Category Archives: Navy family

Military: 7 Signs You PCS’d This Summer

One month ago today we moved into our home. I’m sure there are many military families out there experiencing some of these moments right along with me….

  1. You can still spy one or two (or fifteen thousand, if you are like me) of those pesky moving stickers that never seem to EVER go away completely!
    PCS Summer 1
  2. While checking out at Bed, Bath, & Beyond (because you need stuff for your new bed, bath, and… beyond) you pause for a good ten seconds when asked what your zip code is. Zip code… right. WHERE exactly am I again?!
    PCS Summer 2
  3. The idea of going school supply shopping is entirely daunting because, didn’t we just get here?! Now I need to be organizing myself and family for a new school year?!
    PCS Summer 3
  4. Your bucket list for the summer is ten miles long. You MUST see all the new sites RIGHT NOW! Because you know, before you blink you will be looking at a new set of orders and your bucket list will still be about nine miles long.
    PCS Summer 4
  5. You assume all your neighbors have lived in the neighborhood for ages, until you remember it’s a military community and it’s summer and almost everyone is new too!
    PCS Summer 5
  6. Signing your kids up for summer camps and after-school activities feels like the ultimate test of your Mom-hood. This dance studio or that one? We missed soccer try-outs but will they still allow my child to play? Where, exactly, does that swim team compete? Wait, what time does school get out anyway?!PCS Summer 6
  7. There is a sense of immense possibility with each new person you meet and each new road you travel.PCS Summer 7

To all my fellow military spouses out there who are settling in and exploring new hometowns… may this new adventure be your best! And in the words of Matsuo Basho, remember:
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

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Schooled in Parenting (By My 8-Year-Old Daughter)

classroomThis morning while I was getting ready for the day, my kids rolled into a very intense, very passionate argument. The likes of which I’m sure haven’t been seen (or heard!) since the days of old. Or maybe last week.  Of course, this argument was about, none other than, Minecraft.  From what I can gather from my unavoidable over-hearing, my 4-year old was continually pushing random buttons on his Xbox controller while my 7 and 8-year olds were trying to build something (apparently it was a very important “something” that could not be delayed by random button pushing). I will set the scene for you: To find out what I learned, click here


The Resilient Navy Spouse

My best deployment blues fighter: the One Armed Pillow In A Dress Shirt

My best deployment blues fighter: the One Armed Pillow In A Dress Shirt

I have a special group of friends. I’ve written about them time and time again, probably because they are so dear to my heart. They are my fellow Navy wives. Today, though, I’m thinking of a particular set of women in this group… the spouses of my husband’s previous squadron. You see, these good friends of mine are squeaking out the last few hours before they have to send their husbands off on a looooooong deployment aboard the USS Carl Vinson. Bleh. It’s more than “Bleh.” It’s all capital lettered: BLEH…. times 10,000. It’s even worse than that but I don’t think there are words to sufficiently encompass the suckiness of it. So I will have to leave it at “BLEH.”

The thing is, I know these women. While my heart aches for them and my stomach ties into knots for them, I know, without a shadow of doubt, that they are going to be okay. They will make it through the send off moment. They will make it through the walking into their home whose walls will not house their husband for the next several months. They will make it through the waking up the next morning and knowing theirs is the only coffee cup that will be used that morning. They will make it through hugging their kids when they miss their daddy already. They will make it through because they are strong and fierce. They are loyal and loving. They are, perhaps above all, resilient. Continue reading…


Military: A Few Ways to Support Your Military Community

Man in U.s. Marine Corps Uniform Saluting American Flag

Several people have recently asked me, “How can the “average Joe” support the military community? In particular, they want to know the best ways that they can be helpful to a military family whose service-member is deployed. My first thought was buy the spouse a bottle of wine! But then I thought seriously about it and realized it’s kind of a tricky question: while we (military spouses) certainly appreciate and could totally use a helping hand, it’s hard to coordinate. When I am trying to keep the house in working order, keep the cars in working order, keep the kids in –somewhat- working order, figuring out how to let my neighbors be helpful can get kind of overwhelming. And when I’m already overwhelmed, adding another bit of overwhelming-ness isn’t awesome.

So, I decided to sit down and try to come up with things that were/would have been helpful to me while my husband was on his 8-month deployment. They start out easy and get a little more complicated, but even the smallest acts of kindness go a long way… My List starts here…


We All Need A Little Mama Love (From Ourselves)

Love (Two red hearts)

I had intended to write this post nearly two weeks ago.  I typed the title into the title line and saved the draft so I would remember what I wanted to write about.   So a few weeks ago, I thought I wanted to write about how us moms out there in the MotherHood need to take care of ourselves and cut ourselves some slack. We need to enjoy a little break from all things Motherhood.  Interestingly enough, I needed this post, personally, two days ago. However, the actual message I ended up with was pretty much the opposite message I had originally intended to write.    

To start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start), I was stressed out this week.  There were a variety of factors, including but not limited to: my husband heading out-of-town for training for a handful of days (not a long time in Navy terms but long enough to throw me off a bit), the Navy moved a dear friend away (again), I heard some really tough news about a friend’s health, and I had made commitments at my kids’ school that were a little bigger than I had anticipated. Plus, I had the general stresses when trying to be a mom, wife, friend, and human being. 

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was being affected by the stress because a few days ago I was told that my son’s kindergarten teacher needed to speak to me after school.  She kindly explained that my little dude had hurt another kid in his class. (Note: when your neighbor is sitting “criss-cross applesauce” on the carpet during music, it’s not nice to try to squash his knees into the ground.  You should probably keep your hands to yourself.) “Oh. Goodness.  Well, thank you for letting me know and we will definitely talk about this more at home.” says Betsy, who now wants to cry a little bit.  After talking to my son about his choices and my expectations for his behavior in the future, I thought I had it handled and went about my day.  And then I went about my next day until about 10:30am when the phone rang.  Oh, boy.  He was at it again at school and this time had decided that pinching another child during music class would be a good idea.  This time not only was I getting a phone call from the teacher, but he had been sent to “see the Problem Solvers” (a.k.a. “the Principals’ Office”). “Oh. Goodness. Again. Hmmm. That’s not good.” says Betsy, who now has quiver chin and tingling nose.  Thankfully my little dude’s teacher is a sweet and gentle lady who may have been trained by Disney princesses in handling awkward, uncomfortable, and “tragic” motherhood moments.  I didn’t burst into tears right then and there.  

So, I had been off kilter and feeling frazzled, and then in my over-dramatic mind anyway, I was failing my son.  Because, of course, it’s all my fault if he does something wrong, right?! Well, when I’m stressed out that’s pretty much the only logical answer.  It must be because I haven’t taught him empathy enough (I read an article somewhere that empathy  was the most telling sign that your child would be a contributing member of society, so now I have a mean kid who will become a bully and that will lead him to juvenile delinquency…. he’s pretty much straight on the road to prison) and I haven’t given him enough attention during the last week while his Dad (his buddy of all buddies) was out on the aircraft carrier (risking his life by landing a big giant airplane on a small bouncing boat in the middle of a big deep ocean for the sake of our country’s freedom).  Do you see how a little bit of frazzle can up my drama-meter?! Let’s keep going, because I surely didn’t stop there.  It’s my fault because I haven’t followed-through on absolutely every single warning I gave him, and I haven’t taught him self-control because sometimes I lose my patience which makes me use my “shouting voice,” and probably it’s all my fault because he’s a middle child and middle children are usually the ones that feel neglected, so “way to go”me for having a sister before him and a brother after him.  It’s all my fault.  I am the world’s worst mother. Ever. 

I pretty much sent that all in an email to my husband.  Lucky guy.  I’m sure he was thrilled to read it.  Luckily for me, I was also able to call my sister and tell her all of my frazzled thoughts too.  My husband (via email) and my sister(via phone), both of whom were apparently not frazzled, but very logical, reminded me that kids are their own persons and they make mistakes.  They test limits just to see what will happen, and sometimes test limits knowing exactly what will happen but do it anyway.  My son will cause problems and  get himself into “pinches” (pun intended).  My job is not to prevent him from making every single bad choice, but to make sure he learns from those choices.  My job is to respond to the little offenses in a way that will motivate him to make better choices when faced with the big offenses.  

In response to this potentially failing Mama moment,  I realized that while I need to maintain some “me” time, I also need to be more intentional in my Mama time.  I had totally been coasting through some of the parts of motherhood that needed a little more effort.  I had been focusing a lot of my time and energy on other people outside of my family, with good intentions but maybe to the detriment of my confidence in my ability to be the best Mama I can be.  That’s where I needed the Mama Love.  I needed to spend a day thinking about how much I love being a Mama, on the good days and on the bad days too.  

So I busted out my poster board and made a behavior sticker chart.  I put my phone away after school so I could hear more about his day and who he played with and how music class went.  We picked out books we want to read together and made sure I had one-on-one time with him every day.  Basically, I stopped being too busy, too frazzled, and too distracted to really love being a Mama.  

So bringing this all back to needing some Mama Love….  I had anticipated writing about needing Mama Love by taking the opportunity to take off our Mama hats.   But this week, I realized sometimes my Mama Love needs to come from taking off all the other hats I wear and putting that Mama hat squarely (or maybe on a jaunty little angle) on my head.  While it won’t always be easy, but because I have gained some confidence this week, I will wear that cap with neither pressure on myself to create perfect kids nor fear that they will make poor choices. I clearly know: they will not be perfect and they will make very, very poor choices (particularly during music time). 


The Fun of Motherhood

Starting at the very beginning, my most favorite joys of motherhood were meeting each of my three children.  All of my kiddos arrived via c-section, so our first meetings were rather sterile, but oh so perfect at the same time.  After months of anticipation, day dreaming and getting sneak peeks through ultrasounds, the moment of meeting each child face-to-face for the very first time will forever be burned in my memory.  When my daughter was born (the first of three babies) I was certain there was something “wrong” with her because the nurses bundled her up in a blanket right away and the only thing I could see was her tiny face.  I thought they were hiding something from me. (They were not.)  When my first son was born (baby #2) a short fifteen months later, the doctors made sure I got to see him all squirmy and slimy before wrapping him up and bringing him to my husband who held him next to my face.  Finally, when baby #3 arrived we were all laughing… we had not found out the baby’s gender this time around, and I was certain she was a SHE.  Well, he was a HE and he was a BIG he.  The anesthesiologist announced, “Get that kid a paper route!”  Each arrival holds a very special place in my life.    I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on each face, whispered into their tiny ears, and stroked their smooth, chubby cheeks.

Meeting Baby #3

Meeting Baby #3

I’m not sure if I can put the rest of my favorite joys in any particular order, but the next one that comes to mind is the deliciousness of a baby/toddler/preschooler after bath time.  In our house, we do bath time pretty much every night. There’s something so sweet about snuggling with the little babe who smells like lavender and is all cozied up in clean pajamas.  As the little one grows, post-bath time continues to be pretty wonderful.  The toddlers are no longer sticky, usually a little bit calmer and a lot more snuggly in preparation for story time and bed time.  Even the pre-schoolers are fresh and clean (aside from those temperary tattoos that seem to stick to my kids for an incredibly long time!), ready to settle down for the night, and full of sweet kisses, hugs, and noses.  Bath time seems to not only wash away the dirt and grime, but the crankiness, tantrums, and stress from everyone’s day.  I love me a fresh baby!

Loving Bath time

Loving Bath time

Post-Bath Time fun.

Post-Bath Time fun.

I absolutely love watching my little munchkins explore and learn about the world we live in.  Seeing them feel sand and snow for the first time, watching them explore national parks, taste new foods, and just “discover” the world around them brings me such joy.  I am reminded of how wonder-filled our days are.  My kids help me to slow down and experience life with my eyes wide open.  I am thankful for their enthusiasm and curiousity to learn and try new things.

Discovering snow

Discovering snow

Discovering the ocean

Discovering the ocean

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Discovering sticks!

Perhaps some of our most wonder-filled moments happen during the Christmas season.  We like to keep our Christmas holiday Christ-centered, but we also celebrate the “magic” of Santa Claus and the fun of exchanging presents.  One of my greatest joys of motherhood happens on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  Our family has created traditions that the kids look forward to with great excitement.  I love the anticipation of Christmas morning and thrill of seeing the goodies beneath the tree for the first time.  Almost nothing beats the joy of Christmas in our house!

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Christmas morning hair.

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Santa, I believe!

LOTS of sprinkles on Christmas cookies

LOTS of sprinkles on Christmas cookies.

Right after the joys of Christmas, I also want to add the joys of Disney!  Taking my kids to Disney World a few years ago was one of my all-time favorite motherhood moments.  To see their faces light up with excitement and awe of Disney magic was totally awesome.  My daughter was filled with pure bliss to meet her favorite Disney princesses and characters.  My husband and I couldn’t help but feel the joy and excitement too.  Living life through the imaginations of my children is my most fun part of motherhood.

Exploring Minnie's house

Exploring Minnie’s house

Loving on the Minnie Mouse

Loving on the Minnie Mouse

Comparing jewelry with Pocahontas

Comparing jewelry with Pocahontas

While time is definitely flying by and I will wish I could relive these moments over again, I also love, love, LOVE, watching the kids grow-up into the people they were made to be! I love see them learn new skills; first steps, first words, first Lego creation, first two-wheel bike are moments that I treasure for each one of them.  I love to see their personalities bloom as they grow and mature.  I love to know that each day they are becoming more of the wonderful person they were created to be.

First Day of Pre-School

First Day of Pre-School

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First Day of Kindergarten

Not only is it completely amazing to watch your little ones grow into big people, I find it even more amazing to watch my husband grow into a most wonderful father.  I watch him teach our children to play fair, to tell the truth, to have self-control, and to be respectful.  I watch him play ball, have tea parties, race cars, ride bikes, and camp in our back yard.  I watch my children wave to him when he leaves the house and hug him when he gets home.  I watch my family grow stronger because of the father that he is.  I fall in love with him a little more every day.

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Daddy and Son #2 (2012)

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Daddy and Son #1 (2011)

Daddy and his little girl (2008)

Daddy and his little girl (2008)

And speaking of love…. there is nothing more enthralling than the feelings of love I have for my children.  To have these little people in my life who have captured all of my heart is sometimes more than I can believe.  They are my heart, and my life.  Though they bring me tears on occasion, they bring me smiles daily.  My life is full because I have been given the most precious gift of being their mother.  I am thankful every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. that I get to be their Mom, MaMa, and Mommy.

Me and My Boys

Me and My Boys

Me and My Girl

Me and My Girl

P.S. This post and photos has made me realize I need someone else to take photos of me and my kids.  Almost all of the photos that include me are “selfies” from my phone!  

 


The Kitchen is Closed & Other Poor Leadership Choices

My husband told me he wanted to have appetizers before dinner. I told him I didn’t really think that was a good idea and I would not support that at all.  He told me that he really thought it was best for the family to have a little extra food. I told him that I thought it was best for the family to not spend more money on unnecessary food.  Last night was Menu Planning Night for our household.  My husband and I were at a standstill.  Obviously, we decided to shut down the kitchen.  The kitchen is closed.  Our kids won’t get to eat because the leaders of our household can’t figure out how to compromise and resolve our differences.

Well that didn’t really happen because that would just be ridiculous. Seriously. Oh wait. That’s what the “leaders” of our country are doing. What in the world?!

I’m not a political genius and have yet to be invited to the table on Meet the Press, but from everything I can gather, this situation is stupid.   The issues are complicated, yes.  Finding a compromise is difficult, yes.  Allowing your opposing party to get its way is irritating, ego-shrinking, and down-right outraging, yes. I get all that.  I understand that Congress is “trying” to keep their constituents happy.  But for the life of me I cannot see that any constituent who had to pack up their desk and put “out of office” messages on their email and phone would be happy with their leadership.

I’m not sure how this Government Shutdown (I do believe it deserves capital letters) is being played out across the country.  I know that here, in a military community, it is being felt left and right.  Thankfully, the government showed a tiny bit of sense by passing the law that Active Duty pay will continue regardless of the Shutdown. However, I have several friends who are DoD employees who left their desks today unsure of when they will be back and when they will be paid. That’s not cool.   I know that the Commissary will be closed and all those folks who work there won’t be heading to work tomorrow.  That’s not cool, either.  I know that Congress will be solidly certain that their paychecks are secure.  That’s super not cool.

I imagine the affects of the Shutdown will be felt throughout the country according to an article in the Washington Post. With National Parks and museums closed, all those workers won’t be putting on their uniforms tomorrow.  The folks whose businesses depend on tourists visiting the National landmarks will feel the Shutdown.  The families on the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program through the Department of Agriculture will no longer receive support after next week.  The Housing Authorities will run out of money by the end of October. Let’s all hope there isn’t a giant flu outbreak, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won’t have the capacity to respond very well.  So very not cool.

So, going back to my husband and his demands for appetizers before dinner, I can see how people might think that’s a brilliant idea.  I can also see how me saying “No way, Jose” (his name isn’t really Jose though) is a brilliant idea too.  So we are both brilliant… no wonder we are leaders of our household.  However, if we really chose to dig our heels in and refuse to budge, we would be proving just how very NOT brilliant we are and how we very much do NOT deserve positions of leadership.  So let’s remember today and the ridiculousness of this situation when we go to the polls next.  No matter what “brilliant” policy those “leaders” were supporting, they have proven to be less than worthy of our votes.

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Motherhood: Happy Labor Day

Today’s Labor Day: the day to rest from your hard work. We’re all out BBQ-ing, relaxing, enjoying the last of summer. I appreciate this holiday, I really do. No, wait, sort of I don’t.  I appreciate that my husband had the day off of work and we were able to spend extra time with him.  However, my “rest from my hard work” was pretty much non-existent.  I still did laundry (yes, if you read a few posts ago, I am back to having constant laundry), I still made lunches, and I still cleaned up after the kids.  Labor Day for Stay-At-Home Moms is hardly a holiday.

In honor of LABOR day... a belly shot of me in 2006. This was my view the night before I had my daughter. Happy Labor Day!

In honor of LABOR day… a belly shot of me in 2006. This was my view the night before I had my daughter. Happy Labor Day!

I don’t write this from a place of cranky bitterness.  This is my 6th Labor Day non-holiday, so my expectations are realistic and I’m fine with that.  I just think it deserves to be put into writing that the one day of the year that is specifically a day to celebrate laborers isn’t much of a celebration for me.

The day is called “Labor Day”… you would think that mothers would get a little extra something special since they are the ones that actually labor. First they grow the little beans into a child… a human child. That’s crazy. But if that wasn’t enough, they also labor… literally labor… to get the human safely into the world.  That deserves a holiday. Okay, so maybe there’s the kid’s birthday and that’s like a holiday, but that doesn’t really count because it’s the child who gets the presents and attention… not the momma who grew and birthed the kid.  Lame.  Oh, right, there’s Mother’s Day too. But, c’mon, Mother’s Day is celebrating the awesome mothers we happen to be after the child is in the world.  Labor Day should be a holiday to celebrate the fact that women bring humans into the world.  Everyone should have the day off of work too, but let’s just acknowledge that mothers earn the right to claim the “labor” for which we celebrate.

I should probably openly admit that I never went into full labor. I had some serious braxton-hicks for weeks (months) and started labor with the first two.  However, my first child ended up being breech so we planned a c-section.  My second pregnancy was in California where they did not allow VBACs, and finally my third pregnancy had to be a c-section since I already had two… plus he ended up being 10 pounds, so I was happy to go ahead with a c-section on that one! So, I didn’t actually labor, only a little bit with all three.  I’m going to claim some rights to Labor Day though because c-section recoveries are no picnic. They are laborious, too.

So, can we agree that Labor Day should really give more credit to the mothers in this country. Good.

Can I address one more thing about Labor Day? Yes, yes I can, it’s my blog.

I’d like to openly and publicly give big props to all the mothers (who labored) who also have a husband on deployment today.  (I also give props to all military spouses who are celebrating this holiday without your loved one, but a special one to the mothers because of the whole “labor” thing.) The military spouses who are home with the kids will be laboring like always; no husband getting up with the kids so she can catch an extra hour of sleep, no husband to wrestle with the kids or throw them in the pool, no husband to give an extra hand doing dinner dishes, no husband to lounge on the couch with during the middle of the day.  Today is a national holiday, but for many military spouses it is just one more day of deployment, pulling double-duty as mom and dad, seeing all those families together doing family things… together.  Of all the people in the world who deserve a day off, it is the military spouses who are holding down the fort at home and trying to entertain the kids on their day off of school.

No matter if your husband is on deployment or just on a short work-up, missing your spouse on a national holiday is an extra blow to your enthusiasm.  The whole country gets the day off of work and if they don’t they are most likely earning extra over-time or some such incentive, except for the military who are deployed. They’re working right through the BBQs.  While they made the choice to serve in the military and that’s what they signed up to do, I would still like to give all those military members – especially mommies who are deployed and away from their kids – a special salute for laboring an extra day this year. 

So, Happy Labor Day to you all…
… especially to all you mommas who labored to bring your beautiful babies into this world.
…. especially to all you mommas who c-sectioned your beautiful babies into this world and labored through recovery.
… extra especially to all you mommas who have a husband on deployment today, thank you for taking one for the team today, ladies.  I’m sure I have a Labor Day without my husband sometime in the next few years, but please know I appreciate the hard work you’ve put in today. Because of you cherished the extra hours I had with my husband today. Cheers to you!


Marriage: “Like a Dream”

engaged couple holding on hands - view from backsideA few days ago, a friend of mine told me about a YouTube video she came across on Facebook. The video tells the story of a 96-year-old Illinois man who entered a song writing contest he saw in his local paper.  The man, Fred Stobaugh, wrote the sweetest song about his wife who had passed away in April.  The couple had been married for 73 years. If you haven’t heard the song yet or heard the story about it, you should. Check it out here.

Did you go and watch the video? I hope you did.  If not, go ahead and do it now.

So you came back to see what I had to say about this, eh? Bet you had to get some tissues first, eh? It’s just the sweetest story.

The depth of Mr. Stobaugh’s love for his wife is truly inspiring. Imagine looking back on your life and marriage saying, “It was almost dream-like, but it was real.” I hope 70 years from now I will say my marriage was like a dream. I hope my husband will say the same thing.  I’m pretty sure there is only one person on this earth who can really influence the quality of my husband’s marriage.  That’s me.

So what can I do today and tomorrow to ensure our marriage not only lasts but thrives for another 60 years? The answer to that question is something that deserves active and purposeful pursuit.  Every day will be an opportunity to make more good memories and fall in love all over again.

I am sure there are a bazillion things I could do differently to be a better wife . But I’m just going to start with doing things on purpose: I am going to purposefully be thankful for my amazing husband who isn’t hesitant to show me he loves me. I am going to purposefully be the leader of his own personal fan club.  It will be a fan club of 4… me and the kids… but we are going to make sure our guy knows he’s loved.  I am going to purposefully participate in the fun of being a family.  We may have to tackle our Chores List, but I’m going to make sure there are fun things on that list too.  I am going to purposefully find joy in the life we have create and embrace the obstacles that may come our way.

Our 70th wedding anniversary will be in 2071.  When we look back over 70 years of marriage, I pray that my husband will see me as a wife who appreciated him for him, who loved him more than anything else in the world, who created fun memories for the family, and found joy in the life we created together.  I hope we remember when and how we fell in love the first time and that we continued to fall in love time and time again.

I would like to thank Mr. Stobaugh for sharing his story and his love for his wife, for motivating me to take a closer look at the husband I love and the wife that I am to him, for showing us that it is actually possible to have a marriage that is beyond our wildest dreams.


Ode to My Navy Friends

Last night was one of those nights.  A night for a “farewell”… to wish a friend good luck at the next duty station; to laugh at memories made over the last few years, months, weeks, and days; to promise future “girls weekends,” skype dates, and Facebook updates.  Last night was a little extra difficult for me because it wasn’t just a fellow Navy spouse who we were “see you later-ing” it was the farewell dinner for one of my dearest friends – a true Navy sister.

All day today I’ve been thinking of the friendships I have made through the years as a Navy spouse.  They are truly incredible.  I know, for certain, that I am not alone in thinking that friendships made in the military community are some of the most unconditional, loyal, and beautiful friendships.  Tonight, I write for my military friends. You know who you are, near and far…

To the girlfriends of USNA Mids who I met while dating my future husband… thank you for being part of those beginning months of my Navy life.  What a journey it has been since those days of weekend liberty, Ring dance, and graduation.

To the wives I met through Paul’s flight school days… remember how we whined that we never knew what our husband’s schedule would be the next day?! How we waited (impatiently) for the schedule to come out and the instructor wives would roll their eyes and say, “at least they come home every night and aren’t on deployment… just you wait.” Yeah. Those instructor wives knew what they were talking about.

For all you, who lived in Kingsville, TX, with me and become experts in all things ranching, Bunco, and Wal-Mart. Those were the days! Nothing brings a group of ladies together quicker than having nothing better to do than window-shopping at Wal-Mart.  No, but seriously, talk about long-lasting friendships.. that was TEN years ago.

Last but not least… the last days of flight school… when your favorite person in the whole wide world is flying a big ol’ airplane with a big ol’ radar dish on top and has to land (safely!) on a teeny tiny boat in the middle of the ocean.  Nothing like waiting for that phone call to hear he made it.

To the friends I made when I was GIP (a.k.a. “Grumpy In Pax”)…  Well, to you all… first and foremost I apologize. I was kind of grumpy for three years.  Second and secondmost… thank you for being my friend anyway.  Thank you for driving up to Waldorf or Annapolis or DC with me so we could get out of dodge for a few hours. Thank you for showing me new playgrounds to entertain my kids. Thank you for encouraging me when life was hard as a mom of two (and then three) little kids. Thank you for loving me when I was not my most loveable. The Navy is lucky to have ladies like you.

To the friends I found in the fleet… Well, shoot. Moving across country, dealing with the housing office, ever-changing work up schedules, debating which port call to go to, drama in the Spouse Clubs.   It’s all a bit stressful, but it sure did give us lots to laugh and cry about together.  Relationships that may not have ever gone past the point of acquaintance grew into amazing friendships based on commaradrie over not mowing our backyards until Housing mowed our front yards. Or during a long flight to a port call.  Or finding out we hail from the same home state.

Not to mention the friendships that grew and solidified into something more like a sisterhood through deployments.  When half my heart is on a boat on the other side of the world, life can be pretty lonely. When I only get to see my Hub’s face and hear his voice every 6 weeks or so, life can look pretty bleak.  Deployments suck. But with friends like you, I made it through. We became friends over weird only-done-during-deployment traditions…
* We stuffed “cruise boxes.”
* We made calendar squares.
* We planned Halfway dinner.
* We wrote in code regarding portcalls and homecoming dates. (OPSEC, people!)
* We interupted conversations if we thought our husband was calling.
* We made banners and signs professing our love (and creative wittiness, sometimes) when Homecoming day neared.

And we became even better friends doing things that aren’t so weird and more every-day…
* We shared meals often.
* We drank wine often.
* We shopped often
* We literally worked our behinds off at the gym (more than often).
* We danced!

To all of my Navy friends…  We have gone through so much – so many strange life events that are unique to the military life.  Our friendships have been tested with abnormal stresses, incredible heart breaks, and long distances for long periods of time.  Those tests have made me hate the Navy at times, ached to be “normal” and yet I wouldn’t change a single thing because I have been blessed with such amazing friendships.  Thank you for being your awesome selves so I can have such awesome friends!

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