Homecoming…what to wear?

I have seen this question online several times over the past few weeks and thought I would share my opinion!  Haha

Homecoming is an exciting time!  Your husband has been deployed for probably 12-15 mths and is finally headed home!  All the women I know go through the same routine about 2-3 weeks before the homecoming.  We make sure we have their favorite foods, favorite drinks (yes, alcohol is included!), probably some new clothes, house perfectly clean and in order, etc.  The house will have that “OCD” look again!  And then it hits us that we actually have to start cooking all the time again!  LOL  You ladies know where I am coming from…

Now as for the actual homecoming…we make sure the kids are dressed very cute.  Most have on their “welcome home daddy” shirt and proudly waving that little flags we give them.  Tons of signs are made and usually so is the truck!  All of the ladies get stuck on what to wear on this particular day though.  Most go through their entire closet or go buy outfits just before-hand.  We try to imagine what he would want us to wear…what he would love to see when he steps off that plane.  But in all honesty, your husband just wants to see YOU when he gets off that plane and go home!  He is not gonna care what you are wearing…just that you are standing there with open arms and a smile just for him!

My best advice…keep it casual!  You can go for the classy casual look as well.  But trust me, you want to be as comfortable as possible!  You do not want to feel icky, uncomfortable or have sore feet all day.  The wait could be a long one!  You could be sitting there for hours waiting!  You can be comfortable and still look really good!

One more thing…don’t forget to bring things to occupy the kids!  The kids will be restless, anxious and bouncing off the walls!  Coloring books and crayons, yo-yos, books, bouncy balls, etc.

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Coping with Deployment…

Coping with deployment can be so hard…It’s during this time that you have to “put your big girl panties on” and “man up”!  I have come up with some ways to help you get through it…they are in no particular order, just me throwing them out there!  Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to help!

  • Realize it’s gonna be hard!  Go ahead and accept that a 12-15 month deployment is gonna feel like 24-36!
  • Remember OPSEC!  So many times there have been wives on the internet posting information that is not allowed!  Keep info to yourself and talk with the wives in your husband’s unit…not to the world on the internet!
  • R&R and block leave…plan for YOUR FAMILY!  Use what little time you have to make sure you, your husband and your kid(s) have those little moments and trips that will mean so much to you later on!  I know other friends and family are important too, but alone time with your little family will really make a difference!
  • Make sure to send care packages and pictures!  Care packages do not always have to be just the toiletry items.  Send his favorite snacks, magazines, cards, letters, etc.  Pictures are good too.  He will really enjoy seeing new pictures of the kids playing and see how much they are growing.
  • Make sure you have the numbers for your FRG, Rear D and Red Cross.  These numbers are important!  The Rear D and FRG will be able to provide you with information that is vital during the deployment and the number for Red Cross is for any emergency that would require your husband’s return.
  • As hard as it seems…try to sleep and keep yourself stress-free.  Your husband shouldn’t be worrying about your well-being.  So, try to remain steady and strong.
  • Remember that maintenance on the vehicles and yard work is now your responsiblity.  Sounds crazy to put this, but I have known several ladies that completely forgot to have the oil changed in their vehicles for the entire deployment!
  • Save money!!!  You have extra income coming in during the deployment….SO SAVE IT!!!  You can lower bills as well during this time.  If you are renting, the rent is usually lowered during the deployment and you can put his truck’s insurance on hold.  If you are not a major t.v. watcher, cancel cable and get Netflix.  You can’t beat 7.99 or whatever a month and it saves at least $100 mthly by cutting out cable.  Look into couponing too.  Couponing can save you tons of money!
  • Be supportive and don’t talk about his “work” while on the phone or computer.  Most of the time they just wanna talk about everyday stuff back home and take a break from work.
  • Try not to overwhelm him with issues back home.  All the gossip and drama…save that for your girlfriends.
  • Face the fact that you have to take on the role of Mommy and Daddy.  As stressful as it can be, it still has to be done!
  • Friends…..GET SOME!  Find groups on Facebook for the post you are at, attend FRG meetings to meet other spouses, meet others at the parks and playgrounds, etc.  Friends will help you through this difficult time and it relieves stress when you got other ladies to lean on and depend on.
  • Keep yourself busy–work will keep you busy…kids and playtime (parks, playgrounds, art and crafts, etc) will work too.  Do home projects or discover a new hobby!
  • Expect the house to FALL APART!!!  It never fails…once he is out the door and deployed, everything seems to break!  The air conditioning, washer, dryer, sink, etc….it’s gonna happen!
  • Don’t expect your families to understand what you’re going through.  So many times I have heard the ladies upset due to the families not “getting it” and trust me, they never will!  I’ve gone through it and you will too!  Try not to get upset when the time and distance doesn’t make sense to them.  They don’t have to go through it so they can’t honestly put themselves in your shoes.
  • I know things happen and stress makes you wanna vent!  But try to keep conversations with him on the uplifting side…haha  Yea, it’s gonna be rough….but you have to try!
  • DO NOT watch the news if you can help it.  The news never reports the good stuff and the bad stuff is gonna make you panic and worry beyond belief!
  • Holidays…plan ahead so you don’t get bombarded and keep friends close.  The ladies that I am good friends with in my husband’s unit have all gotten together and done Thanksgiving!  It was great!  A holiday with people, laughter and good company!
  • Lots of gossip and drama may go around….stay out of it!  It’s not worth the hassle ladies!
  • Be prepared for gaps in communication…if you don’t hear from him for a lil bit, don’t panic!  Call the other spouses and see if they have heard anything.  Don’t expect the worse!  I’ve been there…it makes you crazy!
  • The good ol saying…..”HURRY UP AND WAIT”….Learn it!!!  You will be doing this throughout the entire time your husband is in the military!
  • Don’t get frustrated towards the end….everything is written in pencil and dates and times will change constantly at the end.  Just give yourself the last possible date and do your countdown that way, if you are doing a countdown.  Your husband will let you know dates and times when he knows them and keep in touch with your FRG for this info too.

I hope some of this helps!  Feel free to add more in a comment or ask any questions you may have!

OPSEC

I had to share this!  A friend of mine borrowed this and I thought it was kinda cute.

In case you are wondering what OPSEC is…(OPerations SECurity)  Determining what information is publicly  available in the normal course of operations that can be used by a competitor or  enemy to its advantage.  OPSEC is a common military practice that is also  applied to civilian projects such as the development of new products and technologies.

So, to help you remember how to respect the rules of OPSEC….

I am Sam. Sam I am. Do you like OPSEC and ham? I do not get it, Sam I am. I do not get OPSEC and ham. We must use it here and there. We must use it everywhere. You CAN share it in a car. But you CANNOT use it in a bar. … You CANNOT share it in a text. You CANNOT share it at the NEX. You CAN say it in your house, but should NOT tell a random spouse. You CAN say it in the shower. But do NOT go sharing at happy hour. DO NOT make the Ombudsman sweat. DO NOT post it on the internet. You CANNOT share it in a tweet. That would not be very sweet. Beware of Facebook and Myspace too. It’s tempting to let your feelings through. You CANNOT tell it to a friend. NOT even at the very end. It is a privilege to know a date. DO NOT tell ANYONE or they may be late! Oh, I get it, Sam I am! Now I get OPSEC and ham! I will not tell anyone, I will keep hushed until they’re done! I will not tell him or her, I will not tell my dog with fur. I will not tell my child’s teacher, I will not tell any creature. Thank you, THANK YOU, Sam I am. Thank you for clearing up OPSEC and Ham!
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Safety tips during a deployment

I’m sure you know how it feels to have your husband receive those dreadful orders that he has to deploy.  I’ve known a lot of women, like myself, that get a little more than nervous being alone with the kids all the time.  Nighttime usually adds to that fear.  I’ve got a few tips that may help you feel a little more at ease and eliminate you from being a target to those that seek out the vulnerable.  Some of these tips came from my husband and some came from friends…feel free to add any that I have left out!

1. Do not stick to the exact same routine day in and day out.  It’s very easy for a burglar to figure out when to expect you to leave the house if you do the same thing constantly.

2. If you and your husband have two vehicles, drive his truck frequently.  Leaving his truck in the driveway and it never leaving that spot lets the bad guys know he’s definitely not home.

3. Try to avoid advertising that your husband is deployed.  The shirts that say things about deployment and the ACU purses catch the eyes of others.  I AM NOT saying to stop showing your pride or love for your soldier.  But think about it, the t-shirts let the bad guys know your husband is gone.  The purses followed by the  stickers on the car may lead someone to pay closer attention to you and with the two rules listed above not being followed you are now definitely a target.

4. Shopping…Now, I am not a shopper and I don’t head to the mall every weekend, but I have seen several women who shop all the time and I would think that going in and out of your house alone with tons of shopping bags and tv and appliance boxes out by the road will not add to your safety.

5. Pay attention when you leave your apartment or neighborhood and in parking lots.  Look for out-of-place vehicles and people that don’t look familiar in your neighborhood.  In parking lots, try to go straight to your car, get in and lock doors.  Carrying your keys so that they stick out of your fingers when you make a fist might come in handy too.

6. Traveling at night should be kept to a minimum.  It’s harder to see through the shadows at night and you never know who could be lurking behind the bushes.

7. Be prepared in parking lots and your driveway in case someone grabs you from behind.  Thinking quick in these situations is not easy but if you keep yourself prepared it might just pay off.  Keys sticking out of your fingers or mace are good ideas.  You could try throwing your keys as far away as possible and dropping your weight to the ground.  I’ve never heard of a bad guy that will take the time to pick you up off the ground, throw you over their shoulder and go looking for those keys.

8. Keep your door locked, including the deadbolt, and alarms set.  If you do not want to pay for the activation of the alarm so that it contacts police at least have it turned on so that it does its job being loud as hell.

9. Any conversations with strangers asking questions….include your husband in them.  Such as…you are approached one afternoon by a man advertising his lawn services…tell him “no thank you” and that your husband tends to most of the yard work.  Keep those statements in present tense and do not bring up deployment.  You would be amazed at the amount of women who readily give out that information so easily.

10. Shotgun…Some people use guns and some don’t.  Personally, I own one.  My husband thought is was a great idea for me to have one.  You still have to aim decently with it but it will definitely stop someone from attacking you!  And most of the time, cocking it and someone hearing that “ch ch” noise….that’ll make ’em think twice before entering your home.  Follow good safety and keep any and all weapons away from children.

11. Facebook….Where do I start with this one?  People please stop posting where you are every second of every day!  Most of the people on your friends list don’t even care that you are at the mall or at the fair or at a club.  And when you post that you are going out-of-town for the weekend that’s just like putting a neon sign up in your yard.  Stop making every move you make public!

So, there you have it.  I’m sure there are several more and if I think of any I will add them.  I hope this helps some of you out there!

Things NOT to say to the spouse of a deployed soldier…

I must say…these kinda crack me up!  I, along with all my Army gals, hear these constantly.  Those who know me usually crack up at my funny sarcastic comments!  I have tried to smile and grit my teeth when I hear them though.  Most of the time I just wanna use the line…”Here’s your sign, idiot!”  I hope you enjoy my little comments I feel I must add under each one…although I’m sure I will succeed in pissing a few people off.  Just try to keep in mind…these statements and questions that we hear just add to the chaos of the deployment.  So, without any further delays…..here we go!

“I know how you must feel.  My husband was away for nearly a week on business.”~~Seriously???  You honestly think that your husband being gone for four nights compares to a 12-15 month deployment?  I really wanna giggle at you or slap you….or both.

“Are you excited he’s coming home?”~~Here’s your sign, idiot!  Naw, we ain’t excited…we were kinda thinking that once he gets home he might wanna just take a personal vacation without us.  Dummy!

“I understand what you are going through.  I watch the Army Wives show.”~~Ok, lookahere lil Ms. Drama Addict…The Army Wives show is a drama series.  It is not a reality show.  Trust me, that show is not how our lives are on a daily basis.  If it was, I would be praying for a Zombie Apocalypse!

“I don’t know how you do it.”~~Is this supposed to be a compliment?  I’m sure that’s the way it is intended, but come on!  I do it because this is my husband’s job and this is what is required.  You get up in the morning and put your big girl panties on and get shit done!  You hold down the fort till he gets back.  Plain and simple.

“I couldn’t deal with it if my husband left for that long.”~~Ok, congratulations!

“So, I bet your husband is ready to come home.”~~Yea, I’m gonna start making those “Here’s your sign” signs to just hand to people!!!!  Naw, he aint ready to come home.  He loves being in a hell hole and having sand storms all the time.  Oh and he really likes being in a tent with about nine other stinky men.  He loves depending on crappy internet that has a serious case of PMS.  And let’s not even get on how much he loves not being able to hug his daughter or kiss his wife.  Dumbass!  Haha

“When is he coming home?”~~Please refer to my other post about everything being written in pencil.   I have no idea and won’t find out until the very last-minute.  And honestly, I take it day-to-day.

“I know how you feel.  I was a single mom.”~~Hahahaha…ok!  I’m sorry, the Army wife does stay alone and take care of the house, bills, kids, vehicles, etc…but a single mom does not have to worry about her husband being in danger.

“Well you only have six months left.  The rest is downhill and should be easy now.”~~Here again, giggle and slap or choke out!  You complain about a weekend business trip and then wanna say six more months should be breezy.  The worry and stress are still there at month 11 sweetheart.   I will worry until he is home and our little family is complete once again.

“But he will be home for Christmas, right?”~~Haha…yep, and our anniversary and my bday and his bday and our kid’s bday…oh and Thanksgiving too!  Dummy.  The deployment doesn’t get put on a “time-out” just because Santa comes to town.

“You knew what you were getting into when you got married.”~~Gee, thanks ass!  That just makes the last eight months of this damn deployment fly by!  Woohoo!  Did YOU know what you were getting into when you made that rere comment?  LOL

“Don’t worry.  I’m sure ya’ll will have PLENTY of time to visit with friends and family and take a vacation.”~~Plenty of what???  This comes up constantly for all of us.  First of all, the Army schedules the time off.  The only thing husbands want is to get off that plane, kiss their wife and kid(s) and go home!  After that, it’s back to work and hoping he gets a couple of weeks of leave soon.  But, please keep in mind,   he just wants to sit down and put his feet up and the kid(s) still have school (depending on what month he gets back).   And friends and family are not always in one location.

“Do you miss him?”~~Here’s your sign, heifer!

“Is there still a war going on?  I thought everyone from Iraq came home.”~~WTF???  I don’t even wanna waste my time with this one.  I forgot the news don’t report in your area.  And I wasn’t aware that the war only involved Iraq.  Wasn’t it Ron White that said, “You can’t fix stupid.”?

“Has he shot anybody?”~~Ummmm…let me thumb through that log of daily kills and headshots for you, moron!  Why would you even ask a question like that?

Well, there you have it!  Please keep in mind, once again, that this list and my responses are not intended to make anyone upset.  Army wives do struggle sometimes (who doesn’t?) but don’t want pity for the life we have.  We are proud and ready to face whatever is thrown our way.  Simple things make all the difference.  Instead of the things listed above…just treat us like you would want to be treated.