Back on Land

He deploys, and I make a life back on land.


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SIX Practical Tips for Choosing a Navy Ball Gown

Here it is, folks. The post you’ve all been waiting for. Fashion advice from Jodi at Back on Land. I’m clearly a guru in this field …

SIX Practical Tips for Choosing a Navy Ball Gown

Or maybe not … But I do have almost two dozen Navy, Submarine, and Khaki Balls under my belt, and I have seen some pretty “special” outfits on display so I do have a few tips to share.

{TIP ONE} Bend, twist, sit, and jump. When trying on potential gowns, bend, twist, sit, and jump. If you bend over and anything falls out the top or peeks out from behind, this is not your dress. If you twist your body side to side and suddenly see parts more often covered by a bra, this is not your dress. If you sit down and the chair makes your bare butt cold, this is not your dress. If you jump around a bit and ANYTHING pops or peeks, this is not your dress.

{TIP TWO} Your “look” should not be defined by your boobs. If you try on a dress, and the first words that pop into your mind are “BOOBIES!” or “TATAS!” or “LOOK AT THOSE!!!”, this is not your dress. Think classy. Think appropriate. Leave a little to the imagination.

{TIP THREE} Don’t forget to shop for your unmentionables (that I am now mentioning). Pantylines, visible bra straps, and doing the strapless-dress-tuck-n-pull all night are all just gross and can ruin even the loveliest gown. Do yourself a favor, and try EVERYTHING on beforehand, not just the dress, and don’t be afraid to splurge a little on the RIGHT support for your look.

{TIP FOUR} You don’t have to break the bank. You CAN. It’s pretty easy, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and you SHOULDN’T. Check the sales. Check stores like Ross or TJ Maxx. Checkout consignment shops! The Ombudsmen in my area even sponsor a dress exchange before the major events where if you donate a dress, you can take a new-to-you dress home for free! If there’s nothing like that in your area, consider hosting on of your own. Most people don’t wear their dresses more than a once or twice so an exchange is a wonderful way for everyone to get a great dress without spending a dime!

{TIP FIVE} Remember WHERE you’re going. Are you attending the Navy Ball or the Prom? If you answered Navy Ball, then keep in mind this will be an evening of tradition and class. Dress and behave accordingly. (If you answered “Prom,” you are clearly on the wrong blog. Press the little X at the top right immediately …) A simple rule of thumb is to “dress to the uniform.” If your sailor is wearing Service Dress Blues, you should dress formally. A sundress in not a formal gown, and nothing from Victoria Secret is a formal gown.

{TIP SIX} Enjoy the Ball! Military balls are a special tradition, something not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. Take it all in. The beautiful gowns, the handsome men in uniform, the ceremonies, the dinner, and the dancing. Take pictures! Take pictures! Take pictures! Choose your gown wisely so you’re not worried about a “wardrobe malfunction” and dance the night away!

I honestly believe that every military spouse should go to a Ball at least once. It’s a part of the milspouse experience! Just do it right. Attend with respect for the occasion. Dress appropriately, and have a great time!

 

 

 


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SIX Practical Tips for Choosing a Navy Ball Gown

Here it is, folks. The post you’ve all been waiting for. Fashion advice from Jodi at Back on Land. I’m clearly a guru in this field …

SIX Practical Tips for Choosing a Navy Ball Gown

Or maybe not … But I do have almost two dozen Navy, Submarine, and Khaki Balls under my belt, and I have seen some pretty “special” outfits on display so I do have a few tips to share.

{TIP ONE} Bend, twist, sit, and jump. When trying on potential gowns, bend, twist, sit, and jump. If you bend over and anything falls out the top or peeks out from behind, this is not your dress. If you twist your body side to side and suddenly see parts more often covered by a bra, this is not your dress. If you sit down and the chair makes your bare butt cold, this is not your dress. If you jump around a bit and ANYTHING pops or peeks, this is not your dress.

{TIP TWO} Your “look” should not be defined by your boobs. If you try on a dress, and the first words that pop into your mind are “BOOBIES!” or “TATAS!” or “LOOK AT THOSE!!!”, this is not your dress. Think classy. Think appropriate. Leave a little to the imagination.

{TIP THREE} Don’t forget to shop for your unmentionables (that I am now mentioning). Pantylines, visible bra straps, and doing the strapless-dress-tuck-n-pull all night are all just gross and can ruin even the loveliest gown. Do yourself a favor, and try EVERYTHING on beforehand, not just the dress, and don’t be afraid to splurge a little on the RIGHT support for your look.

{TIP FOUR} You don’t have to break the bank. You CAN. It’s pretty easy, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and you SHOULDN’T. Check the sales. Check stores like Ross or TJ Maxx. Checkout consignment shops! The Ombudsmen in my area even sponsor a dress exchange before the major events where if you donate a dress, you can take a new-to-you dress home for free! If there’s nothing like that in your area, consider hosting on of your own. Most people don’t wear their dresses more than a once or twice so an exchange is a wonderful way for everyone to get a great dress without spending a dime!

{TIP FIVE} Remember WHERE you’re going. Are you attending the Navy Ball or the Prom? If you answered Navy Ball, then keep in mind this will be an evening of tradition and class. Dress and behave accordingly. (If you answered “Prom,” you are clearly on the wrong blog. Press the little X at the top right immediately …) A simple rule of thumb is to “dress to the uniform.” If your sailor is wearing Service Dress Blues, you should dress formally. A sundress in not a formal gown, and nothing from Victoria Secret is a formal gown.

{TIP SIX} Enjoy the Ball! Military balls are a special tradition, something not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. Take it all in. The beautiful gowns, the handsome men in uniform, the ceremonies, the dinner, and the dancing. Take pictures! Take pictures! Take pictures! Choose your gown wisely so you’re not worried about a “wardrobe malfunction” and dance the night away!

I honestly believe that every military spouse should go to a Ball at least once. It’s a part of the milspouse experience! Just do it right. Attend with respect for the occasion. Dress appropriately, and have a great time!

 

 

 


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Homesick … Milspouse Style

This is a re-post from blog long ago and far away. 

Homesick ... Milspouse Style

Just before Christmas it snowed in Connecticut. It was one of those beautiful, fluffy, toss-the-kids-in-their-snowsuits-and-then-in-a-snowdrift kind of snows. All my friends there posted pictures of sledding and snowmen all over Facebook, and it made me sooooo homesick. I posted something along those lines on Facebook.

A friend who lives here commented, “But I thought you hated snow!?!”

You see, when it snowed here in Washington recently I just grouched for days. I didn’t want the kids to miss school. I don’t like cleaning the puddles on the floor. I don’t like the slushy mess left behind when it inevitably begins raining on the same day as it snows. I really do hate snow. It’s like the teacher from the old Frosty the Snowman movie says, “I like snow. I just want it to stay where it belongs, like in movies and in John Denver songs.”

I replied to my friend that the snow here is different. It really is, too. It’s wet and gloopy and not very fun. Then it rains making it into slush. Then it freezes overnight, and I am stuck in my house. Sounds fun, yes? NO! Connecticut snow is usually fluffy and light and fun for the kids to play. The snowplows there are phenomenal about taking care of the roads. Yay!

But last night, in a completely separate bout of homesickness, I realized something. I didn’t really like the snow in Connecticut either. I don’t like being cold and wet. I don’t like when my ears are so frozen they burn. I don’t like when my fingers are numb. I don’t like snow boots or wearing fourteen sweatshirts and five pairs of socks. I don’t like it at all.

So WHY in the hell does my friends’ Snow Day photography always make me homesick?

The answer came to me quite simply. As a Navy spouse, I can set up house anywhere you stick me. Tiny cramped apartment in Kings Bay? Been there! Two-story townhouse in Groton? Done that! House at the bottom of a hill in Washington? I’m there. I am a master at packing and unpacking. I have owned more curtain rods in more sizes than Wal-Mart. I have moved bookcases and nightstands from room to room to find each piece a spot, and I have bought and sold enough furniture to fill two houses.

But this house is not my home. As a military spouse, my home is the people in my life. Home is the best friend with whom you can watch (and ridicule) “Charlie and Lola”  for hours. Home is the friends who show up for a cookout on a moments notice every night for an entire summer. Home is the friend ready for coffee at midnight after a long shift at a crappy restaurant. Home is the people you can call at any hour, and before you can say, “I need you,” they intuitively say, “How can I help?” That is home to this military spouse. In Connecticut I was home. It isn’t the snow that made me homesick, but the people who posted about it. It isn’t the view of the ocean I miss so much as the people I viewed it with.

So today I am homesick. I miss my “home” in Connecticut. I miss my “home” that moved to Ohio. I miss my “home” that lives in Georgia. I miss my “home” that lives in Arkansas. I am a military spouse. I have homes all over the place, and today I am homesick for each and everyone one of you.


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Homesick … Milspouse Style

This is a re-post from blog long ago and far away. 

Homesick ... Milspouse Style

Just before Christmas it snowed in Connecticut. It was one of those beautiful, fluffy, toss-the-kids-in-their-snowsuits-and-then-in-a-snowdrift kind of snows. All my friends there posted pictures of sledding and snowmen all over Facebook, and it made me sooooo homesick. I posted something along those lines on Facebook.

A friend who lives here commented, “But I thought you hated snow!?!”

You see, when it snowed here in Washington recently I just grouched for days. I didn’t want the kids to miss school. I don’t like cleaning the puddles on the floor. I don’t like the slushy mess left behind when it inevitably begins raining on the same day as it snows. I really do hate snow. It’s like the teacher from the old Frosty the Snowman movie says, “I like snow. I just want it to stay where it belongs, like in movies and in John Denver songs.”

I replied to my friend that the snow here is different. It really is, too. It’s wet and gloopy and not very fun. Then it rains making it into slush. Then it freezes overnight, and I am stuck in my house. Sounds fun, yes? NO! Connecticut snow is usually fluffy and light and fun for the kids to play. The snowplows there are phenomenal about taking care of the roads. Yay!

But last night, in a completely separate bout of homesickness, I realized something. I didn’t really like the snow in Connecticut either. I don’t like being cold and wet. I don’t like when my ears are so frozen they burn. I don’t like when my fingers are numb. I don’t like snow boots or wearing fourteen sweatshirts and five pairs of socks. I don’t like it at all.

So WHY in the hell does my friends’ Snow Day photography always make me homesick?

The answer came to me quite simply. As a Navy spouse, I can set up house anywhere you stick me. Tiny cramped apartment in Kings Bay? Been there! Two-story townhouse in Groton? Done that! House at the bottom of a hill in Washington? I’m there. I am a master at packing and unpacking. I have owned more curtain rods in more sizes than Wal-Mart. I have moved bookcases and nightstands from room to room to find each piece a spot, and I have bought and sold enough furniture to fill two houses.

But this house is not my home. As a military spouse, my home is the people in my life. Home is the best friend with whom you can watch (and ridicule) “Charlie and Lola”  for hours. Home is the friends who show up for a cookout on a moments notice every night for an entire summer. Home is the friend ready for coffee at midnight after a long shift at a crappy restaurant. Home is the people you can call at any hour, and before you can say, “I need you,” they intuitively say, “How can I help?” That is home to this military spouse. In Connecticut I was home. It isn’t the snow that made me homesick, but the people who posted about it. It isn’t the view of the ocean I miss so much as the people I viewed it with.

So today I am homesick. I miss my “home” in Connecticut. I miss my “home” that moved to Ohio. I miss my “home” that lives in Georgia. I miss my “home” that lives in Arkansas. I am a military spouse. I have homes all over the place, and today I am homesick for each and everyone one of you.


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I’m Sick of Your I’m Sorry’s

I’ve heard it far too many times from too many spouses who are just doing their best holding down the fort during deployment. I’m sorry my house is so messy. I’m sorry we were late. I’m sorry I’m just so darn tired.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Well, I’M SORRY, but just stop it! I’m sick of your I’m sorry’s because … you have nothing to be sorry for.

I'm Sick of Your I'm Sorry's

I was recently sitting with a spouse who apologized for the late hour, the messy house, and a litany of other imagined offenses, and then she said, “I don’t know what to do. I’m just trying to hold down the fort until he comes home.”

My heart just broke for her. It wasn’t enough that she was in a tough moment. She was also beating herself up over a few dirty dishes and a basket of laundry.

I turned to her and said, “Ummm … are the kids doing alright?”

“Oh yeah!” she nodded.

“Is everybody eating well?”

“Of course!” she grinned.

“Are you halfway caught up on laundry and dishes and still getting homework done and wrangling all those happy babies?”

Her smile broke a little then and she said, “Yes, but not like if he was here…”

Imagine that! The work of two people isn’t done perfectly when only one person is doing it!!! What a revelation!

I said it to her, and I’ll say to you now. Stop being sorry for only being one person. Stop apologizing for your fort when it appears to me you’re holding it down just fine. Would the wash be caught up and the dishes put away if your sailor was home? Probably! It’s easier to do those things when the kids can bug someone else for a change! Would the broken dishwasher or the missing keys be a big deal if he was here? Probably not! Because two people working together usually have more success than just the one.

Sometimes we idealize our sailors because it seems that things just go more smoothly when they are home, but what we don’t realize is that WE are a PART of that smoothness. We are a part of the solutions. We are HALF of a whole, and when one half is missing, it stands to reason that things might not work out quite the same way.

Now don’t get me wrong … our sailors are pretty great. They come home from a long deployment and just jump right back into the mix, and it is wonderful when they can shoulder some of the burden that we’ve been carrying for so long.

But … I think we’re pretty great, too. I think we’re doing okay, and I think those pretty great sailors are pretty darn proud of everything we do and how we hold down these forts while they are gone.

And I’m sorry, but that’s nothing to be sorry about.

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6 Tips for Homecoming Day

The time has come.

You’ve waited for him and longed for him. You’ve written emails and waited endlessly for replies. You’ve sent all your love and two pounds of candy in a gallon ziploc bag twice (if you were lucky), but now the waiting is over. It’s almost here. HE’S almost here, and here are 6 Tips for Homecoming Day.

6 Tips for Homecoming Day2

  1. Find out if your sailor has first-day duty. It’s no fun to show up, dressed to the nines and smiling like a lovesick fool, only to find out your sailor isn’t leaving the boat today. A lot of sailors have duty the first day because SOMEONE has to continue the work, and that could mean you won’t even SEE him until tomorrow. Find out ahead of time and avoid the disappointment.
  2. Dress to impress … and to wait. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl even for homecomings, but I’ve seen some beautiful spouses, fiance’s, and girlfriends dressed better for homecoming than I did my wedding! If that’s your thing then I say go for it, but remember you WILL be waiting. Possibly for a really, really long time, and DEFINITELY in a large crowd of families. Maybe wear flats, bring heels. Bring a sweater in case it’s cold (or to stay covered up) and supplies to touch up hair and make-up. It may be a long day, but if you’re prepared, you can stay pretty as picture until you see your sailor!
  3. Be prepared. This is NOT the day to skip breakfast. This is not the day to wear brand new (read: not broken in) high heels. This is not the day to forget to charge your phone. Be prepared. Did I say that twice? I meant to say it three times. Be prepared.
  4. Bring your camera (if you are permitted). I have been celebrating homecomings for thirteen years, and I have photos from exactly ONE of them. It breaks my heart that all those years, all those memories, are only just that … memories. As I get older the details will fade, and there will be no way for my kids to remember them. Snap away! (Again, if you are permitted. Follow the rules, people!)
  5. Pay attention to your kids. Homecoming can be such a great time, but it can also be confusing and difficult for the kids. I remember watching Sydney run out to bus after bus at our first homecoming on this boat. She ran to greet each one for over five hours, and it nearly broke me watching her little heart break each time. I know it’s been a long patrol for you, too, but you still need to be the strong one for one more day.
  6. Savor the moments, even the ones that aren’t yours. Homecomings are just beautiful. Sit back and really see them. First timers so filled with longing. Last timers ready to move on to their next chapter. First time seeing a pregnant belly, or first time holding a brand new life. These moments, these memories, are what we will take with us. These are the reasons we do this.

 Do you have a tip to share in the comments? Fill in the blank: I always ____________ for homecoming, and I will NEVER _______________ for homecoming again. I’d love to hear your homecoming stories in the comments!!!

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You Might Be a Sub Spouse If …

Yes, we’re all military spouses, but some things are kind of particular to submarine spouses. Give me an “AMEN!” if you feel me …

You Might Be a Sub Spouse if

 

  1. Sometimes hearing “You’ve got mail!” is better than hearing “It’s a girl!” or “You’ve just won …”
  2. Then you get your hopes dashed when it isn’t sailor mail but rather a JC Penney sale flyer and two ads to drugs that will NOT enhance your particular anatomy (and you keep click refreshing no matter how many times this happens …)You've Got Mail
  3. Saying the word “duty” DOESN’T even make you giggle anymore …
  4. When someone speaks of homecoming in public, even in loose terms, your heart beats like a hammer, you begin to sweat profusely, and you might even blurt out “OPSEC!!!!”opsec
  5. You know phone trees aren’t just for the PTA anymore.
  6. You can squeeze two magazines, a box of Cheezits, a clear container of homemade cookies, two pounds of candy, one pound of beef jerky, 26 letters, and 200 4×6 photos into a one gallon maildrop bag and STILL close it without using tape.
  7. You get a little jealous when you see signage, news coverage, and weeks of hoopla every time a carrier returns to port.

    stennis

    We still love you, Stennis! We’re just a little jealous … 😦

  8. You want to scream when another military spouse talks about Skyping with his/her service member.
    skype
  9. You’ve spent $20, $40, $60, or maybe 100 bucks to win a First Kiss.
  10. The very sight of a submarine, THAT submarine, can be simultaneously majestic, humbling, heartbreaking, and joyous … oh, and DAMN SEXY!!!maine

God, I love my sailor!

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