Saturday, April 30, 2011

Twitter Update

I am loving my Twitter account...

I only check it once or twice a day (usually on my iPhone while Boy Wonder is sleeping) but I'm getting all kinds of information I wasn't getting before. Things such as recipes, daily quotes from various sources, news, job openings, media information, etc. I feel like an "insider" which is pretty cool. It was really cool while the wedding was going on yesterday - lots of moment by moment updates...

There are some "people" I'm following who tweet a little bit too much for my taste but overall I think I'm following a good variety of accounts which keeps me on my toes. At times it does seem as if I'm getting a little bit of information overload...I've had to e-mail myself numerous links so that I can go back and read the articles or go to the link on the big computer (instead of my iPhone). Right now I have at least 10-12 of those e-mails waiting until I have some time to really look at them.

Despite this information overload - I'm really enjoying "hearing" about different things and getting information in essentially "real" time...

What a fun invention...wonder what will come next? Read More......

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

The crowds, the church, the uniform, the dress, the vows, the kiss, the second kiss...What a Day!

First off, I have an awesome husband! He knew how much I wanted to watch the royal wedding live, so he woke up at 0240 to make sure I was awake and downstairs to get set up for my TV watching.

A lot of people have said they don't understand what the big deal is with this wedding or why people would want to watch it. Personally, I have been looking forward to it since they released the date.

I remember watching Diana's wedding when I was 9 and thinking it was magical. That was the beginning of my interest in all things royal. I don't really remember ever wanting to be a princess or even playing princess, but I do remember being interested in everything about Diana. To this day, I'm always interested in seeing pictures or reading about Europe's royals. Luckily, my mother subscribes to Bunte magazine so I get lots of pictures and articles (and an excuse to practice my German).

I have been so excited - last night I could hardly get to sleep. This morning, I was so excited I didn't know what to do with myself. So I made English Breakfast tea and baked scones. They actually turned out pretty good. My husband took some to the office and reported back they are a hit!

I always thought scones were hard to make. Luckily I found a pretty easy recipe on Allrecipes.com which only took about 20 minutes (plus 16 minutes of baking). The only thing I might have changed would be to add more chocolate chips and cut them smaller.

The whole morning was amazing. It really was magical. It seems a little silly to call it magical or even to have such feelings for people I will never meet and will only see on TV or in pictures...However, I would not have missed it and am so glad I got up early to watch it live.

I loved Kate's dress. As soon as I saw it, I was reminded of Grace Kelly. What a beautiful dress - so perfectly regal, stylish and simply perfect. Her veil was so sheer - almost as if it was made of fairy fabric (or "delicate as spiderwebs" as my mother said). Her perfect posture only made her seem that much more regal - a true princess (or Duchess, as the case may be).

I also really liked her sister Pippa's dress. It would have been a beautiful wedding dress itself. As soon as I saw her I thought of how confident Kate must be to let her sister wear such an incredible dress. Most brides want to make sure they won't be upstaged by their Maid of Honor or Bridesmaids - Kate obviously has the confidence to let her sister shine and look beautiful. It helps that Kate herself was so radiant and gorgeous...

There were so many little moments that seemed to make the day so special. Prince William waiting to look at Kate and Prince Harry looking back and saying something to William; Prince William's face when he finally sees her; their intimate smiles at different times throughout the wedding; William and Kate leaving the church and riding in the open carriage; and finally, the kiss. Waiting for them to come out onto the balcony seemed to take forever. The second kiss was worth the wait - what a wonderful display of their love for each other. Wow.

I could keep going...I wish I had some kind of memento but I keep thinking of it being relegated to some drawer or box. I'm sure they will come out with some kind of special edition magazine or journal with stories and pictures of today. Maybe I'll get one for Mother's Day!?
Read More......

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CNAS Fellowship

One of the Twitter accounts I follow is the Center for New American Security (CNAS). I follow them for a couple reasons, one of them being that CNAS is the organization that will be coordinating Michelle Obama's new Joining Forces initiative. The other day I saw a tweet that looked interesting "Want to work at CNASdc? We have a sweet new job opening." So, since we are moving back to DC this summer, I thought I'd take a look.

They are looking for a Fellow to focus on the Joining Forces initiative. Which, huh, I've just been reading and blogging about that...

Looking at the requirements, it seems to be a pretty good fit. The background qualifications they are looking for include: Service in the United States Armed Forces and/or experience within the military; College degree required (graduate study is preferred); Demonstrated experience and interest in specific national security and or veterans’ affairs topics; Broad understanding of programs and services for veterans and military families; Project management experience; demonstrated ability to develop and carry out a work plan; Personnel management experience; able to train, supervise, support and work well with others....Like I said, seems to be a pretty good fit since one could say (and I will) that I meet all of those requirements.

Since we are going to be in DC anyway, it seems as if it'd be a really interesting thing to do. It also seems as if its a tailor-made position for me. All the kinds of stuff I'm interested in...only problem would be work hours, my health and keeping family first.

So, we talked about it and decided it can't hurt to apply. If anything it will get my toes back in the water and see how things look/feel out there. If I make it to the interview phase I can address the work hours issue then. If by some chance I get selected, I can always say no if it doesn't seem to fit right after I learn more about it.

I'm excited just thinking about it. I guess if anything this has shown me I need to get a little more involved in stuff outside the home. I obviously am missing something. Whether it's being a part of something or feeling as if I'm making a difference in the world or something I haven't even realized yet...there's something I'm not currently doing if I'm excited (and nervous) just thinking about applying for a job.

Must find resume and get it updated....cross your fingers!
__________
*Update: Talked to someone over at CNAS this morning (29 Apr), the job is not a Fellowship as I understood it (one year) but is a permanent position. As we are only going to be in DC for one year (maybe more) I'm obviously not looking for a permanent position. Though considering part of the Joining Forces initiative is to support military spouses who change jobs due to military moves, wouldn't I be the perfect candidate to see if they are willing to practice what they preach? Hmm, guess I need to think about this a little more...
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Joining Forces


For a few years now I have been volunteering for the National Military Family Association. I don’t do a whole lot other than read stuff I would already read, do training webinars, attend meetings on base as a representative for the Association and once I visited an Operation Purple Camp and wrote a report about it. Despite my lack of participating to the degree I might wish to, I have enjoyed being “in the know” and feeling as if I was doing something positive for military families.

Recently, (12 Apr 11) the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden launched a new initiative to support military families on a larger, national, scale. So far, their “Joining Forces” initiative seems both comprehensive and ambitious.

The Joining Forces website states “Joining Forces is a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.  The initiative recognizes that though only “1% of Americans may be fighting our wars, we need 100% of Americans to be supporting our troops and their families.” President Obama showed his support and the importance he places on this initiative when he stated (in prepared remarks) that “no American in uniform has ever served alone: ‘Behind every American in uniform stands a wife or husband; a mother, a father; a son or daughter; a sister or brother. These families — these remarkable families — are the force behind the force.’" As both a Veteran and a military spouse, it’s refreshing to see the Commander in Chief, and the highest echelons of our society, recognize that more needs to be done to show support for our troops and their families.

One good resource for people who want to know more about how to show that support is the National Military Family Association. The Association just released a “How To” guide for supporting military families called “Finding Common Ground: A Toolkit for Communities Supporting Military Families.” According to the Association website, “this toolkit suggests easily-achievable action items and useful resources to guide anyone who wants to support military families, but doesn’t know where to start.” The guide has links to different “communities” such as “Family, Friends, and Neighbors”; “Military Families”; “Community, Civic, and Religious Leaders”; and “State and Local Government Officials” to name a few. Each community link contains “ideas and resources that can start conversations and stimulate action.” I’m not sure if the Association came out with this guide as part of the Joining Forces initiative but either way, it seems as if they go together pretty well.

I’m excited to see what else comes out of this initiative and see if/how it helps the rest of the country to understand a little better what military families go through on a regular basis. For people who have never served and/or never known anyone who has served it’s nice that they now have a place to go to find more information or learn how they can show they care. I’m always surprised when I meet someone who has never had any affiliation with the military yet are supporting our troops and their families. It makes me appreciate what they do even more because they truly are doing it to show their support and not just because they or their family may benefit from their efforts. I hope this new initiative and the Association’s “tool kit” both help to strengthen support for our military families.

Read More......

Friday, April 15, 2011

BRAT


April is the Month of the Military Child...

I thought this “month of whatever” was something that had only been started in the last few years. Looking into it, this year is actually the 25th anniversary of the Month of the Military Child! Way back in 1986, then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger designated April as the Month of the Military Child as a way to honor military children for their courage and sacrifices. According to Military.com more than 1.7 million children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the armed forces. And it is estimated that more than 900,000 children have had one or both parents deployed multiple times.

The President of the Air Force Association, Mike Dunn, recently sent out an e-mail which included a story describing the origins of the term “Brat.” It’s funny how something starts out as an acronym and then becomes part of regular vocabulary. The e-mail is in it’s entirety below.

I also found a website from 2010 that has a lot of activities, scrapbook page designs, ideas for parents and teachers to help celebrate the Month of the Military Child. Not sure why they haven’t updated it, but most of the information still looks good. Finally, the National Military Family Association website has a link to send an eCard to show your support of military kids. I’m sure there are tons of other sites out there containing information and/or activities. I know most, if not all, military bases have many different functions planned for this month.

As the parent of a military child, it’s nice to know he will be recognized for the sacrifices he will make as he grows up. It won’t make up for leaving friends every couple of years and missing his dad while he’s gone, but at least it’s something.
____________

AFA members, as many of you know, this month is the month of the military child.  AFA has recognized this with a press release you can find here: http://www.afa.org/media/press/AFA_Honors_Military_child.asp

But to honor the month, I want to tell you a story … one that very few people know.

When I was President of the National Defense University (NDU), I frequently bragged about the NDU library, calling it the "best library in the world."  I had reason to … as, before I took over, it had won an award as the best library in government.  One night, at a social event at my home, I asserted the above praise, and my dear wife responded:  "If your library is so great, ask them to find the origin of the term 'Military Brat.'  I think the term is an acronym."

[Many of you may know that the term Brat is a common reference to children of military members.  It is a term of endearment – referring to a group who endure hardships, frequently move, change schools, leave behind friends, put up with frequent deployments, long absences of their parent(s), and (sometimes) inadequate government housing.]

Well – it turns out my wife was right … and the NDU library came through.  A researcher there found a book written in 1921 which described the origins of the term.  It came, like many of our military traditions, from the British Army.  It seems that when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family (mostly in India), the family went with the member in an Admin status entitled:  BRAT status.  It stands for:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member (the wives of the British Army [who were all males] objected to the term referring to them).  And the term not only stuck, but in many cases was adopted world-wide. 

I can't emphasize too much the support role of families to our military.  They move all over the world.  Continuity of education, friendships … and even living conditions are often lacking.  The success of the military is dependent upon the safety and support of their family members.

That is why one of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's top five priorities is:  Developing and Caring for Airmen and their families.  Family members' motto is exactly the same as that of the Air Force Association:  The Force behind the Force

Please share this note with as many others as you can.
Respectfully,
Mike 


Michael M. Dunn 

President/CEO
 Air Force Association
Read More......

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Time Management

I've been having a problem getting things done. I have more than enough time for the things I need to do and yet they don't get done...So I figured I need to start with deciding what is important to me and what I really want to get done.

Things I'd like to do on a daily basis:
Play/Be With Little Man
Spend Time with Hubby
Clean/straighten house (30-60 min/2x day?)
Blog/Journal/Write (1-3 hours)
Read/Notes (1-2 hours)
Exercise (30-60 minutes)
Cook Dinner

Things to do on Weekly basis:
3-5 Blog posts
3-5 walk/run/workouts
3 hours crafting (photos, scrap booking, quilting)
2-4 Family/Friend phone calls
Date night/afternoon
Plan Weekly Menu
- Grocery Shopping
- Prepare 2 meals for "later"
Vacuum, Laundry, Dust, Clean Baby Toys

So, with this initial list of things I'd like to get done on a daily/weekly basis I need to figure out a daily routine. I don't want to say schedule just because I don't like the word - it automatically makes me want to do the opposite...

I'm trying not to get too frustrated with myself about all this. And I know for a fact that my husband is an amazing man for not already getting frustrated with me. I just can't figure out why after 10 successful years as an officer in the USAF, I even have a problem trying to figure out how to make a schedule/routine so I can get stuff done around the house? Aaargh....

So, what now? How do I change a list of things I want to do into a realistic routine that will help me get things done? If only I had the time to read that time management book.... Read More......

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Audience of One

I just found a new blog I think I might enjoy by Women Living Well.

The first post I read was an Easter recipe for Resurrection Rolls - each part of the recipe has some meaning regarding Easter. If you make it properly, the roll is EMPTY when you take it out of the oven. Very cool! I can't wait to try it.

The second post I read was about her first failure as a mother. Coincidentally (a God-incidence?), her failure was my own. As much as I wanted to breastfeed my son (for nutrition, bonding, weight loss, etc.) I was not able to do it well. The Little Man was always hungry and no matter what I tried (pumping, Lactation Counselors, etc.) I couldn't feed him what he needed. Over a year later, I still feel as if I somehow failed because I wasn't able to do what is supposed to be so "natural and easy." If I had done something different, would I have been able to provide for him? Who knows?

God Knows!

Courtney ended her post with a Bible verse: "Cast all your anxious thoughts on him because he cares for you." (I Peter 5:7)

What a great thought! God cares for me. He cares for me. No matter what else I allow myself to think or the doubts I have or the "what if's" I torture myself with...God cares for me. Awesome! Just what I needed to hear...

The final post I read was a list of 25 things about the author...it was the final one on the list that really hit my heart. In this post she again states "God cares for me" (which I guess I really needed to hear today) but she also says "there is an audience of One to please" which made me think of my Tier One post from yesterday. Rather than worrying/thinking about what friends and family may or may not think of me or how much they may or may not care about me - God cares for me! He is really the only One I should be trying to please on a daily basis...

Thank you Women Living Well for the wake up call. Read More......

Blame Game

Yesterday our gas prices went from $3.69 to $4.09! Crazy!
So, just a quick question...
Why is it that everyone went through the roof back when President Bush was in office if the gas prices went up 5-10 cents, yet all of a sudden gas is well over $4.00 and it doesn't seem as if anyone has a problem with it...?
I don't get it. How can everything bad be one President's fault but for the next guy there's always someone else to blame?
Maybe I'm missing something - anyone able to help me out and/or explain this...? Read More......

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tier One

Is it wrong to feel bad about constantly losing at "Words With Friends"? I guess it wasn't really that I was losing so much as my step-mother saying "good job" when I set her up for an 87 point word. Of course, I was trying to set myself up and took the chance she couldn't play there (wrong)...

I don't think it was even the game or that word so much as what she said and how it made me feel. Was she being insensitive or just not thinking? Or was I (am I?) taking it too personally? Would I have taken it so personally if there hadn't been some other things that recently happened...?

One of my favorite artists is Harry Connick Jr. A couple weeks ago, he performed in my hometown for a fundraiser at my church. My step-dad and step-mother turned it into a big family event. They never even mentioned it to me, even though I'm only 5-6 hours away and could have turned it into a trip home. Two weeks later my step-mother hosted her annual Salvation Army luncheon and again, invited all my sisters but never even mentioned it to me. Finally, a couple weeks ago we sent out 20 packages of pictures of our Little Man (including some not-to-cheap professional portraits) and some family pictures to family members. Only three people even acknowledged they received the package. What's that all about?

My husband says not to take it personally since it's probably not about me, it's just an example of "out of sight - out of mind." For the last year he has been trying to get me to think more about "Tier One" - myself, my husband and my son. That's who I should think about, make plans for and worry about - no one else.

I just can't figure out how to make myself not care. I'm not the best about keeping in touch - calling, writing, etc. but it still hurts when my family doesn't seem to care at all. So for now, I just try to repeat "Tier One, Tier One, Tier One"...and hope the hurt goes away... Read More......

Friday, April 8, 2011

Airman Appreciation

I'm the Airman Appreciation Chair for the spouse's club on base. In the past they've done candy at Halloween (done), cookies at Christmas (done - what a huge to do that was) and candy at Easter. 
This year, especially with Easter being so late, I decided to skip the candy at Easter and do something for Armed Forces Day (21 May) instead.
Operation Homefront in Missouri has generously offered to donate a box of Girl Scout cookies for each Airman in the dorms. They have also offered to donate a CD but I'm not sure if that will happen. The candy (usually 7-10 pieces per Airman) seems a bit silly to go along with a whole box of cookies but I'm not sure what else to do.
Instead of having schools do cards (I had schools decorate the bags for the cookies at Christmas which turned out pretty good) the spouse club stamping group has offered to hand make cards. I helped out for a few hours this morning and I think they're going to be great. Still a lot of work to do though, especially if we want to have them done in time for the meeting next week to get people to write something and/or sign them.
So, if you had a box of cookies and possibly a music CD, what else would you include? There are about 350 Airmen in the dorms but I have a good budget so I think I could do anything within reason (really limited only by time and size...). Any ideas?

Read More......