Crazy Koko Crater Climbing!

If you remember, a little bit ago I sort of invited myself to go hiking with some girls in attempts to make some new friends (You can read about it HERE). Ever wonder what became of that? Not much really, until today.

The following week when the girls were getting together I had to go with my husband to base because my ID had expired. Then, we had company come visit. After that it was easy to come up with excuses on why I shouldn’t go, even though I wanted to. I think if exercise wasn’t involved, perhaps the excuses wouldn’t have happened. Well, last week, I got invited to join them again. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go because my husband and I had a breakfast date which was rare and I was looking forward to it. So last night, I texted my new friend and asked if they were going hiking this week. The reply was something like this, “Yes, we are thinking of doing Koko Head. Wanna join us?”

Koko Head Crater


So, I had to say “yes”, but let me tell you, before I did, I searched “Koko Head” on Google and nearly changed my mind. Yikes. It’s referred to as, “Nature’s Stairmaster” but really it is man made and was built around World World II by the military. It basically is a straight shot up. The elevation is about 1076 feet with roughly 1048 “steps” which are railroad ties, so pretty steep, right?

I am not really “in shape”. I can keep up with my 5 and 6 year olds and I can do a pretty good job at playing Dance Central on the X-box. I enjoy activities like trying to surf, kayaking, and swim. But, seriously, some of my friends train for marathons and triathlons and that is not me. By the way, the two girls I went with today are runners. So, I was REALLY nervous.

So we get there and this is what you see when you begin the climb.

The "stairway" up.


So we start. I was up probably 10 steps when I thought to myself, “Oh, what was I thinking?” When we reached about 100 steps, I started to think, “I’ll just tell them to go ahead and I’ll catch up with them later. Maybe, my husband will come back with me.” I was definitely the pacesetter and the pace was slow. But, the girls were so nice and stopped so I could catch my breath. On one of our rests, this was the view:

A view of Hanauma Bay


I LOVE to take pictures. So, everything I read told me the view at the top was AWESOME and so I pressed. About halfway up, there is a “bridge”. I was so relieved to make it to this point because my reading last night told me this was halfway.

Halfway


I say “bridge” because it really looks like the bottom just dropped out. The rails are still there, but no dirt. I read it’s about a 20 feet drop. There is an option to go around it, but the girls were taking the bridge, so I did too. Yeah, peer pressure at its finest. I was too chicken to walk across though and sort of bear walked it with my hands.

Finally, after numerous stops, we made it to the top. Check out what I saw:

Makapu‘u Head


Koko Crater and if you look close you see someone standing there!


Hanuama Bay


Hawaii Kai


Was it worth it? Yes, I am so happy to be able to say I did it. Would I do it again? Not sure…I have a feeling I’m going to wake up hurting for the next few days.

I am amazed at how many people ask me, “How are you adjusting to Hawaii?” I absolutely LOVE it here. There is so much to do and explore. So, if you are or have been to Hawaii, what do you recommend I check out?

Categories: Hawaii | 3 Comments
 
 

MissYourVoice

The last time my husband deployed, I did a search for care package ideas. I found ideas for things like beef jerky, magazines, socks, and cakes in a jar. I wanted to do a better job at sending packages. The previous deployment I thought I had, but my husband told me how it’s such an exciting time when the ship gets mail and if you don’t have any, it can be disappointment. So I decided to try to step it up a notch.

I started by getting the free one rate boxes from the post office. You can call and ask for the deployment boxes and they will send them to you free with labels and tape too.

I then, made sure I always had a box together and in an accessible place, like in the kitchen, so it would be easy. Whenever the mail came, if he got a magazine, into the box it went. When the boys brought home artwork from school, I’d take a picture of it for me and into the box it went. When I went grocery shopping, I’d pick up a few treats like trail mix and gum. It became much easier when I did it this way. However, if you have been through a deployment, you know there are times when your world is turned upside down and you are doing your best to just make sure everyone is fed and healthy.

"Sealed with a Kiss" Your picture goes in the frame, and your typed letter goes into the envelope :)

Last year, I discovered the Facebook page MissYourVoice and was amazed. MissYourVoice is an organization created by Amanda to send handmade care packages to deployed military personnel. Brillant! So if you can’t get a package out for whatever reason, you just go to her, and she will help you out. She does all of the packages by herself, and has been doing this for 16 months! She has sent out over 1000 packages so far, and over 5000 hand made thank you cards to our deployed troops! Each package she create takes about an hour (or more) to make. Recently, she has entered her organization into a grant program, which if selected as the winner, she will receive a 100k grant to put towards sending more packages overseas, and helping the organization grow into a whole new level, including turning it into a non-profit organization(it is currently run as a not-for-profit).

Small Fathers Day Box


The small packages run $30 and the larger ones are $40 plus shipping. You can place an order at www.MissYourVoice.net

But, guess what? MissYourVoice thinks Military Word of Mouth is pretty cool too, so she is going to be donating a box to one of you to start off the road to our One Year Celebration! Woohoo! Details coming soon!

Laura




Categories: Giveaway, Surviving Deployment | Leave a comment
 
 

Let’s Make Some Money!

So it is no surprise, I LOVE Amazon. They make everything so easy peasy and the customer services has always been top notch. I find myself using Amazon even more since I moved to Hawaii because most of their stuff qualifies for free shipping if you spend $25. LOVE that! So the other day I was looking at a book or something and noticed a link that said, “trade in”. I never noticed this before and am naturally curious, so I clicked it. Wow, I was surprised to discover Amazon has a trade in program. Have you heard of it? It’s not the program where you sell used copies of your stuff either like Ebay. No, it’s much easier! You can trade in your books, video games, and DVDs that you don’t need anymore in exchange for Amazon credit. So, I gave it a try.

If you go to their homepage, you won’t see it. If you click on the link on the left labeled “Full Store Directory”, you probably won’t see it there either, I didn’t. So do a search for “Amazon Trade-In Program” or click HERE.

Amazon Trade-In Program


You will find all of the scoop you need. I think most of us tend to get rid of stuff before and/or after a PCS. We tend to see stuff we forgot we had or just are trying to make sure we make the weight allowance for the move. So before putting things away in my new place here in Hawaii, I realized I had some DVDs and games that we didn’t need anymore. For instance, we are Lost fans. I got my husband season one for Christmas one year, but once the series ended, someone got him the complete package of all of the seasons. So, into the Amazon Trade-In pile it went. I had received some Friends seasons as gifts, but actually never even opened them. Shhh, don’t tell. They are always on tv to watch or you can watch them on Hulu. So, into the pile they went.

Once you have your pile of potential books, video games, and DVDs, you will want to visit their Trade-In Store. This can also be tricky to find. Here’s a link. It will look like this:

Amazon Trade-In Store


In the middle of the screen, you will see a blue bar where you can change the category to Books, Video Games, Movies & TV, and now I see two new categories of Electronics and Music. Select your topic and then search for your item. I selected Movies & TV and searched for Lost DVD and got the following results:

Results for "Lost DVD"


I then selected Season 1 by clicking the yellow “Trade In” button. If you aren’t logged in yet, you will be prompted to do so at this point. You will then have the chance to let them know the condition of your item.

Trade-In List


You can select “new”, “like new”, or “good”. I thought this might be tricky, but when you move your mouse over the conditions, a pop-up will emerge, with great descriptions so you will know which one to select.

Description of Trade-In Conditions


My copy of Lost was “like new”. You will see the value for “good” and “like new” are the same here, but this is not always the case. Please note, when you select the condition of your item, make sure you press the gray “update” button. I marked it with a star for you.

You must click "update" to save the condtion of your item.


As you probably imagine, I learned this the hard way. I didn’t even notice it because it is light gray. I got all the way to the end and realized the price of something wasn’t right and I had to start over. So click the “update” button each time you change the condition. You can now add more items, by clicking “add another item” at the bottom right of the screen.

When you are done, simply click the yellow “continue” button. Depending on your items you will be able to select how you want to mail them. I say “depending on your items” because it was different when I went back in and added a new item. Oh, and the shipping is FREE! You will then enter the address you will be mailing from. Next, you can review your trade-in submission.

Review Your Trade-In Submission


Double check to make sure the conditions are as you meant them to be. If all looks good, click “Submit Your Trade-In”. You will receive an email confirmation and then once your items have been received, you will get another email letting you know about your Amazon credit.

So, tell me do you have something you might be able to trade in? I ended up with $66.55! That’s awesome considering the things were just sitting around collecting dust! Let me know if you try it!

Laura

Categories: Military Deals, Moving | 1 Comment
 
 

Friday Funnies #2:

So last week I posted our first Friday Funnies and I requested for you to share your funny military stories and pictures. I received two that aren’t military related, but go along with the weekend. I couldn’t pick between the two because they both made me laugh.

From Jennifer:

Peep Show


and from Sara:

Chocolate Bunny Funny



Happy Friday!

Laura
Categories: Friday Funnies | Leave a comment
 
 

Friday Funnies #1: Stuttgart Lawn Care

Yesterday, I posted a question asking about who has orders and who is getting ready to move again. There was an enormous response. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean this is why you come to Military Word of Mouth, right? To get the scoop on where you are going.

I got an email from Brandie sharing the following photo with me:

Lawn Care at Robinson Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany


It made me laugh and I just had to share it with you all. Moving is stressful no matter how organized you might be. So I thought let’s start a Friday Funnies on the blog because everyone can use an extra smile or laugh in their day, right?

I would LOVE to share more smiles and laughs, so if you have a funny story, picture, or video, please share it with us. Simply send me an email at militarywom@gmail.com and title your email “Funny Fridays”. Thank you Brandie for sharing!

Happy Friday,

Laura

Categories: Base Housing, Friday Funnies, Germany, OCUNUS, Stuttgart | 3 Comments
 
 

Under the Weather

This week I have been under the weather. I put off going to the doctor until it was inevitable. It’s probably a bit ironic that I have this awesome website, but I didn’t have a doctor picked for me yet, right? So, I contacted a friend who used to live here and asked where she went. I got the name of her doctor and called for an appointment. Unfortunately, the doctor was not accepting new patients. I briefly considered pleading that my friend just moved and could I have her spot, but I didn’t feel well enough to even try. So, I just asked, “Is there someone there that can see me today?” I took the first available appointment. I was relieved they would see me because sometimes when you are a new patient, you have to have a “new patient” appointment which can take longer than a “sick” appointment. I must say I was extremely impressed with the facility. Everyone was so friendly and caring. But, the reason I write this post is because of the pharmacy situation.

I usually go to Walgreens. I LOVE Walgreens. I love that they have a drive thru, that they are usually open 24 hours, and I have never had a problem with them. There have been many times when my husband was deployed that I had a sick child in the car with a very high temperature. It is so great to just do the drive thru and frankly, healthier for everyone involved. Once, I even called the pharmacy in advance and asked if I could get some Pedialyte and diapers through the drive-thru when I pick up my son’s prescription. They were more than happy to help me. So, when the doctor asked me where do I want my prescription filled, I wasn’t sure how to reply. I realized I haven’t researched the pharmacy situation since it was announced that Walgreens will no longer be accepting Tricare. I’m not here to get into a debate about whose fault it was and if you want to read more about it you can read Tricare’s message and/or Walgreen’s message. I suppose I am fortunate that my family hasn’t needed a prescription filled since the start of the new year.

I realized this is another area where Military Word of Mouth could be useful because everywhere has different pharmacies. Each pharmacy has different features and/or hours. So, I ended up picking Longs who I guess is in a partnership with CVS. However, there is no drive-thru and the hours are limited. SO what happens when I have to go to the urgent care at 8pm for a urinary tract infection? Do I really have to wait until the next morning to get the prescription filled? While in Virginia I would go to Patient First and they had a pharmacy within the facility and that was great, but I don’t know the options here yet. If you are Tricare Prime, your base medical/pharmacy isn’t open 24 hours, unless it’s a hospital, right? Each installation is different. Please take a moment to share where you go to get your prescription filled or care after hours. Share the name of the installation you are at and share your experiences with them.
Categories: Medical, MWOM | Leave a comment
 
 

Dreaded Phone Calls from School

If you have a child in school, you know what I’m talking about. The phone rings, you look at it and see the phone number is the schools, you panic, and then you answer.

"Uh-Oh!"

I would say there are a few types of dreaded calls from school.

  1. Your child is sick
  2. Your child is hurt
  3. Your child was bitten
  4. Your child got in trouble
Unfortunately, we have been getting a few dreaded phone calls from school lately. I don’t think I’d say one type of dreaded phone call is “better” than the other. However, I can really say I’m not enjoying the phone calls that tell me that my son is in trouble. This has been going on for about a month now. Perhaps, since school started back up in January. Let me flash back to October for a minute…

We were in Rhode Island, and my son was thriving. He was on the boys’ gymnastics team and his teachers gave stellar reports at our conference meeting. They told me that he is a kind boy, that he considerate of others and likes to make sure everyone is involved, and that he is doing well with his lessons. He even told me, “Mom, John has to go to the office all of the time. Can you believe that? I can’t imagine not listening to my teacher.”

Now, in the present, he is the boy not listening to his teacher. He gets angry and doesn’t know how to calm himself down. So what happened, I wonder? Well, we moved over 5,000 miles for one.

Lessons learned:

  1. Avoid Moving During the School Year
  2. I think when they start out in the middle of the year, they feel like the new kid longer. Everyone else has already had a chance to acclimate with each other. Now, in the military life, this just might not be possible. Which brings me to #2.

  3. Contact Teacher Beforehand
  4. I thought I was doing everything right. I called the school to let them know exactly which day my boys would be starting. I made some assumptions in doing this. I assumed, they would have told the kids in the class. I assumed, the teachers would be welcoming them. I assumed wrong. I dropped of my oldest son and the teachers looked at me like I had 2 heads. Luckily, I knew his teacher’s name so they quickly recovered from their perplexed faces and guided him to his class. I wasn’t worried because he is very good at acclimating into new situations.

    Dropping off my younger son was more of a mess. Not only, did the teachers not know he was coming, they stood there and argued with me about it in front of him. My younger one was my preemie. He is much more apprehensive and reserved. He is nervous about new situations. You see, they had given his “spot” away by mistake. He had no cubby, in fact, there was no room for a new cubby. Oh, we were furious. We did our best to hide it from our youngest though, but he cried when he had to leave. All of this could have been avoided if I had contacted the teacher ahead of time. My girlfriend who also moved from RI at the same time, but to VA, actually met with the teacher and her child before her child was to start class. I highly recommend this.

  5. Maintain Extra-Curricular Activities
  6. My son LOVES gymnastics. Yes, he is only 6, but he is a daredevil. The day I walked in and found him doing flips from his bunkbed, I realized I had better sign him up so at least he can learn how to do it safely. He got lessons and his teacher thought he should join the team. He went twice a week for two hours and never complained about it. I believe he might be missing this. I thought it would be better to ease into the new environments, but now I’m thinking I should have signed him up right away so that the move wasn’t as drastic for him.
So the dreaded phone I got this past Thursday was that my son was suspended from school for Friday. Wow, from one extreme to the next. So, I am making calls about gymnastics. I am also making calls to see if he can talk to someone about what he is experiencing. I know the Navy has Fleet and Family Services that help with this. What do they call it for the other branches?

Any tips you all want to share with me? I desperately need to get my boy back on track.

Oh, and if you haven’t entered to win the free Armed Forces Office Chair, make sure you check it out. Right now we only have 15 entries, so you have pretty good odds!

Categories: Kids, Moving, Moving Tips | 5 Comments
 
 

XZipit Chair Contest

The suspense is over, check out our latest contest! I have been working on this “behind the scenes” and have been bursting with excitement because I think you all will be so excited too. How would you like to win this awesome office chair from XZipit.com?

Support the troops from your own customized chair brought to you by XZipit.com. XZipit Furnishings from Dreamseat has an Interchangeable Logo Panel System that allows you to zip in and out custom and licensed logos on all XZipit furniture. Officially licensed logo panels include: MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, Colleges, Marvel Comics, CFL, Armed Forces, and much more.


The Prize

The lucky winner is going to get:

  • 1 XZipit Home Office Chair: Made with durable high grade synthetic leather upholstery with padded arms, built-in Lumbar Support, Tilt and Lock Control.
  • 1 Panel of Choice: Panels are embroidered and interchangeable between all XZipit furnishings.


  • Armed Forces panels



  • FREE shipping!
Are you excited?

To enter the contest:

1.Leave a comment as to why you deserve to win the chair on this blog post.

2.In addition, you must be a fan or follower of XZipit and Military Word of Mouth on Facebook and/or Twitter (Twitter links: XZipit and Military Word of Mouth). We encourage you to reach out to XZipit via wall post or tweet as to why you should win their chair too, however, it is not required.

The contest will start Saturday February 18th, 2012 and run until Saturday February 25, 2012 at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be chosen based on the response given to why you deserve the chair and judged by a panel. The winner will be notified through email. Good luck!

Categories: Air Force Base, Army, Coast Guard, Giveaway, Marine Corps, Navy | 22 Comments
 
 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Initially, I had been brainstorming about cheesy military Valentines to make and share with you for a free download. I came up with the idea too close to Valentine’s Day though. So it’s an idea I tucked away for next year.

My husband came home this week and things have been way hectic. My son turns 5 this week and we have friends coming to visit us. We wanted to get my son a LeapFrog toy and didn’t realize it was a hot item and evidently sold out at most places. After driving all over and making many phone calls, I finally found one. Whew!

I have also been running around trying to prep for our friends that are coming because evidently we got rid of our extra bedding. Neither my husband nor I remember doing that, but we can’t find it. Do we have a missing box? No clue. But, we used to have a nice duvet cover and matching curtains. We had put it away once the guestroom became a baby room and now it’s missing. So I was trying to find something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. This is a challenging task in Hawaii, because prices are hiked up on everything! Even my go to place, Target, is pricey. So I finally, found some bedding at Macy’s. They were having a 50% off sale. Yay, me!

So, yes, more reviews are coming. And remember the little teaser about a giveaway? Be on the watch for that at the end of the week. You won’t want to miss it.

In honor of Valentine’s Day (and because I have an incredibly sweet tooth) share with us your favorite place to get something absolutely delicious for dessert. It can be a candy place, a bakery, or a restaurant that makes the most awesome … (fill in the blank).



Happy Valentine’s Day!

Laura


Categories: MWOM | Leave a comment
 
 

What bugs you?

*Warning not for the squeamish*

When we first moved into our house we had some visitors. I was in the family room and saw three cockroaches crawling on the wall. Three HUGE cockroaches. Needless to say, I was a bit freaked out. I told my husband and he said something like, “well we live in a tropical climate, it’s to be expected.” That night I went to bed to sounds of my cat playing with something and all I could picture was her playing with the cockroaches. Gross!

So the next morning I told my husband how I had a hard time falling asleep. I fully expected him to mock me. Well, evidently he had an encounter himself. We did not have our household goods yet, only our express shipment. In our express shipment we including folding chairs. You know the kind you take to watch a game. They fold up and are placed into a bag you can then care on your shoulder. Well, my husband went into the garage after I went to bed to get one of these chairs. He pulled the chair out of the bag and over twenty cockroaches came pouring out! Needless to say, no mocking. He agreed we needed to call an exterminator.

Well, we procrastinated because after these incidences, we’ve only seen one here or there. So my theory was perhaps they came in our express shipment. You see, the shipment got to Hawaii and our place wasn’t available yet, so it went into storage. The chairs while in crates, weren’t in boxes. So my theory was the cockroaches crawled into the crates.

Fast forward to last night. My husband left for the mainland for work for a week. So I’m on the couch and I notice my cat playing with something.



I lift my feet onto the cushions and think it’s okay, the cat will take care of it. Well, she continues to play with it. She even puts it in her mouth, carries it, and then drops it to bat it around. Seriously? And that sucker is FAST! Well, that one got away, but she found another one. Really? So I went and got the can of Raid. While my kitty was playing with the second cockroach, the first one emerged and I took care of it.



As you see, it is 4 inches from back leg to antennae. So I went to bed totally wrapping myself up in my blanket and hoping any other cockroaches would leave me alone. The next morning my boys let me know there is a dead cockroach on the kitchen floor. Perhaps, it was cockroach #2? Who knows. Oh, and then we found this one in the cat’s water dish.



I am going to hope it fell in and couldn’t get out. I’d hate to think my cat actually drowned it. Sigh. I always like to make the most out of situation though. We went to the library last week and got library cards. Would you believe, the book my oldest son picked out was all about cockroaches. Perhaps, this is why they are back. They take the book as a welcoming or something. Either way, now my son can REALLY learn the parts of a cockroach.



So tell me what kind of rodent adventures have you encountered? Have you ever had anything unexpected in your shipment?

Categories: Hawaii, Pets | 13 Comments
 
 

Making Friends

Evidently, I am a bad blogger. I had all of these good intentions to share my process of moving with you all and it just didn’t happen. It was just such a crazy and busy time, plus we had sporadic internet connection.

We are finally settling into our house in Hawaii and the movers just removed our boxes this past Friday, woohoo! Speaking of last Friday, I was invited to a jewelry party. I like picking out jewelry to match my outfits and did it more so in Virginia where I had a friend that was REALLY good at picking out matching jewelry and shoes. Most of the time I would get her opinion to make sure I wasn’t making some big fashion mistake. But, for the most part, I don’t wear jewelry. Especially since moving to Hawaii. It’s mainly shorts/capris, tank tops and flip flops. So I wasn’t sure about going, however, I am trying to make new friends and decided I should go.

I am glad I went because I had a good time. I met a few ladies and actually heard one lady talking about how she gets together once a week to go hiking with other moms. I thought to myself, “that might be fun.” I have a girlfriend, who is stationed in Taiwan, suggest to join a running club. That is what she does; however, I am not a runner. The idea of hiking sounded like fun though. This island is beautiful, so what better place to try it out, right? So, I did something that had I been in high school, I would never have had the nerve to do, I sort of invited myself. I started talking with this woman later and said, “I heard you talking about hiking with other ladies…”. She then started telling me about it and asked me, “would you like to join us?” So we exchanged numbers. I then waited for the text with the information, but it’s funny, because I felt like I was dating. Is she going to text me? Ha! She did.

So I met up with these ladies and we all road together to the Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area.



As we get out of the car, I must admit I was very intimidated. One lady pulls out her backpack that has a straw coming out of it that wraps around her shoulder so she can just sip when she gets thirsty. Another woman, starts strapping on a belt with two water bottles attached. I think to myself, “uh-oh, I might have gotten myself in deep on this one.”



Then we pass a sign that says, “Aiea Loop Trail: 4.8 miles.” Oh crud, I’m in for it. The first few yards was a nice flat shaded trail and I think, “okay, I can do this”, but then the elevation starts to change and we start climbing over all of these tree roots.



LOTS of them.



I think to myself, “I am in trouble.” But, I got to see beautiful views like this:



And this:



I might not be able to get out of bed, but I did it and you know what? I had a blast! The women were great and they have kids in the same age group as mine, bonus! So now I am hoping to crash their party next week too.

While hiking, I was wondering what everyone else does when moving to a new place to meet friends. This has been a gradual thing that I have gotten better at with each move. I really have the military to thank for that. So tell me, how do you make new friends when you move?


Categories: Hawaii, Kids, Moving | 7 Comments
 
 

Moving Tip: Making a Moving Binder

I am going to start sharing some of your awesome moving tips that were entered in our Moving Tip giveaway last month.

rmparadis and HeatherK both suggested to organize yourself with a moving binder.

rmparadis:

Buy a binder or expanding folder. You want to be able to keep everything you need handy.
Insurance- cars/tricare/dental
Car titles/bank loan paperwork
Birth certificates/pass ports
Current bills- phone, cable, credit cards, etc…
School records
Medical-current physicals, shot records, dental records
PCS paperwork
Keep all moving receipts

HeatherK:

Make a “transfer binder”. Color tab for different things. Utilities, Lease, Orders, Household goods sheets, your Expensive list with all your DVD’s TV’s serial numbers etc, lists of DVD’s or book collection etc. Then every time you move, you just add to your lists of books, serial numbers etc, and just redo the utilities and lease sections. Or if you don’t lease it goes housing info. This way you have all your important numbers, confirmation numbers and turn on dates for utilities, your lists to check when you unpack.

I have found this extremely helpful because I don’t have to write the numbers down AGAIN for serial numbers, for the companies that need my lease I just pull it out because we all know everyone wants a copy. Orders are organized along with household goods and I know the companies number is right there.

Over the years I have made a new binder for every move and after we move from that place I put all the info back into it and then if we have a problem from that time, I just go and find it in the binder.

My husband was already in the CG before we met and after I used this way, I am OCD, so I love to be organized. He couldn’t believe how easy everything was when we moved. Dity receipts, household goods, orders, pet vaccinations, were all neatly organized and color tabbed out. It was so stress free and all my papers were together.


Categories: Moving, Moving Tips | 6 Comments
 
 

How Do You Spell Sergeant?

Nothing like a good homecoming story that warms the heart. I saw this video today and just had to share. A young girl correctly spells the word sergeant at a school spelling be. She is then asked if she knows a sergeant. She replies, “my dad.” The school announces they are going to meet a sergeant. Her face looks so sad until she turns and sees it’s her dad. Ah, love it!!


So did you tear up like me?

Categories: Kids, Surviving Deployment | Leave a comment
 
 

My Pôpoki

So in my previous post I discuss all of the steps needed to get my cat (pôpoki) to Hawaii. I thought I was on top of the process. I had her microchip implanted:



She had her 2 rabies shots that were given more than 30 days apart. I obtained an original certificate and made sure they signed it in ink as required. (Her previous rabies certificate from Virginia was stamped so I emailed the Animal Quarantine at rabiesfree@hawaii.gov to confirm this would be okay. I was told as long as the most recent one was in ink we were fine.)

We had a successful OIE-FAVN Rabies test result. The original was sent to Hawaii and her 120 of quarantine began. I thought the only thing left to do was to submit all of the paperwork to them before 10 days of arrival. I needed to send the original rabies certificates and a “Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-278″. I knew this form needed to be notarized so I figured it was a one day project, right? Um, no!

I hadn’t looked at the form until this Tuesday. On it, it tells me I have to list a hospital or clinic they can call should Cinder need medical treatment while in quarantine. This makes total sense, but it was a lot of work that I hadn’t planned on. I went to the Animal Quarantine website and found a list of approved clinics. Well, you have to actually register your pet at one before you list the place on the form. So, I did some research and found some reviews (I told you I was a review girl, right?) on the website Yelp. I then had to wait until 2pm EST for the places to open up in Hawaii. The first place I called said they were full. The second place I called was full. The third place I called said they no longer participate. I finally called The Cat Clinic and was successful. However, it’s not just a matter of answering a few questions and your registered. You have to fill out their forms. These forms could be mailed or faxed. Well, I don’t own a fax and mailing was going to take too long. So I called my local Fed-Ex and got their fax number. I then called The Cat Clinic back and gave it to them. I went to Fed-Ex fully expected to fill the forms out there and fax them back and be done with it. Nope. I needed a local address on the form. Sigh. So back home I went.

I then looked into my options of getting a P.O. Box. I decided to go with the UPS Store because I would then have a street address, not just a P.O. number. This should be an easy process, right? You know I’m going to say no, right? They emailed me a bunch of forms. I had to fill them out for me and my husband, have them notarized, provide two forms of ID for both of us, and then sign a form saying they could charge my credit card. Yikes! So I filled out the forms and then yesterday we had them notarized on base. I made copies of drivers licenses and Military IDs and was ready to go. Yesterday was hectic with trying to track down information about our moving company since we haven’t heard from them and they are due to be here in less than 2 weeks. My youngest son also had his physical therapy appointment. So finally, when the boys were in bed, I went to Fed-Ex and faxed all 12 pages of my mailbox application. I called to confirm they received them at the UPS Store in Hawaii. Yes, they will call me back in ten minutes with my address. Wonderful! No, not so much. They call me back and tell me that the notary was suppose to verify my two IDs and write them on the form. REALLY?? Ugh!

So yes, I have to redo my application and get it notarized AGAIN. But, luckily he was a nice person and told me he would go ahead and assign me an address. He said he had 30 days to submit the form. So that buys me a few days and gets me an address to put on the form to register my cat at a clinic in Hawaii. Which means I can now submit my forms to quarantine. The moral of the story? Don’t wait, thinking it will be smooth sailing. Just send the forms in as soon as you can.

I want to hear about any issues you all had when traveling with pets. Was it all smooth sailing or did you have some snafus?

Categories: Hawaii, Moving, Pets | 6 Comments
 
 

Word Board Winner

Wow, thanks for all of you who entered our Moving Tip Giveaway! There were 46 entries!

So the lucky winner of one of these awesome “Home is where the (enter your branch here) sends us” word boards donated by Perfectly Distressed…






…was selected by assigning each tip a number and using random.org to “draw a number out of the hat”.


The winner was the 23rd tip entered, woohoo!


Whitney F. is our winner! Congratulations Whitney! Her tip is:

“Moving Tips: - Always pack cleaning supplies including a broom and vacuum in your personal vehicle. There is nothing worse than getting to your new home and not being able to clean it before your furniture gets there. - Pack a plastic shower curtain, shower curtain rod, shower curtain hooks, toilet paper, sleeping bags, and folding camping chairs in an easily accessible location in your car. After driving for possibly days, a nice hot shower is the best medicine to ensure that the rest of the unpacking goes smooth. Plus who likes to drive to a strange new house in a strange state and have to find a Walmart in the dark just so you can clean up before going to sleep! -NEVER, EVER forget extra plastic bags and lots of paper towels! You won’t regret it when you have car sick passengers or a dog with explosive diarrhea just hours into a cross-country move!”


So many of the tips were wonderful so be on the look out for them to be featured as blog posts in the near future.

Also, don’t forget Perfectly Distressed has offered ALL Military Word of Mouth followers a 10% off coupon to her shop at http://www.perfectlydistressed.com/ valid until October 3, 2011. Simply enter the code MILITARYWOM to receive the discount.

Categories: Giveaway, Moving | Leave a comment
 
 

Moving Tip Giveaway

Alright, let’s have another give-away. You are going to like this one! We have a beautiful prize donated by Perfectly Distressed. Check out these awesome “Home is where the (enter your branch here) sends us” word boards. The winner will receive one topper and first duty station. Can we so oooh! aaah!








Beautiful right? I thought you’d like this one! So now you all are asking, “How can I win one of these?”

Simple, just share with us your best moving tip. It can be something you learned in a PCS meeting, something you learned the hard way, or something you just know. The winner will be selected by assigning each tip a number and using random.org to “draw a number out of the hat”.

In addition, the best tips will be selected as a featured blog post or mentioned some other way by Military Word of Mouth. If you want to submit a picture, (not necessary to win, but helpful if selected as a featured tip on the blog, simply email it to militarywom@gmail.com. We will start the contest now and end it Sept 27, 2011 at midnight EST. Winner will be announced on September 28, 2011. Please make sure you enter a valid email address so I can contact you. The winner will have three days to get in touch with Perfectly Distressed. Please allow one week from contact with her to allow her to complete the sign and get it shipped.

Finally, but not at all least. Go share some page love over at Perfectly Distressed. Not at all necessary to enter, however, highly recommended, since she was ever so kind to donate for this fun contest. Tell her Military Word of Mouth sent you. In addition, Perfectly Distressed has offered ALL Military Word of Mouth followers a 10% off coupon to her shop at http://www.perfectlydistressed.com/ valid until October 3, 2011. Simply enter the code MILITARYWOM, how nice is that???

If you got to this blog post, other than our Facebook page, please go “like” our page so you know when the winner is announced. Thanks and good luck!

To enter, simply enter your tip here.

My Moving Tip [Submission form='Movingtip2']
Categories: Giveaway, Moving | Leave a comment
 
 

The Word on Japan

Our next guest blogger is Emily from the blog, “Keeping Time“. She blogs about her family and the many adventures they have experienced from living in Japan to deployments. Today she is sharing her knowledge about the different housing choices for Yokosuka Naval Base. Welcome Emily and thanks for sharing!





Yokosuka Naval Base: The Housing Options


When I woke up this morning I had a very exciting email waiting for me in my inbox. A good friend wrote to tell me she’s thinking about moving to Japan and wondered if I could fill her in on the Yokosuka housing options. So first of all: yes, of course, just get here! And second of all, oh my goodness, I can relate! Every time we move I scour the internet for information about housing, but there’s never enough information to be had and it’s never what I’m needing; so, without further ado, for all you military friends and strangers, here’s what I know about Yokosuka military housing.

If you’re planning to live on base, you’ll have three options: Yokosuka Housing (on the main base), Ikego Housing (a support site in Zushi, which is about 20 minutes away from Yokosuka), and Negishi Housing (a support site in Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan, which is about an hour away from Yokosuka).

Yokosuka Housing:

There’s just no getting around the fact that the main base is really ugly, but there are still advantages to living in Yokosuka: after all, if you live there you’ll have a shorter daily commute and more access to all things both familiar and American. There’s a large commissary, a sprawling NEX (seriously, sprawling; it encompasses, like, three different buildings), a food court with a plethora of fast food restaurants (most of which deliver), and a building that serves as a church, a synagogue, and a temple. In Yokosuka, you’ll also have a hospital, a hair salon, a tailor, a good school, and probably lots of other useful things that I’m forgetting.

If you plan to live in Yokosuka though, be prepared to wait a few months. Most likely, you’ll camp out in the Navy Lodge for awhile and then you’ll be offered either a townhouse or an apartment. (Somehow I don’t have any pictures of the housing in Yokosuka, but it looks almost exactly like the housing in Ikego, so you can reference those pictures if you’re interested.) Since Yokosuka housing can be hard to come by, you probably won’t have much choice about where you end up living on the base. You might have a great view of Tokyo Bay with Mt. Fuji in the distance or you might be looking straight out at somebody else’s apartment.

Yokosuka itself (as in the Japanese city) seems great, but the major drawback I hear about life on the Yokosuka base is that, with all that easy access to American stuff, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get off the base and start exploring. Theoretically, you could spend years on the Yokosuka base without ever leaving; for better or worse, it’s that self-sufficient.

Ikego Housing:

Ikego Housing is in Zushi (a small city about 20 minutes from the main base), and compared to the Yokosuka base I think the housing here is attractive. You’ll get the same ugly buildings of course, but Ikego is settled into a rolling hill at the edge of a forest. If you live here you’re likely to have trees and birds — hawks and blackbirds, mostly — outside your window. In addition to a mini-mart, a small restaurant, an elementary school (until 3rd grade), and a swimming pool, Ikego Housing has hiking trails, log cabins, and campgrounds to tempt you. (Plus, there’s a great beach just minutes away.) The Yokosuka base has a large MWR office with lots of classes for adults and children (which I think I forgot to mention), and Ikego Housing has a smaller branch as well. I haven’t looked into which classes they offer for adults, but your kids can take karate lessons, ballet lessons, and piano lessons (and probably more) in Ikego. There’s also a soccer team here and I think they offer cheerleading.

Better yet, there’s a side gate into Ikego Housing that opens out onto the train station, which makes for very convenient travel; and, if you live in Ikego you’ll have to travel. Unlike Yokosuka, Ikego Housing isn’t totally self-sufficient. At the very least, you’ll have to run out to the grocery store once in awhile. Fortunately, there are lots of great Japanese groceries stores nearby, two of which are a short walk from the main gate and the rest of which are only a train stop away.

Oh! And the single best ramen restaurant in Japan (according to me) is immediately outside the main gate in Ikego, which is reason enough to move here, I think; but if you are feeling too lazy to get off base, there’s also a fairly good American pizza delivery.

As with the Yokosuka base, if you live in Ikego you’ll either have a townhouse:


Like I said, the buildings are ugly; the surrounding area is much prettier.


Looking at the front door from the living room


The laundry room leads into the kitchen (not so good for hiding dirty laundry!)


Some of the townhouse kitchens seemed long and narrow…



…and the stairs were steep and narrow, too, which is why we chose an apartment.

Or an apartment:


The kitchen is boxy, which I like, and the stainless steel counters are nice for pastry baking


A bedroom, all fitted out with loaner furniture


Chris in the hall, which tells you nothing about the housing — sorry!


But at least the laundry room is hidden!

Negishi Housing:

The fact is, I don’t know a whole lot about Negishi Housing. I think it has an elementary school (until 5th grade), a grocery store, various classes for kids and adults, at least one restaurant, and a pool. It’s also in Yokohama, which is a really great city with lots of shopping, an aquarium, amazing restaurants, and a lively China Town. The drawback is, it’s an hour away (by car!) from the main base in Yokosuka.

Aside from the commute problem though, Negishi generally seems like a nice place to live. First of all, when you’re there you don’t feel like you’re in military housing at all. Many of the houses are actual freestanding houses, and the architecture isn’t all just industrial-generic, either. The neighborhoods in Negishi feel like real neighborhoods with big yards and lots of green, open spaces. Honestly, when we first moved to Japan, Chris and I both wanted to live in Negishi Housing.


Check it out: it’s an honest-to-goodness house!


And that house comes with a NEIGHBORHOOD! Imagine!

Does it sound too good to be true? Because I think it is…


Rumor has it (and it might just be a rumor), that the Negishi houses are plagued by bugs and mold in the summer.



All I know is, I felt like I could make a home out of one of these little houses, which wasn’t a feeling I had when I toured my future apartment. I liked the small, boxy kitchen (despite the fact that it also held the washing machine and the dryer) and I loved the large windows and the wooden floors in the downstairs rooms.


But when we went upstairs there was a foul odor coming from the commercial-grade carpet in the bedrooms. I don’t know if all the houses have the same carpet, but there was a lot of it in this one and as much as I loved the downstairs I just couldn’t live with that carpet.


But maybe you could?

Or maybe you’re dreaming of rice paper doors and tatami mat floors? In that case, there are plenty of great Japanese realtors who can help you find off-base housing.
Categories: Base Housing, Japan, Navy, OCUNUS, The Word On | Leave a comment
 
 

Not Deployment Music

On the way to dropping the boys of to school today, I heard the song, “Need You Now”, by Lady Antebellum. I was immediately transported back into time to about a year and a half ago. My hurt all of a sudden had that painful pull to it and I remembered all to clearly the pain of missing my husband. If you haven’t heard it, I have included the video below, but I’m telling you do not listen to it if your spouse is currently deployed.



The verses that get me every time:

And I don’t know how
I can do without
I just need you now

Whoa, whoa
Guess I’d rather hurt
Than feel nothing at all

So, off course I didn’t change the channel, because I must enjoy self torture of something, but it did get me thinking about other songs that evoke the same heart-wrenching pain.

How about Jason Mraz, “Lucky”? This song is like a deployment theme song. In fact, when I first heard it, I had to look up the video because I was certain I was going to see a military-themed video. The lyrics are so perfect:

Do you hear me,
I’m talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I’m trying
Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard

I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

They don’t know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I’ll wait for you I promise you, I will

Finally, the last song that is on my, “Do NOT listen while my husband is deployed list is “Home”, by Michael Buble. At least the Mraz sound has an upbeat tempo, but this one is just so sad sounding. It totally makes me cry.



The whole song gets me all emotional:

Another summer day
Has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I wanna go home
Mmmmmmmm

May be surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

And I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
Each one a line or two
“I’m fine baby, how are you?”
Well I would send them but I know that it’s just not enough
My words were cold and flat
And you deserve more than that

Another aeroplane
Another sunny place
I’m lucky, I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I’ve got to go home

Let me go home
I’m just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

And I feel just like I’m living someone else’s life
It’s like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right
And I know just why you could not
Come along with me
‘Cause this was not your dream
But you always believed in me

Another winter day has come
And gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I’m surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I’ve had my run
Baby, I’m done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It will all be all right
I’ll be home tonight
I’m coming back home

So I really hope if your spouse is currently deployed you did not inflict self pain on yourselves and list to those. Are there other songs that get you right in the heart every time you hear them when your spouse is gone? How about a song that gives the strength to get through another day until that moment when they are back in your arms again?
Categories: MWOM, Surviving Deployment | Leave a comment
 
 

The Word On: Japan

Guest Poster, Nicki, shares her experiences with Japanese “pets”.

Land of the Rising Sun, Part 2


In Japan a rhinoceros beetle is a pet. Crawfish are as well, but that is another story, and I don’t have to panic until next Mardi Gras…

You have to take a week long class here that encompasses an Area Orientation Brief and Intercultural Relations. The AOB is one day, and it is every conceivable organization talking at you for 10 minutes each, and it lasts one whole day. I liked most of it…anyhoo. ICR is the rest of the week, so there is a little downtime between the subjects and the class chats to pass the time. The class was filled with officer and enlisted folks, some family members and one teen taking the class as a prerequisite to getting a driving license. One of the men in the class is returning for another 3 year tour. He is married to a Japanese national and they have a 5 year old little girl. Since his daughter is attending a Japanese school and they go almost year-round, the Summer break is a big deal. The teachers sometimes give one beetle to each kid. The kids are to get a mate and raise little beetles…good luck or something.

When he was talking with his daughter about the beetle at their house, one of his incredible kind Japanese neighbors overheard and showed up early the next morning with a container of 5 more. The neighbor had caught them and was presenting them as a gift to be a good neighbor. This kind of incredible giving and generous behavior is typical here…so cool. Upon hearing the story, I tried to be nice and must have said something to the effect that I love these new things and customs, how interesting, your daughter must love bugs…you get the point.

What do I get the next day, but a plastic container full of beetles eating a big ear of corn and crawling around. These buggies are 4 times the size of a New Orleans roach and have HUGE horns. But really?!?! A bucket of bugs. Well the boys were thrilled!. Shep was convinced that the giant one was waving to him while he went to the bathroom. He reached right in and petted them and said how fun and cute they were.

Now the container was a plastic square tub, about the size of a shoebox with holes in the top and it has wheels…wheels?? What could you possibly put in there that would require rolling? But that is not the point. After we got issued our dehumidifiers, I noticed that the bugs were moving less and that their shells did not look as shinny. After using my amazing scientific skills I figured out that it was too dry for them, so we had to let them go. Since they are VERY strong, we could not pick the off the corn cob, so we gently scooped them onto big spoons so they would slide off. We let them go in the yard, and I thought Shep would cry. He did get sad and talk to them about a better place to play and more stuff to do out there…what a cutie.

The moral of the story – say “that is nice”; but do not gush over things that you would not like to have happen to you. Oh, and beetles eat corn…who knew!!

Categories: Japan, Kids, OCUNUS, The Word On | 1 Comment
 
 

Thoughts on Military Camaraderie

There are so many things to think about when you find out you are PCSing again. The major one would probably have to be where are we going to live when we get there? If you are lucky you or your spouse can take some house hunting leave. However, sometimes this is just not plausible. So what do you do? What are the resources you go to when you need to find information on where to live?

There are various forums out there that sometimes have information, but they are hard to find and sometimes the information is outdated. Usually, you start asking your other military friends if they have ever been there or know someone who has. Military families know how challenging it is to find out information so they really share. It is so amazing to me.

For instance, we recently went to Hawaii to scope it out. One of my friends told me about a family that was out there. She contacted her friend and then sent me her Facebook information. I got in touch with her and then when I got to Hawaii she offered to show me around. How nice is that? She was so VERY helpful. I started asking about a different area of the island that we might be interested in. The next thing I know she is on the phone calling another woman asking if we can come by. And we did. I walked around the house of a person I had never met before. You gotta love that aspect of being part of the military. We are all eventually in the same situation, so we are all willing to help because one day we hope someone will help us.

Each morning I look in my inbox and see the reviews you all are sharing and I am amazed! You are all so generous of your time, filling out incredible reviews. I guess you all see the benefit of being able to go to a site and finding out all you need to know about a new area, without having to do stealth digging. Thank you for sharing my vision and helping to make it happen.

Another demonstration of how military families are willing to help out is evidenced with a less than three week old Facebook page that has been formed. Moving House for the Military Spouse. The owner of this page had the idea and started it with only her own pictures of her base housing. She shared the photos on her Facebook page with someone asking for some information on a different page. That’s it. She didn’t tell her friends about it or promote her page in anyway, but in less than 3 weeks she has almost 7,000 “likers”! Amazing, right? So what is this page, Moving House for the Military Spouse? It’s a place to share photos of base housing. Real, actual photos. So many of the housing websites only have floor plans to show you. Many times the housing has a wait list so long that they don’t have any models to show you. So how are you suppose to know where to live? This is obviously a problem many of us are dealing with and why her page went viral with military families sharing her page and sharing their photos. She has close to 150 different bases with each base having an average of roughly 20 pictures. All of this was shared in less than 3 weeks. Things like this make me proud to be a military family.

So if you haven’t already, help out the cause. Fill out a review of your base experiences HERE or share base housing photos with Moving House for the Military Spouse HERE. You can also follow along with us on our Facebook page HERE.
Categories: Base Housing, Facebook, Moving, MWOM | Leave a comment
 
 

The Word on: Japan

Our next guest post is written by my dear friend, Nicki. Her family just moved over to Japan this summer. She is sharing some of her experiences.

Land of the Rising Sun, First Impressions


I really love this place. Now the 12 hour flight was fine (until the VERY bumpy last 40 minutes), and I have never been fed that much food on a plane! It was not as classy and tasty as the incredible flight to Quito, Ecuador to join my sister on one of her South American adventures, but it was really good stuff. The kids did not sleep really, maybe 2 hours for Hunter and 45 minutes for Shep, and they did not utilize my $152 array of travel toys, books and the like. They actually used the headrest screens and played games all the way to Japan;oh, and I let them run up and down the isles a few times.

Since it is Summer (and the Japanese are down a few power plants since the earthquake and tsunami) there is a huge push to conserve power. I completely agree with the idea, but an 83 degree customs area was a bit much. I still feel bad for that sweaty hug I gave the CO’s wife who graciously picked us up at the airport and has guided us on our way to settling in. What a giving gal!

Well the boys promptly crashed in the van, and I got to see and hear all about Japan. I was first struck by how much it resembles Western Virginia. It is hilly, lush and there are many beautiful agricultural valleys. I had never seen rice paddies, and the color is really a different shade of green than anything else in the world;sort of a neon, yellowish green, but so beautiful. The architecture is utility over beauty, yet I like it. To me, it is the world of Ayn Rand’s novels, that type of architecture I imagined while reading her books. The cars; well, I will reserve those comments for a later installment.

The base is small, neat and far more open than the surrounding cities. Our home is lovely, with hardwood floors, high ceilings and even good air conditioners. I appreciate their hum, as it is much like the white sound makers the boys are used to having in their rooms. Our shipment was never picked up from Colorado, so we will essentially camp out in the house (temporary furniture for beds, table and couch) for the next month. I am very disappointed, but I can do nothing about this. More on this in the next installment.

The folks here are amazing. I have never been with a military group that had this good of a morale (or vibe). We were told to expect this, but I did not until I saw the gifts on my table, and the door kept ringing with neighbors bringing muffins, toys and wine. These are good people, and the boys and I have many new friends. This will be an awesome tour for us, and it is HUGE blessing to be here. I would have gone anywhere, but to enjoy our new home so much, is amazing.

The Japanese are extraordinary people. The level of politeness and gentleness astounds me. If I had not gone through the Intercultural Relations Class; I would not have understood the averted yes and the lack of response to my loud greetings. The act of living in the tiny bubble around just your person so as not to intrude on anyone else, seems aloof and unkind to these American eyes, but it is really just overt concern for others; personal space. And in a place where space is at a premium, it is a gift to be lift alone, even if the man next to you on the train is practically in your lap. I hope to learn the language and make friends, so that I learn more about this rich culture.

As for the boys, I am trying to keep them busy, so they don’t realize they have nothing to play with. Shep is having a tough time, but a wise woman has shared with me that she thinks a little daddy time will fix his worried little heart. I pray she is correct. I have tried a few familiar things, like McDonald’s, Baskin Robbins and bowling and a couple of new ones like the trains and little adventuring just outside the base fences.

Ko Ban Wa, Good evening.

Categories: Japan, Moving, OCUNUS, The Word On | Leave a comment
 
 

The Word On: Korea

I would like to start a new feature of my blog called, “The Word On”, which will feature different guest posters talking about their experiences living in different military installations. My first guest poster is Megan who blogs at Megan Dub-Yuh. She is an Army wife and a math teacher currently living in Korea.

Living in Korea

We have lived in Korea for a year now. Adam had been here a year before that, unaccompanied. We were drawn to the promise of 2 full years together without that big D word looming over our heads after Adam was sent here to heal from a broken ankle he received while training for the big D to Iraq. (I am very grateful for that rod and 6 screws in his leg.)


It has been a new challenge almost daily to live in country whose culture is so different from our own. It can be very frustrating at times but when all is said and done my husband comes home at night and almost works regular hours (with the exception of a few TDYs). When put in to that perspective I will deal with any cultural or language frustration.

When I began thinking about this post on what it is like to be stationed in Korea I began thinking about posts I have already made. {If you would like to read any of them check out posts under the label Korea. It has been pretty entertaining at times.} But in the end I have decided to poll my followers on Twitter and see what they wanted to know about being stationed here. Below are those questions and my answers to them (most of the answers apply to my experience with our location and the Army).

How hard is it to bring animals over?
It is a challenge but not impossible. We have three yorkies and we decided to not bring them but left them with my parents. When deciding whether we were going to bring them we took a few things in to consideration: housing, travel, and vet services.

Even though Adam was here already they wouldn’t let him get housing for the both of us until I was physically in the country. I was coming in during the peak time for PCS and so we didn’t know if we would be living on post (where they have very strict animal noise regulations), in an apartment off post or what. There was no telling if we would be able to find a place that was three yorkie friendly. Also, there are no yards anywhere in Korea so if you have a pet that requires one don’t bring them. Most Koreans, that do have pets, have small dogs since most Koreans live in apartments.

I was flying here via a 20 hour commercial flight. The thought of taking my babies on that was overwhelming plus they only allow one dog per person in the cabin.
Finally, the vet services on post weren’t well established when we started to plan our move here. They have become more established since getting here but we would probably have had to try and find an English speaking Korean vet regardless.
Lastly, if there is to be a civilian evacuation there are many regulations and very specific things you have to have done in order for you to get your pet evacuated. They will be evacuated at a lower priority than you and your stuff so once you leave them in the pet area you won’t know about them again for a while. More stress I wouldn’t want to deal with in the event of an evacuation.

What if you don’t like Korean food?
If you don’t like Korean food then you can eat on Post. There is all of your normal food court fare. BUT you are bound to find some Korean food that you like. It isn’t all kimchi and spicy fish… even though that is a large part of their diets. My favorite is Samgyupasal, or Korean bacon, cooked on a table grill and served with Kimchi, salad and roasted garlic.

Is it hard for the spouse to find a job?
Yes, it is very hard. They do not have jobs for spouses on post and any jobs available that you may be qualified for are given first priority to Koreans because of the agreement we have with their country. Korea has a ridiculously high unemployment rate and to get a job on post is amazing for them. Before you get upset at this discrimination just keep in mind they will live here in this country that it is impossible to get a job in even if with a specialized degree and you are here temporarily. Working off post will require you to get special work permissions added to your Visa and if it is a job that a Korean can do, again, they probably will deny you the permission.

What kinds of schools are available for kids?
If you are Command Sponsored (and I would recommend you only come here with your husband if you are Command Sponsored) there are the DoDDs schools on post. Otherwise you will have to enroll your child in a Korean or International School which could cost you a lot of money.

How is the TriCare system there? Dentists?
There is a medical shortage here and it takes FOREVER to get an appointment on post and they only book two weeks out so hopefully whatever time they have available works for you else you will have to call back over and over again. They also have very little equipment on post and if you have to have any tests done they probably will send you off to a Korean partner hospital, which is a whole new experience (not necessarily bad) of its own.
Once you get an appointment or if you have to go to the after-hours care clinic (ER) then you will have a short waiting room wait and very friendly, efficient service.
As for the dentists, I’m ashamed to say that I have yet to figure out how to make a dentist appointment. It seems to be very convoluted and everyone I talk to tell me a different thing.

Are the locals friendly toward military families?
We have not encountered any animosity towards us. If anything the woman are always telling Adam how handsome he is even if I am standing right there. They also like to dig in your shopping cart if you are at their grocery stores. They are just super curious to see non-Koreans most of the time. In fact, a friend of mine had an old man tell her that although he had seen it on tv he didn’t believe people really had round eyes.

What size are the houses on base/post and off post? Will a kingsize bed fit?
The houses are super small. Korea is a very crammed place and the people are generally pretty efficient and Spartan. But if you think about it the country has a population of about 49 million people in the size of the state of Kentucky. So, when trying to figure out what to have the packers send to your new home in Korea go with the bare minimum. We lucked out and got a larger than average home outside the city we live in. They have super small closets, cabinets, etc. We brought a lot more than we needed and if we had moved in to the apartment that we originally thought we were going to then we wouldn’t have had enough room (we only brought about 1/3 of our HHG from our 2000 sq ft home in Texas). As for a king size bed the answer is yes but there may not be any room for anything else in your bedroom if you do.

Is the water potable, or should you drink bottled water?
The tap water is safe to drink but it isn’t recommended. It is full of extra minerals that we were told have caused Americans to have allergic reactions. We cook with and bathe in it with no problem but for drinking we have a water filtration system that our land lords installed and that we pay about $20 a month to have. It is serviced by a funny little lady every 3 months. It also has instant hot water which is awesome. I want one when we get back to the States.

How expensive is it to take vacations (not CONUS) to other countries?
To travel to other countries in Asia is pretty inexpensive. Since you are so much closer the airfares are cheaper. One thing to keep in mind is that many countries require for Americans to have Visas purchased and approved before traveling. Some of these Visas are expensive (China is about $200 a person).

Traveling within Korea is infinite and also very cheap especially if you can stay on one of the many military installations throughout the peninsula or off the beaten tourist path. There is relatively low crime here. There is occasional pick-pockets, etc, in the touristy areas of the big cities but you really don’t have too much to worry about. If you decide to stay in one of the “love” hotels which can be nice, inexpensive accommodations you could see human trafficking, which is a very real problem here. So, just be careful.

Is it worth shipping your car over or should you buy one there?
Yes, it is worth shipping your car over here. Cars are very expensive unless you can get one of the many OLD beaters on post, which if you need a second car you will have to do that. Traveling by car is a lot more convenient than traveling by the vast public transportation systems that are available here and all of the signs are in Korea. If you do drive in Korea you should definitely invest in an English-speaking GPS, it is well worth the money. Driving here is a lot like playing Grand Theft Auto and you are guaranteed to get lost or miss your turn many times.

What are no-nos in Korean culture that are fine in American?
For more information check out the book Rude American, Rude Korean.

What we do…

  • Writing someone’s name in Red ink.
  • Pointing
  • Sticking your fork in your food to rest it when not using it.
  • If you use the middle finger they won’t know you are insulting them.

What they do…

  • Cut in line.
  • Not make lines at food carts they just yell out their order. So don’t wait your turn.
  • Run red lights.
  • Drive on the sidewalk.
  • Walk out in front of moving cars while holding their hands out expecting you to just stop.
  • Stare like you are a rare zoo animal.
  • Their version of the middle finger is to ball their hand up in a fist and point their thumb at you.
  • They don’t make their children behave and be quiet in public… they basically ignore them.
  • Park anywhere… even in the middle of a busy street.
  • Old ladies will grab children’s butts… even your children that they don’t know.
  • Pretend like they don’t understand you whether you are speaking English (and they do, too) or you are speaking Korean.

 

Categories: Korea, Moving, OCUNUS, The Word On | 2 Comments
 
 

Launching Rockets pt.1

This past weekend was my oldest son’s birthday party. He just turned six. We were looking to do something low key for a party and stumbled upon the idea of making and launching rockets. Not really military related, however, when we did a test launch in the park, we attracted a six year old boy. This boy told us he just moved here from San Diego and that he launched rockets with his daddy there. I asked if they were military and he said, “I’m not military and my mom and brother are not military, but my dad is. He is in the Navy.” So now we have two military families enjoying rocket launching and I thought you all might enjoy it too.

To make your rocket you will need a soda bottle. Don’t use a water bottle because it won’t be able to handle the pressure. We used one liter bottles. These were actually seltzer water bottles and were about 75 cents each.
Next, peel the wrapper off of the bottle and them rinse out the inside. Let the bottles dry. It doesn’t matter if the inside doesn’t dry completely.

While waiting for the bottles to dry you can make the nose cones. We used poster board for this. I used the template found on this site. I used Elmers glue. After, about the 5th one, I found the best way to hold the cone to allow it to dry was to hold one hand from underneath

And to use my other hand to pinch it.

Now a tip I learned and would have done was to just use party hats, however, we were short on time.

Next, you will need to make the fins. We used cardboard for this. Pizza boxes work well.

To attach the fins equally, you can cut a strip of paper the length of the circumference of the bottle. Then, measure the strip and mark it into three equal parts with a marker.

Now you can use this strip to mark the bottle to know where to glue the fins. We glued the fins with hot glue.
Once the fins were dry we glued the nose cones on top of the rocket. Next, after all of the glue has dried, you can spray paint the rockets. We just used a flat white.

Now they are ready to decorate. I found some alphabet stickers and American flags and star stickers. I also, got some markers. The kids had a fun time decorating them.

Now, you might be wondering did we really launch them? We sure did. You will need water to place in the rocket. You can experiment with the amount that works best, but we used about 1 cup of water.

Next, you will need a launcher. A site with great instructions is HERE if you would like to make one yourself. We found one on Amazon with good reviews and decided to just order one. You can find it HERE.

This seller on Amazon also offers the option to sell the launcher as a parts kit for $5 less than coming fully assembled.

You will also need a pump with a pressure gauge. It can be a foot pump, but we didn’t have one. We had one with a built in air compressor that also provides the car with a jump start. We got it after losing power one to many times in Virginia due to storms. You attach the pump to the launcher and then add pressure. You’ll want to experiment with this too, but 50 psi worked well for us. The instructions that came with our launcher suggested we weigh it down. We used two 5 pound weights that weren’t being used for anything else.

The kids had a BLAST! No pun intended, well maybe a little. After each launch the kids would all run after the rocket laughing.



Categories: Kids | 2 Comments
 
 

And the winner is…

Thank you so much to those of you who have shared your time and opinion thus far. You are AWESOME!! As your entries came in for the Amazon $25 giftcard giveaway, I entered them into a spreadsheet:

I then enter the numbers into the website random.org:

I pressed the “generate” button and the random number picked was FOUR:

That means user: emilywit is the winner of the gift card! Woohoo! Congratulations!

This user submitted a review on Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, which is actually the next review in my queue to work on. Thanks again to all who entered. Without you all, I wouldn’t have anything to share.

Categories: Giveaway, MWOM | 2 Comments
 
 

Operation Nunya

So yesterday was my anniversary, well sort of. Let me explain. Back in the Fall of 1998 my husband proposed to me. I had been out of town to go to my cousin’s wedding. He picked me up from the airport and asked me where I would like to eat for dinner. He told me we could go anywhere, but this was when money was tight. He was just out of school and I was still in school. I was craving Taco Bell. I didn’t know he had intended for me to pick a nice restaurant. So, off to Taco Bell we went. He decided to propose another night, but the ring was burning a hole in his pocket. He got down on his knee, as I wiped nacho cheese off my finger, and proposed.

I said, “yes”, woohoo! The wedding planning started. We reserved a church for August 7, 1999. However, my husband was being TAD (temporary assigned duty) to Texas for school. I was planning on staying behind in Florida to finish enough classes at school to obtain an Associates Degree so it would transfer easier to wherever we would be getting orders to next. Because it was TAD and he was single, he wouldn’t be getting any money for housing. However, somebody told him that if he was married he would receiving a housing allowance for the apartment in Florida and he could just stay at the Quarters in Texas as a geo-bachelor. This got him thinking and he came home one day and said, “Let’s get married.” I replied something like, “Okay, we are.” He said, “No. I mean like now.” So we decided to elope and kept on planning the wedding for the following year. We went to the Justice of Peace and we called it Operation Nunya. Nunya, for “none ya business”. I think we only told two people. In fact, the day we got married (October 9, 1998), I had to go into work and I didn’t tell a soul.

When we went to meet with the Pastor at the church in Maryland, we somehow got our moms out of the room and confessed that we were already married. The Pastor said something like, “Marge, we got another one.” Then he said, “I’m relieved because I know you two are already living together.” He agreed to do the ceremony and we celebrate two anniversaries. We didn’t come clean with our friends and family for about 10 years. By then, we figured, no one would be mad at us anymore. Also, my Uncle was documenting our family history and asked for our wedding date. Since I too am a genealogy buff, I had to be honest.

Anybody else elope? Or have to change their wedding plans because of the military?




Categories: MWOM | Tags: , | 3 Comments
 
 

Ohana Means Family

So while in Hawaii, hanging out with some friends, we found out that there is a quarantine period for bringing pets to the island. Get this…it could be a least 4 months!!

Yikes, so as you can imagine, a lot of questions started swimming around in my head. Will we get to see her? Do you pay for this time she’s in quarantine? Can she still ride with us in the plane? How’s all of this work?

We have a cat. Her name is Cinder. She became part of the family before kiddos. I had stayed behind in Florida, while my husband moved to Texas for training. I was taking classes and was still at the early part of my degree and was afraid the classes wouldn’t transfer, so I stayed in Florida until I had enough classes to get my Associates Degree. Well, I was all by myself and I decided to get a cat. Here is a page I scrapped (when I still had time).

She is gray and loved napping by the fireplace (yes, a fireplace in Florida -funny right?). So we named her Cinder. Now she is 13 years old and gets a bit ornery with her older age.

I told someone in my family, (I don’t recall who it was) about the quarantine and they asked, “Time to get rid of her?” What?? Seriously? As they say in the movie Lilo & Stitch, “Ohana means family. Nobody gets left behind.”

Evidently, Hawaii is rabies-free and they have these quarantine laws set up to keep it that way. So, today I went to the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture website to find out exactly what I need to do for Cinder.

It turns out there is a 5 day–or-less quarantine program, which would allow the release at the Honolulu International Airport after inspection. However, if the requirements are not met for the 5-Day-Or-Less program, the law requires dogs and cats to be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival In Hawaii. That doesn’t sound too painful, right? Hmm, keep reading:

5 Day-or-Less Program Checklist



Rabies Vaccinations:

Must have at least 2 rabies shots in pet’s lifetime that were given more than 30 days apart. The most recent one can’t be expired or less than 90 days since administered.

Microchip:

Must have a working electronic microchip implanted.

OIE-FAVN Rabies Blood Test:

The lab must receive blood sample not more than 36 months and not less than 120 days before arrival in Hawaii. Must use an approved lab (Kansas State University or DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas).

Waiting Period:

After a successful OIE-FAVN Rabies test result, animals must wait at least 120 days before arriving to Hawaii. If your pet arrives before the 120 days, they are disqualified from the 5-day-or-less program and will have to wait the remanding time in quarantine.

Documents and Fees:

1. Original ink signature vaccination certificates for the two most recent rabies vaccination.
2. An original health certificate done within 14 days of arrival to Hawaii, including notation that your pet was treated for ticks with a product containing Fipronil or equivalent long-acting product labeled to kill ticks.
3. Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-278 (must be notarized).
4.Microchip Number
5. Fees: $224 for the 5 day-or-less program.

Submit Documents:

Send all documents and fees in together to the Animal Quarantine Station in Hawaii more than 10 days of arrival. Send payment as a cashier’s check or money order (no personal checks). They recommend you mail it in together with your documentation to avoid long waits.


Wow, right??? So after learning all of this I scheduled to have Cinder seen at the vet. She is due for her rabies shot and does not have a microchip. I do have her medical records and her original rabies vaccination certificates, however, I noticed it is not signed in original ink, it is stamped. Ugh, I wonder if this counts or if she will now have to have another rabies shot, which will add 30 days onto when her 120 day waiting period can begin. Oh, and I found out it will cost $17.50 each day she has to be in quarantine in Hawaii.

Anybody else go through this quarantine process for Hawaii or any international bases? Please share!

Categories: Hawaii, Moving | Tags: , | 3 Comments
 
 

Get a Room

After Sesame Place, we continued with our drive southbound with stops and visits with various family members along the way.

On Day 4 of our trip, we arrived to the Hampton Roads area in Virginia. We called the Navy Lodge at NAS Norfolk, however, since it was the July 4th holiday weekend, they did not have any rooms available. We then decided to see if there was any Space Available rooms at the Quarters on base. We were successful and found a room for $55. This room was awesome! When you walk in, you enter the general room. It had a sofa bed, a table with chairs, a microwave, and a TV.


Attached to this room was a bedroom, which also had a TV and a desk. This room worked out great because we were able to put the boys to bed and still be free to watch TV or hop on the laptop without disturbing them.


The next day we found out that the Quarters have been privatized. This is something we did not know. Before, you had to wait until a certain time of the day and then call to see if they had any rooms left. This is no longer the case and you can reserve your rooms in advance.

Later along in our trip, Day 9, we needed a place to stay in North Carolina. We were looking for a place about halfway from Jacksonville, FL and Annapolis, MD and also not too far off of Interstate 95. We decided we would stop at Pope AFB. We called and found a room for $80. Now I should rephrase, because it wasn’t really a room. It had two bedrooms, a sitting room, AND a full service kitchen. There was also a washer and dryer in the hall which was available to our unit and one other. We did not need all of the space and would have been happy with a smaller unit. I think because we said there were 4 of us, they just put us in a bigger place. Next time we will be sure to ask for a smaller place. The rooms are as cheap as $35 a night. Definitely, something to look into when traveling next time. The $80 room had a queen bed and full bath in the one room and two twin beds and a full bath in the second room. There were TVs in both bedrooms and one in the sitting room as well. The sitting room had 3 chairs, which appeared to also convert to beds.

We were pleasantly surprised by this option of lodging to us and we will definitely look for a Quarters before a hotel next time. The website I used was http://dodlodging.net/. The site is very user-friendly, just click on the state and a list will show up of available bases (Navy and Air Force) with lodging options. You can also create an account and search availability and make reservations online.

Here is a summary of all of the lodging available to military. Bookmark this page for reference. I know I will since it seems like we will be having to stay at one while waiting for a place in Hawaii, but that’s another story for another day.

Army Lodging: http://new.armymwr.com/travel/lodging/lodging_locations.aspx
Toll free Reservation line: (866)-363-5771

Navy Gateway Inns & Suites: http://dodlodging.net/
Toll free Reservation line: (877)-628-9233

Navy Lodges: https://www.navy-lodge.com/index.html
Toll free Reservation line: (800)-NAVY-INN

Air Force Lodging: http://dodlodging.net/
Toll free Reservation line: (888)-AF-LODGE

Marine Corps Lodging: http://www.usmc-mccs.org/lodging/index.cfm

Don’t forget to fill out a review for your area to enter the Amazon gift card giveaway. Currently, I have one entry so you have VERY good odds. More details can be found HERE.
Categories: Air Force Base, Army, Base Housing, Marine Corps, Military Deals, Moving, Navy | Leave a comment
 
 

An Amazon Gift Card Give-away!

So as some of you know, I have been on the road. We have traveled by car from Rhode Island down to Florida and then back up to New Jersey. Next, we flew to Hawaii to house hunt. We attempted to fly Space-A (I will blog about this soon), but ended up flying commercial. Finally, back to New Jersey and then we drove back up to Rhode Island.

I have been so busy on the road and have had limited access to internet, so I have not added any new content to the site. In the meanwhile, I’d like to welcome our new followers! It’s exciting to hop on to Facebook and see the numbers continue to rise. It definitely motivates me to continue to keep building new pages to make the website a wonderful resource for all of us.

So, to celebrate, I would like to host a give-away. I am giving away a gift card to Amazon in the amount of $25. Everyone loves Amazon, right? I do. In fact, whenever, I’m about to make a major purchase, I usually research the reviews on Amazon first. When going through the moving process last year, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a site you could go to and get reviews on military installation areas?” And then the seed was planted in my mind until, I took action and created this site. But, you don’t want to know about that, you want to know about the give-away, right?


Required to enter:

To qualify for the $25 Amazon gift card, simply fill out a review on your current duty station. That’s it! A review is simply answering a few questions about your favorites/recommendations pertaining to the installation area in which you live.

Note:
*If you already have filled out a review for your currently duty station, fill out one for your previous duty station.

*If you are brand spanking new to the military or have already filled out a review for current and past duty stations, simply get a friend to fill one out, and then email me HERE to let me know your friend’s name and duty station so I can give you credit.

*Yes, you may fill out a review for numerous duty stations you have recently lived or have multiple friends fill them out. Each one will count as an entry.

*Once, you fill out the required review for entry, there are other ways to enter to get you more chances of winning.

Additional chances (Must do review first):

1. Write about the giveaway on your blog and add a link to this page.
2. Share our Facebook page with your friends and ask them to “Like” our page. Have them tell me who sent them either on the Facebook wall or by sending me an email HERE so you get credit. Each friend that “likes” will count as an additional entry for you.

As I receive entries, I will add them to an Excel spreadsheet. Each entry will be assigned a number. I will then use Random.org to select the winner. The giveaway will run from today, Sunday, July 24th, 2011 until Sunday, August 7th, 2011 at midnight, EST.

Please note: Facebook is not affiliated with this give-away and having a Facebook account is not required to enter. Amazon is also not affiliated with this give-away. I just enjoy their site and assumed you all like it as much as me.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. You can contact me HERE on the Military Word of Mouth site or HERE on Facebook.

Categories: Giveaway, MWOM | 1 Comment
 
 

Sesame Place

So this week we left for a crazy adventure. It will basically, consist of traveling the whole East coast with numerous stops in between for three weeks. Somewhere in between we will attempt to Space-A travel from the East Coast to the West Coast to Hawaii to house hunt.

We drove from Rhode Island to Pennsylvania on our first day. We went to Sesame Place on Day 2 of our adventure and would like to share some tips that we benefited from.

I don’t know how popular Sesame Place is to the rest of the United States, but it is a wonderful park for the kids. It is part of the Anheuser Busch Family (Sea World, Busch Gardens). This is important to know because Anheuser has a program called Here’s to the Heroes. It gives military families 4 free tickets for entrance into the park (per year). This is a wonderful discount because tickets to Sesame cost $55. However, we did not use this discount. Later along the trip we plan to stop into Sea World. We checked the internet and Sea World tickets cost $75 and $69 through MWR so we figured we would save the free tickets for Sea World and end up saving more money.

Sesame Place has a deal where you can buy one day for $55 and the second day is free. Another reason not to use the Here’s to the Heroes program. A good tip, if you bring in a Pepsi can you get $5 off a ticket. So we stopped by the local convenience store/deli, WaWa (I LOVE this place, by the way) and picked up a box of Pepsi for about $5. We tossed in 4 cans into our backpack and gave them to the ticket counter.

Sesame is probably best enjoyed in the summer because they have some great water rides. There are plenty of rides for all ages. Our favorites are the Sky Splash, the whole family gets into a raft and goes down a water slide; Slimey’s Chute, a water slide where you go down in single or double person rafts; and the Grover Vapor Trail, a fun roller coaster.

My boys also thoroughly enjoy the ropes. It’s a huge jungle gym of ropes fully netted all around. Now, parents, I warn you this might not be your favorite. In fact, it’s probably a safe bet. My husband went two years ago with my oldest (at the time he had just turned 4) and hung out with my youngest (he was 2) in a kiddie area with stuffed bolsters and gym mats. My husband said it hurt his knees. I was lucky to be able to experience it this time (notice slight sarcasm). There were other parents on the ropes we were all give each other the look that said, “the things we do for our kids.” But, it was fun and my youngest totally got his OT and PT workout for the day.


I also recommend watching the parade. People start claiming their seats about 30 minutes prior. What we do is sit in the Main Street of Sesame. There is a fire truck that the kids can play on while you sit on the curb. The trick seems to be to lay out a towel or park your stroller to “save” your spot on the curb. We had neither this time. I sat with my youngest and waited, while my husband and older son finished lunch. My youngest was so exhausted by this time (1:30pm). We were pulling a no nap day, so I think he secretly enjoyed the quiet rest. The parade is great because all of the favorite characters participate and walk up and down the parade path give the kids “high 5s”. We saw Big Bird, The Count, Bert & Ernie, Oscar, Grover, Telly, Abby, and of course Elmo.

Another tip, if you are looking to get photos with the characters. There is a photo booth where you can purchase pictures taken through out the day. It is in the main entrance area. Go there and ask them what time the particular character is going to be out. We were walking and happened to see Cookie Monster. We stood in line for 5 minutes to see him and then they gave us a wrist ban with the photo info on it. I asked my younger son who else he wanted to see. His answer? “ELMO!”. Since Elmo is so popular, they have a tent sent up where he is always available. It’s located behind the nets. There was no line when we went. There is usually another character in there too. When we went it was Big Bird. We also caught up with Oscar and Grover in the main entrance area.


I also want to share with you our experience with our hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton. It is right across the street from the park. They have a shuttle service which is great because parking would be between $20-$30 without the shuttle and it drops you off at the front gates. We were initially quote $199 per night! Yikes. However, we were able to get a military rate. For a basic room it was $95 and for a deluxe room it was $115. The deluxe was a King bed with a pull out couch. This is what we did and both boys slept on the pull out. Now, another issue we encountered this year was they told us there was a minimum of 3 nights, however, we only wanted 2. We figured two nights at $199 was still more than three nights at $115, so we booked for three. HOWEVER, after the second night, we canceled our third night with no penalty what so ever and only paid for two nights.

Have any of you been to Sesame Place? What other tips have you found to be useful?

Categories: Kids, Military Deals | Leave a comment
 
 

The Good and The Bad

Tonight, I continued to work on finishing the building of pages for NAS Lemoore, CA. I took a break and hopped onto Facebook and saw an article posted by the group Stay At Home Parents and Military Spouses about the mystery behind the infant deaths occurring at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It’s really quite sad and also very scary, especially to the families currently living in the housing.

For those not familiar with the story here is an excerpt from a story posted on Military.com:
“I was very content in what I thought was my safe little bubble, being a stay-at-home mom taking care of my kids,” she said earlier this month on the day Jaxson would have turned 6 months old.

She didn’t know, until friends began to tell her, that 11 other babies who had lived in Fort Bragg housing had died since 2007.

She didn’t know about the investigation into their deaths, the hundreds of environmental tests searching for any problems that could be causing infants to die on the Army’s largest installation.

She didn’t know, when someone handed her a letter from the garrison commander declaring all the homes safe a week before Jaxson died, that she’d soon disagree with him, with investigators, with everyone who believes her house was safe.


You can read the full story HERE.

News like this is awful and my heart goes out to all of the families.

The purpose of this site is to get all of the information about an installation area before moving there. It is a place to find the schools, doctors, and neighborhoods that others have had good results with before you. But, it will also be a place to find out the negatives, as well, because we deserve to know this information, don’t you think? Yes, the Army tests have concluded the housing is safe, however, there is still not a known explanation of what is causing these deaths. As a mother, I would want to be aware of such possibilities BEFORE deciding where to live.

Please, take the time to share your experiences for your current installations, good or bad, won’t you? It shouldn’t take more than five minutes to answer a few questions about what you know and it might really be useful to the next person.

Simply go HERE and share what you know. Thanks!

Categories: Army, Base Housing, Fort Bragg, MWOM, North Carolina | 1 Comment
 
 

Dinosaur Deploys

Lately, I have been going through things trying to get rid of some stuff to prepare for our next move. Probably, pretty soon our landlady will be calling to let us know that someone is coming over to see the house to potentially rent for next year. While going through a bookshelf, I found one of my son’s photo albums from last year.


It’s just a small 4″x6″ album that I found at Walgreens for like a $1.00, but to him it was priceless. You see it contains photos of his dinosaur on an adventure, and not just any adventure, but an adventure with his daddy. When my husband deployed last January, my son gave my husband one of his dinosaurs to hug whenever he missed him.

So, my husband took pictures of the dinosaur on his deployment adventure and would send them to my son either by email or by snail mail.


I can not tell you how much my son loved this, but when he saw the pictures, his face would beam. He even asked if he could bring the album to show and tell to share with his friends at preschool.

Having a parent deployed is such a hard concept for a young child to understand and accept. This is such a simple way to help ease their pain, if only for a bit. If your spouse is deploying shortly, ask your child if he or she would like to share one of his/her small stuffed animals. If your spouse is already deployed consider sending it over in the next package you mail out. Have your child be the one to put it in the box so he feels like he is helping his daddy miss home a little less. If your spouse doesn’t have a camera, throw in a disposable one.

Categories: Kids, Surviving Deployment | 2 Comments
 
 

The Weighting Game

Ugh, I’m feeling like a bad mom right now. We just got back from my younger son’s neurology appointment. It was a follow up for the Botox injections he received in his leg and hand to treat his cerebral palsy. Let me preface, by saying he is fine. However, he has only gained one pound since December and grew only a centimeter.

Why do I feel like this is my fault? Well, because when we moved here, I made appointments with a pediatricians’ office here to get the boys established into their practice. It was a wonderful experience and quite different than what we experienced in Virginia (not that VA was bad). The nurse that took us to the waiting room, got my son’s vitals and that was it. I thought that was strange because I am used to the nurse asking a whole bunch of background questions. I was delighted when the doctor walked in with her laptop and did it herself.

In the course of the appointment, which I thought was pretty thorough, the doctor told me I didn’t need to force the calories on my son anymore. He was on the growth charts at 5%. Woohoo! She said, I could pick the McDonald’s apples over the French fries for him. I was so relieved. She told me since she just saw him, I didn’t need to do his four year old check up, since it was only 3 months away. She said to just see her when we had a concern. This was wonderful news and amazingly, he has managed to stay healthy enough where we have not been back since that appointment back in November. But, I should have known this was too good to be true.

You see, my son was born 16 weeks early. Yes, 16. He was a mere 1 pound, 13 ounces.



He is my miracle baby. We have been to so many appointments in his lifetime of 4 years. He has had more surgeries in his 4 years of life, than most adults have in their entire lifetime. However, my son is doing exceptional well. In fact, the doctors are awed by his progress. I guess, when I was told by the pediatrician that we could relax, it was like a breath of fresh air. The idea of not having so many appointments was wonderful.

However, now I am feeling guilty, like I should have known better and called to have a weight check appointment or I should have checked his weight at home. They used to watch his weight like a hawk in Virginia. The neurologist here is concerned that my son might have endocrine issues. She was asking questions related to celiac disease, and if anyone has ever followed up on his anemia. So off to the lab tomorrow to get blood work done.

The reason why I started this site was to help each other make the transition of moving easier. I wish there was a site like this BEFORE our move so that I might have selected a pediatrician more experienced with treating preemies. So I will fill out a review with my experiences here to help the next parent learn from my mistakes, won’t you please consider doing the same?

Have any of you had to fight to keep weight on your child? Can you recommend some healthy foods with high calories?

Categories: Medical, Moving, MWOM | 8 Comments
 
 

E is for excited…yeah it’s the little things

We went to the library today. I was looking for some books about moving, including some of the ones you all suggested (thank you!). I found the neatest books and I just really want to share these with you because I think you might enjoy them too.

The book I found is part of a series and is called “R is for Rhode Island Red: A Rhode Island Alphabet Book”, written by Mark R. Allio:


As the title suggests, it goes through the alphabet with various places or things in Rhode Island representing the letter. I like it because it includes some of the things we have already done or seen. For instance, A is for apple for the Rhode Island Greening Apple. In the Fall, we went apple picking with the boys. It was actually one of the ways I got my older son excited about moving to Rhode Island. He had planted an apple seed in Virginia and was sad it wasn’t growing, so I told him how he could pick apples when we got to Rhode Island.


B is for Block island, which we plan to visit this summer. M is for mansions (and they’re an amazing sight to see). Q is for Quahogs, which I never even heard of before moving here, but seem to be a clam they like up here! There’s also historical content U is for Underground Railroad (Newport and Providence served as whistle stops) and W is for Roger Williams (established the settlement of Providence).

The illustrations are fun too. But, what I think is really cool, is that the page is split up. For example, on the C page there is a verse about Carousels, which would be fun to read to younger kids.

I hear the music and sounds of children
laughing in delight.
I smell the popcorn and cotton candy
and see a thrilling sight!

Then, there are side margins that include background stories about how Rhode Island is home to three of the nation’s original hand-carved wooden carousels and it tells you which cities have them so you can visit them.

I am so excited about this book because I plan on going through it and doing most of the things in the book with our boys this summer. Then, as they read the book after we have moved, they will really remember Rhode Island and all of the fun times here. As they get older, they can learn more about the history behind the items, by reading the margins. I plan on getting the Hawaii one too, to give them something to look forward too. What a great way to have kids be excited about a move, right?

I was curious to see if they had all of the states published and they do (and Washington D.C.)! They even have some international ones (see bottom of list). I made a list for you because I found it difficult to find them all at first. If you click on the links it will take you to Amazon and you can see some of the pages inside the books. Enjoy!

  • Alabama Y is for Yellowhammer: An Alabama Alphabet
  • Alaska L is for Last Frontier: An Alaska Alphabet
  • Arizona G is for Grand Canyon: An Arizona Alphabet
  • Arkansas N is for Natural State: An Arkansas Alphabet
  • California G is for Golden: A California Alphabet
  • Colorado C is for Centennial: A Colorado Alphabet
  • Connecticut N is for Nutmeg: A Connecticut Alphabet
  • Delaware F is for First State: A Delaware Alphabet
  • Florida S is for Sunshine: A Florida Alphabet
  • Georgia P is for Peach: A Georgia Alphabet
  • Hawaii A is for Aloha: A Hawaii Alphabet
  • Idaho P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet
  • Illinois L is for Lincoln: An Illinois Alphabet
  • Indiana H is for Hoosier: An Indiana Alphabet
  • Iowa H is for Hawkeye: An Iowa Alphabet
  • Kansas S is for Sunflower: A Kansas Alphabet
  • Kentucky B is for Bluegrass: A Kentucky Alphabet
  • Louisiana P is for Pelican: A Louisiana Alphabet
  • Maine L is for Lobster: A Maine Alphabet
  • Maryland B is for Blue Crab: A Maryland Alphabet
  • Massachusetts M is for Mayflower: A Massachusetts Alphabet
  • Michigan M is for Mitten: The Michigan Alphabet
  • Minnesota V is for Viking: A Minnesota Alphabet
  • Mississippi M is for Magnolia: A Mississippi Alphabet
  • Missouri S is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet
  • Montana B is for Big Sky Country: A Montana Alphabet
  • Nebraska C is for Cornhusker: A Nebraska Alphabet
  • Nevada S is for Silver: A Nevada Alphabet
  • New Hampshire G is for Granite: A New Hampshire Alphabet
  • New Jersey G is for Garden State: A New Jersey Alphabet
  • New Mexico E is for Enchantment: A New Mexico State Alphabet
  • New York E is for Empire: A New York State Alphabet
  • North Carolina T is for Tar Heel: A North Carolina Alphabet
  • North Dakota P is for Peace Garden: A North Dakota Alphabet
  • Ohio B is for Buckeye: An Ohio Alphabet
  • Oklahoma S is for Sooner: An Oklahoma Alphabet
  • Oregon B is for Beaver: An Oregon Alphabet
  • Pennsylvania K is for Keystone: A Pennsylvania Alphabet
  • Rhode Island R is for Rhode Island Red: A Rhode Island Alphabet
  • South Carolina P is for Palmetto: A South Carolina Alphabet</li>
  • South Dakota M is for Mount Rushmore: A South Dakota Alphabet
  • Tennessee V is for Volunteer: A Tennessee Alphabet
  • Texas L is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet
  • Utah A is for Arches: A Utah Alphabet
  • Vermont M is for Maple Syrup: A Vermont Alphabet
  • Virginia O is for Old Dominion: A Virginia Alphabet
  • Washington E is for Evergreen: A Washington Alphabet
  • Washington DC N is for our Nation’s Capitol: A Washington DC Alphabet
  • West Virginia M is for Mountain State: A West Virginia Alphabet
  • Wisconsin B is for Badger: A Wisconsin Alphabet
  • Wyoming C is for Cowboy: A Wyoming Alphabet


  • International Books

  • America A is for America: An American Alphabet
  • Australia D is for Down Under: An Australia Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • Canada M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet
  • China D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet (Alphabet-Country)
  • England B Is for Big Ben: An England Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • France E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • India T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • Ireland S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • Italy C isfor Ciao: An Italy Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • Japan K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • Mexico P is for Pinata: A Mexico Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • Nordic Countries D is for Dala Horse: A Nordic Countries Alphabet (Discover the World)
  • Scotland B is for Bagpipes: A Scotland Alphabet (Discover the World)

  • Categories: Books, Kids, Moving | Leave a comment
     
     

    Deployment Triangle: Bernie Mac Style

    Today, my husband left for a week long training exercise. As, I help him to get ready, I look around and see the grass that I am going to have to cut. I see the dishes that I let pile up from our early Father’s Day brunch yesterday. I see the floors that need to be mopped. I wonder what I shall do with the kids this week to stay busy since they are out of school and then I wonder what meals I should make. I am quickly taken back to the last two summers when my husband was deployed.

    I then remember the good, fast, cheap triangle. Have you heard of this? My husband and I still laugh about it. It is a contractor triangle we heard about in a Bernie Mac Show episode. I’ll explain. Bernie is adding an addition onto his house. The contractor shows him a triangle that looks like this:


    Bernie is told he can only have two and he needs to make his pick.

    You can have GOOD + FAST, but it won’t be cheap, because they will postpone every other job, cancel all appointments, and stay up 25-hours a day just to get your job done. BTW, this is what his wife Wanda wants, hence the expression in the photo.

    You can have GOOD + CHEAP, but it won’t be fast because they will do a great job for a discounted price, but you’ll have to be patient until they have a free moment from paying clients.

    Finally, you can have FAST + CHEAP, but don’t expect it to be good because you’ll get what you pay for, which usually means shoddy work.

    So why you ask am I thinking of this triangle now? Well, during my husband’s deployment I came up with my own version of this triangle. It looked like this:


    I concluded that I could have a CLEAN HOUSE with all of the laundry done and COOKED MEALS, but that the kids, would be neglected of my time. I could give the kids nicely COOKED MEALS and QUALITY TIME, but the house would look like a sty. Or, I could spend QUALITY TIME with the boys and have a sparkling CLEAN HOUSE, but we would be eating fast food.

    At the beginning of the deployment I tried to achieve all three, however, something inevitably came up that wasn’t planned for. For instance, my youngest was potty-training. There were plenty of messes, including walking into their room one morning to find them “painting” each other with poop. I kid you not, I took pictures. Also, my oldest was emotional from missing his daddy so there were plenty of temper tantrums and consoling sessions. One day, he ran from his bedroom to escape bedtime and ending up running into the corner of the dining room table and gashed his head. Then, there was the random day where I found a bird in my house. Yes, a bird. Once, there was a squirrel that some how found its way into our storage area in our room over the garage. You can’t make this stuff up and it never seems to happen when my husband is home. Trying to achieve all three was a challenge, plus, I work part-time. So, once I accepted I could only have two on the triangle, it relieved some of my stress.

    Yes, there were a few miraculous moments that I managed to have all three, but they were RARE and pretty much a guarantee that we were due for an illness, most likely me getting sick, and then I ended up being behind on all three.

    I think the key is to find your balance. So I will take the boys strawberry-picking this week, cook a few meals, and clean the house, but not all in one day.

    What crazy things have you experienced when your spouse was gone?

    Categories: Kids, Surviving Deployment | 1 Comment
     
     

    PCSing with the Jetsons

    So surprisingly, I am going to write about Jetsons: The Movie. You are probably thinking, “What does this have to do with PCSing (Permanent Change of Station for non-military folk)?” Please keep reading.

    Every weekend we do a movie night. For some reason, we had not picked out a movie ahead of time. So we hopped onto Netflix and scrolled through their movies. We decided on Jetsons because it was rated G and relatively short, since it was already getting late.

    So some quick background if for some reason, you don’t know about the Jetsons. The Jetsons are a family of four, five if you include the dog Astro.



    Meet George Jetson:



    His Boy Elroy:



    Daughter Judy:




    Jane his wife:



    Do you have the theme song stuck in your head? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. The cartoon is futuristic (picture space cars folding up into suitcases). It was one I enjoyed growing up, however, watching it now, I’d say it’s a bit outdated with 1960s stereotypes.

    The premise of the movie is that George is offered a promotion for a position that has a lot of turnover, a fact he doesn’t know about. The hitch is that the job requires the family to move. He comes home and announces this and the family is visibly upset when they realize they have to move tomorrow. The daughter Judy is portrayed as a love sick teenager who loves to shop. The wife is upset, but quickly says, “your right George”. So the family moves and George faces challenges at the new plant with constantly having to shut it down due to malfunctions.

    Spoiler alert: It turns out the plant is drilling into the homes of a creature. These creatures, in attempt to save their home, were destroying the equipment in the plant. George comes up with a solution and everyone is happy. The Jetsons family is no longer needed there, so they are going to move again.

    This movie teaches the lesson to be kind to your planet and those that live on it. It also, teaches kids that it’s okay to move and make new friends. The lines I liked were:

    “Elroy: I’m gonna miss this place a lot.

    George: It just shows you can make friends and prove yourself anywhere in the universe.

    Elroy: I know dad, but leaving is still hard.

    George: Yeah. It is. I know.”

    After I heard it, I thought to myself, “I need to remember this when it’s time to move and my boys say something about being sad.” However, to my surprise, my oldest son said right then, “That’s like when we moved from Virginia to here, right?”

    If you are a movie buff or into reviews, I am sure you are familiar with Rotten Tomatoes. For those that aren’t, it is a site you can go to read movie reviews. It’s one my husband seems to trust because he says the percentages given to the movies are usually spot on with his own thoughts. Well, Jetson’s: The Movie is given 21% (that’s REALLY bad), however, based on the content of moving and leaving friends behind, I would recommend the movie.

    Yes, it was painful for me and my husband to watch, but my 4 and almost 6 year old boys LOVED it. In fact, my oldest son, said it was his favorite. So, if you are looking for a movie that the kids can watch and see that people do move and it’s okay to be sad about leaving your friends. This is a good one to do that.

    So are there any other kid-friendly movies you have seen that deal with moving and you recommend?

    Categories: Kids, Movies, Moving | 1 Comment
     
     

    Snow Boots to Flip Flops

    A few days after my husband told me we were probably going to be moving to Nebraska, I chaperoned a field trip with my boys to The Dinosaur Place in Oakdale, Connecticut. It was a fun place where the kids got to mine for “gems and crystals”, explore the Dino Trails, and enjoy a picnic.


    When we got home, my husband was already there. He said he just had to call the detailer back and then he would come downstairs. I started to pull stuff out to make dinner. I heard the boys upstairs shaking their buckets with their gems in it so I went upstairs in attempts to quiet them down. The office is next to the boys’ room and I overheard my husband on the phone say, “Hawaii”. Now, I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you what I did next. I sent the boys downstairs, explaining daddy was on the phone and needed to be able to hear. I then, pulled a toddler-sized chair out of their room and placed it by the closed office door. Yup, I was ease dropping. Once, my husband hung up the phone, I lightly tapped on the office door and when he opened, I smiled sweetly while asking, “Hawaii?” He explained how he had been talking to one of our friends from his previous squadron and this friend had been recently offered a job in Hawaii, but turned it down. My husband called the detailer and asked if this job was still available. The detailer said, “yes” and gave us 24 hours to determine if Hawaii would work for us.

    So at this point, I hopped on the computer and started researching. I found the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children. I saw that the hospital had two pediatric neurologists, however, it did not look like they treated cerebral palsy specifically. This concerned me because I needed to be sure my youngest son would be able to get Botox treatments when he needs them again. I called and confirmed they have pediatric occupational and physical therapy and that there was not a wait list. I then tried to find out more about the neurologists, but the receptionist did not seem to know about Botox and said the doctors were out of town for a few days.

    I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I researched schools. I checked to see if there were any Montessori schools on the island of O’ahu. I found three of them. The first one I called was an AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) certified school. I called them, but I did not get warm fuzzies at all. This school was only two years old and had some negative reviews on Google, but I was trying to keep an open mind. I asked the lady about the Elementary class. Normally in Montessori classrooms you would expect there to be a grouping of 6-9 year olds together, but they have 6-12 year olds together. I voiced my concern over this. I mean there is a BIG different between a 6 year old and a 12 year old. She told me that there would be boys joining the 6th graders next year. I told her that I think she misunderstood me and that I have a 6 year old and not a 6th grader. She then got short with me. So, I then asked her how many 6 year olds are in the classroom. She could not even give me an estimate. If you are in charge of a school, how can you not know this? I crossed them off of my list.

    Next, I called Montessori Community School. I read good things about this school online, however, when I called I was told there was a waitlist for the Elementary classroom. Hmmm. Finally, I called Kawaiaha’O Church School. They said they did have openings.

    Once, I was sure the boys would have a school to attend, I stumbled upon Shriners Hospital for Children located in Honolulu. I called them and was able to speak with a woman that told me that they do Botox treatments at their facility. She said I would need to apply for care for my youngest, but that this is just really a technicality and just consists of filling out a form.

    That phone call was the call I needed to be able to tell my husband, say “yes”. So it would now seem that we will be putting our snow boots into storage and pulling out the flip flops!

    Categories: Hawaii, Moving | Leave a comment
     
     

    What’s in Nebraska?

    My husband came home last week and told me that Nebraska” is looking like a possibility so see what you can find out.”

    Hmm, Nebraska? Where to start? I don’t know ANY one who has ever lived in Nebraska, let alone stationed there.

    So I started with by checking for the closest Children’s Hospital to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. My son has cerebral palsy and has many pediatric doctors so I figured this was a good start.

    Success! I found one right in Omaha called Children’s Hospital and Medical Center that has been nationally ranked for their cardiology and orthopedics.  Sounded good to me!

    Next, I looked for a place to get outpatient Occupational and Physical Therapy.  The hospital probably offers it, however, here in Rhode Island there is a clinic that is awesome.  It is independent from the hospital network and just feels more fun and less clinical.  My son sees enough doctors and the less he can be in the “doctor-ish” atmosphere the better.  As he gets older I’m thinking therapy will tend to be something he might not want to do. So if I can help therapy be fun, perhaps I can delay this being an issue.   With this in mind, I looked for a similar clinic in Nebraska. I found this really cool place called, Theraplayce.  If you live in the Omaha school district, the school will actually bring you to therapy and then back to school.  If you live outside of Omaha, you can have them pick up your child from school for a small fee. I think this is an excellent idea, especially for families where both parents work and have to juggle many things in their schedules.  Theraplayce is also a licensed facility for childcare, so if you need respite care or just need to run errands during your child’s session, they encourage that.  This is rare, as everywhere else we’ve been wasn’t licensed and for legal reasons required a parent to be present the entire time.

    Next, I searched for schools. I was looking for a Montessori school because both of my boys currently attend one and I am happy with the method for different reasons. My older son has especially thrived in the Montessori atmosphere. Since this will be his fourth school in less than 3 years, I really wanted to make his transition as painless as possible.  He already misses his friends from Virginia and I anticipate that he’ll be equally sad about leaving his new friends in Rhode Island.   For my younger son, he started his first Montessori year last Fall in Virginia and then continued in Rhode Island and it has been remarkable for him.  The lessons are “hands on” and many of them encourage bilateral activity. We have noticed an increased desire in him for wanting to use both hands and also a boost in his self esteem. We definitely want to continue with this. Since Montessori classrooms all have the same feel to them, hopefully it will be easier for both of them to adapt.

    So I went to the American Montessori Society website to find a list of schools in the Omaha, Nebraska area.  I found four. The first one was Montessori Educational Centers. They have a handful of campuses across the Omaha area. One problem I had was that the boys would be in separate schools (and I would have to drive to both). It was not a deal breaker though.  I called and got their voice mail. I left a message and went on to call the 2nd school.

    When I called I find out this school did not have an elementary class. However, the owner was very helpful. She told me that there are two public Montessori schools in the area and that they are free. Wonderful! Those public schools were actually number three on my list.  I had never heard of this, but the owner said the Montessori method is implemented into the teachings. Awesome! However, upon further digging I found out her child attended one of these schools, but ended up withdrawing due to various issues.  So then I asked her point blank, “where do you recommend?”  For public schools she recommended the Milliard, 66, and Elkhorn public schools.  For private school she recommended Montessori Children’s Room (number four on my list). She tells me parents travel long distances to get their children to this school so getting in might be difficult.

    Which brings me to number four on my list. I called this school and find it was my lucky day. Just the day before, a child in elementary would be moving to Colorado which created an opening.  Woohoo!  The Children’s House classroom (3-6 year olds) for my youngest son also has a few openings.  I told her we were extremely interested.  So she put our name down and said she would mail me the appropriate forms.  Great, I checked schools off the list.

    Next, I had to research where to live. I found a few forums online and from them I came to the conclusion that Papillion, Ralston, and La Vista are all nice areas.



    I also found out that in Bellevue, the area where the base is located, the streets of 25th to 36th street (East to West) and Capehart to Platteview Roads (North to South) are also nice.



    I was also able to talk with a friend who has two friends that either live there now and or have lived there, so it will be great to be able to fine tune my research findings.  So while I have no direct experience with any of these places, perhaps this post will help you if you end up getting orders to Omaha, Nebraska one day. If you are reading this and have been stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, please fill out a review.
    Categories: Air Force Base, Moving, Nebraska | Tags: , | Leave a comment
     
     

    We are now on Facebook!

    We are working hard on getting the site up and running.  In the meanwhile, we now have a Facebook page! Check it out here!
    Categories: Facebook, MWOM | Leave a comment
     
     

    Starting to build the site

    Today, I plan on starting to build the site. I am going to focus initially on schools, medical, and neighborhoods because I think that is the main areas we research before moving.  I’ll then add information about other things, like favorite parks, restaurants, etc.  I have created a survey to help collect your recommendations.  If you have lived near different bases, please feel free to take the survey for each base.  Your efforts will help build www.militarywom.com into an excellent resource that will, hopefully, end up helping you in the future. Please click here to take survey. Thank you!
    Categories: MWOM, survey | Leave a comment
     
     

    "See a need, fill a need"

    Last weekend after watching the movie Robots, I kept thinking about the message repeated throughout the movie, “See a need, fill a need.”  You see, we will be moving this year to a new duty station so I have started to research the various places that might be potential places where my husband might get orders.  I got to thinking how many people do this over and over again and wouldn’t it be better if all of the information was shared in one place?  I always wondered why, when my husband checks into a new place, we aren’t given “the scoop” we all want to know.   For example, things like: which school districts are the best, where can my child go for special needs resources, or even simple things like, where to get my haircut.  Then, the quote from the movie came back into my head, and I realized that I should try and make this happen. So welcome to my Military Word of Mouth blog!  I hope you will join me in my journey in creating the website, www.Militarywom.com, and hope that it will be beneficial to you in the future when you are faced with a new set of orders.
    Categories: Movies, MWOM | Leave a comment

    Military Word of Mouth Birthday Bash

    On May 22, 2011 I made an announcement on my personal Facebook page to my friends and families about Military Word of Mouth.

    Hey everyone, please check out my new website. It’s designed to help us military families share all of the good information we’ve learned about our areas. That way it will make it easier for all of us when we have to move. I’ve started the Norfolk and Jacksonville areas and really need your help with everywhere else.

    From My Personal Facebook Page



    And boy, has the page grown since then. Military Word of Mouth is well on its way to having information for all bases. But, it’s because of all of you. Without all of you taking the time to share your valuable scoop, we would still just be Norfolk and Jacksonville. So, I want to celebrate and celebrate big! When I had this idea last February it was based off a need I had. We had just moved to Rhode Island in October 2010 and we were already searching places for our upcoming orders. We were researching Colorado, California, and Nebraska. We had just settled on Nebraska, when a spot in Hawaii opened up. A lot of research went on. Oh, how much easier it would have been to just hop on Military Word of Mouth and get my information.

    My background is not computer related. I am more of a science nerd. However, after having my boys, I started working for a website taking care of their moderation. It has been a great job and I have been doing it for almost 4 years now. In my “spare” time I work on this site. You all have been my motivation because I see there is such a need for it. The military sponsored pages have become better over the years with information, but we all know, we want the nitty-gritty information of someone who has actually been there so that we can make a well-informed decision.

    So, won’t you celebrate with me? I have been in cahoots with some great sponsors for this Birthday Bash. We have LOTS of fun stuff, so I am sure you will find something that will interest you. I will keep on adding as I get more donations. In fact, a few more are in the works as we speak. If you are interest in donating, you can email me at militarywom@gmail.com and include a picture and description.

    To enter, click on the pictures to take you to the entry page. The entries start now and will end on May 29th OR when we get to 10,000 Facebook fans (whichever comes first). Good luck!!





    Updated 4/26/2012

    Updated 4/27/2012

    Updated 5/2/2012


    Updated 5/15/2012




















    Categories: Giveaway, MWOM | 2 Comments

    Captain America!

    Wow, my sister posted this video on her Facebook wall with the comment, “My eyes are leaking…”



    I admit, my eyes were “leaking” too after watching that! I just LOVE homecoming videos!

    Have you ever participated in a surprise for homecoming?

    Categories: Homecoming | Leave a comment