Monday, March 31, 2008

Army wife

I have been married to my husband since July 2000. He was a reservist when we married (we met the day after he returned from AIT) and went active duty right after our first anniversary. Our first duty station was Germany and since then we have lived in Virginia and New York and are waiting to find out what our next assignment is. Texas is home for both of us and we are hoping to get to Ft. Hood asap so that we will be close to family. My husband is currently in the process of applying for Warrant Officer and is hoping to become a helicopter pilot.

We have been through 2 deployments, the first began May 2003 and was a 15 month deployment is 1st AD. The second we are not finished with yet so I won't give details. I will say that the second is much easier for many reasons and harder for a few. Knowing what to expect can be a good thing and a bad thing all at the same time.

This blog will be a place where I share my thoughts, visions, wishes, resources and recommendations for other army spouses, as well as possibly a few thoughts for the service members themselves.

Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome and encouraged as long as they are polite!

My first suggestion for any Military wife is:

This is a useful reference. The author is the wife of a member of a different service but it is still very useful for those of us married into the Army. Very basic information presented in a straight forward and honest way. Warning: she doesn't pull punches so if you are looking for someone to tell you that it will all be great and you won't have to deal with the bad as well as the good then you don't want to read this book. But, if you are looking for some information about how to function in the military world as the spouse of a service member and some honest truths about this life this book is for you.

I suggest we all have a couple copies of this book so that we have one to loan to those new spouses we meet along the way! Enjoy

Learning a Second Language

Research has shown that the earlier children are exposed to a second language the better their chance of mastering it. Young children can learn more then one language and are able to distinguish between them. Some people worry that exposing a child to a second language at a very young age will cause them to have problems with English (or whatever their primary language happens to be). This is not the case, children who learn a second language often master their primary language quicker than children who only learn one language. They also often do better at reading and writing.

With my daughter we have started using the Muzzy language programs which can be found here. I purchased the multi-lingual set which includes five languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German) with four levels per language (Levels 1 and 2 on DVD and Levels 3 and 4 on interactive CD-Rom) as well as levels 1and 2 transcribed in all languages and workbooks for levels 3 and 4 in all languages. It also include the Muzzy doll and finger puppets of the characters and a DVD of all of the songs on the program.

My plan is to do Level 1 Spanish for two months (which we just completed), Level 2 Spanish for 2 months, then combine level 1 and 2 for two months, making 6 months of Spanish. Then we will repeat with another language (my daughter is not old enough yet for the cd-roms). There are 6 DVDs (about 15 min each) for each level as well as three vocabulary DVDs. I play 1 dvd a day (Mon #1, Tues #2 etc and Sun Vocab).

I never force my daughter to watch it but she often asks for it. I allow her to watch it in addition to her daily TV allowance and encourage her to watch it instead of other options.

She has started to use a few phrases and sings along with many of the songs. My goal for this program is the expose her to the language and lay the neural groundwork for later language learning that will be more structured.

I highly recommend this program for anyone with young children. There are many options of how to purchase it and they have additional early learning products that you may find interesting.

Comfort for your feet!

So, having FM has changed my thinking on comfort vs. fashion. Suddenly comfort is much much more important. I'm not going to be walking around in a sweat suit or anything but I'm definitely more in tune to what feels good on my skin and especially on my feet! When I first saw people wearing Crocs footwear I though, "no way, those are hideous, why would anyone wear them." Then I saw a friend (who happens to also have FM) wearing Crocs mary janes like these

They weren't too bad...maybe I could try a pair like that. I mentioned it to my husband and next thing I know a pair of black mary janes shows up in the mail! I put them on and I was instantly in love!

Not only does the FM give me pain in my legs and back but I have high arches and weak ankles so comfortable shoes are hard to find. I usually go for the chunky heeled look that supports my arch and just hope I don't turn an ankle (I do on a regular basis). I also hate to wear socks and any kind of shoe that feels constricting.

These shoes are so light and airy its almost as good as being barefoot. (The closest I've found yet). They are supportive in a way that lessens the pain in my back and also are comfortable for my feet and not so high that I turn my ankles. They have nubs on the inside of the sole that they say stimulates circulation, I'm not going to make a claim to that but if nothing else they give a nice little foot massage when you are walking.

I highly recommend a pair of crocs to everyone but especially to those with FM and especially if the pain is in your legs, feet and/or back! There are many styles and colors, something for everyone. You can see them all here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

About the Fibromyalgia

After 2 1/2 years of trying to figure out "what is wrong with me," and many doctors telling me "your fine" or "your just depressed," I was diagnosed on March 21st with fibromyalgia.

This difficulty with this disease is that they don't fully understand it and there isn't a treatment specifically "for" FM. As of now I'm on medicine for sleep and anxiety as well as to help control the pain. I also take a good multivitamin, feverfew (for headaches), Ginseng and Ginko Biloba for general health (disclaimer: ALWAYS talk to your doctor before starting any supplements). I am under the care of a Rheumatologist as well as my primary care physician. Is the website for the National Fibromyalgia Association Also has a lot of good information and resources for those with FM

I will document here helpful resources, book and treatments I have tried. While I hope those things that help me can be helpful to others always always check with your doctor before trying anything new.

About our preschool at home

One of the topics I will post about on this blog is the preschool activities that I use with my daughter at home and her progress and the success or lack thereof of the things I try. This will include product and book recommendations, helpful links and activity ideas as well as how I organize her learning. I am a firm believer in learning through play. Some direct teaching can be beneficial but the child's temperment, attention span and learning styles should be taken into consideration in deciding what activities to use, how to present them, how long they should last etc. A balance should be achieved between active and quiet time, child and parent directed learning, direct teaching and free play and all activities should fit into the child's natural attention span and end before the child becomes restless. Forcing a child to do an activity is useless and will result in the child resisting and dreading the things you have planed for him/her.

My main goal is to provide a framework for my child to achieve the next level of her development in a fun and exciting way. I want her to learn how to learn through questions and discovery as well as through my direction and her practice. I will build upon the skills she has by introducing a skill slightly harder then what she is currently doing and patiently repeating and reinforcing until she has mastered the next level.

Always follow the child's interests and current skills and use those to move your child to the next level. Remember, all children are different, the things that work for my daughter may not always work for your child but I hope to provide enough information for any parent to successfully and confidently help their child learn and expand to the best of his/her abilities during the preschool years.

My daughter is currently 2 1/2. I will be homeschooling my daughter for kindergarten and first grade at least so I will have several years of information to post about homeschooling here!

Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome!! Remember: HAVE FUN!!!!!