Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Festivities In the Q...

Poor Ben-Ben did not like sledding.
Anna and cousin Rachel; Rachel, Anna and Rebecca going down in train fashion; Benjamin tackling Daddy.

Grandpa Dewey went down with Buddy chasing close behind; I went down too, wheeeeee.

Ethan and Grandma (Lee Parr); Auntie KC and Ben-Ben; Boise State Broncos fans...sad ones.

At Miss Amy's party; More High School friends at Amy P.'s.

Christmas Day dinner at the Jones'...notice the center piece ginger bread house Anna and Grandma Susan made; Kisses for Gma Susie; Ben-Ben and Anna looking at something with Gpa Dew.
Christmas and my baby; Auntie Ashley helping Anna open a the excitement on her face; Love the excitement on Ethan's face as he helps Anna open the Wii. :)
Santa brought these expandable shirts for everyone in the Rayhorn family, and we all had tons o' fun modeling them; Ethan and Chuck looked especially handsome; A Christmas morning family picture...maybe one of these years the kiddies will cooperate.
Ben-Ben playing with some presents; Anna was very excited that Santa knew she wanted cow girl stuff; Love the happiness in Anna's face while she's hugging Benjamin...and like most one year olds, Ben-Ben is pretty much oblivious to it all.
The tree on Christmas morning; Anna and Auntie KC doing some Christmas Eve cheers for Santa, too cute; Sisters - Beth and I on Christmas Eve.

Anna tasting one of the cookies she and KC made for Santa; Anna and Auntie Ashley throwing out some reindeer food.
GraMelissa with her granddaughters, Anna and Rorie; Ben-Ben trying to sneak away on Christmas Eve; The Puzzle! This doesn't show everyone who put in some time, but a few. Love the matching pj's from Melissa and Chuck, such a fun tradition.
Christmas Eve with LaJoice's - Anna and her Great Grandma Virginia; Grandma Susan with some grandkids, passing out the presents; Ethan, Benjamin, Andrew and Sabrina lounging.
More fun in the snow - Anna and Mommy; Daddy and Anna going on an adventure; Granny reading a story to Anna and Rorie.
Well, we had a wonderful trip up north for Christmas. Lots of fun, family time, games, snow, good food, friends, the Spirit of Christmas surrounding us, relaxing, etc. It was so hard to narrow down the pics, so if you're at all interested in seeing more, just check facebook. I didn't get pictures of everything we did, and everyone we saw, but close. And I don't think I have much more to add...the photos say it all. Thanks so much for having us Chuck and Melissa. We all had a fantastic time!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lovely December...

What a magical time! The spirit around the Christmas season is such a beautiful thing. We've been having a wonderful month. Anna and I attempted a ginger bread (actually graham cracker) house. Geesh, those are a lot harder than I realized. I've made them when I was younger, but I think I was never on the construction end of it. Our house turned out looking more like a ginger bread trailer, but we had fun. Anna LOVED this activity. It was so funny, she kept talking about how unhealthy it was...we must be teaching her well. He he. (Not that we ate the whole thing...just a few tastes here and there.) Oh, and much of the candy we used was left over from Halloween; we're not huge candy eaters in our house. Well, I'm sure the kids would be if we let them. Anyway, a little off topic there, we had so much fun constructing, and decorating the house. It was a sweet bonding experience for Anna and I during Ben-Ben's nap.

Here is the finished product with our little table top tree in the background. Anna and I are both wearing Christmas aprons, which added some "specialness" to the activity. The apron Anna is wearing is mine from when I was little, and the one I am wearing was a favor from a Relief Society activity at church. After we made the house, we were going to leave it out for display, but it Drove. Ben. Crazy! He just couldn't stand it. He kept pointing and crying, "Tee-de-tee!" (That's what Benjamin has called candy ever since Halloween: 'trick-or-treat'.) So we put the candy house in the oven, but then Ben-Ben figured out how to open the oven. For the love! That kid...

We went to the Spring Break Family Fun Center with our play group. It is a huge room full of different bounce houses and mazes. Anna was in heaven! She loves this kind of stuff. If it wasn't so price-y, it'd be the perfect place to go during the winter months. (It was free today because we were with the S.K.I.P group...nice!) A fun thing Ethan thought of was to use my cell phone to time Anna, and she had tons of fun trying to beat her best time.
Benjamin, on the other hand, was terrified of the bounce houses. I don't know what it was - maybe the noise of the air machines, maybe the size. He loves parks, and is quite the dare-devil there, but not today. For the first 45 minutes, he wouldn't even touch them, and would try to stay as far away as possible. If Ethan or I would pick Ben up to show him what Anna was doing, and explain that he didn't need to be scared, he would get sad and panicky. Once Ethan set him in a bounce house, and went to the end to try and encourage him to walk through. Benjamin just laid down and cried. Poor little man. Luckily, there were other fun things and friends for Ben-Ben to play with. And by the end, he was touching them. Not going in, but touching them. Progress.
Finally, Anna had a little Christmas celebration today at her pre-school. Families were invited, but there weren't too many that could make it. Anna was SO excited that I was there. And I was so excited to be there. I was relieved Ethan's finals schedule worked out so he could be home studying while Benjamin had his nap. At Anna's school, there were crafts, treats, songs, games, etc. It was so awesome watching Anna with her friends and teachers, doing school stuff, in her element. She thought it was so special that I was there. Such a sweet day. The picture above is Anna with her teacher, Miss Rita. Miss Rita is full of energy, so happy, so wonderful with the kids. I know you don't need a degree in education to tell if a teacher is doing a great job, but it can't hurt. And I think that Miss Rita is simply outstanding at what she does. Anna is so lucky to have Miss Rita as her first teacher in her scholastic career.
Well, Ethan finished his last final exam today at 4:30. He is now officially half way done with the program, one and a half years in. That may not sound that great, but it's all down hill from here. And his whole last year consists of various internships, as opposed to classes and studying, so hopefully that will fly by. It was such a busy semester, and we are both so excited for this 2 1/2 weeks of winter break. We are anxious to head up north and spend time with family and friends, hopefully work in some kid free time - something that is pretty much non-existant these days, do all the fun Christmas/winter traditions as a family, and just relax a little. If I don't post anything in the next few weeks, I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas holiday filled with love, peace, joy, and laughter!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Anna and Ben-Ben waving to one of our neighbors.

Brother and sister playing together. This was Benjamin's first experience with snow this season. He loved it at first and went stomping around...then the excitement wore off, and he wanted to go inside and get warm. Ben-Ben is sporting a new winter jacket his Granny Lee got him last year. So cute!
I love the last picture of both kiddies making snow balls. I'm pretty sure Ben-Ben doesn't even know that's what he's doing...he just always wants to do what Anna is doing. *Oh, and notice the jacket Anna is wearing. Look familiar? I LOVE this little corduroy jacket with the pink floral lining, and this is the THIRD year Anna has been able to fit in it. (Yes, she's really evened out over the last few years. :) So, I do love a good garage sale, but think I'm pretty picky about what I buy: I look for good brands, preferably some-what "trendy" clothes (i.e. not the stuff from the 80's my mom always manages to you mom :), and I look for good condition. This jacket was a "nearly new" Old Navy jacket that I got for $3.00. That's a dollar a winter people! Just had to mention it. Oh, and my mom bought an adorable jacket/snow pants combo on clearance at Kohl's last spring, so Anna is not destitute.*
Throwing snow! Ben trying to make a break for it! Ha, Ben-Ben couldn't stop licking the inside of his hat. I think he just liked the new texture, 'cause I'm sure it didn't taste that good.
Some sweet shots of the babes to use for a Christmas craft with Anna. Hhehehe, the last picture is priceless. Anna did most of the decorating of the tree, as if you couldn't tell by the lop-sidedness, and all bulky ornaments at the bottom. I re-did the tree that night, and told Anna the tree couldn't hold everything she put on. I should have taken an "after" picture. It's a pretty cute, little tree.
Everyone says that Benjamin looks like a little Ethan, so we thought we'd finish off the look by having him try on Daddy's glasses. Precious!
So, here's a little week (and a half) in review... We decorated for Christmas the Monday after Thanksgiving for family night, after listening to the Nativity story. Anna LOVED! the decorating, and was just an adorable bundle of holiday cheer. Magical! We had a family movie/popcorn/hot chocolate night a few nights ago. (We watched Elf...a new melinium classic!) We had Gra.Melissa and Auntie May-May come for a quick shopping weekend, and were treated to Cracker Barrel - tradition - AND a very "fancy" dinner. (That was Anna's description of Olive Garden. Thanks again Gramma! What a special treat.) And finally, we played in the snow. Whoo Hoo! I love snow in December and know, the whole white Christmas thing. Sadly, all of our snow mostly melted the same day. But still, we had a fun afternoon playing in it. Auntie KC called Anna this morning to let her know they just got TONS of snow in Marquette. So, Anna was relieved to hear that even if we don't have it here, we'll still be able to enjoy plenty of snow on our trip up north. Yay!