Sunday, December 27, 2009

December 27, 2009 - Looking back on 2009

Hey there, hi there and hello there for the last time in 2009. Wow, what a year it has been ... I'd have to say, besides 2006, this would have to have been the best one in the history books for me:) Between visits from family and friends to unforgettable trips with Jenny, 2009 is wrapping up to be one that will be difficult to top ... but I'm going to give it a shot anyways!!
I decided instead of lots of words to recap the year, a video collage will bring back so many of the memories that will never be forgotten with a Top 10 in no particular order, hope you enjoy (
10. Getting accepted to Emory University and beginning my MBA this past fall
9. Buying my first home in Columbus, GA
8. Jenny moving down to Georgia ... big happy face;)
7. Getting a promotion to Supervisor at Aflac
6. Winning Aflac's Got Talent in front of the entire company!
5. Adopting a dog ... Caden
4. Celebrating the lives of Grandma Naber and Grandpa Klein
3. Traveling to South America: Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil
2. Volunteering in New Orleans and the Live United Youth Camp
1. Visits from family and friends here and back home
Those others under consideration were trips to Chicago with Jenny, Philly with the MMC SIFE team, a triathlon at Callaway Gardens, speaking gigs in Orlando/Atlanta and the many good times with friends down here in Columbus.
I hope you all enjoyed 2009 as much as I have and I wish you all a very happy New Year! Jenny, Caden and I are going to get 2010 kick-started in Miami for a New Year's celebration with 40K Iowans as we cheer on the Hawks in the Orange bowl ... should be a blast, thanks Todd for the tickets:)
Have a great rest of the year all and thanks for the good times!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 25, 2009 - Merry Christmas to all!

Hey there, hi there and ho-ho there:) I know it has been a few days since the normal posting, but I wanted to make it a special holiday treat for all. I know many are out there celebrating with friends and family and I just want to say hi to all of them back home in Iowa!! Jenny, Caden and I miss you but wish you a very Merry Christmas indeed. A special holiday birthday wish goes out to sister Nicole, cousin Jared and grandma Seda since I last wrote ... I hope you all have great times!
I will have to say that the last week and a half or so has been pretty quiet at work. Between everyone leaving for the holidays and no one being there ... ok, it's the same thing I suppose ... not a lot is going on! I did have a few members of the team there this past week to help gather the 583 pounds of canned goods for a local shelter that was inspired by Dad and Barb's Christmas request for a gift for the greater good vs. themselves, hope you enjoyed guys:) Also, I packed up the folks at work for a team building activity at Peachtree Mall. Instead of doing a big gift exchange, I thought it'd be nice if we all gave back over the holiday season. So, seven of us ... minus John ... went to help Habitat for Humanity with their annual gift wrapping at the mall. We all have very good skillz, it's just we don't all have wrapping skills to show off, so it was a pretty funny time watching them all:)
Last week also marked our farewell to Grandpa Klein up in Manchester. Time with family close to the holidays is always good, but sometimes it can be a bit tough. I flew back on Tuesday morning and had Dad pick me up for the wake on Tuesday afternoon. You could truly tell how well respected a man Grandpa was by the steady stream of friends and family that strolled through for 6 hours straight paying their respects to quite the family man. All of the cousins, aunts and uncles were there for each other to remember all of the good times that we have had over the years. I was honored to be asked to be a lector for the services on Wednesday, "Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."~Thessalonians 4:13-18. The memories continued at Grandpa's house where all of the kids went through pictures to relive the memories of the last 20 some years in Manchester. Old birthday letters and pictures of Christmas parties filled the house once again with laughter and memories of times we will never forget. Today I'm missed Christmas up in Manchester, but know that Grandpa, Jenny and I were there in spirit and hope the days festivities were filled with memories to be cherished for years to come:) Thank you for all of the lessons and the Klein legacy Grandpa, we'll never let you down!
This past weekend also marked another Christmas celebration as the Shueyville clan flew down for an amazing weekend of relaxation, presents, ping-pong and plenty of food. They arrived late Friday evening to a warm greeting from Caden and the Columbus crew:) Saturday we took in some upside down french toast and some unwrapping of presents throughout the day. I finally got my ping pong table which we later hosted a family-size tournament along with a sleuth of other great gifts from family. We also visited our favorite restaurant, Fuji, for some hibachi action before a night at Callaway Gardens. Apparently when people come down to visit us, they're expecting decent weather, but we decided to give them a taste of home with mid-30's and some misty rain as we waited 90 minutes for the jolly trolly ... o was it worth it though! An hour of caroling on the trolley through the Christmas Fantasy in Lights display may have not warmed the toes, but it did the holiday spirit.
Sunday it was off to St. Anne's after some eggs and a good bit of playing with Christmas gifts. Between the Big Buck hunter, video-taping random activities and more ping pong ... we easily justified the 9,000 calories of Christmas candy that was consumed throughout the weekend. Now although Jenny and I couldn't be home for Christmas, the holiday greetings we received from family and friends back home truly made for a holiday to remember. Thank you all so much for all that you have done for us and we hope your holiday was full of good cheer!!
This weekend I hope to be putting together the 2009 Top 10 as a new blogging tradition before Jenny and I pack up for a New Year's celebration in Miami with 40,000 of our closest Iowa friends down there for the Orange Bowl ... thanks Todd for the tickets, it's going to be a blast!
Until next time all, have a wonderful Christmas day:)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13, 2009 - Thanks for the memories Grandpa

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. The hardest thing isn't always saying goodbye, but realizing that the sorrow we have shouldn't be so, rather it should be joy in knowing that the ones we love are in a better place where they aren't in pain and their worries are taken away. Grandpa, you gave us all the most amazing memories from words of advice to those of encouragement. You instilled in us discipline and a work ethic that anyone looking at the Klein family can see. You gave us all these things without expecting a thing in return except hard work and our best effort, whether your kids or grand kids. I can't thank you enough for everything, but most importantly, our Dad and an amazing group of people we call family ... without you, none of us would be here today!
Aflac went pretty darn well this week, mostly because of the great team I've got around me. It's not as crazy around the holidays with so many people out, but it's good to catch up on some projects and get prepared for the new year. I gave some updates on retention initiatives we have going on in addition to helping validate our new redesign, you should check it out ... pretty sweet I must say! Our team also started a canned food drive this week with the Policy Service department, I can't wait to see what we can bring in:)
Emory wrapped up this week with my final first semester final on Wednesday, what an exhilarating feeling indeed. I felt pretty good about my first semester. I've learned so much and have been able to apply it to the Duck. Additionally, I have met some pretty amazing classmates along the way and felt good about being able to contribute to class discussions. Since Emory thinks they have to be different, we don't get letter grades, rather distinctions. It starts at the top with DS (Distinction), HP (High Performer), PS (Performance Standard) and LP (Low Performer). Knowing what I'd have to give up to sustain top marks in every class, I made it a goal of mine to go for PS and HPs from time to time, but it looks like Econ must've been my subject as I pulled out a DS and an HP in Decision Analysis. Next semester I'll start up in a Finance course as well as Marketing, should be pretty exciting indeed.
Well, I suppose I should go finalize my flight plans back home to say farewell, make some meatloaf and play with the dog. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends this week back home to celebrate Grandpa's life and how he helped shape us all. Thanks again and have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6, 2009 - Happy Holidays!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all and welcome to December, crazy to think it's almost the end of the year. I know it's been a week or so, but travel and getting back in the swing of life in Columbus has kept my blog at bay:)
Aflac has been a whirlwind over the last couple of weeks, but has culminated recently in my realization that I have the most amazing team around. We've been quite busy with projects and we recently moved to a new location at the Paul S Amos campus. Our team finally got a US Steering Committee Project approved which has to be presented to the President and COO in the next couple of weeks. I've continued to help blog for the Duck Pond and help drive improvements for our accounts, which is very exciting. I had somewhat of an intervention with the team this past week, a 1.5 hour session which was some of the best team time we have had in the year+ I have been leading the team. We really laid everything out as to where we think we are as a team and it was amazing to hear how proud they are of the work that we do and the camaraderie we have together, something I am very thankful for! I can't wait to see what the New Year will bring for us.
My first semester at Emory is winding down this week with a recap session tomorrow night and a final on Wednesday. Over the last couple of weeks we've had some group case work and a great presentation the Monday after Thanksgiving. Our class was given the opportunity to look at Atlanta Falcons season ticket holder data, analyze the findings and present our recommendations to our professors and classmates. It was pretty interesting to take what we've learned all semester long and apply it to a real world example, I guess this would be the reason I chose to go to Emory ... the opportunities to truly dive into the learning! Next semester we tackle Marketing and Finance, bring it on!
I will have to admit that the Thanksgiving break back home was just absolutely fantastic. The big 3 F's: family, friends and food:) Have you ever seen that movie "4 Christmases"? Well Jenny and I made the sequel, "6 Thanksgivings and a Christgiving" (yes, a mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas:). We had meals in Shueyville, Blairstown, Cedar Rapids and Manchester with great family bonding laced in with all of it. We spent a good bit of time with Jenny's family, and of course had a wonderful "Ugly Sweater" party to celebrate birthdays and Christmas. I was really glad we were able to spend quality time with all the family members and even visit with some of our friends where Gump got to see my broken leg and good-lookin' toes for the first time;)
This past week has just flown by and culminated with a great party at the pad. We had our annual Dirty Chinese Elephant SIFE get-together, but this year I thought it'd be a good idea to implement a couple new traditions. First we instituted the ugly sweater contest (of which only 3.5 people participated, boo fun-haters) and then we took our group's philanthropic attitude and contributed to Open Door Community House. Everybody brought two gifts, one for a random gift exchange that was a blast and then another to help brighten the Christmas of those that might not get too much over the holidays. We all picked an age group and gender to purchase gifts for and tomorrow Jenny will take two Santa size garbage bags full of gifts for the children of Open Door, what a great feeling indeed.
Saturday we all got together again for the Easter Seals pancake breakfast. We helped them clear I believe more than $4,500 in sales with our flap-jack flipping skills, but I as the cripple was dubbed as the drink-passer-outer-guy ... which I tried to complete with flair:) Then, last night we all got dolled up for the annual Aflac Christmas party at the Civic Center. Jenny and I cut a rug with all our friends (including my mentor and a fellow cripple Bob Ottman) and did a lot of the one-legged shuffle.
This week looks to be a great one as I wrap up the semester at Emory and start helping the team get to the next level at work. O yes, I just heard from my old pal Todd Dunford that since our dear Iowa Hawkeyes just got a BCS invite, he had extra tickets ... so Jenny and I are going to start the New Year off right with a trip to Miami, Florida with 40,000 of our nearest and dearest Iowa friends. It will be a fantacular time indeed.
Hope you all continue to have a great December in preparation of the holiday season.