2017 Year in Review

In case you missed it:

We moved from Chennai to Carmel in April 2016 and moved in with Courtney’s parents. Neil kept working for two Indian companies, and travelling to India four times a year.


Highs from 2017

Kids

We have some awesome kids.

He made about 5 of those…
“That’s why I’m a rockstar”

Our kids bring us a lot of joy throughout [nearly] every day. One of the coolest things is their friendship. They like to spend time playing together, and even though they can get frustrated, they still look forward to being together pretty much all the time.

Those are two Spidermen

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Fall 2017. Almost 6.

Marcus is now a preschool graduate. He’s often found lurking around the house spying on the unsuspecting or riding his bike as fast as he can. He loves being with friends, playing games, playing soccer, trail biking, and anything related to the Boxcar Children or being resourceful. Nearly every day, he wakes up with a creative plan and goes through countless amounts of scotch tape, paper, paint, and recycled materials making his vision a reality.

He was often called ‘Laddu’ in Chennai (basically a ball of flour soaked in sugar syrup), which is exactly accurate. He has sugar in his veins and might be the sweetest kid you’ve ever met; he’s a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.

Quotes of the Year:

(Marcus decides to try out running as a sport. He goes to the end of the road and comes back, much slower than he started.)
Courtney:
How did it go?
Marcus: Not so good. (panting) Why do they make kids do this?

Neil: If you want to learn about clouds, you can go get a book at the library.
Marcus: But I already know so much…

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July 4th. Just shy of 4.

Abigayle is a staring contest champion and a master snuggle-bug. She has an innate sense of comedic timing and moonlights as a wrestler named “The Hurt”. She is looking forward to a career as an astronaut and a nail painter (when not in space). She’s shy with outsiders but the life of the party with her inner circle. She’s also a bit clumsy and has a personal record of poking herself in the eye 5 times in one day.

Abigayle was disappointed this year to learn that she could not marry Marcus, and was too late to marry Papa, so is now thinking through options at the second-cousin level. Her nickname is ‘sweet-tart’ because she is equal parts sweetness and sass.

Quotes of the Year:

(While in a deep sleep): Hulk smash!

Neil: Parents can hear everything their kids say, so just remember that. 
30 minutes later during dinner, Neil tells the kids to stop being so goofy and eat quietly. 
Abigayle: (staring at Neil silently for a minute)
Did you hear what I just said?

We’ve got another bike rider!
She wanted a Band-Aid cake for her birthday

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Jobs

Neil’s work has gone very well this year (including starting a new podcast featuring a talented interviewer [Courtney]to help sell software to churches — ironic, right?). He works from home, which continues to be awesome for many reasons — family lunches topping the list!

The trips back to India have been a solid way to maintain a good connection there. Just a normal day at the office in Chennai…

Neil also leads an organization called MARG that helps American Christians learn how they can best walk alongside Hindus living in North America. We had a conference in Houston in June that was a big success.

Courtney had a really cool project for the year. In an effort to reconnect with the community upon moving back, she started a series of interviews with local business owners, Local Living Carmel. The personal project quickly expanded into a business to connect the community with local shopping options. The business isn’t active right now but has served to reintroduce us to the community and give Courtney lots of new skills and experiences.

She has also become invested in helping refugees in the Indy area learn English through an organization called Exodus. Every Wednesday night you can find her with this lovely group of folks who are working really hard to start a new life.

The HOUSE

Ok, so this is probably the big highlight of the year: Our first (owned) home! February started our house search and with a crazy and competitive buying market, we became discouraged. But by God’s grace, in July we had closed on a home that was much more than we had ever imagined.

2017 was the year we discovered we were ‘party people’ as this house has a large backyard and an open floor plan which made it perfect for the nearly 10 parties we’ve thrown/hosted since we moved in!

9865 Lakewood Dr W, Indianapolis, IN 46280
All American backyard for games, bonfires, and chickens (2018 goal!)

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Family

One of the biggest motivations for moving back to Indiana was to be near family. This year has been a great reminder of that. The kids have had a lot of good cousin time.

Cousins are the best!
Neil got to take his grandpa on his first trip to see the Cardinals play at the new(er) Busch Stadium
Neil went with Courtney’s dad on a Wilderness Skills weekend!

Visiting Friends

We were very fortunate to get visitors and be visitors! We had two families from India spend time with us this year and we took a trip to Cleveland to visit old and dear friends there.

In November of this year, Courtney travelled back to India for the first time since we left. Our dear friend Octoli got married and we got to be a part of that ceremony. Courtney also visited lots of friends and ate lots of good food!

At the wedding!

Lows

All in all, it’s been a pretty fantastic year. The biggest downer started in March when Courtney was carrying our massive son down the stairs, tripped, and landed sideways on her ankle. Two months later, we finally realised it was time for a surgery which included another two month recovery. Thankfully, she is healed now and is back to normal, although her distance running career might not come to pass.

Things to Come:

In 2017, we took several courses to prepare for foster care. Now that we have our own place, we are able to get on a home study waiting list and get final certification.

Later in 2017, Neil started doing some workshops for some guys through a homeless ministry called Wheeler Ministries. We are hoping to expand our involvement with them and stay active there.

Oh, and there’s the chickens…

Come and see us! We’ve got room!

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