Friday, July 29, 2011

Resource Thursday: local cosmetology schools

Yesterday I got a (much-needed) haircut, blowdry, and style. I also got an amazing pedicure! Total bill: $18! How is that possible? All the work was done by cosmetology students from a local college. They typically offer low prices for the full range of salon services: facials, haircuts and styling, manicures, and pedicures. But my prices were even lower because they were reaching out to the wives in our battalion during our deployment as "Project Give Back." The project was developed by one of the teachers to remind the students the importance of being involved in the local community. So all the spouses in our battalion get a temporary discount on pampering, and all the students from the college were delighted to have some new clients and get some practice. The girl who cut my hair got step-by-step directions from her teacher, and she did a great job! Then, seeing how pregnant I am, she gave me an extra-long pedicure/leg massage treatment. It was WONDERFUL! They use all high-quality salon products. It was so great to relax without the kids for a little while, and everyone there was very friendly. I would definitely consider going again!
The school I went to was Miller-Motte School, which has locations around the country. I learned that the local Community College has a cosmetology school with a similar program. I'm sure you can find similar services in your town! Why not try to arrange an outreach program with local military units, like ours did? The spouses will thank you, and a happy spouse at home means a happy Marine, Sailor, or Soldier better able to focus on his job! :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011


In all the packing and chaos before a deployment, it's natural for some things to get misplaced. Apparently, this time that included our 3-year-old's birth certificate! For years it sat safely in our lock-box with other essential documents to grab in the event of a fire. Then one day my husband asked that I bring it to his office, because apparently even though she was in DEERS she was never entered into IPAC. I dutifully bring it to him, and make him promise to take care of it and return it promptly. That's the last time I saw it.
He claims he last saw it in our house, when he dutifully brought it home in a manilla folder, which at one point was in our dining room. I have emptied out the dining room, and there are no folders there. I don't usually touch my husband's work papers, but if I do there are only 2 or 3 places I put them. I have checked those places. No birth certificate.
At first we thought, "It will turn up, it has to be here somewhere!" and "it's not like a 3-year-old is going to need it any time soon, right?" Wrong on both counts. It has not turned up, and apparently this is precisely the document needed to enroll her in school this Fall! Awesome. So we are now on several waiting lists while I contact the Vital Records department in her home state and request a copy. I just paid $50 to hopefully get one here next week.
*Sigh* it's always something. But hey, if this is the biggest obstacle we've faced during the deployment so far, I'd say it wasn't too bad! Or too expensive to fix. Wonder what it will be next...
What's the worst thing you have even lost or misplaced? Did it eventually turn up?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Laying down the Law

We have been struggling for some time now with disciplining our 3-year-old. Honestly, most of the time, she is a pretty good kid--very happy temperament, likes to help out, can be really nice to little brother. But she also shows plenty of whining, resistance, and downright violence which is often triggered by seemingly nothing at all. Sometimes she just gets hyper, runs into a room, and knocks down brother. Because there's no clear cause, it's hard to consistently punish her.

My husband and I agree on the big-picture of discipline--we want obedient, respectful kids, we are ok with spanking, and we try to enforce the same house rules. But since I am with the kids all day long, I tend to "choose my battles" and only react over the big things, letting lots of minor whining incidents slide, or just giving them a snack or toy if it will resolve the problem quickly. When he's here, Dan has more of a zero-tolerance policy. He thinks that some behavior is just not acceptable, regardless of their age, the fact that they might be tired, etc. He is quicker to react and send Sophie to her room, when I would have just spanked her or sent her to time-out. Of course, the kids listen better to Daddy. He only needs to say things once-- I usually say them 3 times before I get a response. He gets sick of playing the bad guy, and tells me I just need to say no more often.

Since Daddy won't be back for quite some time, one resolution I am making for this deployment is that I need to get tougher on the discipline. Sometimes I am just being lazy when I ignore minor problems or don't bother disciplining the kids. It seems easier to ignore the problem and get back to what I was doing than to stop, get the story, lay down a punishment, and listen to the inevitable crying and complaining afterward. But I know in the long run this is not a good habit for me! And it is certainly not encouraging the kids to respect me and be obedient in the long run.

So, after some soul-searching and a brief period of feeling like an inadequate parent, I decided to write down our house rules. I made a colorful page with pictures beside each rule:
Listen to Mommy
No hitting
No kicking
No throwing toys
No whining
Share the toys
Wait your turn
Eat with a fork or spoon
Talk quietly at meals
Say "please" and "may I"

I went over it with Sophie this afternoon. We crossed out the bad behaviors, and circled the good ones. If she shows the bad behavior, she will get sent to her room. The good behaviors will earn her stickers on our sticker chart, (which is for another post). It seemed to make a good impression. She asked questions about the pictures, and I explained why it was or was not allowed in our house. Then we put it up on the fridge. Immediately afterward, I asked her to put a ball back in the playroom. She said "I will ROLL it. I will not throw, I will not hit, I will not kick, I will not whine. Daddy will be so proud of me!" I was impressed by that! I'm sure it won't be easy, but having the rules written down reminds me I need to enforce if any of them are broken. I don't expect a fantasy world, but I am hoping for some improvement. I'll let you know how it goes!