Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Since Closing...

Hello hello hello! I'm back! I took an unexpected blogging hiatus for a couple weeks, but in hindsight I should have totally expected it with all that our calendar has had lined up for us this month.

Let's play catch up. I have a lot to tell you about, though I'm warning you that it's nothing too exciting. :)

Like I mentioned in my last post, we closed on our new home here in Manhattan, Kansas on the 2nd, and we spent the first six days twiddling our thumbs around the empty house looking for things to do. I painted the master bathroom and sunroom while Jamie did a few other odd jobs. On the 7th, we ran over to Kansas City to see my in-law's new place and help them load up a moving truck with furniture that they graciously gifted us that they no longer needed or are replacing. Tonya & Keith, thank you so, so much all of the beautiful pieces! We are very thankful.

On Monday morning (the 8th), our moving truck showed up bright and early!


It took the guys four or five hours to get everything off the truck and into the correct rooms and another couple of hours for them to unpack all of our boxes. I knew that the movers were supposed to unpack your boxes if you asked, but I was nervous to ask them to do the extra work. After some encouragement from some fellow spouses, we asked the movers if they'd unpack just the inside boxes (not the garage boxes). They agreed with no problem.

Having the movers unpack our boxes (ahem - dump said boxes into massive piles all over the house) and take the overwhelming load of packing paper and boxes was such a huge, huge help. We'll definitely be going this route from now on.

The next day, instead of beginning to sort through the heaping piles all over the house and actually unpack, we threw a bunch of stuff in whatever luggage we could find, loaded up the Jeep, and set out on a 880 mile trip to Birmingham. We're kind of insane, but that's nothing new.

We had to get to Birmingham for a wedding; Jamie's cousin Madeline got married to Jamie's high school best friend Chris, and the best part is that they met at our wedding almost four years ago!



We were so pumped for months about their wedding, but getting in the car to leave for a week while our new house looked like a tornado hit it was tough. We could have easily flown down and made it a quick trip, but we knew that if we were going to be in Alabama that we'd want to spend time with my parents for a couple days. We knew our house wasn't going anywhere and that the mess could wait one more week.

We ended up having a really fantastic QUICK trip and were so glad we drove instead of flew so that we could spend that extra time with our loved ones. The wedding was beautiful, and not only did we get good time with our families but also with a couple of my best friends and Jamie's best friends.

We both breathed a couple huge sighs of relief when we pulled back into our driveway at 6:40 Monday morning (we drove through the night on the way back so Hadley would sleep the whole way).

The last three days have been super productive. We've sorted through the six most lived-in rooms and made them "livable" - our master bedroom/bathroom, Hadley's bedroom/bathroom, the living room, and the kitchen. Our two spare bedrooms, office, basement living area - those are all a complete disaster, but we have a plan to slowly but surely tackle them.

We've also pulled weeds, mowed/edged the yard, explored the local farmer's market, enjoyed home-cooked meals (finally!), got DirecTV up and running again, met a couple neighbors, etc. We are very happy to have a house to call ours again.

The curveball of the week (so far) was finding a fairly substantial leak in the basement guest bedroom's ceiling on Monday (yes, just hours after we got home); Our master shower is right overhead. High five for owning a home! We did not expect issues this early. Yikes!

Less than 24 hours later a plumber arrived to do the dirty work and figure out what was up. After cutting out the soggy ceiling tile and running all kinds of tests, he determined that the leak is 100% not from any busted pipes. He figured out that the hand-held shower head in our master shower had been pointing at a tiled area within the shower that had a sliver of grout missing, and that that was enough to cause the leak! We were so relieved. His visit ran us $80, but besides fixing the ceiling tile and re-grouting that small tile area, our expenses should be nadda. Praise the good Lord above. We are definitely feeling like we dodged a bullet with that one!

The leak issue was just the fire we needed to sign up for a home warranty plan first thing this morning. We ended up going with American Home Shield after seeing how well they took care of a situation in my MIL's home a few months ago, and we could be happier with how far our dollar is going to cover us. I'm definitely breathing easier about owning this 27 year old home knowing that any big issues in the future will be covered.

As far as tomorrow goes, I have a to-do list with eight things on it that we're ready to tackle. Y'all know I can't function without my lists! Jamie goes back to work next week, so I'm definitely soaking up my time to tag-team various tasks with him. He's a rockstar, and I love that he's loving this house just as much as I am.

I'll leave you with a 10 month picture of our little love bug.


I can't believe we're in the two-month countdown to celebrating her birthday! She's been such a trooper throughout all of the moving chaos, and I'm so glad that her days of sleeping somewhere other than her crib are over for several months. We DeSpains aren't going anywhere for a while. Time to settle in!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Home Ownership Round Two Commences!

Hello! I usually never blog on Saturdays, but Jamie's sitting next to me watching football and I'm just in the mood to kick back and do a little typing. It feels so good to relax; We've had a busy week around here!

Like I mentioned in my last post, we did our walk-through for our new home on Monday, and then on Tuesday, we signed our lives away and became the very proud owners of a second home!


To say that we're in love with our new house would be a major understatement. We're already dreaming of all the memories that will take place in this house - Hadley's first steps, hopefully bringing home a second baby (God-willing but not right now), several Christmas mornings, backyard barbeques, maybe hosting a life group - the list goes on and on! We're truly so happy and feeling very humbled and blessed.

After we finished at closing, Jamie and I went out for a celebratory lunch, did some grocery shopping, and unpacked the things we brought in our cars from Arizona. My sister had her first babysitting gig, and I'm pretty sure Hadley loved her afternoon with her aunt!

On Wednesday, Jamie detailed our cars (which were all kinds of dirty from our trip!) while I started painting our master bath. Here's a few "before" pics. That shade of green had to go.




On Thursday, we were at the Fort Riley ER bright and early with Hadley. She'd been running an on-and-off 100-100.7 fever for five days, and by Thursday her stomach was going bananas. After about two hours in the waiting room, I smelled something a little funky and went to change Hadley. Five minutes later I walked back into the waiting room with a baby wearing nothing but a diaper.


While changing her I quickly discovered she'd had a massive blow out (she caught the worst stomach bug) and I forgot to pack a second outfit (mom fail). Jamie looked at me like I had three heads when I walked out with a naked baby! I definitely felt like "that" mom. *palm to forehead*

Four hours later we were back at my sister's so that Hadley could sleep for the afternoon. Jamie stayed with her while I went back to our house to finish the bathroom. I've only painted two rooms in my life (and did a terrible job both times), but I was determined to do better! I got a little out of the lines, but some white touch-up paint did the trick! ;) Now I think it looks great!

Yesterday was a much-needed "me" day! Jamie and Hadley had a daddy/daughter day while I got my hair and eyebrows done. It felt good to get a little pampered! I cooked a big dinner for Jenn and Josh last night as a thank you for letting us crash with them for the week, and the four of us enjoyed hours of sitting around talking and laughing. Being in the same town as them rocks big time!

Today we were all up early again. Jamie went on a long run while the rest of us went out to hunt the yard sales. I scored big with a gorgeous gold vintage mirror and new gold kitchen chargers, but mainly it was just fun to run around with them for a few hours.

The rest of the day was spent doing random stuff around the house. Jamie took down a few TV mounts the owners left us and I followed behind him to caulk the holes. He left around lunchtime to watch football with Josh, so I did the first coat of paint in the sunroom while Hadley napped.

Once Jamie got back we tore up the overgrown garden and pulled a bunch of weeds around the property. I'm not a huge raw vegetable eater, but my veggie-loving husband is looking forward to what we can do with this garden area in the springtime.



 


I'm thinking about doing a little visual tour on Monday just to have all of our "before" pictures documented, so stay tuned for that! Thanks for reading! Hope you've had a fun weekend. :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

PCS roadtrip: Hello Kansas!

Hello from Kansas! We're here.


Popping in for just a minute to give a quick road trip update, and then I'm shutting off my brain for the rest of the day in anticipation for closing and starting our next home ownership journey tomorrow. Speaking of the house, we finally got to see it for the first time this morning during our walk-through! We were equal parts speechless and gasping with excitement (yes, Jamie too) as we explored every inch of the place. Though I'd looked at a million pictures of the place a thousand times, there's no way that pictures could have prepared us for just how perfect this house is for us.

It's crazy to think that less than 72 hours ago we were still drowning in a house full of boxes in Arizona with a 1,300 mile trip ahead of us. We had quite the weekend!

On Friday morning, I woke up early to knock out one last morning run before the packers/movers got to the house.


Around 8 a.m., Jennifer, Hadley, and I drove 30 minutes over to Bisbee to eat at Bisbee Breakfast Club while Jamie stayed back to receive the movers. It was a delicious start to the day!



I was excited about getting back to the house to a big moving truck and a bunch of men clearing the house out, but that wasn't the case. The packers were back to finish up packing (since the company only sent one guy on Thursday), and they'd barely made a dent while we were at breakfast. It was a long day.


We figured the truck would be packed up and roll out by 6 p.m., and since we had a 4.5 hour drive that night to our first stop, Jamie encouraged us girls to go ahead and get on the road.

Around 4 p.m., we hit the road to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. That first leg was eventful - Hadley refused to nap, spiked a fever, and got herself so upset that she refused to eat her food or drink her bottle. I can't think of better timing than a big move for her 7th tooth to come in! :) Jennifer did a great job of doing her best to keep her distracted and having fun, but her random outbursts were tough to ignore. The three of us were very happy to snuggle into the comfy hotel bed that night. Jamie and Teddy ended up getting to the hotel around midnight.

On Saturday morning, we woke up early to check out a fun breakfast café that was highly rated on Trip Advisor, but the owners were on a vacation and it was closed. Party foul.



We were so bummed, but instead of finding somewhere else to get breakfast, we decided to make our way two hours north to Albuquerque and finding a yummy brunch restaurant. Hadley slept the entire way! Jennifer did a little research and found a place called The Range Café, and it hit the spot.


Hadley was really well behaved the rest of the way on Saturday. She took a total of three naps and was overall happy during her awake times. We met up with Jamie a couple times during our gas stops and snapped this picture right before Alabama kick-off. Roll Tide from who-knows-where, New Mexico!

 
 
We stopped for the night in Elk City, Oklahoma. We wanted to make it all the way to Oklahoma City, but we were more than ready to call it a night. We found a delicious casual steakhouse to grab some dinner (thanks again to Trip Advisor) but ended up scarfing it down and booking it back to the hotel so Hadley could have some down time. She was We all were toast.

On Sunday we slept in a little and then made the remaining six hour trip home to Manhattan, Kansas. Besides having a heck of a time finding an open certified weigh station to weigh our cars for our partial-DITY move, it was a pretty uneventful day. After putting Hadley to bed last night, we put on some comfy clothes, had a couple drinks to wind down, listened to a heck of a thunderstorm, and finally called it a night.

I've already said five times today, but I'm so thankful that trip is behind us. Moving around the country with a baby is not a blast, but I know we're making some good memories. Thank you to those who kept us in your prayers for safe travels! It feels good to have these big moves under our belt.

Hope you've enjoyed the holiday weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peace Out Fort Huachuca


It's no secret that leaving Fort Campbell back in March was one of the hardest things I've had to do, and one piece of advice I received numerous times was to consider myself lucky that saying goodbye was so hard - the pain of leaving it all behind meant that we really enjoyed doing life there.

Now that we're leaving Fort Huachuca, I'm finding even more truth in that small piece of advice. I'm excited that we're getting out of here today, but my anxiousness to leave this place behind makes me a little bit sad. Though we've fallen in love with this beautiful state, thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of this small town, and have met some really great friends and neighbors (even Teddy made a best friend!), I've never let myself feel totally settled (my own fault). I've missed the feeling of being "home".

When I think back to our time here at our "summer home" (as I affectionately call it since we were only here for 5.5 months), I'll hopefully remember the sunset mountain view from our second-story bedroom as I folded laundry every night. It was so beautiful.



I'll hopefully remember how much family time Jamie's easy-going class schedule allowed us.


I'll remember my morning jogs with Hadley and the awe I felt nearly every single time I stepped foot out the door. I was as mesmerized on my last run as I was on my first.


Above: March 18th / Below: August 23rd


I'll remember that this was the house where our baby learned to get up on her elbows, let out her first belly laugh, sit up by herself, crawl around like crazy, climb the stairs, and nearly start walking.







Though Kansas was no where on our radar as far as our next post was concerned, we are bouncing off the walls with excitement to get there. The intense extrovert in me is so eager to plug into a new church, quickly find a playgroup for Hadley (with hopefully a gaggle of fun mamas for me!), and make our new house our home. My sister is only going to live roughly four miles from us, and I can't wait to soak up a few months together before they move. Finally, though no Army wife is crazy about "girlfriend dating", I am anxious to put myself out there in high hopes of finding those effortless friendships again.

To our friends here in Sierra Vista - Thank you for making this place so much more sweet.

Onward, DeSpain family! Here's to our mid-western adventure.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Captains Career Course Graduation Day

It's packing day! Squeal! Crossing our fingers that everything goes just as smoothly as the last two moves have gone.

While Jamie mans the packing process today, Hadley and I are be-bopping up to Tucson in a few hours to pick up my sister!


If you've talked to me at all in the last week you know how excited I am for her to get here so that we can embark on our big road trip. I also hear she's coming armed with books and ideas to keep Hadley preoccupied during the 1,300 mile drive. Instead of dreading this trip, I am really looking forward to it!

Backtracking a bit, yesterday was Jamie's Military Intelligence Captains Career Course graduation. His graduation wasn't until 2 p.m., so once he finished with his Army 10-mile team practice yesterday morning, he was home for breakfast and to hang with us for a few hours.

While he watched Hadley, I took advantage of some quiet time and went on a four mile run.


Every ounce of me wanted to just veg on the couch, but I knew I'd feel so much more mentally equipped to tackle the day if I got in a workout. I put on my favorite worship music playlist and enjoyed some alone time. Nothing distracts me more from the discomfort of running than a great set of praise music. You should try it sometime.


Once Hadley went down for her nap around 10 a.m., Jamie and I got to work knocking out things around the house. He left for the graduation line-up around 12:30 and we met him up there about an hour later. Thankfully the ceremony only lasted 30 minutes. It was funny to look around at all the moms to see their bags of "magic tricks" that they'd brought along to keep their kids occupied. I only had to leave with my little diva once (after she spotted my cell phone that I whipped out to take a picture of Jamie - mistake). Daddy's graduation is not the time to talk to Siri, Hadley Lynn.




I know I'm biased, but my husband looks so dang good in a uniform. So good.

After taking some pictures, we headed home to relax for a couple hours before his squad's farewell dinner at a Hibachi restaurant. Hadley missed her afternoon nap, so we knew the chances of her being a wild woman were high. We enjoyed a couple drinks, a yummy dinner, and a great time kicking back with friends. We were the first to leave because Little Miss was starting to lose her mind, so once again we made our rounds and said our goodbyes. Jamie made so many awesome friends throughout this course, so it was bittersweet to see him give big "man hug" after man hug to his great buddies. The toughest goodbye for me was with my sweetest friend Nicole and her daughter Jocelyn, but I'm confident that our paths will cross again.

My love/hate relationship with this Army lifestyle is pretty unpredictable, but tonight I definitely had an "I love this life" moment. I was sitting around a big table with 20 people who get me, who get this madness. They get the chaos of moving. They get the emotional "I'm so ready to leave, but I'm so not ready to leave" mentality. They're away from their families and best friends like we are. None of us knew each other a few months ago, but it was so fun to sit around and reflect on our time here in Arizona before we all venture to our next posts around the world (literally - the couple to my left is heading to Germany and the guy to our right is heading to Korea). It was a really great night.

Well, I better get off this computer and get moving! There's plenty to do around here before we jet tomorrow afternoon. Hope you have a good one!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PCS tips from Army, Navy, and Air Force Wives!

Back in March, Jamie and I set aside the night before the packers came as the time to pack up our things that we planned to take in our cars to Arizona. We planned to put all of said things in our master bathroom and then tape a sign to that door saying "do not pack". We'd basically just be packing like we would for a 10 day vacation, right?

Simple. We're so good at this moving thing.

Funny joke! That Sunday night officially went down in the record books as one of the most stressful nights in our marriage so far. We laugh really hard about it now because we had no clue what we were doing, and the house turned into a disaster zone! The packer-prep turned into so much more than just packing up our clothes and toiletries. We'd completely underestimated all of the things that the movers wouldn't take - food in the pantry, cleaning supplies, several things in the garage, etc. We also had a 3.5 month old baby who wouldn't let us fully focus on packing until she went to bed (imagine that!). I think we hit the hay sometime around 1 a.m., but we were still no where close to prepped for the packers. It was quite the night.

We've learned a little bit since then and have been doing "packer prep" for about a week now in anticipation for Thursday.

Because this is only our second big PCS move (third official), I reached out to some of my military wife blogger friends who have quite a bit of experience with this moving biz and asked them for their best moving tips! Their tips are helpful for not only military moves, but big family moves in general. After you've read their tips, I hope you jump on over to their sites and take a look around. These are great girls!


 
 
Alex from Munchkins and the Military

  • We've always had really great packers. On a recent PCS we printed out sheets that said, "DO NOT PACK," and used them to block off the rooms that we didn't want touched. We also taped off an area on the floor and put the "DO NOT PACK" sheets around it. That way, we could keep stuff like our trash can out in the common area where it was usable without having to worry about it getting packed away.

  • We've learned that when moving CONUS (staying in the states), it's always best to do a partial DITY (do-it-yourself) move, even if you don't plan on taking much yourself. This way, the military will pay for your gas, which doesn't happen otherwise (normally you get per diem + mileage). Plus, you're always going to end up with some extras in your vehicle, whether it's suitcases full of essentials or even the liquids and other items that the movers wouldn't take. Might as well get paid for the weight that you're moving.

  • When the movers are packing up the boxes, ask them to put specific details of the contents on the outside of the box. Usually, they're pretty good about this, but if not, you can ask them to do this for you. Unloading and unpacking will be easier when the boxes tell you what's inside. Examples: Master Bedroom - Her's - Night Stand Contents; Hall Closet - Stuffed Animals & Books; Kitchen - Plastic Baby Bottles/Bowls.

 
Elizabeth from The Young Retiree (She just moved to Japan! Way cool.)
    On PCSing overseas, there is tons of advice out there to be given. People will jump at the bit to tell you how amazing or how horrible their experiences were. My advice to you: live your experience. Go through whatever emotions you're feeling! Are you scared to death of PCSing overseas? That's okay! There will be people there to help you with the adjustment, and an OCONUS PCS is a big deal! It's definitely normal to be a little frightened! Are you over the moon thrilled to be PCSing overseas? That's awesome! Explore, invite new friends from base who might be a little more nervous about heading out in town, and embrace this new adventure!

  • Demand a sponsor who will advocate for you. Your sponsor should be replying to emails, answering questions, and calming your fears. If they aren't, reach out to the proper people within the command, explain, and request a sponsor who is more up to the task.

  • Think about what you'll need overseas. We had a limited weight for our HHGs (I think it was only 20% of our HHG limit). As a result, we donated anything we couldn't remember using within the last year and couldn't pinpoint a need for. I'm talking about the 20+ napkin rings for all those nights I was going to set the table & hadn't in my 5 years of marriage!

  • Pack your suitcases before the movers come! We ended up sending three tuff boxes and four large flat rate boxes ahead of us. We then had to hold all of those things in temporary lodging and move them in our tiny foreign car! 

  • While you're living in temporary lodging, please, I beg you, understand that there are others in crazy situations just like you are, and try to act accordingly. There are kids who are going crazy being cooped up, there are service members already checked in to their new command standing watch or pulling night shifts and they might be sleeping during the day, and there are pets just as sick of being there as their humans. 

  • Get involved and enjoy your time overseas! If you're living on base, go off on the weekends or afternoons! Stop by the ITT office and see if they have tours. In Okinawa, they offer a 10% discount your first 90 days on island on select tours! Shop on the economy, and don't be afraid to try new foods: we've had major success and major gross outs, but they've all been fun experiences we'll never forget!

 
Chelsea from Making Home Base

  • Plan out your cross country move. We've done the cross country drive about five times now, so we've got it down pat. When preparing for a cross country move, be sure to plan out your route ahead of time. The military gives you plenty of time to make the trip so be sure to enjoy it. We always look up landmarks and best restaurants along the way. Doing this can turn a dreaded road trip into a fun vacation.

  • In regards to housing, if you plan to live on base (or post for you Army folks) be sure to call the housing office as soon as you receive orders. Sometimes they will get you on the waiting list as soon as you have orders and other times they make you wait until you have officially detached. To reduce time spent in a hotel, definitely call ahead!

 
  • Check the climate of your new location and prepare yourself, your family, and your car. Sometimes you have to winterize (or summarize?) your car.
 We're moving to Alaska and I have to get a medical clearance and a military passport. If you have to complete this, get on it quick! There's so much paperwork and it takes weeks to get it all done. As soon as your spouse gives you the paperwork, start on it pronto!
 
  • Inventory your belongings. There are horror stories everywhere about things getting lost or stolen. Make an inventory (including serial numbers) of items you don't want to lose (or everything for that matter).
 
  • Traveling with dogs? Book your hotel in advance after you make sure it accepts dogs. Some hotels only have a certain amount of rooms that they'll allow visitors with animals to stay in. And some charge a lot for dogs to stay. La Quinta allows dogs to stay FREE! 
 
 
  • Let the military move you! We did a DITY (PPM) move and it was the worst experience! We had a leaky truck cab (my husband had to wear his parka while driving!), we were super stressed with packing up our house, and it was just way more of a headache than it should have been. Save yourself the trouble, and let the movers take care of it all. 

  •  Start budgeting as soon as your orders drop. The money your receive for the move should be enough in theory, but it's always nice to have an emergency fund for those unexpected expenses.



     

Thanks again ladies for your tips!


We're rollin' right along to get out of here on Friday. Our route is mapped out, hotels are booked, and our "loading zone/do not pack zone" is filling up! We're finishing up taking things off the walls and packing up all of our suitcases tonight. Jamie's getting both cars weighed today (empty) so that we can get reimbursed for every pound we take on our own!

A little house update - Our realtor has truly worked her tail off to get things in order for closing a week from today. Almost losing this house has made Jamie and I realize just how excited we are about this particular place, and we are so thankful that the responsible people are getting things in order before this place is officially our financial responsibility. We so loved our first home together in Tennessee, but this house has so much more room for us to spread out and enjoy all the special touches previous owners have done to the home. Ah, I'm so ready to get there!

Question - What've you done to make your house really feel like your home?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Military Love Story: Rebecca & Steven

I have heard few love stories that are more whimsical than those of past & present military couples. I always thought that my husband Jamie and I had an extraordinarily bizarre journey to the altar (and beyond), but throughout the last few years I've heard countless stories from fellow military couples about their unique (and often unbelievable) course of events that led them to where they are today. I'm thrilled to feature a new story every week in a series called We're Not So Crazy After All: A Military Love Story. If you're interested in being featured in this series, please email me at WhimsicalSeptember@yahoo.com.

Rebecca & Steven


This December my husband and I will celebrate eight years of marriage; Eight years of a military marriage, which have been so incredibly different than I could ever have imagined.

I met my husband on June 29, 2006 in a tavern in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was out with friends after a break-up and he was on post-tour leave from his second deployment in Iraq. It was a chance encounter, but one I’m sure was destined to happen. It was truly love at first sight for both of us. We were so hesitant to say that,  but I remember him saying something like, “This feels different than anything before. It is really special. I think I’m falling in love.”
 
We spent as much time together that last week of his leave as we could while juggling my work schedule and his family time. He left on July 4th to drive across the country to Fort Lewis, Washington with his dad. He said he’d call me.

I was pretty surprised when he did, and we talked every day for weeks. He suggested I come out to Washington to visit him. I should have been nervous, I should have had a back-up plan prepared, but I knew, without a doubt, that this was the man for me.
 
Throughout our short relationship/engagement, we really racked up the frequent flyer miles! I made three round-trips from Virginia to Washington. My dad even made a trip (without me!) to Washington to meet my future husband. He was able to come back to Virginia over Thanksgiving weekend and we got married over Christmas block leave, six months to the date after we met.

Our wedding was pretty traditional, even though our engagement was not. My best friend and my mother were instrumental in planning our wedding. Neither my husband nor I lived in the town we were to be married, so we trusted them to make the important decisions.

We were married on a Friday evening in December, and it was either warm enough that I wasn’t cold in my dress or I was running on adrenaline! I spent the day with my family and my friends - getting manicures, eating a little Chick Fil-a for lunch, and playing some Sudoku while I was waiting for it all to begin. We adhered to tradition and didn’t see each other all day. I was so excited to walk down the aisle and see him and become his wife. It all seemed magical to me. It was everything I hoped for in a wedding.

Our marriage has been more than I could have hoped for. Sure, I had expectations. The army wife life was going to be exciting and fun. I’d have instant best friends, gorgeous ball dresses, beautiful homes, and my husband would be away minimally, if at all. It was on my honeymoon when a phone call shattered that dream. Long story short, someone had looked at an old list and declared my husband was dangerously close to being AWOL. He was to return to Fort Lewis as soon as possible and prepare for a deployment, instead of our current plans which was to move to Arizona so he could attend school. Eventually we had it all straightened out and we thankfully moved as planned to Arizona.

Over our eight years, we’ve moved four times, including once overseas to Germany. We’ve moved from a 700sq ft apartment to a 1500sq ft, 4 bedroom house. We have two beautiful children, Declan (6) and Abigail (4) and a dog. We’ve been apart more than I expected, but less than some. My husband was extremely lucky to be at both the births of our children. He deployed four times while we lived in Germany. He’s left on temporary assignments three times, including one six week period where we had no communication whatsoever.

While this was not at all what I expected, I wouldn’t change one single thing about it. We are strong because of what we have gone through, and I know that no matter what the army throws our way next, we will come through it stronger than before. This military wife life is not for everyone, but it is absolutely where I belong.
 
 
Rebecca and her family are currently stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. She was recently recognized as the 2014 Fort Huachuca Military Spouse of the year.
 
Thank you for sharing your story!
 
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