MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Welcome to the Bucher Christmas Page for 2012! As usual, click on any of the thumnails for larger images. And for the interested (or the pathetically lonely), the past years' editions of the page may be found at this link.

Always the man of a practical turn of mind, Eric declared 2012 to be the Year of Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness (or “Y.O.Z.A.P.”) for the Bucher household. After all, those Mayans could be right. As part of the preparations, Eric, Elaine, and Laura participated in the Run for Your Lives zombie race. The premise is that you run a 5k obstacle course through rugged wooded terrain while wearing flag-football style flags that people dressed as zombies try to grab, thus eating your brains. Those who finish with a flag left have survived. While none of us survived in the game sense, Eric counted it as a victory that his 42-year-body was in fact still moving as he dragged it under the electrified fence (no kidding) to cross the finish line.

Eric has also continued to play bass with his band, Root 150 (shameless plug: go like them on Facebook at: facebook.com/root150). This year they played more gigs, including headlining the Fourth of July festivities in Amesbury and playing the 6th Annual Brew Fest, both to crowds in the thousands. This winter Eric is also enrolling in a class through Berklee College of Music to further his studies (or, rather, start his official studies) in bass guitar. And despite all that, Elaine is still not convinced that the new 6-string bass this year should be considered "an investment--you know, in case this doctoring thing doesn't work out."

Elaine has continue teaching at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, and this year she earned her second Master's degree, this time in education. Eric has tried to tell her that it doesn't matter how many pieces of paper she accumulates with that word on it, he's still not calling her by that title around the house. She also took up photography late this year and has filled her “spare” time with things like serving on the Boston Lyric Opera's annual gala committee, a post which eminently increases the chance your family will be chosen for the centerfold ad in Playbill. Too bad four of us don't actually know how to ice skate. . .

August marked our twentieth wedding anniversary, and to celebrate, we went to Europe for the 2012 London Olympics. It was the first time any of us had been to England, and the first time the girls had been out of the country. A few days in Bath, a week and a half in London, five Olympic events, and a single whirlwind day in Paris found us all exhausted, but with memories we hope will last another twenty years or more.

Laura survived her freshman year in high school and turned sixteen in October just a month into her sophomore year. That's sixteen as in oh-my-God-you-can-legally-operate-a-motor- vehicle sixteen. So far the car is holding up better than her father's nerves. Laura is active in the school drama club, sings in the select choir (now re-dubbed the “AHS Rhythmics”), and plays soccer on three teams. She also celebrated her confirmation at church in the spring.

Christina officially joined her sister as a teenager in September, leading Eric to dread that time a mere three years hence when he will have three teenage daughters simultaneously. Suddenly Biblical plagues of frogs and such are sounding tame by comparison. This year Tina finally got to see in person the man she has to thank for her Youtube video being banned in Germany. It's a long and rather uninteresting story, but Steve Vai put on a great show, and Tina got to hang out with The Voice's Beverly McClellan at intermission. Tina made the high honor roll all last year, plays soccer and piano, continues to ride horses, and, as these photos prove, can occasionally be coaxed into wearing her new contact lenses.

Rachel turned ten in April and entered the middle school this fall. She was one of only a few fifth grade students to make it into Melody Club, the select chorus group, this year. She also played summer and travel soccer and began playing the flute in the school band to add to her piano playing and mercifully rare drumming. Most shocking of all, Rachel made the math team. Rachel. Math team. Chew on that for a minute.

Hope this finds all of you well, and we wish you a blessed and happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Eric & Elaine
Laura, Tina, and Rachel