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The Importance of Voting As A Military Spouse

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My husband and I had a date today. We usually have dates during the day when all the kids are in school so we don’t have to pay for a babysitter.

We decided to go vote! Ben will be starting school next week and the kids have off on election day so we figured that voting early would be a smart thing to do.

We both vote now in TN because that is where we live and we intend to be here for a while. As a Military spouse, I had been voting in KY until I switched it even though I only lived there one year. The local elections meant nothing to me. I wanted to have more of a say over what is happening locally. As a smart friend pointed out, when you have kids in school, it is a good idea to be able to vote in that area.

This November we get to vote for mayor and I am excited about that. I actually have an option about it because I am actually voting where I live. It is nice!

I know this isn’t something all Military members and spouses decide to do. A lot of people have ties back home either to their state or hometown. As much as I love California, I haven’t lived there since 2005 so I really don’t want to be voting there either.

After every election, there is always a lot of complaining. Not everyone wins so that is expected. But I wonder, how many of those people voted? How many times do we hear about an issue as a Military spouse and get frustrated over what the people in Washington DC are doing?  And I am not even just talking about the President. I think so many times we focus on who is in that role and forget about congress, even though they have so much power.

This November 4th we will not be voting for a new President but we will be voting on a lot of other things. We will be voting on congregational elections, gubernatorial elections as well as different amendments for different states. Here in Tennessee we are voting on abortion rights.

This election really matters!  This is not something any of us should be ignoring, Military or Civilian. Voting as a Military Spouse

Yes, the Presidential election is important but everyone should be voting in the non-presidential elections too. Do what you can to get registered and then research about the candidates. Find out what is going on where you will be voting and make a decision about it.

I think if more people did that, we would have a better system. If only 50% of the population votes, how do we really have the men and women the people wanted in office? If we as Military spouses want some changes made, one step is voting for the right people to get the job done. We can’t just sit back and let someone else have a say. We have the right to vote, we should be doing it, each and every election.

Even if the person we wanted doesn’t win, we at least did what we could to try to get them into office.

As a Military family, you can vote absentee if you don’t live where you are registered. This is great because you can vote from anywhere, I did it from Germany.

 

Here are some resources that can help:

  • GovTrack- Follow who voted for what and find out who your representatives are.

 

Are you registered? Do you vote in person or absentee?

 

Dear Asperger’s, You Can Shove It

IMG_7707My son has Asperger’s. We have known this for almost three years now. It has been a challenge for us, some days more than others.

I don’t have Asperger’s but I sometimes can understand why he feels the way he does. Why he gets so frustrated. I get it. Not 100% and not to the degree that he does but I can understand a little bit.

I get why he gets so frustrated when things don’t go the way he thought they were going to go. It is almost as if he wakes up every morning with a list of what is going to happen that day. And if things don’t happen the way he wants them to, he has a very hard time. Some days he wakes up not wanting to go to school. So then getting to school is a problem. It wasn’t on his “list.” The older he gets the more he will understand that there are certain things he has to do each day and school is one of them. We have already seen some improvement with that but still have a long way to go.

When it comes to food, he only likes certain foods. More than just one or two which I am thankful for but still, it can be frustrating sometimes. Like tacos. He loves tacos we make from home but try to offer him a taco from a restaurant and forget it. He has serious hate for Taco Bell too, which happens to be his brother’s favorite place to eat.

He has a few snacks he likes and wants to have each day. Apples, tortilla chips, milk and yogurt if we have it. He might eat crackers or goldfish but it depends. Carrots he will eat with dinner but never ever as a snack.

He can’t stand certain things and sometimes it seems quite random to me. But I am sure he has his reasons, even if we don’t understand them.

It’s hard for me as a mom sometimes. The other day he was having a lot of trouble with getting to school and I just broke down about it. Why doesn’t he get he goes to school each day? Why? It could be something as little as his brother asking him the wrong question. We can talk about it and sometimes he will tell me. That helps but it is still hard.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about how different things would be if he didn’t have Asperger’s. Then I feel bad because he is who he is because he has Asperger’s. He would be a different kid if he didn’t have it.

At the end of the day I know that he will be okay. He will figure out school and will eventually learn how to act right even if it is hard for him. He will start to figure out the world. But even so he will still struggle. He might always hate non homemade tacos and my never be able to get over it when someone says certain things. But hopefully he will be able to learn how to act and be able to handle it better than he does today.

Some days I just need to tell Asperger’s to shove it. To yell at it and tell it that it is making my little boy’s life really hard. But that won’t do anything but make me feel a little better. Because Asperger’s will always be with him and we will also be there to help him through it. The best way that we can.

Oktoberfest In Clarksville, Tennessee

oktoberfest in clarksville

A few weeks ago we decided to go to Oktoberfest in Clarksville, TN. We had gone back in 2010 and it just hadn’t worked out for us to go again until now. It was a little more than I wanted to spend but we had fun.

They had some animals out front so we stopped to check them out. Then we went into the tent to get some food. We could have bought a big German meal but we were just planning on snacks. Ben got his beer and the boys and I got some cupcakes and brownies. Then Ben and I and the boys shared a big pretzel. They had it all set up just like it would look at a German fest. We had been to a few of them during our time in Germany.

oktoberfest in clarksville

 

oktoberfest in clarksville

 

After snacks we decided to go check out the music and dancing. We got to watch a group dance a few different ways and it was nice to sit and listen to the music.

 

After that we decided to use up our remaining tickets on some more cupcakes. We went over to the children’s area where they had bounce houses and decided against it because it would have been $15 for our three to go in there. That just wasn’t in our budget.

oktoberfest in clarksville

 

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We went back into the music tent to listen for a bit, walked by the animals again and went back home.

I think next year it might be nice to get a babysitter and have Ben and I go at night to enjoy everything.

 

Have you ever been to Oktoberfest either in the US or in Germany?

Parenting Without Feeling Guilty

It is hard to be a parent without feeling guilty at some point. It starts when you are pregnant and never really goes away. For some reason we all want to be the perfect parent. We don’t want to make any mistakes. We want to do it all right and we don’t want to be judged.

No matter what choices you make, there is always someone out there that would say you are making the wrong one. You really can’t win. For every parenting choice you make, there are a ton of articles out there that say you are wrong and just as many saying you are right.

IMG_8555What’s a parent to do about all that?

I think we should ignore it!

If I could do anything over again it would be to do what I feel is right and NOT feel any guilt for it. This is hard though. We moms want to know that we are making the right choices and sometimes it is hard to know what that is.

I always wanted to breastfeed. I worked so hard to do to it with my oldest and we made it to 17 months. So when I was faced with a decision to give my 2nd little boy formula at 9 months because he wasn’t growing like he should, I did what I thought was best. Maybe I was wrong, maybe I wasn’t. I don’t know. I know that once he started getting the formula he started gaining weight.

Did I feel guilty about that? Yes. Should I have? Probably not. Although I still think breastfeeding is the best way to go, sometimes formula is needed and sometimes it is just the way it needs to be. Does that kick me out of the pro-breastfeeding club? Maybe, but I have learned that it really doesn’t matter.

Guilt comes at all different times on our parenting journey. Sometime it is warranted yes, most of the time it isn’t.

How should a mom decide what is right and what is wrong? How are we supposed to know what to do? It is easy to have parenting ideals but what if they don’t add up to reality? What if life gets in the way? How do we know what we should hold onto and what we can let go?

When it comes to my kids these days, I try to do what is best. I try to do what is right. I read advice about what different people have done and go from there. And depending on the situation, sometimes I am okay with being wrong. Of learning a lesson through it. Because sometimes, it is really hard to know what is best for your child on a particular issue. And no one else can really tell you either.

So when guilt comes up, look at why you feel that way. Are you doing the best you can? If so, there is no reason to feel so guilty about things. I don’t think our goal should be to become a perfect parent.

I think our goal should be to be a good parent to the children we each have. And that is nothing we should feel guilty about.

Do you struggle with feeling guilty as a parent? How do you deal with that?

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