Saturday, December 8, 2007

Jacob's Meet and Greet

When Jacob was home for Thanksgiving, he got passed from one family member to the next. The little guy did great. I think he enjoyed the matter if he knew the person or not. Here's a few pictures I captured of Jacob getting entertained by anyone and everyone over Thanksgiving.

25 Years is a LONG time!

Uncle Randy and Aunt Gail are celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss this month. Since Nick and I celebrated our second anniversary this week, we have a new respect for the compromising involved in getting to that 25th mark.

While everyone was home over Thanksgiving, the Watson boys, the Rankin girls, Gail and Randy's sisters and brothers, and everyone's families pitched in and threw them a surprise party to celebrate the event.
Here are a few pix from the big night.

Photos from their wedding day.

Gail was very surprised...however, I'm not sure we fooled Randy...his face didn't register an ounce of surprise when walking in the door!

Karen and Chris are going to have problems with this one! Ella was dancing by herself WAY too early in the night!

Mom and Aunt Stacy had been baking and freezing cupcakes for weeks beforehand.

The members of HURL (Husbands Under Rankin Law) eagerly and enthusiastically awaiting their next orders.

Gail and her sisters.

Kim busting in on the action.

Aunt Stacy and Brittany

Karen attempting to steal my husband away while on the dance floor!

The Burget sisters, spouses, and others family members.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanks-Christmas 2007!

As some of you know, for the last three years, the Rankin girls, their families, and their parents have been getting together for what is now known in our family as Thanks-Christmas. As more of us got married and moved out of state, it become important to find a time to reserve for us to spend a couple of days together for some QT, a good meal or two, and to celebrate both Christmas and Thanksgiving. So, we now do our Thanksgiving and Christmas all wrapped up in one, hosted by someone different each year. Here are some pictures from 2007's Thanks-Christmas celebration...complete with "Gobble til You Wobble" t-shirts Karen had made for us this year. This year's celebration was hosted by Kori and Ben at their home in Indiana.

There are more pix....but this is all I had the patience to upload tonight. I'll do more later....I promise!

Emma...holding Emma.

Kori and Ben scored big time with this little tutu (sp??) for Ella. I can't decide which was the best part though? When she bowed after she put it on, or when she got stuck inbetween some things later on because it was so big!

Anna looking so pretty with her new blue vest.

Nick and I are just sure that this was Scott's favorite gift! (yes, we got it for him!)

All of us girls...with our "Gobble til You Wobble" t-shirts on.

Jacob hanging out with Grandma Cooper...and laughing at his dad on the couch, I think.

Ella getting comforted after one of the many times she accidentally got hurt this weekend!

Jacob - Old Mr. Blue Eyes himself.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A long lost Rankin sister???

I was flipping through the channels the other day and caught a re-run of Oprah. They were showing some makeovers. What caught my eye was this girl! I think she might be a long, lost sister or something!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another picture from work!

Every year at Thanksgiving my office sends thank-you baskets of Amish goodies to the companies we work with. This year we decided to have a picture taken to include in our Thankgiving letter we also send with the box. Our office manager joked around during a meeting that having our picture taken with a grain pile at the elevator would be indicative of this year's harvest. We started out with the photographer at the local pumpkin patch for the more formal, serious pictures. But, he thought the idea of the grain pile was pretty good. So, we headed over to an elevator we work with. This is one of the ornerier pictures we took of just the girls from the office.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Friends from Work

A couple of weeks ago was Homecoming in Arthur, IL...home of the largest Amish community in Illinois. Homecoming in Arthur is kind of neat. Everyone lines one side of a street to see one side of the Homecoming parade. Then, after the parade has passed, you walk over to the next street over so that you can see the other side of the parade. That way you can see people on both sides of a float. Kind of quaint, huh?

Anyways, I went with two friends from work: Bobbie and Genny. On the way back to the car, Genny was walking behind me, and I heard a voice all of a sudden say, "Kelly, can you help me???" I turned around, and Genny had walked underneath a branch and gotten her hair caught in a branch. True friend that I am, I said, "No, but I'll take your picture...hehehe!" So, I snapped away while Genny tried to wrestle her hair away from the tree.

Sorry for the bad pix...I've been meaning to edit them for a month and haven't found the time...or perhaps the patience!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

You Know You're Married to a Farmer When.... look up one day and realize someone has been 'decorating' with their hat collection. At this moment I'm wondering where the belt buckle collection is at....

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Claire

Claire turned two last Sunday. We got to see her open her gifts at a family cook-out. Depsite the fact that Claire's dad despises Dora the Explore, someone actually got her a Dora activity book. Hmmmm....wonder who that was.

Nostalgia?...or Insanity?

So, a few of my new friends down here are big 'canners'...aka they are really into canning salsa, homemade ketchup, tomato juice, jelly, etc. I had forgotten how good canned tomato juice was until Arlene gave me a couple of cans the last couple of winters. Nick and I couldn't believe how much better our chili tasted with the home-canned tomato juice; so, we would save our precious few cans of it for 'special days.'

After we moved to the country this past spring, we decided to put a few tomato plants out (well, we put other vegetables out too, but honestly the tomatoes are the only thing that we actually harvested besides a few green peppers).

A few weeks ago, me and two friends made plans to can tomato juice. When I was growing up, mom used this tomato juicer contraption called a Squeezo; so, I got onto ebay (what I like to call 'the digital attic' where you can find all crazy things from your the book "Little Visits from God," an Ethan Allen trundle bed set, etc.), and I started bidding on Squeezo tomato juicers. I'm glad I did, because it saved us a ton of time compared to the hand-sieve style that you can also get!

Anyways, it's very sad when you can tomato juice. You have buckets and buckets of tomatoes, and you get, like, 6 quarts out of the deal! But we finished the job, and I've actually canned twice since: once with my sister Kori (she'll not visit me again in August when the tomatoes are ripe!) and again today I finished up the last of the tomatoes. There actually might be more, but at this point the garden is so overgrown with weeds that I'm giving up rescuing anymore.

After three hours of work and a couple of buckets of tomatoes, here is my bountiful harvest today:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Weekend Guests

Some of you know this, and some of you don't, but I LOVE playing cards. I have memories of Karen and I playing epic games of "Speed" sitting in her bedroom on the reversible blanket with the sheep on it that she received for Christmas one year. We could play for hours and hours.

As an adult, I still love to play cards, but Nick won't play with me. On the rare occasion that he agrees, he makes it so entirely miserable that I 'throw in the cards' after just one round.

My aunts, however, come to my rescue a few times a year. They come and visit and we play, once again, epic rounds of Shanghai Rummy and Speed until three or four in the morning. The day before we play we catcall each other all day leaving each other voicemails and eamils on how we're going to "kick your butt at cards" that night. The catcalling is just as much fun as the card-playing sometimes.

Gail and Stacy came to play cards a few weeks ago. We live in the country in Shelby County, Illinois...which means there's no one nearby. Gail was appalled that I haven't been up blinds yet in the house; however, I don't want to put any up until our new windows are installed later this fall. So, after complaining the first morning that the sun woke her up, I dug through supplies brought home from my frequent hotel stays while working for John Deere and pulled out a mask courtesy of some hotel somewhere.

Gail and Stacy, thanks for making the drive and coming to visit last month. And, next time, I am SO going to kick your butts at cards!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A life-changing purchase...

When we first moved into this house, we had big plans for the basement. A second kitchen, a huge storeroom, etc. Because of our big plans, we had originally planned on holding off for a few years since windows, landscaping, siding, etc. needed to come first. However, with temperatures in the 90's over the last month, Nick and I kept noticing that the basement never got over 70 degrees; so, we decided it would be a better move to go ahead and put carpet in the basement so that we could make it more of a family room in the meantime. I think it was one of the better decisions we've made in this remodeling process!

Basement before:

Basement after:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Introducing a New Member of the Family!!!

No, it's not what you're thinking...we're not expecting. Instead, a stray cat came to the Nick's parents' shop a couple of months ago. After it stuck around for a while, nick decided to bring it home with him. I honestly didn't think the cat would last long at our house.

With two dogs and a barn full of who knows what critters, I thought the little kitten would be gone in a matter of days. However, this cat has proved to be smarter than the average cat. Within a couple of days, she learned where the dogs' boundary is for their underground fence. Slowly and carefully, for the last month she has gotten closer and closer to the line. The dogs stand for hours on end at the line waiting for the cat to come out of the barn. They stand so close to their boundary that their collars are beeping at them constantly...emitting their subtle warning that they will get zapped if they take a step closer. As a result, Nick has had to change the batteries in their collar about once a week. This free stray cat is costing us big bucks at this point!

Finally, last week, the cat came across the line into the dogs' territory. After six weeks of flirting from the other side of the boundary, the dogs were so used to her that she can come right up to them now. Sometimes, yes, they get a little riled up about her and she runs to the other side of the boundary into her own protected territory, but otherwise, it seem like the standoff at the McCormick corral might be over for a while.

By the way, we've named the cat "Kendall Gail."....Kendall because we think we still need a Kendall in Illinois, and Gail after my ornery aunt. Plus, it kind of goes Crystal Gail...or Kendall Gill. For those who are upset that we didn't use their names in naming our pets, we're planning on adding to the family a "Kimmie Ruth" and a "Kori Anastacia" sometime soon!

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Post Coming Soon....

Once again, I am sorry for not posting lately. Although I do have lots to post! After my Apple Mac that was only five months old crashed for the THIRD time two weeks ago, I took a day of vacation and drove down to St. Louis and returned it. I ordered a new HP and it just came; so, I promise I will get pictures posted yet from Kim and Scott's visit and also from my visitors last weekend.

Sorry....Nick says if there was such a thing as 'bad karma' that I have it when it comes to purchases! I have so many things go wrong with things I buy!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I'm sorry that it's been so long since I've blogged. It's been a busy last couple of weeks, but Nick's out of town the next couple of days; so, I promise to make up for it!

Kim and Scott and Jacob made the circle tour of the midwest a couple of weeks ago and visited Manito, Kelly and Nick in Windsor, Ben and Kori in Indiana, and then back to central Illinois for our cousin's wedding. We had a blast with them, and I think the country in Windsor is quieter than it must be in Manito or in Minnesota, because Jacob's average 20-minute naps stretched into two hours while he was here!!

Here are some of the pix from their visit!

Jacob loves looking at things while hanging out upside down!

Clean and happy after a bath.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Strawberry Jam

Several weeks ago I was invited to make strawberry jam with a couple of my new friends, Allison and Jen, that are from Nick's hometown. I wasn't sure how it would turn out! However, when we got done we tested our domestic talents on some hot biscuits, and Alliston's little girl Gabby seemed to think that the jam tasted just fine!!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Visiting with Good Friends

Last night Nick and I had the chance to catch up with old friends, Brea and Ryan Harms. They were in Illinois for a relative's wedding and snuck over to Champaign to buy all of the Chief-ware they could since it's no longer allowed to used in anything promoting the University of Illinois. So, we met up in Mattoon for supper.

For those of you who don't know, Brea was my intern many moons ago one summer at John Deere. It was through her and her husband Ryan that Nick and I, as Nick and Ryan were frat brothers in college at Illinois. They also had their little guy Carter with them, who bore the slow service at the restaurant much better than I did!!

PS - Brea is also an avid reader of all of the Rankin Girls' blogs!