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Christmas Letter 2010

Season's Greetings to our friends and family! It has been a somewhat eventful year for the Rayhons family. Let me fill you in on some of the happenings of 2010.

The first half of the year was fairly normal. We said goodbye to good friends, the Ten Hakens and the Hoflands in early summer as both families moved away from Sioux Center. We also had many sleepless nights as Nathan began experiencing regular ear infections.

In July we, along with the rest of Trav's family, invaded Paola, KS, where Travis' sister Courtney and her family live. We all squeezed into one house for several days. We're talking about 11 adults and 11 children! But it was a lot of fun. At the end of July Nathan had tubes put in his ears and we finally started to get regular sleep!

All summer Sioux Center experienced record high rain fall, as did much of the midwest, and by August, many of our friends and neighbors were talking about the water in our basement. We had never had any water before, and so were fairly confident we'd be ok. Oops! We had several inches of water in our basement after a heavy rain, and we ended up moving out all the furniture and ripping up all the carpet. It was a blessing in disguise, however, as we discovered black mold all over the basement when we started taking down dry wall. We couldn't believe how much there was!! So now, we are mold free, however, our basement is down to stud walls and cement floors. We are starting over down there! It does give us the opportunity to fix some plumbing and electrical issues we've had for awhile. And I will certainly enjoy redecorating when we get to that!

So now we've adjusted to living in half a house, with a garage half-full of our other stuff. We will be glad when we can "move in" downstairs again.

Fall was less eventful and now we are looking forward to the holidays and opportunities to see family from far away, and celebrate the season together.

Let me finish with a quick update on each of us.

Travis entered his 14th year of working for Dordt this fall. While his job has changed somewhat over the years, he still really loves working there. He also spends a lot of time playing racquetball, played some kickball over the summer, worked in the basement a lot, and enjoyed hunting this fall.

I continue in my role as chief cleaner, cook, chauffeur, and baby translater. I did start doing some substitute teaching this fall, which I have really enjoyed, and I have 7 piano students this fall, as well as 1 trombone, 1 french horn, and 1 saxophone student.

Carolyn is in 5th grade, and so started band this fall. She is playing oboe, making Mom very proud. She is doing a great job so far! She also joined a drama group at school that meets before school occasionally, so Travis and I are beginning to experience the joy of getting up even earlier to get her to school on those days. She continues to play piano and violin, so she spends quite a bit of time practicing, but she loves every opportunity to play music! She is really loving 5th grade and her teacher, Mr. Bowar, and is doing extremely well in school this year.

Nicole is in school full time as she is a 1st grader! She has so much fun at school, and loves her teacher. Recently the 1st graders studied Native Americans and each student was given a name. Nicole's was "Gentle Flower." Travis and I got a good laugh out of that one, as that fits her at school, but NOT at home! She started piano part time with me last year, and is now taking regular lessons and progressing very well. She has started reading all the time, and is proud to be able to read "chapter" books now. She continues to be our crafty child, constantly making projects, writing stories, and even writing some songs on the piano.

Nathan is growing like a weed! He will be 2 on Dec. 31. He is somewhat tall for his age, and talks like he is 3 instead of 2! He really likes trains, cars, bulldozers, and horses. He recently has started singing a lot and picking up songs very quickly. We were amazed when he started singing along with me to the Thomas the Train theme song! He is very active and mischievous and so keeps me on my toes all day long.

Well, now you are caught up with the Rayhons' for another year. I pray that 2010 was a good one for all of you and that 2011 will continue to bring God's blessings into your lives!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Rayhons!

Travis, Alecia, Carolyn, Nicole, and Nathan