Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful for {YOU}

Well, the weather has certainly decided to move FALL along quite quickly, thus, we have welcomed winter with extra blankets, warm scarves, and heavenly mint truffle hot chocolate. (For those who don't believe California can get cold, this past weekend, it snowed 6 inches at our church - unfortunately, not where we live in Sacramento, but it's been in the 20's ... and for us, THAT is FREEZING!) Our first Thanksgiving as "The Benson's" was fabulous ... it was filled with visits from old friends, family photo shoots, big meals, rainy trips to Apple Hill, Christmas trees, and more memories to store in our story book of life.

One of my best friends from college (and roommate for 3 years), Kylee, and her husband, Nic, came to stay with us the Monday before Thanksgiving. They were on their way north to visit Kylee's grandma, and they made a stop by our little apartment to enjoy some dinner and to stay the night. I can't tell you what a joy it was to visit with them! They hadn't had a chance to meet Erik before our wedding, so it was wonderful to visit together ... and to introduce Erik to the couple that defines most of my Pepperdine experience! (I am lame and did not take a picture)

We spent Thanskgiving Day with my family at The Ranch and it was a beautiful day! Thanksgiving is a special day for us, because it is the anniversary of the first day we laid eyes on each other. We met at The Ranch in 2006, when Erik came as a guest to our family celebration (invited by my cousins). That was the day our worlds changed. We later had the incredible opportunity to get married at the same place we met ... can you say PERFECT??!!

{Our decorated Thanksgiving Table}

{The Siblings}

The day after Thanksgiving, we participated in family (Julie's side) tradition and hunted down the perfect Christmas tree in Apple Hill ... in the RAIN. It POURED on us! It was crazy and we were soaking wet, but thankfully, we like to see small obstacles like rain as an ADVENTURE ... hence it didn't stop us from getting married outside.
We then visited with Davey and Jess Anderson who were in the area visiting Davey's family. Again, a fabulous evening with great friends!

We ended our Thanksgiving celebration with the Paredes Family Pumpkin Chuck. This is the day when we rid the house of all Thanksgiving pumpkins by throwing, rolling, chucking, kicking, and my personal favorite, shooting them over the cliff. Classic.{So talented!}

{A Family Picture}

Unfortunately, the airlines that fly from Sacramento to anywhere near South Dakota like to be cruel and prevent families from seeing each other over the holidays (hating holiday rates right now), so we won't get a chance to see Erik's family this Christmas ... we will miss them dearly and can't wait to see them in the SPRING!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good-Bye Summer, Hello Fall!

Summer technically ended a month ago and we are finally starting to get some FALL weather. I have been waiting for the red and orange and yellow trees to shower the ground with their leaves. I embrace the crisp air and the ability to see my breath! The coats and scarves that have sat in my closet for the last 9 months are fantastic new additions to my wardrobe. The smell of pumpkin and the cravings for peppermint are invigorating! I am in awe of the new season that is sure to bring new adventures ... Fall is SPECTACULAR.

I can't wait to visit Apple Hill! It's almost a crime that we haven't been able to break away for a day of roaming through the apple orchards while drinking hot apple cider! The apple strudel is incredible, no matter how cold it is! Thanksgiving break will surely be our first opportunity to visit the beautiful hills that remind me so intensely of my childhood. I can't wait!
The apple bushels at Apple Hill

Apple Hill is so beautiful, Thomas Kinkade painted it.
"Sunday at Apple Hill"

The last days of summer for the Benson's were busy as usual, and they were enjoyed to the fullest! Erik spent many hours playing ping pong with the only real competition from the youth group ... Danny and Stephan ... and I am sure ping pong tournaments will continue through the winter.

The shoes are off and the game is on!
It get's intense!
{A good pair of flip flops were destroyed by ping pong}

We also celebrated Erik's 28th birthday on September 1st! I planned an evening out on the town for him. We had reservations at a fabulous restaurant and we enjoyed a great evening with friends. I hope he felt truly celebrated as it was just the first of MANY birthday's as a family!

The restaurant printed Erik's name on the menu for our special celebration! Woohoo!