Thursday, June 26, 2008

massive update

When we moved from the apartment to the new house this past weekend, we somehow didn't have the little cable to connect the camera to the computer, so our updates have been sparse and without photos.... Well, here they are now, all at once. If you're subscribed to the blog, you'll get all of the posts in a nice little stack, but if you're reading them here on the Blogger site, you'll need to scroll down to see the new ones. There's fresh posts going back to about 6/12.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

sandbox project: part 1

I mentioned a sandbox project, and I think I mentioned taking the pick-up to go get a load of sand that I found on craigslist. Most of the sand is in a big tarp, while some is in a temporary baby-pool sandbox.

The project update is that the sandbox diggers arrived! They will be installed on the one side of what will be a large playground area I'm wanting to build for the boys (in the photo they are in "Portable" mode - the feet can get changed out for a long post that I'll concerte into the sandbox).

So far, the plan is to have a castle playhouse (complete with dugeon!), a slide, and the two diggers in a big sandbox.

playhouse project: photos!

Yay! The playhouse is built! Fun times for all!

some assembly required

Some assmebly of our new toys yesterday. A utility cart for the garden tractor and a big deck canopy to shade the deck during the day. Tris tackled the cart while I mostly worked on the canopy (scary swinging the long metal poles around on the deck with that above-ground electric line up there!).

happy birthday to dean!

Today is Dean's birthday! Of course, we'll be having his "real" party on Saturday, but we still had presents and went out for Dean's free Cold Stone Creanery birthday club ice cream. Yay!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

yum! bread stores

We discovered two breadstores in town - one an "official" Wonderbread / Hostess place, the other with random stuff that's more regional. The quality range is as one would expect with such a place, from good bread to almost expired bread all the way down to only-suitable-for-duck-food bread. Tris got a loaf of Rye for only 79 cents! Oh, and all the yummy snacky cakes you could want, too!

Monday, June 23, 2008

mark and the truck (photos)

Mark loves the new truck. He's just barely big enough for a booster, so he can ride right up front with me when we go bouncing around to get stuff. The sheer joy he gets in riding up front in the beastly machine far outweigh his complaints that it's too windy and bumpy.

home improvements :)

A new house means new projects! And we're not wasting any time! We've already got our list going and we did some impulse-buying this weekend to kick things off: a new deck canopy, a little Sam's club playhouse and a new ceiling fan. None of these are put together yet, of course (ha!), but we did get safety gates installed on the deck - huzzah, our first home improvement!

The big projects are coming too, including new exterior doors, new flooring in the master bedroom, dining room, and extra room. And we'll be doing a massive poison-ivy removal, the gardens, new floors in the foyer and hall bath, and replacement of all the light fixtures and outlets. Not to mention getting quotes on a new garage, a full kitchen remodel, and the sandbox / playground project. Fun!

We'll post photos and updates on individual projects as we make progress (I'm especially excited about the dramatic post-poison ivy removal podcast), so watch for those.

What are you guys planning? If you have a house project coming up, tell us about it here (click comments below) - we'd love to know what stuff you're working on.

yay! we're in the new house!

We closed on the house on Friday, and we started the process of moving ourselves in this weekend! We made about five trips to the storage locker (taking both the van and the truck), a few trips from the apartment, and we've got a lot of stuff moved in. The truck has come in super handy, allowing us to securely and safely move a lot of big items, like the queen bed and the gas grill.

The storage locker is about 75% empty now, and we should have it empty before the next billing cycle (July 9). We'll have the PODS box delivered the Monday we get back from our vacation and start that unloading process (with help from some work buddies to get the big stuff brought in).

The computer hasn't been moved yet, so I can't upload photos, but we'll post a photo update later this week. Yay!

Friday, June 20, 2008

dairy queen

We went to the old school Dairy Queen the other day. It's really great - walk up window, outdoor seating. Going there and sitting outside with my StarKiss was so relaxing - a real country low-pressure feeling...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

we live in indiana! - the podcast!

IU offers some computing courses for staff development, and I've signed up for a two-hour Intro to Podcasting course. We'll be using Audacity, which is an open-source audio tool that is popular for podcasters. It'll work on PC (which we have now) and on MAC (which we plan on switching to with our next computer purchase).

Of course, the motivation here is to keep up with technology, but the other benefit is that this blog will soon have a complimentary podcast! Yay!

So watch for regular podcast episodes of We Live In Indiana! featuring the whole family to start appearing sometime in the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

off topic

Ok, so this is a bit off topic, but still related to the whole moving thing. Maybe I'm a little strange, but my experience with disposable diapers over the last two months has left me feeling really really icky and desperate to get back to cloth. The trash is nonending and they stink. I suppose most parents use those fancy diaper disposal cans for that purpose, but I'm not investing in one for what will total out to about 3 months of paper diapers.

Previously, paper diapers offered me a break from the daily washings and it was a sort of vacation. Now I just feel like I'm drowning in dirty diapers.

When you run out, you have to go to the store, not just do a batch of laundry- and they're expensive too! Cloth costs a bit up front, but then you don't have to buy anything, anymore, at all basically.

So now that I have experienced both sides, I have to say that I just feel even more strongly that cloth is the best choice :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

all yard sale, all the time

We've discovered a rather odd thing about Indiana. Or maybe this applies to the whole midwest... Or maybe it's true for everywhere... but there's yard sales all the time here!

Yes, they are mostly on Saturday, but there's plenty on Sunday and Friday, too. And then a few on Thursday, and it's not unusuall to have a couple happening on a Monday or Tuesday, either.

Anyway, that's kinda fun, because you can really do some "impulsive yard saling" that way. And that's how we found this great workbench for the boys. We also got s stack of PlayHut tents, and a Little Tykes baby playground swing.

geodes and mushrooms

We found our first geodes this weekend! We didn't know it before moving here, but geodes are naturally occurring in Indiana, and you can find them fairly easily in stream beds. Since moving here and finding out about geodes, it's been something that I've really wanted to find. Well, while visiting one of the parks in Bloomington, we made our way down to the little stream that runs through the middle and there they were! Dozens of little geodes, about the size of a baseball. We searched for a bit and collected several nice round ones before we headed home. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to slice them open to see what's inside!

The other naturally occurring oddity here is Morell mushrooms. They are apparently very tasty and impossible to cultivate and grow on a farm. That makes them very rare and valuable. I've heard that at farmer's markets they sell for around 80 to $100 a pound! And folks hunt for them and find them, somewhat randomly in the woods, out in fields, all over the place - you just have to keep your eyes open for them. I've heard that they mostly only show up in the Spring - so there's another thing to put on the ol' "Indiana To-Do List."

Friday, June 13, 2008

the forest discovery center

We journeyed all over Southern Indiana today, with one of our stops being the Forest Discovery Center, which is basically a big museum all about logging, wood, and the forest that's right at a big saw mill. The coolest thing is the awesome factory tour - catwalks criss-cross the whole place, letting you look down over all the workers and machines. You can see how they take raw cut boards and take them all the way through to being fine, intricate trimwork, turn sawdust into composite boards, and do all kinds of fun chopping and sawing and whatever!

hey, look, it's route 50!

So, we were driving around Southern Indiana checking out some of the small towns and getting to know the area better, and we ran into Route 50! We knew it ran through Indiana down there somewhere, but it was a surprise to see it in person. For those who don't know, US Route 50 runs coast-to-coast, from Maryland to California. It winds through all sorts of old towns along the way, too. So I think we'll make a vacation out of a trip back to VA one day and take ol' Route 50!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

thoughts on the way to Indy

I went up to Indianapolis for work yesterday - we were shooting some footage up at the med school (ick, I got to see rat surgery!). But I had two interesting things that I thought I should post:

First, I got some first-hand looks at the flood clean-up in Martinsville. It's just like on TV, but with the scope and scale of seeing it in person - piles of gooky furniture and carpeting in huge piles in front of houses, debris everywhere, trucks and dumpsters and people just emptying literally everything out storage lockers, churches, shops and buildings into parking lots to either dry out or simply have hauled away.

Second was the traffic. Or lack thereof! We left Bloomington around 7:15 and arrived in Indianapolis at around 8:10 or so - door-to-door it took about an hour to travel some 50 miles. There wasn't a single slow down or even a stack up of cars at a traffic light. Totally bizarre, especially when we got to the beltway and into the city itself - it was like driving around Fairfax County at 3 a.m. traffic, except here that's what rush hour is like. It's completely mind-boggling.

Friday, June 6, 2008

we'll show you how to shop.. shop ALDI smart!

This week we discovered Aldi, an uber-weird discount grocery store. Basically a mini Wal-Mart the size of a CVS that offers a strange limited selection of items that changes every week. Carts cost a quarter to use, and everything is displayed on pallets or simply stacked up in boxes along the aisles. They have grocery items, household things, and everything else you would find at a Wal-Mart.

The strange thing about it is the selection. Specifically, there's no selection at all. I guess that's what makes the prices so low - you get what you get and that's all. For example, we wanted to buy ice cream, and they had chocolate Klondike bars, Popsicle brand FudgePops, Twix Double Chocolate, generic ice cream sandwiches and 5-gallon tubs of vanilla. That's it. Randomly tucked in with the food stuff they have other things, too, like a treadmill, a stack of $9 light fixtures, or a gas grill. A surprise around every corner, and they re-fill the store with more random stuff each week as things get bought up.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on ALDI if you want to read up on what it's all about. The ALDI website is nice, too, and they have the BEST TV commercials. We also have a Save-A-Lot in Bloomington, which is a rather ickier version of Aldi and not as clean and pretty. ALDI is my new favorite! Yay bizarro shopping!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

thunder and lightning and flooding, oh my!

We had some most excellent rain yesterday afternoon (folks back in VA, did it hit you today?)

At our apartment, the parking lot started to flood, so I moved both our cars up onto the sidewalk - just in time, too! The water was about one inch from coming in over the bottom of the door on the Honda Accord. (this photo is from our apartment window) Some of the low-lying apartments actually got wet, and parts of Bloomington were underwater, too. We've been told that this kind of flooding is not typical, but does happen every few years if there is a series of large storms. But the funny thing is, to us, it seemed like the rain wasn't that bad - but then again, being from the East Coast, we've been through hurricane-driven weather.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

what's up with the truck?

So we posted a teaser photo of a rusty old truck a couple days ago. As you might have guessed (Amy!) we did in fact buy it! It's a 1984 Ford F150 4x4. Inline 6-cylinder 4.9 L engine, 300 cubic inches, automatic transmission. It's also easily the ugliest (and rustiest!) vehicle we've ever known! While it seems to run strong and reliably, it's cosmetically a total disaster! Hahaha!

But, we did the math on things, and if we want to move ourselves out of our storage locker, get a big load of sand for a sandbox at the new house, buy lumber for a shed, avoid delivery or haul-away costs for new appliances, save on delivery for firewood, trees, mulch and other things, it made sense to go with an old truck rather then beating up the minivan or spending the same money on a hitch and a utility trailer. So, we set out to find a pick-up for under $1,000 and ended up getting this one for only $650 (no doubt thanks to it's lovely aesthetic appeal)!

And since there's no regular inspection like in VA, it doesn't matter if things are broken or worn out - there's no "required" repairs (like a horn or working windshield wipers). At the same time, we don't really want to drive this truck regularly, so that stuff doesn't matter - just runs over to Menard's or to Lowes is all we need it for. And since it's old and easy to work on, I'm expecting that I can take care of regular maintenance and simple repairs myself.

Plus, it's lots of fun! We're really excited about having a beat up old truck - we're feeling a bit more at home here in the "Heartland" having it. Plus, it'll look much better once we get it primed and painted all sorts of funky fun colors!

mccormick's creek state park

This weekend we continued our exploration of our local parks. This trip we went to McCormick's Creek State Park in Spencer, a town about 15 miles West of Bloomington. The town itself is small (like every town in Indiana) and really consists of little more then a town square and a couple of blocks of businesses with homes stretching out a bit down the road in and out of town. Some of these little towns are rather sad and have started fading away since whatever industry was there has left (like Spencer), while some are actually quite cute and prosperous.

Anyway, McCormick's Creek is fairly modern and well maintained, with pools and lots of facilities. There's camping (only $6 for primitive sites!), fishing, hiking, a great nature center, a cave you can go in, and even a waterfall you can go under! We spent a good part of our morning in the creek itself, right at the base of the waterfall, catching crayfish and enjoying the cool water. This park is very near our new house, so I think this will be a frequent weekend destination for us for years to come!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

schedules and alarms

This morning was the first morning in over a month that an alarm went off in our home AND that we didn't have breakfast with Eric! In fact, the alarm clock didn't even get plugged in until last night. Eric is working a very long day today and had to be in at 6:30 am. In Burke, just to get in around 7:30ish, he would have had to leave about the same time as he did today.

I think not having an alarm go off in the morning and getting to have breakfast, as well as dinner, together as a family has had a very calming effect on all of us. It's a much easier morning for me, certainly, because Eric gets up with whichever kid gets up first! So we're all getting just a little bit more sleep and feeling a bit less rushed.

Mark was very confused about Eric being gone this morning and kept looking for him in the bed and the bathroom. When Dean woke up he looked for him too and then looked at me and said, "DaDa!?" Really sweet.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

in search of fried rice...

So, this past week, I tried again! I tried the Peach Garden, again ordering online from They called to verify my order and had a Chinese accent! Oh, let me tell you, I was delighted. Sure enough, it was quite good and tasted authentically Chinese!

Interestingly, they didn't have your common "combination fried rice", so I selected the seafood combination, expecting that this would be a combination of all, including seafood, i.e. shrimp. I was wrong! This was why they called to confirm my order- the seafood combination fried rice is shrimp, crabmeat, and scallops!! Weird. So I substitued chicken for scallops. The crabmeat was an interesting addition and didn't taste like much of anything, but the upcharge for the seafood was minimal, so it was worth it to try it out. All in all, I give this new experience an A+!