What's happening with the Hill family!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Kookalele!






























The highlight of our jaunt into Cozumel had to be the acquisition of a tiny guitar. First of all, there were souvenir guitars everywhere and Hudson was so excited, I was worried that he was going to stroke out. He ran around frantic yelling, "' Tar! Tar! My tar!" We tried to put him off for a while so we could shop around a little more, but finally we broke down and Susanne bought him a little green number with the words Cozumel Mexico inexplicably framed in quotation marks. As an instrument it possessed absolutely no redeeming musical value. Not that he cared. All of a sudden he was Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton all rolled into one 26 pound body (Minus all the rock and roll druggie drama of course).

That little boy's eyes lit up and he set about to entertain on the streets and sidewalks of Cozumel like it was his birthright. He was a strolling troubadour, strumming that cheap fishing line and singing his little heart out. What was he singing? Hard to say. There was definitely a rendition of Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car, but it was also mashed up with a lot of other indecipherable melodies and lots of woo-ing a la Micheal Jackson. Every 20 feet or so he would strike a pose, raising the neck of the guitar high in the air, and hit a high note that seemed to last forever. It was adorable. Connor, Dr. Literal, pointed out that it was obviously too small to be a real guitar so he was positive that it was a "Kookalele." Um, a what? "Mommy, a kookalele. It is a different instrument than a guitar but it looks like one but it is very small and sounds different. They play them by them the ocean." Oh that makes perfect nonsensical sense and fitting since we looked like a band of kooks following this kid around town while he played a guitar that produced no sound.

By now, in a city full of touristy cheesy attractions, Hudson had become the greatest attraction of the day. Everywhere we walked people came out of their shops and stopped to watch him perform. He ate it up. He had a perma-grin and totally fed off the audience. We met up with the rest of our traveling group at Pancho's Backyard for lunch and I thought the Mush would take a break to eat and relax for a while. Nope. On the patio, there were two men playing a beautiful hand carved marimba. It was like a moth to a flame. Hudson is not the most easily understood verbally, but I imagine in his mind he was saying the following as he moseyed up to them, "Hey guys, it looks like you need a guitar player over here. I know every song ever written and I'll split the tips with you. Okay, let's jam." And jam they did. Those guys were so nice to Hudson even though he was the stereo typical hot shot band member who wanted all the spotlight and gave very little credit to those backing him up. You know, those unimportant people who can actually play on real instruments that make actual sound. That was no matter to Hud though, he played that piece of junk guitar, held together by hot glue and fishing wire, like it was a vintage Strat. It went on for several hours and he even earned tips from his "public." Strangers were stuffing dollars into the pocket of his bandanna print shirt. It was a little disconcerting. Again, I cannot stress how nice those two marimba players were. Once, I turned around to see Hudson interrupting a song in order to have one of them tune his guitar and the man ever so patiently turned and adjusted that fishing line until it was in tip top shape. Then later,at another point, they had hoisted him up so he could play that dang marimba! It was all too much.

All in all, Cozumel made quite the impression on our two year old and I dare say that he made a similar impression on them. And for those of you worried that the kookalele wouldn't hold up, don't panic. It is still in one piece and getting plenty of love back here at home. When I say love, I really mean it, hr hugs and kisses it every night. I am sure that is exactly how Stevie Ray started out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Your Cruise Director Mushy

I seem to start a lot of blog posts this way, but once again I have been so behind on blogging! This month has been crazy busy and I have a lot to post, but not enough time to actually type it all up!. So I am thinking that the December posts are going to be in nonsequential order,which doesn't bother me, but probably will drive some of you crazy, especially if you are slightly OCD like my oldest son.

Anyway, we haven't had time to blog this past week because we were on a cruise! I think I am going to have to break it into cruise post subcategories to keep it from being forever long, so this will be the first! We were so excited to go on a cruise with my grandparents to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary! They took the entire family five years ago for their 50th, but Matt and I couldn't go because I was too far along in a high risk pregnancy with a certain boy who loves space (I was also unknowingly pregnant with a grown man named Kenny, which now that I think about it, probably contributed greatly to the high risk-ness). So now we had the chance to go and take the boys, which was very exciting and also extremely terrifying. We have never been on a real vacation before that didn't consist of staying with family members and having Super Target within walking distance. But we got it together and headed out for a "short" five hour road trip to Galveston. We woke up Thursday morning ready to board the ship. We were also cruising with my in-laws and Uncle Aaron and Uncle Jack plus Memom and Dedad. So all in all we were and odd, but fun cast of characters. The boys were so excited to see how giant the ship was and had no problem making themselves at home. In fact, home is a great word for this situation because that is how Hudson acted, like he was coming home. He took to the cruise ship like a duck to water and wasted no time making friends.

Since he knows no fear at all, his parents were forced to take on the extraneous fear that he should be feeling, in the form of heart stopping panic every time he came near a deck railing since, naturally, he is still tiny enough to squeeze himself through and possibly plummet into the ocean below. Now here is the thing about cruise ships, we think they are tons of fun, but they are also kind of cheesy. Okay, really cheesy. And here is the thing about my kids, they are also really cheesy. Can you see why they all got on so well? Especially the Mush, as he is king of the cheesy. Once he laid eyes on all that shiny brass and smily people, he lit up like a Christmas tree. He became quite the hit with the staff, high fiving people right and left and announcing, "I Hudson!" as he strutted through the hallways. Every night at dinner, the wait staff was forced into an almost painful song and dance routine and Hudson began to really look forward to this part of dinner. In fact, it became part of our bargaining for behavior routine, if he didn't flip out during the really long appetizer and main courses, he would be able to join the staff for their dance before dessert. And dance he did. Every night all the waiters would weave in a line around the tables and the maitre d' would announce that they were representing 40 different countries......and representing the United States, dancing to Flo-Rida's Get Low, one very short two year old.


Music is everywhere on a cruise ship and Hudson was like a little praire dog. He would catch a few notes from across the ship in a random lounge and his head would pop up on alert and he would start to dance and it was our job to get him as close to the source as possible. It was a little exhausting but he had the time of his life. Hudson also became like a little celebrity on the ship, he and Connor spent some time every day in Camp Carnival (for kids ages 2-5) and after the first day all of the workers knew Hudson by name, which I am sure was a good thing. The last night, the kids got the chance to take part in the chorus' holiday show on the main stage and since they were the youngest kids, their role consisted on putting decorations on the tree while there was singing and dancing. Hudson ranked high enough to get his own handler, a sweet lady, whose only job that night was apparently to attend to Hudson and make sure he didn't take over the show. I almost hesitated to put him in it though, because I was (and still am) afraid that once he gets a taste of the stage, we might lose him forever. It was really cute though. Speaking of handlers, he also had his own at the water slide! They had a really great baby slide that Hudson absolutely loved and there was an attendant there to keep an eye on things, but it quickly became clear that his job description shifted to focus entirely on Mushy. Hudson likes to scare the bejeebus out of people with his fearless antics and I started to really feel sorry for that man. Hudson is a sly little devil and as soon as the attendant (Ahmed from the Phillipines) reminded him to sit on his bottom, he would blink and Hudson would dive down head first. During Hudson's second time out (out of many), Ahmed came over and said, " I just so scared, he so cute but he scare me." Great, so now we are going to have a reputation in the Phillipines.

I told Matt, as the cruise came to an end that we are really going to have to keep a tight leash on that boy or before we turn around he will have run off and signed up for a tour on a cruise ship and then we will never see him again. He had that good of a time. He greeted people as if he worked there and high fived more complete strangers than was sanitary. I added two videos of a little of Hudson's interaction at dinner. I especially like the part where he starts yelling out, "Thank you!" like all the hundreds of people in that dining room are cheering for him. Well our table was
video
video

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Get in my Drum, Jesus!

Connor is an odd mix of a boy. He is both extremely logical and extremely creative. I know everyone has a mix of a little of both, but he is like exactly half and half. He is so literal and at the same time wildly creative, so it makes for some interesting conversations.

For example, his holiday program at school is coming up this week. FINALLY! I say finally, because we have been hearing these same four songs since before Halloween and I don't just mean occasionally. Since he is kind of an eager achiever, he was dead set on perfection at this program and perfection comes at the cost of his mother's annoyance. He is exceptionally good at these songs and now so am I. This week, he was practicing Little Drummer Boy, his current favorite. As I was listening to him sing, I heard a minor discrepency and I thought I would try to correct it since I know he likes to have everything just right. Instead of singing the words, "me and my drum," at the end of a verse he always sings, "be in my drum." So I gently told him that was wrong. Well, he did not agree. So I asked him what he thought that "be in my drum" meant and how that fit into the song about a little boy playing his drum for a newborn Jesus. It was quite the explanation. He said, "Mommy, it means that the drummer boy wants the baby Jesus to be in his drum. " Why, Connor, would anyone, let alone a fictional middle eastern boy playing a snare drum in Bethleham, want to put a baby inside the drum? In a slightly exasperated tone, "Mo-oom, because he wants him to hear it really good and he wants to take him around and show him off while he plays songs for the new king. But, I think it might not be too comfortable so I would probably put some of his hay and stuff in there too so it would be soft and let Mary come in case he got scared." and then in a most serious voice, "I have to play my best for him." Oh. Did you notice the shift there? He went from referring to the drummer boy in the third person to actually becoming the little drummer boy. So, that is weird. Now at that program this week, while the pre-k'ers are singing Little Drummer Boy, this family will all be picturing Connor, in Bethleham, traipsing about town carrying baby Jesus in a drum on which he is playing his heart out (a drum which would probably be pink) while Mary follows behind in case the baby got scared. Matt says he hopes that Connor at least gives Jesus some tiny headphones. I told him to stop encouraging it.

But wait, there's more. Connor also shared with me the meaning of the words, "The ox and lamb kept time, ba rum pum pum pum." Being so literal, he spent some time thinking about that odd little phrase and has come to the conclusion that they were wearing watches. Yes, the ox and the lamb wore watches. Why, you ask? There is a perfectly reasonable explanation. The ox and lamb wore watches so they could tell Connor, oops, I mean the Little Drummer Boy, when it was time to switch songs. Naturally.
Matt wanted to know if they were also in charge of timing the labor pains. Ha. Ha.

Christmas program here we come!