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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My (Insert State Here) Best Friend

I’m bringing a few of my favorite posts from old blogs over here. If you see a few repeats … well, I hope you enjoy them again. If you’ve never read them, where the heck have you been all this time? 😉

Moving every few years, starting from scratch in a strange state/town/neighborhood, spending weeks searching for just the right school in the right neighborhood, and praying you can find (and afford) a house nearby … there are more than a few drawbacks to being a Navy wife.

One of the worst, though, is leaving behind friends that you’ve created strong bonds with, making new friends in a new place, and knowing that at some point that this friendship, too, will be tested by a long distance move. There’s no other way to describe it than it sucks. But …

Being a Navy wife, moving around the country, and creating relationships in each new home can also be a blessing. As much as I miss my friends faraway, I also count myself quite lucky to have close friends scattered around the country. It’s kind of cool to be able to say that I have friendships “from sea to shining sea.”

heartmap

Just a few days ago, for instance, I got a surprise package in the mail from my Gerogia Best Friend, Nicole.  I met Nicole twelve years ago when were both new to the whole navy life and waiting tables at Shoney’s. Her husband was making his first patrols, and I had just moved in with my sailor and was raising a one-year-old. We instantly bonded over coffee and cranky customers. We’ve had our share of disagreements and have sometimes gone months without talking, but I always know she’s  there (and boy, I hope she knows the same of me!).

The package contained a coffee mug (of course!) and a ball ornament, both decorated to match the place we met and became friends. It also contained a letter of hello’s and a reminder of many nights spent post-shift swilling coffee and laughing like hyenas at the all-night Waffle House across the street. It was amazing to be reminded of those good ole days, and now every time I pour a cupful into that amazing little mug, I’ll be reminded of the good times there and that amazing girl I shared them with!

I also have two Connecticut Best Friends, Vici and Deanna. Vici was one of the very first people I met when I moved to Connecticut. As my husband and I trudged through the snow unloading our moving truck (with the help of some wonderful new neighbors, including her husband and son), she breezed up in a fabulous red wool coat and shared the best places to buy regular groceries (the commissary) and that the freshest fruits and veggies HAD to be purchased at the Big Y downtown. She was right on both counts, and a lifelong friendship began. Our friendship of now seven years has survived her moving away to Washington and back just in time for me to have a baby and then make my own cross country to move (to Washington no less)!

Deanna, another Connecticut Best Friend, came into my life via my favorite elementary school, Mary Morrisson, and my favorite job ever, teaching dance. We spent countless hours on various PTO activities and events and then even more hours in the dance studio. She was an amazing Dance Mom (nothing like those crazies on TV) and allowed me the pleasure of dancing with her very talented daughter! Deanna is the no-nonsense, hardworking, down-to-earth kind of gal that this world truly needs, and I cannot imagine what my time in Connecticut would have been like without her!

I also have an Ohio-Via-Connecticut Best Friend! Mardi’s husband retired and moved her away from me all the way to Ohio (gee, selfish much?!? lol), but she remains to this day my bestie!  There is no way to describe how much I love this lady who loves her friends more than her pina coladas, is the only person on the planet who understands and shares my obsession with Charlie and Lola, and would (and DID!) drive 8 hours to surprise me at my baby shower!

Sigh …

Yes, being a Navy wife has some downsides, months-long separations from my husband and a sometimes-scary lack of roots just to name a couple, but thank God for the other amazing Navy wives out there who I am so blessed to call my (insert state here) Best Friends!

 

 P.S. For those amazin’ ladies not listed, please know I love you so very much and agonized over this list, but as my word count crept higher and higher, I knew that keeping it short was the only answer. I love love love each and every wonderful friend I’ve made over the years, and while you may not see your name here, rest assured that you are included in the list in my heart!)


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My (Insert State Here) Best Friend

I’m bringing a few of my favorite posts from old blogs over here. If you see a few repeats … well, I hope you enjoy them again. If you’ve never read them, where the heck have you been all this time? 😉

Moving every few years, starting from scratch in a strange state/town/neighborhood, spending weeks searching for just the right school in the right neighborhood, and praying you can find (and afford) a house nearby … there are more than a few drawbacks to being a Navy wife.

One of the worst, though, is leaving behind friends that you’ve created strong bonds with, making new friends in a new place, and knowing that at some point that this friendship, too, will be tested by a long distance move. There’s no other way to describe it than it sucks. But …

Being a Navy wife, moving around the country, and creating relationships in each new home can also be a blessing. As much as I miss my friends faraway, I also count myself quite lucky to have close friends scattered around the country. It’s kind of cool to be able to say that I have friendships “from sea to shining sea.”

heartmap

Just a few days ago, for instance, I got a surprise package in the mail from my Gerogia Best Friend, Nicole.  I met Nicole twelve years ago when were both new to the whole navy life and waiting tables at Shoney’s. Her husband was making his first patrols, and I had just moved in with my sailor and was raising a one-year-old. We instantly bonded over coffee and cranky customers. We’ve had our share of disagreements and have sometimes gone months without talking, but I always know she’s  there (and boy, I hope she knows the same of me!).

The package contained a coffee mug (of course!) and a ball ornament, both decorated to match the place we met and became friends. It also contained a letter of hello’s and a reminder of many nights spent post-shift swilling coffee and laughing like hyenas at the all-night Waffle House across the street. It was amazing to be reminded of those good ole days, and now every time I pour a cupful into that amazing little mug, I’ll be reminded of the good times there and that amazing girl I shared them with!

I also have two Connecticut Best Friends, Vici and Deanna. Vici was one of the very first people I met when I moved to Connecticut. As my husband and I trudged through the snow unloading our moving truck (with the help of some wonderful new neighbors, including her husband and son), she breezed up in a fabulous red wool coat and shared the best places to buy regular groceries (the commissary) and that the freshest fruits and veggies HAD to be purchased at the Big Y downtown. She was right on both counts, and a lifelong friendship began. Our friendship of now seven years has survived her moving away to Washington and back just in time for me to have a baby and then make my own cross country to move (to Washington no less)!

Deanna, another Connecticut Best Friend, came into my life via my favorite elementary school, Mary Morrisson, and my favorite job ever, teaching dance. We spent countless hours on various PTO activities and events and then even more hours in the dance studio. She was an amazing Dance Mom (nothing like those crazies on TV) and allowed me the pleasure of dancing with her very talented daughter! Deanna is the no-nonsense, hardworking, down-to-earth kind of gal that this world truly needs, and I cannot imagine what my time in Connecticut would have been like without her!

I also have an Ohio-Via-Connecticut Best Friend! Mardi’s husband retired and moved her away from me all the way to Ohio (gee, selfish much?!? lol), but she remains to this day my bestie!  There is no way to describe how much I love this lady who loves her friends more than her pina coladas, is the only person on the planet who understands and shares my obsession with Charlie and Lola, and would (and DID!) drive 8 hours to surprise me at my baby shower!

Sigh …

Yes, being a Navy wife has some downsides, months-long separations from my husband and a sometimes-scary lack of roots just to name a couple, but thank God for the other amazing Navy wives out there who I am so blessed to call my (insert state here) Best Friends!

 

 P.S. For those amazin’ ladies not listed, please know I love you so very much and agonized over this list, but as my word count crept higher and higher, I knew that keeping it short was the only answer. I love love love each and every wonderful friend I’ve made over the years, and while you may not see your name here, rest assured that you are included in the list in my heart!)