Trust

A few days ago a fellow wife turned me on to a Facebook page called “Kittens for Devil Dogs“. Now, unlike what the title implies, and I assumed (pet adoptions), it is in fact a FB page filled with women who have submitted photos of themselves scantily clad in order to “support” Marines (also known as Devil Dogs…the title makes sense now, right? lol)

The woman who showed it to me, and many other wives, were outraged. Apparently some married men had been not only looking at the page, but messaging some of the girls inappropriate things. These outraged wives wanted to report the page and get it taken down, and were fishing for my support.

I did not support their cause, and contrary to their belief, this does not mean that I support married men cheating.

My reasoning is this: The women posting their photos are doing so of their own free will. No problem there. The men looking at them are also doing it of their own free will. Nobody is forcing these Marines, married or not, to look at half-naked photos of women.  It is not the pages fault that married guys are looking at the photos they post, they can’t regulate that. Therefore, I don’t see any need to get the page removed, both parties are voluntarily participating.

There is temptation everywhere, not just with FB pages like these.  When my husband was deployed and stopping in ports like Malaysia and the Phillipnes, prostitutes were openly proportioning all the Marines…and you can bet they didn’t care if they were married.

There is now way a wife can regulate all of the temptation that a man may come across in his daily life. Therefore you must have trust. Trust that your spouse is an honest and committed person who will remain faithful to you, no matter what temptations come before him.

Without trust there is no point in a relationship, because a relationship where you have to monitor your husband’s activities to be sure he isn’t cheating on you doesn’t sound like much of a relationship to me.

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Wife 2 Wife Wednesday

I’ve decided to start participating in Wives of Faith’s “Wife 2 Wife Wednesday”. Hopefully they don’t mind that I am not a “wife of faith”, I just really like the idea of a weekly prompt specifically related to military wives. It’s about sharing your experience as a military wife with other wives and connecting over common issue and challenges.

Today’s prompt is: How many deployments have you been through with your husband? What are three tips you might share with a wife about to start her first?

I have been through 2 deployments with my husband. His first in 2011 where he served 7 months in Afghanistan. His second was more recent, he was gone for half of 2012 and spent 6 months on the 31st MEU (USS Bonhomme Richard) which is a humanitarian/training deployment.

My tips are pretty simple.

#1) Stay Busy: I learned this one the hard way when my husband left for the first time (non-deployment). He went to FL for 5 months of training and we had just gotten married and moved. I had lost touch with a lot of my friends and didn’t have much of a social life because I was still in the honeymoon phase of wanting to spend all of my time with my husband. But then my husband left and I had all this free time and very few friends. I ended up having a rough time with the separation (depression) and after seeing a therapist began to work at expanding my social network with volunteering and putting myself out there meeting other wives.

It made a HUGE difference to be busy, not only with work and school, but with things you enjoy, like FRIENDS! The days that went by fastest for me during my husband deployments were the days where I was having fun with my friends.

#2) Be Positive: Nothing will make you more depressed and lonely than throwing yourself a pity party. Don’t get me wrong, deployments are suck and we all have hard days, but for the most part if you have a positive attitude then the whole experience will be much easier and go by faster. So don’t ruminate on the negative. Choose to focus on the positive!

#3) Live Your Life: This somewhat connects back to #1 and #2, don’t feel guilty for having fun. I’ve seen a lot of wives who really bring themselves down by feeling like they can’t go out and have fun while their husband is in a war zone, that it’s “not fair to him”. Let me tell you, my husband LOVED to hear about me having fun. If I went out with my friends, or went home to see my family or just enjoyed a good movie by myself, it made him happy that I was happy. Just because your spouse is gone doesn’t mean your life stops.

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They have fun too! My husband stayed busy in Afghanistan by setting up a driving rang so he could continue to enjoy his love of golf 🙂

The Wedding You “Should” Have

Today I was watching a Sex and the City marathon and the episode was on where Miranda was on her honeymoon and hated it. Carrie wrote an articles/story about it, about how we live our lives based on what we think we “should” want or what we “should” do.

Miranda didn’t want to be on her honeymoon and have sex 3x a day, but it’s what she thought she “should” do and what is socially acceptable.

It made me think back to my wedding and vow renewal, and I think it’s something that a lot of military spouses experience. The idea that they “should” have a big fancy wedding, but the reality that the military makes that nearly impossible.

My husband and I did what many military couples do, went to the courthouse and had a quick civil ceremony and planned a big wedding for a few years later. A big wedding that we thought we “should” have, and one that our family and society expected us to have.

So I spent 2 1/2 years planning a big wedding, the dress, the flowers, the food, the venue, the invitations, all of it.

And the big day finally came, and it “should” have been wonderful, I “should” have felt like a queen. But in reality it felt like a big stressful expensive party where I was wearing a big white dress.

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Now don’t get me wrong, it was fun. But it didn’t feel nearly as special and romantic as the day I said my vows to Jeremy in a horribly lit dingy courthouse.

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There is a society standard that in order to have a special wedding day you “should” say your vows in an expensive white dress holding a beautiful bouquet in a church, followed by an expensive reception with dancing, an open bar, appetizers and a seated dinner on beautiful table clothes with show stopping centerpieces.

But after having both a courthouse wedding and a big wedding, I’ve discovered that what makes your wedding day special is that you get married. It’s the exchanging of vows, looking into your partners eyes as you say “I do” and exchanging a commitment to share the rest of your lives together.

Now, I am by no means putting down women who have had big weddings. However, I do think that it’s necessary to realize that you don’t have to have the wedding that society tells you that you “should” have, if you don’t want to. And this is especially true for military fiancees who find themselves with limited time to plan a big bash around the military schedule.

It doesn’t have to be just a courthouse or a huge wedding. It can be a private elopement on the beach or a backyard wedding with your immediate family and friends. Your wedding can be whatever you want it to be, not what you think it “should” be.

An awkward dinner – tag chasers

I went to dinner last night with a few of my friends from school and one of them brought a friend of hers who was in town visiting.

Somehow we got on the conversation of dating and marriage, etc, and it came out that I am married to someone in the military (the other 3 girls I was with were single). The girl who I didn’t know (the friend of my friend) said she would like to marry a military guy and in fact lives in a military town (Lemoore, CA) and seeks them out on purpose. She wants an Officer (aiming high! lol) and would like to marry someone in the military for the great benefits. (in my head I was thinking…”tell me more about these “great benefits” you speak of lol)

This is what many people call a “tag chaser”, only interested in someone in the military because they are in the military.

I know a lot of women who hate tag chasers, I personally am not that bothered by it. I think a lot of women have a “type” that they are attracted too, I know I have pretty much only dated country boys because that’s what I like. So if your thing is fire fighters or doctors, then go for it.

I don’t think the type of person that you are attracted too means that you are going to marry the first one you meet simply because they are your type and have the kind of job and lifestyle you are attracted too. Its the person that you end up falling for, not the job that may have initially drawn you in. I didn’t marry the first country boy I dated, nor the first military man I dated, I feel in love with my husband because of who he is as a person.

And that is where I have a problem with tag chasers; if they marry someone or date someone simply for the job, and not because they love the person for who they are.

I dated a handful of military guys before I met my husband. I wasn’t seeking them out in particular, but I live near 4 military bases and someone being in that profession wasn’t a deal breaker for me, so I dated them if I liked them. When I met my husband and fell in love with him I didn’t care what he did for a living. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, regardless of his job.

My other friend that I was there with said that she would never date a military guy. She doesn’t want to move around and uproot her life for anybody. And you know what, I think that’s a perfectly fine opinion to have also. This isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, and if you know that it’s not what you want, then don’t waste your time being friendly with a military guy.

So there the three of us were, 1 military wife, 1 tag chaser, and 1 girl determined to never date a military man.

For some reason I just found the whole thing very awkwardly funny.

Different Standards

I learned something new at work last week that I wanted to share.  One of my co-workers brought something up that I had never looked at before, the fact that people often judge themselves by a different set of standards than they judge others.

For example: you are on your way to work and you get stuck in traffic and you show up late to an important meeting. You may be beating yourself up about it and thinking that you should have left earlier and that everyone must think that you don’t care about your job and aren’t a committed employee.

Now, image you are at that same meeting and you arrive on-time, but your boss is late. Do you think that she doesn’t care about her job or is a bad employee? Probably not. You are probably thinking that stuff happens, sometimes there is traffic, sometimes your alarm doesn’t go off, etc.

And this can expand to so many aspects of our lives.

I know I have often seen heavier girls then me at the beach and thought, “good for her for rocking that bikini, she looks super cute”. Yet when I’m at the beach in my bikini I think I look like a fat cow and that everyone must be thinking, “I don’t want to see her in a bathing suit”.

Or not getting a job and thinking that it must have been you; you said something wrong in the interview or did something to make them not like you. But when your friend gets rejected from a job you tell her that they probably hired internally and weren’t really considering outside applications.

People tend to be so much harder on themselves then they are on others, and that’s not a healthy way to live.

Missing Him

It’s been 3 days since I’ve seen my husband. He went out to the desert with some friends to have a guys weekend and go mudding, shoot stuff and camp.

This is the first time since he came home from deployment a little over 4 months ago that we have been apart overnight.

For the last two nights I have slept in my bed alone, for the first time in 100 days.

I miss him.

Missing him reminded me of my previous post about how military wives tend to get on their high horse and say that civilians aren’t allowed to miss their partners when they are gone for a short amount of time because “at least he isn’t deployed“.

I don’t agree with that mindset, and here I am, a military spouse, missing my husband when he is gone for the weekend lol.

I don’t miss him like I did when he was deployed. That was a deeper ache. This is more like poking at an old bruise, it hurts, and it reminds you of the pain you felt when you got it the first time.

But knowing he is coming home today help with the pain of missing him. It’s a short tunnel and I’ve been able to see the light since I first entered it on Friday.

And maybe that’s the strength that I get from being a military spouse, knowing when it can be worse, and appreciating what I have. It doesn’t make me miss him less, but it does change how I handle it and how I interpret the pain.

Debate: Does deployment make you more of a military spouse?

I saw a debate on Instagram yesterday (odd place for a debate, I know), that asked “Does having been through a deployment with your partner make you more of a military spouse then someone who has not been through a deployment?”

Here are my thoughts on the issues, I don’t necessarily agree with the wording of “more” or “less” of a military spouse, because I think that title comes to everyone who is married to a service members. However, I do think there are different levels, none of which are “better” than the others.

Going through a deployment with your partner is a challenge, and you come out the other end a different person. I think that is something to be respected and something that puts you at a different experience level than another spouse who has never been through a deployment.

I think these levels exist in other areas as well, such as combat vs. non-combat deployments. I can’t imagine what it would be like to fear for my husbands life everyday that he is overseas, and I think women who have gone through that are at a completely different level than me.

Are they “better”? No, it’s just different.

I remember when my husband left for his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2010. He was so excited, and I was too. I knew I was going to miss him, and I was sad to say good bye, but I was excited for him to have this experience (the one he signed up for when he enlisted), and I was excited for me to be able to challenge myself to make it though. It’s almost like a right of passage, and I wanted it for Jeremy and for myself.

Yes, I am proud to say that I have supported my husband through two deployments. However, that does not make me “more” of a military spouse than someone who has never been through a deployment, nor does it make me “better”.

I’m curious to here other thoughts on the prompt as well if you have a differing opinion!

The night Jeremy left for his first deployment - Nov 2010

The night Jeremy left for his first deployment – Nov 2010

Weekly Photo Challenge and Advocare Diet Review

This weeks photo challenge is “lunchtime”, which connects well to another post I had planned on sharing today. So that works out great!

Today for lunch I had Panda Express, because today is my cheat day after completing the 24 day Advocare challenge.

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I lost 6 pounds and 4 inches on the challenge (the average weight loss for women is 10 lbs., so I think I did a decent job).

I thought I would write a review of my experience, what I learned, what I liked, what I didn’t like, etc.

First off, I found it very hard to stick too. Mostly when it came to eating out. Jeremy and I normally go out with friends 2x a week, wether that be a BBQ at someones house or just meeting up for dinner. We also eat out together 2-3x a week, breakfast on Sundays, dinner on Friday, etc.

The diet basically boils down to fruit, vegetables, lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, etc.) and limited whole wheats, like brown rice, whole grain past and whole grain bread. (for a more exact description of the diet you can explore the Advocare website)

That doesn’t give a ton of options when you go to a BBQ at a friends house and they are providing the food.

So I did not stick to the diet 100%. I would say my average was about 80%

However, what I did learn, and will take a way from the experience, is that there are ways to eat the above mentioned foods in tasty ways. A few of my favorite recipes were turkey tacos (whole wheat tortilla topped with salsa), pineapple turkey burger (on a whole wheat bun) and sweet potato fries.

My two biggest problems with sticking to any kind of diet like this is 1) I have no willpower, and 2) I LIKE yummy-bad-for-me-food

I don’t think I will ever be one of those people who gets excited for a turkey burger, I would much rather eat Panda Express. And if you put both of those options in front of me, I will probably grab the Panda Express, I don’t have willpower.

So how do I lose the weight that I want to lose? Figure out something that works for my lifestyle and stick with it long term.

I will not be able to stick with a strict diet, I was amazed I made it at 80% for 24 days.

My plan now is to use what I learned as far as healthy eating habits, incorporate it into my daily life, give myself room to cheat a little, and make it a long-term lifestyle change.

When Jeremy and I go out to eat I don’t have to order the french toast with hash browns, I can have oatmeal and eggs. Every once in a while I can have a cheat day and order the pizza and Panda Express, but for the most part I have learned that there are healthier options at most restaurants that still taste pretty good.

And there are healthier options for me to cook at home, where my lack of willpower isn’t such an obstacle. I only buy healthy foods and try to cook at home most of the week, eliminating the temptation of bad foods.

The word “diet” is so negative. Just saying it makes me miserable. I want to live a healthier lifestyle, a lifestyle that I can actually accomplish and stick too long term, not just for 24 days or a few months. I recently found a FB page that I love called “This is not a diet – this is your life”, and I think her message is great!

I have 11 lbs to go until I reach my first goal weight and obtain a “healthy” BMI. Using what I learned from Advocare, I think that is a realistic possibility for me in the next 2-3 months.

I’m down 10 lbs. since I started this journey in January, it’s slow progress, but at least it’s in the right direction!

Babies and Career Military

Jeremy and I have been talking more and more about starting our family.

He says he wants to wait 5 more years (we are both 24), but other times he will make jokes about us getting pregnant sooner than that. The more he brings it up, the more I get the feeling that it isn’t as scary of an idea as it used to be for him.

Yesterday, after he joked about giving me a baby if he can get a new Jeep (lol), we had a serious conversation about his future in the Marine Corps.

He is currently in his second enlistment and has 2 1/2 years left on his contract. We had planned on him getting out at that time since he isn’t very happy with his new command and the people he works with. But yesterday he was talking about all the other options there are in the military for him, from doing recruiting, applying for Warrant Officer or MECEP and getting his college degree. He loves mentoring his junior Marine, and I agree with him that he would make a great officer.

I thought that I would have some negative feelings about him thinking about making the military career, since I was so excited about getting out and being a civilian.

But I was kind of excited about everything he was talking about, because he was so excited about it! In the end, I just want my husband to enjoy his career, regardless of if that is a civilian or military career.

This all connects back to babies because I think if he decided to stay in, we would start trying in a year or two (OMG!). The whole reason we’ve been on this 5 year plan is because if he does get out I want him to have the change to go to college, and if we had a baby I know he would want to start working right away to support us and would not go to college.

It’s a little weird to switch my mindset and think of myself as a career military wife. That this will be my life for the next 15+ years. And it’s very weird to think of us having a baby in two years!!! I’m scared, but also very excited. I feel like once I hit 24 my hormones kicked in and now I have baby fever all the time.

But I think we would make it work in the military. In fact, I think we would flourish. I want to be a social worker for the military or the VA, which would be much easier if we were always near a military base. I handle the separations well, and while I don’t look forward to more deployments, I know we can make it through them without a problem.

I would miss getting to settle down and build a house, but I also think it would be fun to see more of the country and get to live in other states.

I guess it comes down to the fact that I am okay with either option, which is what I told my husband last night. I want him to enjoy his career, no matter what that is. I love what I do for a living, and I want him to have that experience too.

So I guess we will see how we feel in 2 1/2 years! Maybe we will end up in WI building our forever home, or perhaps I will be pregnant and moving to North Carolina/Virginia/Japan/etc. 🙂

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Jeremy’s reenlistment – Nov 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: My Neighborhood

Here it is. San Diego, CA

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Unlike most military families, we have lived in San Diego County for my husband’s entire military career.

I moved down to San Diego in August 2007 to go to college at San Diego State. I lived on campus in the dorms…crazy experience, but one I think every freshman should have.

I then moved in with two of my friends from college to an apartment about 15 minutes north of campus. Jeremy was living in the barracks at Camp Pendleton about 45-60 minutes away and would come see me every weekend at my apartment. I lived in the living room of a 3-bedroom apartment with 3 other girls. Oh the joy of being a poor college student lol. I paid $450 and put up a curtain haha

After Jeremy and I got married we moved up to Escondido, about 1/2 way between my school and Camp Pendleton (the gray area at the very top left corner of the map). We lived there for 2 years until Jeremy got tired of the commute.

When I started graduate school we moved to Oceanside, where Camp Pendleton is located and I commuted the 60 minutes to San Diego State 2x a week for classes.

January 2012, Jeremy got order to MCAS Miramar (that’s the grey area on the center of the map). We were VERY lucky to be able to get a local duty station change so I could finish up graduate school. I don’t know what I would have done if they had sent him to another state with me being just 1/4 of the way through my 2-year program.

So here we are, coming up on 6 years of living in paradise.

I don’t want to settle down in San Diego, and I would not want to raise a family here, but I must say, it’s not a bad place to be stationed for a few years 🙂

I hear a lot of military spouses complaining about their duty station. Maybe I see things different because I chose to move to San Diego and wasn’t forced to because of my husband’s job, but I think in most cases a duty station is what you make of it. If you think it is going to suck, it will probably suck. But if you think it will be fun, and you try to find things you enjoy and take advantage of what is around you, then you will have a much better experience.

And when I hear fellow military wives complain about San Diego I can’t help by laugh. Your going to complain about living somewhere that people pay to come to on vacation?! Seriously?! I promise you, it could be MUCH worse.

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