Saturday, December 24, 2011

So Grateful

Roundtrip ticket home $700

Having my Sexy Beast home for Christmas: PRICELESS

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza and every other holiday this time of year! Take the time to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, and keep the true meaning of Christmas alive!

My laptop died, and with the holiday shopping, everyone is sold out, so bare with me until I get a new one!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Give 'em the pickle!!

When I was starting orientation for my current employer, back in May, we had to watch a video entitled, "Give 'em the pickle." The title catches your attention, but so does the content. The short explanation was a customer always asked for an extra pickle and had always received one without any charge, but one day a new employee refused & wanted to charge the customer for the extra pickle. The customer was infuriated and wrote a letter to the owner, Bob Farrell, who wrote back & started the catch phrase "Give 'em the pickle."

The principle is simple, if going the extra mile causes a small loss in profit BUT satisfies the customer, DO IT! Keeping customers happy is what keeps them coming back.

Today, more than any other day, I wish this video was part of the AAFES employment orientation. Commissary shopping with the boys is one of my very LEAST favorite things to do. That being said, I've found that if I go to Charlies (in the PX food court) and get them fries (which come in a paper cup), they stay almost completely preoccupied during my grocery shopping and it is a better experience for everyone. I always order a regular fry, costing $1.99, and ask for an extra cup so I can split it between both boys & the can hold them on their own. I've done this at numerous fast food places, and have never had a problem. Well today, there was an employee in line behind me and as I asked for an extra cup, she says to the employee behind the counter, "she can have a paper tray." I turned around and looked at her and said, "I just want a cup so my kids can hold the fries without spilling them," to which she replied (with a head whip) talking too fast to comprehend fully, but that those cups cost more money than the trays, so if I wanted another cup, I would have to order more fries. The confused girl behind the counter gave me a tray and I walked to the other end of the counter to some other employees and said, "All I want is a stupid cup, how much do I have to pay for an empty cup?" They were also confused and a girl went over and grabbed a plastic water cup and gave it to me. I said thanks & turned to the employee in line and said, "was that really so hard?"

I normally have an exuberant amount of patience for poor customer service, but COME ON! To those few military wives that read my blog, I'm sure you can attest to the continued poor customer service at EVERY commissary, PX, BX, or NEX. I rarely find an employee that doesn't act like I'm disturbing them if I ask a question. My favorite is when I have to stand there waiting, while they finish up their personal conversation with another employee or on the phone. The only exception to this is the baggers at the commissary. They almost always are polite and go the extra mile because they know their positive attitude reflects directly on the tip they receive from the customer (since they work ONLY for tips).

I really try to keep this concept in mind at work, especially when dealing with people on the worst day of their life. I always bring an extra popsicle/juice/crackers for the patients siblings or parents. It's the little things that can make a bad situation more tolerable.

So, was I overreacting or making a point? I'm still debating that one.

Medicare reimbursement is becoming contingent on patient customer satisfaction surveys, and many hospitals (especially Emergency Departments) are getting poor ratings.

So here's some facts to consider before you head to the ED. The National average waiting time (just in the waiting room) is 4 hrs. You aren't seen in the order in which you arrive, you're seen by the severity of your issue. If your child has a fever, give them medicine BEFORE you get to the hospital (and know what medicine you gave) since you may be waiting awhile to see a Dr. And, seeing as it is an EMERGENCY department, be kind to your never know WHY they haven't been in your room in almost an hour. When you have a patient that isn't breathing, it kind of trumps an ear ache.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spending time with my boys

We were lucky enough that Eric was able to take a short trip home before heading off to his next school! We planned a short vacation to Williamsburg and had a pretty good time, aside from the melt downs.

Since active duty get one free visit to Busch Gardens, we knew that was definitely on our list. Eric and I didn't ride any adult rides, but we had fun watching the boys run around and even ride the kiddie version of Blast Off & Re-entry. Eric saw the face painting and said he wanted to pick something out for Carter. I agreed as long as I got to pick out Coopers.

Here is Carter

Here is Cooper

Here is Eric's punishment for his choice

As we walked through the park the boys both finally fell asleep in the stroller, which brought on the funniest and most disturbing comments...mostly "awwww, look at the dead baby!" Most people laughed & pointed (especially since we also had the backpack leashes), and a few gave dirty looks. I thought it was great, and since Busch Gardens was celebrating the 13th year of Hallo-Scream, it was very fitting!

The boys didn't do as well with the Ripley's Museum or Colonial Williamsburg, so we found Inflation Nation (which was just bought out by Bounce House) and the boys spent two hours running & sliding.

Except for where we stayed, Wyndham Govenor's Green, it was a great time. Eric and I have had timeshare through Wyndham for the past 6 years and we have never been treated so poorly, which all centered around having children under the age of 2. So, if you're looking for timeshare, don't go with Wyndham. We're actually looking into selling all together!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I've been writing this post in my mind for the past 2 weeks

As many of you know, my father was diagnosed with Brain Cancer last October. He had surgery to remove it soon after and was being treated with chemo & radiation. This event prompted my involvement in Relay for Life & to go see him back in January.

Many events have occurred since then, but none as emotional as the last two weeks.

Saturday, Sept 10th:
My Dad's wife, Ginny, sent me a text to call her when I could. I had the pleasure of bonding with Ginny when they came to visit me in Hawaii, and when visiting my Oma in Montana. She called to let me know that my Dad's mobility had continued to deteriorate & that he was going to be placed in a Nursing Home to get Physical Therapy in hopes of gaining enough strength to come home soon.

I cried when I got off the phone because he had slowly lost more and more strength with the long term steroid use, as treatment, and it was another reminder that his body was failing him.

Monday, Sept 12th:
I received a phone call from my Mother informing me that my father had been admitted to the hospital, and the cancer had spread. I was stunned & immediately called Ginny. My father has always been a man of few words, and NEVER complained, so when he started to voice his pain, Ginny immediately got him to the ER. There they discovered he had a raging UTI & kidney infection & admitted him for treatment. After getting his full history, they decided to do a CT...which is when they discovered that tumors were present in every organ. My heart sank. I called his RN, and made sure that I had enough time to get there.

Tuesday, Sept 13th:
Dad said he wanted to go home & be with his dogs, so Ginny made arrangements for Hospice & the VA, and got him home. I called work, hysterical, and told them that I was leaving immediately, but would be back in 8 days. My SIL had just arrived Saturday, with her adorable son (who is 3 weeks younger than the boys) and selflessly offered to watch the boys so I could focus on what I needed to.

Wednesday, Sept 14th:
After 3 planes & 8 hours, I made it to Tucson. My GPS decided it didn't recognize Arizona, so I somehow found my way to my hotel, picked up a new GPS, then headed to my Dad's house. Up until Monday, I hadn't been aware of my Dad's blindness, and was unprepared for the state I found him. He laid in the hospital bed (which the VA was kind enough to supply), and was only able to answer with a simple "yes" or "no." Ginny put me right to work helping feed him, and at that time I was thankful he couldn't see the tears streaming down my face. I could see that he didn't have much time left, but I was eternally grateful to be at his side.

Thursday & Friday, Sept 15 & 16th:
Hospice provided us with a portable suction, since his ability to swallow was limited & he continued to choke on anything we gave him. We gave the meds as prescribed, made sure he was clean, and positioned him as best we could. During this time I was able to help Ginny make arrangements for his wishes.

My younger sister emailed me a letter that she wanted me to read to him. I read it many times in hopes that I wouldn't break down, but I couldn't help cry as I read the touching words of an appreciate daughter.

As I said, my Father was a simple man, and he wanted to donate his body to science. This service is offered by Science Care, and they contract a mortuary, and after about 3-4 weeks, the cremation remains are mailed back to the family.

By Friday night his breathing had become more labored & fast...and I tried to prepare myself. Ginny didn't leave his side for more than a few minutes to help with the kids or help me organize papers. She talked to him & played his favorite Oldies in the background.

Saturday, Sept 17th:
He breathing stayed fast & labored throughout the day, and by the evening he was no longer responding. I continued to give him Morphine which slowly seemed to ease his breathing. I continued to sit at the kitchen table reading one of the many books I brought, while Ginny stayed at his side.

Every night on the drive back to the hotel, I cried. I cried for the pain he was in, the loss I already was feeling, and the pain in Ginny's eyes.

Sunday, Sept 18th:
We continued with out routine, although he could no longer take anything by mouth, and I could hear his lungs begin to fill with fluid. I continued with the morphine and keeping his as comfortable as possible. I helped with the kids & anything else to allow Ginny to be at his side.

Monday, Sept 19th:
His arms and legs started to get cold, and his breathing more and more shallow. I finally realized that no matter how well I positioned him with pillows, in the end it didn't matter.

That night before I left for the hotel, I grabbed his hand, told him I loved him & kissed him on his forehead. He had been resting quietly all day, but I could feel him slipping away. I cried horribly on the way back to the hotel & when I got into my room. I stepped into the shower & prayed that he would pass before I had to leave on Wednesday, so I could be there to support Ginny.

As soon as I stepped out of the shower, Ginny called to tell me he had passed. I went into fix-it mode & threw on my PJ's & headed back to their house. I sat on the porch with Ginny until the Hospice RN arrived to pronounce him, & until the mortuary came to pick him up.

She told me stories & conversations she had with him, and we both held each other and cried.

Tuesday, Sept 20th:
We tied up loose ends & Ginny & I made a trip out to the Air Force Base to get some things fixed & go to the commissary. This allowed us a lot of time to talk & was just what we needed.

That afternoon I realized what I needed. I gave the kids hugs, thanked Danny for all his help, and said my goodbyes to Ginny. I headed back to my hotel room and just simply cried. I had been ignoring text messages and phone calls all week because I honestly couldn't allow myself to talk or I would have never been strong enough to help Ginny. I talked with Eric for almost 2 hours and then cried some more. Just before bed I walked to Denny's & ate dinner in a restaurant, by myself for the first time ever.

Wednesday, Sept 21st:
I left for the airport at 3:30am and was headed back home. Finally at 8:00pm, I arrived back in North Carolina, and was greeted by a smile & hug from E.J. (old Army friend from HI) who was compassionate enough to give me a ride home.


I'm still sad. I'm still hurting. But, I am eternally grateful for the time I was able to spend with my Father, doing those Nursing skills that have become second nature for me. I'm grateful that I could be there as a physical and emotional support to Ginny and the family. At first she apologized for being a bad hostess, but I quickly corrected her and let her know that if my husband was in the same state, I would also be at his side, every moment I could.

Please forgive my absence for the awhile, I'm emotionally drained and physically exhausted.

I want to thank all my family and friends for their kind words, and actions. My SIL, Nicole, was so accurate in saying that God has a plan...and there was a reason for her to arrive when she did. And, Amy S. for not hesitating to volun-tell her husband, who was more than willing, to give me a ride home. And especially husband & brother, Mike, who were really the only people I knew I could call at any hour to discuss what was going on and pour out my emotions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Too cute!

As you all know, I don't get freebies from companies, or give in to the many emails asking me to review products in exchange for free stuff. That's just not how I roll. But, I do love to share things that I LOVE. So, here's another!

Leann, from Lulu's Little Shop, makes these adorable owl hats. I'd seen them on a military wife auction & wanted them so bad, but I'm on a budget & had to wait til the time was right. As you can see, the boys adore them...

...or at least Carter does :o) (he's the one that ALWAYS has some kind of hat on)

Her prices are VERY reasonable, and she can do whatever color and/or combos you want. She is super friendly & they arrived within a week!

So, go show her some love! HERE is her FB page, and HERE is her Etsy page.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pay It Forward

This morning I received a text from my sister asking if I still had my breast pump because she had a girl at work that was in desperate need of baby items. Since my mother bought me the pump I thought it was only fair to call and ask her permission. What she said has sparked an idea..."of course, pay it forward!"

I have been so blessed with friends and family that recognized the needs I had, in preparing for the twins, and stepped in to help me get the items I so desperately needed. AND, who have continued to send me clothes and other items when times were especially tough.


I've been going through all the baby stuff & I have BINS of clothes (since it was for 2) that I want to give to someone YOU know that could really benefit from it. But remember, I only have BOY items from ages 0-18mo and shoes up to size 6.

So, email me at: way2cool2bcocky (at) gmail (dot) com
Tell me about the person you have in mind & why.

Also, email me if you have something you would like to donate such as: gift card, items you make (I will be sure to link to your etsy/business page), or items you are trying to get rid of that are still in excellent condition.

I only have a small network of people, but I know you guys probably have someone in mind.

Once I get all the nominations, I'll post a voting poll on the Right column for everyone to vote on.
As of now I don't know how many winners they'll be (it depends on if anyone else donates & the ages of the babies), but I plan on a few. I'm going to go with the flat rate boxes, since it'll be cheapest for me, so I'm guessing at least 5 people.

I'll post the nominees on August 30th, and leave one week for voting.

Also, as people donate other items (come on, you know you want to) I'll update this post if anyone wants to donate girl things.

Help me get the word out to find some nominees & donors!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So...I think my neighbors are making Meth

(**this is NOT the actual neighbor. Retreived from Google Image**)

If they aren't making meth, they are doing something illegal! There house is the same layout as mine, yet there are always at least 4 different vehicles (all VERY nice) parked there. They have black plastic blocking out all their windows & at least 10 LARGE dogs.

I first got suspicious when we originally looked at this house. Seeing that they parked cars in their driveway & their yard I could tell they were classy. Also in their front yard they had a BBQ grill, riding lawn mower, a bijillion kids toys (to include power wheels) and trash all over their patio. (Yet I get hate mail about weeds in my flower beds??)

Another one of my favorite antics are how they use their backyard to drive laps in their 4-wheelers. Sorry, is this something that everyone does?

In the past I've found her dogs running the neighborhood, in the 100+ degree heat, which I knock & ring the doorbell for over 5 minutes (which there are at least 3 cars there).

Today, Koa started going crazy in the kitchen. I walk over to see what he's barking at find one of their dogs on the other side of my sliding glass door. I'd encountered this dog before, on one of his many outings in the neighborhood, so I knew he was friendly, but it was the principle! I walked next door and knocked & rang the door bell every 30 seconds until someone finally came to the front door. I informed her that her dog was in my backyard to which she says, "wow, I'm so sorry." But that was it. I said, "can you come get him?" She says "oh yeah." I start walking back to my house (while avoiding the landminds her dogs leave in BOTH our front yards) and wait, and wait, and wait, until finally she sends her daughter over to get the dog.

Also, it's never the same cars parked there. Or the same men that sit on the front porch & smoke (and make out with one of the regulars). Also, the other day I went outside to put the trash out at 0530 and see people getting into cars and also people just arriving and leaving their cars.

I'm I super paranoid because I'm not a fan of theirs, or should I really be worried that my bedroom is the closet room to their case of explosion?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pulling my head out of the sand

Living in an Army community is unlike any other experience you could imagine. For the first 5 years of our marriage we were immersed in all things Army. But, the last 5 years we spent 30 miles outside of an Air Force base. Eric drove 20 miles of dirt road to work each day, and unless you lived on Camp Rudder, the Army was just something in the back of your mind. Eric was non-deployable at that location because it was TRADOC (Military Training), so I didn't focus or worry about his safety as much...except for jumping out of airplanes & helicopters.

Over the past 2 years, I've once again had to face the reality of being an Army wife.

It was all too real when I was contacted by an old friend to let me know one of our fellow Gimlet wives lost her husband just 3 weeks after their third child was born.

And then again when a new Army wife called, with a quiver in her voice, asking if there was any OTHER reason why two uniformed soldiers were approaching her neighbors house.

And when I had a patient's mother ask about my bracelet, which honors John D. Amos II, and then shows me hers in honor of her brother who was killed last year.

And now, as I read about the 31 soldiers that were killed in Afghanistan, my heart breaks once again. It breaks every time I read about a soldier paying the ultimate sacrifice, and I cry for the family they leave behind.

Although I'll never personally know most of these brave men & women, I love them for their courage and selfless sacrifice.

The Military, as a whole, is a family. And we truly do mourn the loss of every Soldier, Airman, Marine & Sailor. You are never forgotten!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tip of the Hat & Wag of the Finger

Okay, I totally stole this concept from the Great Stephen T. Colbert, but it's for a great cause! Since starting my new job I've come in contact with more people than I could have ever imagined. And in doing that, there are a few things I'd like to point out.

A Tip of the Hat to...

parents that know what medications (and dosages) their children are taking...and what times they take them.

parents that understand that we have their child's best interest at heart. I've yet to meet a nurse that won't question an order if they truly feel there's a better way for the child.

parents that care about their kids & show compassion when needed.

parents that truly attempted to make a doctor's appointment or get a referral to urgent care before coming straight to the ER.

parents that allow the staff to bribe their children with popsicles.

parents that know their limits & will either step out or stay talk with their child or help distract them during a procedure.

A Wag of the Finger to...

parents that bring their child to the ER for a fever, but don't own a thermometer or fail to try to medicate their child for said "fever."

parents who's children have SEVERE life-threatening allergies to medicine or food, yet don't have an allergy alert bracelet on their child. This is a pet peeve of mine!! Do you really want to run the risk of someone accidently giving your child a medicine or food that could kill them! There are a million different options for bracelets, anklets or even necklaces so ANYONE can clearly see your child has an allergy.

people who state their allergy to morphine is "it makes me tired." Really...really??

people who come to the ER to get a prescription for tylenol or motrin (b/c medicare/medicaid pays for it), yet they are carrying a Coach diaper bag.

parents who bring their kid to the ER for an ear ache, but complain about the wait time. If anyone is unaware, the patients in the ER are not seen in order of arrival, they are seen in order of who is the most sick/unstable/needs the most procedures.

All that being said, I really do love my job!! I'm learning so much & getting exposed to so many different people, which is always great.

What do you love & what would you change about your job?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Some people have too much time on their hands

Dear Nosey Neighbor,

I realize that you must have too much time on your hands if you felt the need to notify my property manager (which I'm assuming you did b/c you know the owner...or you are just THAT nosey) that "although [my] lawn is being mowed, the flower beds are in need of weeding."


Did you ever think that I might only have 1-2 hrs on my days off that I can manage to mow my lawn (while the boys are napping)!!

I'm not saying that I didn't need to pull some weeds, but thanks for ignoring the VACANT house next door that I was mowing their front yard because, you know, it's the NEIGHBORLY thing to do.

Whatever. Be a wimp.

Oh, and in case you weren't aware, YOU SUCK!

The Geographical Single Mom,



So, for the followers I have left, I've been a little busy. Eric was able to come home for 30 days, and I chose to spend that time with him...and unpacking...and pulling weeds.

We were able to spend our birthdays & 10 year anniversary together. It amazes me how far we've come over the last decade!!

Oh, and I got a new car....a car I've always my favorite color!!!

Meet the Mini Cooper S Countryman!!She is a thing of beauty, and drives like a go kart!
I want to give a HUGE shout out to Alan @ Flow Mini in Raleigh for his extreme patience as I test drove 4 different Mini's and working out the trade in for my Honda. All the staff were amazing & everyone had such a positive attitude!!! I'm loving my new car, and Eric can comfortably fit too!!

Work has been great. I'm learning a TON, but I'm also spending most of my time studying for numerous certifications. I'm off orientation the second week in August & I'm excited, but also scared. I'll talk more about that later.

For the few readers I still have left, thanks for sticking around. More help is headed my way in September and should be around until Eric is finally able to be with us again next spring. I am stalking without commenting, but I do try to drop a line every once in awhile.

I hope everyone is having a great summer, and I have a great post brewing about some tips on how NOT to be a moronic parent! Stay tuned!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

It gets easier...right??

Wouldn't you be grumpy if you had to be woken up while sleeping like this??

I love my religion, but going to church has become a battleground.

The boys are NOT fans of sitting for 3 hrs, so I've backed it off to just the 1st hour, but it seems like that is too much! They wrestle with me & each other, throw their toys, bother EVERYONE around us and nothing seems to keep their interest.

And until they become afternoon nappers, which would screw with my sleeping schedule during the week, they end up with a short, or non-existent nap time. Makes for very unhappy kiddos.

It's slightly easier for me (not necessarily them) when I can sit with my brother & his family, but that isn't always an option. And our chapel is tiny with very few pews, and I've learned that sitting in the chairs just isn't an option.

Their going to grow out of this, right??

What toys/distractions have worked for your kids at this age (15 months), to keep them entertained???

In better news, Cooper is now sleeping until about 6am!!! I'll take it. I think that spending at least 30 minutes outside in the heat, and keeping them busy during the day has helped. AND, they may have just needed this time to get into their own routine. Although Eric just left again, we look forward to him making an appearance in time for my birthday at the end of the month, his in July, and our 10 yr anniversary a few days after that!.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Giveaway winner & SO much more

After only 11 entries, it was a pretty even playing field. And the winner is...


Congrats to my #1 PIMP! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!!

Send me your mailing address to way2cool2bcocky(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll get it sent out this week...hopefully ;o)

And, here is the latest torture we've made the boys survive.

(I think Carter looks like Jack Jack from the Incredibles!!)

I think it turned out cute, and it always makes people laugh. Yes, there have been a few that give me a scowl or stink eye, but they can suck it!!! It's hair, it grows back! And, if anyone can pull it off, a 1 yr old can :o)

What have you done to your kids/furbabies that shock people??

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Come join the fun!

The AMAZING Jessica G. is hosting a True Colors Swap on her blog & I'm so excited to finally participate!

I've been super busy lately, and subsequently, super unhappy. I realized I wasn't taking the time to do the things that I love! I haven't been blogging or reading as much, so that is why I was so excited that Jessica put together this swap! I wanted to participate last year, but LIFE come join us & maybe you'll get a kick-A package from you KNOW it will be good :o)


Don't forget to enter my Giveaway!!! It ends midnight, May 30th!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Bitter Is The New Black" GIVEAWAY!!!

Let me start by saying I have two seriously Kick-A little sisters! With months of whining, threatning to disown, and begging subtle hints, these two fabulous ladies waiting in line for 2 hrs to not only get me a signed copy of Jen Lancaster's first novel, "If You Were Here," but they also got a signed copy of her first memoir "Bitter Is The New Black" so I could give it away to one of my fabulous readers!

Here is my original review.

So, the rules...hmmmmm...

You don't have to be a public follower, because I track you with sitemeter anyway!

Leave one comment per entry

1 entry
  • Comment on one of my last 5 posts (if you already have, you ROCK, and leave a comment stating "I'm a Pimp!")
  • Start following Jen Lancaster's blog (honor system!)

2 Entries
  • Blog about this giveaway (leave url)
  • Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook

This giveaway will close Monday, May 30th @1159 EST

Good Luck!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A guest post by Taylor Darden

I received an email from Taylor last month asking if she could write a guest post on my blog. I was skeptical at first, and was honestly expecting some kind of spam (which is what I usually get), but she demonstrated a true compassion for spreading awareness about issues facing our American Soldiers!


Supporting Our Soldiers After Service
by Taylor Darden

Many military families remember the days when their spouses return home as being some of the best memories. Most of these families will continue on being happy afterwards, but for some families, helping their spouses adjust with illness and sickness can be an extremely tough situation. The difficulty involves the fact that a number of these health problems happen to be more mental than physical issues.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common types of health problems for soldiers in post-duty times. It’s also an extremely hard problem to diagnose. Even with high awareness of the disorder’s prevalence in soldiers, it can be difficult to diagnose because many soldiers are often embarrassed or ashamed to admit that they may have PTSD. It’s important for families to take notice of any odd behavior like depression, apathy, and mood swings that may be common with PTSD. For the many soldiers who suffer from PTSD, a solid support system and cognitive therapy are two of the biggest helpers in their coping process.

Along with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is often regarded as being highly tied to military service. This is usually a result of a physical harm or trauma on the frontline, which ends up causing some long term issues. One of the reasons TBI has been called the signature wound of the War on Terror is because the violent vibrations caused by roadside bombs can hit soldiers with such force that the shockwave alone can cause a TBI by rattling their head about in their helmet. Any type of blurred vision, dizziness or balance issues, as well as trouble with memory and erratic mood swings after service can be recognizable symptoms and key in diagnosing a case of TBI. As with most health issues, the earlier those symptoms are recognized, the better the chances are of preventing any type of further damage to the brain.

Another major issue for older and younger veterans is mesothelioma. This is a health risk associated with exposure to asbestos, a commonly used material throughout the past 100 years (oftentimes on bases and shipyards). Although it’s not being used anymore, the health problems related to asbestos don’t develop right away, making an early diagnose crucial in helping these patients. Mesothelioma life expectancy is usually only a year on average, making early awareness and realization even more important than with most health problems. Often times these patients may require the help of care givers (often family members or spouses). Currently, mesothelioma is treated with combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, although to little avail. If it is caught early enough however, mesothelioma tumors can be surgically removed leading to a much higher rate of survival, making it important for veterans to take note of extremely subtle symptoms like a difficulty breathing and heaviness in the chest.

It’s very unfortunate that that some of these military families are forced to undergo even more stress and difficulty in their lives. In the end, increased knowledge, awareness, and overall support from family and friends will only help to provide our soldiers the best situation possible.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't unfollow me yet!!

So, I'm in North Carolina, but life sure has thrown a few curve balls my way these past few weeks!

Cooper has decided that he doesn't need to sleep...pretty much ever. He is waking up every 2 hrs at night and is only taking about a 45 min nap. This wouldn't be so bad if Eric had arrived when we originally planned.

He was supposed to join me after two weeks, but on his last day (and his last jump) he had a less than desirable landing and ended up breaking his wrist, which had to be repaired via surgery.

He made it up a week late, and now can no longer attend his scheduled class in Arizona, and has to go back to Florida for an undetermined amount of time...waiting for his wrist to heal & then another class date & even possibly another duty station.

I started orientation and am LOVING the new hospital!!! They are 3 times larger than the one I used to work at, and I'm super excited to work in the Pediatric ED.

So, with all the stress & frustration, I've found one thing to be grateful for...I can wear ANY color shoes I want! And this is what I chose:
Don't you love them!! I have great plans to graffiti them out with signatures & my own wicked style.

I also have some great news! I have some AMAZING sisters that hooked me up, and coincidentally, will have hooked up one lucky reader. Yes, you read that right, I'm going to do a giveaway! A real one :o)

So, stay posted, don't unfollow me, and to give you an idea of how busy I've nanny worked almost 50 hrs last week! Hopefully things will slow down once I hit the floor & get on a normal schedule.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Do you live next door to Bree?

Where does the REAL Bree Van DeKamp live?? Because she obviously isn't in North Carolina...that or she was too busy to notice I moved in down the street! Where's my basket of homemade muffins & scones? Where's my invitation to afternoon poker? Who's house do I go to for the latest gossip? Desperate Housewives has totally ruined my expectations for neighbors. My new FAVORITE next door neighbor has a front yard full of toys, lets their dog poop in my side yard, drives their 4 wheelers in their backyard, has 4 enormous dogs (that bark at all hours), and has 2 campers in their backyard. Where is Bree when you need her??

We had the opportunity to live at our last duty station for 5 1/2 years, so I'm a little out of practice when it comes to moving. We've also been very fortunate to find tenants for our homes in FL!!

We were able to find a place to rent when we visited a few weeks ago, and the move has actually gone pretty smoothly. Minus the tornado warnings! I've already picked out the closet that the boys, Koa and I will hid in (if necessary) and have began to plan my 72hr kit (which is packed and on it's way here).

Our drive up was uneventful, which is always a good thing, and we were able to transport most of the boys things. I'm making it work until the rest of our household goods arrive, and Eric is staying with some friends while he finishes up in FL.

The great thing about living close to family is that I had an extra pair of hands at church today...even if we only made it through the first block hour. Planning nap times & lunch around 1pm church is going to take some getting used to.

I've found a nanny, and she's coming over for a few hours everyday this week so the boys can get used to her before I start the 12 hr shifts. I literally jumped for joy & squealed when I received the official offer to work in the Pediatric ED. This is such an amazing learning opportunity for me, and it's guaranteed hours.

So far I've only had 2 major tear-filled meltdowns since Eric left on Tuesday...but the boys are starting to get back on a schedule. At least Carter is. Cooper still doesn't want to sleep through the night, and if I let him cry for more than 20 seconds he'll get himself so worked up (not to mention, wake Carter up) that he pukes.

I know I've been scarce, but I'm still around. I honestly don't know how I could have survived this past week without my brother & my Kick-A SIL! He even came over and mowed my front lawn (the back is so big we need a riding mower), and they watched the boys Monday so Eric and I could get all the last minute stuff we needed before he had to leave in the morning.

This summer is gonna suck without Eric, but at least I have family close by! This is a true luxury in the Army, so Michelle, get ready to be sick of me!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


One thing I have NEVER been is graceful. I frequently trip over my own two feet, and am personally surprised I made it through the pregnancy without serious injury!

To add to my clumsiness, I usually see it coming. I'll go to pour something, and a split second before I make a huge mess, I literally see how I'm going to spill...but there's no stopping me by that point.

So, in an attempt to prevent more accidents, I always try to keep my main walking area in the house clear of clutter.

In preparing for the move we are a little more cluttered than normal and our vacuum, which happens to be a metal Kirby, was in my way. Now, when I say in my way, I mean within 3 ft radius of me, because I'm just that clumsy.

I catch my feet on things all the time, but this time was different. The pain didn't go away, and it bruised right away and got very swollen. I buddy-taped it with two other toes and took some Motrin.

Two days later it's still sporting a nice bruise:

But, it isn't nearly as painful!

What irritated me the most is about two seconds after I grabbed my foot in pain and screamed obscenities grimaced in pain, my husband said, "be careful!" I gave him the look of death and said, "REALLY?"

I've never understood the point of saying "be careful" "watch your step" or "did that hurt", other than to point out to the clumsy person that they are a moron & klutz. What do you think??

**PS: I may or may not have painted my toenail after taking the initial picture and realizing I might scare young children if I left my disgusting feet as is.

Friday, April 15, 2011

One last plug! **UPDATED**

The Relay for Life event is in 3 days, and I'm 81% to my goal, $65 away!! You can make an online donation as small as $10!!

I want to do some HUGE thank you's to those that have already donated!

Carolyn, you were the first one to donate, then you joined the team, competed in a 5K with me, and have never stopped supporting me!! Love ya girlie!!

Desiree, I have seen you grow leaps & bounds in the past two years, and am SO proud of the beautiful young lady you have become!

Annette, I'm eternally grateful to you for raising such an amazing son, that has been a wonderful husband and stellar father! Thanks for always believing in me!

Mary Cullen, my co-worker who knows my passion and never hesitated to show her support!

Nicole, I'm so grateful to have you in my life!! I love our conversations & take joy in seeing your life grow with Peter & my adorable nephew Malachi!

Vanessa, my wife/nursing school buddy, your continued support in every endeavor I taken on is not unnoticed. You are my ROCK!

Michelle, my ROCKIN' SIL who endures talking to me, even though she hates talking on the phone, and has been generous enough to allow me to move within 3 miles of her!

Jeannie, my fellow Kick-A Army wife, I can always look to you for a smile, sympathetic ear, or even a great laugh! Hoooah sista!

I made my goal!!!

I big thanks to Yohanna G., Jacqueline L., Carolyn (for your donation in Nik's name), David C., & Vanessa C.

I was literally brought to tears when I saw the generosity of so many of my family & friends. You all knew how important it was to me...and you supported me! Thank you really can't express my gratitude. You ALL rock!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WARNING: Mad Skilz Ahead

So we've been working A LOT on getting the outside of the house looking good so we can post a picture for the listing. We have 3, yes THREE, full grown oak trees on our property, which makes for a lot of leaves.

We invested in a leaf blower awhile ago, which made Eric's job easy...but somehow I ended up having to pick up all the leaves (he's having pretty bad sciatic pain...which I can totally relate I wanted to do my part). He also pressure washed the outside of the house & it looks ten times better!

Here's the pile of bags that I had the pleasure of least what I could get done during nap time & when Eric got home from work!

I also trimmed the bushes by the front door, pulled weeds, laid the edging & planted flowers. For those that have been to my house in the last six months, you know what an undertaking this was! The pile of limbs that I took off the bushes was bigger than what was left! These bushes were literally touching our rain gutters before I began!

Then it was off to the backyard where decided to plan azaleas along the back fence line because there was NOTHING there...and it only gets indirect sunlight.

And, with the help of Miss Molly, who I ran into while shopping at Lowe's, I picked these hanging baskets to put in this corner.

So, my lack of blogging hasn't been because I didn't want to!! We've got a lot still left to do before I leave in less than two weeks.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I think everyone needs a good laugh!

With all the crap going on right now, I felt it was my responsibility to share something that made me laugh so hard I almost cried.


It's all pretty good, but the if you want to get to the good stuff, start watching at 5:14.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's all happening so fast!

Last month the boys celebrated their 1st birthday!! I only invited a few friends over, that have truly become more like family, and we ate & watched the boys devour their cupcakes! Here is the practice cake I made...I forgot to take a picture of the one I made for the actual pretty much looks the same!



The boys with their cupcakes



The fam


Sorry about being so MIA lately, but the move is progressing a lot faster than we originally planned! We made a trip to NC this past week to do a little house hunting, and of course we fell in love with the second to last house we looked it. It's the right price, and only 3 miles away from my brother & his family!!

We got back Sunday night and have spent almost every waking moment preparing our current house to get on the rental market. Has anyone ever heard of It is a great, FREE, website for military families to list their rentals!!

Because of availability, I'll be leaving FL on the 24th (the day after my last day of work), and waiting there for Eric to finish all his schooling in Arizona. Please keep your fingers crossed that I'll be able to find a good job & childcare! I have a phone interview tomorrow!!!

Although I'm super excited to be moving back to NC & being near family...I think I'm going to put the cold weather on notice. I'll definitely miss the warm weather here, but I think my allergies will thank me for the move!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh Eric...really??

So, Eric makes it his personal mission to embarrass me, a job at which he takes much pleasure in.

Since we've had kids it's gotten much worse. Whenever he watches the boys he purposefully mis-matches their clothes, and/or makes them have crazy hair.

With the boys camo-themed first birthday (photos to come later) I got some fake tattoos, and have regretted that decision since. Eric has since taken every chance he can to put them on the boys.

First, I asked him to get the boys dressed for their Dr. appointment. Later that night I undressed Carter to get him in ready for bed and found this:
I have to admit I laughed hysterically at first, but then wondered what the Dr. thought since she never said anything about it!

Then, last night we had some very fussy boys, and I occupied one while Eric got the other one dressed in PJs. I came to regret this decision. Right after they were asleep Eric started giggling and said that if the babysitter calls me at work tomorrow that I shouldn't be alarmed. Unfortunately, I knew what was coming.

This is what I found this morning:

Carter with a rank & tank tramp stamp

AND Cooper with a Tank on his leg...AND rank on both arms

If it didn't make me laugh so hard, I'd be mad.

What does your significant other do to embarrass you??

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I *Heart* My Army Wife Life!

That phrase ("I Love My Army Wife Life") is one of my many mantras. When I start to get frustrated with another "hurry up & wait" situation the military presents us, I try to stop and think how lucky I am.

I have been thinking about this A LOT lately. As we start to prepare the house for the rental market, I had a conversation with one of my main homies, Molly, & we started to discuss what would happen when I had to move. We resolved there would be a huge production of "ugly crying" (face red, eyes swollen, runny nose)...and I honestly started to tear up just thinking about it. I'm super excited to start our journey at our next duty station, but I'm so sad to leave so many amazing people behind.

In all the "bad" that comes from being a military wife, I've been afforded so many opportunities that I am truly grateful for. I was able to live on the beautiful island of O'ahu for 3 years! I lived off base, worked on the economy, picked up quite a bit of pigeon slang, learned some hula, and developed an unhealthy obsession with Aloha Shoyu, Coconut Syrup, Lomi lomi salmon & Coconut Macadamia Nut Tea. I've met people that have truly changed my life & love catching up with.

In "surviving" deployments & TDY's to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Quatar, Jordan, Australia, Singapore & more, Eric and I have learned how to communicate. Whether it's a 5 minute conversation on a Satellite phone that echoes, letters written on 3x5 index cards, or chatting via IM or Skype, we know the importance of every minute. We have a mutual respect of each others roles in our family & how tasking they can be. This is NOT to say we don't disagree, um DUH we're married, but these separations have aided us in communicating our feelings/concerns effectively.

It seems like each move is bittersweet. Although I will eventually leave behind amazing people here, I know I'll learn and grow even more with the experiences that await me after the move! And, just to clarify, even though Eric is now an officer...I will forever be an Army wife... AKA Household 6!


No matter what branch you serve, the US Military is a family. The heinous act that took the lives of two airmen in Germany last week is a tragedy. The friends of Nicholas Alden have set up an online auction on Facebook to raise money for his family. Please take the time to click HERE and place a bid OR look in the info section to find out how to make a personal donation. Although the military has decent life insurance, it can take quite awhile to receive those benefits, and if you've ever buried a loved one, you know of the immediate expenses. So, please support this family in their time of need.

(if the link doesn't work, do a search for "Auction to Raise Funds for the Alden family")

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why I love my job

It took me MANY years to decide what I wanted to do with my life. Eric was VERY accomodating and afforded me the time to sort things out by not pressuring me. I finally decided that I wanted to go into Nursing while he was deployed in Iraq for 13 months (I had a lot of time on my hands). I had the wonderful opportunity to be very involved with the FRG (Army's Family Readiness Group), and found true joy in serving others, even if it was just allowing a stressed wife time to vent.

Throughout Nursing School I was conflicted about what type of nursing I wanted to do. I fell in love with the ER due to the pace & the continual variety of people you see. Then, the summer before my 2nd year I was able to spend quite a few days in Labor & Delivery, and I fell in LOVE!

It is truly what I thought I wanted to do, but I new that being a new graduate the chances were slim to non that I would be able to work in that area. While in my last few weeks of nursing school I was able to interview for a position in Pediatrics. Due to the way my hospital works, this would not only allow me to work in a specialty area, but also float to the med-surg & post-surg which I took as a bonus so I would be able to stay well-rounded.

Over almost the past 2 years I have fallen in love with Peds. As in any career, sometimes a series of events can be disheartening...but then the sun comes out, and like in this book made for me by one of my patients, the rainbow brings hope!

"At the end of the storm, comes a beautiful rainbow."

"The magic rainbow is magic because it didn't rain first."

"The rainbow is beautiful"

"The flowers grow tall under the rainbow"

(close up of her message at the end)