17 October 2009

What is Oliver up to? Any new phases that he is going through? And also maybe some funny quotes from him?
Oliver gets funnier every day. Maybe that's the way all 2- & 3-year-olds are. He cracks us up with the big words or ideas that just pop out of his little mouth. The other day he came up to me with a hug and told me that my hair was "gorgeous!" I was so surprised I asked him to repeat himself and he said, "Gorgeous, Mommy! In the whole, wide world!" He's like my own little fan club! :)

Oliver's biggest passion for the last few months has been puzzles. Mostly floor puzzles at first, but now he's enjoying sitting down at the table to puzzles with up to 100 pieces. Most of his floor puzzles only have 40-60 large pieces but it still surprised us about a month ago when we came up to his room at the end of rest time and found all four of his floor puzzles completely assembled with him begging for more!

He's also super into coloring. He loves to freehand things with his colored pencils (that's our medium of choice in our house since we've found them to be the least destructive) on blank white paper and he's learning to layer colors to make whole new colors. He's funny about coloring books and coloring in the lines though - he'll stay within the general shape of the object, but likes to use lots of randomly placed colors to fill the shape. Here are two of his latest creations:

He did this one this evening:

And he did this one on his 3rd birthday. He managed to color the light, star and windows solid colors. For the body and the wheels he had his own ideas. It's fun to sit quietly and watch him work:
(Yes, I just scanned and posted pictures from Oliver's coloring pages. That did just happen.)

Thanks for asking about O, Tara! It's never too hard to convince a Mama to gush about her baby! :)

Oh, and a recent quote. Hmmm... Well, this one's funny only when you picture the tiny body from whence these words emerged.
Ryan and Oliver were in the kitchen at my Mom's house the other day. Ryan offered a cracker to take for the car ride home and Oliver's response was, "ACTUALLY, Daddy, it's a graham cracker."
It's only funny because "actually" feels like such a big word for a brand new 3-year-old to use. He's been busting out words (in the proper context, mind you!) like "nervous" and "risky" too. It's funny to watch his vocabulary expand before our very eyes (or ears...)

My question is, why homeschooling? Is that your tentative plan once Oliver is school-age as well?
For now, we have decided to home school Oliver because he's still so young and we love to have him at home and share that time with him. Most days it's hardly called home schooling, I'm just being his Mom and talking to him throughout the day about basic preschool skills. We have chosen to have one morning every week for an organized, classroom setting (our little, 5-family co-op) because we want him to learn to develop classroom and social skills. It is fun for him to be with his friends, to learn to sit quietly and raise his hand, to walk in a line and to follow the instructions of someone other than Mommy & Daddy (we five moms rotate - 2 teachers every week, so sometimes I get a Wednesday morning to myself at home!).

The future? We're not certain, but Oliver seems to be learning really well with the environment we've developed this fall and if it continues to go well, we would certainly consider formally home schooling him when it comes time for Kindergarten and so on. Our main focus is not on what is convenient for us but what is best for him. We want him to be home learning with his Mama and his friends if he excels in that environment. But, if he would do better in a school setting, we are definitely open to that!

I guess what I'm wanting to know is how are you dealing with the loss of Evie? Do you have a hard time everyday, once a week, randomly? I just wonder because its always hard to bring up the topic to my family members [who have lost children], but I'm genuinely concerned with how they are doing.

Thank you for asking. :) Grief is a process, and even 18 months later we are definitely still grieving (though breathing in and out takes less conscious thought that it once did). Thankfully, the pain isn't as sharp and new as it was in the beginning, so life looks and feels a lot more "normal".

Losing our daughter does not define us or our lives, but it has certainly shaped us and it shows up in so many parts of life. We miss her - she would be a year and a half old by now. I think about her a lot, even still. I cry still. Definitely not as often or as desperately, but a Mama never forgets her baby. I think a part of me will always ache for her.

As for bringing up the the topic to family members who have lost children, I will say that I love hearing now from people that they miss Evie. Even in the past several weeks I have had friends tell me that they miss Evie or that they have been thinking about me or her. It doesn't upset me - quite the opposite. I love hearing that I'm not alone in missing her. I love hearing that other people remember her and think about her, even when I might not be. It's always nice to hear that people love her and remember her.

Your relationship with Ryan seems to be so strong. Maybe it's because you have known each other for so long. Maybe you are able to read books together....I don't know. What is your secret?
Again, thank you. :) Ryan and I have been friends for twenty years (yes, we met when we were both 7 years old!). We were friends for years long before we ever considered each other for marriage material. I think that helps for sure.

We have also walked together through a lot of heartache in our six years of marriage. Surviving the loss of our daughter certainly taught us to give each other a lot of grace and to not sweat the small stuff. If he wants to wear contacts instead of glasses and leave his top button unbuttoned with a tie, I say that's his prerogative, even if I may have a different idea. We know when to choose battles and when to respect each other.

This is especially true in parenting - as much as possible, we do not contradict on another as we instruct Oliver. If Ryan says O can't wear Crocs and is standing firm in a moment of parenting, even if I know he'd be fine in Crocs I go with what Daddy says. We always choose each other's side. It's important that we respect each other for our child to see.

I also pray for him. He is the leader of our home and that is a big responsibility. He carries a lot of burdens so that I do not have to and I respect that tremendously. He is an excellent husband and the more I honor and respect him, the more reasons I seem to see that he deserves to be respected. (I'm no relationship expert, but I do know that even if you think your husband is not so "respectable", honoring him Biblically often makes a man want to give you more reason to honor him.) Did that make sense?

Learn each other's Love Languages and tell your husband you love him in his language. (This goes for children as well!)

Finally, we were advised early on in our relationship that when we are in doubt, to "trust one another's hearts". If something Ryan says or does is hurtful, I remind myself of how much he loves me and quite often give him the benefit of the doubt that he does indeed love me and did not intend his action for harm. I've been amazed at how many times he actually did not mean harm and I've been grateful for those times I've not jumped to a defensive conclusion.

Oh, and one last thing. One of the first verses we taught Oliver and one that continues to challenge us in our home:
"A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

Oh, and spend quality time together. Be friends and not just co-workers in your home. Make time for each other alone on a regular basis. Kids are important, but they need Mommies and Daddies who are deeply in love to feel secure.

That's really it. :)


Okay, that was only four questions and there are still a lot to go. Am I boring you yet?

I'm knocking them out bit by bit and really enjoying all the questions as they come in. More to come!!


jessie.kate said...

Raechel, I love reading your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us :) In case you are searching for answers as to why you blog just know how much encouragement and inspiration I have gained in my own life from your stories (from rag rugs to marriage). So, thank you!

Maria said...

Raechel, you are far from boring me! I came over to your blog either from Bring the Rain or MckMama and I absolutely adore everything about your blog (except for that time recently-which felt like an eternity-that you did not blog)! I normally lurk in the shadows but I wanted to comment and encourage (read: beg) you to continue blogging! I love this idea you have done with answering questions, it's such a great way to connect with you. I was really inspired by your answer for how you and Ryan's relationship is so wonderful. I would love to hear more on that note, what you do to spend quality time together, if it was hard for you to show him "respect (my boyfriend-we have been dating for about 5 years and hopefully he will propose sooner than later, haha--have been reading the book "Love and Respect"), etc etc. Okay, I just wrote a novel, probably should have sent an email...sorry, point is: Keep 'em coming! -Maria

Missi said...

I have a question! What color paint did you use on your photo wall? I LOVE it!

Amy said...

If it makes any difference, as a mother who has lost a daughter this statement you made:

"It doesn't upset me - quite the opposite. I love hearing that I'm not alone in missing her. I love hearing that other people remember her and think about her, even when I might not be. It's always nice to hear that people love her and remember her."

is absolutely true!! It is so important to talk to the person about their loss, their baby. There just aren't words to express what joy it brings my heart to hear others speak my child's name.

Sandy Hop said...

Great post! Sooo not boring! It's fun "getting to know" you guys better! Keep em coming!

Michelle said...

I love the information about your and Ryan's relationship. Such great insight. Many of the points you brought up I have heard before but were good reminders to me tonight. Thanks!

Grace said...

Love your blog! Quite possibly my favorite to read! I have a question for you ... where do you find your inspiration in your home decor? I love what you have done in the pictures that I have seen! :)

Brenda said...


I love reading your blog! I "borrowed" your cake idea that you "borrowed" and it was a huge hit!! Everyone loved it! Thanks for giving me a creative and fun idea! I love watching Oliver grow and all the pictures you post!! You and your family have been through so much and it is such an encouragement to see how you have handled it and to see the love you have for each other and for God! You are truely an inspiration and encouragement to me! Thanks for sharing life with us!!

adorkable::: said...

I love reading what you chose to share with the world. I love finding sisters in Christ who I may not meet this side of heaven. I love being encouraged by a women who is a step or two or three ahead of me in life so that I can learn from her. Thank you for your example.

grace said...

i LOVE your comments about marriage. i am about to be married, and love the advice i found in your sweet post. thanks!