Thursday, July 29, 2010

Indiana State Fair

The kids go back to school on August 10th and the Indiana State Fair starts the weekend before. I've already said we can go out for a special 'back to school dinner' next week but I think they would probably like to go to the State Fair too. I have never been to one before so have no idea what it will be like. If anything it would be a new experience for us all and an interesting day out. The information on the website says tickets for adults are $8 and kids under 5 are free. What about kids over 5? I wonder if K could pass for being under 5? She is only just 5.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


How many people have their OH call them to make sure that they are not in jail? Mine just did that very thing! Apparently he had a collect call from someone in Hamilton County Jail and he was to 'press 1' to accept the call. He hung up and then called my cell phone. He seemed relieved when I answered as I was the only person he knew that could possibly be calling him collect! I quite confidently said that no I am not in jail! I hope the person who made the collect call does actually get through to the right number!

Swimming and Meeting

The kids have been going to the Monon Center for swim lessons this week. They started on Monday and are going every day until tomorrow. Z has his lesson first and K has her lesson right after. On the first day Z seemed a bit apprehensive and not at all like the boy I usually see around a swimming pool. His instructor Sarah was great with him. She made sure he was at ease in the pool as best she could and afterwards came and spoke to me to see if there was anything she should know about him and his swimming abilities. Z said the water was cold and that is why he acted the way he did! After talking with him, and bribing him to do better in his next lesson, the next 2 lessons went a lot better. After tomorrows lesson he will be going on Tuesdays after school so I hope he will continue to do well. K on the other hand was champing at the bit to get in the water. She got bored very quickly waiting with me for her lesson to start. Sarah who was Z's instructor was also who K got. There was a change on technique, due to the age of the kids and their experience and abilities but it definitely worked for the kids. K was volunteering for everything first and was showing no fear in the water. She was the one I thought would be apprehensive about it all but she does love to prove me wrong.

The lessons this week are being held outside so sun cream is very important. I forgot it on Monday so on Tuesday I said I would use the one we have in the car. Only problem with that is when we got there on Tuesday I discovered that there was no sun screen in the car! K now has a rather pinky/red face and darker shoulders and arms than she did at the weekend! Z does not have a little white line around his hairline anymore after getting his haircut last week. I made a point of putting a bottle on sun screen in my bag before we left this morning and I smothered both of them in factor 50 before they went out to the pool. When we got back to the car this morning just after 11am the temperature was apparently 104°F!

Yesterday Ben had a meeting at work that would mean he would miss his bus home so I had to drive in Indianapolis to pick him up. I hadn't driven in Indy myself and if I am honest I hadn't paid a lot of attention when Ben was driving there. I was not fully aware of the one way streets and the lack of parking spaces! Bens office is near Conseco Fieldhouse and unluckily for me there was an Indiana Pacers game on so the car park opposite his office had the parking charges ramped up. I ended up driving to an Arbys and parking there and walking back to the office. The reason I walked back instead of having Ben rollerblade down to where we were? I was going to be meeting his bosses Rob and Liz. That was just what I needed after a stressful drive round the city trying to find a parking space, dealing with 2 hot, tired and bickering children and the 3 of us having spent over half an hour in a car with no functioning A/C! I was a bit sweaty and my choice of color for my top (light blue) was not my best choice! Well, we met them and it went as well as can be expected when you meet people in the street. Z showed them his new tooth and his cut on his toe. K then ran around the place chasing him. I nothing else then at least they know we actually exist. Ben later said that Liz had mentioned that she has about 500 emails that she has not read and it got him thinking that the one I sent the other week about green cards may well be one of them. So in the next few days I am going to send another email saying it was nice to finally meet them and I'll try to casually mention the last email I sent. You never know, it may get them to look at it and see what can be done. I can dream can't I?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life In a Day

Getting off the Expat subject for a moment, I thought I would share something that I did yesterday. I went on YouTube a few days ago to upload something and I noticed a mention of something called Life in a Day
Basically Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald and putting together a full length movie showing a day in the life of people around the world. I decided to film something on my cell phone and have uploaded it for consideration. If it makes it to the finished movie then I get a 'co-director' credit! They are also choosing 20 people to attend the premiere at the Sundance festival in January.

While I am not expecting for one minute that what I shot will be included in Life in a Day I found it a really interesting idea that I just had to be part of. If, by chance, you happened to film something on July 24 2010 then you could submit it to be considered for part of the movie. Everything has to be uploaded by July 31 2010.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kids on their bikes

Heat Index

I am sure if I was looking at a map on the UK for today it would not have the same colors as this one does! I think I will stay indoors today with the kids and enjoy the A/C. At the moment (noon) it is 88°F but feels like 98°F!

I've taken the kids out on their bikes already this morning. Thought it wise to get out early before it got too hot for them. They went round the block a few times. Z, who absolutely hated it when he first got his bike, was zooming around the place. He was brilliant. Even when he fell off his bike he jumped up, put his arms in the air and shouted at me "I'm alright!" (I was further down up the street with Katie) Z's balance has improved a lot and I can tell his confidence has too. I don't think it will be long until we take the training wheels off his bike. Ben has a friend coming to see him today after work and they are going out on the beer in Broad Ripple and are crashing at a friends house. He expects to back in the afternoon tomorrow so we can all go to Rock the District.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

9 Months

On July 29th 2010 we will have been living in Carmel, Indiana for 9 months. A lot can happen in 9 months. It is not a huge amount of time but it has been just enough for the lives of my family to be changed and turned upside down.

9 months ago I was still in Northampton, England with my 2 children. Ben had already left the UK 3 weeks before and was trying to get the apartment habitable for our arrival. He had to get it furnished and ready for us whilst also going to work in his new job in Indianapolis. I was up to my neck in packing boxes and trying to cram as much as I could into 6 huge suitcases without making them too heavy and going over the weight allowance that the airline set. I was trying to get everything else in our house in the UK packed up and cleaned so it could go into storage in various locations. I had to keep checking I knew where our passports were as I was paranoid that I would pack them with something and they would end up in an attic and me having a nervous breakdown. Luckily my in-laws were around to help me sort everything and stop me from losing my mind. I remember it all like it was yesterday but it also feels like a lifetime ago. We left everyone and everything we knew to start over again in the US. We had no idea if it would work but we were going to give it a go.

Fast forward 9 months and how are we getting on? If you have been a regular reader of this blog, or of Bens, you will know there have been ups and downs but it has mainly been ups.

We got here just before Halloween and saw the enjoyment on the kids faces when they went trick or treating and the massive volume of candy they got. (There is actually still some left but don't tell the kids that) Then we had Thanksgiving and we spent that with a lovely family who went out of their way to welcome us to their home on this very American holiday. Next we faced our first Christmas away from our families. We threw ourselves into the holiday spirit and even got our first ever real Christmas tree. I even braved Castleton Mall on Christmas Eve! Through the wonders of Skype we were still able to see and speak to our family back in the UK so we were not too cut off from them. We were invited to a New Years Eve party at the home of some fellow British Expats and rounded off the year on a high. The other British Expats (and there are quite a few of them) who live here have been great to us. Z started the year moving down a grade at school but it was the best decision we could have made for him as he has thrived in this past semester at Carmel Elementary. The teachers and staff at the school have been so welcoming to us and Z loves going to school. (I just hope his sister feels the same when she starts KG in a few weeks!) The amount the school does for the children that go there is amazing. I have never seen a school get so involved in Valentines and St Patrick's Day. I loved going to the Family Fitness night and having a look around the school. I am planning on volunteering at the school in some capacity during the next school year. I never really got involved at the kids old school in the UK but I am going to make an effort to do something here. Plus I am not allowed to work so I have to do something with my time!

We have been helped out on numerous occasions by strangers since we got here in October. Once we were helped out when we were given a lift home by a kind couple we were stuck outside Subway before we had bought a car. Another time we were helped out when our car overheated and the engine started smoking. (Now that did freak me out a little when I saw smoke coming from the bonnet!) Then we were helped out when we got a flat tire and did not have a spare. Both Ben and I have, on separate occasions, been asked we needed a ride anywhere. I was asked if I needed a ride anywhere when I was walking back from a gas station and Ben was asked when he was walking back from the bus stop at Meijer. The people of Carmel have been very welcoming to us and we are truly grateful for that. We do get asked frequently where we are from and I am surprised that people think sometimes we are Australian. However, as my accent is slightly different from Ben and the kids, I don't get that quite as much. I get a few more puzzled looks and people just don't know where I am from. I have a mixed Scottish/English/American accent and it can change depending on who I am talking to.

Recently we were are CarmelFest and it was a lot of fun. It was a very hot day when we were there but we had a blast wandering around looking at everything. There was a great sense of community and it was great to see people of all ages there having a good time. On the day of the CarmelFest parade I was surprised to find myself feeling very moved by certain aspects of it. Every time the military went by and the crowds watching stood and applauded it brought a lump to my throat and I found it very moving. Also seeing all the kids involved in different ways was great. In fact there were so many people in the parade that I had to leave early before my kids totally wilted in the heat.

We are now nearing the end of our first summer here in Indiana and school will be starting soon. It has been difficult on occasions but overall I think it is fair to say that we have enjoyed our time here and don't want it to end. When both kids are at school and start developing their social circles and start having 'play dates' and getting involved in school activities/sports then that will be another new thing for us.

Thank you Carmel for the last 9 months and I hope the next 9 months is just as good.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18

Today I turned 34. I don't feel 34. I feel like I am still in my mid 20s. This was the first birthday I have spent in the US. I have had a few other birthdays abroad but this is the first in America.

It started well when I was taken out last night for a meal with a group of friends. I thought it was just going to be me and Ben but I was pleased to find out that we would be joined by Sian, David, Lisa and Rob. We left the kids with Sian and Davids son Oli and we went to an Indian restaurant called The Amber. I ordered the chicken jalfrezi and asked for it to be spicy as I like hot food. Ben ordered chicken tikka and asked for it to be medium as he is not that keen on hot food but is getting better. He used to always have kormas. David ordered a vindaloo and I must admit I have always been a bit scared to eat one of those as I thought it would be too hot. As it turns out Bens meal was the hottest, followed by mine and I thought Davids was quite mild! Very odd but very nice. Once we had all done eating we went for drinks at Woodys before getting back home around 11.30pm. Oli managed to survive babysitting for us so I think he won't go running for the hills if we were to ask him again.

On Sunday morning I got a lovely long lie in and got up and dressed at about 9.30am. When I got up there was no one else in the apartment so I opened my cards and gifts that were in the living room by myself. It turns out that Ben and the kids had just gone to get milk and were back about 5 minutes later. Once we all had had breakfast we went out for a bit of fresh air. Ben went on his rollerblades and the kids went on their new bikes. It was very humid so we all got very hot and sweaty. K fell off her bike 3 times but each time she picked herself up and got back on again. Z, who usually does not like cycling, did really well. He managed to stop himself before he crashed into K and also managed to manouvere around a tree without falling into it. They both have training wheels on their bikes but I don't think it will be long before they are taken off.

We got back to the apartment, had a drink and cooled off a bit before we headed to Castleton Mall so I could use my Macys gift card that Sian and David had given me. I thought it would be a fairly uneventful trip to the Mall but it had a few unexpected turns. The first came when I was wandering around the home section of macys. Z's loose tooth finally fell out! It had been loose for a while but it finally fell out while we were looking at waffle irons! (I did buy a waffle iron too)

Then we went down to Borders to get the kids a book as a reward for doing so well on their bikes. As we were walking towards the bookstore I noticed that the Hallmark store had a very interesting display. Now bearing in mind it is still July, I was not expecting to see this...

We headed back to Carmel so I could got to Kohls and spend the gift card that Lisa and Rob gave me. Then it was on to Old Navy and Target so I could use the giftcards I had gotten for myself.

Once I had made all my purchases we went to Red Robin for a meal. As we have the Red Royalty card I got a free burger and a birthday smoothie. (We actually got 2 birthday smoothies so it was a double bonus)

We ended the day by coming home and having birthday cake. All in all it was a lovely day. I got loads of lovely messages on my Facebook profile page and I thoroughly enjoyed my day.

This Is All I Have To Say Today

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cooking Outside so Cooking Inside

There is a heat advisory for Carmel at the moment, there has also been a severe thunderstorm watch added to the warnings I have just noticed. As I type this it is just after 1.30pm and the temperature outside is, according to the Weather Channel, 89°F but feels like 100°F. I took the kids to the park earlier so they could run around and wear themselves out and not wear me out later. After being at the park for a while I was feeling the heat and decided that perhaps the kids were feeling it more so it would be a good idea to get them out of the sun. We made a quick stop at Wal-Mart and then Marsh before we came home again. Part of the heat advisory is that they recommend you stay indoors and in an air conditioned room. No problem there.

As we are not going to be going out again this afternoon, I decided to do some baking. As the kids have been a lot better behaved than they were yesterday I thought it would be nice to make a Rice Krispies treat and opted for their Chocolate Yummies. They were a doddle to make and are currently sitting in the bottom of the fridge chilling. 

Next step is to make dinner and I am going to be attempting to make a Texan Ranch Chicken Casserole. I'd rather spend the afternoon cooking food in the kitchen than cooking myself and kids outside!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Well, it's gone. Now we wait.

 I sent an email this morning with a Word document attachment. It took ages to write and loads of research on the t'internet. It was a very important email and now we have to wait for the response. It has been sent to Ben's bosses. It is basically asking them to sponsor us for green cards. I outline why we want them to do it and what the advantages are for it. (Advantages for both them and us but mainly us!)
It costs a lot of $$ to apply for a green card and it can be very complicated. There is one matter that needs to be clarified first and depending on what that turns out to be, will have a bearing on everything else.
Fingers crossed they agree with our points and agree to sponsor us. It does not mean that we would never be back in the UK. Of course we will visit. We have friends and family there and we still want to see them. (They can also visit us here)
I will update here as soon as I know anything. I hope it will be with good news.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hot and Busy Days

It has been a bit warm and sunny here recently. I believe it has also been a bit warm and sunny back in the UK recently. I think this may even have been the first year in ages that play at Wimbledon was not interrupted by rain. (Not sure if it is nice in the UK at the moment though!) I check the weather report most days to see what is in store and today there was a 'special weather statement'. (There have been these before but I have not blogged about them.) 
So, today we actually have 2 special weather statements. The first warns us that it will be hot and humid today and the second warns of strong thunderstorms on the way.

I think if there were to be these kind of alerts in the UK, it would primarily be that the weather was grey, damp and drizzly.
I went to lunch yesterday with the kids and some other Expats. We went to Muldoon's on Main Street in Carmel. The kids were actually well behaved and ate most of their food. I think I will take them again but will also take Ben with me. I managed to park the car near the pub and under a tree so there would be a bit of shade. Cut to 2 hours later and the kids and I get back in the car to go home. I look at the temperature and it confirms what we are already feeling. It is hot! That's right. It says the temp is 104°F!
Today I have been quite busy. Started off with the usual laundry and breakfast dishes. Then on to completing my Tax Return for HMRC. Always a joy! Next was composing some sort of document to put forward our case for being sponsored for GC sooner rather than later. After that my brain hurt so I messed around on Facebook for a while. Once I had done with my farming etc (haha!) I started writing ingredient lists for the meals I want to make over the next week. I am actually only about half way through that and have 2 cookbooks to go! I also have had to take Z to get his new fandabbydozy glasses from the opticians. They are so much better than his old NHS pair. They are lighter to start with and the lenses are thinner. They also have an anti-reflective coating on them and are transitions lenses so there are sort of like sunglasses. They are also not boring frames. They are Nike frames! An almost 7 year old boy with a pair of $600 glasses!! 
I still have to complete an application to renew my passport. I'm not going to be able to send it off until I have my picture done and I am not doing that until I get my hair cut and colored again next week. I need all the help I can get to look decent in my passport. In my current one I look like I am falling off my chair!

Monday, July 5, 2010

CarmelFest 2010 is here!

 We have enjoyed a day at CarmelFest and the CarmelFest Parade. I have downloaded all the pictures to my Facebook page and Facebook fanpage. If you can't get to see them there and would like to see some more, please let me know and I will add some here. I was going to put them all on my Flickr page but I have met my monthly photo upload limit after adding photos from our day at Indianapolis Zoo and the day at CarmelFest. Not got enough space to add parade photos too. 

I have had LOADS of people find my blog by searching for CarmelFest. If that is how you got here then please leave a message and let me know what you think of my blog and photos. I am new to Carmel and am still getting familiar with the town and what it has to offer. 

14 year olds & Green Cards

Did you know that you need to get a new green card when you turn 14? Do you know the reason why? No really, I'd like to know why. ...