Saturday, June 4, 2011


I have heard people say that you aren't a real military wife until you've been through a deployment.

Well, excuse my French, but bullshit.

I know plenty of spouses who have packed up their lives, had plans ruined because of someone else *(field day anyone? I can't count how many dinners that's screwed up)*, or had to deal with any of the million things that civilian spouses never have to think about dealing with.

So, no, I don't think you have to have survived a deployment to be a 'real' spouse.

BUT I do think experiencing a deployment/long separation is a huge part of the military life, and it can be really stressful. Thankfully, there is always someone else who has gone before and can help the newbies out.

My last post, I wrote about how I was going to teach about the emotional cycle of deployment for LINKS. And Miss Marissa asked for advice on how to deal with a separation.

So, my advice?

Well, this is totally geared toward a deployment, not a separation, and it's an email I sent a friend forever ago when she was dealing with her first deployment, but I'm going to post it here because, honestly, I think it's good advice.

My goal is to just kind of keep B updated on life and carry on a conversation and then throw in at the end that, hey, I miss you and I love you and I can't wait until you're home safe.

I understand not wanting him to know how worried you are--it's one of my goals too. They just want/need to know that we're ok--regardless of whether or not we've been crying for two days straight. For the most part, *(from my experience)* they don't want to talk about what's going on over there. I had one friend who seriously wanted celebrity gossip, just because he was so uninterested in serious stuff.

It does get boring over there, and after the basic "I'm fine, it's hot, I'm covered in sand that won't wash off" *(it doesn't, btw...)* they don't want to talk about it. It was a while before B would talk about it. They just aren't interested. From all the guys I've known who've been over, they want something normal, something that reminds them of what they left behind and what they are coming home to, and why they are doing what they are doing. The situation is going to be different, but try to keep the conversation normal. I know B really liked hearing about the stupid every day things--what some crazy coworker said, how mad I got at my football team when they f-ed up, crap like that.

Yes, you are going to worry. Yes, you are going to miss him. Yes, if you're anything like me, the smallest thing will suddenly remind you of him and you will have to stop the tears. Yes, if you don't hear from him for a few days, your mind will go to the worst. The biggest thing about that is
don't tell him. Tell your mom. Tell your best friend. Tell the stranger in line at the grocery store. Tell me.

Don't tell him.

It will make them worry, and they don't need to worry about us. I know that seems totally doormat, but it's not. If they are worried about us, they can't concentrate on what they have to do. And in Iraq, that's exactly what they need. I'm not saying you always have to act like everything is going great, just don't go on about how your day was miserable because you couldn't talk to him and all you could think about was how much you miss him. Plus, I know for B, he's looking to make sure I can handle this as a lifestyle--and so am I.

B and I had a conversation when we first met about how a lot of military wives/girlfriends are the girls who want to be rescued and taken care of. Who better to do that than a big tough Marine, right? Yeah, right. Military wives/girlfriends have to be exactly the opposite--we have to be able to take care of ourselves, and the crying kid, and the car that just broke down all at the same time, and without them. They won't always be around. And for them, knowing that we can carry on and manage without them is comforting--they feel less guilty about leaving.

I know this is making it sound like we should glaze over everything and give them the impression that we are perfectly fine without them and we're almost like Superwoman and who needs them anyway? But you don't. It's confusing, but he does need to know that you miss him. Just make sure it comes across as a managable, still functioning with my life I miss you. B kept telling me before he left that he needed to know I was strong and could handle it and wouldn't be a mess,yet - and I'm not kidding - the FIRST email I got from him ended with "Have you cried yet!?" Ugh. Really!? They like to know that we're still thinking about them but that's it's not all consuming. More along the lines of "I heard our song on the radio" or "I saw a movie that you'll LOVE" or even just "Hey, someone said something today that made me think of you." Stuff like that.

Also, I don't know about you, but it's going to be tempting to unload on him after a bad day. It's what we do. He's my husband/best friend/all that crap. It's what we do. But I can't anymore. Not really anyway. Can you imagine being in a desert, far away from everyone and everything you know and love, dusty, dirty, stressed out, sleeping in a bed that's the size of a cot, and craving something as simple as a hot dog and a beer, and hearing from your girlfriend/friend/wife that traffic today was just HORRIBLE and how she can't handle it anymore and oh my gosh, if that lady at works asks ONE MORE TIME about how to work the copier, who knows what will happen? I mean, personally...I'd go crazy on that person.

I know it sounds confusing and difficult, and to be honest, annoying. But just keep reminding yourself that your relationship is worth it. My friend whose husband just got home after 8 months said that every time that she got frustrated and ready to flip, she'd just remind herself that she'd rather deal with this and know he was coming home to her than not have to do any of it. It's cheesy, but true. And, as it says in my favorite of the 'how to not go crazy during a deployment' books, this is a pass/fail exercise--all you have to do is survive it. Everyone does that their own way. As long as you don't go crazy, *(or as the book says, jump into alcohol or drugs or neglect the kid(s) or run around with various men)* you're good.

And going crazy does not include the occasional night of being depressed and watching all your romantic movies while eating ice cream, or getting piss drunk with friends and sobbing about missing him, or screaming about how you hate the Marine Corps and the phones are miserable and how unfair the whole thing is.

You'll be fine.

As for that whole thriving not just surviving thing? You have to find what works for you. I have always been a really independent person, so I just kept reminding myself how it was totally ok to be independent again.

Also, my favorite 'get through it' trick was to celebrate the milestones. I NEVER make a countdown, because I am the kind of person who will get the date stuck in my head and if he's not home on that exact date, I'll go insane, so I pick a length of time to celebrate staying normal.

For deployments, I usually go with a month. Every month he's gone and I keep it together, I buy myself something awesome. This accomplishes several goals. I have to stay calm or else I don't get something fun; I spend so much time plotting my newest present that I don't realize how long it's been; and I don't buy random crap all the time! I've gotten shoes *(a few times...)*, a camera, a purse, an awesome dress, etc. It's fun. AND now, every time I use any of those things, I get reminded of how well I handled myself.

Since I have Bug, I also try to do fun stuff with her that we don't really do when Daddy is home. She loves having sleepovers, so when he's gone, once a week, she sleeps in our bed. It's fun for her, and it's fun for me to watch her get so excited about sleepover night.

There are lots of ways to make it through a separation. My biggest and best advice is to find a good support network, and make it work for you.

Anyone else have advice on how they make it through??

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Do you ever have those military mom moments when you go, oh my kid is NOT going to grow up normal?

I had one of those the other day.

Bug and I were driving on base and she asked me about the new barriers and extra security. B and I have a policy of not lying to her about things. Now, don't go teasing me because I sound so high and mighty - not lying is TOTALLY different from not totally answering the question. For example, how are babies made? Miracle. That's the truth, and that's all of the truth she needs to know right now. I'm not going to tell her about sperm and eggs and sex and all that, but I'm not going to tell her about the stork.

I digress.

She asked, and I hesitated but then reminded her of the man who was killed a while ago. We discussed how he was very not nice, and did lots of bad things to people. And how he's dead now. I told her that it's sad that he's dead, because it doesn't matter what kind of person someone is, it's never good or happy when a person dies/is killed. But the bad man was part of what the fighting in Afghanistan is about, and he had friends. So now his friends are angry, and might want to retaliate against the military. I assured her that Daddy is safe, and we are safe, but still.

I had that conversation with my four year old.

She already knows that Daddy is a Marine and that Marines have guns and they fight. She knows that last time Daddy deployed, it was to help keep the good guys safe.

We are going to eventually have to have the conversation about how Marines can get killed. Thankfully, B's job is not that dangerous, as far as Marine Corps jobs go. But how do you explain that to a kid?

Maybe I'm in denial but I am not ready to have these conversations with her.

I keep waiting for her to figure out exactly what Daddy does and just how dangerous it is. I'm glad she hasn't yet, and I would love it if we could hold that realization for after the next deployment, but I fear it won't last.

And I have no idea how to tell her all the details.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


So I will say first that I LOVE Redbook. It's seriously my favorite magazine. It's probably the first magazine that I have ever read where I read and am interested in every article. I subscribe to it, which is saying a lot, because I have never ever bought myself a subscription to a magazine. I have been given subscriptions as gifts, but never purchased it myself.

If you read the magazine, you know that at the beginning, where they have their staff listed, each month they have a question/challenge that they pose and the staff responds.

This month's challenge? Help a military family. Awesome! I was totally on board, and so excited to see how the staffers responded.

Then I read the answers. And involved giving some family money or household goods.

While I am aware that there are plenty of military families who could use financial assistance, I'm a bit frustrated that this seems to be the only way non military families seem to help out. There are SO many other ways to help, America!

I could come up with a list a mile long.

1. Make all deployments no more than 6 months.
2. Stop sending the guys who have already gone 3+ times. I know there is a Marine somewhere who has never gone.
3. Keep every single deployed service member safe.
4. Ensure that the next house we move to will fit everything from this house, and from the house before - that may or may not be in storage, or awkwardly shoved in a corner. Oh and if that house could be reasonably affordable, near the base, and in a good school zone? You'd be amazing.
5. End return date waffling.
6. Find a moving company that will not only not steal/lose your stuff, but not break anything either.
7. Provide every deployed service member with a cell phone that lets him or her call home regularly, but does NOT violate OPSEC.
8. Speaking of, explain to all of America was OPSEC is, and how to not violate it.
9. Get Americans to support the military. ALL Americans.
10. If somehow, word could be spread that we do NOT like to be asked if we're afraid while they're deployed, or to be told that we knew what we were getting into, that'd be nice. And it's that stereotypical joke, but please do not compare my husband's tour in Iraq/Afghanistan for 7-9 months to your husband's business trip of one week to New York City.
11. ...oh, you want realistic wishes? Ones that regular people *(AKA not HQ Marine Corps and the President)* can help with?


1. Stop stereotyping service members. Just because my husband is a Marine does NOT mean he is a baby killer. He is a smart, kind, amazing man who happens to carry a gun for his job. Which involves defending you. And your right to call him a baby killer. Just keep that in mind, ok?
2. STOP stereotyping military spouses. I won't even go further in to this, because I get too mad.
3. Help spouses get good jobs. Don't look at our resumes and ignore the experience and education and only notice the constant moving.
4. Babysit my kid so I can go on a date with my husband. But don't be upset if that date changes a dozen times due to being called for duty, or liberty being revoked, or Top saying he has to stay late, or any other random thing that only the military pulls.
5. Give me a name, email, facebook address! of SOMEONE I can be friends with at the next duty station.
6. Remember that though my child is four years old, just like yours, she's lived in four houses in three states and said good bye to her Daddy for an unknown length of time three times.
7. Agree to answer the phone at 3 am when my neighbor pees and I think it's someone breaking in to the house while my husband is gone. Then stay on long enough to assure me that it's just that over active bladder again and my children and I are only in danger if we hide on the toilet.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE that there are people willing to help out military families. Lord knows we need it. I just feel like all the 'help' I ever see extended and received is financial. Aside from looking horrible *(and irresponsible)* to non military families, it's not fair to those who are doing well financially but could still use some extra help.

Military service members and their families do more for and give more to this country on a daily basis than the average citizen. We are grateful for the help. But please, America, don't think that throwing money at us can always solve the problem.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I'm WAY proud of myself for figuring out how to change the font!

...and by figuring out, I may, in fact, mean googling 'how to change entry fonts' and reading a dozen pages until I understood. Seriously, sometimes I wonder how I manage to do anything technological.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mac Attack!

Firrrrst off, I have to share that I am on a brand new MacBook! YAY! The reason I haven't been on here for a while is because ALL our computers crashed - I don't even know how. Well, I know how mine crashed - it's four years old and I've done a LOT on it. B's was having issues, so the geek that he is, he decided it to take it apart. Our desktop has been out of commission for a while, so for a few days we had nothing. Thank goodness for our iPhones. :) So, since we'd been talking about each getting a new Mac with our tax return money, B surprised me and bought us each a laptop!

So now that I'm BACK on my own computer and it's wonderful and fast and lovely, I can finally try blogging again. I was doing so good while B was gone. Then he came home and took his computer back over. LAME. Haha.

Clearly, there has been a lot going on in the world AND my life recently, so let's see what happens with this post!

Osama bin Laden is dead. I'm glad he's not a threat anymore but you I don't think I will ever say I am glad someone is dead. I don't care who they are. What's that Martin Luther King Jr quote? We will never learn to live in peace by killing other's children. Yeah.

I also have to say, I was ashamed of my generation for their celebrating in the streets. Really, who thought that was appropriate? I understand the relief people probably felt, but did they not think about how disgusted we as a country are when our 'enemies' do the same thing when they kill one of our service members? So while I do care how it made us look to our enemies, my biggest concern was how we stooped so low - right to their level.

Finally, I am not sure how some people think this means an end to the war. We just killed their leader. How does that make anyone think we are done with this? Also, a lot of reports were that lately, bin Laden has just been a figurehead. So they have a new, evil leader. And to send our troops home now? What about the Afghan people who have been helping us? Our base has new restrictions on getting on base; I'm sure bases in Afghanistan are under pretty serious security. I feel as though Afghanistan is more dangerous now than it was when bin Laden was alive.

I hope - but do not think - that this at least means a sooner end than before.

Moving on.

I've had lots of 'Oh being married to a Marine' moments lately. You'd think I'd be over it by now...not so much.

He came home a few weeks ago and Bug and I are thrilled. Last weekend, however, he had to go welcome the guys from his battalion home from Afghanistan. He came home so upset. The first thing he was , "I should have been getting off the plane, not f-ing greeting them." *(Obviously he didn't say f-ing, but I think you get it without me having to say it.)*

And you know what's weird? I totally understand. Ok. Not totally as in I want to go too, but I know why he wants to go. And I hope he gets to. I was talking to my future sister in law *(remember, brother in law is also a Marine. He's deployed three times and they are waffling about whether or not he'll be sent this fall. SIL is anxious.)* and she didn't understand why I was so chill about it. I was trying to explain the whole "They are Marines; it's their job" and eventually got to the "They are Marines; they are weird!!" and I finally realized why I'm so ok with him going. I told SIL, it's kind of a compliment that he so badly wants to go. She was astonished. But it is. He's so ok with us as a couple and me as a person and a parent that he has no hesitation/nothing holding him back and just wants to GO. He's volunteered with a group similar to his, but they don't need his MOS. We'll see what happens.

Well, I have a lot more to type *(like my recent frustration with the doctors here)* but I'm supervising while Bug cleans her room. I'm bribing her with her own Easter candy. It was working, but apparently, she can't clean if I am typing. Blargh. Somedays I just want to throw all her stuff away!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Final (part) Four

No, not about basketball. I don't care about basketball. Besides, I think that was last month? I really have no idea. If it's not football, I don't care. :)

Final entry of 100 facts! Head to Megan Writes to join in!

Nope, still don't know how to grab a button. Oh well.

76. My right leg is an inch or so shorter than my left. This is because of a car accident I was in a few years ago. In addition to screwing up my back, it apparently did something to my pelvis. Every so often, I get a blinding shooting pain in my right hip and it won't feel better until I pop the hip back in place. I've been told by several doctors that's a bad idea. But it's the only thing that makes it feel better. So I ignore them.
77. I don't think technology replaces talent. Just because you have an awesome camera doesn't mean you're a photographer. It means you have an awesome camera.
78. I didn't eat chicken until I met my husband. My dad likes it very dry, so that's how my mom always made it. I hated it.
79. I normally only drink water. I don't usually buy soda, but if I go out to eat, I'll get one.
80. However, I can't have caffeine, so I really only drink Sprite and root beer - but only Mug and A&W. Coke - entirely unnecessarily - adds caffeine to Barq's. Thanks.
81. The reason I can't have caffeine *(yes, even chocolate, along with red wine, citrus, onions, nuts, strong cheese, and a few other things)* is because there is a part of my brain that doesn't 'tolerate' something in all of those things and I'll end up with a migraine. I ignore a lot of that though and just hope for the best. It is one thing to take away my chocolate, but oranges too? Try again.
82. I still haven't hung our ball picture or Bug's school pictures because I get annoyed with how much a frame costs. It's four tiny pieces of wood nailed together. It should not cost more than $10.
83. I always want our house to have one more bedroom than necessary so we can have a guest room. When I was little, we only had enough room for us, and I was always the one kicked out when a guest came. I hated that.
84. I have a list for our house when we stop moving. It mostly involves the kitchen, my closet, and our wrap around porch.
85. I swear Bug has radar for when I stop paying full attention to her. When I am, she ignores me. As soon as I start doing something else, she wants nothing more than to be with me.
86. I'm tired of trying to explain to Bug that you can be skinny and pretty, but you don't have to be skinny to be pretty.
87. She has clearly lost her mind since her father left. I get it, but it's driving me up a wall.
88. I get annoyed by military spouses who complain about the military all the time, especially if you married AFTER enlisting. I get that parts suck, but seriously, you should have thought about it. This does NOT mean "you knew what you were getting in to," this means stop bitching all the time about everything. We're dealing with the same shit.
89. I have a very large vocabulary *(hello, English major)* but sometimes, I still think the F bomb is the best way to express myself.
90. If I could remember each language I have learned, I would speak seven: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, German, and ASL.
91. I hate when my toenails aren't painted. I think the longest I've gone since I was 13 was a week without them being painted. It was weird.
92. But I always do my own toes. I think feet are gross and I don't like mine being touched or touching/being touched by other's. B knows this and uses it against me.
93. On paper, my husband is a horrible match for me. I used that as an argument before we started dating until my mom told me to shut up and get over it. Thanks mom!
94. I started writing a short story in college and still haven't finished it. The teacher reading it to the class as an example of 'everything good' about short story writing was one of my proudest moments.
95. In high school, I used to dye my hair crazy colors - pink, blue, green, purple. It never really worked because my hair is practically black. I'm pretty sure that's why I did it - I could say I tried, and looked bad ass, but it didn't take. Not my fault. I tried to be awesome and out there. Isn't that lame?
96. For years, I have known the names of my to be born children. I had a first and second place name for both girls and boys. Now, when I'm actually at the point of maybe having children to name, I think I like the second place names better.
97. I have a deep urge to paint a bathroom aqua. Or fuschia. I just think it would be so fun. B would never go for it.
98. The conversations I have with Bug never cease to amaze me. For example, we just had a five minute conversation about why her last poop hurt. Oh motherhood.
99. I want to learn how to whistle using my fingers.
100. I have been going to the gym on a fairly regular basis. I'm pretty proud of myself, but I feel like SUCH a slacker fast walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes next to some chick running for an hour. I mean, to be fair, I do treadmill AFTER elliptical, but still. B keeps reminding me that I have to start somewhere, and at least I'm at the gym. He's so good. :)

Heyyyyyyyy! I did a blogging thing and kept at it! Hurrah! I'm going to try to post more regularly now - this was such good motivation.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Part 3

Soooo maybe, really what I needed as motivation was to kick my husband out. Haha. I'm kiiiiidding. ...kind of. Really, I think I just have all that 'us' time free now, and what better way to spend it than doing something I love? Even if no one else reads this, it certainly makes me feel better. Anyway, to continue with the fun 100 Facts started by Megan Writes, here we go!

51. My laptop is really old and sucks, so I'm using my husband's. But I hate it. the keyboard is weird and the mouse pad is so insanely sensitive. Half the time I don't even realize I have touched it. I wish I had enough money to buy myself a new one.

52. My heritage is Irish, German, and Polish. But really, I'm American. I love the traditions and what not that I've learned from my grandparents, but I get really annoyed when people talk about how whatever they are. Were you born there? Then you're not. You're American. It's not uncool.
53. I almost got in a bar fight in London a few years ago because I had a Support Our Troops bracelet on and refused to accept that I shouldn't. This was years before I met my husband.
54. I get really bad migraines. I know what the cause is 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time, I'm convinced my sister was right when she said there was a tumor in my brain - even though she was only teasing and only saying it because of Kindergarten Cop - It's not a tumor!
55. I get so involved in some books that they affect my day and my mood. It's kind of weird.
56. I'm having some testing done with the doctors *(nothing too crazy, I'm just having issues focusing and remembering things)*, but I'm always afraid that they are going to find something seriously wrong with me.
57. Yet I can't stop myself from wanting to joke about hearing the voices. I haven't said anything yet, but ohhhh how I want to.
58. There's not much gray area in my life. It's always been pretty black or white. Some people say it's too harsh, I just say I fully believe in my decisions.
59. I don't like when people tell me I can't do something. I may not have wanted to do it, but don't tell me I can't. And I don't just mean, "Oh, you'd never jump off that cliff," *(which I totally did)*, but things like banning abortion and gay marriage. How does me doing that affect you? It doesn't. So leave me alone.
60. I want to de-friend about 20 people on Facebook, but I'm afraid they'd notice and ask why. I couldn't handle that confrontation - what would I say? I got tired of reading your crap?
61. Sometimes, I really think Military Wives should rule the world. I mean, seriously. What can't we do?
62. I can pick up almost anything with my feet.
63. I really over think things. I am sitting here trying to come up with deep details about myself, when really, I could just say my favorite color is pink. No one who reads this really knows me, so why I am thinking so much?
64. I want to be one of those girls who can wear any color nail polish. I feel stupid wearing most of them.
65. I love old musicals. When I was younger, I wanted to marry Gene Kelly. I cried the day he died.
66. My degree is in English, yet I feel like I can never really articulate my feelings.
67. I hate when I don't know what a word means. But I don't own a dictionary. I really never have.
68. I do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. First the picture *(even though I know author almost definitely had no involvement there)*, then the back summary. If I'm not impressed with the cover, I don't bother. If I get to the back summary, and am still not impressed, no go.
69. I want a Mastiff.
70. But I kill everything. I've literally never kept a plant alive - I even killed a cactus - and so far, in one week, I've managed to kill two fish. And no, I don't know how.
71. If I didn't 'end' a friendship, I usually assume it's because the person got tired of me. But I don't get upset by that. I have gotten tired of people, so I get the feeling. Is that weird?
72. I want another tattoo, but I don't know what. Or where to put it. I don't want them on my upper body. I regret putting one on my foot. I already have two on my hips. I mean...what's left?
73. After B, I tell my sister the most.
74. This weekend, I FINALLY guessed the gender of a baby correctly. This is probably the 15th time I've guessed, and I'm never right. I was so excited!
75. I feel like there is a lot of unnecessary stuff in my house, but I rrrrrrreeeeeeaaaaaaalllllllllyyyyy don't want to be the one to clean it out.

Alright, off to bed for now. We've had such a busy weekend that Bug fell asleep on the couch. I guess I should move her. :)