Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Find us on carepages or facebook!

Joshua is back in the hospital (going on 4 weeks now).

I am pretty much updating just on carepages.... go to, the first time set up a user id and password. Go to "JoshuaGrantOber" and read, see pictures, leave messages... An email notification option is available.

I am also on facebook now... hope to see you on one of those places!!

Love, Olivia

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Santas

11 years ago we were in town from Scotland celebrating Christmas with my family. Eric opened a present to find a collectible “Scottish Santa”. Seeing how we lived in Scotland, he thought it was neat and added it to our pile of loot.

The next year he opened another Santa and said, “Look Olivia, we have another Christmas Santa.” My mom quickly corrected him and said, “No Eric, those are for YOU.” My mom has a habit of buying a collection for someone, wrapping them YEARS in advance and then giving them each year for the next 15 years. As expected, Eric has received a Santa Collectable Doll each year. It has become one of the highlights of Christmas and it is not complete until he has opened his Santa.


The years have ranged from “praying Santa”, “Millennium Santa”, “Motorcycle Santa”, “Santa reading to a little girl” the year we had Elizabeth, and “gardening Santa” (Eric REALLY likes gardening – NOT!).

SO what Santa will this year bring?? Stay tuned!

Here are some of the things we do to show the “real” meaning of Christmas…

We have a birthday cake for Jesus. It is red velvet and we have made up symbolism to the red being Christ’s blood, the white frosting is the purity we have from our sin when we accept Him as our Lord, one year we decided there was plenty of Jesus to go around (there was LOTS of cake left over with all the other desserts!), etc. etc. Here are some old pictures of us singing Happy Birthday to Jesus…


We have a “caring tree”. We put up ornaments of the ways we “loved as Christ loved”. These are the “true presents” we give each other. The kids are good at coming up with things and find things to do for each other so they can put up an ornament. The first year we did it was 2004 as the kids were starting to understand being kind to each other. One of the ornaments from that year said “Elizabeth helped Bekah find her silky”. Another said, “Daddy took care of the girls for 12 days while mommy was on a mission trip to Africa”.

This year we are hanging them on an actual tree (previous years we used BIG paper and drew a tree and then added paper ornaments). The other day we went online and printed some Christmas symbols and Bekah cut them out and taped ribbon on to hang them. The tree is starting to fill up with REAL gifts!




We also make presents for each other, try to keep perspective on the amount we spend and the number of gifts to keep the focus off of what we are getting. I do love to give!

One of my favorite Christmas presents was Eric taking the girls for a photo shoot. Looks like they had fun and I LOVE the pictures! It captures them so well. Only problem was I got the email proofs before they even arrived home because my account was linked to our membership – whoops! I tried not to look, but I had to. What a sweet hubby!


My friend Kristen Young does something fun with her kids. They go look at Christmas lights in different neighborhoods and pick a winner for the night. They then present the house with a gift… Kristen explains it better. Kristen, chime in. I love the idea!

We read the Christmas story from the Bible (and other books too) and usually act it out – which so far has ended each year with arguing over who is doing what role and who is not doing their role right – maybe this year we will have fun doing it (nah, probably not!).

I just tucked my little guy in bed with his Cpap machine on - our first night at home with our settings. Please pray he will leave it on. We actually are only at 6. When they went to a 9 his central apnea actually got worse (cpap will not help with his central apneas). Dr. Robertson told me not to talk to the techs to get my info… I guess I should listen! Good thing I didn’t actually start using before meeting with Dr. Hopkins today! She does not feel his apnea is the cause of the pulmonary hypertension and subsequent issues in the heart. Not sure where that leaves us, but I have some questions for Dr. R on Friday. Granted we really won’t know much until another echo after trying the machine for a while.

I’m excited for school to be out and hang with my kids! Please pray we spend this holiday at home relaxing and having fun! Praying for your holiday to be fun too! Blessings! Love, Olivia

Monday, December 15, 2008

Joshua continues to improve and is doing wonderful! He is eating REAL food. Like cheerios, eggs, chicken, - REAL food!!! Not even pureed! I think he is starting to put on weight with the scandishakes, heavy cream, butter, etc.

We try to keep Christmas CHRIST focused. It is hard to keep the presents to a limit and not teach our children that it takes money and gifts to ‘make’ Christmas. It took a savior coming as a baby. How to keep that focus is still hard for me even though it is the forefront of my mind. I LOVE buying gifts, especially for those I know well and can find something that they would like.
Each year I still want to put up Christmas lights outside. Some years Eric obliges, but never enjoys it. He is the quintessential laid back phlegmatic, so he has no inside drive to accomplish this meaningless (in his mind) task! This year the kids even asked him (without my prompting). He has avoided the task and even those cute little faces won’t bring him to pull out the ladder and hang the lights (I think I heard him tell Bekah he might do it tomorrow??). Guilt trips do not work, begging is useless, but I have found negotiating is effective. This year I opted out of negotiating for this task, but made my real wish known.

Every year Eric and I make presents for each other. He receives a calendar with the previous year’s photos of the kids. I usually get a sculpture I’ve been eyeing all year. Last year he surprised me by learning how to make jewelry and MAKING me necklaces! Eric does not take hints well, so I had to really spell out my desire. For years I have given him an image of a nativity and asked for him to make me something for the front yard. This year I explained I wanted it as MY Christmas present and I wanted it BEFORE Christmas.

Guess what?? I got my steel nativity for the front yard!!! What a great Christmas present! I picked out the design and then Eric did the rest – he did his magic in autocad and presto chango – I have a nativity! I LOVE it!!

What do you think? Better than some lights on the house in my eyes. But I still do secretly want the lights too.


I’ve also taken a little vacation from housework and normal responsibilities. The result – Eric has been helping a TON! I think he might be afraid I have “lost it” (but really that happened long ago). I’m kind of liking the new “laid back” version… Eric says it won’t last long. He may hope it doesn’t last long! We even ran out of dishwasher soap – I NEVER leave dirty dishes around! Yuck!

Okay, so what do you do to keep the holidays from taking away from the true meaning?? I do love buying gifts, but I’m thinking next year they have a set amount of money and they get to pick it out exactly what they want… does that ruin the whole Christmas morning or does that make sure everyone is happy? My sister drew Eric’s name. He wanted a gift card to Best Buy. She doesn’t want to buy a gift card… hummm… but that is what he wants. Oh, the fun of shopping. HeeHee!

Okay, I need to pretend I am making an effort to pick up around here – we are having our Small Group Christmas Party here tomorrow! YIKES!

Love, Olivia

Oh - I also joined facebook... everyone at our sunday school class party was talking about it, so I had to join! Will you be my friend?? :0)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another giveaway - humm... can't get it to post the picture...

Check out another link to a great give away at Design Mom's blog!!!! Ends Monday, so hurry over!

WOW!! Hope I win one!! Love, Olivia

Friday, December 5, 2008

Awesome raffle

The end of the year is upon us and as we rush around to buy that perfect gift, many of us are also looking for the perfect place to donate. There are many wonderful organizations, churches, and causes out there!

As you know I am actively involved in It’s My Heart – a non-profit that supports and advocates for those affected by congenital heart defects. Many wonderful programs one of which includes comfort bags that are given to the parents while their child is in the operating room at hospitals around the nation. There are many children out there with more severe heart defects than Joshua and some go undetected even after birth! Joshua will have a team for their 3rd annual run/walk on February 21, 2009 in Houston. You will hear LOTS more about the event and ways to sign up and support Joshua’s team – by the way I still need a name for our team!!!!

Part of the difficulty in raising a special needs child is feeling alone and that no one understands. I can assure you I am glad most people do not and have not walked in our shoes, but there are many out there who have. The Arbor School, the internet, and IMH has allowed me to find other parents who are facing similar challenges and struggles. Somehow I ran across a really neat blog that is doing a REALLY cool raffle.

MckMama, as she calls herself, has set up a raffle for all of us to be able to help three wonderful causes. String of Pearls - No Hands but Ours - The Elison Project.
A $10 donation gets you a raffle ticket entered to win a GREAT prize – a CANON digital SLR and LOTS of other goodies! Check out her blog – and enter to win.

I love the story of her son who was diagnosed with things I can’t even spell before being born and is now one month old and healthy! We serve an amazing God! So go spend some time being inspired by her story, laughing at her humor, read her amazing writing ability, and see her awesome pictures – and while you are at it – enter the contest for pete’s sake!

Joshua is almost off oxygen! Pray he stays completely off oxygen for his tests next week at TCH (Wednesday and Thursday).

Love, Olivia

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My man

Many nights I lay in bed quite irritated that Eric was making his little clicking sound with his throat. I just can’t fall asleep with that non-rhythmic sound. As my irritation grows I know that I will miss that sound as I lay in bed alone in the days to come. The days turned to more than a week without Eric in town.

What is it about my man that I miss so much?

Someone to warm my cold feet in bed?
A friend to go bike riding with?
Breakfast handed to me at my computer while I read my quiet time? (I’m spoiled, I know!)
Someone to turn off Joshua’s feeding pump at 5am?

Yes, all those things are great,

But… what I really love about Eric is:

His laugh is so infectious that it sends me into giggles…
The mischievous look he has when he is trying to trick me…
The way he stays calm in all situations and can see the real issue…
He can make or fix just about anything…
Watching him interact and love on our kids…
Knowing he is in love with me, even the ugly not so nice parts…
His integrity...
His creative side...

But most of all…
His love for the Lord and his passion for men’s ministry…
Oh, did I mention he is drop dead gorgeous? …

Yeah, I’m missing my hubby tonight! :0(

Love, Olivia

Sunday, August 24, 2008

School Time

The kids are back in school. I’m not too thrilled that they will be gone all day, schedules to keep up with, uniforms to clean, lunches to be made, etc. I hesitate to plan anything on my schedule knowing that at a moment it could all be wiped away. I’m not sure how long the feeling of fear will still plague my thoughts. Every time I write something on my Palm, I think to myself, “well maybe.” Two days of school and Joshua can’t go on Monday. He is sick again. I love being with him and taking care of him, but I feel guilty for wishing I could get some of my to-do list done. Shouldn’t my to-do list BE my kids?

I just haven’t figured out that balance with planning and not being disappointed. For two and a half years there has been no planning. The world has revolved around Joshua’s hospital stays, next surgery, sicknesses, doctors’ appointments. We managed to fit in a thing or two here and there, but more than anything Joshua called the shots. We didn’t plan much and we were okay with that.

Now, I need to adjust to this “new” normal. ANOTHER “new” normal. Joshua’s health is SO much better, HE is so much better. The last few weeks we have unplugged his oxygen monitors. But I still hold my breath every morning as I walk into his room until he makes a move or opens his eyes. His breathing use to be so loud and labored I could hear it in my room without monitors, now I wish I could tell if he was breathing. He’s just so beautiful. I love how friendly he is with new people. He just makes me smile. I am one of the luckiest mom’s in the world! Who could have thought that two amazing girls and one little boy could fill my heart with such love!

I have no idea where this is going. I know these are normal feelings. I know that God has been so faithful through each step of our journey, but I still struggle.

I posted some first day of school pictures on the carepages! Hope you got to see them!
Blessings, Olivia