Birthdays, Disney World, Graduations, Oh My!

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and for a while now I have been wanting to post a follow up blog post with my thoughts on surrogacy now that I’m 10 weeks post-partum and have had more time to process everything. But March and April have been busy months for us and I haven’t had the time to sit down and write. I’m finally making the time, but before I do that I’ll fill you in a little on what we’ve been up to the last few months.

We made two trips to Disney World! It was the kids’ first time to Disney World and everyone had a blast. Since we live so close we’ve just been making weekend trips and visiting one park at a time. We’ve been to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom so far and are going to Hollywood Studios in June. We’re skipping Epcot this go around but maybe next year! We went with Drew’s parents and the kids’ cousin, Gavin. It was SO much fun and we can’t wait to go back!

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Olive turned 3 and Eloise turned 5 in April. Olive didn’t have a big party this year since she’s too little to have many friends to invite yet (but as a family we did have the Barbie cake that she wanted!). But Eloise, now that she’s in VPK, had a big party with lots of friends invited. She wanted a mermaid party so we did our best and everyone had a blast!

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Isaiah got his Kindergarten graduation pictures taken in preparation for his graduation later this month. I can’t believe that my baby boy is already almost done with Kindergarten. The years fly by so fast. He had a Mother’s Day Tea at his school last week and made some sweet things for me to cherish. ❤ This boy has a sweet and tender heart!

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The card says: “Happy Mother’s Day! You look prettier than a rose. I love you. You are as pretty as sun. Love, Isaiah” ❤

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Both the girls got their first hair cuts last month! Yes, I waited until they were 3 and 5 to get their hair cut for the first time….that’s ok, right!? Eloise also got her first blow out and is in love with how long her hair became once it was straightened. It will stay straight as long as we don’t get it wet….which is hard to do when you have a fish for a daughter but we’ll see how it goes!

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The kids and I took a trip to Indiana to visit my family. I was nervous about flying with all three kids by myself but they honestly did GREAT and I was so proud of them! It was so easy I’m actually crazy enough to be thinking about when we can do it again! This visit was extra special because my sister-in-law and her kids were also visiting from Wyoming so we got to spend time with them as well. The kids haven’t been able to spend much time with their cousins on my side of the family since we live so far away so it was a great time for them to catch up. We were able to get some cousin photos taken as well and even though the weather was freezing and the kids were crying – we managed to get a few good ones. 😉

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We finally got a new roof put on our house! There is no official record of how old our roof is but our best guess is that this house still had the original roof from when the house was build – over 30 years ago! It has served us well and actually wasn’t leaking or having any issues but it was becoming a bit of an eye sore so we decided to replace it. =) I asked the kids what color roof we should pick and Olive picked pink. She was quite upset to come home and find out we had chosen charcoal…She’s disappointed but Drew and I are pretty happy with our choice. 😉

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Drew took a trip to Omaha, Nebraska to go to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting. He has been wanting to go to a meeting for years and it was an amazing trip for him. He wants me to go with him next year but I’m not sure how interesting it would be to me. 😉

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So that’s what we’ve been up to these days. This turned into a much longer post than I anticipated so I’ll write my post on my thoughts on surrogacy later this week. Stay tuned! 🙂

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Six Years as Mrs. Hutcheson

This post is going to be a bit sappy. But, to be fair, I hardly ever post mushy love posts and it’s my anniversary so cut me some slack. =)

Six years ago on August 7, 2009 I made the second best decision of my life – I married Drew (the very best decision of my life being to give it to Christ!). I had no idea how to be a wife, no idea what marriage was really like, no idea how to truly set aside my selfishness for the good of another person. But I jumped into marriage with both feet and faced the steep learning curve. Let me tell you, marriage is not for the faint of heart. Choosing to combine your life with someone for better or for worse is not an easy task considering the sinful state of human nature. But it’s worth the work because marriage can be refining, healing, beautiful, and fun!

God says that marriage is GOOD:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 

I’m so glad God gave me the good gift of Drew. Is he perfect? Nope. But he’s perfect for me. He is weak where I’m strong and he is strong where I’m weak. He balances me out and helps me think from a different perspective. In marriage it’s easy to get stuck on the little annoying things your spouse does. But a few years into our marriage I realized how silly it was to pick fights over how to squeeze the toothpaste tube (FYI: Drew and I now have our own SEPARATE tubes of toothpaste because we finally decided to just agree to disagree!!! =)). But seriously, I’d rather save up my energy to fight battles that really matter, like conquering sin with each other’s help or fighting through difficult life circumstances together.

We’ve done a lot in our six years of marriage. We’ve lived in two different countries, three states, and six different houses. We’ve had three children, completed an international adoption, and lived in Africa for a year. We have said hurtful things to each other and we have forgiven and been forgiven. We have had a blast together on numerous crazy adventures and we have laughed together till our sides hurt.

Interested in a healthy marriage? Listen to this:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

Colossians 3: 12-15

That’s a big pill to swallow!! But the closer to Christ we become the better we are able to love our spouse like this…. and it creates a sweet, sweet marriage.

I must say that my second year of marriage was better than my first, my third year was better than my second, my fourth year was better than my fifth, and my sixth year has been better than them all combined! Our marriage just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter as we continue to learn each other in and out, as we face and overcome trials together, as we walk through valleys and as we rejoice on mountaintops together. There is no one else I would rather live this life with than my very best friend!

Engaged!
Married (we saved our first kiss for our wedding day!)
First Year – Isaiah was born a month and a half after our first anniversary. 
Second year!
Third year! Eloise joined our family!
Fourth year!
Fifth year! Olive joined our family!
And Sixth Year!

I love seeing how our family has grown, our love has strengthened, and our lives have changed in these six short years. And I look forward to the next 6 (and 16 and 60 years, God willing!!).

OneDay – The Super Easy Way to Create Video Memories of Your Kids

I discovered a new app a few weeks ago that is incredibly easy to use and creates beautiful memories of my children (the type that I don’t usually have time to create!) with minimal work.

The app is called OneDay – Instant Movie Maker and can be found in the app store. It is free!!

From the OneDay app site:

OneDay makes it fun to create short movies of your life with a few simple steps. You open the app, pick a question from a wide selection of fun story sets, and record your answers. Then the app automatically stitches the recorded videos together, and adds music to make quality, priceless movies to share with family and friends.”


OneDay is quick and simple to use. The app prompts you what questions to ask based on the theme you have chosen, records the person’s answers, and then puts them together in a fun video. The videos are not just for kids, thought that’s what I mainly use the app for. They have videos for adults and holiday themes as well. They even have videos you can use for babies to record their giggle or them rolling over. It gives you a cute, funny, memorable video without the work!

From the i-tunes OneDay app site.
A sample of the adult videos from the app on my phone.

Check out the video that I made of Isaiah. Such cute answers that I will treasure forever. I really think this app will help me take more videos of my kids. I’m often overwhelmed at trying to make cute videos of them but this takes the thought out of it!

They have several Father’s Day themed ones right now that would be perfect to brighten up the day of the dad in your life. Go check them out!
Categories Fun

THE RAT: May He Rest In Peace

 In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on August 18, 2012 . You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version

We have a rat in our house. We used to have two, but Drew beat one to death with one of my wooden spoons. I’ll get to that part of the story in a minute.

How do we know we have a rat in the house? Because we’ve seen it…several times. It squeezes it’s ugly body underneath our front door and roams around our house all night. Gross, I know.

Last week my family was staying with us. We told them about “the rat” (at this time we only thought we had one…little did we know) but none of us had seen it in a few days. My mom and dad were in the kitchen one evening doing the dishes. All of a sudden I hear my mom scream and start shouting something about a mouse. All of us immediately jumped up on the counter! The rat was running around in the window ledge near the drying rack where my mom was placing clean dishes!

What followed next was one of the most hilarious nights we’ve had in a long time! By the end of the night we were all sweating bullets as we first tried to trap the mouse in sticky glue, then underneath a bucket, and then finally beat him to death with a wooden spoon. All of us girls were up on the counter while the men were brave enough to be on the floor with the rat. Ten different suggestions all being offered at once, lots of screaming, and tons of laughing. Oh, and did I mention we got it all on video?

Viewer Discretion Advised 

As a side note: My favorite comment in this video is my mom frantically saying, “Just one minute. Just one minute. Can he climb up the cupboard????” =) Also, make sure you watch to the end of the video where you can clearly see how big the rat is!

At first I felt bad about killing the rat. But it really had to be done. It would have just kept coming back again and again. What we didn’t know at the time is that the rat has a brother! We just discovered this last night and this (in my opinion) is the most disgusting part of the story.

Last night I woke up at 3 am and decided to turn on our video baby monitor so I could see my sweet little angel sleeping peacefully. Instead, what I saw when I turned on the monitor was two tiny, glowing eyes staring straight at me, one long tail flapping in the air, and the ugly body of A RAT…..running around in Isaiah’s BED!!!!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes and immediately woke Drew up. But, as soon as we starting panning the camera around to try and follow the rat, he heard the subtle noise it makes and scampered off. I thought I might throw up! That disgusting creature on my baby’s bed! I had nightmares about that thing the rest of the night!

So, to end this rat’s tale I’ll just say that I no longer feel sorry for the rat who passed away last week (may he rest in peace). Rat #2 is getting a little too chummy with my son and I think he will soon join his brother in rat heaven. Honey, get the wooden spoon. We’ve got a rat to kill!! (Actually I think we’ll try a more humane way this time….maybe rat poison?)

Why It’s Never A Good Time For Me To Talk On The Phone

Oh no. There it is again. I hear it from across the room. “This Love” by Mandi Mapes starts playing. But it’s not from my iTunes library. It’s the ring tone on my phone. My phone is ringing and in 5 seconds someone is expecting me to pick up and give them my undivided attention.

“Hello?” I say. And then the person on the other end of the line speaks those infamous words…… “Is now a good time for you to talk?”

“Hmmm” I think. Is now a good time for me to talk? I assess the situation. My almost 3 year old is crying and whining because she was playing on my phone when it started ringing and I took it away right in the middle of her oh so extremely important game. Because she can’t play on my phone any more she decides to open up a big bag of M & Ms and ignore my death stare as I mouth, “PUT THOSE BACK.” She skillfully evades my attempts to take them away while I try not to let the person on the other end of the line know what’s going on. My big boy is running around the house shooting the nerf gun at his little sister which in turn makes her scream and run for cover behind my legs. He’s also suddenly “DYING” of hunger and begging for a snack. I motion to my 3 year old to share her M & Ms with her brother but she refuses, at which point I give in and give them both a good sized bowl of the sugary snack in hopes of 5 minutes of quiet. My baby wants to simultaneously nurse, grab everything in my hands (i.e. my phone), pour out the whole bucket of her brother’s {tiny} legos and start eating them, and screech at the top of her lungs when she doesn’t get her way. My almost three year old is now yelling at me from the bathroom that she has pooped and needs me to come wipe her. Is it a good time to talk? Hmmmm……

At this point I have two options. I can either decided to hold the conversation right at this very moment, or I can say I’ll call them back during……oh I can’t even say it….. during the {SACRED} nap time. *GASP* Give up the only quiet time in my day? I just can’t do it.

“Sure!” I say. “Now’s a great time to talk!” (Not really, but it’s as good a time as any.)

And then I lock all the kids in the playroom – works like a charm! =)

Can I hear an AMEN from any other Mamas out there? Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s children suddenly need complete and undivided attention in every. single. aspect of their lives as soon as the phone rings?!?!? Don’t leave me hanging here!!!

Oh, and by the way, this doesn’t mean don’t ever call me. Just please don’t freak out when you hear screaming in the background, our conversation is interrupted 20 times in a span of 10 minutes, or you hear me say something like, “I will wipe your butt in a minute!”

These sweet kids? How could they ever give me trouble when I’m on the phone?

A Smiling Sea Lion and Two Jenny Dogs – Our Trip to Orlando!

Last weekend we took a mini vacation to Orlando and went to IKEA and SeaWorld. The kids had a blast (mostly at SeaWorld, not at IKEA because Eloise was too short to go in the kid’s play area so we didn’t let Isaiah go either). We are glad that we decided to go with the season tickets (again, to SeaWorld, not IKEA =) so that we can go back again for more fun!

Most of our pictures are from our second day in the park as we spent half of the first day at IKEA and also it rained most of the first day.

Can’t go to Orlando without a trip to IKEA!
If you know Isaiah you know how much he LOVES his Jenny Dog. Jenny Dog goes with him anywhere and everywhere (along with his blanket “boo”). Well, at IKEA we found another Jenny Dog and Isaiah wouldn’t leave the store without it! So, now we have “old” Jenny Dog and “new” Jenny Dog and they BOTH have to go everywhere with him!
Sweet girls. 
Isaiah loved this coaster and rode it several times. We tried our hardest to squeeze Eloise past the height checker and get her on, but they caught us! Her hair brushed the top of the measuring pole but they were sticklers and wouldn’t let her on. She balled!! =( 
We had a plastic bag over Eloise’s cast to keep the rain out. Surprisingly it stayed pretty dry, even though she jumped in a few puddles! 

Sweet girl napping in the park. 
We saw three amazing shows! This is Shamu, the killer whale. 
My two little loves!

Brave boy!

And, I’ll leave you with something that is bound to make you smile. This sea lion was cracking everyone up trying to get people to feed her by smiling this cheesy smile!!! Then after she got fed she would do more cheesy smiles! It was hilarious. I got this photo after Isaiah threw her a fish. We couldn’t stop laughing about it. Can’t wait to back to SeaWorld and see her again! =)
Don’t tell me you can look at that and not smile. =) =)

I’m Still Alive!

I’m still here! I’m still alive! Life has been crazy lately but I’ll try to update you…. and I’ll try to get back to blogging more often as we continue to get more settled!

Two weeks ago today Drew and his dad arrived in Michigan and we were finally reunited as a family after six weeks apart! The kids readjusted to life with daddy much quicker than I thought. I thought there would be a period of time where they wouldn’t want much to do with him and might even be mad at him. Isaiah especially took the separation very hard and I was most worried about him readjusting. However, all three kids did wonderfully! They acted like daddy had never been gone and we went right back into life as normal. It was an unexpected blessing!

On Monday, the 18th, we rented two u-hauls and tried to cram all of our stuff from two storage units into them! Needless to say, we couldn’t fit everything in and ended up leaving much of it behind. It’s ok, God will provide more! On Tuesday we headed out and began our l.o.n.g. and s.l.o.w. drive down to Florida! Between pulling two {heavy} u-hauls and having three kids who needed several breaks, we moved slowly! But it was ok because that was our plan. We wanted to take it slow and easy and planned to do the normally 18 hour trip in three days and arrive on Thursday. The kids traveled extremely well. Olive was probably the hardest as she had a hard time being entertained when not sleeping. She wanted to be held (who can blame her!?!?!). But Isaiah and Eloise were excellent little travelers. Give them snacks, paper and pens, a movie, and their blankets and they are good to go for hours!

Let’s do this!
Traveling made Olive hungry! She ordered a double cheeseburger!! 
This is when we pulled into our hotel the first night. The kids were all sleeping when we arrived. Apparently Isaiah did not want to be disturbed! 
Hanging out in the hotel the next morning.
Love these three babies!!

We arrived in Jacksonville just after noon on Thursday, the 21st and then began the hard work (in almost 100 degree weather!) of moving everything up to our second floor (no elevator) apartment. Thankfully we had Drew’s aunt and uncle here helping us, as well as Drew’s dad! Then came the tedious work of washing all of our linens and dishes as everything had been in storage for over two years. Also the task of trying to figure out what to unpack and what to keep packed, and figuring out where to put things. Whew! It was quite a day and no, not everything got done that day!

We are staying in a nice apartment building just a few miles from Drew’s work. We’re staying in a one bedroom apartment. Yes, all FIVE of us in ONE bedroom!!!! But don’t worry, it’s not permanent. 😉 We have a three month lease on the apartment and are currently house hunting. We hope to buy a house by the time our lease is up and finally move somewhere permanently! We have done {SO} much moving recently (I moved 3 times while Drew was in Florida) and the kids are itching for stability. We had originally thought that the kids and I would stay in Michigan until we were able to buy a house and then move straight in. However, it is looking like it will be a while until we close on a house so we decided just to get us all together in something temporary until that time.

First night in our new apartment!
Does anyone feel like they’re watching an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive ? 
Not even unpacked and we’ve already run out of room!

We don’t have much space but I really love this tiny little apartment! It’s obviously not a permanent solution as more than half our stuff is still packed up for lack of space. And it’s not ideal to have us all in one bedroom. But, honestly, I really don’t need much space to be happy. I love that I’m so close to the kids all day and can always see what they are doing. It feels quiet and cozy in here and I love it! =) And I think the best part is that, after 2 1/2 years, I’m {FINALLY} using all of my own things again and that really helps the place to feel like home to me. The apartment also has four different pools so the kids are having a blast going to the pool every day. We have all we need for now and we are satisfied!

Enjoying the pool! We’ve only been here a week and Isaiah has already learned how to swim, all on his own!
I’m just going to think the best and assume that all this dirt that I vacuumed up off the apartment floor came from us when we moved everything in…. not that the apartment was terribly dirty when we got the keys!
Getting a little more settled.
It’s starting to look livable in here!
Isaiah likes his new bunk bed!

We’ve been in the apartment for about a week and a half now and it’s starting to feel like home around here. I’m obviously not going to decorate or unpack everything but it still feels good just to be all together as a family, using our own familiar things.

Our dining room is being used as a storage unit right now, housing all the stuff we can’t unpack.
Not looking too bad!
Feels like home!

Olive sleeps in the walk-in closet. 😉
Just enough space for us all! =)

We’re currently house hunting (crazy stressful!) and believe that the Lord has a house just for us. We’re looking and praying and hope to find the right house for us soon and finally have a permanent place to call home! In the meantime, we are enjoying our tiny little apartment. =)

Myrtle Beach!

Sorry it’s been quiet here on the blog lately. We’ve been on vacation in Myrtle Beach and I’ve been having too much fun in the sun to think about my blog. =)

Although the drive down took two days and lots and lots of driving, the kids travelled pretty well. We sure were glad to get there, though!!!

What else is a girl to do with 15 hours in the car other than cover herself in stickers??

We vacationed with my mom and dad, two brothers and their wives (and one baby), my sister and her husband, my two little sisters, and my aunt and uncle and their three girls. It was a wild group!!! And so much fun!

The Luckey Family!
Yes, we are super goofy. We love to have a good time! =)

Uncle Bill and Aunt Stephanie
Gabe and Alyssa
Josh, Krystal and Novalee
Our family!
Derek and Kate
Dad, Mom, Janae and Adelynn
Love this good little baby!
 

Isaiah and Eloise had SO much fun in the pools! The resort had several pools (including indoor and outdoor ones!), a lazy river, a huge swirly slide, and a pirate ship water park for kids. Needless to say, they were exhausted at night! =)

The kids slept hard at night, that’s for sure!!
Brave boy on the water slide!
The pirate ship!

Isaiah must have been pretty tuckered out to fall asleep like this…
He slept like this for over an hour! lol!
Little Miss took lots of naps too. =)

I also had the chance to meet up with my friend, Abby, who lives about 5 hours from Myrtle Beach. I graduated from high school with Abby over 10 years ago in Kampala, Uganda! It was so fun to meet up with her and meet her 4 kids! I’m glad she was willing to make the drive to spend a few days with us!

Some of our kids are missing but this is the best we could do. =)
The cutest part about the whole vacation for me was that Isaiah somehow got it in his mind that the pool itself was called Myrtle Beach. Each morning he would wake up and say, “Can we please go to Myrtle Beach now!?!?!” meaning that he wanted to go down to the pool. Lol!
 
Another cute thing Isaiah said during the trip was when Drew got up early to go play tennis one morning. When my dad came in and asked Isaiah where daddy was he said, “Oh, Daddy went to play Tennessee.” =)
 
It was a great vacation and we all had a blast! We are planning to get the Luckey family together for vacation every two years and I am already looking forward to next time!

The World’s Toughest Job

This about sums it up…

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mother I could ever ask for! My mom is a wonderful example to me of a wife who respects her husband, a mom who raised her kids well, a Meema who loves her grandchildren, and a woman who seeks the Lord. I hope that when I grow up I can be just like her. =)

She truly does the toughest job in the world, and does it well!!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!!

Meema and Isaiah
Meema and Eloise
Meema and Olive