Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review!!

Intro to Army Life: A Handbook for Spouses and Significant Others Entering the Army Lifestyle

by Allison Mewes

In full disclosure, I had my reservations about this book. I am the first one to admit that I do NOT know everything about the Army, but after almost 11 years, I know enough to get me by. I had very high expectations and, at first, was very skeptical and was almost waiting for false information. I am happy to report that I was extremely impressed by the factual information it had to offer.

Every Army wife has different experience. Bottom line, you'll never be able to make a broad generalization about them. The location, rank, and job of the soldier gives each Army Wife an experience that is uniquely hers.

This book doesn't try to generalize, but instead gives great tips and information about how to make your life, especially during deployment, a little less stressful. Complete with rank charts and her own compilation of the 25 most important Acronyms, it is easily maneuvered and simple enough for anyone to understand.

There was only one area that I did not fully agree with the author, and no military spouse ever can. Fraternization. Although the military has rules and regulation regarding the fraternization of the soldiers, the spouses are left on their own to either do what their soldier tells them, or form a system that works for their family. On page 56, the author states

"The same rule for soldiers applies somewhat to spouses. It is assumed that spouses of higher-ranking military personnel will know things that shouldn't be told to spouses of lower-ranking military personnel and therefore shouldn't communicate on a social level. There is no hard and fast rule on this, but it is something to be aware of. Again, since families of Reserve or National Guard soldiers live off base, the socialization rules are not as strictly enforced."

Like stated before, you will never be able to please every Army Wife, but even my husband was a little thrown by this statement. No matter your soldier's rank, if it isn't public knowledge, it shouldn't be shared with your spouse. When my hubby was enlisted, I always had a wide array of Army Wife friends who's spouses ranged from E-1 to O-5. I met all of these women through the FRG because I kept the mindset that you can't make a difference, or complain, if you don't participate. Even after the hubby went to "the dark side" and became an Officer, the variance has stayed the same. Also, it gives the appearance that most active duty families live on post. In the decade the hubby and I have been married, we've only lived on post for one year. It is truly a game of chance, when PCSing to a new location, if housing is readily available. Most posts have up to an 18 month waiting list for housing, therefore many soldiers live off post.

One paragraph in 172 pages, that's pretty darn fantastic!

I definitely recommend this book to any new spouses to the Army! There are great resources and interesting facts. This would be a great bridal gift, or gift for a spouse with only a few months or years of experience.

As the back cover states "[this book] gives you the tools and resources necessary to make you transition into the Army lifestyle easier, less stressful and more fun."

I also want to point out this that book is available in paperback, on Kindle, and Nook. I personally purchased it for my Kindle because I was so impressed with the resources that are valuable to every Army spouse.

Happy reading!

*I was sent this book for review by the publisher, no other compensation was given*
*I plan on passing the book along to my soon-to-be SIL as she makes her transition to Army Wife!*

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I can no longer call them babies

One of the great things about living close to family, combined birthday parties!! Michelle made this AMAZING train that the kids eventually tore apart...and had a blast!
After almost 7 hours of work, the cake turned out pretty good. And I have to give all credit to Jessica, who is always just an e-mail away for advice!
Carter sat nicely and picked away at his cake.
Jimmy & Carter waited for us to stop singing to blow out their candles, but Cooper was too impatient.
Cooper crawled across the table and blew out Carter's candle for him...twice.

I still can't believe I have 2 year olds! So, instead of calling them "the babies" I'll have to go against all the research on twins and call them "the boys." They are so immensely different. Cooper's vocabulary is growing everyday and he loves to play and entertain himself. Carter is now saying "ball" and "more" and focuses his energy on snuggling whenever he can. They are turning into little boys, and it's great to see their little personalities emerge more and more each day.

Both the boys have been clinging to hubby since he got home, and many hours have been spent outside enjoying the new warmer weather. The hubby has finally signed into the post here, so know I'm left waiting (and a little worried) to get back into the normal Army life. Although I know there will be drama, I look forward to meeting other Army Wives, and getting plenty of material for my blog ;o)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Getting Older

As I begin to plan for our road trip next month to my family's very first family reunion, it is abundantly clear that I'm getting old. Not that many years ago I would have no problem staying in a ghetto hotel or would have even put much thought into a trip THAT far in the future. I guess my first mistake was staying at a Holiday Inn Express when I had a 2 day certification in Chapel Hill this fall. The bed was SO comfy, and I didn't even use MY pillow that I take with me everywhere! Even though it had smoking rooms, mine obviously had never been or they are one of the few companies that know how to clean thoroughly.

Convenience is also becoming a higher priority than expense. It is still VERY uncertain if the hubby will be able to accompany me on the 22 hr road trip to Texas, so I'm trying to justify every option. If I had more than one friend in the area (outside of my brother & awesome SIL) I could probably find someone to drive with me...but I don't. I'm contemplating flying out a family member or even asking the nanny to come. Either one would be very expensive, but having another adult to help wrangle these TWO year olds might be worth avoiding a migraine.
Yes, the boys turned two yesterday.
I was excited to attend church, and was counting on my cell phone of almost two years to automatically update with the time change, as it has done since I got it, but it didn't. So, we took a lazy day and stayed in our PJ's and I gave the boys a taste of my first attempt at the 3D train cake I'm making for the party this weekend (since the hubby should be home by then). I think they liked it.

They are such crazy boys, and make me laugh on a daily basis.

Lora helped me finish the day by bringing over dinner, since we both had serious wallowing days Saturday, and we finished our Twilight marathon with Breaking Dawn. I'm so lucky to have my one friend (outside of work) that understands me and can relate so completely...everyone needs a local friend like that!

I'm still trying to avoid turning 30 this summer, but it seems to be inevitable. Although the number still freaks me out a bit, it comes with life experience that I wouldn't replace. But there will not be a party :o)