Friday, April 30, 2010

Military Blog Hop!

"Riding the Roller Coaster" has decided to Host a military Blog hop. I couldn't resist being involved. :D
Step one: Post a brief Bio/ Introduce yourself

My name is Christina. I'm 23 and married to a wonderful man. I was born in raised in the Boondocks, right outside Nashville, Tennessee. We are die-hard Tennessee Titans fans and even more Tennessee VOLS fans! We are your definition of Redneck and the term does not offend us! :D and yes.. We do like NASCAR! We camp out at Bristol every August... and It's always an awesome time.
I currently live in Hampton Roads, VA. I thank God for the life he has given me every single day. I am Truly blessed. I am a Military wife. My husband joined the Navy in 2008 exactly a month after we married. The life is a challenge, but who doesn't like a little challenge every now and then? I'm typically always in an upbeat positive mood. I hate negativity and try to avoid it as best as I can. I love helping people, and just chatting with others who live the life of a military significant other. So, That's me in a nutshell :D

Feel Free to Join in the Fun! - Blog Hop!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ship is on the Move

Lately there have been a lot of ins and outs with my hubby's ship. Aren't workups just fun?! {sarcasm, if you didn't get it.)
The USS Enterprise being pushed into the pier April 18, '10
So far, it hasn't been all that bad. The first time they went out for a week was a little rough. My husband's email had not been set up on the ship and obviously cellphones are prohibited (not like that would have mattered.. they are in a solid steel cage more than 50 miles out from land!).. so there was no contact. Thank God for other military wives who are always there. Several nights I stayed up chatting with other Enterprise wives until after 2 in the morning. There is truly no friendship that compares to the friends I have made in the almost 2 years my husband has been in the service. When he came home after that first workup.. I had a huge sense of pride and even more support for my husband. Watching that ship pull in, I smiled and I felt like like I had not seen my husband in months.

Flag at Half Mast for fallen Soldier
I know what you're thinking.. it was just a week! Well, this was our first, both mine and my husband's, first "workup", and the USS Enterprise's first outing in 2 years! So yeah, it's somewhat of a big deal! They got the old clunker running again! I felt so proud, and felt so Happy. Not happy that my husband will be away so much, but happy because this is what he likes doing. This is his career. Happy because my husband is starting to feel like he is going to make a difference and serve his Country. After all, that is why he joined the Military. He wanted to be apart of something bigger than himself and serve his country. And I support him and love him.

They have been in and out all month it seems. Started off with a fast cruise in the shipyards, to getting out and finally getting to play in the water a couple times. The guys are exhausted right now.  My husband just got a day off after more than 3 weeks of not having a day off. Hoping to catch up on some much wanted time with him before he leaves again.

 Met up with several girls to watch the boat pull in. We were there for 5 hours! (hence the reason my hair looked horrible!) But in the end, the wait, the bad hair, and having to pee so bad it hurt.. it was totally worth it.

My husband said he actually had fun out there. He said he worked his but off, but for some reason... he liked it. Which is GREAT because we have 18 more years of this. ;)

I hope you enjoyed the few pics I posted from the ones I took from the day they moved back to Norfolk. Everyone on Facebook seems to enjoy them. So, I figured you might too! :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We survived A-School

Andreea asked me about my experience with A-School, and I realize now I didn't say too much about it in my blog. So.. Wah-lah.. A blog!

I have heard so many ladies say that Boot camp and A-School were so much harder than deployment. Seeing as I have yet to go through a deployment, I cannot answer this just yet. We are currently preparing for Deployment.. and I have to say, the workups are pretty draining. However, so far.. A-School has been the hardest part I have dealt with as being a Navy wife.

The hubby's A-School was only supposed to be about 7 weeks long. But, little did we know.. it was going to take a while for him to class up... more than 4 months just to class up.

Okay, so yeah, the distance was hard, but I was away from him at boot camp... what's the difference?

We were able to talk every day. And being able to talk to someone every day and not be able to be in their arms, see them, kiss them.. Makes it harder than just boot camp, where our talking was through letters and a few short phone calls. He and I were so stressed just because we missed each other.. and when you're stressed and you get to the point where  you break down, you tend to take it out on the person you're closet too. For me and for my husband, that was each other. Our stress and missing each other lead to a few arguments. We had to learn to really communicate, and talk to each other. We thought we had communicated things well to each other, A-school taught us that we were wrong... but luckily in the long run, it helped us when we were forced to learn that.

Another thing that made it hard was he had freedom to do what he wanted when Liberty was called. Don't get me wrong.. I trust my husband 100% it was just the thought that the things he would go out and do, didn't involve me. I wanted to be apart of his every day life, and wasn't apart of it because of the distance.

A lot of the guys he knew were not married, and some didn't even have a girlfriend. No problem Right? Wrong. Some unmarried guys don't seem to have respect for marriage.. not necessarily that they don't have respect, but that they are single and if your husband is their best friend in A-School... they want them to take part in what they do and totally disregard the fact that he is married and could care less of the consequences. So, needless to say, I hated some of the guys he went to A-school with.

"Tag Chasers" were crazy in Pensacola. Okay, not just "Tag Chasers" but I guess you could say Barracks Bunnies were worse. Girls who are in the military and sleep with everyone. Just nasty. We now call these girls "Boat Hoes"...girls that will sleep nearly with a whole division or more. Some of these girls have absolutely no morals.

Seems there is a lot of pressure to drink in A-school as well. Guys would all pitch in and get a hotel room for the weekend and drink the entire weekend. All the drinking can strain a relationship, especially when it comes to bills that need to be paid.

It is truly hard to explain the emotional stress of A-school. From my experience and other ladies as well. Seems like there was always some kind of trust issue. I trusted my husband like nothing else, and found out he would hide little things just because he feared they upset me.. and in the end, they would upset me more because he hid them. I have found that more than 5 ladies I have met on Facebook also had this problem.

There were several times I questioned whether our marriage would survive the constant strain that was being put on me, on him and our relationship. He questioned it too. But we loved each other and love doesn't quit. Love keeps fighting and doesn't give up. We made it. We survived A-school.

I never want to got through the emotional strain of A-School again. However, my husband's and mine relationship is a lot stronger because of the challenges we faced in A-school.
The workups I am currently getting through, have been a breeze compared to A-School and have just made each of us realize how much we enjoy being with each other. It's made my husband realize a lot more.. but that will be another blog ;)

I hope I answered some of your questions Andreea :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Deployment on the Horizon

We still have a little bit before we get to the Big D. However, every time a new schedule is posted.. seems the time gets a little closer and closer.

The ship let the boys come home yesterday, but the ride has already started back again. The hubby and I got to talking as I took him in this morning. The next few months are going to prepare us for our first deployment. And by the time deployment gets here we will have made a few decisions, atleast I hope we know what we're doing.

In a little over a month we will be moving into a townhouse we found for rent that is a lot larger and about $300 a month less than we are currently paying for our cramped apartment. We're not quite sure how this move will go with all these workups going on... But I'm trying to figure it out. All the packing is kind of left up to me.. but I'm sure if he was here, it would still be that way. I'm excited, but feeling a little stressed because all the guys that are planning to help us move, just happen to be on the same ship as my hubby. I'm trying to rack my brain and try to figure out how to make this run smoothly.

We think we are going to like our new place, but we said the same about our current apartment. We figure by deployment time, we will know if we want to stay here in Hampton, or if we want to find another place to rent in Norfolk (or that side of the water) or maybe even think about the home buying idea again. We still have some time to think about it, but I want to be as prepared as I can be.

I'm trying to lay out the pros and cons to each idea. Trying to think of our best possible option.
If we like the townhouse in Hampton- Pros: It's cheap, plenty of space, it's more "homey" like Cons: Tunnel traffic to Norfolk, is Nick going to feel safe leaving me there alone?, no back yard- just a large Patio.
If we decided to find another place across the tunnel to rent: Pros: No more tunnel traffic!, Close to base, I have lots of friends on that side of the water Cons: Having to move again, trouble finding a place that will allow Riley, more deposits
If we decide to buy a house: Pros: It's ours!, I can do all sorts of projects around the house, a yard for Riley, I can have a garden Cons: Moving again, finding a good neighborhood, it not selling when we get orders, will be paying more than what we are going to pay for rent at the townhouse.

We have decided that if we decide to move, whether it be buying or renting, we will put all our stuff in storage and I will move home for a little bit. This will give me time to find us a new place and save some money up while he is away. I want to have us moved in and the place all decorated by the time he is home though. I want to surprise him. I plan to send him pictures of the home buying/ rent search process and make sure his opinion matters. I want him to feel as involved as possible. I know he will say he doesn't  matter, if I like it he will like it.. blah blah blah, but I want this to be about him too.

Is anyone going through a similar situation as this? What do you do to keep your sanity?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And So it Begins...

So this is it? The start of preparing for the dreaded  "BIG D", great. Workups that is.

Everyone knows how much Navy wives just LOVE workups. Just wish his command wasn't so unorganized! No one.. not even the most of the Sailor's on board know what is going on! My hubby told me the schedule they told him, however... other ladies are saying their hubby told them a different one. I like the schedule my Mr. gave me a lot better than the one's I'm hearing.

I didn't make any plans today.. I definitely should have. It is only 3pm and I am already sitting here thinking this is going to suck. I'm not trying to be a complainer.. I just realize now that there was really no good way to prepare for things like this. However, I do believe had his ship been more organized, We could have known what to expect a little more.

At first, I was looking at this time as a REALLY long duty day. Yeah sure, I would have rather had him here with me.. but I managed on Duty days just fine, and got a lot accomplished (cleaning wise that is). Now I think it was stupid of me to think that way. I realize now that he probably won't be able to call. I have seen other ladies talk of email from their hubby's already.. And I admit, I got a little jealous. I won't be getting an email. They have yet to set up my Husband's ship email. I just feel in the dark.

Yea, definitely should have made plans today. But on the plus side, I designed some new tshirts today, and a few graphics for people. So, that is somewhat of an accomplishment for the day. I should take his time away to catch up on some much needed girls days. I know I'm not the only one in need of one of them.

This is my rant for today. :) Thanks for listening.

P.S. Check out my Cafepress shop- CRushGFX
And, I am considering doing a Contest/ giveaway. Who would be interested in winning a Free Graphic or Blog Button?

Friday, April 9, 2010

"It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything."

"It is well to read everything of something,
and something of everything."
~ Lord Henry P. Brougham ~

I have started somewhat of a collection of books.. Military Wife books. I am not much of a book reader. Just one of those things I typically get "into". But every since the start of my "Journey" as a Navy Wife, I have found something I get lost in reading. I have more than 10 books at the moment.. and more on the way. My own personal library, I guess you can say.

I have been asked several times what Military Wife books I recommend. I never thought to blog about it, but would it not be easier to blog about it and refer people to my blog to read what I think about the books I have? I think so. So, today, I am going to blog about my "Military Wife Library" (and maybe some that I plan to get). -I will link the title of the book to where you can read more reviews and purchase the book if you would like.
The first Military Wife book I ever picked up was SOLO-OPS by Hilary Martin. I love the way this book is written. Hilary writes about her personal experiences allowing the reader to relate more to her point of view. She covers so much in her book from becoming a Military wife to deployment, to entering the civilian world again. She also makes it clear to keep an open mind and laugh at the situations your faced with, the importance of Humor with the Military. If a "SOLO-OPS" volume 2 was to be released, I would definitely be one of the first to purchase it. Also check out the forum SOLO-OPS. I met some great ladies when I was active in the forum. I'm involved with so many groups and forums now.. it's hard to keep up with all of them now.
MARRIED TO THE MILITARY by Meredith Leyva is the second military wife book I read. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book, and will recommend it. However, I did feel like it was a big advertisement for her website/ Forum CinC House. I learned quite a few things when reading this. For a New military wife, I think this book is a great read. If you are someone who has been "Married to the Military" for a little time now, you might get bored or find that it was all that helpful. Overall.. The book is an A+ read, if you're curious.. check it out. Be sure to check out the forum as well. I still visit the forum regularly. I have learned a lot from these ladies. And if you read some of the reviews on this book.. the forum isn't full of "Snotty, racist women". Everyone has been super nice and helpful to everyone I have seen on there.
The book I would recommend more than any other is Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul. Full of encouraging stories, this book is Perfect for anyone who is in love with a Service member. Be sure to have a box of Tissue handy, as these stories will touch your heart! This book is a great reminder of why our Men do what they do and that we are not alone on this journey. This book is perfect to turn to when you are struggling with military life, deployments and more. I highly suggest this read, definitely a 5 star read.

If you can overlook a large abundance of grammatical and punctuation errors.. the book Military Wives 101  by Tynisa Gaines is an okay read. When I bought this book I didn't read anything about it. I judged it by the title and assumed it was a "Guide" to life as a military wife... little did I know it was a story. If you let this book determine what you think about military life, you will have an obscured view of what it really is and can be. For some reason I wanted to finish the book and did so. Something kept drawing me in, I was curious as to what would happen. If you decide to get this.. I wouldn't suggest paying more than $5 (including shipping!) for this book.
Medals Above My Heart is a quick read. If you are a religious person, this is a good little devotional for you. If you are not a spiritual person, this book may seem a little boring to you. The book is only 125 pages long and could easily be read in 1 day.
Navy Spouse's Guide (second edition) by Laura Hall Stavridis taught me quite a bit. However, it seems a bit dated. But I do believe it is a good read for all Navy wives, especially if you don't know much about the Navy.
A book I always keep handy is Today's Military Wife 5th Edition. From the break down of the LES to Deployments and Sponsoring a Family. This book has it all. Although it seemed a little "Text book" like for me. I just Read the chapters as I needed them or wanted them. There are newer versions available that I plan to get eventually.
If you are looking for something to make you smile, laugh and keep you wanting more.. I suggest Confessions of a Military Wife by Mollie Gross. I really hope Mollie writes another book. Mollie tells it how it is, and in the most hilarious way possible. She's extremely relateable too! I found myself thinking several times that I had been through similar situations. If you have deployment blues.. pick up a copy. "Laughter is the best medicine".

Help! I'm a Military Spouse (second edition) by Kathie Hightower & Holly Scherer did something that most military Spouse writers didn't.. they included Male military Spouse, not directly, but it's not a military "Wives" book. Kathie and Holly make a good combo, mixing seriousness and humor. The book is based on a workshop.. I wonder if they still offer it? I think I just might look that up later!
Another one of my personal favorites is The Homefront Club by Jacey Eckhart. She was an Airforce brat who ended up Marrying a Sailor. I found myself giggling a few times, smiling and really thinking about things with this book. I highly recommend it. I also recommend her audio CD These Boots, which you can get for free on Military One Source (title is linked).

A recent book I bought and am working my way through is Going Overboard by Sarah Smiley. So far I don't have an opinion on it, but I'm only a few pages in. She's honest, holds nothing back.. and It reads like a story. (I'll update this when I finish)

The last book that I currently own is The Long Road Home by Martha Raddatz. I have a feeling this is going to be a hard read. It's supposed to show some incite to what our men and women in uniform go through. I'm an emotional pansie.. We'll see how this goes. (Update will come when I finish the book).

This ends my list of books I currently have (not mentioning all the one's of my hubby's that I read too!).
I also plan to get:

And that is the short list. I hope someone enjoyed this drawn out post. I will continue to update it as I get and read more books. I would also like to hear your feedback about books I have posted.. both the one's I have read and have yet to read.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Change of plans.. Again

I haven't posted much of an update on my Lately. I recently wrote about hunting for a new apartment ("Aggressive" Breeds vs New Apartment Hunting), a few things have happened since then.

We decided we wanted to buy again. We were having so much trouble trying to find a place that would allow Riley. We sat down and really thought about what we want and what we can afford comfortably. And what we can afford (or what we want to pay)... well, lets just say, we're not finding anything in our price range in a good neighborhood. We got to thinking.. What about a townhouse? They are affordable, offer everything we want in a single family home, some have back yards.. We had made up our mind. So, We went searching, and sat down with our Realtor and our Lender. Then bad news hit us like a brick wall. The husband had no credit. Zilch. With that being said, We cannot get approved for a mortgage, and it could take 6 months to build his credit up to where it needs to be. With that being said, we had to go back to looking for a rental. Boo!

I spent hours searching online. Getting anxious, nervous. Just 2 months and we have to be out of our current apartment. If we are not out of our apartment by the time our lease expires.. they will Jack our rent up to $1340 a month.. and that's just base rent!! That does not include Water, Trash, Pet rent, washer & dryer rent! EEk! We would end up paying $1500 a month! Yeah, it was time to search hardcore! I found a place online.. a townhouse, Yay! I called and it seemed perfect. Roo's allowed!! The lady said they would have just 1 available when we needed it. Felt like we had to act fast. We went and looked at it. We liked it, but it seemed a little cramped, and didn't have a private patio.. and that kitchen sure could have used some updates! But the price was awesome, which made it so hard to turn down. The lady referred us to their sister property that offered larger homes, and a private patio. She also said she was sure they had something available. We went and checked it out. We liked it a lot. A lot bigger than the previous townhouse we checked out and much more space than our current apartment. The price was ONLY $100 more than the first townhouse we looked at.. and it meets all of our needs. So, We signed the lease. We are going to be saving more than $300 a month compared to our current rent. Yesssss! <- That's me very excited, if you didn't get that. We move in the first of June. I'm absolutely excited.

We had to sign a 12 month lease, which means we'll be stuck on this side of the water for another year (unless we break the lease when he deploys). But we have decided that if we like it there, we might as well stay there for the remainder of his orders here in Hampton Roads. This side of the water is a lot cheaper.. not to mention the roads are a lot better. The down part is.. THE TUNNEL TRAFFIC! I have pretty much adjusted to it, but I feel bad for my husband.. He will be the one suffering with it every single day! I'm sure he is thrilled about that one. I guess that means he should finally adjust to it as well. We've been here for a year already and have roughly 5 more to go.. yea, it's definitely time for him to adjust.