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 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,

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Want to Ride in the Passanger Seat

Recently, Kate suggested that I write about the things and chores that I cannot wait to pass off to Tyler upon his return. When the soldier is away, everything, yes everything, falls on the shoulders of the spouse who stays behind. Tyler and I make a pretty good team, but for now, life does not become too overwhelming in the chores department when he leaves. If anything, I have fewer clothes to wash, fewer dishes to put away and less to "pick-up" around the house. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved it if HE were home when the smoke detectors started beeping every three minutes at one in the morning four nights after he left, I would love it if HE were here to change the two light-bulbs that magical went out weeks after he left or for HIM to start the grill when the wind has blown out the pilot light. Those are the moments that seem to be the most frustrating for me; moments where he would swoop in and fix the problem instantly and then we'd move on with life. Those are the moments that catch me off-guard and get me down the most.

During Tyler's absences I have come to realize that out of all of the things or chores that I long to pass back off to him, driving ranks pretty close to number one. I love to drive, I always have, but now I love the passenger seat. Tyler drives us everywhere and that is the thing that I am most excited to tag-team back to him. He enjoys driving, and I am a-okay letting him have that position in our family. For the past four months I can count on two hands how many times I have sat in the passenger seat, a position that I have come to love, and I cannot wait to get that seat back upon his return!

Have a Monday!! 
- Ginna

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seeking out Wisdom

I think one of the greatest things about being an Army wife is the legacy of women that have walked the road before us. I know that the wisdom and advice from the veteran Army wives were invaluable to me just in this short time that I’ve been a part of this adventure.

Last night we had dinner with a couple that has been such a great source of wisdom for us. He is a retired JAG officer (now ADA) and she is an amazing woman. We have been able to spend some time with them over the past year and we always laugh at the uncanny similarities in personality between the four of us. They have given wonderful advice that balances on reality of the hardships as well as embracing the adventure.

Last night they talked about the difficulty of absence. Anytime he would leave, she said the hardest times were before he left and right after he got back. She said the anxiety of his upcoming absence would always bring tension in their home. And despite the fact that she couldn't wait for him to get back, there was such a period of adjustment when he would return. She remembered feeling, “I just figured out how to do this without you and now I have to re-learn how to do it with you here!”

The “it” could be house work, finances, raising children, fixing the sink, or just dealing with sleeping in an empty bed… there will be adjustments.

She wrote him letters every time he would leave. She had to breathe in Grace as she remembered his exhaustion when he would return (especially after Ranger school).

She said she heard some good advice that would keep the conversations filled with substance. Each person could carry around a tiny notepad or scrap piece of paper with them and write down little things that happened throughout the day that you would normally talk about over the supper table. Then, when you would finally get to speak on the phone, bring out the notepads!

Do you have any other advice or wisdom? We are a community so every piece of wisdom is invaluable to the rookie Army wives like myself!

Love to you,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Does Anyone Else Live Like This??

Last week, I was on the phone with my sister-in-law, a fellow Army Wife, having the fun "If he goes here, then we will probably go here" conversation. Her husband has been stable for a while, so they are assuming that he will need to deploy for his next assignment. However, they have three young children and my sister can't decide if she should stay where she is now, move the kids to whatever unit her husband is deploying with or rent something for a year near her parents so she has a little extra help. Of course, as we were discussing these options, there are many different scenarios that would change where she would go. How long would he be at the unit before he left? Would he go right away? Does she really want to move the kids for a year, then move again in another year (pertaining to moving close to family)? And of course, they are slated to move in June but have no idea where they are going yet, so it is night after night of hypothetical conversations with no real answer.
As we were talking, I certainly empathized. As our time at ROTC ends, there is a chance Kev will have to go to a course for just 4 months in the spring. If that happens, should C and I go? Should we try and sell our house, live for 4 months on post and keep stuff in storage? Or do we stay here and suck up the 4 months apart, assuming we will be close enough to see each other on the weekends? Or do C and I go because we would regret it if one day in the near future we don't have the option of being together because he is deployed?

Sister-in-law and I then went back and forth, telling stories of women who moved to Korea for a just few months, and of the essay we received about a family of 6 who moved across the country for only six months, and of a friend who was just get settled into her new life in Germany when she found out her husband was deploying three weeks later. And the list went on and on. Exhausted, there was finally a pause in the conversation and my sister-in-law chuckled and said "Seriously, does anyone else live like this??"

Have a great day,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Good Morning, Monday!

Good morning, friends! I hope that you had a great weekend, and although you did fun things with family and friends, that you did one thing for yourself! If you did, leave a comment and let us know what you did, and how you feel.

Our first give-a-way winner is Leonieke, congratulations! Thank you all for following our blog and for leaving comments; we have more give-a-ways up our sleeve, so stayed tuned and keep passing our blog along to friends. Leonieke, please email us (, and we will be in touch about personalizing the flag and shipping it to you promptly.

Have a great day!! 
- Ginna

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fun Surprise!

This week we are going to begin our give-aways! We have found that Army wives are constantly finding new ways to be crafty in order to prevent husband-deployed boredom, to keep our minds busy, to show our patriotism and to have something that is our own when we move place to place. Below is a wall hanging that will be personalized just as the winner wants it to be. Our friend, Stacey Weygandt, of Fort Richardson, Alaska crafted this wall-hanging and will be personalizing it before it ships to the winner. Stacey has many neat, neat things and a web site coming. When it is finished we will share!

To be entered into the drawing, become a follower of our blog or leave a comment on this post. On Sunday night, we will put all of the participants's names in a hat and draw a winner. If you leave a comment, but are not a follower, please be sure to leave us your email address so we can contact you if you win! Tell your friends to check us out too!


Have a great day!! 
- Ginna

Monday, October 18, 2010


Hello friends!

It seems like for.e.ver since I have posted anything, and I apologize. Honestly, I have wanted to be away from everything lately. Away from computers, telephones and doing most things social. It seems that when your spouse is deployed people think that you want your social calendar to be full, that you want to have every minute of every day planned and packed with something new and exciting to do, but I am just tired.
Don't get me wrong, I have loved the things that I have done lately and most of them I would have done even if Tyler were home, but after a while I just wanted to be. I want to enjoy sleeping in on a Saturday, watching a little football, reading a book just for fun and actually cooking dinner.

Everyone handles a deployment differently, and surprisingly enough, every deployment a couple experiences is wildly different than any other. For example, Tyler spent two weeks ... TWO SHORT WEEKS ... in Japan last December and that was the worst two weeks of my life. Weeks later he was in the Philippines for two months and that time seemed to whiz by. There are so many circumstances that make each time apart vastly different, but each time we learn more about ourselves, more about each other and more about the strength of our faith and relationship.

I challenge you to do something for yourself this week ... just one thing. I have found that I am not too good at exercising my "NO" muscle and taking time for me; do it, just this once. Tune in tomorrow for a fun surprise!

Happy Monday! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Happy birthday, Kate!! Today is her birthday, and we couldn't let the day pass without acknowledging it on her latest and greatest brain storm! Below are some of my favorite things about Kate. Chime in with well-wishes and your favorite things about our dear friend, too.

1. When I speak of Kate I always add, "You know, Kate, my first Army friend." This is how all of my friends know her and although I try to stop saying that it always seems to slip out.

2. Kate has a keen eye for beautiful things. She is a great shopping partner for anything from clothes to curtain fabric to antiques ... she loves them all.

3. I met Kate when she was pregnant with Cullen, and although our first meeting had no indication that she loved wine .. she does. She loves a vineyard on a sunny day and a good glass of wine before, and with, dinner routinely.

Kate has turned into one of mine, and Martha's, best friends. A person who we can trust to be honest and hear our version of the "what ifs" and "if/thens" throughout this Army life. She loves to play the game, too, and although those games are sometimes fun, they are never easy. Thank you for hanging by our sides, Kate. We are excited to see what the next assignment holds for you and your family!

Enjoy your day, Kate!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Late Night Thoughts...

I laid in bed last night tossing and turning as a lot of thoughts came to my mind.

What if we get put here for our assignment…
What if I get preggo right when he leaves…
What if… what if…what if…

I’m sure you’ve all been there. But then my mind switched gears. I started thinking about how the Army is so unique because its Soldiers are completely unique. When I was younger I used to think that all soldiers were body builders and would scream in my face. I’m sure I got my accurate information from Saved by the Bell at some point.

But the more I’ve been exposed to Soldiers, I see that they all carry themselves in a way that shows the balance of being part of a team while maintaining their own traits. They are men and women in uniform, not uniform men and women.

There are sensitive soldiers, macho soldiers, tall soldiers, short soldiers, married soldiers, single soldiers, daddy soldiers, granddaddy soldiers, doctor soldiers, lawyer soldiers, infantry soldiers, career soldiers, short-timer soldiers, stubborn soldiers¸ “type A” soldiers, and “go with the flow” soldiers. I think you get my point.

There are not many careers you can be a part of where you work with people with different backgrounds, different personalities, and different specialties. Just another reason being part of the Army is so amazing! I’m going to go drink a lot of coffee now.

Love to you,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Little More to the Story

Ginna, Martha and I didn't always dream of starting a blog together, mostly we just liked to drink wine and talk about our crazy lives. However, one day in July, I went to drop a transcript off for my husband at his grad school. The Administrative Assistant was very kind and told me she had enjoyed getting to know Kev over the course of his MBA program. We were having a lovely conversation until out of no where she threw out, in the most assuming voice, "Aren't you so glad he is getting out of the Army?" I calmly responded that I am happy to support whatever he wants to do, thanked her for her time and quickly left.

Later that day, my son and I were on a long, lonely drive back to DC and the woman's question, especially the tone of it, was still bothering me. You see, for the past several years  months, my husband and I had been discussing getting out of the Army as this particular assignment came to a close. This summer, we had officially decided that he would be done after 8 years of service. And I supported this. I was excited about a new life, glad we wouldn't have to worry about deployments and happy that we could pick one place and stay there for as long as we pleased. However, I was shocked at other people's reaction to our decision. I hated that people assumed we were getting out because it is a bad life. I hated that people didn't understand that despite 2 years in Iraq, ultimately the Army had been good to us. I hated that people didn't know that the Army Family is one of the best families to be part of and that I had met some of the most amazing, passionate and admirable people in the world. I hated that civilians seemed to take their blessing for granted, while military families seemed to cherish every single moment.

After 5 long hours in the car alone, I realized that despite the decision we made, I needed the rest of the world to understand that it is not a bad life. I also realized that no one can explain it quite like the women who live it. The next day I mustered up the courage to email my dear friends Ginna and Martha and wrote something to the effects of "you can tell me this is stupid, but I just can't get it out of my heart. I think we should reach out to as many Army Wives as we know and write a book about it." Luckily for me, they thought it was a great idea, and so we brainstormed. And then we sent this letter out to all the amazing women we know. And then we decided to start a blog. And then essays started coming in. O and somewhere in between there, husband and I decided to stay in the Army.

I share this story with you because I wanted you to know that this blog is bigger than the 3 of us. Over the next few months we will share excerpts from the essays we have received thus far. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be overwhelmed by the determination and passion that Army Wives have to make a good life for their families despite obvious struggles. Hopefully, one day, you will see these all in print: a compilation of different stories and different perspectives, joined together by strong will, big hearts and a sense of service to our country.

Lastly, if you did not get a chance to contribute, or this is the first time hearing about this venture and you would like to contribute, please send us an email at

Thanks for supporting us through this blog and beyond!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Here and Now

There's a mantra in the counseling world that I've used a million times with my clients: "stay in the here and now".  I've been forgetting that recently. Whether we're waiting on a start date or waiting on our assignment or even waiting on the expectation of finally being able to start this rodeo... we're waiting.

Sam and I were talking about the future and when we would hear about everything. We had to take a breath and remind ourselves to stay in the here and now.

There are so many unknowns in the Army and I just encourage you to stay in the here and now and live in the season that you are in at this moment. Have a great weekend friends.

Love to you, 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is Normal?!

Like Martha and Kate have both mentioned, and as many of you know, finding your way to a new "Army" normal can be quite interesting and sometimes difficult. This first hit me when we were at Fort Leonard Wood (FLW). FLW is primarily a training installation. Soon after my arrival, I began to notice lots of these:

And in case you cannot read that bright red sign on the front it reads "STUDENT DRIVER." Day-in and day-out I would pass huge vehicles with this big, red sign when going about my daily routine. I passed them coming out of my neighborhood, on the way to the gym or grocery store and even on the way to the park. Not that this experience in particular was weird or difficult, I had to get used to seeing trainings take place so close to home.

Army installations, it's soldiers and families have a strange way of making a new normal out of an Army life. That seems a bit funny to say because everyone experiences new normals, when a baby is born or a new job pops up, but this new normal is different. It isn't something that really has a routine, a consistency or even certain hours. This normal has a odd combination of training and working for something far bigger than yourself while still trying to proceed with everyday, mundane tasks. For example, our coat closet looks like this:


an odd splattering of everyday wear combined with uniforms that only select people in our great country are authorized to wear. Each weekday, Tyler puts on a uniform that represents a strong commitment to our country and on the weekend, although he gets to wear his "civilian" clothes, we know that he is still on duty and at the drop of a hat our phone could ring and he could go into work.

And then there is the nook where Tyler's gear is housed. At each duty station soldiers are given certain pieces of equipment that may be specific to their duty station or job. One piece of equipment is authorized everywhere ... a flack vest. 

This guy is authorized because it protects the soldiers most important organs when riding in a hum-vee, training or at war. This little treasure sits and waits for my husband to need it, but could possibly be his saving grace one day when he wears it. That combination of "just another something I wear and this could possibly save my life" is so strange. A shocking twist of reality and just another piece of equipment somehow get caught up in our new normal.

I'm not really certain what I sat down to say tonight, but I hope that some of you who are struggling to find a new normal or to research to see what that new normal may look like have found a piece of what you are looking for here. Know that everyone's normal looks different, and the steps to get there vary, but you can find peace and happiness in this life. Please, do not be afraid to speak up about how you found your normal, what you're looking to find on this blog, or just to say hello; we'd love to hear from you.

Happy Hump Day!
-- Ginna

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life in a Snap Shot

After Martha mentioned it, I realized just how often this is left in the living room....Along with training binders and discarded baby boy shoes. 'Welcome' to my life :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons...

CPT Scotty Smiley and CPT Daniel Luckett made a big ol tub of lemonade.

On April 6, 2005, CPT Scotty Smiley's humvee approached a suspicious looking man on the side of the road in Iraq. Seconds later, bits of shrapnel entered his eyes and brain and Scotty would never see again. I met Scotty and his wife at my nephew's baptism a few years ago. He was a classmate and friend of my husband's and I remember being amazed and in awe of the fact that not only has he bounced back from his injuries, but he decided to stay in the Army, began adjusting to life as a blind man, was about to begin his MBA program at Duke and his wife was hugely pregnant. I knew right away that he had not let his unfortunate situation get him down. Now, a few years later, his name is back in the news as his book, Hope Unseen is being published and he has taken command of the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point. He now has two sons, climbed Mt. Rainer, ran a triathlon tied to a fellow Captain and went skydiving. He may not be able to see anymore, but he sure can 'do'. And of course, it goes with out saying, part of his success can be attributed to his amazing wife who stood by his side through all of it. You can read more about Scotty here.

My second story today took me by complete surprise while catching up on facebook this morning. A friend's status made reference to an inspiring Auburn graduate, Army officer and all around gentleman. I read the story quickly, amazed at the resilience of a young man who lost part of his right foot and his left leg in Iraq in 2008 and has now returned to his unit and deployed again, still as an infantry man. As I read the story, I thought of how sometimes I won't return to a restaurant if I have a bad experience, I can't imagine wanting to return to a place like Daniel did. Less than a year after Daniel's injuries, he was able to run a mile in eight minutes, fitted with a prosthetic left leg and a specialized foam piece fit where his right toes should be. He later received his Expert Infantryman's Badge. In May of this year he returned to the Middle East, this time to Afghanistan, where he is severing next to his fellow soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division. After spending some time reading the article, I flipped through the pictures and realized I actually knew Daniel. I hung out with him often during my freshman year at Auburn, it had just been so many years since I had seen or heard his name, I didn't realize it right away. Once I made the connection, I remembered how nice he was, genuinely nice. I had no idea he had been hurt, but I am thankful for my friend who posted the story. You can read more about his amazing path here.

Now, I understand as Army Wives, the last thing we want to think about it our something bad happening to our men, but I couldn't help but share these stories. Not only are they inspiring because of the way the men bounced back from their tragic situations, but they exemplify the essence of the Army. Without legs, without eyes, the Army found a place for Daniel and Scotty, and more importantly, they found a place in the Army.

Have a great week,

Friday, September 24, 2010

It all begins...

“YOU PRAY ABOUT IT!” my sweet husband said to me as he looked me square in the eyes. We had been having the same argument for about four years.  We had been going back and forth about his desire to serve in the Army. I was clueless and scared. Even though he had trying for so long to explain his heart for service, I would not listen. The arguments did not last long because they usually ended up with me crying and eating pounds of candy and in between bites telling him that he needed to pray about it.

Well, four years of his prayer only made his desire stronger. Finally, the last argument we had about it was him asking me to pray about this decision. I remember a shaking in my soul as his strong voice said to me, “YOU PRAY ABOUT IT!”  I think at that moment I knew as soon as I opened my heart to the Army career, we would be on the same page. I reluctantly walked into the back room (with my candy of course, who can pray without candy?!) and experienced the most amazing heart transformation I’ve ever experienced.  I was able to see my husband’s desire to serve and wanted to join him with all of my heart. We had become a “we” as Kate talked about earlier.

Of course I would have saved my marriage and my blood sugar level a lot of stress had I been open to this career to begin with. But I would not trade the process for anything. It took us to a deeper level as a couple but most importantly; it allowed me to fully process what the commitment meant (as much as I could) and still sprint towards this new adventure with my husband.

Because his call to serve was such a huge part of his heart, by experiencing this with him I was able to fall in love with him all over again.

When he started this journey a few years ago, I searched for any Army wives’ blogs I could find. I wanted to get a glimpse into what the lifestyle would look like. If any of you are in the beginning stages of this discussion or need a little encouragement, I’d love to talk to you about how this journey of communication can take your relationship to such a sweet place…even when he leaves his rucksack in the middle of the living room.

                                                                                    Love to you,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why We are a We

One of my pet peeves is when people use the word 'we' inappropriately. More specifically, I literally cringe when I hear a couple expecting a child say "we are pregnant." No, no you are not. A man literally cannot be pregnant (except for that Oprah guy, but he doesn't really count). It is just plain ol incorrect, and I can say that because I have been pregnant and I assure you, Kev was not.

When I first became an Army girlfriend, I was surprised at the number of women attached to Army men who referred to themselves as 'in the army'. Phrases like 'we are staying in the Army', 'we are going to branch detail to X' and 'we have been through 2 deployements' used to just confuse me. In the beginning, it was worthy of a 'we are pregnant' cringe and I would always have to mutter under my breath 'you are not in the army, your boyfriend/husband is."

However, almost 5 years later, I understand it. The military is the only profession in which a spouse is correct to say "we." The Army takes so much of the family into consideration. The active member gets a salary which compensates for his/her dependants. There are groups specifically for families who meet on a regular basis and provide support to their members. Ginna has a wonderful story that hopefully she will share one day about a company commander who asked her opinion of an assignment that Tyler was going to get, not because he needed her permission, but because he truly cared about them. I guarantee that does not happen in the civilian world.

About a month ago when Kev was deciding whether to get out or stay in, it was always our decision. Never once did he say "what should I do?" It was always, always "what should we do?" And now that I am comfortable using the phrase, I have to tell you how proud I am to be able to say it. We are staying in the Army. We will continue to be part of this great community. We will take new, challenging assignments and hopefully we will be able to mentor young families under Kev's command. We will deal with deployments as/if/when they come. We will get through them together. We agree to move every few years and completely accept it. Sometimes, (most of the time), even we get up for PT in the morning...the alarm usually wakes me up first.

Army life can be straining, but its comforting to know that they care about my entire family, not just my husband. When Cullen was born, Kev's commander presented us with an engraved baby bowl and cup set during a Hail and Farewell. It was such a neat and unexpected moment for me to see my baby boy be 'hailed' into this larger family we are a part of. We are a we because others genuinely care about us. We are a we because spouses and families are invited to join in military traditions. Do our civilian friends come to the office when a boss gets promoted? I don't think so.

So go ahead, say it with me, We are in the Army. This phrase is not only physically possible but 100% accurate.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Army Song

I am truly a traditionalist at heart. I can be a wee bit contemporary and sometimes a bit modern, but I love tradition, in my home, relationships and ceremonies. The Army is a great place for my traditionalist style. Ceremonies, meals, deployments, redeployments and many other events are filled with pomp and circumstance and traditions that began hundreds of years ago. 

One of my favorite traditions is the singing of the Army Song, a bit cheesy, but I love it! I vividly remember my first ceremony, Tyler's graduation ceremony from EBOLC at Fort Leonard Wood. My girlfriend and I were sitting together and everyone stood to sing. So, we rose, but were quite awkward as the graduating class began with the Engineer song followed by the Army song. Although all of the words were printed in our program, we were stumbling between do we sing, do we not sing?! We ended up singing quietly and hoping we were following protocol. Immediately following the ceremony, Tyler informed me that we would be singing for years to come. And boy was he right. 

Depending on what type of ceremony you attend and where the ceremony is depends on what songs you sing. For instance, in Alaska we have an Arctic Warriors song, the engineers have an engineer song, etc. The common thread among all events is the Army Song, which closes all formal ceremonies. It was written in the late 1800s by a Field Artillery lieutenant then later adopted as the Field Artillery song before being adjusted to be the Army Song. The song was officially adopted in 1956 and renamed "The Army Goes Rolling Along." The stanzas represent the past, present and future of the Army. Although there are a few stanzas, we only sing the first verse and the refrain. If you are nervous about your first ceremony you can study up, but don't worry, you'll quickly catch on.

Have a great Monday!
-- Ginna

Friday, September 17, 2010

How We Met

No, this isn't a story about how we met our wonderful husbands, but rather a fun story about how our friendships came to be.

It started with Ginna and me. As she mentioned in her last post, she and Tyler remained at Wake for a few months upon graduation, just about that time Kev and I arrived. Kev came home one day and told me he really thought I would like Lt. V's wife because she was "really bubbly and a teacher too." Well, hubby got that right. We went to dinner as a foursome once, and it was all over from there. Ginna and I had our "did we just become best friends??" moment while walking one afternoon right after we met. I had just told her I was 8 weeks pregnant, so the conversation quickly turned to baby names. Turns out, we both plan on having daughters with a double name, their second name being the middle name of their daddy's. Little Nora Scott and Jane Blair. Once we realized this, we may have stopped our walk to jump up and down and hug. We now talk about our hypothetical daughters being best friends more often than normal people would. Just in case you are wondering, we have big plans of getting to Stewart at the same time so Nora Scott and Jane Blair can run around Spanish Moss covered parks in their matching monogrammed smocked dresss. We should probably let the Army and our husbands in on this plan. Ginna and I also bonded over the fact that we walk because we enjoy gossiping and looking at pretty houses more than actually exercising.

It was over a year later, while sorting through a really shady pile of clothes donated to our Junior League sale, that a red head, who just a few minutes earlier had been wearing a blue sparkly jacket with shoulder pads, stopped me and said really emphatically "Did you just say your husband is in the Army???" Martha's husband had just been accepted into the JAG Corps and she was shocked to find another Army wife in Winston. We had our "did we just become best friends??" moment when we hung out the next day, and the next day, and two days after that. Then reluctantly and awkwardly admitted that we missed eachother when a week went by without hanging out. Finally, we showed up to a BBQ wearing the same dress that we, unknown to one another, had just bought at Marshall's. (Side note, Martha's hair is not really red, she had just dyed it for the winter, however, in my mind, she will always a red head. Much the same, in Ginna's mind, I probably will always be nauseous.)

In between these two meetings which changed my life, Martha and Ginna had become friends. Martha was best friends with Tyler's older brother growing up (you still with me here?). She began skyping with Ginna and relying on her as the only other person she knew in the Army. They can fill in the blanks on this story for you one day :)

Some other fun facts about our soul-mate-friendships:
-Ginna and Martha had the same wedding dress
-Martha and I have the exact same 'everyday' china
-Our husbands all have eerily similar personalities
-We all work/worked at schools
-We all get easily excited about really little things. There is usually hugging involved.
-Wine. Well, yea.

I thought this would be a fun way to round out our 'about us' week. We hope you enjoyed getting to know us and will continue reading as we delve further into our stories!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Rookie!

Hello friends! I'm Martha, aka the rookie of the three little army wives. My husband and I met in college and have been married over four years. I'm a mental health counselor and Sam is a lawyer. My husband Sam and I began conversations about joining the Army about.... five years ago. My husband wanted to join so badly but he had already signed up for law school. I, being the understanding wife that I am, would cry and stomp my feet every time he would talk about joining the service. Truth be told, I knew nothing about the Army life and it scared the heck out of me.

After a few years of talking (arguing) about it, Sam finally looked at me and told me that joining the Army was not a boyish dream, it was his call and I needed to pray about it. Well, I prayed and it was an immediate transformation. I was ready to answer that call with my husband. And my heart could not have been more excited about it.

In his last year of law school he applied to JAG Corps. We heard that over 5,000 people applied for less than 100 spots in the US so we knew it was a long shot. Then we got the call that Sam was one of the 100!! That moment is honestly one of the happiest moments of our marriage. So, now we're waiting.
He is slated to start in February but we're praying for a miracle that he gets into the October class (he's on the waitlist) and we're waiting for our assignment. I never thought I'd be counting down the days to start this Army adventure but I am! These two ladies that are with me on this blog have become my dearest friends and I'm so grateful for them. I'm grateful that I get front row seats to watch my husband live out his dream. Thanks for reading our blog and we're ecstatic about the new adventure of our book.

Me and my stud at the beach                                               

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hello, from the Last Frontier!

Good morning! I am Ginna, and I have been an Army wife for the past two and a half years. My handsome groom, Tyler, and I met while attending Wake Forest University in North Carolina (Go Deacs!). Tyler was at Wake on an ROTC scholarship, so I was fully aware of his excitement for and commitment to the Army before we began dating. At first, the idea of coming into the Army beside him was a bit scary .. so much so that I didn't date him at first. Through lots of prayer and conversation, he finally won my heart and I was excited to begin this life with him. 

Upon graduation in May of 2008, we were married and began our life together in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Tyler was a recruiter for the ROTC department at Wake before heading to Army schools in the Fall. After spending two months apart we packed up our stuff and moved on to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where Tyler would finish school in March of 2009.

This was our little home in Missouri. We were fortunate enough to live on Fort Leonard Wood, and we quickly discovered how much we like living on post. The community that surrounds you is so fun, and the fact that Tyler comes home for breakfast and lunch is absolutely wonderful! At the end of March 2009, we were on the move again; our stuff was packed and we drove thousands of miles to Fort Richardson, Alaska.

We are still in Alaska, but time is moving quickly toward our date to leave. Tyler has had many wonderful, unique experiences here, and together we have made many, many wonderful friends.

Thank you for taking this journey with Kate, Martha and me. We look forward to sharing our experiences, trials and excitement with you as we travel down the Army road. It is nice to meet you all, take care!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meet Kate!

Hi Friends! Thank you so much for taking interest in our new blog. I hope that it will be a great resource for understanding life in the Army and let's be honest, a few minutes of daily entertainment. This week, we all will be posting a little about ourselves. Since we have three authors, we thought it woudl be useful for you to have some insight into who we are and how we got here.

I'm Kate and although some of you may know me by Katie, since my husband and most people who know me well call me Kate, we are going with that here. I have been an Army Wife since March 2007. Kevin and I met through our families several years ago, but really got close during the second half of his first deployment. I was finishing my last semester at Auburn University and ran home from class every day to check my email and hope to catch him on yahoo chat. I graduated from college at the same time he returned safely from Iraq and after only six months we were enaged, despite our relationship being long distance from DC to Savannah. We were married 7 months after that and husband looked o-so-handsome in his blues.

Six weeks after that day, Kev headed to Kansas and prepared to deploy again. We didn't live in the same city until we had been married for almost a year and a half. We welcomed our beautiful son into the world in May of 09 and you can check out my personal blog for many, many, many more pictures of him!

In the past 2 years, we have had some much welcomed stability with Kev being an ROTC instructor. We decided just 3 weeks ago that he would remain in the Army as a career and are anxiously awaiting our next assignment.

So that is the cliff notes version of my life as an Army Wife. Although I have not had a 'normal' experience so far (since I stayed in DC while he was gone, and for the past 2 years we have been in a university setting), I have really enjoyed being a part of this community. I cherish the friends I have made (especially the two lovely ladies that will be introducing themselves shortly) and have so much respect for all our service men and women and their families.

I hope through this blog, I will continue to learn more about Army Life, about my own strengths and weaknesses, and hope to meet more wonderful friends and supporters of the military. Thanks again for checking us out! Don't forget to follow us, leave comments and share your blog if you would like us to add it to our roll.


Sunday, September 12, 2010


I was a freshman in college and walking through the dining hall to get my daily smoothie when I saw a crowd of students gathered around the television. I remember being filled in and feeling as though I couldn't breath for fear that another plane would hit. I ran back to my dorm room and kept the television on as I was praying for my friends in NYC and for their families. I thought it was personal then...

I want to be honest with yall and tell you that I do not feel worthy of this blog or the book with my amazing two friends who have already sacrificed so much. You see, we are at the very beginning of our journey. My husband is in the JAG Corps but we have not received our assignment nor has he left for training yet. We haven't experienced the tremendous sacrifice that you all have. However, September 11 was one of the most pivotal days in my husband's life. He says that because of that day and his desire to protect what he is proud of is the reason he went to law school and to join the JAG Corp. He felt an urgency for justice.

I am in awe of the sacrifices that were made on and since September 11 as our country became one and lifted each other up. I hope we remember those that we lost that day and continue to join hands and lift each other up.

-- Martha

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11

September 11, 2001 is a day that many of us will never forget. I began thinking about it tonight as I was washing my face and just slowing down for the night. I thought about what my life was like on September 10, 2001, and I couldn't remember. September 10 was a Monday, and I'm sure it was super hot. I was a sophomore in high school and I'm willing to bet that I just went through the Monday routine of life. And then ... it was Tuesday, September 11 and as I was walking into my safe, normal routine of a high school day my world was beginning to turn upside down.

My pre-calculus teacher was offering extra credit if your parent came to class, so, my dad was coming to school. I remember walking down the math hall and he was chatting it up with the teachers about what was happening in New York. We turned on the TVs, and that was class for the remainder of the day. This particular Tuesday was an early release day so Mom picked me up at 1 and we were glued to the news after getting home.

I sit and think of what that day meant for the people of New York, DC and Pennsylvania, but then I thought about what that day meant for me. You see, I didn't know that there was a boy two hours down the road that would one day become my husband. I didn't know that that particular boy become more passionate about his country and our freedom on that day. I didn't know that I would one day be serving alongside him to defend this nation that we love.

So many lives changed on that day, whether we knew it then or not. I am grateful for the men and women who served on 9/11, grateful for the unity and grace in our country on that day and those immediately after, grateful for those men and women who serve humbly day-in and day-out to protect our normal, everyday routine.

Please take a moment to say a prayer for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, those who were killed on that day and their sweet families who are left behind.

God Bless America
-- Ginna


Nine years ago today, our world changed. I was a senior in high school, sitting in my guidance counselor's office, watching the first twin tower up in smoke. I saw the second one get hit. Just a little while later, when I was in English class, with a nun who refused to turn on the TV and continued to teach, we heard the plane that would hit the Pentagon fly over our school. The next several minutes were rippled with fear as we heard there was another plane unaccounted for supposedly heading our way. One of our schoolmates lost her father in the Pentagon. My mom's cousin was in the bathroom while his office was blown to pieces. Kev's uncle got as many people out of his tower building as he could before the rest died when the building crumbled. Two weeks prior to this day, my future husband signed his letter which committed him to the active duty Army after completing West Point. Turns out, that would mean two years of his life so far would be in Iraq.

Today, I pray for those who lost someone. I pray for those who are still suffering because of it. I pray for people filled with hate. I pray for the brave men and women who do their very best to ensure something this tragic never happens again.

My hope for you now is to hug the people you love a little tighter, not take a second for granted, be thankful for our freedom, respect those who preserve it and pray for an end to all violence throughout the world.

God Bless America.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

There were Three Little Army Wives. They had a wonderful life, but were constantly pestered by the Big Bad Wolf. Whenever he came sniffing around, they attempted to make safe houses out of straw and sticks to ward him off. The Straw House was constructed with fear and anger. The Stick House was built with frustration and sadness. And neither house was able to withstand the power of the Big Bad Wolf.

On good days, when the world was as it should be, the women were able to take shelter in their Brick House. The Brick House was constructed with family, friends, faith and love. The Big Bad Wolf was never able to knock it down. It was during these times, the women appreciated and basked in the community in which they lived. Even though they knew the Big Bad Wolf was just around the corner, the benefits of their adventurous life in the Brick House outweighed any uncertainties he presented. Resultantly, they were able to live happily ever after.
As Army Wives, the biggest hurdle we face is the unknown (the Big Bad Wolf). Whether it is fear and anger tied in with a deployment, or frustration that you don’t know your next assignment or sadness that your husband is missing another important moment, the Big Bad Wolf of the Unknown is the emotion that tends to get the best of us.

But there is a way to beat it. We Three Little Army Wives, Kate, Ginna and Martha, have found peace in the Brick House. In this house, we surround each other with love, providing a kind of wisdom and support we all can understand. We embrace the community the Army has allowed us to join. We take great pride in our husband’s desire to serve. In fact, We are motivated with utmost respect for all of our soldiers’ commitment to our country. We rely on our faith, family and friends to lead us away from making decisions with straw and sticks.

Through this blog, we hope to share our trials, tribulations and rewards associated with being an Army Wife. We hope to be a resource of hope and compassion, to encourage patriotism, and most of all help each other not to make decisions with fear or sadness. Overall, we hope to build Brick Houses throughout our community and the civilian world.

We hope you will take this journey with us. Please check back often, follow us, and leave comments. Let us know if you have a blog you would like us to add to our blog list which shares your experiences in Army Life. Most of all, know that whatever unknowns come our way, we will not let the Big Bad Wolf huff and puff and blow our house down!