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.