Monday, January 23, 2012

PCS: "Just a few boxes and a little scrubbing"!!

It was January 4th, 2012 when the movers came and started packing up our home...it lasted two days and a half. It was very challenging because we had our two boys with us the whole time. If anyone has gone through a PCS you would know, your spouse is going to be busy out processing. So what did I do to keep my children occupied? I set them up with a dvd player and a bunch of snacks...yes this time I allowed tv to babysit. I also gave them books, played with them and sat with them as they packed away most of their toys. PCS can be stressful all the way around, we tried to prepare for it, but for some odd reason, it never goes as planned. I tried to work on a project each day to help ease the last days of cleaning but it didn't work. We ended up cleaning for three days straight!!! I slept like a baby on those days or shall I say nights? The first night after most of our downstairs was packed, we stayed in our home, well the first two nights we did as they left our upstairs beds unpacked...on Friday the 6th of Jan, we officially had everything packed in our home except for our luggage. We were officially homeless!! We borrowed an air mattress from our friends and it ended up deflating during the night, we ended up on the floor! EEK! That weekend was spent cleaning and my muscles were already sore. LOL!
In the picture to the right, I sat on a cardboard box where we ate, played games on and the boys set up their dvd player up on it to watch movies...it was essential! I even attempted to lay on it but was unsuccessful! Here I was able to gain perspective and realized that all I needed to be happy was my family, everything else wasn't that important really. I was more or less excited that we were just days from being back in the United States.
Back to the PCS, I scrubbed and scrubbed and let me tell you, my hands were RAW even with rubber gloves on! I spent so much time (later finding out I had wasted so much time) trying to make sure everything was going to be clean to pass inspection. I was highly irritated by the pre-inspection or shall I say the first person who pre-inspected our home!!! He stated that we needed to scrub our walls but failed to mention that they were going to be painted so it didn't matter. Failed to mention that the items that were broken inside were going to be replaced so no use trying to find them locally! Chris and I ran around looking for light fixtures at the hardware stores that WE never should have been replacing in the first place! I won't even get into our yard and how hard Chris worked on it...the last inspector didn't even LOOK out there...or shall I say, didn't care how it looked! I was MAD and rather RELIEVED at the same time...I didn't know how to feel as our final inspection ran SOOOOO SMOOTH!! We ended up paying our housing office $0.00!!! Yes one of the few in the history of American Residents in Belgium living in Government Housing!!! I will brag on this one as WE WORKED so hard on scrubbing, spraying, scraping, soaping, de-scumming, un-liming, mopping, sweeping and a whole bunch of other cleaning words for our final inspection. I am happy we passed with flying colors. One less thing to worry about.
Keeping our kids happy was the biggest challenge of all and making sure Chris and I were not going to lose our patience with the home...we did have a small spat as I kicked him out of the house with a mop at hand and rubber gloves on. It happens! We recovered as usual and realized our stress was getting to us. We ended up snapping some pictures and realized that laughing was going to get us through it.
The picture to the left was taken the day after our final inspection, the last day in Belgium...sadly the last picture of our home. I will miss it, in fact today is Jan 23rd, 2012 and I already do. I had told Chris when we started dating that I had always wanted to live in a brick home, and so there it was, clearly I never imagined it being in Europe let alone Belgium, but there it was, our home.
There is more to our PCS that I will write about but for now I will leave you with.... "Our Home is Where the Army Sends Us."  I am lucky to say that Chris and I already found our next house...a couple more days and I will be standing in front of it. By the way, it has some brick accents on it too!!
Thank you so much for all of your well wishes, on my channel, here on my blog and on my facebook, it means so much to have all of your support!!!
Moving every few years is a challenge and for so many it can be an adventure, some enjoy it and others hate it...it sorta becomes a huge part of our lives, a lifestyle I am proud of. You will hear me complain but deep inside I am so happy to be doing this, it is an accomplishment and I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Technical difficulties!

I had to pack my desktop to move back to the U.S. and so I was left with a computer without software to edit videos! Ahhhh! I filmed the whole PCS or move and can't post anything. I apologize for that. I am able to spend time with family on our way to our new location and have been enjoying every minute. It feels great to be back! I haven't gotten used to the to the time change at all and either have the kids. So we are usually up super early and in bed by 7pm. Right now I am typing from my phone. I am having to relearn how to use a cellphone as I had a basic one for three years! iPhones are a challenge for me! I will be updating my blog very often. Thank you so much for reading my blog! More posts to come soon on our journey back to the states!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Children are Military Brats

I didn't know much about the military until I was a senior in High School. I wanted to join the Marine Corps after graduating because I thought it would be "cool." I had heard little about it and a friend of mine was thinking about joining herself..and thought, we could go into the buddy system together. Little did I know that the "buddy system" wasn't a guarantee that we would be buddies throughout our whole military career. I did try and they couldn't waiver my thyroid condition. I was bummed!! I opted to go to a local community college instead. NO regrets.

I was dating my first husband while in High School and he joined the Marine Corps in the DEP program (Delayed Entry Program) at the age of 17. He ended up leaving for bootcamp the Summer after graduation. I quickly learned about the Marine Corps and was completely intrigued by the lifestyle.

Brugges, Belgium (Square)

REWIND: My father was in the Mexican Army for two years but did not learn about it until I was in High School. He has a picture wearing the Army Uniform and I am so proud...that doesn't make me a military brat by any means!! I didn't live the lifestyle at all until I married into the military.

Christopher and I met when he had already served in the Army for 6 years and it was a world wind of events after that. We received orders to Belgium right before I gave birth to our first son Alessandro and 6 weeks later, we were on a flight to Belgium.

Alessandro in Garmisch, Germany (5mo old)

Alessandro is well traveled, he has been to almost every country in the CARS 2 movie...ha ha. It's true. He was born at the Army Hospital in Ft.Carson,Co. He has grown up in Belgium and this is his home. I am not sure how he is going to react when we move back to the United States and everyone there is either speaking English or Spanish (lol)...I am going to teach him Spanish. Today he cried when I started packing up his toys. He thought I was donating them and he would never see them again. He doesn't quite understand that we are moving back to United States in less than two weeks. Alessandro is only 3 years old and has traveled Europe over and over. Italy twice, Spain, Germany, France, the U.K., and Holland! He has been to other countries as well and has loved them all. We made sure to take thousands of pictures while we lived over here so he can see where he truly spent his baby and toddler years!

Andreas on his first boat ride.
(Brugges, Belgium)

Andreas our second son is almost 2 years old, he was born in Belgium in a Belgian Hospital!! Soignies to be exact and before I leave I am making it a goal to take a picture of the hospital and square of the town he was born in. He will need proof!! lol. The many stories he will be able to tell when he is older is going to be unbelievable! He has traveled all over as well and I don't think our move will have a huge impact on him either. I could be wrong.

Kayla in Paris, France.

We can't forget Kayla, my step daughter who has also lived the military lifestyle. She only gets to spend the Summers with us now but let me tell you...she has flown unaccompanied to Brussels at the age of 10. Stopping in London on the way. She has earned her badge! She is originally from California and has spent most of her life near Ft.Carson, CO. Her daddy of course is in the military and next year she will be traveling to Ft. Lewis to see us in her new home. With us she is completely adventurous...from going to Paris to traveling Germany, eating lasagna in Rome to petting deers in Lille, France. She has done it all too!! She brags about her adventures when she returns to school each year and she writes and tells me about it!! She loved living in Belgium during the Summers and I am so happy she was able to come out to see us.

My World.

My children are Military Brats. Do you know what BRAT stands for or where it originated from?? It came from the British like many of the military traditions still practiced today in the United States Military!! Neat. B.R.A.T. is an acronym. Meaning, British Regiment Attached Traveler. Translation: dependents (children) who are on orders to travel with the soldier usually overseas. Back then British soldiers used to travel overseas to India for many purposes so the acronym was created. The spouses of the traveling soldier did not like the acronym and wanted it changed immediately!! The United States Military later adopted it and it stuck like glue!! True history lesson right there. (Watch out for a post on Military Brats and Sociology).
So in writing this blogpost, I am just taking in the last days my sons will be traveling Belgium, their first official home. Soon they will be able to experience a new location (Ft.Lewis,WA) where they will have many more adventures. We are already thinking about places to go and we haven't even gotten there yet! I hope my sons enjoy it as much as Europe!!

"Shower Fun" or Another Case of Bullying??

I am a victim of bullying. There I said it. I never have come out and talked about it to anyone. Most victims don't because they don't want to seem weak. I never have because I was ashamed of it but not anymore. This is a New Year for me and I am going to stop pretending that things don't affect me.
I will make a video to share more about the subject on my Youtube Channel but for now, I want to share a video that I saw in my inbox today. The one below. 

I am subscribed to the person who posted the video but it just so happens the person also participated in this incident. Is it right or wrong??
This incident happened in AIT, meaning they had just graduated and were about to start their careers as Soldiers in the United States Army. With so much news coverage on the latest hazing incident that happened in the U.S. Military...why would anyone even want to post a video like this to show the world?? Because it is entertainment!!! Yes as a social media dependent society, I being a dependent one, I admit, we gravitate towards bad things that happen to other people. That is why sites and channels that aim at bullying, trash talking, and slandering are so popular. It doesn't matter who gets hurt as long as it isn't you or someone you love. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! 
C'mon now he clearly states that he is in AIT, it is an old video but it doesn't excuse the behavior. FUN or NOT, the guy being thrown in the shower tried to stop them before entering the shower, he clearly placed his right hand on the wall to keep them from putting him in the shower. WHY MAKE A BIG STINK??
Incidents like this occur on a daily basis, and until someone starts defending the victims, nothing will ever change. Some people are going to mention that this was all out of fun and games and it was a celebration. I am going to say that it does not appear to be that way...the "victim" did not smile ONE TIME in the entire video. I will say VICTIM. 
AIT is aimed at training soldiers, correct?? What is this behavior teaching?? Shower fun as long as noone gets hurt...where are the NCOs in charge?? I wouldn't be surprised if they were also participating in this "Shower Fun."  
2011 was an eye opener for me. In fact I didn't start speaking up and sharing my feelings until the last months of the year. I received a lot of hate for a lot of the things I spoke up about but I also received a lot of love...that love motivates me today as cheesy as that sounds. I am tired of seeing people being treated unfairly at the expense of others. I know what some are going to say, "DON'T WATCH IT IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT."  That isn't the answer. If I stop watching, it still exists! Whether I stop or press repeat over and over, THE INCIDENT HAPPENED, I can't change that. The only thing I can do is bring awareness in hopes that this doesn't occur to another person or that LEADERSHIP steps up in the U.S. Military and starts handling incidents appropriately instead of sweeping it under the rug.
AIT is a place of learning and training and if incidents like this are OK because it is a celebration for graduates then it's no wonder why so many people are being burned by the people they trust. They are participants and that is not acceptable!! I am so sorry for the RANT, it is a NEW YEAR and seeing this video posted on NEW YEARS DAY was such a DOWNER for me.
Times Square correspondents mentioned that the confetti being thrown out for the ball drop in Times Square  this year included inspiring resolutions and wishes from all over the world, most of which of consisted of people who wrote down that they wanted, peace, happiness, friendship, but most of all LOVE for the New Year. I want that too and more. I want leaders I can look up to and trust. 
I am not in the Army and never have been. I am a spouse who observes, has feelings, and stands by her beliefs. I can have an opinion on the things I see just like you can. Things that occur in the military has an impact on me because my husband, my other half, is a member of that organization. In 2011 I saw hate, hate between members of the military. Hate between military spouses. Hate between military children. Hate between leaders that run our government. When will that ever change???  It starts at the bottom....people are going to say it starts with our leaders...but that is wrong....the "E1, E2, O1, O2" can change the system just as anyone else can. The civilians who stand by their military members can make a difference too. One day at a time. 
This is not "SHOWER FUN." This is just another case of majority vs. individual. Majority 1- Individual 0. Ask the Soldier in the shower if he had fun?? 

DAY 1 of 2012, 364 more to go.