Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Festivities

Our little tree all dressed up

The month of December is a great time to hear wonderful Christmas music, drink hot apple cider, get Christmas trees... and go to the beach?!

Yep! Robert and I were finally able to take a little vacation this past week as I enjoy my one month break between quarters at school. We spent two nights in the small town of McMinneville where we were able to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum -home of Howard Hugh's enormous Spruce Goose- and do some wine tasting. The next two nights we spent in the darling coastal town of Cannon Beach. Aside from being a little cool (it averaged about 40 degrees each day), it was beautiful and empty:) We had the whole place to ourselves and were able to take some much-needed long walks along the beach with our doggie.
On Sunday after church we finally got our Christmas tree! We were all set to buy a normal (dead) one, but as we marched around the nursery and saw all of the cute little spruces and firs growing in pots were succumbed to take one home as a pet. We now have a 5-foot White Fir living in our house that we will eventually plant in our yard and that many many years from now will be around 80 - 100 feet tall!

Loading "Fir" into the truck

At the beach - and bundled up!

In front of the Spruce Goose

Holly and her friend Dana after a Christmas concert downtown

Friday, November 30, 2007


Gene making a delicious rye stuffing

Penny working on the yummy turkey

Mom and Jimmy

Mike and the boys

Dad and Terri

Cousin Mike

We had a very lovely Thanksgiving this year with all of our parents now living in Central Oregon. Robert drove to Corvallis on Wednesday to pick up his cousin Mike -who is currently a freshman at OSU- so he could spend the holiday with us. On Thanksgiving morning we had breakfast with my Dad, Terri, my step-brother Mike and his boys (Donovan and Garrett). Later that day we drove to Sunriver to have Thanksgiving Dinner at the Benningtons. My mom and Jimmy were able to join us as well, and we all stayed very close to the fireplace as it was a mere 28 degrees outside!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Our First Foster Parenting Class

"Meet Jacob, an adorable little boy who is in search of a home. He is developmentally delayed because of a cyst on his brain but has made significant progress in his current foster home. Jacob is beginning to play with toys and likes things with solid colors. He really likes to play with small animals. He loves to attend school and looks forward to his bus ride every morning. Jacob is now eating table foods and he loves French Fries but hates rice. He is not yet potty-trained but is learning the basics." - A listing on

We attended our first Foster parent class on Saturday. It was an all day class that lasted from 8:30 to 4:30. The majority of the class was a question and answer session. There were about 40 people in the class, most of which were there to become foster parents for a child they were related to. There were only 5 couples (including us) that were there to learn about adoption and what they called "general applicant foster parents" which means we were looking to become foster parents without a specific child in mind. One thing that was very apparent from the class is that the State of Oregon's main objective is to reunite all children with their biological parents. If an offending parent can demonstrate that a child's physical and mental safety is no longer a concern, then the State will do everything it can to return that child to its family. The State sees being with the biological parents as the best possible home for a child as long as those safety concerns do not exist. On one hand I agree with this as I think every child should have the chance of growing up with the parents that conceived them, on the other hand this policy does not take into account the overall quality of home that the child is in. If we decide to become Foster parents, then we have to be ready to return a child to a home that is not ideal or even healthy according to our standards. It is a sad consequence of living in a secular society. Although it is sad and fustrating that the state does not hold the same values as the Word of God, I still think that God can use us to plant seeds in the both the children and parent's of children that come into our lives. One interesting thing we learned in our class is that the State encourages foster parents to meet and communicate regularly with the biological parents. We both saw this as a great opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ to both the child and the parents. What a great ministry this could be for us. With that said we are still seeking God's plan for us through prayer and appreciate all of you that are praying for our decision. We feel God is definitely leading us in this direction, but want to make sure that our feelings are truely God's will. All our love, - The Benningtons

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Foster Parenting - To Do or Not To Do.

We are thinking about becoming foster parents and we need your help. We will be attending an all day class on foster parenting through the County Welfare office here in Bend on November 3rd and we could really use your prayers to help us decide whether this is something we can do. If you have any words of wisdom or encouragement, please e-mail us as we are both feeling led to make this step, but we also have a lot of fears we need to work through first. We have only committed to attending the meeting and we will decide from there whether we want to proceed through the training process or not. This is a big decision and we can not go into it without considering all of the consequences thoroughly. Thank you for your prayers and please don't hesitate to e-mail us your thoughts as we really need a lot of counsel to make this decision. All our love - The Benningtons

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Christmas Card Photo????

Trying to stay warm (it was raining - of course, its Oregon)

My Dad wanted to get a picture of us all in our Beaver paraphernalia!

Well we made the trek across the mountains last weekend to welcome my cousin Mike to Corvallis, Oregon from Honolulu, Hawaii. Mike is a freshman at Oregon State University (my alma mater). To welcome him to Oregon it seemed only fitting to take him to an Oregon State football game. The Beavers played the UCLA Bruins on a cold, wet day in Corvallis and sadly the Bruins kicked the Beavs butts. As sad as the game was, we still were able to have a wonderful time and it was great to see Mike. Incredibly enough Mike lives in the same dormitory that I spent my freshman year. Much to our amazement we discovered that Mike did not own an umbrella or a rain coat. So Sunday after the game Holly and I spent several hours driving Mike around doing some much needed shopping. A rain coat, hiking boots, umbrella, Gatorade, gloves, and several warm socks later we were done. Hopefully that will keep our young Hawaiian cousin from wishing he picked a dryer, warmer school. Good luck with school Mike and GO BEAVERS!!!!! - Robert

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Our 2nd Anniversary

The Cannery Pier Hotel

The Lobby of CPH

View from our balcony

Astoria - the mini San Fransisco

Looking down from the Astoria Tower

View of the Columbia River

Mr. and Mrs. Bennington

Last weekend my wonderful husband surprised me with a romantic weekend getaway along the coast to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. We left Saturday morning and drove up to Astoria, (in the very NW corner of Oregon), which I absolutely loved as it reminded me of a small, cozy version of San Fransisco. We stayed at an architectually stunning hotel on the Columbia River - The Cannery Pier Hotel - and had a room right on the river so we could watch the boats, seals, and freighters passing by. We drove up a very hilly street to the Astoria Tower which we climbed (146 steps up!) and had a breathtaking view. Looking down was a bit scary, but the view was well-worth it!

The next night we stayed at an adorable little bungalow in Long Beach, Washington. We took Kai for some long strolls along the beach, and curled up to a few episodes of 24 (we're addicted). On our way home we stopped at Cannon Beach (West of Portland), a very cute beach town reminiscent of Laguna Beach. Robert played fetch with Kai in the frigid waters while I observed from the sand and was stalked by a rabid pincher bug - how in the world did it end up at the beach?!

And tonight - 4 days later - is Robert's 29th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEETIE!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Teaching at Central Oregon Community College

Well, it has finally happened: Central Oregon Community College has offered me a teaching position for Fall 2007. After a year of waiting and yearning to be in the classroom, I finally get to teach again! I will be teaching two Spanish 201 courses (Tuesdays/Thursdays) and one Spanish 203 course (Mondays/Wednesdays). Staff meetings begin this Wednesday, September 5th, and classes start September 17th. I have already been given an office, phone/fax #, and a Staff web page which you can see at:

Although I am very excited about the opportunity to teach college Spanish again, I can't help feeling sad that I won't be working with Robert everyday. But since I will only be teaching Monday - Thursday, I am still going to spend my Fridays in the office at Bennington Properties, and will have weekends off to relax.

Please pray for us as we make this big adjustment!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ben and Mary Come to Bend!

A view of Bend from Pilot Butte

Mary on Wild Goose Lane

Happy friends:)

Aren't they cute?

Cuddling with Misha

Ben and Mary travelled all the way up to Bend, Oregon to visit us last week, and we had such an amazing time. They arrived Saturday afternoon which we spent catching up, eating Yum bowls, and sampling beers at the 4th annual Bend Brew Fest. The evening was finished off with an intensive game of Trivial Pursuit. The Benningtons fought hard, but were no match for the current graduate students. We were going to spend Monday outdoors fishing and canoeing, but rain came out of nowhere, so we took a nice drive through the mountains and walked around Elk Lake - it was a very brief, very wet walk. Tuesday brought better weather; the boys finally had their chance to fish and canoe and Mary and I spent the day shopping and chatting over Ruby Ales at McMenamins.

4 days is never enough with great friends, but it sure was fun... Thank you Ben and Mary!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve

Through His word, God taught me a very valuable lesson this week. A good majority of my job is dealing with conflict. Conflict with guests, conflict with employees, and conflict with homeowners (we manage 16o independently owned homes that we rent out nightly to guests). At times it is exhausting and at other times is just plain "rip your hair out" fustrating (I'm balding by the way). At a Bible study this week our pastor read the following verses out of Mark and Luke and we discussed how Jesus commands us to serve one another. Not just the people we love, but everyone. Those verses really opened my eyes to how selfish I am when it comes to dealing with other people.

I have had many opportunities to put it to practice this week at work. I succeeded at some and failed at others. One thing is for sure, it has really reduced the stress of having to deal with conflict. Instead of going into it with the "I have to win" mentality, I try to think "how can I make this a win for them." For example, if the cashier at the grocery store is talking for a long time with the customer in front of me instead of keeping things moving (we have all experienced this), I generally will think about how inconvenient it is for me and how "if this store had customer service then I would have been through this line 5 minutes ago." Instead, I could ask, how can I serve her/him today. Maybe it is by being patient. Instead of getting to the front and being short and ticked off, maybe I can ask how their day is going. Maybe I could assist in bagging my groceries or thank them for standing on their feet all day to help customers like me.

When someone calls my office and is being very rude and unpleasant, instead of getting self righteous and rude and unpleasant back, I can serve them by being pleasant, understanding, compassionate, and giving.

I could really use this in my marriage. If Holly has had a rough day and is tired an irritable. Instead of snapping back at her, I could give her a back rub, cook dinner, help around the house, or look for other ways that I could serve her.

Jesus gave up his throne to come to Earth so that He could serve humanity. If God is willing to serve the likes of us, it shouldn't be a problem for us to serve each other. Most importantly, by serving each other, we are also serving God. - RB

Mark (Chapter 10: 42-45)

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Luke (Chapter 22: 24-27)

Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Screen 'em Before You See Them

There is so much junk on the big screen these days that it only makes sense to do your homework before you spend your whole weeks salary to see a movie. Holly and I stumbled upon this excellent Christian website called "Christian Spotlight On Entertainment." Not only do they review and rate all of the new movies, but they also have a section where readers can post their opinions about the movie. Often its the opinions from viewers that more accurately describe the movie. There are a number of Christian websites that review the top movies, but Spotlight is the only one we have found that allows its readers to post comments. Check it out at:


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Canoe Trip

Our friends Nate and Kelly have a cabin along the Umpqua River in Roseburg, so Robert and I decided to join them there on our days off this week. We borrowed Gene and Penny's canoe, tied it up on top of the Jeep, threw our tent and camping gear in the car, and headed off for our two day adventure. When we got to the cabin Nate and Kelly weren't there so we thought we'd drive up river about 10 miles and float down. What started off as a calm, tranquil river soon turned into a very fast-flowing river with some serious rapids. Let's just say we were the only canoe trying to white water raft. We made it through the first set okay and thought we were in the clear, but by the time we actually got back to the cabin, we had been on the river for 4 hours and maneuvered our way through 8 or 9 (I lost count) more sets of rapids. I was sure the canoe was either going to tip or fall apart, but surprisingly enough we made it back with the canoe still in tact and Kai still in it!

On our drive back to Bend we stopped at Clear Lake and decided to paddle around in still waters:) In the ease and relaxation of that canoe ride, we decided to snap some photos (and save a butterfly that was drowning).

Sunday, July 1, 2007


While I was out watering plants the other day I stumbled upon some rather unique looking spider eggs. When I saw the big black mama clinging underneath them, I ran in the house and googled "Black widow spider eggs" on google images. The photos were a perfect match. I put Robert on spider-killing duty so he grabbed a sledgehammer and went to get her. Well, for a spider, she was pretty smart: saw Robert, and headed straight under the deck. We waited about an hour and went back for her. Like a good mama, she was back with her eggs. This time we brought the gardening tools. With one fell swoop Robert dug her out with the shovel, and sliced her in two with an ice scraper. Her babies met the same fate.

I guess her husband is now a Black Widower.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I have found the new joy of my life: gardening. Yesterday Robert and I spent the entire day working in our yard; he mowed and edged while I planted flowers and weeded. I don't know how I went 24 years without weeding, but yesterday was truly my first weeding experience and I love it! The results are immediate, and it feels so good to pull them out of the ground. Robert is building a raised garden plot for me in the back of our yard where soon I will be able to grow vegetables and herbs!

Today we are painting our fireplace room a lovely earth color and tonight we will celebrate the great summer weather with salmon barbecued on cedar planks - yum!

Here are some pictures of my flowers...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bennington Bloopers

Tonight we're at Silva Bay on Gabriola Island (settled by the Spanish conquistadors - yes!) and Robert and I took a little dinghy ride around the islands. Kai managed to find a coconut on the beach (yes, a part of the South Pacific in the Pacific Northwest...I don't know how either). We're still on the lookout for whales, but we have seen tons of sea lions which are so friggin' cute! Amidst the sightseeing, crabbing, walking, reading, and eating, there have been a few comedic moments that we have been lucky to catch on film:) Here's a map of where we are, along with some bloopers... enjoy!

Look closely at the white dog on the left side of the photo - she's pooping:)

Robert -the caveman- inspecting the coconut

Yes, I have incredibly freakish feet

Kai didn't want to "say cheese"

Not sure what kind of cow this came from!!!

Penny got a little tangled up while crabbing

We're located at the little green arrow on the map tonight.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Canada, eh?

Captain Gene - arrgh

Kai and Molly in the dinghy at Pirate's Cove

Robert took this one by setting the timer and running really fast:)

Holly cooking fresh shrimp scampi!

One of our poor little crabs - RIP

Today marks the completion of our first week and the half-way point of our trip! We've been travelling around Vancouver Island, and did some crabbing and shrimping along the way. We (and when I say "we" I mean everybody but me... I'm just the photographer!) dropped some traps down about 200 feet, left them there for a few hours and then returned to collect our "booty" as the pirates say:) Although the trap was full of crabs, we only ended up keeping two - the rest were runts. Our first shrimping attempt was unsuccessful, but the next day Robert and Gene set the trap again and caught about 50 big ones! Needless to say we had fresh shrimp scampi that evening. I must say the whole hunting thing makes me sad... even with hard-shelled water creatures. I could not believe that those cute little crabs would meet their end in a pot of boiling water... or that the poor little shrimps would have their heads brutally ripped off while they were still alive!!! Someday I really will become a vegetarian...

I've still been doing plenty of reading, but Robert and I have been taking Kai on really long walks too. We anchored in Pirate's Cove last night (arrrgh!) and took the dinghy boat over to a little island. It was incredible because it was so wild and desolate. We saw plenty of sea lions right off the shoreline, and even saw two bald eagles from a distance. I was sure we were going to be eaten by bears, but Robert reassured me that bears do not live on tiny 2 mile-wide islands.

Today we are in Nanaimo (one of my new favorite words), and ran into a guy who breeds Chesepeake Bay Retrievers just like Kai! We naturally had a lot to talk about with him (a very friendly Canadian who kept ending phrases in, "eh?") as he has TEN "Chessies"! Kai was his friendly self and kept taking turns dropping his tennis ball at each of our feet while we chatted.

Stay tuned for more Bennington boat adventures!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Aboard the Champagne Lady

So after four nights on the Champagne Lady, we've done more walking, eating, and shopping that I think I've ever done in my life:) Robert and I have been napping regularly, eating plenty of fruit and oreos (not necessarily together), and drinking lots of yummy Pinot Noir from all over the world. We tried a French one tonight which I particularly enjoyed. We began our journey in Anacortes, Washington where Gene and Penny keep the boat, and have been travelling through the San Juan Islands into Canada. Tonight we're in Sidney, Canada on Vancouver Island. Robert and I spent six hours walking around town today with Kai, and realized that sunny days mean we should wear sunscreen; both of us are suffering from major sunburns to the face and neck regions. Not sure about Kai since he's covered in fur:) I did find a really great pair of sunglasses though, so the pain is well worth it! I think we'll be spending the bulk of our time in Canada since we managed to make it through customs (Robert doesn't have a current passport and mine still has Smith as my last name... oops!). A little explanation of the above photos: top one is us on Jones Island. We took the Dinghy boat over to the shore so the doggies could go potty and snapped the photo of us with our boat in the background. Middle photo is a close-up of our furry son, and the bottom one is us with Popeye... he's a real seal that hangs out at Friday Harbour. He has a funny eye (hence the name), and we actually saw him just floating/napping in the harbour. Alas, it was a Tuesday and not a Friday:)
Okay... time to curl up on our "waterbed" - the bed is actually solid, but the whole boat is kind of floating in water:)
Love you all!