November 17, 2014

Meet The Members Monday - Rebekah W.

Hi, I’m Rebekah Wright. I’m a first-year spouse, married to Robert Wright, who is an Airman. I hail from Leesburg, VA, and currently, we’re living in the Glen Haven military community in Silver Spring, MD. (Or is it Wheaton; the Post office seems confused.) We’re new to the military life, and love the community and perks thus far. Our son, Alec, is eight months old, and we also have two cats: Bat and Sassy. I’m working for USUHS in the Admissions and Recruitment department. I love learning more about my husband’s military and medical experience firsthand. For instance, besides the obvious debt-free education, proximity to Walter Reed and the NIH, commissioned officer rank and respective benefits, etc., the cadaver donation, leadership courses and ultrasound training are cool differentiators from other med schools. There are other spouses at work, and we go to lunch sometimes. (Maj is the best matchmaker!!) I have a MBA from UGA and BS in Commerce from UVA. I love yoga (Mommy and Baby yoga classes are super fun), marketing, tennis (how my hubby and I met in ATL), and reading fiction/fantasy, social science and philosophy (right now, I’m reading Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins). Trying new ethnic restaurants in DC is one of my favorite past times. It’s so great being a mother, too! Sorry that I have not attended more Spouse Club meetings, yet. I look forward to hanging out in the future! Photo credit to Nicole Babcock, fellow Spouse Club member,

November 11, 2014

Guest Post - Hiking at Harpers Ferry

Looking for something fun outdoors to do on one of these beautiful Fall days before the weather gets too cold? Here's an idea! This was posted last year by one of our members on her blog, Adventures of a Recent Grad. And guess what... Military families can enter National parks free of charge with the Annual Pass! Thank you, Sarah, for sharing this wonderful information. 

Harpers Ferry Hiking

Last weekend my husband and I loaded up the car with our hiking gear and drove to West Virginia! It felt so nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of D.C. especially since we only had to spend an hour in the car getting there. Upon arriving at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, we learned that there was free entry for all to celebrate Veteran's Day. Normally it is $10 per car or $5 for individuals who enter on bike or foot.

The visitor center is small but has some very helpful rangers who are willing to guide you in the right direction. They also have stamps for your parks passport. If you plan on hiking, make sure you ask for a more detailed trail map. You might notice that this park is very spread out, but there are free shuttle buses that will take you from the visitor center to town. The buses were pristine and ran frequently.We were told 10-15 minutes, but when we were heading out around noon, the buses kept coming every 5 minutes.You can walk back to the visitor center from town. It is about 2 miles, and keep in mind the sun sets much earlier now! Also, know that there is more than one visitor center within walking distance. If you see the sign while at Jefferson Rock, that is the Appalachian Trail visitor center that is .7 miles away and not the National Park visitor center. We had no idea until we got right below it; fortunately, a nice lady walking her dog came by and was able to point us in the right direction. (Keep going on the trail and take the left at the fork in the trail and head down the hill. Then you will be back on the road with signs to guide your way.)

Our big hike of the day was the Maryland Heights Trail. This is one of the more strenuous trails offered at Harpers Ferry, but the view is so worth it. The hiking itself wasn't too difficult (unlike theBilly Goat Trail) it just involved a whole lot of up. Those were some steep inclines that did not let up. My husband likes to "get in a workout" on the first half of a hike. I felt like I was going to die as we trekked past everyone. (I survived!) If you take your time though, you should have no problem. There is a stunning overlook at the top where you can see picturesque Harpers Ferry sitting on the river below. The train passed by right when we got up there and topped off the whole experience. I will avoid describing too much and just show some pictures. It is very windy at the top! If you hike this during the fall/winter, you will definitely want a jacket.

There is plenty to explore in town as well. If you are hungry after a day of hiking, Lower Town offers a lot of sandwich/salad type restaurants and tons of ice cream shops. The architect in your group will enjoy the well-preserved buildings, and shoppers will be delighted with the assortment of stores including handmade and local items. We wandered into a "historic candy shop" that dates back candy favorites and their histories to the 1700s. The woman who owns this store will gladly talk to you about the fascinating history of candy, and the best part is you can take some home. Museums are set up in several of the historic buildings around town so you can step inside and learn more about this town's Civil War past. Did you know Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) stopped through town to get his gear for their famous expedition? There is a cemetery that dates back to the 1800s nearby Jefferson Rock. If you walk a little further down the trail after taking in the view, you will notice some stone steps off to your right. Those lead up to the cemetery; there is a plaque at the top to give you more information about its history. One thing I really enjoyed about this trip was the history lesson. Signs and exhibits all over Harpers Ferry illustrated the town's past in an interesting and engaging way. This is a well-rounded family outing!

October 20, 2014

Meet the Members Monday: Stephanie P

     Hello!  My name is Stephanie P and my husband, Michael, is a first year student in the Army with no prior service.  We are both from Colorado and are high school sweethearts.  We have been married for 3 years and together for 11 years.  We spent 6 years living in Boulder, CO then moved to Boston for 3 years where my husband completed a masters in Biomedical Engineering.  I have a degree in mathematics and spent the last five years working for a consulting firm as a financial analyst in both Boston and Denver.  I am now pursuing a graduate degree in teaching.  Upon finishing the degree I hope to teach high school math.  
     When we aren't studying we love to travel, mountain climb, rock climb and trail run. In Colorado we also did a lot of skiing, but we haven't tried East Coast skiing yet! We spent the past summer in Peru climbing mountains before embarking on this journey at USU.  We love to travel and next up on our list is Patagonia, New Zealand and Alaska.
     I look forward to getting involved in the SSC through the adult socials and volunteer opportunities.

October 13, 2014

Meet the Members Monday - Holly P.

     I am Holly Pike, the spouse of Dan Pike, 1st year student. I am a household engineer for my amazing husband & 4 crazy kiddos- Cameron (Cam) 7, Allison (Ally) 5, Andrew (Drew) 3, and Catherine (Katie) 1. I grew up in upstate New York near Rochester and met my husband, who is also from that area on a blind date. I actually had to be bribed to go on the date by my best friend’s boyfriend- after I met him I was super glad I went! We have been married 9 years, moved 7 times, had each of our kids in a different state (Texas (Laughlin, AFB), Ohio (Wright-Patterson, AFB), Wisconsin (UW Madison) & Colorado (USAFA) -in that order) & have loved every minute of our journey together! My husband has been in the Air Force for 8 years, had several different jobs while we have moved all over the country. He began his AF career in pilot training, but after 6 weeks of air sickness, he had to pursue a different path. His last assignment was at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs as an instructor teaching Anatomy, Biology & Physiology.  
     When I'm not chasing kids or tending to the house I love to cook, sew, crochet, scrapbook, run and read. I usually try a new recipe every week, my favorites being desserts! I like to be out and about with my kids exploring the area where we live & making new friends. One of my favorite things to do is scroll through Facebook and see what my friends around the world are up to & catch up on what's happening with our family in NY. We also own a home on Little Sodus Bay, NY near our families and that is where the kids and I spend our summers.
I have loved being a military spouse, I hate the actual “moving” part, but it's so fun getting a new house & scenery every few years! I am so grateful for the benefits, opportunities & experiences that the AF has given my husband & our family. The greatest being able to be home with my children everyday.
     I am excited for this new chapter in our journey & look forward to getting to know the other spouses in our group!

October 6, 2014

Meet the Members Monday - Stephanie A.

       Hi all! My name is Stephanie Adams and my husband, Jason, is a first year Air Force med student. Phoenix is home for the both of us; we are what you call high school sweethearts. Our story started junior year of high school when a shy and awkward kid in my AP history class quietly asked me to prom. I said “sure” and the rest is history! When we first started dating, unbeknownst to me Jason was feverishly preparing to apply to the service academies. When he was accepted to the Air Force Academy I didn’t quite understand the commitment we both were embarking on.
       I attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ majoring in nursing while he journeyed to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs majoring in civil engineering. We survived and even thrived in a 4 year long distance relationship during college. We married over 6 years ago and have been together for over 11.
       We have a very energetic and loving 3 year old little boy named Wyatt and a “sweet as pie” 5 month old little girl Stella Mae.  Right now my priority is holding down the fort while we figure out this whole med school thing. I have found myself amazingly busy with these two little kiddos and have decided to hold off on finding a job anytime soon. I was previously an oncology nurse working on inpatient units in both Tucson and Las Vegas- our first two stops on this military journey.
       I am a desert girl through and through so I am terrified of winter and driving in snow! If you have any helpful hints on how to survive cold weather, feel free to share! So far we are really enjoying the East coast and look forward to being here for the next four years!

September 23, 2014

SSC Fall Carnival!

SSC Fall Carnival

THIS Saturday!!  
September 27th, 4pm-6pm
USU Pavilion 
(past the baseball field and track at the back of the school)

Join us for food, prizes, moon bounce and some good ol' carnival games!

If you'd like to help out, we are still looking for a few food items and help with carnival stations/clean-up. Please see the Google Doc if you would like to sign up.

See you there!

September 8, 2014

Meet The Members Monday - Quinton W.

My name is Quinton Ward and I am the Men’s group Chair. My wife’s name is Chloe Ward and we have been married for 5 years. I am a retired U.S. Army veteran and my wife is an Air force 2nd year. I am a military brat so I’m not really from anywhere but my wife calls Atlanta home. We have 2 service dogs and a clowder of cats living with us and we do not have any children. Before coming to USU we lived in Baton Rouge LA where my wife attended LSU. I went to school for computer networking and now work at USU in the education reform office. My wife and I love to travel and are huge foodies. We love living here in the D.C. area because of the diversity in cuisine. In the military I was an instructor and a career counselor, I supported soldiers in helping them get to and pay for college. My wife and I just purchased our first home in Kensington and we will soon start renovations while she is away for clerkship rotations.