Greetings from the Golden Fergusons- Byron, Toni, Nolan, & Kyra.  Our first full year with children zoomed exhaustingly by.  We keep looking for a lottery where the prize is a million hours of sleep.  Toni and Byron visibly cringe anytime we see interviews with those parents of sextuplets.  Of course, with ony 5 more kids we could have gotten free food, a free house, and a free van.  On second thought, I think two is plenty.

Toni’s job change to stay-at-home mom required adjustment.  Some evenings Toni had completely forgotten hos to speak in “adult.”  A constant stream of Teletubbies, Barney, Arthur, Blues Clues, and other subversive elements, removed all knowledge of popular music, television, culture, or current events.  Fortunately, professional “reprogrammers” (most often used to reacclimatize  cult members) brought some renewed sense of normalcy to Toni.

Being new to parenting, Byron & Toni have lots to learn.  As Nolan & Kyra acquire new skills both Byron & Toni are amazed.  From crawing, to their first steps, to pulling everything breakable from tabletops and window sills, mobility tops the list of Nolan & Kyra’s accomplishments.  Now both run, arms back in flying position, full speed around the house to escape “Daddy’s gonna get you.”

Kyra now says what passes for “Hi and Hello,” and can wave bye.  She’s the constant helper and brings toys from the “playroom” to give to Mom, Dad, and visitors.  SHe recognizes an amazing number of words, and will go to her highchair when “it’s time to eat,” or to the bedroom when its “binky bedtime,” or to the medicine cabinet for “does Kyra need some Tylenol.”

Nolan’s pitching arm makes American League pitcher’s quiver.  A few years practice should improve his accuracy.  Right now, each of his errant throws breaks something new.  Nolan then utters in perfect English, “Uh, oh.”  Nolan also apparently sneaked a viewing of all-star Wrestling while Mom and Dad were out.  Laughing he loves to “fall” on top of Kyra.  Invariably, Kyra starts laughing just as hard.

In May, Toni and her family, loaded up a van and made a trip to Kansas.  Nolan and Kyra had the opportunity to visit their Great, Great, Grandmother- Eufelia.  Our kids are lucky to have such a chipper wonderful great, great, grandmother.

In July, Byron & Toni pledged to finally participate in an adult activity together.  No, not that one- Golf!  Byron had previously played with far from stellar results.  Toni had never played.  Together they embarked on a 6 week class to learn the finer points of the game (like how to hit the $^%& ball!)  Now both can play golf together- much to Byron’s chagrin.  Toni recently tied Byron by shooting 61 on 9 holes.  Of course, Toni’s clubs are much newer than Byron’s, Byron was not feeling well that day, and Byron got the only bad batch of balls the Titleist ever made- the kind that seek out water.

Molly the St. Bernard (Mtn Home’s Midnight Kiss) received her AKC championship this year.  Championed, Molly was bred, and had her first litter of puppies in August.  Seven little St. Bernards christened “Magic Mountain Kennels.”  Somehow, “Byron & Toni’s backyard puppies” didn’t have the same ring.  Toni’s sister, Mari, watched and cared for the puppies till they were sold in return for “a piece of the action.”  Toni’s “Tom Sawyer” approach to “painting that fence,” spared us time (and space) we just didn’t have.  Strangely, Mari has respectfully declined an invitation to awaken every two hours and feed yappy puppies when Molly has her next litter.

September’s highlight was a visit from Byron’s grandfather- Wally Blue.  Wally, along with Byron’s Aunt Sharon, drove from Glasgow, Montana, to visit.  Wally is Kyra and Nolan’s great-grandfather, and it was great to get pictures of them all together.  Wally, 93, works summers at the local museum, was Grand Marshall in the Glasgow parade, and is still an incredibly spry conversationalist.  Byron hopes to be as entertaining at Wally’s age.  Toni wishes Byron was as entertaining at his current age…

In October, Byron & Toni traveled to Europe.  Months earlier, Vance Hermanson and Ellen Martin (Nolan’s Godparents), on the phone to buy $200 round trip tickets to England, asked if we wanted in.  On the spur of the moment, we decided to go.  Toni’s sister, only slightly recovered from caring for puppies, volunteered to take care of Nolan and Kyra.

Travels by rail in and about the United Kingdom, took Byron & Toni to Bath (highly recommended,) York (nice too,) Edinburgh Scotland (nice kilts,) and London (bright lights, big city).  A day trip to Paris via the chunnel included the Louve, Eiffel Tower, and great food.  Travel in France gave us aa new appreciation for non-English speaking visitors to the US.  Our total vocabulary consisting of “Bon Jour,” and “Merci beau coup,” were barely sufficient to buy subway tickets out of the train station.  Fortunately, by the end of the day we knew enough new French to order a chicken-something and a pork-something for dinner.  Byron’s search for real French food- French fries, or French toast, however, came up empty handed.

Thanksgiving and Christmas bring the opportunity to share holiday traditions with Nolan and Kyra.  As Dad puts up the annual light display, Nolan and Kyra hanging from carriers will apprentice in the art.  Other traditions will include: the watching of Rudoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (with Pin Floyd’s “The Wall” as supplemental soundtrack,) drinking of Toni’s world famous wassail (no run until their 18,) and Thanksgiving’s Grand Monopoly Game (always go for the oranges first.)  I’m sure as we go along, both will have a few suggestions for new traditions.  We look forward to them.

May all your traditions be as festive and fun as ours!