Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Planning for the future

I've been hinting on Facebook on what I have been up to lately. I figured it was time for a blog post to let everyone know what I have been planning.

I have been talking to the wonderful ladies at the Bloomington Area Birth Services group about ways to get involved. I signed up as a volunteer, and I also talked to them about things I could teach there. I'm in the process of creating a Reiki class for pregnancy and birth as well as Reiki training for health care providers.

Another program I'm working on is relaxation for childbirth. Teaching women techniques to help them get out of their mind, and into their birthing bodies so they can have more comfortable, relaxed birth experiences.

On top of that, I have decided to further my education and to get a Diploma of childbirth education with Childbirth International, and also to do their Breastfeeding Counselor training. While I have the time this year, I decided it was good to expand my knowledge and skills and to aquire some education that will allow me to work here in Indiana (since I'm unable to do hypnosis related work). I started the programs today and am very happy with it so far. My goal is to be finished in 6 months or less so that I can start teaching childbirth classes again and to help women with breastfeeding.

Taking care of Grandma's things

It's hard to believe that Grandma's house is now sold and that all of her things have been taken care of. It was a difficult process, but we all worked together to make it through.

We had a garage sale on Friday. Chris & I had been going down to Salem to help Mom organize and price things for the sale. We decided to go down the Wed before to get tables from a church and to help set up. I was quite surprised that we had people show up Thurs night while setting up! We sold quite a lot before the sale even began on Friday. Mom had also sold a lot of furniture the weekend before to the neighbor across the street.

Friday was a VERY cold day for a garage sale. The sale was to begin at 9am, so we got to Grandma's house at 8:45am to get ready to open. When we pulled into the driveway, the place was empty. Mom thought that maybe the weather would keep people from coming. However, before we could all get out of the car and close the doors, a flood of people showed up in front of, and behind, Grandma's. We had people lined up at the doors!

The first 1/2 hour of the yard sale flew by! It was really amazing how much we sold in such a short amount of time. When we looked at our watches to see the time, we really had expected it to be closer to noon. We were shocked that it was only 9:30am and we still had the whole day ahead of us.

People came in waves all day long. We huddled around a small ceramic heater to keep warm.

We pretty much sold out by 4pm. We had a few items left to take to Goodwill and the local shelter, and the people buying the house bought the rest of the furniture from us.

It was a very successful day. We were very happy to not have to do a 2nd day of it!

Mom handed over the keys to the new owners on Sunday. They are so happy with the house. I really think they will take good care of it.

I'm still going through Grandma's pictures and scanning them. If you haven't seen the links on Facebook yet, send me an email and I'll send you the links. There are a lot of goodies in there!

It's still so weird thinking that I will not be going to Grandma's house again. To see it empty was very strange, considering she has lived there my whole life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ryan & Michelle's Wedding Weekend

This weekend was, simply put, wonderful. It began with Ryan's bachelor party on Thursday night. Yes, I was invited and I was the only girl there. :)

Chris & I drove up to Ryan & Michelle's apartment to drop of their wedding gifts, and to get Ryan ready for the night. Michelle and I had him dress up in pimp garb for the evening. Alex was already there at Ryan's. We met up with Scott (Michelle's brother), Dad, and Nick Sakura, a a sushi restaurant in Indianapolis for dinner. After dinner, we went to Nicky Blaine's, a bar in downtown Indy. We had a great time together! Chris & I cut out early so we could drive back to Bloomington, and the guys went out for the rest of the evening.

Friday was the rehearsal and dinner. We had to do the rehearsal in one hour because there was to be a wedding right at 5pm. We ran through the routines as quickly as possible. I never imagined there would be so much to do for a Catholic service!

For the rehearsal dinner, we went to Sahm's restuarant just around the corner in downtown Indy. They had a room set up just for us. The food was very good and we enjoyed the time together. Weston, my 2 1/2 year old nephew, had so much fun running around and getting attention from everyone.

After dinner, we went back to the Garrison (where we were staying) and went over to Uncle Steve & Aunt Sue's room for games and drinks. It was so nice seeing the family from CA and WI. The last time I had seen everyone together was years ago at Grandpa George's funeral. We had a great time playing B.S. and poker. Some of us, Mom and I included, had to learn how to play Texas holdem. It was kind of crazy playing poker with 10 people!

Saturday, September 19th was the big day for Ryan & Michelle. Ryan had stayed with us at the room, and Michelle had stayed the night with her parents. We got up early and Ryan, Mom, Chris & I went over to Steve & Sue's for pancakes, courtesy of Uncle Steve. Then it was time to get ready for the wedding.

Alex came over to the room and helped Ryan and Chris get their tuxes on. We all got ready and drove to the church early. The wedding planner at the church filled us in with last minute details, and then it was time for photographs. Guests started arriving, and my job was to pass out the programs.

The ceremony itself was about an hour long. I did a reading along with one of the bridesmaids and one of Michelle's aunts. The sermon was kind of a blur to me, because I kept looking over at Ryan & Michelle and smiling at them. They looked so happy, and in love. Both were just picture perfect in their wedding attire. Michelle looked like the perfect wedding Barbie doll, and Ryan was very handsome in his tux.

After the wedding, there was more pictures, and chatting, then the bridal party took off in a party van to go take pictures around downtown, while the rest of us went back to the Garrison for cocktail hour.

The reception was perfect. The bridal party's entrance was hilarious. Michelle, Ryan, Chris & I had thought about different ways for them to enter the room. Here is a video of the entrance.

While we ate the delicious dinner, we watched a slide show that Michelle had created of pictures of the two of them growing up.

Ryan & Michelle did their first dance, which they had prepared at dance lessons with her parents. Then there was the father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, and the speeches. The speeches that Alex (best man) and Meredith (Maid of Honor) gave were so nice. Here is a video snipet of the first dance...

The rest of the evening was spent dancing, socializing, and having a blast. The party wasn't over until after 11pm.

The next day, we got up early and met some of our family at IHOP for breakfast. Then it was time to say our goodbyes and promise to reconnect soon. I'm thinking there will be a McCracken reunion in the works very soon!

PICTURES of the weekend can be found below.

Bachelor Party



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September Updates

Ah, September is here....low 70's...rainy, milder days, the feeling that Fall is just around the corner. We are all moved in to our apartment here in Bloomington, and are feeling more "settled".

Everything is unpacked and put away, and we are now in the decorating phase of the process. Carolyn is making valances for us and pillow covers, Ryan & Mom put up a curtain rod the other day, and I've been getting pictures printed and framed for the walls and shelves. We are feeling more at home now.

We have become good friends with our maintenance guy. He fixed our leaky sink, helped us hammer down carpet tacks, and checked on our drippy A/C today. We also had a major disaster with our washing machine overflowing the other day and causing damage to the apt below. Luckily, the damage was a minor bill on our part, and we ended up having to get a new washer. We shopped, and shopped, and eventually purchased a Whirlpool Cabrio 5 cu. ft. top loader. So far, VERY happy with it.

We are enjoying being back in B-town. About once a week, we hang out with my good friend, Jeremiah, who I have known since High School. We have frequented some of our favorite restaurants, and tried a few new one's as well. Last night, we went to Japanae with Jeremiah, and had sushi that was quite good, for IN sushi. Chris has been working on his research and I have been running errands, grocery shopping, going to the recylcing center once a week, and taking care of the house. Today has been the first day I have had time to sit down and knit!

Lately, we have been getting two questions from others, that I feel like I should address here on the blog...get the info out to everyone right here...right now.

The first question is "Kat, are you going to get a job?" or put another way "What are you going to do this year?" Since I'm unable to do hypnosis here in IN, that eliminates my career, basically. I've been too busy with the move and getting settled that I haven't really put too much thought into this. I did email someone today at the Bloomington Birth Services group and will be meeting with the owner next week to see if she has anything I could do for her. I may explore some other options, maybe teach a Reiki class or something as well. I'm not too concerned about it as we are focused on other things this month. Ryan (my younger brother) is getting married next week. Our main focus, though, brings me to the second question we get asked often....

"Are you two trying for a baby right now?"

Hmmm....Chris and I have talked about this and have come to the conclusion that when people ask us, what they are really saying is...

"So, are you guys having unprotected sex right now in order to procreate?"

Isn't it odd, how talking to someone about their sex life is usually taboo, but when it comes to talking about baby-making, everyone wants to know if you are having lots of sex? Chris & I find this to be so strange!

Chris was joking today that he is going to start giving very detailed answers to that question when someone brings it up....just to forewarn those of you who have yet to ask us and may do so after reading this post. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Move is over

I've been so busy, I haven't had time to post about our BIG move. Chris, David, and I flew to NYC on August 5th. We took a taxi to the Penske truck rental place; which was an adventure in and of itself since the driver did not know his way around the South Bronx. We got the truck, which only had 2 seats in the front, so I had to sit on the floor in between the seats on the way over to the storage facility.

Our friend Nate met us at the storage place to help us load up the truck. The movers had not packed the room well, so some of our wedding dishes were smashed, furniture scraped up, and boxes destroyed. It was not fun unpacking the room and taking everything downstairs to the truck, but at least there was an elevator to use.

After a few hours, we realized that the truck was not going to hold all of our things! It was too late to go back and get a larger truck, and we were getting closer to the time the storage facility would close for the we just had to figure out what had to go in the truck and what would be left behind. One of the guys working at the place said he would take what we left behind...which ended up being a futon that I had since college, a rather nice bookshelf, a filing cabinet, a papasan chair with ottoman, a second ottoman, 2 office chairs, a buffet and hutch, and a few other items. I was SO upset about leaving some really nice things behind...about $500 worth! We did what we could, and I guess in the end, it was good that someone benefitted from our things instead of it getting thrown in a dumpster.

David and Chris drove the Penske truck back to Indiana, which was about a 14 hour drive. I stayed the night with my friend, Nancy, and we had a great time going out for sushi and drinks. I flew back to IN the next day by myself.

On Friday, Aug 7th, we loaded up some furniture that I had at my Mom's house and at my Grandma's house, and got ready for our next part of the move....heading up to Bloomington. We actually rented a U-Haul truck to use since we couldn't fit more into the Penske truck.

On Saturday, Mom drove the U-Haul and I rode with her, David drove the Penske truck, and Carolyn drove the SUV with Chris in tow. We hired two moving guys to unload everything, which was worth every penny! Those guys were great! They unloaded everything in under an hour and a half. We didn't have to wear ourselves out with lugging things up and down the one flight of stairs that we have.

We have been slowly unpacking and settling back into life here in Bloomington. Some things have changed, and other things have stayed the same. It's comforting knowing where to go around the city, and not having to learn where to go for groceries and other items. We are not the only Prius owners here, which is great. :) We passed 10 Prius yesterday while we were out and about! Bloomington is such a great city, and we are enjoying being back. We joined the local Co-op and are reconnecting with friends in the area.

Michelle, Ryan's fiance, has been living with us the last two weeks while waiting for their apartment to open up this weekend. It's been nice having the opportunity to get to know her better before the wedding next month.

Oreo is settling in a bit, but not sure why Michelle is here. He's not too keen on having a roommate. :)

Our apartment is not entirely unpacked, but almost there. I will be posting some up to date photos soon! We love our new place. It's HUGE, and the grounds are very nice and green. It has the feel of being in NH with all the trees, the ponds right outside, and the buildings remind us of our friend's condo. We have been to the pool once so far, and plan on going to the gym soon. We have two pools and two gyms on the grounds, plus a walking path and other ammenities. The place is so much nicer than other places we have lived here in the states.

Check out our photos HERE

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Proud to own a Prius!

Today, Chris and I did something I didn't think we would do...we purchased a car! We knew we would need one after moving back to IN for the year, but we had thought about borrowing one for the time being. We started shopping around and got "the fever" to get a pre-owned (doesn't that sound better than "used") car.

We test drove a Camry, a Taurus, and then an 05 Prius. We would not have thought about looking at the Prius, but my father in law brought up the idea and so we started doing some research. The research was very positive, so we had to take one for a drive to see for ourselves.

We went down to Clarksville, IN to test drive an 05, and we were SO impressed! Even Chris was impressed, which REALLY says a lot since he hates driving. The car wasn't in the best of shape though, so we decided to do some more shopping and see what was around the area. David found 3 listed for Bloomington, so we made a trip up there today to check them out.

The first car we looked at was a blue, 2007 Prius fully loaded. We took it for a drive and fell in love. We came back to the lot and told the guy we needed to go get some lunch and think things over, and he told us to take the car with us! We talked it over while eating Thai food, and then came back to wheel and deal. When buying a car, you really have to "play the game" as David says. The three of us dealed rather well and we ended up driving away with our blue Prius!

On the way home from Bloomington to Salem (an hour drive) we averaged about 50 mpg! WOW!

This car is SOOO amazing.....GPS, leather seats, Bluetooth, backup camera, you name it! It's incredible!

Now I'm having to fight Chris to drive it, which is absolute first in 11 1/2 years of being together. hahaha
This car is the perfect car for us considering we are all about eco-friendly things, recycling, and being as green as possible. Call us hippies, but we are happy to help the environment, while saving money on gas and having a safe, reliable, family friendly car. I think we are really going to enjoy our first car together!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Misc things going on

Over the past few weeks, we have been dealing with some sick kitties here at the Becks. Oreo was diagnosed with colitis a few weeks ago, and then Callie Coco came down with the same thing. Clinton has avoided getting sick so far. We thought we were in the clear this week, but now Oreo is sick again. It's been quite frustrating and not easy giving medication to the kitties. Chris & I are hoping that a few meals of chicken and rice will clear things up with Oreo this time around, and we are going to watch closely to be sure that the kitties don't eat each others food.

On a happier note, we have had a lot of great produce from the garden here. Lots of summer squash, blueberries, and now some green beans and tomatoes. Looking forward to eggplant, sugar snap peas, pumpkin and winter squash plus lots of herbs!

Chris and I enjoy the wildlife here. The Becks have TONS of Canadian geese and ducks around. We also have a squirrel that I have named "Acra" since she's an acrobat on the bird feeders...hanging upside down and spinning. We have seen a few strange bugs, including an assassin bug....which is REALLY gross.

We will be in NYC two weeks from yesterday! So excited to get our things out of the Bronx and to move in to our new place. We were going to move some things in on Aug 1st, but now the Beck family will be having a get together on that day, so we will have to wait until later in the day or on the 2nd.

The weather here in IN has been amazing for July. It has been in the 70's and 80's here, which is unheard of. The weather report said it is the first July since the late 1800's that we have not had a day above 90 degrees around here. I hope the cooler weather sticks around through Aug, for our move in.

CLICK HERE for photos

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our New Blog

Chris and I have completed our 9 month French adventure, so we thought it would be a good idea to begin a new blog for our next in Indiana (our homestate) for a year.

We are currently living with Chris' parents at their lovely country house. We spend our days picking blueberries and garden veggies, tending the garden (herb and vegetable), and going through our mass of boxes down in the basement to prepare for a yard sale in September.

We will be able to pick up our keys to our new apartment in Bloomington on August 1st. I'm SOOO looking forward to finally seeing our new place in person! Chris' parents were nice enough to find it for us. On Aug 5th, we fly up to NYC, get our things out of the Bronx storage unit, and haul it back here. By Aug 8th, we will be moving in our furniture and will be able to start settling in.

Being back in the states after living in France has been quite an adjustment. I really do miss Marseille, but am feeling better about being back. Somedays are harder than others...when I look up at the grey sky and think about the beautiful blue sky of the Mediterranean, or go to the supermarket and am unable to find good produce & wine, or driving in a car for hours to get somewhere...but there are good things too, like being on the same time as family and being able to see them whenever we want, and not having to think in dual languages every day.

Chris will be going through the research information he aquired in France this year, and will write his PhD dissertation. As for me, my schedule is wide open. I am unable to work as a Hypnotist in IN, due to the insane hypnosis laws, so at this point, I'm not making any plans to work. I have a few projects I need to complete this year, and am opening myself to other opportunities if they were to present themselves.

We are still off the cell phone grid at the moment, but will be getting new phones soon and will update everyone on that info when we have it.