Friday, August 27, 2010

Three weeks down.... Only Thirty-Nine to Go.

As week three of school comes to an end, I am surprised by how quickly everyone has adjusted to our new schedule.  I have found funneling my coffee is about the only way I can get going.  Some mornings I get Lightning and Hail, who are up with the sun regardless, to chant, "GO-GO-GO-GO-GO-CHUG-A-LUG!" while they beat their fists on the kitchen table.  I throw dry Cheerios to my fraternity boys in the making, then pack two lunches and two snacks, wake the school kids, lay their clothes out on the couch, then feed them poptarts a well-balanced breakfast.  Getting out the door on time is as exciting as any rat race could be.

Thunder had a shaky start, stating on day three, "I'm going to try it one more time, but after tomorrow I'm not going anymore."  Several days he had to be pulled from my leg, begging, "Please!  Puh-lease let me stay home with you!  But I miss you and Daddy!  And I miss Lightning and Hail and Flash Flood!!!  PLEASE!!!"  It was heart-wrenching, I'll admit.  He just wanted to be home with his band of brothers, getting filthy in the backyard. 

Around day five, we decided it was time for Thunder and Her Highness to take the bus home.  Spending an hour and fifteen minutes in two different car lines each day was not good for my Christianity.  Not to mention, Flash Flood was not getting his afternoon nap, which made that magical hour before dinner each night even more frantic.  So, the morning that they were to start riding the bus home, I had walked Thunder into his school and said, "Make sure you give your teacher the note about the school bus, okay?"  He gulped, wiped a tear from his eye, then trying to hold in more tears he asked, "Can you just come tell her for me??  Momma, I don't know how to tell her where our house is!  And I don't know which bus driver I'm supposed to tell either."  Sobbing ensued, from both of us, only mine was somehow held inside, while Thunder's was being released into my legs, where he had buried his head.  It never occurred to me that he wouldn't understand the bus route, and that the bus driver would know where to take him.  Poor baby, thought he was going to just hop on a huge yellow bus and have to give directions to our house!!  It still breaks my heart to think those thoughts were going through his sweet little red-head.  After calming him down, and having the teacher help to explain the bus situation, Thunder was fine.  He now LOVES riding the bus home each day, and has made many new friends.  Fortunately, there have been no more tears about school since last week.  Which makes for a much easier morning on my part. 

Her Highness loves riding the bus too, and thinks she's a hot-shot sitting next to her fourth grade girl friends. I love hearing all about her school day.  The difference between boys and girls when describing their days is hilarious...

A typical description from Her Highness (without ever taking a breath):
"Hey, Momma!  Today was soooo fun!  Mrs. Teacher is so funny, and we learn a lot, but boy-oh-boy she keeps those wild boys in line!  And Annie's hair was super cute.  She had a side-ponytail and her Mom rolled her hair this morning before school, so it was extra curly.  Can you roll my hair tomorrow?  Oh, and at lunch time, Wilson told Davis that this is how you put your arm around a girl you like, and he acted like he was yawning and stretching, and then he dared to put his arm around ME.  Yeah, ME.  So, I took my elbow and hit him as hard as I could in the ribs.  I bet he won't put his freckly arm around me again!  So, then in Social Studies we had a quiz, but I got them all right, I think.  Oh, and during P.E., Coach said my shoes weren't tennis shoes, they were dress shoes, so I told him that my Momma said they were non-skidding shoes, and that's all that matters so it's okay.  And he said fine and let me play. During Math today we had a test, or maybe it was just a quiz, but it was a timed test and we only had sixty seconds to complete like a thousand problems, so needless to say, I didn't get finished.  Guess we'll see my grade tomorrow.  Oh, and did you know that girl scouts sign-up is next week?  But, I don't want to do the girl scouts.  During recess we played hide-and-seek, but Kay wouldn't let Madi play with us, which I didn't understand because all the girls were playing, but that's okay.  Oh, and the new girl, Lexie?  Well, I tried to be a nice friend and ask her if she wanted to play with us and she said, 'That's okay I'm already playing with somebody else.' so I said, 'Great!  Try I'll try again tomorrow.' Guess she's already making friends, so good for her.  We've got a TON of homework tonight.  I'm starving.  What's for snack??"

A typical description from Thunder:
"It was good."
Me:  "What did y'all do?  Who did you play with?  What kind of crafts did you do during art?"
Thunder:  "Ummm, I can't remember....  I'm hungry. Can you get me a snack??"

Not having that open communication, I feel out of touch with Thunder's world. And I hate that.  I know it's partly the difference between boys and girls, but I'm dying to know what all happens during his school day.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

Thunder did share with us the one time he got into trouble--
"Well, these two girls told me, (talking in a whiny, girly voice) 'You don't have to clean up your center today.  You can go on and play in the next station if you want.'  And as soon as I got up to go play somewhere else, they screamed to the teacher, 'THUNDER DIDN'T CLEAN HIS CENTER!!!'  And the teacher revoked my Center-Time Card!  But I got it back for good behavior."

Bert's advice, after laughing hysterically, "Thunder, don't ever let the girls dupe you, Slick!  Stay on top of your game!"  We had a talk about always making sure he follows the rules, and checking with the teacher first if it doesn't sound right.  Oh, sweet, innocent Thunder.

Last Friday, in Thunder's folder there was a notice from the CNP (Child Nutrition Program) stating we had a negative balance in Thunder's lunch account, of almost $10.  Confused as to why in the world he would have any type of negative balance, since I send in a HOME LUNCH every single day, I questioned him, "Baby, are you buying a chocolate milk or something during lunch time?  This sheet says that you've got a negative balance, but you take your lunch everyday, so this can't be right." 
Thunder nods his head, then explained, "Momma, if you wait in that line in the lunch room, they give you a lunch!  All you have to do is say your name to the lunch lady, and they just give it to you!" 

"Wait, WHAT??  Honey, they don't just give it to you, you have to pay for it, you turkey!  And if you're eating a school lunch, why is your lunch box empty every day when you bring it home??" 

"Momma, you don't have to pay anything!  You see, you just wait in that line, then you tell the lunch lady your name, then they give you a lunch.  That's all.  And I eat what's in my lunchbox at snack time."

Let's review the contents of said lunch box:  PB sandwich, no crust; Juice box; grapes; yogurt stick; chips; cookie--  FOR A SNACK???

Embarrassed, I wrote a check to be deposited into his lunch account, then held a brief lunch box/snack-time tutorial.  I tried explaining the lunch purchasing policies, but he clearly thought I was the idiot, who misunderstood. 

Between the staff thinking we are slackers who expect free lunches, and Bert's HillBilly dress code incident, I don't even want to know what our reputation is quickly becoming at that school.  Sigh.  Only three more boys to go....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lightning was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he....

Lightning, our most serious child, often surprises our friends when he finally warms up enough to cut loose.  Many times, after playdates we hear,  "I had no idea Lightning was just as wild as the others!  He was jumping up and down and squealing about the Nerf guns like I've never seen him do before...."  We always laugh because here at the gallery, Lightning is just another peanut.  My BFF, Lindy, describes him as our house cat... If you approach him too quickly, he will run and hide from you, probably for the rest of the night.  But, if you allow him to warm up, and come to you on his terms, he'll end up being your best buddy. 

"Seriously?  I can't believe y'all think bunny ears
are THAT funny.  Yawn."
-Lightning, Age: 3 months
As a baby, Bert and I would chuckle at the faces he made, as if he was always thinking, "I'm so above this group.  Please stop talking baby gibberish to me, Mom.  Yawn.  How did I wind up with you loons??"  He was just so serious, where Her Highness and Thunder, and after him, Hail and even Flash Flood have all been such silly, ca-razy babies. 

Lightning is an old soul.  He doesn't always add a lot to the conversation, mostly just listening intently, soaking it all up.  But, when Lightning does talk, he almost always has something of substance to add.  Which is unusual for a four year old, I think.

Earlier this summer, Lightning made a friend at the playground.  Running full speed, he stopped momentarily to introduce me, "Momma, dis is my fwiend Gabe.  He's four wike me!"  Then they ran off again, to play with a bouncy ball.  Since that day, Lightning has asked me at least a dozen times if I could call Gabe's mom and invite him over to play.  Every single time I have explained, "Baby, I don't know Gabe's Mommy.  And I don't have their phone number.  Maybe we'll run into them again someday, and then I can meet his Mommy, okay?" 

"Stick your hands up, or I'll shoot you
in da balls... And not da balls you
pway wif, but da ones you
punch somebody in!"
Yesterday, while playing in the backyard, Lightning brought up his playground friend once again....

Lightning:  Momma, do you know Gabe's big name??  (full name)
Me:  No, I sure don't.  I'm sorry.  But we could give him one, so we'll always know which one you're referring to.  (We know two.)  We could call him Gabe FrogLegs!
Lightning:  Nah.  Dat's not a bery good name.  Wait.  I know...  We could call him Gabe Balls!  Not da balls you punch somebody in, but da balls you pway wif.  Since me and him wike to pway wif dat ball at da pwaygwound.

Oh, my.  Life in the peanut gallery...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shape up your arms... AND your Self-Confidence!

Recently, I overheard the following conversation while this commercial was playing in the background....

Thunder:  We GOTTA get that for Momma next Mother's Day!
Lightning:  Okay!!  But, why?  What is it??
Thunder:  Ummm, it's an exercise thing that will make Momma's arms not so chubby. See, like THATgirl's!
Lightning:  Oh, yeah.  Momma does need dat.
Thunder:  I bet it's $19.95, all those commercials that are shows say $19.95.  Let's go tell Daddy!

In other news, The Hud-SONS will be conducting a self-help seminar for people wishing to thicken their skin, and not get their feelings hurt so easily.  Building Self Confidence for Mothers will be a three part series, including:  Truth Hurts, by: Thunder and Lightning, where bitter truths will be spoken from their hearts; as well as motivational speaker, Holly Hudson's Self Deprecating Humor, 'Cause Sometimes You Gotta Laugh (at yourself) to Keep from Crying, sharing her life story, including all the ways her husband and sons have picked on her over the years. It's a sure-fire way to make you feel better about your own life and body type.  Momma Can't Help It, by: Her Highness will teach defense mechanisms to use, as well as the art of the back-handed compliment-- "That's not nice!  Momma can't help it she's CHUBBY!  She hurt her knee, ya know!"
For more information, e-mail  Bert, Director of the Skin Thickening Department, if you would like us to conduct a seminar in your area.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Food for Thought...

If your seven year old has lost so many teeth she looks like a crystal meth addict....

It's probably not the best idea to send a whole apple to school for snack time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

30 and 85... A Celebration of Life

My Granny and I share our birthday month. We both hit milestones this year... For me it was the Big 3-0, while my dear sweet Granny celebrated her 85th.

I've learned many things from this precious woman, and I'm proud to be her Granddaughter.

1984-- Bedtime devotional time, when we would
sing many of Papa's old favorite hymnals.
Such fond memories fill my heart when I think of Granny: making biscuits from scratch at the crack of dawn; getting fresh sun-dried sheets off the clothes line; feeding Sandie and Annie doggie treats; taking long walks through the pasture, out to the old barn; the sweet country voices singing at her tiny little church; getting to pick which sugary cereals we wanted because she always bought the tiny combo packages of General Mills cereals, since we all liked different things; warm hugs that smell of fresh soap, lotion and vaseline; the softness of her face rubbing against my cheeks during hugs and kisses; playing dress-up in her old wedding gown, and picking flowers off of her beautiful bushes for our bouquets; delicious homemade birthday cakes.... just to name a few.

1984--Patiently, Granny always let us help
feed Papa through his tube.
My favorite memories are of Granny taking care of Papa, who became very ill shortly after my first birthday. He was diagnosed with ALS, also known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." During the entire long and heart-wrenching progression of the disease, Granny never left Papa's side. Fully paralyzed, Papa was forced to rely on his 90lb bride, and ex-nurse. Granny moved him each and every morning from his side of the bed, to his favorite recliner in the living room, where he could look out at the view of their beautiful farm. She fed him a healthy liquid diet, that she mixed herself, through a tube that went directly to his stomach. I remember helping to pour his meals in that tube. Many times a day, Granny would "beat" Papa's back, sides and chest to make sure there was no fluid build-up in his lungs. We would all pile on the bed with the two of them, cup our hands the proper way, and drum along with Granny, in her rhythmic patterns.

During the long, hard years Papa struggled with this horrible disease, he never once suffered from a single bed sore. Recently, my Aunt Peggy, who is also a nurse, brought to all of our attention what a feat this was.

1981-- That's me in Papa's lap.  How much does that look like
Flash Flood?? And I love that Matt is rocking the
short shorts and knee-high striped socks.
1981-- Me (on the right) with one of my favorite cousins,
Jonathan, tearing up Granny's cabinets.
Again, that looks like Flash Flood in a dress!
This was back in the 80's and early 90's, so there was not as much confirmed research for ALS. At that time, people weren't sure of the brain activity for the victims this horrible disease had claimed. None the less, Granny still spoke to Papa constantly, as if he might sit up and answer her. She always had us come sit with him in his recliner, and would say to him, "Here's Holly! Tell him about your dance lessons, Holly." Now that we know he could hear and comprehend it all, it makes me that much prouder of my Granny, for making sure he was a part of all our lives. Even if he couldn't be active physically, he still knew us, and loved us very much. Before putting Papa to bed at night, we would all gather around in the living room and sing his old favorite hymnals, then Granny or my Daddy would read a devotional. Granny is who taught me all the words to "Oh, How I love Jesus."  And when she sang it, you knew she meant it.

Granny never ever left Papa's side. She was his main care-taker for almost 12 years, and kept a cheerful attitude through it all-- grateful for the time she had with him, never once complaining or asking for outside help. What an extraordinary example of unconditional love!

Even with all the stresses in her life, Granny never spoke harshly to us, though she certainly could/should have at times. All of us wild grandchildren might be jumping on the beds in the "kids room" and she would softly say, "I don't think your Mommas want y'all to do that."

She took care of their farm, because that's the place Papa loved and had wanted to live forever. It wasn't until Papa passed away, that she even considered selling their farm. When she did finally move to "town" she chose a quaint retirement neighborhood, so she could still live on her own, but around good friends and neighbors.

The Farmhouse, where if walls could talk, many of
my favorite childhood memories would be told.
Granny first dedicated her life to our Lord and Savior, and then to all those around her. Her outpouring of love to all who are fortunate enough to know her, resides in each of us. To know my Granny, is absolutely to love her. Her life is as pure an example of how to live for Jesus, and love Him, as any life could be.

So, as I turn 30, and reflect on all the things in my own life that I would like to change, and do better in the next 30 years, I am thankful to be surrounded by so many great role models. My parents, my siblings, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends. And mostly, my Godly Granny, who has lived her life simply to glorify God.

2001--My Wedding Day
I love you, Granny. And I'm so proud to call you MY Granny. Happy Birthday!

Love Always,

Your Favorite Granddaughter
(Okay, so maybe you can't say exactly which one of us IS your favorite, but this is my blog, so I'm naming myself. :) And knowing you like we do, I'm sure we all are truly your favorites. Because you're wonderful like that.)
2003-- Granny meets Her Highness, 
the first Great-Grandchild.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

For posterity's sake... Because we all know I would never forsake posterity.

As my alarm buzzed obnoxiously, bright and early Tuesday morning, my hopes for an excuse not to send my babies out into the big wide world were squelched. Her Highness and Thunder both jumped out of bed and began chattering away. A self-proclaimed dream weaver, Thunder's first words out of his mouth were, "I had a good dream. I was at school and I kept saying to the kids in my class, 'Hi! I'm Thunder.' and then they would say back, 'Hi! You wanna be my friend??!' so I had LOTS of friends!" Laughing I told him that was the perfect dream, because with his bubbly personality, he'd be sure to have a roomful of friends by lunchtime.

Before heading out the door, we forced the obligatory first day pictures on our sweet little students.....

"One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just isn't the same...."
is the song that comes to mind for the following shot:
Growing up too fast.
We dropped off Her Highness first. Her school starts at 7:30. Insanity. Purely.
Her Highness LOVES her teacher, and has several buddies in her class. Our entire family walked her into the classroom, and I was pleased it didn't seem to embarrass her. I love in the following picture how her sweet teacher bent down to make sure and squeeze into the shot, so Her Highness did too....

Next stop was Thunder's school. I will admit, I did a good job keeping it all together until the point where I took the following picture. I was fine until I said, "Hey Buddy, smile for Mommy!" And looking at his young, little face made my eyes well up immediately. So, I did what any (in)sane mother would do, and I grabbed him as tightly as I could, so he couldn't see my face all teary-eyed, and whispered, "I love you and I'm so proud of you. Be a good friend and a good listener. I LOOOOVVVEE YOOOOUUUU!!!" Then, I RAN out the door. Bert stayed one more second, to give hugs and kisses, then met me in the hallway, where I was dripping snot and tears like a leaky faucet.

Sidetrack....Isn't Thunder's teacher cute?? After "Meet the Teacher Night," Her Highness was describing Mrs. Teacher to a my BFF, Lindy, and said, "She's really pretty. And soooo sweet. She's kinda old, 'cause she's taught kindergarten for 16 years. So, she's about the same age as you and my Momma!" I tried to explain that I was only FOURTEEN 16 years ago, but she wasn't buying it. "Yeah, okay. But I still think y'all are about the same age."

In an attempt to lift my spirits, we headed over to our favorite breakfast joint in town. While waiting on our order, I asked Lightning and Hail, "So, what do y'all think about it being just us now??" Lightning looked all around the restaurant, then with a concerned tone said, "Umm, Momma. Can't you see all dese other peoples in dis westawant??"

At pick-up time, Bert won husband of the year by leaving me asleep on the couch, with Lightning and Flash Flood, and taking Hail to pick up the school kids. Tapping my foot lightly, he whispered, "Babe, I'm going to get the kids." Never opening my eyes, I mumbled something like "Thanks." or "Whatever." (but I hope it was thanks, because I did appreciate it very much.)

A little while later Bert called and said, "Where's the pick-up tag?? There are signs that say they won't release your student without the pick-up tag displayed clearly in the window." (A pick-up tag is a security measure Thunder's school takes, to ensure all students get picked up by the right person, and not some crazy stalker.) Still sleepy, I agreed with the signs Bert had read and advised him to come back home and retrieve said tag. "Nah. They know me well enough. Surely they'll give him to me." I encouraged him again, to come home and get the stupid tag. We live all of 4 1/2 minutes from Thunder's school, so it really wouldn't have been too much of an ordeal. Bert, being a typical alpha male, couldn't stand the thought of losing his coveted spot in the hour long pick-up line, and stuck to his guns. Until the staff member stuck to her guns, and instructed him to make his way around to the front entrance of the school, where he would have to sign-out in the office.

Once Bert had Thunder in the car, he called me again. "Hey. I finally got him. But they did make me go around the building, and into the school office where I had to sign Thunder out. Isn't that ridiculous??"


"Do you know what I have on??"

"Nope." (I was ASLEEP, duh.)

"I had just gotten back from the gym."

(Bert always wears old t-shirts, with cut-off sleeves to work-out. Sexy, I know.)
I started laughing at the image I was getting.

"So, I'm all sweaty and stinky. Plus.... I'M BAREFOOT."

"Wait, what?? WHY ARE YOU BAREFOOT??"

"Well, I wasn't planning on getting out of the car! Do you have any idea how hot the pavement is today?? My feet are seriously burnt. And I had to carry Hail because he doesn't have shoes on either."

"BWAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAH! OOOOHHHHH! THAT'S TOO STINKIN' FUNNY! You HillBilly!! Why in the world would you leave the house BAREFOOT??? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What if the car broke down? Or you got into a wreck? Or ran out of gas... or..... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! So you walked all the way into the office, dressed like a total redneck, with your redneck baby??!!! Oh, me. My side hurts."

"Did you hear me?? I said my feet got burnt. For real. They hurt real bad."

"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry. I'm just picturing you and Hail, with all those other parents and the office staff."

Thank-goodness it wasn't Her Highness' bustling school he was entering dressed like a HillBilly. She would probably have turned around and asked for someone to call her Mother instead.

Singed feet and all, Bert finally returned with my sweet students. Hail insisted on carrying Thunder's backpack and lunchbox, boldly stating, "I'm going wif him to kimbergarden tomowoe. Den I'm going to second gwade wast night." ("Last night" is past, present and future for Hail.)

Flash Flood's face tells exactly how I was feeling. Pretty much all day. Today has been better though. And as much as I hate to admit it, being on a real schedule is helpful. My house stays a little (very little) bit cleaner when school is in session. The laundry is still in a huge pile, but that can totally wait. It will still be there tomorrow.

These last pictures are for my Daddy. Thunder really wanted his Granddaddy to see his new do.
He told the stylist that he had been growing it out to look like "Justin Beeper." She winked at me, got to work, then put a little gel in the front, since "that's just how Justin Beeper does it." she said, winking a few more times my direction.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Vow to NEVER Blink Again...

Tonight as I packed two lunches, I cried. And not a sweet, dainty cry, like you see in the movies, but more of a blubber.... Like you see me do while watching movies, such as Beaches or The Notebook. I'm hoping that getting my tears out tonight will make for a nearly tear-free drop off in the morning, when Thunder starts Kindergarten, and Her Highness moves right along to the 2nd grade.

I'm teary over Thunder's transition for the obvious reasons... Kindergarten is a big step for a Momma and her oldest son. Entrusting Thunder to the new women in his life, for six hours every single day, is going to be quite hard. Through tears, I made several jokes to Bert about things I might need to tell his teacher: "He doesn't really take naps anymore, but if you lay down next to him and gently scratch the palm of his hand, or his back, he may fall asleep... Also, if you see him standing alone in a corner, beat red in the face, please remind him that holding his poo-poo only makes it hurt, so he needs to take a break from playing and run to the potty.... Oh, and if he should fall asleep during nap time-- when he wakes up, he'll promptly ask for a cup of cold chocolate milk, and then he'll want you to hold him for about 10 minutes. After that he should be ready to rock!"

Bert and I laughed at our pretend conversations with Thunder's sweet teacher.
He's going to be just fine, I know. And he's ready. Ready for Kindergarten, ready to make new friends, ready for the break from his over-bearing Mother.... Ready for the world.

I get choked up about sending Her Highness back to school simply because I can't believe she's SEVEN YEARS OLD and now in the SECOND GRADE!!! I have very clear memories of being seven and in the second grade. My birthday party was at the roller skating rink, and I thought I was a hot-shot for being able to squat down when I rounded the corners of the rink, and stick my right leg out straight, while balancing on the other leg, which was bent. At school, my teacher was Mrs. Payne, and I loved sweeping her floor and dusting the erasers out on the giant rock behind her classroom. I loved reading the "Weekly Reader" on Fridays and filling out the quiz on the back. I loved having snack time at the same time my older brother had P.E. with Mrs. Magroo, and waving at him across the playground. I loved bossing my baby sisters around, who were at the time four years old, which meant they were finally old enough to play House. I also loved babying them, and dressing them each morning in clothes I had selected for them to wear myself. Before age seven, I have big memories, such as Christmas time and traumatic times such as my oldest brother breaking his arm, or my little sister having a seizure. But, the day to day memories don't kick in until age seven. That's why Her Highness turning seven and going into the second grade has struck such a cord in my heart.

So, tonight, as I squalled while jotting notes to stick in their lunch boxes, I thought of all the things I would really like to say, but my post-it with the quote "I'm sorry. You must be confusing me with the maid we don't have." couldn't hold.....

Dear Your Highness,
Right before my very eyes you are growing into a fair maiden. And in my opinion, the fairest in all the land. Your enthusiasm for life is contagious. You are a gift to me. I do not tell you enough how proud I am of you, and the wonderful big sister you are to your wild brothers. My patience often runs short with you, which isn't fair, since typically it's those same wild brothers who have used up every last ounce of my patience. For that, I sincerely apologize. You are my Little Momma, and I so appreciate all the love and care you share with this testosterone over-loaded family. You were the perfect first-born for us. A leader in every way.

I love how you start all your "critical" sentences with, "I'm not trying to be mean, but....." And I love even more how most of the constructive criticism you were trying to give wasn't mean at all. For example, you recently said, "Momma, I'm not trying to be mean but... I think this milk might be bad or something." And it was. And I love how your brothers pick up on all your latest lingo and try using it as well. Hearing Lightning say, "Momma, I'm not twyin' to be mean but... your breaf is stinky dis mornin'. It 'mells wike yucky coffee!" makes me laugh. (And then remember to brush my teeth.) I'm so proud to be your Momma. And just when I think I can't love you more, my heart makes room. Tonight, as I was tucking Thunder into bed, you heard me discussing the exciting things about Kindergarten with him, and wanted to come in and say goodnight. I asked if you had any advice you'd like to share, and then my heart melted as the following came out of your precious little mouth, beyond your years...

"Just remember, even if you tell us that you're not nervous, we know you are. And that's OKAY, 'cause everybody is nervous on the first day. You'll do GREAT!" Thunder sweetly whispered, "Thanks, sister." And I choked on the giant lump in my throat, as tears began stinging my eyes.

Memories of you at age three, whispering when I would tuck you in at night, "You are the best of me." Filled my heart and soul. So precious. We think you were trying to say, "You are the best!" but your sweet saying stuck, and has pinned a note with that quote on my heart permanently.

You are the Best. Daughter. Ever. I LOVE YOU!
And you are most definitely, the best of ME.

Dear Thunder,
You've been a Momma's boy from the very start. Thank-you for always forgiving me, when I fall short as a Mother. You are a leader in this house, where the wild things are, and often you find a way of calming The Storm, when even your parents can't. You have been a great example not only to your brothers and friends, but to me and Daddy as well. I love that you're a lover, not a fighter, and always want to see conflict resolution. It tickles me to hear you say, "Well, Lightning, if you'll share a toy with Hail, I'll share my batman with you." Watching you "read" to your younger siblings melts my heart as well. I find it hilarious that Lightning and Hail won't normally sit still while I'm reading, but they will sit still forever if you're the one telling the story.

I love that your imagination could rival that of J.K. Rowling. Your vivid stories of your best bud, Creek, have always kept us entertained. For many weeks I truly believed you, when you said Creek was a boy you had met at the Burger King playground. "I did meet my fwiend Cweek. And hims fwee wike me!" You would say, as you proudly held up three fingers. It wasn't until the stories of Creek grew darker, and his mother died by climbing to the top of a tree and falling out that I realized you were making the whole thing up. Humoring you, we all played along and learned many interesting things about Mr. Creek, who has been a part of our family now, for almost three years. That is, until recently when he moved away, and a part of my heart broke. Daddy was trying to excite you about all the fun to be had in Kindergarten and mentioned, "I wonder if Creek will be in your class." Nonchalantly, you said, "Creek moved away. And I don't ever imagine him at school. Not anymore." A part of my heart ached. Then broke. As if our invisible son had moved off to college, without even saying goodbye. I imagine that someday I'll look back on my memories with you, and feel the same... Suddenly, I will see you as this grown-man, who grew up in the blink of an eye. I'm sure my heart will ache then too. And break a little. But as long as you keep telling me, "I love you to the moon and back!" When I say "I sure do love you." then I'll let you grow up, because I know this world needs more men like YOU.

I am so proud of you. I know God has plans to do great things with you. And like your loving big sister said, "Even if you say you're not nervous, we know you are. And it's OKAY." I love you, buddy boy! Be brave. And ready for a ton of slobbery kisses the second you walk in the door... for the rest of your life. I'm one proud Momma, and just like in the book that I have never once been able to finish without tearing up, "I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, MY baby you'll be."

Love Always,
The Momma

Friday, August 6, 2010

O Brother, Where Art Thou??

Flash Flood takes his Storm membership status quite seriously; making progress daily to impress the older Storm members, and further drive his sweet, loving Momma over the edge.
He simply cannot get enough of his big brothers' attention. Thunder and Lightning appreciate his cute attempts to play-- dropping all the toys they hand him, purposefully, just to watch them bend down and pick them up, time and time again. Flash Flood also parrots the dynamic duo's squeals from across the house. Thunder and Lightning can let out a "Oooo-eeeeeh!" which is immediately followed by Flash Flood's imitation, "Ooo-eeeh!"

Hail, on the other hand, is not so impressed by Flash Flood, nor his attempts at play. I must confess, I've turned my head a time or two, when Flash Flood has crawled over to Hail, (watching cartoons in the living room floor, oblivious to his surroundings) and with both hands grabbed Hail by the hair and yanked away. Payback, baby! Flash Flood has definitely earned it. When it happens, Flash Flood squeals with delight as Hail screeches, "Moooommmmaaaaa! Git dat stinky baby off meeeeeee!" And I do.... eventually.

Flash Flood dreams of the day he can join his band of brothers in the back yard. This is quite often the scene in our house, as Flash Flood searches for his favorite role models, while banging on the window and calling to them, "Da-da-da-da-da-da! Ga-ga-ga-ga-ga! Oooohhh! Ga-ga-ga-ga!"

His persistence is rewarded, as the older members of The Storm take a break from making mud pies to feed their enemies, "Darf-Bader and da Stom Truppers" to visit with their sweet baby Ewok....

Very mixed emotions well up inside, as I witness such sweet scenes. The adoration and love between these silly boys is so precious... Which scares the crap out of me for the future. Start praying for me, please.