Merry Christmas 2006!!

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger.

2006 has been a year of many joys and a few sorrows. The year started with a minor career transition for Don as his employer Cyberguard was acquired by Secure Computing. He is still doing firewall development at the same location and enjoys working with some great people.

We look for any excuse to visit Disney, and met up with Don's family from NC and SC there in January. Disney is so much more fun with kids! Sarah and Rachel are getting old enough to really enjoy it now and are just a little bit scared of the larger-than-life characters.

Sarah and Rachel love to help out around the house. Barbara does a great job of showing them how much fun homemaking can be, including the cooking. If anything needs to be mixed, we have two quick volunteers.
We had a nice church picnic this year, complete with pony rides, face painting, a carosel, and lots of good fun.
This year brought some significant milestones. We got rid of our crib and have both girls in big girl beds now. After dismantling the old one, the girls are a big help in moving it out of the house. We also don't use our double stroller any more. It's hard to believe since we have relied on it so heavily for what seems like a long time. The toddler years are gone.
Out with the strollers and in with the Swim lessons! Both girls made a lot of progress this summer and love any opportunity to play in the pool.
We had a pool party for Rachel's 3rd birthday. She is blessed to already have some great friends to celebrate with.
Our girls enjoy clothes - putting them on, taking them off, playing dressup, sorting laundry, helping mommy fold, and just plain old reorganizing. It is a lot of fun for us parents to dress up our girls. Once nice thing about them being so close in age is dressing them up in matching outfits. Here they are in their Easter dresses.
Sarah's 4th birthday was also a great celebration. It is amazing to watch her blossom into a nice young lady. Sarah got a bicycle for her birthday and both girls enjoy riding it to the neighborhood park. Don't let the secret out, but Rachel will probably be getting one for Christmas!
For our summer vacation, we decided to take a road trip to Charleston, Raleigh, Asheville, and Vidalia. In Charleston, we visited Don's sister and brother-in-law and Don's mom. Don even got to go back in time to the College of Charleston and visit the spot where he wrote his first computer program in 1979. We left Charleston and journeyed on up to Raleigh, where we visited with Don's nephews and their families. We had a great time taking all the kids to a nearby park with a lot of activities and fun rides, like the train, then met up with our friends the Cox's in Asheville and Vidalia.
We rented a home on a mountain in Waynesville and had an awesome view of the Blue Ridge Mountains right off our balcony. We went on a waterfall tour and saw some great falls – we even dipped our feet in the water at the base of one of them. On the way back to Florida, we stopped in Vidalia for a fun-filled Independence Day celebration, complete with watermelon and fireworks.

Our girls have started school at home this year. Barbara has done a super job of putting together a nice home classroom where the girls enjoy their schoolwork. They don't like to miss it. Barbara learned a lot at the home school convention in Orlando this summer. She got a little break from motherhood on the trip as Don kept the girls back home.
In September we had quite a shock when we found out that Barbara's mother Mildred suffered a massive stroke. The family had just had a nice celebration of her 85th birthday on the intracoastal the day before. The injury was severe and complications from the stroke took her life 10 days later. We were comforted and supported by so many friends and family during such a difficult time. Mildred had an honorable ceremony and burial at the Florida National Cemetery.
In October, we made another trip to Charleston to see Don's mom. She is 86 now and has her share of health challenges, but keeps going. She makes a lot of friends wherever she goes. We all love to go to the Charleston children's museum with her where the miniature Publix is a big hit.
We also visited the impressive SC aquarium with Don's mom.
While in Charleston, we also got to visit the pumpkin patch and select pumpkins for fall.
We couldn't finish the year without one more Disney trip, so we met up with the Cox's again and celebrated Savannah's 4th birthday with Goofy and the gang. Because of a a special filming, we got to ride Cinderella's carousel with the boss himself, Mickey Mouse, and a few of his friends.
Don decided to take our outdoor Christmas lights to a new level this year and computerized them so that they put on a light show synchronized to music. You can see a video at

Last week, Barbara's Uncle Bill Montgomery (her Mother's brother) had a major stroke too. He is paralyzed on his left side. He is holding his own, but has a long way to go. Please pray for him and his family during this time.

Merry Christmas with love from Don, Barbara, Sarah, and Rachel!

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