Scuba Dive Certified


Cole made it back. Since he flew alone to Houston and then made it to Corpus Christi, sans camera, we don’t have any pics of the trip. We do, however, have this pic of his handsome face as he left us in a very messy home shortly after moving in. He made it out for his scout trip just in time to leave his father and me carrying Christmas decor into the attic in 102 degree Oklahoma weather. The things we parents do for our kids to have memorable experiences!

Cole Turns 15



Sigh. He’s 15. We should be getting a learner’s permit, right? He’s got some catching up to do in scouts for that to happen. He’ll do it – he’s a self-motivated kid and we don’t push like some scout parents. I wish we could have given him a bigger celebration this year because he means the world to us but finances are tight and the poor kid didn’t get anything at all present-wise from us though his grandparents on both sides came through. He does know we love him and I offered to make him his favorite dinner but he couldn’t commit to one so we had Taco Bell. He did get the traditional family chocolate cake. He is the best kid we could have ever asked for! I wouldn’t even trade him for a girl. He’s always been a good kid and here’s to hoping it lasts at least through the rest of the teenage years (one can hope, right?). So anyway, here’s a very public birthday note for Cole: We love you, Cole! You make us proud in every single thing you do. You are a great big brother. You are a smart, capable, responsible young man and you surprise us almost every day with your intelligence and witty humor. We will forgive you the antics on early morning seminary drives (that would be your antics, not ours). Love, Mom & Dad

Making Balloon Animals & Flowers

Cole has such a great talent for origami. Who knew it would apply equally well for making balloon animals! He picked this skill up very quickly and has created some wonderful things. His favorite tends to be the monkey (I’ll have to get a pic of one of these!) but he made several flowers for a family in the ward whose mother is sick. He is such a talented kid! He calls it aerogami but we call it balloonagami. Whatever you call it, there’s a lot of balloon squeaking going on around here…

Cole 1st Degree Black Belt & Gabe’s Orange Belt


I know, I know, it’s already all over Facebook but I had to share my thoughts about Cole’s tae testing this past Friday evening. He has worked so hard to finish this up before we move to Houston. The pic above is NOT Cole – it’s an adult in the class that also tested for his and got it. Cole made the same break before this man did – Cole got his on the first try – and it took this guy 3 times but he did it!!! It was just such a great shot, I had to share. If you click on it, you can see all of Cole’s and Gabe’s testing pictures at my Flickr account.


Here’s another pic – love these boys. They have worked so hard! I hope we can find a place they love as much in Houston. We will miss the many friends we’ve made at Gretna Tae Kwon Do – lifelong memories for sure. I called a few places in Houston and it sounds like his black belt will be honored everywhere but no matter where we go he’ll need to relearn all the colored belts to be a junior instructor to help lead the classes. We’re lucky to have such a willing kid. That’s almost like starting over but I understand why. The kids look to Cole already to help them with their lower belt ranks and he would need to help them with those wherever we go – even if they’re different from the ones he’s already learned. I am so excited for both Cole and Gabe and the skills they’ve learned. I told Cole they’ll pay off for the rest of his life if he doesn’t get lazy in his old age!!!

Never Looked So Good!


The realtor’s sign has never, ever looked as good as with it’s “SOLD” sleeve on it. Cole admitted he went out and hugged it after he watched the realtor put it on. HOORAY! Fingers still crossed for a smooth closing…

Cole Gets His Black Belt!!!

Cole Gets His Black Belt!!!, originally uploaded by sparkbark.

About five or six years and $$$ later, he’s earned it! We are sooo very proud of him.

Kid Funnies: Cole & Horsepower

We were discussing the meaning of horsepower and Cole commented, surprised, “Oh! I thought it meant how many horses a car could drag.” He claims to be kidding but we’re not sure. Sorry, Cole. Hopefully Elizabeth won’t tease you too much over this one. xoxo Mom & Dad

Tribute to Cole – He’s 13 Today!

What?! I officially have a teenager?!? News to me. Other than being the world’s biggest eavesdropper, Cole is nothing like your typical teenager (give it time, right?). He is still a great kid and I’m proud of him and glad he’s in our family. He is like a superhero – kind, helpful, courageous, righteous, strong, smart, imaginative, friendly – and he has only one weakness that I know of: spelling. It’s his achilles heel. Not a bad trade for a superhero.

Memories of Cole from when he was a baby: he cried constantly because he had reflux. We had to do step aerobics to bounce him to keep him happy. He has always loved animals – especially dogs (and they seem to love him, too). He is also a very good big brother – he has helped take care of each of his three brothers. His first word was “Jesus” (seriously, even before mama or dada). He has always made friends easily and has a great sense of humor. The daycare he went to as a baby called him Mr. Personality. He enjoys piano, just quit trombone (with our blessing; we’re just not band people), is a brown belt in taekwondo (sooo close to black!), scouting, camping, swimming, etc. I asked him if he wanted to live in the country or suburb when we moved to Houston and he said without hesitate, “country”. He’s just an easygoing kid. We are grateful for him! We’re proud of you Cole.

Yesterday, at church, he got to be the Bishop’s helper and he held the microphone for a confirmation and had to sit up on the stand all during sacrament. His brother, Jack, looked up and said, “What’s Cole got?” (we were thinking microphone) and then he answered his own question by saying, “Cole’s got the priesthood?!”

Cole’s Taekwondo Testing!

It’s blurry because I didn’t realize you have to focus BEFORE you push record. Let’s hope I don’t make that mistake again. The video of his lower belt below that he had to remember and redo is a bit better!

He was hoping to not have to do yellow but, unfortunately, it was one of his two random older forms he had to remember in order to pass off his red belt. He hesitated but did a great job (especially for being sick for two days home from school!). We are truly proud of him – he persevered even though he didn’t feel his best.

Cole should be getting his brown belt a week from today. He did a great job with his red belt testing on Friday night. At this level, they have to choose two random previous forms to pass again also. He chose orange and yellow out of a bag which were the 2nd and 3rd ones he’d learned a LONG time ago and he was really nervous. Next is black and we have to try to rush through that before we move because his teacher here in Gretna, Rick Staack, is absolutely the best! We don’t want to fool around with starting over in Texas.