Sunday, July 19, 2009

While He's Gone: Tip #3

cyber love Pictures, Images and Photos

Believe it or not, this is not my first rodeo, ladies. I actually have 4 other blogs that I run, purely for fun. I love to write, and it's something that is important to me. My Sailor likes to call it "my creative outlet", which I think is a lovely way to say: "Something to occupy my time when Abel is away." I would hope that I would draw a lot of readers to my blogs, but I am realistic enough to know that although I know my blogs are enjoyed by some, they are most likely not high on very many to-read lists.

That's why, when I asked my Sailor about one of my blog posts, I got upset when he hadn't read it. Then, we talked about it, and I will now share with you, my few but faithful readers, just what I learned from that conversation...

Your Sailor loves to keep up with what you are doing while he is away. It makes him feel like he's still a big part of your life. Just think how you would feel if an old friend of his came up to you at Wal-Mart and asked what he was up to nowadays, and you didn't really know! I don't know about you ladies, but I have to feel in-the-know. I hate feeling left out of anything, especially the love of my life's day-to-day. So, although he loves keeping informed on anything and everything to do with you, realize that his life is extremely busy. He'll have 18 hour days, uniform requirements to meet, inspections to prepare for, tests to study up on, problems & glitches to handle, and he still has to eat, sleep and breathe, too! He may be off for the night, but his day certainly won't end there. He'll catch up when he can, so don't make him feel worse that he can't be with you as much as he wants, even if it is only of the cyber nature.

Incidentally, once I accepted the fact that he would read it when he could, and stopped asking if he'd read it every time I posted something, he started surprising me with little quotes and comments about my blogs. And let me tell you, when I stopped getting my hopes up that he'd be able to read them all the time, it made the times he did read them, that much more special to me. (He even read my wedding blog! Now that's a sturdy Sailor.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

In honor of Independence Day this year, I am posting this lovely picture of Cake Pops, made with our Armed Forces in mind. Tomorrow will not only be a day to celebrate America's Independence, but also to thank all our Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen for defending our nations Independence! This wonderful website, aptly named Bakerella, is a baking blog that I read on a daily basis.


Incidentally, (and you knew I was going to tie in some advice here) baking is a good hobby to take up while your Sailor is away, for multiple reasons.

  • You are going to be bored with all that time on your hands, normally reserved for TLC time with your Sailor. Taking up a hobby is the key to keeping your sanity. You need something fun and fulfilling to occupy your time, and what better way to do that then by making something sweet that you can reward yourself with?!
  • Baking can be so rewarding. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment that helps so much when you know your Sailor is contributing his whole life to service our country. This way, you can feel like you did something cool too!
  • Speaking of helping out, if your Sailor is deployed, or in school, you can bake various sweet dishes and send them to him or his shipmates. If he's in school, make sure the package you send him is resealable, because only sealed packages of food are allowed in their rooms. There is NO outside food allowed at boot camp! Also, make sure the items you send can weather the trip, *pun intended! Remember, chocolate melts, dairy expires and dough dries out, so follow these tips from Treat The Troops, from a lady that has been baking for our troops since 1990!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Before He Leaves: Tip #2

Standing Strong Navy wife Pictures, Images and Photos

I KNOW how hard it is going to be for you (it just about killed me), but try your very hardest to be strong and cry as little as possible. Now, I say as little as possible, because you are going to cry. There's a military wife saying out there that we use universally: "If you weren't emotional before, you will be now." That goes for the toughest chicks out there. But, saying that, every time he sees you cry, it kills him. It makes this whole situation that much harder for him. It's OK to let him know you're hurting, don't hide that or he'll think you don't care. But, try to keep it to a minimum.

A suggestion: When you start tearing up, bury your face in his shoulder and then when you come away, say something like: "I'm going to stay strong for you baby, I promise." He will love you more than you can ever know, just for trying.

If you cry all the time and fall apart, it will kill him to leave you because he will know you can't handle him leaving and your relationship may fail. This is even more difficult for him to take because he cannot be there to fix it if it all falls apart. One of the most frustrating things for him will be that he is in a position where he can't do anything about anything! If you are upset about something, or you have a problem or you're doubting whether or not you can do this, he'll be away at boot camp where he's completely helpless and doesn't even know when the next time he can talk to you is. If he thinks you might leave him, it will consume him and there's nothing he can do about it.

Bottom line, being his 'strong, surviving' girl will help him through this more than you can imagine. He'll know that while he's in boot camp, he can rest assured that you'll be here, taking care of yourself and waiting for him with open arms.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

While He's Gone: Tip #2

Pen and Paper Pictures, Images and Photos

Every time your sailor calls you, try to have a few things handy. I carried a small notepad in my purse, along with a pen, and a small list of addresses of his friends and family. Every time I would run in to a friend or family member of his, I would purposely get their address and write it down. Almost every time my sailor called, he would ask for an address, or ask about a friend or family member.

Also, there were numerous times when he would call and ask me to write something down for him. That's where the notepad came in handy. He asked me to write down different addresses of where he was staying, rank changes (and therefore name on the envelope changes), flight numbers, dates and very often, bank and bill pay information.

Now, remember, his phone calls will usually be pretty hurried, as they usually only get a few minutes to talk to you, and they have to squeeze information, schedules, updates and lovin' all in that short time! So, having all the necessary tools handy when he calls can only make things easier on the both of you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Day He Leaves: Tip #2


When it comes to his Cell Phone, strategy is key. When he goes to the hotel the night before he gets shipped off to boot camp, he will take an overnight bag with him. He should take his cell phone and his charger with him in his bag.

The next morning, he will go to whatever government building is designated to sign them in, swear them in, and ship them off. His bag will be checked into a room while they are being processed. Tell him to leave his cell phone in his bag. After he is sworn in, he will be allowed time with his family & friends to say goodbye. This could last anywhere from 10 minutes to 6 hours. This is the time when most sailors will hand their phones over to their families for safe keeping. I suggest not doing this. Tell him to keep his cell phone.

Over the next few months, you'll get very little contact with him, so trust me, every phone call counts. If he keeps his phone, you may get a call when they get to the airport and are waiting for their flight, when he lands, when they're driving from Chicago O'Hare Airport to Great Lakes (where the Naval Basic Training Facility is located, about 2 hours outside of Chicago). Finally, right when he gets to boot camp, he might be able to sneak a very brief phone call to let you know he arrived before they take his phone. I'm talking 5-10 seconds. Make sure he doesn't get caught! They'll then get one phone call home to let their family know they're OK, but usually it will be a direct call to the parents, whether your sailor wants to call you or not. So, having that cell phone will be key.

Now, of course, the second they get there, all of their possessions, including their bag, wallet, phone, and even the clothes on their back will be shoved in a box, and mailed home. So, the fact that he brought his cell phone won't get him in trouble. He will have kept in contact with you, and then have it mailed home. No harm done, and you got to talk your sailor through his trip to basic training.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Future Deployments: Tip #1


If your sailor is in the DEP program, or the 'Delayed Entry program', or is in boot camp or school and has not yet been deployed, you still have options regarding what his job may be, and in turn, how your communication will be delegated. Now, there are a few options that are available to you and your sailor, each with general rules for deployment lengths and phone/email availability. For instance, if your sailor decides to become a Submariner, chances are, his deployments will be shorter (typically around 3 months) than if he chooses to be on an Aircraft Carrier, which can last up to 8 months at a time! However, if he chooses the Aircraft Carrier, he will typically have access to phone and email (that means web cam too ladies!) every day. Whereas, if he chooses to be on a Sub, phone calls will be non-existent, and emails will be few and far between. The good thing is, that for Submarines, your sailor has to volunteer to be on board. So, the choice is up to you and your Sailor, and of course, these are typical schedules and always subject to change. In fact, last minute schedule changes are what Military Life is all about.

Monday, June 22, 2009

While He's Gone: Tip #1


This is more for you, ladies. While he's away, all sorts of emotions might begin to plague you. Personally, I walked around in a fog for the first few weeks. Here are two idea's on how to start feeling human again...

1. Throw yourself into your work. One of the main problems I had when my Sailor was gone...feeling unproductive! (of course that was before I had my blog to satisfy my creativity outlet) My sailor is off to boot camp or out at sea making the world a better place, seeing all the sights, and here I am, sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. I got a 2nd job, not only to pass the time, but also so that I could feel like I was doing my part to contribute to our life together. (Keep in mind that both were part time positions, and that 1 may be plenty for you!) Bottom line, the less time spent at home wallowing, the better.

2. When he first leaves, you may not feel much like going out, especially after you realize that a lot of people will treat you like he left you behind, with pitiful hugs and eggshell steps around your feelings, as if at any moment, you might pull a "Stellaaaaaaa!!" montage. However, give yourself about a week to mourn your everyday routine with your love, and then start calling up close friends. You don't need to hit up the club or go bar-hopping necessarily, but a night at the local Starbucks with a few close buddies can't hurt. Doing something you thoroughly enjoy with people who you trust to know how to treat you during a time like this will do your emotional status a world of good. Try eating at a quaint, comfy restaurant with your best friend (busy, high traffic, trendy places may make you feel lost and alone). Telling yourself that this is a good time to get back in touch with friends and family will help push you along.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Boot Camp Tip #2


This is probably the most important tip when writing those love letters to your sailor in boot camp. If you have a perfume that you always wear, or one that is your sailor's favorite, spritz it on each page of your letters. It makes the whole experience for him that much better. Plus, it reminds him of you, while he's looking at the picture of you that you sent him, along with the words he hears in your voice. To him, it's the next best thing to having you there! Note - hold the perfume bottle a good 12 inches from the letter when you spray it, spraying in a downward motion. This way, it isn't concentrated on one spot and is more of a mist. You don't want it making wet alcohol stains on your heart felt letter. If you wrote in pen, wait about 5 mins before spraying, or the alcohol could make the yet-to-dry ink run.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Day He Leaves: Tip #1

When your sailor gets shipped off to the airport, to leave for basic training, he will most likely be allowed his overnight bag that he had with him at the hotel the night before. In boot camp, he is allowed pretty much nothing. I would suggest sending your loved one off with a picture of yourself. I know you will want to give him a big stack of pictures, maybe of his friends, family and of course, about 20 of you & him, but those are best left to be sent in future letters. Once he gets to boot camp, as I said, everything, including his wallet and anything else on him, will be taken from him and put in a box, and subsequently mailed back home. So, it would only make sense that he carry the single picture of you, just to have while he travels to boot camp that first day. Those first hours away from each other will be the hardest! So, that picture will be a great comfort, if not the only comfort to him during those grueling first hours.
A little hint though, they do allow him to carry a bible. Inside the jacket of the bible, write down yours and his mother's address, so he won't forget, and then a wee note telling him you love him. You don't want him forgetting your address, because you won't be able to write to him until he sends you a letter with his Rank/number and address.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Before He Leaves: Tip #1

For the weeks coming up to before your Sailor leaves for bootcamp or deployment, a lot of women start really pressuring themselves to make sure his last few weeks are 'special' and 'memorable'...which honestly, will make you go crazy that it won't be good enough. I wanted there to be no bad times, and nothing to go wrong so he would walk away with nothing but perfect memories of home, but most of all, of me. This is pretty much impossible ladies. Trust me when I say that he is having nervous and scary thoughts about leaving too, and the few weeks before he leaves, he is taking pleasure in the littlest things that you wouldn't even normally take notice going to the bathroom whenever you want, eating an entire bag of chips in one sitting, and sleeping past 4am. In boot camp, he'll have so many liberties taken away that all he'll want to do is live life normally again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Boot Camp Tip #1

When writing him letters, sneak a powdered drink mix into the envelope, between a few sheets of paper. He can pour it straight into his canteen, and no one's the wiser. Never pack it on the outside! You'll be able to see it through the envelope and that sort of defeats the purpose of 'sneaking it'. Remember, also, that you will most likely be packing a few pictures in there, as well as your letters, so more than one drink mix, and the letter could get suspiciously heavy.

Since they only have a few selections of beverages, this treat will remind them of home, and of course, how much you love them! Just make sure they're the individual packets that can be poured into a single water bottle. Gatorade, Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, Welch's, and Powerade all make them nowadays, even Hawaiian Punch makes them.

Some sailors will snitch in an attempt to get on the petty officer's good side, so make sure to tell your sailor to pour it in his canteen the second he gets it! (However, the jokes on the snitch, because they'll get labelled as 'rats' and will be singled out by the petty officers, which, in boot camp, in never a good thing!) If your sailor should get caught, the worst that can happen? He has to pour it out and you can send him another one. This is a known secret throughout boot camps, in all the branches of the military, so ask your man what he wants!

A Sailor's Wife...The Toughest Job in The Navy

A Sailor\'s Kiss Pictures, Images and Photos

This is the first post of my new blog, designed to help Navy friends everywhere. I will post daily tips, hints, links and updates designed to fill you in on all the secrets of being a Navy spouse, girlfriend, or maybe just a friend or family member. Everything you're going through, know that you are not alone and that I will do my very best to help you through it. If you have any questions or would like me to post a certain topic that might help us all learn more, please feel free to make the suggestion right here <----- on the message board and I will get right on it!

I'd like to take this blog-time to praise Military wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends everywhere. You're not alone. There truly is no tougher job in the military than being the steady ground your soldier walks on. The air he breathes when the sand and heat are choking him. The cool ocean breeze that blows away his tears. The love his soul clings to when he feels alone in foreign lands. I am your rock. I love you. I am a Sailor's Gal.