Apr 23, 2011


Lone Star Wind Orchestra had a concert last Sunday entitled "Passions: Icons of an Era."
I had a great time rehearsing this and a great time performing! Here is our horn section in the green room. Chris, me, Heather, Heather, Amy, and Heather. You can imagine it's difficult to get each other's attention with these names. We even tried separating it with a last name initial, but that would still make two Heather T.'s

Here we are onstage with one of the group's founding members and present percussionist, Barry Knezek.

I found a good picture of the rehearsal with Leonard Slatkin. Here is probably telling us to play quieter : ) My seat is on the other side of the bass player you see.

Dax recorded a bit of the rehearsal! It's a little hard to hear his instruction, but we are playing "Song of the Blacksmith" from Holst's 2nd Suite in F. For non-music folks, this video shows that different conductors truly do different things with the music. Everything grinds to a hault when we hit an ambiguous bit of the music. He explains how he wants it, and off we go again : )

Apr 15, 2011


We have a budding National Geographic photographer. That is if we had beautiful flora and fauna in our living room, and if there was really a camera on that tripod. Dax told her it what it was for and she took up the proper position on her own. She would 'take a picture' then move on to set up the tripod somewhere else. It entertained her for quite a while : )

I'm a published illustrator! I guess I can mark that off my bucket list. I believe I posted some of these paintings way back when I first completed them. Well, thanks to the author's efforts to get it published, it's now for sale.

Large photos!

We did complete another one, but it's awaiting a publisher at the moment.

One morning Hannah woke me up excitedly. "Mommy! I made people!! Come see!"

We had some visitors last week and the girls got to meet baby Helene.

Hannah got this outfit for her birthday, but at the time was not excited about wearing the headband so I just put it away. The other day we were headed out the door and I turned around to see this.

That's better!

Despite all the wide open spaces he could army crawl around, Colin frequently chooses this tight pathway and then fusses about being stuck. : ) So we pushed the chair out a bit for his traveling convenience.

The other day, he was crawling out of his room and I said, "Chloe, where is Colin going?"
She said," To the living room. To eat chicken."

The kids decorated this cake for some friends we had over. They will be applying for summer jobs at Baskin Robbins and this is going in their portfolio.

Since the church garage sale is around the corner, it was time to clear out some stuff to contribute, and once again our garage is a random mess. Here's what I found in the first square foot. Music stand, paint can opener, pine-cone, flower tag, balloon pump, brass horn mute, top holder for a stack of blank cds, a trombone mouthpiece, and a glass bottle. This is going to take awhile...

We finally opened Colin's Christmas present from Nana. He's very happy to sit on it, but of course cannot get up or down yet. He'll have fun scooting around soon, I'm sure.

Colin turned 10 months old! This is his official front yard portrait.

There he goes! His first (and hopefully last) time to run away from home.

Having a coffee table makes for way better forts.

Life is exhausting. I hear ya, Colin.

We took our first trip to Chuck E. Cheese this week. I haven't been there since it was Showbiz pizza, so I was excited about going to this birthday party. However, I was a little anxious. Often times, Dax is busy at church during events like these, and it's a whole lot of work to take 3 little ones to an unfamiliar place and keep everyone cared for and happy. Thankfully, it all went great and I loved seeing them explore everything.

Chloe claimed this one right away. She could tell it was something pretty cool.

This was her favorite, though. Mainly because she could put the tokens in all she wanted on her own. This little car also takes your picture and prints it out, so my pockets were stuffed with those!

Dax would have been proud. He loves this game.

I was happy to show them this one. : )

Hannah's technique is a little different.

Who doesn't love ski ball? I was interested to see how this would go. They didn't quite have the strength to roll them into the pits, and didn't quite have the coordination to roll them instead of throw them. They improved their game, and we were surrounded by red balls all over the floor before they lost interest and left me to roll them all back- which I gladly did.

Chuck E. Cheese is an interesting place. I remember a huge stage with animatronic creatures and songs. Now it's screenvision with 2 kid reporters, an animatronic Chuck E. in the corner, and then a real Chuck E. walking around throwing little dance parties. The host and I had a laugh over the amplified Justin Bieber song, "Baby" sung in Chuck E.'s voice. A little creepy, especially since he was talking about he "was 13 with his first love." I didn't see the relation to a 4 yr. old's birthday, but of course it didn't matter to the kids.

Chloe finally warmed up to the big guy and danced along.

Colin did a great job in his stroller most of the party so he was rewarded with his first piece of pizza. Yummmm. On our way out, we had the classic moment of everyone tucked and strapped safely in the van, they have their waters, we packed our bags, and I hear, "I need to go to the potty." So out we all got all over again. I think it took us about 30 minutes to leave! They were so tired when we got home, I could barely take their shoes off before they flopped into bed.

Apr 4, 2011

A Day Out, A Night Out

In the midst of organizing, the kids loved playing in the tubs.
Colin is never without his drool.

This lasted about 10 seconds!

Lillian and Mikey have a new baby sister who apparently likes to be awake all night, so to give Jessica a break as well as give all the kids a chance to play together, we had some visitors for a awhile last week. They are old enough to really entertain each other, so that's great for me : ) It was really fun listening to them play "Simon Says." Here's what I would hear.
"Simon says....run to the kitchen!!"
Everyone runs to the kitchen.
"Simon didn't saaaaaay!"
"Yes he did."
"No he didn't"
Repeat all.

He loves to hold legs.

Always with a wet shirt : )

This was his new facial expression for a couple of days.

Giddy-up, Daddy! I'm glad that's a Daddy's job.

This picture is sideways, but I've been cleaning everything out as I've mentioned. And going through the craft stuff, I had to make a painful but necessary decision. These are all cross-stitches I've begun over the last 10 years. Now if I make one for someone else, I always finish it. But these were all projects for me. And there is a consistency here- each one is about 1/4 done before I start another one. I didn't realize it until I had them all out together. So my decision is that they will never be finished. In fact a couple of these are definitely out of fashion and don't match our house anymore. However, I did keep just one if I got the urge to make those fun little x's again. But I won't be searching the aisles for more, especially when I rarely have time to work on quilting, which I really love right now.

Last Friday night, I got to go out with friends!! We met for dinner at Mimi's which was very delicious, and all rode together to Grand Prairie to go to a one woman show called "Mother Load." We then went out for dessert and chatted until the yawns made us call it quits.

In the theater- Kelly, April, Kim, Me, Melissa. This is technically the make-up of our book club.
I honestly think you cannot find a better group of women than this. Everyone is a devoted wife and mom. Everyone has a distinct personality. And most importantly, there is total respect between us all- no one ever, ever speaks with anything but love toward each other, whether that person is present or not. There's never jealousy about who hung out with who. Everyone is given the benefit of the doubt in every situation. Sure, everyone has quirks, but those are celebrated. Also, if someone has a new baby, everyone else organizes meal help, showers, etc. People in this group have gone out of their way to do me a favor, driven 45 min. to drop something off. Interested in a particular topic? Someone might e-mail you a link or a flyer. Their generosity is endless. We know each other's wishes, hopes, and troubles. Everyone in this group really listens. And no one is afraid to announce on a regular basis how important this group is to them. Each time we meet, I love them even more! : )

The stage set was pretty funny. A very messy living room. Throughout her 90 minute show, she gradually picked up the room as she talked. Then at the end, she dumped it all back out even worse than before- made us laugh and cringe at the same time : ) I laughed so much during this play and even had a single tear at the end.

If you are interested in Amy Wilson's book, it's basically making sense of motherhood in a comical way, and recognizing the pressures, both realistic and not realistic that are put on us every day. It's called When Did I Get Like This? The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget Buyer & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be.
(long title)
Her blog is also really funny! Mother Load: The Blog

On Saturday we had a rare section of time all together, so we took the kids to Grapevine Botanical Gardens. It's basically like a free, really well-cared for park!

We found a little creek, and with a lot of convincing, each girl climbed down the embankment to get close up.

Near the section called "Compost Corral" where they exhibited different ways to compost. Not so exciting, but it was interesting.

Getting sneaky over there.

Chloe really, really wanted to help clean the bathtub and who am I to turn her down?

For the last few years, I've seen a type of coffee table I really like. But every time I've looked them up, they are way out of our price range and the kids needed the floor space anyway. Lately we've been moving their little table and chairs set all around (more to do) and they could really use a bigger space to play without scattering the floor with everything they own. I also really wanted some storage in the den without buying a new tv cabinet. So I searched through literally hundreds of Craig's List ads the other day and ran across this! I knew it wouldn't match our stuff, but I've just had it in my head for so long, I figured we could always paint it later. So for $60 from our "Household" budget, it was ours! It's been great so far.

Not a movie star, but a star in his right in the classical music world. The famous conductor, Leonard Slatkin happened to be in town last weekend and was snagged to rehearse the Lone Star Wind Orchestra accompanied by an interview afterward. He really made the group sound wonderful, and it was really interesting to see which things he chose to rehearse, how he worded something or directed it to improve it, etc. It was a great experience. In the meantime, our upcoming concert should be a lot of fun! We're playing a couple of standards (Holst's 2nd Suite and Reed's Armenian Dances, a piece that sounds like it stepped out of the Batman movies, a really neat modern piece that steals from ancient music, one called "Eviler Elves" and a couple of famous tunes with one of the world renowned euphonium player, Brian Bowmen, who was Dax's professor years ago. If you would like to come, it's Sunday, April 17 at 2:30 at the Eisemann Center in Richardson. Tickets are from $10-$40. BUT! If that's not doable, then for the first time ever, you can watch the concert live!!!
Tune in a few minutes before the downbeat at www.banddirector.com.

Our conductor does a short interview here about the concert!