Monday, September 30, 2013

Like New Piano

When I was in 7th and 8th grade, I took a piano class in school. I would then ride home with 2 teachers: My Aunt Peggy, who was my French and English teacher, and her best friend, Mrs. Broussard, the piano teacher.  Once I arrived at Aunt Peggy’s, she would sit with me at her piano and she would help me practice. I loved playing, and I loved her beautiful piano.

Fast forward 20 years, and I’m looking for a piano of my own.  I have dreams of relearning, and of my children taking lessons. I call my dad to see if he’d mind me borrowing his truck and trailer, should I find a used one on Craigslist. He says, “You know, Aunt Peggy is looking for someone to take her piano, don’t you?”  I quickly contacted Aunt Peggy and she said she was about to run an ad in the paper for a free piano. I told her I’d gladly take it in. But I didn’t know how to transport it the 250 miles from her home to mine.  Then my dad swoops in and saves the day – he drives down with his truck and trailer, then drives the piano to my house. He and my Uncle Mike had managed to get it on the trailer with pure muscle. But at my house, with it’s steps and incline, required professional movers. And in the transport, some of the bottom had come unglued, leaving the pedals useless. I had this beautiful piano, but it would be delayed in playing also due to the changes in humidity. So it sat in our living room, mostly unused, being tuned a few times over the last 4-5 years. 

The piano tuner tells me that it’ll cost a bit to fix it. Some of it was damaged, some of it was maintenance. Some of it was just from being old. But finally, the day arrived! The tuner had spent time in his shop, reworking its inner parts, and then time at my home, laying that mamoth beast down on it’s back to reglue the parts back into place. And then he spent hours retuning, changing felt, and retuning some more.  At last, she’s done. And she’s beautiful.

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Soon after, our friend, Blake Moreland came over and tested it out for me.

And as of mid-September, Chance is in lessons! It’s so wonderful to see my dream coming to fruition! So far, he is loving it!

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Bostons Visit

On the heels of the Burrises visiting, the Boston family came hang for the weekend.

First order of business – put the kiddos to bed and play Catan!!DSC_0547

Same vantage point, different hour. We have a bunch of kids between the four of us!

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We trekked over to the Cibolo Nature Center for a Workshop on moths. It was quite interesting.

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The kids learned how you can have a net under a bush, then shake the bush and inspect it for moth caterpillars.

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I couldn’t believe I’d lived here 8 years and never checked out this beautiful place before!! We had a picnic and went swimming at the Boerne Pool.

We also spent some time at home, soaking in the brotherly love. (Leland with Evangeline)

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While their hands are full with young children, Meesh and Ryan are handling it like champs.

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Sweet baby sister….

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Since I had not have enough time with this sweet girl, I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to stick my lens in her face.

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And she even poses!!

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If this doesn’t give you baby fever, I don’t know what will…

Elijah, Hendrix, Leland and Evie.

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Mama luv.

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The nice thing about staying in the same home together is all the time we get to visit while our kids are sleeping/napping. Win!

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And Leland’s entertainment…

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Randi and Dan Visit

I was blessed with not one, but two family members asking to come visit at the same time this summer. Thankfully, they yielded to each other on schedules, and came back to back. Which meant that I spent the week before getting some major housework done. I do love having a goal! First up was Randi and Dan.
Dan had never before seen a hedgehog, so event number one was to play with Beatrix. My old dog, who now calls Randi and Dan’s house home, was not sure what to think of this prickly little rodent.
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Since we had her out, I had to get a portrait or two.
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Another favorite when they come in town: Huhot.  Charlie had to miss out because he was at baseball camp, and Chuck had to work.
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At night we let Beatrix come out and play. This photo sums up Randi’s opinion of her. Ha!
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And if you need a little hedgehog entertainment...


I didn’t take any pictures, but we did attempt a day at Fiesta Texas in the sweltering heat. That was fun…sorta. Randi got overheated and had to rest at home. And then - it was funny how God provides - we ran into our friends, the Carlins, at Fiesta and had decided to go for ice cream after the fireworks. When we loaded into the car, my tire was flat. It had a huge nail through the sidewall in two places. Thankfully, the Carlins, Chuck, and some good Samaritan came along and switched it to the spare. All of our kids were huddled around, intrigued by the event. We still managed to eat ice cream!
And no trip is complete without a little group photo. Hosea is thoroughly spoiled in his old age!  Thanks for coming, Randi and Dan. We love you guys!
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Chance’s Half Birthday

Let me cut to the chase and get to the moral of this story – never plan to get things done for back home while you’re on vacation.

Chance’s half birthday (known as his friend birthday because he gets to have a party with his friends) occurred during our vacation. I convinced him that if he waited until after, I’d have time to make it a Minecraft themed party. But when we got home on a Wednesday, and his party was planned for Friday, I realized that all of my pinterest-inspired grandiose dreams would not be attainable.  To my surprise, I could not find any Minecraft themed items in any stores to bail me out of many time-consuming crafting projects. Basically, this party was very thrown together.

The silver lining to this potential catastrophe was that all of the friends we invited could come. Our home was inundated with boys and noise, filled with laughter and creativity. We attempted to make Steve heads from boxes, and played pin the tail on the minecraft pig (at which point one boy asked what the prize was for winning…another thing I forgot!). Since it was the heat of summer, I searched high and low for a slide like the one the boys had enjoyed in Tennessee to no avail. So we did a slip-n-slide instead.

I mustered every ounce of baking skill I had to make a sub-par Minecraft landscape cake for Chance.DSC_0423

And my dear friend Stacia graciously videoed the singing for me.

Overall, my hope is, Chance will not recall all of the unorganized, thrown-together mess, but will instead remember all the people who joined together, not caring how imperfect the accommodations, but to show him how much we love him, and celebrating the life God has given him.

We love you, Chancey.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kentucky and Tennessee Trip

In late June we decided to head up to see Chuck’s sisters and parents for about 10 days. It was wonderful and relaxing.
We planned to take 2 full days driving up. On our way to Louisville, we were to pass through Nashville. Being over 24 hours into our roadtrip, we were ready to take a break, but we ended up taking a night to stay in Nashville with Tammy and Grandma and Grandpa. They welcomed us with a delicious home-cooked meal and a great evening.
At Tammy’s, the first order of business was to love on our sweet niece, Liza.
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Grandma and Grandpa have parked their RV at her house semi-permanently to help with Liza while Tammy works. It’s sweet to see the bond they share.
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The next morning we finished our final leg and made it up to Mitsi and Paul’s house.
Beau was quick to show me his portrait of me. So sweet and precious. And Mitsi’s chalk wall is a marvel.
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I soaked up some craft time with Ruby.
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And Chandler stayed attached at the hip to Beau. It’s still so fun to watch those two live in their imaginary worlds together.
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Mitsi is raising chickens, which may have just fueled my desire to raise them as well. And check out Charlie on the swing behind her.
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Everything was so green and lush there. They’ve received much more rain than San Antonio could dream about. 
All of the kids enjoyed torturing capturing chickens.
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Beau had an interesting way to swing. I think he’s on to something.
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Ruby, my willing model. What a refreshing sight to have a child stand still and not run away from the camera!
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Mitsi had this fabulous idea to have a “Throw down” with Chuck in the kitchen. Everyone wins! 
The theme was Oriental Food. Mitsi made delicious fried wontons and a chicken stir fry. Chuck made egg drop soup and noodles. Then all the kids got to vote on which dishes they liked best.
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Technically, Chuck won. It might be because he knew that our kids loved noodles. Just sayin’ Winking smile
Another highlight of the trip was going to Steak and Shake. We took up 3 tables…I think it’s fun to see how the Thier / Parish families have grown.
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Paul and Mitsi.
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The big kids’ table.
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Chandler enjoyed dessert, can you tell?
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Back home, we let the kids loose with sparklers since we were nearing July Fourth. With all of the humidity, there was a lot of smoke. But the kids loved it.
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So much so, we did it again when we reconvened back at Tammy’s house in Nashville.
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Between this old farmhouse porch and beautiful sight across the street, to the gorgeous garden Tammy and Grandma cultivated, this property is such a place of peace.
The view from the porch.
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A portion of the bounty from the garden:
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Girl time on the front porch.
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Despite the peace, this is how crowded it can get. That’s Chance with his shirt over his head.
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Grandpa ingeniously purchased a water slide for all the grandkids.
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And here’s how Grandpa enjoyed it as well.
Chuck got the boys “Xploders” guns. The bullets are mostly water, biodegradable, and don’t hurt when you get shot with one. But the range is far, which was enough to get even Chuck in on the action. The entire property was a war zone at times, with boys coming out of bushes and trees to shoot each other.
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Near Tammy’s is a beautiful place to hike.
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We found a vine worth swinging on, Tarzan-style.
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And here’s a little demonstration:
We found an interesting tree.
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Charlies F. Thier and Charles D. Thier
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And this was a first for my boys: finding fireflies!
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And I have to end on this – a little more Liza love….
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Congrats for reading this whole post! This is the first time I’ve managed to put a whole vacation in one entry.