Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Majestic Theater and BJH Band


Friday morning, I was supposed to be in Dallas at 8:00 am in the morning...actually, I was supposed to be in my seat in The Majestic Theater before that because the BJH Symphonic Band was performing in a competition at 8:00 am. Where was I? Stuck in traffic on 35 trying my hardest to get there. I was 15 minutes late and by the time I got in the building they were off the stage. I was disappointed but at least I tried and honestly, that's all Ben wanted - to know I at least tried.

Ben had mowed a lawn the day before and earned $40 to take with him to the Galleria on Friday. The band spends the day there, ice skating and running around having a great day being teenagers. This is Ben's last year (and my last year) of junior high for another 2 years. He will be going to high school next year. When I think that I have made it this far, I take a deep breath. It feels good to have three of my four kids out of junior high and one bringing up the tail. Life has been really good to us as a family, through all of the ups and downs, we are a happy bunch, me and the kids. I love them and they love me. I can't ask for more.

What a cutie! He has taken the first part of driver's ed and as soon as he turns 15 he will go to the DPS and take the test to get his driver's permit. That will happen on May 27th. I have taken him to the school parking lot to drive around a little bit and he is very comfortable behind the wheel. He credits it to driving golf carts from a very early age. I think he told me the other day that he was like 30 out of 288 in his class?? Now, when he is combined with Central and Hurst Jr. High next year it will be different, but his GAP is over 4.0 which is because of pre-AP and was unheard of when I was in high school. My kids amaze me every day!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

UIL Competitions this week

Thank goodness I still have two weeks to go before I go back to work full time. This week has been crazy and it's just Wednesday! Monday was the LD Bell Band 3 UIL Competition out at Arlington Juan Seguin High School. Not knowing where the school was exactly, and going on Google directions, I was anxious that we (Mom and Jonathan went with me) wouldn't make it on time. Traffic is always such an issue going into Arlington. But, we made it just in time to get a seat an get settled. They did an amazing job and of course made straight 1's. I missed the very first few notes, but this was the first song they performed.

video

As soon as we got back in Bedford, I took Alyssa to get her driver's license. This was the second time that we had been there. Friday, I took her out of school about 45minutes early. We thought we had all the documents. We got there and sat for an hour only to find out (not by the person at the front who is supposed to check this!) that we were missing a green form that Alyssa had gotten when she completed the course. She knew where it was and so we would have to come back. So, again, here we are again. And again, we wait about an hour, only to find out the paper we brought wasn't the right one. Again, the person at the front who is supposed to check this didn't. Third times a charm, right? Ok, so we go back Tuesday morning as they are opening, all the correct papers in hand, and she is now an official driver.

Tuesday was a remake of Monday with Project Help added in the morning. I am truly going to miss going up there. The people that volunteer there are just always so incredibly happy all the time. It is such a blessing to be a part of giving someone a few more meals for their family. I just keep going back to the one time I read in the church bulletin that they were not going to open Project Help that week because they didn't have enough volunteers. Personally, I don't want that to happen again. There are always people in need. We are there to bless them. So we are headed again back to Arlington to watch Michael with the LD Bell Band 2. This time we had a better idea of time and made it with time to spare. They were running behind so we had time to spare. Michael had three solos. I knew I heard a trumpet playing alone, but he never tells me these things! Luckily I recorded all three of their songs too.


video
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Year of Letting Go



This year is becoming a year of letting go. The more I think about it, the more I see it all around me. It started out last year, actually, when I let Benjamin go live with his dad. We were going to discuss it again at Christmas. We did. He wanted to stay, so 2009 started out with only three of my four children living under my roof every night. That is not an easy thing as a mother who wants to nurture her children until the very end. I came to terms with him staying there fairly quickly. Knowing that he is making this decision has helped take the guilt off of me. He is old enough. He knows he can come home whenever he wants. He knows I love him and I see him often, at least every Sunday at church if not more.

Alyssa just turned 16. She hasn't gotten her license yet and she doesn't have a car. But, I know that as soon as she gets her license, she can take my car to go run an errand for me if I need her to. I do struggle with taking her to get her license but it's inevitable and when I go back to work, I won't be able to take off work early to take her. So, we will be going very soon. It scares me if I think about it, but I have to let go at some point.

Speaking of going back to work, I have made a decision not to put Jonathan back in Extended Day after school care when I start working again. Since I am home, he is practicing walking home from school. He has done it once and I think it made him feel really grown up. That HAS to be a good thing because he does tend to act like the baby sometimes. Back in my day, we walked to school and home from school ALL the time. We also lived in a neighborhood of kids who all walked to school together. I rarely walked alone because I atleast had my brother Andy to walk with me. Jonathan doesn't have any school friends in our neighborhood because we actually live on the other side of Harwood from where his school is. He should go to another elementary, but because his older siblings went to this school and his dad lives in the right area, he can still go there. And, kids just don't walk home from school anymore, not like they used to. He has a cell phone so he will call me when he leaves school and when he gets home.

Michael will graduate in May.(I wrote this in March) Today I picked up Michael's senior portrait, you know, the one in the tux that will go in the annual. At lunch, Michael got his graduation invitations. It is becoming more and more real that my first born is going to graduate high school in a little over 2 months. I hadn't really given it too much thought in the last, oh, 18 years of his life. I try to just take things one day at a time when it comes to my kids (I like to think I do anyway.) I have a feeling, after Michael graduates that may all change.

My kids are doing what kids do. They are growing up and becoming more and more independent. What else they are doing is finding a new love of life and hopefully, a respect of me as their mom. My goal now is to have my kids want to come home now and then and bring their family for me to enjoy.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sweet 16 Already


Today my little girl is 16. It's hard to imagine yet so wonderful. I will be honest here (she has heard this story before). I wasn't so keen on having a girl. I had brothers growing up. I had girl friends, but honestly, my whole life, I get a long with a few girls really well. In big groups, not so good. So, when the pregnancy started out difficult, or more so than with Michael, I just knew in my heart I was having a girl.

From the minute she was born, I couldn't imagine my life without her. In my world, girls are more difficult than boys. But there are just things that you enjoy more having a girl around the house. Alyssa comes by her "specialties" honestly. She is a definite product of her mother. I tell her all the time that she is no doubt my child. I remember when she was in preschool and I was helping at lunch one day, one of the teachers came up to me and said, "I know who your daughter is." I had no clue who this woman was but I went along. "Really? Who?" She called it 100%. I am Alyssa's mom and we look a lot alike.

I had Michael at the hospital C-section, so when I got pregnant with Alyssa, Steve had quit the job with insurance and went into cleaning buildings. We didn't have much money at all. Using a hospital without insurance was very expensive. I knew we had a midwife at the church, so we gambled and went to see her. We both fell in love immediately. It was a scary journey, but we knew she would be there to keep us calm and help us deliver this baby. The pregnancy was more difficult and I was ready to get it over with. So, the night before her due date, I drank Caster Oil in Dr. Pepper (BAD BAD idea). I won't go into the gory details, but it wasn't fun. However, it did start labor and amazingly enough, I actually had her within 12 1/2 hours. I thought I was going to die, but once she was born, I honestly forgot all the stuff I had been going through.



This photo was taken when she was 5 months old. She is in her daddy's christening gown. She was the only one he would let me put in it. There are several family items, pictures of grandparents, baby blankets from her dad and her Nana. I just love this picture.


This picture makes me laugh because it looks like she's trying to get away from me, which is kind of how our relationship is now. She loves me and I love her but, depending on the situation, I can't just walk up and snuggle with her because she knows that I will typically do it to be silly and so she backs away.

I am very happy that I have a girl. The boys are great, but having a daughter is something that I never imagined would be this fun. It's like having your best girlfriend living with you. You bicker and don't always get along, but when you need her, she will be there immediately. What a blessing she is!
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Weekend


MAUNDAY THURSDAY
This whole Lent thing is all new to me, but I have learned so much and have truly enjoyed all of the services that we have had at church. Thursday night, the full church choir performed a cantata which was really beautiful. After the fourth song, the congregation was ushered up to the front 24 at a time, 12 at each table at the front by the alter. (I wish I had taken pictures of this. The tables were set up very nice.) We passed around a broken round loaf of bread and a cup of "wine". As you serve the person next to you, you say "This is the body of Christ broken for you and this is the blood of Christ shed for you". At our table there was a little boy of about 4 years old who was the cutest thing. His mom served him and he turned and served an older man standing next to him. The whole service was very nice.

The purpose of Maunday Thursday service was to basically remember the last night that Jesus spent with his disciples, when he took communion with them and told them what was going to happen to him over the next few days. This is something that, in the Baptist church, you acknowledge and read about, but I have never been in a church where you had a service to commemorate that specific event.



GOOD FRIDAY
This is the day that we set aside to remember Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins. It reminds me of the movie "Passion of the Christ". I saw that movie three times when it came out at the theater. It was amazing and moving, gory and hard to watch all at the same time. The actual event was so much more worse than they could show in a movie. To think that Jesus went through all of that for each one of us is an overwhelming thought in my head.

Our church had lilies delivered on Good Friday to decorate the alter for Easter Sunday. I was able to go up to the church to help arrange them and pull the pollen from the flowers so that we didn't have people sneezing their heads off on Sunday. Beng off work has provided me a wonderful opportunity to help at the church and participate in functions with the kids that I am not always available for.




EASTER SUNDAY
This picture is my boys, Michael and Benjamin, playing in the Sunday service this morning. I couldn't get a good view of Ben. Every time I tried to take a picture between songs, the french horn player kept raising his horn. So, Ben is on the end. You can barely see his head. I am always so proud of my kids when they perform, especially when my older boys play in church. As you can see, we don't have a huge orchestra, so when they play,they are heard. This Sunday was very special to me because it is the first Easter I have spent in church since my divorce. God has been so good to me and my family and to be in church to celebrate his resurrection was wonderful. I enjoy my church anyway. Today was a day of Easter music and there were a couple that reminded me of the Baptist church that we went to when I was growing up. The main one that comes to mind is "He Lives". We used to sing it at the end of service as the last hymn before they let us go home. I was always happy to sing it because I could never get out of there fast enough. I am so glad I am not that way today.

The kids spent the weekend with their dad. Michael treated his girlfriend to a day of celebrating her birthday, which is tomorrow, and I had a real live date on Saturday night! I almost forgot what that was like. He is a nice guy that I have actually known for about 4 years, maybe a little more. I anticipate a second date. We are going to lunch tomorrow like we used to before I started in sales at the hotel. We will see what comes out of that. All in all - it was a good weeend! And the weather is beautiful.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Project Help


Because I am not working at the moment, I was able to go up to church yesterday and help with a program that they have every Tuesday from 10:00am to 12:30pm. Project Help is a Food Bank and Clothes Closet for needy families in the area. I had always thought that people came mostly from the apartments surrounding our church. They actually come from all over the metroplex. They have various needs that our church is able to help with.

I knew this existed but had never seen inside the clothes closet or the food bank. I was plesantly surprised at how much food they had in there. Of course, there is never enough of certain items. Each month, they assign an item to bring for the Food Bank and a note is put in the church bulletin. The items are hardly ever food. They are items like laundry detergent, shampoo, things like that. I didn't ask where the bulk of the food comes from, but I assume it's from stores or other food banks in the area.

The group that helps every week are the older generation from our church - the ones that have retired and are volunteering. What a fun group they were! There were two of us that had recently lost our jobs and will be there until we get another job. I was assigned to the dairy section. I put together a box of things like yogurt, cottage cheese and cool whip. The process is that someone comes in for help. They sign in and fill out a form with their name and what their need/needs are. They are taken into a room to speak with a "counselor" and then taken to the clothes closet. When they are done there,they are taken to the food bank. We have a few shopping carts that have been pre-filled with certain items that everyone gets, and then someone takes that cart around the room to pick up other items, such as meat, dairy, laundry soap, diapers, etc. while the person coming for help picks out bread on the other side of the wall.

It was so nice to be able to hold the door and have a little interaction with them and see how greatful they were for what they received. There was one family who walked there. I really wanted to take them to their house in my car so that they could get more things. Since they were walking, they could only take what they could carry. It was definitely time well-spent. I will do this every Tuesday until I am back at work.

If you need help during these tough economic times, or you know someone who does, please let them know about Project Help. If you can donate, there are all sorts of things that they are in constant need of.

Project HELP
Every Tuesday
Time: From 10:00 am until 12:30 pm
Location: Bateman Building
2012 Shadybrook
Bedford, TX 76021
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fanny Pack..and other stuff


–noun - a small zippered pouch suspended from a belt around the waist.

Origin:
1970–75

(This cracked me up!)
Related Words for : Fanny Pack
butt pack

I am getting my home-life organized now that I am on my "work vacation". This morning I started in the bathroom. 1)because I find myself noticing all the crap (not literal) that gets stuffed in the cabinets 2)I spend a lot of time in there and in my room in general.

As I am going through the cabinet above the toilet, I pull out some bags and things I have had up there since I moved in here five and a half years ago. When I look down to see what I have tossed to the floor, I notice there is a fanny pack. At first, I just laugh wondering why in the world I have kept it. I definitely remember where it came from.

When I was just pregnant with Michael (why do all my stories tend to start out like this?) maybe 3 months pregnant, a friend of mine and I went to New York City. We were in Court Reporting School together and it was one of those week-long breaks during the school year. It must have been about October of 1990. Anyway, we were there to see her friend and my brother, Andy. There was a lot of city time planned and fanny packs were all the rage so you didn't have to worry about a purse. I believe I took one with me but this one I found from a street vendor and it was pleather, which I loved!

I was so excited about being pregnant that I had bought maternity clothes and that was my wardrobe even though I wasn't showing much at all. I remember wearing it under my maternity tops so that it would look like I was farther along than I really was. This is funny to me since now I look more pregnant than I really am - which is NOT AT ALL! One of my other goals during this time is to start walking. The weather outside is amazing and I live right by the park. What else do I have to do all day that I can't take an hour and exercise!

I have managed to get all of my office stuff that I brought home organized into "what I will take back when I get rehired" (thinking positive!) and what I can keep at home. My desk at work was very "lived in". People loved to come there to chat because it felt so welcoming. I found this out after I had taken most of it home. They would comment how lonely it felt in there. I got quite a bit of cleaning done today, but believe me I have plenty to keep me busy for the remainder of my time at home.

Today has been a better day. Yesterday was very hard for me emotionally. I just wanted to come home, get in bed and sleep for the rest of that Friday and get on to Saturday. I did come home and get in my jammies and get in bed, but I didn't sleep right away. When I did sleep it wasn't good sleep. It will be better tonight. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers. I will keep you all posted!
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Pictures


I have always been in love with having professional pictures of my kids. Ever since Michael was maybe a month old, I had his picture taken every three months, school pictures, family pictures, anything professional I just loved it. This applies for Alyssa, Ben and Jonathan, too. It was just something I loved to do. Ever since the divorce and public school, it has wained just a little bit. There were times I probably couldn't afford gas in the car but I was not going to pass up buying school pictures, no matter what, good or bad, I wanted those pictures.


These pictures are from the yearbook photo session. They each did a picture in their uniform for the band yearbook and then they were allowed to do more pictures in casual clothes or together, like the top one. Every time I look at that picture of Michael and Alyssa together I hear her say "Mom that was creepy! Michael had to scoot right up next to me and wrap his legs around me!" It makes me smile. I know they love each other, but I can see where she's coming from.

If I had the room in my house I would have every single picture of all of my children from birth to present hanging all over my walls. Now, yes, some people do that and maybe when I am a little older I won't be so stingy with the wall real estate in my house. I just keep the larger ones current but I do have a lot of older pictures on the piano and bar area. Those are the casual ones. I love them all.

This is Michael's Senior picture for the yearbook and for my home. I just can't believe that he will be graduating from High School in less than two months. It gives me a greater appreciation for my children and how much I want them around all the time. There is nothing I wouldn't do for them. I can't imagine going a day without talking to them - ever. Life is so precious. i feel myself leading into another blog so I had better stop before I get carried away.

In case you were wondering, I haven't gotten Ben and Jonathan's school pictures back yet, but when I do I will post them too!
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

One Week Ago

It's been one week since I was notified about my job being eliminated. It was such a hard blow to my ego, I think, more than anything. This is what I have learned over the past week:

This wasn't about me. This was about the company I work for reorganizing and eliminating positions. I wasn't the only one affected. This is an opportunity for me to change jobs and learn more about the hospitality industry. I didn't really realize how much I love my job until last week. I mean, I knew I liked it and for the last two and a half years I have enjoyed my drive in and can't remember a day that I just dreaded going in because of anything in particular. I will miss the people I work directly with the most, but hopefully I will get another job there in the same building or in the other building down the street. We won't loose contact either way, I am sure of that.

So many people, important higher-ups too, have let me know they are supporting me and incredibly encouraged about getting me another job and making sure I am applying for everything I can. My boss is an amazing guy. He hasn't let me forget that I need to get on the applying band wagon, making phone calls and staying on me the entire two days, which I TOTALLY appreciate.

This was just a short update on what's going on since I haven't posted anything in a week. On the other hand, I have some AMAZING pictures of Michael and Alyssa from their band portraits that I will be posting next. I have beautiful kids!
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