Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What a time to be thankful! There are so many things....the people I blog about each week, a marriage off to a good start, a great job and lots of work-life balance, good health, a Starbucks on every corner that treats its employees well and provides them with great benefits....

The list goes on and on!!

Here are some pictures from the Thanksgiving weekend festivities. On Wednesday we met Becca, Andrew and Ashley for dinner at Casa and then joined Emma, Greg & Co. at The Inn for free fries. We forgot they didn't start until 10...oh how things change a few years after college! Brent was blown away by North Manchester and especially by The Inn...I tried to tell him that it wasn't much. To all the Manchester gang - it's not much, but it was ours!

Thursday was Thanksgiving dinner at the Pillers' which included Nick and Stormy. This was their last Thanksgiving in Kendallville after almost 20 years here. Nick already packed up and headed to Philadelphia and Stormy is soon to follow after a few key cases go to court at her office.

Mom woke me up at 4:00 a.m. on Black Friday and she was right as usual - there was grumbling. Once I had my peppermint mocha I was ready to hang out at Best Buy for about 45 minutes while Mom was in line. You'll see her head in a crowd of shoppers later. Big scores of the day: flannel Martha Stewart sheets, a $40 Ralph dress shirt, and a Sonicare toothbrush from Target. WOOO!

Mom and I went to Drew's shower at Gene Stratton Porter on Saturday afternoon. It was a lovely brunch - good job Julia and Jordan! It was great seeing Drew again and helping her get ready for her big wedding to Chris Conrad on December 28th! Drew's big scores of the day: a Kitchenaid mixer from Ma-maw and a "classy" nightie from that mischevious Jordan...Drew loves that kind of thing!! (ha.)

On Saturday night we celebrated Brent's birthday with my parents a week early and he had his favorite, carrot cake. He also opened Mom's big score at Best Buy - Season Three of Entourage, Parts I AND II.

It was a great weekend at home but now it's back to reality! I had a big paper due today but now that it's turned it's nothing but smooth sailing into the weekend. We had a new roof put on our house today that will be finished tomorrow, so I guess that's kind of exciting.

Until next time...

Action shot: running to the car after picking up some tartar sauce for our crab cakes on Saturday...it was serious business!

I don't think he uses his squinty-eyed mean look when delivering packages...

Thanksgiving table favors..nothing says we're thankful more than a chance to win more money.

Emma and I: we call this our "Been out in the cold November Rain" look

I never once noticed this sign at The Inn until now. Hmmm.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mid-November Review

Rocking out to music in the basement - always made better by great costume accessories

With Lori's little Shitzu Sadie - Sporting her Flamin' Hearts sweater

Cornhole with bird boots

This is going to be a short blog because I'm tired and just want to snuggle up in bed and watch The Hills. However, it has been quite some time since the last blog so I thought the least I can do is catch you up on our weekend if you are interested. Last week was Veteran's Day, so we enjoyed a day off work and I remembered our veterans by....shopping. I am sorry - I really and truly appreciate the sacrifice made by our service men and women - after all, I DO work for the military AND I watched every installment of The War AND Saving Private Ryan recently, BUT it was very convenient to get some shopping done while crowds were at a minimum.

The big project this week was making Brent's surprise cornhole set for his birthday. A big thank you is in order to Justin Sinders who cut out the holes in the boards while Rachel and I talked and kind of sanded. Thank you, Sinders! I made a final push to get the set at least in working order by the Oaken Bucket game, which did happen. Brent's birthday is not until the end of the month but I think he was glad we got to play this weekend.

After the football game we headed for Effingham where we spent Saturday night and Sunday visiting my Grandpa and Grandma Pillers, Mama, and Lori and fam. Grandpa has been sick lately so please keep him in your prayers.

I promise I'll have a more entertaining blog later this week with pictures from our upcoming Free Fry night at the Chet, Thanksgiving, BLACK FRIDAY!!! (as Big Lou so excitedly proclaims), and Drew's shower. Phew - I love the holiday season...so many fun things to do!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's the Sinders' Anniversary Celebration!

On Saturday we had the Sinders and Jen and Kevin over for dinner to celebrate Justin and Rachel's first anniversary! It was actually October 21st, but it's hard to get a free weekend for everyone sometimes. Seems like it was just yesterday that we were enjoying the delicious cuisine, romantic atmosphere, and open bar at their wedding. It was also the day Brent missed his first home Purdue game in almost a decade, if that gives you any indication how much we like the Sinders.

Our menu for the night:

Spanakopita and Shrimp Shooters in champagne glasses

Strawberry and Mushroom Spinach Salad
Rosemary Potatoes
Parmesean Chicken Breasts
Green Bean Bundles (see recipe on Big Lou's post)

Chocolate Cake with homemade chocolate frosting and pink polka dots, to resemble their wedding cake


I love our dining room table!

Dishes we don't use very often - so why not get them out whenever you have a chance!

We toasted the Sinders' anniversary, but also Jen and Kevin's first year together as well. Jen was a bridesmaid in the wedding and Kevin was a groomsman, and they started dating after that night!

CPA Banquet

On Friday night we headed downtown for the annual Indiana CPA Society banquet. Brent passed the CPA exam last August but just missed the cut-off to be recognized at last year's banquet. I am very proud of him! I won't lie...I did hold his "Congratulations, You Passed!" card when I passed by an old professor and pretended it was mine. Just kidding. But I did hold it for a second and felt its warmth...felt like power to me! :)

The banquet was held at the Crowne Memorial Plaza at Historic Union Station this year. (And P.S., I may not have all the words of that location name in the right order, please excuse me.) I bought a new dress when shopping with Becca a few weekends ago (refer to earlier post) and was toying with the idea of taking it back. So I put the dress on to give it another look before the tags came off and had Brent zip me up. As he was zipping I heard an unnatural noise when it comes to fabric, zippers, and fancy dresses. Then silence. And long pausing.

"Brent, is something wrong?"
"Yup." Holds the detached zipper handle in front of me to see.

Well, I guess I'm keeping the dress! I'm glad it happened, because I LOVE that dress and didn't want to take it back...but do I need it? Hmmm, maybe?! I do now! :)
We got to the banquet with plenty of time to spare, which was good because we walked around the whole building trying every door was saw before finding the entrance. This seems to happen to us, and I always wonder as I watch everyone else walking normally to the entrance, "Why does everyone else seem to know what's going on and we never do?" Silly.

We sat with a table of fellow DFAS-ers but were excited to see old friends from BKD, Manchester and Ball State.

It was exactly three years ago that Dan Waninger and I took this same picture. We were in our senior year at Manchester and were awarded 3rd place in the Case Study Competition at the dinner. I don't have the picture from three years ago handy, but I assure you we are both getting better with age. My dress had a zipper handle in 2004...but other than that it's pretty much the same.

BKD Beckner and Briana

What Happens When You Get Impatient and Pushy??

You look like a fool. I'll start this week's blog with a funny story from last night. Brent and I were on our way to Chile Verde to meet friends for dinner. I was driving and got stuck behind a slow minivan, but really I'll admit it wasn't going that slow. I was soooo annoyed, why I don't know, and MAY have been following a little closely and MAY have been muttering under my breath. I sometimes do this, which is why Lori and Baleigh bought me the Road Rage Psycho for Christmas last year. You'd just have to see it.

So anyway, this van FINALLY decides to turn, and it's right where I want to turn, of COURSE! I make the turn and think "Sheesh, looks like we'll be behind this FOOL all the way to Chile Verde!!" As I look up out of my road rage trance, I realize that I have followed this van into a high school parking lot. Hello! Meanwhile, Brent is dying and is trying so hard not to laugh. Band practice happened to be getting out at this time, so I drove to the back of the parking lot, did a U-ie, pretended I was picking someone up, and then got back onto the REAL road to Chile Verde. Maybe you had to be there, but the moral of the story for me: don't act like an impatient jackass. You might miss out on where you were headed.

In other news: Brent and I successfully assembled our treadmill last week! It's amazing, and we know it. We're not the most mechanical couple, so it was one small victory. I hope it's the first success story on our way to having built-in book cases and a new deck. Here are scenes from the triumph:

"Ohhhh, so you mean that a dry-clean only dress isn't the best thing to wear while assembling a large piece of machinery?"

Differences between Brent and I: I immediately rip open the bag and start flingin parts around, not even taking time to change after work. Brent reads the instruction manual and changes into an old t-shirt.