Bring Bennet Home

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ree does it again

Last night I made this Pioneer Woman dish and it was delicious so I thought I'd share it. Easy, handy ingredients, fast and so yummy!

1-¼ pound Ground Chuck
1 can 15-ounces Tomato Sauce
½ teaspoons Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
8 ounces, weight Egg Noodles
½ cups Sour Cream
1-¼ cup Small Curd Cottage Cheese
½ cups Sliced Green Onions (less To Taste)
1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce. 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.
To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.
Serve with crusty French bread.

ENJOY! We sure did!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


One year ago today I got up early to help Chris at the golf course with the Sayre Tournament. It was cold and windy. We went to the golf course and after they got started I headed to Elk City for a Wal-Mart and grocery run. I got back into town and as I unloaded the car my phone rang. It was our adoption agency calling to set up our Home Study. I was excited to get that day planned. I got everything put away and then went back to the golf course to see how things were going as the tournament came to a close. I was sitting in a pavilion surrounded by 100-ish high school golfers and their coaches. My phone rang with the DPAS number. I thought Holly had forgotten to tell me something or needed to reschedule or something. I answered as I pushed my way out of the pavilion, but it wasn't Holly it was Dierdra. I struggled to hear her say, "I have someone here who has some really good news for you..." I continued walking further from the crowd as I began to sob because I knew what was coming.
Our Birth Mom, K, got on the phone and told me she was pregnant with a baby boy who was due April 20th and that she had chosen Chris and I to parent him. I couldn't believe it! I couldn't breath or think straight. I fought back through the boys and grabbed Chris so K could tell him the news. He was as shocked as I was. We cried and I eagerly waited for the golf tournament to be over. I remember setting in the car with tears still streaming down my cheeks as I tried to absorb what had just happened. The next three weeks were such a blur... When we got home we call our families. At church we told our students and church family. The next days were filled with registering, painting, showers, cleaning, packing, crying, laughing, shopping and very little sleep. We met K on Saturday, the next Thursday I got to go to a doctors appointment with K, that Friday I went back to Lawton for an ultrasound, the next Thursday I painted the nursery, and the next Thursday we were on our way to go to K's last doctors appointment and got the call that she was in labor. Sixteen hours later our baby boy was born.
March 24th wasn't his birth day, but it will always be such a special day for our family. This year Tucker has a viral infection and has been battling an upset tummy since Tuesday. But as I've cuddled him today I've been overwhelmed with how much difference a year can make. How did I ever live without him? Thank you Lord for March 24th 2010. It's a memory I'll treasure forever.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Momma

Today is my Momma's birthday. She is everything I hope to be as a mother. She has lived her life in such a way that she has taught her daughters how to love people, give of themselves, value family and be true to themselves. I know everyone thinks their mom is the best, but my mom is the best for me.
As I've grown up our roles have changed and adapted. She is now one of my best friends. She is the first person I call if I need parenting advice. She is quick to help me see the other side of disagreements. I love to hang out with her. We got to go shopping last week and all day I just was overwhelmed with how blessed my life has been to get to be walked out beside hers. She sacrifices her own needs or wants for those of her children, even though we are all grown now. She is honest. She loves people. She is successful. People just like to be around my mom and that makes me proud to call her mine. Even if it's 2 am I know I can call her and she'll be there. She has been known to get in the car late and night and drive 2.5 hours because I needed her. She just fixes things and takes care of things like no one else I know. Last time she came to my house, she not only kept my sick baby she deep cleaned my house from top to bottom!
My Momma has turned into the very greatest Granna. She LOVES her grandbabies so passionately. She drops her life to spend time with them and adapts her schedule if they are sick or just need to be babysat. She has quwerky things that are just theirs that she says and does. She calls just to talk to Tucker sometimes. When we started the adoption process she was so supportive and knew we'd have a baby by April. Sure enough we did.
My Mom has always been my biggest supporter and most faithful companion. When I decided I wanted to go to Africa by myself for a summer when I was 21 she did all she could to get me there. When I said I wanted to go to OBU she worked hard and sacrificed so much and paid for half of my school so I wouldn't have loans. When I walked down the aisle she was beside me. When I showed her my son for the first time she cried with me. When I jumped off a bridge in Africa I cried because I knew she would've loved to have that experience.
So much of what I am is because of who she is. I cannot imagine the person I would be or where I would've ended up were it not for my maternal compass.

Monday, March 21, 2011

To Grandma's House We Go

Last weekend we headed to Bristow with Chris' Mom, Diana, and his brother, Delton, to visit Tucker's Great-Great Grandma Smith. She is 98 years old and one of the sweetest women on the plant. She loves her family and has set quite a legacy for all of us to follow. We don't get to see her often, but it's such a blessing when we do.

Four Generations (Diana's Mom would've made five, but she passed away when Diana was pregnant with Chris)

Swinging on Grandma's front porch. Tucker LOVED the swing. We sat out there for at least an hour and he never made a move. This is unheard of these days!

Great Aunt Betty

Great Aunt Janie

Exploring Grandma's house with Uncle Delton.
We had a great day visiting and it was so good to see Grandma. I love going back to Bristow with Chris because it's such a nostalgic place for him. He just rattles off memories and stories from his childhood of people who have gone on to be with the Lord. Just a sweet time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

11 Months

I've been putting this letter off all day because I know how close to your first birthday we are getting, even though I'm not sure how it happened. Your presence in my life has not only been a joy, but a transformation of my heart in ways I had only heard of before your arrival. I had no idea how fiercely protective I could be until the first time some old lady in Sam's gave us a weird look when you were just tiny. I had no idea how my heart could ache until I had to leave you for eleven days in December. I had no idea how much pride I could have over small accomplishments until you started learning new tricks. I had no idea how much I could love until I held you in my arms for the first time eleven months ago. It doesn't sound like a long time and it feels like it's just flown by, but you have truly transformed me. I love you so completely little boy! You light up my life and my everyday.
You weigh right at 26 lbs. and seem to be holding a lot closer to steady in the weight category. I'm not sure how tall you are, but I think you're growing up. You are wearing 12-18 months clothes, a few of your pajamas are bigger but for the most part you're right on track in size. You are eating real food and baby food. You do a great job picking up your own food and haven't found anything you won't eat. You love turkey and cheese, yogurt, bread, pasta, and gerber cheetoes. We have started trying to get you to drink formula out of a sippy cup to prepare you for what's soon to come. You also drink one-two sippys a day of watered down juice. You handle the sippy really well.

Tooth #3 broke through your top gum this month and I think #4 isn't going to be far behind. I think this one hurt you more because you were way fussier with this tooth. You also ran a low fever and got bronchiolitis again this month. I don't know if its the changing weather or the new teeth or what, but you were pitiful for a couple of days. You had to have breathing treatments and you took them so sweetly.

You have learned LOTS of new tricks this month. The biggest of these is you started walking. For real walking. You are a very busy fella these days and watching you take those first wobbly steps was super exciting. Watching you realize you could make it from one person or object to the other was so cute. You could see the wheels in your head turning. You also started clapping your hands/patty caking. Throwing it in the pan is your favorite part and you usually get to that part early. You can also growl like a bear, hold both hands up signaling "touchdown," give kisses on purpose, point with your pointer finger, raise your foot to get onto something and crawl up & down stairs. You just amazes us everyday. But maybe my favorite thing is your dance moves. You are hilarious! You sway back and forth, bounce up and down and when you get really into it you swing your arms back and forth. SO CUTE! We're teaching you to say how old you are (gonna be). You already do it when we show you. You're SUPER smart!

You can now say bye-bye. But few other new words. Dada remains your favorite. When I say, "Can you say Momma?" You always respond with Dada. Little turkey! You "sing" along with songs sometimes and really seem to enjoy music. You are very vocal and you can tell you know what you're saying even if no one else does.

You are all that is boy! The weather has been so nice lately and we've started spending time outside. You LOVE grass, rocks and dirt. You are content to just sit and dig. You also prefer walking in the grass to the sidewalk. You take a couple of steps and then take a seat to investigate the grass or leaves under your feet. It's been so fun to watch you love being outside.

We are getting ready for your big first birthday! Even though it breaks my heart a little that it is a reality. You are just not a baby anymore. I treasure the end of the day when I get to cuddle with you as I rock you to sleep. You are so busy these days the only time you want to be held is when you're eating or going to sleep. I might rock you a little longer then necessary just feeling you breath and your weight against my chest. You have the sweetest disposition and are so friendly and laid back. People are always amazed at how easy you are.

My Lovie, you are just more then I knew to pray for in so many ways. The Lord continues to give us "immeasurably more then we could think, ask or imagine." Thank you for making me a mother and for giving my life such purpose. I just feel so blessed to get to watch you grow and to be apart of your life. People always say things about us being a blessing to you, but I feel totally opposite. The immesaurable blessing of getting to parent you is more then we could ever give you! I love you so much I don't know how my heart holds it all.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baby Steps

*When I started working on Tucker's 11 mo. post I found this I had never published. It's from three weeks ago!

Our lives are all marked with steps and transitions and milestones. Some are huge steps, but most of the time baby steps come first. In my life baby steps are extremely evident in retrospect. Some of those felt like such a big deal on the day I took them, but as the future met me I realized that those steps had been part of my preparation.
Becoming a mother was full of steps for me. It started "trying" and that was ok for a while. Then it was frustrating and emotional and just plain hard. Then we added doctors. Not one single part of that adventure was fun. It was more of the same. My poor husband and family bore the wrath when three years worth of continual counting, timing, trying, doctors visits, about 100 other people getting my wish with little effort, tears, tests and negatives continued to be my answer.
But God knew. He knew that I needed to take those steps. He watched me fall and fail for three years. He was there with every negative I received. And He knew all that we were going through would be worth it. He heard my cries of anger and hurt.
When you go through the adoption process there are a LOT of steps. Paperwork, classes, interviews, paperwork, waiting, paperwork, background checks, paperwork, profile books, home studies and did I mention paperwork? And even after we were matched more baby steps waited. Meeting our birth mom, going to doctors appointments, getting our house and life ready for a baby in three weeks... but boy was he worth it!
All of these steps were necessary for me to get to enjoy watching Tucker take actual baby steps. He can walk! On February 11th he took his first step and since then has been taking a couple of steps at a time before he falls. He wasn't so sure about it. But Sunday night (Feb. 27th) he started really letting go and taking 10-15 steps at a time. Since then he is getting braver every day and walking alone. He is amazing. Watching him walk and feeling the excitement of this accomplishment is overwhelming. Realizing how quickly time is passing with him makes me cry, but also feel overwhelmingly proud. Proud of his accomplishment. Proud to get to witness it. Proud to be his Momma.
As he is learning to walk I'm realizing that Tucker is teaching me some lessons about baby steps and there place in our lives. It hurts sometimes when he falls, but he knows his parents are close by to dust him off and help him up. God the Father plays that same role in our lives. It's amazing how much my perspective of that part of God's character has changed and is understood now that I'm a parent.
I can't believe Tucker is walking! How has ten months passed and I now have a fully mobile baby? I don't know. It just doesn't seem possible. On one hand I'm so excited and love watching him learn this new skill. On the other hand I tear up almost every time because I can't believe he's so big and how fast time is flying. No one tells you when you have a baby that they aren't babies for even a whole year. I guess I always thought I had a year to have a little baby. But that's not the case. It goes quickly and even though I'm trying to absorb everything and keep it as a treasure in my heart, it's hard.
Here is a link to watch those first steps!