Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Pinup Time Baby!

     So what's a Military Wife to do when her Marine is deployed?  Stop watching the news, for one!  It's extremely distressing to see every little thing that gets broadcast, especially since the media rarely has the details I'm interested in.  For example, what KIND of helicopter crashed?  Seahawk, Blackhawk, Apache, Cobra, Phrog, Super Stallion?  Each service has their own airframes and I can immediately tell if it's Marines if the anchor says more than "Military Helicopter."  Not that it's a relief when it's not a Marine, because my heart is breaking for whoever it was in there and their family who is hearing the news no one wants.  I've been to more funerals since I married Matthew than in the rest of my life combined.  This deployment has been more difficult in that respect, three Marines from Matt's unit have been killed in the last week alone.
     The families of these Marines are what we refer to as "Gold Star" families.  Families of those who serve in harm's way are "Blue Star", those who lose a loved one become "Gold Star" families.  It's a title of honor that no Military family wants to earn.  The Blue and Gold Star banners are specially made under a Department of Defense directive implemented by Congress.  Learn a bit more about the banners from the American Legion here.  One such Gold Star family is that of 1st Lt. Rob Seidel III.  Here's a bit about him: "Rob Seidel died in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York. Died on May 18, 2006."  Trying to make the best out of this tragedy, his family has set up the 1st Lt. Rob Seidel Wounded Soldier Fund to help those who survived combat but left with permanent scars.  Recently, I got an e-mail seeking models for a pinup style calender, with the proceeds from the calendar's sale directly benefiting this charity.  How could I say no?   All of the submissions were done through Facebook, you can find the page by following this link.  My photo is under "West  Coast Submissions", and if you "like" the charity's page, you can vote for me to be in the calendar by "like"-ing the picture.  There's also a short essay I wrote about why I want to be involved with this project, which I think is pretty darn good!  The photo I've posted here is the same one that's on the FB page for voting.  Please ignore my rear, it's REALLY unnatural for me to have this photo posted for everyone to see.  I keep reminding myself of the movie "Calendar Girls" where a Women's Club asks some of its members to pose nude, tastefully and quasi censored with flower pots and such, for a calendar to benefit their local hospital.  If some English biddies can pull this off, so can I!
Voting ends June 22, and I'm way behind in the polls.  I'd like to win for my own ego, but if I don't, at least I know that I tried to do something good. I can find other ways to support our Gold Star families. Coping normally in an abnormal situation is what Military life is all about!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Help Me Name My BOX!

     As if today's after-school-kite-flying-beach-trip wasn't enough proof, A gets out of school in two weeks.  And that means summer is nearly here!  The extended Fam invited us to vacation in Poipu, Kauai and while I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to go, I feel that it isn't good timing.  It's not really fair to take a glorious Hawaiian vacation with the kids and Matt's family while Matt's enduring 120 degree heat, insufferable bugs and COMBAT living in a cave in Afghanistan.  We went to Kona last year, this summer we'll have to be content with a family reunion in a Humboldt trailer park (with my Dad's family, lol) and season passes to the Safari Park and Zoo.  I can still enjoy the Kona Brewing Company's Lavaman Red Ale that I had at their restaurant last summer, though, and that will be enough.
Now about my box!
     My kids fight when they get bored or are under-stimulated.  This fact is obvious, but we can't go to the Zoo, beach, ball game etc. everyday or those things will become boring, too.  There are lots of places to visit locally, but I still have responsibilities at home, so I came up with "The Box."  It's a box full of some fun-but-educational materials to challenge my little ones to grow and engage their minds through creativity.  Read: art supplies, books about things we can go explore, little games, drawing and lettering workbooks and other fun things I've yet to discover.  Basically, it's a box of imagination.  I'd like to use ideas and materials from "The Box" two or three days a week.  I know that school teachers with classes of young children pick activities that develop small motor skills, large motor skills and further math and literacy.  I'm pretty sure I can do that without full on home schooling during the summer (my kids would be bored next school year, lol) and help my kids to understand the world and cultures around them. It could be a simple recipe for popsicles and a conversation about solid/liquid state matter, or  a book about fish and a trip to the aquarium.  It could be a list of things to find in a backyard scavenger hunt.  I've already got some workbook type stuff for E, but I'm still looking for just the right thing for A.   And let's face it, with Matthew and I as parents, my kids already treasure learning and reading.  A is excited about college because I told her she gets to pick out what she studies, lol. 

Please don't think I'm crazy for talking to my five year old about college.  It came up in normal conversation, I swear!

I want the box to be a fun tool to help us be intentional about what we do this summer, and stave off summer doldrums.  So here are my questions for you:

1) What should I call this box?  I want to give it a fun and catchy name so things are fresh and exciting!
2) What do you think I should be sure to include?

If this turns out well, it could become a summer tradition.  I'll keep you updated!