Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Post: Soldiers Face Risks During Service

Since I am driving up to South Carolina today for the Strong Bonds retreat, I have a great guest post by Emily, from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, where she is the Community Outreach Director. Although she is from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, Emily's post features information for Service Members and their families regarding several ailments that our troops are and have been faced with.


Those who serve in the military face many personal challenges, including some, which may be life threatening. While serving in a war zone presents obvious risks, there are others where the effects may not be seen for decades and can cause suffering. Some of the health problems associated with military service are outlined below.

Mental and Physical Stress
Throughout history, stress has played a major role in the military. In the short-term, it can actually be helpful to a soldier by amplifying the senses during perilous situations. Health problems occur when stress is encountered over a long period of time, and it wreaks havoc on the mind and body. The body's immune system functions less efficiently, making a soldier more vulnerable to illness. The mind can also become permanently damaged from long-term stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prevalent in those who serve on the front lines.

As mind and body are tied together, receiving therapy for stress-related disorders, such as talking with a psychiatrist, can often alleviate physical symptoms as well.

Exposure to Toxins
Soldiers are often exposed to toxic substances as a part of their duties. One of the most famous of these was Agent Orange, an herbicide that was used liberally in Vietnam as a way to drive the enemy out into the open. As a consequence, many American soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange and were later diagnosed with soft tissue sarcomas, ischemic heart disease, porphyria cutanea tarda, and AL amyloidosis as well as many other peculiar ailments. Military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan were exposed to chromium and burning pits that contained toxic substances. The health toll from the Gulf war zone is still being tallied.

Prior to the 1990s, asbestos was widely used in all branches of the military, especially in Coast Guard and Navy ships. The fibers from asbestos are inhaled and lodge in the lung tissue, where they may cause diseases such as mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis decades later. While the military finally took note of the health risks surrounding exposure to asbestos and put measures into place to limit its use, there was too much of it in too many places to do much good.

Exotic Diseases
A very big risk faced by soldiers is being exposed to diseases to which there is no prior immunity, such as West Nile virus, malaria, Brucellosis, Shigella and Q fever. Since the military often congregates in large groups, these illnesses spread quickly among personnel, weakening its presence. While controlling mosquito populations can be helpful in cases of malaria and West Nile virus, there is no vaccine for any of the illnesses. Shigella can be prevented by hand washing and thorough cooking of food. Brucellosis and Q fever have permanent effects that can only be treated symptomatically.

These health risks are a small sample of what soldiers face each day of service, and new threats are expected to emerge in the future. Military leaders need to take note and take action.


For more information, be sure to check out the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog, which contains a wealth of knowledge regarding cancer in general.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fun Stuff Coming Up

The internet in my house is out, so this is just a quick post from my phone.

Over the weekend I'll be on a retreat for spouses with deployed Soldiers, so I have a great informative guest post scheduled for Friday. I can't wait to share details about the retreat when I get back. I've heard nothing but positive things about Strong Bonds retreats from other spouses.

I also have two reviews coming up for two awesome products. I'm excited to share these products with all of you, considering they're items that I think most of my followers would appreciate.

My Take on the iPhone 5 - Part 2

I completely forgot to include this in my original iPhone 5 post. It's kinda hilarious and completely true. It also explains why I kept referring to my new phone as the iPhone 6.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Take on the iPhone 5

Saturday night I got together with some friends to play some poker. It was my first time playing in real life, so I was a bit surprised at the end when I had the second most chips and walked away with $15! Being that I was the only civilian there, a lot of the conversation had to do with Army things. Another one of the popular discussion topics was the new iPhone. I was the only one at the table who had one so I let everyone know my opinions, which I'll share with you.

Friday afternoon I walked into the Verizon store with Jacquie, who was looking to get a new phone because hers is just about done. Because she is still on her parents' plan, it was a no-go for her. I however, was a bit luckier in the upgrade department. My iPhone 4 (with custom spider glass screen) has been due for an upgrade for several months now. I was holding out for a new version of the iPhone, so this was finally my chance!

Once I started playing around with my new iPhone 5, I realized that there really wasn't very much special about it. I had updated my iPhone 4 the night before to the iOS 6 so the two phones were pretty much the same. My new 5 has Siri and is a bit lighter but other than that, not overly impressed.

I'll start off with the things that I didn't like so that I can finish this post on a positive note. Like I mentioned before, the differences between the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4/4s are not that huge after the iOS 6 update. The longer screen make it a little awkward to hold.  It also doesn't comfortably fit in my back pocket like the iPhone 4 did. The new phone comes with a different connector, so slot on the bottom of the phone is different. This may pose an issue for all of you speaker system owners. The map on the new iOS 6 is questionable. When using it to get to an event last week, it kept starting my off from the wrong location. It also didn't come with a YouTube app, but it's easily downloadable. I had to switch from unlimited internet to a 2GB plan.

Although I didn't love the size of the new screen, I do appreciate that there are now 5 rows for apps instead of 4. Although it isn't super noticeable, the new iPhone 5 is lighter and thinner. It isn't a huge difference but you can tell. Kinda.  The screen is also much more vibrant and crisp. I find the camera to be much faster than my previous camera. A great camera feature is that you can take panoramic pictures. The earbuds for this iPhone are more comfortable and supposed to be better.

Panoramic view of my kitchen

I honestly don't know very much about the megapixel, gigabyte, blah blah blah, so you can consider this the dumbed down version. The battery life has been great so far. The con to that though is that it takes a while to charge. I don't have any major complaints though. I am a huge Apple fan and am never disappointing by them.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

My Week in Rewind

I'm always excited for Friday and the weekend. I have no idea why though. It's not like I work really work outside of the home. I volunteer a bunch, but it is just volunteer work. I don't have to do it. For some reason though, the thought of Friday night gives me something to look forward too.

I feel like I've been lazier than usual this week. Tonight my dinner consisted of a bag of popcorn and some sweet red wine. It's official, I've become a cat lady.

My adorable little cat-sized person.

I picked up and iPhone 5 this evening and so far I'm not super impressed. Of course it's fantastic, but there isn't a huge difference over the iPhone 4. Hopefully I'll be able to post my opinion on it sometime over the weekend.

This morning the girls and I did a CrossFit workout. It was brutal on my delicate little hands. I definitely have to remember my gloves next time! After lunch we went to Chili's for lunch. I have no shame in saying that the sole purpose of me working out is so that I can eat crap. The service was good but the meal was sub-par. The soups/salads came literally a minute before the entrees, the orders were all wrong, and there was a hair in Jenn's soup! The waitress was really nice and apologetic though.

Yesterday was a total bum day. Jacquie came over and cleaned up my living room so that it would be presentable for when the babysitter got here. In the evening a bunch of the wives from the Battalion got together to play Bunco. I won a Starbucks giftcard. Yesss!

Wednesday was more working out and enjoying time away from my crazy children. I am honestly so thankful that we receive free childcare before, during, and after our spouses are deployed. But especially during! The children or I would be in state custody if that wasn't the case.

I honestly don't even remember what went on on Tuesday except that I had leftover Stuffed Crust pizza for lunch. That stuff is absolutely delicious!

Jacquie came over on Monday to help me out with some V issues. Over the weekend she had a fever and I finally realized that it was because she hadn't gone number two in a while. It took all sorts of little tricks before I actually got her to go. She definitely wasn't fond of the Q-tip in her bum. Jacquie also brought fiber which I started putting in her food to avoid the issue again.

I'm currently working on trying to update my Mac. I think I might even have to buy a software upgrade. I'm definitely not a fan of that. But this computer needs to be upgraded so that I can upgrade my iTunes to then sync everything to my new phone.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Officer Wives vs Enlisted Wives

Maybe I'm living in a bubble on a cloud in my own little world, but I seriously didn't think that the whole officer wife and enlisted wife being friends thing was an issue anymore. It's just something that I've never really thought about when meeting new people and making friends. A friend recently told me that a couple of the girls that I considered friends, feel awkward and like they have to act "proper" around myself and some of the other girls because our husbands are officers. In all honesty, I was almost offended by the comment. Why would what my husband does, affect my friendships and how I treat others? It doesn't. My husband being an officer doesn't make me any better than anyone. I'm not the one with the rank on my chest. When we got married, Hubster was an E-5. Him being commissioned didn't change me at all.

Images from

I might understand if maybe I was something like a 40 year-old Colonels wife, however in this case, we're all around the same age with kids who are around the same age. Our husbands are all deployed together so the fraternization issue that would arise if we were hanging out as families doesn't even apply here.

The decal on my car may be blue, but I still buckle my kids into their baby seats like anyone else. Empty Capri Sun containers can be found on the floor of my Tahoe. My kids go to the CDC for daycare. I workout at the gym on post. Grocery shopping, and pretty much any shopping, is done at Walmart. Lunch and dinner usually consists of something along the lines of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, because lets face it, I don't feel like cooking for real. The majority of time, my living room floor is covered in toys. I have to wash my own laundry. And dishes. And vacuum. I even do my own yard work.

I would never want or except my friends to have to feel like they needed to act differently around me. Making friends as a military spouse is already difficult enough, we shouldn't be making it even harder. Have you noticed a divide between spouses when it comes to the rank of their service member?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

She was smelling!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Please Excuse Me, I've Been Drinking

Sooo originally this was supposed to be a vent session about my mother in law and quite possibly my mother, but I sat down with a glass of wine and I guess I didn't eat enough for dinner because it's affecting me much more than I thought it would. At least Yo Gabba Gabba is tolerable at this point...

Today was a super annoying day so I figured that getting some of the stuff that's been bothering me off of my chest would help. I'm pretty sure that V was crying or whining more than acting like a normal human being today. That, along with my mother in law being here all weekend has burnt me out. I'm hoping that by dropping the girls off in daycare and going to the gym tomorrow, I'll be refreshed. I'm also hoping that the gym is followed by a visit to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday's.

This wine feels great though. And as soon as V is in bed, I'll be hopping in the tub. Hopefully with some 50 Shades of Gray. Grey? Who knows.. I'm probably the only person on the planet that hasn't read it yet..

So anyway. My mother in law. She calls to talk to the girls. Mostly V but sometimes she talks to Baby A. It starts off with the regular small talk, "Hi. How are you? Blah blah blah.." But then she says, "Let me talk to V." Sometimes there's a please... Um excuse me what?! Can we please use some manners?

The man in the yellow hat's name is Ted.

There should be some good reviews and hopefully a giveaway coming soon. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sponsor Swap?

Hey all! I'm looking to reach out to more fellow mommy or military wife bloggers by doing a sponsor swap. It's easy! I'll put your 125x125 button on my page if you put mine on yours! It's completely free and easy to do through Passionfruit. Enter the promo code "SWAP" below to and you won't have to pay anything.

I look forward to helping out and meeting new bloggers! (:

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Getting CrossFit

Whoaa! It's been an awfully long week. To top it off, today was an extra long and exhausting day. It all started at 2:00am when I finally decided to go to bed. My alarm was set for 7:00am so that I could go to the gym. The alarm was a bit of a surprise since the girls have been getting up after eight.

It's been about a month and a half since I've been to the gym and boy, oh boy, did it kick my butt today! CrossFit isn't easy to begin with and today it was extra difficult. Today's workout was "33, 33, 33". It consisted of 33 box jumps, 33 weighted lunges, and 33 squats. Three times. I finished last, but hey, guess what... I finished! My legs felt like Jello and I walked like I sat on a stick and it got stuck, but it's a great feeling of accomplishment.

Right after the gym, the girls and I decided to hit up the case lot sale at the commissary. It. Was. A. Zoo. I didn't even realize that it was pay day until I got in line. I've always vowed to never ever ever go to the commissary on a pay day and somehow it slipped my mind that we got paid today. I'll remember this experience for next time. I got a ton of great deals and plenty of things to send to hubs!

For the weekend I volunteered to watch my friend's dog. I didn't realize that Caesar was going to have such an issue with it. I was going to have him sleep in the back yard but he kept barking so I let him in as to not disturb the neighbors anymore. Hopefully these two guys sleep through the night without waking up the entire household. Why on earth I took on this responsibility, I'll never know..! I know she needs her weekend away.

And now I'm here. Chilling on the couch. I already finished a handful of Oreo's and downed my second fun-sized bag of Cheetos. A glass of wine is in the works if I can get my lazy butt sore legs off the couch. There's also a box of fudge brownie mix in the pantry that is begging me to throw it in the oven tomorrow. And that's the reason I work out. So that I can eat crap and maintain my figure.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Hello my faithful followers! I've been extra busy these past couple of days helping some of my best friends pack up their house to move so I've been neglecting the blog again. No worries though. They're moving 12 hours away tomorrow and I don't really hangout with anyone around here as much as I hang out with them. As sad as I am to see them leave, I am thankful that the Army brought us together and that we were able to make such fantastic life-long friends in a short period of time.

Paul and Magen moved to Georgia around the same time that Hubster and I did. When we first met, I never expected us to become friends. They are several years older than us, well at least several years older than me and have a slightly different lifestyle. I was pregnant with our first child and they didn't have kids or have any interest in having them. Magen worked a full-time job while I stayed at home with the babies. When V was 4 days old, we went to their house for a BBQ which I was not at all thrilled about because I didn't want my brand new baby out and getting sick.

Fast track almost three years. We've spent countless holidays together. They've been my babysitter in emergency situations. They love my girls as if they were their own. In February, they will be Baby A's God parents. We've decided to have yearly reunions and already plan on getting together at least three times next year.

I'm so thankful that thanks to the Army, people have been brought into my life that have become more like family than friends.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

'Tis the Season for Fall Scented Scentsy

Don't worry! I'm not going to try to sell you Scentsy. In fact, I get most of my wax cubes from Walmart. So after my trip there yesterday, I was ready to switch out my tropical smelling wax for something festive and more Fall-ish.

I know I'm not the only person who has made a gigantic mess trying to carefully get rid of melted wax that has lost it's smell. Wax on the walls, floors, table, etc. But there's an easier and less messy method to get the wax out of your warmer. Just pop the part with the solidified wax into the freezer for a few minutes. Usually I intend to only leave it in for five minutes or so but with two little animals plus a dog running around, it almost ends up being closer to 15 or 20 minutes.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Support the Wounded Warrior Project

Because of the events that have happened in the world as a result of 9/11 and everything that has happened to Hubs' unit this year, I've become a huge supporter of organizations that support the troops. One of those organizations being the Wounded Warrior Project. According to their website, the purpose of the Wounded Warrior Project is:
  • To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members.
  • To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
  • To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

Brawny has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project and has pledged to donate $1 for every like on their Facebook page from now until the end of the year. If you'd like to contribute, you can do so by liking Brawny's page or sending a thank you message on their wall. It'll take two minutes out of your day to help out an organization that really does make a difference.

Info from:

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Are You Ready For Some Football?!" Care Package

Now that Hubs' care package is in the mail, I'll share all the details. I know it's a tiny bit late to send a football care package since the season already started but when I was thinking for a second theme for September, this was the best thing that I could come up with. I send at least two themed/decorated packages a month. The first September one was a miss you since he was on R&R just before that.

Hubs' "Are you ready for some football" care package included a bunch of stuff that I felt was appropriate for game day. The most important thing in the box was the picture of Tim Tebow. Hubs is a Jets fan and I'm a Tebow fan so it worked our perfectly for us.

Once this box arrives to the glorious Afghanistan Hubster will open it and find..:
  • 4 Old El Paso Tortilla Stuffers (he LOVES these by the way.. hint hint)
  • 6 Pure Protein bars
  • 4 mini Dr. Perppers
  • 4 mini Gatorades
  • 2 Hormel Compleats meals (steak & potato)
  • 5 bags microwavable popcorn
  • 3 individual-sized bags of Fritos
  • 2 individual-sized bags of Sun Chips
  • 1 can Frito Bean Dip
  • 1 can Cheezwiz
  • 1 bag beef nugget jerk
  • 1 bag Chex Mix Muddy Buddies

It took a lot of precision and attempts to get everything packed so that it'd fit but I got it! The drinks were all packed in Ziplocks. Remember to use the items that you're packing as cushions for the other stuff. In this box the chips all went in the middle and the bags that were filled with air or softer things, went around them.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

I've been struggling to get into a good blogging routine. I've been busier than ever trying to help prepare things for part of Hubster's unit coming home. Well, with the ADVON group coming back yesterday and earlier today, I'm hoping that things can settle down for a little bit. I know in just a few months though, I'll be busting my butt trying to collect items to fill up the Single Soldier barracks.

Join in at

1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?
Probably just be more organized. My kitchen and dining room were a huge disaster with things lying out all over the place. I also killed both car batteries, completely dead by leaving lights turned on.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in August? 
My hubs came home on R&R!! We went on a week long cruise and celebrated his 30th birthday!

3. What did you do to celebrate Labor Day?
Labor Day Weekend was spent in California for a friend's wedding. I actually flew back home on Labor Day, but Thursday-Sunday were having fun and celebrating with a handful of my closest friends.

4. What do you HAVE to have handy by your bedside?
I always have my phone. I usually fall asleep emailing or browsing the internet. I don't really HAVE to have it since I know not to expect phone calls, it's just a habit thing.

5. What are you looking forward to in September?
Having time to hopefully relax. I'd like to try and get the girls back into our "normal" routine since it's been disrupted quite a bit lately.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen

I thoroughly enjoyed using Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen. SPF 30 was the perfect amount of protection for me. I used it everyday while I was in California. From lounging around the pool or hanging out at the beach, even to driving around in a convertible it protected my skin. The added bonus with this product is that it smells great. Since I didn't take perfume with me on vacation, I just applied this as my moisturizing lotion when I got out of the shower and I was good to go. The great thing about Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration is that it doesn't smell or feel like typical sunscreen so you can actually use it just as a moisturizer.

With its ultra-luxurious hydrating silk ribbons, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration™ lotion sunscreen nourishes and pampers skin while providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and 12-hour moisturization when out in the sun. This sunscreen is also available in SPF 12, 30, 50! Hawaiian Tropic products are available at most major retailers for a suggested retail price of$8.99 for a 6oz bottle. Make sure you check out their website for more info!

I received this product complimentary for testing and review purposes from Influenster

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Best FRG Meeting

Just a few hours ago I was sitting in my commander's kitchen on Facebook with a beer in my hand. My FRG co-leader was also there typing away. We cracked a couple jokes back and forth and vented about the spouses and family members that were driving us crazy. Yes folks, this was our FRG meeting.

It wasn't just us though. We actually had 30+ people join in on the meeting. All through Facebook. Parents who are across the country were able to log on and see what was going on in the life of their Soldier. The mom with a handful of kids was able to put them to bed and finally get to participate without worrying about daycare. Wives who had just had babies were able to stay home and comfort their newborns. Those who find it difficult to speak in public were able to post behind a name and profile pic.

This was our second time doing a Facebook meeting while the unit has been deployed. It's worked out great for us and makes the meeting available to those who other wise not get the information. The fact that it's on Facebook makes it easily accessible to anyone who'd like to participate. For that reason, we are careful not to break OPSEC. It's easy to find and since most people are on Facebook around that time anyway, it makes sure that they get the information.

For our online Facebook meetings, I type out everything ahead of time so that once it comes time for the meeting, I can just copy and paste the info in. I post one comment on the unit's Facebook page and then comment with all of the info below that. We are able to take attendance, tally votes, and fill up sign-in sheets all with the click of the "like" button. No one has to leave home or even put on pants, and I get to enjoy a nice grown up drink.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Let's Try This Again..

This month, I will once again be attempting to do a photo a day challenge. The September one that I'm doing is for military significant others (s/o's). The pictures this time should be pretty easy for me to do so I'm hoping I can actually get through this month.

If you'd like to follow, I'll be posting to Twitter and Instagram. You can click the links on the right of the page to follow me on either one.