Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lazy Winter Days

Today perhaps epitomizes what I would consider "my perfect day."

7:13 a.m.- I awake in my cozy bed. While I awoke early, I didn't need an alarm because I had fallen asleep around 9:30 p.m. the night before. I make my way down the hall and up the stairs to my parents' room, who are both sleeping soundly. I quietly sit on the little sofa at the foot of their bed and turn on a Christmas Hallmark family special, "Silver Bells," that my mom tee-voed for me in anticipation of my arrival for the holidays.

8:30 a.m.- By this time, my mom and dad are both engrossed in the movie with me, as I hoped they eventually would be. The only disappointment in this near perfect morning is that the Teevo cut off the last 5 minutes--the kissing scenes. Dang. Luckily, the movie was good enough that it still felt fulfilling by the end and I will one day catch the last scene...maybe next year.

8:45 a.m.- My sisters and I pile into the car together and wait for our parents to come out. We drive to the beautiful Summerland Inn cafe for breakfast, which has sort of become a holiday tradition. I get an enormous mug, almost like a bowl, full of hot chocolate and whipped cream and eggs benedict.

10:30 a.m.- I come back and Philly is already at my house working on his Rubics cube. He hangs out for a while and helps me out with some technological things. I put new music writing software on my computer and stretch out on the couch to begin a Christmas book entitled, The Gift by Richard Paul Evans.

12:00-ish- Phil leaves and I move myself to the library where my dad shows me how to turn on the fire. I bury myself on the squishy couch under the blanket and continue reading the book. It's fantastic.

3:30 p.m.- I finally emerge, having finished the book and ready to begin the day. Tina is in the kitchen making a cake and I sample the batter and make sandwiches.

5:00-ish- Holly and I begin planning our New Year's Eve festivities via text (causing her mom to puzzle over why we didn't just pick up the phone and call...). I asked her to come to the mall with me, as I had a little Christmas shopping money burning a hole in my pocket.

5:30 p.m.- We go to Macy's where I promptly find shoes majorly on sale. I get a steal of a deal on some sassy black boots and black peep toe heels with little patent leather bows (...wish I'd found those BEFORE Brie's wedding!). We went from there to Costco (on the other side of town) to look at the jeans. We did a walk about the store (as they'd do in Jane Austen living rooms) and snagged samples along the way. I realized in Costco that my phone really was missing. It was back to Macy's we went, where I thankfully found my phone in an obscure place where I had been trying on shoes. Nothing could spoil this perfect day!

The fun will not end. Today, my mom and sister bought "Mama Mia!" which we will watch later tonight. At 11:00 p.m., a bunch of my sisters' friends from ballroom are coming in town and staying at our house (including four essentially eligible bachelors.)

The only thing missing from my perfect day is meeting the man of my dreams. But the day's not over yet!

Stay tuned.

Speaking of perfect days, here are some pictures from Brie's perfect day on December 19th!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Baking

7.95 = the price of one 8 oz. box of white chocolate almond bark from the chocolate gallery

2 = the number of boxes my mom got me for my Christmas Party Mix recipe.

15.90 = the price I had to pay to replace the almond bark my mom bought after I burned it all in the microwave

1/4 = the portion of a cup of oil you must put in to chocolate to melt it (something my sister taught me about 16 oz of white almond bark too late)

1 = the number of packages of pretzels I forgot to put into the recipe until it was all done.

0 = the number of times I will cook again

P.S. For any SB residents, we are having a hot chocolate night at the Houston household tonight at 8:00 p.m. Come for some Christmas Party Mix, chocolate turtles, and assorted flavors of hot chocolate made in the infamous cocoa-motion (thanks, Jen Anderson!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Phil's Photograhy

These were pictures taken by Phil Van Nostrand, an adopted member of the Houston family. Check out some of the work on his blog by clicking on his name. He is a fantastic photographer. He is a teacher by profession, but lives in Santa Barbara and does some photography on the side. I have loved seeing how his photography (and camera equipment) has progressed over the years. He is extremely talented and kind.

My new bangs were doing something funky in this shot, but I have to take one for the team on this one because my sisters look so cute :-).

I thought Phil did an amazing job with these shots of Anna and Tina.

So maybe it wasn't actually raining during this picture, but it HAD been raining about 30-45 minutes before we took it :-).

I looked stupid in this picture, so thank goodness for photo editing because it was SO cute of Tina and Annie.

This was take 3 of the traditional jumping shots we seem to love to do in our family. The first time, I got a late start and totally ate it, getting mud up and down the side of my pants.

Love, love, love, LOVE this shot of Tina. Way to go, Phil.

It looks like the shadow of a huge Christmas ornament by my head. How festive.

How cute is this girl?!

Phil, in the flesh!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Sunday

Hi my name is Katie Houston. This is my wonderful fam. Thank you ma'am.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Christmas Party



Thanks, Violet. Violet passed all her tests and officially has her license! I'm so proud of her and REALLY lucky to have such a sweet friend who uses her skills to benefit the little people like me :-).

I went to Mollie's super fancy company party (she works for Omniture) with a co-worker of hers named Brian. We had a BLAST. Brian ROCKS :-). It has been a long time since either of us grooved it on a dance floor. We totally had a prom experience. And Mollie did the Robo-cop, which made my evening complete.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Singing at the University Mall

Here is the Show Choir...

And the Girl's Ensemble!!

This is an example of the really obnoxious faces my kids have to put up with :-/.

On Monday, we sang at one of the big malls in Orem, Utah, called the University Mall. It was a little excursion during school. The kids got to miss 5th, 6th, and 7th periods. We ended up getting there way to early and my students were sort of running a muck. At a loss for what to do, I decided to just have them start singing because there was no one else scheduled to sing before them. My girls ensemble sang their set and then I sent them off and brought the show choir on. One of the girls from the girl's ensemble came up to me, however, because her mother was coming to watch and we sang much earlier than I had told the girls we would. Oops. So, I had show choir sing one song, sent them off, brought girls ensemble back on to perform their whole set all over again, and then had show choir sing the rest of their songs. We still ended about fifteen minutes early. I know better for next time I suppose :-).

Below is evidence of Christina's stunning choreography :-).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My First Concert

This is me and my pre-student teachers, Mr. Burrows and Mr. Blanco. They are BYU students who will student teach next semester. I did my pre-student teaching with Emily a year ago at Dixon!

We're just missing Alicia and then we'd be complete! This is the three out of the fearsome foursome from the music education program at BYU. Melissa (right) teaches choir as Timpanogas High School and Emily (left) taught choir at Dixon for two years before she had a baby and decided to stay home with her beautiful little girl Cassie. We went through the music ed program together before my mission. They gradauted while I was gone and started teaching and became my mentors when I got home. Emily was my accompanist tonight. She is so rock solid...I knew I could count on her. I didn't have to worry for a second with her at the keyboard. I can't say the same for myself when I accompanied for her last year. I was terrified and probably gave her great reason to worry at times. Remembering it makes me cringe. Melissa and I are going to live together next semester with my other good friend, Kate Sonne.

My show choir students did a medley of Christmas songs at the end that my sister Christina choreographed. Tina did a fantastic job! She told all the kids to wear scarves and hats and gloves. It was really cute :-).

This is my girls ensemble practicing before the concert began. Thanks to LeAnne Moody for the awesome decorations. She's an English/yearbook teacher at my school and is also my mentor as a first year teacher.

Will you please take note of my sassy red heels? Because my feet are still throbbing from wearing them all night.

I couldn't have asked for my students to have done or been anymore than what they did and were tonight. They were fantastic and I was so proud of them. That whole thing plum wore me out, but it was worth it. I am so grateful to the teachers who were there to help tonight and my friends who came to support me.

After the last song, my students went up to the microphone and one of them said, "We want to thank Ms. Houston for all she's done" and blah blah blah...but then one girl steps to the microphone and says, "And yes, ladies and gentlemen, she is single!" Gotta hand it to 'em. But then, this little girl who I don't know at all came up to me like a little prophetic gnome and said, "You won't be single for looo-ooong," in a sing-song voice. Well, let's hope my little six year old friend is right. But in the meantime, I have 200 matchmakers. Lucky me.