Instagram Feed

Instagram Feed

May 31, 2013

Goodbye, Friend

I am blessed by many amazing women in my life: a sister, sister-in-laws, a mother, a mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and many friends.  I'm thinking particularly of my four best girlfriends today. 

I couldn't have dreamed up better friends.  They are all caring, tell you like it is, compassionate, loyal, thoughtful, got your back kind of friends.

The best kind of friends.

Two of those friends, Jen and Tara, have been my best friends since third grade. We share each other's pasts and are intertwined in the fabric of who each of us has become.  We know everything there is to know about each other, and can tell each other anything.  I can't imagine my life then or now without them in it and am inexplicably grateful that our friendship remains tight, through all the years and over all the miles.

My other two closest friends, Molly and Nichole, have become a part of my life and my heart in recent years, through work and marriages and kids.  We share each other's here and now, the good, the bad and the ugly of it all.  They know the best and worst of me, the lightest and darkest parts of my soul (oftentimes to their dismay).  And they've trusted me with theirs.  To have found friends like that as an adult, and to know all of these women like I do...well, it's a very precious thing to me.

Nichole, Molly and I work together, which I think has tightened our bond.  We spend as much (or more) time at work as we do with our families.  And we're there together, working and laughing and crying and sharing our everydays with each other.  That has been a special gift. 

But this was Nichole's last week at work.  And we are very sad about losing our everydays with her.

Nichole said that work isn't the glue that holds us together.  Our friendship is real and strong regardless of where we are, like all true friendships should be.  We will all remain close until our dying days, I know.  But I also know that Molly and I are going to miss the hell out of her.  And that Casto will never be the same without Nichole Sony at its helm. 


Nichole has been at Casto for 15 years (or more, I can't remember, lol).  She is a good employee, loyal and hard working.  But so much more importantly, she is a good friend to so many.  She built and cultivated relationships during her years there.  I believe that's kind of what life's all about - the relationships we make and nurture, the people we love and those who love us, giving our time and attention and heart to the people we care about, and being grateful and open to accepting those things from them.

Nichole could teach a lesson in that. 

Relationships 101. 

There were lots of tears and hugs and stories and memories at Casto this week as we all said goodbye to our friend.  She will be missed by everyone.  That's a fact.  

By none more than Molly and me.  We're going to be a little lost without her for awhile, I think.  But we're also excited for this new chapter in her life.  She's fulfilling a dream she's had for many years - spending the summer with her family.  So we're trying not to dwell on the sadness of losing our everydays with her and, instead, focusing on the happiness and pride we feel that she's, very deservedly, living out her dream. 

We love you, Nichole Sony.  Your girls will remember this summer for the rest of their lives and they will be better because you're there with them.  You made the right decision for you and your family and, even though you completely disregarded Molly and my feelings (hahaha), we'll forgive you this time. 

We'll be seeing you soon, friend.

May 28, 2013

A Long Weekend

My friend, Molly, planted a seed in my brain.  A big ugly eye-sore of a seed.  She got a trampoline for her kids. 

Fast forward to Rich and I realizing that our old, second-hand playset out back (whose slide broke twice last year, whose awnings were torn, and whose boards were leaning and bowing) needed to be taken down as not to permanently maim the children. 

Couple that with the fact that we're trying to lay low, save some money, and not go on a big beach vacation this year, and that little seed Molly planted started to grow...

"What if, instead of spending the money we saved for a little weekend trip somewhere (which we were planning in lieu of our big beach trip), we spend that time and money on making our backyard into a summertime funzone for the kids?", I asked Rich one night. 

He liked the idea of giving them a whole summer of fun and good memories instead of a single cool weekend somewhere, and also thought it best to put off the tetanus and broken arms that would surely result from another summer on that ragged old playset.  So, after talking it over with the kids, we declared it the summer of the Cole family stay-cation. 

Rich found a really great deal on a big monstrosity of a trampoline, and I found the absolute most awesome and cutest sandbox/beach area to put beside it. 

Rich had been working all week on the playset demo, so that part was done.  So Friday evening we went shopping.

And Saturday we built. 





I LOVE that sandbox.  We used this blog as inspiration and a loose guide, and we all adore how it turned out.  It's sweetness offsets the giant ugliness of the least I hope it does. 
We also switched things up on the porch, put our bistro set under the tree by the sandbox, brought the kids' play kitchen up from the basement and put it under the pergola, put our sunbrella over the pond and one of our lounge's a backyard bonanza of fun (and shaded supervisory areas) up in here. :)
For Memorial Day we headed to Newcomerstown for a family BBQ.  I didn't get any photos at Mom and Dad's, but some of us took a little trip to see the local bald eagles.  So cool.  We didn't get a glimpse of the parents, but the babies were in the huge nest waiting for lunch.  My camera's zoom sucks, but the nest is in the middle of the pictures below. 

Such a great holiday weekend. Hope you all had great ones too!

May 22, 2013

Hey There, Big Preschool Grad

Sam graduated from preschool yesterday!!
Good lord, where has the time gone?  Kindergarten in a few months?  The big school?  It's certainly not time for that yet...right?  Right??  
He's learned and matured so much this year in Miss Kim and Miss Susan's class.  They gave him the structure and challenge he needed.  We're so proud of him. 
I know he's ready for the big school...I'm just not sure I am.  


 My big boy...sniff sniff.

May 21, 2013

Our Life Lately

We've been busy little bees around the Cole house and, thanks to my trusty iPhone (that my office got for me, that I never have farther than two inches away from my person and, thusly, have developed a bit of a relationship with), I've captured so many of those moments. 

Sometimes I think technology is ruining our society.  Between it providing immediate gratification and all access to absolutely anything (from uplifting good to seriously crazy bad) and it fostering anti-social behavior...well, people can very easily be left alone with their computers, with no real human contact and no boundaries on what their eyes see and ears hear.

"Oh be careful little eyes what you see...oh be careful little ears what you hear..."  That song has a lot of validity in today's world.  For kids and adults.

But often I thank God for the tiny HD camera/video camera/phone/tv/computer that fits in my pocket and allows me to document my kids' childhoods so easily.  That's a special gift.  I guess, as in all things, technology just needs balance and limits.

Anywho, after a Facebook scolding by my dad about not having blogged for awhile, I thought I'd better get on it. :)  Here's a recap of the past several weeks.

My little bumble bee princess.

Rich making chicken walnut pesto ravioli from scratch with the kids.
Mother's Day dinner at our favorite Japanese steakhouse. 
The kids' sweetest tiny Mother's Day cards for me.  Not much is better than handprint crafts.  
Lena's new swimsuit, which she picked out herself...too cute. 

Making snickerdoodles with my girl. Mom and Dad found that cute apron for her.  She never wants to take it off.  And she can roll snickerdoodle dough in cinnamon sugar like nobody's business!

Story cubes.  I had to video them making up their funny stories one night.  Feel free to breeze past the videos - Sam's secret agent story is especially long and Lena's is pretty sporadic, but I had to post them for grandparents' enjoyment.   


Miles snoozing a Sunday afternoon away. 

Jackie Boy's 10th birthday party...a surprise birthday party! It was such a great afternoon.
Complete with new friends...

And two gerbils (Jack's big present from Lori and Matt) running around in balls.  Here's Lily and Thumper having a stare-down. 
Race for the Cure!  Such a special thing to do with two such important women in my life.  Here's Mom signing the survivor wall.

Three ladies ready for the 5K crawl.
Thunder Tunnel - motorcycles line both sides of the street with their engines roaring, high-fiving everyone, showing support and joining the fight.  Always a really touching part of the race for us.



Mom finishing the race in the special survivor lane!  So proud of her! 

Later that same day...Sam's very first t-ball game.  There he is, little number 1, with his shirt hanging down to his knees and his hat pushing his ears down.
Rich, the assistant coach.

Mom and Lena, cheering on the boys.
He hit it every time. Yea Sammy!  He had to hold up the helmet to run the bases, though. Hahaha...he's so stinking little.   

Rich and Sam in the outfield.
Sam and I had a Mommy-Son day after church last week.  He's been begging to go to a cemetery near church, so that morning we finally went.  He was fascinated.  I know that may seem weird to some, but I think it's cool that he's interested in those things.  I guess because I always was too.  He asked lots of questions and was very respectful, even helped me dust off dried grass and pull weeds from some of the stones.

Then we headed out to lunch in Westerville. 
When we drive to the sitters, we pass an antique store with some old toys in the window.  Sam's been asking for months to go there and, after, across the street to get ice cream.  I wasn't sure if we'd be in the store very long, but my boy surprised me again, asking all sorts of questions and finding all kinds of treasures.  He must have an old soul...
Ice cream at Graeter's.  Then we headed to Half Price Books and found two of the coolest kids books and a gerbil book for the Wingers. 
It was a full, fun, beautiful, much too rare day alone with my boy.