Thursday, December 26, 2013

Blog catch up: Thanksgiving and Snowcation

I am finally getting caught up on my blogging. Life has been really testing me lately. My stress level has been more than I can handle and I have been so incredibly busy; I haven't even had time to process anything. I keep forgetting things that my organized self never would normally ( which is only adding to my stress) . All I can think is that my brain is like a bowl of skittles. The bowl can only hold so many skittles before they spill over. I am sorry if you've become one of my spilled skittles.

My resolution for 2014 is to make more time for me. Normally I would view that as very selfish, but the truth is I am not any good to anyone right now, which feels very selfish too.

Ok enough of that blah blah.

Thanksgiving this year will go down as one of my favorite. Marshal and I being only children, tends to make for very small family gatherings for the holidays. My mom however, is one of seven children, so I remember my holidays growing up being huge with lots of people around. Once my grandparents passed away no one got together anymore. The older I get the more I miss that. This Thanksgiving my parents hosted at my dad's cabin ( GeGe's Cabin as Jaxton likes to say.) My dad's parents came along with two of my mom's brothers and sister. ( yes Aunt Arene you escaped pictures this time.)

( Uncle Roger and Aunt Linda)

( Uncle Rudy and Aunt Nona)

( GeGe never wins the wish bone.)

We also went to Marshal's uncle Eddie's new house on Crow mountain. It is just beautiful and we got a nice long visit with his family. Thanksgiving definitely filled my love tank.

After our week long Thanksgiving break the weather decided we needed a little more time off and we got a Snowcation. Oh it was the best! I stayed home in yoga pants with no makeup the entire week and loved every minute of it. I know a lot of people were complaining about being stuck at home. Not me I was happy as a little lark. I did absolutely nothing. Ok maybe nothing is an exaggeration. I did make 8 blankets for the children's shelter.

( Thank goodness Effie got in the picture. She knows I am not really into selfies.)

Played in the snow.

Made snow ice cream.

Drove through the fields in the jeep.

Went sledding.

And of course spent lots of time snuggling and taking warm bubble baths.

What's not to love about a Snowcation!

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Ashlynn loves to dance. She loves performing even more. This year she received an invitation to audition to preform with the Moscow Ballet in their performance of The Nutcracker at the Walton Art Center. I was really nervous about this because I knew only 12 children in all of NWA were going to be chosen. I didn't want my daughter to be disappointed. I know negative thinking. I also had nothing to worry about because Ashlynn did awesome at her audition and got chosen to participate.

We were both thrilled! While not being anything even close to her experience, I was in a local performance of the Nutcracker as a little girl. I was so excited to have my daughter experience it too. ( Ashlynn was not impressed that I was a mouse....Ha)

I of course jumped at the opportunity to be one of the backstage moms. I am not sure who had more fun, Ashlynn or me. Ok I'll let Ashlynn win this one. It was however super neat seeing the behind the scenes view. I mean seriously, you haven't lived until you've seen a bunch of Russian ballerina men running around with nothing but white tights on. Ha! I didn't handle that very professionally. Lena and I giggled out loud and didn't even try to get control of ourselves.

There was so much to backstage that I had never thought of before. Hundreds of cords to make all those cool backdrops work.

Tons of people crammed into tiny spaces. And those ballerinas that look so beautiful and graceful on stage. Umm yeah not so much. Up close they are sweaty and gross.

It also surprised me how small the stage feels when on it. Sitting in the audience it seems so large.

Ashlynn got quite a bit of stage time. She was one of the children at the party scene. She loved every minute on stage. She said " when you are on that stage, it just feels magical." She honestly couldn't get enough of it.

( Grant and Paige are in Ashlynn's All That Dance company.)

(Group with there stage moms. )

I think she also loved all the star treatment she got after her performances.

(GeGe asking for her autograph. )

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Turn To Spill

Over the last two days I have been trying to process my feelings. I haven't had a whole lot of luck. I keep hearing the words of the people around me: congratulations, it's over, you must be so relieved, I bet it's a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. While I believe that is how I should feel,it isn't what I am feeling at all.

My dad won. That is a huge victory. It is a completely good thing. It is also a huge sigh of relief to know that the media part of this is almost over.

I am sure there will be more after the hearing in February, but as far as the public battle, the worst is over. No more wondering what half truths will be published the next morning in the paper.

However how can I feel relieved? I certainly am not feeling the congratulations. I don't know what I expected,but it wasn't this. This feeling of disappointment. Of mistrust. Of heartache. I think while getting ready for the trial, I felt a sense of righting a wrong. Almost fighting for what was right. Now that it is over I realize that the wrong is still wrong. A trail, a judge and a jury can't make bad people good.

Mayor Greg Hines testified, under oath, that he didn't know or follow the ordinances in his own city. That he believed it was perfectly acceptable to ruin another persons name by releasing slanderous material to the media. Now obviously the judge and jury ruled that he ( Mayor Hines) was wrong in his actions, but his disregard for human kindness is baffling to me. I truly believed that people were genuinely good. That we were made to be uplifting to other people. It makes me so sad to learn how wrong I am about that. To some people, selfishness is much more important.

Just a tidbit that you may or may not know, because our local media only reports the side of the story they want to, Mayor Greg Hines, along with the city attorney Ben Lipscomb, went duck hunting together in January 2012. Now Mr. Lipscomb got a cash advance from the city of Rogers to attend a three day conference. During that three day conference he received a total of 2 hours of training credit ( 2 hours for 3 days). He returned from the conference and turned in zero receipts. He did however document his duck hunting success for those three days on his Facebook page. Now, being the treasure of the city and a morally driven person, my dad report his suspension of misuse of city funds. That report was made on April 26, 2012. My dad was fired May 14, 2012. I'll let you do the math on that one. These are all facts recorded during the trial by the way. I understand that I am putting this out on the internet where anyone can find it with a google search on names. I also would argue with you that even though the law states whistle blower only applies for significant sums of money, any misuse of city funds seems wrong to me. I don't know about you, but I would prefer to think city officials were being good stewards of my tax dollars down to the penny.

While I am throwing out names, let me throw out two more. Marge Wolf, who is currently running for state legislature, and Betsy Reithemeyer. Friends one day and stab you in the back the next. It shocks me and I would actually love for you to answer this one. I have always been taught to respect and look up to people older than me. Is that what friendship is all about at your age? I wonder if time will heal this for me? You have made me want to keep friends at arms length. How can I trust friends with the example you have provided?

I know that isn't what friendship is about. Thank goodness. If it were I would give up on people altogether. God showed me friendship are those people that sat day in and day out in the courtroom supporting us.Those that sat by us, held our hand, and hugged us when we need it. Those text messages and calls checking on us. That is friendship. I honestly could not have made it without them. Words cannot begin to describe how hard that all was. I thought I was going to have to choose between vomiting in my purse or in the floor multiple times. My body was in physical pain. Every nerve in my body was tensed to the max and I had to constantly move to hide the fact I was shaking nonstop. I kept thinking the judge was going to kick me out each time my tears started to fall. I can't even imagine how I would have done that by myself. For those that came to the courtroom and those that sent prayers because they couldn't be there in person; I will be forever grateful.

I know this post is all over the place. My random thoughts are hard to record. I am going to leave you with this. In part of my dad's testimony he testified that he was thankful he had a girl instead of a boy. A girl so that she didn't have his last name. A last name that for the last 18 months has been surround in negativity. I may be married. I may love having the last name Watson, but I always have and will be proud of the name Hudlow. I am Andrea Michelle Hudlow Watson. I have never been more proud of being Jerry Hudlow's daughter than I am now.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Baby is ( I can't even say it)

I am having a hard time admitting that Jaxton is turning four. He is still very much my baby. Yesterday we had his birthday party, but lucky for me he isn't actually turning four until Tuesday so I am still enjoying my three year old.

This past spring one of the neighbors had rented a bouncy house for their child's birthday party. Since then Jaxton has been telling me that's what he wanted for his birthday. I kept trying to explain he was born in November and the weather is usually not that great for outdoor parties, but I decided to risk it and just go for it. It turned out to be absolutely perfect! I could not have asked for a nicer day. Not too hot, not too cold, just right.

Jaxton really likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates so we had a pirate themed party. He was such a happy boy all day, which made for one happy momma.

The details:

The party:

And let's not forget the after party:


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