Wednesday, June 30, 2010


M: "Did you cry because Mocha died?"

Me: "Yes."

M: "I know. I miss her SO much. I miss our sweetie THIS (arms flung wide apart) much."

Me: "I miss her that much, too."

M: "Well, you might miss her a little more because your arms are bigger."

The Past Few Weeks

A lot has happened in the past few weeks in the Benson household.

About two weeks ago, our lab got sick. She was refusing her food and barely eating any table scraps we offered...completely unlike her. In fact, we accidentally left a box of cereal on the table and she didn't even bother it. COMPLETELY unlike her.

Mocha, our lab, spent a few nights with the vet under the assumption that she'd eaten something bad or had some type of worm. After several rounds of antibiotic shots and a few days of rest, she came home. We thought she was doing much better.

Then we left town and hired a pet sitter to come to the house several times a day. Mocha's always had some separation anxiety, so we weren't really surprised when our sweet sitter called to tell us she was having accidents in the house. After a {rather heated} discussion, H and I decided for the sitter to take Mocha to the vet for boarding until we returned.

When H went to pick her up Monday afternoon, the vet wanted to keep her one more day. During the weekend, she'd needed some oxygen because her breathing was so labored and she was still refusing to eat and drink. He was giving her gatorade by syringe. (We've got the sweetest vet in the world.) H was very concerned, but he spared me some of the details of the conversation with the vet. I didn't know enough to be concerned.

Tuesday afternoon arrives and H picks Mocha up from the vet. On the way home he called me and gave me a run down that sounded like this:
H: Honey, Mocha's not doing very well. She needed some oxygen over the weekend and her breathing is very labored.
Me: Oh, poor girl. What's wrong with her?
H: The doctor thinks she might have cancer.
Me: WHAT!?! Are you kidding me?
H: I would never joke about this. I'm bringing her home, but we need to keep things really calm for her. Tell M not to run up to her or cause her stress. No sitting on her or using her as a pillow.
Me: Is she going to die?
H: If she doesn't turn a corner by Thursday, we might need to talk about that.

I hung up on him. I didn't want to have that conversation.

When he got her home, we put down towels and snuggled with her on the floor for a while. H spoon fed her some soft dog food and gave her some gatorade.

I went to bed around 11:30.

H woke me up at 12:30. She wanted to go outside, so they went for a little walk around the yard. She was able to lay down in her favorite spot. When she wouldn't get up, H picked her up and brought her inside. He woke me up and let me know that she didn't have much longer.

We put towels under her and around her. He whispered sweet things to her and we rubbed her all over, giving her lots of love as she left our lives. It was the most peaceful, beautiful thing I've ever been a part of. I was hysterical, but I know she knows how much she was loved when she died. She wasn't alone for one minute last night. Our hearts have a terrible hole right now and we're tearful. But she was never in pain and we were with her in the end. We'll miss her...she was our first baby. I'm glad she didn't suffer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's a...

Wanna guess?

We were beyond thrilled today to see our precious baby. I find myself still living in a place of fear instead of joy. The Lord is continually working in my heart so I might actually enjoy growing this baby. Isn't it amazing that I'm almost 1/2 way to the finish line? For so long, I believed this dream was lost to me. I almost have to pinch myself to remind me that this is reality.

So, for the baby news:

Perfect little ribs.
Perfect little heart.
Perfect little femur.
Perfect little hands.
Perfect little head.

Perfect little boy.

Yes, friends. In November, the Benson family will grow by one and his name will be

Lucas "Luke" Monroe Benson.

We can't wait to meet him and welcome him into our arms. He's already fully welcomed into our hearts. How my arms yearn to hold his precious little baby weight and my lips to kiss his precious head.

Our one profile shot. He was looking down, so we didn't get lots of profiles.

Evidence that he is, indeed, a boy.
I will never, ever post another picture indicating such information!

ETA: I completely forgot to tell the funniest story about today. H and I have been rather worried about how to handle the sex of this baby. M has been SO determined that she wants a baby brother (We only have one boy in our family...we need a baby boy so Daddy will have a boy, etc.). Well, after our appt today, I asked M if she was excited about finally knowing she was having a brother. Her reply?
"Well, I actually decided I want a sister."
That is SO her. Anything to have the last word.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

10 Things We Have Done

Because I am a copycat, I'm now going to borrow Kyla's idea to do 10 Things We HAVE Done. Trust me on this one...the Benson's will not be as exciting as Kyla's.

10 Things I (Natalie) HAVE Done:

1.) Driven to Atlanta (1.5 hours away) and back three times in one day.

2.) Been in a wreck. (not on the Atlanta trips)

3.) Attended several Olympic Events. (spectator...not athlete)

4.) Seen The Phantom of the Opera in multiple cities.

5.) Laughed until I wet my pants.

6.) Met a murderer.

7.) Sewn outfits for M.

8.) Been to Bar Harbor, Maine.

9.) Read a book in less than one day. (many times)

10.) Been quoted in the newspaper.

10 Things M Has Done: (she is helping me create this list)

1.) Slept on the beach.

2.) Watched TV.

3.) Played on the computer.

4.) Seen dolphins play in the ocean.

5.) Helped in the kitchen.

6.) Watched Star Worlds (otherwise known as Star Wars)

7.) Spent the night with a boy.

8.) Flew to Las Vegas. (in utero)

9.) Swam underwater.

10.) Rode a horse.

10 Things H HAS Done: (H did not help me with this list.)

1.) Been on a cruise.

2.) Been married twice.

3.) Eaten liver.

4.) Been in a wreck.

5.) Sung karaoke in public.

6.) Stayed up all night working on a home improvement project.

7.) Helped deliver his daughter.

8.) Painted a house (inside and out).

9.) Sued someone.

10.) Lived in only 3 houses his entire life.

So, friends...there you have it. More useless information to file away. I hope you've enjoyed this installment of "and other stuff."

Monday, June 14, 2010

10 Things We've Never Done

My sweet blogfriend, Kyla, did a great post about 10 Things She's Never Done. In honor of her and because I'm just not that creative, I'm going to borrow the same idea.

10 Things I (Natalie) have never done:

1.) Driven across the country by myself.

2.) Run out of gas.

3.) Been fired.

4.) Left my wallet at home on purpose so someone else had to pay for my dinner.

5.) Bought one movie ticket and snuck into another movie.

6.) Been to a movie by myself.

7.) Hiked the Appalachian Trail.

8.) Been successful at losing and keeping off weight.

9.) Eaten liver.

10.) Had an addiction other than food.

10 Things Meryt Has Never Done:

1.) Flown in an airplane (except in utero).

2.) Eaten sushi.

3.) Met a stranger.

4.) Bitten another child.

5.) Played a sport.

6.) Had an ear infection.

7.) Burned herself in the kitchen.

8.) Been left alone at a birthday party.

9.) Broken a bone.

10.) Eaten soup.

Ten Things H Has Never Done: (He dictated these to me.)

1.) Kissed anyone on the Empire State Building.

2.) Played baseball.

3.) Been to the Kentucky Derby.

4.) Lived outside of our current state.

5.) Driven over 120 miles per hour.

6.) Eaten fried pig ears.

7.) Been scuba diving.

8.) Dated more than one girl at a time.

9.) Been to Mexico.

10.) Been to Las Vegas.

So, there you have it. A few random facts about the Benson family. File this under "and other stuff."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cutest Boys Evah!!

I'm a little shocked with myself for even typing "evah" on my blog, but when you look at the precious eye candy below, you'll be saying, "evah," too. These two boys will one day be brothers. They are incredible to see together. The shoot was actually for the younger brother's father as a gift, so he was the main subject. They are NOT legal yet...keep your hands to yourself.

This is the "older" brother.

Younger brother.

The light was changing every single second. We had to hurry from one place to another. The boys were champs the whole time. I LOVED doing their pictures and would love to spend more time with them!

Political Platform

I don't think I've EVER used this blog as a political platform, but I heard about this yesterday and I can't get it off my mind. Perhaps you've heard about it and can give me some insight to calm my soul or perhaps you haven't heard about it and will be an incensed as I am.

Have you heard that there are plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero? A MOSQUE! at GROUND ZERO! The very place where radical Islamic terrorists attacked Americans on a quiet morning that changed the course of our history.

In this article from CNN, "the project calls for a 13-story community center including a mosque, performing art center, gym, swimming pool, and other public spaces."

Daisy Kahn of the American Society for Muslim Advancement said, "this project was an opportunity for American Muslims living in New York to "give back" to the community."

WHAT? If there are American Muslims living quietly in NY without studying radical, jihadist Islam, living their lives peacefully and contributing to their communities by working and supporting the local economy, WHY IN THE WORLD DO THEY NEED TO GIVE BACK?

As a Christian, of course I wish all people in every nation would come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. As a Christian who believes the Bible calls the people of God to love my neighbor, love one another as I love myself, I have no problem with people who do not believe as I believe living in my community, in my neighborhood, attending my school, shopping at the same stores where I shop, etc.

I have no problem with the idea of this "community center."

Daisy Kahn also told CNN (in the above article), "There is a lot of ignorance about who Muslims are. A center like this will be dedicated to removing that ignorance and it will also counter the extremists because moderate Muslims need a voice. Their voices need to be amplified."

I do agree that moderate Muslims are thrown into the pot with radical Muslims and as a society, we have embraced the idea that most (all) Muslims are radical, jihadist who hate America. In actuality, radical Muslims are not the norm.

I don't really have a problem with the concept of this community center/mosque/gathering place/whatever-it-is. But the location seems to violate and undermine the significance of 9/11. It does not honor the lives that were lost that day. If I had lost a mother, father, husband, brother, child, or friend that day (or since then as we've battled terror), I would want Ground Zero to be a place for reflection and a memorial for those that have lost their lives. I wouldn't want to grieve in the shadow of a mosque.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I can cry if I want to...

It's I can cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You would cry to, if it happened to you:

--Your sweet girl goes to bed after 10:00 pm.
--Said sweet girl wakes up at 12:30 for snuggles, but really needs to use the bathroom. Luckily, you get her there in time. She's up for atleast an hour, if not more.
--Same sweet girl wakes up at 6:05 this morning.
--Same sweet girl whines and cries all morning. She finally calms down when we put in Star Wars for her.
--Same sweet girl falls off the couch. Fall causes her cereal and chocolate milk to explode all over den.
--Same sweet girl sobs because she has to clean up the cereal. "But Mama...I think there is a lot-ish of cereal all over the floor. I'm S.O.R.R.Y I spilled. Please help me."

Can I just go put my head under my pillow for a mama pity party? I think there will be nap time at our household this afternoon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dearest Baby

Dearest Baby,

You are truly a miracle from God. We have wanted you for so long, prayed for you, cried for you, begged for you...and all the while, God had a perfect plan for when you would come into our lives. I can't believe we've made it this far together. God is still working in my heart, sweet baby. I admit that I'm living this time with you in fear. I worry every day if my body is strong enough to carry you to be a healthy baby. I can't wait to meet you when you are a tiny, screaming, red faced baby. M can't wait to hold you and give you all kind of hugs and kisses.

I love going to the doctor to hear your strong heart beat. Today your heart was thumping away at 148 beats per minutes, proof that you are growing and thriving, confirmation that everything is as it should be at this point. In three short (but very long) weeks, we'll get to see you and discover if you're a brother or a sister.

If you're a brother, I want you to teach M about cars, cowboys, pirates, and bugs. If you're a sister, I hope you share all kinds of secrets, tea parties, and pink things that girls love. No matter what you are, M is going to teach you all kinds of things: how to LOVE taking a bath, what it takes to be a rock star, how to sit still and listen to a story all the way through, and how to ride a bike. You're a lucky baby to have M for a big sister. She's even luckier to have you as a baby.

I love you, dearest baby. My arms long to feel you in them. My ears long to hear your sweet coos and your screeching cries. I can't wait to see you in your daddy's arms, snuggled in for a nap. He's got the best arms for that, you'll find. Your sister gives the best kisses ever...just juicy enough and smack on the lips. You'll get tons of those, I just know.

It won't be long, yet it feels like it won't ever arrive: the day of your arrival. I'll wait...maybe not patiently, precious baby, and not without lots of worry. I'm still learning to trust the Lord in all things. As much as I love you already, I know He loves you even more--more than I could even begin to understand.

Love you to a million pieces,
Your Mama

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Swimming Lessons: Day Two

M had another great day at swimming lessons! I'm amazed at how she easily changes into her bathing suit, but if I asked her to put on her pajamas or school clothes, the first thing she asks is, "Will you help me please?"

I think M might have the cutest little swimming instructor ever. He's so quiet and patient with the children. If they don't understand what to do, he shows them repeatedly. M doesn't want to put her face in the water when she swims, so he is constantly holding her and showing her exactly how to do it. That is something we're going to practice when we go to our pool later this week. He calls her the wrong name--when they were done today, he said, "Bye Mara (like Kara)." She just said, "Bye. Thank you." Then she turned to me and said, "I told him my name was Meryt Sherrill Benson, but he keeps calling me the wrong name. I guess it's okay because he's teaching me how to swim."

So, here they are working on floating and kicking. M won't relax enough to put her head back. We'll work on that, too.

At the end of the lesson today, one of her group must have asked to jump off the diving board. I was SHOCKED when M followed them right over there and jumped off like an old pro. Our regular pool has a water slide, but no diving board. I'm pretty sure she's never seen a diving board before or seen anyone actually jump off of one. She didn't act scared at all.

This one will be my POTD for Project Life. I don't know why there is so much noise in the jumping pictures. I love this picture...her sweet face, the way she's sucked her tummy in, and how she's looking at her teacher to make sure he'll catch her.

The day ended with a huge splash! M can't wait to go back tomorrow.