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Jun 24, 2012

Hannah Rae's Wedding

Yesterday Lori, Lena and I headed to Newcomerstown for Hannah Rae's wedding. 

Hannah is like our little sister of sorts.  Lori and Mom started babysitting Hannah's brother, KJ,  when he was the tiniest, cutest newborn baby boy.  And then the most precious little blue-eyed Hannah Rae came singing along into our lives a few years later. 

Mom sat for KJ and Hannah until they were too big to need sitting.  But by then they were already part of our family.  Seriously, we have about as many home movies of them growing up as we do of me and Lori.  Both of them still visit and call my parents often, which makes my mom and dad very happy.  They have both grown up to become outstanding, caring, funny, smart, and absolutely beautiful people.

So, Hannah (aka "Princess Hanna" to Lena) had her lovely wedding yesterday.  It was at a little winery tucked away in the fields and hills near Newcomerstown.  It was a gorgeous setting canvased against the bluest sky, which made for a perfect wedding for the sweetest bride.

Congratulations, Hannah and Doug!

Jun 21, 2012

The Shadow

Lori and the boys came over this afternoon for some lunch and some quality time.  The whole scene just made me happy...

Cousins running around together playing, laughing (some crying, too, but I'm not inclined to memorialize that here), the girls in the kitchen for manis/pedis (Lori and Lena went purple!), little ones upstairs playing on the new bunk beds, and some good conversation with the best sister ever. 

As is customary with little sisters all around the world, I sometimes get all tangled up in my head comparing myself to Lori, which is dangerous territory with someone like my sister.  Her home, her cooking, her parenting, her style, her craftiness, her calm outlook, her faith, her health...I mean it's disgusting how awesome she is at everything. 

But those self-deprecating moments don't last long, because Lori has no idea that she rocks at all that stuff.  She's so unassuming, there is no pressure to compete.  She's just her beautiful self living her life honestly and real.  When I'm around her she not only makes me feel happy and light, but I end up feeling better about myself, about my parenting and my home and my life. 

I think I shadow her, just like when we were little and I would follow her everywhere she went (similar to what Sam and Lena do with her boys).  I subconsciously (or not) just want to be close to her.  I went to the same college she did.  After college, I followed her to NC.  Then we both moved home.  Then we both moved to Gahanna.  I mean, shoot, I'm even following her to the pool tonight for dinner.  Ha!

We are different people with different gifts and interests and opinions and lives to be sure.  But the fundamental bond with my sister is such that, when I get to heaven and God asks me what my favorite part of life was, I'll say without hesitation my relationship with my sister was one of the most precious things I experienced.

Jun 19, 2012

I Have This Friend

A good friend of mine is having a pretty rough time of late.  It's a time of difficult transitions for her in every aspect of her life.  She sees no haven, no peaceful place she can go where these changes don't follow and torment her.  You can see how heavy all of this has been settling on her shoulders every day.  It's an albatross, weighing her, anchoring her. 

It's a painful thing to watch someone you love lose their joy. 

She has many blessings in her life to be sure.  Many people who love her, healthy beautiful children, a job, a place to live, beauty, strength.  She is an extraordinary person who has gone through a lot in her life and who has so much to offer the world.  And while she may rationally acknowledge these things, it's hard for her to really see them and appreciate them under the weight she's carrying.
I wish I could shoulder some of her burden so she could feel the wonderful lightness that comes from unloading the weight of sorrow.  But I can't.  God can, but I don't think she's ready to let him. 

So all I can do is listen when she wants to talk, talk when she asks (sometimes when she doesn't, which is not a great quality of mine), stand beside her when she doesn't, try to remind her of her blessings when she'll let me, and pray for her when we're apart.

It's a storm.  Storms aren't permanent, but they can be so destructive if we let them.  They can also blow themselves out quickly when they don't get the volatile air they need to grow and linger. 

I pray she stops giving her storm air soon, stops giving into the all too easy temptation of believing the bad stuff in her head instead of believing the good that's so apparent to all of us.  So she can feel that weight lift and cast it aside.  So she can find her joy again and lead her life where she wants it to go.  So she can see herself and her life for what they are - beautiful blessings. 

Jun 12, 2012

Darth Vader and Flowers

Things are changing around the Cole house.  The little ones are growing up and growing out of things.

Things like beds.

Sam moved from his crib to a toddler bed when he was about Lena's age.  It was not a seamless transition, though nothing with Sam ever is.  But he finally adapted and has called that little bed his own until last week. 

We've been discussing getting him bunk beds for a long time and held out for a nice one (for a nice deal) from - a double on the bottom and twin on top.  It is perfect, small enough for Sam's little room and roomy enough for guest and friends (and the occasional little sister).  He even got to pick out his own sheets - Star Wars!  As a fellow lover of all things Star Wars, I couldn't have been prouder of my boy. 

(Excuse the cluttered shelves - now that he can reach them, Sam likes to put all of his stuff up there)

And, as a consequence of Sam's new bed, Lena acquired his toddler bed.  She was NOT into it when we first put it in her room, so we kept her crib too.  But today she picked out her own sheets and pillow and flower nightlight (all of which are so precious, I can't stop looking at them) and she napped without incident this afternoon and is sleeping like a baby in her big girl bed right now.  My sweet baby girl.  Turning into a big girl.  Sniff, sniff.

Goodbye, little crib.  You have held both of our babies through many restful and fitful nights and naps and have kept them safe.     

Jun 7, 2012

Headbands for Everyone

We got some new headbands for Lena at the store this morning.  Although I told Sam that boys don't wear headbands, he was persistent, so I gave him one.  Pick your battles, right?  He liked it so much he took a floor nap in it, right beside his cool library book about planets. 

He's a complex, but well balanced boy.


Jun 5, 2012

There Once Was a Doctor and a Princess

We went to Barnes and Noble today after speech and the kids chose books that, per their statements this afternoon, may just be their foray into their chosen career paths. 

Sam's choice: "I want to be a doctor so I can fix the human body".  This book came with a magnifying glass that he has to use to find some tiny body parts and skulls hidden around on each page.  It's actually a pretty cool book for my son, the doctor.

Lena's choice: "I want to be a pwincess, Mommy.", she said as she twirled around with her little outstretched arms and her tiny pinkie fingers lifted, dancing to the tune her new book plays (loudly).  Who knows?  Maybe she will become a princess.  A really smart, compassionate, independent and lovely princess.

Jun 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rich!

Rich turns 36 today.  It's a great day!

Happy birthday to the man with whom I am
certain I was meant to build this life,
to the man for whom I am
grateful every single day,
and to the man through whom
God humbles and blesses me.

I love you.

What's That Sound?

[Too much information alert (although if you're surprised that I'm providing too much information, you must not be a regular here).]

What?  What is that sound, you ask?  Oh, it's just my baby girl's life flashing by at the speed of light, which coincidentally sounds a lot like trickling pee into a big girl potty.

Yes, after another lengthy hiatus from potty training, Lena has peed on the potty once again! 

A little potty training history for those who might have unintentionally (and I'm assuming, now, regrettably) stumbled upon this post: Lena previously pooped on the potty a few times earlier this year, and although I had forgotten until now (because I'm a terrible mother with an even more appalling memory of big events in my children's lives), she had also peed on the potty late last year. 

So, even though last night was actually not her first pee on the potty (as I mistakenly thought it was, which makes me even more grateful that I keep this blog so that their childhoods will have a much deeper and more truthful memory than I would ever be able to retain in my ever-softening brain), we celebrated it as such, complete with a sticker on her nearly empty chart, two M&M's and a call to Grammy Barker. 

I know this is ridiculous, documenting a child's second pee on the pot.  But come on, it's been since October last year since she's done it.  And as I read back over these posts in the near future when I'm (hopefully) in the throes of full-fledged potty training with her, I will be reminded that it indeed happened and that there is hope that it can happen again. 

Two realizations today that make me a little sad:

My mind is getting soft.

And my baby girl is growing up.