Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santa's Prayer

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We did. And did again. And again. And again.
I won't recap every detail, but I will say that despite the chaos, and there WAS chaos, I tried to keep remembering why we were there.

My grandmother gave me an ornament that I will forever hold dear. It had the following prayer.

"On Christmas Eve the other night I saw the most amazing sight,
for there beneath the Christmas tree was Santa kneeling on his knee.


His countenance was different than that all-familiar, jolly grin;

his head was bowed, with hand to breast, and slightly tucked into his vest.

For there in a nativity was Jesus and His family,

and as I heard him start to pray I listened close to what he'd say.


'Lord, You know that You're the reason I take pleasure in this season.
I don't want to take Your place, but just reflect Your wondrous grace.


I hope You'll help them understand I'm just an ordinary man,

who found a way to do Your will by finding kids with needs to fill.


But all those centuries ago, there was no way for me to know

that they would make so much of me, and all the gifts beneath the tree.


They think I have some hidden power granted at the midnight hour,

but it is my love for You inspiring the things I do.


And so when they begin to open gifts for which they have been hoping,

may they give You all the glory, for
You're the One True Christmas story.'"
- Alda Monteschio


Merry Christmas from the Benich Family! 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let the Annual Tour of Texas Begin!

Tom is packing the truck as I type. My EXTREMELY WONDERFUL friends, Loni & Carlos, are watching the kids at their house. This one will have to be short.

So...
The Annual Benich Family Tour of Texas begins tonight! This year's schedule:
12/18 - San Antonio to Cuero (Tom to Columbus to hunt)
12/19 - Cuero to Lake Jackson for a Franklin Family gathering; then to El Campo
12/20 - Christmas with Dad (PawPaw) in El Campo; then back to Cuero (**perhaps some visits to Tom's relatives...but he hasn't confirmed that**)
12/21-22 - Try to Relax in Cuero before the next round starts.
12/23 - Christmas with Mom (Nana) in Cuero
12/24 - Christmas with the extended Dornak (My aunts/uncles/cousins) Family and the Novak (My grandma's siblings & families) Christmas Reunion in El Campo
12/25 - Christmas with the extended Franklin (my aunts/uncles/cousins on my mom's side) Family in Victoria; then back to San Antonio....to be followed by Christmas with Tom's Mom, Craig & Cathy, Avery, and Jenna
12/26 and beyond - more fun...none of which I can disclose at the moment..........stay tuned.......

And in pictoral form:


View Larger Map

The truck is packed. The presents are under the tree (since we return home on Christmas day). The new Play House is assembled with a bow. And Lori is sitting on her rear blogging.............

So, to all my dear friends who still read my thoughts....MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
Sincerely, I hope you each have a very blessed Christmas season, and despite the ridiculously busy schedules, take time to remember why we celebrate this Day. Happy Birthday Dear Jesus!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Birthday and Bachelorette

Although quick, I had to put a special Happy Birthday in for my sister...who admitted this weekend she hardly checks my blog!! But I don't blog for her, I blog for me. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEDE! I hope this year is even better than the last!

And, I must also say I spent the past weekend with Dede, my cousins Kristen, Allison & Rebecca, and a few new friends to celebrate Kristen's Bachelorette Party!!! We had SO MUCH FUN, but I have to admit, being surrounded by adults and getting to be Lori (as opposed to Mommy) was the very best part. Allison & Rebecca were fabulous hostesses! Kristen was a most gorgeous bachelorette. And Lori proved that the old married woman with 2 kids can't quite hang. I hung all night long...but then took just a "little" longer than the rest to recuperate Saturday morning. ;-)

Left to Right: Dede (sis), Me, Allison (cousin), Kristen (cousin/bride-to-be), Sally, Carrie and Rebecca (cousin)


I love you all and was so happy to spend such a great weekend with you! Now, let's get ready for that WEDDING!!

St. Nicholas Day

I'm 30 and it still amazes me how no one knows about this day. Every year I have celebrated St Nick's day on December 6th. As a child, I never really cared why. As an adult, I'm constantly curious and looking to see if I can find someone else who celebrates this day.

Saint Nicholas was a very giving Saint. His parents raised him to be very faithful to the Lord and taught him (by example) to give to those in need. The following story can be found at http://www.stnicholascenter.org/

"One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver."

Traditions seem to vary from person to person (according to the website!! Like I mentioned before, I don't know many who celebrate this day.) but in our family, we hang stockings when we decorate the house for Christmas. On the morning of December 6th, we wake up to find St. Nick has put a few goodies in our stocking. He always left an ornament in our stocking as kids, and I have them all on my tree today. He continues to leave an ornament for my kiddos (and Tom & I as well), along with a few exciting items that are small enough to fit in the stocking.

This has been a normal part of my life, but I had a hard time trying to figure out how to explain to Brock that St. Nick isn't exactly Santa Claus. I was absolutely ecstatic to find a DVD this year! I wasn't even looking, it just caught my eye at Target a couple weeks ago! It's a new Veggie Tales (we LOVE Veggie Tales!) movie about St. Nicholas.



So, a Happy Belated St. Nicholas' Day to you all! Maybe just one blog reader might start up a new tradition next December 6th!


Um, just because I'm writing about such a holy, and faithful tradition, you didn't think my kids actually took that to heart, did you? This is how St. Nick's Day 2009 started..........


Trying...
As good as it's going to get...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Trick

I'm pretty sure a parent's memory fades over time. Meaning, I probably don't remember as much as I think I do about raising Brock when he was a baby. HOWEVER, I TRULY, HONESTLY DO NOT BELIEVE he was as much trouble as our dear little Aubree!!

Aubree's newest trick is climbing. And climbing. And climbing some more! Dear Santa, please bring Aubree a helmet, pads and jungle gym!

You can't take your eyes off of her...for even a second. I thought I was such a clever mom. I took away the kid table since she wouldn't stop climbing on it. It is now folded up, behind the couch. She trumped me. She has started climbing on every chair in the kitchen. She'll get to a standing position and jump up and down with a grin like she is the cutest and most ingenious kid ever! If you don't get to her soon enough, she will then climb to the table top. Do we want to start a guess as to when this kid ends up in the hospital for an injury???

Victory #1: Conquered the Little Tykes table like it was two inches tall!

Victory #2: I can stand up on the chairs all by myself! Giving mom & dad a slight heart attach every time my foot starts heading towards the edge.
Victory #3: NOT PICTURED: ON TOP of the table! By that point, mom and dad are running towards me ...no time to capture that photo opportunity!


But seriously...do you really think LITTLE 'OL ME could cause all this trouble???? Nah...I didn't think so. I'm an angel!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wild Ride

Our little Aubree has had us on quite the wild ride lately!
Her random illnesses started after her 15-mo checkup. (which by the way, she was 24 pounds and 33 inches tall!) She got her H1N1 vaccine while we were there. The day after receiving her vaccine, her leg started swelling, turned bright red, and there was nearly a 4" diameter red circle over her injection site! It went down after a couple days, but that was definitely something new for us!
(the black dots were my attempt of watching to see how much it spread day to day.)
If you read my last post, you'll know that she had quite an interesting rash over Thanksgiving. It showed up around Wednesday. Spread over her entire right side of her body on Thursday and by Friday it seemed to stop spreading. Saturday it seemed to be fading a little, and by Sunday it looked almost like little bruises.

She also developed a pretty bad cough and runny nose starting on Thanksgiving. The fever came next. By Sunday she was a very miserable baby girl! Something was definitely wrong, and suspecting an ear infection, I didn't want to wait until the pediatrician's office opened on Monday. SO, early Sunday morning we headed to the emergency room.
Here is a picture of Aubree BEFORE going to the ER: That's not a typical Aubree face.


They checked her out. She was running a 101.6 degree fever by then. Turns out mom was right and she most definitely had an ear infection in her right ear. I had the doctor take a look at her rash as well. She told me it might have been a case of the chicken pox. I told her I was surprised because it never spread. She said since she got vaccinated at 1 year, it might have helped it not spread and be as bad as the normal chicken pox. We got our prescription and left.

I decided to call her pediatrician Monday morning to let them know about our weekend and find out if we needed to schedule a follow up visit. When I told them about the possible chicken pox, they said the wanted to see her right away. HOWEVER, they asked that I call when we arrived so they could let me in the BACK DOOR! I've never been asked to use the back door at a doctor's office before! Leave it to Aubree to get us a special pass!
After waiting in our car in the parking lot for 30 minutes while they were letting a room free up, we got in and guess what? Dr. G said it did NOT look like chicken pox to him! He also didn't have a clue what it was. Perhaps some sort of viral rash? He wasn't concerned...so I wasn't concerned. He checked her ears and turns out her ear infection had turned into a double ear infection. I'm so glad we had already started antibiotics!
She seems to be doing much better now. The medicine must be kicking in, and the motrin is helping her as well. That was THREE interesting health topics all in the course of two weeks. Hopefully we're done calling the doctor for a while!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to everyone!
We shocked ourselves and did not travel for Thanksgiving this year. While we were sad not to spend it with our loved ones, we had a nice Thanksgiving day ourselves. Tom's sister, Jenna, joined us which made it even more special. I was ready to have turkey sandwiches but since I'm married to a pretty classy chef, we had a bit more traditional meal.

Thanksgiving was not without it's seemingly annual illness. Last year Brock spent Thanksgiving at my dad's house with a bad stomach bug. This year, Aubree had the strangest rash I've ever seen. It covered the right side of her body, under her arm. It never really spread so I didn't worry too much about it. It did however, follow (probably unrelated) with a terribly runny nose, cough and mild fever. The poor baby was coughing so much she made herself throw up.
We made it through, and manged to decorate the house in the process. I look back and think about the past year. I'm so thankful for two (most of the time) healthy kids. A WONDERFUL husband who I love very much, and so much family that we can't even make all the rounds for the thanksgiving holidays!

Thanksgiving Naps...the funny thing here is Brock is sleeping on me...who is also sleeping on the couch! Tom was the one taking these pictures...and normally HE is the one napping!

Thanksgiving Pool

And Thanksgiving Beer. Um, you noticed something wrong here, didn't you? Well, one of Aubree's newest tricks is sneaking into the pantry, opening the lid on the garbage can...and picking out an item! Ewww, right? Well, sometime on Thanksgiving day, she went in, grabbed this beer bottle, and walked all the way back to the kids' little table to begin "drinking" it. It was quite funny!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bonfire 1999

It's been TEN YEARS. TEN YEARS. I was so looking forward to Bonfire '99! Tom and I met BONFIRE NIGHT in 1998! We were about to celebrate one of the most widely known, and favorite Aggie traditions on the first anniversary of when we had met. The morning started much earlier than planned as I was woken up by the phone...parents who had heard before me that the beloved Fightin' Texas Aggie Bonfire had fallen. My first reaction was one of "it's fallen before...we'll just re-build it!" It was going to be tight on time, but I knew we could do it. It was only a matter of minutes that I learned this was nothing we could "rebuild". Lives had been lost. Many were missing or trapped in the stack. Rescue workers were relentlessly working to save as many people as possible. Since I did not live on campus at the time (this was my Junior Year at A&M), I couldn't break away from the TV coverage to head to the bonfire site. I don't believe I've ever been as glued to the television as I was that day. Looking back, it's still a bit surreal. We lost 12 members of the Aggie Family in that fall. A bit ironic since another widely known symbol of Texas A&M is it's 12th man.
Today I couldn't help but think about these 12 young (very young) men and women who lost their life that day. They were all very close in age to me. I think of myself...married, a successful job, and two precious kids. I wonder where they would be today. If they would have families of their own. Then I realize that they are in a lot of places today. They are in the minds and hearts of thousands of Aggies. And they will live there forever.

To you 12 Aggies who died doing something you loved, you will forever be remembered. My biggest hope today is that the current and future Aggies know and understand just how deeply you loved the Bonfire tradition and Texas A&M University. You are my Aggie Brothers and Sisters, and you are missed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Non-Stop

That sums up our lives right now! NON-STOP! I'm thankful for each of the activities that keep us zooming from one thing to another, but I'd also be thankful for a bit of downtime! Let's take last weekend as an example. It's probably an extreme example, but an example no less.

It's November which means one big thing in the Benich house. HUNTING SEASON!! Tom was out of town beginning Friday morning which left me with some crazy single mom duties. (I've said it before, I'll say it again...the admiration I have for all those single moms with husbands deployed is more than I can say.)
Anyways...Saturday morning starts with both kids up by 6:15. I started some laundry, made beds, cooked breakfast, cleaned the kitchen and it was time to run out for Brock's last soccer game!


We went straight from the soccer game to my Aunt Angela's new house. She just closed on the house and was moving in. We took the opportunity to not only see the house, but to see some relatives in town as well. After visiting a bit and having a quick bite to eat, we were off again.


(Eydie, Grandma, Kristen, Dede, Angela, Jayme, John)

(you can tell the kids were a LOT of HELP, can't you?!?!)

We headed home to see my cousins who were stopping by as part of a quick trip to San Antonio. We arrived at the house and just 30 minutes later we were out again so the house could be shown!
After a very quick Hi, How are you, and Goodbye, I had Brock changed and we were off to one of his teammate's birthday party. The party wrapped up a couple hours later and then it was straight to the end-of-year soccer party!

(The Shooting Stars and their awesome coaches!)

I was fortunate enough that through most of this, my dad had kept Aubree at my aunt's house. After the party finished, she joined us again and we made a trip into Target for last-minute outfits. Sometime during this crazy Saturday, I confirmed with my friend John we would take family pictures Sunday morning. I hadn't a clue what to wear! I figured buying a few tops would beat searching through our wardrobes for coordinating outfits! I think we got home right before 9pm...just as Tom was pulling into the driveway. It was exhausting, but truly a GOOD day!

I think I'm running on empty these days. I'm doing everything I can to cherish all my blessings, but life in general does wear me down. I think that was evident last night when I went to bed at 8:30!!!!! Seriously...need to figure out how to not work...it just takes 10+ hours of my day I don't have time to give away! ;-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall Festivities



I didn't realize just how few entries I posted in October! I'd like to say the month was busier than others, but in reality, it was probably just as busy! The days, weeks and months continue to fly by. We're slowly making Christmas plans (which if you are familiar with our holiday schedules, you know is no easy chore!) and getting some shopping done. We pulled our house off the market for a bit and will be re-listing it tomorrow. I'm finishing my soccer team mom duties this weekend with our end-of-season party. And last, but certainly not least, deer season has officially kicked off! To say I'm worn out is an understatement, but I do my best, and TRY to forget the rest!

We had a couple trips to the pumpkin patch this year. Pumpkin patch pictures are always my favorite! They always turn out SO good!







Brock thoroughly enjoyed Halloween, though he was more eager to get out and trick-or-treat than he was to take pictures...we never got a decent one! Aubree REALLY liked getting after all that candy! Mean ol' mom & dad never let her have anything though...and she told us about it!




And now...it's time to get my little skeletons in bed!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Loni!

I haven't been good at posting lately. I'll try harder! But, as I was uploading birthday pics to facebook, I thought I'd tell the blogging world hello and wish my very wonderful friend, Loni, a happy birthday!!

Last weekend we went out in Austin for her birthday. We had an amazing time! I paid for it dearly, for well...I'm still paying for it. I'm not as young as I used to be! :) Today is Loni's actual birthday. I love you Loni! I don't know what I'd do without you! (probably not go to as many happy hours!!)

Tom, Lori, Ellen, Louis, Rose Mary, Loni and CarlosThe Loni and Lori duo!
Loni and Carlos
Love you Tom!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baby Steps

Our baby girl took her first real steps last weekend. As much as we wanted to "help her along", her first steps were taken after standing up against a door at Nana's house. She just decided to walk about 5 steps and then fell down. She hadn't done much this week in terms of walking, but this weekend she decided it was time to try again! She took SEVERAL steps on Saturday, and today ventured half way down the hall on a few occasions. I haven't managed to get great video just yet, but here is one video of some of her first few, and very precious, baby steps! Oh my sweet baby girl, I'm so proud of you!
video

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Full and Blessed Weekend

We had quite a weekend full of family, fun and blessings!

This weekend was the annual Cuero Turkeyfest! A must-see for anyone...at least once in your life.
Turkeyfest kicks off with a parade Saturday morning. Our favorite part of the parade is of course our beloved (Aunt) Meredith leading her team of trotters!



Cute little kiddos!
Conner & Nana / Aubree & PawPaw


Silly little kiddos!


Bundled up and enjoying the parade!


Fell asleep at the end!


Saturday afternoon, Tom and I had the pleasure of being our nephew, Conner's, godparents!





The Benich Family
(do you just love Brock's pose?!?)


Turkeyfest finishes up with the concert. Bands are playing all day but the best ones are always last. We got there in time for Jason Bolland and Roger Creager. Staying up for Roger was another story! ;-)
By the way...can anyone tell me WHEN my brother went into super gigantic tall mode?
(Tom, Christa, Jeff & Lori)


(today was mostly pictures, but I'm sleepy...and I don't think yall mind!)