Life Lessons of a (ahem) 37 year old

Happy Birthday to me!  My five year old son asked me last night how old I was going to be and I told him 29.  He took it pretty seriously and wished me a happy 29th Birthday this morning.  He sure is good for my psyche.

I took the time to reflect on 37 things I have learned this past year.  Moments of reflection are so good!  They help me revisit the past and put it to purpose for the future:
  1. For a slow cooker to work you must plug it in. I’m sure this applies for other appliances as well.
  2. Baby Boys grow up way too quickly and become pre-pre-teens right before your very eyes: Eight years old, going on 16
  3. It's not about 'dieting' it's about lifestyle-changes.  Gestational Diabetes taught me this.
  4. It feels really good to pay for things in cash.  This past year I have been more conscious of carrying cash.  It is a great feeling to pay for something and not have to pay for it in the future; like worrying about a large credit card bill to pay each month.  It removes buyers remorse for me and keeps me from spending more than I have.
  5. Dancing to Colbie Caillat with my baby is one of the best exercises out there! (and quite a mental pick-me-up as well).
  6. Mothering doesn't get easier but it sure does get more fun.
  7. God gives us what we can handle; nothing more, nothing less.  I could not handle twins... just saying.
  8. Sometimes, God has to whack-you upside the head for you to get-it; kind of like a Gibbs-slap.
  9. We have to find the best in what we have been given. Romantic dinners are necessary but a little bit of creativity can most certainly be in order.
  10. I love to celebrate LIFE!  Possibly the one reason I love my birthday.  We all need a day to call our own; to take the time to look and back and say, "Wow, this has been a blast!"
  11. Sunflowers look very lovely around my deck.  They have always been my favorite flower and I finally found the perfect place to plant them.
  12. Baby-Babble is one of the most beautiful noises in the world.
  13. I love my husband for who he is not for what I expect him to be.
  14. Sometimes others think I am "the expert".  I shake my head and say, "No way. That's not me".  Perhaps, though, I am more knowledgeable than I think.
  15. I abhor gossip.  I like to know what is going on in my friends' lives but don't talk bad about others.  It just makes me think you will do the same to me when I'm not around.
  16. Cancer sucks.  Pure and Simple.
  17. Hair dye is my friend.  Who knew young folk like me turned gray so quickly...
  18. Impromptu time with friends is a wonderful way to spend the evening!
  19. I've learned I love to write.  I love it when research is involved. I love it when it is something that impacts my family.  If you had told me 10 - 15 - 20 years ago that writing would be part of "what I love to do" I most likely would have laughed in your face :).
  20. Even after 37 years I still have a major phone phobia.  It is the truth.
  21. There is nothing 'political' about going green.  I'm a pretty right-sided Republican and I have some pretty left-sided Democrat friends.  We all want what is best for our children.  We love our little suburban vegetable gardens.  We recycle, reuse and respect our God-given earth.  It has to do with our future not our politics.
  22. Not only is my hair changing color... it's changing texture.  Mom didn't tell about this part of getting older.
  23. Nieces and nephews are such a gift.  I have six and one more on the way in June.  My heart skips a beat when I get an Aunt Leanne hug!
  24. Loving four boys is the most rewarding job-title I have.
  25. His Eye is on the Sparrow ... and me too!  I've always known this but sometimes God has to smack me up-side the head to remind me: May 1, 2010
  26.  Sometimes God smacks me upside the head, other times He whispers. That Still Small Voice
  27. There are fewer beautiful word then "I Love You, Mom" or "I Love You, Darling"
  28. Worry makes you unhealthy. Being proactive empowers you. 
  29. Putting a kindergartner on the bus for the first time is never easy.  Watching him get off the bus after his first day of school is exhilarating.
  30. I've learned there is no magic formula for time-management.  Just a lot of forethought... and checklists help.
  31. Deployment stinks; but so does 12 hour work days, 5 days a week, followed by a weekend in the field.
  32. I don't care what the TV-hating experts say, Baby Mozart is my friend!
  33. Maybe - just maybe - I can cook.  I owe a lot of thanks to my mom for planting a seed and letting it grow in its own due time.
  34. I love baseball!  It embodies family time, summer and lots of cheering.  It is good for the soul.
  35. There is something about knowing *L* is always going to be our youngest that has made me stop and enjoy every single moment of baby-hood; from pregnancy through teething; from sleepless nights to belly laughs when his dad walks in the door.
  36. I can honestly say that my friendship with my dad has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. I hope that I have the same relationship with my boys when they are adults.
  37. My life could not be more richly rewarded with the love I have and the love I receive for my family!
What more, Life-Inspired Leanne-Inspiration :) 35 'Deep Thoughts' to celebrate my 35 years

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

"Celebrate Military Children - the Strength of our Future" - Month of the Military Child

Wordless Wednesday:

In anticipation of  Month of the Military Child...


Staying Healthy: Headaches

I am a headache-victim, -survivor, -conqueror!  I get allergy-related headaches, stress headaches and worst of all, migraines.  If headaches affect you, get help:
  • Make an appointment to see your health care provider for an accurate diagnosis.  Become informed about your headache type and treatment options.  I sometimes feel petty bringing up my headaches at regular doctor's visits ... but they aren't /just/ headaches. They are a physical and mental derailments!
  • To help with occasional tension headaches, try a warm shower, rest or relaxation techniques.  Just closing your eyes for 20 minutes can help a lot.
  • Some headaches are caused by dehydration.  Many physicians recommend that you drink at least eight-ounces of water or a sports drink at the onset of a headache.  Right now, go fill up a sports-bottle or large cup with water.  Make a goal.  Finish that water and you may be on the road to feeling healthier!
-  Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

The 2011 USAA “Best Value” list is in your garage, scratch that, in your hands

USAA is at it again. When you step into a car dealership you want to be armed with all the data possible when searching for that perfect car. You don’t want to be hassled; you want some space and the knowledge that you have a force behind you. USAA has provided the 2011 USAA “Best Value” list to assist with your car shopping process. Steve Thompson, assistant vice president at USAA, captured it by saying, “Our members want the best bang for the buck with a no hassle experience”.

“We’re making members’ lives easier by taking the guesswork out of buying a new vehicle,” said Thompson. “The ‘Best Value’ vehicles typically have better safety ratings, lower Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and insurance costs, higher fuel economy and better overall reliability than other vehicles in the same category.”

In a recent interview I asked how many USAA employees drove the cars on the list in order to provide input or influence in the “Best Value” list. Mr. Thompson mentioned that zero USAA employees drove the vehicles on the list in order to develop the “Best Value” list. “USAA members are more interested in a model that evaluated the facts”. He added, “Our members want objective data”.

USAA has certainly done their homework. Here are some interesting points from a USAA survey involving the emotional side of car shopping:

• Most find the car-buying process to be exciting and rewarding, but also time-consuming. Some also find the process to be frustrating and confusing, and most (79% public; 68% spouses) wish car-buying was easier.
o Exciting (73%), time-consuming (72%) and rewarding (70%) are the top three emotions associated with car buying. More than half (57%) also say it’s fun. Still, around one-third find it frustrating (37%), confusing (30%) and intimidating (27%).
o Rewarding (83%), exciting (71%) and time-consuming (57%) are the top three emotions associated with car buying for military spouses. Nearly two-thirds (60%) also find it fun. Still, 37% are frustrated, 24% are confused and 18% are intimidated.
o Military spouses who are unwilling to negotiate are significantly more likely than those who are willing to negotiate to agree with the statement “I wish the auto-buying process was easier” (83% vs. 66%).

• Most respondents feel somewhat to very confident about the car-buying process.
o 91% is somewhat to very confident.
o 88% of military spouses are somewhat to very confident.
o However, among the nearly two out of five (16%) of military spouses who won’t negotiate price, one-third (30%) say not feeling confident enough is a top reason why. One-fourth (25%) of military spouses are intimidated and uncomfortable with the negotiation process.

• Most respondents feel satisfied and exhilarated after buying a car, but also relieved. Some also are exhausted.
o Satisfied (89%), relieved (64%) and exhilarated (58%) are the top three emotions felt after buying a car. But nearly a third (29%) is exhausted. More than one in ten are worried (15%) and upset (14%).
o Satisfied (93%), relieved (77%) and exhilarated (57%) are the top three emotions felt by military spouses after buying a car. More than a third (33%) is exhausted. One in ten is worried (17%) and upset (10%).

• More than half (52%) feel they have paid too much for a car.
o Forty percent of spouses felt that they have paid too much for a car.

Military families have unique needs in vehicles. One example is luggage space, you move away from family, you are going to need to travel to see them and luggage space for the family and Fido will be important. I am sure there are many others. Although Steve mentioned that the military lifestyle wasn’t a part of the evaluation of the vehicles; it would be interesting to see this as a part of the valuation process in the future. For more information head over to USAA: www.usaa.com/bestvalue

- Dan from MilitaryAvenue.com



About “Best Value” List

USAA Preferred “Best Value” vehicles are those vehicles ranked highest in each vehicle category AND obtain "Good/Acceptable" crash test ratings from IIHS and represent vehicles which are determined to be the best financial value using a USAA-developed proprietary statistical model. The model relates MSRP to vehicle features (engine type, drive train, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, number of airbags, transmission, body additions, curb weight, horsepower-to-curb weight, height and vehicle category), fuel economy, insurance cost, additional warranty cost, depreciation, and IIHS Top Safety Pick to determine the value. In providing this analysis, USAA does not consider factors other than those disclosed.

Help Your Child Feel Healthy!

The American Heart Association recommends that children and teenagers get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

My kindergartner's teacher mentioned to me that *C* is the most in-tune and capable of learning right after some rigorous activity.  She has witnessed first hand, in particular with him, how when he gets rid of pent up energy he is ready to sit down and stay on task. Occasionally, if all of the students are a bit hyper she has them do a few jumping jacks beside their desks. Then they sit back down and jump back into work.  It goes to show how in-sync our bodies are.  Even the brain craves motion, movement and activity!
In a survey by the American Obesity Association, 24% of parents said their children were less physically active than they were as children.

Are your children getting the exercise they need?

• Make it a goal to get outside with them: family walks, hikes, bicycle rides. • Park the car in the driveway and walk to the commissary, shoppette or your Exchange if you only need a few things. • Sign your children up for Youth Sports like soccer, baseball, softball, basketball. • Have one of their daily chores be to walk the dog after school, before they sit down for homework. • Plan a family vacation which includes hiking, canoeing, fishing, skiing. Show your kids how fun activity CAN be and then watch them blossom!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Week in Review: March 20 - March 26, 2011 (Military News) #MilitaryMon

Popular Military Family Articles for the week of March 20th - 26th on

The Government Shutdown and your Paycheck: Anxiety ... it is never fun!  We have a lot we can be anxious for: children's needs, spouse's safety, future plans, family finances, the list is endless... I'm sensing a lot of anxiety about the possibility of a government shut down and then ultimately the fate of the military-paycheck come mid-May. Spouses are worried how the bills are going to be paid. Service-members are wondering how they are going to meet the needs of their families. Both are a bundle of unhealthy, preventable anxiety. ...

Kahlua Cake: A Light Dessert: The refrigerator does most of the work on this beauty. It truly is a beauty too, as it uses an angel food cake. Putting Kahlua cake together will take minutes. Blending the flavors and textures takes 2 hours as it sits in the refrigerator. ...

Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2011 - Spotlight MilitaryAvenue Partners: Military Spouse Appreciation Day is the Friday before Mother's Day, May 6th, 2011. It is a day to recognize the contributions of the Military Spouse to our US Military.  We recognize that there are many spouses out there that are running their own business, as well as managing the homefront and deserve some extra recognition from the MilitaryAvenue.com Team!  We would like to spotlight your business and the ways that you serve the military-families around you ...

Mrs. Mullen: Military Children Deserve Respect, Support: Military children need and deserve the nation’s utmost respect and support as they continue to weather a decade of war, the wife of the nation’s top military officer said here yesterday. “I do not believe, and have not believed for quite some time, that there are many issues more important to the future of our armed forces -- indeed to the future of our country -- than those confronting military children today,” said Deborah Mullen, wife of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ...

Family Matters Blog: TRICARE Remains Intact for Japan-based Beneficiaries: I wanted to pass on some information regarding health care benefits as well as some contact numbers for TRICARE military health plan beneficiaries affected by the situation in Japan. First, TRICARE Management Activity officials would like to reassure beneficiaries that their health care benefits remain intact, even if they relocate. Overseas Program Prime beneficiaries may still access their benefit, and retirees and beneficiaries who are not command-sponsored will continue to have the Standard benefit, officials said. ...

TRICARE Shares the Many Benefits of Fiber-Rich Foods: Almost everyone hears about the need for enough fiber in their diet, but few understand the importance of dietary fiber. Most people get less than half the recommended amount of fiber each day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Higher intake of fiber from all food sources is beneficial.  Not only can fiber relieve constipation, some studies suggest that high-fiber diets might also help with weight loss and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. The strongest evidence of fiber's benefits is related to cardiovascular health. ...

Soldier Inspires Others With Brain-injury Recovery: His first significant brain injury was a setback, but when he experienced several more a few years later, Army Capt. Galen Peterson figured he’d reached the end of his military career. “One of the biggest things that I struggled with when I was going through [traumatic brain injury] is the impression that my career and life as I knew it was over, that there was no way I could stay on active duty, much less an armor officer,” he said. ...

What does PCS mean to our MilitaryAvenue Partners?: Military acronyms are frequently a source of curiosity by our civilian family and friends and a source of much humor in the military community! Recently, my father, a WW2 veteran, told me of an acronym used by his pastor in a sermon that had its origin in WW2 GI slang and had become part of American culture and language. When the minister was informed of what he had just said if the acronym had been spelt out in its entirety, he was pretty surprised. We don't want our MilitaryAvenue Partners surprised by the term PCS! ...

Who is your BFF?: ... Who can you be a friend to today? Invite someone in the area you've lost touch with over for coffee. Perhaps someone new to the area would love a tour of the area. Even just a simple phone call to check on a spouse whose spouse recently deployed. We all need friends! Friendship starts by someone extending their hand or perhaps simply by saying "Will you sit by me?"

Education Activity Crisis Centers Open for Japan, Bahrain: The Department of Defense Education Activity has established crisis centers to assist parents of its students and employees who are affected by the voluntary relocations from Japan and Bahrain. The centers – one each in Virginia, Japan and Germany -- are accessible by phone or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, officials said. Assistance is available in Japan from a Department of Defense Dependents Schools crisis team member by calling 0800-222-1993 or via email at evacuation.japan@pac.dodea.edu. ...


More Great MilitaryAvenue.com content:
Find Military Discounts in your community

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Our Letters to You, MilitaryAvenue.com's Military Family Blog

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The Reading Room, full of relevant news related to the military family

Moving Tools, Our Moving and Relocation Tools for Military Families

Look at Something Beautiful

The simple act of pausing in your hectic day and looking at something pleasing to your eyes can improve your outlook and make you feel good:

Some suggestions:

  • Keep a picture of your spouse at your work desk
  • Set your computer to slide show when it is idle to show some of your favorite pictures
  • Watch the sunset if you are a night-owl or the sunrise if you are a morning-person
  • Put a vase of spring-cut flowers on your kitchen table
  • Find a favorite piece of art to hang in your halls or over your bed
Watch for more ideas in this new series from the MilitaryAvenue Team: Staying Healthy

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com




Inspired by 100 ways to feel better every day (Military OneSource acct required)

Mother's Day Greetings in the Stars and Stripes

When we think about soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen on Mother's Day we most often think about the mom sitting back at home hoping their Hero is safe and out of harm's way.  Not often do we think about that Hero thinking of her own children who are back home and missing them to pieces.  But it is true.  According to usmilitary.about.com "Women make up about 20 percent of today's military."  I'm sure they could use a message of support this upcoming Mother's Day!

Once again Stars and Stripes is printing messages in their overseas additions for our loved ones!  When my husband was in Iraq my boys sent him a short message that he found in the Father's Day edition of the newspaper.  What a wonderful little sentiment from home!

Send a FREE message to Mom. Greetings received by April 18 will be printed in Stars and Stripes on May 8 in its Middle East, European and Pacific editions.

So if you know a mom serving overseas do it today!  Let's remind them how much they are loved!:  http://messages.stripes.osd.mil/

Here are a couple of  great stories about our Heroes who also wear the title "Mom" with pride:

Family Finds Connection to Deployed Mom Online: The Klein household was fairly typical: mom and dad worked, and their two rambunctious boys kept them busy the rest of the time. Mom was the snuggler, the reader of bedtime stories, the primary source of emotional support for the kids. ...

Family Matters Blog: Blogger Copes With Military Mom’s Guilt: Military moms have the regular parental guilt that comes from worrying if our kids have enough: enough interaction, enough activities, enough education, but we have more insidious guilt as well. The kind that sneaks into the house and sits at the dinner table when Mom or Dad is on duty (again) or on deployment. The kind of guilt that hangs around your neck like a weight when our child’s arms haven’t hung there for not just hours, but days, weeks and months. ...

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Who is your BFF?

The other day my 5 year old jumped off of the bus.  A big smile on his face. A quicken in his step.  I could tell he had a great day.

"How was your day, honey?"
"Good"


Pause...


"Guess what, Mom?  I have a BEST friend."

"Who is that?"

"*P*.  He is in my class AND he rides my bus.  *P* always asks me to sit by him."

Now that IS  a reason to declare it a great day.  The realization that you have a friend.  Not just any friend... but a best friend!

Who can you be a friend to today?  Invite someone in the area you've lost touch with over for coffee.   Perhaps someone new to the area would love a tour of the area.  Even just a simple phone call to check on a spouse whose spouse recently deployed.  We all need friends!  Friendship starts by someone extending their hand or perhaps simply by saying "Will you sit by me?"


- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

“The Five Minute Job”


Deb and I needed a vacation, a break from the cold of Michigan and a time to enjoy some sun …









It had been a long time coming! Our vacation plans included stops in several locations to reduce the length of drive each day, to see close and extended family, visit an old PCS location with a warm spring climate, see friends from our first assignment (Indian Spring Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nevada – now Creech AFB) and more! We had an aggressive plan but one that allowed time with our elderly surviving parents too. Both of our dads are World War II veterans, 87 years old and like to share “stories” of that era.

My folks live amongst the orange groves of Florida in a modest home that is comfortable, easy to navigate for two folks with “mobility challenges” and has a wonderful garden they love. It does require some upkeep and our family have worked out a visit schedule of sorts that allows long distance support to be on scene as well. The on scene support includes accomplishing “five minute” jobs which are beyond our folks’ physical capabilities. Our family laughs at the term “five minute” jobs since they never take five minutes! But what a sense of accomplishment when we are done knowing we did something for them they could not do. This visit included building a sidewalk with new pavers to make moving from their garage to their garden area easier, putting in their two window air conditioners, spreading ant killer, planting some blackberry bushes, etc.

Deb’s dad is a part time resident of Florida who leaves more than ten feet of annual snowfall in the mountains of upstate New York for the sunny coast. Our visit with him includes running errands, preparing a few meals, shopping, garbage to the dumpster and of course enjoying the beach out his front door. More of his “five minute” jobs are accomplished while visiting his New York home but running up and down from his fifth floor place adds to the fitness part of our vacation!

Our children remember the “five minute” jobs during our visits during PCS travels and vacations to family get togethers. They laugh when they know we are headed south for vacation knowing we will be busy. Now as they come to our house they are learning to expect a few “five minute” jobs to help us! Five minute jobs do not have to be limited to elderly parents! How about a family with a deployed service member, a friend/neighbor with a recent injury or illness, a church friend with a project or someone you know who needs some encouragement! We saw some great examples when MilitaryAvenue's Leanne had a deployed husband! Her civilian neighbors were wonderful!

Take “five minutes” to help someone out! It could be similar to "Pay it Forward" when you buy someone a lunch! Instead you will be using your skills or muscles to help out someone! You will be surprised how good it makes you feel!











The Finished Project!



Photo Credits: MilitaryAvenue


1) Col K and Deborah Getaway

2-5) Parents garden/backyard in Florida with Col K and Deborah at work

The Government Shutdown and your Paycheck

Anxiety ... it is never fun!

We have a lot we can be anxious for: children's needs, spouse's safety, future plans, family finances, the list is endless...

I'm sensing a lot of anxiety about the possibility of a government shut down and then ultimately the fate of the military-paycheck come mid-May. Spouses are worried how the bills are going to be paid. Service-members are wondering how they are going to meet the needs of their families. Both are a bundle of unhealthy, preventable anxiety.

Terry Howell at Military Advantage did a great post that you should checkout. I think it will relieve some of your stress over the May paychecks: Does Shutdown Mean No Pay for Military?

All of the posts from military-families have me a bit concerned about how we are saving. Posts on Facebook and blogs, Twitter and emails: How am I going to pay our mortgage?, How am I going to feed my children?, What are we going to do about bills and credit card payments that are due ... Legitimate concerns! but a stark reminder that we need to listen to the industry-experts and follow up by saving money for a very rainy day such as this.

If you have a savings account that has three-months of expenses you can pat-yourself on the back and I bet this 'Government Shutdown' doesn't have you nearly as concerned. If this is making you realize that you DO need to start your rainy-day fund then, "Congratulations!" I am glad to hear something good is coming out of a bad situation. If you aren't sure how to fund that savings account read through some of these articles:

Week in Review: March 13 - March 19, 2011 (Military News) #MilitaryMon

Popular Military Family Articles for the week of March 13th - 19th on

MilitaryAvenue.com


Willard: Assisting Japan is ‘Highest Priority’: U.S. forces in Japan are engaged in one of the biggest natural and manmade disasters of a lifetime, Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard said here tonight. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, spoke over the phone from Hawaii to the Pentagon press corps about what the U.S. military is doing to help the Japanese Self-Defense Force respond to the disaster caused by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear emergency. ...

Emergency Preparedness: Disasters like Japan's recent earthquake and then tsunamis are hard to shake. You may not be in an area that has to worry about tsunamis (my closest body of water, Lake Erie, is certainly not a threat) but there are other emergencies that may send you into a flight-pattern. Just in this past two weeks my own home has been threatened by flood (emergency phone call from the school saying they might not be able to get the kids bussed home) and fire (neighbors house)! ...

U.S. Forces Provide Relief Aid to Japan: U.S. military forces are working alongside their Japanese counterparts to provide aid as the country digs out in the aftermath of the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck March 11. "Because of the longstanding and close working relationship between the U.S. military and its Japanese counterparts on a daily basis, the United States military has humanitarian assistance capabilities positioned in the affected regions that are ready to support emergency relief efforts ...

BratConnect, the power to connect!: I am a 100%, through and through, Brat. My dad joined the Air Force right out of college around 1971 and retired 30 years later, in 2002. I was born at Nellis AFB, Nevada where the Lt and Mrs (aka Dad and Mom) brought their brand-new baby home to Indian Springs, Nevada (which is now Creech AFB, NV). I started Kindergarten at Howard AFB, Panama ... made a "few" more moves (six more to be precise) before finally graduating high school at Keflavik NAS, Iceland. ...

Japan-based Troops, Families Use Social Media Sites: Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Joy Josephson was in her office on Misawa Air Base, Japan, on March 11 reviewing paperwork with a maintenance technician when the computers started shaking. Josephson, the detachment superintendent for American Forces Network Misawa, figured it was a mild tremor, not uncommon to that area in Japan, but then the shaking “got violent.” “We get earthquakes up here and tremors, … but this one wasn’t stopping,” she said. ...

Family Matters Blog: Childhood Obesity Hits Home for Blogger: My 7-year-old son came home from school the other day and told me another boy had called him fat -- several times. My heart sank as I struggled for the right words to comfort my son, and promised to call the teacher on his behalf. While I was upset with the boy who called my son a name, I was even more upset with myself. My son is overweight, obese by the doctor’s standards, (see the blog I wrote last year) and I don’t think I’ve been doing enough to help. ...

Hello, I'm an Information Junkie: I admit it. I love information. I love reading about what is going on around me. I love being in the know. I am discerning though... and there are a few GREAT resources for staying in the know that I thought I would share with you: MilitaryAvenue Newletter, Military OneSource Newsletters, Better Business Bureau Newsletters, Military Saves Newsletters If you like being in the know like me we have two great ways to sign up for MilitaryAvenue's monthly-military family newsletter ...

Eight years old, going on 16: I admit it. Saving money makes me feel good. We do a pretty good job of it around the house. Although, sometimes it takes a bit of creativity and willingness to learn. But I'm always up for a challenge. One of the big ways we have saved over the years is investing in hair clippers. Once a month the 'Kocsis Household Barbershop' opens and everyone gets ready to be sheered cut and styled. Some 'customers' are easier then others. My husband is hair-follicle challenged (Yes, he is bald.) so he is easy. ...

Stretch Your Food Budget: The Military Saves campaign encourages service members and their families to develop financial fitness habits that lead to personal financial stability, and ultimately, to mission readiness. To help attain those goals, there's hardly a better habit to embrace than choosing the commissary for all your grocery and household needs. After all, "Extending the paychecks of military members with savings of 30-percent or more is the reason the commissary benefit exists," said DeCA Director ...

6 Ways to Get an Extra Tax Cut: Do you like keeping the money you earn? Read this checklist to make sure you're doing everything you can year-round to not pay more taxes than you should. Some 10% of taxpayers file late, according to Cohesive, a tax-preparation/planning firm in Cypress, Calif. But they might as well be taking money out of their bank account and dumping it onto the street. ...


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The Many Benefits of a Garden

We had our first taste of spring here in Northeast-Ohio this week. Windows cracked, doors open, breathe in that fresh air! With this taste of weather to come brings thoughts of my summer garden. I have bought the seeds, diagrammed what and where I am going to plant, and dreamed big thoughts about this upcoming summer's produce. The Garden, my passion, on so many fronts. It embodies good health, good stewardship, and good eats!

Emotional

Have you ever picked up a hoe and pounded the dirt? Got down on your knees and ripped out weeds with gusto? Cut flowers from around the garden for a beautiful bouquet in your kitchen? All these are great releases for me! If I'm frustrated, needing some time-alone, or just need to bring some femininity into my male-household, the garden is my release! It gets me outside for fresh air. It helps me take deep breaths when I feel like blowing my top. It takes my mind off of things I can't control.

I know that I'm not alone with these thoughts. According to the University of Minnesota, "[Gardening] can divert thoughts about yourself and your situation. In the garden, you can create and control your environment. This control is empowering. Gardening stimulates all of the senses, giving great pleasure and satisfaction." Empower yourself! Built up stress is not healthy! What a great release.

Also involve your children. Make gardening fun! Give them an area of the garden to keep and make it fun for them! Plastic shovels, Tonka trucks, plants of their liking... whatever works! "While service-members face challenges on the battlefield, continued deployments also can be demanding for families at home. Children waiting for a parent to come back home are often vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety." -Children's deployment stress may mirror parents. Perhaps a "Deployment-Garden" is in order this spring!

Emergency Preparedness

Disasters like Japan's recent earthquake and then tsunamis are hard to shake. You may not be in an area that has to worry about tsunamis (my closest body of water, Lake Erie, is certainly not a threat) but there are other emergencies that may send you into a flight-pattern. Just in this past two weeks my own home has been threatened by flood (emergency phone call from the school saying they might not be able to get the kids bussed home) and fire (neighbors house)! All of this has me thinking about how my own family is prepared for a natural disaster. Are you prepared?

An Emergency Kit - or more like 5 Gallon Emergency Tub
Here are some things that http://www.ready.gov/ suggests you have in your basic Emergency Kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. If you have a baby think about formula and bottles as well
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Keep in your tub a folder with important phone numbers and information as well:

Eight years old, going on 16

I admit it. Saving money makes me feel good. We do a pretty good job of it around the house. Although, sometimes it takes a bit of creativity and willingness to learn. But I'm always up for a challenge.

One of the big ways we have saved over the years is investing in hair clippers. Once a month the 'Kocsis Household Barbershop' opens and everyone gets ready to be sheered cut and styled. Some 'customers' are easier then others. My husband is hair-follicle challenged (Yes, he is bald.) so he is easy. *C*, 5 years old, starts to 'itch' before I've even turned the clippers on and swears to high-heaven that his hair 'hurts' when it is cut. It used to take two adults to cut *C*... one to hold, one to cut. Now he just deals; yet it is still a bit painful to listen to him the whole time.

Two nights ago the proverbial neon "Open" light turned on in the Kocsis Kitchen. I pulled the clippers out of the closet. I set the table cloth down on the ground. I pulled the bar stool over for the first customer to sit upon. *E*, 8 years old climbed aboard and I pulled out the usual winter-season guard (longer in the winter, shorter in the summer). I put the guard on my tool-of-the-trade and turned it on. "MOM! Please just cut around my ears and neck. I want to grow the rest of it longer." What?! I have never had a request. I usually just cut to my own desire.

*E*'s hair was already shaggy by my barber shop standards so I figured I was going to be taking quite a bit off. Suddenly, I was thrown for a loop as my eight-year old declared he wanted more style then cut. I looked at him, as if "Who took my son and replaced him with a very early pre-teen?"

I explained that if he is going to let his hair get longer he is going to have to take care of it (like actually brushing it in the morning). However, he has VERY thick, wavy hair. A simple comb won't suffice. So he happily picked out some "Surfer Gel" at the store as well. Now he is really styling.

Eight years old. I wasn't ready for this.

Kids grow up fast! I'm envisioning a real barber-shop visit in the not too distant future. Looks like I'll have to find some other creative way to save that $10 each month!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Week in Review: March 6 - March 12, 2011 (Military News) #MilitaryMon

Popular Military Family Articles for the week of March 6th - 12th on

MilitaryAvenue.com



Deployment and Finances: Deployment ... Changing of the Guard ... Total upheaval ... "Change" doesn't even begin to describe what deployment was for my family. I was juggling so many balls while my husband was gone for a year that they could have put me in the circus... (or possibly the funny farm?) One of those proverbial balls: Finances. The family budget and bill paying are somethings that my husband does for the family, and he does it well! Bills are paid on time, the budget is allocated correctly, and interest-payments are kept to a minimum. ...

Plan Bridges Gaps in Homeland Responses: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has agreed to a plan that will allow for one commander to be in charge of both National Guard and reserve forces when they are called up to respond to domestic emergencies. Gates, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Council of Governors -- a group President Barack Obama formed in January 2010 to represent all of the states’ governors -- signed off on the agreement ...

9 Tips for Saving on Your Next Car Rental: The struggling economy has grounded many travelers over the last two years, so you might expect rental car companies to be doling out sweet deals. Not so, according to Neil Abrams, president of Purchase, N.Y.-based Abrams Consulting Group, a leading researcher of the car rental industry. "Last year we saw historically high rental rates, and as demand rebounds, rates should remain strong," says Abrams. ...

Book Recommendations: Military Lifestyle: Here is a selection of books related to the military lifestyle, most are focused on the military spouse with a few books related to 'brats'. Have you read a great military-lifestyle related book? Let us know so that we can add it to our book lists for others to enjoy. ...

Japan Earthquake: Pentagon says no U.S. servicemembers were killed or injured and no military facilities were damaged in 8.9 magnitude Japan earthquake. [Video] ...

Military Spouse Employment: Frequent relocations make it important to gain skills for a “portable” career. It’s also important to be aware of the advantages that being part of a military community have provided you: flexibility, responsibility, and a can-do attitude. Military OneSource can help you identify your strengths, find training and education, and prepare for your job search. ...

Military Spouse Fellowship Military Spouse Employment. It's a hot issue. Military Spouses as a majority /want/ a job. They want to contribute to the family finances. They want to get out of the house and have a world outside of home-life. I get it!When you are moving every two years though; it is hard.When you are dealing with deployment, having to be a temporary-single mom; it is hard.When you just aren't sure what is out there to help get you on your feet; it is hard. ...

Latest Credit Card Rule Kicks In: When it comes to consumer protection, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 is a gift that keeps on giving. That's because aspects of its provisions are still going into effect. The latest change went into effect Feb. 22, 2011. That's when the first six-month review of interest rates is due. Previously, your credit card's annual percentage rate could be raised permanently. Now, credit card issuers can only raise the rates on your future purchases, not on your existing balances. ...

A Light at the End of the Tunnel: Last night I put my strong-willed, "I will ONLY sleep in your arms", Baby Boy in bed an hour earlier than usual. I turned on his CD player. I kissed his sweet little head and I whispered good-night. For three-minutes he let us know that HE WAS NOT HAPPY! but then... there was silence. Sweet silence. Sweet peace. Sweet "There is a Light at the end of the Tunnel!".Baby Boy *L*, put himself to sleep. HE did it! Mom and Dad rejoiced! We struggled with the whole CIO (Cry it Out) process. I felt like a failure. ...

The Big Metal Tube: "I was in the tube for more than 2 hours. Going in the technicians did their preflight, got their gear all set up and the passenger (me) was ready to fly." Life experiences make us who we are. Blessed with a career flying Air Force aircraft (11 of them) for 30 years I was not really ready to retire but certainly did not miss the middle of the night calls from the command post, late nights, long days, extensive tdy schedule and many other minor irritants. What I did miss was the aircraft. ...




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Hello, I'm an Information Junkie

I admit it. I love information. I love reading about what is going on around me. I love being in the know.

I am discerning though... and there are a few GREAT resources for staying in the know that I thought I would share with you:



If you like being in the know like me we have two great ways to sign up for MilitaryAvenue's monthly-military family newsletter (We won't overwhelm you; once a month, usually the third Thursday of the month.)

Enter your email in this box:

Receive YOUR Military Family Newsletter
Email:



Or click on this link to fill out your profile:
http://militaryavenue.com/Answers/Signup.aspx

Simple :)
Simply Informed!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

PCS: Charleston, SC Get Out Of the Gate!

I know of folks who live in gated communities. My immediate thought is a place set apart, a well cared for location, protected homes, secure families. Yes, I guess that is a military installation description! It is a wonderful way to live, however it can be confining. Life can get stagnant when it is all there at a short drive's distance: work, school, commissary and Exchange. GET OUT!

You can do it! Drive toward that gate and adventure into town! MWR has a gazillion ideas for you to use. Remember. People actually travel to your new PCS for vacations, shopping and adventure... and lucky you! You get to live there. DISCOVER LIFE!
We left that life style, as we are retired from active duty. However, given any chance we wing it to military functions, installations, award ceremonies that flood us with memories, and cheer the heart! Going back, adding the spices of memories, photographs with younger faces, different neighbors, but always smiling with the new spirit of here and now.

Here we are revisiting a PCS from the past: Charleston Air Force Base, SC. Downtown Charleston is history, heritage and fun. Southerners take joy in this town! Cool temps still control the night, but come sunrise: come shorts weather!
We hit the streets last night as soon as we unpacked the car. Dinner in an old favorite restaurant and sites surrounding us. Beautiful! Palm trees, freshly mowed lawns, Magnolias with waxy leaves and funky looking pods, and sun. The parks with fountains, the wharf with swings. Life is deliciously slow paced and invites everyone to take it in... enjoy... feel the sunshine. I have to mention the sun as today it is shorts weather and all is well.

The beauty of a PSC is seeing life outside of the gate. Knowing that folks come here on vacation to see the sites. Whether it is Creech AFB, NV, Great Lakes Naval Station IL, or Fort Rucker AL; there is life outside of the gate. Go find it.

Charleston requires years to take it all in. Tea plantations, colleges, museums, beaches, bridge walks, restaurants, MWR rentals. The outdoors awaits. I am excited for you!
`

The Big Metal Tube

"I was in the tube for more than 2 hours. Going in the technicians did their preflight, got their gear all set up and the passenger (me) was ready to fly."


Life experiences make us who we are. Blessed with a career flying Air Force aircraft (11 of them) for 30 years I was not really ready to retire but certainly did not miss the middle of the night calls from the command post, late nights, long days, extensive tdy schedule and many other minor irritants. What I did miss was the aircraft. My last aircraft was a C-17 and standing in the aircraft it looks like a big metal tube with passenger seats, oxygen equipment, loading rollers, cargo and much more. I loved to be there during preflight, loading the aircraft and taking in the hard working airmen’s efforts to get the mission done!

We joined a new mission after the USAF with MilitaryAvenue.com becoming our effort to support our military families who so deserve our appreciation. Five years ago we took on another mission to help my wonderful military spouse defeat breast cancer and we did! Well, she is the new normal, always alert, following up with mammograms, scans, taking medications, etc. But Deb is in remission and we are truly blessed! Life continues with daily missions and life changing ones. Our next life changing mission involved more big metal tubes and new words in the dictionary.

Ever hear of myoepithelioma? Me either. This malignant tumor started in my heel. The tumor was found after I went to the big metal tube of an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) after repeated complaints of pain in my foot to the doctor. The MRI tube looks a bit like a big donut versus a C-17 where you can stand up. The MRI barely has room for a body to slide into while laying flat and is a nightmare for some with claustrophobia. After some initial surgery to biopsy and partially remove the tumor I was scheduled for a PET CT (Positron emission tomography - computed tomography) which is another big tube! I think you may be catching onto the theme here. The PET CT verified an old shoulder injury from Air Force days and that the cancer had spread to lymph nodes in my leg. By this time we are heading off to the University of Michigan Cancer Center where a top notch team of surgeons removed the tumors and repaired my heel (a section had to removed). Three surgeon specialists and 4 hours or so in surgery I came out a clean man. Well, that was our prayer!

Six months of healing, pain medications, hobbling around with a walker at first, then crutches, then just being a gimp finally led to walking again and trying to get back into my normal condition – yep it is a new normal. The doctors were wonderful, the nurses terrific and my bride of almost 39 years was absolutely the best caregiver. But then comes the next tube. Called “surveillance” the MRI was scheduled for approximately 6 months after surgery with more to follow every 6 months for a while. I felt like I was back on active duty with a reconnaissance mission to conduct while looking for the bad guys! We prayed that the airstrikes had hit those nasty tumors in August and that we would find no cancer survivor cells.

I arrived late in the afternoon Tuesday at the U of M radiology department for what I thought would be an hour. It turns out “surveillance’ MRIs take a bit longer. I was in the tube for more than 2 hours. Going in the technicians did their preflight, got their gear all set up and the passenger (me) was ready to fly. MRIs are extremely loud and despite being a good crewmember and wearing hearing protection (ear plugs) the constant pounding that the MRI makes quickly gave me a headache. Forced to lie perfectly still is not easy and I was quickly into “my zone”. How to take my mind off the noise and discomfort of lying in an uncomfortable tube with no space (tried to fold my arms over my chest did not work as they would not fit!) was the mission of the hour. I prayed, thought about the family weekend we had just had and then jumped into missions I had flown. Life saving ones in rescue helicopters, long range ones in C-141s/C-17s, short ones training students in T-38s and many more. Time did pass and the mission over, I joined Deb for a late dinner and a well earned break.

We survived the MRI flight but felt completely exhausted. Now we wait! What are the results? Did we get the cancer bad guys in August? Doctors seemed confident but the MRI will confirm. Waiting for anything is hard but for the phone to ring and say you are in remission is a true test! We will find out sometime today (Thursday) but waiting is just hard.




PS: I just enjoyed a book on medical procedures titled "Gray Matter" by Dr. David Levy that was a great read or you might want to share with a friend who is dealing with a medical crisis.






Photo Credits: A C-17 Globemaster III takes off for Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, July 29, 2010, from the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Photo Credit: MilitaryAvenue Author being harassed while waiting for medical tests

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

THIS is a picture of peace - because you can't have peace without turmoil. And we had turmoil. (Read "The Rubberband Effect")

Last night I put my strong-willed, "I will ONLY sleep in your arms", Baby Boy in bed an hour earlier than usual. I turned on his CD player. I kissed his sweet little head and I whispered good-night. For three-minutes he let us know that HE WAS NOT HAPPY! but then... there was silence. Sweet silence. Sweet peace. Sweet "There is a Light at the end of the Tunnel!".

Baby Boy *L*, put himself to sleep. HE did it! Mom and Dad rejoiced! We struggled with the whole CIO (Cry it Out) process. I felt like a failure. Sleep schedule by 4 months old? HA! Here I am an 'experienced mom' and still struggled with my 7-month older. It just didn't seem right.

Let me just tell you that no matter where you are in your "journey of life", I am proof positive, there is light! Hold on to all hope. Look for the silver lining. Stay positive. You'll get there.


Related Articles:
>> Baby Health Tips at Your Fingertips
>> Family Matters Blog: Family Advocacy Launches Safe Sleep Campaign
Back to last night: Baby Boy *L* is fast asleep. It's the first time I have been able to snuggle down before 11pm in 7 months! I turn off the light and then the funny (funny?) thing is I couldn't fall asleep... which got me thinking...

This Lenten season each night after the boys are tucked into bed and I'm enjoying the quiet of the evening, I'm going to very purposefully pray for not only my children, but their future wives. Because I know they are out there and I don't know what they are going through right now but I want them to know they are loved. I hope they know the wonderful Grace-filled Love that I know! I pray that they all know the Hope and the Joy that I have found. It's a whole lot more then just being able to celebrate little boys falling asleep on their own! :)

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Deployment and Finances

Deployment ... Changing of the Guard ... Total upheaval ...

"Change" doesn't even begin to describe what deployment was for my family. I was juggling so many balls while my husband was gone for a year that they could have put me in the circus... (or possibly the funny farm?)

One of those proverbial balls: Finances.

The family budget and bill paying are somethings that my husband does for the family, and he does it well! Bills are paid on time, the budget is allocated correctly, and interest-payments are kept to a minimum. So what was one of my major stresses in the months before and after he left? How was I going to even /remember/ to pay the bills, much more on time and the right amount?

A few tips if you are new to managing the family finances, like I was:

  • Direct Deposit. Don't be left having to run to the bank to deposit your paycheck each payday. Have it automatically deposited.

  • Auto-Bill Pay. Can you pay any bills automatically. Create accounts online with your electric-, garbage-, gas-, telephone-, cable-companies. Have your bills automatically paid each month.

  • Bill Payment Online. Don't worry about having stamps on hand and getting a bill paid in time. Pay through your bank's bill payment program. Banks like USAA have a free program that is easy to use. We use this for items such as preschool tuition or our city-water bill, which didn't have an online option through the payee.

  • Create a budget and stick to it! If you create a budget and have some discretionary spending then there will not be guilt about "splurging" because frankly it isn't splurging. With a budget you don't have to worry about those "auto-bill" payments bouncing. You will save money on credit card interest. Budgeting is the foundation of handling finances while your spouse is deployed.

  • Make sure you are comfortable with your "system." Otherwise, it won't work.

We sat down before he left for Iraq and he showed me his system. We walked through auto-bill pay. We set up recurrent payments to pay each month automatically. We talked about where money should be spent each month. We were in line and in tune, and I was more comfortable, and therefore more confident. It made that ball so much lighter!

What happens when your husband is the spender though? I've heard from several spouses that say they usually do finances but when their soldier, sailor, airman, or marine is deployed he tends to spend money that they don't have. Create two discretionary accounts for both of you. Have a certain amount deposited in each account each paycheck (again, budget, budget, budget). Then he knows how much he has to play with and isn't left guessing how much to play with.

Sit down before he deploys. Make an appointment with each other. Circle it on the calendar. Have a plan and come at it from a team approach. Just get it done. Finances can be /such/ a major stress-point for a couple. Then add the stress of an ocean between you, lack of communication, and just plain too-many-balls-to-juggle and it can only catapult if you aren't in agreement.

Here are some great additional resources if you want some professional advice:



- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Military Spouse Fellowship

Military Spouse Employment. It's a hot issue. Military Spouses as a majority /want/ a job. They want to contribute to the family finances. They want to get out of the house and have a world outside of home-life. I get it!

When you are moving every two years though; it is hard.
When you are dealing with deployment, having to be a temporary-single mom; it is hard.
When you just aren't sure what is out there to help get you on your feet; it is hard.

But military spouses are resourceful and there is help out there! If you enjoy
educating ... counseling ... helping

and you have a knack for finances here is a GREAT opportunity for you!

The FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program:

The FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program gives military spouses the opportunity to earn a career-enhancing credential—the Accredited Financial Counselor® certificate—while providing financial counseling to the military community. The fellowship covers the costs associated with completing the AFC® training and testing.


The application process is open for new fellows; military spouses can apply until April 15, 2011. More information is available at www.SaveAndInvest.org/Military.

Developed by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, a partner in the DoD Financial Readiness Campaign, the program provides fellowship recipients with the education needed to earn the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) designation, providing spouses with ongoing education and the ability to maintain a career despite frequent PCS and other moves.

Spouse fellows in turn help other military families work through financial issues, such as how to create rainy day funds, overcome debt and better prepare for retirement. Accredited spouses serve as financial counselors at family readiness and support centers, credit counseling and tax centers, financial aid offices and credit unions throughout the U.S. and abroad. To date, spouse fellows have logged more than 240,000 hours helping military families reach their financial goals. You can read about graduates and spouses currently in the program here.

You can also read the announcement news release for more information.

We are not entitled. The assistance we are given is a gift. Use your gifts wisely!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Week in Review: February 27 - March 5, 2011 (Military News) #MilitaryMon

Popular Military Family Articles for the week of February 27th - March 5th on

MilitaryAvenue.com:



5 Things to Do With Your Income Tax Refund: Your refund is coming... Your refund is coming! OK, so maybe stealing from Mr. Revere is a bit overdramatic when talking about a potential income tax refund. After all, my message won't change the future of a nation. I am, however, OK with borrowing a bit of his attention-grabbing magic because if you are receiving a tax refund, my refund-management message could literally change the future for you. ...

"Gray Matter": David began his adult life as a car mechanic. Hands on cold gears, engine valves at his fingertips, head down and full pursuit of the fix to a fine running machine. Then he discovered he really wanted to “fix” another body: The Human One! He began his adventure in the medical world as the youngest member of his medical school class and excelled! Deciding on a specialty in neurosurgery he entered the profession in the one of the most intricate and dangerous areas where doctors go during surgery. ...

Tim McGraw Benefit: For the 2nd year, country music star Tim McGraw teamed with Outback Steakhouse for its ''Thanks For Giving'' program which benefits Operation Homefront. ...

MilitaryAvenue Alerts: Are you interested in Military Discounts in your area? Did you know we have numerous companies sign-up to be part of MilitaryAvenue every day? We call them MilitaryAvenue Partners. The Partners can have a free ad on MilitaryAvenue as long as they offer a military-discount to our well-deserving service-members and families. (That's you, military spouses and military members!) It can be hard to keep up with all the new discounts around any given installation so a few months ago we launched the Military Alerts System. ...

Girlfriends: Girl friends. My boys, 5 and 8, chuckle every time I say that word in reference to me. As if a Mom isn't supposed to have girl friends; an outlet, a circle to step inside and be /her/, not mom, wife, house-keeper extraordinaire. I hope that as they grow up they will find the best of guy-friends because friendship is one of those matters that can shape you so intrinsically.Saturday night, for the first time in *many* months, I got to step into my circle. Just me and three extraordinary gals. ...

U.S., Kuwait Mark Gulf War 20th Anniversary: This week marks 20 years since the United States, as part of a 34-nation coalition, drove Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army out of Kuwait, returning that nation to sovereignty and reshaping the U.S. military to the force it is today. U.S. service members will join military members from dozens of other coalition countries tomorrow in a grand military parade through the streets of Kuwait City, in what the Kuwaiti government is calling its country’s “Golden Jubilee.” ...

How to Prepare Your Kids for a Move: Moving is a major life event for adults — and even more so for children. As you plan your move, follow these pointers to help smooth their transition to a new community. Explain why you're moving. As candidly and clearly as possible, let your children know what's prompting the move. Acknowledge their feelings.
It's only natural for your child to feel anxious about a move — after all, you probably are, too. Rather than dismissing their feelings, let them know you understand. ...

March 4 Deadline Nears to Apply for Stop-Loss Pay: Service members, veterans and legally designated beneficiaries held on active duty under the Stop-Loss program between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, must apply by March 4 to receive $500 in special retroactive pay for each month their service was extended. Although more than 100,000 unique claims have been initiated, many people eligible for the pay have yet to apply, officials said. Army officials conducted an extensive outreach plan to notify those eligible for the pay. ...

Understanding and preventing cold weather injuries: Each year, hundreds of Soldiers experience cold weather-related injuries. The responsibility for preventing these injuries is a command and leadership function, as well as a personal responsibility for each Soldier. Exposure to the cold can lead to a variety of problems and while the cold makes military tasks more difficult, it does not make them impossible. ...

Feeding my Brain: Today my son, *C*, jumped on the bus in his PJs. He is heading to school to enjoy a delicious breakfast of Green Eggs and Ham. Dr Seuss week is wrapping up. I just love when education is fun. And Dr Seuss sure is a whole lot of fun.*C*, my energetic, imaginative, prince. He is my second-born and wants SO much to be like his big-brother *E*, two-years older. He gets frustrated when he can't do what his 2nd grade brother does. And sometimes this brings him down.*E* is a top-notch reader. ...





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