Friday, July 27, 2012

Two Weeks = Big Move

Two weeks from right now we will be relaxing unpacking our new house. We will be living in a home that is ours, one that the kids will have their own rooms. We will have a big, fenced in back yard that the children and Rylie can ran and play until they are worn out and ready to relax inside, one that is surrounded by a 6 foot privacy fence, therefore giving each of us the sense of comfort in our backyard. To say that each of us are excited about the doors that are beginning to open, would be an understatement.

Even with the excitement and gratitude that I am feeling, the anticipation and being overwhelmed has begun to kick in. It's hard to think that in 13 days we will no longer be living in Mena, a place that has become a home to  us. It's hard to leave the people here that we have become close with, especially Aunt Jeanette and Grandmama. It's hard to leave this house that we have come to love. It's very hard to leave the North Little Rock VA and Kev's Case Worker and OIF Coordinator - who are both by far, absolutely amazing women! It's hard to leave somewhere that Kevin has found so much comfort in living. This small town life really isn't all that bad!

It seems like we will be going nonstop for the first month of us living in GA. Okay, at least the first month. We all know it will be more than that between family, friends, doctors, school, and more! When we arrive early Thursday (8/9), we are planning to go ahead and register the little ones in school, then meet OHF and Chase at the house a little after lunch to do the key handover. Friday will be busy with unpacking and moving the kids furniture into the house, and Saturday we have Kev's parents coming over. After we visit with them and show them around the house, the girls, Terri, and I are heading out for some much needed retail therapy! Okay, maybe not retail therapy as much as school uniform shopping, looking for things for the kids rooms, picking up towels, and things like that. Oh, and of course school supplies for all three. Nicholas still needs a backpack (if they let him carry one in kindergarten). The girls already have theirs, we bought theirs through Thirty-One, as well as their Thermal Lunch Totes. Did I mention, their bags and totes are SUPER cute? Because, they really are.

It's so hard to believe that in less than three weeks, we will have a 5th grader, 4th grader, and our little man in kinder. Time sure has flown by. This is one of those bittersweet times in life that you wish you could postpone for a bit longer!

After we sold our couches last week, Nicholas and Breanna decided they wanted to camp our in our living room and made tents out of fitted sheets, blankets, and four of our chairs from our dining set. They literally camped out for three or four nights in the living room. They had so much fun.

To the parents and siblings, we will see you soon. Friends and family, it won't be much longer before we see you as well! Just give us time to get moved in and situated with our new lives!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grandmama

I feel like so much has taken place over the past couple of months that I never update on a regular basis anymore! I promise that once we get settled I will do better, though someone may have to hold me to that until I get on a set schedule! :)

This past week has been insanely chaotic with the preparation of our upcoming move. No matter how many times we have moved and managed to get rid of things, I still find it amazing at what this family can accumulate in such a short time!

This past Tuesday, the girls and I spent the day at Magic Springs with Aunt Jeanette. We started off the day in the water park, slipping and sliding down numerous water slides then ending the morning in the Lazy River and then Wave Pool. After the water park, we headed to the amusement park, spending the afternoon riding roller coasters and more! By the end of the day to say we were exhausted would be an understatement! The girls and I walked in the door and crashed for a few hours, ate dinner, and went back to bed.

The kids were all invited to a pool party at the youth teachers house on Wednesday to get pumped up for Vacation Bible School that began today! It was a perfect way to start this week.

On Thursday we cleaned house and managed to get some things done, then we spent the evening with Aunt Jeanette and Grandmama celebrating my Grandmother's 85th birthday!!! Kevin decided that he wanted to get her a "prank" gift because, well in his words, "She already has everything she needs." Needless to say, this led him to picking out a bikini (yes, you read right) for Grandmama. She got a kick out of it, as did everyone else that was there. We all had a nice dinner together and just enjoyed the evening. It was nice to celebrate Grandmama's 85th birthday and we hope there are many more still to come!

Over the weekend, we spent time on Saturday cleaning out the garage at Aunt Jeanette's old house, then rearranging things in her garage at her house now. On Sunday we held a yard sale, which did not turn out the best and today we cleaned for awhile while the little ones spent the morning at VBS.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Giveaway: Thirty-One Lil' Expressions Mini Zipper Pouch

Thirty-One Lil' Expressions Mini Zipper Pouch (Item 3746)

After I ordered my Lil' Expressions Zipper Pouch and fell in love with it, I decided I want to share my excitement with one of you! So, this giveaway is for one of you to receive one of our Lil' Expressions Zipper Pouch with your children/Grandchildren on it! 

To take part in this giveaway, you must leave a comment below with a funny story that involves something your children/grandchildren have said or done. This giveaway will come to a close on July 29 (in ten days) and there will be a random drawing to pick the winner. 

Also, to take place in this, you must be a group member of my Facebook group, Britt's Gifts.  To join, simply click on the link, request to join and I will gladly accept you!

Have fun and remember, make us laugh!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

And The Move-In Date Is....

Yes, you have read right we have a move in date... Okay, well a tentative move in date of August 9. WOW! We were not planning on moving into our new house until after the first of September, but we did receive the call last week to plan for meeting with Andrea from OHF and someone from Chase on the 9th at our new house! To say we are excited and a tad overwhelmed would be a bit of an understatement at this point. Of course, as we all know things could change, pushing the date out a bit. Which, Kevin and I would be just fine with either way because how could we not? We are so appreciative over everything.

From now to then there is quite a bit that has to be done around the house from sorting to packing to even getting rid of things. The girls and I have less than two weeks before we head to Atlanta for a week. I have a conference with Thirty-One the first few days of August, so before that the girls and I are going to hang our with family and I have a couple parties scheduled for the weekend before the conference. Following conference, we are going to head back to Mena and spend a few days cleaning, packing, loading saying our "see you laters" to the wonderful people we have become friends with and some that we now look at as family and of course see Aunt Jeanette and Grandmama before we leave, then hit the road to Macon, GA...

We are very excited about what the future holds in our new home, but we are really torn with leaving everyone here. This has become "home" to us and we really do not want to leave without Aunt Jeanette and Grandmama beside us. Though, we promise we will be visiting Mena quite often. Thank you to all that have made the past almost 9 months so amazing as you have! You have helped us in many more ways than you could ever imagine.

Over the next few days, I will be on the phone making all moving arrangements and having medical records transferred through the VA and researching doctors for the children and me. I will also be busy with getting everything in line for this move before my trip to GA. Luckily, we have done this QUITE a few times, so this really isn't that bad. Haha.

Kevin and I went to the Ford dealership out here the other day and decided to trade his Tahoe in for something newer and more dependable. To say he has been like a kid on Christmas morning would not at all explain his excitement for a new truck! Kevin is beyond thrilled to have a truck again and to have the one that he has been wanting for awhile. We are now proud owners of a 2006 F250 Super Duty. I have to admit - I absolutely LOVE it!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Post July 4th Thoughts

There are those days when one can accomplish mountains of work and do so with little issues, even when things are beyond chaotic at home... Then there are days that no matter how hard you try, you feel so disconnected from things that you need to be working on that you end up with no other choice but to step away...or not even begin working on what you need to complete. The latter one has been me today.

Today has been, well, one of "those" days. I can't help but to wonder if maybe it is due to the holiday passing in the middle of the week. Not like it can disrupt our week during the summer this year. No one works outside of the house. The kids are not in school. Yet, somehow it managed to turn the ending of the week into crumbling pieces. It seems we have been a bit on edge and quite possibly overwhelming in a sense. Things have been nonstop from everyone's brains forgetting simple tasks or things they have remembered for years, yet managed to forget today. The kids are acting OUT. OF. CONTROL. And by that I do mean seriously CRAZY! To top it off, it doesn't stop there...even the damn dog has been running wild today. I feel like I live in a zoo! Why is it that these things only happen such as they are all at once. It's like the old saying goes, "when it rains it pours"...I think that quote takes new meaning to me now.

Kevin has been more kept to himself since the 4th. I hate the way holidays take a toll on this house now. I miss the way things use to be. I miss the easiness in life, the smiles, the laughs, the joys out of simple things. The 4th has really messed with a lot of our veterans this year, just as it does every year. Fireworks don't even have to be set off for the apprehension to just take over and for me to find myself walking on a bit of eggshells hoping that moods simmer down.

I can't help but to think about what life was like before Iraq and how easy it was to take advantage of the luxury of being able to enjoy things, only now to feel a bit bitter towards the holidays because of what their true meaning is and how little people really think about it. What gets me the most about this holiday is that Kevin and the many men and women that are living this hell after combat are the ones that fought for our freedom. They are the ones that have enabled Americans to live as we do, yet they can't even celebrate it. How horrible is that? It's just not right. As fireworks exploded across our nation just a couple nights ago and people celebrated with alcohol, cookouts, swimming, friends, family, and even strangers - our nations heroes were hiding out in their houses, taking anxiety medications and praying for the night to just end so the flashbacks would stop, the current reminders would just disappear, and they could somehow pull out of the bad spot they were in. Yet for many of them, when Thursday morning rolled around they had taken steps back instead of forward. It's like a domino effect - you push one down and they all start collapsing. Well, this is what happens with our combat veterans that battle PTSD. It's not magic, they can't just pull out of the "funk" or "episode" they are in because a new day has started after living through double hell of nightmares and flashbacks.

Wives such as myself haven't slept much, we have walked on eggshells, and we have watched as our husbands have stayed in bed the day after the 4th just trying to get through it. We have been a witness to what war leaves behind as we scramble to pick up the pieces, all the while knowing that no matter how much we scramble, the pieces will never just be picked up and placed back together.

As much as I want to be pissed at the people running the firecracker stands, the people shooting them off, and the people forgetting the reason we are all so free - I can't. I can't for the simple fact, just years ago Kevin and I WERE those people. We were the kids out shooting fireworks. We were the ones loving the amazing firework display that downtown Atlanta puts on every year. We were the ones sharing the excitement at my moms house as everyone got together, because that one day we knew that family and friends would reunite. What we didn't realize was the brutal truth behind war and what the veterans return from war with until we lived in the shoes. So, I can't be mad at the ones enjoying it. I do however, wish there was a way to better educate people on things. I wish someone had educated me on the truths of war - NOT the book version in school. That doesn't account for anything when it comes down to the individual we are speaking of.

All I can do is hope and pray that as the years pass, the holidays become a bit easier. I'm not holding my breath, but I am hoping that family and friends find it in their hearts to understand why during holidays (especially July 4th) we will always opt to stay home, alone. It has nothing to do with them, but everything to do with there is no way I am going to get my family out in that mess and risk my husband falling back more steps. I'd rather stay home, with the tv loud as it can go drowning out the outside world. A few days - or maybe even a week later - things will fall back into place and we will be able to be around people again. Time and understanding is what it will take...

As everyone was enjoying the 4th of July, I pray they each took the time to remember our true heroes and all that they have done and sacrificed as well as their families. Every combat veteran and their family have given more than most realize for our country's freedom and no matter how many bad days there are, the good will always overpower the bad. We will always come out with a smile on our faces and honestly, many would do it all over again for the sake loved ones.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Polk County Pulse Interview: A Place to Call Home

This past Friday we were contacted by an editor of a local paper asking us if she could feature our story on the front page of the Polk County Pulse for the July 4th edition. Kevin and I were already anticipating her call after speaking with our Landlords and now friends, Mr. and Mrs. Philpot. LeAnn Dilbeck called us to see if this past Monday morning would work for a sit down time to just informally talk about this past month. (WOW - in two days it will be a month since we received the amazing news!!!). LeAnn showed up right at 8am with a bag of donuts and sat down with us after introductions and coffee! As we sat and chatted, she recorded us and kept to her word; she kept things VERY informal and easy. She made it easy to talk about this past month and kept us both at ease, reassuring us that  she would not publish anything unless Kevin and I both agreed to what was written. We spoke back and forth that evening, Tuesday it went to press, and yesterday it was distributed to locations around the county. Needless to say, I picked up quite a few copies - going to 2 different gas stations because I didn't want to look insane picking them up. Haha. We all know that the parents and close family members may want a copy!

To read the full story of this amazing story of ours, please click Here.
To contact me, please email me at

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Anticipation of July 4th

The anticipation in the days leading up to the 4th of July are some of the worst days of the year. Key word, "some". The overwhelming sight of firecrackers being sold on street corners, signs being hung, American flags waving proudly in the air, people showing patriotism one of the few times a year, and just the thoughts of chaos and excitement this time of the year brings.

To many, genuine excitement is felt and expressed. Ten years ago, I found myself full of excitement on this upcoming holiday. Today, not so much. I find myself wondering if people realize the meaning behind Independence Day and the reason we are all free...the battles that have been fought to insure our independence as Americans.

Before the Army became our lives, we use to all cook out with my mom, step-dad and other family members, then head to downtown Atlanta for the spectacular fireworks show. Now, we close doors and windows, turn televisions up a bit and pray that people keep firecrackers away from our house. I find myself being apprehensive on what the holiday holds. I cringe at the site of the stands that pop up overnight holding numerous firecrackers. I become angry at people for shooting them, even though I know that they don't know what it does to Kevin and in return to my family.

I find myself becoming overwhelmingly frustrated with those that we know and that know the situation become agitated sounding when I say that we can no longer do as we use to. We can no longer go out to the firework shows like we use to, because there are too many triggers from the people to the sight and sound of the fireworks to the crowds that surround them. They bring back the memories in full force of Iraq for Kevin and they leave him with flashbacks and nightmares. He use to love being able to get out on this holiday and he enjoyed it. Now, he takes his medications and attempts to go to bed before it even starts.

When you see that veteran that has been to combat, understand the way he may be jumpy. When you know a combat veteran that spends holidays like this one, such as mine, just understand and respect. Every time I hear our National Anthem or God Bless the USA, goose bumps take over my body, as I now hear these songs so differently than I did years ago. The hold a place within me that I cannot quite explain. When you hear them this year, listen to the words. Everyday, men and women put their lives on the line and many give their lives while many more give a big portion of who they are to insure we maintain our freedom.

Freedom isn't free... Just look at the men and women that have served and have given their lives. Look at the ones that came home with combat injuries and will never be the same.

I know I view the 4th of July differently now than I did before we ever lived the army life. Kevin is forever changed because of combat.