Browsing Tag

Deployment ABCs

Deployment

Deployment ABCs: ZZZZ

November 10, 2016

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.

I debated pretty heavily about posting my scheduled posts yesterday and today. Given recent events, I felt like I should stop posting or share something related to how I feel about the election. But Countdowns and Cupcakes has always been free of politics. In fact, I said it was something I would never post about. So I’m not changing that today. Instead, I will focus on the tiny way I can help someone today.

And who couldn’t use a hand getting a good night’s sleep, especially during deployment? I will be completely honest with y’all, during our first deployment, I barely slept. Being alone coupled with worrying about A kept me up until the wee hours of the morning for a full five months and it was not good. The next time A left, I tried very hard to set good sleep habits and was much more successful at falling asleep at night.

And now I’m sharing those tips with you!

Tips for getting your best sleep

Exercise during the day

During A’s second deployment, I was training for a half-marathon and running at least 4 miles multiple days a week. That kind of physical exertion will catch up to you eventually. My catch up point was usually right around 9 pm every night. I was so exhausted by the time bedtime rolled around that I fell asleep quickly and easily.

Now, you don’t necessarily need to run miles and miles every day, but working out for even 30-45 minutes a day can really help! You’ll be surprised how tired you are at the end of the day and how easily you fall asleep.

Stick to a standard bedtime and wake up time

This one is so key! During deployment #1, I would stay up too late and then hit snooze roughly 45 times every morning. During deployment #2, I had firm bed and wake up times. Once I got used to the schedule, it was easier to get up each morning because I had gone to bed early enough.

Consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed at the same time every night. And yes, this applies to the weekends! Luckily you’ll be tired enough that being in bed at 10 pm on a Saturday won’t be too much of a sacrifice.

Do yoga before bed

Doing a short yoga routine before bed can really calm your mind and relax your body. A calm mind and relaxed body make for an easier time falling asleep. This beginner’s routine is a great place to start and it only takes 20 minutes!

Skip the nap

You want to know the #1 one to completely derail any chance you have of falling asleep at a normal time at night? Napping on the sofa for two hours after you get home from work. I learned that lesson the hard way…almost every single day.

When I stopped napping, I had a much easier time falling asleep at night. A short nap is ok, especially if you stayed up too late the night before, but don’t let it get out of hand!

Turn off the TV

The TV can be super distracting when you’re trying to sleep. You get caught up in a show on Netflix and next thing you know it’s 2 am and you’ve finished three seasons. And this could happen with anything: your phone, a book, an audio book or podcast all hold the potential to distract you from sleeping. Try to remove any and all distractions and treat your bed as only a place to sleep.

And there you go…26-ish weeks later and at the final installment of the Deployment ABCs! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about all the topics related to deployment as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them!

Deployment

Deployment ABCs: You Time

November 8, 2016

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.  If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat!

One of the wonderful parts of deployment is that you get lots of you time. Sometimes it borders on too much you time, but there is something kind of refreshing about controlling the TV remote for an extended period of time. But how do you make sure that you don’t waste all that you time on bad Netflix originals? I’m sharing some tips for making the most of your you time.

Tips for quality you time

Make a plan

This could just be the planner in me, but I really think that in order to have quality anything, you have to plan it out! I’m not saying to micromanage every single moment, but if you know you want to spend the day crafting, make sure you have the materials on hand for your project!

Do something YOU love

Relationships are all about compromise. One of you may love watching football for hours on Sunday while the other one might rather go to the farmers market and brunch. So if you’re flying solo for a little bit, why not do all the things you generally skip? It could be reading a book all in one day, spending an extra long time browsing at Target or blasting the Dixie Chicks as loud as possible while you bake. No matter what it is, do the things that YOU love.

 

Invite others 

You time doesn’t have to mean alone time. Sometimes inviting friends or family to join you in something may be the thing that makes it memorable. When you’re planning out you time, think through whether or not you want to do it solo.

Set aside time

During a deployment, there are a lot of things that need your attention. Everything from the housework to the yard work to all of the admin tasks fall on a spouse’s shoulders when their loved one is deployed. So in order to have you time, you have to first set aside time for yourself. Block off time regularly to do something important and enjoyable to you; even a half hour can do wonders.

How do you make the most of your you time?

Deployment

Deployment ABCs: (E)xtra Links

November 3, 2016

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.  If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat!

If I’ve learned one thing from blogging about deployment for the past few months, it’s that I couldn’t possibly cover everything myself. There are as many tips, tricks and how-tos as there are military spouses and deployments.  So for this week’s Deployment ABCs, I figured I would turn it over to my fellow military spouses and let them share some (e)xtra deployment-related links!

Deployment explained via memes.

Facing a deployment? Julie is getting you through the first 30 days, one day at a time.

Homecoming is awesome and amazing and hands down the best part of a deployment. But what happens after the hugs end and the banners come down? 7 tips for reintegration via Away We Run.

I’m facing my first holiday season deployment and found both of these articles really helpful. Still celebrating but simplifying traditions may be exactly what gets me through the season. Julie’s tip on making a plan is also going to be key.

Shout out to all the military spouses who are also solo-parenting.

MilitaryOneClick has some tips on preparing for deployment. Hint: a power of attorney is highly suggested.

What do you do when an emergency happens during deployment?

And last, but not least, Julie’s words about the emotional weight of multiple deployments hit me right in the heart.

Please visit as many of these great links as you can because they are fantastic! And if you’d like to leave your link, go here and share it with us!

Deployment

Deployment ABCs: Wonderful Parts of Deployment

October 25, 2016

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.  If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat! 

I think we owe deployment an apology. And by that I mean, I may have used the phrase “deployment sucks” one too many times on this blog for it to continue to have meaning. So today I thought we should focus on some of the many wonderful parts of deployment.

I know what you’re thinking: wonderful parts of deployment? There can’t possibly be such a thing!

Oh dear sweet reader, that’s where you’re wrong. You see deployments are filled with wonderful parts, silver linings, the positives if only you’re willing to look hard enough.

Wonderful parts of deployment

Lots of time to yourself

Do you ever feel like you just spend too much time with your significant other? You just have too much fun together and miss having less fun solo. Deployments can fix that! Say hello to months worth of you time for you to fill entirely on your own. It may even get to the point that you have full conversations with your pets about what to have for dinner that evening. Thanks, deployment!

Totally free and effective birth control

Forget the Pill, nothing prevents pregnancy better than a deployment!

Keeps you independent

Just when you get a little too dependent on your significant other, they’ll take off for 4-6 months at least which gives you plenty of time to learn how to do things on your own. Whether it’s taking out the garbage or unclogging the disposal or the mysterious world of lawn maintenance, deployments force you to be all “I am woman, hear me roar”.

Ok. While this totally turned out to be more tongue in cheek than I originally planned, if you look in the right spot, you can find a bright side to deployments. They remind me just how much I love my husband and make me exceptionally thankful for all he does at home.

What’s your wonderful part of deployment?

Deployment

Deployment ABCs: Military Vocabulary

October 18, 2016
Military Vocabulary

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.  If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat! 

Becoming a military spouse requires navigating through a fairly large learning curve. Whether it’s figuring out how to survive and thrive during a deployment or how to fill out a customs form for care packages, new military spouses have a lot of learning to do. For me the hardest part has definitely been getting the lingo down. The military vocabulary is not super user/civilian friendly. Am I right, fellow military spouses?!

I swear the military has never met a word they didn’t figure out how to abbreviate and not always in a way that makes a ton of sense! It’s not at all surprising that someone new to the world could get lost in the sheer number of letters. Over the course of my relationship with A, I feel as if I’ve slowly learned a foreign language. Consider the following my Military Vocabulary for Dummies cheat sheet.

Chit – this may be exclusive to the Navy, but chits are documents sailors fill out for various requests (emergency time off, moving off base, etc.)

CO (Commanding Officer) – the big cheese, the dude (or lady) in charge of everything.

CONUS (Contiguous United States) – everything except Hawaii and Alaska.

DD214 – form that officially discharges an individual from the military; generally needed to access veterans’ benefits.

Dependent – spouse, children and other family members of a member of the military

Leave – time off

LES (Leave & Earnings Statement) – a monthly statement of an individual’s pay record, accumulated leave and other important data; often used like a civilian’s pay stub and may be requested for a variety of reasons.

LIMDU (Limited Duty) – now referred to as TLD or temporary limited duty, this is another example of something that may be limited to the Navy; it essentially indicates that a sailor is temporarily injured or ill and may not be able to participate in all aspects of their job.

MCPON (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy) – the highest ranking enlisted member of the Navy

OCONUS (Outside the Contiguous United States) – Hawaii, Alaska and other countries

OPSEC (Operations Security) – a serious of rules and regulations aimed at reducing the amount of information available about military movements.

Orders – in general, it’s any command, but oftentimes it’s used in conjunction with moving (PCS orders).

PCS (Permanent Change of Station) – official relocation of an active duty military individual or family to a different duty station.

PT (Physical Training) – required exercise

TDY (Temporary Duty Yonder) – a temporary (anything from two to 179 days in length) change in duty station

What military vocabulary should I add to the list?