Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYE 2009 and More Snow Pictures

It's the last day of 2009. What a year this has been. It has been a good last decade. You take the good with the bad and just know that that's how life goes. There are a lot of things I wish for 2010. Mainly, though, is for peace and happiness in my life - more peace and more happiness.

Alyssa took several pictures on Chrismas Eve while it was snowing. She got home right toward the end of the snow, but it had been snowing all day. I love some of these pictures so I wanted to share them with you.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day Events

Our first Christmas in our new home. This is a picture of the tree with the presents around it. It's not like when they were little and got lots of little inexpensive gifts that made these huge piles of unopened toys. This year was much more simple and more about needs than wants.

If you ask my kids, "What do you want for Christmas?" the typical answer will be, "I don't really know." I would like to think that they have everything they could ever need or that they just aren't really all that concerned about getting anything inparticular. This year, Ben definitely needed a new case for his trombone. We didn't want to get just any case, though. He needed what is called a gig bag. It's more padded than a typical case and it has a shoulder strap so it's easier to carry. I had to sneak it out very early that morning because it's not easy to disguise a case as you can see from the picture. He was the first one ready to open gifts once he woke up and saw it under the tree. Jonathan, of course, "needed" more legos - so he got a good portion of what Toys R Us had on sale. It was the highlight of his day.

Michael and Alyssa never expressed a need for anything specific so I came up with something for each of them on my own. Back around Granduation, Michael and I were at the bookstore. I believe he was looking for a bible. He was this Chronological study bible and seemed very interested in it. I intended to get it for him for graduation but then he wanted other things. Since then, he has decided to go into ministry, so I thought this would be a perfect gift for him. Everyone who studys the bible needs a good study bible. He liked it and I hope one day he will appreciate it. He will also get a trip to the local Sushi bar to have dinner with me next week.

For Alyssa, it was an ever evolving idea as to what I would get her. I was thinking jewelry - a ring maybe. Then, on Christmas Eve I was out getting some last minute things and the idea came to me. She used to have her tragus (the nub that sticks out over the hole of your ear) pierced until an unfortunant event happened and I had her take it out. Since then, she has been wanting to get it repierced. She also has her cartilage on her left ear pierced and really needed a new earring. I found these inexpensive sterling earrings and a really nice sterling ring that says "One Life One Love" which is my hope for her. Then I wrote her a note telling her that I would take her to get her tragus repierced. She was more than thrilled!

The snow had frozen into ice overnight and someone needed to get out and get mom and bring her over to the house for lunch. Michael left early to get Ashleigh so they could exchange gifts, so I sent him to get Nana. Overall, it was a very fun and relaxing Christmas for us. We didn't have the usual turkey. I made a brisket instead. We don't have a dining table, so I pulled out the card table and piano bench. We made due with what we had and it was fun. I got the new John Mayer CD and some nice things from Bath and Body Works, which is my favorite!

I look forward to the future when there are families running around and lots more people flooding my house to celebrate just being together. That is what I want for Christmas.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Snow

It was an amazing site! Snow was actually falling for HOURS on Christmas Eve. I was pleasantly surprised when it started about mid-morning and continued into the late afternoon. There was a small concern that this would keep us from going to church for the Christmas Eve service. Later that evening, the news was reporting many churches cancelling their services. Thanksfully, we do not live far from our church, so no matter what, we would be there.

Michael was playing Joseph in the finally part of the Nativity story that has been told to the children each Sunday.

We left early enough to get mom from her house and then get to the church safely. The snow was definitely going to turn into ice at some point during the night, we just didn't know when.

I do remember having snowy Christmases when I was little. I probably remember this more from seeing pictures because I was pretty little, under five years old, I think. It's nice to have this for my kids when they can remember it. The snow fell and blew most of the day as Jonathan was the only brave one to venture out in it. The rest of us just wanted to stay inside where we were warm. The thing about living in Texas is, normally you aren't really prepared for snow when it comes to the proper clothing. In our house, we tend to layer. We don't have those big, heavy coats because, for the cost, we won't use them near enough and then the whole out-growing thing. It just gets to be too expensive.

Alyssa took some amazing pictures at the house. I will blog on that in a little bit. They are beautiful, if I do say so myself!
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Live Nativity 2009

Ben and Taylor

The church we belong to is right on a busy corner of the highway and a popular street that runs through Bedford. It is a large church that is extremely hard to miss if you pass it more than once. For over 20 years (I'm guessing here) they have done a "Live Nativity" on the corner. Last year the church didn't do it because no one would step up and help organize and ask church members to participate. Admittedly, I was disappointed. As long as I had live in that area I saw the activity going on and this year I was a member and no one wanted to participate.

Thankfully, someone from the church stepped up and organized the whole thing and did a great job, I might add. It helps that we have a Youth Pastor who is very adamant that the youth participate in pretty much every event. While my kids get a little miffed sometimes, I think she is right in "asking" them to help out. Alyssa was supposed to help out on Friday night but she got a job and needed to work. Benjamin played a shepard on Friday and Michael played one on Saturday. I didn't get a picture of Michael....sorry Jerry G.

Basically, people dress up like Mary, Joseph, the shepards and magi and then they have a company bring live animals so that people will stop in and come up and see the animals and we can introduce them to our church. I have to say, it was very inticing. the church has an easy access parking lot, which makes it less intimidating to get out and come see what's going on. It made me proud to be standing there watching the kids walk up to "Mary" and "Joseph" like they were Santa Clause. The parents would take pictures with all of the "cast".

I hope that a year never goes by again where they don't do this.

The "Baby Jesus" is facinated with my little shepard boy

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Monday, December 14, 2009

What is Christmas Anyway?

This time of year always gets me to thinking about what I want for my future. Christmas is not about gifts at all to me. I do get the kids something, but my budget is small so it's not ever very much. This year, I haven't really asked what they want, although two of them have told me certain things. I am going more along the lines of being thoughtful and getting what I think they would like. We will see how that works out.

I have a few more vacations days and decided to take two extra days off before Christmas just to be together. Our lives are so rushed all the time. I want to just relax and hang out, play games and eat pizza in front of a movie...ease and peace. That is what I am looking forward to.

I received an email from a guy I go to church with. It contained about 12 different Nativity pictures. The one above is my favorite of the ones I was sent. Christmas should be about family, love, your faith and celebrating the birth of Jesus. It is not about all the commercial crap and buying gifts for people you hardly know.

So, remember this during the holiday season: appreciate what you have, love the ones you are with and be grateful for everything - good and bad.
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A Christmas Story

Christmas is less than two weeks away. Sunday, yesterday, we had a presentation of "The Christmas Story" from the children of the church. Jonathan is not the child of mine who likes to be up in front of a crowd for any reason what so ever. As he gets older, he is slowly coming out of his shell, realizing that he gets more recognition when he does something like perform. The Sunday before, when the Children's Director stopped me and asked if Jonathan was going to come to the practice and get his part, of course I said yes. Jonathan wouldn't speak to me until after the rehearsal.

I had told him that Ms. Jennifer knew he didn't like being up in front of people and wouldn't give him a speaking part. Alyssa took him up to the church, so when he got home, he actually apologized for his attitude. Not only was he going to have lines to say, he was the 3rd narrator with the most lines. Luckily, they were going to have the lines on the podium, so there was no need to memorize, just knowing how to read what their lines were.

He was so excited to get all dressed up for church that morning. I was so proud of him for standing up there and reading his lines. That's him on the left in the picture in case you couldn't tell. Here is the link to the church sermon videos. It's the middle video choice. Michael is the one leading the singing.

Grampa and Grandy were there to see him and after the service, took us all out to lunch. Jonathan stayed for the Birthday Party for Jesus. The rest of us had a great time! I love that the kids are getting older and are more adult-like so we can all have lunch together and talk like adults. It's a good thing
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Thursday, December 10, 2009


This is Texas and the saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change." That is exactly what happened last Wednesday when I opened the door to the apartment when we were leaving for the day. It was that nice, wet snow that you know isn't going to stick around all day but it's fun to see falling from the sky. You can't tell it from the picture, but that is snow on my car and snow falling from the sky.

We aren't ever prepared for anything like this because it just happens maybe once or twice a year. Buying the gloves and jackets needed for this type of weather just isn't feasible anymore. I have one child who wants to run out and play in it. The other ones like to look at it but they don't like the coldness of it. This just makes me see laundry piling up when Jonathan runs out in his hoodie that gets soaked almost immediately....and I spoil it by demanding he get out of the wet snow!

When the kids were little, I would usually get a hand-me-down jacket or two from friends. This always worked well on snow days, but none of my kids have ever liked big jackets. Maybe it's because I don't like them either. I prefer to layer - always have. I can't imagine living some place like Alaska where you have to dress like this almost all the time. I do love wearing a scarf, which seems to be the new thing now. That's another post for another day.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Christmas Tree

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I needed to pick up a new Christmas tree. We had a nice, big tree but I left it at the house because I knew I didn’t have a place to store it at the apartment and frankly, it was just too big.

Friday morning, Garden Ridge had a 6 ft. pre-lit tree on sale for $20 – or so I thought. As it turns out, they were on sale Saturday. What was on sale Friday was the same tree with no light for $10. I’ll take it! I knew, or hoped, that I had lights at home. As it turned out, I had four good strands out of the box and two in boxes, so I was all set. I got the tree set up and lights on before the kids got home on Sunday evening. I wanted to set aside time for them to decorate so that it would be done and ready for Christmas. Benjamin did protest a tad because it “wasn’t even December yet!!”

So here the kids are, putting decorations on the tree in the cramped little space that is the dining room. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get a table and chairs. It was actually a lot of fun, more fun that it has been in the past. I didn’t have to wrestle with boxes and lights and getting the tree to stand up straight. I realized that, this hasn’t always been fun for me. It can certainly be a struggle when you are fighting unforeseen forces around you. Those times where it seems like nothing is going right and you just want to give up – it wasn’t like that this year.

Now, you would think that with three teenagers, it wouldn't be so complicated to get them to all just stand together in front of the tree to take a is. They are just goofy...can't help it. You just gotta love 'em inspite of themselves.

The Nobles Family 2009
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving, Family and Organization

Thanksgiving this year was my year without the kids. Every year that I am alone, I really never have any plans until the last minute. I can't ever decide if I want to do anything and I never seem to have someone significant, so I just accept that it's 4.5 days by myself to do whatever.

This year my friend, Kirsten, invited me to have lunch with her extended family, but then my dad invited me to come to his house with Lene, Uncle Mac and Aunt Ema. I definitely couldn't pass that up. I haven't seen my dad and Lene in a while and Uncle Mac and Aunt Ema are my favorite, so I definitely wanted to spend some time with everyone. I was sad that the kids weren't going to be there, but there is always Christmas time. We will make time then for sure.

I wish I had take a picture. I brought my camera and completely let the whole day go by without one picture being taken. I will not let that happen at Christmas. As you can see, I had to use the Normal Rockwell painting. It will just have to do. It was actually one of the best Thanksgivings that I have had in a very long time. I am realizing how important being with my family really is and how much I want my kids to know the family that I grew up with, minus one. Now that the kids are older, they will actually have memories of Aunts and Uncles and cousins of mine.

In short, it was a wonderful day, long weekend away from work where I was able to get my new house in order and spend time with family and friends. I hope you all had euqally as wonderful a time as I did and that you are very blessed this holiday season.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Laundry and the Gecko

Pastor Jeff preached on "Living a Thankful Life" this morning at church. I am pretty sure this sermon came from the fact that next week is Thanksgiving but more so the fact that two weeks ago, in the middle of church, he passed out and had to be taken to the hospital. He found out he has coronary heart disease. He is very thankful to be alive. This got me thinking about people I know who don't seem to get the idea of being thankful. Then, after church today, I went to the laundry room at the apartment to do laundry and saw this little gecko struggling to get up the window...which made me think.

We are all given one life to live. This is it. You get one shot. Make it good. Enjoy it in the best way possible. We all have trials, ups and downs, whatever you want to call it. Just like this Gecko, who was just trying to get up the wall, our path may seem impossible at first. When I initially got to the laundry room, I noticed the Gecko was on the window. He would always get to a certain point and then fall. I saw him try over and over, continuing to try to make it up the window. I left and came back to put clothes in the dryer and noticed he was now on the wall. He had changed his position, but his path was the same. He wanted to get the to the top.

In life, I think we would all agree that the path we initially were on, the one we thought was going to get us to the top, was changed - with and/or without our concent. It can hit us blindly or we knowing change it on our own, maybe not really fully knowing what the path will be like or where it leads but we want it to have the same ending as the initial path. How many of us turn around and go back, just like Mr. Gecko here? He actually did a u-turn after I took his picture but it helps in my story.

My point is, be thankful for what you have. You could be a Gecko on the laundry room wall, but if you are reading this, you are not a Gecko, you are a person who was created by God for a purpose. What is your purpose? No matter what has happened to you in the past, it needs to stay in the past. Focus on what your future holds and how many people who can infect with joy and happiness every single day. Now, let's be honest. There are days when there is little joy. Don't linger in those days. No one likes a "pitty pot".

You never know when your last day will be. Make sure you tell those you love just how much you love them. Be thankful for what you have, even if it's not exactly where you would like to be, it's where you are and this is what you have. Remember: you could be a Gecko.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cedars Open Studios Tour

A Saturday night for me almost never consists of anything more than hanging out at my house - especially when I have the kids for the weekend. My best friend, Missy, and her boyfriend, Brad, invite me to go to a lot of different art type functions with them. I have a tendancy to have to decline. They went to this last year and being such good friends, they never seem to count me out even though I have turned them down way more times than anyone ever should.

I have parent guilt. I am working through that. I made great progress on the moving pile yesterday so I felt like the kids would be ok with me going out midafternoon and getting home later that evening. Why do I feel the need to justify to my kids? I don't know. Maybe it's because I don't have anyone else to justify to...maybe, because for so many years, I had to justify why I wanted "me" time, maybe it's just a really bad habit I need to get over, or maybe it's respect for my kids. I don't want them to think I ditch them for other people any chance I get like someone else in their life that I know.

Oh, but I digress. The above picture is from the first art studio we visited. There was one artist who likes to put these little tiny people on massive art pieces. I found it extremely facinating. They remind me of things that Michael used to play with many years ago. There was one piece hanging in the middle of the room that was probably 15 mason jars with this wire inside and these little people sitting on the wires. It hung like a mobile. I wanted to take it home with me. I am sure I would always be thinking in the back of my mind - "what if those people were real and we were keeping them in jars. They are just looking out at my world." Yes, I have abstract thoughts.

This is the full piece from the top picture. There were five along this one wall and the one mobile hanging in the middle of the room. There are probably ten different people or couples all over the wires hanging down from the tree.

This piece was very interesting. If you look very close at the picture, it's a huge dollar bill that is covered in various candies. The only one I can tell you I remember for sure are the Milk Duds in the middle. Someone comes up with ideas like this. It's amazing the patience people have to do things like that.

This was definitely my favorite piece from this studio. I love sunflowers and this just really was so much more beautiful in person than this pictures makes it out to be. It was taken with my phone...sorry for the light issues. The flowers are all rolled up corrigated cardboard. There were several other pieces using the rolled up cardboard strips, but this one definitely stood out. Makes me wish I had a place and the money where I could buy these type things and display them. But I don't. I just get to go walk around and look at them and drink free beer and eat their snacks. They are just glad to have people come and "ooooo" and "ahhhh" over the things they have passion about.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

A Dancing with the Stars of sorts

A few posts ago, I wrote about how Jonathan was taking this dance class at school. Friday was the performance to show friends and family what they had been learning. Apparently, this is part of the curriculum for HEBISD and was started after Benjamin left to go to junior high, so Jonathan is the first of my kids to take this class. I truly think he has enjoyed the whole process. It's interaction with girls and he is in the 5th grade. It seems like a good introduction to how to be a gentleman and who can argue with that?

Grampa and Grandy came to watch, too. It was very interesting to hear the dance teacher's explain the teaching process and how each dance had rhymn or reason to how the steps were done. The kids were split into four different groups, each group performing two different dances. All of the kids did so well. I don't think I saw one boy who wasn't at least sort of having a good time. The girls all seemed to enjoy it, but maybe that's because we are all taught this is more of a girl thing, I don't know. What guy wouldn't at least want to learn a few dance steps to get by on the dance floor?

Jonathan had asked Michael if he could come to watch, too. That morning, as I woke Jonathan up for school, he said, "I hope Michael can come watch me today." I assured him that he would be there. Later that day, I was talking to Michael on the phone and told him what Jonathan said. He had heard the whole conversation. He, Logan and Austin were all there to watch Jonathan show us what he had learned. Oh, to be ten again.

This is Jonathan and Michael's stepbrother, Avery. I didn't notice him out there in time to get a picture of him with his dance partner, but I was glad to see him afterwards. What a bunch these boys make.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Trip to Indy 2009

Wednesday night, November 12, the band left on a bus to Indianapolis for the Grand Nationals Competition. My plane left on Thursday afternoon at 4:00 pm. It was a really good trip on my part and I think Ben's bus ride was a success since he doesn't sleep well on moving vehicles. He managed to get a good amount of sleep. My dad came to pick me up at my apartment at 2:00 and we headed to the airport. My flight had no layovers, so that made me happy. I got to Indianapolis at about 7:15, took the bus into the city and checked in at the hotel. After I got settled, I went to the Embassy Suites where the band was playing and waited for them to get there.

They were scheduled to arrive at 7:30 but were about an hour late. As the kids were coming in the door with their instrument, uniform, shako box, luggage and pillow and blanket, parents were standing at the ready to hand them a bottle of water and a boxed lunch. Then up to their rooms they headed. The elevators became clogged very quickly as we had kids on several floors. Luckily, they were given their room assignments way ahead of time and knew where they were going. They had to eat and get to a meeting on the 2nd floor of the hotel by like 10:00 pm. They performed the next morning at 9:15, but needed to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed and be ready to go warm up by like 6:30. I got talked into getting up at 5:00 am to go help braid hair for the girls who wanted that. It was worth it. My daughter never lets me mess with her hair...

The preliminary performance was almost perfect from everything I saw. I did see one girl drop a sword and heard that another girl dropped a flag, lines weren't good, that sort of thing, but I knew we would make it to semi-finals...and that we did. After the morning performance, the kids pretty much had the rest of the afternoon to do whatever they wanted. I met Ben and his friend at the hotel where we went over to the mall and got Ben some jeans. Then I let them go off on their own and went back to the hotel to take a nap. So - when you put the do not disturb sign on your door, it usually means, do not disturb. At the hotel where I was that shall remain nameless, it means call the room and wake the guest up to make FOR SURE they don't want service. I will be addressing this with the GM after I tell him what a wonderful staff he has. Everyone was very accommodating.

The semi-finals performance was much better, until they had to get off the field. One of the speakers fell over, got the handle lodged in the turf and caused us to be on the field too long. That was definitely going to cost us somep points. I was very nervous going into awards. I wasn't at all sure what was going to happen. As it turned out, we didn't get any outstanding awards, but we did get 2nd in Class AAAA and a place in the finals performance. That is all that mattered - that we got to perform in finals. There was about an hour between when they announce semi results and when the stadium opens back up for finals. I went outside with my friends and said I needed to get a finals ticket and this lady standing next to me handed me a ticket that was just given to her. She just gave it to me so I didn't have to buy a ticket in for that night. What a blessing!

We performed earlier in the finals run of the top 12 bands. At 8:45 the band took the field and had an amazing performance. We were all very excited for the outcome of this competition. It was a long night for me because I had seen some of these shows SO many times, I was just over it. I wanted to get onto the awards and see my son again. My very favorite part of the Grand Nationals is the amazing production of the finals bands taking the field. It's all lights and glamor and I can only imagine how the kids feel down on the field.

LD Bell Band was awarded Outstanding General Effect and 2nd place in the Grand Nationals Championship. I know some kids were disappointed, but Benjamin was so very excited to just have beat a certain other band who shall remain was I.

After that, a lot of the parents went to the hotel to wait for the kids to get there. We ended up waiting outside where the busses drop them off because it was one o'clock in the morning and there were guests sleeping. The faces of the kids varied, but I am pretty sure it was mostly from exhaustion and just trying so hard and doing their very best. All in all, it was a great trip and I hope I don't have to go back next year. Four years in a row is getting to be a bit much. Let's go somewhere else!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sorry for the Delay Folks

This has been a really crazy last two weeks. We got moved on the 7th. It was a good move, but I left a few things in the garage thinking I would be given an opportunity to come back and get them since I was going out of town four days later. That has turned into more than I thought it would, but it is all getting worked out today.

Getting important things unpacked and put away was the most important thing on the agenda. Saturday night, the night we moved in, I finally decided it would be good to start a load of laundry. As I get the laundry in and turn on the washer, it makes a funny noise. I stop it, make sure the water is turned on, and pull the knob to start it again. We have water and it’s coming out cold – which means that the pipes were hooked up right. Then…I look down at the floor and see water running out from under the washing machine. This sends me into a panic, grabbing towels from the dirty laundry and turning off the washer and water pipes from the wall.

This is the point where I am so thankful to have maintenance again. I call the emergency maintenance line for the apartments and tell them what has happened. They are going to send someone out as soon as possible. It wasn’t 10 minutes later that John, the on property maintenance guy, shows up, wrench in hand and goes right in and checks out the situation. He determines that there is a problem with the pipes in the wall. (This would explain why Alyssa’s carpet was wet in her room the day before. We were thinking it was just because they had probably cleaned the carpets that day and it would be dry on Saturday. No, it wasn’t. It was still just as wet as the day before.)

The rest of my night was spent dealing with carpet people coming in, tearing out padding in the hall and in Alyssa’s room (where she was desperately trying to get her things set up before she went to bed) and trying to figure out what I was going to do about the laundry now. The good thing was that my dryer seemed to be working again. The issue I was having at the house was what I thought it was – lent in the wall where it goes out into the garage.

Two days later, I noticed that the floor in my laundry room was still wet and water was seeping up from between the hardwood floors (thank goodness they aren’t real hardwood). So, again, I have to call afterhours maintenance because I don’t notice this until the office is closed. Meanwhile, Alyssa and I are trying to do laundry at the laundry room across the way. Luckily, it’s not far at all and we get everything done by the end of the night. John comes back over, takes a look and decides he needs to repack the pipes and cut a hole in the wall so that it can completely air out. It’s gonna get better. It has to.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Three Months and We are Finally Moving

Back in August, it became aparent that I was going to need to find a new place to live. My current living situation - the one I have had since my divorce 6 years ago - worked while it needed to work. I guess you could say it was good while it lasted - not really but you could say that.

So, three months ago, I called the apartment complex across from Jonathan's school. That is where I wanted to move and I was going to be a little picky about what type of apartment I was going to move into. I wasn't necessarily being forced out of where I am now, but I was feeling the need for it to be soon. When I called the apartment, my request was the largest floor plan (for obvious reasons) and on the first floor. The first floor thing was really a must. The last time I lived here for a very brief month in 2003, we were put on the third floor. I was in more of a hurry then. I wasn't this time.

As it turned out, they had just had a couple put in their notice that very day. The problem - they wouldn't be out until the end of October so we couldn't move in until November 7th. I was going to make due and take this time to get rid of those things that I knew I wouldn't want to take with me. I didn't want to move like I had in the past - taking items with me that I really didn't want or need. Just move the necessary stuff. That was my moto for the last three months. I went through cabinets and drawers and tossed junk and gave things away. The church had a garage sale, so instead of me having my own garage sale, I gave my stuff to the church in hopes that they would be able to get money for the youth. It was a selfish act on my part. I hate doing garage sales.

The huge dining table, china cabinet and buffet had to go. As much as I loved it, I wasn't going to have room for it anymore. I managed to sell it to a lady who found my add on She was so excited because she had the exact china cabinet and never had the table or buffet that went with it. Her husband wasn't thrilled but it was apparent that they had the house for it and he was fighting a loosing battle. She promised me that she would show me the finished product after she redid the chairs and table top. I can't wait to see it! It's nice that it went to someone who was going to love it as much as I did.

The above picture is what my dining room looks like at the moment. I was to be uber organized so that when all my friends show up to help move, I can just say this, this and this and there won't be too many questions. The youth pastor from our church posted an event on facebook and invited everyone that is a member of our youth group site. So far it's about 7 people, including Michael, Ben and me. I am so blessed to be apart of this church. It is very comforting. So, I will let you know how the move goes. Six more days!!
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Monday, October 26, 2009

BOA San Antonio

What a weekend! Michael, Alyssa and I left on Friday afternoon with Ashleigh and her parents and her Uncle Jim. We got to San Antonio REALLY late, slept a little and Danielle, Michael and I headed out to see the Pflugerville Band. My good friend from high school, Tricia, has a daughter who marches in the band and I wanted to be there to support her. It was her first time at BOA San Antonio. The band is mostly sophomores. They could use the extra support. Plus, I wanted to see Tricia. It's been five years. I'm always up for a reunion. I must say, they did amazing! I really would have liked to see them in finals. After all was said and done, they came in 18th out of 50, which is certainly something to be proud of! I hope they come back next year. They definitely have a fight chance!

Bell performed last - 3:30 that afternoon. I had not seen this much of the show AND they chose to wear their new jacket instead of waiting until finals to show it off. Amazing. That's all I can say. I actually shed a tear for the first time in many shows.

While they were performing, I looked over and this is what I saw. Michael was SO intent watching the band. He was counting the can't tell it from the picture, but it touched my heart. You can see in Ashleigh and Alyssa's face - they were paying close attention too. They made a few obvious mistakes, but came out very well winning the Outstanding Visual Effect and coming in second in the Class AAAA awards. They got a talking to and came out fight in the finals. The entrance to the show brings a hush across the crowd. They certainly have a presence. Everyone wants to see them.

They won Outstanding Visual Effect and Outstanding General Effect...and won first place in the competition. I was so excited for Ben and for the band. They have some tough competition this year. I am always amazed at how great the other bands are and how much work they put into their show. We came back to watch all of the finals bands. This is probably my favorite part of the competition.

This is me and Ben - of course. What a proud moment for all of us. I will post about what else we did while we were in San Antonio. This is Michael and a long time friend, Daniel, showin' his baby brother some love.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mood Barometer

Do you ever wish you had a sign around your neck, something somewhere on you that told people what kind of mood you were in at the moment? Well, I do. Actually, only at my office, but it's there and we ALL use it.

One of the Directors, Scott, gave this to me right after he started. He said he found it and it reminded him of me. Now, if you don't know Scottt, that might offend you. Knowing Scott like I do, it was accept and appreciated. Randomly, someone will just change it as they walk past my cube. It might get switched by me if I am having a conversation with someone and I want to act mad. I will just get up, switch it to "bad witch" and sit back down. Or someone may be talking to me and just decide I need the label "BW".

If you know me very well, you know that I am pretty much always happy. I have a hard time waking up some mornings and sometimes I have some big stuff on my mind, but I am not an outwardly mean person and am usually always willing to help out in any way that I can. The sign is just a fun, joking way we play around at the office. It makes me happy to see it. It makes me laugh when I notice that someone has switch it around on me.

We all have the potential to be a "Good Witch" or a "Bad Witch". Every day you wake up you have the choice to be happy or upset or peaceful or frustrated. Your life is what you make it. Other people with try and try to bring you down. They don't like to see you happy. It only hurts you when you let all that get to you. Make your life what you want it to be. What do you want it to be?
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Monday, October 19, 2009

I Like To Read

One thing I try my hardest to find time for is reading. I don't do as well as I used to. It's funny...when the kids were little I read a lot more. I suppose it's because they had nap time and I was a stay-at-home mom then. There is not always enough time in the day to just do things for me, as hard as I try, because my main focus is my kids.

I just finished a really good book that I thought I should share with whoever it is that reads my blog. It's called "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. I went to a book club a few months ago thinking that I would actually participate and go back to discuss the book we chose. I didn't. The premise of the meeting was to bring a book or two that you thought the group could would like to read. The group was recommended to me by my good friend, Susan. She found this website called They have all kinds of groups. Anything that you can think of they have it on here. I had agreed to go with her to a few things and continually backed out so I decided to "un-join" the group as I was sure I would get an email telling me they took me out anyway.

The one group I did go to was the book club group. I didn't know anyone but Susan and the other women...well, I just didn't really feel like it was a group of women that I would "hang out" with...maybe I am just not as social as I would like to believe. Anyway, we all went around and shared the books that we brought and then we were all supposed to vote on a book. Keep in mind there are about 20 woman all who just LOVE the book they brought. The leader of the group decided to have us all draw a number and then took a vote or something...we ended up "deciding" on a book called "Shopgirl" by Steve Martin (yes the actor and yes it is a movie). I like to buy books that I can later share with my kids - the ones that like to read. This one I am not sure that I will offer to Alyssa to read just yet.

Wow, I just went WAY off the beaten path of my of the books that was introduced was "The Art of Racing in the Rain". When Susan and I left the meeting, we went immediately across to Borders to look for the book that we were assigned to read. There was only one copy and she reads very fast, so she took the book home and read it while I read something else. While we were there, we just looked around for a few of the other books at the meeting that looked interesting. As soon as we had walked in, one of the employees asked us if we would like a copy of the before mentioned book. I thought, sure, I love to have a good book on hand. So, I took it along with a couple of other books, one for me and one for Alyssa that she needed for school.

If you have ever wondered what your animal is thinking, this would be a good book for you. The basis of the story is that the main character, Denny, is a race car driver. He gets a puppy one day, Enzo. The story is told by Enzo, the dog. You read about their life together through the eyes of a dog that wants to be a man. There are ups and downs and happy and sad times, but in the end, it is a very sweet book and an easy read. It's one of those books that you could wake up in the morning wondering, "What is Enzo up to today?"
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

BOA Arlington Champions

Getting up at 5:30 in the morning is never fun. Getting up to go see the best band ever perform is always worth it. Ben and I were up, reluctantly, getting him ready to go warm up and take the field for Prelims at 9:30 in the morning at UT Arlington. As always, there was a game the night before, so neither of us had gotten much sleep. Watching other bands march is always fun to me. This day, I got there in just enough time to see the band before Bell. They were from New Mexico and I thought they were really good. They didn't make it to the finals. After Bell marched there was a break. I went down with the other parents to wait for the band and just be there so Ben could see me. You can't talk to them but there is just something about standing with all the other parents so that your child feels a twinge of love. It's important to him - it's important to me.

I decided to go home and make something of my day rather than my initial plan of sitting there watching bands all day. There was one band inparticular that I wanted to watch but I knew I would be seeing them at finals so I decided to pass. Ben eventually got home, played a little xbox and then decided to take a nap. His dad was getting remarried that night so we were a little anxious about what time Bell would be performing. The wedding was at 7:00, the first performance slot was 7:45, so we were praying hard for a later slot so Ben wouldn't have to miss anything.

We got word a little after 5:00 that Bell won all awards, Class AAAA 1st place, Outstanding Visual and General Effect and tieing with Marcus for Outstanding Music. That always feels good! They drew a 9:45 slot that night and had to be ready for warm up at 8:30 that night. We had worked it all out to where Ben would be excused from the afternoon practice and riding in with the band. He has done very well with his spot so he was able to just show up at 8:30. Ashleigh was a huge help in getting all the boys from their dad's house and up to UTA in time for Bell to go on the field for finals.

I went up there that night with Danielle, Ashleigh's mom, and we sat through all of the finals bands. This is probably my favorite part of the competition - watching what other bands do. There always seems to be parts of other shows that I really like and the music is always nice. Just before Bell took the field, we could feel water falling from the sky. I have never been to an outside competition when it was raining. I really wasn't sure at all how this was going to play out. For the next two hours, it did what I would call "mist". It wasn't rain. The drops were never larger than a pin head, but we were ever so slowly getting wet. It was cold all day long and now all I could think about was the poor color guard girls whose outfits are sleeveless and they are all barefoot. I am sure they were freezing. I just hope none of them got sick!

The awards portion is so cool - how they get the bands onto the field and the formation they make. We took two of the three top awards - Outstanding Visual Effect and General Effect and we took the 1st place position with a score of 86.4, which is really good! I was so proud! The band played their music one more time but they didn't march. I am not sure why, probably because of the mist in the air, but the parents were able to go onto the track and see it up close. All in all - it was a good day!

Benjamin and his first medal. What a proud moment.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Things School Offer Now

Elementary school has changed. That's a good thing. There are stories all over the news that schools around here are cutting out physical education or recess or both. I am happy to report that Bedford Heights hasn't cut out either. I know that they fluctuate music/art and PE every other day, but we still have it. I don't remember if I heard this from Ashleigh, Michael's girlfriend, or from Jonathan himself, but they offer this dance class during PE day and Jonathan has decided to participate. I assume it's an optional thing, but either way, I am so glad he likes it.

Ashleigh helps in the after school program this year, so she sees Jonathan every day before he goes home. I sort of wish he was still in Extended Day now that she is there, but she is with the littlest kids so he wouldn't be with her anyway. She has told me how cute the dance class thing is and how much Jonathan seems to enjoy dancing. They switch partners all the time so he doesn't always have to dance with the same person. Note in the picture that he is dancing with a boy. I like that they aren't seperating them into boys and girls together. They aren't making a big deal about a boy dancing with a boy. Also, note the dance teacher in the back ground. She is the one in the dress and dancing shoes. The teacher dancing with the student there is the PE teacher.

I asked Jonathan how he is liking dance class and he responded, "I hate it"...with a smirk. "Really? Because you just told me you really liked it." "Oh yeah I do." Ha ha ha...he thought he was pulling a fast one. I am very much about my kids not being embarassed about what ever it is they like. If he wants to dance, I am all for him dancing. I can't wait for him to get to junior high and be able to participate in school activities. He is built more like a line backer, but I can't see him playing football - ever. And from the experience I had with Michael and Benjamin, he wouldn't be able to handle the ignorant coaches either. Pretty sure that's out of the question but I am fine with that. Band is much more important than the athletics he could participate in. He's probably more of a basketball guy anyway.

So that's the update on Jonathan. I know he gets left out at this time of year.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

March-a-thon and a Drive Down Memory Lane

Saturday was the annual March-a-thon for the LD Bell Band. Last year I walked with the band and realized I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was. This year I decided to just drive and meet them at each rest stop. They started at my old junior high – Hurst Junior High. I missed that part but I met them at the first water break which was at my old elementary school, Hurst Hills Elementary School. It was so weird walking in the door because it looked absolutely nothing like I remembered 30 something years ago. It is so fun to see Ben interact with his friends. He is really liked among all the kids in band. He’s a pretty likeable kid, though. It’s a little awkward for me to be alone at these things. There are a few parents that I enjoy talking to, but they aren’t always where I am.

After chatting with the kids, I took off and went driving through the old neighborhood. It is so interesting to see “the woods” that we would walk through to get to school. They are still there with a sign that designates them as some type of park now…although there is no playground in there. Driving around trying to remember who lived where and seeing that most houses really haven’t changed that much. The trees have all gotten bigger and I would imagine the inside of a lot of these houses are updated, but the outside is still the same.

If I am ever remotely near this neighborhood I take my kids by the house that I grew up in. We moved there when I was one month old and we moved out during the middle of my 9th grade year. I will never forget it. My dad had just moved his practice to the other side of Hurst. I had the 9th grade Band Sweetheart award. I lost. I wasn’t a happy girl. It was December 15th, 1981. I don’t know why I remember that date specifically and I can’t guarantee it’s exact, but I think it’s pretty close.

The next stop was Chick-Fil-A so there I was waiting for them as they rounded the corner. They were going to perform their show music and then I would be able to visit a little bit more. These kids march a total of six miles (I believe) and it always amazes me how much stamina they have. I hope it’s as fun for them to do as it is fun for us to watch. From there they went to Donna Park Elementary to have a break for lunch. After that was started and the kids were resting, I decided to go home and get a few things done before needing to go pick Ben up for the day.

I love the LD Bell Band and what they represent. It is such a proud moment in time for me to see what great musicians my children are. If you are in the area, you should visit the bands website, and find out what they are doing and where they will be.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

6544 Dykes Way, Dallas, Texas

Yesterday, ventured out of the office to find a place to have the oil changed in my car. Instead, I ended up trying to find the house my grandparents lived in during my childhood. I have worked in this office for almost three years now. It’s just a few miles away from the neighborhood, but I have never seemed to either find the time or remember to go look and see if the house is still there. Today I did and today I found the house.

My grandparents moved to this house in 1952. My mother was in college at Hardin-Simmons University and had not met my dad yet. Going to Maye Maye (Clara Maye was my grandmother’s name) and Grandad’s was a highlight of my childhood and I’m sure my brothers would agree of theirs too. When I was born, my parents live in Dallas. My dad had just started his dental practice in Hurst, Texas, so they found a house and moved to Hurst a month after I was born. Going to our grandparent’s house, the only grandparents my brothers and I knew, was always a day-long trip. In my mind, it seemed like it too forever to get there. It’s odd to me that I drive that same path every single day now.

The house is a peer and beam with hardwood floors that were always covered by carpet throughout the house. When you walk in the front door, “the boys” room was immediately on your left and the formal living room was to the right. Next to “the boy's” room was “my room”, also my mother’s room when she would come home from college, before she and my father married. Up just a little bit, on the right, was the den and behind that was the kitchen, which you could also get to through the formal living room. There was a bathroom that connected my room and the boy's room but you could not get it to from the hallway. At the very end of the hallway, on the left, was the master bathroom and Maye Maye and Grandad’s room at the end. This was the layout and from all I can see it must still be the same. If I had seen someone outside of the house, I would have asked to go in. I don’t know if my explanation would have been sufficient, but I sure would have tried. I believe the last time I was in that house was in 1989, after Maye Maye had passed away and my parents were cleaning out the house to sell it. I have driven by one other time, I believe, but it was many years ago.

This house is just across the street and down a couple of houses. I am not completely sure, but I think it stands now where one of my neighborhood friends lived. Her name was Heather and she would come running over when she saw that we were visiting my grandparents. I wonder what Maye Maye and Grandad would say if they could see their neighborhood now. There are several new houses being built where the old ones used to be. It’s odd to see a mixture of what once was and was is now. It doesn’t fit, in my mind.

This is how I knew I was close to the house. The brick wall at the end of the street happened after my grandfather had passed away (the day before I turned 11, so it was July of 1978) and before my grandmother got to the point where my parents had to move her in with them. I was probably a teenager. I would go over to visit her every now and then on my own once I started driving. On the other side of the wall was just woods. Then the wall went up and these mansions started growing all around this little quiet neighborhood. One time we went on a tour of one of them, just amazed at the size. Now, that size house is very normal for just about any nice neighborhood – even in Bedford.

This is Andy and me sitting on the back step of the house on Dykes Way. This picture make me happy. We are so sweet and innocent. This house holds so many good memories for me. Running through the house, hearing the floors creak and groan. There is a part of me that wishes we still had the house. Just like I wish we still had the house we grew up in.
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