Thursday, July 19, 2018

#feelslikehome

It occurred to me recently that Erik and I have been married so long that we didn't get to have a wedding hashtag.

I wondered then, what might it have been.

#octoberthenaprilfinallyjuly For all those times the Army threw a wrench in, or downright wrecked our plans?

Could it be #freakingfinally which was the first phrase my sweet friend Katie said to me when we woke up on the morning of my wedding.

What about #plannedinthreeweeks for the amount of time we had to plan after Erik came home from Afghanistan.

I had a few other funny ones pop in my head as I was cooking dinner and thinking about this the other night. But ultimately I settled on #FinallyJorgensen or #feelslikehome, for the most obvious reasons.

Don't know what all the "finally"'s and "octoberthenaprilthenjuly" talk is all about?

Find out here, and here.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Things I've "Read" Lately

Let's just start by saying that I don't "read" things during this season. I listen to them on Audible. Erik says this is not the same, but he is very wrong. If you feel the way he does, just read words instead of listening to them. But seriously, there is something to be said for listening to a book being read BY THE PERSON WHO WROTE IT. They know those pages and the emotion and thoughts contained therein, far better than a random reader does. #AudibleFTW

Currently Reading:

Own The Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus - LOVING it. If I were a fitness fanatic, I'm pretty sure I'd be the female equivalent of this guy. So I guess that means he's abrasive. But I'm obviously fine with it. Tell it to me like it is, Aubrey! But not while my kids are nearby. #howmanytimescanhesayssexinonechapter

Recently Completed:

Robert's Rules, a Quickstart Guide by Clydebank Business. I joined the Spouses Club here on post and am suddenly the Parliamentarian. I am, as you might (not) be surprised to learn, nerdy enough to already have known RROO before this, the book was merely a refresher.

Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks. This one was for book club. Ole Heidi likes to talk. But it was a good story once it started moving! Pretty safe to listen to while the children are around.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. I like Fixer Upper and I like memoirs read by their author(s). Chip Gains kind of exhausts me and this story did not do anything to put me more in his corner. But they seem like fantastic parents and community leaders, and I enjoyed it overall!

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I wasn't super into this book. Everyone kept singing it's praises so I kept slogging through. Rachel seems awesome, I want to be her friend. But I wasn't moved until the last chapter. Then I was REALLY moved.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. Yes. Read this. I may now be a connoisseur of short stories, it was fab. Plus, Tom Hanks. But not for enjoying around your kids.

I'm actually kind of proud to have finished 6 books in the last couple of months. Maybe my brain will be less swiss cheese-y soon!


Friday, July 13, 2018

Army Wife Etiquette 101

Friends. Largely, I do not give a rats-ass about rank or how wives conduct themselves within the Army. My motto is generally "You do you, Boo Boo, and I'll decide if I want to be around that." But we need to talk about RSVP etiquette and other related matters that largely relate to the O wife. I am so tired of the inconsideration that I have been seeing within the spouse community that I could just scream. But that would be rude. (Is it less rude to dime people out on my blog? I'm not sure, but here we go.)

I'm going to assume for the purposes of this post that folks do NOT know what proper etiquette is so I'm going to enlighten them. There is no shame here now, I am NOT mad at anyone, but if you read this and then continue to act rudely, I will throw shade your direction. Because once you know, continuing to act this way is RUDE AF.

Here we go. Hold on to your hats.

Wait.

First, let me say, I hope you are attending your battalion coffees if they're offered. There is no reason not to. They are THE BEST part about Army life for spouses. I WOULD NOT DO THE ARMY, COULD NOT DO THE ARMY if it weren't for coffees. The friendships I have made through them are invaluable. The knowledge I have gained has been invaluable. Coffees are invaluable. Sure, the first few in a new place are awkward, but just swallow it and go. You'll be SO grateful.

Now then.

Now is the time to grab on to your hats. You're thinking hats. Listening hats. Comprehension hats. Whatever. Put it on and absorb this information.

1. If you receive any sort of invitation, you need to respond as soon as possible - whether the answer is yes or no. Why? Because it's polite. Should the host really need to reach out to every single person to determine their attendance? No. She's already doing all the work by hosting! But this is the only way to get an accurate headcount these days. Which is lame, because ain't nobody got time for that.

1A. This is evite specific because most groups use them now days. You need to respond to the Evite as soon as you know if you'll attend or not BECAUSE THE HOST CAN SEE IF YOU'VE READ THE EVITE AND JUST IGNORED IT. Big brother is watching you ignore your host. And it's... wait for it... RUDE. You don't need to respond the second you see it, but within a few days is preferred, and CERTAINLY before the reminder email goes out from Evite, because by then, homegirl has already gone to the grocery store.

2. If you say you're coming, please come. The host has added you to their headcount and bought food/drinks/paper goods/favors for you. In the case of a welcome or a farewell, the door fee that you have agreed to pay is now being counted on to put toward gifts. YOUR ATTENDANCE WAS REQUESTED, YOU SAID YOU'D GO, PEOPLE WANT TO SEE YOU.

3. Do NOT RSVP for someone else that wasn't on the guest list. There's a reason they weren't on it. Sometimes the guest of honor says she wants to cap the attendance at a certain number, or relegate invitees to specific groups. Sometimes Army protocol is a cruel mistress. Don't make it weird, yo.

So I'm sure you're thinking "Sheena... Where has this come from?"

Well.... I've been stewing for a few years TBH, but recently, a friend and I hosted a farewell for our husband's former battalion commanders wife (did you get all that?), as they were leaving command and Fort Stewart. It was NOT OUR JOB. Sometimes the Army has expectation of spouses, but in this case, this was not one currently put upon us. HOWEVER, we wanted to make sure it was done right and not drop it on the new senior spouses of the battalion the second they walked through the door, so we did it. Also, we LOVE the wife in question, so it was an honor to host for her.

Enter ALL THE RUDENESS. Someone who was unfamiliar with how these things work (invitation only...) arbitrarily invited her friend to come along. Okay, fine. Not exactly cool, but she wasn't a "usual" in the group, so I thought it might make her feel more comfortable to bring a friend. Then NEITHER of them came. Nor did 4 other people who RSVP'd yes - one who has a special diet which we planned for, and 2 others who were "maybe" up until 2 hours before the event was to start.
ONE of them reached out with an emergency and said she wasn't able to come. Because she was in the actual emergency room. And she has offered to pay her $10 door fee, which I declined because she was IN THE HOSPITAL.

Those people NOT coming cost my co-host and myself $80 in projected reimbursement and wasted food.

And this has happened to me before. When Erik was the XO of another battalion, it was my honor to throw a farewell for that commander's wife as well. People came that did not RSVP and then "forgot" cash to pay me for their food/gifts. They brought children to eat, that they didn't RSVP or pay for, regardless of the fact that the invitation clearly stated I would be paying the restaurant by the head. A few offered to paypal me, but no one ever did. These were spouses that "outranked" me, for the most part, so I am not just looking the way of young people here.

And in truth - it's not about the money. In both cases, I wanted to throw my friend a gorgeous farewell  to thank them for their service and mentorship, and was going to go over budget regardless to make sure they felt the weight of my appreciation for all that had done for the spouses of their respective battalions.

It's about the fact that if EIGHT people didn't show up to every event that senior military spouses have to host, they'd be washing money down the drain like it was dish soap. It's rude. It's a waste of resources. It's disrespectful. DON'T DO IT.

Here are the takeaways:

1. RSVP. Yes or no. No is not rude. Ignoring people is rude.
2. Come if you say you will. Reach out if you can't make it.

That's it.

Are these not lessons for life? Be respectful and do what you say you're going to.

The end.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Be (Y)Our Guest

My hilarious friend Karen is a blogger who blogs regularly. That doesn't seem like it should be a point of distinction, but as a blogger that can't get her blogging life together for more than a few months at a time, I can tell you: it's a feat, people. I'm guest blogging over there today, because she's even a regular blog updater when she's on vacation. Find me there, today, for some thoughts on surviving summer vacation with what little #momlife dignity you started out with. Thanks for having me, my friend!

PS- Here's a fun fact about Karen that I bet even she doesn't know. She, along with her husband Clay, was the first person Erik ever introduced me to as his wife almost 11 years ago. We were having dinner at Goodfellos in Sackets Harbor, NY (margherita pizza and bruschetta - do they even serve anything else?) I'll never forget thst special moment, after such a long wait! Can we please make #oldmilspousemafia a thing? :)

PPS- Also, can I get some super cool wife points for remembering that? It's possible that I scheduled a trip over our anniversary without even realizing it... Sorry honey! But seriously, you have perhaps been away for one or two... Or, now that I've counted, all but 3... 😉

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sweet Summertime

I'm not sure Summer is really the time to check in on here and think "I should start blogging again!" but here we are...

I forgot how much I loved summer vacation last year. Not only is it nice to have all the kids home at once (Nash is in heaven!) but I LOVE that our schedule is largely our own. No school or activities up in the way of my fun. Let's go to lunch! Let's play in the pool! Let's just stay in our damn pajamas all day so there are literally five fewer outfits in the wash!

Erik's job leaves him without much time off, and so did the last one, and the one before that. But I always had a baby so I was just trying to survive. Now my baby is a toddler and we've got a life to lead! So this year... I decided if Erik couldn't take time off, I'd take my kids on vacation by myself. Then I turned chicken and asked my mom to come too. If you haven't considered taking a Grandma on vacation, I'd encourage you to get on that. It's is almost like taking a second mom. Except for when you bring a Grandma, and you're the mom, and there's no dad, you have to do all the crap the dad usually does- like mule in all the luggage, and go down to pick up dinner while the kids are being bathed. And drive instead of sleep on the way.

I don't like the idea of leaving Erik home alone to toil, but my kids won't be willing travel companions forever. We don't have many summers before they're too cool, or have jobs, or whatever. I hate the feeling that I'm effectively saying "Hey, sorry you have to work to provide us this beatuful life instead of joining us on a vacation that you're also providing for us." But he swears he wants us to go and do; and I've asked around to some other husbands of stay-at-home-mom's and they all say the same. So we went and we did. All the way back to Orlando!

Sea World was SERIOUSLY a bust. It was so commercial. Everything cost extra - games, some rides, WATER. We paid for the meal plan because I thought "It's going to be 110* outside, $30 for adults and $20 for the kids (to eat every hour if we choose) will be paid for in the amount we'd have spent on water!" Except WATER WASN'T INCLUDED. It's a 158* outside, but you could only drink milk or pop. What the heck, Sea World?!

We hung around in Orlando for a few days after that. We had breakfast with the Minions, and lunch another day at the T-Rex Cafe. Our hotel had a water park, but we didn't even go because my kids were in love with the freedom of the (shallow) pool. I had the time to teach Piper the basics of swimming and Grant finally got the hang of it too! Nash just drive his car on the side, but that's fine. They had THE BEST time.

Before heading home we went to The Crayola Experience. I can not say enough about this. For $15 per person, we got hands on activities, free souvenirs, a show, we got to name our own crayons, and design our own artwork. We could have spent twice as long there.

And can I just say that the drivers in Orlando are quite patient and easy-going? They are. I was nervous to drive in a new city, but it was nothing!

When I was a kid, we went on a vacation every year. It was never anything super extravagant. My parents would just take whatever was in their tax return that year, and we used that. I can remember several trips to neighboring states for hotel stays and amusement park adventures, baseball games and outlet mall shopping. And then as we got older we ventured farther away. We never flew, but we might have driven for 2 days to get to where we were going - and if we were lucky, my mom took the middle seat out of the minivan and laid down a foam mattress so we could sleep (hey, it was the nineties). Seriously, half the fun was in the car ride. My sister and I never got along at home, but I can remember making up secret handshakes and reading aloud to her from Tom Sawyer on the way to Tennessee one year. I can remember my mom ALWAYS making us eat at Shoney's because they had an extensive menu and kids ate free. I can remember my dad always encouraging us to select books from whatever gift shop we were in.

I want all that for my kids.

And maybe a little more than the memories of this particular trip, I loved showing my children (and P, especially) that you don't need your husband with you to do stuff, and you can do things even when you're nervous or uneasy. I hope when they're grown they know I really tried to make their summers special like my own parents did!