Pregnancy Update: 2nd Trimester

When I shared our pregnancy announcement I included a pretty inclusive recap of my first trimester including the hardships of morning sickness and emotional sensitivity that I can thank my lovely hormones for. So now that I am through with my 2nd trimester I thought I would share another pregnancy update including our Gender Reveal!

So the start of my 2nd trimester marked our move from Fort Benning. Funnily enough during this pregnancy I will be in a different state for each trimester. So being home in South Carolina has been fun for this trimester because thankfully I am feeling so much better, no more morning sickness and nausea! There was a light at the end of the tunnel!! And pregnancy is really starting to be more like how I imagined it to be, although I didn’t look anything close to pregnant till I really hit 6 months! Now that bump is poppin’! It has been fun to be with family and friends when I am actually feeling good about being pregnant and getting to celebrate this time and prepare for baby with those who will love this baby along side of me. However, everyone told me my energy would be back in the 2nd trimester, and that simply hasn’t happened yet! I still need a nap during the day if I want to be awake past 9pm! But hey, I will take that over nauseated any day!

One of my favorite parts of the 2nd trimester was getting to find out the gender of our little bundle of joy. So Are ya’ll ready to find out???

I am so excited to say we will be having a little baby girl!! Everyone was right except my hubby- he thought it was a boy! I personally had no inkling one way or the other, although in my dreams (when I wasn’t dreaming it was twins) it was always a little girl! Everyone said they saw me with a little princess, and you know what, she isn’t even here yet and she is already a little diva. When I leave for Hawaii next month, she will have her own suit case of clothes she already has so many! (I just can’t help myself at TJ Maxx and the Consignment stores sometimes- they are just so cute! And so affordable!!).

She is a super active little baby! She kicks and flips and elbows me all day long until her daddy comes home from work (he still hasn’t felt her move because of this) and then starts up again once he is asleep! She has kicked me so hard several times I have actually seen my belly jump! I love feeling her move around in there letting me know she is ok! I just wish she would cooperate with me so her daddy could feel before he leaves. But with us as her parents, I am truly not surprised by her intense stubbornness.

She confirmed her stubbornness during the anatomy ultrasound. When the technician was trying to get some of the brain and head measurements, she put her hands over her head to block the camera! She was being too funny!! It took a while but eventually everything turned out looking perfect! We have a precious healthy baby!

Putting together baby registries has been so much fun also! I chose to do Target & Amazon! Both had really fun welcome gifts! It was so much fun to pick out all the things for baby! And imagining how they are going to be used!

I can’t wait to tell her how loved she was before she even made her appearance! Since this was the only trimester I would be near my husband’s family, my mom’s extended family and my friends, there were two showers thrown for her! My mom decided to have a gift card shower during our family reunion with her side of the family! Knowing I still had one move ahead of me before Little Miss arrived she wanted to make my life easier when traveling! She had some of the cutest games: the price is right! & Yummiest cupcakes!

Also while I was with my mom she took me shopping for some maternity clothes. And even though I didn’t have a very visible bump till month 6, the stretchy waist band of the shorts was so much more comfortable than my previous shorts! I found some really cute options!

And then my Sister in Law through another great shower with friends and my husband’s family! We had a great time, and I was so impressed with her gift wrapping skills! She had wrapped a whole clothes line of baby clothes ranging from new born to 24 months for us!! It was so cute! And I told her even the clothes pins would come in handy since my parents don’t have a dryer and they still line dry all their laundry!!

(that is my sister in law wearing the baby!)

So all in all the 2nd trimester has been really great so far! But it has not been without its difficulties either. Now that my appetite is back with a vengeance we don’t have a kitchen to make any food, living in a hotel is kind of the worst sometimes. And so, I can’t just make whatever food I am craving and fresh foods can be hard to come by!

Another drawback of the hotel room is there is really nowhere else to sit in the room other than the bed, which turns out is killer on your back to just sit in bed all day! So I have taken to doing all my work at Starbucks because at least I can sit in a chair for a few hours a day! Driving can also be hard on my back. One way I am alleviating some of this pain is through prenatal massages!

Heartburn is also a killer now. Being in the hotel means limited fridge space, and I get tired of water quickly so I have had the crystal light lemonade packets in our room, which have always gone down well before, but now I am finding that lemonade is giving me heart burn ☹ Tums have come to my rescue many many times!

Finally, not being able to nest has been hard, especially after all the baby showers and all the cute baby things I have! But only a few more weeks till I am in my final location before the birth! (+ more on this later!)

As my 2nd trimester comes to a close I am so excited about the final trimester, getting the baby’s room (also known as my room) settled at my parent’s house and getting into a good routine before the baby comes. Hopefully building a community of friends in Hawaii so that when the baby gets here I will be able to get out of the house. What a crazy journey it’s been so far!

Check out my latest BumpDate! The end of my 2nd trimester! It's a ....!

Always on the Move: Lo & Sons Luggage Review

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links

Let’s get honest right now, traveling with the military is no joke. And if we had enough suitcases to take all of our belongings with us they would need their own room, and that just is not feasible anywhere! That is why I am here to share my luggage review of Lo & Sons!

Our luggage goes through the ringer- moving trucks, whole families + pets in the car, rough handling by the airlines. This summer alone I have spent my weeks crisscrossing the state of South Carolina just to see everyone before we leave the country for the year! And I want to tell you about my new wonderful travel bag!

Quality luggage is important to me, as someone who travels so frequently I always find it such a waste when I buy a suitcase of a duffel bag and it only lasts a few trips before it falls apart. I have had Vera Bradley duffel bags that have had the handles ripped when handled to roughly when checked on the airplane. I have had suitcases where the lining rips almost immediately; where wheels stop spinning, or handles are broken. And I know I am not alone in this.

I recently discovered Lo & Son’s luggage. I have the Catalina Weekender bag, and let me tell you it has held up to four airplane trips and numerous road trips over the last several months! I received this stylish canvas weekender bag in April. And I have not been disappointed. The first trip I took with it I was packing for nearly two weeks! And it fit everything (plus several unnecessary pairs of shoes)! For a weekender bag, I thought that was pretty good!

Here are some photos from my last 2 week trip I packed into my weekender:

I was able to fit all my toiletries, makeup, three pairs of shoes, 3 dresses, 4 shorts, 1 pair of pants, a skirt, mix and match tops for it all plus 2 pairs of PJs, gym clothes, & my bathing suit!!

It also made a wonderful carry-on bag. Since it is canvas it is soft sides make it easy to squeeze into even full overhead compartments!  The cross body strap made it easy to carry through the airport! Even for this preggo momma.

Why I love this bag?

  • The bottom compartment for shoes and toiletries. I love that I don’t have to keep my shoes or potentially exploding toiletries with my clothes.
  • Outside pocket for easy access. It has a great outside pocket that I can slip my phone charger into as I am walking out the door. Then I can easily slip it out in the airport.
  • Heavy duty canvas makes it super durable. I know I am not the kindest to my luggage between trying to squeeze it into overhead compartments or just throwing it into the car with all the dog supplies the stitching and canvas have proven to be extremely durable.
  • I love the beautiful blue color! It is a is dark so it doesn’t show a lot of dirt! Which is excellent.
  • I love that when I am not using it, it folds flat completely making it extremely easy to store! This is super important for me because I may not always have a lot of room to store extra luggage!

This bag is great for military families because it extremely durable, can fit two weeks’ worth of clothes in it so it’s perfect if having to drive cross country without and laundry facilities or if you’re flying home for the weekend to visit family. If you’re interested in checking out their full line of bags and suitcases check them out here!

When you're always on the move a great suitcase is a Must Have Item! Here is my luggage Review of Lo & Son's duffle bag! A necessity for MilSO's on the Go!

I received the Catalina Weekender bag as compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

When you Can’t Find a MilSpouse Community

Sometimes its as MilSpouses we are in locations where it can be harder to find a community. Here are some ways to engage when you can't find your community

As many of ya’ll saw a few weeks ago, we are currently in a weird in-between stations situation. I was so excited to be coming home for a few months before I left for year. It would be the perfect opportunity to see all my friends and family again before we left for who knows how long! And it truly has been great in that capacity. I have been able to see old friends, college roommates, extended family, and spend a lot of time with my in-laws. But something is definitely missing. The thing that has been missing is my ability to get involved in a military spouse community.

While we have been living on a military post, I was here for such a short period of time, less than 3 months it was hard to get involved. Furthermore, since my husband is here for a TDY, there are no other spouses here in the same unit as my husband. To top it off summer time is generally the time of year that everything slows down because people are traveling, kids are out of school and so programs break for the summer. So I am sitting in this lull and don’t have much of a community around that understands the ins and outs of military life.

I’ve always understood and valued community. I have even written about it quite a bit. But until recently I never understood just how important community in your own walk of life really is.

As you may have read a couple weeks ago, we are going through the pre-deployment process, and it has been a bit stressful. To top it off, as I watch the days and weeks tick by on my pregnancy tracker, its just days closer to D-Day. Something I am definitely not ready for. At my baby shower so many people asked if I was excited. And its then that I realized the answer to that question was so complicated. Of course, I am beyond excited about this baby and becoming a mom. It is something I dreamed about for a long time. But, I am not excited for the hubby to leave, to not be here for the end of the pregnancy, the birth, and much of baby’s first year. I wanted so badly to explain all of that, but I realized as I started into my explanation that none of them would truly understand the duplicity with which my heart split.

I quickly texted one of my closest friends from Ft. Benning, but sympathizing via text can definitely not take the place an in person Starbucks date on a bad day. So what do you do when you find yourself at an assignment that isn’t in a military heavy area? Where do you go to find that support?

Here are my top places to find support from the military spouse community when it isn’t local:

  1. Facebook: There are so many great Facebook Community and Support groups out there right now. Julie from Soldier’s Wife, Crazy life; and Lauren from Military Wife & Mom have formed large networks of support for military spouses of all branches, ranks, genders, locations. These have been super encouraging to many.
  2. Find just one person, a guard or reservist, a retired spouse. Having just one person can make all the difference, someone who has been there. And you are more likely to find them in non-military towns because they don’t necessarily have to be anywhere near a base.
  3. Phones are awesome. Pick up the phone and call a friend from a previous duty station. It isn’t always the same but I know from experience that just talking to a friend can make me feel better. I can get my frustrations out, cry, yell whatever and still be heard by someone who understands.
  4. And when all else fails, don’t discount the importance of friendships with everyone. While yes my friends who aren’t married to the military may not understand the complexities of military life they understand disappointment, sadness, guilt. Those are human emotions, not exclusive to military spouses and so they can empathize with the emotions if they can’t with our situations. They have been my biggest support this summer, during this transition and I couldn’t do it without them.

So no matter where you are and what situation your find yourself, any community is better than no community.

Sometimes its as MilSpouses we are in locations where it can be harder to find a community. Here are some ways to engage when you can't find your community

I am a Selfish Spouse but its Ok

I am a selfish spouse, and that's ok! Having feelings of jealousy before your spouse leaves is normal. Figuring it out is a bit more difficult.

As a military wife, we know our time with our spouses can be precious. Especially as they are gearing up for a really long TDY, Deployment, or Unaccompanied Assignment. The pre-deployment period can be difficult. One emotion I was not prepared for was jealousy, and the desire to be a selfish spouse. Stealing him away for the remaining time we had together.

How am I a selfish spouse

I know I am not the only my husband is saying goodbye to over the next couple weeks. He has to say goodbye to his parents, brothers, and friends. And I don’t want to rob him of that opportunity. Except somewhere in my heart I do. I want to hide him away and keep him all to myself! That is why I am a selfish spouse.

Am I going to do that? Absolutely not! I want him to experience all of his last few weeks. Not just me! I want him to go to one last Ju Jitsu saturday with his brother. I want him to get another weekend at home with his mom and dad. I want him to get one last Howrah with all his friends! I only want all those good things for him. I don’t want him to regret not getting to say goodbye to everyone!

And while I can certainly encourage him to do all those things, he can sense the hesitancy in my voice. Would I love one more Saturday morning breakfast out, one more Friday night at home, one more weekend away? I absolutely would! But not at the expense of everyone else!

Owning My feelings

Before I was able to put words to identifying this desire for selfishness it was coming through in my interactions with my husband. I could tell he was feeling tense and insecure about his decisions to finish out his ju jitsu lessons, spending time with his brothers, making a trip to see his grandparents. Even though I was telling him it was ok, he could hear it in my voice.

It took me a while to be able to identify that I was jealous of these other things he had going on in his life. But life can’t stop. I didn’t stop my life just because we are preparing to leave. Why would it be fair of me to ask him to stop his life? That’s right, it isn’t. And so I won’t.

But knowing what exactly I am feeling rather than just being emotional has made it easier for us to communicate it. When he can hear the hesitancy in my voice I can look inside myself, and ask where it’s coming from. Is it that jealousy? Most likely yes, and if it is then I can assure him that it is more than ok for him to go do whatever it is. I can encourage him.

It’s Ok

See so its ok to have any emotion, but until I owned it and identified it it was causing conflict in my relationship. It is not wrong of my to be a selfish spouse, wanting to steal away all his remaining time. Taking the time to examine my thoughts and beliefs to identify the emotions I was feeling was important.

It wasn’t exactly a fun process, no one likes admitting to negative feelings. But here are some steps you can take to try and identify the concrete emotions behind your behavior, even when you might be tempted to ignore them.

How to Identify You Emotions

  1. When you begin to feel overwhelmed by an emotion take an account of the situation. What is happening? what happened just before? Taking an inventory of the situation can help you identify the triggers for the emotion. Knowing the trigger can help in identifying your emotions because different events are likely to bring up certain emotions. I read online that watching her husband pack for a short TDY brought up a lot of negative feelings because it reminded her of her husband’s departure from a previous deployment.
  2. Think back to other times you have felt this way. One clue to me that I was feeling jealous is that it was very reminiscent of feelings I had shortly after he left for Ft. Benning while i was still in school. When he would come visit, we would spend so much time with his parents, hardly getting time to ourselves. I was jealous wanting that time for just ourselves.
  3. Don’t be afraid to admit your emotions. I know it can be scary to feel big emotions. Trust me as a counselor I know its not easy owning your feelings, especially when those feelings leave you feeling insecure. But the only way your feelings can be validated is if you admit them, and stop hiding them. When I finally told my hubby why I was hesitant and that I was feeling like a selfish spouse, he could tell me that it was ok. That he wanted as much of that time he had left just for the two of us too. (this is especially important, because it will never be just the two of us again. Next time we are together we will be a family of three!)

Know that if you’re afraid to admit your emotions it is normal. There is nothing wrong with you. And if you’re not very good at identifying your emotions, that is ok too. It isn’t easy and we aren’t born knowing how. It takes practice and we can only get better at it by doing so.

I am a selfish spouse, and that's ok! Having feelings of jealousy before your spouse leaves is normal. Figuring it out is a bit more difficult.

How to Save on Baby Necessities

Babies sure do cost a lot, but don't worry there are plenty of ways to save on necessary baby gear!

If you spend any time with babies you quickly realize that they require a LOT of stuff. And much of it isn’t cheap! And besides the necessities like car seat, stroller, crib, clothes, diapers, blankets and more. There are so many cute and wonderful extras that many new mommies (myself DEFINITELY included) feel like are needs. I have become addicted to looking through all the adorable baby items on Etsy, Target, Babies R Us, and Buy Buy Baby! Its how I pass my time along with browsing through Pinterest while I am stuck in a hotel room day after day.

But with all the cute baby items I am finding myself trying to sort through everything and put them in categories: “the must haves,” and the it “would be nice to haves.” And “just plain old wants that aren’t necessary”. Unfortunately, it seems like all the adorably cute items seem to fall into the “it would be nice to have” category, or just a more basic version that is less expensive would serve the same purpose. So how can you make sure you have everything you need for baby, and stull get to indulge your mommy fantasies of a perfect baby set up?

Since we are preparing for this baby on a single income, budgeting and finding deals have been a priority for my hubby and me. There are several resources I have utilized extensively to help get everything we Need for little Miss without breaking the bank! Here is everything I have done to help prepare for our new little girl on a budget so that I can still indulge in some of the frilly “un-necessary” items!

    • Consignment shops– I know I am not the only one who has a problem not buying baby clothes. Like most moms, aunts, grandmas, and friends of new mommies, baby clothes are just so irresistible! But the can also add up quickly! So hitting the consignment shops can be a great way to get cute baby clothes without breaking the bank! Also shop clearance racks at the end of the seasons. I am lucky enough to only have to buy one season of baby clothes for the first year of her life, so as the fall clothes begin to hit the racks, I am scouring the summer clearance items! Not only can you get clothes at a discount at consignment shops, they also have strollers, high chairs, baby bath tubs, and toys for baby at discounted prices. Just wash and disinfect and you’re ready to go!
    • Cartwheel by Target– Target is one of my happy places! In high school I lived within walking distance of a target and so I spent many Saturdays or Friday evenings walking through Target with my mom. And much to my husband’s dismay, long pointless walks through Target are still a favorite pass time (he often chooses not to accompany me anymore!). But what better way to stock up on diapers, wipes, and other baby essentials than checking out the discounts and coupons that are available through this wonderful app. If you are going to be buying these items anyway, might as well look for all the discounts you can! In the last week I found discounts on- bath items, swaddles, diapers, wipes, bottle accessories, and so much more!
    • While on the subject of Target, take advantage of the gift card deals! I love finding deals at Target when I buy so many of certain item I get a gift card. I have gotten gift cards ranging from $5 to $20. You can get them on items all over the store. Most of mine have come from stocking up on diapers/wipes, or hygiene items like shampoos and such. They will come in handy when completing my registry or last minute run on diapers once the baby gets here.
    • Ibotta App- Ibotta app offers rebates on items you typically purchase anyways. You can find rebates when shopping at stores like Walmart, Publix, CVS, Target, Amazon, Groupon, and many many more. Just by scanning the items and my receipt I can earn money back on purchases. It can come in handy as often there are rebates on baby items. If you are interested in signing up for a free Ibotta Account click here.
    • Another rebate App or Site, Ebates, is another great money saving tool! If you’re interested in signed up for a free Ebates Account click here.
    • Register (and Register at multiple places)– Register for baby items you want, even if its your 2nd, 3rd, 4th baby. Many places offer a completion discount for items not purchased off your registry. SO even if you are not planning on having a baby shower, taking the time to register. Also, places like Target  and Amazon offer welcome gifts when you set up a registry. These welcome gifts often include samples, coupons, and full size products- You never know what you might get! Currently Amazon is running a promotion!  If you Register with them you can earn rewards for diapers and wipes (What new parents don’t need those!!)

Click here to learn more ~ Baby Registry – $100 credit towards diapers and wipes

  • Take advantage of sales– Once you register you know what products you will specifically be looking for. Then take advantage when they go on sale, buying them in piecemeal. For example, the car seat we picked out was on sale during Amazon Prime Day recently. Baby Tula had Christmas in July sale, I got my carrier for $75, rather than $150. Or look for manufacturer sales. Recently Graco has had 20% off their products, so I bought the pack n play during that sale. By keeping your eyes peeled you can take advantage of periodic sales. And it certainly is easier on your budget to buy one item at a time.

 

These are my top money saving tips for any mom who is looking to save money on the baby necessities. By shopping sales, using coupons, and being strategic with my purchases I have money left in my budget. I can get  items from the “it would be nice to have” category like cute bibs.

Babies sure do cost a lot, but don't worry there are plenty of ways to save on necessary baby gear!

How do you Handle Pre-Deployment Emotions

Gearing up for a deployment can be tough emotionally, but this period often gets skipped over. We talk about the actual deployment, we talk about homecoming. But what about the rough days and weeks leading up to the deployment. If you are beginning to feel isolated and alone, you are not alone! Here are some tips on handling those pre-deployment emotions.

When I was in graduate school working on my counseling degree, I was pretty sure I was going to marry my current boyfriend (And I did a semester before I finished school). And so knowing that I was going to be a military spouse I took the opportunity to do as many as my research projects on different aspects of military family life as my professors would let me do. One project was on the effects of the deployment cycle on military families. One area that was woefully low on research was the pre-deployment part of the cycle. Well now that I am no longer in school and in the midst of military life I wanted to share what I found, and how it has helped me during this period of pre-deployment for me and my husband.

We all know that deployments are emotionally intense for military SOs! But what is talked about less is the emotional strain that comes with the pre-deployment period.

There are several things that make the pre-deployment period emotionally difficult for a couple. The first is that before our spouse even deploys they begin to build up emotional walls that are necessary during deployments, and in all honestly, we do too. The second is when we play games thinking that it will make it easier to say goodbye. We want to spend as much time together as we can, but maybe family wants to come visit before he leaves. Or, the Military is claiming much of their time with TDYs and other trainings that are required before they ship out.

If you have children this time can be even more confusing and difficult to navigate. Younger children may sense the tension in the home, but may not understand the impending separation. When children are older they may have a similar reaction by withdrawing from the soon to be gone parent. They may act out in protest of their parent’s leaning.

Why Pre-Deployment Phase is Hard

The pre-deployment period is difficult because we are preparing to be by ourselves. Our spouse is preparing to leave and be placed in potentially hazardous situations. Because of this, we begin to shut ourselves down emotionally before we even get to the deployment.

We might also begin to pick fights with one another the closer we get to the deployment, believing it will be easier to say goodbye to one another if we are mad at each other. So, we pick fights over silly little nothings, or maybe over important things that come with a separation.

What can I do?

So with all these emotions running high, how can we make the most of our last few days or weeks with our soon to be deploying spouse?

First, don’t ignore your emotions! Sometimes as military spouses we get caught in the trap believing that we aren’t supposed to be upset or sad when they leave because this is their job and we know that. We are supposed to put on our big girl panties and figure it out, no sadness in our hearts. That just is not true. Anybody would be sad that their spouse is leaving for an unknown amount of time.  So, acknowledge your sad feelings, tell your spouse, find a good friend to vent to. If we stop pretending not to be sad, we will be less likely to play games. We won’t pick fights with our spouse just to make it easier to say goodbye.

Understand that them becoming more and more closed off as the departure date approaches is normal, and a survival tool for them down range. When deployed it is hard for soldiers to keep family in the forefront of their minds because emotions can compromise the mission. As “good” military spouses we know that its mission first. But also shutting down emotionally doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that takes weeks, and so it happens before they even leave home. More than allowing them to put the mission first, shutting down emotionally is a survival mode instinct for them.

As much as we hate leaving, and as much as they say they want to deploy, rarely do they want to leave us behind. The emotional disconnection helps make that process easier for them. And in reality, we do it too. We begin doing more and more around the house ourselves. Asking for less help with the kids. So it just looks a little but different.

When we know it happens we are less likely to take their emotional shut down personally. It creates fewer fights and less tension in the home. After going through many deployments we might begin to pick up this pattern, but what if we didn’t have to struggle so much to figure it out? That is why we share our experiences with other spouses and friends. Trust me I know it is hard when it feels like right before they are leaving they want so little to do with us and we want nothing more than to be even closer to them as the date gets closer and closer.

So if your spouse is gearing up for a deployment like mine is then hopefully my insights might provide just a little bit of clarity into why things aren’t what you expected. Why he is withdrawing more and more, and why there seem to be more tension. By using this information to your advantage maybe you can just savor those last few sweet minutes before D-Day approaches.

 

Gearing up for a deployment can be tough emotionally, but this period often gets skipped over. We talk about the actual deployment, we talk about homecoming. But what about the rough days and weeks leading up to the deployment. If you are beginning to feel isolated and alone, you are not alone! Here are some tips on handling those pre-deployment emotions.

Summer Date Night Ideas

Summer is a great time to get out and explore the area more with the longer days!

It is officially summer time. In the south that means sweltering temperatures and ridiculous humidity! But the days are so long that you still have hours of daylight even after you get off work! Despite the heat there couldn’t be a better time to get out and explore! Plus what goes better with the heat than Ice cream! So to help get your creative juices flowing (because we have had nothing but endless date nights living in a hotel without a kitchen) I am giving you my list of top 10 summer date ideas so you and your honey can break up the monotony of netflix and chill.

  1.  Ice Cream dates! What could be more fun than sharing a banana split, and if you have kids this would be a great time for a family date if you can’t find a sitter. Some of my favorite summertime memories with my family was going out after dinner and getting an extra large banana split and the four of us sharing. Feel like taking a walk too, grab it in a cone or a milkshake to-go and explore the local park!
  2. Summer time can be a great time to explore your local parks, the flowers are blooming and the grass is green for a nice picnic lunch! Just make sure to bring lots of cold beverages to stay cool!
  3. A sand castle building contest- Do ya’ll live near a beach? If so pack up the buckets and shovels and challenge each other to a sand castle building competition! Take pictures and find a judge
  4. Put-Put! few things can be as fun as finding a great put put course and giving it a whirl!
  5. TO beat the heat hit try checking out a local museum. I recently visited the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame with my parents in Cleveland, Ohio. While I am not the biggest rock n roll fan, and I didn’t know a lot about it, and some areas were not very exciting for me, I learned so much about music and music history, which was pretty cool. You never know what you might learn when you venture out!

So there you have it, 5 Summer Date Night Ideas for when you are stuck, and just need a push out the door!

Summer is a great time to get out and explore the area more with the longer days!

How did you decide when to tell kids about Deployment?

There are two lines of thoughts when it comes to telling children about an upcoming deployment: (1) immediately, as soon as you find out so they have a long time to prepare; or (2) wait until just a couple weeks out to reduce concern and worry in the children?

Neither one of these way are the right or wrong. Each family is different and each family is different and we all  have to do what is right for our own family. But this can be difficult, what if our friends disagree and let it be known publicly?

Here are some Pro’s & Con’s of each:

As with many things the age and development of the children plays a huge role when deciding how and when to tell children that their parent is deploying. Toddlers might not understand and so it is difficult to tell them too far in advance, because they just don’t have the developmental ability to comprehend and remember that.

School aged kids and teenagers (especially those who have been through a deployment before) will be able to notice the signs of beginning of the pre-deployment cycle. Things such as frequent training, gear vomit, and tense/anxious parents are all warning signs. Because they will be able to sense that something is happening, they will not appreciate being deceived.

You also have to take into account that units typically deploy together. Chances are someone else knows they are leaving soon and you don’t want someone else to spill the beans. Especially because others might tell their children right away and as we all know children have no filters!

So how have you done it? If your spouse has never deployed how do you think you would handle it? Let me know it the comments, and join the debate!

“Dan Anton: America’s Military Vet Turned Successful Entrepreneur”

Military Service is a respectable job, but sometimes when a veteran leaves the service they can struggle to find meaningful work in the civilian sector. Read Dan's story of how he is working to fix that.

*This is a sponsored post written by Cait over at Cait’s Cozy Corner

Military service is difficult, demanding and dangerous. But returning to civilian life also poses challenges for the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Challenges for some but success for others. I want to share a successful story of one military vet in particular named Dan Anton. Why is Dan important?  His story is of duty and embodying the strength of what military men and women are all about. He’s able to adapt to his surrounding and overcome public and private challenges that come his way.

Image: RankCrew

Dan currently runs RankCrew, a successful and well established business and manages a team of software developers and marketing specialist. His services and products are used by thousands of businesses each and every day and as a byproduct, he has successfully become a multi-millionaire. Of course, his success didn’t happen overnight of course.

Dan is the oldest of three boys and grew up in Neptune, New Jersey. His father installed a work ethic that resembled an obsession which manifested as Dan began loving boxing and became a Junior Olympic Boxing Champion of the New York and New Jersey area. Dan’s father decided to pull his son out of boxing however after several big blows to the head began to take place. Instead of boxing he decided to channel his creative problem solving elsewhere.

Dan, Matt’s younger brother began explaining how he had discovered a large community of individuals online who were searching for video games in large forums and they were going to be paying for his convenience to finding the game buying it and then shipping it directly to them. In other words, Dan had just discovered the basics of arbitrage, buy low, sell high and then find a market. He began to buy video games from local stores and sell them online with a markup. This spun off into finding popular games like World of Warcraft which was on popular demand for people all across the country. Although he wasn’t making a ton of money with these, he was making thousands of dollars and for a part time high-schooler, it was all he needed.

After the Twin Towers fell, Dan wanted to sign up among his fellow American’s to help protect our country. He felt an overwhelming sense of protecting the innocent and bringing justice to those that attacked America. Putting his career on hold as an internet entrepreneur and enlisting to go to basic training, Dan graduated with honors from Montclair State University. He was a natural leader and went on to Officer Candidate School and then becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.

Image: Dan Anton

With Dan now starting his first deployment in Iraq, he called his father after his convoy was hit by a series of IEDs and his friend Salie was killed in combat. The story was so compelling that Dan and his unit were featured in a book; The Gods Of Diyala by Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin. His story is one that several individuals resonated with.

After his first deployment was finished, Dan began to get interested again in internet marketing. In 2006 he began chatting with his brother Matt about building a social network for gamers which was similar to MySpace at the time. He wanted to take risks and while other networks received funding or had a large team, the two-man operation relied on learning every aspect of internet marketing there was including SEO, Social Media, PPC and Email Marketing. He actually ended up turning into a full time business by accident.

With Dan’s Computer Science background, he began seeing inefficiencies in repetitive human-based tasks and began to develop software to help assist in the process of increasing the ranks in Yahoo, Bing and Google. The military experience has taught him the importance of detail which made it simple and useful when it came to effective software. He felt comfortable in this new career path and knew he would be able to make a difference with everyone around the country.

Thanks to the success and help with his family and friends, RankCrew is now an extremely successful company and it all started almost by accident! We can’t thank the brave woman and men that continue to serve and put on their uniforms everyday, and to those that have transitioned the freedom to their own path of success and excellence.

Military Service is a respectable job, but sometimes when a veteran leaves the service they can struggle to find meaningful work in the civilian sector. Read Dan's story of how he is working to fix that.


If you liked this then be sure to check out more of Cait over at Cait’s Cozy Corner!

Cait writes over at Cait’s Cozy Corner! She shares stories of fashion, food, fitness and her growing family of four! There isn’t a coffee she hasn’t loved, a place traveled overseas she doesn’t share fond memories about and sometimes admits to having a shopping problem. Come over and say hi!

Hiding Pregnancy When Morning Sickness is Overbearing

Sometimes morning sickness strikes beofre you are ready to share the news of your pregnancy, so here are some ways to help mamange your morning sickness so you can function

Now that the cat is out of the bag with our big pregnancy announcement, I can now share my top tips for hiding early pregnancy while being extremely nauseous. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to hid my pregnancy when I felt just awful.

I hate being nauseous, I mean I don’t know anyone who likes it. But I hate it almost more than anything. So when I lost my appetite at just 6 weeks and had pretty severe nausea by 7 weeks I realized I was in trouble. There were so many nights I watched my hubby sit helpless on the couch just wanting to help me feel better, but I had no idea how to help him help me!

If there was a Pinterest article on morning sickness, you can bet that I read it, not just once but twice combing through every detail for assistance. To be honest I don’t know if anything truly helped, but somewhere along the way it did get better. And eventually I woke up one morning and magically felt 100% better.

But in the mean time I had to at least function on the most basic level. I had to occasionally go grocery shopping, I had babysitting to do, friends to see, and deal with our impending move.

So Here is my list of things to do when you have to function despite the nausea:

  • Try peppermint tea, or lemon ginger tea. Both of these were saviors for me when I was feeling yucky.
  • Sea Bands, you know those motion sickness bands. Well as unflattering as they look they worked. Whether it was a placebo affect or they were actually helpful I don’t know but I am willing to accept any reason for help. P.s. though if you spend a lot of time around other moms this might be a give-away (many women at PWOC totally caught on because of these!)
  • Tums, lots and lots of tums. And if the chalky flavor gets to you buy the chewy ones.
  • Gummy pre-natal vitamins were a savior in the early weeks
  • Eat whatever you can, being hungry makes it infinitely worse!
  • Sleep whenever you can, this might be more difficult if you have more than one kid already or a real job but whenever I felt really bad I would just lay down and close my eyes
  • Do Something to distract yourself. As much as I did NOT feel like leaving the house some days, I could tell a huge difference on days when I got out of the house and was active (I babysat alot), those days were always much better.
  • Smells were difficult for me! So I diffused Lemon and Peppermint Essential Oils in the room to help the room smell clean! This was so helpful! I love the Jade Bloom Brand of oils! They are safe and pure like Young Living or Doterra, but affordable!
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Products I loved that helped me through!


So there you have it, my tips for managing nausea so that you can function on a basic level, helping to hide your pregnancy if you are not ready to share with the world!

What did you do to help manage your morning sickness?

Sometimes morning sickness strikes beofre you are ready to share the news of your pregnancy, so here are some ways to help mamange your morning sickness so you can function