Friday, May 30, 2008


As I sat in Barron's nursery last night soaking him in while I nursed him to sleep - I glanced around his walls at his elephants. Some thought it a bit odd I painted a baby nursery a soft gray, but, when his incredibly talented Aunt Dana worked her magic on the elephants I requested, it all came together. It is one of my favorite rooms and it is still yet to be finished. Just like my entire home, there is always something more I want to add. But, I ask, where is the time or money to do so?

Back to talents- Dana has been blessed with such a gift and I, along with many others, have been after her to start her own business. But, once again I ask, where is the time or money to do so? I am always amazed by her creations ...from painted room motifs to framed scripture writings to handsewn onesies to homemade picture frames to canvas art... this girl's got talent!

So today, I post for Dana. She may kill me for bragging on her, but, I had to get the word out! You go girl! If anyone is interested in having some artwork done by her - shoot her an email soon she can get her own website up and start her on super-fun business :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Zebras, monkeys, tigers, alligators, giraffes and snakes, and faraway elephants are just a few of the animals we visited today at the zoo! Yeah, we met several of our buddies and one of our cousins for an animal extravaganza and a truly wild lunch!

Briley and Braxton had so much fun even though we skipped the petting zoo part. Sometimes mommy can't handle that little part of the zoo and thank goodness it was lunch time when we passed it - so we got to keep moving. The petting zoo is really one of their favorite parts and I hate they had to miss it is a slightly dirty adventure! There is always a next time. And, we made it thru without a "prize". Briley has a very hard time passing up the sweet little stuffed animals that are srategically placed for quick and easy purchase and that she says will be sad if she doesn't buy them.

Barron was a champ. He viewed the zoo from the confines of his stroller. Which I have decided is somewhat not fair even though he's only 8 months old and really doesn't know. I felt bad not getting him out and showing him the animals, but, with 2 big kids trying to get a good view - it just didn't happen. He managed to catch a glimpse of a few animals and his eyes did light up. It's fun watching him try and soak in the world around him (which is usually a crazy world with his sissy and brother around).

What a wonderful trip we had! Thanks to our fellow zoo friends (Aunt Hayley and Tyler, Emily and Lila, Ashley and her large crew, and Amanda and Will) for sharing in our adventure.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

4 Generations

What a wonderful holiday weekend it was. We enjoyed cookouts, homemade ice cream, 4 wheeler rides, playing in the creek, catching a turtle named Ted, a goat chasing adventure with Papa and Nonnie (wish I could have been there and gotten some pics), seeing some of favorite 2nd cousins, and hanging with our buds!

I was very excited tonight for us to spend time with my almost 90 yr old grandfather. "Pops" is my mom's dad from Georgia. He and my aunt came up for his Dr appointment at Vandy. He is getting a wee bit forgetful in his old age - Asking where he was going when my aunt told him they had arrived in Franklin. Or wondering why he was really even here. He loves to see the great grand kids. He was so happy just to watch the kids play around him. It really made me think tonight about all the memories I have of him and my "Mawmaw" during my childhood. Sometimes I smell things that remind me of their basement or hear of someone canning beans like they did. Or when I catch lightening bugs or hear loud tree frogs at nite - their home comes to mind. I remember Mawmaw hated to turn on the a/c in the summer so we slept on top of the sheets with the fans on high. I remember Pops could make anything - including a playhouse with electricity and linoleum floors and a front porch. They are such a treasured part of my childhood memories. I am so glad Briley and Braxton are old enough to have some sort of a relationship with Pops. We don't get to see him nearly enough, but, they know and love him none the less. I tried to get everyone posed for a 4 generation picture - check out the effort.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

first and some lasts

Today is our first day of summer! YEA! We went one last time to Mrs. Poyner's kindergarten class and picked up Briley's perfect report card. I am so proud of her hard work this year. She has learned so much. I can not believe how well she can read and write. Hopefully, we can keep up our skills this summer. Mommy will have to be on her toes. I'm not quite sure yet how we will work in our very own summer school sessions but I know both big kiddos will need at least some practice. Honestly, I'd rather just let them have a veg out break, but, I'm sure that's not the greatest plan. So, we will try to squeeze in a few learning hours over the summer when we aren't too busy playing!

After leaving school we headed to the park for a picnic. We love a good picnic and park time. I must say it got a wee bit warm today. Glad we could sneak in a little park time before the blazing summer heat forbids it. I got a cute pic of the kids enjoying their Mcdonald's. I know, I should've packed the lunch, but, I was trying to keep my house clean this morning.

Since it is summer now, I must tell you a bit about the lasts! Yesterday was Briley's last day of kindergarten and just like the first day - I was sad. So much has changed since that first day...She reads very well and writes the best stories, she's more mature, her legs are longer, she's just more grown up and I'm having a hard time with it. She has a baby brother who on that first day was the baby bear growing in my tummy that we didn't even know yet. Wow, time goes by and things change and if we aren't careful we'll miss it. I can't believe I am the mom to a first grader and I just turned thirty - OH, I am getting old! She loved her teacher and class so much this year and I feel so blessed by that. My prayers are now for their teachers next year. I think it is so important to pray for your child's teachers. They make such an impact and can really influence what kind of year it is going to be. My prayers were definitely answered in the 2 teachers the kids had this year!

Braxton had a last too. He finished 3 yr old preschool last week. He adored Mrs Sally and we will miss her greatly. He learned so much this year and really started showing his independence. I am so proud of him. He wants so much to be as big as his sissy. Sometimes I wish they could all 3 just stay little. These really are wonderful days in my life. I love juggling my 3 bears.

Summer fun - HERE WE COME!

Enjoy the pics of our first summer picnic, Briley's last day of kindergarten, and Braxton's last day of preschool!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A field of adventures

Who doesn't remember field day as a kid? You played hard, got hot, got wet, and ran your little heart out. That was our day today. I woke up Barron early from his morning nap, trying not to miss too much of Briley's first ever field day. The boys and I unloaded at College Grove Elementary at 10am and ran to find Sissy Bear! She and her classmates were already soaked to the bone from a previous event and full of energy. We watched a few events then came to a super blow up slide...where Braxton got to participate! He was so pumped! I had told him in the car that this was Briley's day and we would watch and maybe get to do something and we would definitely not stay very long. Well, let's just say we made a day of it. Braxton got to do just about everything with Briley. I just love Mrs Poyner! We did the slide, a squirt bottle race, hurdles, 50 yd dash, parachute fun, and more. We got to eat lunch in Briley's classroom and cool off because -I'd have to say that it felt like summer out today. Boy, was it hot!

What did Barron do the entire time we were out in the fields you ask? He hung on his mommy's hip. What a trooper. He shared his smiles, took a catnap, and wondered why in the world all this commotion was going on around him. We had to take a quick break twice to get him fed. Yep, I'm telling you I stayed 4.5 hours. Over four hours watching field day with a little guy on my hip in the hot sun. Honestly, I loved every minute of it! This is what I remember as a kid - field day festivites! I must say though, several sweet mommies did step up and hold him for me occasionally.

Now, the favorite part of field day, the thing I waited on all day to get a quick pic of, was the super cool old fire truck and the fireman that sprayed water from his big hose on the kiddos. I was so excited to watch the kids do this. Well, you know where I was? I had drug the boys inside to feed Barron thinking I had a few events before this one. Nope, they skipped those and went straight to the fire truck. The boys and I emerged just as the fireman turned the hose off. All I got to see was dripping wet kids and a sad Braxton because we missed it. I can't believe it! Ok, yes I can:) Braxton did get to jump up in the truck though and pull the loud horn and drive. That did help make up for it.

As you can imagine as we approached 3pm the kids were dragging. Several classmates were in tears. Lots were hot and tired and the whining was beginning. I gathered my big 2 and my hip monster and made a run for it! Barron still had time to squeeze in a little nap. What a fun, fun day! One they won't forget for awhile. I know everyone will sleep well tonite! Hooray for field day!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mowing, Rodeo, and a Dedication

We spent a lot of time around the house this weekend and it was wonderful. The kiddos played outside, building a fort and a camp site. Daddy did the yard work and tinkered with his jeep. Mommy came in and out as I tended to Barron and just a bit of much needed inside chores (like laundry - yuck!) I love just hanging out and not necessarily having a plan. We just played and played!

The highlight of the weekend was the big Franklin Rodeo. Briley thought it was the greatest. She loved having a little friend about her age there. Her and sweet Sarah always hit it off. We need to get them together more. The big treat of the night was the matching cowgirl hats they bought. Braxton came out with a cowboy hat, too. He picked a black one "just like daddy's " and boy was he proud! Barron wasn't overly impressed with anything he saw except the coke bottle he slobbered on most of the nite. Now, I do love the rodeo, but, it always gets my allergies fired up. This time wasn't too bad, though. I guess because they are so torn up just from being outside right now that they couldn't get any worse. So, one of my favorite parts of the weekend was dinner with daddy at Stoney River. It wasn't just us -Nate and Tiff and some business guys were there too, but, no kiddos and great food!

Now, my other favorite part of the weekend... My sweet boy Barron Hudson had his baby dedication service at our church. It was a quick, kid filled service (i'm sure you can imagine). I feel so blessed that the Lord entrusted Joey and I with another miracle. Our ultimate goal is to raise our children to love the Lord. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4. Barron did relatively well, even though he let out a few of his big squeals. And brother and sissy bear they did pretty good, too. Thanks to the family who came out to support us since it was such quick notice on my part! I can't believe I let it sneak up on me. I knew I was supposed to check my big red calender all week but just kept putting it off.

This is a big week for us...field day, end of school parties, and the official start of summer! Yea!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fave Fotos Friday

Days I'll never forget..

  • My last pregnancy pic and Barron's birthday 9/24/07 (a day of ups and downs)
  • The first time I got to hold my newborn son 9/29/07
  • The day we got to bring home Barron Hudson 10/2/07

How excited we were to welcome our newest addition September 24, 2007. The big kids anxiously awaited the birth of a baby brother or sister. Surprise "it's a boy" !

How quickly things can change from joy to fear. Barron had lots of trouble figuring out the breathing thing. It is all a blur to me. I couldn't believe that I would have to deal with a Nicu baby and breathing issues and ventilators again. Braxton did the same thing, but, he was supposed to have problems being a 34 weeker. Barron was a full term baby and I didn't expect this. I wasn't prepared. Why Lord?

I can not explain the feelings of hovering over a Nicu bed and praying for your sweet baby. Of loving them so much without ever even holding them or really knowing them. There is such emotion that it can not be explained. So many beeps and buttons and tests. So much unknown. So many Doctors and nurses. I can't explain the feeling of pulling away from the hospital on your discharge day without your baby with you. It just isn't the way it is supposed to be. That truly was one of my toughest moments - you watch the world continue to go on around you, but, you are crumbling inside. I don't write this to be depressing, but, to just share how God has worked in our lives. How there was a happy ending twice. Twice God took us thru storms and we came out better off both times.

So, How does one get thru storms? Only by clinging to God. I can say my 2 Nicu experiences have made me a better person in every way. Truly, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I can get thru many experiences now just by putting them up to those times and saying "yep, I can conquer this". God does provide. He provides strength, patience, peace, hope, love, and joy among many other things. He doesn't always do it at your time, but, God does it. We may never know why Joey and I were chosen to go thru this battle not once, but 2 times. But, I do know we are forever changed and forever closer because of it. I know God is in control of every second of our lives and I know He blesses us abundantly as we daily seek His face. I know He has given us 2 handsome sons form the ordeal. Two boys that I love beyond words.

God has taught me.. Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't get so caught up in life that you miss the little things. Don't worry, God is with you and He is in control. Cherish every single minute because you never know when the time will run out. My kids are more important than a clean house. Love with actions not just with words. Live what you preach. Use your trials you have overcome to help others. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. God never gives more than you can handle. Have Faith (Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1). Get on your knees! Don't be consumed with everyone else. Pray without ceasing. Be diligent and obedient to what has given you. Make a difference somehow every single day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2 shy of a dozen

do you think the kids had as much fun taking the pics as the moms did?

this was the playgroup crowd today...
once again...i must say...too many kids and not enough adults!

i do want to say it was a tie...
5 handsome boys and 5 beauties.

i'm sure some other mom got a better pic than i did, but geez, i was working with 10 kids (5 of them 7 months old and younger).

left to right
(Lila, Gracie, Will, Mary Elizabeth, Sophie, Barron, Cy, Livi, Braxton, and Colby)

we love you little friends and their moms!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Return

We have all returned...

Daddy made it home safely, as did the other men who heeded the call of the Lord and served the people of Nicaragua. What a trip they had. From the highs of sharing the gospel over ice cream treats, soccor games, and block laying - to the lows of working their way thru spanish screaming riotors with sticks and one man's cut foot that in the US would most definitely need stiches. Praise to God for all the lives safely brought back to their wives and children and for the needy people of Nicargua that they forever touched. I know every man will keep these memories in his heart forever and be changed for the better.

Briley really listened as Joey shared his slideshow pics of the mission trip with us last nite. She asked about the pretty little girls and their families and homes. She wondered aloud about how they don't have things like we do - cozy beds, stuffed animals, or a pantry full of food. After her daddy tucked her in last nite, she wandered back downstairs with a basket full of toys and a note saying, "...FOR SALE TO POR KISSE... " Translated that means for sale to poor kids. She said that she had prayed and God spoke to her heart about giving some of her toys to the poor kids. (Notice she did say for sale and not donate but, she really means just give the needy her excess.)It is so wonderful as a parent to see Christ show Himself in your child. She truly felt Him calling her and wanted to make a difference. My prayer for her every day is that she has a heart full of compassion, and she truly does. This was just one way she showed it. (Check out the pic of her and her toys and sign:)

Joey took lots of pics on his Nicaraguan Adventure. I will just share a few of my faves. Check out his blog in the next few days because I'm sure he'll add more pics and have great stories to tell.

Another thing we celebrated this weekend was Mother's Day. I am so blessed to have three beautiful, healthy children. They truly are gifts from God. Each one so different from the other. Each one a perfect piece to fit into our family. I love them all so much! My prayer is that I can be the mother that God desires me to be. Growing my children in Him and letting Him show me how to mold them into the people he desires them to be. Building up their strengths and gifts, and putting the seed of Christ in them, so they will one day love the Lord as Joey and I do.

It is wonderful to be back home again. We have a crazy week this week with Braxton finishing 3 yr old preschool and Briley having a reading carnival and field day and getting so close to becoming a first grader. I can not believe my kiddos are getting so big. Countdown to summer... 1o DAYS!

Friday, May 9, 2008

as good as it gets

What a life we have lived this week. Beach bums r us. Or maybe I should say pool bums - it is quite an adventure to get all 6 of our little ones to the beach! The beach pics were tough to come by but.. we did get them all in there...barely!

Beachin' it is one of my most favorite things to do. I remember the day when I could take my towel, sunscreen, bottled water and great book and sit back and relax. Those days are no more. I spent all my time digging holes, building castles, collecting buckets of ocean water, scanning the beach for all my peoples, and making sure Barron wasn't eating sand (which we all know is virtually an impossible task!) Honestly though, It was tons of fun. I love watching the kids having a sandy blast. We did really miss daddy this trip. It's always more fun with daddy!

This is as good as it at the sunny beach for a week, in a house with a pool ,and too many ready for fun kids! I couldn't ask for more:) But all good things must come to an end...back home tomorrow! Got to get back to get ready for daddy's return from Nicaragua. Hope the drive home is as peaceful as it was on the way down - or it could be a long way home.

Countdown til daddy...less than 48 hours! We love you daddy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Florida Fun

A few memories... more to follow b/c I love Florida pics.
Oh what fun it has been at the beach so far! Way too many kids and not enough adults but, tons of crazy fun! Thank goodness we are all related because - we are truly a circus. No really, my crew has had so much fun. It is very hard with 3 kiddos on the beach but luckily I am blessed with a sis-in-law Aunt Dana that jumps right in and helps out in Joey's abscence.(By the way, Joey and the guys are doing wonderful in Nicaragua. They had some hitches in the trip but, all is well. Many lives are being touched! More info to follow when I know. I did get to talk with Joey several times which has been an awesome surprise. Thanks for the prayers uplifted!)

Briley and Braxton have swam their hearts out, made sandcastles, enjoyed the hot pool, tested out the not quite warm yet ocean, and been pretty good for their ole mom. Their have been occasional squabbles but, I am dealing.

Barron is loving all the excitement and activity. He has done so well napping and hanging out on his towel at the beach. He did get a bit upset today when Braxton decided he needed sand sprinkled all on his head. Oh well, we are still learning the rules of having a baby on the beach.

Now to our friends - Livi has busted out in her bikini and I will post a picture later b/c she is way too cute. Colby just lounges quietly. What a sweet boy. Cy loves hanging with his big cousins but sometimes his two yr old moments get the best of him. I'll post a group shot when we get brave enough to get them all out on the beach at the same time.

Here's to making more memories over the next few days...

Friday, May 2, 2008

fave foto friday

This picture was taken one year ago. It makes me smile every time I see it. They got themselves dressed, packed their backpacks with all sorts of things, and headed out on an adventure. I didn't pick out or put on one thing for them - I just stopped them to snap a quick pic and they were on their merry way. This shows one of the reasons I love these two so much. They love adventures and they are best of friends! They have inherited a love for the great outdoors that both Joey and I have. They love to find creatures, splash in creeks , run fast and free from the confinements of home, and discover many of the amazing things God created. This crew could roam outside for hours!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Men on a Mission

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am. Send me." Isaiah 6:8

I am asking for prayer for 16 men headed to Nicaragua May 3-10. Their hearts have been called to serve the Lord and those less fortunate. Besides, Joey, I am related to 2 others (a shout out to my bro-in-laws Nate and Rich) and might as well be related to a few more. These guys are very excited to go and work hard on this life changing adventure.

Please pray for safety and health as they go to work and to share the Gospel. Pray each man will be forever changed as will those they witness to and help.

I came upon this verse a few months back and it really touched my heart. If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13 How often do we let the cry of the poor fall upon deaf ears because we are too busy, or don't have the money right now, or think someone else will step up and do the job. My friends, God has called each of us to serve in many different capacities. Make sure you are listening for the cry. God wants each of us to make a difference in this great big world. Something that has eternal value. We can do it here right around us or halfway around the world.