BRAT - (noun)

Brat- (noun)

1.A child, especially a spoiled or ill-mannered one.

2.A child of a career military person.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Being a Brat is Hard!

Several months ago, we received some exciting news. My husband has been nominated (and since then Senate approved) to become a Brigadier General in the Army. So many years of hard work, plus what we believe to be God's favor, have finally come to a point. Service at this level of the military is both humbling and exciting. And it continues to require what military families do best - sacrifice.

We were told recently that we are needed at a post in Massachusetts. This will require a mid-year move. Those are always just a little tougher than even the ordinary summer rotations. So many things to think about, while life is still going full speed ahead for our family.

Josh took the news especially hard. He's in Jr. High, and his friends are very important to him, as they should be at this age. I tried to remind Josh this morning this is not something we are doing "to him", but something we are doing "with him", as a family.

Deployments... moves... it's a lot to ask of the children who are in military families.

Please don't misinterpret this blog post... we are excited about this move. We feel this is God's plan for our family and we are eagerly anticipating great things for the Cole's. But, I would appreciate you saying a prayer for the little hearts that carry with them such love and pride for their soldiers, and at the same time a sadness for the things they are giving up by being brats.

Guess this southern girl better go buy some snow boots!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Important or Urgent... thoughts from a tired mom

Mother’s Day used to be one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the little handprint cards, the sweet sticky kisses, the burned- toast-breakfast- in- bed.  I love my kids, and I really love being a mom.  So, a day to celebrate that is …wonderful.

But, I’ll be honest – this year, the week leading up to Mother’s Day has almost done me in.  Planning 2 Mother’s Day Programs for preschool, plus being there every day this week (when I usually only go in 1 or 2 days a week) makes for a very busy week.  I love teaching music at preschool – it truly makes me happy.  However, It's been a somewhat stressful week.  This week was also Teacher Appreciation Week.  Now, I believe every day should be teacher appreciation – they are the most underpaid, overworked, hardworking people I know.  They deserve every single card, candy, flower, accolade they get.  However, as a room mom and mother of 2 elementary school kids, I spent a lot more time at school this week than I normally would spend, sent out a lot of emails, helped put together a lot of stuff.    

Add to that, all the normal mom stuff… laundry, baseball games, feeding my kids,  homework, laundry… yes, I know I said laundry twice, but it deserves a second mention.  And, my First Grader had a big biography project due this week.  How many First Graders do you know who can do research on the internet, write and organize a paper, and prepare an oral presentation?  Yea, I don’t know any either.  So, it was one more thing on top of an already overloaded schedule.  Both of my college kids are finishing exams and moving home… and as happy as I am to have them both here, it creates a different dynamic and rhythm to our home, making for a little adjustment on all our parts.  And, Josh had to be at school early on Friday for a field trip… by early, I mean two and a half hours earlier than usual.   Anyone who knows me knows I don’t function well without sleep, and add to that very little time to exercise, well, it made for a very tired and cranky mom.  Not to even mention that my husband has been gone for over 10 months, and I’m weary from this deployment.   I miss him so much, and my heart hurts from him being gone.   

I’ve told more than one person, “These little handprint cards are just not cutting it anymore.  This week is not fun!”

I admit, I have forgotten one of the most important motto’s I know… one my husband told me early in our marriage, a favorite quote from his mentor/boss at the time.  “Never confuse the important with the urgent.”

My life is full of urgent. 

I live in one of the busiest, most stressful parts of the country, I would dare say, the world.  Everyone is an overachiever here in Northern VA.  Being busy and living life in high gear is the norm for almost everyone I know, and I feel like a slug when I tell my friends all I want for Mother’s Day is a nap. 

Today we had one of Michelle’s little friends over for a playdate.  I listened to these 2 little girls giggle and laugh and play dress up in her room.  It was music for my heart.  My son Josh told me I didn’t have to go to his make-up baseball game tomorrow, knowing I was so hoping for a quiet day.  I told him I wouldn’t miss him play ball for all the money in the world… but just that he thought to be so selfless was sweet.  My son, Bill Jr., is moving back home tomorrow after being away at college for the past year.  I can’t wait to see him, to really spend time with him.  My grown daughter spent most of her day planning and shopping for a brunch she is planning to make me tomorrow, in honor of Mother’s Day.  Even though she didn’t feel great, and probably didn’t feel like going out to the store.  She loves to cook, and she makes her food with love.
I was reminded today of what is important.  I do love Mother’s Day, because I love my children with every fiber of my being.  All the urgent stuff can make me tired and even somewhat unhappy at times.  But, being a mom to 4 amazing children fills my life with unspeakable joy… I know I am blessed way beyond what I deserve. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


I mentioned a few months ago that some of the wonderful men and women serving alongside Bill are trying to reach out to one of the local orphanages in the "far away land" where he is stationed.  They are hoping to go in and do more soon.  I would love to get together a box or two to send over... not really sure of the timeline. 

Let's do this - I will plan to send over a box the last Monday in January. (28)  If you have childrens shoes, new or gently worn, I think those would be greatly appreciated.  Most of the children I saw pictured looked like they were elementary school ages.  Also, toiletry items - toothbrushes or toothpaste, bars of soap, combs or hair brushes, etc. 

I think a lot of toys and clothes were donated last time, so I'll make this the focus for now... if I hear of specific items they need, I will let you know. 

I wish I could share some of the pictures Bill forwarded to me.  I can't because of security issues, but let me just say these are beautiful children who need so much... thank you for anything you can give to "the least of these".

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My little party (and a purpose)!

This weekend I had a party – it was a class A pity party, just for me!  There was chocolate involved (of course!  I would never dream of having a party without chocolate.)  There was some texting to a friend, a lot of “I can’t do this… o.k., I can do this, but I don’t want to do this!”  She texted back things that made me laugh.  Everyone needs a friend or two like that.  There was a sappy Nicholas Sparks movie involved, and even a few tears.  It was awesome.

I miss my husband.   People say, “But you are doing great.”  But the reality of it is, not all the time.  Some days, I throw pity parties for myself.

This one started when Josh asked me how many days until Christmas.  We were bored and sitting at a restaurant, waiting for our food, so I pulled out my calculator and started adding up the days.  (It was 73, in case you are curious, of course that was a day or two ago.)  So, then I got the bright idea to add up how many days since Bill had left, how many days until his R&R, how many days until he comes home for good.  I can’t say I loved seeing those numbers… especially when each day can already seem really long without him.  So, I came home and threw my pity party.  Waa!  Waa!  Waa!

There is a verse in Leviticus that I just love.  It says, “Because of His great love we are not consumed.  His mercies are new every morning.  Great is thy faithfulness.”  This morning was a new morning. 

Two things helped change my perspective.  First, I got to church.  And my pastor was rocking it!  He preached all about Matthew 6, the passage about not worrying.  I am not a worrier by nature, but I have been slipping into this destructive pattern lately.  Worrying about all the things around the house, worrying about the kids, worrying about when I will see my husband again.  But, not focusing on the things God has told me to do.  Like trust in Him.  And take life day by day.  And stop worrying about what I will eat or wear, because my Heavenly Father knows I need those things and he cares for me so much more than the birds and the lilies of the field. 

The second thing is just awesome!  Bill sent me an email that went something like this, “Just found out some soldiers are helping support a local orphanage.  Got the message too late to ask you to send anything, so I ran to the PX and bought a few washcloths and small socks.  I’ll let you know when the next donation time will be so you can send things.”  Oh my!  This was exactly what I needed… I can so get on board with supporting a local orphanage.  I love that my husband is doing this, that he is going to know how to ask all the right questions, that he is perhaps there for exactly this purpose.  Sure, he’s an amazing soldier who is doing a fantastic job, but this is so much where his heart lies, and mine too!

So, this is a heads up – pretty soon, once we get a few more details, I’m going to be asking for stuff.  Like maybe shoes, or coats, or candy, or toys.  Or whatever they might need.  So be ready.  Because now, I’m a soldiers wife with a purpose. 

And by the way, I threw that pity party to the curb.  Can’t promise I won’t have another one from time to time, but right now I am way too busy.  I’ve got some orphans to pray for and help.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

So far, so good!

We made it though week one of "Operation No-Daddy".  Sorry for the cheesy title - that's what the Army does all the time.
I put both of the younger kids in camp this week, because this is not my first rodeo.  I knew they needed to be busy, I needed them to be out of my hair for a few hours each day, and it ended up being a great decision.

Michelle went to Nature Camp with her BFF.  She liked Nature Camp, except not so much the nature part.  She likes the water activities, the playground time and hikes, but not the bees and moths in the bathroom.  I think we need to take this girl camping a little more often.  I can't have a kid who is afraid of bugs!

She also had a couple of playdates with the above pictured BFF.  Good move - between camp, friend time, and the pool, she was too tired most nights to squeak out much more than, "I miss Daddy." as her head hit the pillow.

Josh did baseball camp this week.  On Monday morning he asked me how long he would be at camp.  I told him 6 hours each day.  His response, "So, 6 hours a day for 5 days... that's just awesome!"   He loves baseball in a way that's hard to explain. 

The older 2 were busy with jobs, friends, college summer life. 

I am hanging in there.  Miss my man, but glad this first week is behind us. 

Who seems to be having the hardest time with Dad gone?  That would be our crazy dog.  He is pacing around each night, looking for Bill.  He sleeps by the door, and if he hears the slightest sound outside he jumps up, looking for his Dad.  He barks at the least little sound.  It's sweet, and very annoying.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My New Year Resolution!

I would be willing to bet many of you saw this title and were surprised for 2 reasons - first, you were probably shocked to see I am actually blogging!  And secondly, you probably think I am very confused to be blogging about a new year in July!   In many ways, it is a new year for the Cole family.  Yesterday morning my soldier, my husband, the "Brats" Daddy, got on an airplane to fly to "a-land-far-far-away" to serve his country.  He's only been gone 24 hours, but yea, we miss him a whole bunch already! 

I am trying not to think a year, but think of this as 52 weekends.  Weekends are the worst part - during the week, everyone is working, in school, and life is pretty much business as usual.  But the weekends are tough, because that is family time, and we are painfully aware that our family is not together. The other thing that's hard is holidays, so I'm thinking of this as 52 weekends and one of each holiday.  All we have to do is get through one of each holiday - one Christmas, one of everybody's birthday... etc.  But, even if you look at it as one of each holiday and 52 weekends, or a year, it's still a long time!

So, I am trying to be more intentional about blogging in this "New Year".  I am hoping maybe Daddy can see our blog in his far away land.  But, I am also doing this to keep busy, to keep a record of our year apart. 

I had someone tell me just the other day she could never be an Army wife.  She said we are made a tough stuff, and she just couldn't do it. I thought about that for a while after she left, and I realized how many people really don't understand military life.  If you think we are made out of something different than the rest of the world, that's not true.  We just happen to love a soldier - that's the only difference.  We cry when we are sad, our children misbehave, and we will all walk around with a little piece of our hearts missing until we are together again. 

This was the last picture taken of our family as a "whole".   Only 52 more weekends and a bunch of "ones" until we are together again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A little "Mo" Christmas!

We have been looking for a new dog for about 4 weeks. Our sweet Clark passed away in October at the age of 14, and it took my heart a little while to grieve for him. But, after we returned from my parents house for Thanksgiving, I knew it was time. I missed hearing the pitter patter of doggie feet in our house, so we started looking at the rescues and shelters.

On December 17 we found our little cutie! His name was Larry - really?!!! So, we decided we had to rename him. He is a 5 months old Terrier mix - we think he might have some kind of retriever mix as well... maybe Lab or Golden. He is VERY SWEET! When we went to the shelter, he played with us for about 5 minutes, and then he went over and gave Josh a big lick on the ear. That was when I knew he was the dog for us.

We came up with 3 names we liked, and after much deliberation and a lot of input from our Facebook friends, we settled on Mozart. We are such a musical family, it just seemed like the right fit for us. We decided to call him Mo for short... keeping life simple for now, but letting him know he can aspire to greatness!

We brought him home last Thursday. He is doing great, but oh my, he is such a puppy! Not fully housebroken, jumps on everyone and everything, chews... yep! He is keeping us busy. But, we have laughed more in the last 5 days than in the last 5 months. He is so fun and so funny! He pulled all the bows off our Christmas packages, played in the tissue paper, stole toys from the kids, and mostly stole our hearts.

Having a puppy on Christmas morning is kind of like running a marathon... thrilling, fun and exhausting!

Merry Christmas and best wishes to you all!