Saturday, January 15, 2011

Operation Paperback

I heard about this organization a few months back and immediately signed up, because who can't use more books?  We received our box before Christmas and it was chocked full of books for all the kids reading levels.  I finally got to read The Book Thief and I have another pile of books to read in the upcoming weeks.  Goodness knows I have no exciting nights in this house after the kids are in bed, and I'm able to plow through a book or more every week.

Operation Paperback has volunteers all over the United States that gather books for your families and ship them out, free of charge!  It was easy to do, just go here to sign up!

They even ship books to your Soldier who is deployed, and you can sign them up here.

They also have several ways that you can volunteer with their organization as well.

Happy reading!  

Friday, January 14, 2011

You Know When the Men Are Gone--Giveaway!!!

I was shipped a copy of the book You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, for review recently.

I had it sitting in my pile of books to read, and I picked it up one night when I was missing Gunner.


Really, seriously, I loved it.  I've actually read it two times since then.

"There is an army of women waiting for their men to return in Fort Hood, Texas. Through a series of loosely interconnected stories, Siobhan Fallon takes readers onto the base, inside the homes, into the marriages and families-intimate places not seen in newspaper articles or politicians' speeches."

After spending over 6 years at Fort Hood, meeting my husband while he was stationed there the first time, and having our son there, Fort Hood will always hold a special place in my heart.  Many of the places that she mentions I have been, which made the stories seem even more real.  

You can watch a preview of the book here:

After each of the stories, I would have to put down the book and think.  Some of these stories I have seen played out in real life, which made it hard, because I could think of Soldiers and their families that lived these "fictional" stories.  

The back of the book reads:  "There is an army of women waiting for their men to return to Fort Hood, Texas.  As Siobhan Fallon shows in this collection of loosely interconnected short stories, each woman deals with her husband's absence differently.  One wife, in an attempt to avoid thinking about the risks her husband faces in Iraq, develops an unhealthy obsession with the secret life of her neighbor.  Another woman's simple trip to the PX becomes unbearable when she pulls into her Gold Star parking space.  And one woman's loneliness may lead to dire consequences when her husband arrives home.  In gripping, no-nonsense stories that will leave you shaken, Siobhan Fallon allows you into a world tightly guarded by gates and wire.  It is a place where men and women cling to the families they have created as the stress of war threatens to pull them apart."

Siobhan Fallon is an Army Wife, who has been through two deployments of her own.

Because I LOVED this book so much, I have ONE book to give away!  Just leave a comment below and let me know how you deal with the stress of war. (Limited to US addresses, APO and FPO as well)

My way of dealing with stress?  The last two deployments it has been working out.  For one or more hours a day, I can focus on myself, what I need to do, and the stress of everything disappears.  Not that it doesn't come back afterwards, but I have a reprieve.  How do you handle the stress of deployments?

I will draw for the winner on Wednesday January 19th!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Deployment Question

I got an email from a reader not too long ago:

A month into my first deployment (better half is deployed, I'm home),
I found your blog.  Do you have any other army-wife deployment blogs/
online resources you recommend?   We plan to get married when he gets
back, and I know other deployments will be in my future... but I won't
be in my home town next time.  Not used to the erratic communication
schedule and am finding it a bit difficult.  Holidays don't help

Any other resources you can pass on would be great-- I'm not living on
the base he was deployed from and since we aren't married, I haven't
found many official Army resources I can take advantage of.  So,
online info/ blogs/ whatever would be great.

Love your blog-- can't imagine going through so many year-long
deployments, though.  Wow.


My advice?  Stay busy.  Set goals.  Don't get caught up in the drama.  Surround yourself with non-toxic people.  Make plans for when they come back.  Save money.  Write letters.  Take pictures.  Live your life, he doesn't want you to put it on hold!  He will change, work hard to make yourself better and your future family better.  Survive and Thrive!

Anyone else have advice or want to put their blogs in the comments so she can read about other people going through this same thing?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winding Up

We still have a few months to go, but since the last few months always seem to go the slowest for me, I have been busy scheduling things for us to do.

This weekend we have:

Then Em is headed off to a weekend in the mountains where she will enjoy snowshoeing, tubing, crafts, sleigh ride, sports, skiing and more.  It's a free weekend for teens of deployed Soldiers/Airman, etc.  She's really excited about it.  I'm jealous!

There's a Girl Scout mall lock-in coming up, and then I'll take the little kids to see:
How do you help pass the time the last few months before they come home?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stars and Stripes Valentine's Messages!

I remember when Gunner was deployed to Bosnia, we had no internet connection, very few phone calls, and our only contact were letters.  We were stationed in Germany, and I religiously read the Stars and Stripes paper each day to keep up with what was happening over there.

On Valentine's Day, we could buy an ad in the paper to send our husband's a message.  Of course I had to do it, because I could only imagine if he were the only one.  

Fast forward a hundred years, and now it is a service that is provide by Stars and Stripes for free!

If you have a loved one overseas, go here and send a message, free of charge.  You can even upload a picture, and select which edition, whether you want it in print, or only online.  

So if you'll be apart over Valentine's Day (I'm starting to think Gunner plans this, lol), make sure you let them know you are thinking of them (and then go get yourself a really nice present!)!

Monday, January 10, 2011


I was sitting here tonight, watching it pour down snow (I really wish there was a phrase for that like when it is "raining cats and dogs", shouldn't it be "snowing like ????"), and I realized how lucky fortunate that I am.

I've got a great guy.

Really, I am.

If Gunner was here, he would have helped me clean the house all day.  (For the record, he said he would clean the house for a year over being in Afghanistan for one more day.  Let that be noted, because I will be calling on that later.)

He would walk the dog in the snow.

He would have read stories to the kids.

Tucked them into bed.

"Whooshed" them.  (Basically, that means he takes their covers, throws them up in the air and everyone in the room cries "woosh".  I apparently don't do it the same, so I am relieved from that duty.)

He would have helped get dinner on the table.

He would have given Junior a bath. (For the record, GUNNER'S son colored his entire body with markers today during 'quiet time' because he was trying to be a secret agent and not be recognized.)

Tonight at dinner Abs and I had this conversation:

Abs:  What if we get snowed in?
Me:  We won't, we'll be fine.
Abs:  At least if we run out of food, we have you to eat.

Yes, my children decided last summer while we were camping, that in case of emergency I would be the first one eaten because all I do is take pictures.

Please check on me tomorrow in case my children decided to "feast".

Military Spouse Scholarships

For Immediate Distribution
Bailey Bernius 

Applications Now Accepted for Military Spouse ScholarshipsApply before January 31 deadline
ALEXANDRIA, VA January 5, 2011 — The deadline is quickly approaching for spouses to apply for the National Military Family Association’s Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. Scholarships of up to $1,000 are awarded to military spouses to obtain professional certification or training, complete a two- or four-year degree, or attend graduate school.
Scholarships are awarded in three categories: all military spouses, spouses of wounded service members, and spouses of fallen service members. Applications will only be accepted online and must be submitted by midnight EST January 31, 2011. Spouses of uniformed service members (active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, and survivors) from any branch or rank are eligible to apply. The scholarship funds may be used to assist with tuition, fees, and school room and board. Apply now!
This scholarship program is made possible by partnerships with BAE Systems, Fisher House Foundation, Folds of Honor Foundation, and General Dynamics. For more information on military spouse education and careers, visit the Spouse Education section of our website.

About the National Military Family AssociationMilitary families serve our country with pride, honor, and quiet dedication. The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen. We provide families of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA with information, work to get them the benefits they deserve, and offer programs that improve their lives. Our 40 years of service and accomplishments have made us a trusted resource for military families and the Nation's leaders. To learn more, visit

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Change of Plans--WINNER!!!

True Random Number GeneratorMin: Max: Result:6Powered by RANDOM.ORG

I once again wasted time trying to figure out how to get the picture installed on this page, and this is the best I can do.  Maybe in a few years I can actually figure it out!

So, the winner is McMgrad89 at So I Was Just Thinking!

Enjoy your movies and new blanket!

Facebook Updates

Another installment in my life on facebook....I know the suspense is killing you, lol.

ABW is thankful for the patient old man at Home Depot that helped Abbie come up with ideas to make a car out of non-car parts. When it was all said and done, the two had discussed all the finer points of car building, and he whispered to me "you must be tired every night by the time she goes to bed, but she's worth a million bucks". That she is.

ABW I registered today for the Colfax half marathon. BTW, Gunner , I signed you up too! Think of it as me investing in your health.

ABW is really over deployments.

ABW just caught Abbie "flossing" her toes with a dog treat. Ewwww. If anyone can figure out what goes through her mind I would appreciate it. Her excuse was that she did not have a big ball of twine

ABW has the collards and black eyed peas on. Yum. Let the good luck start!

ABW hopes that they are serving black-eyed peas and collard greens in Afghanistan, as she would hate for Gunner to miss out on traditions

Abs: I get tired of being told what to do.
Me: Become President and you can tell people what to do.
Abs: Or I could be a mommy, they do the same thing.

ABW Just saw the funniest thing. Andrew was fussing so I finally went to check on him. He was sitting in a giant silver mixing bowl (hey, it was his hat yesterday) and was asleep. He would fuss every time he would fall over. I asked him what he was doing and he said "waiting for Santa".