1996

Our daughter became totally obsessed with gymnastics after learning about the sport through an introductory program at her preschool. All she wanted to do was gymnastics! Well, that and get a puppy. We decided gymnastics would be easier.

1995

With our son in kindergarten and our daughter in preschool, the baby years were no more! Our home computer (which at that time was running Windows 3.1) got plenty of use for educational games and storybooks. The Internet and mobile phones hadn’t quite arrived in everyday life yet, but they were not far away.

1994

Just before her second birthday, our daughter informed us that she wanted a bicycle—a real one like the big kids had. Although we weren’t sure if they made bicycles that small, we did manage to find a tiny pink bicycle in time for her birthday (she was very fond of pink at that age) along with a little pink helmet to match.

1993

When we visited the dealership in November to buy a new family car, we brought the kids with us. We found a good deal on a red Pontiac Bonneville. Our 1-year-old daughter—who was not only talking by then, but quite opinionated—made her displeasure known when she toddled over to a black convertible, put her little hands on it, and declared loudly, “I want THIS!”

1992

A Valentine’s Day gift of chocolate roses for the wife ended up being shared, as a consequence of not being able to eat much chocolate during a second pregnancy. But it was a nice thoughtful gift anyway, as well as a symbol of our expectations that all would go well and things would be “coming up roses” in the future.

1991

We knew that our son was destined to be an engineer when, not long after his first birthday, he used a plastic toy screwdriver to take the bottom pin out of the front-door hinges. Evidently he wanted to go out to play, and wasn’t happy about being locked inside with a double-sided deadbolt. We nabbed him before he could put together a scaffold to climb up and reach the upper pins (he understood that concept very well, too).

1990

Not long before our first child was born, we saw a clever magazine ad that showed a home computer on one side and a baby on the other, compared and contrasted; the baby required constant service, while the computer worked reliably. The computer had a price shown at the bottom of the page. As for the baby, the ad said “Price: Priceless. This device is not for sale.” We got a big kick out of that and clipped it to put with baby things to save.

1989

Our first computer was a Swan PC that cost a thousand dollars, which seemed like a good deal because it had a 30 MB hard drive, rather than the 20 MB that was common at the time. It came with a tiny black-and-white monitor that died and had to be replaced under warranty several times. To back it up, a big stack of floppy disks was needed. We thought it was great anyway.

1988

Settling into life as a young married couple had its ups and downs, but mostly ups. This year we moved from a small apartment into a nicer townhouse, with plans to buy a house and start a family in the near future.

1987

One of the things our friends found amusing about us in college was that we gave each other stuffed animals, often in pairs. We also had a stuffed dog, affectionately known as “the Mutt,” which was a gift from a relative. Before the Internet, it wasn’t easy to search for things like that; but just by chance, a mate for the Mutt turned up at an odd-lots store and became the She-Mutt. We still have both of them decorating our home entertainment center.