Homecoming Happened!

After a long 178 days (who was counting?), and watching our tiny 3 week old he left turn into a giggly, dramatic 6.5 month old over FaceTime, my husband finally came home last Friday!

This homecoming was both much smoother, and much more nerve wracking than the last. The last deployment we went through was longer, with less communication, but this one- this one, a tiny little human we made was in the middle of it. This one hurt more and kept me busier and made me wish more than once it was over yesterday.

Last homecoming happened in the morning/afternoon- which would have been lovely for this homecoming because my drama king baby is happiest in the morning. It seems the Corps caught word of how convenient this would be for me, and decided to have homecoming take place at night. In the dark. After bedtime 😅 I told my husband “follow the sound of meltdowns, missed naps, and past bedtime- that’s where you’ll find us.”

True to form, while my son behaved ALL DAY LONG, and had me thinking wow, today is gonna be a good day. Tonight will be fine, about 30 minutes before we were getting ready to leave the house, meltdown mode engaged. I walked into the bathroom and he commenced to screaming and rolling around on my bed as though he had been dunked in liquid fire. Fantastic, right? All through getting dressed, having our friends meet us at my house, getting into the car seat, and driving to the grinder, my child was in hysterics.

As I opened the hatch of my car to get his stroller out, his wails pierced the air and my friend said, “is that my kid?”

“No, it’s mine.”

*she opens the back of her car and releases the the sounds of her own child’s tantrum*

“Oh, look at that. It’s both our kids.”

And that’s how homecoming went.

I kid, I kid. (Though the above actually happened)

We met our respective photographers, laughed with friends we hadn’t seen all deployment, and waited anxiously as the night got darker, children got antsier, and jackets got pulled tighter as it got colder.

About 2.5 hours after our initial arrival (and I’ll have you know, I waited longer than most wives before heading down there), we finally watched Fox Co. return home.

My husband found us, and if last homecoming had made my heart happy, this one filled my heart to bursting.

To watch a father and son meet for the {second}first time is something truly, wonderfully both heart wrenching and lovely.

I was so, so worried that Ev wouldn’t want anything to do with Rick. After all, he’d only ever had him physically in his life for 21 days, half of which were spent in the hospital due to some mysterious infection I came down with postpartum.

It seemed my worries were unfounded though, and FaceTime had done its job- Ev reached for his daddy and smiled and laughed and made me want to cry tears of happiness (I didn’t though, because my makeup looked great and I wasn’t about to ruin it).

You know that feeling of completeness, of absolute contentment?

You don’t realize how much you miss it during deployment. You forget how empty you feel when you feel that way everyday.

But when you experience the homecoming- after the anxiety, after the wanting to puke, after the worry and wondering- when it’s happening, all of that goes away, and all you’re left with is that overwhelming feeling of contentment and wholeness.

We went home, I put Ev to bed, Rick walked the dog (our neighbors who moved in while he was gone were very confused by his presence 😂), and for the first time in nearly 6 months we went to bed together, instead of me by myself with my phone on the pillow as we talked to one another.

The next morning, the 3 of us lounged around in bed, Ev reveling in the reality of Dad being home, and as I laid there watching them, all I could do was smile and wonder I don’t think I ever saw us here. Even after all those years of dating, two years of marriage, I never imagined how good having this family would feel.

Watching your husband be a father will make you fall more in love than you thought possible, and when he takes the baby so you can sleep for an hour and a half longer, you’ll love him even more than that.

It’s been almost a week, and we’ve fallen into our same old, same old. Granted, there’s a baby now- so we eat dinner later, get up earlier- but other than that, it’s the same. Ev and I have another accomplice on our Target trips, I have another set of hands, I’m back in the gym, Rick has gone back to work, and it’s as though my child has morphed into someone different overnight. There must be something about having both parents home, because I literally just wrote this while my child was awake and playing independently (this never happens, ever).

We’ll be back in Texas to visit next month, so if you want to see us, HMU. After that, we’ll be preparing for our cross country move and the next adventure!

XOXO,

Em.

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I Hold Him a Lot

I hold my baby a lot.

Even as I type this, his head rests against my shoulder and I’m swaying in the living room trying to coax him into napping.

I hold my baby a lot.

People have said, “he needs to learn to self soothe.” “He’ll never go to sleep on his own.” “He’s going to depend on you for everything.” “He doesn’t sleep through the night yet?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect. I am currently by myself, and sometimes, he cries and I’m busy. I can’t drop everything right that moment. The only way he’ll nap is if I put him in his crib and let him fuss for a few minutes (no, he’s not crying it out. Just fussing).

But yes, I hold my baby a lot. I nurse my baby a lot. Sometimes, all he wants is to nurse for an hour at night and I’m just like, “I know you’re not hungry. Please just go to sleep.” But I nurse him and I rock him and I hold him and snuggle him anyway.

Would him sleeping through the night be great? Absolutely. Would I love it if he’d be content to play by himself for an hour so I could get chores done? Yes. Do I wish that he never cried ever? Also yes.

But the way I look at it is: he’s never, ever going to be this small again. I will never, ever look back and think, “wow. I should have held him less and let him cry more. I wish I hadn’t carried him around so much.” One of these days, he’s going to get tired of being snuggled by Mama, and one of these days, he’s gonna take himself off to bed without so much as a kiss goodnight. I’ll have to follow him in there and remind him.

It’s frustrating, I won’t lie. My mom just came to visit, and she can attest that sometimes, nothing makes my child happy except to see you going to the ultimate lengths to appease him. While I’m by myself, it’s hard. There are days when I wake up and I’m convinced I’m going to get things done and slay the day and what actually happens is a combination of nursing, rocking, playing, and soothing a baby all day. My husband just asked me the other night, “what are your plans for tomorrow?” I just kind of laughed and told him that I’ve stopped making plans because all I do is disappoint myself when I don’t get to them. (Which is very hard for me to do, seeing as how I love to plan things, and feel better when I have a list.)

Sometimes, I feel like I’m really struggling because Ev needs me, the house is a wreck, I’m trying to keep my feelings together because hello my husband is deployed and he hasn’t seen our child in over 4 months, and I’m also trying to orchestrate another cross country move.

In those moments, yes, sometimes I have to put Ev down in his crib and walk away for five minutes. Yes, sometimes he’s angry about it. But I need the five minutes. I’m not going to be a very good mom if I’m miserable. It’s just not feasible.

Being a mom is hard. Being a wife is hard. Being a mom and a wife with a deployed husband is harder. Props to all the single moms out there who do this every day of every year, because this is so difficult.

I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s hard to be the one with a baby attached 24/7, and I know it’s awful when you’re so tired that you don’t have the energy to even clean the kitchen after the baby falls asleep.

But don’t think that you’re “ruining” or “spoiling” that baby by holding him.

They’re little for such a short time. I was pregnant yesterday and I blinked and now my baby’s 5 months old. When I’m tired, and frustrated, and feeling run down, I have to remind myself of that. That my tiny baby isn’t tiny anymore, and he’s only getting bigger.

Hold all the babies. Get all the snuggles. Cuddle him for a minute longer before you put him down. Cherish the way that little hand curls around your finger. And in those quiet moments when they’re finally asleep and you’re thinking, “ugh, yes. Please don’t wake up“, realize how blessed you really are. So many people wish they could experience your worst days of parenthood. Don’t take the best for granted.

XOXO,

Em.

10 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me

Nearly 5 months in on this adventure and I’d love to say it’s been the best, easiest, time of my life.

LOL.

It’s been hard, there’s been moments where I thought, “what have I done?? Why did I think having a baby was a good idea?“. I’ve cried, laughed, cried some more, gone longer than I’d like to admit between showers, and cherished every moment of it.

I think miscarrying, as terrible as it was and how I wish I’d never experienced it, has granted me the unique ability to enjoy even the painful moments of being a mother. Because even though he’s been crying for 2 hours and nothing can stop it, I’m running on 3 hours of sleep, and there’s baby vomit in my hair (that’s falling out in copious amounts, thanks PP hormones), I know that I might never have gotten to experience it at all.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster since giving birth and starting on deployment, but the ups and downs have taught me so much about being a mom, who I am, and what I want in life.

Here’s the top 10 things I’ve learned in the past 4.5 months.

1. Don’t Lose Yourself

I might still be struggling a little bit with this one, honestly. Maybe it’ll get better once Ev is bigger. But I have to remind myself everyday that I am someone besides Everett’s mom. I was really losing who I was in the day to day. I woke up with Ev, did everything with Ev, went to bed with Ev. Heck, I couldn’t even shower alone.

It’s hard to admit, but it was making me sad. I know that I was prepared to sacrifice lots of things when we decided to have a baby, but being alone and dealing with deployment really messes with your head sometimes.

I finally had to move Ev out of my room and into the nursery, where he sleeps for at least half the night (😂) everyday. Sure, it’s a little tiring getting up and walking down the hall every 2-3 hours at night to feed him, but he goes to bed and I can shower alone, lay in bed alone, watch TV alone, clean the kitchen alone.

It might not be the easiest choice since he’s not sleeping through the night currently, but it’s made me mentally feel more invested in myself, and that’s what’s important. I can’t take care of anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself.

2. Bad Days Are Normal

Not everyday is a good day, ever, whether you’re a mama or not.

Sometimes, the baby wakes up at 4 am and refuses to go back to sleep. There are days where he’s going to cry nonstop unless you’re holding him, and sometimes, even then.

There will be days where you feel like you’re drowning in baby clothes, baby toys, diapers, swings, bottles, whatever.

There might be a day where you just lose it. You just sit down and cry with the screaming baby because you don’t know what else to do. Those days suck.

But it’s okay to have one every now and then. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you’re human, and you need a minute to pull yourself together. And because you’re someone’s mom, you’re gonna do it. You’re an expert inherently at pulling yourself together and getting through the day.

So don’t beat yourself up for the bad day you had yesterday. One day, he’s not going to cry because he wants you to hold him. One day, he’s not going to want you to sing the same song for the fifty billionth time in a row.

Love all the days, even the bad ones.

3. Don’t Forget To Take Care of You

This one? Easier said than done. Especially when your husband is deployed and you’re home 24/7 with no actual need to get out of sweatpants. Or put any pants on, really.

Except, there is a need.

I am the absolute Queen of undone hair, no pants, and doing nothing.

For a while, it’s great. And then you start to realize that you don’t really remember the last time you were actually dressed, and you kind of start to feel bleh, especially with the new and (un)improved postpartum body.

So yeah, 9 times out of 10, my hair is still undone and 10 times out of 10, I have no makeup on. I don’t have time to do those. But I do have time to get dressed. So I do. Maybe not everyday, but 5/7 days, I put real people pants on, and get out of my pajamas. It makes me feel like I at least did one productive thing, even if I really didn’t. But sometimes, getting dressed is the biggest thing I accomplish on a bad day.

It’s a small thing. Probably made smaller by the fact that I won’t put a bra on, but hey. Baby steps.

4. Ignore The Mess

Absolutely harder to do than it sounds. 100%. Especially for me.

For someone who hates clutter, my house is always full of it. It’s full of nonessential items that I could throw out and not think about it ever again. I won’t do it, but I probably should.

When you’ve got a baby and little help, sometimes you go a while between cleanings. I’ve been home for almost a month and I am just now starting to get on top of the mess that is my home. I dusted a ceiling fan last night and was like, uber proud of myself. That’s sad, and I know it. No need to point it out.

Even though my house is a mess and it’s hard to ignore, sometimes I just have to, because there’s a little person who needs me more than I need to vacuum. And sometimes, I need sleep more than I need to clean. And that’s okay.

There will come a day where I can clean my house top to bottom and Everett won’t even look up from his playing besides to get away from the noise of the vacuum. There will come a day where I’ll miss when he needed me so much, but instead I have a clean house.

So until that day gets here, I’m just going to try and pretend that I don’t see the mess.

5. Accept The Skin You’re in Now

Being pregnant sucked. Giving birth? I’d totally do it again. But being pregnant? No, thank you. I hated it.

And thanks to being pregnant for what felt like forty years, I’ve got a new body. It’s not my favorite, to be frank. There are stretch marks everywhere. I didn’t even know I could get stretch marks behind my knees, but they’re there.

I’ve struggled with my body for a while. I miss being 120 pounds, fitting into size six jeans, and not wondering if that dress would zip.

So postpartum body has me a little peeved, sure. I weigh almost 30 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant, so that’s great. Thank you, breastfeeding. But nothing will ever look exactly the way it did pre-baby.

When I say accept it, I don’t mean to stop working on yourself. I’m not. I’ve still got 25 pounds to go before I get to where I want to be. What I mean is, accept the fact that you’re never going to have that pre-pregnancy body back.

And while that might suck a little bit, remember: you carried life, dude. I literally grew a human inside my body. I don’t know about anyone else, but my kid wasn’t tiny either. So yeah, I’ve got stretch marks and the boobs that come with breastfeeding are more a nuisance than a blessing. But hey, it’s where I’m at now, and I’m just going to accept that.

6. Realize You’re Different Now

This is probably the biggest one. So many people I went to school with are like, “you got married? You had a baby? But we’re so young!”

Dude, we’re all in our twenties now. I’ve been married for more than two years.

Us settling down and starting a family is normal. We aren’t kids anymore. This is normal. This is what people do.

But very few of my friends are at this same point in their lives. And that’s okay, too, because we’re all different.

Being a parent propels you into a different kind of club. You’re no longer the person that gets late night calls to parties, or the person that drops everything to do whatever her friends are doing. You’ve got responsibilities and a little human that depends on you now.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with the friends you’ve always had. It’s good. You just have to remember that you’re part of the parenthood club now, and this membership doesn’t really expire.

7. Take Pictures

This one seems pretty obvious. But for real, take pictures. Take videos.

It might not seem like a big deal in the moment, but one day, you’re going to wish you’d captured it. We live in a world full of technology; use it.

They grow literally so fast in just a month. Take pictures and that way, when they’re big and annoying teenagers, we can look back at those itty bitty newborns and reminisce on the good ol’ days. And then we can say, “okay, we’re going out, see you when we get home,” and we can enjoy that season of life, too.

8. Breastfeeding Is Hard

In case anyone was wondering, breastfeeding was a 3 person job in the beginning. Me, Ev and Rick we’re all trying to figure it out and more than once I thought, “wtf. This is hard. Why is this so hard?”

The answer rests largely on the fact that there was a tiny baby who didn’t know what he was doing and a first time mom who didn’t know what she was doing either.

We figured it out though, and you know what? It’s great. Yes, it’s sometimes frustrating to be used as a “pacifier”, and yes, sometimes (all the time) I wish I could have way smaller boobs. But I don’t have to drag around formula or bottles or anything.

You’d never think that nursing was empowering, but it kind of is. Especially in an age where people are okay with the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, but not okay with nursing babies.

So, just because I feel like listing my accomplishments because I’m proud of myself to making it 4.5 months of EBF, I’ve nursed:

  • In California
  • In Texas
  • In an airport
  • On a plane
  • In a car
  • At a college football game
  • In restaurants
  • At a soccer field
  • In Walmart
  • Covered
  • Uncovered

There’s probably a few more but hey, those are what I remember. I’m proud of myself for sticking with something that was hard at first, and being almost halfway to our goal of a year.

9. Days Can Get Really Long

A day is 24 hours. Everyday. All year long.

Except when you’re nursing or your baby is growing through growth spurts or you’re having a particularly bad day, it seems sooooo much longer.

You wake up looking forward to bed time. Trust me, I’m there. Hopefully that passes.

I’m currently running on coffee, dry shampoo, and leftovers like my life depends on it. Mostly because it does.

10. Take a Minute

Being a mom is tiring. Sometimes, the minute the baby falls asleep, you want to, too.

But take a minute. Take a shower, or sit down and eat with both hands (Lord knows how rarely that happens now), or just lay in bed for a second.

Maybe it was a good day, or maybe it was a bad one. Maybe he went to sleep in 10 minutes, or maybe it took 2 hours. Maybe you’re tired and want to cry, or maybe he rolled over for the first time and you’re sending that video to everyone you know.

Take a minute and look at your life.

Sure, you’d had 4 cups of coffee before 10 am, and sure, that might be spit up on your shirt.

But you’re blessed. Do you know how many people wish they could experience your worst days of motherhood?

Take a minute to take the day in. Commit to memory every laugh that baby had today, every thing he did new for the first time.

Then let it go.

Take a minute, and then know that tomorrow is a new day.

Good or bad, it’s a new day, and all you’ve got to do is take it one day at a time, and raise a good person. That’s in the day-to-day; it doesn’t happen overnight.

So those are my top ten.

It’s been 4.5 hard, long months. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I love it more than I can say.

I’ve got to get back to raising my good person now, though. Til next time.

XOXO,

Em.

Here Comes 2018, and my Obnoxious, but Obligatory, Resolution Post

I mean, my title says it all, right?

2017 has been a rollercoaster.

I gained friends, lost them, got pregnant, visited home, Rick got promoted, I had a baby, contracted a mystery infection, embarked on deployment #2, my husband reenlisted (orders, wya?), and so much more.

I felt good about myself, bad about myself, wondered what the heck we were doing, irrationally wondered if my husband would still love me when I was someone’s mother and not just a wife (pregnancy screws your mental faculties, y’all), discovered stretch marks EVERYWHERE, and lost motivation.

Since becoming a Mama and starting this second deployment, my goals are different. They used to be things like blogging consistently, keeping up with laundry and cooking, staying in the gym (lol at this; it didn’t happen. My husband throws me off every time he comes home). I used to commit myself to finding purpose in my day to day life. For the first 6 months in California, I felt a little useless. It was the first time in 3 years I hadn’t had a job and been working. I’m blessed now that we’re capable enough for me to stay home with little Ev, and now I’m not hunting for a purpose. He wakes me up every 2-3 hours. 😂

That being said, I think my goals for 2018 and all the years beyond are more realistic for myself.

  • I’m going to blog when I blog. I love writing. It makes me happy. But I’m a busy person right now, and it’s okay if I go a few months without posting, and then write 6 new posts in a week. Plus I might be working on something besides the blog this year 😉
  • I’m going to stay in the gym when my husband comes home. For real, this time. I’ve written it down, it’s on the internet, so it must be true.
  • I’m going to try my best to keep up with life, and give myself grace when I don’t.

Life is busy. Especially so when you’re single-parenting it with an almost 3 month old who needs you 24/7. There are going to be days when finding a clean T-shirt is nigh impossible, when all my child does is cry and cling, when I get sick or when I feel like I’m failing. And I’m just going to remind myself that I’m not.

I’m not failing. I’m kicking deployment’s ass, I’m taking care of my son, I’m doing my absolute best. And even on days when I’m not doing my best? I’m going to tell myself that it’s okay, that the day is going to end, and I get to start over tomorrow.

Hopefully the new year will bring the end of deployment, a move, a healthier lifestyle (I want it known my husband said he’d eat vegetables. You all just read it. Hold him accountable), and a happy family. I’ve been married nearly 2 years to my best friend, with him for nearly 7. I’ve got a dog, a cat who thinks he’s a dog, and a happy baby. I’ve got a great husband who doubles as a great daddy. This year hasn’t been bad. But next year is going to be better.

I’m just declaring it.

I love my life, and the direction it’s heading. Merry Christmas, y’all.

XOXO,

Em.

Join the Club

The mom club, that is.

I’ve found something that intrigues me, and therefore I will ramble in a semi-coherent blog post that I will rewrite 4 times before deeming that it makes enough sense for you to read. You’re welcome.

Joining the mom club involves a strenuous process, no matter how you go about it; biologically, adoption, surrogacy, IVF.

The entry fee is also pretty exorbitant: your body, your sleep, your hobbies, your free time (at least for a while).

But the payoff for joining? A tiny little human that’s half you. Sleepy baby snuggles, wobbly toddler runs, belly laughs and first words. Totally worth it.

There’s something about the mom club, however. It’s very secular. You’ve got the clubs inside the club. There’s the crunchy moms, who don’t vaccinate, breastfeed til 4, make their own baby food. There’s the working moms who formula feed, do BLW, hire nannies or daycare. These are all just examples, by the way. Not every working mom or any other mom necessarily does any or all of these things. But then there’s all the moms in between.

In its secularity, the mom club can become very confusing, and very lonely. I’ve often wondered if I’m doing it right or where I’m supposed to fit in, and Everett’s only a little over two months old. Is breastfeeding exclusively the best thing? (Science says yes, gut says yes, but being a mom makes you wonder about everything.) Is having him sleep in his own bed 97% of the time the right thing? What about the fact that he won’t take a pacifier?

Being a mom is stressful. Breastfeeding is probably the most stressful thing I’ve encountered to date, simply because I’ve got to trust my body that it’s doing its job. That he’s getting enough and that I’m not starving him and that cluster feeding is normal when it happens. Then there’s the waking up throughout the night, and the times where he cries for reasons I can’t figure out. Or the fact that he REFUSES to nap during the day almost 100% of the time.

On top of that stress, there’s the stress of the mom club, too. When you’re already in an odd category- being married at 18, a mom at 20, and stable in your life, while most of the people you went to school with are broke college kids stumbling around at frat parties- becoming a mom puts you in another category completely.

Just like when I got married, I’ve heard all sorts of things. “Oh, was he an accident?” No. In fact, he decided to show up the week after we decided to stop trying. (Sorry for the roller coasters and the partying, little Ev 😂) “But you haven’t done anything or seen anywhere!” I’ve done the things I’ve wanted to. I’m still doing things I want to, albeit on a different timeline. I’ve married my best friend, given birth, lived somewhere new. And I’m not big on traveling anyway. “You’re so young!” Thank you, Janet. I appreciate your eyesight. Now my children will be grown by the time I’m 45 and I’ll go back to doing whatever I want, whenever I want.

The odd category makes it hard to find mom friends. They’re all either older than me, and therefore wiser (this is my sarcasm, age has nothing to do with wisdom). More often than not they’re haughty and full of themselves, and assume I’m some single teenage mom instead of a happily married woman. So then the mothers closer to my age, while some are also in the stage of life I’m in, most are women I can’t relate to at all, besides the fact that we’ve both had babies.

Right now, motherhood is kind of lonely. Maybe it’s because I don’t have my husband home to navigate parenthood with. Maybe it’s because I’m antisocial, and don’t like pretending to be friends with people who aren’t comfortable with me without pants on. Maybe it’s because going anywhere requires planning and starting to get ready an hour before we need to leave, and hoping my spawn is in a good mood.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy motherhood and I’m absolutely blessed to even be on the journey and in this club. I’m just navigating the waters and realizing that the island is a little farther than I thought, I think.

Mom friends, wya? I’m gonna need one of y’all to step up and bring your kid out with me to lunch or sit on my couch and watch Netflix. Email me for a friendship application 😂

XOXO,

Em.

Baby #1, Deployment #2, and My Sanity 

It’s been awhile 😉

Obviously, I’ve been very busy- I had a baby, after all. I’ll probably blog our birth story sometime soon(ish) when I have time, but for now, you get this one. 

We’re on day 4 of deployment #2, and that means day 4 of mom-only parenting. Surprisingly, right now, it’s easier than I anticipated. But we have our challeneges. 

Deployments get easier, that much is true. While it’s never a good feeling watching your husband walk away for the last time in several months, it feels a lot less soul-crushing the second time around. This time, send off was very different. Last year, we were freshly married, 18 and 20 years old, all alone and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t scary as hell. I didn’t know what to expect, he couldn’t tell me because he didn’t know either, and I’ll just say that San Diego harbor will forever be ruined for me after watching that ship sail away. 

This time, we woke up in our bed, in our house. We drove the familiar road to the grinder, we spent our last few hours in our car. There were no tears as we said goodbye. Just the feeling of, “let’s get this over with”. And honestly, even though it’s only day 4, and you know I’ll have some bad days, I’m doing really good. 

The solo parenting? Also easier than I thought. Ev’s a month old come Saturday, so he’s in the throes of cluster feeding thanks to growth spurts- which means he’s attached to my boobs 22 hours out of the day it feels like (breastfeeding as a write this). That makes it hard to keep up with housework or cooking, but he usually sleeps really well; 6-7 hour stretches throughout the night, which means I’m at least getting some sleep, too, after doing the housework I don’t get to do during the day.

My sanity? I mean, that’s always on the verge. I’ve had one mini-meltdown, a car ride of frustration (but it worked, baby went to sleep), and one night of sharing my bed with a 3 week old so I could get some sleep. All that considered, I still feel like I’m doing okay. Well, more than okay. Okay is just surviving. I plan on thriving during this deployment. 

We go back to visit Texas and have everyone meet Everett in just over 2 weeks, and when we come back to California, we’ll be halfway through deployment. Until then, we’re just rockin’ and rollin’. 

XOXO, 

Em. 

What You’re “Owed”

Hello, hello! It’s been a while, sorry, y’all. 

Life’s been pretty hectic over here, with me growing a human and courses and church and pets and visits and all! To catch you up: I’m almost 22 weeks pregnant, so over halfway there, thank goodness. My mom came to visit, our nursery furniture has been built, I’m planning a trip back to Texas (mostly to eat, but also because I miss my people 😉) and summer is right around the corner. 

I’ve got a sister graduating high school, a husband gearing up for deployment, a body that no longer belongs to me (no joke, I feel like a host sometimes), and a really clingy dog and cat. My house is permanently a mess, the nearest Chick-fil-A probably knows me by my car now, and all I want is to find a bikini top that fits and won’t give me weird tan lines. 

Everyone’s having babies, and I’m in LOVE with Emma, Stevie-Lynn, Liam, Levi and all the other kiddos. Makes me super impatient for Everett to get here (oh, yeah…it’s a boy, by the way!) both because I want baby snuggles and also because my hips feel like they’re going to pop out the sockets. 

Now that you’re mostly caught up, let’s talk about something that has left me scratching my head. 

It’s common knowledge that if you divorce while your spouse is in the military, when they retire (assuming they’re career and qualify for retirement benefits), the spouse who didn’t serve is granted alimony from the veteran’s retirement pay. Even if you divorced 13 years before retirement. There are exceptions, of course, but this is what commonly happens. 

Personally, I already find that strange. Why would I be entitled to money that my husband earned, when we’re no longer married? But continuing on. 

In a recent Supreme Court case, a veteran’s retirement pay took a slight pay cut because he started receiving disability and that money- the disability pay- is untaxed, so in order to prevent “double dipping” his retirement pay changed slightly. His ex-wife sued him because her alimony from his retirement pay also decreased, and she felt entitled to a portion his disability pay. 

Is anyone else a little appalled here? Is it just me? Your ex-husband is receiving disability pay because of injuries sustained while on active duty. Why in the world would you ever be entitled to that? 

The state courts ruled in favor of the wife, but when the Supreme Court got the case, they ruled in favor of the veteran. As they should have. 

Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m all for the “what’s mine is yours, what’s yours is mine” mentality when you’re married. You vowed to care for and support your spouse. But when you decide on divorce, unless there are children involved, what makes you think you’re entitled to anything your ex is making? 

Lots of military spouses are really upset with this new court ruling- but why? You aren’t the one serving. You don’t go on field ops. You don’t spend months training or on deployment. 

Do you have a job? Yes. Being married to the military is a type of job- it makes our marriages a little harder than most. We spend nights, weeks, months, sometimes more than a year alone. And I commend us for that. That’s hard. I’m doing it, I’ve done it, I understand it. But our job of being supportive and making sure home life is slightly easier than work life does not compare to our spouse’s job. They’re doing something selfless, and it’s harder than what we do. We are granted certain privileges (commissary, tax free PXs, Tricare, etc) because of what our spouse is doing. It has nothing to do with what you’re doing, kiddo. 

While scrolling Facebook after reading about the Supreme Court ruling, I came across several posts on several military spouse pages. Examples: 

“I hate LMH. Housing is a joke. My concession checks are never on time; I never get what they owe me.” 

“Tricare sucks. The naval hospital really sucks, it’s a teaching hospital.” (News flash: lots of civilian hospitals are teaching hospitals as well, sweetheart.) 

Just the complete and utter unhappiness is beyond me. Housing owes you nothing, dude. The only reason you have the option to live here is because of what your spouse is doing. If you hate it, go live somewhere else. Oh, wait. You like the fact that we don’t pay water or gas bills, and have the opportunity to get reimbursed for energy usage, and certain neighborhoods give you a portion of BAH back. 

Tricare? Dude. No insurance plan is going to be 100% what you want. Why? Because things like medicine cost money, and it’s got to come from somewhere. Personally, I love Naval. I’ve been here almost a year, seen multiple doctors and been to multiple departments within the hospital, and I’ve not had one bad experience. My prenatal care has been fantastic; I love my doctor. She’s actually PCSing before my due date, and is helping me see the doctor I want to see/she recommends, even though he’s pretty solidly booked. 

Hospitals anywhere are going to have good/bad doctors. Instead of being upset that you don’t like the naval hospital, maybe be grateful that you have the option to be seen at a civilian hospital if you so choose. 

Getting married to someone who is serving does not make you entitled to anything. Today’s generation are entitled and spoiled and don’t want to work for anything. 

Issues like this make me mark down the things I want to teach my son- work hard, don’t expect things from people, and don’t think you deserve anything. Do I think you deserve the world? Of course I do, I’m your mom. But am I going to let you get away with not learning the value of a dollar and hard work? Sorry, kiddo. Get ready to wait some tables and make some coffee like your mama did. 

Whether you agree or disagree, you still read it, so 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

Also here are pictures of life recently. 😘

 (I just love his little feet.) 

Falling in Love with Yourself

Imma bout to get real real, folks. Buckle up. 

I’ve never been “skinny”. I think the last time I was a size 0-2 was when I was like 12. I’ve just been thicker. I mean, hey, whatever though. My thighs are the size of your entire torso? Cool. 

2015, my boyfriend proposed and I was in the gym A. LOT. in order to fit into my wedding dress. Which, yay for me, was maybe a little loose on the day of. Deployment started and I threw myself into the gym. Once a day, sometimes twice, early Saturday morning, late on Friday night. I lost 20 pounds! The scale was below 140 and I was ecstatic. Y’all gotta know, your girl is short as heck. I’m barely over 5 feet, which, ideally, means I’m supposed to weigh between 90 and 110 pounds. I haven’t weighed that little since the 8th grade. 

And then I moved to California. I was still a little active, but I had stopped working two jobs, and my Fitbit was buzzing at me to move more often than before. The last month before homecoming was brutal. I was lazy, I was sad, and y’all know I’m from the south, which means when I feel, I eat. And then husband came home. 

Yay!! I did miss him a lot. But that meant no gym time, because why would I want to workout when I could snuggle with my human in bed? So now, I’m sure y’all have guessed, I’ve gained weight. I’ve lost motivation because I’ve been out of the gym so long. It’s an awful feeling when the jeans I was wearing 3 months ago don’t fit now. Y’all know it’s terrible when even my husband said, “I mean, I’ve noticed. But I’m not bothered.” (Not ragging on him, I did ask for honesty.) 

So here’s the sad part: I stopped loving myself. Let me be clear; I’m awesome. I’m a queen and I know that. But it’s so hard to love me when everyday it’s a battle of “what’s in the closet that still fits?” 

It’s taken a while. And let me say something else, because I’m sure I’ll get a few comments about it: I’m not glorifying being overweight. I’m not saying “well, I love me, so get over it”. Being overweight is unhealthy, and I’m working on it. Really, I am. I know what my body is capable of, and y’all are gonna watch this come up. 

But there’s nothing wrong with loving the work in progress that is me. I’m constantly growing. In my faith, in my knowledge, in my career opportunities, and in the shrinking of the number on the scale. 

I’m not where I want to be, but BECAUSE I love myself, I’m working on me. 

I just wanted to let all y’all know, it’s okay to love yourself while you’re working on yourself. I’m still awesome. I’m not a size 6 anymore, or even an 8, but I’m still a fantastic human being. I’m a great wife, a good cook. I’m a volunteer and I’m a lover of fur babies everywhere. I love babies and my friends. I love to write, to sing, to work. My size doesn’t change who I am. And I shouldn’t let it tell me I’m less than who I used to be. (Obviously, because there’s more of me. Lol) 

Y’all, use this year to fall in love with yourselves. Maybe you’re not trying to get fit. Maybe you’re trying to budget better, or learn an instrument. Maybe you’re looking for a new career. Do it. Do the things you’re craving, and fall in love with the person doing them. 

Y’all are all smart, and beautiful, and talented. No matter your size, your looks, or your capabilities. Be healthy, be wonderful, be unapologetically you. This year belongs to you. Get to it. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

Marriage is Ugly 

After being married for a year, I can say this: it rocks. 

You’re probably scratching your head because I usually use my blog as a format to complain and do Internet eye rolls. But today I’m just gonna be 1) sappy and 2) kinda salty. Anything new? (….nope) 

In the past few days, I’ve seen like 50 million Facebook posts and shared articles about how marriage is “ugly”. How it’s not cuddling in bed or making dinner every night. How instead it’s about slamming doors and harsh words. It’s about fighting and stolen covers. 

The whole point of the particular post I’ve seen is to shed light on the “reality” of relationships and marriage. That even though it sucks to fight and eat quick cheap meals and to have the covers stolen, it’s worth it because you love each other. 

…..okay. Sure. Give me bunches of negatives and say “but you love each other, so it’s worth it!” Right. That totally makes me think differently about relationships and marriage. Like maybe it’s not worth it.

 Instead, let me shed a little personal light on the subject of marriage. 

Marriage isn’t always easy. Most of the time? For us, yeah. But everyone is different. We fight, too. I slam doors and get angry that he didn’t get the oil changed like I’d asked 50 times. He gets moody and pouts about me being upset. You can’t help arguing. You can’t make everything perfect. Why? We’re human. 

But marriage=work. Why do we cuddle in bed before peacefully falling asleep? Because we choose to. We don’t go to bed angry. Why is there always dinner on the table or leftovers being rewarmed? Because I put that work in. Why is the house relatively clean, but always picked up? Because we work on it throughout the week. Why are we happy even when we’re mad? Because we work on it! 

This generation is all about instant gratification, and that doesn’t happen with marriages. The idea that your marriage should be all the stupid “goals 😍❤️” without you putting in work is laughable. Arguments are inevitable. Disagreements happen. Days are busy. 

But that doesn’t mean you get to go to bed angrily and say “well, that’s just how marriage is”. No it’s not. 

Marriage is waking up with my best friend everyday and grumbling about how early it is. Marriage is playing with the dog outside. Marriage is cooking dinner and snuggling on the couch. Marriage is “Netflix and chill” where sometimes you actually watch Netflix. (Sometimes. 😎) 

And it’s only that way because we’ve decided it should be. We’ve worked at it. We’ve said this is the way we want our marriage to be, and made it happen. 

Marriage isn’t ugly, millenials. Marriage just redefines your idea of beauty. Put in some work. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

Photo credits to Katelyn Gebhard Photography 

365 Days of Legal Bliss…kinda. 

It’s December 20! Which means it’s our anniversary. So holla to us 🤘🏻 

No, we aren’t doing anything. He’s going to work. I’m babysitting during the day. He’ll come home, I’m going to cook dinner. And then he’s going to tell me about his day, we’re going to shower and go lay in bed or snuggle on the couch, and just be. 

We’ve been together for almost 6 years. This whole anniversary thing isn’t new, even if we’ve survived a year of marriage and 7 months of cohabitation. But here’s our take on it: we don’t make any one day more special or extra than others. Sure, maybe I’m cooking steaks tomorrow instead of chicken, and maybe we’ll reminisce a little. But tomorrow is just day 365 in our innumerable journey. 

365 days ago, I was in a hotel room with my bridesmaids, giddy. I don’t know what he was doing. Probably still sleeping, if we’re being honest. I was rushing around, forgetting things, shaving my legs (finally…I’d kinda been hibernating), and just in general being a mess. 

365 days ago, I was laughing and crying and wondering, “how did we finally get here?” Because since I was 14 years old, this was the end game. All throughout high school he’d told me, “I’m going to marry you.” (Which, so you know, is actually pretty terrifying when you’ve only known this guy for a few months!) And a year ago, we reached endgame. Then a whole new game started. 

365 days ago, I was standing behind my best friends with my hand in my dad’s, certain I was going to throw up. I have been blessed with some wonderful people. Stewart and Grace told me, “don’t worry. If you trip, we’ve all decided to throw ourselves to the floor with you!” 

And just like that, walking down a both impossibly long and impossibly short aisle, a chapter of my life closed. A new page opened and it’s currently got 365 days worth of scratch outs and x’s and mess-ups. 

365 days ago, I promised my ups, downs, and all the in betweens to my best friend. I promised to pray unceasingly for him and us, and go always keep the center of our marriage on the Word. I’d like to think I’ve kept those promises. 

It’s just another notch in our storybook. But let me tell you, this past year has been rough. 

December 20: hey we got hitched! 

December 24: honeymoons over. 

February 11: deployment begins. 

February-July: minimal communication, HUGE phone bills ($700 at one point), two jobs, oh goody someone stole the debit card, is deployment ever ending, I hate the corps, everything sucks, I’m dying. 

July 4: cross country move with me, my stepdad and the dog! Two days, four states, two hotels and a lot of miles. 

July 6: move in day! I moved into my very first home with the help of some of my most important people, I slept on the floor with my stepdad and dog, and also- Sonic was the very first meal ever had in our house. On the floor. 

July 10: my mom was the last to leave me. We got to the airport and she left, and if I said I didn’t cry all the way home I’d be a liar. 

July-September: sunshine. Misery. Trying to figure out how to be happy in a place I know absolutely nothing about. Making friends and sleeping on the couch because my bed was still too empty. 

September 12: probably the happiest day of my life, to date. It’s just such an overwhelming feeling when deployment finally ends. It means that, at least for now, there’s no more empty bed. There’s no more lonely. There’s no more empty feeling. 

September-currently: doing life with my best friend. We are living the life we’ve dreamed of together for such a long time. 

Yes, he drives me nuts. I swear, just because you put your shoes under the couch, doesn’t mean I can’t see them. I’m sure I drive him nuts. I mean, I don’t know how, but I’m sure it happens. But it’s not as hard as I thought it’d be. It’s definitely apparent a man lives in our house. (I was very alarmed by the fact that it felt like he didn’t belong here when I first moved in. But trust me, between cammies all over the house or boots in the hall, I know he lives here now ☺️) 

365 days, and about 220 of them were spent apart. You think you and your spouse’s arguments are bad? Try arguing when you’re 5,000+ miles apart, through staticky phone lines, and timed phone calls. It’s awful. 

If our first year of marriage has taught me anything, it’s to simply enjoying being. I take joy in cooking dinner every night, and in the way we walk around Walmart or Target on Saturday nights when we’re bored. I find happiness in our routine. I love spending each day with my best friend. 

365 days later, and I find I only love you more. I love the way you snore, and the way a sleepy hand finds it’s way to mine in the dark. I love your soul and everything else about you. 

365 days down, all the rest to go. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

P. S. here’s some pics of my wedding bc I’m literally obsessed with my husband 💕