27 April 2008

everything you ever wanted to know about anna~

Here you go, I know you've all been waiting...the next installment of

everything you ever wanted to know....

1. Anna is our oldest. She was a surprise baby in that someone wasn't quite um...diligent in taking her birth control pills (before I knew the abortificant nature of them, by the way). We were going to begin "trying" to get pregnant within the next month or two, so she was a pleasant and much desired surprise. She was born 20 days before her original due date and weighed 8# 10oz (those Hutchison genes grow some big babies!) Her name is Anna Rose, and the meaning of her name is grace, gracious, full of grace. As mostly everyone knows by now, grace is pretty much the running them of my life, so when I realized the weighty implications of her name and how appropriate it was for her and our relationship, I was so amazed and thankful at how the Father had His hand all over her life before I realized the enormity of this journey of mothering.

2. Anna could live in pajamas. She probably has the same amount of pajamas as she does regular clothes. She would wear them in public I think if she were allowed. I am constantly having to remind her to get dressed.

3. Was recently officially diagnosed with celiac disease, just like her Dad. This is a big deal for her as she's had lots of just general not-feeling-so-great for a really long time. It's a relief to finally figure out what the deal has been as celiac can cause all kinds of not-obviously-related problems. Before she was actually diagnosed, she voluntarily went off gluten along with Glen as she could tell she just felt better. For a nine year old who absolutely loves pizza, rolls, and all things bread related, this was a gigantic red flag for us that there was something there. In the course of having her tested, we found out she is double-gened for celiac, meaning Glen and I both gave her a gene (at least one predisposing celiac gene is found in up to 81% of the general American population) and all of her children will have at least one. Her particular genetic material is only found in 9% of celiacs and is a more Southern European/Mediterranean gene. Just kind of interesting to know...

4. Loves to sing and dance, usually at the same time. She is pretty talented I think and has great stage presence. Yes, she does like Hannah Montana, but is not nearly so infatuated after learning a great lesson last summer about the dangers of obsessing and allowing something to take the place of God in your life. Although, she was quite interested to learn recently, that due to random chance, she was born in the hospital room at our local hospital generally reserved for celebrities. Her first questions was, "Soooo...do you think, that um, maybe, um, Miley Cyrus' Mom might have had her babies in that same room?" :o)

5. Has this awesome, infectious belly laugh not typically found in girls :o) Quite interestingly, Moriah has the same laugh. They get this from their Dad who can cause an entire room to burst into hysterics just by laughing himself.

6. Really, really likes to be in charge. A lot. I am greatly looking forward to the day when she has mastered this quality with grace.

7. Is my right hand man...um, er...girl. Her "job" around her is to help me. As she likes to be in charge, she mostly thrives in this role, but I do have to be careful to not put too much on her. I think we're doing okay, though, in that she has recently been talking, a lot, about when we will have another baby :o)

8. Is a math whiz. I wrote about it earlier in the school year, and am glad to say she is still doing great! The short version is that I decided to switch math curriculum last October and when I gave Anna the placement test, she tested into Saxon 7/6, which is a sixth to seventh grade math. Pretty impressive for a late-birthday nine year old just starting the fourth grade!

bonus #9. Is an absolute priceless treasure. There is something different about Anna. She is an old soul. Others have noticed it and I couldn't tell you the number of people that have sought me out to tell me there is something different about her. That she carries a weight and
grounded-ness not often seen in children. She has a tremendous calling on her life and is aware of the importance of a real relationship with God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and what that means in a way I did not understand until I was much older. She understands that all of life centers around our relationship with the Father. She gets what life is really about. Sure, she has her childish ways and has a lot of growing up to do, but she gets it. She is all about seeking God and learning to hear Him speak to her. I love that girl. She has my heart, all the way, 100%. She is awesome.

the legend of the dogwood~

I always have a hard time deciding which I like more, the Spring or the Fall. This year I am having a more pronounced appreciation for new life and new beginnings and new fruit and new growth, that I am just really, really appreciative of Spring. One of my favorite things are Dogwood Trees. We have this lovely dogwood right in the middle of our driveway. I remember hearing when I was younger about the legend of the dogwood. While I don't necessarily believe the legend, I love that God created a tree that points to what Jesus did for us. I believe that all of creation points to our Creator, and there is so much really, really interesting information to be found about that, but the dogwood to me is especially obvious.

First of all, it blooms right around Easter. The petals are cross shaped, the center is said to represent the crown of thorns, and the edges are stained with rust and red reminding us of the nails and Jesus' blood. While that in itself is pretty amazing, for the first time this year I felt the Lord pointed out to me a really neat way of explaining it to our children.

We drive a lot on what we call "the backroads." It takes us 15-20 minutes to reach a main road. In between us and the main roads are mostly very winding roads. One way out takes us through a valley, the other way out takes us first up, then back down a "mountain." The mountain road is forested for a portion of the way, and this year my eyes were really opened to all the dogwood trees. While everything around is still dead, the dogwood comes back to life. In the midst of all the deadness, the dogwood blooms first. As we're driving, we see this new life everywhere. There are so many dogwood trees interspersed among the others. They are everywhere! I never made this association before this year. I've never noticed before. I pointed this out to the kids by telling them, "Isn't it so cool that the dogwood is a picture of Jesus, and God is reminding us and showing us that Jesus brings life out of death by having the dogwood come "back to life" before all the other trees? Not only does Jesus' rising from the dead first allow us to be resurrected, but God reminds us by giving us a picture. And He makes it obvious by having these beautiful white trees bloom first while everything around them is still dead." I must say, they thought it was pretty cool.

24 April 2008

everything you ever wanted to know about ethan~

So, I'm finally getting around to the next installment. The first picture here is of Ethan relaxing by the pond at my grandparents' house in Kentucky. We always have a good time fishing there.

I know the next picture is pretty blurry, but it's such a great picture of his personality that I had to include it. The third picture is him with the animal kingdom set he got for his birthday. And that's not even a fraction of his whole collection. I really do live in a zoo. And yes, the last picture is from that ill-fated day that Ethan went to school as Julius Caesar, a full week early. I claim mommy brain.

Here it is, everything you ever wanted to know about Ethan...

1. Ethan, although he was my second biggest baby, probably would win the award as the potential biggest. Although Haven was exactly nine and a half pounds, he was 13 days late. Ethan was 11 days early (my New Year's Eve baby!) and weighed 9# 6oz. so he had the potential to be bigger. He was also my last hospital birth, but my first natural birth.

2. Ethan has this deep, awesome, scruffy voice that I love. There are high school boys I'm sure that would love to have his voice :o)

3. Is a former member of the pacifier club. We finally took it away from him abruptly around the age of 2, and since then, the guy constantly has something in his mouth. Constantly. We can pinpoint which super heroes and animals belong to him as all the paint is chewed off their heads. Given the current state of concern over products from China, I did have his lead levels checked and everything was OK. One day at church our worship leader decided to display a lost & found large Superman in front of his mic, and from the back of the church a chorus of kids says, "That's Ethan's! It's bald!" Thus began a parade of Hutchison kids marching toward the front to retrieve the finally found, balding Superman. Funny story: One day Ethan is examining one of his animals very closely. He looks up at me and says, "Mom, I just love China. They make the best toys!" I about fell out of my chair.

4. Ethan loves apples. I'm not talking a fond affection. They are hands down his favorite food. He eats probably five a day. I buy fifty apples a week. Thirty-five for Ethan, fifteen for the rest of us. Often they are all gone by Thursday or Friday. I should look into (invest in) learning how to grow apple trees.

5. Loves super heroes and animals. The super hero thing has really taken a back seat this last year to his current fascination with sharks, wild animals, and dinosaurs. He has quite the collection and he knows precisely how many velociraptors, great whites, tiger sharks, squids, t-rexes, etc. that he has, which size, color, etc. He is always on the look out for new animals to add to his collection and can tell you at a glance if he already has one of that type. I think his facination has superseded the action figure thing since he learned to read. There's a lot more to read about animals than action figures. Caleb is my outside, builder, hunter guy. Ethan, not so much. He loves to be inside reading and playing with his animals. We tease him that he loves dinosaurs so much because I watched The Lost World, you know, Jurassic Park 2, while I was in labor with him. Which is true. Go figure.

6. Ethan is my reader. He literally taught himself to read (which, by the way, has made Kindergarten a breeze...thankfully, given my crazy year!) He absolutely loves it. He is constantly reading. He reads cereal boxes, magazines, books, flyers, pretty much anything in front of him. If he is going to be sitting down or riding in the car, he brings something to read. He's just like me :o) Finally, I have a reader!

7. Going back to the super hero thing. As I said, he's not into them so much anymore, although he does have a Batman backpack and lunchbox, but a year or two ago, that was his obsession. I believe it started because when I was pregnant with him, Anna insisted he would be named Woody (after the Toy Story movie). She would tell everyone in public, whether they asked or not, "My mom is going to have a baby, it's going to be a boy, and his name is going to be Woody." I have no idea where she got that idea and she had to have heard me a million times explain to people he was not going to be named Woody, but still, she insisted. When asked what she would do should her parents decided to..gasp! give him a different name, she declared she would call him Woody anyway. Strangely enough, it was Woody and Buzz Lightyear figures that replaced his pacifier, he could most always be found carrying both around, one in each hand. He was a mad man for a few years, absolutely obsessed with Buzz Lightyear. He then graduated to other super heros and last summer, literally for about seven or eight weeks, wore two shirts only. One Batman, one Superman. That was it. Talk about staying on top of the laundry.

8. Is built just like Glen. Long torso, shorter legs. The poor guy is almost six and a half and still wears a 4 or 5t. Last summer he could still wear some 2t shorts. Given that neither Glen nor I are exceptionally tall, it's not anything to be concerned about, but he sure is a stocky little guy. What he lacks in height, he sure makes up for in personality and spunk, though. Throw that scruffy, deep voice in the mix, and he sure is a cutie. Here's a mental picture - imagine him standing on top of the table in the Sunday School classroom, waving his hand back and forth in the air, while jumping up and down, swinging his hips, and leading all the kids in singing, quite loudly..."You've got to move it, move it. You've got to move it, move it." Yep. That's Ethan...Mr. Life of the Party. I was mortified...yet highly amused once I found out it was from the movie Madagascar and he hadn't picked up some questionable hip-hop song and decided to share it with the world :o) Strangely enough, as I'm writing this, I'm remembering a certain winter retreat when his father, Mr. Supposed-to-be-a-Counseler, was standing on top of one of the tables in the mess hall (along with some friends, he wasn't the only crazy person) singing some song and shaking his head back and forth (and I have the picture to prove it!)

bonus #9. Is a daily delight and never ending source of smiles and kisses. Yes, he is still my
ACE - Adorable Cuddly Ethan. Mr. Affectionate, still in love with me and not yet figured out that that's not so cool. And you can bet I'm keeping him in the dark on that as long as possible.

just a side note to maybe simplify your life~

Okay, so I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading blogs.
Given the constantly-surrounded-by-little-people stage of life that I'm in, I sometimes (often) find myself checking various blogs throughout the day to get my little fix of grown-up life. Anyway, it takes a lot of time. So I finally figured out FeedBlitz, which I realize practically everyone probably already knows about and utilizes, I just hadn't taken the time to figure it out for myself yet. I added all my blogging friends to it and now I get a nifty email whenever someone updates. It has actually been an exercise in self control for me to not stop by my computer for just-a-second (yeah, right). I'm like a little kid who feels like she might miss something. Seriously, it's like an addiction, complete with withdrawal and everything :o)

So, all that to say, in the process I figured out how to add to my sidebar the handy subscribe-to-my-blog feature for anyone out there that may find themselves in the same boat as me. Yes, you can now be updated automatically whenever I decide to grace you with my unbelievably cute pictures and abounding wisdom...

(I'm in a slightly sarcastic frame of mind today...)

15 April 2008

addyson taylor clark~

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the first birth of my younger sister, Dyana. Although I have 11 (soon to be 12) nieces and nephews on Glen's side of the family, this is the first child of either of my sisters. It was an exciting, sweet, and memorable event. It is beyond me how anyone can witness the birth of a child and not believe there is a Creator. A baby is a miracle beyond all others.

My sister did a fabulous job. She handled everything like a pro, right down to about 40ish minutes of pushing, waiting for the doctor to arrive, and then a couple more pushes and out came Addyson. She is a beautiful, sweet, content little girl who was nursing like a pro when I left the hospital last night. She was born at 12:17pm after about 8 hours of labor. She weighed 7lbs 7oz, and is 20 3/4 inches long. She has beautiful light brown hair and bright, sparkling blue eyes.

Congratulations to Brent and Dyana. Welcome to parenthood. Buckle up. Enjoy the ride.

Proud aunt ~can you say baby fever?

Me, my aunt Carol (aka Coocal),
my youngest sister Kristen, Addyson, my "middle" sister Dyana (doesn't she look great!),
and my Mom.

07 April 2008

timely encouragement~

I went over to a very dear friend's (Heather Norman) house yesterday afternoon for lunch. It was just me and a few other ladies. At every seat, my friend had made beautiful scripture printouts that she had wrapped around the napkins with various Bible verses. They were all unique. She had asked the Holy Spirit to cause each woman to receive whichever verse was to be for her encouragement. This was what I received:

"God is able (Able is God) to make all grace abound to you,
that always having all sufficiency in everything,
you may have an abundance for every good deed:
as it is written,
"He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness abides forever."

Now He who supplies seed for the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed for sowing
and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
you will be enriched in everything for all liberality."
2 Corinthians 9:8-11

When I first read mine, I had a few moments of regathering my emotions (I'm awfully emotional these days). You see, just in this past week, since I last blogged, the Lord opened a door for Anna regarding her schooling that I did not expect and I am not sure quite yet how I feel about it. I had been excited and very at peace (relieved is really a better way to put it) with the decision to leave New Song and the idea of a year of having my children home to really focus on what is on my heart. All the details had not quite been worked out, but the Lord was imparting and focusing my vision and I was very excited about it. A lot of this desire and vision is married to sowing and reaping (that has been a recurring theme throughout my life, I've had verses and prophecy given to me regarding it, so that meant a lot.) Then, through a conversation with my sister in law, I found out about a different two day per week home school tutorial that begins in the 5th grade. I decided to just briefly check it out as her three older children go there and enjoy it. (I have always planned to eventually switch to this type set up as it is what I did when I was home schooled in high school, provided we felt that's what we were supposed to do at that point. A tutorial differs from New Song in that you choose which classes to take, whereas at New Song, you enroll into a grade and take all the different classes. You are putting yourself under the school's entire curriculum and calendar as opposed to picking and choosing which classes to take.) Anyway, through a series of a lot of things falling into place very quickly, including speaking with the director, taking a tour, all the classes she would need still having a spot for her as well as them scheduling her for an interview that same day, and just a general peaceful spirit there, I began to feel that this is what the Lord has for Anna this next year.

There is a lot going on in my head and my spirit right now, and lots of talking back and forth between me and the Father. This is a quick recap of some things I'm thinking and some things I feel like He has been answering and saying to me. This is still a source of ongoing conversation and is not decided for sure at all, but this is where I am in the process:

This does not fit into my vision for next year, so I began to talk to the Lord about whether this was His plan, if part of my vision was just that, my vision, and how it would all go together. I know without a doubt, a lot of things for next year are from Him. I just thought it would look a little different. I had planned on home being more of our focus, with one fun "school day" at Bethel on Tuesdays. This school would introduce the two day per week things back into our life. But...at the same time I have been really seeking the Lord for Anna and what she needs in her life. My heart was to accomplish some things and build relationship and I was thinking it needed to be accomplished through lots of time at home being together. But she is floundering kind of (not to mention hormonal..ugh...). She needs some focus and something to really put her energy into. She really needs something in her life she has some control over. I am very, very controlling. She is very, very like me, this causes for some tension and control battles. This would give her an area of her life that is her own, she would be the only one from our family there, she would be accountable to teachers other than me on a more grown up and formal level than New Song, and she would be responsible for learning to manage her time and complete her work the three days she is home. In other words...an area of her life that she has a lot of control in. Her own thing.

Now, this school thing is exciting to me also. It has a very sweet spirit. (New Song is sweet, and the families there are sweet, but it has a very strong spirit of authority and control. When you are there, it is all about what they are doing and you are expected to order your home school around their plans. BCA (the school Anna may attend) and Bethel are there to be in more of a supportive role, coming under your plans for your home school in a role to support parents. They recognize my place as my children's primary teacher and authority, and are set up in a way that allows me to prioritize my life according to how I see fit.) BCA also meets in an older part of a church in a hallway, which is exactly what my tutorial was like in high school. That just feels familiar and brings a level of comfort.

Anyone who reads this probably knows that I place high value on family life, togetherness, and discipleship. I think that is the foundation for bringing up our children to know the Lord. So a large part of me feels like I am giving in, like I am handing Anna over and abandoning what I feel is right. Like I'm giving up and haven't been able to accomplish in her what I feel is important with the methods I feel are right. So I am reevaluating some things. How much of what I believe is from scripture itself, and how much of it is from what other people I know (mainly the MOMYS thing) say is the right way to do things? We have to be careful to not idolize what other Christians say and really search scripture and seek the Lord for ourselves. I know a lot of why the Lord had me in such a secluded place in the early part of my marriage and parenting years was for me to learn to go to Him for all things and not rely on parenting books, other people I know, etc. and what they think is right. There is definitely a place for godly counsel, advice, and wisdom, but it should ultimately come back to what the Lord desires. There is a lot that is clear in Scripture, and a lot that is not so black and white as we would sometimes like to make it. We all have our pet causes, and I know I have to be super vigilant to be aware of where that line falls between what is clear, what is not black and white but what the Lord has for us as a family, while acknowledging that sometimes that looks different for other people. I have very high standards for myself, and that coupled with what my vision of success and the what road to achieve it should look like causes me a lot of frustration, guilt, and often feelings of failure if I don't measure up to my ideals.

So, my immediate reaction to the whole idea was basically, "I like it, it looks good, but God, this isn't really what I was picturing next year looking like. Is this from you? If it is, I really, really need You to show me, talk to me, confirm to me that this is right, because it looks different than what I thought you had already told me." I asked for some specific confirmation, as well as just a general awareness of His confirmation through open doors, the direction I felt the Spirit leading my thoughts and prayers, and for Him to show me the parts of my vision for next year that were maybe my own and not all His, or at least not necessarily His way of bringing it about. And He has done that. He has been faithful to honor our desire to follow His plans. He has opened doors and brought about some specific confirmation that I asked for. He has talked to me some about the fact that yes, my vision for next year was and is from Him, but parts of how I thought it should be accomplished were just that, how I thought it should be accomplished.

The final decision is not made, but at this point, if the doors continue to open, we are planning on Anna going there. There are still a few things about what I feel like the Lord had showed me for next year that I'm not sure how they will fit in, but I am just trusting Him and putting those things in the category of "His ways are not our ways and leaning not on my own understanding, acknowledging Him and trusting Him to direct our path." We are still going to have three full days with everyone home together, which is one thing that I was really feeling needed to be a priority. We are going to be in a place where what Glen and I think needs to be important can take priority without causing conflict with a school. Anna is going to get an area of her life to have an identity that is her own and allows her to have a measure of control. A bonus is that she is going to get to take at least two "fun" classes, possibly three (drama, art, chorus) that she has great interest (and some talent) in that she has always wanted to pursue, but is not really able to be incorporated into large family life very easily at this point while still maintaining the level and amount of togetherness time that is a huge priority for Glen and me. And I still get a day alone to clean, plan school, blog, whatever... :o)

So, going back to the verse that Heather gave me, I have just been really torn up feeling that my deep heart desires for my children, and particularly Anna at this stage of her life, depended a lot on what we are able to sow into them and that by sending her to another two day program was going to allow too much outside influence and culture (when I say culture, I usually mean something along the lines of too much importance on clothes, music, appearance, etc.) to allow for the amount of time I felt was necessary to build and cultivate relationship and the level of discipleship I was desiring to incorporate into our life. I have great concerns about outside "culture" being sown too much in her life. So, I had asked the Lord to talk to me specifically about those things while I was at Heather's house. I asked for two things, that someone would say something in the course of conversation that would stand out and I would consciously know was Him talking to me, and that He would talk to me, while I was there, in a way that I knew was from Him. So when I received that Scripture, I was floored. That said many different things to me, it was just generally encouraging in many areas of my life (by His grace I can have sufficiency and abundance for everything I need to do), but what it said to me specifically about this situation, what I felt like He said to me in that moment, was that yes, He would supply the seed I needed to sow into my children, as well as the spiritual bread I needed to feed them, and not only would He supply it, but He would multiply it and increase the harvest of righteousness in my children, and that He would enrich me in the sowing process so I could sow liberally and He would multiply. So even though I may have a little less time with Anna than I previously thought, He would multiply that seed and increase the harvest! Wow! Then, in the course of a totally unrelated discussion, a woman was talking about how they thought they were done increasing their family (one bio child, three adopted and had asked to be put on the inactive list for foster parenting), received a call one morning to place an infant that same day. She said, "God's plans are often different than our plans, when we thought our life would look one way, God actually had different plans." And God said, to me, "Here you go, you asked for it, here it is." This all happened without me talking to anyone about the situation. Except for Heather and one other friend, the other ladies were not people that I know. Needless to say, I came away from yesterday afternoon feeling encouraged. I've felt as if I've heard the Lord pointing out numerous other thoughts and highlighting comments from conversations around me and saying, "that's for you," which is also highly encouraging. He has been so faithful in gently talking to me about where my thinking and plans need to change to come in line with His big picture for next year.

So, that's what's going on this week :o) Now that I've been working on this all day, it's time to get dinner started. Citrus fish, rice and veggies in garlic butter sauce..yum!
"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November