Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Let it shine, all the time, let it shine..."

Christmas was super fun, but I'm glad it's over. We like to celebrate Christmas around the world... or at least the Southeast. We decided a few years ago that Santa would always visit our own home, and we would travel around that. We love having our own traditions for Christmas Eve, but waiting to travel makes Christmas day quite hectic. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it, visiting with all of our families and making memories that will last a lifetime. Not to mention all the delicious food and desserts. I probably gained a good 15 pounds in the last week alone. Whenever I do finally get back to the gym, those working out around me will think a fresh-baked pound cake is somewhere in the building, as I sweat out the tons of cheese cake, cookies, pies and home-made fudge that's in my system. I gave myself the "I just had a baby" pass, and now I'm wishing I hadn't. Remorse... It's what New Year's Resolutions are made of.

And while I'm on the topic of resolutions.... like many other blogs I've read, I too have decided to take a break from the traditional resolutions. Let's face it, getting back into my freshman year jeans ain't gonna happen. At least, not in one year, and not without a personal trainer and healthy cooking chef. (See paragraph above.)

No, I've decided that this year I'm only going for one thing.... and sharing it with the blogsphere is something I may regret doing, as I have struggled with this topic internally for years. I guess I feel sharing it with the world will help me to tackle it and force me to do a better job. Like a good accountability partner, though none of you have asked for that title, I still feel sharing this will help me to reach my goal.

I'm not really a control freak, but more of a selfish and immature brat. I want what I want, when I want it. Not sure why I act surprised when my children mimic this behavior, since they don't have the best example before them. I've always had a hard time allowing GOD to take control, and wanting what HE has planned for me. For our family. Sure, I pray sometimes, "GOD, please take this matter and help us to glorify YOU with it..." But, I can honestly say, I don't mean it when I say it. What I really mean is, "GOD, please make this work out the way I want it to, and let YOU be happy with that too...." But, from now on, I want things to be different. I want to grow and mature enough that waiting for GOD's plan becomes the norm. And that GOD is truly glorified by my everyday life. Through this change, it's my hope that our children can grow too, not just physically, but more importantly, spiritually.

I am blessed to have many family members and friends who have excelled in these matters. I am thankful to have them as leaders and examples to follow. I still need help though. Please add me to your prayer list, and help me achieve this goal. And feel free to ask for my help too... I would be more than happy to pray for you as well. Comments on my blog are not published until I approve them, so if it's something private, I will keep it that way. After all, isn't that what friends are for?

2009 had its ups and downs, as I'm sure 2010 will too. Next year though, I plan to appreciate the ups more, and grow more from the downs. Not just teach my children the words to "This Little Christian Light of Mine" but show them my light, "all around the neighborhood" and everywhere else we go.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We Wish You A Merry Christmas...

And a Happy New Year!!!
Love, The Hudson Family

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'Tis better to re-gift than receive.

I'm not gonna lie, I have re-gifted a time or two. I'm not ashamed. We're in a recession, and I'm a stay-at-home mom on a budget. It's part of my "job" to help our family cut costs where we can. So, if I receive a gift that I cannot use, I try and find a new home for it. Recently, the whistle was blown on my attempt to stick to our ever-growing Christmas list which is already over-budget.

Her Highness carried a nice package to school on the day of her class Christmas party for her super sweet first grade teacher. When I picked her up from school that day, I learned that my cover had been blown.

"Did your teacher like her present?" I asked, as Her Highness bounced into the van.
Excitedly she replied, "Oh, YES! And when she opened it I told her that somebody gave it to my Mommy when she had the baby, but we really wanted HER to have it instead!"
I nearly rear ended the mini-van ahead of me, as I squealed, "You did not!!" Realizing she had committed a social crime, Her Highness stammered back, "What? Why shouldn't I have told her that?"

Her bottom lip poked out as I explained why we weren't supposed to tell the origin of gifts, especially those that are re-gifted. She then defended herself, "But Momma. She doesn't care! All she said to me after I told her was, 'Oh, I love you!' then she laughed and hugged me!"

Embarrassed, I called Bert to inform him of our social mishap. We both laughed, extremely hard, then agreed that Her Highness probably thought re-gifting was more special than buying something new because she would never give away something that was new to her. At least not before she had a chance to use it first.

I'm sure I was the bud of the joke in the teacher's lounge that afternoon.
I asked my Mother that evening if any of her students had ever openly admitted to re-gifting. Her response was simply, "Honey, they didn't have to."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tis the Season to be Jolly....

Apparently Thunder didn't get the memo.

Capturing the perfect shot of "joy" always becomes so stressful for our family.
Sounds of "Please act like you love each other!.... Get your hands off your face... Look this way! HEY! I said SMILE!! Please, PLEASE look at the camera! Open your eyes... Don't hit your brother... We're almost done. I'm gonna count to three and you better smile or you're gonna get a spankin'....SMILE NOW!!!"
I know, I know. By that point threatening to spank doesn't help matters, but that's what happens when you're trying to get the perfect shot of a peaceful, happy family....
We finally gave up and settled on taking photos of the three who were happy.
Do you think our family and friends will notice if we're missing two kids on our Christmas cards??

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Those who've seen us, know that not a thing could come between us..."

Here is a picture of me with my sisters, Kelly and Kate. They make me laugh constantly. Songs like "Sisters, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters...."(come on folks it's from White Christmas) were written for sisters such as these.

Here is a prime example of why these girls make me laugh so hard....
This is the e-mail I received this morning from Kelly, the one in the middle:

I read my new favorite quote of all time today, and it made me think of my Holl-Boll.
"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?"

Furthermore, it makes me wonder how mothers of triplets only have two boobs.
Love, Kell-Bell

-Don't ask about the names, it's just what we've called each other as long as I can remember.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If we could only live in Neverland....

Last night Her Highness broke my heart in two. She came up to me with a funny look on her face, asking 84 different questions, without waiting for my response. I knew this meant only one thing, she was trying not to cry about something. Not sure why, but she does this every time she doesn't want us to know she's trying not to cry. So, being the busy momma that I am, I immediately cut to the chase... "Honey, what's wrong? Why are you about to cry?" "I'm NOT!..." sniffle, sniffle, sniffle.... The flood gates opened up, but she didn't.
It was bedtime, so Bert tucked her in and got her to spill her heart, which he's way better at than me. Half an hour later, after hearing lots of tickling and laughing, Bert came out and said, "She wants you to kiss her goodnight too." I walked in to find Her Highness sniffling again and said, "Can you tell me what's wrong?" She then blurted out, "I just don't wanna grow up! And I don't want Flash to grow up either! He's so cute, Momma! And he's so little. And I wanna stay little too!"
I began with the usual comforting things a mother says, when one of her children is stressed. I explained that when I was younger I too was nervous about being a grown-up, and thought about how fun it was to be a little girl, with Cookie and Granddaddy and all my siblings. But, that growing up is a lot of fun too. Growing up means you get to go to high school, play sports, go places with your friends by yourself, meet new and fun people... on and on and on I went... go to college, meet your husband, get married and have babies. "See, if Mommy and Daddy had not grown up, we wouldn't have all of you! And I have the most fun with you guys, than I've ever had in my entire life!"
Her Highness continued sobbing. She wasn't buying it. "I just don't wanna grow up, Momma." she said between snorts and sniffles.
Honestly, I don't want her to grow up either. I wish we could freeze time, and keep them here with us... safe... always. Where no one can hurt them. Truth is, growing up is hard, and it's not always fun. Right now, the hardest thing in their little lives is dealing with an occasional bully on the playground. It's these bullies that help prepare us for the real bullies down the road, I suppose. And growing up is inevitable. No way to stop it. All we can do is our best. And pray for God to guard them. Knowing this, I still have a hard time letting go. Letting them grow.
I kept a smile on my face while I was in Her Highness' room, trying to make her laugh like Bert did, to lighten her mood. "Honey, if you don't want to grow up, don't worry. Daddy never grew up either!" She finally calmed down, and drifted off to a peaceful sleep. I finished tucking her in, then went to my own room and cried, wishing she would stay little forever, along with her brothers. Then I began laughing at myself as I thought about our lives and just how truly blessed we are... Growing up is hard, but it is so much fun.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"We Gather Together To Ask the Lord's Blessings..."

And to ask for a special guardian angel, just for Flash Flood so he will make it through his first two years of life....

Hail has asked me constantly if Flash can have apple juice, candy, crackers.... well, anything he's eating at the moment, Hail wants to know if Flash can try it. I'm always explaining that NO, he's too little and can only drink "baby milk" for now. Just moments into our Thanksgiving lunch, as I was inhaling all the delicious food (with Flash in my arms), Hail who was seated next to me began clapping and squealing, "See he can! HE CAN EAT! YAY BABY! See, Momma, HE CAN!!!" I looked down to find Flash with mashed potatoes oozing from the corners of his mouth and Hail's finger dripping with mashed potatoes. "See! You said he can't eat food! He CAN!"

Besides trying to sneak table food into Flash, Hail also enjoys making Flash meow like a kitten. This can only be achieved when Flash is sleeping soundly, with a passie in his mouth. Hail will sneak over and pinch his nose shut. Once Flash realizes he can't breathe, he will drop the passie and make a quiet "meow" sound, as he inhales. Poor, poor child. He lives on our kitchen table, buckled in his bouncy seat for his protection. And sometimes even this form of security is breached.

During the night, I was rubbing the back of Flash's head, trying to get him back to sleep when I felt a rough patch of skin on his scalp. I assumed his head was now peeling, since he's been as scaly as a snake, shedding its skin in the spring, and decided it wasn't worth turning on any lights and chancing waking him back up. This morning I discovered that it was no skin at all... only a dried patch of chili fingerprints from dinner last night. You could actually see three small fingerprints made of tomato paste and pepper. Oh, dear me.
Mashed potatoes.... Chili..... He's not even three weeks old.

Hang in there, Flash....

...What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Highs and Lows

Some nights at the dinner table, in efforts to steer The Storm away from their usual conversations concerning chicken butts and poo-poo, Bert and I will have the kids go around the table and discuss their highs and lows of the day.

For example: Lightning's High for this day would also be Thunder's Low....

My High for today was waking up at 6:30am, almost in a panic after realizing Flash Flood had slept soundly since midnight. Sweet, sweet baby....

I could just eat him up with a spoon....

"Be still my beating heart...."

I never knew I could be so much in love with five guys all at the same time....

My Low for the day hit me when I was least expecting it, as Lows usually do. Her Highness and I were getting ready to attend a friend's baby shower when she informed me in the most grown-up sounding tone, "Seriously, Mom. I'm too big to wear hair bows anymore. Can't I just wear my hair down?!"

I almost cried. In fact, I think I did. She's SIX YEARS OLD. I wore hairbows until the seventh grade. And wore ribbons tied in my hair all through... well, even now if my hair is in a ponytail. I told her hairbows are not an option in the south. She would wear one until seventh grade, at which time she can trade them in for lip gloss and a tiny bit of mascara. She opted for a head band instead of a bow, so I guess we both won... sort of.
Whatever happened to the days when I was the coolest and she wanted to be just like me?

"Oh, be still my beating heart....."

She will always be our little girl, no matter how much she resists.

*Top photos provided by Amanda at Dyer Photography. She did an awesome job, and these are just a very few of the great shots she took. Check her out by clicking on the Dyer Photography link in my sidebar.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The apple never falls too far from the tree.

There's a reason our Meteorologist is so good at predicting The Storm's Patterns. Like Father, like son.... or sons, in our case. I always say that Bert is my oldest child. Perhaps this story will help to explain such...

When it was time for Flash Flood and me to check out of the hospital I was super excited. Not being able to spend time with my other four kiddos was starting to get to me. I enjoyed the first day of rest, but the next two were hard for me. Crazy, I know. But, I love those kids and I actually really enjoy being around them. They are fun little people to know, so I was missing them big time.

I did get to spend a few minutes with them the first night we were there. I had to leave Flash Flood behind in the nursery, and meet my Motley Crew down in the hospital lobby. It didn't go over so well. The kids could not understand why they weren't allowed upstairs to see their new baby. After a lot of tears were shed, I dismissed them to head on home for baths and bedtime.

You can see in this picture, the disappointment from Her Highness as she "Really, really, really wanted to go upstairs!!" She even said, "Dumb old swine flu! I already had my shot! And anyway, I will hold my breath the ENTIRE TIME I'm up there!" Poor things.

So, the next day I had an idea. This pedestrian bridge was the view from my 4 star hospital room. I told Bert to bring Her Highness back and I would hold Flash up in the window so she could at least catch a glimpse of him. I will never forget the look on her sweet face when she finally spotted us. Bert had to count for her several times, "See, they are one-two-three-fourth from the corner... See! Right there!" She finally locked eyes with me and began waving like a proud flag in the wind. I could read her lips, "I SEE THEM! I SEE THEM! THERE THEY ARE!!! HEY MOMMA!! HEY BABY!!!! AHHH! I SEE THEM!!! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!!!!" It still brings tears to my eyes to think about. She was so excited. If you look closely, you can see Bert holding Her Highness up and pointing at us.

So, by Sunday morning, I was more than ready to get back to my bigger babies. And my babies' Daddy too. I missed them tons. Check out time finally came. The nurse stopped by to cut off our security bracelets and say goodbye. She also told Bert to move our car to the pickup area, located behind the hospital. It was 10am when Bert walked out the door. At 10:05 I heard the transport staff member arrive in the hallway. Then, I heard the nurse tell her, "Oh, you need to pick up the other room first. They were on the list to check out first today." I then heard Miss Transport knock on the door next to mine. The new mom in that room spoke up, "Umm, can we have like five more minutes? I'm still not done packing up." I sighed loudly, to myself, thinking, "But I AM ready!" I decided not to run out in the hallway like a mad woman and to be patient. After all, it is a virtue.

The guests next door finally cleared out, ten minutes later, not five, so I sat back down with my sweet new baby and decided to rock him and enjoy our last few minutes of silence. I knew this would be one of the last times we would have total silence to ourselves, so I sat in that rocking chair and examined him, head to toe and prayed over him, thanking GOD for such an incredible gift. After a while though, I looked back at the clock. It was now 10:20. I knew Miss Transport should be back any second, so I began to gather my things and move them towards the door. At 10:30, I passive/aggressively waltzed to the nurses station and played what I like to call sweet-dumb. (AKA: dumb blond) "Hey! Am I waiting in the right place? We were told that transport was on their way at 10:00, and my husband left to go get the car and meet us down there, but no one has been back since. I was just wondering since it's now 10:30...." The nurse looked aggravated that I had taken her away from her People Magazine and just nodded back at me, then pointed to my room. I headed back in and waited for another ten minutes.

Finally, there was a knock on my door. I was so peeved by this point that I had to force a smile on my face. I knew it wasn't Miss Transports fault. But, I was tired of being stuck in that tiny room and I was dying to see my kids. I also think it is ridiculous that the hospital's policy forces me to ride out in a wheel chair, when I'm perfectly capable of WALKING out the door. Hello, if I wasn't, then I probably shouldn't be heading home to care for a newborn!! Anyway...

Miss Transport smiles nervously and says, "Ma'am, I'm so sorry about all of this. And I'm so sorry to have to tell you this, but ummm, well... I mean, if it were me, I would want a heads up. And I just think it's fair for you to know just in case... well, uhhh.... just in case your husband isn't down stairs yet when we get there."

"Okay, what is going on?" I asked, afraid to hear what she was going to tell me.

"Well, your husband was wearing black running pants and a blue visor, right? Okay, yeah, that's him then. Well, ummm, I really didn't think this was that big of a deal. But our hospital has a zero tolerance policy now, so security is super strict about things like this... Well, your husband didn't understand that the other room had to go first, because they were discharged before you, but since they weren't ready yet, it was taking a long time. Well, then even after that couple got downstairs, the husband realized he lost his keys, then he couldn't find his car, then his wife realized she lost her jacket, so it too FOREVER for them to leave. And the thing is, I have to stay there until the baby is in its car seat or I could lose my job, cause well, that's part of my job, right? So, while I'm standing there waiting forever for this couple to leave, your husband walks up and looks angry. And since I tend to laugh when I get nervous, I laughed first then tried to apologize and explain what was going on, but he just said, 'Oh, you think this is funny? You guys need to get your act together.' Well, I understood why he was upset, and I'm not the one who paged security, but a security guard showed up and was all, 'Sir, you gotta calm down, why don't you take a walk with me...' and that's when your husband LOST IT. He went ballistic and was all, 'I'm not the one who needs to calm down!!! I'm just ready for my wife to get down here so we can leave! This is CRAZY!' and he was screaming and waving his arms in the air. I seriously thought he might deck the security guard, and well, that's when they decided to detain him until he was calm. I'm so sorry to be the one to have to explain all of that to you."

Fighting tears, with a huge lump in my throat I said, "Okay, that does NOT sound like MY husband! What in the world?" was all I could say. My mind was racing. I didn't want to jump to conclusions until I heard HIS side of the story. But if it was true, I was going to beat Bert to a pulp when I got a hold of him. My thoughts continued, There's no way MY BERT would do something like that. Or did he just snap? Like I was about to? That was a long time to wait for a super dumb reason. I hate riding in this dumb old wheel chair anyway. I'm FINE. Why won't they just let folks WALK out. Oh, my.

As we got off the elevator she tried to reassure me, "Maybe it's all the stress of a new baby and not sleeping well and stuff. Who knows. But please don't be mad at me. Like I said, I'm not the one who paged security. Hopefully it will all get worked out quickly and you guys can go home."

We turned down the last hallway and I saw Bert, with his arms crossed leaning up against the wall. He had a mad look on his face then shrugged at me and said, "What?!"

"I'm just looking for the handcuffs." I said with a smart-alek tone.

Bert then cracked a smile and held his hand up for Miss Transport to give him a high-five. They both began laughing... hard.

"WHAT? What is going on??!!" I demanded to know.

"We got you!! We got you so good! Girl, you must have really put on a show, cause I could tell by the look on her face she believed everything you said! It was a joke, Holly. I put her up to that!"

Miss Transport began apologizing immediately, "Ma'am, I'm soooo sorry I did that to you! Your husband begged me to though. We've been waiting down here FOREVER cause all that stuff I told you about the couple next door was true. So, we got to talking and your husband was saying, 'Please, please help me play a joke on her. She can take it, I promise.' And at first I was all, 'No-way! She just had a baby!' But, then he convinced me that you had a good sense of humor and would laugh about it. Please don't be mad! He put me up to it!"

All I could say to that was, "Well, you are a great actress cause you didn't even crack a smile. And Mr. Hudson--- Revenge is best served COLD so you just wait! I'll get you back." Then I hopped in the car and slammed the door.

Leave it to Bert. The only man in the world who would use his idle time, waiting on his wife and new baby to take home from the hospital, to think up such a plot. Everyone of my friends and family I have told that story to have said the exact same thing, "How in the world did you not realize it was a joke? Bert would never act like that!" But, the thing is, I was the one who was that mad, because I didn't know what in the world was going on with the other couple. So, I guess in my mind, I was thinking how I almost came to that point myself, so perhaps my husband did too.

As Bert retold the couple's tale on the way home, I began to laugh. Then, I got mad again. "Why couldn't they get their act together? Didn't they realize others were waiting on them?" Bert said, "Well, cut that poor man some slack. While we were waiting, his wife told us that he was going to take them home, then have to come right back because his 19 year old daughter was in labor right then. So, I guess he was feeling a little stressed. Taking one baby home while the other was in labor. Poor guy. I wasn't mad at all, cause I could see what was happening. I knew you were about to come un-glued though, so that's when I thought up my joke and convinced that girl from transport to help me with it."

Again, I reminded Bert that revenge is best served cold. Ice cold. And it will come.

I was so happy to finally get home and reunite as a family of seven. SEVEN, wow. I still have a hard time believing they are all mine. I have five kids. Only... it seems like yesterday that I was a senior in high school. So, where did all that time go? When did I grow up? And why hasn't Bert?

I am no longer the senior in high school, though I still like to think of myself that way. I am a mother of five nutty children, and a wife to one extremely nutty man. And I couldn't be happier. Even with four boys who are just like their Daddy.

God is good, all the time.... And, all the time, God is good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I know he's a week old, but can I get that epidural NOW?

....And if you could, just make me numb from my chest down.

Old Grandma has done it again... I threw my back out last night as I was reaching for Thunder's blankie that was located ON MY BED. I didn't even bend over for it. I simply reached to the middle of my (queen size, not even a king) bed and something cracked. I literally heard a cracking noise before I ever felt any pain. I stayed in that position for a moment before raising up, just because I knew it was going to hurt when I did. OUCH! As I stood up straight, tears began streaming down my face. I didn't even cry during childbirth... all FIVE times. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm just trying to get my point across about the pain that was shooting down my spine. I limped to Bert in the living room, shaking, and said, "This is not good. This is NOT good!" And the timing is quite comical too... My Mother left yesterday morning after being here for a week to tend to all our needs. She cooked, cleaned, washed every stitch of clothing that was on our bodies, changed sheets, changed diapers, played with the children, kept them occupied so I could take a shower, went to the grocery store 17 times.... You name it, she did it.
My house is cleaner than it's been since we moved in. So, at least I'm caught up on the chores. But why? Why did my dumb back have to go out AFTER she left?? "Waaah! Mommy! I want my Mommy!!!"

So, instead of making our Church debut, me and my 92 year old back are home this morning, with the sweetest baby in the world. Sorry, you may have thought one of your own children was deserving of this title but I have to say, Flash Flood takes the prize. Until now, Lightning was our easiest and sweetest baby. He now has to share his title belt with Flash. Other than his piranha-like instincts at feeding time, the boy is the happiest, most alert baby I have ever seen. He nurses like a champ, sleeps five hour stretches, and loves to be anywhere we are. He rarely ever fusses, even when he's starving. I could just eat him up. I weighed him at one week, and he's already up to 9lbs, 2.5 oz. You thought I was joking about the piranha-like instincts. The boy loves to eat.

Flash doesn't mind being passed around, which is a good thing since all four children demand to hold him constantly. So far, he's got very dark hair and chocolate brown eyes. I'm sure the comments will continue from our socially awkward fellow humans... When my neighbor saw him for the first time he said, "Well, he don't have red hair and fair skin does he? Guess that's cause you had those other four in a different part of the neighborhood. Must be a different mail man on these streets." Thanks, jerk. "Nope, Hail was born here." Was all I could say back, stunned. What is it with people?? Think before you speak.

Her Highness is completely over the fact that Flash is a boy, and not the baby sister she prayed for. "Momma, having all brothers isn't so bad after all." Is what she said the first time she got to hold him. With tears in my eyes, I told her that I knew that's how she would feel.

She is such a loving sister, and has been super patient with Hail, recognizing his need for extra attention. She's been reading to him and trying to keep him distracted during feeding times, which seem to be when he throws the most tantrums.

And speaking of Hail.... He's having a hard time adjusting to our newest blessing.

He loves Flash, and wants to be with him constantly. Hail just does not want ME to be with Flash constantly. He has become quite an angry little troll when it comes to anything to do with me. My Mom would ask him, "What do you want to drink?" Hail would politely say, "Chock-a-mik pease!" I could ask the same question and get a totally different response, "I SAID I WANT CHOCK-A-MIK!! GET IT NOW! NOOOOWWWW!" I'll be honest, we've never really had to deal with jealousy after a new baby was born. All of our other "babies" were too young to realize they were being de-throned with the arrival of a new sibling. Her Highness and Thunder are 17 months apart. Thunder and Lightning- 18 months, and Lightning and Hail barely 15 months apart. So, finally having a "baby" who was 2 years and two months old when the next one arrived has been a challenge.

This too shall pass.... And I'll be oh-so glad when it does!

The first time I nursed Flash in front of Hail, several questions came up, not surprisingly. After I explained that little babies drink milk from their mommies, Hail sat down beside me and began rubbing the back of Flash's head. "Pur baby. Pur, pur baby." he said repeatedly. "Honey, why are you saying 'poor baby..'?" I asked. In a sympathetic tone, Hail replied, "Cause he has to eat Mommy's boobies! Pur baby!"

More like "pur Mommy!" The kid is a nut.

Thunder is continuing to be the best big brother he can be. He's always been so tender hearted and caring for all his siblings. He loves to hold Flash and sing softly to him. He just turned FIVE years old, and I can hardly believe it. What a great brother to have as our eldest son. He's a good example, most of the time, and generally just wants everyone around him to be happy.

Flash loves to be swaddled, and many times after getting him wrapped up, I've made the comment, "Look at our lil' Taco."

While Thunder was holding him one day, he kept saying in the same tone I use to make the taco comment, "Look at our lil' Hotdog! Look, Momma! Our lil' Hotdog!" It took me a moment to realize he was trying to think of the food I was calling him, but couldn't. So, now when I swaddle him, we call him "Our lil' Hotdog."

Lightning is doing a fabulous job as well. Being a big brother is nothing new to him, and he does love holding Flash, just not quite as much as the others. He likes for Flash to be in the swing or bouncy seat near his blocks or Batman castle so Flash can watch him play. "I'm gonna teach him how to build a castle, Momma!" Is usually what he tells. Lightning has probably had the most questions concerning how soon Flash will be able to do "big boy stuffs."

Thanks to my Mother being here for a week, and to Bert being a wonderful Father and husband, I've been able to get caught up on rest and just relax for the most part. Hopefully, this dumb catch in my back will go away fast, and things will return to normal.... Well, "normal" is a relative term, especially when used in the Hudson House.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Hudson Storm is officially a Category 4

Bert and I are thrilled to be the parents to a party of five. And by party, I mean, rocking-all- nighter, PAR-TAY. We've had many fun moments since early Friday morning, but since I am now a milk cow to our newest little guy, as well as full time bouncer to protect him from his siblings, who love him to pieces, and would literally love him to pieces if we let them, I am finding my computer time is being cut short these days. I do want to record the events of Flash Flood's birth, for my own sake, before my brain made of complete oatmeal turns it into a mix of my story and something I watched several weeks ago on "A Baby Story."

Friday morning, 3am, I woke up on the couch after feeling several braxton-hicks type contractions. Exactly one week prior, I had contractions all night long, but after calling our Moms and putting our sitters on high alert, the contractions stopped cold turkey. I decided this time was probably no different, and went back to sleep. By 5am, I was still feeling contractions, but they were inconsistent. I tried to time them..... A whole episode of Full House later, I realized they had stopped again. "Good, I'm going back to sleep." I told Uncle Jesse, as he finally made his decision to tell off his band manager and record his hit video the way he wanted to. By 6am, I was having the spuratic contractions again, and this time they were more intense. But, not enough to keep me from getting Her Highness up and ready for school, packing her lunch and playing a game of "No you can't do it all by yourself" with Hail, who is now determined to do ALL things by HIMSELF. Gotta love a two year old.

By 7am, I told Bert to go ahead and call his Mother, who was going to be keeping the kids while I was in the hospital, but to let her know that since the contractions were still so unpredictable, it would probably be later that evening, so no need to rush. I believe that's what I told every single person I spoke with that morning. Bert asked if he had time to run to the gym, "Oh, yeah! I mean, they're getting stronger, but still no closer together, so it will be this afternoon at least. Go ahead and go!" I called my parents to let them in on the happenings of the morning and to stay tuned. "We're excited! We should be calling back sometime this evening with our news! Stay tuned!"

Around 8:30am, I spoke with one of my BF's who is also a pediatrician. While I was on the phone with her I had to take several deep breaths to get through what was now becoming an incredibly strong contraction, which was about 100 times worse than the previous ones. "Okay, it's over, but what I was saying was, I think we're definitely going to have our baby this afternoon. We'll keep you posted. I'll call when ever we do decide to head to the hospital...." not ten minutes later I had to take several more deep breaths and grab a hold of the wall. "Holly, call Bert NOW and tell him to head home from the gym, NOW. It's time to GO NOW!! We see this all the time with women who are delivering for the fourth, fifth and sixth time. Those babies come way faster than the first few. CALL HIM!" I almost laughed. Wait, I think I did laugh. "Those are the first real ones though, we've got time. But, I'll go ahead and call him."

I did call. I just didn't make it sound urgent. "Hey Babe, you need to wrap up your workout. I just had a couple of strong ones, so looks like we'll need to head in a little sooner than later." Bert did leave the gym, but then made a stop by Panera Bread, and went to check Her Highness out of school, so none of our sitters would have to worry with those details. Side note: The town we live in, all of these places are less than three miles from our house, however, Bert had Lightning with him along for the ride, so each of these stops was taking a little more time than usual.

The short amount of time it took for our sitter (one of my dear BFFs) to get here, and for Bert to get home with bagels and Her Highness, I was suddenly in so much pain that I could not even speak. I tried not to look quite so scary, for the children's' sake, but motioned to the car with giant eyes every time Bert asked any questions. I limped out to Bert's truck, after hugging a tearful princess and waving towards the backyard at The Storm. As Bert hoisted me up into the truck I realized then, I needed to push. That's not a feeling you can exactly hold in either. Through clinched teeth I said, "Don't hit any bumps. HURRY! I NEED TO PUSH! Slow down! Don't hit the bumps! HURRY! I NEED TO PUSH!!!"

Fortunately, we live less than 10 minutes from our hospital. Riding Dukes of Hazard style the entire way, I held tight to the handle above the passenger side and prayed for God to hold this baby in until we could get there. Bert Duke peeled into the circular drive, left the truck running and came around to my side to help me out. "Do I need to carry you?!" He asked excitedly. "Don't touch me." Was all I could mutter back. I heard a man say, "Oh, dear! I just heard him ask if she needs to be carried! I'm going to run get her a wheel chair!" I guess that's who helped me sit down in the wheel chair. I don't remember seeing any faces from this point on. Voices are all I really remember. Bert decided Dukes of Hazard was the theme of the day and rushed me to Labor and Delivery the same way he had driven the truck. Which by the way, was still running in front of the hospital. He realized this immediately as the nurse at the check-in desk began asking questions, "What's your social security number?" Bert rambled off his, and she typed it in. "NOT YOURS! MINE. SHE WANTS MINE!" Bert then ran back to the parking lot to make sure the truck had not been stolen and park in the correct area. The nurse called after him, "Don't worry. We'll take good care of her!"

I couldn't believe how slow time seemed to move. The nurse typed so gingerly on her keypad, then asked, "Have you delivered here before? Is this your first?" I shook my head and held up five fingers, then I said as calmly as possible, "I need to PUSH." "Oh, my! Okay, let's get you to the observation room." I shook my head again and said, "This is my FIFTH BABY and I need to push. NOW." The doctor on call heard my statement and stuck her head in the room, "Hey guys, she probably knows what she's talking about. We'll worry with the admittance papers later, let's get her in a room quickly." Thank goodness she heard me, and knew what she was doing.

I got to the room, barely got changed into the glamorous gown and literally fell onto the bed. Bert and the doctor walked in together. I faintly remember the doc saying, "Mrs. Hudson, I'm going to check you now." And responding about the same as I did when Bert offered to carry me. A voice I didn't recognize that sounded very demon possessed spoke up and said, "Don't you touch me." The doc stepped back for just a second then said with a laugh, "Well, you know I have to, right?" I gripped Bert's hand as she did her "check" and nearly cried tears of joy and pain when I heard her tell the nurses in the room, "Girls, don't go anywhere. Break down the bed. Get me dressed. She's complete and ready to push. Mrs. Hudson, your baby will be here in less than ten minutes. Take some deep breaths for me."

Even though I knew it was almost over, I was in so very much pain that I couldn't really think straight. I could hear the voices in the room chattering and laughing, "Well, this is how we like to do it!..." "Wait, don't break the bed down just yet. I'm not quite ready and if you put her feet in those stirrups, that baby is going to fall out... Don't worry with the IV, we don't have time for that....." "Mr. Hudson, help her grab behind her knees, are you ready?? PUSH 1-2-3-4-5...." "Breathe, Mrs. Hudson. Take a deep breath and go again... 1-2-3-4...."

Suddenly, I saw a bright light. I was walking toward it and couldn't help but wonder if this was it. Am I going to die in child birth?? Like something from the dark ages?? I panicked for a moment, and thought about how I was not even hooked up to a blood pressure monitor. "I'm seriously dying and no one here knows it. Good bye world...."

"HOLLY! HOLLY! TAKE A DEEP BREATH! BREATHE, HOLLY!!! Now, one more push and he'll be here. GO!! 1-2-3-4-5..... Come on, come on! His head is half-way out!"

Suddenly, I was walking away from the bright light. I opened my eyes and heard that same demonic voice say, "Then just grab him! GET HIM OUT!" Several nurses snickered. I'm sure I would have too, if that voice wasn't actually coming from me.

"Okay, but we need you to breathe and PUSH. GO!"

One more jump up the pain scale, and suddenly, he was out.

I immediately began apologizing to all who were in the room. I apologized to the doctor for fussing, to the nurses for being such a demon possessed patient when I arrived, and to Bert for being so mean all morning. Everyone just laughed. Except Flash Flood, who was screaming away.
There is no cry so sweet as the one heard in the delivery room. Tears filled our eyes as they handed Flash to me. He was perfect in every way. The doctor called out time of birth, "10:12am!" Wow, we didn't even leave our house until 9:45.

Flash immediately calmed down as Bert and I spoke to him. He's the most alert baby I have delivered. He laid on my chest and looked all around. He would let out a tiny cry for a moment, then as Bert would speak, he would quiet himself down, as if he recognized his Daddy and was happy to know he was still there. The nurses took Flash away for a moment to weigh him and clean him up. "8lbs, 8 oz, 21.5 inches long! You've got a big healthy boy. And look at those hands! They're huge!" All of our boys have had large hands and feet at birth. Well, and always for that matter. I just thought it was funny that the nurse made that comment.

It was fun to hear Bert's end of all the phone conversations as he began to notify our family and friends.... "No, I'm not joking. He's already here. I know, I know. We were here about 10 minutes when she started pushing. No, I'm not kidding! I promise! That baby you hear screaming is ours! YES!"

Her Highness gave the best reaction of all.

Me: "Guess who I'm holding! Your baby brother!"
Her: "Huh? You just left! Like, not even 10 minutes ago. Did you really already have him?"
Me: "Yes, sweet girl, I did. Can you hear him crying? He's got your lips. I can't wait for you to meet him."
Her: "Um, Momma? Why are you talking normal?"
Me: "What do you mean?"
Her: "Well, remember when we went to see Tracey after she had her baby? Well, she was talking kinda weird. I just thought you would too."
Me: "Well, that's because Tracey had a c-section and was on drugs still. That makes you sound a little funny. But, I'm fine and I'm feeling so good we may just come on home for lunch!"
Her: "No, no. You're not supposed to be back until Sunday. Me and Grandmama got plans. You can stay there. We're going to get a pedicure and go to Target!"

Flash Flood has been a dream baby so far. He's fitting right in with our Storm, and has been a super sport with his siblings who love to hold and care for him. The Storm and Her Highness did not get to meet him until Sunday afternoon, because of the swine flu outbreak in our area, there was a "No children visitors" rule. Not seeing him for three whole days made our Homecoming even sweeter.... more on that later, as this Milk Maid has been called to duty.
Special thanks to Dr. Pepper for urging us all to get our butts in gear and get to the hospital. Had I waited for those contrations to become five minutes apart, Flash Flood would have most certianly been born in the car. And thanks so much for all the millions of other things Dr. Pepper does for our family.
And thanks to Jara and Gwen for keeping my wild children while I was in the hospital. We love all of you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Her Highness and The Storm proudly introduce.....


November 20th, 10:12am
8 lbs, 8 oz 21.5 inches long

"Flash Flood" earned his name Friday morning, by being born in record time. His Father nearly had to deliver him in route to the hospital. Fun stories and more pictures to follow... as soon as I can see straight again. Flash Flood seems to feel right at home with The Storm and Her Highness. We are so happy to be home with our healthy boy. GOD is so good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Up to this point, No News has been Good News!

Due to a couple of my favorite guys sprouting snouts over the last few days, I am actually very happy that our sweet baby has not made his debut. Hail tested positive for H1N1 on Sunday, and then Bert caught it a couple of days later. Fun times in the Hudson Hacienda!

So, once we received that news, I had a long talk with our baby boy and asked him to please stay in-utero until I gave him the "all clear." So far, he's a good boy that loves his Momma and doesn't want to add to her stress. Thank-you, sweet baby! Hail is back to his normal self, running around and pestering the stew out of his siblings. He did end up with an ear infection, but we can handle that. Bert is slowly on the mend. Thank goodness for great doctors and tami-flu! We are very blessed to have the support system we do, and I am thankful for all of you.

If we could just make it through the weekend without anyone else turning into swine, we will all be in the clear. The three big kids and I still feel fine, so say a prayer for us please. We are so excited to meet this baby, but would like to wait until everyone is for sure well.

Like sands through the hour glass......

As Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself, as many often do, assessing all the millions of things I have to be truly thankful for. I am one blessed creature, and I take way too much for granted.

Her Highness told me just this morning, as I was doing her hair for school, "Momma, do you know what I am thankful for the most? I mean, besides you and Daddy and our family? JESUS!!" Tears immediately filled my eyes. I'm so proud of her. I love that those were the thoughts on her mind, as I was tugging at her locks, and fussing about holding her head still so I could get the bow in just right. Totally out of the blue she made that bold statement. I love that child.

I am feeling a tid bit sad with Turkey Day fast approaching. My Daddy's family always gets together at my Granny's house, and I am so going to miss seeing each of them this year. I know I will be very consumed with the newest Love in my life, so I'm sure by then I won't feel left out. But for now, I am going to miss seeing all my fun cousins, aunts, uncles and the World's Sweetest Granny! As well as all the delicious food and our annual Turkey Bowl. We always walk down to a local high school football field and play a game of what is supposed to be touch football. It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. And somebody always does. Even then, it's still fun. As all of us cousins have gotten older, we find ourselves super sore the next day, if not sooner, so we always get tickled over the fact we're getting so OLD. Except Bert, who refuses to admit age is affecting him in anyway. The Turkey Bowl is a fun way for us to work off our heavy lunch, before digging in again for dinner. I will miss visiting with each of them, but will look forward to our next gathering.

I am also going to miss seeing this Apple Dumplin' until we can get together at Christmas. This is my sister's little girl. Could you not just eat her up?? Oh, my word that child is so precious! She is soon to be the big sister to a set of twins, who are due in January. I can't wait to get my hands on her, and her new baby brother and sister at the turn of the new year!

She's sporting a sweater that once belonged to Cookie, our Mother. It's so chilly here this morning, I would actually wear it with pride. Says a lot about how cold it is, huh?

Hopefully, our next post we'll be able to introduce the newest member of the Hudson Storm.
Until then...

Happy Turkey Season!

Monday, November 16, 2009

To the only one who was capable of scratching my seven year itch...

Wrapping up this pregnancy, I'm trying to find enjoyment in the little things.... Though, as you can see from this one picture, there are not a lot of "little things" around here.

Both of these photos are compliments of Thunder. He's got some mad photography skills.

I'm going to take just a moment to get sappy and brag on my babies' Daddy. Bert is a wonderful husband and a super father. He sweeps, mops, unloads the dishwasher, helps fold the laundry, drives our carpool, wipes the cute lil' bottoms of our nutty children, and spanks those cute lil' butts when they are disrespectful to their Momma; most of the time without even being asked, or complaining about it while he's doing it. A family man and a hardworking businessman too. A true provider.

We got married young, (I was barely 21) eight years ago tomorrow. So hard to believe it's been eight years... and not eighteen... I mean, and not less. We've grown up a lot in those eight years. And I'm so thankful that we've grown together.
Proud wife, yes indeed. I love you, Babe. Thanks for eight great years!

My favorite things about those years together would definitely be these four (almost five).

They are all a true mix of Bert and me-- looks and personality. I like to say that they got their sweet side from me, and their stubborn meanness from their Daddy. Those who know me well usually laugh at that statement.

Each of our children have been super sweet to me throughout this pregnancy, making encouraging comments when they can, to keep my spirits high. This quality definitely came from their Daddy... For example, Her Highness, who loves to sit and chat on my bathroom counter while I take a shower, then play in my makeup bag while I'm getting dressed to go out, commented just the other day while I was drying off, "Wow! Momma! Our baby is really getting big in there! Your tummy gets bigger and bigger everyday!!!" As I bent over to wrap my hair in a towel, genie style, she continued, quite seriously I might add, "And so is your BUTT!"

Thanks, Babe. For instilling such truthfulness into our children.

Thunder asked me a few days ago if our new baby could please come out brown. (Side note: Brown is how we refer to African-Americans in the Hudson House. The kids started this on their own, and we've continued it. Mainly because I never understood why the term was "black." I've never seen black skin, only brown, and Bert nor I ever want our children to see people as the color of their skin, but simply that we're all the same, with different skin tones. So, when referring to the specific color, brown is used. Sorry, didn't mean to get all political there. Just wanted to clarify.)

"Well, no Honey, our baby won't come out brown. He'll look the same as you guys probably."

Thunder, disappointed replied, "Ahhh man! Cause we haven't had any brown kids yet. I really wanted one of us to be brown!"

One morning, while I was still in my jammies, which are not maternity so my belly usually hangs out below my pj tops and over the waist band of my pants, Lightning got a funny look on his face as I walked passed.

"Mommy-Mommy!! I think your baby is trying to come out!"

I looked down and realized more of my gut was hanging over than usual and tried to explain that it was just my tummy, and those jammies were too small. Lightning then came across the room to study my stomach closer. After tracing several of the stretch marks with his tiny finger he stated confidently, "Nope. See those scratches? He's trying to come out!" I've since graduated to pajama pants and one of Bert's t-shirts.

Hail is still somewhat oblivious. Not sure if he's in denial or just really doesn't understand.

One thing he does understand is my change in size. I was singing a zany song from one of our many obnoxious cds "I love you, BABY! I love the way that you walk..." I was waiting for him to sing the next verse, "I love you, BABY! I love the way that you talk..." as this is a common song to be sung back and forth in our house. Only, Hail decided to change the words up a bit. He sang, in tune, "I love you BIG FAT MOMMA!..."

Hail is still practicing to be a big brother, even if he doesn't realize it. He loves to hold and kiss on babies. My only concern is how bossy he has been to my friends about their own babies. For example, one of my good friends was over recently with her precious 9 month old daughter, and Hail kept trying to tell her all the things she was doing wrong. "Uh-oh! She gonna put dat in her mouf! Don't let her do dat! She gonna choke!" I kept reminding him that her Momma would take good care of her and he need not worry about her safety. Hail apparently thought we were both under-qualified to care for a baby, cause he didn't stop there. We heard repeatedly, "She gonna fall! She tant do dat! Don't let her do dat!"

I'm afraid he's going to drive us nuts, updating us constantly of all our parenting wrong-doings.

Bert, after eight years of marriage (and 18 months of dating prior to that), I can honestly say, "You're still the one that makes me laugh. Still the one that's my better half. We're still having fun, and you're still the one...
You're still the one that makes me strong. Still the one I want to take along. We're still having fun, and you're still the one..."
And I hope that song is stuck in your head ALL DAY, so that you know how much I mean it.
I love you.