This post is dedicated to my husband's brother, US Army Capt. John Paul Crumley and his wife, Dana, and my darling nephew, Cole.
John served in Iraq for 15 months until one month ago when he finally returned home safely. It was a long and difficult journey for Dana and Cole, but also for John, who missed so many of his son's many "firsts" while he was away. Cole is now 2 1/2.
The family is going to be spending at least until April 2010 at Fort Leonard Wood army base in St. Robert, Missouri for John Paul's captain training program. Church friends of ours who are also an Army family tell us that St. Roberts is a very family-friendly base, so we hope their experience is positive and that Cole transitions into his new home easily.
While John was serving in Iraq, Dana and Cole moved from their previous home in Germany to live close to us and my mother-in-law. It's been very nice getting to know Dana better and watching Cole grow from a 14 month old babbling toddler to a walking/running/bike-riding/swimming/talking active little guy. My Greta will surely miss him the most. At 4 years old, she was like the big sister to him and they became good buddies fast. She also enjoyed bossing him around and he usually followed her lead.
(John Michael taking a dip with his Uncle John Paul)
And for all the military men and women who serve this country, I want to give a big, heartfelt thank you for your sacrifice. I saw firsthand how difficult it can be on families and yet you make the choice to serve selflessly. We'll miss you guys. Love you lots!