Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Life's Lessons from 2008

- When two pre-school aged males are laughing hysterically in another room, RUN. When you get there, take a deep breath. In a few days, you too may find what they were laughing at as funny.

- When someone offers you hand-me-downs, always ask if these clothes are expected to be returned. The STORM rarely is capable of passing clothes to one another, much less keeping them in good enough condition to give back when finished.

- When a good girlfriend calls and wants to meet at the park, but your house is a total wreck, go ahead and go. The laughs you two will share, plus the energy your children will release in the fresh air, will rejuvenate you enough to get home and tackle the huge mess. Your kids will probably take a longer nap, leaving you more time to relax after you're done with the yucky chores.

- When your husband calls you unexpectedly and suddenly becomes a chatter box while you're up to your elbows in poop (literally) don't rush him off the phone. Just enjoy the fact that you can multi-task better than a CEO of a Fortune 500.

- When a neighbor offers to babysit so you can take a shower, let her. You'll both feel better for it.

- When your daughter says, "Momma, come swing with me." Go do it. You'll never forget the fun stories that get told while swinging.

- When your two year old son says, "Will you rock me a widdle bit?" Squeeze him extra tight and let the laundry wait. In the blink of an eye, he will be four years old, and insulted at the offer to be held is such a way. He will express this by saying, "I'm not a baby!"

- When any of your children ask you to lay down with them at bedtime, do. Tell them fun stories of when you were growing up until you both fall asleep in that tiny bed together. The crick in your neck will only last a few hours the next day, but you'll have the memory forever. And so will your children.

- When your husband says "I'm sorry." don't hold a grudge. You picked him for a reason, even if you feel you've had to remind yourself of that reason a lot here lately. He too feels stressed about all these little kids, plus 84,000 other things that he conveniently forgets to tell you about, so cut him some slack. He is a great guy, and you love him dearly.

- When strangers stop and make a fuss over how beautiful your children are and want to share child-rearing advice, smile and pretend you're listening. You may just walk away with a bit of info that's actually useful. Probably not, but remember, advice from others is their way of correcting the past.

- Even when you have a 15 month old crying at your feet, a 2 year old throwing a tantrum because he wants candy before breakfast, a 4 year old screaming from the bathroom that he's "finished" (so, please come wipe my hiney) and a 5 year old drama queen fussing because you forgot to wash her favorite pink dress to wear that day to school, all while your husband is complaining that he has no clean socks in his drawer, take a moment to look around and think to yourself, "Even during all of this, would I rather be ANYWHERE else?" Most days that answer will be NO. Okay, and if the answer is yes, go ahead and tell your husband to work from home that day because it's not even 8am and if you aren't feeling up to the challenge, you may have to "pop the cork" a little early. Once the buzz has worn off, try to start the day over again.

- When GOD has been good to you, tell everyone you know. You never know who is having a moment of doubt and could use the encouragement.

GOD has been WONDERFUL to me this year. Thank-you, GOD. My girlfriends are the best. My parents are still my #1 fans. My siblings are four of my dearest friends. My children are healthy. My husband makes me happy. What more could a girl ask for? On to 2009...

Monday, December 29, 2008

....And a Happy New Year!

The Hudson Family is currently recovering from an Upper Respiratory Infection. Yes, this is a self-diagnosis, but to just call what ever this is a "cold" does not do us any justice. Our house sounds like the Tuberculosis Ward of a Southern California hospital. Everyone one of us can be sent into a sneezing frenzy at any moment, which sends me running for the box of tissues to try and catch the green and yellow carnage before it stains a clean sleeve. I've had chills for four straight days. The kids get hot, then cold, hot again, etc. Our throats look like hot lava with puss pockets floating on top of each tonsil. Sorry if you're trying to eat breakfast while reading this, I'm just trying to paint the picture most accurately so you can fully understand why I refuse to simply call this a cold. I went to bed at 7:00 last night, and I think Bert had already put most of the kids in their beds by that point. I honestly don't remember. I'm feeling waaaay better this morning, so hopefully everyone else is slowly on the mend too. My husky 11 year old -who stayed up all night at a spend the night party- voice is finally back to normal. Funny how when you're 11 years old, that's the coolest thing in the world, to lose your voice. Fast forward 17 years and it's just annoying. You try to holler at one of your children who just rode their bike down the drive way and into the street without checking for traffic, and all that comes out is, "Lu-- com- h---!" She doesn't even hear you, which means you now have to march down in full view of all your neighbors, in your pj's (it's only 4 pm) with crazy hair and a nose as red as Rudolph's, to explain what could have happened if there had been any traffic in the street. Lucy nods, all your neighbors wave and then holler from their yards, "How are you guys? Are you feeling okay? How was Christmas? etc." Again, the loss of your voice becomes annoying as they have to make their way closer and closer just to read your lips and figure out what in the world you are saying.
All part of the fun. Onto happier thoughts...

Christmas was wonderful. This year our children (except for Hank) were all old enough to really get excited at the anticipation of Santa. They were super cute about it. We were up and out in the cul-de-sac riding the new bikes and Gator that Santa delivered before 6am. I'm sure our neighbors loved that! They were squealing and laughing all morning.

The night before we ate our Christmas dinner (pancakes and sausage, a Hudson kid fave) in the dinning room, just to make it fancy. We were still eating on paper plates, but we did drink out of wine glasses... Chocolate milk of course! I considered slipping a little hard stuff in with their chocolate milks though, so they would calm down and go to sleep before midnight. Ty cracked us up half way through dinner. He raised his glass and said in his voice (which is always husky, sick or not) "Momma, wet's do dis!" And he clinked our glasses together. "Now, wet's ALL do dis!" So, the entire family joined in, toasting Santa and Baby Jesus. Bert and I have tried all Season to explain to our kids that Christmas is much more than Santa and presents. Lucy proved that she's been the only one listening to these talks. As we were finishing up our royal sausages and pancakes, Bert says, "Now, who can tell me the Story of Christmas?" Lucy eagerly raises her hand, as if she were in a classroom and waits patiently for Bert to call on her. She then states, "Mary and Joseph were riding on a donkey when Baby Jesus was Born in a Barn!" Jack fills in the blanks with, "Oh, and SANTA! Santa was born too." We all roll our eyes, and Lucy continues, "Then, the three wise men brought him presents." Jack again, "YEA! Presents!!" Bert, ignoring our borderline ADD son says to Lucy, "Very good! Do you know what those gifts were?" He then tries to explain each gift and gives a little pre-school definition for them to understand. They totally could relate to Gold, these kids love money. Bert tried to explain Frankincense & Myrrh, but Jack couldn't get over the fact that Frankincense sounded like Frankenstein. Lucy finally interrupted Jack's babble and asked what those were. Bert, who was growing frustrated at this point said, "It's like a candle that helps make things smell better." Lucy, holding her nose, was right on cue with, "We need some of that stuff around here!"
What can I say, we tried.

I have no idea where my camera is this morning. I do plan to post some pics of our fun morning.

Christmas is super fun with four little ones. I'm sure it will only get better in the years to come. We love our little family. And we're happy that you can be a part of it. We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too. We welcome 2009 and look forward to all GOD has in store for us!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The Hudson House has had a hard time getting in a Holiday spirit this year. Well, the Hudson Momma has anyway. For several reasons I suppose. For starters, I watched Charlie Brown's Christmas and decided he was exactly right. Everything is so commercial these days. But aside from being so deep intellectually, with Charles M. Shultz as my guide, there have been other reasons. The Hudson Storm ranks #1. For those of you who don't know, a Hudson Storm is composed of three main parts: Jack = Thunder, Ty = Lightning and Hank = Hail (either spelling of the word will do). These boys can wreck a house like a tornado. All I need after a rainy day with these three indoors is a tv camera and a reporter questioning me while I answer in a super southern drawl, "Well, yawl, it sounded like a train was a comin'. Then, next thinged that happened was that well, it done got trashed! Our whole mobile home is GONE, except thank goodness my Dale collection stayed safe." The interview is only completed by my daily uniform... old sweats, one of Bert's tattered t-shirts and greasy hair that hasn't been washed for several days, thrown up into a pony tail.

Leaving my mid-winter's afternoon day dream.... back to reality...

The very first night after decorating our Christmas tree, it was attacked by our Storm. We have the old fashioned kind of lights on our tree, the ones that have the large bulbs that could also fit into a night light, and I thought to myself, I wonder if this type will be okay. Surely. While I am decorating in another room, I hear Jack yelp, Bert laugh, Lucy try to and provide comfort, then Bert scold, "I bet you won't do that again, will you?" Jack had unscrewed one of the bulbs and stuck his finger in the open socket. The very next morning, Ty was attempting to electrocute himself as well. So, I say, "Ty, remember what happened to Jack? Don't mess with those bulbs!" Ty turns to Jack and says, "What happened? How did you get hurt?" Jack says, "Like this..." then repeats his most unfortunate act once again. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What is wrong with boys? Seriously, for those of you in the medical field, I want to know. What is wrong with their brains?

We only decorated our tree with about 1/3 of the decorations we usually use. And, they were the "sturdy" third. We are now down to about three all together. The collection of broken ones on the kitchen counter is larger than the collection of ones on the tree. There was the deer dressed in camo holding a riffle (the gun is now missing)... The headless angel... The Peanuts characters that no longer sing nor dance.... oh, me... And like I said these were the "sturdy" chosen few.
All other decorations have been pulled down, fought over, re-arranged, etc. Fun stuff, let me tell you.

This weekend, when I was supposed to be finishing up my Christmas shopping, Bert was admitted to the hospital. We went to the ER because he lost vision, his heart was racing, he lost all color in his face, had tingling only on his left side, and was short of breath. I'm thinking, he's having a heart attack or stroke or something, so I called our best friend, and pediatrician, and described all his symptoms. (After he was checked out by our local paramedics.) She instructed me to go straight to the ER: do not pass go, do not collect $200. Lisa (my used-to-be best friend and still pediatrician) then rushed to my house to watch the kids, along with her own three kids, while Bert and I went on to the hospital. After six + hours in the ER (A whole nother post in itself, BTW) the doctor decided to admit Bert so he could be monitored over night, and so they could run 84,000 more tests. Here's where Lisa became my "used-to-be best friend," really I should say, it's when I became hers. Lisa kept all my kids over night, fed them, bathed them, got up with them during the night, all while taking care of her own. I have to give a huge shout out to her husband, Chris, who also helped in this process. I cannot imagine what I would have done with out their help. They are true best friends.
Back to Bert, because if he's reading this he's thinking, "I'm the one who was stuck in the hospital..." Men. So anyway, a million needle pokes later, we learned that Bert had an "episode" that's not life threatening and may never happen again. Whew, I hope not. I'm not a big fan of drama... well, at least not the kind of drama I'm not producing myself.

Can you see why I'm not exactly feeling the whole Christmas thing this year?

The following picture is from the day we went to see Santa. It was my bright idea to go right after church, while the kids were dressed up, and see the big jolly guy before we ate lunch. Bert and I argued, "The line's going to be way too long, plus the kids are hungry." "You mean YOU'RE hungry! Just hush and drive to the mall!" Well, Bert was right. Uggh. The line was at least 10 families deep. The Mom at the front was acting as if this was Olan Mills Glamour Studio and kept having the college aged "elf" re-take lil' Anna Nicole and John Parker's picture over and over again. Her kids were like 8 & 11 years old. They didn't even believe in Santa and the shot's not even that cute at their ages. Gag. So, after prepping the kids to meet Santa for 45 minutes (mainly to kill time) it was finally our turn. Lucy runs right up to him and plops down on his lap. She immediately begins her mile long list of all things Barbie. As we try to pose Hank, Ty & Jack, I turn to find Jack crying and telling Bert over and over in a whisper, which was growing to a full-blown squeal, "I don't wanna sit up there! I don't wanna see him!" I kept waiting for him to yell, "You're not the real Santa... You're sitting on a throne of LIES." (From the movie Elf.) You can see what happened next.... He did end up in the picture, but refused to smile. Ty suddenly found something interesting in his pocket, no telling what, and Hank just stared back at the camera. I swear I think Lucy hears voices in her head each time a camera flashes saying, "The camera loves YOU!" The child loves to have her picture made. But wait, everyone is looking at the camera except.... SANTA!!! WHAT??? And get this, not one single, "HO-HO-HO!" Not even a, "What can I get you for Christmas" or "Have you been good this year?" Okay, so he didn't have to ask Jack because he had already answered that question with his behavior. But the guy was a total scam. Maybe he was just having an off day. Perhaps Mrs. Claus had just called and informed him that she was leaving him for his head elf, Ernie, and they wear heading for the South Pole. Who knows, the point is, for $16 I need more than a 5X7 and a bad memory.

So now, with two days until Christmas, and very little shopping "in the bag" (pun intended) I am not exactly out to spread Christmas cheer.

I do need to remind myself of what Christmas is really about... JESUS. "For unto you, a Child is born..." Thank-you GOD, for that most wonderful and perfect gift that can never be out done.

The Hudson Storm has now invaded our office, so the ramblings of Scrooge must end.

Merry Christmas to All... and to ALL a Goodnight!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just a few reasons I'm considering homeschooling...

-HER HIGHNESS that is. And, just until Hail goes to kindergarten. Then, Her Highness will be allowed to go back to school and live life as a little girl should, with out having to be my "Little Momma."

One day while the boys were eating at the table, I left the kitchen for a second. I heard Lightning and Hail laughing hysterically, so I assumed Lightning was playing his usual game of peek-a-boo to entertain Hail. I walked in to find this. Meanwhile, Thunder was eating across the table from these two monkeys, as if nothing was happening at all. I fussed, "Why didn't you call for Momma?!" To which Thunder replied, "They're laughing, Momma." As if there was nothing wrong with the situation.
I have no idea how Hail got stuck on the chair, under the table. The boy is part monkey, and LOVES to climb. He's half the reason I can't get the dishwasher loaded on a daily basis. The other half is because I hate doing it.

Lightning's newest pose when he's "ANG-EE!" He also enjoys telling us off by stating in his husky little voice, "You NOT inbited to my birday party!" He told me this yesterday when I said no more oreos before dinner. I would be worried, but I'm sure he'll add my name back to the guest list before JUNE gets here.

These boys can't get right.
This is how I found Hail at the end of a tough day of climbing.

Her Highness: my eyes, ears and comforter when I'm in another room. What a great Mom she will make after all this practice. Poor child was robbed of her babyhood at the ripe age of 17 months. I'm sure she'll go on Oprah some day and tell all about it in her book.

Things just seem to run smoother when she's here. I have no idea when I would fit her school lessons into our day, but she would ace a test on life's lessons taught by her brothers. Let's face it, I could never be a real home-school kinda mom. For one, I don't make home-made granola. Two, I'm way too lazy to re-learn all the stuff I have already forgotten, and didn't really know all that well in the first place. I just miss my sweet little, only child with a true sense of danger and common sense, GIRL, during those six hours she's at school.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

GOD is just as good today as HE was yesterday.

This was the statement my Daddy so wisely and bravely spoke to me Saturday while delivering the horrible news that my cousin, Rachel Perry, was killed in a car accident. Saturday morning, Rachel was driving to her parents house to help prepare for a college graduation party where she would later be honored. She was scheduled to graduate from college that same day. Her parents were throwing a big party for her and all her church family and friends. Apparently, Rachel hit a patch of ice on the road and was killed instantly. WHY? Death is so hard to handle and grasp in our minds. WHY now? Why this young, beautiful girl who had so much life to live? That's not for us to know. GOD is just as good today as HE was yesterday. And, Rachel now gets to be with HIM until the rest of us get to Heaven. It's so natural for us to grieve, and while we believe that there is an after-life, that is so much better than anything we could imagine, we still want her HERE with us.

As we accept GOD's plan for Rachel and her untimely death, please pray for my family. My Aunt Beverly and Uncle Jim and my cousin, Melissa are hurting so badly right now. Please pray for them to be comforted by the peace only HE can give.

Rachel was a bright, beautiful young lady who had fun no matter where she went. When we were all together at my grandmother's for Thanksgiving, all the great-grandchildren were rolling down a nearby hill and then running back to the top to do it all again. After several minutes of the kids having all the fun, Rachel jogged to the top and rolled down herself, proving that though she now had a seat at the "grown-up" table, she still knew how to have a ball. Rachel had a beautiful voice. She sang in many plays and choirs over the years. All I can think is that maybe GOD needed her to join His choir of angels in Heaven. HE needed a new lead singer. We love you Rachel!

For now, we will keep reminding ourselves, GOD is just as good today, as HE was yesterday.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Are We There Yet?

My family recently took a super fun trip to Helen, GA for a little Christmas Vacation, National Lampoon's style.
Poor Bert was sick before we even left on Thursday, fever and aching all over. I have very little patience for the sick. I will pray for you, I will smile as I walk by, but I do not want to baby anyone who is sick, except those who came from my uterus. Harsh? A little, but there's a reason I did not go into the Nursing field. I just don't have that natural instinct. I'm happy to hand you a cold drink and the bottle of Motrin, but the whole, "Let me lay here and breathe your sick air as I rub your back" part of my brain is cold. I admit it, Bert got the raw end of the deal here. Sorry, Babe. I love you, I really do.
So, we left Thursday to head to the beautiful Georgia mountains... in the pouring rain. Lucy and Jack are now to the rightful old ages of five and four, which means every 10 minutes someone is asking, "How much longer?" "I see some hotels! Are we there?!" Literally, every 10 minutes. I swore to myself long ago that I would never be one of those parents who constantly bores their children with stories of their youth to guilt them into appreciating how spoiled their generation has become; however, these type parents seem to conveniently forget that it is impart their laziness that has contributed to this over indulged generation. ie: "Lucy! Just be glad that you have a portable DVD player! Do you know what your Daddy and I did in the car when we were little? Got pinched for asking a million times, are we there yet?! Plus, we also had to walk to school barefoot... in the snow... up hill... both ways! Now hush and watch your movie!" Which then sparks a new conversation for Bert and me. "Seriously, we used to play 'baby head' and then 'who can hit the softest' which I always lost on purpose. Yeah, Kelly fell for it every time. Kate had more common sense..." "Man, I got whipped so many times on car trips, all because we were so bored! These kids just don't know how good they have it." We did finally get there, and got to answer YES to "Are we there yet?"

Helen, GA is a beautiful place. There is a Christmas festival this time of year. The whole town looks just like a gingerbread city. Super cute and fun to visit... but not so much with nine children ages five and under. That's right, I said NINE. My parents had five kids... we all grew up and got married. Some of us still act very much like children, then wonder why the real children of the group are acting out... Bert and I started the baby boom back in 2003. Lucy and Jack were born 17 months apart. During our break from over-populating the world, three more males were born nearly every six months. (Enter Noah, Charlie and Ty) After those three grandsons, we all took a good long break, and waited a whole 13 months before grandchild #6 yet another male, Xander, would arrive. Two months later, we got #7, Hank. Finally, after all these stinky boys, our precious second girl, Lily arrived, three months after Hank. Getting dizzy yet? Colson, another boy, came four months after Lily. So, there you have it. These are the precious, darling, mild-mannered, too cute for words children with whom we spent our Christmas Vacation. Sarcasm? Snicker. We stayed in a cabin with the name "Serenity." Oh, the irony.

We love the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Perhaps a little too much. Any one of the blood siblings, and now the in-laws are getting close, can burst into a quote and literally finish the scene without missing a single line. We're horrible to watch the movie with, if you actually want to hear anything Chevy himself is saying. We can also do this with "White Christmas" but we're more likely to be heard saying, "Oh, Dear! Did I break wind? Geez! Did the room clear out Bethany? No, she meant presents! You shouldn't have brought presents!" Over, "Sisters. Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters..." Though we do sing that one quite often. (Even Matt.) After vacationing with this group, and loving the movie as we do, I had to ask myself this question... Does art imitate life? Or does life imitate art? If you've seen the movie, take a look at these pictures, and you tell me.

We spent three nights, had tons of laughs, cleaned up tons of spilled drinks, apologized to a number of waitresses, spanked tons of temper-tantrum bottoms, and over all, had a great time. Memories were made, to say the very least. I love my family. We are corny, and cheesy, but we are very much a family who loves and supports one another, no matter what. Thanks to Mom and Dad for making us be that way. For boring us into appreciation for all you've given us. It's cliche, but you really are the best. I also want to keep being sappy just a moment and say thank-you to my crazy siblings, Matt, Nick, Kate & Kelly who were super fun to grow up with, and super to poke fun at now. I love you all so very much. I'm looking forward to driving to The Grand Canyon with you all on a coach bus this summer. What memories will be made then. Totally joking. I love them, but the sappy part is behind me, and if I were forced to ride with that group all the way to the Grand Canyon and back, the last memory of mine would be the bottom of the Grand Canyon as I plummeted to it. I'm sure they feel the same.
To end our wonderful National Lampoon's Maynard Christmas Reunion Vacation... Bert got his payback. I began vomiting around 2 am. Only, instead of passing me a cold drink and the bottle of Motrin, Bert took care of me. He brought me a wash rag, carried me back to the bed, then back to the toilet... you get the point. He packed the car the next morning, dressed the children, (not matching, but they were dressed) loaded them up, carried me to the car, drove me home and moved me to our bed where I slept the whole rest of the day and night. I could hear screams of, "But that's not how Momma does it!" He remained calm, most of the time. He forced me to drink plenty of fluids so I would not dehydrate, then actually laid and breathed my sick air while rubbing my back. Bert, I'm so glad "that part of your brain" is not as cold as mine. I love you, Babe, I really do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Perfect Portrait

Recently, our good friends, Kiera and David, stopped by for a visit. They brought their beautiful baby, Tyler, who was born in September. I didn't realize that Kiera snapped this shot. It describes our family perfectly. As the saying goes... A picture is worth a thousand words!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Here comes that rainy day feeling again

It's raining today... boo... but, we need the rain.

Bert hollered from across the house, "Hey, Holly. Come see what your boys are doing!"

They were under his supervision because I was cleaning the bathrooms. Big surprise. -What, that I was cleaning the bathroom? Yeah, that too.
These pictures really don't do them justice. They were COVERED in mud, head to toe. It's a boy's right of passage, I suppose.
The only one with common sense is their sister.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Reach for the moon...

Even if you fall short, you will land among the stars.

Ty and I were outside after dark, looking up at the night sky. I picked him up and started singing, "God made the moon and God made me..." He then stretched his little arm up as high as it could go and said, "Momma, shrow (all t's come out with the sh sound right now) me up high so I can touch the moon."

So, I humored him for a moment, tossing him in the air.

"No, Momma! I still can't touch it."

"Baby, the moon is so high, I could never throw you that far. I'm not big enough."
Simple answer to give a two year old, who gages everything on his size.

"Dat's okay, Momma. Just go get a stool."
And he points towards our house with a look on his face, as if he were stating the obvious.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seven years later... Simon says, "GOWAY!"

Bert and I celebrated our seven year anniversary yesterday. Wow, Babe. We've packed more into seven years than some do in 17. We've had four wonderful kids, started our own business, bought and sold four houses, plus lived in more rentals than I feel like counting right now. No, Bert's not a member of the CIA, he just loves the thrill of the hunt. And for some strange reason, the boy loves to move! He'll tell you himself, he really enjoys moving all of our junk from one house to another. For one thing, it forces us to purge. For another, I guess he likes to flex his muscles that he keeps so well maintained, but has no real reason for using, until Lucy turns 16. Poor Lucy, in a house full of testosterone the girl has no hope of a dating life, at least not until she moves out from under our roof.

Last night, Bert and I got to enjoy dinner and shopping ALONE thanks to my BFF since college, Lindy, who I often refer to as Dixie. Snaps to Dixie for making our date night possible. She's the kind of gal who will come over and without saying a word, walk straight to my laundry room, grab the broom and start sweeping the whole house. Or, immediately tackle the pile of laundry that needs folding. She's the best, for sure. She's also the kind of babysitter that loves my kids like they are hers. Granted, she won't say the word no to them, but I always know they are in good hands while she's there.

While Lindy was battling the Hudson Troops plus her own one year old son, Bert and I had a quiet (strangely quiet) dinner. We very rarely get to go out just the two of us, so it was nice not having to cut someone else's meat, clean up at least two spilled drinks, and make four separate trips to the bathroom. After seven years of.... ahem... bliss... We still love just being together. Bert's always had the ability to make me laugh, even when I was furious. I hate that about him. I can be pounding my fist on the counter, ready to really drive a point home and just zing him when he does this whole, "Holly, if you're so mad about it, why are you laughing?" "I'M NOT AND DON'T YOU START WITH ME, BERT HUDSON!" I'll scream back, but within seconds he'll have me laughing, still mad, but laughing. His mother tells me that he's always had that uncanny ability. Unfortunately, it's hereditary because I often have to run out of the room when I'm trying to chew out the boys for their latest bout with disaster. Oh, me... those Hudson boys.

The sweetest part of our night was when Bert recited our wedding vows from memory... Wait, that was later that night on Jon & Kate Plus 8... sorry for the confusion. Bert, if you ever read this, I'm so thankful that our paths crossed and that I got to be "the thrill of the hunt". The past seven years have been so much fun (most the time) and I can't wait for more! I love you.

Sappy part behind us...

I had an interesting time in the grocery store yesterday. Are we really that much of a spectacle? I thought with shows like Jon & Kate, The Duggars, etc, people would think my family is really pretty small in comparison. Well, maybe the rest of the world watches channels other than TLC, but come on people, four kids is not that big a deal! I had Lucy sitting with Hank in the "car" part of the buggy. Thunder and Lightning were snug as bugs in the front (it was a double seater) because they had lost their "walking privileges" which happens every time we go shopping because the boys just love to run. It started out in the usual way, "Honey! You've got your hands full!" But yesterday, things progressed. One retired couple from South FL literally blocked my cart. This part is to be read in a retired south Floridian accent: "My, ole' my! Whed' they get that red hair? Ya' know, it skips a generation like that?! We knew these twins back when we were in school in Aubun, and they had like six kids between the two of 'em, none of thems had that red hair, but their grandkids! Oh, they did! ALL of 'em!" Me, smiling back, nodding, grabbing children and shoving them back in the buggy, sticking 12 packs of oreos back on the shelf, finally, "I know, crazy huh? I gotta keep moving! Y'all have a great day!" The next two aisles were stalled by more questions and gawkers. There was the funny black couple who shook their heads in disbelief, a couple of employees who asked about their ages and then, this man, who was around Bert's age at the oldest... I won't say it, Babe... just that he was in his early 30's... I accidentally made eye contact with this man, only because he was blocking my view of air fresheners. "You've REALLY got your hands full. I'm watching you thinking, 'Thank God I only have one.' But, she's four now so my wife is busting my chops for another. I'm afraid she's trying to have an 'accident' (he does his fingers in quotations) so I'm like taking a baseball bat to bed with me and saying, 'Back off WOMAN!'" He then laughs hysterically. I stare blankly at the air fresheners for a moment, then decide that the smell of dirty diapers won't be so bad for a few more days. I quickly turn to Jack, who is doodling all over my grocery list and say as I'm walking away, "Hey Buddy, tell me what's next on the list." Jack practically hollers, "Momma! I can't READ!" Work with me here, son! I'm trying to escape from the crazies who are coming out of the wood work today! Is it BOGO if you have no social skills day? Come on! Seriously, I was stopped two more times and again by the check-out lady. Fran looked to be in her 60's, sweet, I'm sure, but after hearing me say the boys names about 84 times in a matter of 5 minutes (we always fall apart at the check-out) she goes, "Jack and Ty wear you out, I can tell!" My response, "Angels, aren't they?" Thanks boys.

After yesterday's encounters with the townsfolk, and since Lucy was home from school with pink eye, we decided to stay put today. This morning, after having a fun babysitter who plays games and does the works, Ty was making me jump through hoops. In his deep husky two year old voice (the boy sounds like he is a chain smoker) he kept saying, "Momma, wet's pway the am-i-nal game." Charades with animals, only you get to make noise. I guessed what animal he was, which wasn't hard because he's always a snake or dog, and he immediately said, "Now, wet's pway red light green light." So, we did that for about four seconds. "Momma, let's pway...hmmm... Oh! I know, Simon Says!" I was tired of running around so I said a few things for Simon. "Rub your belly. Jump up and down. Pat your head and rub your belly at the same time." I got tickled at him trying to do the last command and started laughing. Ty, became offended and said, "Now MY turn! Simon say- GOWAY!"
So, I did.
Really sad, this is the only recent (2 1/2 years ago) picture I could find of me and the Mr. This is what we look like most of the time: goofy hats, silly faces and baby in tow, so it's fitting for the two of us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dear Mr. Stork, what is your return policy?

You seem to have forgotten to include my "gift receipt" and we all know that even places like Target won't tinker with the idea of taking back merchandise without one of those things, so I need to know the correct way to make an exchange. No, I'm not dissatisfied with any of the sweet bundles of joy you have so generously delivered to us, almost every year for four years in a row... It would be the other bundle that arrived simultaneously, yet growing abundantly with each precious package that landed on our doorstep. I'm referring to a Mother's GUILT.

The very same moment Lucy was placed into my arms, an overwhelming sense of love and affection came over me, like nothing I've ever experienced nor can fully describe. Just moments later, guilt was also placed there. Why? Suddenly I felt guilty for having such a perfect and healthy baby that was so beautiful, and I did absolutely nothing to deserve her. The next few days I felt guilty for the tiniest things... I literally cried after I paged the nurse to take her to the hospital nursery so I could get some sleep. I called my Mother and apologized for everything I had ever done in my youth and said, "I just didn't get it until now. I never appreciated you like I should have. I'm so sorry." I felt guilty when I left her for the first time, with my Mother and ran to Wal-mart with Bert, just to get out of the house for a few moments by ourselves.

As our babies get older, all new Moms experience some form of guilt... Work or stay home? The guilt is there for the working mother, leaving her child during many of his/her waking hours. The guilt is there for the stay-home mom for no longer contributing financially. Often there is the guilt of wishing you were back at work, and not being thankful that you get to be at home. And it doesn't stop there.... The first time your baby rolls off your bed, when you had no idea her rolling capabilities were so advanced, guilt is happy to greet you. Bert has heard me scream once or twice, "You don't need to say ANYTHING! I feel bad enough on my own!" Poor Bert; so many times he never said anything in the first place other than, "What happened?" Logical question, but when guilt is already at play, one feels as if they are being attacked. Guilt is there to greet you when she "cries it out" for the first time and literally cries out for three solid hours before passing out from sheer exhaustion. When you go to tuck her back in and hear her breathing pattern still slightly off-beat from all the crying, you tear up yourself... again... since you cried a good part of that three hours outside her door. But why? You know it's the right thing to do. She can't sleep with you forever. Especially since number two will be here in a few short weeks, and besides, she's now 16 months old. Enter more guilt, only doubled this time.

The last few weeks of my pregnancy with Jack, I felt awful. I was on partial bed rest and barely had the energy to get up and put in another Barney video for Lucy. I felt awful that all she did was watch tv. I felt awful that my last few weeks with just the two of us was being spent like that. I felt bad for robbing Lucy of her babyhood, and forcing her to grow up too fast since a new baby was going to be a part of our lives soon. Friends and even strangers would make comments about how her world was about to be turned upside down, and she didn't have a clue since she was still so young. My heart would sink to think that what they were saying was true. GUILT. It's always there, someway, somehow. I knew that eventually Lucy and Jack would be best buddies, and that in the long run a sibling so close in age was a gift for Lucy. But, at that time I didn't feel that way. I felt guilty with the other two pregnancies as well.
Guilt is there even now, when I receive outside help with childcare. What is it with this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me I have to be Super Mom?

Recently, after a tough day with the boys (rain + no running and playing outside = EXTRA WILD HUDSON BOYS) I screamed when it was bedtime, no make that threw a mega temper tantrum at bedtime, and pointed my finger in each of their sweet faces, stomped my foot and literally threw each of them in their beds. As I was walking out of Lucy's room, she whispered, "Momma?" I snapped back, "This is the LAST thing you get to say today, now what?!" She calmly whispered, "I love you." My heart just sank. At this point in my motherhood career, guilt has pushed my heart down to well below my belly button. Later that same night I caught an episode of "Extreme Home Makeover Edition." GUILT-GUILT-GUILT. What's MY problem? There are so many others out there who wake up and struggle just to get out of the bed in the morning. And though I do have an over-dramatic daughter and three of the craziest boys God ever created, they are healthy and happy children! Not to mention St. Jude's fundraising shows-- I won't even go there. But, the guilt... Oh for crying out loud!

Should I keep breastfeeding even though I've gotten mastitis twice in a month?
Should we force her to quit sucking her thumb/give up a passy/blankie/etc at this age? Should I really let him scream the entire time during Bible class, he's only 10 months old!? Should we hold her back a year since she has a late birthday? Public or private schools? Should I have spanked him for that, or am I just being too hard on him today? (Usually not the latter in this house though.) Am I being selfish for using Mother's Day Out and CLEANING MY OWN HOUSE? Is it wrong for me to scream at my husband, in front of my kids, that all I want to do is take a shower ALONE for once without four little heads popping in at various times to tell me pointless details of what's going on in the other rooms? Why didn't I spend more time with Bert instead of going out with my girlfriends? Why haven't I called and checked- up on my girlfriends more?
The list goes on forever.

Is Satan to blame for all of this guilt and doubt? I feel most certain. Satan wants me to think that I have to be Super Mom only to find out that I can't be, which leads to pain, sorrow and guilt to the max. So, I wrote all of this to say, I'm taking my life back.

Mr. Stork, my guilt will be on my doorstep for you to collect first thing in the morning. GOD is back in control of this Momma, and HIS love will be replacing all that wasted guilt. I refuse to feel guilty for being a great mother who makes mistakes sometimes. I refuse to let my messy house get in the way of storytime at the library and playdates at the park. I will not feel guilty for watching "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" instead of folding laundry, or feel guilty that I have four healthy kids. I will pray for those families in need and be more grateful that my life is so easy, and realize that I can do a better job if I'm not bogged down by all that guilt.

Whew, I feel better already.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our Homecoming Reunion

Since Her Highness was out of school today for Veterans Day, we thought we should go and do something fun as a family. Fortunately, Bert's boss gave him the day off too, which we were happy about since he can be a real jerk sometimes. (Bert's self-employed.) So, we loaded up the bus and headed to the zoo. I've always found places like the zoo to be somewhat depressing. Those sweet animals pacing back and forth in tiny cages, staring blankly into the crowd, or just sleeping to pass the time. I feel so sorry for them being in a place that is no where close to "home." Okay, so before you click off my site, let me finish... PETA member I am NOT. I'm just saying, it's kinda sad to watch a cheetah, who is supposed to run 70 miles an hour on an open range, pace slowly in a 25 x 25 cell. Agree or don't... moving on.

The kids had a great time. The monkeys seemed to be every one's favorite. We stood and laughed at all the ones we thought reminded us of our own family. The one grooming itself and trying desperately to see her reflection in the water was Her Highness. The little one running as fast as it could and biting the other monkeys to make them chase after him would most certainly be Lightning. There was another one swinging from a branch. Occasionally it would come down as "Lightning" would run by and try to whack him on the head before swinging back up, that was Thunder. The one sleeping through all the chaos would be Bert. And then, I caught a glimpse of me and Hail: A Momma who was trying so hard to pick through a tiny baby's hair and get every last bug out. Meanwhile, the baby who was strapped to her chest with his long arms crossed all the way around her, was moving his head just fast enough that she could only get one or two bugs at a time before she would have to shift her position again. Finally, she gave up on the grooming process and started walking towards some other Momma monkeys, I'm sure to discuss such important matters as potty training and what to do about the biters in the group... namely her wild son, Lightning. As she walked, her baby "Hail" moved in one swift motion around to her back, as if he was on a track that was mechanically operated. He never left her skin, and she didn't mind or really seem to notice.
While we were taking all of this in, Hail of course was on my hip, making his one generic animal sound that he made to each and every exhibit... heavy breathing with a slight grunt as he exhales. Her Highness, the drama queen, was saying things such as, "Are we going to stop at a restaurant on the way home or eat in the car? Cause I don't wanna eat in the car. I'm starving right now though! And, I'm tired of walking. Can I ride in the stroller now?" Thunder and Lightning, were mesmerized for a few moments and actually stood still. I couldn't believe it. The two boys who can make wallpaper peel off the wall voluntarily, who can tear the pages of a book without even opening it, who make me so thankful each and everyday that bedtime has finally come once again... actually stood still. But, not for long. Within a few moments they were back to Thunder and Lightning, chasing and wrestling right there in front of the monkey exhibit.

As we walked away to view the reptiles, I turned back just in time to see the Momma monkey... who still had her Hail strapped to her back and was still discussing with her other friends about the latest fiasco "Thunder and Lightning" had gotten themselves into... staring right back at me. I could have sworn she shook her head as if she was thinking, "Poor human girl. And they say my boys are WILD!"

Friday, November 7, 2008


No, this is not a snazzy recipe for eggs... I can only make eggs one way-- scrambled. I did try to fry some recently, but as Bert so eloquently put it, they were too "rubbery." In my own defense, it was the first time I tried to fry eggs, and as I mentioned in my previous post, I HATE to cook.

The setting: a grocery store check out line
The cast: Me, Thunder (3 1/2 years old) and his other three siblings (ages 5, 2 and 1)
Time: rush hour
Extras in the scene: check out girl, customers in line, and one extremely stinky man in line in front of us

Me, "Guys, we're almost done here. Please don't throw the groceries on the floor. Sweetie, hold your brother's cup for him please. No, you guys cannot have any.... Okay, everybody gets one piece of candy. ONE!"

Innocent by standers, "Oh, honey! You got your hands FULL!" "Where did they get their red hair? All of them got red hair, huh? And neither you nor your husband..." (The usual fun comments when you take four red heads out in public under the age of five.) "Are they ALL yours?" (Hey Nosey, did you mean to say, "Are they all by the same father?" Because of course they're ALL mine! Who would take that many kids grocery shopping if they weren't ALL MINE?)

Thunder, while holding his nose after reaching for his pack of M&M's (which was very close to the stinky character listed in the Extras cast)

"Momma, what smells like button eggs?"

"Honey, what do you mean? I don't know what button eggs are."

Note to self: Don't ever, EVER ask a 3 1/2 year old to clarify something they've said in public.

"NO MOMMA! Not button eggs, BUTT and EGGS!"

At this point he is nearly screaming because poor Thunder has only just in the last few months begun speaking clearly. In the past he's gotten frustrated with others for not knowing what he was saying, so as we would ask him to repeat his toddler sentences, he would just get louder, as if the problem was with our hearing, not his speech.

Again he says, "Something smells like BUTT and EGGS!"

At this point I wanted to grab a trashy US Weekly and pretend that I wasn't with him, but it was too late. Too many had already commented on how they ALL had that red hair. Plus, I was now catching a whiff of the customer in front of us. Suddenly I was so surprised by two things.... First, how did my 3 1/2 year old put those two items together to make that description. Second, how did he do it so accurately! Shooo-wheee!

I'm sure the man in front of us heard Thunder. The cashier did, and nodded as if she agreed wholeheartedly. What can I say? Children are BRUTALLY honest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Moment in the Sun...

I'm joining you, Blogging Community, after I scoffed at you, laughed behind your back and secretly stalked you for many months. Originally, I firmly believed that blogging was created as a by-product of the Reality TV genre that has been crammed down our throats like a hot dog on Coney Island for the title of WORLD CHAMPION HOT DOG EATER. Gross, but true. While I'm confessing, I also said things like, "Do people think that others really care what she ate for lunch Saturday afternoon? Does she think she's Paris Hilton?" For the record, I'm NOT a Paris fan, but my point is, we've watched so many dumb reality shows that we now feel the need to report in our "confessional interview" segment of the show. And, to answer my own question, yes, people obviously do care, because I AM one of those people who has been reading, week after week, the reports of such posts.
For a while, I laughed at the word, "BLOG." Eww, for such a fun way to keep up with those you love, why the word BLOG? Add three more letters and you get, "B-O-L-O-G-N-A." Okay, so one of them has to be added in the middle, but still, the simple name was a turn off. BLOG. But, after many months of "checking up" on my friends who had one, I became desensitized and decided the name wouldn't stop me. Lack of time might/should. I'll admit it, I'm a total procrastinator. I tell myself things like, "I really am going to start Lucy's scrap book... right after I get caught up on my household duties." Insert laughter here. The thing is, Lucy, our only daughter and eldest child, is now FIVE YEARS OLD! And, I never keep up with the housework. I'm just not domesticated. I don't like to cook, I hate to clean, and I can avoid a pile of laundry like a polished politician who's been asked how to fix our struggling economy during a national debate. Get to the point... I'm never gonna get caught up, so time is no longer an excuse.
So, without further ado... here is my BLOG. I vote we change that word somehow. Blah.