Monday, May 31, 2010

The Story of Us

The night Bert and I met will forever be etched into my memory. I passed him, as he was going into a Bible study at the Auburn Christian Student Center. I loved hanging out with friends from the Student Center, and had met all of the eligible bachelors, so this new and rather cute face to our scene could only mean one thing... fresh meat.

I was all of 19 years old, and enjoying my new found freedom that the college experience brings. I had fun dating and hanging out with new friends. I would call my Momma and tell her of my latest adventures that had taken place at the Loveliest Village on the Plains. She would laugh and inquire about making time to study. I would lie and say things to assure her that my grades were important to me. After all, there are things about college that are so much more important than school work and grades.... like meeting Mr. Right.

My Aunt, Mommy Beth, suggested I sit on the steps of the Architecture building or the College of Engineering, and wait for Mr. Right to notice me reading, with the sunlight glistening in my hair. Mommy Beth's advice wasn't half-bad, and will be passed to Her Highness someday. But, that's not how I met my Mr. Right. That freezing cold night in January, as I passed my future husband in the entry way of the Student Center, I seriously felt something. However, being the bright eyed, bushy tailed 19 year old I was, I didn't give Bert a chance to talk to me. I ignored him and played hard to get, chatting with all his buddies, and saying only "Hey." as I turned to walk away from him. After flirting, then ignoring him like crazy, then flirting with his friends, Bert finally got my (very) mixed messages and asked me out.

The first time Bert called me, I was heading out the door to meet some friends for a study date over dinner. (That was about the only way I ever did study, if socializing was involved.) I hated to cut Bert short, but my crew was waiting and honking the horn rather obnoxiously. After about two minutes of small talk, Bert blurted out, "So, you wanna go get something to eat tomorrow night?" I hated to turn him down, but I had plans for that night too. "Nope." was all I said back, trying to make him squirm just a little. "Oh, okay. Well....ummm.... Alright." Bert sounded disappointed, so I chimed, "But we can go out Thursday night if you're free. Hey, can I call you later?" When I finally got home that night, it was about 10:00, but I called him anyway. After all, this was college, so I figured he would still be up. I was wrong. I woke up Old Man River and started talking his ears off. We chatted for three solid hours about all sorts of things.... where we grew up, our families, who we wanted to be when we grew up, and why we both chose Auburn. Bert said something in that conversation that helped to seal the deal for me, "My Mom is a stay-at-home mom, and that's always been something that's really important to me-- that I can provide for my family so my wife can stay home with my children someday too." Cute: check. Funny: check. Smart: check.
Yep, we were headed in the right direction.

After our first date, we sat in his truck in front of my apartment and talked for four more hours. I had a history test the next morning at 8:00, but couldn't have cared less. Finally, Bert walked me to my front door, held up my hand, and kissed it. Then he walked back to his truck and left. I was in shock. I woke up my roommate to discuss why in the world he didn't kiss me. And again after our second date, which was me throwing myself at him by offering to type his paper for a Lit class, I woke her up nearly in tears, "What is wrong with him... or me?" Finally on our third date, which ended again with talking for hours on end, while I was in the middle of a sentence, Bert leaned forward and kissed me. I think he had just called me a snob for something I had said and as I was defending myself with, "Uhh, I am NOT a sn..." He shut me up with a powerful kiss. The kiss that made me realize this was most definitely my future husband. The kiss that taught me forever more, Bert Hudson would not do things by the book or the way anyone else does them. Nope, instead of kissing me goodnight, Bert interrupted me mid-sentence to lay it on me. It was, as if he had to build his courage, then, in that one moment when he finally had it, he couldn't let it go.

Our lives have been just like that ever since. Bert has always done things in his own time, and quite random at that. His proposal was no different.

It was early in the month of June, and I was working late at the Hotel and Conference Center on campus. Bert called, several times, to see if I might get off early. I thought something might be up, since we had recently started talking about marriage and had actually looked at rings once. When I finally got home, my excitement was squelched when I saw Bert in his gym shorts and t-shirt with books sprawled out all over my couch. He had gone to my apartment to study, since his roommates were in the heat of a Play Station Nascar tournament, and had obviously not been preparing to propose since there were no rose pedals or candles lit or romantic music. Nope. Just Bert, down on all fours looking up under my couch. "Hey Babe, how was work?" He asked with his face planted on the floor, looking under the couch with a flash light. "Fine." I sighed. "I'm going to take a shower." I never even asked Bert what he was looking for. I was disappointed, but didn't want him to know it. So, I took a long shower. Then I plucked my eyebrows. Then, I picked at a zit that I'm sure wasn't even visible, but I made it visible by picking at it for 15 minutes. Finally, in my pj's with a towel wrapped on my head, I walked out of the bathroom to find Bert STILL on all fours looking under the couch. "What are you doing?" I finally asked. "Well, I dropped my calculator and the battery fell out. I think it rolled up under the couch, but my hands are too big to fit. Can you reach under there and grab it for me?" I rolled my eyes, and thrust my hand under the couch and said, "Nope. I don't feel anything." Bert insisted I try again and that time, I did feel something.

I began to shake, realizing Bert could have just lifted the stupid couch and gotten his calculator battery himself. I pulled out an ivory colored box and barely got it open due to all the shaking. Bert said some really sweet things after that, but all I heard was "Will you marry me?" I screamed and screamed "YES! YES! YES!" Then, I called my parents, who had been expecting that phone call for several days. We all laughed, as I told the story of how Bert proposed and my Daddy said, "Well, that's certainly a unique proposal!"

But, that's so Bert. And that's just one of the many things he's taught me: That feeling the moment is so much more important than the plans behind it. Living in the moment is something Bert is great at. And I'm so glad that I get to live with him in those moments. Bert and I have been together (including dating) for 10 years now. That's over a third of my life. But, I can't imagine spending that time with anyone else.


Me: "Wow! It's my wedding day! I'm so excited and can't wait to travel this adventure together. Wonder how many children we'll have. Oopps. We've never really talked about that. We better squeeze that conversation in on the way to our honeymoon. Nah, who wants to get bogged down with details anyway. Let me just count these roses in my bouquet. That will be a good number to have."
Bert: "Wonder what the score is of the Auburn/Alabama game."

Every year at the beginning of June, when the weather starts to get hot and sticky, the crickets start to chirp, and the lightning bugs start to glow... I think back to that early June night, so many years ago, and I smile, thinking of Bert down on all fours with his face pressed to the carpet, pretending to look for a battery. It makes me laugh to think about what must have gone through his mind as I showered and primped for what must have felt like an eternity. I'm so glad he didn't get up and leave. Though, I wouldn't have blamed him.
I love you, Bert Hudson.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

All Summer Long...

Summer is here again and the Hudson Family couldn't be happier.
This school year flew by, as they all seem to.


(First day of First Grade.... And the last.)
Somehow we managed to complete another school year without having to visit the truancy court in our district. We were close though, and received a couple of "friendly reminders" about the importance of Her Highness being to school on time. I was preparing my statement, ready to throw Her Highness under the bus and plead insanity, should we have gone before the judge: "Well, your Honor, you see..... ummm... well, come on! It's only first grade! And it's actually all Her Highness' fault because the child will not get going in the mornings. And why does school have to start so early anyway?? What's up with the tardy bell ringing at 7:30?? I'm up half the night with these five crazy kids, so it's really hard for me to get going too. So, ummm......I plead insanity!!"

We wrapped up our t-ball season undefeated. Technically, they don't even keep score, but Thunder proudly announced after every game, "We won!" If winning means we had a ball (pun intended) then yes, we did win every game.
Her Highness got engaged during one of the games. This handsome little fella and Her Highness became big buddies from the very start. I explained to his Momma that for Her Highness to even acknowledge his presence was a big deal, since she lives in a house filled to the brim with testosterone, she normally avoids other boys like the plague. But, this cute guy was persistent in getting her attention. During games they would laugh and flirt in the field and the dugout. After one game, the pursuer's Momma informed me, "We were in the car this week and he just blurted out, 'Mom, I asked Her Highness to marry me, and she said YES.'" Bert heard our conversation and called our future son-in-law over to have a little chat. No date has been set yet.
Now that we've wrapped up dance lessons, t-ball, and school we can't wait to fill our summer with trips to the zoo...
Hanging out by the pool.....



Lazy days at the lake.....

And long evening walks.....
All Summer long.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Her Highness likes to move it, move it.







Warning: Motion Sickness inducing video. Viewer watches at his/her own risk.


Her Highness' school had a dance off the last day of school. The entire school performed. This was the first grade's performance. Her Highness is third from the left on the front row.

I sincerely apologize for the sorry camera work. I'm hint droppin' like its hot, but so far no one's gotten the message... ALL I REALLY WANT FOR MY UPCOMING BIRTHDAYS/CHRISTMAS/MOTHERSDAY/10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY/ ETC IS A NEW CAMERA... A BIG GIRL- MOMMY CAMERA... THAT TAKES GREAT PICS AND SHOOTS SHORT, DECENT VIDEOS.

Hmmmm, maybe that will help.

Happy Summer, y'all!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fortunes by Thunder


I ordered Chinese for lunch today. The Storm and I were starving, and since our Maid who went on strike is also our chief forager of food, our pantry is bare. So, I robbed the kids' piggy banks, placed a call to one of the only delivery places in town, and ordered up some sesame seed chicken and vegetable l0 mein. (Or "chi-a-neese worms" as The Storm so affectionately refers to it.)

After we polished off the cardboard containers, Thunder cracked open his fortune cookie and asked me to read his fortune: "You will be advanced socially, without any special effort." -I read, slowly, to add dramatic flair.
Thunder then cracked mine and "read" my fortune slowly, with the exact same tone I had used to read his, "You eat too much chi-a-neese food so that's why you're chubby."

Perhaps we should open a family business writing fortunes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WANTED

Our maid went on strike. For some strange reason, Bert won't fire her. I think he's attracted to her and keeps her around just for her good looks. It's certainly not her bubbly personality, at least not here lately. So, since Bert won't fire her, I'm going to place an ad and hire another one behind his back. Proof read this for me, before I submit it to our local paper, please:



Wanted: Live-in Maid/Cook/Nanny/Taxi Driver

Must love dogs. And whiny children. No formal education required. Experience cleaning monkey cages a plus. Must be capable of functioning on little to no sleep. Cannot take offense when time spent cooking is disrupted with sounds of "I don't like that dinner!!" Should be fluent in toddler jabber. Proficiency in all areas of Disney and Nickelodeon a must. Mounds of laundry folding daily required. Salary includes lots of hugs and slobbery kisses from all family members, including husband. Bonuses: Occasional pedicure and girls night outing.
We are an equal opportunity employer.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Four hugs a day... That's the minimum.

It's hard to believe my sweet girl is wrapping up first grade. And it's even harder to believe I've now celebrated Mother's Day (as a Momma) six times. Each year it gets better and better.

Her Highness' class put on a special program for Mother's ONLY. Her Highness reminded me at least 84 times, "Do you have a babysitter? You know the boys are NOT invited! Only MOMS can come! Do you have a babysitter??" She wasn't convinced that Bert could handle the job and kept encouraging me to schedule a real sitter. Bert made sure to work from home that morning so I could go and obey the "Moms ONLY" rule.

It was such a precious program. All the children were dressed to the nines and sang their sweet hearts out.

Pop a Dramamine and check out this video. Please excuse the Blair Witch film crew....
video
How cute is that little boy behind Her Highness?? I'm surprised he never fainted due to his knees being locked the entire time.


After the adorable singing program, we headed back to their classroom and enjoyed a lovely candle light brunch. There were table cloths and everything! So sweet. Their teacher took pictures of each student and had them decorate a frame to give each Mother. As if all of that wasn't enough to make me cry, there was also a slide show playing with pictures of each child and a quote underneath as to why their Mommy was special, set to Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me." Oh. My. Word. Talk about water works.

For the kids whose Mothers couldn't be there, a staff member filled-in, so no child was eating alone. The first grade teachers went to a lot of trouble to create a wonderful morning of memories, for us all.

Her Highness began to tear up, which I thought was induced by my own tears, as well as every warm-blooded mother in the room, so I tried to reassure her that we were all crying from such a sweet morning. Her Highness lost it. Completely. I scooped her up and carried her out in the hallway, so she wouldn't be embarrassed in front of her class. She continued sobbing and explained that she was sad about her teacher retiring, since she wouldn't be able to hug her in the halls next year. She was sad that some of the mommies couldn't be there, and didn't understand why some of the (same) mommies never came to anything.

"Well, Honey. I'm sure they had to work today. If I had a job, I might not have gotten to come either." She continued sobbing, "No, Momma. Her mother doesn't even work! She said so yesterday... that she was mad that her mother wasn't coming and she doesn't even work!"

A huge lump filled my throat. How do you answer that? Her Highness wasn't done though. She almost sent me over the edge with her following statement... "And, Momma. Some of the girls today didn't even have a dress to wear for the program. Some of them had to borrow a dress from Alan's Mom. She brought them dresses to wear and tried to sneak them in the bathroom to change. But I saw her. Why did they not have a dress?? That makes me sad to think that some girls don't even have a dress!"

Her Highness' first glimpse into the real world. A world that's unfair and unkind and unsafe for so very many. A world where children are hungry and hurting, and not just physically, but emotionally too. A world that even I, as a 29 year old, can't quite grasp. Part of me wanted to pick that innocent baby up and run home. To shield her away from that world. Thoughts of rocking her while holding on to her beloved Poppie (blankie) and singing "Hush Little Baby" almost drove me to it. But, now that my 6 3/4 (that 3/4 is very important right now) year old daughter's eyes have been opened, I pray they will never be closed. As painful as it was to experience her heart ache, I was grateful for those precious moments, including the sad introduction to what is called LIFE. Grateful for the situation in which we live. Grateful that Her Highness is mine, and I am hers....

Right before my very eyes Her Highness is growing up. And becoming a role model....

I love that she's always had the ability to dance like no one's watching, even when a couple of hundred parents were watching....

I feel so blessed to be her biggest fan and witness her shining moments....

And grateful that I get to witness those quiet moments which make her shine.

Just as she was so proud to sing, I hope she's always proud to give those "Four hugs a day" to all those around her. Especially those who need it most... like the precious souls from her class.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"I'm so excited.... and I just can't hide it...."

I have a HUGE announcement. And no, I'm not pregnant. Beat you to the punch.

I'm so excited and proud to announce a project I have been working on for a while now with a dear friend of mine who I've known since I was little. Dana and I began this project this past winter, when we both felt as if we were going crazy with cabin fever and cooped up kids. Winter is definitely not my favorite time of year, so as the dark days became shorter, so did my patience level. The more I struggled with being a good Mom, the more I leaned on other Mothers like Dana, who have a sweet spirit and uplifting outlook on life.

I realized this year, just how much I was depending on Dana, and others to help me through these tough times of Motherhood and thought about how much fun it would be to create a larger network for us all. I pitched the idea to Dana, and we both began fast and furiously trying to figure out the best way to go about it all. We had a ball, using our brains for something other than singing our ABC's and helping our first graders with their reading assignments. But after a couple of months realized that time constraints with our families was going to make this a little harder than we had originally planned. We put our blog on hold and took a few deep breaths, to clear our heads and open our hearts. I'm so glad we did too.

After a few weeks of "rest" on the project, Dana came back to me and said, "What's really missing from our lives? What's needed most right now for us?" And we both immediately came to the conclusion that a specific time set aside to study and talk, woman to woman, was lacking for us, due to all the activities our family required of us. I was so excited about the ideas we had, but grew disappointed as I realized just how much I was neglecting my own family trying to get the blog up and running. Then there were the feelings of intimidation to go along with the realization of being a Mom who cannot do it all. Period. Shying away from the new project, I was relieved when I heard Dana say she thought we should put it all on the back burner for now. Down the road, perhaps our blog dreams could be realized... you know, when we're not as busy... like when our kids are teenagers... 'cause all you parents with teenagers know how not-busy you are. Insert laughter here. Are moms ever "not busy"??

Just a couple of days after Dana and I officially put our plans on hold, I got an e-mail from Dana with the subject line, "Is God Speaking??" She had just received word from a contact at Zondervan Publishing, offering an opportunity to host book discussions with various authors in an online format. Zondervan liked our blog idea, and wanted to help.

So, after some discussion and prayer, Dana and I decided to move our Spaghetti O's over, to make room for our boiling pot of blog dreams. After all, our stoves do have TWO front burners.

It is now that we would like to invite you to come over and visit with us a bit at

Drum roll please...........

THE MOM-TAGE

You can check out our latest post and see what books and authors we have lined up for the months of June and July. We will have more details soon, but for now would love for you to stop in and look around. Let us know you stopped by and become a member! It only takes a second, and it would mean so much.... to my self-worth as a woman, but no pressure or anything.

We will have the book discussions as well as other Mom-related topics to discuss from time to time and posts concerning things we've been through as Mothers, to try and help others who may be struggling as well. This is by no means limited to moms with young children. Matter of fact, we NEED to hear from Moms who have been through this and survived to tell about it, so please, PUH-LEASE come have a cup of coffee with us. The best part is, you don't even have to change out of your pj's. Not that I would anyway, even if we were meeting in person for coffee.

You have more to offer than you realize. And we need YOU to make this a success.

Also, we plan to have give-aways, so if all the begging and pleading and my judgement on our friendship doesn't get you over there, maybe the freebies will.

And please, grab our button to stick on your blog too. Isn't it cute? Dana designed it herself. Pretty spiffy for a girl with no formal com-pooter education. To stick our button on your blog:


BLOG TITLE






Copy the code below the button and paste it in your layout side bar, click "add a gadget, html code" and voila! You're now my best friend. :)
We really do want you there. No matter your age or stage of life. It would mean so much to us, and help us to grow together, as women.
Also, any feedback on the site would be greatly appreciated. Just e-mail us at themomtage@gmail.com and spill your heart to us. If you have suggestions on topics you would like to read more about as well, we're all ears! And sweat pants.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To: THE MOMMA

The kids came home with a Mother's Day craft today. It was a precious imprint of their little hands with the quote underneath, "You will hold my hand only for a little while, but you will hold my heart forever." And I couldn't help but think of you as those sweet words rang in my ears, over and over again....

Oh, Momma. There is so very much I want to say, yet the words seem to fail me. I am overwhelmed with emotions as I search for the right way to say thank-you for all you've done. Thank-you for being there no matter what. Thank-you for being such a good example to me, and so many others. Thank-you for being... well... YOU.

I found these pictures tonight, as I was searching for the perfect shots to portray your love, and your life. And then I came across this one of me with Her Highness....
And I was reminded once again of our bond. That which cannot be broken.
Thank-you for teaching me about life, love and friendship. And that your job was first to be my Mother, and later to be my best friend.
Thank-you for all the sacrifices made and time spent just waiting... and watching.... and listening.
Thank-you for putting your own pain and agony aside the time you had a horrible allergic reaction to an antibiotic and broke out in a mega case of hives, but still trudged along after me all day back stage at a beauty pageant. I remember thinking extremely selfish thoughts earlier that week when you first got sick, "Uggh. How can she get sick NOW? I don't want her to miss the pageant!" And then, that Saturday morning when you woke me up and showed me how swollen and painful your entire body was with hives, all I could say was, "But what will I do without YOU there??" So, you quickly showered and taught me a great lesson in sacrifice.
You ran fever the entire day, and sat with chills and body aches, but tried to act as if the air conditioning was just set too low. The thing is, you never really did much to help me with hair and makeup before pageants, but I still wanted and needed you to be there with ME. I remember you seemed embarrassed each time someone would ask if you were okay, but being an extremely selfish 17 year old, I overlooked it. And didn't appreciate it like I should have. I'm sure I rolled my eyes at your suggestions later in the day as well. But, I do remember looking up at you and thinking, "Even with all those whelps, she's still so beautiful. Man, I love my Momma." I'm sorry I never said it out loud. I'm sure you needed to hear it then too.
Momma, thank-you for always being my #1 fan.
Thank-you for allowing me to make mistakes in order to grow from them. Thank-you for giving me wings to fly, and roots to keep me grounded.
Thank-you for showing me what to look for in a future husband, by choosing one of the best husbands in the world... my Daddy. Thank-you for keeping your mouth shut as I dated all the wrong guys before I finally met Bert. And thank-you for keeping your mouth shut again, after I met Bert. Had you gushed over him, the way I'm sure you wanted considering my dating history, I probably wouldn't have liked him as much. I hope and pray for the same wisdom when dealing with my own children.
Thank-you for laughing until you cry every time you get together with your sisters.
Thank-you for always listening to me, through e-mails, over the phone and in person. I hope and pray that the first call Her Highness makes after her first baby arrives is to her Momma, just as mine was....

Thank-you for teaching me how to be a good mommy...

And for teaching me the importance of balance in life....
And that there is always enough room in your heart, even if there's not enough room in your house.

Thank-you for loving my children the way you do....
Thank-you for teaching me about the Fruit of the Spirit by living it....
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

I sure do love you, Momma. And I'm so proud to call you MY Momma.

I thank my God every time I remember you.
~Philippians 1:3

Happy Mother's Day, Momma.
I love you.
~Holly Beth