Saturday, March 29, 2014

And Then There Was the Wedding....SIX MONTHS AGO!


Ok, so I've learned to accept that I'm just a bad blogger. I mean my last post was almost eight months ago, and six months and a day ago was my oldest daughter's wedding! And I'm just NOW blogging about it?!!!

Anyway, even though it's been six months, I find I'm still adjusting to the fact that my oldest "baby" is now a wife and has started a life of her own with her husband. Now, don't get me wrong. I am SO happy for her, and proud of her! She picked a wonderful godly man to marry, and they are very happy together. But I still miss her! I miss our late night talks when she'd get home from work or school or some other function. I miss going to bed at night knowing that all my kids are safe and warm under our roof. I miss seeing her everyday and just the simple interactions that occurred.  I knew it would be an adjustment, and I've raised her knowing that this time would come, but it's WAY harder than I thought it would be! But enough whining! LOL

The wedding was beautiful, Sarah was a gorgeous bride...I can still see her walking down the aisle on her dad's arm...Jeremy was a handsome groom, the weather was perfect, the church was beautiful, the music was also beautiful, the ceremony touching and well done by our pastor... it was a wedding day ordained by God! :)


The DRESS!


Putting on the veil...

My three beautiful daughters!

Father and grandfather of the bride!





"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
~Genesis 2:24

Monday, August 12, 2013

So I think it's official... I'm a bad blogger! I always come here to write a post with good intentions of posting more regularly, but then I still can't seem to do it. And here it is August, and my last post was the 1st day of January! And it's sad, too, because LOTS has happened since my last post! The biggest news is, my oldest daughter, Sarah, is getting married! Yeah, and the proposal and engagement happened at the end of January, and I'm just now posting this?! See.... told you I'm a bad blogger! LOL

Anyway, over the past 6+ months since Sarah and Jeremy got engaged, I've been going through SO many different emotions! Happiness for her, sadness for me, nostalgic moments thinking about her birth and childhood, and how FAST that has gone by, and MORE! So of course we've been in the throw's of wedding planning, and of course it's wedding planning on a BUDGET, because finances are still not great, but God has and is providing in so many ways for this wedding. It's very much a DIY wedding, but that has actually made it more fun, in many ways! I'm a huge bargain hunter anyway, and Sarah has followed in my footsteps in that, so we've had lots of fun finding those wedding bargains. And God has blessed us with finding them for SURE!  So, September 28 is the date. And yes, that's less than 2 months away! So I'm starting to get a little stressed, but it's all good. Here's a couple of pictures of the happy couple and Sarah's silly sisters (who are both her maids of honor in the wedding). :)


















So, over the next several weeks, I'm really going to TRY and chronicle some of our wedding planning experiences, and my thoughts and emotions as we go through this time. I HAVE come to the conclusion that this transition takes time to adjust to just like it took time to adjust when I found out I was pregnant with her. It's hard to explain, so perhaps I will be able to share more on that as we count down the weeks to the wedding.

So until next time..... and here's one more picture... one of my favorites, actually, because it makes me laugh every time I look at it. :)


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Seems like I'm always stating my blog posts with something along the lines of, "I can't believe how fast time has gone by....." and then a promise to try and do better at keeping my blog updated! I guess if I made any New Year resolutions, one of them should be to be better about updating my blog, but I don't make resolutions, so...........

...Here it is, January 1st, 2013!!! WHAT???!!! Time sure does fly by, faster and faster each year! LOL! I do wish it would slow down... just a little. But I guess that just isn't going to happen. So, since I've been so bad about keeping this blog updated, here is our entire year in review! Get a cup of coffee or whatever your beverage of choice, and get ready to sit and read for a while! LOL

2012 was, well a year! :) And yes, it was an eventful year. But then, what year HASN'T been eventful for us?! Let me think...... yeah, NO year that I can remember has been uneventful. But that's not necessarily a bad thing! Ok, so I'll try to keep this as concise as possible. Here are [drum roll} the highlights of 2012 in the lives of the Cole family! :)

January - Our sweet Rachel turned 18 years old! Seriously?! I now have TWO adult children?! Yeah, that whole time flying by thing again! This was a momentous year to turn 18, too with it being a presidential election year and all! And yes, Rachel got registered as a voter and participated in the election! :)

February - This month found Bob traveling to Florida to see his dad who was in very poor health and getting ready to have major open heart surgery. Bob's brother, Mike, graciously paid for a plane ticket for Bob since our financial situation didn't warrant us being able to, and so Bob flew back for several days and was able to spend time, not only with his dad, but with other family members, as well. He hadn't seen his parents since 2001, so it was really nice for him to see them again.

Sarah competed in an Irish pageant during this month, also. She LOVES everything Irish, and even though she didn't win, she had a great time exploring her Irish heritage (from my side of the family) and she made some new friends, as well. :)



 March - Rachel was able to get some last minute tickets for Wicked, which was currently running in a theater near us. She took Bob and I with her, and WOW! It was an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G production! Rachel was THRILLED to see it, as she had been wanting to see it for a VERY long time! But Bob and I loved it, too! I will never look at The Wizard of Oz the same again! :)


The very next day after seeing Wicked, Bob received the very sad news that his dad had passed away. This was the first of our four parents to pass on, so it made it that much more difficult. :(

 March was the month when Hannah was in a pageant. She competed in the Miss Junior Teen AZ United States pageant. She had a GREAT time competing and made many new friends! And yes, the judges were BLIND! :)



April - Rachel played the part of "Lydia" in Pride & Prejudice at our local community theater. She did a great job, too! Especially with one of her lines which was, "YOO HOOOOOOOO!" You probably had to hear it, though to really understand the hilarity of it. LOL!



April was an exciting month for Sarah, as she bought her FIRST CAR! A cute little red 2001 Hyundai Accent. :) Oh the freedom she now has! LOL



April was also when our beloved cat, Simba, went to kitty heaven. He was 15 years old, and had been in poor health for a while, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but we really do miss him! But then the day after he died, God provided a brand new baby for us through our friends, the McAvoys, in the form of a cute little calico-gray kitten we have named Kiara! She is quite the character and adds a lot of laughter to our lives! :)

Simba's grave
Kiara!
At the very end of April, Bob headed back to Florida one more time to attend his dad's memorial service. A sad time, but also a time to celebrate the life of his dad. He also was able to celebrate his birthday with his family which was really nice for him. :)

May/June - May was pretty uneventful, well, except for the homeschool prom that Sarah and Rachel went to. Don't they look beautiful?! :) 


June had a little bit more going on! It started with Rachel graduating from our homeschool high school. She took part in the graduation ceremony our state homeschool organization puts on every year, and it was a wonderful ceremony! My parents and sister were also able to come, which was truly a blessing. Then it was time to party! Which we did the next night after her graduation. :)

Our beautiful graduate
Our family on graduation day


The whole family
Pretty cake

Party time!
Also in June, Bob and I celebrated 24 wonderful years of marriage AND we were able to go on a little romantic get-away to a nice resort in Scottsdale. :) Then two days after our anniversary, Sarah turned [gulp!] 21 YEARS OLD! I don't think I'm old enough to have a 21 year old kid, yet! LOL


And last, but not least for June, Rachel was in another production at our local community theater, this time it was Oliver. She played the part of "Charlotte" and was also in ensemble. And yes, she did great job! :)

Rachel with some of the Oliver cast

 July/August - Our HOT summer months! So we stay inside where it's air-conditioned and cool, as much as possible! Well, except when the A/C breaks down! Yep, it did, in August when it was literally 115 degrees outside! Yes, it was really 115 that day! That experience has made me SO very grateful for the invention of air-conditioning! I won't be taking THAT for granted again! :) LOL

But back to July... Hannah & Rachel were able to go to camp in the mountains of southern California with our church youth group. They were there over the 4th of July, so Bob and Sarah and I decided we'd drive up to Prescott for the 4th. It was SO nice to be where it was cool, and even rainy for part of the day! Sarah and a friend had a great time going to a rodeo that was taking place near Prescott, while Bob and I had fun wandering the streets and shops in downtown Prescott. Then there was a great fireworks show that night where we actually got COLD! Felt wonderful! The only bad thing was that we couldn't stay longer! 

Our hot summer months are somewhat tolerable because of our monsoon season that brings regular thunder storms to our area, and this summer, not only did we have some pretty good thunder storms, but also some wicked dust storms! And beautiful rainbows, too! :)

Big scary looking cloud!
Dust storm!!!
Beautiful rainbow :)
There was one more rather significant thing that happened in August. Sarah met Jeremy! Yes, she did! She and Jeremy seem to be getting along QUITE well, and since we like him a lot, that is A-OK with us! We will see what the future holds for them. And the DO make a really nice looking couple, don't they?! :)



September - Ahhhhh, September! Finally the beginning of the end of HOT! Oh...and Hannah's birthday! :) She turned sweet 16 this year! :)

Our new 16 year old


October - Hannah wanted to wait for it to cool down some more before having a sweet 16 birthday party, so we had it in October. It was a fun "formal" dance party!

The beautiful birthday girl!
Sisters!
Blowing out her candles

And then of course, even though they are 21, 18 and 16, my girls still love to dress up for Halloween! :) Sarah and Rachel had a party to go to, and Hannah decided she was still young enough to go trick or treating. :)


November - Rachel was in yet ANOTHER production at our community theater. The show was Little Mermaid, and Rachel got the part she really wanted..."Ursula"! And she played the part like a professional! She was SO good and I was SO PROUD of her!!! Many commented they thought she stole the show, and of course I totally agree! :)

"Ursula" with her "minions"


Thanksgiving was quiet this year, but nice. Just us, good food and a time to relax. :)


And that brings us to....

December! I had another 29th birthday (yes I "really" did in MY head! LOL), and well, December is always hectic, but mostly in a good way. My mom and dad and sister came and spent Christmas with us, and it was such a blessing to have them here. :)



Which brings us back around to where I started...today, January 1, 2013!  So.... HAPPY NEW YEAR, my friends! And may this year be filled with many blessings and good things. But MOSTLY, may this new year be filled with Jesus and may He have a whole new impact on your life! Love you all!

P.S. And yes, I WILL try to be better about keeping my blog updated this year! LOL :)

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  
   ~2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Season?! Already???!!!

Ok, who took some days, weeks, even months out of this year to make it go by so fast?! Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and then we are in the Christmas season for 2012! I think my head is spinning time is flying by so fast! Yikes! Anyway, I've re-designed my page, and then decided to decorate for Christmas this year! And soon, yes SOON, I promise! I will write a few catch-up posts. In the meantime, have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Healthy Cheese?

For those of you who know me, you probably know that I'm pretty much a health nut. I'm constantly reading about ways to improve my and my family's health, and am working on shedding the extra pounds FOR GOOD, that I've been carrying around for quite some time now. In my quest to to learn about better health, I've learned a lot of things that the mainstream nutrition "experts" won't tell you. One of them is that raw milk and other dairy products are really good for us! And pasteurized dairy products???... not so much. We've been led to believe that raw dairy is dangerous, and yet, there have been FAR fewer illnesses or even deaths as a result of consuming raw dairy products as there have been from eating bad meat, or even just cross contamination from raw meat. Hmmmmmm. :)

Thankfully, we have a raw milk dairy not very far from us here in the Phoenix area, but it's been nearly impossible to find other raw dairy products, such as cheese. And I LOVE cheese, so my compromise has been to look for cheese that is at least free from hormones. But even THAT is hard to find. But now I have discovered, thanks to an email newsletter that I receive from a website called "Food Renegade" that there is a website I can start ordering raw cheese from. And today, if you click on this link - http://www.foodrenegade.com/giveaway-raw-milk-grassfed-cheese-sampler/#comment-1199213 - you can enter to win a free cheese sampler. So go check it out! :)

And if you are afraid of trying raw dairy, let me assure you that it is MUCH safer, and MUCH healthier for you then you think! I can't drink pasteurized milk as it wrecks havoc with my gastrointestinal system. But raw milk, doesn't do that to me at all. Also, a little known fact is that one of the Mayo brothers who founded the Mayo Clinic, actually used raw milk to treat and heal his patients of many different illnesses and diseases. In it's raw form, milk is a living food with lots of good enzymes and nutrients in it that are destroyed through the pasteurization process. So I hope you will look more into it for your own good health. And don't forget to enter the contest for the free cheese sampler at the link above! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pageants...Pageants!

As many of you know, two of my daughters have discovered the world of pageants. Not something I would ever pick for my daughters to do, but I have to say, so far I've been pleasantly surprised as to what we've encountered in our journey into the pageant world.

I've found that there is a high level of Christian & generally nice, well-accomplished girls involved in pageants, not just self-centered girls who only care about their looks. I've actually been really impressed with the caliber of the girls I've met, along with the directors of the pageants. Yes, there are always those few girls who are "in it to win it" and are very self-centered and focused on their "beauty", but they have been in the minority, and this attitude is greatly discouraged by the pageant directors. My daughters have made some really nice friends, and have found a real "sisterhood" with most of the "pageant girls".

Pageants aren't just about beauty and looking good & beautiful, but rather being involved in your community and in helping others. It is greatly encouraged to find a charitable cause you can stand behind and then make it your platform. Learning to eat right and become more fit is also encouraged rather then just being "skinny at all costs." College scholarships are what many of the winners and runners up receive which encourages the girls to further their education and gives them opportunities to go to college that they might otherwise not have had. And Sarah recently had to research her ancestry as well as write an essay as part of her entry process.

Pageants get a bad rap a lot, because people don't understand what pageants are and what they are not. Pageants ARE an avenue for growth and character building. My daughters are learning more about giving back to our community and to be involved in things that help others. It is helping them learn a confidence in themselves and how to be assertive when necessary, like when they are contacting businesses to secure sponsors. It is teaching them the importance of  physical fitness and taking care of themselves in order to remain healthy. Pageants are NOT about exploiting women. At least not the ones my daughters are involved in. Yes, beautiful girls are usually the ones in pageants, but that doesn't mean that is the only thing it's about or that they are being exploited. I can tell you one thing, pageants are NOT the same as the ones portrayed on TV in "Toddlers and Tiaras" or even movies like "Miss Congeniality", funny as that movie was. I actually would love to see the toddler and little girl pageants banned like the ones portrayed on "Toddlers & Tiaras"! VERY different "world" then the pageants my daughters are involved in.

I've seen good changes in my daughters as they've been involved in pageants. Neither of them have won anything, and yet they have lost gracefully and are genuinely happy for those who do win. I watched Hannah, this weekend, practically jump up and down for joy when SHE lost, but one of her new friends won in the most recent pageant she just competed in. I was SO proud of her at that moment! :)

I don't know if my daughters will ever win one of the pageants they enter. As their mom, I really do hope they do, but even if they never do, I know God has a plan in all of this for them, and I am glad they are going through these experiences that are growing them in a way that nothing else will.


Here are some pictures from the latest pageants Sarah and Hannah have been involved in. No they haven't won a title, but what I see them "winning" is much more important then a title. :)

Hannah - Miss Jr Teen Queen Creek, Arizona United States Pageant


















Sarah - Colleen & Rose Irish Pageant



















Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm a Bad Blogger! LOL

So here it is 2012, and it's FEBRUARY and I haven't blogged in the new year, yet! I didn't even blog in the last month of 2011! [sigh] My intentions are good, I just can't seem to discipline myself to write things down here. I would make that a resolution for this year, but I don't believe in making resolutions anymore. LOL.

So, the last time I blogged was in November about Bob's surgery to have his kidney stone removed. I'm happy to report that he has fully recovered and is SO happy to be free of pain! Woo hoo! :) November was also the month that both Sarah and Hannah took part in the Miss Arizona and Miss Arizona Teen USA pageants. They both didn't place, but had a great time and grew as young women. I was SO very proud of them! Also had a nice Thanksgiving with my parents and sister. They don't get this direction often enough!

Thanksgiving Dinner


December was a busy month, as usual. And I apologize for not even getting a "blog-Christmas card" sent out. Seems like every year I just get worse and worse about that. But with Facebook and blogs, the need to send out that yearly Christmas letter just doesn't seem to be as urgent because we are all keeping up with each other throughout the year now in a way that wasn't possible even just a few years ago. Kind-of sad in a way, but then again, I LOVE keeping in touch with people who before Facebook I never would have been able to keep in touch with. Anyway....


The month of December always starts off with my birthday, something I'd just as soon skip over anymore! LOL. But I guess I can't really do that. I look at the number I turned this year, though, and it just doesn't seem like I've been around that long! LOL. I mean didn't I just graduate from high school a few years ago??? Yeah, like 30-something "few" years ago! LOL. I am, however, thankful to be blessed with good genes that keep me looking younger then I really am, and MOST of the time I feel younger then I really am, so I'll just pray that trend continues for many more years! LOL



Christmas, for our family, was a fun and special time this year! Some good friends from North Carolina came and spent it with us, and it was SO much fun! This is when I'm thankful for a place like Facebook, because I never would have met these friends, if it weren't for Facebook. Linda and I met in a Facebook group we are both in, and through texts and Facebook chats, we have become as close as sisters. When I first invited her, and her husband Elmer, to come visit for Christmas, I didn't even know her that well, so it was weird that I invited them! I don't usually do that sort of thing. But after their visit, Linda and I realized how providential it was that I invited them. We had a lovely time together, and our friendship continues to grow and deepen. Thanking God for that! :)

Linda and Me


January, Rachel turned 18 years old! OH MY! Now I have TWO adult children?! Hardly seems possible! Rachel also will be graduating from our homeschool high school in a few months, so I'll be down to homeschooling only one child next year! Kind of makes me sad to see the end of my homeschooling years coming so quickly!

So now February is more then halfway gone, and time marches on! Or should I say, races on! Sarah just took part in an Irish pageant called the Arizona Colleen and Rose. She didn't win, but she had a great time discovering the Irish community here in Arizona and also exploring her Irish roots, which is through my side of the family. She has long dreamed of going to Ireland, and probably will someday so I think she is very glad to discover a little piece of Ireland here in Arizona! Hannah is getting ready for HER next pageant in March as Miss Jr. Teen Queen Creek in the Arizona United States pageant.

So life goes on, one day at a time. There are still struggles such as surviving for several months with only one vehicle since the other one was broken down with no money to fix it. But God is good and He provided the money to get it fixed recently, and then directed us to a good low-cost mechanic, so we've got two running cars again! Yea! So until next time..... (which will hopefully be sooner then it was last time! :) )