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Traveling with children: Part 1 {Flying}

Military spouse or not, online parenting forums are flooded with questions on traveling with children. As a military spouse, traveling with children is inevitable, even if just for a PCS. So, how does one travel with children?

For starters, pick your mode of transportation. There are things I like about flying and things I like about driving. With flying, I like that it shortens travel time. With driving, I like that I can pack as much as my mini van can hold: snack bags, en route entertainment, as much clothing as I want, etc... The flying versus driving argument is usually solved by what we plan on doing when we get there and how long we plan on staying.

When we fly, I pick my airline wisely. I prefer to fly Southwest with our big family. I can change our tickets up to 24 hours in advance with no change fee. I like that each paid seat has 2 free bags included with the ticket price. And in-cabin pets are only $100. All of those aspects make it the friendliest airline for our militar…
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Month of our 5 military kids

April is Month of the Military Child which has made me think a lot about our 5 military children. Our oldest son-- 8 years old and in 2nd grade-- has attended 4 different schools: 2 public schools across the country from each other (kindergarten in Washington DC and 1st and 2nd in Washington state), plus homeschooling kindergarten in South Carolina and preschool in North Carolina. He has lived in 6 different states and 8 different houses. This is his second time having his dad on a sea tour (though he was 2 years old when we got off our first boat).

For our other 4 children, this is their first time having their dad on a sea tour, though not the first time they have been separated from him. However, we were able to video chat and call him on our previous separations. Our 6-year old twins have lived in 4 states and 5 houses. So far they have done school "normally," 2 schools, both in the same state. One was preschool and they have now moved on to the elementary school to atte…

I'm pregnant! April Fools!

I'm pregnant!

Gotcha! April Fools!

Today is the day my newsfeeds are clogged with articles and pictures saying, "Infertility is not a joke. Don't post fake pregnancy announcements."

Personally, I'm not one for April Fools pranks. I honestly think that if someone swapped my sugar for salt and I put that in my CAFFEINE-- my LIFE BLOOD-- making it undrinkable, heads would roll.

When I see all the articles talking about (and shaming) people who find humor in posting a fake pregnancy announcement, I don't necessarily agree.

Hear me out.

On social media, most of my friends are from the military community. We have friends who post fake order announcements or fake duty assignments, only for it to be an April Fools joke.

And check out this list of April Fools jokes from Buzzfeed.

Silly? Harmless?

Pretty much.

We have lost babies to miscarriages, one early in the first trimester and one nearing the second trimester. We have tried to get pregnant and had to wait to get …

Edge of the water

The other day I walked in to the kids playplace with our toddler and baby. This was the last place I wanted to be. Our morning was mayhem. I fought with our older 3 before sending them to school and was feeling like a jerk about that. I was running late to this playdate and so I didn't drive through and get a latte on my way. I was starting to feel the caffeine headache setting in. Not for my first cup of the day, but for the next couple cups. Coffee. Need coffee.

I wrangled the toddler through the parking lot and into the front door of the playplace. He wanted to hold the door for me, for which I thanked him. However, I couldn't push the stroller through the doorway with him blocking the path and barely holding the door open. I grabbed the top of the door, opened it wide enough to get the stroller through, and instructed him to keep walking. Of course he refused. We had a strange and awkward argument in the middle of the doorway. Me, holding the door and the stroller and tryi…

Surviving the difficult duty station

A friend of mine was recently featured on a military spouse blog (check it our here: "Salute to Mom: Lindsay Castiglione"). I loved the interview and her honest answers. Military life is hard and we depend so much on strangers at often challenging points in our lives. She was asked what she found surprising about military life and she mentioned the support of the military community. Amen, sister! The military community has carried us through some of the hardest times in our lives. I will never forget the loneliness surrounding our first miscarriage and the light that was brought into our lives by the Sunshine committee from our FRG. The intervention of the Sunshine committee at that point in time changed the course of my life forever and gave me a passion to write to and inspire military spouses. Since arriving at our new duty station, we have had hardships and challenges and have been tremendously underwhelmed and disappointed at the lack of support from our military commun…

What it's like having 3 kids in school

We've passed the 100th day of school for our 2nd grader and twin kindergartners. It was a big adjustment for me going from one child in school to three children in school all day. And now, for the first time ever, we have more kids in school than out of school home with me. I thought I would write a little piece about how amazing it is only having 2 home all day and 3 in school.

1. Mornings can be busy.

Above is an actual picture of me getting the kids ready for school. I think my favorite part of the morning is when sneakers go missing right before we walk out the door, a child is somehow naked when moments before he was fully clothed, or when the toddler raids the already packed lunch pails. Actually, no. I love when I meal prep breakfast for the week and the children refuse to eat it. Wait, it's also fun when there are no jackets in the house... or the children won't wear the jackets... or they try to wear the wrong jackets (you are a boy's size 6... you really thou…

Military Spouse of the Moment

The other day one of my oldest friends messaged me and said, "How are you? Like, how are you actually doing? Not the "I'm good" answer." It made me think about how often we-- as moms, as military spouses, as friends-- give the socially acceptable answer, not the Real Answer.

For the past year and a half, we have struggled through this duty station. I didn't realize what a challenge we were up against as obstacle after obstacle came our way until, finally, one day, I had enough. I was done. I couldn't pretend anymore that I was fine or that I had it together or that I had a plan. I was burnt out from always having to "make it work," from managing our household on my own, from living so far away from family, from not having a support network, and from the overwhelming stress that we had been under. I started giving the Real Answer to people-- strangers, acquaintances, people who really didn't want to know. I cried in public. And I felt like …