Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: The Year When...

  • Eli turned 3 years old (celebrated by a Spiderman birthday party at the park)
  • We were certified to adopt in the state of Arizona
  • Fond good-byes were said to our wonderful LifePoint church family in Queen Creek, AZ
  • A new adventure began as we joined the core team to plant Harvest Community Church in Mesa, AZ
  • We traveled to Texas to attend the Summit V Christian Alliance for Orphans conference
  • We were incredibly blessed to travel to Ethiopia and bring home our beautiful daughter, Mikayla Aynalem
  • We witnessed the amazing love, support, and generosity of our friends and family through each step of our adoption journey
  • Mikayla lost her first tooth
  • Micah & I celebrated seven years of marriage
  • Micah & I both celebrated birthdays where our ages began with a "3" (older and wiser...)
  • We took a trip up north to ride the Polar Express and see Santa
  • The kids received training wheel bikes for Christmas
  • Eli ended up in urgent care for a "nursemaid's elbow" and Mikayla battled tape worm and various fungi in her skin/nails (no fun!)
  • I read the Twilight series (yep, I admit it... and I loved it!)
  • Micah got an Amazon Kindle (his new "baby")
  • I (for the first time) moved into my OWN office at work (it even has windows!)
  • We saw one of our favorite movies in the theater - "The Blind Side"
  • Our family experienced many of God's incredible blessings (at times through great struggles), and have come to know Him in a deeper way.
We know the Lord has great plans in store for us in 2010! May we have eyes to see and ears to hear...


Friday, December 25, 2009

Hutchison Christmas 2009

Last Christmas I wrote this post, as I prayed that Mikayla (not even knowing who she was at the time) would be here to celebrate Christmas with us in 2009. Well, that prayer was answered! We were incredibly blessed to spend our first Christmas together with Mikayla, and I must say the past 36 hours have been an endless party around here :)

We enjoyed spending Christmas Eve with the Hutchison side of the family, Christmas morning just with ourselves at home, and Christmas afternoon with the Thompson side of the family. It was all truly amazing as gifts were shared, laughter was heard, and most importantly time was spent reflecting on that babe in the manger, God's own son whom He sent so long ago to save a hurting world. What a glorious day!

A few pics of our "festivities:"
All dressed up on Christmas Eve

Surprises from Santa!
Yep, the kids agreed this was the best "Santa" gift
Ready to go outside and try out the new bikes!

Watch the video and Mikayla will let you know loud and clear what she thinks about her new bike...
Happy to have Princess Tiana
This boy loves cars :)
Our kids were so incredibly blessed this year with gifts from many friends and family members. They honestly loved EVERYTHING. Now I just need to do a massive cleanout of the playroom so we can donate some thing to make room for the new :) I think I'll get to that... some other time...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Brother and Sister

This video captures a little of the constant joy and chaos that occurs on a regular basis in the Hutchison household these days with two "almost twins" who fully believe they run the place. Eli's "dominating" personality definitely shines through, but Mikayla has certainly learned how to hold her own! It's incredible to see how their relationship as brother and sister has truly blossomed into a true friendship over the past 2.5 months. Don't get me wrong, it's not all hugs and kisses (as you can even tell from the video), but there is certainly lots of love between these two which makes my heart so happy! Oh, and after watching the video below, you may be interested to see "last year's" version of Jingle Bells by clicking HERE. At least this year Eli has a few more words nailed down, and a beautiful singing partner! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eli's Bedtime Prayer

So I already highlighted Eli's lunch prayer in the last post, but his bedtime prayer last night was worth posting as well...

"Thank you Jesus. Thank you for Santa. Thank you that he will bring me a present when our countdown is all over."

I'm glad that with all the time we have been spending on advent each night, that the part he focuses on is how many days are left so Santa can bring him a present. hee hee! Christmas through the eyes of a 3-year-old right? At least he thanked Jesus for Santa!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eli's Lunch Prayer

Eli enjoys praying for our food at every meal. Today it went like this...

"Thank you Jesus... for Jesus... (looking up) hey that matches!!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Look Who Lost A Tooth!


Yep, that's right folks, she has had two loose teeth since arriving home (both bottom front teeth) and one of them popped right out today when she bit down on an Oreo cookie :) I am guessing the other one will be out before the end of the month...

Ha ha, I know what you are thinking... "isn't she barely 3 years old?" Well, yes, officially she is. However, that is one of the crazy parts of international adoption, especially when it involves adopting from a developing country where many children are not born in hospitals, official birth records are often not kept, and birthdays are not celebrated. Trying to figure out Mikayla's "true" age has been part of our journey since getting our referral!

Prior to traveling, we always felt that she looked older than a 2-year-old in the pictures we had been given. She was also pretty tall for her age (which is not very common in Ethiopia). However, some kids just have mature faces, and are tall, so obviously we couldn't jump to conclusions. A few other "clues" were made known to us that could indicate her being older as well, so we had our agency check further into it. The response from the staff in Ethiopia (as well as her birthmother) was that the birth date is correct. But, we still had suspicions.

After having her home for a few weeks, we took her to the dentist. I was very curious as to what her dental xrays would show. The xrays showed her teeth to be very advanced - more "on par" with the average teeth of a 5-year-old. We knew her permanent teeth were coming in from the xrays, which was just crazy to think about! However, the dentist said that "dental age" can vary greatly among kids... especially kids from other countries who may have had different diets or faced malnutrition in younger years. Malnutrition can have the opposite effect of causing a delay in tooth eruption/advancement, but some factors (including malnutrition, genetics, & gum disease) can play a role in causing early tooth eruption in both baby and permanent teeth. Interesting, huh? Needless to say, the dentist felt it is very possible that she is 3 years old. He is a pediatric dentist, and has seen children as young as 3.5 start losing baby teeth... typically they also got their first teeth early as infants, but we'll never know if that was the case with Mikayla. He said it's not very common that kids lose teeth that early, but definitely possible.

We spoke to our pediatrician about it, and talked through all of the developmental things that we see her doing, or that she is able to do. Her height is at the 50th percentile for her age, and her weight is at a much lower percentile. Definitely in the normal (or below normal) range for being 3.25 years. It will be interesting to see what happens with her height and weight over the course of the next year while she is on a steady nutritious diet. After examining her and taking everything into consideration, the pediatrician feels that although her age might be off by a few months, it is likely not off by more than a year. We agree with this. In fact, we think her "true" age is probably much closer to Eli... he is turning 4 in a couple of months and they are pretty much on par with one another developmentally. We considered doing a bone scan, however, the results with that can also be off by 2 years, so we didn't feel that it would really answer any additional questions for us.

Per the advice of our pediatrician, and social worker, we are planning to keep her official birthdate although we know in our minds she might actually be a bit older. At least it will give her some extra time to catch up before starting school. So that's the plan unless something down the road causes us to reconsider. Ah, the joys of the unknowns, right? :)

On a final note, I will let you all know that Eli was not the slight bit jealous that Mikayla was the first to lose a tooth. In fact, he has been checking to make sure his are NOT loose for the past few weeks. He has seemed kind of disgusted by the whole idea that teeth fall out of people's mouths. Ha ha, he cracks me up! I lost a lot of my baby teeth really late, so maybe he'll end up following in my footsteps with that... at least it will give him time to come to terms with the inevitable!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You Mean, This Was All I Needed?

In recent weeks, Eli has been getting out of bed multiple times after we say good night. The problem was getting worse and worse. He has never been one to come out after bedtime, so this new "habit" was surprising to us. But then again, quite a few things have been surprising since we arrived home 2 months ago with his new sister :) Needless to say, we had tried everything to get him to stay in bed. I finally read on somebody else's blog that they had luck with this issue using a sticker chart. Though we had tried these before for other behaviors (without success), I thought we would try again. And guess what? It worked like a charm from the first night!! Eli got to go to WalMart yesterday and pick out a little prize. We haven't even put a new sticker chart up, and he stayed in his bed last night without the incentive. Yay!! I guess it's a good reminder that although some "tactics" may not work for kids on certain days, it never hurts to try again!