Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mom's Birthday: Part 2

Well, this is going to be a shorter post then I had planned, but my Norton is doing it's monthly scan of the computer, and it slows my Photoshop WAY down. Patient person that I am, I can't stand it, and I have to convert the photos to low-res jpgs in Photoshop so that it doesn't take an hour to upload each photo. So, here's the three that I managed to get converted! More to come...

Mom making use of one of her Christmas gifts. She got DSL this week too; so, she'll probably be a blogging fool now that she's all set with a digital camera AND high-speed internet.

When Mom calls, Nick will answer the phone, "Ayy, the Pirate Ruthie, have you stolen any treasures today, matie." When I saw this card, like NINE months ago, I had to get it! On the inside it said, "Here's to having a sharp-object-free birthday!"

This is my all-time favorite picture I've ever taken of Ella. I love her expression...the light on her face...all of it. I'm definitely going to order a copy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Part 1: Mom's 55th Birthday

Yes, that's right: Part 1! In celebration of mom's 55th birthday, most of the family got together last Sunday to have lunch and cake at Grandma's. In celebration of the big 55, I am posting new photos for FIVE days from the event...aka Nick's in the field all day today so I have time to sit at the computer all day and catch up on some much-needed photo work and blogging! So, here's the first of the five days!

The cake for the big celebration...

There was a lot of preparation and hard work for the big day...

A lot of excitement too...

Some were just so over-the-top excited...

...they could barely contain themselves.

More pictures to come tomorrow...and maybe some will even contain the birthday girl!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New car

Well, many of you knew that I haven't been happy with the Mountaineer we got a few months ago. I did end up trading it in over the weekend. My biggest requirements were that it be something small, zippy, with decent gas mileage. Here it is!!

Of course, I am kidding. This little car was at the restaurant next to our office last week, and I couldn't resist. My personal favorite is the license plates. I am sure this is what Ben will have Kori in before the year is over!!

In fact, we got a little Mercury Milan...28 mpg easily. Even Nick commented on how nice it was to drive around yesterday running errands and still have an almost-full tank of gas at the end of the day.

Talk with you all later!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Karen!

Happy Birthday, Karen! I hope I make you smile on your birthday (to make up for waking you up this morning with my singing Happy Birthday into your ear at 6 am!) with this little quote.

This was sent to me by my friend Jennifer, who admitted yesterday over email that she is a blogstalker as well!


Have a Happy Friday...and a Happy Birthday, Karen!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dedicated to my Blogstalker!!

So, I have to dedicate this post to my admitted Blogstalker - AMY!!! I love it when people leave comments and I was so excited to see your comment...and your admittance that you're a blogstalker!! Also, thank you to Allison for leaving a comment!!

This is a picture of me in Vegas. There's a bit of a story about this photo. The photographer that I referenced two posts ago, "Becker," was selling these t-shirts in honor of his blog. I wanted to have my picture taken with it. So, I opened my bag and pulled out Nick's Kodak Easy Share camera and handed it to Cydil. Right when she went to take the picture, Becker started walking up to the booth. Before he could see me with a camera that would be considered a mo-ped at a Ferrari car show, Cydil handed back the camera, and we got out of there fast. So, we had to go back later to get the picture. We laughed about that all day long!

Update on the exercising: Here was my thought process last Thursday - my first day of getting up at 4:30 am to exercise: "Why do I have to exercise to lose weight? This cannot be my fault. This has to be my parents' fault. Yes, that's right - this is ALL their fault. It's their genetics that have made me this way. Or perhaps it's ADM's fault - darn their high fructose corn syrup!! Yes, it cannot be my fault. To console myself, perhaps I'll go to Dairy Queen for lunch...yes, that will make me feel better about how these people have wronged me." :)

The first day was rough! I was tired, but yesterday's workout was much better. I adjusted, and now this morning I was awake at 5:20 without my alarm clock. Perhaps this will be the beginning of something great! But, more than likely I will quit this insanity after the six weeks is up!

Love you all! Kelly

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One Year Anniversary

Today is the one-year anniversary of living in our house! Why is that such a big deal? Because it's the first time in many years that we're not planning a move of some kind. Let's recount the moves over the last several years, shall we?

Rock Island, IL, house - February 2000-January 2001
Normal, IL, townhouse - January 2001 to May, 2003
Grandma's house (while my house was being built) - May-Sep. 2003
Bloomington, IL, house - September 2003-April-2004
Bettendorf, IA, condo - April 2004-May 2005
Tuscola, IL, house - May 2005-May 2006
Shelbyville, IL, house - May 2006-April 2007
Windsor, IL, house - April 7th, 2007-present

While Nick teases me about having to move my stuff for the last three moves, I do think he kind of misses the painting and remodeling we end up doing at each home. The last two weeks he's been restoring parts of the barn and milkhouse. I think it's a sign he misses my remodeling projects he gets suckered into!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

My One Second of Fame

Well, the post that I originally planned for tonight will have to wait until later. The photo I need is on Nick's the shop.

So, I thought I would show you guys this instead. There is a photographer named "Becker." Like Cher or Madonna, in the photography industry he is known by one name. He lives in the LA/Orange County area and is famous for his wedding photography...I'm talking charging $15-25,0000 per wedding. Very high end. Along with being a well-known photographer, he is also very generous in teaching his knowledge to new photographers. If you've ever noticed, his blog is one of the links on my blog....right now, look over to the right...yep, that's his site under "Blogs I Stalk."

In the last few months he has started videoing 2-minute tips on cameras and photography. I download and watch all of them. While in Vegas, he offered to take free headshots of anyone that showed up in a certain spot at a certain time. He was testing out Nikon's new camera. Well, Cydil, Jan, and I all showed up, and here is a very quick video of everyone's free headshots. He also gave us the files; so, I'll show those in a few days.

Here's a link to the video of everyone's headshots. You have about 1 second to see my three, pay attention! Click here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

An April's Fool

It's April 1st, and I'm renewing my committment to eating better and exercising (although I'm having frozen pizza tonight for supper). Last week, myself and two of the ladies in my office decided to, once again, hire the trainer at our local gym to work out with us. As a group, it's very reasonable....12 sessions for $, please don't think that I'm a snob even though it sounds snobby that we've 'hired a trainer.' We figured in the past we've all spent $75 on less important things than our health. So, tonight was our first session.

The trainer, Dennis, was talking about his schedule. I talked about how I hate getting home so late (I have a 40-minute drive after I leave the gym at 6:00) and somehow we made the decision to work out in the morning. So, FOOL that I am, for the next six weeks I will be leaving the house at 5:00 am to meet them to work out. I'll then shower at my colleague's house. First session is this Thursday. I AM A FOOL.

On a side note, here's a picture of a barn just north of our house that I love. :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Introducing Ross!

Although he wasn't due until the end of March, this little guy just couldn't wait and little Ross came a couple of weeks early. He weighed the exact same as his older sister, and so far he seems to have the same good natured personality!

I got the chance to take a few pictures of him last weekend. Here's one of my favorites!


Here are a few pix from Easter Sunday at my cousin Devin and his wife Christy's house. Taking on my extended family is a large task, but Christy pulled it off very well, that we kept telling her she should have ALL of the Burget family dinners. I'm not sure she looked at that as a compliment or as a threat!

I have a bunch of pictures to post from the last two weeks, but I thought I would start with these since they were the most recent! Hope everyone had a happy Easter!

Emma and Ella demonstrate the new aprons and Easter bags that Christy and her mom gave them. It was so thoughtful!

Aunt Gail...caught in action...just not sure which action. I'm pretty sure it was while talking about renting a Winnebago to drive to MN for our July 4th trip!

Devin's cousin on the other side. Yes, Christy and Devin hosted three different sides of their family at once: my extended family, his dad's extended family and her family.

Ella slipped in under Uncle Mike before he sat down.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A "Sweet" Joke

This little gem is courtesy of my friend Allison. I'm not sure how long it's been since I've laughed that hard at an email.

Thanks, Allison! This is priceless!

All, please note the 'pastie' and fake money details.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 5 Report...and a big treat!

Day 5 (Friday) went fine. Not to sound like a broken record, but breakfast was two eggs, soup and carrots at ten, turkey sandwich and fruit around two, ran two miles over lunch.

The big break in the schedule was for supper. Now, I know I was raised on a farm and all, but after living in larger towns for the majority of twelve years, moving to Shelby County has been a bit of an adjustment for me. Moving anywhere where there wasn't a Panera nearby was life-altering...and don't get me started on how much I miss the restaurant Granite City. So, when Nick and I got married, and I moved down here, I had to resign myself to the fact that the Cracker Barrel was going to be it (OK, I'm being a little sarcastic here, but it's my story!).

Then, a year ago, a couple from California opened a restaurant in Effingham called the Firefly Grill. With it's loft-like feel on a lake (aka water retension basin), it felt so super-swank! I went there with Nick's mom and we loved it, but when we went for Nick's birthday, Nick's food was horrible, as was our service, and he didn't want to go back. I was so upset. Six months later, I convinced him to try their Sunday brunch after church. They redeemed themselves a little. Last week we ended up there again with Nick's brother and sister-in-law, and we both had this pork tenderloin with this great sauce on was fabulous. Now we're addicts! We went again last night...pork tenderloin again, spaghetti squash, their yummy bread. It was all so good!

So, didn't really stick to the diet last night, but I don't care! It was SO worth it!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 4 Report

I hate breakfast. I love breakfast food...but really only if it's after 9 am. Not at 6:30 in the morning. One of the things I do enjoy for breakfast is making a smoothie in the blender and then drinking it on the way to work. It works well for me.

So, yesterday I told Nick I didn't want any eggs. I was going to make a smoothie. I use a banana, yogurt, blueberries, ice, wheat germ, honey, and pineapple juice. Everything took a turn for the worse when I went to pour the pineapple juice in and realized it had gone bad. Nick offered to make me eggs really quickly, but I was running late. So, I ended up getting a yogurt parfait at McDonalds on my way to work. A nice treat, but probably not the best for you.

Otherwise, the morning snack and lunch were the same: carrots, soup, turkey sandwich, no fruit today though.

Supper: used non-breaded chicken tenders, spinach, a bit of cheese, salsa, and a tortilla to made a low-fat version of a soft taco. It hit the spot.

Exercise: Ran two miles over lunch...yes, at an incline...but not as much as what the treadmill was set at yesterday. I did, however, speed up the mph...I figured faster at less incline was a good compromise!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Days 2 & 3 report

Mom gave me a little shout-out for not posting yesterday. She thought I'd given up already, but I haven't! I just didn't have time in the morning.

Both days went pretty much the same...eggs for breakfast, soup and carrots at 10 am (this time I did chicken noodle...much better then the pumpkin soup), turkey sandwich and fruit at 2, and salad for supper. I'll admit that I had a littlel run-in with a ham salad sandwich on Tuesday. I worked from home because of the ice and snow, and for some reason the little thing I'd bought at the deli this weekend, which I only do twice a year probably, was screaming at me from the fridge. I finally gave in, but oh can't give everything up.

On the exercise front, I did aerobics again Tuesday night, and on Wednesday I did a really stupid thing...but one that will pay off in the long run. I went to the gym over lunch to run. I do this often, because I don't live in town; so, I have nowhere to go except the library or the gym. I got on the treadmill, and man! was a more difficult run then usual. But that's what happens sometimes. It seems harder then other days. Now, I don't make it a habit to look at the display much...I usually throw a towel over it so that I can't constantly glance at the display and monitor how far I've gone. With 3 minutes left in my run, I finally looked down and realized that I was running at an incline! No wonder it was so darn hard! The girls at work were all like "Isn't it great to know you can do that though." No, it's not! Because now, every time I run, if I'm not doing it at incline, I'm going to feel like a slacker! I would have preferred never knowing I could do this!

Anyways, have a good day! There'll be more tomorrow!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 1 Report

So, Day 1 of the crackdown went well.

Breakfast - 2 eggs, scrambled...courtesy of my wonderful husband who asks me every single morning, "What do you want for breakfast this morning?"

10 am snack - 1 cup carrots and 1 cup pumpkin soup (I know...sounds was. I was trying to re-create this pumpkin soup I'd had once. It was one of the couple of my times while working for Deere that I got to eat in the executive dining room. Theirs was so much more like a pumpkin custard or pudding...sweet, yummy...more like a dessert vs. a soup. Mine was the low-fat, healthy version...not as good.)

2:00 lunch - turkey sandwich and 1 cup peaches

Supper - spinach salad with blue cheese, tomato, oil and vinegar.

Exercise - 1/2 hour aerobics.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

No one likes a cold butt...or a fat one.

So, this weekend was the first one that felt something like spring. Nick's been outside cleaning the garage while I've been doing a bit of cleaning inside today. It's been nice. However, I had a thought a day or so ago that I have two weeks before I get on a plane and head to Vegas for a few days. Then I had the thought, "What clothes should I pack?"...and then panic set in. I knew I needed to go through my summer clothes that are packed away. Yikes! Which ones would fit well, because who doesn't put on a few pounds over the winter months?

So, I made the decision that for the next two weeks I was going to buckle down, eat healthy, and exercise daily. Now, I have made this promise to myself many times before; so, this time I decided to put it out there for everyone to see. Not only am I going to eat well and get back on the treadmill, but I'm also going to report daily, because I know, if anything, my sisters will at least keep me accountable. They can be harrassing like that. So, here it goes. In preparation for the next two weeks, I cut up masses of carrots today and made a low-fat soup to take in my lunch. I'm also later today going to have Nick measure my arms and legs so that I can really see if I've made in progress in the two weeks.

I will post tomorrow and let you know how Day #1 goes.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of our dogs...who evidently don't like sitting in the cold snow; so, they drag their dogbeds outside the garage every time it snows and sit on them in the middle of our yard. Weird (or smart?) pups.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Good Time Was Had By All....

So, everyone saw on a previous post that we had a Progressive Dinner shortly after Christmas. Well, one of the girls that hosted part of it decided it was truly a news-worthy event, and we were published in the "Stewardson Clipper!"

Karen, I think you'll really appreciate the last sentence! It was my contribution to the article, and I think that it's so "Manito Review!"

Monday, October 14, 2013

ANOTHER Birthday!

These are a month old, or so, but I thought I would post these pix of Ella opening up at least one gift from her birthday last month! Nick and I weren't there for her actual birthday party, but we were there the day before and got to give her her gift while at Mom's for dinner. So, I thought the sisterhood in Minnesota would like to see the couple pix that we have!

I like to think that this picture is proof that Nick will do just fine if we end up having all girls someday. He patiently held each outfit up in front of Ella for a picture. If anyone doubts me, let me know, and I'll post each outfit! ;)

I love this picture because it shows how much Ella James loves Nick. It doesn't matter if the James girls only see him once every few months, they always come running to the door to greet him, and although he would maybe not admit it, he really likes it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Happy Birthday(s)!

Happy Birthday, Kendall! Believe it or not, the baby of the family turned 23 yesterday!

And, Happy Birthday to Addison Michele Harms. Born yesterday morning around 11:30 am, her crazy mom called me at 12:30 and I had an email with pictures in my inbox around 1:30. Our conversation went something like this:

Brea: Her name is Addison Michele.
Kelly: "Michele" after Kelly Michelle, right?!
Brea: Umm, or perhaps Breanne Michele.
Kelly: Hmmm. Well, potato/po-tah-to.

Congrats, Brea and Ryan!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday, Grandma Budke & Scott!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Big, Major Announcement

Does life get any better than this? If Tiffany is their opening act, I am SO there. ;) Click here for more info.

Sorry....I's been a while.

I's been a long time since I've posted. I don't have a good excuse...just procrastination. I'll try to be better.

As most of you know, I've made a few good friends here that went to school with Nick. When moving to a new area, especially a small town where the "new people in the Smith house" have lived there for twenty years, making friends can be hard. So, I'm very thankful for the friendship that they've extended to me and how they include me in some of their activities with other young women in the area. One of my favorites is the monthly Bunco group. The best part about our Bunco group is that we've never once played Bunco! It's just good food, good drinks, and good conversation! I look forward to it each month.

Over Christmas, two of my new friends, Allison and Jennifer, and I decided to have a progressive dinner. It was so much fun...and so much work! But, well worth it!

I was quite proud of my Red Velvet Cupcakes. It's the dessert I make that Nick says turns out great every time. I even did the fancy icing with a cake decorator kit I had gotten for a wedding gift. We also had a chocolate cake with hot fudge sauce, a pumpkin cheesecake roll, and a chocolate turtle pie. The chocolate turtle pie was the big hit, though.

Appetizers were at Allison's house. Sorry, I forgot to take my camera inside! Allison is sitting to Nick's right at the table. Dinner was at Jennifer's house. Jennifer and her husband Kurt live in an old brick Victorian that has been in her family for generations. They are restoring it room by room, and I just love it! Jennifer is my friend that I could talk to for hours on end about paint colors and ornate woodwork!

Jennifer's mom and aunt volunteered to 'serve' us dinner. As much work as I thought the desserts were, Jennifer's efforts trumped mine by far. She had wine, the best homemade dinner rolls, and actual printed name cards with menus. This is Katie, another member of our Bunco group.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Merry Christmas...a few weeks late!

Nick and I Christmas morning after church at his parents' house.

Claire on her new little red rider.

Nick's mother Arlene opening up her new leather recipe binder.

Claire with her daddy, Nick's brother Heath.

Monday, October 7, 2013

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.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

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.