Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Very Merry Young-Caudell Christmas

Christmas has already come and gone... incredible!

Going on a severe lack of sleep over the last few days, I don't think I am going to force myself to sit here and write down every detail of the holiday. But I will say that it was wonderful getting to spend time with all of my family, and I'm sad that it is already over with. Gearry had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas, so I didn't get to see him nearly as much as I wanted to, but we tried to make the best of our limited time together. It was the first time I didn't wake up in my parents' house on Christmas morning, but waking up in my own house with Gearry was a pretty cool feeling.

I hosted Hillary's bachelorette party in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, and it turned out great. I think everyone had a great time... I know I did, despite being very nervous about how everything would turn out. There were about 9 girls, including Hillary and me, and we started the night at O'Shaugnessy's Public House, a great restaurant where I actually asked Hillary to be my Maid of Honor a couple years ago! After dinner we headed back to the hotel where I'd booked a room for all of us and enjoyed some games, cake and beverages, and Hillary opened her gifts. Around 11:00, we finally headed out for the night, hitting up Mynt Ultralounge, where I had arranged for a little VIP service. We had a roped off section where we could sit and chill and some champagne waiting for us upon arrival. We went to the club for Hillary's birthday back in October and she loved it, so I knew it'd be a hit. We all crawled into bed relatively early -- we were asleep before 2:00 -- the sign of a crazy but good night.

Monday and Tuesday flew by in a rush of Christmas festivities, and now I'm already thinking about this weekend, the big wedding! Gearry and I leave for Ohio tomorrow... I am working 12-hour shift today so that I can get out of here early tomorrow, and tonight is going to be filled with laundry, packing and -- hopefully -- a nice, long run to relax a bit. Lots and lots of stuff to do! I'm excited for Hillary and Chris, though, and excited that Gearry and I actually get to spend three days together, even though it's going to involve quite a bit of running around. I'm happy to do it, though. Hillary has been such a good friend... she deserves the best!

Ahhhhh, crazy crazy crazy! I will update next week when I get back from Ohio and things are all settled once again. If I don't make it before New Year's, have a very happy end of 2007 and an even happier beginning of 2008!

Friday, December 21, 2007

7 Great Medical Myths Revealed

I found this interesting article on MSNBC and thought I'd share, since these are myths that seemed to get passed around a lot (I thought at least 4 of them were true)...

LONDON - Reading in dim light won’t damage your eyes, you don’t need eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy and shaving your legs won’t make the hair grow back faster.

These well-worn theories are among seven “medical myths” exposed in a paper published on Friday in the British Medical Journal, which traditionally carries light-hearted features in its Christmas edition.

Two U.S. researchers took seven common beliefs and searched the archives for evidence to support them.

Despite frequent mentions in the popular press of the need to drink eight glasses of water, they found no scientific basis for the claim.

The complete lack of evidence has been recorded in a study published the American Journal of Psychology, they said.

The other six “myths” are:

Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight
The majority of eye experts believe it is unlikely to do any permanent damage, but it may make you squint, blink more and have trouble focusing, the researchers said.

Shaving makes hair grow back faster or coarser

It has no effect on the thickness or rate of hair regrowth, studies say. But stubble lacks the finer taper of unshaven hair, giving the impression of coarseness.

Eating turkey makes you drowsy

It does contain an amino acid called tryptophan that is involved in sleep and mood control. But turkey has no more of the acid than chicken or minced beef. Eating lots of food and drink at Christmas are probably the real cause of sleepiness.

We use only 10 percent of our brains

This myth arose as early as 1907 but imaging shows no area of the brain is silent or completely inactive.

Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death

This idea may stem from ghoulish novels. The researchers said the skin dries out and retracts after death, giving the appearance of longer hair or nails.

Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals

Despite widespread concerns, studies have found minimal interference with medical equipment.

The research was conducted by Aaron Carroll, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, and Rachel Vreeman, fellow in children’s health services research at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Holidays Are in Full Swing

It doesn't matter how old I am... I love the holidays! Despite the stress and hustle and bustle (all of which I try to eliminate as much as possible) there are great times to be had.

Last Tuesday, Bailey and I spent the evening at Carly & Parman's apartment making gingerbread cookies! We set out to make gingerbread people, but I had some issues locating our gingerbread person cookie cutter, so we ended up settling for Christmas trees. They turned out great! We enjoyed some pizza while the dough was chilling, then had a good time cutting, baking and decorating with frosting and sprinkles. I took the cookies to work the next day to share with my department and they got rave reviews! I'm not the world's greatest baker, so I'll credit Carly & Parman with the success. Bailey loved the cookies, too, but that's not surprising. I shared a few little bits with him, which is how I got him to sit so attentively for this picture:

On Thursday, Gearry and I set out to start and finish all of our holiday shopping. Yeah, yeah, I know, kinda last minute. But it was a success, mostly, as we didn't have all that much to purchase this year. We have a couple more things to pick up later this week. After shopping we went out to dinner, capping off a pretty fun date night.

On Friday, Gearry and I attended my office Christmas party at the new-ish Hilton in downtown Bloomington. I love the people in my department... most of them are around my age, so we make work as fun as possible. We talked about the party all day at work, like it was prom or something. "What are you wearing?" "How are you doing your hair?" "What time are you guys going to get there?" Fortunately, it didn't disappoint. It's hard to fail with the 3 D's... dinner, dancing, and lots of drinks! Afterwards a few of us headed over to Nick's, one of our favorite bars, for a nightcap and conversation, and I ran into some rowing friends. Just a great night.

This week should be pretty uneventful, until the weekend. Hillary's bachelorette party that I've been planning for a couple months now is this Saturday, Dec. 22nd. I have to volunteer on Saturday morning, but as soon as I can I'll be on the road to Ohio. It's so hard to plan something from this much of a distance, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything turns out! I'm not sure if Hillary reads this blog or not, so I won't share any details, just in case. But I'll provide a full update upon my return!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Day on the Horizon

Tomorrow is Thursday, which is quickly becoming my only truly happy day of the week, as I actually get to spend some time with Gearry! I’m going to come into work as earlier as possible so that I can leave as early as possible, so that I can maximize Stacey & Gearry date night! We’re planning on enjoying some jazz and grub at Jazz at the Station, since they’ve been begging Gearry to come in and eat since he left. I got to stop in and check the place out a couple weeks ago while Gearry picked up his last check, and it was gorgeous. It’s located in an old train station (hence the name) and still has the beautiful old hardwood floors and detailing. Low light, live jazz, very romantic.

Other happy news: I am finally finally finally getting a road bike! After talking about it all summer and sadly realizing I needed to funnel my money into other things (like, uh, bills?) at the time, it never happened, and I was pretty bummed since I had been keying myself up for a sprint triathlon. But now that Gearry is working and things are back on track, I decided to start looking for a nice entry-level bike. I told pretty much everyone I saw, in case someone knew about a gently-used one I could look into. Low and behold, all that yakking to everyone served me well, because I found out my friend Carly was interested in selling her OCR 3, since she never rode it much. It has low mileage and she took good care of it, so I’m pumped! I’m looking forward to picking it up next week, although it kind of stinks that it is December and I can’t do a ton of riding for the next couple months (although I have lots of warm spandex and under-armour, so don’t be surprised if you see be spinning around in the frigidness!). But at least I’ll be ready for next season and hopefully spend some of the weekends taking on some sprint tri’s!

And, Kath, since I know you are reading this as you take a well-deserved break from your horrendous graduate school applications, may I remind you once again that I am having dinner with Afra tonight? Okay, just wanted to make sure you hadn’t forgotten. Thanks. (I love you, Kath!)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gotta Love Those Dave & Rae Fridays

Friday was definitely one of my favorite days of 2007 (minus that whole wedding/honeymoon thing… heh heh). Stebby came in from Ohio, along with her friend Colleen (not the same Colleen from IU that I usually talk about), for a night out in B-Town and some Dave & Rae! If you haven’t heard me talk about Dave & Rae before: #1 That is surprising, and #2 They are pretty much the greatest cover band ever. Yeah, cover band, but still. They do a little bit of everything from Journey to Vanilla Ice to Oasis to John Mellencamp, and they definitely made for a lot of crazy nights during my years at IU (or at least the years I was old enough to get into the bars!). Over time, Stebby’s antics have managed to gain us VIP status, so it is always a good time when Stebby gets invited up on stage to dance or sing, or when we all hang out with the band. They are definitely not world famous, by any means (maybe famous in B-Town? maybe not), but we get excited like little groupies because we have so many great college (and now beyond) memories attached to their performances. And Gearry got to go with us thanks to his new schedule! My friends are big Gearry fans… what can I say?

So, Friday was excellent. There are so many pictures, but I never have them. We used Stebby’s camera, so if I can ever force her into posting them, I’ll put a few up. After hitting up the fabulous Carly & Parman residence for some homemade lasagna, garlic bread and salad, our group migrated over to the Bluebird and had a blast at Dave & Rae, crawling into bed at some outrageous hour in the morning. Unfortunately, I had to be up at 7:30 on Saturday to volunteer. Yuck. I somehow managed to drag myself out of bed and make it to the animal shelter on time. I psyched myself up with the thought of a nap in the afternoon, only to realize I didn’t have time since I had to meet a group of co-workers at 1:00 to go to another co-worker’s holiday open house/craft bazaar. It all worked out, though, because we had a good time, and I made it home by 6:00 p.m., and found the bed shortly thereafter. I’m pretty sure it was the second night that week that I was in bed by 6:30 p.m. Sad, but true.

There are lots of little things going on this week, but nothing major. Tonight I have to run up to Greenwood after work to pick up my bridesmaids dress for Hillary’s wedding, but I’m literally driving there, picking it up, and driving right back, no pit stops, no shopping. I’m on a savings and investing mission ;)

Gearry is doing great. He loves his new job. He’s a good leader, despite his quiet nature, so I think he’s settling in nicely. I’m happy for him, except that I never see him (our schedules are pretty much opposite of each other), so this is taking some getting used to. I’m at work when he leaves for work, and I’m in bed when he gets home from work. This doesn’t really have anything to do with the drive (which he has already mastered, thanks to a shortcut, down to 41 miles and 50 minutes), but just with the fact that our normal routines totally butt heads. I look forward to our Thursday and Friday evenings together, but it’s not nearly enough. I am considering working a flex schedule Monday-Thursday, so that I have Fridays off to be with him. But that means working until 6 p.m., Monday-Thursday, rather than my current 7:30-3:30 or 8:00-4:00. Gotta weigh out the options…

Josh is entering his “dead week” at Purdue, with no classes this week so that he can prepare for finals next week. (Wow, I am so glad not to have that anymore!) I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he has a productive week of studying and nails all of his exams!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I am Cursed!

I make teams lose. That's all there is to it.

The men's soccer team lost to Bradley in the second round of the NCAA tournament last night. They made it through regulation, two overtimes and into penalty kicks... and our LAST penalty kick was high. That was one silent crowd. We lost to BRADLEY?! We're a powerhouse, Bradley is kind of an... underdog? That wasn't supposed to happen. But, when I'm in the crowd, it always seems to.

No national championship this year :(

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

If at First You Are Frozen and Miserable... Try, Try Again!

Sunday afternoon I headed to campus with my friends Carly and Parman to take in Round 3 of the NCAA women’s soccer championship. It was the first time IU’s women had ever made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the tournament. Unfortunately, it was also the stopping point of a very successful season, as they were defeated by Duke, 2-0. Perhaps even more unfortunately, it was absolutely freezing, growing colder as the minutes passed by. And the rain that had started as a simple nuisance became a downpour, soaking us to the point of misery. Yet we hung in there, at least until 10 minutes left to go. With the Hoosiers down by 2 and our teeth chattering, we hated to bail but our shivering bodies demanded it. We stopped for a tasty dinner at Siam House, complete with hot (well, lukewarm) green tea, but I still didn’t warm up until over an hour later when I got home and stood under the hot shower water for about 20 minutes.

This evening we are going to try again, heading over to Armstrong Stadium to cheer on our men’s soccer team in Round 2 of their NCAA championship tournament. It is still quite chilly today, but it is forecasted to be dry, which makes an incredible world of difference. You better believe I will be there, complete with gloves, hat, wool socks, and scarf. In addition to my other clothes, of course ;) Mom is joining Carly, Parman and me, so it should be a fun evening. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Hoosiers, who have won many NCAA Championships, the latest in both 2003 and 2004, I believe. GO HOOSIERS!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I am so...

... sleepy. It's been a long weekend. A great one, but a long one.

... content. Again, the great weekend thing. Lots of time with my favorites, and no work stress.

... a little sad. IU women's soccer lost to Duke today in the third round of the NCAA tournament, and the men's basketball team got whooped on by Xavier last night. Come on, Hoosiers.

... grateful. For many things, but chiefly among them that I am sitting here warm and dry (after a very very very cold and wet time at the IU women's soccer game) with Bailey cuddled up next to me, watching Grossman make a fool of himself -- as usual -- as the Bears take on the Broncos.

... proud. Of Gearry. He loves his new job. I can't believe the level of responsibility he has. He's the right guy for the position. He's amazing, and I know he's going to keep on kicking butt.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What a Holiday Weekend!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I could drone on and on about this weekend, because it was basically fabulous, but I'll try to keep the update to a minimum. Try is the key word here.

Wednesday - I got off work around 3:00 on Wednesday, not to return until this coming Monday. Excellent! I miss all those mini-vacations you get with school! I packed up my stuff and Bailey and I headed down to Mitchell. It was nice spending some q-time with Mom, Dad & Josh. Mom took Bailey for a walk around Spring Mill while Josh and I ran trails. I was wearing longsleeved underarmour and long running tights, and Josh was running in shorts and no shirt. Go figure. Josh took me on some killer trails... I run a lot, but running steep, curvy and slick trails is totally different than road running. It was a good workout, and we didn't get shot by any deer hunters, which was my biggest fear, so I guess it was good experience all-in-all. Gearry got off of work pretty late and I met him at his parents' house, where we spent the night. It was the first time Gearry and I have ever spent the night together in his parents' house, so we got a kick out of it. We're dorks, what can I say. We are perpetual little kids.

Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving! Gearry had to work, not untypical for someone in his profession, so we hung out with his parents in the morning, stopped by his grandparents' to say hello, and then headed out to Cheryl & Larry's, where my family was having Thanksgiving dinner. Gearry had about five minutes to grab some turkey & mash before heading out to work. Dinner was great; it's always fun catching up with everyone. Jerry & Karen's daughters, Kaylee and Kylee, are so cute and always entertaining. They are Josh's number one fans, hands down, so it was funny to watch them hanging all over him all afternoon. They are definitely smitten.

Post-dinner, we headed home and I think I slept for at least 2 or 3 hours on the couch. And I don't even eat turkey, which is the thing that is supposed to make you sleepiest! I did eat roughly a ton of rolls, corn and mashed potatoes, so it's no wonder my body was begging for sleep! Bailey and I finally packed up later in the evening and headed back to the lake, after making a pit stop at the Caudells' and hanging out for a bit. Gearry's nieces were there, and they got a big kick out of Bailey. He loved all the attention, as usual.

Friday - Gearry and I slept in! As of late, this NEVER seems to happen, at least not together. Our schedules are just so different. And on my days to sleep in, I seem to do silly things, like sign up to volunteer bright and early at 8:30 a.m. Nevertheless, Bailey was strangely cooperative (he must have been tired from all the action the day before) and we actually made it until 11:30. It was amazing and much-needed. We took Bailey for a walk around the Pointe, went for a run, and then got ready to go out for the evening. We had dinner and drinks and watched some football at Scotty's Brewhouse (loving it as Arkansas beat LSU), walked over to the square to catch some of the downtown Bloomington holiday lighting ceremony (so pretty... why didn't I take pictures??!) and then parked ourselves at Coaches to watch the IU men's b-ball game vs. Illinois. It was late and we were pretty pooped by that time, so we only stayed for the first half. IU was playing pretty badly, so I am glad to say we did come out with the win in the end. Something just seemed off... but hopefully they'll get it back together! They are definitely one of the best teams we've had in years. I like how all the good teams seem to skip my time in college.

Saturday - Happy Thanksgiving again! Today we celebrated T-Day on Mom's side of the family, at Aunt Sharon & Uncle Steve's in Heltonville. I had to volunteer at the shelter this morning, so upon my return I got ready in a hurry and we headed over to the Nolan homestead. There are a lot of ways to get there through the country from here, and Gearry thought it would be a good idea to try a different one. Needless to say, roughly 40 minutes later we finally found our way there, after seeing some very interesting southern Indiana scenery and a whole lot of cows. The afternoon was so much fun! I looooove my family, what can I say? And I thought it was really nice that they put together a special salad (with no bacon), stuffing (with veggie stock) and green beans (no bacon grease) just for me. I don't ever expect anyone to cater to me, because pretty much everyone else eats meat and I don't want anyone to go out of their way, but it was so nice of them. The meal was great, the company was great, and being with Gearry was great, since he rarely has a Saturday off and very rarely gets to go to any family events. When we got home we spent a little time with Bailey and then promptly passed out for a wonderful three hour nap. Now we're just hanging out until it's time to once again head back to bed. Wonderful laziness!

Alright, so that was my weekend, even though it is not quite over yet. Tomorrow Gearry has to head back to work :( But the time with him these last couple days was awesome, so that is OK. Plus, he loves his new job (who wouldn't love running an outfit of West Baden's caliber?) and is probably ready to get back in there.

I'm meeting my friends Carly & Parman in the afternoon to go to the IU women's soccer game at Armstrong Stadium and cheer on our Hoosiers... they have made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament and IU is the lucky host.

A Game to Remember

If you missed the IU/Purdue Old Oaken Bucket Game last weekend... well, sorry about your luck, because it was definitely one not to be missed, whether on television or in person. Especially if you are a Hoosier fan!

After my rowing alumni events in the morning (more about those later, and the weekend with my friends, when Stebby gets pictures posted so that I can add some!), Mom, Josh and I went to the game (Dad also had a ticket but was sick).

Josh and I pretty much bash each other's schools 24/7, so it was awesome to sit next to him, me decked out in IU gear and he in Purdue. And it was even MORE awesome when Indiana came away with a crazy, crazy win, thanks to Austin Starr's freakin' long field goal with a few seconds left in the game. The crowd was riled up the whole time, of course, and the win brought them raining down on the field. We were on the high side of the stadium, so we stayed put, but it was fun watching everyone on the low side rush the field, jumping one after another like lemmings over the concrete ledges and banisters.

The best part of the whole thing was razzing Josh, though I tried *tried* to keep it to a minimum. The game could have just as easily gone the other way, so I kept that in mind. All the while wearing a huge grin. The is the first year in a long time that IU is bowl eligible, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we make it. It should be announced sometime early next week, after everyone else finishes up their games.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Misc. in Life

Somedays, I get the urge to update our blog, and then I realize, "Oh yeah, I have absolutely nothing to talk about." Hence the few days between posts.

Today, I don't really have anything too important to say, but that never kept me from talking before!

Colleen and Stebby will be here in 3.3 days and counting! I have a very full weekend, hanging out with all my friends coming in town on Friday and Saturday, partaking in alumni race activities on Saturday, IU/Purdue football game with Mom, Dad & Josh, and Britney's baby shower on Sunday afternoon. I think I will need an extra weekend to recover from the weekend!

Sunday is also Gearry's last day off (Saturday is his last day at Jazz) before starting his new job at the West Baden resort on Monday. Other than the long drive (no, we will not move away from Bloomington, no chance), he is very excited! Hopefully we will get to hang out some on Sunday, because I know he will be a very busy boy for awhile as he settles into his new role.

And, because Kath asked me so nicely, here are a couple more recent pictures of Bailey:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bailey's First Haircut

OK, seeing as Bailey is around a year and a half old, I am certain that he has had several haircuts throughout his lifetime. But today was the first time we had him groomed since we got him back in September. He looks so spiffy!

Fortunately for us (although perhaps unfortunately for her), my former rowing teammate Steph got the pleasure of being Bailey’s groomer at Canine Companions. Apparently he was a really good boy during his haircut, but, in her words, he turned into a “Tasmanian devil” when she tried to clip his nails. It ended up taking three staff to finish the job: one to lay on top of him, one to hold his paw, and one to actually cut the nails. His foster mom had warned us to never try to cut his nails by ourselves. We now know why!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Very Happy Halloween

I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween! It’s such a fun holiday, whether you like to dress up or not (I don’t, but I love checking out everyone else's costumes).

Gearry and I spent Halloween a little differently than most people, but it was a perfect evening. We took a bottle of champagne down to the water just to chill and ended up getting to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The combination of the colors in the sky and the colors of the trees was amazing.

After we’d drained our bottle and started to get a little chilly and a lot hungry, we walked back to the house and made a huge pot of tasty chili. We spent the night playing with Bailey, watching TV, and just generally being lazy. It was great.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Updates on Life

- I am so so so so so excited after receiving a call a couple days ago from Colleen. She has decided to fly in the weekend of the alumni race!! Stebby is also coming, and they're both staying at our house! It's going to be like so many weekends we spent together in college, especially all the super memorable ones from our senior year. I can't wait!! When you get to see your best friends every few months, you have to make the most of it!

- If you haven't already heard, Gearry's restaurant deal has kind of fallen flat. For a lot of reasons, far too many to get into here and more than I am willing to discuss. But I think it is for the best. He actually has a couple different opportunities at the present time, and both are good, so he is trying to make a decision. I will keep everyone updated with the -- hopefully -- good news to come.

- I took another promotion at work... I am not sure if I wrote about this in any past entries, but I was promoted to a position in Rooftop Publishing, a small, traditional book publisher. My title hasn't officially changed yet (Press Release Specialist) but I am essentially a public relations person. I act as a sort of publicist, from writing the press releases to scheduling book signings and author talks. So, still getting to write, but some added responsibilities.

- Bailey is doing great. Gearry and I absolutely love our little teddy bear (he's really fuzzy right now... he needs a hair cut!). Below is a pic from this past weekend at my mom and dad's house. He likes to sit on the back of the couch like a kitty (his other nickname, in addition to Teddy Bear, Squirrel, and Frijole Negro, in case you get confused) and look outside.

Things right now are stressful for a lot of reasons, but overall still good. I'm learning a lot about post-college life... some of it good, some of it not so good, but all of it necessary to be learned. I don't really like change, and I definitely like things to be set. When big stuff is up in the air, it's a challenge for me. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a steady course taking hold sometime soon. Then I feel like I'll be able to get some direction in my life and kind of hammer out the plan that's been missing.

Enough about that, though... I must return to work! I hope everyone is doing well, and I am getting excited about the holidays approaching so that I'll have the opportunity to spend time with many of you who I don't get to see very often!

- Stacey

Friday, October 19, 2007

Autumn Eats

With Thursdays's warm stormy weather, it felt more like spring than fall. But yesterday it was once again dark, breezy, cool and getting more and more colorful, and today bright, breezy, cool and even more colorful, much more as I envision autumn. In honor of the perfect football/tailgating/pumpkin-carving/cider-drinking conditions, I thought I would share a few of my favorite recipes for the season. Technically, I make most of them year round because they are so tasty, but they are particularly enjoyable when cold weather starts to roll in. I love fall!!

Easy Vegetarian Chili Uno-Dos-Tres

- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 small-medium onion)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup medium bell pepper (any color), diced
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 (14 1/2 oz.) can ready-cut tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper; saute 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add the water, chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; gently simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Ladle into a bowl and serve with cornbread if desired.

Baked Potato Soup

- 2 large baking potatoes
- 3 tbsp. margarine
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 4 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups instant mashed potatoes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. basil
- 1/8 tsp. thyme
- 1 cup plain soy, rice, or dairy milk or non-dairy creamer
- Bacon bits, shredded cheese (if desired)

1. Bake the potatoes at 4oo F for 1 hour. Allow to cool.
2. Melt the margarine in a large saucepan and saute the onion until transulcent. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Add the stock, water, cornstarch, instant mashed potatoes, and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Cut the cooled potatoes in half and scoop out the contents. Discard the skins. Chop the potatoes into bite-size chunks and add them, along with the milk or non-dairy creamer, to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened.
4. Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with "bacon" bits, cheese, etc., if desired. (Personally, I think the soup is great without either.)

There is something about fall that screams "soup!" Both of these are awesome. The chili is a lot quicker and easier, but the potato soup is also worth it if you have a little more time.

Love you all... have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just Another Day in Paradise

"Just Another Day in Paradise" is a relatively lame country song with a relatively un-lame point: even considering the mundane, everyday aspects of life, life is still pretty great, and there is no place better than home, with your loved ones. So that's my title for today, which is just an ordinary day surrounded by a lot of other ordinary days.

Sometimes I definitely feel like I am living in paradise. Moving to the lake was definitely a wonderful decision... I can't imagine now not being able to walk down a trail and find myself at the water. I've seen in morning, noon and night, and in a variety of seasons, and I can never decide which time of the day and year I prefer it. It's always gorgeous. I captured this picture recently as Bailey and I enjoyed an evening walk:

My cell phone camera doesn't pay it nearly enough justice. I hope that all of you who haven't had a chance to drop by the house yet will be able to come and check it out sometime. We love having guests and showing off our place!
Mom and Dad dropped off Luke yeterday evening. They left for vacation this morning and will be in Lake Cumberland and the Smokies until Sunday, so Gearry and I are dog-sitting. Bailey and Luke get along well, except that Bailey has about 10 times more energy (seeing as he is almost 7 years younger and 70 pounds smaller!) and sometimes wants to play when Luke is more than done. But Luke is such a sweet boy that he tolerates all the nibbles on his ears and his legs, and even when Bailey jumps off the couch and dive bombs him.
For all my far away friends who read the blog, I miss you! I just wrote another letter to Hillsley in Zambia yesterday, read Kath's blog from Poland, and have been thinking a lot about Colleen in Maryland and, of course, Stebby & Hill over in Ohio. It's really hard to have so many amazing friends and have them all so far away. But this is a "hello" and "I love you" to all of you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Fantastic Weekend: In Review

This past weekend was the best I've had in awhile... albeit most definitely the busiest I've had in awhile. It was pretty much non-stop, but -- most importantly -- quite enjoyable.

On Friday I left work around 3:30 to head to Columbus, Ohio, for Hillary's birthday! The best part: Hillary had NO clue I was coming. I'd been planning the surprise all week with the help of Stebby and Chris, so I was pumped that the day had finally arrived. Hillary had arranged for a night out on the town, and Stebby made plans to meet up with her at the first bar. When she arrived I was waiting with a cupcake, some candles and a lot of excitement! I have a hard time pulling off surprises, so it was nice that it all went as planned. Hill was super surprised, and we had a great night in the Short North/Arena District in downtown Columbus, hitting up Adobe Gilas, Mynt, and a short-stop at Brother's to close out the night.

The next morning I felt... HORRIBLE. Apparently I did not drink enough water the night before. Blah. But I had to get back to Indiana pretty early, so I found the strength to drag myself out of bed, grab some quick breakfast at Northstar with Stebby, and make the four hour drive back home just 17 hours after I'd arrived. A long roundtrip for a short amount of time, but completely worth it.

Saturday night, Gearry and I had plans with my friend Andy (from work), his wife Becky, and our other friend Elizabeth (also from work.) We all met up for dinner at Trojan Horse, then attended a play at the John Waldron Arts Center that was written and directed by another person who works at AuthorHouse. The play got over around 10:30, and our group headed to the Irish Lion for drinks and snacks and good conversation. It was a great night.

Sunday, I INSISTED on sleeping in. Mom called and woke me up at noon (Gearry was already at work) and I was not a happy girl. But I had hoped to be up by then, so I quickly showered and headed down to Mitchell to hang out with Mom, Dad, and Josh (who is home from Purdue for fall break). We watched the Colts game (we won, of course) and Mom made some homemade lasagna. Mom and Dad had also been watching Bailey all weekend since Gearry and I were so busy, so we were reunited and spent a lot of time playing and cuddling on the couch. Not to mention napping.

I definitely couldn't be on the go like that every weekend, but it is nice every once in awhile. Lots of stuff going on in my life right now. Nothing particularly exciting, but lots of little things. Kind of a good break from the doldrums of the predictible work-home-sleep schedule.

Tonight, I have to go to the Bloomington Animal Shelter for a quick dog-handling tutorial, as I officially start volunteering this Saturday. Afterwards, it's La Charreada for dinner with Mom and then we have tickets to see Annie at IU Auditorium! This was one of my favorite musicals growing up (probably my only favorite, as I'm not typically a big musical person) and I am excited to see it on stage for the first time.

Have a great one, everyone!

- Stacey

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Saturdays are Changing...

Last night I had orientation at the Bloomington Animal Shelter for their volunteer program. It went well and I will be volunteering on Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., for at least the next six months. Sacrificing my one morning to sleep in was a bit of a bummer, but with my schedule that is simply the best time for both me and the shelter, since they are closed most evenings. So, I will be dragging my booty out of bed on these crisp and cold fall/winter Saturdays, but I know it will be worth it.

I have wanted to volunteer at the shelter for awhile now, but everytime I started to fill out the volunteer application, one thing or another stopped me. Usually it was an emotional thing... I would start thinking about how hard it would be to be around all the dogs, knowing that some of them were probably going to be put to sleep. Now that I have dealt with euthanasia on a very, very personal level, my feelings towards it have changed a bit, and I know I can handle the fact that sometimes it just has to be done. Plus, Bloomington does a great job of almost always euthanizing for behaviorial/temperament issues (aggressive, unsafe dogs) and health issues. If a dog is reasonably healthy and friendly, or at least not vicious, chances are that it is going to get a good home.

The people there are all very concerned about animal welfare, and I like that. It is nice to be surrounded by a group of people who love and care for animals as much as I do.

I will be a dog walker, so I will mostly be either walking (duh) or playing with the dogs, just to give them some time to be out of their kennels and be social with a human. There are a TON of dogs (if you've ever been to the shelter, the room of dogs that you can visit and adopt is only about a quarter of the dogs on the grounds... the rest are either strays waiting for to see if anyone claims them, special needs dogs (sick, aggressive), and dogs awaiting their temperament tests or just waiting for room in the main room. I can't wait to play with all of them!

- Stacey

Monday, October 1, 2007

There's No Question... We're in Love!

Bailey has been with us for about five days now, and Gearry and I have fallen... hard! He is such a sweetheart and so ridiculously cute (I mean, look at this picture). Although I was very happy to get him, I didn't feel much of a personal connection at first. I remembered feeling the same way with Colby in the beginning, so I wasn't worried. But after Bailey fell asleep in my lap Friday night after an hour-long walk, he started to get to me. And after a great weekend with him, I am completely and totally in love.

Let's see... fun Bailey facts? He's about a year and half old, but that is at best guess by the vet. He is probably more towards the year side of things. He's a terrier mix, but he has a bushy, curly tail... that must be the "mix" part because we have no idea where that might come from! He is very, very fast... last night Gearry and I played with him on the golf course and he had a blast chasing a golf ball that we threw for him. For such a little guy, I could not believe how quickly he could go after it. He loves all kinds of treats, but of course we try to give him only the healthiest if possible. On special occasions he gets a "snausage" or a beggin' strip, but generally his favorite treat is baby carrots. I've never met a dog who liked carrots, but he loves them.

Today I am, of course, working all day (probably 7:30-4:00), but Gearry is off so he is taking Bailey to the dog park later, which should make for an entertaining afternoon. Bailey really enjoys meeting (aka "sniffing") other dogs and rough-housing, so hopefully there will be some fun friends for him at the dog park.

In non-dog-related news... oh wait, there is NO non-dog-related news. The only other thing of particular interest at the moment is that I have orientation and start volunteering tomorrow with the Bloomington Animal Shelter. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and am finally taking the opportunity. I wanted to volunteer with rowing this fall, but I'm finally realizing that my schedule really isn't conducive to it. I'll be working at the shelter a few hours a week, which is manageable, either dog-walking or doing special events which take the dogs out into the community. Volunteering is very important in my life... I've always done it, and it's been hard missing that over the last year or so. If everyone would volunteer just a couple hours a week to a good cause, I can't imagine how much better this world would be. So, this is my contribution, for now, and I am excited to get started tomorrow!

- Stacey

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Proud New Parents

Meet Bailey, the newest addition to the Young-Caudell household:

Gearry and I met Bailey and his foster mom yesterday in Nashville. It was definitely love at first sight. He is super cute, and -- being a terrier and only a little over a year old -- super crazy. He never gets tired of playing, loves squeaky toys and bones, and loves rough-housing. He can jump like a frog (he jumped on the back of the chaise with one tiny leap) and he can also "dance" on his hind legs for a long time. He loves to dance for treats. And sit for treats. And do anything for treats. Luckily, he thinks a single piece of dry dog food qualifies as a treat, so training him is fun. He's a little rough around the edges, like most terriers and a lot of rescue dogs, but he is overall a very sweet and smart boy! He can sit and is housebroken, so the most important things are covered. If we can get him not to jump on people (yeah, right) then we'll be all set.

I'm so excited... it's hard to be here at work knowing he and Gearry are at home playing!

Last night at bedtime, Bailey gave me some "kisses" and then walked down to the end of the bed and plopped down and fell asleep in the bottom lefthand corner, the exact spot where Colby always slept. It made me a little sad, but also brought a little smile to my face. It was kind of like a little message "hello" from Colby, and I didn't mind it at all.

Many more pictures to come in the future, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Along Came the Rain

It's amazing... I look outside the windows here at the office (yes, yes, I am blogging on the job, but it is only because I need a little break from creativity before I get back to writing) and I see: rain! The weather is calling for rain and thunderstorms for the rest of today and tomorrow. After the driest summer I can remember, we definitely need the rain, and it is a nice change of pace. Rainy days -- as long as they don't happen too often -- always seem to be cozy and relaxing. I enjoy the occasional summer thunderstorm, so I was sad that this summer surmounted to maybe two piddly rain showers. Elsewhere it may have been flooding, but here a rain drop seemed like too much to ask for.

Rain does tend to make me a little lazy, however, so instead of thinking about going for a run when I get home, I find myself thinking about curling up in the chaise for a nice nap... which I do almost every night anyway. Dinner, nap, run, shower, laziness, bed. That's pretty much how my evenings seem to work anymore. Kind of a crazy order, but it works for me.

Tomorrow we are going to meet Bailey and Gearry is very, very excited. I am too, don't get me wrong, but Gearry is like little-kid excited. I have to admit, it will be nice to have little paws running around the house again. I hope that everything goes well when we meet him and that it feels like a good match. If so, we may be bringing him home with us tomorrow, so long as we pass the background inspection (which, duh, we will, because they pretty much just look to see if you have a history of cruelty to animals). Hopefully I will have good news and pictures tomorrow.

Gearry talked to his business advisor and let him know we'll be picking up Charlie in another week or so, so there may be many little paws tapping on the floors soon.

- Stacey

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Getting On With Life... Or At Least Trying...

I still can't believe all of the horrible/crazy/surprising/surreal events Gearry and I have had to deal with lately, but things are starting to get a little easier. A little. We appreciate all the well-wishes we've received, as well as the time we needed to ourselves to kind of figure some things out. Basically, it is to the point where we can talk about Colby again and have gotten a kick out of recounting all the funny memories we have of him. We've accepted the fact that he's gone, but we still find ourselves looking at the end of our bed for him in the morning... and we can't get over the feeling of emptiness in our otherwise wonderful house.

For those of you who love your dogs and cats (and horses and guinea pigs and whatever the heck else you consider your pets), give them a big hug after you read this. And don't take any time with them for granted. Even if they wake you up to go out to the bathroom in the freezing cold at four o'clock in the morning... just go with it. You'll be glad you did.

Knowing very well that Colby was special to us, and that he is irreplaceable, Gearry and I realized pretty quickly that we are dog people, and dog people should have dogs. We both feel very strongly about animal rescue efforts, and we knew within a few days of our sadness that we wanted to open our home and our hearts again to another rescue. And it appears it may be two... we have the room, both physically and emotionally, and we want to share what we have. Plus, we like the idea of two dogs because they always have each other, even when we can't be there. They have a little buddy to play with and fight with and cuddle with and get into trouble with.

Charlie is a Peekapom (half Pekingese, half Pomeranian) but doesn't look or act much like either of those breeds, which I would normally say are "prissy." Gearry has played with him and said he's really chill and friendly. He's cute, too. A family bought him for their kids and then just decided they didn't really want to take care of him anymore. He ended up with Gearry's business advisor, who has been keeping him until he can find him a good home. We had actually planned on getting him as a buddy for Colby. Since things have obviously changed, I was reluctant for the first few days, but am now happy about the idea of taking him in. We will probably get him in the next few weeks.

Bailey is a terrier mix that pretty much looks like a black version of Colby. Some have asked me if it will be hard having a dog that reminds us of Colby so much... but we love terriers. I wouldn't be surprised if we have a terrier from here until the end. We love the look, the attitude, the little cuddle-bug tendencies. We found Bailey online (looking at all the dogs on actually helped us cope quite a bit) at a dog & cat rescue based out of Columbus. He is an absolute cutie. He is staying with a foster family, and Gearry talked to his foster mom for awhile yesterday. She sounds super friendly and said we sound like a great match for Bailey. She said he is very friendly and pretty active, and that when he is not playing he loves to snuggle with his human. Gearry and I are meeting her in Nashville on Wednesday evening to meet him for the first time and see if we all "hit it off." Haha... somehow, I don't see that being a problem.

So... big changes in our family. Bad changes, good changes, ones I'm still not sure about but ready to test. Life is so weird. I'm trying to stop attempting to understand it, because that is apparently kind of pointless.

Outside of the sadness we've had to deal with, things are going well. I love my new role at AuthorHouse... even though I am still learning to deal with being inside for eight hours a day, I love writing and I love applying all the creativity tumbling around inside my head to paper. Gearry's business deal is getting closer and closer to being finished (thank goodness!) and we are estimating that he is about three weeks from closing. Fortunately, for now, he has started helping his friend Matt, who owns several restaurants in the Bloomington area. This is great because he is: 1) Making money! (More than me, actually... on a temporary job... how is that fair??) ; 2) Not going crazy being a househusband stuck at home all day... especially since it is different without Colbs around; 3) Getting to work on some neat stuff... he's doing some cooking, but he's also helping do some menu-planning and other details for the opening of Matt's new restaurant.

So... yay! We can once again pay bills and *gasp* go out for dinner on occasion. And, in a few weeks when the business closing is official, we'll have plenty of play money and it is going to be so gooooooooood.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Goodbye to a Dear Friend


On Friday we found out that Colby was very sick. In lieu of an emergency blood transfusion, possible surgery, and a lot of potential suffering, Gearry and I had to make the choice to put him to sleep. It has been a horrible, horrible weekend and we're not ready to talk about it, but we just wanted to let everyone know.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Beginning of the End

Labor Day never feels like the end of summer to me. There are tons of boats on the lake, everyone is grilling and playing golf and enjoying the outdoors. It's just like any other summer day. Today, though... well, today felt like the end of summer. Gearry and I slept in, made breakfast and then headed down to the water. Although it was still warm enough to swim for a little while, I spent the rest of the rest of the time wrapped up in a towel, laying in the hammock and just noticing the changes. It was overcast, and the water had that dark, choppy look that it starts to take on in the fall. The leaves are changing, too, and instead of the usual Saturday boating crowd there was only a handful of boats and jet skis.

Summer is by far my favorite season, but fall isn't so bad. It's just... different. There are definitely some things to look forward to, though: the first fire in our fireplace, the beautiful colors, football games and tailgates, hot coffee and cool evening runs. Yeah, when you put it in writing, I guess the end of summer doesn't sound so bad. But I know I will miss swimming almost everyday. So that I can hopefully stay on track for next year's triathlon season, I'm hoping to get a wetsuit and be able to swim starting around March or April. But, nevertheless, training in a wetsuit and chilling in the water in your bikini are two totally different worlds.

Gearry and I had a great day Thursday as I he picked me up early from work and we headed up to Indianapolis for the absolute Colts craziness as the Colts took on the Saints in the opening game of the NFL season. We somehow managed to land great seats at the Ram Brewery right in front of the theater-sized screen and had a great night cheering like crazy along with everyone else in the packed bar (well, except for the like 5 Saints fans). Of course, we won!! 41-10 is a great way to start the season. Go Colts!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Long Weekend

On Friday after work I hopped in the taxi and headed to Columbus, Ohio, for Hillary's wedding shower! It was a great start to a great weekend, minus the horrible holiday traffic. The wedding shower was held at Hillary's parents' house on Saturday afternoon. I think I was more nervous than I was at my own wedding shower! Being Maid of Honor is scarier than being the bride for me because I want to do everything I can to help. Hillary was an amazing Maid of Honor and I just want to be as good to her as she was to me. Nevertheless, the shower was beautiful and a good time.

I got back to Bloomington on Sunday afternoon and Gearry and I proceeded to spend the rest of Sunday and all day Monday being as lazy as possible. Other than watching television and movies and playing in the lake, we pretty much did nothing. It was fabulous.

Today I started my new position at AuthorHouse. It is such a wonderful feeling to be putting my degree to use and to be writing again! Plus in this position I have flex hours, so I pretty much set my own work schedule. Needless to say, I am a happy girl.

- Stacey

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Good Fun & Good Cause

Two of my very favorite people in the world came to Bloomington this past weekend, pretty much making me the happiest I have been in a long time. Hillary & Stebby arrived from Ohio just as I arrived home from work on Friday, making a great end to a long week.
Like the lazy bums that we are, we spent a lot of the weekend eating, swimming and playing in the lake, and bar-hopping, but we also chipped in some of our time on Saturday afternoon for a good cause: the "Tribute to John 5K" that was held in Mitchell. It was the first year for the event, which raises money for a scholarship in memory of John Box, who passed away this summer and played football with my brother back in high school. Most people decided to walk or ride (bikes, horses, you name it) the 5K, so Josh, Stebby, Hillary, myself, and a random & ripped old guy made up the runners. (Maybe we were the only ones brave/dumb enough to tackle the heat.) We got a big kick after the race of telling people that the four of us placed in the top four spots, which was completely true. I was fourth, of course, and proud of myself for at least beating this older gentleman. That is, until we started talking at the finish line and I discovered that it was already his second race of the day... he had already raced in Brownstown that morning! Sweet. I love running, but I have never claimed speed as one of my attributes, so it's all good.

Nevertheless, it was a very HOT HOT HOT (the race was at 1:00) but good time and I will leave you with a picture of the top four finishers!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Attention Golfers: Watch Out!

I would definitely consider myself pretty athletic. While I am not always the absolute best at every sport I try, I’m usually at least decent. Well, I found a sport in which “decent” would be a stretch for me: golf.

Fortunately I’m not planning on going pro anytime soon, so I should be OK. On Saturday, Gearry and I hit the driving range and then the putting green here at Eagle Pointe for the first time since we moved here. With a golf course for a backyard I figured it was about time I at least attempted to swing a club. I had only been to a driving range once before, back in high school, and I was – to put it politely – not that great. It turns out that I am still… well… not that great. Gearry plays 18 holes periodically, but we’re both a little challenged when it comes to golfing skills. This made for a dangerous time for those around us, but a fun time for us.

The putting green was a little more relaxed, of course, and a little easier since I’ve played quite a few games of Putt-Putt over the years. Gearry and I turned it into a contest, of course, betting a variety of things based upon who got closest to a given hole. For the big bet, I won the first time, somehow he convinced me to have a rematch, and – of course – he won the second time. Therefore I get the pleasure this entire week of taking Colby out to potty when he wakes us up for a bathroom break at around 5:30 in the morning. Usually Gearry takes him during the week since I am working and he isn’t right now, and I take him out on the weekends. This week, though, it’s all me.

While Gearry is still waiting for his business deal to go through he has been home on the weekends. This is a change of pace after working in an industry the last nine years where he rarely had a weekend off. We’ve been taking advantage of these weekends together to enjoy the lake and just spending time together without any interruption. It has been fantastic, and while we are both ready for his business deal to finish and for him to get started on that project (he makes a good but very bored househusband and me being the bread winner is scary!), I know we’ll both miss our Saturdays together. Fortunately we will both still have Sundays, which were pretty much made for church and being lazy and playing outdoors. Time is going so fast, I just want to enjoy every moment of it as much as possible!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

How I Spent My Summer

You know those essays teachers make you write or those speeches they make you give the first day back-to-school? The ones titled, "How I Spent my Summer?" Well, this is the first end-of-the-summer in about eighteen years that does not mean the beginning of the school year for me. It's a little sad, a little nice. Nevertheless, I thought I'd still give you my "How I Spent my Summer" in the form of a picture:

Hammock, lake, book, bare feet. Yeah, it was a fantastic summer. Living at the lake has turned out as great as we had thought it would be. Although -- to be honest -- we actually spent the majority of my summer wedding planning, getting moved into our house, doing projects on the house, and working, we tried to make as much time as possible to hang out down by the water, swim, read, and otherwise just enjoy the outdoors around our new place. The picture above is probably the epitome of happiness for me, if Gearry was on one side of me and Colby on the other. The hammock, of course, is not that big ;)

So, while we are talking about happy feelings and happy days, I guess I should finally reveal my great job news that I mentioned last post. I started working at AuthorHouse on July 23rd. While I didn't get the position I really, really wanted (I found out later they hired internally, so that made me feel better) I did get hired for a different position. Although not in my desired realm of copy writing/copy editing, I was very thankful to essentially get my foot in the door. Last Friday, however, I got the shock of my life when the head of the promotions department called me into her office and... offered me the position I have wanted all along!

Turns out that when the position opened up again (the person they hired had to be promoted to a slightly different role) the head of my department had approached her and told her that I would be a great candidate and that he thought I would be much happier in that role (the one I am currently in is transitioning into a much more hardcore-sales role... definitely not me at all!). He is a great guy who really helped me out getting into AuthorHouse and who knew all along that a writing/editing position is what I really wanted. I can't think him enough for his unselfishness and for looking out for me. Once he told her it was OK to ask me if I was still interested in the position, she jumped on the opportunity, which made me feel really good. Of course, I said "yes." That whole foot-in-the-door approach definitely worked for me... a LOT faster than I ever imagined!

I begin my new role on September 4th, writing full-time as a Press Release Specialist. About 90% of my time will be spent writing press releases for our upcoming books. The other 10% will be spent peer-editing and working with authors to make any changes they see fit to the writing. If you are not into writing or English, this probably sounds super-lame. For me, however, it is perfect.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

After That Brief Interlude...

I had full intentions of posting far before this, but I was trying to hold out in order to post pictures from the Irish Festival to go along with my tales of that awesome weekend. I still don't have those pictures, so I'm going to postpone that post, but regale you with some other great pictures in the meantime.

These pictures I refer to, of course, are our professional wedding pictures, which finally arrived in the mail yesterday! We had viewed the proofs online, but we finally received the actual printed proofs and our CD of the proofs and digital negatives. I am excited because this means we can finally get our photos ordered to go in the three empty frames that have been hanging over our fireplace since we moved in back in May/June, just waiting!

Things are good in life right now, although extremely hectic. I am still adjusting to work, although there has been a HUGE development in that... more details to come in a later post. Gearry is still working on his business deal, so he has been alternating between helping out his friend Tim renovating his house and playing house-husband, trying to enjoy his time off because we both know once the deal is finalized he is going to have zero free time for the first month or so. Zero. Nada. Zip.

So, about those GORGEOUS photos? I'll post a sampling (of the 3oo-something) of our favorites. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Lot Can Happen When You Get the Irish Together...

... or so they say. While Gearry and I try to enjoy each day in our lives and not wish any of them away, we are counting down the moments until this Friday after work when we hop on our motorcycle and head to Columbus, Ohio, for the weekend for the Dublin Irish Festival!!

Columbus is home not only to the festival but to three of our favorite people in the world: my bestest girlfriend Hillary, her fiance Christopher, and my other bestest girlfriend Stebby. We are very excited to hang out with them all weekend and very excited that they asked to come in for the Dublin Irish Festival, which we have been told is fantastic! What could be better than a whole day with great friends, excellent drinks & food, dancing, craziness, and fun Irish music? Christopher particularly loves "Flogging Molly," an Irish punk band that is headlining the concert on Saturday night. They call their music "jig punk," so you know it is going to be interesting!

We'll provide a full report upon our return, of course. We are hoping to leave by 6:00 on Friday which should put us in C-Bus around 10:00, just in time for a Friday night out! Saturday is the festival all day, and then Sunday we're all heading to the awesome Northstar Cafe (organic, fresh, super tasty, & some amazing fair-trade coffee!) for brunch before we head back here to the lake.

Friday, July 27, 2007


At 5:00 p.m. today I officially ended my training week! Of course, I am no where even remotely close to being an expert in my new field and will continue to ask many, many questions, but I am done with my official training and begin in my new role on Monday. The week flew by, although I am exhausted! It's not like working 40 hours a week isn't something that almost everyone does (or even many more hours!) but it's just rough adjusting to such a different schedule from what I'm used to. It'll be no problem soon.

Nonetheless, the week was great and I am excited to be on my own Monday, as well as finally get my desk, computer, etc., as I have been floating amongst the members of the department all the week, rolling my lonely little chair from cubicle to cubicle with my little notebook, ready to take notes. Yes, I know I'm a dork, but notes always help, especially in a situation where there are so many little details you want to get right.

Below is a staff picture from the AuthorHouse website... I have no clue when it was taken, but you can at least see where I work:

- Stacey

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Beginnings

I must say that I love sitting on the newly finished porch at night because it gives me the feeling of something completed. The relaxation that it gives is immense because at night you can hear the crickets chirping, the birds calling, and feel the cool night air push away any humidity in the atmosphere. Stacey and I really have no doubts about living all the way out here at Eagle Pointe because even if you work a lot the benefits of living in such a relaxing environment are countless. I can't tell you how many times we have told each other when we walk at night how much this place seems like a vacation home. The plus side to that comment is that the same feeling can last all year.

Also, some people told me that our relationship would be different after we lived in the same household, but really it hasn't changed much for us. I still feel that we are the same people before and after. It's just that we get to call each other husband and wife. We had a strong connection before we got married which is something that most people don't. I couldn't be happier with the decisions that I've made and I could say the same for Stacey. Just watch well be an old married couple before you know it!!!!!!

- Gearry

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Since I wrote last I did something... I can't put my finger on it... oh, yeah! I turned 23 and started my first "career" job. It's been a big week so far, and it's only Tuesday!

So my birthday was Monday but Gearry and I celebrated on Saturday in anticipation of me being exhausted on Monday, and that was a good plan! Monday after work I was absolutely wiped out just from thinking so hard all day, trying to learn all these little details that I will need to know in order to do my job. Mental exhaustion turned to physical exhaustion and I was ready to crash by the time I got home at 5:15, but we managed to drag ourselves to town to enjoy some tempura, sushi & wine at Domo, our favorite Japanese place. We crashed into bed shortly thereafter, Gearry having also worked all day helping out his friend Tim on his farm, where they are doing some outdoor work and also some renovations on Tim's house. So, the actual birthday, not terrific but not bad... hopefully just signifying another day older and wiser and better as a person.

My job is going well. This was day number two and I have already learned a ton in just 16 hours of work. There is a lot more to learn, however, before I am ready to take over the position (next Monday!) so I have lots of observing and practicing and "studying" to do these next three days. It is a very corporate-America type job, cubicles and all, but I really like the job, and the people in my department (there are only 6 of us) seem great; they've been fun to talk to and very helpful answering my billion-and-one questions.

I know it will take awhile to adjust to this new schedule when for the last two months I have been going to bed super late and waking up super late, like a total-just-turned-ex-athlete-ex-student bum. It's been a nice vacation, but readjusting to this whole getting up early thing is rough! Haha... lots of coffee for me! Starbucks donations welcome ;)

- Stacey

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Just Like the First Day of School

In the two days since finding out I had been hired by AuthorHouse, I've decided that starting a new job is just like getting ready for the first day of school. I start tomorrow and the mixture of excitement and jitters I'm experiencing is something that I've experienced before, but something about it is also different... I think it is the realization that I'm not in school anymore and that I am officially entering the working world. This is the beginning of my career, not just a summer or part-time job to make money. It's scary and nerve-wrecking and yet kind of fun. Yesterday and today I even went shopping for cute work clothes, just like shopping for cute back-to-school clothes. Luckily the dress code there is right up my alley (despite the professional environment, jeans are OK!) and it was fun picking out new outfits. It's funny how much clothing can affect 1) how other people view you and 2) how you feel about yourself. So, there is no doubt about it that I am going to look good... now I just have to worry about performing well! *Fingers crossed* I am going to relax tonight (as I am now, sitting out here on the back porch with Colby & my laptop & a Diet Coke), get to bed early, and make the best of a scary/nerve-wrecking/fun day to be had!

- Stacey

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Great News, Great Day!

Big news here in the Young-Caudell household: I finally landed my job! Well, so long as I pass the drug test I took yesterday but, trust me, there shouldn't be any problems! I had another interview on Tuesday and received the call on Friday for a position at AuthorHouse, an international book-publishing company headquartered here in Bloomington. This was my top choice organization to work for, so I am very happy. They have to get me trained pretty quickly because of an employee who is leaving at the end of next week, so I actually start on Monday, my birthday! I don't mind though; finally having this piece of mind and this responsibility to look forward to is a good birthday present.

In celebration of the job news and of my birthday (I will turn 23 on Monday but I will be working all day) today is an official Stacey Day. Gearry woke me up this morning with french toast and omelets from our clubhouse here at Eagle Pointe. We ate it out on our back porch (which looks fantastic now that it's done, by the way!) and enjoyed some iced coffee. Next on the agenda is a trip to town for some shopping... Gearry is obviously doing whatever I want today since shopping is probably the last thing on his list of things to do for a great time. I'm not a huge shopper myself, but I'm mostly excited about getting some cute new clothes for work. This afternoon we plan on hanging out down by the lake, laying out and swimming and such. And this evening we have a 7:00 reservation at one of our favorite restaurants, the Story Inn in Story, Indiana.

- Stacey

Friday, July 20, 2007

Come on in!

To our master bedroom... which, after receiving our lamps in the mail this week from Linens 'n Things, is finally just how we want it! Here are some before and after pictures of our room, which turned out fabulous!

The livingroom, kitchen, bathrooms, & guest bedroom are currently semi-trashed thanks to our work on the porch and thanks to the fact that Gearry and I are possibly the slowest unpackers ever. But those pictures soon to come!

- Stacey

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home Improvements

Since the majority of you haven't had the opportunity to see our place, we'll be putting up a big post in the next couple of weeks with lots of pictures of our new neighborhood & house, before and after we worked hard to make it our own.

But for today I thought I'd post a couple pics from our current project: de-carpeting, stripping, & staining our back deck. We made a trip to Lowe's tonight and got all the supplies, as well as an awesome iron & stone tile patio tables and chairs. Gearry is in staining progress as I write:

It will dry much lighter, obviously, but it should be just about the shade we were looking for. We love our porch and can't wait to have it all done so that we can spend more time out there. It will also help when all of this awful humidity passes!

Yesterday Gearry's project-of-the-day was to hang our kayaks so that we could store them on the porch but have them out of the way. They ended up fitting perfectly just above the doorway (mine, of course, is the pretty blue & white one)...

The porch is pretty much our last big project, other than finishing out the office/guest bedroom (which is currently the disastrous holding area for all things unpacked and all things from the porch while we work on it!). Working on things to improve the house is usually fun, but we are very, very glad that we decided to buy a home that was in really good condition, rather than a fixer-upper. There are so many little things to tackle! It will nice to be able to just sit back and enjoy it all once it's done... although, as most homeowners seem to agree, it's never really done. When one project is complete, you always find something else you want to make better or just different.

One last picture for the road: a product of Gearry's green thumb. This year we grew lettuce, green beans, dill, and strawberries. A few days ago the strawberries finally showed up!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rainy Day Recipes

It's been raining since I woke up (which, OK, wasn't really that long ago since I am officially a lazy bum and have been crawling out of bed around 10:30 for the last month or so) and the weather shows a chance of thunderstorms and rain showers for the rest of the day. Other than a long run later this afternoon, I have no plans for the day, so the rain is actually a nice change of pace from all this dryness and heat that we've been dealing with this summer. I know the grass and the trees and the fruits & veggies in our little porch garden are probably loving this!

In honor of being "stuck" inside on a lazy summer day, I thought I would post a couple of recipes that Gearry and I love, and hopefully you may enjoy as well. The Pierogi Casserole is a dish from Gearry's best man Tim's mom. We had it at Tim's house once and I insisted on getting the recipe. I made it yesterday and it turned out really well! Unfortunately, it is beyond not-healthy... buuuuuuut, it's a nice treat every once in awhile. The Youngs' Salsa recipe was made famous at various rowing regattas over the last few years and continues to be a summer favorite... tasty and good for you.

Pierogi Casserole

3 cups mashed potatoes (give or take... instant work best)
1 lb. grated cheese (shredded cheddar works great)
2 onions (Vidalia or white)
Lasagna noodles
1 stick butter

1. Boil lasagna noodles & prepare potatoes.
2. Saute onions in 1/2 stick butter.
3. Add onions to potatoes.
4. Butter 9 x 13 casserole dish with remainder of butter.
5. Arrange noodles on bottom of dish.
6. Top with potatoes.
7. Sprinkle with cheese.
8. Repeat layers. (I got about 4 layers out of this...)
9. Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Youngs' Salsa

1 can Hunt's diced tomatoes with chili's (drain these just a tiny bit)
2 cans whole kernel corn (drained)
2 cans black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
1/2 of a green pepper
Fresh onion (chopped)
Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (to taste)

Mix everything together, adding the dressing until you get a consistency and taste that you like. Best if made the night before.

Well, there you go! Enjoy today, whether it's raining where you are or bright and sunny or something in-between. There are special little things inside everyday... unfortunately we're all either too busy or too distracted or too down on ourselves and the world to see them most of the time. As a very wise eight-year old girl I had the pleasure of meeting once told me, "I think everything in the world is beautiful if you just look at it in the right way." Wow.

- Stacey

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Say, "Cheese!"

The proofs from our professional wedding pictures are finally up online and they turned out great! As my Maid of Honor Hillary said when I talked to her about them earlier today, they really captured the emotion of the day. Our photographer was very talented; she didn't have to resort to lots of intricate angles and flashy effects to make the photos look good. You can tell right away how happy we all were for the day to have finally arrived... I have never seen so many smiles that big! To check out the professional proofs, visit, click on "View Your Event," and click on "Stacey & Gearry."

In the meantime between the wedding and receiving the pro photos, I've been receiving tons of photos from various guests & bridal party members. I have some talented friends, apparently! Here are a few of my favorites, for those of you who haven't checked out my albums on Facebook:

Our beautiful rehearsal dinner at Oliver Winery.

The fabulous Colleen doing my hair.

Primping for another round of pictures.

Our first dance.

Dancing with Makayla, our little diva flower girl.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Beyond Spoiled

If you have ever talked to Gearry or me for more than five minutes, chances are we have mentioned our baby at least once, maybe twice, or likely more. His name is Colby, and for those of you unfortunate enough to have never had the opportunity to meet the little guy, here are a couple of our favorite pics:

And here is one that was taken last night, as Colby slept soundly (blue polo shirt with collar popped and all) in Gearry's arms:

Hopefully you are a "dog person" or you are probably rolling your eyes. But that's OK, too. To each his own. Colby may definitely vie for one of the most spoiled dogs in the world, but he's worth it. The joy he has brought into our lives since we adopted him from the Bloomington Animal Shelter in January is hard to explain. He may wake us up in the wee hours of the morning for a potty break and he may enjoy turning parts of our Berber carpet into shag, but we can't help but love him. He loves giving "kisses," going for rides in the car, and playing with his stuffed duck. A "real" baby may be a long way off, but for now we are having a ball sharing our love with our furry little guy.

And one more, for the road:

- Stacey