Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why I Can't Wait Until Summer


When I was a kid, summer was my favorite season.  Of course, it was mostly because school was out, but it was more than that.  Summer was synonymous with carefree fun.  I spent my days at the community pool and my nights giggling at sleepovers.  I didn't have a worry in the world.

Of course as I got older, summers lost their carefree factor.  They simply became hotter versions of normal life.  But not this summer!  As a teacher, I have 2 and a half months of summer vacation to look forward to.  Summer is not going to be just a hotter version of normal life.  And although it may not be as carefree as my childhood summers were, I'm hoping to take advantage of every day of my summer until Labor Day rolls around and a new school year kicks off.

As I count down the days until the school year ends, I'm daydreaming about all the things I want to do.  Here are my...


Top 10 Reasons Why I Can't Wait Until Summer

10)  Lazy nights outside with bottles of wine, fireflies, and good conversation

9)  I'll be able to spend more time with my friends, friends I feel like I've neglected since going back to work.

8)  I'll be able to spend time with own my kids instead of other people's kids.

7)  I can go to the gym every day and attend all the spinning classes I used to go to.

6)  I won't have to fight with Little C every morning over the clothes she refuses to wear.

5)  I won't have to fight with Big C every afternoon over the homework he refuses to complete.

4)  I'll be writing more posts for various websites (and hopefully a book!) instead of lesson plans.

3)  I can once again spend my days at the community pool. 

2)  I'll have FREE TIME.  Wow, I almost forgot what that means.  I'll have time to read books, shop in real stores instead of virtual ones, and dare I say, relax a little.

1)  No alarms sounding at 5:45 AM!

Are you looking forward to summer?  Why or why not?





Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day


~Deborah Mullen, wife of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff






Just a reminder that today is Memorial Day.  Please remember the National Moment of Remembrance is at 3 PM (local time). Wherever you are at 3 P.M. today I hope you pause for a moment to remember what this holiday is about


Thank you to all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and the families left behind whose sacrifices will never be forgotten.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #38

We're on Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #38!
 


 
Go on over to ACU's, Stiletto Shoes, and Pretty Pink Tutus and link up with my good friend Mrs. G. I. Joe! 
 
 
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!  And please, in between hot dogs and cannonballs in the pool, make sure you take a minute to remember what Memorial Day is truly about.  (If you don't know, here's a reminder.)  The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3 PM on Memorial Day so make sure you pause and think about our fallen service members and the sacrifices they made for our country.
 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Home Depot Rolls Up Its Sleeves And Tackles Vets' Housing Issues


Spring is in the air. The weather is getting warmer. Days are getting longer. Kids are playing outside. And of course, yard work once again becomes a priority after taking a break for the winter. If you’re anything like our family, the coming of spring means weekly trips to The Home Depot.


You probably already know about The Home Depot’s 10 percent discount for all active duty, reserve, retired or disabled veterans and their families. You might possibly know that The Home Depot has been named one of the top 10 military employers by the Department of Defense, GI Jobs Magazine and Military Spouse Magazine. But what you probably don’t know is that The Home Depot Foundation recently announced an initiative in which they will be pledging $30 million over the next 3 years to address veterans’ housing issues.


The Home Depot Foundation kicked off the initiative by partnering with Fisher House Foundation, Volunteers of America and The Mission Continues to repair homes and facilities used by U.S. military veterans. But The Home Depot isn’t just providing financial support, its associates are also lending their time and home-improvement expertise to Team Depot, the company’s volunteer program, to assist in projects throughout the country.


“Some of that help is going to be financial,” says Bill Shuell, Home Depot District Manager of the DC area. “But some of it is also going to be a lot of sweat equity by a lot of Home Depot associates out there.” Shuell, a Home Depot associate for the past 8 years who frequently volunteers his own time, is heartened by the sheer number of people who sign up to volunteer with Team Depot. “When people get involved and they see the impact of what they do, it takes on a life of its own.’


Shuell, a veteran himself, explains that our country’s service members are so important to The Home Depot because the company currently employs more than 35,000 veterans and feels like it’s a part of the military community. “On any given day we have about 1,500 of our associates that are on active duty, deployed here in the states or abroad. I think that’s a big part of it.”


It’s no wonder The Home Depot employs so many military service members and has been recognized as one of the top 10 military employers. With over 2,000 stores in the continental United States, they are able to help their associates transfer employment as a result of PCS moves, which is particularly helpful for military spouses who struggle with establishing careers of their own while supporting their service members’ careers.


“We have the ability to help our associates transition state to state or coast to coast just by picking up the phone,” Shuell says. “We find ways to make that work.” Between employment opportunities, military discounts, and now the initiative for veterans' housing, it's obvious that The Home Depot Foundation is living up to its slogan "Improving homes. Improving lives." as it continues to find ways to support military families.


For more information about The Home Depot Foundation’s initiative for veterans, visit www.homedepotfoundation.org/veterans

***And don't forget that The Home Depot will offer a 10% discount to ALL military and veterans for Memorial Day weekend!***

 



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Project Gratitude: Day 145

 
PROJECT GRATITUDE DAY 145: I am thankful for the lengthy power outage that forced me to take a much-needed 24 hour break from my computer.  (However, I am also thankful that my power is now back on and I can resume all normal computer activity.)
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Observe Memorial Day

 
 
"Any Nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."  

~Abraham Lincoln



What do you think of when you think about Memorial Day?  Do you think of enjoying a 3-day weekend?  Do you think of the sales at shopping malls?  Do you think of barbecues and the community pool opening for summer?  Maybe.  But do you ever think about the true meaning of Memorial Day?


According to the White House Commission on Remembrance,  "A Gallup Poll revealed that only 28% of Americans know the meaning of Memorial Day and most view it as a 'day off' rather than a day to connect with our nation’s history by paying tribute to those who gave their lives for us."  That's not a great statistic folks. 


In case you're not a part of that 28%, Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of every May, is a day of remembrance to honor those who died serving our nation, those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. 


Memorial Day is coming up next Monday.  So what can we do to observe this day other than going shopping and swimming at the newly opened pool?  Here are my...



Top 10 Ways to Observe Memorial Day
 

10)  Wear red, white, and blue!


9)  Honor a veteran on Facebook by changing your profile picture to an image of a veteran you know or an American flag


8)  Volunteer to place flags on military graves


7)  Attend a Memorial Day ceremony or parade


6)  Educate yourself.  Read a book about military history, chat with a veteran, or visit a military museum or other historic military site.


5)  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to remind those in your community about the meaning of Memorial Day


4) Thank a veteran, either personally or in writing


3) Fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon


2)  Reach out to the family members left behind (widows, widowers, children, and parents).  If you know widows or widowers in your community, help them with yard work, bring them a meal, or honor them with a neighborhood barbecue.  Otherwise, email, send a card, or call to let them know you're thinking of them.


1) Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. to pause and think about the true meaning of Memorial Day and remember our fallen service members.  Help spread the word by telling 3 people about "the moment" and asking them to share with 3 other people.


What other ways can we observe Memorial Day?  What are your plans for this special day?




Monday, May 23, 2011

Bridesmaids

Over the weekend, Mr. Roller Coaster and I went out on a date night.  Because I was the birthday girl, I got to select the movie.  And I chose...
 
 



Bridesmaids!

First, I have to tell you the movie was HILARIOUS.  During one scene I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.  And it wasn't just a mindless stupid funny movie.  It actually had some character development and depth in between the tear-inducing crack-ups.  I loved it.

But I have to admit that wanting a good laugh wasn't the only reason I chose this movie.  You see, I'm going to be the matron of honor in a wedding in a few months, and let's just say I can relate to the main character's challenges.

To sum up, the movie is about 2 women who've been friends their entire lives.  One is engaged, one is the maid of honor.  And all the trouble starts when 1 of the bridesmaids tries to wiggle her way into command of all things wedding to prove she is more worthy of the maid of honor title.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I expect one particular bridesmaid to snatch the microphone out of my hand as I give my speech at the rehearsal dinner, but quite frankly, it wouldn't surprise me.  I won't go into the boring details, but I will say I'm definitely feeling my thunder being stolen.

I would never dream of telling the bride about some of the issues I'm having with the organization of the pre-wedding events because she would be devastated if she knew how much stress her shower and bachelorette party were causing me.  She'd also be heartbroken to learn that the ladies in her wedding party, her closest friends in the world, weren't successfully coming together and bonding like she imagined they would.

So that's why I wanted to see that movie.  I guess I needed to find the humor in a similar situation.  And it also reminded me that maybe I just need to let it go.  My friend didn't choose me as the matron of honor because she thought I'd plan the world's best bachelorette party.  She chose me because she wants me to be the one standing next to her on her special day.  And as long as I don't give the wedding party food poisoning or get kicked off an airplane, I think she'll be happy she chose me.

Have you ever been in a wedding?  Have you ever dealt with bridesmaid drama?


 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #37

It's time for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #37!!! 
 


 
Go on over and visit one of my favorite bloggy friends Mrs. S at The Adventures of Mr. Superman and Mrs. S!  Link up and then visit all the other awesome blogs on the list.
 
Have a great weekend!
 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Miss Willie Brown: Freeland

The song I'm sharing today on Goodnight Moon's What's YOUR Song? Link-Up is near and dear to my heart.  It's about military spouses.  It's about the heartache on the homefront.  It's about the sacrifices we make as we wait for our service members to return from war.   It's a song I think any military spouse who has gone through a deployment can relate to.


The song is called "Freeland" by Miss Willie Brown.  And I have to brag because I happen to know one of the gals in the band.  Aren't they incredible?!  So check out this awesome song, which is the newest addition to my Deployment Songs Playlist.






Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Laughter & Stress: A Word From TriWest Healthcare Alliance

I like to laugh.  But when I'm stressed, it seems that laughter isn't high on my list of priorities.  Come to find out, it should be.


I wanted to pass along an article written by Shari Lopatin who works at TriWest Healthcare Alliance.  Not only does she explain the health benefits associated with laughter, but she also lets us know that there are TRICARE services available for those times when we need someone to talk to about our stress.  Take a look.




Release Stress with this Everyday Activity
By Shari Lopatin
TriWest Healthcare Alliance

 
The next time you’re laughing with your friends at a funny joke, you’re helping your heart—literally.

Your body’s arteries—the blood vessels which carry oxygen-filled blood from the heart to the rest of your body—respond to laughter in a positive way, according to a Harvard Health Letter published in November 2010. In fact, laughter could improve blood flow and long-term, overall health.

Studies are also showing how laughter not only improves your mental well-being, but makes your heart smile too.

Heart Disease Patients Laugh Less?
In 2000, the University of Maryland Medical Center published the first study stating that laughter may help prevent heart disease. In it, researchers found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh, in any situation, than people of the same age without heart disease.

Those with heart disease were actually less likely to recognize humor at all. They also tended to display more anger and hostility in general.

Laughter and Stress Reduction
Psychology experts commonly agree that laughter and humor are great ways to help reduce stress. According to a 2005 report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, stress can cause one’s blood pressure to rise. High blood pressure is at least twice as strong a predictor of death as smoking or high cholesterol.

That’s why relieving stress on a regular basis is important to keeping one’s blood pressure down.

“Humor is absolutely a coping strategy for dealing with stress and adversity,” said Dr. Blake Chaffee, a psychologist and the vice president of Integrated Health Care Services at TriWest Healthcare Alliance. “If you can see the humor in something, you can mitigate the stress and the negative effects it has on you.”

Chaffee said if not dealt with, stress can put people at an increased risk of:
• Heart disease
• Sleep problems
• Digestive problems
• Depression
• Obesity

Need Additional Help De-Stressing?
If the stresses of life are getting to you, and you find yourself struggling to cope, you may be eligible for the TRICARE Assistance Program, or TRIAP. This program offers non-medical, but professional counseling via chat, phone, or the Web. With an Internet-connected computer and a Webcam, you can talk to licensed therapists about issues such as stress or relationship problems. These discussions are completely non-reportable (unless required by law) and are available 24/7/365—so you can make an appointment that works with your schedule.

Think you want more information? Curious to see if you’re eligible? Visit www.tricare.mil/triap.

Shari Lopatin has worked for more than three years as a health writer and media relations professional in beneficiary education at TriWest Healthcare Alliance. TriWest administers the military’s TRICARE health benefit to 2.7 million service members and their families in 21 western states. Prior to TriWest, Ms. Lopatin worked as a daily newspaper reporter and still writes for various magazines today. She takes great pride and satisfaction in her work at TriWest: writing to help educate our country’s most humble heroes—those who wear the uniform and the family members who serve alongside them.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Feel As Old As I Am (Revisited)

As I mentioned yesterday, my birthday is this week.  Last year I dedicated my birthday top 10 list to the reasons why I don't feel as old as I am.  And I had every intention of renewing that optimism by writing a Part 2 to that list today, but unforutnately, I couldn't come up with 10 more reasons. 


So I'm just going to plagiarize myself and re-post last year's top 10 list with a few minor revisions.  Hopefully this will help me channel some of my prior positivity about aging!

Here are my...


Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Feel As Old As I Am (Revisited)


10)  I can still get away with not wearing makeup in public.

9) I still get carded whenever I purchase alcohol. (Yes, I know the Wal-Mart cashiers card everyone, but work with me here.)


8) Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga are regulars on my iPod (in between bands that date me beyond my age like Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles).


7) Facebook friends tell me I look exactly the same as I did in high school.


6) I just signed up for my 3rd half marathon.


5) I don't drink cofffee. I don't know why, but for some reason I feel like this is just one small way I have avoided a step into adulthood.


4) I don't drive a mini-van. (Sorry to all you mini-van owners, but I will never drive one.)


3) My children can't outrun me. Yet.


2) No grey hairs. Yet.


1) My father is still my Daddy, and I'm still his Sweet Pea.

Do you feel your age?  Why or why not?






Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Year Older



I'm celebrating a birthday this week.  And I don't know whether to cheer or cry in my cake.


When I first started my blog, I called myself 30-something.  So last year on my birthday I considered myself 30-something plus one.  So this year I must be 30-something plus two, right?  Come on, who am I kidding?  I think it's time for me to face the facts without sugar coating them with semantics.  I'm about to turn 35 folks.  I'm officially in my mid-30's.  I'm on the downhill slide to the big 4-0.  And according to my kids, I'm OLD.


I've never had an overwhelming desire to celebrate my birthday.  I don't really remember any details about birthday celebrations I had as a kid or as a grown-up except for my 18th birthday that happened to fall on prom night.  For the most part, I try to ignore my birthday in the hopes that no one, including myself, will notice that I'm another year older. 


I guess you can say I'm not exactly embracing my age.  I never have.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be older.  I did everything I could to look and act older than my age.  But somewhere along the line my desire to be older transformed into a desire to be younger.  I look at my kids playing outside, and it feels like just yesterday that I was playing wiffle ball in the backyard with my brother and riding my bike to the swim club and drawing hopscotch boxes in chalk on my driveway.  Where did the time go?  How is it possible that over 3 decades have passed like the blink of an eye?


I have no idea how I'm going to celebrate my birthday this year.  Last year Mr. Roller Coaster was deployed, and it was just another day.  This year?  I don't know.  Maybe I'll ignore it again.  Or maybe this will be the year I finally embrace my age.


How do you feel about birthdays?  Do you like to celebrate them or ignore them?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Project Gratitude Day 135

PROJECT GRATITUDE DAY 135: I am thankful that I remembered to be thankful today. 
 
I haven't written a Project Gratitude post in awhile, which means it's been awhile since I remembered to find something, anything to be thankful for each day.  But I need to make sure I remember this simple task, this reflection at the end of the day because I don't want the not-so-great parts of life to overshadow the hidden treasures that are so easily taken for granted. 
 
I have a lot to be thankful for.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of that.
 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #36

Hooray!!! Blogger is back up and running!  Raise your hand if you were starting to have anxiety attacks every time you tried to log on to your blog and you got the message, "Sorry Blogger is currently unavailable."  What would we do without our blogs?  I think the world would end.  Or we'd all make the jump to Wordpress.
 
 
 
Anyway, it's Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #36! 
 
 
I know I'm late posting this, but make sure you go over and visit Jenn over at Keeping Up With the Bowens
 
Have a great weekend!
 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hooray for Sponsors!

When I first started blogging, I signed up for Google AdSense.  Why not?  I could make some money without lifting a finger.  I didn't care for some of the ads (like the ones for dating services that were plastered under my posts) and I wasn't thrilled with the way they seemed to clutter the look of my blog, but oh well, lots of websites have ads. 


I was coming up on my $100 earnings mark, the significant point at which I'd finally start getting checks in the mail, when my parents came to visit.  My dad had been clicking on some of those ads whenever he read my blog (not because he wanted to help me out, of course, but because he was genuinely interested in the ads, right Dad?).  Well, I guess during his visit he forgot that he was no longer in his own home on his own computer, and he started clicking away. From my computer.  The computer that I swore on my life to Google would never click on those ads.  Within hours, I got an email from AdSense kicking me out of their elite club, and my blog was wiped clean of any and all ads.


Well, a year has passed, and I'm ready to try the whole advertising thing again.  But this time, I'm doing it the right way...with sponsors!  I'm so excited to announce that I'm opening up ad space for sponsorship. 

My first sponsor is




If you have a little girl or know someone who does, you have to check out the adorable tutus (and shirts and hair clips and leg warmers!) at I Love Lucy's Tutus.  Everything is super cute!


Whether you'd like to promote your business or gain readership for your blog, I'd love to hear from you.  If you're interested in purchasing ad space, email me at ontherollercoaster{at}gmail{dot}com for more information. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Top 10 You Know You're a Mil Spouse When...

As military spouses we've grown accustomed to living a certain lifestyle, a lifestyle developed and honed through years of adaptations and mandatory training in independence, flexibility, and self-sufficiency.   Our perspective of normal is skewed because we don't know any other normal.  Because of this unique way of life that we somehow consider normal, we tend to exhibit tell-tale signs of our status as military spouses.


My top 10 list this week is not particularly original. In fact, I've seen variations of this list on Facebook and other blogs that are much more expansive than mine. (Case in point, you absolutely have to check out Wife of a Sailor's massive list of 110 "You Might Be a Mil Spouse If..." that she compiled to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day.) Anyway, the following is a top 10 list I've always wanted to do, a list I'd love to hear your feedback on. So please add to it!


Here are my...

Top 10 You Know You're a Mil Spouse When...

10)  You can have a conversation in acronyms.

 9)  You've lived in so many different houses that sometimes it takes a minute for you to remember what your current address is


8)  You're always in possession of an updated power of attorney.


7)  You tear up at the sound of anything patriotic, including but not limited to the National Anthem and Proud to be an American

6)  You spend more time apart from your spouse than together.

5)  Your children were born in different states (or continents).

4)  You can recite your spouse's SSN in your sleep, but you pause when asked for your own.

3)  You rarely celebrate holidays and special occasions on the actual dates those holidays and special occasions fall on.

2)  You only use pencil on a calendar because plans are always changing.

1)  You expect the unexpected.  And somehow that's ok with you.

What tops your list?



Monday, May 9, 2011

Be Still My Beating Brain


Yesterday was Mother's Day, a day to celebrate all the hard work we do as moms.  When I was gearing up to celebrate my first Mother's Day 7 years ago, I had visions of breakfast in bed, tear-jerking Hallmark cards, and lavish gifts, all orchestrated by my attentive husband who would stop at nothing to show me how greatly he appreciated my mastery of all things maternal.  Sadly, I can't seem to remember that first Mother's Day or how much (or how little) appreciation my husband showed.  But I can say that my expectations have lowered significantly in the last 7 years.  These days, I'm just happy if my husband is home for Mother's Day.


This year Mr. Roller Coaster was indeed home (although I'm not quite sure he remembered it was M-Day).  Because he was home, I was able to get the only other thing I wanted: a massage.  I wanted 90 minutes to myself.  I wanted to clear my head while someone else kneaded all my stress away.  I wanted peace and quiet.  Ironically, what I wanted most for Mother's Day was to not be a mom for a little while. 


I was early for my appointment, and the receptionist led me to the "relaxation room" to wait for my massage therapist.  She handed me a bottle of water and left me alone in this room where the only sound was waves crashing.  Finally, I had my 90 minutes.  I was free to relax. There were no children calling my name.  There was no computer coaxing me to start that article I need to write.  There was no dinner to be cooked, no to-do lists to procrastinate on, no lesson plans to be planned.  I had nothing to do but sit and breathe and exist.


It took all of about 3 minutes for me to discover that I couldn't just sit and breathe and exist.  I'm so accustomed to constantly thinking that I had no idea where my pause button was.  I couldn't turn my brain off!
There I was, sitting in this room of relaxation doing anything but relaxing as I attempted to contain a mountain of random brain vomit.  What would my next blog post be about?  Don't forget to write those thank you notes.  Did I text what's her name back?  Remember to add carrots to your shopping list.  Why didn't I bring a book?  You need to start brainstorming ideas for that article.  What time is it?  Don't know,  I left my watch at home.  Am I prepared for work tomorrow?  I wonder what the weather will be like this week.


My brain kept going and going.  It wouldn't be still.  And as I sat there in the relaxation room listening to waves crashing, I realized I was not only incapable of shutting my brain off, but the mere thought of not thinking practically induced an anxiety attack.  Is it possible I have no idea how to completely relax?


I was relieved when my massage therapist called my name and allowed me to leave the non-relaxing relaxation room.  I wish I could say my brain took a nap during the massage, but it didn't.  Like an elephant in the room, I couldn't not think about not thinking.  But at least I was able to turn down the volume and allow my body to enjoy the massage.

Plus the experience did lead to the following existential discussion with Mr. Roller Coaster later in the day:

ME: "Are you able to not think?"
MR. RC: "Yes."
ME: "What do you think about when you're trying not to think?"
MR. RC: "Nothing."
ME: "How do you think about nothing?"
MR. RC: "By not thinking."

Gee, thanks honey.  That was very enlightening.

Are you able to turn your brain off?  If so, how do you do it?



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

 

 
I vaguely remember what life was like before I became a mother.
 
 
I didn't have Goldfish crumbs in my purse.
I didn't have a time-out corner in my kitchen.
I didn't stub my toe on mountains of toys.

 
I could go on impromptu dates with my husband.
I could sleep in.
I could close the door when I used the bathroom.

 
I was more selfish.
I was more judgmental.
I was more rested.

 
I was less empathetic.
I was less understanding.
I was less appreciative of my own mother.
 
 
I vaguely remember what life was like before I became a mother
Because I can't imagine a life without my children.

 
Happy Mother's Day!

 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!



"Our service members and their families seldom ask for support or recognition. They carry out their duties to family and country with the quiet courage and strength that has always exemplified the American spirit. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we have an opportunity to not only honor the husbands and wives of our service members, but also thank them by actively expressing our gratitude in both word and deed."



In 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the Friday before Mother's Day to be Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Since then, that day is set aside to recognize the sacrifices of our country's military spouses.  Military spouses may not wear a uniform, but we proudly serve our country in the silent ranks.  And although we rarely ask for recognition or appreciation, it sure is nice to have a day dedicated to us.


So if you happen to know any military spouses, make sure you give them a big hug and a thank you for all that they do.  To all of my amazing military spouse friends who have helped to support and guide me through this crazy roller coaster of a life and to all of the military spouses with whom I have the honor of sharing a small slice of the blogosphere, 

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day! 


__________________________________________________________________

And if you are one of those military spouse bloggers, don't forget the Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #35.


Head on over to Personalized Sketches and Sentiments and link up one of your posts from this week!






Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You Play, You Pay




My mom always used to say, "You play, you pay."  I don't know when or why that mom-ism became a regular in my household growing up, but I remember hearing it those times when I stayed up too late at a sleepover party or when my mom's phone call to my college dorm room interrupted my hangover.  And somehow, despite the fact that I'm a grown-up (and doling out the same words to my own children), I can still hear my mother's voice echoing in my head, "You play, you pay."


As you may have heard, I had quite an exciting weekend.  But here it is Wednesday, and I still haven't recovered.  I finally had to drag myself to the grocery store after school today because I realized if I didn't, I would have nothing but crackers to pack in my kids' lunches tomorrow.  A small person could get lost in the depths of my overflowing hamper.  My suitcase still sits in the hallway.  I have 5 days worth of mail to sort through.  And I haven't stayed awake past 9:30 all week.


But the hardest part isn't the fact that I have to play catch-up on all my household chores. It's the fact that I have to function all day at work despite the fact that my voice is scratchy, my body is on autopilot, and my brain is mush.  I'm kicking myself for not working ahead on certain projects so I wouldn't be sitting here freaking out right now about the time crunch I now find myself in the midst of.


So yes Mom, you were right.  You play, you pay.  You don't need to remind me.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to continue paying as I work on the report cards I should have been completing while I was living it up in D.C.


When was the last time you played and then payed?  Was it worth it?



 



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Top 10 Highlights of the MilBlog Conference

So here it is Tuesday again and time for a top 10 list.  I contemplated forgoing a top 10 list to write about the hot topic of the week (well actually, the hot topic of the decade), but there isn't anything I could write about Osama Bin Laden that hasn't been written already in the past 24 hours.  Then I thought about writing a top 10 list of reasons why the death of Bin Laden was such a happy occasion in our country.  But I have to admit I felt guilty for admitting that the death of another human being made me happy.

So I decided to stick with a lighter topic and let the real reporters out there share their feelings and insight about those kick ass Navy SEALS who took down the most hunted man in the world.


Here are my...


 
Top 10 Highlights of the MilBlog Conference
 
 

10)  Talking to people until I lost my voice and having so much fun that I'm still not recovered 3 days later

9)  Free stuff!  I came home with t-shirts, a book, pens, a Military.com bag and hand sanitizer (or computer screen cleaner according to one particularly confused blogger), and my favorite, a Home Depot thumb drive shaped like a hammer.

8)  Being in the same room as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  He actually had a pretty good sense of humor.

7)  Seeing people who attended the conference last year and actually speaking to them because I wasn't terrified to introduce myself

6)  Attending a Mark Wills concert.  Mark Wills is awesome!  And that's coming from a gal who doesn't have a very high opinion of country music.  Check out the debut of his song "Crazy Being Home" at the Navy Memorial.  Yeah, try not to cry.

5)  Getting away for a girls' weekend!

4)  Going to a party at the Navy Memorial.  It's hard to describe how cool it was to drive around D.C. in a bus filled with military writers.

3)  Listening to the panels on topics like social media and the military, Gold Star families, and war and film.  The discussions were informative, eye-opening, and heartbreaking conversation starters.

2)  Being interviewed by a New York Times reporter and sharing my reasons for loving this wonderful mil spouse blogging community that I'm honored to be a part of

1)  Meeting fellow mil spouse bloggers and finally being able to give them real-life hugs instead of cyber xoxo's, to share conversations that didn't involve a keyboard, and to fulfill those promises of sharing a drink (or 2 or 3 or, well, I kind of lost count) and talking until we could talk no more.


So who's going next year?!


 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Post Blogging Conference Brain Fog

Over the weekend I attended the 6th annual MilBlog Conference in Arlington, Virginia.  The weekend was jam-packed with interesting speakers and business cards and introductions and free stuff and old friends and new friends and Facebook status updates and opportunities and late nights and copious amounts of wine and most importantly, lots and lots of fun.


I want to write all about it but I'm currently suffering from post blogging conference brain fog.  I'm back to reality.  I'm still not unpacked.  I realized I left my lesson plans at school last week so I have no idea what I'm teaching today (and I can't imagine my room full of 6-year-olds will be very forgiving).  My voice is virtually nonexistent from talking so much.  The gas light in my car is on, and I desperately need to make a grocery run.  But you know what?  The weekend was so worth it all the craziness I'm bound to face today.  I wouldn't trade this post blogging conference brain fog for anything.


It's truly amazing how influential military bloggers have become.  That's evidenced by the fact that we're being recognized in this morning's New York Times.  (And by the way, you might see a quote from someone you know.)

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