Archive for Military Spouse Chat

Time Out For Veterans!

Kimberly van diepen, stampin up, stampin up demo


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Yesterday and today I'm taking a time out to simply thank our veterans.  I'm lucky enough to even have one in my home and my family is quite military strong! My Dad, my grand-father, my father in law, my brother, my brother in law, my uncle, my husbands uncle… they have all served!!!

I'm so incredibly thankful to all the service men and women that have sacrificed their lives for our freedom and safety.  The sacrifice is not just on the front line either.  The sacrifices are much deeper.  As a military wife I can tell you the sacrifices are MUCH deeper.  The months or years away from loved ones is just one of many.  This is the one that goes deep with me.  The time away from family is so hard.  Don't get me wrong, as a family we are SO proud of our soldier! We stand tall when we speak of him and the sacrifices he makes but even I couldn't understand the scope of that sacrifice until he came home.   Especially in today's military and especially where they are fighting.  Years ago when my Prince deployed he was based on a ship flying jets off the carrier.  I never thought he was in harms way. My only worry was his safety when flying an OLD jet. Our children were young and couldn't understand the deployment.  Time was not an issue because they couldn't understand it.  6 months = 1 week to them.  Of course this was very different for Russ.  He knew all the things he was missing  with his children.  These men are the best at compartmentalization.  Basically, put it away and revisit it when the deployment is complete.  They have a mission.  Fast forward to this last Iraq deployment and boy oh boy are the sacrifices deeper.  Our children are older and understand so much more.  Time is understood.  War is understood.  These things make a big difference in how they deal with it.  

My Prince has now been home almost a year from Iraq.  The first two weeks he was home it's like a honeymoon all over again.  We are happy he is home, safe and in our arms again.  We all know the honeymoon doesn't last forever. Eventually the sacrifices start to surface.  The time lost is apparent. We need to integrate the family back together.  The kids and I had become independent while he was away.  The things we had always relied on Russ to do we found a way to get it done ourselves.  The man of the house was a 10 year old.  He watched over his mama with everything he had.  He wanted to make his dad proud and keep mama safe.  This is fine until DAD comes home and he still wants to be the man of the house.  Our the bitterness a child has for "feeling" abandon by his dad.  These are real situations that occur and they are sacrifices both the soldier and his family make.  My Prince had many adjustments to make as well.  Sudden loud noises made him jump (fear of a rocket launch).  Even something as silly as not wearing a gun on his side daily was an adjustment.  It took time for him to feel "needed" again in our home.  When a problem arises I felt compelled to take care of it, forgetting he could do the same.  I didn't give him that chance.  

The last 11 months we've had a lot of "family" meetings.  I like to call these our "come to Jesus meetings!"  After all this time we are finally feeling like our family is moving forward.  When Brandon feels a problem, he now runs to his dad for the advice.  Brandon can cry on HIS shoulder when he has a heart ache.  Alexis doesn't cry at the drop of a pin. I feel relieved to give up the independence and let him take care of US now.  This is BIG progress. I didn't think this day would come.  My Prince and I have always had a rock solid marriage.  Communication has never lacked—> until this last deployment.  I would be lying if I told you it was peachy keen.  What I have learned from our own situation is patience.  It's not one of the characteristics the good Lord gave me. I've learned over the last 11 months to have patience and learn from the situation.  I've learned to help others in the same situation.  I've also learned gratitude. We are grateful he is home and safe. I'm grateful that our family can recover from this situation.  So many families DO NOT.  We wonder why the divorce rate is so high?   I've learned to look at every veteran around me and always say a huge thank you to them. They have a story. They have made the ultimate sacrifice.  I am truly grateful for their service.  

Lastly, I love my Prince more today than yesterday. I'm a very proud wife and our children are proud too.  Thank YOU for supporting and uplifting my family for so many years.  Your support and prayers are always felt.  

On the lighter side… If you ask Brandon today which branch of service his dad is in he can now tell you "NAVY!"  He has told people for years he's in the Air Force. LOL.  I guess "flying" means Air Force.  

Happy Veterans Day to all the Men and Women who have served this great country!

XOXOXO- Proud Navy Wife!

24 Years!

Today I have something exciting to share and I hope you don't mind.  As most of you know I'm a military wife, but did you know I was a military brat too? Yes, I moved all across the United States growing up with my Army family.  My dad's last duty station was in St. Louis, MO.  That's where I completed High School and my dad retired at the same time of my graduation.  Two weeks after I graduated my family moved to Pensacola, Florida. I was SUPER mad when we moved and thought my parents ruined my life.  LOL.  I survived that move! I was only 17 when we moved.  Pensacola is where I call home or when people ask, "Where are you from?" I tell them Pensacola.  24 years ago the only way to "stay in touch" with my friends was to call or actually use pen and paper to send a note.  I know, GASP! I was a bad friend and didn't really stay in touch with any of my high school buddies.  It makes me kinda sad.  However, with Facebook and many more social media outlets I've been able to connect with a few.  Which brings me to my happy post… Today I was able to spend time with a high school friend that I had not seen in 24 years.  My cheeks hurt from smiling. We chatted for over 2 hours and I loved catching up on the last 24 years.  Not much has changed except we are both proud military wives, each have two kids and we both LOVE to go antique shopping.  I am so excited she is just a few miles down the road from me and now we can pick up where we left off 24 years ago.  I've always said never say good-bye when you are a military dependent or spouse because somehow or someway you always see someone again.  It's a good thing.

Today I have two quick shares.  The card I have for you today was "sprouted" by my friend Cathy.  We did a late night chat last night and she shared a beautiful card she made that was inspired by the Mini Occasions catalog on page 15.  I loved it so much I wanted to use some of the elements from it.  Here it is:

Kimberly Van Diepen



Kimberly Van Diepen Stampin' Up! Demonstrator



The main element I was excited about was the Window Sheet and the pearls.  It just looked elegant.  Super easy card and even easier when I used my Heart Framelit Dies.  I love the Framelit Dies and how they nest.  I used the Take it to Heart stamp set #12522 and then added a few ribbon pieces and the sentiment comes from Fabulous Phrases. 

Lastly, I have a Digital page to share.  I am using a download that was new yesterday.  The frames are SUPER SUPER cool. 

Kimberly Van Diepen Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

Here are the downloads I used for this layout.  I encourage you to use the Candid Frames. They are AWESOME. You can visit my Digi Store HERE


Candid Frames
Vintage Overlays
Circle punch
Daffodil Brad
Honey Script Font
Dotted Scallop Ribbon Punch
Curly Label punch
Designer Kits/Number One/Number One – glass rings
Number One DSP
Hip and Handsome Overlays


Okay, for those of you using My Digital Studio, what is your FAVORITE download so far? I would love to know. 
I hope you have a GREAT Wednesday.  I'm off to run the kids all over town. Oh BOY!


Fresh and Vintage

Fresh Vintage Stampin' Up!



Fresh Vintage Stamp set, Stampin' Up!


Good morning stampers!

I'm sitting at my desk waiting for little snowflakes to fall from the sky.  They say it's in the forecast today.  We'll see if the weather guy gets it right today.

Wanted to give a quick update on how we're doing on the home front and then share my little card I have for you.  Some of you have asked how the transition is going and if the Prince was doing okay.  I'm happy to report our little family is doing very well.  There have been many bumps in the road but the big picture is GOOD.  Brandon and Russ are still trying to mend a few wounds from his absence but I can see it's coming along quite well.  Russ jumped in with both feet helping Brandon in Cub Scouts and school activities and it's just what Brandon needed.  You can still see the angry face on Brandon at times but that will soon heal and the one thing that never changed is the unconditional love from both of us.  Both of the kids made it into the school Spelling B last week.  Russ was able to take off work to see the kids in action.  We were so excited to tell the kids that Russ was able to get the time off.  When I told Brandon that he was coming he started to cry.  I didn't understand at first and then he said, "Mama, if he comes and I misspell the first word Daddy will have wasted his time.  This prompted a quick family discussion on EXPECTATIONS. I quickly lowered the bar and it seemed to take a ton of pressure off both of the kids.  Who knew? Russ and I were just over the moon they had MADE it into the Spelling B and we drove this point home to both of them.   Both of the kids did great. Brandon took 4th place in his age group and Alexis took 3rd place.  Needless to say, our cheeks hurt from smiling that day.   Russ has also been busy having tea parties with Alexis and is helping her build and craft together "stuff" for her American Girl Doll.  I love it. The time he spends with the kids gives me time to step away and let them be with just him.  It's been harder than I thought keeping my nose out of their business because I've been the one parent in control for so long.  I know that the time they spend together alone and without my 2 cents is good and the kids see that DADDY is BACK. Again, thank you for asking about my little family. 


Now, let's chat about stamps!

Boy oh Boy I love how this stamp set, Fresh Vintage compliments the Everyday Enchantment Designer Paper.  It's so beautiful and the Poppy Parade cardstock is what made this card POP.  I used the pretty Everyday Enchantment Ribbon & Brad pack as well on this card and of course I HAD to throw in a little First Edition DSP.  It's clearly an addiction.  The Ribbon and Brad pack is a FREEBIE item from the Sale-a-bration catalog. The brads are super cute and the ribbon is pretty and delicate. The sentiment Inspire, Create, and Dream comes from the Loving Thoughts stamp set. GREAT set if you like to make banners.  It's a perfect fit. 

Lastly, here is a little MDS news!

There are new beautiful My Digital Studio downloads for you to see.  Click HERE to view them. Download your FREE copy of My Digital Studio today. Click HERE to get it. I'm getting ready to work on Valentines using My Digital Studio.  I will share once the design is complete.  There are MANY great downloads to use for Valentines Day.  If you are local to the Northern VA area I just put an MDS class on my schedule.  You can check out my class schedule at the top of my blog.  It's finally been updated and more classes are coming.  I can officially say… "She's back!" 


I see a few snowflakes falling.  Looks like a peaceful day. 

Have a FANTASTIC day!

When I Grow Up…

It's a common phrase I hear from my kids.  Every time they tell me what they want to be when they grow up, I have to giggle inside.  The reason I giggle is because they are SERIOUS about doing some of these crazy things when they grow up.  You are probably wondering what in the world sparked this post?

Meet the newest, "Mama, When I grow up…"

Brandon the Musician!

Kimberly Van Diepen, Stampin up demonstrator



Yesterday we went to the music store to rent his violin for school. He was really excited to play strings this year and give it a whirl.  When we walked into the music store Brandon was overwhelmed at all the instruments and came to the grand conclusion he wanted to be a musician.  Mind you the only thing he has played is spoons on pots and pans! I patted his shoulder and told him, "Absolutely!"  Inside I was jumping for joy and excited that we were making progress over the previous ideas he had come up with. For instance, he loves seeing the Wal-mart Greeters and  HE felt like this would be the perfect job for him.  He says to me, "Mama, they don't move very often and they just smile a lot. It has to be the best job ever!"  I just nodded my head.  The last job he was SUPER excited about was being a grocery store bagger.  When you go to the commissary on base you have baggers that work for tips.  You always get a bagger and you better pray you have a few single dollar bills on hand.  Well this particular day I didn't have any single dollar bills so I tipped the man a $5 bill.  We got inside the car and Brandon says to me, "Mama, this is exactly what I'm going to do when I grow up!  He just made a fast $5 for just putting a few groceries in our car!"  I nodded my head but also explained to him I was STUPID to give him that much.  He was exactly right, they barely do anything.  Sigh…

I hope you can tell me your children have these same aspirations or at least similar?  I'm waiting for him to say he wants to be a Vet or Pilot? Maybe a Dr.? Nope, just a grocery store bagger. 

Meanwhile as Brandon becomes a musician I'm on the lookout for ear plugs.  The noise that the Violin makes right now is pretty retched.  It's a very squeaky sound and he moves the bow in a fast motion making the hair stand up on your neck.  I'm usually pretty good about giving him positive feedback but I'm afraid my facial expressions may be telling another story.  

Hope your day is filled with good things. There is always something good here. 


You Did it TWICE, Kimberly?

It's time to add another chapter to my overloaded book.  This chapter could be the most embarrassing one to date.  You won't believe it and I hope you are sitting down when you are reading this.  It's okay to laugh… no worries. 

Sunday was another beautiful day here for me and the little gems.  Kids were busy playing outside. I was busy cleaning my house. Normally I would not categorize cleaning as fun but I was cleaning and decorating my house with fall accents. That is kinda fun. My domestic goddess activities did not just end here.  I had a roasting chicken in the oven, other fun additions to our dinner and dessert.  WOW.  I was on top of all the laundry… Really? Does a day get any better? UGH!

We sat down at the table to eat dinner and Brandon  spilled his tea on his lap on accident.  No biggie at all. This kinda stuff does not bother me.  I just told him to strip down to his skivvies and put his shorts on top of the washer so he can finish dinner.  He did exactly that.  Once dinner was complete I cleaned the kitchen so it sparkled.  I needed to finish laundry too.  I only had one load left and needed to transfer my load to the dryer.  I did JUST that. 

About an hour later is when I almost fainted for the second time in a three week period.  I needed to transfer the clothes from the washer to the drier again.  Do you know where this is going? Much to my surprise when I opened the washer door I was eye to eye with Brandon's iPod again.  Yes, the one that was just washed two weeks ago and works perfectly. How does this happen twice? I let out the scream that the kids remembered from last time and they ran down the stairs to see what was wrong. When Brandon had taken off his shorts during the spilled tea incident he never took the iPod out of his POCKET! Mind you I had a pile of his treasures on the washer from all day of CHECKING pockets and did NOT check this ONE pair of shorts.  How can I be so STUPID???? 

It's sitting in rice! I'll update you in a week.  If it works, I am buying stock in Apple.

We all cried and then had a good laugh over this.  Again, I had to break the news to Russ.  I was shaking in my boots. How in the world was I going to explain this AGAIN??? He laughed so hard he was crying, literally crying.  He thinks blonde is a good color for my hair and I'm sure his buddies at work think this military wife can barely take care of herself. 

As you can see this just adds more details to our ever growing deployment book of antics that have occurred. Never mind that I'm scared of the washer and I will never EAT white rice again!

Don't laugh too hard!