Monday, August 30, 2010

Projects To Do While Your Spouse Is Deployed

I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of projects to do while your spouse is deployed. If you're like me, you need distractions to keep your mind off of feeling lonely.

1. Buy and refinish an old piece of furniture.
I recently purchased a second hand dresser for my daughter's room. It's older and smells funny, but it's sturdy construction, and in decent shape. It's going to need to be stripped, sanded and repainted but once it's finished it's going to be a nice addition to her bedroom. The hard part about this is finding the time to work on a project like this without the kids, but with school starting again soon I should be able to work on it during my little guy's naptime.

2. Get a Netflix account and catch up on a television series
Let's face it...there's a lot of awesome TV out there that you don't always get to catch when your spouse is deployed. DVR has made it possible to record what you miss, but maybe there's an old TV show that you always wanted to watch or get into. For example, a lot of people started watching Lost but somewhere along the line of that epic series, lost interest or forgot to watch an episode and as a result were totally screwed by the story line when all was said and done. When it's late at night and your children are asleep and you have some down time, pop in a Netflix DVD and catch up.

3. Plan and carry out an event
Over the summer I became involved in helping to plan my 10-year high school reunion. It was great to reconnect with old friends and plan something other then meals and the cleaning schedule for myself and my children. I also felt a sense of accomplishment in planning and following through until the end result. Whether it's a community relations project or family event, don't be afraid to jump in the planning process and get your hands dirty.

4. Compile a reading list
Much like television, go over that backburner list of good books you've been wanting to read. A trip to your local library is free, and in your spare time or even 15 minutes before bed, pick up a good book. Again, another way to feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish a book, and you'll know what the heck everyone was talking about at that last party.

5. Set a weight loss or exercise goal, and stick to it
I've talked about this before in my previous posts but I think it's the best way to beat stress while your spouse is deployed. One time I made it all the way to our local YMCA, a good 25-minute drive from our home. I was unmotivated and tired and ready to turn around and go home, but one of the childcare ladies told me to go grab a magazine and sit on the bike for 30 minutes and just take a break. It wasn't the most sweat-a-riffic of workouts but it was a nice break and I caught up on all of my Hollywood gossip with an issue of US Weekly.

6. Become the Queen/King of Organization
Tackle one of those projects you've been saying you'll do forever. Arm yourself with a label gun, a bunch of those plastic bins and go clean out your garage/attic/closets. Studies show that less clutter=less stress.

What are some other things we can add to this list?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crazy, busy month behind us!

I like to stay busy. Busy is good for me. In March I signed on the participate in the planning of my ten-year high school reunion. I figured it might be a good way to keep busy through the first part of deployment. As a side note, I swore up and down over the last ten years I would not attend my reunion. I was sort of a wallflower in high school. I was also a cheerleader, but it didn't really mean what it means now. I had zero self-confidence.

Yet I still got sucked into the planning process all the while, silently and internally kicking and screaming.

Unexpectedly, Tuesday night on July 27th, I was met by the news that my niece, Holly Elizabeth had arrived at the University of Washington hospital eight weeks early.
I was slated to leave on Friday and the so we packed up for a couple weeks stay in Yakima, Washington.

Did I mention I like to stay busy? I agreed to my sister-in-law's request of riding with her, along with our kids for a trip to the Woodland Zoo in Seattle. So back over the mountains we went.

The first week in town we kept busy taking my daughter to The Little Mermaid dance camp put on by the local dance studio. I tried my best to keep the house straightened up for my mom. Let's face it...three extra houseguests and a dog brings a lot more mess to the table, so to speak.

On Friday my daughter had her short recital, and on Saturday family and friends of Sonja (my brother's girlfriend and baby Holly's mom) came together for a baby shower. Already my second weekend in town and busy, crazy busy. The rest of the week was filled with seeing family and preparing for an even busier weekend. My Friday night was taken up with the reunion registration night. My Saturday was taken up with the family barbecue I was planning, my nephew's 1st birthday party, the evening reunion dance, and then Sunday concluded with a trip to Wenatchee, WA for a family wedding. It was insane. Absolutely insane, and I relied on energy shots to get me through. The reunion was a ball though.

Somewhere during the second week of our stay in Yakima, we received news that "our" ship would be returning to homeport. Although it wasn't completely unexpected, it threw off our schedule a little bit. Ahron and I both had mixed feelings about the return. It feels really ridiculous to start and then stop a deployment. After our previous, dramatic good-bye, we were expecting to be apart for quite a while. But we always try to remain flexible with schedule changes, and hey, that's just how it is in the military.

Ahron arrived home Tuesday evening, and I have to admit, it's nice to have him home and to have the help with the children. Right now, it's a very emotionally chaotic time in our lives. We are officially up to choose new orders in the spring. We're torn between staying here for an extra year, and moving on to a new location, most likely the East Coast. There's a couple of reasons we really want to stay here. 1)We just bought our house last year. 2)Daughter officially starts school on the 8th. 3)Family is here

For now the plan is to look into an extension and we're kind of just waiting to find out what's going to happen. Also, Ahron was up for Chief Petty Officer as I mentioned in a previous post, but he did not make the cut this year. But there's always next year. It's time for us to hold on tight, the ride is just about to get bumpy and scary. But somehow I know we'll come out all right in the end.