My beautiful girl, and my handsome man. These two were my favorite individual shots of Anna and Benjamin. I love their sweet cheeks!
We loved how the photographer captured some classic and realistic shots of the kiddies. I have always been a fan of natural, outdoor pictures as opposed to the studio, posed look. But that's just me.
I didn't include some of the sillier pictures - they are pretty hilarious - but check my facebook page if you're interested. I laughed so hard when I first looked through the CD of pictures. I do think the one above with Anna and Ben-Ben posing in the same way is too funny. He's always trying to be like his big sister.
So, as everyone might suspect, it was very hard getting a picture of all three of the Rayhorn grandkids, sitting and smiling at the camera. But, again, we definitely got some realistic shots of them. Plus, there will be one more grandchild added very soon, so I'm sure we'll get more pictures in the near future. Okay, now for an update . . .
Anna Bean -
- She is still my sweetest pea. However, she has had a case of the "Gimmies" lately. (Bernstein Bears reference.) Anna has never been "exposed" to commercials before, since we would only watch movies or PBS. At my parents house, it's different, and boy is she influenced. She only watches a bit during Benjamin's nap time, but the PBS station doesn't have kid's shows on at that time....and my parents DVD set up has issues. I really just need to cut out TV altogether, but I'm too tired. "Mommy, can I get that?" Ugh, that phrase gets old really fast. But, it has opened up some basic conversations about financial responsibility and priorities, and cherishing the things we have...not sure if it's sunk in yet.
- Anna has loved her ballet classes. I took her the other week and stayed the whole class since I didn't have Benjamin with me. Anna takes it all so seriously, and follows directions so well. She is always receiving praise, and positive feedback from her teacher, which was very nice to overhear as her mommy. So, Ethan and I have already begun to talk about the whole "extra-curricular activities" thing. We definitely want to keep our lives simple, and have plenty of time for just family or down time, but we also want the kids to each have some things they are passionate about. It seems like if each child is active in just one activity, plus church activities, plus staying on top of homework, that life would already be too busy. I know we have a few years before all three of ours will have real homework, or be involved in sports or clubs, but the balance just seems impossible. Any suggestions? It's been on my mind lately. Anyway, back to Anna. She loves ballet, and I love her.
Benjamin Bear -
- We have been having tons of fun lately getting involved in MOMs Club activities, having play dates with some friends, going to story time, and even running errands just the two of us. Even when I'm feeling unmotivated, I have to remind myself how precious this time is with little Ben-Ben, since we will soon be working a newborns schedule into our mornings together.
- Benjamin has been getting compliments lately from total strangers we meet out and about, and they are always about one of three things (that make this mommy smile) - 1) How tall he is. 2) How well he speaks for a two year old. 3) And how adorable he is, often specifically mentioning his dimple, chubby cheeks, or blonde curls. Okay, so a little 'brag-y', and of course physical appearance isn't really important in the eternal scheme of things, but it's still nice to hear. Yeah, two year olds are pretty adorable in general, and of course I'm biased toward my own. I recently overheard two women talking about Ben-Ben, not knowing that I was his mommy...'cause I don't look anything like him...and one was saying, "When I have kids, I hope I get one with cheeks like that and those blonde curls." So sweet to overhear. Oh, and his curls have pretty much been cut off now, I know - sad. And the tallness factor - Benjamin is in the 90 percentile for height, so he is often confused for a three year old. But, he still looks like a baby to me. And as far as how well he speaks, he is pretty shy, so to really get the picture, you'd have to overhear Ben-Ben talking to me, or someone else he is really comfortable with (as opposed to Anna who would have lengthy conversations with anyone, anywhere :). Anyway, not really important... but it makes me smile. :)
- So, I've been thinking a lot about the "Gender Stereotyping" thing lately. If you'll recall, I fought it for a long time, and just said that Benjamin came with a different personality than Anna...one being a boy and one being a girl was just coincidence. Then, I gave in, and thought that Ben-Ben was just all boy. But I would like to change my mind once again. I think there are some generalizations for boys and girls that often apply, but don't always apply. I think it especially seemed to apply to my own because Anna was so easy in a lot of ways. We never baby-proofed for her...she never got in to things she shouldn't, especially if we told her not to. We never really experienced the "terrible two" stage with her...she was very easy to explain things to, and was pretty easy going about life. She was just super helpful, sweet and very polite...to adults and other kids alike. And then we have Benjamin, who I think I've described in detail before. The thing is, until recently, I've mainly made friends with moms who have little boys, but have lately been able to spend some time with little girls. I just have to say that 1) Benjamin seems like a pretty typical two year old, as opposed to 'especially difficult', which it sometimes seems like when I'm only comparing him to Anna. And, 2) There are some little girls out there that can be just as loud, active, rough, mischievous, picky, and destructive as Ben. So, I've been thinking lately that I need to retract that statement about gender stereotypes. It's got to just be a personality thing. And of course, Benjamin has his own list of strengths, and positive personality traits that we like to focus on...not just how he has been a little more of a handful than Anna. :) And I should feel lucky that I got to experience a more "realistic" two year old stage with Ben-Ben, right? Moving on . . .
- I LOVE the fall. After wavering back and forth, I decided this year that fall is my most favorite season. I really love all the seasons, but especially the fall. I hope that I always live in a place that gets to experience all four. Tropical places are awesome to visit (especially during the winter), or to serve your mission - like LA, but I think it would be so sad to live with out the beauty of Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The fall is the best because the smell in the air, the beautiful leaves, the crisp, cool weather - without the mess of snow -, the holidays, traditions, cool weather clothes, etc. Love it! As a side note, Ethan just spent a few weeks in Colorado, and would love to look for a job there when he is done with school. It's always been my favorite western state, and it experiences all of the seasons. We'll see what happens.
- I had a 4D ultrasound yesterday, and everything looked just perfect. It was so adorable to see little Caleb so clearly. He is just over four pounds now, and I got some great pictures of him. I think he has similar features to Benjamin, but we'll see how he turns out. I am getting so anxious to meet him. My brother and his wife, Andrew and Sabrina, had their little boy just over a week ago, and he is the most precious thing ever. Holding him and remembering how tiny and precious they are made me that much more excited to have little Caleb come out and meet us all. I'm 32 weeks, so we're getting close!
So...Ethan was gone for almost the whole month of September, and now he will be visiting every other weekend. It's nice to know that our longest stretch apart is done, but I still miss him all the time when he's gone. He is my favorite person, my best friend, the person I want to tell everything to and hear all of his opinions and thoughts back, and he makes life so much easier in so many ways. Anna and Benjamin miss him tons too, talk on the phone to him all the time, and are always so excited to see him and have Daddy time. Speaking of, he will be here Thursday night. Yay!!! And I should probably cut myself off now. Until next time . . .