The Dear MilFamily Podcast

A podcast for anyone who has a family member in the military or anyone interested in the military lifestyle.
Sep 24th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

Military marriage is hard! And you can have a positive attitude and mindset, but it still helps to get authentic and real about it. One military spouse is on a mission to have more honest conversations about marriage and other topics that affect those of us in military life. 

Pam Chavez is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and helps Military Spouses take back control of their life through mindset, connection, health and well-being. Showing women how to honor their personal goals despite their physical location. She is the Nutrition Expert for the 2019 Military Spouse Wellness Summit. Her articles and recipes can be found online and in print magazines to include Military Spouse dot com and FoodMatters.

Find Pam:

Sep 17th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

There can be so many decisions that can go into using money for school. One veteran and military spouse, Dina, decided to use it in an unconventional way to help her family and do something that she enjoyed! And she's still using it now in her small business just not the way you think.

Dina is a military spouse and a mom to two wild and free-spirited boys. She and her husband both come from military families and met while both were stationed in Japan. She found joy in planning trips. More specifically, planning trips to Disney. Her interest in travel stems from being a military child and getting thrown into different countries around the world. She loves learning about different cultures, relaxing on sandy beaches and riding the e-ticket rides at theme parks such as Disney. Tokyo Disneyland was the place where her husband asked her to marry him. With the birth of their first child, she decided it was best to stay at home with him due to his early arrival Earth-side. She left active duty and joined the Air National Guard. Shortly, after the birth of their first child, her husband deployed and she was left to raise our baby alone for almost 7 months. Needless to say, it was a big shock to her husband to see a tiny newborn grow into a crawling chatty toddler. She wanted to find a way to quickly reintegrate her husband into their family life. She booked a cruise with a travel agent they worked with before and off they jet-setted with an infant to Alaska. At that point, she knew travel was for them. They've had the unique chance to travel around the world due to the military. When they got assigned to Hawai'i, she finally separated from the military completely. She found she was booking vacations around and out of Hawai'i for the duration of their time there, right up until their final trip which was an amazing 2-week vacation to Tokyo with another family. She decided for health reasons to stop traveling after this trip because they discovered she was pregnant with their second child. She found joy in working on the details of the reservation and naturally, booking tickets for the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. It was inspirational to watch everyone's face's light up during the trip. That joy everyone felt during the vacation was because she helped make it memorable and fun. This trip is the spark that inspired her to pursue a career in travel. She loves to plan a dream Disney vacations, and she enjoys helping create new adventures for families, couples, and singles in locations around the world. Whether it is a mom’s getaway to Hawai'i, a romantic couple’s getaway to Italy or a family trip to a Disney Resort – the knowledge that she played a part in helping others experience different cultures or craft a dream vacation to Disney is what inspires her to create memorable and lasting vacations.

Find Dina:

Sep 10th, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am

It's Back to School time, and for military families it's an extra sensitive time of year. Those of us that are parents want our kids to have a great year, make new friends, being included and inclusive, and do their best. But this time of year can be even more stressful for those of us who have special needs children, ones who have an IEP or a 504 plan. In this episode, I spoke to a special needs parent turned educational advocate for all military children.

Michelle Norman’s story began over 15 years ago when her daughter was prematurely born at 27 weeks in Norfolk, VA. She suddenly found herself navigating the medical and educational world of special needs and refused to accept the status quo for her daughter. In 2016, Norman successfully battled their school district over the appropriateness of her daughter’s educational plan resulting in the establishment of a case law in her daughter’s name. She continues to pursue change by promoting awareness of the challenging special education issues military families face. Among many things, she engages with legislators, supports bills that will help low income military families access an appropriate education and co-founded the support group Parents for FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). Norman not only continues to fight for her daughter’s education but is committed to supporting the many families struggling to find a way to effectively advocate for their own children’s education. 
“Being a parent in a military lifestyle is difficult as it is. And if you are parent of a child with special needs in the military, it is exponentially more challenging. Moving every two or three years makes it almost impossible to make any positive change when the education of our most vulnerable children fails to meet the minimum legal standards, even for the most determined parents,” says Norman. “As united military families, our collective goal is for ALL of our children get the opportunity to learn and be productive members of society. I am thankful that the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year program allows me to shine a spotlight on this important issue and am honored to represent these extraordinary military families.” 

Find Michelle:

FB page @MichelleNormanMSOY

Sep 3rd, 2019 by dearmilfamily at 7:00 am
Books, books, books! It is my go to way to help my kids through any difficult situation. Child diagnosed with autism? Find a book. Starting school? Go get a book at the library. Moving because of your parent's job? Scour the interwebz looking for books for military kids. And there are so many great books out there just for military kids. In this episode, I speak to one half of a couple that decided to create a whole series devoted to the experiences that MilKids go through. 
Meet the authors:
Dr. Johanna Gomez is a military spouse and licensed Mental Health Counselor. Johanna has dedicated her life to supporting military families, both in her personal and professional career.
Daniel Gomez is a US Army Special Operations Officer and Combat Veteran. A proven leader and certified military instructor, Danny specializes in both education and training.
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