What's happening with the Hill family!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wake up Jeff!

I have been really negligent lately in mentioning a really big part of our lives. Jeff Fatt. Oh, you don't know that name? How lucky for you. Jeff is the purple Wiggle of the world wide phenomenon known as the Wiggles. I would give my eye teeth to go back to the days of blissful ignorance. The Wiggles have invaded our lives, it is the only show Hudson ever asks to watch and it is supremely annoying. It is so cheesy and cheerful, I can hardly stand it. But he is obsessed and there is apparently no end in sight for the love affair with the Wiggles so we have been forced to embrace it.

All the Wiggles have their own gimmick. Anthony eats all the time, Murry plays the guitar, the yellow one does something and Jeff, our favorite, always sleeps. See what I mean? Thrilling. That is his shtick, he has narcolepsy. One minute he is singing and dancing with Dorothy the Dinosaur and the next he is out like a light, complete with really loud snoring. Then the other Wiggles have to come over, quietly count to three and yell, "Wake up Jeff!" This is hands down the funniest thing Hudson has ever seen. It is such powerful humor that it is as funny today (the 1346th view) as it was the first time. So, as my children are so naturally apt to do, Hudson has decided to ever so slowly morph into Jeff. It was a gradual thing that kind of snuck up on me, but here we are today with a kid that spends half the day fake snoring, eyes closed, standing straight up. It. Is. Adorable. And. Weird.
It has really become a thing for Hudson. Take our trip to the Dallas Arboretum for cousin pictures in the pumpkin patch. "Jeff" was everywhere. Can you imagine how hard it is to get six kids under the age of five to all look at the camera. Impossible, especially if one of them is asleep and snoring. Guess what else gets kind of old? Having to count to three and say wake up Jeff! If you don't do it correctly, he is likely to lapse right back into a slumber and you have to start all over again. We walked all over that arboretum and it was very crowded with parents and kids searching for that perfect fall picture. The crowds meant "Jeff" got a lot of attention for his antics. Especially when he decided to lie down to sleep in random spots. I wished I'd had a sign that said, "No, he hasn't fallen, he is just fake sleeping. He's fine....just weird." It would have saved me a lot of talking.
So for those of you counting at home, the imaginary people/alter ego count is now up to three in the Hill household. Kenny, Stuart and Jeff, the purple Wiggle. There are almost as many fake people as there are real people in our house and none of them seem to have any inclination to move on, despite their average age being around 37. Matt says we are a little like the Hotel California, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. I think he means the two us.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Own Cooking Show? Yes Please!

This morning was a little odd. Our first discovery was that Connor, instead of putting our Diet Dr. Pepper's in the fridge last night, had instead loaded them into the freezer. Matt opened the freezer to what he referred to as "a Diet Dr. Pepper" massacre. An honest mistake? Yes, but this is his weekly job and Matt had specifically showed him where to put them in the fridge so needless to say, Matt was pretty frustrated by his lack of attention. After a six a.m. daddy talk about the importance of paying attention to life in general, Matt was out the door to work and I was rushing around trying to get lunches made and dinner in the crockpot.

Okay, at this point in the story I need you to flash back with me to Monday night. Matt had to work late, so the kids and I were doing our thing at home and I decided to try and have dinner ready as soon as Matt got home because I knew he was exhausted and I am that good of a wife. I had planned on grilling steaks, Matt's favorite meal, so Monday morning I put the steaks in a bag with some marinade and left them in the fridge. I had purchased two big sirloins, pretty standard, for the four of us to share. Anyway, I got the grill all fired up (by myself, thank you very much) and tossed our two gigantic steaks on to cook. Matt came home and I was so proud of myself for manning the grill alone and everything looked and smelled great. Matt went to get the steaks off the grill and made the comment, "Geez, are we having the Flintstones for dinner?" I had to admit they were huge steaks but whatever, we could take it for lunch the next day. We all settled down to eat and dug into our steaks. Let's just say, they weren't great. That is putting nicely, they were really pretty awful. I chalked it up to my sub par grilling skills and Matt drowned his in Heinz 57 and we powered through. Hudson strictly uses meat as a carrier for ketchup, so he could have been eating dog for all he cared.

Okay, flash forward back to this morning. Right after the "focusing" talk, Matt left for work and I got everything ready in the crockpot for our pot roast. We love us some pot roast. Delicious dinner plus delicious leftovers. Anyway, I had all the liquid, seasonings and veggies ready to go and went to the fridge to pull out the roast. It looked a little weird, so I checked the label and read, "Sirloin Steak." Hmm, that was strange. Did I accidentally buy two of the same thing instead of my pot roast? I was totally confused. My brain does not work on a fast track before 7 a.m. (and maybe not even after) so it took me several long minutes of standing in front of the open refrigerator for the light bulb to click on. That's right people, I grilled our dang pot roast! I grilled a pot roast and never even noticed. I must have been talking to myself because Connor glanced up and asked what was wrong. I was then faced with the eternal question, could I get away with this idiocy without my husband finding out? After studying Connor for a second (aka the witness for the prosecution,) I just decided to come clean and tell Matt. The truth will set you free, or in this case, the truth will get you mocked mercilessly for the rest of your marriage.

Matt was in awe of my "awesomeness", to say the least. I mean really, who can say they are paying such little attention that they mistake a pot roast for two sirloin steaks and then proceed to grill the living daylights out of that poor piece of meat and then force her family to eat it's leathery goodness. Me, that's who and leathery it was. After all, I only shortened the cooking time by about eight hours. Just a minor tweak to the recipe.

So what is the lesson here? It might have something to do with focus or attention, but frankly, I've kind of already forgotten.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How do you spell World Series?

The Rangers are headed to the World Series and I have two people in my house that couldn't be happier. Seriously. Matt and Matt Jr. are giddy with excitement and if I hear the word "history" used one more time in connection to baseball I think I might throw up. Just kidding, it is really exciting, especially for us fair weather fans who only jump on the bandwagon when things are swinging our way. That would be me.

Matt, however, is a lifelong fan and he is raising his baseball clone. When Matt hoops and hollers, Connor hoops and hollers. When the announcer says that a player walked to first, Connor is quick to point out, "Actually Mommy, he jogged to first." He is extremely literal. Matt has loved the Rangers even when they sucked it up year after year and were the butt of lots of baseball jokes. But, Matt loves baseball period. He comes by it naturally, it is his genetic destiny and I think that is great. I don't quite get it, but I think it's great. Maybe it's my genetic destiny to love the Real Housewives of any city in America (I would die without Bravo). Maybe, but it's probably not the same thing. Just as I am a fount of useless reality tv trivia, my husband is an endless well of baseball knowledge. It is both supremely annoying and adorable at the same time. Want to know where some random guy on the Rays when to college? Matt knows that. Want to know the latest A-Rod/Celebrity scandal? I got ya covered. Can you see why our marriage works so well?

Last night Matt got to go ALCS game 6. It probably cracks the top 5 in the list of greatest nights of his life. I am sure marrying me and having two children are the top three, and as for number four....I'm pretty awesome so I'm sure I have done something in the last twelve years to clinch that spot. But back to the game, it was, as Matt likes to remind me, history and I was so genuinely happy that my baseball loving husband was there to witness it. Connor is just as excited about the world series as his daddy. He spent the morning writing letters to Cliff Lee. As his secretary it is my job to take his dictation and write it so he can then copy it with no spelling mistakes. The first went like this, "Dear Cliff Lee, You are going to the World Series. I love you and want you to play your best every day even if your arms get tired. But I hope they don't get tired. Love, Connor Zeke Hill." The real kicker is that Connor truly believes he is breaking the World Series news to Cliff, like maybe he missed that minor news bulletin at the ballpark last night admist the fireworks, confetti and crazy looking fan leaning outside a suite that looked a lot like Matt. So you can see why we must overnight this letter.

So for the first time in my 28 years, this woman actually cares about a World Series. Really, I do. If I didn't, I think Connor would write me a letter of eviction, which he would first force me to spell out for him so he could then copy it accurately. Thank goodness we don't like football!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Woman hits ninja with car

Sunday night after Awanas, I called Matt to tell him that we were on the way home and asked him if he wanted to go to the grocery store with us. Actually I believe the way I phrased it was, "Hi honey. Either you go to the grocery store with us or I am leaving these kids at home with you." But I said it in a really sweet voice. Here is what he said in response and believe me this is a word for word quote. I remember it exactly because it was so bizarre. "Sure, I'll go to the store with you. In fact, I think I am going to start running there, just pick me up along the way. Okay?"

Silence. Then I started laughing. Because obviously it was a joke. Then feelings got hurt. "Thanks a lot Melissa, I am completely capable of jogging to the store." Yes, I am sure he is capable, but why would he? It wasn't like there was something wrong with our car. But none the less, after a few quick words about his general direction and pacing, he said he was off and that I was supposed to drive until I saw him and then pick him up. Riiiiight. We don't live very far from our church so as soon as I crossed into Rowlett and neared our house I started looking for him. I should probably mention at this point in the story that it was now dark outside. Still no Matt. So the boys decided to roll down the windows and assist in our search on Miller Road by yelling for their daddy out the window. But their attention span is short so after about thirty seconds Hudson started singing his theme song, "Toot toot chugga big red car" and Connor starting howling at the moon. Literally. So now we were driving slow enough to look creepy down a fairly busy road with a two and four year old singing and howling at the moon while looking for our suddenly spontaneously jogging father. It was weird. Two jogger false alarms later (which really got those people's heart rates up, especially when I honked) we still hadn't found him and frankly I was torn between two emotions. The first being worry, because let's face it I didn't think he had it in him and the second a growing sense of admiration because again, I didn't think he had it in him. I finally turned onto Dexham road (along his predefined route) and slowed to about two miles an hour. I still did not see him anywhere and was quickly moving into my third emotion, irritation bordering on anger. All of a sudden, something banged on the passenger side window, scaring the pee out of me. I looked over and there was my husband jogging next to our car. I slammed on the brakes and he jumped in. The first words out of his mouth were, "What took you so long, I have been running forever!" The first words out of my mouth were, "Why in the world are you dressed like a ninja?" Seriously, he was wearing a navy blue long sleeved shirt, dark blue shorts, a hat and dark shoes. He might as well have put a blinking neon sign on his back that said, "Please hit me with your car." I told him I didn't even see him until he turned his head and I saw the whites of his eyes. It was ridiculous.

So....Matt is on a new exercise kick and I am off to the store to buy him some stick on reflectors like they put on bicycles. I don't want anyone of you to have to wake up to the headline, "Woman hits spontaneously jogging husband with car while he runs to the grocery store even though they have two working cars." Or something like that. I don't want my kids to have to visit me in the big house.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sticks and Stones

This morning as Connor finished up some self-assigned homework, he told me that he didn't want to go to his big school today, he wanted to go to his baby school. That has never happened before so I sat down to figure out what was going on. Connor loves school, every minute of it and I was really nervous that something terrible had happened.
Something terrible had happened. A boy hurt his feelings. A classmate (who shall remain nameless, but whose name is forever imprinted in my mind) told Connor that his shirt was stupid. Okay, that was pretty mean. But here's the kicker. It was Connor's space shirt. Cue the Law and Order sound effect....Dun dun. You probably know by now that space is Connor's most favorite thing in the world. His little nerd heart yearns for space knowledge and he gets real joy in wearing his obsession in shirt form. This was a pretty big blow. I'll just admit here, because I really do try to show the good, the bad and the ugly on this blog, that my gut reaction was to ask, "Well, what in the crap was he wearing?" But I restrained myself. I am twenty-eight after all, not four. It was hard though. I can be quite petty.

I knew everything I needed to say to make him feel better and I knew everything I needed to say to help him understand that this was a minor blip on the radar of childhood. After all, I do navigate the hurt feelings of twenty-eight fifth graders every day, but this was different. This was my kid. So although my heart was aflame with a burning sense of injustice, I switched to Mom mode. I told Connor there was a good chance that the kid was just having a bad day (or he is just a jerk) and it was a good opportunity to remember how much it hurts when people say mean things to you, so he should try and not make other people feel like that. You know, all the stuff that June Cleaver would have said to the Beav. He cheered up and agreed to head to school and face his shirt nemesis and I in turn, went to work and worried about the situation all day. I just can't help myself!

At lunch, during our daily phone therapy session, Matt pointed out what should have been obvious. It wasn't just that Connor's feelings were hurt, but my feelings were kind of hurt too. And not just because I try so hard to send him to school in a nice, constantly rotating wardrobe that spaces out the astronaut shirts at reasonable intervals so he will never be branded as the kid who wears the same clothes all the time (Yes, teachers notice that stuff!). My feelings were hurt because this was the first time in "big" school that someone didn't think my kid is as awesome as his daddy and I do. I know that a super tall, skinny boy that constantly talks about space and strolled into show and tell wearing an astronaut costume that makes him look a lot like a baked potato is a little odd, but if his dad and I can embrace the weirdness, I think the rest of the world should too. Is that really too much to ask?

Baked potatoes need love too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Safety First, Crazy Second

Today was Safety Day at Connor's school. He gave me a pretty generic run-down about how they learned what to do if your house is on fire or if a stranger tries to offer you candy. It was all pretty straight forward. It wasn't until bath time tonight though, that I realized exactly how dramatic safety instructions can be.

During the boy's joint bath tonight, Connor decided it was time to teach his brother everything he had learned at school because it wouldn't be fair, after all, to keep all that knowledge to himself. First, he shared what they should do if the house is on fire. "Hudson, we have to run out of our house screaming." Me: "Why do you have to scream." Connor: "Mom, we scream because we are scared." Well, duh. Then, he went on, once they are outside they have to stop, drop and roll just in case "any fire jumped on us while we were running." Okay, that sounds logical. There were a few minutes of chaos while Connor demonstrated proper rolling technique in the bathtub and Hudson tried to emulate. Once that was finished, Connor moved right along to the next crisis. "Now Mushy, when we are outside waiting for our mommy, a stranger might come in his car and try to give us candy." Oh Lord. First of all, where in the world am I in this little story? Still in the burning house? Connor said that his teachers told the class that you never take candy from strangers even if it is your favorite kind. He then let me know that he then told his teacher that his favorite type of candy is vitamins (which is a total kiss-butt thing to say and absolutely not true). "So," he told Hudson (who looked thoroughly confused at this point) "even if the stranger wants to give you ketchup or candy, you don't eat it or go in their car. Do you understand me Hudson?" Hudson nodded an enthusiastic yes. But is Connor satisfied? No. He then starts to pelt Hudson with follow up questions, testing his comprehension. "Hudson if a stranger comes when our house is on fire and wants to give you ketchup are you going to eat it?" Again Hudson responds with a positive "mm, hmmm. Ketchup!" Geez, this was going downhill fast. Connor was now furious that his brother was going to totally disregard his safety lesson and be taken by a ketchup (or vitamin) offering stranger on the day our house burns to the ground because the parents apparently left them alone. He insisted on Hudson getting it right, but by now even I was totally confused.

I tried to deflect the pressure off of our two year old, who had now lost interest and was back to practicing the stop, drop and roll in the bathtub, by trying to clarify with Connor that all those things don't have to happen on the same day in order to be considered a safety issue. Good grief, talk about threat level midnight! After talking things through, we dialed down the drama and separated all the issues into smaller more manageable bites. Yes, we could accidentally catch on fire and no that does not mean a child abduction is imminent. At the same time, does a stranger only offer candy on days when your house is burning and you are out front rolling in the grass? No, they do not.

After everyone was dried off and pajamed up, I just had to ask Connor where I was during this great, imaginary moment of crisis for our family. He thought about it for a minute and said, "Mommy, you were in the house trying to rescue Kenny and Stuart." Oh. Well that makes perfect sense.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The greatest place on Earth....

Yesterday Matt and I took the boys on our annual trip to the State Fair of Texas. This is probably our most favorite place to go and we never miss a year. We absolutely love sharing the fair with our boys and this was really Hudson's first year to experience things as a big boy.

This was also our first year to take them alone, just the four of us. We were a little nervous about braving it without four extra grandparent hands because one of our children tends to be a loose cannon, but in the end it was wonderful and we were glad we got to have that family experience. We headed out right after Sunday school hoping to get a head start on the crowds and Connor was so excited he could hardly sit still. He had been saying for days how he wanted to ride the big Ferris wheel more than anything else. I am not a fan of the Ferris wheel and I don't think I have been on that giant thing in at least ten years. So I was secretly hoping that he would forget about it once he got knee deep in the rest of the carnie fun. But, back to that in a minute. First things first, we had to get our eating schedule in place. Matt and I are kind of fair food purists, we don't really try a lot of the novelty items. We know what we like and we don't want to chance our fair experience being ruined by a gross, random fried item. Plus, a few years back Matt had a traumatic experience with a chocolate covered banana that he swears on my life he heard called a monkey tail on the news, but when he called it that at a fair booth, the lady pretty much accused him of being a racist. So after that, we decided to stick to our long time faves and they are as follows: Turkey leg, sausage on a stick, Fletcher's corn dog, Texas shaped chip nachos, cinnamon roll, and caramel apples. We never vary from these things, although the order in which we consume them can change, we always start with the Fletcher's and end with the caramel apple. It is heaven. This year Matt had to have the all important talk with Connor about the difference between Fletcher's corn dogs and the rest. It went something like this, "Connor, we are a Fletcher's family and the rest are junk. We never eat the junk corn dogs." Who knew such profound life wisdom could be dispensed at the fairgrounds surrounded by mullets and motorized carts.

As we waited for Matt to deliver our Fletcher's corn dogs, Hudson made his first magical discovery of the day. Ketchup at the fair is dispensed in enormous 10 gallon pump containers. He thought he had died and gone to heaven. I was staking out a table and turned to see that Connor had pushed the stroller directly underneath the condiments stand and was trying to pump ketchup directly into Hudson's mouth. I had to put a stop to that, although he had everyone in the surrounding crowd laughing. As I dragged Hudson away screaming from the ketchup watering hole, Matt showed up with our first course and plenty of cups of ketchup for the little man. He was content to sit with us, downing shots of ketchup chased by the occasional bite of corn dog. It was all disgusting and adorable at the same time. We realized that Hudson was going to be a cheap date, the ketchup is free at the fair :)

Next, we went to what we affectionately call the meat tent so Matt could get his turkey leg and sausage on a stick and of course, more ketchup for Hudson. After that we went to the auto show. Now, we knew this would be a highlight of the day. Hudson and Connor sat in more cars and truck than we could count and loved every second of it. Apparently my children are big fans of the tacky bright yellow sports car...... a car color, by the way, that I think should be illegal since it seems so desperate. After we left the car show we went to check out Big Tex. It was so sweet, as soon as Hudson saw the giant cowboy, he started yelling out, "My daddy! My daddy!"

All this time, we had avoided mentioning the dreaded Ferris wheel, but of course, Connor had not forgotten. We decided to bite the bullet and got into a gigantic line to wait. We finally got to the front of the line and climbed into our cage. Matt and I looked at each other with mutual glances of terror. That stupid Ferris wheel is so high! Matt had Hudson and I had Connor and they were loving it, but their parents, the biggest weenies in the world were petrified. Take the height and add in the considerable wind that was swaying our cage back and forth and I was transformed into a ball of tension. Connor said, "This is awesome! But Mommy, you are squeezing me so hard, I can't breathe!" I tried to focus on anything but the ground and after the first go 'round, I started to feel better. Better that is, until Hudson decided to start screaming out, "I jump! Mommy, I jump!" and laughing like a maniac. I can't handle that. Once we were back on solid ground, I realized how pathetic it is that both of my sons apparently got all the daredevil genes while their parents are left trembling and nauseated after riding a Ferris wheel that has been in existence for more decades than I have been alive. Leaving our dignity at the Big Star, we headed to the Midway.

This was a low point for Hudson, when it was discovered that he is tall enough to ride exactly zero rides. Zero. That poor tiny child has a taste for the fast life and was forced to watch brother careen around tracks while softly questioning, "My turn? My turn?" We kept thinking we would just sneak him on one, but we were shocked to find how diligent those people were about height enforcement. But Matt decided to do a little scouting and finally found a ride where the ticket taker looked to be about 30 minutes past his scheduled break time and probably wouldn't have cared if I had tossed a newborn into that race car. I got him all tucked in next to his brother and they were off! That crappy little ride was the most fun they have ever had together. Every time they swung around the track they looked deliriously happy. It was totally worth breaking the fair rules. When it came to an end all the kids hopped out and headed to the exit. All except one. Finally the man came over to the little red car, obviously thinking that the tiny blond boy wasn't able to get himself out of the car and was met with an obstinate glare and a fierce, "No! Again!" When you don't even reach Big Tex's belt buckle on the measurement sign, you certainly aren't mature enough to manage a graceful exit when your turn is up. After some sobbing and screaming we decided it was probably time to head home. There is only so much fun to be had and so much ketchup to be eaten in one day.

So, that was a really long winded way to say that the Hill family loves the State Fair of Texas. Every last one of us. In fact, Matt says that when he dies, he would like to be buried there so he'll know for sure that I will visit at least once a year. Please. That sounds a little insulting to me. If he was buried there, I would at least come twice. I really do love the fair after all :)