Wednesday, May 1, 2013

To be frugal...

So one of the many items on my deployment list is learning to shop frugal. We're extremely lucky that we have virtually no debt other than my car but deployments have become EXPENSIVE!  Since some new changes have come about and cuts have been made through out the military they no longer provide the uniforms needed for deployment so we're looking at $400+ in just that.  Add care packages, stamps for letters, supporting 2 households etc and we will be hurting financially. 

Our first step has been to change to 80% cloth diapers.  We still use disposables as we use the YMCAs child care when either of us work out and they require them and also my son seems to pee through EVERY cloth diaper I put on him at night but the savings has still been significant.

I also learned to make my own wet wipes!  That to me was just great.  They've been working just as well as the store bought ones and at a fraction of the price.  (you can also make your own lysol wipes btw :-)  I'll be doing this with our natural disinfectants tomorrow so I can let you know how that goes)

We went and hunted down reduced meat at Sams Club this week.  Managed to find 2 frying chickens for $7.50 and 10lbs of pork chops for $17.42!  Not a bad deal although we'll be eating pork for a while lol.

That's just a small bit of what we've been doing to save the pennies!

I'm also trying my hardest for us to be able to afford to go on a vacation both before and after he goes on deployment.  Nothing extravagant, just something to get away and spend time with each other.  This will be especially important when he gets back and we have to get reacquainted. 

Is it strange that the scariest part of this for me is not the deployment itself?  I mean I don't want my husband gone for half of the year or more but I CAN DO that.  I'm more worried about what's going to happen when he gets back.  How are we going to get to know each other again as a couple???  Uggg. 

But the bright side is that whatever doesn't kill us is going to make us a stronger couple.  Right?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Keyed in and gearing up!

So I we've been in North Carolina for about 4 months now.  Our house is (sort of) unpacked and decorated, we have a weekly schedule of activities and we're FINALLY generally feeling like we're at home!!  I have a few friendships blooming and have gotten to see a few old friends that have moved to bases near ours.  All in all a very successful move I think! 

Now comes yet another joy of military life - deployment.

My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years and we have yet to face a deployment together.  We are INCREDIBLY blessed to have been able to spend the first 4 years of our marriage together while also being a military family so it came as no surprise when we PCSed to this base that we were handed deployment orders.  Obviously due to OPSEC I will not be disclosing most details but I will say in a few months my husband and I will be saying good bye until next year.  Which means he won't be here for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or New Years but we'll get through that.  He WILL be here for our sons first birthday and we just had our daughters third so at least he won't be missing birthdays :-)

As you can tell I'm not looking at this in a "OMG My life is over!" kind of way and nor should any other military spouse.  This is a fact of life for us.  Am I going to be sad sometimes, yes.  Am I going to cry myself to sleep more often than I'd like to admit after he leaves,  of course!  But I'm also going to slap on a smile, take a deep breath and get through each and every day and make it FUN.  I'm already starting deployment related actitivities with my 3 year old (we're making a small scrapbook for Daddy to take with pictures she's drawn and picking her favorite family pictures to add) and I'm making plans that involve traveling to places that are tricky when we're looking at his work schedule.  So Grandmas for Thankgiving and Great Grandmas for Christmas ect.  This is going to be one of the hardest things we have EVER faced as a couple but also one of the best.  Yep that's right I said THE BEST.  I remember when I was a kid and my Dad deployed I got to watch my Mom become Super Mom.  She did it all with amazing grace and confidence and when my Dad got home there was this moment of pure joy between them that was just impossible to miss.  They also grew as a couple with each and every deployment, learning what works for them and what doesn't, and finding out all the things they enjoy doing "together"  (one of there favorite things was to choose a book before the deployement began and they'd read it "together" and send letters back and forth about there thoughts and feelings on the book.  I thought that was just fantastic :-) ).  Life handed us lemons and I'm going to make some damn lemonade hehehe!

So readers out there in the world, my blog is probably going to change even more over the next year.  Right now I'll admit that I'm terrible about actually remembering to update and write new posts.  I get these ideas about a great topic and then forget to post because I'm busy fixing hubbys Blues or some such thing.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to update more often come deployment time because I'm going to have plenty of long lonely nights to write!  Also the contents of my posts are going to change.  In the past I haven't posted much about the military life although it's a huge part or my families identity and that's going to change.  I'm hoping to be able to post something good everyday as well as sharing the hard parts of what's ahead of us.  From the preperation (or where on earth are we going to find $500 for deployment gear before hubby leaves...better cut the budget AGAIN) to the leaving, to finding our deployemnt footing, to He's Home now how do we work as a couple after being apart for so long.  During all of this I'm still going to do homeschooling posts because hey, we're still homeschoolers it's just going to be a different variety.  We're going to do some focusing on where Daddy is (so lots of geography and history especially by 3 year old standards!) and about other families like us.  I hope none of you mind and who knows, maybe we can find another family like ours out in there in the world to share our experiences with!

So all in all out life is good.  It's complicated but it's good.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Making a commitment to me.

As most of you know weight loss is not a topic I typically write about.  It's something that has been haunting me since the birth of my son and I'm finally making a commitment to it.  Our church began I bible study called "Made to Crave" which has been a real eye opener for me.  That being said I've made an appointment for today with the nutritionist on base and I'm going to start working one day at a time towards eating healthy and exercising and hopefully it will get me somewhere!  To be honest I can't afford the slim fast style shakes that are out there,  the weight watchers programs, or the pills to help me lose weight or even to pay someone to help me get a workout routine.  This is going to be 100% all natural weight loss made from hard work and eating less than my body is burning. 
The only thing I MAY try is the Melaleuca GC control shakes because we're due to be getting a free batch soon thanks to being preferred customers (I love you Melaleuca!)  But that's it! 

Start - 208lbs
LTGW - 130lbs
STGW - 198lbs

Now time to convince my husband that I should get a treat for every 10lbs I lose!  ;-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting "Plugged In"

For those of you who have moved in the past you should know exactly what I'm talking about.  You move to a new place and it becomes a mission (sometimes a lengthy one) to get to know all the new places and find things to get you out of the house.  I'm finally at the stage in the move where I've got time to do this and at this point in my life I'm pretty darn good at it.

Step 1 - Figure out what YOU like to do.

I personally enjoy play groups, book clubs, volunteer work and crafting.  Because of this normally our bases ESC (Enlisted Spouses Club for those of you not skilled with Military acronyms ;-) )  is a good fit for me.  They normally do monthly meetings that have childcare and a guest speaker, this month on how to help the national cancer society followed by belly dancing lessons (that'll be a BLAST!).  They also do a ton of volunteer work around the base and set up groups to deliver meals to new Moms ect.  They are also a fantastic rescource when your spouse is deployed.  So all in all great for us.  I also find all the local play groups I can and attend each at least once before decided which one/s are a fit for me and my kids. 

Step 2 - Put your big girl panties on and GET OUT THERE!

Yep that's right.  I know darn well it's terrifying to go somewhere on your own where you know nobody.  I've been there multiple times throughout my life but if you don't do it you will spend your entire time at any new location bored and lonely which will manifest not only in your attitude but in your marriage and your relationship with your children.  Trust me, they will not bite.  The worst thing that could happen is that you don't like the group and hey, you're no worse off right?

Step 3 - Keep trying!

You are bound to run into groups you don't like.  One's who don't hold the same values as you.  Others that may still act like they are in high school.  But I PROMISE that you will eventually find a place that you feel happy in!  You will meet people you enjoy being around and make some new friends along the way.  You'll experience things you've never experienced before and you won't spend your entire tour somewhere locked up in your house with no one to talk to in person.

So my first steps start this week.  We have story time at the library on Tuesday, a play group to attend on Wedensday and on Friday I've entered a "Best Dish" competition our squadron is hosting.  Meeting new people and possibly winning my husband a couple of days off! 

So to those of you out there in my shoes I wish you luck and am so proud of you for putting yourself out there.  I'm a shy person at heart but I take the "Fake it til you make it approach" and it works for me :-D

Now I'm off to go put my big girl panties on :-)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It's been awhile!

Yep it's been quite a while since I last posted and boy have we been busy!  We have officially moved in to our new home in North Carolina (our new BEAUTIFUL base house) and most of our things are unpacked.  We're trying to learn to live on a LOT less money and we're preparing for the dreaded deployment.  Yep my dear, dear husband has deployment orders a matter of fact we got them within our first two weeks here!  Awesome, right?

So here's the story - Our family made the long flight from Okinawa, Japan to North Carolina on the 5th of January.  We then spent a few weeks with my Mum before heading to our base.  From the moment we touched down we were all sick.  Horribly, Horribly Sick!  Dearest Bug had a double ear infection.  Little Man (only 6 months at the time!), Hubby and I all had Bronchitis.  This went on for almost a month.  What a wonderful welcome to America gift!!

Come mid January we all drove down to the base to get our lodging room (which by the SJAFB has FANTASTIC family lodging!  The most beautiful I've ever seen!)  and we got to hang out there for about a week waiting on housing to give us offers or tell us to go find an offbase house.  The first offer they gave us was an automatic no from us.  It actually looked like a cute house but we weren't allowed to look at it before moving in and that's kind of important to me...yeah lol.  So we talked to the housing office about that issue and they came up with another offer for us.  Now take into account that we are only entitled to a 2 bedroom home by military regs.  We instead were given a HUGE brand new 4 bedroom home because that was all that was available :-).  Yep I am one happy camper!  It is litterally twice the size of our last home.

The kids finally have there own rooms and they have SPACE!

Now I'm just unpacking those last little pieces and trying to figure out what works know how it is if you've ever moved!  My big pantry is also holding home school supplies right now...I'm pretty sure I need to change that soon lol!

Ohhh pictures!
 Pre furniture was kinda like camping!
 Check out our view!  BEAUTIFUL!
 Little Man is getting so big...
 Can you believe that this is a base house?
 Our kitchen.  I love being able to see the kids while I'm cooking.  It means I can spend a lot more time in the kitchen :-)
 The dining room side.  Yep it's fully open plan
 My goofy Bug who is in a huge princess phase right now
 Big Man Standing!!

I still have so much to write about but Little Man is waking up from a nap now and I need to go wake up my dear husband so we can go out to breakfast :-)  We may have missed church due to the time change but I NEED pancakes!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

As promised :-)

HAHA!  I'm actually sticking to my promise (which is amazing as what I really SHOULD be doing right now is finding all my valuables ornaments and putting them in there original boxes so I can start on other PCSing jobs hehehe)

And I have some questions for all you homeschooling ladies out there in blogger land.
 What curriculums are you using with your children?
What are the benifits of those curriculums?
Are there any that you would like to try but haven't yet?

You see, I've run into a problem!  My beautiful Bug is progressing a tad bit to fast.  We had been working on a combination prek/k4 curriculum that was FANTASTIC (thanks to Confessions of a Homeschooler) but now my little 2.5yr old has mastered all of the letters/site words/numbers/math problems/phonics ect in the curriculum.  Please don't ask me how I did this, because I didn't.  My daughter is loving homeschool and wants to do her work (most of the time) and has somehow managed to zip right through everything.  After giving her a kindergarten readiness test I'm pretty certain that accademically she's ready for a kindergarten curriculum but physically she's not.  Her fine motor skills are normal for her age, same for large muscle groups, emotions ect.  It's only the accademics that I need but I've also noticed that a lot of the things done with kindergartens require them to have really good fine motor skills.
So how do I combine kindergarten academics with a 2.5yr olds fine motor skills? 

Any help would be much appreciated!   Also does anyone have any information or opinions on getting young children tested to see if they are gifted?  Hubby and I have been bouncing the idea around with how fast she's progressing and just aren't sure whether it would be helpful or a hindrance later in life ya know?

Thankyou my blogger friends :-)

Oh PCSing how I love thee...

So it's been a while since I last posted but you'll have to forgive me!  We've had a busy month and it's only going to get busier over the next few months.

As some of you know I'm a military spouse (and brat)  My father retired as a MSgt in the USAF when I was 18, my step mum is active duty still and my Husband is a SSgt in the USAF!  Not to mention a sister who goes to boot camp soon, a Navy uncle and a brother in law who is Army Reserves!  So obviously we have very strong military ties in our family lol!

Anyway in January we will be moving on to a new base and leaving the beautiful island of Okinawa behind.  It's been a fantastic 3 years with 2 new babies and a lot of adventures and I will be really sad to leave such a fantastic culture!  But as with all things there is a HUGE silver lining.  We'll be moving to North Carolina to be 3hrs from my Mum, 8 hrs from my Dad and 10hrs from the hubbys family!!  For those of you who've always lived near your family this may not seem like such a big deal but we've never lived near enough to really see ours very often.  My hubbys family has only seen Bug 2 times in her life and still hasn't met Mr Man.  My Dad has only seen Bug twice but he did meet Mr Man when he was still teeny.  My Mum got to spend lots of time with them while I was there to give birth (loooooong story, maybe I'll share another time)  but it still feels like they miss out on seeing family when we're so, so far away from them.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my life for the world and I really hope that in a few years we can be stationed overseas again (maybe Italy next time??) but there are some drawbacks!

Anyway I promise tomorrow I will post something thought provoking (or at least SOMETHING!)

Until then :-)