Friday, September 30, 2011

because I like the sunset

Last week, we had dinner up at the parental’s house, aka the-best-place-to-watch-the-sunset in the grand ol’ county of el dorado.  bias you say/think?  no.  it’s been confirmed.  by none other than me {and a few others who have had the privilege of standing on top of the world valley a la the cliff claimed by the paredes casa.} 

anyways, it was just so stunning.  I can’t tell you how many pictures I have of the sunset from the same spot, at the same angle, at the same point in the sun’s descent.  some with clouds, some without.  some pink, some blue, some orange, some yellow, and some filled with rain {super cool by the way – and yes, I realize that is not a color, hence breaking the rule of parallelism – oops}.  well, this sunset was just like the others.  beautiful.  so what did I do ….. again?

I popped out the ol’ iphone to snap a few {more} shots, of course.   my mom sharing in my enthusiasm for the sunset {and reading the thoughts that I didn’t yet know were in my mind} asked if I wanted her to take a pic of the hubs and me. “well of course … that would be lovely”

per the norm, we performed the “we are a couple and we love each other pose” as seen here:


at which point in time, erik laughed and said, “so is this picture going to look like every other picture we take?”

to which I said something along the very thin lines of: “what would you rather do?” {can’t you tell that’s what I’m saying?}


promptly, the photographer requested something more dramatic, to which erik came up with this:


striking is it not?  it is.  thank you sun for being at the right spot at the right time to make those cool little color dots in your flare.  and thank you erik for looking a bit like a vampire … although a happy one at that!

this picture makes me laugh so much … I love it!  it’s beautiful, it’s playful, it’s romantic, and it’s hysterical.  much like the marriage to which we vowed. {swoon with me, please?}

and because I know you really wanted a detailed play-by-play of what it takes to get a picture out of the Benson’s, I will leave you with an actual picture of the sunset:


breathe-taking.  california may be a little bit crazy, but man, do we have nice sunsets.

p.s. props to the iphone.  you did not let me down.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the power of the stache

I’m not sure why, but it seems to me that men under the age of 30 40 have an unexplainable infatuation with the mustache.  no matter how much my mind attempts to understand their fascination with said facial d├ęcor, it is stalled by the distraction that is the mustache and remains only an attempt {with no mark of completion}.

I was under the impression that the mustache had almost ceased to exist come the turn of the century.  it was a thing of the 90’s {and previous decades dating back to who-knows-when} … at least for men under the age of 50 … and for Tom Selleck.  now, don’t get me wrong, I have never had a problem, per se, with the mustache.  in fact, when I was little, I grew so accustomed to the dark, fringed lip of my father, that when he shaved it off, I thought my mom was in bed with another man.  needless to say, the day my dad shaved off his mustache was a bit traumatizing for the confused little girl that I was.  who was that strange, smooth-faced man?  I knew him not.  obviously, those feelings of doubt left the moment I realized, it was, in fact, still the same man. {thank the Lord}

but now, in the year two-thousand-eleven, soon-to-be-twelve, the mustache still exists.  talk about staying power.  I mean, how many decades have women tried to convince men that their upper lip does not need concealing; that it does not make it look bigger or smaller, or whatever the desired affect is … how many?  I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m guessing it’s a lot.

yet, for this younger generation that is proudly donning the upper lip fur, it seems to simply be a statement piece.  again, I have no idea what that statement might be, but it’s a statement nonetheless.  is it the “I don’t dress for women” statement?  or the “I can pull this off because I say I can” statement?  again, who knows?  only the mustache wearer himself.

the obsession has even hit the even-younger-generation … and by that, I mean, jr. high.  yup.  it’s hit the ages of boys that have yet the ability to grow facial hair.  Last week, the jr. high youth group at church celebrated “mustache thursday”.  wow.  and how?

now, I am the first to admit, I like a little scruff on Erik.  the 2nd day shave is my personal fav.  and I don’t complain when it grows beyond the 2nd day, because, well, I think he’s cute regardless.  but the other day, I came home to something new.  I came home to this chops/stache/combo-thing:


{and yes, that is his, “don’t make me laugh so I can look tough in this picture” face}

interesting, hu??  I just laughed and documented it for 30 years from now.  and all that to say {about the mustache}, he shaved it off the next day.  not the whole thing, just the upper lip; leaving chops resembling Wolverine from x-men.  my giggling persisted a few days later until he shaved the rest.  I kind of felt bad when he shaved it off, because he seemed to like it so much. 

I’m just considering the mustache {and facial hair altogether} as one of those things that women will never fully understand about men … until we meet the Lord.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guess What??

Guess whose face I get to see in less than 2 weeks!!!!


That’s right … my sweet niece, Shalom!  Although I have a good feeling she is much bigger than she was the last time I saw her …

I can’t wait to squish those little cheeks!

I’m not going to lie … I’m pretty excited to see her dad and mom too!  Before they fly away to minister in Africa! 

Friday, September 16, 2011


I am birthday twinsies with this particular gentleman:


Yup.  That’s the prince.  of Wales.  And by birthday twins, I don’t mean that we just share the same month and day on the calendar as the anniversary of our birthday.  We are 100 percent birthday twins. 

September 15, 1984

My mom always tells me that {since she was the only preggo lady in the hospital at the time of my intended arrival} she remembers seeing it on the news: Princess Diana was in labor with son numero dos.

To make being twinsies with a prince even more exciting worse, when my mom got this good housekeeping mag in the mail: (yes I googled it, because I knew I would remember the exact issue that seemed to stay in her magazine basket for years to come)


… She told me she could imagine herself sipping tea with the Princess as their children played in the courtyard.  I’m not sure why, but I thought that the fact that we were the only 2 children {in all of the world – bear with me, that’s how my mind worked at the time} born on September 15, 1984, we were destined to be married.  Again, bear with me ... I’m not entirely sure why the correlation of birthdates and marital compatibility makes sense in a little girls head, but apparently, it does.  Now, I am fully aware that she was joking at the time, but for a brief period in my youth, I actually thought I was going to marry him.  I’m pretty sure I was the age he was in the magazine pic when those thoughts of being a princess filled my young little mind … but alas, I was going to be a princess one day.

Well, as you can see, I didn’t marry Prince Harry … and I can’t say I’m disappointed in the least.  I have a prince of my own … and we are birthday month twinsies {which totally counts in my book as a positive and appropriate birthday/marital compatibility correlation}

Monday, September 12, 2011

remember the gravy …

remember this post from the beginning of the year?  I do.  and I must confess, I haven’t been nearly as faithful in writing in our “gravy” journal as I had planned.  like most new year’s resolutions, things start to drop off the list of “I’m determined to do this {insert object of determination here}” right around the 3rd or 4th month in.  it’s sad.  pathetic, really. 

but, all is not lost.  not yet.

given our lack of actually using a pen to document that little gift for which we are thankful {yesterday, it was a kiss.  and a cup of coffee}, our effort is now made real by the fact that the journal in which we are jotting our gravy has become an accessory to our daily bag of “these are the things we carry around with us all the time”.  it’s a little added weight in my purse.  it will become like an appendage.  with us, all the time, to the point of annoyance.  at which point, we remember that the cause of  my over-filled bag is a reminder that the fact that my bag is over-filled is gravy.  did that make sense?

I didn’t think so.

anyways.  this post, from Jess Anderson reminded me even more about the importance of being thankful for everything.  every day.  even the little tiny, seemingly not so important things, but but in reality, they are important.

so thank you for sharing Jess.  I am reminded once again, of the ways in which I am richly blessed.  I don’t want to waste precious seconds dwelling on the unexciting parts of life.  I am determined to be thankful for the gravy.  every last drop of it. {although the drops never stop …}


one of my 12 favorite months.  ha.  just kidding.  my list of favorited months is smaller than the list of months in general, however I do believe each month has something extra special about it.  whether it be a character of the weather pertaining to that particular month or an occasion within it, they are all special in one way or another.

but september.  there is something about september.  it just sounds different than the others.  maybe it’s because it’s the first of the “em/obers” to occupy the kitchen calendar.  I’m not sure.  it’s just different.

the coming of september signals the coming of fall.  even when the weather fails to turn crisp and cool at the moment the clock turns onto september 21st {the first day of fall}, it seems to bring that excitement for what is to come.  pumpkin flavored treats begin to grace the menus at cafes and local eateries.  stores start to display the newest scarves and hats and mittens and sweaters … the kind that make you wish for a rainy day and a cup of tea. 

september is also the month of so many birthdays … and I love any excuse to have a celebration.  my husband’s to name just one.  mine, to name two.  my cousins, to name three.  {yes, we were birthed from sisters just 3 days apart from each other.  we were pretty much twins growing up. it’s true.}

anyways, I promise not to wish away this wonderful month with anticipation for the fall.  the summer in the west coast state came a little late this year, so it might stay a little past it’s time, but I guess I can live with it a little longer.  after all, the preparations for fall aren’t determined {necessarily} by the weather.  we can still display pumpkins even in the warmth of late september.  it may not be ideal, but it’s time will end … and fall will makes it’s appearance. 

so thank you september for being the starting point.  thank you for providing the change of the tide.  I will enjoy your warm summer days with the hopes of a cool breeze at the setting of the sun. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

bragging rights

here is yet another post dedicated solely to bragging about non other than, my husband.  why, you ask?  because I can

I claim my bragging rights as his wife.  it’s not only my privilege, but also my duty.

it’s not my fault he gives me so many reasons to brag.

so forgive me if my bragging gets dull, boring, or over-the-top.  it’s just gonna happen every now and again.

today’s reason in particular for my bragging:


this could very well be a picture of my husband, sans the earring.  and maybe adding a few extra inches via some spikey hair.

the reason for his resemblance to this well-known friend of the household cleaning supply, is that upon my arrival at our little abode last night, I was greeted not only with a very sweet hug and kiss {at the door of my car no less}, but also with the smell of “clean”.  {I realize that “clean” is more of a descriptive word – i.e. adjective, but in this case, it’s very much a noun.} 

the sink was free of food caked dishes, the carpet newly vacuumed, the bathrooms sparkly clean, and onions already chopped for dinner.  in fact, he cleaned so much, that I continued to notice more “clean” things throughout the evening.

impressive.  spectacular.  I mean, I’d love him a million times a million even if he didn’t clean the house, but you know, it’s a wonderful surprise!

his work has been a little slower than usual these past few weeks, but he has certainly not slowed down.  i.e. my clean house.

ok, I’m done bragging now.

as always: until next time …

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

porter = klepto

remember this face?

IMG_0676          IMG_0703

well, it’s not so little any more … nor so innocent.  at just 9 months old, this little pup has turned into a thief.  yes, like most pups, he is a bit of a chewer {although not as bad as he could be}.  he is also a whiner {he just can’t help being separated from his bff’s by a thin glass door}.

but more ridiculous than most puppy behavior are his kleptomaniac tendencies.  his primary weakness?  our bedding.  for a pup that’s not allowed on furniture {especially our bed}, he has found a way to bring the comforts of said furniture to himself.  

here is how he works:

he begins his night nestled on his mat, lovingly placed on the ground by erik’s side of the bed.  he starts early, by stretching his long body along the side of the bed, so as to appear still obediently situated on his mat; while in reality, he is inching his way toward his target.

approximately 2 minutes after the lights go out and voices have quieted, he makes his move.  he quietly turns the corner at the foot of the bed and begins to feel for the excess comforter.  {given that our summer months are marked by high digits, the comforter seems to make its way towards to foot of the bed more often than not.}

he grabs {even lacking opposable thumbs, he still “grabs”} the edge of the comforter, lays down, then rolls, pulling the comforter off of the bed and around his dog haired self. 

most of the time, we sleep so hard, we don’t even notice what has been stolen out from under  over us.  until we get cold.  at which point in time, I sit up, feel for just a corner of the comforter and pull.  now, keep in mind that I am not a very strong individual while I am awake.  much less after my rem cycle has been interrupted by the onset of goosebumps.  I am no match for the dog who used my comforter as the tortilla to his burrito.  more often than not, my failed attempts to reclaim the comforter result in erik waking up and giving it one good pull … enough the hear the dog roll out from said burrito.

don’t believe me? 


IMG_0985IMG_0987IMG_1013IMG_1014IMG_1198IMG_1212 IMG_1189

*note: most pictures taken on different mornings.

we are seriously lacking …

in pictures of “us” … as in the two of us, together.  not sure why.  but 2011 has been a bad year for the “let’s take a picture together!” breaks in our adventures.  {we went camping with no one but ourselves – and the pup – for an entire weekend, and we left without a shot of us together.  now that’s lame.}  we have lots of pictures from this year … tons actually.  many of food {I like to document it when it’s yummy and pretty}.  lot’s of Erik {that’s what happens when you are the picture taker}.  most of our dog {mainly when he was still a pup.  but for some reason, I seem to wake up and see the mess he made at the foot of our bed with our comforter, and find it odd enough to document by taking a picture.  I have too many pictures of the same occurrence.  I’ll prove it to you later}

so, in an attempt to take more pictures of “us”, here are two from Erik’s 30th birthday celebration weekend:



both taken from phones, so quality is also lacking, but hey, at least we got a few pictures!

I’m taking notes from Davey & Jess who are exceptionally good at “self-timer specials”.  now I just have to convince the husband that taking the time to set up the camera and to take enough pictures to ensure that at least one of the snapshots is photo book worthy, is a task I am ready to take on.

Friday, September 2, 2011

did you know …

that the year 1981 yielded many things, including, but not limited to:

the term “internet”

Raiders of the Lost Ark {probably the Indiana Jones movie I remember the most … and thus, enjoy the most}

MTV {not such a big “woopty-do” to me, given that I was never allowed to watch it … as in, if the channel was found documented in the history of previous channels viewed – which I promise only happened when my sister was home alone – consequences commenced}

and … Justin Timberlake {again, not a big deal to me given that even in my teen years, I was never really a boy-band fanatic, no offense to those that were/are}

it was also the year that post-it notes were launched.  {thank the Lord for post-it notes … where would my organization be without the color coded stickies of happiness?}

and while all these things may have had some sort of impact on culture, the current generation, and even the world to come …

{I mean, where would anything and everyone be without the world of the wide web? ummm, maybe in the actual buildings of the online institutions we frequent … concept maybe?  and where would teenage pop-culture come from without the help of MTV? well, maybe from a better place if you ask me.  where would Justin Timberlake be without MTV?  probably Disneyland.  and of course, where would the Arc of the Covenant be without Indiana? well, that one’s just a story, so I’m pretty sure it’s where God knows it is and that’s all that matters.}

back to my point …

while all those things may have had an impact on the world in one way or another, where would I be if 1981 had not yielded this man:

Julie & Erik Wedding_022 

well, I probably would be in a place not worth mentioning right now.  and by that, I mean, not happy. {may be a little over dramatic, but I’m allowed to be, so says me}

and since this man WAS born, {in my fairytale world, I believe the Lord placed him in the arms of his mama on September 1, 1981, knowing that he would be with a girl set to be born exactly 3 years and two weeks later}, my world is filled with l.o.v.e.

so thank you to mom & dad benson, for raising such a wonderful young man!


Happy 30th Birthday

Erik Thomas Benson!

September 1, 1981
yesterday was the official day of celebration, however “birthday weekends” are always way more fun {especially when I get a 3 day weekend – thanks for laboring on labor day!}, thus, the moment I escape the walls that currently confine me – i.e. my work – the birthday celebrations continue!