Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Friday, December 30, 2011

Santa's Little Helper

Gordon had a tough job this year as Santa's little elf:
You can tell, he took his job very seriously:
When I let require Gordon to dress up in these awesome outfits, he stops all movement. Proof? Here's a second photo, that looks exactly like the previous:
Thankfully, Christmas is over and NYE doesn't require any work from Gordon... except, of course, dutifully guarding the house.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far...

Yesterday the Hill herd went to Zea's for lunch. I was super impressed with the food and really enjoyed being able to hang out with all eight of the crew in a different environment. We were seated at a table for ten, even though we had told the hostess we were a party of eight adults and one infant. The waitress asked if we were waiting for one more. I pointed to Laura's baby-belly and told her that, yes, we were waiting for one more, but it might be best if we go ahead and order anyway.

I find myself very amusing.

After we finished eating, we carried on for a while and PD was able to hold his granddaughter. Do you think they're related?

PD looks down, Maria looks down.

PD smiles, Maria smiles.

Watch out, world, it looks like Maria might take after her Papa PD... can you imagine the whooping and carrying on?!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Way Back When-sday

Through a random "six-degrees" type situation, I found this fun blog a few weeks ago: slcnewlyweds.blogspot.com.

Every Wednesday she posts photos from the past... which are hilarious! So I thought I'd join in the fun!

Welcome to the Hill's Country's very first Way Back When-sday!

Since I still consider this Christmas season... and since much of our Christmas is spent in Baton Rouge with Chris' family (and since I'd rather embarrass my husband than me)... I bring you these photos from Christmas Past:

Chris enjoying some ornaments with his dad, PD.

Chris and Jojo opening presents.

A very excited Chris opening a GI Joe toy.

And my favorite...
Little Chris in a fire truck!

Thanks, Allison, for such a fun idea!

(And click on her super awkward er... I mean awesome... button below to see her Way Back When-sday memories!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Season's Greetings!

I love Christmas cards. I love the entire process of sending them out (even hand-writing the addresses) and I love getting them.

To display the cards we've received, used a vertical portion of our kitchen/dining room:
It's really just a ribbon that runs down the wall-- I use mini clothes pins (spray painted gold) to secure the cards:
(The card at the top I made with the cricut.)

Our refrigerator isn't magnetic, and I'm thinking about using this space for "fridge-worthy photos" during the rest of the year.

Until I decide that, I'll enjoy the smiling faces of our happy friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Cross stitched Christmas

I have a secret.

I'm a cross stitcher. 

I am young, I watch America's Next Top Model, I use my iPad frequently... and I like to cross stitch. I know, that might seem confusing to those of you who have nightmares of grandma's cross stitched cat pillows... but it's true.

For Christmas, I have two projects that I display during the season. The first is somewhat unfinished:
They are guest towels in the washroom.

One is "Three French Hens":
And the other is "A Partridge in a Pear Tree":
 (both are poorly photographed)

Those "Two Turtle Doves" are just going to have to wait another year!

The second project is a wall hanging:
Three panels that placed together celebrate baby Jesus.
Here's a closer look at my favorite panel:
I hope to someday have a third cross stitched project to display for Christmas: our stockings! When I got married I really wanted to find a Christmas stocking pattern that I could repeat for Chris and I, then our children. But I've had a hard time finding a pattern that I really like. So, until then, we have this do-fer*
So now you know my secret hobby. Try not to judge too harshly.

* A 'do-fer' is something that will do for now. Get it? Got that one from my old high school theater teacher.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Missing: one blogger

Last week I forgot that I have raving fans that wait eagerly for each installment of my blog. (And by "raving fans", I mean my mom.)

This week I plan to rectify that with some amazing posts about the Hill House: Christmas edition. So while I run around the house getting it blog-worthy, I'll leave you today with a photo of our earnest puppy:
This is Gordon, standing on the back of our sofa. The window faces the front yard and Gordon likes to post himself there for his guard-dog duties. And someday, when the bad guys storm the house, I have no doubt that they'll take one look at that face and take off running. Towards all of our valuables. (Which, by the way, are an autographed pair of Yao Ming's shoes and a fancy new vacuum cleaner that should sell on the street for about $10.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Merry Christ-Moose!

The Hill House is in full Christmas mode!

Including the newest addition:
Merry Christ-moose!

More Thanksgiving Fun

Today I'll wrap up Thanksgiving on the compound. Yes, I realize that it's Christmas season and I'm still talking about Thanksgiving... but how many times does Christmas bully over into Thanksgiving season? I'm just trying to even the playing field.

What follows is a bunch of random photos that didn't fit in anywhere else, but are still delightful!

The ladies at bakefest:
Maria, having a snooze-fest:
The boys at Video Game Fest:

Chris, preparing a turkey:
Laura, serving up some gumbo (for two!):
PD talking to Maria:

And Maria with her turkey butt:
 Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crazy Hat Uno 2011

My most favorite Thanksgiving activity is Crazy Hat Uno. It's a lot like regular Uno... but larger, louder and with hats. You have to be careful in choosing your Uno hat-- it can't be ill-fitting or uncomfortable because if you are caught not wearing your hat it's an automatic draw two.

Here's the gang ready to play:
Maria came, but I'm not sure she was as into Crazy Hat Uno as I would have liked:
My mom went for full costume and rocked out her look:
PD re-purposed his hat for the occassion:
Chris started out with a Viking hat, but turned the horns down to pay homage to my Aggies:
But my favorite hat was K-dog's:
 Once the game starts, it's all business (in the middle of cheers, yells and songs) and no one is safe from drawing 4, or 8, or 12. Here's a photo of K-dog showing how happy he is to fill my hands with more points:
And here's my dad showing his dislike for Justin's similar treatment:
In the end there can only be one winner... and I'm happy to say it was ME!
See all the points I got?? Oh, wait. Points are bad in Uno. Turns out, Andrew was crowned the winner of Crazy Hat Uno 2011. Congrats to the turkey head!
Only 11 more months to find your crazy hat for 2012!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Halls Ferry Drive Iron Chef Competition 2011

Each year for Thanksgiving, the Hill compound cooks up some Thanksgiving dishes and heads across the street. Their neighbors, the Cedars, have been hosting Thanksgiving for... something like 30 years? Once all 36 of us had gathered in the living room, we had a Thanksgiving prayer (ending, of course, in a request that the LSU Tigers be granted three more wins this season). Then we started in on the 7 different turkeys (some roasted, some fried and some smoked), 18 different side dishes (including 4 different types of stuffing) and 12 different desserts. It was delightful.
(A happy Chris with his first plate...)
(Of course, football is on in the background...)

Once everyone had enjoyed their feast, we started the Iron Chef Competition.

This started two years ago when we realized that there were 5 different dishes that contained pumpkin. We had an informal judging and my mom took the first victory with "Lynn's Classic Pumpkin Pie." Last year we were a little more organized with the secret ingredient: cranberries and I took the first place.

This year we were in full Iron Chef mode. The secret ingredient was announced the previous year and everyone was invited to participate by bringing their best Sweet Potato recipe. We have four judges and they are given a score card and asked to vote on taste, presentation and originality.

Here are a few of the dishes that competed:
Chris thought he might fool the judges with his presentation:
 (He placed the first place ribbon on his dish.)

Since I did not have a dish in the competition, I played the role of Alton Brown/MC... here I am adding up the scores...
It was a close race, with a tie for second place! Both Kimmie/Ms. Brenda's dish: Pumpkin Crunch (picutured in the upper left-hand corner two photos above) and Tom's Sweet Potato Ice Cream:
You can tell the judges were intrigued by his choice:
After they had scored this dish, Jeremy came out with...
More sweet potato ice cream! He is pictured here grating fresh nutmeg on top of his creation.

You might notice the judges seem to be even happier with Jeremy's creation and sure enough... he was crowned the winner!

The winner receives bragging rights for an entire year as well as the honor of choosing the following year's secret ingredient. Jeremy chose green beans.

Congratulations to all of the Iron Chef competitors of 2011, especially our top three honorees: Kimmie/Ms. Brenda, Tom and Jeremy! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Laser Tag 2011

Each year, on the day before Thanksgiving, the Hill compound merges with the Cedars across the street and we all take part in some family laser tag. This has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving activities.

This year a very pregnant Laura had to sit out, so she took some photos from the observation deck:
Unfortunately, the fog and lights don't create an atmosphere conducive to some amazing action shots.

In the pre-game area we randomly draw for teams. Here are some of the boys proud to have picked team 2:
Chris and I were both on team 1:
(And yes, I did wear the penguin hat throughout the game.)

Once we had teams chosen and the rules barked at us from an unfortunate high schooler who took his job way to seriously... we were able to put on the gear!
Each vest has a different name on it so that you can find out your score and stats after the game. My name was "Phantom". (That will be important in a moment.)

Now I'm not known for my athletic power... or my laser shooting skills. And my competition was fierce-- former college athletes and video game playing maniacs. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the score board after the game:
If you notice, the purple team (mine) had a higher score than the gold team. My team won! More importantly, though, take a look at who scored the most points... Phantom!

We actually played three rounds and I was the high scorer for two out of the three! AND my team won all three rounds.

I can't lie-- I walked a little taller leaving the laser tag building than I had walking in. I might not be good at Dominoes or (spoiler alert!) Uno... but I sure can shoot a laser!

After Laser Tag we all went back to Laura's house for a Secret Scarf Society Meeting. That's all the information I'm allowed to give about that event.

On Monday I'll reveal the winner of the Halls Ferry Drive Iron Chef Competition of 2011!