Welcome to the sixth annual Bucher Christmas page! For those of you who need to catch up on our thrilling lives, are really bored, or are just gluttons for punishment, you can find the previous years' pages by clicking this link. As always, click on any picture for the full-sized version.
In September Eric's pediatric practice rearranged its schedule so that each doctor works in only one of the three offices--in Eric's case the office in Haverhill, Massachusetts (rather than splitting his time between Haverhill and Newburyport as he has over the past five years). Eric has continued some woodworking, this year buying a lathe and turning pens, bud vases, and other small projects. Even Elaine got in on the action and turned a few pens as teacher gifts this Christmas, allowing Eric to claim that from here on out half of all power tool purchases should be counted against her hobby budget. This month he will celebrate sending off the last of his student loan payments a mere 11½ years after graduation from medical school. It will be wonderful to be debt-free at last. Well, except for the mortgage. And the car payments. And three college educations. And three weddings. And maybe retiring before the age of 90. . . Wait, what were we celebrating again?
Elaine officially matriculated at Salem State College this fall and is continuing to work towards her second Masters degree, taking two graduate courses this past term while maintaining all of her full-time mother duties. Naturally she still found time to make the girls' Halloween costumes again. Laura had agreed last spring that if Elaine made her a poodle skirt for the Girl Scout sock hop that she would wear it again for Halloween. Needless to say, this was long forgotten by October, and she wanted a new and scarier costume. Luckily Eric came to the rescue with a compromise that fulfilled the letter of the agreement by making her an undead bobbysoxer, complete with rotting flesh and zombie teeth. Rachel convinced her mother to let her be Black Canary (a superhero from Justice League Unlimited) despite Elaine's grave misgivings about what most people would think her 4-year-old daughter in fishnets and a blond wig was masquerading as. Tina elected to go as herself this year.
Laura entered fourth grade this fall and turned ten in October. Her life is filled with school, piano lessons (hear her play by clicking this link, and remember to turn your volume back up if you've shut off the Handel by now), swimming lessons, after-school theater class, Girl Scouts, and preparations for tormenting her father as an adolescent by monopolizing the telephone during every one of her remaining waking hours. This summer she went to sleep-away Girl Scout camp for a week, leading Eric to fantasize about the day Rachel is finally nine as well. . . Next year Laura enters the middle school.
Loyal readers of the Bucher Christmas pages (and those of you who checked out the archive at this link) will recall the story last year of Tina saving her allowance to swim with the dolphins. True to her word, she saved the money, and true to his word, Eric took the family in July to Discovery Cove. Of course she loved it, despite being somewhat indignant that her sisters, as she so eloquently put it, "paid squat" to go along. Tina made Elaine literally a soccer mom this summer and joined Brownies. (This prompted Laura's funniest original joke to date. Over dinner, we were talking about it being a "den" of Cub Scouts or a "troop" of Boy or Girl Scouts, but that we were unsure what a group of Brownies was called. Laura innocently suggested it was a "pan" [insert rim-shot here]. Admittedly, her comedy is still a work in progress.) Tina has also continued to play piano; hear her play by clicking this link.
Rachel turned four in April and will finally enter kindergarten in the fall, making way for Elaine's student teaching and eventual employment [cheers from Eric's quarter]. She is currently in preschool three days a week, swimming lessons, a bowling league (the bizarre New England candlepin kind), and she started piano lessons (if you haven't done it by this point in the page, you'd better hear her play by clicking this link now!) And sorry to disappoint, but no new gastrointestinal foreign bodies to report this year.
We wish you and your families all the best for a wonderful holiday season and a healthy, happy 2007.
Eric & Elaine
Laura, Christina, and Rachel
10 Old County Road
Amesbury, MA 01913