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.

NessNyChaCha

We spent the last 5 days in Tahoe. It was blissful. Our couple besties, Chad and Brittny, came with us. If you include driving, we had 5 full days of vacationing together. We spent hours at the beach, ate delicious food, played a million games, and laughed about who-knows-what and dinosaurs all day, every day. Here are a few of my favorite moments:

1. Walking the Tahoe Shore Trail

This trail was only finished last month and is expected to eventually wrap around the entire lake someday. The views were stunning. Chatting and walking along the lake together was the highlight of the trip. I love how unfiltered we all can be around each other.

2. Burnt Cedar Beach

We spent hours in this gorgeous place. From hysterical races in the pool to reading in the sun (but mostly the shade), it was SO relaxing. I haven’t felt this relaxed in months. I am so grateful Mark and Kathleen wanted to watch the girls for us. I wasn’t aware of how much I needed a true and complete break.

3. Games, Games, and More Games

Chad and Brittny our are dream game friends. Almost every single time we are together we are gathered around a table playing games. Over the span of 5 days, we played Yahtzee 5 times, Minigolf 1 time, Monopoly Deal 8 times, 5 Minute Marvel 2 times, Ya Blew It 7 times, Cover Your Assets 6 times, Life 1 time, and Spades 2 times. I think what we learned from all of this is that I am great at Life, Chad Taylor is an extremely lucky roller, Chad Hart covers his A$$ets, and Brittny is a true real estate mogul.

4. Deep Chats

Scattered throughout our trip, we had some really good conversations together. We discussed our beliefs, our families, and defining moments. On our way home yesterday, we picked one word to describe everyone.

Chad Hart: Bold

Brittny: Sparkly

Chad Taylor: Friend

Me: Thoughtful

I feel really lucky to have had the last 5 days with my husband and our friends in one of my favorite places on earth. The trip was rejuvenating and peaceful. It was nice to step outside of reality for a bit and feel grounded again. And now as it’s time to step back into reality, I feel significantly more capable. So here’s to adventures and resets.

NESSNYCHACHA NESSNYCHACHA NESSNYCHACHA

Family Forts

Today started out as a pretty crappy day. I woke up with a pounding migraine, the ones that leave me in bed all day. We didn’t make it to church like we hoped. We ended up having to cancel plans with family too. Even though Chad was a gem and brought me medicine and food and anything else I could possibly need, I was bummed.

Around 4:30 in the afternoon, I stumbled downstairs to grab a drink and found Chad and the girls inside a fort, which was really just our biggest blanket thrown over the kitchen table and tied just so, so it wouldn’t fall down. The girls were happily crawling in and out of the fort, giggling and laughing. Chad asked me to join them and threw me a pillow so I could lay down next to him. Once inside the little family fort, Ellie would leave, grab a little bit of snack she threw on the floor earlier, and then stop and tilt her head just so. At that angle she could just make out my face under the blanket. She would giggle so hard then rush inside to come closer. Nora was pretty content inside the fort, crawling closer, poking my face, then crawling away.

At one point, both the girls had journeyed out of the fort to eat more of their left over snack on the ground under their high chairs, and it was just Chad and me. We were laying there holding hands under the kitchen table listening to the girls babble. It was one of those extra sweet moments – the ones you never want to end. The kind that cause you stop and appreciate exactly what you have.

I told Chad right then we need more fort equipment like clothespins and rope and he began designing our next bigger and better fort. I think we have a new Sunday tradition starting up and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Home

I love our new home. It’s everything we wanted. It fits our little family and feels so homey. I thought it would be great. It’s 10 times more than that. I haven’t felt more at home maybe ever.

Everything is light, filled with my favorite people, my favorite books, and my favorite pictures. It’s exactly where I belong—where we belong.

Two years ago I was driving near our new town and I had the distinct thought that we would live here someday. It was an overwhelming feeling. I looked out my car window and was a little stunned and bewildered. Herriman of all places? Really?

I couldn’t see the future then, I wasn’t even pregnant yet, and after a few months, I forgot all about it. Just this week I was driving with my girls on that same road looking out over Herriman. The song, “I See the Light” from Tangled was on and that distinct memory came back as I listened to these words:

“Now I’m here suddenly I see
Standing here it’s all so clear
I’m where I’m meant to be.”

Now I know this moment sounds oh so cheesy, especially because a Disney song is featured, but it was POWERFUL for me. I sometimes doubt big decisions after I make them. A bit of fear takes root in the back of mind, but thankfully, those roots are already gone. I’m grateful for the guidance of the Spirit and the comfort He brings. This is where we’re meant to be right now. I can feel it.

So here’s to being settled, to LOVING our home, and building a little life for ourselves way out here in the boonies.