Friday, October 26, 2012

Something Beautiful Indeed

I am not sure I will ever not well up with emotions when I think about the blessings of our adoptions. Our six kids have been and continue to be the most amazing experience of my life.  The fact that half of them came to us through adoption, well that just adds a lovely uniqueness that not everyone gets the privilege to experience.

4 days ago we sat before our local county judge for a second time, to re-adopt Asher. This re-adoption will allow Asher to become a US citizen and to get a US birth certificate (which in turn will allow us to get him a US passport).  The judge was just as wonderful as she was with Anna and Gideon.  She talked to all the kids and was subjected to Asher's non stop chattering, which was adorable and so Asher.  :). I guess the biggest thing this the court hearing did for me was to allow me to reflect on our adoptions again.  Our kids are just our kids.  We don't make the adoption distinction near as much as other people probably do.  Occasionally adoption comes up with the kids, but we mostly just live life as the Cole family, not the Cole family who adopted.

I just can't fully express to people how beautiful the miracle of adoption is.  It is hard work and certainly weighs on a family to a degree (just with the time commitment and money it takes to get the child here), but I am hard pressed to think of many other things more worthy of our efforts.  I 100% know that our little family is way better off with Anna, Gideon and Asher in our lives.  And what a beautiful picture it paints of my adoption in Christ.  Just a few days ago Madeline made a comment that Ryan and I weren't Anna and Gideon's "real" parents. Ouch, yes.  I really don't believe she meant it badly, she loves Anna and Gee to pieces.  Ryan, God love his soul, took the opportunity though to show Madeline (and Anna and Gee) the correlation between our family and the family of God.  Madeline is a professing Christian, so Ryan asked her if she was a child of God.  Madeline, almost defensively, said yes.  Then Ryan asked her if God was her biological Father (yes, our kids to some extent know what that means), to which she said no.  Ryan showed her how all Christians are adopted children of Christ.  You could tell that it really made sense to her.  I love that.  I love how adoption does sometimes work into our daily lives and teaches all of us something from time to time!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Picture Overload!

Life is busy but good.  I think that is the story of our lives in the fall.  Our days are full of school, our evenings are full of soccer, piano and school functions.  Our weekends are full of soccer (again) and church and some relaxation.  It is a little crazy right now, but winter is very near and we typically slow down in the winter.  Winter almost gets boring for me, almost. Even though it is busy, this is by far my most favorite time of year.  I love fall, the crisp air, the leaves changing and Christmas/ the holidays on the horizon. 

Right now the major thorn in my side is getting our kiddos documents in order.  Anna and Gideon's adoptions were complete in 2007 and Asher's was complete in 2010 and we are still dealing with paperwork.  This is partly my fault as I could have done some of this sooner, but oiy, it is such a pain.  We are working to get all the kids US passports, so traveling outside the US isn't a problem.  Once they all have US passports, we are DONE with paperwork for them.  It is quite tricky.  Anna and Gideon came home on different types of visa's, so Gideon had automatic citizenship when he crossed the border and Anna did not.  We readopted them both at our local courts in 2009 and offcially changed their first names (they came home as "Cole's," but they weren't officially "Anna" and "Gideon" until 2009).  Now Anna and Gideon are both citizen's with US birth certificates, social security cards and official names.  But getting their US passports is harder than it is for most people.  We have to do extra things including sending all their original documents to prove their "officiall-ness."  So we are planning to have everything sent from the title agency tomorrow.  Asher is still way behind in the process.  His re-adoption hearing is next Monday, which is kind of exciting. We should be approved that day, but it could be weeks to months before we get his US birth certificate.  We have to have that before we can even apply for his US Passport.  Hopefully everything can be done by late January because we are going out of the country and US Passports would obviously be helpful.

Ok, enough chitter-chatter, on to pictures.........

Logan in action against the West Liberty 1 team (we are West Liberty 2)

                                                                        Anna in action

                                                     My happy little guy taking a stroll.

                      Logan's new fair steer for next year.  Right now his name is Samson 2, but that is incredibly                                 lame, so I hope Logan comes up with a real name before this one sticks!

                                     Madeline loves to climb trees and daddy loves to take pictures.

                       Leah and her good friends Grace and Kathryn all gussied up for homecoming.

                                                                    My beautiful girl.

        Awww, the goofiness of Gee.  He is turning into quite the nut.  Which is funny because only the select           few get to see this side of him.  Fortunately we are some of the lucky ones.  :)

Ok, so I love this progression of pictures.  Hopefully you can see them clearly enough to see facial expressions.  My niece Samie is a senior this year and this was senior night for her for soccer.  We took all the kids to cheer her on.  The kids even made her a sign.  I am sure Samie was feeling a little emotional anyways, but my sister told me Samie didn't loose it until she saw the sign the kids made for her.  Ryan caught it all on camera.

Rhonda (my sister) pointing out the sign.....


Samie sees it......

Samie starts welling up.....

She tries to hide her tears.........


                                               Looking down so people don't see her cry.....
                                                                   Samie is just precious.

        We went camping a couple weekends ago (in the pouring rain) and celebrated some birthdays.  Here's       my nephew Coleson getting ready to blow out his number 4!

                                       Naomi and Lucy obviously having a funny conversation.

                                                  Anna giving Truett and piggie back ride.

                                           Lucy (who just turned 3) enjoying her owl cupcake.

                             A great shot of Gee (my hubby is getting quite skilled with the camera).

                                                    A hay ride at MawMaw and PawPaw's.

Ryan and I occasionally get out for evening walks.  Our country road (our mailbox is on the left).

                                                                      The corn at dusk.

                                                                  Goofball, take 2.

                                                     Goofball, take 3 and conteplating life.

                                                     Be still my heart, I love this beautiful girl!

 Our pasture in mid September before Misti (the red Dexter) and her calf (Sierra, the little red calf back against the fence) went over to a bigger, greener pasture.  Samson 2 is the black steer in the pic.

Until later!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Recent Fun Pictures

In my efforts to keep you all more updated, here's some recent pictures of what we've been doing lately.

Our really good friends were kind enough to do a little 4 wheeling with us a few weekends ago.  It was tons of fun and a great time of catching up.

My friend Gretchen (and Elizabeth) braving the Mad River.

                                                        Leah and Elaina taking their turn.

                                 That would be naughty Madeline sticking her arm over the side.  :)

                                      Logan and where he spends a lot of his time lately, soccer.

Last weekend we went to a Jeremy Camp concert.  It was a lot of fun and we even got to meet Jeremy Camp and a couple other guys that were performing (Adam Kappa and one of the members of the band Korn).  Colepak helped sponsor the event, hence the sign and all the Coles.

                                                              The world's best daddy!!!

                                                              Naomi and Anna being goofy.

                                                         Jeremy Camp (insert "swoon")

                                  The dude formally from Korn.  He has a truly awesome testimony!

                                                      Beautiful Gee with his big boy haircut.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Were back!

Please, do not fall off your chairs to see a post from the Cole family.  We have not disappeared off the face of the earth.  Like most people, we have been extremely busy.  For a while I considered just closing the blog down, but alas my husband help me see that a once a month post is better than no posts at all.  I really do like updating people on our family (for those of you who care to be updated), but computer/picture problems and a whole list of excuses has kept me from blogging.  

So, what's new with us.  Well things seem to be ever changing around here.  Nothing too life altering I guess, but it sure feels like we live in a crazy house sometimes.  Here's the run down on the kiddos:

Leah is 14 and is 5 days away from starting her Freshman year.  Yikes, I swear I have no clue how that happened.  It will be her 3rd year at West Liberty.  She is a smarty pants and was one of 3 kids that got a perfect 4.0 for the year.  Leah has really gotten into her horse and riding this year.  She has been pretty successful at it also, especially for a beginner.  Her horse Charlie is ornery, sweet, and just a good old boy that knows the ropes.  Leah just finished 4H and learned a lot.  She got a superior for her nutrition project again (baking yeast breads) and competed with Charlie like a champ.  Leah still teaches and takes gymnastic classes.  Leah also is still taking piano lessons and she can play quite beautifully.

Logan is getting ready to start 7th grade.  It will be his second year at West Liberty.  Last year Log did really great, ending up with all A's.  Transitioning from home schooling to public school is tough and he handled himself wonderfully.  I was very proud.  Log still plays soccer and we are considering letting him play more year round, since he's a bit older and takes it a little more seriously.  Logan undertook a pretty labor intensive 4H project this year with his steer.  He worked extremely hard on it and did really quite well at the fair.  Unfortunately Samson, his steer, only has about 1 1/2 weeks left before the butcher shop.  I am not sure how Log will handle it, but I will most definitely be crying.  Samson is such a good boy.  Log is also still taking piano lessons and is getting pretty impressive.

Madeline is 6 and will be somewhere between 1st and 2nd grade this Fall.  Ah, the joys of homeschooling.  We have half grades!  Maddie is quite a little joiner and would be involved in about everything if we'd let her.  For now she plays soccer and takes gymnastics classes, she also played a little basketball with the little dribblers at West Liberty this last winter and loved it.  Madeline is as ornery as ever, but she is also as sweet as ever.  She will be starting piano this fall with Leah and Logan.  Madeline also is starting to ride horses and did a couple lead line classes this summer.  She really loves the horses and, along with Anna and Gee, is begging for a pony.  That is exactly what we need, another animal.  Oh and Madeline's latest news is that she chopped all her hair off and loves it.  I have never had a girl with such short hair and I almost cried, but she has asked us to cut it all summer.  The 6 inches I "trimmed" off last spring was obviously not enough.  Madeline rocks it though and is very pleased with her decision.  

Anna is 6 and will be starting 1st grade this year.  Anna also plays soccer and takes gymnastics classes.  She has also started riding horses.  She did her first lead line class at the fair and I was very impressed with how quickly she caught on and how serious she was about it.  Not to mention, she looked adorable dressed up in her cowgirl get up!  Anna is still my sensitive, sweet little princess.  She is probably the most prissy of my girls, although she can certainly hold her own if need be.  She is kind of the peacemaker in the group.

Gideon will be in Kindergarden this fall.  Gideon plays soccer and still takes gymnastics.  Soccer he really likes, but I think his love for gymnastics is fading.  He really like riding the horses, but has yet to have the desire to show or do more than just an occasional ride.  Gideon is a goof ball and very much all boy.  Something has happened to him in the last few months, is it too early for testosterone?  It is like someone lit a fire under his hiney.  I am constantly breaking up fights between Gee and Madeline.  Madeline can be pretty bossy and Gee just doesn't put up with is any more (good for him!).  He is also just way more aggressive and higher energy.  Not in a bad way at all, just like wrestling with Asher all the time and playing soccer with a little more umph.  I think my little Gee, isn't so little anymore.

Asher is three and is a HUGE ball of energy.  He is seriously hard to keep up with sometimes.  He talks constantly, at least now we can understand most of what he says.  His Sunday School teacher last week asked us if he spoke another language, so obviously not everyone understands him, but he is getting much clearer.  He has been potty trained for a few months now and was pretty easy to get trained.  Asher will be playing soccer this fall.  I am not normally and advocate for kids playing so early, but he just loves balls and soccer.  He literally cried for 4 nights in a row because the big kids got to play soccer in a local camp and he didn't.  The boy just loves to run and chase and kick, he's nuts.  Asher is most definitely everyone's baby here.  He gets spoiled and doted on by every one of the kids.  They adore him.

Ryan and I are about the same.  Ryan still works very hard at a very busy Colepak.  We feel so blessed that CP is doing so well right now.  Ryan is also still doing the bookwork for a local company, so he has his hands full.  I still stay home mommy-ing and wouldn't have it any other way.  I keep quite busy, not only with the kids, but the animals also.  Right now we have 2 horses, 1 hog (to be butchered in a week), 1 4H steer (to be butchered in a week), multiple chickens (we just butchered 40 meat birds), 1 dog, 1 kitten (a summer rescue, to be a barn kitty) and 10 head of cattle (the newest little calf just born last week).  The animals are definitely family projects, everyone pitches in.

Well, that is enough of an update for now, I plan to stay a little more on top of the blog.

Some recent pictures:

Anna riding lead line at the fair.  ADORABLE.

                              Madeline and Leah doing lead line at the fair, looking equally adorable.

          Madeline, Asher and good buddy Chloe at the fair (oh and Caden to the left, Chloe's little bro).

                      Our "children of the corn."  Sorry, didn't realize this pic was blurry until just now.

                      Ryan and I at a long weekend trip we took last month over our anniversary.  I couldn't love                      this man more.

                                                    Our annual fishing trip to Canada in June.

Asher in heaven with his two favorite things, daddy and a tractor.

                                                Little miss princess looking so grown up.

                            Hiking on a long weekend trip to Gatlinburg, one of my favorite spots!

Logan and his worse animal injury to date.  Samson got spooked and left the poor guy with some nasty rope burns.  Poor Logie!

   Our most excellent 100 lb plus german shepherd, Patriot.  We could have lost Patriot this summer when he got into the mouse poison, thank goodness he was ok.  Patriot is a super guard dog, just ask our poor neighbors who tried to let him out of his crate while we were at fair (sorry Sarah and Andrew).

                                            Picking flowers at a summer walk at the property.

Leah did bible quizzing again last year and we hosted a super sweet team from Pennsylvania at the annual tournament.

            Leah's group on the 8th grade DC trip.  I was the group chaperone for this crazy crew.

                        Leah with good buddies Catherine, Grace and Caylee at 8th grade graduation.

Our White Parks.

                                                      Another Gatlinburg hiking picture.

Psalms 10:14, 17-18

"You are the helper of the fatherless.  LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more."