Thursday, April 30, 2009

Five Years Ago Today...

Was the best day of my life! Chicago Illinois Temple. April 30th 2004.

Ethan and I walking out of the temple as husband and wife minutes after being married. We were so happy; we could seriously not stop smiling for hours after. The second picture captures that perfectly. A lot of that happiness probably had to do with the fact that we would finally be living in the same state, same city, same casa. :) Yeah!  No more driving 3 1/2 hours on long weekend trips to see each other!!!  I smiled so much that day, my cheeks hurt.

Posing and smooching around the temple grounds.
More posing. In the second one - my favorite picture - Elaine (Hewitt, who took our pictures) had us sit in the wet, cold grass. Didn't even phase us. We were too in love, too excited. Too smiley!  hehe.
I love the first picture of Ethan peeking over at me. So cute. And the second one shows that I can barely stop smiling long enough to get in another kiss...although I was a bit uncomfortable with all the kissing in front of everyone.  :)  WE WERE SO HAPPY AND SMILEY THAT DAY!!!

Day one was over, well, besides the Giodorno's dinner for family and friends who were at the temple. Oh, and traveling back to Marquette for the reception the following day. Whew, weddings are busy, busy.  :) 
Marquette Michigan Ring Ceremony and Reception.
We had a ring ceremony at the start of our reception, performed by Bishop Denning, for the friends and family that couldn't make it down to the Chicago Temple. The Bishop talked about our belief in temples - why we chose to get married there, we said a few sweet things to each other, exchanged rings, and my brother Andrew sang.  Ethan got a little choked up, which was super sweet since he doesn't do that too ever.  :)

The Rayhorn/Parr family in attendance.
First Picture - The Jones family in attendance. Second Picture - The LaJoice family in attendance. (My Grandpa LaJoice was sick that night, so Ethan and I went to visit him after the reception. :)
1) Me and my dad, who is - surprisingly - such a softie for this kind of stuff. 2) Ethan and I listening to some of the music being performed. 3) The bride, chatting away. Receptions are hard work...when all you really want to do is spend time with your sweetie.  Seriously, I felt a little uncomfortable being the center of attention.  Who knew?  :)
1) My lovely Ladies In Red. My three bridesmaids: Chrystal is a good friend from Marquette and roommate the semester I was engaged - thanks for listening to me gush about Ethan for hours on end :), Elizabeth is my best friend since elementary school in Indiana, and Autumn  is a good friend and fellow missionary from LA. 2) The three adorable flower girls - Rachel and Rebecca Johnson (nieces) and Katherine Rayhorn (Ethan's baby sister).  My super talented momma made the pretty flower girl dresses.  They all loved spinning and twirling in them.  :)
1) Ethan and his groomsmen. So handsome.  Love the classic black suits with red ties.  2) Amy Pihlainen singing In My Life (The Beatles). She has an amazing voice...and that was our graduation song the year Eth and I graduated from HS. We had some other beautiful music performed that night as well. Andrew sang a John Denver classic - Annie's Song, the flower girls sang So This Is Love from Cinderella (so cute!), and Linda accompanied them and played the piano for part of the reception. She is so talented!  Music has always been such an important part of my life, so it definitely needed to be incorporated into my reception. 

1) Cutting the cake.  It was sooooo yummy! 2) Ethan and I - with Chuck advising us - finally getting a chance to try some of the Delicious! food everyone else was enjoying.
1)  A close up of our hands on my bouquet of Beautiful Red Roses. I LOVED my flower choice.  Red is my favorite color, and roses are just so classic.  2)  Then, Ethan and I having a sip of sparkling grape juice. It was funny because we couldn't figure out the intertwined arm thing...Ethan kept trying to drink from my glass. hehe.

***Other tidbits about the engagement and reception you may not know:  We were 22 and 23 when we got married...relatively young as far as the national average goes, but we decided to take the leap.  Ethan and I were only engaged for 2 1/2 months, and we were both going to school out west during that time. Two and a half months is not much time to prepare a wedding/reception...especially since we lived four hours apart, and across the country from where the wedding would be, and from where we would be starting our lives together. We came back to Marquette only 6 days before our wedding. There was so much to be done and decided in such a short amount of time.  Luckily, I was a pretty easy going bride.  I've always had a more "practical and responsible view" of weddings/receptions.  What is my "practical and responsible view," you may be wondering?  Here it is:  It's just a party... shouldn't the ceremony be the most significant part, not the party to celebrate?  AND, why would you spend thousands and thousands on one party when you can spend a fraction, with a little planning, a little common sense, and trying to use friend's or family's talents?  You can have a party just as nice, food just as delicious, flowers and decorations just as beautiful, and dress(s) just as elegant.  Save the money - the national average is $25,000 for a wedding - and put a down payment on a house, or use it for education, or go on an awesome vacation to create great memories, or just SAVE the money.  So.  That is my practical view, which I know is not how a lot of people approach a wedding reception, but I had to share.  Moving on . . . :)        

The day we were sealed (married) in the Temple was just beautiful.  We went to the Chicago Temple because it was the closest Temple to Marquette (a mere 6ish hours... so, not really close :).  We both view that as "our" Temple growing up, and I've always LOVED their beautiful sealing room.  We were excited.  We were nervous.  We felt the Spirit and knew we were making the right choice.  The Temple ceremony was sacred and beautiful, and put the main focus on the belief that Ethan and I were making a covenant between ourselves and God to love each other forever.  It reminded us that we need to rely on Him in our relationship.  The Temple sealing also emphasized our belief that we will be married for eternity, not just for this life, but after.  The room was beautiful and Heavenly, with two large mirrors on either side of the alter to physically show the idea that this marriage will go on forever.  It was so peaceful, beautiful, joyful.  Whenever I am in the Temple, including this day for my wedding, I feel like I get to glimpse a little of what Heaven will be like, and I know I am connecting to something ancient and sacred.  What a beautiful morning!  It was short and sweet, as Temple Sealings usually are, and everything at the temple, pictures and all, were done around 1pm-ish.  Everyone who was able to make it to Chicago then went to a lunch hosted by Chuck and Melissa at Giodorno's, a gourmet pizza place in Chicago.  Many gave a "thumbs up" for their choice of restaraunt... what better food to have when you're in Chi-town.  :)  After lunching with our family and friends, and getting some last minute advice, hehe, Ethan and I drove the few hours to Kohler Wisconsin to the American Club (the only 5 star hotel in Wisconsin...and on our route back to Marquette), where Chuck and Melissa had arranged for us to stay that night.  It was beautiful, and perfect and relaxing ...the hotel and our wedding night.  hehe.       

So, as far as receptions go (which we did the following day in Marquette), this was about as much direction as I gave my mom:  Simple, but elegant.  Nothing too frilly or foofy (that's not my style :).  For flowers, only fresh red roses.  Wendy Phillips, a family friend who did the decorating as a wedding present to me, did such an amazing job!  She even made the lattice herself, and decorated it with white lights, red roses, and tulle.  Yeah, she's talented.  I heard so many compliments about how beautiful the room looked, and I had to agree.  I think because I was so UNinvolved in the reception party decisions, it was such a fun surprise walking in to the room on Saturday evening and seeing how amazing everything looked!  I loved how the red roses were incorporated everywhere, especially the table center pieces with the roses floating in glass bowls, and real red rose petals sprinkled around the bowls.  I also loved that Wendy brought in so many green plants and white lights (while dimming the main lighting).  It really set such a beautiful atmosphere.  For food, I helped my mom plan the menu - deliciousness! - and it was decided on very quickly:  fruit trays, veggie trays, awesome dips, mini quiches, little gourmet sandwiches, spiniach puffs, meatballs, cheeses, sparkling punch, and a few things I know I'm forgetting.  A few of my mom's friends from church offered to be in charge of keeping the serving tables full.  Oh, and I loved how all of the food was displayed so beautifully and fancy... thanks again, Wendy!  And the cake was beautiful, and easily decided on too.  (Did I already mention how delicious it was?  And I'm not even a cake person.)  I also loved the silver drink fountain; I loved the cute slide show of Ethan and I (including adorable baby pictures) that was playing during the reception - thanks for setting that up Elaine...and for taking our beautiful pictures!; and I loved the music we had - especially the "live performances."  I'll cut myself off now.... Just know, I loved it. 

As a girl, I didn't spend a lot of time daydreaming about my wedding day. Future husband and family, yes. Wedding stuff, not too much. I guess I did picture having a more casual, outdoor wedding. However, when the time came, we didn't want to wait for warmer summer weather...we were just so anxious to get married!!! I never thought I'd do the bridesmaid thing (I LOVED their dresses!), or choose the kind of dress that I did (I always pictured something simpler), or do an indoor reception (glad we got outdoor photos at the temple though...and that we brought a lot of green plants into the room), or have a ring ceremony, but I loved it, loved it, loved it. It was beautiful. It was perfect.  Mainly because I didn't worry or stress about any of the unimportant reception stuff, which is typically the main focus. I was able to focus on the important things with Ethan. So, much, much thanks to my mom, who did have to plan/do/coordinate most of it. Excellent job mamacita!!! :)  (And she had a lot going on with Andrew's wedding less than two months later, plus the Open House they were having in Marquette.)  Of course my mom and I were in close contact, but I was just not physically near, and didn't want to spend my super short engagement doing reception planning stuff (although I love talking about it for other girl's weddings....and I can't wait to help plan Anna's wedding...if she wants me to. :)  There were a few things Ethan and I had to do ourselves. We had engagement pictures taken and quickly decided on our cute annoucements (but my mom put them all together, addressed and mailed them - she had a "wedding announcement party" and a few of her friends came over to help :), I of course found my own dress (in just one afternoon though), we had to register (which took FOUR HOURS! so we kept it to one store), and I planned the music and performances for the reception. But my favorite part of our engagement - we went together to the temple often, we spent so much time talking and planning our future, and doing fun Provo/Rexburg stuff every weekend.  It was such a wonderful, fun, perfect time of life! 

Bonus :) A few of the bridals taken four days before the trying not to freeze at Presque Isle Park on Lake Superior.

I know it's a lot of pictures (and information...and this doesn't even cover our awesome Honeymoon cruise :), but I wasn't blogging 5 years ago, so many of you probably never got to see a lot of these. Unless, of course, you're on facebook and already noticed that I uploaded about twice as many wedding pictures last night. hehe. If I knew the slide show option, I would have put them all on here too. All in honor of our 5 year anniversary. It seems like the time has gone so quickly, but so much has happened in that five year period, that it seems like it should be longer too. I love Ethan so much. I love being married. I love the family we have made together. Lovey, love, love, love. I really am a lucky girl. Ethan is the perfect guy for me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Shy Boy, A Silly Girl, A Sweet Husband....

Ben-Ben can be so smiley, friendly, "chatty," and touchy with people...on his terms. (At church or SKIP stuff, for example, it is not uncommon for him to walk up to a perfect stranger and lean on them, grab their leg, "talk" with them, etc.) A more recent development: Benjamin can also be such a shy little guy when someone is invading "his space." This month we've had a few visitors - grandparents and aunts - and it took Benjamin quite awhile to warm up. He'd start by crawling away as fast as he could to find his closest parent. Simply being held by us was not enough. He then had to lean as far away from the "stranger" as possible. Just when we thought Benjamin was comfortable again, someone would try to talk to him or touch him and he would lean and lean and lean....just kept leaning away until he felt safe again. He typically wouldn't make any noise, just silent leaning. Ethan and I think Ben-Ben just likes to be the initiator of contact - physical or verbal. And he does warm up. I find it pretty cute.

Anna and I did make-up together this week. She did mine, and I purposely left out unique pictures. You can't really see it in this picture, but we went all out - eye shadow, lipstick (not chap stick or lip gloss, because Anna knows there's a difference...which is funny because I don't even wear real lipstick...just gloss), blush, powder, and even a little mascara. I love doing girly stuff with Anna. It's sweet. I think this picture of Anna doing fishlips is so funny.

This picture captures, once again, how helpful my sweetie is. He really is SO unbelievably helpful and involved all. the. time. I am so excited that Ethan finished his finals yesterday. We now have a full week of together time before summer term starts. Yipee! It will be nice to have Ethan around to help out with kids, and to do fun family stuff. But mostly I am excited for our 'us' time after the kids go to bed. I LOVE talking with Eth, hanging out, sharing opinions, reading a good book or magazine article together and discussing (sometimes debating) it, watching a movie and talking about it, thinking of what we would do in silly scenarios Ethan comes up with, and the list could go on. Do you see the common denominator though...I love talking with Ethan. And I think that's important. It's not like we don't talk during the semester, but once the kids go to bed, Ethan is mainly studying. We usually stay up much longer than we intend because we can't stop talking to each other once he is done studying. Hopefully this week, since we get to hang out as soon as the kids are in bed, we'll get to bed at a decent hour. We'll see. Now on to our week!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Walking, Rhyming, and Scraped Knees...

The four pictures above were taken when we were in Frankenmuth, touring around.

The above two were taken last weekend when my parents were in town. I LOVE the one of the kids waking up Grandpa Dewey, who really had been in the midst of a quick afternoon siesta. No time for sleeping grampy...more playing! His facial expression is priceless. The other picture is from one of the walks we took. The tunnel is Anna's favorite part; she would echo in there for hours if we'd let her. The picture also shows the Sit-N-Stand double stroller my parents got Ben for his birthday. Okay, so the gift also benefits myself and Anna...a win-win-win situation. We love this stroller.

This last picture is of me and Benjamin when we went to the Bronner's Christmas store with the visiting Rayhorns. This store is soooooo fun, especially when it's not Christmastime.
Benjamin is walking more and more, over half the time now. He hasn't mastered the ability to stand up without holding on to something, so once he's down it takes awhile to get back up. Today I saw Ben-Ben walk at his fastest yet...he was chasing after his Daddy who was holding treats!
We all got a bit sun-kissed this week with the beautiful, sunny 60-70 degree weather. I love being tan, and I love when Anna gets little pink cheeks after a day in the sun. One day it was in the high 70's and we were so HOT at the park. What's it going to be like when it gets into the 80s and 90s?! Seriously.
One day the kids and I were outside playing, waiting for Ethan to get home from class. Anna was running towards me, and fell and scraped her knee on the sidewalk. It was sooooooo sad. The cut was dripping blood, and was stinging. She was crying and crying, little sweet pea, and just wanted to go inside. The saddest part was that I had to carry Benjamin, so Anna had to limp in herself. Daddy got home soon after, and we got her all fixed up. Mostly, she was trying to be brave, and I just felt so bad I couldn't carry her in. :( I'm sure it's the first of many scraped knees of the summer.
Final story of the week: Anna loves rhyming. She loves it a little too much. Anna has been trying out rhyming for a while now, but on Tuesday of this week she was on a role. It just really clicked...right at bedtime. We could barely get through our story-Scriptures-prayer-song bedtime routine. At first we were doing it with her, but then she just wouldn't (couldn't?) stop.
Anna - "I know mom, how about luck and duck? How about cat and hat. I know, how about deep and sleep."
Ethan - "Okay sweetie, time for bed."
Anna - "How about chuck and stuck? How about try and die. How about..."
Ethan - "That is very good. You are doing great at rhyming, but we have to go to bed now...follow me."
Anna (walking off to bed)- "But dad, how about mice and dice? How about moon and doon. How about..."
I seriously wondered if she would be able to fall asleep that night with all the rhymes tumbling around in her head. It was hilarious...but maybe you just had to be there. Have a beautiful week everyone!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Festivities...

Above - Photo shoot of the kiddies in their Easter garb taken this afternoon. It was pretty sunny - hence the squinty looks, but the kids had fun playing. Anna's new "Buddy" dog snuck into one of the shots. She already has a "Riley" dog that she loves, and this weekend her Grandparents got her this one. (Rayhorn grandparents have an Old English Sheep Dog named Riley, and the Jones grandparents have a black lab named Buddy. Anna thinks we should get a dog. I don't think so, but I haven't ruled it out for down the road.)
Opening Easter baskets. We decided to make it a tradition to do baskets on "Easter Eve." So Saturday the kids opened their baskets. My parents were in town for the Easter weekend, and my mom surprised Ethan and I with an Easter basket of our own. How sweet. Oh, and the best was candy free. There were some yummy snacks, lip gloss, eco-friendly deck o' cards, gum, etc. So, I do green tissue paper to avoid the mess of Easter grass. Ben happily proved that it is not a guarantee - tissue paper can be messy too.
We packed so many things into this weekend, that I think I'll leave the non-Easter related things for another post. Above are shots of Grandpa Dewey and Anna decorating the Easter tree, the finished product of coloring Easter eggs, the cupcakes Grandma Susan made with Anna, and Anna participating in an Easter egg hunt. (I have never been to one before, and was surprised that all the eggs were found in maybe 10 or 15 seconds. Is that typical??? At least Anna found a few.) Other activities from the weekend - kite flying, touring Frankenmuth, long walks, picnic at the park, shopping at the mall, and lots and lots of playing.
Ha! Ethan and I think Easter bunnies are just plain creepy, but we realized this year that there are degrees of creepiness. In the first picture (taken last weekend when we went to the Christmas store with the Rayhorn girls visiting), the bunny looks sleepy, or as Ethan put it - drunk. A little creepy. But that is NOTHING in comparison to the bunny they had on hand at the Easter egg hunt. Where do I begin? The menacing looking eyebrows, the beady little eyes with the weird mesh eyes above, the ears that look more like horns than ears, the scraggly whiskers...CREEPY!!! Anna's facial expression and body language in that picture says it all.