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Guest Blogger: 10 Ways Being a MilSpouse is Like Skydiving For the First Time

Guest Blogger: Jill Pohl

Guest Blogger: Jill Pohl Milspouse Life

10 Ways Being a MilSpouse is Like Skydiving For the First Time

Jill Pohl

The first time I went skydiving was on my 27th birthday. I was young, not sure what I had gotten myself into, and simultaneously excited and nervous. Sounds like getting married to a military man, right? Looking back, that day was filled with so many emotions and experiences, that I can’t help but see the similarities between that 7 hour period and the 5 years (so far) I have been married to my Air Force husband:

1) Everyone else who has already done it has advice for you, but you know that no amount of advice can fully prepare you.

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People always have something to say about marriage. You may have heard something truly inspirational, and retained it. You may have heard something truly inspirational, and forgotten it. Either way, people love to provide unsolicited advice, and whether its good or not, made you upset or made you excited, you took it all with a grain of salt. No marriage is alike, and as much as people try to categorize and stereotype military marriages, they are particularly dissimilar. We all move to different places, respond uniquely to military challenges, and interact differently with our service members. That’s what makes military marriage such an adventure.

2) People keep asking you if you’re scared.

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All the way up to the day I left to jump, people asked me this question. Every time I talk about my husband deploying, people ask me this question. It doesn’t help anything. It just makes you think, “Well I wasn’t. But now, should I be?” This won’t change the fact that we will all probably hear it all our lives.

3) You’ve got a lot of equipment, and you’re not sure you know what to do with it.

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As military spouses, we try and try to prepare. We equip our families mentally and physically: we make sure our spouses have their uniforms ready to go and all the equipment they need (even though we don’t always know what it does). We give them pep talks just as much as they give us pep talks. But oftentimes, none of us really know if there’s weight behind our words. Will it really “all be okay?” Are you really going to feel “just fine?” Maybe not. But we prepare, we say what we need to say to provide encouragement, and that’s all we can do. Even if we don’t fully know what’s going on and if we have everything we need for the next adventure, we just keep truckin’ on.

4) There’s a seemingly endless amount of “hurry up and wait.”

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“Hurry up and wait” is also practically a military motto. We’ve all heard our service member say it to describe a day at work. We’ve all felt it when making calls to Tricare, finding out about an impending PCS move, or trying to move any kind of paperwork through the bureaucracy on base. It’s part of our lives.

5) Right before you take the jump, you realize that you have no idea why you decided to do it.

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After discussing so many times with my service member what military life would ask of us, I truly did wonder, why was I still doing this? It was love, of course, but couldn’t I have fallen in love with someone whose life was a little less, well, unsettled? Why did I even let myself fall in love with someone whose career asked so much of us both? Why did I think it would all be okay, when it has already been so hard? We’ve all asked ourselves these questions, especially in the hardest moments. And even though we know the answer, it doesn’t mean we don’t still ask.

6) As you get ready to go, someone tells you you’re jumping out of the plane doing a barrel roll, or throws some other kind of curveball.

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We all know that we can plan all we want and something still will go against all of our prep work. You think your spouse is going to deploy in August, and all of a sudden you find out that something got messed up with the paperwork, and he’ll have to go later. You’d already been prepared. Or you find out you’re pregnant, and your spouse is going to Squadron Officer School right around your due date. It’s the military. It happens.

7) Sitting in your partner’s lap, you realize how important they are to you. Your lives are in one another’s hands.

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With your military spouse, you go through so much together, how could you not value one another so tremendously? Maybe you’ve only been married for 5 years, like myself, but so much has happened that you are even closer than most longer-married couples.

8) By the time the parachute deploys, you think you’ve gotten through the worst of it. Then you throw up.

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Okay, so my military marriage has never made me throw up. But that parachute deploying, that moment of relief, comes in any military marriage, multiple times. Your service member is back from deployment, or a very long stint at a training program. Finally, he’s home and you have a partner again.

Until you realize that it’s not all better. He’s tired, and not in a great mood. You both aren’t used to having each other around. You argue over small things. You’ll get back into the groove, but let’s be honest, it takes a while.

9) There’s a free fall that feels like it will never end. When the free fall does end, you realize it wasn’t so bad.

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As a milspouse, deployments, moves, finding a new job or new school, all feel daunting. When you come out on the other side, you realize it usually (though there are always exceptions) wasn’t as awful as you’d expected. Sometimes the anticipation really is worse.

10) You may not land on your feet, but you land, your partner’s with you, and you both have huge smiles on your faces as you high-five one another.

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Do I need to explain this one? It feels great to jump. And it feels great to be married to someone who you take big risks with all the time, because at the end of the day, you’re together and you’re happy.

Citation:

“Lemons” photo credit: Alyssa & Colin via photopin cc
“Scared” photo credit: Christopher Cotrell
“In the waiting line” photo credit: fly
“Don’t Panic Don’t Panic” photo credit: Barbara Abate
“Emma looks surprised” photo credit: the Jbird
“Trust” photo credit: purplejavatroll
“Dizzy” photo credit: THX0477
“Helena (#90268)” photo credit: Mark J. Sebastian

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It’s a……

The last time I posted I was able to share my family’s exciting news! We are expecting. Life definitely has a way of keeping you busy. It’s the end of January, and life has been flying. In the last two months, we have settled into our new home, and started finding activities that the kids will enjoy. They have an amazing toddler learning center here that offers free child play once a week. The kids love it, and they offer so many things that expand the imagination. Plus it breaks up the sameness of the rest of the week.

We also discovered the local library has toddler reading time. They read stories, sing songs, and do a craft to help the kids remember the story. This is also free for the kids!!!! I swear if you are new to an area, check out the local library. They are usually really good at knowing what is available.

Other than that, we’ve been dealing with Daddy on Deployment. We got super lucky this time. He actually has internet capabilities, and the kids have seen him almost every day so far. Sometimes Blue Eyes asks if daddy is sleeping at work. It’s hard to explain to a three year old that daddy had to go super far to work and won’t be home for a long time. So we are in the process of putting together a daddy wall! I’m buying little pieces here and then, when I get them all gathered, we will have a day to put it all together. I want to make a chain for each day, but we aren’t sure when he will be coming home, so I don’t want to make it too short.

In other exciting news, our baby is growing on schedule. And I’m excited to post this picture that a great photographer friend of mine, Chrystal Parks, made to do our gender reveal! And it looks like we are going to be a two boy, one girl family!!!

It's a boy!!!!

It’s a boy!!!!

An odd memory

I pulled my gun once, when I was in the military…. Not something I thought about at the time, but sometimes I still think about it. It wasn’t a huge life changing event, but it did make me think.

It was the middle of winter, so I was bundled up to where I could barely move. I was half way through my shift and freezing cold. The flight deck is a lonely place when your on watch. Do walk miles and miles around the perimeter of the flight deck and say hi to everyone who passes just for interaction.

Then I spotted it.
A black object floating toward the carrier.

I called down like I was supposed to and followed the object with my gun. The guy on the radio thought I was kidding and told me to open fire. I rarely swore, but I let out a stream that would have made any salty sailor proud. The watch leader took forever to get up to the top.

I sat there waiting. My arm got sore from holding my gun up, but we had been told horror stories of similar innocent blobs blowing holes in the side of carriers. So I kept my arm raised.

I had a lot of time to think while I waited. Could I actually pull the trigger? I’ve always been a good shot. I wouldn’t miss. But could I do it? Could I take one life to protect the countless others down below my feet? That’s why I’d become a sailor, or better yet, why I’d become an air traffic controller, so I wouldn’t have to find out if I could do it.

The watch commander and I stood there waiting. The blob finally turned enough to show it was a bag of garbage that must have fallen over the side. He went back down to figure out who to call to get the bag out of the water and I could finally give my arm a rest.

We later found out that the bags were a training exercise for divers. They had failed to tell us there was training that day. All I could think was that my gun had been pointed at that bag. What would have happened if one of the divers had shown up before we heard about the training? Someone could have been hurt.

Snow White finally gets a baby blanket

The other night, as I was waiting for my husband’s Dixie Cup to dry, I finally finished my scrap yarn blanket. I could not be happier with how it turned out.

My son has his “Kie, Kie” that he is in love with. I didn’t make the original, but I did make his replacement once the first one was ripped beyond repair. I searched for ages before I was able to find a pattern close enough that he wouldn’t notice the replacement. The closest pattern was from Hodge Podge Crochet, and like most of the patterns I use, it’s completely free.

Blue Eye's Baby Blanket

Blue Eye’s Baby Blanket


For Blue Eye’s awesome baby blanket, Click Here.

I made Snow White a blanket when she was born, and although she likes it, it has always been too heavy for her to carry around. So I decided it was time to make her another blanket. I searched Pinterest for an idea of a blanket that she would like, and I ran across Daisy Cottage’s granny square blanket. The one she made is very small, but I just continued on and made the blanket a decent size for a baby girl.

For Snow White’s beautiful granny square blanket, click here.

Modern Granny Square blanket

Modern Granny Square blanket

I love these two baby blankets. I’m happy both kids like their new blankets. Blue Eyes will need a replacement again soon, this one is starting to see a lot of love. I also couldn’t stop at making Snow White one blanket. I decided to make a second to use up some extra yarn. I had planned on using it as a baby gift, but by the time I had finished, I had fallen in love with the new one as well….

bold and beautiful

bold and beautiful

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What do you think? Do you like the softer more normal girl colors? Or the bold colors?

Snow White is One!!

Happy First Birthday Snow White!!!

Happy First Birthday Snow White!!!

My beautiful Snow White turned one!!! Mommy has been wanting to make her wear a tutu for a long time, so Snow White’s first birthday was the perfect opportunity. We aren’t having the party until Saturday, but I had to share a picture of my beautiful little girl. It makes my heart happy to see her cute little face in all her ribbons and glitter. It seems like just the other day I was announcing I was going to have her, now she looks like my beautiful little princess.

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Daddy’s not coming home… 5 ways to help kids cope

Ideas to help with deployment

Ideas to help with deployment


There is a lot of change happening right now. If you haven’t read, we have orders and a date to leave. Hubby and I have both been finishing up our two separate degrees. Surprisingly enough, they will be done within a week of each other. That means that we have double the finals, and trying to fit in time for our kiddies in with his work schedule.

To make matters worse, we found out he will be deploying withing months of being at our new Duty Station. We’ve been through deployment and underway before. But we have been extremely blessed. The last time Hubby left for two months was right after Blue Eyes left. It was a hard adjustment, but at least at that point Blue Eyes was solely dependent on mommy. This time, it’s going to be a lot harder. Daddy gets home and both kids run/toddle after him like he’s the greatest thing in the entire world. While I love the looks on their faces when daddy gets home, how will I explain when daddy’s not coming home? They will be three and almost two when daddy has to leave.

I’m so grateful for friends who have already gone through the deployment with kids. They have been amazing at helping me to keep from getting sad. They’ve given me ideas for things we can do to help keep them from missing daddy. After talking to multiple military wives and kids who have gone through deployments, here is a list of 5 things people agree help their kids during the deployment.

5. Bedtime Stories
One of the best things I’ve heard is those books that daddy’s voice can read to them. Hallmark has quite a few of them, and other companies are starting to make them as well. There are other options for bedtimes stories as well. I ran across the website for a pen that will read “Anybook” that daddy’s voice has recorded. That’s amazing if your child’s favorite book is not the normal bedtimes stories. Blue Eyes loves Star Wars ABC’s, Colors, and 123’s.

4. Daddy Dolls
My friends have also pointed me to the amazing world of Daddy Dolls. We’ve been talking about getting each kid a build a bear with daddy’s voice, which isn’t a bad idea, but then we found daddy dolls. There are a ton of websites that make them for military. Different looks and possibilities, it’s really up to you, what look you want.
Daddy Dolls Inc. -This site will do dolls, dog tags, pillows, teddy bears, and homecoming outfits.
Operation Give a Hug -this is where you can chose to donate or request a doll. It’s great if you want to support military kids, or if you can’t afford to give your kid a daddy doll.
Hugs to Go -has cute little people in uniform that you can put daddy’s face on.
US Deployment Dolls -This site has several uniformed dolls and the face it put on the doll instead of a removable picture.

Whether you decide to do a daddy doll or not, it’s up to you.

3. Deployment Wall
I’ve also been talking to several friends who have created a Deployment Wall. The Deployment wall is all things daddy. Two clocks, one with your time, and one with your spouse’s (daddy’s) time. Most have some sort of countdown, or a jar of “Kisses for each day” daddy is gone. Other walls I’ve seen have maps with pins, pictures, letters, and other types of things to help them know daddy is close.

2. Homecoming Outfits
And then there is the all exciting day daddy comes home…. Letting the kids get special outfits for daddy coming home can be a great way to get them excited. Do they get their own “uniforms?” Most of the time, your branch will sell kids versions in their exchange. Do they get a tutu? If you can’t make a tutu, there are many wives on base who can. Find your base spouse page, I’m sure you’ll find someone.

1. Homecoming Decorations
Do they get to decorate? Make sure you do some research, some places like Build a Sign will do free banners for returning military members. By streamers, get ice-cream! It’s a time to celebrate. The wait is over! Daddy’s home!

Since it’s a fact that my husband will be deploying, I have started a Pinterest board called Deployments. I’m not very good at putting the “Pin” button on my page, but you are more than welcome to check out my Pintrest board for ideas. The link for Deployments is here and the link for Military life is here.

The little hat in the photo is my own design. I didn’t like the patterns I came across, so I spent a couple days designing it. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you like the design. Also, if you have any other great ideas for helping kids with Daddy deploying, PLEASE leave a comment. I’m always looking for new ideas.
-MB
This article is solely my own research and thoughts. I am not a paid sponsor. I am simply a military wife with two kids who will soon be facing the realities of deployment.

Rainy Day Fun!

Believe it or not, we have actually been getting rain! Rain! I have always been a rain lover, but around here it’s a rare thing. The only problem I’ve seen with the rain, is that sometimes the kids feel a little cooped up. I don’t mind them splashing around in the mud, but I can’t always supervise. So today, we thought we’d have a little rainy day fun indoors.

My kiddos are getting super big, but this is the perfect age for a little messy fun. This is the best part about being a mom.

Finger Paints!

Finger Paints!


My serious little painter

My serious little painter


Of course we had to taste the paint

Of course we had to taste the paint


I have to thank Gunny’s Sandwich shop for the amazing roll of paper. They were willing to order an extra one so that we could have a roll.

Exploring

Snow White is fascinated with my camera.

Snow White is fascinated with my camera.


This morning, as I was struggling to wake up, my beautiful Blue Eyes tried shoving my feet into my shoes. “Bye Bye” he kept telling me, as he got made that the shoes wouldn’t fit right. I pulled my shoes on the rest of the way and looked around. Blue Eyes and Snow White have been getting up at six am. It’s to freaking early to be going bye bye. I was able to distract him for about an hour with his favorite cartoon, PAW Patrol. But when that was done, he started dragging his favorite blanket and two teddy bears to the stroller. I’ve given up on putting the stroller away. If it isn’t in the living room, we never go for a walk, so we leave it there. Blue Eyes put his teddy bears in the seat and tucked them in.

Then he starts pulling Snow White’s blanket over to the stroller. He has given up the idea of leaving without her, so he gets her ready. There is a small box of clothes my sister sent on the desk. Blue Eyes spotted a pair of Snow White shoes and starts trying to shove them on her feet. Flip Flops do not go well with little tights. Getting frustrated, he came back over. I’ve given up at this point. I’m going on a walk. So I tucked both kids into my monstrous double stroller, and away we went.

I walked and walked, Blue Eyes babbling happily about the cars we walked past and the “pup-pups” we saw. I could only make out a word here or there, but he was telling a good story. Snow White looked around wide eyed with her thumb in her mouth. Thankfully, I was able to convince her to wear ear warmers. It’s not terribly cold here, but she freezes easily.

The walk woke me up. And even though it is far from a pretty walk, hearing my son babble about the things he is interested in, made me happy to be there. Walks are still magical for my little boy and my little girl. They talk, and giggle as we go. Soon Blue Eyes will be speeding around me on a bicycle, and Snow White will be my only stroller baby; but for a little while longer, I get to enjoy my two babies as we explore the world.

We spent the rest of the day reading stories, coloring, working on the names of colors and counting to three. One, Two, Three, is still not clear but he says them with the same tones I do, so I’ve figured out what he’s doing. Snow White has finally become mobile, and spent her time wiggling into the kitchen and getting mad when I put her back at the starting point. We pulled the cushion off of the couch to hide behind them, while sis sis tried to stand on the abandoned cushion. (She may decide to skip crawling like Blue Eyes did). Then we chased the puppies around. When the sprinklers went off, we watched in amazement from the little slide yelling “Water, water”. And when it was night-time, my little girl finally fell asleep from exhaustion and Blue Eyes cuddled with me for one more episode of Paw Patrol. From my babies stand point, today was an amazing day. From mommy’s view, I didn’t get a thing done. But sometimes we don’t need to get things done. We just need to watch our babies grow and explore.

Dear Mr. Blue Eyes

Mr. Blue Eyes and his "colors"

Mr. Blue Eyes and his “colors”


My dear baby boy,
You have no idea how relieved I am that you love your little sister so much. Right now, it’s a little frustrating when she gets a bottle in the eye, or when all 24 lbs of you tries to pick up all 10 lbs of her, but I’m so grateful that you have such a loving heart. I love that you want to help mommy take care of her. I hope that you will remember how much you love her when she is big enough to follow you around and get in the way. Right now sis sis is learning to crawl, and I know you don’t like sharing your cars, but I’m so happy you do. Some day she will discover princesses and tutus and then you’ll be left in peace with your cars and planes.
I hope you remember how much you love her when you two are fighting or teasing each other. I hope you will protect her when mommy isn’t around and that you will look out for her when you two are old enough to go to parties. I hope you will protect your sis sis when you both start school. It’s scary for mommy to know you are going to grow up, but you have mommy and daddy to teach you how to be a good boy and man.
Your mommy and your sister are your first examples of how to take care of your future wife. So when mommy is punishing you because you, “don’t hit girls” or making you open the door, it’s not to be mean. It’s because mommy and daddy want you to love and respect your future wife. We want you to grow into a man who deserves the best and knows how to pick someone based on quality not looks. Mommy and daddy want you to have a better life than we could ever hope for you. We want to teach you to be kind and strong. To protect those weaker than you, and care enough to rescue all of your little pup pups. We hope to teach you how to handle money better than we used to, and to value hard work.
Mommy is excited to explore the world with you and your sissy. I can’t wait to take you on adventures, and to dress up to find buried treasure. I can’t wait to take you to see plays and teach you how to have tea parties with your sister. Believe me, even if you don’t like dressing up, mommy will make sure there are plenty of cookies.
Today we color, and play airplanes. Today we pound on the piano, and splash the bathwater all over the floor. We dig in dirt and run around to the “Bananas” song. Today the dirtier the better. We steal sis sis’s hair bows and climb on the counters for cookies….
Someday, you will grow up, but for today, I’m going to enjoy you being my little wild child.
-Mommy

Cancer Strikes Again…

Domino, my furbaby

Domino, my furbaby


My poor furbaby has had a growth on the side of his paw. Between him and the other pups, they wouldn’t stop licking the wound. His poor paw was swollen and it was starting to bother him when he went for walks. We felt horrible and took him in to the vet. They said that it was cancer. There isn’t a whole lot we can do. He either has the kind that will spread, or he doesn’t. We could do a surgery and remove the cancer spot, but it’s horribly expensive and when we get it removed, there is only a 50% chance he will come out okay.

I’m heartbroken. Domino is my first baby. My first pet that is solely mine. Well, I guess he’s hubby’s too, but he has been my baby. He is my protector, and loves my kiddos even if he doesn’t always like them, he protects them. After hearing what the doctors said my hubby and I decided we wouldn’t put my baby through that pain. We would let him be happy until he is in too much pain.

We tried putting a cone on my furbaby, but the other dogs kept licking his paw. We gave up on the idea of using a cone to heal his paw. And then one day we noticed a white spot showing on his paw. It got bigger and bigger until all of a sudden it was gone. Clear liquid and then he started acting like the old Domino. He’s been playful and happy, and even tolerating the kids laying on him. I hope that means he was able to get rid of his own cancer. It may not be the case, but either way, he got rid of what the doctors were looking to get rid of.

Blue Eyes tucking Domino in

Blue Eyes tucking Domino in

Hugs

Hugs

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