Monday post…its almost Tuesday

Considering the fact that its almost Tuesday I could wait to post, but I just love getting the “work” week off to a good start.  However, it is Columbus Day, so really the work week begins tomorrow.  Hope those that had a three-day weekend had a wonderful time spending it with family and/or friends.  At least this week is one day down already before it really even begins (for those of you that work).
So my random miscellany for this Monday is the fact that last week I had the extreme pleasure to be invited to a Joining Forces event at George Mason University.  For those of you that don’t know what Joining Forces is, let me fill you in on this amazing thing created by Our First and Second Ladies.  Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden spent many hours meeting with military families and those affected by the military life.  Dr. Biden herself, is one of those affected people.  Her son, is in the military.  She watched her granddaughter go through the pain of a deployment.  She watched her granddaughter’s school rally around her and support her through that deployment.  Joining Forces is a “national initiative  to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.” {citation}.  Joining Forces works to find and build support in Education, Employment and Wellness.  I think its wonderful.  It is a blessing to be appreciated and sought out.  I know that there are plenty of other people in the world that have a difficult time.  It is such an amazing thing to be appreciated and to be recognize the unique aspects of our life that make things difficult.   I know, we signed up for it.  But in the spirit of a another amazing organization, The Travis Manion Foundation,  if not me, then who?  That’s not meant to sound like we are just these amazing super human people, that are second only to God, and should be worshipped…no.  It’s a calling for us.  My husband is good at what he does, and I love him for it.  Its really hard sometimes, but in the end its worth it.  I hope I never stop saying that no matter what comes our way.  Organizations like Joining Forces make it all the more easy to keep thinking that way.  So check out Joining Forces and Operation Educate the Educators, which was the topic of conversation at the even I attended last week.
And perhaps the coolest thing of note that day…besides standing awesome close to secret service (the Criminal Justice graduate in me was totally nerding out), was the opportunity to meet Dr. Biden!
Hope you have a great week!  If you’re a new follower, thanks for stopping by!  Let me know and I’ll be sure to follow you!  Hope you’re able to stay around a bit and check out some of my other great posts, general reviews, cloth diaper info and all my book reviews (which is one of my favorite parts!).
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Rhe’s Bookshelf – Zooey and Her Solider; a book for Military Kids



Zooey and Her Soldier, by Andrea Kelly

 Zooey’s best friend, Doug, is in The National Guard. Sometimes he has to go away for a little while. When he’s gone, Zooey misses him a lot. She can’t wait for him to get back! But Zooey’s about to discover something – something that will make the wait much, much easier!
Zooey and Her Soldier is a great book for children dealing with a parent or family member in the Armed Forces, (or even one who has to travel a lot!). As tough as those moments are for parents, they are often even harder on the children, especially those that are still too young to understand the entire concept. Zooey is a positive and relatable character for young kids, who has a helpful idea on how to feel closer to the ones you love, even while they are far away!

Ideal for bedtime stories and new readers – an enjoyable book for young and old alike!

What I thought:

An adorable book that you should add to the collection of a military child.  We have several books in our collection and this is one.  It is a sweet and simple book; and it would be really good for a child that is just beginning to read.  With darling illustrations and adorable kitty as the main character, I think most little children would really like this book.  Zooey and Her Soldier is perfect for ages 3 or 4 and below.  It is short and sweet, and could keep the attention of my daughter.  She responded to the story and thought Zooey was cute.  My son listened but was not quite as interested in my daughter.  They both were able to relate Zooey being sad and missing her soldier (Like Daddy) when he was gone and were very excited when he returned home to them.  I personally appreciated the sweet simplicity of this book.  It is really aimed directly at relating to children in the desire for them to completely be able to understand and relate.  It would have been a really good tool for me to use in talking with my children the first time my husband went away.

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I received a copy of this book in cooperation with the Author.  I was given a book to aid in my review but was not compensated for a positive review.  The reviews and opinions stated here are my own…and my kids’ of course.

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Military Lifestyle Series #4

Happy Sunday everyone.  I hope this new post finds you all in good spirit this wonderful weekend.  Happily I have a new guest post in my Military Lifestyle Series.  I actually had the extreme pleasure of meeting Kris last month at the mil-blogging conference.  So, not only is she a bloggy friend, but she’s now a real-life mil-spouse friend; and I am happy to count her as such.  Hopefully we’ll get to meet up again soon!  I am so excited to bring you the guest post of another National Guard Spouse.  Kris is a wonderful blogger and you can find her over at The New Normal, which was also a finialist in this years Mil-Bloggie awards!  Go Kris!!  She brings a great perspective that I know so many others out there experience.  They are a traditional National Guard family, and also joined up after marriage, which I think is a whole different ball game.  She didn’t marry into this, this was a post-marriage decision and I think that’s pretty amazing.  Anyway, I could go on and on……but I’ll let Kris.  Enjoy!

That’s me and Kris rockin’ the white shirts, and another mil-blogging pal!
         Hello!! I’m Kris from The New “Normal.” Thank you, Rheanna, for allowing me to guest blog today about our crazy military life! We are an Army National Guard family living in the lovely Midwest. My husband and I have been married 11 years and we have been an Army family for just about 5 years now. It’s definitely been 5 years full of ups and downs with the military, but it is a part of our life that I wouldn’t change for anything and despite all of the obstacles, it has been one of the best decisions that we made as a family.
        When I met my husband, he had mentioned the fact that joining the military was something that he has always dreamed of doing. Having no one in my family or circle of friends with any military experience, I thought he was crazy. Why would anyone want to do that? That was back in 1997. Fast forward to September 11, 2001. We had been married a couple of months and after that tragic day, talks of my husband’s wish to join the military resumed. Sadly, as a selfish new wife, I did not want to think of my husband in that role and put him off a little longer, saying I wanted kids first. 6 years and 2 kids later, my husband finally told me, “If I never join the Army, it will be something that I regret for the rest of my life.” I knew then how much it meant to him and I fully supported his decision, so at 27 he headed off as the “old man” (as the drill sergeants called him!) to Basic Training for the Army National Guard. They say hindsight is twenty-twenty, and in this case I couldn’t more agree because knowing what I know now, I wish I had been more supportive of my husband’s military dreams when we first met. When it comes to the Army, he excels and it is his passion. And in turn, it is something that I love for our family as well.
My husband decided to join the National Guard rather than Active Army because of family ties. He is an integral part of his family’s small business and did not feel like he could completely walk away from the civilian side. We had also established a home in our current city and he did not want to disrupt our family life. He saw joining the Guard as the best of both worlds; he could fulfill his duty with the military while remaining in the civilian world at the same time. This has been a decision that we waver on constantly and at many times wish that we had chosen to go Active Duty when he first joined. There are many benefits to being a Guard family – we do not have to move every few years, we choose where we want to live, my career can thrive – and I am grateful for those opportunities.
Life with the National Guard also brings about difficulties that at times are very frustrating. My husband’s current unit is located two hours from our home. Due to this, I do not participate as I would like to in the FRG and other unit events. I am one who loves to get involved and get to know people. Since many of the Soldiers in the unit are spread all over the state, the families rarely have the opportunity to get together, which made the deployment difficult for me. I wanted to reach out to the other wives. We all needed support but with there being such great distances between many of us (and a non-functioning FRG at the time) we found that extremely difficult. This made the time during our recent deployment very lonely and isolating at first. I felt like I was the only on going through this situation and that no one, try as they might, really understood what our family was going through. Thank heavens for all of the wonderful milspouse bloggers who became my support network during this time! Without this amazing community, I know I would not have survived our deployment as well as I did!
We find that being in the National Guard is a strange occurrence to many people around us on the civilian side. Many do not know just what they Guard is and we are asked lots of questions. We have found that most think that with the Guard, you do not deploy often, or at all, and that it really is just one weekend a month and two weeks a year. It always makes me laugh when people ask about that, as in the 5 years that my husband has been with the Guard he has been away for training for close to 3 years of that time! After the deployment, most people assumed that since he was not active Army that his returning home meant he has fulfilled his service obligation and now he was done. They were shocked when we would tell them that he wants to make it a career path and that he will definitely deploy again. At first I found the questions very frustrating, but then I began to realize that people asked their questions mostly out of genuine curiosity and that I was just like them once. Now I answer honestly and attempt to give them a better picture as to what the National Guard is and does. 


Life with the Army National Guard brings its challenges, but “the grass is always greener on the other side” and I know that Active Duty Army has its many difficulties as well. Despite not being located near my husband’s unit, a base, or other military families, I do enjoy that we do not have to move every few years and our kids can remain in the school and house that they have always known. At times I do wish we could move around the country or overseas, but then again I have never had to deal with a PCS so I really have no idea how difficult that is! I love the fact that we are a military family but can still remain with our feet in the civilian world as well. I am proud of my husband and the choices that he has made to serve this country. It’s been a crazy 5 years, but years that I look back on with fond memories and cannot wait to see what the future years will bring!
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Month of the Military Child Giveaway!

Well April is almost over, how did you show your appreciation to the Military child in your life? We did a lot of family tim with the kids, which we try to do anyway when Daddy’s home. I think once the kids are older we’ll really be able to do something specifically special for them in relationship to their military service. Its kind of hard I found when they are five, three and six months old. LOL! I never really thought much about it, but their concept of our military life is fairly innocent and my three year old has no concept of it really – other than recognizing the “army men” walking around her everywhere (Yes, all uniforms are Army men). If you would like more information or to search for ways to assist the military child in your life please check out my ‘Military Resources’ tab. As a close to the month of April I have a wonderful review and giveaway of two wonderful products geared toward the military child. And let me just say, first off, that was so honored to be a part of these two items and, now, share them with you.
 The first item is Cooper and Me and The Military. I absolutely love this book, but I love the story behind Cooper and Me almost more. Here’s a little bit about the Cooper and Me books. In 2010, 11-year-old Alexa Peters, along with her mother Monique Peters, found a meaningful way to turn her passion and love for writing and drawing into an opportunity to “give back” to other kids. Starting at a very young age, Alexa created illustrated stories about her daily experiences, and from the pages of her sketchbooks came the idea for her first book, Cooper and Me. The story of a little girl’s fears about starting school evolved into a timeless tale about overcoming separation anxiety and trying new things – basic emotions all people experience throughout their lives – but this time, written by a child, for children. As retold in Cooper and Me, Alexa’s own story had a “happy ending” – a clever, compassionate solution that involved taking a small replica of her beloved pet to school with her. The first book introduced the family’s real-life dog, Cooper the Labrador Retriever, and the mother-daughter team began imagining a series of stories featuring Cooper that would engage little kids while guiding them through the ups and downs of daily life. In addition to the original Cooper and Me, four more story books are set to publish throughout the next twelve months, all containing relatable life lessons inspired by Alexa’s experiences, with illustrations based on her drawings of Cooper. To enhance the fun and learning potential of the series, each Cooper and Me story is accompanied by three original, infectiously upbeat songs and narration. The music is written and performed by Bridget Mason Doran, a music educator and founder/owner of Tiny Tunes. Team Cooper was further expanded with Jennifer Scarpa, who brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience from public school programs that address social/emotional learning. Jennifer and Monique met while collaborating on other education projects and soon realized they shared a vision for helping children develop the skills and resilience to handle various life experiences. To ensure the series reflected Cooper and Me’s core mission, Monique and Jennifer set up an educational advisory panel to oversee the development of the books’ supplemental learning components for children and adults. The panel consists of Karen Lunny, who also serves as editor, Ann Mele, and Carolyn Olivier, all educators with a passion for early childhood learning. The Team Cooper creative team is rounded out by Nicolette Pappas, a contributing writer to the Cooper and Me series, and Christie Holmes, our art director, also known as the Iconista. Christie has retained the charm and spirit of Alexa’s original drawings as she has extended their use to the website and other graphic applications.

What an amazing story. Cooper and Me is also dedicated to Philanthropy and that is another amazing part of the Cooper and Me Story. This is a sweet little story that is great for lots of ages. My five and three year old sat and listened to the story and both were able to understand what they story meant and how it related to them. They recognized the uniforms and both commented on how that was like Daddy. The drawings are simple and sweet, with great colors. I love this book and its a great addition to our military books for children. I highly recommend you add this book to your collection. One reader will have the chance to win this book below. Buy it: You can buy a copy of Cooper and Me and the Military here for $12.95

The next it is a new item from a company called Troop Paws. I was contacted by Troop Paws to review a new product aimed at Military Children. Here’s a little bit about Marlene and the Troop Paws company.

 I understand the importance of giving back, which is why for years now I have been baking cookies for the troops as a sign of support for our servicemen and women. My passion for our brave troops led me to a factory that manufactures uniforms for the military. It gave me the idea to create a stuffed animal for military families and friends. The courage of family members left behind is so admirable that my hope is that loved ones find strength and comfort in this personalized keepsake. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Folds of Honor Foundation and Treat The

For years Marlene has been devoting her time to making life for our men and women serving overseas, a little sweeter! I really love that not only is this company is devoted to Military members and their families, but it doesn’t stop there. She just keeps paying it forward by donating a portion of the proceeds to Treat the Troops and Folds of Honor. Please check them out as well. Here is what I received from Troop Paws:

This is an alternative to some of the other similar items out there for kids. I’ve seen lots of things that are like this, but NOTHING like it. I love that it is a dog first off! My kids thought it was pretty darn cool – a dog with daddy’s uniform. And the little place to put a picture is the perfect height for my little guy on the floor. Its a great size, perfectly huggable, and way bigger than similar items on the market. It come with a collar and its own dogtag, with the Troop Paws logo on it. It is really super cute, amazingly made and it truly is a great product. It is available in Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine camouflage. Each one with an clear pocket for your Troops picture. Buy it: You can head to Troop Paws and order one for $29.95. If you are Navy you may be able to find yours at your local Naval Exchange.

But it:  If you don’t win or would like to go ahead and buy one for you or a friend TroopPaws have offerend a special discounted price to my readers but clicking here!

Win it: One lucky Cammo Style Love reader will be able to win a Troop Paws puppy in their respective branch camouflage. Good Luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My three Military Children…..

April is the Month of the Military Child and for me that’s particularly important because I have three!  There are over one million children with a parent or parents and at least 900,000 with one or both parents deployed multiple times.  There are lots of people writing about this this month, a few that I’ve read that I recommend are one written by the deputy secretery of defense for military community and family policy, Robery L. Gorden III can be found here.  Another one was actually a guest post on one of my favorite military blogs “Wife of a Sailor” and that can be found here.  And I’m sure, if you are a military blogger that you’ve run across your own posts about the topic.

April was designated Month of the the Military Child by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in 1986!  Recognizing the importance and uniqueness of a child with a parent(s) that serve is quite important and I’m glad someone recognized it.  We, as the parents that are home with the child when the Military Parent is not, face unique challenges that ordinary families do not face.  To deal with a parent that is constantly in and out is really hard.  Children, especially my kids age, have a really hard time understanding that.  My five year old is just really beginning to become fully aware of daddy being gone.  Its not that he didn’t understand before that daddy wasn’t around, but he’s become old enough for us to really explain it.  One of the last time’s my hubby was gone, like two times ago really, was probably the hardest one that we have ever been through.  I think that Brian was just at that right age where he was just become aware but he didn’t know how to handle or communicate his feelings.  He didn’t want me to leave him,  he would burst into tears, he was acting out really really bad.  It was horrible and I was trying to keep it all together.  That is one of the harder parts about being a military wife, that’s different than before you have kids.  You have to keep your emotions more in check when you’re a mom.  That’s not to say that you aren’t allowed to be sad, or cry or any of that stuff.  But you just have to do it differently when you have kids around, even small ones.  They are acutely aware of emotions, even if they can’t talk.  They can sense these emotions.  That particularly time we were fairly isolated which made it harder for me.  No family programs, no frg type stuff, no base community, and not a lot of people who were also gone had kids, or were even married.  That was hard.

Thankfully there are so many programs and other things available to assist you in this time in your life.  One thing that I utilized and loved was Sesame Street’s Listen, Talk, Connect.  Amazing stuff.  The people at Sesame Street Workshop did an absolutely wonderful job with that.  You can get some more information about that here.  

Operation Military Kids is another great thing to help out parents during hard times.  They have a great map and you can click on your state to find out specific things that are happening and that are available to you right close to home.  There’s great ways for older children to get involved, creating community awareness of specific issues they face, while also gaining leadership and public speaking skills.  There is information of summer camps available for Military children.  You can find out about Hero Packs, which is a great program that distributes backpacks in appreciation for military kids.  Lots of states involve non-military kids youths in that and each backpack contains a letter from someone their own age expressing thanks for their sacrifice during their parent’s deployment or service.  Programs like Ready, Set, Go! increase awareness and education and eventually lead to wonderful programs in schools.  One school actually initiated a support group, created by the School counselor after he went through Ready, Set, Go! training.

There are so many resources out there that its impossible to list them all but here’s a couple more to help out small children, Operation Top Knot – providing assistance to pregnant and new mommies whose husbands are deployed, and Operation Hug a Hero. I’m also a great fan of Hugs to Go dolls

In celebration of Military Kids, I’ve some special stuff planned!  First up is a review and giveaway of a great book called “Cooper and Me and the Military”.  You can find out more information about Cooper and Me on their website.  Check back for that coming up.  And who knows, maybe a couple other surprises along the way!

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