13 December 2011

Is Ignorance Bliss?

DH and I were visiting with our church leader tonight. The Bishop asked of there was anything he could do for our family. DH mentions he will be deploying to Afghanistan next summer. The Bishop asks, "With your family?" (What?) We were confused at the thought? Did he really think the military sends families to the battle fields? DH said, "No. We're at war." That resulted in big eyes and a surprised look. We were a little insulted that he was ... is ignorant even the right word? Does he not watch the news or see any overage from Iraq or Afghanistan?

06 December 2011

Resilient Kids

I think Military kids are great! (Hey! I'm an Army brat and I think I turned out pretty good.) They are much more well rounded, in my opinion, than their civilian peers who live in the same town their whole life. Military kids move around and get to see different parts of the country and learn about different ways of life. If they're really lucky they get to live in some great places in other countries! Military kids seem to have a greater appreciation of a global community.

My kids are great! I love them. Hubby and I sat them down over the Thanksgiving holdiday to talk with them about a deployment coming up next summer. I think ONE knew a little bit (he likes to eaves drop), was confused on where; TWO had a total melt down and refused to talk with anyone for a while; and THREE took it all in stride- asked when, where, how long, and off he went to play basketball out front with friends.

Hubby asked the other night, if they just didn't care that he was going to be gone again for a long time (1 year). I told him I didn't think it was that. I think they just need some time- this may be their own coping mechanisms- "I heard you but next summer/fall is too far away right now for me to think about right now."

Either way, they're resilient, and I love them!

02 December 2011

A Soldier's Christmas

In honor of those who have served and those who are currently serving during the Christmas Holidays

13 November 2011

Christmas already?

I love Christmas! Decorating for Christmas is my favorite thing to do right after Thanksgiving. We have red green and gold ornaments in large hurricanes all over the house as well as large red poinsettias and pinecones.

A fellow blogger is holding her 3rd Annual Ornament Swap and you can sign up through 19 Nov.  Check it out!

09 November 2011

Veteran's Day Discounts & Freebies

Veterans Day Restaurant Offerings:
Applebees - All Veterans and active duty military eat free from a limited menu at Applebee’s on Veterans Day (Nov. 11).
Chili’s – Veterans and active duty dine for free from a special limited six item menu on Veterans Day.
Golden Corral – Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on Monday November 14, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, Veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.
Famous Dave’s — Free or discounted meals on Veterans Day. Offer varies by location.
Hooters – All Veterans and active duty get 10 Free Wings – Boneless or Traditional, with the purchase of a drink.
Krispy Kreme – All active-duty, retirees & Veterans get a free doughnut on Veterans Day. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating.

08 November 2011

Veteran's Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

More History of Veterans Day

19 October 2011

Online Schooling

TWO wasn't doing well in school.  And the teachers weren't helping as per the 504 we have- this has been an ongoing battle now in our second school year.  We knew we could do a much better job at home but struggled with the constant supervision Two would require and wondered if we should simply wait for the evaluation for an IEP and hope that TWO would qualify or scrap it all and switch to an online school.  It's called a Virtual Academy- like a charter school but online.

We went ahead and registered and this was our first week.  It's been a struggle. TWO does not do well with change- a symptom of what we suspect is an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  But I can't get too discouraged after only a couple days.  Things should start to fall into place and level out.  The academy supplied us with brand new computer, printer and accessories, and supplemental curriculum should arrive today or tomorrow. I'm quite impressed.  The parent company, K12.com,  is in several states.  So when a PSC comes around transferring shouldn't be a problem . 

We'll see how things pan out.  Today was better than yesterday so I should count my blessings.

06 October 2011

OSI Infirmary?

The OSI detachment's been hit pretty hard this year.  We have a serious diabetic, a new ovarian cancer diagnosis, a recent kidney transplant (Yea!!), and another agent who is having heart valve replacement real soon.  Hubby came home today and wondered what kind of Det he was running.  But he's a good man and is so ready to help these people.  Not just with whatever they need temporally, but also able to deal with their fears and concerns, their emotional needs.  They couldn't ask for a better commander.

Football Die Hards

Three and I went to One's football game and thoroughly enjoyed, even with the downpour we had! The rain wasn't so bad when we had the big beach umbrella to keep us dry.  I even remembered to bring a towel to sit on knowing the bleachers would be wet.  The team is undefeated so far.  And this game was no disappointment.  They won 36-12.

23 September 2011

Freshman Football

Football is a rough sport no matter who's playing or at any level. But high school freshman seem to get the worst of it. ONE was in practice this week when one of their lineman was injured. He broke his leg in three places. All clean breaks so no surgery was needed but three! Twice in the fibia an once in the tibia. Am I glad he's in 2nd string on doesn't get a lot if playing time? I'm not sure. This kid was on 3rd string defense playing against the 1st string offense. In any case he's having fun.

Homecoming is this weekend. Do you remember you're homecomings in high school?

22 September 2011

An OSI Wife

You know you're an OSI Wife when ...
you hear your husband laughing on his blackberry and you don't ask what was so funny
you walk into your bedroom and he walks out because he's on his blackberry... again ... having a work conversation
I never get that moment of the day when the hubby comes home and tells you all about his day and the craziness that occurred.   I'm lucky if he makes it for dinner most nights.  And I've learned to ignore the late night calls that require him to get up and leave because "something's come up".

I just wanted to vent a little.

12 September 2011

10 years later

There have been several memorial specials, ceremonies, and speeches about he 10 year anniversary of 9/11. I had a very tender moment with THREE. THREE is 8 and was not around when 9/11 occurred and hasn't heard very much about the events of that day.

But we had a chance to talk- TWO, THREE and I, yesterday before church. We talked about who Al-Qaeda is, who bin Laden was, and how the day is a solemn day to remember the many people who lost their lives. We talked about Flight 93. I was so very proud to tell my children of the great heroes on that flight who took it upon themselves to do something great in a dire situation. How they knew there was no way to avoid their own deaths and decided to be selfless and save the lives of so many others.

09 September 2011

Reason to Believe

I'm a big Morning Joe fan and wanted to share this video.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

06 September 2011

"Penciled In"

We've been told about a "penciled in" assignment.  Wasn't one we were hoping for and quite frankly I'm surprised since it's another deployment.  Did they see that he just came back from a 15 month unaccompanied less than a year ago?

"Service First" is the military mantra.  It's just a lot harder to stomach for a Military Spouse.

27 August 2011

Back to School

Although I will readily admit I am very much looking forward to the kids going back to school, there is a part of me that is a little sad. My kids are growing up too fast. ONE is just beginning high school and is already 1.5" taller than I. TWO is going into 7th grade and will have to find a way to get to school on time without One making sure that focus is not lost. And THREE is going into 3rd grade and not so interested in holding my hand in public anymore. And then theres the dreaded back to school shopping. I've been putting it off until the absolute last minute. Hubby and I are going on date night tonight and will tackle the two lists I have now. ONE will most likely come home with a long, expensive list on Monday. As the kids grow that leaves more time for me during the day. I'm finally at that stage in life where I can think about some of the things I've been waiting to do but couldn't because there were small kids at home. I really need to get back to scrapbooking. Three sees all the books I've done for ONE and TWO. I stopped about the time THREE turned one because life got too crazy- husband deployed, new house, new school, trying to help the kids make new friends, small toddler getting into everything, etc. Three is now 8 and I have a ton of pictures I need to put into a binder so it doesn't look like I forgot about them. With back to school comes the back to real cleaning. During the summer months I have the kids take a more active role in helping clean the house. Mondays, during school, are my cleaning days, but I'm honking of moving that to Fridays so the house is fairly clean during the weekends. What are the things you look forward to/dread when back to school rolls around?

22 August 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes

The kids were watching an episode of Dr Quinn this afternoon. It's an episode where Dorothy starts to experience menopause. TWO asked what menopause was and ONE said, "Its when you turn old! It said so in my health book!"

20 August 2011

Free Hugs! Campaign

Another military spouse posted this on her blog, and I couldn't help but share it here as well.

One of the comments left said it all:

Such an awesome video! It is awesome to think that so many strangers are willing to hug one of our soldiers! It is so awesome that our soldiers are willing to accept hugs from complete strangers to show them that they are more than just soldiers! Beautiful! Thank you for this!

09 August 2011

Gone But Never Forgotten

I was reading TheArmyWife(DUDE) this afternoon and came across this:
"Often forgotten are the children who live this life. Just today I read about a 10 yr old Kansas City boy who was begging that his father be spoken of. His dad had died over the weekend in the crash that killed 30 service members. Most notably a group of Navy SEALS. Yet this boy's dad, who was the pilot of the helicopter, was barely a blip on the screen to the media that delivers what our life looks like.(SCRATCH THAT..... tries to portray what they think America wants our life to look like)-that helicopter pilot was as valuable to the defense of our country as any one of those SEALS, yet his name is only now being known because this young man wanted everyone to know the hero his father was and IS!"

Just as we mourn the loss of so many of the mighty and brave SEALS, let's not forget the others who went down with them.

06 August 2011

bin Laden Raid

Don't know if you guys have seen this yet.  The NewYorker has put out a new article in which journalist, Nicholas Schmidle, was given access to the Navy SEAL team and hte Senior White House advisors/staff who were involved in the raid on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

"Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Inside the aircraft were twenty-three Navy SEALs from Team Six, which is officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard. It was a moonless evening, and the helicopters’ pilots, wearing night-vision goggles, flew without lights over mountains that straddle the border with Pakistan. Radio communications were kept to a minimum, and an eerie calm settled inside the aircraft."

02 August 2011

Coronado Beach Cottage

So we braved the drive with the kids and made it to the Coronado North Island Naval Base. The beach cottages are nice. They're brand new- just opened July 4th weekend this year. Gormet kitchens, tile flooring, spacious room, high end furniture,and hat more could you aak for then to be right on the beach. They could do a little better on stocking their kitten with more pots and pans and maybe a base directory or info on how to access the wifi.

One is excited to see the Navy Seals training right here. We just learned that this place takes reservations a year out as opposed to the other AFRCs or MWR Rec places. We're going to book next year's Spring Break.

27 July 2011

Survival Straps

I won a Blog Give-Away recently and I have to share!  I won a Survival Strap.
It's a wide one, and a little big for my small wrists but I love it!

Survival Straps are pretty cool.  I'm thinking these would be great Christmas stocking-stuffers for family members. Not only are they cool but they're a cool company.  From their website:

"We are going to raise some serious awareness and dollars for our nation's heroes.
We are extremely passionate in our support for our Men and Women in uniform.  We realize that we are able to lay our heads down on our pillows safely at night because of the work that they do.  We must honor those who serve our country and protect our freedom.  They come from all walks of life and from every part of our country.  We really hope that our customers use our gear as a vehicle to show support for the members of our armed services, and to help spread the word about the needs they have.  Just as they have stood tall for our country, we must always stand by and support the Men and Women in uniform and their families.
Many of these brave Men and Women now need all of our help.  That is why we have partnered Wounded Warrior Project.  The struggles that our wounded soldiers face when they get back home from Iraq and Afghanistan are enormous.  We are a small company, but we hope to do something big in raising awareness and dollars for our Men and Women who have sacrificed so much for us.  A portion of every purchase from our website will be going towards our support for our nations heroes."
DH used to work for a USArmy Colonel Sutherland on the Joint Staff who was passionate about the Wounded Warrior Project and worked rather closely with them.  He was a hero in his own right and had survived many attacks thanks to the efforts of many other soldiers.  So we are happy to blog about such a great company and their valiant cause to support the Troops.

21 July 2011

New Military ID

It's been in the news for while now- the new dependent military IDs. No longer will they display the sponsor's social security number or the dependent's social. Which is a long needed change. I could never understand why they needed the dependent's social when everything was done under the sponsor's. I'm glad for the new change. Now can they do something about the awful black and white cameras they use? Talk about unforgiving! Anyway ... my ID was going to expire soon. So I planned a day when hubby wasn't in meetings and after sports camp so ONE could babysit. At every base we've been stationed, getting a new ID has been a nightmare. Usually taking at least an hour- not to mention the only time hubby has, since he sponsor has to be there, is around lunch time. We were amazed when we walked into Pass & ID this afternoon. No one was there! We picked up a number from the automated kiosk and were called right away. It took less than 10 minutes! But then we wondered about the 4 employees who were simply standing around doing nothing. Oh well... I have my new ID and got to go out to eat with my husband.

19 July 2011

San Diego revisted

Hubby has a 2 day conference in a few weeks.  In San Diego!  We've decided to pack up the kids again and get away from the heat.  We'll go down a few days before and stay a few days after the conference.  We won't do any of the amusement parks, but simply enjoy the beach and walking around Old Town San Diego.
We'll stay at the Navy's new beach cottages on Coronado Island and then back up on Camp Pendleton's Del Mar Beach Cottages.  But this is pretty good.  The cottages are less per night than the cost of where they would put him up in a major hotel chain in downtown San Diego.

The kids say we should have just stayed there the last time we went. If only life worked that nicely. :)

I love Skype

Someone asked me today how we communicated throughout hubby's deployment.  I was happy to report that we were quite lucky in that we were able to call every morning for family prayer (his lunch time), and "Skyped" later during my lunchtime (his evening).  Email was always a special thing for us.  I've saved all of hubby's emails (love notes) and have them in a binder.  It's one of my most treasured keepsakes.
I remember talking with my Mom during hte deployment- she's a retired Army wife.  She says we are so lucky today to have the technology to communicate almost instantly.  She shared stories of how she would wait for the mail for 2 weeks before getting word from my Dad once he left on extended exercises. She shared how one of my sisters would sit at her window crying for Daddy and once he got back wouldn't speak to him because she was mad that he left. 
I've read stories of families of WWI and WWII veterans who would wait months to receive word from their husbands and loved ones.

How do you guys communicate with your Sig Others during deployments? Do you write love letters?

15 July 2011

Dealing with Deployments

I'm curious by nature.  I think every wife probably wants to know what sort of things their husbands experienced in war, to somehow be able to understand.
It's been several years since hubby was in Iraq, but it hasn't been until recently that he's finally in a place to share stories from those months. He shared one experience the other night.  The kids were put to bed and we had a few moments to talk.  He just started talking about the men under his command, their personalities, their first days out in the area, and  then shared an experience of when they were caught off guard in a bad situation. 

How do your spouses deal with their deployments?

13 July 2011

What's for Dinner?

I don't know what I picked up or where I picked it up, but I have caught a bug of some kind. I had a queezy stomach yesterday afternoon (nope, no chance of being pregnant).  Then when I was getting ready for bed, I had chills like I've never experienced before. Sometime around midnight I woke up and had to put the ceiling fan on- something I never do- because I was so hot.  Still feeling a little tired today, so when I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner, they each had their own response.
TWO said "Corn dogs and Mozarella Sticks!", and THREE said "Chicken Nuggets!".  ONE didn't care so long as there was food.
So we had corn dogs, mozarella sticks, chicken nuggets, and there had to be a veggie so I steamed up some broccoli.
What do you feed your troop when you aren't feeling well?

08 July 2011

Samuel Adams

They don't teach you very much about Samuel Adams when you learn about the patriots of the American Revolution in school. Over the last 16+ years of marriage to a native New Englander and descendant of the Plymouth plantation leaders, I've had many occasion to learn more about the great men and women of Revolution.
A great book we like to recommend to others "Patriots: The Men Who Started The American Revolution" by A J Langguth.
Another favorite is "1776" by David McCullough.
Right now I'm reading a book "Samuel Adams" by Ira Stoll. I'm not that far into but its good so far. This book is giving me a better insight to the real Sam Adams- the father of the revolution. 

San Diego

We spent the long weekend in southern California.  It was so nice to get away from the heat.  San Diego was beautiful!  The kids enjoyed seeing LegoLand (twice) and spending a day on the beach. 

We stayed on Camp Pendleton in a very small TLF.  I think I mentioned before about our service envy.  It didn't last long.  Yes, we were near the beach.  Yes, it was a lot cheaper than renting a house for a few days.  But this was by far the worse TLF we had stayed in since being in the middle east. 
At other AF lodging facilities, there is a laundry room where you don't have to pay for using the washer/dryer machines.  We had to pay $1 for a small load of wash and another $1 for the dryer.  Thank goodness I brought our own laundry detergent and dryer sheets.  That would have cost us even more. 
At other AF TLF's we've stayed in there is at least one separate bedroom for some kind of privacy.  Not so where we stayed.  It was all one big room crammed with 2 queen beds, and a twin added in at the end of the two beds (we requested a cot for one of our kids).  They advertised a kitchenette but there was only a stove top and no oven.  No baking dishes other than the 2 pots- one large and one small.
It wasn't all bad.  We were close to LegoLand, right near the beach, access to a commissary, church wasn't far, and it was a nice drive to downtown San Diego and the airport. 

We picked up our oldest child at the airport on Sunday and spent the afternoon driving around- there was a brand new Navy Destroyer in the port that was just built in Mississippi and traveled through the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal to it's home port of San Diego.  We drove on to the Naval Station and drove by all the cool Navy ships, saw where the SEALs train on Coronado, and stopped by to see the San Diego Mormon Temple.

We also stopped in the Old Town Sand Diego and walked around the old Victorian houses and visited the Mormon Battalion Visitor Center.

05 July 2011

What does the 4th mean to you?

From SpouseBuzz

Someone asked me recently what, exactly, Independence Day means to military families and I did not have an immediate, good answer. There’s no question what Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day mean to me as a military spouse. But July 4th? I had to give that one a little bit more of a think.

And so here it is: To me, July 4 is a time of a pride in my Soldier and all servicemembers for loving American independence so much that they are willing to go out and defend it. Of course, like all of our patriotic holidays, it is also a time to remember those who gladly gave their lives for that freedom.

While others may wave flags and recall those who bravely signed their names on that independence declaration long ago, my heart swells with pride for those who are willing to sign their names today, promising to defend that independent with their lives.

What about you? What does the 4th of July mean to your military family?
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01 July 2011

Service Envy

It's not often that I think it would be nice to be in another branch of the military. Buy having visited Camp Pendleton and the San Diego area, hubby said, "I should've gone into the Navy. All their bases are on the beach!"

It really is a great base. Big and not so updated, but they are right on the beach and lodging has cottages and villas on the beach. My eldest think it's cool that he's on the same beach that the Navy Seals train on.

23 June 2011

Plans for the 4th of July

Every year we've had a nice BBQ at our home where ever we've lived- with crafts for the kids and some of their friends, with a nice patriotic message, and fun watching the fireworks display. 
This year we've decided to get out of Dodge for the Fourth. We're going to take the kids to LegoLand-California.  Our 8 year old is very excited and our 12 year old is looking forward to the water park.  The 14 year old, we're not sure if he's going to enjoy himself or be a grumpy teenager.  we'll see..

What are your plans for the Fourth?

21 June 2011

Summer Activities

The Blue Star Museums initiative is a partnership among Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more than 1,000 museums across America. First launched in the summer of 2010, Blue Star Museums once again are offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, through Labor Day, September 5, 2011. See the map below for Blue Star Museums participating this summer in each state. Read more >>

The kids are once again enrolled in the annual summer reading program.   The rewards are not so great this year, and they aren't that motivated so I'm having to supplement the rewards with some of my own.

14 June 2011

Flag Day

From http://www.usflag.org/flag.day.html
 The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.
Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th.

11 June 2011

Summer is Here!

This will be our first summer at this new duty station. We're excited. And with every new place we've lived it has helped to look for community centers or local tourist information centers, either in person or online, to find fun things to do with the kids.
A friend of mine from church has a list of all the free things to do in the city. We'll be going through the list and planning out the summer.
We're a few hours away from the amusement parks in southern CA so those are on our list, as well has some of the fun trips Outdoor Rec has planned.

10 June 2011

Military Wife Stereotype?

The military wife stereotype: Fact or fictional?

By Heather Clouse, Richmond Military Marriage Examiner
Anyone involved in the military community has heard about the military wife stereotype, and if you haven't you're probably hiding under a rock. You know how it goes, they're all lazy, all they do is pop out kids, none of them work, they're bullies who hide behind their husband's rank, or spend their days online picking on other girls, pretending to be something they're not. I'm sure there's more, but you get the point. Does it hold any truth? Is it the military's fault?
Are all military wives lazy? Of course not, that wouldn't make any sense. A generalization of "all" is a joke anyways. Do they have lazy days? Of course. You try going through a deployment, being mom and dad, and getting no time to yourself. There are going to be days where you just don't feel like throwing that load of laundry in the wash, or mowing your lawn. Does that make them lazy? No, that makes them human.

08 June 2011

Tricare Health Benefits

For the last 17 years we've had no problems with Tricare- health insurance for military.  But now that we have a child who is special needs/autistic, we're finding out they aren't so helpful in this area.  I think they're doing better than they have in years, but I also feel they could be doing more. And I'm reading about several other military families with Autism who aren't having such a good experience with Tricare either.
We PCS's here last fall and were doing fine until this spring when the current meds weren't working for our child.  We had really bad rages and nothing was getting through to this child.  We contacted the Tricare office and were given 2 names of child psychiatrist/psychologists.  The psychologist wasn't accepting any new patients, so we've gone with the psychiatrist- which is good because we don't have to go to a third party to manage any new medications. 
He's told us that he thinks she has Aspergers, but this Dr doesn't believe in labeling children and won't give us a definitive diagnoses. Right now he's simply managing symptoms.  I totally get it, but to start a new IEP with the school- our current 504 isn't working well enough- or to access services that Tricare will cover, we need a diagnosis. 
So I had to go back to the Tricare office and find out if they had any referrals for autism/aspergers specialists.  They do but they're about 45 minutes away.  So we start a whole new process over again.

28 May 2011

Taste of Home Donates to USO

Taste of Home will donate 10¢ to the USO for each unique visit to tasteofhome.com/flagcake from May 26, 2011 to July 4, 2011, up to $100,000.

Click Here to Help Support Our Troops!

13 May 2011

Women Left Waiting Blog Event

This blog event has been going for a couple days now and I've loved reading the different posts! And there are give aways! Don't miss out! Go to:

Sugar in my Grits

I can't wait to read more about this event.  It sounds like a lot of fun!  I signed up to help with ideas for cook out on Memorial/Armed Forces Day.  The event is next week which works out well since we're going to be hosting our own event here for DH's boss who's coming in from DC for a visit.

What Not To Do

DH and I stayed up late the other night watching Strategic Air Command, a 1955 movie starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson.  A professional baseball player (Stewart) is re-called to AF Active Duty and assigned to the Strategic Air Command.  His wife has some adjustments to make and watching as an AF wife- it made me laugh at all the things a new AF spouse should NOT do.
  • don't call your husband 20 times a day
  • don't show up unannouced at the front gate without an ID
  • don't show up at your hubby's boss' office demanding to know where your husband is
  • don't chew out your hubby's boss
  • don't kiss your hubby in the Gnereral's office
  • and many more.
It's a cute movie and a fun watch.

09 May 2011

Daisies for Mother's Day

Gerbera Daisies are my favorite.  When my husband took our boys to go get flowers his first thought was to get roses, but my youngest(7) reminded him that I like daisies more.


07 May 2011

The MilSpouse

I've been reading of an Army Spouse/Husband and he has a post that is so REAL! 

The Silent Ranks are saluted
I find one of the more difficult aspects of being a MILspouse is the unknown. I think with a little time the unknown of where you live next year can be overcome. I feel that the unknown of what time your service member will be home after leaving for PT can be dealt with. I think after a few years under your belt knowing a CQ/staff duty day can randomly appear is surmountable. It's all those other unknowns that can literally bring the most sain of people to the brink of insanity. Not knowing if deployment is coming quicker than anticipated. Not knowing if you can make plans for the weekend, especially when it involves a day that is significantly important to the marriage and/or family. And then of course there is the great unknown. Not knowing if there will be a knock on your door. Not knowing if as you try to rest your eyes at night(because you don't really sleep you just rest as a MILspouse during deployment) if at that same moment your service member is caught in a fire fight. Not knowing if you will hear from your service member after just hearing on CNN that the base they are at received casualties. You sit by the phone knowing it won't ring because they are in a blackout until all family members are notified. Not knowing if you should try to go to bed or if the instant messenger icon may pop up when they log on so you can chat, knowing you don't know when you may hear from them again. Not knowing if during singing happy birthday to your child the SKYPE connection will be lost. For the female MILspouse's not knowing if you may have to endure the rigors of child birth alone. Thousands of miles from the father of your child. Time zones away from family. An eternity away from anyone you would consider a friend.

06 May 2011


Last minute liaison get together with the FBI. Kind of a combined going away for one of our own who worked on several occasions with the local FBI field office.
Things like this are better to deal with now that our eldest is old enough to babysit the younger two. Although it throws a bit of a wrench into the established routine. Our Aspergers child doesn't do well with sudden schedule changes. (More on that subject later.)  
Why is it when you go to functions where there are more than one group of people coming together, that no one mingles from one group to the other?

04 May 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

The media has been dissecting and debating the events of Sunday night for a couple days now.  They've shown a lot of the clips of people across the country celebrating and have also shown interviews with families of the victims of 9-11.
I think I'm a little on the side of cautious optimism.  Yes this is a great thing- bin Laden was an evil man who deserved what was dealt to him.  But there are still men and women, husbands and wives, sons and daughters still in the middle east devoting their time and skills in defense of freedom.  And I worry for them and their families.

02 May 2011

Military Sacrifice and Honor

Before he addressed the crowd that had assembled in the St. Louis Hyatt Regency ballroom last November, Lt. Gen.  Kelly had one request. "Please don't mention my son," he asked the Marine Corps officer introducing him.  Four days earlier, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly , 29, had stepped on a land mine while leading a platoon of Marines in southern Afghanistan. He was killed instantly.

Without once referring to his son's death, the general delivered a passionate and at times angry speech about the military's sacrifices and its troops' growing sense of isolation from society.

Honorable Service

My husband and I have observed lately that the general public has no idea what it means to "Serve your Country".  Where we are living now, the people in the community live a privileged and very easy lifestyle.  They know nothing of what a military family life is like.  Recently a couple asked us of my husband's most recent deployment, "Will you have to go back or are you done?" 

Done?  We were a little taken back.  As if they were saying well you went there and came back so you must be done.  Have they not heard of all the sacrifices many in the Army who have deployed so many more times than my husband has, possibly 3-4 times more.  Have they not heard of families who are spending more time apart than they are together?  Have they not heard of fathers and mothers struggling to keep their children safe and happy, having to cope with one or both parents being deployed?

I'm watching a Medal of Honor ceremony honoring two Army infantrymen who 50 years ago served and gave their lives in order to protect and defend their comrades and country.  One flew himself on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers.  Another commanded his squadron to move to safer ground while he stayed behind to ward off the oncoming enemy. One of these great men came from a family of great military service- all 6 sons and the father all served in the military and two other relatives are serving now, one in Afghanistan.  Why do the general public not know more about these great heroes?  Why is service to country not more of an honorable station in our society today?  Why are there not more families speaking to their children of the honor of service?

DH as asked to speak to the young men in our church's youth group this week about what he does in the military.  He could easily make this all about AFOSI and how it's the most wanted career field in the AF, and he'll briefly go over all that and about different things the AF does around the world, but he's going to take this unique opportunity to talk about Service, about the great and honorable opportunity it is to serve one's country.  He'll talk about honor and brotherhood, about service and sacrifice, and perhaps they'll THINK about military service.

25 April 2011

Back to School

Everyone is back to school and I can get back to Monday cleanings. The kids and I spent a quiet week doing nothing but lounging by the pool and watching movies on Netflix. We had ice cream sandwiches, BBQ, and popcorn. We went put one day to a local historical site and even got the youngest a hair cut!

DH returned just in time for Easter Sunday. And brought with him a beautiful Easter Lily for me.
It was a nice service at church. The ward choir sang "He Is Risen" and we had more than usual participation.

16 April 2011

Spring Break

For the last 6 years, we've spent Spring Break in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.  This year we are slumming and staying home.  Dear Husband has a Commanders Conference this week- of all weeks for Region to plan a conference and they pick Holy Week, the week of Passover, Good Friday and Spring Break for nearly everyone in the country.  So we're staying home this year.  But thank goodness we decided to rent a home with a pool.  I bought some new pool toys and will heat up the pool for a little bit each day and we will veg poolside.  I have lots of hamburgers and hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, ice cream sandwiches, lots of sunscreen, watermelons, cantaloupe, grapes, cheese and crackers, popcorn, and netflix!

06 April 2011

VIP visit

My husband's boss is coming out from DC in a few weeks. DH offered our home as a place for a detachment function- for him to meet with the agents in the office and to especially meet with some of the deployed/remote families.
Which means I need to come up with a nice dinner that will accommodate small kids- we have quite a few of those. Since we have the pool I think we'll go with a nice BBQ with a few sides provided by some of the others wives. I have a friend from church who has a catering business so I think I'm going to talk with her about setting up a nice dessert display.

03 April 2011

Month of the Military Child

By Elaine Wilson, AFPS
March 31, 2010

Military children often are referred to as “unsung heroes,” but, in honor of April’s Month of the Military Child, I’d like to take some time to sing their praises.
Their challenges are all-too familiar: moving frequently and adjusting to being separated from a parent that goes off to training or gets deployed.

An official recently told me that military children, on average, will attend six to nine schools over the course of a parent’s military career. That’s a lot of first-day-of-school stress to handle.
These challenges aren’t new, and certainly aren’t easy. But I never cease to be impressed by our military children’s ability to adapt and cope.

As an airman and then a Defense Department civilian, I have met some amazing military children from all walks of life – active and reserve, younger and older, from all of the service branches. They all impressed me with their ability to adapt and drive on.

I’ll never forget their names, even though the memories of their faces have faded with time.
Names like Timothy Donovan, the son of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Tim Donovan and wife, Paula, who I met at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., last fall. Timothy was born with a group of birth defects that can cause health issues ranging from cardiac problems to limb abnormalities, and also was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 1. At 7 years old, he already has undergone an unbelievable 21 surgeries.
But Timothy was all smiles when I met him for the first time. I was interviewing Timothy and his mother for a story about how the Defense Department was revamping its playgrounds for special-needs children, an effort spurred on mostly by Paula.
Paula told me about how Timothy underwent multiple, painful procedures to fix his club feet so he could wear shoes. He was in casts for 20 weeks, but he got his wish and wore shoes on his 7th birthday.
When I met him, he wasn’t focused on his difficulties; he was excited to have a new playground to play on. “I can’t wait,” he said to me in his soft voice.
Names like Matt Newcomer, who was a high school senior when I met him in Texas several years ago. His father was about to miss his prom and graduation, but he was taking it all in stride.
“He loves to be a soldier, and if it makes him happy, it makes me happy,” Matt told me. “How can I possibly complain that he’s not watching me graduate when he’s out there sacrificing for our nation?”
Timothy and Matt’s positive attitude and strength serve as an example to us all.

I hope we don’t forget that our military children are undergoing great challenges each day. Their parents are deploying into combat and may return home with visible or invisible wounds of war. We all must be mindful of what these children are going through, particularly since multiple deployments are now normal.

Military children need every American’s support, whether it’s a kind ear or just a shoulder to lean on.
I know you all know military children. Take time to talk to them, find out if there’s anything you can do to help them. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” If each of us starts in our own “village,” we can make a significant headway in caring for all military children. I can’t think of more deserving recipients of our support.

Posted in Family Matters.

01 April 2011


One of the wives in my husbands office is taking her Oath of Citizenship in a few minutes. She is very excited. I'm excited for her. Her husband is taking pictures of each step, stopping to take her photo at each sign on our way to the courtroom. He is excited, too.
She's done it the right way. All these people here today should be commended for taking the right steps by following the outlined laws to achieve US Citizenship. I wish those who are against immigration could see the faces of these people and see the excitement in their eyes. It is a shame to all of them or others to evade the system after all the waiting and all the paperwork.
There are people from all across the world- India, Mexico, Russia, Guatemala, Pakistan, Phillippeans, Ukraine, Venezuela, Iran, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Korea.
For some it's a bitter sweet day. Most of them, including this AF wife, are giving up their citizenship in their native land to become US citizens.
They're given a flag and told of it's meaning. A video presentation is shown with scenes from across America as the song "I'm Proud To Be An America" plays in the background. They wave their flags and it is hard not to be moved. There is a message from Pres Obama. And two new citizens share their thoughts and feelings about their journey to this point and they're feelings about today. They are grateful to this country for the many blessings and opportunities that they have received. The judge shares some remarks and the ceremony is done. Friends and family gather round their loved one and there are smiles and tears, hands shaken and embraces shared.
I'm proud to be an American and am grateful to have been part of this citizenship ceremony. It was a strong reminder to me of the great country I live in and love. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

30 March 2011

No Sick Leave for Mom

Typical sick-mom situation- no rest for the weary.  Had a religion class this morning that I love going to, a visit to make to see another mom from church, and my youngest has a Pirate play this afternoon.  Definitely not making the religion class, and had to cancel the visit, and really don't want to miss the play since we can't make the evening performance because he also has a little league game. And my eldest has a lacrosse game.  That one's taken care of but no missing the little league.
Hopefully the echinacea tea, the zicam, the claritin, and the tons of water I'm consuming will put a dent in the congestion and sneezing.

27 March 2011

90Percent Attitude

DH and I went this weekend to visit a family who just recently moved into the area.  He is a new agent and this is their first assignment.  Great family.  They will do well here because the wife has a great attitude.  This is a new place for them far different from where they've come from.  She is getting out and exploring new shopping centers, finding all the parks and trails for her kids, and trying hard to get to know her neighbors. 

PCSing and finding happiness and fun in the new place is 90% about your attitude.  If you don't have that then your miserable.  I noticed at our last spouses night that a lot of the wives had been told by their agent husbands not to go here or to stay away from there and to definitely not forget to set the alarm.  They've scared them into not liking where they are.   Don't get me wrong, I'm all about OpSec- knowing your surroundings, being aware and vigilent, but too much can also be detrimental to having an enjoyable assignment. 

Finding that balance and having a positive attitude makes all the difference.

25 March 2011

Independent Wives

We had a fairly successful Spouses Night last month- not as many as I hoped but fun. This month is proving to be a little harder. We decided to try a card making night. I'm not that in to card making, but it will be fun to get together with the other spouses and see how they're doing and to get to know them better. Unfortunately no one's RSVP'd and the activity is next week. We'll see...

These wives are very independent. They do things on their own because it's habit. When an emergency comes up I want them to feel like they can call us whenever. This week a spouse had a personal emergency and needed someone to watch her kids. She didn't call anyone at the detachment or one of the other spouses and I am sad by that. She was forced to put off a medical procedure because she had no one to watch her kids. She made a few calls on her own and got her husband called home a couple days early from deployment training and I wish she would have thought that to call me or that she felt more comfortable enough to call and ask for some help.

That's why we're trying to get these spouses night up and going. Some wives are too independent. I remembered reading a blog about this from another military spouse:

Asking for help - my biggest challenge
When my husband is deployed, my biggest personal challenge is asking for help.  Especially as a stay at home Mom.

Not because of pride - I realize that I cannot possibly do it all - but out of survival.

You see, while Seth is away, I usually find myself in a perpetual state of semi-denial.

Everything is fine.
Just keep swimming.
Everything is just fine.
Stay positive.
I can do this.
MOM! Stop asking - yes I'm doing just fine.

It's all a coping mechanism - a sort of survival mode for handling stress.

The problem is, I don't ask for help until I really need it.
Like something is on fire.
Or someone needs to go to the emergency room.
Or I have a flat tire with three small children and I can't get the stupid jack out from under the seat.

I realize I'm not super woman.
But if I open up and admit to myself that I need help...
Will I be able to keep saying that everything is just fine?

Because the moment I start admitting to myself I can't do something - I have to face all the realities.

I'm actually really tired.  and yeah maybe a little stressed.  ok maybe a lot stressed.  and well... I might just have to admit... that deep down...  I too am scared of the consequences of war.

How will these deployments change my husband?
How will these deployments change my children?
How will these deployments change me?

If you know someone who has a spouse deployed and you would like to lend a hand - Try offering them something specific like inviting them to your home for dinner.  Watch the kids. Mow the lawn. Offer to take out the trash or bring in the groceries.  Or send them a gift card for dinner so they don't have to cook, clean up, or wash dishes.

Because up until now?  If you've offered your number for me to call if I need anything?  I haven't called - unless I absolutely had to.

This is something I need to work on during this deployment and generally improve on in my life.

Because by asking someone for help - it gives someone a chance to be a blessing to others!

19 March 2011

Game Day

Our youngest son had his first baseball game this afternoon. It was a blustery day, yet that didn't deter his enthusiasm. He was the head cheer-leader in the duggout- cheering each players turn at the bat. It was nice to hear them yell for each of their teammates. He was able to hit the ball each time at bat and in the last inning he caught a fly after the first bounce and threw it to 1st to make the last out of the game. They don't keep score in the Rookie Division, but our team won by two. :)

Our eldest son had a great lacrosse game, too. He scored one of 7 goals, and nearly got ejected from the game for an out of control swing of his stick- he has a bit of a temper and he was tripped and stepped on and as he came out of the roll he swung his stick with one hand- a very poor sportsman like move, not to mention a one handed swing is illegal in boys lacrosse. But he got himself under control and was able to finish a good game.

Whew! A bit of a crazy afternoon, very windy and colder than expected, but we made it to both games while DH had a nice daddy-daughter date.

17 March 2011

Spring Sports

It's that time of year when sports start to become your sole reason for breathing. We have lacrosse and little league this year. Thank goodness my husband is home to help out. I can't imagine trying to work all the games a practices in if it were only me. I know other families make it work, but I'm thankful he's home now.
Lacrosse and Baseball games on Wed nights and both again on Saturdays. Thank goodness the weather is warming up and we aren't out in the cold for games.

Women in Combat?

I'm not sure where I stand on this issue, but it is an issue whether some want to ignore it and others want to propel it into the mass media arena.

WASHINGTON — Women should finally be allowed to serve fully in combat, a military advisory panel said Friday in a report seeking to dismantle the last major area of discrimination in the armed forces.

Read more http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2011/01/ap-women-in-combat-011411/

As a woman I agree that things should be equal, but as a spouse do I want my husband put in a situation where a unit is huddled down under fire and he inadvertently rolls over, crawls over, or brushes by another woman and then be accused of sexual harassment or even assault, or do I want to see a woman taken hostage by the enemy and paraded and even tortured as I'm sure will happen? No. I'm at a loss on what side to choose. I agree with points on both sides of the issue. I agree that it is harder to make higher rank advancement if you don't get combat experience, but perhaps that can be resolved with different standards for women. I know several women who do quite well in their military careers and didn't have to see combat. It's a tough issue all around.

04 March 2011

Found a dentist- finally!

It's taken me a while, but I've finally found dentists for me and the kids. We were too lucky in our last place (where we lived for 6 years). My Mom manages a dental office for 2 dentists who were absolutely wonderful with the kids! We'd been seeing Dr. Sal for nearly 12 years. Every time we're visiting Mom we get a cleaning and because of her family discount we didn't have to pay anything. Not anymore.. we're out in the real world now. :)

03 March 2011

Touches of Upscale at the Commissary

I think this will be my next Amazon purchase. I love reading stories of other military spouses and their adventures.  I get a sense of belonging that takes time and is often hard to achieve after a new PSC. 

Here's an excerpt from Marna Krajeski’s book Household Baggage Handlers.

From HouseHoldBaggage.com
In my 1996 book Household Baggage: The Moving Life of a Military Wife, I conceded that while the commissary was convenient, utilitarian, and low cost, it lacked the amenities of those upscale markets I loved to visit (not for shopping but just to walk the aisles). Nice touches like vats of bubbling soup, cappuccino bars, and white-aproned help offering free samples of chocolate mousse.
At commissary prices, I’ll probably never see such perks, but lately I’ve noticed encouraging trends in the commissary. Buried amid the Pop-tarts and iceberg lettuce, I’ve discovered stuffed grape leaves, gnocci, Swiss cheese fondue, sun dried tomato pesto, and rotisserie chicken. You just have to pay attention. Even my favorite English breakfast tea, Ty-phoo, previously only available from my flight attendant friend after a London run, now graces the shelf in the imported food section.
At the nearby Navy commissary, we now have a fresh sushi bar and a selection of live lobsters in the seafood department. I’ve seen duck and bison meat in frozen foods. Even the organically grown produce offerings are expanding.
What’s more, the Exchange carries personal care products I’ve only seen in health food stores–brands like Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face, and Avalon Organics.
This means that customers have been asking for these goods, and commissary and exchange management have responded. Keep it up everyone!

28 February 2011

Grateful Thanks

I was buying shoes the other day for that formal I told you about.  And the lady at the register was asking about updating my reward card and asked what brought me to this area.  I told her my husband was in the AirForce and working up on the base.  She was very pleasant and told me to tell me husband thank you for his service, and then she looked me in the eye and said, "And thank you, for the sacrifice you make while your husband serves."  That really impressed me.  The area we now live in is a very patriotic place and they truly love and wholeheartedly support the troops wherever they serve.

25 February 2011

Being an OSI Wife

Being a Military Spouse is one thing- a demanding job of itself.  But being an OSI Wife is an even more arduous job.  I've always thought they should give out Hazardous Duty Pay to OSI Wives. Why?  Here are just a few of the perils of be an OSI Wife.

  • You never know what your husband does each day. Asking about his day will never get you an real answer.  I've learned over the years that an OSI wife's best qualification is to be a listener.  Don't ask any questions, just listen when he needs to vent and be ok with that.
  • You have to learn to live with late night calls that require him to get up and leave without explanation, calls in the middle of date night or family dinner, and watching him spend more time on his Blackberry than with the kids. 
  • He may not always be home at the end of the work day.  There are days when he won't be home 'til 10pm.  And then up again at 6am the next morning.
  • You won't make very many friends with the other military spouses and definitely not with the military members themselves.  Once they find out your husband is OSI forget being invited to the block BBQ.
  • You'll come across those other wives who want the inside on whatever is happening on base or in the community. They will try every way to get you to "spill the beans".  Then there are the wives that want to pass on info on someone else. No matter how many times you urge them to go to the OSI office and fill out a report (or whatever it is you do when you want to leak info on someone else).   
Over the years I've coined a title for myself that I share with other OSI wives.  I'm just a "Dumb OSI Wife".  Maybe I should make T-shirts and share them with the other OSI Wives I know.  I don't know anything, and I don't want to know, so don't ask me.

24 February 2011

Inspired and Uplifted

My husband and I attended an Air Force Awards Banquet last night.  It was nice to get out among other military couples.  We don't often get the chance to attend events like this- husband's command doesn't fall under a numbered AirForce so get-togethers are a rarity.  If we have them they are at the detachment level and usually a BBQ.
Last night's event was a Black Tie/Mess Dress event.  There's something to be said about seeing your husband in military mess dress with all the medals he earned, a bow tie and cummerbund.
The guest speaker was the former Chief of the Air Force. He was both inspiring and encouraging.  the night reminded me of the several dinners we attended while my husband was on the Joint Staff.  The caliber of men that the leaders of our Armed Forces are extraordinary.  They are great men who inspire the men under them to be equally as great.  They are extremely patriotic- with a love of country reminiscent of the great leaders of the Revolution.  They are intelligent- men of great understanding and learning.  They are generous with their praise- encouraging those in harms way or preparing for deployments. They are altruistic- I think of Wounded Warrior projects founders.
I came away with a greater sense of pride in my husband's association in the Air Force.  With a better determination to make a difference- to better help the spouses in my husband's command.

19 February 2011

Spouses Get Together

We had a nice get together with the other spouses in my husbands unit. We could have had more but it was still a success. A friend of mine from church wanted to do some service and gave each of us a great pedicure. The superintendents wife brought some fabulous desserts. We had a good time getting to know one another and sharing stories from our military lives.
There was a newbie wife and a prior-military-now-wife and two long time military wives.
It's always nice to talk with other spouses about the struggles we each face- a lot of them the same for each of us. It was a very therapeutic night for all. I think we'll bending it again soon. Perhaps a coupon party. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

13 February 2011


As a military family, constantly moving from place to place, it's important to create some family traditions that you can keep going no matter where you live.  Each year for Valentine's Day, (and much to the chagrin of my husband who every year complains that this is a made up holiday, isn't real, Hallmark made it up to make $$), I make valentine's day fun for the kids.  Sometimes I try to surprise them.  Occasionally I've gone to the school and hidden something in their lockers or desks, or hidden small treats in their lunch boxes.  This year I'm making valentine garland to hang from their doorways, so that when they wake up and open their doors they'll see a curtain of hearts- pink and purple and red for my daughter of course, but light blue, green and true blue for the boys.  Most years I get a small stuffed animal for the kids, and this year I found some nice ones- each one different from the other- to hang from their doors as well. 
Traditions, no matter how silly or serious, can make memories that will last forever no matter where you lived.

07 February 2011

Where to Go from Here

We're at that point in the assignment when you have to fill out and submit your "dream sheet" for your follow on, a whole year from now.  Where do we go from here?  Looking at assignments that are opening up, will schools be a deciding factor, does my husband look at a deployment to keep us here for another year so that the follow on will allow our son to finish his last 2 years in high school in the same school, and the questions go on and on.  And the assignments become more and more limited as we advance in rank. 

It's a bummer- not being given enough time to really enjoy yourself in the new assignment. We just got here!  I want to enjoy it before I start thinking about the next PCS.

04 February 2011

Defending War

I write this with great caution, but it's something I've been thinking about.  I was sitting in a religion class the other day and the instructor brought up the subject of war and shared some quotes that were a little negative saying war was of the devil.  I was very uncomfortable sitting there.  Understand where I come from- I grew up as an Army brat until my junior year of high school, and now I'm an AF Wife.  My parents are very patriotic and always taught us what a great blessing we had of freedom.  My parents understood and shared with their children their love of country and that there were times where war was necessary- in defense of country, family, freedom, religion. 
I remembered a quote from a church leader shortly after the war on terror began.  He said,
"there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression.
"When all is said and done, we of this Church [the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] are people of peace.  We are followers of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ ... This places us in the position of those who long for peace, who teach peace, who work for peace, but who also are citizens of nations and are subject to the laws of our government.  Furthermore, we are a freedom-loving people, committed to the defense of liberty wherever it is in jeopardy...
"Now, there is much that we can and must do in these perilous times. We can give our opinions on the merits of the situation as we see it, but never let us become a party to words or works of evil concerning our brothers and sisters in various nations on one side or the other.  Political differences never justify hatred or ill will. "

03 February 2011

Superhuman military wife

‘Superhuman’ military wife encounters her kryptonite

- Special to The Telegraph

You always hear about how much the military member changes during a deployment, and you will get no argument from me on that note. I have seen Justin change in different ways after each deployment. But I never heard that much about how a deployment can change those left behind.
Don’t get me wrong, we talk about how hard it is to adjust back into a family routine, but that isn’t exactly what I mean. I can honestly say I never noticed much of a change in me during other deployments. Then again, I could have just been in denial or so excited he was home that I was too busy enjoying the moment to realize I wasn’t the same person he left behind.
But this time I see and feel myself changing as if I am watching through the looking glass. I can see my fuse shorten with the boys, I can see the version of me that preferred sitting in the floor playing silly games with the boys over cleaning any day disappearing and I can see my love for the Air Force way of life fading away.
Up until recently, I would have never thought twice about the possibility of Justin ending his Air Force career before he had completed the 20 years necessary to retire. I was always the one encouraging him that we could handle all the separations, because in the long run it would be what was best for our family. However, with the possibility of Justin leaving again about six months after he returns from this deployment, my commitment to the Air Force life has started to wane.
It doesn’t help the matter that many people somehow think military wives should be “superhuman” when it comes to dealing with the military lifestyle. The “you married it and you knew what to expect” attitude some people direct toward military families is really getting under my skin lately. But can you really know what to expect? Can you know how being separated for months at a time will affect you, your spouse and your children? I don’t think anyone can truly know the affect of the lifestyle until you’ve lived it. And with each new leg of your Air Force journey comes new challenges -- meaning even when you think you’ve got the hang of it, there will be something around the corner to ensure you don’t.
It still bothers me that people somehow think it is fine for a non-military spouse to complain when their spouse is gone for a week on business, but if a military spouse complains about a seven-month deployment, they face the “it could be worse” response. This comment would be fine coming from another military spouse who just endured a one-year separation, but not from your everyday, never-been-there acquaintance. Don’t get me wrong, remembering it could always be worse is an important part of staying positive. But I don’t need everyone reminding me. I know. And I know several spouses who have it worse who act as a much more vivid reminder.
I spent much of my time as an Air Force wife apologizing -- for not wanting to be separated, for hating that my husband has to miss so many precious memories and for not being 100 percent excited about every day I spend as a military spouse, because that is what many people expected of me. I would even get aggravated with the spouses who had the nerve to complain out loud about the numerous deployments, the never-ending extra duty assignments and anything else that bugged them about being married to the military. And to all of those spouses, I now humbly apologize. I have finally been converted.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready to eject from the life we have chosen, but I am ready to admit it is hard to always keep a smile on your face. No matter how long or short the separation is the trails can be exhausting no matter how “super-powered” you are supposed to be.
Amanda Creel, who was a staff writer at the Robins Rev-Up newspaper on Robins Air Force Base, is married to Staff Sgt. Justin Creel, stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Contact her at acreel@macon.com.

Military Clause

It's always nice to know that companies are willing to work with military families. I just took advantage of the new AT&T special ($49 for new iPhone 3GS) and moved from an individual plan to a family plan with my husband. There's a possible deployment in a year or two and I didn't want to be stuck with a $300 cancellation fee in case my husband had to go overseas. 

One of the many things a military spouse has to think about sometimes on a daily basis- military clauses. It's not enough that we live with the fear of a call at any time to deploy but our daily lives revolve around them. Making sure each new contact has a military clause whether it's the new lease of the home, a utility, Internet or cable, or new cell phone agreement. And not everyone has such clause already built into their contracts, and you have to make a big fuss to get one.

02 February 2011

Fitting In

I think I'm entering a new phase of motherhood.  With each move I worried and hoped the kids would be able to make friends quickly and find new activities and fun things to do.  The kids are doing great here.  We've had friends over and tried some activities- some worked, some didn't, but they've adjusted well and are thriving.  Now it's my turn.  I've been missing the friends I have back east and wondering if I'll find friends as great and close.  On the other hand I'm enjoying the friendship my husband and I have again, after 15 month deployment.  Is that enough?  Do women really need other women in their life or does that make things difficult with a returning husband? 

All that considered, I'm really happy just being with hubby for a while.

31 January 2011

Being a Mother

Some people don't understand what it is to be a mother. Just because my pre teen daughter has an appointment with a male Dr doesn't mean I'm going to sit outside the room with the door closed. Sorry! I'm the mom and what I say goes.

I'm venting while sitting here in the room with my daughter because the receptionist through a fit. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Military Family

With each new assignment your military family grows. Wherever you go you always have those connections with you. An agent who worked previously for my husband connected with him recently and we learned that his daughter is very ill. This agent knew he could contact my husband for anything even if it's only moral support and to know that we will pray for his daughter.

We'll be hosting an OSI wives night of relaxation next month. There are 6 agents who work for my husband that are getting ready to deploy and we want to make sure their wives know that we're here for them whatever they need. We're fairly new here- about 4 months into this assignment. We want them to know that if something comes up. They can call us whenever- even if they simply need a babysitter while they get away to the commissary without the small kids climbing/running all over. We'll have manicures and pedicures compliments of a friend from church. The superintendent's wife (equivalent to a unit's First Sergent) will take care of the fun foods. I'm looking into a lead of someone who does facials.

We've been fortunate to have a great military family wherever we go. While overseas, our firstborn was born 7 weeks early. We had constant visitors and people looking out for us. We had a great boss who told my husband to take whatever time he needed to make sure his family was healthy. The hospital was about 30 minutes from our home and our preemie was in the hospital 10 days after I was released. Not once did he make my husband take leave. There were allowances for late mornings since we had to make sure our preemie was fed every 2 hours, even in the middle of the night. One of the other agent's wife took our dog out for walks when I couldn't take our baby outside (winter time) and couldn't leave him inside alone.

Even when we're far away from our own families, it's been a great comfort to know that we have an OSI family, and an even larger military family, wherever we go. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

30 January 2011

A Military Wife

A military wife is mostly girl. But there are times, such as when her husband is away and she is mowing the lawn or fixing a youngster's bike, that she begins to suspect she is also boy. 
She usually comes in three sizes: petite, plump and pregnant. During the early years of her marriage it is often hard to determine which size is her normal one. 
She has babies all over the world and measures time in terms of places as other women do in years. "It was in England that the children had the chicken pox...In was in Texas, Paul was promoted..."  At least one of her babies was born or a transfer was accomplished while she was alone. This causes her to suspect a secret pact between her husband and the military providing for a man to be overseas or on temporary duty at times such as these.
A military wife is international. She may be a Kansas farm girl, a French mademoiselle, a Japanese doll, or a German fraulein. When discussing service problems, they all speak the same language.
She can be a great actress. To heartbroken children at transfer time, she gives an Academy Award performance: "New Mexico is going to be such fun! I hear they have Indian reservations...and tarantulas...and rattlesnakes." But her heart is breaking with theirs. She wonders if this is worth the sacrifice. 
An ideal military wife has the patience of an angel, the flexibility of putty, the wisdom of a scholar and the stamina of a horse. If she dislikes money, it helps. She is sentimental, carrying her memories with her in an old footlocker. 
One might say she is a bigamist, sharing her husband with a demanding entity called "duty." When duty calls, she becomes No. 2 wife. Until she accepts this fact, her life can be miserable. 
She is above all a woman who married a man who offered her the permanency of a gypsy, the miseries of loneliness, the frustration of conformity and the security of love. Sitting among her packing boxes with squabbling children nearby, she is sometimes willing to chuck it all in until she hears the firm step and cheerful voice of the lug who gave her all this. Then she is happy to be...his military wife.