Friday, March 27, 2015

One Year - Tips for Surviving Deployments or Time Apart

One year ago to the day, we said not goodbye but see you later to Gabriel​. One year since we've been able to give him hugs and kisses. One year since we've been face to face. One complete year apart. It's not how we planned it happening, but that's how life is... unpredictable and follows its own path. There is still more time apart but the end is near. The end is near! It's almost hard to imagine that we are down to just a few weeks. Not months, weeks!

Each of our deployments has brought a new and different set of challenges. Spending this much time apart is never easy and your relationship will be tested to the limit. Honest moment here... Gabe and I almost didn't make it through the first deployment. I can't tell you how many marriages we have seen crumble during these first deployments. It takes a level of commitment and pure gusto just to survive and I don't blame or fault others if/when they part ways. I mean, we limped across that finish line and it took time and patience to bring our marriage back to where it was.

By our second deployment, we knew a little better what to expect and that helped a lot. But 18 months apart will put a strain on a marriage no matter who you are. We were living in a military town at this time so my friends were very understanding and supportive. And when you live that long apart, there's always a big learning curve to get back into a smooth rhythm and schedule.

Now at our third deployment, I almost feel ashamed when people always ask if it's tough without Gabe here. I usually shrug and give a nonchalant answer along the lines of "Yes, but by the third time you just do it. No big deal." Does that sound cruel? Of course it's not easy but I can't sit there everyday giving myself a pity party and waiting for life to get back to normal. I feel like coming out of this deployment, our marriage is almost stronger. Sure there were points of struggling but it's how we handle the struggles that make all the difference this time around.

As a woman that has survived three deployments each totaling a year plus (45 months or 3 years and 9 months in total so far) and countless business trips of varying lengths, I can safely say I have learned so much and earned the right to share some of the tricks to surviving.

1. Take time for yourself - I struggle with this the most. I feel guilty when I send the kids to the sitter so I can get out and relax. But it is so important for your own sanity and stress level to take some time to be alone.

2. Remember that it's not all about you - While you have stress and struggles at home, you need to remember that your partner is going through their own stress and struggles too, but doing it in an unfamiliar place. You both are in tough situations and one is not more important than the other.

3. It's not a competition - Oh Lord is this a tough one. I can't tell you how many times Gabe has remarked about being tired from working a 16 hour day and I came back with something about how at least he's not dealing with kids while doing it. Or when a friend complains about having to spend a day or two away from their spouse, or even complains about how much that spouse works. I want to scream at them that it's better than never seeing them. And I did... during deployments one and two. But I have had to come to terms with not comparing our situation to theirs and for them, it is hard. You will feel a whole lot better when you can stop turning these things into competitions, trust me.

4. Arguments will happen - You will be faced with challenges and you will not always get along. I know this happens when people are together too but when apart, the struggle is exacerbated times 100 and you don't always handle them in the best manner. I can't say what is best to do but I can say that you need to show compassion and patience here. Put on your big girl (or guy) panties and handle it like an adult. Talk it out, listen to each other, and come to a solution. Putting off arguments or shoving every problem under the rug will only make it that much worse when someone snaps. And they will. 

5. Stay positive - I know how easy it is to get down on yourself and depressed about the situation. But I also know that by you being a Negative Nancy all the time, you're making it worse and people do not want to be around someone like that. Here's where this third deployment has the most differences from the other two. I realized the situation is what it is and I made the effort to keep a positive attitude. And you know what? Suddenly life didn't seem so dismal, Gabe and I argued less, the kids cried less about daddy being gone, and I was happier. I miss my husband a ton but sitting around whining about it isn't accomplishing anything. The power of positivity, folks. It's real.

6. Live life - OK, what is all this about? Obviously you have to live your life but I'm talking live it. I have a hard time going out with the kids to do fun things because I give myself a guilt trip about how Gabe doesn't get to join in on the fun. Or I talk myself out of it by explaining we can do these things when he comes home. But who are you hurting when you do nothing and stay at home 24/7? Yourself, your kids, and the people around you. Yes, your partner can't be there to enjoy it but there's nothing you can do about it and doesn't mean you can't take some time to enjoy yourself. It helps to pass the time and get your minds off the situation even for a brief time.

7. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME - This is my #1 tip and I can't stress it enough. The only way you are going to get through this is one day at a time. You can't speed up or slow down time. There's just no way around it. Remind yourself when you're in the throes of sick and cranky kids, no shower for days, housework piling up, and exhausted beyond belief that this day will end and tomorrow is one day closer to seeing your partner. I literally have to do this nearly every day. One day at a time. You've got this!

And there you have it. The real and in your face tips and tricks for making it through and surviving your deployments or time apart. Got anything you want to add? I'd love to hear them in the comment section.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Right Around the Corner

Spring is right around the corner! The snow is almost gone and soon there will be new buds on the trees, flowers creeping up, and the world around us will get a whole lot greener. We are longing for those carefree days of less clothes and running around barefoot, feeling the grass between your toes.

Soon folks, soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cabin Fever

Cabin fever. It's here and it's real. This winter has been brutal with at least 3 feet of snow and a current temp of 3 degrees. Let me tell you how happy I am to be in Ohio right now.... I'm not.

To beat the winter blues, we try to get out and have some indoor fun. So we found a Fun n Stuff one weekend and spent half the day playing, jumping, skating, and climbing. The kids had a blast and we all went home exhausted.

And as always, only the best phone quality pics for you. ;)

Alena made it to the top!

Anyone else stuck in the cold and snow or are you lucky to live where it's sunny and warm?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter "Wonder"land

I don't know about you, but I am ready for Spring! I'm over this so called Winter Wonderland Ohio has. It was beautiful in the beginning... when you're not having to go out in it. We've easily got about two feet of snow on the ground and more snow is expected. My car has been stuck in the snow twice already. OVER IT!

Poor Noah only gets to watch from the window.

Alena and my dad built a snowman. He took Noah out real quick to feel the snow and a picture (He was not actually out playing like that).

The road and driveway are gone.
And let me tell you about my recent drive home from Columbus. I went down to attend a business training  for my doula business. It was a three hour drive down with clear roads. Throughout the day the weather was going between rain and snow, increasing to snow later in the day. The kids spent the day with my sister who lives down there. I picked them up and we went out for dinner before making the trek home. It was snowing pretty heavily and I just knew I should have hit up a drive-thru and went home. By the time we were actually heading north, the snow was ridiculous and the roads were horrible. So bad, in fact, that I slid right on through a red light with no hopes of stopping. Thank the Lord that it was not a busy intersection and the few cars there saw me coming and didn't go.

My three hour drive turned into five hours, averaging 25-35 mph the entire way. Talk about a white knuckle experience. We passed a total of 9 accidents, 7 of which were on a 20 mile strip just north of Columbus. The picture below was what I saw that whole way. No lines and everyone just guessing where on the road they were.

Spring, where are you?!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Green Bean Casserole - Gluten Free

Back in my Thanksgiving post, I promised I would put up my gluten free green bean casserole recipe. Too many weeks later, here it is.This recipe feeds roughly 12-14 people so if you're not feeding a crowd, half the recipe and you're good to go.

Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

You will need...

3 cans green beans
2 (I used more like 1 2/3 cans) gluten free cream of mushroom or chicken soup
1 bag Funyuns
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix the green beans and creamed soup together in a large casserole dish while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees. I had to use cream of mushroom because they were out of the chicken soup. I much prefer the chicken flavor though!

Did you know that Funyuns were gluten free? Neither did I until Gabe was not able to have any. We found the perfect substitute for French's French Fried Onions; Funyuns!

Next, stir in roughly 1/3 of the Funyuns after you've crumbled them a bit. I added some salt and pepper at this point also.

Ready to cook.

Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Top with more (finely) crumbled Funyuns as shown in the picture. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until Funyuns become browned.

 Serve and enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

That Time I Started My Own Business

Say what?! I know, I can hardly believe it myself. If you've noticed, I've been quite a lot absent from the ole' blog lately. I've been working hard and keeping busy trying to get it up and off the ground.

Back in 2013, not long before I had Noah, I took the leap to follow my dreams to become a birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant. I've been chugging along at a snail's pace to get certified in all four. Something happened some time last fall to give me the kick I needed to jump into working. I spent a whole lot of time and a little bit of money to create a website and get this business going.

My car magnets and business cards. Aren't they beautiful?!

I've been waiting and waiting for "the right time"to launch but realized that time will never come if I don't just jump into it! NOW is the perfect time.

I have such a love of everything pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding related and am 100% convinced that this is the perfect career path for me. I want women to take back birth and own it. They should be able to look back at their labor and birth and feel satisfied and happy.

I created Safe and Sound Doula to serve most of North East Ohio and even parts of Western Pennsylvania.

I have a website:

Safe and Sound Doula

And Facebook:

Safe and Sound Doula

I'm so so so excited to get started and serve expectant families on one of the most important day of their lives!