Friday, May 22, 2015

The 2:30 AM Phone Call {Do You Know What SCAD Is?}

Its not something that you ever want to experience, and its been years since I remember purposefully keeping my phone on and up load through the night. Its something that I did because I wanted to be the person that people could call in the middle of the night if they ever needed anything. And, I was. With my husband gone frequently I wanted to always be available to him. Who knew when he'd be able to call. Inevitably it would ring again, and last week it did. I flung myself out of bed and checked the caller id. It was one of my girlfriends, so my first thought was something had happened to her husband. But, when I answered it wasn't her....it was her husband. My friend had suffered a heart attack, mere weeks after having a baby.

 I totally agree. I could say that about my friendship with my cousins.


After those words came out of his mouth I could feel myself shifting into "milspouse survival mode". Its something I'm familiar with, that feeling. Its like an out of body of experience and you start moving about checking off things from an invisible check-list that floats around in your brain. There was no time to processing anything other than getting through. The baby was coming here and I had to take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand. I called one of our other close friends, because I knew her phone would also be on. She was also in survival mode and we made a plan. The next day my two other close friends, and their husbands also swooped in - brought me coffee (because of all the days to only have decaf in your house!!) and breakfast for all my kids and their own kids, and then proceeded to spend the day with me until my husband could get home. It was exactly what I needed, but didn't fully realize.

During events like these you realize the amazingness of humanity, but also realize the crappy side. The crappy side isn't what is important but its worth mentioning. People are human and it it what it is, but its not what we should hold onto. Its the people that care for each other that matters most. I don't know how one would go through life without their faith. Despite everything there was this sense of peace that had enveloped me and going through experiences like this without it may very well be the worst thing ever. I was in this mode of silent prayer and thought all day, as I was trying to fumble through the day, keeping it together. Going over verses in my head that have always given me comfort. Jeremiah 29:11-14 is my life motto. Its what I break out in times of good and bad. It was our wedding verse and just always seems to apply no matter what the situation is. Boy, was it in my head over the weekend.

The point though of this post isn't really to talk about what happened, but to educate. If I have even the slightest opportunity to share something that could save someone else I will do it. One of the amazing blessings about this blog is having the platform to talk about things that matter to me. Even if it only reaches one person, that is one more person that knows about whatever it is that I'm sharing. What I want to share with you is this short video about SCAD from the Mayo Clinic. SCAD, stands for Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. This is something that occurs mostly in woman, typically with no other health issues at all, with 20% of cases happening to woman who have recently given birth. Please take the time to watch this video, read about SCAD in the link above and share this with at least one other person. It is incredibly important that we use what experiences we have in life to do good and this is what I'm doing. I'm doing this for my friend, who I could have lost. I'm doing this for myself and for anything that I might come in contact with during my life. Take a moment and do the same.



Have you ever experienced, or know someone who has experienced SCAD?
Share your stories! 




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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

4 Ways of Taking Care of You ~ MilSpouse, Mom and Woman #FindNewRoads

Along the road of becoming a milspouse, having children and navigating our somewhat unique and different military life there have been times where I have lost my way. Its easy to do no matter who you are or where you're going. I not alone either but it wasn't until I started talking about my own "lost moments" did I realize it. It was then I realized that talking about it with my friends, family, fellow milspouses was something that was important to me.



After having my first children, almost nine years ago {whoa!} I suffered from some pretty gnarly post-partum depression. So bad that I didn't even realize it was happening, which isn't an uncommon story. You get caught up in living your life to the best of your ability, living in survival mode, that you can't think straight. Since that time I have been to therapy {thank you military one source - free counseling and completely secure}, been through two rounds of medication and have been better for it. So how did I do it, and what is my road map for the future?

1) Stay Vigilant ~ As much as you are able, be aware of yourself. Take stock of your emotions and feelings. I was able to do this the second time around, when I began to notice myself not responding to text messages and not picking up the phone for people. After we moved and Mr. Air Force's schedule proved to be way busier than either of us had expected, it was extremely difficult. We were farther away then we had ever been from family and despite my extrovert personality it proved to be too much.





2) Be Honest ~ This is for you and for others. who are the people in your life that you trust? Identify them and talk to them.  These are the people that tell you, "hey man, I think you're depressed," or "Something is up, you're not acting like you're normal self." They need to be able to say it to you openly and honestly, and more than once; probably fifty times to be more specific. You aren't off the hook here, you have to honest with yourself too. Sometimes you can't do it all, and without getting to politically incorrect, or correct {i can never tell which}, we can't do everything and we can't do it all! This is particularly true if we are by ourselves. Recognize that about yourself. For me, it meant saying no to things when I knew I would be the most stressed or alone. This was huge for me, but I finally learned how to do it.

3) Find Your Thing ~ This has been something that has been particularly important for me. Mine has been this blog, writing and advocacy. It also happens to include super fun and frivolous things like buying way too much yarn and crocheting all night, inviting girlfriends over to watch Pretty In Pink and Top Gun, and binge watching Gilmore Girls for the fifty-millionith time. For some of  my fellow milspouses its a career. They make it happen for them in whatever way they can, be it daycare, work from home, telecommute, whatever! Make it a priority, no matter what. If you're like me and can't fathom the idea of paying for childcare, its not in the budget, or have a husband whose career is just not conducive to outside work regularly, find other moms to trade with, create a co-op of sorts. Trust me, you won't regret it!

4) Support and Education ~ This seems self-explanatory, but is important enough for its own number! One of the things we do when we first move somewhere is find a church. Now this may not be for you, but for those that do attend church I can't stress how important it is to get plugged in ASAP! We typically don't have a standard unit or squadron, with a welcome wagon and spouses of my husband's co-workers waiting to be my ready-made friends. Sometimes it sucks!  Finding a church usually leads to finding a bible study, a mom's group and fellowship. Its a life saver every time! Volunteering outside of the home for a military group or in your child's school is another good way to get this done. The educate part comes by reading up on what is out there. Groups like Military Spouses of Strength really focus on support and education of depression. Military Spouse Advocacy Network is working on growing a significant network of local spouse advocates who empower and strengthen through in person connections, as well as webinars and online support. Up top I have compiled an almost ridiculous grouping of support and resource links! You can also contact me at any time and I can point you in the right direction, answers questions, give support or advice!

However you get down the road in life, make sure you do with support, friends, your spouse, family (whether biological or not) and education! You are never alone in this crazy world and it will making navigating those new roads all that much easier. 

Companies like Chevy also want to make navigating those crazy military life roads even better for you! That's why I'm proud to partner with them for this Military Support Month in their #ChevySalutes campaign, which includes their amazing military discount program. Chevy also allows to add that onto other amazing military discount programs, like that of USAA. And remember how I talked about finding what you love? Maybe that includes work? GM has partnered with Hiring Our Heroes (which is an organization I love!), working on initiatives that will enable a smooth transition for returning veterans. Currently GM employes nearly 5,000 veterans and close to 45,000 retirees. How amazing is that? You can find GM attending some of the hiring fairs, put on my HOH, which are some of the best veteran/military spouse hiring fairs I've ever attended.

Make sure to stop by the Twitter party coming up!!



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.



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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Three Ways to Help Your Kids Merge Seamlessly #FindNewRoads

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

We've been a military family for almost thirteen years now, and it’s definitely been a journey. There was even a brief moment where I had just had a baby, was in the middle of nowhere, while Mr. Air Force was gone eighteen hours a days for days on end. As a new military spouse, with not a lot of coping skills on my back burner this was a pretty low time in my life. Quickly though I gained some amazing skills - reintegration, transition, solo-parenting...I got mad skillzzz! Then the kids started growing up. They were in need of some skills of their own, and it was up to me to provide those for them.



So how do you help your kids navigate the roads of military life?

1) Plug them in ~ This one has proven to be the most valuable during most of our transitions. Getting them out and involved in their community gets them feeling normal. While there is a certain amount of "circling the wagons" that occurs during any time of upheaval, getting back to a "normal" of sorts has been successful for you. We find a church, get the kids involved in an outside activity and become involved in all of those things ourselves. It’s like an extra fast root grower!

2) Be open and honest ~ Life sometimes throws you a few curve balls, whether you are military or not. Talking about what is happening and being honest with your kids lets them feel involved and heard. In our home we have lots of pictures of our friends from our previous locations, and with technology being as amazing as it is, we can communicate so well with our friends and family that really meant a lot to us. We talk about the times we had, and saying that they miss "so and so" isn't an uncommon occurrence. So we stop and talk about it, pick up the phone and call that person...or maybe even pick up a pen and paper to write a good old fashioned letter.

3) Take care of you! ~ I can't even begin to tell you how important this last one is. Even though it doesn't technically have to do with the kids I know that when I'm not taking care of myself things don't exactly go well around the house. My stress and anxiety isn't exactly something I can hide very well and I'm guessing neither can most people. Taking my own advice, and applying it to me, goes a long way to making it happen for them.



It can be a struggle to remember that it isn't just about me. I've got three little humans relying on me for all the physical stuff as well as all the emotional stuff. Navigating the roads of military life is always an exciting one. You never know what might come your way, but as clich├ęd as it sounds your family is what gets you through. The community around you is also an extremely important part of navigating those new roads. It's beautiful partnerships like the one I'm honored to be a part of, that makes us feel appreciated.

#Chevy Salutes

How is Chevy helping military families find new roads? Well, during the month of May Chevy is offering incredible discounts to service members, including the National Guard and Reserve (which is extremely important to our family). Their discounts are below MSRP, and the Military Discount Program can even be combined with other amazing discounts, like the one for USAA members. You really can't beat that if you are in the market for a new vehicle. Their Military Discount Program is one of the top programs out there among car companies, which is why it is so important to them during this month to share that with us.

Military families are constantly finding new roads that lead them to their new homes, new friends and new adventures! Do you have a story of finding a new road? Hop on over to Instagram and share that with us to win amazing prizes.







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Monday, May 4, 2015

Five Ways to Combat Identity Theft as a Military Family

 This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I hope you like these awesome tips and take them to heart. Identity theft and fraud are a huge deal, especially in our military community. Tips gathered through my own research and experience, as well as an amazing partnership with Lifelock Military.

 

It is no secret that Identity Theft is a real concern these days. We've had numerous attempts to clear out substantial amounts of money from our bank accounts; and as a young military couple with dreams of hopefully become homeowners eventually, the thought of our credit being damaged in seriously frightening. According to the 2011 FTC Report there were over 17,000 military consumer complaints, and 27% of those were related to identity theft. That is an astounding number that I can't imagine has gone down significantly in the years since that last full report. So what can you do to protect yourself?


1. Research the type of protection your bank offers - If you're lucky like we are, you belong to a bank that really takes care of protection your bank account and any credit cards you have through them. Be intentional about this and don't be afraid to ask questions. It's your money and it deserves to be protected.

2. Monitor your Credit Score - Once a year you can pull up your credit score. Do it. You can request it from each of the three major companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Keep a couple years history of this in your files. Its not a full proof way to protect yourself, but keeping track of your numbers through the years is important. 

3. Get Educated - The FTC has some amazing information about identity theft, warning signs, tips and tricks and just information. Information is power!

4. Try Lifelock - Lifelock is one of the premier identity theft protection companies! Think of them as an extra layer of protection between you and the bad guy. They have three different levels of protection to pick from, all of which include things like lost wallet protection, live member customer service and a $1million total service protection. Lifelock is offering military members one month free, a free gift and reduced monthly fees! Visit this link for all the information, plus your discount code.  

5. Request an Active Duty Alert during deployment - Did you know that you can put an "Active Duty Alert" on your credit file. This is important because it requires creditors to verify your identity before they open an account in your name. These "alerts" are valid for a year. 'Active Duty Alerts' are easily activated by calling one of the three companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

Don't be caught without protection of some kind. This type of theft will probably only get worse, and grow bigger and time goes on. Having gone through attempts on my bank account, it can be really crazy. And who among us hasn't lost a wallet or an ATM card, and then proceeded to have a mini-freakout!

Have you had any experience with identity theft? What did you do?
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Five Tips for Boot Camp ~ For a MilSpouse


While the title specifies MilSpouse, these tips really apply to anyone with a 
service member at boot camp.

~ a little peak at my old school Creative Memories album ~


 It's been years since my man was there but after getting some good feedback to some tips I gave to someone I thought I would share what I learned. At the time I didn't know anyone else that had gone through this so I made it up as I went along. What I learned from experience was really by luck, but I would have loved to have someone tell me what I was doing was the right thing, or at least someone to talk to about it.

check out those boot camp glasses!

1. Keep Expectations Low - Everyone's boot camp experience is different; so it can be hard to predict exactly what to expect. In my twelve years as a military girlfriend, fiance and wife I have heard many different stories. I heard from my Airmen twice on the phone during boot camp, but we exchanged many a letter. This experience can vary with branch or just whoever their drill instructor is. Maybe there's a stupid person in their flight (Air Force term) who is causing all of them to get phone rights cut. It happens. It is just the way it is. Keeping expectations low is really important for your sanity. If your experience is less or more than I just stated then you will keep your fragile emotions better in check.

2. Your service member might go through a temporary personality change - No joke! This was probably the strangest experience. My then boyfriend/fiancee' was a confident, sure of himself dude. He wasn't cocky or anything, but he could handle his own. On our first phone call I heard him be emotional for the first time really ever in our relationship. When we arrived for his graduation I encountered a somewhat timid, nervous kind of dude. While always a rule follower in general, he was nervous about where we were driving to, what we were doing and how much PDA we had. By the end of our graduation weekend he was much better, but it was still a really interesting experience.

3. Cool it with the mail - This was also something I kind of learned on my own, but also tips from my man before he left. Not everyone has a super research hubby, so just in case you don't this is important! Keep it simple is a good motto. I wrote a couple paragraphs everyday and sent him them all in one letter a week. Nothing to bulky and everything very plain. Nothing that could garner negative attention. Plain white envelopes and nothing smelly. There were plenty of stories from Mr. Air Force from guys who were embarrassed by their TI's over mail, singled out to do a million push-ups to get it, or teased for things that were frilly. And don't send anything but letters. I did however send him one picture at the end, but never assume that they are the only one who will see everything.  Good rules to live by!

4. Keep the pressure low and follow the rules yourself (for attending graduation) - This will make your life easier, as well as his. There are rules for where they can go, what they can do and those apply to you as well. NO PDA!! Quick hug when you finally see them and that is it! Use the time in the car to hold hands, steal a quick kiss in the elevator when you can take them off base.  This is really connected with 'Tip #2", but warrants its own number. Now sometimes you can do arm linking, but respect the nervousness of your service member.

5. Take in the experience!!! Go to Boot Camp graduation! It is an experience unlike any other. Tech School (or MOS) graduation is fine, but the Boot Camp graduation is just really neat. Go to all the informational meetings, even if you don't think you have to. Listen to what those in charge are saying, even if you think its lame. Attend all the events, experience the local culture of where you are (I love love love San Antonio). Go to Chapel on base. This was probably one of the greatest experiences because this is the one place that a lot of the Airmen could be relaxed. They had their tops off, they were sitting relaxed, they were vocal. It is sort of like a safe haven on base and it was really special.

I hope this list is a good start for anyone currently experiencing or getting ready to experience this.
If you have already been through this, what has been your experience?
Do you have tips you would add? I want to hear them!
If you have questions please email me any time. I'm happy to help with anything.
cammostylelove {at} yahoo {dot} com
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Disney's Cinderella ~ What Did I think and is it for Little Girls?

My sweet princess and I had the wonderful opportunity to preview Cinderella before it came out. You can now see it in theaters everywhere and I definitely would recommend it hands down! Whenever live action movies come out, especially ones where they are recreating an animation classic, I pause. Will they do it justice and will it be appropriate for my daughter? We've been watching live action movies for a little while now - we go for the classics and so far haven't been disappointed, but new is different.



First off Disney did a fabulous job casting. I was a little bit concerned at first, but whoa..blow me out of the water! Disney captured the sweet without being too much you know. I was most impressed by Cate Blanchett. Her ability to be so beautiful while being so horrid and ugly was amazing. Disney has this way of making these ugly/beautiful evil queens, witches and bad guys. It messed with your brain because its not what you expected from Cate as an actor. Simply marvelous! The step-sisters were also cast well and I thought they were perfectly silly!

The one part that kinda did fit was the Fairy Godmother. She was kind of a dingbat and it did not fit with the rest of movie or the image I had of the Fairy Godmother in my mind. I'm not sure why Disney chose to go that way, but it didn't ruin the movie experience or anything.



Fair warning - the movie is sad. They did cover over it like the animated versions do. Its out there and up front and people mourn. Its sad! I was really worried about how this might impact Ladybug but she didn't really care. I'm going to take that as a parenting win! Maybe that meas she's well-adjusted with a good understanding of life. Or maybe she's only six and who really cares. But, can I just take the win anyway?

5 out of 5 Stars
This will become a part of the household DVD Library!

We received this opportunity from Blue Star Families, whom I volunteer with in the DC Metro area. If you are a military family or a military supporter, or connected in any way, please look into volunteering with Blue Star Families. They are all over the United States and abroad! check it out here.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How Irish are You? Noble, The Movie #SheIsNoble

The quiz and giveaway are made possible by the new film, NOBLE, about Christina Noble, an Irishwoman who's saved over 700,000 orphans in Vietnam. Deirdre O'Kane and Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates on Downtown Abbey) star in the award-winning film.

 

After seeing the trailer for this movie, man, its going to be a tear-jerker. I want to read the book too. What an incredible story. I think its wonderful that it is being shared as a movie....and seriously, Mr. Bates? Sign me up!! Has anyone else heard of this or read the book yet? I want to hear all about it if you have.

 Visit the Movie Website to learn more about the #SHEISNOBLE campaign

While we are waiting for the movie to come out I have a few things to keep us all preoccupied.
First - Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Take this fun quiz to see how Irish you are! http://thenoblemovie.com/how-irish-are-you/

I know I have some Irish in me. I began research on it and have it partially completed. Once the kids are a little older I hope to dive back into that!


And Secondly, I have an amazing cool prize pack for you to win. The Noble Movie prize pack features some awesome items signed by Brenden Coyle (Mr. Bates) himself, and a World of Downton Abbey hardback book. Good luck!


**I received a prize pack in exchange for participating in this campaign. I was not compensated in any other way. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
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