Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2 years

This was supposed to be posted a week and a half ago, but completing this project proved to be more difficult than anticipated. In honor of two years together, we made two collages. Unfortunately, we only had a stack of time magazines to cut up, so our pickings were slim. There are only so many images you can use on the war in Iraq that would help to illustrate your undying love. The first one represents our courtship and the second is our two years of marriage. Ta-da!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When I was little I was constantly singing. We have countless videos of me singing for the camera; however, a family favorite is my original hit When Santa Claus Was Dead.

Basically, I was this girl:

I didn't realize it was strange until my freshman year of college. I also had no idea how often I did it. It was just a part of me. My roomie informed me that I was rubbing off on her. She had caught herself singing about putting the dishes away. That was when I realized it wasn't normal.

It also happens to be a good way to judge my current outlook on life. If I am singing about everything and nothing at the same time, you can bet that I am feeling comfortable in that moment with where things are.

Having Oli at home gives me someone to sing to. I sing to him about everything! The tune is rarely familiar and it only occasionally rhymes, but it is fun.

I think that singing to yourself is the same as talking to yourself only with more character.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Completely unrelated to spina bifida, Oliver also has some heart anomalies. Yesterday we ventured up to meet with a pediatric cardiologist to do some follow-up work. There were 12 sensors attached to him to gather more specific stats on his heart functions. Just like it is in the scriptures, murmurs are bad things. Fortunately, he did not hear anything concerning enough to do another ultrasound. We won't have to follow-up for a year with them unless he undergoes another surgery.

I am always amazed by these medical specialists. We meet with many, so I have the opportunity to learn a lot about medicine as it pertains to my son. While he was intently listening to my squirmy, chatty son I was reminded of a similar instance during his first admittance into the hospital. He was at a teaching hospital, so the lead doctor had a bunch of underlings all surrounding our son. He was explaining what a murmur would sound like and then listening through the stethoscope. Each student then took turns trying to listen for one. The specialist I talked to yesterday made a joke that all the residents jump at the opportunity to check; it is almost a game.

We have come a long way from that time. I remember having so many things going on that the doctors reassured me that the heart problems would be handled later. So I took that to the extreme and had convinced myself that they weren't an issue at all. Now I realize that it is something that I need to be aware of. Although it may have no affect on his quality of life until he is an adult, it is still another thing that I need to have in my Dr. Mom repertoire. That portfolio is steadily growing.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Last night Oliver learned how to put his toes into his mouth, thus increasing both his cuteness factor and his ability to contract nasty bugs. Lucky for us cuteness lasts longer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


A boy after my own heart. We have been trying solid foods now, and it is almost like a game. We try to read Oli's cryptic facial expressions in order to know what in the world he is thinking. It goes something like this:

The first bite.
Was that a grimace or surprise?
Probably surprise.
Was it a good surprise or a bad surprise?
Just plain old surprise.
Try it again.
Still not sure.
Is he spitting it out or fighting tongue thrust?
If he is spitting it out he is doing a bad job of it.
However, if he is trying to eat it he is doing a pretty bad job at that too.
He is whining.
Does he want more or no more?
Does he want me to be faster about it or stop altogether?

And this is how my brain is working the entire time. That being said, I think I now have a norm to compare to. Oliver does not like baby food chicken. I can't blame him; the stuff smells horrible. I think he does like squash. This one smelled normal enough for me to test. And it tasted like squash...in case you were wondering.

Just as little kids always do, I had near-perfect names for most foods. Matthew's family called milk, bok. The boy I babysat called strawberries, straw-babies. I called zucchini, bikini. And my favorite, in our family squash became smash. They are basically the same idea anyway. Both involve a verb that crushes something. They start with the same letter. And end with the same 'sh' sound. Therefore they are the same. Right? They should be interchangeable. For example: That was a squashing party!

So, if you come over to our house for dinner I may just serve you a side of delicious winter smash.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Sometimes I am blown away by the generosity of others. This was a weekend filled with kindness and one of my all-time favorite things - free stuff! I get a child-like excitement whenever free things are involved. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I want to believe that every human being has a desire to help others; receiving something for free is a small affirmation that it is true to some extent.

Kindness #1: We attended an Early Intervention Program BBQ and people had donated items to give away to the families. The bigger items were then raffled off at the event. We barely made it in time to put our tickets in, but we won! Ya, we actually won this great jumper-bouncer-music and lights-kid thing. Oliver loves it. I thought I should try for it because it would be a good toy to push our physical therapy goals and to help strengthen his little legs. It is even better than I anticipated because he is all smiles while inside.

Kindness #2: A spunky lady is moving soon and decided to give her food storage away instead of trying to haul it. She wanted to help young couples get started, so she told my friend who told me. I had never met this woman before in my life. We show up at her house, she greets us like old friends, and then invites us in. She swoops Oliver up and shows him off to everyone as if he were her grandchild. She coaches us on how to begin our food storage and then sends us home with 300 lbs of wheat, a box of rice, cans of dried vegetables, and fruit drink mix. It was fantastic!

These were bigger things that happened, but I feel it only fair to mention the little kindnesses that happen daily for us also. We have friends that invite us over for dinner. Others who bring by treats just to let us know they were thinking of us. Matthew taking care of a screaming Oli so that I can regain my sanity. There is good all around us. When things get rough it often gets clouded and hard to see, but it is always there when we look.

Friday, August 5, 2011


What a kill-joy. Oliver has the sweetest little giggles. Each time he starts up we drop anything we are doing. He becomes the center of attention. Each little laugh is like a treat contained in my Christmas stocking. I continue to reach deeper hoping to find more and more treasures. Unfortunately, his laughing sessions are usually short-changed by that nasty Grinch the hiccups. I do find it adorable that he literally laughs out of control, but what a lousy way to end such sweetness. His laughing usually lasts one minute and the hiccups last 20. I say it again - what a kill-joy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Matthew's Addendum: The Name Oliver

"I don't want them thinking we named our son after a tree. I just liked the name." The End.

So there you have it from both perspectives.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Name Oliver

I have been asked several times why we named our son Oliver. We put off deciding on a name until he was born. On our long drives to Idaho we had narrowed down our list to a top three of Jacob, Anthony, and Oliver. I had reasons for liking them all and would rotate between them for a favorite almost daily. Our little boy came earlier than expected, and if you want the longer version you can read it here. Surprisingly, he was rushed off to a hospital an hour away to await surgery. I remained recovering at our local hospital. During the madness of it all we kept trying to grab at one of the three names to give this child a more proper entry, but thinking clearly was not quite an option at the time. My husband would text me pictures of our little angel. I tried each of the names out on him over and over. In the middle of the night as I was trying and failing to get much needed sleep, I was able to really ponder our situation.

Matthew and I met while studying in the Holy Land. We had amazing experiences there and learned to love the land and the people. One of my favorite parts of the landscape was the olive trees. They were strong and ancient. Several of them were old enough to date back to the time of Christ. Their bark had beautiful knots and turns. And there was so much symbolism in the fruit they produce. I loved everything about them. I wondered what it would be like if these trees could speak of the things they witnessed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Their existence was a silent testimony to me of the love of our Savior.

So late at night while I was thinking of our son, I knew that he was going to be the same kind of witness. I would be able to look at him and see the love of Jesus Christ. The name Oliver was then and is now a perfect fit.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Secret Weapon

There are times when our sweet little boy will not be consoled sitting in our apartment. These times I have to pull out my secret weapon. I chose the backdrop for this blog based on this weapon. Whenever Oliver is "grumpy" I walk him down the street. We sit on the ledge and just watch the cars drive down University. He LOVES it. It must have something to do with the fact that he is all boy. He will lean all the way forward and trace as many cars as he can while they zoom past. Today his favorites were a motor-home and and horse trailer. Those are trumped by motorcycles every time. The roar of their engines always catches his attention. It makes me a little nervous for when he grows up...