Estee Moran took a special trip to Acadia National Park. She wanted to share a bit about what she learned on her vacation. Check out her photos and her cheeky captions.
"Awwww MOM ... I don't wanna go to a National Park!" Hear how this familiar sound turns out for one military family.
I've watched all of the "It Gets Better" videos that have crossed my desktop since the campaign began. In these affecting testimonials prompted by the increase in suicides of young gay men, celebrities and public figures speak out to reassure those bullied about their sexuality that the pressures do eventually ease.
The clapping, the hooting, the whistling: It was all very familiar. As I hurried toward the terminal at Baltimore-Washington Airport, where U.S. troops land after serving overseas, I spotted the cheerful retirees from Operation Welcome Home who applaud each service member returning from deployment.
by Alison Buckholtz
This is the first year I've owned a big American flag, and it came to my house almost by accident. A military-oriented magazine I wrote for last summer asked for a family photo, and the editor was very specific about the setting: front porch, flag fluttering in breeze. Sunset would be a plus.
I understood and intended to comply. But when the photographer arrived, I still hadn't had time to buy a flag. As we said goodbye to him after the initial shoot, he asked to come back the following week for more pictures, so we could get the shot with the colors. I ventured out to Home Depot, and, by the time he returned, the flag waved from one of the columns in front of our house—just the way it looks in postcards.
I never saw it coming. Then again, I didn't grow up with pets. I bought Ethan, now 7 years old, and Estee, now 5, a guinea pig when their dad deployed last summer, and last week we acquired a second guinea pig, a surprise birthday gift from a family friend. One of the neighbors, a slightly older boy named Sam, was playing at our house when the new rodent made her debut. I wasn't in the room at the time, but found out later that he proclaimed that guinea pig babies would be in our future; to help matters along, he instructed the kids to place the female in the same cage as the male.
I've written letters to my much-deployed husband, Scott, on monogrammed stationery, hotel letterhead, notebook paper, and even, once, in the margins of a menu from a restaurant in Switzerland. In Japan, I invested heavily in cards that featured cute animals of different species talking to one another; when I worked in an office, I scribbled on the back of recycled meeting agendas. But only the memory of these letters exists.
Most military spouses experience the mid-deployment blues, and as I near the halfway point of my husband's 14-month absence, I recognize the signs; in my case, though, the mid-deployment black-and-blues have rendered me useless. Last fall, I fractured my foot and wore a cast for six weeks; just as that was healing, I slipped on a patch of black ice and hit my head.
The scene was familiar, but not our place in it. Last night, our military family had the honor of lighting the Hanukkah menorah at the White House, reciting the blessings over the candles, and meeting President Obama, Mrs. Obama, and Vice President Biden.
I remember the year we celebrated Thanksgiving on a Sunday evening in October. It was the fall of 2007, the night before my husband, Scott, left for his seven-month deployment on an aircraft carrier.