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I want to just make this short and sweet this week and I want to thank everyone for their role this week in supporting our law enforcement near and far. As a NALES volunteer for my state, we’ve each adopted two agencies again this year. This happens twice a year both for Police Week and for Thank a Police Officer Day. I love this. I do my best to speak to local schools and see if they can have kids make cards for the officers and I try to speak to local restaurants and businesses about getting donations for either gift cards or for meals or even just some snacks to fill a care package box. I’ll admit, I’m not one of the ones that creates individual bags for each officer or makes cookies for everyone. 1. The man would eat most of the cookies. He shows no mercy. Especially if they’re peanut butter cookies. 2. I have three kids and absolutely zero extra time. I would love to spend a whole day baking for them or I would love to spend a ton of money to create bags but it’s just not possible. And it isn’t always for everyone. And ya know what?  THAT’S OKAY! Even if you can only make a card or bring by some bottled water and drink mixes, you’re not judged for it and it doesn’t go unappreciated. Our mission with this group is to show support for law enforcement. I would encourage all of you, volunteer or not, to find your own special little way to show your love to your local agency. It doesn’t have to be major or time consuming, just show that you took a little extra time to think of them.

I’m pretty sure none of them would turn down cookies though…

The post Police Week is upon us appeared first on NALEStough.org.

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Every year there is this little carnival that comes into town. The man somehow always manages to have off at least 4 of the days that it’s there so he always works every single off duty hour there that he can. For a single income family of 5, every off duty hour he can get is huge.  Every single year, the carnival is there for my birthday. The man has managed to work the carnival on my birthday each year, sometimes for 4-6 hours before or after shift, or for 6-8 hours on his day off. He usually forgets that it’s my birthday and signs up almost a month ahead of time. I never complain. Why should I?  It’s just another day for me. Ever since my 16th birthday went completely awry, I haven’t cared.  This year he took it off. I was astonished. I was touched. Not only did he remember that it was my birthday (he’s never forgotten it, he always just forgets until it’s the day before) but he intentionally chose to take it off. It seriously meant so much to me.  We went out to grab a bite to eat and then came home to watch a movie. This lifestyle, I think, can make us really sit down and reassess things. I think it makes us value things differently and appreciate the little stuff more.  Two hours at home suddenly means more than 4 hours out.  Cooking a meal of spaghetti and meatballs together is worth more than a 5 star restaurant. It really honestly is the little things in life. I still can’t believe he took my birthday off and I am oh so happy that he did.

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So every single LEO household has their own individual difficulty. Ours?  Childcare.  I only work on the man’s day off so I’m pretty much a stay at home mom. This means that childcare is nearly never a concern. If I must make an appointment for myself, I make it for the first appointment of the day before I work. That was exactly what I did for my appointment coming up. I see a specialist for injections every three months. When I set my appointment three months ago, this date was good. Ideal, actually. I get my reminder call and I double check my calendar. The man has class now. At the very same time… So I call around and can’t find anyone to be at my house by 7am or to spend the night. I’m running out of options and ask a friend of mine that I’ve known for longer than I’ve known the man. She doesn’t hesitate to say she will absolutely help out. Fabulous!  I tell the man excitedly that I will still be able to make this very important thing. He shouts no. Actually, he cussed around no and I got the point pretty quickly. Why?  Although she is very pro his race, she is not very pro his job.  She’s quite set in her ways and the man doesn’t want her in the house. He respects me enough to not say I can’t be friends with her so I must respect him enough to say thanks but no thanks. It’s very hard to find someone that we both trust to watch the kids as it is. Add in his profession and his immediate distrust until proven otherwise and it can be downright impossible. But hey, we’ll do what every other LEO family does. We’ll pull our hair back and dive straight in to trying again and again and again to make things flow nicely. That’s what families in this line do. We adapt. There is this small part of me that wishes he was something like a plumber though. Nobody hates plumbers…

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A while back I saw this blog or maybe a random letter from a LEO wife where she talked about how her husband was better off being a LEO than she was. He had more compassion and understanding and patience. It was something that really resonated with me.  Yesterday proved that this was very true for my home, too.

For the longest time, actually probably well over a year now, we’ve frequently missed out on mail being delivered. A day or so later we received a pile and some would always say “box blocked”. I sat and thought about how our vehicles are parked and we adjusted thinking maybe she really couldn’t get in. It wasn’t the case at all.  I stay at home so watching outside was easy (she comes at the same time every day). I began to notice that on the days where the man’s cruiser was parked up at the top of the driveway, mail wouldn’t be delivered and we never got a wave. If it wasn’t there, we got mail and even a smile. Without fail, “box blocked” was written on mail the next day when he was off at work. I was irritated. Quite so, actually. I mean, come on, no one wants to wait for their Crate Club or Birch Box packages longer than necessary!

Anyways, the man was outside doing man stuff to his truck and the mail lady dropped off the mail into the box (cruiser was hidden, truck was actually at the top of the driveway, the bed hanging out past our driveway) and wouldn’t you know, her truck overheats and quits on her. Now I’m a helper, I always have been. But my first instinct was to chuckle and whisper “karma finally came”. That wasn’t his response. He immediately walked away from his truck to check on her. I watched him as he helped her move boxes to pop the hood and he lifted it and went straight to trying to help her. He didn’t hesitate to help a person that decides her treatment or response to us based on which vehicle is in the driveway. I could tell by her body movements that she was very unhappy with who she was talking to on the phone. This amazing man of mine quickly gets her calmed down and actually ends up on the phone. He came back inside and we hear her outside trying to get our attention (it was about 60 degrees so our windows and screen doors were open). I see her stare at his cruiser parked away and I immediately get defensive in my head. “The man who drives this car just dropped everything to check on you. On his day off. At his own home! You can at least try not to look so disgusted when you look at that car!” went through my head. They talked for a second, she hands him her car key, and leaves. When he came back inside he told me what happened. Not once did he say anything bad about her. Not once did he criticize how she acted towards him. Not once did my normally teasing, sarcastic man make a jab or poke fun at what happened. He certainly never said “karma finally came” like I did. He is absolutely better than I am. Even at home, in his sweatpants, he conducts himself with a professional attitude and a maturity level that far surpasses many I know. Even when he was doing something that he doesn’t normally have the time to do, he put it on hold to help someone he doesn’t know. He represents the blue well, and he represents our household better than I do.

The cruiser was parked in the driveway today. Guess who didn’t get skipped over by the mail lady?

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Well hello again!

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season,  no matter which holiday you observe.  Ours was great. Our kids made out like bandits having three Christmases. The absolute best part?  The man was off for Christmas day.  I guess that saying “there’s a first time for everything” is very true, even in law enforcement.

So I took off some time from writing for a couple of reasons. One being I thoroughly enjoy the holidays and the family time that comes with it. Another reason may or may not be that I got the Sims 4 game for Christmas and I’ve been holed up with a blanket and my computer. I can neither confirm nor deny. I looked back to see when I posted my “I hope y’all have a wonderful holiday, I’ll be back mid-January” blog and I realized that I hadn’t actually posted it. I guess the stress that comes with the season won that round!  Moving on now…

I cook. A lot. I make big meals. Ones that take hours of work and use every single pot and pan and utensil in my kitchen. Along with that comes some sadness when the man is late from work and his food is no longer perfect by the time he gets to enjoy it. I’ve been having a really hard time making “lazy meals” because that just isn’t me. Not that I don’t enjoy them and not that I don’t appreciate a quick, easy cleanup, low stress meal, I just stop the habit of years of big home cooked meals.  Well, I think I have finally done it. I was so incredibly lucky to have gotten an Instant Pot from the man for Christmas. Y’all. It’s magic I tell ya!  This poor man woke up sick a couple of hours before work and I managed to send him out the door for his shift with a belly full of homemade chicken noodle soup. I usually let my chicken simmer for a good 4-6 hours but I didn’t have that time. You may be sitting and wondering “why in the world is this lady going on about food and cooking when this is a LEO support blog?”, but let me tell you, this is a game changer.  The man can call me on his way home (actual way home, not ‘kind of wandering that way but still searching for a drunk’ on the way home) and I can have meat in the pressure cooker and it’s hot and ready to go by the time he’s done getting undressed.  There have been so many days where either I’ve worked or I’ve completely forgotten to pack his lunch until it was really late (yes, I pack his lunches when I can because I can) and this thing has saved me. It saves a lot of money by packing lunches too. I think we’re all pretty familiar with how saving money and time can be pretty important living this lifestyle.

Do any of you use an Instant Pot (or Crock Pot brand pressure cooker, of course)?  Do you have a recipe that your LEO loves?  If you don’t have one and you’re not in the mood for spending hours cooking big meals every night, I recommend borrowing one from a friend if you don’t want to go buy one.

**I’m not paid to promote this at all, I just like things that are quick and easy without sacrificing quality. I just felt like I needed to throw that in there**

The post Back at it Again appeared first on NALEStough.org.

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We see a lot of blogs and different posts and comments about the difficulties of life with a LEO.  We see different warnings from LEO families to non LEO families about everything from scheduling problems to being asked “are you even married?  We NEVER see him!” but you know what we don’t get a lot of?  Hearing about the good in this lifestyle. There is definitely good!

Protection.

My back may be to the door whenever we’re out but I’ve never felt safer. I know that his eyes are always watching and they’re always making sure I am safe. It’s an incredible feeling, especially when kids are involved, knowing that he will go out of his way to avoid certain situations. Sometimes the compromises can be cumbersome but I know that there is a very important reason behind why he does what he does. You can’t complain knowing that your safety is absolutely number one.

Pride

Even if you can’t talk about your LEOs profession to any and everyone, there is this little bit inside that makes you want to stand straighter and push out your chest a little bit when talking about your LEO. It’s a wonderful thing to know that your loved one is a part of something bigger than themselves. It’s refreshing to know that doing this job is one of the least selfish things that any person could ever do. It’s also kind of nice that kids (and even some adults!) want to dress up like your LEO for Halloween and write on papers that this profession is what they want to do when they grow up.

The uniform

Even after years of seeing him wear pretty much the same exact thing, this man is still so incredibly sexy. I understand why people chase uniforms. That uniform is even more sexy when you think about the person wearing it. The brain that they have in their head. The broad shoulders that provide a grieving mom a place to cry. The strong hands that hold lives in them.

Appreciation

Family dinners don’t always happen but when they do, electronics go down and you linger a little longer over an empty plate to just talk. The bed isn’t always warm at night but when it is, you sleep more soundly and wake up feeling more refreshed. The need for jewelry and gifts is replaced with the desire to complete a movie together. The small things become the big and are appreciated so much more. A holiday is no longer about a day but becomes about who you spend an occasion with, no matter the date. The appreciation for your loved one grows as well. If anyone can live life like there’s no tomorrow, it’s a LEO family.

Scheduling and organization

Not only do you become a pro at budgeting and saving, but scheduling and organization becomes second nature. This is actually a great thing because things run so much more smoothly this way. With how unpredictable a work schedule can be and is, ease is a huge thing. We’re a family of five and each month is planned out smoother than if it was just me to worry about. I’ve got the menu planned for the month, coupons being clipped, saving money left and right on necessities, appointments set and down to a science. Now, if only I could get him to read the boards to find out what’s going on!

There are so many things to be grateful for in this lifestyle. With the bad, comes an insane amount of good when you just look.

Have I mentioned the uniform??

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About 15 years ago I was sitting in our kitchen with my mom and a few of her coworkers. I’d sit and listen in on their stories and details from the shift that they just got off of. One day in particular, I remember telling my mom that I was going to date a cop. She looked at me and said “if you want to be with a cop, you need to be in public service yourself. It’ll be really hard otherwise.”. I figured that she just meant emotionally with all of the stuff that they deal with. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that maybe she wasn’t just talking about the emotional aspect.

A video posted by a LEOW a few weeks ago made me chuckle. She mentioned that if you want to be with a LEO, you better be okay with them getting hit on and flirted with. I laughed because for us, that is definitely the truth!  Now, I’m a bit biased (yeah, I’ll admit it) but the man has a heart stopping smile. I’ve seen family friends stop talking when he flashed his toothy grin at them. It made me half swoon in the beginning but I’ll never tell him that!  He was working an event a little while ago and told me to stop in. I come on over, baby in the stroller, and spot him and start walking towards him. Two women are about five feet ahead and lean closer to him. They appeared to be possibly mom and daughter just by the ages. The older woman gets close enough to touch and tells him she’s so very thankful for him. She then grins and tells him he has nice calves. (I mean, in all honesty, he does…) She nudges the younger woman who mumbles something, they giggle and walk away quickly.  The younger woman sees me standing there and smiles and goes “Does that count as sexual harassment?  I think it did.”  I laughed and told her that I sexually harass him all the time. We share laughter and I hear the other woman say “I hope that didn’t come off too much as sexual harassment…” and you could tell that she really didn’t care. He smiles that swoon worthy smile, chuckles, and points and tells her “you can ask my wife, she’s right there.”  This poor lady starts apologizing profusely and I’m laughing and telling her that she is more than okay, she didn’t cross any lines. I told her I draw that at touching.  She lost the panic in her face and they walked away happy again.

A couple of nights ago was the town’s National Night Out. Him being a part of the traffic unit and DWI enforcement, had the privilege of running the driving course with the golf cart and beer goggles.  I brought our middle and youngest boys to partake in the festivities.  We stood off to the side and started people watching and I hear these women giggle and talk back and forth about the hot officer that they get to drive with.  They each watched him, googly eyed, as he asked them questions and explained the course with them. I’m pretty sure they never actually heard a word he was saying.  I stood off to the side keeping my laughing under control knowing that the man was completely oblivious to what was going on in the ladies heads.

Good thing I am the way that I am!

Hey, if the community appreciates and supports my husband because of how attractive they find him, that’s okay with me. At least he’s supported!

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I played a lot of sports as a kid. Softball, hockey, lacrosse, track and field, you name it- If high school offered it, I was affiliated with it.  The deal was the better the grades, the more I could do. Boy did I take advantage of that.  Aside from the “and field” part of track and field and in softball, I was defense. I’ve always been a protector so that just fit. My mom didn’t always get to see all of this. I understood as I got older. It was okay. I mean, it wasn’t but you know.  The game would start, I’d scan the crowd, lingering on every brunette hoping it was her. Sadness would quickly come and go and I went into my zone. I’d look up randomly and there she would be. Off to the side, closest to the exit, hands in front of her resting on her duty belt. I’d catch her eye, she’d smile and do a little wave and smile back. Some days she was there for a whole half, others I saw her lean down to her radio minutes after getting there. It sucked but at least she saw something.

I remember one basketball game in particular. Freshman year. Last away game of the season. I hadn’t made a basket (not this season anyways). I see mom walk in. She stood by the corner of the bleachers. I was probably the only one to notice her come in. My team runs down the court and I stay back towards the net we’re shooting on. Our team steals and I’m wide open. I come up expecting to block (again, I’d never made a basket- partially because I was the ‘fat girl’ so no one passed to me) but the ball came towards me. I caught it, pivoted, did a lay up and made it. Holy cow! NO WAY! My team cheered. For me?! I didn’t care I just looked around for my mom. She was beaming. She saw. Last game, first basket. She saw. We start to reset down the court (this wasn’t a game winning finale after all) and I spy her head go down to respond to whatever call comes out next. She smiles and nods goodbye and gets ready to go be a Deputy instead of a mom again.

One thing that meant a lot that my mom did was she would go over my game schedule and bargain with her coworkers to switch patrol areas so she could stop in on my games. Talk about a family and it taking a village! Sports were important. They gave me a stability and consistency I didn’t have in other places of my life. What my mom did for me is something I cannot express gratitude for.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been out of sports for 13 years. I smell the sweaty football pads (and the bleach that is a must for them) and there are socks and cleats everywhere. I organize my work schedule around one in football and one in soccer. The man checks his schedule against our oldest son’s schedule. “Hey babe, think you can get off duty so you can work this game?” “Write down the date and time so I can check it out. That’ll be getting paid to watch my boys whole game!” he responds. I mark in his calendar when and where games are so he can try to be off in time to catch the last half.  He’s a city cop but he’s trying to do what my mom did. Work around to see a game. Because they’re so darn important. Our oldest had a game tonight. The baby and our 7 year old sat with me along the home team’s side. Our son goes on the field and takes his position. He nails a fantastic tackle. My phone starts ringing and it’s the man. “Did you see that hit of his?!  Wait, look, he’s center now!  Awesome!!”  I scan the crowd and there he is, off on the far end all alone. I never knew he was there. He only made the last quarter but he was there. He had to stay away from us so no one put two and two together that we were his but we saw him and our oldest saw him and that’s all that matters.

I’m not a great stay at home mom, but by golly I’ll be a darn good sports mom and cheer enough for their dad and I. Even if he catches the game through video or FaceTime, our kids will know that dad wanted to be there and that he’s tied for their #1 fan.

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The Governor of my state has issued a state of emergency to prepare for Irma. Honestly, I think it was a smart move. Hurricane Irma has been said to be one of the strongest hurricanes to date. It has obliterated everything in it’s path. She isn’t going to go down without a fight and she’s going to make sure her name is known.

I think one of the scariest things about all of this is that even with mandatory evacuations in a lot of places (one of the places I called home), it doesn’t apply for public safety. Essential personnel don’t pack up their belongings and get into a car and scoot on over to another state to safety. They stay there. Waiting for the worst hurricane in more than a decade, and one of the roughest hurricanes in history, to hit them. Some of us will leave behind our “essential personnel” family members in search for higher ground and safety. Do others even realize how incredibly difficult that is to do?  To leave behind a loved one to fight off the very thing you’re running from. I’ve been on the opposite side. I’ve shipped off my family to fight whatever demon was in front of me. Honestly, it was easier because my family was gone, they were safe. I knew what I had to do and I had a huge weight lifted off of my shoulder not having them to worry about. But this… This feeling… This sucks.

I’ve gone over my checklist time and time again. Funny thing… I made the man a hurricane box before I made ours. Now, I didn’t wait until last minute and ignore the needs of my family. Not at all. But. I made sure the man was taken care of.  We got hit with Hurricane Matthew last year. Thankfully we suffered only minor damage (and no power for almost a week) but this poor man saw maybe 8 hours of “down time” in 3 days. Yay for small departments. So I fixed him up. He could probably feed his unit for 3 or 4 days off of just what’s in his box! I even bought him his favorites, honey buns, and wrote little notes on them. He’s got gum, soups, chicken salad with crackers, protein and granola bars, instant coffee packs with creamers, socks, peanut butter, you name it, this man has it. He’s got a loaf of bread and a blanket going in on Sunday night (he is on what I call “hurricane duty” starting Monday). I have a feeling he’s going to need it.  I’m glad I packed enough for him to share.

I’m still working on my box. I’m waiting to figure out what side of the state Irma wants to put her crazy self on. If she chooses my side of the state, well, I’m abandoning my box, grabbing the kids, the dog, and some books and I’m on my way 4 hours inland. If she’s going West, well then I best be stocking up on Chunky soup and granola bars because my parents are coming over. Actually, my three boys eat like grown men, I’ll need more than soup and granola bars if I want to make sure hanger doesn’t consume my household! Monopoly is rough enough as it is, it could get ugly if hungry people play it.  Hopefully I’ll survive mentally to write again in two weeks!

Pray for our boys in blue, y’all. If you’re not the praying type, send good vibes or juju. They’ll need all of it. And while you’re at it, if you don’t mind, please pray for our red line guys too. One part of our country is drowning and another part is burning down.  Stay safe guys. Godspeed.

The post Preparation appeared first on NALEStough.org.

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“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.” –Fred Rogers

Those words. Oh how those words speak such truths right now. Harvey has devastated. Harvey has stolen. Harvey has permanently affected lives. With everything negative Harvey has done, there is some hidden positive. Have you noticed the support?  Have you witnessed the helping? Have you really seen the unity?  I’m not just talking about diaper drives or people opening houses or a pet store donating over $1M in money and supplies. I’m talking about neighbors working hand in hand with our officers and firefighters. I’m talking about someone snapping a picture of a female officer in uniform passed out in a tiny chair and singing her praises.  I’m talking about sock drives and collection boxes just for LEOs. This is how we’re supposed to be. Appreciating every single second that they’re out there giving up their families, their sleep, their full bellies, to be waist deep in water, carrying strangers, and not complaining about it. These are the men and women we married, we created lives and families with. They make us proud. They make us want to give more and to work harder, like they’re doing now. They make us want to fight for them. Because this is who they are and they deserve us behind and beside them.  They’ve earned it.

For those still working without rest- you’re in our thoughts and prayers. Stay safe and come home.

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