Tag Archives: Military

Our Love Story

With February and Valentines around the corner, I figured it would be appropriate to share our beginning.

We are not your typical love story.

We did not meet in school or at work, or even through a mutual friend. Believe it or not, we lived across the street from each other for years without really knowing each other.

When I was about ten years old, we moved neighborhoods, and in the house catty-corner to ours lived a couple with two children, a teenage girl, and a boy roughly my age. Surprisingly enough as the years went on I met the daughter, she was nice enough and would see the boy every so often as I left the house or him mowing the lawn. We had different friend circles, so I never got to know them. If you asked me who they were, they were “Maria and Marcelo’s” children.

Fast forward to me being 19 years old. There was a knock on the door, and there was Maria and her son. I didn’t even recognize him how much he had changed. He had entered the military and had just gotten out of boot camp and basic training and had come home for the first time in a year, so she was parading him around. I kid you not! She was taking him to all the neighbors she knew to show him off!

I say hello, hope you are doing well and thank you for your service, get in my car and left.

Even as I write this, I roll my eyes. I was so self-centered and worried about myself and the fact I was going shopping with my girlfriends that I left him with his mother in my parent’s house.

I still remember getting to the mall and telling my friends how he had changed. He wasn’t that tall skinny kid with long curly hair anymore. He had bulked up and looked different with a haircut. But he was leaving the next day back to his squadron for work, so I would probably never see him again.

A couple of days later I hear the door knock again, and my dad gets the door. I am upstairs in the loft watching tv, and I hear his mothers voice. “Georgie called and asked me to get Michelle’s number that he’d like to talk to her, so I wanted to ask you.” I don’t know if there was more to her comment or not. To say I was mouthy was an understatement. I quickly stood and looked down into the foyer where they were standing and said very smugly with the attitude only a nineteen-year-old could perfect, “Shouldn’t you be asking me for my number and if I want to give it?”

After a few more comments and quips, I gave her my number to pass on to her son. It was

2008, and we started dating shortly after.

We’ve been together ever since.

We got engaged in 2010, married in 2012, had a wedding and our honeymoon in 2014, and our first child in 2016. Apparently, we do something every two years, who knows maybe we’ll get pregnant or have another child in 2018!

It wasn’t your typical love story, but it sure is my favorite one!

Want to share your love story? We are doing guest posts every Saturday and Sunday for the month of February, just send us an email or contact us through the contact me page.

Cheers!

Deployment and Toddlers

The toddler years can be hard for any parent, but add a deployment in there, and it may feel like your life has been wholly tossed upside down.

If as an adult, you find deployments hard and stressful, imagine on those little ones that cannot fully comprehend why their parent is gone. It is a perfect recipe for stress.

I know what it is like, I currently have a two-year-old and a deployed spouse.

Knowing that you are the only one there to change diapers, to cook and clean all the while watching the kid/s. The fact that no one is coming home later tonight to give you those ten blissful moments in the shower.

That feeling of how am I going to survive this, or even more simply how will I survive today? Normal. Don’t worry. You will survive simply because you have to. That toddler that is driving you nuts, that doesn’t understand why mommy or daddy is gone needs you. That is the driving force behind the best motivation to keep going.

As hard as all of this is on us, we must stay grounded. I learned that one of the most important things for me this deployment other than keeping my sanity was to keep somehow my son connected to my husband.

Here are some things that have worked for us:

1. Facetime/Skype- There is nothing more satisfying and heartwrenching as seeing your child’s face light up when they see their parent on the screen. It takes all of me to not sob uncontrollably. The joy they get out of those few and treasured ‘face to face’ calls are amazing. Some have more chances of these than others, but be sure to stress to your spouse how important and significant this is for your child’s emotional connection to them.

2. Videos – Afraid they are missing something amazing in your child’s life? Record it and send it via email. It may not be the same as having them there, but they will at least not miss those precious moments.

3. Making countdown boards – Sure dates can change, as we know, nothing is ever set in stone with the military. But having a form of a countdown for your child can get them to grasp the fact that the parent is indeed coming back home. Using a jar with marbles is a great visual for them to use and understand.

4. Books – There are many books out there for kids on deployments. There are also many books out there for spouses to read. I love ” I love you near and far.”

5. Recordable books – If your spouse is usually the one to read your child books, then this is a great thing to have. They can record themselves reading the book, and your toddler can still have mommy/daddy reading to them every night. This is one of my favorites.

6. Recordable bears – This is kind of like the book, but this has a more personal aspect to it. A cute message for your child, or a simple I love you recorded in their voice. Great way for the toddler to feel connected to their parent. This is the one we have.

At the end of the day, the goal is simple, keep your sanity as much as possible and help your child feel connected to their parent as much as possible during such a difficult time.

If you have any more tips, please comment below. I love to hear what everyone else does!

Cheers!

How I survived a 12 hour flight with a toddler

Flying anywhere can be difficult when you have a child, even more so when your flight is over 12 hours long. That is what I dealt with this weekend.

You may have read in our last post that we are now living in Japan. And while our adventure has just only begun, I am looking back to our flight and giving you all the dirt on how we survived.

First off let me say that we had three flights within 24 hours. Our first leg of the trip was 3 hourslong. Since we had to be up and out the door by 4 am, my little slept almost the entire first flight. So that was easy peasy.

I should also mention that he had his own seat on the flight which was a lifesaver since I got to lay him out.

Then came the layover, which was not bad. I let him run around the waiting area a bit in hopes that he would tire out and sleep more on the plane. I also hoped that having my parents over three days before our flight keeping him up during naps would make him extra tired for the flight. Well, it didn’t help.

The first hour of the flight went by pretty quick, and between being newly on the plane, wanting to discover the personal TVs and trying to look at the people around him he tired himself out quickly and fell asleep.

That only lasted about a good hour.

After that began the battle to keep him entertained, TV only caught his attention by spurs of moments. He’d see an episode here or there throughout the flight, but nothing continuous. However, it did give me a small 30-minute reprieve every so often.

Toys, overall this was the most prominent lifesaver. My son is very into animals and dinosaurs right now. To make the toys even better I made sure they were new toys he had never seen before. The awe and excitement of not only having toys, but new toys was terrific. I want to say he spent a good hour with each one when first opened.

I would say, for future flights, I will probably buy about ten small new toys, wrap it and give it to him every hour or so. Like this, he is always busy with a new toy. For us, this was where the biggest form of entertainment was.

Towards the end of the flight, he became extremely exhausted. He had bearly slept, and back “home” it was about 3 am. At this point, he began crying and very irritable. I got up and took him to the bathroom and let him walk in there. Yes, the bathroom was small, but he seemed content in walking those three paces over and over again. I could have let him walk the aisle, but my kid is way too friendly, and I was afraid he’d wake someone up to “talk” to them. For us, the bathroom was the best option. We were in there for maybe 5 minutes, enough to calm him and the crying. Then once back in the seat, I managed to get him to go back to sleep. He slept for the duration of the flight … 45 minutes. Oy!

Once again, in the airport, he was awake and walked about until it was time to board the plane once again. Once back on the plane for our short and final 1.5 hr flight he fell asleep before we even took off. At this point, the local time was 6 pm. He slept through the flight, through the luggage claim ordeal, through the car drive, and even putting him in bed. He did not wake up until 5 am in the morning, poor thing was exhausted and more than likely very Jetlag.

I cant say flying with a toddler is easy, but it is not as difficult as you’d think. As long as you have snacks they like, some tv, and toys, things will go ok.

For me, the stress before the flight was much worse than the actual flight.

I hope this in some way helps you, whether it be to prepare or ease your mind. Just remember at the end of the day they are kids, and people will more than understand. Even with his crying at the end, I kept getting told by the surrounding passengers how amazing he behaved. Maybe people just expect kids to cry the whole time, who knows.

So deep breath, all will go ok.

Safe Travels!

What happens when your favorite season and a move collide? You end up in Japan of course!

The crisp mornings, the feeling of a warm cup of coffee between your hands, looking out the window and watching the turning leaves slowly fall and hit the ground. Yes, Fall is finally here!

For some, it means Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Which let’s admit, they are pretty tasty. For others it apple picking, hay rides or pumpkin patches. Then there are those that Autumn represents the start of the never-ending holidays.

For me, it means the start of not sweating profusely every day. Having most recently lived in Key West due to my husband’s military career, meant we were living in an endless summer. This Autumn you will find me enjoying watching the leaves change colors and fresh cool mornings in JAPAN!

Yes, I am officially living in Japan!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would speak those words. Reality is, it was hard for me ever even to imagine living outside of Florida, considering I was born and raised there.

If I am truthful with myself, I have to admit that I am a little scared about this move. If it were just my husband and myself moving, honestly there would be no worry or hesitation, but with 1.5-year-old things are a little different. I worry about him, how will he settle in, not only into a new country but a new home with none of the family and friends he has come to love and accustomed to seeing near him?

And yet, there is so much excitement and wonder at living in a new foreign place. There is so much to learn and to experience. To teach our son at such a young age about a new culture. Experiences like this do not come by easily, something I truly do appreciate and am grateful for.

I look forward to sharing a few of our Japanese adventures as we get settled a bit more and begin exploring. I can’t help but think such a life-changing move was just meant to happen during my favorite season, maybe to help me acclimate and accept the move a bit more.

Look forward to hearing from you and seeing those fall inspired homes.

Happy Autumn!