Monday, September 20, 2010


We started Saturday off with Braden's flag football game at 12:30. He's got a loose tooth and can't seem to leave it alone. Despite whispered threats from Blake to "keep his fingers out of his mouth" this was how he spent most of the game.

We invited Arthur to attend Braden's game and took an extra folding chair for him. As Blake offered him the chair, Arthur chose the grass. He explained to us that he doesn't get the opportunity to sit on the grass in his city because what little exists, is very dirty and littered. This was very humbling for us. I know I never give the grass a second thought, and I'm sure Blake thinks about every time he has to mow. We are learning as much from Arthur as he is from us.

While Mason finished his nap at home, Blake and Braden hit the tailgate circuit. He and Zach, in their Bleacher Creature shirts, were able to hang out and play a few games before the football game got started.

PSU played in the afteroon at 4. We were the very fortunate guests of the Wixson's in the Sodexho sky box. Blake walked Arthur next door to the PSU President's box so that he could meet Dr. Scott. This was a great experience for Arthur, but I think the best part was when he waved to his roommate and friends sitting in the bleachers below our window in the sky box.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome to America!

The Benson's are hosting two International Students this semester. They don't stay at our home, but we act as a "family" for them to socialize with and get to experience our culture. We met Zhao Long Zhang, English name Arthur Pendragon, for the first time tonight. He is studying Mechanical Engineering and this is first time in the United States. Thankfully, he speaks English very well.

Braden and I picked him up in front of his dorm and met Blake and Mason for dinner at none other than Fat Daddy's.
In the car, Arthur presented Braden with a special gift from China that symbolizes peace and friendship. At dinner he gave another one to Mason, a gift to me, and a beautiful fan to Blake. After a dinner of cheeseburgers and waffle fries, we took him to an All-American tradition, a Friday night high school football game.

He was such a nice guy, and so kind to both Braden and Mason. He even helped Mason hold his very messy snow cone. Arthur is an only child, but has four cousins, and even a two year old in his family. Tomorrow we will take him to Braden's flag football game. On the way home he told me he enjoys cooking Chinese food, so maybe we will get a treat in the near future.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Move Over Barefoot Contessa

One of my favorite things about Pittsburg is the large number and wide variety of friends I have made! I've mentioned our book club, which out of 12 women, only one is a local. You've also heard all about Ms. River, Braden's very dear "girl" friend. On Saturday, after the flag football game, I had the pleasure of attending one of the best bridal showers EVER! Hosted by one of my dear friends, River's mom, and our local book clubber, Tiffany Peery.

I adore Tiffany on so many levels, but most of all for throwing together a spread like this, with little if any effort at all! She is the hostess with the mostest. The Peery's live across the street from Braden's school, so I pop in unannounced many mornings and afternoons, and Tiffany always welcomes your right in and makes you feel at home! Despite the fact that she has a family (three adorable kiddo's and her hubby) her house could be photographed for a magazine! She is the ultimate at converting another's trash to her treasure and always sniffs out the best deals!

These adorable cookies came from a local cake shop and the plaid is the same print that the "groom-t0-be" will be featuring in his kilt.

Not only was a lucky enough to get an invite to this shower, I was lucky enough to work with the bride, her sister, Piper, on her invitations for the wedding and then invitations for the shower, which Tiffany made part of the decor!

Her gift to Piper, a generous set of personalized stationery! Another reason I love Tiffany, she is one of my best customers, and biggest fans!!!!!

Piper and her fabulous sis, Tiffany

We've hit the Big Leagues

Flag football has started once again, and Braden is on a team with 6 and 7 year olds. This year they start practicing, sometimes twice a week, and learning real plays. Blake decided not to coach this season, but was fully prepared to help out. After the first practice, he knew that Braden was in good hands. His coach is professional football player, Aaron McConnell, to borrow a quote "The hefty 6-foot-3, 300-pounder is a menacing AFL defensive lineman." Ironically his youngest son, Braven was on Braden's soccer team, which Blake did coach, in the spring. Aaron's oldest son, Caden, is also on the flag football team and attends first grade at Braden's school.

Braden has already gotten into position and is eyeballing his man!

The main position he played during the first game was left tackle.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

On Saturday morning, the guys participated in the 5k and kid's Fun Run in honor of the Little Balkan's festival. This was Mason's first race, and Braden's third. Mason did NOT like the number pinned to the front of his shirt and tore it off before the race began. We had to pin it on the back and he really didn't like that either.

Blake placed first in his age category, and while he was fixing Mason's number, Braden got to walk up and get Blake's medal.

This is the Wixson's beloved Lola. Braden wanted to take her for a little walk.

And they're off! Braden was in first place until an older, much taller girl passed him at the very last second. He wasn't too happy about being beat by a girl, but he was ok with second place!

After the race, we attended the first home football game, and after the game had friends over for an end of summer cookout!

Silvia and the girls brought cupcakes over for everyone to decorate.

Bill and Karen

The talented Cyndee and our beloved Suzie

Deanna (also a very talented jewelry designer) and dear, dear Silvia

On Sunday night, Blake and I rocked out to Heart at Downstream Casino. It was a perfect night to stretch out on a blanket and enjoy the show! I thanked my Mom for making me a fan, I listened to Heart all through my childhood, and even Braden likes Barracuda! They did a great job!

Paint the Town Red Pep Rally

Thursday kicked off Paint the Town Red with a community pep rally at the PSU football stadium! The boys and I went out to celebrate and watch Daddy in action!

Blake being interviewed for the news.

Quick family pic!

Free pizza was one of the perks, but it was a great night to be outside and so much fun to be down on the field. The weather didn't cooperate entirely and it ended with a big bang as the skies let loose.

Braden, Mason and Zach keeping an eye on the sky!

My Yankee Cousin

Most of last week, my cousin, Clint, was visiting his mom in Rogers. He drove in from Chicago, and on Thursday night I was able to drive down and spend some time with him! We are lucky to see him about once a year, and each time he comes, there are new babies! To be the childless bachelor of the family, it can be a little overwhelming.

I left my little guys at home, and Chloe and Hannah were both in school on Friday, but we got to spend plenty of quality time with the little ones!

Sarah and her youngest two girls, Emmery (3) and Bobbi (3 months) Could Emmery look any more like Sarah?

Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby?

Chelsea and her youngest two, Brooke (4) and Amiee (2)

Amiee is just a few weeks older than Mason and just like him she her favorite phrase is "My do it"

Sweet little girls filling their shirts with the pea gravel.

Emmery taking Dee for a ride

Sarah's little guy, Bubby (1) he's the only other boy besides my 2. That's 3 boys and 7 girls between us.

Emmery's smiles came a lot quicker than they did in March

It was so good to see Clint! We had a great visit and even got to take our Mom's out for a nice lunch and to do a little shopping. We've had a brother/sister pestering type of relationship most of our lives, and even a little love/hate while we were roomies in Jonesboro. Our face time isn't often enough, and I cherish it.

My little Momma and the "newest" granddaughter.

Sarah and her youngest kiddo's, Hannah was still at school. She started kindergarten this year, and loves it.

To not have children, Clint was amazingly comfortable with the baby, unless it was diaper time!