What's happening with the Hill family!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh Vanity of Vanities!

Last Friday was my birthday. Getting older is not that big of a deal to me. After all I am just a girl in my twenties, well my very late twenties. I don't mind getting older, however I do not want to look way older than my actual age. Is this superficial? I don't care. I have, however, discovered a few mildly depressing things over the last year.

First, as an average, my class of fourth graders believe me to be in my mid to late forties. We did a little page on estimation and discovered that they estimated me to be at least twenty years older than my actual age. Wow, talk about a punch in the gut. I was so upset, that I calmly collected all of those papers and threw them in the trash.

Second, I have a head full of grey hair. We are not talking about a handful here, they must number in the thousands. My hairdresser just thought I was being dramatic (me?) the first time I rushed through her door in a panic. She started laughing it off while looking through my scalp, then abruptly stopped, said, "Oh my God" and headed back for stronger chemicals. A special thanks to all of you kind hearted friends that tell me grey hair shows wisdom. At the rate I'm going I'll be giving out some really sage advice any day now.

Finally, my third discovery this year is that people in high school and college no longer consider me a peer. I'm not sure how I feel about this one, it isn't as if I wish I was a teenager again or even looked like a teenager (stop laughing Matt Hill) because I truly don't. I guess I just didn't realize how far removed I am from that generation. Exhibit A: On our recent snow day when we took the boys sledding there were teenagers everywhere. We picked a spot next to a particularly rowdy group of high school boys who were in the middle of constructing a very elaborate ramp for racing. I overheard one of them say, "Okay, start the ramp here and we'll end by that lady with all those kids." I literally chuckled at their cheekiness and turned to see what poor soccer mom they were talking about and My Lord, it was me! When exactly did I become "that lady" and since when are two little boys "all those kids?" I turned to Matt, indignant, expecting some sympathy. Instead he said, "Melissa, you should totally run home and get your letter jacket and show these kids whose boss." Hmm, even though it was love encased in sarcasm. he did make some sense. I like a lot of things about getting older and I guess I will just learn to love the things I don't.
So even though I didn't admit it then, I will admit it here. I see your point, Matt (once I put on my reading glasses, of course) and it was sharp and it was pointy but I think I got it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And the World's Greatest Mother Award goes to....

Well I have decided to confess one of my worst moments as a mother and an overall example of poor decision making on my part.

A little backstory: A few weeks ago, Connor came home from church and was playing with this little skateboard toy that he told me he gotten at church that day. No big deal, they usually get to pick a little trinket during Sunday School so I didn't think much of it, until a little while later when I noticed that he also had another Sunday school toy. So I asked him why he had come home with two toys from church that day and he very matter of factly told me that he had taken the skateboard toy from another child in his class. Yes, the moment every parent looks forward to, the stealing talk. So I sat him down and explained to him that taking things that don't belong to you is stealing and how that is wrong. He then, still clutching the tiny skateboard, tried to defend himself by saying that he only took it because the other kid wasn't playing with it the right way. Um, still not okay. What made it seem even worse was that printed on the skateboard were the words, "Jesus loves me!" So, as one of my colleagues at school pointed out, he had essentially stolen Jesus' love from another child. Awesome.
So we went through the whole process, returning and apologizing and more talking about stealing and I thought he had it all straight. I was actually quite proud of what I thought was my calm, steadfast and highly effective parenting.

Now flash forward to this week, one afternoon I had a doctor's appointment after school in North Dallas and Matt was working late, so my mom helped out by picking the boys up from school and then we met up and I took them off her hands. Since it was already so late in the evening, instead of going home and scrounging up dinner, I decided we would pick up something to-go from Chili's. As we were waiting for our food in the little to-go area, I asked Connor about his day and he filled me in on how many time-outs Hudson received (funny, Connor never seems to get any when he gives me the daily run-down). Then he said, "Oh, Mommy, I almost forgot I have a present for you in my pocket!" This isn't unusual, he is always collecting random things like "really beautiful" rocks or "gorgeous" acorns to share with me, but what he pulled out was not an acorn, it was a solid gold class ring. A Rockwall High School, Class of '77 ring to be exact. I asked him where he got it from and he told me he took it from Mimi's house.

I was so upset, our one time foray into stealing had now become a habit! He wasn't messing around this time, he went from a 10 cent toy to jewelry worth several hundred dollars. So, I then proceed to read him the riot act in the middle of Chili's to-go lobby. I, in a very calm but deadly serious voice, expressed all my sadness and disappointment in his decision to steal again. I remind him of everything we had talked about before and asked him if he thought it was okay to steal things. He said, also in a deadly serious voice, "No Mommy, stealing is very wrong." Now I was confused, he was agreeing with me, yet not expressing remorse, so obviously wasn't getting through yet. I decided to play my ace in the stealing hole and told him that people who steal go to jail. He looked shocked and said, "Even kids?" Yep, even kids.

By now our food was ready (I can't even imagine what the kid behind the register was thinking, probably something along the lines of "thank God that woman is not my mother") and we headed back to the car. I told Matt that I felt so upset, I even scanned the parking lot for a patrol car to further emphasize my point (I know, I am awful). The next step in our road to redemption was for him to apologize to the victim, in this case, my mother. So I called her up and said, in a very teacher-y voice, "Someone has something to say to you, Mimi. You will never guess what he had in his pocket." And she said, "Probably my high school ring, he wanted to give it to his Mommy as a present so I let him take it." Oh crap. I immediately drop my voice to a whisper and told her that I had not only accused, but judged him guilty of stealing it and told him that jail was a distinct possibility. I won't go into her response here, but frankly I think the blame needs to start with Mimi. I mean, really, what kind of responsible adult just hands over a pricey piece of jewelry to a four year old? Nonetheless, I then had to turn around to my wronged son and apologize for convicting him of stealing the ring and tell him that he will not be headed to jail, while my mother listened in on speaker phone to make sure that I was apologetic enough. It was not one of my proudest moments. In fact it might be my least proud moment thus far. I completely and totally screwed up and then had to confess that to my son. I just panicked and knew he was headed to a life of crime.

I guess though, it was a teachable moment for both of us, and yet another reminder that I am completely clueless when it comes to being a mom. Matt said he imagined Hudson was sitting back there in his car seat thanking God that he isn't going to get first-run parents and that he now might have a chance to present evidence before his mother has him handcuffed and in the back of a squad car just to prove a point. Let's hope so.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow fun: Hill(billy) style

Thursday it snowed for almost 24 hours straight. It was awesome! We ended up with over 12 inches of snow. In Rowlett, Texas. In February. Not only had our boys never seen this kind of snow but outside of ski trips, neither had their parents. Friday was a snow day and Matt and I were really excited to experience this novelty with our boys. We woke up to a literal winter wonderland, everything was beautiful, so peaceful and still. Peaceful and still, at least, until our kids woke up :)

We first ventured out into our front yard and Connor announced he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life. Now, you would think that since he makes this particular proclamation at least three times a week, it's sincerity would wane, but it doesn't. His heart is truly that full of joy and it always makes me want to cry. He frolicked through our snow, shouting for Hudson to follow him. Well that was a problem. When you have twelve inches of snow and a twenty-four inch tall little nugget of a boy, traipsing through snow isn't exactly easy. Once we planted Hudson in the snow, he was pretty much stuck. He gave a valiant effort though, he would climb out of his hole, take two steps and be buried crotch deep again. After a little while, in true Hudson fashion, he just decided it would be easier to just lay down in it, so he did. Connor then announced, "Mommy! Hudson is relaxing in the snow, how wonderful!"

Later on after a phone call from my younger brother, we decided to get together for a little sledding. After all, when will the next time come in Dallas when enough snow dumps on us for sledding? So we decided to visit this giant hill behind my school, apparently along with the rest of the city. Good sledding hills are apparently hard to come by. Now, keep in mind that we are not the kind of people that would own our own winter sport gear, if we go skiing we rent. So our equipment for sledding consisted of several rubbermaid box lids and a shallow plastic box that I thought would keep Hudson safe as we sent him careening down the hill. Obviously we put a lot of thought into this. I really thought we wouldn't stand out though because, again, it isn't like we see a lot of snow around here so I expected to see a lot of make shift sleds. Not so much. We got to the hill and it was like a preview of the Vancouver games, professional looking sleds and toboggans as far as the eye could see. Matt and I were shocked, where did all this stuff come from? The last time we checked our local walmart was stocking pool floats and water wings, but whatever, we were obviously going to be the white trashiest people on the hill and that was fine.

So we started out with our ghetto lids and little box and it wasn't working all that well. The snow was so fluffy we weren't getting a good slide going. Matt was really working up a sweat pulling the boys down the slope. It was a good thing he was dressed so appropriately. (please note the sarcasm). My husband decided his favorite sweat pants would be the best attire for sledding so after about thirty seconds his "snow pants" were soaking wet and weighed approximately 42 pounds. So now we were the hillbilly family trying to sled on box lids with a dad whose pants were determined to end up around his ankles. I know what you're thinking and you're right, totally classy.

Thank goodness my brother arrived with his family to save the day. They brought their own ghetto equipment that turned out to be sledding gold, my niece Marlee's nap mat from mother's day out. Jackpot! Matt (in his lead sweatpants) and Leesa (who is actually from a state that gets snow regularly) got us a nice smooth run flattened out and the real fun began. Connor had the time of his life sledding down on that mat. He and his cousin Marlee are two peas in a pod and she got on behind him and they took off. Hudson pretty much just stayed planted in the snow, although he did take one memorable ride with his dad and was pretty much done after that. He was much more content to snack on as much snow as possible while pretending to not know us.

I am sure in our family's future we will vacation in a place where there is abundant snow and we will hopefully have proper attire and fancy equipment and those memories will be great.
But this one day, which by many accounts seemed a total ragtag mess, was absolute magic.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


As I have known Matt since we were 11 years old, I thought I pretty much knew all there was to know about him. By the time we finally got married, I thought I knew what I was getting into. Not to say the mystery was gone, but...the mystery was gone. Or so I thought.

We spent the four years prior to our marriage in different cities, me in Waco and Matt in Dallas. I graduated on a lovely Saturday in May, then four Saturdays later was meeting Matt at the altar. After a fantabulous honeymoon we came home and I settled in to the apartment Matt was already leasing. Eight months later, our lease was up and we bought a house. So far, so good right? Well it was during the packing of said apartment that I made a shocking discovery.

Matt Hill owned his own bowling ball. It was kept hidden away in a closet in it's own fancy bag, along with a single fingerless glove.

This discovery really shook me up. I mean, it was as if I didn't know him at all! Who marries someone without knowing that they own their own bowling ball? Surely that would rank as a discussion point in premarital counseling. So I waited for him to get home and then confronted him. I have to say he was a smidge defensive, possibly because I demanded to know all the sordid details concerning this ridiculous ball. When had he been so into bowling? Was he in some sort of secret league?

The truth wasn't quite so interesting. He said that much like skateboarding and puffy hair, it was a phase. He even bragged that at one point in high school he could even bowl his weight. Which, once I thought about it, wasn't quite so impressive, it wasn't as if he weighed 300 pounds. Plus, I am pretty sure I could bowl my age without breaking a sweat if I had to. All that did still not explain why he felt the need to purchase his own ball during this fleeting phase of life. He really tried to downplay this lameness and said it was a gift, but that is not how I picture it. I imagine him at Showplace Lanes at the tender age of 15, bowling that perfect, weight equalling score of 135. He was undoubtedly so jubilant in his win that he reacted in much the same way as Julia Roberts in her Oscar win for Erin Brokovich, where she purchased the vintage Versace gown she wore to the ceremony as a keepsake. I picture my future husband rushing to the Pro Shop to buy that lucky ball along with a fingerless glove thrown in for good measure. Or something like that :)

So why bring all this up now? Well, for the first time in our long history, Matt and I will be bowling together this Friday night! The infamous ball has sadly disappeared over the years (it's probably hanging out in the east wing of the manse), but I am totally expecting Matt to bring his A game. I myself have been enduring a strict training regiment consisting of Wii bowling and using a bowling/skeeball app on my iphone (I've earned 3100 arcade tickets). I also have a pair of pink knit gloves that are a fingerless/mitten combo, which might or might not be making an appearance.

But after all the smack talk has died down, I say there are no winners or losers in this marital showdown, just two epically dorky people who will probably be relegated to the bumper bowling lane :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Four years ago today....

Today is Connor's 4th birthday and I cannot believe how much has changed in four short years.
This time in 2006, I was waiting around in my home away from home hospital bed to have a little boy that I had waited for and worried about for what seemed like forever but was actually only 36 short weeks. As first time parents we didn't have a clue and still pretty much don't, but that little 6 pound 1 ounce boy stole our hearts from that very first cry.

My mom has said to me once or twice, that even though you love all your children equally and uniquely, there is just something about that first born. (shout out to my big brother Aaron). While that seems a little odd to be sharing with your second born child, I get it. I love this crazy, funny, compassionate little boy in a way that cannot be measured. Matt and I talked today about finally taking him home from the hospital after I had been there for a month and how we got in the car, looked at each other and said, "We cannot believe they just let us take take him home alone, are they crazy?" We went from being two distinctly different people to being someone's parents in an instant and everyday has been a precious adventure ever since then.

Yesterday was the big party and I don't think I have ever worked so hard on an event since my own wedding. It was detailed and over the top and I know that some people might not be on the same party page as me and that is totally okay. Despite the stress and drama that I create during "party season," I get incredible joy in planning this annual event for both my boys, but right now especially for Connor, because he is so appreciative and excited. In general, Connor is a very grateful and sweet boy. He, on any given day, will profusely thank me for something as insignificant as getting him a pickle or cutting his sandwich with a dinosaur shaped cookie cutter. He was so happy with his party that he kept telling me that he couldn't believe that everybody would do all that awesome stuff just for him. He was so overwhelmed with happiness that he had to break into a spontaneous happy dance occasionally and give me run-by kisses during the festivities just to remind me that he loved me. That erased all my lost sleep, craft anxiety and the loss of all ten of my fingerprints to severe glue gun burns. (Low temp?That's a total lie, but at least I'll be a leg up on the FBI if I decide to pursue a life of crime.)

I love my perfectly imperfect little boy. I can't imagine having a son without his amazing creativity and incomparable imagination, two traits that were gifts from God that Matt and I never expected when dreaming about what our kids might be like. We honestly didn't know that kids came this cool :) I learn from being his mom every day, he challenges me as a parent and a person plus I get to laugh a lot along the way. At bedtime last night we asked him what his favorite part of the day was and after listing every single detail from the day, down to the blue forks and different colored ribbons on the balloons (which were "beautiful", of course), he finally said, "Daddy, my heart is so happy. I just loved it all."

Matt and I agreed, that sums up our thoughts exactly about the last four years. All the good and not so good, we have loved it all :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


One of Connor's favorite things to do right now is to study the wedding picture we have hanging on our stairs. (I took a picture of the picture with my phone so you could get a visual image :)
It is always covered in fingerprints and he has an endless stream of commentary. "Mommy, I have never seen such a beautiful, giant dress!" or "Where did Daddy get his black clothes, when can I have black clothes like that?" The church was gorgeous, the flowers made him gasp etc, etc. He just loves it. Shockingly he has yet to comment that Matt and I were both much skinnier. I can't believe that has escaped his notice.

So anyway, Connor recently announced that he would be getting "mawwied." He told me that he was going to marry our babysitter, Katie, who just so happens to be 16 years old. We love Katie, she is awesome and Connor and Hud are crazy about her. In fact, Connor often has her at the top of his list of best friends. He practically pushes us out the door when she comes to our house and begs not to leave when he goes to hers. So I guess I wasn't that surprised when he named her as his future wife. He was practically giddy with excitement when he told me she was going to wear a beautiful white dress and he was going to wear his very own black clothes and Hudson could come as long as he didn't mess up the flowers.

I thought this was so cute, so of course I started telling Matt as soon as he got home. Connor overheard and got quite upset. He said, "Mommy! Don't tell anyone I'm getting mawwied, it isn't until I'm really big, when I turn 6!" Matt, Mr. Practical, decides to break the news that even at age 6, Katie was still going to be way too old for him to marry. I started rolling my eyes as soon as the words came out of his mouth because I knew what was coming. Connor immediately launched into what I like to call, The Connor Hill Theory on Aging. He has developed this very detailed theory that basically states that if he knows and really likes someone who happens to be older than him, it doesn't matter because through some kind of magic or space time continuum, he will continue to grow older and they will not until he has caught up to and then surpassed them in age. I do not like to bring this up because, frankly, it is a little over my head. It is either sheer genius or sheer madness, but since my 30th birthday is right around the corner, I am kind of keeping my fingers crossed that Stephen Hawking Jr. is on to something.

If you combine his theory of aging with his current thesis asserting that when he runs, he creates wind (therefore all wind in the world only blows when Connor Hill is running); I figure that the Nobel committee will be knocking on our door any day now.

In the meantime, I have a wedding to plan :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

My name is Melissa H. and I compulsively buy salad dressing.

Today was not one of my best days and after sharing all the details with Matt and forcing him to analyze all of my thoughts and feelings he suggested I blog to make myself feel better. He thought that making a little fun of myself would cheer me right up. We'll see.

Matt said that I should share one of my darkest secrets: I cannot stop buying Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing. Yes, it is my salad dressing of choice but it goes so much deeper than that. I eat it all the time, with a wide variety of foods, not just salads. I use it as a marinade and a dipping sauce, I will not patronize restaurants that I know don't serve this delicious creation if at all possible. You might be thinking, this isn't so bad, you might even have foods you like a lot. But loving to eat it isn't really the problem. It is the purchasing of the Balsamic Vinaigrette that is the real problem.

At current count between my fridge and my pantry I have a total of nine bottles of this salad dressing. I can recognize that this is ridiculous. Matt, our resident armchair psychologist, calls it a compulsion. Here is how it happens, before I go to the grocery store, Matt's last words to me are usually, "Do not buy salad dressing." I say okay and leave knowing that I am going to have the will power to not buy it. But then something happens to me once I get there and I am in the vicinity of Balsamic Vinaigrette. I start to rationalize. I think, "You know, Matt and I both ate one side salad last week, that probably really depleted our stock, I should get some to be on the safe side." I know, it defies all logic. Or Matt's personal favorite, "What if we want to have a spur of the moment cucumber and tomato salad and we have no dressing?" Despite the fact that we are in possession of neither cucumbers or tomatoes, this is a real crisis in my mind. I can sometimes talk myself out of the purchase, but it is always against my better judgement. It is like I am stocking up for a Y2K scenario and we will need cases of this salad dressing to survive. Matt likes to tease me and say that in house fires people sometimes worry about saving family photos or priceless momentos. He says I would run back into our burning house to save all my Balsamic Vinaigrettes.

It is a big joke at our house, if we have someone over and serve salad,"would you like balsamic vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette?" I sometimes laughingly say that we could hand out bottles as party favors at one of the kids parties, just what every preschooler always wants, a bottle of salad dressing. But I don't mean it, I could never just give them away to someone who might not appreciate them fully. I mean, good Lord, what if we had a chicken that needed to be drizzled? Yes, I have a squeeze bottle for that exact purpose.

So there it is, my craziness, out there for everyone to see and judge.
I really do feel better ;)