Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hillapalooza 2011

If you follow this blog, you know that the Hill side of the family multiplies like rabbits. And if you have followed this blog for a long time you may have seen this.. Well, that was Hillapalooza 2009. We skipped last year as there were two brand new babies in the family. One of which belongs to the Hill family of North Carolina (Brad, Michelle, Brady, Sydney and now Madilyn) so it was obviously not a good time for them to travel all the way to Arkansas to visit. But this year, this year it was on! We welcomed the NC Hills around the end of June and quickly began the week-long festivities of Hillapalooza.

To give you the rundown here are how the numbers shake out. 10 adults--Mah, Dah, Brad, Michelle, Meghan, Mike, Ryan, myself, Cameron and Marcy. And 9 (yes, 9!!!) children --Brady (11) Sydney (6) Anna (5) Chaz (3) Jackson (3) Ben (3) Brandon (3) Campbell (1) and Madilyn (1) and one on the way. Yep, we have four 3 year-olds and two 1 year-olds. Can I give a BIG thank goodness for Brady!?!? He is a lifesaver! I mean, seriously, there was nobody who had the patience or energy to wrangle all these children but Brady, he loved it and did it with a smile!!

The first night was dinner at the in-laws. While the men manned the grill... The children were wrangled into the living room for a little Diego. Jackson was irritated at the noise in the house.. Imagine 19 people, with the overwhelming majority of them being rather loud talkers. He decided he needed to sit closer to the T.V. Can't say I blame the kiddo. He kept getting mad and saying "SHHHHHHHH! I can't hear Diego!!"Chaz had to wear his "too cools" The boys.. Ben with the mask. I think he wore this the majority of the week.

Mah had a great idea to celebrate all the kiddos birthdays with a big ol' cake. The NC Hills aren't here when we celebrate the AR kids birthdays and we don't get to see their little ones on their birthdays so it was the PERFECT idea. Of course, a few of them were asking where the presents were but we just ignored them :)Obviously, with all that icing there were some messy, messy kiddos. So the little ones got a much needed bath. Madilyn got one every night and I always made Michelle give her to me after she was lotioned up and in her pjs. There is nothing like the smell of a clean, lotioned baby.

After dessert it was back into the living room. I decided to try and get a group picture of them. I have to say, not bad. The little ones are missing as they were already down for the night. And Jackson quickly followed their lead. Sydney was on a sugar high and being a goofy little girl!

Chaz was so tired that I don't know if he really knew where he was.. He was also eating sweets which is odd for him. Zoned out!Throughout the week, each family took a night to cook dinner. The next night was Marcy/Cameron's night and they had the genius idea of having dinner at her sister's house. It has a pool. Score 1 for Marcy! After the Hill family photoshoot and lunch at Jason's deli (Yes, all 19 of us had a, reasonably, decent lunch) the boys went golfing so we headed over well before dinner to enjoy the pool. Chaz, of course, had to wear his "too cools." And yes, he swam in them. Everyone enjoyed the pool. It was incredibly relaxing!

And then this happened.. Not sure what it was about as I was resting on the porch. But I was able to get these AWESOME shots of an epic meltdown. (and yes, if this was my child I would have taken pictures) There is really nothing better than a three year-old meltdown. At times you would really believe they have lost a limb, their eyeball has fallen out or something of the sort has happened. But no, most of the time it is nothing. Literally, nothing. Or nothing noteworthy. Trust me, there is nothing wrong with him. I think maybe, just maybe, someone had a toy he wanted. Again, classic pictures. I heart them.

What is one of the cutest things hanging around pools these days? Baby legs! Nothing yummier than baby legs.

The kids were great and we all had a blast playing in the pool. The best thing about the pool was some of the little ones (Anna, Chaz, Jackson) could touch the bottom in the shallow end. Awesomeness!!

I love this picture. He pretty much looks like the terminator.
Brandon. Oh my. Brandon! This child. He is a handful. We love him to pieces but he sure keeps us on our toes. Yes, he is trying to escape. Because why wouldn't you want to scale the fence to get away from the fun times happening in the pool. Oh Brandon. But who could resist this face. He is just precious! And doesn't he just look sweet and innocent?and then it was snack time. This is something I vividly remember from my childhood. Sitting by the pool with a cup of crackers, popsicle or something of the like, feet in the water and not a care in the world. Ahhhhhhh! Oh, back to reality. I have to tell you, I was introduced to the most wonderful snack. They are called Veggie Sticks (Sam's Club) I honestly wouldn' t have thought twice about them but to my shock and amazement, my little guy LOVES them!! I know, the kid who eats nothing and will try nothing new.. LOVES them!! Yippee!! He calls them his "veg-ta-bulls"

After snacks it was time for America's favorite pool pasttime--Floating on your back. I love this. Every kid is different yet it is absolutely hilarious to watch them try and float. They all have a different reaction. Syd, like most, was a little timid at first but once she stopped flailing her arms, she was pretty good.
Brandon immediately decided he could do it himself.. Hmmm, yeah buddy. Let's take the floaties off and see how you do!
Good thing for mommas!
Chaz thought it was really fun to sneak up behind Aunt Meg and "pinch her booty" I was lucky enough to get pics of the madness.

And our precious Madilyn. You will quickly begin to notice that this kid does not like to show her expressions--at least in front of the camera. I was lucky to get these quick shots of her simply adorable grin.

All in all it was a great day in the pool! Thanks Anita for letting us crash your pool!!
The next night was Meghan's house. I think my picture taking skills were lacking---or I was just tired. But at least I got these two shots. Hilarious! Ben had on the Spiderman costume for quite a while but as soon as he put it down we decided to put it on Madilyn. I love that the costume comes complete with muscles :)

After dinner we packed up and................dropped the kiddos off at Mah and Dah's for a sleepover. Score 1 for the parents! This was 100% Brady's idea. He wanted Jackson and Chaz to spend the night with him. Who am I to complain?!?! I am sure they stayed up WAY to late and ate many things that are not good for them.. but again, who am I to complain?!?!
The next day was golfing for the boys (again... yes, they played MANY times this week) and pool time for the kiddos and us girls. We headed down to Rogers to Meghan's neighborhood pool. Everyone was very excited. W e had planned a picnic lunch and the sun was shining. But soon after we entered the pool we realized this day was not going to go as planned. The clouds started rolling in, thunder banging and the wind was blowing hard. This is the only picture I took.
We went ahead and set up lunch in hopes that the weather would at least hold off until we ate. Not so much. In the middle of eating Chaz decided he was "freeeeeeezing" so we ran to the bathroom and quickly changed our clothes. We returned to complete chaos. All Clawson kids were screaming, Jackson and Campbell were attempting to eat as Marcy was chasing plates, food and other flying debris, Madilyn was planted firmly on her momma hip (who can blame the girl) and Sydney was scared and ready to go back to Meg's. So, in the midst of the chaos Michelle and I began to wrangle the kiddos. Have you every hearded screaming cats? I assume this was pretty close to that reality.

Anyways, I offer to take all the Clawsons in my car. We are within a block of Meghan's house so what is the harm in having 42 kiddos piled into my car, right? Don't judge. Michelle gets Marcy's group and her girls into her van. I waited as Meghan was still rounding up all of her stuff. I asked Anna (who was now in the front seat with Chaz) if we should wait on her mom, I was going to wait anyways but I just wanted to see what she would say. "No, just go. She will be fine" LOVE IT! Mind you this is at the same moment that the winds are howling and the rain is pouring down on our car--Yeah, she will be fine. Meg jumps in with Michelle. We all make it to the house and finish our lunch. What a trip!!

Soon it was back to Fayetteville for naptime. I think I had plenty of excitement for one morning.

That evening it was dinner at Mah/Dah's. I think this was the night that we had AQ brought in but I am beginning to lose track. As you can tell the kiddos were pooped by dinner.
The next day. Oh the next day. Do I have to talk about this? Ok, here goes. We decided to meet the Hill crew at Build-a-Bear in Rogers. Now, as much as I love this family they are not the most prompt or organized group of peeps. So, instead of getting there early.. we kinda strolled in around lunchtime. Probably not the best plan with this many people.

Let be back up to explain the reason this all went south for our portion of the Hills. As we are driving down the highway I look back to notice Chaz doesn't have shoes on, usually this isn't a problem as I grab them on my way out.. but this day I had left that task to the boy and his father. Fail. No shoes. Luckily, we had reserved some flops at Old Navy (because we managed to lose 1 each of three pairs..UGH!) so I thought--Well, that is just right by Build A Bear. We will just swing over and get them. Sounds easy right.


By the time we get to Old Navy, Chaz is already on the cranky end of the spectrum so I decide to run in myself. I go straight to the register and try my best to look the in-a-hurry-mom part. I tell the guy that I had some red flops reserved the day before.. He digs. And digs. And digs. Then he asks the other Old Navy dude.. By this point I am becoming a wee bit frustrated. And I "huff" trying to show my frustration (not this is not my usual MO but I have a cranky child and now probably cranky husband in the car and it is lunchtime... did I mention I am pregnant and hungry??) Huff. The first Old Navy dude was unsuccessful in finding said flops so he turns to me and says...."We must have put them back this morning as we only hold things for 24hours.." Are you serious?!? Well, if we do the math it has not been 24hours but whatever. I ask him to show me to the flops. I really had no more time to waste.

He walks me to the back and shows me a wall of shoes, no flops. "Sorry ma'am, I guess we are sold out." Are you serious?? I have a 3 year-old in the car with no shoes. ARGH! I search for a size 9. At this point I could care less what "style" they are, I just needed some shoes. I do realize my opinionated child will care but there is little I can do at this point. There is one size 9. They are green and the Old Navy version of Keens. I grab them and head to the front.... OR the back of a now 10 deep line. Are you serious?!? So I wait. And I wait. Oh, did I mention there is one one checker?? And I wait. And I wait. And finally, time to check out. "That will be $15.75" ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!? I came into this place expecting to purchase a pair of $2 flops that my child would love, you put them back out for sale after a millisecond and now I am shamefully walking to the car with some quite hideous green $15.75 shoes that Chaz will wear (maybe) for 2 hours.

Warning: I am about to totally run the bus over my husband. As I am walking out with the shoes in hand, I see the car pull up, all windows down and an obvious cranky boy in the back. I find out later that my husband said "Why did she buy those ugly shoes?" Really? If he would have used the context clues that I was in the store for 20-25 minutes he would have realized this purchase was beyond my control. But no. He just HAD to make the comment that sent the boy into an EXTREME meltdown. He was NOT putting on the "ugly" shoes. Geez.

We get to the mall parking lot and it takes me, Ryan, Brady and finally Brad to put on his shoes. He melted in the parking lot, in the crosswalk, outside Build A Bear, inside Build A Bear, back outside Build-A-Bear.. dare I continue? Needless to say the boy got the teeth-gritting "you will make a Build-A-Bear with your cousins and you will smile and you will like it!" Yep, I am an awesome parent!

Back to the task at hand Build-A-Bear. Seriously, these people are genius. You pic an animal, you stuff it and then the rest of the store is accessories and toys for your animal. OH MY GOD! We told the dads that they were not allowed to look at the price for fear we would have multiple heart attacks. The rest of the kids were great, although a little hungry and tired. You will see that we are missing some people. The boys (Ben and Brandon were at mothers day out--Meg refused to not get her morning-to-get-stuff-done. And I don't blame her. And Mike was at work)

The girls got matching dogs.
Jackson got a frog..
And my little happy camper got a green panda bear --I refused to argue at this point.
Oh yeah. There there are.. THE shoes. (Honestly, I don't think they are ugly .. it was just the heat of the moment)
We had a few meltdowns here and there. But overall he started to shape up. The meltdowns would come when he would catch a glimpse of his shoes.
Jackson and Chaz washed their animals for a long time.

Sweet baby girl. What a trooper! Note the shiner on her forehead. WOW! It was a good one. The pictures really don't even do it justice.
After much debate, and one meltdown as we were discussing shoes for the animal--you guessed it, this gave him flashbacks, we were ready to start dressing the panda. Needless to say, I don't think my husband had an ounce of patience left. I know, the green and red/black combo is a beautiful pairing but again, refused to argue at this point. Chaz named him "Who let the dogs out" Why you may ask? Well, the geniuses at Build-A-Bear used to put just a regular old plush heart in the bear, but now you can get one that sings. Why not?? Chaz picked the one that sings "Who let the dogs out" so that is his name. Naturally.

Anna with her super cute dog.. on skates. AND yes, you have to buy the shoes AND the skates. Again, these people are genius. Cha-Ching!!
This is Brad.. I don't think he is in many pictures so I stole this from Marcy's blog.
Jackson's little guy is named Firefrog Diego. Why not?
Sassy pants was ready to go. Ready for another meltdown. Really, this trip damn near killed me.
Notice what happy camper is missing from this shot?? Yep, mine.
After this we decided to head down to Mimi's Cafe--Mmmmmmm. Ryan was being a bear , Chaz was being a beast and I can't say a whole lot for myself. It was almost 2pm and we had no food in our bodies. AND it was 90 something degrees outside. YUCK! This was only the second food outing as a group and it was successful (Meg ended up meeting us to eat, just her, not the boys) Chaz at EVERYTHING on his plate. If you know my kid, you know this was a MAJOR accomplishment and could explain meltdown #280238028474348875. No food in the belly = meltdown. He is his momma's child.

The next evening was our night. Tacos and outdoor play! My kinda night! Yes, that craziness is out backyard.

And we decided to keep Brandy and Jackson at our house for a sleepover. By the end of the night we shuttled them upstairs to play and go to bed. I was just too tired to climb the stairs so I sent Ryan up to take a few pictures of them playing Wii. Note to self: climb the stairs to get better pictures next time.

The boys were wonderful. The only problem was when Jackson woke up and didn't know where he was.. poor guy. BUT nothing a few donuts can't fix, right? Harps was out of sprinkle donuts so we decided to breakout the sprinkles and let them sprinkle their own :) Good plan, huh?We left the kiddos with the boys this day as it was Friday and the girls deserved a little time. Meg, Marcy, Rhonda, Michelle and myself headed to lunch and a pedicure! Yippee. It was so nice to sit and eat lunch without 9 kids and 5 complaining husbands. Bliss.

One last evening at Mah/Dah's and it was done. We were exhausted but happy. What a great tradition we have!

The only picture of the last day is this.... The modern masterpiece of flytape hanging in front of a beautiful glass plate. Classic Hill hilarity. I think I am still exhausted from this week but I would do it all again tomorrow. I love this family to pieces and although it is a little stressful at times with all the kids, I wouldn't change it for the world. Happy Hillapalooza 2011!!

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