Monday, December 26, 2011

Kids and Cool Whip

A couple weeks before Christmas, I walked into our kitchen to find Kevin, Breanna, and Nicholas in fits of laughter. Bre and Nic had their heads back with Kevin holding a can of Cool Whip above them and filling their mouths. All I could do was laugh and shake my heads as these three enjoyed their Cool Whip....

Nicholas has started this new thing to where when he points his finger at something, he closes one eye and squints out the other. This is something that just began and leaves me in giggles to see. There are times I ask him where something is just so I can see this new action...

A Bit Behind

Wow... Can we say it has been quite awhile since I last updated on here? I do apologize for that! In my defense, life really got a hold of me lately. Things have been nonstop in The Biddle household! Last month was full of us moving and getting "settled" and this month has been crazy with seeing family and of course, Christmas! I have so much to write about, but promise to space it out over the next couple of days. I'd hate to throw it all on you at once along with the many, many photos we have taken!

Even with the chaotic days we have had, they have been wonderful! Though, the constant on the go and no time to rest did finally catch up to me over the past few days. A couple of days ago a migraine hit me hard and has been active ever since. I was able to "control" it for a bit yesterday by having Kevin give me an injection that I am now prescribed for them.

This year, we were incredibly blessed to have family surrounding us through Christmas. Kev's parents made a trip to Mena from Monday night through last night. This is the first time in eight years they have celebrated Christmas with us...which means, it was the first one for Nic ever! We also were able to share this holiday with Aunt Jeanette, Grandmama, Aunt Beverly, and Uncle Mike... AMAZING! There are no words that can express how grateful we are for such a wonderful family and to be able to spend it with these fantastic people made Christmas close to perfect! The only thing missing was being able to spend it with siblings and the other Grandparents.

Stay tuned as I crazily update on here and more than likely on our other blog!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Inexpensive and Healthy...

A few years ago my kids were complaining because they were hungry, but of course nothing sounded at all appetizing. While searching for something that would not be too terribly unhealthy, one of the little ones decided to grab the cucumbers and asked for that. Within a few minutes we had taken a few cucumbers and turned it into something more than tasty and absolutely loved! Cucumbers and chips of bacon mixed with Italian dressing has turned into a household favorite amongst the kids!

The perks of this:

Cucumbers are not as nutritious as many other fruits and vegetables, but they still have good factors that indicate them as a healthy snack!

Cucumbers are a very good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. They are also a great source of Potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber, and magnesium.

Cucumbers also contain sterols, which have been proven to lower cholesterol, of course the best source of this is on the skin, so eating cucumber without removing the peel is another healthy trick!

They are also a great digestive aid and have a cleaning effect on the bowel.

Cucumbers only contain a few calories per cup served, therefore no worries in weight gain!

This easy as can be recipe serves as a great side for easy things such as cookouts and get togethers. Other than the healthy and tasty perk, it's extremely inexpensive! I typically buy 3-4 cucumbers at a time for the kids.

I'd rather than eat this than chips or other junk food throughout the day!

Sending Chrsistmas Cards to Recovering Heroes

PLEASE help us get the correct information out about how to support recovering heroes this holiday season!

Unfortunately, a lot of well-intentioned, kind hearted individuals are circulating the incorrect information this holiday season about how to send well wishes and holiday cheer to our wounded heroes recovering at various military treatment facilities.  The information is showing up A LOT by e-mail, on Facebook, Twitter, and other places online.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help us get the correct information out by forwarding this e-mail and by sharing the PDF flier (included below) with any individuals or groups (church, civic organizations, etc) that you can.  We absolutely don't want any of these much needed holiday wishes ending up in the trash!

This is the most prominent INCORRECT message that is circulating:
When filling out your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to this address: A Recovering American Soldier, c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20307-5001. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful, special people, who have sacrificed so much would get. Please copy and post on your wall..

DO NOT SEND MAIL USING THAT METHOD.  It will be thrown away!

If you wish to send a card, you must do it through the Red Cross or the Chaplain's services.
To reach recovering wounded in the DC area, please participate in the Red Cross's Holiday Mail for Heroes drive. The address is:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Cards sent through the Red Cross MUST BE POSTMARKED BY THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8th.

More information is available at:
The current address for troops recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany is:

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
CMR 402
APO AE 09180

Please visit for more ideas and info about how to get donations/gifts/cards to the troops/deployed/wounded/veterans without them being destroyed. Thousands of gifts are destroyed each year due to being sent improperly. Make sure yours arrives!

PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE and make sure other, well-intentioned patriots don't mistakenly send mail to our wounded heroes that will NEVER be received!

***Fellow Bloggers, FB'ers, Tweeters, and everyone else, please help me spread the word on this!!! Thanks!!!***

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gobble, Gobble.... Our Day of Thanks

The past couple of weeks have "closed" the doors on many things, all the while opening many doors to new things for my family and myself. Not only have we moved to a new town and into a new house, but we have also been blessed in the fact that we were able to spend our first Holiday with family since 2003. What better way to start spending holidays with family other than Thanksgiving? This one marked the perfect way to start new beginning, because even after all that we have been through individually and as a family, the one fact remains...We are truly blessed. Kevin may have come home from war a different person and we have all learned how to re-adjust our lives around this and accept it, but I have made it through situations and health scares that should have taken my life at least twice over the past 15 months. The times of being thankful extend far beyond what I have just mentioned.

Even though we were not able to be with family in Georgia, we were able to spend it at Aunt Jeanette's house with all of us, her, and Grandmama and honestly, I cannot imagine anything better than that other than being able to have everyone together. This was the first Thanksgiving that the kids have spent around Grandmama ever and the first one I have had the opportunity to have with her in about 15 years, and even longer since the last one that was spent with Aunt Jeanette. It was a wonderful day for all of us and a much needed one for each of us. I made a pumpkin pie and many individual sized ones as well as green bean casserole and Aunt Jeanette made much more....ham, coleslaw, bread, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, eclair, and more. It was such a good layout and delicious spread of food!

As we sat down at the table and said the blessing, Breanna suggested that we each say what we are thankful for this year. Of course, it was a no brainer that each of us are incredibly thankful to finally be able to share the holiday season together as a family. I am beyond thankful to have Kevin home for the holidays and to know that there are no more deployments or times away in sight. It's an unexplainable feeling to know that he is finally home for good and it leaves each of us full of gratefulness, as well as all cherishing every moment that we have had and that is to come in the future.

Yet, as each person expressed what they found to be thankful of my thoughts started to wonder off and a weight bared down on me. No matter how thankful for things I am, I couldn't help to feel the emptiness of not having my cousin, Scott, sitting there with us. This marks the fourth Thanksgiving that he has not been here to celebrate it with family. There is this part of me that feels things will never get easier with him being gone. I still find myself becoming full of anger at the person that decided to drive drunk and take both of their lives in 2008 when he crossed over the line and took Scott's life. It angers me to no end. I can't find peace in any of it other than Scott did not suffer. For that, I am grateful. However, it doesn't make this feeling that continues to wash over me any easier to deal with.

From our family to yours, we all hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. To the ones that were not able to spend this holiday together and instead spent it overseas deployed, know that we all thought about you and have kept you in our prayers for your safe return. We hope that everyone continues to think and pray for their safety.

Nic being goody with Aunt Jeanette

Britt with Kevin, Grandmama, Aunt Jeanette, and Caitlin..Best Thanksgiving in years!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

The Truth Has Shown Through

We moved to Arkansas and the kids inner-personalities really started to shine through...

Per Kevin of course!  haha. This was taken just down the street from where we live! Middle of nowhere??? I do believe so!

Finding Comfort in a Place Called Home

A little over a week ago, we had the pleasure of moving into a house that for the first time feels like home. After years of moving around..well, the world, it brings much comfort to finally have a place that we can fully relax and enjoy. Our house is a bit old and needs some modernization, but it's home. There are no words that can describe it. It sits on an acre and a half and is a little over 2500 sqft, all single story and brick. We have two living areas, which we have one as a living room and the other as our family room. It's a three bedroom, two and a half bath and when sitting on the front porch you can see a pond and mountains. We are surrounded by mountains, which at this time of the year is beautiful seeing all the leaves changing colors. Mena, AR is a beautiful and friendly town that we are excited to bring our children up in. Of course, we always welcome visits from family and friends.

Our first Monday in Arkansas was spent waking up very early and all of us driving to Fort Smith, AR to return the moving truck and trailer. While Kevin and I were turning in the truck, Breanna and Nic discovered a massive pile of leaves and their fun began. Watching them as they laughed hysterically and threw leaves at each other, it dawned on me, Nic had never played in them before. His entire life up until this point has been spent living in the desert where leafs did not really exist. In ways it made my heart ache thinking about the things that he has missed out on as well as the girls, yet it also made me realize the amazing life experiences our kids have been blessed with in their short lives.

Family of a Vet: The Love Letter Campaign

Nationwide Campaign Launches Today to Tell the Love Stories of Heroes & Families

We're celebrating Veteran's Day with the launch of a very special project... a project designed to celebrate the heroes that we love!

Today, on Veteran's Day (and ending on Valentine's Day), we're launching The Love Letter Campaign... a campaign to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat.

The idea for this project, The Love Letter Campaign, started on October 2, 2011, when I decided to write an open love letter to my husband... a wounded warrior who kept asking me the question on the minds of so many struggling heroes... "Why do you still love me?".

Here is the letter I wrote:

The response we received to that letter was overwhelming. It touched a cord in many caregivers and spouses. It made them stop for a moment and reminded them of their own reasons for loving their own dear hero... something that in the middle of "life after combat" can sometimes get pushed to the side.

The links below will give you tons of details. We want to *REALLY* make a big deal about this and welcome *ANY* suggestions about how to get the word out and encourage as many people as possible to participate!!

Here's the main page for the campaign:

To submit your Love Letter, visit this link:

Here's the press release about the campaign:

If you have a blog, please consider adding a button about the campaign to your blog.  Information is available here:

Here's the PDF Color Flier:

Here's the PDF B&W Flier:

***Blogging Friends, please copy and paste this info to your blogs as well! Help me get the word out, please!!!***

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Busiest Veterans Day Yet

After only about three hours of sleep, Kevin and I woke up to finish loading the moving truck and cleaning all that we could before our walk through. Since our walk through was a lot earlier than that of what we had hoped for we decided to leave El Paso that morning in place of late afternoon/evening like originally planned. That morning we were able to see one of the most beautiful sunrises. The one thing we already miss very much is the open and clear skies of El Paso.

Kevin and Nic decided to have the truck weighed around 9am and were on the road shortly after that. At 10am I headed to the school to check the girls out, which took about an hour. We had to say our goodbyes and thank you's before we could get on the road. It was definitely an emotional time that led to many tears amongst all of us...the girls and adults. In conversation, we discovered that Mrs. Maxim, their principal at Garcia Elementary, actually has family in Mena. Talk about a small world. Garcia Elementary was a wonderful school for the girls and it has been a school that has helped Caitlin more than anywhere else so far. It was heartbreaking to say our goodbyes to everyone, and even harder to watch Caitlin tell Mrs. Zelenak goodbye. We were all very lucky with this school., the administrators, and many teachers. Thank you for the memories and for taking such wonderful care of our children! We miss you all at Garcia Elementary!

When we finally got on the road around 1130, Kevin and Nic were about 100 miles ahead of us, so it took some time to catch up to them. We finally caught up with the guys around Midland, Texas and stayed with them the rest of the drive. Around 11pm we hit Ft. Worth and met up with our friends, Craig, Mel, and their monsters for a quick dinner at Waffle House. It had been years since I last had hash browns from there! Yum!!! Around midnight, we were back on the road. The drive went smooth and without any issues until we hit the last hour and a half. Once we were off of the interstate I started to struggle with staying awake. I would say that every 10-20 miles we had to stop so that I could get out and walk around in order to avoid falling asleep. It was terrible!!! After being awake for 24 hours, I was at the end of being able to keep up. At 6am we finally pulled into the driveway of our new house! We were all past the point of exhaustion and each grabbed a pillow, blanket and found a spot on the floor that we slept for around four hours. I don't think the floor has ever felt that comfortable before!

As you can all see, this Veterans Day was spent quite differently than most. It was also spent with a lot of thinking time. I can honestly say that my husband was able to spend Veteran's Day with somewhat of a smile upon his face. He was able to leave El Paso and Fort Bliss behind and head to our new house, in the middle of nowhere. For the first time in years, he was able to do something that he wanted to do and something that he deserved. This year for many reasons touched me more than I expected. At one point I was driving, the girls were asleep, and all I could think about was the past almost ten years. We have gone through more than many with the living the military life and health issues, as we have also experienced more than most. For over eight years my husband has served in the army, while going through two tours in Iraq. We have seen many of the ups and downs that this life can bring. We now live with and through what war leaves behind, and even though some days can be quite a struggle I am forever thankful that my husband did come home. While many marriages do not survive this life, I can honestly say that the army has made us stronger than we have ever been. We have seen our weak points and we have come close to hitting bottom, but with the love we share, we have managed to survive it all and come out on top.

It seems unreal to me still that as of January 13, 2012 Kevin will in fact be retired from the army. I could not be more proud of the man I married and love!

I hope that on this past Veterans Day that each of you took the time to think about our veterans and what they endure, as well as their families. This life is far from easy and it takes a special person to be able to withstand it all. I would like to hope and think that if you saw someone in uniform or know someone that is in the military, you thanked them for their services. They say that less than 1% of our population is military. Think about that for a moment... Never forget the ones that are making sure that we are all able to live as free as we do. Thank yous, handshakes, smiles, and kind words go a long ways with our vets and their families...

The Time Has Come

I know this and MANY other updates are far overdue, so enjoy catching up as I update our blog!

On November 10, 2011 we started our day off at Fort Bliss making sure we had everything completed and signed off on so that Kevin could final out at 1330 that afternoon. Needless to say, we ended up spending a couple of hours just walking around and killing time because we were able to get everything signed off on before his last day in the army! Well, last day that he had to show up before leave began! Hey, it's better to have it all done early and wait than to get to Transition and not have nearly enough of the signatures and be pushed off for days!

While we waited for time to pass, we walked all around Freedom Crossing with Nicholas, just looking all through the stores... "window shopping" mainly. We walked into Under Armor to meet and see one of my friends that I met via Family of a Vet, LeAnn. I was sad that I couldn't see more of her before leaving the following day! Nic had a fit over the fountain at Freedom Crossing and of course he managed to keep us entertained with it for quite a bit. He ran all around it and when the water would stop, he would get the guts to run right through the middle of the fountain. During one of his fits of laughter and runs, the water sprayed up right as Nic was over the top of it. He ended up soaked, but full of even more giggles!

After allowing Nic some time to dry and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed over to Transition. This step took a bit longer than we anticipated, but it was an amazing step to everything in this process. It is so incredibly hard to believe that Kevin will no longer have to report to the Army and that the life that we have grown to know so well is now a life of the past... During the finaling out process, Kevin and I were each given an award for the army life and he was awarded a flag and retirement pin. On November 11, 2011 Kev fell into his time of leave that will continue through January 12, 2012. As of January 13, 2012 Kevin will be officially Medically Retired from the Army.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We Have Moved

I know, I know it has been far too long since I last updated and there is so much to catch everyone up on! I apologize for the delay and for my negligence! What can I say though? Things have been beyond chaotic with us packing a house, moving 900 miles with three kids, and trying to settle in. Life has changed in every aspect!

Kevin is on Terminal Leave right now and will be medically retired on January 12. We left El Paso, TX and are now living in Mena, AR. We absolutely LOVE this town! Perfect place to be. We love the house we lucked out with that sits on an acre and a half. The kids love the people, school, house, yard, and everything about Mena. They do miss their El Paso friends and we pray they keep in touch with all of them.

If you need our new address, please email or call and I will be more than happy to give it to you. I plan on updating with more details and pictures this weekend, but we all know how that can go.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Now Writing for Yahoo

Four Must Do's When a Spouse Has Combat PTSD...

This is an article that I wrote and Yahoo published on October 20, 2011 that had an amazing response! I have received multiple emails on this article on how much it has helped and how much it has been needed for someone to write something for spouses. Check it out at this link:

Other than that, I have a couple more articles that have been shared on Yahoo's Associated Content sites and a few more in the works that will be published soon. Yahoo picked me up in early October of this year. Leave comments or email me on anything that you think would make for a great article and of course your thoughts on what I have written already! or

Halloween & Moving Prep

I feel like it has been quite awhile since I last updated on here! I am sure that most of you know, things are more than chaotic and busy around here with our upcoming move!

Last week we celebrated Breanna's 10th birthday...which is incredibly hard to believe! Where have the years gone? Since we are in the middle of getting ready for the move, Bre had a small slumber party at the house to celebrate her birthday, then a day out buying a few new outfits with me.

Last Saturday the kids and I started the morning off by heading to Fort Bliss for their Fall Festival at Freedom Crossing. The girls were able to get their faces painted like a cat and a devil look to go with their costumes. Nic decided to opt out of the whole face painting experience and just strutted along in his Ninja costume. After face painting, the little ones were able to Trick-or-Treat throughout the shopping area (stores and restaurants).

Following the Fall Festival, we made a cookie cake and started to set up for the slumber party. We ended up having six loud girls at our house Saturday. It was CRAZY!!! One of the little girls picked a fight with Caitlin numerous times and had me ready to pull my hair out. Other than that, the girls were fantastic and our first cookie cake turned out amazing!!!

Halloween night was spent doing the normal, Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood, followed by dinner and homework. The kids ended up with a good amount of candy and an easy night of the kids going straight to bed with no fights.

We have more than half the house packed up already and plan to get the rest done this weekend. It still seems so surreal that we will be out of here a week from today! Kevin and I spent so much time this past week on post trying to clear everything that we possibly could and sitting through multiple briefings. He finals out on Thursday afternoon and begins leave at midnight Friday. I don't expect to blog too much over the next two weeks, but will try to keep everyone updated. We do have our new address, so if you would like it, please email us or As of next week we will more than likely have new cell numbers as well.

Today was not a productive day at all! I think this past week has been a tad overwhelming and too much of not being able to slow down that today was our day of relaxing... Well, it was our day of not doing anything that we were planning to do. We did spend time in the middle of the desert once Nic went to school this afternoon so I could shoot my .22 rifle and .380. Kevin just stayed back while I shot cans and loaded my magazines. Shooting is still not something that he has any interest in.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bre Turns 10!!!

After a long day of cleaning and thinking, I still cannot come to terms with Breanna being ten now. Where have the years gone? Ten years ago I was doing everything I could to keep my baby alive and to not have her pre-term. Yet, through all of my hopes, fights, and prayers that was not in God's plans. I ended up having Breanna right before we hit 35 weeks via an emergency c-section because her heartbeat went from real slow to non-existent. In my life, I have never felt the fears and worries that rushed over me that day and the weeks leading up to that day. For over 15 weeks we fought and fought for just one more day on not having her.

Bre was 5 pounds even at birth with no fat at all on her. She was so tiny and could literally fit into Kev's hand. Amazingly, we brought her home a couple days later with her weighing 4 lbs 7 oz. Until that day, I had never seen a little one so small. The morning of the day we had her, I had to have an amniocentesis to determine if her lungs were developed so that the NICU would be able to be better prepared for her.  Within a few weeks, we learned just how underdeveloped her lungs were when she had to be placed on the Apnea Monitor. Bre remained on this up until she was almost one.

When we became pregnant with her, the doctor tried to convince us to terminate our pregnancy because of my health and reasons with her.  We fought him on it and decided that we would take the chance. Right before 20 weeks, I went into pre-term labor and spent more nights admitted into the hospital than I did at home for close to 15 weeks. There were numerous times we came close to losing Bre and to this day, we find her a true miracle.

Many people always told us that she may be delayed in things, milestones and learning abilities due to her being a preemie. The only thing she was behind on was her size for the first five years. Other than that, she has been on target for everything. She started walking at ten months, she was talking by one. She is an honor roll student who amazes us more and more with every passing day. She is a miracle to every one of us and each of us are so blessed to have Breanna in our lives.

So, on this day, I am very proud to say Happy 10th Birthday, Breanna! You have made the past ten years of our lives amazing!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kevin is Being Medically Retired

A few days ago, Kevin received the call that we have been waiting on for what seems like months! Wait, what am I talking about, it has been months of waiting. Kevin's PEBLO called him to inform him that his rating from the Army was sitting in her office. Yes, family and friends, it is official... Kevin is in fact being medically retired from the Army. We are now waiting to receive his memorandum, which could take around thirty days. For most soldiers in this situation, it has taken about two weeks to receive the memo, but as his PEBLO stated to us, the majority of them don't have a file the size of Kevin's. So, for now, we will continue playing the waiting game and should be able to move from El Paso in the upcoming weeks.

We are still moving to Mena, AR for many reasons. It is the best thing to do for our family and especially for Kevin with all that he has going on. He needs a small town environment and as we said before, he has fallen in love with this town. We are super excited to get out there and to start this new chapters in our lives together.

For now, we are packing our slowly packing our house and trying our best to prepare for the upcoming move! We already have a house lined up, for the most part, to rent upon us arriving in Mena. One that we can't wait to move into! The house sits on about an acre and a half with an amazing view of the mountains out the front door. It is all one story, which we are super excited for! Seems that stairs are a little too much for the time being. It is a brick house with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. This will be the first house since living in GA that we have had an actual laundry room inside the house. How the little things bring even more excitement! In Germany, our laundry room was in the basement of the apartment buildings, and in many of the houses in El Paso they feel the need to put the washer and dryers in the garage. Not something either of us are a fan over! As soon as things are final, we will post photo's of the house!

Family and friends, please give us time and respect throughout this adjustment period to get situated. There will be moments of ups and downs due to this being a huge change for us. We know that the roads ahead may be a roller coaster, but we will be okay and we will get through it all! Thank you for the continued prayers and thoughts through everything!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Survivor's Guilt

For a few years now I have witnessed my husband struggle day after day with what is known as Survivor’s Guilt. Experiencing this is what prompts me to write this article. Mainly, it is to let others know how common this is and ways to help. Survivor’s Guilt is something that we as families cannot relate to, yet we find ourselves in situations of trying to “fix” things and help our spouse move past this battle in the aftermath of the war.  

It can strike at any time.......

It haunts our military service members on a daily basis.... The demons of war and the loss of the ones they are bonding and fighting beside that are lost causing them to lose themselves at times... It is one of the causes that leads a service member in the decision to take their own life. This horror that can damage and destroy some of our troops lives is known as Survivor's Guilt and it affects thousands of our men and women everyday...

This article has been reposted by request of some individuals on our FOV blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts here in the comments or on the site with the entire article. To read more on this article that I wrote not too long ago after watching my husband with some of his battles, please read it at our blog site, And please, feel free to share this with your loved ones. Just because our service members return home from combat, does not mean they are not forever changed. A part of the war will always remain with them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Re-Evaluate the Life You Live

How many mornings do most people wake up, roll out of bed and start their day not realizing just how blessed and fortunate they are? Sure, they may have a stack of bills, or a week a chaos between work and children and they may have to sit in the dreaded traffic to and from work. Does that make life that bad or does it make it to where people should be grateful? To me, the vast majority of people should take a step back, re-evaluate their lives, and just be thankful. I say this because I have personally had the experiences of not only fighting for my oldest daughters chance of survival and my husbands adjustment after combat and all that war does to a soldier with his experience; but I have also been faced with fighting for my own life on quite a few occasions over the 28 years that I have been living. Yet, through it all, I still look at things in the optimistic way, even if I can't go and do what everyone else can on a daily basis. I never know what is ahead of me.

Let me tell you some of what I have been through:

At the age of 2 I spent a few weeks in a burn unit in downtown Atlanta, GA for pulling a pot of boiling water on me. The water left me with severe burns and scars that I have to this day, covering me from chin down. I was immediately admitted into the Grady Burn Unit. To this day I hate the feeling of hot water so I will wash everything I possibly can in the dishwasher. The smell of burning skin still haunts me and leaves me incredibly sick feeling. Yet, the thing that matters the most, I am still here. That day I had someone watching over me.

At the age of 5 we were in a real bad car wreck in GA one evening. My mom was driving and someone pulled out in front of her. I was at the age of defiance and had unbuckled myself because I was determined to sit in the front seat. During this time, my brother, who was two also became unbuckled. When the wreck happened, I was thrown from the backseat into the front floorboard, as was my little brother. By the grace of God, I was injured pretty bad, yet my baby brother was not. He landed on top of me and walked away with no trauma. I landed head first into glass that shattered upon impact and was left for awhile pulling glass out of my head. When the paramedics arrived I was unconscious with blood everywhere. My mother had been injured and was unable to do much from her being knocked out at first. She had to have stitches in her chin. I had a pretty bad concussion, glass in my head, and stitches in my knee. Again, I survived this experience. Now days, I refuse to even move the car unless everyone is buckled up and my kids are securely fastened in their seats. I have been known to pull over or just stop the car if they aren't.

Past these things, from the age of 9 I started to experience health problems with my thyroid and at the age of 14 problems with the female organs. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, then you are aware of my health struggles. At 22 my thyroid had to be removed and I am life dependent on the medications now. Over the past almost three years, I have spent time in the hospital hooked up to machines and going through procedures and testing because my body rejected the thyroid hormone. I had real low blood pressure and a real slow heartbeat. Again, surprising the doctors, I fought through these times refusing to give up.

At the age of 14, I was told I would never have children. Yet, at 17 I became pregnant. I had my children at 18, 19, and 23. Of course many will say that is way too young and, while I do agree, I also think that God had plans for me and was watching over me because at the age of 25 I had no other choice but to undergo a hysterectomy. I lost all my chances of ever having another child again. At 25 and still at 28 I struggle everyday with this. I am constantly in a personal battle trying to understand it more.

Lastly, on two different occasions late last year I was admitted into the hospital for Renal Failure. The first time, I was in kidney failure for four days at our house, refusing to go to the ER because the doctors at Beaumont said the pain is normal. Why would I overreact and go in to the ER if this was the case. Yet, at that point I had already had to undergo many surgeries and knew something wasn't right. I got to the point I was struggling to breathe, couldn't walk, and had spent four days not being able to urinate. I started to vomit and knew I had no other choice than to go in. Kevin rushed me to the ER and within no time we discovered I was in kidney failure and that my whole body was in fact, shutting down. The ER doctor came into my room, sat down with tears in his eyes, and informed us they didn't know what to expect from all this and couldn't make any promises. At the age of 28, I laid on my bed, called my dad and broke down into tears. I had a husband and three children that needed me and yet, I had no idea if I would ever make it back home to them. For days and months I fought for my life. I went into renal failure again a couple months later.

To this day I am not able to jump up and do as I use to (before last year), I am constantly having to monitor what I eat, drink, and even the medications I take for the above reasons and a few more reasons I have no talked about. I fought for my life and will continue to do so. Nothing is ever guaranteed in this life we live and too many like to complain and have pity parties over things that hand fulls of people would fight to have. No matter where we are in life, at most times, life is what we make it. Anyone can turn a negative situation into a positive one, yet there are far too many that choose not too. I often wonder why that is. I know my optimistic  outlook can at times drive others crazy, but I feel if I were any other way I would not have survived the past experiences. Even if I can't work full time like I use to or have a few drinks because too much on my kidneys is real bad and can end my life instantly, my life is far from over. Even if I have more surgeries that lie ahead, which I will, it won't hold me down or stop me (just for note, I have had more than 11 surgeries now). There is a reason that God has left me here. In ways, I wonder what is ahead and if something big will happen. I wonder if there are ways I will make a difference in other people. I hope so. To only be 28, I feel so far above the actual age from experiences in my life and health issues.

The reason I got on this kick is because I saw a video this morning and it really touched me. Two Iraqi boys were left in shoe boxes following their births years ago and were discovered by a Nun. This Nun took them to the orphanage where they spent some time before a woman from Australia found them. She originally took them back to Australia for surgeries and ended up adopting them. They lost a lot due to chemical warfare, like their hands and who they are and have no idea how old they are. There was nothing left with them in their shoe boxes. This morning I watched a video with Emmanuel in one of the most inspirational and motivational performances that I have ever seen. It reminded me again of just how valuable life really is. Please take a moment to watch it and be prepared to tear up. I know I did! Amazing how far he has come, as well as his brother thanks to this amazing Australian family that took them in and made them their own.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Card/Stickers Came Arrived!!!

As you know, a few weeks ago I held a Giveaway from and was able to giveaway 250 stickers! On top of giving them away to my winner, I was also able to receive 250 stickers! They arrived today and look GREAT!!!

I've Learned

I've learned.... life can be taken away at any given moment, so we must cherish the time we are in.

I've learned.... even the best of people will make mistakes and to forgive takes a big person.

I've learned.... it really is the little things in life that mean the most.

I've learned.... time is valuable, therefore we must cherish every moment we are given.

I've learned.... that no matter how much someone hurts us, if we love them, we should never leave a situation or end a call with hurtful words... After all, we are never guaranteed the next minute, day, week, month, or year.

I've learned.... that we each have more strength inside of us than we know or realize. Sometimes it just takes unusual or unforeseen circumstances to bring that strength out.

I've learned.... the ones I least expected to be here for me were in fact, the ones that kept me going during my hard times.

I've learned.... that not everyone that promises to be there, will be there in the end or when most needed.

I've learned... that no matter the distance or time apart, true relationships and friendships can never be broken.

I've learned.... the meaning of true love every time I look at my husband and children.

I've learned... that I would not be the person I am today without my husband and children.

I've learned.... that time and distance are never an obstacle in life when hearts truly matter.

I've learned.... no matter how old you are, maturity is measured more by the experiences you have overcome and gone through as well as the way you handle situations and obstacles you face.

I've learned.... even in my darkest of times, family won't always be there to help guide you through. Sometimes it's the ones you least expect that help you pick up the pieces and push though. Families are not always blood...

I've learned.... even at my weakest of moments, I am still strong.

I've learned.... no matter how much I try to hold on to my children's innocence, life has other ideas in store.

I've learned.... my children are only little for a short time, I better love and cherish every second I have with them.

I've learned... my husband and those closest to me, really are my backbone when I need strength.

I've learned.... true love never gives up.

I've learned.... no matter how much I try to make someone see my point of view on things, there are just times they never will.

I've learned.... death doesn't factor in age when taking someone we love.

I've learned.... to smile through my weaknesses and learn from every experience.

I've learned.... I may not be where I planned to be at this point in my life; but where I am now, is where I am supposed to be and I love what I have been blessed with.

I've learned.... things worth having are things always worth waiting for.

I've learned.... time and distance does bring two hearts closer together.

I've learned.... the harsh reality and the truths on life.

I've learned.... life is definitely not measured in the breaths we take, but more so in the moments that take our breath away.

I've learned.... no matter how rough times may get or what life may throw at us, it is always worth the fight.

***More to Come***

What have you learned?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy 31st Birthday Weekend, Kevin

Happy Birthday to the most amazing man and husband that I have been blessed to have by my side, through the most amazing times, and of course the most trying times in our lives. Without him, I am not sure where I would be in this crazy, everyday life we live!

On Friday, September 16, we celebrated Kev's birthday.... He turned the big 31!!! It's kind of nice to sit back and say I am still in my (late) 20's while my husband is racking in another year on the 30's chart. Haha. On Friday Kevin didn't really want to do much of anything, so we ended up eating at Burger King, more or less something to allow the kids to be kids. They had a blast, being able to get Kid Meals, which is an extra treat for them! Following that we stopped at the grocery store for a huge tub of Vanilla Ice cream and then headed home to enjoy the dessert! See, the girls and I were going to make him a cake as soon as they got home from school because as we all know, we should of had time to do that. However, Kevin had other plans and came home a tad earlier than we had anticipated! In other words, there was no cake baking! This is the first year we have not been able to do that! Friday ended up being very enjoyable, other than him having to go back to work for the first time in a month! Yes, he was able to take a full month off of work for two reasons. The first was obviously so he could help me recovery from this complicated surgery and recovery that I fully needed. The second reason was because he has over 100 vacation days and 35 of them were considered "Use or Lose". This, in the Army ways, means that had he not used any of those "use or lose" days by October 1, he would have been completely out of luck and just lost them. So, what better time to use them than to help me out with everything, including the kids starting back to school! Perfect timing and great quality time! I was honestly sad to see him go back to work! I had truly enjoyed the month I had with him and no Army time! (We are still waiting on his retirement rating, so there is nothing to report on that as of now. As soon as we know more, I will post more....AFTER we share with our close family and friends! Thanks for all your support and understanding. We would not be where we are without each of you!)

On Saturday, we spent most of the day cleaning and just being complete bums around the house. Really, nothing at all too entertaining. We did watch a little football, of course, we watched as the Gators beat the Vols! Go Gators! Did you know that in all of the Gator's history, there has only been one coach that lost to TN their inaugural year? That was in 1990. So, congrats to their new coach, Will Muschamp on Saturdays win! Oh wait, I did redesign both blogs and we love them! Hope you do too! (You can check out my other blog, which started out as an outlet tool, at

New Designs:

(for Biddle Buzz)

(For Southern Girl's Stand)

Today was a bit more entertaining and quite possibly the most fun we have had since before my surgery! After breakfast and a little downtime enjoying American Choppers, we decided to take the little ones to the Rio Grande. They have already started the damming process in New Mexico, at Elephant Butte. The Rio feeds from that before flowing down to us. Before the fall hits, this process starts and within a few weeks the Rio is completely empty. Right now, there is still some flowing water, but not much at all. In most spots the river bed is in the openness. Of course, I think Nic would rather it be that way because he can run, play, and splash around more than other times! We stayed out there for a little over an hour while the kids ran some of there energy out. It is still plenty hot enough here for them to swim and not get sick. It was kind of odd in a way for them to run through an area freely that not too long ago we floated down! The pictures that I took do it no justice in showing the depth of it. I will take better ones the next time we are out there!

Right before going to the Rio, Caitlin was begging me to take her to the store so she could spend her Tooth Fairy money. She lost one of her teeth on Friday at school. Well, we all know how money just burns the holes right through a child's pocket, so I took her with me to the store when I went for butter. The Dollar General is right outside our neighborhood, so to me, it's easier to stop there versus driving for ten or so minutes to an actual grocery store. When we got there, they had an entire display of outside toys for children that were marked 70% or more off. Caitlin found herself digging through the boxes of toys and decided that she would rather spend her money on toys they could play with instead of purchasing candy or something in that area. I am so proud of her for this one! With $5 ($2 of her own) she was able to buy four outside play sets because of this markdown! How awesome is that? May not be the best quality, but it sure kept them entertained all afternoon.... including Kevin on this one! They ended up with two Lacrosse sets, a Frisbee, a t-ball set, some other game set, three plastic bats, and I have no idea on how many balls between them all. For over four hours they played and played and played! It was great seeing them play as they did.

Of course, little man took right to the t-ball set and was determined to not give it up to anyone. He claimed it before we were even able to get it out of the bag and spent almost the entire time with it. I have never seen Nic so focused on something for the amount of time that he was today. I guess that's a sure sign of baseball being in his near future! You won't see me complaining on this one! He is such an athletic child! We love it!

While Nic took over the T-ball set and refused to let anyone else play with him, Kev and the girls got out the Frisbee, Lacrosse game, and football. Caitlin spent a lot of time sitting beside me on the patio watching them, while Bre and Kev played close to nonstop. Of course, they each took a spot on opposite sides of the yard to just stand there and throw things back and forth, because it still hurts for Kevin to do too terribly much. But they had so much fun together. We learned today that Bre has a mean spiral when throwing the football! 

While they played and the chicken grilled, I started to get restless and decided to take some pictures of the blooming flowers on the bushes that we have at the back of the house. Nic refers to these bushes as the "pokey trees". At least that is how he explained to me where he brought the picked flowers to me from! Of course, while taking pictures, I had to find a creative way in getting some good shots! I took a few after Nicholas had watered them. They turned out with a pretty cool look, I think! I have a few more shots on my computer saved.

As the Chicken came close to be grilled all the way, I wanted to make an attempt in taking a photo of all three kids side by side. Well, for anyone that knows these three, you know that sometimes that can be almost impossible... Let me show you what I mean by that....

After many attempts, the best one I could get with three smiles, is this one:

I think that one captured their personalities! Haha. Definitely frame-worthy!

After the attempt in taking a picture of this crazy trio, I was able to capture a few cute shots. I managed to get one of the girls side by side. Can you all see how close in height they are now? It is crazy! This could explain why everyone always asks me if they are twins. How can you not help but to love the one of Kevin picking on Caitlin? She was so mad and grumpy because she "throws like a girl". At least that's what she said. So, she sat in the chair and pouted. Kevin decided that was completely out of the question and decided to go all out on picking on her! It cheered her up! Nicholas became overly tired at one point and decided to throw himself on the ground and pout over something Caitlin did! Best part: I was able to get in a quick click of a button on my cell phone and get his "I'm going to sit down in front of my toys after throwing them down and pout" move with his arms crossed and all! Once he calmed down, he decided to water the grass again... or should I say play in the water again? Not sure if more water made it to the grass or his clothes....

Hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful weekend! Get out and enjoy the rest of the nice air before fall gets here and cooler weather takes over! Have a fantastic week everybody!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy 10 Months Sweet Scarlette!

Very often I will receive a text or in the middle of a conversation someone will ask me about my friend Kayla and her baby Scarlette. Scarlette was born at 25 weeks gestation as a micro-preemie. After five long months and many ups and downs, Ka and her husband, Jeff were able to bring their sweet daughter home. During this time and even today, so many have prayed their hearts out for Scarlette. We cried when Ka cried from worry and fear of what her daughter was facing. We smiled and laughed at the stories that Ka would share while in the NICU or the progress that Scarlette made. We all shed many tears when Ka announced that Scarlette would be allowed to go home with her, even when there wasn't a set date. And we really shed the tears when Ka posted on her blog that Scarlette was home...even when she discovered as a mom of a preemie she may wear the same clothes for days or forget the simplest tasks. Haha, I have been there Bre being a preemie! Our hearts were stolen by this innocent, beautiful, and sweet little girl, even though we had never met her. We have loved her and prayed since Kayla openly shared her story, experiences, fears, laughs, and everything in between. With each of us, Jeff, Kayla, and Scarlette hold a special place...

This past week Scarlette turned ten months old! Ten months!!! That is absolutely amazing and a true gift from God. Seeing photos of her with a big smile, hearing videos of her little giggles, seeing the wonderful changes over the past ten months, and reading as Ka swells with pride and completion; brings a smile to each and everyone of us. There are no words of the love we all have or the happiness we have for this family! It is so hard to believe that Scarlette is two months shy of turning one!

To read more, check out Kayla's blog....

It was a Crayon Cupcake Kinda Day

This weekend was spent pretty much lounging around the house and not doing much of anything...except making sure I stayed off me feet in order to recover from this summer and the past few weeks. Kev and I also spent a fair amount of time trying to lay out the upcoming months and our move. At times I feel like it's an overwhelming mess! I know it will all fall into place, it just seems things are taking place so quickly now! 

Yesterday evening I walked across the street allowing the kids to play at the park for a bit. How the fall has crept upon us! It seems like just a couple days ago the days were turning into night around 9:30... However, last night showed me how much I have missed through the past few weeks! Turns out that it is now dark a little before 8:00. Sad to see the summer go, but ready to see what the next season has store.

This afternoon we pulled some crayons out and made Crayon Cupcakes with them.This is a great hands-on type craft to do with children! It is one that you can consider mess free, easy to make, easy cleanup and plenty of smiles after cooling down and coloring! We are going to make more in the next couple of weeks and make them bigger than today's. The kids had a blast watching as they colored and the shade changed from one color to the next!  (See below for pics and directions). This is also a great way to bring in holidays with holiday colors, you can add glitter for the glistening look when coloring, fun little thing to do when there are multiple kids or on a rainy day!

Crayon Cupcakes

How to Make Crayon Cupcakes
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees F and let the fun in making these begin!
Use inexpensive crayons, or old, broken leftover pieces. (Great way to recycle left behind pieces!). Remove wrappers of your color choices, break into pieces and place into the cup holders. Now, place the pan full of the variety of colors you have chosen into the oven and begin watching as the crayons melt! Allow time for the heat to go to work, but keep an eye on them…depending on brand and quantity in each cup will depend on the timeframe for melting. Of course, allow time to cool once removed from the oven before touching! Once cool, remove crayons from cupcake liner and let the little ones go to town coloring!
This works out great entertaining one child or an entire group! You can mix colors depending on the day or holiday using them towards a theme! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Closing One Chapter as Another One Opens

We started this morning off like every other morning... Wake up, get the girls up and ready, then off to the bus. Following this, at 645 in the morning, I headed upstairs to finish getting ready and Kevin off to Nic's room to wake him and get him dressed. Once we were all ready around 715, we loaded up in the XTerra and headed to Fort Bliss to meet with Kevin's PEBLO (Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer). The PEBLO is the one responsible for processing the documents and Service Members case, making sure all appointments are scheduled and kept, counseling the soldiers, and providing answers or resources to the soldier and soldiers family when going through the Medical Evaluation Board for a Medical Discharge. The meeting this morning consisted of us going over all that has been done over this past year, the reasons Kev is unfit for duty, and for him to sign everything for it to finally be sent to Fort Lewis. Yes... you read right! We are finally at the step that we have been waiting on for months now. The NARSUM (Narrative Summary) is now complete and is being sent to Fort Lewis, along with medical records for the Board to review everything and give him his retirement rating. With the condition Kev is in from deployments, he will be retired, we are just not sure on the percentage yet. 

Once his packet is back with his rating, he has the choice to either accept the percentage or appeal the decision from the Board. Neither of us see appealing becoming a part in this. Following this step, the VA Claims Process is started along with other things, as the transition is heavily started. After next week, Kevin should go on Terminal Leave within eight weeks (give or take some days, after all, we know how the Army works). After his Terminal Leave ends, he will be retired from the Army. Retired....

Retired.... That doesn't even look right at this point in our lives and there really aren't words to express the thoughts rapidly running through my mind right now. I am honestly not sure if there ever will be either. It all just seems so surreal. I have taken many steps back and tried to look at everything from outside of the box, yet I can't quite place anything. I am 28 and my husband is one week shy of turning 31 and he will be medically retired from the Army due to injuries sustained while in combat. My husband, who has fought in the middle of war more than once, who has permanent damages from these deployments, will be retired by the end of this year. 

While he is still young, combat has taken so much away from him...and us. All five of us. During the 2006-2007 rotation in Mosul, Iraq; Kevin was lead or tail gunner. He was a NCO (non-commissioned officer). He was a true leader and hero. He left here the man I had fallen in love with and returned a complete stranger. He came home with not only physical injuries from multiple IED attacks, mortars, rockets, fire fights; but full of mental injuries as well. He came home a man that I had to learn and discover things that I never imagined I would. His eyes have never sparkled like they did before he left. His smile is not the same, bright and innocent smile. His laugh isn't full and from the heart as it use to be. His face has aged, his hands have aged.  His thoughts are not that of the majority of people his age. He has seen more, witnessed  more, acted on more, smelled more, and heard more than more than 99% of the United States has. Yet, even through all these changes, he is still my husband and the man I madly love.

So, here we are, after eight years of living this life and everything that we know is about to change. While we were once young adults, barely out of our teens, learning and adjusting to the military life; so innocent in many ways. We walked into this lifestyle not knowing what to expect and we are leaving it with more experience than most our age, wiser beyond our age, with open eyes knowing the realities of war and of life. We are closing a chapter in our lives in order to begin a new one, unaware of what the future holds or how we will transition into a life without all the rules and restrictions of the army life. We are facing a world we know very little of, yet, we are fully welcoming it all. 

Over the next few weeks and couple of months we are going to try to make this transition as smooth as we possibly can, while we discover a whole new world. One that people don't live walking on eggshells or knowing how harsh reality really is because they have never seen really anything outside of their normal day to day life. I have no idea how we will fall back into the lives of others because we have done far more than others our age, especially Kevin going overseas and fighting in a war. We know and we have seen how quickly life can be ripped right from under our feet. We know firsthand how short life truly is. 

There are days that we cannot wait to get past the army life and start anew. There are days that we are both terrified to leave the life we have come to know, understand, and in many ways love. There have been days that Kevin has questioned the reasons behind choosing this life. Yet, there are not days of regret. Without the Army, we would have missed out on so many things. We never would have traveled the world. We never would have learned how strong our love and marriage truly is. The Army, this life, the people, the missions, PCS's, deployments, FTX's, NTC's, TDY's, and everything else have shown us how strong we are not only as individuals, but also as a couple and family.

To all of you that have remained by our sides through this crazy roller coaster of a life, thank you! As hard as it is going to be to bid this chapter goodbye, we know that there is something bigger and better on the other side and we also know that many of you will remain in our lives and always in our hearts!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Heart Just Aches

Over the past couple of weeks my inbox on Facebook has become overwhelmingly full of the Breast Cancer Awareness emails that we are all so familiar with. As we all know Breast Cancer Awareness month is next month and FB female friends always get a jump start in September playing the "update your status with..." email game. Typically the emails consist of the color or something or where do you like to keep your purse with an answer that sounds somewhat sexual. It always raises eyebrows of the men and giggles from the women. Well, this year it seems to raise a little more than good humor in smiles in some women. I for one have no desire or interest to even play along this year. As always, I will speak my mind in hopes to raise awareness for Breast Cancer because it holds a special place in my heart. It has run through my family like crazy, Kevin's grandmother passed away from it when he was two, and in 2006 my best friend was by his mothers side as she passed away after battling cancer off and on for years! However the game this year is asking for women to write their status as... "I'm (your birthday month) and craving (your birthdate that ends up being coded with candy/food)" which to the majority would imply you are expecting.  Notice right below to see the email I am referring to, then below where I continue with my thoughts...

It’s that time of year again in support of Breast Cancer Awareness! We all remember last years game of writing your bra color as your status? or the way we like to have our handbag handy?
Remember last year so many people took part that it made national news and the constant updating of status reminded everyone why we’re doing this and helped raise awareness!
DO NOT tell any males what the status’ mean, keep them guessing And please Broadcast this to all ur female friends to see if we can make a bigger fuss this year than last year
I did my part… So now its YOUR turn!
The idea is to choose the month You were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the girls only and lets see how far it reaches around. The last one about the bra went round the world.
So you’ll write… I’m (your birth month) weeks and I’m craving (your birth date) !!! as your status
Example: Feb 14th= I’m 2 weeks and craving Choclolate mints!!

So, after reading this, maybe some of you can instantly see my reasons on not taking part in any of this. It is a slap in the face to those of us that want (more) children, yet are not able to have them. "Hello, I am 28 years old, a mother of three (thankfully!) while enduring incredibly high risk pregnancies, with major medical problems that has led to an extreme amount of surgeries, intense chronic pain, and never again being able to experience pregnancy, growth, and the delivery of a precious newborn." Can I place that as my status? Probably not because it would rub people the wrong way.  Instead, we have to look for a way to adopt a newborn, which many of us know is a very complicated process. There is no way I could put this implication on my status while trying to raise awareness. I had many surgeries with many complications, almost costing me my life, in order to have a full hysterectomy in order to save my life in the end. There is nothing right about any of this. What I would do for another baby and how my heart just aches for that little one....

What about the ones who are capable of having children, yet have not at this point, and place this on their status? Is it right for families and friends to read so much into it and become filled with joy and pure happiness and more excitement than they know what to do with it all because they instantly think someone is pregnant? Why is it acceptable to toy with the emotions of others by placing this as a status? I know there are others like me that see this and their hearts just sink because there are so many actively playing along with this, probably not seeing the harm in any of it because we know that it would not be done intentionally. Yet, it does not help to ease the pain or sinking feeling to ones that are in the shoes that I am in or ones that have never been blessed with having a child.

In the end, this is just not something I agree with as a way to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. There are many more ways to do such a a thing.