Why Our Daughter is a Princess AND a Servant

Just like many little girls her age, Eloise is obsessed with princesses. Her current favorite is Elsa from Frozen (Ummmm hello? Isn’t every little girl currently obsessed with Elsa!?). For Halloween she is going to be Cinderella (she’s content being pretty much ANY princess). At the top of her lungs she points out any princess she sees. She loves to read princess story books and watch princess movies.

Sometimes she even thinks her name is Princess. The other day I watched a hilarious exchange between the kids and some complete strangers. The kids were out on our deck and were yelling out to some strangers in the parking lot (we currently live in an apartment building). Isaiah shouted, “Hey, my name is Isaiah!” and the strangers politely responded what their names were. Then he yelled out, “And this is my sister. Her name is Ellawee!” But Eloise was having none of that and she shouted, “NO I’m Princess!”. And thus started a debate of the two kids yelling out to the poor, unsuspecting strangers, “Her name is Eloise” and “NO I’m Princess!” over and over again. I’m pretty sure those dazed strangers left without understanding a word of what was going on, just happy to get in their car and speed away from those crazy children. =)

We love that Eloise loves princesses and says that she is one. BUT we are very careful with how far we allow the whole princess attitude to go. We want her to grow in her understanding that her princess playtime is clearly fantasy and not something to truly aspire to.

I think there are some serious issues with kids growing up in our country these days. Since we’re talking about girls I’ll focus on them for now. Girls are growing up thinking they are not only princesses but QUEENS, needing to be served, having people (men) bend their wills to them, thinking they are in charge of life! Many parents are raising a generation of spoiled, rotten, brats (to put it frankly) who get what they want when they want it because they are “royalty”! Girls are fixated on looking perfect and are constantly searching for the newest thing to make them look more beautiful. And I think some of it starts at two years old with the princess mentality (though obviously not a complete and holistic source). Our girls are growing up from a young age thinking they rule the roost! They are the princess, the boss, the chief of command! (And please, if you don’t believe me just watch the show Toddlers and Tiaras.) This is not the mentality that we want to instill in Eloise or any of our children. And it’s not the example that Jesus set before us…

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28


We need to be careful to set the example of Jesus before our girls, not the example of the world. Yes, Eloise can pretend to be a princess. She can be Cinderella for Halloween. She can dress up in princess dresses and read princess books, and have a princess themed room. {BUT} she is also a servant. She is a princess AND a servant. And if you ask her she will tell you that! (Hopefully…. we’ve been working for some time now to drill it into her). We want to teach Eloise that in order to be a great princess, she has to be a great servant. She needs to serve others, to look out for others above herself, not to expect everything to be handed to her but to be willing to put in hard work and effort. Not to live on a throne above the rest of society but to get her hands dirty digging in the dirt, taking care of herself, her family, and helping others. 
While being a princess sounds wonderful (beautiful, “saved” by a prince, rich, etc), it is not realistic. For most of us life does not provide (on a constant basis) a flood of lavish gifts, attention, and assistance in times of need. And we don’t want our daughters growing up thinking that that is how life is supposed to be. I don’t want my daughters to expect to get everything they want; Drew and I hope to raise them to be thankful for getting the things they need.

The Bible speaks of a reputable woman as being a servant,

“She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?”
1 Timothy 5:10

And does the Proverbs 31 woman, the woman God calls “excellent”, sound like a Disney princess to you? She is a princess for sure, but not the kind we think of. (Not all verses from the chapter are included)

15 She <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17300S" data-link="(S)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>rises while it is yet night
    and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17300T" data-link="(T)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 
17 She <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17302U" data-link="(U)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 
20 She <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17305V" data-link="(V)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>opens her hand to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17305W" data-link="(W)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the poor
    and reaches out her hands to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17305X" data-link="(X)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the needy.
21 
22 She makes <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17307Z" data-link="(Z)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17307AA" data-link="(AA)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>fine linen and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17307AB" data-link="(AB)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>purple.
23 
25 <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17310AE" data-link="(AE)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

And what does God say about this woman?

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17314AF" data-link="(AF)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>women have done <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17314AG" data-link="(AG)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
excellently,

    but you surpass them all.”
30 <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-17315AH" data-link="(AH)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

This is the type of woman we want Eloise to be!

And we teach the same concept of servant hood to Isaiah. He is told by Drew often that, “In order to be a great leader, he must first be a great servant.” And we will tell Olive the same things as she gets older.

Please, don’t get me wrong. We want our kids to know how special and loved they are to us, others, and God. We want them to feel treasured. Eloise {IS} treasured. She is LOVED. She is special. She is priceless to us. And we want her future spouse to feel and treat her the same way. We want to give her the whole world and then some! But, more important than the things we WANT to give her is our overarching desire not to have her (or any of our children) grow up with a sense of entitlement in life. Thinking that they deserve more, better, the best out of life because of the priceless prince or princesses that they are.
We believe Eloise is a princess. But we remind her that she is also a servant. And she is for darn sure the cutest princess/servant I have ever seen!  
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Pumpkin Patch 2014

Yesterday we made a little visit to a nearby pumpkin patch. It’s a tradition of ours to take the kids to a pumpkin patch each fall and let them each pick out a pumpkin. Isaiah was so excited all day long… He couldn’t WAIT for daddy to get home from work so we could go! Eloise caught onto Isaiah’s excitement but I don’t think she had any idea what a pumpkin patch was because she was too little to remember last year. But all the kids had a blast and we found some perfect pumpkins that we are going to work on carving sometime soon. =) Krispy Kreme donuts on the way home made for a perfect evening.

What fall traditions do you have for your family?

Let the pumpkin picking begin!

 

❤ The cuteness!!!! ❤

 

I promise you, we TRIED to get a good picture… after about 10 shots, cheesy smiles, and silly gestures, we took what we could get. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

So thankful for my family!
Leaving with pumpkins in hand! (Daddy carried the big one!) It was a fun evening!

Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Eloise!

Today we are celebrating Eloise’s 2nd Gotcha Day! Eloise’s “Gotcha Day” is the day we brought her home from the orphanage and each year, on October 16th, we celebrate the day that she became a part of our family!! Can’t believe she has been our daughter for TWO years!
I vividly remember October 16th, 2012. We had met Eloise at her orphanage almost a month and a half earlier and, since meeting her, had been finalizing the details in order to bring her home. I remember waking up that morning and thinking that it would be so cool if our baby girl could come home that day. Why? Well just because I’m all sentimental about dates and stuff and October 16th was Isaiah’s due date (he was born three weeks early on September 25th). But still, I thought it would be kind of cool if our baby girl came home on the day our baby boy was scheduled to make his debut. =)
But the day wore on and we hadn’t heard anything from our social worker. I remember that I decided to take a walk with Isaiah and go down to a store that I had seen earlier that sold used baby items to see if I could find anything for Eloise for whenever we did bring her home. It was about 5 o’clock at that point and I was sure that October 16th was {not} going to be the day our sweet baby came home. On our way back home I got a call from Drew with some of the most wonderful words I had ever heard, “Let’s go get our baby girl!” The social worker had called him and said we were good to go! We could go right then and there and pick her up!
One and a half hours later we were at her orphanage and after signing paperwork and saying goodbyes we rode home with 6 month old Eloise Ann, the newest addition to our family. There was much much much more paperwork, hearings, documents, and other hoops to jump through to make her legally our daughter but on October 16th, 2012 Eloise became as much our daughter in our hearts as she would ever be to us.
I remember driving home with her and thinking, “This was crazy!!!!” Thankfully I had her room all set up already (UNLIKE Isaiah who, poor child, had to come home to a nursery with NO crib because it was on back order and he came three weeks earlier than expected!). I had also induced lactation and had been pumping for months so I had a huge supply of breastmilk stocked up for Eloise’s bottles (although I didn’t end up needing most of it because she learned to nurse after just a short time after she came home!). You can read more about how I induced lactation here
That night Eloise took forever to fall asleep. She cried and cried and cried.  For weeks she woke up every 20 minutes during the night. She smiled, but hesitantly. She was scared. You could see the questions in her eyes as they flooded with tears. You could hear the fear and sadness in her cry as she called out for the caretaker she was familiar with in her orphanage.
Eloise had experienced so much pain and loss in her short 6 months of life before us. First she lost a birth mother. Then she lost her caretaker. Now she was in a strange home with a family longing to love her as their own, but she had no idea who we were. Adoption is funny that way. Those months that we had been staring at her picture and falling in love with her were unknown to her. We had been visiting her every week but still she did not feel comfortable with us after just a few hours a day. We had a jump start on loving her but it didn’t take her long to catch up… 
Oh what a turnaround this sweet baby girl has made! Eloise is such a sweet, happy 2 1/2 year old girl, always giggling and laughing. She has such a tender heart, concerned when others are hurting. She is a little snuggle bug and loves to give kisses. She is a beautiful girl inside and out. She has a strong will and knows what she wants… and she gets a fair amount of spankens! =)  Yet she has compassion and understands wrong. She is the most adoring big sister to her little Baby Olive and sweet to Isaiah as well. She brings joy to our household. 
Almost every night, when I put Eloise to bed, I whisper in her ear “Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. We will never ever leave you. You are OUR girl forever. We will always take care of you, feed you, make sure you have what you need, and love you. We are never ever ever going to let you go.” And then, because she loves it, I sing her a little song (to the tune of a song on Daniel Tiger), “Mommy will come back. Daddy will come back.” You should see her face light up! She just delights in hearing me say that we will never “get rid” of her like others have done in the past. If we leave we will {ALWAYS} come back for her. We do all we can to make sure she knows that she is safe and secure with us and we are never going anywhere.
We know that adoption issues are going to pop up in her future. She has been through a lot and we are not niave to the struggles she may have as she grows in her understanding of how/why she is in our family. But for now we are enjoying our sweet little girl and trying to do all we can to strengthen her trust in us and fill her love tank!
We are so blessed that God chose us to parent this precious little girl! As I wrote here, Eloise is as much my own daughter as any baby girl I have will ever be. Two years ago we brought Eloise home through the miracle of adoption, one year ago we celebrated her First Gotcha Day, and today we celebrate that she has been in our family two great years!
Happy Gotcha Day, Eloise Ann!! We love you!
(Hope you enjoy the pictures I’ve posted below! It was fun taking a trip down memory lane as I looked through our pictures, trying to choose the ones that best represent our two years with Eloise. Remember, you can click on the photos to make them bigger and easier to scroll through!)

Visiting Eloise in the orphanage before we could bring her home. First picture of my two babies together. 
Kisses for baby sister in the orphanage.
Very first evening home. 

Oh the cuteness!

And I can’t resist a picture of Olive in the same outfit. =)

Big Bro and Lil Sis!


7 months old

 
The day we went to court to obtain legal guardianship of our sweet girl!

And the picture we used to introduce her to the world once we received it!

In America!

 
12 months old

First Gotcha Day, October 16th, 2013

18 months old

2 years old!

My three loves!
Always a ham. 2 1/2 years old. 

We love you, Eloise! 

Isaiah – FOUR!

This past Saturday we celebrated Isaiah’s {FOURTH!} birthday party with a little Spider-man themed party by the pool of our temporary apartment building. His actual birthday was September 25th but it worked out best for us to have the party a few days later.

Isaiah is such a hilarious addition to our family! He is full of energy and independence and yet sweet, thoughtful, and quick to help. He thinks and says the funniest things, I don’t know where he comes up with them!

He LOVES puzzles and can be found doing one most every day. He also loves to color and we go through lots and lots of coloring books in this house. His loves Spider-man, riding his bike, Lego’s, and matchbox cars.

Zai is a good, protective big brother (most of the time!). Isaiah and Eloise do their fair share of fighting but there are many moments when they are so kind to each other and it just melts my heart! Isaiah is always looking out for Olive too and making sure she is safe and happy.

This year Isaiah got to celebrate his birthday three times! We let him open up most of his presents on his actual birthday but Drew had class that night and didn’t get home until after 9 pm so we didn’t do much that day. That weekend we took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate just the 5 of us. Then the next weekend we had his little pool party! He definitely milked his birthday for all it was worth!

We are so grateful that the Lord gave us this precious little guy 4 years ago. It’s been a wonderful adventure with him as our son! We love you, Isaiah Mark!

Opening presents on his actual birthday.

 

His little pool side Spider-man party.
It was a perfect day! Not too hot, not too cold, just right!
He loved his cake!

 

Daddy read Isaiah his life verse (Isaiah 26:8) before we dug into the cake.

 

He has been talking about a bike forever! He was excited to finally get one. =)

 

This boy loves puzzles and was excited to get a Planes one!
Isaiah loves to build things too and loves his Lincoln Logs!
Chuck E Cheese!
I love watching them on this screen when they ride this ride at Chuck E Cheese. They make hilarious faces!
Isaiah, we continue to pray that you will grow into a man who desires to love and serve the Lord. Happy 4th Birthday, Big Guy!

One Year of Blogging!

Not only is today Olive’s half birthday, but today is also my blog’s 1st Birthday!!!

I’ve been blogging on this little blog of mine for one year and boy, what a year it has been! I survived a bitterly cold Michigan winter, I had a baby, we moved our family to Florida, and we’re in the process of buying our first home. Life is never dull in the Hutcheson household!

I just want to take a minute to say thank you to all my readers! Thank you for reading my posts, for commenting, for sending sweet e-mails, for encouraging me to keep writing! I couldn’t have kept at this without your kind words!

I hope that you’ll follow along with me as I continue to share the funny, crazy, tiring, exciting, terrifying, and amazing story that God is writing called MY LIFE!

Miss Olive: 6 Months

Six months old and happy about it!

It’s Miss Livy’s half birthday today! Can’t believe she is half way to one! Olive learned so much this past month. Before she even turned 6 months old, she learned how to sit on her own, crawl, and pull herself up to a standing position! Seriously!?!? Nothing slows this girl down and she’s determined to do everything that her big brother and sister can!! =)

Above is a video of Olive crawling, pulling herself up on the couch….. and eating big sister Eloise’s toes. Gross, I know. 


Height & Weight: 17.8 pounds and 26.5 inches long

Eating: We haven’t officially started Olive on solids yet but we have given her a few tastes of solid food here and there. She doesn’t seem to be accepting it as readily as I had anticipated she would. We’re not pushing it at all on her and will just keep trying every once and a while until she feels comfortable with it. She’s still nursing well and loving her milk!

First time in a highchair! She’s not too sure about it…
Her first Baby Mum Mum!
Sleep: Pretty much the same with sleeping as the past few months. Waking twice a night but one time is usually around 11 pm before I even go to bed, so it’s not too bad! Last week she was sick and was waking up every 1-2 hours and wouldn’t go back to sleep, taking 45 minute naps, and wanting to be constantly held. Let me tell you, I am {happy} to have my sweet Olive back and I’ll take a baby who sleeps 12 hours a night with two wakings any day over that!!! Olive is taking three 2 hours naps during the day and sleeps great on her belly in her own bed. I usually find her sitting up and almost standing up when I go to get her after naps!
Love this little burrito
Silly faces
 Personality: Livy is such a ham! She wrinkles up her nose in the cutest way when she smiles. She LOVES to smile and does it often. She is sweet and cuddly and oh… I could just eat her up!!! Can’t get enough of this girl!!

Livy didn’t make this mess but she had fun playing in it!
Milestones: Olive learned to sit on her own, crawl, and pull herself up to a standing position this month. She also tried her first bite of solid food, sat in her first highchair, rode in a shopping cart for the first time, and swung in a swing for the first time!
First time in a swing!
First time sitting on her own!
One of her first attempts at crawling!
First time sitting in a shopping cart!
Isaiah and Eloise: Now that Olive is mobile it’s created a little bit of a different dynanmic between her and the other kids. She can sit and play with them and crawl after them which is fun. But now she can also get into their toys, pull down their forts, mess up their lego buildings, etc. So far they’ve seemed to be ok with it but I’m anticipating it getting worse as she does it more and more! 

Eloise still thinks Olive is like the sun, moon, and stars!! If Olive is crying she always calls out, “Mom! My sister’s crying!! Get her!” She’s very concerned about her baby sister. Isaiah is concentrated on getting Olive is say words and so when Olive babbles he says, “Mom!! Did you hear it? Olive said my name!” =)

One thing that’s been fun is that this month Olive started fitting into Eloise’s hand-me-down clothes. Since we adopted Eloise at 6 months old, I don’t have any clothes from her smaller than 3-6 months. I didn’t bring many of her hand-me-downs back with me from Uganda but I did bring some of the more special ones and it’s been fun to see Olive wearing them!!
This is Eloise on her VERY first evening with us. We had just gotten home from picking her up at the orphanage!
And this is Olive in Eloise’s “coming home” dress. So special!
This is the very first outfit I bought in Uganda for Eloise, before we even knew when or if she would be our daughter. It’s the outfit she wore on her first full day home with us. 
And here’s sweet Olive in the very same outfit. ❤

Big brother loves his little sister. 

Sisters and best friends

Poor Eloise, Olive always wants to be right where she is… even when she’s on the potty. 


Three of my four favorite people in the world! ❤

Isaiah asked if he could push Olive around in a laundry basket. He’s a good big brother. =)
Eloise loves to make her sister laugh!
And she thinks that Olive is her own personal baby doll. =)

Isaiah wanted his whale to be in this picture with Baby Olive and her piggy. =) Happy Six Months, Baby Girl!!!