Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What, the What?!?!

What?! I haven't posted anything for almost two and a half weeks? Really?! Geesh, that's just unheard of for me. Maybe it's because we've had some beautiful weather lately. Okay, not really beautiful, but we had one day in the 40's and most of the snow melted away. It reminds me that spring will be here before I know it. Well, I obviously have a lot to fill you in on, my faithful readers; and I feel this compulsion to document ALL the important and unimportant life happenings for our "family journal." So, sit back and relax. This is going to be a long one. :)

Let's start with the most important birthday. Hehe. On January 13th, I turned 29 years old. It was a fantastic birthday! I claimed the whole week, and Ethan pampered me a ton. So sweet. I received some awesome gifts, cards, and happy birthday calls and 'facebooks'. My actual birthday was on a Wednesday, the night I am in charge of "Activity Night" for 8-11 year old girls at my church. They had a little surprise party for me, which was so much fun! There were balloons, and one of the moms (and my visiting teacher) brought in a delicious cake for me, part of a slice is pictured above. It was Divine! Since we were only together as a family for one hour on Wed., we decided to have a little family party the Friday after. It's something that could have been skipped, but Anna is big on helping people celebrate their birthday. So, Ethan made a special dinner, we played games, I blew out candles, etc. Ooo, but on Wednesday we went out to McDonalds. Hehe. Because - a) we didn't have much time. b) we don't have much $. And c) it really was exciting going to McD's because we don't go out much, and that means I didn't have to cook, serve, or clean up a dinner on my b-day. Yay!!! It's the little things. Hehe. And don't feel too bad, both Chuck and my parents took us out when they came to nicer places than the golden arches.

Okay, I promise I'm almost done talking about my birthday. I know, so self-centered of me, right? Hehe. So, I've decided that January is the perfect time to have a birthday...because there are tons of sales! I received some birthday money from a few people this year, and was soooooooo excited to go shopping, just for me. It had been awhile...a long while. To add to the excitement, everything was on clearance! (Making room for spring items.) I got so many "just for fun" things, it was AWESOME! Funny thing, it took me a bit to get into the groove of shopping, and trying not to talk myself out of every purchase, like under normal circumstances. Hehe. Oh my, a few of my favs - two new books (The Book Thief and an Encyclopedia of Mythology), a colorful scarf, new bracelets and hair accessories, new jeans!!! (I've been needing some for about six months), beautiful tops for only a few dollars each, a new DVD...okay, I'll stop. It was seriously so exciting. And yeah, I got a few more items, because everything was so dang cheap right now. Ahhh...

Detroit Auto Show - All Benjamin wanted to do was find little ramps to run up and down, and up and down, and up and down, the whole time. Anna liked finding models to talk to or wave at. All of the car models were very sleek - dark dresses, dark features, tight clothes, etc. Except this one Korean brand of car (not Kia), where their models were costume? Hmmm, this one above was very friendly with Anna and talked to her for a bit.

First pic - Grandpa Chuck and Anna posing by the race car. Anna kept wanting to try out all the red vehicles...our favorite color. In the picture above, we are driving to China in our red truck...but we don't make it all the way there, so we have to get out and walk. (Anna is so cracks me up!) And the last picture is another smart car. Anna loved these because she thought they were just her size.

Grandpa Chuck came for a quick trip this past weekend. We were all very excited he came! Even though Ben-Ben doesn't look very excited in this picture, he just LOVED having his 'Boo-pa' Chuck here. He followed him everywhere, gave him lots of hugs and kisses, and was just giddy with excitement. The same with Anna. Both days she got up super early, pretty much unheard of for her, and went right into Grandpa's room and started chatting away. She also made sure there were chocolate chip cookies waiting for his arrival. So sweet. I love how excited my kiddies are to see family. I hope that never changes. Family is so important to me, and I want my kids to feel the same way. We had tons of fun at the Auto show, and after, Chuck drove us around downtown Detroit for a bit. I'd never been, so I loved looking was intense. Ooo, one last high light of the trip - Ethan and Chuck's late night run to Church's Chicken. Hmm, so yummy. So dangerous. Hehe. Thanks, Chuck!!! Come back soon Boo-pa...we miss you already! (And bring Gramma with you next time! :)

My dad had a meeting in Ann Arbor on Monday. So, Grandpa Chuck left early Sunday, and before bedtime, the babies had more grandparents visiting. Nice! The only picture I got was the one above of Anna and Grandma Susan. We went to story time at the library, and one of the stories was about a man with a mustache. All the kids got to go home with a mustache of their very own. Fun, fun! Anna absolutely loves it, and has been wearing it around the house non stop lately. A very exciting event on Monday night - Ethan and I went on a kids. It. Was. Amazing!!! For my 'birthday dinner' from my parents, they offered to take the kids out else where, and pay for Ethan and I to go out alone to one of my favorite restaurants. Mmmm, Red Lobster....I hadn't been in a year and a half. Too long. It was the best idea ever! I actually got to enjoy my dinner, uninterrupted. And Ethan and I actually got to talk to each other while we ate. Thanks mom and dad! After we got home, my mom was telling me about their dinner. Anna wanted the girls to sit at a separate table. So, my dad had Ben-Ben all to himself. He said it was the most stressful dinner he's ever had. My mom thought it was hilarious, because Grandpa Dewey is 60 years old, and he is just now experiencing a stressful dinner with a toddler. (My mom always took care of that kind of thing when we were little.) A growing experience for my dad. Yay! And yes, we all miss you both already too! Come back soon Boo-pa and Moo-ma!

Thought I'd throw a few more pics of Anna on here, since it's such a long entry already. The first one shows Anna's creativity. A dinner of chicken tacos turns into a bird. Anna really did eat most of her dinner...and we told her it was okay. The second one shows Anna's concentration while coloring. Auntie Ashley gave Anna some of these for Christmas, and Anna loves them. Anna is a bit of a perfectionist, and she loves that you can't see mistakes. And the last one is when Anna fell asleep on the way back from the car show. Sweet little squishy face was exhausted! Love her!

Final picture - Ben-Ben getting into more mischief. Seriously, he learns something new every day. The baby proofing is just never done. He can push chairs over, and pull them around now. It opens a whole new, long list of things that need to be moved out of his reach...and pretty much means he just shouldn't be left alone...ever...even for a NEVER. Love him!

Okay, really this post should have ended by now, but I have one more thing to write about...more about my birthday. Hehe! I know, when will it end? :) So, I've gotten lots of comments about my last year in my twenties, that I must be dreading my next birthday, that getting older stinks, etc. Am I the only girl out there that doesn't care about the natural progression of time?! Sure, maybe I'll get weird about it down the road, but I doubt it. I can maybe see myself, 20 or 30 years from now, getting a little melancholy about time time going by too fast, but that's it. And maybe not.

So this is what I think - EVERYONE ages at the same rate. There's nothing anyone can do about it. Plus, life is exciting, all the different stages. The only way to experience it is to get older!!! This problem with aging really confuses me. And just to clarify - I feel young, people often assume I am younger than I am, and 29 isn't really old anyway. I've experienced and accomplished most of the things I've hoped to by this point in my life. And I'm happy. I hope that all of you, especially you women, give it some thought, and then come to embrace your age! It's just a number! Alright, I'm done. For real. Love to all!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, Monday...

I don't have any pictures for this week, but this is a cute one from a few weeks ago. Before bed every night, I have the kids help pick up from the day (even though it takes a lot longer when they help :). I like them to be involved in the process, and they often "tidy" on their own now too. Anyway, we were all tidied up for the evening, and were doing the songs, story, scriptures, prayer routine. As you can see, Ben-Ben thought he would be sneaky, and go over to the toy box while every one's eyes were shut for prayer. Luckily the prayer ended before he dumped out all the toys again. And I got a picture of his "caught!" face. Love that boy!

So, it's Monday. We had a fantastic, yet uneventful, three day weekend and I was sad to see it go. BUT, story time started up again today, and that's fun for everyone. I like seeing the other mommas and catching up. Anna just loves the stories, seeing her friends, Ms. Susan, and the activities. And Ben-Ben is simply excited to go anywhere. We did our morning routine, I got the kiddies all bundled up, I cleaned the snow off the car, and we braved the elements to get to the library. By the time we got there, I was wondering if I should have bothered. But it was awesome! It was great to see everyone after a two month break. Anna wore her red cowgirl hat, and her favorite jumper dress to show everyone. (Anna loves wearing dresses, and asks to wear one almost everyday.) I was especially happy at how much Ben-Ben sat and listened, and participated in the songs and actions. Such a big improvement from the fall story time. He only sat for about 20 minutes out of the hour, but man, I'll take it. My baby boy is growing up! (The rest of the time he was walking - and sometimes running - around investigating things, and yeah, getting into a little mischief...pretty typical for a one year old boy.)

We had a few big-ish snowfalls this week, so we've been playing outside a lot. We've gone sledding a few times, played on "our hill" with some kitchen supplies, and once we got all bundled up to go play at the park. Anna and Benjamin thought that was the coolest thing ever...playing at the park during the winter with the snow. Wow, it doesn't take much to impress little kids! But their favorite was the "sled dog" activity. I'm sure you can you guess what this means. Yeah, Ethan and I would take turns being the sled dog, and would pull the kids all around the apartment grounds on their sled. They loved it, and it was a really good workout - it's hard running in snow, pulling 70 pounds! And just like most new things, Benjamin took awhile to "warm up" to these new activities, but by our third outing, he was loving the snow.

I'll end the entry with this too cute story about Anna: We had just settled into the car a few days ago for some sledding, and Anna was very excited and happy we were going. I looked back at Anna, and it looked like she was crying. Me - "Anna why are you crying...Are you sad?" Anna - "Nope, I'm not sad, mom." Me - "Did you get hurt?" Anna - "No." Me - "Then why are there tears on your face?" Anna - "Oh. Hm. Well, well, they must be tears of joy. Probably because I love you so much and I love daddy so much and I love Benjamin so much....I'm just really happy." Where does she get this stuff?!?!?! Really, I think some snow got in her eye, and it looked like tears, but I like Anna's explanation of it much, much better. Sweetness!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ringing In The New Year, Rayhorn Style...

This past week was spent recovering from the holidays. We really tried to keep it low key and relaxing. Ethan and I both came back from Marquette feeling like...well...crap, physically speaking. Like many, it was the bad combination of eating too much junky food during the holidays, and not getting in any work outs for a couple weeks. Not good. Thank goodness the New Year was right around the corner, and we could recommit to our goals. Besides trying to get over that sluggish feeling, we also tried to have some fun family time with the kids. So, here's how we spent the week...

Ethan took Anna sledding one day during Ben-Ben's nap while I took down the Christmas decorations. It's just too painful for Anna to witness. hehe When they came back Anna said, "Christmas is gone," in such a sad little voice.
We helped the kiddies play with some of their new toys this week. In the picture, Anna is using her new easy bake oven, and yeah, she's in our was the only Ben-free space she could find. She loved it, and shared bites with the whole family. Sweet.
The last picture above shows Ethan reading the kids a book, obviously. They both got a few new books for Christmas, and reading time was in full swing this week. I love Ethan's animated expression in this picture...such a good story teller. Oh, and Ethan and I got in some good reading time this week too, courtesy of the Clio Library. Eth read Empire and The Road (which I started yesterday) and I read The Time Traveler's Wife. I think we'd recommend all three?

I just had to include these two pictures of Benjamin. Anna got the cow girl hat from Santa for Christmas. Ben-Ben loves riding on this rocking horse, so Anna was kind enough to let him borrow the hat. He loved it and was laughing and giggling up a storm. Of course, as soon as we got the camera out, he would not keep the hat on his head. I love the picture of the hat flying through the air.
Side note - Anna has been wearing the hat everywhere she goes. She gets tons of compliments, waves and smiles, but it only confuses her. In her little four year old head, there is nothing out of the ordinary about going to the store or the library in a cow girl hat. What's the big deal? :)

Here are some pictures of our New Year's Eve festivities. We snacked, we watched Harry Potter (Anna got to choose), and we played the Wii. We let Anna stay up until about 10pm, and she had the time of her life. After Anna went to bed, Ethan and I watched some Lost, tuned in to a little of the NY Times Square ball drop stuff, and played a little Wii. And of course there was some smooching at midnight. :) A low key, but fun evening.
I love the first picture above during one of the "scary parts" of the Harry Potter movie. And yeah, Ethan is just pretending to be scared. Hehe. As you can see above, we had a blast playing the Wii this week, a gift courtesy of Rayhorn Grandparents and Great Grandparents. Anna loves it, Ethan loves it even more, and I am starting to get into it. Ethan has stayed up late most nights getting more Wii time in, because he insists he will have no time for it once the semester starts. I think he'll somehow manage to work it into his schedule.

Ooooo, a new family tradition. We decided for New Year's Day, we'll make or go out for some kind of Asian food. This year we made some shrimp lo mein, and had some egg rolls on the side. Yum, yum. We love starting new family traditions.

And finally, Anna is showing off her new calendar. This year we again told Anna what goals were, and explained our goals for the year, and reviewed our goals from last year. But, we decided to focus on helping Anna understand time - days, weeks, months, years. We thought this reusable magnetic calendar would help. Anna loves it! And the last picture shows me, giddy with the thought of making new goals, and starting a new year. Ethan and I reviewed our goals from last year - not too bad - and made some new ones for this year. We also had some fun looking back over last year's calendar. I put lots of things on the calendar, not just appointments, so it really brings back the memories when we review the year.
I won't go into the specifics of my resolutions, but just so you know, I am very excited for them. I look forward to working on my goals and accomplishing them. I know goals are so important, not just for the New Year, but always; Always looking for ways to improve and become better people, wives, mothers, friends, teachers, etc. I hope you all had the New Year start off beautifully, and that this year will be full of good things, blessings, and happiness...and that we'll all take the time to recognize it. Ciao!