Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our Home Site

This is where our new home will be, ready to move into sometime in December. At the edge of the tree line is a community biking/exercise trail. Behind the grouping of three trees on the right-hand side is a medium-sized fish pond. They are going to start digging our basement on July 30. Maybe then it will start to feel more real—like, “Yes, here is the hole in the ground where I will spend future evenings with my family.” Hmmm … we shall see.

Celebrating One Year

Carrying on the Koons family tradition, Clara got to open one present at breakfast time.

“I like it. It has a slimming effect.”

Party food!

Clara liked the CARDS best of all!!

Clara loves babies!

"I think I'll try a raspberry first."

Yes, cake is good. All one-year-olds agree on this.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

She is Three

Meredith loved her Cinderella Cake. And I love the internet—you can find out how to do just about anything, including making a little girl’s dreams come true.

PiƱata Time! Notice grandma watching.

Uncle KC goofing off with water balloons. I love this picture! Good times.

Independence Day

Homemade Strawberry Pie:

Our two kiddos—I love Clara’s facial expressions in these. You can really start to see her personality emerging. She’s such a little pistol.

Girl Cousins at Aunt Beth’s annual Pool Party:

Watching fireworks downtown—we drove to the top of Kevin’s parking garage and it was SO fun to see the big fireworks up close and then watch them happen all over the city, some nearby and many far off on the horizon. What a fantastic 4th of July!

Permission to Be Excited

Kevin finally gave me permission to be excited! (After a series of "Can-I-be-excited-yet?-No-not-yet" conversations.) I’ve been trying to contain it but it’s been spilling out for three weeks.

Approximately three weeks ago I told Kevin that, considering all the home-buying options, I would really like to build a new home in X neighborhood. He told me, “Well, Amy, I think those homes are about Y-amount more money than we should spend.”

The very next day a friend who is building in that neighborhood called and said, “You won’t believe it but the home builder dropped their prices by Y-amount for a weekend sale!”

So, we drove to the sales office and got really excited. Then we went home and crunched some more numbers and realized that our monthly payment would still be too much. It was a total death of a vision. I had to give up all my expectations and it was really hard.

Then, at the very end of the sale weekend we got a call from the home builder, stating that the lot we liked was still available and that they would buy down our interest rates so that our monthly payment would be where we want it. (Can we say that they didn’t meet their quota for the week, or what?)

So, at 10:30 p.m., at the very end of the sale weekend, we signed a contract for sale contingent on us (okay, Kevin) being fully comfortable with the financing.

It took about 12 days of intense negotiation. Kevin wanted the builder to pay for an additional rate-lock and he drew his line in the sand about the exact interest rate he was willing to pay.

Last Thursday the builder officially gave us everything we asked for. And Kevin finally gave me permission to be excited. In other words, I could figure out what color I want the cabinets and where the Christmas tree is going to go.

Not that I hadn’t already ordered 27 kitchen decorating books from the library!

This has been a long, hard journey. But I’m already starting to feel all of that fall away and dramatically fade into the distance.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Lately I have been feeling grateful regarding life in general. But I’ve been feeling especially grateful for the relationships God has given me. Since moving to Indiana I have made friends with several women who are super nice, transparent, down-to-earth, and fun. One friend in particular has been really good to me. I do not take that for granted.

I am also really grateful for my sisters, Betsy and Christy. In the last two days, I’ve had quality conversations with both of them. I appreciate how, even though they live 2,000 miles away, they make an effort to call me every month or so. And it’s not just the distance that separates us—it’s also a life-stage thing. Even though I’m doing the “mom thing” and they are living crazy fun single lives, they still act like they think I’m cool. I’m sure this is a great charity on their part, in order to make me feel good. But I still really appreciate that.

Here are my sisters, on Christmas morning 2007. I love those girls!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Italian and Terror

You know how some moments you look back and think how magical they were? Well, Saturday night, as I was lying on my back listening to the Indianapolis Symphony, looking up through the trees and watching fireflies sparkle above me, I felt magic in the air.

Kevin and I escaped with some friends from church to go to Symphony on the Prairie. The music was “That’s Amore!”—basically a bunch of eclectic Italian stuff, everything from Opera to Italian-American movie themes. There was this incredible tenor there whose voice and personality were magnetic. At the end of the evening, he sang an encore of O Sole Mio. It was electrifying.

The only thing that would have made the evening more perfect is if I had brought a big plate of spaghetti with a huge meatball on top.

The joy of the evening was contrasted with terror, experienced in the car as we drove to Symphony on the Prairie. As we drove on a curvy road, a motorcyclist going in the opposite direction hit the center divider. We watched, as if in slow motion, as his motorcycle flew into the air and the body of the man riding it spun through the air and landed in front of oncoming traffic. We were the third car back. The car in front slammed on its brakes and stopped within inches of where the motorcyclist’s body lay.

I have never witnessed anything so frightening in all my life. The motorcycle was in pieces and I was sure that the man had been killed on impact. Other drivers got to the scene first. Kevin got out of the car to pick up the motorcycle debris. We waited for paramedics and police and then Kevin filled out an eyewitness report. We cannot even believe that the man riding the motorcycle survived. It was an incredible reminder of the frailty of life. And, some of us might argue, the reason we will never let our husbands get a motorcycle.