Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jingle (Bell), our Elf

For those who haven't heard of The Elf on the Shelf, it's a very cute tradition that I would encourage everyone with small children to embrace. You can buy a kit that includes your very own Elf from the North Pole, along with a book telling the story. The first time your Elf visits you, it is your job to name him/her. Our Elf arrived right after Thanksgiving last year and Brock named him Jingle. I thought that was a very cute and appropriate name for our little Elf! Aubree decided this year he should have a last name, of Bell. Brock isn't too keen on this longer name, but we told her if he got to pick his first name, it was only right that Aubree gets to pick his last name. ;-) Jingle sits on a shelf and quietly observes the kids' behavior each day. Every night after they have gone to bed, Jingle flies to the North Pole to report their behavior back to Santa. It's a lot of fun to watch the kids get out of bed (a little faster than normal!) and start looking all over the house for Jingle. The kids can talk to him, and we encourage that, but Jingle has strict orders from Santa not to talk back. We were able to write Santa a letter this year and send it back via Jingle. And to our amazement, Santa replied!

After Christmas, the kids are a bit disappointed when Jingle disappears. To tell you the truth, Mom and Dad are a bit disappointed too. It comes in quite handy as a reminder when they aren't listening!

We love our Dear Jingle (Bell) and can't wait for him to return again next year.

On this post you will find a few of Jingle's locations this year. Goodbye Jingle! See you again in 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Joy

These are the faces that make me smile. (And the last picture, Aubree's face just makes me laugh!) This is pure Christmas joy from a 2-year old and 5-year old point of view. And that equals pure joy for parents!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Annual Tour of Texas - 2010

It's right around the corner! The Benich Family Annual Tour of Texas! Every year we say we're not going to travel all over the place, every year we do. I try so hard not to complain. We travel so much because we have so much family! How do you complain about that? However, the reality of it is with two children, it is hard, hectic, and wears us down. But 'TIS THE SEASON!

Our line up this year.......good thing I'm still TOTALLY in love with my CAR!!!

Monday - Dec. 20
For multiple reasons, we're doing our own little Tom Benich family Christmas on Monday, December 20th. Brock wrote Santa a letter, and was able to deliver it via Jingle, our elf (who sits on a shelf). Santa wrote back that if Brock and Aubree were very good, he would deliver presents on the 20th. This will give the kids a couple days to play and enjoy their toys before we hit the road. It also gives Mom and Dad time to clean, grocery shop, and prepare for traveling and hosting.

Tuesday - Dec. 21
Playing, Packing, and Grocery Shopping

Wednesday - Dec. 22
Head out to Conroe to Tom's Dad's house and meeting up with Craig, Cathy & Avery!

Thursday - Dec. 23
All day in Conroe.

Friday - Dec. 24
Head to Richmond early to visit Tom's Grandparents.
Soon afterwards, head to El Campo to see my Dad and Grandma, plus the whole Dornak gang!
Saturday - Dec. 25
Early start for Christmas Mass in Victoria.
Then Christmas with my Mom and Grandma, and the whole Franklin gang!
After lunch we'll head back to San Antonio where we'll host the first of two Christmases in San Antonio. Tom's Mom and his siblings/family will arrive.
Sunday - Dec. 26
Continue Christmas with the Benich side.
Monday - Dec. 27
The Benich side will clear out and make room for the Dornak side to head into San Antonio.
Dede will be back from Mississippi so we'll be able to have Mom and all us siblings here for our family Christmas.

Tuesday - Dec. 28
Continue Christmas? Or, Tom's Birthday? How about BOTH!

Wednesday - Dec 29
Is anyone else tired of Christmas????? ;-)
Hopefully some time to rest is in our future.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Four more days

Last night both kids received a video message from Santa Claus. The look on Brock's face was precious. Santa spoke to each one individually, and even looked in his good "Book" he keeps for girls and boys. Their picture was there, right along with their age, school, special events that took place this year and he told them that he knows they've been trying very hard to be good...but you can always try harder! ;-)

I'm not sure I've ever been so excited for Christmas. But not for me. I'm ready to see their faces. I'm ready to enjoy the youthfulness that Christmas can bring. Four days and counting. Yes, I said Four days. I'll explain more in my next post.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

St. Nick's 2010

It's a good thing the kids don't know the actual date of St. Nicholas' Day. It fell on a Sunday this year but we didn't celebrate it until a full week afterwards. There was so much going on, and the kids were cranky by the time we got home the night of the 6th, so we made an executive decision to celebrate a little late. I'm glad we did. We had a very pleasant morning. It took about 30 minutes for Brock to realize that the stockings had been filled with goodies. At that point, it was time to wake up daddy!

After the kids checked their stockings, Mommy got a treat of her own. For those who don't know, I'm married to the BEST OMELETE MAKER in the world! And it also happens to be one of my most favorite foods!
It was a very happy, and very YUMMY (celebrated) St. Nick's Day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Children's Christmas Party

It's only December 13th and we've already been to three Christmas parties and celebrated St. Nicholas' Day! No wonder December passes so quickly...there is something new every week!
Both Tom and I had our team/faculty Christmas parties the past two Friday nights. This past Saturday morning though, we had the USAA Children's Christmas party. It's the first year we've gone and it was really great! It was pretty crowded, but seeing the extent the company goes to in order to bring smiles to the children's faces is very cool. The kids were excited to go.
First thing we did was walk through the parking garage, up the "moving stairs" (might have been Brock's favorite part), and the kids each received a bag with tickets and a juice box. We went to the auditorium to watch the play, "If you give a Moose a Muffin". Brock thought it was great! Aubree's attention span only lasted about 15 minutes, but she did pretty good and even though we tempted fate by sitting next to the electronics, she did not unplug anything and it was a success!

After the play, the kids used their tickets to play games. There were lots of people but we managed to work our way into a few games. (In between a few fits that is!)

Santa Pictures were interesting! Brock was very excited...Aubree...well, you see the expression!

Overall, we had a good time. We were all ready for naps by the time we got home, but it's definately something we'll look forward to doing again next year.

Who "Nose"...

4:53pm - Daycare calls: "Aubree has a rock or something stuck up her nose. We're going to try to get her to blow it out. We'll call you right back."

4:55pm - Daycare called back: "We can't get her to blow out, she's only sucking air into her nose. And we don't think it's a rock. It's perfectly white and perfectly round."

4:56pm - knowing the pediatrician's office is about to close, I call and get their advice without having seen this for myself yet. Pediatric Nurse: "If you get to her and can see it up her nose, take her to the Emergency Room. You don't want to get it stuck up their further in attempts to get it out."

5:05pm - Got to daycare. White "rock" is plain as day in her right nostril. But it looks soooooo close to the end of her nose, surely I can get this out without a trip to the ER. After a few attempts of squeezing her nose above the "rock", her teacher tells me she has tweezers. Sure this isn't the safest thing, but if you saw it, you'd surely think you could get it too.

5:10ish pm - "ROCK" has been extracted, thanks to Ms. Candis!!!!! Mommy is saved a trip to the ER!

Who only "nose" what two-year olds think, but apparently Aubree thought the Mr. Potato Head part would look even BETTER on her head. So, up the nose it went! I'm not sure if it broke off once in her nose, or if she had managed to break it before going in. Either way, I was not expecting to see what I saw come out! But we did put it in a Ziploc and keep it for a souvenir.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I mentioned in my last post how much I've enjoyed decorating this house for Christmas! New house, new places to put old (and a few new) Christmas decorations. The most challenging part, by far, was putting lights on the house. We knew a two story house would obviously be a bit more difficult than a one story. Tom was a real trooper. He had to get up on the house and honestly, it was a bit dangerous. We love the final product, but we'll also more than likely be looking for a light-hanging service next year!
Here's a sneak peek into the Benich house this Christmas Season!

I love that you can actually see both our trees from the outside. The small tree upstairs in the family room, and the big tree downstairs in the living room. :-)

A little sparkle!

The upstairs a pretty poorly lit picture. (Brock's geotrax train tracks go around the tree.)
The big Christmas tree in the living room.
Our fireplace!!! Love the fireplace!
The Reason for the Season. Centered in our living room to always remember why and what we celebrate.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Belated Thankfulness

I didn't exactly get a Thankful Thanksgiving post in this year, but I continue to realize just how incredibly blessed I am. For that, and all the good things God has provided, I'm very thankful. Here are a few that top my list at the moment.

* My Family, Of Course! There is probably at least twice a week I would like to give away my precious baby girl...but she makes me laugh, she's getting smarter every day, and she is just adorable too! Brock continues to amaze me. I'm sure lots of kids are smart...but he truly seems to blow me away sometimes. He talks more like a grown up every day. I couldn't do any of this without Tom. He couldn't be a better dad, helps with everything in the house, loves me and supports me always.

* My mom's house SOLD! This is a big step for her and one we are thankful for. It's time for new adventures!

* My job. Although VERY busy, very demanding, a bit stressful, and lots of long hours these days, it's going VERY well.

* Dial-A-Nurse! Thanksgiving morning, this wonderful woman talked me through Aubree's 103.8 degree fever, rapid breathing and congestion. Mommy got no sleep, and with the Thanksgiving day was up nearly 24 hours, but I'm thankful there are people to call to talk to at 4:00 in the morning with kindness and patience as if it were noon!

* Our new house! Ok, so we've lived here since April. But it still feels like new, and it still feels like HOME! We absolutely love it and love making new memories here! We have recently decorated for Christmas and it was quite fun finding places in the new home for all our decorations.

* My chiropractor! And I'm hoping by next Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for a new mattress!

* MY HELPER! Although a new find, I'm so thankful I found out I have the option to hire help for just $5/hour!

* A GOOD AGGIE FOOTBALL SEASON!!! It's been a LONG time coming!

I have so much to be thankful for, that I could go on a while...but if I post now, you've got a better chance of me actually posting at all. ;-) Happy Belated Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Buying Time

Today I may have had the most exciting moment EVER! I BOUGHT TIME! Seriously!! I bought an extra hour in the day!! You're not believing me, are you? But it's TRUE! For just $5, I bought an additional hour in my day. My company has this incredibly cool service called "My Helper". For $5/hour, you can have this service do just about any errand, task, research, planning, etc you might think of! I needed to get the oil changed in my car, but like most things these days, I did not have the time. I hired My Helper who arranged for the appointment, came to my desk and picked up my keys, took the car to the service station, called me on the way back, parked their filler truck in my spot (so I wouldn't lose it), returned my car to it's original location, left the receipt on the passenger seat, a "Thank You" card on the door (they were thanking ME?????), and returned my keys to me at my desk! HOLY GUACAMOLE! This service has been available for at least a year, and WHY haven't I used them yet?

With that extra hour, I'll claim I'm using it to finally update this blog again! I've missed my blog very, very much. My hopes is to update it more frequently, even if that means I won't have a picture for each post. Please bear with me. As I finish all the to-do's of the holiday season, I'm hoping I have more time to snap pictures, upload them, and tell you a little story about our lives in the meantime. :-)

I hope everyone is doing well, and I'll see if I can get another post (with pictures) in this week!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Pumpkins

Fall might possibly be my favorite time of year. After a long, hot Texas summer, the cool days are very welcome! I've also found some of my favorite pictures, every year, seem to be those in the pumpkin patch. For someone who is VERY anti-orange, it's amazing that I love these pictures so much, but even I must admit that Maroon pumpkins would look pretty odd. ;-)