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!