COVID-19 Life

As I’ve said before, it has been such a strange time lately. With COVID-19 taking over, our little family of four has spent a LOT more time together and at home. Chad has been working from home, most everything has been closed that isn’t the grocery store, and we’ve tightened our little circle significantly. Life has SLOWED way down. Here are a few things I’ve been learning during this crazy time:

  1. My spiritual health is up to me. It’s not dependent on a speaker at church, a Relief Society activity, or even Chad. I decide how close I am to my Heavenly Father.
  2. The craziness of social and family activities that used to feel burdensome sometimes, isn’t burdensome after all. I love being with all our loved ones, even if it comes with a little extra stress. I’m lucky for all the time I have with family and friends.
  3. Chad is just the best. I’m eternally lucky to have him by my side. We strike the right balance together. He knows the right thing to do when I’m sad or fighting a migraine. He knows when to encourage me and when to help me say no. He’s a rockstar of a dad and I wouldn’t want to take on this life with someone else.
  4. It’s okay that a lot of parenting feels like work. “God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion… By work, we sustain and enrich life… Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive,… sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves,… lifts, and aspires.” Thank you, D. Todd Christofferson.

Side note to all of this: Yesterday was one of those blissful Saturdays. Chad and I each got to workout. We each finished a few chores around the house. We got time to play and laugh with the girls. They started this new thing where they hold hands and run up and down the hallway yelling, “Friends!” and “Funny!” Goodness, they’re adorable. We had an entire four hours with B, Kate, and Crew. It’s the first time we’ve seen them in at least 6 weeks with all that’s gone on with COVID-19. We made shish kebabs for the first time on our new grill. And during naptime and after the girls went down for the night, Chad and I had time with each other to feel like we were out on a date. We didn’t have to leave the house once. Even when still feeling the after-effects of COVID-19, we can have the happiest of days at home together.

Focus on the Four

Covid-19 has been a whirlwind of canceled plans and a myriad of emotions mixed with the incredible peace that comes with being home in my favorite place with my favorite people. Instead of writing about the canceled plans and many emotions we’ve been feeling, I want to take a few minutes and write about the highlights of today, the things I LOVE about being home with my loved ones.

  1. I’ve had time to read my library books. I’m currently reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. As I sat on the couch reading, my girls cuddled up on each side with a board book of their own. For a dreamy five minutes, we three girls read together.
  2. Tonight, in an effort to escape the world, Chad and I had a game night, just him and me. We had delicious snacks on one side of the table and a stack of games on the other. It was the perfect evening and the cares of the world quickly fell away.
  3. Our ward coordinated a “Bear Hunt.” Kids could walk around the neighborhood looking for teddy bears displayed in windows of people’s homes. I walked around the neighborhood for a half-hour with the girls trying to point out teddy bears to them. I’m not sure they noticed a single one, but it was a great excuse to get outside and feel the warmth of the sun warming my face again. I’m so ready for Spring.

Everyone seems to have something profound to say on social media about this strange stage of life. I’m just grateful for the time I have with Chad and my girls. I’m grateful for time to focus on them and us and who we all want to become. Our 2020 theme of “Focus on the Four” fits this year almost too well.

xoxoxo

The New Hutch Lunch

Yesterday was a harder day for me. The girls were throwing tantrums and the social distancing of COVID-19 was exhausting me. As 5:00 pm rolled around and Chad came downstairs from working, he kindly, but firmly, kicked me out. He told me to go do something just for me. I love him so much.

I decided to call Ryan and we ventured off together, just the two of us, for the first time in years. We didn’t do anything fancy (because remember, COVID-19). We grabbed In-N-Out and then hung out at Jaclyn’s place in Alpine. We talked, laughed, and had sibling time that we haven’t had in ages. It felt so good.

After dropping Ryan off, I braved Target. It was near closing time and there weren’t many people out. It was the best COVID-19 shopping experience I’ve had in weeks. I found things for the girl’s birthday and Easter and some crucial grocery items I haven’t found lately.

This simple night was the BEST, most rejuvenating evening I’ve had in a while. Thank you, Chad. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for being aware of what simple things would make my night. I’m incredibly grateful for the power of relationships and connection at such an uncertain and scary time as now.

The Hutch 20 in Hawaii

We’re on the plane back from Maui after a wonderful trip to Black Rock. I’ve been in a hard place lately with migraines so we decided to leave the girls with Chad’s parents. It was a really hard decision and we’ve missed them terribly, but it was the right decision. I fought through four migraines over seven days. We still managed to fit in a lot of fun around all the migraines though. Chad even blew a hole through his eardrum. And yet, we had a blast. That’s Hawaii for you. It’s nearly impossible to have a bad time.

So here’s a record of the best times, my favorite moments:

Our Hiking Adventure: Chad and I decided to set off on a little road trip one morning. We drove around a big chunk of the island on these tiny little roads blasting our favorite music and eating our feast of popcorn and Oreos. We stopped for two mini hikes. The first was Nakelele Blowhole. It may be a horrible name, but it was very cool. The blowhole was about a half-mile down a pretty steep hill. The wind was crazy and the waves were huge. Every time a big wave crashed the blowhole erupted 40 feet into the air. There were scary signs along the way that warned hikers not to get sucked into the blowhole. Chad and I kept our distance and took some funny photos. We kept driving and started on the Road to Hana. The first major stop is called Twin Falls. We hiked an even shorter distance and came across a few beautiful waterfalls. We decided to swim in one. It was cold and so fun to try and swim against the strong waterfall current. This was definitely one of my favorite days adventuring with Chad.

Family Ocean Swims: Almost every day a big group of us would end up playing in the ocean. We’d pass around babies, laugh when anyone got knocked hard by a wave, and look for sea creatures. My favorite moment was swimming after a sea turtle with Mae. We named her CeeCee and laughed and laughed together. It’s getting so easy to chat with her. I had a really great time with Mae this trip especially.

Leilani’s Lunch Date: Chad and I snuck away on our last family trip to Maui for a little lunch date and we decided to repeat it again this year. We even ordered the exact same things: fish tacos for me and nachos for Chad. We shared Hula Pie to finish off the delicious meal. I don’t know why I love this little date so much. It’s our hour or so to step back and re-evaluate where we’re at in our marriage, our jobs, our faith, everything. I’m so grateful for Chad and how great he is with keeping our little family happy and safe.

Thanksgiving Day: In the middle of a killer migraine, I was able to say a prayer and join my family for our big Thanksgiving dinner at Leilani’s. I was SO happy not to miss it. We all ate way too much, laughed too loud, and shared Hula Pie to top it all off. We all met up in Mom and Dad’s room to continue the Indian stick tradition and share what we are grateful for. And don’t worry, we then watched all the 2019 Lip Syncs and laughed til we cried.

Sunset Beach Walk: On our second night I convinced Chad to walk in the sand along the water back to our hotel. We ended up taking off our sandals and sitting for a little while as dusk became night. I don’t know what it is about the ocean. It brings such a feeling of peace.

My Dad’s Parenting Tips: Each night my dad would give a three-minute spiritual thought. They were pieces of parenting advice from the Book of Mormon. These are the ones that stood out to me:

  • Pray every day, every day, every day. I want to be better at praying first thing in the morning.
  • When struggles come our way, be humbled, not hardened.
  • Say your piece when teaching the girls, then be quiet and let them lead.
  • Reading the scriptures every day will keep us on the right path.

Swimming with the Munson Boys: These three are crazy and oh so adorable. For a good 30 minutes, I competed in handstand competitions, caught Graham over and over again as he jumped off the edge of the pool, and threw little boy after little boy up into the air to make the biggest splash. We laughed, splashed, and joked through it all. I really love them.

Facetiming with the Girls: Every day I caught the cutest glimpses of the girls sweeping, reading books, and blowing kisses. I’m hours away from hugging them. Hallelujah.

All in all, it was a great trip. The migraines and missing the girls weren’t able to take away from the magic that is being in Hawaii with the Hutchins clan. This year, I’m incredibly grateful hard things, like migraines, are not eternal, but the very best things, like my family, are. These 20 people are some of my favorite on the planet. I can’t imagine my life without them. So here’s to the best memories, hordes of photos, and spending way too much money on yummy macadamia nut chocolate.

Our Extraordinary, Ordinary Life

Today was a really good day. There wasn’t anything particularly special about it, but maybe that’s why I loved it so much. All the ordinary things combined to be that extraordinary life Tim is always talking about in About Time. Here are a few of those extraordinary ordinary moments:

  1. Disney dance party in the kitchen with the girls. Chad was coming home a bit late from work, so the girls and I twirled and danced and chased each other while Alexa blasted the best Disney tunes. The girls were running around with butterfly wings on their backs and princess crowns sliding off their heads. There were lots of giggles and some impressive new moves from Ellie.
  2. Halloween costume making with Chad, complete with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and How I Met Your Mother reruns. Somehow, Chad’s strengths combined with one or two of my creative strengths (yes, I have those somewhere) made it all work. We have a functioning and cute slinky twin costume, ladies and gents! Let’s just hope it comes together on Halloween!
  3. I managed to do some laundry, run some errands, talk with a few of my favorite people on the phone, and get my work done. I still read Harry Potter and caught up on Grey’s Anatomy.

Such a simple, lovely day.

My Lovely Louisiana Trip

Thanks to a lot of encouragement from Chad and my desperate need to hang out with my older sister, I booked a flight to Baton Rouge, Lousiana to see the darling Munson Crew.

It was a great decision. The last 4 days have been blissful.

To start, traveling on a plane without squirming, screaming babies is AMAZING. I’ve had time to read, write, listen to music, look out the window, play stupid games on my phone. It’s dreamy to have this kind of uninterrupted time. Who knew you could find your ideal form of self-care on a plane surrounded by strangers.

Then I had almost three full days with Jewelsie and her cute family. We ate delicious food at the Rum House, Raisin’ Canes, Napoleon, Café Dumonde, and Red Zepplin. We ventured to fun places like Oak Alley Plantation, the French Quarter in New Orleans, and Perkins Rowe. At Jewels’ house we played Hand and Foot a few times, laughed as the kids played Dance Dance Revolution, and strolled around her neighborhood.  

My favorite evening was Saturday. Jewels and I snuck out just us. We went shopping, ate at the Rum House together, and saw Peanut Butter Falcon. We laughed, talked, and brainstormed for a company she wants to start. It was blissful. I love my time with just her. Oh, how I’ve missed her.

Here are a few other highlights:

  1. Jewels and I sat at her kitchen table playing Hand and Food while Brett and Hugh played Old Maid. The anticipation of when Brett would pick the Old Maid out of Huey’s hand was KILLING Hugh. He was just giggling to start, but then it became out-of-control laughter when Brett finally picked it out of his hand. It was infectious. Huey’s happiness was just too cute.
  2. Last night, I slipped in Mae’s room just to chat. We sat there talking about her school, her friends, and anything else that entered her cute little head. She’s becoming an adult right before our eyes.
  3. The entire Munson family and I went to a pizza place called Red Zepplin together. We ate outside under a big fan talking back and forth. Man oh man, I love this family.
  4. Maybe just every freaking moment with Jewels? I LOVE HER.

So grateful for the chance to see the Munsons this weekend. Special shout out to Chad for holding down the fort at home while I was away. I really do have the best husband around.

Our Little Family

This weekend was a dreamy one. It started off with a perfect at-home-date on Friday night complete with watching “When Harry Met Sally” all snuggled on the couch with lots of treats. The next day was just this simple family-focused kind of Saturday. We ran errands, cleaned the house, played with the girls, went to the splash pad, went to dinner with my parents, and even hung some frames along the stairs. Chad and I took an evening stroll after the girls went to sleep (don’t worry – we didn’t venture too far) and couldn’t get over how perfect the day was. I think it had something to do with the fact that it was a completely ordinary day. And yet, it was the EXACT kind of ordinary that we have been working so hard to get to. Our home, our girls, our lifestyle. We’re so completely happy all together. I just can’t get over it. Today (Sunday) the girls magically slept in, we went to church, I did some ministering work with my companion, and we made a fancy meal for Jen and Alissa. We still fit in some personal downtime, an evening walk, playing with the girls, and Come Follow Me.

Ordinary weekends are turning out to my favorites. We need to plan more of these in. I’m so happy as our little family of four in our little townhome.

I Love You Today

Every night Chad and I tell each other what we love about the other for that day. Last night I told Chad I loved him for being patient with the girls on the plane, for going to In-n-Out with me and eating our feelings, for watching the girls so I could enjoy time with my family, for making the most of our morning together, for just being him. That’s typically how it goes. It’s a list of sorts.

Today I feel exceptionally loved by Chad and not for any stereotypical romantic movie reason like him getting me flowers or complimenting my hair. I love Chad today for helping me pursue my goals. I’ve been running a mile every single day for 16 days. On Sundays and migraine days I walk that mile. Today was a migraine day, but 9:30 pm rolled around and I still hadn’t walked a mile. I was about to give up on my streak, when Chad said, “Come on. I’ll go with you.” We locked the door and walked back and forth in front of our home. Never getting too far away that we couldn’t see our home where the girls were sleeping. We chatted about our days, our future trip to San Diego, our work, and our plans for the future. I love him for the conversation. I love him for being my buddy in all things. And I really love him for taking something important to me and making it important to him. That’s love to me.

Forever Families

Today was my older brother, Cameron’s wedding to his sweet love, Katherine Walsh. It was beautiful. Cam is the last to get married of my siblings. Now all 5 of us have been married in the temple. How incredible is that?

When we were in the Sealing Room after the ceremony, my immediate family hung back to hug and have a moment all looking into the eternity mirrors. It was a sweet, picturesque moment. It was dually made better and worse by Grandpa Russ saying, “I’ll be going next!” Such a funny, perfectly grandpa moment.

There was a moment during my Dad’s toast where he got all choked up thanking Katherine for loving his son. It was my favorite moment of the wedding. I realized how precious that fact is. Cameron is loved today. That’s all anyone ever wants. What a beautiful thing to celebrate.

In all reality, the wedding was a bit crazy with the girls. Between sobbing while we drove to and from all the various wedding venues and sobbing during every formal picture moment, Chad and I are exhausted. We’re SO happy for Cam, but SO done with weddings with twin 16-month-olds. It is 100% time to sleep. Peace out!

Happy 16 Months

I was really great at recording the girls’ new skills for that first year. Every month felt like a HUGE milestone. Now here we are 4 months into their second year already! With the move and the craziness of summer, it’s been a bit of a blur. So I thought I’d slow down during the girls’ afternoon nap and write a little.

Pregnancy is beginning to feel like a distant memory and the girls are looking like BIG kids. They are 100% toddlers now. Goodbye baby stage, hello toddling little girls. It’s been so fun watching them grow. I know that we all learn to talk and walk and eat on our own, but it’s stunning to watch every single stage rollout. I have been there for their first steps, their first experiences with chocolate, raspberries, and J-Dawgs. I was there the first time Ellie babbled “Giggle giggle giggle,” over and over again. I was there when Nora first attempted to climb the stairs and stunned us all at how good she was at it. I get to be there for it all.

Being a mom is a lot of things, but I never knew one of them is simply an ever-present set of eyes. I am more of a walking history of their childhood than they will ever be. It’s a privilege to watch them grow. I love to just sit back and watch them discover new things around the room. They are learning and moving and laughing and crying at an ALARMING rate. There’s so much to take in from their new eyes.

Ellie is currently trying to play peek-a-boo by covering her mouth with her hands. Nora is slowing learning to turn her cute, little walk into a run. We started having a time-outs for touching the stove dials, biting, and pulling hair. Who knows if it’s even working. Let’s hope. Blankets, books, and toys that make sounds are all their favorites. Nora is a little pickier in the food department and LOVES her milk. Ellie is ALL about ALL the food. There’s not much she doesn’t stuff into her mouth with excited anticipation.

I love these girls. I love when they bring me books and sit on my lap for me to read to them. I love when they see an open baby gate and hurry to freedom, giggling all along the way. I love that they giggle back and forth with each other like little besties. I’m the luckiest to be their mom.