Are you ready for a little bedtime story? It goes something like this:
Caden get off the computer and get to bed! You’ve got SCHOOL tomorrow!
Silence…but palpable tension in the air
Caden when I count to three you better be in your bed with lights out!
Mommy, I’m not tired!!!!
One….. <insert exasperated tone>
But Mommy, I’m hungry [said with cookie crumbs stuck to milk mustache]
So you want me to DIE of starvation?
Sidenote: I usually recant at this point and feed the child once more, but to hurry this story along we’ll just move to:
At this point the little angel is tucked into his bed, lights out and head slightly under the covers. I go to shut the door but stop short. There is a strange glow coming from under those sheets, right near my sweetie’s head. I discount a halo, because he’s actually not THAT angelic. No, no the little devil has his Nintendo DS hidden under there.
Is this story familiar?? Have you heard it before?? Now if this were a Choose Your Own Adventure type of book, like I read as a child (without an e-reader, no clicking here nor there) I would take a moment to choose my next move wisely. If I were to choose yelling and screaming along with snatching the DS, I would turn to page 67. Page 67 involves the dog barking, the Dad yelling and all roads lead to hell. A sleepless, red- eyed HELL.
The problem is this: He’s not tired. You are. He must get to sleep. So you can get to sleep. Who REALLY needs more hours of sleep. Doctors will say children, but I’m skeptical. I need way more sleep than my little soldier, hands down.
So let’s rewind a bit. The child isn’t tired because he’s been on a schedule similar to a rock star’s all summer. We partied all night and slept all morning…because we could. It was nice while it lasted but now school is upon us and Mama is looking for a job. We have to be responsible folk and get to bed sometime before midnight. It had to happen.
I did a little research and found out something interesting about how computer screen time affects our brains. Kids aren’t lying when they claim they aren’t a bit tired after shutting down their computers or snapping shut their handheld devices. Consider a quote taken from THIS article:
“Although any type of light stops you feeling sleepy, research has shown that light towards the blue end of the spectrum is especially effective at keeping you awake because it suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Unfortunately, computer screens, tablets, smartphones, flat-screen televisions, and LED lighting all emit large amounts of blue light, and so it’s important to avoid them before bedtime.”
The article even suggests that you wear amber-tinted glasses if you absolutely have to use your electronic devices before bedtime. It is proven to improve sleep quality and mood. However, if you don’t want to invest in the amber glasses, then consider the following picture as an alternate solution. I snapped it one sunny afternoon in my backyard:
You see, my son does actually love to read, but just at the WRONG time of day, obviously!!! And those REAL books, with their musty smells and torn pages, have just the magic to tire out little eyes. No stimulating blue light lurking there. E-books, take that! So next time you are confronted with a child who won’t go to sleep, turn to page 87 in a REAL book and let the adventure begin!
I would say that for the most part, I am a pretty optimistic, positive person.
But honestly, I have my days where that is SO not the case.
I try to look on the bright side of things, but on the days when this army-wife-life is extra challenging, my attitude changes from positive to negative quicker than you can say “Wait… the army wants us to do what now?”
However, I have learned that having a positive attitude is one of the best ways not only to survive this roller coaster ride that is loving a soldier, but it is a key to thrive.
With a little practice, we can keep ahold of that positive outlook by training ourselves to have an attitude of gratitude, 365 days a year.
Just like our beloved soldiers, we are called possess this attitude of gratitude year-round. Just like they don’t stop being soldiers on Christmas or birthdays or during deployments or on the exceptionally hard days, we shouldn’t stop finding the good in every single one of our moments.
There are several ways to make an attitude of gratitude not just a cool concept to talk about on the good days, but to make it a way of life in ALL our days.
1. Make a list. Seriously. Ann Voskamp, best-selling author of “One Thousand Gifts,” challenges us to do just that. Start a list of the things you are grateful for, from the big stuff (friends that take us to the airport at 4 am) to the small stuff (a fancy iced-mocha-whatever-you-like coffee.) This trains our brains to look for the sweet moments of life so that when the hard stuff comes along, our perspective is tempered and more positive. I have a gift list and recently broke 3000– and let me tell you what… I feel so joyful, encouraged and motivated when I flip back through that little red journal and see the blessings I have experienced.
2. Focus on the positive. Things seem to be a mess? Take a step back and try to see the good in the situation. A challenging army moment? Perhaps that is an opportunity for you and your soldier to deepen your relationship. A sudden PCS? Try to look at as an adventure. Who knows what awaits you on the other end!
3. Remember that your soldier and his job are two separate entities. This is a big one for me. When I said yes to marrying my beloved soldier, he made me promise one thing: “Sharita, army life is hard and frustrating. Please remember that I usually have as much control over my situation as you do… which equals close to none. Know that I love you and the army and I are two separate things– don’t take the hard circumstances out on me.” I have held this promise close to my heart ever since. a It has helped us to grow closer and not blame one another when the going gets tough. Instead, we are able to work together to find things to be grateful about in the moment. Ultimately, this helps us to cultivate that attitude of gratitude that is so important for thriving in this loving-a-soldier-journey.
4. Never quit. There is a line in the soldier’s creed that says “I will never quit.” We should adopt that too, especially on our quest to keep an attitude of gratitude 365 days per year. Yes, we are going to have rough days when we snap at the kids, get angry at the dog and are ready to throw in the towel. But that doesn’t mean we quit all together. We can push pause, take a deep breath and dig deep to find the good in the situation. We have kids to love. A dog to care for. A house for shelter, food in our bellies and clothes on our back. It is all about perspective.
So dear readers… One a scale of 1-10, how developed is your attitude of gratitude? What steps can you take to grow it in your life? I always welcome feedback. Feel free to leave a comment.
Be encouraged and press forward in your quest to see the bright side of life. After all, when we said “Yes” to loving our soldier, we also said “Yes” to cultivating an attitude of gratitude, 365.
First PCS to Fort Drum, NY
It has been more than a little crazy around here in the last month trying to navigate our first PCS, but I’m happy to say that we’re finally up at Fort Drum and very slowly, but surely, getting through the move in process. Combined, the husband and I have moved 3 times in the last 4 years, and before that I tackled 3 more moves on my own. So after 6 relocations in under 10 years, I’ll be more than happy to not see another box for a while. Sadly, I’m sure the military has greater plans for us, but we’ll see how far this place takes us.
All I can say for sure is that the pre-planning, organizing, packing, etc. was totally worth it when we opened the door to our brand spanking new townhouse and every box had a home to go to.
The rental office worked with us perfectly to make sure we had everything we needed before we signed the paperwork and they were totally ready for us to take possession of the place when promised. I would absolutely suggest to any military family charged with moving any time soon to be sure that the off-base landlord/realty company really understand how to work with government employees, or have worked with them in the past, because it’s no small trick not only finding a place to live from afar if you can’t visit the area before moving, but as we all know, we may need to pick up and move at a moment’s notice and a property owner would need to be okay with that. Thankfully, the complex we chose is about 85% military occupied, and the staff is extremely skilled at taking care of business by military standards, so everything went smoothly which clearly removed a ton of headaches.
We also went the route of moving via PODS, which, while slightly more expensive than driving a rental truck ourselves, was completely worth it for the time and stress it saved us to get our belongings across the state. We had the time we needed to pack everything in, and vice versa for the way out, which totally took some of the moving pressure off and let us organize things more intelligently and less frenzied. If you have the chance to do a PPM move (formerly a DITY move), use PODS, it’s so worth it seeing as they already know what they need to do to get your weight tickets straightened out and have a very flexible pick-up/drop-off schedule, on top of the sheer convenience provided.
I’m also pretty proud of the color coding system I set up (not that it was rocket science or anything), with different colored tabs for each room, so as soon as everything exited the PODS box, it went straight to the room it belonged in and didn’t create giant piles of clutter all over the floor, which I personally can’t stand. I just grabbed those tab/flag stickies from the dollar store that come in a bazillion different colors, assigned each one to a room on a big chart, and just went about sticking them to absolutely everything before it went on a journey. It saved us a ton of headaches and fights on where things belonged, so I definitely suggest whipping one of those up and tacking it all over the house during your moving process. Here’s the one I created (Moving Boxes Sticker Color Chart). Feel free to use it, change the colors to suit your tabs/rooms, and enjoy less migraines at the hands of moving boxes, packing tape, and your significant other asking where each box belongs.
Hope all of your PCS’s went/are going as seamlessly as ours did. Now to go about unpacking and getting reimbursed for the PPM move… two headaches that can’t be avoided it seems!
Army Wife Network Announces Upcoming Field Exercise™: Battle Buddies Tour, coming to Ft. Meade, MD
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Bartonville, TX – August 18, 2014 – Army Wife Network (AWN), the leading site for Army wives by Army wives, is excited to announce the next stop of its wildly popular seminar series Field Exercise™ at Ft. Meade, Maryland . Field Exercise™ is an energetic, four-hour seminar series designed to empower and rejuvenate military spouses by providing them a time to connect, share support, obtain resources and enjoy camaraderie. Spouses attending the events experience networking opportunities, a meal and interactive discussions related to challenges and opportunities faced by military spouses. 2014 brings a new high-energy installment of this series with a theme of Battle Buddies. AWN began holding the events in 2007, and has organized the Field Exercise™ series (FE™: Priceless Packages and FE™: Love Military Life) at 16 Army posts across the country.
This year Army Wife Network has partnered with Corvias Military Living, a military housing partner at 13 locations across the country. AWN looks forward to hosting Field Exercise™ at Fort Meade, Md., September 18 and 19.
Field Exercise™: Battle Buddies focuses on relationship building. AWN has developed strategies, addressed challenges and plans to offer solutions to encourage making of friends and engaging in meaningful relationships in the military community. AWN Core Team Member and Field Exercise™ co-presenter, Janet McIntosh, adds, “A life in the military is full of challenges and it is important for military spouses to learn to build a support system to help them face those challenges. Nobody should have to traverse this journey alone and our ‘battle buddies’ can be a lifeline for us during the trying times.”
Online registration is required to attend Field Exercise™: Battle Buddies and opens Monday, September 1st at 8PM EST during AWN’s Army Wife Talk Radio show. Please watch AWN’s Facebook page for special details. To register, simply visit www.armywifenetwork.com, click on the dropdown menu for Events and click Register for Field Exercise™.
About Army Wife Network
Army Wife Network is a core team of new and seasoned Army wives and military community members on a mission to empower the journeys of those who follow. AWN boasts the original internet talk radio show designed specifically for military spouses – Army Wife Talk Radio – in its ninth year of broadcasting, over 73,000 Facebook fans, and one of the longest running military spouse blogs, Loving A Soldier.
For more information, contact Alison Pulcher at Alison@ArmyWifeNetwork.com.
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About Corvias Military Living
Corvias is a privately-owned, vertically-integrated real estate solutions group dedicated to building strong communities through partnerships that deliver the highest quality development, construction and management solutions to a range of clients, including the military and higher education. Applying our success as pioneers of real estate development and management for the military, our family of companies, Corvias Military Living and Corvias Campus Living, deliver customer service that exceeds client expectations, and an innovative, comprehensive approach to facility financing, management and construction. We have the ability to forge partnerships that consistently put the interests of our clients first and the flexibility to pursue creative, sustainable long-term solutions to their most difficult challenges. www.corvias.com.
Army Wife Network Core Team Presents:
“Army Wife Talk Radio”
Army Wife Talk Radio is the leading internet talk radio show for Army wives, by Army wives. AWTR is hosted by the Army Wife Network Core Team – www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com. AWTR guests bring exciting, relevant topics and resources to the attention of our military families.
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