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 picture.....it 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 nameless...as 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 craigslist.com. 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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