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.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Lesson in Vietnamese

The stars aligned in my favor, yesterday. After spending fifteen minutes cleaning out a diaper bag, filled to the brim with color sheets, baggies of crushed cheerios, and old receipts from Target, I finally found my way to the bottom of the black hole and pulled out what I thought was another crumpled receipt... Just before tossing it towards the trash can, I realized it was no receipt, but three whole dollars. Woo-hoo! Even if it was only $3, money that has been long forgotten is always a fun find in this house. While doing my victory dance, which looks much like "The Carlton" (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) I stuck my hand in one of the many pockets, to score for the second time... Out came a folded envelope; Its contents: $25 gift certificate to my favorite nail salon for a pedicure. I jumped up and down, giggling and clapping as if I were on "The Price is Right" and had just won the round by bidding only $1 over my component to the left.

A few moments later, a dear friend called to remind me that she wanted to keep my boys and give me the morning off-- to run errands alone, take a nap, get some cleaning done, whatever. I'm sure I sounded like a mad scientist cackling in the phone, "Oh, I KNOW what I'm going to do!!!" I immediately got The Storm dressed and fed. Then, stuffed them into their car seats as quickly as possible.

It took major self-control to keep from speeding all the way to the nail salon. My lead foot couldn't get me there fast enough. The thought of sitting in the over-sized leather massage chair, in total silence, flipping through a magazine, while the sweet Vietnamese lady scrubbed away the stress was almost more than I could handle. I literally skipped, as I made my way across the parking lot.

I love this particular salon. Many fun times have been spent there. Being a frequent customer, I've become familiar with the staff. My buddy, Wan, has given me and other girlfriends lots of advice over the years they've been open. Wan is the brother of the salon's owner. I enjoy his stories and anecdotes, but since the sun was shining extra yesterday morning, all I really wanted was for Anh, the owner's wife, or his daughter to be the one working on my little piggies. Wan is a little more talkative than I was in the mood for. Anh and her girls are super sweet, and mostly just smile in between their quiet chatter amongst themselves.

Sure enough my luck continued. As I waltzed in, arms wide open, like Maria when she's singing to the mountain tops in "The Sound of Music" Anh was who motioned towards the plethora of polishes on the wall and said with a smile, "Pick you colo."

Could this day get any better??

I was the only customer there, since they had just opened, so I got extra attention. Anh pointed towards my now ginormous belly and said, "When de baby come?" and then went on to ask the usual questions: gender, number, am I insane for having so many, etc... When she heard this would be the fourth boy, her eyes popped open wide as she said, "I have two chi-ren. Only one boy though. Only ONE is HARD! You have hard time... too many boys! Massage for foot is good for that." I agreed, wholeheartedly. Resting my head and closing my eyes, I nearly passed out as she worked her magic.

Moments later, I heard the door ding, and opened my eyes to see who was coming in. Anh's two "chi-ren" who are probably in their upper teenage years, came in together. Her daughter plopped down in the massage chair next to me and began chattering away. Anh would occasionally chime in, but never quit with her work. Her son, who had sat down at a nail station across the room began to taunt his sister. Though I don't speak Vietnamese, I could tell exactly what was happening...

He would speak for a moment, then all the other workers would laugh, until his sister would fire back at him. They would all laugh again, and look back at the brother for his next cut down. After several moments of this, the sister got perturbed, crossed her arms and poked out her lip. Being a typical brother, he couldn't stop there. He made one last comment, which must have been over the line. Anh turned her head and flapped a towel that had been in her lap towards his direction.

The sister, perking up a little saw this as her opportunity to lash back... sitting up straight in the chair, with a sly grin on her face, she then spouted back just a few words, causing Anh's eyes to bug out of her head. She turned, very slowly, without ever ceasing my massage, and said, what must have been, "Is that true?" Suddenly, my massage turned into the equivalent of when I was little and my Mom was brushing my hair while she was angry at my Dad. For just a moment, she took out her stress on my foot, but quickly regained her composure as her husband, the owner of the salon, made an appearance from the back room.

He's an older gentlemen, who I've never heard speak much at all. He had what looked to be a large check book underneath one arm, a pencil tucked behind his ear, and bifocals on the tip of his nose. He grimaced towards his two teenage children, then made one, low grunt towards the son, who hopped up immediately and headed towards the back room. The Father then nodded my direction, showing a half-smile and returned to the back, to finish balancing his checkbook or whatever he'd been interrupted from doing.

Anh looked up at me, rolled her eyes, then said, "See what you has to look fo-wad to?" After her son disappeared, her daughter and a couple of other girl cousins began laughing and chanting towards to back room door. I'm sure they were taunting the brother for getting into trouble. It was very interesting to witness, since usually the salon is full and the most talking you hear is just between the two who are sitting side by side. I enjoyed watching the brother/sister brawl, even with the language barrier, and was reminded that no matter what nationality, there will always be sibling rivalry.

It was then I caught a glimpse into my future.... Bert and I working hard at his office. (Bert's a CPA with his own practice, and yes, as crazy as it sounds, I do help him out occasionally.) All five kids sitting around, waiting to hear their next assignments, since their mean old Daddy forces them to work for him part time, to help earn their keep. Thunder and Lightning begin taunting their sister for her latest dud of a boyfriend. "I mean, seriously Mom! He's a loser! Why does she chose to only date dorks?" Her Highness firing back with snide remarks about their choices of girls to date. Back and forth they all go until Her Highness pulls out the big guns...
"Well, Momma! Guess which one of the boys has a new tattoo??!!" None of the four fess up immediately, leaving me to grill them all at once. Hail decides to be loyal to his band of brothers, choosing that very moment to inform me of Her Highness' new naval piercing. Finally, Bert comes from his office in the back, barks at the boys to get out front and trim the hedges, then points at the faxes that need to be sent, which Her Highness has been neglecting all morning. All the kids sulk, while complaining to one another about how underpaid they are, promising next summer they will all get lifeguard jobs at the local water park.
Bert and I shoot each other reassuring glances across the room, that say it all, without saying a word "We'll be empty-nesters before we know it."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Packing... Schmacking...

I hate packing. It doesn't matter what for, I hate doing it. Vacations, moving, over night trips to the grandparents... whatever. I hate to pack. I'm a major procrastinator too. I will find a million other things to do, before I will actually get packed. So, packing my bags for the upcoming hospital stay has been no different. I keep telling myself, I'm going to know when I'm in labor, surely, as this will be my fifth rodeo, so I will have time to throw the necessities in before dashing to the van.

My doctor told me yesterday that the baby had dropped and its head is "right there." Those being his exact words, with eyes bugged out, as if even he couldn't believe just how low and "ready" this baby is to deliver. I had to clinch my teeth to keep "DUH!" from flying out of my mouth. After all, it is MY uterus this child is sharing, so I think I know just how "right there" his head is at this point. Hearing the doctor say, "You're sittin' on GO! Anytime now and you'll be heading on over!" as he left the exam room, was still not enough motivation for me to come home and get packed yesterday.

No, the motivation didn't hit until just a few moments ago when I had a flashback from a time last year when I experienced an unexpected hospital stay......

October, 2008: Her Highness had been ill for several days. She would perk up for a bit, then crash again, spiking fevers of 104. As the end of our puny week was drawing near, our wonderful pediatrician ordered some tests to be run, as well as an x-ray of her chest. Since we were waiting on the results of all the blood work that had been done, Bert and I asked if we could put a hold on the chest x-ray, since our insurance deductible was going to put us paying $300 out of pocket. Our dear pediatrician let us know that we could wait for the lab to call, but if all of those were negative, and she was still running fever the following day, she would have to put her foot down and insist we go ahead and get the x-rays, regardless of the 300 smack-a-roos.

Well, sure enough, the following day, Her Highness was the sickest she had been in her sweet little life, and all other tests were showing up fine. The x-ray showed a horrible case of pneumonia (Her Highness now refers to as "old-monia" since that was a long time ago), which landed us in the pediatric ward immediately. I somehow held it all together, making necessary phone calls to line up babysitters for the boys and such, until I called my parents. As soon as I heard my own Daddy's voice on the other end of the line, I lost it. Through my sobs, I told Daddy how sick that little girl was, that I was so scared, and could they please come down and take the boys for a few days. Of course that's just what they did. I have a wonderful family.

Later that evening, after we got settled into our little room, I sent Bert home to pack my over night bag. "Babe, make sure you get me a change of clothes, some undies, my toothbrush... you know, just the stuff I'll need in the morning." Bert returned, proud as punch, like a golden retriever playing fetch, waiting for me to say, "Good boy! Good boy!" and toss him a treat. In his hand was a Target bag. (Yes, the plastic kind you get at the check-out.) Its contents: one t-shirt, one pair of undies, one toothbrush, one stick of deodorant.

"Ummm, Bert. Where's the rest of my stuff?"
Annoyed, Bert replied, "I brought the stuff you asked for. Hey, I even remembered to grab your deodorant, and you didn't even mention that!"

Was I supposed to hang out in the hospital room in my t-shirt and panties? And how 'bout some toothpaste to go along with that brush! I do realize I walk around a little less kept than I once did, but some Covergirl and a hairbrush might not hurt either. As I showed the "luggage" and its contents to a dear friend who stopped by for a quick visit, we both had tears streaming down our cheeks from laughter.


So, it was this flashback that finally motivated me to pack. I can only imagine what all would get thrown into a Target bag this time. Or, not make it in, for that matter.

You hear that, baby #5?? You can come out now!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post 100... do you know how clean my house would be if I spent only half that time doing chores instead of playing on the computer??

I noticed the other day that my last post was #99, and that I had just recently come up on my blogging anniversary. A whole year has passed?? Some days, that just doesn't seem possible, while others I feel as though three years should be logged by now.

I was hoping our new baby, (still somewhat nameless though we do finally have a couple we are tossing around, however to spare you all the details, I will wait another day or two to make sure Bert is not going to change his mind, or that I'm not going to change mine, before sharing it with the blog sphere.) would make his debut and get to be post #100. Well, he clearly has a mind of his own already, and decided to wait a little longer. Okay, so I can't get too whiny there... He's still not due for another two weeks, but this child has dropped so low that I seriously can't imagine walking this way for that long. I'm talking, super amounts of pressure, not to mention he aggravated my sciatic nerve a while back, so with those two infractions combined-- he is being served an eviction notice immediately.

Extreme discomfort aside, we are super excited about meeting this baby. Hail is still completely oblivious to the fact he is soon to be de-throned. He proved this over the weekend, when Bert set up the crib in our bedroom. (Side note: I decided not to even play around this time. Why fix up a nursery when the child won't sleep in it? I plan to nurse, which I've done with all the others, and since I am already behind on sleep, I have no intentions of trudging across the house at 2 am, to nurse a screaming baby. No, no. I would much rather sit up in my own bed, reach over and grab him out of his crib right next to me, feed/burp/change him as quickly as possible, and get back to sleep.) So, Bert had assembled the crib and moved it to the corner of our bedroom, closest to our bed. Hail walks in and says, "Hey, what dat for?" And before I could answer he says, "Dat a bed for baby Harrison and baby Du-banana (Juliana) to sleep in when dey here, Momma?" Juliana and Harrison are babies who belong to two of my best friends. We are together quite a bit, but not enough for me to have a crib in their honor. "No, honey, no. That bed is for the baby in my tummy. The one that's going to LIVE with us. Your new brother. Remember, Mommy has a baby in her tummy and he's coming out soon." Hail nodded, slowly, but still looked as if he was hearing the news for the very first time.

The bigger kids, who all three understand completely, have also had their concerns, but are mostly just pumped to get him here and play. I'm sad because our hospital has a no-children visitors rule right now, due to all the flu in our area. Well, I guess mixed emotions would be a more accurate description of my feelings. I will miss those lil' boogers terribly, and not having the "He mashed the nurse call button seven times in less than 15 minutes, so they had to go home" stories to tell will make my hospital stay a little less adventurous. But, the thought of three solid days to nap, read, visit with my grown-up friends and watch anything I want to watch on television is quite appealing. What can I say, I'm a "glass-half-full" kinda gal!

Since baby #5 decided not to make his debut in time for post #100, and since I like to pretend I am living in my own reality show, I thought in honor of the 100th post and my blogging anniversary, I would do a quick, "Some of my favorite moments from the show" episode... I mean, uh, post. So, here they are, in no particular order, some highlights from the last year. (Okay, sorry, but I have to explain this to my com-pooter illiterate Mother... yes, every time. She's only in the last year learned how to turn on a dvd by herself. So, she claims. I think she's just always enjoyed making us get up off the couch to turn it on for her. --Momma, click on the stuff highlighted in blue, and you'll be able to read the older post. Then, click the back button and it will bring you right back here.)

-- My Moment in the Sun... My blogging Debut.

--Button-Eggs... A recipe for complete humiliation.

--My Life's Lessons from 2008... Where has the time gone? Time truly does fly when you're having fun.

--Honeymoon's Over.... Outta the mouths of babes.

--The Big Reveal.... Oh, what a night that was!

--Biology 101, Princess Style.... Some of life's hardest questions always come when you least expect it.

--Children are a Gift... followed by --You thought I was joking... Hail, Hail, Hail. You are your Father's son.

--Happy Fadda's Day... I'd like to raise a toast, to the man I love the most....

--Whimsical Beds, a game played just like musical chairs.... this is why I always looked glazed over and may completely forget something said five minutes prior.

So, there they are. A few of my favorites from the past year. Hope you've enjoyed reading the insanity that comes from our Hud-SONS and one Pretty Princess. Who knows what material they will give me next.....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I was noddin' my head like yeah, while the crossing guard was moving her hips like yeah...

Perhaps I should be ashamed of this post... but, I'm not afraid to admit it, "Party in the USA" is now one of my favorite songs. It's been stuck in my head for weeks. The first time I heard it, I found myself dancing along in the car. When the song was over and the dj mentioned that it was Miley Cyrus, all I could think was, "I LIKE a Hannah Montana song?? What's wrong with me?" But, after I watched the video on YouTube, I quickly realized, Hannah Montana is dead and gone. Miley must have stuffed that sweet little Hannah under her bed, along with all her modest apparel. I wonder if Billy Ray saw the final cut of her video, before it hit the air. I guess when you're riding your daughter's coat tails after losing a duel with devil down in Georgia, you don't really get much say in her sexy videos.

Thursday afternoon, Bert was working from home and The Storm was busy playing in the backyard, so I ventured out alone to retrieve Her Highness from school. Thankful that I could actually flip through the stations on the radio with out hearing screams coming from the backseat, "Nooooo! Not this!!! Turn our cd back on!!!!!" I came across a familiar voice, "And a Jay Z song was on..." I turned up the radio. Loud. And began to jam as I pulled into the car line. Oh, I should also add that since it was such a beautiful day, I had my windows rolled down. As I sat there, waiting for our cute little crossing guard, who reminds me of Wanda Sykes, to wave my mini-van across the lane, I realized, she was dancing a little. Then, I snapped out of my high school day dream just in time to notice the song was nearly over and I had been dancing and singing super loud, with my radio blaring, windows down, totally rocking my Odyssey. Feeling super embarrassed, I began my assessment of the cars around me. Wanda Sykes, who was just about to wave me across the lane to get in the left turn only line, nodded and laughed as I turned my tunes down a bit... She waved and hollered, "That's okay, Baby! That's my jam too!"

As Her Highness entered the van, she began with her usual peppy description of the day, sounding much like a junior valley girl, "Like, today we got to go to a huge kickball game down on the big field! And guess what?? It was a game where the fifth graders played against the teachers and I like don't even know who won but it was soooo much FUN! We were CHEERING and going WILD!!" So I interrupted, "So, it was like a Party in the USA?!" Her Highness, in total disbelief replied, "How in the world do YOU know that song??!" I then went on to lecture her about how cool I had been, once upon a time. To prove it, I had to sing the entire song for her and dance the rest of the way home. I don't think it helped my case much though. She rolled her eyes, just as I had always done to my own Mother, only I don't remember thinking my Mom was a total dork until I was at least 11. If Her Highness thinks I'm a loser at age 6...... Oh, dear me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Well, it's time to get your big-girl panties on..."

... a statement my Mother made, time and again, as I would throw pity-parties in my honor. Today, I'm going to beat her to the punch and and re-read that title after I finish with this post. I'm going to claim in advance, this one is as whiny as a Mom-blog can get. Hey, I'm nine months pregnant, I think I'm allowed at least one last pity-party. Grab a cup of joe and feel free to join in....

I've suffered greatly this time with pregnancy induced insomnia. True, my children are to blame for parts of this, (you can read about that here.) but, even after I deal with their mid-night shenanigans, I still find it extremely difficult to get back to sleep. Sometimes for hours. I've seen more episodes of Full House, Cosby Show and Roseanne than I ever did when the shows were actually on air in their hay-day. I've found myself watching infomercials that actually look appealing-- at 3am. I've had to quit flipping channels between the hours of 1-5 because I nearly bought a set of Sham-wow towels, a scrap-booking kit and another Jack Lalaine juicer. I don't scrap book, and we did actually own one of those fancy-shmancy juicers once upon a time. WAY too much work to clean, so we ditched it. I would so much rather pour a glass of Tropicana than clean that thing out daily.

All of these sleepless nights have caused me to live in a constant state of deliriousness, kinda like 11 year old girls at a slumber party who can't quit giggling over the prank they pulled on the one, sweet girl, who fell asleep before midnight, like a good girl should.

I'm still waiting for "nesting" to kick in. Though, I don't think it's going to. Folding eight loads of laundry, vacuuming out a nasty car, and washing all the dog's blankets that have been smelling up our back porch for the last two weeks does not count as nesting. That's called survival in this house. Regular routine. I need that internal drive, that voice that says, "All closets must be re-organized... oh, and don't forget the kitchen cabinets too, because your new baby must NOT come home to an un-organized house!" to speak up and push me over the edge to complete such tasks. Maybe that internal voice is trying to speak to me, but it's being drowned out by all the external ones screaming and squealing all day, and most of the night, "Momma!! Did you wash my school t-shirt? Today is wear your blue school shirt day and mine's not in my drawer!.... Momma, where are my tennis shoes? .... Hey, Babe, do you know where my brown belt is?....."
What's sad is, I do know where Bert's brown belt is. But why, why do I know that? It's not even MY belt. And why do I know that Thunder's tennis shoes were left in the garage? But, why didn't I know that Her Highness needed her blue shirt to wear for school pride day?? Oh, me. I guess there's really no need to nest too very much. Wouldn't want our new baby thinking he was actually born into a calm, clean environment.

Changing lanes here.... drastically.... Trick-or-treating-- If you're too old and too cool to wear a costume, then you're too old and too cool to collect candy from my neighbors. We passed several junior high aged kids, who looked like they were on dates, holding hands and making googly eyes, only letting go in time to ring the next doorbell. I mean seriously, when did trick-or-treating become date night for the big kids?? If we had been home to pass out candy, I would have refused to feed their raging hormones. No costume= No candy.

Next--- The whole Baby Einstein recall... are you kidding me?? Did anyone REALLY buy those dvds because they thought it would make their child smarter?? If you did, you must have seen an infomercial at 3am and bought them in bulk. Otherwise, you would have been thinking clear enough to realize, your kid's brains came from your gene pool. If you tend to be a shallow-end swimmer in that pool, that's not Disney's fault. Come on people. And the whole, "It may cause ADHD..." Ummm, just how many hours have you left your child in front of the tv anyway?? I don't think a 30 minute video here and there is going to rot any one's brain. But, if you were the one leaving your baby parked in their bouncy seat for hours at a time, then I think that's your fault. Get outside and play already. What is this world coming to? Don't be afraid to take responsibility folks. I'll be honest, the thought has crossed my own (ADD) mind to send them all back for the refund myself, cause we got a ton of them, but it had nothing to do with those reasons. My kids just don't watch them anymore. And like baby #5 is ever going to have the tv to himself long enough to watch one of those. When you combine survival of the fittest with who ever's loudest wins-- Power Rangers is usually the movie of the day. Talk about causing ADD, when will the Power Rangers do a recall for wasting boys' brain cells?

One more complaint-- Do grocery stores not have a policy against their employees randomly picking up two-year olds and trying to move them from the back of the cart to the front? True story: Yesterday while checking out at Kroger, the girl bagging my groceries asked Hail to get out of the back part, so she could put the rest of the groceries back in. Even though there was plenty of room underneath the cart, and in the front part for her to use. Hail confidently responded, "No, I not movin'." So, she then lifts MY two year old from the cart and tried to move him to the front. Hail went ballistic, and immediately began swatting and kicking at her. Even after I snatched him away and tried to comfort him, he continued to scream through his sobs, "She gonna git me! She gonna GIT ME!!! She IS!!!" I felt so bad for him, and mad at her. Strangers beware: DON'T TOUCH RANDOM CHILDREN!!! And NEVER try and pick them up without PERMISSION!!! I appreciated the nice, older lady who smiled sympathetically at me as we were walking out the door. I assumed she didn't know what was going on and just mouthed to her, "sorry." as I shrugged, with Hail's head still buried in my shoulder, screaming. She laughed and said, "Honey, don't feel bad! I don't want any strangers picking me up either!" I guess she did see the insanity displayed at register 7.

Don't say I didn't warn you... I woke up fussy. And, as I was running (for the first time in months) to put the garbage out by the road (since Bert forgot before leaving the house) and the giant truck was just about to pass, I felt something snap. And by snap, I mean literally, some muscle or something down there snapped. Maybe it will be a labor inducer and help to bring this baby on out. Perhaps then my attitude would change. At least it would cause me to write a sweet post and keep you all from thinking about how I've become a total fussy-britches lately.

Don't worry, Momma. I'm heading right now to put on my big girl panties.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Once a day don't you wanna throw the towel in... It's easier than puttin' up a fight....

.... No one cares when your dreams at night get creepy. No one cares if you grow or if you shrink...."

Annie was one of my all time favorites as a child. I could quote it, (line by line) if you'd like. No? Okay, then, take my word for it. Her Highness and The Storm are also big fans of the movie. And, having smart-alek parents, our kids are accustomed to us singing "It's a hard knock-life" when they try and file complaints against us. It wasn't until the other day, while I was scrubbing my shower with a brillo pad (yes, it was that nasty) that I realized just how true this song is. But not for my children... for ME, and the rest of us who are trying to make it through this crazy time known as Motherhood.

As I was on my hands and knees, literally, scrubbing away at several months worth of mold, which was holding on for dear life, Lightning came in and requested a snack, or something along those lines. "I'm busy, honey. Plus, you walked right by your Daddy, who is just watching football on the couch. Go bug him." Lightning didn't like my response, and did the usual foot-stomp accompanied by his typical tongue lashing that only three year olds can truly understand. Immediately, I began to sing my usual chorus, which only infuriated him more, "It's a hard-knock life for us! It's a hard-knock life for us!.... No one cares for you a smidge, when you're in the Hudson House. It's a hard-knock life!" After Lightning stormed off, I continued singing, mainly because the song was now stuck in my head, and because it seemed only fitting, since I was indeed scrubbing the way the cute little orphans do in the movie.

Her Highness stopped by the bathroom, shortly after I had finished with the shower, to check in and see what I had been doing for the last hour, since I hadn't been serving her. "Momma, what are you doing in here?" I pulled the shower curtain back slowly, with a huge grin on my face, anticipating some type of praise for the huge feat I had just accomplished. I know, I know, she's only six, but even she has made several comments lately about the over-populated mildew covering nearly every square inch of our shower stall. "What?" She asked, not knowing what I could possibly be beaming over. "Can't you tell? Look just how clean that shower is! Aren't you proud of me?" Sad, I do realize. But, I'm not joking when I say that I am undomesticated. So, deep cleaning of any type deserves some praise on my part. "Momma, being proud of you for cleaning the shower, would be like you being proud of me for putting my shoes on when it's time to go." I fully expected her to burst out with, "Santa Clause we never see... Santa Clause? What's that, who's he?..." But, since Her Sarcastic Highness never did, I went ahead for her, "No one cares for you a smidge, when you're in an orphanage! It's a hard-knock life! Don't it seem like the wind is always howling... don't it seem like there's never any light.... " before I could get much further, she skipped off, to carelessly play the day away.

Instead of a drunk Ms. Hannigan as my boss, I have four (almost five) extremely high on life red-heads to scream, "You'll stay up, till this place shines like the top of the Chrysler Building!"
Dear, me. It's what being a Momma is all about, I suppose. So, for now I'll just keep on singing...
"It's a hard-knock life!"