5 life lessons that military life has taught me

First of all, let me start by saying that I suck at keeping my blog up to date…if you search through my posts, my last one was probably a year and a half ago.  With that said, I’ve decided to grace your newsfeed with a brand new post dedicated to Military Appreciation Month… Military-Appreciation-Month There are a BILLION posts out there about lessons being a military spouse has taught someone…I can relate to most of them.  Being a military spouse HAS taught me how to fit my furniture in any type of layout; being a military spouse HAS taught me the ranking system and what each insignia on a service member’s lapel means; being a military spouse HAS taught me that whatever can break WILL break while your husband is deployed. But let’s talk life lessons.  Lessons that being a military spouse has taught me about LIFE.  Actually, let’s talk about 5 of them right now. 🙂 64388e94701d0df820e9a1d49752b65b

  1. Anywhere can be home.  I was VERY attached to my hometown. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.  I lived there for 21 years before my husband got stationed out of state in 2007.  It has now been 8 years since I’ve lived in my hometown & while we miss our family, we have made 3 other cities “home.”  This is cliche, but “home” is NOT a place, a city, or a structure.  “Home” is the people you live with, the people you meet, and the memories you make.  Home is definitely where your heart is.
  2. Be friends with everyone.  Growing up in one place, you have a set group of friends and there isn’t much “need” to make new ones.  When I moved away for the first time, I had to make friends, and every time we move, I have to start over again.  Growing up, my friendships looked the same; my friends were like me, or we ran in the same circles, or we worked together, or we grew up together.  Now, I’ve learned that making friends with people who are different from you, who are older or younger than you, who speak a different language from you, who are locals to your current city, is how you grow…its how you see the world.  Leave your comfort zone once in awhile…because great things, and great friendships don’t always come from there.
  3. Attitude is everything.  When I was a teacher, many eons ago, I had a student who was an EXTREME behavior problem in my class.  When I sat down with his mother for a conference, her excuse for his behavior was that his dad was in the military and gone a lot.  At the time, I was married, but had no children, so I nodded with sympathy & said I understood.  Now that I have children, who’s father is gone quite often, and who are NOT behavior problems in school, but thrive in spite of the fact that Dad is gone a lot, I totally think that’s a bullshit excuse. If you’re going to boohoo every time Husband leaves, the kids are going to boohoo too.  If you’re going to show how much it sucks when Dad is gone, then its going to suck the entire time he’s gone.  I’ve learned to put my big girl panties on & show my kids that life goes on even when Daddy’s not home.  Its OK to be sad, but being sad isn’t going to make him come home any sooner, and we’ve got shit to do, even when he’s gone.
  4. Support your spouse.  Sounds old school, but I’ve learned that what I do at home, with the kids and with the house while Husband is away helps this operation run more smoothly.  He’s told me many times that he’s grateful that he doesn’t have to worry too much about the home front when he’s away.  While I take care of what’s here, he can take care of what’s there. Bottom line: team work, baby!  In all areas of your marriage.
  5. Be flexible.  I definitely like things to be done a certain way, and by a certain time, but I’ve learned not to get too hung up on little things as a military spouse.  When my husband TELLS me we MIGHT move somewhere, I don’t go into planning mode until I see written orders, and even then, I tread lightly because anything can change at any time.  I know that a certain house in a certain place might not be ideal, but we can make anything work for 3 years.  I’ve learned to just roll with the punches, and everything will work itself out.

And there you have it…5 life lessons being married to the military has taught me.  I still need to learn how to change a tire and fix a leaky faucet though.

Survival Skills

Hola!  Buenos dias!  Que pasa?!  I’ve decided I’m going to try to learn Spanish while I’m here.  I’ve already had to teach the boys “no habla espanol” because little kids were going up to them busting out the Spanish & my poor kids would just shrug and walk away.  Haha.  Maybe we’ll all do the Rosetta Stone thing together or something. 😉

Anyhow, how has your February been?  I feel like February just started and here we are almost at the end of the month.  I still feel like I don’t know what month it is out here because weather-wise, it shouldn’t be February.  It FEELS like April or May.  I’m all kinds of off.

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I know I posted about getting into a groove here in California awhile back.  I really, truly am getting the hang of things here.  I wouldn’t say San Diego is my FAVORITE place (yet) but I am loving the weather, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to live here.  The kids are loving it and making friends & the Hubby seems to like it whenever he has the chance to “visit” us.  Really, the kids and I live here and the Hubby stops by every so often. 😉  At least if he’s going to be gone all the time, he leaves us in a place with great weather so we won’t get depressed or have to shovel snow.  Ha.

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Since he is gone a lot and we are in a new place, I’ve had to tap into my Survival Skills archives I’ve accumulated over our multiple moves.  I’ve mentioned before the ups & downs of moving a lot and moving often.  When you do move a lot, you learn a lot about yourself and how you cope with situations.  I’ve learned I am happiest when I have something to focus on and friends to talk to.

In Maryland, I used the opportunity to teach spin & fitness classes as my means of survival.  I focused on teaching classes and I made so many wonderful friends that way.  It was MY THING.

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I knew as soon as I moved again, I would need to find MY THING.  I figured I’d join a gym and maybe I would find my thing there…you know how that all turned out.

As my gym craziness was happening, the Hubby left us to go do Navy things, and I was having issues with the boys’ school and I could just feel myself slipping into a rut.  A bad rut.  The kind of rut where you cried more often than usual.  I was homesick and lonely and in a new place.  I was becoming more and more of a hermit, except when I was running.

Running in San Diego is awesome.  I hardly ran in 2013 but I was running more and more here because it helped me cope with the loneliness & stress.  I started looking for running groups in the area and was introduced to Run Away.

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I put off meeting with them for a couple weeks because let’s be honest here, going to a group event where you know NO ONE is intimidating.  You don’t know what you’re walking into.  Are these people crazy?  Serial killers?  Mean?  Will they talk to me?

The morning I went to meet the group, I cried on the phone to my husband and told him I hated it here.  I cried, then cleaned up and went to meet them.

Can we say BLESSING?!

Run Away is a local group started by one amazing lady and its grown to 140 members, with a consistent 35-40 runners at every meet up.  Its just a bunch of ladies (and a couple guys) who get together to run.

Since mid-January, I’ve been meeting with them twice a week to run and I have met some amazing ladies through this group.  I’ve found MY THING here.

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I think Hubby is happy because no more tearful phone calls from me. 😉

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Behavior Management at Home

Hi, friends. 🙂 How’s everyone’s Monday going?  Mine has gone pretty fabulous so far.  I started today as I have been starting the past several Mondays…with a run with my running club.

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I’ve been complaining about the hills around here since we moved to San Diego.  These hills are NO JOKE.  We’re talking steep, STEEP hills…the kind where your vehicle struggles to get to the top; the kind that look like they’re going straight into heaven.  Every time I complain about the hills, the seasoned San Diego runners are all “poo poo, get over it, its just a hill,” or “hills are GOOD for you!”  Well, I guess they must be on to something because on my run today, I hit a flat stretch of road nearly a mile long and I felt like I was FLYING.  My upper body couldn’t keep up with my lower body and as I kept going, I got faster and faster.  It felt AMAZING.  Of course it all came to an abrupt end as I hit another hill, but it was awesome while it lasted. 🙂

My Monday got even better when I got a call from Kbob’s soccer coach to inform me that his new practice field will be LITERALLY around the corner from our house.  Like close enough where we could walk; close enough where we ARE going to walk.  The field change was one I approved of.

And as if my Monday couldn’t get any better, I got a text from Noah’s soccer coach telling me that practice was cancelled for the evening!  I love it when my evenings open up.  I immediately made mental plans to use this evening for homework (since we’re always rushing to get it done in the minivan) and sweetened the deal by letting the kids do homework at the bookstore.

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Without the distractions of the TV, LEGOS, the couch, or the pantry, they got a lot done in 45 minutes.  We finished up with a cookie for each and everyone was happy.

So, you all know that the Hubby has been away for the past month…to be honest, this has been the longest he’s been away from us in a year.  We have been extremely fortunate to have him on shore duty for quite a bit of time and the kids are really not used to him being away.  The Hubby & I knew this tour would be particularly challenging because he would be gone so often and our household would essentially go from a 2-parent behavior management system to 1.  I realized soon after the Hubby left last month that changes needed to be implemented and it needed to be done quick.  I was tired of repeating myself and the kids were tired of hearing me.

So my at-home behavior management system was born.

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The kids are used to the clothespin & color system because its what is being used at school.  The basic premise is this: Green is the best, Red/Pink is the worst, they start at Yellow everyday and have opportunities to move up or down depending on behavior. They each have their own calendar and at the end of the day, they color in the day with the color they landed on.  I’ve implemented incentives: 4 greens/week = movie night, or a special dinner, or the big prize this week:

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a $10 gift card to Build-a-Bear.

We’ve been doing this for a week and so far so good.  Kbob is responding really well to this system…a lot better than when I was just yelling at him. 😉  Haha. Just kidding…not really.  The system is also helping a lot with getting them to help around the house; I was really getting tired of picking up after them. 😛  I also find that a concrete, consistent system works better for us than me just promising them this or taking away that.

What works in your house?  Or are your children just complete angels naturally? 🙂

My One Word & a Challenge

Good morning, friends! (or Good Afternoon for those reading from the East Coast 😉 )

So I’m a little late to the party, but have any of you read about the “My One Word” movement that is happening this year on some blogs?

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The quick and dirty version of it is you choose ONE WORD for your year.  Its a new way of handling New Years Resolutions.

Yes, I know January has come and gone, and it is now February, but I figure now is as good a time as any of get started on this.  After getting through January (which I’ll admit now was a little rocky for me) I have a sense of renewal and am ready to tackle the year’s challenges in the months to come.

I toyed with the idea of several words: FEARLESS, BRAVE, PERSEVERE, etc to encompass what I’d like to accomplish this year, but those words seemed so limiting to me.  I wanted a word that would include what I wanted to fulfill daily: marriage, motherhood, relationships, prayer, fitness, self-care, etc.  Then it hit me: DAILY.

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With the word DAILY, I can FOCUS on being INVESTED DAILY; FEARLESS DAILY; COMMITTED DAILY; PATIENT DAILY; GRATEFUL DAILY.

For my own personal purposes, DAILY I will focus on strengthening my relationships with my husband, children, family, friends.  DAILY I will focus on taking care of myself through fitness, prayer, meditation.  DAILY I will focus on the management of my home, our schedule, our finances, our activities.  DAILY I will cultivate new friendships, interests, goals, dreams.  DAILY I will take account of the things that are good for me & my family and are not, and let go of things that do not serve me or our lives well.

What word will YOU choose to focus on for the next 12 (well, 11) months?  Join the movement!

With that out of the way, I want to let you in on a challenge for the month of February.

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Your challenge for the month is to Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.  When I taught my spin classes in Maryland, every now and then, when we’d reach the end of our ride, or coming up on a particularly challenging hill, I’d tell my participants to “find your comfort zone, then leave it.”  Because really, what’s so good about being comfortable?  Comfort breeds complacency.  Rarely are those who are complacent grow…and don’t we all want growth?  Aren’t we all works in progress?  There is always room for improvement, and to be successful, to be amazing, sometimes you need to be uncomfortable.

For the month of February, I challenge you to pursue something out of your comfort zone at least once a week.  It can be as small as striking up a conversation with someone in the grocery store line, or something as big as going bungee jumping (haha…do people still do this?).  Whatever it is, own it.

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Getting the hang of things

Hey, everyone! Its been awhile since I’ve even touched this blog; the days and weeks have just gotten away from me…the kids and I have had to get used to our new school, our new schedule, and our new environment, all sans Hubby, and it has been quite the adjustment.

I am happy to say we are in a groove!  It only took us 3 full weeks to get there.  And wouldn’t you know it, the Hubby comes back next week to mess it all up again. 🙂

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So what exactly have we been up to these past 3 weeks? Well, everything.  First, its been quite the adjustment as far as our schedule goes.  In Maryland, the BUS picked the kids up at 8:35.  8:35!  I had 2 hours to get them fed, lunches packed, and out the door, AND it was only a couple steps to the bus stop.  I didn’t know how good I had it.

Here, school starts at 8:15 and I’m the bus.  Since, I’m the bus, I like to leave here by 7:45.  The school is only a couple miles away, but with traffic and all that madness, I like to get to the school with plenty of time to spare.  So, leaving at 7:45 every morning means having everyone fed, dressed, AND lunches packed by then.  Most mornings, my kids are still sleeping at 7AM…so you can imagine the craziness going on in the mornings at our house.  More times than I’d like to admit, breakfast is eaten in the van.

School lets out at 2:45, and I’m the bus for pick up too…after school, we’ve got soccer practice M-Th from 4-5 (MW) and 4:30-5:30 (TTh).  I feel like I live in my van during the week.  We’re home by 6 most nights, bathed, fed, and reading by 7, then its lights out by 7:30-7:45.  Then we get to do it all over again the next day!

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While our new schedule has taken some getting used to, we’ve also had to get acclimated to just LIVING here.  If anyone has ever told you that the east coast was different from the west coast, they weren’t lying.  I feel like I’ve had to get used to an entirely different culture.  The laid-back, que sera sera attitude here could easily be called lackadaisical by an uptight east coaster like myself.  Maybe its the overdose in sunshine, but people just seem to have an easy going way about things over this way.

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So, we somewhat settled into a schedule and came to terms with the fact that living out here is a different world from the east; next step was to mingle with the natives and actually make connections with people here.

The kids have been in school for 3 weeks and today at pickup I noticed the waves from other kids and calls of their names while we walked through campus.  It warmed my heart to see that friendships were being made.

Me, on the other hand, its been not as easy.  You recall my post about getting back in the dating game, right?

Well, it took a lot of convincing myself about getting out there…I would have been perfectly happy to hole up in my house, and not talk to anyone because going out and meeting people just requires too much effort.

After one week of bailing on the running group I told you all about…I finally made it to a run.  And at the risk of sounding like a cheese ball, I am so completely happy I did.

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I’ve been running with them for a couple weeks and meeting the women in this group has not only allowed me to forge new friendships, but opened up more opportunities to get to know new people.  Because of this group, I have decided to cross off a bucket-list item:

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That’s right…this girl right here will run the SoCal Ragnar Relay with 11 other women from the running group on April 4-5. Pray I don’t die.

Another opportunity that’s popped up due to the running group:

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I’ve found a local bootcamp run by 2 great trainers that’s being held at a Crossfit box near me.

You remember my gym troubles, correct?  I quit the gym here because I couldn’t stand it and started working out at home in my garage.

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I have a pretty sweet set up, especially with the addition of my new spin bike, kettlebells, and slam balls, but I missed the camaraderie of working out in a group.  The opportunity to work out with the Bootcamp Girls (as I call them) fell into my lap and I couldn’t be happier.

See what happens when you get over yourself and step out of your comfort zone?  ;)Amazing things can happen. 🙂

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Virtual Coffee Date

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If you and I were having coffee today, I would tell you how much I enjoy lazy Sunday mornings.  After a busy Saturday with a to-do list *this long*, it was nice to lounge around with the kids this morning, eat breakfast AFTER 8am, and finally change out of our pjs at 11am.  With school starting on Tuesday, I am soaking up these last lazy mornings as much as I can.

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If you and I were having coffee today, I would tell you how EXCITED I am to be adding to my home gym.  After researching and reading reviews, we have invested in a spin bike!

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I was originally going to get this one, but the reviews for the Sunny bike were so good, and the price for it allowed me to get more toys for my gym.  In addition to the bike, we purchased 20, 25, 30, & 35 lb kettlebells PLUS 15 and 30 lb slam balls all for what it would cost if we just got the Spinner Sport bike.  Everything should be here Monday!  Oh, and we also figured for the price we got everything for, it would have been about 4 months of membership fees at LAme Fitness, so it all balances out in the end.  “Justification” is my middle name. 🙂

If you and I were having coffee today, I would confess that I am STILL reading this book, after starting it several months ago.

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Not because its not good, but because I’ve been slacking on my reading.  The Hubby is gone for a month so maybe I’ll tackle it while he’s gone and even move on to the next books in this series.  Anyone have any other books recommendations for me?

If you and I were having coffee today, I would share with you how nervous I am for the boys to start school this week.  They haven’t started here yet (Christmas break here is 3 weeks long!) and Tuesday will be their first day.  My stomach is in knots for them; I know they’ll be ok, its just the Mom in me that’s all nervous.

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In addition to starting school on Tuesday, both boys have their first soccer practice that runs from (get this) 7-9PM!  Those who know me, knows I don’t cheat on bedtimes and my kids are in bed by 7:30-7:45PM nightly.  I’m not sure yet how we’re going to swing these soccer practices 2 times a week, but its gotta be done.  Maybe I’ll make them nap after dinner. 😛

Ok, folks…I’m being summonsed by the children to bake more cookies and/or brownies.  Who do they think I am?! 😉

Its official, I’ve been living under a rock

I know ya’ll missed me yesterday. 🙂  I went from 2 posts in 1 day to no posts at all! With school starting next week (hallelujah!) and the Hubby abandoning me in a new city with no friends or family in a couple days, I’ve had a to-do list *this long* and trying to get it all done with my boys who have had too much togetherness in the past month, has taken much of my day. (run-on sentence for the win!)  But this morning, I skipped my workout and got stuff done early so here I am, brightening your day with a new blog post.  Woohoo. 🙂

It’s officially been 3 full weeks since we moved here and let me tell you, I have been living under a freaking rock.  As you know, I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA; moved there when I was 7 and left when I was 29.  While VB isn’t a small town, its very easy to stay in your area of the city; go to YOUR grocery store, YOUR gas station, YOUR bank…stay in YOUR bubble.  When I finally did leave my bubble, the Navy sent us to Milton, FL.

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Milton is east of Pensacola, FL and is pretty much Alabama. (Rolllll Tiiiide).

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The picture above is good ol’ downtown Milton.  Yes, I lived there.  For 3 years.  Milton didn’t have a Target or Starbucks when we first moved there and the commissary was the size of a convenience store.  The Shrimp Basket was the fancy restaurant in town, and the Big Lots was actually where I got a lot of my shopping done.

So, no Trader Joe’s…no Whole Foods…no mall…no movie theater…nothing.

In 2010, the Navy moved us to Lexington Park, MD.

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When people say “Southern MD,” most think Waldorf.  Nope, we were 30 miles south of Waldorf…as south as you can get in Southern MD.

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The only picture Google had of “the Park” was an arial view.  Well, that and a picture of the local BJ’s Wholesale.

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So for another 3 years, I did without some of life’s simple pleasures: a mall, a working movie theater (MD friends know that the Lex Park movie theater doesn’t count), a Starbucks with a drive-thru, a Trader Joe’s, etc.

So, let’s do the math, people…that’s 6 whole years (really, 6 and a 1/2) living in the boonies.

Fast forward to the end of 2013, when the Navy decides to have some giggles and move us to San Diego, CA, home to 1.3 million people, the 2nd largest city in California.

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Let me back up and say, at both of our previous duty stations, the commute to the base was 3-5 miles.  We exited our neighborhood, turned on the main road in the town we were in, drove several miles, and we were at the gate.

Now the Navy expects us to get on the FREEWAY (the 805? the 5? the 666??) and drive over a BRIDGE where people are going 99 MPH to get to the base.  Oh and not just that, but there are like 7 different bases out here (don’t quote me on that figure).  I know, I lived in Hampton Roads and drove to the base there, but sorry, Hampton Roads, your little I-64 ain’t got nothing on the 666 (805? 5? who knows).

And not just that…because I’ve been living under a rock for the past 6.5 years, I’m all wide-eyed like a country girl from the sticks when it comes to things that aren’t so new to some people.

Like food trucks.

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I’ve been fascinated with shows like Eat Street on the Food Network and was excited to actually experience it myself.  The closest thing to a food truck I’ve ever gotten was Dominic’s outside in Home Depot in Virginia Beach.  Ya’ll know what I’m talking about.

Another new experience for me?

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Freaking Costco.

I’ve been a member of Sams Club and BJs, but never Costco.

Costco and I will be BFFs, I can tell already.  I spent an hour and a 1/2 in there today (with the kids, which is a feat in itself) and I’d say my first visit was a success.

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I’ll need to go back when the kids are back in school so I can go aisle by aisle. 🙂

Another thing that has be all “ooh ahh” is the gym on one of the bases out here…

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An outdoor “box” that is free for active duty and their dependents!  I may have to learn to drive on the 666 just so I can use the equipment!

Do you consider yourself a country or city person?

Have a good rest of your day!