Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dominic Gianluca

Today, our bebe boy is 6!! Where does the time go? I wish I could figure out how to stop it, or at least slow it down a bit. He entered this world at 1:13pm on a BEAUTIFUL Sunday morning in Lich, Germany. I was in labor with him for 1 hour and 13 minutes. Right away we knew he was an old soul. You can just talk and talk and talk to him and even at 6, he knows exactly what to say. We are so greatful for being given this amazing gift.
Dear Dominic Gianluca,
Daddy and I want you to know what a special little man you are in this family. You make us laugh and we are very proud of the kind and courteous little boy you are becoming. You take WONDERFUL care of your little brother Roman. He thinks you are the best thing on earth. We know in life you can do anything you put your mind to. We want you to always be and do your best, not for us, but for yourself. Remember that honesty, integrity and being a man of your word, will get you far in life. Always treat friends, family and strangers with kindness and love. We love you monkey and are proud of your 6 years here on earth.
Smooches and Smooches,
mama and daddy

Some fun facts about Dom-

*He will NOT eat ketchup OR ranch

*loves plain salad

*loves sharks

*wants to work at BK when he grows up

*Loves school

*can read

*DOESNT like to hurt anyones feelings

*can do a handstand

*can breakdance

*is a perfectionist

*REFUSES to eat school lunch

*LOVES baked potatoes but wont eat fried potatoes

*Loves ice cream

*tells "great" jokes

Thursday, January 27, 2011

That 1%

So, today I watched Oprah, yeah I had to watch it in parts so I wouldnt flood the house with my tears and freak out 2 little boys.. It was about soldiers and their families.. She stated the same thing I YELL from the rooftops all the time and that is : YES PEOPLE WE ARE AT WAR!!!!! Everyone on her show had wonderful things to say about the most wonderful people I know-Military families and soldiers. I blog about them both alot so pardon me if I sound repetitive.. Yes, military families carry a HUGE burdon and live such a different life than most people. Like Mrs. Obama said, " we all think we have a rough time of juggling careers, kids, family, etc- We have nothing on a military family" We DO have the added stress of being a single parent, listening to children (young and old) cry themselves to sleep because they miss their parent, holding our breath everytime a newsbreak comes on, holding our breath when we see a GOV(govt operated vehicle) drive down a street, or heartsick when we get a call from our soldier and it starts out by them saying "Hey, Im okay, BUT...." Its hard and we all handle it differently which at times causes quite a drama amongst spouses online, LOL. What works for me wont always work for you. I like being a realist. I know that when Sal, Nick or Blake deploy there might be a chance that we wont ever see one of them again, its fact, BUT I dont dwell on that thought and when I do, I have battle buddies that are ready, willing and able to slap me in the face and reel me back in (not litterly slapping, although SOME of them might get some sick enjoyment out of that, LMAO) I also deal with it with a sense of humor (that keeps me sane!!) And sometimes my sense of humor is at other spouses expenses, ie hearing a spouse whine because its Thursday and their soldier isnt home promptly at 1500(3pm) I laugh at that because its ridonculous to me when their are families that are struggling with their soldier being deployed or hurt, etc... Today watching Oprah, I felt sad for the 1st family on the show when the spouse said the saddest part was that some of her husbands friends "abandoned" him after his injury happened.. I like to think our circle of friends wouldnt do that and I was really angry for her when she stated that.. But then I thought, maybe it cuts too close to home and is a reminder of WHAT can and DOES happen. Maybe they dont know how to react to it, im sure there are many reasons. Sal really couldnt finish watching it. I think he was bothered by my blubbering, LOL.. That always upsets him if he sees me sad.. Dominic watched part of it with me and was asking questions. Here are some of them:
1- Mama, is that Mrs Obama? Yes, Dom it is. oh, what is her family name? I said Obama.. Oh so like her husband Pres Obama. yes Dom, like her husband. Whats her real name? Michelle, Dominic. Oh, like Aunt Michelle. yep like aunt michelle.. Well Mrs Obama isnt my aunt, right? Nope, she isnt.. Oh..
2-Why is that soldier hurt mama? Well Dom, remember when I was telling you that sometimes in Iraq, mommy and daddy soldiers get hurt? Yeah, you said because they are trying to help the good guys fight the bad guys right mama? I said yep, but that soldier got hurt. How mama? Well a bad guy put something bad by his tank and it hurt his head. Ohhh, that is sad mama.. Yes it is, but he is okay and doing better.. Oh, so dad didnt get hurt there right? Nope, daddy is fine.. Yeah, because he is tough. Yep Dom because he is tough.
3-Does dad have to go back to Iraq ever again? Yes, its possible Dom. what about nick? Yep he is leaving soon.. Blake? no, not for a while, but like daddy, he will possibly have to again. Oh, well at your Toys R us they have a vest for the nerf and it protects them, we can get them one.. Yep, we will get them one Dom, its nice for you to think about that.. Oh and Mom? What Dom? Can I have string cheese for dessert? and did you know some kids call it cheese sticks? Isnt that funny mama? Yep Dom, its HILARIOUS...

Oh the words of a child, they make everything right and good again. So Oprah wants us all to help military families however we can. So, to my military sisters and brothers, im here to help YOU, BUT I dont do windows.. Seriously, you that know Sal and I know that we will do whatever is in our power to help each of you, because you are family.. And for those of you reading this that arent affiliated with the military- Get to a old soldiers home and volunteer, meet the men and women who helped build this country. Donate to a fisher house, volunteer with the red cross or USO, let these amazing families know that "outsiders" do infact care about what we go through.

I have a Funny Roman situation.. Today we came home from errands and he realized we have new neighbors ( they have been here for a month) He said we have new neighbors mamma? Yep we do.. He said Oh, do they live here? OMG, I couldnt make this stuff up LMAO...

There was this boy

Who stole my daughters heart. Yep, this will be sappy and for our son in law, Blake! We met Blake when he was a little kid in Germany, he was Nicks best friend at the time and probably saw Ashlee as a pest, as we all did LMAO! Blake and Ashlee kept in contact over the years and then dated on an off and had a long distance thing going on when he first joined the Army. One day I got a phone call from Iraq. I said oh Hi Blake, Ashlee isnt here right now. He said I know, I wanted to ask you and Mr Urzi if I can marry her.. awwwww, of course we said yes. So down the road they got married, had a baby, went through another deployment and now a recruiting tour. So Blake, today I want to let you know how MUCH we love you and thank you for taking such good care of our daughter and grandaughter. Sal and I are beyond proud of what you 2 have accomplished and how well you have both done as a great roll model for a young military family. You have EVERYTHING we could have hoped for, for Ashlee. We just wanted you to know we love you and are proud of you.. Thank you for being a good, decent and honest man!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Really, Mary???

The child, who wants to grow up!
So this morning started off with Roman in our bed (this has been his new place to sleep du jour, he only comes in at 5am, LOL and zonks back out) so, we have a cali king bed and he managed to take over MOST of it and ended up with his legs across my head!!! Anyhooo, at 0745 We woke up, got dressed and I was right on schedule for breakfast and lunch making at 0805. Got snow gear on for the boys, pulled the truck into the garage to get it warmed up and started our way to take Dom to school. We pull up and he said "mom, I want to walk myself to to the line" I replied " really? by yourself? Are you SuUUURE? All alone? Do you know where to line up?" He said "yes, mama. I will be okay, im big now.. Ill be 6, in 4 days mama" So, I got him out of the truck and stood there watching him walk to his line, watched his teacher come out (you didnt think id just drop him off and leave did you?" LOL.. I got back in the truck and bawled my eyes out.. Today he wants to walk himself to his line and tomorrow he is going to come and tell us he is going off to the peace corps or college, or wherever... WHY must they grow up??? I really dont like it, nope, not one bit.. I have said a million times that I would LOVE for my kids to live with us forever-I mean it, LOL.. I do at times, wish they would grow up faster and get the heck out on their own, but- I DON'T REALLY MEAN IT!! Alas, I know I cannot stop the inevitable, but man that was hard and I pride myself on being a hard ass(not litterly, figurativly, of course)

So, today Roman and I are hunkered down in the house.. My precious baby Roman, who will never grow up and want to walk himself to class... Roman-don't tell the others, but you are in the lead for being the favorite!!! LMAO

Friday, January 21, 2011


Sometimes, even when you sacrifice your whole world for them, your children may just not make the right choices, do the right thing or want to be in your life. It is very heartbreaking, but nothing can be done anymore but just sit back and go on with our lives and hope one day he will want to be part of our lives. This same situation has happened before and I wont shed tears over it anymore, nor will I beg for him to be part of our lives.. I have 5 other children to have to worry about and make sure they are okay. The sad thing is the reasoning behind this, it isnt situation of being on one side or the other, its about maintaining a relationship with a child whom we love and adore and want to be part of his life, just like we want to be part of ALL our grandchildrens lives. Im tired of the lies and the disrespect and I just am not willing anymore to have that. I know this is a bit of a ramble, but that is how im feeling right now and needed to just let it out without actually "letting it out"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random 1

So, I was clicking away randomly with the remote and I stumbled on a tv series called RANDOM 1.. Its a show about a group of people, I think 5 of them. Anyway, they drive around and meet people and try to help them help themselves. Tonight they helped a man get into detox. The man was living in a tent, had lost his business and was an alchoholic. He took the challenge and went into a 7 day detox and then to a long term facility.. They called around looking for clothing donations, haircuts, etc.. The barber that they called thought it was some kind of joke and when they asked why, he stated that he is 27 years sober. Well they took the man to the barber and what transpired was soo emotional. The Barber had conversations with the guy and told him he had lost a million dollars while a drunk, lost everything, but with hard work and AA, he gained it back and told him to attend AA meetings DAILY and to do the steps. As the homeless man was leaving, the barber became soo emotionaly over this and just wept. He told the man to stop in anytime and he would be there to help him stay sober. I was just touched by the random acts of strangers and FIRMLY believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason and puts US in peoples lives. Its up t us to accept it and learn from the people we meet. We also have to trust and help take care of people and help them figure things out sometimes. It indeed takes a village. Can you imagine what a world we would live in, if we just helped each other out? Im going to try and do more. Our community here in Alaska is shockingly full of homeless people.. Can you imagine not only being homeless but homeless in Alaska? I freeze walking from my car to the store. I can walk right into my kitchen and eat whatever id like. I cant imagine not having that "luxury" And yes, I know, I know-People have choices and some choose drugs and alchohol over anything else.. They need help too, but not everyone out there is homeless for that reason. I want to better myself by a little less judging and alot more loving...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Soldier to Soldier advice

Good Day my friends! Today is day 2 of my guest blogger's blog.. Again, the guest blogger is my husband MSG Salvatore Urzi. He has been a soldier for 21 years and 11 months(but whose counting) He is a Military Police Officer and loves his job. He is a genius when it comes to Army Regs and FMs and encourages young soldiers to find a mentor to give them guidance, he also encourages leaders to BE good mentors to soldiers. Here is todays installment.. Enjoy :)

You want to be a Great Soldier?

How do you become that great Soldier? What is a great Soldier? Is it all in Field Manuals and Regulations? All these questions and depending on what leader you talk to you would get several different answers. Once again these areas covered are by no means the be all to being a great Soldier. Just some recommendations on being successful and becoming that outstanding Soldier and future leader. I will only cover a few things to get you started, this topic could take days and a lot of face time to truly get the full affect.

1. Ask yourself why you wear the uniform. Is it just for college? Is it for the benefits? Is it because you had no other choice? Or is it because you take pride in your country?

2. Can you take criticism? This is a must and what you do with it after you get it. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and truly be able to find those faults and fix them.

3. Don't blame others, especially your leaders for your short comings. Take responsibilities for what you do, take control of your career.

4. KNOW what it takes to become the next rank. If you want to be a SGT than I suggest YOU know what paperwork is required to make it happen.

5. If you don't know something, then research and read. After you have done that then ask your leaders.

6. Remember you are a Soldier 24/7. We do not pick and choose when we are a Soldier. You represent this country in all you do on and off duty.

7. Set goals for yourself, make sure they are realistic ones. If your a PFC you first goal should become a SGT, why wait till your SPC to set that goal. A PFC should not be focusing on becoming a CSM.

8. Remember your job as a Soldier is to accomplish the mission, not complain about it!

9. Take care of your battle buddies, don't step on them to progress. We are one team and cant accomplish mission as a individual.

10. Seek out a mentor. Do you know what YOU want from a mentor? You can have several mentors, you don't have to have constant contact with that mentor.

11. Learn something new everyday, it is possible. You learn from the positives and negatives. You learn from great leaders and the not so great ones also.

12. Accept every challenge head on, take pride in every mission given.

13. Remember as a Soldier we do not work 9 - 5. We are not civilians, we are a special breed that only a small percentage of the U.S. population qualify to do.

14. LOYALTY to your unit!

15. Ask yourself "What would a professional do?" and the "Be a Professional!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hi Friends

sal packing for deployment 09-10
Okay, so the next 2 blogs(today's and tomorrows) are being "guest blogged" by my wonderful husband, Sal. Sal is a wonderful soldier, husband and father. I am NOT sure how he manages to be a soldier, a husband to me (trust me, im sure that is a feat in itself LMAO) and a great father, but he manages it very well. Of course we ALL think our soldier is the best and I am no different but if you ask anyone who knows him as a soldier or a man, they will concur.. he just has that way about him and he manages to put his soldiers and his family close to his heart and take care of all of us crazies LOL.. In todays guest installment he talks about being a successful military team with your spouse-Ill warn you he always uses the feminine in speaking about spouses but trust me, he is FULLY aware of the gents out there as well and feels the same way whether it be a male or female spouse.. Toodles

Soldier and Spouse Success

This topic is a tough topic to talked about in regards to being able to cover everything on how a Soldier and spouse can be successful during their military career. The areas covered are by no means in any certain order, one is not more important than the other. These points are my personal opinion and by no means in any regulations that says it will happen, but I will tell you that it has made OUR career a excellent one. These areas will only scratch the surface of what make you a successful military family.

1. Ensure your spouse is FULLY aware of what is going on, doesn't matter if it is going to upset her. It is better that it comes from you versus hearing about it through the grapevine. Example : You want to be the first to inform her about being gone for a month to the field.

2. Knowing about the Army way of life. Between ATFB and you explaining daily activities and events that you go through does wonders for her to understand the WHY.

3. Remember it is OUR career...yes only one is in the Army, but at the end of the day the Soldier CAN NOT be successful without the support of the spouse.

4. The Soldier handles Soldier business. The key to this is that the Soldier be proactive on issues and keeping the spouse informed on what the progress is. Always remember that a Soldier would not go into the a civilian work place to fix a spouse issue.

5. Remember that the mission comes first, but family also comes first. You wonder how that can be possible that two things come first. It is a hard task to accomplish, but always remember that the Army mission is hard to accomplish if the family is not on track and supporting. You want your Soldier focused on mission at hand. Balance is key and the toughest thing to figure out.

6. When your home your home. Yet another one that seems impossible. Remember you are ALWAYS a Soldier, but here comes the balance part again. Take advantage of every minute while at home, you never know when the phone will ring that says come back to work. You must figure out what you will do with those precious minutes that you have. is not going to the club with the boys. Spend it with the family, but there is nothing wrong every ONCE in awhile going out with the boys.

7. Understand what your spouse is going through. The Soldier truly has the easy job. We get all the guidance and direction needed and are kept fully engaged. The spouse on the other hand is sitting and wondering.

8. Get your spouse involved so they understand why you are doing something. Ask them to help you study for boards, if you have to be taped, show them how to do it. The more they understand what your going the through in your career the more they will be your backbone.

9. PRIDE, You and your spouse should have the same amount of pride about being in the Army. That way if one of you have a moment were of disgruntle against the Army they other will bring the pride back. Trust me, over the years this will happen and it is a amazing feeling to have your spouse bring you back to reality on why you wear the uniform.

10. Remember you are a team, a Soldier is can not do it alone. Any Soldier that says they are successful without their spouse is full of it. The spouse isn't the one executing the mission, but the spouse is the one keeping the home front in order and letting that Soldier focus on the mission.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

So, you married a soldier

Now you are wondering "whats next?" After you get married to a soldier its important to do several things. You MUST MUST MUST get enrolled into the DEERS program-Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System. It is what keeps track of you and any dependants a soldier may have. You wont get ANYTHING done until you are in that system. Next is ID card, VERY important since EVERYTHING in our world typically involves showing your ID card, ie: access to post,Medical, dental, commissary, px, library, discounts and anything and everything else. If you have children 10 years and older, they are required an id card as well. The only time a child under the age of 10 would have an ID card is due to a divorce or single parent situation. *NOTE* Try to NOT lose this important item.. MOST installations now will require you to do an MP report for the loss of an ID card and to get a new one takes a POA(power of attorney) if your soldier cant go with you, 2 forms of ID, Birth Certificate, Marriage license(to be on the safe side) SOME units will counsel a soldier if their dependant loses an ID card.. We never want the ID CARD to come ino the hands of someone who could use it to gain access to a military post and cause harm.. Next, you will want to enroll in TRICARE, which is our medical "insurance" You can get Prime or standard. Standard is where you are seen off post and possibly pay somethings out of pocket. Prime is the way to go for most and has worked fine for our family. Take the self care class at your installation, it takes less than an hour and it will enable you to get certain over the counter meds for free at the on post pharmacy, such as-tylenol in many forms, pepto, cough drops, sudafed,aspirin,some sun screens, condoms,etc.. Basic things but they are helpful and free, but to get them you must have taken the SCC. Next, im sure you will want to find out about housing on post. Each post is different and the waits will vary, so be flexible if you dont get housing on post. After these things, run to your nearest ACS(Army community service) they are the brains and know all of each installation. They offer MANY classes on finances, parenting, resume services, the list goes on and on. One of their best programs is AFTB(Army Family Team Building) its a series of courses that teach spouses about the military, how to problem solve, etc... Eventually you can even become an instructor :) They usually offer free childcare during these courses, which is very nice.. Have your soldier introduce you to his superiors so you can put a name to a face. Learn ranks(many websites can help with that, along with AFTB) Learn how the Chain of Command works and how to use it(it is typically a last resort for spouses, as soldiers should be taking care of any issues that would need any COC stepping in to help. Prepare yourself for pay mistakes-YES it happens and YES it sucks, BUT it will be rectified.. Key is to realize that finance has to take care of MANY pay issues and WE , SHOCKINGLY, arent the only soldier/family that is having a pay issue. Live within your means, if you arent-get the ACS for a budgeting class.... Join your FRG (Family Readiness Group) and be active in it.. They also are a wealth of knowledge and will help YOU, help yourself during a deployment.. That leads to my last item for the day-DEPLOYMENTS, yes they suck, but they ARE a way of our life and the quicker you get that into your head the quicker you will be able to move on and not dwell in the sadness. Before a deployment, soldiers tend to be SOOO very busy and sometimes it seems that they are never home, so enjoy when they are. At times you will each be testy as well, that is SO normal... Well, now you are a military spouse.. How does it feel? Did you feel the pride when you entered that gate? Were a gazzilion thoughts going on in your head? Did you look at your soldier in that uniform and melt? Yep, I know.. So, welcome to this wonderful, crazy life.. Do your best...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Enough with the Pajamas!

SHEEZ people.. Pajamas arent cute when worn out in public.. They just arent.. Yesterday I watched a dad at the school walk his kiddo into school wearing pjs and thought hmmmm, MAYBE im just a bitch and maybe people wake up in a hurry and are just running late.. I came home and did a test.. I wanted to see if it took longer to put on a pair of jeans or pjs.. Took the same time.. Sure, in the morning when I wake up, I dont FEEL like getting all dolled up to get Dominic off to school, but Hell to the NO will I wear jammies to drop him off, OR wear jammies ANYWHERE in public..Sidenote, I have SUPER cute jammies too, but umm.. no.. In the morning I get dressed, put my hair up, wash my face, brush my teeth, get 2 boys ready(Tony gets himself ready and off to school-he is 17 LOL) fed,lunch made, truck started, back pack ready and do just fine.. I think our society has become TOO casual and laid back.. I think im just old fashioned in that I like to look good when I walk out my door, I like to look presentable. I like getting dolled up, hair, make up, clothes, shoes. Now, when im in the house, I like to hang out in my yoga pants and a tshirt, but it doesnt walk out of the house LMAO..

I am SUPER appalled by the new item called PAJAMA JEANS!! REALLY???? Why dont we just have coffee tables made into a microwave and fridge, shave our heads so we dont have to do our hair, have programable recliner chairs that also double as indoor plumbing.. Sheesh.. We are lazy people...

Okay, off my soap box LOL

Things are good here. Weather is odd and im drooling for some snow. For Petes Sake, its Alaska and JANUARY!!! Bring it on!

Monday, January 3, 2011


The title should be either "The mama bear has arrived" or "shut your freaking pie holes" Decisions, Decisions... Im a bit irate right now and dont see any calm in my near future.... People really suck-The bad part is that the people you should count on and provide unconditional love etc, arent always the count on type.. Im in a rage right now.. 2 things, well maybe more, not sure.. LOL the day is young.. So, im not sure if any of you know, but our daughter Cassidy is Gay.. Doesnt affect how we love her IN THE LEAST.. We adore her same today as the day she was born... I honestly dont care about peoples opinions on this, because this isnt about them, its about OUR daughter, who is a decent, loving, giving and kind person... She had some family members say some not so nice things to her, not about being gay, but about her weight-WTF she is a size 6.. REALLY? Yeah, I could see where that would be just a huge heffer.... Same people HAVE said things about her lifestyle to others and that has crossed my line in the sand... It isnt OUR place to judge a darn thing about people loving whomever they love.. That is between them and GOD and only him.. She is OUR daughter and we love love love her... I think , no IM SURE our kids all know we love them unconditionally and that has been proven time and time and time again.. So the weight thing pisses me off because this is why girls get eating disorders.. Its little cracks here and there, but as a person who suffered from an eating disorder(quietly and only 1 person really knew) I can tell you that comments make girls think "hmmm, maybe I am fat" Okay, ill just lose a few lbs, then it becomes a few more and a few more and before you know it, a broken person... Its just funny for "people" to make comments about her weight when me and Sal arent right there.. Its easy to "pick" on others when their protectors arent around.. I guess distancing themselves from their family is what they enjoy doing, because they have done it... for the final time, for me.. Cass, we love you and think you are great and soo very glad you are happy and enjoying life.. Couldnt ask for anything more for you.. You look FABULOUS and gorgeous.. Kisses, wuge and smooches!

Deployment time

Not for Sal, nobody panic-ALTHOUGH, I know he would deploy tomorrow if he could, BUT deployment "season" is upon us and we have many friends and loved ones that are prepping for this. Our son leaves soon for the sandland and this will be his first deployment with his wife, Megan and the boys, Nicholas and little Dominic. I thought id blog about this because I think we get caught up in the paranoia aspect of prepping for a deployment and dont realize to calm down and realize there are MANY things "WE" need to do to help make the deployment go a little more smoothly.. Yes, these deployments suck, BUT this is our life as military spouses and PART of the reason that soldiers exsist.. They typically dont like leaving their loved ones, BUT MOST are ready to deploy. Soldiers need to know that their families are ready for this and capable of the MANY things that could happen during a 12 month period.. Mr. Murphy LOVES to rear his ugly face during a deployment-so be ready for him.. It is QUITE possible that your dryer and car will both break during a deployment and 1 or more of your kids will indeed get chicken pocks-USUALLY either right before or right after RR.. So here are some tips from me to you in order to assist you in making sure you are ready to hit the deployment head on and win..

*Get POAs(powers of attorney) Call all your credit companies, banks, credit unions, etc and see what they require if you need to do business during this deployment-AFTER you find out what they need, GET IT DONE... Not today or tomorrow, but yesterday... MANY businesses, including finance will require you have a specific POA, so you may end up with 5 or 6 or more POAs. Keep them in a binder(I have a cute pink one :))

*Make sure your information to your bank and creditors are current.

*If you have more than 1 car, but will only be needing 1 of them-store the other and call your insurance company and change the policy to storage mode(it will save you money)

*Get a copy of the deployment orders

*make sure you have a copy of his will and that YOU have a will as well (yes this isnt a pleasant topic but a real one..

*Have THE TALK with your soldier, the dreaded what if talk.. Burial, etc... Again, not a fun topic, but MUCH needed.

*Have a plan for if something happens to you and your children need to be cared for until you can or your soldier can get home(hospitalization, etc) Many states will keep your kids in foster care, should something happen to you until a family member can come and care for them. Jag has a form you can fill out to give POA to a friend or family member in this case, Your FRG or FRSA should know who to contact for this.

*Sit down and make up a budget for this deployment, with your soldier... Ie, how much he will get out of your account and put on his/her eagle cash card or cash.. Since they need very little over there, May I suggest 50.00-75.00 every 2 weeks..

*They typically have to pay for internet and it can range from 40.00-100.00 a month, so be ready for that.

*attend frg pre deployment briefings..

*get his/her unit info, address, rear d info

*know his/her social security number

*get the Red Cross information and keep it in that fabulous binder of knowlege

*contact ACS and find out what you and your kids are eligible for during the next 12 months

*If you leave town, please, please, please leave contact info with the rear d, frg and a friend-I cannot stress this enough.

*Realize that once soldiers hit downrange, they wont have much contact initially-DONT panic.. NO NEWS is GOOD NEWS...

*bad news will not be given to you during the middle of the night, if something happens the correct people will contact you(unit info in particular)

*spend time with your soldier, BUT know that the closer it gets, the amount of time spent with families gets shorter and shorter. Try and realize this and enjoy the time when you get it and TRY not to complain to the soldier and be naggish.

*READ - the emotional cycles of deployment, wash, rince, repeat..... as needed

*make sure you have your circle of trust ready.

*Let family members know that YOU will update them on things until the soldier can

*during RR, we know that private time is important, but its also important for the soldiers family members to see and hug and hold them as well, so be understanding in that..

*Its okay to have pajama days every now and then, but I promise you will feel better dressed and ready to rock and roll

*Make a goal sheet foor yourself during the 12 months, only put a couple of things on there and work on them, keep this promise to yourself.

*Cry when you need to, be mad when you need to and *gasp* its okay to be happy during the deployment

*Keep traditions alive during the deployment, dont go into cacoon mode because your soldier cant be there(he/she will be relieved to know that normal life does infact exsist and that YOU kept it going.. YOU kept the homefires burning, YOU did it!

These are just a few things that I HIGHLY encourage spouses to do during this 12 months, they really help and really work.. We are not weak and wilted flowers.. We are steel magnolias and are the heart of the military.. WE CAN DO IT!!!!