What to do with Little Ones When in South Korea

Recently my little one and I traveled to South Korea to spend a month with my husband who is stationed here. We had such a blast exploring what we could while we were here! So much more we wanted to do! But here are my tips for traveling with a little one here in S. Korea.

The past month my baby and I have been traveling South Korea while we visiting my husband here! We have had so much fun and got to see so much, although so much more we wanted to see and didn’t have time for! Partly due to lack of time and partly due to lack of planning we stayed in our small little areas and explored where we were. But with a bit more time and planning we might have gotten to see so much more.

So I am sharing my favorite things we did while here & my tips and tricks I learned in my treck that might have helped us see more so that you can make the best out of your trip.

I am gonna start off with sharing what I most wanted to see while in Korea! Here was the list of things I found from hunting through Pinterest and Google.

Things to do in South Korea

What we Actually Did

Turns out Seoul is a huge city! I have never been in such a large city in my life. To put it in perspective for you the population of Seoul is 3x the population of the entire state of South Carolina (Yeah blew my mind too!!!). So not everything in the city was super close by. That prevented us from going and doing some of the things on our list, the the Indian Soul BBQ restaurant and the Trick-Eye Museum. Its ok, because I don’t think a 4 month old cares much about the trick eye museum. But while we may not have eaten at that Korean BBQ restaurant we did get to go to a very similar place down in Pyeongtaek (near Camp Humphreys). It was an all you can eat place and they give you variety of meat to choose from and you cook it yourself at the table over a grill right on your table!

But we made it to the Zoo at Seoul Grand Park. It was a huge zoo and we didn’t even get to see it all. It was an easy Subway ride to the zoo.

My biggest travel tip is to avoid the stroller at all cost!

It would have been a nightmare trying to get a stroller on and off the subway and up and down all those stairs. We wore her in a baby carrier and when she was getting heavy, we just switched! It worked out so well! It worked great for the plane too!

Walking around the zoo was fun! Not only did they have a huge selection of animals to see- Elephants, Giraffes, Gorillas, Tigers, Lions, and so many many more. There was also a lot of history there and Greenhouses to see and view all different flowers and plants.

We also tried to get to Busan and see the coast one weekend. Busan is the second biggest city in South Korea. However, when we got to the train station to buy our tickets (we got there at 10am) the next train wasn’t until 5pm. So we took the subway to the next train station, found a train leaving in the next hour, except the first 2 hours of the ride was standing room only. That was not something we were willing to do with a 4 month old. So we adventured around the town instead.

Bonus Points! We found a mall and did some shopping. I got to buy a variety of Korean skin care products! That is definitely something I will be requesting in more packages for the rest of his time here.

So lesson learned! Buy your tickets in advance.

We did try to do this to be fair, but the website was in Korean. If you can ask your hotel lobby for help, a travel office or if you know someone ask for help and pre-buy your train tickets. Then maybe you will actually get to your destination unlike us!

If you go in the Spring, Definitely seek out the Cherry Blossoms

And not just the flowers! While they are absolutely beautiful, the treats are great too! I got to try Starbucks Cherry Blossom Milk Tea, and quite a few other things! They are so tasty! And don’t worry if you don’t like Cherry Flavored things. They taste much more like Strawberries than anything else. Also the Cherry Blossom souvenirs are great too!

We didn’t go to any of the Cherry Blossom Festivals. The day we were planning to go it rained and was very windy! Also the hubs is not big into crowds so we just enjoyed them at our own leisure and found the treats at various different places!

Overall we did quite a bit considering we only had a couple full weekends to explore since the hubs did not take any leave. I encourage you to go an visit! Take the kids if you have them as there are plenty of places for them. One of the biggest things around are the themed cafes. We didn’t frequent them really, especially since our Little Miss isn’t even crawling yet there wasn’t much need for them! But they also have animal themed ones where they have roaming animals around- sheep, raccoons, rabbits, cats and more!

We had a great month here visiting and exploring! Have you ever been to Korea? What were some of your favorite things to do there! Any travel tips for traveling with little ones? Leave those in the comments too so I can build up my stock of ideas for our next trip!

Recently my little one and I traveled to South Korea to spend a month with my husband who is stationed here. We had such a blast exploring what we could while we were here! So much more we wanted to do! But here are my tips for traveling with a little one here in S. Korea.

5 Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary When Your Spouse is Deployed

One of the hardest parts of being a MilSpouse is missing those important milestones. But those special days don’t have to be a complete loss; in fact, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in spite of the distance. All it takes is a little patience and creativity!  

One of the hardest parts of being a MilSpouse is missing those important milestones. But those special days don’t have to be a complete loss; in fact, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in spite of the distance. All it takes is a little patience and creativity!

Plan a Skype Date:

There’s nothing better than seeing your spouse’s face after weeks (or months!) of separation. It might be a little difficult to coordinate times to set up a Skype call, especially if there’s a significant time difference, but it’ll be well worth the effort once you can see them smile and hear their voice. Step it up by eating dinner together or streaming a movie or keep it nice and simple with a regular conversation.

Send Gifts:

Part of the fun of gift-giving is seeing your spouse’s reaction. But if they’re not right in front of you, that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as satisfying to hear they received a special something to commemorate your wedding day. Besides, you can always send something small for that day and give the big gift when they get back. The anticipation will be enough of a present!

Don’t Spend It Alone:

The only thing that self-imposed isolation will bring is unnecessary sadness. This is a happy day, so spend it with people you love! Let your family and friends know about your anniversary and plan a get-together or celebration.

Go out to see that new action movie with a sibling, go on a shopping trip with your best friend, or check out that new exhibit at your local art gallery with your dad. Whatever you do, just don’t wallow at home. After all, your spouse would hate to hear that you spent the day pining away and counting down the days till their return.

Make Plans to Celebrate Later:

Nobody says you have to celebrate your anniversary on the actual day it occurs. If you are unable to spend your anniversary with your spouse, it’s simple enough to reschedule for when they return home.

Plan to go to your favorite restaurant or have a candlelit dinner at home.

Start looking up prices for plane tickets to a dream destination.

If you both love horseback riding, skiing, or surfing, plan a day to do your chosen activity together when your spouse returns home.

No matter what you decide to do, throwing out these ideas will make their return all the more exciting.

Write Love Letters:

While phone calls are great, their impact is short-lived. However, with good upkeep, the written word will last for years to come.

Talk about things like how you felt when you first realized you were in love with your spouse, what you appreciate and admire about them, and your hopes and dreams for the two of you in the future.

When you’re finished writing, you can spray the paper you write on with your perfume or cologne as a romantic personal touch.

Nothing compares to being next to your spouse, but these ideas will close the distance the slightest bit and keep up your spirits until the day they return for good.

 

One of the hardest parts of being a MilSpouse is missing those important milestones. But those special days don’t have to be a complete loss; in fact, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in spite of the distance. All it takes is a little patience and creativity!  

Heather Lomax is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Challenge Coins Ltd. She writes for a variety of MilSpouse blogs on topics related to financial strategies for military homes and getting closer to your spouse.

 

A Letter to my Military Child

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life!

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are born into it. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life! They make life both harder and easier for us as they give us a distraction during deployments and TDYs, but also require us to go through stints of solo-parenting which is never easy.

So even though my little one is still much much to young to know what is going on around here, that she will have had more than one home before she even turns one. That before she starts kindergarten we will most likely have lived in 3 or more states. That due to the “needs of the Army” we spent the much better half of her first year living with Granna and Papa away from Daddy. A  military child goes through so much more than will ever be none. But I want her to know I see her. So this is for her, so she can look back when she’s older and knows that I admire the strength she will grow up to have; that I believe in the resiliency she will develop.

To You My Military Child,

My little one, look how big and brave you are. As I sit here writing this you lay only feet away sleeping in a tiny dorm where we visit daddy in South Korea. I know you will never remember these days, one because you are tiny; and two because you spent the majority of the trip asleep in your carrier as we went from place to place adventuring. You won’t remember that when you were born it was your grandmother who sat with me because your daddy was far away. But you will hear these stories many many times as you grow up. And one day you will experience them and you will remember this path the military has led our family down. Because we don’t plan for it to end soon. But we don’t get to plan much. We are like the leaf in the river drifting to where the send us; never anchored down.

It can be a hard life, but a rewarding one. One filled with adventure and awe as we will travel places many never will- before you were six months old we made it to your first foreign country. Hopefully not your last. It will teach you resilience, perseverance, kindness, and so much more. I know this because I know what it is like to not have a childhood home. I know what it is like to move more times than you can count and can remember.

It will teach you to value memories made rather than objects as moving with many things gets tedious and inefficient. But your memories will last a lifetime. Cherish them and you will never forget where you came from and who you are. It will teach you that people are people no matter where they come from or what they look like. You will make friends of all races, genders, and anything else. It is the people who will pull you through the hard times and celebrate the good. Never underestimate the power of friendship, even when you struggle with a friend. An argument or disagreement doesn’t have to be the end. Everyone has different experiences it is what we learn and take away from them that shapes us.

It will be hard, goodbyes are hard, but thankfully with the technology we have it makes it so much easier to stay in touch. We may grow apart from people sometimes and that is ok, but be there when someone needs you and they will be there for you. You will have friends from all over the world, how many kids get to say that! It may not always feel that way, but remember it can be a blessing.

We won’t always be close to family. Sometimes, most of the time, your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins will be far away. It will be hard, and you will miss them. But they will never stop loving you. They will always be in your corner no matter how far. They are always just a phone call away. Sometimes it will be daddy who is away. He will miss concerts, recitals, games, and school plays. He will miss Birthdays and Holidays. But know he does it because he loves you, not because he loves his job more. He makes that sacrifice to provide for us, to give you the best life possible. I know it can be hard to understand, but he will hate missing it, even more than you do. Know that he will always do everything in his power to be there physically for you. And when he can’t know that he is always there for you anyway.

But no matter what this life holds for us, know that we love you. That we see you, and that we are grateful for the sacrifices you will make every single day to help your daddy fulfill his dream. We will always be there for you and nothing about that will ever change.

Love,

your mom and dad.

 

 

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life!

Spring Has Sprung: Regaining Mental Clarity as Winter Fog Lifts

Spring is here and now is the time the winter fog is lifting. Green is returning to the world and flowers are blooming. We can let is stay there or we can take advantage of the renewing season. We can renew our mind and attitudes- seeking mental clarity.

Ah spring has arrived! Hopefully we can push through this last small cold front we all seem to be experiencing and getting into the most beautiful iconic spring weather!

I am ready for shorts and tanks again (ok I know Hawaii is always this kind of weather but I am weathering the end of winter here in Korea, totally unprepared for the snow we just experienced). I miss my shorts and flip-flops. The earth is in bloom again- grass turns green, flowers bloom, trees grow their leaves again. We are all coming out of our winter drearyness ready to take on the world refreshed. At least that is how I have always viewed spring.

We recently had our family pictures taken and we were talking to the photographer about what dreary weather this winter was in Korea (thankfully I escaped the majority and am just riding out the tail-end). But winter can feel heavy- its cold and dreary making it difficult to get out of the house. Even in places like Hawaii where it is warmer in the winter it is the rainy season that can get you trapped in the house. This is even more so with a little one in tow.

But Spring gives you a new fresh breath ready to take on the world renewed. To me it is more renewing than the start of a new year. Granted I have never been one for winter. Summer is my season always has been, and probably always will be- I am a true southern girl at heart.

Anyway… I think the awakening of the Earth is a wonderful time to mentality and emotionally awaken finding clarity to continue through the year. Just go up to Alaska where they have only a few daylight hours a day in the winter time and you will find a much higher incidence rate of SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder) than in southern cities like Miami for example. People need daylight and sunshine. Beyond the fact that our bodies need Vitamin D- which other than supplements only comes form sunlight, sunshine and beautiful weather just seems to give you a pep in your step.

So as Spring rolls in fighting with greater and greater force here are some things you can to do enter spring with renewed clarity:

 

Spring Cleaning is a thing for a reason.

There is a reason everyone talks about spring cleaning. Spring cleaning brings a refreshing to your home. Whether you use it as a purge to get rid of all unwanted or unneeded items or just a good scrub down so everything is fresh, cleaning can be a great way to get a fresh start. I don’t know about you but I love when my house is clean- even though I whole heartedly admit to hate cleaning, I love the final product. I never feel rested even if I am resting if when I look around my house it feels messy. It begins to give me anxiety. So getting up cleaning my house- finishing the dishes, putting away the laundry, scrubbing the toilets, and cleaning the floors all give me deeper and deeper sense of refreshment. I list this first because if you are like me then I can’t give in and enjoy or re-evaluate my goals with that hanging over me.

Get outside and Enjoy

Spring is a beautiful time. This year I am lucky enough to be in South Korea during Cherry Blossom season. I am so excited to get to see the cherry blossoms bloom. Based on the pictures I have seen from friends and years past it is truly a spectacular sight to see. But everywhere has something that makes getting outside more enjoyable in the spring time. In Hawaii the rain lifts, in the south flowers of all type bloom, there are baby animals all over you might get to catch a glimpse of! It truly is magical. So get out and enjoy. This will also give you the much needed dosage of Vitamin D you might have been missing all summer.

Regain focus by Creating/Reevaluating Goals

Maybe you made goals in January or New Years Resolutions. But maybe you have gotten off track. I know I have. But as the world begins to renew itself, it can be a wonderful opportunity to regain your focus by creating or re-evaluating the goals you already made. It is also a quarter of the way through the year. So how have you done? What do you need to go to continue to meet your goals? Do you need to get back on track? Make some mini-goals to help you get there.

 God Intended Spring to Be a Renewing

Whether you are religious or not, you can’t deny that spring is an awakening seasoning. The plants bloom, chicks hatch, baby animals are born. More animals give birth in the spring than any other season. Easter is also a quintessential Spring holiday. It is the ultimate spring awakening and renewing. Our lives can be renewed through Christ who was brought back to life. You can’t get more renewed than that! But because God intended it to be so, he will provide you ways to find refreshment and clarity as we leave winter behind and enjoy the wonderful World He gave us!

Spring is here and now is the time the winter fog is lifting. Green is returning to the world and flowers are blooming. We can let is stay there or we can take advantage of the renewing season. We can renew our mind and attitudes- seeking mental clarity.

Must Haves For Baby Sleep

Baby sleep sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes all you need to help your baby sleep is a bit of preparation and a few basic essentials you too can help your baby get some good sleep.

Baby Sleep… It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to some. Even though all newborns seem to do is sleep, you some how managed to only ever be exhausted. That is because babies sleep only a couple hours at a time, which means you only have a couple hours of a time to sleep. And if you are anything like me, you don’t fall asleep quite as fast as your newborn. Or if your baby is like mine their favorite place to sleep is on top of you and so you never manage to get in a good nap along with them.

Now I am not going to pretend to be any sort of baby sleep expert. While my baby sleeps pretty good most nights at 4 months, we definitely don’t have nap times down pat. She naps in the car, she naps on me and will fall asleep briefly when I lay her in bed if I nurse her. But at nights she wakes once to eat between 4 and 5, and then again at 6 or 7 then sleeps till about 9am.

But we struggle greatly with nap times. I have a couple theories about why that is. With such a tiny house it is hard to get our room quiet enough, it is bright and sunny in the room which also makes it warm and it is nearly impossible to cool it down and get it dark.

But it also leads me to conclusion that what I am doing at night that fixes those things really are working.

So here are my top items to help my baby sleep:

1. Sound Machine

We keep a sound machine running in the bedroom. I like to use the ocean sounds. To me it is the most soothing white noise so I can still sleep while it blows out all the background noise of sirens, cars, and shouts throughout the neighborhoods.

This one has six different sounds you can choose from so you can choose the one that is right for you and your baby! Babies are so used to constant sound that silence can actually make it harder for them to sleep. Before babies are born they never experience silence as the inside of our bodies are quite noisy with all the blood rushing through the veins and arteries. That is why shushing helps. So yo prevent you from having to spend your evening making sushing sounds to help baby sleep, invest in one of these to help!

2. Sleep Sacks and Swaddles

Babies are not supposed to sleep with lose blankets to help reduce the risk of SIDS, but you also want to help keep them warm throughout the night. Also my baby is very active so having a sleep sack helps keeps her legs from flailing and keeping her awake. When she was itty bitty we used the zipper sleep pods, then because she was a very long baby she lengthed out of them pretty quickly so we moved to the velcro sleep swaddles. Then when she needed her arms out we moved to sleep sacks. It keeps her warm and I think it helps weigh downs her legs so she doesn’t lay in her bed and continue to play with her feet when she should be napping.

3. Pacifiers-

Ok, so I know not all babies take a pacifier, some never will. And that is ok. But if your baby does it can help so much. My baby loves her pacifier and often time when she is nursing at night she falls asleep when she unlatches she will often start rooting around. Not because she is still hungry but because she loves to suck- it is kinda what babies do. When I offer her the pacifier she takes it and drifts right off to sleep.

4. Full Belly

Babies sleep so much better when their bellies are full. However your schedule works whether you nurse the baby to sleep or feed her, get her ready for bed and then lay her down, just make sure that the last feeding of the night is a full feeding and baby has a full tummy. This will help baby sleep longer at night because they won’t be hungry as quickly.

5. Darkness-

This is probably the number one reason why my baby sleeps so great at night and hardly at all during the day. No matter what I do, I cannot make her bedroom dark in the day and keep it cool enough for her to sleep. If I close the windows the room will be super hot, and then she won’t be comfortable, but light streams into the room with them open.

And Snuggles.

When all else fails I know it can make the days long, and the nights even longer. But they are only that little for that day. When they wake up they will be bigger than you remember from the day before. And one day they won’t need or want your cuddles to fall asleep. So if you can just snuggle them. Baby’s crave physical contact. It makes them feel safe and secure and will in turn sleep better. And then as if the baby is a stick of dynamite, move them into their own bed as carefully as humanly possible! And with a little bit of luck hopefully you will get some sleep too!

 

Baby sleep sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes all you need to help your baby sleep is a bit of preparation and a few basic essentials you too can help your baby get some good sleep.

Last Year We had 2 Pink Lines, Today We have You

A year ago on St. Patrick’s Day you made my dreams come true! Just a couple days before I couldn’t imagine that in a year I would be a mom, but here I am. And Loving every single bit of it.

A year ago I woke up with nothing more than a feeling that I should take a pregnancy test. No missed period (or so I thought), no nausea, no symptoms. Just an overwhelming feeling that I should. And since I had plenty didn’t seem any harm in what I assumed would be wasting them. And then I saw it the faintest of faintest second line. I didn’t quite believe my eyes so I tried to take a second one but I only got a single line on that one. So I stopped and picked up one of those digital pregnancy tests on my way home that day. Saving it for the next morning to try again. Sure enough there it was. A positive test, two of them!! I went to my doctor for a confirmation test and that was positive too!

I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home from work so I could share this with him. A text just wasn’t going to do it! So I set about trying to find the best way to tell him. Do I blurt it out, try to be clever, get cute? I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it from him so I went simple.

It was St. Patrick’s Day a quick trip to TJ Maxx and I found clover socks and a cute picture printed from Etsy and that was that.

I couldn’t imagine how just a year has changed my life. In my life I have gone through some crazy things in a year, but nothing has been as life changing as this. Just a couple short years ago I went from girlfriend, fiance to wife. That was a big change I know that sounds crazy to say because obviously motherhood is one of the biggest life changes that ever. But you just can’t fathom it until its happening even though this is something I have wanted for so long.

So here it is, a letter to you my baby on the one year anniversary I knew you were mine.

Dear Little One,

This is your momma and I love you more than you will ever know. I love you through every late night and early morning. I love you when all you want is me even when you deny me a break because of your refusal to take a bottle (even if I did work so hard to pump all that milk for you that will forever sit in my freezer now). And I would cuddle you forever if you would let me.

You are already showing me all your independence. You love playing and being active. You are so busy and you can’t even go anywhere yet. But I know that won’t last long. Our days are numbered for your stationary time. Then I will be exhausted while chasing you down for the rest of my life. But I will watch with joy as you find all the new things about this world we live in.

I look at you and see perfection. I had nine long months to prepare for you.To imagine what you would be like, look like, act life, sound like. And everything is more and better than I could ever imagine. Your first full laugh was the best thing I have ever heard. When you snuggle into my chest while nursing are such special moments that I will always treasure. Even your independence when you wiggle to free yourself from my arms because you area already so independent.

You just keep being your awesome little self and I will keep loving every sleepful and even sleepless moment with you. Because a year ago I had two pink lines (well more like 8, because I just couldn’t believe you were coming to me) but today my heart is more full than I could have ever imagined because I have you.

So St. Patrick’s Day may be considered a lucky day for the Irish.  But I could never have dreamed I would get so lucky!

Love,

Your Mom

3 Things To Consider Before Having A Baby

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before having a baby. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge.

This week we have another Guest Post from Erica Johnson over at. She is sharing her Top 3 things you should consider before having a baby

 

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before they will be ready to have a child. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge. However, there are some legitimate areas of life that are important to consider before you start trying for a baby. Here are a few areas that are worth some time and attention.

Here are Three Things you Should Consider Before Having a Baby

Finances

While you certainly don’t have to be rich to be a great parent, being aware of your current financial situation is wise. A new baby brings along several extra costs: In 2015, the estimated cost of raising a child for 18 years was $233,610. Having money in savings and learning how to maintain a balanced budget can help provide a cushion against unexpected expenses

A baby has only a few true physical needs: food, shelter, diapers, a safe sleeping area, a car seat and clothing. Taking a look at your current financial state to determine if you will be able to provide these necessities can allow you to make any changes to your budgeting and saving habits now.

Time

One of the most important things any baby needs is lots of love, snuggles and attention. In other words, your baby needs your time.

Children are notorious for not following an adult’s preferred schedule, and being aware of some of the changes a baby will bring to your life is worth some consideration. Are there commitments in your life now that you may need to put on hold or stop completely? Are there some personal boundaries that may need to be put in place to carve out one-on-one time with your child?

Proactive changes are usually easier to make than reactive ones. Considering the commitments, relationships and goals already present in your life can help provide some framework when thinking about how adding a baby will fit into your life.

Your Health

Thinking about the current state of your health is an important consideration. Pregnancy, delivery and caring for a newborn will require a great deal of energy from a mother’s body. Learning about and implementing good nutrition, exercise and daily vitamin routines can help get your body ready for a healthy pregnancy.

If you are concerned that you may have unhealthy habits or need to lose/gain weight, an appointment with your healthcare provider can help you develop a plan to get you and your future baby to optimal health.

Becoming a parent to a totally dependent newborn can change you at some of your deepest levels. Taking the time to consider your current situation can be very helpful in showing you where any changes may need to be made. Parenting is one of the greatest joys of life and investing the time to consider how you can provide the best environment to bring a child into is worth the effort.

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before having a baby. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge.

 

Want to Find more by Erica?

Check out her blog here

And, Follow her on Social Media!

                     

Do You Think Your Child has Anxiety?

Children show signs of anxiety in different ways than we do as adults. So do you know what the signs of anxiety in children are? And what to do about it.

Military life can bring all sorts of challenges, and our children are definitely not excluded from experiencing the anxiety. But often times anxiety presents itself so differently in children than it does in adults and so often we miss it or misdiagnose it.

When I was completing my education as a marriage and family counselor I did my practicum and internship experience working in a family counseling program that served a school district. We worked with individual students in the schools through classroom visits, group work, and family sessions. Often I would work with children who were presenting behavioral issues- misbehaving in class, uncontrollable behavior, not completing work, disruptive and distracting to other children. Teachers wanted them tested for ADHD. When I watched these children in class I would find the same behavioral issues in the classroom. I would talk to their parents and find that often there was behavioral issue at home as well. But then I would talk to the children, get a history of their lives from their parents and you would find out that there were many events in the child’s life that are anxiety provoking.

Things like:

  • parents divorcing
  • new sibling
  • deployed parenting (I worked in a district around a military base)
  • new student
  • living with family other than parents
  • abuse in their past

Of course things like this would cause anxiety in anyone, especially in a little child that doesn’t understand them fully. And because they don’t fully understand the emotions of what they are going through anxiety often exhibits itself in children through behavioral issues and physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • stomach issues- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • lack of sleep or excessive sleep
  • head aches

Behavioral symptoms of anxiety include:

  • disruptive in the classroom and at home
  • becomes disobedient and defiant
  • irritabilitiy

So now that we have identified the signs of anxiety in children, what do you do now?

If your children are exhibiting some of these symptoms in regards to a new life change (like the ones listed above- or even more) then before you jump to conclusions about a behavioral diagnosis like ADHD or ODD it might be worth looking into anxiety as a possible explanation. Especially if these symptoms seem to appear after a life change rather than having been present prior to a large life change. ADHD is over diagnosed in children because anxiety mimics these symptoms and putting your child on ADHD medication will not solve anxiety issues.

Finding a therapist or counselor who is trained to work with children can help you by assessing for anxiety. A school counselor can be a great start for this as they are trained in assessment and diagnostics just like any other counselor. They are also often plugged into resources in the community and can help find a good fit for your family.

The military also has resources to help children who are experiencing anxiety due to life moves. There are MFLCs in DOD schools and are a wonderful resource.

Counseling with Children:

While talk therapy with children may be difficult there are several creative therapeutic approaches that work well for children.

Play Therapy

This is a wonderful option for young children. Finding a counselor trained in play therapy can be a wonderful avenue. This is a non-traditional therapeutic method that works for young children because the therapist works with the child to help reveal potential causes of anxiety or other stressers through the child’s play. For young kids play can reveal subconscious thoughts and emotions that otherwise would not be able to verablize

Art Therapy & Music Therapy

Art and music therapy can also be great for young children as counselors use these techniques to help unveil different patterns. I worked with a kindergartner and often used art therapy techniques. At the beginning his drawings were often very violent in nature. He had a a childhood of being in and out of foster care, back with his mom and finally adopted by his older sister. Over the course of several months of working with him and his sister and a few other caretakers we were able to help resolve some of the behavioral issues that were being presented at home and in the classroom by using his drawings of violent tendencies to work through what he has gone through. At the end his drawings were more family oriented. Now art therapy alone did not do this but it gave us a direction to take us in while we worked in family therapy.

Family Therapy

And finally family therapy. I think this is necessary no matter what method the child is working in. Children are a product of their environments- like the stressers military life bring. If parents are anxious then it can leech over into the kids and so we have work as a family it also provides methods to help the parents work with their children at home.

 

So if you think your child may be dealing with anxiety, here are the tried and true symptoms and potential causes of anxiety and different avenues to pursue.

If you are interested in coping strategies for children here are some great ideas!

Children show signs of anxiety in different ways than we do as adults. So do you know what the signs of anxiety in children are? And what to do about it.

Solo Parenting: How to Cope When you Feel Alone

As a military spouse you may spend a lot of time parenting by yourself. This may not what you have envisioned when you got married and started having kids! When you get overwhelmed here are some ways to keep a level head.

One of the first things I heard after I married my husband was that I might was well get used to being alone, after all I’d spend the majority of our marriage being a single parent. While yes in our two years of marriage we have spent the same if not more time apart then living together, I am not nor will I ever be a single mother, no matter how much SOLO parenting I do.

On many non-military blogs I have seen many articles criticizing married moms who have spouses that are away a lot calling themselves a single mom. I have seen posts in military groups, criticizing spouses for describing themselves as single moms. But I get it. It is hard knowing that daddy or mommy is not coming home at 5:30 to give you a bit of a reprieve. No one else to change diapers, rock the baby to sleep, help fix dinner, or just allow you to escape for a quick shower! So I think we need a term to describe it, and then we need to use it!

Solo-Parenting.

Whether you are solo parenting due to a deployment, TDY, field time, or any other number of reasons for however long it can be exhausting.

So how do you cope with Solo Parenting?

There are some specific strategies that can be used to help those solo-parenting when you start to get overwhelmed.

~ Prior to your Spouse leaving, talk about any potential big decisions that will need to be made.

If you talk about any decisions that need to be made before your spouse leaves, then you won’t be stressed about making any big decisions alone or trying to get in touch with your spouse who made be unreachable. This is one of the differences between solo parenting and single parenting is that you have another person to be a sounding board for potentially difficult decisions. While not all situations can be predicted, there are some that just come in the course of time. Like age limits for things such as vaccinations, how to raise your children, or even less important things like- ear piercings. I know how stressful it can be to try and have to make important decisions alone. My husband would not be present at her birth, so before he left we talked about how he wanted her to be treated. Do we want her fully vaccinated? How did he feel about formula use? What were his opinions on events happening in an emergency?

As for after she was born: how do you want our sleeping arrangements be? He may not be here now but eventually we will all be a family living in one house again and so while it may not affect him in the moment, it will in the future if she is in our bed and he comes home and she struggles to adjust to a crib. How does he want to be involved in her doctors appointments? If your kids are older discussing things like schooling is important. How do you want family to be involved?

Involving your partner will make you feel less alone and more like you are in the partnership you probably envisioned for your parenting.

~ Know when you are at the end of your rope.

Knowing when you are so exhausted, or so stressed is important because we all need to know when to step back and ask for help! Asking for help can be so hard. We want to give the impression that we can do it all, because we don’t want to feel inferior to all those who appear to have it all together. I will tell you a secret that everyone knows but nobody believes. Not a single one of us can do it all 100% of the time! Everyone needs help and rest! If you take care of yourself before you reach the end of your rope, then you can keep going longer! When your spouse is home you may be able to get that break before you realize you are in desperate need of one. But when you are the sole parent in the house and nobody is coming home to relieve you it can sneak up on you. So take note of your mental, emotional, and physical state when that happens so you can begin to notice it the next time. And then when you’re there reach out! And remember it takes a village.

~ Take care of yourself with lots and lots of self-care.

Self-care is so important that I have written about it so many times:

If you practice self care regularly it will take you much much longer to reach the end of your rope. This means asking for help so you can get a break to practice good self-care. It is even more important when you are the sole caregiver for your little ones with out any in home reinforcements.

 

 

As a military spouse you may spend a lot of time parenting by yourself. This may not what you have envisioned when you got married and started having kids! When you get overwhelmed here are some ways to keep a level head.

Valentine’s From a World Away

Valentine's day is a fun one for my hubby and I. We keep it simple full of yummy home cooked food, chocolates and cheesey-ness! And I love it so I had to make sure his care package reflected the same!

Valentine’s Day: The Day of Love! Hearts everywhere, Chocolate, Flowers! Red Pink and Sparkles.

Valentine’s day is tomorrow and the stores have been stocked for weeks (luckily enough for me since it takes a while for boxes to reach our troops over seas).

See I know I am not the only one spending Valentine’s day home alone with my little love bug. Hoping that he gets off in time for a few minutes of FaceTime chatting before baby and I go to bed.

But whether you are with your true love in person, or hoping for a phone call there are still some great ways to spend Valentine’s Day.

For me the first thing I thought to do was celebrate with a Care Package for the Mister. For us Valentine’s day is normally full of fun and cheesey dates. We normally do dinner at home. And it always involves chocolates! So that is what his care package is full of- Chocolates & cheesiness.

  • Lots and Lots of his favorite chocolates! He loves the really really dark chocolates so I wrapped them all up into different bags. That way he will have some things to open up!
  • Another thing we always do is watch movies! So I got him a new movie to watch! The perfect combination of Action & Humor- The Kingsman 2
  • A hand rolling massager- He has always wanted one for after ju jitsu.
  • Super soft sweater to keep him warm! I’ve heard its super cold there in Korea right now!
  • Cards from me and the baby (signed with her foot prints)
  • And lots and lots of photos!

Now making care packages cute and cheesey is not easy with a lack of craft stores in Hawaii & lack of time with a newborn. But thanks to Rachel over at Countdown and Cupcakes she has curated decorations for boxes! So I got her Valentine’s day one and I am so excited to be able to send him a decorated box!

But just because he is the one getting the care packaged doesn’t mean the sender shouldn’t have any fun! One of my favorite February traditions that I got to be involved in during my time in Grad school was Galentine’s Day! Celebrating a fun night with your girl friends always makes for a fun night! Chick-flicks, sweet wine, chocolate and an easy dinner- nothing could be better!

So whether you are celebrating together or apart this year make sure you have a little fun along the way!

Valentine's day is a fun one for my hubby and I. We keep it simple full of yummy home cooked food, chocolates and cheesey-ness! And I love it so I had to make sure his care package reflected the same!