What's happening with the Hill family!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Garage Sale Day or The Day I Sold Everything That My Children Love

Oh, the memories of Giant Bear......
This past weekend we decided to have a garage sale. It was kind of impulsive even though we have been saying for years that we should have one. We just never got around to it. As a result, we have accumulated almost 6 years of junk that absolutely had to go.
Matt and I went through our house and were absolutely ruthless. We ended up with a living room packed with clothes, toys and other miscellaneous junk and the the promise to each other that no matter what, none of it was coming back into our house at the end of the two day bazaar. I let go of everything big and small that had to do with a baby, bassinet, high chair and more. I read once that getting rid of all your baby stuff is pretty much a guarantee that you will become pregnant again, but luckily I don't believe in stupid superstitions so I was willing to tempt the fates : )
The one thing that we didn't take into consideration when doing this massive overhaul of our belongings were our children and their unexpected attachments to toys that have not seen or laid hands on in at least four years in some cases. We have a serious toy problem at our house, thanks to a group of very loving grandparents there is approximately a 1250:1 ratio of toy to boy in our house. I didn't even touch current toys in our playroom but I did put almost everything we had been storing in our garage in the sale pile and that brings me to the story of the giant bear.

Giant Bear has been living in our garage since Connor's first birthday. He has never once even stepped a paw into our house. Thanks to whatever well meaning family member gave him to Connor way back when, but in all honesty we are just not giant bear people. Connor did not even register his existence on his radar until the first morning of the garage sale and then it was like Sally Field clinging to her child in an Islamic country in the movie, Not Without My Daughter. Connor had never loved anything more in his life and was determined to defend it against extradition from our home. He, although never even caring a bit about this bear before, became instantly enamoured and refused to let me sell it. He sat outside in the yard with it, talking to it and telling it how wonderful it was. He packed it up in a Canton cart (also for sale) and took it for walks up and down the sidewalk. It was absurd and that was only his behavior when there were no prospective buyers around. As soon as anyone, man, woman or child showed interest in Giant Bear he threw his body on top of it and clung to it making fake crying noises. Guess who looked like the nicest mommy in the neighborhood? I stood strong though, I told him there was no way that bear was staying with us. He reluctantly left him outside at dusk with whispered promises of a new escape plan and then ran to his room to draw pictures of Giant Bear until dinner. Geez.

I told Matt that I was starting to pray that someone would just steal the stupid thing overnight while he slept peacefully with an illustrated bear picture under his pillow. But of course, when Matt and I headed out at dawn to set up for day two of wheeling and dealing what greeted us, all glisten-y with morning dew? Giant Bear. Now, some of you (like my mother) might be thinking that I should have just let him keep the huge bear despite the fact that I know in my heart that we are not giant bear people. But I had to stand firm on my principles. So I did what any other desperate mother would do in my situation. I paid a neighbor kid $1 to take it while Connor was still asleep and then told him that Giant Bear took off in the night in search of his Giant Bear Family. He was lonely for his own kind after all. Connor's a compassionate kid and I knew he wouldn't want to deny Giant Bear the love of his own family.

So, my evil plan worked, we are now giant bear-less and Connor feels like we contributed to the greater good by setting him free. But so help me, if I see that bear out and about in the neighborhood, heads will roll and I am for sure getting my dumb dollar back.

Ahoy Birthday Boy!

Arghhh, it's me birthday!
Last Saturday we celebrated Hudson's second birthday and it was a blast! Despite some drama earlier in the day, I was ready and anxious to get the party started. Those of you who know me at all probably know that I LOVE having birthday parties for my boys. I get the biggest thrill out of taking a theme and making it over the top. I start thinking about the big day months in advance and spend countless (wo)man hours planning all the details. Having two really fun and imaginative boys is a big motivator.
So the pirate party was no exception. My big project was the cardboard pirate ship. I found this great website called Mr. Mcgroovy's that featured all these blueprints for building awesome forts, ships, castles etc. out of cardboard boxes. It looked simple and awesome. So I decided against Matt's better judgement to build this ship for the kids to play in at the party. The directions said it would take about three hours to cut and build plus time to paint. That was probably an underestimation on Mr. Mcgroovy's part. That ship took me at least 20 hours to create, due in no small part to my absolute inability to measure correctly and impatience with directions. When creating these blueprints he could never have guessed that I, his customer, would have the arm strength of a newborn kitten and would not be able to wield a box cutter in an effective manner. A simple box cutter. Who knew that it would be the most complex tool I would ever use. At first, I blamed my problems on what I just knew was Matt's dull, shoddy cutter. He listened to my rant, calmly suggested that it is a poor workman who blames his tools (ughh), but still went and bought me a brand new cutter, and of course he was right, it was me. So countless hours later I had those dumb boxes cut and assembled. I have to say that the final product was pretty cool, my boys loved it and that made me so happy. Now, to get it to my in laws for the party.

The afternoon leading up to our 5:00 party was a little warm to say the least. My mom and I headed over to set up while Matt stayed with the napping boys. I started to unload and snap together that ship in the backyard and then realized that having an outside birthday party in the middle of July had to rank at the top of my list of stupid things I have done in my life. It was like roasting on the surface of the sun. My mom left after a little while to pick up more stuff and I faced the task of shipbuilding alone. Around 4:15 Matt rolled into the driveway with the kids and the first words out of his mouth were: "Why in the world are you lying in the grass?" Well, frankly I was lying in the grass because I had decided to choose a place to die. It was that blasted hot. My cute sundress and hair were drenched and my makeup had dripped down my face. Add in the fact that I had shoved pirate napkins in my armpits and down the front of my dress to try and staunch the waterfall of sweat and the look was not so much "Happy Birthday" as " Sad Dead Clown."

It all finally came together and things were a little cooler and shadier by party time. The kids had a blast swimming AND playing in the super awesome pirate ship (which by the way, was named after Hudson's favorite thing to eat, Ketchup). Another side note, for those of you wondering what happened to the ship after the party, we donated it to our church's vacation bible school which had a high seas theme this year. That was a major part of my argument for building it to begin with, I told Matt it was as if we were doing the Lord's work. I was kind of like Noah.

Anyway, the birthday boy was wild with excitement (even more so than normal) and loved jumping in the pool with all his friends. Watching him at his party just reminded me of all the things that make Hudson uniquely Hudson. He knows no fear (with the exception of the occasional lawn mower) and sees fun in every single thing no matter how dangerous his mother thinks it is. In fact, 3more danger just equals more fun to him. He is going to be my adrenaline junkie and I am sure I am in for many heart stopping moments and sleepless nights while he takes off to parts unknown on some crazy adventure. That spirit is the thing that I love the most about him and also the thing that terrifies me to no end. It is so unlike me (and his daddy). He is 100% his own (tiny) man and I hope he always stays that way. Matt says he is our child most likely to become an actual pirate :) I think that might be a slight exaggeration but there could easily be an around the world sail in his future. On Hud's birthday, Matt and I were talking about the day he was born and his personality as a newborn and infant. He was a very calm, quiet and laid back little guy and we thought that would be indicative of his personality for the rest of his life. We were so wrong. What we saw as quiet was really a just baby biding his time. I feel in my soul that he was just waiting for his adventure to begin and now it has and we just have to keep up.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The New Regime

Okay, I am so behind on blogging. We have been so busy the last couple of weeks getting ready for Hudson's birthday and doing a major cleaning out of our house. So I have a lot of blog to catch up on, but before I get to Hud's actual birthday and party I feel like I need to share a bizarre incident that happened the morning of said birthday party. I am still scratching my head about this one.

Okay, the background...Early Saturday morning, I woke up around 4 a.m. with my insulin pump beeping some alarm. I get alarms all the time and they are not usually a big deal. This time though, I couldn't clear it, but I was really tired and didn't want to mess with it so I decided to do what any rational person would do at four in the morning and that was take it downstairs and hide it in my kitchen so I wouldn't hear the alarm (which, by the way, is also what we do with our smoke alarms if the battery starts to die in the middle of the night). Then I went back to sleep for a couple of hours. After I woke up, I told Matt that he needed to watch the boys because I had to figure out that alarm and then go to the pharmacy because it was time to pick up my insulin prescription anyway. I got the alarm cleared and then at 9, I headed to Walgreens. By now, I am not feeling that great, but I knew that I would be better soon because I had it all straightened out. I got back home from the pharmacy and I am really feeling sick. Matt said he had to go into work for a little while, something that he had to take care of and I said for him to go because I knew my blood sugar was dropping and I would be feeling better any minute now. Any. Minute. Now.

As you can probably guess, things got worse before they got better. As soon as Matt was out of the neighborhood I started to feel incredibly nauseated, and of course there was no one there to help me but Hudson and Connor. As I dragged myself to the bathroom, I told Connor that I really needed his help taking care of his brother until Mommy felt better. He snapped to attention and said, "Yes! I am in charge of this whole house and Mushy. Mommy, I am going to the best job ever so you will feel better." Well that sounded helpful so I took my position lying ever so comfortably on the bathroom floor. I heard some yelling and Connor giving Hudson the run down. " Okay Mushy, Mommy is very sick for at least 20 more minutes, you have to listen to me and do everything I say because if we don't Mommy might throw up on us, okay? I am the boss." I started to realize that I might be witnessing the reincarnation of Benito Mussolini in my living room, but I just had to let it play out, I couldn't handle the spinning room, at least not for another 19 minutes.

After a couple of minutes two shadows fell over me in the bathroom and before I could turn my head I feel the unmistakable jolt of Hudson climbing on top of me. Connor swooped in yelling, "No no no! Hudson Hill we don't ride sick people!" He got him out of the room by making a big promise, "Come with me Mushy and I will get you everything you like." About five minutes later Connor came in and was rubbing my head in a very sweet and compassionate way. He really can be quiet the loving little guy. He said, "Mommy, I hope you are feeling better I have been praying for you. You are going to be so happy because I got Hudson everything he likes. I opened four yogurts and made him a bowl of ketchup." As disgusting as that sounded to my poor rolling stomach, I had to admit those are the things he likes the most. Connor got up to leave and then turned, "Mommy, where do we keep the spoons? I need to spank Hudson and the spanking spoon you use is too soft, it never even hurts. I need a really big one." That got me up off the floor. After clarifying to Benito that he absolutely does not have the authority to spank his brother, I resumed my position on the floor.

Not ten seconds later, I hear a tiny voice, " Mommy?" There was my youngest son standing in the doorway wearing what appeared to be a mask of yogurt. Right behind him was "the boss", "No Hudson! We aren't bothering Mommy, she needs rest! Do you see my face? I am not smiling!" Although I could clearly see that he was, in fact, smiling. It was obvious that the power had really gone to his head.

Finally when my twenty minutes of convalescent leave were up, I really was feeling better, my meds had kicked in and things were heading back to normal, at least for me. I still had to restore the hierarchy of our household. Connor was still chasing his brother around the playroom yelling, "One, Two Three! Eyes on Me! Eyes on me Hudson! Put your eyes on me!!!!" Let me just tell you friends, there is nothing worse than having to strip a dictator of his power, they don't take it well.

So that was just the start of our birthday Saturday,there is for sure more blog to come. I learned a hard lesson that miserable morning though. As I was washing the yogurt kisses off my face and the ketchup out of my hair I realized, I am really going to have to parent the crap out of my doubly cursed,type A personality/annoying teacher's kid, first born son. Not that I wasn't going to give it a lot of effort anyway but, well, you know.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Misters Independent

Connor with the magical fire stick

Connor and his buddies

These shorts are certainly witness to a good time.

Modeling the Daisy Duke look and his fanclub
Getting his feet wet
Connor and Dedad modeling the holiday themed golf cart

We had a great fourth of July weekend, our best ever. Matt took some time off of work so we had a really long weekend to hang out with some great friends and we loved it. No one had more fun than my two kids and it really cracked us up.
On the actual fourth, we had lunch with my grandparents and then my Memommy said that Matt, Hud and I could take a nap (hallelujah!) while she and Connor decorated their golf cart with flags, streamers and other patriotic decor. Well this, of course, was right up Connor's alley.He and Memommy are two peas in a pod, the sparklier the better. He had a grand time tricking out the golf cart and then we all tooled around the neighborhood showing off the red white and blue.

Later that night we went out to a friend's house in Royce City to have ice cream and fireworks. It became pretty obvious that my kids don't venture out into the country very often because they pretty much lost their minds. Especially Hudson. Being the country, after several days of rainfall, there were huge mud puddles everywhere in the gravel drive and Hudson was drawn to them like a moth to a flame. He kept venturing closer and closer on the premise of plucking a ball (that he had "accidentally" thrown) out of the water. You could tell from the look on his face that he knew he shouldn't be wading in, but he just couldn't resist. Before we knew it he was calf deep in a cool luxurious bath of muddy water and having the time of his life. It was so shocking that all the other kids gathered around in a circle and started cheering him on. Once he had an audience there was no going back. He splashed and laughed, clapping for himself and cheering (self esteem is not something my children lack). We had one extra pair of shorts in his bag, so I thought if I could only minimize the damage to his shirt we would be okay for the rest of the evening (keep in mind we had been at this party less than 20 minutes, it wasn't even dark yet!) So I came up with the idea to tie his shirt up, which only resulted in him looking like a tiny, muddy Daisy Duke. Matt was not pleased. Finally, being the responsible parents that we are, we had to call an end to the puddle swimming. We are now going to be infamous at our church as the only family that had to strip one of their kids naked and hose him down with the water hose at the annual Fourth of July fireworks party. You know, we like to always roll classy.
Once he was relatively clean (and shirtless) he just ran around in circles, overtired and showing off his golden tan. He reminded me of the Situation from Jersey Shore, always shirtless and tanned within an inch of his life. In fact, I know refer to Hudson as the Situation in my mind. That baby can get out of a t-shirt faster than you can blink. My friend Wendy was nice enough to capture some of his misadventure moments and send me the awesome photos (thanks Wendy!). I have to say even as a muddy mess he is pretty adorable : )
Finally it was time to start the fireworks. Apparently Matt and I never let our kids have any real fun because we had one son that thought it was the highlight of his life to splash in a mud puddle and the other that had no idea that "regular people" could do their own fireworks. Yes they are a sheltered team of two. Connor thought only firemen in really far off places set off fireworks, high in the sky for our viewing pleasure. He about freaked out when someone asked if he wanted to set off fireworks. He frantically ran over to me and begged, " Mommy, can I please have another stick with fire on the end of it? Please!!" Um sure, son, but here in America we call those sparklers.
It ended up being that latest that Hudson has stayed up probably in his whole entire life and he loved every single insane second of it. Connor now has a jones for fireworks that I don't think can wait 12 months to be quenched.
So, Happy Birthday America. I can't say for sure if Thomas Jefferson and the other architects of the constitution had solo toddler mud wrestling and four year olds dangerously close to setting themselves on fire in mind when they drafted and signed that historic document all those years ago, but thanks to them for giving us the freedom celebrate it our way. I think they could appreciate that :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stop Riding Your Cousin!

Last Friday I babysat for my niece and nephew for THE WHOLE DAY! Plus I still had my two kids so this was a huge undertaking for me. As most of you probably know that I sometimes have to hold tight to the tenuous strands of control that keep me tethered to sanity and adding in another one and two year old into the mix was probably asking for trouble. Let me just be clear that none of these children were badly behaved, it was just the sheer number of movers and shakers to keep up with and I am more than a little rusty as a babysitter.

My sweet, artistic younger brother has very little concept of time (love you Cullin) and apparently has an unreliable clock because my day was supposed to last from 10-3 and it actually started at 9. Okay, that's fine. He dropped the kids off looking like absolute orphans. Their mommy obviously leaves before he gets them ready because she was shocked when I sent her pictures at work of their appearance (yes, of course I did and put them on facebook). What can I say, even as an adult, I like to give my little brother a hard time. So, he brings in these two little ragamuffins and pretty much says good luck. He forgot a couple of minor things like diapers. So everyone that day got to wear Hudson's giant pull ups no matter what size tush they had. So, Cullin leaves us alone to face the day and after Marlee ended her super dramatic goodbye crying we all settled in to play. You would think that four cousins so close in age would be able to play together. Not really. Marlee and Connor took off on some grand adventure and that left me with Hudson and Blu. After about 30 minutes of a little game I like to call "Hudson Hill, sneaky people rider) Blu decided he had had enough. Hudson has this horrible habit of waiting until Blu (or any other person, animal or thing) is peacefully crawling around on the floor minding his own business, then all of a sudden he will run from across the room and mount him yelling, "GO GO GO GO!" as loud as he can while his victim face plants in a panic because there is a tiny boy trying to go 8 seconds on his back. It is both tragic and hilarious. Blu is obviously his number one target because he has been the only crawler. However, little Bluie had an ace up his sleeve in the form of walking. He had just taken off that week with some really solid step taking, his skills vastly improved quickly that day when he realized walking was the best way to avoid being ridden.
It was so cute to watch Blu walking all over the house with those new, unsteady baby steps. He even got up to what I would call a half run when Hudson chased him with the shopping cart. Ahhh, cousin-ly love. Back now to Connor and Marlee, tweedle-de and tweedle-diva. They had a grand time on some imaginary adventure and Marlee got to have a medical appointment with Dr. Dramatic. He examined her with the "telescope" and pronounced her to be in "okay, but maybe really bad" health. Her prescription? Smores, eaten in a tent. So that's what they got. After all, who am I to disagree with a medical professional. The bottom line is that those two are completely nuts and I am glad they have each other because there is a big chance they will be each others only friends someday. It was really sweet to hear their little giggles coming from inside the tent in Connor's room. I overheard a lot of silliness but I shouldn't have been surprised when I heard Connor say, "Marlee don't you wish this tent was pink? I do, I want to paint my room pink sometime." Marlee's response? " Okay Conna, I paint pink with you." Good Lord! A pink room is never going to happen, but can you see why he loves her so much?

I had just gotten everyone settled down for a nap and the house was so quiet and peaceful when we had a surprise guest....my Memommy! She had heard through the grapevine (my mother) that I had all the kids and wanted to help. That sent everyone (except Hudson who cannot be deterred from a nap) into an uproar and we had an afternoon of chaos. Fun, but definite mayhem. But it was almost 3, so I knew their daddy would be arriving any minute. Any minute now. Any minute..... He was late of course, not that late but late enough for me to give him a hard time.

I love my little Marlee and Blu and I love my two boys, but my goodness how do people with four kids do it every day? Maybe they space them out so they only have one every ten years. It was more than I could handle on a regular basis. I think we will just be sticking with our two little whirling dervishes of destruction for the time being, in fact I am thinking of making Matt sleep on the couch, just to be on the safe side!