New Year's Day

blazerThe New Year has begun and Jonathan and I have been talking lots about the many changes on the horizon of our life together. Just a couple of weeks ago we traded in our faithful 1998 Saturn sedans for our first "family" vehicle. We had hoped the cars would see us through until our move to Scotland in August, but each had developed problems and the repairs would have totalled more than their value. Plus, when we loaded up our stuff and the dogs to go to Georgia for Thanksgiving, we filled up the car! Not much room for a baby, much less all the attendant baby stuff. We had always hoped to go hybrid with our next car, but it just wasn't in the cards for now so we went to the other end of the spectrum, trading in both Saturns for a 1998 Chevy Blazer. It has plenty of room for us, will see us through til August, and will be our vehicle when we're in the States for summers in the upcoming years. Since we'll only be taking two suitcases each to Scotland, we've also begun the process of thinking through our belongings and trying to decide what we'll sell or give away and what few things we'll store. It's tough to condense 10 years of life together into four suitcases and a few boxes, but we're up for the challenge. :)

Over the holidays we announced Peanut's name to our family. With Jonathan's parents we gave them his initials, J.M.S., and had his parents guess. We only told them that his first name isn't biblical. It was hilarious that these two Bible school graduates immediately guessed James, John, and several other biblical names! :) With my side of the family we played a little game: we said his initials would be J.M.S. and then everyone made guesses and placed them in a small stocking we had purchased for him. Mom, Bonnie, and Suzanne all guessed his middle name: Michael, but missed his first name. Scotty came closest to guessing his first name with his submission of "Julius." We had lots of fun with everyone's guesses, and we always have back-ups like Joe-Joe (from Sullivan) Mephisto (from Scotty).

Preparations for Julian's arrival are coming along nicely. Both he and I are in excellent health now at 29 weeks. Jonathan and I begin our Childbirth/Parenting class tomorrow. It runs for 6 weeks and is taught by a very friendly and highly regarded educator/doula here in Cleveland. We've got our baby registries set up at Target and at It was really tough because we have to think through what we'll use between now and August and register for that stuff only. We're hoping folks will feel comfortable with monetary gifts so that we can purchase baby stuff once we arrive in Edinburgh. It is there that we'll purchase more toys, his winter clothes, a bunting, a stroller suitable for public transportation, and lots of other stuff I'm sure!

blazerChristmas 2007 will be our tenth married Christmas and Julian's first Christmas. However, I've shed more than a few tears over the fact that 2006 will be our last Christmas with Samson and Chelsea for quite some time. Forgive my morbidity, but it makes it worse that they are both 11 years old and that this might have been our last Christmas ever with them. I had always thought I would see them through and take care of them in their old age, but there's just no way. At this point it looks like they will be going to live with Bonnie and Kevin. Bonnie & Kevin will have quite a house full with two kids, three dogs and a couple of cats thrown in for good measure. But the main thing is that the puppies will be well cared for and they will be together. And between now and then Jonathan and I get the pleasure of introducing them to Julian and having a few months of family life together.

I'm in the throes of putting together my PhD proposal for the University of Edinburgh now, which I'll mail January 15. The way things work is that I propose my project now in the application process. The Divinity School decides whether or not to admit me based on my record, my professor recommendations and my proposal. If they do, I spend the first year writing on my topic. At the end of the first year I'm assessed on the basis of what I've written. I either get to continue in the PhD process (a few more years of writing and research) or I am classified as M.Phil. student, which is a nice way of saying "thanks, but no thanks." So basically this means there's a good bit of pressure in the first year to produce excellent work. And of course good work begins with a good foundation, which is where this proposal comes in. These are just rough ideas, and if accepted I'll spend next year cleaning them up and working out a more nuanced approach with the help of supervisors, research seminars and other various resources of the University.

Happy New Year's everyone. Here's to great adventure.

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