Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's been awhile!

A lot has happened since the three of us have posted on here! I’m sorry I’ve dropped the ball but at least there’s a lot to fill you in on now!
The hubs and I got our assignment. We are headed to Fort Lewis! We couldn’t be more excited. He is in JAG school right now and loving every minute. We get to talk pretty often which has been a blessing.
We also found out that we’re pregnant! We are having a little boy on June 24. Sam gets done with training June 17…. You heard me! So we’re praying and praying I don’t go into labor early and the little man stays in my belly. I will move out to Washington May 4 since I won’t be able to travel past that point and that’ll give me 6 weeks to set up the house and get acquainted with a doctor. Then Sam will bust it out there and we’ll begin our adventure together at Fort Lewis!
So the Army has already sent the movers to come move our stuff out to storage in Washington. Sam was already at training so I got to really experience the moving/packing situation! I decided to put down some tips while it was fresh on my mind:
-          Label each room with a big sheet of paper so they know how to label the boxes. This way, when you get to your new house, you can just label the rooms you want them to put the boxes in and everything will have its place.
-          Buy little Tupperware boxes from the dollar store and put all of your silverware and utensils on those. Otherwise, they’ll wrap each one!
-          Don’t be afraid to say something if they’re not packing the way you think they should.
-          Get them food! They’re spending all day (and in my case all night!) packing and moving your stuff. So I ordered pizza for lunch and had doughnuts for the mornings. It was nice to sit around and get to know them and enjoy some food!
-          Allow your friends and family to take care of you. Sweet Kate came and kept me company. My parents brought me some healthy snacks. You’re not allowed to help them pack so you’re pretty much confined to the couch so get cozy and watch some Hulu and enjoy the visits.
-          If you have anything of high value, let them know. They’ll label it and wrap with special care.
-          Anything you don’t want them to take, put in your car! It gets hectic in there as everything is getting put in boxes so I went ahead and put everything in the car that I wanted to keep with me.
-          Make sure you don’t have any trash! For the love, no trash! Otherwise, you’ll have a lovely smelling surprise when you have everything unpacked at your new place.
-          The biggest thing I learned is that we underestimated the weight of our stuff. So, they only sent 2 guys to pack up our whole house. It took WAY longer than expected for the packers so the movers couldn’t get started on time. The poor movers ended up being at our house until 2am the next day. So, next time I’ll probably go over what I think our stuff weighs so that they send an adequate amount of packers.

Well, those are the few things I’ve learned in the short amount of time I’ve been a part of this wonderful family. I’m sure I’ll learn things each time!
Do yall have any moving stories? They can be fun, informational, or jaw-dropping!
Love to you,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How to Plan a Trip to Europe Using Space-A*

* But not actually get there.

About a month or two ago, my husband and I decided that instead of Christmas presents this year, we would rather go on a little trip, just the two of us, for a few days. After searching all-inclusives, cruises and resorts in Florida, we realized that we really just couldn't afford to fly. As we were discussing other, driveable options, husband remembered the military's Space-Available program. Basically, you can fly for free anywhere the military is flying. We did some research, mostly on spacea.net and learned that all we needed to do was sign up for leave, send our paperwork to the bases we would hope to fly out of and call to find out the schedule of flights and how many seats were available. Then, you show up to the terminal and find out if you get on the flight based on the priority list of who else signed up. If you are selected, on to the plane you go for a free leg of vacation. Sounds so great right??

Well, last Friday, my husband signed up for leave and faxed his paperwork into Andrew's AFB, Dover, and BWI. We called each terminal that day and found out there was a flight leaving from Andrew's on Saturday night heading to Germany and there were 34 available seats. Score! We drove up to DC, dropped off our son with my parents and headed to Andrew's at the 9:30 'show time'. Shortly thereafter, they called us and another couple up to the counter and informed us that the flight had 4 seats and we were the chosen ones. Double score! Excitement ensued as when finally felt like we could talk solid plans about where we were going to go and what we were going to do on our romantic European vacation. Then, two hours later, as we anticipate boarding, they called our last name up to the counter. The Air Force solider gently informed us that it turns out, there was only room for 3 people, not 4 and the other active duty friend had signed up for leave sooner than us. Dejected, and pretty annoyed/confused at how exactly you go from 34 to 3 available seats, we returned to my parents condo.

The next day, there were no flights to Europe from any of our choice airports, but Andrew's had a flight to Jackson, MS, two hours from New Orleans, with 50 free seats. So we researched some fancy hotels and decided NO was the closest to France we would be getting on this vacation. That afternoon, we repacked out bags, said bye to Baby Boy again and trekked back over to Andrew's. Right away, they told us we would get on the flight, but that the plane was on its way back from overseas and it would be about 3 hours to take off. We decided to stick it out, determined to make it on our romantic va-ca. Fast forward through 2 football games, several issues of the Army Times and some chips from the vending machine, and the plane arrives. A solider gets off and we overhear him telling someone that they have to transfer patients off the plane to Walter Reid Medical Center, then gear up the rest who were headed to the hospital at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. My husband and I took one look at each other and without needed words, he headed back up to the counter to ask for our bag back.

So here is what we learned:
1. While Space-A is free, you have to be really, really flexible.
2. Take plenty of leave. Kevin took a week, and there was no way we would have made it back in time.
3. Does anyone else have an issue with putting Space-A travelers on a medic plane? I was mortified by this. Those soldiers who were injured overseas deserve space, privacy and all the attention from the medical staff on the plane. Not a couple heading for a New Orleans vacation.
4. Have a plan B, C, D, E and F. While we didn't make it to Europe, we found an affordable, wonderful vacation in its place. You can read more about that here.
5. The Omni Hotel chain rocks. If you read my post on Daffodil's, you find out about our trip to the Bedford Springs Resort. They gave us a $77 a night military rate. Normal rates at $250. High Five for you Omni, thank you for supporting our troops and creating an affordable romantic vacation for travelers on a budget!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Tonight I am thankful for the USO.  The USO is a private, non-profit, Congressionally-appointed organization that is funded by individuals and organizations who want to provide different opportunities for military families. Originally founded in 1941 as an organization to provide entertainment to troops around the world, the USO closed its doors as troops returned home from World War II. Then as Vietnam started ramping up, the USO opened again to provide opportunities. Under the appointment of Harry Truman, the USO became an organization that is operational while troops are home and abroad. 

Not only does the USO provide concerts and entertainment to troops down-range, services for wounded warriors, phone calls home and neat concerts and shows for families at home, they also provide spaces in select airports for families to rest when waiting for a flight, their flight is changed or some other unfortunate travel sequence occurs. Tonight I write in a comfy chair, with ESPN highlights on, food in my belly, wireless internet and a kind person to ensure I am awake for my 4 AM trip through security at the St. Louis airport. I did not intend to fly through St. Louis, much less be stuck here overnight, but I am thankful for the safe-haven the USO has provided me tonight. When traveling, be aware of whether or not there is a USO at the airport(s) you are flying through; wonderful volunteers work to make the rough airline delays a little more bearable. 

You must have your military ID to enter, and spouses and families may enter and use the airport facilities without their military spouse.

**Click here to learn more about the USO or make a donation.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's all happening!

We finally got the email that we’ve been waiting for! The Army sent us the list of available JAG spots and we sent in our top choices. We’ll hear December 15 (hopefully) about where our assignment will be.

Being able to hear communication from the Army and finally being able to get the ball rolling has been such a blessing for us. It’s really made this new adventure seem real! We can’t wait to share news with the rest of our Army family when we do hear where we’ll be moving. Maybe it’ll be near some of you!!

What have been some of your favorite places to live?

Love to you,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Letters From War

Tyler and I have always loved the song, "Letters from War" by Mark Schultz. The song is about a mother and son who write letters while he is away at war. The verses give an introduction, tell of his capture and the son's return home. The course repeats:
You're good and you're brave
What a father that you'll be someday 
Make it home
Make it safe
She wrote every night as she prayed

Although I do not know what it is like to have a child, much less a child away at war, I know what it is like to have my husband away from home. This song was randomly chosen on my iPod last night, and as I was listening I was reminded how lucky we are. No one wants our spouses, sons, or daughters away from home at war, but we are lucky that the communication has changed so drastically since WWI and WWII, the time period in which the song is set.

I look at the loved ones who held down the home front during the wars of the mid- to late-1900s, and I cannot imagine what they felt like; the courage they had is incredible because communication was so sparse. Now, we have cell phones, email, skype, DSN and all kinds of ways to get in touch with our spouses almost instantaneously compared to the 1950s/60s and on. 

All that said, there are still loved ones waiting on the home front for communication from loved ones, and yes, there are still days that go by with no communication, and no, spouses do not get to pick up the phone and call straight down to Afghanistan or Iraq, but as a whole communication has gotten so much better. I believe that we are fortunate to have the resources and technology that we do that allows us to hear from our loved one and know that they are safe in "real time," and not in passing days and weeks through letters from war.

Have a great day!! 
- Ginna

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Two Year Itch

I grew up in the same house for 19 years, went to the same grade school from through eighth grade and am still friends with many of the people I spent 4 years with in High School. Including the move from my parents house to college, I have lived in exactly three cities in my 27 years. My husband on the other hand has lived in Korea, Germany, Panama, Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach, Kansas, New York, North Carolina and Iraq (twice, in four different areas). His childhood friends are his siblings and in many places only went to school for a year before moving on to the next place. Before we moved to NC, he literally hadn't been in one place for more than six months since graduating college in 2003. Clearly, our ideas on moving are a little different.

Last spring, when husband thought he was heading into the civilian world, we often argued discussed our criteria for that decision. I wanted to him apply for jobs in cities where we could see ourselves settling down, raising our family and staying for the long term. He thought we should apply for jobs all over the country, take the best one, and if it sucked 'move two years later.' Around and around we went, unable to make each other understand our desires: one for stability, one for adventure.

So when he came home from work the other night and informed me that he was 'ready to move on' from from his current position, I breathed a sigh of relief that we decided to stay in the Army. I don't think he would have ever made it in the civilian world, expected to work at a job, the same job, for an extended period of time.

Now, you might be a little confused as to why I am perfectly happy continuing our Army life. There are several things that making moving in the Army easier:
1. They pack, box and unpack and pay for it!
2. Everyone around you is moving too, so everyone is the 'new guy.'
3. When you move, you are automatically part of a community and chances are will already know someone at the new post. (Whereas in the civilian world, it feels like dating all over again trying to make new friends!)
4. You know its coming. Moving doesn't come as a surprise, you (basically) know how long you will be at which spot.

And so, I'm excited for our little family that we will be able to have the adventure of moving around, with the stability for our kids that we will be done with Army life when our oldest is 12 and will be able to stay put before they get into high school. I just hope by then my hubby has outgrown his Two Year Itch by then! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010


I heard the best advice the other day.

I know that as Army wives; we’re left in a place of worry quite often. We worry about what our life will look like. We worry if we’ll find a home at our next PCS. We worry about how our kids will accept change. We worry about our husband’s safety. We worry, we worry, and we worry.

But a wise friend who has gone down a similar path looked at me the other night at dinner and said, “There is no need to worry. The safest place he can be is in the center of God’s will.”

Something about that just resonated with me so clearly. I’m not sure if it’s because we feel so strongly this adventure is God’s will for us or if it was such a relief to remind myself that he is safe in the whole grand scheme of things.

I just felt I’d pass along this piece of wisdom and hope that you can rest in that today, and tomorrow… and the next day.

Love to you,