How I Thrived While My Husband Worked Nights

My husband’s job of being a physician in Residency is very demanding. This month, he had to work two weeks of “nights”. He would go in for his shift around 5pm and get home around 7am. He has worked nights numerous times and each time I felt like I was going to lose my dang mind! Therefore, when I saw “Nights” listed in his future schedule, I thought, What can I do to not just SURVIVE, but actually THRIVE?

Based on personal experience (both good and bad) I constructed the following tips, tricks, and habits:

Wake up early for “me” time

I set my alarm for 5:15am. I mediated for nine minutes (that’s the length of my snooze button) then got dressed. I went downstairs and drank warm lemon water with honey to gently wake my body, and started a pot of coffee. Meanwhile, I read a chapter in the Bible and prayed/journaled. Next I cooked and ate breakfast with… get this–HOT coffee. Like, actual HOT coffee. I didn’t even know that existed in real life?! All of this took about an hour–just in time for my kids to wake up at 6:30. By getting myself entirely ready before my kids woke up, I felt armored to conquer the day.

{I plan on writing a post on this topic more thoroughly because it really has been life changing.}

Pre-made meals

Cooking for someone who wasn’t living my same “normal” hours was really difficult. By purchasing pre-made meals (from Costco), my husband could eat what he felt like when he felt like it, and I didn’t feel obligated to constantly have something prepared for him.

Paper plates

You may be saying, But this is such a waste! Yes, I know. I struggle with this tip, because while it’s super helpful and easy, it’s also bad for the environment. However! Did you know you can compost paper products? By eliminating the chore of constant dishes for the past two weeks, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.

Do laundry every day

I had the kids put their dirty clothes in the washing machine the night before (I actually do this all the time as our normal routine) and in the morning I added mine and started the wash. As They say, “A load a day keeps the mountain away.” I switched the load from the washer to the dryer before I took the kids to school and by the time I got back… Ta Da!… I had clean clothes! During our nighttime routine I helped the kids put their clothes away.

Stick to a predictable/tight schedule (that includes doing nothing)

At the start of the week I wrote things down in my calendar that were absolute MUSTS (i.e. school pick-up/drop-off, after school activities, appointments, etc.). Then I looked at our “free time”. It was important to me that I had no obligations to other people. It just seemed too stressful to try and make commitments when I wasn’t sure what my state of sanity was going to be. I’m glad I left free time for my children to play outside in the afternoons and burn some energy. It made for a *smoother* bed time.

Breakfast for dinner

Trying to keep my normal cooking routine was too much pressure in the past, especially since my husband wasn’t eating dinner with us. I didn’t want the stress of trying to get my kids to eat things they weren’t thrilled to eat; and since my husband doesn’t particularly care for breakfast for dinner, I figured these past two weeks were the perfect time to do it.

Get a babysitter

Handing over parental responsibilities to another qualified human being for a few hours a week allowed me to take a break and recharge.

Have a Fun Day!

My husband had one day in between his two-week night rotation so we took advantage of our time together and went away to the beach for one night/day. It was a last-minute decision and I’m glad we did it because it gave us all the much needed quality time we were yearning for as a family.

“Season of Sacrifice”

There were times where even though I was doing all of the above, I still felt overwhelmed. (Obviously completely normal!) If I felt those feelings rising, I stopped, took a deep breath, and remembered that it was just a “Season of Sacrifice” and “This Too Shall Pass”. I thought, It’ll be over before I know it and will be a distant memory.

I DID IT!

* * *

If your spouse is going to be away for a period of time, or is working an opposite schedule, I hope these tips will help ease that exhausting time. You can do it!

 

Loyally,

Katie

Better When We’re Together

There’s a reason this little blog of mine has been neglected lately… Because for the last six-and-a-half months, we experienced (and survived!) Our First Deployment. My better half has been on the other side of the world since the beginning of August and for safety reasons (both on his side and mine) I didn’t want to talk about it in real-time. It was hard not shouting it from the rooftops, because after all, those who read my blog have offered me so much support in the past, and have continued to do so for years now.

BUT now that B is safely home, I can shout it as loud as I want: HE’S HOME!!!!!!

And the girls and I couldn’t be happier! 

Homecoming was a whirlwind, and waiting for him to land felt longer than the last 6+ months. I’d love to share more about how we didn’t just survive, but actually THRIVED during deployment, but for now I’ll leave you with these priceless pics.



loyally,
katie


*All pictures by the amazingly talented Candice Avery Photography

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Be Still My Soul

The days are long, but the years are short.
When I met my husband in college, I knew his dream was to be a doctor. My dream has always been to be a stay-at-home-mom. As our relationship deepened, we would sometimes reminisce about what our life would be like together. But no one can ever truly predict that. Throughout the years, people have volunteered their opinions and shared their experiences with us, whether they were welcomed or not. Those who had gone down the path before us, both medical and military, told us these would be some of the toughest times of our lives. They told us I would be home alone with the kids, while my husband works 13+ hours a day, six days a week. That sometimes he will leave before we’re awake, and come home after we’ve gone to bed.
They were right.
For several weeks now, this has been our life.
But my husband is my hero. He amazes me. Every. Single. Day. I couldn’t do what he does. He works so hard for our little family. He is out of the house before the sun is even thinking about rising, and if we’re lucky he comes home right after Emmalyn’s bath. My heart nearly bursts out of my chest from the ecstatic look on her face when she hears his car rolling into the driveway. She rushes to the door shouting, “Daddy! Daddy!” And proceeds to tell him something completely random, usually about her day.  He scoops her up into his arms and my heart is full. 
My whole world is standing right in front of me.
The days are long, but the years are short.
I may have just been put through the ringer with the temper tantrum of the season, but in that moment, seeing my two favorite people, my soul is still.
I am blessed.
Just as the waves of the sea roll in, so do the tough days. But the waves have a funny way of always washing away, as do the bad days. They leave behind colorful shells and stones–reminders that it’s the little things in life that make it so beautiful. 
loyally,
katie
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Separation & Being a Married, Single Mom

There will come a time when my husband and I will have to be separated for an extended period of time; and for multiple reasons. Fourth year med school rotations require him to venture out to other hospitals in other states to get a better learning experience. 
And then there’s the Navy. (AKA: Separation Central.) 
Blake and I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide Hey! Wouldn’t it be fun to join the Navy?! Let’s get dressed and go sign the papers! It was something we discussed and prayed about together for over a year. And it’s something that Blake thought about long before we ever met. As much research and conversing you can do with men and women whom have gone through the military, you can never be totally prepared. Military or not, that’s just life.

The advice we’ve been given, and the stories we’ve heard are completely bipolar. 
One person can say:
It’s hell on wheels. My husband had such psychological problems that he would wet the bed… He was a completely different person… My kids hated moving from place to place… We ended up getting a divorce.
While another can say:
It was the greatest experience for our family… We got to see the world… My kids loved it!… Just don’t move them during their senior year of high school ::wink wink::
From Day One, Blake and I agreed we wouldn’t plan our lives based on other people’s stories. We would gladly welcome their opinions and suggestions, but we would never allow them to freak us out (or fill our heads with fantasies). I’m very much aware of the life we have chosen for ourselves. But I’ve also kind of put it out-of-sight-out-of-mind. I don’t want to be anxious leading up to the inevitable day he’ll leave. Through all of my PPD therapy, I have learned how to cope; how to handle stress. I’ll deal with it when I need to, but I don’t see the point in *worrying* ahead of time. Making sure everything is in place–yes. But dwelling on things–no!

I can’t tell you how I’m going to feel the first time Blake has to be away for 3-4 weeks for a hospital rotation, nor can I predict how I will feel the first time he is deployed for six months. (Or even how I’ll feel the second or third time…) All I know is: I know it’s inevitable. 
It’s the life we signed up for. 
From time to time, Blake and I talk about what we’re looking forward to, and what we’re afraid of throughout this journey. I always say I’m excited about traveling and moving to different climates and cultures. I’m a Native Floridian. I’ve never lived outside the Sunshine State. I’m ready to get out! Undoubtedly, I will miss my parents and in-laws tremendously, but you know what Pinterest says: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. 

{& only living twenty minutes to two hours away from family is definitely my comfort zone.}
What am I afraid of? 
Getting used to him not being around.
I’m afraid that Emmy and I will develop “way-of-life” rituals; and when Blake comes home, it’ll throw off our whole *ebb and flow*. After all, I’m basically going to be what ‘they’ call a “Married, Single Mom.” I’m faithfully and legally married, but am a single mom. Trust me, I know how that sounds… selfish. I mean HE’S the one that will be away from US. Don’t get me wrong… I know it’ll be difficult for him, too. {But that’s a whole other post} I can be a very set-in-my-ways-kinda-gal. I like to do things a certain way, and my husband knows this. 
We’ve discussed the latter, and came to the conclusion that I’ll keep a diary of what is going on in our lives back home, and how I’m feeling. My husband and I are not phone people. When we talk on the phone, I can’t remember what is going on in my life for (er, well) the life of me! 
But by keeping a diary, I hope to hold myself accountable for expressing my feelings. That way, when Blake comes home, he can read the details of our happenings while he was away. We hope this will ease the transition better….
So I ask you fellow & seasoned military wives OR any wives out there who are “Married, Single Moms” if you have any advice for a *newbie* like me?
Loyally,
Katie
p.s. what do you think of the new blog set up? Still not finished, but I’m learning this on my own 😉 

Blessed.

This past weekend is something I’ll always remember.
For many reasons…

Emmalyn met her great-grandmother for the first time.
Emmalyn met many aunts, uncles, & cousins.
Emmalyn watched her mommy & daddy reaffirm their love for one another.

It was a weekend filled with
love, laughter, & happily ever afters.

…more to come…
{but click here for a little more in case you just can’t wait}

loyally,

katie

Straight Up

 Your questions answered!

How’s everything going lately?

Things are going well, considering the circumstances. Postpartum Depression is a real drag, let me tell you. But I have surely come a long way, and things are finally looking up and heading in the right direction. It was a very scary time in my life, but through proper care and professional help, I have moved mountains. One of the best things I can be doing right now is activity. I’m glad my family has been supportive in allowing me to take time every day to care for myself. I’ve learned not to feel guilty about asking for help, and having “me” time. {No one’s going to call me “Katie-me-time-[last name]” … Modern Family last night, anyone??} I am doing things I have never done before, and it feels awesome! I’m pumping iron with a trainer two days a week… Buddha Bootcamp Yoga once a week {my fav!}… I got back into a dance class once a week…and get this, y’all! I’m on a co-rec flag football team! saywhat?! Yep. Never played before in my life (well since elementary school). But it’s so much fun and I even catch the ball and pull flags… {plural..!!} Ha! Plus, I try to run a mile on my “days off.” It’s been terrifically therapeutic.

And of course, playing with this little love, is always good for the soul.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I’m almost embarrassed to say that it’s the Kardashian’s. I can’t help it! They’ve hooked and reeled me in like a helpless little flounder. They’re addicting! Although… I miss the original “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” These new spin-offs just aren’t as good. [I miss Bruce ::sigh::]
Anyone else share in my horrid habit?

Do you read any magazines on a monthly basis—if so, which ones?
I read People Magazine. That’s the only subscription I have. I look through all the pictures, then go back and read most of the articles. I really like spotting the 10 differences in the picture, and I must say—I’ve gotten especially fast =) But I definitely flip through all the gossip magz every time I’m at the grocery store or Barnes & Noble. Occasionally, I’ll buy a Cosmo if I really like who’s on the cover.
What are your current favs (and not so fav) baby items?
My FAV.or.ite. baby item thus far is Fisher Price’s Rock ‘n Roll Sleeper. No competition.

This has been a life saver, in my opinion. Miss Em sleeps next to me (at bed level) which I love. But my favorite feature is that it folds up in literally a snap and can easily be taken from room to room, or house to house. We take it everywhere with us. I highly recommend it to any new mom.
{thanks cousin holly for sending it to us!}  

The Bumbo is also a big hit in our home. 

{she’s starting to grab for things–it’s so cute!}

Emmy loves sitting in it, and just like the sleeper, I take it from room to room so I can get things done without holding her.

I currently don’t have a least favorite baby product, but I will say that I am very much a minimalist. There are so many creative products, and no doubt useful and fun, but seeing that we’re in transition of moving, less is more right now. My one advice to new moms though, would be to not buy sooo many clothes. There are some onesies Emmy never even wore because she lived in gowns the first month of her life. It’s smart to wash and prepare a few clothes, but I wish I would have left the tags on most of them. 

Is there anything you absolutely could not live without? 
Besides the obvious “family, friends, water, etc…” answer, I could not live without Burt’s Bees Lip Balm and Olay Daily Facials Cleansing Cloths. It removes all my makeup and leaves my face feeling smooth. {I follow up with Clinque’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel… love that, too!}
Is it hard being away from BJ?
Yes, it is hard being away from my husband, but it’s what we have to do at this time. He has to go to school, and I need help while I recover. We are fortunate that we’re only two hours away and see one another every 2-3 weeks. We are also very blessed that we have both sets of grandparents to help with Emmalyn. Just knowing that we’ll be back together in May, is enough to get me through. Thank goodness for Skype, right?!

So… tell me something boutchaself…  

loyally,
katie 

The Time He Looked Like a Jerk

My husband is the most chivalrous man I know (he learned it from his father).


He’s the type of guy that will ALWAYS open every.single.door (car included) for me.


But the other day, he looked like the biggest jerk.


In his defense though, it wasn’t his fault. I made him look like that.


Let me explain… We needed to go to Target to get some baby bottles. I told Blake I didn’t want him to help me with the baby because I needed to learn how to “go out” by myself. Since I’m a stay-at-home-mom, I’m going to want/have to get out of the house with Emmy. I’ll also have to run a lot of errands without my husband since he has a demanding schedule with med school (and this is only the beginning). I did, however, want B to “chaperone” me just in case I really needed his help! =P



So… I drove the three of us to Target. One tip I’ve received is always park next to the cart return. (Vanessa, if you’re reading this, your mom taught me that!) That way, you don’t have to lug the car seat alllll the way back to your car. So that’s just what I did. We got out of the car and I went to take Emmalyn out, while Blake just idly stood by. There actually weren’t any carts in the cart return, so I had to carry the car seat all the way into Target. 


This made B pretty uncomfortable (and me laugh out loud) because people were already staring at him. They were probably thinking, Look at that guy–he’s not helping his young wife with their new baby?! We get inside Target and I go to put the car seat in the cart. I don’t know about your local Target carts, but the car seat doesn’t exactly fit perfectly. I kept finagling it around and was asking B if it looked okay. He was using hand gestures to try and show me what to do, but didn’t physically help me…. so, again… we got even more stare-downs. 


It was so important to me, though, that I stayed Little Miss Independent. If B helped me, how was I to know if I were able to do this by myself, right? Trying to see over Em’s car seat was actually the most challenging, y’all! My five-foot-two body could just barely see over the top and I was worried I was going to run over a small child or old lady, or maybe even a display. That would be sooo embarrassing!


When it came time to check out, Blake STILL didn’t help me. I put all the bags in the cart and made sure to get out my sunglasses and keys before heading out the door. I was trying my best to think ahead. This was the part I was most nervous about… How was I going to get the bags and baby in the car, AND return the cart? 


This is where parking by the cart return comes in handy. First, I put all the bags in the trunk. I then made the mistake of taking Emmy out of the cart next. This made it difficult to return the cart because I only had one readily available hand and had to maneuver it around without hitting my car. What I should have done was stroll the cart to the return, THEN take the car seat out. (Rookie…)


Next, I put Emmy in the car, but Blake did have to remind me to push down the handle bar (whoops…thanks, babe!)


All in all, though, it was a huge success, I’d say! Since I was on a roll, I even went to get gas afterwards. Normally, I lock all the doors when I’m by myself, but this time I kept the driver’s door open. Even though I had the keys in my hand, I still had a fear that if I shut the driver’s door it would somehow magically lock and my keys wouldn’t work! (mommy paranoia much?)


Even when we got home, B still didn’t help me. I brought Emmy into the house first (and left her in the car seat), then propped the door open so I could carry in the bags, then took Indy outside. 


The. End. 


*phew*


Are any of you seasoned mommas reminiscing about your first outing with a baby? Was it anything like mine? A success? Or maybe a complete ‘mom FAIL’? Do tell.

It’s Official!

Blake was officially sworn into the Navy yesterday. B was board selected back in the summer for The Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP). This particular program is designed to provide financial incentives for college students in designated health care professions to complete degree/certification requirements and obtain reserve commissions in… Medical Service Corps (MSC). (source)

When Blake entered med school, he became aware of military scholarship programs. With military service in his family tree, it’s something that has always been in his blood. There were many reasons that led us to choose this particular program. 

{one}
Active duty status as OCP01, Petty Officer First Class (E-6, for those that know the military lingo) in the Naval Reserve, upon enlisting. 

{two}
B will receive full pay and allowances. 
[Tuition and books are not included–there is another program that offers only this]

{three}
We are covered under TRICARE, the Military’s insurance. We have heard nothing but wonderful things about their insurance. 

{four}
Service to our country

{five}
Chance of a lifetime to travel (possibly overseas)

{six}
Accumulating active duty years during medical school (unlike other programs) and residency which can lead to the possibility of retiring 20 years from now with a Pension

…just to name a few…

Blake’s main job is to successfully complete med school. He cannot be deployed while he is in school. For his third and fourth year, he will do his rotations, then graduate and potentially do a GMO (General Medical Officer) Tour. In this situation, he would be a general medical doctor for the Navy, wherever needed. THEN, he would continue on to his residency. Blake has a lot of time to explore different specialties before deciding on one. 

So what does this mean for our family? After Blake graduates med school (Spring 2013) we will go wherever the Navy takes us, living on or near a base. I’m especially excited to live someplace other than Florida, as I’ve lived here my entire life. We eventually want to settle in Florida because both of our parents live here, but I’m ready for a change in scenery. 
[I wouldn’t mind some fall colors, y’all!] 

For our friends and family, I hope my explanation helps!

NOW! Here are the pictures of the big day!


Signing LOTS of paperwork!!!


Swearing in…


SO PROUD!



Now, I can officially say I’m a Navy Wife! [weird] Then in two and a half years, I’ll be a Navy Doctor’s Wife. 

Going the military med route is something we’ve discussed for well over a year, and we feel it’s the best decision for our family. I’m so proud of my husband for all that he’s doing for Little Miss and me.

I love you so much, B!



I Still Have Time To…

….be a raging hormonal bitch, no?

This post stemmed from the fact that my husband says I’m not a ‘normal’ pregnant lady. I’ve yet to have any weird cravings. Or any craving that I’ve actually had to run out and suffice, for that matter. I’ve only cried ONCE, and it was because I was really tired and it lasted for like less than a minute. I’ve yet to go ape-shit {pardon my french} on babycenter.com forums. If you’ve been on there you know those women are psychos CRAZIES!!!! like whoa! {I feel sorry for their spouses!} And another gal I came in contact with kept saying how I was just the nicest pregnant girl ever.

But anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah… back to raging hormones.

The other evening B and I were lounging around and his fingers ran across my back. {Before you get too excited ladies, this is not that kind of post! Shame on you ;)} Something you should know about me is I L.O.V.E to have my back scratched. I blame it on my momma… she has always scratched my back since as long as I can remember. Any way, B didn’t mean to initiate a back scratch, but unbeknownst to him… he did. So I gave a little shake of my back to let him know what he got his self into.

Then he sarcastically says to me, you’re so needy…

And of course I retort, no I’m not!

He goes on to say that I really haven’t been; that I’ve been easy to handle throughout the whole pregnancy.

To which I reply…
Oh, but I’ve got 6-8 more weeks to be a crazy hormonal bitch, babe.” 

HA!

Which leads me to what else I still have time for before the baby arrives:

I Still Have Time To…

…bawl my eyes out at every A Baby Story on TLC
…be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen [oh wait, I already have]
…go broke on Etsy
…use Little Miss’ playard as a laundry dump basket
…swell. e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
…break a rib due to an itty bitty footsie kicking me
…complain about everything
…waddle like a duck
…freak out about becoming a mom… like!next!month!

BUT! I Also Still Have Time To….

…cook dinner for my husband
…go on date nights with just my hubby [on those nights I just don’t feel like cooking]
…have alone time with my husband
…get a prenatal massage
…hang out with my girl friends
…have two baby showers
…spoil Indy [maybe this one should go^up^there?] & dress him up in the baybeh’s bows like so:

…{and most importantly} SLEEP!
life.is.good.