I've been a funk the last few days. While it was completely wonderful to see hubby during his port visit, it seems to have restarted us on the emotional track. Instead of trucking along like it's almost October, I've regressed to the beginning of August.

The emotional roller coaster is worth it. But, boy am I wishing for February.


Not my life - but interesting

As background information - I am overly sensitive to all child support issues. It seems that no matter which end I'm on (my mom getting money for me or hubby having to pay) I get screwed over.

A couple finds out they are expecting.
Guy freaks out. Pushes his very hardest for an abortion or to give child up for adoption. Says he is not ready for a child and he is not able to support a family.
Girl decides to have baby anyways. It's her body after all. She will raise child without father.
Baby is born.
Girl now goes after Guy for child support. He is the father. She needs monetary help raising a child.

Should he be required to pay? He told her he couldn't support a child. He did all he could to avoid the situation (abortion or adoption - which ever fits you better morally). He could not force her to do anything because it was her body and health. Can she force him to pay? Should she force him to pay?



So my mom over-thinks things just as much as I do. Perhaps that's where I got it from . . .

Ever since she found out that the bear was on his way, she has been consumed with trying to figure out what she wants him to remember her by - what she wants to teach him. There are so many things that a parent, grandparent, friend, or random stranger can teach someone.

What one thing did your parent teach you?
My mom taught me the importance of a promise.
My stepdad taught me how to joke (dish it out and take it).
My father taught me how weak anyone can become if you let yourself.

My mom wants to teach the bear that he is loved.

It's an interesting thought. What would you want your legacy to be to your children? Is this even something you can pick?


Quite a sight & Quite the truth

At our last FRG (the family support group for hubby's boat), we were discussing possible fundraisers. The money we raise goes to events on the ship (half way celebrations, holidays they're gone for - which includes Thanksgiving & Christmas this time, welcome home parties . . .) as well as things we do here on land for morale boosts like the kids' Halloween party.

Anyways, we need money in order for this all to happen. Our commissary (grocery store on base) will give us a lane on a Saturday so we can bag. In the land of commissaries, baggers work for tips. They bag your groceries, take them to your car and load it all up for you. It would be profitable with no upfront costs for us.

The problem is most of us have kids and the lovely Navy has moved us away from family to babysit. The idea just wasn't practical.

It got me thinking though. What a sight would a bunch of wives be busting their butts bagging groceries with kiddos Baby Bjorned to us. Working hard to ease the emotional hardships our husbands endure while literally juggling children. It really would be the best representation of who we are. If only we could strap on a tool belt we learn to use when the plumbing acts up for the millioneth time while hubby is deployed. And, a video camera in one hand in our attempts to capture moments to send to Daddy. We would be quite the spectacle to all those shoppers. I am sure there would be countless other wives there who would understand. They've been there. And, as military spouses - we would get the job done with smiles on our faces.


Port Visit

I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with hubby at his latest port visit - in Panama! It was all done in true military fashion; thought of last minute, frantic work on the home end to get it all organized, 2 very questionable moments of "will he even be there" and worth every dollar and frantic second.

While I did receive a few "what were you thinkings" from friends and family I told upon my return to the states, the whole experience was amazing. I would never have gone to Panama for any other reason and was able to experience an incredibly hospitable culture. The bear (yes, I brought him with) had some tummy problems towards the end, but even hanging out with in a hotel room was perfect. It had been a month and a half since I had talked to him. I have full respect for the military members who go overseas and those on surface ships, but I feel like it's a completely different ballgame for the Submariners. We have the unreliable email limited to 300 words a day for all of our contact. No mail. No phone calls. No email attachments for pictures.

I am very lucky to have the financial savings and sheer guts to have gone. While a phone call would have been a treat, sometimes a hug is really in order. Parting hurt my heart all over again though. At least this time, I know it will not be as long without hearing his voice.

It was an interesting role reversal when the bear and I headed for the airport. I have always been the one "left" and hubby is the leaver. This time, I walked away and he returned to our home (granted it was a hotel room this time). He said he had a new respect for what the wives go through. He had to return to the room we had just been together to see an empty crib, glass half full of water on the nightstand and memories of a weekend. I was blessed enough to get a phone call from him last night since they were still in port as I drove back home from the airport. I think we both were enlightened on what the other experiences.

I am so very lucky to have a wonderful hubby who makes me so proud and gives us these opportunities. The bear is going to be one traveled kiddo. At 9 months, he's been to 14 states and has a stamped passport. Not too shabby.


The dreaded Saturday night . . .

Something I never encountered before hubby deployed was just how awful Saturday nights are. I can breeze right through the week no problem and then I hit the brakes. I guess it's the one time where you could have counted on hubby to be home. To be together. During the week, you can pretend that he's just at work for the day. Not so with Saturday nights. Saturdays were family time. Even if we were lazy bums and hung out on the couch all day, we were together. Now I dread Saturdays. They're like a big blazing sign reminding you that he's gone.

I was talking to another wife today. She said, "I get along fine. Yeah, there are those times when I see a happy couple holding hands and I want to chuck something at them. But, most of the time I'm fine." Boy, have I been there.

Sometimes when I get really mopey, I stop and wonder how many other wives are sitting at home on Saturday nights praying for Sunday morning to come. Who else is sitting there staring at the sky wondering where her hubby is. Hoping he's safe. Wishing for him to be home. It's a depressing thought, but it also is comforting. We're not alone on the journey.

People told me it would get easier. They lied. Yes, I get accustomed to my new routines and habits. But it is not easier. I'm guessing it's similar to going deaf or losing a limb. After a few weeks, you get faster and more proficient. You become use to it. But it is not easier. You're still not whole. It's still not right. There are still those moments - the happy couples in public, the Saturday nights - that can knock you down. I may getting faster at scrambling back to my feet afterwards. But it's not any easier. I've just had more practice.


Broccoli Haters Unite!

Let me start my admitting this. I HATE broccoli. I think it is disgusting and like a small tree. I will go to all lengths to avoid eating it. When I was pregnant, hubby was doing his best to get me to eat healthy foods. (I was actually pretty good about it) For some reason he decided I needed to eat broccoli one night. He put three sprigs on my plate and said I had to eat them. I cried. Seriously. Part was the raging hormones from being pregnant and part is just I hate it that much. On the bright side, he felt badly and didn't make me eat it :-)

Despite my aversions to the baby trees, I still introduced them to the bear last night. He hates it, too. He's had foods he fussed at before (like carrots which also gross me out). I fed him a bite of broccoli, and he picked up his pacifier and quickly put it in his mouth. I took it out and tried to play nice. I gave him a bite of peaches and all was well.

A few bites later, I tried the broccoli route again. Pacifier went right back in his mouth. I wrestled the pacifier out. Instead of giving him the yummy peaches, I tried to slip in another broccoli bite. I was hoping the element of surprise would be on my side.

I was wrong. It came right back out of his mouth. Pacifier inserted. And, he refused any more spoon food from me. He had his own little hunger strike against broccoli.

I know I should be encouraging healthy foods and stick at it. But, honestly I don't blame him. I figured we can just hate broccoli together.



de·pen·dent (dĭ-pěn'dənt) adj.
1. Contingent on another.
2. Subordinate.
3. Relying on or requiring the aid of another for support
4. Hanging down.

According to the Navy (and I'm guessing the other branches of the military), I am a dependent. My personal information does not matter. When I make a doctor appointment, it is my husband's social security number the ask for. When I need to breathe, it is my hubby that matters. I am an off-shoot . . . like an unneeded appendage . . . of my husband.

There are many things in the land of the military that puzzle me. Some I can understand if I squint really hard and tilt my head and spin in circle very quickly. There are others which I think were created in the 60s by some old men who were "experimenting" with substances.

However, dependent is about the less appropriate word I can think of. Military spouses have to be pretty tough. While you're married, you are essentially a single parent for long stretches of time. And when your hubby or wife is home, they're working long hours, often overnight, and can be called to work at any time. You have to keep a household running like a single parent but still include the absent spouse in your daily life. You are required to constantly remind yourself that he is gone. You learn acronyms that are often longer and more complicated than simply saying the full names of things. You have to follow all these silly rules and never question why. You have to explain to your child that every man he sees in uniform at the commissary is not daddy. You have to continue on with your family's schedules while altering enough so one person can manage. You move. A lot. And, typically don't get a choice as to where. You are uprooted and forced to make new friends and family. You have to be strong for your children but also soft enough they know it's okay to be sad and cry sometimes. You have to unclog toilets (typically on the first day hubby deploys), cut the grass, shovel the snow and wait patiently. You are a pillar of strength for your spouse who is gone. You are rough, sturdy and dependable.

Military spouses shouldn't be grouped in with small children and called dependents. We deserve better than that. We are worthy of a better title.


Nine months . . .

The bear is nine months old today. My goal was to be down to my pre-pregnancy weight by today. I figured it took me nine months to gain the weight, I should be allowed nine months to lose it. Granted, I wasn't really pregnant nine months . . . that's just one of those rounded numbers that sounds better. I was technically pregnant for 8 months and a day and that includes the 2 weeks before we had evidence.

I'm an awful dieter. I can't do it. I like food. More specifically, I like food that is not good for me. I am scared of the day the bear asks why he has to eat all his veggies when I don't. I'll enjoy my poor eating habits until then. The YMCA here gives free memberships to the spouses of deployed military members. I've been going regularly and working my butt off, but the number has not budged in a few weeks.

The moral of the story: while naked, first thing in the morning and you round to the nearest 5, I have done it. Not exactly what I had in mind when I made this plan. But, it's acceptable. Maybe tomorrow I'll weigh myself right after I nurse the bear . . . perhaps those ounces will knock it down to a nicer number. I find it amusing how I will manipulate all of these circumstances to get the right number. That really shouldn't count, but the emotional boost is nice.

Just another plan that didn't go as expected. I'm okay with it though. The bear will appreciate my hugs and love more than a skinny momma.


Doctor, Doctor

The bear had his 9 month well baby check up today. (Please excuse me while I go have my "ohmygosh my baby is growing up so fast" moment. Thank you.) He's a healthy boy developing perfectly.

One of the many pleasures of having a Navy husband is the interesting health care system. Interesting really is the right word. Sometimes it's amazingly awesome and has full coverage and the doctors spend gobs of time with you since they aren't paid per patient they see. And, sometimes it's just awful. We had the best doctor when we right after we moved here. He spent 30 minutes examining him. Have you ever spent 30 minutes with an actual doctor? Who spoke to you? Like you weren't an idiot? It was an out of body experience.

Alas, Mr Amazing Doctor is no more. He was transferred elsewhere. Where to, I have no idea. Which is probably a good thing, or I would try to convince hubby to get us transferred there, too. The one we saw today wasn't bad. Had we been assigned him at a different time, I would have been perfectly pleased.

People in the real world (ie not military families) actually get to pick their doctors which is an amazingly wonderful delight I can not wait to have. I remember the baby books saying you need to interview pediatricians and find one that is supportive of your choices (breastfeeding, formula, co-sleeping, calling a million times at midnight . . .) and I was jealous. We don't get to pick. We get assigned. Between our moves and the doctors' transfers, I wonder how many the bear will go through. At 9 months, he has already had 4 different doctors assigned as his "primary care physician." We go through his history every time. It's nice they ask, but don't they read the chart? On the bright side, if they're awful we aren't stuck with them for long.

The national health insurance idea is nice. But let me tell you folks - industrialized health care is not what you're thinking it is. Yes, it is better than nothing. But how much better can be questionable.

Some people dream of world peace. I dream of picking our own doctors and having them actually know who we are.


It takes a village to raise a child

But, how many does it take to discipline one?

I'll admit it. Before the bear was born, I was judgmental about poor parenting. As the momma to an infant, I now have a little more patience with that screaming baby I encounter in the public arena. (Luckily, I have only had a few public displays of anger and have been able to make a quick exit.)

When is it okay to step in and tell someone else's kid to knock it off? I was around a 3 year old today who acted like a little heathen. Screaming, running around, jumping on me, stealing Cheerio's from my boy . . . I have yet to experience the world of toddlers. I finally put my foot down when he jumped on my son, and the bear started screaming. Heathen boy's mom was there and silent.

When can you intervene? I know moms sometimes are overwhelmed. And, sometimes they just become immune to bad behavior. Where's the boundary?


Plans Schmans

Names are important. Perhaps, I place a bit more emphasis on names than most people do. But, I doubt there is anyone who can claim a name means nothing. It's your introduction to the world.
Hello, world. I'm Stephanie.

I had quite the issues when trying to name this blog. I wanted something brief, cute and me. That trio of words rarely comes in the same sentence.

Sum up your life in 3 words. Was it what your life has been? What it will be? What you want people to perceive it as?
Planned Improvisation fits me. As a Navy wife, I can plan my heart out only to have to toss those ideas to the wind at the whim of the government. As a new mom, I can have schedules and "this is how I'll do it whens." Alas, the little bear has ideas of his own. It still amazes me how someone so small can control so many adults.

This is my life. My plans and my second draft of plans and third draft of plans . . . Welcome to the journey.