They Call Me Dependent Like It’s a Bad Thing

I remember when I first got married and I was going through the process of getting everything sorted out with the Army. I remember sitting in a small cubicle smiling at a  camera a couple of feet away. Then I was handed a shiny new military spouse ID. I remember how excited I was to begin this amazing new adventure with my husband.

The time came for me to make my first doctor’s appointment. I was on the phone with the appointment line and they asked for my husband’s last four to his social. I was dumbfounded. I mean, why would they need HIS social when the appointment was for me? Being a new wife, I didn’t know my husband’s social yet. Lucky for me, I had his dog tags in our bedroom to look at. From this day forward, I became aware that I really was a dependent. That my life for the next, however many years, was dependent on so many things out of my hands.

The longer I was in the military community, I realized that there was such a negative air about being a dependent. Soldier’s and other women began to call us wives dependas, simply because we were proud of our husbands.

At first, it bothered me a lot. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong to be treated so unfairly. I was called names by women at the PX because I carried an ACU purse and because I wore an Army Wife hoodie that my husband bought me on our wedding night. I went home and took all my stuff out of my purse and placed it in the closet beside the hoodie. My husband asked me why I no longer used the purse or wore the hoodie. I told him about the women. He told me to ignore them. Of course, it wasn’t that easy. I was living in a new state and I wanted so badly to make friends. I thought that if I continued with the “Army Wife” stuff, that it would never happen. I thought to myself I guess you just don’t do that. 

After a while of trying to fit in with these women, I realized something. That there is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of my husband. Nothing. I had hurt my husband’s feelings by caring about what other people thought. So I dug out my “Proud Army Wife” hoodie and wore it proudly.

I am, in fact, a dependent. My husband’s job provides me with health insurance and a semi-stable life. It also gives me the amazing opportunity to travel to places I would probably never get to. That being said, I don’t claim his rank, accomplishments or his job as my own.

I do depend on my husband. But he also depends on me and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. That’s how marriage works.

 

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Photo Courtesy of Tammy Sullivan of TNT Intimate Photos

 

 

 

To the Military Spouse who is Lonely This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again. Everywhere you go, you hear Christmas music. Store windows are adorn with a chubby man in a red suit, snowflakes, and snowmen. Television stations have been broadcasting Christmas movies nonstop since Thanksgiving.

You may be dreaming of a white Christmas at home with your family, but you’re stuck with a warm, sunny one instead, hundreds, maybe even thousands of miles from your friends and family.

Maybe your spouse is deployed and you’ve left all the decorations in boxes on the top shelf of your closet. Maybe you can’t bare the thought of celebrating without them there with you. Or perhaps you put up the tree and lights and placed pretty wrapped presents under the tree, so that your children have a merry Christmas, but you don’t feel the holiday spirit.

Maybe you’re missing a big dinner surrounded by those you love and instead will be having a small one with just you and your spouse.

Or maybe the holidays just aren’t the same without the friends you’ve made and spent so many holidays with, but are now on the other side of the world from you.

No matter the reason you feel alone this Christmas, Hannukah or  New Years, I just want to tell you that you are not alone. You are in my thoughts and prayers. It’s okay to feel this way, no matter what anyone may say. Make the best of the holidays and remember, it’s only one year. You have a lifetime more to enjoy!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thanksgiving

Hey, y’all! I know it’s been forever since I last posted. I guess I should have warned everyone that I’d be gone for a while. A lot has changed since I last posted. I’m no longer living in Georgia. We moved even further from home, about 6,000 miles actually. We now live in the gorgeous state of Hawaii. We love it here.

That being said, as you can imagine plane tickets home are quite expensive. So we won’t be spending time with our family this holiday season. This will actually be my first Christmas without my parents.

So, let’s talk Thanksgiving. I mean what’s not to love? There’s food and family.

I remember growing up, I would help my mom cook the food for dinner, barely able to see over the counter, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Then we would all gather around my parents big dining room table (only used for the holidays). My dad would take one of the end seats and my papaw the other. We’d bow our heads to say grace and thank God for bringing us together again. Then we’d pass bowls, heaping with all sorts of delicious foods, around the table. We’d spend the next hour (or more, who really kept track) eating, laughing, and telling stories.I remember laughing until my cheeks and stomach hurt. Many years have passed since I was that little girl. My grandfather is no longer with us (but believe me when I say we always include him in our prayers). We no longer are all together on Thanksgiving. But I will always have those amazing memories of having dinner together and laughing.

It’s a day to be thankful for all the things the past year has brought. It’s time to spend with family and friends, sharing laughs and making memories. But so many people forget about that. They get caught up in the stress of fixing big dinners and then rushing out to shop for cheap gifts to give for Christmas. They no longer enjoy their time together. They no longer make those wonderful memories like I have from my childhood.

So, please. this Thanksgiving take the time to enjoy each other. Laugh. Tell stories. Reminence. That’s what the holidays are about. I promise you can buy that TV later. You can’t get this time back. Make the most of it.

PCS Tips and Tricks

 

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PCS season is coming! It’s so exciting to get the opportunity to live in a new place. Moving can be super stressful, but moving with the military can be downright anxiety provoking.

This year we are PCSing for the first time. It’s been a huge learning experience for us. I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned, that can help make your PCS go more smoothly.

  • Create a PCS binder.

Put all your PCS paperwork, important phone numbers, confirmation codes, copies of your IDs, Passports, Marriage Certificated, Social Security Cards, and Credit Cards, your personal inventory lists and pictures, the inventory list from the movers, etc. It’ll help you stay organized and know where everything is. Carry it with you on the plane or in the car. Don’t pack it with the movers.

  • Make a detailed inventory list of EVERYTHING.

It’s important that you have an inventory of all your things (books, furniture, movies, CDs, blankets, kitchen appliances, etc). Write down and photograph the condition of each of your items. Just in case they get broken or damaged.

  • Write down all serial numbers.

Be sure to have all serial members documented and which item it goes to, just in case they get lost or stolen during the move.

  • Scan all important documents, instruction booklets, warranties, etc for everything, as well as family pictures.

This will help you stay organized and know exactly where all your important papers are. You never know what could get lost or ruined during a move.

  • Put all your silverware in a large baggie.

That way you don’t have to worry about losing a spoon or a butter knife and having an incomplete set.

  • Put DVDs in sleeves instead of cases. 

We have a TON of DVDs. I’m talking close to a thousand. Those cases add up in weight and take up a lot of space. So instead, we put them in sleeves that allow us to put the case artwork in it.

 

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  • Put earrings and rings in pill containers and necklaces in straws. 

This is a great way to keep your jewelry organized and protected. For the necklaces, just string the chain through the straw and clasp it closed. So the straw should be trapped on the chain. This will prevent the chain from tangling.

I also recommend putting any valuables with you. It lessens the risk of theft or loss.

  • Put CDs in a CD sleeve case. 

Just like with the DVDs, it’ll take up less room when the movers come.

  • Put videogames in a binder.

If you’re like us, and you have a ton of videogames, the cases take up a lot of room. Simply put the disks in a CD binder and keep the booklets or even scan them onto the computer.

  • Use up food in your fridge, freezer and pantry.

There’s no sense in wasting the money you put into the food, especially if you can’t take it with you. So a few months out, use up whatever food you have.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute! 

Waiting until the last minute to start the moving process will just make the stress that much greater.

  • Breathe.

Moving is stressful, but it doesn’t take long. You’ll be on your way to new adventures soon!

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Everyone

If you’re gay, straight, bi, asexual, pansexual, or any other sexuality, you have a friend in me.

If you’re jewish, muslim, agnostic, christian, atheist, pagan or any other religion, you have a friend in me.

If you’re overweight, underweight, average or any body type, you have a friend in me.

If you’re black, white, asian, or any nationality, you have a friend in me.

If you have a rough past, you have a friend in me.

You can always come to me to talk. I don’t care if I know you or not. I’m always here.

I’m so tired of there being so much hate all around me. I’m so tired of seeing people putting others down for whatever reason. I’m so tired of seeing people knocking down others. Build them up! Spread the love.

 

Please share this. Show others that they are safe with you.

Deployment Bucket List

While our spouses are deployed, we always want to make the time apart pass as quickly as possible.  I’ve learned that if you have a list of things to do, in mind, it’ll help make the months pass more quickly. So here’s a list of things that you can add to your deployment bucket list.

1.) Take a road trip. 

Take a trip with some friends or family, not only will it keep you busy and keep your mind off the deployment, it’ll be fun!

2.) Train for a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. 

This will give you a goal to work towards while your spouse is deployed. It’ll be sure to keep you busy and you’ll also get in shape! Imagine how accomplished you’ll feel after you complete the run!

3.) Start a large craft project.

Is there a project that you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t gotten around to it? Well your spouse is deployed, so why not do it now? It’ll keep you busy, it’ll be fun and you finally get to do the project you haven’t had time to do.

4.) Clean out the attic, garage or basement.

This will definitely be a time consumer, but that’s good. You can finally clear out all the clutter that has taken over. Take time to get things organized and decide what to keep, donate and throw out. After all, cleaning has been proven to relieve stress.

5.) Volunteer. 

Whether it be at the local soup kitchen, the VA hospital or Big Brothers, Big Sisters, volunteering will give you something to do on a regular basis. Not only will you be able to have fun, but you will also be able to help those who really need it. You may even stick to it after the deployment is over.

6.) Read at least one book a month.

Maybe there’s a series you’ve been wanting to start or even reread, well now’s your chance 🙂

7.) Get more involved on base. 

Become more active in your FRG and more involved in the activities that take place on base. You’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have and the friends you’ll make.

8.) Send at least one package a month. 

You’ll have fun decorating each package. Your spouse will be so happy to receive the cute packages you’ve made him or her and will be especially appreciative of any food you may send.

9.) Learn to cook new foods. 

Find some recipes that you’ve never cooked before and try them out. You may find a lot of things you love, that you just haven’t tried yet. Plus you can cook them for your spouse when he or she returns home.

10.) Pay off debts.

While your spouse is deployed , there will be a slight increase in pay and it will be untaxed. This allows for a great opportunity to pay off some (or all) debts that have been accumulated.

11.) Further your education.

Take some classes at the local community college. It’ll help you work towards your degree and will also give you things to do to take up your time.

12.) Save up money.

Now is a great time to save up money for a trip, a new car or maybe even a house.

13.) Take yoga classes. 

You may end up loving it! Plus it’ll help you get (or stay) in shape.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this list of ideas and that you are able to add them to your own bucket list.

Our Trip to the Oldest City

This weekend was a long weekend, thanks to the Superbowl. We decided to take a day trip down to St. Augustine with some friends. It’s one of our favorite get away places. It’s the oldest city in the US and, as you can imagine, it’s full of history.

There’s this AMAZING Popsicle place called The Hyppo.  They have all different kinds of flavors and they’re sooooooo good.

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Look at all the Hippos on the wall!
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Juan, a worker at The Hyppo (he was super cool)
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Cody and Juan
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Cody in front of the mustache popsicle

We went on our way with our super delicious popsicles. We headed Castillo de San Marcos. It’s this beautiful fort located near the water in St. Augustine.

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Castillo de San Marcos
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This is us and some friends outside the fort. Isn’t it pretty?
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The firing of the cannon at Castillo de San Marcos

After visiting the fort, we made our way to the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

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Isn’t it gorgeous?!

And of Course, we climbed the lighthouse. You can’t just go to one and not climb.

We even got to see a gorgeous sunset at the top.

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Cody at the top, with the sun shining on him. Isn’t he handsome?
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Laura and Me at the top
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Cody and me at the top

Overall, we all had an amazing time exploring St. Augustine. If you ever get the chance, visit the oldest city. You won’t regret it.