Category Archives: His Royal Hutchness

nov 12 2015: this week’s happenings


I keep thinking that I’ll update this blog more often and then life keeps getting in the way. But, I made a big change last week at work and I think I might actually get to catch up. I only have about 3.5 years worth of posts to do, but hey, who’s counting? Smile 

Anyway, the big change is that a I realized several months ago (well, like 13 months ago) that I was getting burned out on my prior role and unable to handle the constant fire drills and daily ups and downs (what felt like mostly downs). I had a random catch-up dinner with an old friend and she told me about two open roles on her team. I still get to stay in the same product world at Microsoft (Bing Ads), but I move out of marketing into a role planning service/support for our SMB customers of Bing Ads. It took me awhile to be ok in the head with not having the title “Marketer”, but I REALLY enjoy the work so far. And I actually DO believe that I am *marketing* the support that we offer for this product. And the team is SO great. Welcoming. Warm. Awesome. So, anyway, I’m hoping to carve out some time each day/week to go back in time and post some photos and videos of what has been going on in our crazy lives that I haven’t documented for posterity.

As of this week, it looks like this:

After a long, long, long dry and warm summer, the rain has finally moved in and we are now relegated to playing in the garage again. Briar has discovered the peas and loves them.


Hutch just wants to play various types of ball with him. Or frisbee. Or fashion show.

Briar has a funny thing we love where she says “wha yur like?” (translation: “what would you like?”) and she serves us imaginary food. She played that game with me in the bathtub on Saturday and I finally caught it on video. Smile 

On Sunday, we made the mistake of going to a play place in Factoria called Playtorium. The kids had fun, but it was wayyyyy overwhelming, too crowded and too dangerous for my taste.

Google made this fun video for me, though! Smile 

It turned out to be a non-rainy afternoon, so we headed out to a park after Briar’s nap and I snapped a few more cute pics!

Oh, wait, this isn’t one of them. Winking smile 

Then, yesterday was Veteran’s Day, so I had to take the day off work. Amazingly, I had a relatively pain-free day with the kids. I took them to another play place, but it was way less difficult to keep track of them there. And after lunch, when Briar was napping, I took Hutch to Chuck E Cheese.

Google made me another video to celebrate. (They picked the music, not me. Smile)

I took them to Target and got this funny video (trying to share through Google+, let’s see if it’ll work):

Then, Chuck E Cheese:

All in all, we’ve had some cute moments with our spirited kids recently. They make us crazy (more on that later), but we love ‘em soooooo much!

apr 9: the funny hutch edition

And, a billion years after the last post…. But just had to get this down for posterity.

Just now, when we were watching a space-themed “Olivia” before bedtime, Hutch said, “Mama-Papa, they took Pluto out of the planets because it’s too small…… How did they lift it???”.   We are dying from cuteness. He’s “four and a half and three quarters” (this is what he says right now when someone asks his age.) He’s still a handful, but he’s getting more fun every day… :)

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june 23: the derailed edition

Hi there….clearly I’m not doing awesome at keeping updated on things. Here’s why: 3 weeks ago Briar got a horrible stomach flu that kept her out of school for half a week. 2 weeks ago, Briar got hand/foot&mouth disease that kept her out of school for half a week. Then last week, Hutch got hand/foot & mouth, so he was out of school for two days. In addition to that, last week a rumor started circulating that they are going to be laying off 40% of my group. If this happens, and it happens to me, it’ll likely be two years almost to the day as the last time I was laid off. My brain has been all over the place for the past five days. I have no choice but to keep my head down until I actually know what’s going to happen. But, it just blows. I’d just gotten to a good place in this role over the last couple of months and I’d even started decorating my office!! (Amy, see my awesome Japanese vending machine poster you got me last summer!)


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SO, I’ve been doing terrible with eating and drinking way too much recently, but two of my friends and I have started a small private FB group to encourage each other over the next 30 days. Here were my goals today:

1) salad for lunch, 2) salad for dinner, 3) 10K+ steps and 4) my beachbody exercises (50 Crunches & 2x 60 Second Plank) and 5) NO ALCOHOL. And I posted this as our daily motivation:


And here’s how I’m doing so far! (Salad with black beans, red pepper, brussels sprouts and a dash of ranch + green juice with 2 cucumbers, 1 lemon, 1 green apple, ginger and tons of spinach.)


And, because I’ve been doing so horrible with updates on the kids, here are some fun videos since I’m sure you care more about them than my lunch choices. Smile


First, Hutch at Crossroads on one of his sick days. He was being hilarious while riding the carousel. The fact that he’s so verbal and funny is really cracking us up these days. At the time, I didn’t know where he came up with “This is the BEST DAY EVERRRR!”. I thought I was just being an awesome mom, getting him cake pops and putting him on rides. But, it turns out that it was from an episode of WallyKazam, one of his new favorite shows. Smile

This is the day that we got birthday presents from Aunt Carrie, Uncle Brian, Georgia and Ronan. This one is called “Rollipop” and Briar figured this out within about a minute of me putting it together. SHE LOVES this thing!!! I couldn’t believe she just “knew” to put the balls into the hole at the top. Thank you guys again for sending it!

Hutch likes to speak in “Japanese” and he will take English words and say them in Japanese by just using the “katakana-version” of the word. SO, he’ll say “Doh-rah-ee-voo soo-roo” instead of saying “Drive through”. Smile And he calls Briar “Boo-rah-ee-ah-chan”. One of the huge benefits of sending him to a Japanese daycare.

feb 16-28

I’m playing catch-up. It’s March 4th and I haven’t updated things in {SHEESH} almost three weeks. So, here you go!

feb 16: Sunday morning strawberry waffles. Who has the best husband ever?!!


Sunday morning gym class.



Sunday evening painting




The artist becomes the artwork.



And after all that mess, Mama needed a beer. A chocolate, peanute butter, banana ale. Smile Weird, but good!


feb 17: Monday. It was President’s Day, so that means no school. Two bored kids. A tired mama and papa. Papa was working, so Mama took the kids and a stack of quarters to Crossroads Mall to ride the rides. You can see from the video below how much fun it is.



We came home and had to find something else to do, so we scootered for a little while. He’s getting better! But still doesn’t seem super into being on moving vehicles like other kids his age often are. At least he agreed to wear his new helmet. We had to go buy him a Lightning McQueen version after Mama pinched his face in the old one and he refused to have it anywhere near him.


And then he had to go potty. Papa taught him how to “pee in nature”. Smile I bet our neighbors LOVE this.




The many faces of Hutch.





feb 20 (Thursday): Mama gets some much needed mama-time. I had to book myself into a 2 –hour “important business meeting” that no one could move around, but I finally got myself back to visit Thomas and have him fix up my horrible Heather Locklear circa 1991 black roots situation. I captured a “before”, but you can’t really see the atrociousness. And I forgot to capture an “after”. It’s still almost as long, but blonder. I’m loving it.

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feb 21 (Friday): We are trying to get back on the health kick. Making more juice and drinking smoothies. Recently, Buck went in for his first physical in a long time and found that his cholesterol was a little high, so as a family we are going to tackle our health over the coming year. As soon as I get my butt in gear and finish my writing prompts for my “One Little Word” exercises, I’ll share some of my action plans.


Also, today being Friday, we had another “Reward” day for Hutch. When we were working through the potty training thing at school about 4 weeks ago, we started offering him treats for every day that he didn’t have an accident at school. At one point, the treat became a diecast car from the movie Cars, but then he started having no accidents at school and wanted a new car every single day. And not just ANY car. Specific cars. Sometimes ones that you can only find on Amazon for $11. So, we quickly put an end to daily treats and turned them into “stars”. If he got 5 stars, he’d get a new car. So, Fridays became “Reward” days. And then he stopped having accidents (pretty quickly!), but started getting pretty bummed about school every day and crying when we left him. So, we changed it to “happy stars” and if he’s happy, he gets a happy star. On this particular Friday, he wanted a Dusty the Cropduster airplane instead of a car. And, instead of having do “hot and cold” to find the hiding place, we drew him a treasure map. He’s doing pretty well with this “happy star” idea. But he still wants these RANDOM cars from the Cars movies and they are impossible to find except on Amazon. Pretty soon his car collection is going to cost more than what we paid for Mama’s car. We need Disney to make a movie about sticks so that we can go collect those in nature and parcel them out each week. 

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feb 22-23rd (the weekend): What do you do with two high-energy kids when it rains on the weekend? Ummmmm…..that’s a GREAT question. When you have a good answer, please let me know. We end up at the mall half the time. And playing in the crappy kids area. Which sucks. This time, I put Briar in her Cabbage Patch kid hat and got no less than 12 people who exclaimed over it. A couple of Chinese grandparents forced her to be in a picture with their little grandson and tried to get him to kiss her because they were so enamored of her big blue eyes and the blonde “hair”.

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This picture is totally blurry but cracks me up. It’s SO indicative of how the interaction between Hutch and Briar plays out these days.



What else do we do on rainy weekends? We turn on the Xbox and do fitness programs so that Mama and Papa can get 2 minutes of a workout in. Well, actually, this was the first time we tried it, but it worked out pretty well as long as one parent held Briar back from getting underfoot. And the way the Kinect on the Xbox reads your body and gives you a “score” for your workout is pretty cool. It makes me want to use it more, but usually I’m pretty dead by 8:30pm which is when I have a free moment to work out.


On these rainy days, we also play Wii. We pulled out the skiing game and taught him. He got super into it, but he also gets REALLY frustrated when it doesn’t work the way he wants it to and REALLY frustrated when we try to help him. Pretty typical of his temperament. But it makes me worried about what happens when he struggles with homework in a few years.

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feb 24 (Monday): Last night was the season finale of Downton Abbey. I think I’ve professed my love for this show on the blog before. If not, it’s been one of the highlights in my boob tube repertoire in recent years. Anyway, in recent days, during our nighttime routine with Hutch, he’s started coming back out to the living room to go pee in the little portable Bjorn potty. He’s just doing it to stretch out the routine and probably to see me one last time (the way our routine works right now is that I go in with him initially, read him a book and then come get Papa, who reads him another book or two and sings songs and then turns out the light). Since Papa’s part of the routine takes about 20 minutes, I usually turn on the TV and watch part of a show, like Downton Abbey, that Papa is not interested in. When Hutch has come out recently to pee, he asks me what’s on. The past few days I’ve been catching up on Downtown Abbey, so he’s now come to expect that that’s what I’ll be watching and he actually pays attention to it. And then THIS morning, I couldn’t get him out of bed, so I said, “Let’s go watch Downton Abbey” and he IMMEDIATELY perked up, raced out of bed and plopped on the couch, ready to watch. I had been joking, but he was totally serious and he spent the next 20 minutes watching it! Cracked me up!



Then, that night, Papa had a dinner at work, so Nana and Grandy came over for dinner to help me take care of the kids because we are still not sure how to do the nighttime routine for Briar without another adult there to sit with Hutch. Of course, Hutch had to show Grandy how to play Mario Kart. He was so cute and patient with Grandy. And Grandy was surprisingly good at figuring out how the Wii remote works. It’s not an easy game. I know because I constantly get asked by Hutch to take over the remote when he gets to a part he doesn’t like and then I immediately drive him off a cliff or do something horrible and he comes in 12th place and gets super frustrated with me. I even wrote the following update on FB about it: image


And before Nana & Grandy came over and we were wasting time, Hutch was entertaining Briar by popping the air bags that come inside of Amazon boxes. I had thought it would scare her when he made the loud pop, but instead, it cracks her up! This has happened multiple times. So funny to see her little personality quirks. She’ll cry like the biggest baby if she barely bonks her head, but a big loud bang makes her happier than anything ever has. You can also see the dynamic between the two of them and the fun fights that we’re in for when she wants to get into his stuff as she gets bigger. She just wants so desperately to be involved in whatever he’s doing. And he acts like she’s ruining EVERYTHING when she gets within 12 feet of him. Ahhhhhh, the fun times of parenting two.

So, anyway, as you can see, I’m not doing an awesome job of taking a picture every day anymore, but I’m still trying to capture and post most of what’s going on because I know how much this phase of my life is going to be lost to me when I look back on it. It’s such a blur from week to week. A lot of tantrums, monotony, sucky days at work, etc….But, I’m trying to capture the smiles, the giggles, the coos, the occasional freak out and our daily lives so that we can look back on this one day when the kids are bigger and remember that it was fun.

feb 8-13: it’s-all-a-blur edition

Umm…yah. Barf, barf and more barf. Briar started barfing early Friday morning and it was still happening as of this morning. I took her to the doctor yesterday because 5 days of barfing seemed like a lot but the doc told me that it’s not that uncommon when babies get a stomach flu. The problem now, though, is that she’s gotten a cough/runny nose on top of the barf+diarrhea. Apparently it’s going around the kids in our area, but it’s SO not fun or good for my career to be out of the office for a week straight. It’s also not great for my mental health to be trapped in the house with a crying baby who is hungry but barfs up everything she eats. We tried taking her back to school on Wednesday, but she barfed while there and they sent her home.

I don’t have a whole ton of pictures because when you’re trapped in the house for a week, you don’t take a whole lot of awesome pictures. So, here goes!

Saturday: I stayed home and did laundry while Briar napped and Papa/Hutch went to soccer. And by “did laundry”, I mean sit down on my bed and watch Real Housewives and fold an occasional piece of laundry and just revel in not being barfed on for a moment.


In the afternoon, I went to Hutch’s preschool parent/teacher conference where I learned that Hutch is not doing so great at Megumi these days. The teachers let me know that he’s not speaking Japanese to them and that the language differences are causing some frustration on his part. They also told me that he’s not being stimulated enough and that he might be happier in another place. Ummmm…..this throws a big wrench in our plans for educating him until kindergarten. We happened to go to a friend’s 4th birthday party and when I was talking to some other parents there, I learned that a lot of the kids are not super happy in their classroom. And that a lot of the parents are looking for other options for pre-k. All of a sudden we are in a scramble. I’ll explain more later in the post.

Sunday: It snowed! Briar and I stayed inside. Hutch and Papa got to go play. I started barfing while they were gone.

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Selfies in the bed while trying to waste time between barfs.



Later in the day, we hung out downstairs and built a ramp for our cars.


Monday through Wednesday: We took walks (see little sick girl below), took a trip to the doc to visit our favorite fish, went to the local elementary school and raced our cars and mostly just tried to feel better.


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We got an awesome package from Aunt Carrie, Uncle Brian, Georgia & Ronan. You can see how much Hutch was interested in all of the things inside by how quickly he threw them on the floor. Winking smile

More rolling around with Briar, trying to figure out how to waste the hours she’s awake and feeling crabby. She likes our bed, so sometimes I just bring her in here and play and waste minutes so that she doesn’t start squawking again.

When we ask Hutch what Papa’s name is, he says, “Uncle Buck.”

Also, you might have noticed Hutch sitting on the potty in the video above. He’s pretty much done with potty training (finally!!!) and has VERY few accidents. He still does the “hiding” thing, though, when he’s going #2. In this picture, he wanted to keep watching his show, so he made US hide behind our pillows and not look at him while he was on the potty. We were cracking up.


Anyway, we spent the whole week consumed with our application to a local school for Hutch for next year because their deadline is tomorrow (Friday, the 14th). In a way, I think it was sort of good timing that we had the surprising parent-teacher conference when we did because it opened my eyes to things that I hadn’t really seen. I had always just assumed that Hutch cried every day when we left and was waiting by the window for pick-up because he is overly attached to us. But, it makes sense now when I realize that his brain is yearning for stuff to keep him stimulated and occupied and since there’s not a lot of academic emphasis at his current school, he’s basically BORED. And that boredom leads to frustration and anxiety in a spirited kid. I had always been ok with the idea that he’d be in a play-based daycare because I didn’t think we needed to push academics on him at a super early age. What I never really considered is that he’d WANT to be in a learning environment. And it makes sense, because if we sit around at home too much, he goes CRAZY. Which is why we’re always out doing things with him, to keep him stimulated. Once I understood this from the teachers, it was like a lightbulb turned on and I realized that we needed to make a pretty big decision and push for change. So, for the past 4 days we have been writing up a 2 page essay about how awesome Hutch is (and what awesome parents we are Winking smile) to get our application in by the deadline tomorrow. And we were required to tour the school as well, which turned out to be awesome and made me a lot more excited about the opportunities that it might give him for next year. It was pretty crazy, though, how much learning he’d get there. The kids who are in the class he’d be in starting in September are reading books and doing things that seem SO far advanced for that age. I think he’ll do fine adjusting to that because he picks up things so quickly these days, but it was eye-opening. And I’m glad I got this exposure so that we can be planning his next few years and exposing him to things that’ll make him happier and more ready to face kindergarten with his peers. We’ll find out during the week of March 7th if we got in, so cross your fingers for us. And, big thanks to our friend Jamie for writing us a referral. Her girls go to this school and the stories that I’ve heard from her about it make me even more excited.