What's happening with the Hill family!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The best laid plans

Well Christmas has come and gone in the Hill household. It was truly awesome, but a whirlwind. I just thought I would blog about some of it mostly to help me remember!
Christmas Eve morning started out with a visit from the repairman. I got a new washing machine this past spring after my old washer and dryer caught on fire (through no fault of my own I am sure). Lately my new washer has been making this weird high pitched squeaking noise during the spin cycle. I am sure this is totally unrelated to the time I tried to wash a king size down comforter in it. Anyway, the only day in December the repair man could come was on Christmas Eve between the hours of 8 and 12. Matt went in to work for a while so the boys and I got up early to wait. It was around 11:50 and we got the call saying we were next on the list so I told Connor to quickly pick up some toys and go play in his room so he would be out of the way. A few minutes later he comes back downstair showing me his hands which were completely covered in blue marker. Seriously it looked like he was wearing gloves. So I took him into the downstairs bathroom to scrub off this masterpiece. While we were in there having a serious talk, little man takes it upon himself to go discover this awesome blue marker. I emerged from the bathroom with Connor to see Hudson scooting down the stairs with his clothes and face completely covered in blue marker. Connor gasped and said, "Mommy, brother did art on his face. It is soooo beautiful!"

I totally freaked because although this marker was "washable" I hadn't even been able to get it all off of Connor's hands and here it was all over my beautiful baby's face....and teeth...and tongue. I stripped Hud down to his diaper and took him up to try and minimize the damage. I had just started brushing his teeth when the doorbell rings. Of course. I run back down the stairs holding a half naked baby who is now foaming blue from the ink/toothpaste combo in his mouth. It seriously looked like he was a rabid blueberry eater with a full foam beard. I open the door and the repair man looks at us in shock. I guess were not what he was expecting. I quickly explained that Hudson chose to eat a marker in the one ten minute window in which we were expecting him to arrive. He just kind of mumbled his sympathy and went to work on the washer.

I went back to work on Hudson, the newest member of the blue man group, while Connor went to work assisting the Tom the repair man. Bless his heart, he was very patient with the endless questions such as, what is that tool for? My daddy has that tool, do you know my daddy? Why is your truck white? Mr. Tom, have you ever put a dog in a washing machine? Would my dog fit? I finally came back down to the laundry room and told Tom I had to take a break from the scrubbing because I had reached my level of frustration and Hud was still blue. Tom looked at me and said, "Ma'm I understand I have three boys myself." Ahhh, we were kindred spirits (I chose to ignore the old lady Ma'm comment).

I took the boys back into the living room to play and allow the poor guy to finish his work in peace. Hudson was having a blast smiling and playing with his bright blue lips and teeth and I resigned myself to the fact that our holiday photos this year might be featuring a smurf. As I was working through my next possible plan of action,watching my blue handed son play with his blue faced brother I heard Tom the repair man whistling a tune from the laundry room. It took me a second to recognize but once I did that little ditty made my morning. The song? Elvis Presley's Blue Christmas.

Oh Tom the Repair Man, we are kindred spirits indeed.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A person's a person no matter how small.....

I woke up the other morning with a song in my head. This is not a regular occurance for me, usually I wake up with my mind racing through the day ahead, getting the kids up and ready and forcing myself into a good mood in order to face 22 nine year olds. I am not a happy morning person :)

But not on this particular day, I went to bed the night before thinking about a friend who is very dear to me and who is hurting. She has been on a journey for several years now, hoping to find her way into motherhood. This journey has been rough and slow. Something that is natural and easy for a lot of people is not for her and as her friend there is nothing I can do to make that better.

She got good news a few weeks ago and we rejoiced thinking that this was finally the baby she and her husband have been praying for. They found out last week though that it wasn't going to be and that their tiny little one had not made it. My heart is broken for her and it is so hard to understand when I know she would be the most wonderful mother. I am struggling to be the best friend I can be to her, when I don't have the words to comfort her and I certainly don't have answers.

Which now brings me to that song in my head that early morning. It is an old favorite of mine, Blessed be your name, by Matt Redman. It is a song that I have heard countless times but on this particular morning the lyrics stood out to me like a neon sign. The chorus says, "You give and take away, You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name." It really struck me, why this particular song was in my head and what it was truly saying. My sweet friend, throughout this horrible and painful journey that has been full of frustration and disappointment has never stopped praising His name. She has had something she desperately wanted taken away, again. But she has shown patience and grace in a way that I don't think I ever could and she hasn't ever stopped leaning on God to get them through. She is a wonderful example to me of taking a situation that could have easily made her lash out at God and doubt his grace and yet she is still praising his name.

I wish that this week, this month, this year had gone differently for her but I know (thanks to her example) that God has a plan for her and I believe that plan includes a baby. But in the meantime I hope she knows that her struggles and pain are not in vain. She is a walking testimony to putting her faith in exactly the right place and I am lucky to have her as a friend.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stuart and his dog Stuart

I have often said that Connor might have been a great second child, strictly because if he was the baby of the family then as soon as he was old enough to play his older brother would be ready for him. Connor has been waiting, both patiently and not, for Hudson to be an active participant in his life. It has not been an easy wait. We are blessed with a big brother that loves his baby, he is sometimes over excited and too rough but the bottom line is he thinks Hudson is his best friend in the world and he can't wait to share his adventures with him.

Some of you might be familiar with Stuart the Dog. If you are new to our family let me explain. Unlike my invisible son Kenny, Connor IS Stuart the dog. Stuart is his alter ego, if you will. Stuart is a sweet dog, likes to do tricks and wags his tail a lot. He has a very sweet little high pitched woof. Stuart is a very important and colorful part of our life.

Yesterday, Stuart was playing in the living room, doing his usual Stuart thing. He throws things and then fetches them, rolls around and asks for his tummy to be scratched all the while sharing his trademark, "woof". Hudson was just doing his own thing, taking in the scene of his brother as a dog. Connor went over to Hud and licked his face and said, woof. All of a sudden we heard a tiny little, "woof woof" come out of Hudson's mouth. It was as if time stood still. Connor literally gasped dramatically and clutched his chest. "Momma! Did you hear him woof woof?" "Oh my goodness! It's little Stuart! He's just like me Mommy. My brother is just like me!"

By now, I had tears in my eyes because Connor's joy was so overwhelming. That moment moved me in a profound way because I hadn't realized how much it would mean to Connor to have someone really be a part of his little world. Hudson just smiled up at him not even realizing that by repeating those two little words he had given his brother probably the greatest gift of his short life. At that moment Connor's best friend got him on a level that no one else had. I realize that Hudson doesn't have a clue yet what it means to live in a crazy mixed up imaginary world, but at that moment it didn't matter. He was Little Stuart.

We have been talking lately about gifts you can give people that aren't things you can buy or even touch, things like friendship, love, compassion. I know that Connor has a personality that sometimes other kids and adults might not be able to appreciate. So that one small moment for him was such a gift, he felt like someone that he loved more than anything could get board the Stuart the Dog bandwagon and he likes having the company. Connor immediately set about teaching Little Stuart the tricks of the trade, licking faces, hanging your head out of a car window and begging for food. He then hooked him up to a leash for a walk.

I hope that my boys are always best friends in the future, even if they have different interests and personalities. I am sure we have days ahead for us of disagreements and arguing, but when those days come I hope I can always think back to this moment of Stuart and Little Stuart woofing away to each other like they were the only two dogs in the world.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mary, mother of God......

Well this time of year is so busy and I feel like I am falling behind on blogging. Hopefully this post will make up for it :)

As most of you know my Granny has been staying with us over the last few weeks and taking care of Hudson during the day. It has been amazing, but we have had a few moments where it seemed like Connor might have been feeling a little left out of the Granny time. So my mom bought Connor this really neat interactive nativity set and it became his and Granny's "thing". The premise of the set is that for seven days, you open a present a day and inside each present is a piece or character of the nativity. After opening each gift you read a little five minute lesson on that character and place it in the nativity. Easy enough, right?
Well after the first two days we had unwrapped Gabriel, the messenger angel and Mary. Connor had apparently been listening REALLY well to the stories because today I observed the following:

Connor was frolicking around our living room with a walkie talkie yelling," Attention, attention, I am Gabwel, the messenger and I have a message! I am looking for Mawy, I have a message!" He then ran over to his little brother who was, as usual, minding his own business. He grabbed Hudson by the fat little cheeks and put about one inch of space between their faces. He then said to him in an extremely loud voice, "Mawy, I'm Gabwel and I have a message for you! You're going to have a baby in your tummy! You are going to have a Jesus in there!"
Now at this point, I really shouldn't be surprised but I still was and here comes the best part. Still clutching his brother's face, he says, "And Mawy, you don't even have a husband!" After that pronouncement I asked him to please release the apparently hard of hearing virgin Mary's face and he flitted away in a very angelic way to deliver his good tidings to someone else.

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time he has used his baby brother as an unwilling prop in a highly dramatic biblical reenactment. I flash back to the summer production starring Connor as Moses and Hudson as a tiny Pharoah, in which Connor demanded that his brother, "let my people go or your water will turn to blood!" What can I say, the kid loves the bible drama.

Who knows what the future holds, after all there are still more nativity boxes to be opened. I can almost picture Connor as a quick change artist performing every part of a live nativity staged in our front yard. What, you are probably wondering, did his father say about this little performance? I heard Matt in the background mutter, "Oh good Lord." Yes Matt, I think that is exactly the point.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tis the Season!

Well the holidays are in full swing here in the Hill house. We decided last year to retire the prelit tree and venture into the world of "real" Christmas trees. My dad, who considers himself to be a connoisseur of real trees volunteered to take Connor to pick one out for our house. Fine by me! I warned my dad that the expectations were extremely high and Connor was determined to pick out "the most perfect and beautiful tree God ever made." No pressure or anything. My dad had the unenviable task of keeping him reigned in so we didn't end up with a tree more fitting for the center of a skating rink!

My dad updated me several times during the Christmas tree journey. First he let me know that Connor had ran through the tree lot hugging every tree he could get his arms around. He was just so overcome with joy he had to hug it out with as many trees as possible. That sounded about right. Then he proceeded to announce to every person he came across that those trees smelled just like Christmas and isn't that wonderful? Hmm, we never got that kind of response from our 7 foot prelit Sam's Club special.

They finally made it home with a huge and beautiful Noble Fir, which sounds really majestic and a three year old with a face full of sap, which was not so majestic. I have to admit that getting a real Christmas tree has required me to step out of my comfort zone, they are messy, needy and imperfect. And yes Virginia, I do realize the irony in the fact that I sent my son to school today in ecofriendly, vegan shoes and yet also contributed to the murder of a living tree which further worsens deforestation on our planet. But here is the bottom line: I don't really care. That stupid tree really does smell just like Christmas and I am once again learning about joy through my son's example. That makes it worth it.