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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

A rare moment of peace…

Flying Baby....

Flying Baby….

It’s a very rare quiet moment in our house. Blue Eyes is asleep, Little bug is content in her swing, and even hubby is out cold. The pups are out on a walk with BIL and I have a few minutes in the living room to myself. I was asleep. When little bug and I went to eat, we fell asleep on the bed, but hubby woke us up. So I get the house to myself for a few short minutes. I feel sleep deprived, but not exhausted like I was with Blue Eyes.

As I’m sitting here to write, there are a million things calling my name. I have laundry that needs done. Somehow little bug puked on every single swaddling blanket we have. There are still dishes in the sink, which I have been putting off doing all day. I have toys all over the living room, and I don’t even walk into the area I consider hubby’s. His pool table made it into the house one day and that room has been his ever since. But in all the chaos, and unfinished work I feel a few small minutes of peace. Those short moments definitely keep you going.

I downloaded a new picture editor. It’s supposed to be really good, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet. So I’ll stick to my old one for the time being. While my family was here, we all went swimming at the neighbors. Okay, they went swimming I held little bug and took pictures of everyone. My little boy is fearless! I mean absolutely not a hint of acknowledgement that he doesn’t know how to swim. He trusts daddy to catch him when he jumps. It’s great for when he does learn to swim, but we missed the lessons by a few days for bug’s birth. I’m hoping there will be some more classes later this summer because I dread him having an accident. Daddy was super good about being right there, but my crazy kid wanted to go down the big boy water slide, and get tossed in the air, and all of those other things moms sit there and pray for. We have a floaty for him, but the day the pictures were taken, my little niece used it.

Realities of Memorial Day

Watch in the dead of night

Watch in the dead of night


There seems to be a little bit of an oxymoron when you say Happy Memorial Day. What’s so happy about it? I know it’s a huge day of camping and bbq-ing and spending some much needed time with our families, but do you ever just get fully smacked in the face with what Memorial Day really is? When I was a teenager our church had the amazing opportunity to have the moveable Vietnam Memorial Wall come and set up for a full week. Me, being the young teenager I was saw it as an opportunity to hang out with my friends and do some “volunteer work”. Mostly I wrapped hot dogs in foil and got into a bubble war with a couple other friends washing dishes with me. I did however take the opportunity to talk to some of the veterans and try to see life from their point of view. My family has been military for several generations. My great-grandfather, grandfather (both sides), one of my grandmothers, dad, sister and myself have all served in some branch of the military. Heck, my birthday and my great-grandfathers are over the 4th of July holiday. For this reason alone, I have always felt some pride and patriotism for our country. But seeing those veterans stand in front of that monument was a sight I will never forget. There were grown men broken down in tears over names that meant something to them. There were others seeking counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome who had swore they were no longer affected by it. There were others who had to leave before the 21 gun salute because the sound of fire still caused them to shudder where they stood. There were wives and children, and grandchildren waiting patiently while their loved one sought a final good-bye and hopefully found some closure in this honored memorial.

Sometimes I feel a little callused. My friends will show me stories that are touching about military wives or members of the military. My heart gets sad when I see some of the stories, and yes I had to learn to shut that part of me down at times. If I sit and think of being on a ship, or how my hubby was gone for nine months, or how my sister had to raise her baby alone for nine months, or the family my brother in law had to leave behind, or any of the millions of things my family has done I won’t make it. It’s a fact of life to me. It’s horrible to have family members gone, it’s miserable to spend my time wishing I could talk to my hubby, or we have ____ so many months left. So like many other military wives, I shut down. I turn out the emotions and deal with the day to day. So yes, I feel a little callused. But when the emotions break through, it’s hard to shut them back down.

There are things that will always break through. Watching an elder veteran struggle to stand and salute HIS flag, watching a family meet up for the first time in months/years, and seeing little kids in mini uniforms. Another thing that will always make me cry is the song “Just a Dream” with Carrie Underwood. It came out the year before I got married. When my hubby and I were planning our wedding, we were trying to balance the time with being out to sea for two months at a time, and my ship was scheduled to go out to see for 9 months, his ship leaving before I even got home. We were facing at least a year and a half apart and had to decide, do we get married before or after. Do we love each other enough to make it through a year and a half of barely being able to talk. The first time I heard Just a Dream, I was trying to decide to between wedding dresses. Sitting there listening to that song I broke down. I couldn’t tell you what tomorrow was going to be like. I couldn’t tell you if we were going to be safe overseas, or if I’d even get to see my new husband before the next time one of us was gone again. To know when you say good-bye that it may very well be the last time can be overwhelming sometimes. Thankfully I didn’t end up on my deployment, so it gave us a few more short months to talk, but even then we weren’t living in the same state. I was on my ship in Virginia, he was out in California. It makes me grateful for today. That he has only missed a couple months of our little blue eyes’ life. I’m grateful he isn’t scheduled to leave for our little girl’s birth. I’m happy about the three or four hints I’ve gotten on facebook for cookies tonight…. and I’m grateful we got one more holiday together.

Enjoy your families tonight. Enjoy the time you have and the bbq’s you can plan. Thank you all for your service and your support to those who have served.

Puppies, Haircuts and Mommy’s Day

I can't believe this was just a year ago

I can’t believe this was just a year ago


It’s been hot here. I mean like summer hot. Then again, we never really get a spring or fall, so I’m not surprised. Poor Blue Eyes discovered that if you walk on the patio in bare feet, it will hurt. I felt so bad because I had the water on and I was trying to cool down the area he was playing, but I wasn’t quick enough. After he cried, I put him inside and hubby helped me gather all the dogs. As mean as I feel doing it, It was haircut day yesterday. Blackjack loves it. He lays down and enjoys cooling down while he gets pet. The only part he doesn’t like is around the legs and tail. So we just trim him up and skip the rest. Gamble was so curious and kept getting his nose in the way. So once Blackjack wandered off, he willingly took Blackjack’s spot for a turn. He didn’t do too bad. I was surprised because they weren’t around last summer. Gamble doesn’t have very thick fur, so it only took a couple of minutes to get his undercoat done. Bear wasn’t too bad either. As long as one of us sat there petting his face and telling him he was such a good boy, he didn’t move a whole lot. He did get antsy at first, but can you really blame him? With all our overheating black puppies done, it was time for Domino. Domino is my little lion. He has thick fur and hates getting a hair cut. It’s hard to do a decent job for him. We have to pin him between us and the house and then one person pets and loves on him, while the other person cuts. For all of Domino’s amazing golden colors, his undercoat is almost pure white. So he always looks so funny with a haircut. Pure white body with a golden head and tail. I say give it two weeks and they won’t look so funny. But at least they won’t overheat now. And we never cut it so short that they get sunburnt.

Instead of a sweet mommy’s day boy, I got my little monster. He woke me up by climbing on top of me and bouncing. He then proceeded to run around the house screaming, snuck outside before I could get the door shut. Put all of his toys behind the Aloe plant, which daddy is allergic to, so mommy gets to save the toys. Then while I’m getting the toys, he sneaks inside to throw dog food everywhere and proceed to eat it, even though he knows better. I gave him a waffle, but he decided it was a great thing to share with Domino. I went to let the puppies out and he sneaks into mommy’s room and proceeds to play with the toilet plunger (thank god it’s new) and run around screaming again. All of this in two and a half hours!

Happy Mother’s day to all of you wonderful mothers out there…. hopefully your little monsters are being sweet today. :0)

Migraines in Pregnancy.

Sleepy Blue Eyes playing with Uncle's Shoes

Sleepy Blue Eyes playing with Uncle’s Shoes


Had another migraine last night. You’d think I’d be used to them by now. It seems like it’s always worse when pregnant though. They monitor little miss thing, which I’m grateful for; but they also wait almost a full hour before they’ll do anything about my migraine. Being as I already took what I could at home, and my head is still pounding, it’s rough to sit there and know you won’t have help for another hour. The good news is little miss has a strong heartbeat and the contractions were just practice ones.
My normal doc was on call last night, so thankfully I didn’t have to fight to get help. He knows my history with migraines. They tried one med and I ended up getting sick and it didn’t do anything. Almost four hours later they were able to figure out that the maternity ward couldn’t get the meds I needed and I had to go downstairs to intensive care. Blue Eyes thought the wheel chair was the greatest thing in the whole world. Thank goodness he was so good. He just played with his chickies with daddy, ate goldfish and watched Cinderella. When they finally got me the right meds, they made sure my headache was on the downside before letting me go.
I really don’t understand why everyone is so scared to treat pregnancy migraines. Especially when I have a history of them, and there is a list of approved treatments in my record. It always takes several hours, but at least they do eventually treat them. I’m looking forward to trying something new after pregnancy. I’ve tried several different preventatives, but unfortunately I’m one of those people who can get a side-effect that makes it so I can’t continue taking the meds. I’ve heard that acupuncture, the chiropractor and botox have all become major break throughs in treatment for migraines. I know they aren’t necessarily traditional methods, but I’m at the point where I’m willing to try. There has to be something healthier than medications and living with constant headaches. I do know that while I was on Herbalife for weight loss, I found that the multi-vitamins helped a lot. I’m not sure what makes them different from other vitamins, but I may have to try it again, see if it really helps. I just didn’t want to risk health while pregnant.
Like I said before, Blue Eyes was a champ. He ran around with daddy in his Dino Hat and made the ladies melt. They loved his little hat and that he ran around roaring. Blue Eyes was even nice enough to come cuddle with me this morning instead of insisting I get up at an early hour. When he did finally wake up, he poked mommies belly and giggled like crazy. His new favorite toy is BIL’s new shoes. He loves to put them on and try to walk around. He’ll tell me bye and head to the door like he thinks he’s going somewhere.
On a happy note? The asthma/allergy doctor finally got approval for a home breathing treatment for Blue Eyes. They should deliver it sometime today. That means I have other options beside midnight runs to the hospital because he’s struggling to breathe. I’m excited to see how this thing works and hopefully it will really help little man. He’s been doing pretty good lately, but I think that’s partly because the weather cooled off (shockingly) and the allergy levels have been at 6.9 instead of 10.2. I never thought I’d have to monitor allergy levels so closely, but if it’s above an 8 I don’t even dare let the cool breeze in. We use air filters and air conditioning. And little man gets kept inside.

Dinosaurs and Homecoming!

Dinosaur hats for our little girls homecoming.

Dinosaur hats for our little girls homecoming.

dinosaurs spikes

dinosaurs spikes


With Blue Eyes I didn’t realize that when babies come home from the hospital, you can’t even see their outfit. We let him wear the hospital hat and didn’t even realize I would never get a picture of his adorable little outfit. A year and half later, I can’t remember what he was wearing. Makes me very sad. So I decided this time, I was going to do something special for both kiddos. I made Blue Eyes a little dinosaur hat by putting together three different patterns for baby hats. It turned out so cute that I made a baby sized one for our little girl. So when we come from home from the hospital I can get pictures of Mr. Blue Eyes and his baby sister in cute little hats. I hope you guys like how they turned out. I used my childhood toys to get the spike positioning back.
This just makes me giggle

This just makes me giggle

Monster Kisses, Oodles of Noodles and Pink Lemonade….

Mr. Blue Eyes and his favorite blanket

Mr. Blue Eyes and his favorite blanket

How is it that kids can be sick, up all night and still manage to wake up at the crack of dawn? Not to mention the constant need to cuddle and cry at the same time. Then as suddenly as it starts, it stops. A runny nosed boy runs off to climb on his rocking giraffe. Just when I think I have a second to relax, he runs back over and climbs in my lap. How sweet baby blue is giving monster kisses…. not! He clamped down on my cheek so hard, I have a huge welt from his top and bottom teeth. He got an early nap after that.

Mr. Blue Eyes has been so much happier after a forced nap. He may be finally getting better. We played with our toys and take a ton of noodles. Do you remember that book Oodles and Oodles of Noodles? My kid loves noodles.

Oodles and Oodles of Noodles

Oodles and Oodles of Noodles

He spent the rest of the day happy as can be, running around. The only time he was really upset is when Uncle went outside to work on the yard. He was upset that he couldn’t be out there too. It was so cute to see him trying to open the door with one of the puppies sitting next to him waiting to go.

looking out the window

To cap off my little terror’s busy day, he played with mommy’s pots and pans and a wooden spoon. I didn’t worry since Uncle was in there with him, but all of a sudden I hear “Oh Blue Eyes NO.” I dash into the kitchen to see Uncle comin back in from the other side and my Pink Lemonade mix all over the floor. Blue Eyes was dipping his fingers in the container and licking them. You know how your parents always say, “I hope you get one just like you.” ? Well, there you go. I got what I did as a child. The only difference is that I did it with baby powder and syrup.

Now if you pardon me, I think I will go hide the syrup.

The Spouse that was.

Most of my posts are realistically about my baby boy, dogs or daily life as a military spouse. I make no claim to be an expert at politics and although I personally support many causes, I don’t look to convert you. My main goal is to make people aware. I’ve done posts on Breast Cancer awarness and WAS syndrome, as they pertain to my life and the people I am close to. In the past couple months I’ve come across another area that I prayed I would never have to deal with, or have any of my friends deal with; domestic violence.

There is no easy way to bring up the matter, and there is no denying it is more common than people would think. In the recent months I’ve had two people that either I or my husband are close to, become victims of it. These two people are the last people I’d expect to have to deal with this. They are smart, strong and independent. So what do I do? My husband and I are both strong believers in protecting people from these kinds of problems, but we can’t step in and make someone leave. In both cases they were military and their chains of command were informed of the situation. Both have been offered a place to stay here if they so choose to leave, but I can’t make the first step for them.

The military does not offer enough resources for these spouses. They are moved from their home every 2-5 years and often live a life of solitude because it’s hard to get to know other military spouses. Not to mention, many of them have no way to support their families so even if they do want to leave, they can’t. Commands often brush these issues under the rug or offer ‘Counseling’ to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But nobody really empowers the spouse to leave. They are not offered places to go, schooling or childcare help so they can get on their own feet.

Talking to a couple people I realized that anyone in this situation needs several things packed in an emergency bag.
-Pay by the minute phone, so you can call for help
-Spare car key, so if yours gets taken, you have a way to leave.
-Extra money in a form that cannot be cut off or taken.
-Copy of all important documents (birth certificates, social security cards, proof of insurrance, passports)
Clothes, for every weather. Don’t leave in the middle of winter without a coat
Toys for your babies
Granola bars or something to get you through the first night
Water!!!

It may be hard to confide in a friend, but that friend could save you and your babies lives if you have to leave. It may be hard to find information on a deadline, but here are a few sites I’ve found with information for both the vitim, their family or friends.

Military One Source

Kim Rabb wrote a really good article about military domestic violence.

About.com did an article on it as well.

The American Bar Association put out these statistics.


Help for Domestic Violence

Just a little bump.

six months

six months


School….. I am almost finished. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year already. This past week or two I’ve been going extra days making sure I can graduate in time. I found out my test date is only two weeks before I’m due and I want to make sure there are no delays. I can cut hair, curl and style. I’ve learned to do acrylic nails (which I didn’t think possible) and I can give a mean pedicure. Well, when my belly isn’t in the way. Yep, I have a bump now. It took six months, but I actually look pregnant now.

Mr. Blue eyes is a handful these days. He moves quicker than I can catch him. He’s so cute though. Dances to all the music on tv and loves to climb on things. You have to watch the desk and tables constantly. The cutest thing ever is that he now puts cereal in everyone’s mouth. He likes to share kix. As I’m trying to type, my little dare devil climbed unto his rocking giraffe and tried to stand up, while pulling his blanket up with him. Thankfully it didn’t end in disaster. But with how active he is, it’s really hard for me to keep up. I’m also having a hard time reaching the floor now. So the living room doesn’t stay as clean as it should. I feel bad, but it gets me out of breath. It wouldn’t be so bad if little girl would sit up where Mr. blue eyes did. But she wants to sit super low.

My little terror

Dr. Desctructo a.k.a. Mr. Blue Eyes

Dr. Desctructo a.k.a. Mr. Blue Eyes

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