Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tuesday's Tips

Balancing Life as a Military Wife and Mother

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Meet my good friend, Katie. Katie and I met as a result of our sons being on the same baseball team. We had an instant connection in that both of our husbands were away on deployment during the majority of the season. She has a very genuine heart and I am proud to call her my friend. You'll walk away inspired as you get a peek inside of her busy life. 

1) Tell us about your family

Jeff and I met 13 years ago right after he had graduated from The Air Force Academy in Colorado Spring. Little did I know that meeting him would lead to us moving all over the United States and even Europe! We have been married for 11 years and have 4 wonderful children. In the 11 years we have moved 7 times, one of the moves was to Germany where we welcomed 2 of our 4 kids. We have 3 boys, ages 10, 5 and 2 months, and 1 daughter who is 7.  

2) How many deployments (stateside & overseas) have you experienced?

We have been fortunate in that Jeff has not deployed as many times as some of our other friends. We have been through 3 deployments and 1 year spent apart in order to keep stability in the kids lives and education. Jeff's deployments have been 2 1/2 months (when our first born was 6 weeks old), 4 months (also during our first borns 1st year of life) and then a 6 month deployment while I was pregnant with our 3rd born. We spent last year apart, when Jeff received a 1 yr assignment stateside, so we elected not move the kids 3 years in a row. It was a tough decision and a tough year but it was right for our family.  

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3) How do you manage to juggle it all? (balancing being a military wife & mother)

I'm not sure how I manage it all. I just take it one day at a time and hope that I'm not forgetting something big like a school project! 

4) What advice would you give to a fellow military wife/mother?

My advice for fellow military wives and mothers is to make the most of each new move and treat it like an adventure. There will be times when the base/area you are moving to is less appealing than others. If you go into the that assignment mad about where you are going you will end up hating it, but if you go into the assignment with an open mind and the willingness to try new things you might just end up loving it! 
I would also advise fellow spouses/wives to get involved whether its at your kids schools, your church, or maybe just finding a great place to workout. This way if your spouse must deploy you have people you can rely on if you need help or just a shoulder to cry on.  

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5) What do you do for fun? (hobbies, etc.)

For fun I enjoy reading and working out. Reading affords me an escape from every day life. I can tune out the kids and focus on the story and for a few minutes forget that the kids are destroying the house. Working out allows me to blow off steam and it gives me time to myself. I also really enjoy traveling, although with a newborn not too much traveling is being done right now. 

Until next time, thank you for stopping by....

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekend In Review

Whew! What an eventful weekend it was. There were so many great things happening. Me and my family have a lot to be thankful for. Friday started with my nephew beginning a new chapter in his life. My nephew was born when I was a freshman in college. It's hard to believe that he's all grown up... He recently made the decision to join the Army and I couldn't be prouder. One of the many things I admire about him is that he's never given up. Andrew didn't take the traditional path, going into a four year college right after graduation. He has many gifts and sometimes our paths take us in many different directions. He is a man of good character, has a generous heart and will make a fine soldier. I can only hope that Seth and Spencer model the character traits that they have seen him exhibit. 

We made the two & half hour drive to watch my son's team win their way into the state playoffs! We didn't arrive back home until after midnight. Needless to say, Friday was a long day...

Saturday morning I found myself home alone again while the men in my family went to deer camp. My oldest son sent me this picture of his little brother's target practice with his first rifle ( a 243 I'm told). Not bad Spencer!

Saturday morning, my mom and I met up with Andrew to celebrate his recent success at one of my favorite brunch spots thecornerlr.com. I absolutely love the friendly staff (see above photo) and the food is delicious!

I indulged in the "Cowboy Breakfast." I felt like I had earned after that long day on Friday!

The Razorbacks redeemed themselves in a mighty way on Saturday night! #wps!

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I'm gearing up for a fun week on next week, especially recognizing some very special veterans in my life.

Until next time, thank you for stopping by.....

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tuesday's Tips

Balancing Life as a Military Mom

Danielle Blackwell

I am honored today to write about my friend, Danielle. With Veterans' Day approaching, I thought it only fitting to feature not only a mom, but a woman who also serves our country. She does this while being an awesome mom to her daughter. Danielle & I met at a church our families previously attended together and I have been fortunate that our paths have crossed again. I am thankful for the connection that we have.

  Tell us about your family
  My family and I are originally from Oakland, CA (except for my granny, she is from Crossett, AR), but we (my mom, sister Jessica my sister Patrice and I) moved here to Arkansas back in December of 1999.  We are a small family somewhat spread out.  My mom still lives in Crossett, while my sisters and two nephews (Malik, age 9 and Kingston age 1) live in Conway.  My 83 year old grandmother and 86 year-old grandfather live in Maumelle and I live in Little Rock with my daughter Alivia (7years old).  Alivia has changed my life! I can't imagine my life without her. She's very intelligent, funny, and full of personality, compassion, love and pure kindness.  She is exactly what I prayed for.

Why did you decide to join the military & at what age did you enlist?

 I had absolutely no intention on joining the military. I always wanted to be an author/broadcast journalist and work for CNN.  So one day while working in the customer service department at my local grocery store, this recruiter approached me about joining the National Guard to pay for my college.  I didn't want the financial burden of college tuition so I said yes! I was twenty five years old when I raised my right hand and swore an oath to our nation and twenty six when I went basic training.

Have you ever been deployed overseas? If so, what was that experience like? Have you been deployed (either stateside or overseas since becoming a mom?
I joined the National Guard in 2001, went to basic training in 2002 and was mobilized to Iraq, to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in February of 2004.  This was the first big mobilization for the Arkansas Guard and I had no idea what to expect.  I knew that I would be safe and protected, but the fear of the unknown weighed heavy on my mind before I went overseas.  My experience was very personal and spiritual.  I began to mature in my faith, grow as a Soldier and a young woman and had the opportunity to look at life through an entirely different lens. I made friends and developed bonds that were strong.  My family was very supportive. Both biological and church.  I received letters and care packages all the time.  I have not been deployed since being a mom.

 How do you balance motherhood & full-duty service?
Balancing motherhood and full-time duty has its challenges, but I do not do it alone.  I have a strong support system with my grandparents.  They keep my daughter whenever I work late hours or weekends, pick her up and take her to school... you name it they do it!  However, I utilize what I call the 4 Ps:

1.    PRAY- .Pray  for guidance and wisdom
2.    PLAN-  Plan my days ahead
3.    PREPARE- Prepare for my days ahead
4.    PROCEED- Proceed with the plan. These principles work at home and on the job!

What advice do you have for other military moms?
My advice to military moms is to first be centered in who you are. As women, we wear so many different hats, we often lose our identity.  So in essence, a strong sense of self-awareness is vital.  Also, I am learning to "be in the moment" with my daughter; to be completely present in my mind and energy when I am in her presence.  It's easy to pick up our children from school or come home with "work funk" on us, so I try my best to rid myself of it! Lastly, take a day off to RESET! Sometimes our internal "Surge Protector "goes haywire and we just need to take a moment and push the RESET button!!  

Until next time, thank you for stopping by....