Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Real Military Wives of Blogland

Mal Smiles

Welcome to The Real Military Wives of Blogland! Mallory is the brains behind this fabulous idea and of course, I was all in! With so many negative stereotypes of military wives, we wanted to introduce ourselves and change some of those stereotypes. And if anyone understands us, it's other military girlfriends, fiancees, and wives, and the best thing we can do is be there for each other! 

I had no idea what I was signing up for when I married my husband. People always tell me "you knew what you were getting yourself into" and when they say that? I want to smack them clear across the face. Because I had no idea. 

The day we met... match made in heaven <3

First, let me give you a little background on how Z and I met. It was a Sunday in August and we were spending time with our friend, someone who I had recently met and that happened to be Z's lifelong best friend. It was pretty much instantaneous; we met in August, started dating in September, were engaged by December, and married in March. Oh and then there was the whole getting pregnant in April and him deploying in May thing. But that's a story for a different day. 

But back to the summer we met. I can vividly remember sitting around a bonfire and someone asking him when he was leaving for bootcamp. And my heart sank. I had NO idea he was joining the army and I had no idea what that even meant. I had a friend from high school join the army and deploy but other than that, I hadn't know anyone in the military up until that point. But like I said, it was pretty much love at first sight and I knew he was the one. How could I back out now? Whatever this life was, I wanted to spend it with him. 

Back on US soil... the best feeling in the world :)

So he left for basic, airborne, and then deployed. And I had my first real taste of military life and the stereotypes that come along with it. I will be the first to admit that a lot of them are true, but I choose not to surround myself with those types of people. 

So here's a little bit about me: 



I went to Miami University in Ohio and have a Bachelor's Degree in Strategic Communication. I was in a sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha and wrote for our student newspaper, The Miami Student. Craziest part? Zach went to the same college and we literally knew the same people, went to the same bars, and had classes in the same buildings. We are pretty sure we crossed paths at some point...

Upon graduating, I worked for The Cleveland Cavaliers and then decided it wasn't the right job for me. I worked full-time at a tanning salon while I job searched, and then worked as a Client Service Coordinator for 13 months before moving to upstate New York. 


I have two kids and stay at home with them due to childcare costs and the inability to find a job other than food and retail. I am not downplaying these jobs in any way, shape, or form; I just personally do not want to work in either of these industries at this point in time for a few different reasons. Between childcare costs, the schedule of these jobs, and location, it's just not worth it for me. If we didn't have children, it would be a completely different story. 


I strongly dislike this lifestyle. A lot of military wives will tell you how much they love it and how great it is and that's totally fine, to each their own. It's gotten a lot better now that my husband has switched jobs but when he was in the infantry, it just plain sucked. I felt like he was treated like shit and he certainly deserved better than that. I'm not a big fan of feeling trapped and that I'm being controlled by puppet strings and even though I'm not the one in the military, myself and my children are still affected by what my husband can and can't do. Or where we can live. Or when we can take vacations and for how long. 



So far, we've been stationed at Fort Drum, New York and are currently stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. We should be finishing out his contract here and then we hope to move back to Cleveland, Ohio! 

If there's one thing I wish people knew about military spouses is that we didn't know what we were getting into. No one can possibly know the toll a deployment can take on the solider or the spouse left behind. No one can speak for someone who is forced to spend their entire pregnancy away from their spouse, have them there for the delivery, and then ship them back to war a few days later. No military spouse is prepared to look their child in the eye and explain that mommy or daddy won't be coming home for a long time. 

Seeing my pregnant belly for the first time


While we didn't choose this life, we chose the man we love. And he chose this life. Marrying someone in the military was probably the most unselfish thing I ever did, because for the duration that he's in the army, I come second. His job and his duty to this country comes first. 

Not all military wives are bad people, or dramatic, or looking for handouts and attention. We love our soldiers and we are proud of what they do and who they are. I don't define myself as an army wife; I'm a wife, and my husband happens to be a soldier. 


 If you want to join in, tell us a little about yourself, where the military has taken you thus far, and one thing you wish people knew about being a military spouse! Thank you for linking up with us... I can't wait to "meet" all of you!



 
"To learn life lessons from a student, animal lover and self-proclaimed wine connoisseur, go on and visit The Eclectic Vet (Student)”

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A lump in my throat and an empty feeling in my heart.

Saying "see ya later" to family never gets easier; whether it's saying "see ya later"to my parents or saying it to Zach, I always begin to feel the emotions far before the actual goodbye happens. The build up is the worst; you sit around and just wait for the goodbye to come, knowing that although you would like to prolong it, you can't. Yesterday was no exception. 

We were cleaning and hanging out most of the day and I began to feel that lump in my throat. You know, the one where you're trying not to cry but you can feel it about to happen. Yep, that one. I was picking up some clothes in my room and I could hear my mom and Paislee "talking" in her nursery. I walked in and saw my mom standing over her crib just smiling and talking to her. And it broke my heart. I picked P up, went into my room to nurse her, and just cried. 

I feel guilty that I live so far away and they are missing out on so many "firsts" of hers and Nolan's. Thank goodness for technology because it makes it easier, but it doesn't make up for the fact that by the time we actually move home (God willing Z or I can find a job there), the kids will be 3 and 5. And that just blows my mind. 

But for now, there's really nothing we can do about the fact that we are miles and miles apart, except take pictures, document everything, and cherish the time we spend together when we can visit. 

So here's a little recap of how our weekend went :) 

My parents arrived late Wednesday night and of course Nolan was still awake. We were all pretty tired though so we said a quick hello and an even quicker goodnight! 

We woke up Thursday and headed to Monkey Joe's; it's pretty much a Chuck E Cheese mixed with inflatables and Nolan loves it. My parents watched Nolan while I ran some errands and it felt so weird to be out and about by myself! 

I also headed to hip hop Thursday night and let me tell you, I'm in love! Can't wait to go back this week! The rest of the night consisted of pizza, beer, and couch time :) 


If you follow me on Instagram, you know I got my hair did Friday morning! I was SO excited it was finally time; homegirl's roots were pretty terrible and I had been dying to get some fun color in these golden locks. I have hot pink extensions that match these new highlights but there's something about actually having them in my hair that makes me feel fierce. 

Saturday morning we headed to Nolan's gym class and of course, little Miss P was dressed to the 9's in one of her Easter outfits. I mean, I couldn't help myself with this neon pink tutu...


We headed downtown to the market but because it was so chilly, there wasn't much to do this week. So we headed to lunch instead, and if anything, we got this gem of a picture out of it. 


My dad is a big fisherman and he couldn't wait to head to the pond! Unfortunately, we didn't catch a single fish, but I did catch some great pictures of all of my men in action :)


Easter morning took a lot longer than I thought it would because Nolan decided he needed to open every egg as he found it.. and the Easter Bunny left a crap ton of eggs. But he was super excited to find some eggs with money in them and couldn't wait to "go shopping at the Dollar Store". And then Paislee passed out on my Dad and it was pretty much the sweetest thing ever. 


After brunch, we headed downtown to take some pictures since we always seem to get too busy and forget to do it. We attempted to stop at a flea market/antique mall but it looked like a scene out of a horror movie and kept driving. But we had a great time taking pictures and walking the river... and the sun finally decided to come out! 


And how handsome is my husband? Yum.


We spent most of Monday cleaning the house, playing outside, and just chatting about life. We grabbed a quick frozen yogurt before they left, which was much needed considering it was 84 degrees out!


I miss my parents like crazy but just feel so blessed to have them in my life. I can't wait to head home in June and spend time on the lake with them. 

How was everyone else's weekend? How do you deal with saying "see ya later" to loved ones?

 
"To learn life lessons from a student, animal lover and self-proclaimed wine connoisseur, go on and visit The Eclectic Vet (Student)”

Monday, April 21, 2014

5 simple ways to make your home a healthy home.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #WalgreensOlogy


In addition to being a mom, I would also classify myself as a zookeeper. Between two kids, two dogs, and my husband, I'm always taking care of someone in someway. I've been pretty crazy lately and one of the things I wanted to focus on freeing myself from this spring, is stress. 

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By making a few simple changes around the house, I will be able to worry less and keep my stress levels down this spring. 


1. Clean frequently: As a busy mom, I don't always have time to clean the house as often as I would like. However, I do try and clean busy surfaces or the main rooms as much as I possibly can. Things like the remote or door knobs can carry a lot of germs and it's important to remember to disinfect those too! 

2. Cook with fresh ingredients: Try to visit local markets or farms for fresh produce whenever possible. Keeping a supply of fresh fruits and veggies on hand will help you eat healthier and feel better. This will also keep illnesses at bay :) Drinking plenty of water goes along with this as well! 

3. Try new products: I'll be the first to admit, I'm not exactly environmentally conscious. But as soon as I had children, I worried about the products I was using and how it would affect them and their health. When I heard about the exclusive Walgreens line, Ology, I was curious to see how their effectiveness measured up to the products I usually use. I want to keep my home a healthy home, and wondered if this would be the answer. 

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The Ology line offers a variety of different products and these are the few that I sampled. I was a little concerned about the bottle and package sizes, but the liquids seem to be heavily concentrated and therefore, only requiring a small amount to do the job. The paper products are also 100% Tree Free which I thought was pretty cool as well :)

As someone who has used the same types of cleaning products for as long as I can remember, I was a little apprehensive to try something new. But my children are the most important thing in my life and I thought if I can help keep them healthy by using products that are free from 10 harmful chemicals and toxins, why not try? Because I haven't always "cared" about the environment, it felt really good to purchase these items and protect my family by doing so. 

4. Wash hands frequently. Warmer weather means more time at playgrounds, pools, beaches, parks, etc. Although we remember to wash our hands frequently in the winter because we're cooped up and germs are easily spread, it's also important to remember how many germs are passed around in public places during the warmer months as well. Keep hand sanitizer in your diaper bag, purse, backpack, etc. You never know when you will need it! 

5. Exercise. One of the best parts about spring and summer is the ability to play outside and get a workout in without even realizing it! Whether you take hikes, walks, ride bikes, jog with a stroller or simply run around the playground, take advantage of the nice weather! Staying active will keep you less stressed and healthier in the long run. 

As a parent, I've learned I can't control everything. Kids are going to touch and eat things that unfortunately, I can't stop them from doing. If I can at least control the products I'm using or what I'm feeding them, I feel as though I'm fulfilling my social responsibility and motherly duties :) 


Have you used any products like this? How do you keep your home a healthy home?


 
"To learn life lessons from a student, animal lover and self-proclaimed wine connoisseur, go on and visit The Eclectic Vet (Student)”