Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We Wish You A Merry Christmas...

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'Tis better to re-gift than receive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tis the Season to be Jolly....

Apparently Thunder didn't get the memo.

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If we could only live in Neverland....

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Hang in there, Flash....

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

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Highs and Lows

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

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

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

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

"Be still my beating heart...."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The apple never falls too far from the tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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