Above the Best

In April, I had the privilege of participating in USAACE’s Spouses’ Aviation Day (SAD) here at Fort Rucker!  The day gave some of us wives (spouses) a glimpse into what our husbands endure while here for flight school.

TRAINING SCHEDULE:

LRC (Leadership Reaction Course): We completed 2 “obstacles” or challenges that we had to navigate as a team and get through.

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LRC Completion Pic

EST: Electronic Skills Trainer or weapons simulator.  First we had to “qualify” on the range with our M4s.  Then came the fun part. 🙂  Melissa got to break out the big guns.  I jumped on the MK-19 quick, fast, and in a hurry!  Haha, the second room was definitely the most fun and we were “downrange” shooting up bad guys on a life size video game.  This was a fun portion, but I definitely like shooting outside on a real gun better.

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Shooting Range

Dunker/HOST: Helicopter Overwater Survival Training.  We didn’t get to do the actual dunker…BOO.  (I mean, hey, we all signed the release, big Army!)  We did “suit up” though and had to swim under water through a door and back up.  I have a newfound respect for the pilots/spec ops soldiers that navigate this course every few years for the rest of their careers.

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Green Team: She Hulks!

Helicopter Simulators: We saved the best for last!  Finally I was given the chance to “fly” a helicopter!  We started out with our Pre-Flight Briefing (where I had to educate them that there ARE, in fact, black helicopters in the Army) and proceeded to our simulators.  I chose a Black Hawk (Chinooks weren’t available…lame) in the simulator and even landed on the back of an aircraft carrier down off the coast of Destin!  (We won’t mention the fact that I also “crashed” or red screened it to play around!  We’ll leave the flying to Ryan.

Finally the day concluded with our very own graduation over at the Aviation Museum!  We all walked across the stage to receive our completion certificates and “Flight” Wings!

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Family Graduation Pic

Overall, I had an absolute blast and i’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such a fun event.  I can imagine how much work it was to put an event of this size on for the spouses and i’m so thankful to Fort Rucker and USAACE for giving us a day of fun (I mean, good – hard training!

Go Green Team – SHE HULKS!  “SMASH IT!!!!!”

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Home is where you park it!

Exciting news!!!! So, we did it and finally purchased our very own travel camper! We’ve been wanting one since we were married and frequently kick ourselves for not investing in one when we were running OCR’s monthly. Once we spent ENTIRELY TOO MUCH money on yet another hotel + boarding Yawkey for 3 nights  we’d had enough. We finally decided to put that money into an investment rather than hotels that aren’t worth it anyway.

We were able to break it in in and take it “out” last weekend for our first test run and already are in love. We can take Yawkey with us, the kids have their own books and toys handy and we still have our home away from home. We had the dealership throw in a lot of extras so we had to pay for less out of pocket and we purchased a lot of things for cheap through Big Lots and the dollar store to keep it simple.  I’ll post more later about some of our tricks/organization hacks that we’re following.

Being military we are blessed enough to be able to stay on any military installation for around $20 a night (give or take depending on the installation). This will definitely be easier and more fun for traveling…not to mention PCS time!

Here are a few pictures of our first adventure staying Engineer Beach on Ft Rucker, AL! MANY more to come over the years.

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Beginning of an era…SAHM!

We all have visions of what our future will hold (or at least what we dream that it will hold).  Mine always included the following:

1) Marrying a soldier and traveling the world (CHECK!)

2) Having boy/girl twins (CHECK!)

3) Being a stay at home mom (CHECK!!!)

4) Becoming one of the following eventually: A famous actress, a nurse or a counselor.  I still have the time and the ability to achieve one of those dreams when the kids are older, but I’m not worried about it. LoL  Who knows what the future will hold!

I’ve been so blessed that I was able to work and provide a second income for our family while being able to stay home with the kids.  However, it’s always been the end goal to be able to just stay at home and give them the time and attention that they so deserve!  We’d like to homeschool them, for how long we’re not sure yet, but I’m excited that i’ll have the time to do so!  Children grow up WAAAAAY too fast and I don’t want to miss a thing with them.  I’m so blessed that I have a husband who fully supports my desires and who works so diligently to provide for our family.

Not a day goes by that I’m not extremely grateful for this life that I’ve been given.  There was a time that I didn’t know if I’d ever meet the man of my dreams and have a family of my own.  There were many months that we wondered if we’d ever get to have children of our own.  If I don’t have to, then I don’t want to miss or waste a single moment or milestone!

“Not a day goes by that I’m not extremely grateful for this life that I’ve been given.”

Don’t get me wrong, this will be a huge adjustment for Team Grim, but we’re up to the challenge.  We’re working on paying off our debts (just car loans) and cutting back on our monthly bills, but we have a good feeling about where we stand.  I’m already feeling so refreshed and the kids don’t even have a clue what’s coming for them!

Stay tuned for even more adventures and “Tales” with Team Grim!

~Melissa

 

Flight School Family Day!

~ Family Day at the Flight Line! ~

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On the 16th of March, Ryan’s flight school class had their long-awaited family day.  Ryan’s Mom came up from Florida for the weekend and we all got to take a ride out to go watch Daddy fly “wop wops” (helicopters)!  It was his 7th week of flight school (5th actually flying) and we’ve been so anxious to see him in action in person… Talk about surreal!!

Once we followed the caravan out to airfield, we kept looking all around for his tail number that he gave us since he was one of the last helicopters to make it over to the stage field, and Grams and I both started crying once we finally spotted him coming in for his landing!  We got to see them hover, complete a few different landings, as well as completing their traffic patterns.  We are so proud of our pilot-in-training and all that is to come on this adventure!  All of the long nights, studies, check rides and tests will be worth it when he gets to have the coolest job in the military when he graduates!

SLIDESHOW:  Here are a few of our pictures/videos from the day.  We hope you enjoy!

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Confession Time

I’ve always wanted to be a twin mom.  I had the most wonderful expectations of the type of Mom that I would be and I was determined to meet every single one.  Pretty sure we’ve all been there and just smile and nod when we hear others make the same mistakes.  Then I actually became a mom…and a twin mom at that.  Guys, being a mom (or a parent in general) is a lot tougher than it looks!

It’s no secret that we prayed for Logan & Emma and went through our own struggles before God gave us our dream.  It took 3 failed rounds of  fertility treatment, 1 successful IVF cycle, many tears and heartache, thousands of $$, feeling like failures, judgments and negative remarks from family and friends, doubts about ourselves and our future and too many moments to mention.  But, looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.  We wouldn’t have Logan & Emma and our 4 babies waiting for us if we’d gotten pregnant any other way.  I wouldn’t be eternally grateful in the way that I am and know what a true miracle the gift of life is.

However, our struggles didn’t end when we had our babies like I thought they would.  I truly believed that going through so much heartache and infertility would make every moment absolutely perfect.  I thought that I’d be so grateful that I would never have to deal with anything like postpartum depression…I was wrong.  I wrestled with it for months because I didn’t want to believe that it was something else that I and my body failed at.  It wasn’t until Ryan called my doctor and kept the kids that I finally admitted that something was wrong.  Breastfeeding twins what felt like nonstop, hundreds of doctors appointments, working 20-25 hours a week from home, a spec ops husband that was gone 14+ hours a day and living off of ZERO sleep for months on end can take a toll.  I never wanted to admit that I wasn’t super mom, but guys, I should have admitted it a lot sooner for the benefit of me, the kids and my poor saint of a husband!  Our home has been much happier and life has continued to improve.

I’m also learning to listen to my body (and my husband).  As of the end of March I’ll be a full time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom)!!!!  I’m wicked excited and I truly feel that this is the best move for our family.  With a husband in flight school and two VERY active toddlers who want and need my attention, i’ll feel much better about everything.  This has always been my dream and has been the ultimate goal, but I always felt that I should be contributing financially.  But, taking care of kids IS a full time job and they need me more than my money.  (My Boston Terrier, Yawkey, is curled up with me agreeing) 😉

I’m admitting to all of this because it’s also been an insecurity for me.  We’ve been told by family members (and via hearing gossip repeated) that I “couldn’t handle” working and my kids…that I “Couldn’t take care of her own kids”…and that I “wasn’t meant to be a Mom” because of our struggles.  Well, I’ve been working at all of the above for over 19 months and kickin butt, if I do say so myself.  I did all of this while battling postpartum depression ZERO help from family that all seemed to disappear after the babies were born.  I was also so jealous of the people I saw on social media (a very, very dangerous thing to get sucked into) who had family and friends visiting, helping out with their kids or just giving them adults to talk to.  It forced me to lean on God and my husband.  Our “Team Grim” did it and we’re stronger than ever!!  Not everyone has a “tribe”, but I’m okay with that now.

We all have our struggles, our insecurities, our imperfections…but we all need to be a little more lenient with ourselves!  I guess I’m just here to admit that I have my own and I’m still here living to tell about it.  My kids still give me 1000 hugs and kisses a day and my husband still wants to come home to me every night so I must be doing something right!

~ Imperfect Melissa

Confession

 

Mama Bear

I never truly understood how opinionated people can be about your life until we got pregnant and had kids.  I mean, from family and friends to even perfect strangers on the street!  Of course we saw it a little with the infertility and inappropriate comments that were made.  You wouldn’t believe what we heard…and 90% of the time from people who had NO idea what they were talking about.  (Did you know that if you stand on your head while drinking kool-aid and burning incense and you never EVER stress then ALL of your fertility problems will magically disappear like your neighbor’s brother’s friend’s cousin twice removed?)  The “mom shaming” nowadays is out of control!  It seems that no matter what you do, people think you’re totally doing it wrong.

Ryan will tell you that i’m an OBSESSIVE researcher.  When we PCS or or look at career/school changes, and especially with infertility/pregnancy and the babies I have to read everything there is to know!  Of course, i’m not the expert on any of these subjects,  and babies don’t always fit the mold from books (shocker!)  but I fully believe that “Knowledge is power” so we take what I read and we made informed and educated decisions based on that information.

“Words of affirmation” has always been my primary love language.  I’m lifted up and truly feel like someone cares when they speak positively about me or those that I love.  On the flip side, this can be dangerous for someone like me to deal with the judgments and negativity that seems like is everywhere in this world.  I constantly internalize most of it and it’s often made me second guess my decisions.  It’s been a learning process to not let other’s negative opinions and comments affect me.

That’s where the Mama Bear Melissa comes in to play.  Everyone has an opinion on what we’re doing wrong: You shouldn’t vaccinate, or you need to let them CIO, or you need to stop breastfeeding and give them formula.  Enter Mama Bear!  For the first time in my life I feel such an intense need to protect our perfectly innocent babies from the world and I have the faith that the decisions that Ryan and I have made are appropriate for our family that I don’t much care for what others think of us.  I don’t need to change my mind because someone doesn’t agree or questions our motives behind our decisions.  There were only 2 people that created these babies (okay, minus the medical team’s assistance!) and we’re the only 2 that get the vote.  I’ve had my doubts as a mom, as i’m sure we all do at one point or another, but deep down I feel that i’m truly doing the best that I can and I pray that L & E will see this as they grow.

We never really had the support that we desired when going through anything that we’ve faced (good or bad) so it’s crazy to me when people show up when the cute, cuddly, attention getting babies arrive.  Don’t get me wrong, it hurt us a lot when people weren’t more involved when we were broken-hearted that we couldn’t conceive, or when I had problems or scares with the pregnancy, and especially after they were born…  We still have “close” friends and family that have not met our babies or who haven’t gotten to know how wonderfully amazing they are!  But it always seems that people don’t want to be present in your pain, but want to reap the benefits afterward.  I just always pray that any person entering my children’s lives has pure motives and won’t hurt my children later by walking back out.  My latest fear is the internet.  After seeing a few friends with crazy instances of their kids’ pictures being exploited, it’s so hard to be okay with social media.  I’m constantly torn between wanting to share in our joys and for our long distance family in Maine to see our babies and wanting to run screaming from the internet!  I know that we’ll still make mistakes along the way, I mean we’re not perfect after all.  However, we’re doing our best in the best way we know how to protect our family!

Fierce Mama Bear Melissa ❤

 

Fall Fun 2016 – First Pumpkin Patch

On October 15th, we took our first family outing to the local Pumpkin Patch at Madrac Farms.  We got dressed up in fall clothes and pretended that it wasn’t crazy muggy outside.  The South doesn’t exactly get a “Fall” or Autumn, but we were determined to have fun anyway.  We carried the babies around with us, got a couple of cute photo opportunities and even picked out some pumpkins to carve/write their names on.  Of course, we were stopped a lot by just about everyone telling us how adorable our babies are, but we never get tired of hearing that!  It’s definitely a neat thing about being twin parents and you always seem to run into EVERYONE else who happens to be twin parents.

The babies had a blast because they love being outside and there were so many new sights, sounds, and smells to take in.  Overall, it was a super fun afternoon and we were so excited to finally have our own little family to go on little adventures!  After praying for so long and wondering if we’d ever get these simple family adventures these moments are even more special to us!  We have so much to be thankful for as we head into Fall/Winter and the Holiday season. 🙂

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