IM BACK IN MA!?!?!?

HI GUYSSSSSS

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&haha to the readers I got with that click bait 😉 I am actually REwriting this post. This was due to be posted on Tuesday. I was having technical difficulties, and decided today would be the day…and I ended up losing the whole post. I was attempting to upload it on my new domain, that I have been working on for so long now..but alas it was a fail. But I drank a cup of coffee in hopes it would give me the energy to put away my mountain of laundry, but it didn’t. It did motivate me to get this rewritten and put on Netflix in the background! SO–where have I been? Where am I? Whats new?

There’s been lots of rumors going around that I moved back home, and one creepy app in particular had some nasty individuals speaking about me being “back home, and broken up with the Army guy.” Not sure where all that craziness got started, but I did not move home, and “Army guy” and I are still happily together. Well, in heart, not distance. But we’ll get there.

I DID GO HOME FOR A QUICK MINUTE THOUGH! It was rough timing with Jim, but I drove home for the weekend a couple weeks back with the pup for my family’s 6th Annual BBQ Reunion, and my best friend Mariah’s bridal shower! I had a blast, and also came back to Fort Drum an exhausted mess. I swear Im only now getting back to normal, and getting Cadence and I back into a good routine.

The morning of the BBQ started off a bit rough. I got into MA around 1am, after working all day, and then hopping in the car with my pup.

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I headed to my brother’s house to help him out with some cooking and run errands–but the morning ended up being me stuck in tourist trap beach traffic, and then having to tend to my frantic Momma B who took Cadence to the carwash. My crazy rescue pup got a little nervous and went “cray cray” as Momma B would say, chewing on the dashboard of her brand new car, and biting at the water on the windshield. Traumatizing for Momma and Cade. But alas, after all the craziness, the show went on!

I didnt get a TON of photos (unlike me) but I was really just enjoying my time, and trying not to get to sad with all the “Where is Jimmy?” questions. Even some of the Wollinger fam, and even their super awesome neighbors, The Palen’s came by!

Cadence had a pretty overwhelming day and had to have a nice nap with baby Levi.

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Later on my adorable big brother had his coworkers that were on duty come by for some food and brought all the children at the BBQ out to see the fire truck!

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The night ended with lots of laughs with old friends, a couple rounds of beer pong, and this epic Momma who couldn’t let Levi who thought it was still party time, cramp her style!

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The next morning was the morning of my best friend Mariah’s bridal shower!!! I am her maid of honor, and I have to say, that with the crazy distance, and mess that was planning this, us bridesmaids did a pretty banging job with the partayyy.

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&Of course before Cadence and I headed home (with lots of technical difficulties..) I had to show this pup the ocean, and what she gets to look forward to every time we visit, and when we finally do get to bring her back to our home. She couldn’t stop sniffing the air. Neither could I. Miss that salt air..

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But back to reality, and Cadence and I are home in Fort Drum! Had a crazy past few weeks in the office, and finally got the house picked up and things back in order this weekend. Aside from that mountain of laundry… But things are a little different in the Benson/Wollinger household….because Jimbob is DEPLOYED. Yep the D word has finally become reality and it sucks. We’re being told this shouldn’t be a long one. But I won’t say too much more in the name of OPSEC. But I can tell you, that I miss that dude like crazy. Things have been all over the place lately, but I am settling in and getting into a routine, and crazy office life/preparing to finish my bachelors has been keeping me busy. But getting into bed, and having his side be empty is not easy. This house being so quiet…is strange.

I wasn’t sure how I would do with him leaving this time. After all, the first week after he left for OSUT I was a MESS. That was our first time being separated. But I was at home, with my friends and family, in familiar territory.

But honestly…this time around I’ve been more “okay.” If that is the right way to say it. It’s scarier because I know my man is now in a dangerous place. But..I’m holding it together. Not crying in my room and thinking the world is ending, and all that teenage angsty stuff. Because life goes on. Living on post has given me the opportunity to be surrounded by all of these Army families. Might not be my family…but it’s inspiring to see all of these families, with small children keep on going, when their husbands and wives are deployed. Because if my Dad taught me anything, it’s that life does go on. Whether you chose to be present or not. &This time, I chose to be okay. Because my life will continue to move. I will continue to hustle and build my own career, and take care of my baby Cade. &Hold the fort down until my handsome man is back by my side farting and stinking the place out, and making strange noises, and whistling the Hunger Games whistle when he’s hungry.

So here’s to all the military families KILLIN it with keeping it together when life hands you orders.

 

Until next time.

 

“Im gonna put my body first, and love me so hard till it hurts….gonna love myself and I don’t need anybody else.”–Hailee Steinfeld (This song is my jam)

//xo

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What I’ve Been Up To/Rambles

Hi guys.

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Things have been pretty mundane in the Benson/Wollinger household. But I haven’t blogged in a while, and I felt inspired to write. So, I apologize if this post becomes wordy, all over the place and maybe a semi recap/spill my guts session.

So, lets start with the recap…here’s what I’ve been up to:

Jim and I went back to my home town a couple of weekends ago for my Uncle Jim’s service. That service has a whole lot to do with things that have been running through my mind lately, but we’ll get there later. I didnt take too many photos while in my hometown, but we had a really good time spending the day with my brother and old friends out on the boat. Made some memories I certainly will never forget.

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Before we headed back on Sunday, we took Jim’s Dad out to breakfast for Father’s Day, at our favorite spot, Red’s in Salem, MA. His little brother Andrew, sisters Karla and Amber and brother in law Rob were there too, so obviously we had to do a photo shoot.

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THEN, my BFF Caroline who is the best person ever introduced us to the North Country’s version of a beach. Wasn’t half bad…still no comparison to the beaches back home….but the “lake beach” off Lake Ontario was pretty awesome. Any day is a good day when Caroline and the little dude are involved. ❤

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Jim’s sisters, and brother and law made a surprise visit too just for a night last weekend! We had SO MUCH FUN. We had a family dinner together, with our friend Sean as well–Jim and I were freaking out we were so excited…we’ve never had that many people at our table. Jimbo may or may not have been our “DJ” for the night while we had drinks and played Cards Against Humanity…. and this is actually the only picture I got of the entire trip….caption it in the comments:

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Sunday we went to Old Forge! For those of you who don’t know what/where that is–it’s a beautiful place in Upstate NY….basically what I imagined it would be like when I moved up here…but alas…you have to go about an hour and a half from post to see the true beauty of this place. We drove up jamming out to some classic rap songs until we lost service..and once we finally got there (Jimmy yells at me for not following the GPS….this kid took us like 20 min out of the way…don’t let him tell you any different..) we stopped for lunch at Walt’s Diner. We didn’t have too much planned, so we just walked around all the shops, and acted like the tourists we are.  I definitely got a cute little ice-cream shaped treat for my pup in honor of National Ice Cream Day! I actually didn’t have any ice-cream though! 😦

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The banker side of me got REAL excited when seeing the Life is Good store had an old vault…though they did fill it with Crocs…haha

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OH! That brings me to this! One last thing to catch you up on…..drum roll please….(for those of you that follow me on ANY social media, you already know)…BUT, let’s give an official blog fam welcome to CADENCE WOLLINGER!

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Don’t mind my pants covered in fur..we had JUST picked her up, so the cats in the humane society were all OVER ME. 

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We have been searching and searching for months for our forever pup, and we rescued this sweet girl from the Steven Swan Humane Society in Utica, NY. Her name was Candy (not quite sure if that was her name originally) and she was lovingly renamed Cadence. She has acclimated to the name very well…and as some of you know, back home we have a family dog named Lola..

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She’s on the left, that sweetie on the right was her pup Cadence….so it was a tribute to her, as well as a tribute to our love for the US military. ❤ Cadence is a boxer mix, and she was a boney wreck when we got her. She had kennel cough and her nipples were basically dragging on the floor. We think she may have been used as a breeding machine, and dumped at the shelter…but she is in her happy forever home now..and boy does she feel it!

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Ok…now that you’re caught up on some of the goings on around here…ramble time. I’ve had so much on my mind lately. So many things are coming up in my life that are pretty exciting/scary/just all the emotions. Some of those things include me going back to school at night to finish up my bachelors….that’s super exciting to me, but scary, because it’s going to be a lot with working full time, but ya gotta do what you gotta do as an adult–I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again! 🙂 My best friend Mariah has her wedding coming up, and I’m her Maid of Honor–so we’ve got lots of planning, and bridal showering, and things to get done before I fly to Savannah in December. THAT being said, there has been a lot going on personally that have been weighing on my mind. I won’t go into too much detail, but I can tell you that its making my heart hurt. I’ve seen some people I love recently just do things and say things…that just aren’t ok. It’s hard growing up and thinking that the world is one way, and believing in people so much, only to have your eyes opened to realize that people you thought you knew…aren’t who you thought they were. True, genuine, kind, loyal people, family members, aren’t very common. &The ones that are, need to be cherished. When I love you, as a family member, as a friend, as a significant other–I love with everything. I was raised that way. I love you with all my might, defend you till the end, but let you know when you are wrong, and expect you to do the same for me. Every big moment in your life, is a big moment in mine. Since my Grandpy and my Uncle’s passing…it’s been way too much. Because you see…Grandpy and Uncle Jim were two of those people that I loved so fiercely. &Seeing others agendas play out during a time of grieving is hard. But it’s a part of life, and another thing I’ve learned in this crazy journey as a 20 something. Life is short, spend time with those you love, celebrate the happiness, and smile through the darkness.

That’s all for now. &If you made it all this way…thank you for letting me ramble. I needed this writing session more than you could imagine. &I promise to get back to happy blogging. I’ve had enough moping around for a lifetime.

 

“You and your girlfriends need to stop calling each other ‘bi*ch,’ there is enough hate in this world, you young ladies don’t need to be talking like that.”-My Daddy

//xo

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WHY I RELAY//RELAY FOR LIFE

 

HEY GUYS

I’m sorry for the lack of post last week! I had so much going on personally, I even wanted to get this post up sooner! &Momma B came up to visit! We’ve been having such a nice time. That’s been the best part about being at a base so close to home. It’s not super close, but close enough that it’s less than a half a days drive if any friends or family want to come and visit, or we want to go back home. So, yeah! I hope all the Mommas out there had a lovely Mother’s Day, and got at least a few minutes of pampering and special treatment! Because Lord knows how difficult and selfless the job of being a Mom is.

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I’m lookin scrub-a-licious in this photo….^^^ But we got jelly spa pedicures! 🙂

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PS–I didn’t buy that MK purse for my Momma^^ (wish I could afford that! It’s hers…It just looked nice in the photo with all the pink! 😉 But we did get her another nice little gift ❤ )

But, I promise, I’m going to keep posting at least once per week! I actually had a reader DM me on Insta asking why I didn’t post last week. (To say she made me feel awesome was an understatement!) Comment below if you’re an avid reader! I have my go-to blogs, that I have to check up on at least weekly, and I know how sad it can be when I don’t see any new posts, so it’s a pretty amazing feeling that someone enjoys my content that much! Also…stay tuned! Because I have a little giveaway coming real soon!!!

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SO! This post, is SO SO SO SOOOOO important to me. Although I hope that this post inspires all of my readers to participate in their local Relay for Life events, I’m REALLY hoping that this post reaches my readers from my home town. I’m going to tell you all a little story about why I Relay in a moment, but first, I want to let my local readers be aware of something.

RELAY FOR LIFE OF CAPE ANN IS IN TROUBLE. I know, SO MANY of you that would be an incredible asset to the leadership team for our local Relay. I wish I could be there, but as you know–I’m currently living in Upstate NY. SO RELAY NEEDS YOU. CAPE ANN NEEDS YOU. THE ABILITY TO KICK CANCERS A$$ NEEDS YOU. There is a possibility, that–despite the incredible efforts of the small, yet enthusiastic team of leaders, Cape Ann’s Relay has currently–it MIGHT NOT HAPPEN. If you, or someone you know has been affected by cancer, (because Lord knows, sadly at this point, all of us have at least known someone who has been affected) and would make a great addition to this team–PLEASE attend this event. You can click that hyperlink for more info; But it is tonight, at the First Baptist Church in Gloucester. That’s 38 Gloucester Ave, and it begins at 6:30pm. Even if you can’t attend, and want to volunteer, you may contact any of the leaders, or myself–and we can point you in the right direction. (All of the info will be at the bottom of this post.)

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WHY I RELAY:

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Growing up, I have dealt with a whole lot of loss. Uncles, my Nana, my Dad, and most recently, my Grandpy. But two of those deaths, were what opened my eyes to so many things–and they are the reason I Relay.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I thought I had the world at my feet. I was a good kid, got good grades, had a lot of friends, and an incredible family. Some of my favorite memories include Sunday morning brunch over at my Uncle Tommy’s, and rides around the Backshore with my Dad, and him. Uncle Tommy and my Dad were BEST FRIENDS. I mean, inseparable. These are two men, who grew up in foster care, were separated so much of the time, both went to Vietnam, and came back ALIVE..and remained so close through it all. When Uncle Tommy got sick, he didn’t broadcast it. He was so brave, and so selfless. One day after school..my Mom came to pick me up. Now, I knew something was off, because she never picked me up from school. That was my Dad’s thing. I got in the car, and she (as she was in such shock) just announced to me that Uncle Tommy had passed. I didn’t even know the severity of what was wrong, and I was in so much shock. This was the first time of my life, that I lost someone who was pretty much a part of my daily life. I’ll never forget coming home, and going to the stairs, to walk up to my room, only to be met with a closed door, and my Dad inside it, crying SO LOUDLY..I had only seen him (and I’m not exaggerating) shed tears one other time, and that was at his Mother’s funeral. Many of his brothers had passed before, but I was so young. My heart was broken. My family fell apart. My Dad had literally lost his other half. Nothing was ever the same. My Uncle Tommy was a man who dedicated his life to his family, his children and his community. He coached Gloucester peewee football for so many years. Not only did my family lose a key player, but so did our community.

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Then, two years and three days later..my Dad passed away from cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange. My Dad was absolutely, with out a doubt, my best friend in the entire world. We had a relationship unlike any other. He was my Father when I needed it…constantly on my case to get up for school, get to dance class on time, get off the computer and get my homework done. He was my chauffeur–driving me to and from school, work, dance etc, giving my friends and I rides to the mall, the beach and constantly to Dunks and around the Backshore, having to endure our music blasting. &He was my friend always. My Dad was always the chaperone anywhere we went, but he felt like just another piece of our friend group. One time I had invited a couple of my friends over, and I went up to my room, and realizing an HOUR went by that they didn’t make their way up the stairs, so I headed down, and there they were all congregated on the couch watching some movie that he had told them was “a classic.” (One of his favorite phrases.)

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Now, it’s 2016. I’ve moved to Upstate NY to live with my soldier, and so much has changed within my family dynamic. But I can promise you, not a day goes by that I don’t think of BOTH  of those men. My heart breaks knowing, Jimmy will never have the chance of meeting either one of them. My father won’t walk me down the aisle. This whole weekend that my Momma has been here, neither one of us could stop saying how much he would’ve enjoyed this trip. Visiting an Army post, hanging out with the family. But I know they have one another up in Heaven.

But that is why I Relay. So other nieces and daughters, and families don’t have to lose their loved ones too soon. So they don’t have to go through the absolute agony, of watching someone who was once SO STRONG, wilt away. So they won’t have sleepless nights in hospital chairs, weekly chemo sessions, praying to our great Lord that maybe, this will be the cure.

&That is why, all of my readers should Relay. Relay until there is a cure, and this horrible disease is abolished.

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CAPE ANN READERS–If you have an hour, or 40 hours to volunteer your time, it’s so important that we preserve the ability to have this event in our home. This event allows thousands of dollars to go towards research to find a cure. It goes towards services that allow those families financially struggling to make ends meet during costly treatments to make it through. If you want to know where your money goes, just do a quick Google search, or watch this video.

This money helps your family, your community, your loved ones fight the battle against cancer. Please consider volunteering even an hour to your local event.

//xo

“When someone has cancer, the whole family, and everyone who loves them, does too.”-Terri Clark

INFO FOR TONIGHTS RELAY EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/857394654371522/

WHO TO CONTACT FOR MORE INFO ON GETTING INVOLVED IN CAPE ANN’S RELAY:

Myself– autumnelizebeth@yahoo.com

OR–

Pastor Cindy– pastorcindya@gmail.com

 

 

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I MOVED/Supah Long Catch Up Post

HELLLLLOOO FRIENDS

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Long time, no wifi! I can’t even describe to you the excitement I had when the Time Warner Cable guy was blocking my garage yesterday morning! We got cable just in time for Opening Day, and now I can finally catch everybody up!

Hi, hello, hola! If this is your first time reading my blog, welcome! If you’re a long time reader…YOU DA BEST BBY. Okay…so, down to business..I moved! Jim finally finished all of his training, as I’m sure you gathered from my last post, and we emptied our storage unit, and made the move to upstate NY! I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle such a huge move. I went from being in my hometown I grew up in, two minutes from the beach and just 45 minutes from the city of Boston, to a very rural area, and of course, living on a military base is a whole separate ball game in itself, for someone who has no experience with it. I’ve gotten a tad homesick, but so far–I actually really like it! Mostly I just really like being around Jimbo all the time again..but the area is super pretty. Yay North Country!

Jim came home to help me pack up, and although we didn’t have as much time as we thought he did to spend in MA, we got to see some of our fam, but we’re lucky enough that he didn’t get stationed too far, and we can head back home for visits, and it’s not too far of a trek for our family and friends to visit us!

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I did also have a super cute photo of Jim and his parents, but they were half asleep, so I promised not to post it 😉 I’m the paparazzi queen when it comes to pictures.

We haven’t done too many exciting things, because we’ve spent the past few weeks, unpacking, getting settled, I’ve been job hunting,  nesting like crazy–but some of the “super exciting” things we’ve done so far:

-Tried Tim Hortons

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This may not seem like a big deal to most, but we don’t have Tim Hortons where we’re from, and How I Met Your Mother really hyped us up about it. It was ok….still prefer my Dunkies (and Heavenly Donuts) coffee. But my doughnut was pretty good!

-Popped our friend Shep’s Chipotle cherry

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Yes! We have a friend! Well, for the sake of honesty, he was Jim’s friend first…they met during OSUT and both got stationed at the same place. But now this little sarcastic f***er is my friend by default! &Obviously as soon as we heard he never tried Chipotle, we HAD to take him to get a burrito.

-Jim’s first day of the “Big Army.”

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Sorry Jim, I know I promised I wouldn’t show any one this “first day of kindergarten” photo, but I’m just so proud! Be lucky I didn’t make you hold a chalk board stating it was your first day. 😉 haha

-Visited the 3rd Largest Mall in the U.S in Syracuse! &Ate at Margaritaville!

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I actually didn’t do too much damage here, although I’m sure that won’t hold truth for long. I never realized how large of a city Syracuse was. Still nothing compared to Boston and NYC, but definitely more Spankee fans there. *puke.*

-Bought some new home decor (although the house is still a work in progress)

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-Actually did some damage at the smaller, much more pathetic Salomon Run Mall

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Not sure if the sales are still going, but Pac Sun had adorable shirts 3 for $20 &Charlotte Russe had a sale buy one get one for $10 for dresses and shoes. I bought two dresses and a pair of shoes, and screwed myself. Bc I though the dresses would’ve been the buy one get one. If I purchased the shoes separate, I would’ve saved $20, or if I got another pair of shoes, I would’ve saved $10. Be wary when you see those deals!

-First Easter away from the fam!

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It was very weird, and kind of didn’t feel like it was a holiday, but we had our first Easter away from home! We did get to FaceTime with everyone back home, so that helped. &I have to say, it was fun decorating and cooking (even though I almost burnt the house down a couple of times) but it would’ve been nicer to host the whole family. NEVER FEAR, I did have two very hungry, and VERY critical guys to feed.

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Had to force them into this photo.

Also HOW ADORABLE IS MY NIECE!? I’m so obsessed with her, it’s ridiculous.

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STEPPING AWAY FROM THE HIGHLIGHT REEL

I was talking with a family member of mine yesterday about how social media can be used for many different things. Sometimes it tends to create drama. You see lots of political rants, cyber bullying, dirty laundry being aired out..but for me–I like to use social media as a tool to connect with family and friends I do not always see, and to socialize via inter webs with others who have similar interests, as well as most of us; I use social media to share my highlight reel. I like to keep my feeds positive. Showcase the happiness, the smiles…but sometimes, sad things happen. &I want to try to keep things real too. Recently I posted on my Facebook page, where all of my friends, are a bit more personal than on my other social media–asking for prayers for my Grandpy. He had a mild stroke. Things were looking dim, then they were looking up a little..but then the news was brought to me yesterday, that he is being sent to Hospice and will likely pass in the next few days. For most of my young adult life, I have been dealing with death. Friends, Uncles, my Nana, and my Dad. It doesn’t make this any easier. I made the decision not to go home until his service, because I do not want to see him in the state he is in now. I’m sure with sharing this on the internet, I will hear a lot of opinions on this. But for me, after seeing my Dad slowly get sicker and sicker, and saying my final goodbye to him, where he couldn’t respond..it’s not something I think I can mentally handle at this time. I want to keep it, that the last time I was with my Grumpy Grandpy–he was out to dinner with his family; my Momma, Jim, my brother and his girlfriend. He was happy spending time with the people who love and care for him. He was joking with the waitress in his Grandpy manner…and he knew he was in the presence of love. Grief plays out differently for everyone. In my fathers passing–it brought so much closeness within my family. It brought out people by the hundreds at his service. All of the lives he touched. You see who truly cares, when standing in the face of darkness. &That much has been true in this situation as well. I’ve been able to see everyone’s true nature. I’ve been reached out to, from those who truly care. My immediate family has banded together; Mom, brothers, in laws. Its a sad, and wonderful thing to see.

I will forever hold on to my memories with Grump. Running into his house as a little girl, to sit on his lap and read the comics in the paper. Tending to his tomato garden together. Endless trips to playgrounds, and lots of dollar bills snuck to me. My Grandparents taught me to read, taught me my times tables at age 5. As I got older, my Grandfather was always the first one to jump when I needed a ride, money, advice, help with homework…ANYTHING. I’m so happy that I had that relationship with him. &I am so happy, that he will no longer suffer. He will be with our maker..and our savior, Jesus Christ. I love you Grandpy. Now, and forever.

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“Hey Aut–smile will ya?”-Grumpy Grandpy Shields

xo

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OSUT Graduation/Announcements

Hello fam…

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SO….On February 11th and 12th, Jimbo had his Turning Blue Ceremony and his OSUT graduation. For those of you who don’t know what that is (I didn’t before this either) its basically his graduation of all his training. OSUT stands for “one station unit training.” So Jimmy’s basic training, and then his “AIT” or specific job training, is in one place, and happens all at once.

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So–after Momma B and I spent our couple days in Savannah we did the four hour drive over to Fort Benning and met up with the Wollingers. Fort Benning, has been “home of the infantry” since 1918, and my father trained here as well. Driving into the front gates, under the absolutely BEAUTIFUL bridge, I was astonished. The base was GIGANTIC and it was like an entirely different world. I’ve been to a few military bases in my life time. Both, Parris Island in SC and Camp Pendleton in CA when my brother was in the US Marines, and then when visiting GA with my friends I stayed on Fort Stewart, and more recently, Momma B and I stayed on Hunter Army Air Field when visiting Savannah. But none of those compare to Fort Benning that stands on 182,000 acres and is in literally two time zones. I couldn’t help but get teary wishing that my Dad could’ve been there to see how things have changed, and watched Jim go through the ceremonies he once went through many, many years ago.

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photo courtesy of Pinterest

The Turning Blue Ceremony, is essentially the ceremony that aspiring infantrymen are honored with after completing their OSUT training. FUN HISTORY FACT The blue cord that the men are adorned with during the ceremony, originated during the Korean War when the Chief Staff of the Army asked what could be done to boost the moral of the infantry, and thus, the blue cord was decided on–to set apart the men would be battling on the front lines. Im a huge history buff–and so is Jim. So learning about all the rich history behind the Army’s traditions is incredibly interesting to me. Sorry if I just bored any of my non- history loving readers to sleep…haha

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All of the platoons that were “turning blue”that day came out from behind a cloud of purple smoke, with the song, Thunderstruck by ACDC playing–kinda cheesy, but I thought it was cool. &Jimmy’s brothers really enjoyed it. They totally see their big brother as a super hero..and it’s just such a beautiful thing. It was also totally cute when Andrew asked why they were playing “The Wrestle Mania Song.”

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Jim’s father pinned his blue cord on him, and seeing him beaming with pride was so inspiring, and wonderful. All I’ve ever wanted was for him to see himself like we all see him. As a strong, incredible man, with the drive to do anything to succeed. Too wonderful of a moment not to share. ❤

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After the ceremony he had some time off to come out with the family, so we went out to lunch, and spent some time together. Finally we started getting some nice southern weather–it was pretty cold when we were in Savannah!–so I went back to the room to change, and the whole family spent the rest of the day outside just catching up.

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The following day was graduation day. The day we had all been waiting for since October 6th 2015.

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I didn’t get too many photos, because I was just too awestruck at the ceremony. We didn’t get too great of seats..but what we saw…was amazing. The ceremony took place at the National Infantry Museum.

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For those of you that are history buffs, its a MUST SEE. We actually didn’t get to tour around the museum, because immediately following the ceremony we were back on the road, but what we did see was crazy cool. It was definitely another moment I wished my Dad was there. It was something he would’ve loved. During the graduation they showed us the “modern infantryman” and the equipment they use. These men are trained to do a job, that is unique only to military. No civilian career can compare to what they do, and I am just so inspired by the men and women of our armed forces.

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Who sees Jim? They all look the same….just look for those brows….haha

Jimmy, although our time apart was difficult, especially with it being our first time being apart–I am just so, sooo proud of you. You are going to do great things in life. &You truly are my superhero. Hooah Pvt Wollinger. I will always “have your six.” 😉

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ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!

For those of you who do not already know………I’m moving with Jim to upstate NY! The decision to move was a tough one–where I have only one year of schooling left (God willing I don’t change my major AGAIN) I wanted to make sure that my own goals in life continue to progress as well as my goals in my relationship. After finding out that I could have my credits transferred to a school near by–we knew the decision was an obvious one. Now–with this decision, came many FAQs…and many judgements from some peeps..who have no right to judge. I’m not answering these questions as a response to the “busy bodies” because I in no way feel I have to defend myself, my relationship or my decisions. I’ve spent way too many years of my young adult life, worrying what others think. I’m answering these “FAQs” as a way to show anyone who follows my mundane little life, and blog to know how important it is to stand by your decisions in life, and to be proud of your true self. No matter how many people think they know whats best for you–or how many people think they know who you really are–YOU are the only one who matters in these choices. (I also got a little–LOTTA pushing to grow some balls, for lack of better term, from my best girlfriends, and Jim’s sisters)

Q: So basically you’re quitting your job and school and dropping everything to move and become a “Stepford Wife?”

A: First off–yes. Someone honestly worded a question like that. But to answer, NO. I’m not becoming a “Stepford Wife.” But I do find that question to be demeaning to those who do chose to stay at home. My goals happen to be to continue in school, and continue working. So, basically Im going to be doing the same thing I did in MA, just in a much colder, and much north-er (made up word) place.

Q: Which leads me to question…or statement number 2 rather. “Guaranteed you’re going to have a baby.”

A: That is not currently the plan, although again, very offensive to those who do have children…just because my partner has made a career change, does not mean my child bearing timeline has become public information…but if we’re on the topic–you can ask my Mom, and Jim’s parents who LOVE asking the question of “When are we getting grand babies?” The plan is not for at least 5-7 more years. Unless you count fur babies. That hopefully, is in the near future. Sorry guys.

Q: I heard if you’re living on base…it means your married…if you are, its ok, I’ll keep your secret. So…are you?”

A: If I live on base, yes–it DOES mean I’m married. &Yes, this situation goes back to the issue of me always worrying if people are going to judge me. I’m 22. &Im married. Not common where Im from, but it doesn’t mean I have to worry about others opinions. Jim and I, and our families made the mutual decision not to announce it–where we are planning a wedding, and a ceremony before God, a few years down the road. But–its not a state secret. Those who matter, knew. &Yes, I was a little apprehensive to tell some folk, after hearing their not so nice opinions on the topic–but I’m growing and learning everyday–and I am learning to embrace who I am, and who Jim and I are as a couple. So, my unofficial announcement– YES I am married! Please hold your congrats until our 2019 wedding ceremony, and yes–I am still a Benson, for the time being. &YES–Jim does wear my Father’s wedding band. ❤

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bald head courtesy of OSUT

Well, that’s all for now folks! Thank you to everyone who has been there for me personally in the midst of this big life transition, and for those of you who have sent kind words via social media, about Jim’s big accomplishments. That positivity is what makes the world a beautiful place to live in. Always be a ray of sunshine in the cloud filled sky. (Yes, again more cheese. But I LOVE the cheese.)

“The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.”

xo

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THERES BEEN A MURDAH IN SAVANNAH

HELLLLLLLOOOOOO GUYS!

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I’ve been away from the blog for a bit–but Im back! I’ve got lots of posts coming this week to get y’all (sorry, I’ve been down south for a bit…) to get you guys WICKED caught up. haha

SO–this post is about my road trip to Savannah! My Mom and I went on a trip together down south, in her Nissan Rogue and lets just say it was quite the adventure..

I don’t have tons of road trip pics from the first leg of this trip, because things got a little stressful. We started off the morning great. Left on a Sunday at 4am–stopped to grab Dunkins and filled the tank, and got on the road. We were making great time. By around 1pm, we were already down in Richmond VA….when all of a sudden–Mom is trying to get some sleep in the backseat, and I notice that the RPM gage is going all the way up to 5000 out of nowhere and the car is making a terrible winding sound. So–we pull over, and immediately panic sets in. Its a Sunday (aka nothing is open, especially in the south) we’re two women on the road, and one of us *cough cough Momma B* is a real panicky human being.

I shut the car off, turned it back on, pushed on the gas pedal–and NOTHIN. So Mom really starts panicking at this point. I called friends and family asking what to do, and duh da da daaaaaa!!!! One of my best ladies Jill, and her husband–who have the same exact Rogue (color and everything) ask me if I possibly pressed the over drive button! Its the little button right on the side of the shifter.

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Sorry about the crumbs….lol Apparently its a pointless piece of technology and Rogues are known for having an issue with it. So, I shut that off, shut the car off and let it cool down for a bit–and then we were good to go! Thanks Mike and Jill for saving our trip!

Although…we were a bit frazzled from it all. So, Mom and I stopped for the night at a super fancy shmancy hotel, and I swear to you, I took a 2 hour long shower. I just couldn’t get enough of it, and the water pressure and unlimited heated water, and ugh. It was amazing after such a stressful day.

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photo courtesy of google.com/images

The next morning, we were back on the road and finally got to Savannah. Mom and I stayed on Hunter Army Airfield, and I have to say–the IHG Army Hotel on base was nice and clean and well maintained. It was rainy and cold our first night there, so we headed to the very touristy, and much recommended by my coworkers…Paula Dean restaurant–Lady and Son’s. All I gotta say is BUTTER BUTTER BUTTER.

 

We opted for the buffet option. &I of course got my sweet tea fix. There isn’t really REAL “sweet tea” up north. I mean, we have unsweetened iced tea we add sugar to, and McDonald’s version. But Im telling you–that tea with PERFECTION. I must’ve drank my weight in it.

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photo from fiestyfoodie.com

Mom and I both got a little of everything.

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Fried chicken, (of course) mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, cheesy meatloaf (a little cold…) cold slaw, and corn bread–with actual pieces of corn in it. Am I the only one who as never seen that before? All in all the food was good. Super heavy though. I could’ve rolled out of that restaurant.

The next morning before heading out to tour around Savannah–me, being the New England girl I am, had to go stop at Dunkies. I TOTALLY forgot the serious difference in peoples attitudes between the north and the south. The service is seriously MUCH slower. Everyone noticed it, it wasn’t just me. Up north life is always hustle, hustle hustle. So its a change. BUT–Im telling you, the people are just so kind. People know how to use their manners, and are cordial. The young man at Dunkins was a little taken aback by my Mom’s rush in placing her order–and probably her accent too. haha &He said to her, “Slow down ma’am, Im just gonna pour your coffee first. I know I can’t get through my morning with out my coffee. How are y’all doing this morning? Its very cold out there!” (It was actually pretty chilly, even for us.) But seriously!? I try saying “good morning, how are you” to the workers at my local Dunks, and Im lucky if I get a, “Yup, heah yah go. Have a good one.”

Mom and I took a trolly tour around Savannah, and saw some pretty cool things. There is so much rich history and culture to Savannah. There were so many squares, named after people. The buildings so beautifully crafted, the colors, and the architecture take your breath away. &I NEVER knew how much art influence there was in Savannah. Home of SCAD, the private art university, first opened in 1978 with only 71 students, and is now the university of choice for over 11,000. They have other campuses located in Atlanta, France and even HONG KONG!

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photos courtesy of google.com/images

We stopped at a local cafe called Goose Feathers, and the food was delicious. I had the honey ginger chicken sandwich, and some fresh fruit. After all the fast food on the trip, and the heavy southern food at Lady and Sons this was refreshing. The bread was perfection and surprisingly not super heavy, and the ginger chicken was really different. But delicious. Super affordable, quick place to grab a bite to eat, and plenty of room to sit down. &I swear they play up the southern charm when they hear our Kennedy accents; my mom asking for a small hot regulah. The gentleman who took our plates out of the way said, “Y’all have a blessed day, and y’all ladies come back now.” I wonder if southerners get super excited to hear locals in the Boston area talk, and be supah rude to them? haha

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After heading out for our next leg of the trip, Momma B and I met up with a friend of mine, Mariah and her 4 month old baby, Levi James. It was our first time meeting him, and I WAS IN LOVE. He is such a little man! I am so so soooo happy for my little Momma, who’s wedding to Mr Spencer is this coming October! Mariah, you are so blessed. ❤

 

We had a fantastic time, and I truly wish we had more time to explore, and had some warmer weather. I definitely want to go back with Momma B–this time on a flight, and renting a car. haha

Talk to you all real soon! HAPPY MONDAY!

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“Traveling-it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”-Ibn Battuta

PS-If you got the reference from the title, you’re awesome.

PPS–RANDOM BOOK SUGGESTION; All The Rage by Courtney Summers READ IT

Okey byeee

xo

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Gallery

Dear 18 Year Old Self

HI PEOPLE

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Can you guys believe January is almost over!? How is everyone doing with the New Years resolutions?!  I actually never made any…lol I’m a big resolution person too. But for me..this month has actually brought on kind of an identity crisis for me. Great way to start out the new year.. I just have a huge decision to make in the upcoming weeks, along with a big road trip and choices about my career path. &Being the anxiety ridden 20 something that I am, that brought on lots of panic attacks, and second guesses about my future, career and basically the world felt like  it was crashing down around me.

But..that made me stop and take a minute to step back and really reflect. I went for a Backshore ride (if you’re not from my hometown, it’s just an absolutely breath taking, and for me, calming, and serene ride by the ocean) and thought about things.

I’ve always been a happy-go-lucky girl. But more recently I’ve become this panicky type who is always worried about disappointing someone, and second guessing EVERY decision. Big or small. “Did I really order a cinnamon raisin bagel? Oh God, I really wanted a plain. Now my WHOLE day is thrown off, GREAT. Great juju Autumn. Now you’re going to have bad luck for the next 7 years.” Yeah..

I started thinking back to who I was just a few years back. 4 years ago I was 18. &Although naive, and inexperienced in every form of the word…I was just a happy, silly girl. I didn’t think too much about my decisions (which led to some bad, but a lot of good too) I thought that life was just going to be this super fun ride, and those who stressed and over thought things we’re just sad people who didn’t see the beauty in life. The world was black and white. NOW–I may have just been this way because of my lack of years on this Earth, BUT I also probably became who I am today by becoming jaded..and now I OVER analyze. I basically want to take 2016 to find a happy medium. I also want to use this post to talk to that crazy, young version of myself.

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Dear 18 year old Autumn,

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We got some s*** to address today, love. I’m writing to you from the future. It’s currently 2016. 4 years have passed, &A LOT has changed. (We all know how good you are with change…) I have some basic topics we’re going to talk about, and once you are enlightened, I’d like you to relay to 22 year old Autumn, that she needs to get a grip before 23. 😉

First, lets talk about Dad. I know that it’s now almost been a year with out him. I also know, that it STILL hasn’t hit you. You’re sad. But you’re in denial. It won’t hit you until a month from now, when you’re in a Kentucky Fried Chicken and you have a mouth full of mashed potatoes, and remember that you really can’t take trips to the KFC in Danvers with Dad on a bad day..and eat your weight in biscuits and gravy. Not only because it’s closed down now..but because he’s gone honey. It’s something even 22 year old Autumn struggles with. Somedays acceptance is easy. Somedays I scream and cry STILL, wishing that I could ask him WTF I’m doing in life. You’re gonna have some intense moments where you feel his light beaming on you, and I want you to know..that everything is going to be okay. Dad wants you to be happy. He wants you to smile and laugh, like he did the ENTIRE time he battled cancer. I know you still, at 18 (and sometimes at 22) never thought something this horrid would happen in your life. To YOUR Dad. This only happens to other people!! BUT, sweet cheeks. This is life. Real, raw..and true. This isn’t the worst thing thats ever happened. Because now, you know that he’s with God. He’s with all your Uncles, and Nana, and he’s here too. &Now, you’re going to be forced to live life, and make decisions with out his guidance. But..when you’re worried that you don’t know what to do, and you know you can’t get a response, YOU HAVE MOM. ❤

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Okay Autty. Here’s another fun topic we NEED to address. Boys, and friends. &I say boys because saying men would be a ridiculous term to use with the dating streak you’re about to embark on. If I could go back and tell you, JUST DONT DO IT, somedays I think I would. But then I remember, 18 yr old me…that if we don’t go through these relationships, then you won’t become who I am today &I like me. I want you to know, that if you feel like a guy is talking in circles, and confusing you, and making you always feel like you did something wrong, in a sad attempt to cover up his own faults…just walk away. For that is mental abuse baby girl. If a guy threatens you with physically harming himself in any way, or you, WALK AWAY, NO– RUN away. This is not healthy. Feeling guilt is part of the process, but this is in no way your responsibility. You’re a young woman, who’s responsibility is to go to school, and work and be happy. If a man drinks, and is a Jackal and Hyde with his sober/drunk personalities, know–you can not change him. These are sad, sad situations where a disease has taken over this person, and they can’t change unless they want it themselves. Also, Autumn…when you least expect it..that super nice guy, who quickly becomes your best friend, but you can’t help but get butterflies when he smiles at you with his dimples….that guy who is respectful of you, your family and your life? Yeah, don’t ignore that tall, dark, and handsome sum b****. You’re gonna marry that goof some day. ALSO Autumn; We know change is hard, and you feel everything so intensely, and love so hard. Because thats what 18 year olds do. But know, by 22–you’ll FINALLY know the difference in a healthy vs unhealthy relationship. Not just with men, but platonically as well. Stop doing for others who never care to ask how YOU are. I don’t want you to become a woman who stops loving people–because that isn’t who you are. But I want you to see, that true friends want to know if you’re okay. They don’t hurt you. They don’t walk away from you in tough times. They say they’re sorry, and their actions prove their words. The love you have for them is reciprocated. Blood or not–YOU make the call of who becomes part of your “family.” Choose wisely.

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18 year old me, currently you’re a blonde beauty. Know that changes in your body are going to happen over the next few years. Food will become your comfort. Exercise will go on the back burner. But I don’t want you to ever hate YOU. You are beautiful. (You’re currently a brunette with a little extra curvage you didn’t used to have) Love your body, in all its forms. Love the reflection you look at, and treat your body with respect. Water is essential, fruits and vegetables are Earth’s candy. &Running makes you feel on top of the world.

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Autumn, I hate to break it to ya–but that feeling of not knowing what you want out of a career? That isn’t gone yet. School is still important to you–but that end result is starting to feel as fuzzy as it did the day you threw that white graduation cap off your head, and had the realization that, “S*** I DONT KNOW WHAT I WANNA BE WHEN I GROW UP.” Well, I guess now…I’m “grown up” and 2012 Autumn..the 2016 version of you is a year from graduating. After countless major changes, and a semester off– elementary ed and child psych are where you’re at, but you’re still freaking the hell out. ITS OKAY. You’re allowed to second guess things. You’re allowed to be confused. You’re not a failure. But don’t hold it in until you feel like you’re going to explode. Go talk to Mom.

Lastly…work and play needs to be a better balance. Kid, YOURE 18. I know working 60 hours a week, taking on countless volunteering ventures, and being in school full time, is good for the resume, but laughing with your friends on a weeknight, and going for hikes in Ravenswood with Riss and Lola is good for the soul. Learn balance.

18 year old Autty, please teach 22 year old you that the world is still a beautiful place, and that it’s okay to laugh and smile through the darkness. Be happy, and be yourself.

Love,

me.

PS-

A couple random tips for you for the upcoming four years..

  1. If you wanna be blonde, then be blonde. Your roots do not pass for that ombre fad everyone is going through.

  2. Yes, thick brows make a come back. That doesn’t mean those caterpillars on your face qualify as chic. Get them suckers waxed.

  3. Leggings ARE pants.

  4. Don’t let negative people change your energy, and enthusiasm for life.

  5. You’re gonna meet Taylor. YES YOU CAN FREAK OUT NOW.

  6. When you discover the gold mine that is Chipotle, that doesn’t mean eating there 16 times a week is healthy. Especially with all that cheese and sour cream.

  7. Travel.

  8. Over exposed selfies arent cute.

  9. High waisted shorts are.

  10. Your best friends are everything.

beautiful quote

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