Posts Tagged ‘military life’

This Christmas I Am Spoiling My Kids Rotten

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Hello Internet.

Thank you for all the wonderfully written, thoughtful posts about how kids these days are too focused on things and not on the true meaning of Christmas. It’s so important to remember that giving is far superior to receiving, just as God gave his love to all of us. I also read your advice on how experiences make better gifts than giant hunks of plastic. It’s true! You made some excellent points. Then there were the 4 Things devotees: Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. It rhymes! So adorable and minimalist and a great way to cut down on junk! And finally, there are the hardcore anti-stuff people who object to basically all of it and make their opinions loudly known. Thank you for your input, I appreciate the time you took to explain it.

This year, I am flat out ignoring ALL OF YOU.

wrapping presents

 

 

 

And I’m doing it 100% on purpose. I haven’t accidentally bought too much. I am not pretending to purchase only hand-crafted, heirloom quality, Waldolf-inspired toys. I am not claiming to be a minimalist while buying piles of presents. This is intentional, planned, thoughtful spoiling.

Our December has been full of both experiences and things. This year, we are seeing Santa no less than 5 separate times. We have five sets of matching Christmas pajamas, including two sets for me and one for the dog. Caroline has a special dress for The Nutcracker, a different special dress for our photo session with Santa, and another special dress for Christmas Eve. Oh and one more to wear on Christmas day after taking off her matching Christmas pajamas. We are opening seven advent calendars every morning. There are custom printed Santa bags for each child and fancy gourmet chocolates for their stockings. They are getting everything they asked for and then some. There is a giant Batman robot, thousands of Legos, and a stupid Baby Alive that pees. There are sleds and ride on toys and loud beeping things. ALL FOUR KIDS get their own Fingerling monkey, even the baby, who definitely does not need a Fingerling monkey. When they come down the stairs on Christmas morning, they’re going to freak out and scream their little heads off with joy.

Do you know what won’t be around our tree on Christmas morning? Their father.

I realize things don’t make up for your dad being deployed during Christmas. There is no present in the world I can give them that will stop them from saying “I wish Daddy was here”. My heart breaks a little more every time they say it – which is often. This isn’t their fault. They didn’t ask to be born into a military family. And until this year we’ve been able to shield them quite a bit from true Navy life – no moving, no long separations, no new schools. I grew up with that lifestyle and although I enjoyed it for the most part, not having “a” home or long-term friendships or a sense of being FROM somewhere can be hard sometimes. We’ve been very lucky that we can do this a little differently than most military families. But our luck ran out now that E is very fancy and important; his skills and expertise are needed on actual working submarines, and actual working submarines deploy.

It’s hard. Being the only parent means I am responsible for all the Christmas, for everyone. I don’t mind, really, because I love Christmas. But trying to buy stocking candy when I am never without at least one child is hard. Wrapping gifts at midnight is hard. Trying to decide if it’s time to tell the big kids about Santa is hard. I’m still part of a partnership as far as parenting goes but my partner is unavailable (most of the time he is 100% unavailable, not reachable by any means).

My choice to go completely overboard and ignore what other people are doing is in no way meant to be a reflection on others. This doesn’t just apply to our specific situation regarding Christmas presents or even just the holidays. As I am very fond of telling my children, different families make different choices. Some do small Christmases, some do big Christmases, some go to great lengths to be with as much family as possible, some want to stay home. Some people step away from Facebook and social media to stay focused on family, but I couldn’t imagine doing that when I spend so much time as the only adult in the room. Some find that taking photos helps keep them connected and in the moment (me, 100%), others find that putting away the camera makes them happier. It is a difficult time of year for so many people for so many reasons, finding joy however you want should be allowed. And this year, my joy is in distracting my kids from things that make them sad with things that make them happy.

Come January 2nd when everyone goes back to school, I am going to be cursing all this STUFF that will have taken over my house. There’s nothing more #firstworldproblem than buying too many toys and then being annoyed by too many toys. I’ll remind myself of that as many times as is necessary during the long, cold, dark months between the end of the holidays and the end of deployment. But right now, I am SO EXCITED about Christmas magic and that is just what our family needs.

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Deployment Milestones: A Brief List

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

A few of the deployment milestones we’ve reached since August:

  1. The day of.
  2. When you wake up the morning after and realize this is just the FIRST DAY.
  3. The moment you get caught up on laundry and put away your spouse’s last item of clothing.
  4. What feels like the first major crisis.
  5. The first time some service person says “Well, talk it over with your husband…” and you say “Well, actually he’s deployed so I’ll probably just decide on my own because I haven’t heard from him and I’m not exactly sure when I will and things are complicated so…”
  6. A holiday.
  7. The first REAL major crisis.
  8. When you finally get an email.
  9. The first time some service person says “Well, talk it over with your husband…” and you say “No, it’s just me”.
  10. The first trip to urgent care.
  11. That moment when you make a big financial decision you wouldn’t usually dream of making alone.
  12. First major crying breakdown.
  13. The first OMG WHAT am I even going to do major crisis.
  14. When some service person says “Well, talk it over with your husband…” and you just say “OK” because it’s easier.
  15.  Doing something you hate and usually your spouse would do but that’s not an option.
  16.  Using your power of attorney.
  17. Losing 10 lbs because being on a diet is easier alone.
  18. Completely throwing your diet out the window because being alone is horrible.
  19. When you wake up one morning and realize this is totally normal now.
  20. HALFWAY.

We’re not at that last one yet, but it’s getting closer every day.

 

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This Christmas I Am Spoiling My Kids Rotten

Finding New Roads – Meet Tiffany Joyce Photography {Sponsored by #ChevySalutes}

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Friends, meet Tiffany. She’s cool. She’s a photographer. She’s also a Navy wife who just arrived in beautiful Connecticut. Well, actually, she arrived just in time for the Endless Winter Of Snow And Despair, but somehow managed to stick it out until things improved and is now enjoying the absolutely PERFECT weather we New Englanders like to pretend we get 90% of the time. We’re very good at lying to ourselves.

#chevysalutes milspouse

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Monday, May 11th, 2015

It’s summer!

pinnable web size

 

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Five Tips to a Successful Military Spouse Career Search {And the iPad Winner!!}

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and comments as part of my iPad giveaway. It made me feel great as a milspouse to know so many people are aware of and thinking about us both today and all year. Most days being married to someone in the military isn’t that different from being married to anyone else. But when you’re suddenly in the world of TDYs, PCSs, duty days, deployments and the nightmare that is realizing your ID expired and you can’t even get on base to renew it (I never, ever learn my lesson) it can be lonely and overwhelming. So thank you, truly.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day -  @AT&T

One of the other challenges in being a #milspouse is giving up or changing your OWN career because your life is dictated so much by the active duty service member’s career. To be honest, I let the Navy pull me away from the career I planned twice – once when I realized I wouldn’t be moving to San Diego after all and the jobs I had be applying to on the West Coast would be hard to do from Virginia, and once when we were transferred here to Connecticut and the job I had been planning to make my career wasn’t open anywhere within a 100 mile radius.

If you’re a milspouse looking for a job, here are five tips to help with your search:

1. Keep your resume up to date. It’s easy to forget you might need to re-start your job hunt at any time, but the process is a lot less daunting if you have a resume ready to go. Remember to include your milspouse volunteer jobs – everything from serving as obmudsman for the command to elected positions in the Family Readiness Group counts as experience.

2. Explore careers with portability. Every state needs nurses and teachers. There are real estate offices all over the world. People always need help with taxes or childcare or personal assistants. Although there are different requirements for licenses or certification is various states, Joining Forces is working to get the process streamlined to make it easier on both spouses and veterans to transfer their current qualifications to their new home. Yay for Joining Forces!

3. Work from home. One of the most impressive military spouses I know is a top Mary Kay saleswoman. She has a million friends and connections thanks to the many places she’s lived and makes the built-in support systems that come with being a milspouse work for her. You might not want to sell make-up but the number of work-from-home jobs is amazing – everything from handbags and jewelry to food and cooking products.

4. Think outside the box. If you’re a milspouse you are resourceful, creative, well organized, and flexible. Because you have to be! Those are all talents employers need in many different fields. Just because you started on one path, don’t be afraid to jump to a new one you think sounds interesting.  Apply for things that will challenge you! You can do it!

5. Check out the AT&T Military Spouse Careers site. You can search for jobs near military bases or look for jobs that let you telecommute from home. They also have great resources for veterans and connect to the Military Spouse Talent Exchange.

In the long run, being a military spouse means that I got to be a stay at home mom – a job I always wanted, luckily – and make up my own career. I’m a blogger, a freelancer, and now a photographer. I can take those things with me the next time we’re transferred and hopefully one day turn them into a full time job. In the mean time, I’m going to take my own advice and update my resume.

If you have any tips to add, leave them in the comments or tweet using the hashtag #milspouse and tag @attjobs.

FINALLY…the winner of the AT&T gift bag with the iPad mini is… 

Elizabeth P. from YesNoFilms! Congrats Liz! 

 

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