Cammo Style Love: May 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Deployment Dare: Patience is a Virtue

Separations and deployments are difficult, and for those of us that frequently endure such things it becomes difficult to figure out how to deal with each one.  Life is forever changing, and my kids are always growing and entering new stages of life.  This, alone, has been the one factor that has most affected how I deal with the separations that come my way.  It is no longer about me and my emotions. I can't simply waste the time simply reading and watching movies, going out with girlfriends or shopping.  No, life has to for the most part continue on as normal.  We must rise early in the morning, get ready for school, clean the house, cook, do laundry and change diapers.  We must move forward and no time can really be spent wallowing away.

So, we must we must.....I've read the Love Dare before but apparently there is a military/deployment version.  It's a 40 Day dare and I'm excited to talk about each day with you all, sharing stories from my twelve years as a military s/o and 15 years with the man I now call hubby, or Mr. Air Force.

Day 1: Patience

This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of a separation.  Patience is a virtue, but whoa is it perhaps the most difficult one.  There are so many emotions that occur during those first days, and patience isn't the thing at the top of my list. When dealing with my emotions it is often my most deep and darkest one that I don't display: Sadness.  I miss him terribly when he's gone. Those ridiculous bumper stickers that talk about how half your heart is gone.  It's true. Half my heart is gone, therefore mimicking a broken one.  Have you ever stopped to think about that?  It's true isn't it.  In its most basic, and broken down explanation, a missing piece of a heart is basically a broken one.  So let those real feelings come out, in a positive way.  Talk about how much you love your missing half, tell them you love them.  Don't let those feelings of sadness come out in anger, which I know so often does with me.  Truth be told I have been all set to have an "honest" conversation about something, but I fooled myself into thinking because it was an honest conversation that I was somehow doing something right.  Maybe being honest about this thing would be a good idea in theory, but, in the midst of a separation stop and think, is it really the best thing to do?  Is it perhaps an attempt to hurt them as they have hurt you, by leaving?

Check out Day 1 of the 40 Day Deployment Dare

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rhe's Bookshelf - A Military Monday Book Review

   


Today's #MilitaryMonday post is also a Rhe's Bookshelf post.  I am thrilled to be reviewing On Which We Serve, Part 1 - Where Life-Lessons Are Learned, by Edward Atkins.  Edward Atkins grew up in New Jersey and went on to serve in the United States Navy in WWII.  He continued his connection with the military throughout most of his life.  This book is part of a trilogy of books about life on an Aircraft Carrier, as well as life in the MIlitary, during WWII.

Summary: The title, "On Which We Serve" is an anthology of values and virtues as derived from the activities taking place on the flight deck of a WWII fleet aircraft carrier as experienced by the author. This book consists of 355 full-page National Archive photographs, each of which has a half-page caption that seamlessly segues into a half-page discussion of life-lessons learned on that flight deck based on First Principles. These topics are such as responsibility, accountability, respect for others and self, earned self-esteem (those who have such will "never" do anything antisocial), empathy, trustworthiness, and similar values and virtues. The title also embraces the Navy motto: Honor (to see one's duty), Commitment (to do one's duty) and Courage (to fulfill one's duty). This book is truly unique in that it is one of a kind for all time (first person) as well as being timeless.

What I Thought: As a military spouse and the granddaughter of both a Korean War Veteran and a WWII Veteran, books like this can be extremely thought provoking and emotional for me.  They have the ability to transport me through time and try to imagine what it must have been like for those that served during this time.  Things were so different back then, and to get an inside peak at what that must have been like from someone who was there is a priceless piece of history.  These are truly life-lessons for all of us, and they should be passed on to our children and grandchildren.  The author talks about the carrier at times, comparing himself at time to the carrier.  It is clear he has a deep love, understanding and respect for not only the ship, but what he is doing on it.  That comes through in his words clearly.  At times it seems as though my grandfather is speaking to me - talking about hard work and doing the right thing.  Things it sometimes seems as if our society has lost sight of; stopping to think about something other than themselves.  Aside from being an extremely well documented history piece, it is clearly a deeply personal one.

I would recommend this book to anyone who particularly enjoys this time in our countries history, but servicemembers would do well to read such accounts.  A kindred bond can be felt even decades later.  

This book also contains amazing pictures that coincide with his story, and life on the ship.  It's really the pictures that move me the most in this book.

5 out of 5 stars - I truly love this book.  Between the beautiful, yet deeply realistic picture of life on the ship and the beautiful photographs that further tell the story, it is a book that every household should have.  The greatest generation, as they so fondly have been called, is an intrical part of our countries history, and one which is quickly leaving us.  Holding on to stories and images like this is vital for going forward.  This I believe whole-heartedly.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to town!!

A town near you to be sure!  The Harlem Globetrotters are about to kick off their summer camps for kids. If you are reading this and you're in the DC area you have three chances to sign up for the clinic.  The Globetrotters will be in Falls Church, Annapolis and Vienna in July.    Inspired by their world famous shows, these basically clinics take your children on a wild two-hour ride of fun and basketball!  Designed for ages 6-12, and taught by actual Globetrotters, kids will learn tricks and moves, as well as play games alongside two of the Globetrotters.  What I love about the Globetrotters is that they will also spend time teaching the kids the importance of being a team player on and off the court.




 

Kids will receive an official clinic certificate, personal Globetrotters nickname and a ticket voucher for their 2014 Great American Tour.  The kids will also get a photo/autograph session after their clinic is over.


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Spaces are limited so take this opportunity to register and save with an exclusive USFamilyGuide link! Automatically save $10 OFF Harlem Globetrotters Summer Skills Clinics with promo code USFAMILY via this link

check below and see if they are coming to a town near you!

Arnold, MO
215 Arnold Crossing Arnold , MO 63010
5/28 to 5/31

St. Charles, MO
1095 Regency Parkway St. Charles, MO 63303
6/1 to 6/2

Shawnee, KS
11311 W. Shawnee Mission Pkwy Shawnee, KS 66203
6/5 to 6/8

Lee's Summit, MO
900 NE Deerbrook Street Lee's Summit, MO 64086
6/9 to 6/10

Overland Park, KS
12075 Metcalf Avenue Overland Park, KS 66213
6/12 to 6/15

Lewisville, TX
4866 State Highway 121 Lewisville, TX 75056
6/5 to 6/7

Fort Worth, TX
2701 Halloran Street Fort Worth, TX 76107
6/8 to 6/10

Gilbert, AZ
97 S. Val Vista Dr Gilbert, AZ 85234
6/10 to 6/12

Mesa, AZ
1844 W 8th St Mesa, AZ 85201
6/13 to 6/15

Austin, TX
12400 N IH 35 Austin, TX 78753
6/12 to 6/14

Pflugerville, TX
1401 Town Center Pflugerville, TX 78660
6/15 to 6/16

Clackamas, OR
8720 SE Sunnybrook Blvd Clackamas, OR 97015
6/12 to 6/14

Lake Oswego, OR
17942 SW McEwan Rd Lake Oswego, OR 97224
6/15 to 6/17

Beaverton, OR
11100 SW Murray Scholls Place Beaverton, OR 97007
6/19 to 6/22

San Diego, CA
6348 College Grove Way #109 San Diego, CA 92115
6/17 to 6/20

San Diego, CA
7715 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92111
6/21 to 6/24

Santee, CA
9906 Mission Gorge Road Santee, CA 92071
6/26 to 6/28

Aurora, CO
15900 E Briarwood Cir Aurora, CO 80016
6/17 to 6/19

Broomfield, CO
4650 W. 120th Ave Broomfield, CO 80020
6/20 to 6/22

Katy, TX
1550 S. Mason Rd Katy, TX 77450
6/19 to 6/22

Friendswood, TX
130 W. Parkwood Ave Friendswood, TX 77546
6/23 to 6/27

Houston, TX
8650 Endicott Ln Houston, TX 77096
6/28 to 6/30

Sandy, UT
10365 S 1300 E Sandy, UT 84094
6/25 to 6/27

Salt Lake City, UT
1121 E. Ashton Avenue Salt Lake City, UT 84106
6/28 to 6/30

Issaquah, WA
5712 E. Lake Sammanish Parkway Issaquah, WA 98029
6/25 to 6/28

Lynnwood, WA
18930 29th Ave W Lynnwood, WA 98036
6/29 to 7/1

Hollywood, CA
6380 West Sunset Blvd Hollywood, CA 90028
7/5 to 7/8

Carson, CA
945 E. Dominguez St Carson, CA 90746
7/10 to 7/13

Northridge, CA
19350 Nordhoff Street Unit D Northridge, CA 91324
7/15 to 7/18

Arcadia, CA
125 N 1st Ave Arcadia, CA 91006
7/19 to 7/22

San Jose, CA
1610 Crane Court San Jose, CA 95112
7/5 to 7/8

San Mateo, CA
93 Bovet Rd San Mateo, CA 94402
7/10 to 7/15

San Ramon, CA
4450 Norris Canyon Rd San Ramon, CA 94583
7/16 to 7/20

Falls Church, VA
1000 East Broad Street Falls Church, VA 22042
7/5 to 7/9

Annapolis, MD
200 Harker Place Annapolis, MD 21401
7/11 to 7/15

Vienna, VA
1500 Cornerside Blvd Vienna, VA 22182
7/17 to 7/20

Pembroke Pines, FL
8333 Pines Blvd Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
7/9 to 7/12

Miami, FL
8400 Mills Drive Miami, FL 33183
7/13 to 7/14

Sacramento, CA
8785 Center Pkwy Sacramento, CA 95823
7/22 to 7/24

Sacramento, CA
1020 7th St Sacramento, CA 95814
7/25 to 7/27

Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
459 Route 17 Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604
7/22 to 7/24

Paramus, NJ
260 E. Route 4 Paramus, NJ 07652
7/25 to 7/30

Nanuet, NY
5205 Fashion Drive Nanuet, NY 10954
7/31 to 8/3

Orange, CA
2102 N Tustin Ave Orange, CA 92865
7/24 to 7/29

This post is part of my partnership with USFamilyGuide Mom Bloggers.  I received product in exchange for this post

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

DC/NoVA Adventures - Madame Tussauds *sponsored post*

If you've never been to a wax museum they are a pretty cool adventure.  We have visited several, including Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas.  We haven't taken the kids yet, and I'm super excited to experience it with them.  How do you explain, I mean really explain that to a five and seven year old.  Explaining it to Phillip obviously isn't going to happen; and if our experience with the Easter Bunny is any indication it might not go super well.



If you are visiting Washington, DC or call this area your home Madame Tussads is a fun little check mark to make on your way to completing your DC experience.  For those that call the DC Metro area your home did you know that MT's does birthday parties?! Say what?!


You can help your child celebrate their birthday with their favorite celebrities, like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez? How about The Rock or Beyonce. Book their next birthday party at Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C.! With three all-inclusive packages to choose from, we'll help your child celebrate like never before. Whether you're child wants a red carpet affair, the presidential treatment, or the whole ball of wax, we've got the perfect party package just for them!

 

Right now I also have a special little deal for you all!!

KIDS GO FREE - Free Child (Ages 4-12) Ticket to Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C. with purchase of regular same day Adult admission. Present this coupon at the Madame Tussauds box office and receive one free child's admission with every purchase of a regular same day Adult admission up to 6 total admissions. Not valid on online, advance or combo ticket purchase or with any other discounts. Restrictions apply. Promo Code: V373. coupon link

I received free items as compensation for this post.  It is written in partnership with USFamilyGuide.com.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MilSpouse Appreciation Day 2014

I am so excited about this MilSpouse Appreciation Day, and not becuase of anything that has to do with me.  Yes, I'm a MilSpouse, and who doesn't want a day to give yourself a pat on the back; but its also an amazing reason to give back.  If you were around the CSL blog last year and read my post on this date you would know how passionate I am about spouses who are alone.  The truth of the matter was that I spent a good portion of my early military spouse life alone.  My family was close but not close enough to just see in a jiff, we had a small church family and I had three military spouses who I called friend (two of which weren't even in the same branch and both worked full time).  I was grateful for what I had, but it was tough.  When my husband deployed I had no Key Spouse or FRG, no CDC for mom's night out, or anything else along that line.  I survived, our marriage survived and we lived to tell about it.  But it was one of the most difficult times in my life.

 

After moving to the DC area I became acquainted with so many support agencies that do amazing things for spouses and military families.  From Mom's Night Out, Military Spouse Appreciation Dinners, Baby Showers, support groups and much more.  I knew there were plenty of supports out there, but I couldn't even imagine what was available to spouses and families.  The trick was getting all these amazing organizations to know that these spouses were there.  Apparently harder said then done, and something that I'm still working on.  So here I am my second year of telling the story of the National Guard and Reserve spouse.  This year I included the story of remotely stationed active duty spouses, like those that are on Recruiting Duty.  An unusual life that leaves many of them lonely, without family or ties to a thriving military community.  So, I told my story....and so many people wanted to hear it.  I think these people should be recognized, which is really the point of my post today. Which I know is completely late!! These people want or need recognition more than I do, but they are part of the story that needs to be told so that others may hear.



Brittany Williams Jamberry - Brittany is a Milspouse and a fellow Millie Blogger over at Bohemian Transplant
Katie Rutledge Mary Kay - my amazing sister stepped up last year when I had no one, to help me out with the eight little bags I made last year.  If you have never tried or used Mary Kay you should.  My mom, grandmother, me and my sister have been using it for forever and thanks to a little genetics, have pretty awesome skin!
Zebra Crochet - Aubri, fellow milspouse, and my amazing kindred soul here in DC crocheted up some darling coffee cozies!
Catherine @ The Bauble and Chain - another amazing milspouse located in San Diego makes the most adorable moto keychains and other stuff as well.  I bought myself one of her military wife keychains and then took a shot and asked her to donate!  She more than met my expectations!  Show her some love !
USAA - I can't say enough about USAA.  I'm a huge fan and we use them for just about everything.  The folks that I meet around here at events heard about what I was doing and boy did they deliver for these remote spouses.  Deployment Guides, financial assistance, information and loads more
National Military Family Association - the folks at NMFA are amazing military advocates for all of us, fighting for all of us no matter what our status or branch.  They also provide Military Spouse Scholarships and run Operation Purple Camps.  NMFA also has a recently launched app called My Military Life.  Go find it!
MOAA - Military Officers Association of America - this organization also is an amazing advocate for military servicemembers and their families. Sure they may be an Officers Association, but it isn't just officers that they care about.  They have a huge pressence in the Spouse Community as well, holding symposiums, hiring faires and advocating for the education and employment of Military Spouses.  Currently they are a force in the Keep Your Promise Campaign.

A Huge Number of Military Affiliated Writers, as well as Harlequin Publishing and Entangled Publishing, contributed to this year's bags.  Last year was when I had my first discovery of the military themed romance.  I was hooked let me tell you.  I had no concept or understanding of the romance novel.  I mean, there are so many different kinds - suspense, romance, religious based, history, military, whoa!  My first book was Navy Rules by Geri Krotow, who was my first donated item last year.  This year she joined in again along with many of her fellow military veteran writers!  Due in large part to the mother of the Military Romance, Lindsey McKenna!  This woman is a retired Navy Pilot and an epic lady!  She got her ROMVETS ladies involved and boy I was blown away by the generosity.  Make sure to stop by their website to get a whole list of authors.


Military Spouse Special Needs Network wrote a little piece on the project and also spoke with one of last year's recipients.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Raising Strong Military Kids: One Mom's Story *guest post*

Today, in celebration of Mother's Day tomorrow, I am happy to bring you a great guest post, about military moms.  The ones that stay home and keep the homefires buring, help arrange the pcs', attending the departures and homecomings, and tuck little children into bed at night while
daddy is away.  The amazing military spouses (men or women) who remain on the Homefront.....
 
 
I will never forget my first time shopping at a commissary. At 21 and newly married, my husband Jim and I had just packed up all of our belongings to drive across the country from Seattle to Fort Belvoir. We were new to the military way of life, moving for Jim’s new orders with the Army Corps of Engineers. I went to the commissary and had no clue how the system worked – I didn’t even know that I needed an ID card! When we began adding our kids to the mix, I found out there was so much more I needed to learn.
Although we’ve come a long way in helping service members and their families, navigating deployment is still challenging. I want to share with you some tips that helped my three sons and me get through the tough times when my husband was called to service.
1. Network with other military wives and moms. Early on in our marriage, I met a woman who was raising four daughters. She gave me some tough love about coping with the day-to-day stress while Jim was away, but she was also a great example of how to face deployment. I learned that if she could do it, so could I! Make it a priority to meet fellow wives and moms to share your experiences and get the support you need from friends who truly understand.
2. Listen to your kids. Though you might feel alone without your spouse, pay close attention to how your kids are feeling. I realized that I had to be strong for my boys, but they often felt like they needed to be the adults while dad was away. Reassure your kids that it’s okay to be sad or angry and that you will get through the deployment together.
3. Reach out for support. As the director of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program [link to www.yellowribbon.mil], I’ve had the opportunity to meet military wives and moms from across the services and around the country. We host programs that help National Guard and Reserve members and families connect to other folks who understand what they’re going through. At these free events, you can meet other military families and get expert advice on everything from family communication to employment issues to financial planning.
Raising kids when your spouse is deployed can be challenging, but there are a number of support resources out there to help you. Register for an upcoming Yellow Ribbon event near you at www.yellowribbonevents.org.
 
 
~ Marie Balocki is the Director of the Office of Reintegration Programs at the Department of Defense.  In addition to being an Army Spouse for more than 30 years, she has served Military Families around the globe as a volunteer and Federal civilian for 18 years.  She is the mom of three grown sons.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

31...

I turned 31 this weekend, and boy what a ride it has been.  My friend the other day told me about some study that she read that women who get in the best shape of their life - the shape they will be in for the rest of their life - they do it at 31.  I should have "googled it", but I didn't.  It sounded good to me, and truthfully that is what I've been doing.  I've never been more committed, I've never seen results come so fast then I have now.  I know this is my year and it's exciting. 



It's been an interesting feeling - this time in my life - and I don't think it's just because I'm now in my 30s.  A lot of changes have happened, milestones have been reached.  Reflection is inevitable when you hit all these times in your life.  Thirty for me was interesting.  I felt good and it was more surreal.  I also had a slight "freak out" "life crisis" time and colored my hair, which I hadn't done in nine years!  I remember twenty-five being really        hard.  I was pregnant Ami and I remember it hitting me hard.  But this time it's different, and I don't think its simply because of my birthday.  My middle, and my only daughter, is getting ready to start kindergarten.  I already know I'm going to be  mess, more of a mess than I was with my oldest.  My littlest one is slowly exiting the baby stage and THAT is really hard.  I think I haven't pushed him through all the normal stages of life that I would have with my others.  It means he really isn't a baby and I don't know how I feel about that.  It's clear from one of my most read posts, "When Do you Know" that how I feel about no longer having babies around isn't something that I think will go away.  I'm conflicted because I don't know if what I'm feeling that way because that's just who I am, or if I really feel like I'm supposed to have more.  I keep saying that I feel like I should have one more.  But will I really feel done after that?  When you pray for direction how do you know when the door is shut and God is telling you no?  Is it making a sound financial decision like a door being closed?  Or not....

look at these three goobers, getting so big!

This weekend was fabulous though.  I went out with seven of my girlfriends to the cheescake factory.  Oh my gosh, we laughed so hard!  Not everyone knew each other, but it was like a large group of girlfriends that had known each other for a long time.  I am so lucky to have all these girls in my life here.  So darn lucky!  The next day hubby made us chocolate chip pancakes and bacon, and we ate it out on the deck.  It was a beautiful day and there I was with my cute little family.  I felt so blessed.  On my actual birthday we went out with another couple (one of my girlfriends whose bday is the day before mine) and we saw "The Other Woman".

It was a great weekend and the start to a great year of being 31, officially in my 30s and feeling good.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Military Monday: White House Spring Garden Tour

I am so blessed to be here in this amazing place, DC!  I mean, I never could have imagined, or would have even thought things would happen to me the way they have.  We were blessed at the end of April with tickets to the White House Spring Garden tour, and in turn I got to bless several sweet families with the opportunity to go.  That's why I'm here doing this, to give back. It sounds so cliched but its true.  I love volunteering, and I think everyone should do it, and include their kids.  We take ours all the time to events and its so great.  It's a legacy we are leaving them, and I hope they continue it.  Find a way to get involved.  You can look on Points of Light (great organization) to find out how to get involved in anything you want, whether it's military or not - there's my PSA for the day!

The White House gardens are beautiful.  They aren't big and glamorous or anything, but beautiful none the less.  It's the history really, that draws you in.  Trees planted by Presidents from years and years ago.  That's really cool.    We saw a Japanese Maple planted by Frances Folsom Cleveland in 1893 (didn't snag a picture!! GRRRRR).  There was also the Children's Garden, by Lady Bird Johnson that we didn't get to go see.  It's definitely something you can do with kids.  We've been lucky enough to tour the White House and its definitely doable with kids.  However we did the inside tour we didn't take Phillip.  If you ever get to go to the Easter Egg Roll bring a stroller.  They do allow them and I would bring it, even if you think your kids might not need it!  Bring it.  You can bring strollers to the Garden Tour as well.


 Jacqueline Kennedy Garden 


close up of Kennedy Garden

isn't that Wisteria gorgeous?!

where all the awesome outdoor speeches happen


Rose Garden area


 The South Lawn Area (I think the Cutlip Maple is on the left here - planted
by George and Laura Bush in 2001)

I'm fairly certain this is the Cedar of Labanon planted by Jimmy Carter in 1978

 lots of vistors, but it wasn't super overwhelming.



 White House Bee Hives

White House Kitchen Garden (is really big), planted by Michelle Obama with help from local 
community groups and area school children (originally started in 2009)
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