What’s In A Name? – Link-up

I’m a day late, but I wanted to participate in this link-up! The prompt is asking bloggers to share the story behind their blog name:

My current blog is actually the second blog I’ve ever created. I decided to deactivate the first one after I started developing my career in Graduate School…I didn’t want client’s to be able to Google me and find my personal blog. Awkward!

So I switched formats (from Blogger to WordPress) and created a new blog, one that wasn’t attached to my full legal name.

I took the opportunity of starting a new blog to also create a new title. My current title is actually part of a quote that I very much relate to:

This quote first came to me when I was searching for “positive deployment quotes” when my husband was first deployed, back in 2010.

I’m a huge advocate of keeping a positive mindset during deployment, I think its is one of the major things that can help military spouses not only survive deployments, but to thrive.

There is no denying that there are many negative things about deployments, and I promise you, if you focus on them the time will drag by and you will likely be unhappy for most of that time.

On the other hand, if you look beyond those negative things, you can actually have a shot at happiness during deployment. A positive attitude makes the time fly by so much faster than wallowing in the misery and loneliness. A positive attitude helps your spouse maintain focus on deployment, since they aren’t worried about you or feeling additional guilt for your unhappiness.

The quote choice is also the reason why I chose the cover photo that I currently have, it was from my husband’s first homecoming from Afghanistan.

The smiles say it all.

Military life can be filled with many “imperfections”, but there are also many beautiful moments, like homecomings.

So I choose to be happy. Not because my life is perfect (there are deployments, trainings, work-ups, etc.), but because I chose to see the positives in my life and look beyond the imperfections.

Should You Have A Photographer At Homecoming? YES!

As a military spouse and a hobby photographer, I have been on both ends of the lens. I hired photographers for both of my husband’s homecoming and have photographed even more homecomings for my friends and referrals.

edit26aMy husband and I’s first homecoming – Afghanistan 2011

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My friend Heather’s homecoming – May 2013

I shot a homecoming very last minute on Friday for a friend of a friend.  The woman had been talking to my friend (the red-head featured above) about how she didn’t have a photographer for her upcoming homecoming…the next day! My friend referred her to me and thankfully the timing worked out and I actually have the day off from work and no plans.

When I got to the homecoming and we were waiting around for her and her friend’s husbands to come through, there was a sweet family next to us waiting as well. She had a toddler and a newborn with her, and no friends or photographer to capture the moment. Her husband came though in the first wave (not everyone arrived at the same time) and their reunion was beautiful! I couldn’t help myself and I snapped a few photos and asked for her email before I left so I could send them to her.

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Homecomings are such a beautiful and emotional moment in life. How could you not want to capture it?!

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How could you want to miss out on having these memories forever?!

My client and her friend were both experiencing their first homecomings, and I was glad to be able to get some shots of both of them. You will want to have photos of this moment! There is no downside to hiring a photographer, IMO

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I’ve had some people ask me if it’s awkward to have a photographer at homecoming. To have someone up in your business during such an intimate moment. As a photographer, I try to blend in. There are so many people at homecoming; photographers, friends, family. There will be people taking photos left and right, you won’t notice if they are taking photos of you or someone else. At both of my homecomings I barely noticed the photographer, I was way too wrapped up in seeing my husband for the first time in 7 months!

So the answer to the question of “should I hire a photographer for my homecoming?” is always YES!

Speaking of photography (since I don’t want to make a whole other post), here are some highlight of the other shoot I did this weekend, a maternity shoot for my friend. Can’t wait to take her newborn pictures in a few weeks!

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Family & Homecoing

Who should be at a homecoming?

This seems to be a common debate/topic of discussion among military spouses as deployments start to come to an end.

I saw a debate online about it today, as I have seen many times in the past. There are typically two sides to the argument, immediate family only vs. extended family and friends okay

For those who think only spouses (and children) should be at homecoming argue that they are the most important and most affective by deployments. They are the ones who give the most support, sending care packages and letters. They argue that the nuclear family needs time together alone after deployments to reintegrate, away from extended meddling family. I’ve heard the argument that parents and siblings have had their whole life with the service member, and that spouses deserve to have their future time.

I fall on the other side of the argument. I feel that extended family and friends are more than welcome at homecomings. I understand the above point of view, and maybe if my family or my husband’s family were difficult then I might not want them there, but they are great, so I am more than happy to have them at homecomings if they want to come.  My husband’s family was in his life long before I was. His parents raised him, his siblings grew up with him. I would never presume to think that they love him any less than I do. It is a different kind of love and a different relationship, but they are still a huge part of his life, and I recognize and respect that.

I can’t imagine how I would feel if one of our children, who we loved and raised for 18+ years came home from a deployment and his/her spouse said that we couldn’t be there. I would be very hurt, and to be honest, would probably think less of my child’s spouse for not supporting or understanding how important family is (to me and my husband, it is very important).

I acknowledge that many people have had in-law homecoming horror stories. Bing pushed out of the way by a mother-in-law for the first hug. Family staying at hour home for weeks. There do need to be some boundaries when it comes to families and homecomings. Who gets the first hug. How long family will stay in town. Where family will stay (with the couple or in a hotel). All those things need to be worked out and agreed to by all parties before the big day.

We have never had family at either of my husband’s homecomings (they couldn’t afford to fly out). However, if we did, I would want the first hug/kiss and I would expect them to get a hotel and stay in town for less than a week. Other than that, I think it would be wonderful if they came. More people to take pictures for us (haha), and I know my husband would love to see his parents and siblings and would appreciate that they came out to be there for him.

Now, it’s a different story if the service member doesn’t want their family there. In the end, I believe that homecoming is about the service member. They should be able to request who they want or don’t want for that special day. I think spouses need to respect their service members choice and honor it, because it is their day just as much as (if not more than) it is yours.

Is it Romantic?

I recently stumbled across this blog post, articulating the being married to a service member is not romantic, fun or desirable.

It’s a funny article, and there are many things that I agree with. Being married to someone in the military is not like they portray in movies, I’ve never been serenaded by “you’ve lost that loving feeling”, nor has my husband burst into my place of employment (in uniform) and carried me off into the sunset.

However, most romantic movies (whether them main character is a military service member, a firefighter, or just a regular business man) are rarely accurate or realistic portrayals of real life.

Being married to someone in the military doesn’t automatically make your life romantic. Your life isn’t a romantic movie 100% of the time just because your husband is in the military, because someone being in the military doesn’t automatically make them a romantic person. How much romance you have in your life depends on you and your partner, not what either of you does for a living.

However, I do think that there is some innate romance in being married to a service member: Homecomings

Being separated from your spouse for months on end is not romantic. It’s lonely and sad and hard.

But in my experience, every separation and deployment has strengthened our marriage. You learn to appreciate your spouse when they are gone. You realize that complaining about them leaving the toilet seat up or throwing their dirty socks on the floor, isn’t that important. Through missing them you realize how much you truly love them and appreciate all they do when they are home.

And when they come home, that amazing moment when you hold them and kiss them again after months apart, if that isn’t romance, I don’t know what is.

Being married to a service member doesn’t atomically make life a romantic movie. But there are certainly scenes that are swoon worthy.

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Homecoming #1: 2011

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Homecoming #2: 2012

90% Done with Deployment!

Homecoming is slowly but surely sneaking up on me.

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I have been trying not to get too excited or get my hopes up, because I think that would just make time slow down even more lol. But I went to the movies with a friend last night (Breaking Dawn, of course lol) and she was asking me how long till Jeremy get’s home. So I actually stopped and counted the days and it sounded so close when I said it out loud. It could be as soon as (OPSEC) weeks!

But, as all military spouses know, the military likes to change dates and times whenever they feel like it. We don’t even have a date yet, just a 10 day window that is approaching quickly.

There is a Return & Reunion Brief in 2 weeks though, so hopefully I will get a date and time then 🙂

And let’s not forget the fact that Jeremy got suck on the ship and is now in the middle of the ocean nowhere near the rest of his unit. And this awesome secret mission the ship is on currently has no return date so he might not get to come home with the rest of his unit and would have to wait till some other unit was returning to CA.

The military is so awesome some times (<— can you feel the sarcasm? lol)

So I’m still not getting my hopes up, but I am going to start preparing. Jeremy is due home right in the middle of my finals for school, so I don’t want to be caught unprepared and not have time to get his truck washed, clean the house, go grocery shopping and make sure I look like a million bucks 😉

So I made my hair and wax appointments and finally (almost) settled on a homecoming outfit. I haven’t officially settled yet because it depends on how cold San Diego decides to be in December. Sometimes it’s raining and freezing (aka 60*), and sometimes it’s sunny and warm. But I have concluded that I am going to wear my American Flag scarf, because it’s awesome and homecoming and 4th of July are pretty much the only times I could get away with looking over the top patriotic 🙂

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