Freezing Cold Weather + Crying Kids = Memorable Photos!

A few weeks ago the kids and I headed up to Indiana to spend the week with my family. While we were up there my mom wanted to get some pictures of all her grandkids together since this was the first time in a loooong time they had all been together at once! My brother and sister-in-law live in Wyoming with their kids, my sister and brother-in-law live in Michigan with their son and Drew and I live in Florida so we’re not all in one place very often (my other siblings do not have kids yet)! We coordinated the kids outfits and arranged a date with our favorite photographer in Michigan – Kim (seriously you should check her out!).

There was one little detail that we didn’t plan for though…. the weather! The day of the pictures turned out to be a bitter cold spring day. Seriously, the weeks before (when we were planning their outfits) had been perfectly warm but this day turned out to be freezing. And of course we were taking the photos outside. We scrambled to try and add layers to the kids’ outfits to make them warmer but they were cold no matter what. This made for some lovely pictures….of crying children. Lol. In their defense it seriously was miserably cold – there was a bitter wind that day! Kim was so flexible and we ended up moving our session indoors to a nearby coffee shop after several failed attempts at pictures outdoors. We ended up getting hot cocoa and taking candid photos and having so much fun!

I learned a while ago that you can’t stress about family pictures. Some years they turn out and some years they don’t…. but that’s ok because it’s a reflection of real life! You just gotta roll with the punches… and when it was all said and done we ended up gaining a few good pictures and a whole lot of great memories. ❤

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L-R: Novalee – 4, Weldon – 6 months, Eloise – 5, Olive – 3, Isaiah – 6, Lincoln – 1.5

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Babies trying to escape!
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Olive’s face! Lol. She was so cold!

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My parents and two of my little sisters.

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Weldon is the sweetest, happiest little guy!

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My favorite!!

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My sweet parents.

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The kids had a great time (once we got indoors!) =)

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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Everything Was Awesome – How to Throw a Lego Birthday Party

 

Alright guys, I’ve been working on getting all the details together of how I made everything for Isaiah’s 5th birthday party last week. I’ve included descriptions along with links where appropriate. This was probably the most fun to plan birthday party I’ve done for my kids so far. And it was easy and pretty cheap since I made much of the food and decorations myself! Hope this will help you throw an awesome Lego birthday party as well!

Lego Birthday Party Invitations

There are tons of cute Lego birthday party invites available on Etsy but I was looking for something I could get for free (people just throw away the invites anyways, right!?!?). After much searching, I finally landed on these invites. I printed them on heavy card stock in full color, filled them out with the details of the party and glued them onto a slightly larger piece of colored (red, yellow, blue or green) card stock for a cute invite. I was happy with how they turned out and happy that I had all the supplies on hand to make them which made them FREE!! (I even had envelopes and stamps on hand!)

You can print these same invites here.

Lego Head Marshmallow Pops

These Lego head marshmallow pops were very time consuming but not necessarily hard to make. And they turned out so cute! If you’re more artistically gifted than me you could definitely make faces that better resemble actual Lego men. 😉

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Mini marshmallows
  • Regular marshmallows 
  • Yellow candy melts (you can buy these at Wal-Mart, Michaels, Amazon…. pretty much anywhere!) 
  • Lollipop Sticks (I bought mine at Michael’s) 

 

Cut the mini marshmallows in half horizontally and attached them to the regular marshmallows with a drop of melted yellow candy melts. (When melting the candy melts make sure not to overheat the candy – it will become hard and unusable!)

Dip the lollipop stick in the melted candy melts and insert in to the bottom of the Lego head.

Dip the Lego heads into the candy melts and completely coat. I had to use a spoon in order to get the heads smooth with no drips.

Stick them in a piece of Styrofoam or a cookie cooler rack to dry and then add faces with the gel! Give yourself several hours (don’t start at 9 at night the day before the party like me) to make these. They are very very time consuming!

To display them on party day Drew had the idea to wrap a shoebox and drill holes in the top. It worked PERFECT to keep them separated and upright!

They turned out cute AND yummy!!!

You can buy the candy melts to make these pops here.


Shoe box Lego Decorations

The week before Isaiah’s party I came across some awesome deals on kids shoes at Target and ended up with all these shoe-boxes I had no use for. I had them in the recycling bin for a day and then an idea dawned on me. I could make them into giant Legos and use them as decorations!! Thus inspired a super easy and cheap way to decorate for a Lego birthday party. Just buy some red, green, yellow, or blue wrapping paper (I got mine at the dollar store!) and print off these handy dandy circles that already have the Lego logo on them (best to print them on card stock if you can) and, wah-la! Cute, cheap, decorations!

You can print these Lego circles here.

Lego Brick and Lego Men Chocolates

All you need to make your own Lego chocolates are primary colored bags of Wilton Candy Melts and Lego brick and/or Lego men molds. I bought these molds off of Amazon and was very happy with them!

Be VERY careful not to overheat the candy melts. I had a few batches overheat and become hard and lumpy and they ended up not looking so good. Spoon the melted candy melts into the molds and then {don’t skip this part!} pick up and drop down the mold several times on the counter. You’ll see 6 or more air bubbles come to the surface after a few bounces. This is the air that was trapped in the mold, not allowing the candy to completely fill it up. If you don’t bounce it and shake it and get all the air bubbles out you will end up with chocolates that are not fully formed and have air pockets.

The candy melts only take about 15 minutes to harden up in the fridge then you can pop them out and start a new batch. I made red, green, blue, and yellow Lego bricks and Lego men over a period of several days. I set these out on the food table and also used them on top of the cupcakes on party day.

You can buy Wilton Candy Melts here.
You can buy this Lego brick mold here.

Personalized Lego Happy Birthday Banner

I was so excited to find a cute, personalized Lego birthday banner on Pinterest for free! I used this free download to print the “Happy Birthday” and the Lego men. And I used this download to pick and choose the letters needed for Isaiah’s name.

You can print this banner here and here.

Over-sized Lego Door

Super easy and cute decoration alert!! All you need is a plastic rectangular tablecloth and some small paper plates and you can turn any door into an over-sized Lego. You could actually probably do it on a large bookcase or hutch as well. Or even just on the wall itself if you wanted!

Party Favor Bag Tags

I used these cute party favor bag tags to attach to snack size ziploc bags filled with candy Legos to give to the kids as party favors. I forgot to get a picture of the completed bags, though! =(

You can print your own party favor bag tags here.

I filled the bags with these Lego candy bricks (they sell smaller bags too). Not only were they yummy but they actually stack so you can play with them too! They were a big hit!

 

You can buy these yummy but also stack-able Lego candies here.

Lego Jello Jigglers

If the thought comes into your mind to make Lego shaped jello, please just try to push it out of your mind as soon as possible. Just kidding… but seriously I’m kind of not. Lego Jello jigglers are very cute and yummy but alot of work (especially if you are using used Legos and need to wash them all very well both before and after) and a little frustrating to get out of the molds. But, here is how I did it.

Start by CLEANING all the Legos you are planning to use (or buy new). I used the kids’ MegaBlocks. Then make the Jello. Make sure you follow the recipe for JELLO JIGGLERS – NOT the regular jello recipe. I made the mistake of making my first batch the regular way and it was totally not firm enough to mold into the shape of a Lego. I used red, green, yellow, and blue jello but didn’t end up with very many usable red ones since that is the color in which I didn’t follow the jigglers recipe.

After a few hours in the fridge I used a knife to loosen the edges and then shook them out of the Legos. Don’t worry about being gentle. You’ll need to use some serious force to get them out! But they come out looking just fine!

 

 

Lego Themed Party Food
I made Lego cheese and crackers, Lego ham and pb&j sandwiches, and also had red, green, yellow, and blue fruit. Get creative. There are so many things you can make to resemble Legos or Lego themed colors!! The possibilities are endless!

 

 

Lego Face Plates

Instead of buying fancy Lego plates I opted to buy cheap square yellow plates ($1 for a pack of 16 at the dollar store!). My plan was to draw Lego men faces on them to make Lego heads out of all of them but it turned out to be difficult to find a stencil to use to draw the faces. Since I have very little artistic ability I just ended up free handing some faces on the dessert plates and leaving the rest plain yellow. If you have more artistic ability than me you could do all sorts of different faces and expressions! I just used a non-toxic permanent marker to make the faces.

Lego Cupcakes

Every year I buy a fancy cake or fancy cupcakes for my kids for their birthday. But this year I had adorable chocolate men and Lego bricks that I had made and I decided I could easily make some super cute cupcakes on my own. Make the cupcakes with some white frosting, pour on some primary colored sprinkles and top with a Lego chocolate. Tah-dah! Awesome looking cupcakes you made yourself. (And serving them on the Lego mat from our Lego table with a border of real Legos was the perfect final touch!)

 
Lego Men Head Confetti
Instead of buying fancy confetti I printed out some Lego men heads on white card stock, cut them out, and sprinkled them on the tables. It looked great and was super easy and cheap! I used some of these Lego circles as confetti too.
You can print your own confetti here and here.
Isaiah’s Lego birthday party was a ton of fun to do and I think this smile says it all. He enjoyed it too. =)

Isaiah’s Fifth Birthday Lego Party!

So, I have some terrible news to report. It may not sound terrible to you but it’s actually quite awful. My baby boy turned 5 years old. =( Yup, that’s FIVE years old. I am not quite sure how it happened because it seems he was just born, but for some reason he keeps growing like a weed and he’s now all grown up and stuff.

To celebrate we had some family and friends over for a LEGO birthday party. Everything was awesome!! (no pun intended) =)

I hope to get a tutorial up soon on the different decorations and food items that I made for the party but for now I’ll just share some pictures from the big day. {EDIT: You can find detailed instructions on how to make everything (and more!) that you see in this post here.}

Happy FIFTH Birthday, Champ!! We love you, Isaiah!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

My Baby is Three?!?

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The day Isaiah was born.
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First birthday!
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Second birthday!
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Third birthday!

This post is a little late in coming as I’ve been working on getting my new blog up and running… but it’s finally here!

Last week, on September 25th, my baby boy turned three years old. How is it even possible that three years have gone by since I first held him in my arms? I feel like it was just a week ago.

Isaiah Mark Hutcheson is a {JOY} to our family. He is full of energy and almost always has a smile on his face. He loves all things BOY. You name it, he likes it. Dirt. Trucks. Bugs. He has just started getting into Thomas the Train and is now all about {choo choo trains} too. His favorite movie is Cars II. His favorite color is blue. His favorite food is pizza.

Coming into this world at only 6 lbs 11 oz and 18.5 inches long, he’s made up for lost time and is now 40 inches tall (90th percentile) and 33 pounds (60th percentile)! No surprise there…he’s tall like mommy and daddy!

Since the day we brought Eloise home, Drew has instilled in Isaiah how important it is to take care of his little sister. He has taken Daddy’s words to heart and takes his job very seriously! So far there’s been very little fighting between Ellie and Isaiah. He protects her, loves on her, and shares with her {for now at least} and we are thankful they get along so well.

Isaiah started “preschool” at home this year. We do his school books for just an hour a day but it’s one of his favorite things to do. Right now we’re just learning how to draw shapes, learn colors and animals, opposites, and do crafts, etc. I’m constantly amazed at how quickly he learns and how much he picks up!

Zai feels like a big grown up boy in so many ways and yet still my baby in others. He still loves his blankie {Boo} and heaven forbid, if we leave the house without it, Daddy, you better turn around real quick! He still {loves} to snuggle with mommy and he’s not ashamed to shower mommy, daddy, and sister with hugs and kisses. He’s definitely Mr. Independent now, though, and a common phrase we hear is, “No! I can do it by myself!”. =)  I tell him often that he had better stop growing because I am sad he’s growing up too fast. He replies with his eyes down and in a sad tone, “I’m sorry, Mama. I just can’t” as if he is truly disappointed that he can’t stop time for me. Oh bless his heart. I love this boy!

And now, without further ado, pictures from the big day!

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Birthday breakfast – French toast!
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Cutest birthday boy ever!
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First present of the day – a lion costume!
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Love this cute lion (and his sister behind him).
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And now we have a lion opening up the second present of the day!
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A car puzzle!
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A basketball!
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He looks like he’s crying but he’s actually laughing because he just hit himself in the nose with his basketball and he thought it was hilarious. =)
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This boy can dribble!
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Eloise’s face in this one cracks me up!!! She’s more excited about Isaiah’s present than he is!
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New jammies!
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The look on Isaiah’s face when he saw that a Thomas the Train tricycle came in the mail for him! =)
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Eloise loved the box!
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Chuck E. Cheese for Isaiah’s birthday party a few days after his birthday. Eloise thought that this {fast!} horsey ride was a little too much for her! =)
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Shooting with daddy.
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Eloise rode Noah’s Ark!
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This horsey was a little more her size! 😉
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Baby Nova loved the rides too!!
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Isaiah was lovin all the games!
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He even got Aunt Cindy to do one with him!
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The birthday boy’s cake that he picked out all on his own!
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The party!
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Sweet Novalee, my niece!
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Fun playdough!
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Eloise wasn’t getting any presents so she figured she might as well sit back and relax…
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A big dump truck that moves and makes noise!
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Somebody was excited to dig into his cake!

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Blowing out the candles {with a little help from Sister}.
I think it’s safe to say Isaiah had a wonderful birthday! Now somebody, PLEASE, slow down time. Before I know it, we’ll be celebrating his 13th birthday {yikes!}!