This blog chronicles the lives of the Caffee Clan: Brian, Kelly, Josh, Jason, Lauren and Katelyn as we navigate life as a large, loud family that lives on the verge of complete chaos! I'm Kelly, a 40 year old, a work-at-home-mom that dreams of someday being rich and famous. Uh huh, right! In reality, I love photography, healthy eating and cooking, my family, music and dancing!! I have a fetish for gross medical stuff, like unusual diseases or strange growths, and sometimes I wish I was a midwife. As you read, you might notice that I have an slight obsession with cleaning and germ-avoidance, but do not fret, I am aware and I am working on it. And I love making lists! I have lots of opinions about lots of things and this is what is represented here! I'm not always right (wait, I'm NOT??) but I always have something to say!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

"Cougar Time!"

If there was a class in procrastination, I would teach it! I always mean to write new entries, but time escapes me! It's sad though, because I really do enjoy blogging. So instead of carrying on about how summer is here, my kids are out of school and the fact that I am almost 41, I am going to share this funny little tidbit with you!

A few weeks ago, I picked up my 13-year-old and two of his friends from school a little bit early. They hadn't eaten lunch yet, so I decided I'd treat them to McDonalds. I pull up to the drive thru and give our order - 6 double cheeseburgers from the $1 menu. Yes, the $1 menu;  three teenage boys are locusts in disguise, so you have to use wisdom and judgement when ordering. Anyway, I get my total and drive around to the window. Here is where is story gets really interesting:

Drive thru guy - "Hey! How are you today? That'll be $$$".

Me - "Hi! I'm good! You?"

DTG: "Well, I'm much better now that a beautiful lady such as yourself is here!"

Me - Cough. Choke. Nervously giggle like an idiot.

The boys in the van - "Snicker, snicker."

Me - "Haha, well, I'm old enough to be your mom!"

DTG - "COUGAR TIME!" Emphatically fist-pumps the air.

Me - "NO! No cougar time!" Some other stupid things come tumbling out of my mouth while I throw money at him and pull forward to retrieve the burgers.

The boys begin yelling things like, "Dude!! Respect the ring!" (my wedding rings) and "GROSS!" and laughing like hyenas.

I was mortified, but somewhat flattered all at the same time. The end.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lordy, lordy, look who's gonna be 40!

Blah. In 6 days I will turn the big 40. Yup, still bugging me and it's bugging me that it's bugging me! Why is it bugging me? It's just a number, right? It doesn't symbolize anything or mean some weird milestone or anything, right? 40 is the new 20! Uh huh. I didn't feel quite so creaky in my 20's, I'll tell you that!

I honestly can't really give a reason why I'm so unsettled about this birthday. I usually LOVE my birthday - just ask anyone that knows me - I can be the biggest birthday brat! I love celebrating and having a day that is all "mine", doing whatever I want and having people over and eating ice cream cake. It's making me feel weird that this year I'm in a bit of a funk about it all. Don't get me wrong, I'm still celebrating, just nothing over the top or crazy. Brian asked me what I wanted to do and I actually said, "Nothing, really." I think he almost fainted! And then he started planning a little something because he knows me! I can't even think of a gift to tell him to get - so odd for me! There is usually a book or crafty item that I want or a little trip that I have planned or something. This year, I just don't know! Sigh....such problems I have, no?

Maybe I feel like I should have more accomplished by now, but I look back and I think, no way! I have done so much and I've had some really amazing experiences and I'm very content. Doesn't mean I'm not striving for more, of course, but I'm satisfied. Maybe that is what it is - I've never felt truly satisfied in life until now? I don't think it's that. I can't quite understand. It's like whatever it is is right on the tip of my tongue but I can't reach it. I need to let this go, though and just be settled. It's not like I can make it stop! Haha!

I want to know - have any of you had this same thing happen or am I just seriously over thinking? I really want to hear what you guys think, maybe I can get some perspective on my feelings and all. In the meantime, I have back to school stuff to keep me occupied - the kiddos go back on August 1st!! It's nuts how fast the time passes! But that's a topic for another day....  :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Retired!

And so it begins... the next chapter of our lives. Brian has retired from the Army after 21 years of service and though we are excited to see what happens next, it is definitely bittersweet. We had all of our family (minus some of my side) here for the ceremony and party and it was soooo much fun that I barely had time to get introspective about what was happening. Now that the fun is over and real life is settling in I'm starting to really think about the future.

We have been doing this Army thing together for 16 years! It's nuts! We met when he was a brand new E-5 that knew next to nothing about leading soldiers and I was an E-2 that knew next to nothing about being a soldier. An interesting combo for two people that are temperamental and strong-willed! In the end, obviously, it all worked out. That was in Groton, CT where we were both stationed as Vet Techs. When I first met him, I wasn't to keen on the fact that he was going to be in charge of me - I had a hard time taking instruction from anyone during that time in my life, but I came to realize that I had a lot to learn and he was a good teacher. I also realized that he was a bad boy and I really like bad boys! Haha! Fast forward 16 years and here we are, 4 kids, 14 moves and 1 retirement later. I can't believe I will never see him in his dress uniform again or that tomorrow will be the last day he ever puts on his ACUs. I'm feeling this weird mix of utter delight and melancholy - is there a name for that?

As these last few weeks have gone by, we have talked about our journey and I asked him what his biggest regret was about leaving the military. I was not surprised to hear that it was the fact that he has never deployed. I know that sounds crazy and we both know how incredibly blessed we have been to have never gone through that kind of separation, but I get it. I know that feeling because I was in the Army, too. The feeling of wanting to be there, to do what you have been trained to do, and I know that if he had wanted to, he could have found a unit to deploy with, but he didn't because he puts our family first. He gave up his own desire for us. I am so grateful for that! And also a bit guilty, of course! I have always wanted him to get the most out of this experience, so I feel as though I have held him back because I didn't want him to go. I wonder what his path would look like if I wasn't there to influence him. Ah, enough of the wondering! This Army life has been so amazing; we have lived places we never would have otherwise and had experiences that a lot of people will never have. We are so lucky to have been able to travel and explore all over the world. We have made awesome friends along the way. Part of me is having a hard time giving up the nomadic lifestyle, but as I watch our kids  make friends that they won't have to say goodbye to and we start to feel a part of our community, I am realizing that it was time for us to settle down. Our future is here, in this little town, in our lovely house, all of us together - no more TDY's, no more moves (EVER!), no more worry of deployments or upcoming schools or promotions! My biggest worry right now is what color to paint my walls!

In all seriousness, I am so very proud of my husband! I'm in awe of his loyalty and his servants' heart. I am blessed that he chose me to tag along on this adventure - as cheesy as it sounds, he is the love of my life and I can't imagine myself without him. We have had plenty of milestones in our marriage, we have practically grown up together - retirement seems so "old"! Our parents are retired! I am praying that he can find a new job that he loves as much. And that he has some rest in the next two months as he is on terminal leave - he sure deserves it! I want him to fish and sleep in and grow out his beard and play and enjoy this brief moment of no responsibility! I am beyond proud of him!

 Congratulations, Caffee - I can't wait to start our new adventure! Love you always, you are my favorite!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Please meet my friend and fellow blogger, Emma ...


Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at http://smileasithappens.blogspot.com/

Combating Myths About Post-Service Employment for Veterans


Finding a civilian job once you've left the military might seem daunting. After all, you've just spent the last four or more years engaged in active duty with a wide variety of job functions, and you might be unsure about what will translate to civilian careers. Fortunately, many companies hire veterans specifically for their diverse skill set that sets them apart from other applicants. The following offers some common myths about transitioning back to the civilian workforce and ways you can combat them.

Myth #1: Employers don't care about me as an applicant.

Truth: In an age with advancing technology and globalization, companies turn to dedicated employees to solve technological issues and reach a broad clientele base. Your service as a veteran puts you at the top of a lot of lists because your experience working around the world, either physically or virtually, makes you attractive to certain employers. Despite popular belief, many businesses do care about their employees because they recognize that investing in the right people means better service and profits for them. Likewise, they're looking for applicants with diverse backgrounds to help their business grow. Many of the tech-savvy Fortune 500 companies are using a platform provided by JIBE, a mobile recruiting company, that allows for people to upload their documents and apply from anywhere in the world, right from their smart phone or tablet.

Myth #2: My service-related disability will prevent me from getting a job.

Truth: Just as civilians with disabilities are federally protected from discrimination, you as a service member should never let your service-connected injury or disability hold you back. Organizations exist across the country to get you rehabilitated and back to work, such as the resources offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans. You'll be able to find job counseling, training and other resources to help you get a job no matter the disability.


Myth #3: It's not really that important to ask questions during an interview.

Truth: As silly as it might sound, think of the interview as a blind first date. You don't know each other, so how are you going to see if the relationship will work out? When an employer offers you the chance to ask them questions, they're not being polite. They want to know if you care enough about the company to see how you fit within the overall organization. From a personal standpoint, you should want to ask questions because, just as you would on a blind date, you want to know if this company is the right match for you.


Myth #4: My time as an active-duty service member will deter employers from hiring me because they prefer those who steadily work.

Truth: Employers do want to hire people who will work consistently, but your time as an active-duty service member differs completely from someone who just doesn't show up to work. In fact, it's illegal to discriminate against active-duty service members, and companies will face legal action if they fail to uphold the law. Whether hiring or retaining employees, federal guidelines are in place to protect your right to work, even if you must return to active duty during the course of your civilian employment.




Monday, May 6, 2013

So proud!

Yesterday was the Spartan Race at Fort Carson and like last year, we packed up the crew and headed over to participate. Unlike last year, the weather was freezing!! The sponsors even built a fire so that the contestants could try to maintain their body heat after jumping into the frigid mud! I managed Katie and got Jay and Lu ready to race while Brian proved how strong he is! *Sigh* The man is nuts, but I am so very proud of him! For and a half miles of obstacles in fifty degree weather and smiling all the way through! Lemme show ya!

The start

Passing me by on the way to the mud pit...

Low crawl through more mud - gross!

He was laughing! Insane!

Mud "slide"

On his way to the spear throwing

Two of his team mates! Thumbs up...riiiiiiiight!

After it was all said and done and on his way to be hosed off!


Of course, two of my monkey were born with his sense of adventure and joined in on the fun! Jason ran the mile course with the kids and lost his shoes and socks in the mud! It was crazy! 

Traverse wall because, ya know, running a mud race is just not enough.




Pull up contest!



Mom! It's freezing!

Do you see him? He's the guy in the back with the mud socks....

All done!


"Mud boots!"


My tough girl ran in the half mile, but not before we had a little mishap - Brian took Katie and Lu to the car to warm up while I waited for Jay to finish - they had about 20 minutes before she was scheduled to run, so I didn't insist that she stay with me. Well, 15 minutes pass and Jay is done and there is no sign of Brian or Lu! I start to head toward where he parked and I see Brian walking towards me with Katie, but no Lu, so I start yelling "where is Lauren? She missed her race!!!". He yells back, "No, I told her to run ahead and just start!" I'm freaking out because I watched the start and I did not see my sweet girl and there are TONS of people milling around and I can't find her and I start thinking the worst. Of course, right??? I was about to head over to the MC to have him announce that I child is lost when I see this:

Mama! I did it!

"Why are you crying?" I always get a bit mushy when I am proud of my kids!

Woo hoo!

Mud pants and no shoes or socks!

Great job, baby!!
She had missed the start of the race, but when Brian told her to go, she went! Such trust, right! She started behind the pack and came in close to first - I think only 5 or 6 kids beat her to the finish - about 30 started! I am so proud of her - she is so tough and strong-willed! I love it! 

Josh seems to be the only one of the bunch that is like me - prefers to stay warm and dry and clean! I imagine that Katie will be running next year and who knows, maybe I'll catch the fever, too. But I seriously doubt that!