Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye and So-long to 2008

It's New Years Eve. I worked this morning. Just a half day, thank you Hilton. They graciously gave us another half-day off - pending the needs of our department. In my case, it is almost ALWAYS a given that I am able to leave. I remember one time that I had to stay because Frank had someone in the office. He sent me out for Schlotsky's...but now I have digressed.

Tonight I will spend with Benjamin and Jonathan. Alyssa is planning to go to a friend's house (nothing firm yet as is usually the case) and Michael is in Orange, TX, on a church mission trip to help FUMC Orange with some rebuilding from the hurricane earlier this year. He will be coming home tomorrow. I am happy for him that he will be spending his time welcoming in 2009 with another youth group from another church and with his own church friends. It makes me happy. He's 17 and could be doing much more destructive things.

Benjamin bought a new XBox game, which he is playing right now and I feel certain will all night if only to stop do cheer in the new year. Jonathan and I, I think, will watch TV in my room, changing channels, or maybe watch "The Dark Knight" if he wants to and I can stand to sit through it again. Scratch that, I won't be sitting through any movies, I can't sit still that long. I think I will work on putting the Christmas decorations away and cleaning. I always have things to organize and work out. If you read my brother,Andy's, blog, you will see that he and I have very similar quirks, if you will. We come from parents who like to hord things. I believe it has made us not non-horders but more like organized horders. I have stuff, way too much stuff, but it is organized, but I definitely have too much stuff. I blame it on having four kids and wanting to keep every single thing that they made or touched for the last whatever years of their life.

This year has been very rewarding for me. I feel like I hit a stride in this whole single mom thing. It has been five years now. I feel much more sure of myself and much happier with the woman that I am. It makes me sad that, along the way I have offended people, stood up to some who needed it and they didn't like it, and lost a few good friends-or so I thought. I believe with all my heart that things happen for a reason and that you should never be someone's doormat. Excuses don't cut it. Forgiveness is best. If you can't get over it, go along your merry way and leave me out of your problems. Look around you. This life is what you have created. If you are happy with it, wonderful, if not, it's up to you to change it. No one will do it for you.

These are the things I try to teach my children, like it or not. As 2008 comes to a close, I pray that you are blessed over and again in 2009.

With love,
The Nobles Family
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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Gloves

I should have posted these pictures a long time ago, but with my schedule and the kids and camera issues I have been having, well, I just didn't do it. My brother, Andy, made fingerless gloves for my kids per my request back in the summer. I got to see them when I was in Amsterdam and then he had to remake three of the four pair. Below are some fun pictures we took of the kids and their gloves. I hope you enjoy them. Also, I got a scarf that he made out of wool and then one that he and Fred bought in Thailand for "the girls" (me, Patty and Venessa) that came to the wedding. I got brave and wore it a couple of times. Knowing how I am, I didn't want to mess it up so I put it away again.




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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Today is Christmas. I am alone right now, but the good news is the kids are coming home in a few hours instead of tomorrow. I spent the night at the Hilton Southlake thanks to my Director of Sales friend, Renee, where they upgraded me to a suite and had a nice cheese, cracker and fruit tray with a bottle of champagne sent to my room. I also had access to the concierge lounge which served a nice hot (FREE!!) breakfast and had all the Diet Coke an addict could ask for!

This year has been great for our family. We have all grown a little in size but a lot in our faith. The kids had been going to their own churches for quite a while...Michael and Ben to the Methodist church down the street and Alyssa to the Baptist church where I grew up. It was refreshing to me as their mother to see them making that choice on their own and not going because they were "forced" to like it was when I was growing up. In June, Michael went to youth camp - Newbreed - and came home a changed young man. He made a more firm commitment to Christ, which set me on a path I never thought would come. I went that next Sunday to see him perform the skit the youth performed at camp. Ben had been asking me for some time to come to church with them, but it wasn't until now that I felt God telling me this was where He wanted me and my family. Over the next four weeks, I had one experience after another that just confirmed that I was to join the church. It had been so many years since I had even been a member of a church that it felt odd to even be thinking about it.

The kids and I all joined the church on my 41st birthday. I had Alyssa come with us because I wanted us all there, but she is still going to the Baptist church, which is perfectly fine with me. It was such a joy to stand with all of my children in front of the church and feel so much love. Through everything, God has never left my side. He has always been and will always be there for us. I love my church and if you ever get the chance, you should come here Pastor Lynn speak. He is a wonderful teacher.

Now for the individual account of what each of us has been up to in 2008:

Michael is a Senior at LD Bell High School. He is taking the last of his classes and is in the Jazz Band. He also participated in the marching band "Quest" this year, for the last time. He has done very well in his classes since starting high school. Michael will graduate at the end of May, 2009. His college plans are to go to the local community college to get his basics out of the way and then look at getting in at UNT for studies in Music. Nothing is specific but it will all get worked out in time.

Alyssa started high school this year and participated with the LD Bell Marching Band. She has done very well taking several Advanced Placement class and has applied for the International Baccalaureate program next year. She is driving on a permit and will get her license in April (hopefully) when she turns 16. She has become quite the young woman and certainly takes after her mom!

Benjamin is in 9th grade at Bedford Jr. High. You may have already read much of the update from him in Band News as of Late, but he is coming right along in that area. He is looking forward to high school and marching band next year, but for now, he is in pre-Advanced Placement classes that are helping to prepare him for high school. He is currently living with his dad, but I believe that is short lived. I am ready to have him back home myself!

Jonathan is growing like a weed, getting taller every day. He is in the 4th grade at Bedford Heights Elementary and in the PEAK class there. He enjoys playing games on his XBox and that's about it! He is definitely the baby of the family. We can all see that he is growing up and we are encouraging that as much as possible. I love how much he loves me and still sees me as his mommy.

I am still working for Hilton Hotels Corporate office and love my job. We have undergone a buy out and so far I still have my job. We should know more by February, but I feel certain I will be kept on in one form or another. I am a valued and appreciated employee. The kids and I are still living next to mom. As she gets older it has become a very important thing that we are here for her. We have Baby, Tiny, Lucy and Charlotte (the Spiny Mouse). We are all very happy and have come along way in the last five years. We are truly blessed. We all wish for you an extrodinary 2009.

The Nobles Family
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

I want to take a minute to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 2009. Take a moment to reflect on the past and make the future a more rewarding one. There are a lot of conflicts in the world, but don't forget that God has not forgotten anything or anyone. Whatever you want he hears you. All you have to do is ask. I wanted to post a picture of my beautiful christmas tree here, but I am without a camera for the time being...I will put on up this weekend.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Christmas Plans

It is the week of Christmas and I am working 2.5 days and will be off 2.5 days. The kids are with Steve and have been since Friday. They will come back to my house on the 26th and we will celebrate Christmas and have a wonderful time together. (On a side note, Chris and I are not together anymore. My decision. It wasn't easy. He's a great guy but he wasn't what I was looking for.) This means that I will be spending another Christmas without my kids. For the first time since my divorce I am ok with that. I had made plans for myself and I will follow through with those plans and I will have a great time! I have lots of friends and I have my kids who love and appreciate me. I really can't ask for more right now. I am in a good place and I am blessed.

Wednesday afternoon we are off work and I will be heading to Southlake to do some last minute Christmas shopping and pampering and then I will be staying the night at the Hilton Southlake (Thank you, Renee!). Suzanne may come out and have dinner with me since her husband is working that night. I may go to their house Christmas morning to have breakfast with them and then head home for the day and just watch TV and clean and get ready for the kids to come home. I am just looking forward to having this time to myself. Reflecting on the past and what I want for 2009 will be good for me. I have come a long way since my divorce. I have grown up a lot and become a very strong woman. God has blessed me tremendously and for that I am grateful.
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Band News of Late

I haven't felt much like writing this last week but I have had a few things I needed to put down in here. Forgive me if you think my blogs are one sided. Some of my chidren are more active in things than others.

On December 8th, Ben tried out for the high school All Region Round 1. Our district is the only district in Texas now that has 9th grade in junior high so they allow 9th graders to compete in high school competitions. That meant that Ben would be competing for a spot in All Region against high school kids who have been playing much longer than him. He placed in the competition to be able to compete in Round 2 that next Saturday. He was one of only 2 students with LD Bell that placed from junior high.

On December 13th, he competed for Round 2 but missed a spot by just a little. This enabled him to be able to compete in the 9th grade All Region Band where he was awarded 2nd chair. In November, he tried out for the HEB Honor Band and placed 8th chair. He admits he didn't try very hard and could have done much better. I am proud of him anyway!

Michael told me this weekend that he was told by Mr. Earnhart that his last Tri's schedule was not accomodating him being able to go to 1st Band. Hopefully they can work it out so he can get moved. Now, I don't know if that's a secret or not, but I am so proud of him. He just wants to be in first band, even if it's the last Trimester of his Senior year.

He and Ben played their horns in church on Sunday and will play again in the Christmas Eve service. It was so sweet to see the boys playing along with the morning worship. There were only four horns playing so I could pick them out. We have a small worship team but I truly love the church we are attending. Look for more blogs and pictures!
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Alyssa's Pictures

Is it me or is Alyssa talented with a camera? These are just a few pictures she took on a camping trip recently. Maybe I am just her mom but I think she has an eye for pictures and could definitely do something with this.

My only problem is I don't know where to start. I need to do some research and find a place to submit her photos, possibly have them printed and framed and find an amature place to show them. These are only five of several that she has done over the years. She will go to around the neighborhood and just take pictures of random things. It's beautiful!
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Extreme Makeover Home Edition

On Monday, December 15, I had the priviledge to help with the Extreme Makeover Home Edition that was being done in Keller, TX. Hilton sponsored part of the show, so we had an opportunity to help in the food service tent. It was a very rewarding experience even though I don't feel like I did much of anything. When we got there it was 11:30 and about time for lunch to be served to all of the workers. The weather here in Texas is always very unpredictable. Sunday it was beautiful and 75 degrees. Monday it was freezing with strong winds and I don't think it got up to 40 degrees the whole day. In fact, I'm pretty sure it got colder.

The people that were working on the finishing touches on the house would come in and be so cold that they couldn't get the plates apart. If all I did was help them get a plate and utensils they were happy. They had a nice warm meal and a hot drink to warm up. I didn't go inside the house, but from the outside it was beautiful. There were people standing outside from early in the morning until mid-afternoon when the family finally got home waiting in the spectators area. We got to come out of the tent and watch from the side. We were fortunate enough to be at the house when they brought the family home. Even though the show is a big production, the family really doesn't see the house until they move the bus. It was very moving to see the mom's reaction when she opened the front door and saw the inside for the first time. I can't wait to see it on TV. I think it's going to be on in late February.

The family was sent to Hawaii the Monday before so that they could rebuild the house. The story behind the family is on this link. They are a very deserving family and were so appreciative. The mom is a professional photographer and she takes pictures of premi babies in the NICU, some who will never go home they are so sick. She gives the pictures to the family free of charge. Last summer their house was flooded and the insurance company wouldn't rebuild it unless they moved the house a foot higher. They didn't have the money to do that and have been basically homeless ever since. The dad is a project leader for Habitat for Humanity and was building houses for others while he had no home of his own.

If you ever have the opportunity to do something like this, take it. I wish I had volunteered for more time. If I ever get to do this again, I will.

Enjoy the pictures!
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Cliff House Studio and Gallery

Saturday night, Chris and I had a date with Missy and Brad to go to Cliff House Studio and Gallery for their 26th Annual Holiday Cliff House Studio Open House Exhibition and Sale. I went three years ago with mom but hadn't had a chance to go back until this year. That year I purchased a small plate with the horse hair pottery design. Missy is very artsy and has gone back to the open house every year since. The studio/home is on a cliff on Eagle Mountain Drive and it is just majestic. The view is amazing and in the wintertime, it is a perfect place to spend an evening with Friends.

I first met Pam when Andy was in college at TWC. I am not exactly sure how she and Andy met, but I believe it was through the studio that she had near the college. I remember going there one time, probably around this time of the year, and watch her do a demonstration. I was probably 18-20 years old. We got to watch a demonstration of how she makes her Raku pottery. It was really the first time I was up close and personal during the demonstration and watched the whole thing from beginning to end. She did six pieces in three different kilns. They were all different shapes and sizes and colors. Pam is so animated and fun to watch - a great teacher! I would love to take one of her workshops some time.

After her demonstration, I made my way to her and re-introduced myself as I always do, waiting for the glee that always comes when I say "Andy Baker". It is so nice to see her reaction when I remind her who I am. She absolutely loves my brother, which is really not hard to do. He's a pretty great guy! I tell her all about him and Fred and tell her I will give her his contact information when she has a minute. She says she will be in the guest shop soon so to just meet her in there. Mom had been there earlier in the day and had picked out a piece that she wanted to get for Andy and Fred's wedding gift. Fred likes the vases with the small holes, so that is what we focused on. She wanted me to pick it out, so the pressure was on. I have been to their apartment, I knew (sort of) what they like but still wasn't completely sure about what color. He already had a white one so I wanted blue or the light greenish one. Blue was my first choice, but when we got back in the gift shop-after the demonstration-all the blue ones in the shape I wanted were gone.

Chris went outside and when he came back in he was carrying the blue vase that Pam had made during the demonstration that we watched. He does listen - I have to give him that! I was talking about it all during the show - how I wanted that blue one. Well, I am talking to Pam and then I am disappointed because we had already purchased the green one and now here was a blue one. Pam said, green, definitely green....this one's from me (as she is handing me the blue one). I am so excited to send them to him that I am waiting to post this until I think the package is at his door.

I took a few pictures on Suzanne's office because there was some sunlight and she has a small Japanese set up. Raku is a Japanese art form so it was appropriate. If you ever get the chance to go to her studio, do it. Go during the day or dusk. That is when the view is the best - just my opinion.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

My First Methodist Christmas

(I googled First United Methodist Church Bedford, Texas, looking for a picture of my church. This came up in images as the first United Methodist Church in Texas. I don't know if it's true, but wouldn't that be cool??)

Last night was Wednesday - a typical church night. I don't usually go to church on Wednesday night but the kids go to youth. Last night the church was having a "decorating" fellowship type thing so I thought it would be a good time to go. I prefer casual and the more casual the better. I wore my nice sweat pants. That's how casual I like it.

The Methodist have a lot more traditions that I have really be exposed to. Sunday was Advent Sunday and it was the lighting of the first Advent candle in the wreath. This will happen every Sunday until Christmas Sunday (I think). I think the first Wedensday of December is something like "Hanging of the Greens" or something. Well, apparently it's usually a lot more formal than it was last night, but I think ours was probably much more fun.

It started at 6:30 and for me to get home from work, get Jonathan and get up there, even though it's just down the street, it's almost impossible to make it by 6:30. We weren't too late, though. There was a ton of food so I didn't put out the dip I brought and I was glad I didn't stress about making the cake I wanted to bring. Michael and Ben were already at the church (Alyssa goes to the Baptist church down the street) and Jonathan had food, so he was happy. It was a nice, relaxing atmosphere for sure. They had different people and groups up on the stage singing various Christmas solo's, duets, or whatever, some nice, some - well, they were trying. The older people in the church - the ones who have been there forever - were hanging up the garland all over the balcony and putting up the Christmas trees. I think there were four all together.

I sat with Carrie who was just about the first person I met at the church. She is 40, single and coordinates the singles group. There was a lady sitting behind me alone. I am not that social and I feel bad now because I should have turned around. She eventually asked me if there was going to be a formal service or was this it. I told her this was it, that we had stickers for the groups but that was all I knew. A little later, Carrie and I were talking and the lady asked me about the age groups of the church. I included Carrie this time (she wasn't sitting with me before) and this lead to a great discussion, which lead me to this blog.

This lady and her husband had just moved from a small town in Oklahoma about two months ago. She had visited the church twice. She is a true Methodist in that she has been visiting the Methodist churches in the area. They have three children, a daughter and two sons, and a grandson. The daughter is 26 and going through a divorce. Apparently, in Oklahoma, you can't get as fast of a divorce as you can in Texas. She said it will be another year to year and a half before she is done and will be able to move here to Texas to be closer to her parents. I just can't imagine being her age and having to go through something like that alone.

Anyway, the night turned out great. The kids seemed to have a good time and the church looks beautiful inside. I love this time of year. I love that it's cold outside. I just love it!
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Jury Duty

I spent my morning at the Tarrant County Courthouse for Jury Duty. It's the first time since I was pregnant with Michael that I have gone down there for this reason. That was the first time I had ever been called. I forget which child it was, Alyssa or Ben, probably Ben, but I was pregnant and got called again and used the reason of having children under the age of 10 without reasonable childcare to get out of serving. As I was sitting there today, that rule really surprised me. Does this mean that Jonathan should be able to be left alone all day if I was to have to serve? He is almost 10 but I can't imagine leaving him home alone all day for me to be on a jury. That just seems absurd. I thought there was an older age, say 12, when they are in junior high at least.

Anyway, it was very interesting. I drove to LaGrave Field where they have free parking if you are serving jury duty. As I drive into the parking lot, I see this woman running frantically towards the bus cover. Keep in mind, it is freezing and windy outside and we live in Texas. Most of us were not aware what was in store and completely unprepared for the weather this morning. We had to wait for at least 15 minutes for the bus to show up. In that time, "Peggy" (the running woman) has begun a conversation with anyone standing within earshot of her. Then she introduces herself (hence why I know her name) and then proceeds to ask everyone standing around her what their names is. As if it is a game, she then repeats everyones name very proud of herself that she has remembered us all. Everyone is very amused as it is making us laugh and forget about how friggin' cold we all are.

Soon, a bus pulls around the corner and we all go towards the spot where the bus will stop. Actually, Peggy suggests we all head that way and so - we all follow Peggy. Guess what. It wasn't our bus. So now, we are all standing outside, out from any cover whatsoever (not that where we were was any better) waiting and just hoping and praying for another bus to round the corner at any second. It takes another 5 minutes, at least, but it certainly felt much longer! As we all load on the bus, I choose the seat right behind Peggy. She meets Russ, who is sitting next to hear, and then begins to introduce everyone around them and again, proud of herself that she has remembered everyone's name.

Now, I was told that the bus would drop us off "right at the courthouse" a.k.a. two blocks away and you will have to walk. I am totally fine with walking. I just wish I had been prepared for the wind cutting through my sweater and shoes with no socks. I am so used to getting in my car in my garage, driving to work, and getting out of the car in a parking garage, never being out in the elements. I was just thankful it wasn't raining. Getting into the courthouse is another issue. The security is like at the airport, except there is very little space inside to wait so the line went outside quite a ways. Luckily, one of the ladies on the bus had been here several times and showed us where to go for a shorter line. Did I mention I had no socks on? Yeah, so I am dreading taking my shoes off and wait until the last possible second so I can run through the metal detector and get my shoes back on ASAP.

It's like a bunch of cattle following each other. No one really knows where they are going, but we all hope we end up in the right place. By this time, it is about 8:15. We were supposed to be there at 8:00 but, of course, there are so many people in there they don't really care - as long as you show up. We go in, get our card scanned and venture to find some place to sit. I end up sitting on the floor in the back room and wait for instructions. One odd side note: my brother, Eddie, was also summoned for jury duty today. He was there but I didn't see him until I was going to my jury pool.

The instructor had a great sense of humor. She has found a way to make her mundane, every day the same job fun. So we sit and wait for our name to be called. When it's called, we go get in a line and get told which court to appear in. I think the only other time I was there they didn't need that many jurys so I was told to wait a while and then let go. I know I never made it to the court room. Peggy is sitting over with a couple of the other ladies from the bus stop and once I am gone to the court, I never see Peggy again. I would LOVE to know if she got picked and how that all worked out.

So I was in a District Court on the 6th floor. I'm not sure if I can post here the name of the judge, but he was very funny and made his job and what we were enduring an enjoyable morning. The case was a personal injury case involving a car accident and unpaid medical bills. I have a feeling the plaintiff lost because the law is not really on her side, but I don't know. I was jury #26 and apparently they try to pick 12 out of the first 24 people. Jury #25 was the 12th juror picked. I barely escaped getting the afternoon off. However, I would love to be on a jury - if it was an interesting case, of course. I love that kind of thing.

It was very interesting to hear people give amazing excuses for wanting to be excused. They didn't fall under any of the expemptions of dismissals that are allowed, so they go to the court and give the judge a story as to why they think they aren't fit for the case. Juror #24 was REALLY trying hard. It worked. He got to go home. He dismissed three women for medical reasons right there on the spot. Honestly, he just didn't want you there if you didn't want to be there. He was giving everyone a chance to go home. If I needed someone on my side, I would want it to be that judge. At least it made for an interesting morning.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

I just realized that it has been a week since I blogged. That is very likely due to the fact that it has been a whirlwind week. I worked and the kids had school Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday the kids were out of school but I worked a half day. I thought I would be able to get out just a little earlier, but as it goes, I worked right up until noon, went to have lunch with Chris (he works on the other side of Dallas and I haven't had the chance to go see him during work before) then came home and just took inventory of my house and schedule and started in on things to do. Ben came over that night and we just hung out and watched a movie on TV and did laundry.

Thanksgiving morning, I got up and started making a few breakfast dishes. We planned on having brunch about 11:00 just to tide us over until we went to Chris's parent's house for dinner that night. I made a breakfast pizza and sopapia cheese cake, croissants and sausage. It was a lot of fun, just me, Chris, the kids and mom sitting around talking. Then came the time to rest and veg and cook for dinner that night. It was very enjoyable to be with a large, happy family this year. Cathy's husband had to work, but her younger two daughters and my kids were there. It was definitely a full house.

Yesterday was full of running around and two basketball games. Ben is on the 9th grade B Team this year. They had a tournament out at Western Hills High School this weekend. The first game was at 9:30 yeasterday morning. They played again at 1:30 and again this morning at 10:40. They won the first game and lost the last two, which knocked them out for any type of win. Ben was very disappointed as he is very competitive and takes it on himself if his team looses. The kids went to spend some time with their cousin's yesterday since the girls are in town from New Mexico. That opened up an opportunity for Chris and I to go spend time with my best friend Missy and her boyfriend Brad. It is something I haven't been able to do and really enjoyed it! We played a dice game called L C R, which was fun. We played with quarters and I won - $3 - but I won!

I finished up the laundry this morning, but of course, there is always more where that came from. I really have to get on the ball and keep up twice a week instead of stressing out to get it done on the weekend. All in all it has been a great weekend and I have enjoyed being able to relax and go at my own pace (sort of) and just have lots of time to get everything done before I go back to work.

Monday I have jury duty so I will let you know how that goes! :)
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Word of the Day - non sequitur

I have decided to come up with a new form of blogging since band is over and my life is not all THAT exciting. I am going to do a "Word of the Day" and see if I can relate it to my life - probably more exciting for me than anyone else!

non sequitur • \NAHN-SEK-wuh-ter\ • noun
1 : an inference that does not follow from the premises
*2 : a statement (as a response) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly related to anything previously said
Example Sentence:
The professor's lecture was a jumble of non sequiturs and irrelevant observations.

Did you know?
In Latin, "non sequitur" means "it does not follow." The phrase was borrowed into English in the 1500s by people who made a formal study of logic. For them it meant a conclusion that does not follow from the statements that lead to it. But we now use "non sequitur" for any kind of statement that seems to come out of the blue. The Latin verb "sequi" ("to follow") has actually led the way for a number of English words. A "sequel" follows the original novel, film, or television show. Someone "obsequious" follows another about, flattering and fawning. And an action is often followed by its "consequence."

So, non sequitur/sequel/consequence - that's what I'm going with. I am in the sequel of my life. It does not follow my past relationships at all. I am with a man who is loving and very attentive, things I did not have growing up or during my marriage. My children have a man in their life who is a positive influence, who loves life and wakes up happy every day. Now THAT is non sequitur to what we are normally like. None of us wakes up happy, except maybe Jonathan, and it usually takes him a few minutes to wake up. It has been an interesting two months with band going fast and strong and then suddenly there is nothing - which is a good thing.

My hope and prayer for my children is that the consequence of my divorce and relationship following will be an example of how to love and how not to love. As much as my parents may hate to accept it, they did not have a loving relationship and were not a good example to their children of how to have a good marriage. I want to break the cycle of bad relationships and destructive behavior that plagues families all over the world. I believe that it has made me a better parent, a more loving and open person for those who love me and accept me unconditionally. Allow those you love to be who they are. Don't put expectations on people. Jesus accepts us unconditionally without judgement. In the spirit of the holiday season, learn to love and forgive, accept the mistakes you have made and move on in the best way you know how. THAT is very non sequitur to the way most of us live our lives.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Sick

I get to work this morning and as I am sitting down at my computer to get my day started, my cell phone rings. I see the number and recognize that it's the school calling. It's the school nurse telling me that Jonathan just threw up everywhere. GREAT! Man, how awful for him, for the teacher - ugh. I just have a few things to gather up so that I can work from home, get my mom to go get him and head out at the first chance I get. I'm thankful my boss is so understanding. It's been pretty slow lately since it's almost Thanksgiving.He's doing much better, by the way.

I can't believe it's so close to the holidays already. I am more ready for it this year than in the past years. This month celebrates five years that we have lived in this house. December will celebrate 5 years since my divorce. I can't believe it's been five years. I definitely feel like I am a much better person, woman, mom, friend. I am more comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been. My kids have come so far and have grown up to be almost adults. Michael seemed like such a child five years ago. Now he is almost a legal adult and I look at him like he's a man, even though he calls me mommy when he's not feeling his best. Alyssa is turning into such a young woman, independent and strong, I love it and hate it at the same time. She comes by it naturally though! Ben has grown more in the last month than I thought possible. I miss him but I'm happy that he is where he wants to be right now. I think it's been the best thing for him to gain some independence and grow up a little bit. Jonathan is becoming a little man himself. He is still the baby, but he is independent too - and I'm trying very hard to let him grow up.

The dog at the top is Cheyenne, Chris's dog. If you know my two dogs, can you imagine how they are handling her? The were getting used to her coming over and then we went out of town and they completely forgot who she was. She is a super sweet 60 pound lap dog and my two pests just bark at her. We are going to need therapy for the dogs soon!!
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back to Life

The kids were out of school yesterday and I took the morning off to get Alyssa and Michael to school to do the finals that they missed Thursday and Friday. It was hard to be at work when I just really wanted to be at home vegging. Apparently, Ben has made the basketball team at Bedford Junior High. I need to call today and find out when his games are. At least I don't have to contend with band. Jonathan is just happy to have me home for a while. We are all ready for a break from school and work.

Thanksgiving will be fun and different this year, I think. I am going to decorate the house a little this week with all my decorations that I haven't gotten out in a few years. Chris's mom has asked me what our Thanksgiving plans are. I am planning on just getting a small turkey to make for lunch and just have small dishes of our favorite things, maybe even a brunch kinda thing. Chris's family does a late dinner and it would be nice to be in a house full of people again. Chris's sister has three girls, two that still live at home. We go over there for Sunday lunch and it's just a house full when all the kids are there and sometimes they bring friends. I am looking forward to it.

I am back to life as "normal" I guess. For now things are going really well. I think Ben is enjoying living with his dad. He has his own room, his own space, even though he has two "little brothers" living there now. Michael is working again, saving for a "new" Jeep. Jonathan is just Jonathan. He lives life and doesn't worry about too much. He loves Chris and that makes me happy. Alyssa is thinking hard about whether she wants to do IB next year or not. I think we are going to make an appointment with the IB counselor to talk about her options. It's a great opportunity for her but it is a little overwhelming not really knowing what all is in store.

It's been a good year.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Back from Indy with a Smile

We are finally back from Indianapolis with a great outcome. The trip for all was very wearing but very worth it. The band arrived on Thursday night, Chris and I arrived on Friday night. We missed the prelims because of our flight, but from what the kids said, they had a hard time with the new turf of Lucas Oil Stadium and the pro hash marks vs. the high school hash marks. No matter, they still went on to Semi-Finals on Saturday.

Chris and I got stuck in Chicago and ended up renting a car and making the three hour drive into Indianapolis, which was a good thing. Just as we were entering the city, Michael called to tell me he was having an allergic reaction to something he had eaten for dinner and could see his cheek swelling up to his vision. Thankfully, we were just blocks from the hotel, so I called Chris's sister to ask her to get a hold of the nurse and meet me in the lobby. The band always travels with a nurse and her husband, a doctor, came along for the trip to Indy. I rushed into the hotel to find Michael and get some Benadryl to see if that would help. Michael has been known to have a very random reaction to things with tomatoe but after having him allergy tested with nothing confirmed, we basically just wait for things to happen. The next morning, they had to give him more medicine because he still wasn't feeling very well. That seemed to take care of the reaction.

The band performed in Semi-finals at around noon. The show was fabulous and the crowd reaction was wonderful and motivating as usual. Results for Semi-finals were:

Class AAA:

Outstanding Music Performance - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
Outstanding Visual Performance - Avon H.S., IN
Outstanding General Effect - Avon H.S., IN

1st - Avon H.S., IN
2nd - Lawrence Central H.S., IN
3rd - L.D. Bell H.S., TX

We drew the second spot to perform in Finals, which isn't always the best. The statistics are such that a band who has won and comes back the next year to defend their title doesn't place in the top three. Knowing that going in, everyone was a little concerned about the outcome of the finals competition. I know that my kids were extremely pleased with their job in the show. That meant the most to me, that they were happy with their personal performance.

On Saturday, November 15th, at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, the L.D. Bell Band placed second at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Championship. L.D. Bell stands alone, having placed in the top three at BOA Grand Nationals for the past four years (2005 - 3rd; 2006 - 2nd; 2007 - 1st; 2008 - 2nd). Congratulations to Avon High School as the 2008 Grand National Champion!
Since 2000 the Blue Raider Band has now medaled at BOA events 19 times and has been in the top 5 of all entered contests since 1999... with a 50% increase in enrollment since 2003, it can be surmised that many students find band at L.D. Bell to be fun. Congratulations to L.D. Bell Band stakeholders past and present!

2008 Grand National Championship Results:

1st place - Avon H.S., IN
2nd place - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
3rd place - Lawrence Central H.S., IN
4th place - Marian Catholic H.S., IL
5th place - Carmel H.S., IN
6th place - Broken Arrow H.S., OK
7th place - Tarpon Springs H.S., FL
8th place - Kennesaw Mountain H.S., GA
9th place - Centerville H.S., OH
10th place - Ben Davis H.S., IN
11th place - Plymouth-Canton Ed. Park, MI
12th place - Lafayette H.S., LA

During the final performance, it dawned on me that this was the last time that Michael would march, unless he marched in a college band. I didn't cry, but it was a little sad. He has come so far since his beginning high school. The funny thing is when we got to the hotel to see the kids off on the bus he said "I'm so glad I won't have to wear that ugly uniform every again!" Well, at least he wasn't sad! Alyssa wanted me to come up and see her hotel room. The time it took me just to get on the elevator to get up to her room was challenging. Then I got to her room and it was such a complete mess that I was just thinking I wanted to get out of there! Six teenaged girls in one suite was crazy! I just laughed and told them to make a double and triple check of the room before they shut the door. There is no telling what got left behind.

I think to myself that I have three more years of this (hopefully) and and I just need to get it together and not stress out with having two kids and two uniforms to care for. It is all very worth it if my kids are happy. It's back to the normal life now. Gosh - what am I gonna do with my time???

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting Ready for Indy

The band leaves for Indianapolis tonight. They are defending their Grand Nationals Champion title. The statistics are that they will not win again, but their show is amazing - again - and we are certainly hoping for the best! Alyssa is very excited about getting to go this year. This is Michael's third and last time to go. It always makes me a little nervous to send them off on a bus overnight, but we have used the same bus company for a while and have had no problems. I know they research everything possible before they sign a contract.

Chris and I are flying with his parents on Friday and hopefully will be back on Sunday. We are staying at the Hilton Indianapolis where I stayed last year. There is a new stadium in Indy - Lucas Oil Stadium. We were the last band to march in the old stadium. It will be exciting to see the new stadium fully complete. We saw it last year as it was being built. I just hope there is a tunnel to get there because I just checked the weather and it's supposed to be snowing on Saturday! Yeah!! I love the cold weather and it's not getting cold enough here for me.

I will keep everyone posted and updated with pictures as soon as I can.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Just Thinking Again

I am looking forward to this weekend. I have the kids and not too much to do. We had the last football game last night - thank you Jesus! Trinity beat Bell 30-20, but it was a really good game and the weather is getting cold enough that it's fun to be outside at night. I think the kids are relieved to be done with football. Tonight and tomorrow night the band is practicing to get ready for Indy next Thursday. We plan on just relaxing at the house most of the night tonight. I am working at Trader's Village tomorrow, which I haven't done since September. Then, tomorrow night is the community performance in uniform.

My life has been busy and I am afraid that I have hurt some feelings and made some important friends feel like I ditched them. I don't like to do that. I wish they could understand that it's not intentional. My life is very caotic and right now, with Benjamin living with his dad, I haven't been exactly the best. I worry about my kids all the time. When they aren't in my house, it just heightens the worry. So much in my life is going so well that I am trying really hard to just focus on that. When we all get back from Indianapolis, get things settled and get ready for the holidays, things are going to be much better. I am so thankful for where my life is right now.

As for the election, I hope that the world will just stop for a moment and wait to see what happens. I received a text message yesterday that really hurt my feelings. It said "All white people report to the cotton fields at 6:00 am sharp." Who would send something like that? Apparently, Chris got one too so it wasn't just my friends. If you believe there is a God in heaven, you should know that things are going to go according to His plan. Everyone just needs to keep the focus on Him and be patient.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

UIL State Silver Medalist

The last few days has been an emotional rollercoaster for me and I think for my kids, too. We have traveled to San Antonio twice in the last 4 days. That alone will wear you out. Two competitions with completely different rules and outcomes. The performances were both amazing. On Tuesday, November 4th at the Alamodome in San Antonio, L.D. Bell was named the UIL State Silver Medalist. L.D. Bell has now placed first or second only in the State Marching Contest for a decade. Since 2000 the Blue Raider Band has now medaled at UIL & BOA events 23 times... with this acheivement level, L.D. Bell stands alone. Out of about 500 bands competing state wide starting with Regionals, LD Bell came in second. That isn't bad at all! The shows just seem to get better and better each time I see them, which is really how it's supposed to go. We have the Bell vs. Trinity football game tonight and then the band will practice on Friday and Saturday nights with a Community performance at Pennington Field at 9:15 in uniform. If you are in the area, you should come out and see the show that the band will perform next week in Indianapolis

The band will leave on Wednesday afternoon and head to Indianapolis on busses. Chris and I plan to leave on Thursday. We are flying stand by so I'm not sure when we will get there, but hopefully it won't be too late. I am so proud of all of the band kids and how hard they work. I have some new pictures, and while they may all look the same to you, I will try my best to post ones that show better angles or more close up shots.
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

BOA San Antonio Super Regionals Champions!!

On Saturday, November 1st, the L.D. Bell Band placed first in preliminary and finals competition at the BOA San Antonio Super Regional. Prelims competition featured performances by 51 bands over two days, and finals took the top 14 scoring groups. L.D. Bell swept all captions in prelims with a score of 95.3 and in finals competition scored 94.55, taking outstanding achievement awards for visual, general effect, and sharing the award for outstanding music performance with Marcus HS (Prelims & Finals featured separate judging panels, with the exception of the finals music individual adjudicator).

The next L.D. Bell competition is the UIL State Marching Contest on Tuesday, November 4th; Bell performs in preliminary competition at 1:15.

October 31 - November 1, 2008
San Antonio, TX

Finals Results

94.55 - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
93.35 - Marcus H.S., TX
91.45 - Cedar Park H.S., TX
90.10 - James Bowie H.S., TX
88.80 - Winston Churchill H.S., TX
87.80 - Stephen F. Austin H.S., TX
86.75 - Berkner H.S., TX
84.55 - Hebron H.S., TX
84.40 - Keller H.S., TX
84.30 - Friendswood H.S., TX
83.55 - Westlake H.S., TX
82.90 - Leander H.S., TX
82.85 - Haltom H.S., TX
82.40 - Ronald Reagan H.S., TX

Outstanding Music Performance - tie L.D. Bell H.S., TX & Marcus H.S., TX
Outstanding Visual Performance - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
Outstanding General Effect - L.D. Bell H.S., TX

This past weekend was very rewarding for our kids. We had a wonderful time in San Antonio. We have the new show flags (see pictures below)which were wonderful! And a new ending to the show. We leave early in the morning for San Antonio, the band leaves today before school is out.



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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Little Politics

My brother Andy has something on his blog I think you should read. It's very political, but this is the time of year in a year that is very political. Read it, please.

Much, if not all, of what he states is my opinion as well. I have not been much of a political person in my life. Mainly because my parents were VERY Republican while I was growing up and I was never encouraged to have my own opinions, political or otherwise. I also married a man who allowed me no opinion, so I just voted Republican because that's what I was told to do.

Since my divorce, I have found that I have many MANY different opinions than the ones I always thought I had. I voted for GW the first time because I was married and I didn't like Al Gore - at the time. I voted for GW the second time because I felt it was important to have the same President in office that got us into the war so that he could get us out of the war. That hasn't happened. Oh, and I couldn't STAND Kerry. I have a son who will be 18 in February of 2009. I cannot stand the thought of there possibily being a draft and him having to fight a war that he doesn't want to fight. I don't want to hear "There won't be a draft" because we don't know if there will or not. If we kill off all our military, which is happening, there will be. I will move my kids to Amsterdam so fast you have no idea! I can't stand John McCain and yes, I really enjoy Barack Obama. I see him as the person who is out for me. He understands where I am. He understands how I struggle. John McCain has no idea what it's like to have no idea where you will get money from to make your bills so things don't get turned off. I am so sick of hearing about his POW time. It's over, he's old and will follow the same path as GW and he stands for nothing I believe in anymore.

I better stop now because I will just rant. Have a great day!
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Monday, October 27, 2008

UIL Area B Champions - STATE BOUND!

This past weekend was probably one of the hardest yet. We had a football game Friday night against Keller and won! Then after getting to bed about one a.m., we were up again about 6:30 because the kids had to be at the band hall at 7:15 for warm up and off to the UIL Area B Prelims. The weather was perfect performing weather. It was sunny and cool and the band did very well for the time that they had to work with. Out of 23 bands, 10 were chosen to go on to the Finals. We came in first, beating the second place team by 4 points, which in marching competitions is huge! Five of the ten finalists will go on to State in San Antonio next Tuesday. They are Hebron, Haltom, Richland, Marcus and LD Bell.

Friday night we will have another football game, get the kids out after half time, take them home to sleep (hopefully) and get ready and back to the school by 3:30 a.m. to head to San Antonio for Bands of America competition. We will come back on Sunday, leave again Monday night for San Antonio, UIL State Competition, back on Wednesday and collapse.

The color guard has their final costumes for competition. We are still working on the flags but they should be ready by Saturday. The show is amazing and gives me chills every time I see it!

Now, I am not really supposed to say anything negative about other bands and their parents, but I promise not to name names, but I do need to vent and this is my blog - so I will. There are several bands in the area that seem to have a sore spot on their hinde side because Bell continually wins competitions. If you don't like it, you need to understand - it's not about you. You know the saying "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"? Well, this would be a good time to remember that. Honestly, I do not understand why people can't just say, nice job or good luck or something other than the negative things I hear about our shows. The LD Bell Band doesn't do froo froo shows. We don't play show tunes or use large props shaped like inanimate objects. We play "grown-up" music that is very dramatic and heart stopping, the kind that will give you goose-bumps when you hear it. If you don't do that, sorry for ya. But please don't cut down what we do. All the kids - ALL BAND KIDS - work very hard to do what they do. Mine, yours, theirs, every kid on the field works very hard. I understand that you can talk about us behind our back, but it shows a lot of nerve when you say it to a parent after their child just did an amazing job on the field. I am afraid that I may not be able to hold it in anymore if someone says our shows are "dark and depressing". They are dramatic and emotional and are much harder than most high school bands and if that makes it bad in your eyes, sorry for ya.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UIL Region 5 Marching Contest

Last night was the UIL Region 5 marching contest and Bell got a 1 for the 54th ?? year in a row. It is expected by now, but the band is always amazing. It was a beautiful evening and Ben had his new iPhone that he bought himself with his lawn mowing money so he took some great pictures that I wanted to share. He has been living with his dad for two weeks now. It's been a little bit of a change for all of us but I think it's been good. He is just so much like his dad and really misses him so I finally caved and let him go see if he would be happier living there.

I had huge reservations about this because of how it was when Michael lived with his dad at the beginning of our divorce. It was not a good experience for Michael and I didn't want Ben to go through that same experience. Ben felt that his dad has moved on and was more parental, so I said ok. I felt it was better that I atleast let him try it until Christmas break and then we could re-evaluate the situation. I offered for him to go with us last night and he was very anxious to be with us. I have learned through many experiences with my kids the last 5 years that they know I love them no matter what. I have great kids and they appreciate me as their mom, forgiving me when I mess up, which is a wonderful gift.

Congratulations to the Bell Band and good luck on Saturday's UIL Area B Marching Contest! We will ROCK the place!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Things have been busy crazy at the Nobles house this week and it is just going to get crazier! We had a football game Friday night that was no fun....we lost to Colleyville Heritage but apparently we are still 3rd. Then Saturday I went to give blood, which is something I want to keep doing every 59 days. I have a side vein though, so it's a little more painful and I found out I might not be able to donate plasma because of the return thing. Apparently the blood I gave 3 months ago went to help Hurrcan Ike victims, so that was cool!!

Saturday was just full of doing and napping and running around and stuff. LD Bell and Trinity hosted the HEB Marching Contest and did an exhibition performance that night. We did a great job, of course! I really enjoy watching the band and watching other people's reaction to how good our band is.

Sunday we went to church and then went to Chris's parents house for the every Sunday afternoon lunch. Mom, Alyssa and Jonathan came along. Michael and Ben had worship practice right after church, so they weren't there. Chris's sister and her family were there. I just love that they do this even as adults with family, they go to their parent's house, the same house that they grew up in, the same house I hung out in a lot of my teenage years, and sit down to lunch and talk. I want this for my family as my kids get older. Their house is like a museum that you can touch things in. It's so cool to see all the pictures of Chris and Cathy as they were young, growing up and had families of their own. It's very homey and I just love that feeling. I have been very blessed to have Chris in my life. He came in at a time that I needed him the most and I believe he will be around for a very long time.

This week is UIL competition on Tuesday and Saturday. I got this email below and just had to take a deep breath and know that things were going to be ok!!

THE PLAN - A note from Jeremy Earnhart
We are down to our final four weeks of Marching Band. With contests
and events, we are down to three weeks of rehearsals. Our motto, "The
pain of discipline now, or pain of regret later" will be important to
remember over the coming days and weeks. The importance of good
health, rest, nutrition, hydration, and study can be easy to let slide
as the weather turns cooler. Each rehearsal, as always, will be
carefully scripted to ensure improvement in achievement and 100%
attendance by well rested young men and women will be the ultimate key
to both a GREAT State & Grand Nationals DVD! We had a terrific turn-
out at the sewing session Saturday and our efforts this Monday,
Wednesday & Thursday will effect whether we can use the new Guard
Contest Uniforms at UIL Area.

So here's the plan:

This Week: Students work hard at rehearsals this week and "clean-up"
the site and sound for UIL Region & Area. Parents sew like your hair
is on fire to finish the Part 3 swing flags.
Next Week: Learn Part 5 for BOA San Antonio. Parents sew the closer
Next, Next Week: Travel to UIL State (pending advancement), Bell/
Trinity game Thursday, rehearse/add visual and musical show
Next, Next, Next Week: Rehearse Monday & Tuesday, then get on buses to
Indianapolis Wednesday night.

So if I seem a little frazzled, hopefully you will understand!
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Monday, October 13, 2008

LD Bell Band BOA Houston Regional Champions!!

This weekend was incredible! The band did an amazing job at the Houston BOA Regional Competition. Here are the results:

On Saturday, October 11, 2008 L.D. Bell took their show on the road to
the Bands of America Houston Regional Championship held at Pearland
Stadium. In Preliminary Competition the band was awarded all highest
achievement captions (Outstanding Music, Visual & General Effect) and
was named the 2008 BOA Houston Class Champion. In Finals Competition,
the Bell Band again swept all captions and was named the 2008 Bands of
America Houston Regional Champion. Since 2000 the L.D. Bell Band has
now medaled at BOA & UIL events 21 times. Congratulations to Bell
Band stakeholders past and present!

October 11th, 2008
Houston, TX
Pearland Stadium

Finals Results
85.60 - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
82.15 - The Woodlands H.S., TX
79.85 - Stephen F. Austin H.S., TX
79.30 - Winston Churchill H.S., TX
78.75 - Clear Brook H.S., TX
75.80 - Cypress Falls H.S., TX
75.60 - Spring H.S., TX
74.15 - Brazoswood H.S., TX
72.80 - Friendswood H.S., TX
72.55 - Hendrickson H.S., TX

Outstanding Music Performance - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
Outstanding Visual Performance - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
Outstanding General Effect - L.D. Bell H.S., TX
For more information please visit:

And pictures:

Check out more pictures. Just click on the link below.

BOA Houston Regional Championship
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