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????