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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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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Tomorrow, you’re only a day away

I can’t believe it, but it’s finally here!  I can barely focus on anything this week – it definitely feels like its been the longest one yet. I did get to see the BlueAngels lots these last few days, which was pretty awesome but made me miss D even more.  Luckily we’ll get to see their show a gazillion times while in Pensacola.  I could not be more excited to get on a plane tomorrow for graduation!  I’m grateful to everyone who’s supported us over the last few months – we are sooo excited to be reunited and I am so incredibly proud of D.  Next time I post, he will be an officer in the United States Navy!  Insane!!!!

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Smooth sailing (pun intended) from now on

D has passed all of his tests and inspections and will become a candidate officer this week!  We kept laughing every time he took a test or quiz because he got a score of 90 on every single one right up until his last test, where he rocked it with a 98.  We are soooo excited to be so close!!!  This week will be pretty chill for D, he has a CPR class today and a few briefs, Wednesday they have a capstone class and they have Friday off for the holiday.  After his capstone, he’ll be a Candio meaning he gets his phone back, can eat when and what he wants, can do PT on his own, gets some on base and off base liberty, and (he’s super excited about this) gets to drive people to med appointments in an awesome minivan on Thursday lol.  They get assigned a new job for Candio phase and D was assigned to indoc staff, meaning next week they’ll be helping (aka lots of yelling at) the newest indoctrination class with all of their tests and inspections and events.  He’ll be pretty busy at least that first week but have much more freedom.   I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am.  Yesterday I ended up on Pinterest looking at pictures and videos from military homecomings and bawled like a baby. (Don’t worry I was also productive, I’m super stoked I was finally able to book a hotel on base, saving us about $500).  We’ve had another crazy heat wave here and I’ve been working hard not to melt in my apartment!  I love having a pool again, although I’m a ‘if I go to the pool I want to be there all day’ type of person so I haven’t gone as much as I should with this heat.  I told D I want to be tan when I see him, but he said only if I can match the crazy farmer’s tan he’ll have from his uniforms.  I can’t believe we get to see each other so soon!

These are the packages I sent to D, their a tradition called Candio boxes, he gets to open them on Wednesday! They were full of lots of his favorite candies, snacks, chapstick, gum, magazines, homemade cookies, and of course a tiny Navy Hot Wings plane (and per request, Top Gun).

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Here’s their final PT test, D maxed on his situps and pushups and got an outstanding on his run.  Next week he’ll be helping out like the ones in the green and red shirts.10982250_773938686056874_3343869783337025046_o

D is standing in the back line, second from the right11700680_773938666056876_7087954093672569569_o D is in the furthest line to the right, fourth from the back.  Oh and his roommate is behind the middle guy holding the two fingers up!11334162_773938542723555_2350707973979315950_o

At least I get to see half his face in uniform –  kinda looks like he’s sleeping in this one.

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He’s not in this one, but here they are all lined up for their inspection.  They actually have one more inspection for their dress whites, but they perform it on each other and it’s not a rollable event.11225423_773938936056849_7599956324362540309_o

It’s downhill from here!

We’ve officially made it halfway!  I get to see D in LESS than 6 weeks!  And in 3 weeks, he’ll get his phone back woohoooo!  I am so excited to be on the other side of the hill and am really proud of how we’ve been doing this last few months.  I wanted to jot a few thoughts down of what it’s been like for me so far.  I think somewhere down the road I may want to publicize this blog because I know reading other navy blogs was super helpful for me in preparing for OCS, so I wanted to  keep track of just a few of the things that have been helpful for me to not only survive, but thrive in these last six weeks.

1.  Having a list of things to keep me busy – I started making this list of things way before D left.  I was worried about what I would do with my time since we do a LOT together and I have barely crossed two or three things off the list because I’ve been so busy – I’ve learned that no matter how much time you have, there’s still not enough time in the day to do everything!
2.  Making an effort to strengthen my faith each day – I know this has been the most helpful thing I’ve done.  I’ve been attending the temple weekly and praying, fasting, and reading my scriptures much more than I did before D left.  I’ve definitely been strengthened by the Lord through this, and it helps keep these teeny few weeks in an eternal perspective.
3. Having a routine way to connect with D – Writing him a letter every night before I go to bed has been really helpful in wrapping up my day and helping me to feel close to him.  I try to be encouraging in my letters, so it helps me to focus on the positive as well.  I also keep notes throughout the days of things that I want to tell him about in my letters or emails.
4. Taking good care of myself physically – Sure I haven’t eaten quite as good as I did when my paleo husband was here to feed, but I also haven’t gone crazy.  I have been exercising consistently, doing lots of yoga, and have also allowed myself to just sleep when I’m tired!
5. Spending time with family and friends.  I was bummed we had to move right before D left, but its been fun making new friends in addition to catching up with old ones. I’m also grateful to have my parents nearby to spend holidays with and get extra kitty snuggles!  I have also loved connecting with the wives/girlfriends of D’s classmates on facebook and am so excited to meet them in July!

Someone told me before D left that every time their husband went away for business, she laid on the floor and cried the entire time he was gone.  Besides the fact that that really isn’t sustainable for three months as I’m sure I would die of dehydration, that’s just not me.  I’m at a point in my life I don’t want to be unhappy, no matter what my circumstances.  This is for sure a challenge, but it’s also one that we chose, which makes it a heck of a lot easier to deal with than some of the trials we’ve been through that we didn’t want to go through.  There’s definitely been times during the last 6 weeks that have really sucked, but I don’t think it means I love my husband any less because I can be okay without him.  It also doesn’t make me any better than those who really struggle when their husbands are gone.  I know this is just the first of many separations during D’s military career, and I’m sure they’re all going to be beasts of their own.  But I’m working really hard to enjoy myself rather than be miserable.  And that’s not going to make our reunion in approximately 40 days and 19 hrs any less sweeter!!!

And one thing I did cross off my list this week – I ran a mile!  Not such exciting news for a runner, but for someone who hasn’t run in 15 years, I was incredibly proud of myself!

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Drill Competition

Here’s some pics from D’s drill competition last week – they scored a 91, which is the highest score they’ve had at OCS in over a year!  They earned a streamer, meaning they need three more to become an honor class.  D was soooooo excited to be done with drill and turn in his rifle.  This week they have another inspection (not as crazy as 3rd week RLP, but still another checkpoint to pass) and two more finals. We are so close to being halfway done!

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3rd from the left – D hated being in the front row but it made it great for pictures!10003662_764100810373995_5483582381989830485_o

D is just to the right of the drill instructor facing the camera10495065_764100763707333_1845548743153949383_o

7th from the front on the right11406166_764100937040649_6173676872432172721_o

You can see half his face in this one – when you haven’t seen you’re husband in 38 days half a face is AWESOME!11406690_764100967040646_5152479997968736491_o

1/3 of the way there!

This Sunday marked a third of the way through training (as well as the longest D and I have ever been apart since we first met).  Last week D’s learned how to fight fires, repair a sinking ship, and scored a 90 on his weapons and engineering final.  They also had another strengths test – D improved his scores, but he was already at the level he needs to be on his final strengths test so no worries there.  His days now consist mostly of attempting to stay awake in class and doing lots of rifle drill (as well as RPT when they screw up).  They had a room inspection last week and he and his roommate were the only ones that passed (he attributed the success to his roommates cleaning skills), but another one this week where he said their bed folds did them in.  These room checks are basically just another chance for them to get RPT’d.  D is super excited for their drill competition this Thursday, only for the fact that after its over they’ll be done with rifle drill.  They don’t actually compete against anyone, they just get scored but if they do well they can get a “streamer” and if they collect enough they’ll be considered an honor class.  They already earned one from their RLP inspection.  He also started his Naval Orientation and Warfare class and Naval History Class.  I wish I could be a fly on the wall in his orientation class because it’s all stuff I need to know too! Speaking of insects,  D shared this story with me:

“We were doing drill and then all of a sudden a bunch of people starting showing up from other classes, other staff, and just a bunch of other people. One of the class chiefs got a promotion to senior chief and they were doing the ceremony, so we all formed up and the short ceremony started. We were standing at attention with our rifles when I felt something crawling on my neck. It wasn’t big, but it was there and I knew it. Of course, here comes this little spider crawling across my face and onto my nose and then just wanders around there for a bit. Of course this was emcompassing all of my attention and he was not in a spot where I could get him off without moving or making a bunch of noise right in the middle of this ceremony. If I had moved, I would have been RPT’d for days……. so I didn’t. For about five minutes this little spider just crawled around in different directions all over my face; forehead, nose, cheeks, everywhere. Then finally he went on my upper lip and I blew him off with a short but stout gust of wind, and gone was the spider.”

I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough self-discipline to have survived this scenario haha.  As for me I’ve been enjoying pool season (minus our first few gloomy days of June), doing lots of yoga, attempting to paint, and working a lot.  Well here’s some pics of D from last week, I’m getting pretty good at finding his head shape amidst the clones.  (Oh and I’ve also added a page of acronyms in the main menu in case my posts ever get confusing!)

The first pictures are from their PFA.  There’s my little runner again! (Second from the left in this one)

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D’s in the center with the big pole behind him.11206773_760677640716312_6574126060731148594_o

Pretty sure that’s D’s head doing pushups on the left10012033_760677410716335_1517019389659779167_o

D is doing sit-ups, 7th from the left

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D’s in the front doing sit-ups11059436_760677440716332_5613248850517530429_o

That’s D in the middle11111916_760677860716290_3890506990256760245_o

The rest are just his class, repairing ships and fighting fires11063802_760677754049634_259769896055944557_o

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Feeling blessed

This weekend was WONDERFUL.  I had a great Memorial Day with mom and dad, and D and I have been able to email and talk on the phone!  It’s been so great to be able to communicate every day again and hear his voice.  It’s actually been an adjustment having more contact though because now that we have some, we just want more and more!!! I completely missed a little party I was planning to go to the other day because I was so wrapped up in emailing him back and forth.  I have definitely felt much more like myself in the last few days being able to chat with my partner in crime.

D had a long weekend to relax a little bit after the stress of RLP (aka have time away from his drill instructor).  He switched rooms into a room with a computer (D and his roommate decided to stay together since they got along well) and spent the weekend studying, practicing drill, and you guessed it, emailing. D was really excited about this week – today he had a lot of fun learning how to save a sinking ship and getting soaked, and tomorrow he’ll get to learn how to fight fires!  He’s studying hard for an exam in his weapons and engineering class, another inspection in week 6, and a drill competition next week.  He’s feeling a lot more confident after passing RLP, and is enjoying not being the newest class anymore.

This morning I woke to found that the OTCN Facebook people were on top of things again this week and posted some sweet pictures of D!  I really feel like I don’t know how to describe the emotions of seeing D in uniform for the first time.  All I can say is I’m incredibly proud of him, but that barely touches on what I’m feeling.  My heart is just full today, and for that I’m very grateful.

This first picture is D’s pinning ceremony, they are pinning gold anchors to their collars.  This signifies that they’ve passed the Indoctrination Candidate Phase and are now Officer Candidates. (D is in the center).

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Here they are reciting the Sailor’s Creed together before getting their pins (D is in the front row, 6th from the right).11337085_757251281058948_334805580396100145_o

D is on the far left in this one.  I really just want to yell “Run, Forrest, run!”

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And I’m pretty sure that’s D;s teeny head in the front row of the people standing, near the center of the picture.

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Here’s a few more pictures of his class, if you can find D in any of these, I don’t ever want to compete with you at Where’s Waldo.11050311_757250854392324_1850864053436091088_o 11313098_757250871058989_6488035168330391639_o 11313048_757250991058977_794166739365801378_o

P.S.  Getting a super sweet love letter from your husband is pretty much the greatest thing in the world.

Oh happy day!

D worked his tail off and passed his RLP this morning!  I am so proud of him for passing this huge checkpoint, I nearly burst into tears when I found out.  This means email and phone privileges!  D should be transferring to a room in the next few days with email access, so if letters aren’t your thing, please send an email his way.  I’m sure he’d love any congrats as well as continued encouragement.  (Also be aware there’s a high likelihood you won’t get a response, he won’t have much free time until, well, graduation day!).

Unfortunately I burst into tears for another reason today,  I experienced what I’m sure will become a normal part of military wifeness – my first missed phone call.  D tried calling me while I was at yoga class.  Yoga has been a large part my saving grace these past few weeks, but I gladly would have sucker punched yoga in the face if it meant I could hear D’s voice.  Oh well, its just part of the package and I know staying home by the phone won’t make me feel any better.  I’ve had a great few weeks spending lots of time with new friends and old friends.  Today I had a great time with some our good friends at the zoo.  We love this family and are so bummed that they’ll be moving away before D gets home 😦 I’m so grateful to all the wonderful people in my life who’ve reached out to me and spent time with me while D’s been gone.  I am a very lucky lady!

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