Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our Visit to the Macy Christmas Light show was a disaster

Well my first mistake was bad timing.  I missed the 12 noon show so I decided to make the 2pm show.  I took my two toddlers without making them have their nap first.  Disaster!!!    We parked blocks away and took the subway the rest of the way which was fun for them, their first time on a train.   We walked through city hall to Macys.  Macy's was sooooo crowded and we did not get their early enough to get a good spot.  Then my toddlers had to go potty which was across the store and on the third floor.  So one toddler missed the light show all together.  I was kind of disappointed with the show anyway.  After the 10 min light show they started getting cranky which I couldn't blame them because I should have known better.  We didn't get to go through the Dickens Village because the line was crazy and the kids were cranky  :(    so lesson learned.  Nap first, full belly, and get there Early!!!!!!         I will definitely try again next year. 

Macy's Christmas Light show at the old Wanamaker Store downtown Philadelphia.  Where they filmed the movie Mannequin, great movie.  Parking sucks but the kids love the lights. Actually I love more than the kids.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Great Story and Shout out to the Pottstown Home Depot and Vets for Vets of Pennsburg PA

Home Depot, Vets for Vets, team up to fix up wounded Pottstown veteran’s house POTTSTOWN MERCURY WWW.POTTSMERC.COM

A smiling Michele Labant watches as Home Depot employees get to work doing renovation work to her Pottstown home. Labant was injured while deployed in Afghanistan with the Pa. Army National Guard. John Strickler — The Mercury
By Mercury Staff
Employees from Home Depot along with Vets for Vets and Pottstown VFW 780 stand together with Pa. Army National Guard veteran Michele Labant before getting started doing renovation work to her Pottstown home. Michele Labant has owned her Cherry Street home for about 10 years.But with deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, she estimates she may only have spent about four years actually living there. As a result, maintenance has been an issue.  Those issues multiplied in July, 2011, when the armored truck Labant was driving in northern Afghanistan was hit by an explosive device. Three soldiers were killed and five injured, including Labant, in the explosion.
A civilian processor for the Pottstown Police Department, Labant suffers from traumatic brain injury, a herniated disc, and back problems that “go down into my left hip.”And that’s where Home Depot comes in.  As part of a recent push to have its “Team Depot” projects focus on helping veterans, $15,000 worth of work was recently undertaken at Labant’s home.
 “We help whenever we can in the community,” Morrotto said, “but this project was special.”
She explained that while stores in the chain regularly undertake quarterly community service projects, the corporation recently “challenged us to find ways to give back to veterans.”

And give back they did.
Rather, that work was done by volunteers from Vets for Vets, a two-year-old Pennsburg-based non-profit organization founded by Jake Leone that works as a local network to connect vets who come with whatever they need.
“We help veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan who need help finding housing, a job, getting new training or who come home to a divorce, or get into trouble with alcohol or other substances,” said Leone, who himself just transferred from the Army Reserve to the Air National Guard.

“We just ask the vets to perform some community service in return,” he explained.
Leone said his organization, which has no paid staff, found out about Home Depot’s efforts when a different store hung some blinds at the renovated post office which serves as the group’s headquarters and temporary housing for veterans without.

“We knew Michele needed work done because she helped us out by giving us an old Ford Probe she had for a vet who needed a car,” said Leone. “That’s how we got plugged in to her.”
“We have a web site — — where we sell hats and shirts to raise money and we could handle maybe $1,000, but $15,000 was a little more than we could muster,” Leone said with a laugh.
So he put Labant in touch with Home Depot and, after a bit of paperwork, things worked out.
“We couldn’t handle what her house needed but because we’re networked with Home Depot, I know about this push to give back to veterans,” said Leone, “and obviously, Michelle has given enough.”


Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Light Shows

Well it was snowing last night. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, yes I've started my Christmas music already!  Cant wait to start decorating.   Here are some Christmas outings I am planning with my kids.

Macy's Christmas Light show at the old Wanamaker Store downtown Philadelphia.  Where they filmed the movie Mannequin, great movie.  Parking sucks but the kids love the lights. Actually I love more than the kids.

Christmas Village Bernville PA, one of my favorite childhood memories, maybe that's why I love the lights so much.  Huge model trains, many Christmas scenes like a little neighborhood to walk through, hot chocolate....its worth the drive.  Adults $9 and my kids are free!

Where I would really like to go is to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in NY and to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular but the thought of dragging my toddlers up there just gives me anxiety so I'll wait a couple of years.  Miracle of Christmas at The Sight & Sound Millennium Theatre in Lancaster PA is another show I've heard great things about but will have to wait.
This is my favorite time of the year and it has nothing to do with gifts the newest electronics or toys.  Its the most Wonderful time of the year.
Yayy My teen and I get to attend a free three day adventure courtesy of Military Teen Adventure Camps.  We're going to Kentucky for a great time Whitewater Rafting, Climbing, Rappelling, and an outdoor expedition.  Sooo excited!



I, like most parents, love when I can spend time with my teen that isn't forced, which isn't too often.  But it makes me so happy that we both share a love for adventure and any activity that causes an adrenaline rush.  Such as riding roller coasters over and over again, obstacle courses, paintballing, and the time we took a Hot Air Balloon ride when my son (10 at the time) says he can't wait to try skydiving. Oh, only if it wasn't so expensive.


I try to foster this same love in my two girls, 2 1/2  & 4 yrs old.  Hope it doesn't back fire.  I forced them to ride their first roller coaster as Sesame Place last summer.  Even though they kind of screamed going on,   they definitely screamed because they did not want to get off, and begged to go again.  I like to put my kids in situations so I can see if they'll get scared and hope they can get over their fear.   We love Sesame Place and now they're getting used to going down their own water slides and running under a gigantic bucket of water falling on top of them.  Oh wait until they are taller, we're going to have so much fun.

Setbacks and new goals

                                                             Setback Ugh!
Unfortunately I've had a huge setback and gained weight so my new goal is to lose 60 lbs.  This setback makes me feel like my goal is impossible and so far away.  But I have no choice but to reach my goal, everything I want in life depends on it, literally.  I am not meeting military standards and could be discharged.  I also need to get in shape for possible civilian careers I may pursue.  It can be overwhelming but I guess I have to take it one pound and one day at a time.  Luckily for me, the only holding me back is myself which gives me some control.  Oh and my lack of sleep due to my schedule is a hindrance but I'm gonna try the mind over matter approach.  My before and after pictures are going to be worthy of a TV commercial, cant wait.
This Spartan race is one of my before pictures  I plan to race again this time in 2015 and it will hopefully be my after picture.  Next time maybe I can keep up with my teenage son.  It will be so much more fun if I can finish with him.  He's truly my hero on this fitness journey.  He came to my National Guard Unit with me and took my physical fitness test along side me for motivation.  Every now and then we go to the gym together and he's my workout police calling me out when I am slacking off.   I can't wait to make him proud when I reach my goal!  Also I can't wait to see my two girls who will be 3 & 4 run their first Spartan Kids race next year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Veterans Day free meals and discounts for military and veterans
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Applebees Veterans Day Appreciation

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Army is discharging unfit soldiers to cut costs

During the war money was flowing and the military was lenient on standards but now in order to cut costs they are enforcing the standards.  Overweight soldiers and Fitness test failures are being processed out.  Soldiers had a false sense of security and some let themselves go...well no more.  Most agree that the body fat calculation the military uses isn't accurate or fair.  For me the fitness standard is not difficult.  As a woman over 35 I only need to do a minimum of 17 push ups , 45 sit ups and a 20 min run.  So who could complain about that?  As you could see on my previous post I have been struggling with meeting the standards but I definitely will meet the weight standards soon.  With the help of my workout partner, my son. 

With that being said I'd like to share two great opportunities in my area for family fitness.  The first is The YMCA.  I've been a member for a long time now.  With my Pottstown Y membership I get a financial discount based on income, free babysitting while I work out, free exercise classes, and access to a total of 17 area YMCAs from Boyertown, all Montco and Phila YMCAs.  They all have a variety of classes, free babysitting and Many swimming pools, I love it.

The 2nd I have not tried yet but I would like to give a shout out to this local organization Pottstown Athletic Club and Pottstown Karate Club    This is a non-profit and they will not turn anyone away although they have a suggested monthly fee.   They provide Crossfit training which I cannot wait to try but they also have a CrossFit kids program which I cannot wait for my son to participate in.  They are very involved in the community and with the youth.  They have a clean streets program, Guardian Angels and Junior Guardian Angels.  They just promote Overall Health fitness and being a good citizen.  Only problem I have two toddlers and need the babysitting.  but one day......           .