Happy Holidays!

Last year, we started sending out letters with our Christmas cards and this is what we sent out this year. It is just another recap of the past year:

2008 has definitely been an interesting year and so much has happened since last Christmas! We had originally planned to be in either Kansas City or Lawrence, Kansas by this point, but at some point last December, we decided that we weren’t ready to leave the area just yet, so we made the decision to stay in Evansville as long as we were able to find what we needed to be able to stay here. Needless to say, there have been lots of things happening!

First, Eric began looking for a new job in January and February. He had several interviews and was eventually offered a position at ARS, a marketing firm in downtown Evansville. After only three works of working there, the owner of the company decided to downsize the company in order to sell it. Unfortunately, Eric was one of 16 people who lost his job. We were completely shocked, but because Eric had just recently updated his resume and had been interviewing, he was able to jump back into the job search. Within one week, he had received 4 different job offers. He accepted an offer from Keller Schroeder exactly a week after being laid off, and started working there the Monday after Easter. So far, it has proved to be even better than both his job at OHA and ARS. His experience with Sharepoint has been very beneficial to the company, and Eric has even given some presentations.

Then, I started looking into the graduate distance program in Music Therapy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, near Terre Haute. I applied, interviewed, and was accepted into the Master of Arts in Music Therapy program. The program takes 3 years (6 semesters) and 2 summers to complete. I begin each semester at The Woods, and then finish the rest of the coursework for the semester at home on my own. The beauty of the program is that it allows students to keep their lives and continue working, so I can actually incorporate what I learn in my classes right into my clinical work. I took my first class this past summer, and I just completed my first full semester of graduate school. I absolutely love the program and it has enabled me to meet and network with music therapists working around the country.

Though we decided to stay in Evansville, we still needed a bigger house, so we put our house up for sale in February. Because of the bad housing market and the mess from the southeast side sewer project, it took us almost a full 9 months to actually sell our house. We finally closed on the sale of our home in mid-November and officially bought a new home at the beginning of December. Our new home is over 2200 square feet and has 4 bedrooms and 2 ½ baths. We also have a pool complete with a deck, so we are looking forward to some awesome pool parties this summerJ We should be moved in by January 17, if not sooner, and I will include our new address at the end of this letter.

Eric and I have also spent a lot of time out of town in 2008. In February, we went to Brown County with our friends Sarah and Colin. We visited several wineries during their Wine & Chocolate weekend. At the end of April/beginning of May, we took a much-needed vacation to the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. We stayed 5 nights at the El Dorado Royale where we could eat and drink as much as we wanted. While in Mexico, we visited Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of May, we travelled to Cincinnati for Eric’s cousin’s graduation party and visited the Cincinnati Zoo while we were there.

In the fall, we had planned to go to New Orleans for a week, but because of Hurricane Gustav, we were forced to change our destination at the last minute. We ended up spending the week of Labor Day in Savannah, Georgia instead. While there, we visited nearby Tybee Island, where we could just lie on the beach and relax. We spent several days just walking around the squares in Savannah, and we spent our evenings on ghost tours and even a haunted pub craw. At the end of October, Eric and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary in Louisville (again). The weekend consisted of a winery, a ghost walk, dinner at The Spaghetti Factory, and a night at Howl at the Moon piano bar. Only 2 weeks later, we travelled to Ft. Wayne to attend a family wedding in Columbia City. This was an extremely hectic weekend, as we made stops to visit friends in Pendleton, Bluffton, and Indianapolis. We also stopped at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on the way home, so I could show Eric the campus. The week before Thanksgiving, I attended the American Music Therapy Association conference in St. Louis, and I was able to come home with some fresh ideas for my private practice.

It has been an exhausting year and we are content to spend the last month in Evansville so that we can paint and work on the new house and move out of the old one in time for the new owners to take possession of it. While we are excited about finally moving, we are still a little nostalgic, as we have had many great times in this house. Eric has lived here for 4 and a half years and I have been here for almost 3 years. It was also in this house that Eric proposed to me! Needless to say, we are still looking forward to the memories we will make in our new home!

Though 2008 was hectic, we expect no less of 2009. School will start up again for me in the middle of January, and Eric has several big projects coming up at work. We also hope to be able to continue travelling and are tentatively planning another trip to Europe this spring/summer, (assuming we have any money left after buying the house). This time around, we’d like to visit Prague, Munich, and Venice.

We have started an online blog (http://rachelandericmaurer.blogspot.com) so that you can keep up with what’s going on with us throughout the year. We also have pictures from our travels, etc. posted on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/72101519@N00/). This shows only a few sets of pictures, but if you log in to your account, you should be able to see even more. Finally, our new address is:

7010 Greencove Ave.
Evansville, IN 47715

Have a great holiday!

-Rachel and Eric (and Peanut Butter)

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