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Creativity and Technology Keep Members of the Military and Their Families Connected

Mackenzie Freeman

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When most people think of the people who serve in our military, they think about the sacrifices that are made by the service members. It is important for people to understand, that for every service member they see, there is a family somewhere praying for their safety, hoping that their loved one is finding some comfort wherever they are and longing for the day they return home. It is not easy being a military spouse, and although you are told to expect regular deployments stateside, occasional deployments abroad, nothing really prepares you for the loss and the loneliness you feel when a deployment actually happens.

The average American has no idea in terms of the demands that are placed on the families of military personnel and the sacrifices they make. The impact and the effects on spouses and children of military personnel can be immense. Separation can take a toll on a marriage, and when children are separated from their parents for a significant period of time, it can affect the way they interact with their parents, friends and the way they perform in school. Military families have to strive hard to keep their family unit happy and healthy, and connected, and they have to find creative ways to do so.

When Shannon Sandvig’s husband Gavin was deployed with the Iowa National Guard weeks after the birth of their first child, she was confronted with the challenges of having to balance being a supportive spouse, being a new mother and running a household all by herself. Shannon and her husband managed to keep things together during an extended deployment, but they learned a few lessons along the way. The couple now has three children, and with each child, Shannon learned how to balance the role of military wife and mother, and also how to make sure that her husband had the opportunity to build a strong parental relationship with each child. Shannon recognized early on that children grow and develop quickly, and she needed to make sure her husband had every opportunity to share in their milestones, and pivotal moments even during his deployments. 

During Gavin’s deployments, Shannon sends her husband pictures of the boys engaging in their daily activities. One of their children even sent their dad a stuffed chameleon for their dad to include in the photographs he sent to them. The family felt that Rocky the chameleon was a way for them to be with Gavin without actually being there. The toy had a dual purpose of the family. Gavin had something he could see and physically touch when he missed his family, and Shannon and the kids could look at the pictures Gavin took with Rocky and feel like they were a part of whatever Gavin was doing. 

One of the most difficult obstacles for service members and their families is trying to connect via phone calls. The service person rarely knows when they will have the opportunity to call home and when they do, they are often in different time zones, which can make staying connected even more difficult. To ensure her children could communicate with their father in real time, when he could text or call them, she provided her sons with cell phones. Being able to respond to Gavin in real time helps the family during their periods of adjustment.

Thanks to technology like smart phones, recordable books, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Hub, it is easier for military families to stay connected and capture every moment. It is important to remember that technology alone won’t solve every issue in terms of maintaining communication among family members and staying connected. Each member of the family unit has to do their own part to find creative ways to stay connected. Whether it’s sending a handwritten letter, or a picture drawn by a child, it is the little things that help to keep things going and mean the most.

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Life

35 Life Hacks That Will Revolutionize Your Life

Lea Lomas

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Life is all about learning and as we age, boy, do we learn a lot! In order to make the most out of the wisdom we gain from age, we’ve decided to collect 35 of the most clever life hacks on the internet. You can use these simple life hacks for everything from work and travel to getting chores done faster around the house. 

Once you learn these life hacks, you will never want to go back!

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Life

35 Life Hacks That Will Revolutionize Your Life

Sherry Rucherman

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Life is all about learning and as we age, boy, do we learn a lot! In order to make the most out of the wisdom we gain from age, we’ve decided to collect 35 of the most clever life hacks on the internet. You can use these simple life hacks for everything from work and travel to getting chores done faster around the house. 

Once you learn these life hacks, you will never want to go back!

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Animals

A Koala Mother Babysits Three Joeys

Mackenzie Freeman

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The parents who have several young children at home often talk about the challenges that they face. Caring for even one very young child is certainly difficult. Having three kids like this just multiplies all of the associated obstacles. Strangely enough, many animal parents don’t quite seem to have the exact same issues. Then again, it’s possible that koala parents might have some of the same problems. 

Very young children tend to squirm and kick whenever they’re held. Parents who have twins sometimes have a difficult time holding both of the kids at once for that reason. They might get used to it, but it still might pose a lot of challenges physically. These situations are even tougher on the parents who actually have triplets. There are koala mothers who have to care for three joeys at once. A koala mother at the Billabong Zoo was in that situation recently. 

Human parents have certain inherently advantages. The fact that humans are comparatively tall certainly helps. Human infants and toddlers are very small compared to their parents. Many animal parents are not as fortunate, including the koala mother at Australia’s Billabong Zoo.

While these koala joeys are actually capable of climbing trees on their own, they seem to prefer resting on her back. While they’re still smaller than she is, the size difference is actually relatively modest. The mother koala seems to be only around three times the size of each individual joey. Since there are three of them, she seems to be at least somewhat overwhelmed. 

The koala joeys can’t seem to sit still, and all four of them seem as if they’re struggling to get comfortable and stay that way. They aren’t resting peacefully on the mother’s back. Instead, they’re constantly shifting and stepping on her. As this is happening, she’s still trying to hold onto the tree. They almost look as if they’re scratching her at times, which is enough to make anyone feel sorry for the mother koala.

It’s an entertainingly adorable image, but the mother koala still seems to be struggling to keep up with all of these joeys. She’s being remarkably patient, especially when people consider the situation overall. These koala joeys were not actually hers. She was just looking after them.

This sort of thing might surprise a lot of people, since koalas are not especially social animals. In fact, plenty of relatively unsocial animals will care for babies that aren’t theirs. They’ll still have the caregiver instinct, which can be helpful in a zoo environment. 

Koala joeys are actually very strongly connected to their parents emotionally. They spend months in pouches, and aren’t even remotely independent for a full year. It takes them even more time to become truly independent, and they’re still very attached to their parents from that point onward. This koala is not actually their mother, but they have the same sort of bonding instinct that her actual children would have. She’s acting as their mother, and that appears to be good enough for the joeys. 

Even though they could spend time on the tree alone, many of them are not going to want to do so. Koalas are generally very inactive animals. The mother koala in particular just seems to want to rest, and the joeys are not making that easy. Still, as energetic as they are, the joeys still settle down some of the time. 

It almost looks as if all four of them are going to fall any second. Still, all koalas are adapted to this sort of situation, and they’re astonishingly good at staying on trees. 

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