Monday, September 12, 2011

Time Flies....

Time flies when you are building a house!  Isn't that the saying?? Maybe not.  But, time really does fly when you are building a house.  One week we had a big cement hole...the next week, we have an entire house.  The original estimated closing date is in just 1 month....though we assume it will get delayed a little bit. 

This is what the house looked like last week.
The Front

Eric Marking His Territory.  Eww, not really.

The Porch

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom/Closet

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 3

Dining Room



Great Room

The Back

The Dumpster

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Phase

I decided it was time for a new name for our blog, as Big Apple Adventures doesn't really apply anymore.  I thought I'd give it a new look too, because "new" is the theme of our life right now. 

New job for Eric,
New job for Kelly (sort of),
New car for Eric (new to him),
New car for Kelly,
New city (in the burbs),
New house.....
Might as well add new blog name and look to the list!

We are loving the "newness" in our lives right now, because it is coupled with the old familiarity of having our friends and family close to us.  Getting a fresh start with jobs we love was just icing on the cake to the excitement of being back in Indianapolis.

We have decided to sink in our roots here as we move into this new phase of life.  So, it was time for us to grow up and get a house.  We are in the process of building a house in a neighborhood in Zionsville that offers instant access to 65 (Eric's route to work) and 465 (my route to work).  Our vision is to stay in this house for a very long time, if not forever:).  The building process is so fun to go through!  From the floor plan, to the color of brick, to the flooring, to the counter tops, we are able to make it our own.  We can't help but document the process so we can remember it for years to come!
So alas, here is what we have so far:

A Contract
A Home Site

 A Pond and Common Area that Looks Like It Is Part of Our Back Yard

A Lovely Private View

A Basement and Plumbing

A Lovely Large Dirt Mound

Basement Walls and Floor

A Window

A Huge Supply of Wood and Architect Cara (to tell use what it is for)

Stairs (who knew they came pre-built?)

A Nice Supply of Rocks (with two little nephews squint-smiling)

We are so excited to continue to watch the construction process.  We are even more excited for the house to be done mid-October so we can move in before the holidays begin.  In the three years Eric and I have been together, we have been in constant transition.  The idea of sinking our roots into a community is so fun for us.  Murphy is looking forward to having his own yard to pee in and his own squirrels to chase again! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Murphy's First Swim

Like any good mother, I have to share all of the "firsts" of my child's life.  Well, at the ripe young age of 35 (5 if you count in dog years...but who does that?), Murphy had his first swim.  Why have I not exposed my beloved hound to the joys of swimming before now, you might ask?  Just take a look at the stream of photos to follow, and you will understand.

 Murphy, innocently taking a drink of the seaweed-filled water.
 Murphy, viciously being drug towards the water.
 Murphy, airborne seconds after being tossed toward the water.
 Murphy, sinking.
 Murphy, figuring this swimming thing out and making his way to shore.
 Murphy, plotting his revenge.
Murphy, sensing a moment of weakness and making a run for it.

What follows: A 20 minute chase around our neighborhood with Eric searching by car and brother-in-law Adam and I searching by foot.  Adam stayed on his trail the whole time, and eventually caught him with the assistance of another dog on the other side of the neighborhood.
Lesson to be learned: Murphy, while he may look innocent as he is being tossed in the pond, is always looking for a way to escape.  Don't let him off leash at anytime, not even to swim.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Rant on Education

Though relocating from New York City back to Indianapolis has filled my heart and soul, it certainly has not filled this blog!  I have seriously lacked on updates over the past month.  Here are the basics:

-We are living in Zionsville with our gracious hosts, the Smiths!  We will stay here until we figure out our next steps in the housing department.
-Murphy is in doggy heaven.  Not only does he have a backyard to relieve himself in again, but he is living in the biggest house he has ever lived in....with FOUR people that love him!  
-Eric is a research fellow for the Sagamore Institute, a think tank in Indianapolis.  He does work in the clean energy division.  I like to tell people that he is a fine, fine, fellow.  He is also doing consulting in this gig.  It is his dream job.
-I am a stay-at-home person for one more day.  It is MY dream gig.  But, all dreams must come to an end:).  I begin teaching 4th grade in Carmel Schools on Friday, as I cover a maternity leave.

Alright, now that the basics are out there, I am going to use this blog as a temporary (I will try to confine it to this one post, but I make no promises) forum for my random thoughts on what is going on with education.  As I figure out what the next steps in my career look like, I have spent much time researching schools, ed reform policies, political views, and educational organizations.  I find myself getting worked up about what I strongly agree or disagree with.  Rather than boring any of my friends, I will try to get it out of my system here:).  This will be random.  It will lack order.  I may sound like a know-it-all, but I assure you, I realize that I don't know it all.

*It is a misconception that charter schools can kick students out. 
*It is a misconception that schools with high test scores have better teachers than schools with low test scores. 
*Though some business practices will work in education, some will not.  If you are selling a product, and someone does not want to buy it, you go elsewhere.  If you are providing education, and someone doesn't want to learn, you can't go elsewhere.  You have to keep convincing your customer that your product is worth their time.
*The amount of blame placed on teachers at the moment is very frustrating.  When the automotive industry was the pits, everyone blamed the people running the companies.  When the education system is the pits, they blame the teachers.  What about the administrators making the calls?  Or the department of education?  Many of the issues I see in failing schools is the lack of support for teachers from administration.
*I am pro merit-based pay.  However, I want the system developed to be great.  Indiana is leaving it up to districts to decide the details of what that would look like, and I believe that many districts will miss the "great" target.
*I am pro making it easier to let bad teachers go. 
*What in the world are we doing to attract great individuals to education?  If we are going to make all of the proposed changes, then teachers MUST make more money, or it won't be competitive in attracting bright, capable individuals.
*Where does parent accountability fit into the picture?
*Where is funding going to come from to provide merit pay?  Does it come at the expense of paying teachers for furthering their education, as Michelle Rhee suggests?  If so, I think that is ridiculous. 

Those are all of my thoughts for now.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Choose Your Own Adventure!

 I remember combing through my brother's bookshelves when I was younger, looking for something to catch my attention.  There were many books of NON-interest to me.  They were either too difficult, too boring, or just plain dumb in my seven year old opinion.  But there came a moment that my literary world was changed....the moment I first opened a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.  This particular book was about a house fire, and I was being confronted with the toughest decision I had ever faced..... would I go back into the burning house to save the cat, or escape?? Talk about moral conflict!  This series fascinated me, as it opened a world of options.  You could choose your own book, your own journey within the book, and ultimately your own result.  

Well folks, Eric and I are choosing our own adventure!  Each stage in our relationship has brought with it options.  Want to go on a blind date with your college friend's brother?? YES! Then turn to page 6.  Want to get engaged and spend the rest of your lives together?? YES! Then turn to page 25.  Want to live in separate states once you are married?? NO! Then turn to page 40 to move to New York City instead!

Let me tell you, moving to New York City was the right choice, and boy was it an exciting chapter!  We have had such a phenomenal time exploring the city, getting to know married life, and just spending time together.  We have learned a ton from our jobs and the rigorous city life.  But, like all good chapters of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, we have recently been faced with another huge decision.  To stay in New York City and continue this path, turn to page 50.  To return to Indiana...a place you know and love....filled with people you know and love....and jobs you know you will love....and a yard your dog knows and loves...and cars...and get the point...turn to page 64.  When we saw the two options laid out before us, we knew which one we wanted.  We feel like we have put ourselves fully into our time out here, but we are ready to be back in Indiana.  We aren't sure all that the next chapter will hold, but we are excited to find out. 

For those of you that are curious, this is what we DO know (though in a Choose Your Own Adventure, all things are subject to change!).  Eric has been asked to partner with a couple of local businessmen to do financial consulting in the clean tech industry.  This is very exciting for him, as it is right up his alley!  I am currently looking for a temporary teaching position for the remainder of this school year, and I will return to teaching in Washington Township in the fall.  I am looking forward to a few weeks off before any of that begins:).  We will temporarily be living with Eric's parents in Zionsville, while we figure out our next step in the housing department.  Our last days of work here in New York are February 18th, and we drive back on the 19th.  

It is sad to end this chapter, but we are so excited to start the next one.  Do you want to know HOW excited????

This excited!!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Most Interesting Men in the World

I am married to one of the most interesting men in the world.  I am a sister-in-law to the other.  I am the original photographer of these pictures.  I am jealous of the talent that my sister-in-law Cara has in creating The Most Interesting Man in the World advertisements.  I am a thief.  I am a stealer of her amazing work.  I am a sharer though - I share her talents with the masses.

The party boy is mine.  The lover is hers.  I mean, the fighter is hers.  But she introduced me to the party boy, so maybe he is hers too??

Sunday, January 9, 2011

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.....

Over a 9 day span, Eric and I put over 2000 miles on a brand new Chevy Cruze that we rented for our trip home.  About an hour outside of NYC on our return trip, I thought it would be a good idea to start obnoxiously singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.  That was a great way to seal the deal that we will not have to make that road trip again:).  Thank goodness for Delta!

All joking aside, Eric, Murphy, and I had a great time on our trip back to Indiana.  Nine days was long enough that we were able to see friends and family, take care of some business, and squeeze in some relaxing time.  I wasn't as great of a documenter as I had hoped, but I did get a few pictures.  Here are some of the highlights:

*Introducing Murphy to his new grandparents.  Since Murphy wasn't invited to the wedding, he hadn't met his in-laws yet:).  I am pretty sure they hit it off.

*Our annual Christmas Eve lunch with the Thorne's! This was Eric's first time attending this special event.  It is fun to start sharing more traditions with one another.

*Driving through downtown Zionsville on Christmas Eve, to see the place we got engaged exactly 1 year prior!
(from last year)

*Celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the Smiths!  

It was so much fun watching Truett and Callum open gifts this year.

 Big hits this year were my BEAUTIFUL slippers that I love dearly and this amazing photo book that all three Smith children received with pictures of their childhood.  That one definitely brought tears!
 And another big hit was.....TENT CITY!  Eric and I were very excited about our gift to Truett and Callum...this fun tent/tunnel play land.  However, as the boys were opening gifts, we discovered that Becca AND Cara/Adam had the same idea.  So, what do you do with 3 tent/tunnel play lands?  You put them together and make an amazing Tent City.  
Good thing Cara and Adam have a large basement!

Turns out, even adults have fun in Tent City!

*Another obvious highlight was celebrating Christmas and watching the Colt's game with the Rogers!  Chad and Kim had to work the next day, so Maddy and Emmy stayed in Marion with Eric and I so we could have a fun movie night.  It was so great to have time with family.

*We had a great time spending time with friends around Indianapolis!

 *My high school friends and I have a yearly tradition of celebrating Christmas together.  This is often the one time a year that we are all together at one time, because we live in different areas.  Unfortunately one girl was sick this year, but it was still fun to catch up and see how everyone's lives are changing.

*New Years Eve! We had a low key NYE this year, because we had to make the drive back to New York the next morning.  It was a ton of fun hanging out with the Weber's and the Welu's.  We played games with "consequences" (losers had to do a consequence....I personally had to flush my foot in the toilet while Eric hate a spoonful of hot sauce), talked, ate tons of food, and enjoyed the signature drink "Father Time".  It was just what we needed to wrap up our trip. 

Yep...that's a chocolate fountain.

We can't wait to be back closer to all of the fabulous people in our lives.  It was definitely great to be there for a little while.  Until next time......45 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, 45 Bottles of Beer, take 1 down pass it around, 44 Bottles of Beer on the Wall! (Are we THERE yet???)