Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Land of Music

Nashville... so much fun!

We loved it and want to go back...the land of music is really pretty amazing.   We stayed at the OpryLand Resort which in and of itself, was amazing--the water fountain shows, restaurants, shops, and tropical gardens... We loved staying there with easy access to whatever we wanted to do.   

We visited the General Jackson dinner show boat where we saw acrobats perform amazing--quite dangerous stunts while floating down a peaceful river.  We visited the Grand Ole Opry where country music was born...we listened to a lot of  old style country music--you know the real whinny stuff.  Kenn, myself, and the kids considered this part fairly painful, but it was all worth it to have it end with some amazing modern stuff...LOVED that!  We went to an aquarium restaurant and topped it off with a lot of swimming which the kids always love...and of course, the escalators--or should we call them a mini amusement park?  The kids were definitely amused! 

Just getting away and being together without daily life interruptions was so nice!  As you can see the  kids had a really good time---don't let Jake's tough, mean face throw you.  He is just at that stage where he is trying to look really tough for the pictures...I have other photos to prove it...when he didn't know I was taking them of course.  As for Koenn, he was the camera man for this cute photo.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Summer SwimTeam

Mo's Proud Coach
Jac swimming...takin' a break on her way down
Mo & Easton (his buddy)

Briannon, Jaclynn & Jake...and crazy fun swimming

The Fly
Mo feeling the pressure

Freestyle all the way... and fast!

Okay, so this summer is very much gone.  The leaves are beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.  The drive in to our house is breathtaking, but I couldn't miss the opportunity to tell about how much we loved summer swim team.  It was awesome!  

Our friends have been doing it for years and asked if we wanted to do it.  Morley and Briannon were super excited while Jaclynn said, "Nope I won't do it."  But after a little discussion and the fact that her friend was swimming on her team, she as well as Morley and Briannon committed to swimming even if it got "hard"...good thing!

On the first day of practice, Jaclynn LOVED it while Briannon struggled and Morley came home NEVER wanting to go back.  The other kids were swimming laps around him while he could swim barely one third the length of the pool--he was humiliated.  Because he had committed to do it even if it was hard, he stuck it out finishing with his own personal story of triumph. 

The first night, he told Kenn how much he didn't want to continue.  Kenn said, "Mo, let me see if I understand this.  You are competitive like me.  If the rest of the kids had done what you did or worse, would you have been okay with it?"  

Morley, very admittedly answered, "Yah." 

Kenn's response was, "Morley, being competitive isn't a bad thing unless you let it hold you back from learning something new.  Let me ask you something.  Did you pray before you swam?"

He hadn't.  Kenn asked him if he would take this situation to the Lord and pray that very night. The next morning he was convinced that he could endure and he committed to Kenn that he would pray each time he swam.  

In a nut shell, Morley went from being the slowest on his team to the second fastest...he went to championships and won 1st place in his consolation heats of both the fly and freestyle (meaning that he was 8th overall) as well as swimming on the A relay that took 4th overall.  

My personal testimony of prayer and faith in the Lord was strengthened as I prayed for and watched my struggling son's relationship with the Savior flourish throughout this swim season. The Lord had great things in store for our little family this swimming season--much greater that swimming better!    Our Savior stands ready and willing to grant us the ability to overcome our weaknesses and challenges if we humbly go to Him with a heart willing to trust and then work. 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mountain Country Vacationing

Family with our Train Conductor

Train Ride through Provo Canyon

Sweet and Smily...

A Summer's Nap with a Gentle Breeze

Koenn's "Lovies"

Our summer has been action packed. Most recently, we went on our family vacation to Utah and Idaho. Actually, I'm not sure if it was a true family "vacation". I think it would be more properly labeled a family "trip". "Vacation" indicates overall leisure time together while "trip" indicates being on the go most of the time and that was what we did. Either way it was so much fun--and of course, not nearly long enough.

Right after Morley finished swimming championships we drove like mad to Utah. We went through Denver and then across I-70 into Utah. Moving our way through the Rockies, in all their majesty, I was drawn to think of God. I have always wondered if people who label themselves "atheist" have ever visited the Rockies and taken time, even briefly, to notice them. In all their grandeur, the Rockies testify that God is the creator of our beautiful world. Kenn and I met a couple in Cincinnatti, OH. He explained it best. He told us that he visited Denver. He flew in at night and went directly to his hotel. The next morning, he walked outside--looking east and thought, "I don't know what is such a big deal about these Rockies." And then he turned to the west---awestruck. He said that looking there at the Rockies reaffirmed his understanding of God.

When we got to Utah, we stopped at a park in Price, Utah. The kids needed a break from all the driving. They made good use of their free time and Kenn and I even enjoyed swinging with the kids. I must say, swinging is pretty exhilarating especially after sitting in one position for hours on end. The rest of our time included:

OUR BENSON FAMILY REUNION--Was, without a doubt a highlight--for the kids because of the infamous "Danish Rounders," a Cricket like game, which is played each and every year. Morley, Briannon, and Jaclynn all love and look forward to it. As in years past, they played with a lot of heart. Morley was sweating like crazy. They all tanked up on water and headed home to Mimi and Papa's house with Uncle Nate and Papa only a few minutes before Kenn and I left. They were ready, in bed, and sawing logs by the time we got there--wiped out.

The highlight for me (& Kenn too--I think) was of course visiting with loved ones--some of whom I remember being so young and full of life. Now, they seem old. The longer I live, the more convinced I am that life is really short. It wasn't like that when I was a child--playing Danish Rounders.

VISITING GREAT GRANDMA BENSON--was relaxing. Grandma is getting up their in age. We sang "Happy Birthday"--her 84th at the Benson Reunion the night before. Time keeps on ticking, creeping up so quietly and each time we visit, I see her open, giving heart shining through. The older she gets, the harder it is for her and yet the more she manages to give--always asking if she can get us something to eat or drink.

We got to ride a real train--one of Thomas' friends!  It used called the Heber Creeper and oh, the memories that flooded back from my childhood as well as new ones created... Our train was "robbed" and we all had to have both hands in the air. The kids kept asking why we had to keep our hands up and why the guys kept shooting their guns...confusing...and amusing!  

SWIMMING-- We went swimming at the local pool as a family. For as much swimming as we did this summer, this was one of the rare times we went as a family as Koenn finally accepted getting wet without screaming in a less than warm water.  Jaclynn and I admitted that this was the best family activity that we did on vacation.  It was so much fun.

DINOSAUR MUSEUM--We also went with Papa, Mimi, Uncle Aaron and Aunt Michelle to the Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum to watch the dinosaur movie. Honestly, it was pretty boring--and that was not only my opinion...

THE BEST OF IT ALL-- We loved being with our family and friends---Uncle Aaron, Aunt Michelle, Mike, Uncle Nate and especially Mimi and Papa.  They have a special way of making each grandchild feel special.  I think that if you asked any one of our kids who Mimi and Papa loved, they would start the list with themselves.  Briannon wrote on a back to school paper that her favorite place to visit was her Mimi and Papa's--and I know that her opinion is shared by the others.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Okay, So We Finally Started a Blog!

So this blog is for real...I know that many of you who have shared how great blogging is are probably in shock right now.  With a little inspiration and a lot of help (from my cute sister in law Michelle) BIG things have happened!!!

The picture above was taken right after our sweet little Hinckley Koenn was born in March 2008.  In order from left to right are Jake, Jaclynn, Briannon, Morley, and Koenn.  As you can see, five amazing kids means we are a officially a family of seven...which seems like a big family, feels like a big family, and is quite frankly a big family.  The journey is so fun and there is never a dull moment--with 7 personalities firing throughout a day, how could it be?