Friday, December 11, 2009

Redeeming Christmas

For a couple of weeks now we have been thinking about getting the Christmas decorations out and officially starting the Christmas holiday season. We weren’t really excited about it this year and actually dreading it a little for a couple of reasons. First, celebrating the holiday without our Eli (who was born still 3 ½ months ago and was expected on December 4th) is tough especially when we imagined spending Christmas together with our new baby. Second, because we knew that Christmas should be more than getting gifts, putting up a tree, and watching movies about Santa Clause. We’ve wanted to redeem Christmas but the problem has been knowing what to do to make it Christ-centered. This year we finally did something about it. The main reason that we finally decided to change things was because we want to raise our daughter to be a Christ follower. What is the best way to do that – model it by living it. That means changing a lot of things that we do, one of those being how we celebrate Christmas.

We researched on the internet for ideas of ways to redeem Christmas to make it Christ-centered again (which it never was for us). After a couple of hours we finally found a few ideas that we really liked and wanted to make as our own traditions. As a Christian I was surprised by how little information there was out there about this. That’s why we want to share some of these ideas with you. We hope that it encourages you to reclaim this holiday and throw off any hindrances that get in the way of celebrating Jesus’ birth.

1. Santa had to go – This in our minds was the easiest decision to make. The idea of Santa was a major diversion to bringing Jesus back into Christmas. We packed up all of our Santa ornaments and decorations (which barely fit into a huge box) and gave it to goodwill. Although it may be possible to still focus on Jesus and still have Santa, he does not add anything to Jesus, he is only a potential distraction, so he had to go. It made it much easier to get rid of Santa while our daughter is 2 years old instead of after establishing this tradition with her for 10 or so years. Here’s an article that goes into more depth of why these people had to cut Santa loose .

2. Christmas Tree – We decided that instead of setting up a traditional Christmas tree, we would setup a Jesse tree (called this because the first person in Jesus’ family tree – King David’s father). Think of a Jesse Tree as a sort of advent calendar, except that in addition to a countdown to Christmas, you go through a family devotion in the Bible, starting with creation and ending with Jesus’ birthday. Each day a new ornament that represents that devotion is put on the tree. For example, the first day you may put up an ornament of the earth and then read the story of creation. The next day an ornament of an apple and then read the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of man, and so on. Many of the resources online that we saw used a tiny branch or fabric cutout, but we kept our same tree with all the lights on it. Here is a link to some printable Jesse tree ornaments and one with daily devotions . We love this concept but we will probably call it a Jesus tree instead (more meaningful for our 2 year old).

This year we discovered this Jesse tree concept too late to make any ornaments ourselves but we plan on making them in following years and we’ll try to remember to post them next year. Not only is this a great way to remember the birth of our savior it’s also a great time to spend time with your kids making ornaments and doing daily devotions.

3. Gifts – We still don’t know what to do about this one. How do you focus on Jesus and at the same time get bombarded with presents. In this consumeristic culture it seems impossible. Here are a couple of ideas:

#1. I read a great article about one idea from John Piper’s website: “A new tradition in our celebration is the Shepherd’s Pouch. On Christmas Eve the children put their gifts to Jesus in little bags beside the manger, as the shepherds brought gifts of worship and joy to the baby. On Christmas morning Jesus’ gifts have been replaced with little fun gifts to the boys—symbolizing the gifts God showers on us.” Here’s the link .

#2. On Christmas morning go through your stuff (parents & kids) and find things that you can give to people less fortunate like clothes or toys.

#3. Instead of saying that the presents are from Santa you can say that they are from God - which is true since all things are from God.

#4. If people want to give you gifts then have them make a donate to your favorite cause (Compassion International, Against Malaria, Heifer International, etc). If they want to get gifts for your kids then ask people to get clothes or other things that your kids actually need instead of more toys. Also try to set a limit so people don't go crazy.

4. Family – Obviously our families will be doing Christmas their own ways, which is fine, but our family will be doing it differently. I’m sure we are going to get people saying how we are “ruining our kids by not letting them believe in Santa”, or that “there’s nothing wrong with Santa Clause – it’s harmless”, and “children need the myth to exercise their imaginations”, but for us it is critical to redeem this holiday* and focus our celebration on our Savior’s birth.

5. Other Ideas – Below are a couple of ideas that we have come up with this year. Please share your ideas with us (maybe we will add it to the list).

#1. Skip the movies about Santa and watch a movie about Jesus together as a family. We watched The Nativity Story this year which was great. It's another opportunity to talk with your family about Jesus' birth.

#2. Find a soup kitchen or another place to serve together as a family on Christmas morning.

* This holiday that we now celebrate as Christmas was originally Sol Invictus where people collectively worshiped their solar deities . Around the 3rd or 4th centuries the celebration of Christ’s birth was superimposed on the pagan holiday. Jesus was most likely not born on December 25th but probably in the spring sometime.

Aaron & Carrie Hutchings

Friday, December 4, 2009

Eli's due date

Today was Eli's due date. But, instead of holding my new baby boy, I'm thinking about how I had to say goodbye to him 3 months ago. We miss you Eli, and we look forward to holding you again someday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1st snow of the season

Eva wasn't impressed. She just kept saying "dirty" and "mess".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween Preview

I finished making Eva's Halloween costume and I tried to take some pictures of her in it but she wasn't in the picture taking mood so they aren't great but here they are. Eva as Pebbles Flintstone.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Here he is

Well, I'm finally sharing a few pictures of Eli on here. Here's our beautiful baby boy...definitely a Hutchings. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Results are in

Before Eli was born we had an amniocentesis done and a bunch of blood drawn from me (Carrie) to run tests on.
About a week ago we got the results of those tests and found out that Eli had Trisomy 13 and I had cytomegalovirus (CMV) both of which could have caused the hydrops that he had.
We are still waiting for the results of the autopsy and then we will meet with a specialist who will go over all these findings in greater detail with us. While it has been helpful to us in our healing process to know the results, they have also been hard for us to hear and have caused some turmoil for us at first until we are able to reconcile some things within.
We will never be able to express to all of you how much your support, kind words, cards, meals, and prayers have meant to us during this time of sorrow and grief. God is good even through all of this and we are able to see the blessings that He has given us and continues to give us even in times of great sorrow.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The story of our baby boy Eli Hutchings

We would like to thank everyone for their support, thoughts, and prayers over the last few days and continued support and prayers. It has helped knowing that we have such wonderful people surrounding us during this time.

Here's Eli's story....

On Thursday, Carrie called the midwives because she hadn’t felt little Eli move for 2 days and was really worried. When she went in to see them, they confirmed there was no longer a heartbeat. Aaron was in Donnelly for work that day and couldn’t get home right away so Carrie’s mom came over to be with her and convinced her to go to the ER. At the ER, a couple of ultrasounds were done which again confirmed that Eli was no longer living. Carrie had to have some blood drawn so they could do some tests to determine whether her health was in danger at all. When those tests came back showing that Carrie was in good health, we had some time to decide how we would like to proceed. We had the option of waiting and seeing if Carrie spontaneously went into labor or we could choose to induce labor.

Aaron got to hospital and we eventually decided to go home that night and come back the next morning to start an induction. So, we got to the hospital at 8am the next morning (Friday, August 28th). They ran some tests (an amniocentesis and some blood work) and then started the induction with Cytotec at about 10am. The induction took much longer than we were hoping but once Carrie felt the need to push, it was only about 3 minutes until little Eli was born at 12:50am on Saturday August 29th, 2009. He weighed in at 1 pound, 10 ounces and was 11 ¾ inches long. We were both exhausted and Carrie was still a little out of it from the Stadol that the nurse had given her about a ½ hour before Eli was born to help her relax but we were able to rest a little bit. Then, a professional photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (they take professional pictures of stillborn babies for free) came and did a photo shoot with Eli and Aaron and Carrie at 3:30am. After that, we were able to sleep for a few hours and then spend the next day just holding and spending some time with Eli. His grandparents and two of his aunts were able to come meet him and say goodbye to him. His big sister Eva Grace also had the opportunity to come meet her little brother and give him kisses and take some family pictures with him.
Aaron and Carrie then had some more alone time with Eli to say their goodbyes and then came home at about 3:00pm and were able to get a good night’s sleep last night in our own bed. We had an amazing team of doctors and nurses with us at the hospital (the on call doc that we got on Thursday and Friday was the best doc we could have asked for) and were able to talk with a bereavement counselor several times as well as a financial person to help us figure out all the financial and insurance stuff. It has been amazing how many little blessings we have been able to see through this tragedy already.

We are now waiting on the results of the amnio and bloodwork as well as an autopsy that we chose to have done on Eli to try to determine what caused his death and to determine how likely it is that it may happen with future pregnancies. Eli had something called Hydrops which is a lot of excess fluid around all his organs which can cause heart failure. What we don't know is what caused the hydrops (there are numerous different things that could cause hydrops) but we do know there was nothing that anyone could have done to prevent it.

We were blessed to have had Eli with us for the short time that we did and while we wanted him so badly to have stayed with us for much longer, we trust that he is now in the arms of Jesus.

This has by far been the most difficult thing we have ever been handed and we know it will continue to be difficult for quite a while but through everything we know that we have a God who loves us and is worthy to be praised.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday and Wednesday = clean floors and laundry

I think the title says it all. Pictures of my carpets and piles of laundry would be pretty boring so there won't be any pictures accompanying this post. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday = clean bathrooms

I started a new cleaning schedule today and today was bathroom day. I haven't REALLY cleaned the bathrooms in a LONG time so it ended up taking me 6 hours (with some breaks in between) but the bathrooms are now the cleanest they've been probably since we've lived here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Well, we headed up to Baker Lake (kind of by Sun Valley) this weekend with Aaron's parents for a weekend of camping. The days were a lot of fun filled with biking and hiking and smores by the fire but the nights were a different story. Eva did not sleep well which means that I did not sleep well. I think I got about 1.5 hours of sleep the first night, the second night went better and I got probably a good 7 hours of sleep, and then the third night was turning out to be like the first night so we left and headed home at 3:00am. We got home a little before 6:00am and then slept until about 10:00am.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eva's new room

Here is the progress so far. I still have to finish the walls and then paint some musical stuff on them but I'm getting there....slowly but surely. Once I'm done with this we can move Eva in and then start repainting her old room for baby Eli.


The process....

And getting a little closer to the end product....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oregon coast 2009

Every other year we head down to the Oregon coast with all my family (parents, sisters, and their families). They do it every year but we only make it every other year as the other year is spent with Aaron's extended family. We had a blast this year going to the aquarium, hanging out on the beach and in the hot tub, eating at Mo's, and just having a great time with family. Eva had lots of fun playing with her cousins and she got to see her Gigi and Papa Wally (my grandparents) as well as great aunt Debbie and Gail and great uncle Chris and my cousin summer and her little girl McKenna. On our way up we stopped in Newberg to visit the McConaughey's and on our way home we stopped in Newberg to visit our friend Jamie. Jamie and her husband Luke have chickens and goats and Eva got to pet the goats which she thought was a lot of fun. Check out our shutterfly page for all the pictures.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Give me names!

I am so tired of searching through thousands of baby boy names online so I am giving you all the task of commenting with boy names for us to consider for this little guy. C'mon, help me out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009