2018 is Coming to a Close

With two kids under 4 (one of whom is not a fan of sleeping by herself), the days are merry and bright but the nights are anything but silent. Anyone else with us??

Having said that, 2018 has been overall a very rewarding year. Here are some highlights from the year:

  • Nora began to walk, then run… and she hasn’t stopped moving since. She continues to master new skills faster than we can track. She’s taller, weighs more, and moves faster than any of us anticipated. She enjoys “helping around the house,” “reorganizing,” eating, and stealing her sister’s baby dolls.
  • Clara continues to be persistent and curious. On average she asks about 94 questions before we make it downstairs for breakfast each morning. She enjoys coloring, dancing, playing with her friends, and collaborating with her sister to overthrow the authorities.
  • Natalie continues working with Noonday Collection and attempts to quell the chaos of the household. Her current hobbies include redirecting Nora’s “organization,” answering Clara’s questions, laundry, and cooking. She recently put in a request for a visit from Mary Poppins but is still waiting to hear back.
  • Michael and Yogi are working hard to maintain balance in the female-dominated household. Michael celebrated 5 years (and counting!) at DK Pierce this June. He is doing his best to pass on a love of racing and music to Clara and Nora. Aside from his day job, he enjoys go-karting when he can find the chance, and he’s fortunate to be able to continue playing trombone with the Directors’ Jazz Orchestra.
Diagram of a Preschooler

We know this is a busy, tiring season, and indeed only a season, so we are looking forward to 2019 in anticipation of watching these crazy kids continue to grow and change.

Thom Family 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

A housekeeping note: We’re making some changes in the Thom IT Department, so please note that the email addresses we’ve been using the past few years are being deprecated. If you maintain a contact list, please update accordingly:
Michael: michael [at] thethoms [dot com] is now michaeljthom [at] gmail [dot com]
Natalie: natalie [at] thethoms [dot com] is now nataliemthom [at] gmail [dot com]

Happy Christmas 2017

Hi friends and family!
As 2017 races to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year and share some of our experiences with you all.

The year began with finding out we were pregnant again and due in September. That set the tone for much of the year, with us prepping the new baby’s room, finally setting up a true “guest room,” and getting ready to figure out how to deal with two children (spoiler alert: still don’t have that part figured out).

Also in January, Natalie turned 30! We really don’t dwell on the number too much, but she’s glad to finally feel like she can be taken seriously as an adult.

In late February we had the opportunity to head to Charleston, SC, with Michael’s company. We actually started the week visiting briefly with Natalie’s sister and brother-in-law Andrea and Ben just outside Hilton Head, SC, and then made the trip up to Charleston for the festivities. We only had a day or two to explore the amazing city, but had a great time enjoying the hotel and what it had to offer as well.

In March, in addition to Michael’s birthday, Natalie became a Noonday Collection Ambassador! Noonday is a business that partners with artisans around the world who create beautiful jewelry and accessories. Through the sale of these items in the U.S., Noonday and its customers help sustain dignified jobs for these artisans, so they can earn a sustainable income, care for their families, and improve their communities. To learn more: http://nataliethom.noondaycollection.com

Our first child, Clara, turned 2 years old in April! I’ve read how the development that occurs from 2-3 is the most dramatic of any one-year period, and man, that’s no joke. It’s amazing how much she grows (physically and mentally) from year to year, month to month, even day to day. While 30% of the time is maddening more than we would have ever imagined, on the whole she is amazing, interesting, and loving, and we’re so lucky to have a beautiful child to watch grow. But don’t let anyone fool you — it’s freaking hard too.

Other than rehabbing (which mostly just meant painting) the guest room and future baby’s room, the main house project for the year was to install a fence. When we bought the house almost 4 years ago, the “left” and “right” side of the backyard (North and South) had a fence standing, but the “back” (East) end had apparently been removed in years past. We finally decided this year to tear down what remained, dig new post holes, and rebuild the entire fence. With many thanks to a couple great friends and Natalie’s dad, and with work happening here-and-there over about 6 weeks, with two or three main long days of work, it was completed. This won’t be news to anyone who has a fence, but it’s so amazing to be able to “let the dog out” or even just have the kids play in the backyard. Incredible. Who knew.

Over the summer, Natalie survived the heat while substantially pregnant, and Michael was quite busy at work. He was nearing the end of a 13-ish-month construction project at work (which really was more than 2 years in the planning), as his company — DK Pierce — built a new headquarters building in Zionsville. You can see more about that project at the link below, but it is an amazing building, in an incredible setting, in an interesting new corporate park concept that is part nature preserve. DKP is the first company to build there. Michael is very proud of the work they’ve done in making the initial vision a reality.

DKP Construction Time Lapse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku_l9YmEkLs
DKP Open House and Ribbon Cutting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5cG0CBvXV8

And then… September 25th Nora (Eleanor) Elizabeth joined the family! Labor started in the early morning, and at 9:52am a 9 lb 2 oz, 21-inch baby girl had been born. So far Nora has been a bit of a better sleeper at night than her sister was, though Nora’s still figuring out what it means to nap during the day. But on balance, she’s a very happy, low-maintenance baby most of the time. Oh, and did we mention she continues the trend of being huge? At every checkup she’s still “bigger than all the babies” as her pediatrician says, regularly registering near the 98th/99th percentile for height and weight. We make ’em big here!

In early October (a whopping week and a half after Nora was born), DKP officially moved into their new headquarters, ending the particularly-busy portion of work for 2017 for Michael. While a handful of construction-related tasks are still ongoing, the majority of things were done by early October, and he and his coworkers have been working out of and enjoying the new space since October 6th. And what a cool space it is.

In November, Natalie thought it would be fun to become a consultant for another company, this time Usborne Books and More. Usborne books has been around since we were kids, making unique and interactive books available to families and schools around the country. As a consultant, Natalie conducts home and online book parties, where customers can purchase books, host shows, and build their home libraries. Clara has already benefitted from Natalie’s work, as her love of dog books is absolutely enabled by Usborne. Learn more here: http://y6926.myubam.com

It’s hard to believe, but on Christmas day Nora will turn three months old! She’s growing and developing every day, and we’re so excited to see what the next few months will bring. Aside from the dumpster fire that was 2017 in America broadly, for our little family it was mostly about parenting. And surviving. And parenting. Those things are in no way related. While there are no big changes planned for 2018, continuing to parent two bodacious little girls will be its own excitement and challenge. We’re so grateful to have all of you around us and with us through these journeys, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We hope that you all are enjoying the holiday season and can spend it with loved ones. Best wishes for a great start to 2018!

Michael, Natalie, Clara, Nora, and Yogi

Merry Christmas 2016!

Well it’s that most wonderful time of the year again! But wow what a busy time of year it is as well.

2016 has been a crazy year… our first full calendar year with a child! A baby… a toddler. Boy, toddlers are fun! Did I say fun? I meant crazy. Am I asking myself questions? Yes. Toddlers make you crazy, so…

Michael’s job sent us to San Antonio in February to start the year off with a little fun. Before the Team Meeting started, we met up with Natalie’s Aunt Sharin and her Michael, and we toured San Antonio: The Alamo, Sea World, and so forth. What a cool town! There was of course an obligatory trip to In-N-Out Burger as well. Obviously. Deliciously. The picture to the right was taken in the morning at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, where we stayed and held our company’s meeting. Clara also experienced a swimming pool for the first time, and after starting timid, she quickly loved it!

Then in April, Clara turned 1! It’s amazing how quickly her first year passed, while also seeming exasperatingly slow at times. To mark her first birthday, we had our friend Sarah shoot some photos. There are so, so many great ones, but here are just a couple to share:

Really, this entire post could just be gallery after gallery of photos of Clara. She’s just too adorable yet also ridiculous. Here are some other milestones she reached this year:

  • Started walking right after her first birthday… and now won’t stop running everywhere
  • Started talking, and is adding words daily (see below)
  • Waving to neighbors as they drive by (the “neighbor wave” that we all do haha)
  • All but four of her baby teeth have come in

But in non-Clara-related news, Michael’s job has continued to challenge and excite him this year. It has had him traveling a bit more than in the past, with brief trips to Chicago and Southern California both taking place this year. Most news-worthy though has been DKP’s progress on the new headquarters in Zionsville (articles here, here, and here). The building is well underway and still generally on track for a Summer 2017 move-in! Below is an awesome video about our groundbreaking ceremony in August.

Otherwise, Michael continues to keep busy playing with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and the Directors’ Jazz Orchestra, as well as following IndyCar (and motorsports broadly) obsessively.

Natalie’s boss has been pretty demanding this year, and often won’t let her get far before giving new orders. But her boss is pretty cute — and growing like crazy. She’s only a little over a year and a half old, but is already wearing 2T-3T clothes for most things. And she’s recently added so many more words to her vocabulary! Recent additions include hilarious pronunciations of “blueberry,” “raspberry,” “slipper,” and more. “Baby” seems to be her clearest, most frequent word, as she requires having her baby doll handy whenever it’s time to read, or pray, or travel, or… anything.

Also, after spending approximately 15+ years attending East 91st Street Christian Church, we spent a good part of 2016 determining what was best for our family regarding church, and are now attending and involved at Grace Church in Noblesville. It’s another large church, indeed, but Clara seems very comfortable and happy in Grace Kids, and that alone was reason enough for us to settle there. But there’s a terrific community of people we’re getting to know, and so we’re excited to see what 2017 holds for us with our church family.

This spring Natalie bought a used dining room table and chairs… after many months of off-and-on-again work on it, Michael stripped the whole thing and refinished essentially all the horizontal surfaces, and Natalie painted all the vertical surfaces. We got it done just in time to host Thanksgiving, and we love it! It’s quite large and super sturdy, and now it looks good in our house!

Michael got a new (used) car this year! Traded in the trusty 2010 Ford Fusion one day before its sixth birthday for a one-owner 2014 Ford Focus ST. 6-speed manual, turbocharged 252 bhp 2.0L 4-cylinder, bigger wheels/tires and brakes… this is a fun little car! Also satnav and other interior goodies, but those are just bonuses (oh and Recaro seats, just like Clara). Of course, 5 weeks after buying it in Cincinnati, it got rear-ended(ish) at a stoplight. NEAT. So then I spent six weeks driving a boat. I mean a Dodge Challenger. So that was annoying. But it all healed nicely, and now I’m about to enjoy my first winter with it :-)

This fall, an opportunity arose for Clara to get a bit more socialization with her peers and for Natalie to work with elementary students, so now Natalie works Thursday mornings at Grace Church during event childcare (for kids of parents attending events at the church). Natalie still enjoys cooking, long walks to the park, and reading (albeit her reading level seems to have dropped a few levels these days).

As easy as it is to focus on the frustrations of life (and anyone with kids can tell you those frustrations are new every day), we’re regularly reminded of just how fortunate and privileged we are, and what a blessing Clara is to us. We hope that each of you reading this are able to spend some time with family this Christmas counting your blessings as well. Merry Christmas to you all!

P.S. — Yogi’s still alive and well, and in fact inspired Clara’s first word: “dog”

Merry Christmas 2015!

Clara Marie, 7 lbs 3 oz, 20" long

Clara Marie, 7 lbs 3 oz, 20″ long

If I could sum up 2015 in just a few words, I would call it:
The year of the Clara

Our beautiful, exciting, confusing, precious, frustrating, but mostly amazing daughter Clara was born at the beginning of April. This was a bit earlier than planned (a little less than 3 weeks), which was a bit of a bummer for Natalie because her time off work had only just started 24 hours before she went into labor. So much for time to relax and prepare for baby!

It’s hard to believe that as we type this Clara is now over 8 months old. 8 months already! She’s now moving a lot — though she hasn’t quite worked out how to move forward — and often babbling and shouting and generally letting us know she’s there and wants our undivided love and attention. And yes, we have first child syndrome. Bear with us.

Other than life with a baby… wait, there’s life outside the baby?

I mean, seriously, that’s been pretty all-consuming. But here and there we’ve done a few other things this year… we actually started the year off (before baby!) with an amazing trip with Michael’s work to Phoenix, AZ, for a work meeting, but we added a couple days to the trip and made a “baby moon” out of it, spending a few days at a very unique, truly wonderful resort. We had great weather, a little In-N-Out Burger, and a very relaxing time. (Natalie says the “pregnancy massage” at the spa was the highlight of her February. Curiously, Michael said the Penske Racing Museum was his highlight. They have different hobbies.) We’ve also managed to work on some house projects, including the biggest painting project we have for this house…so naturally, we planned to do it around the busiest time of year…with a baby who is figuring out how to crawl. Brilliant.

Clara at the Beach 2015We also took our first big trip with the baby just a couple weeks ago — a road trip to Bluffton, SC, to be with family for Thanksgiving! Clara did quite well on the trip… and loved being doted on every minute of our time there. But funny how a less than 12 hour trip can turn into nearly 14 by just adding one baby.

Aside from vacations, Michael ran the Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in May (for the first time, finally), and he was training for his fourth Monumental Half Marathon in November until he got pneumonia… so that was fun. He’s mostly just disappointed to miss out on the second of the four-part medal they gave out. But at least now he can check “get pneumonia before I’m 30” off his bucket list?

Michael’s job at DK Pierce continues to evolve, and, to wit, in June he started in a new role. Or an expanded role, perhaps. Called Director, Corporate Project Management, the role will still encompass most of the IT Director duties from before, but also include direct work on company-related projects as well as coordination of client project management activities. The most specifically exciting part of this role so far has been the work on determining the future of DKP’s campus… I hope to have more news to post on this very soon, but for now, we’ll stay vague and say that we’re working on securing a location and plans for the next DKP building!

5 month family selfieNatalie’s life has taken a different turn. While still focused on teaching small children, she switched from lunch duty and small group lessons to diaper changes and baby wearing. Her days consist of nursing, tummy time, nap damage control, playdates, long walks around the neighborhood, and debatably necessary trips to Target. When she’s not cataloging the many facial expressions of our tiny dancer, she’s doing diaper laundry, researching when Clara might sleep through the night, buying more baby carriers (Hi, my name is Natalie, and I’m addicted to babywearing), and valiantly trying to keep Clara from snagging more kitchen utensils for her toy stash.

Clara has changed our lives significantly, and for the better. It’s been a tough adjustment at times, and sleep-interrupted nights sure don’t help, but we wouldn’t trade her for anything.

In line with our new lives, we don’t have a Christmas photo of our little family, but we will leave you with this photo of Clara. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (And feel free to click on and print any of these to put on your wall/door/fridge of Christmas cards if you’d like!)


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!

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!


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?