An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Please subscribe to the new feed for updates!

Google is taking over the planet, but you already knew that...

For some reason, though, I cannot claim my old feed at feedburner to redirect it to my new blog. In the interest of time (and my sanity), I have burned a new feed for the new blog in case the old one does not re-direct automatically.

So, if you are a subscriber, would you be oh-so-kind to subscribe to the new fee:

By Feedreader:

By E-mail Digest

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Thank you for all your supportive comments and for being so patient. We are going to be moving permanently to a new Wordpress blog at sometime next week.

I figured out how to import all your insightful and amazing comments from Haloscan into Wordpress.

I have an awesome designer fixing all my coding mistakes and cleaning up the theme and then we'll be ready to launch.

Once that happens, I'll contact all of you fabulous MilSpouses who have offered to post!

Then, I plan to get a community up and running.

In the meantime, stay the course, friends! Y'know: hurry up and wait. Y'all should be good at that by now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Work in Progress

I'm in the process of transferring this blog to self-hosted Wordpress and adding a community.

Would you like to be a contributor at the new site? Just let me know if you are interested by sending me an e-mail or leaving a comment.

Although the new site will be "Army Wives Lives", Military Spouses of all branches are welcome to make themselves at home!

Looking forward to getting the new digs set up.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

HELP! My Husband is Joining the Army and I Don't Like It!

An anonymous reader comments:

Hey Molly my husband is looking into a career In the army, I don't like the idea because he will never be home and could always be deployed and could die. I am 19 he is 26 years old and we have a 5 month old daughter I didn't not sign up to be a military wife I don't like the idea of moving every other year and not being able to see him everyday and then spending long time periods away from him I guess my question is what is being a military spouse really like. He will be entering as a E3 but I don't want to hear the lie from the recruiter I want to ask some one who is there.

Dear reader,

Thank you for writing. Although you are already married, you may want to check out my post, "Should I Marry a Soldier?" I cover some of the questions you ask here but the long and the short of it is that no one can really give you the answers you are seeking.

Your family's experience in the military will vary depending on your husband's MOS (his specialty), the post, the unit, and even down to his Commanding Officer and NCOs. And it will also depend on both of you.

As someone who has been there I will not downplay the challenges of military life. At the same time, it can be a wonderful lifestyle for those who are able to "bloom where they are planted." One of the lessons I have learned in life is that happy people are generally happy wherever they are and miserable people are miserable wherever they go. That said, military life can be intense and can bring out the strengths and weaknesses in people and in relationships.

What I will say is that no one is never home or deployed all of the time. And it seems as if the "operational tempo" may slow in the near future. God willing.

And very few people's lives happen exactly as they plan. A lot of families find themselves moving frequently.

While the risk of being killed in combat is very real, it is statistically not great. It is the possibility, and the constant threat of this danger, that can be very difficult for both the soldier and his family.

Your question is really a marital issue than a military one. You had a picture of your future for you and your family and you married a man who you believed shared that plan. Now, he has brought something new and you do not like the idea. How you deal with this challenge will shape your future regardless of the decision made.

I am not a marriage counselor but here are my suggestions:

1. Do some research into his proposed MOS. Are there limited posts where he might be stationed?

2. Read up. Go to your library and take out some non-fiction books for new military spouses. You'll find an honest but upbeat take on what to expect in general. Keep in mind that your mileage will vary.

3. Have him do the same. He needs to come to you with an honest assessment of why he would like to enlist, what he hopes to accomplish in the military, and how this will shape the family's future. Has he always dreamed of being a soldier? Does he believe it is his duty to serve? Perhaps he sees the military as his best hope for career advancement? Or maybe he wants to provide for his family with the job security and benefits of the military?

4. Make a decision together. This is very difficult because you do not want him to resent you for telling him not to enlist. At the same time, it will be a very unpleasant career and possibly unsuccessful marriage if you are not at least a willing partner in this decision. Just like any other major decision in a marriage, you both need to reach some sort of agreement, even if one person will have to make more sacrifices than the other.

If you cannot do this on your own, you may wish to speak with a clergyman if you are at all religious or perhaps go to a couples' counselor who can help you talk through these issues in a non-confrontational way.

Whether or not he joins the military, this will hopefully help you understand each other and your marriage better and you'll come through it stronger.

Best of luck and please update us!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Loving the Sedentary Life

Civilization begins when societies become sedentary. And although there is a lot to recommend active duty, and many pluses to its nomadic way of life, I'm glad to have a reasonably permanent, permanent address that is mine and not my parents.

We are doing home improvements. In fact, we just remodeled our basement using a basement finishing system with these guys. If you happen to be on Long Island and want to get your basement finished, tell them Candace sent you because I get a referral if you use them (which I do recommend)! I'll post pics once I get the kids stuff down there.

We may even get to do a little landscaping.

I've started volunteering with the local historical society, which is a lot of fun for me.

At the same time, I look back fondly on the camaraderie of the Active Duty days. DH's National Guard unit is spread out across the state. I've joined meet-up groups in the area but never seem to see the same people more than a handful of times. We go to the library, but again...different parents or often grandparents or nannies--people who are just at different stages in their lives.

So, busy, busy, busy! But little opportunity to form tight, meaningful friendships.

A few thoughts about An Army Wife's Life...I'd like to make this site more about you, the readers. I find I spend a lot of time answering questions, in the comments or via e-mail, but have little about which to post. How can we transform this into a community site? I've bought a new domain, which I plan on unveiling, soon. And I'm considering adding a forum, FAQs, resource pages, etc.

Any thoughts?


Friday, January 23, 2009

Valentine's Love for Veterans, Soldiers, Military

Show our troops (and vets) some love on Valentine's Day!


To send Valentines to Veterans, you can locate a facility through the VA Home Page. This is a great project to do with kids! If you have a facility nearby, you can call and ask if you can deliver them in person. And I also found this site for sending Valentines to Canadian Veterans.

Stars and Stripes Valentines

The deadline for printed Valentines in Stars and Stripes is January 26; if you miss it, you can still get in the online Valentine's section. I sent one a few years ago for the print version for DH and he loved it.

Care Packages

When my husband was deployed, I sent him a picnic in a box. What have you sent/are sending? Share your tips!!!

Nestle has some Tips for Sending Baked Goods. Others suggest adding a slice of bread to absorb excess moisture and wrapping in tin foil. I've also heard that Pringles containers make for good packaging. I found a food sealer was awesome for cookies, but squished the brownies too much.

Agencies and Organizations

Soldier's Angels and Any Soldier can match you with a soldier. Businesses, groups, and schools may want to consider Adopting a Platoon.

USO Operation Care Package enables you to make a donation--they pack and ship for you and you can still send a personal message with your package.

Please add some other ways to show our troops some Valentine's love!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Captain Dad is Now COMMANDER Dad!

My most awesome and beloved husband took command of a great group of National Guard soldiers on Saturday.

Following the change of command, the unit threw its annual Christmas party and I was impressed, delighted, and struck by some of the differences between the National Guard and the Active Duty Army.

The First Sergeant's amazing and dedicated wife organized the party with help from a small group of regulars and created a real festive scene. There was tons of food--turkey, baked ham, roast pig, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, salad, arroz con frijoles, breads, pies, cookies, get the idea. A local teacher and his band provided the entertainment--a mix of 70s dance music, popular latin numbers, and some Christmas classics. Besides the soldiers, there were unit alumni, junior cadets, the teacher's class of "troubled teens," and other community members.

Without the red tape of the regular rules and bureacracy, the party planners had more freedom to make the event work.

There were so many adorable children running around, playing on the castle bounce, making hand painted ornaments, and playing with new toys. The highlight for the younger set was Santa's arrival on a Humvee!

I really got the sense that the soldiers and families love children as babies were passed from friend to friend, toddlers entertained, and older kids drawn into the singing and dancing.

Because not all of the soldiers had Class As, there was an interesting mix of uniforms and civilian wear on display, including a nehru jacket and a zoot suit.

With the vibrant neighborhood relationship and the obvious unit esprit de corps, I did not miss the regular army's commitment to precision and uniformity.

Because National Guard members may spend their entire career with the unit, it was clear we were joining a close-knit family.

A lot of this also has to do with the community and how the armory is integrated into its urban neighborhood.

The one somber note came with a presentation of memorial plaques to family members of two fallen soldiers--some volunteers from the unit are part of a deployment to Afghanistan.

Even that sad note was a beautiful reminder of how much these soldiers care for one another.

I am proud to be a part of the family of this new unit and very proud of my husband's service to our country.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hottest Holiday Toys and 12 Days of Giveaways

Hottest Holiday Toys and Giveaways at MamanistaOver at Mamanista we have our Hottest Holiday Toys 2008 Guide and 12 Days of Giveaways! I spent a lot of time selecting what I believe is a great list of toys for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners in a variety of price range, mostly from smaller independent retailers (although there are a bunch available at major retailers, too).

Then, I added dozens of great coupon codes.

We're giving extra entries for sharing the guide, too.

I hope you'll check it out!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ask Molly: Deployment Checklists

A Reader Asks:

Happy Veterans' Day! I just found your blog and I was wondering if there are directions to making a military family binder, something that would include military records, important numbers, deployments, LES, or anything you can think of. My husband is an Army Reservist and I think this could be very helpful.
First of all, Happy Veterans' Day to you, too! Thank you and your husband for serving!

You did not mention if your husband has been activated in anticipation of a deployment. Regardless, there are some things that every military family should have in a binder. And, really, with a few modifications, this is something that would be useful to any family, military or not.

When my husband deployed, we distributed a deployment checklist of documents and other information that the spouses should have at hand. I googled "deployment checklist" and found a few that may prove helpful. You should of course modify to suit your own situation:
In general, USAA and MilitaryOneSource are great sources for all sorts of military-friendly planning.

You should always know your husband's unit and have the Red Cross contact information available should you need to contact him in an emergency. I would also like to highlight the Power of Attorney. A general POA (one that enumerates several areas in which your spouse may act for you, such as finances, health decisions, etc.) can be useful, but you need to remember that there is no obligation to accept a power of attorney--if you anticipate needing one, you should contact the relevant bank or other company or military office to make sure you have the correct form.

Couples with children should also be aware of laws that apply to getting passports, enrolling in schools, etc. In some cases, you may need permission from both parents to travel out of country with children.

Hope this helps!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Army National Guard Family Readiness Group

If you are National Guard, I'd love to hear about your Family Readiness Group.

While my husband was active duty, I ran one FRG long-distance (during his OCS--and we were spread out throughout the country) and was the co-leader for another (while his unit was deployed).

During the last year he has been in the National Guard. No one has contacted me about any sort of family group, although I received some general information about the National Guard family programs when DH first joined his unit. They seemed interested in volunteers, but only mentioned something about me going to a training program and that was the last I heard of it.

Now DH is about to take command. His unit is not slated to deploy as a unit during his command. I'm not sure what, if any, contact from me would be desirable for the families. A simple letter just so you know my name and contact information should you ever want to reach me? An invitation to a family day? Monthly e-mail updates about the unit's training?

So, any insight from y'all would be much appreciated. Feel free to answer whichever questions you like and add your own thoughts:

Have you been contacted by an FRG representative?

If so, was that representative military personnel, a civilian employee, or a family volunteer?

Is your spouse deployed/deploying?

Is your spouse's NG unit deploying as a unit?

Are there events (Holiday Parties, Picnics, etc.) hosted for families in your spouse's unit and, if so, have you attended? Why or why not?

Would you attend family events if you were available on that date? Why or why not?

What would you like to see from an NG FRG while your spouse is stateside?

What about while your spouse is deployed?

What information would you like to receive in a letter from your spouse's commander and/or the FRG leader?

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