Thursday, November 25, 2010


It seems like yesterday we were travelling to celebrate Thanksgiving in central Kansas with our Thiel family - and with our newborn baby girl.  I blinked, and it is a year later.  We are living in Houston, not St. Louis.  We are not traveling, and we are now marveling at the antics of our 16 month old.

The year whirled by.  Leaving impressions.

Of sadness and joy.  Of Friends and family.  Of change, stress, worry and, finally, rest.  New friends, new plans, new jobs.  The freedom to take big chances.  Shoulders to lean on and arms to catch us.  Love.  Blessing.  Ability.  Resourcefulness.  Peace.  Truth.  Grace.

We are thankful for our journey.  For everything and everyone it has brought into our lives. For the sour that makes the sweet that much more appealing. 

We are thankful to be blessed far beyond what we deserve.

We are thankful to be surrounded, near and far, by people who love us, think of us, pray for us and who are excited to hear from us, see us and spend time with us. 

(OK, more and more people are excited to spend time with Olive, but she is darn cute!)

We are thankful to have the opportunity to see what this next year brings our way.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Well.  Perhaps therapeutic is better.

I've had a rough week or so.  The reasons aren't really important.

But the past few days, to get myself out of the funk, I've been focusing on making time (amidst the chores, unpacking and guest preparations) to do a few things that I enjoy. 

I read one book (not business or law related) and started another (similarly unrelated to my work). 

I sewed a curtain for our laundry room door.  (Zoe DESTROYED the one that hung there when we purchase the house.  No telling how long this one will last.)

I went to a craft store and just lolly-gagged.  Kyle stayed home while Olive napped.

I found a few unfinished yarn projects.  I started the smaller one first - it isn't the most important but will be finished most quickly.  I'll start (er, restart) the next one tomorrow or Wednesday. 

I enlisted my sweet husband to help me make cake balls for our Thanksgiving celebration.  I am no Bakerella, but they sure turned out better than my first attempt.

We both took time to play with Olive on our new swing set.  She loves it.  And it makes my heart feel good to hear her say "weee" when she swings, or to feel her head resting on my chest as we fly on the glider.

None of these things took outrageous amounts of time.  But they did get a few unfinished items closer to being off of my to do list, and they gave me a few moments to rest and relax. 

All is all, it was wonderful.  Now, back to a) working and then b) prepping for our Thanksgiving celebration!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A link.

There are a few blogs that I read. Some are family or friends. Some are strangers.

(I won't even justify that I came to know them through their blogs and they aren't really strangers anymore, but ...Kyle laughs. And I admit that this crazy Internet/blog thing has changed the way not just OTHER people interact. But, I still LOVE to have coffee or a glass of wine *in person* with a friend. Hands down the best way to connect.)

I digress.

I follow this blog: "Bring the Rain." The September 15, 2010 post really inspired me. I need to curb my looking back habit. It surely is not good. 

(And, yeah, I mulled on publishing this post for quite some time.  Am I the kind of blogger to point you to another?  Or am I just recounting the details of our lives?  I don't know, but there is a first for everything.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Our Halloween Decor.

Timeliness aside, a while back I promised many photos, and I have only partially complied.

We decorated our new home for Halloween.  Our decorations were easy, cheap and (in my opinion) not overly gaudy.  We strung a few orange lights, taped some scary crow sillouettes to the windows and added a banner that reads "Trick or Treat" (if you get close enough). 

We wanted to say, "Please stop at our house to trick-or-treat.  We are friendly."

I think we accomplished the goal.  We shall see what next year (or next season) brings.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Places.

Last weekend, on the recommendation of a woman in our neighborhood moms' group, we found a new place.

It was tres yummy.  Kraftsmen just opened a new bakery near our home.  It looks very chic inside.

While they didn't have a high chair, they did have Olive-sized chairs.

We think she enjoyed them.  They are about the same size as her school lunch chairs.  (She also enjoyed the tasty baked goods!)

I think we will be returning there for tasty breakfast and yummy bread.  (The lunch fare was mouthwatering too!)  Who could resist?!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A New Toy.

Our Olive loves to push things around.  Until recently, at our house, she has sufficed with boxes (of all sizes) and a few books (I don't know, they slide well along the carpet and she has a walking downward dog thing going on).

But, as our smaller moving boxes are (thankfully!) gone, she has tried to push larger boxes or storage containers - with much frustration.  So, though it is not yet Christmas, we decided to get her a push toy.

We decided against a car (as an elf recently told us that this may already be under the tree for Olive) and went for a shopping cart.  I found a cute one with a small (teddy bear sized) car in front of it.  A small version of the theme shopping carts some grocery stores have these days.

Kyle asked.  "What will we do if she tries to get in it?"

I said.  "Oh, it is too small.  She won't get in it."

I was wrong.

Now that it is assembled, she hasn't (yet) tried to get in the small cab.  I try to keep the space filled with stuffed toys so that she doesn't get any ideas ... I'll let you know if it works.  But, she does enjoy pushing it all around our house.

PS - Not hours after I finished this post, I found Olive, having extracted her teddy bear, trying to cram herself inside the cab of this tiny car.  Again, I was wrong.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another First.

We are hunting for a new place to worship: a new (at least to us) church.

This past Sunday, we were first time visitors again.  We got Olive settled in the nursery.  It felt warm and comfortable.  She quickly found toys to play with and was entertained.  Kids in the next room were singing about Jesus and gobbling like turkeys.  No, I do not know how those two are related.  We left our info - including my cell phone number - with the nursery staff.

About mid-way ... or maybe more ... through the sermon, my phone buzzed.  I dashed to a hallway and picked up the call.

"Mrs. Thiel?"


"Miss Olive has decided that she would like to go home, NOW."

And with that, we gathered our belongings, were reunited with a tearful Miss Olive, and headed on about our Sunday.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Come on.  I dare you not to smile.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's up doc?

Ah, other than mad photo snapping, what have we been up to lately?

A whole lot of running around.  I spent time in Midland, TX.  (More fun than words can describe, I assure you.  Oh, but I did see Matt Lauer in the Midland airport.  Quite the celeb sighting, for me, at least.  And, how bad is it that my brain wanted to type 'citing' three times before it finally allowed me out of legal citation land!)  Kyle has spent time in St. Louis, MO and Oakridge, TN.

We continue to unpack boxes.  They are MOSTLY gone, but there is that one closet in the guest room.  Walk-in closets are a blessing and a curse.  Those boxes are totally out of sight, out of mind.  But, we will be having guests over the Thanksgiving holiday, and so they can't stay out of mind too much longer.

Today (after a plane snafu yesterday), my sister, Janna, and her husband, Eugene, arrive in Houston.  This will be Eugene's first trip to the U.S.  I'm not sure even they know where in the U.S. they will ultimately settle, but we are all very, very excited to have them much closer.

And, finally, I am doing my own personal happy dance that it is indeed November 8, and, while it is a tad chilly outside in the evenings, I have honestly not even considered breaking out my winter coat.  Hallelujah!

Monday, November 8, 2010


The day we closed on our Houston house, we came over to check it out.  (And, to wait on the moving truck to arrive, we were beyond anxious.)

Olive loved the empty space and the soft carpet.  She rolled on the carpet.

She enjoyed some cool water.

She ran all around the house.

She decided it was time for bed.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Still more photos.

Yes.  There are more photos.  I went on a bit of a cleaning, straightening and then photo snapping spree this weekend.  (I also downloaded, er, Kyle downloaded, a bunch of snaps from my Mom's camera.)

Our Bedroom.

Our Bathroom.

You may notice a theme (well, not in the bathroom), but a lot of the window coverings in our home are, well, elaborate.  They are more formal and more structured than we would choose.  But, they are in good condition and function well.  So, for the time being, our window coverings include quite a few pom-poms (dining room and study), and a tad more pink than we prefer (our bedroom and the guest room).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

More photos? Yes.

Kitchen.  Yes.  That is a pot of chili bubbling away.  We enjoyed it on Hallween evening with Mom, Tim and our friend Allison. 

This particular 'chili' might be considered sacrilege to some as (1) it was a Cooking Light recipe and (2) it contained copious amounts of vegetables, including butternut squash.  (Click here for the recipe.)  But it was tasty.  Note, however, that the recipe inexplicably calls for black olives. (Not as a garnish, which I could possibly attribute to individual taste, but as part of the basic broth.) I am not a chili purist, but, well, black olives do NOT belong in my chili.

Breakfast Nook.  We love the built-in cabinet.  Well, we love that there is a built-in cabinet here.  The scalloped edges are not our style, but storage is definitely a blessing.

Study.  Well, it is one of the rooms not really ready for public viewing, but I love this photo of Olive 'helping' Kyle get some of the clutter cleared.  She definitely loves chucking things into boxes.  Some of our items intended for Half Price Books may no longer be worthy of sale, having been chucked with some vigor.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ah, Jazz Brunch.

Not too long ago, Mom and Tim treated us to Sunday brunch at Brennan's.  They (the Brennan folk, not Mom and Tim) rebuilt the restaurant after a devastating fire, and the new/remodeled building is tres lovely.  Inspired by the original, but modern, chic and old fashioned all at the same time.  Quite a feat!

I was a little concerned that Olive and brunch would not agree.  I was very wrong.

Olive tried to cram whole muffins into her mouth.  (Note:  This is a before photo.)

Then, she chewed on her spoon while being enchanted by the wandering jazz band.

When her high chair grew tiresome, she walked laps around the restaurant, inside and out.  Finally, she hit her wall (and, yes, made herself comfortable in the middle of the floor for a nap) just as we were wrapping up the meal.  Perfect timing, if I do say so.

Then, she took a 3+ hour nap, allowing her grateful parents to get some work done.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Long promised photos: Living/Dining rooms.

Dining room.  Technically this is the 'formal living room,'  but we're using it for a dining room (and the original dining room as an office).

Living room.  This is our living room, and the one pre-ordained by the builder (architect?) and former owners.  We like the space, and it works for us in that capacity.

(view 1) 

(view 2)

All I can say is, "Woo.  Hoo. Wood paneling."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We hope you had a wonderful  (er, frightful?!) Halloween!  We had a great time dressing Olive up and seeing the craziness of the day through her eyes.

Actually, Olive wore her zebra costume three times in the last two weeks!

Last Sunday afternoon, the neighborhood moms' group put on a fall festival at a local park. Olive walked all around the park. She just stared, wide-eyed at all the bigger kids, especially those with more brightly colored costumes. We did get her on one of the slides, only to laugh when the slide material + her costume material resulted in significant static electricity. Her hair stood up all over!

This past Saturday, we attended a baby shower for our friends Jen and Adam. Olive donned her costume once more - this time with a tail and bows on her ears. (The black and white costume just needed a bit of pizzazz. I whipped up a tail from some black yarn.  Then, we added her hot pink sparkle shoes and a few snips of hot pink ribbons for just the right touch.)

Olive was still not convinced that the hat was a good idea


(Yeah, I've tried to make that one upright, like, 14 times.  My mom was at the shower too, and I think this is a super cute photo.  Just tilt your head.)

On Halloween, we dressed Olive in her zebra suit to answer the door with us - and to visit a few of our neighbors. She was a hit all around. More than anything, Olive loved watching people come to our door. Each time the bell sounded, she would run to the front door and peek out while we distributed candy. (Thankfully, the volume of trick-or-treaters was high. We gave away almost all of our candy, including the few pieces Olive collected.)

A wonderful time was had by all.