Sunday, April 29, 2012

Martinsburg Institute: I am a student!!

If you have been following me, you know that I do not advocate for subjects or products unless I have tried them myself.

Kid's Fest on Ft.Lewis, WA.

Funny story, I was contacted by a military wife to help her spread the word of an awesome opportunity she had heard about...Martinsburg Institute. I asked her if she could give me the website to the online college and I told her I would put something together to place on my channel. This was last year some time ago. I created a video and from there...the story begins.
A little while ago I was contacted by a wonderful woman who had seen my video and had some questions about it. Initially I thought I was going to be in trouble!! I didn't get the permission to advertise for the school and that is a big no-no if you do not use correct information. I was scared!!
Well, after 7 days I thought, I better pick up the phone and call the nice lady. In a nervous and questionable voice I said "Hello, my name is Sofia, creator of the video you made a comment on."  I waited one second, and on the other end, I heard her voice...state "Hello Sofia, I am so happy that you contacted me." I was relieved.
To make a long story short. I was hired by the online college and I want to share my story with you.

In the last month I have been posting about the college on my Youtube Channel, and some people become skeptical as to whether or not online colleges are a scam. Now I do not do things unless I am 100% behind them. I also like to try out what I am advocating. After some research into the online college, I found out many benefits as to why I would be interested as a student.
Here is what sparked my interest:
*Martinsburg Institute offers 24/7 instructional support...meaning that I could have an issue at 2am and I could get help just by picking up the phone!
*When you pick the phone up and dial student support, instructional or technical support, you get a real person!!
*MyCAA covers the cost of my tuition...I do not pay out of pocket costs because I do qualify for the DOD fund.
*Martinsburg Institute is Accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. That is one thing that everyone should check when choosing an online college, are they accredited???
*Martinsburg will loan me a laptop to finish my work!
*The courses are less than 6 months!!
*There are 18 different certificates to choose from.
You know I could go on forever about why I am a student. You are more than welcome to call me or contact me anytime if you have been looking for an online college to attend.

After hearing about the college and being offered an opportunity to help other military spouses while getting my certification...I committed to it 100% because I believe in it.

I have received some negative comments suggesting that our college is nothing but another scam. In reality, we are an online college where you will receive support every step of the way. I am currently ahead on my studies because I would love to complete my course before my husband heads out of the country. I forgot to mention, if life gets in the way...Martinsburg Institute will help you with any time you need, just pick up the phone. Martinsburg Institute is not just for Military Spouses. We also serve our Active Duty Service Members and Veterans.

Now what about MyCAA?
In the past few years there was speculation that MyCAA no longer existed. It does and it currently is for those who qualify..Spouses of Service Members E1-E5, O1-O2, and W1-W2. It funds $4,000 to get a certificate with Martinsburg Institute. No out of pocket costs!! You know me, I love a deal!!

Now what if you do not qualify for the MyCAA fund?
Martinsburg Institute offers a Spouse Benefit Program!! Meaning if your spouse is above the paygrades listed above and he or she decides to attend our online college, the spouse gets a complimentary certificate of their choice!! Huh?? Call me for more details!!

Now Sofia, what course are you taking??
I am currently taking Ultimate Sales Skills. I chose this certificate because I have a home business. I currently am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and it helps me gain the necessary skills to be successful at my home business.

What if I already have a degree??
I currently have a Bachelors degree in Sociology (Emphasis in Criminal Justice) and Foreign Language-Spanish. I chose to get a certificate in Sales Skills because I would benefit from the certificate with my home business and I can add it to my resume. I always suggest to gain a certificate in something that is portable because in this lifestyle you will more likely move around! Overall the certificate will be a benefit...you will not lose. Trust me!

Why are you now working for the online college?
I am working for Martinsburg Institute because I believe in it. After becoming a student I fully understand what they mean by having excellent student satisfaction...because I am satisfied. I love to help military spouses!!! I have the opportunity to work with and work for military spouses!! Our college is ran by military spouses!!! My co-workers understand the difficulties along with the ups and downs of this lifestyle!! We understand what difficulties there may be and the events that may occur while you are in college, so we help you with your journey every step of the way! In my heart, I believe this is where I should be.

My Youtube Channel is there as a support system for those who are entering the military lifestyle, those who are living the lifestyle and those who have retired out of the lifestyle. If there is an opportunity for military spouses, I want to share it.
I am always available for anyone interested in attending Martinsburg Institute or wondering if they qualify for their MyCAA fund. You can call me at 253 341 6087. That is my cell phone. If you are too shy, you can text me!! If you would rather communicate through email please do so: saldama@martinsburginstitute.edu. I check it several times a day.
If you want to chat, find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/273303666042916/#!/profile.php?id=100003629538006   <-----If the link does not work, please use the email above to search!!

Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing, chatting, and texting with you!!

If you want to do a one on one on SKYPE or you are located overseas, you can email me and we can schedule a SKYPE appointment. You are NOT exempt to attend if you are living overseas...so by all means, contact me!!!

For more information on our college visit our website: http://www.martinsburginstitute.edu/

If you are an FRG Leader or Key Sponsor/Contact: Email me and I can send you catalogs and flyers!! If you want to set up a SKYPE meeting with a group of spouses, email me!! I will even provide you with pizza!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and allowing me to share why Martinsburg Institute is a good fit for me and you.

If you would like to share my video on a Military Inspired Facebook Group/Page, by all means, share it!! Thank you!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Daycare NO NO!!

My Boys!!
 Yesterday I went to go pick up my children from daycare. On this particular day I left both my sons so I could go to a doctor's appointment.
As I arrived, I saw my son outside playing and when he saw me, he was so excited to see me as he waved at me through the fence. I entered the daycare as usual and at that moment I noticed one of the child care providers was man handling a child. A three year old little boy. The boy was crying and the lady ended up plopping him into a chair forcefully. She did not place him down nor did she set him down, she dropped him in mid air and he landed in a chair. I was horrified!!
My immediate response was to grab my children and run out of there. I placed my children into my vehicle and sat there in rage and confusion. I called my husband and tried to get his view on the matter. He didn't answer. As I was waiting I saw in my rear view mirror that the father of the little boy came to pick him up and he was buckling the child into his car seat. I backed up my vehicle as I was thinking about leaving, but I didn't. In mid back up I parked my car and jumped out to approach the father.
I was shaking and about to tear up because I felt so bad for his child. I explained to the father that I witnessed one of the providers man handle his child and drop him into a chair. He was shocked and asked me to identify the lady. I told him who it was and he said that a few minutes before I approached him, he felt uncomfortable as he left the building. He explained to me that his son had waved goodbye to the woman and she did not acknowledge him whatsoever. WHO DOES THAT??
The father told me that his two sons who are exactly my son's ages are foster children. He has taken care of them since they were 4 weeks old. I almost teared up then as he was telling me their story. He is giving them over to a family member in one month...as he was holding back tears himself. I told him I was going to speak to the supervisor about the incident because I do not want it to happen to any other children. No child deserves to be treated that way.
I felt better after telling the father. What I did not like is that one of the other women made an excuse as to why he was forcefully placed in the chair. The little boy had gotten into a fight with a little girl outside on the playground...and so that is why that occurred. That was not good enough for me to let it go.
Later in the evening, the owner of the daycare called me for information and she was very understanding and thanked me for reporting the incident. The woman in question is going for her Bachelor's Degree in Child Care and Development. I hope she learns that she is to never treat a child in that manner. I am not sure if she will still be working at the center but I am now currently looking for a new provider.
What would you have done??

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Who am I, really??

Well, you only get to see what is on my YT channel, Facebook and here on my blog...and well, most of what you see is who I am. For my friends who I get to see in person, you know me!! Or do you?? I am a proud Army Wife...but it doesn't define me.  I learned that many years ago when I divorced from my first husband who was in the Marine Corps. Like many, I thought my identity was a Marine Corps Wife...and it all stopped right there. College had been a huge passion for me when I graduated from High School and that no longer mattered to me when I got married. It was all about supporting my husband. I quit college and worked. Day in and day out, I worked and I was not happy, well until I got the opportunity to work as a Loss Prevention Officer....the excitement in my life had returned. Sure I loved being a Marine Corps Wife, but at that time in my life...friends mattered to me and my ex's friends mattered to him the most too. In fact, that is how he and I ended up as friends, and not husband and wife. We changed.
When we finally decided to separate (emotionally), I was like, wait....who am I now?? I didn't know how to accept that the title was slowly fading away. I was destructive trying to figure out who I was. I was young and I went out A TON!! I mean every weekend I was at the clubs, dancing and having fun with friends....I should have been in college finishing my BA. It didn't matter to me.
When we moved out of California to Colorado, we finally separated (physically) and I moved away from my ex husband. For GOOD. I was 24 years old. That was a shocker to me...I did fight for it...and then I gave up. So did he.
I found myself in an apartment in a city and state where I had no friends. My father said...."honey come home, we will rent a moving truck and bring you home." My father wanted me home to resume life as if, I had never left...but that wasn't me anymore and I needed to find my way on my own. I left my marriage with $300.00 in my pocket and a check my parents mailed to me, $600.00 to pay for the first month's rent... I had thirty days to figure out what I was going to do with my life.....the best thing in my life during that time....I had school, I was back in college. I was also working again as a Loss Prevention Officer. I was ok. I had my moments of being lonely and depressed. I am not going to lie. It was rough. I wouldn't change it ever.
I was living on my own and had to start over. I considered it a fresh start.
So what does a girl do when they are all alone??? They find themselves. Slowly, but surely I FOUND myself. I LOVED myself....but I did have an empty feeling in my heart at all times.

I am a Libra, I have a tattoo to prove it!

I slowly regained my confidence as I started making friends, going out and then I met my friend Charlene in college, we bonded as if we were friends since grade school. I consider her a sister now. She is so smart, funny, and understanding. She is in the Navy and I am so proud.
In my mind I had a pin board, let's just say it was much like Pinterest, except boards that had captions, of "future goals" "relationship expectations" "hobbies" "passions" "failures" "dreams"....I knew exactly what I wanted in a man, in fact I will label that one now... "Chris." I knew exactly how I wanted to be treated. I knew exactly what I deserved...but most of all I accepted that life was going to move on no matter what. I failed at my marriage. I accepted it...moved on.

Christopher found me during a time when I wanted nothing to do with a relationship. He will tell you that. I figured I was going to move home...since I figured out who I was....I WAS WRONG. There was much more the MAN upstairs had planned for me. I stayed in Colorado....for one month after I graduated with my BA....Why??
The MAN upstairs sent me...Christopher. At the exact moment I had figured myself out...I loved myself...it was now time for someone else to love me...I suppose. I mean that is what happened. lol.

7 days.

7 days into meeting Chris...he changed my life forever...I met the man of my dreams and I knew it, I just fought it for a second....literally...I FELL IN LOVE. I mean really FELL in LOVE...
So who am I? I am divorced...from the military....Re-married to the military...completely unplanned. I am myself when you catch me online, on a video, on the phone. I am proud of my accomplishments and not ashamed of my mistakes. I am raw. I love to laugh and joke around. I am faithful to my marriage and believe in it 1,000 billion %. I stand by military spouses, I believe we are ALL more than that. I don't define myself only based on that, but I am fully proud of it.
Chris asks..."how would you feel if I got out of the military?" I am not scared. I know who I am and I know we will succeed. I accept that challenge and I will stand by him if he decides it isn't for him anymore. I love this lifestyle but it would be okay with me...to let it go, because most importantly, I know who I am. I AM MORE than a MILITARY Spouse....
I am Sofia, daughter, sister, cousin...mother of three, wife of an American Soldier...student, Military and Spouse Admissions Representative, well traveled, Beachbody Coach, enjoy food, Military Supporter all the way, Mexican-American, Zumba expert on Wii, love Lady Gaga and Prince, and much more....I am me. Oh, yeah...I do plan on doing more...you just hold on to your pants!

Day 1 on Youtube. lol.

Nice to meet you.

Feel free to find me on Facebook, or at my shared group More than a Military Spouse! Link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/129619020448514/

Join and add friends, enter giveaways there!!

99 questions to learn more about Sofia: CLICK on VIDEO BELOW!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Andreas: My "Belgian Export"

This month is the month of the Military Child. I have three!! Today I would love to share with you the story of my son Andreas Marzio J. He just turned two years old, and two months ago, he only knew Belgium as his home. Having a baby overseas was an experience. When I first learned I was pregnant, I was instantly nervous. I was faced with a challenge and scared that I wouldn't be able to communicate with my doctor or nurses as we were required to get care off the economy. When others learn that my son was born in Belgium, they ask if he was born in a military hospital. I didn't get that option. I had to choose a hospital and a doctor. Without knowledge on any of the doctors except from Facebook. AHH Facebook, another way to get knowledge. I asked a group of women who had given birth in Belgium to give me information on hospitals and doctors. Their experiences first hand gave me the ability to choose. I chose a wonderful doctor and she was British with so much experience in delivering babies. The wonderful part...we could communicate. She was such a popular doctor that I found it quite surprising that she could fit me in.
I had to stay 10 days in the hospital when I had the c-section. I thought it was a little excessive but rules are rules. I enjoyed my nurses and they took great care of me. I had so much paperwork to fill out after we left the hospital as my son had to acquire his birth certificate. That was a process on its own. Is he a Belgian citizen?? For a month he was!! He later gained his citizenship after filing for it on base. He was given his passport at the same time along with his U.S. Citizenship. I think it is great that he was born in Belgium. I had to video tape his hospital and take pictures that way when my son asks where he was born, I would have it for him to see. So my son is Belgian-American, but he is Mexican...how would I say that!? lol.
Chris and I are constantly in awe at how resilient our kids are after traveling to many different places. We are on our fourth house in four years. In Belgium alone, we lived in two different homes. My first child was on a plane to Europe at 6 weeks old so Belgium was his home most of his life. Watching my children during a PCS and having to go through that not knowing what is going on, makes me proud. They endured all the challenges and I am also happy that I have footage of that experience too. I just can't wait to show them pictures when they are older and tell them all the stories. I am so happy to be living in this lifestyle and wouldn't change any of it. My step daughter is 11 years old and she has endured being separated from her daddy through three deployments...and my two boys will be experiencing it too in the near future. I just hope I am as strong as they are when the time comes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter 2012: A Family Affair!

This year my husband and the family were able to enjoy this holiday together. We wanted to make it extra special. Two years ago, I was in the hospital having my youngest son and I was able to celebrate it with a croissant in the shape of an Easter Bunny. A year ago, we were all in Belgium but Chris had to work. This year was going to be different and we celebrated indeed!! I went shopping at the local Dollar Tree for all the supplies I used for my kid's baskets. They enjoyed them and I don't think it made a difference where the items were purchased!! I try and think of ways to be creative on a budget. (each basket was $8.50 to make!) This years theme was FBI, Military, and Police...fitting as their daddy falls into that category! I like to include a book that will help teach them while they are young. I bought crayons as well in case they wanted to scribble on them...the crayons were a bad idea!! lol.

The day was perfect outside to take pictures, I took advantage!! Especially here in Washington!

The baskets came with a complete FBI kit including glasses!! Loved it!

My 3 year old enjoys bubbles, he must have blown 2 hours worth of bubbles on this day. I am looking forward to more projects that we can do outside, so next it will be sidewalk chalk!! Can't wait to see what they create. For more on how to build a basket on a budget, please click on the video below. The video was sponsored by Martinsburg Institute, an online college for Military Spouses, Active Duty and Veterans!! If you qualify for your MyCAA, take advantage!! Hit the Martinsburg Institute Button on the page for more information or contact me directly anytime!! ----->

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lifetime Moms: "We Just Had to Ask!" Real Military Wives

Lifetime is one of the networks I grew up watching. My mother would watch all of the "Made for TV" movies and they were great, many lessons learned!! As I grew older and now a mother, I also find myself watching Lifetime as well. Not that you have to be a mother to watch!!
I am currently addicted to watching "Army Wives" and "Coming Home."  I CRY every time I watch "Coming Home." Never a dry eye.
Recently, I was contacted by a great friend Krystel (ArmyWife101), she is someone, a military wife, that I look up to. She speaks her mind and that is something that I admire of her. I second guess myself every time I want to record a controversial video or topic and I always ask myself, would Krystel talk freely about this?? And that gives me the courage to do so. She rocks. I mean, she has met the First Lady and Queen Latifah!!
I would like to thank Krystel for emailing me and asking me if I would like to contribute to a mini series that Lifetime put together for their webpage known as Lifetime Moms. It was so much fun recording and quite honestly it made me really nervous to record!! I think you may notice that in the videos!! LOL!!
So thank you LIFETIME as well, the same network I grew up watching...and I am on it, I am so blessed. Krystel Spell (ArmyWife101) and Deborah Miller (debthemakeupnoob) from YT and a good friend of mine, along with myself are all in this series!! You ladies rock and it was so much fun working with you both!! Hugs and High Fives!!

Below are the two links where you can watch the first two videos that have come out so far!!
What is the biggest misconception about Military Wives?

Do you skype sex with your hubby while he is away?

Down in the comment section, feel free to contribute your answers!! I would love to know what you think!!

Thank you again, I enjoyed every minute of this opportunity!!

Lifetime Moms: http://www.lifetimemoms.com/