Sunday, August 29, 2010

How (not) to pick your nose

The other day, Sharks was picking his nose, so I asked him if he needed a tissue. His answer: No thanks, my finger is fine.


Moving on. Yesterday it was just time to trim the fingernails. You know what I'm saying. Sharks hates it when I cut his nails, but it's gotta be done.

So anyway, I did Deedo's nails, then the baby's, and finally Sharky's. He did this big, frustrated sounding sigh as soon as I finished clipping and walked away all mopey, only to sigh again, and say, "See? Now I can't pick my nose!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rainbow House Girls through the years

The house we lived in senior year of college was called The Rainbow House because it was on Rainbow Road. SO creative.

Which made us - you guessed it - the Rainbow House Girls.

The trip I just took to Savannah made me want to look back at old pictures of us.

So without further ado, here we go:

The night Erin and Jared asked us to be bridesmaids - this pic is one of my all-time favorites of us all.

The night Chet and I asked the girls to be bridesmaids.

Anna's Cross Country meet

Beach Trip Senior Year

Something to do with graduation, I think.


Erin's wedding - she got married a month before I did.

Our wedding day (also known as "the night I got pregnant with Harkins")

Anna leaving for Senegal - we surprised her before she left!

Cindy's wedding (I was pregnant with Cedar)

Sometime between these two there should be a picture of us at last summer's reunion.

Megan's wedding (I was very pregnant with Finn)

Savannah Trip 2010

I can't believe we've been out of college for as long as we were in it! That means 8 years of friendship.

Girls' Weekend!

This weekend, my hubs was kind enough to watch the boys while I headed to Savannah to spend a few days with my college roomies. It was a very spontaneous trip - we planned it exactly one week beforehand - so we were all thankful it worked out so well.

(Despite sitting on the runway in the plane with Finn for 4 hours. No biggie.)

Of course it was all worth it to see these ladies! We lived in a house together senior year (plus Cindy, who couldn't be there this time) and saved up for a beach trip before we graduated. So it was perfect to be able to head back to the beach and just be together.

This is Anna, who just arrived back in the States after a year in Azerbaijan. (I get bonus points if I spelled that right.) Needless to say, we were more than excited to see her and hear about her time in Eurasia, or as we like to say, YOURasia.

I am very thankful for wonderful friends who loved on Finn and were so willing to hold him. He, in turn, was thrilled to be the center of attention, and co-operated with our craziness by being sweeter than ever.

He even experienced the ocean for the first time. Not a fan, however. Ah, well. You win some, you lose some.

We spent most of Saturday at the beach, then got dressed for a night on the town. With a baby. So you know we partied all crazy. We even got FroYo.

Funny how a weekend with friends, though more physically exhausting than I had anticipated, was so emotionally and mentally restoring. I am so thankful for God's blessing me with friends who encourage, challenge, and laugh with (and at) me.

(Photo credit to Lindsey and maybe some of the other girls.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Reading List

Because I have had the same list of books that I am "currently reading" along the side of my blog ever since I started it a year and a half ago - I figured it was time to update my reading list.

These are the books I've read this Summer, at least the ones I can remember off the top of my head.

I went ahead and linked to their listing on Amazon, in case any sound interesting to you!

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen, Great title, terrible book.

The Maker's Diet, Jordin S. Rubin A friend recommended this book to me, and I found it interesting, but a little too intense for me. (I like bacon.)

What Difference Do It Make?, Ron Hall and Denver Moore The sequel to Same Kind of Different As Me. This book is a collection of stories of how the first book impacted the lives of those who read it. I really enjoyed the first one, so this was a little disappointing.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins I'm pretty sure this is young adult fiction, but Chet and I both loved it. Quick summary: Post-apocalpytic America is separated into districts run by a centralized government. Each year, one boy and one girl from each district are selected at random to compete in the Hunger Games - a fight to the death to win food for their district. I know, it sounds bizarre. But it is a quick read, and creative.

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins Sequel to the book above. (Still waiting for the third to come out this month.)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson Loved this one because of the intrigue, though it was very dark. Not a church book club kind of book, is what I'm saying.

Laura Rider's Masterpiece, Jane Hamilton I usually love Jane Hamilton's novels, but this one was too weird for me, and focused on adultery. Wouldn't recommend it, or read it again.

Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali The autobiography of a Somalian woman, as she leaves Islam and her family and escapes to Europe. Very eye-opening, about a way of life that is unfamiliar to me. What is super cool is that she is now a member of Parliament in the Netherlands.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett Pretty sure everyone has heard of this one, so I won't say much, other than I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Honeybee, C. Marina Marchese This book is all about raising honeybees. I enjoyed it because it was informative and truthful about what life with bees is like. It details exactly how to go about installing and maintaining hives, which I am hoping to do next April!

How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn I loved this book. It is an absolutely beautiful book. There is so much beauty, both in the tale Llewellyn tells and in the language he uses that I by the time I finished it, I felt refreshed and glowing. Sorry for all the superlatives, but it is really wonderful. Definitely one of my favorites this year. From Atlantic Monthly, "Llewellyn's tale of a young man's coming-of-age in a small Welsh mining town--a beautiful story told in words which have Welsh music in them . . . a book which will live in the mind and memory of its readers."

There Are No Children Here, Alex Kotolowitz A journalist spends a year in the Chicago projects, chronicling the lives of two brothers, as they struggle to survive. Sometimes my jaw would drop open, because I almost couldn't believe it happened here, in our country.

Real Food, Nina Planck The title is pretty self explanatory. I found this to be a practical, easy to read, and informative book about the values of eating, you guessed it, real food. This is one I would recommend to friends who are interested in the topic, but haven't done much reading on it yet, because it's not overwhelming, even though it's packed with info.

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, Novella Carpenter I wrote my thoughts on this one here. Absolutely LOVED it.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O'Farrell I honestly don't know how to describe this one - I wasn't really into the style of this novel - the prose was too choppy for me. Publisher's Weekly says it's "an intricate, eloquent novel of family malice, longings and maintains a high level of tension throughout, and the conclusion is devastating." True. But I wouldn't read it again.

What is the What, Dave Eggers I've liked what I have read by Dave Eggers before, so I checked this one out, not knowing what I was getting into. It is a fictionalized account of the Lost Boys of Sudan, based on the experiences of one boy in particular. It was particularly moving, because it is structured as a novel, which gave the author the freedom to create dialog, and be more creative in the telling. (This book was the first thing I read about the Lost Boys, and now I keep searching for more, if that tells you anything.)

Julie and Julia, Julie Powell Loved the movie, hated the book. 'Nuff said.

God Grew Tired Of Us, John Bul Dau The memoir of a Lost Boy of Sudan. Horrific and hopeful, all at the same time. The author's faith in the Gospel, despite all he went through is inspiring. (Why do words like "inspiring" sound cheesy? But seriously. It's worth reading - even if you cry the whole way through.)

Open, Andre Agassi Andre Agassi's autobiography. Fascinating, especially because I remember watching him play when I was little. Did you know that he dropped out of school in eighth grade, only to have his greatest work be the creation of a school? Good reminder of the tensions within each of us.

In The Sanctuary of Outcasts, Neil White
After being convicted of bank fraud, Neil White spends a year in a prison in Southern Louisiana that also houses the last leper colony in the United States. In the Sanctuary of Outcasts chronicles his time there, and how his perception of himself and life in general is altered by his interaction with the people he meets.

So that's that.

I am always on the look out for new books to read, especially if they are recommended to me. So what have YOU read recently? Or what do you hope to read?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Basement Office Makeover

I've had these lamps for awhile, and Chet kept threatening to get rid of them since I had done nothing with them in over five years. They are the original lamps from the hotel that was turned into dorms at my college, so they are old, and definitely needed a bit of work.

Last time my friend Lindsey was here, she showed me how to polish the lamps (using baking soda), and we worked on them for awhile, only for me to take them back to the basement, where they sat for another year and a half. (Finishing projects is not my greatest skill.)

See the difference between the cleaned up lamp and the other yucky one? Crazy, huh?

Anyway, while Chet was out of town this past weekend, I decided to spruce up his office space (aka the most hideous corner of our basement), and use one of the lamps for his desk. I had gone down there to get something out of his desk the other day and was utterly disgusted. Not because of Chet - he is more tidy than I am - but just at the state of our basement.

Ok, this is embarrassing, but whatever. A bad before picture makes the after look better, right?

We are renting, and our landlord thinks he is handy and can fix things himself, but the truth is, he can't. I have no idea what is going on with the window-that-is-not-a-window covered in duck tape. Apparently that was a fix for something?

It would pretty much be a crime to let him study in that awful space, especially because he studies so much. So without further ado, here is the new office:

Really, all I did was paint it and make curtains to hide the window monstrosity, but I think it helped. I need to fix the curtains a bit (I want to make it all the blue fabric - I just ran out), and I have a different chair and a bookshelf from my parents that will complete the makeover.

I am glad I did it, but it was not very wise to attempt it while Chet was out of town. I was already exhausted, and to add painting and sewing to the schedule was a bit much. But at least it looks better now!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Redneck Swimming Pool

You mean your kids don't swim in a cattle trough?

This is where I make up for my lack of blogging


(All one of you - Hi MOM!)

(Joking! My mom isn't into blogs, even the one her daughter writes. Perhaps especially the one her daughter writes, because then she'd freak out at all the personal information I am sharing with the world. On the other hand, mom DOES like paper shredders.)

Well, then.

We Hutchies of Hutchinlove are still alive and mostly well. Physically, tired-bordering exhaustion, some days. Mentally, mostly stable-ish. Spiritually, striving to grow.

Adding a third child to our family has definitely rocked our world. Yes, friends had warned us. I guess we thought we would just roll with it like we did with the other two. Not so much.

The thing is, Finn is literally the best, most sweetest baby ever (yes, I know "most sweetest" is the most worstest grammar ever, but he really is just that sweet), so it must be that simply adding another little person to the family is a BIG deal.

It's really not the baby that is the stresser. Not pointing any fingers in case you read this someday, Sharks and Deedo. My grandma did tell me that it wouldn't be the baby I'd need to pay attention to. True dat, grandma.

All that to say, I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to lay down my life in service to others, in this case, serving my children. The verse I have been thinking of a lot is this one, from Colossians 3:23-24.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

This is hard stuff for me. I don't think I realized the intensity of my selfishness until Finn came along.

In the past I could still mostly do what I wanted, and the kids would simply tag along. I could hang out with friends, I could read during naptime, I could go to the grocery store without having a panic attack. Now all of those things are more dificult. And sometimes I don't like the loss of freedom, which is ultimately my selfishness rearing its ugly head.

I just watched a documentary, God Grew Tired of Us, about the Lost Boys of Sudan. Some of the boys (really they were men by the time they arrived in the States) were working themselves into exhaustion with two or three jobs, just so they could send money back to their families to help them. (By the way, it is worth watching. I cried through the whole thing though; it was very moving for me.)

The Lost Boys worked hard for their families because they loved them, and because they felt it was their duty to help them. Yet, though I have an easy life in most respects, some days I can't be bothered to put my book down to play with the kids or do the dishes.

So, while I am experiencing the loss of self that always occurs with the arrival of a new baby, a lot of it is simply letting go of my selfish desires to do what I want, when I want. Instead of serving my children as I would serve Christ, too often I see them as barriers to what I want to do.

In the interest of directing my thoughts to the Cross, this will be my refrain for the days and weeks to come, from a hymn by Elizabeth Prentiss:

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!