Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

On Christmas Eve, we spent it with Doug's family. It was so much fun! When we got there, Doug wanted a picture with the girls. 

My mother in-law, Shar, got the girls beautiful red Christmas dresses with white fur jackets. 

I kept trying to catch the girls to get a good picture with their new dresses. Yeah, didn't work out so well.

Anna crawling under a chair.

Anna finally posed for me. Ellie said "no."

Doug's mom and dad with all the grandkids. Anna is on the left and Ellie is on the right crying, of course. My sweet nieces and nephew are there as well. Love those kiddos!

I didn't get pictures of them opening gifts. :( I forgot. We were blessed so much by my in-laws and sister and brother in-law. I never thought I would get such an amazing added family!

Then, Christmas Day morning we had the girls open their gifts from us. It was pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen.  

Getting ready to open gifts

Anna's new hat from Great Grandma Kontny.

Ellie with her Elmo slippers from Great Grandma Kontny.

The girls playing with their new doll house from mommy and daddy.

After we opened gifts, we headed to my preggo sister's house to celebrate Christmas Day with my family.

Ellie starting to open her gifts from Grandma Dina and Grandpa Jimmy. Ignore Ellie's messy hair. 

The girls were wearing outfits they got from their Auntie Julie (Doug's sister). They are stylin'!

Now Anna's turn!

Anna much rather play with the tissue paper.

Clothes? What the heck??

Yummm, tights!!

Thanks for the gifts, but I rather play with wrapping paper!

Again, we all were so blessed by this Christmas this year. Doug and I are so thankful for a loving family and for our little family. Jesus is the reason for the season! Can't wait for next year when my girls will be almost 2 and 3. :) 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowflake Lane

Doug and I took our precious girls to Snowflake Lane the day before Christmas Eve this year. The last time Doug and I were there was when we were dating. We were madly in love and he was going to propose the next month. Doug didn't plan to take me to Snowflake lane, he actually forgot it was going on. We were eating at Maggiano's and when we finished, we stepped outside to leave. All of a sudden, the drummers started drumming and the music started playing. It was one of the most special moments I will always remember.

Snowflake Lane 2007

Now, 3 years later, our lives have changed so very much. Now we have two little girls and we feel so blessed to have our little family. 

Snowflake Lane 2010

It was sooooo much fun!!! If you haven't gone, you must! My girls loved it.

I'm pretty sure this will be a Christmas Benson Tradition from now on!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where's The Remote?

No, I didn't see Ellie put it in there. And yes, I ran the dishwasher.

I already posted this picture on Facebook but I had to also put it on my blog. I had to share Ellie's creativity. 

I had such a wonderful day today with my girls and my amazing mom. We went to Baha Fresh and had lunch. My girls were so well behaved and I fed Anna baby food and Ellie ate some of a burrito. 
I gave the girls a little haircut the other day. They both have a little bob haircut with bangs. :)

After Baha Fresh, my mom treated us to Starbucks. I got a nonfat Eggnog Latte and Ellie got milk. Then, we walked to Target. 

I took a cart with Anna and my mom took a cart with Ellie. After an hour of shopping, this happened...

This definitely was a first and pretty darn cute if you ask me. This is one of those moments that makes all the diaper changing, the crying fits, and sleepless nights worth it. Love my sweet girls!

Monday, December 13, 2010

What Our Lawyer Says About Foreclosure and Short Sales

It has been awhile since I have blogged because you know, life is busy. I been caught up with starting my own business (something I'm doing very part-time), getting ready for Christmas, fussy little girls, and just life in general. My husband and I paid a whopping $350 to talk to a real estate attorney about our short sale situation. Yes, it's a lot of money but it was worth it to us to make sure we were making correct decisions. We had researched a lot before talking to the attorney but he told us some things made my jaw hit the ground. I thought I would share them since 1/2 of the country is in our boat. So save your $350 or more bucks and here you go. I will try to be as accurate with what he told me as possible.

First in regards to foreclosure, he said that when you sign the "deed of trust" when you purchase your home, you are agreeing to pay all of the amount owed...however, if you unable to pay the bank they my take your home and sell it at auction. Therefore, you are released from that agreement. He said Washington is one of the very few states that will not sue homeowners for the difference.

So why not just walk away and forget the short sale? Here's the catch and this is what shocked us...

You are only protected if you have 1 loan through 1 bank. If you have a 80/20 loan (even if they are through the same bank) you are NOT... again NOT protected from the 20% loan. If you foreclose, you are liable for the 20% loan. The attorney said the trick is to do a short sale and get both banks to agree to "meet full and total satisfaction"of what you are short. We currently are released from our primary mortgage loan and are in the negotiation process with the 20% loan (Chase). I asked him if he has seen people sued for the 20% and his answer was "Oh yeah!" I actually have two friends who have these loans, lost their homes to foreclosure, and the 20% loan bank is threatening to garnish their wages. They now are claiming bankruptcy to protect themselves.

There is a good chance the short sale will go through and we will still have to pay back the 20%. We are giving this to the Lord because it's out of our hands now. I felt I needed to share this information so people can be informed and protect themselves.

The attorney told us why these banks gave out all these bad loans. He said, "I will tell you this, I do not feel bad for these banks who have went bankrupt. They had this genius idea to give loans to people who usually wouldn't be qualified for the loan to begin with. We'll charge them up the butt with interest, and if they really can't afford it they will foreclose and we will just sell them at auction and get back our money back and more because real estate only increases with time. So they thought... it back fired and the market crashed, people lost their jobs, and people stopped paying their mortgage."

I really think some law will pass to protect these homeowners. The banks get bailed millions of dollars out but we don't get a break? Something needs to be done! We should find out next week if Chase says our loan "meets full satisfaction". Fingers crossed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Was Scared To Have Another Baby

I'm going to tell you a story about a woman who was scared to have another baby. You see, when she had her first baby, her life was flipped upside down. She struggled very seriously with depression and her baby made her cry almost every day.
Then, a very scary thing happened... she got pregnant again. This baby scared the heck out of her. Her days were filled with worry and anxiety and she had no hope some days.

Just look at this scary baby.

Then, this little baby in her stomach would move and kick many times a day. I know... terrifying!
Also, this baby would keep her up at night with horrible heartburn and carpal tunnel. Yes... even more terrifying!
This baby was so very scary. I mean... how scary is a little baby? So scary!
The depression faded with her first daughter and she was very happy again. However, the fear of the next baby did not go away.
Then, finally, her fate awaited her. She had this baby that caused her so much worry.

Then, instead of feeling fear that she expected to feel, she felt joy. She fell in love with that baby right there and then. You see, she wasted so many months of worrying and being fearful, when she could of felt joy from the very beginning. She forgot that her God was faithful and would not give her anything she couldn't handle. Her love for her children was so strong and she was so very happy to have two little girls.
So now her days are very busy, but she loves every moment of it, even the stressful parts. This mommy is so thankful for God's healing that she will now tell others of what God has done in her life.

I love you, my sweet little precious girl. I will be your mommy forever, my little Annabelle.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What To Expect When You Feel The Pressure To Be Super Mom

Becoming a mom was one of the most life changing experiences of my life. It has changed me deeply, for the better. Don’t get me wrong, the beginning was very hard and a lot like boot camp, but it was worth every moment.
There are so many books out there to prepare you for motherhood. A well know one is “What To Expect When You Are Expecting.” It’s a great book, but it didn’t prepare me for the pressure I have felt as a mom. Here are some topics I hear debates about with other moms:
  • Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding
  • Organic or Non-Organic
  • Immunize or Non-Immunizing
  • Natural Birth or Medicated Birth
  • Child Directive Parenting or Parent Directive Parenting
  • Clothe Diapers or Disposable Diapers
  • Antibiotics or No Antibiotics
  • Pediatrician or Natural Path
  • Organic Clothing or Regular Clothing
  • TV or No TV
  • Co-Sleeping or Crib Sleeping
  • Crying It Out Method or Not Crying It Out
  • Discipline Strictly or Disciplining In Between

Just a few topics, right? Haha! I’m a brand new mom and I don’t have a clue what I am doing most of the time, but all these topics have challenged me to be MY girl's mother. Does that make sense? 
There is nothing wrong with being passionate about an issue (I'm passionate about many issues), but when some pass judgement, that is where I have felt pressure to be "super mama." And I am not "super mama"... I'm very far from it. 

Let God guide us and let us encourage one another. So... mommy's out there, let’s support each other. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anna's Protein Allergy (Before and After Pics)

I don't think you truly know the extent of sleep deprivation until you have children. Little miss Anna is giving me a run for my money lately. She was diagnosed with reflux awhile back but currently the doctors think that is just a symptom of what she really has. They believe she has a protein allergy (allergic to dairy, soy, goat's milk, some veggies, some meats, and gluten.) It takes 3 weeks for it to be completely out of her system. We are on week 2 and the past several months have been quite the trial. She now has to be on this disgusting formula that was a pain to get her to drink. I had to slowly mix the soy formula and the new formula and then slowly put less soy in so she would take it. Once I finally got her to take it, she screamed day and night. I took her to the doctor and to my surprise, she had a ear infection. I thought for sure it was the new formula but it was her ear. By the time I had taken her to the doctor, I had put her back on soy because I thought the new stuff was making her sick. So now that she had an ear infection, I had to slowly mix the soy with the new stuff again for a few days and fight to get her to take it. It was a nightmare! Finally, she takes it and slowly is getting better. She plays with toys now on the floor, she laughs out loud (never did that before), she has color in her face, and most importantly she is eating more than 12oz a day (Yeah, I know, it made me sick too.) She now eats about 30oz a day. It's still a slow process, but now that it doesn't hurt Anna to eat, she wants to eat day and night! So I been up 3-4 times a night with the little stinker, but she needs to gain weight so I feed her. However, the past few nights she has been doing much better sleeping. Thank the Lord!

A picture of Anna when she was really sick (Very pale, screaming all day, and not eating)

Recent picture, about 1 1/2 weeks on new formula. (More color in her face and plumping up. See the difference???)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hair & Make Up Before and After Pictures (Micah and Sarah's Wedding)

Yesterday was a great day! I was honored to help with Micah and Sarah-Jane Heist's Wedding. I was in charge of make up and a few of the bridesmaid's hair. I've never done hair for a wedding before so I was nervous. I've never gone to school for hair and make up so I really don't know what I'm doing! I said a little prayer and went for it. Here are a few before and after pics of Rebekah James' hair and make up that I did. 



Here's Rebekah's twin sister Rachel. I only did her make up.

Here's the back of Genesis' hair that I did. 

It was kind of a crazy day so I didn't get a whole lot of pictures. The wedding was SO beautiful and I cried through the ceremony. Micah and Sarah sure do love each other and I was thrilled to be apart of it. Did I mention that Sarah moved from LONDON to be with Micah? :)  E-Harmony really does work! Doug and I are proof and so are Micah and Sarah!
*I did not do Sarah's hair and make up.*

Here's some past girl's make up I have done for their wedding:

Charlotte Emborg (This was done about 7 months ago)

Andrea Howland (She didn't want the make up too dark. This was in 2006.)

Heather Songstad (She also did not want her make up dark. This was done in 2006 also.)

Me applying it on Heather

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No More Excuses (My New Journey to Losing Weight)

Before I had kids and 45 pounds thinner than I am now.

If you could grade my weight loss through my life, I would get a big fat F. I have failed so many times at losing the weight and keeping it off. I was doing so well for awhile... going to Weight Watcher meetings, eating healthy, and writing down everything I ate. I was doing so well that I lost 15 pounds and man, did I work hard for those 15 pounds. So what when wrong? LIFE HAPPEN! What can I say... I eat when I'm stressed... or when I'm happy.. pretty much I love food! I kept saying to myself "no excuses" but after awhile the excuses got the best of me.
 I didn't know how to start up again because it had been two months since I had weighed in at WW. Then, the other day, I decided enough was enough, once again. I loaded up the two kiddos and drove to Redmond. Once I got there, I pulled out the huge double stroller that barely fits in my trunk and put each girl in her spot. I knew I gained weight so I was nervous.
When I entered the building, I stood behind the long check-in desk and waited in line. There was only one person ahead of me and the older WW leader behind the counter was helping her. The lady in front of me glanced over and saw me with my girls. "How far apart are your kids?" she asked.
"13 months apart." I replied.
"Wow. Mine are 17 months apart."
"Yeah, it's a lot of work."
"YES, I almost think it's harder than twins!" she said.
This comment made my day. I know twins are way harder but it's nice to hear that being a mommy of two kids close together is hard!
Then, the lady left and I approached the sweet little lady behind the counter.
"Hmmm, sooo, it's been awhile since I have weighed in...I know I have gained weight...I don't know why I got off track...It's been a tough few months," I nervously said.
"Oh it's okay. Let's weigh you today and start over with a new start weight." She said with a smile.
"Ohh, okay.. we'll you know I have lost a bunch of weight before, but then I had babies.. Oh, and we just moved... and we also are selling our condo.... and...."
"Okay, just step on the scale." She said interrupting me.
I guess she has heard all the excuses before and she stopped me from defending myself.
I stepped on the scale. A sticker printed out and it said I gained 12 pounds. I had lost a total of 15 pounds over the past 4 months and gained 12 pounds of it back. Yup, a big fat F, that's my grade.
On the way home, I was in deep thought as I always am in my car. "How do I know this is the time I am really going to lose the weight and keep it off?" I anxiously thought. Here's my answer. I honestly don't know. However, I do know that if I stop going to meetings and do not write what I eat down, I gain the weight back. Hmmm, so maybe there is my answer, I just need to always go to meetings and weigh in. Simple, right? So here's to my million and one times at losing weight. Wish me luck. No more excuses.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Anna seen at Children's Hospital

I went back and forth about blogging about this. I feel like my blogs haven't been exactly "up beat" lately, however I made a commitment to be honest about motherhood so here I go. 
Anna was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux at Children's Hospital ER this weekend. It is so significant that she is now considered "Failure to Thrive" and her white blood count is elevated. This explains so much because Anna has been such a fussy baby since she was born. She would spit up buckets and didn't like to eat a lot. I express my concern to her doctor but was blow off several times. Her percentile went from 66% to under 20% in just 3 months and she only gained 1 pound over a 3 month period. This was absolute torture to hear this and I couldn't help but think it was my fault for some reason.
Anna is now on different formula and medication and she is doing SO much better. I am so thankful. This morning though, switching her formula did a number on her little stomach. I finally got her calmed down and was about to "throw a pity party" for myself. Instead of crying, I ran and grabbed my bible and turned off the TV. 

I started to read the chapter we read at church yesterday and I came to...

 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us." Ephesians 3:20

Hope this verse encourages everyone out there as it did me!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Purpose as a Mom

I threw myself on my bed last night in pure exhaustion. It was the first time I had rested all day. It was one of those "crazy mommy days" when you seem to be going and going all day and all of a sudden it's 10pm. I was tired and to be honest, a little down and emotional. So I started to think. I thought, "You know, I go and go and go and I have nothing to show for it. If I clean the house, it just gets messy again. If I discipline my child, she just hits her sister again. What is the purpose of all this?

After a few moments of incredible selfishness, one word came to my mind...


My purpose is to serve, plain and serve my husband and to serve my children. My job is to raise my children for the Lord. That is quite a huge purpose, if you ask me. So even if the house gets messy again and my daughter is acting up, I know that being a mother isn't for nothing. It's something that honors God and sets a foundation for my children for life.

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.