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Jill started a tradition a couple of years ago of giving us an ingredient and a recipe for Christmas, so we made mini-corndog appetizers with the recipe from last Christmas. Taken 1/2/16.
Greg's home brewery has been upgraded to dispensing via tap, and we were the lucky recipients of some samples.
Here's the top secret inside of the magical dispensing machine. Taken 1/9/16.
We continued our fall tradition of enjoying a beer sampler outside by the fire pit, but when it's only 20 degrees out, the beer freezes quickly and so did we. Taken 1/10/16.
We met up with the Sanders and Butz families downtown, ...
... to celebrate Anne's birthday. We made several stops along the way. Taken 1/16/16.
Pip pip! We had tea at Tina's Tea Room one lovely Saturday afternoon. Taken 1/23/16.
We bought the first of three Aerogardens on 12/30/15 and immediately planted a small herb and veggie garden. Here's how it looked less than four weeks later. Taken 1/26/16.
I wonder why the tire is flat? Could it be that gaping hole in the side? The tire in back looked similar and that curb that Debbie hit will never be the same. Taken 1/27/16.
We took Jill and Kelly out to dinner that evening in our quest to get Kelly to love Mexican food. Taken 1/27/16.
Our next beer sampler was enjoyed indoors in front of our indoor fire pit (AKA fireplace). Taken 2/7/16.
We had a King Cake for the first time ever. It was a little disappointing to find that the baby doll just sits on top of the cake instead of being hidden somewhere inside the cake. Taken 2/8/16.
Jill and Craig had their family portrait done by Amber Himes Photography in February.
Kelly helped Mommy open her birthday presents. Taken 2/15/16.
After over a year of waiting, our first case of Clearly Canadian arrived. It's Mountain Raspberry flavored and it is delicious. Taken 2/23/16.
Keeping with tradition, we enjoyed an elaborate Leap Year party, this time hosted at our house instead of Audrey's.
We chose a Clue theme and put together game piece-colored cocktails to go with our outfits, ...
... and Clue-themed activities for nine different rooms in our house. It'll be tough to top this one! Taken 2/27/16.
We ordered a new stack of frozen Carbone's pizzas. The shipping charges were ridiculously high, but seven pizzas provide 14 Carbone's dinners, so it's definitely worth it. Taken 3/2/16.
The first ever Gale Force Software Family Fun Night featured a magician show. Here, the two Karens, Laura, and Debbie assist with a trick.
While Nerf battles waged in the hallways, a hilarious game of Telestrations was played in the large conference room. Taken 3/5/16.
A week early, we awaited our new grandson's arrival at Riverview Hospital. With five grandparents to dote on her, Kelly had a blast, oblivious to what was happening.
Claire played patiently with her toys in one corner of the waiting area.
Here's our handsome grandson, Johnny, taken just a couple of hours after he was born. Taken 3/10/16.
Here he is the next day, sleeping in his grandpa's arms.
Meanwhile, Kelly enjoyed several nights at Camp Grandma. Here she is helping Grandpa make macaroni and cheese, ...
... and here she is getting ready for bed. Taken 3/12/16.
After the King Cake discovery, we ordered a bunch of Cajun and Creole food mixes from Mam Papaul's. This evening's experiment was the crawfish pie. We substituted shrimp instead, but it still wasn't very good, making it the only mix we tried that wasn't absolutely delicious. Taken 3/15/16.
Kelly visited again and Grandma got out the Easter toys for her to play with. The wind-up egg was the big winner, but she enjoyed playing with everything else too.
Of course, going outside is also fun, so she got to do that too. Taken 3/17/16.
We bought a seed starter insert for one of our new Aerogardens. Here are some pepper and tomato plants coming along nicely to help us get a jump start on our summer garden. Taken 3/19/16.
Sometimes, Tom gets creative with Claire's morning hairstyle. Taken 3/21/16.
With the hyacinths in bloom in the front garden, we had to get another picture of Kelly in the garden. Taken 3/22/16.
Hey! Ripe tomatoes grown completely indoors! Aerogardens are the best! Taken 3/31/16.
We headed to the Pacific Northwest for a nine-day visit in early April. We had a perfect view of Mt. Hood as we flew into Portland.
Later that day, we drove up to Seattle by way of lovely Mt. Rainier.
That evening, we met up with the Shurtleff clan for the second time in a year and had a great time. Taken 4/2/16.
The next day, we spent the day with Debbie's brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, then met up with our cousins for an afternoon at a park. Taken 4/3/16.
We were in Portland to attend the 4D Summit with six of Debbie's colleagues, and we all went out to dinner at Deschutes Brewery early on in the week. Taken 4/5/16.
The next night was the Evening with 4D party, where we got to see good friends Ann & Brian and Leah & Mike. Taken 4/6/16.
After the conference was over, we drove south to Crater Lake on 4/7/16, ...
... then to Mount Shasta and ...
... to Chico, California, where we had dinner with friends Ben and Sandy on 4/8/16.
The next day, we drove over Donner Pass ...
... then spent the night in Reno on 4/9/16 before heading home the next day. Read all about it.
Back at home a few days later, Debbie found Suzy Qs in the grocery store for the first time since they disappeared in 2012. Sadly, the name is the same but they do not taste at all the same.
Meanwhile, Tom was off in London for a three-day business trip. He and Scott got to do some sightseeing while they were there. Read more about it here. Taken 4/13/16.
We almost always know someone running in the Carmel marathon or mini-marathon each year. This year, it was Greg's girlfriend Tonya who ran past our house early Saturday morning. Taken 4/16/16.
By April, our Aerogardens had produced herbs, veggies, and flowers.
Here's a bowl of produce picked from our various Aerogarden plants. Taken 4/16/16.
We made infused vodka as a birthday gift for Dean. Look how pretty they are! Taken 4/23/16.
With Orchard's Science Day just around the corner, Debbie needed to test and photograph her experiment: Floating Letters (look it up). Taken 4/24/16.
We could not resist the lure of a patio canopy any longer, so we finally bought one. We're so glad we did. Taken 4/24/16.
Yay! Cousin Karl is in town! Of course, we had to get some dinner and drink some local beers. Taken 4/27/16.
There isn't much better than getting to babysit the two cutest grandchildren in the entire universe. Taken 4/29/16.
After Debbie was promoted to Executive Vice President of Development, we celebrated with a new iPhone for her and new Apple Watches for us both. This gives us yet another opportunity to play "Have you seen my granddaughter?" with unsuspecting friends. Taken 4/30/16.
Debbie's dad and stepmother came for an overnight visit to meet their newest great-grandchild, Johnny.
A couple of weeks earlier, Debbie's cousin had posted on Facebook that she had seen Schilling Cider at a liquor store in Arizona, so Debbie's brother picked up a few boxes while he was visiting Debbie's dad and gave them to him to drive up to her house. Familial teamwork, people! It's a thing! Taken 5/3/16.
We had a great time with Debbie's colleagues on a Saturday afternoon at Breakout Indianapolis. We broke out of the Casino Royale game in just 48 minutes! That's what happens when you fill a room with software engineers. Taken 5/14/16.
That evening, the greatest thing to ever happen to American television finally happened: Eurovision was broadcast to American audiences!
Of course, we watched it with Audrey and Dean and carefully judged each entry with our custom scoresheets and sparkly pencils.
We enjoyed shots out of salt shot glasses and these very cool margaritas made with blue curaçao beads that we made ourselves using science. Taken 5/14/16.
Early the next morning, we hopped in the car and drove to Nashville, Tennessee, where we had lunch with our friends, Trish and Greg, at the Black-Eyed Pea.
There are few things on earth as delicious as the Black-Eyed Pea's meat loaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli rice casserole, and fried okra. We can't get this fine food in Indianapolis any longer, so we got four orders to go and loaded up our cooler. Sadly, the fried okra doesn't travel well, but everything else made it home just fine.
After lunch, we attended Tom's niece's graduation open house. With all four Bundy siblings present, we recreated the traditional Bundy family photo, previously taken in 2007 and 1997. Taken 5/15/16.
Meanwhile, Debbie's brother, Doug, was trying to open the Mancrate we sent him for his birthday. His phone helpfully gave him a tip to get it open: "Try harder." Taken 5/15/16.
After posting on Facebook about Irish band Jedward during the Eurovision broadcast, this Jedward magnet mysteriously showed up on our mailbox. We suspect our friend Jen might have had something to do with it. Taken 5/16/16.
Happy Syttende Mai from our granddaughter Kelly! She's wearing a traditional Norwegian bunad in observation of Norway's Independence Day. This bunad is one of two brought back from a trip to Norway by her great-great-grandmother, Alette, as a gift for her grandmother's young cousins, Melissa and Shirley. Her mother posed in the black bunad that has stayed in Shirley's family, and Kelly is posing in the blue bunad that has stayed in Melissa's family. Taken 5/17/16.
Elsa casts her spell on a new fan as Kelly watches "Frozen" for the first time. Taken 5/24/16.
Shawn was in town again to photograph the Indy 500, and he brought along several boxes of kid clothes for Kelly and Johnny. It's great having kid cousins who are just a couple of years older! Taken 5/27/16.
Which beer is better? Guinness or Boddington's? They each have their own charms. Taken 5/28/16.
It's fun to be grandparents, especially when we get to babysit the kids overnight and read books to them.
Johnny was dressed in his very best racing outfit in honor of the Indy 500. Taken 5/29/16.
The next morning, the kids were especially adorable in their pajamas. Taken 5/30/16.
As a belated celebration for Debbie's promotion, we had a nice dinner with Tom's cousin Anne at Divvy. Taken 6/3/16.
Debbie's assistant, Paige, was getting married later in the month, so Debbie made her a customized surprise ball for the occasion but gave it to her in advance so she and Gavin could enjoy opening it before the big day. Taken 6/4/16.
What do you do with leftover puff pastry? Roll in some almond paste, top with almonds, and bake! It's hard to go wrong with puff pastry. Taken 6/4/16.
Check out these cool clouds! They were still overhead by the time Debbie got to work so she called an impromptu cloud meeting for her staff to go outside and admire them. Taken 6/10/16.
Greg is beyond bottling his brew - he now delivers growlers of his latest beer and we get to drink it. It's good to be us! Taken 6/11/16.
We took a day trip to Columbus, Ohio. We stopped first in Dayton to take Tom's mom out to lunch at Company 7 Barbecue. Once we got to Columbus, we stopped at North High Brewing to pick up a growler of their delicious Jalalima beer, ...
... then crossed the street to a liquor store to pick up some more local Ohio beers, ...
... then went down the street a bit to Rocket Fizz ...
... to get a case of assorted craft sodas. We didn't limit our shopping to beverages, because we also picked up a set of candles at the Candle Lab.
The main point of our trip was to see Debbie's fourth cousin, Tony, who was attending school for a month in Columbus. This was his third summer coming up from his home in Florida, so we knew it would be easier to see him in Ohio than to go back down to Florida.
We had a nice visit with Tony and enjoyed some delicious German food at Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant. Taken 6/12/16.
When Grandpa had to head to the pet store to pick up supplies for our cats, Kelly went along and pointed at all of the animals.
The guinea pigs in this cage were sleeping. Shhhhhhhhh. Taken 6/14/16.
We tried out a new park, Flat Fork Creek Park, with Claire.
Most of the park is wheelchair accessible, but it has a couple of tree houses that require getting out, so Claire was a champ and climbed up the stairs into one with us.
Here are Claire and Mom at the top of a hill in the park, with the nice wide paths visible in the distance. Taken 6/18/16.
Later that evening, we celebrated Father's Day a day early with Jill, Craig, Kelly, ...
... and three-month-old Johnny, who fell asleep in Grandpa's arms.
Afterward, we packed up the kids and brought them to Camp Grandma for an overnight visit.
That evening, we started training Kelly on how to identify Maersk when you see it. Taken 6/18/16.
This year is all about trying new types of pasta. This evening's offering was mafaldine with shrimp, which is like fettucini with little lasagna ruffles on it. Delicious! Taken 6/19/16.
After two decades of living in Indy, we figured it was time to finally visit the Eiteljorg Museum, and what better time than when they have a Grand Canyon exhibit, one of Debbie's favorite places in the world?
Our timing turned out to be amazing, because the Indian Market was taking place this weekend, with vendors exhibiting in the museum and outside on the lawn. There were food trucks serving Indian food including tacos served on fry bread, with sweet fry bread for dessert. Taken 6/25/16.
While we were downtown, we stopped by one of the Indy locations of Rocket Fizz to see what they had.
Just like in Columbus, they had Pop Shoppe pop! Although the bottles are standard size now, those flavors are just like they used to be when Debbie's family had a pop machine in the basement in the 70s, where bottles of Pop Shoppe pop were dispensed for a nickel each.
Our final stop of the day was the Indianapolis Art Center for Paige and Gavin's wedding. Look at these adorable table assignment/wedding favors! That Paige is so crafty.
After the ceremony and before dinner, we had time to walk around the grounds, where we finally got to see this Indianapolis icon in person.
Here's the lovely bride and her handsome groom!
A great time was had by all, and here's what remained of the Brontë table after the festivities were winding down a bit. Taken 6/25/16.
We went a little crazy on the veggies this year, and discovered chard for the first time too, so we did a lot of chopping and cooking delicious things. Here, our garden bounty includes white and green bell peppers, a banana pepper, green onions, and lots of chard and cilantro. Taken 6/28/16.
To celebrate Tom's birthday weekend, we started out with ...
... a beer sampler at Sun King's new taproom in Fishers. Taken 7/1/16.
The next morning, it was time to open presents, ...
... then head to Fountain Square to try duck pin bowling for the first time.
We had the place to ourselves until nearly the end of our hour there.
Next, we had booked a Fountain Square food tour, so we met our guide near the fountains, and headed with our group to the first stop, Santorini.
We had a table full of delicious appetizers, pitas, hummus, olives, etc.
We missed getting a photo of this cheese being set on fire, but here it is just before we passed it around the table.
Next, we walked through the neighborhood, looking at cool houses and points of interest.
Here are more cool houses.
Our next stop was Siam Square
We started with spring rolls and then shared some tasty Thai entrees.
Our third stop was Smokehouse on Shelby in the Fountain Square Theater building ...
... just one floor up from where we had played duck pin bowling earlier.
We feasted on barbecue beef sandwiches with cooked apples.
Our fourth and final stop was New Day Meadery
We sampled six different types of mead and cider ...
... along with chocolate macarons with peanut butter crunch filling.
From Fountain Square, we headed to Audrey and Dean's house for more birthday festivities. Tom's birthday gifts theme was Internet memes, so he did his best Grumpy Cat impression for us.
Tom's birthday cake offered options for everyone. Much fun was had. Taken 7/2/16.
We got our first carrot harvest from our garden. We planted purple and white carrots. News flash: purple carrots are orange on the inside, but white carrots are not. Taken 7/5/16.
More pasta experimentation, this time featuring long fusilli with cheddar sausage. Taken 7/7/16.
We visited West Park for the first time to check it out for Debbie's company picnic the following week.
At the top of a small hill in the middle of the park were a mother and her 20-something non-verbal autistic daughter. The daughter was beside herself with joy to see Tom pushing Claire's wheelchair up the hill toward her, and there were smiles all around when we reached the top. It's nice to run into other people who are members of our very exclusive club.
We tried Claire on a new type of swing, one designed for parents swinging with their toddlers. Claire was able to swing on it just fine even though it didn't have back support.
Finally, we spent some time sending Claire down the slide. She's a big fan of slides and this was no exception. Taken 7/9/16.
Kelly spent the evening at Camp Grandma again. Here she is playing with her very favorite toy at Grandma and Grandpa's house: Doll (pronounced "Goll"). It's a 10-piece matryoshka doll from our 2002 trip to Moscow. Kelly loves taking it apart and putting the pieces back together until she reaches Tiny, the 1/4" tall doll in the center.
On the drive back to her house, Kelly got to hold Grandpa's hand. Taken 7/10/16.
So that picnic at West Park started very badly with an extreme downpour that soaked all of the prompt arrivals. After 20 minutes, we did an emergency relocation to the Orchard headquarters and left this sad, wet note. The good news is that the relocated picnic was a great time. Taken 7/13/16.
Claire had a nice time opening up her birthday presents on her birthday. Here she is with the goodies from Uncle Doug and Aunt Susan. Taken 7/14/16.
Two days later, we hosted a family gathering for the Austins, the Sanders, and Tom's mom to celebrate Tom's, Claire's, and Jeff's birthdays. Not shown: an entire counter full of vegan/gluten-free foods to accommodate Anne's new diet.
Then we had to rush everyone off so we could attend the Gale Force Software summer picnic. Here's a group photo of the owners and employees who were able to attend.
We got home from that in time to raise a long-distance toast to our friend Lee on his 60th birthday and our friend Marley on the occasion of her living as long as her late husband Gary had lived. Here's to many more years, Lee and Marley! Taken 7/16/16.
Oh no! We didn't quite make it out in time when we did the Museum Heist challenge at Breakout Indianapolis with Dean, Audrey, India, and Derek. Next time, definitely. Taken 7/18/16.
We had a large vegetable garden this year, and this Jack Be Little pumpkin vine provided us with fun little pumpkins to play with all fall. Taken 7/20/16.

We headed to Bermuda for a week for our 20th wedding anniversary. Taken 7/23/16.
Dinner is served! Who says you have to go to a Renaissance fair to get a good turkey leg? Taken 7/31/16.
We devoted nearly the entire garden outside our kitchen window to fruits and vegetables this summer. We grew large and small pumpkins, six kinds of hot and mild peppers, chard, cucumbers, watermelons, zucchini, leeks, green onions, blueberries, blackberries, carrots, cilantro, fennel, tarragon, brussels sprouts, and three types of tomatoes. Some were removed by the time this was taken. Taken 8/06/16.
When in doubt about whether or not fresh chard will work in a soup, throw it in. Delicious. Taken 8/06/16.
We loaded up Jill and the grandkids and headed to La Crosse, Wisconsin, for the weekend. It was an eight hour drive during which freshly-potty-trained Kelly required nearly constant stops along the way. Fortunately, we had a couple of glorious hours where both kids were asleep.
One we arrived, we put on our finest garments ...
... and enjoyed cousin Megan's wedding to Craig on 8/13/16.
The next morning, we were back on the road with our little cheeseheads, stopping briefly at a Wisconsin gift shop to get a new hat for Kelly. Taken 8/14/16.
We love our original ISS-Above so much that we bought another for Tom's office. This model activates an LED strip to indicate how soon the International Space Station will be flying overhead. Taken 8/16/16.
Since we couldn't attend Peter's citizenship celebration in Seattle, we sent our good wishes via photo instead. Taken 8/16/16.
After over a year of Claire not eating, we went back to the doctor to make sure Claire is okay.
He didn't find any problems but he did load us up with some free samples to add to the very expensive nutrition we have been buying. Taken 8/17/16.
It's cook-your-own-pasta night with Audrey and Dean! We had your choice of sauces, meats, veggies, and pastas, ...
... so each of us cooked up the combination that suited us best. Taken 8/20/16.
Tom and his colleague Marshall were guests of Roche at a product launch celebration. They were treated to a drive in an Indy car around the streets of Speedway. Taken 8/25/16.
Debbie has inherited many boxes of memorabilia from her Schilling grandparents via her aunts and uncles. Here's the mess while she was halfway through sorting the latest round of boxes. Taken 8/27/16.
We spent a long weekend visiting Milwaukee in early September. Read all about it here. Here's the beautiful interior of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Wingspread. Taken 9/02/16.
Construction finally began on the road outside of Tom's office in preparation for the IKEA due to open in a year. Every single second of the inconvenience will be worth it to have an IKEA in our town. Taken 9/08/16.
We stocked up on interesting pasta and sauces when we visited an Italian grocery in Milwaukee, and here was one of our first dinners as a result. This featured a previously-unheard-of pasta called garganelli. Taken 9/08/16.
Gaze upon the first and only watermelon we have successfully grown. The variety is called Sugar Baby because it is tiny. Even though it didn't look fully ripened, it was sweet enough to eat. Taken 9/10/16.
Our cucumber vine was very prolific, so we got to make a lot of refrigerator pickles this year. With several varieties of hot peppers, we got to experiment with adding peppers to the brine for flavor. Taken 9/10/16.
While clearing out old food in the freezer, we discovered that adding leftover tater tots to a pan of our favorite casserole, Yum-a-setta, makes it an even tastier dish. Taken 9/11/16.
We had a great visit with Debbie's college roommate, Janet, when she was in town, catching up over brunch at home. Taken 9/17/16.
When Aunt Mary returns a Tupperware container, she does it in style! It contained a full pan of Aunt Mary's bars (Scotcharoos), which we promptly put into smaller containers to freeze for later, then eating all of the bars that wouldn't fit. Taken 9/18/16.
September's theme dinner was cheese and crackers, featuring cheeses we brought back with us from our trip to Milwaukee. Audrey and Dean added to the theme by bringing a side dish of cheesy broccoli, topped with Ritz crackers, of course. Taken 9/18/16.
When we were in Bermuda, we saw an impressive display of Schwartz seasoning packets in a grocery store. Rather than pay Bermuda prices to bring them all home, we purchased a boxful online from a British company. Here's the first in a series of dishes we wouldn't have made if not for a packet of spices and printed instructions. Taken 9/18/16.
After several years, we took Claire to a Sensory Friendly Films showing. Sensory Friendly Films are special showings of new releases where the sound is a little quieter and the lights are left on, specifically for families with a loved one with autistic tendencies like Claire. She seemed to enjoy seeing "Storks," and we certainly did. Taken 9/24/16.
We had drinks at Nippers with our friend Geoff, but this photo of a nearly empty beer is the only one we took. Huh. Taken 9/28/16.
Another dinner, another Schwartz concoction or two. This is the day that we discovered that adding sweet onion slices to seasoned potato wedges is the best idea ever. Taken 9/29/16.
Audrey's birthday gifts had a rainbow theme. Obviously. Taken 10/01/16.
As part of Audrey's birthday party, we had balloons with small LED lights inside. They were supposed to last up to 15 hours, but after popping the balloons, we discovered that the lights were still going strong, so we added them to a bowl of glow-in-the-dark glass balls in a bowl in our bedroom.
The lights gave off a nice glow as we drifted off to sleep at night for the next couple of months before they finally faded for good. Taken 10/05/16.
Fall means it is time for the fire pit. We supplemented our usual collection of sticks and wood with some old manuals from Orchard Software. Taken 10/08/16.
Jill and Craig decided to sell their house, so we helped them to pack, clean, and stage their house for sale. Here's the 3D dollhouse view of their home when it was placed on the market 10/12/16. Our hard work was worth it when it sold the first day it was offered.
Here are our beautiful grandchildren, Kelly and Johnny, photographed by Amber Himes.
Just under two years old, here's our sweet Kelly. Taken in early October.
Ooh la la! Schwartz's chicken provençal was quite delicious! Taken 10/16/16.
Debbie's dad and stepmother stopped overnight on their fall migration from Minnesota to Arizona. They cannot resist the lure of these adorable tots. Taken 10/18/16.
We stood in line for two hours at the library to do early voting. Taken 10/20/16.
Everything on this tray came from our garden, including the sliced fennel bulbs which we had never tried before. We baked this up with some olive oil and pineapple balsamic vinegar. It smelled and tasted so good when it came out of the oven that we stood in the middle of the kitchen and ate it right off the tray. Taken 10/23/16.
We celebrated Kelly's second birthday a couple of days late. She loved her brand new playhouse, which is nothing more than a giant tablecloth with windows and a door sewn into it. Taken 10/25/16.
We hosted dinner at Brugge with Helen, Jeff, Anne, and Margaret. We didn't get a photo of our tablemates, but we did photograph the amazing display of French fries with a huge selection of dipping sauces. Taken 10/26/16.
This evening's beer selection was from the Sam Adams fall sampler. Beer and fire are the best things about fall. Taken 10/29/16.
Our friend, Pete, came to visit us from New Zealand. We took him sightseeing in Indy, starting with a selection of foods at the City Market. He tried a tamale for the first time (not a fan), but the smoothie and crepe were delicious.
Next, we visited the Canal, ...
... then we headed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a tour. We took a bus ride around the track, ...
... and got out to visit the famous yard of bricks.
Obviously, we had to kiss it.
We visited the interview room ...
... and the platform where the Borg-Warner trophy is awarded. Taken 11/01/16.
The next day, we visited Orchard Software then enjoyed an afternoon on our patio, ...
... followed by dinner in Carmel. Early the next morning, we drove him to Lafayette to catch a train to his next destination. Taken 11/02/16.
Kelly loves being outside. Here she is bringing Grandma the first of many, many pinecones. Taken 11/3/16.
We harvested a huge number of our hot peppers, including jalapeños, super Thai, and cayenne, then made our first batch of dried peppers. It worked out so well, that we harvested and dried the remaining peppers before frost hit the next weekend. Taken 11/05/16.
We recreated a beer/cheese pairing from our Milwaukee trip when we enjoyed New Glarus Raspberry Tart Ale with Bellavitano Raspberry. Taken 11/05/16.
Kelly won't remember her first election when she's older, but we taught her how to wave a flag and say "America!" Taken 11/08/16.
We brought Claire to another Sensory Friendly Films showing. She actually smiled quite a bit while watching "Trolls." Taken 11/12/16.
We were leaving Jill's house when we saw the super moon. This photo taken from the freeway on the way home doesn't do it justice but it brings back the memory of how striking it was just the same. Taken 11/13/16.
The super moon was just as cool the next evening but our photo was just as bad. Taken 11/14/16.
We decided to give our beloved van, Vanessa, to Jill, and bought another Grand Caravan to take her place. Meet Septimus, the seventh vehicle we've bought together. Taken 11/15/16.
When packing for a trip, our bedroom looks like an eBags warehouse exploded. In related news, eBags are the very best product ever invented for travel. Taken 11/17/16.
With a mere 99 miles on him, we loaded up Septimus and headed out for an old-fashioned road trip. We left on November 18, ...
and drove through Peoria, Illinois, ...
... with stops in Czech village in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ...
... the SPAM museum in Austin, Minnesota, ...
... the Badlands of South Dakota, ...
... Mount Rushmore, ...
... Devil's Tower in Wyoming, ...
... several cities in Wyoming including Casper, ...
... Chimney Rock in Nebraska, ...
... and Pella, Iowa. We returned after eight days and 3200 miles. Read all about it here.
Our adorable grandson, Johnny, thinks it is hilarious to take off Grandma's glasses, just like his sister used to. Taken 12/1/16.
The annual Gale Force Software holiday dinner was held at Sullivan's. Here is the team after a great night of food and fun. Taken 12/3/16.
Here's Kelly with a delicious bowl of Rice Krispies (pronounced "Spees!") while Johnny gnaws on a piece of bread forever. Taken 12/6/16.
For the first time, we attended Orchard's annual Breakfast with Santa. Claire was uninterested, ...
... but we were happy to sit with Santa (AKA Debbie's colleague Dale). Taken 12/10/16.
From there, we headed to the Sensory Friendly Film showing of "Moana." It was a great movie to see on a large screen and Claire really liked the music. Taken 12/10/16.
Back at home, Claire even joined us for a while as we watched "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (so we could see the shots of Devil's Tower). Taken 12/10/16.
Debbie's boss goes all out for both Halloween and Christmas, so we drove past his house to see it in all its glory. Behold! Taken 12/12/16.
Debbie's birthday celebration started with a traditional tray of oysters the night before.
The morning of her birthday, Tom made Swedish pancakes, just like her mother had when she was young.
Unfortunately, our brand new Septimus suffered a front end collision less than an hour later, so Debbie had to come get Tom from the accident site.
But after work, birthday festivities resumed with Jones Birthday soda, ...
... presents from Margaret, Doug/Susan, and Tom, ...
... and dinner at Charleston's with Audrey and Dean. Taken 12/13/16.
We started the weekend of many parties by heading to Peru, Indiana, where we finally stopped for hot dogs at Mr. Weenie.
Then we headed to Carter's first birthday party, which had a Marvel superheroes theme.
Later that evening, we had a great time at Matt and Maggie's. These amazing cookies were made by Amanda. Taken 12/17/16.
For their annual holiday outing, the management team of Orchard Software went to see Star Wars: Rogue One. Taken 12/20/16.
Debbie's Aunt Carol came to visit for Christmas, and she brought with her a giant assortment of treats from Aunt Mary, since Carol had just driven up from Mary's home in Texas. So many goodies!
But wait! There's more! Three dozen rosettes from Uncle Mark (of an original six dozen, but not all of them made it out of Texas), plus an entire container of Aunt Mary's bars!
Carol also brought presents for her great-grand-niece and nephew. Here's Kelly opening her gift. Taken 12/22/16.
The next day, we had breakfast at IHOP, where we met a sweet busboy with a hearing impairment who gave us a nice note about Claire and took good care of us. Then we visited Tom's office and drove past the new IKEA being built right across the street.
That afternoon, we saw "Rogue One" at Flix Brewhouse and visited Debbie's office afterward.
Back at home, we enjoyed some egg nog while working on a puzzle. Taken 12/23/16.
We finished up the puzzle on Christmas Eve. That's our house right in the middle of personalized puzzle (thanks, A&D!).
Our Christmas Eve dinner was a sausage, cheese, and crackers platter, plus a couple of the bottles of wine that Carol brought.
We had a roaring fire and Norad Santa on the big screen, ...
... then we played a couple rounds of Careers. Taken 12/24/16.
Carol headed home on Christmas morning. We spent the day prepping for more visitors the next day, then took some time to celebrate Christmas just the two of us. Taken 12/25/16.
Jill and Craig arrived earlier on the 26th so we could open our presents together. Once we opened and activated this musical card, we discovered that nothing was going to get it to shut up again, so we put it on display in the bathroom for everyone to enjoy ALL DAY LONG.
We spatchcocked a turkey for the second time ever, ...
... and once again, it turned out perfectly in just over an hour. Google the technique and try it yourself!
Here's our Christmas buffet. It was delicious but we're thinking we're just going to order pizza next year. So much easier!
Of course, we played Dirty Bingo.
We also played Ship, Captain, and Crew for the first - but not the last - time.
Jill's friend Jackie stopped by for a while to get her Kelly-and-Johnny fix.
Kelly got to spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa. Here she is serving up a delicious slice of wooden pizza with velcro-attached toppings.
Tito adores Kelly and loves to cuddle with her at bedtime.
The very best Christmas gift this year was an afghan Jill crocheted. The dark yellow yarn was from an unfinished knitting project Debbie's mother had started over 30 years ago before she passed away. Jill had matched two new colors of yarn to create it. Taken 12/26/16.
The next day, Kelly tried on Pappaw's Colts hat when he stopped by to pick up Claire. Taken 12/27/16.
Debbie was thrilled to find her new parking spot sign had been installed at work. It was a raffle prize and it is hers for one glorious year. Taken 12/28/16.
By the very next day, it had already been vandalized by her staff using printer paper and tape. Shocking! Taken 12/29/16.
We got an ISS puzzle from Doug and Susan for Christmas. It took hours and hours to complete, ....
... but it was worth it! Taken 12/30/16.
Time for New Year's Eve with Audrey and Dean! .We had pretty decorations, ...
... delicious beverages in personalized glasses, ...
... and a three-course fondue dinner. Shown here is the second course of shrimp, sirloin, chicken, sausages, wontons, potatoes, asparagus, cooking broths, gravies and dipping sauces.
Kitchen selfie! Not shown: various party games spread out throughout the evening.
Claire's bedtime is before midnight, but she still got to wear her Happy New Year hat too.
It's midnight! Cheers! Taken 12/31/16.
At the end of the evening, the light-up balloons were still going.

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