visits to the coffee shop (where she’ll often hobnob with the mayor), and time spent building her own business — a sort of personal assistant service she has been building clientele for. She’s also planning to start college again in the spring at Texas State University, where she’ll be pursuing a degree in Health and Fitness Management with a certification in Recreation Therapy. She’s quite excited about getting back into the world of academia and finishing off her long-postponed degree. She had sinus surgery this year, which would not really be a highlight but for the fact that it put an end to her seemingly endless string of sinus infections. Her quality of life has improved significantly as a result.

Sean has marked two and a half years at Texas State University now, where he has steadily been getting more responsibility leading a small team of programmers with the Instructional Technology division there. He also continues to play with The Patio Boys, who had their biggest audience yet this summer at the San Marcos Summer in the Park concert series, and up at church from time to time. He is enjoying dabbling in cooking, photography, writing, and building trebuchets, cannons, and other implements of destruction. He also enjoyed a marvelous trip to Seattle in March with his brother and a few good friends, as well as a several day stopover in Victoria with yet more friends on the way to Vancouver for a business trip, and yet another trip to Atlanta late in the year for a conference. You can keep up on his shenanigans at <https://www.mcmains.net/ruminations>.

As we turn off the jukebox, wipe down the tables, and lock up 2006, we’re grateful for all of the good times, and hopefully a bit wiser from the bad. Thanks to all of the friends and family who have surrounded us, supported us, and enriched our lives. Those relationships are the currency by which we count ourselves truly wealthy.

Pax et bonum,

The Clan McMains