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.

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 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

"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..........

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 time to capture that photo opportunity!

But 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 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!