Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."                                
~George Washington

What do you think of when you think about Memorial Day?  Do you think of enjoying a 3-day weekend?  Do you think of the sales at shopping malls?  Do you think of barbeques and the community pool opening for summer?  According to the White House Commission on Remembrance, "A Gallup Poll revealed that only 28% of Americans know the meaning of this noble holiday."

So let's all remember that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those brave men and women who have died serving our nation, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  And remember the National Moment of Remembrance is at 3 PM (local time).  Wherever you are at 3 P.M. today, whether you're finding a great deal on sandals or eating a hot dog while watching your kids splash at the pool, I hope you pause for a moment to remember what this holiday is about.

And as we close out National Military Appreciation Month, I want to thank all of our service members and their families for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis for our country.  You rock!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blue Star Families

For all of my military friends out there, I want to tell you about a couple of great things Blue Star Families is doing.  They're all about supporting and empowering military families.   If you've never visited their website, go check them out!

First of all, I encourage you to take their Military Family Lifestyle Survey.  Do you have issues related to military life that you feel aren't being addressed?  Go take the survey!  It takes only 10 minutes to make your voice heard.  And you could win a little cash in the process.  But the survey ends soon so don't wait.

I also wanted to tell you about the recent launch of Blue Star Museums.  Blue Star Families, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and 600 museums are giving military families free museum admission this summer.  I can't wait!

So go visit Blue Star Families, become a member (it's free), take their survey, and go visit a museum. And if you're interested in volunteering, contact their membership director Tiffany Isaacson.  Blue Star LOVES volunteers. They're on Facebook and Twitter too!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Indecision Part II: Writing

Last week I wrote about my indecisiveness as it related to my career (or lack thereof). But there’s another area of my life that’s affected by my indecision: writing.

My academic degrees are completely unrelated to writing. But I have always loved the art of the written word and hoped that someday I could pursue writing in some way, shape, or form in my free time. Years ago, I wrote a children’s book, which brought me nothing but a year’s worth of rejection letters. I have a folder overflowing with children’s poetry and short fiction that brought me another year of rejection letters (although year #2 of rejection was largely hand-written, encouraging, and constructive). I’ve been stuck on Chapter 4 of a novel for over a decade. And I have a second novel completely written. In my head.

I told you, I’m indecisive.

This year, I decided to finally make a decision about my writing.  I need to stop talking about writing and start writing. Thus, the birth of my blog. I figured a blog would get my creative juices flowing and get me into the habit of writing on a daily basis so the thought of dusting off my old, forgotten projects wouldn’t seem so daunting.

In the 5 months I’ve been blogging, I’m finding that yes, my creative juices are flowing. However, they’re mostly flowing into my blog. Those forgotten projects remain forgotten, still collecting dust. I love blogging, but it’s not getting me any closer to a book deal.

On the other hand, blogging has opened doors that I never even considered knocking on. Freelance writing for an audience other than children never occurred to me, but thanks to my blog, I've found my first real writing successes in the freelance world. Although I’m thrilled to have these opportunities, they have also added to my indecision.

Should I cut down on my blogging to spend more time working towards publication? Should I use that time to revise my children’s book and start resubmitting to publishers? Should I try to continue novel #1 or squeeze novel #2 out of my head and onto paper? Or should I pursue freelance writing, a field which I already have a pinky toe in? Is it possible to do it all?

I know what my gut is telling me to do. But do I have the guts to follow it?

Do you have unfinished projects you’d like to revisit? If you're an aspiring writer like me, what kinds of projects are you working on? 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why I Blog

I've got blogging on the brain.  My Google Reader is practically exploding with the 100s of blogs I follow, and I'm always amazed by the difference between them.  Some bloggers share their thoughts and experiences, some share news and information, some share giveaways and deals, some share a random combination of everything.  So I got to thinking about why I blog.  Here are my....

Top 10 Reasons Why I Blog:

10) To vent without being interrupted

9)  To express myself in a way I'm unable to do verbally

8)  To "meet" new people

7)  To bring people together

6)  To hone my writing skills

5)  To make myself publicly accountable for private goals

4)  To be a part of a community and use that community for advice and support

3)  To help me appreciate the joys in my life

2)  To learn more about myself

1)  To share my thoughts and experiences in the hopes that others who may be going through the same things know they aren't alone

What tops your list?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Missed Moments

One lesson I’ve learned in my eight year marriage to the military is to use a pencil when marking dates on the calendar. Plans change too frequently to use permanent ink. Nothing is permanent in the military. But unfortunately, there are some occasions that can’t be erased from the calendar, events that can’t be postponed and penciled in at a later date. And when your husband is deployed, it’s those indelible events, those unchanging holidays, those missed moments that blatantly stand out because he won’t be home to share them.

At one point or another, my husband has been absent for every major holiday. He has missed New Year’s toasts, Easter egg hunts, Thanksgiving turkeys, and Santa Claus surprises. He has also been absent for every family festivity. He has missed birthday cakes, wedding anniversaries, and family reunions. I thought I would be accustomed to celebrating special occasions without him, that somewhere along the way I would become inured to the fact that I have to find my own way of celebrating without him. But I’m not.

This month, Mother’s Day passed by with no flowers and no breakfast in bed. Next up is my birthday, a day that won’t involve blowing out candles or dining at a restaurant that doesn’t have a kids’ menu. But I don’t need grand gestures to know my efforts as a mother are appreciated, and I’m at an age where I no longer look forward to a day that steals another year from my youth. This isn’t the first year my husband wasn’t home for Mother’s Day or my birthday, and I imagine it won’t be the last.

It’s the special occasion that follows my birthday that gives me the most heartache: our 10th wedding anniversary. The hidden romantic in me always envisioned that we’d commemorate a decade of marriage by renewing our vows. For ten years I’ve debated between returning to the beach where we first said I do versus the traditional military wedding we didn’t have because my husband’s military career hadn’t yet begun. Because of this deployment, I will have neither.

Holidays and anniversaries aren’t the only special events my husband is missing. He’s missing out on our children’s milestones as well. He isn’t here to wiggle our son’s first loose tooth or see him off on his first day of summer camp. He isn’t here to witness our daughter’s first unsupervised trip to the potty or her sudden boom in vocabulary (which sadly includes her first “I hate you Mom”). He isn’t here to roll his famous nasal plugs for our son’s chronic nosebleeds, help with kindergarten homework, or share a manly Oreo dunk in milk. He isn’t here to encourage our daughter to count beyond 14, tug on her pigtails, or ensure that Barbie and Ken remain clothed during tea parties.

I try to capture these moments on my video camera, even though most of them pass by before I can hit the power button. I try to memorize cute conversations with my kids and stories of the silly things they’ve done so I can retell them in letters to my husband. I try to have my digital camera at the ready for any possible photo-worthy moment. Words and images are all I have to give my husband to help him feel included in our day-to-day lives.

Although my husband will be absent for my birthday and the Tooth Fairy’s first visit to our house, he is never absent from our thoughts. And as sad as it is to celebrate these special occasions without him, I know that there will be occasions in the future that will be even more special because he’ll be here to celebrate with us.

So for now, I’ll gladly ignore my birthday and hope my video camera is fully charged for the next big moment. Maybe next year I’ll get that Mother’s Day breakfast in bed. And as far as our anniversary, I guess now I have another decade to plan that vow renewal ceremony for our 20th.

This post is my latest contribution to Blue Star Families.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ask the Milies

Are you a mil spouse?  Do you have questions about military life?  Do you want honest answers?  Well, another one of my favorite bloggers at ACU's, Stiletto Shoes, & Pretty Pink Tutus just started a website called Ask the Milies just for you!

Here is an excerpt from the "About The Milies" page:

"The idea for a website like this had been in both of our heads for a while. We saw a need for Military Wives to have a trustworthy resource at their disposal so they could ask their questions, get answers and read that others have experienced similar situations and emotions...We're so excited to provide quality advice on all matters love and military based on our experience of having the toughest job in the service."

Go check it out!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reply-To Email Settings

I'm stealing this blog post from one of my favorite bloggers over at Me and My SoldierMan because I'm beginning to realize that she was on to something.

I love reading all of the wonderful comments you leave for me!  And I try to respond, but because I never know if you'll come back to read my responses in the comment sections, I'd like to email you personally.  So if you don't already have your reply-to email address set up, I'd love for you to change it so I can email you!

If you don't know how to do it, I'm passing along these simple directions for Blogger users from my girl at Me and My SoldierMan (yes I'm plugging her again...go check her out!). 

1.Go to your Dashboard
2.Select "Edit Profile"
3.Make sure the "show my email address" box is checked
4.Select "Save Profile" at the bottom of the page

Simple as that! 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Growing Up Indecisive: Part I

As I get older, I’m learning the importance of trusting my gut instincts. That’s not easy for an indecisive gal like me. I tend to second guess myself and use my family and friends as sounding boards, talking in circles until eventually I end up following my original gut feeling (and driving my sounding boards crazy in the process). I can make split decisions when it comes to my children, but I swing back and forth like a pendulum when it comes to decisions about my own life.

When I left for college, I already had my life mapped out. I declared my major earlier than most of my classmates, and I knew exactly how I wanted to use my degree. I planned to head straight to grad school, after which I would promptly commence my career. I had no intention of getting married before age 30, and kids wouldn't be so much as a blip on my radar until at least age 32.

But I've learned that the more you plan, the more plans change.  Sometimes you have to listen to your gut.

My indecisive tendencies sprouted my senior year of college when I began questioning my career path. I ultimately decided to take a year off from academia after graduating.  I accepted a job in my new field of interest in the hopes that it would help me decide whether I wanted to continue what I had spent 4 years studying or whether I wanted to pursue this new interest. It was during that year of intended self-discovery that I met my husband. And my life plan, what was left of it, crumbled to pieces.

I got married before hitting my mid-20’s, my 1 year off from school snowballed into 4, and by the time I had that Master's degree in hand, I also had a 10-month-old baby and a husband in Iraq. Two months after graduating, my husband called (from Iraq) to inform me we were PCS’ing. To Japan. In 3 months.  I never imagined my 21-year-old indecisiveness would lead me on a path so far off the one I had mapped out for myself.

My gut tried to tell that young college student to change her major instead of waiting until it was too late. My gut tried to tell that college graduate not to take a year off from school because it would be too hard to go back later. I often wonder what my life would be like now if I had followed my gut instincts. Of course if I had, I wouldn’t have met my husband. And thankfully, I did listen to my gut when he asked me to marry him.

Now that I’m 30-something plus one, I’m becoming more aware that my indecisiveness is partly a means of procrastination that is accomplishing nothing but wasting precious time and postponing the life that results from making a decision. After 6 years and 2 children, I feel my years of full-time domestic engineering are winding to a close, and my indecisiveness is once again plaguing me. So the pendulum swings. Should I domestic engineer another year? Or should I jump back into the workforce?

Two weeks ago I made a decision. Time will tell if the woman who interviewed me will support it.

What are you indecisive about?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Feel as Old as I Am

Last month I posted my list of Top 10 Signs That I'm Getting Older.  Since this week I'm celebrating my birthday by writing about my ambivalence toward the aging process, I thought today I'd investigate the more positive sign of my increased age.  So here are my...

Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Feel as Old as I Am

10) I can still get away with not wearing makeup in public. 

9)  I still get carded whenever I purchase alcohol.  (Yes, I know the Wal-Mart cashiers card everyone, but work with me here.)

8)  Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga are regulars on my iPod (in between bands that date me beyond my age like Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles).

7)  Facebook friends tell me I look exactly the same as I did in high school.

6)  Since my last birthday, I have run a half marathon and competed in a 3.5 mile open water swim. 

5)  I don't drink cofffee.  I don't know why, but for some reason I feel like this is just one small way I have avoided a step into adulthood.

4)  I don't drive a mini-van.  (Sorry to all you mini-van owners, but I will never drive one.)

3)  My children can't outrun me.  Yet.

2)  No grey hairs.  Yet.

1)  My father is still my Daddy, and I'm still his Sweet Pea.

What tops your list?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Next Stop: Cougar-Ville

A few months ago, my husband and I went to a bar he had heard about from the guys at work. We went primarily because we were told it has one of the best happy hour menus in town.  But we also went out of curiosity.  You see, this bar is apparently known for its cougars.

Of course I don’t mean cougars as in the animal.  I'm talking about the older women scoping out younger guys.

The bar quickly filled, and we watched from our table like scientists conducting a field study in animal behavior as the cougars pounced on their prey. As far as the eye could see, attractive “older” women batted their eyelashes and released their pheromones for the younger men whose attention they had caught. I had never seen a cougar in action, and like a car accident on the highway, I couldn’t not look.

But as I studied this mating ritual, I couldn’t help but notice something about these cougars. These “older” women couldn’t have been much older than I am. How can that be?  I'm not old enough to be mistaken for a cougar. Am I?

According to Urban Dictionary, a cougar is defined as “A 35+ year old female who is on the ‘hunt’ for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male.” I’m certainly not hunting for men right now, young or old, but it appears I'm rapidly approaching the official cougar age. 

I don’t feel like I'm in my 30's, but I often have lapses in time that cause me to falsely believe I am younger than I actually am. The other day I found a warm-up suit from my college swimming days. It looked brand new. Well of course it looks new, I thought, I was wearing it at swim meets only a few years ago. But then I did the math. It was issued my freshman year, and that was, OH MY GOSH, 16 years ago! That’s roughly half of my lifetime ago! 

Since we're talking about age, I'll tell you that I married a younger man. However, the few months of the year that we're not the same age isn't a significant enough age difference to qualify me as a cougar. According to Wikipedia, I'm also safe from cradle robber status, my husband does not qualify as a boy toy or jailbait, and our marriage is not a May-December romance.  But the lines are a little fuzzier concerning my standing as a MILF (please don't make me say a bad word...if you don't know what that is, look at the Wikipedia link) or a puma (a younger cougar-in-training).     

I don't know when our society became so age-obsessed that terms like these even exist.  Surely there were cougars long before it became a phenomenon.  Just look at Susan Sarandon and Demi Moore.  And who hasn't seen The Graduate?  These women obviously didn't care about age, so why should everyone else?

So despite my initial dismay at my rapid approach to cougar age, I think I should start embracing my lack of youth and take solace in the fact that this cougar already got her younger man. 

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday is this week.  Since right now I consider myself 30-something years old, I guess I'll be turning 30-something plus 1.  I'm not old by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm no spring chicken either.

My husband won't be here to celebrate with me, and my kids are too young plan any surprises.  My birthday will pass by largely unnoticed, and that's fine by me.  I'm not a big cake person, and I already know what my present will be because I picked it out. 

In lieu of a birthday celebration, I thought I'd dedicate my blog posts this week to my ambivalence toward the aging process.  Feel free to join in.

How do you feel about birthdays?  Do you embrace your age or wonder where the time went?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Double Duty Deployment Parenting

For those of my new followers who don't know, I'm a columnist for Blue Star Families, a fantastic organization for military families.  And if I can squeeze in a plug for them, they are currently conducting their Military Family Lifestyle Survey.  Let your military voice be heard.  Please take 15 minutes out of your day to complete the survey!  And hey, you could win some money too.

Here is my latest Blue Star Families post...

Double Duty Deployment Parenting

A few weeks ago my son, New Man of the House, was supposed to attend the opening ceremonies kicking off his baseball season. I suited him up in his new uniform and dropped his sister off at a friend’s house so I could focus my full attention on his exciting day. I watched as New Man proudly trotted over to his team and joined them in a catch. But before I could finish introducing myself to the other moms, a fastball made a direct hit to New Man’s face.

After assessing the damage, I directed New Man away from the crime scene as he fought to catch his breath through sobs. He begged me to take him home, while I mentally searched my pep talk database to find the right words to convince him to stay. I knew his pride was more injured than his face, and I didn’t want him to regret missing the ceremony. But nothing I said changed his mind, and when he locked himself in the car, I had no choice but to tell the coach we were leaving before the festivities even began.

As I stood in the crowded parking lot with my hysterical son clutching my leg and my useless words hitting upon deaf ears, all I could think was, “If my husband were here, he’d know what to say. He’d have New Man laughing and sprinting back onto that field in less time than it took to exchange a high five.” But my husband wasn’t there. I am the dad now. And at that moment, I was failing miserably as a father.

For me, the hardest part of this deployment is my new role as Interim Dad. How am I supposed to replace someone who is irreplaceable? I don’t tickle the kids the way he does. I don’t make up silly stories for them at the dinner table the way he does. I don’t even make them smile the way he does. Being a father extends far beyond the realm of chasing the kids around the backyard, taking them fishing, or teaching them how to change the oil in the car. Somehow, a father offers his children a special kind of love and affection that a mother can’t.

As Interim Dad, I’m pulling double duty in the discipline department as well. And unfortunately, my children are well aware that I’m outnumbered. I can no longer threaten them to clean up their toys before Daddy gets home from work or bribe them with a post-dinner Wii marathon with Daddy if they can manage to stop fighting for more than five minute stretches. They know I’m the only grown-up in the house. They know that at the end of the day, my tag team partner won’t be coming home to relieve me. Consequently, their misbehavior is inversely proportional to my energy level.

I may not be the father my children want me to be, but they can’t fault me for trying. After all, I bought New Man his first athletic cup (and I think I deserve at least a Father’s Day card for that task). More importantly, despite the opening ceremonies incident, I managed to get my son back on the ball field the following week for his first game and the week after that for his second. At that second game, as his teammates warmed up their throwing arms with their fathers, I grabbed my mitt and lined up with all the men. I’m far from the perfect substitute for my husband, but there I was, the only mom out there with her son, the only mom pretending to be a dad. And although I throw like a girl, I know my son appreciated my efforts.

As far as the other roles this Domestic Engineer acquired during the deployment, they’re a walk in the park compared to my role as Interim Dad. Fix-It Man? I’ve already skillfully power-drilled my way through re-hanging the blinds on our newly installed windows. Master of Wii? No problem. As long as I continue scheduling playdates, New Man’s friends will take care of that. And Lawn Doctor? If the grass grows faster than I can mow it, I have no shame in resorting to Plan B: my checkbook.

If you're interested in reading my other Blue Star Families posts, click away...
Let the Roller Coaster Begin
The Conspicuous Absence of Presence
Interview With a Military Brat
Adapting Behavior During Deployment

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What It Means to Be a Mil Spouse Contest

Remember the contest I entered the other day about what it means to be a mil spouse?  Well, Christina received some awesome entries.  It always amazes me to read about the different experiences we all have as mil spouses.  I hope you can take a minute to go on over to Christina's blog and read what some other gals have to share about their lives as mil wives (or significant others). 

(And if you feel so inclined to vote for me, you can do so in the poll on her sidebar.  You can vote for more than one so get reading!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top 10 List of Things I'd Do If I Had 1 Extra Child-Free Hour a Day

We all lead busy lives.  We all have extensive To Do lists.  We all have things we'd like to do if we had just one extra hour added to our day.  And if you're a mom like me, you know that most of those things require the absence of our children.  So here's my...

Top 10 Things I'd Do If I Had 1 Extra Child-Free Hour a Day

10) Sleep

9) Call friends I've been neglecting and enjoy talking on the phone without the interruption of screaming children who decide they are suddenly deprived of attention

8) Sit in my backyard on a sunny day, doing nothing but listening to my iPod and staring at the blue sky

7) Watch the television shows recorded on my DVR that is now at 94% capacity.

6) Get a weekly massage

5) Read the growing stack of books sitting on my nightstand

4) Write a novel

3) Indulge in some retail therapy without having to constantly grab my daughter's foot as she crawls under the partition into the next dressing room

2) Write my husband a daily letter

1) NOT clean my house.  NOT cook.  NOT wash dishes.  NOT fold laundry.  NOT return emails.  NOT Tweet.  NOT Facebook.  And definitely NOT look at that extensive To Do list.

What tops your list?

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Life as a Military Wife

Christina over at Married to a Sailor is having a contest for mil spouses, and I thought I'd join in because it involves 2 of my favorite things: writing and military spouses. Your mission if you choose to accept it: write a blog post about what being a military spouse means to you.  The contest closes tomorrow night, so go visit Christina and start writing!  Here's my entry...

My Life as a Military Wife

Being a military spouse means different things to different people. Some spouses love their lifestyle and the experiences the military has offered them. Some spouses hate it and count the days until their husband’s return to civilian life. Where do I stand? I’m somewhere in the middle. And my answer will vary from one day to the next.

I haven’t always been a military wife. My husband and I shared 2 years together before the military jumped into the mix and turned our simple marriage upside down. When my husband’s military career began, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and if he knew, he didn’t share that knowledge with me. But despite my cluelessness, I dove headfirst into this new adventure. At the time, my husband was ambivalent about his career path, and I desperately wanted to escape a city I despised. We were stuck, undecided. And then the military swooped in and started making the decisions for us.  That was fine by me.

Although nowadays I'm not always as enthusiastic about the major life decisions the military makes for us, we are still following the path it creates for us.  I married the military 8 years ago, and during that time, I have both loved it and hated it. Because of my second marriage, I’ve had the exceptional opportunity to live overseas, form lifelong friendships, and discover my inner strength. But I’ve also had to endure the challenges of single parenting, the postponement of my own career, and lengthy and sometimes unexpected separations from my husband. Over the years, I’ve often wondered if I’d do it all again, if I’d so willingly marry the military if I knew then what I know now.

So what does my role as a military spouse mean to me?

It means I’m perpetually trying to find a balance between 2 opposing forces. I have to be flexible yet prepared. Adventurous yet practical. Adaptable yet grounded.

It means I’m a mother, but I’m also a father.

It means I have to be the strength for my family, yet I have to learn how to ask for help.

It means I may not have a career until my husband’s is over.

It means I may never know where home is.

It means I sometimes celebrate holidays and milestones without the one person with whom I most want to celebrate.

It means I have to be supportive even when I don’t want to be.

It means that most people will never understand me or my life.

It means I’m married, yet I’m often alone.

It means my closest friends aren’t close at all, but scattered all over the world.

It means I am considered a Dependent, yet I am forced to be independent.

But most of all, it means that I am an indispensable part of my husband’s proud service to our country. And in some small way, that means I am proudly serving our country as well.

So knowing what I know now, would I do it all again? Absolutely. Without a doubt. In a heartbeat. Yes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I vaguely remember what life was like before I became a mother.

I didn't have Goldfish crumbs in my purse.
I didn't have a time-out chair in my kitchen.
I didn't stub my toe on mountains of toys.

I could go on impromptu dates with my husband.
I could sleep in.
I could close the door when I used the bathroom.

I was more selfish.
I was more judgmental.
I was more rested.

I was less empathetic.
I was less understanding.
I was less appreciative of my own mother.

I vaguely remember what life was like before I became a mother
Because I can't imagine a life without my children.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mil Spouse Blog Hop List

  1. Riding the Roller Coaster
  2. Never Just A Housewife
  3. Heather @ This is the Story of a Girl
  4. Ann Marie @ Household6Diva
  5. Navy Wife Diary
  6. Trooppetrie
  7. Dawna @ Hiccups In Time
  8. Flight Attendant and Marine = LOVE
  9. Goodnight moon
  10. Kristen @ Hope Abound
  11. My Goal is Simple
  12. Julie the Army Wife
  13. Magically Ordinary
  14. IMOM
  15. Head in the Game, Heart in the Sand
  16. To the Nth
  17. Sespi @ And You Never Did Think
  18. Lynn @ Welcome To Our Chaos
  19. Katie F @ The Life of An Army Wife
  20. Army Blogger Wife--MilSpouse Blog Hop!
  21. MTM @ My Front Porch Looking In
  22. Me, Him and the Army
  23. Everything Happens Fora Reason
  24. Its a Hooah Life
  25. Just a little about our everyday life
  26. Boots in the Doorway
  27. Ashley Amazing
  28. A Day in the Life of 5. . .
  29. Life as a Sailors Girl
  30. Jessica @ Just 4 Crows
  31. The Displaced Dutchican
  32. Cowgirl and Combat Boots
  33. Jen @ The Adventures of our Army Life
  34. Haagx5
  35. Singing in the Rain
  36. The Adventures of Mr. Superman & Mrs. S.
  37. The Undomestic Army Wife
  38. A Southern Belle and Her Officer
  39. In Love With A Soldier
  40. Dogtags and Pearls
  41. ArmyWife-Style
  42. Ramblings of a Marine Wife
  43. Stuck in a world of blue & camo
  44. Faith and Deployments
  45. Simplify
  46. Flip Flops and Combat Boots
  47. Adventures of Julie-uli-uli and Captain Obvious
  48. Samantha @ Through the Adventures of Life
  49. ACUs, Stiletto Shoes. . . by Mrs. G. I. Joe
  50. Cause I dont know how it gets better than this. .
  51. Marrying the Navy
  52. Military Mommy
  53. The Marine && A Civilian;;
  54. The Unexpected Army Life
  55. Melissa Sue @ A Wonderful Life
  56. A Blue-Eyed Blonde, And Her Green-Eyed Airman
  57. Just to breathe you in I am satisified
  58. SailorWifey
  59. Our Crazy Life
  60. www. topshelfthinks. com
  61. A Day in the Life of a Marine Corps Wife
  62. My Life As a Navy Wife
  63. "Waiting for Ships to Come In" - CG Spouses
  64. Army Wife
  65. A Yummy Mummy on a Pink Park Bench
  66. Mama, Did you Wear Combat Boots?/Kitchen Combat)
  67. Deployment (again)
  68. Wife of a Sailor
  69. [Briar]Designs- A new marine wife
  70. Sarah @ G. I. Joes Wife
  71. Shelly @ our motto ispatience
  72. The Next Few Steps
  73. Wife of a Bubblehead
  74. beyond Jennifer and Jason
  75. Semper Simply Blessed
  76. Me and My SoldierMan
  77. Mos Blog
  78. Mateya @ Our Journey from Iraq to the Altar
  79. Amanda: Soon to be Navy Wife
  80. Via @ Cloud Nine and Counting (USAF)
  81. Star Spangled Stockings
  82. Army Wife on a Mission
  83. JJ @ Id Rather Be Laughing
  84. Our Fabulously Crazy Life
  85. Jesstagirl and Her Officer
  86. My Deployment Coping Tool
  87. Jeannette @ Counting Our Blessings
  88. Alison @ One Lucky Monkey
  89. Lima Oscar Victor Echo
  90. Ashley @ Raising Brats
  91. Ashleigh @ A Deployment Diary {in Hawaii!!!}
  92. pretty tiaras
  93. the Somarribas
  94. Photina @ one guy in a house of girls
  95. Wookie & Co.
  96. Far from the Safe Harbor
  97. Yellow Ribbon Diary
  98. This is the Life of an Army Wife.
  99. Hard Corps Love
  100. Adventures in Life
  101. Trying Our Best
  102. Planned Improvisation
  103. Adventures in Life- Intro.
  104. Mrs G. I Joe
  105. Going from ANG to Active Army?
  106. Storm Chaser Kena
  107. Chantals Blog
  108. Lisa at must be doin somethin right
  109. Random Ramblings of a Military Wife
  110. Financially Fit Mommy - Some Info. About Me
  111. Currently on Land
  112. The Journey of a Navy Wife
  113. Robyns World
  114. Lindsay Writing
  1. A Navygirl loves a GuardBoy
  2. TheByrnefamilydiaries
  3. Day to Day Life of an Army Wife
  4. Life in the Sunshine State
  5. Mrs. Muffins
  6. Living the Life of an Infantrymans Wife
  7. Navy Wife @ Sink or Swim
  8. Ginger Snapped
  9. Air Force. Wife. Life
  10. Our Imperfect Life
  11. Navy Wife in Guam
  12. Blah, Blah, Blah
  13. Shius Out of Her Mind
  14. Adventures in Okinawa Japan
  15. You+Me=Wiiiiii
  16. 2003 Beach Bunch
  17. Raising our Little Devil Pup
  18. Jennifer @ The Toy Box Years
  19. 3superheros, 2princesses, a soldier&me
  20. Living the Dual Military Life!
  21. The Albrecht Squad
  22. The Misadventures of Mrs. Duh
  23. Empty Nest, PCS and all the Rest
  24. This is my blog
  25. The Few, The Proud, The Wife
  26. Apron Strings of an Army Wife
  27. Lifes a Dance You Learn as You Go
  28. One Step At A Time
  29. Submariners Sweetheart
  30. The Lingar Lowdown~
  31. Jenn @ A Cup of Jenn (from TX to Alaska)
  32. Finding my way into Army life. . .
  33. Southern Domestic Goddess
  34. MrsMamaHen. com
  35. Brittany @ Ive Got Murphy Love
  36. An Expeditionary Family
  37. On My Mind
  38. Life of an Army Wife @
  39. Bullocks with Butterflie Wings
  40. Capture Reality
  41. Brea @ Utter Chaos
  42. My explosive life. . . as an EOD Techs wife
  43. "Something Beautiful"
  44. The "Sometimes Single" Mom
  45. To Life
  46. Reina @ Semper Gumby
  47. Heather @ Way Out West: The Deployment Chronicles
  48. Three For Now
  49. Life in Progression
  50. Boonie Caps & Tiaras
  51. Its a Semper fi Kinda Love
  52. Are You Checking out my sass?
  53. Jamie @ This is me; Consequently.
  54. MyMomfessions
  55. Army Wife 101
  56. The Life Of An ETs Wife
  57. small wonders
  58. Melissa in Italy
  59. Alexis @ Happily Household 6
  60. Tiff @ A Balancing Act
  61. Patty @ I mean really. . . REALLY
  62. M. G.
  63. I Took the One Less Traveled By
  64. BeingaBetterWife
  65. Mrs. K and Captain J
  66. Sergeant Major Mom
  67. Life of a USMCGirlfriend
  68. 2 Crazy Americans in Germany - The Endertons
  69. Jeff, Kate & Jack : )
  70. Keep Moving On
  71. an average girl and her deployed marine
  72. The Kitchen Dispatch: A writers life transformed
  73. My Life as an Air Force Wife
  74. Leanne at MilitaryAvenues Our Letters to You
  75. Jus-Because in Italy
  76. Adventures in Italia
  77. Chances Im taking
  78. Pulling Up The Weeds
  79. Virginia @ Like Mom Made
  80. domestic army wife
  81. Pieces of Me
  82. Life of a Recruiters Wife
  83. Hope Floats
  84. Engaged to the Navy
  85. A day to day life of a military wife
  86. Keeping Up With The Jones
  87. Ocipura. com
  88. Rank and File Wifey
  89. The 4M Project @ blogspot. com
  90. Marilyn @ All Worth It
  91. The Uncommon Mom
  92. Polk Ponderings
  93. This Blog Is My Kids Inheritance!
  94. Desperate Army Housewife
  95. The Hodges
  96. My Military Mommy
  97. Hellcat Betty
  98. A Hapa Girl and her Hapa Family
  99. Happy Life as an Army Wife
  100. Baum. com: Warchild & H-Baum
  101. Aracely at My Army Love Life
  102. Mommy. Army Wife. EMT.
  103. Natl Guard Life
  104. Life and Times of a Displaced Jersey Girl
  105. Hurry Up & Wait: Reflections of an Army Wife
  106. Mountain Family
  107. Requires Heavy Lifting
  108. A Day In The Life of A Navy Wife
  109. Life as Mrs. JPT
  110. Mrs. EDO @ How I met my EDO
  111. McDaniel Family Circus
  112. Constant Beginnings
  113. Just Another Snarky Navy Wife
  114. While you were gone. .
  115. This linky list is now closed.

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day!  So for all you mil spouses out there, I want to thank you for the job that you do every day on the home front while your service members are doing what they need to do.  I'm so proud to be a part of this amazingly supportive community.

What better day to wrap up the Mil Spouse Blog Hop than on the day celebrating us?  I'm thrilled to say that the hop closed out with a whopping 228 entries!  I exported the list permanently into my next post, and there's a link on my sidebar so you can continue blog hopping at your leisure.  Thank you again for everyone who participated.  I had no idea there were so many of us out there in the blogosphere, and I'm glad to be able to help bring us all together.  I think I visited everyone on the list, but if you haven't heard from me, please let me know!

(And BTW, there was some trouble with links #219-Hurry Up & Wait and #226-Constant Beginnings.  If you belong to those links, please leave me a comment with your correct URL so we can visit you.  I'll see if I can change it in the master list.)

There is 1 blogger who didn't enter her link on the blog hop, a woman who can use all the love and support we can give her.  Her name is Mrs. P at A Little Pink in a World of Camo.  She is a Gold Star wife, a young mother who lost her husband too soon, raising her baby girl who never had the chance to meet her brave father.  On this day that we celebrate military spouses, I hope you can visit Mrs. P, whose honesty, courage, and strength are truly inspirational.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm Super Mil Wife!

A couple of weeks ago, I entered a contest for bad poetry over at Just Another Snarky Navy Wife.  I didn't win (darn those random number generators that never pick me!), but now that I've recovered from my disappointment at not being crowned the worst poet, I thought I'd share my super bad poem.

Super Mil Wife

I’m mom, I’m dad.
I multi-task.
I cook. I clean.
Who am I you ask?

I’m Super Mil Wife!
I do it all.
My man’s deployed,
But I stand tall.

I mow the lawn.
I pay the bills.
I’m Queen of strength
And power drills.

Loose lips sink ships
So I stay mute.
Mighty OPSEC
I can’t refute.

I wait for calls
That rarely come.
I handle it
With great aplomb.

The kids are sad
And misbehave.
(My sanity
I hope to save.)

I hug them and
I hold them near.
They miss their dad
Who can’t be here.

Some days are tough.
Some days are grey.
Don’t ask about
My day today.

I sleep alone
Without my man.
Getting through it
The best I can.

I keep the home fires
Burning bright.
In my darkness,
He is my light.

Support and love
I do believe
I give to him
And I receive.

My man’s deployed.
This is my life.
And so my name is
Super Mil Wife.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Top 10 Ways to Help a Mil Spouse During Deployment

We mil spouses can use all the help we can get while our husbands are deployed.  The help we need varies depending on our individual situations (whether or not we have children, whether or not we have family nearby, etc.), but we all can use a helping hand every now and then.  Here are my...

Top 10 Ways to Help a Mil Spouse During a Deployment

10) Mow her lawn.  And if you're feeling especially generous, bring on the weed wacker too.

9) If you're going to the grocery store, call her and ask if she needs anything.  She'll most likely say no, but you might just catch her on that day she ran out of milk and can't fathom dragging her kids out to buy more.

8) Schedule a girls' night out.  And book her a baby-sitter if she doesn't already have one.

7) Send her husband an email, a letter, or a care package to reassure him that all is well on the home front.

6) Give her a night off from cooking and stop by with a meal.  (Give her enough notice though so you don't drop by WHILE she's cooking.)

5) If you have children, invite her and her kids over for a playdate.  The kids can play while the adults can chat.

4) Listen when she needs to vent.  No advice necessary (unless she asks for it).  Just listen.

3) Periodically offer to take her kids for a few hours so she can go shopping, get a massage, or simply enjoy the silence.

2) Don't stop calling her just because you don't know what to say.  She needs all the friends she can get.  On the other extreme, don't bombard her with phone calls.  Give her the space she needs.

1) Don't tell her to call you if she needs any help.  Mil Spouses are incredibly independent people.  We won't call.  If you want to do something for her, just do it.  We may not like asking for help, but we'll gladly accept it!

What tops your list? 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blop Hop Appreciation

I just wanted to thank everyone for participating in the MilSpouse Blog Hop.  What a success!  I'm beyond thrilled by the turnout, and I'm thoroughly enjoying visiting everyone's blogs.  And apparently I was wrong about adding links just on Friday because they're still coming in.  Last I checked, we were at 165!

I will definitely be visiting everyone on the list, but with the overwhelming numbers, it may take me all week.  If you haven't heard from me by Friday, please let me know.

Because we're all so busy making new friends, I'm going to be light on the posts this week.  We all have a lot of reading material!

Keep on hopping everyone...the list will be up until Thursday!  Thanks again to those of you who participated!

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