Saturday, December 31, 2011

Princess Holly Hox

For Holly's birthday, Violet, Holly and I had an early breakfast at the delicious Summerland Inn Cafe. That place is, in a word, INCREDIBLE.

Our gift to Holly was a book written with her as the protagonist.

Violet and I brainstormed the ideas together, I wrote the text, and Violet did the cover art. Here is a sample of our work:


Chapter 1:

Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom quite near, there lived a witty, precocious young princess by the name of Holly Hox. Though number ten in a direct line of royalty, never had a princess graced the steps of Sylvan Castle with such an adventurous spirit and desire to see the world beyond the castle.
Holly was a beautiful princess with intelligence to spare. Her mother affectionately deemed her “practically perfect in every way,” her only known deficiency being a propensity for sneaking wild animals into the castle. She wore her dark, curly locks short and bouncy, a departure from the princess tradition. But Holly never tended to follow the royal crowd. While banquets were being held in the dining hall in honor of powerful rulers and magistrates, Holly Hox was infamous for disappearing and being recovered hours later in the library by her ladies in waiting. They would find her in various spots, curled up beside a stack of books. She would always sneak a peak at the ending of each novel in order to ensure that the hours spent reading it would be worth the time.
Only a brief mention of her ladies in waiting does not do them proper justice in a story about Holly Hox, as they were her ever-faithful confidants and friends and were often partially responsible for the minor disturbances (though Holly would always prefer to refer to them as excursions) that rocked the castle walls. Hydrangea was the quieter of the two and a brilliant artist. Everything she touched became a masterpiece due to her painstaking attention to detail and eye for color and design. Pansy aired on the side of caution and, true to her name, was always a bit afraid of embarking on the adventures Holly proposed. It was Pansy, though, who arranged for any social gathering with members of the opposite gender, thus providing the three girls entertainment well beyond their 9:00 p.m. curfew, as they’d discuss the interactions between each and every guest well into the wee hours of the morning.

I am so lucky to have Holly as my friend. I have so many memories laughing together, plotting together, venting to each other, wrapping utensils together, spending New Year's together, passing notes, riding on buses, whispering, giggling, going to education week, driving together, listening to music, shopping for cute outfits, and the list goes on and on (and on and on). Looking forward to many more memories!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Enjoying sweet Ella

The highlight of our holidays has been this little one.

Here are just a few of the things I've learned about little Ella-phant in the past few days.
  • I love the little faces she makes for different occasions: completely thrilled, pleased with herself, curious, etc.
  • She is active, full of life, sweet, and loving.
  • To show you she loves you, she'll head butt you (it's her version of a hug).
  • She likes to put things on her head.
  • She adores her mommy and daddy.
  • She loves bananas.
  • Her favorite song is, "Old MacDonald" and she sings along by excitedly saying, "da, da, da" over and over again whenever she hears it.
  • She learned how to give five (with some help from the Aunties) and say kitty (with some help from Granna) while she was here.
  • She loves it when Uncle Jer plays rocket ship with her.
  • She loves to chase and be chased.
  • When she wants to be picked up, she stands by you and lifts up her little foot.
  • If she is unhappy about something, especially going to bed, she says, "nu-nu-nu-nu-nu" over and over again.
  • She loves getting in the bread drawer and pulling out surprises.

It's safe to say the Houstons/Pendletons are all HUGE fans.

Oh, and she loves it when crazy Aunty Katie does this:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Breakfast Reunion

Years ago, the Green family started a tradition of having a breakfast on Christmas Eve morning. All their kids would invite friends and they'd also invite the missionaries. These annual breakfasts provided incredible food and wonderful memories (like the time I looked at a Spanish speaking sister missionary and said, "Your name is Hermana? That's so funny because I have a relative named Hermana!").

We decided to take a stab at it this year, except closer to New Year's when my brother and his family would be here. My parents went to the grocery store and Costco and got all the ingredients, my sisters did most of the cooking (but I actually helped! I got the job of cutting the onions and greasing the pans) and Shana and I did the table settings and decorations. Some of my friends brought delicious contributions as well. It was so fun to see old childhood friends and their growing families. This new phase of life is such a joy!

Made by Holly :-)

Matching new sister bangs thanks to Violet!

Make new friends, but keep the old...

Chris, Jared, Jason, Joe, DPHS classes of 1998 and 1999.

Katie, Violet, Holly, Shauna, DPHS classes of 2000 and 2001

Andi, Christina, and Jeremy, DPHS and DHS class of 2006

Estella Houston and Anna Houston, SFHS class of 19-- and DPHS future class of 2013

Oscar and Alex, future class of 2027ish

Ruby and Zach, future class of 2030ish

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Came

Some of my favorite moments are early morning time with Shmee.

Number 6 and Number 7 got some one on one time while we were waiting for Shmee's parents to come up for our tradition of opening stockings on the bed.

My friend Eric gave me a gift wrapped in white duct tape. I was very curious as to what was inside as it sat under my tree. He gave me and our friend Michelle socks, but mix matched the pairs so we each had one of the other's. Sort of like friendship socks. He attached a really sweet note about friendship. It was a fabulous gift.

Joe, who drew my name, gave me a picture of a pretty necklace for Christmas. My present accidentally got left in Austin. It'll make it feel like Christmas again when it comes in the mail later. I drew Anna's name and decided every girl needs a strand of pearls.

Christina custom made most of her gifts this year and we were the lucky recipients! The circle scarf (below) is a family favorite.

Below, Ella is wearing her new backpack from her Aunts Katie and Tina and Shana is wearing her new apron from my mom.

Joe, Shana, and Ella joined us at church to hear my Dad speak. Ella wore a beautiful Christmas from her grandma in New Mexico.

I love this beautiful family!

It's cliche, but here it is: being with my family is the greatest Christmas gift and it can't be bought. Funny how that works, isn't it?