Tales from the Hill's Country

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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Little Lucy's Baptism

A few weeks ago, Chris and I went to Baton Rouge to watch our youngest niece be baptized. It was an adorable time.

Here's Lucy, pre-baptizism:
Precious face!

And getting her bonnet secured just right:
Lucy's baptism outfit has been passed down throughout Laura's family, so it was very special.

Though it was also a little big for Lucy:
Here are the parents and god-parents getting ready for the ceremony:
And older cousin Maria, excited as well:
The priest came by and put oil on Lucy:
Then it was time for the water:
Lucy was held up in front of the church and everyone clapped to welcome her into the church family!
 Later, Mamma Laura received a special blessing:
As did Papa Justin:
Lastly a shot with the parents, god-parents and Papa PD!
It was a beautiful day and Lucy was blissfully calm during the entire ceremony. Another fun milestone with our Louisiana family.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Standing Guard

There has been some talk about what to do with our wild animal when BH joins the family in August.

On the one hand, he's soft and cuddly:
On the other hand, he barks, jumps on people with no regard to propriety and often has smelly breath.

But if Gordon treats BH anything like Johanna's dog (Leroy) treats Maria... then I think we'll be just fine:
You might need to click on the photo to see better, but that's Leroy standing guard as Maria takes an impromptu snooze in her swing.

So I guess we'll keep the Wild Animal Snuggle Bug Protector in the family for the foreseeable future. But Gordon, one step out of line and you'll get a one way ticket to Papa Tom's house!
(I think he's getting the message... don't you?)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Easter Photos & a Baby Bump

I seem to have only good-weather memories of Easter Sundays in Houston. Which is a big deal, because Houston isn't known for it's temperate (or predictable!) weather.

After church on Easter Sunday, Chris and I... er... just I... decided that we should take advantage of our Sunday "best" (it's Texas, denim jackets count as "best"!) and pretty weather for a few snapshots of our growing family.

No need to adjust your computer monitor, we really are that good looking.

Aaaaand here's Baby Hill:
Although you can't feel it from the outside, I can feel him moving from the inside and that little guy was dancing throughout the entire Easter service!

One more shot of us chilling in the backyard. That's all I could get before Chris rebelled.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WBW: Corn Stalks

For today's Way Back When-sday, I bring you a true tale of child gardening. 

Chris does not believe this story... but I promise you this really happened! 

When I was around seven (mom, want to confirm that?) my friend, Ashley and I ate some popcorn in my backyard.

Important to know: My mom had a popcorn popping machine, so we always bought fresh kernels and popped the corn ourselves. (Well, my mom did it while I watched.)

Ashley and I enjoyed our popcorn and as usual, we found some un-popped kernels at the bottom of our bowl. So, we threw them into the ground by the fence. We didn't pat them down or bury them... just casually threw them.

A month later... this happened:
See that behind me? It's a corn stalk!

Without any care from us, this stalk grew from the un-popped kernel! It grew and matured so much that we were able to pick an ear of corn from it!

I've tried to recreate this form of gardening many times since, but it's never been repeated. Something magical happened that year in that yard with those kernels...

Have a cool story for Way Back When-sday that you want to share? Here's how:

Step One: grab a button and to put on your WBW post (that will send readers here):
The Hill's Country

Step Two: fill out this easy form and a link will pop up here to send readers to YOUR WBW story!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Good Friday Crawfish Boil

In Louisiana, Good Friday usually means a Crawfish Boil. Instead of traveling there this year, Chris and I went to the Brewer's house to participate in this tasty tradition!

Here's Mark filling up the pot and dreaming about the tasty crawfish to come:
And here I am, playing with my supper:
Chris also had a go:
Look at those claws!
 Once the crawfish were in their steam bath, Mr. Warren kept an eye on them:
Pretty soon it was time to pour supper onto the table!
(Check out the LSU duct-tape!)

The crawfish were delicious, the company was grand and our hosts were full of Louisiana hospitality.
Crawfish: one more reason that I love spring!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lucy is Anchored Down!

At Lucy's baby shower I brought a few bibs from my shop.

Not knowing boy or girl at the time, I had to go gender neutral... so I chose the "Ahoy Baby":
Turns out... she loves it! I think...
I'm going to go with 'she loves it' based on the story that Laura told me. Apparently this was the third bib that Lucy wore that day-- the other two she threw up on. BUT once she had this bib on, she stayed happy and clean. Maybe I should market that bibs have magical powers...

Laura also mentioned that she loves how big it is because it protects her clothes from "projectile vomit". Think I should add that to the description?! 

Ahoy Lucy-- can't wait to see you again!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ending the Week of Nesting

Clearly I've been keeping busy the past few weeks on many home projects. To end our "week of nesting" I'll share a few random photos of things around the house.

*Confession: these were taking with my "fancy pants camera" and although I'm slowly but surely getting the hang of it, I'm not really great at capturing indoor decor. So... sorry about that.

We have a window box above our kitchen sink that I've always used as a spot to store random items. But I decided to actually give it some attention.
My mom helped me get the plants started and I'm hoping Chris' green thumb helps keep them alive (especially after I'm pretty sure I drowned them this morning while trying to water them).

I love this stained glass cross that was a wedding gift from our extremely talented artist friend: Jill Thomas. (Click on her name to access her website and click here to access the studio where she made it!)

And this little bowl came from my mom's closet. It was a trophy that my dad won during his sailing days.

Next up: some exposed shelves that are in the middle of our kitchen cabinets. Again, until recently, I used them to store random (and sometimes unsightly) items. But now...
Not sure I LOVE it, but it's better than how it was!

Some detail-- I love these cow-shaped coffee creamer servers!

 This vase is a recent thrift store find. It wasn't tall enough, so I placed it on top of a turned-over ramekin. Works for now!

I also tried to spruce up my table space:
I actually bought those leaf platters last spring and never used them.

So there you have it! Some random shots of amateur decorating at the Hill House! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nesting Controversy

I've hated our throw pillows for quite some time. They were a random assortment of pillows that Chris and I had in our bachelor/bachelorette apartments and all of them looked like they belonged in a college dorm room.

So the other day, I came home with four HUGE bags of pillows. Chris was a little concerned. Since I hadn't really shared with him my dislike, this seemed to be an expensive, out-of-the-blue activity. First I showed him these:
He really liked the large pillows on either side and started to relax a little.

Then I showed him these (this is actually just one pillow, but I bought two of them):
His reaction to this one was, "I don't understand it". I'm not sure you're supposed to 'understand' throw pillows, so I decided to keep them.

These go in our back sitting area (off of the kitchen):
I particularly like them because they are indoor/outdoor. So we can use them on our outdoor sofa when entertaining there.

None of this is very controversial, though, and I promised you some controversy in my title. So here's another thing I did:
 That's a photo frame around our thermostat!
I say it's awesome! My mom says its awful. Chris says he can live with it (smart man). 

Of course I got the idea from Pinterest:
And the original photo links to this blog where she was also teased for decorating her thermostat!

So if trying to 'understand' throw pillows wasn't enough, there's your controversy for today! Framing your thermostat: brilliant decorating move? Or strange nesting habit of hormonal pregnant ladies?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WBW: Extreme Nesting

This week I've been talking about housekeeping and nesting so for today's Way Back When's day, I'd like to share an extreme home-makeover that occurred WAY before that was a "thing".

This is the house that my parents purchased when they were newlyweds:
My dad and his handy skills turned that into this:
And eventually this:
He did that while working a full-time job (starting his career at Texaco) and while my mom was pregnant with my brother (and even continued through my brother's newborn years). Sure, the house looks a little "built in the 70's", but it was my home for 18 years.

Even after they did the bulk of construction, my dad always had "little" projects he continued to work on. Projects like adding a "sky walk": a "floating" hallway that went from the second story main house to the second story of the unattached garage (which he turned into a game room). That portion happened after I was born.

Here's a photo showing how my parent's safely wrangled their two young children during this dangerous construction:
That's me hanging out in the middle of the action. Dodging saws and sharp nails, I'm sure.

And here's my brother and I safely posing for a photo:
Right next to a large hole coming out of the house.

It's a miracle I'm still here to tell the tale...

Do you have any stories you want to share for Way Back When-sday? Here's how!

Step One: grab a button and to put on your WBW post (that will send readers here):
The Hill's Country

Step Two: fill out this easy form and a link will pop up here to send readers to YOUR WBW story!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

It's the week of nesting! I've been working on making our house more homey for a while now and I'm ready to share some projects!

Today's project comes from an idea I found on Pinterest. It's an online idea board where you can post ideas that you see as well as see other people's ideas. If you're not already addicted to Pinterest. Don't join... you'll spend hours saving ideas and not actually doing them! For me, that lack of action ends today with my first "Pinterest Challenge". I've challenged myself to actually execute the projects I've "pinned"!

Here's the original photo that started my project:
Someone else tagged it with the comment, "wood plaques at hobby lobby for $1, paint and mod podge the pic onto them".
(But, if you actually click through the link, it's a post about someone who actually makes and sells these: which you can find here.)

Adding photos to the house was long over due... before this we only had two photos in our home! One of the reasons I've been hesitant to add photos is that a lot of our wall space isn't large and flat. We have panels of space here or a spot of space there. Not very conducive to hanging a large print. So when I saw this, I knew it would be perfect for our home. (with some changes, of course!).

Our walls already have a lot of color and the spot I picked out for this project is navy. So instead of painting the boards all different colors, I chose all white boards with black and white photos:
After buying the boards (for a cohesive look, I chose to buy all the boards the same size and type and to have all the photos horizontal) I went to Home Depot and chose a white paint (it's amazing how many different shades of white there are!). I bought the sample size, since I didn't need much.

After painting, drying, repainting and re-drying the boards, I was ready to add the photos. Chris and I had painstakingly chosen six photos that fit our criteria (looks good in black and white, includes family members and is horizontal), but I know that in just a few months, we'll want to switch out those photos (hello, Baby Hill!). So my first thought of modge podging them wasn't going to do.

Here's my solution:
I glued down photo corners that we used to all use when scrapbooking in the old days. They are glued to the wood, so it's easy to take the photo out and replace it with a new one.

And here that photo is on the wall:
The black and white image with the "throw back" photo corners almost gives the project a vintage-y look.

To hang the photos, I enlisted Chris' help, who attached these little guys to the back:
Then we played around with the order forever and landed on this arrangement:
(For the awkward panel of previously "just navy" wall space.)
(For an equally awkward spot of "wow, that's a lot of navy" wall space.)

After taking all these photos with my fancy-pants camera, I realized that I didn't get a shot of the both walls together. So here's a really bad iPhone photo:
Let's not focus on the poodle skirt that needs to go up in the attic (don't ask), the laundry that needs to be hung on the table (eventually!) or the fact that it looks as though there is a TON of boring blank wall space in the left-hand corner (it looks good in person, I promise!). But instead, we'll see how nice the row and column of photos look and how well they bring the room together while showing some fun family memories.

Some day, I'll order new black and white photos and ask for them to be matte, as the glossy pics give a glare that I don't love. But for now, I'm happy to call my first Pinterest Challenge: DONE!