2 years in

I’m going to skip the recap of my procrastination cycle that I continue to get myself in with writing this blog and just jump in to today’s post, in which I feel ready to catch up to more current events because I finally, after 9 months, feel like I’ve adjusted to our most recent military change.  I mentioned a few posts back that I (and we) have been really frustrated with military stuff for awhile now.  The long and short of it started with D finishing flight school and it finally feels like it has ended with hot, sticky boredom but peace in little old Meridian, Mississippi.  I’ll share a little of our journey with this transition although a lot of the more personal bits have been left out.

It all started with D’s selection, which is what happens when they finish primary flight training and are selected to fly a specific air craft.  For Navy guys, the options for platforms are Maritime(P3s and P8s), Rotary(helicopters), Jets, or E2-C2. At the end of training, they have the guys fill out a “dream sheet” where they rank their top 3 choices. This is a step in what I now realize is the Navy’s cruel trick of making you think you have a choice, when in reality you don’t. Maybe we were naive to forget that military life means hanging up your free will for the “needs of the Navy.” But the students are encouraged to do the best they can and given the impression that if they do well in flight school that they will get their top choice. Maybe this is true for some but we are now no longer naive to think that there are any absolutes.

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Each squadron does their selection differently, but D’s basically had the guys line up at the squadron bar with family and friends around. Each student had three chips in a cup that each had a platform on it. They’d toast someone and then pull out a chip and read it. The CO would then look at the list and tell them yes or no if they were assigned to it. My husband already has two helicopters licenses, got the best score that week and 60% of the Navy pilots fly helicopters, so I think we weren’t the only ones assuming that he would get his first choice of rotary. Three chips in the cup, so if you got two no’s, then you knew the third one was a yes and your platform, right? Well, D got a no for e2/c2, a no for maritime, and then pulled out a rotary chip. Sigh of relief. Rotary means D gets to fly what he wants, we stay in Pensacola, and he’ll wing in a mere 6 months. The CO looks down at his bind and then says um, no. They steal his cup and put another chip in it. Whoops they say – jets it is. I think we both spent the next hour thinking “what just happened?” Not only did we get jets, we also were getting sent to Meridian, MS rather than Kingsville, TX which D had requested. In 3 weeks.

I won’t go into all the details of why this was difficult for us, but it wasn’t made any easier by people who didn’t get why anyone would be anything but super ecstatic to fly jets or to be a fighter pilot’s wife and didn’t understand the significant of how this would impact our current life and future. This was a major adjustment for us to wrap our heads around in addition to everything that came with it – We ended up living apart for 7 months as I commuted back and forth to my business and our home in Pensacola. D’s training started very slow and he seemed to be scheduled for duty every time I came for a visit. Then training stopped altogether due to issues with the oxygen system in the training jets. (If you think it’s difficult for a military wife to deal with the idea that her husband could die in battle, try wrapping your brain around the idea that your husband’s own plane could poison him.)  Meridian was smaller than any town we’d ever lived in, and to make things worse, everyone we knew was either staying in Pensacola or going to Texas.

But here we are. A lot of problems or questions or fears that have come with this transition have not been solved, answered, or soothed. But I’m finally feeling on a regular basis like things are okay. Maybe its time, maybe its perspective, whatever it is, I like feeling this way. And I actually feel like I’ve learned a few things along the way, and maybe you’ve been here too if you’re a navy wife.

1. It is not up to you. I’d heard it a million times, you read about it, you hear it constantly.  The military doesn’t care about what is best for you, it’s whats best for the Navy. You know that when you join this group, you sacrifice.  But I don’t think you can fully understand what that means to give up your freedom of choice until you’re going through it.  I don’t know why the Navy asks us or why we keep asking each other where we want to live or what we want for our future.  Feel free not to ask me, because honestly I’d rather not make a decision that is not really mine to make.

2.  You can be happy, but it’s okay if it takes time.  Moving is hard.  Moving to the deep south when you grew up a yankee is hard.  Moving to a tiny town where the nearest Target is 90 minutes away is hard.  Leaving your first home is hard.  Leaving your job or business you built is hard.  Finding a job or creating a new one is hard.  Making new friends is hard.  Saying goodbye to friends is hard.  Doing all this when your husbands dreams were just dashed is hard.  I don’t think pressuring myself to be happy about this move made me any happier.  I’m okay that its taken me a long time.

3.  Sometimes it takes a lot of work to be happy.  A trip to Starbucks, a walk through Anthropologie or Target, a few minutes on my back porch, a morning on the beach, an evening in my garden – all these were effortless happiness for me.  None of those things exist in Meridian, so I can either be unhappy or work for it.  I will go anywhere and try anything here because there just isn’t that much to do.  Make new friends, make a new beautiful home, make new hobbies and new memories.  That may take effort and work, especially in a small town, but its worth it.

4.  Go outside your comfort zone.  I grew up outside Philly and stepped with my girlfriends during recess and I now own three horses, wear cowboy boots on a regular basis, and actually crave pork skins now and then.  I don’t like leaving a/c if its over 80, but I’ve spent most of the summer dirty and sweaty on our friends’ muggy farm with horses pigs and a cow named Einstein.  I bake pies and go to antique shops and rodeos.  Not because these things are me, but because I want to be happy where I am, and for now that’s the deep south which is not my comfort zone. (I actually told D when we were moving to Florida that I didn’t even want to drive across Mississippi and jokes on me, we live here).  And we’ll probably be here for quite some time, so I will continue to do everything I can to make my uncomfortable zone as comfy and cozy as can be.  And you know what? I really do love pie.

5.  Advocate for yourself.  Michelle Obama may have convinced you that military spouses will be taken care of but the reality in this country is far from policy.  I said awhile back that military spouses are awesome and the truth is, we are a giant ball of awesomeness that is a majorly untapped resource.  I wish every military wife knew how awesome she was and wasn’t afraid to demand that people pay attention to that rather than just brush her under the rug.  It is not easy and I think at times we will feel absolutely defeated.  But don’t let the defeat take over, keep fighting for whatever it is that you deserve whether its a job, a home, a license, or something for your family.

6.  Try not to make comparisons.  It really felt for awhile and there continue to be things that make me feel like we are getting the short end of the stick.  But there’s always going to someone who has it worse and someone who has it better.  Comparing either way rarely makes us feel good.  There’s no set path of what D’s military career will look like and chances are it will be different than our friends.  I’m trying to focus on our own path.

7. Pie. It’s all I can think about now.

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Happy late 4th of July!

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One goal I will not be crossing off my list this year as accomplished is blogging every week.  Oh well- such is life!  I can’t believe summer is almost half over already. We’ve been trying not to melt in the Florida heat, but enjoying the beaches and paddleboarding and motorcycle rides.  Yes, D bought a motorcycle. I think we both picture this:

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Even though we look more like this:

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D is still in the first phase of primary, he’s done lots of simulator flights and about 5 actual flights in the T-6B.  The crazy summer thunderstorms make it tough for him to consistently fly but the simulator is always ready!  His training wing had a spouse orientation the other week and I got to do a short flight in the simulator, it was pretty fun but I think the Navy should keep me out of their aircraft unless someone else can land it.  Here I am flying over Pensacola.  In a skirt.  Which made it impossible to eject before my crash landing on the runway.

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I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since D commissioned as an officer.  I was reminiscing the other day and thought of just a few things I’ve learned in my first year of being a Navy wife I would want other new spouses to know.

1. It’s hard being away from D, but I don’t have to be miserable. Yes, it sucked being thousands of miles away from my husband when he was at OCS and not being able to talk to him. Yes I hated that the only thing I had to snuggle at night was a pillow with a sweatshirt on it. Yes I spent a few nights sitting at the bottom of my shower crying because I missed a phone call and no way to call D back. But most of the time I had a great time doing lots of fun things – learning to run, yoga classes, girl time, sunbathing poolside, eating breakfasts for dinner – a lot of things that D doesn’t really like.  Being apart is a reality in the military, so if you don’t want to hate it, make a plan not to.

2.  Work is important to me, at least for now.  I’ll admit, I was sad to leave my practice in Oregon, but pretty excited about having some time off of work during the process of moving.  I didn’t realize until after I started working again, however, how difficult it would be for me to not have the confidence I get from working and how strange it would be to go from being financially self-reliant to completely reliant on D.  And I think I was a little bit more of an emotional mess than I wanted to be not working.  The reality of being a military spouse is that your career becomes secondary to your spouse (unless you don’t mind choosing not to live together) – this is harder for some than others, but figure out how you feel about it and do what you can to make the best of it when you can’t have what you want.

3.  Military life is constant change and unpredictability.  Not only do we have no clue where we’ll be living in the next few years, D has no idea what his schedule is in the next few days.  I can rarely predict when D will be home or not since he can’t either.  And there is a constant change in how busy he is.  He will be gone or studying for 12 hrs straight for a few weeks, and then may have a week or months of pretty much nothing.  That constant change in his schedule and productivity can be pretty difficult to adjust to for both of us.  It requires a plan A, B, C and learning to be okay if none of those plans work out.  It also means giving a lot of “I don’t knows” to family and friends who ask questions.  Note: Some family and friends are more willing to accept this answer than others.

4.  Military wives are awesome.  I absolutely love having ladies who are going through the same things as me.  I love meeting new people and building new friendships and having a built in support group.  And thankfully with technology, these friendships don’t have to end with a new duty station. (And I imagine it’s hard being a military husband,  but I bet they’re just as awesome.)

5. Ask for a military discount. I still forget this everywhere I go.

When I asked D what he’s learned, all he said “Hurry up and wait” (*see number 3).  That’s the Navy for you.

It’s definitely been a wild ride our first year in the military, I’m sure there are many more adventures ahead of us!

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Sometimes I wish states didn’t exist

Like when they have completely different requirements from licensure. MFT is a newer field, so there is no consistency state to state. Unfortunately the board in Florida made me take an extra graduate course to satisfy one of their requirements. They also told me this a week after fall semester started, so I had to wait until January to start the course (rather than taking it during the two months I had off before I started working again . . . grrr). But I’m DONE! I will say, it was pretty easy and not what I would consider graduate-level work except for this last week because I had to write my first paper in 4 years. I am happy to say I survived, everything is in and I just have to wait until next week to get my final grade. Hopefully that means very soon after, I can go back and change everything back to LMFT. I really miss that L.

Note for military spouses: This is definitely something you’ll experience again and again as you move around the world no matter what your field. Thankfully some states recognize this and have expedited processes or reduced fees for military spouses (yay for Florida, boo for Oregon). I have discovered, however, that you do have to do a bit of legwork to make that actually happen (Hint: Very BLUNT, semi-angry emails to the supervisors of supervisors seem to help to get the ball rolling). I also realized I should have looked into scholarships and grant money for spouses a lot sooner. I had to pay for my course before I did enough research, but most programs will only give you money in advance, rather than reimburse you.

D has two more tests left in API- eeek! We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed that all continues to go as well as its been going so that we can celebrate (and just take a giant breather) this weekend. Any extra luck sent our way would be appreciated!

Stressed but thankful

So one of the joys of military life so far (please pick up on sarcastic tone here) is the back and forth between D working hard and hardly working.   There’s been a lot of waiting since we moved down to Pensacola, which in some ways was really nice, but its pretty tough to transition from doing practically nothing to working basically from waking up til going to sleep 7 days a week.  Since API started, D has been gone for about 10hrs a day for school and spends the rest of the nights and weekends studying at home or with his study group.  We do Friday date nights which helps, but its kind of hard going from probably spending too much time together to hardly spending time together at all.   D has been doing great on all his tests (he has two a week) but its pretty intense.  If he doesn’t get an 80 or above, then they have to roll back and join another class, which could mean several more weeks (sound familiar?).   And on top of the academics he’s had PT tests and swimming tests (including swimming a mile in a flight suit – eek!).  We’re both really hoping that he continues doing well so this craziness is as short as possible!  As for now, I’m spending lots and lots of time with this guy:

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Last week was especially rough for me because we had another tornado on Tuesday.  If you haven’t heard about it, it was pretty bad – thankfully no one was killed or even seriously injured in our area, but there were a lot of homes and buildings destroyed.  (You can read more about it here.)  When I told D I had rescheduled my clients so I wouldn’t have to work that night, he didn’t even know what I was talking about because he was holed up in class all day.  He was way too stressed with studying to really care, while I was prepping food and water and trying to figure out how to keep us and our fur babies safe.  I finally convinced D to take shelter in our bathroom when the news said that a “deadly and dangerous tornado” was directly over our area of the city and the lights started flickering.  We stayed in there for about 15 minutes and when we came out, found that the tornado path and damage was only a mile from our house.  I felt so weird all week with how close it was.  How people’s lives were completely turned upside down just a mile from us, while we just went on with going to work (driving right by the damage) and living our normal life.  I know  with living in this area there will definitely be more crazy weather, but I really hope we don’t see worse than this.  We’re feeling very grateful to have been spared (again) from any damage.  I hope we can always remember how lucky we are in so many ways.

If you’d like to donate to help the families affected by the tornado you can go to helpNWFLrecover.org

 

Moon pies & valentines

We’ve had a fun few weeks with holidays, family, and new friends!  We survived our first Mardi Gras which, can I say is perhaps one of my new favorite things?  Because I’m pretty sure I won’t be satisfied by a regular parade anymore.  Who wouldn’t love a few hours of having free beads, moonpies, coozies (didn’t even know what these were lol), stuffed animals, teeshirts, and other completely random but totally awesome stuff thrown at you? Word of advice: don’t eat anything but the chocolate moon pies.  Trust me. I also made my first king cake and shared it with some our friends for the superbowl, and I got the slice with the coin so that means I’ll be making another one next year.  And possibly every year after regardless of whether or not we live in the South.  Despite all the crazy things I had heard about Mardi Gras (which I’m sure are all true), the family-friendly version ROCKS.

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And in other news, I’m back to loving on my sweets . . . valentine’s will do that to you.

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D’s parents came for a visit for President’s weekend, it was lots of fun showing them around town a little bit – we were able to visit the beach, farmer’s market, downtown, Joe Patti’s, the aviation museum on base, and of course lots of yummy Southern food.  This last Monday a storm went through – we missed the worst of it while out to dinner and came back to the neighborhood pitch black with lots of massive trees blocking the roads.  I’m feeling incredibly grateful this week that we missed the worst of the tornado and only had to spend a night without power.  My heart goes out to the familes that weren’t so lucky.IMG_2845

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Feeling most grateful for this guy, who finally officially started flight school! He’s in API (Aviation Preflight Indoctrination), which means lots of ground school classes, swimming, land survival, and dunker training.  What D has called “academic hazing.”  That means constant studying for him, and lots of time with the puppy for me.  The next few weeks will be pretty tough for him, but I know he’ll rock it just like anything else he sets his mind out to.  And I can’t wait to see him in his flight suit! (Okay I actually got a preview, but he didn’t have all the patches sewn on and it wasn’t official so doesn’t count.)  Also, looking forward to a few girls nights during the endless amount of study groups.

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A new year of new adventures

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It’s a new year, which means maybe more consistent blogging?  We’ll see about that.  I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful Christmas time with their loved ones.  This was our first year of Thanksgiving and Christmas without family, and we are so grateful for our Navy and church friends that we celebrated with.  Even though the holidays are my favorite time of year, I must say I’m kind of glad to have a month of a lot of nothing!  There are exciting things -my practice doubled this week, we’re making healthier choices, D’s flying again, and we’re getting a little more sunshine.  All have me in a bit better mood and excited for what 2016 holds in store for us.

So far this year the most exciting thing has been that we are doing our 3rd round of Whole30 this month.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically 30 days of super “clean” eating aka only meat, vegetables, and some fruits and nuts.  No dairy, no sugar, no peanut butter, no grains, basically no processed foods either. (It’s amazing what they put sugar in).  Also no alcohol, but that part is easy since I’ve had 29 years of practice.  If you’re interested you can read more about it at whole30.com but this isn’t an advertisement for whole30.  Maybe I’ll post about that after we make it through this one.

Well anyway, after moving and eating out a ton and the holidays, it was time for a reset for D and I – besides January is the best time to change your eating since everyone is on a diet, right?  I’m also really excited to renew my creativity with cooking – clean eating kind of requires it,  and it’s something that I feel like I’ve been lacking since we moved here.  Hopefully after this month I can keep it going after with healthy meals and just enjoy my donuts and chips and chocolate a little less frequently (just a little).

Our recent focus on food and a comment in one of my magazines had me itching to write about something that has been on my mind lately.  It’s a little personal, but I think it’s important.  Up until a little over year ago when we did our first whole30, I ate whatever I wanted and have always been on the thin side.  People have made comments to me all my life about my weight, meant to be “positive,” and I think it was just this last summer that I realized how those comments have NOT been helping me.  I’ve been told people are “jealous” that I can eat whatever I wanted and not gain a ton of weight, not realizing that because of this, I developed some pretty horrible eating habits that contributed to major stomach issues, acne, and serious body aches and pains.  I never even tied those things to food because I wasn’t gaining weight.  My weight has mostly been determined by genetics. When I’ve taken steps to improve my health however, people have been discouraging because they don’t think I need to lose weight.  I did whole30 the first time because I knew I was addicted to sweets and didn’t want them to have so much control over me, but people’s responses were “you don’t need to lose weight” and “you shouldn’t do that, you’re too skinny.”  I didn’t want to lose weight, I wanted to stop having stomachaches every morning and being miserable after every time we went out to eat.  I didn’t want to look better, I wanted to feel better!  The first time I tried to take control of my eating was really difficult, and it would have been so much more helpful to hear “good for you for trying to take better care of yourself.”  I’ve written before about how I challenged myself to start running this year and one woman’s response when I told her I was starting to run was, “why would you do that?  You’re already skinny.”  I was shocked because running was about doing something I’d told myself I couldn’t do, something I was so proud of. It had nothing at all to do with my weight!  I didn’t lose a single pound while running but what did that have to do with how many miles I made it without passing out or giving up?  And then there’s been the comments my whole life about how “small” and “skinny” and “little” I am.  Which, by popular opinion has not built my self-esteem, but has only made me conscious of how very aware others (women, especially) are of my body and my weight.  Meaning, when I gain two pounds, I assume the entire world notices.  Because if they notice when I’m skinny, they must notice when I’m not.  I once got told that I had the body of a teenager – I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I was weak, flat, riddled with acne and had no curves on my body whatsoever.   At 29 years old, I have no desire to look like a teenager!  It just amazes me how it’s become okay to comment about other’s weight and bodies so freely.  Let me be clear, most of these comments are from strangers or people I’ve just met!  I can’t imagine meeting someone and within five minutes I’ve said “you’re so fat” or “you should probably start running because you need to lose some weight.”  Now I don’t want to compare myself with what other women go through with judgment of their bodies, I don’t think I’ve got it worse than anybody else – but can we all just stop judging ourselves and consequently others?  Even if we think it’s a compliment?  Because how is someone’s weight – which is determined by a hundred different factors both in and out of their control – something that we should decide if it’s good or not? I’m not offended by these comments and don’t think anyone should feel bad about them, I don’t think anyone who has said these things to me or others means any harm.  I just wish our compliments could shift to telling each other that we’re beautiful, not that we’re a number on a scale or a measurement around a waistline. Beauty means so much more than that to me!  Let’s applaud each other for things that we can and should be proud of and learn to love our own bodies for whatever they are at this moment.  Just my two cents.  Now on to attempting to make homemade sweet potato chips.  That’s the same thing as Herr’s right?

Hurry up and . . . wait

I’ve seen this phrase several places to describe how things work in the navy, and let me tell you I feel like I’m stuck in the waiting game right now. We’re kind of in this really weird transition period, part of me wants to enjoy every last moment in Oregon and spend time with people and the other half of me just wants to get out of here and move on to the next thing!  My practice has slowed down as I’m preparing to close it, and D’s work is pretty chill at the recruiting office so it’s been nice to have time to relax but we also have so many unknowns and stressful things coming up, it doesn’t feel too relaxing!  We know when we need to be in Florida, but don’t have an exact moving date yet (because its not up to us).  And the control freak part of me is slightly (okay, VERY) freaked out by the fact that in a month we’ll be driving across the country to move into our new . . . hotel room.  I’m trying not to think about how crazy those days are going to be trying to find a house (and build a new practice/find a job at the same time??).  I’m soooo excited for D to start flight school and get further down the path to where he wants to be, but the reality of the sacrifices a military wife has to make are starting to hit me.  While I’m trying to remain hopeful about starting a new practice in Florida and being able to be as successful there as I’ve been here, it’s also really scary having to say goodbye to my dream job and head back into the unknown.

Thank goodness for faith.  We’ve accomplished much harder things, and I trust that everything will work out in the end. For now all I need is a lot of patience and keeping this image in my mind:

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I heart Oregon.

I think it’s finally starting to hit me that we’re moving soon.  Don’t get me wrong, I am about 90% super excited about it.  But I’m starting to have the realization that the other 10% is really not so excited, it’s actually pretty nervous and sad.  Not to sound like a horrible person, but it’s not the idea of leaving people that I’m sad about – don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people here that I care about and will miss, but I’ve moved around a lot in my life and know that even though I can’t see people face to face anymore, it doesn’t mean my relationships end.  I still have so much love in my heart for friends and family I haven’t seen in weeks, days, and years.  I also know that there will also be amazing people wherever I go.  Relationships are something I can take with me.  But I’m feeling sad about some of the things that I can’t.

My private practice.  Having a practice of my own was the end goal, the dream job.  To think that I did it in my twenties is crazy to me!  I’m not sure I can describe what it feels like to take absolutely nothing and create a living for yourself.  It’s pretty awesome.  And I love working with couples.  It is tough, but not the “I hate my job” kind of tough, it’s the “I’m doing an incredibly hard but awesome thing” tough.

Food.  One of my favorite things about exploring new places is finding delicious places to eat, and Portland of course has not let me down.  Waffle Window, Por que no tacos, Screen Door, Salt&Straw, Mother’s (yes I know, Portlandia snobs, that these are cliche places but theres a reason they are cliche – they’re DELICIOUS).  Also I’m really trying hard not to think about how I won’t be able to have a Burgerville Chocolate Hazelnut shake next January.

Donuts.  Yes, they deserve a category all on their own.  If you want a donut, fly to Portland now.  Don’t discriminate.  There is not such thing as a bad donut.  There is such a thing as a not good donut, but not a bad one.

Nature.  I’m no tree hugger.  Chop those babies up and build some apartments if it means my rent will go down. (K, I really did get mad when they chopped the trees down in front of my house, but I think they put something in the water here.  It also makes you want to buy a Prius).  I really do love the green and the mountains here, though.  And Oregon really has some of the most beautiful sunsets.

Roses.  Also deserve their own category.  I absolutely loved growing roses in my garden in our house.  They are tricky and require special care, but at the same time are super easy to grow here.  And the Rose Garden here has to be one of my favorite places on earth.  It also smells like heaven.

The weather.  Wait, what am I saying?  This summer has been sooo HOT – for Portland. Which means a mere 24 days in the 90s.  And it barely rained this winter!  Also the world stops when it even sort-of snows, which I love.  Even though I was terrified of moving to this rainy place, I will admit that Oregon is wonderfully mild.

Trips to Seattle, Vancouver, the coast, the mountains. Some of my favorite memories of living here are actually getting away from here.

Sadly I probably won’t even realize everything I’ll miss until its gone.  I’m going to try to savor it all for the next few months and trust that soon I’ll have a long list of things I love about Florida.

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Going public!

I’ve decided to open the blog up to the public!  Why?  Because other blogs have been lifesavers for me in learning about military life and feeling connected to a military community while living far far away from any real in the flesh Navy wives.  I hope that this blog is helpful to anyone going through the Navy/OCS/military wife experience.  I’m pretty dang new at this myself but I’ll continue to share what I learn as I go along.  Feel free to comment with any suggestions or questions, or email us at flyingwiththenavy@gmail.com!

It’s all over folks

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Actually what I really mean is -it’s just begun.  D is now an officer in the United States Navy!  I had such a wonderful time in Rhode Island for his graduation and am so incredibly proud of him!   The weekend was great, I’m really glad I got to stay on base so I got to see D during the bits and spurts of his ever-changing schedule.  I arrived Wednesday and we were able to go to a local baseball game together – our first date in 3 months!  Thursday morning I had a class for new spouses and it was great getting to know some of the fellow wives/girlfriends.  D’s parents and nephews arrived that afternoon and we had a reception at the Officer’s club where I got to meet some more of D’s classmates and their families, his class officers, and his drill intructor.  Super early on Friday morning we got to watch a demonstration of their PT workouts and then his commissioning ceremony was in the afternoon. Luckily the ceremony wasn’t too long since we were sweltering in the heat, and I’m also thankful I had my Mary Poppins bag packed with an umbrella for shade, a small fan, water bottles, binoculars, camera with telephoto lens, sunglasses, and even yes, a selfie stick.  We had a great time exploring Newport and Boston, sailboating, and eating lots of ice cream with D’s family.

We were pretty stoked to come home to Portland, but let me tell you – reintegration: the struggle is real.  We have been stuffing ourselves with all sorts of yummy food and spending lots of time together, but it is no easy task going from living on your own to living with a man again (it is also no easy task going from living in military barracks to regular life with your spouse).  Oh and thanks Portland for the 100 degree weather, that always makes everything easier.  D has to cook his own food again.  No one is telling him what to do with his many hours of freedom.  I emote on a regular basis, something not allowed at OCS. There is a mess in the house that did not come from me.    And at the same time, someone neatly makes the bed every morning.  WEIRD.  Things are starting to feel normal again, but it is also just crazy that we’re actually in the military.  Sure, D joined the Navy months ago, but up until him coming home my life hasn’t changed too much other than him being gone.  Now it’s for real.  I have a military ID.  My husband puts on camouflage and combat boots every morning before he goes to work.  I have to figure out the hundreds of different systems it takes to complete a single task (like scheduling a move) when the government is in charge.  And in a few short months I will pack away my stuff, my business, and start the next decade of going where the Navy tells us to go and doing what the Navy tells us to do.  And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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