Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve


The last few days have been pretty good. Today, not so much. When I woke up I don't think I was really ready to get up but had too much to do not to, you know? I realize I have expectations of people. I don't know how to live my life without putting expectations on those people that I associate with on a daily basis. I don't see them as unreasonable expectations, but maybe any expectation is unreasonable. I don't know.

Christmas is so commericalized it's about to drive me to not celebrate the holiday ever again. It's all about the "season of giving" yet everyone talks about what they want. I work with a lot of people. I have four kids and three parents to buy for. Who all am I expected to buy for? If someone gives me an unexpected gift am I expected to give one back or is a thank you card enough? These are the questions I am trying to answer. I just don't know anymore. I have been dating a guy for over three months. I haven't been sure that we would even be dating at Christmas so was I supposed to buy him something or not? If I did get him something, what is a reasonable price range? What is too much vs. what is too little? I did get him a very thoughtful gift and I think it was at about the right price range, but who really knows? I think it's all about personal opinion.

Today wasn't a good day for me. I had to get out and get a few things and guess what? It was raining. Last year it was snowing like crazy. This year...rain. I don't even know why I bothered to try to fix my hair. It just curles up ugly so why bother? But I did twice. I went to the grocery store and told myself that if there wasn't a parking spot two or three from the door I wasn't going inside. There was. I did. Then I had to get the groceries in the house, refix my hair and leave with the kids to go to my dad's for Christmas. All the while I am in a horrible mood. I feel disrespected and taken advantage of, probably for no good reason. I spent too much time in the bathroom crying. I hate days like today.Then the kids and I go to the candlelight service at church and things got a little better. Now as I sit here typing this my stomach problem has reared it's ugly head and I feel horrible. Physically ill. This is most likely the reason for my mood all day. I want a do over on today.

This is a picture of my kids with my dad, stepmom and sweet Aunt Mary, who has small cell cancer and wasn't supposed to live past June and is still going strong. She fell a few weeks ago and now lives with my dad. Her rotater cup is torn in her right arm and she is supposed to have surgery on it in February. Say a pray for her every night. She needs it.

The picture at the top is the Christmas tree at the Adolfus Hotel in Dallas. It was pretty. I hope tomorrow is a better day.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

On Being Divorced

(On a side note: I wrote this a few days ago. To some it may seem raw. To me it is just who I am and how I feel. It isn't meant to offend anyone. It's meant to help anyone who is contemplating divorce. In the last seven years and really, in the last few weeks, I have encountered so, so many people who are either thinking about divorce or going through it. This is just my experience and my thoughts. It's all from my heart. Please be gentle with it.)

Monday will mark the seventh "anniversary" of the finality of my marriage. It's hard to fathom it's really been that long. Some days it seems like it was just yesterday and some days it seems like the marriage never even happened. It's nice to be where I am today, emotionally void of all that anger and bitterness. I am just at a sort of "void of emotion" spot where the past life is barely a memory and the present is a new day every day I wake up.

I take situations much more laid back than I did in the past. Now, it still really pisses me off when I feel like my kids get the short end of the stick and aren't as important as the party that is planned on a weekend that is supposed to be set aside for kids. It's really not hard to figure out how to plan your social schedule. It's like just knowing for a very long time that these are the two (and sometimes three) weekends that you have your kids. You only see them twice a month. Plan something to do with them, not with your friends - idiot. So I digress. Divorce is what it is. Smelly, stinky, ugly and disgusting. There is nothing pretty about it - except that maybe one (and on occasion both) parent(s) emerge happier and healthier than they would have been had they stayed together.

To those of you who have questioned and never been brave enough to ask, I have not one day of regret in divorcing the man I spent 20 years of my life with. My only regret is that I didn't learn the relationship skills that I have now way back then and maybe, JUST maybe, our marriage would have survived. But then again, that would have taken two people changing and in the equation I found myself in, one person (not naming names) wasn't willing to change. The justifying part of this is that, to this day, he still hasn't changed so my bet was right and, in the end, I did the right thing for my kids.

Other divorces, my own parents, was a very integral part in why I decided to end my own marriage. My parents were married for 33 years when my dad had had enough and left and then 34 years when the divorce was finalized. I lived my childhood in a house that was cold and void of true affection. My parents went throughout their days playing the part of being married and being parents. I don't know when they quit being in love or honestly - if they were ever in love. I do remember, at the age of 13, writing a letter to Ann Landers telling her that my parents were obviously not in love with each other and how should I go about getting them to see this and move on....divorce and just move on. I never sent the letter.

Ten years later, I am pregnant with my first child, about to have a baby shower at my parent's house, and my mom calls to inform me that, as soon as the party is over, my dad will be moving out. Oh, did I mention my husband was in the hospital for agoraphobia?? Yeah, great timing. So there I am feeling relieved that my parents were finally going to separate and find themselves again and yet I was about to have a baby and my husband was in lock-up. It's all a distant memory now, but the whole situation had a huge baring on my decision to file for divorce. I was not going to live a life of unhappiness just to keep the family together. I wanted better for my kids. I resented my parents for putting us through the facade of their marriage. I didn't want my children to ever feel the same way about me.

Do they resent the divorce? You will have to ask them. As they get older, we talk about it and, for the most part, I have been told they understand and do see things are much better than they would have been had I stayed. Do they wish we were all still a family? Again, you would have to ask them, but I would assume yes. I mean, really? Who wants their parents divorced? I wish my parents were still together and happy and that we were the Brady Bunch forever, but that's not what happened. I am happy where I am. I love my dad and my stepmom. I love my mom as much as I can considering the current situation. I wish she had found someone to take care of her. I wish she had found out how wonderful it can be to have the companionship of a man that isn't your son. But she seems to be happy so good for her.

So for anyone out there who is thinking about divorce, knows someone who is thinking about divorce or is going through a divorce, just know that it's a life-changing decision. And while things can certainly be better, that's not always the case. I most definitely feel very blessed that my kids have come through amazingly, but that doesn't always happen. I feel I went through the things that I did to be able to "counsel" other people who need someone to share their feelings with, so if you want to talk, I would love to listen. You may not like what you hear, though. Just know that I speak from my heart. I do not mince words and I will most likely tell you to work as hard as humanly possible to make things work before you bail.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And how is it supposed to go exactly?

(Warning: this isn't exactly a happy thought blog)

When you are born, you come into the world with absolutely no expectations - even the expectation to be fed or clothed or taken care of. That's just something you are given without the care-taker expecting anything from you in return. It's called parenting. Even if they aren't the biological parent of that child, people have an instinct to nurture and care for another living thing - usually. Sometimes though, that person,  even though they give birth to a baby, doesn't have the ability to nurture. Sometimes they can only nurture one person even when they are a parent to more than one.

Ask yourself if you were born into that family? You know, the one where one or both of the parents isn't exactly equipped to love you or your sibling (s)? You won't know this at first because you really don't know any different. Life is what it is. You see little things here and there but you don't really put them together at the time because, well, you are just a child and children only know today. They don't know about the past and certainly don't contemplate a future. They just wake up every morning and start the day new.

When does that change? It can be different for everyone. It all depends on your life experiences. If you have trauma in your childhood, it will most-likely happen sooner than someone who lives a pretty care-free childhood. Or, there's that person who learns very early on to shove those scary feelings to the back of their memory and act like nothing ever happened. It will eventually come out, of course, but they adapt very well to the world of "let's pretend that didn't happen". This practice is one that is pretty hard to break because it's a self-protection mechanism. It isn't until you are willing to face the truth and trust that there is something better on the other side that this practice will stop. There is that occasional lucky fellow who has two loving parents who seem to know exactly what the heck they got themselves into when they had children.

And how do people who are raised in the family with "non-functioning" parents actually survive that childhood to become half-way decent parents? How do they instinctually know how to love multiple children when the home they were raised in was so shut down from anything remotely similar? Isn't it possible that at some point in their adult life, they will come to see the truth - the truth about how their family was and still is to this day? Isn't it possible for them to still love the unloving parent or parents and yet make a choice to distance themselves from that parent - after giving said parent multiple opportunities over many, many years to make a change, to "see the error of their ways", show repentance and become the parent that child needs? If they were unfortunate enough to have two parents who basically checked out during the child-raising years and yet, by some miracle, one parent eventually came around and is doing better, they should consider themselves very lucky.

It is still sad if the other parent, or the one parent who was just not able to care for them, never came around and then started to loose their memory, slip into the old age memory loss called dementia and be forever gone into the bliss of never being able to say they were sorry. It's sad, but is it survivable? Yes, it is. You won't look very good to your peers, unless said peers lived through what you had lived through with their own parents or saw what you had been put through, so that's just a consequence of moving on. But if the child left behind is ever going to be good to anyone, to the children they are raising, there comes a point in time where that "child" has to make an emotional sever in their heart. It's not that the adult child does love the parent, but rather, can't spare the emotional conflict that comes with knowing the past, present and future. Knowing that the continued inability to love will always be present, you have to decide if you can live with that or not. Some people can and some can't. It doesn't make you a bad person if you can't. It changes you forever but you will survive.

This is for anyone out there who may stumble upon my blog and be in the same or similar situation as above. You aren't alone. We were all born into dysfunctional families. On some level, we are all a little messed up. It's the fixing it part that is hard, but totally worth it in the end. Stopping the pattern for your children is so much more important than trying to love the unloving parent. Love them on your terms, but do not forsake your own happiness for something that may never happen. Thanks for reading. I feel better now.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Even though you live here.....

...doesn't mean you've seen all the attractions. I was born at Baylor Hospital in Dallas on July 27, 1967, about four and a half years after President Kennedy came through on his motorcade and was shot in the back of the head and killed. Sorry, it's true. It's what happened. This past weekend was my first time to actually go down there and see the place where it happened and go to the Sixth Floor Museum where Oswald supposedly camped out and shot from the window with his sniper rifle.

That's it on the right there. Check out the window on the far right - up six floors. That's where he was - supposedly. Now, I believe it was him. I believe he was there. But I will admit, the conspirators were pretty convincing.

The day was perfect. My company was a very sweet guy I have come to really enjoy being around. And yes, I actually like walking around if there is something to look at. We took the TRE from a station close to the house to the Union Station in Dallas just blocks from Dealey Plaza. At first, there weren't too many people around, but by the time we left the museum it was pretty much packed. I found it interesting how people would go stand in the middle of the road by the "X" where Kennedy was shot just to get a picture - no mind that they were about to get mowed over by a coming car. (see photo to your left)

Inside the museum you were given headphones to listen to as you walked around the displays explaining in great detail every single step that was taken on that fateful trip to Dallas. I just kept thinking about how my mom was working in Dallas that day. She has a picture she took as the motorcade drove past her office building. She was working for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and they let everyone step away from their desks to go outside and see them as they drove by. When people started talking about it later, much later, wanting to start the Sixth Floor Museum, I remember my mom would always go to public meetings they were having. She was very fascinated with all the talk. She was there that day. I would have done the same thing.

There is something else I want to do down there and hopefully one day I will....go spend a night at the Hotel Lawrence. It's supposedly haunted. I love haunted.....I think.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

A normal day around here is pretty much me getting up after hitting my snooze three to four times, get halfway ready for work, wake up Jonathan (but not Alyssa anymore since she has first period release and gets herself to school) make sure Jonathan is in the shower, finish getting ready for work, make sure to keep Jonathan on task so that we can get out the door some time between 7:15 and 7:30, drive him around the corner to the school crosswalk and then drive 25 miles (45 minutes) to work, work my full day, drive another 25 miles and 45 minutes back home and do whatever needs to be done that night.

This past week was way different. I hadn't used my floating holiday at work yet, was hoping for a half day on Wednesday and had Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving. So, I decided this would be a good week to take some time for myself and just relax. The only day I worked was Tuesday, odd but it worked for me. One day a week - I could so handle that if I would still get paid what I get paid. Michael has been living in Forney for about a month and came home on Sunday and Ben came over on Tuesday night to spend the week at my house. I was so excited and sort prepared for a house full of my kids again. It's been a little while.

We didn't have any plans except that I was going to cook Thanksgiving lunch and then they were going to their grandparents to spend the day with their dad's side of the family. There was a lot of relaxing and a little bit of cleaning. Having them home just reminds me how life is a constantly changing process. It definitely makes me thankful for my children and gives me great hope that there will be a day of little grandbabies running around. I know that's a long way off and not something a lot of parents of teenagers are looking forward to, but I love babies, obviously. I want them to be ready for a family and when that time comes I will be ready to be a gramma.

But for now, this is what I deal with ----->
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Monday, November 22, 2010

On Being Thankful

It is the start of the Thanksgiving holiday. I haven't written on here in over two months. I thought today I should write about what I am thankful for. My day hasn't been all that great and I think I need an attitude change or possibly a change of focus. When I feel the way I feel today, it makes me focus on negative things and I really need to retreat with my thoughts and look at all the blessings I have. So here is what I'm thankful for:

My kids are my family. They are my life. Without them I can't imagine where I would be today or what in the heck I would be doing with my life. I have a handsome 19 year old son who has begun the pilgrimage out of my home into his own life. He lives in Forney now and plays in a christian rock band. He has been called into ministry, however that is done for him, and he loves life. After him is my beautiful 17 year old daughter. She makes me so proud because of the woman that she is becoming. She is in National Honor Society and International Baccalaureate at school. She will graduate with honors May 2011. Next is my wonderful 16 year old son who is so talented and smart it just floors me. He is also in International Baccalaureate and will join National Honor Society at the end of this school year. His talent for music and his trombone is a gift that he truly has a passion for. And finally, there is my sweet 11 year old son - a surprise and such a blessing to everyone who knows him. His zest for life is something to behold. His imagination is beyond anything I have seen from his siblings. He has a passion for discovery and I can't wait to see what is in store for his future. Next year he will start a whole new chapter in his life when he goes to Jr. high school.

As I live my life, I see my children growing up and breaking away from my wings - moving on to have their own lives and becoming their own person. They don't tell you how this will make you feel in all the baby books. They don't talk about it much because it's too scary. I believe, if parents knew how it would feel to have to let your sweet baby go one day they just might think twice before having children. If I had been given the chance to feel what I feel right now - the pride and the pain - would it have helped me decide to have children for the pride or helped me decide not to take the chance and endure the pain of letting go?

Through all of the heartache, through all of the pains of birth, through all of the ups and downs of watching them grow up, I would give my life for any one of my kids. I would go through it all over again just to know that I have the gift of being a mom to these four wonderful people.

For them -

I am thankful
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's in a dream?

When I was young, like elementary school age, I would have terrifying nightmares. The first real memories I have of these bad dreams was right after my granddaddy died. He passed away very suddenly the day before my 11th birthday, July 26, 1978. I was very close to him but didn't cry when he died. I was young but knew I should be crying. I watched my mom and my Maye Maye (grandmother) cry but I just didn't. I couldn't.

I had to postpone my birthday party because of the funeral. When I was finally able to have my friends over, they wanted to do a seance to call the spirit of my granddaddy. I didn't believe in any of that. It was something we were taught was evil and of the devil. But that night, it was raining. In our den was this humongous Mexican chandelier. As we were doing whatever we were doing, it started moving....and from what I remember, we heard a knock on the front door. Of course, we all screamed and then ended up going to sleep.

Over the next few months, I would have dreams about my granddaddy. I would always be with my family and usually my Maye Maye was also in the dream. I would always be the only person who could see him. He would come to me and attack me in my dreams. The odd thing was that he was the most gentle man in the world. He never raised his voice to me or laid a hand on me except in comfort and love. There were a series of about four dreams and they would repeat themselves over and over for months. Finally, one day I told my mom about the dreams. She asked me if he had ever hurt me, trying to figure out why I was having these dreams. Once I talked about them they never happened again.

Over the next 10-12 years, I would have horrible nightmares that would wake me up frozen to my bed. I wouldn't be able to move or sometimes even breath. All I knew to do was start singing "Jesus Loves Me" to make the bad feelings go away. The dreams were always demonic in nature. In some of them I would be crying out to God to save me. I would wake up crying or screaming in my sleep. Once I got married they pretty much stopped. Once I had children I didn't have any more, but I have been fascinated with the paranormal ever since I was brave enough to watch those shows on TV.

The other night I had a very bazaar experience that made me think about all of this again. It makes me wonder what's really out there that we can't see. But that's for another blog.
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Colorado Springs and the USOC

With my job, I don't get to travel as much as I once thought I was going to. i have gone to a few places I wouldn't have gone to though, and that's always nice. This summer, our entire department was taken to Colorado Spring, CO, and visited the USOC and some past and future Olympic athelets. I didn't know what to expect having never been there. A few of the people in our group had been and told lots of great stories so I was excited about going. Heck, I was just excited about going anywhere outside of the state of Texas and on someone else's dime.

We landed on Monday, June 21. Some people went early to get in a weekend before the meeting so they were there to greet us at the hotel. i am just always amazed at the beauty of mountains. I had been to CS a very long time ago in a past life. I knew this time would be much more fun with much bettter memories. There always seems to be that rush to your room because you get there moments before there is a meet and greet. This department as a whole has only been together a year and we had people from all over, Texas, Virginia, Memphis, Singapore and the UK, all together in one room for one purpose - to be a team and see how we could work better together.

Prior to the meeting, we took a test online call the Myers-Briggs Indicator. This is something that I find very interesting. It will basically tell you how your brain works, your strengths and your weaknesses and how those around you work. I was not very surprised at all at the outcome of my answers. The first afternoon, we spent going over the results and learning about ourselves and those around us. For your information, I am ISFJ at work but ESFP at home. I have dual rolls so I react to these circumstances differently.

That evening we were shuttled to the USOC for a small tour of the campus, dinner, meeting a few athletes and then the passing of the torch and lighting of the cauldron. This was actually really cool as we all got to touch and pass the actual torch that the olympians use when they are running to light the cauldron. There was a photograher following us around the whole time and now we have a video of us holding and pass the torch. Pretty cool.

The next day was the only full day we were spending in Colorado so it was definitely full of fun, fun.....meetings. Yes. It's necessary to go over all those statistics about our department and what we can do better. Luckily, it was broken up with another trip to the USOC, cute athletes and a trip to Garden of the Gods. The weather, unlike Texas, was just perfect during the day and a little chilly at night. We did a lot of walking around and exploring and taking pictures. Just being outside in the mountains is not something we do ever in Texas, so we took full advantage of the opportunity! That night we had a wonderful dinner at the country club near there and saw an Indian family perform their dances. It was really nice.

People kept talking about the altitude change and how it can affect you. I didn't feel it except at night when I tried to lay down to sleep. I didn't sleep well either night because it felt like I could breathe very deep. I realized later, well the next day to be exact, that I was experiencing some altitude sickness and was very ready to get home. Thankfully we just had a brief morning meeting and then we were taken to the airport to meet our 3:00 flight back to Texas. I could have stayed longer, but short is always nice too. Living out of a suitcase is not something I would ever want to do on a regular basis.

There are two places that I would live in this universe, other than Texas - Colorado Springs and Amsterdam. For now, I will be staying in Texas, but I would love to have a second home one day.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And I took a couple of months off

It's been a little over two months since I've blogged. It's not like I haven't had anything going on, I just have had the opportunity to blog. They blocked the site at work, which is silly because we can still get on a lot of other sites, like Facebook. I would only blog during lunch and now I can't even do that. By the time I get home, I am either too tired to think or have to work my second job. I am determined to blog at least once a week though. I just have to. It's good for the soul. Oh, plus my computer was on the fritz for a little bit, so that didn't help matters any at all.


(Warning: This is a little bit of a repeat) Over the summer, the kids went on a Mission Trip to San Antonio to help with church renovations there. It was nice just to be home with me and Jonathan and not have to do the whole teenager "I have to go 50 places" thing. We both missed them at first, but got used to it and were then ready for them to come home. They each seemed very changed by the experience and made new friends in the process. Since we have had this new pastor and a lot of his congregation has come over from his last church, it's been a real adjustment for the youth. This experience truly brought them so much closer together. I would even consider going next year if I can manage the days off.

After the Mission Trip, Alyssa and Benjamin went to youth camp - Newbreed. Apparently, this was the last year they were having it (or is next year the last year? I forget). Anyway, I was so glad they were there together. It seemed to have been a wonderful experience for both of them. Getting closer to God and finding out exactly who you are in Him is always a good thing. I went up there, like usual, on Thursday night, to sit through their evening worship meeting. It's always so good and so lively. There are times I miss going to a church like that, but I know the place I am is where God wants the whole family to be. We have beautiful, wonderful relationships.

Michael spent the week after they got back traveling to the Cornerstone Festival with the band, Mouth of the South. They went o Bushnell, Illinois, and from what I could tell and the pictures I saw, they had an amazing time. It was very much a Woodstock type of gathering. I didn't hear from Michael at all, except a curteousy text saying that they had arrived at their destination. That is until Friday. He called to tell me that he had ripped his pants and wanted to know if I could sew them up. To hear him tell me how it happened was just priceless. Something about rockin' out really hard and then jumping caused his pants to rip from the crotch to the knee. I assured him I could get new pants but wasn't even going to try to sew up an old pair of jeans that had been cut off to long short. No.

Gosh. And that was only June!
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

So Here We Go



Life is an ever changing world of emotions and experiences. Throw kids into the mix and it changes even more. If I had ever thought about what I was doing 20 years ago by getting pregnant...ok I would have done it anyway but I wouldn't have wanted to know everything that the next 20 years would hold for me. Today was just another realization of the fact that my children are getting older and moving on with their life and I have no choice but to sit here and watch.

For the last week, it was just me and Jonathan at home. The other kids were on a mission trip to San Antonio where they worked on a few churches and helped with a food pantry and various other acts of service. It was very weird at first. It has been a while since I had a quiet house for longer than, oh, say, three or four hours. This was a full six days of just me and an 11 year old who wasn't going to ask to borrow the car or stay out until 3:00 in the morning. I knew when I went to bed that he was staying inside and would go to bed soon after me. But honestly, it didn't take long for me to find something else to do to keep my mind busy. Imagine that.

They all came home on Saturday. I was so excited to hear the stories and see the pictures of what they had been up to while they were away. They were different - in a good way. There wasn't any fighting or arguing, even with me when they wanted to go out to see the friends they had just left or when I called because it was 11:30 and I wanted to know they were home before I finally fell asleep. This will last a while, I expect. But we are all human and there will be arguing again. For now, things are good. They had great stories to tell and seeing them getting along, well that was priceless.

Today at church it was Mission Sunday. The service focused around the mission group and testimonies were given. Then came the end of the service. Michael was called up front because this was his last official Sunday leading Sunday morning worship. The church was asked to pray for him as he moves on to the next step of his life, playing guitar in the band Mouth of the South. I was trying to be good and not cry but I have been on the verge of tears a lot lately - full of pride for my kids and who they have become. As people started gathering at the front to pray over Michael, I headed up to get a good picture (because that's what moms do - take pictures of everything) and my friend, Tonia, touched my arm and hugged me and the waterworks broke loose. I cried like I have not cried in a long time. After I got home, I thought about how touched I was to have my friend - a friend from high school that I have reconnected with - love me and sympathize with me because she knows exactly what I'm going through. I haven't been held like that to cry in so long I had forgotten what it felt like.

We all need a good hug and a good cry every now and then. Did you know crying is good for you? It's true! Google it!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amsterdam came to Texas

One big happy group


This past weekend was definitely the busiest weekend I have had in a long time. Andy and Fred came in on Friday afternoon from Amsterdam and were here until Monday morning when they left for Washington DC. We all met at their hotel in Southlake Friday night and went to dinner at Buca de Beppo. I had already decided what we were going to order because it's served family style and there were eight of us and over half of the group was mine (LOL). It turned out that we had plenty of food and leftovers.


One of the best parts of having Andy and Fred in is when it's gift giving time! They always bring great goodies to us. The kids got t-shirts and stroopwafels. (We all got our own box of these.) Mom got a nice candy dish with licorice to put in there and I got a coffe mug that I took to work so I can learn Dutch while I drink. I also got a cute music box thing that plays "Tulips of Amsterdam". Mom and I also got our own copy of a magazine that published an article written by Andy. There was a lot of candy, too.


Dinner on Friday night

Saturday, while they were visiting with an old high school friend, I was running around getting things for the kids because they were leaving Sunday for a mission trip to San Antonio for seven days. I had been sweating all day long because the humidity was horrible. I was almost ready when they got to my house to pick me up for dinner with other high school friends at Pappadeaux’s. We stopped quickly by mom’s house so they could see her cute new apartment and then it was off to meet friends.

(This is a staged picture of Andy blowing out his birthday candle. Saturday was his birthday.)

The group was a nice mix of people that I don’t usually see at these functions. There was a little bit of pre-drama to the event, but all in all, it went very well and we stayed way longer than anyone expected. It’s always interesting to me to see how people change and how some just do not. It makes me wonder what people think about me. After the evening was over, I was so exhausted but still had to go home and finish getting things together, making sure that everyone had what they needed for the week.

Sunday was church and sending the kids off to San Antonio – but more about that later. Then lunch with my dad, Lene, Uncle Mac and Aunt Ema, and Aunt Mary so Andy and Fred could visit with them, too. I didn’t have to be there, but I wanted to take mom and of course, never pass up a chance to see my extended family. You just never know when you won’t have the chance again. I think that went very well. Fred isn’t much of a talker but he mingled well with Uncle Mac and Aunt Ema. He is such a sweet guy. In these settings, I have noticed he does a great job of just sitting back, letting Andy engage in conversation with his friends and family. He will talk if you bring up conversation but it seems he is good with just sitting back and listening.

(Group shot)

After a nice respite at home, I met Andy and Fred at the hotel for a final dinner, just the three of us, at my request. We had Sushi – a LOT of Sushi and a great time just talking and laughing. It is now Wednesday and I just now feel like I am recovering from all of the parties. It was very worth it. Andy is coming back in October and I hope to make it a less busy but fun-filled time together. I have definitely missed them both but I talk to Andy so much on the phone that it doesn't feel like I have been away from him for any length of time at all.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All Sorts of Excitement


If anyone ever told me of all the different paths I would take in my life, I might have had second thoughts about a lot of stuff. But thankfully I haven't had an option (or one that was really told to me - or maybe I just didn't listen).

When I was a little girl, I never thought much about getting married although I did think a lot about having children. I just knew that getting married sorta came along with the children so I was ok with that. I didn't have the best example of what a good marriage was but I also didn't think about it much until I was a teenager. It is what is it and I am a better person for where I am now. I just want to be a better example for my kids.

Once the kids came along, I could never seem to see past the age of the oldest child. I am still this way. Michael is 19 and I can't see past any of the other kids being any older than 19. I think it's a protection mechanism that God gives mothers. If we knew what the future would hold we would all NOT have kids or keep them so guarded and protected that they wouldn't even be any good to anyone.

2010 is proving to bring so many changes to our house and it's not even half way through the year yet. I had to move my mom out of her house and into an apartment near me. The situation with her house had become such that she needed a place to start over - by herself except that me and the kids are just a couple of steps away. When we moved in November I was thinking that would be it for a LONG time - until my Mr. Almost Right came along to move me with movers and packers and all that fun stuff. Hahahaha Anyway, mom is happy and getting settled in her new home and really enjoys that we are just around the corner.

Michael was asked about a month ago to be the lead guitar player for a band call Mouth of the South. They are a christian progressive heavy metal band. I am so happy for him because I know this is something he would love doing. By the way, I found this out on Mother's Day.....He has been in a few concerts and will play in Austin, TX tonight at The Garage @ Gateway Church. As a mom, it's a bit scary to think of your child going on with several other "boys" to go play in a band. Yes they are all adults and yes they are good kids, but I am still his mom and I still worry.

This Sunday, Michael, Alyssa and Benjamin will be going on a mission trip with the church to San Antonio to help with a Methodist church or two down there. I don't know everything they will be doing but I am very excited for all of them. It's an opportunity to do some community service work for people who are not as fortunate as us. While we do not have a lot, my kids want for nothing - EVER. They have never missed a meal because we didn't have food. They have never not had a bed to sleep in. They have always had two parents who loved them and a host of grandparents, aunts and uncles who would give their life for them. They people they will be ministering to may not be able to say that. I just pray that all of the kids and adults that are going will be blessed beyond measure and will return home with amazingly wonderful, life changing stories.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's All About Accomplishments With Us Lately



Band try-outs for 2010-2011 were a week ago. Ben has set very high standards for himself and I will admit, I used to get a little worried about his expectations. Last year he insisted that he make first band or he would not be happy. Knowing the competition and what it would take to make first band with Bell, I was hesitant, even though he is very good at his instrument. He did not disappoint. He made 3rd chair first band, beating out all juniors and three seniors for that spot. He was one of only five sophomores to even make the first band.

This year, knowing all of the seniors would be gone, he just HAD to make first chair. After all, he went to All State this year. He is really good. This year, I knew he could do it. And - he did. My son, a junior, made first chair, first band with L.D. Bell. I wanted to take him to dinner or something but he had been asked to go to the choir banquet, so there was not going to be dinner. We did go get him some music on Saturday. He wants to go ahead and get a head start on the All State music, although I am not sure he knows exactly which one it is, he does know the book it will come out of.

As I always do, I made an announcement about this on my Facebook and immediately got a message from a friend of mine from high school. Her son is going into the 6th grade next year and in their school district they start band in middle school. He is going to be playing the trombone and she asked if Ben would be interested in teaching her son a little bit about the horn before school starts. My first reaction was that he should learn along with all of the other kids just like Michael and Alyssa did. We were told not to let the kids touch their instrument over the summer or they would get bored in class when school started. Ben, however, had the trombone that I learned with and immediately picked it up and started learning to play by ear before he started 7th grade and look at him now.

He was more than eager to say that he would definitely like to teach and began to spout to me about what all he needed and what he wanted to do to help this boy get started. He definitely has the teach gene.

Congratulations Ben! I am very proud of you!!
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Family Pet and Mother's Day


So, I am going to admit right up front, this is being written after the actual date. I had started writing this and then lost the whole thing. Along with everything else going on with me, I just go so defeated that I couldn't go back and rewrite it - until now. I have been given a slight hint that I need to blog, so here I go.

The above picture is our family pet, Little Buster. He is technically Jonathan's fish that he purchased with his birthday money back in January. He was going to get two gold fish and somehow his sister talked him into getting a Beta fish. I let Jonathan keep the fish in his room for about two weeks. It only took a few days before, as he had the fish bowl on the floor while he was playing with his Lego's, he knocked the bowl over and poor LB was on the floor. Then, before too long, I found the poor fish inside a cabinet, a dark cabinet, because his bowl was in the way of his Lego army war. I had to intervene. He now resides on the kitchen counter where I feed him every day and every night - unless I gently remind Jonathan to feed the fish.

On another note, I had a really great Mother's Day. There wasn't a whole lot going on, just church in the morning and a quick run through Taco Bueno because I wanted to get home, while I had all the kids in my possession, and have them do the laundry for me. I have to admit that I do all the laundry. It's an obsession of mine and because we don't have a working washing machine, we take everything to the apartment laundry room and get it all done at once. I am a bit OCD about folding and putting away, but on this day I let them do everything - except my clothes, of course. Michael informed me that he had been asked to be the guitar player in a christian heavy metal band called Mouth of the South. This means he will be traveling to Illinois this summer as they are going on tour for a little bit. Alyssa gave me a few great things from Bath and Body Works and Jonathan gave me a card he made at school. Later that day, Ben handed me a hand written note telling me what a great mom I was, which made me cry.

Things aren't always easy around my house, but every now and then I do feel more appreciated than I ever thought I could.


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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Honor Society Induction



Last night was believed to have been a first in our house. My beautiful daughter, Alyssa, was inducted into the National Honor Society. It was truly such a proud moment for me as her mother. My parents were all there along with the rest of the kids and her dad's side of the family. I couldn't help but tear up a little when the Keynote speaker, Mr. Wooley, Teacher of the Year, acknowledged the parents of the kids that were there. I can honestly say that Alyssa is very independent and works by herself on her projects. I don't remember that she has asked for my help on anything after elementary school. She makes excellent grades and gets her work turned in on time.

As far as I know, there hasn't been another NHS member from my parents on down until Alyssa. She has great aspirations for herself, and with her academic accomplishments, I anticipate that she will receive a full-ride scholarship somewhere great! If all goes as planned, she will graduate with NHS and IB on her diploma. Forgive me if I am repeating myself, but she has shown interest in Stephen F. Austin. I hope to do some college touring this summer and into the fall of 2010 so that we can get started on the college applications. I know, because she is just like her mother, that she wants to go somewhere away from Tarrant and surrounding counties. That's just fine with me. I want her to continue on the road of independence.

As we were sitting there last night, listening to each of the current officers of the NHS give their speach about the five characteristics that you must have to be apart of this prestigious group, I was so impressed just knowing that my child has accomplished and is still working on accomplishing many of these characteristics. The upcoming president of the NHS spoke. It was an amazing speech. I kept thinking, this is my daughter's peer. She was so well spoken. Then they had each student's name announced as they walked across the stage to receive their certificate of acceptance. I began to notice just how many of these kids have gone to school with my kids since elementary school. What an accomplishment each and every one of them has made to get to this point in their lives. There were a hand full of Seniors but mostly Juniors. They have one more year of high school (and a few more weeks of this year).

It's a bit daunting if I keep thinking about it, so I am going to stop now. I love you my sweet Alyssa. I love you and am so incredibly proud of you.  Mom
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm SOOO Excited and I Just Can't Hide It!!


For many of you who have read my blog, you know that I refer to my brother, Andy, quite a lot. Some of you may even know him. He's the one on the left if the picture above. Fred is his husband (cutie on the right). Well, it has been almost four years now since they came to Texas. It has been a year and a half or so since I have seen them. This picture was taken at their wedding in September of 2008. I was there. It was a very fast trip but one I would do again in a  heartbeat.

I have known for just a little bit that they were planning to come to the states and that it would mean a trip to Texas. I didn't want to say anything (i.e. I was told not to) until the plans were firmly made. Well, the good news is that the flights have been booked and they will be here on June 9th!!!!! I am glad I didn't have any news before now because it's been all I can do not to tell my kids. They L.O.V.E. their Uncle Andy, even though they haven't seen him very many times in their lives, they hear me talk about him and talk to him every now and then on the phone and they love him across the ocean SO much!

As the kids and I are rarely in the same room or car at the same time, I told Benjamin and Jonathan yesterday on the way to school. They were very excited and Ben asked if they were going to stay with us. He would just love to have them there 24/7 as would I, but no, we live in a small apartment and there are five of us as it is. They are men who are not used to being around children. I work for a hotel company. I get them a hotel so that they can have their very own space WAY away from the rest of the family. We will have our own time with them and I believe a small high school reunion of sorts. Alyssa and Michael found out today and are very stoked about getting to spend time with their favorite Uncles!

We are also going to take this opportunity to discuss the situation with my mom. She and I went to dinner the other day for her birthday and she just seems to be going downhill so fast. Our family is not known for long life, i.e. living past early 80. My mom just turned 76, which is the same age her mother was when she deteriorated quickly and passed away. Getting all of us, minus our mom, in the same room to discuss this is going to be a feat in and of itself. Thankfully we have more than a month to get a game plan together. It's gonna be tough either way. I'm just so thrilled that Andy and Fred will be here in person. Talking to him every week is fun and hearing Fred say "Hi back" always makes me giggle, but I want to see them and hug them.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Saturday School


So far, 2010 has taken me in a different direction I wasn’t prepared for. After six years of a regular, consistent visitation schedule, I no longer have that. I don’t want to sound like I don’t love having my kids around, but anyone who is a parent can attest to the fact that having a day or two or sometimes a week or a month alone, (i.e. not having to worry about the safety and welfare of your child/children), and then suddenly, without warning – it’s gone….never to return…can be a bit daunting on the emotions. That’s what has happened to me. I truly love my children and would never ever give them up for anything in the world, but I am tired of finding the only place I can be alone is in my room. When I lived in the duplex, I always sat in my room because I didn’t really like the rest of the house. Now that I am in the apartment, I have really enjoyed being able to sit in the den and watch TV or work on the computer. It’s not that I can’t do that now, but it’s just not the same when people are constantly coming in and out of the house, doing homework and occasionally fighting. Gosh I feel horrible just putting these thoughts into words, but as a single parent, you do find that the one main benefit of divorce, if you are lucky enough, is that the children will go spend two weekends a month with the other parent. I was completely prepared for the gradual decline of this event, but not for it to completely come to a stop. At least I’m still getting child support and I live with the hope it will start up again one day.


The picture is of some shoes I ordered recently. If you don’t know about this site, it’s www.tomsshoes.com and what you do it go on there, order a pair of canvas shoes, lots of colors to choose from and it will cost you about $50 on the low end. Then, “Tom” donates a pair of shoes to a child in need of a pair of shoes. They are a little tight on the feet right now, but are already stretching out and will be perfect after this weekend. I am just so excited to have my own pair and help someone out in the process. I was thinking what a great Christmas gift this would make for the kids. Michael already has a pair and Ben wants a pair. I don’t know if we will make it until Christmas.

Tomorrow is a school make-up day for the district because of the two big snows we have had. The first make-up day was on Good Friday. Tomorrow is only a half day and probably a good fun day for the kids. I am certain attendance will not be at all normal as most kids aren’t concerned about loosing one school day – especially when it’s a Saturday. But, my kids will be there because we have exemptions to worry about. Jonathan will just go because, well, let’s face it, we live right across from the school and he doesn’t need to sleep in anyway. This does mean that I will have to get up though. The question is, will I come home and go back to bed or will I enjoy being alone in the house and start cleaning. I will let you know.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

The Ones We Love


When did it snow? Around Valentine's Day. That's the same weekend my Aunt Nell discovered that my Aunt Mary wasn't doing so well. She had called to check on her. My Aunt Nell was married to my dad's brother, Uncle Roy. He passed away about 5 years ago. Aunt Nell and Aunt Mary go to church together and, being both widows and related, they check up on each other. It's not an every day thing, but this one particular day, Aunt Nell felt like she needed to make sure Mary was doing ok. It was that day that it just snowed for like 12 hours straight.

She could tell something wasn't right, a stroke or something. Aunt Nell is a nurse. She knows these things. Aunt Nell called my dad and 911, not sure in what order, but anyway, Aunt Mary was taken to the hospital. It took a few days, but eventually, the tests came back. She had cancer in her brain and a few other places in her body. She is terminal. They have done the radiation and are about to finish up Keimo this month. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my memories I have of my Aunt Mary. This may be long, but she is a wonderful woman and has always been a sweet, wonderful aunt.

When I was little, I remember my Aunt Mary and Uncle Dick coming over to the house. They lived in Rockwall and we were in Hurst. It was always a time we stopped what we were doing. Uncle Dick worked on TV's (or so my memory tells me). I remember that they both smoked and in our house that was something rebellious. We never knew that my dad smoked until my oldest brother was born. We never saw him smoke anyway.  My mom told me that Aunt Mary gave me a really cute dress for my first birthday. It was from Neiman-Marcus and dry clean only. I think I still have it somewhere. It wasn't the norm for us growing up.

When I got married and started having kids, I had more of a relationship with Aunt Mary.  She never had children of her own. She had stepchildren, I learned later, but I don't remember us ever having any interaction. She was that Aunt that would doate over her nieces and nephews. She was always so generous with my kids, giving gifts for ever occassion - birth, Christmas, birthdays...it was something we looked forward to. When we couldn't provide anything for our kids, Aunt Mary was always there to give them something and they always loved it. She took time to find out what they liked, what they were into, and she would give accordingly. 

There was the time when Uncle Dick was very sick and she couldn't come around at all. I believe she was even taking care of her mother-in-law who was very sick as well. Uncle Dick had emphasema for a long time and Aunt Mary quit smoking when that happened. The day before his funeral I found out I was pregnant with Benjamin. I remember telling my cousin, Mary Lou, at the funeral but hadn't even told my dad. I wasn't sure how the family would handle it because Alyssa was only 5 month old and sick. I was sure they rolled their eyes. My cousin Jack's wife Ann was expecting their only child, Chris. It was a little awkward but I know Aunt Mary felt a little relief not having to care for someone sick anymore.

Now it's her turn to receive the love and care that she gave to her husband and mother-in-law all those years. She stayed with my Aunt Nell throughout the radiation treatments and then, once the first Keimo treatment was done, she wanted to go home. My dad and his wife had prepared a room for her so she could come live with them. The doctor didn't want her living alone. My dad and Aunt Mary have always been close. She wants to go live at her house with her cats, that's where she is going. My dad isn't going to force her to do what she wasn't comfortable doing. No matter what. Dad drives out to Rockwell on an almost daily basis (if not every day) from North Richland Hills.  Lene goes with him most of the time if she isn't needed at work. I can't imagine how hard that is on both of them, but when you do something out of love you just do it.

That's Aunt Mary in the picture (obviously) with a hat that Andy knit for her and how cute is she that she matches the workout suit that her sister, Aunt Ema, gave her? There will come a day, too soon I'm afraid, that Aunt Mary will no longer be on this earth, but we are certain she will be in a better place. She is and always will be loved. Don't forget to tell the ones you love how much you love them. You never know when they will be gone.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

My Thoughts on Facebook



So, I have some thoughts about Facebook that I thought I would share. I hope I do not offend anyone or make anyone uncomfortable. I am honestly not sure who reads this, although I know that several people out there do. I wish it was hundreds, but several works for me.

Several years ago I became a MySpace-aholic. That was more than just a way to keep up with my kids or friends. It was a way to get dates, at first. Then it pretty much just became about keeping up with my kids and their friends. I had heard about Facebook (FB from here on out) and that it was for college students. Then suddenly the people I was friends with on MySpace began moving to FB. Being the rebel that I can be (hahaha) I  was absolutely not switching. I wasn't going to make a profile. I wasn't even going there.

Yeah, so I did, obviously. I dug my heals in at first, not liking the set up because it was absolutely nothing like MySpace and I just couldn't get used to it. BUT, my brother was on there so it pushed me to keep trying to like it if I was going to communicate with him and help him keep up with me and the kids.  I trudged through and got used to it and then they changed things, which frustrated me, and then they changed things again. Now, about two years later, I am about to delete my MySpace account because I just never go there. I am totally "addicted" to FB.

It has allowed me to get back into contact with people that I grew up with, family and coworkers. It amazes me how many people I have been able to find on there. The other thing that amazes me is how people update their status. I, myself, try to say something random or funny to make people think or laugh. It usually works, unless I say something that can be taken as TMI or just sad, i.e. "I'm perfectly lonely cause I don't belong to anyone, and nobody belongs to me." I was just quoting a John Mayer song and certain people thought I was depressed or something. While that line does describe the way I feel sometimes, I just like the song itself.

The other day, my son posted something that got a small discussion started between his friends. It said, "I think that facebook updates are things that give us false feelings that someone cared, but honestly how many ppl see your status and actually care what you have to say..." I would definitely have to agree with that statement. I do tend to update my status to see how many people I can get to "like" it or comment on it. I rarely put random stuff that no one is interested in and on occassion, I will put something that makes people gasp (or so I imagine).  One thing you will not see me do it update my relationship status. That is like ending your relationship right then and there. I only did it twice and seriously, I knew better AND it was me who ended the relationship I was so happily announcing.

I also went through and deleted a bunch of people and have come to a "max friends" rule. 200 is all I want. I honestly don't think I personally know 200 people on FB and if I do, do I know them are they just aquaintences? That's all my thoughts for now. My brain is empty. ;)
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Say It's Your Birthday! No Way!


How is it that just yesterday I was 18 and having fun and now I have a daughter who is 17?  The great thing about this birthday is that it was really low key. I have been waiting for the day that she wouldn't want every girl that she ever even talked to to come over and have this huge party. Now we have boys/couples going to a movie and hanging out at the house. I'm good with this because I know the boys and the couples and would much prefer them be at my house than someone else's.

As you see in the picture, there is (L)Riley, Melina and Alyssa at the table with (L) Jeremiah (Melina's boyfriend and Jason's best friend - how convenient) and Jason on the couch. Riley's boyfriend had to leave pretty quickly after they got back to the house. They had gone to see "Date Night" after school and then came back to the house for pizza and cake. It was a school night so not a lot of anything late.

When I look at my daughter and I think back when I was 17, I think what a great relationship we have - so much better than I had with my mom - ever. My mom is sweet but growing up we were never so close that I felt like I could tell her anything and she is so unemotional that she just lives in the moment and blocks anything bad out. Now, I love my mother but just want to be a much more open mother to my kids. I want to be approachable and honest at any turn. Sometimes my kids probably don't appreciate my complete honesty, but they get it anyway.

As for a gift, I haven't done anything yet. I asked her what she wanted and she just isn't sure yet. That's fine with me because you know, birthday's are meant to be stretched out. It's pretty nice to have a kid who isn't into massive name brands or major shopping. I think we will go shopping this weekend and see what we can find. I am very proud of my daughter and the woman she is becoming. She works very hard in school and has goals and ambitions for college and a career. I have said it before and I will say it again, I wasn't sure if I would be a good mom for a daughter, but I think I've done pretty well. She laughs at my jokes and thinks I'm just funny almost all the time. Can't beat that now, can ya?! I love you Alyssa Louise Nobles. You make me very proud!
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter and Stuff


This year was the first Easter in quite a while, probably 6 years, that I have had my kids with me. Usually, for some reason, their visitation always feel on their dad's weekend. Since that isn't an issue anymore, they are with the for all holidays, which makes me happy.

The picture above just makes me smile. I posted this on my Facebook page on Sunday and I get a call from my brother who just loved the individuality of each of the kids. This picture really does show how each of them are in every day life. They each have a personality of their own, and yes, Alyssa and Ben are really that close, Michael is also "that cool" and Jonathan, well, yes, he is that silly. I had them stop at the front door for a picture. They started to do the line up and get situated until I said, "Not formal. Be silly." This is what I got.

I love this time of year. It definitely has to be my favorite in terms of weather and smells in the air. Being able to open up the windows or sit outside and not feel like you are going to freeze to death or instantaniously combust because of the heat - you can't beat that. Last night, I sat at the pool with Jonathan and his friend, Nahir (who lives upstairs and is in class with him) at the pool so that they could "sit in the hot tub". This turned into them jumping into the pool and the hot tub. All I could say was, "Don't swallow that nasty water. I got sick once when I swallowed nasty pool water." How motherly was that of me? They were having fun and getting all that energy out - they weren't listening to me.

Easter is about new life, Jesus Christ and all things holy. For my family, I feel like this is certainly a time of renewal and change. Enjoy the changes and grow from them.
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Friday, April 2, 2010

National Honor Society?!?!

I'm not sure if you know it or not, but my kids are really smart! I was just happy to graduate from high school. Back then (hahaha) they were really just starting to award different levels of graduation. Now you can actually graduate with college credits. Alyssa has been in the International Baccalaureate program this year. If she completes all of the requirements at the end of her Senior year next year, she will graduate with this honor AND....yesterday, she received her acceptance into the National Honor Socitey! I was so excited for her.

She told me that she had to write an essay, and while I may possibly remember her writing the essay, she is such an independant worker that I never know what her homework may be for. She works so hard on her school work and unfortunately, I don't recognize that as much as I should. She even tutors her boyfriend, which I think is very sweet and helpful because we do want him to graduate as well.

This makes me think back to when she was a baby and she was so sick we thought she might die. She had pertusos for 7 months and it was the longest 7 months of my life. I remember thinking, "She will never be 2!" That's as far into the future as I could see at that time because Michael was 2 and I didn't know what it was like having a child any older than 2. In two weeks she will be 17. Having a daughter has brought a joy to my life that I never could have imagined. I love all of my children, but I never thought I would be a good mom fora girl. I think she would disagree.




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Thursday, April 1, 2010

My, How Time Passes


So my brother, Andy, started blogging again - after a small reprieve. I knew I had not blogged in a very long time but I didn't realize it had been almost a month! So this is just going to be an update as to my last post, but, like Andy, I will make a more concerted effort to blog on a more daily basis.

So, things with school have gotten so much better. I spent a Saturday evening with some "school teacher" friends of mine, talking about how Jonathan was really struggling to keep up and how frustrated I was with the teachers. I had been in contact with the principal and vice-principal and counselor but still wasn't confident about the situation. Oneof them said to me, "Has he ever been tested for ADD?" Now, let me tell you, this strikes fear in my heart for someone to even mention that about one of my kids. Not because it's a bad thing, but because of my experience with children I have taught that have been on medication for ADD or ADHD. They were out of control one minute and zombies the next minute. I always felt so horrible for them.

That next Monday, I emailed the school counselor and asked her if she could help - where do I go now? She sent me a very short form of questions that I filled out. She also sent one to his homeroom teacher. They compared our scores and made an accessment. During spring break I took him to the doctor so that we could all talk about his inability to stay focused in school and about a vitamin for his brain. I think the fact that we were addressing this with the doctor made him feel better immediately. So we put him on a very low dose of medicine that has made a world of difference with him and school. Friday of last week he came home with a sticker on a sticker, which means that he gets to bring a drink and snack to school the next Monday. When he left for school this morning, he said, "Mom!! I may get another sticker on a sticker today because I haven't done anything bad all week!"

This makes me want to cry, happy and sad at the same time. It wasn't that he was doing anything bad in the first place, he just couldn't stay focused long enough to get his work done in class and then he would talk when he wasn't supposed to. He's not a hyper, out-of-control child. He just has a problem staying on task. That's it. And now, he is doing so much better and we are all so relieved!
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

School Struggles and Frustrations

Going back many years, I once home schooled my older three children. They also went to a school of sorts. It was a school for home schooled children. Oxymoron you say? Yes, well the premis was that you would take them there for the not so core classes such as Science and History, Music and Arts, two days a week and they would get their core studies at home. This worked out well for everyone involved. The kids needed some interaction with other children and adults and in this school setting, it wasn't supposed to be "as harmful" as public school. Eventually, they began offering the core classes the other two days of the week, half days, leaving Friday as a no school day - or don't go to school day.

I did this until we moved to Bedford. We had already signed the kids up for the following school year at WOLCA, but I didn't waste one minute checking into the public school once the summer was over. I went up there, children in tow, met with the principal and made my needs known. This was an option, but  I had heard good things about the school and I grew up in the school district, so I was confident that my children were prepared and would receive the best education possible. They began public school the very next fall. Michael was in 5th grade, Alyssa was in 3rd, Ben was in 2nd and Jonathan was in preschool where I started teaching the 1st grade at WOLCA. It worked out perfectly!

Fast forward two years and I am in the throws of a divorce. My world was turned upside down by my own hands and now I had to figure out how to get a full time job and be a full time parent. Jonathan was in PreK at this point. It wasn't until the next fall that he would start Kindergarten. I wasn't worried because this was public school, a great school district with high marks. Certainly they would do right by my son, since I had to work and wasn't able to home school him, too. Right? Well, maybe not.

(Now, I do not want to offend anyone here, so please just know this is coming from a mom who loves her children and doesn't like to see them or anyone else mistreated.)

Kindergarten was good and he loved going. He wasn't an excelled student but he did fine. He struggled with reading, but kids do that, right? First grade he had a wonderful teacher who would take him under her "wing" and work with him on reading, even tutoring him and a few other kids after school twice a week. Second grade, another great teacher who was more like a grandma to him, loving him and doing her best to teach him, trying to figure out his learning pattern. Third grade is probably where the disaster started. He had a young teacher who was not at all sympathetic to my situation. She lumped all students into one basket and since my son didn't fit that basket, he got yelled at and disciplined more than he got praised. Fourth grade we are back on track with a familiar teacher from Ben's time. She loved and took care of Jonathan, helping him to like school even though the "I hate school" was setting in fast - very fast.

Now we are in fifth grade. This is where they "prepare" the kids for jr. high. Or is it the year they knock down any self-esteem a child may have left? We are still trying to figure that out. Of the teachers he has this year, two of them also have 5th graders at the school and magically enough, they are in their mother's classes. (Bitter party of one!) The 5th graders go to all three teachers during the day for different subjects.

I should interject my position at the moment. Take it as an excuse if you want, this is how I see my situation. I am a single mother of four children, three teenagers and a pre-teen. I have no support. No "other parent" that works with me regarding schooling of any of the kids. My two middle teenagers are self starters, always have been. I believe this came with me spending quality time with them when they were learning the basics. I may be wrong, but that's what I believe. Michael struggled when he was first learning with me and he struggled when he first went to public school. In fact, he struggled until he got to high school and then it just seemed to click. Maybe this is the path I am on with Jonathan.

If you are a teacher or deal with children and you are reading this, please know that every word you say is either a knife to their heart or a little puff of air to their spirit. I'm not referring to teenagers, unless they just seem beaten down with life. You may have to dig REALLY deep to find something positive, but tell them for God sake! What is the saying? Words cut like a knife! They do. So, please, talk nice to people. Be a blessing to them. I believe it was Peter Rabbits mom who said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all."

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Motherhood is an Ever Changing Life


I hope our youth director doesn't mind me posting a picture of her daughter on my blog, but this is one of the sweetest pictures I could come up with at the moment. This is my now 19 year old son holding Xaris. This is the "love" of his life and shows how great a dad he will be - at least when they are little and if he doesn't have to get up with them in the middle of the night...ok he's a good cuddle buddy for now.

So Michael turned 19 on February 19, 2010. This is his “Golden Birthday”. I remember his very first birthday. I had it planned for WEEKS and maybe even months. I have always been pretty big on birthdays because it’s the one day of the year that is (hopefully) truly only yours. I know that each one of my kids does not share a birthday with anyone in our immediate family. There are some that are very close, especially in April, but we all have our own special day.


This year was just different for Michael. He turned 19. He has a life of his own. I wasn’t sure if he was going to hang out with friends or if I was going to get to plan a party for him. It was a little traumatic for me. When I found out that his dad had been planning a party for him and he wasn’t sure how to tell me, I will admit that my feelings were more than hurt. I am his mom. I went through all the almost 9 months and delivery and late nights and all that. Wasn’t it mine to take? Wasn’t it supposed to be me who was planning his birthday party and having his friends at my house and all that?

Apparently not. And I am now ok with that. I have to realize that my children are growing up and moving on. There will be a day when they don’t live with me on their birthday and they will probably be living somewhere else, even out of town or state…or country. How do you go from having a birthday party for your baby to just calling and/or sending a card with a present? I don’t know. I want to know, but I am going to have to go down that journey on my own and in time, I will learn how it works.

A proud moment for me was Sunday when our pastor acknowledged how proud he was of Michael and how he has stepped up to the job of leading the church in worship every Sunday morning. I got a pat on the back from my friend sitting behind me and I got compliments from other parents after church. That is something I get a lot actually…about all of my kids. It’s a proud moment and a sad one at the same time…when you realize that your children are doing what they were raised to do…grow up to be good people, move on and out and have a life of their own.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ANOTHER Snow Day


It doesn't snow very often in Texas...or does it? Thursday, February 11, 2010, it started snowing at about 3:00 am and did not stop until Friday morning at about 2:00 am. We got over a foot of snow and I'm not talking about the icey crap we usually get. I'm talking good snowman building snow! I wish had more pictures of snowmen around the city, but I don't. This one was built by someone unknown to me at our apartment complex. We were sent home early from the office and I decided not to go in on Friday. I needed a break and this would give me a four day weekend. As beautiful as the snow was, the slush just about got to me. I would much rather be cold than hot, though.


This was taken by the mailbox to kind of give you an idea how much snow we got. I have seen some pretty snows here but not like this and not in a very long time. I don't know think this is the same snow that came from up north. It's just this crazy weather. There is a saying in Texas, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 24 hours. It will change." The worst part about all of this was that my laundry pile grew to probaby four times the normal size just because we aren't equipped at all to be out in this kind of snow. Every jacket and pair of gloves we have are cloth. I quit buying the big heavy coats many, many years ago. It makes me wonder if, now that the kids are probably about  done growing (except Jonathan) should we make that investment. I still think this was a complete flook and we won't be seeing this again for a very long time. But that's just me.
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