Merry Christmas from Fishers!

Well we’ve been awful at updating this. blog It’s literally been a year…

Immediately after closing

Right after closing on our house

But what a year it’s been!

Highlights of 2014
(aka the TL;DR version of this post):
Bought a house.
Retired from Starbucks.
Found out we’re having a baby.

The year started off with us truly beginning the house-hunting process in earnest, which we are so happy to report was a fun and pain-free process, thanks in large part to our realtor/my cousin’s husband, Steve Clark. He’s awesome. Seriously. Go buy a house from him right now, we’ll wait.

Still almost hard to believe!

Still almost hard to believe!

But anyway, we found a house in a great neighborhood in Fishers, and by March we had closed on it. We undertook a few projects before moving in, namely installing a new floor in the family room (laminate instead of carpet), overhauling the cabinets in the kitchen (resurfacing them all, plus adding new hardware and some other trim), and painting the family room and kitchen. Once this was all complete, we finally moved on Easter weekend in April.

Fast forward a few months, and Natalie retired (for the second time) from Starbucks in September. This was in no way related to our next bit of news, but it sure was nicely coincidental… Because at the beginning of October, we announced to our families and then the world that in 2015 we’ll be welcoming a new Thom into the world. (Oh if you haven’t seen our baby gender announcement yet, click here.) Crazy!

Baby Thom, coming 2015!

Baby Thom, coming 2015!

Since that announcement, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, baby registries, and learning everything we can about having a baby.

Michael continues to play regularly with the Director’s Jazz Orchestra and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, as well as playing occasional other gigs here and there. He folded Thom Video Productions this Fall, after much contemplation. While photography and film will still remain a passion and occasional hobby, it’s just not worth the time away from home with everything coming up. But beyond that, he still loves his job at DK Pierce & Associates and is fortunate to work with such a great group of people.

Natalie is still an ESL Instructional Assistant in Westfield, and keeps busy being pregnant. She’s also enjoying spending a little more time at home now and with friends, including her knitting. She also has a penchant for painting everything in the house she can get her hands on.

Yogi - baby announcement

Our baby announcement photo

Oh by the way… We tried telling Yogi he was going to be a big brother, but we’re not sure the message has gotten through yet. We did have fun doing the photo shoot though!

We have both run a few races this year, though Natalie’s running has waned in recent months for obvious reasons. (Michael did set a PR for a half marathon at this Fall’s Indianapolis Half Marathon!) We’ve also been keeping busy hanging out with our LifeGroup from church, as we enter our third year of friendship and fellowship with them.

We’re incredibly blessed, and we look forward to expanding our family and seeking God’s will for our family in 2015 and beyond. Merry Christmas to you and your families. We love and cherish all of our family and friends!

Merry Christmas 2013!

Thom Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from the Thoms!

In another break with tradition, Natalie and I are turning to our seriously-neglected blog to fulfill our Christmas greeting card needs this year. If you really want, you can click on our picture and print it to hang on your fridge/door/dartboard :-)

But now, it’s the time of year to look back and reflect on what we’ve learned in 2013, what we’ve accomplished, and how the Lord has blessed us. For starters, in April we moved again. It’s nothing in comparison to some of our military friends, but we’re now in our third residence in 4 years. We’re looking forward to a day where we can actually settle down in a home for several years, but for now, we’re happy to have an apartment that’s very affordable and super-conveniently located to Natalie’s jobs and a lot of shopping and eating — whether the latter is a positive or negative, we’re still unsure.

Natalie has spent all of 2013 as an Instructional Assistant in Westfield and will be making a small pivot in jobs there to start 2014 — moving within the same school to an ESL Assistant position. This should not only give her the opportunity to impact more students on a daily basis, but it’s also a position that’s not going to be cut at year-end, unlike her previous role. In May, Natalie also began working at the Starbucks right around the corner from our home, and, despite the late (and occasionally early) hours, she enjoys working there… and Michael enjoys the fringe benefits of being married to a barista!

Michael wrapped up 2.5 years of working at Slingshot SEO in June, and he transitioned to a new role at DK Pierce & Associates, a healthcare reimbursement consulting firm in Zionsille, that same month. You can read more details about this change on his personal blog, but suffice to say he is very happy with his new role. He also has had one of the busiest years for playing music in a while, perhaps since college. In addition to his regular (now tenured!) gig as Second Trombone with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, he also plays lead trombone with the Director’s Jazz Orchestra, the Nickel Plate Jazz Orchestra, and the Mudsock Jazz Combo. In fact, if you’re a fan of jazz, come check out the DJO with guest artist Wycliffe Gordon on Saturday, February 15, 2014.

Yogi is settling into his role as Grumpy Old Man, and yet he still likes to fightplay with us when we come home from work like he’s a young pup. He turned 9 this summer, and he’s now on “Senior Dog” food. An AARP membership is imminent.

Running was another common theme for Michael and Natalie both again this year. Michael ran the Carmel Half, the Geist Half, and the Monumental Half marathons, and Natalie ran the Sam Costa Half and the 500 Festival Mini marathon. They both ran the Indianapolis Half marathon as well. 2014 looks to be a bit of a lighter race schedule, but let us know what you’re running — we hope to see some of you at some of the races!

2013 has definitely been a reminder in patience and being content with what we’ve been given. Despite the trials we go through, God has blessed us with amazing family and friends, more material things than we could ever need (despite our constant desire for more), and most of all, he gave us his Son. I know Christmas means many things to most people, but don’t forget that it’s not just the birth of Christ we celebrate… remember why he came — to save us all, to be an example to us all, and to ultimately be Lord of our lives.

Until next time — Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love,
Michael and Natalie

Checking Off Yet Another Zip Code

True to our usual form, it’s been quite a while since our last update. It’s been over two years. I assure you this isn’t only going to be a log of our various moves, but much as the last post was about our move into a new home, this one, too, will center around that.

Le sigh.

As you saw in the last post, in June 2011 we moved into a new home, a house we were renting. It was a terrific little house, with a nice deck, a pond view, and great neighbors. Yogi had a lot more space to run around inside, we had a garage, and I had room to eventually set up “Mega Desk” in my office and create my 150° of work space. It was glorious.

In January of this year, we learned that the landlords wanted to go a different direction with the house, so we began searching for a new place. Though buying a house in the near future was definitely on our radar, it still just wasn’t financially wise, so we focused once again on apartments. In fact, we specifically wanted a <s>cheap</s> affordable place, with the thought that if we had to move out of the house and do *something* different, we might as well also save some more money while we were at it.

In April, then, we made the move to our current apartment. Yes folks, we are now residents of Carmel, IN. Or Westfield. It’s a Carmel mailing address, but nearly all municipal things (police, fire, schools if we had kids…) are through Westfield. So yeah we’re in Carmelfield.

But we like it. Though the apartment is in fact quite small (under 1000 sq ft! — I know, not tiny compared to some places, but for us, and our amount of stuff, that’s tiny), we’re happy with the location on the whole. We can walk to Handel’s Ice Cream, Chipotle, Starbucks, Panera, Chick-fil-A, Handel’s Ice Cream, McAllister’s, Steak’n’Shake, Handel’s Ice Cream… and the list goes on. In fact, did I mention we can walk to Handel’s Ice Cream? That’s a mixed blessing, to be sure.

Professionally, Natalie started in May working at the Starbucks near us, returning to her “roots” of working at Starbucks through most of college. She’s also working at an area elementary school, and she still nannies for a couple families as needed. She also basically runs the house.

Meanwhile, I took a new job in June — see this post for more details — at DK Pierce & Associates in Zionsville. While I was not looking to make a move at the time, it’s truly a blessing.

Also in June, right before my new job began, we took a vacation to Hilton Head. We house-sat and dog-sat for my sister- and brother-in-law. We took Yogi along too, of course. It was so nice to have more than a week away from work, in my case, with literally no employer to report back to at all!

Okay, that’s enough for now. These posts wouldn’t have to be so long if I’d just write them a bit more often. At this point we’re back into the “fall” routine, and I, for one, am looking forward to Christmas!

Moving Day Cometh and Goeth

Grilling out the very next day!We’re all in and basically settled! Last Saturday we had 12 awesome people (family and friends) pitch in and help us move. Having that much helped made it so incredibly easy (that and the fact that we were only moving 3 miles away). We were loaded in about an hour and a half, and unloaded in about 45 minutes. Then it was lunch time! After lunch we began the actual unpacking process – that’s considerably slower. But by the end of the day, everything was (basically) in its rooms, the TV was functional, the network was up and running, we had both bathrooms stocked, and the bed was usable! So, basically everything one needs.

Yay, new house!Since then, we’ve just worked on fine-tuning our setups. It is so wonderful to have so much space. While only about 240 sq. ft. larger than the apartment we came from, the house just feels so much bigger! The vaulted ceiling in the entry/living room helps, as does the more open living room/kitchen/dining room area. Also, having a deck overlooking a pond is a wonderful thing. It is so peaceful to come home from work and light up the grill, sit on the porch, and watch the ducks (and geese, ugh) play in the pond.

Natalie and me just before it all startedThe only good story to tell from the move that I can think of was the fact that we finished loading the truck, shut the door, and said “Sweet! Everything just fits!” And then I remembered the garage. (We had a one-car garage at the apartment.) Fortunately, there wasn’t much in there, but we did have to return briefly (literally a 30-minute round trip, including load and travel time) to get the grill, the bikes, and a small assortment of other boxes and items from the garage. Whoops!

All told, the move went very smoothly. And nothing was broken! Many thanks again to those who helped. Hopefully we can have each of you over sometime soon. :-)

Yogi approves

The Big Move

We move on Saturday. We were fortunate enough to have friends recently buy a new house and offer their old one up for rent, and that will be our new dwelling place! We’re so excited to have more space, a real garage, an extra bedroom (office), and a yard.

We’ll be sure to update this post with pictures of the move as we have them!

Kids???

Whoa, settle down. I just created the category so that there’d be one here, for the future. We’re not quite there yet.

Though that does bring up an interesting topic for discussion. What have you and your spouse talked about? Have kids as soon as they happen (leave it to chance), or wait a while? And how long? What are you waiting for?

Unpainting for the Move

A quick time-lapse video I shot of our unpainting (priming) of the walls in our apartment. We have to return them to a primed state so the painters can then just lay one coat of white and call it done. Enjoy! (Oh and thanks to our friends Daniel and Miranda for helping!!)

Getting Up and Running

I have just put this site together and will be working with my wife to populate its content soon.

In the meantime, please check out my site at http://www.michaeljthom.com.