Posts Tagged ‘military’

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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Working Hard And Hardly Working

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Being a stay at home mom is hard. It’s thankless. It’s monotonous. There’s no such thing as sick days. It involves way, way too much poop.

Right now, being a mom seems like CAKE compared to my husband’s job. Especially since the kids are at a sleep-through-the-night, put-on-their-own-shoes, can-be-entertained-with-television-if-I-need-a-break stage and E’s job has none of that. He never gets to sleep through the night, no one at work seems to be able to tie their own shoes without asking for help and even when he’s home in front of the TV he’s thinking about all the stuff he has to do tomorrow (or in 20 minutes, if work calls him in AGAIN). He probably won’t get to go on vacation with us at all this summer and he probably won’t get any real time off until 2014. He doesn’t get lunch dates and trips to the playground and lazy days at home when he’s so tired he can’t keep his eyes open. So even though he gets paid in actual dollars and people (in theory) value his work and give him awards and tell him “great job”, I wouldn’t trade places with him for a second. Well, maybe for a second, but only because he really deserves a break. Although putting me in charge of a nuclear reactor for even a second would be a terrible, terrible mistake.

There have been plenty of times in the past 5 years where the scales went the other way and I was practically homicidal with rage over how I did ALL THE WORK and ALL THE CHILDCARE and ALL THE CLEANING and he was “busy” spending 8 hours rearranging office furniture with a 2 hour lunch thrown in the middle. He’s wasn’t slacking off, he just wasn’t at a very demanding command. But this job he does now? Makes up for every second of relaxation he ever had. If he worked for a civilian company they’d be paying him bazillions of dollars in overtime (or perhaps they’d be in jail for inhumane work conditions) but since it’s the military they can demand all of his time and give him nothing but a terrible headache and a family that missed him.

You know it’s bad when I consider a letter writing campaign to President Obama asking if maybe he can issue a presidential order giving E just ONE weekend off to visit us on vacation. And then I realized even if I was that crazy, E probably wouldn’t take the weekend off, since he’d be screwing over whoever had to fill in for him and might miss something important. He’s a good guy.

Anyways, here’s some photos of the kids and I doing fun stuff over the weekend. The plan is to keep them so busy they don’t notice Mommy is tired and Daddy is gone. Fire trucks are really good for that. So are surprise fairs at the high school with free bounce houses and balloon animals and rubber duckies. It was pretty awesome. Fun fact! It was in the parking lot for my OB’s office and right outside the building where both kids were born.


Tiny speck on the left is Caroline, running to check out the helicopter on her own. I figured a Safety Fair was probably a safe place to let her run around.

backus safety fair-9

backus safety fair-12


She LOVES people in costume.

backus safety fair-8

I hope this is the very last time he is ever in an ambulance.

backus safety fair-2

Learning about ice rescue techniques. Evan said “It’s like a pool noodle!” and the guy was like “Well…yeah. Basically. But we probably paid more.”


Apparently she also loves animatronic cars with voices.

truck1 evan1 shirts backus safety fair-16

backus safety fair-3-2

backus safety fair-4-2 sword1 backus safety fair-21



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Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Our lives are upside down right now, or maybe sideways, trying to revolve around E’s crazy work schedule. He’s not at sea – it would be a poor choice to try to take his submarine out into the ocean, since half of it is still a just twinkle in the shipyard’s eye. And for that I’m thankful. But he’s Very Busy And Important at his job in a way he has never been in the past and handling everything about the kids, the house, the cars and our life is starting to wear on me. Especially because although there is an end in sight, things are going to get worse before they get better – and “better” is still going to suck.

I feel the need to insert a disclaimer every time I talk about my life as a Navy spouse to head off the eye rolling. I am 100% aware of my privilege in complaining about my life. There are billions of people across the world who are worse off than me, millions in America who would kill for a stable job and steady income and amazing, free (socialized!) healthcare, thousands of families whose loved ones are deployed to battlefields and war zones and much more dangerous conditions that an office in Connecticut and probably two dozen other spouses stationed right here on E’s boat who are dealing with problems much worse than mine. But just like someone who goes from making $100,000 a year would have a hard time adjusting to making only $25,000 a year, I’ve gone from having a husband around 50-60 hours a week to one I only see 4 or 5 hours a week. Total. And the kids see him even less. We’re adjusting.

ALSO, since I’m already on a super-tangent, I am not in any way comparing my single-parenting of my kids while E is at work to an ACTUAL single parent. It’s not even kind of close to the same thing. A paycheck magically shows up in my bank account every 2 weeks even if all I’ve done all week is take Instagram photos of my food and buying crap at Target and having random bits of my body removed for fun (yah healthcare!) so my life is pretty good.

And just like that I’ve written a whole post about why I shouldn’t even both to write this post. I would suggest to myself “Self, quit while you’re ahead!” but I don’t actually feel ahead. I feel forever behind.

I’m torn between trying to fill our days with as many things as possible and holing up in a blanket fort on the couch to watch Disney Jr all day. I don’t want to take the kids out to the zoo and the aquarium and the park and lunch only to find out E got home early and we missed our only chance to see him. If we stay home to see him there’s a huuuuuge stretch of morning when the kids are awake and bored and I start to lose my temper because I know we’re only going to get an hour with Daddy anyway. The worst was trying to split the two – we got home JUST in time to watch Daddy walk out the door. Both kids were hysterical for an hour.

In some ways, life would be easier if this was a deployment. There would be regular family support group meetings giving us updates. Our bank account would be in better shape thanks to extra pay and E not having to eat unexpectedly on the run or drive back and forth to work. I could use that cute DVD Sesame Workshop sent me to explain to the kids Daddy was gone for a while but would be back. I would feel much less guilty about planning fun family trips and vacations and outings without E. Right now I worry I’m abandoning him, being unsupportive of his job, excluding him from our family (or at least I worry HE feels that way) when, no. I’m not doing it. The NAVY is doing it.

It’s a life I enjoy, mostly. One I signed up for willingly and knowingly after growing up in a military family. But right now? It freaking sucks.

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How To Celebrate Veterans Day

Friday, November 11th, 2011

It’s that time of year again when everyone from department stores to car dealerships to hair salons suddenly wants to “support the troops”. Companies are hoping to cash in on Veterans Day now and then carry it through the holiday season, which is often a difficult and emotional time for military families. Many vets are alone or struggling, children are missing their deployed parents, and families are stationed far away from the comforts and familiarity of home.

You can call it pessimism if you want, but I am not a fan of corporations using our troops and veterans to sell more stuff. It feels manipulative and cheap. They’re selling more hamburgers and greeting cards, not actual support. What about the men and women who are living those artfully lit, sad background music commercials every day? Support is letting them know we haven’t forgotten about their sacrifice. Support is given with love in mind, not profits.

No matter how you feel about the current conflicts – or war in general – our military is a vital part of keeping all Americans safe and free in an imperfect world. Buying a box of cereal is not the best you can do.

So how can you support past and preset service men and women?

– On a large scale, vote for those who support veterans (and don’t vote for those who don’t) and encourage your representatives to pass legislation that helps veterans get jobs.

– Be aware of the mental health challenges facing veterans. If you see a vet  or their loved one struggling or suspect they need someone to talk to, pass on the number for the Vet Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 press 1) or help them access

– Visit a nursing home and ask to sit with a veteran for an hour to listen to their story. Do you have a relative who is a veteran? Ask if they’d be interested in recording their memories on video or audio to share with future generations.

– Send a care package to someone currently serving. is  great resource to find service men and women with specific needs.

– Support the USO directly, either with a donation or by volunteering your time.

– Call a friend who’s in the military to chat. Bring dinner to a mom whose husband is deployed. Pick up the tab for a service member at a restaurant. Help a local organization clean up veterans’ graves. Volunteer to babysit so a couple can spend some time together before they’re separated by the military again. Do one small thing today that shows you appreciate a vet.

And remember it doesn’t have to be Veterans Day for you to do any of these things. Our men and women in uniform serve 365 days a year and memories of their service last a lifetime.

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Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Since I don’t bring up E’s career very often, a quick sum-up so this post makes sense to everyone: My husband is a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and is mostly assigned to nuclear submarines although he’s currently on shore duty. In 2012 he has to go back to a sub.

It looks like E is going to re-enlist again in a few months really soon in October, meaning he is definitely in the Navy for the long haul. We knew he would be re-enlisting at least one more time the LAST time he did it (which seems like just yesterday but was apparently 2 years ago)(having a baby can really make time fly y’all)(I bet you’ve never heard THAT before) because it put him over 10 years, the halfway point. After 20 years of military service you get to keep certain benefits – a pension, base privileges, cheap health care – forever.

Since he enlisted when he was 19, my husband is going to retire at age 39.

To be fair, it’s only a retirement from his first job. He’ll probably find something nuclear power related to do in the civilian world and put in another 20 or 30 years before we get to sell the house, buy a yacht and abandon our children travel the world. But maybe, instead of getting a job where he has to carry a briefcase and wear a tie and commute every day, we’ll start a business. Or buy a bar. Or move to rural Tennessee and live on $1000 a month plus whatever I can make blogging working at Walmart. The thought of a life that boring and normal makes me giddy and lightheaded.

But before we can start making plans like that we have to make it through the next 10 years of Navy life. We will have to move – probably several times. E will be deployed – probably several times. We’ll have to sell this house – the house I love, the house my babies came home to – in a market that means we’ll be lucky if we get out without having to bring money to closing. Forget getting back any of the cash we’ve already put into it. And even more than the material inconvenience of leaving, I cannot even begin to imagine my life without the friends/support system/general awesomeness I have here. In fact, I’m going to have to stop thinking about it right now or risk getting all sweaty and shaky and panicky. Starting over – even after 28 continuous years of experience starting over – is HARD.

To be 100% candid, re-enlisting also comes with a bonus – as in dollars – that would mean our plans to turn the third floor junk room into a guest room (and perhaps the guest room into a second nursery) could happen in the foreseeable future rather than “some day” and our “four bedroom” house could actually be sold as a 4-bedroom house. It would also mean canceling cable is as far as our drastic budget cuts have to go – no buying cans from the dented pile, veggies from the bruised cart of bread from the thrift store (true story: as a kid I thought the Hostess Thrift Shop was where they sold used donuts and muffins). That kind of financial security also makes me giddy and sort of lightheaded.

So there’s an upside to go with the downside. And truthfully, not having to worry about sudden unemployment or layoffs or downsizing or whatever not-at-all helpful euphemism companies are using these days is such a blessing. So I’m going to think about the good parts instead of the maybe-in-a-little-whiles.

Another upside? The uniforms. Oh, yes.

From the day E was pinned (promoted) to Chief

One of the Navy Balls - I was 3 or 4 months pregnant

E doing his best Top Gun impression (I'm still pregnant)

Sailor Sandwich! Tell me you're not jealous.


Today is the last day to enter the TerraCycle giveaway! If you haven’t commented yet, that’s all it takes to win some super fun school supplies. Winner announced first thing tomorrow!

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