Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Slightly Belated June Wrap Up . . .

Ok.  So.  It's been taking me forever to download pictures on to Blogger lately, not sure why.  (I didn't even finish this post until July 5th, cause I kept putting off having to deal with it.)  Plus I usually post them to facebook anyway . . . I'm thinking this should stay more of my "journal" with just a couple pics to accompany an entry, instead of posting pictures to both places.  It's just so hard to narrow it down!!!  (So I didn't with this post. :)  But anyway, we had a lot of fun in June, and here are some of the highlights:

SWIMMING!  Seriously, I'd take Lake Superior over the ocean - or the other Great Lakes - any day!  It's so clean, and clear, and refreshing, and not salty!  :) 

I GOT MY HAIR CUT! Shorter than it's ever been!  It was kind of a surprise, but I like it; it's fun.  My hair is SO thick it takes forever to dry . . . but not with this haircut!  And I usually wear a headband with this cut, but apparently not in either of these pictures.  I'll probably keep if short for awhile and then I want to grow it long enough for a pony tail, 'cause it's been forever!  Wow.  No one cares about this.  hehe.

ANNA FINISHED KINDERGARTEN! So of course I picked her up and took her out to Frosty Treats on her last day.  And she is wearing her FAVORITE dress in these pictures, which was actually a dress that Ethan's sisters wore when they were little.  We'll be passing it on to Rorie when Anna grows out of it. :) 

THE BOYS AND I "CELEBRATED" OUR LAST DAY OF JUST THE 3 OF US, ON ANNA'S LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!  (But we all really prefer her home with us anyway.  hehe.  I took them to Lower Harbor Park after we dropped off Anna;  it's next to one of Marquette's Harbors.  I thought we could go look at the boats before playing, but as you can see, the boys only had their eyes on the park. :)

THE START OF "HOME SCHOOL" (as the kids call it) that we try to work in during Caleb's naps during the summer!  The kids BEG me to do this with them everyday. . . . and it always has to end with "craft time" which is what you're seeing below.

FATHER'S DAY!  Benjamin was the only one who was up early enough to help me make Ethan a little breakfast before he had to leave for his early church meeting.  And, yes, his breakfast included a tall glass of coke, and one of his Father's Day gifts - Jelly Bellies.  hehe.  I also got him Joel Stein's new book, which we both found pretty hilarious. 

COUSINS!  They can be so cute together . . . or other times so competitive.  hehe.

DUCK POND WITH CALEB!  All the kiddos love to come here and feed the ducks, and seagulls too.  On this day my dad had offered to take Anna and Benjamin to a parade out of town, so we just had Caleb.  Nice for him to be the center of our attention for once!

HIKING TO MUNISING WATER FALL!  Ethan had something to be at in Munising, so Chuck and Melissa watched Caleb and we took the older two with us.  After the dinner, we found this beautiful little trail to hike before heading home.

VISITS FROM FAMILY!  Ethan's sister Meghan and her two girls came to visit a few weeks in June from San Diego.  It was so good to see them, reunite Anna and Ben with Rorie, and for all of us to meet Noa!  And Ethan's sister Ashley and hubs Joe came to visit from North Carolina, but I didn't get one single picture of them.  I was slacking, I guess.  But we did have Rayhorn family pictures taken, so there's proof we were all together (minus Jake). :)
The only picture of all five Rayhorn (Kenison) grandkids together.

So, I thought I'd do a little gratitude entry, just because.  During my days, I've been trying to recognize all the things I'm grateful for - big and little - and wanted to write some down.  So here it goes:
  • Air conditioning!  It's been WARM and HUMID this week.  We have one window unit that keeps most of the house pretty cool.  Ethan installed it the middle of June, but we haven't had to use it much until this week and usually run it on low, but I am soooooo grateful for it!  (We might add a second one on the other side of the house - the kitchen plus our bedroom/bath - but it's been working for now.) 
  • I'm thankful for a black fridge to match our other appliances!  My sister was getting rid of a black fridge and knew I'd LOVE to match mine, so she gave it to us.  Thanks Beth and Stu!  It'll make the kitchen look more put together.  hehe.  Ok, moving on from appliances.
  • FAMILY!  I often think about this.  The kids are young (but not for long!), but they live by so many family members, and I hope that the bonds they have now last them a life time, no matter where we end up later.  Regular visits from Grampa Dew and spending time with Grama Suse, Sunday dinners At GraMelissa and Grampa Chucks, getting in lots of KC time before she moves away, seeing 3 of my four siblings and their fams pretty regularly, that the kiddos have cousins to play with here . . . even if they aren't all the same age, they love spending time with them.  Babysitting by the grandparents (which the kiddos really, REALLY enjoy!).  Sleepovers.  I just love it all, and am so grateful the kids are growing up with lots of family around.  And we're so grateful when the family who live away come to visit!!  :)   
  • Love Marquette.  The city.  The area.  The vibe.  The friends we have here, and the new friends we're making.  Lake Superior.  Very grateful for the beauty of my surroundings. 
  • Books!  I've read some good ones lately.  And I love that my kids love reading . . . that Anna is beginning to read simple books, that Benjamin loves to be read to, and that even Caleb is a little book worm.  Love it! 
  • Our little home.  I'm grateful for our own place again after a year staying with parents.  I think of that often in a given week even though we've been here awhile.  And I think I'm especially grateful for THIS house.  It's not huge, and it's not new (because that's not what we were looking for), but it IS so perfect for my family right now.  And yes, I still have a long list of big and little things I'd love to do to the house within the first year (six months left!), but I love that we're settled in here.  The location.  The backyard.  The character of the house.  And oh my goodness, now that everything is blooming and leafy, it's just adorable to pull up to it!  :) 
  • So grateful for Ethan.  Always.  He is so kind to me.  I was having a pretty hard day a week or so ago, and Ethan could tell.  So, after my parents took us out to dinner (because I think they could tell too, hehe  - thanks mom and dad!), Ethan suggested that I take Anna to see the new Pixar movie, Brave, and he would hang out with the boys and put them to bed.  SO SWEET OF HIM.  Hanging out with just Anna, and without the noisy, busy boys, is seriously so fun I could do it all day.  She's so easy, and fun, and interesting, and thoughtful. . . I'll stop.  So neither of us had been to the movie theater in a long time, so it was very exciting.  We loved the movie!  Then we went and got vanilla cones at McDonald's.  Then we went to watch the sunset at Presque Isle.   Then at 10pm, we finally headed home, and saw that all the big sprinklers were on at NMU's campus.  So Anna and I got out and ran through all of them.  It was such a good night, Anna had a blast, and I felt so much better after.  And it was all suggested and made possible by Ethan.  This is just one of a hundred or so examples I could write about.  And I Love Him!
  • Grateful for free helmets at a kid's bike fair in downtown Marquette last Friday!  And thankful to my dad for watching Caleb, so I wouldn't have to lug him around to the different stations in the HEAT.  It was so fun, and all free from a Kohl's Grant and sponsored by the MGH Women and Children's Center.  Ice cream, helmets, safety presentation, bike inspections, bounce houses, bike course.  We are determined to get Anna riding without training wheels this summer - yeah we've been slacking - so this made us all even more excited about it.  Oh and thanks to Melissa for e-mailing me the info, or I would have never heard about it!  :)
  • Grateful for a fun beach day with our friends last Saturday.  Beautiful weather, good company. 
  • Loving avocados right now (especially 'cause they're in season and relatively cheap), and I've have been making guacamole pretty regularly.  Mmmm!
  • This last one could go along with air conditioning or loving our house, but want to mention it specifically.  I LOVE our basement.  I'm grateful for it.  It's nice and cold even on the hottest days, and doesn't smell basementy.  Sometimes Ethan and I go down there to watch movies after the kids go to bed and it feels heavenly.  It's the perfect place to send the kids during nap time, if it's too hot to play outside very long. (Plus they have a lot of toys and books down there.)  And I LOVE all the storage down there (see "home school" pictures).  I still need to consolidate a bit, but I haven't even used it all up yet.  Love the feeling of being organized, and that basement - with all the encased storage shelves - really helps.      
I guess I should end this, but feel like I could go on for a long time.  Which is good.  It's so, so easy to get caught up in what's not going well or what you want to be different (trust me, I know), that I think it's so important to recognize the big and little blessings in your (my) life.  They pop into my head regularly throughout the day, and so I thought I'd write a few of them down.  Anyway, hope you all had a wonderful 4th!  I'll have to write about that next time.  Have a great rest of the week!!!   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life Lately, According To My Pictures . . .

Okay, so, life is good.  As I read over my last post, it was definitely me writing out/working through my stuff lately, and it could have come across as a bit of a downer.  When I re-read it, I thought, "I don't feel like this anymore."  Which is exactly why I wanted to record it at the time.  I think any job has it's ups and downs - wanting to move on to other things, not happy with certain aspects, etc. - and so it is with "full time mommyhood" as my current job right now.  But, summer's here, the sun is shining, fun is happening.  Life is good.  Just wanted to clarify.  :) 

I'm having some issues with Blogger, and pictures, and well, I don't have time to mess with it anymore.  So, here's some of the fun we've been having lately, and the pictures are randomly following: 

  • Ethan ran in a 5K and took 2nd place overall!  His work, UP Rehab, sponsored anyone who wanted to do the race, and there was a ncie group of co-workers there.  It was cold and rainy, but the kiddos and I loved being there to support daddy.  (Side note - I am currently training for a 5K, which I have never done before.  Never been a runner.  Never enjoyed it, although I enjoy other active things, and gym memberships.  Still not really enjoying the running DURING the run, but after I love it.  And I've always wanted to do a 5K.  Well, last week I ran a mile . . . which was an exciting step for me.  Slowly, but surely. . . . I'll keep you posted on that.   But, Ethan has always been in to running and triathlons and all that jazz, but this was still an exciting race to win a medal and place.  Good job babe!)   
  • I volunteered at Anna's school for her Activity Day.  I worked at the Watermelon station, and loved seeing her running around with her friends celebrating the end of the school year.  (Pics with Anna in the yellow skirt.)  I love the happy vibe at Elementary Schools (probably why I went in to teaching:), and especially love Anna's little school. 
  • We've been loving our backyard, and spending lots of time back there!  LOVING IT!  The swing set that Ethan's Grandparents got the kids is up (it was quite the process, including cementing it into the ground - thanks babe!), and super fun.  Thank you so much!  My mom got a baby swing for Caleb which he loves too.  Thanks!  We put in a little platform in our back path in the woods for easy access to the cemetery (AKA the duck pond place, or where we ride bikes) and the fit strip area.  The outside toys are in two storage bins on the deck for easy access.  Tree climbing is in full swing.  So, lots of pics of the backyard fun. 
  • Ethan and Benjamin went on their first Father/Son campout for church.  Ben-Ben talked about it non-stop for two weeks.  And he loved going.  He felt so special to get so much alone time with daddy.  You know, sometimes it's hard being the middle child!  I can so relate!  :)  Love that Ethan and Benjamin had that experience together.   
  • Anna had a girl's night with her friend while Ben was gone camping.  Love when she has time to be girly, uninterrupted by Benjamin.  Hair, nails, make-up, fancy dogs (of the stuffed variety), movie and popcorn.  The works.  So cute.   
  • Auntie KC graduated from High School a week ago, and the kiddos were so proud of her.  They really get in to any kind of celebratory happening.  :)  We had them over for a cookout after to help celebrate.  And so, Ethan's baby sister is growing up and moving on.  Good job Katherine!  
  • Anna has been loosing teeth.  The bottom two have been gone for awhile now, and then about three weeks ago she lost a top front.  Well, the other top one scooted over and she looked like a hillbilly for about two weeks until the it fell out.  Check it out below . . . it's hard to miss!  hehe  Growing up . . . it's gotta stop!  (And Benjamin has a pic below showing all of his teeth, because he claims they are ALL loose.  Wants to be just like his big sister . .  .) 
  • I went to Anna's end of year music presentation at her school.  I love that she loves music - just like her mommy, and it definitely showed during her class presentation.  I can't believe she's going to be in first grade next year!  Gah, I can't even think about it!  Moving on . . . 
  • Caleb loves corn on the cob (just like his mommy :), and the other morning he wasn't in the mood to eat anything for breakfast . . . so corn-on-the-cob it was.  
  • I have a picture of Anna sleeping with a face mask on.  1) It stays light soooo late up north!  And 2) She picked it out herself from a dollar section at a store.  I didn't think she'd actually use it, but she does, and it works like a charm!!  If she's having trouble falling asleep, we tell her to put it on, and she's out like a light.  
  • One day a few weeks ago, Anna and Benjamin were in the basement playing with the dress up stuff.  When I called them up for lunch, I had Spiderman and Queen Anastasia show up for lunch.  It was pretty cute.  Love them.
  • There's a pic of Benjamin sleeping with a sticker/tattoo book on his chest.  I found this at a garage sale for 20 cents, and knew that Ben-Ben would love it.  And I was right - the possessions he loves THE MOST he sleeps with.  It's only happened a few other times.  hehe.  Side note:  Speaking of yard sales, I have been on a role -  Things for the house (that I usually repurpose, or put a fresh coat of paint on, etc.), clothes for the kids, outside toys/items now that we have a yard again, books, etc.  I have been getting some sweet deals!!  Anyone who knows me, knows I do not like having unnecessary stuff around, so I'm not bringing in tons of junk.  :)  I'm looking for very specific things.  And I've been finding them.  AND I was reading a book recently about simple ways to live green and be kind to our planet.  Buying second hand was one of them, and I thought, "Well, I have that down."  hehe.  (And I have other things down too . . . with other areas that I can definitely improve on.)  So, for lots of reasons, yard saling has been a very positive thing lately.  Ok.  Done with my tangent.      
  • And finally, there aren't any pics specific of this below, but Caleb is growing up.  They just never stop, I tell you!  He had his 18 month well check today, and he is OFF THE CHARTS for height, weight, and head circumference.  Since he's overall a big boy, they aren't concerned about it.  (They already looked in to the humungo head, and since he's really tall, they aren't concerned about him being really plumpy too.  hehe)  So adorable.  He's still not talking, only about 5 words and about 5 words he does sign language for.  I can tell this frustrates him, but at the same time, he acts annoyed like, "You know what I'm trying to say.  Just get it/do it/let me/feed me."  The doctor, have I mentioned that I LOVE his doctor!!, said this is very common since he has two older siblings that are constantly talking for him/over him at home, and since he was a little slower on the physical development, he's still really focusing on that right now.  Plus, he understands SO much.  He can get a specific book out of a pile when we tell him a certain title.  He can follow two or more step requests.  And lots of other things.  Knowing he's my baby and my last, and knowing all the stuff he's had to deal with in his little life, it makes me very fine with the fact that he's taking his sweet time with all this stuff.  Oh my goodness, I love him to pieces.  He's been my little snuggle bug lately, it's just the sweetest thing!  
  • Ok.  I was going to keep this short, and I'm just rambling on.  Main point.  Life is good.  Now, enjoy the pictures!