Monday, December 17, 2007

Done At Last!





I finally, FINALLY, graduated from NMU (magna cum laude, if you'll excuse my bragging a bit). As many of you know, it's been a long journey since I graduated High School. I transferred to BYU-Idaho and back to NMU, unfortunately loosing credits right and left in the process. I took a few years off to serve a mission for my church. I had Anna 2 and 1/2 years ago and would not take more than 12 credits a semester after that. Summer classes were out of the question. Also, the education majors require a lot of credits, so it's common to take a good 5 years of classes/student teaching to graduate. So, just a few reminders why it took me so long. hehe
Student teaching this last semester was a challenge. Not the teaching part, but being away from Anna so much. The teaching part was great! I taught at the Father Marquette Catholic Schools. (That was the only way I could stay in town.) I went to Mass every Friday with my students and learned a lot about the religion. I love to learn about new religions, so that part was interesting too. I occasionally taught the religion class for my teachers. Many of my fellow teachers were pretty interested in my religion, so of course I volunteered lots of information.
I was in a 4th grade placement for 8 weeks and taught science, math and technology to both fourth grade classes. The next 8 weeks I was in a 7th and 8th grade Middle School placement where I taught English and Language Arts (my majors within the Elementary Education program). Fourth graders were great and I had a lot of fun with them. When I see them around town they always come up to say hi, give me a hug, and tell me how much they miss me. It's such a sweet age. It's still funny getting used to hearing "Mrs. Rayhorn" outside of the classroom setting. It definitely catches me off guard. Between the two, I actually preferred the middle school placement. I just loved that age group, and loved teaching my major subjects.
Like I said, being away from Anna was TOUGH. I was done at 2:30ish every day, which was nice, but I was always so tired from the long day and the pregnancy. I seriously went to bed an hour or so after Anna every night - 8 or 9pm, no joke. I am so, SO thankful to my mom and Ethan's mom for babysitting Anna, especially this last semester. (Ethan scheduled an easy semester so he was with Anna much of the time too.) Anna went through different stages during the semester, and seemed like she was finally becoming okay with being babysat so much right at the end. But now we are enjoying our days together. When I was student teaching I was gone before she woke up, and now when I go in to get her in the morning she often says, "Mom! I am so glad to see you!" How sweet!
So what are my future plans, you may ask? For now, be a stay at home mom, and we'll see what happens down the road. I really love learning and taking new classes, so part of me is actually a bit sad to be finished. Mostly I'm just excited to finish this stage in my life and focus 100% on family and kids. As you'll notice in the pictures above, Ethan convinced me to walk at graduation. I'm glad I had the full experience. The night before, there was a great program put on by the education department for the graduating Education Majors and their families. .  .  slide show, yummy food, pinning ceremony, speakers, etc.  I went to the honors breakfast the morning of graduation with my mom and dad (and Ethan stayed home with Anna).  And, I but a gown over my pregnant belly, and walked at graduation.  (Not flattering! :) 
So sorry for the long post, but I wanted to record some of my experiences during this last crazy, busy semester.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Cookies!







Anna and I went to the McMillans yesterday to make some Christmas cookies. Everyone got covered in flour. Anna swiped a little bite of dough, see above, but then realized that sugar cookie dough doesn't taste very good.
Anna and Jackson loved it and did a really good job cutting out the cookies and decorating them with frosting and sprinkles. Hailey's recipe was very tasty! Sorry, no pictures of the final product.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pumpkin Pile!


I know this entry is a little late, but I just love these pictures and had to post them. The Saturday after Thanksgiving we decorated for Christmas. We let Anna wear her fall outfit one more time as we were taking down all the Autumn decorations. Anna wanted to make a pile of all the pumpkins that we had. She was very concerned when she heard me talking about throwing them away and I think she was trying to protect them. However, we brought up the Christmas tubs and Anna immediately became distracted with all the decorations. We quickly put the fall stuff away and threw out the pumpkins.
Anna was so cute when we were decorating. We had Christmas music playing, talked about the decorations and about why we celebrate Christmas. Every few minutes Anna would randomly call out, "Merry Christmas Mom! Merry Christmas Dad!" (She just stopped using 'mama' and 'daddy' which made us sad at first, but kids have to grow up, I suppose.) Anna was just very excited about the whole process. When we took out the Nativity set we told her a simple version of the Christmas story. It is so important as a parent to help our children keep the focus of Christmas on the Savior, but I'm realizing it's pretty tricky with all the other STUFF that goes along with it.
We've been reading a Christmas story book to her every few days and I think parts of it are sinking in. For example, today we had a snow day. Yep, our church was canceled up here in the good ol' U.P. We were lounging around, snuggling. Ethan wrapped up Anna in a blanket and said he'd "swaddled" her up like a baby. Anna must have remembered that word from the story we have been reading because she said, "Anna not baby Jesus, I am baby Anna." It was too cute.
Shortly after, we got the sled out and walked over to my parents pulling Anna behind us. Anna laughed and giggled and squealed the WHOLE way. (It's only a few blocks.) She just loved it! I'm guessing there will be lots more walks with the sled/sledding to come this season. So, I am sure there will be more winter oriented pictures to post soon. Hope you're all enjoying this beautiful season!

Monday, November 12, 2007

IT'S A...........BOY!!!


We had our ultrasound last Friday and found out that everything is healthy and well with the little baby. We also found out we're having a boy. We weren't hoping for anything in particular, we just wanted to know what it was. I love to plan for things and HATE surprises. Anna went with us to the ultrasound appointment, and she is pretty sensitive about baby talk now. Of course everyone is asking if she's excited for a baby brother, etc., but she just doesn't want to talk about it. We'll give her some time.

So the first thing I wanted to do was buy the baby an outfit. Apparently I'd forgotten how much new baby clothes are. It's CRAZY...even at Wal-Mart. I mean, they only wear them for a few months, if that. Instead I went to Good Will and bought a bagful of clothes for much, much less. The picture above shows some of the cute things I found.
So we're very happy, very excited and can't wait to have another little family member. Oh, some names we are considering, for those interested: Isaac, Benjamin, Elijah. Those are our top three as of right now. We'll take suggestions.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Halloween!




We went to the Church Halloween party on Saturday Night. Anna had been looking forward to dressing up and getting candy for weeks, literally. It's all she ever wanted to talk about. Of course on Saturday she didn't want to wear her costume. She'd been telling everyone, even perfect strangers, that she was going to be a butterfly for "Howleen." So, Anna did end up putting it on and we managed to get a few pictures.
Ethan and I didn't dress up this year. I did wear a burnt orange shirt and Ethan got a pumkin sticker put on his head when we got there...so we were still fesitve-ish.
Oh, the picture of Anna hugging her friend Jackson (a farmer for Halloween) is just so typical. Whenever they see each other they always hug...and hug....and hug...and hug. Finally we have to say enough is enough. Then they go on to ignore each other the rest of the time they are together. Kids are so random!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another Sweet Cheeks

Many of you already know that we are expecting another little sweet cheeks. I am 16 weeks along, due at the end of March. My ultrasound is scheduled for Nov. 9th, and of course we're going to find out what we're having - I hate surprises. This video is of Anna talking about and to the baby. She is really excited about it and will randomly talk about how she is going to take care of the baby when it comes out...mainly by feeding it lots of bottles and taking it on stroller rides. They will be about 2 1/2 years apart, and I just know that Anna is going to be an awesome big sister. We wanted her to be part of sharing the news with you. (See the video clip below.)

video

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Race Against Tobacco


A couple weeks ago Ethan and Andrew competed in a half Marathon (13 miles), Race Against Tobacco. For the spectators (myself, Anna, Grandma Susan and Grandpa Chuck), it was a beautiful sunny day in the 60's out at Little Presque Isle. The race was pretty brutal - lots of rocks, steep climbs, and intense trails. Many of the runners coming in were scratched up, some were limping, and we even saw someone being carried in by a fellow runner. So, not a race to get a "best time" on, but Ethan and Andrew both finished, unharmed, and we had fun going out to support them. Here is a picture of Andrew striking a pose as he comes in for the finish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Anna and the Play-doh.

I've been trying to add a video of Anna for a while now, and the Blogger website recently made it a whole lot easier. So, here it is: We start with Anna singing one of her favorite songs (Twinkle, Twinkle) which she quickly looses interest in and fades out. Then she has a little melt down, but soon recovers. Finally, we talk about her play-doh jewelry mentioned in my last posting. It's not great quality, but enjoy!



video

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Play-Doh!!!

Anna is turning into such a girly-girl. Ethan and I pride ourselves in how well rounded Anna is. She loves cars and trucks and balls and babies and jewelry and dresses. However, about a month ago Anna has started to only request dresses if we ask her what she wants to wear. She then tells everyone she sees that day, "Anna, pretty dress." Anna is always talking about pink things and wants to wear pink. We were playing with play-doh the other day and the only thing she wanted us to make was jewelry. Good grief. She still likes the other stuff, but this girly side is beginning to take over. Part of me thinks its adorable, and part of me hopes it's just a phase.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Anna Turns TWO!!!






It took me a while to get Anna's birthday pictures up...in case you didn't notice. I know, I know, I've been slacking. Anna had a bug themed birthday party with a few of her friends this year. We chose bugs because she's been super interested in them since this past spring.  I still tried to make the bug theme cute and girly.  :)  Anna loved having a birthday...a little too much. Yeah, this year it went to her head a bit. Ethan's birthday is 5 days after Anna's, and she just could not comprehend how it could be anyone elses birthday besides her own... now that she'd experienced the full glory of having a birthday.  Ha. 
I don't really consider myself a crafty, 'cutesy' kind of person, but sometimes I try (and I LOVE the "planning" part of it).  I really think Anna's party turned out so adorable, if I do say so myself. hehe.  :)  I loved how it all came together.  Although, I don't think I'll do another "kid party" for a while. OK, there was bug themed food, gift bags (home made and personalized :), decorations (home made), a bug book I read, bug games and music. It's not in any of these pictures, but the kids put on little antennas I made for them and played a Bee game...adorable.  It involved a song and "stinging" the person that rhymed in.  :)  I had hid bugs around the yard and in the sand box before the party, and the "find the bugs" game was a big hit.  It was too cute!  It was just so much fun; I loved planning it for and with Anna! 
So happy birthday to my precious, little Anna! I love her so much and cannot imagine my life without her. Anna is so sweet, funny, kind, outgoing, quirky, serious, smart, beautiful, EVERYTHING! I say this about every stage that she's in, but I love, LOVE, having a two year old. It is hilarious, fun, draining, and rewarding. Being a mom is the best! I am so blessed to have Anna as my daughter.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ethan's Triathlon




Ethan competed in the Copperman Trithlon for the second year in a row. I got to go watch him this year and I was seriously impressed. A sprint triathlon can vary slightly, but this was a 1/2 mile swim, a 19 mile bike ride, and a 5 mile run. Whew! Good job baby!!! He improved his time from last year and beat his friend Ian Blotter, the other shirtless kid. The first picture is Ethan modeling the time chip ankle bracelet, and looking a little nervous as he tries to work out some pre-race jitters. The last picture is us on a little hike to look at some scenic rapids on the way home. Not so rapidy though. (The water level is way down this year.) I'm really glad I got to go support Ethan...and have a fun little overnight get away.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Beach Babe




Anna loves going to the beach. She just can't get enough of it, so we try to go a few times a week. It's been so hot and sticky lately...perfect beach weather. Anna always wants to invite her friend Jackson along (pictured above). The more the merrier. This time there were little waves and Anna had soooo much fun. She kept yelling, "Watch out!" and "More waves!" Man, she is growing up too fast. I think that first picture of her looks so independent...what the heck is happening!?!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Independence Day








We had a fantastic 4th! There was beautiful weather, fun with friends and family, and yummy food. Ethan and I had a BBQ at our house with some friends and then walked down to the parade. Anna absolutely LOVED the parade. For days she would tell anyone who would listen, " 'Palade', candy!" She just could not believe person after person came by throwing candy at her. Anna didn't even care about eating it either; she was just excited to hold it in her little hands.
We went to our friend's house for sparklers that night. Ethan and Brian started a game of 'snap-it' baseball. (Snap-its are the little white things you throw on the ground and they pop.) If you enlarge the picture above, you can actually see the snap-it Eth is about to hit. I gave it a try and it was way fun. The snap-its were an easier target than I imagined.
Fireworks over Lake Superior were beautiful this year. Anna was pretty nervous, but she liked talking about the colors. The top picture is of Anna leaning against Gramma Melissa. She fell asleep towards the end - definitely something she picked up from Ethan. I would NEVER be able to sleep through the stuff he can. As you can see, it cooled off that evening. It was refreshing since we'd been having 80 - 90 degree days. I think it's funny, and probably a bit unique, to have pictures of the family all bundled up in sweatshirts and blankets to watch fireworks on the 4th of July. I love Marquette!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Trip to Utah





We ventured out to Utah at the end of June for "May-May's" (Meghan's) wedding. It was an awesome trip, and I've been meaning to post about it since we got back. All of the action and excitement of the wedding was fun. It brought back the memories. (Ethan and I have been married for over three years, but we still feel like newly-weds.) The Manti temple was beautiful; I'd never been before. The top picture was taken at the temple, right after the wedding. Yippee for Meghan and Jake! The next picture is of Anna making friends with Aunt Patty while we're waiting for the reception to start. Patty's beautiful, sparkly sandals helped break the ice with Anna.
We stayed a few days with my sister Christie. It was great catching up with her and seeing all her impressive home improvement projects. Most exciting, we met Paxton Freir for the first time. What a handsome baby! There's a cute picture of Garrett holding him up. I do have to mention that the first day I was there, Paxton puked on me THREE times. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal, but our luggage had been lost and clothes were precious items just then.

Next is a picture of Anna with my cousin Amy's kids, Cole and Kenzie. It's so fun that Anna is at the age where she's really excited to see other kids and wants to play and interact, not just observe. I'm glad that she got to meet her second cousins - is that right? - even for one afternoon. The other picture is of Anna eating Indian food with our friends Dan and Jazmine Peterson. It was great seeing friends out there, AND it was great eating at a lot of restaurants we don't have here in Marquette. Yum, yum! :-) Whenever we take a trip, we realize how totally secluded our little part of the world is.
To reward Anna for being such a little sweetie (she was really, REALLY good the whole trip - way easy going) we decided to go to the Living World Aquarium the last day we were in Utah. Anna LOVED all the fishies. I think her favorite were the jelly fish, or maybe the sting rays.
Anna also loved swimming at the pool; courtesy of Meghan's apartment complex. Anna was so excited about staying at Meg's house and every time she woke up in the morning she would say, "May-may's house." When we were swimming in the pool, an airplane would fly by about every five minutes and every time Anna would say, "Look, airplane!" She was so excited about our airplane ride that she still occasionally looks up in the sky and says, "Look, airplane!" Only, there isn't an airplane. When we ask Anna where it is, she says, "Hiding."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Race at the Base




Ethan just competed in his first ever bike race last week. He's had his bike for almost two years and has done a triathlon and a few time trials, but the "Race at the Base" was his first official bike race. Of course I couldn't miss it, so I took a few pictures while I was there. I thought he looked pretty dang good (there's nothin' like my husband decked out in black spandex, oh baby). Really, I've gotten used to it and I rarely laugh anymore. :-) So Eth really liked the experience and he did pretty well...I'll let him tell you his time/placement if he wants. Most of his bike workouts he did solo, so it was a very different experience riding in a pack - the 'peleton' if you will. Anyway, if you click on the pictures to enlarge them, you'll be able to pick out my sweetie.