Kate's Birthday

Our Birthday celebrations concluded today with a trip to the American Girl Doll Store in Atlanta! Today is Kate's 7th birthday and she has been talking about going to this store for months. Here's a tip, call ahead and make a reservation with a personal shopper. It's free and a store employee will walk you around the store, leave you alone to make your purchasing decisions, and then she'll check you out so that you don't have to stand in the long lines! It was great!! She also gave the girls an AG magazine and craft to take home.
We went with my mom and my youngest sister Emma. We were sorry Rick's mom couldn't join us!

We heard screams of joy as we drove up

Claire wanted her picture taken by every "Julie" doll in the store. Look at that smile!! :)
Kate with "Kit"
Lunch in the food court with Auntie Em :)
Emma, Mamma and Me :)
My dear sister Emma. We are 12 years apart. She was 10 when I got married, and 13 when I had Kate. I am so thankful for her, even though I was horrified when I found out my mom was pregnant because I had just been told out what "caused" it a few weeks earlier. :) I honestly can't imagine our family and my life without her. We missed our other sister Sarah who was hard at work.
Happy Birthday to my dearest Kate. She made me a mother. She was the first of my babies I held, and nursed, and prayed for. She is growing up but she is still a little girl. I am thankful that she has professed a faith in Christ. I am thankful I am her mother. May the Lord grant us with many more years together and many more sweet memories to make like we did today.

Family Parties

We have such wonderful families and are most grateful for them. It really means a great deal to us that everyone would come out and celebrate our dear children. The first family party was in Gadsden and everyone was so generous with their gifts! The kids loaded up!!! :)

Singing "Happy Birthday"
Henry opening a fun gift!
Jack got an awesome ball! He was THRILLED to receive his favorite type of toy!
Kate, LOVING her new American Girl doll accessory!! We've gone a little American Girl doll crazy in our house this year.

Our other family party was at my parents' house the very next night. Can I please tell you all how thankful we are that we live near both sets of grandparents!! We had the best time and I always love a reason to go down and hang out at their house.

Henry opening his awesome Thomas rainboots which he wears even if it's 70 degrees and not raining! Jack and Rick working hard on opening another fun gift!
The wonderful Birthday cake!
Here's a close up


My sweet buddy Jack was 2 on December 9th!! He is such a blessing to us. His name John means "God is gracious," and I think about the meaning of his name often when I look at him. He is full of energy and is such a wonderful and funny member of our family.

Jack loves and I mean LOVES any kind of balls. I have never seen a child who loves them more. He almost always carries one or more around the house with him. He can actually throw pretty well! He is very independent and resourceful but cries like no other when I leave him at the church nursery. Boy do I love this little one.

Here is Jack holding up his number 2!


Our birthday celebrations are officially over for the month!!! Today is Kate's 7th Birthday but I'm going to recap the boys first.

Henry's birthday was December 3rd. He was due on Pearl Harbor Day. I cannot believe he is 4 years old now! We had the "Birthday Bash" last year for Henry, Jack and Kate so this year we just had family parties. We did have a little celebration for Henry on his actual birthday. This is what he woke up to:
We got him a stomp rocket, which is such a fun toy!! ALL of our kids LOVE it. Here's a link: stomp rocket. It may be too late to get one for Christmas, but it's a great toy to have on hand!
Henry loves cars, playing tackle football in our den, playing "obstacle course" on the Wii, playing freeze tag, and playing outside. He is such a fun little guy and is a great big brother.
Happy Birthday my big 4 year old! I love, love, love you!!!


Christmas Card

Had to make our annual Elf Yourself card again this year! :)




This time of year brings much excitement into our home! We have Thanksgiving and Christmas; Rick doesn't have to work a full week until the 2nd week of January because of saved vacation days; and we have 3 Birthdays!! Our oldest, Kate, will turn 7 on December 22nd, Henry will turn 4 on December 3rd and Jack will turn 2 on December 9th. I always thought it was crazy to have a baby in December and now we have 3! It is a great deal of fun though and I wouldn't trade it.

I get asked a lot about how we handle Christmas gifts. Each year we have done it differently. We don't have a set way that we decide about numbers of gifts, etc that we stick to every year. This year we have decided to give our children 3 gifts each. I'm excited because we are going to make it a treasure hunt. Rick and I will write down clues for each gift and the kids will have to go find them. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I have 15 clues to write so I better start writing!

We are always looking for ways to continue to point our children to Christ. We strive to do this daily, but there is something wonderful about Advent. What are your favorite ways to do this during the next month?

The weather has been wonderful this week with the highs in the 70s so we've been playing outside a lot!! Here are some pictures of what we've been doing:


What's New

I haven't blogged in awhile so I thought I'd just catch up. A few days ago the kids were asking us to tell them stories about when they were little. I read back through the blog to remember some of the funny things that they each had done. That's why I keep this blog. I hope it is like a family scrapbook.

Up first is Sims. Some have asked what name he goes by and we really do call him Simon and Sims equally. Well, Henry only calls him Sims and Jack only calls him Simon. The rest of us use both. So either one is fine with us.
This is Henry's first dress up costume and he loves its! I feel quite safe when Rick's at work.
Here is Sims rolling over when he should be sleeping. Hmm...
Science experiments:
Keeping warm on these chilly mornings:

Getting to know one another:

Driving to Gadsden: Some people have asked what we drive. This is our 2004 Yukon XL. It seats 8. We keep one of the front seats folded down so the big kids can climb in the back seat easier.

The annual candy sort. Clearly, Jack is enjoying it.
The Stash - I have not had 1 piece today. That's to make up for the 4 I had last night :)


Disney World Fund

I guess the biggest news is that Jack is potty trained!!! We finished 6 weeks of school and I originally planned our week break to be a week for me to get ready for the next 6 weeks (supplies, copies, books, etc). Instead, I decided to potty train Jack. I was a bit nervous because he was only 21 months at the time. Kate was trained at 23 months, Claire and Henry 22 months, and now Jack at 21 months. I do the very intense method in which the children just stop wearing diapers, no pull-ups, no going back. It has worked every time with 4 different children thankfully. It normally takes anywhere from 1-3 days for the kids to "get it." Henry was the quickest at only 1 day. It took Kate 3 days and both Claire and Jack got it after 2 days. Whew. It's quit the experience but it works and it's over now! I'm back down to only 1 in diapers and I'm sure it saves us a good deal of money, money I'd rather put into our DISNEY WORLD fund (we're hopefully going back next September)!!! I guess you could say Jack just paid his way :)


Simon Oliver Hutchinson - Child of the Covenant

Simon was baptized today. Here is the blessing Rick gave him during the worship service.

Simon, your name means, “he has heard,” and our hope is that you hear the call of God to repent and be reconciled to Him in Christ. We hope you hear and heed Christ’s words in Luke 10 where He tells us the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” because out of this will flow joy and peace, and all the fruit of His Spirit. We pray the Lord will make you as a tree planted by streams of living water able to withstand the onslaught of an unfaithful society (Ps 1). We love you son and continually ask the Lord to grant you all the Spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus (Eph 1) our Lord. May the Lord be with you powerfully throughout your entire life!

We were so thankful to have all of our families present with us. I love Sims' baptism gown because Rick's mom bought it when her first grandson was to be baptized and now she's had 5 grandsons baptized in it. What a blessing! She also has the name of each grandson and their baptism date monogrammed on the slip. So now, Simon's name will be next to his brothers' and cousins': William, Samuel, Henry, John and Simon.


The Hutchinson Version

We've had a few interesting conversations lately. :)

Discussing Lot's wife with Kate

Kate - You mean, his wife turned into a big pile of salt??
Me - Yes, that's right.
Kate - Well, what in the world did he do with all that salt???

Claire reciting Psalm 139

You knit me together in my mother's room.

Henry - Catechism

Me - Can God do all things?
Henry - Yes, God can do all His holy magic.

Fun times at Hutchinson Academy. :)


Gretchen B Photography!

This morning we invaded the studio of Gretchen B Photography! I guess it's always a little like an invasion whenever you bring 5 kids anywhere! :) Gretchen was really great with the kids and very patient. It's nearly impossible to try and get a picture with everyone, especially when it's posed! At one point (or several points) Simon was falling over, Jack was trying to get up and run around, Henry was looking for toys, Claire was doing her fake smile and Kate was trying to keep all of her brothers and sister in line. Boy, I'm tired just writing all of that. I know we gave Gretchen a workout. But she is great and we had a lot of fun. I can't wait to see the pictures! She's already posted one on facebook and I LOVE it!


We went flying

Rick has 2 uncles that are pilots. Uncle Mike is a pilot by profession. Mike and David own this plane and they took us FLYING this past weekend. It was awesome!!
Here is the gang with the fearless (and generous) pilot.
Henry and Claire are excited (and a bit nervous) about their first flight. Henry's first words when he got off the plane were, "that was SUPER fun!"
Claire's turn to fly the plane! Both Kate and Claire flew and Mike said they would both make great pilots. :)
We had the BEST time! Thank you so much Mike for letting us have this experience and for the multiple trips! I hope we didn't wear you out!


1st Day of School

We had our first day of school this Monday. Everyone is having a great time so far, but we sure are tired!

Here is a picture of my sweet Kindergartner - Claire. She has the best attitude and always asks to do more.
Kate - 1st grade, the old pro
Henry - He tells everyone he is Kindergarten :)
Our "show-n-tell" to explain a biography.
My captive audience (literally, in Sims' case)
Kate wanted to "dress up" her dress when we went to lunch with Rick.
Kate's spelling list.
So, I'd say we're off to a great start. I like having a routine again and we are all truly enjoying each other's company.