Back on Land

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


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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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Embracing Fall

At one time I dreaded the coming of Fall. It was like a very final good-bye to my favorite season, to late nights and lazy days, and to the warmth of the summer sun. But over the past few years I am finally learning to enjoy crisp mornings, changing of the leaves, and chilly nights. I am embracing Fall.

In my normal fashion, last year I went overboard, trying to decorate every flat space in my house, cramming in ALL THE ACTIVITIES, and generally “FALL-ing” my family to death. This year, I’m trying to take it easy. I’m trying to remember that we still have a killer schedule of school days, swim team, and too many meetings. I’m trying … but I do have a few things I’d love to share!

First, my Bucket List. You know I love a good list, and this one is all about Fall fun! I tried to keep it simple, mostly things we always do with only one new addition (the pumpkin party), and I’ve already given myself permission to skip anything that simply doesn’t fit in the schedule. It’s all about balance, right? (Right click and save if you’d like to print your own! Should print fine up to 8×10.)

Bucket List 14

Second, I made this fun wreath for my front door. I used a repurposed-100-times foam wreath, some dollar store leaves and flowers, some sparkly leaves from World Market, and burlap and berry picks from Michaels! What do you think?

Fall Wreath

I’m also working on a little mantel decorating! After Christmas last year I vowed never to decorate the mantel again because no one ever spent time in this part of the house, but recently I swapped the too-small living room furniture with our much-too-big-for-that-space dining room table. Now I happily work in that room every single day, and I’m looking forward to having something pretty to look at!

Fall Mantle

(It’s a work in progress. I have a giant mantle, stark white walls, and very high ceilings as well as no sense of decorating-style to contend with …)

Last but not least … the scent of Fall. I followed this recipe for Fall Potpourri, and it smells AMAZING! You really have to try it! My little helper said it smells like “love and heaven.” (Melt …)

Fall Potpourri

 

Focusing on the sights, smells, food, and fun of Fall has been key in helping me to embrace this season, and I hope it will help in embracing the weather as well. It seems that official Fall brought cloudy skies and buckets of rain along with it, but by surrounding myself with pretty things, “love and heaven” smells, and the promise of fun days ahead, I hope to find at least a few of those clouds have a silver lining!

What are your favorite things about Fall? Any fun activities, crafts, or foods, you’d care to share?

I don’t really do tutorials (I have Pinterest for that), but I will be sharing pictures of how our Bucket List activities come out over on Facebook. Make sure to click over and like my page to keep up with our Fall fun! Also follow Back on Land on Pinterest and share your fun Fall ideas with me!

 


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Embracing Fall

At one time I dreaded the coming of Fall. It was like a very final good-bye to my favorite season, to late nights and lazy days, and to the warmth of the summer sun. But over the past few years I am finally learning to enjoy crisp mornings, changing of the leaves, and chilly nights. I am embracing Fall.

In my normal fashion, last year I went overboard, trying to decorate every flat space in my house, cramming in ALL THE ACTIVITIES, and generally “FALL-ing” my family to death. This year, I’m trying to take it easy. I’m trying to remember that we still have a killer schedule of school days, swim team, and too many meetings. I’m trying … but I do have a few things I’d love to share!

First, my Bucket List. You know I love a good list, and this one is all about Fall fun! I tried to keep it simple, mostly things we always do with only one new addition (the pumpkin party), and I’ve already given myself permission to skip anything that simply doesn’t fit in the schedule. It’s all about balance, right? (Right click and save if you’d like to print your own! Should print fine up to 8×10.)

Bucket List 14

Second, I made this fun wreath for my front door. I used a repurposed-100-times foam wreath, some dollar store leaves and flowers, some sparkly leaves from World Market, and burlap and berry picks from Michaels! What do you think?

Fall Wreath

I’m also working on a little mantel decorating! After Christmas last year I vowed never to decorate the mantel again because no one ever spent time in this part of the house, but recently I swapped the too-small living room furniture with our much-too-big-for-that-space dining room table. Now I happily work in that room every single day, and I’m looking forward to having something pretty to look at!

Fall Mantle

(It’s a work in progress. I have a giant mantle, stark white walls, and very high ceilings as well as no sense of decorating-style to contend with …)

Last but not least … the scent of Fall. I followed this recipe for Fall Potpourri, and it smells AMAZING! You really have to try it! My little helper said it smells like “love and heaven.” (Melt …)

Fall Potpourri

 

Focusing on the sights, smells, food, and fun of Fall has been key in helping me to embrace this season, and I hope it will help in embracing the weather as well. It seems that official Fall brought cloudy skies and buckets of rain along with it, but by surrounding myself with pretty things, “love and heaven” smells, and the promise of fun days ahead, I hope to find at least a few of those clouds have a silver lining!

What are your favorite things about Fall? Any fun activities, crafts, or foods, you’d care to share?

I don’t really do tutorials (I have Pinterest for that), but I will be sharing pictures of how our Bucket List activities come out over on Facebook. Make sure to click over and like my page to keep up with our Fall fun! Also follow Back on Land on Pinterest and share your fun Fall ideas with me!

 


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I Won’t Let the Rain Win Anymore

I live in Washington, and the rumors are true. This really is a rainy place! From October to May (on a good year) we see more clouds than sun and more rain boots than sneakers than anywhere I’ve ever lived before, and it gets to me. In a big, big way. For four winters running, I have spent the better part of the season grouching and complaining about the rain, the lack of sun, and the general crappiness of the weather. For four years running, I have huddled inside my home and refused to get out unless necessary. For four years running, I have let the rain win. But not anymore.

I Won't Let the Rain Win Anymore

This may be our last winter in Washington, and I am determined not to let the weather get me down so I’m doing what I do best. I’m making a plan!

I started by making a list of what bothers me about the rain. At first this seemed simple. It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. It’s true, but I really needed to get to the root of it, and this is what I came up with.

  1. I miss the sunshine; I get moody when it’s cloudy and dark.
  2. I hate wet shoes tracking wet muck into my house.
  3. I hate feeling like I’m stuck in my house because of the weather because …
  4. I hate getting wet climbing in/out of the car and puddle jumping across parking lots EVERYWHERE I GO.

 

Of course, as much as I tried, the next few numbers always came out “It sucks. It sucks. It sucks,” but I think these first few sum up the reality of the situation. I hate the darkness and the wetness, but now I have a plan.

Step 1: Create a sunny place. I need a “sunny” spot, a brightly lit place I can retreat to when the clouds are getting me down, a spot to read or facebook or just sit with a snack and soak up the light. I’ve decided Alli’s TV area (formerly known as the dining room) is the best spot. It has a comfy couch and is already pretty well lit (by a terribly ugly 1980’s chandelier), but I’m also ordering this sad lamp.

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Many of my friends swear by SAD lamps, and though I’ve scoffed at them in years past, this year I’m giving it a try. I also have a download of nothing but ocean sounds that I really enjoy, and a few beachy books downloaded on my Kindle. Just picturing me sitting by my SAD lamp, listening to the lovely ocean waves, and devouring a few summer romances makes me giggle, but if it helps me win this season, I’m okay with it.

Step Two: Stay as dry as possible. As stupid as it sounds, since living in Washington I’ve never bought a raincoat for myself. Totally stupid, right? I don’t like wearing jackets much anyways, and buying a raincoat has always seemed like a concession to me. However in order to stay dry this year I’m already on the hunt for the best rain gear I can afford for everyone in my family. The kids have had various jackets with varying degrees of rain protection, but this year I am on a mission. I want to stay dry. My oldest swears by her North Face jacket, but spending that amount times five again makes me want to cry. I’m on the lookout for sales and deals, folks, so if you are local and have info for me, let me know! I’m also contemplating rain boots. I’m not much of a boot wearer, but I think I hate wet feet more than boots so I’ll probably give it a shot.

I’ve also ordered new indoor rugs to go by the front and back doors. If the people living in my house don’t learn to take their shoes off before they track in on my carpet, there may be a few less North Face jackets to buy …

Step Three: Find dry activities. I hate getting stuck inside (even with the promise of my sunny spot), and I hate going places and getting wet walking to and from. My plan for this is to find activities where I won’t possible get wet. So far my list is short … There’s a local grocery store and a museum in Seattle we all love that both have covered parking. There is a pool on base that we all really like, and even though it doesn’t have covered parking, well … it’s a pool. We’d be getting wet anyways, right? That’s about all I’ve got so far, but I’m on the hunt. I know I also need to invest in a GREAT umbrella since not all activities will come with perfect covered parking. Once again, I’m open to suggestions for either.

Step Four: Change My Attitude. This will be the toughest of all. I know that in order to win this season, I also have to embrace it. I need to learn to at least like the rain, acknowledge all the good things about it, and accept all the negatives in a “This is just how it is; suck it up and move on, Jodi!” kind of way. I have never let anything EVER beat me like I’ve allowed this rainy season to do, and I won’t let it win one more season.

I guess the point of this post is that I’m tired of losing this weather game, and I’m tired of losing almost nine months of the year as concession. I’m tired of being stuck inside, and I’m tired of being unhappy inside and out, and for me the first step is acknowledging the problem and creating a plan.

Do you have any tips for me? Raingear or sunny spot suggestions? Or just ideas of won’t-get-wet activities? How do you make the rain a less miserable season to live in?

 

 


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Sink, Survive, or Thrive: Thriver’s Guilt

I had a completely different post in mind on Monday. It was the sad story of a blah day of nothingness that really brought me down, but then Tuesday happened … and it was GREAT! Wednesday was AWESOME, and Thursday and Friday just kept getting better!!! WOOHOO, right?!?

Sink, Survive, or Thrive

Then last weekend, while emailing my sailor all the fun details of our amazing week, I had a sad little moment of doubt. Should I really be emailing him this? Is it wrong to tell him how much fun we’re having without him? Will it bother him? Will it hurt his feelings? The thoughts began to tumble and roll with no end in sight, and I went to bed that night wondering …

Is really okay to thrive while my sailor is at sea?

Although I had a moment of hesitation, I know the answer, and the answer is a resounding YES!!! Is is more than okay to THRIVE while your sailor is at sea; in fact it’s the best thing you can do!!!

First,THRIVING IS GOOD FOR YOU. We do our best work when we are happy. We are better parents, friends, and co-workers when we are happy. We are more giving and more kind when we are truly happy, and the world just seems a little shinier when we are happy.

Second, THRIVING IS GOOD FOR YOUR SAILOR. Our sailors have important jobs, and they need to focus on them 100%. Who will do a better job at sea: a sailor who worries over his spouse everyday or a sailor who proudly knows his spouse is kicking butt and taking names?!? That second guy, of course, and that’s who we need showing up to work each day on a submarine!

Finally, THRIVING IS GOOD FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP. It’s as simple as 1 + 1 = 2. A happier YOU plus a happier SAILOR equals a happier relationship. It’s really a no brainer!

Now having said all that … I don’t thrive everyday. Just last week I had a blah day of nothingness that really brought me down, and I told Josh all about it. I told him I was bored and sad and missing him like crazy. I know my sailor, and I know that probably bothered him. I also know that my sailor knows me well enough to know that those feelings are temporary and that as usual I will work hard the next day to pick myself up and make every effort to thrive again.

And I will tell him all about that as well, so that he can thrive, too!


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Sink, Survive, or Thrive: Week 1

Last week was a bit rough. My oven broke, my new dog is STILL pooping on the carpet, and oh yeah … I freaking miss my husband. Despite all that, today I choose to thrive.

Sink, Survive, or Thrive

I’ve been Navy wife for a long time, and I’ve been through more patrols than I’d like to count (though the hubs likes to remind this is number 14). Over time I’ve noticed a few trends.

  1. I cope better when I’m happy. Duh. Patrol is easiest when you’re happy, right? Of course, but what I mean is when I am already happy, disappointments, let downs, or struggles are easier to handle. If I wake up in a good mood, enjoy a great cup of coffee, and get everyone to school dressed, prepared, and on time, a flat tire on the way home – as much as it sucks – is one bad thing in a day full of pretty darn good. Whereas if I wake up late, run out of coffee filters, and run late for everything, that flat tire is going to end with me shaking my fists at the heavens and yelling curse words at Big Navy.
  2. I’m happy when I’m in control of things. This is another “duh” if you know me, amiright? When I have a clear vision for the day including a to do list, a schedule, and a plan, I feel in control, and once again, when I feel in control of most things a few “out of control” moments are easier to manage.
  3. I’m in control when I plan to be in control. My very best days begin with a good cup of coffee and clean sheet of paper. I make a list of any housework I need to do (dishes, laundry, etc), lists to the side if I need to pick things up at the store, and a list of appointments (from preschool drop-off to FRG meetings to swim meets). I check things off as the day goes by, and by the end of the day I have a visual reminder that I’m getting it done. On the other hand, if I have no plan, things get missed/forgotten/messed up, and by the end of the day, all I have to show for it is a bad mood.

 

I guess what I’m saying is that a big part of thriving is choosing to thrive. You have to decide how to make yourself happy, and do that with purpose. Your happy make not come in the same way mine does. You may not need control and lists and schedules. Maybe you need free time. Maybe you need music. Maybe you need a weekly coffee date with friends. The point is take stock of what makes you happy and do that thing often. Make a conscious effort to be happy, and you will thrive.

Last night I set my coffee maker up in advance set I could wake up to the aroma of my favorite brew. I left my favorite notebook, my calendar, and a new pen next to my laptop beside my favorite chair. I put away the last load of laundry before I feel asleep. I am ready for the day, and I already feel great. Bring it on, world!

Because today I choose to thrive.

-Jodi

 

 

 


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Danger! Danger! Get Out of the House!!!

I have a little story to tell you about a very seasoned Navy wife whose first patrol after shore duty was a complete and total disaster. This Navy wife, living at a duty station she’d quickly grown to hate, made the subconscious decision to sit in her family room forever with nothing but the internet and trashy reality TV to keep her company. She stopped leaving the house except to buy groceries and pick up the occasional Big Mac.

She had three children. The two oldest went out to school each day and then came home again to sit in the family room with her. The third was quite young, and she simply crawled and then toddled and then walked around and around the family room, confined to the space to which her mother had confined herself.

You might think that this life filled with nothing was not very conducive to finding friends, making memories, or even living, and you would be correct. It wasn’t a life, and she wasn’t happy leading it. In fact she was quite sad. She missed her friends “back home” and wished everyday that she had a reason to get dressed, somewhere to go, and someone to see when she arrived.

Luckily, the very seasoned Navy wife accidentally found an out, Mother Nature provided some much needed sunshine, and her self-imposed confinement came to an end. Summertime, a class called Compass, and her children’s cries to GET OUT saved her, but she vowed never to forget the feelings of sadness and isolation of those first months and her own later bewilderment at how even a seasoned spouse like herself could get sucked into such a painful cycle.

Today she writes this blog called Back on Land, and she hopes that if you are reading this and you identify with her self-confinement, that you will see the error of her ways and get out of your house. She knows it seems easier said than done. She knows the not leaving may seem much easier than heading out into a world you feeling like you’re saving yourself from. She also knows how much happier she is now in the outside world, and she wants to share a few tips for finding your own happy in the outside world.

  1. Take a shower and get dressed … right now. Yoga pants won’t cut it. Real clothes are necessary in the real world.
  2. Get the kids up and ready, too, if you have them.
  3. Get in your car and go.

 

It can be that simple.* Get. out. of. your. house. There are a million places in the world better for you than the prison your house can become. Find a playground for your kids to play at and play with them. Explore a local park and walk a trail or two. Go to a lake or a beach, and walk along the waterline. Look for an outdoor market. Walk the sidewalks of your city and window shop. Pack a picnic basket and a big blanket and find a shady spot to lunch. Bring a book, find a tree, read and repeat.The gist here is GET OUTSIDE and MOVE. Fresh air, sunshine, and a little exercise can be a great jump-start to your dead battery, and sometimes a little jump-start is exactly what you need to get your engine going!

This very seasoned Navy wife I know. I’ve been there, and I hope to see you outside again very soon.

 

mil1source

*This seasoned Navy wife also recognizes that for some people this self-confinement is more than just a case of being sad. Depression is real and certainly requires more than her “get some sunshine and take a walk” approach. There are many resources for military spouses who are affected by despression, but for now I’ll throw out one that is available and accessible to all military spouses: Military OneSource