Jul 29, 2008

Mini Vacation

Dax and I have been looking forward to our mini-vacation to San Antonio. The Lone Star Wind Orchestra (the group I play in) had a concert Monday afternoon at the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention. It's a large event and great exposure for the group. Anna kept Hannah for Sunday night and Monday while Dax and I headed off. It is a requirement that we stop at Dax's favorite place on the way- the Czech Stop. This little gas station/store sells every kind of kolache you can think off, homemade breads, and plenty of desserts. We stopped here on the trip there and back. After much parking difficulty once we got to the hotel we decided to go for valet. It worked out much better. We were put in the Hilton Palasio Del Rio (sp?) which was really nice. At first we thought we had a whole suite to ourselves but even when confined to our own room we had plenty of space. After I warmed up a bit we headed out to find food on the famous Riverwalk. This is a running mini-river through downtown San Antonio lined with restaurants and shops. Every time I've been there it's been extremely crowded but after much wandering (and whining about walking by me) we found the place Dax was hoping for- all you can eat Bar-B-Que! It was very good food and I had a nice steak. We were planning on seeing a movie but that didn't quite pan out so we settled in at the hotel. Since we don't have cable and my favorite station is HGTV we watched some shows, I took a relaxing bath, and we ordered cheesecake and ate it in the comfy bed with silky sheets! That's all I ask for in a vacation! The next day I had a morning rehearsal so Dax visited the Alamo and bought some coins for his coin collection. The concert went very well and I think the audience really enjoyed it. I had fun playing the music- several challenging things but all the pieces were really nice to play.
Our grand finale was called The Glory and the Grandeur by Russell Peck, a triple percussion concerto. Here are the professors in rehearsal setting up their miles of equipment. They had very flashy and complicated parts so it was definitely visual entertainment as well.
Heather, myself, and Nancy- 3/4 of the horn section. Nothing can make me laugh as much as the company of of these two (with the exception of Megan of course). Most other people might find our conversations incomprehensible but we find ourselves pretty entertaining and never lack for something to talk about.
Hannah did well without us. In fact we talked to her on the phone and she simply laughed and returned the phone to Nana. I guess she wasn't very worried. We were very glad to see and hug her again. Today was her last Mother Goose day! She's been going to the same class almost every week since she was a few weeks old. When classes start up again in September she will be 18mo. and will graduate to Toddler Time. Here she is playing with the train table before class.
Hannah and Ms. Rebecca, her teacher these past months. Hannah loves her and Rebecca is always so nice even when Hannah tries to get into her prop bucket. At least she makes up for it by helping clean up!

Hannah's first art project..since she's now understanding that crayons are for drawing not chewing.

Jul 25, 2008

Since my friends don't live just down the street we've met at a mall between cities a couple of times. I've also taken Hannah here just to hang out. It's large with lots of light and fountains and is really quiet in the mornings. Hannah likes to walk with me and really loves the escalators and glass elevators. Yesterday we met a friend for lunch and here are Hannah and Phoebe at one of the fountains. They are five months apart and their younger siblings will be five months apart from each other too. : )

Jul 22, 2008

At Play

These pictures are of Hannah just around the house. Dax and I will go to San Antonio for my concert this weekend so I'll have more pictures of other things going on soon. : )

After Hannah's nap we typically read books if we're not heading out the door. On this day, I ended up dozing off in her floor and opened my eyes to find this. Several books were on my head. Here she says" What's the big deal?" She's getting pretty good at helping me pick up though.
Hiding places- this is a favorite while we all put up laundry.
I've been wanting to get Hannah some Mega-Blocks for awhile. She always has so much fun with them when she sees them elsewhere. After we went to Mother Goose Time we headed to the store. I've also been looking for things to help her have more creative play. It seems most of her toys have buttons to push and the toy does the rest.
Happy. I tried to build a cool castle but it kept getting torn down. Well, she'll have to deal with that soon herself!
She was very pleased about this little tower she built. She kept placing it on different surfaces and cheering excitedly.
Mommy and daughter having nice days at home.

Jul 17, 2008

Little Girl

This was my sketched plan for the second baby's miniature quilt I invented. : )
I call it the Chloe design. : ) I ended up changing the center.
All pieced together. Now to back it, quilt it, and bind it. This part took three months less time than the first so I'm hoping the rest will go quickly also- although the quilting design will be more elaborate so that will take awhile. There are a couple of discrepancies in this but I'm enjoying learning as I go. My only problem now is I keep coming across new designs I want to try and get too far ahead of myself.
Hannah's hair has just now grown long enough for this little pony tail- so cute!! She's growing into a little girl now. Sad and happy about that.
Sweet, innocent face :)
The great thing is she doesn't know it's there most of the time like she did with hair clips. This morning she did find it though and brought me the little rubber band with her eyes squinted at me in a disapproving face- basically telling me she knew she had been tricked- so funny.
Couldn't resist this view.

Jul 12, 2008

Bigger Accomplishments

Today Dax tested for his 1st degree black belt! This means a white stripe is added to his belt since he originally earned his black belt in a similar martial art many years ago. This is a marathon test since so many people were there and they rotate which areas and belts test. Dax was there from 12:30 to 6:00!
While awaiting the show and sitting with Nana, Hannah turned around and fell in love with....this random lady and held out her arms begging to go to her! This lady was happy to have her for awhile since her own grandkids (Canyon and Timber- interesting names) were much older.
After completing several forms for the panel, he had to do some kind of very quick upper body defense attack movements that looked very choreographed. You can tell I'm an expert.
Cool action shot.
Next they stand in line and exhibit all the various kicks. It was at this point everyone looked completely worn out and the crowd cheered them on.
Next was the series of self defense moves. Dax taught me a couple of them awhile back so I did recognize something here.
..about to bring this guy to his knees.
Finally he had to spar 3 rounds. This section always looks scary to me and it's a free for all with your skills. You can tell from the all the padding you might get hit pretty hard.
Hannah was very good and a little a restless as to be expected, but she had fun imitating kicks, shouting "heeya!" in a tiny voice, clapping with the crowd, and singing Itsy Bitsy Spider to herself- mostly humming and hand motions. Here she is wearing her supportive "I Love Daddy" t-shirt.
Dax receives his stripe from Master Humphrey, his instructor.
On a different note, we found an outfit for the new baby the other day. She has so many clothes already but Dax and I bought something together for Hannah before she was born so we wanted to continue the tradition. We're still not 100% on the name. I have been stuck on Chloe Rebecca Stokes for awhile now. Some family members aren't that in love with Chloe but prefer Rebecca Elise Stokes more. We would probably call her Becca in that case. I like both but I'm not ready to give up on Chloe yet. sigh...you just can't make everyone happy : )
I just thought this picture was cute from the park the other day. There was also a horse and Hannah ran up to it yelling "Neeeiggghh!!!" in the deep growly voice she has chosen for horse noises.

Jul 9, 2008

Little Accomplishments

Hannah has reached the 20 lb mark so now she is able to stretch out her legs and fit into her bigger, now forward- facing car seat. She doesn't have as much room to play but as soon as she grows a little more I think she'll like the front view much better.
Original quilt top from months ago.....
Finished quilt! I finished my first hand-made (doll sized ) quilt. I only used a machine for one
strip of the binding which would have been impossible to do otherwise. Lots of people said I was crazy for not wanting to machine the whole thing but I really enjoyed all the tedious work.. that's just me I guess.
Close up view of the quilt stitching. I just kind of invented the design as I went and it turned out well. I know some things to improve on now especially the binding but I'm happy about it anyway.
From the back.
The last quilt was for Hannah so the next will be for the baby. Here are the fabrics for that one. I'm still charting out the measurements on my handy graph tablet. I figure if I can finish this one successfully and in shorter time I'll be ready to start my bigger 2 quilt projects both from actual patterns..one for my mom and one for our house. Next one will be for Anna and then we'll see from there!
Hannah really liked her quilty gift.
It was however, soon exchanged for a bouncy ball.
Hannah is learning so much so fast. Here she is sitting in a big person's chair where she clearly feels important. This was just before I gave a couple of horn lessons at the house. I asked her how she liked the chair and she pointed to her nose....? Anyway, she knows many body parts- hair, eyes, ears, toes, teeth, and belly. We've been working on knees but she gets it mixed up with belly. Also, my mother gave her a set of Little Einstein picture cards. They are pretty large and each has a photo of a common item a baby might see. (It's already a little outdated with the phone with a cord and keypad. Hannah's never actually seen one!) I knew she could point to a couple of the cards if I asked her- "Where's the tree?" but today I tried all of the cards. She lost interest at the end but surprisingly pointed to every single card correctly!! She really had been listening all those times even if she hadn't shown recognition at the time. Being a proud mom, here is the list of items she knew the names for and pointed to: TABLE, CHAIR, TREE, FLOWER, CUP, TEDDY BEAR, PUZZLE, BED, SWING, REFRIGERATOR, CLOCK, PIANO, BOOK, BALL, and PHONE. Her extra features include swaying back and forth singing "ic, oc" (tic toc) for the clock and wiggling her fingers for the piano photo. : )

Jul 5, 2008

Back in the swing of things.

I'm finally finished. After 3 weeks of playing every day with this group we have given 4 concerts, played for 40 conductors and recorded 45? pieces due to be released this December. This is the recording "booth" while we were on break. Eugene Corporon, the conductor, is on the right, and Jack Stamp, the producer and also composer and conductor, is on the far left. I had a great time and really enjoyed getting to play so much.
Horn section.
Here is the performance hall we record in.
Some of the horn players lovingly preparing my birthday celebration during our last day of recording.
I wish for....
Heather brought us all play-do in true silly horn player fashion. I molded mine into a little man playing the horn of all things. He is working on his tutti Shostakovich 5 excerpt.
Later, Anna made us a lovely dinner and here Hannah is enjoying my birthday flowers.
I got a sewing machine!!! Also some sewing stuff and things, kitchen stuff, and the ever coveted Walmart gift card!!! Mother kept Hannah the whole week of recording sessions and one day I noticed a little bit of glitter on her face when I got home. I didn't think much of it, but later opened 2 glittery birthday cards one signed by Hannah herself which explained it all.
Anna's lovely cake.
4th of July! Hannah in her festive attire.
She wasn't as interested in the flag as I hoped she would be....this is the only picture where she is not swatting at it with malcontent.
Riding a pony! Although I felt strange about them being dyed different crazy colors.
After much debate we decided to brave the heat and Hannah's bedtime and stay out for fireworks. Hannah's name day is the 5th so there was a Vespers service that evening for St. Elizabeth the New Martyr. We attended that, played a little basketball, and then walked down to campus where they hold the fireworks show.
Hannah did really well for being up so late past her bedtime. She's also cutting some molars and not eating well the past couple of days. Regardless, she was in good spirits and is enjoying one of her many phone conversations with herself while she waits (unknowingly) for the show.
Daddy and daughter enjoying the fireworks. : )