You know your spouse is deployed when….

Here are a few things that have been on my mind about dealing with a deployment and how it has affected me.  I thought I’d do a sentence completion to share with you, since they are mostly random thoughts.

 

You know your (USMC) spouse is deployed when…..

You have dreams (nightmares, really) that your cell phone dies

You answer your phone on the first ring every time

You answer your phone regardless if you recognize the number, especially if you don’t recognize the number

The USMC recruiting commercials make you cry

Love songs make you cry

Anything makes you cry

You feel so many emotions at the same time: pride, loneliness, faith, love, sadness, hope

The first thing you do every morning is check for an email from him

He is never far from your mind

You find yourself saying hundreds of little prayers throughout the day, whenever he crosses your mind (“Dear God, please take care of him”, “Please God keep him safe”)

When people ask you “How do you do it?” or say “Wow, that must be so hard”, you want to strangle them

You are an expert mathematician: adding 8.5 hours to the time to figure the time of day over there, and doing it without batting an eye

You are now the plumber, car mechanic, chef, landscaper, do-it-yourself-er

You have mixed feelings about going to sleep, because you don’t know if your spouse is able to sleep or if he’s sleeping on the hard floor

You wake up at 3:30am to talk to him because you know it’s the only time you will hear from him all week

Seeing happy couples makes you envious

You forget the things about your spouse that drive you crazy, and in a weird way, you start to miss those things too

 

I really could go on and on, but I’ll wrap up here for now.  Maybe I will do a “Part 2″ of this post some time in the future.

Military Discounts

I love saving money or getting a good deal.  Since I now have my military ID, I ask everywhere I go if they give a military discount.  Most places around here say no, but there are a few (some are surprising!) that do.  I think it’s awesome that these companies support the military families, and I would encourage you to give them your business.

Here are some that I have come across, and what discount they offer (Can you tell I’ve been doing a lot of clothes shopping lately? Lol). It’s usually up to each store if they honor the discount or not, so it’s good to ask everywhere.  I would love to hear from you if you know of any others!

Advance Auto Parts: 10% off

Aeropostle : 10% off

Apple: 10% (only off of certain items)

Auntie Anne’s: 20% off

Charlotte Russe: 10% off regularly priced items

Kinsey’s Outdoors: 10% off

(Ladies) Foot Locker: 20% off

Lowe’s: 10% off

New York and Company: 15% off

Old Navy: 10% off on Mondays

Rainbow: 10% off

 

First Mission

Tony sent me this picture a few days ago.  I had posted it on Facebook, but then I realized that not everyone who would want to see it is on Facebook.  This is Tony with his driver (Brunsman, on the right) and gunner (Stricker, on the left) before leaving for their first mission.  I have been bugging Tony to take more pictures, so we’ll see if he sends any more!

 

MotoMail

I first learned of MotoMail during Tony’s last deployment, but I hadn’t thought of it again until this deployment rolled around.  Through FaceBook, I am a member of a group for those of us whose loved one is deployed with CLB-6, and I saw a comment on that page about it.  I needed to create a new account again, but after a few quick minutes, my account was up and running.

 

MotoMail is a way to send letters to Tony while he is deployed.  After I add his address and my address to my online “address book”, I can click on his name, and start typing him an email.  What is different about MotoMail though, is after I hit “send”, it goes somewhere where the letter is printed out, and mailed to him like a real letter.  So, it has the convenience of sending an email, but the excitement on his end of receiving mail.  Of course, it lacks my handwriting, or my perfume, or whatever, but it is a really great thing to have.  There is then the delivery time but it’s not as long as if I were to send him a letter in the mail.  I can watch the status of each letter as it goes through the stages of being processed, printed, and sent out for delivery.

 

I really do think it is the coolest thing ever!  I’ve sent a few so far this deployment, but since he does have access to email, I haven’t been doing as many as last time.  But, I guess nothing beats a care package and a handwritten letter!

A Deployment Winding Down

(This is guest blog post by my sister, Alicia, who’s husband is deployed to Afghanistan with the Air Force EOD.  You can read her other blog posts by choosing the category “Alicia” in the sidebar to the right)

The countdown is on!  My husband should be returning by the end of this month!  Replacements have arrived in Afghanistan and are waiting to get to their assigned FOBs (Forward Operating Bases).  Once the replacements arrive, there is about a week or so of training, explanation and turnover, before Mike will leave.  He will then begin his journey home.  This will take about 2 weeks!  A Stop at a main base in Afghanistan, and about 4 days in Germany,  then HOME!  We are very excited and ready for him to be back!

This is a busy few weeks for us, between Dr’s appointments, dentist appointments, Orientations for school, and school starting on the 22nd, I think we have a lot on our plate to make this last few weeks fly by!  The kids are ready to see their daddy!  We decided that we will do our best to surprise the kids with his return.  Hoping they will be in school when he flies in so I can go get him, then bring him to pick the kids up.  That moment will be priceless and bring tears to my eyes picturing their faces as they seem him, unexpectedly, for the first time.  I am thinking tears are going to come from Camryn, she is my tender hearted child.  Toby will be just overly excited with running and jumping on him, probably a few punches and squeezes of excitement!  Chances are Addisyn will be with me at the airport, and she will just be over the moon!  These moments are what makes it all worth it!

This has been a rough deployment on all sides.  Camryn has become more emotional than normal lately, Toby has been a little more rough, and Addisyn, a little more defiant.  With Mike being gone since Jan, it is taking a toll on the kids.  I am looking forward to some normalcy!  Mommy needs a BREAK!  School is coming at a perfect time, Mike will be coming back and have a month off…..things are looking up!  Even though we know this is far from the last deployment, and doing this again and again does not seem appealing at all….we knew what we were getting into.  This is the path we chose, and once he retires, it will all be over.  One of my favorite Quotes about Military Wives is as follows:

I am A Military Spouse

You may see me struggle,

But you will NEVER see me Fall!

To any other women going through deployments, keep your head up, stay positive.  You CAN DO IT, You ARE strong Enough!  These are things I think to myself often.  Behind every good man….is a GOOD WOMAN WAITING AT HOME!

Our stop in Maine

Tony’s first stop on his trip to Afghanistan 2 weeks ago was at the Bangor International Airport in Maine. There is a small, dedicated group of volunteers who greet military flights there.  They have signs, shake the servicemen’s hands, cheer for them, offer them phones to call loved ones, and take their pictures.  Below is Tony, on the phone with me when they took his picture, and the URL of the album of his platoon (I am working on figuring out how to make it so it will open a url in another window for you, but for right now, you’ll have to copy/paste….sorry!).  After just saying goodbye to him, seeing this picture online 2 Saturdays ago helped me feel a bit better.  What a wonderful organization The Maine Troop Greeters (www.themainetroopgreeters.org/) is!  Go to their website, read about what they do, and if you are so moved, make a donation to the organization.

 

First week of deployment

Well, I have almost finished the first week of this deployment.  Tony left last Saturday, and so this week was him traveling (for days and days) til he finally arrived at his base.  Before he left, we bought two iPads, and they have more than paid for themselves in this week alone.  Through WiFi, we were able to “FaceTime” while he was traveling to his base, so I knew where he was each stop of the way.  And, we somehow set up AOL AIM to text to my phone, so we can text throughout the day too!  This goes back to one of my past blog posts about how awesome technology is!

I have heard from him more than I thought I would.  Almost every morning and evening, we are able to FaceTime, and throughout the day text even more.  The base has WiFi, so he is able to use the iPad and his laptop from his barracks.  He actually said that since he left he’s only pulled out his laptop twice, and that the iPad is so much more convenient.  What a great purchase!

For Tony, this week was full of traveling, and then waiting for all of the battalion to arrive at the base (for some reason they left in 2 waves).  He has done some briefings, but his scheduled as been fairly open, which is why I have been hearing from him so much.  I am being spoiled!  I know that soon enough, he will start missions, and it will be very sporadic when I hear from him.

Since we’ve been talking so much, this week has been ok.  I’ve been trying to get back into the routine of being home, alone.  I must admit today was the first awful day that I’ve had.  My fuse has been very short today, and I am super irritable.  I’ve been swearing, which I hardly ever do, and feel quite miserable.  So miserable in fact, that I took a short nap at 1pm hoping I’d wake up in a better mood.

Thanks for the support, everyone.  It really is helpful and means a lot.

His address overseas

I do now have Tony’s address overseas, so if you would like it, please let me know and I will email it to you.  He should also have email access, so if you don’t have his email address and would like it, I can email you that as well.  Hearing from friends, family, and others back home will hopefully put a smile on his face :)

Let the countdown begin

First, let me say to you all that I am sorry I haven’t written much here lately.  Tony was home on leave, and then we were preparing for him to deploy, so the blog was the last thing on my mind.  We received word of when he was scheduled to fly out, so I drove down to NC on Thursday to see him off.  We were able to spend Thursday evening and all day Friday together.  I was able to be with him until Saturday.

Saying goodbye is so hard.  You can only say “be careful”, “stay safe”, and “I love you” so many times, but those are the only words that come to mind when I was saying goodbye.  Tony called me from Maine, and then called me through FaceTime on our iPads.  I was sleeping (it was 4:30am this morning), and heard something ringing.  Then the ringing stopped, and started again.  Tony was in Ireland, and had WiFi, and was calling me!  We were able to see each other and talk for a few minutes.

Now starts the desperation of carrying my phone with me everywhere I go, at all times, answering any and all phone calls I receive because it might be him on the other line.  Most people nowadays screen their calls, and that used to be me, but not any more. Now starts the countdown, and since I don’t have an official date of when he’ll be home, my countdown timeframe will be 7 months.

Happy 4th of July

As you get ready to spend this holiday weekend, enjoying the extra day off from work, picnics, and fireworks, please remember what the holiday is really about.  July 4th is a celebration of our freedom, and of the brave men and women who fought against Britian to free America, and those who still today fight for our freedoms.  Please to say a prayer for all the military members who are spending this holiday away from their loved ones.  Remember them, and the sacrifices they and their families make to continue to ensure that America is “land of the free, home of the brave”.