Monday, August 31, 2009

Long Day

What a Monday! It was LONG and I better just buck up and get used to it for awhile. After teaching all day, I went to a middle school to log in some of my hours for my practicum. I think I'm really going to like it. It's just going to be a challenge to keep everything caught up. You know how a woman's work is never done...so after a 10 hour day, I still had laundry, a messy house and bills to pay. Luckily though, I don't have to cook! Thanks Kevin!

In Stella news, she is definitely a Lab. I think Vader's Mom said it best when she called her Lab a termite. Yep....even with the abundance of chew toys, she gets in trouble for chewing on EVERYTHING!!

I need the weekend already...not a good sign! Ha!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend Went FAST!

This weekend went by entirely too fast. I need one more day!! I can keep wishing though and it ain't gonna happen!!
Friday as soon as I got home, Kevin put me to work for him with a church catering in Conway. I was already worn out from the first full week at work with the kids, but the catering was fun. Luckily, it was an early night though because we were getting up early Saturday to go to Fayetteville for my cousin's Memorial service. We got up about 5 am for the 3 hour drive up there, and we dropped Stella off with my friend who has an Aussie pup in Conway. Stella had her first playdate! ha!
The Memorial service was absolutely beautiful. The setting was the Botanical Gardens and was perfect. I thought they did an excellent job of celebrating Leah's life and battle with cancer. It was a touching Memorial. After a reception, we headed back on our journey home. We took a break in the driving in Conway and visited with Kevin's sister to let the nephews play with Stella. Their dog, Cash, isn't too pleased with his new cousin. Christmas at Nonnie & Pop's could be FUN! ha!
This morning we visited another church and heard a good message. It was just what we needed to hear today. It was about finding hope when you feel hopeless. We have had a lot of bad or sad news around here lately and a lot of loss ~ both within our families and our friend's families. It can start to wear you down eventually. Today's message was a good reminder that God is with us ALL the time.
After church, Stella got to meet her other cousin, Lucky. Now that was an instant hit! They played HARD! This is my Bubby's dog...check 'em out:
Yep, she was worn out when we left there. Lucky is a ball of energy.
After this, we stopped by Petsmart for even MORE chew toys. As most of you know, she did her first bit of chewing damage by chewing my laptop power cord into two pieces....I was not happy. But I forgave her. Good thing she is so cute!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

And the name is...

...Stella!
And she's making herself right at home!
And, she won me over tonight. How could I resist the puppy breath and soft fur? I didn't stand a chance!! Add to that, she actually used the doggie door all by herself and went outside to potty and came right back in. Wow!
In not so good news, the chewing has started...even with all the toys and bones, she found a book and chewed on it. The joys of puppyhood! In case you were wondering, we also have two very TICKED OFF cats in the house. Simba and Nala do not feel the love for Stella at all. She has been beat up by them a couple times ~ poor thing!
I almost made it through today without crying...even Stella's cuteness can't take away my ache for my Jax. I miss the old guy and will for a long time.
I promise updates on my new class soon. The first week of school was a blur with all the other going on, but I really think I have a good class this year. They seem pretty sweet. Yay!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here she is....

Kevin's new puppy...almost 9 weeks old...a chocolate lab. I have lost my mind!But it is worth it to see Kevin so happy...he is like a little boy!! I love it!
The pic below is my favorite. As of now, she still doesn't have a name. Any suggestions?

There isn't anything like puppy breath ~ no matter what the breed of dog! ha!I have to say thank you Kevin for letting Jax have the last few years as the only dog and center of attention and my world. I know the sacrifices you made of not having the love of a dog of your own. So enjoy this cute little girl that is going to keep us up all night! :-)
She seems pretty laid back so far...but I know I will eat those words! ha!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Well....

Kevin may finally be getting a dog of his own. You know Jax didn't like other dogs and Kevin has been great the past three years with just doing without. I mean, Jax wouldn't even pay attention to him when I was gone. He just sat either looking at the door I left from or at the window waiting on me. I mean, I will honestly never have another dog so devoted to me!!
I absolutely CANNOT stand not having a dog in this house. I don't know how people without dogs do it. You really don't know what you are missing! But, I am not ready yet for a dog of my own...when I am ready, I will get another boxer. I think it will make me happy though to see Kevin happy with his dog...except I think it's gonna be a Lab. Not sure I can handle this. Sorry Lab folks but I have just heard so many horror stories about Labs. Vader's Mom and Lindsay may have to send me some GOOD Lab stories so the nervousness about my flowerbeds, furniture, deck and anything else destructable will go away...stay tuned....

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Little Comfort...

Every email, every hug, every prayer, every message or gentle tap on the shoulder has been a comfort to me because I know that you realize Jax wasn't just a dog to me.
A big thank you to my awesome co-workers who got me this book - Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant. It is too cute, and I would certainly recommend it to any parent that has to explain to their kiddo's where their beloved doggie went. It made me smile! They also took up a collection for a donation to BoxAR rescue in Jax's honor. So, Saturday, Kevin and I were able to give money, some medicine and dog food to BoxAR in honor of Jax. That felt good.
Today I picked up his ashes from the vet...it hit me hard that my boy is gone. It's been a week...I still miss him like crazy!
I will try to post a happier post tomorrow...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Memory Of Jax

March 2, 1998 - August 17, 2009I could post picture after picture of my sweet boxer boy, but I made myself stop going through them. We had over 11 years together so I have plenty of pictures and plenty of memories. I will try my best to get it all down so I will always remember.
It has been very hard every day coming home and not having him meet me at the door. It didn't matter how long or short of a time I was gone, he was always there to greet me with the same enthusiasm. He would spin in circles and make these happy sounds. It made me laugh. I loved it!
He was good at making me laugh. Here he is thinking his 85 lb. self could fit into a cat bed...and he squeezed himself in!!
My favorite things about Jax...what I will miss the most:
*The way he followed me everywhere I went...no matter how many trips back and forth it took.
*His love, loyalty and devotion...
*The way he would lick the air over and over when he was excited.
*How he greeted me with excitement every single time!
*His tolerance of the cats.
*How he used to run laps around the backyard and try to entice Rocky to give chase (never happened! ha!).
*How he loved everyone that came over.
*The pure joy on his face when he went for a car ride (which I tried to do for him often).
*How he had a guilty look when he did something bad.
*How he got embarrassed if he thought you were watching him use the bathroom (funny!).
*That he ate my poptart crusts every morning for me.
*I will always remember the day I caught him picking tomatoes off the vine!
*How he emptied the floor of my closet when a storm hit (and twice locked himself in the closet on accident!).
*I will even miss the toots that sounded like a tire deflating! ha!
He was...
my bathmat ~ always there waiting when I got out of the shower
my best friend ~ always there to comfort me
my shadow ~ everywhere I went two steps behind
my oppossum catcher ~ in his younger days
my baby boy ~ he got to take the place of having human kids
my protector ~ he even slept in the bed when I was scared
my companion, my puppy, my very bestest friend
Jax was with me through the lonely years of my first marriage...he was with me through my divorce...he was my constant...the one who never let me down...he helped me through losing Rocky...he gave me comfort during Kevin's drinking and leaving for John 3:16...Jax and I have been through some stuff together. I could go on and on and never get it all out what this sweet boxer boy meant to me. He was WAY more than just a dog...he was a family member.
He was about the age he is in the picture above (about 3) when he got first got busted getting on the furniture. I had left to go get some take-out (imagine that) and when I got home, I guess he thought I'd be gone longer...he peeked over the back of the couch at me with that guilty look. Ha! I, of course, spoiled him rotten and loved it. So, from then on, he was on the couch with me...much to the disappointment of the cats!
Here he is when we went through our fat stage...oops! He was over 100 lbs. then...but we got the weight off with a little exercise and food reduction!
Wasn't he gorgeous though?
My best friend closed his eyes last night,
As his head was in my hand.
The Doctors said he was in pain,
And it was hard for him to stand.
The thoughts that scurried through my head,
As I cradled him in my arms.
Were of his younger, puppy years,
And OH...his many charms.
Today, there was no gentle nudge
With an intense "I love you gaze",
Only a heart thats filled with tears
Remembering our joy filled days.
But an Angel just appeared to me,
he said, "You should cry no more,
GOD also loves our canine friends,
HE's installed a 'doggy-door"!
jan cooper '95

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Prayer

I know I have some readers here who are not on facebook, so I am asking again for prayer for my cousin and his little girls. I firmly believe in the power of prayer.
My cousin's wife lost her battle with cancer today. She was way too young and has two precious little girls she won't get to see grow up. Please stop and say a prayer for this family as they try to find their way without their wife and mom. Pray for strength, understanding and comfort.
I cannot imagine what they are feeling right now. Let's lift them up together.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just sad...

When I feel that I can give Jax a post that will truly honor my love for him, I will...Until then, please know that I appreciate all the messages, prayers, and kind thoughts. I am holding up ok during the day while distracted with work, but when I am home, I am a mess. Every where I look, I expect to see him. He was always right under my feet. My heart is heavy because I miss my boxer boy so much.
Kevin is taking good care of me though. Keep those prayers for comfort coming...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Old Dogs ARE the Best Dogs...

Isn't this a great picture Kevin got yesterday of my gray faced boxer boy?
There have many, many tears at this house this weekend. I feel like my heart is being squeezed in my chest. I always knew this would be so hard because Jax and I have overly attached ourselves to each other. He doesn't really know he is a dog. I can't find the words through my tears to express how much this boxer boy means to me. He has seen me through so many bad times and trials in life that I just can't bare to see him suffering like he is right now. It is killing me. I know I am going to have to make the tough decision...I am praying for guidance and strength in this.
There isn't a real "diagnosis"...we are treating symptoms. The short facts are that bloodwork showed elevations in the pancreas and liver. Then, Friday, x-rays showed several issues with his lungs, which is why he is having trouble breathing. There appears to be a mass under one of his lungs and fluid on his lungs. The vet thinks he may have heart disease. You put all that together and it just isn't good. Is it? The worst part is that he will not eat. He has barely eaten in 3 days. And, that is making him weaker and weaker. I keep thinking if I could make him eat something...we might have a fighting chance for a few more months.
I can't stand this!!!!
Keep us in your prayers. We all need them. Kevin is doing a great job of being my rock and cooking different things trying to get Jax to eat. It is hard for him to watch me hurting so badly so keep him in your prayers too. I will keep you posted on our progress.
The love of good dog is worth all of this...that I do know!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Being Tested

I know I am being tested this week...I am trying to handle it all with seeking God's will, prayer and staying positive. Short version of what is going on is that 1) Jax is really sick. It honestly doesn't look good, but I pray that he pulls through this and I have more time. 2) I am not pregnant again this month, but it just wasn't time for a little Benson. I try to remember, it isn't about our plans or timing...but sometimes in the back of my mind, I think, "I'm not getting any younger here." 3) You know I have talked about things with my "real dad" on here before and how I was praying about it. Well, one thing I have learned is that God doesn't always answer our prayer the way WE think he should. He sometimes has a different plan than us.

I am just going to let this out. What has always made me the saddest about Neal and I not speaking or having a relationship, was the fact that I lost my grandparents too. Very shortly after Neal and I parted ways, my favorite grandpa passed away. There are regrets and a sadness there that words cannot express. This man meant everything to me and to this day I don't know what he heard or knew about what happened with me and Neal. My grandpa is the first person I want to see when I get to heaven. This I know for sure. My granny is still here though. And, my biggest shame in life is that we drifted apart and don't have a relationship. It was hard at first because the only time I was in her hometown was the holidays, and I couldn't go see her because Neal was there. So, we kept in touch through letters. I totally admit that the reason the letters stopped was because it got too hard. It got to where every letter was my granny begging me to have a relationship with Neal again. The letters slowly just became a yearly Christmas card. And that is where we are now. In praying for forgiveness for Neal (not a relationship), I think God is trying to give me back my granny. I don't know...but it seems He is clearing a path. But it is so hard after all this time. The memories are hard. The shame is hard. In some ways, I want to just to put it all neatly away and forget about it. But that would be the easy way out. It is the trials and the tests that are difficult to wade through but make us the people we become.

I do need all your prayers. I need to have the strength to possibly say goodbye to my best buddy (although my prayer is more time, more time, & even more time with him!). I need to understand when we are not pregnant that it just wasn't in His timing yet. And I need strength & understanding in this family situation.
Usually starting back to school week is such a happy time...this year is a lot thrown at me at once.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For Granny Smart

Below is Kevin's article for today for popsyndicate...he got top billing again (yay Kevin!)...you can read it below or go here to check it out and the rest of the website.

The Southern Fish Fry
08/12/2009
by
Kevin Benson

Allow me a moment to apologize for my absence the last couple weeks. I’ve been struggling to manage daily life, and business, while waiting for the dearest of ladies to pass from this earth, my Granny.

Most of you will agree, that there is no sweeter aroma than the one coming from Grandma’s oven. And, nothing compares to the taste of anything that comes out of her kitchen. No matter who‘s Grandmother it is, or what the dish, it just can’t be beat! Plus, she’s just plain fun to be with in the kitchen. So whether we know it or not, our Grandmothers are our first real culinary influence.
Here in the South, we do many things (arguably) better than anywhere on Earth. Three of which are NOT up for debate: College Football, Barbecue, and Catfish. It’s what makes us who we are. As a boy, my favorite food memories are not of cookies, pies, or cakes, but of the fish dinners that only my Pa & Granny could make. So in loving memory of my Granny, let’s fry some fish, Sonny & Erbie Style!
First thing you need is a deep fat fryer. A deep iron skillet, or dutch oven will work, but you must know that deep fat frying can be dangerous and I would recommend ALWAYS cooking fish outdoors. Only cook fish indoors if you can provide constant watch over your oil. And NEVER fill your pot over half full.
The second thing you need is your oil. Some folks prefer to cook fish in peanut oil, but I don’t. Peanut oil is expensive, and nowadays you have to watch out for nut allergies. Since I cook large amounts commercially, I prefer a good quality vegetable oil.
And the last thing you need for this fine southern meal are Hush Puppies. No fish fry is complete without these Southern delicacies. It amazed me when I got to college and people from other parts of the country did not know what these were. If your one of those people, try this recipe. You’ll forever be glad you did.

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs catfish filets, cut into strips
½ cups corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
Heat oil to 350 degrees Farenheit. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Roll the catfish in the meal mixture until well coated on both sides. Drop fish directly into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.



HUSH PUPPIES:
3 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup water
1 egg beaten
1 small onion minced
Mix all ingredients into a bowl. Using a spoon, or a small ice cream scoop, form the mix into small balls and gently drop into the hot oil. Dip your spoon in a glass of water after each to help them slide right in. Fry until golden brown and drain on paper towels.
Serve with your favorite Cole Slaw, French Fries, a slice of onion, and a pickle spear. You’ll be saying “hush y’all” next time you ask folks to be quiet.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jax Update

I am not gonna lie to you...it's been another tear filled night here. The bloodwork came back today and the vet is worried about his pancreas and liver. If I understood all the bloodwork terminology, I would share, but I don't. All I know is that my baby is sick, and I wish he could talk and tell me where it hurts. His breathing is very heavy and his energy is non-existent. He has no interest in food. I am debating taking him to the vet tomorrow and letting them monitor him or giving the meds time to work. You know your dog is a senior citizen when he has 4 different bottles of medicine. He has his incontinence meds, his diarrhea meds, his antibiotic for the possible pancreatitis, and a liver supplement. Surely one of those will cure what ailes him!!
My prayer list is usually full of requests for other people's needs, but tonight I have selfishly begged for more time with my best buddy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Last Day of Summer Vacation...

How was my last day of summer vacation spent? Worrying over my baby boy, Jax - that's how! He had me worked up into a crying tizzy this morning. He's been sick for days and this morning finally refused to eat anything and was breathing hard. So...since he is 11 1/2 and every time he gets sick, I think the worst, we went to the vet. Well, when they fed him, he apparently scarfed down the food like he was starving!! They wanted to know what the deal was because he seemed to be eating fine....hmmm??? Bring him home and again tonight he didn't want to eat. I think he is working his momma on that one. He begged for dinner food just fine. But he didn't get any! Anyway....they did a full blood panel to send to the lab and we should know the results in a few days. Just playing it safe because cancer is common in senior boxers.
"I really am sick momma! I just liked their food better!"
I love a gray boxer face!
Simba, on the other hand, could care less his buddy was gone and wishes that Kevin and I would hurry up and get out of his house during the day. I mean, how is a cat supposed to nap with all this noise? HA!
Kevin cheered me up with a GREAT dinner...check it out...crawfish etouffee and boudin (one of my favs!!!) YUM!! Praise God for a husband that cooks and cooks GOOD food!! And, tomorrow, back to work...I'm kinda ready!

Thanks Tasha!

Look what Tasha gave me! How sweet is she!! My first award since I moved blogs...thanks girl!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ride Autumn Ride!

What to do on a hot August day, but go to a horseshow? ha! I will say I was expecting to be miserably hot, but there was a breeze all day and it wasn't too bad!
Autumn & her friend were inseparable all day and rode those horses the entire time:
How do you like Doc's new zebra look? He now has a matching halter to wear also but it was accidently left at home...at least it isn't pink! ha!
This is my favorite shot of the day:

YEEHAAAW!!!!

I couldn't see a thing for this shot...the sun was in my eyes and I was just hoping to get the heck out the way in time! :-)
I am in awe of my niece and her love of horses!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Concert!!

Me and Mom ready for our night on the town! (Check out my new back to school hair cut! heehee!) The concert was not disappointing!!
We love both groups and have seen them both before but not together! Great combo - Sugarland and Keith Urban! Sugarland opened up and played for about an hour. I could have listened to them longer. They were good but they were better when we saw them in Jonesboro with Little Big Town. But, they were the main event at that one. I love Jennifer Nettles energy and enthusiam! They broke down the stage and had it ready for Keith Urban within 30 minutes. He is just AWESOME in concert! AWESOME! He does a great mix of slow, sit on the stool and sing to us and then get on your feet and jam! Awesome! I am sad that I didn't take my cell phone in...never again. Because at one point he came within 12 rows of us into the crowd and was singing...I was in awe! :-)
Anyway....enjoy this video in honor of my mother/daughter night:


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back Soon...

No blogging until after my final on Thursday...MY LAST FINAL EVER!!!

And, my prize is going to the Keith Urban/Sugarland concert that night!
Gotta love the reward system!! :-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Dinner's Ready!"

Every night Kevin calls me to dinner like I'm the kid of the household! ha!
But he doesn't just throw something in front of me to eat...he makes the plate a work of art.
I mean, look at tonight's presentation...

Oh, how I love not having to cook! :-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Favor Please...

Hop on over to my school blog and click on Meet the Teacher at the side bar (or scroll down)...I am updating it for the new school year. I re-did my personal info. Read it and give me opinions please...is it ok? Do I need to take away or add anything? What do you think? Email me or comment here...come on! I even linked up below and made it easy for ya! :-)
THANKS!
Click here!