Monday, August 31, 2009

New Family Pictures...

While we were in Marquette, our friend, Brian McMillan of, took some Rayhorn family pictures before he and his family moved to Kansas. We love them (the pictures.... and the McMillan family :).

My favorite family shot. (Yep, it's still hard to get little kids to cooperate with pictures. I was a bit stressed.)

I LOVE the ones of Anna and Ben-Ben. So sweet! The Rayhorn Grandkids shot is an improvement over our attempt from last year. Anna had to hold down the "babies," and it was pretty comical.

The whole Rayhorn family! This has been in the works for awhile now, and everyone was finally in one place this summer (with enough time to get a photographer arranged). The little ones had reached the end of their rope by this point since we ended with this shot. But, with some candy, silly songs, bribes, and, most importantly, some excellent photo-shopping skills by Hailey McMillan, the picture above is one of the finished products.

So sweet - three generations, Chuck and Melissa with their grandbabies, and Ethan with his little sisters.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The End Has Come...

We knew this day would eventually come, and I won't even say that the summer flew by. It was perfect - nice and relaxing mixed with fun family adventures. But all good things come to an end, and today Ethan started his fall semester. We're very sad to see him go, and we've all been reflecting on how wonderful it was to have daddy around so much for the last few weeks. Anna has been informing us that she, "Hates daddy when he is at school and loves daddy when he is at home." (She means she hates 'it' ...) At the same time, I'm excited for Ethan to get started on his second year, and closer to the end of his program. So, what kind of things did we do this final week of summer vacation...besides lounging and re-couping from our vacation? Heheh.

Anna helping daddy warm up for his race.

1) Anna trying out some of the free, fun kiddie stuff. 2) Ben and Daddy. 3) Beginning of the race.

Ethan ran in the CRIM this past Saturday, a running race in downtown Flint. It was fun for the kids to go and support him, and I was seriously amazed that we were all out the door at 8am. (Anna usually sleeps until at least 8.) The main race is a 10 mile race, but there is also a 5 mile, 5K, 1 mile, and a walk. There were 14,000 people participating, not to mention all the spectators. Crowded! There were a few challenging moments trying to maneuver a double stroller through all the people. I felt like I had a good workout that day just walking to and from the car (we were parked about a mile away), and stoller-ing/entertaining Anna and Ben-Ben during the race. Okay, it doesn't compare to the actual race. Ethan did great - 3rd in his age group. Good job Babe!

Notice Ethan sporting his "back to school" hair-cut, after a summer of letting in grow wild. Looking sharp, sweets!
We went to Blue Bell Beach one day to enjoy the Splash Pad and park. The kids got soaked, which you think we'd expect. But the other times we've gone there, they mainly ran around the water, trying to dodge it. Not this time. After, we played at the park until Benjamin's lips started to chatter from wearing his cold, wet clothes.
We did a few other fun things - parks, Children's Museum, library, and hung around the house quite a bit. Ben-Ben has been pretty entertaining with all the things he's learning to say. I forgot how exciting a one year old is. Ben is in the middle of a language explosion! It's so fun. A few weeks ago he could only say a few words - mama, uh-oh, num-num. Now he's trying to repeat many simple words, and knows how to use some - often unprompted: Bye, Hello, Two, Uh-Oh, Cheese, No (I believe his cousin Rorie taught him that one :) Ball, Ma, Daddy, Yellow (he says this when pointing out any color), Achoo, Hot, Yum, Shhhh, and DewDew (for grandpa Dewey...My dad is visiting right now for some work meetings in Detroit, so we've been practicing). I'm sure there are more words, I just can't think right now. He does some actions to some of his favorite songs, and says ee-i-ee-i-0 during Old McDonald. Cute. I especially love that Anna gets excited about it too. She is also trying to teach Benjamin new words, among other things he needs to know about the world. I feel like they could have a beautiful friendship. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Is Going To Be Epic...

Marquette Michigan 2009. Lower Harbor. Ethan and Anna.

Johnson's Beach. Cousins Ben, Anna and Rorie. Rorie Kenison floating out to sea.

Anna and Uncle Stuart. Floaty train.

South Beach.

LaJoice Family Picnic. Presque Isle Park. Cousins (second cousins)! Gma Susan and Ben petting Huck, Amanda, Beth. Stuart, Ben, Ethan and Sabrina.
Slumber Party with Auntie KC. Silly faces!

Laughing White Fish Falls. Jones' and Rayhorns. Anna and cousin Austyn.

Ben in the woods. Grandpa Dewey and Ben-Ben leading the way. Getting a sip from the pump - Andrew, Ethan, Anna, Austyn.

Black Rocks Cliff Jumping. Ethan and Ashley. Jake, Angela, Meghan.
KC, Jake, Ethan, Angela (pics of me actually jumping are on fb, Meghan. Joe (my favorite action shot).

Marquette County Fair. KC and Anna on the slide. Ethan showing Benjamin a horse.

Anna on a rollercoaster all by herself. Anna eating fair food. Ash, Joe and Ethan preparing for the race.

Little Presque Isle Anna and Ben-Ben playing together - sweet. Eth, Ben, KC, Anna playing ball.

KC and Anna on the island. Melissa, Rorie and Meghan going on a walk (Ethan exfoliates himself with Lake Superior sand).

Gwen, Melissa, Mike, Rorie and Levi enjoying the beach.

U.P. Children's Museum! Anna and Mommy reading. GGG and Anna in the tree's nest. Ben found drums (a common occurence in his life).

Petting reptiles. Ben and Rorie - dueling pianists. Ben-Ben and G.Gpa Mike in the construction zone.

Camping at Camp Hiawatha! Ben-Ben eating fresh blueberries (and dirt). Anna supervising the fire.
Ethan and Benjamin going for a dip in the lake.

Rorie and Ben exploring the woods. Canoeing - Kenisons and Rayhorns (and Teva).

Our 2009 trip to Marquette, Michigan.
I've been trying to figure out a way to journal about our amazing family vacation, without getting carried away. In the two and a half weeks we were there, we did so many fun things, and I have sooooo many pictures as proof. Now, how to narrow it down. Hmmmm... I've decided I'm just going to list the highlights of the trip, and try to pick out a few of my favorites from the pictures. We'll see how it goes. (Most of the pictures are uploaded to facebook, if you're at all interested.)

20 Things I loved about our vacation:

1.) Family - including Rayhorns, Jones', LaJoices, and Parr families. (Ethan's grandparents, Mike and Gwen, were visiting from Arizona a few days we were there.) Wonderful quality time.
2.) Seeing old friends from church, college and high school. (We love the Marquette Ward! We love you Amy P.! We love and miss you McMillans! To name a few.)
3.) Trivia night at J.T.'s Shaft, in which we won three different times, on two different occasions. Yay!
4.) Swimming in Lake Superior! - Little Presque Isle, South Beach, Johnson's Beach, Black rocks.
5.) Cliff jumping at Black Rocks, twice. (And witnessing Amy P.'s and KC's first time jumping.)
6.) U.P. Children's Museum with Rayhorns and Parrs. That place is magical.
7.) Delicious, local restaurants - Border Grill, Thai House, Landmark, Coco's, Vangos, and Frosty Treats.
8.) Playing tennis - couples matches with Andrew/Sabrina and twice with Beth/Stuart, and once just Ethan and I (we are not equally matched).
9.) Camping!!! Kenison fam, my parents, and us (KC and Chuck visited for the evening). It was so fun, so beautiful, and so sad that Anna, and then Rorie were sick the whole time. Anna had been looking forward to this for months, but had a high fever both days. Despite that, she kept assuring me she was having fun, and boy was she trying...canoeing, swimming, smores, brats on a stick, gathering sticks and building a fire, sleeping in a tent, etc.
10) Going to the Marquette County Fair - rides, Cotton candy, horses, ice cream, more rides, trying to stay cool in the hot, sticky weather, popcorn, and watching Ethan, Ashley and Joe run in the 4 mile "fun run" race (it didn't look very fun in the heat, running through sand, on a poorly marked trail.)
11) Temple trip to the LDS Chicago Temple with the Marquette congregation. Very spiritually uplifting. Very fun on the bus trip.
12) Birthday celebrations! Anna's Fancy 4th Birthday party, previously journal-ed about. Ethan's 28th birthday, also previously mentioned.
13) Hiking to Laughing White Fish Falls. Beautiful.
14) Game nights - cards with Meg and Jake, Cranium at Andrew and Sabrina's, etc.
15) LaJoice picnic at Presque Isle, watching Anna play with more cousins (second cousins).
16) Visiting our favorite parks - Presque Isle, Lower Harbor, Picnic Rocks, Harlow...
17) The Marquette Library! Story Time and a few other visits just for fun.
18) Beautiful Marquette weather - days in the 60's and chilly, days in the 80's and sticky.
19) Some precious, rare alone time with Ethan.
20) Walking through our old neighborhood with Anna informing us yet again, "I wish we could live in our old house. I love it in Marquette."

BONUS - Ethan singing various parts of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald countless times on our vacation. It was pretty amusing... and sometimes a bit annoying.