I don’t get much face time…

Yesterday, I sat down to write a quick blog post after my Instagram and Twitter feeds received lots of feedback on a picture I had posted.

I had taken a gift to my child’s parent/teacher conference, and my friends thought it was a great idea. It appeared blog worthy, and I wanted to share other thoughts on how to honor a teacher since parent/teacher conferences are this week in my county.

I apparently hit a nerve in a multitude of people because my blog had more traffic than it ever has in its entire existence last night. I was really excited. People were sharing what I had to say. I must have said something of value. Then, I got a comment that wasn’t exactly supportive.

The commenter basically alluded to the fact that I am letting teachers raise my child. When I first read it, I was offended. But, then I pondered. The commenter has every right to write his/her opinion. I can delete it if I really want to. I have that power. However, what was my reaction telling me about me? I feel that whenever I’m offended I need to look at the “why” in me. Why does that bother me?

The more I pondered, the more I realized that I truly don’t think I’m letting teachers raise my child. Yes, she spends seven hours a day with other people influencing her. Yes, I allow and even encourage that. Because that is what’s best for our family right here, right now. It’s not what’s best for everyone’s family. It might not even be best for our family six months from now. But, right now, that’s where we feel God has led her to be.

Here’s the thing. She’s ten. I was home with her full-time for the first two years of her life and then working at her preschool (often with her) for the next two. While her foundation was being built, I was in every piece of it. Her dad was in every piece of it. God was in every piece of it. Then it was time to open the door and let her shine her light.

She is a beacon for the Lord. Her joy and confidence and all out love of life shower everyone around her with God’s love. When it was time to decide where she was supposed to go to school, God led us to send her to public school. Has it always been easy? No. Has God convicted us to change the plan yet? No. Are we open to His changing the plan? Always.

In yesterday’s post, I said “I don’t get much face time.” And, I don’t get as much as I used to. But, I think that’s okay. The time I do get is rich with conversation and love. It’s time that we cherish as a family and try not to waste. She’s at a stage in life where she’s becoming more independent, her own person. She shouldn’t need me as much. She needs to trust herself and her God to lead her. Her dad and I are now touch points. We’re safe places to come to when she needs help and is trying to figure out how to deal with something. Her foundation is strong. Now, she just needs us to help her smooth out the rough edges that come with being a tween. But the journey is hers. I don’t need to be in her face all the time.

My girl starts and ends her day with me, her dad, and her Heavenly Father. The time in between she knows we are all there with her, but she’s doing it on her own.

And, isn’t that the goal?

New Blogger in the House!

Last week, I told you that I had applied to be on the WDWMoms panel. We haven’t heard anything from that. Not that I really expect to. But, a girl can dream right!?

When I applied, it brought up a family discussion about what they do and what kind of questions they answer. Maggie looked at me and said, “I want to do that for kids.” Well, after explaining to her that their wasn’t a Kids Panel, she decided to figure out a way she could help kids plan their trips to Disney.

For the House of Hills, the planning of a trip to Disney is half the fun. We LOVE spending hours watching videos, listening to podcasts, searching online and just discussing what we’re going to do on our next Disney trip. It’s part of our everyday lives. One of Maggie’s favorite podcasters is Lou Mongello over at WDWRadio. She decided to write Mr. Lou and ask if she can write about going to Disney from a kid’s point of view on his blog.

On our way back from our Labor Day trip, she used Hubby’s iPad to write a letter complete with example posts and then asked me to email it. I complied.

Big parenting moment pause here. Did I think she would end up blogging for Mr. Lou? It was possible. Not probable but possible. Was there a big risk to her self-confidence? Yes. But, if she didn’t ask, she wouldn’t know. As parents, Hubby and I feel like we need to let her try whatever she thinks she can do (within reason of course). We discuss the possible outcomes with her. If she’s willing to take the risk, we’ll back her. And, we’ll be there to hold her if she falls (figuratively or really).

So, I sent the email, and we waited. Every day, Maggie would come home from school and ask, “Did you check your email?” Yes, I live on my email. Silly question really. Finally, I got an email that made her OVER THE MOON EXCITED!

Mr. Lou’s blog editor (whom I’m becoming fast friends with) invited Maggie to be a regular contributor on the blog. Her first assignment was to write an introductory post that told a little about her and what she would be writing about. Then, last Tuesday, my girl’s post went live.


As you can tell by the post, she wants kids (or parents of kids) to ask her questions, and then she’ll answer them in future posts. In fact, she’s writing one right now while I type this. Yes, we’re blogging together. I am SO EXCITED for her and proud of her courage for putting herself out there and just asking.

We have a new blogger in the house. And, I’m pretty sure she’s on her way to being read more than me.

Mags the Monkey

A few days ago I shared how I’ve been a Drama Mama for over a year now. It’s been a fun ride, but I think my favorite show Mags has done is the one she just finished.

She was one of the Wickersham Brothers in Seussical. This has got to be one of the most hysterical and entertaining kids shows out there. If there is someone doing it at a theater near you, go see it.

Here are just a few pics to share the experience with you!

Cast B

A monkey with attitude.

Now she’s after you!

With the proud parents.

Aunt Amy came from Alaska to see the show.

All the W cousins came the last day. They loved it!

Nana came the last day too!

And so did Grandma and Gramps and all the Aunts and Uncles, but somehow we didn’t get a picture of that!

Finally, the best part of a show…. is going for ice cream after rehearsal with new friends.

A Year of Drama

Last summer, Maggie took a Drama Camp. It was just a week camp that culminated in a show at the end where every parent applauded proudly at their cute little thing up on the stage. Maggie was Thomas O’Malley the Alley Cat in Aristocats. She was adorable.

And… she was bit by the bug.

The drama bug that is.

As soon as she finished the camp, she BEGGED to audition for a role in 101 Dalmations Junior. Audition? How does a kid even audition? Does she need to sing a song? What’s the protocol on that?

She went in and sang a song from Aristocats. Then, they had her sing “Twinkle, Twinkle.” She got the part… the one she wanted. She was Jasper in both Cast A and Cast B.

She was at the studio two and three times a week. She wanted to be there EVERY day. She LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it. We had never seen her so happy.

Then she wanted to audition for the competition troupe. My heart stopped. This was serious drama people. This was five hours every Saturday. As in, no birthday parties, no family trips, no missing for anything ever, five hours EVERY Saturday… for like 6 months. Then, the last month it got even more intense… like three times a week for three hours or more intense.

Not to mention the cost. There was travel (to Disney no less) and the cost of the show and this and that, and we were slightly overwhelmed by the thought.

We talked it over AT LENGTH as a family. We prayed about it. Would this be the best thing for her to do? Would this be best for our family? Would she start and then get upset a few months in that it controlled her life?

And, this mama PRAYED HARD for her little girl’s heart because this mama honestly didn’t think her baby would make the troupe. These were mostly middle and high school girls who actually knew what they were doing. My Maggie, um, I didn’t think she really knew what she was doing.

This mama… was WRONG!

We let her audition with the understanding that she would have to help raise money for the trip if she made it and with the understanding that she was committing to something and there was no backing out.

She made the competition troupe.
She was over the moon excited.
I was was seriously in shock and pulled out the calendar immediately.
How was this going to work?

We made it work. She missed multiple birthday parties. We went to no GA games. She missed several friend opportunities. But, she didn’t care. She was in her happy place. There is NOWHERE she would rather be than the theater.

And, in February, Mags and Mama traveled to Disney for her to compete. We went without the Daddy. We’d never been to Disney without the Daddy, but this was a different kind of trip. We were constantly on the go and then there was competition day and all that went with that. It was INTENSE. It was AWESOME.

And, they brought home the SUPERIOR rating and a special judges award for one of their dances.

More importantly, Maggie learned to be a part of a team. She learned to work hard. She learned to listen to constructive criticism and get better. She made great friends. And she had an AMAZING time.

All in all… it was an awesome year of drama.

Says this Drama Mama.

First Day of Fifth Grade

I can’t believe this day is here.

The first day of fifth grade.

The last “first day” of elementary school.

The beginning of the end.

My baby only has one year left of being a baby.

She’s already teetering on the edge of “tween” even though she won’t be ten until the end of the month. Body changes and the accompanying mood swings have begun. What she looks like is beginning to matter. The comparisons to others has started.

I’m going to have to face it. My baby is growing up.

But she still likes to go for frozen yogurt with Mommy after school.

I’ll take that while I can get it. Love this kid.

Mags the Film Producer

So, Maggie has become hooked on iMovie. Like seriously hooked. She’s made several little movies on her computer over the last few weeks.

Then, her Daddy put the iMovie app on her phone. This has opened a whole new world of fun here in the House of Hills. She has had the best time just being creative with it. She’s really into making “trailers” with the templates they already have on the app.

I HAD to share this one she made in the car today. Yes, she made it while we were driving home from camp. Yes, I had no idea what she was doing back there. Yes, it is awesome.


Then and Now…4th Grade

Every year, the last day of school brings great excitement and just a little sadness.

Every year, I take a last day of school picture and then compare it to the first day of school picture.

Every year, I am AMAZED at how my girl has grown.

This year is no different. We’ve only got one more year in Elementary School. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

I think she might be though.

LAST day of 4th Grade

FIRST day of 4th Grade

Oh, and that dress she wore the first day. It’s now a long shirt to wear with leggings… just like the two other dresses we bought before school started.

Does the last day of school make anybody else nostalgic?

30 Day Give : Day 11

Today we prepped for my Operation Christmas Child


Tomorrow, many of my friends, family, and co-workers will descend upon our office for a OCC Shoebox packing party.

The girl helped me set up all the buckets of goodies and then packed a sample shoebox so that people could see how full to pack them.

We are ready to get the party started in the morning.

The girl is just as excited as I am!!



If you would like to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child (and can’t come to my party), check out their website for details and a drop off location near you!


Top Ten Tuesday : Jasper

Maggie enjoyed playing Jasper in “101 Dalmations” a few months ago. I never shared pictures. So, here you go! There’s ten of them!



Jasper in "Cruella's Fur Vault"

Jasper and Horace (Cast A) in dress rehearsal.

Jasper and her daddy on opening night.

Jasper and Cousin E on opening night.

Jasper and Cousins L and A.

Jasper with Cousin R.

Jasper with Horace and Cruella. Love her smile.

Jasper and Horace hearing Cruella's EVIL plan.

Jasper dancing and singing with Horace and Cruella.

She had SO MUCH fun being Jasper. She LOVES being the bad guy and is currently rehearsing the role of a Hun in “Mulan.” She actually gets to go to Disney World to compete in February with that production.

I think I’m becoming a Drama Mama…. which is really hysterical if you think about it.

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday.

We're Home!

The Hill Family is back in the ATL! Whoop! We had an amazing time on the cruise. SO many things to share. I’ll be doing a Top Ten Post on Tuesday with some of my favorites.

The picture above was from Pirate Night. We went all out and dressed up to party with Mickey and the gang.

We ate amazing food all week and had a wonderful time while relaxing. My Sweetie’s back did great. We were really worried about that. Unfortunately, the Princess developed a virus while we were on the boat so we had to cut our trip short. Thankfully, we found a sympathetic cast member who refunded our money for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and our additional hotel reservations. So thankful for that.

Still nursing the virus at the House of Hills. The Princess is doing better than on the ride home. She was pitiful then…