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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.

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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!!

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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

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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?

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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...

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Art and Life

Is art patterned after life or does life follow art?¬† Hmm…deep questions, but we think we might have some insight after Jackie’s decidedly non-American encounter today. You know you’re not in the good ol’ US of A when:

a) you’re talking to two people whose title is ‘Lady’

b) those same two people comment, ‘I’ve been sitting across from this beautiful Pre-Raphaelite’ and they’re not talking about a painting.

Jackie had exactly this experience, and, to make matters all the more foreign, the two Ladies were talking about her! Yeah, she’s the Pre-Raphaelite, and, according to the Ladies, it’s absurd that anyone wouldn’t think of her as resembling a 19th century painting: ‘Oh, I’m sure you hear this all the time, don’t you?’¬† Well…NO!

Is this Jackie? No, it's 'Proserpine' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874.

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The blog lives

We had thought that a fitting resolution for the new year would be ‘abolish the blog’, since we haven’t proven to be faithful bloggers.¬† The idea was that this virtual reality needed to meet its maker, go the way of all flesh, rest in peace, kick the bucket. Add your own idiom; you get the picture.¬† But, since some people do read our scattered musings, we have bequeathed another year of existence to ‘Bits ‘n Bobs’. Three cheers!

We begin the new year by inviting you to join us in Edinburgh, courtesy of Nivea, yes, that’s right, the body-care company whose slogan is ‘beauty is confidence’.¬† I’m not sure what the connection is between Scotland and Nivea–both are creamy?, fresh?, leave a greasy residue?¬† Doesn’t matter really because the important thing is that you enter the sweepstakes and win.¬† Best of luck…I think you’ll really need it since, I’ve just realized, the contest is probably closed by now. Oh well. Try again next year.

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St Andrew’s Day

Yep, today is Scotland’s national holiday; it’s also the birthday of my first cousin once removed ¬†who, interestingly, ¬†bears the name of the saint. ¬†Unfortunately for Andrew (my relative), he is neither a fisherman nor a spinster. ¬†However, if you are, then today’s your lucky day because St Andrew is the patron saint of both. ¬†I suppose that the people who should most celebrate St Andrew’s Day are unmarried women who earn their living by catching fish. ¬†But, then again, who really celebrates a saint’s day because of any religious (or superstitious) beliefs? ¬†St Andrew’s Day, like St Patrick’s Day, is just another excuse for a good party. ¬†If you’re so inclined, check out this link for the scoop on Edinburgh parties in ‘honour’ of the saintly fellow.

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In a foreign land

To our faithful, small readership who celebrate Thanksgiving today:  Happy T-Day.  To the rest who come across this post when the T-Day stuffing has been swallowed by the Christmas mayhem:  Happy surviving the holiday zoos.

In thinking about Thanksgiving 2009, I am once again tempted to paraphrase Psalm 137:4 as follows:¬† “How can we celebrate Thanksgiving in a foreign land?” Of course, the answer is, “With turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce (smuggled from the USA), pie, ice cream, coffee, etc.”¬† Ah, but somehow a Scottish turkey lacks a fowl quality. Oh, man, sorry for that bad pun!¬† In any case, here are three indications that we are in a foreign land.

Seen on the side of a truck:¬† ‘Underground Moling Services.”

Sign on sidewalk:¬† “Abseilers Working Overhead.”

Newspaper headline:¬† “Binmen Plan Christmas Strike.”

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Retrospective

This last week many corners of the world celebrated the one year anniversary of Mr. Obama’s election to the White House. No doubt many also cheered as their favorite initiatives and candidates pulled out victories, both expected and surprise.¬† On opposite corners of the country, WA and ME voters leveled opposite verdicts regarding the hottest topic in the States, and I don’t mean whether black is still the new black.

In Edinburgh last week, Jackie, Julian and I walked to church in the rain for the first time in over eight months.¬† Far more than merely noting Scottish weather patterns, I mention this because it marks the first time Julian has had such a lovely experience.¬† There really is nothing like trudging into church with wet cuffs (or wet nylons, right ladies?).¬† Of course, Julian didn’t do the trudging himself, but he finally got to witness it first hand. We trust that as the winter months creep by he’ll have plenty more opportunities.¬† The other reason last Sunday’s rain deserves mention is that it disproves the assumption that Edinburgh is as soggy as our motherland, WA.¬† Maybe you’ve not erred with this assumption, but we have. And now we know from experience that, between Feb and Nov, western WA takes on more water than Edinburgh.

The irony of last Sunday’s rain doubled as the rain followed us both to and from church but also into our flat.¬† As you can see below, our living room welcomed the rain so readily that the wall paper gave way. (Yes, the ceilings are wall papered!) The dime-sized hole let in nearly a gallon of water.¬† All things considered, a gallon isn’t all that much water, but when an eight-month old, newly crawling explorer finds nearly a gallon of water puddling in an attractive green bowl, that gallon covers a lot of floor space!¬† Too bad there’s no picture of Julian’s face in the second after we turned our backs. I imagine it would have shown conniving glee as he realized that his chance to wreak havoc had arrived.

With no certainty for what the coming week will bring, we can only hope it doesn’t bring another torrential rain storm. At least we know there won’t be any more American elections.

See the damaged ceiling?

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Guarding the buckets from the would-be capsizer

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