Tuesday, January 13, 2015

All Downhill from Here?

     We made it through another deployment! And even better, it was our last one! Hooray! I am so thankful that he is back on U.S. soil. Although we are still not together, I find solace in that. This deployment was so different because I went back home to Kansas. I thought doing that would be easier, but instead I faced a lot of judgement and rudeness in my own hometown that I did not expect. But while people were making assumptions about the "demise of my marriage", my husband and I were doing just fine, and I completed another semester of college! Everyone told me it would be so hard to go back, but I was so excited to further pursue my own career aspirations, and Brandon stood by me (in spirit) 100%. And he's a saint for it, because I wasn't always in the greatest mood, especially during finals.
     But after a long almost seven month separation, my love got to come home the week of Christmas to visit! It was so amazing to have him home for Christmas, our anniversary AND New Years! But of course, duty calls, and he had to return to Hawaii for the next seven months. 2015 is going to be a big year for the Green family because I'M PREGNANT! Not really, just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. I will be graduating from one college and transferring to another, and we are staring Brandon's EAS date right in the face. We have seven months of the Marine Corps left!
     I know I can't believe it either. It seems like just yesterday we were seniors in high school, sitting in the McDonalds drive-thru and he was begging me to talk him out of going. We have certainly come a long way, and I am sure we will have a lot of learning to do when we say good-bye to the Marine Corps.
     Until next time! Wish us luck!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Here or There?

     Finally a little over halfway through second deployment! While the actual deployment was the same as last time for him, it has been far different for me.
     First deployment, was of course different because it was new to the both of us. Neither of us knew what to expect. I stayed in Hawaii the whole deployment, and I worked 40+ hours a week. I heard from him every couple days, with a communication dry spell of about 3-4 weeks towards the middle. I stayed very busy, working, running 5K's, getting my Hawaii state fire warden certificate, buying patio furniture and putting it together by myself, learning to change tires, getting clogs out of the shower, etc. The first couple weeks of that deployment went slow, and then it was over before I knew it!

     This deployment, I have been home in Kansas the whole time. Being his last deployment, it made more sense for me to come home so we could make some extra cash before he leaves the military. I used to envy the women that went home, and now I'm realizing how much I miss being on base sometimes.

     Staying at your duty station during a deployment can suck if you're like me because you don't have kids. I think that having children can really make a difference because they keep you driven to go on to the next day, and they are FAMILY. Since I have no children, I was there, doing the deployment on my own, which is an incredibly lonely feat for 6-7 months. I didn't have the ability to just hop in a car and drive home to see my family. I didn't feel as though I had a lot of friends on base, but it really helps to know that most of the wives you know, are probably in the "SS Husband-less" boat too. (It's a really big boat when you live on a military base.) While you may not be buddy buddy with these women, you quickly learn to find solace knowing that you are not the only one going through it.

    Being home for deployment has some serious pros and cons. My biggest con is not living in a military community anymore, where people understand deployment. That being said, it has been a huge struggle to not punch all the people that have been talking behind my back. Since no one understands why I am here while my husband is gone, I have run into various rumors:
"Oh yeah, Emma and Brandon aren't doing good."
"He kicked her out and made her come back."
"They're getting a divorce"

For the record, these are all completely untrue, and I am so so sick of hearing about my life through my community. When we decided to save money by having me live off base this deployment, I had not mentally prepared myself to deal with such negativity from a community that I respected and loved. It's hard to not be overwhelmed with frustration when people message you and say, "hey I heard a rumor…" Halfway through the deployment and it still really really bothers me. It is also hard to be around a civilian lifestyle. For weeks I was so confused when I didn't hear colors playing in the morning, or taps at night. I had to figure out 12-hour time again too, (although my phone remains on military time) It was weird to have people check my ID, and not know how to read it because I had instinctively handed them my military ID. It's been hard to readjust, and learn how to explain common military acronyms and lingo to people at home who don't understand, or don't really care to try.

     Being around family however, has been great. I really missed them over the course of two and a half years, and it feels like such a relief knowing that they are easily accessible to me now. I don't feel as though I'm missing out on all the fun stuff. It can be hard being away from home and checking Facebook only to see your whole family minus you went on vacation.

     So while I have been home, I started working, because really, I can't not work. I will go crazy if I don't. I am also back in school! Which feels so good. I am so happy to be older and have a little bit more life experience because it has really shaped my career path.

     All in all, I have really learned a lot about myself between the two deployments. I have had a lot of unexpected twists during both, but when it boils down to it, deployments suck, no matter where you choose to be. There are pros and cons of both, and they need to be expected upon making a decision. I went home with the attitude that this deployment would be so much easier, only to learn that emotionally it has been a lot tougher. Be realistic in your choice, and don't expect either way to be easy. Deployments are all hard in their own ways, and it's all about the way you cope!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Moving Blues

     Anyone that has ever moved from one house to another knows that it is no fun. Multiply the lack of fun by 1000 when you have to move by yourself from a house in Hawaii to Kansas. 3,000 miles of PAIN IN MY REAR. I guess I should explain my life right now a little bit first.

      Deployment number two was nipping at our heels, and with hubby having only about a year and a half left of the Marines, we decided that I should go home during the deployment to be with my family and save money. Normally a move like this is stressful, but minimally, because when you're on orders, a company comes and packs up all your stuff for you and loads it up and ships it for you and it is just magical and helpful and wonderful. However, because I am not on orders to go home, and I am leaving early, we are on our own. That means, we pay for all of our shipping costs, plane tickets, storage, etc. Now imagine my excitement when we learn that husband is leaving almost five weeks earlier than we had planned for. SURPRISE!

Through all of this we have learned a lot the hard way. So I figured I would share some helpful hints to help a fellow Mil Wife out someday, if needed.

1. If you come across a situation in which you need to go home early, not on EAS or PCS orders,
make your husband request an EROD. (Early return of dependents) He needs to apply for it MONTHS in advance, so be prepared. An EROD basically gives orders that you are going home while your husband stays overseas. You get all the amenities of a regular move, and it takes most of the work out of it for you. For more detailed information, check out

2. For animal lovers: I HIGHLY recommend American Airlines Cargo for shipping your pets! Anyone who has known me for 2.8 seconds knows that I LOOOOVE my cats. Getting them home can be very expensive, especially if it is considered overseas. (Guess what?! Hawaii is considered overseas!) For both cats it was going to be at LEAST $600 to ship back to Kansas. I love my fur babies more than life, but I had some serious thoughts about shoving them in my suitcase. (Just kitten ya, obviously.) Upon days and days of research and recommendations, I decided on American Airlines, not only because they had great reviews, but they also give 50% discounts to military family members. They don't really like to advertise it, but I got it out of them. In the end we paid $275 dollars total for the shipping of my kitties, who arrived safe and sound back in the Land of Oz.

3. Join a base website. Storage out here is the upwards of $200 a month for a 5x5 unit. Needless to say, we needed to downsize our household crap significantly. The fastest and easiest way that we found, was posting our items for sale on the base website. Craigslist is nice and all, but this was better because all of the people on the page are military families either selling items you need, or needing to buy items you want to sell. Also, they are usually all on base, which makes pick-up simple and quick. You can usually find them on Facebook as a group. Word to the wise: Be fair on your prices, and be firm if need be. People WILL try to talk you down. (Example: while selling our 42" flat screen TV, and various bedroom furniture, I had a lady offer me $40 for a dresser and the TV. Umm...no.)

4. Take it one day at a time. This is very very important. It has been so easy to get overwhelmed during this process, especially because this is our first time doing it and Brandon left right in the middle of it. (Not his fault) We started by emptying all of a room one day at a time. (Well, that was the plan, but one day I came home to find the entire contents of three bedrooms, three closets and a bathroom piled and strewn over my stairs. Brandon decided to do the whole upstairs in one fell swoop. I still love him by the way) The last few days he was here we slept on our mattress in the living room, and it was a big relief being able to say, "Well at least the whole upstairs is empty."

5. Don't be a hoarder. I totally fail at this. It is so easy to be really sentimental and want to keep EVERYTHING. Especially because this was our first duty station, and it holds so many memories and monumental moments in our marriage. (Like the first time Brandon actually changed the toilet paper roll instead of just putting it on top of the sink. I was so proud. It only took two years!) It was hard giving away the set of dishes we bought together and ate off of for the first chapter of our marriage, but it was good knowing that we had donated them to a freshly married military couple that were still eating off styrofoam.

6. Ship with the post office. Comparing prices of Fed Ex and such, the post office always had the best rates when it came to shipping stuff home.

7. Housing inspections SUCK. I mean, I know I'm supposed to be giving advise here, but I think it's just best if I tell you that there is really no way around this one. It sucks, you're going to have to pay no matter what, and try to not cuss out the inspector for charging you for paint on the floor of the garage that was definitely there when you moved in. By the way the little wand things on the blinds? They are really important to these people.

All in all, it has been crazy and tiresome. But I am grateful for the experiences this life has thrown at me. Military life is never an easy one, but I have learned so much thus far and really grown into an adult along the way. Keep your chin up, and don't be afraid to throw some stuff. I mean you have to sweep it for inspection anyway. ;)

Monday, September 9, 2013

In it for the Man.

     It has occurred to me that I have a difficult time answering people when they ask me why I married someone in the military. It really is a good question, and I hear it often, but I never really know how else to answer except saying, "Because I love him." Seems logical right? Some people shake their heads at me, not understanding why I put up with the grueling hours, grumpiness from a 24 hour duty, deployments, training ops, and just generally not having my husband around like most people do in their marriages. I understand why people shake their heads at me. Why would anyone want to be married to someone that isn't ever there? (Some couples that have been married for a really long time tell me I'm lucky.)
     Before my husband and I got married, I heard it from everyone. "Why would you do this to yourself? Why give up normalcy, and everything you know to follow someone else around?" I have to admit, that there was a point that I wondered the same thing. I have everything in front of me. Free college, living in my hometown, almost all of my family around me, all of my high school friends nearby, new college friends, and a plan and goal in mind for myself. I had it all. So everyone thought.
On the outside, I was so fortunate to have all these things, and everyone saw all the potential that I had. But on the inside, I had a huge hole in my heart and I was missing a piece of me that I knew a degree, my family, or friends couldn't replace or fill, no matter how hard they tried. I needed my Marine, and whether he wanted to admit it or not he needed me. We both needed support from each other, but I knew that he needed it more. He had just graduated boot camp, and his whole life had changed. Pulled away from his family, and training in California far away from home, he needed my full support, and I recognized that.
     Yes, some people say that I may be stupid for leaving a paid in full scholarship behind, and picking up my whole life and packing it in three suitcases and making my journey to our first duty station, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Some people still say that I only did it to get away from home, and live a luxurious life in Hawaii. (When really, I work 40 hours a week just like everyone else, so I can afford milk for $7.00 a gallon) Whatever people think aside, my decision to pick up everything and leave, was for my husband. He sacrifices himself for our country. I sacrifice regularity and the comfort of having family nearby, just like he did. That's just the way it works for us. That's the way it works for most military spouses. And in the end, your reasoning for the choices you make, are yours alone. People are going to have their opinions of you, that's just part of life. But once you accept that and know that your reasons for your actions are valid and noble, other peoples opinions don't matter as much.
     You can finish college later in life, and Skype is a wonderful thing when you miss family back home. We live in a world where technology makes almost anything possible. So, when my fellow military wives find themselves being asked,  "Why did you marry someone you can never be around? Why set yourself up to be alone?" You don't owe them anything more than a simple, "Because I love him." Besides, at the end of the day, that's why we're all here. We are in it for the man in uniform.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Wait is Over

Hello readers!
     Whew, what a whirlwind. My Marine is finally home! (Has been for a little over two months now, but I am terrible at being up to date!) That day was so very stressful for the both of us.  There was some confusion on what flight he was on and when I needed to be at the meeting area, which made us both incredibly frustrated the night before he left. The morning of homecoming felt like any other day. I mean, I got dressed up of course, woke up extra early to curl my hair and put on a dress I had bought myself just for the occasion, but it felt normal. I ate a light breakfast, and hung up the welcome home sign in front of our house. All in all, I was incredibly calm and it really made me nervous. I expected it to be so much more frenzied. When it was time to leave the house, I did a quick walkthrough to make sure the house looked awesome. After all, he hasn't seen it in 6+ months! I told the cats (I have two, and I am a self proclaimed cat woman) that daddy was coming home, and headed to the car.
     On the drive to the battalion building, I was still really calm. This was infuriating me. Today is freaking special, Emma! Be excited! I kept telling myself. But the butterflies didn't come. I didn't feel like I was going to pee my pants (dress, actually) or puke like all the other wives were saying. What is wrong with me?! I sat there so calmly, waiting for word that they were close to base and we could all go to the parking lot to meet the buses carrying our loved ones. Finally the time came, and I walked to the lot, alone and numb to all feelings. It was a good 20 minutes before I heard the first wife screaming, "OHMYGAWDTHERETHEYARE!" I turned around and sure enough, five white school buses were headed our way, pulling into the parking lot.
Then it happened.
My stomach fell.
My knees shook.
My eyes watered.
I had to pee.
My heart was smacking my chest so hard I was sure everyone could see it.

All the emotion hit me so hard, the buses and people looked like a blur. My brain went haywire, asking crazy questions. "Will I recognize him? Will he recognize me? What underwear am I wearing? Will he kiss me? Is it too late to ask someone to check my hair?"
Tears filled my eyes, and I'm sure I looked like I could vomit at any moment, but the crowd around me shifted and I snapped back to reality. Everyone was rushing toward the buses where clouds of desert camouflage expelled. The Marines were getting off the bus! I couldn't even move. I was frozen with anticipation and nervousness. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice, and a hand on my shoulder. It was him, and the minute I looked into those green eyes, every horrible feeling, sleepless night, and lonely dinner for the past 175 days was worth it for that single moment. I just grabbed him and didn't realize how hard I must've been squeezing until he said in a muffled voice, "can I put my bag down?" I said no, and held him tighter.

Please enjoy some of the pictures from our big day!

Cara! This was also her first deployment. She is a rock!

This was around the time he asked if I would let him put his bag down. ;)

We did it! Survived our first deployment! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Making the Best of It.

Hello Readers,
     It sure has been a long time since my last post! As you may have noticed by the title, I am going through the first deployment of my military relationship. My Marine left in early December, a few weeks before Christmas, and I spent all of my time and energy in mentally and emotionally preparing myself for the lonely nights, weeks without communication, and a wandering, worrying mind for the next 6+ months of my life.
     The night before he left was awful. I cried a lot, and make frequent trips to the bathroom so I wouldn't wake him. I hardly slept at all. The morning of departure, everything was so surreal; most likely a mixture of lack of sleep and my mind going 1000 miles a minute. We went through his packing list one last time and went through our usual routine where we sit in the garage, I read off the gear list, and he packs it in his seabag while I put a check mark on the list. We do this before every training op and gear inspection, so it was easy for me to forget what was really going on. On the inside, I just wanted to scream and cry and hit something. But it was really important for me to stay calm, and at least PRETEND to have a good attitude about the whole situation. As strange as it sounds, I actually had a lot to be thankful for. This wasn't a combat deployment. I wouldn't have to cringe every time I turn on the news. (Which by the way, Rule Number 1 of being a military wife is to never, ever, ever, ever, believe the news. Take whatever they have to say with a grain of salt, and wait until you hear from your family readiness officer (FRO) before jumping to conclusions.) Eventually the time came to pack up the car and drop off my husband at the designated spot.
     I will just make this part short and sweet. The military is all about "hurry up and wait." So that's what we did. In my head I thought I would say goodbye, get my last kiss and hug and watch him get on the sad white bus. It wasn't like that of course. It was a long drawn out process, and it sucked honestly. When the time finally came, I stayed behind to watch him get on that bus. He didn't see me standing there, but I watched him every step of the way until the doors closed and I couldn't see his face behind the tinted bus windows.
     The other wives had formed a small huddle. They were crying and holding each other. I was ashamed that I couldn't cry with them. My feelings were too raw, and I couldn't feel anything but anger. I was mad that I had to be at work in an hour. I was mad that no one wanted to give me a hug, or shoot me a text to see if I was okay. Most of all I was mad that my husband was going on a whole new adventure without me, and I was getting left behind to pick up the pieces and carry on...alone. I kept thinking about how pathetic my life was. "Emma, what are you doing here? You have no family here. You get to go home to nothing but cats for the next six months of your life." I know this doesn't seem very positive or encouraging, but let me get to the point. It's okay to be angry, as long as you don't allow it to consume you. Deployment is like the grieving process, and there are several different stages before you get to acceptance.
     It is now April, and I am fully adjusted to the "Independent Dependent" lifestyle. I have had to change three tires, unclog my bathtub twice, and learn to use a drill. I have eaten approximately 32 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, finished two-thirds of a cross stitch blanket, watched all the seasons of "Army Wives" on Netflix, and turned into an avid runner. (I did my very first 5k yesterday!) I am completely under control emotionally on a normal day, until yesterday. I got an email from the FRO titled, "Lava Dog Inbound Arrival Info." My Marine is coming home! Now what?! Of course I am thrilled, but I have to re-learn how to be an actual wife, and not someone who sends care packages and cleans up after a one person meal and only has to run the dishwasher once a week. It will definitely be a new experience, and I'm sure you'll hear allll about it!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

One For the Gentlemen...

Normally all of my posts are directed to girls in military relationships. But today, this one's for the guys. Okay so everyday at work I get asked questions all the time. About ribbons, medals, blouses, gear, etc. But two days ago, a guy asked me something out of the blue and completely unexpected.
"Is it hard being married to a Marine?"
Knowing that this guy was in a relationship, I assumed that he was probably preparing to pop the question to his girl, in which case he really just wanted me to tell him all the glamorous sides of being married so his girlfriend would be okay with the idea.
So first things first. Military men: If you are just marrying a girl to get out of the barracks, you're a jerk.
Being married to a guy in the military is no easy task. That girl is going to leave her home and family to make your life easier. If you are using her, try again.
Second, never ever go into ANY marriage, military or civilian thinking that things are going to be all hunky dory and easy. Marriage is WORK, and just like any job, you get paid for the time and effort you put in. Not in money necessarily, but in affection and appreciation.
So here's the deal military boys, if you found a girl that has stuck with you through bootcamp, or deployments, or training, without asking for a "break" or "time to cool off", you have most likely found a diamond in the rough. You better hold on to that girl tight, and treat her with some serious respect because while you're training or deployed, that girl is in a new environment, alone, waiting and praying for your safe return, and that...that is no easy task. So to my wives and girlfriends, I respect you and look up to you. You are all some of the strongest people I have ever met, and there is a special place in heaven for girls that put up with all the BS! We really do have the hardest job in the Corps! <3