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ALOHAEV1's Photo ALOHAEV1 SparkPoints: (154,261)
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7/25/10 8:57 A

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Thanks Nancy,those one price pkgs make a difference. Stuff as much heavy as you can! Don't forget customs!!!
Taking the batteries out is important, found out the hard way! Game turned itself on before leaving the PO, had to go back and repack and listen to a lecture. Fortunately they knew me otherwise I would have been further inconvenienced.
I used to send ovaltine canisters and powdered milk packettes. It is touching that our kids share the way they do. Our sons unit worked with locals and many of us sent extra just for them. Along with kibble for the K9's but check with them first. Sometimes they want specific stuff for our 4 legged warriors.
When my cousins grand daughter was there, we sent the crazy pjs or hangin' 'round stuff (her words) for them. AND those crazy skull nets or whatever they're called to wear under their helmets. She had a head of hair to be jealous of and this helped. Found mine at Sallys, didn't think it would be so hard to find. Also, made a bunch of those towel turby twists.

Kelly
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A smile is a window on your face to show that your heart is at home.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.(C.S. Lewis)

TRAVELGAL417's Photo TRAVELGAL417 Posts: 12,031
7/23/10 9:38 A

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Hints & Tips For Creating Or Sending Your Own Care Packages
Hints & Tips For Creating and Sending Your Own Care Packages
What To Send:
You should never mix food and hygiene or chemicals in the same package. Dedicate your care package contents to a specific theme like good eats, personal care, entertainment, electronics, holiday or comforts of home.
Popular Food Items include: coffee (no decaf), non-dairy creamer (flavored), beef jerky, cookies, crackers, nuts, chewing gum, dried fruit, macaroni & cheese, ramen noodles, hard candy, powdered drink mix, freezer pops, summer sausage (beef only), canned cheese, canned sweet corn, canned chilie with beans, cornbeef hash.
Get creative - find recipies for meals whose ingredients do not require refridgeration and fill your care package (remember to include the recipes) Also remember to put anything that might break open in transit in a ziplock bags (i.e. freezer pops)
Popular Personal Care Items Include: Foot spray/powder (medicinal types), over the counter medicine (cough & cold, allergy, decongestants, ointments, ...), toothbrushes, shampoo, bath soap, waterless soap, moisturizers & lotions, wet/baby wipes, sun block, bug repellent, deodorant, high quality shavers,
Popular Entertainment Items Include: Current magazines (cars, computers, hunting/fishing, guns, current events, history, gaming ...), books, music cds, DVDs, local newspaper or magazine, computer/video games.
Popular Electronic Items Include: Batteries (mostly AA & AAA), 220 to 110 voltage converters, battery chargers, small headphones
Popular Comforts Of Home Items Include: High quality sheets, fluffy towels, nice pillow, outdoor chairs (the folding kind), air freshener,
Popular Fun Stuff Include: Remote control cars, footballs, basketballs, state flag, board games, cards & poker chips, travel games, boxing gloves, costumes ... (all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy)
What NOT To Send:
- Obscene Articles & Comics (articles, prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, ... and horror comics)
- Any material depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items
- Nonauthorized political materials
- Firearms
- Pork or pork by-products
For detailed information on restricted items,for a specific APO/FPO Address check the USPS Military Mail Restrictions site at http://www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/ma
ilingrestrictions.htm
How To Package:
Priority Mail is the packaging of choice. The United States Postal Service has created a special "kit" that contains the necessary mailing materials for most items you may include in a soldier care package.
The FREE kit can be ordered by calling 1-800-610-8734, press 1 for English, press 1 again for express mailing. The kit contains 5 each of Priority Mail Box-4, Priority Mail Box-7 and Mili-Pac Tyvek envelopes, 1 roll of Priority Mail tape and 10 customs forms with envelopes
Dimensions for Priority Mail Box-4 = 7" x 7" x 6"
Dimensions for Priority Mail Box-7 = 12" x 12" x 8"
Dimensions for the Mili-Pac Tyvek Envelope = 12" x 15"
If the item or items you are sending will not fit in one of the Priority Mail Boxes, make sure you select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents and large enough to accomidate cushioning. If you are reusing a box, make sure to cover all previous lables and markings with a heavy black marker or adhesive lables even if you are planning to wrap the box in brown paper.
If you are sending anything battrey powered, be sure to remove the batteries and wrap separately
Be sure to add cushioning to your care package. The box contents should not rattle when you shake it. Good choices for cushioning include: newspaper, plastic grocery bags, bubble wrap and styrofoam
Be sure to seal the box completely. Tape the opening of the box and reinforce all seams with 2" wide packaging tape. Never use string or twine
Be sure to include a card inside the package (postcards depicting your home location are a nice touch) that lists your and the recipient's name, address and package contents to assist in collecting items that may fall open during shipment.
How To Address The Package:
When addressing your package, use the servicemember's full name, unit and APO/FPO address with the nine-digit ZIP Code as well as your return address.
EXAMPLE (bogus address):
SGT Johnny Freedom
HHC, 2-112 Armor, 56 BCT, 36 ID
APO AE 09369
Customs Form:
All APO/FPO ZIP Codes have a "B" restriction which states the customs form 2976-A is required for all mail weighing 16 ounces or more. In addition, mailers must properly complete required customs documentation when mailing any potential dutiable mail addressed to an APO/FPO regarldess of weight. You can print the customs form by visiting http://webapps.usps.com/customsforms/welco
me.jsp



Learning to let go is hard, but it gets easier. I am not getting older just better!
TRAVELGAL417's Photo TRAVELGAL417 Posts: 12,031
7/23/10 9:37 A

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thank you for comments. I spent a year sending packages to my son. What I found out, I would sent my son a entire box of shampoos etc that my husband would get from the hotels when he traveled on business. My son would give them to Uganda soldiers who are part of our allies in Iraq. They do not get the support in supplies from their country. The Uganda soldiers would then send the shampoo etc. back to their families b/c the families can not afford to buy this in their own country. The soldiers from Uganda were good people as my son said. He had many chats and worked closely with them at times. My son already made a point to share whatever he got. When a package came in, he would give soldiers in his unit first choice and then share with anyone who needed something. I even send him a 4" Christmas tree with all decorations - and gifts packages decorations glued to the tree skirt. they loved it. They put it in the main room where they would all gather b/4 each mission. He was so grateful. He left the tree in Iraq for others to enjoy. I would send a package about every other week.

Learning to let go is hard, but it gets easier. I am not getting older just better!
ALOHAEV1's Photo ALOHAEV1 SparkPoints: (154,261)
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7/22/10 10:57 P

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Again, Thank you Nancy and I hope everyone reads this.
Also even as a parent, rely on your friends (you got a bunch right here built in). Same goes to encourage the spouse to reach out to outside help.
Kelly

Kelly
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\/)"(\/
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A smile is a window on your face to show that your heart is at home.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.(C.S. Lewis)

TRAVELGAL417's Photo TRAVELGAL417 Posts: 12,031
7/21/10 4:18 P

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I saw this on Military.com and thought it was good for those deploying.

Army Spouse Shares Deployment Tips
July 16, 2010
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 15, 2010 - Sheet protectors, a frank discussion ahead of time and an 8x10 photo taped to the car seat -- these are a few of the tips Army spouse and mother Rebekah Sanderlin has come up with to help cope with family separations after more than a half-dozen deployments.

First: the sheet protectors.

"It is absolutely essential that the spouse at home has all the important documents in one, easy to find, place," the 28-year-old mother of two said during an interview with the Defense Media Activity.



Sanderlin points to sheet protectors and a three-ring binder as her go-to resource for birth certificates, Social Security cards, shot records, DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System) enrollment forms, physical forms, her marriage license, and photo copies of passports, driver's licenses and military ID cards.

Another tip she recommends: start early.

"Several months before the deployment" Sanderlin said, "the servicemember-spouse should begin transitioning chores over to the at-home spouse. She [or he] will be the one doing everything and it's best that all the kinks get worked out ahead of time."
It does not hurt to try and be a mind-reader either, she noted.

"Try to foresee possible problems," Sanderlin said. "I think it would be helpful for soldiers to pass a list around where they could give the names and numbers of plumbers, electricians, and handy men that they have had good experiences with. When it's the middle of winter and the wife comes home late at night to find burst pipes, she's not going to have time to check the references on a plumber."

While no military family wants to talk about it, Sanderlin recommends not putting off the uncomfortable discussions. Like those around planning a spouse's final wishes.

"Do not write that you want Guns N' Roses played at your funeral unless you really, truly, do. I've seen exactly that happen and it is not pleasant," she said.

"My advice is for the military couple to do this packet together; that way the spouse already knows all the wishes. My husband and I managed to lighten the mood on this a bit by discussing my wishes at the same time. That made the conversation a little less awkward. We also discussed what we would want to happen to our children in the event of both of our deaths," she said.

When it comes to children, Sanderlin said, it is all about advance planning.

"If you have kids, try to think about the deployment from their perspective," she said.

"What events will the deployed parent miss? Can you celebrate those or make accommodations before hand? We have had years where my son has had two birthdays – one way in advance, so that his dad could be there."

Sanderlin gave birth to both her son and her daughter shortly before two separate deployments. That doesn't mean her husband returned home as a stranger, though.

"Another thing I did with both of my children when they were infants was to enlarge a picture of my husband to 8 x10 size, basically a headshot, and put it in a sheet protector that I taped to the seat of the car," she explained. "That way, every time we were in the car they were looking at him. It worked! When he came home our kids instantly recognized him!"

There are also finances to consider, Sanderlin said. Whether one or both spouses manage the family finances when together, she said, it is a different situation during deployments.

"As for being organized, set a budget," she recommended. "Look at your normal monthly expenses and use that as a guide. The spouse at home will spend more money during a deployment. Expect it, accept it, and budget for it. If you create a new deployment budget - and stick with it - you can still save a lot of that extra money."

On a lighter note, Sanderlin said she has also "learned that deployments can be a great time to lose weight because I have more time to exercise and don't have to worry about cooking the foods my husband likes."

Overall, a military spouse's deployment is a difficult situation to understand unless you have experienced one, said Sanderlin.

"I don't think soldiers, for the most part, really get what a deployment is like for the family," she said. "When we give you that last hug before you leave, we are thinking that it might be the last time we ever see you alive. As casualties begin to occur during the deployment, we constantly wonder if you will be the next one.

"We freak out every time a strange car slows down on our street or an unexpected guest knocks on our door," Sanderlin continued. "It never gets easy, but all of these feelings are even stronger for young spouses or spouses enduring a deployment for the first time. There's nothing a soldier can do about any of this except to be aware and be sensitive."

With that in mind, she said, deployed troops should not tell their spouses about their near-death experiences.

"When you call home, do not tell your spouse about how you almost hit an IED or got shot at," Sanderlin advised. Such "what ifs," she said, will upset an already-anxious spouse.

"Try to imagine how you'd feel if she told you someone in the neighborhood was trying to kill her and you were helpless to prevent it," Sanderlin said. "In many ways, ignorance can be bliss."

Deployments put huge stresses on military families, Sanderlin acknowledged, adding, there is "just no avoiding it."

"Do not lose sight of the big picture. What really matters is that you come home, safe and sound, to an intact family," she said. "Keep your eye on that prize and make sure that all the choices you make help you get to that goal."

While such tips may be similar or the same, every military family is different, Sanderlin said.

"What works best, in my opinion, is for the spouse at home to look at her personality, her lifestyle and her responsibilities and make the best decision she can," Sanderlin said. "There are no awards given to spouses and no one will think higher of her for enduring more than she can handle, especially if the price of that endurance is her own sanity."

And, after years of deployment separation experience, Sanderlin has perceived one constant.

"Deployments suck, that's the main lesson and it has not changed from the first deployment to the most recent one, but there are some life lessons that I would not have learned without having my husband deployed," she said. "I am definitely a much-stronger person because of what I have endured and my confidence soars with each deployment.

"I also know that when the history of this war is written, I – and all the people reading this – will have done more than my part to help our nation and the world."


© Copyright 2010 American Forces Press Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Learning to let go is hard, but it gets easier. I am not getting older just better!
TRAVELGAL417's Photo TRAVELGAL417 Posts: 12,031
7/1/10 7:44 P

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Cooling vests are measured in the t-shirt size.
They are woren under the armour. My son had his and said it was very useful. He would wear his in his barracks b/c it was so hot also as well on patrol. I am not sure how it all works you might want to ask Deb whose web site I have on the other posting. she can tell you all about it. She sends a pair of them to the soldier or marine, etc. one for your person and he is to give the other for a battle buddy. I contribute monthly to her foundation. They are worth about over $300 and she gets them to your soldier free. She sends them directly to the soldier. You just have to provide an APO address, name and size. When he gets an APO address which will be in 3 weeks when he is in country. My son was in Iraq and he called it a sandbox. any one who services in Iraq or Afganistan she can provide a cooling vest.

Edited by: TRAVELGAL417 at: 7/1/2010 (19:44)
Learning to let go is hard, but it gets easier. I am not getting older just better!
DEBSPARKLES's Photo DEBSPARKLES SparkPoints: (0)
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7/1/10 7:13 P

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I haven't heard of cooling vests. Can you describe them to me? Also, would the size be OVER their body armour, or their regular size without it. Am I making any sense aat all? Jim leaves this weekend to go 'over the pond', as he calls it.

love, deb


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ALOHAEV1's Photo ALOHAEV1 SparkPoints: (154,261)
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7/1/10 11:36 A

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Yeah, Friday won't get here fast enough!

Nancy, thank you for such great words of advice and your last sentence says it all. I do hope all of our team sees this.

Perhaps others should see it as well, it might give them some insight as to why they all of a sudden are anti-social, etc.

Go on up to the Prayer thread, posted a couple of videos, one is a tissue alert the other one will count toward Nancy's 30 minutes (I've done it twice)
already.

Happy Fourth of July all,
Kelly

Kelly
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\/)"(\/
(_o_)

A smile is a window on your face to show that your heart is at home.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.(C.S. Lewis)

TRAVELGAL417's Photo TRAVELGAL417 Posts: 12,031
6/30/10 9:47 P

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Tell your son welcome home. Mine came home from Iraq in April and will deploy again next year. It sure is hard on us mothers. My son called me when he got in. He then surprised me and just walked into my arms and gave me the biggest hug and deep squeeze. Just a little warning my neighbors wanted to give him a party and my son did not want that. He just wanted to chill with his friends. He still does not like crowds and when in a car he is always on alert. He also started having flash backs. Just be patient with him - he will be changed from all of his experience. Enjoy him but let him talk about what he has done at his pace. My son was asked so many questions his first week back home that he told me that he is not talking to any one that has not been to war. they do not understand.

Learning to let go is hard, but it gets easier. I am not getting older just better!
ADIAMONDNTHRUFF's Photo ADIAMONDNTHRUFF Posts: 1,275
6/30/10 8:31 P

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My son just got back from Afghanistan, they are at Ft Bliss right now processing out. He will be home in my arms on Friday a.m. As for praying for him, everytime I thought about him I would say "Lord, please keep my soldier safe and all soldiers all around the world Amen"

Diamonds are only chunks of coal that stuck to their job!
ALOHAEV1's Photo ALOHAEV1 SparkPoints: (154,261)
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6/17/10 7:30 A

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Thanks Nancy for adding this, the more who see it will continue to support her efforts. I must again make this a tissue alert, her site is quite touching.

Any of you whose children are deployed, please let us know what we can do for them or you and your family.



Kelly
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(_o_)

A smile is a window on your face to show that your heart is at home.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.(C.S. Lewis)

TRAVELGAL417's Photo TRAVELGAL417 Posts: 12,031
6/16/10 8:18 P

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this is an update on how to get cooling vests for your soldier in Iraq or Afganistan. I contribute to the foundation.

****************************************
**********


To get the Cooling Vests you write to a nice lady, Debi WinE, and ask her for one. Tell her it's for your Son.
Here is the important information she will need to know to order one for him:
Give her:
1 - His Name,
2 - Mailing Address,
3 - Branch of Service, and most importantly,
4 - his SIZE.

I'm giving you the website address to the Foundation that she lovingly set up in honor of her Son, Trevor - - please make sure you visit that before ordering from her.

Cooling Vest orders are done via her EMAIL address, and that's here below too.
Trevor’s Foundation web link: www.trevorwine.com
This is Debi’s email address: debiwine@sbcglobal.net [for ordering & writing to her]

I hope this info. helps. Please let me know if you run into any snags.

Normally these Cooling Vests sell for over $200 - - - so this is quite a wonderful gift that the Foundation is providing for those who are so generously serving our Country. Hopefully the Foundation will not run out of funds before all these terrible wars end.


Learning to let go is hard, but it gets easier. I am not getting older just better!
ALOHAEV1's Photo ALOHAEV1 SparkPoints: (154,261)
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5/28/10 6:44 A

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Looks like we are becoming a team of sunny and sparkle...

Welcome to the team Deb, it's always hard to see them go more than once and sadly it seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Come by often!

May he and his unit stay safe.

Kelly
,-._,-.
\/)"(\/
(_o_)

A smile is a window on your face to show that your heart is at home.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.(C.S. Lewis)

DEBSPARKLES's Photo DEBSPARKLES SparkPoints: (0)
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5/26/10 5:09 P

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Hi everyone: I just joined this team yesterday when I read the topic "son deploying to desert soon!"

So is mine. He's an Army MP (reservist) and his unit deployed from Maine 3 weeks ago. Soon they will be in Baghdad for a year policing the area (they are actually combat MPs). Oh joy. This is his second 13 month tour in Iraq. So I will pray and hold my breath and try like the dickens to stay fit and healthy and lose weight before hee comes home. AND, I hope I'll be able to encourage all of you while we wait for our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, or Air Force members.. What do they call themselves, those Air Force men & women? God bless all our troops and God Bless us! love, deb, from Maine

love, deb


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KTANNAR's Photo KTANNAR Posts: 2,986
4/28/10 3:43 P

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My son is in Afghanistan now. I am really lucky he texts from a computer to my cell phone so I get a few short sentences a week. But it is great, it helps me to know he is ok.

A few things that have helped me while he is over there is 1. Turn him over to God. He is just as safe there as here, if God is watching over him.
2. My son said goal for afghanistan 750 miles 7500 pullups and 75000 crunches total before i leave. Well I can do that with him. Now I say I am much older and so I will aim for half the miles and some crunches. That puts me at 3 miles a day, 5 days a week.
3. I also setting other goals to have accomplished before he gets home. Like- Deep clean every room in the house. Eating healthy so I am strong for him when he gets back, a care package every month.
By doing that I change from worry to making myself stronger and being able to encourage him more.


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ALOHAEV1's Photo ALOHAEV1 SparkPoints: (154,261)
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4/26/10 11:13 A

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I'm sorry, did not see you hiding way down at the bottom of the page.

Wow you have a full plate with both children going in opposite directions. Come by often, you will find all the support you need right here.
Kelly

Kelly
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\/)"(\/
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A smile is a window on your face to show that your heart is at home.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.(C.S. Lewis)

FANTASTIC731's Photo FANTASTIC731 Posts: 2,906
4/22/10 8:40 A

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Mine is there now :(
Helping to protect us all :)

Hopefully, home soon...

Marty


~ Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way.

Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be. ~


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SUNNYARIZONA's Photo SUNNYARIZONA SparkPoints: (242,565)
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4/19/10 12:35 P

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BluestarmomX3! My son , in the ARMY, has been to Iraq twice, and Afghanistan once, and says he will be going back....makes me sick...but he only has 3.5 years to retire. I am hoping it comes real soon!

We will be there for you and with you!!

Here is my prayer that I said all 3 times for my son....."Lord surround him with Angels for protection and make him invisible to the enemy." God answered my prayer!

Hang in there! emoticon

MY NEW saying: (borrowed from Delila)

"If you want to do something, you'll find a way, if you don't, you'll find an excuse."


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TRAVELGAL417's Photo TRAVELGAL417 Posts: 12,031
4/19/10 9:53 A

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My son just came back from the sandbox. I will send my prayers to you and your son. Nancy

Learning to let go is hard, but it gets easier. I am not getting older just better!
BLUESTARMOM1 Posts: 1
4/18/10 5:18 P

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Need the support. I have an AirForce son going on first deployment to desert. He is trying to talk me into joining (at age 53!) the Nurse corp. Thinking about it. Daughter on way to China same time. Me on the way to Walmart to get hair dye!!!!!!!! YIKES. I need to loose 35 lbs. Love this idea of SparkPeople!

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