Archive for September, 2013

On Sunday, Jeff, E, and I attended church at Newbridge Baptist.  E went into the nursery and didn’t really like it.  He hasn’t been away from me for long periods of time so it was something new to him.  Because he didn’t like being in the nursery very much, he ended up sitting with us during the sermon, which is what he is used to doing.  Following church, we ate lunch at Jeff’s parent’s house and hastily said our goodbyes to Scott, Jessica, and Eulalia.  That evening, we attended a picnic at church, which was nice and unexpected.


Our last moments with Eulalia before she left.

Our original plans were to leave on Sunday afternoon as well and head to the beach.  However, we decided to stay an extra day in Asheville since we didn’t get a chance to do any hiking during the week.  We woke up early on Monday (when do we not wake up early?) and headed to Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was really nice to get out and walk in the bush.  Here are some photos.


Jeff and E at the pinnacle.


Me at the top as well.


Family shot at Craggy Gardens.

After hiking, we returned to Jeff’s parent’s house and played in the front yard for the remainder of the afternoon.  At around 4pm, I remembered that I wanted to go to The Littlest Birds, my favorite baby store of all time, before leaving Asheville.  The Littlest Birds really has everything from new baby clothes, to awesome wooden children’s toys, to everything for cloth diapering, etc.  Plus, they have a consignment shop where you can find some really cute second hand baby clothes at an affordable price.  Ok, my plug in for The Littlest Birds is over, but I totally recommend this shop to everyone who will or have children.  The store closes at 5pm so we made a quick dash over to their store on Haywood Road.  We ended up buying a few items (Jeff had to limit me) that we wish we had when E was born, but couldn’t get because they weren’t sold in New Zealand.

On Tuesday morning, with the car packed we said our goodbyes to Doug and Carolyn and headed to Raleigh, North Carolina to meet up with my amazing friend, Sarah.  We stopped half way in Winston-Salem at Hanes Mall to eat lunch with my amazing Grandparents and Aunt Deb.  But before reaching Winston-Salem we had to take a quick photo of me with the Swannanoa sign, mostly just because I’m a dork and because there is a Swannanoa, New Zealand.  To read more on Swannanoa, New Zealand click here.


A quick family photo before we left Asheville.  Man, there are a lot of stripes going on in this photo.


Doug really wanted to show off to E the snake he caught the night before.


Swannanoa, North Carolina.  American road signs are huge.


Chick-fila with my Grandparents and Aunt Deb.


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The Lake

On Saturday, September 7th, the Griffees (Daniel, Laura, Alan, and Rebecca) invited Jeff, E, and myself to go to the lake.  I can’t remember the name of the lake though, but it’s about an hour drive east of Asheville on I-40.  Sorry.  The Griffee’s grandparents own a little place right along the lake front.  Jeff and I had been there a few times before with Daniel and Laura and it was great to go back.  They cooked us an amazing lunch and most of it was fresh from their garden.  Here are some photos:


E is ready to go on a boat ride.  He hated wearing this life jacket.


Family shot on the boat.


The Rays on the boat.  (Left to Right:  Jeff, Me, E, Jessica, Scott, and Eulalia)


Swimming in the lake.  E also didn’t enjoy this either.  We think the water was too cold for his liking.

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On Wednesday (September 4th), everyone in the family had plans except for Jeff, E, and myself.  So we decided to visit our old places of occupation and enjoy downtown Asheville.  We randomly hooked up with a great friend of mine, Hannah.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Barley’s Taproom.  Following an amazing lunch, Jeff and I took E over to Carolyn’s law firm to show him off (Carolyn is Jeff’s mom).  They all loved him very much.  After the sun started setting, we took E to the park to swing and see some ducks.  Supper that night was a bit dramatic.




E also enjoyed Hannah.


Showing E the sights in downtown Asheville.


E petting his first duck.

On Thursday morning, Jeff and I took E over to Lake Louise in Weaverville.  Jeff’s dad, Doug tagged along with us.  Jeff attempted to teach E how to feed the ducks.  However, E thought it was a better idea to eat the food himself instead of giving it to the ducks.  Then we had a family brunch at the Creperie in downtown Weaverville, North Carolina.  The food there was good and a bit pricey for a crepe if you ask me.  Jeff and I both agreed that our crepes were missing something.  It was nice that all of the Creperie’s food options were gluten free though.  I think I might just still be upset that I gave up eating Mexican food for crepes.  But, it was nice to hang out with the family nonetheless.  Then Jeff and I hung out at his parent’s house until we went to inspect our house later that afternoon.


Jeff attempting to teach E how to feed ducks.


E chasing the ducks while “AHHHing” them.

Bright and early on Friday morning, Jeff, E, and I met up with our friend Bonnie in downtown Asheville.  It was so nice to see her and catch up!  We mostly just walked around and talked.  After departing Bonnie, we met up with another friend, Rosemary, at the Asheville Brew and View for some out-of-this-world-amazing pizza (and beer – no I didn’t have any).  It had been since Jeff and I took our trip to New York City in 2010 since we really caught up with Rosemary.  So, there was lots to discuss.  We were there for nearly three hours.  Since we (mostly, just me) over ate completely and had nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, we took E to the Nature Center to look at more animals.  E loved every minute looking at the different animals.


Bonnie, E, and I in one of my favorite shops in downtown Asheville – the Chocolate Fetish.


Meeting up with Rosemary at the Brew and View.


E watching a bear.  This bear was stalking the path right in front of us.  So E was able to get an amazing view of the bear.


E really loved putting his head through the hole.

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On Tuesday, September 3rd, I started the morning by  getting my haircut!  Man, it was well over due for a cut!  My haircut, was followed by a family photo shoot at JCPenney’s, which was organized by Scott and Jessica.

That afternoon, Scott, Jessica, Eulalia, Jeff, E, and I visited Donna Cauble, the mother of our late friend Ryan Cauble.  It was really great to catch up with her and remember Ryan.  While there, Scott and Jeff went to start Ryan’s jeep.  A snake was found in the jeep’s engine and of course, what do all Ray men do when they find a snake?  Pick it up!  Jeff was super excited to show E a snake, especially since there are no snakes in New Zealand.  E, showing no fear at all, instantly grabbed the snake and squeezed the poor thing.  But, I got a photo of it (see below)!   After visiting Donna, we all traveled over to our friends, Mark and Leah Schuurman’s house.  Even though our visit there was a sort one, it was a great time to catch up.

Before E’s bedtime, we took E outside to play and see more animals.


What little time E and Eulalia spent together, they really seemed to enjoy.


E’s first encounter with a snake and he grabs it without any hesitation.


Eulalia also touched her first snake.  I love the looks of disgust on both Scott and Jessica. (PS they weren’t disgusted at all by the snake)


Play time at the Schuurman’s.  From left to right: Eulalia, E, Marcus, and Titus.


E and Tiger.  Tiger warmed up to E by the end of the week.  E giggled whenever Tiger rubbed his body against him.


Play time before bedtime.


E meeting Molly.  He also enjoyed this as well.

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On Labor Day (Monday, September 2nd) Jeff, E, and I met up with Daniel and Laura at the Asheville mall for some Chick-fila.  Scott, Jessica, and Eulalia tagged along as well.

That afternoon, the entire Ray gang plus Laura, attended the last Tourist baseball game of the season.  It was really hot.  E was having difficulties dealing with the heat.  This was also E’s first baseball game ever.

That night, Daniel and Laura came over to play some board games with us.


Family photo during the game.


Enjoying the game (E was just upset that I was walking down the stairs to take the photo) even though it was hot.


Ray brothers and their children.


E sporting a Tourist hat.  He wasn’t impressed.


The Rays plus the lovely Laura.

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25 Weeks Pregnant

25 Weeks Pregnant Baby Ray #2 (3)

25 Weeks Pregnant on September 2, 2013.  This photo was taken in Jeff’s parent’s front yard in Weaverville, NC.

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Mocksville, NC Continued:

On Friday morning, my mom took my brother Joseph, Jeff, E, and myself to a Science Museum in Greensboro.  E really enjoyed the aquarium and the petting zoo the most.  Then Jeff and I picked up our rental car that afternoon!!!!  That night, my dad treated all of us to sushi in downtown Winston-Salem.  My brother, Justin, showed up for the meal as well.  E loves sushi.  For supper that night he ate 7 pieces of sushi and 6 dumplings.

On Saturday, Justin, Joseph, Jeff, E, and I attended our cousins, Emily and Ethan, birthday parties.  The party’s venue was at a taekwondo place in Lewisville, NC.  It was an extremely cool party.  Joseph and Jeff participated and learned a few taekwondo basics.  They were both even able to break a piece of wood in half with their hands.  Following Emily and Ethan’s birthday parties the entire family came to Mocksville for a cookout at my parent’s house.

Then on Sunday morning, we departed Mocksville, NC and headed to Asheville, NC.  We left early in hopes to make it to church.  We managed to arrive only a few minutes late for the sermon.


Playing flying car with Uncle Joseph.


E enjoyed watching the penguins swim around at the Science Museum.


Admiring the fishes and sharks.


E attempting to touch the sting ray through the glass wall.


Nana and E watching a wild animal at the zoo part of the Science Museum.


It’s not everyday you can pretend to be a turtle.


E loves all animals.  


Bouncing up and down on a seesaw. 


E trying to grab the moving penguin.  He managed to grab it just after this photo was taken.


E with Nana and Grandpa before departing Mocksville, NC.


E with two of his uncles, Justin and Joseph.

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