Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hog Road Trip

*Ok, you can skim this if you desire. I have to get this all down while I remember it and in order for a scrapbooking idea I have! :)
This trip all started from the idea to put Razorback Basketball tickets in Kevin's stocking. I knew he would love it!! I can watch baseball and football anytime, but basketball, not so much. So, I was glad that I ended up enjoying the trip as much as he did! We wanted to spend some time in Fayetteville remembering our college days. We didn't date in college but we were best buddies. Another story for another day...
The best to relive our college days was to take the Pig Trail to Fayetteville!!
This was the last hour of our drive and when we were in college, we knew every curve before it hit. You knew where you were by the scenery around you. It was GREAT to take the Pig Trail instead of the boring ole interstate drive! We need to do it again in the fall and in the spring when it's even prettier. Although, even in winter, this was beautiful:
After the Pig Trail, we head to my favorite (or most frequent) college place to eat ~ Hog's Breath. It's still there and still has the best and biggest baked potatoes! :)Then, we drove across the road to see my old apartments. College Park. Lots of memories!! I not only lived there, met my best friend and old roomie there, but I worked there for years as a leasing consultant and then an administrative assistant.
Since we saw my old place to live, we had to go see Kevin's next! And, I spent plenty of time there myself.
Right across the street from the Kappa Sigma house, on the sidewalk going to Old Main is my name on the sidewalk! Woohoo! Class of '95!

Then, we walked up and down Dickson Street. Some of it is still the same. I have always loved Dickson Street. But, sadly, a lot of the character and charm of Fayetteville has been lost in the growth. It's still Fayetteville, but not quite as good as it was when I was there. :) I was sad to see that the Berkenstock guy with Flying Possom had passed away and his store was boarded up. :(
After walking around Dickson Street, we walked around campus a little. It has changed A LOT!! Then, we hit the Hog store in the basketball stadium. We loaded up on some new Hog gear!! Always a must! :)
After that, I finally got to go to Sugarbear's!! One of our high school classmates and his wife opened this store and I love all the dog pictures they put on facebook! I got the dogs a treat to bring home from our trip!
And theeennnn, I got to see my favorite little one in the world because he is so darn cute!!! My BFF's baby is just toddling all over the place and still as cute as ever!! (Are you catching just how much we are managing to cram into ONE day?!? ha!)
Next, we decided to check in at our super sweet hotel and freshen up for dinner. We had planned to go out to Tonitown, because that is where I waited tables all through college. But, the restaurant was closed for the holidays. So...we rerouted to The Catfish Hole, BUT we took Hwy. 112 which is the highway I drove everyday to work and back. LOVE that Hwy. It has some big, nice houses on it now, but for the most part, it has remained the same.

Finally, GAME TIME! Relax! We even got to meet up with a high school classmate that we haven't seen since high school! She was there with her son and in the state for the holidays. A nice treat!



We went back to our room after the game and had dessert. We stayed at Inn at the Mill in Johnson. Kevin found us a great deal online. It was very nice!!! Loved it!! Super comfy and just had a lot of character.
Dessert in bed after a Hog win and full day of fun! Yes, please and thank you!
Sadly, we had to get up this morning and head back home. Maybe next time we can stay longer and visit more people and see more things! Hope Big Bear liked his stocking stuffer as much as I did! :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

Christmas Day this year started out at church at the midnight candlelight service. It was a little hard to stay up after a long fun-filled family day, but it was totally worth it! No other place I would have rather been! I hope we get to start off every Christmas that way. After all, we are celebrating Jesus!!
After sleeping in a bit, it was time for stocking stuffers and our big Christmas morning breakfast. It is always fun to see what treasures Big Bear has found for me. I think my favorite from this year might be the awesome boxer coffee mug he found. Or, all the cricut cartridges. Tough to decide!! The camping journal for our new big camper (someday) was pretty neat too. Anyway...Big Bear got Razorback Basketball tickets! GO HOGS! And the dogs and Nala were spoiled too. They went so crazy over their first toys, that we had to do their stockings in stages! ha!

After being lazy for a bit and sipping on hot chocolate and coffee and checking out our new prizes, we headed off to Beebe this year!!! How nice to shave off 45 minutes of our drive! Mom & Dad's place is not quite ready, so we met and ate at Bubby's. Then, we headed over to the farm to see the progress. I will HAVE to do some before/after shots later this week to show you the difference. It's going to be awesome! Another good family day! :)
My family ~ 2011

Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

#12

I read this for something lighter and heartwarming. Nicholas Sparks is always good for heartwarming! I mean, he did write The Notebook after all! This book surprised me in that I didn't want to put it down. And, I honestly wasn't sure how it was all going to turn out. It certainly turn out like I expected. But I won't say anymore. Except, yes, I did cry! Now, go read for yourself!
Here is more from the Nicholas Sparks website about what it's about:

The Best of Me is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve Game Day!

Christmas Eve is the Benson Family Christmas Day for us. Kevin's sister tried out a new tradition this year that we hope sticks. She went and got a bunch of games like Ants in Your Pants, Candy Land, Sorry, & Trouble. We all played games all day and the winner of each game got a prize. Then, at the end of the day, we all bartered for someone else's prize if we wanted it. It was a really fun day! There may have been some yelling and some pouting involved, but it was all in good fun! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Therapy

My idea of therapy is probably very different than most! However, painting this room is a big dose of closure. It has been cleaned out for over 2 years now and ready to be a nursery. My scrapbook desk was the only thing that would have to find a new home. It was bittersweet last night putting the primer on. I always thought when this room was painted again, it would be with the anticipation of a baby Benson on the way. But, that isn't to be...so, rather than keep it ready to become "nursery" (and the dogs room!! They have taken over the twin bed and turned it into a big 'ole dog bed!!), it is becoming my craft room!! Let the crafting begin!
Last night, my emotions were full of anger and sadness while putting the primer on. Sadness of what wasn't to be. Sadness over all the unanswered questions of why? So many things I may never understand. Anger that while I have always tried to do the "right thing" and make the right choices, life just always seems so hard. Doesn't it seem like some people have such an easy walk through life? I am starting to think they just fake it better! And, some of my anger could have been directed at Big Bear who was "busy" playing on the computer instead of helping!!! :)
Today while painting, I tried to use it as my quiet time. Just me and God. And, here is what I got out of my time with Him and letting go of the baby thing. It isn't about what I want or what I dream for my life. It isn't about what I think I should have. It's about what God has planned for me and taking care of and loving what he has already given me. His plans are what I need to start looking for. What does He want me to have and what does He want me to do with my life? I am seeking my purpose and in the meantime, I am going to treasure the blessings I've already been given. I'm going to surrender MY dreams of being a mom and carrying a child, because God has a "greater yes" for me and in that is my purpose. I've just got to be ready to accept it.
*All I need is a second coat, a little laundry work, and some re-arranging! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday!

Patterson Books!!

#10 & 11

Second book read over Christmas break is Kill Alex Cross by Patterson - my all-time favorite book series and did not disappoint! Excerpt from Patterson website:

The President's son and daughter are abducted, and Detective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene. But someone very high-up is using the FBI, Secret Service, and CIA to keep him off the case and in the dark.

A deadly contagion in the water supply cripples half of the capital, and Alex discovers that someone may be about to unleash the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced.

As his window for solving both crimes narrows, Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes—one that may alter the fate of the entire country. KILL ALEX CROSS is faster, more exciting, and more tightly wound than any Alex Cross thriller James Patterson has ever written!

First book read over Christmas Break is The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson - a nice, light read for the holiday season.
Excerpt from James Patterson website:

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married—and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day—she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise—she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just for a laugh...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Yep, I'm one of THOSE pet mom's!

It started out playing with the furkids and realizing I had them all close enough that they could get in the same picture. Success! But then...it sparked an idea!!! :)
We could take pictures in front of the fireplace with the all our stockings!! The dogs were thrilled!! Suddenly, playing wasn't so fun anymore! ha! But, it only got worse for them, because I got another idea!

I mean, if I got all three of them in a picture before, I could totally do it again! Right? We can make this happen!

(Ignore the muddy paw prints on the floor. And note, Stella's new tennis racket in the background that allows me to hit her tennis ball further!) After a little rearranging, we had success again and an even BETTER idea!
Heeheee!! They are THRILLED! Ho! Ho! Ho! Have a Howling Good Christmas and a Purrfect New Year!!!!!! :)

Just a little Saturday night fun! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis the season!

Work Christmas Party tonight...lots of laughs. Felt so good to laugh!! Really laugh. Sunday School Party tomorrow night. Oh, and my kiddo's Christmas party at the end of the school day tomorrow. That's always a whirlwind of activity!! I am usually good and exhausted afterward!! I think I am getting in the holiday spirit...about to have two weeks off. I love, love, love going to the mailbox and getting Christmas cards every day!!! One of my favorite parts of the season! Looking forward to going to look at Christmas lights, hot chocolate and Christmas movies. Stuffing stockings. Christmas Eve with family. Church on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning breakfast. Christmas Day with family. Love.
I feel your prayers. Please keep praying. I am looking for the blessings, and today I saw them clearly in all the little things.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thankful

Today has been one of those days when I have struggled with the "why's"... the things I'll never understand. After a much needed Bible Study time, I am going to just list some things I am thankful for instead of thinking about anything down or negative.
I am thankful for:
*2 more school days and then a nice vacation!!
*dinner with a cousin :)
*a job that I absolutely love!
*a husband who loves spending time with me
*rotten dogs that jump in the bed with me
*the softness of Nala's fluff!
*quiet time
*our church that has been so supportive to us

Pray that I can focus on the good and find acceptance. Right now, I am struggling by looking at other people's choices (like, child neglect, child abuse, people giving up their kids...I'm sure you get the point) and wondering WHY they get to have kids and I don't. I am sure this is a natural?!? part of the grieving process over this, but I want to be able to accept our path and move forward. Maybe I'm trying to move forward too fast. Maybe I need to slow down and feel the pain a little?!? I don't know...like I said, it's been a weird day. I'm going to put it to bed now and remember tomorrow is a new day. And, like Beth Moore just said, "We don't know what God has in store for us, but we know it will be good."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Date Day

Yesterday, Big Bear and I took the whole day and had a much needed all-day date! We slept in and then went for a nice lunch at Copeland's. YUMMY!! We went shopping at Petsmart for the furkids Christmas presents. Let's just say that they are going to benefit from us not having human kids!! And, they better not tear up their new dog beds that were still over priced on sale!!! But, I am finding my therapy in spending money I don't have! LOL! After splurging on the furkids, we hit some flea markets and got a few bargains. (Like a $1 tennis racket to hit Stella's tennis ball further into the backyard for her! Score!) We had a nice nap after that and then went and had a light dinner, got a gift for a needy family, and came home to snuggle up for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. All in all, a successful day. Realities of life tried to sneak their way in a few times and ruin our joy, but I reminded myself that God was in control. One day at a time...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Closure

Sorry for the silence, but we've been trying to find peace and acceptance with the news we got on Monday at the doctor's office. I can say that waiting a few days to share it has given me some time to reflect and be a little less "raw" with my feelings. The details aren't important, and I think the details will stay between me & Kevin. The main thing we got from Monday's appointment is that we will not be able to have children of our own. There. I said it. Well, I typed it. I'm still not sure I can say it. "We are unable to have children." However you want to word it. It's done. The journey came to an end on Monday. I had a nice cry on my way home, but for the most part, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted. This infertility has consumed our lives. It runs your life. Anyone that has gone through it knows. There just isn't a way around it running your world. And since August, I admit, I have been struggling with depression. It has really zapped the fun right out of this house. There has been no laughter. While I was depressed, Kevin temporarily "fell off the wagon" as they say. So, honestly, while it was hard to hear the words. It was also a bit of a relief. Finally, we have an answer. A definite. No more guessing. No more what if's. No more counting days. No more taking in samples and worrying about counts. No more doctor appointments and worrying about hormone levels. No more blood work. No more phone tag with the doctor's office. No more worrying and stressing over how in world we were going to pay for it all. No more!!! I feel like we can get our lives back. Finally. So, there it is. "We are unable to have kids of our own."
At this point, we are trying to just overcome. We are getting our lives back together. We are going to a Christian counselor to help us find acceptance and peace and most importantly our laughter!! I know we will be ok. It's just been a yucky year for us, and I personally will be glad to see 2011 leave. I look at 2012 with hope.
I appreciate each and every prayer. And, I would love it if you would keep praying for us, but in a new direction. Just pray for our peace of mind, acceptance for God's plan for our lives, and for us both to seek God's will in all our decisions. Feel free to share this with anyone you know who has been praying for us. I am so blessed to have so many prayer warriors that I don't even know how to reach them all!!!
I do have a small favor though. While you may want to say something about this to me or Kevin, for now, just leave it be and pray for us. I don't think I can handle talking about it over and over. I'm not there yet. It's only been a few days. And, while it may be tempting to share a story of someone you know who was told they couldn't have kids and then did, don't. Trust me, I've heard them. That is their journey. I need to make peace with mine.
I may not fully understand why this is happening or what God has in store, but I know He loves me and is walking beside me. He has something in store for us that we couldn't possible imagine. I believe that with all my heart.
With Love,
Lori