Friday, November 25, 2011

The Rest of November . . .

 I know there have been a lot of pictures of Caleb on here lately . . . but it's his birthday month.  And he's growing up too fast.  And I realized that I didn't have many "nakey" pictures of him.  And he's adorable.  And I needed some "blankey" pictures too.  And these were taken on his actual one year old birthday.  Okay, moving on . . .

 Pasty dinner.  (It's a U.P. thing.)  And it was Caleb's first time trying one . . . he loved it.  Me, I'm not really a fan, but ketchup helps. 

 Anna and Benjamin being silly at GraMelissa and Grampa Chuck's house.  They have been playing so well together, and so often lately, and making up super funny pretend scenarios.  I LOVE it. 

 My dad had his "Graduation" party this month.  His retired on October 31st, and some Scouting volunteers planned this party for him the middle of November.  It was cool to see how many people attended (friends, family - including my grandparents in the pic above, co-workers, volunteers, Rotary people, community people, etc.).  It was also neat to see all the awards/honors he received, the kind remarks from multiple people who have felt influenced by my dad, and especially touching at the end when my dad had my mom come up to receive recognition of her own for all the support and volunteering she did during his career.  Sweetness.  So yeah - very happy for my dad . . . and my mom. 

And since we're still living with my parents (we are closing on our house SOON), it's been fun to see first hand his transition into retirement.  Like long hikes with buddy - not his usual hour or so . . . closer to 3-4 hours on some days!  Lots of grandkid time.  :)  He's become a little more spendy, and is always going out to eat with my mom, and planning trips and "get aways."  (They deserve it! :)  He's actually home in the evenings, a rareity before, and watches a little TV now.  And yes, he has occasionally seemed lost, but quickly recovers.  Oh, and he's spent plenty of time at the office volunteering, so that helps too.  hehe.  Congratulations, Dad!!!

 Thanksgiving this year was so relaxed. I loved it.  We all slept in.  Ethan and I both had early afternoon naps.  We watched the parade on TV with my parents.  We watched some football.  We snuggled and lounged with the kids.  We stayed in pj's until the afternoon.  We prepared a few simple things to bring to Chuck and Melissa's.  We had a beautiful before dinner walk around Shiras Hills.  We ate a delish meal . . . it was SO yummy.  Anna helped with some fun decorations, and reminded us all to go around the table and say what we're thankful for.  (Doesn't she look so grown up in the pic above?!)  The only thing - poor Benjamin was sick with a 24 hour bug or food illness.  So sad for him!  Especially since he is so obsessed with food and had been looking forward to this for so long.  He actually watched movies and slept through the Thanksgiving meal.   Caleb on the other hand . . . you can see for yourself, below.  He was in Heaven.   

I'm feeling pretty thankful for all the good things in my life.  Especially family.  Immediate, extended, near, far, older, younger - family means so much to me.  I've been positively influenced, and loved, and helped by so many different family members (many of whom are probably reading this journal entry :), and I'm just so grateful for that.  So, hope you all had a fabulous month and joyous Thanksgiving as well!  Love to all! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Baby Is One . . .

Caleb J. turned 1 today, November 16th.  (We had his party on Sunday, which is why I'm all set with this journal entry today. :)  
What a year it has been . . . but more on that later.  First, enjoy some pictures! 

So, you may have gathered that I like to plan birthdays for my kids.  It's not necessarily time consuming, and is never pricey, but I like to plan them out (like Anna's cute/fancy picnic in the woods in August :).  Well, despite that, we keep it pretty low key for one year old birthdays around here . . . just family (although, even with just family we had 20 or so people there), finger food (including frozen pizza, hehe), cake (my mom made Caleb's cute cakes with a blue number one and polka dots - thanks mom!), and simple decorations (we don't really do a theme when our babies turn one, and these few decorations were left over from Ben's first birthday).  They are so oblivious at this age, that I just can't bring myself to put much thought or time into the party.  To me, the high-light of a one year old's party is when they eat the cake . . . and Cabers did not disappoint.  hehe
Oh, and the picture above is my favorite from the whole bunch.  I am a sucker for my baby's profile . . . the cheeks, the squishy lips, the chubby arms, the little button nose, the soft wavy baby hair. LOVE it!

Party hats and blowers (left over from Benjamin's one year old party); the CAKES my talented momma made; Caleb enjoying his birthday dinner.  Yum!

Cabers really liked being sung to. . .

Anna helped blow out the candle; Caleb tentatively starts to try the cake; and it makes him HAPPY.  hehe.
Handsome, blue-eyed boy.  "This is really good cake, mama."

Group shot of serving up cake;  People chatting and mingling in the kitchen;  And Rebecca and Rachel - super cute sisters!  (We had the party at Chuck and Melissa's house.  We always have Sunday dinner over there . . . we just invited the rest of our family along for Caleb's birthday this past Sunday.  Thanks for having ALL of us!)

Party hats! Caleb was not a fan of the party hat, surprise, surprise.  I didn't get a pic of everyone who chose to try the party hats, but thanks for being good sports.  :)

Love this pic of Cabers standing up next to his happy birthday sign. Cutie pie!  He much preferred to try to grab the balloons than open his birthday presents.

Anna and Benjamin "helped" Caleb J. open his presents.  As in, they did it for him.  He got some cute, sweet gifts.  Thanks everyone!
Okay, and one last photo - below - of my adorable, chubbers.  You can see that he finished almost all of his cupcake.  Not surprising.  hehe.
Now, let me reflect for a bit on my baby boy . . . he's come so far.  I know it's only been a year, but all the complications from his birth and six week NICU stay seem like FOREVER ago.  Almost like a dream.  And although we're still dealing with some lasting effects from the chronic lung disease/asthma (that he may still grow out of in a few more years), Caleb just seems SO much healthier now. 
It's hard to remember that he started out like these pictures below . . .
Doesn't he look so different?!  (That second picture is especially gooney looking - I think he was going potty :)  Medical Update - When he's not sick with a cold, of which he's had a few his first year, Caleb takes only one medicine through an inhaler twice a day.  It takes less than a minute to give it to him and he doesn't usually mind.  Not too bad, when you're used to so much more.  If he has a cold, then he'll usually do another medicine through the inhaler - as needed - to help with wheezing and retracting, and sometimes he'll need some liquid steroids - decreases lung inflammation, and an antibiotic if the doctor suspects pneumonia or an ear infection (which he develops easier than most).  Also, when Caleb is totally healthy, for him, he may sometimes use an additional inhaler medicine if he's wheezing or showing other breathing symptoms, as his doctor suspects he may have allergies.  So, although I feel like Caleb's first year was pretty good, healthy, etc, (he only had a couple colds - not bad when you have two germy older siblings :)  and that I'm on top of his medical stuff, I'm still SUPER nervous going in to this winter season.  We'll just hope for the best!

Okay, enough about Caleb's health situation.  Other tid-bits about my Cabers:  He walks when he's holding on to something.  He can stand on his own for a few seconds before falling.  I'd guess he's still two months away from walking, which is not unusual for our kids who have had to hold up lots of chub and very large heads.  :)  (Anna was 14 months when she walked.)  He is a power crawler, and is always on the go.  He loves to be sung to and tries to do hand motions to some of his favorite songs.  He loves to snuggle and give kisses.  He loves to look out the window.  He loves to be in "the know" and right in the middle of everything.  Caleb does not like to be alone, he needs people around him.  He loves his nuki and blankie . . . it's so adorable seeing him look for his blankie, crawl across the room for it, then snuggle it up to his cheek with a content, sleepy look on his face. 

Caleb loves to eat, and is ready to try almost anything from bananas to pesto salmon.  He eats three meals a day with a sippy cup of water.  He has three bottles of milk a day too.  (We try to get him to drink the sippy cup himself, but Ethan and I like to give him his bottles of milk for extra bonding/snuggle time . . . usually until our babies are two.)  Caleb says "dada" and lots of baby babbling, but no other real words that we can tell.  He has the biggest, brightest smile - it's as simple as seeing someone he loves, and he'll get a big smile on his face.  Sweetness!  Caleb usually takes just one nap a day for two to three hours.  He also sleeps from about 7pm to 7am for the night - give or take, straight through.  (I know, we were blessed with three very good, scheduled sleepers.  My sister Beth is envious.  :) 

Hmm. what else?  Some days have been hard and overwhelming with Cabers this year (especially when he's been on steroids!), but his cuteness, and chubbiness, and sweetness, and snuggles, and smiles, and laughing make up for it.  We love him to pieces, and we're so grateful Caleb was sent to our family.  He's such a little smoo.    

Happy Birthday Caleb Jones Rayhorn!           

Friday, November 11, 2011

Family Pictures 2011 . . .

I don't know exactly what it is, but this is my favorite picture of the whole bunch.  I love those babies. 

This is my favorite family shot, even though Ben and Caleb are looking pretty serious.  I love that we're all huddled together, the background, the sun coming in from the side, and my handsome hubs.  :)
I will blow this one up and frame it.

This is another cute family shot, but it's a little too . . . oh I don't know . . . typical?  I've always been a fan of more natural, in the moment photos, than the staged, everyone smile at the camera photos.  (I do think that Anna looks just beautiful in this one.) 
So, Caleb was a little nervous, unsure during this photo shoot, and so we got a lot of faces like the ones above.  haha.  He is usually my smiliest little guy.  Seriously, it's so easy to get him to smile, but apparently not for a stranger (who was taking our photos). 

My beautiful, sweet Miss Anna Ellene.  (She is such a natural, and loves getting her picture taken.) 

My handsome, silly Benjamin Parr Rayhorn.  (He loves to be referred to by his full name.)

My cutie, chubby Caleb Jones.  (He was either eating leaves or making weird faces during his turn.  But the photographer managed to get a few smiles.  Yay!)

We got some cool leaf throwing pictures.  (Wish you could see Caleb and Ethan better though.)

Just the girls, then just the boys. 

I love the background in this one with the lake and lighthouse, and that we're all sitting in a row.  But Benjamin looks a little off . . . :)

And finally, a few more family shots that aren't going to make the cut, but that I love. 

There are way more photos on facebook that you may have seen already (and I didn't even add them all).  So I didn't want to put TONS on here (but I still did, oops).   

We try to get family pictures every few years, and it had been 2+ years, AND another kiddo had joined the fam, so we thought it was time.  We're so used to our friend Brian McMillan taking our pics, and letting us exchange babysitting for them, that we'd been putting it off for awhile.  (Pictures are just SO expensive . . . and the McMillans moved.)  Anyway, I was very excited to hear that the MOMS Group I'm part of was having a fundraiser.  A friend of someone's in the group, who does photography as a side job, took pictures for families in moms club for a very low price, and part of the money would even go back to the club.  Awesome!  And you got the whole CD of pictures to make however many prints you want/size you want.  We were really happy with the pictures, all taken in a half hour time slot.  It's funny how hard it is to get a decent shot with three little kids involved, but I love the "outtakes" too.  :) 

So, any grandparents, parents, or siblings that would like to make a request for certain pictures, just give me a call or e-mail.  I plan on printing them in the next week or so.