Happy Thanksgiving!

How many family pictures does it take to get a good one?!?!
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!!

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Five Lies About Being Team Green

We decided very early on in my pregnancy that we wouldn’t find out the gender of this baby. Since then I’ve learned a lot about what it looks like to be “team green” (i.e. not “team pink” or “team blue” but in the gender neutral “green” area). Here are 5 lies about being team green that I’ve discovered in the last 5 months!

1. Everyone Should Be Team Green!

Not finding out the gender of your baby is a very personal decision and the parents to be are the only ones who can make that decision. I’ve had several people tell me that not knowing baby’s gender was the way “everyone used to do it” and that it’s the “way it should be”. While I agree that it was {by default} the way that everyone had to do it years ago, we now have the technology that allows us to find out gender before birth and if you want to take advantage of that technology go ahead and find out!

We found out beforehand that Isaiah was a boy and, of course, we knew Eloise was a girl by the time we brought her home. =) I would never ever ever in a million years want to go team green for my first baby, and probably not even for my second. With all the baby showers you have with your first and all the things you are buying new you get a lot of green and yellow stuff if you are team green and I was not/am not a big fan of gender neutral stuff. With my first baby it was my personal preference to know what I was having so that I could get all the gender specific baby stuff I wanted for him and have boy clothes and blankets, etc all ready to go. I never even considered going team green. I knew I absolutely didn’t want to.

If we had not adopted our second, I am 99.9% sure that we would have found out the gender of baby #2. Mainly because if it was a girl I would have wanted to get started on buying lots of fun girly stuff! {And} if I had two boys or two girls already, I would most likely be finding out the gender of baby #3 for the same reason. But now that we have both a boy and a girl, we are looking forward to going team green this time. I have stuff for each, I’m not having any more baby showers (wouldn’t showers be a great idea for your third baby!?!?!), and we will be delighted with either a boy or a girl.

RECAP: The bottom line is that you need to do what’s best for you and your family. I personally would not go team green for my first baby, if I was desperately hoping for a certain gender, or if I already had 2, 3 or more of the same gender. Our circumstances this time around made us comfortable with going team green but we wouldn’t have wanted to do it earlier. We are so excited this time to experience the {surprise} in the delivery room and see if it’s really as amazing as many people talk about! =)

2. Being Team Green Helps you Save Money

While I do agree that being team green does help to save money before baby is born, I don’t think it helps to save money in the long run. Because we don’t know the gender of baby #3 I am buying very little for the new little bean right now. {However} once the little peanut is born we will need to purchase a few things, especially if it’s a girl because we don’t have any newborn girl things (Eloise was six months old when we brought her home).

When we found out Isaiah was a boy I spent the next 5 months stocking up on baby boy things little by little, buying things on sale, yardsaling, and scoping out the best deals. If you wait to find out the gender until baby is born you will most likely not have as much time to find the best deals on some things and could end up paying full price for more (unless you buy gender neutral stuff beforehand).

If you already have both boy and girl newborn essentials at home you should be fine but if it’s your first baby or you have a different gender baby than your first 2 (or 3 or 4) you may end up spending more in the long run as you rush out to get the gender specific things baby needs right away (things that were on sale weeks or months ago but you couldn’t buy yet because you didn’t know baby’s gender).

3. Being Team Green Prevents You From Bonding With Your Baby

Many people fear that if they don’t know the gender of their baby they won’t fully be able to bond with him or her. I do agree that bonding with this baby has been different than bonding with Isaiah. Once we found out Isaiah was a boy we were able to look only at boy names and boy stuff and dream about having a sweet little baby boy in our family. It allowed me to think and dream about our life with him in a specific way.

Not knowing the gender of this baby has not prevented us from bonding with him or her, though. Some days we call this baby a boy and some days a girl. We imagine life with both genders and think about both boy and girl names. We still fall in love with the ultrasound pictures and love to feel the baby move and kick. We are so excited to meet baby bean, not because he or she is a specific gender but because he or she is {our} baby. And we have bonded to our baby no matter what gender he or she happens to be!

4. You Cannot Be Fully Prepared For Baby If You Are Team Green

I like to be prepared. Preparing for a team green baby looks different than preparing for a baby with a known gender, but you can still be prepared for baby’s arrival! As I mentioned before, I am not a fan of gender neutral clothing, blankets, etc. Thus, we will be bringing a newborn baby boy outfit and a newborn baby girl outfit to the hospital. We will be bringing both boy and girl blankets, pacifiers, etc. At home, I will have Isaiah’s baby boy clothes washed and ready and several baby girl outfits (with tags still on and receipts handy for easy return if need be!) ready to go.

I have a bouncy seat and swing that Isaiah used that can be used for a girl too. I have a boppy that could also go either way. We have bottles and burp cloths and most everything else for baby that could be used for either a boy or a girl.

As for bedding and decorating the nursery…. This can be a hard one, especially if it’s your first baby you and you can’t wait to get the nursery all set up! (Even if it’s your third it’s exciting to get the baby’s room all ready!). We are going to be moving a few months after baby is born so we won’t need to decorate the nursery until after we move (and after baby is born). This was actually one of the reasons that finally convinced me to go team green. One of my favorite parts of bringing baby home is having their room all set up before they even arrive. I did this with both my kids and loved bringing them home to the rooms made just for them with all their cute little stuff inside. But this time around I figured since I have to wait to set up their nursery anyways I might as well wait to find out their gender! Ha! =) In all seriousness though, it’s very doable to decorate the nursery once baby has already arrived. You can spend the months leading up to baby’s birth planning how you want to decorate a baby boy and a baby girl room and that way you will be all ready to go once baby arrives! You will have your plan and it will all come together soon enough, even if it is after baby’s arrival. Baby may end up sleeping in your bedroom for the first few months anyways!

If gender neutral stuff bothers you as much as it does me but you still want to go team green, one idea is to shop for baby boy and baby girl stuff online at amazon.com or someplace similar. Fill your cart with the gender specific stuff you want for baby but don’t click purchase until you find out what baby is (and you remove all the stuff of the opposite gender!). You could even click purchase from your hospital bed hours after baby is born and all the gender specific stuff you want could be at your doorstep with 2 day shipping by the time you get home from the hospital!

5. People Who Are Super Organized Cannot Be Team Green

I like to know what is happening and exactly when it is happening. I like to be organized and have everything in it’s place. I like to be fully prepared whenever I can.

Being team green tests the personalities of such people! It’s hard not to know and not be preparing as much as I’d like to be right now. Sometimes it drives me crazy thinking that right now we could know baby’s gender and yet we {chose} not to! What in the world were we thinking?!?!?

Though I’m not organizing this time in the same way that I was with Isaiah, I’m still organizing! I am still working on making sure that we have everything ready for baby’s arrival and that we have everything we need. I may not be able to plan as {much} as I want to right now (Who will baby share a room with? I want to put the boys together or the girls together so can’t plan that yet!) but I’m still planning. And trust me, there’s enough to think about even without thinking about all the implications that a specific gender will bring on our family!

It is possible for people like me to be team green but it may not be easy! In the end I’m hoping that it’s worth the wait and that when we hear those words, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” we’ll be so wrapped up in the awesomeness of the surprise that we’ll be glad we went team green!

Facebook Lies

Do you have Facebook friends who lead perfect lives? You know the ones I’m talking about…The ones that home school 10 kids at once and cook all their food from scratch and {always} have a clean house and they look fabulous all of the time and their children {never} fight or throw a temper tantrum and everything they place in their mouths is 100% organic and they sew all 10 of their kids’ Halloween costumes themselves each year and they always find the cheapest gas prices and make homemade crafts with their kids every day and they lead 5 Bible studies and are president of the rotary club and… well, basically, they’re perfect. At least that’s how it appears on Facebook, right?
Facebook can lie. Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook. I use it often and it’s a great way to keep in contact with people, especially for someone like me who grew up in several different countries and have friends all over the world. I appreciate Facebook. But, sometimes I think it could be called Fakebook, because it’s {so} easy to appear {fake} on Facebook (not necessarily on purpose!).
I get it. Most people don’t want to post the worst pictures of themselves or list out all of their failures or constantly comment on how terrible their lives are. You actually probably have some friends who often do the latter and that gets old real quick! But in posting about mainly the best parts of their lives, some of our Facebook friends really do seem to have it all together.
But Facebook doesn’t always tell the whole story. For instance, when I take a picture of my kids and they are smiling nicely and have their arms sweetly around each other, I post it! But I don’t post (or comment about) the 50 pictures I took before that where my kids were refusing to smile or had their fingers up their noses. And I certainly don’t comment that as soon as I snapped the picture one of them smacked the other in the face which caused a catastrophic meltdown which ultimately led to an early nap time (for me!)! I post the picture on Facebook and everyone thinks, “Wow, what perfectly adorable children. I wish mine were that well behaved.” Ha! Right!
I’m not saying that we should all start posting about the {awful} parts of our lives or start using Facebook as a place to constantly complain. And I’m not saying that we should stop posting about the {good} things in our lives and the things we can praise God for. I’m simply reminding you that Facebook doesn’t always tell the {whole story}. The perfect life you think your friend is leading because of his or her status updates and pictures may not be as perfect as you think.
Don’t let Facebook cause jealousy or feed bitterness or stir up discontentment in you. Use it as a fantastic way to keep in touch with people and their lives and to share about the wonderful things in your life or the not so good things you need prayer about. But don’t let it lead you to feelings of failure about your own life and how it doesn’t seem to measure up to others’. Facebook can be real. But remember, sometimes it really can be Fakebook.

20 Week Ultrasound: It’s a …………!

20 weeks!

Earlier this week I had my {big} 20 week ultrasound (at 19.5 weeks). We were able to schedule it in the evening and were able to hire a babysitter so it worked out that Drew and I were able to go on a little date night just the two of us to see our new little peanut. It was so much fun!

Ultrasound date night!

As most of you know we were {hoping} to go “team green” this time and not find out what we are having. I’ve been nervous for a couple of weeks that the tech was accidentally going to spoil the surprise! I was afraid we’d either see something on the ultrasound or the tech would say something like, “All right, you’re all done. {He} looks great!”

The big day finally came and we told the tech as soon as we entered the room that we did NOT want to find out the gender of the baby. Well……………. All went as planned and we are happy to report that at our 20 weeks ultrasound we found out that it’s a ……………….. healthy baby!!

Haha. =) Sorry, no gender reveal going on in this post! We had a great teach who was extra careful and didn’t spoil any surprises for us. She herself didn’t even take a look at the gender so she wouldn’t accidentally give anything away. We were able to spend a whole hour watching the ultrasound of our sweet little peanut and still have no idea whether it’s a boy or a girl!

We are thankful that we did find out at the ultrasound that all looks well with the baby. He or she was moving all around, blinking, yawning, and sucking their fingers and we could see it all. It was so sweet. Baby is weighing in at 10 ounces and measuring right on track for the exact day I’m due.

It’s weird to think that we could know by now whether little bean is a boy or a girl and I’ll admit that the day after the ultrasound I was feeling really bummed that we chose not to find out. We’re hoping to stay strong, though, and wait for the ultimate surprise on delivery day. It will give me something to {literally} push for!!!

 

A Surprise Birthday Post by Am’s Hunk of a Husband, Guaranteed to Cause You to Smile

This post allows me to do for Am what she otherwise would never do for herself – brag on her. Now before you stop reading due to thinking this post is going to be lovey-dovey and all mushy mush, rest assured there will be things discussed which I believe you, your fiancé, or spouse can relate to. This post will have some satire in it, so do take some things with several grains of salt. The first half of the post I share three things about Am which make her my awesome spouse and best friend. The latter half are three dynamics of our marriage involving Am which always bring a smile to my face and I believe will do the same for you.

When I first saw Amber walking through the courtyard of Moody Bible Institute, I thought to myself “Wow, now that’s one hot tamale!” To say the least, I thought she was way out of my league, so I didn’t really pursue her at the time. Come some time later, I came to know more of her through some friends who knew her, saying they thought we would make a solid pair. Then it donned on me, who’s to say that it’s not her that’s out of my league, but it’s me, this strapping young gent, who is out of her league? Why in fact, I quickly thought ever confidently that I would be doing her a disservice in not giving her a chance to date me. And thus, having compassion upon her, I asked her out. Despite her saying yes, I soon realized my latter analysis was far from the truth, and the former is the more correct story – I was and still remain way out of her league (the smartest thing a husband can do is to marry up!).

After we dated for a while, I realized I would never find a gal quite like her and it was time to propose. In order to ensure success, I decided to fly her to Africa to ask her to marry me. This way, if she said no, her round trip ticket could easily become a one way ticket :). Thankfully, she said yes. To this day, I have fallen deeper in love with this beautiful blonde headed, raised in Africa woman who has the heart of a Mother Teresa, yet the adventurous spirit of an Indiana Jones.
From the onset of our marriage there were many things which captured my heart about Am which still have me smitten for her today. Here are three things I want to elaborate upon:
  1. Am, the wonder woman homemaker
  2. My wife makes me feel good
  3. This babe has made my dreams, her dreams

Am, the Wonder Woman Homemaker

Amber knows how to run a household and she does an incredible job of it. She keeps the house so clean, you’d think we were selling it and had a realtor showing it that night. And I don’t know how she does it all. Our kids, ages 3 and 1 ½ have the gift of creating mess after mess wherever we have lived. Sometimes I’ll arrive home early before Am has been able to clean up and this allows me to help her. I’m just flabbergasted when I walk in and see blankies and pillows everywhere, footballs and basketballs everywhere, shoes everywhere, cups with juice residue everywhere, diapers everywhere, and so forth. Yet on most days when I arrive home at a normal time, all of this has been cleaned up.

Isn’t this a nice house? Well, it’s not ours, but it looked so clean it reminded me of how clean Am keeps our place 🙂

Am is also a supreme cook. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a bad, home-cooked meal since I’ve been married. To be frank, Am puts Paula Dean, Betty Crocker, and Rachel Ray to shame when it comes to cooking and baking. This makes me both a happy husband, but also a proud man to say my wife can throw-down in the kitchen! It also makes me a husband who has stopped growing vertically, but continues to have annual growth spurts horizontally.

Then there’s all of the little stuff I would have never thought about doing such as organizing the pantries, doing the laundry, and other household duties – she does it all. I can specifically remember early on in our marriage when we had to take a trip somewhere for our mission work we were doing and I arrived home and our bags were completely packed. This was amazing. Well, my wife is amazing.

 

My Wife Makes Me Feel Good
Current Ford CEO, Alan Mulally, once said “While it’s nice to feel important, it’s more important to be nice.” Amber does an incredible job of making me feel important, while modeling before me the importance of always being nice. Time and again she reminds me how proud she is of who I am, what I’m trying to do in life, often pointing out my strengths and how hard she thinks I’m working to take care of the family. I rarely see what she does, but I can tell you this, it makes me feel like a billion bucks and keeps me wanting to work hard to care for my family. At the same time, she always encourages me to have the right response with people and to ensure I have a Christ-like attitude towards situations in life. Much of life is about how we react to things, whether good or not so good. Amber has always been there in good or bad times to remind me to have the right attitude, to remain kind to others, and take faithfulness one day at a time. She has modeled before me how to have a sensitive spirit during times of adversity with others and how to react to them as well as one can, trying to be nice in the process.

 

She makes my dreams, her dreams

Before we were married, a piece of advice we were given was to help one another pursue each other’s dreams and passions. She has done this time and again for me. Throughout our marriage I have changed professional and educational interests twice and this has led me to a career change. While it is quite difficult to do this and it takes quite a bit of extra work, Amber has made this all possible for me by being incredibly supportive, taking an interest in my interests, wanting to help my dreams come to fruition. Admittedly so, sometimes I come home with a wild idea or two, such as wanting to run for president (any supporters out there?!), and to these wild ideas she kindly reminds me “Hunny, let’s just take one thing at a time!” Regardless of the goal, Am has been there for me and has supported me through it all.

I would now like to share some dynamics of our marriage which are things that Am does which always make me smile and love her even more. These are things which I believe most spouses can relate to. Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself thinking of one of these things or something else in our marriage which makes me smile or laugh and realize why I love this woman so much.
Here are three interesting and comical things which make my Am one of a kind. Hopefully you can relate to these:

  1. Am, my nose and ear hair plucker
  2. My beautiful toothpaste utilizer
  3. My sweet, kind wife, the warrior competitor
Am, Nose & Ear Hair Plucker
During any given month, there comes a day when either a nose hair or ear hair of mine has reached the length deemed an embarrassment to be seen in public with. My sweets will often say “How many years has that one been growing in there!?” Now to remove the hair there are several different ways one could do this and instruments they could use such as these:
For some ungodly reason, my wife prefers to use tweezers and pluck these hairs out. Apparently this has something to do with getting the entire root of the hair out so it won’t grow back. The first time she did this I thought to myself “How does she know these hairs are to me what whiskers are to a dog? How does she know she’s not about to disrupt my equilibrium and cause me to walk diagonally the rest of our marriage?!” Somehow she knew this wouldn’t happen and proceeded to pluck away. I think the government should ban such forms of torture as to date I have had somewhere between 200,000-250,000 hairs plucked. I think I have even heard a deep “WuHAHA” laugh coming from her as she plucks away. All jokes aside, despite the millisecond of pain I endure, I’m thankful my wife cares about my growing nostril and ear hairs enough to pluck them out. I think it’s cute and I appreciate it.
My Beautiful Toothpaste Utilizer

Before you get married everyone talks about silly things you’ll fight over like rolling up the toothpaste tube. We don’t argue over this, but I’m always amazed at how she finds a way to utilize what seems to be not even the slightest amount of toothpaste in the tube. Sometimes I feel like we’re playing a game to see who can go the longest before telling the other we’re out of toothpaste! This is actually a good problem to have as my wife likes to use as much of something as possible to get the full value out of it. What’s difficult is when I wake up much earlier than her, get completely ready to run out the door to work, only to spend an un-planned 10 or 15 minutes trying to squeeze out any amount of toothpaste left in the tube. Well, I’m just glad she can get it out faster than I and use it all up because I’m not even sure where another toothpaste tube is in our house. I just show up in the bathroom the next day and a new one is there, thanks to my wife.

My Sweet, Kind Wife, the Warrior Competitor

We love playing games. Board games and especially card games. Often times in a marriage where each spouse enjoys playing games, there’s usually one spouse who is extremely competitive while the other spouse could care less if they win or lose. Ironically, it’s the latter who wins all the time as if they weren’t even trying to. This, I’m sure has made for many a heated conversation for couples following game time. What’s more interesting is when both spouses are as equally competitive and will move mountains to obtain victory whether they’re playing Go Fish or Euchre. This is Am and I. And we have learned to utilize this to our advantage by making sure we’re always on the same team. This has benefited us well, especially in Euchre (for any southern readers, Euchre is a card game comparable to Spades). To date Am and I have won 6,243 games of Euchre while losing 2. One of those two losses game from letting a newly-learned Euchre player beat us to help them gain some confidence, and the other from Am’s parents beating us; you always want to stay on the in-laws’ good side. 🙂

I love Amber’s competitive nature; it’s sexy to me. There are sometimes, however, when it gets the best of us. A couple Saturdays ago would make for a good example. We had over a lovely couple – Am’s sister and her husband (Kate and Derek). They brought over a couple of games which we played. One of which was Phase 10. This wasn’t a team game and therefore, Amber and I were against one another. As the game commenced, Am and I kindly left our guests in the dust, advancing phase after phase. Then came phase 8. I was dealt several “skip cards,” which, as the names implies, it allows you to skip the following player forgoing their chance to play that hand. When I played the first card, Am didn’t mind as that’s part of the game. When I played the second one, something happened which strikes fear in the heart of every husband – I was given the look. I knew right then she did not appreciate me skipping her. As the intensity grew, Am and I advanced to the next round. Then, the funniest thing happened. Derek leaned over to Katelyn and whispered intentionally loud enough so we could hear “Hunny, I don’t know if I want to be here for the last round!” HA! I was thankful he did this as it caused all to laugh and eased the competitive atmosphere. Well, I won’t say who won. All I’ll say is that because we’re married, when one of us wins, the other wins, and because one of us did win Phase 10, we both won. 🙂

The bottom-line to all of these stories is that I have a great wife and I love everything about her. She makes me laugh, smile, and a proud husband and father.

As I began this post writing to you the reader, I’ll end it by writing directly to the birthday girl:

 

Sweets, you’re an amazing, godly woman and the most beautiful part of our family. You become even more beautiful to me year after year. Thanks for being an incredible helpmate and partner to persevere through life with. You’re my wonder woman and I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

 

 

 

Hutcheson Halloween 2013

This year was the first year that the kids have been old enough to understand and enjoy Halloween. Isaiah would have enjoyed it last year too but we were living in Uganda then and well… not much trick or treating goes on there. =)

We started the Halloween celebration a few weeks ago with some pumpkin carving (which Isaiah {loved}, although he was pretty grossed out by the pumpkin “guts”)! Then, on Halloween night, we went to a local church that had indoor trick or treating. It was a rainy evening so we opted to do something indoor so the kids could stay warm and dry. Unfortunately, there were like 1,000 people (no joke!) that went to that church that night so we ended up waiting outside in the rain for over a half hour before we actually made it far enough in line to get into the building. Once we got inside the kids had a blast but it was quite an adventure during the wait (with no umbrella!). Thankfully the kids didn’t have any face paint or anything on and their costumes dried quickly. It was a {fun} night!

The kids came back with tons of candy! Surprisingly, neither of them have asked to have any of it since that night, even though their buckets are sitting on the counter in plain view still full of candy! I’m planning to let them keep a few special pieces and then “trade” the rest of it in to receive a new fun toy. I’d rather have them playing than rotting their teeth out with candy!!

Hope your Halloween was also great (and preferably drier!!)! =)

Pumpkin carving night. Eloise modeling a true FRO!

 

Josh (rockin the fro) and his daughter, Nova.

 

Having fun carving pumpkins. =)

 

Nova and Eloise had fun together during the pumpkin carving.

 

Serious carvers

 

Pumpkin carving!

 

I did not carve this pumpkin and I’m NOT going to mention who did.

 

My cute little pumpkin.

 

Love him. ❤

 

My cute little trick-or-treaters!! Thomas the Train and a little kitty.

 

Being silly.

 

Love these two!

 

And they love each other!

 

Sweet kitty cat.

 

Enjoying her first piece of Halloween candy.

 

“Eloise, smile!”

 

Checking out their loot. Both kids got a lot!!!