Care Packages 101

I am dedicating this week to the not so fun reality of deployment. And while it had its ups and downs, my absolute favorite part was sending my husband care packages! After sending them for months I got a system down, and my packing skills were impressive. While my hubby’s stop mail date has passed, I’m preparing to send more packages to our friends that are deployed. Here are my tried and true tips:

My last care package. Perfectly fit. Photo by Jessica Hall

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How I am making it through a deployment

I have been quiet about the fact that my husband is deployed to Afghanistan online. This is to protect his safety and mine (see OPSEC in the glossary). But as the deployment winds down (countdown is in double digits!!) I want to share what it was like for me.

Me with my “Flat James” as I like to call him, which I got made so James could be at his brother’s wedding this year. This is us on our one year anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Hall)

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“Me turns into we,” a friend shares her story

This is from my friend Jess. She emailed this to me after my post about my month of anniversaries, and more importantly, how over time her relationship with D has shifted from young love to something more, and that where his career goes could definitely be about her. Because well love is a powerful thing. Here’s what she said:

I met D when I was 14, the summer of 2002 as a high school freshman and that October we started dating. I remember when he left for Korea after boot camp in Fall 2004 and all I could think about was when I was going to see him next, I didn’t know. So I ended it 4 months later because it was getting too “tough.” I was 17 then though…and I remember as the years passed I told him I didn’t know if I would be able to date him if he was still in the military just because of how they took him away and how everything just “was” with the army. Looking back on that now, I realize how much of a baby I was at the time and how selfish I was thinking about only me, but then again I wasn’t looking towards marriage yet or anything along those lines. Now, here we are, 7 years later and back together, and back to being 9 months apart and long distance, but he’s still been the only one for me. There’s never even been anyone close so, like you mentioned, love is a big game changer, a big player in the deck of cards. This post literally made me cry because like James, D is asking me about how his next two years will pan out and how WE (not he anymore, we) will need to decide if this is it or to stay put or try for DC (which I would really love) and see OUR options. It’s crazy how me turns to we in the army, and he’s willing to make me happy as well because it’s important to him that I enjoy the crazy military ride.

Thanks for sharing your story Jess! If you want to share your story about being a military significant other feel free to email me: jessica@jessicanicolehall.com

Military Ball: What to wear

This is the most frequently asked about question, even for seasoned military spouses. What to wear, what to wear, what to wear? I have been to a few balls while my husband was at West Point but none since he’s graduated, our first is early next year. And I’m really excited, I’ve already picked out my dress!

James and I at my first West Point class event, he’s in the West Point dress uniform, not nearly as nice as the Army Service Uniform of Active Duty Soldiers and Officers.

It is ball season though, so in the spirit of picking out a dress, here are my tips: Continue reading “Military Ball: What to wear”

A Month of Anniversaries

October is a special month for me. Sure it means that fall is here, which I absolutely love, but more importantly it is the month that I met my husband, and a few years later, got engaged.

When we met (5 years ago!) I did not think the relationship would turn into what it did at all, mainly since it would be a long distance relationship, during college, sounds not so fun. But then you fall madly in love and who cares? You just want to be with that person. But, it is much more than that.

From day we met to engagement: October was a great month for us!

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Enlisted v. Officer: What’s the Difference?

People ask all the time “what rank is your husband/boyfriend/wife/etc?” And you tell them and they go “ok.” I once went to a doctor’s office, the woman checking me in looked at my ID (I gave her my military dependent card), she saw my husband’s rank and said, “Oh, 2nd lieutenant, that’s high up right?” It was hard to explain that yes, he was an officer, which some see as higher than enlisted, but in the scheme of officers he was the bottom of the food chain. So let me see if I can explain the difference…(also check out the glossary for a quick look at how the ranks break down)

I asked my husband to help me out on this one and this is his super simple explanation, comparing enlisted and officers to restaurant employees: Continue reading “Enlisted v. Officer: What’s the Difference?”

Making friends in a new place

Making friends is never easy. I think we’ve all had a new kid at school, or been the new kid in new school, and I think moving to a new place is a bit like that!

I went to school with a lot of the same people from kindergarten through high school. While there were new additions of friends, and others moved away or we grew apart, it was fairly insular for me. College was eye-awakening. Moving across the country I hardly knew anyone in NYC. I was lucky to have some of the most amazing people live on the same floor of my dorm as me, in fact some of those people are still my best friends. As I went through college I made some friends in classes and clubs. There were friends from internships and jobs. These were people that I knew and introduced my husband to, we had his friends from school too, and some were in Arizona with us, but Washington was a bit different.

My bachelorette party aka with my best friends saying farewell to NYC in style!

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The Art of Moving (Military Style)

As most people know the military moves people around fairly often. Most people I know move about every 2 or 3 years, but I have met some that have stayed at the same base for nearly 10 years. (This has to do with how you select preferences for your next job, as well as other factors: such as asking to stay for stability for children, or if a family member has special needs or medical treatments that are more available at certain posts. But that is a post for another day and for someone more knowledgeable on that aspect.)

That being said, we’ve moved twice, one was to a temporary location, I will explain that in a bit. But it’s a part of military life that I can say I love and hate all at the same time.

Don’t worry, I only had to ride like this for about 15 minutes!

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Check out the glossary

As of today there is a pretty extensive glossary page. For now it is a lot of words that I have encountered as an Army spouse, but I know that there are a lot that I left out, some on purpose, because I’m not sure we will talk about those issues at this point in time, and some that are slang. It is a living document so if you see something is missing please let me know and I’ll add it. I may ask for your definition of the word/phrase/acronym as well, so be prepared!

I hope you find the glossary useful. And please don’t forget to take my quick survey to let me know what you’d love to see on the blog. Thanks!

(Also like the More Than a Military Spouse page on Facebook!)

Tell me what you want to know!

Hi all,

In an effort to talk about the issues that you care most about, want to know more about, or want to dispel rumors about (if you’re a family member), I created a survey.

I have some topics I want to talk about and am working on getting more stories to share of other spouses’ experiences, because we really all deal with the ups and downs of life differently.

Also I have created a Facebook page to create a community around the blog, please like the page, leave comments and ask questions, invite your friends, etc. The more we share this blog, the better it can become!

So click here to take survey and here for Facebook.