Monday, December 29, 2008

A Yummy Treat

Okay, first of all I have to give credit to my friend Kelly, for this delicious treat recipe that I now whip up for most "gatherings" throughout the year, especially during the holidays. I am not a person who loves to cook, but I do love simple recipes that get great reactions from people :) This is one of those! Trust me, if you make these you will not be let down. They are absolutely rich, addicting, and everyone will ask you for the recipe.

Chocolate Truffles
1. Crush (finely) one package of Oreo cookies (I like to use the Pampered Chef food chopper)
2. Mix the crushed Oreos with one 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese (I use a dough mixer for this task)
3. Roll the chocolate mixture into small balls and place on a cookie sheet - put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to harden
4. Melt Chocolate and White Almond Bark according to the directions on the packages
5. Dip half of the Oreo balls into the chocolate candy coating, and half into the Vanilla - the balls should be completely covered in the candy shell
6. Place the dipped balls back on the cookie sheet and give them time to harden (putting them back in the fridge or freezer is a good idea)
7. Drizzle the opposite flavor of almond bark on to the top each truffle, using a fork - this adds a great decoration!!
8. Again, let it harden - put in fridge for awhile
9. Enjoy!! You better give some away, because you won't be able to stop eating them.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

30

So it actually happened... I turned 30. It doesn't seem very real that my age now begins with a "3," but nonetheless, I had a great day celebrating. Having a birthday on December 26th was kind of a bummer growing up, but now I tend to like it because I never have to work on my birthday (perks of being in "education"), and often get to enjoy a day of shopping during awesome clearance sales :)

I started my day early, at 4:45am to be exact, and went to meet my mom and sister at the mall. We made out pretty well at a few department stores, had a wonderful breakfast at Paradise Bakery, and then went to mall #2! We hit quite a few more sales, and ended our shopping trip with relaxing pedicures/manicures and pretzels with cheese. We then zipped home to pick up the rest of our families and met up again in the evening for a couple competitive games of bowling, and a very yummy dinner at Joe's BBQ (mmmm...). To top it all off, my awesome husband even let me sleep in this morning! Thanks babe!

So here are 30 things I'm thankful for on my 30th birthday:
1. God's grace and promise of salvation
2. My husband and my son
3. Wonderful parents who gave me a strong foundation for life, and two amazing siblings who were my favorite playmates when I was young and who I am fortunate to remain close with today :)
4. Micah's family (it's awesome to have in-laws that you enjoy being around)
5. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended relatives who regularly keep in touch and remain supportive, no matter the distance between us
6. A fun-loving beagle named Petey (did I mention naughty?)
7. A job that allows me to do what I love, working only 4 days a week
8. My co-workers (who are also my friends)
9. An amazing church family
10. Long-time friends who remain loyal
11. The internet, I'm so glad this was invented during my life!
12. Really good dessert
13. Regular date nights with my husband
14. The opportunity to adopt a child
15. Living in beautiful Arizona
16. Summer Vacations
17. Digital cameras and pictures
18. The art of scrapbooking (and digital scrapbooking!)
19. Fast & easy recipes that turn out yummy!
20. Spending quality time with friends
21. Iced Mochas and Frappacinos
22. The ability to play the piano
23. Music
24. A beautiful home with a yard
25. Nature, and all its majesty
26. Difficult times in my life, that have made me stronger
27. Laughter
28. Cell Phones
29. Movies that make you laugh and cry
30. A bright future, and a lot to look forward to

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thinking of You... (Cross-Post from Adoption Blog)

A Christmas Letter for My Child:

During this busy Christmas season, I have been thinking a lot about you. You are living so far away, and I wonder what you are doing today, Christmas Day. Your daddy, your brother, and I enjoyed our time together this morning opening gifts and having fun, but something was missing... YOU! We have been working diligently to bring you home as quickly as possible. There is so much paperwork and so much "red tape" involved, but we are making progress little by little.

Your daddy bought me a special gift for Christmas this year, it's a Prayer Box necklace. The idea behind it is that you "place your prayers inside" and then wear the box close to your heart to remind you to pray. Inside the box, he placed a small picture of Ethiopia, to remind me to always be praying for you. I think it's also a reminder that even though we don't even know who you are yet, you are already so close to our hearts.

Today, on this Christmas Day, we pray that you are happy and healthy. We pray that you have enough food to eat, water to drink, and a roof over your head. We pray that you are surrounded by people who love and care for you. We pray that you will be home with us for Christmas next year. We love you!

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge, his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day... no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:4-5,10-11).

Hutchison Christmas Postcard

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Making Cookies

Today I tackled a few backing projects, and Eli enjoyed helping out with the frosted Christmas cookies this year. His favorite part was sampling the frosting, toppings, and of course eating the cookies!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Eli's Rendition of "Jingle Bells"

Eli is really enjoying the Christmas season this year, and even taking the time to learn some Christmas carols! Well, sort of. Besides the song, my favorite part of this video has to be what he is wearing... topped off by the chocolate cookie all over his mouth. Ah yes, two-year-olds... where would we be without them? Enjoy watching!


Monday, December 8, 2008

LifePoint Ground Breaking!

Yesterday we had the joy of participating in our church's groundbreaking service and ceremony. Almost 700 people attended, and it was AMAZING to say the least. We were the first couple that joined our pastors, David and Lissa Hinman, as part of the core team to plant this church. I remember the first meeting we had in David's office at Word of Grace church in Mesa, and they were still trying to figure out what the name of the church would be!! That was back in 2004, and here we are almost five years later breaking ground on a new building. It will definitely be nice to not have to set-up and tear-down in a school every week once this building is completed :)



Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Tis the Season!



Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Happy Anniversary to US!

Yesterday Micah and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. We left Eli in good hands with his Nana & Papa while we enjoyed an evening out together. We have been trying to cut back on our spending when we can, with now saving pretty much all extra funds for the adoption, so we were grateful to have a giftcard to the Outback Steakhouse that covered our entire yummy dinner! We then headed to the Phoenician to enjoy the beautiful Phoenix sunset and an ice cream dessert. We had an odd experience at the Phoenician where we somehow managed to park in a garage for service vehicles (or something), and then ended up taking a service elevator to a guest room floor... where we made our way outside at the end of the hall, only to find ourselves on a grassy lawn surrounded by BUNNIES! I'm not kidding there were rabbits everywhere - it was very strange and I told Micah I felt like I was in some kind of weird dream. Luckily, we hopped back in the car and found the correct parking garage to get to where we wanted to go :)

Micah and I have had a wonderful six years together, and have grown so much in that time both as individuals and as a couple. We look forward to the milestones that will occur in the upcoming year as we both turn 30 (wow!) and if all goes well in our adoption process (fingers crossed!) we will welcome our 2nd child into our family. Cheers to a bright and blessed future, full of many adventures we have yet to share in.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Retreat

I have had many experiences attending church retreats throughout my life. I can remember being a young kid and attending Campus Crusade retreats with college students from NAU and ASU during the time period that my parents were on staff with Crusade. I remember being a child and teenager attending "family camp" with Desert View Baptist Church where my dad was the pastor for a number of years. I remember in college attending many amazing fall and spring retreats with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the life-changing organization I became involved with during my freshman year at NAU. And bringing us to the present...

I have thoroughly enjoyed attending the annual Women's Retreat with my church (LifePoint) for the past few years, this one being no exception. This was the first year that we were able to hold our retreat over a full weekend (when you begin with a small church plant, it's usually essential that retreats end on Saturday so everybody is back to serve in church on Sunday!). Our church has grown large enough now, that the women are able to venture away from Friday-Sunday for some good times of building deeper friendships with one another, relaxing, and seeking God.

This year, we went to a beautiful retreat center in Prescott (Chapel Rock) and enjoyed the crisp cool weather, and the smell of the pines. The theme of our retreat was "Seasons," and we learned about the different "life seasons" that we all experience and how God works in us and through us during those seasons. I was the worship leader for the weekend, and of course... I woke up Saturday morning with laryngitis! I had been battling a cold, and I guess it got the best of me. Thankfully, laryngitis doesn't affect one's ability to play the keyboard, and thanks to some wonderful ladies who stepped up to the challenge of leading the singing portion, we had amazing times of worship. It was a great reminder for me that even during times that I think I'm in control, I'm not. And when I think the success of something depends on my ability to do something well, God reminds me that "his power is made perfect in my weakness." For those who know me well, you also know I'm a pretty independent person, so it was a great way for the Lord to 'force' me to rely on other people and be reminded that he has placed us in community and relationships with one another for a reason - we're supposed to lean on each other.

I didn't take to many pictures during the weekend, but here is one shot of Nicole and I sitting in the "Rock Chapel." I was so grateful that Nicole, my friend from work, could join me on this retreat! :) We had a great time, and we were both fighting illness so our room was like a pharmacy the entire weekend. It was well worth it though!

A New Library!

Hooray! The new Queen Creek library is finally open!! For those of you in the area, if you haven't gone yet you have to go, it's beautiful!



Monday, November 10, 2008

Family Photo Shoot

Last weekend we had a photo shoot my side of the family - something that hasn't happened in quite a awhile to say the least. Here are a few samples...
The Whole Gang

The Siblings

Eli and his handsome new haircut

The Hutchison Family :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hooray for Eli!

Tonight we celebrate because for the first time, Eli went pee-pee in his potty!! Yeah!! To be honest, we haven't even started really trying to potty train him yet. I had a wise friend tell me that it usually works best to not push the issue and wait until your child is truly ready for it, which for most kids (especially boys) that is around age 3 or even beyond. Eli has always had my knack for stubbornness, so pretty much if he doesn't want to do something, it's not going to happen. Well, tonight the ball was entirely in his court... he decided he was going to pee on the potty (mind you, this was AFTER he emptied most of his bladder on the floor), but then he sat on the potty chair and actually did it! We purchased our potty chair many months ago, and have sat on it many times, but to no avail. We have also talked about going pee-pee on the potty many times, but usually if I would ask Eli if he wanted to do that the answer was most definitely, "No." We made a big deal out of it and cheered loudly. He smiled so big and I could tell he was very proud. Guess we shall see if this trend continues and maybe start setting a date to actually make this more official :) I would definitely love to stop buying diapers!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Good Prayer

Lately Eli has been getting more into the idea of praying, and will remind us to do so before meals or bedtime. :) The other night at the dinner table we asked Eli if he wanted to say the prayer. He said he did so this is what followed:

Eli (almost inaudibly): "Dee Jeeesus, Kank you fo fooood... mommy... daddy... (other inaudible things are said)"

(long pause)

Eli (loud and proud): "THE END!!"

Micah/Bethany: "Amen?"

Eli: "AMEN!"

He then thinks for a moment and announces: "Dat was a GOOD pwayer!"

Micah and I both got a pretty good laugh out of that and wondered what he must usually think about our prayers since we aren't often in the habit of "rating" them! Ha!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Drive-In Movie Night

Every year our church sponsors a "Drive In Movie Night" for the community. There is no real driving involved however. Instead, children arrive with ordinary cardboard boxes which they take through auto "stations" to be transformed into fancy cars. The finished vehicles are then parked out in the dirt lot (next to the lawn chairs of the parents), and the kids enjoy a seeing a movie on the big screen from their cool rides... Here are a few snapshots of Eli enjoying his popcorn from the comfort of his new car. I wasn't sure if it turned out looking more like a train car than an actual car, but considering how much he loves Thomas the Train these days, that would have been just fine with him!

Schnepf Farm

I have taken Eli to Schnepf Farm three years in a row now for the Pumpkin/Chili Festival that occurs each October. The first time I took him he was about 8 months old, the second time about 20 months, and now this time a whopping 2.5 years! Each year we take his picture by the pumpkins, so just for fun I thought I should post one from each year...





This year's visit was the first time that I would say Eli actually enjoyed himself. He especially loved the pig races and asks to go back and see them every day. We actually did go visit the Farm a second time this year with our friends Brandee and Bella. Here are a few more pics of the 2008 visits:


Riding on the train



What a funny sheep!



Eli-sized pumpkin



Pestering the sheep with partner-in-crime Bella



Eli and Bella - So cute!

Friday, October 10, 2008

All Dressed Up...

We don't get dressed up very often, so figured I should take advantage of the fact that we have these recent pics from the Kansas City wedding and post them! Notice how GREEN it is! I actually saw leaves falling off of trees, so I guess I can say that this year I experienced "Fall." Ha! The wedding was beautiful and we were grateful to be a part of it. We also spent some time enjoying yummy BBQ, seeing the sights of KC, and hanging out with friends we haven't seen in awhile. Good times, good times :)


Friday, October 3, 2008

Off to KC...

This morning Micah flew to Kansas City where I will be joining him tomorrow! We are headed there for Zack and Carrie's wedding. Zack has been a friend of Micah's since their high school days at Westwood, and I first got to know him right after college at Word of Grace Church in Mesa. Zack stood as a groomsmen in our wedding back in 2002, and Micah is now going to stand as one of his groomsmen this Sunday as he marries his beautiful wife Carrie (whom we can't wait to meet by the way!). They both work as missionaries at the International House of Prayer, which is an awesome ministry based there in KC. We are very excited for them and glad to be a part of their special day. Congratulations Zack and Carrie!!!




"I Thomas"

Lately Eli has had an extra dose of "two-year-oldness" running through his body (ha!). He is pretty much insistent upon disagreeing with everything suggested to him by mom or dad, and showing his displeasure in very over-the-top ways such as kicking and screaming on the floor. It can be really irritating, but also incredibly humorous at times. Yesterday, after one of his especially "tough" mornings, we were preparing to head to the park with some friends. (He finally agreed to put his shoes on after carrying on at length about how he would not go to the park and would not put his shoes on). Right before we left, this was the conversation that occurred:

Me: Okay Eli, you need to be a good boy at the park and listen to mommy.

Eli: Okay mommy.

Me: Do you promise?

Eli: (pauses and thinks) Yes.... (smiles) I Thomas. I wike Thomas mommy.

Me: (confused, yet realizing he is thinking of Thomas the train)

Eli: (continues) Okay Mommy, I be Thomas.

Me: Okay Eli. (Sure glad we had this little chat and came to such a mutual understanding of one another... sigh).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tempe Town Lake

Wanting something different to do on Friday night, we headed to Tempe Town Lake and enjoyed riding the pedal boats. The timing of our boat ride was perfect - just as the sun was setting. We enjoyed some beautiful views of the lake, the sunset, and the downtown lights of Tempe. Afterward we ventured down Mill Avenue for a Cold Stone ice cream treat. Yum!




Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Micah!

This weekend we celebrated Micah's 29th birthday! I keep this picture of Micah in a frame, and was looking at it today thinking about how quickly life goes by. I would guess that Micah was probably about Eli's age, maybe slightly older, when this picture was taken... and it's amazing how much they look alike!

Yesterday we started the birthday celebration by relaxing at a movie while Eli stayed with Micah's parents. We then all went out for a yummy dinner together at BJ's. The best part of the evening was of course the chocolate chip pazooki's!!

Today we continued the celebrating by having a relaxing day at home, and eating some marble fudge birthday cake. Eli repeatedly wished daddy a happy birthday, and then would tell us that it's his birthday too. I think he was worried that it needed to be your birthday in order to get to eat some of the cake :)

There are so many great reasons to celebrate Micah's life today, but here are just a few things I am especially thankful for at the moment...

1. Micah is an amazing dad. There aren't many dads who could survive staying home with their child (alone) on their days off while their wife goes to work. Micah and I share the parenting responsibilities pretty equally since we both work, and I just truly appreciate that he has a great attitude about this and values his time at home with Eli. He is just as skilled at changing diapers, making "toddler" meals, playing, bathing, rocking, reading stories, and putting Eli to bed as Mommy is! I know that's not the case in many households, and I'm truly blessed.

2. By nature, Micah doesn't care much about the tidiness or orderliness of the house. But, for my sake he steps in and helps out with the household chores. I am thankful that he always takes care of the yardwork, so that I don't have to go outside and sweat :) I also know that sometimes he'll make the extra effort to pick things up around the house, unload the dishwasher, or whatever, just because he knows those things are meaningful to me.

3. Micah has a "way" with people. He is a tender hearted guy, and gets along with everyone. People tend to be drawn to want to hang out with him just because he is one of those all-around nice guys, and he truly does care about others. This is what makes him an awesome youth pastor... he loves the teens and the volunteers who work with them. It's not just a job to him, the people he serves are always first and foremost on his heart.

4. It may seem small, but I love to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Most of the time, Micah willingly gets up with Eli the early bird, and lets me sleep a couple extra hours. I love that!!

5. I appreciate that Micah is a "techie." There is nothing I hate more than when technology doesn't work. It's especially frustrating when you are someone that doesn't know how to fix those things. Micah always has answers for how to fix my problems that come up with the computer, internet, phones, ipod, or any other gadgets that we deal with :)

6. Lately I have had to deal with a lot of medical issues. This has led to times of sadness, frustration, fear, sickness, and pain. Micah has been so understanding of me during this time, and is there to assist me whether I just need to cry... or puke! I know, gross huh? I have an awesome husband.

Well, the list could go on and on, but we'll just stop here and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICAH!! Eli and I love you so much and are grateful that the Lord brought you into this world 29 years ago, and that you are a part of our lives today. You are a wonderful husband and daddy, and we love you!






Saturday, September 20, 2008

Guitar Hero

Although I am sure that playing the "Wii" is not a highly recommended activity for two-year-olds, Eli certainly loves it. He often asks his daddy to play "tars" (Guitar Hero) and while daddy actually plays the game, Eli rocks out on his Wiggles guitar. At the end of each song Eli always says, "Wet's Twy Agin!" Even if allowing our toddler to play video games won't win us the "Parents of the Year" award, we're okay with that :) The boys enjoy their bonding time, and it usually brings a lot of laughs!



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thank God for Good Drugs :)

So you may remember from a few posts back that I had to have a colonoscopy. This procedure has been added to my list of "things I thank God there are good drugs for," ranked right up there with giving birth and having the beautiful epidural. I had that wonderful procedure this morning and fortunately don't remember any aspect of it! I do remember going through the awful prep yesterday, but this doctor gave me a different prep kit to use than what I had used during my last procedure and I handled it a lot better. I was not as sick, and actually able to get some sleep last night.

I was pretty nervous this morning, but everyone at the doctor's office was so nice and went over with me exactly what would happen during the procedure. When they finally wheeled me into the room where the procedure would occur, I talked with the nurse for awhile and then she said, "Okay I'm going to put the medicine in your IV now so you'll be falling asleep soon." After that I remember feeling really weird and tingly, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery area. They don't completely put you under for colonoscopies, but they make you "consciously sedated." That means basically you're asleep but you control your own breathing, reflexes, etc. I was somewhat sick in the recovery room just because my body doesn't always handle anesthesia well (same thing happened with the epidural when I had Eli), but I was in such a daze at that point I don't even remember it very well. The doctor also came and met with Micah and I during that time to review the findings, and I guess I was awake for that part but have ZERO recollection of even talking to the man. Micah was showing me some pictures he reviewed with us (of my colon - EW!) and some other paperwork, and I don't remember it at all. I guess that's why the force you to bring a driver with you. Ha! Can you imagine all these drugged up people being let loose to drive home?

Anyway, I pretty much slept the whole ride home and ALL DAY today. I don't think I have slept that well since pre-pregnancy days. I am considering going back and asking the doctor for more of those wonderful meds to use in the future!! :) As for the findings, the doctor said things looked good for the most part but he did biopsy some tissue. So now we wait once again for results... something I am getting quite used to.

For anyone who has to have a colonoscopy in the future - it's nothing to worry about. The prep isn't fun, but the actual procedure is a breeze and you won't remember it anyway. If you ever need to catch up on your sleep, you might want to schedule one of these just for that purpose :)

Thanks again for your prayers and emails!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A New Robe

Thank you to Eli's Great Grandma Lorton for making him this cute new robe covered in cars and animals - two of his favorite things! As you can see, he loved showing it off for the camera tonight :)


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You?

I remember September 11, 2001. I was student teaching at Squaw Peak Elementary School in Phoenix, AZ. I left for work a little bit after 6am (fighting rush hour), and remember turning on my car radio to find that every station I had in "memory" was playing the news. I didn't start paying attention until the 4th or 5th button I hit, realizing that something was going on. I began listening to the reporters talking about planes flying into the World Trade Center, and I was utterly confused. It was as if I were listening to "War of the Worlds" and wondering if this was some kind of joke. I called a friend of mine, woke her up, and asked her to turn on the TV to tell me what she saw. Her silence and gasp on the other end confirmed that this was not a joke. The next bit of news indicated that another plane had flown into the Pentagon. By the time I reached my school parking lot it was close to 7:00AM and the South tower collapsed as I was still sitting in my car. The reporters voice was shaking, there was screaming in the background, and the utter chaos of the situation could be felt through the radio waves.

The sixth grade teaching team gathered together in one classroom as we arrived at school and watched the horror of the events that had occurred on television. Just prior to the time we needed to open our classroom doors for our students to come in, the second tower collapsed. We were all horrified and everyone in the room was thinking the same thing... how were we going to pull ourselves together to respond to the questions of 12-year-olds who would be entering the door in a few moments having seen these images in their homes right before coming to school. Looking back, I'm not sure how we did it, but teachers do that all the time. Teaching is a job where no matter what happens in your personal life, no matter what danger is going on around you, your job is to push that aside and put the kids first. I honestly have no idea what I taught that day, but I am sure it centered more around life lessons than textbook lessons.

Today Eli and I went down to Tempe Town Lake to see the 3000 flag memorial. Tied to each flag pole was a card that contained a picture and information about each person who died on 9/11. It was sobering to see many stuffed animals tied to flag poles as well - those were the flags symbolizing every child that died. Eli hugged some of the animals and I showed him the picture of the little 2-year-old girl whom you can see on the left. Although he has no idea what any of this means, his response to her picture was "it's wike (like) Eli." So true, Eli, so true... it could have been any of us.

May we always take time to remember...