Monday, May 12, 2014

My Anxiety and Mental Health Experience

Gratitude Campaign Badge

It took me almost a year to go to the mental health services at our base's med group and I wanted to speak on my experience because this might help someone understand or give someone someone the courage to go.  The only time I've ever gone to a counselor was once before, while Ryan was deployed. I was a married, senior in college and the people that I ran to the most to vent about my problems were my sorority sisters.  Respectfully, they had no idea what I was going through and that's ok.  But I needed to vent to someone who was a third party. That one visit helped a lot during a time when I felt very alone in my experience. When I became a missileer, my experiences handling anxiety and stress changed exponentially.  I'm someone who takes high stress situations as an embraced challenge.  I relish it.  But this time, this was different.  My job experience was affecting every aspect of my life and this wasn't just the past few months, but the past year.  I'll try my best to express how I felt but the key words would be overwhelmed and hopeless.  I would study my ass off and still get questions wrong on tests or look completely idiotic in training


1// Home Improvement
Ryan and I spent a day this weekend exploring the aisles of Walmart and Target and even a bit of time last week at Home Depot.  We're reorganizing our craft/gun room and we're planting some veggies for this summer. I tried a plot in the community garden on base last year and failed miserably.  I would spend hours after alerts and training trying to get vegetables and fruits to grow but nothing worked. We're trying our own potted plants in our backyard this year instead. I'm hoping that awesome soil and easy access to water will be in our favor.  I even have a set of adorable mini planters for our kitchen window.

2// #redballoonsforryan
Last week my heart broke for the family of a little boy named Ryan. They're from southern California and through a horrible accident, he was hit by a truck.  The blogging community has always been a resource for news but this time around, it has been a source of support.  I have been wanting to have a baby for a long time and one of my favorite things about blogging is to see my online friends from this community grow and prosper with their beautiful families.  In a way, it builds up the anticipation to one day having a child and simply loving my friends with my whole heart.  To see a family lose a child was terrible.  Last week I also had my first termination hearing as a CASA.  It was strange to see this spectrum of parenting.  On one end you have a loving family who lost their child by the will of God.  On the other end, you have parents who are struggling to maintain their families.  To see that comparison was very emotional for me.

3// Wicked by Gregory Maguire
My book club (yep, started an actual book club) has Wicked as its May read.  I'm really enjoying it and I could definitely see why I had a hard time reading it when I was in middle school lmao.

4//Young Life
This week is Senior's Club where we get to dress up like senior citizens and we celebrate our graduating seniors.  In my short time being a YL leader, I have loved every moment of it.  I know I am meant to be a mentor for them, but I also feel like each one of these young adults have mentored me.  I'm hoping that my leave for this summer gets approved because I can't wait to go to Young Life camp!

5//Erskine Anniversary Games
I've planned and dedicated so much of this month to little activities and challenges to bring Ryan and I closer together.  This month's focus is not to overwhelm one another but to simply each other's company and to remind ourselves what is love.  We do silly games and goofy challenges, but each little moment offers an opportunity for us to simply be with one another.  It's also given us an opportunity to communicate more effectively.

6//Broken by Laura Hillenbrand
One of our anniversary month challenges and something I'd like to incorporate each month, is to read a book together.  Our anniversary book challenge is to read Unbroken.  We chose it because it shows a man's struggle as he overcomes adversity and since we're both military, we were really interested in this best-selling novel.  PLUS, Angelina Jolie is directing (?) the movie version.

7//Sole Hope
As the Public Affairs officer for Malmstrom's CGOA, I come up with events and projects that allow us to contribute and reach out to our local community.  Well we're going international with this month's project as we are cutting out shoes for Sole Hope.  They'll be sent to Uganda for children to prevent small insects, called Jiggers, from infesting their feet.  Anyone can help with this campaign and I highly recommend folks checking it out!

I love the show Smash but I wasn't a big of the start of the second season. However, I was on a long alert the other day and watched the entirety of season 1 all over again.  When I got home I ended up downloading the soundtrack to the songs that are actually part of the Bombshell musical.  Now I've got a window tab up for Hulu and I'm ready to tackle season 2.  The CGOA is also looking to do a musical fundraiser where we host a concert filled with covers of Disney songs.  My obsession with musical theater is only enabled ;)

I just started watching the show with Ryan and I love the characters of Hiro and Ando.  They're seriously the best! I love the idea of having super powers!!

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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Friday, May 9, 2014

Selfies with Blu


I have two German Shepherds, Holly and Blu.  German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) tend to choose a human.  Holly chose Ryan and Blu chose me.  It's kind of like they've chosen who their favorites are and while I LOVE both my dogs, Blu holds a special place in my heart.  When we got Blu, it was a few weeks after we moved to Montana.  He is this boisterous dog who is incredibly vocal.  I had never heard a dog that vocal in my entire life.  When he was a little puppy, he used to make this noise all of the time that sounded like a bird chirping.  Now that he's older, he creates crazy noises...kind of like the whale calls that Dory makes when she's "speaking whale" in Finding Nemo.  While incredibly entertaining, it can be annoying.  I like to think it's his way of "speaking" with us.  

Last year, a lot of time, money, and energy was spent on Blu.  He has a medical condition that hasn't actually been fully diagnosed.  We thought he had a version of incontinence and we believe it's a variation of it.  Essentially his bladder and sphincter muscles overwork themselves so that it's difficult for him to pee when he's out in the yard.  He was the fastest potty-trained puppy I had ever known but he would walk around the house and occasionally drip.  It was the craziest thing.  So after numerous vet visits to three different veterinarians, we decided to take a break.  Blu was becoming super accustomed to the vet and I felt bad for our baby.  We then decided to make homemade belly bands.  I made these "diapers" out of old bedsheets and big velcro pieces.  To add an extra layer, we use a baby diaper as a protective barrier.  We basically rip off the attachments and elastic pieces and lay it on the diaper before he get wrapped up.  Last summer, he spent so much time outside because we hadn't even thought of using a diaper system and when winter approached, this method allowed him to spend a lot more time indoors.  

Due to all the time he's spent inside, we've seen his personality flourish and it's so fun!  He's so big but he likes to sit in your lap...or on you.  He also loves to snuggle and bed times in our bedroom are his favorite.  He also LOVES food and even on his first few days staying in the house, he would fall asleep in the kitchen.  He hates linoleum flooring because his paws don't have very good grip and for the longest time would only walk backwards on them.  He can now walk forward and backwards.  He loves to craft with me.  While I'm making anything, he will lie down right next to me and play with the ribbons and fabric.  Often times he'll explore the craft room on his own and bring random things from my craft tubs.

I'm obsessed and he's a wonderful dog.  I feel so blessed to have him in my life :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

String Globe Decorations, Eggs, or Spheres of Awesome DIY

A few weeks ago, I got my craft on to decorate the outside of our house.
The result was fantastic, however, I recommend not using these marvelous "eggs" or "spheres of awesome" as outdoor decorations.
They will fall apart in the wind, rain, hail, snow, and mother nature's fury or that could just be Montana.

 You will need:
  • String in your designated colors of joy
  • Glue and flour to create a lovely paste
  • Some tap water
  • Bowl to mix this greatness
  • Balloons
  • Scissors
  • Paper towels or parchment paper to cover your surface

Helpful hint: See that glorious multicolor string? It didn't work so well with the balloons. I recommend using the other singular colors.

Blow up your balloons into your designated shape.  I wanted mine to be egg-like so they are pretty much at full capacity, however, if you want them to be smaller-use less air.

I experimented quite a bit with this.  For some balloons I used solely flour and water.  For others I used flour + glue + water.  I really like that last mixture.  It lasted through several of Montana's hellacious weather escapades.

 Cut several strands of string of various lengths and make sure they soaked in mixture.  Use your fingers to strain excess from them.

 Start tying around the balloon. 

Have your balloons sit out for at least 24 hours.  Mine sat out like this for 3 days.

Pop the latex balloon and voila- you have this glorious string egg or sphere or awesome.
They looked awesome outside but for all that work, I don't recommend leaving them out there.  If used indoors, it would make an amazing party decoration.
If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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Saturday, May 3, 2014

2014's Anniversary Challenge

The awesome thing about May for our family involves my mother-in-law's birthday and Ryan and my wedding anniversary!  Last year's anniversary didn't go so well...