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Closing Down

Many thanks to you faithful people out there who have checked this blog regularly hoping for an update. It has become clear to us for a variety of reasons over the last several months that maintaining this blog is no longer a good option for us. And, rather than stringing you on indefinitely, it seemed best to let you know that we’re officially closing down shop.

As an alternative for any who would like to keep up-to-date with us, we hope to produce an occasional (fingers crossed!) email/picture update. We realize it’s not quite as convenient, and maybe not as fun as checking a blog, but if you’re interested in receiving these updates, please either let us know by leaving a comment here on the blog or emailing us directly at cjbechtel04@yahoo.com.

Back

Well, despite how it appears (since we haven’t blogged for almost three months) things are going remarkably smoothly around here with two kiddos. Smooth, if you don’t count the fact that we’ve been struck with one virus after the next almost consecutively for the last two months, which would probably account for why blogging has fallen to the bottom of our priority list. (Let’s face it, though, it was never very close to the top! :))

Anyway, for those who are anxious for an update, Eliza is doing very well–she’s a happy and generally really easy baby which has made for a very smooth transition into to the family. Julian continues to be ecstatic about her. We couldn’t be more grateful for God’s kindness to us in giving us these children.

Our days are very full with Christopher working hard on his thesis, doing bioethics one day a week and preaching occasionally. I am, as you might expect, a little busier at home. I was recently thinking to myself that I used to clean my house in order to have it clean, but right now, it feels like I clean my house so that I know it has been cleaned. I guess that’s important, though, right?ūüôā Despite having more to do on the home-front, I have still found time to keep up with some of my little jobs. I really like being able to break out of mommy-mode for a little bit each day/week and use a different part of my brain for a while.

Here are a couple of photos as proof that we still exist:

Not sure why this picture is quite so large, but I don’t have time to fix it now…

Self-Taken Family Shots are getting harder and harder!!

Eliza Rose

Born at 1.52pm on 16 Aug 2010, only four minutes after we arrived at the hospital.  We thank God for his kindness.

Catching up on rest, three hours after birth

Heading for home, six hours after birth

One day old

Holiday Part 2

After our western Scottish holiday, we managed an equally short but sweet trip to the north of England.¬† When Enterprise has rental deals cheaper than what you’d pay to own a car for three days and when relatives have traveled over 6000 miles, what else could we do?¬† Again, thanks to the hospitality of people we’d never met (relatives of relatives), we enjoyed one night in the seaside town of Whitehaven.¬† The next day we poked around the iconic Lake District and stayed the night in the 18th century Barton House B&B where the caretaker seemed about as old and full of character as the B&B.¬† Our little jaunt concluded with a scenic drive on the backroads of Northumberland where we met the longest, straightest, hilliest stretch of road any of us (Julian included) had ever seen.¬† It’s really too bad this blog can’t share the thrills of those hills. They were roller-coaster caliber, the kind that throw your stomach into your throat as you unexpectedly crest one hill and plummet down another.¬† And, yes, we were safe.

The view from our first night's lodgings. That's the Irish Sea in the background.

At Whitehaven Harbour with Uncle Aldie and Aunt Bev

First stop in the Lake District was Keswick, home of the Cumberland Pencil Museum. Not sure we'll ever use pencils again, chum.

Traffic stopped for several minutes because ol' Bessie and her family tried to cross the road.

Typical scenery in the Lakes...when the sun was out

Our water taxi on the lake called Ullswater. Not 'Ullswater Lake'; just Ullswater.

From the boat

In front of Barton House, our B&B. Looks like Uncle Aldie has assumed the professor's stance. And, it also looks like Julian is a delinquent student.

Lingering over the full English breafast...it wasn't IHOP, but it wasn't bad either

On the journey back to Scotland we passed this 12th century church.

A 14th century castle turned posh hotel with peacocks (!) roaming the grounds. See http://www.langleycastle.com for more.

This hut is not very old, but it stands on the site of a Celtic settlement dating from about 300 AD.

Yep, those hills in Northumberland were a blast.

At the Scottish border looking toward Edinburgh. Looks a bit ominous!

Epiphany

You know you’re not in Kansas when a) you go to T.K. Maxx to buy a muffin tin and b) you leave T. K. Maxx with a Yorkshire pudding pan because it was half the price and slightly better quality than the muffin pan.

What's the difference?

Loch Fyne

They say it’s all about whom you know. We’d humbly like to disagree.¬† We recently spent a brief holiday, er, vacation, on the shores of Loch Fyne thanks (in part) to people we’ve never met.¬† To prove the truism, though, if it weren’t for people we know who know people that we don’t, we never would have made it.¬† As it is, after three hours on the road, including a good twenty minutes on a single-track road with the occasional pull-out, we arrived at a whitewashed cottage with an unobstructed view of calm water and relished two days of no email, no buses, no diesel fumes, fragrant roses, time to read, friends, savory food, and so on.

The route

The cottage

The view

After crashing his car, Juian tries to escape. That top wire is barbed...talk about desperation!

A brief jaunt to a nearby town.

Doesn't the smiley-face utterly compel you to keep the sidewalks clean?

We do things differently in Scotland...

In mid-May we enjoyed a weekend visit from our friends Wes and Steph up in St. Andrews.  The weather was particularly lovely so we decided to take a little trip down into the Borders for a day hike.   As always, it was wonderfully refreshing to get out of the city and enjoy a bit of nature.

This backpack shot is getting quite popular.

It took Julian a while to get used to this pokey pasture grass, but he eventually came to terms with it.

After our hike and a little drive around the countryside, we stopped in the little Borders town of Peebles for some ice cream cones. ¬†It was a first for Julian who wasn’t sure at first if he liked ice cream and ultimately decided he preferred the cone. ¬†Whose son is he, anyway?!?

The aftermath

We decided to kick off the month of June with a celebratory picnic in a nearby park.  We had enjoyed gorgeous weather all week and decided on Saturday night that a good old-fashioned picnic was in order.  I spent most of the afternoon preparing barbecued chicken, baked beans, tabbouleh, corn on the cob, etc.

About half an hour before we headed off on our excursion, we were a little chagrined to see some rather ominous looking clouds move in from the west. ¬†Not to be put off, however, we ventured forward, wishing the clouds away all the time. ¬†We were encouraged when we got to the park, to find it packed with other picnickers–surely there is strength in numbers, right? ¬†I felt confident that our collective will would be sufficient to hold off the rain, at least until our picnic was over. ¬†My confidence quickly melted as we sat down on our blanket and instantly felt the first large, full drops of rain. ¬†Thankfully, I had thought to throw some umbrellas in our bags and we quickly pulled them out to help us stay dry. ¬†The rain got heavier and heavier. ¬†Apparently we were the only picnickers that evening who had thought to pack umbrellas amongst their picnic items and the park quickly cleared completely. ¬†We were the lone survivors in the field, sitting stubbornly under our umbrellas, determined not to let even the worst rain storm ruin our picnic.

Christopher kindly shared his umbrella with Julian which also meant he had a steady stream of water dripping down his back.

I stayed nice and dry under my umbrella. The trouble is, it's a bit of a challenge to eat picnic food with one hand.

After twenty minutes or so of steady downpour, we finally realized that maybe this wasn’t just a passing cloud and we reluctantly began to pack up our lovely picnic. ¬†We rung out our picnic blanket and packed up our Tupperware containers which had become efficient little rain collectors–our chicken bones were now swimming. ¬†On our walk home, the streets had sprouted veritable rivers and by the time we reached the front door, we were all thoroughly soaked.

Arriving back home, dripping wet.

Julian was determined to enjoy his first corn on the cob, which he gnawed on all the way home.

Our picnic ended with Julian in the bath while Christopher and I finished our salad from the dry comfort of our home, watching the rain continue to pour down.

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