Thursday, December 31, 2009

Peace Out, 2009

As I mentally prepared this post (please, you know you do it too), I kept thinking how I would start it off with something about 2009 being a crappy year and how I'm not at all sad to see it go....and other grumbling and whatnot.  On my list of Favorite Years Ever, this would be fairly low.  It had its bright points, sure, which I will share with you later.  It could be that my expectations have gotten so high in my 26 years of virtually problem-free living that it's hard to see how good I really have it.  It could also be that I was grumpy because I had to work today, and from my perspective no one else on the planet (okay, no one else I knew) had to work.  This may have fueled my fire and made me mentally type the groucho post opening. 

Then after work I hopped on the elliptical at Cardinal and purused a People magazine to make the 30 minutes I was chained to the machine seem less agonizing.  I flipped to an article about children who vanished during 2009 and of course was engrossed.  And luckily I did, because what smack upside the head!  You know who had a bad year, Lindsey?  The parents of these kids.  They can really say it was a bad 2009.  YOU did NOT have a bad year.  2009 was a year filled with travel, big accomplishments, and life lessons.  It was another year where I was allowed to say what I wanted (sometimes more than I should be allowed) and worship freely the God of my choice at the church of my choice.          

Here's a recap of our 2009.  The more I type the more I realize that I need to recognize that I'm one lucky lady.  Really and truly. 

January - Brent and I both started the mini-marathon training schedule and vowed to stick to it.  I did pretty well, making it to late March before I fell off the wagon.  Becca and I had fun planning the shower for Baby Bigelow and her beautiful momma.  The Blackberry entered our lives and we will probably never be able to go back to our pre-dataplan lives again. 

February - We welcomed the news of Miss Audrey Marie's birth on February 11th.  Ashley's mom called early, early in the morning (I insisted on getting a 4:00ish a.m. wake-up call because "I had to get up to work out anyway") and I was so thrilled to hear her say, "It's a girl!"  Brent and I celebrated Valentine's Day at Bella Vita.

March - Viva l'Italia!  We spent two glorious weeks traveling to most of the major cities in Italy.  The day after we got back, we celebrated Mom's birthday at the Cork 'n Cleaver.  The Boilermakers made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

April -  A calm month - after you've done Italy, you have to cool it with the fun for awhile.  We took Bonnie to the Mutt Strut with Charlie and the Sinders...she loved it, of course.  Designed the plan for our landscaping overhaul.

May - Had a successful running of the 500 Festival mini.  Celebrated Mother's Day with our families at Joseph Decuis in Roanoke.  Had a great time with the Sinders and Mitchells at our first ever Indy 500 - surely something that will now be tradition.  Spent a long weekend in Savannah and Charleston for my birthday -wallowed in gallons of sweet tea.  Just the way a Southern-at-heart gal should spend her birthday! 

June -   Brent and I did Outrun the Sun, the event to fight skin cancer.  We figured we'll need these services later in our pale lives.  I received my notice that I'd finally passed all sections of the CPA - OH HAPPY DAY!!  Took a girls' trip to southern Michigan and had an extended family outing to the Cardinals' game in STL.

July - Celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary and welcomed another cousin on the same day - Mr. Sullivan Robert.  Visited Emma and Greg's new house in Columbia City at another girls' day, and threw Ashley K. a shower for the Bouncing Baby Boy Beau.  Slaved away over the HVAF marketing plan and was pleased later in the year to see that they'd implemented some marketing suggestions.  Great organization - check them out!  Prayed for our Landon Kutscher.  The Pillers' clan was blessed with yet another boy - Louis Robert. 

August  - Switched positions within the organization and was promoted to Customer Service chief - a job that still has nothing at all to do with accounting.  I'll get back to accounting eventually...maybe.  Brent and Adam spent a few days in Denver and climbed Long's Peak.  We celebrated the life of Grandpa Pillers and mourned his passing.

September -  Spent several days in Washington and Oregon on another activity-packed vacation.

October - Mom and Dad came down for the CPA banquet.  We joined the Adams family on a road trip to Wisconsin.

November - Took in our first Colts' game in several years with Rachel and Justin.  Enjoyed a Veteran's Day lunch at Fogo de Chao.

December - Finished my MBA.  OH HAPPY DAY again!  Gained another family member - welcome, Baby Grant!          

I'm excited for a new year and to see what adventures it will bring us.  Regardless of what happens, I doubt it's boring.  Tonight we're ringing in the New Year at home with a quiet evening and preparing for what we hope will be a fruitful and abundant 2010.  Happy New Year to you and yours, and we'll see you for another Blog-a-licious year tomorrow.

Peace out, 2009! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Christmas Post

Hope you all had a nice holiday weekend with your family and friends!  Ours was quiet and uneventful, just the way we wanted it.  We went to our own church for the Christmas Eve service and then hurried home to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and open our gifts to each other.  Love that movie! 

Dear George,

Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.

Thanks for the wings!

We went to Kendallville early (ish) Christmas morning for a change-up joint Christmas with Brent's parents.  Big Lou made another yummy dinner and we enjoyed it around the new table.  We opened gifts, spent the night, and then headed home on Saturday.  Short and sweet, but luckily we have lots of plans in the works for the winter months that will involve spending more time with my parents - whether they know it or not.  Anyone up for a family ski trip?

I give you the rest of Christmas in photos...

Hmmm...what is it?  Perhaps something to hang on the wall? 

Brent ordered and framed my CPA certificate to match his.  I will also be enjoying another massage and pedicure at my favorite spa in the near future, and may bring my own brand new Bath and Body Works pink robe with me! 

I broke down and bought Bonnie a stocking this year.  I have never been one to dress up my dog (except for Ugly Sweater Party, which is totally acceptable), but I think this is what happens to people when they get farther along in life with no children.  They start turning their pets into people that need Christmas stockings...yikes, someone save me...

Let me at that chicken!

Poor Puppa Bon Bon is too tired for Euchre

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ugly Sweater Party 2009

Last Saturday it was time to dig out the snowman sweater vest/dress and roll up a batch of meatballs for our annual Ugly Sweater Party!  I just love a tacky Christmas sweater. 

Making their first ever appearance at Ugly Sweater were the Bigelows and their peanut.  They came early to hang out before Audrey had to go to bed...and I think she was ready to go to bed after having our dog in her face the whole evening.  Oh Bonnie. 

This was also Mel's first time at the party.  She was in Boston for the first two years...we're happy she's back in the state! 

You can't tell by this picture, but Lana was rockin some great glittery-green tights and snowflake socks. 

You can call me Bonnie, you can call me Justin.  Just don't call me Shirley.

Blog friends Emily and Ashley meet for the first time.  Fun birthday links - Laura's birthday is Feb 6th, Ashley is Feb 22nd, and Ashley and Emily's babies were born on February 11th, which is Rachel's birthday.  Mel and I really don't have any ties to this, but we are both May babies.  If I was better at photoshop, Kevin Bacon's head would be hovering in the background. 

You don't mind if I sniff your baby's head, right??  Pardon me, you're in the way...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cooking with Active Yeast - FAIL

It's become a tradition that our small dinner group of women meets at Christi's for an Italian dinner and gift exchange one Saturday in December.  After a big carrot cake disaster a couple years ago that left me with only day-old Panera pastries to bring to the party, I decided to supply the bread and wine this year.  You know, like in the Bible.   

I consider myself a pretty functional cook, and wanted to set out to prove that the carrot cake incident was definitely isolated.  This seemed like a great opportunity to conquer my fear of cooking with active yeast, so I decided to tackle the "Melt in Your Mouth Yeast Rolls".  So yummy...if they turn out the way you want.

Marsh didn't have any Rapid Rise Fleischmann's yeast, so I went for the Take-Forever-To-Rise yeast.  Big mistake.

After almost 5 hours of setting on a warm cooktop (I kept my oven on pretty much all day just for those stupid rolls - what a waste of energy), the dough had definitely not doubled in size but it was time to go to the party.  I took a chance and baked them anyway...

Fluffy and light they were not.

I had considered jumping on the bandwagon and making the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls for my neighbors, but after this experience it may take me awhile to get back on the rolling pin again.  Good thing Marsh is on the way to Christi's!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Roll Tide....NO!

Alabama may have brought home the Heisman tonight, but it's basketball season now.

Boilermakers roll on to 9-0!!!!   

Wild Dream

I just rolled out of bed this morning and have to share my crazy dream, which I'm so glad isn't true.

For some reason, I have just taken over as the head coach of Purdue's men's basketball team.  It's a Thursday evening and the players are all sitting in desks (same configuration as my current office) and getting ready to go home for the day.  What they were working on, I have no idea.  Hopefully their schoolwork.  E'twaun Moore comes into my office with the playbook and wants some different ideas of routes he can run (here I'm mixing football and basketball).  I, having no idea what routes he should run, tell him "Oh, just do what you think is right, and I'll tell you if it's not" and "Ask some of the other players." 

Just as I'm packing up for the evening, I realize that I have not made any travel accomodations for our trip to play the Denver Broncos, and we're leaving tomorrow!  (Again, mixing in football.)  It was too late to book it on a university credit card for some reason, so then I'm adding up the number of flights and figuring out if I can do it without maxing out my credit card.  Then I'm thinking about calling my sister to see if she knows someone in the hotel business and could call in a favor.  Sheer panic.  And then, the most panicked feeling of all hits - I don't know anything about coaching basketball!!!!

Brent woke me up at this point, and when I told him the whole drama, he says, "Don't worry, the head coach can't do all that!  There's a Sports Information office that makes all the arrangements.  And they fly on a chartered plane, not commercial."  And then something to the effect that I need to spend my Friday nights recruiting, not booking flights.

Phew.  My real job seemed pretty good this morning when I realized it was a dream.  Not that I'm not scrambling at that sometimes, too, but the good news is there aren't thousands of fans ready to fire me when I don't know what the H-E-double hockey sticks I'm doing.

But on a separate note, how fun does it sound to work in a university's Sports Information office????

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Brent!

The Thanksgiving Baby turned 28 today!  We celebrated with a surprise dinner/get-together with his friends last night.  Adam and Justin met us at Sapporo, a Japanese steakhouse, for dinner and then we met up with the Sinders, Jonathan and Megan, and Derrick at Scotty's later.

Sadly, I didn't think to take a group picture at Scotty's, but taking one while we were enjoying this cake would have been the perfect time to do it.  The cake was tasty and Brent was pretty pumped about it.



The party ended way into the night at a karaoke bar in Carmel, where the Johnson brothers entertained the interesting crowd with hits like "Ice, Ice Baby", "High Enough", and a little Bobby Brown action - "My Perogative".  Classic.

When Derrick couldn't keep up with Ice, Ice Baby, he leaned on his sweet dance moves to get through the song.

Thank you, wonderful friends, for making this "the best birthday I've had in a long time".  That's a direct quote from the birthday boy himself as he opened presents and ate breakfast in bed this morning. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

“We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving’, Charlie Brown.”

We had another great Thanksgiving break, which technically isn't over yet.  (YIPPEE!)  We left for Kendallville right after work on Wednesday, dropped off the dog, and went back to Fort Wayne for dinner and drinks with our friends.  Since we're the only out-of-towners, they are good about humoring us when we request to eat at Casa everytime we get together.  I love those people.

Stormy and Nick joined us the next day for the Thanksgiving feast in the new addition.  Does this look like a Norman Rockwell painting or what?

Ashley stopped by before dinner so I could see her pretty girl in her turkey bow.

Bonnie had a field day mixing it up with Little Roxanne.  She served her post as the Thanksgiving Savage well.

Dirty dog...
Bonnie escaped and made a beeline for the woods.  We watched her little white body prancing through the leaves and laughed and laughed.  It was fun for all until it was time to chase her down the road and give her a bath.

The happy engaged couple!  Congratulations!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Muppets Do Queen

Two posts in two days?!  What's going on, right?  I stumbled across this on another blog today and had to share it.  Oh I love the Muppets.  And Queen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is This Really Thanksgiving Week...Already?

Maybe we say this every year, but I can't believe how quickly time has passed and that it's already Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow is our feast at work and on Wednesday we'll head north to my parents'.  Wowsas!  Although, I know it must be true because basketball season is in full force and I'm upstairs seeking asylum from all the yelling at the TV. 

Speaking of other things I can't believe, how 'bout that Colts-Patriots game?  I thought for sure that it was over.over.over.  Here's a quote from our fine governor, Mitch Daniels, upon awarding Joe McConnell (voice of Purdue sports) the Sagamore of the Wabash this week:        

“I told him I actually did give two of these this week. Because it’s for wisdom and judgment and benefits to the state of Indiana, I did give one to (New England Patriots coach) Bill Belichick .”

Speaking of the Sagamore of the Wabash, I have to confess that it is written in my dream book that I want to someday be given that honor.  I'm not sure yet why I would deserve the award, but I guess I better get crackin'.  At this point I think saving orphans from a burning building could do it, or maybe starting a not-for-profit to help veterans or something.  Any dream of making great contributions to the field of science or of being an Olympic champion, well I'd say those are out the window.  I'm going to be on the lookout for orphans that need saving.

I recently started taking yoga...and not just any yoga...Hot Yoga.  I think it sounds so much cooler with the "Hot" in the name.  Nothing's different besides the room being 90 degrees, which makes you sweat like you've never sweat before.  Alli got me started, and Rachel joined tonight, so I think we should call this Hot Friend Yoga.  Or Hot Yoga, for Friends.  Or Yoga for Friends who are Hot.  Because it's 90 degrees in here.  (Sorry, I'm trying to do a Michael Scott thing here, but I'm not positive it's working).

And while I'm on bad comedy routines, here's a little conversation I had with my friend Emma today as I was driving around in circles in Broad Ripple at rush hour trying to pick up the ham and turkey for tomorrow...

L: "Aghghghghhhhh, I can't find this f-ing ham store!!!"
L: swings the car around in the parking lot "Sorry Emma, I about dropped the big f-bomb there."
E: "Oh.  That's okay.  I just thought you were talking about going to see your family in Effingham over Thanksgiving."


I leave you with a few pictures of our recent happenings to close out this very disjointed post, even if it means rescuing the camera from the yelling pit downstairs... (I go to yoga to de-stress, so unless I stay up here I consider it an hour wasted...)

Starting off a roadtrip to Wisconsin the right way...with a Cherry Limeade

With Lindsay and Craig on our trip

Camp Randall, Madison, WI - Stop #4 on my tour of the Big Ten Stadiums

Our first trip to Lucas Oil

The boys and their classic pose


Puppy girl, taking a break from mischief.

Happy Thanksgiving, blog friends!  I hope to see some of you over the holiday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh Veterans (and Veterans Day), How I Love Thee...

Thank you, veterans!  Thank you for defending our country today, thank you for laying down your lives, and thank you for giving us the pride to tear up during the singing of our National Anthem every.single.time. 

By the way, I struggled with wanting to put an apostrophe in Veterans Day, I guess because grammar is important to me I don't want to look like an idiot on the internet.  Here's the official ruling from the Department of Veterans Affairs:

Q. Which is the correct spelling of Veterans Day?
a. Veterans Day
b. Veteran's Day
c. Veterans' Day

A. Veterans Day (choice a, above). Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an "s" at the end of "veterans" because it is not a day that "belongs" to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.

Huh.  Should this ever show up while you're a contestant of a grammar gameshow, you know where to send the check.
We immensely enjoyed one of our job perks today - having Veterans Day off.  I had five objectives for the day.  Here they are:

1. A good work out
2. Laundry/iron
3. Email about family pictures
4. Store for toothpaste, contact solution, etc. since this was the last possible day I could live without them
5. Blog

Things I added to the list:
1. Buy shoes online at Nine West (big sale, check it out)
2. Find long-lost classmates on Facebook
3. Look at photocards templates 
4. Eat at Fogo de Chao

I don't think that "Laundry/iron" is an item that will EVER leave the list...there's always more to do.  And it's only the two of us!  Clothing management - not one of my better skills.

Anyway, we had a great, relaxing day.  We'd been looking forward to using our gift card at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse downtown.  It was a great experience.  They have a fancy schmancy salad bar and bring all the meat you could ever eat to your table.  You have a little card that you flip to the green side if you want more, and then flip to red if you need a break. 

After lunch we stopped by the new Marion County library downtown.  It's been opening for awhile, so it's only new to us, but it's also been awhile since I've stepped foot in any library.  I finally signed up for a library card now that I've been here almost five years.  I'm anticipating having more time to read very, very soon.... 

Why, you ask?  Well I'll tell you why - it's because I only have FIVE MORE GRAD CLASSES until I'm done with my MBA.  Wowsers!  December 3rd is it, folks! 

Here is my grad class after our presentations last night.  I love these people!  It's roughly the same group of 12 that have gone through the program together for the last two and a half years.  I will miss them! 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CPA Banquet

Last Friday we went to the Indiana CPA Society annual banquet and awards ceremony.  This was my third time - I was there in 2004 for Manchester's 3rd place finish in the case study competition, 2007 when Brent passed the exam, and was finally attending for passing the exam myself.  I was the big nerd who brought her parents along.  Brent really thought I was ridiculous.  But hey, since they paid for my college, the least I can do is to invite them to a dinner, dorky or not.  I appreciated them hanging in there through the awards ceremony, packed full of accounting humor.  Or attempts at it...CPAs don't get paid the big bucks to be stand-up comedians.

Here's the only picture of the evening since I forgot to charge the camera battery....

It was a nice night of celebrating a big accomplishment and seeing old Manchester friends!  And, most importantly, was an excuse to buy a new dress.  :)