Discovering Kansas City, pt. 2

Over the past weekend, Steven and I ventured our way back into Kansas City. This time around was a bit different, we were there for a marriage retreat with Steven’s company, but we did get some time to ourselves as well!

We got to Kansas City a few hours earlier than we were able to check into the hotel. The Kansas City (actually, it’s in Mariam to be exact) IKEA had just opened up on the 10th, and since we haven’t been to IKEA since moving to Kansas, we just had to go!

This IKEA is set up a bit differently than the one I am used to back home (in Sacramento, California). This entire IKEA is above part of the parking garage, there’s a separate parking garage alongside it as well. I don’t know if it was because of the parking set up or what, but the place seemed larger and well, more confusing! Since it was so new, and it was a Friday, the place was packed! Steven and I do not do well with crowds, so we passed up the showrooms and only wandered around the shopping area. We only grabbed a few things – BUT we will return one day soon! Or… when the “newness” has worn off a little bit.

We fought through traffic to get to our hotel, which was across the street from the Kansas City stadiums WHERE everyone was headed. (Now I only insert this story mainly for my father if he reads this:) Walking up to the hotel by the entrance I see a woman wearing a “Posey” jersey. I couldn’t help myself and asked her if the Giants were in town (which is weird to me now, because I do not think the San Francisco Giants play the Royals – pretty sure they are different leagues BUT sometimes weird things do and can happen?!). She went to tell me no, but her husband cut in to say that she was confused (probably because the Detroit whoevers are also orange and black) – but I told him “No, she is right” because GO GIANTS! Laughter ensued.

Anyway, the rest of the night was taken up by the marriage retreat activities and hanging out at the hotel restaurant.

This is what 8 am us looks like on a Saturday. Confused on why we’re not still in our pajamas!

I’ll blame the beginning the day that lead to my What I Meant to Say… post on this #FMSphotoaday challenge prompt: Beginning. We started our day of with too many cups of coffee.

We were at the marriage retreat seminar/activities until noon. We ate lunch at the hotel and then ventured into the water park part of the hotel (CoCo Keys) until around four, all while Kansas City was fighting off a thunderstorm.

I did not take my phone or camera with me to the water park for obvious reasons. We did have a lot of fun though! I think this would be a fun place if you had smaller children especially. The lazy river was short and to the point (and extremely shallow for this long legged lady) but there were adult spas that were outside and indoors! Steven and I even went down the waterslide together at a very high speed in a very pitch black tunnel. Steven says I screamed a lot.

Saturday night’s marriage retreat session was Date Night. I had packed us semi-matchy outfits for the occasion. Also, notice the large cow image in the picture above – that’s randomly placed in the hotel.

Our plans fell through a little bit. We had wanted to go to the Country Club Plaza for dinner but due to the Plaza Art Fair and the thousands of people who showed up for it, we could not find any parking! I feel like Google Maps and the Yelp Apps have so many things MISSING from them. We finally gave up and ate dinner at a Red Robin. When we pulled out of the parking lot we saw a restaurant that we would have much rather eaten at, but was nowhere to be found on any app. Sometimes not knowing where you are or what is around you in Kansas City can be really frustrating.

The next day, we were released by 10 AM to check out of the hotel and do whatever we wanted to do in Kansas City. People were already piling in for the Royals’ game that afternoon so we wanted to get out of the area fast.

Said stadium from just outside our hotel’s parking lot.

I had wanted to go to the Kansas City Workhouse last time we were there, we just never got the chance. This time, it was our first stop! I need to go back here with my Canon DSLR because I did not even bother in most spots with my phone. It’s stunning, eerie, and enchanting all at the same time. It was once a jail though (late 1800s to early 1900s), so, there’s that.

Limestone makes me look and feel tiny.

To fill our bellies we went to Pigwich for lunch. As we were driving there I was sure we were in the wrong area, it’s in an area that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere! It’s alongside several train tracks and a pretty cool looking bar/hangout called Knuckleheads.

The best cheesesteak of life. I will never visit Kansas City again without stopping here. The sandwiches and special made chips are AMAZING!

We were not sure what else to do, and the Country Club Plaza Art Festival was still happening. We walked around, amongst SO many people, so much beautiful and interesting art pieces, heard some good live music, and ate even more good food!

My pictures do not do it justice. This place was pretty awesome.

We were beat! The day got a bit too hot for us to comfortably browse the art along the street so we got in the car and headed back home

Needless to say, Tayte cat was very happy to have us back home (or at least our legs).

Tayte says, “Bye! See you next time!”

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What I meant to say was…

Over the past weekend Steven and I attended a “marriage retreat.” It’s a paid weekend off post, in our case Kansas City, where you attend a few seminars on having strong bonds and have time to do fun activities the rest of the time. Going into the weekend, I figured it was going to be somewhat preachy, some gobbledy-gook “here’s what would happen in a perfect world” kind of thing. For a two night stay and five meals paid, I did not think it would be a horrible trade off though. I was excited to spend time away with Steven as well as be back in Kansas City!

I never sleep well in hotels, especially if the beds are not as soft as I would like. The first night (and the second, for that matter) I woke up with the slightest sound and did not get the rest that I might have needed. I drank three cups of coffee the next morning with breakfast, and that was two cups too many. We split into groups, the service members on one side of the room, and their spouses on the other. We were going through questions having to do with deployments, how we spoke to one another about them and what happened during them, both while they’re happening and now that they’re all home. The day before when we took the introvert/extrovert quiz, my test results were 7 introvert answers and 7 extrovert answers. I’ve never been one to really speak up in classroom set ups, it’s the introvert in me. However, since we were all a group of wives with similar life experiences, I was trying my best to be an active participant.

How do you feel your relationship has grown (since their return home)?

The other wives talked about how their relationships are always growing, how they learn with their spouses and about their spouses every single day. I believe that to be true about my husband and myself. This question hit a tender spot in my heart, though. This year, instead of having a new years resolution, I had a word of the year for myself to focus on: GROW. The first ten days of this year I was pregnant; my belly was going to grow, our family was going to grow, myself as a mother was going to grow. Instead, after now two miscarriages, I’ve had to grow as a human being and fight for my positive attitude in times of utter defeat.

There I was, apart of the two couples without kids out of the 18 total couples, over caffeinated with very little quality rest. When I spoke up I got unexpectedly emotional. I said my husband and I have grown since his return from deployment because we have had to go through some hard battles here at home too. I cried a few tears with a very shaky voice. I think what I said was quick but thinking back on it, it felt like I went on longer than I needed to – without even addressing the question. I was so embarrassed after that. I will probably cringe about it for a long time, really.

Not like any of the wives will read this, but I needed to put this out there for myself. What I meant to say was, my husband and I have grown immensely in the last year. During deployment, he was over there dealing with a ton of stress and danger, all while being in a place that was so completely different than what he was used to. I was back home, in a place we had just barely moved to, miles and miles away from friends and family back home, and learning and dealing with some weird medical conditions of my own. During a deployment, you do not communicate as well with your spouse like you normally would. You protect them from any burden happening on your end of the world, you keep it to yourself, you learn to become strong in a way that civilian relationships don’t. When they get back, that’s when you get filled in, and it can be a lot to take in at times. You are forced to grow, and reconnect, learn each others schedules and lives all over again – it can be fun, but it can be stressful. Steven came home from deployment earlier than the majority of the other spouses at our retreat. Shortly after he got home, we were pregnant, and it was something we had been wanting for over two years at the time. Two months after that, I had a miscarriage. When we were starting to get positive again, we suffered another. With deployment and with miscarriage, they are not something that ends and you just get over. It takes time to get back to who you were.

With infertility issues there can be a lot of miscommunication, or lack of communication at all. Trying to fight infertility can take away from intimacy in a big way. When it comes to military situations, I think there’s a pretty good community of people and support to take care of yourself and get what you need. When it comes to infertility situations, there’s not that community and support, and we’ve had to lean on one another above everything. We have been put in two not-so-normal situations that force you to get thicker skin, get in there and fight those battles, and you can only hope to come out on top, but there’s so much not knowing at the same time.

We’ve grown as a couple because we have learned how to be strong on our own, but at the same time, to be strong for the other person. We have fought our way through times apart and learned how to be so thankful and appreciative during those times that we are together. No matter what the situation, we will always experience them differently, but it is up to us to communicate and to understand one another and offer support when it is needed. Excuse the corny Army related lingo statement, but Steven has been the best battle buddy I could have ever asked for. We’ve made it through some pretty hard battles, and I could not have done it without his continuous love and support.

I guess the biggest lesson I took away from the marriage retreat focused around (my year of the word:) Grow. It’s important that you grow and that you develop, not just as a person but as a couple. It’s also important that you, as a spouse, support the growth of your husband or wife as you both learn and do new things. You two are the foundation of the relationship, where it began, and where it grows, and that is just as crucial as what you have grown to be. A mediocre metaphor, my apologies.

If you are a military spouse, a highly recommend attending a marriage retreat if and when you can. It was not life changing, but it was helpful. There’s nothing wrong with getting a new perspective on something you know well.

Saturday Seven ♥ Vol. 5

Happy first weekend of SPRING everyone! I’m usually someone who DREADS this season because of allergies, but the warmth and sunshine is very welcome this year. It was a bad winter, it was cold, it was gloomy, and it was heart breaking. Spring is definitely going to better! OR ELSE!

Highlight:
THIS week was a GREAT week full of so much GOOD stuff. BUT my absolute highlight had to be that WE FINALLY got notice that we have a reserved home on post! We joined the wait list for housing back in January and they told us then that it would be a two month wait. It was going on two and half months, we were still in the 140s on the wait list, and our lease is ending at the end of next month. I’ve been calling daily, sometimes multiple times a day, just so they wouldn’t forget who I was. Thursday we were told they might have a house for us, and Friday it was finally reserved for us! AND it won’t be ours until the end of the month! Cutting it close, but it happened, and I’m super relieved!

Lesson Learned:
Pretty sure my stress has affected my body again. This week I’ve been very aware of when my stress has gotten to be too much for me. I’ve been good about taking a break, a moment to myself, and focusing on what I need to do to think positively again. Maybe it’s the amount of sunshine we’ve had this week, but I’ve been feeling SO MUCH better. Kicking anxiety and depression’s BOOOOTY!

Listening To:
My taste in music is EXTREMELY diverse. Give me Patsy Cline, System of a Down, Nikki Minaj, Aerosmith, to the most indie rock you’ve never heard of. This week my favorite music has been what’s considered “Noise Pop.”

ALL their music, not just those albums, are amazing! My favorites songs from them include:
“Blood on Our Hands” Death from Above 1979 (YouTube video here)
“Comeback Kid” Sleigh Bells (YouTube video here)
“Fall in love” Phantogram (YouTube video here) I’m OBSESSED with this song! ♥

Reading:
I’m still working on Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (it’s the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children). I’m having a harder time getting into this one, and I know there’s going to be a third book in the series… I just feel like the first one was so amazing and now he may just be milking the series for all it’s worth. I don’t know. It’s still really good, it’s just harder to get through. The pictures are worked into the story not as smoothly as the last, too.

That Happy Feeling:
I’m a huge fan of Christopher Walken! This week the Huffington Post released a compliation of all the scenes where he dances in his movies. I think the clips are from 37 some movies! AND it’s incredible!

inspirational quotes with flowers

image from LanaLouStyle.com

I’ve been addicted to TUMBLR overall, really.

image from Prismcess on Tumblr

& Sundry:
Counseling is getting better, and it’s really great to talk to someone who knows from a medical and professional standpoint that what we are feeling is normal and completely justified.

I got a great response to my last post. I think it’s funny when people say I’m being brave and strong for posting things about my miscarriage. When I write them and post them I feel entirely vulnerable. BUT I do want to give some voice to the women who silently go through the same situation.

Also, a lot of things have been said to me and about me on social media that has completely made my month! If you haven’t exposed yourself to Loey, you should. She’s been incredibly sweet to me and I’m so glad that I found such an great friend!

I started taking down my office. It was my baby and putting it together while Steven was deployed helped me get through it! Now to get ready to put it up in a new house, and deciding which room of our three will be exciting!

The house we are currently renting will be going up for sale after we leave. The real estate agent came this week with the owner and our property management and kept complimenting me on how clean it was and how well I have decorated the place. She insisted on taking photos because it looked like a great place to live. Confidence boost indeed!

It got close to 80 degrees this week. It may snow tomorrow or Monday… BUT it’s starting to warm up and the sun is shining! Let the GROWING happen!

The Plan:
PACK! PACK! and more PACKING! Now that I know I’ll have a place to put things, it’ll be easier to find motivation to wrap them up and stick them in boxes!

Hope everyone has an incredible weekend & I will see you Monday! ♥ ♥ ♥

Words beginng with G

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions I choose a word that I would like to focus on throughout the year. This year, I chose GROW.

Grow was meant to have so many meanings for me this year. I was going to grow as a woman, a wife, my belly was going to grow, our family was going to grow… G words and that one that begins with M.

This year has been taken over by another word beginning with G instead: Guilt.

Guilt because I was not able to save my pregnancy. Or was I? They say do not blame yourself, there was probably something wrong with the baby and it was just a process of natural selection, there was nothing you could have done. Although that is true for many to most miscarriages, for this situation, I do not believe that to be true. What was wrong with my pregnancy, and what is wrong with me, is that I have a pituitary tumor. It causes EXTREME hormonal imbalances and there was one in particular that was crucial for a healthy pregnancy that was dangerously low, my doctors and myself were aware. The specialist insisted on sending my prescription for a medication through snail mail, instead of simply calling it in. Took them two weeks to get it to me, and by then, I had lost the pregnancy. My child was already dead. It’s the past, you cannot change it, it’s time to move on. If it was your child, would it be that easy? I know I could have been more educated, more demanding, something! But I was not. I did not know. That’s guilt. Glum

Guilt because my husband is sad too. He hoped for this pregnancy more than me. He was the one thinking positively when things started to look bad, when the pregnancy was no longer viable. Everyone thinks he’s fine, he didn’t carry the baby, he didn’t feel the physical pain that I did. His pain gets put on the back burner and that’s NOT fair. We do the best to take care one another, but I know he’s always worried. He came home from deployment for a brief bit of happiness, and then the worst pain we’ve ever known. He’s such an amazing, loving husband and wants to always take care of me, but he needs cheering up too. It was our baby that died. Grief stricken.

Guilt because I have four pregnant friends that I avoid. Minus one, who gets where I’m coming from, for the most part. Their due dates are all within a month of what would have been my own. They’re all finding out the sex of their babies. They’re putting together nurseries, buying baby clothes, the life inside them growing and starting to show on the outside. Here I am, feeling sorry for myself, because my child is dead, barely having had a heartbeat for very long. I would have known if my child would have been a boy or girl by now, who they would’ve and could have been. Anything I bought for the baby, all the maternity clothes, are packed away in our basement in a corner. I thought if I could not see them, then maybe I wouldn’t think about it, and that did not happen.

I’m going to be fair to myself here in this situation though. It’s been a very mutual avoidance. Their happiness reminds me of my loss, my loss makes them uncomfortable about their happiness. Every milestone of theirs will now be a reminder of what I could have had, what life my child is missing. I’m not going to say I’m being a bad friend, necessarily. I’m alone in my sadness just as much as I’ve left myself out of their happy baby events. The majority of what they know about my moods and my life now, and even what happened to me that day and the following days after my miscarriage – they learned here, on my blog, not through talking to me directly. Gloom.

Guilt because happiness feels wrong. It’s getting to a safe time for me (getting my body back to normal, hormones leveled out, and postpartum effects passing) and my husband to try again for baby number two. There’s so much uncertainty involved with this. I will never have a carefree pregnancy, I will forever worry because I have experienced the worst that could happen and it may very likely occur again. Am I ready? Are we ready? Are we expecting a new pregnancy to fix the pain of the loss of the first?

I am not trying to make excuses for how I feel for you or even for myself. Everything I feel and have felt are completely normal. There’s no such thing as grieving perfectly. Regardless, it has to happen. For me, writing about it helps me greatly, and if you do not like what I have to say please refer to the x on the upper ride side of the browser.

I will GROW from this, I will be okay again, my husband and I will be happy again and the loss will not affect us as much. There’s no fully overcoming miscarriage, though, and we are aware of that. No matter if we have more babies or we do not, we can not undo the death of our child. We’re getting better, day by day, week by week. We’re going to counseling, and I do not think that the sessions help us all that much. The thought that we are trying to heal by going to counseling, by doing something actively about it, however, is there and helps.

PLEASE NOTE: The average cost of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is $12,400 whether it works or not. The average cost of a domestic adoption in the United States ranges anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. We are aware these options are available, but please educate yourself on realities and costs before suggesting them.

One day, hopefully soon, we won’t feel so gypped, grieved, and grouchy. Instead, we’ll be the giddy, goofy, giving, and good-natured people we used to be, but a revised version.

We’re trying, one day at a time. The little support we have received from friends, family, and all those I’ve been lucky enough to meet on social media, HAS helped TREMENDOUSLY. Thank you to those people! Thank you to those people who have genuinely listened/read and cared about our story and recovery, and not for the sole purpose of another G word (GOSSIP).

Californian in Kansas ♥ Winter Edition

It is hard to believe that in a matter of days, my husband and I will have been Kansans for an entire year! We moved from the valley of California to the North East corner of Kansas last April. It was somewhat of a culture shock, and a weather shock mostly. Where we are from it does not snow, it hardly gets humid, and there’s never a tornado warning EVER. Towards the end of last summer I did a post on how different it is here (if interested, you can find it here). When it started to cool down here, I realized that autumn and winter here are also different than what we are use to, for even more reasons. Here are a few more differences I have noticed:


Winter day in Sacramento, CA

  • In California, Ugg boots and scarves are more of a fashion statement than a necessity. Here in Kansas, it gets COLD and stays COLD. When it’s only in the teens and there is a wind chill on top of it, you better believe that fuzzy boots, scarves, gloves, ear muffs – ALL of it is COMPLETELY necessary to be as close to comfortable as you can be outside. Back home, if it dropped into the 60s, I remember seeing girls in mini skirts and Ugg boots walking around campus. The funny thing I’ve noticed here in Kansas is that NOT many girls wear Ugg boots at all! Boots are worn, but not those signature Ugly ones.
  • Back home, if you fight to have an up close parking spot, you are usually considered lazy. A few extra spots behind will not hurt you. Here in Kansas, if the temperature is low enough, frost bite can set in quickly, as short as a three minutes (if not sooner). That closer parking spot takes on a whole new meaning and necessity.
  • Thunder ALSO happens when it’s snowing, Stevie. Turns out Thunder Snows are a very real, very bizarre, thing. You can watch a CNN video of it on YouTube here.
  • More of a similarity, than a difference, but Kansas people freak out when it starts snowing and they’re behind the wheel. Californians have a very similar reaction to rain. You have the people who drive like complete jerks and cannot be harmed by the dangers, and on the other hand, you have the people who are afraid to hit the gas pedal at all.
  • It never rains here in the winter (rain is for summertime thunderstorms). Back home, it only rains (and never snows) in the winter. Californians treat rain as an inconvenience – but really, snow is the biggest inconvenience ever. You do not have to shovel feet of snow off your driveway and walkways. If it’s raining the hardest it ever has, you can still go places. Snow locks you indoors and keeps you there!
  • Panic shopping the day/night/hours for food and supplies before a storm is a dangerous sport.

  • Winter day in Fort Riley, KS

    They kept saying that this was going to be the worst winter Kansas has seen in 10 years. Considering we had nothing in comparison to the “Blizzard of Oz” they had last year before we got here, I consider us lucky! Way to slowly break us in, Kansas. I will knock on wood that it’s not a false alarm, and the heavy snowfall is over with! Last year we experienced our first Kansas snow in the very beginning of May!

Saturday Seven: Vol. 4

It’s been EXACTLY a month since my last Saturday Seven! NOT that I’ve been up to anything crazy or exciting really. I’ve had the intention, but not enough motivation.

Highlight:
We’re in counseling, we’re talking, we’re on our way to healing. We’re still in the introduction, retelling our story, opening the scar a bit further stage – but it’s nice to talk to someone who has never personally experienced a miscarriage and does not feel the need to deduce your pain as nothing or something easy to move on from.

Also, Steven looked up how to duplicate McDonald’s french fries at home, and he’s become a pro at it. Of course, we put a twist on it, adding cayenne and other spicy spices!

Lesson Learned:
A couple weeks back I was getting ready for bed and going through my skincare routine when this happened:

I had barely bumped it against my medicine cabinet, but the bottom shattered into a million little pieces and dumped out all the product along with it. It had been awhile since I purchased it (it retails at $50 but I’m sure I bought it at ULTA with 20% off and some other coupon), but I was still upset over it. I wrote an e-mail to BareMinerals customer service, explaining that I love the product but I was so disappointed how easily it broke and how I wish they would consider changing the packaging. WELL – after a few exchanges, they offered to send me another, free of charge! So, hey, thanks BareMinerals for being an awesome company! Received the new one a few days ago, and yes, they have changed the glass packaging to plastic!

Listening To:

Phantom Planet Phantom Planet is Missing, Head Automatica Decadence, Sleigh Bells Treats are the albums I’ve been listening most to this week! “Fall in Love” by Phantogram has been my favorite SONG this week!

Reading:
I finally finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield this week. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. It’s written BEAUTIFULLY, and it’s a tragic and haunting tale of the past. I discovered that BBC Two has made it into a TV movie and it looks SO GOOD (see the trailer here)! I have to figure out how to watch it and soon! AND I started Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children).

That Happy Feeling:


The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon! (Gif by JfallonLove on Tumblr)



Anything and EVERYTHING Grace Helbig!
Gif by That’s Grace on Tumblr

& Sundry:
This is the first weekend of Manhattan’s Fake (& real) St. Paddy’s day celebration and our neighbors are already at it. I think the thing that annoys me above all things is hearing the bass of someone else’s music over your own in your own home. ARGH!

Music makes me happy and so I made a new Last.FM page here. This basically makes it possible for YOU (or anyone really, it’s the internet!) able to track what I listen to, what I like most, etc. If you have a profile, add me! If you do not, join! I think it’s a really fun way to be nosey about what your friends listen to as well as discover new music!

The Plan:
Monday we’ll reach almost SEVENTY degrees here! Wednesday, it may snow. So um, Kansas is bipolar and makes plan making very difficult! As much as I love the cold, I’m pretty much over it. In fact, next week I may post my “Californian in Kansas” winter edition, because winter here is no joke!

I need to catch up on a few award posts as well as a few tags I’ve been putting off! AND to read all the wonderful blogs I’ve fallen behind on!

Please spay and neuter your pets! Don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour tonight! Only you can prevent forest fires! ♥

Military Spouse Tag ♥

I want to write about so many things that I just do not know where to begin! So, I did a tag. It’s sort of mindless, but they are fun, and you do get to know a little bit about me (and my husband too)! I swear the thoughts and words are there, and I will get them hopefully sooner than later.

1. How did you and your spouse meet?
We met through a mutual friend. I became friends with her in high school, and he met her at university. One evening Steven was having a small get together and happened to invite our friend Michelle, and I tagged along. We immediately hit it off. We were totally Myspace friends the next day (soooo we’re old).

2. How old were you when you two met?
I was 20, he was 23.

3. How long have you been together?
We started dating at the end of March in 2007 – so, almost 7 years!

4. Where are you and your spouse originally from?
The Sacramento area of California (Northern/Central)

5. How did you feel about him joining the military?
I think I was every emotion at first. I was scared that he would change. I was mad that the Army kept changing dates and time frames and we were apart longer than expected. I was happy that it was a whole new chapter for us. I was excited for the doors it would open for him and for us. I was… a little bit of everything. I still am, to be honest.

6. Where did your spouse go to Basic Training?
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

7. Has your spouse ever been deployed?
Yes. He was deployed from August to November of last year in Afghanistan. We got extremely lucky that it was so short. He was not in a safe place.

8. Ever been to his promotion ceremony?
No, but hopefully soon! He joined as a Specialist (E4) because he has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology.

9. How long have you been a military wife?
I’ve been Steven’s Wife since October 1st, 2011. Steven swore into the Army in August of 2012.

10. Did you marry him before or after he joined?
Before! The idea had not even crossed our minds yet.

11. How did your husband propose?
Romantically! Steven took us for a few days away to our very favorite place in the world: Monterey, California. We had been there a day or two. THAT particular day we had spent at Old Fisherman’s Warf, Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and topped it off with dinner at Bubba Gump’s. We got back to our hotel and decided to take a walk on the beach. It was January, and it was California cold. He teasingly told me to go touch the water, and after some convincing, I finally did. I turned around and Steven was quite a ways away down the beach, running at me with a corked wine bottle in hand. He claimed to have found it and of course my immediate response was: is there a message in it?! AND luck would have it, it did! My sweet Steven had written a letter (had soaked it in tea and burnt it around the edges to make it look like it had indeed been lost at sea) explaining how much he loved me and how he could not imagine his life without me. When I got done reading it, he got down on one knee, and asked me to be his wife. YES! YES! YES!

12. Where did you get married?
Wilson Vineyards in Clarksburg, California. It’s BEAUTIFUL, it’s in the country, and it was AMAZING!

13. How old were you two when you got married?
I was 25, he was 28.

14. Did he wear his uniform on his wedding day?
Again, the Army was not even in our plan at that time.

15. Where is your spouse currently stationed?
Fort Riley, Kansas

16. Do you live on base?
Not currently!

17. How long were you married when you had to go through your first separation?
We had been married about ten months when he left for basic training. Seven months later he returned home for a few weeks before we moved to his first duty station.

18. What is your favorite base so far?
Fort Sam Houston, Texas! That’s where Steven went to his MOS (job) training.

19. Do you think your spouse looks good in his uniform?
Duh!

20. Do you think military life is more advanced than civilian life?
I’m not entirely sure what this question is asking. Military life is like…. You have to live it to fully understand it, in my opinion. Before Steven joined I had a lot of opinions about it, and most of them were wrong. It’s NOT easy though. Yes, it’s guaranteed income for him, it means money for housing. It also means being separated A LOT (and a lot of that time you do not have any form of contact), not knowing if he is safe, living across the country (or in some cases, the world) from your friends and family, and living in a completely different place than you are used to (maybe not for all, but probably for most). It also comes with dealing with a lot of misunderstanding from the outside world. We are at war folks. The media only tells you what it thinks you should know.

21. Do you like the benefits you receive as a military dependent?
Yes. We have relatively good healthcare, we can live off post if we want (and we are), going on post to the commissary and exchange is nice.

22. Do you have a lot of military wife friends?
Yes! Most of which I have never met in person.

23. What is the hardest part of the military life?
Being away from the ones you love, whether it is Steven who is away or us both being away from friends and family back home. Thank goodness for technology.

24. Do you own military wife stuff?
One of my very first and greatest milso friends, Julianne, bought me an Army Wife keychain when our husbands graduated from basic together (I love it and it has been on my keys ever since). I have three Army sweatshirts (none of which title me as wife). I bought a 3x T-shirt that says Army Wife & Fort Riley on it for $3, so it’s a pajamma shirt. I think that’s all… actually.

25. Do you support your spouse as a member of the military?
VERY much so. I would support Steven no matter what he did, though. He went to school for physical therapy and exercise science, and I supported him then (and learned a lot about anatomy in the process). He had several odd jobs in between college and the Army, and I backed him then, and for awhile was the only one with a steady career. AND You better believe I support him practicing what he went to school for and in A LOT worse conditions to better himself and his country! He’s so dang good at it too!