Children love to help, but sometimes it’s a challenge to figure out what they are capable of helping with. With a little planning and applying what you know about your child and what he or she can do, you can come up with a list of daily and weekly chores that even the smallest ones in the family can do.
I love fall. It’s my favorite time of year. But I don’t like the transition from summer to fall. I find it hard to figure out what to wear. It goes from chilly to hot most days in September, and neither my summer nor my winter clothing seems to be comfortable.
It’s not just the temperature factor either. It seems that once the leaves start their annual change, I’m ready for a change in color too. The colors of summer don’t feel as awesome as they did just a month ago. The last transition I went through with my wardrobe — from spring to summer — I tried a few new things. They really helped me and I think they will help with this transition too.
In the past six years of my life, I have been shipping care packages overseas — a lot of them. Between two deployments, being stationed overseas, a few adopted soldiers and a school supply project in Iraq, I have shipped well over 400 boxes. I have never had a box lost or horribly damaged. That’s a blessing.
When I ship boxes, I pack them myself and I use a system I’ve developed over the years. It’s not rocket science. You also learn with time to choose items you can easily fit into flat rate boxes. I’ve never even used a mail store, such as a UPS Store, until recently.
I suppose I know a lot about sleep.
Sleep habits were the topic of a research project I did in my final semester of graduate school. My test subject for the project was someone who was struggling with chronic insomnia, and my job as a social worker was to find answers that would help her out with minimal amount of intervention. The real goal of the study was to address bad habits and see if medication could be avoided all together.
First, we went over her medical history. She was in good health, and her doctor had ruled out anything medical that would cause the insomnia. Basically, she was struggling with environmental factors that were causing her to have a hard time falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep when she finally passed out from exhaustion.
The nation has watched carefully as dedicated athletes powered through the first week of competition at the 2012 Olympics.
A prime example of this transition to Olympic glory is Gabby Douglas, the 16-year-old gymnast who edged out tough competition to win gold in the all-around competition after helping bring home a gold for Team USA just a few nights before.
Although by now you’re familiar with her name and brilliant work, you may not have known that Gabby is a proud military kid. Gabby’s father, a Staff Sargent with the Air National Guard, has faced three deployments since 2003.
You’ve heard the old saying “What can go wrong will go wrong.” That’s the philosophy on which Murphy’s Law is built. I am not one to harp on the negative, but sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. Murphy’s Law is something that we can almost always count on happening in military life.
These unfortunate events are all tongue-in-cheek and are meant to make you laugh. Hopefully they will also drum up for you some comfort. It’s always nice to know you are not alone in the absurdity that life seems to hand us (and military life gets a double dose of the absurd).
Remember when you were first married? It seemed that every thing you did was in some way a communication of your love for one another. The sideways glance. The brush against each other in the hallway. The kind greetings and long kisses goodbye.
Unfortunately it’s a cruel fact of life that the longer we are married, the less natural these things are to us. We have to work at finding ways to say “I love you” to our spouse.
They say “you are what you eat,” and there is some truth to that. We are also what we project in the lines of our attitude. Your attitude affects your actions, as well as your mental and physical health. It can feel like an uphill battle sometimes when you are facing deployments, PCSing and other difficulties of military life, but there are strategies you can use to keep that chin lifted high and to keep that attitude working for you instead of against you.
In a time of war, stress is inescapable for military families.
There are also less visible stresses such as frequent PCSing and all that it entails — saying good-bye to friends, making new friends, new schools, new communities and sometimes even whole new cultures when we go overseas.
Stress is here to stay in military life. But you don’t have to succumb to the fallout of living in a stressful lifestyle. Here are some quick tips on how to let some stress go before it gets the best of you:
Take a slow deep breath and exhale slowly. Repeat five times. The practice of breathing deep is used in a lot of relaxation techniques because it works. The focus is removed from the stress source to the act of breathing. Also taking a deep breath gets more oxygen to the brain and induces a relaxing effect. See More
I have long held the belief and practice that keeping healthy during difficult times like deployment is the best way to manage stress. Exercise and fitness was one way I was able to manage stress while my son was deployed and my husband was away in training. That year, in particular, I learned the benefits of regular exercise and a focus on health and wellness. It gave me the upper hand in dealing with intense stress.
Below are a few pointers from what I learned during that time. These are life lessons that I carry with me to this day.