Family Fun

Yesterday our family headed up to the Shenandoah National Park for a day of hiking. I have camped and hiked all of my life. I am from Iowa, but spent summers in California with my dad. Camping was pretty much what we did the entire time and I loved it. The few happy memories I have of my younger years are of being at Lake Tahoe or in Yosemite. We went lots of place, but those were my fav.

We did camping somewhere in between roughing it and yuppie. We always camped in a tent and used the best of camping gear, but we always stayed in fairly busy campgrounds and did only day hikes. I can build a camp fire, but not with a magnifying glass and a twig…I need some wood and newspaper. As with other parts of my life, I didn’t get as much from the experience as I could have.

I would venture to say that from the time I was 5 until now, I have been camping/hiking (all over the US) more than the average person and yet, I can hardly identify any trees, plants, or flowers. I know basic first aid, but not much else.

One of the best hiking memories I have is of me and my hubby on our honeymoon. We traveled from Iowa to California in his Fiero, yes, I said Fiero. We stopped off in Utah and hiked¬† Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon…Gorgeous.

All of our kids are seasoned hikers, but this summer we haven’t been out much due to my work schedule, but yesterday, we spent the whole day in the mountains. I was in heaven.

We hiked a little over 4 miles of pure beauty!

Me eating a little pre-hike watermelon.

A and her daddy heading up the trail.

E and her brother stopped to play with some bugs.

A little sibling love.

A little spouse-ly love.

H was walking backwards to take a pic of me and his dad, but his SA was off and he ended up falling down. He got a little scrape and our mother hen, E, was right there digging into her backpack to retrieve her first aid kit. She insisted on putting on the gloves. I think she was a little disappointed that he did not need some appendage amputated. I am positive she would have tried to remove one of his limbs with her pocket knife.

This is M and me sitting on the edge listening to the waterfall and other sounds of nature. She absolutely refused to allow me to put her gorgeous face on the blog, so I cropped her out, but I wanted her represented here in some form.

During the hike we didn’t see much wildlife, but as soon as we got to our car to leave, we saw this beauty and this one…

This little guy was giving the rangers fits. He is a sneaky fella who wasn’t causing any issues, but he liked heading into the campgrounds and giving the folks a little wake up call. He let people get very very close to him. We did not walk up to him, but many people were barely more than an arms length away. He was a cutie.

I tried to get a pic of the dart gun that the female ranger was holding, but I couldn’t get a good shot. I should have just asked her, but I chickened out. Why, I don’t know. My hubby and I talked to them for about 10 minutes and they were the nicest people. We shared bear encounter stories. They told us that the park hasn’t seen any real bear-people problems. They had a case back in the 70’s where a bear went into some person’s tent and the man got scraped up pretty good, but was fine. We told them about the time we were in Big Bear and a bear opened our back door. He was huge and not looking so friendly. My dad chased him off with a broom. Unfortunately, people had been feeding him and they eventually had to put him down.

E took this picture and insisted I put it on the blog. I love to make her happy, so…

Could not have asked for a more perfect day.

 

This Is What Winning Looks Like

This is Mazie. She is one of our contest winners. Mazie has had quite a journey into the world or guns and self defense and she has faced many road blocks. She has had health issues that made conventional training a challenge, but fortunately she found an instructor willing to work with her and she is doing amazing.

She is a beginner. This video isn’t about grip or stance. It is about a woman who had no previous experience with guns, step out take a chance and persevere.

So very proud of you Mazie. Thank you for letting us share in your journey.

The Longest Week

This week has just crawled along. I am so glad it’s over. Nothing bad happened, nothing is wrong, but it just felt like this week would never end.

I think I am too blah right now. I like to do a lot at once. I can sit and just be. I have no problem relaxing, but I can’t do it for to long or I get cranky. I have had a great time hanging with friends, lazy days of movies and reading with my kids, fun times at the pool and cooking more than I have in months, but now I am ready to do, do, do. Not instead of those things, but in addition.

The end of August can’t get here soon enough for me. Heading to Ohio, I might get to work, football starts and then it’s September! That is when the real fun starts. My EMT training begins and NCIS returns. My hunting journey is suppose to also take place. My husband and I are going to take a survival course in October, so that should be good. Trying to find one that is just right. My hubby knows so much already that I don’t want him to be bored and I do want to be challenged, so we shall see. I think we will start having mini training sessions where he can get me caught up on the basics and then by October we can head out and push ourselves a bit. Virginia actually has several options as does Maine. None seem to want me to be armed.

All that combined with kids, school activities, and holiday hoopla should keep me good and happy.

In the meantime I have been shopping. I bought some mag pouches, a knife for my 14 year old. It’s pink. Small flashlights for all the kids, some more para cord, 2 belts(one for me, one for the hubby), some first aid type stuff, & water purification tablets. I bought a knife, several actually. Three are training knives. My husband has relented and agreed to get a little more hands-on with me. Not that kind, the other kind, the I’m gonna punch you and shank you kind. He hasn’t wanted to do that, but I need the practice, so he has agreed. I bought a few other odds and ends things.

I was surprised at how little resistance we got from the teenager when my hubby told her she needs to start carrying a knife and flashlight. She simply said, “ok.” I am not sure if she is coming around or just realizes this is the new, permanent way we are gonna live, so she better get on board. Either way, I appreciated the positive response. Of course, everyday she says “I feel like a boy with all this stuff in my pockets.” I laugh and tell her, “I kind of feel that way sometimes too.” She smiles, giggles and says, “Yeah, well, you kind of act like one too.”

I don’t know what she meant by that, but I wasn’t about to ask:)

If everything goes as planned this weekend should be fun and adventurous. I’ll let you know.

**Edit** I forgot I also bought a 1000 rounds of ammo and this…

It’s a clip for sunglasses. The idea is to clip one part to the visor in your car and then clip the sunglasses to the other side, but I use them for this…

When I work at the range I am constantly putting on my ears and taking them off and it’s a pain. I put them on my head, but they fall off or I snap them on my leg, but when I move they move or I set them somewhere and that somewhere is never where I am when John yells…AGIRL, LET’S SHOOT. I kept thinking, if I had a clip of some kind and then the other day while waiting in line, I saw this item and thought…I wonder if that would work. I have tested them walking around my house and indeed it works beautifully.

Honor, Courage, Valor

Tango sent me a video because he thought I would enjoy seeing this Marine’s story. He was so right.

I love everything about this young man’s story. He clearly has pride for what he did, his uniforms still hang smartly in his closet, he carries himself with the unmistakeable stride of a Marine and yet, he admits to finding himself in a place of darkness. The courage he displays both in battle and in life after is inspiring.

Chick-Fil-A

Today my kiddos and I went out and about town to run a few errands. On our way home we passed one of several Chick-Fil-A’s in our town.

The place was packed and I mean jam-flippin-packed. There are 2 entrances into the shopping area that the restaurant is in, both had lines backed-up into the street. The parking lot was a traffic nightmare. The inside looked like a fire hazard waiting to happen and the drive through, forget it.

Here is the thing I do not understand about liberals…why do they keep doing the things that backfire on them?

Every single time they go after someone or some group the people rally and the exact thing the liberals were hoping to accomplish fails…in grand fashion.

If you are trying to convince people that the other side is wrong, you might want to stop doing things that ignites their base. Just saying.

Other Safety Concerns

After I read EMERGENCY I decided to be more proactive and have been trying to find areas where my security is still at risk. While I will always focus training with my gun, knives and hand to hand stuff, I have started to think about others areas of safety that I could be addressing. Here are a few things I have been doing.

One thing I have always been pretty vigilant about protecting, but haven’t seen discussed or read much about is credit card safety.

We do not use CC’s all that much except when we travel and for things like airlines & hotel reservations. If I am making a purchase online, I use a credit card that has a very low limit.¬† Each time the company tries to increase the limit, I tell them no. That way if someone were to steal the number, the amount charged can not be very large.

I think a good reputation and credit rating are always a good idea, but in terms of dealing with bad things that pop up, it’s crucial. I have had our CC company call us before and alert me to suspicious activity. The one time someone did make charges my company removed them immediately, but I know 2 people that had the same kind of thing happen, but for them it was a nightmare to get the company to remove those charges because the people didn’t always paying their debt on time. The company was suspicious the people were trying to scam and get out of paying the charges.

I think it is important to have photo copies of all my documents like my CCP, DL and CC. If my purse were to get stolen, I want to have all the numbers easily available to me.

Speaking of purses…I carry a smaller wallet with my money, ID and CC that is separate from my purse that way if someone is able to snatch my purse all they will get is some chap stick, gum, a couple pens and my small first aid kit. Like my gun, knife, flashlight, the small wallet is on my body somewhere.

I only have 2 CC’s for a variety of reasons, but one is safety. The more cards and numbers I have floating around the more likely someone is going to be able to get a hold of one of them and have a grand time courtesy of me.

It isn’t just money they can steal either. Once they have your name and CC it will be easier for them to gain access to other parts of your personal life. I know 3 people who have been cyber stocked and it was a insane what they had to do do get it stopped. All the areas of our lives that can be accessed through computers seems limitless, especially when trying to stop a bad guy.

This doesn’t have to do with credit cards, but it’s related. My husband and I do not write many checks anymore, but occasionally for whatever reason we do. Well, I do. He doesn’t, ever. One time he decided to write a check for a rather large amount, but when he went to do so it was declined. After several attempts he called me to make sure I hadn’t taken all the money and skipped to Aruba. He was trying to buy me a gift and didn’t want to take the cash out or use a CC where I would immediately see it pop up on the account. The problem was in 20 years he hadn’t written a check. Not a single one for anything, so our bank saw that as highly suspicious. The kid behind the counter didn’t know the reason why, just that he could not accept the check. Now, just in case, we have my husband write checks a couple times a year. That is a safety issue because it is one more way to have access to your own money. I don’t like anyone telling me no especially when it is mine to begin with. Having all the avenues available to you or me is a good idea.

Both my husband and I have it written on our Credit Reports that no one may open a new account in our name unless our identity has been verified with a photo ID. That is because 10 years ago while we were stationed in Virginia, someone in California had got a phone in our name. When we returned to California and tried to get our phone hooked up, we were informed that we needed to pay our $2000 phone bill first. Again, it was easy for us to prove we did not live in the state at the time and we never had to pay the bill, but that one was a pain to get sorted out. The statement on the report makes it just that much more difficult for someone to steal our identity.

Lastly, be careful with your cell phones. Four or five months ago I read an excellent article on cell phone safety. I thought I bookmarked it, but I can’t find it anywhere. Anyway, the author of the article was discussing how very common it is for people to switch out the SIM card on a phone and then use your cell phone to stalk you. They have access to your conversations, text messages, your where about…scary stuff. He had several suggestions, but 2 stood out…

1. Check for your SIM card and change it often.

2. NEVER, ever leave your phone unattended. Never. Do not put it on the table at a bar, restaurant, sporting event etc. Keep it on your person all the time. He says this is vital for people who are dating. No matter how comfortable you feel with the person he suggest never letting them get a hold of your phone.

I thought this might be a little bit on the paranoid side until I realized how common it is for people to do this and the numbers are rising. It is a fairly cheap, easy way to terrorize a person.

I know for a lot of people I seem a little over the top with this constant focus on personal safety, but for me it has helped me be more safe and aware, so whatever it takes it’s been worth it. Plus most of things are easy to do. Nothing I listed here takes much time, energy or money. I don’t know if the odds are very high that someone will replace my SIM card, but why take the chance?