Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Benson Family Christmas Letter

This year I did not do a Christmas letter. But then I realized how much I like hearing about how everyone else's year has been, and I decided to take a few minutes and write one. So here goes:

Benson Family Christmas Letter
This year has gone by really fast
All our expectations have been well surpassed
Larry and Jen have been really quite busy
Hope has started the "2 year old tizzy"!

Lauren and Josh have been doing so well
They're growing up fast, I'm sure you can tell.
Lauren is 11 going on 20
Aeorpostale clothes...she has plenty!

Lauren loves to shop & shop & shop
And Josh is full of energy and goes non-stop.
He's eight this year and a wonderful boy,
He brings our family so much joy!

He was baptized this year by his Dad.
He played football..yes tackle might I add.
He loves to play with Lego's and loves to read.
His favorite is Captain Underpants if you can believe.

Hope..well Hope, she is two
You just never know what she's going to do.
She's absolutely adorable, cute as can be.
We just know in our family is where she was meant to be!

She's talking non-stop, we understand most.
She is really smart..I don't mean to boast.
She loves Strawberry Shortcake and Winnie-the Pooh
She loves to say her colors, her favorite is blue.

Jen has been healthy and feeling so good
Someone's looking out for me, I knew that they would.
This years CAT scans have been great; my doctor is amazed
That I continue year after year and seem unfazed.

I just try to do my best day after day
and as for the cancer...I continue to pray!
I am thankful and humbled by my family and friends
The love I have felt from you knows no end.

Larry is amazing, and this is no lie!
He has no limits...well, maybe the sky.
He's still with Sutherlands, going on 20 years
It may be 20 more, or so it appears.

He's the go-to guy for all our friends
His home improvement knowledge never ends.
He's out of the bishopric, time for a break
Now on the High Council, for goodness sake.

It's been a great year for us, we feel really blessed.
We're ready for a New Year, I must confess.
We hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright.
And your New Year is also "outta sight"!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Three Black Shoes

Today I looked down at my kitchen floor and saw 3 pairs of black shoes. All 3 had little black bows on the toes. One pair was on my feet and had high heels. Once pair was on Lauren's feet and were black ballet flats. The 3rd pair were on Hope. They were also little black ballet flats with a strap across the top. I never grew up with a sister. I always asked my mom for a sister, and she always said.."Go ask your dad". I think we got a dog instead. But this morning as I looked at all the little black shoes, I thought how lucky I am to have little girls growing up in my house. Both are my girls are so sweet, and adore each other. And I adore them. I never did have a sister, and that's OK. I'm loving every minute of raising sisters.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Scarrrrrrry porch.....

OK, I guess it didn't end up that scary. Lauren and Josh wanted to make our porch scary for Halloween this year. Last night was our "family decorate the porch night". We went and bought some bales of straw, and then we went to Family Dollar and picked out some decor. Even though the kids picked out tombstones, they didn't look so scary :) And Lauren said..."Really, who's going to be buried on top of a bale of straw?"
But when we turned on the motion detected howling ghost, Hope ran inside as fast as she could. So I said, "There you go...someone was scared!" Mission accomplished.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Building Hope for a Cure

On July 31st I had the privilege of participating in a American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Our team name was "Building Hope for a Cure". To start off our fundraising, Larry's work (Sutherland Lumber) made a very generous donation to our team. So we decided to base our team name around "building". Larry built a frame of a house that said the word "HOPE" inside to display at our camp.
We also had a lot of support from my mom's work (Swire Coca-Cola) in Salt Lake and Grand Junction. They donated water to our team. We even had a group drive up from Salt Lake to participate on our team.
We started the walk at 6pm. It started with a "Survivor's Walk" 9or as I call it...the purple shirts". I was honored to walk with a good friend, Tina Hart, who is a cancer survivor as well.
After that, all the teams started the 12 hour walk. I was amazed at how long some of the people actually stayed on the track. it meant so much to me to have their support, but to see them out there all hours of the night really touched my heart.
At around 9pm there was a Luminaria Ceremony where bags were purchased and designed to honor or in memory of those touched by cancer. Lauren was our official bag decorator. She made a very cute bag for me. She also made a bag for my Dad (Grandpa Kelly) and Larry's Grandma (GG). She also decorated a couple of bags for other friends. One of the bags was for my friend Michelle, who has a friend that lost her sweet little boy to cancer last year. It was so touching as the names were read and the bags were lit to light the track throughout the evening.
I could not have asked for a better group to participate with, not to mention all of the many, many donations made to my team by wonderful friends and family. It does go to a wonderful cause..the cure for cancer. Something I plan to see in my lifetime!

First Day of School

Well, I can't believe it's finally here...My baby's last year of Elementary School. Her first day of Kindergarten is still fresh on my mind, and here she is the "big dog" of elementary school. And Josh is going into 3rd grade. Wow! Time flies too fast.
When I woke up at 7:30am, Lauren had already showered and was ready to head out the door to school (they leave at about 8:40am). I could tell she was excited to get back and see her friends. Josh was excited as well. I made my "traditional" 1st day of school breakfast. And then they headed out the door. I was sad to see them go, I love having them home for the summer. But my sadness did not compare to the sadness another little friend in the house was feeling. Hope was so sad to see her "guys" (as she calls them) leave for school. But we went out to wait for them when school was over, and she was thrilled to see them heading back home (and so was I)!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My update is Out-of-Date

So, this will be a long update, because I think I took the summer off. :) Our summer seemed very short for some reason, and school starts tomorrow for the kids, so I should be able to keep up a little better.

We went to Utah for a week this summer. We were able to go see Stadium of Fire at BYU. The Jonas Brothers (or as Lauren calls them..The JoBros's) were in concert. We had really good seats in the stadium , but I still snuck her down on the field, almost up to the front row so she could get a better look. She had a blast. Josh's favorite part was the military flyover at the very beginning. He thought that was awesome.

We also went to Lagoon. Hope was able to ride a lot of the little kiddies rides with her brother or her cousins. She loved it.

Add Video

We also went to a new water park in Draper called KowaBunga Bay. It was another very fun day.

When I got back from Utah, I was feeling very run down. I talked to my Oncologist about it, and she moved my September CAT scan up to July. She said the cancer is stable, my lymph nodes have not grown any, so that was good to hear. She did think I might want to consider a round of Rituxin therapy. It is an immunotherapy, and is not as harsh on your system as chemotherapy. She said it would shrink all my lymph nodes down, and could help with some of the symptoms I've been having. The down side is, it would be a 2 year treatment. It is a 4 hour IV drip once a week for a month. And then 2 months off. I'm just not sure I'm ready to commit to that yet. The last month I've actually felt great. So I'm going to wait until my follow up appt in September to discuss that option. Not sure I'm mentally ready for any treatment. I'm liking this "watch & wait" because it allows to me to live a normal life. But I'm not opposed to the treatment if I start to feel like the symptoms are getting worse. I still take it one day at a time! And so far...the days have been pretty darn great!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Splashin'

Hope has been so excited to go swimming, but the pool just hasn't warmed up enough this year. We did get one really hot day and decided to let her try it out. She LOVED putting on her new swimsuit. She LOVED kicking her feet in the water. She LOVED getting in the pool...but only for a few minutes. It really isn't very warm yet. I think she'll really LOVE swimming, when the water gets up to 85 degrees. We're still waiting for those "hot" summer days...hopefully they'll be here soon. I feel like we're still waiting for summer to start. Either way...we're having FUN!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

No Longer my Friend....

Here's WHO:

Here's WHAT:

And..Here's the CAUSE:

I guess doorknobs no longer stop her.

ps: You can tell Hope is a 3rd kid. If my first kid did something like this I would be disinfecting the entire area. Clorox-ing the shower and throwing away the shampoo bottle.
With the 3rd kid, I just put the shampoo bottle back, hoping it would get rinsed off well after the next person takes a shower, hoping it's not me. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2 Busy Days for 28 Relaxed Ones...Good trade off!

So, here's how it started. I've done this crazy thing before. I've even gone to places that specialize in this kind of thing. I do it to make my life easier. But it's been a loooong time since I've had the motivation. But I was just one Taco Bell away from my limit. So I decided to muster up the motivation to do it again. The "thing" I'm referring to is MASS COOKING!!!

It takes a little planning, but in the end it's definitely worth it. I will post what I made, and you can comment if you would like a specific recipe. I make very simple meals. I just pre-make them and freeze them to cut down on cooking time every night. So here's what I did:

First I made a menu. I picked items we normally eat, and then some new recipes to try. I GOOGLED "Once a month cooking recipes" and searched for some that looked good. THIS is one of my favorite sites for recipes.

Next I took my shopping list to SAM'S & WAL-MART. At Sam's I bought a package of disposable pans (30 pack) and I also bought all of my meat. 3 big packs of ground beef, one big back of chicken breasts, a package of 2 roasts and a package of boneless ribs. It was $75.00 for all that. And then I bought the "other" ingred's at WAL-MART at spent about $45.00. So it's not that expensive considering the amount of food. I've gone to Supper Solutions before and made 12 very small dinners for about $150.00. So it's much more cost effective to do it on your own.

On the first day, I prepared all the beef dinners. I cut the roasts up into 4 small roasts. Then I browned the 2 packages of ground beef. And then I made the rest of the beef dinners.

The second day I prepared the chicken dinners. I baked the chicken breasts, and then chopped them up in the food processor ( I'll post the items I actually made below). But then I also froze a lot of ground beef and ground chicken to make in future recipes. Cuts the prep time in half.

These are the recipes I made. Let me know if you decide to try it. It really frees up a lot of my time. Good luck! :)


Spaghetti sauce x 4


cheeseburgers 'n' fries casserole x 2

meatloaf x 2

roast x 4

Poppy Seed chicken

Chicken & Rice burritos ( I made 15)

BBQ Chicken (just put some breasts in a baggie w/ BBQ sauce)

BBQ Ribs (same thing as the chicken)

Chicken Pot Pie x 2

Plus I have 5 or 6 packages of pre-cooked ground beef, and 2 of cooked chicken for quick dinners like tacos, etc.

Then, in the morning you just take out what you want to have for dinner and let it defrost in the fridge all day. Then throw in the oven that night. VOILA

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's the big ONE EIGHT

....that's eighteen months old. I just can't believe how much change takes place in such a short amount of time! I'm trying to savor every moment, because I know before too long I'll wish we were back here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One Year Makes a HUGE difference

In May we have a festival called "Mike the Headless Chicken Festival". The festival is actually named after a true story. A farmer in Fruita in the 1940's cut off the head of a chicken to have for dinner. Well, the chicken did not die, he actually lived for months and months. If you're really interested, feel free to click HERE and read the story.
Anyway, Last May we went to the festival and the kids rode the little rides and we got our first sunburn of the summer, and also had our first icee of the summer.

Lauren & Josh on the train ride

Lauren & Josh loving the train ride

Hope and Daddy trying to stay out of the sun

Well, this year was a little different. Larry and Josh were out of town on their first Father/Son camping trip. So Lauren and I got up early and ran the "Run Like a Chicken with your Head cut off 5K". And then we came home and picked up Hope and went back to the festival. Hope went to the little petting zoo. When she saw the little goats she said "woof-woof". She thought they were dogs and was unimpressed. And then I sat her on a pony to ride thinking she would love it. Nope...she freaked out. She went to pose for a picture with a man in a chicken costume and totally freaked out (can't blame her though, that guy did look creepy). She's into the stranger danger phase. Finally we put her on the little train ride (with the help of big Sis), and she actually loved it. It's so fun to see how much they grow in just a year.

Even though they're not smiling...they did like the train ride
Hope petting the I mean goats.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Would you want to know if you were dying??

I know...we're ALL dying.
But I've been thinking about this lately. One of the teachers at the kids' school just lost her husband. He was not sick, had no obvious illness, just passed away very unexpectedly...leaving behind his wife and an 8 & 10 year old son. I just can't imagine having someone in your life here one day, and then POOF..gone. It would be so hard to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward, although I know people do it all the time.
But on the other hand, would you want the knowledge that your "time" is very soon?? I was following the story of a man named Randy Pausch who was a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He too was a very healthy, young father. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and given 3 months to live. He gave a reprise of his "last lecture" on The Oprah Show. (if you have not seen here and watch it. It's very neat! If you have seen it, you HAVE to watch it again!!) One of the things he mentions in his lecture is.. "I can't control the cards I'm dealt, just how I play the hand."
I've met lots of Blogger friends that have gone through so many hard times, they've been dealt some pretty tough hands. It's so inspirational to see how they've played those cards, when it might have been easier to just fold.
I don't know that I would think about this as much if I too was not a victim of cancer. I'm so fortunate to have not had a "so many months to live" come with my diagnosis, as so many people do. I do think of life as fragile. It's easy to get caught up in life, you forget to live your life. It's also easy to take life for granted, you forget life could end tomorrow for you or someone close to you. But life is so good. Just ask this man as he continues to wait month after month for a new heart, since his has not worked right from the time he was born. It's people like that that probably remember to say "thank you" after every breath.
So back to my original point...I think. Would you want to know if the "end" was near for you? Would you need that time to prepare? As I was thinking about that, I realized it doesn't matter. We should actually live every day like it's our last. Tell the people we love "I love you" and be the very best we can be.
(My thoughts and prayers go out to the Gisner family.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WhirlWind Weekend

We had a great weekend. It was very busy. Our family came up from Salt Lake on Friday night. We had a Sunshine Generation performance at the school. The kids were able to perform in an assembly. They were so excited, and did a great job.
Then Saturday morning, Lauren and I ran in the Girls on the Run 5K race. We had a lot of fun. I am running another 5K in 2 weeks. I have been doing the "couch to 5K" running program. It's a great way for anyone to get into running.
Right after the race, we went to watch Josh's football the pouring rain. He did a great job.
Then we had just enough time to get home and ready to go to Josh's baptism. I gave a talk on the 3 "Bears" of Baptism. And then Lauren and my friend Mindy Dare sung a duet. It was beautiful. Josh was so excited to get baptized. He's such an awesome kid!
It was a very busy weekend...but we had lots of fun!

The Office

Every night Larry will go in his office to do some work. Somehow Hope knows when Daddy is in his office and she has other plans for him. She loves to go in and sit on his lap and watch him work on the computer. I figured out why she loves it so much....he's not actually doing work when she comes in. He puts BARNEY on for her! Now I get it! :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

the best EASTER intentions

I had an idea for Easter morning.
I thought it was a good idea.
Larry did not have early morning meetings so I would have his help.
We would get everyone ready, and then before we left for church, I would take the kids pictures in their Easter clothes.

Unfortunately, my morning was a little more hectic. I barely had time to get me and the girls ready, let alone take any cute "before church" pictures. Luckily I did take a couple of pics of the girls in their matching dresses (thanks Grammie) even though it was before their hair was even done.

Bad news: I have no pic's of Josh on Easter, or all 3 kids together :(
Good News: I made it to church on time FINALLY! (thanks Lar for your help)!