Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A little bit goes a loooong way.

After spending this past weekend surrounded by military families, I must say that I am honored to be grouped with such an amazing group of people.
As in every event of our lives, there are people who will impress, and there are those who will well, not impress. I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend both.
Most (and I am going to stress MOST) MilFams are just like every other. Courteous, kind, friendly, respectful and dignified. They are open to conversation, and are as welcoming as an old friend. This, I must say, has been a great relief. I have felt like most of the MilFams are just like neighbors! Always willing to help, and definitely there when you need them most.
And then....
There are others.
Now, to avoid offense and conflict, I will preface with this:
I truly do my best to reserve judgement at all times. I try to keep my comments and looks in check, and I try to seek good in all people.
With this said, if this post is offensive to you, I apologize. If you disagree, please let me know! I am open to all new perspectives!
Nonetheless, after this weekend, I have spent a lot of time going over the events. If you are interested, you can read the summary of the Strong Bonds Retreat here.
When Romeo told me that we would be participating in the Retreat, I was very excited. I was also a bit apprehensive. When I was packing, I was extra careful in packing outfits that would be appropriate for spending time with the mixed company of Romeo's peers. I made sure that I did not pack anything too revealing, or too tight, or that I did not pack anything that would make Romeo embarrassed to be associated with me. I did all of this very purposefully, thinking that would be the appropriate thing to do.
And thank God that I did.
Upon our arrival, and at our first session on Friday night, I noticed some people were dressed to go out for the night. Obviously, that is fine. I get it. It's Friday night and we're in Myrtle Beach, it's completely normal to want to go out. Some people wore skirts or shorts, and some wore dresses. NBD.
The next morning, when we walked into the session, I glanced around and was APALLED. There were women walking around in micro-clothes. Yes, we are at a beach resort, but YOU ARE NOT ON THE BEACH. When I say micro-clothes, I'm talking tiny. Sundresses that if someone needed to bend down to pick something up, the whole world would've known who your bikini waxer was. Shorts that were so short, that I swear I don't know why someone would even bother to wear them. Shirts that were so tight, that I could've told you the bra designer from across the room. I was shocked that 1) any woman could walk past a mirror wearing these outfits, and still be wearing them, and 2) that any husband would be okay with his wife dressed like that in front of a room of other men! Now do not get me wrong, most women were dressed appropriately. It appears to be the few that have branded themselves in my mind that are haunting me still.
Next, as brought up in my last post here. there was a bit of open debate during the weekend sessions. Couples were truthfully and honestly calling each other out in front of this room full of people. And please understand, when I say calling out, I mean seriously "he said" "she said" nonsense. Now, I am about as far from perfect as physically possible, but I know better than to pick a fight, especially with the person that I sleep next to at night, in public. First of all, how childish can you possibly be? To not be a big enough person to confront an issue in private, that you need to create a spectacle in front of strangers? And second of all, is there ZERO respect or dignity?
I am not one to judge any one else's relationship, and honestly, some of the arguements that were brought up were truly familiar. In the same breath though, I don't even like sharing positive information with new people, let alone something as personal and private as a family conflict.
Finally, when Romeo comes home from the range, or the field, or just a long day at work, I half expect to hear him talk like a soldier. I expect it, but I certainly make it clear that I am not okay with hearing an expletive between every word. Ladies, what on earth has happened? I heard more women swear this past weekend, than I have heard EVER. LADIES do not speak like that! I will not apologize for shooting dirty looks when I hear someone curse. It makes me uncomfortable. I do my best to keep those words off of my tongue, and I certainly expect that other people, especially in mixed company, can have the common courtesy to do the same. Even worse though, is that it seems that the men in the group this weekend had NO problem keeping their foul mouths at bay, but it was the WOMEN who sounded ridiculous!
In summation of this rant, I know that this may seem to attack MilSpouse Wives, but I truly believe that there is a standard to uphold. Not just as a MilWife, but as a LADY! When did we stop having the self-respect to represent ourselves in a dignified fashion? When did we stop clothing ourselves in a tasteful way? When did we stop treating others with the common courtesy that they deserve? When did we allow ourselves to become so disrespectful to not only others, but to ourselves? And most of all, where has all of the class gone?
Not to get on a feministic tangent, but we have spent years and years trying to build a foundation for ourselves so that we can be respected as equals. How on earth can we expect to uphold that standard when we have no respect in ourselves? After spending time observing far-too-many women who are either dreadfully uninformed, or seriously lack pride, I feel as though we need to step up and be responsible for who we are representing ourselves as. Especially as a MilSpouse, we are a portrait of the people who stand behind our Soldiers.
What would you want that to look like?

Strong Bonds

Last weekend, Romeo and I were fortunate enough to participate in one of the US Army's Strong Bonds Retreats.
Which, by the way, how awesome is it that the military will send families on all-inclusive mini-vacations?
Anyway, I digress. We were in lovely Myrtle Beach, SC at an awesome resort, and it was a BEAUTIFUL weekend. We were really blessed to be given this opportunity. At first, I was a bit skeptical of what the retreat really included, but once we arrived, I was fully reassured!! We checked into our suite,
(yes, I did say suite.)
that overlooked the beach,
(that's right, ocean view!)
and I took a moment to appreciate all of our blessings.


Nonetheless, we headed down to dinner, where we met up with a lot of really fantastic people. We sat at a table with other couples, and just exchanged conversation about anything and everything. Things were really shaping up to seem not-so-bad! We played a few getting-to-know-you games, and then we were done for the night!

After that, most people parted ways, and some, like us, ended up at the hotel bar, and eventually left for a stroll on the beach. We knew that the schedule for the following days' activities began a bit early (breakfast at 7am!), so off to bed we went.

The following morning arrived far-too-quickly, but I couldn't help myself.

Hello, sunrise!

And as such, we began Day 1 of the Strong Bonds Retreat. The first session started at 9am. It was about coping with deployments, and life after a deployment. All-in-all, it was nice to hear that everyone shares similar emotions and concerns. It was at this point, that the lector had each of us write down one thing about our spouse that has changed since the deployment began. It took a minute for me to think, but I wrote down that I felt like Romeo has become more responsible and appreciative since he left for earthquake-land in January. Romeo said that he thought I was more independent.

Well... then, of course, the speaker circled the room searching for people to share what they had written down. No interest. She then dismissed the session for a short break. When we returned, she again asked for volunteers to share what they had written. Finally, there were people who were willing to speak. At first, the observations were all pretty positive. "He's more loving" "She's more understanding" "He's more patient with the children""She's a better cook".

And then...

Things began to get ugly.

I don't remember what comment it started with, but all of a sudden, the "changes" were not good. Even moreso, couples began, in a way, calling each other out IN FRONT OF EVERYONE IN THE ROOM! I whispered to Romeo asking if he felt that this was appropriate, and he said that if I stood up and called him out IN FRONT OF HIS PEERS, he'd be more than just a little upset. The microphone continued to go around the room, and the madness continued until finally, the speaker interveined.

The speaker seg-wayed into the next session, which, SURPRISE!! Was conflict resolution. Hmm... now how interesting could this get?

We went over a few techniques, all of which were valid, but not really realistic in a heated-argument setting. The speaker then was out to prove a point, so OH! Let's invite a couple to argue in front of this room full of people. BRILLIANT.

Much to my utmost surprise, and somewhat dismay, a couple ACTUALLY VOLUNTEERED. They pulled up two chairs in the center of this huge and completely populated conference room, and proceeded to duke it out. They started with finances, then led into their children, then into social habits, and into every little personal nook and canny of their relationship! They had officially just aired every piece of dirty laundry that they shared.

Oh good lord.

Now, let me make this known- I AM NO MODEL WIFE, to say the least, and my husband and I are VERY happy with our relationship, though I know it isn't perfect. BUT, to share the inner-workings of our love with a room full of other people who 1) are mostly strangers, but 2) are some of the people that the Soldiers in the room see every day at work, is a bit awkward!

Needless to say, the weekend had taken an interesting turn. After all of that madness, things settled down. We were dismissed for the day and were able to spend our time doing what we wanted. We went downtown to spend some quality time sightseeing. That night, when we got back to the resort, Romeo and I grabbed a couple drinks and hit the beach. We sat, just talking, and it was just wonderful. The day's events had provoked a lot of conversation, and it was nice to be able to discuss some things that we hadn't really thought to talk about before. The moonlight and the frozen drinks made the evening just that much more fun.

Sunday came, and was a lot more tame than the prior day. We talked about personalites, and the languages of love. Both of which turned out to be rather dry topics.

All-in-all, the weekend was a success. We spent a lot of quality time together, and got to relax a lot. Strong Bonds as a whole was informative, and definitely eye-opening. Romeo and I both agreed that we would participate again, and that it is absolutely a valuable resource of Army life.

For my fellow MilSpouses, if you get the opportunity, I would suggest participating in a weekend retreat. They're fun, informative, and FREE!! So why not?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Skype Dates

Wing Night, BLOGGING, some reading are all on the agenda for this evening while Romeo is out playing GI Joe.
I'll be back later with something of substance

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Super Excited!

I am very excited that The Mrs. at Trying Our Best is hosting a fantastic giveaway!!

Her mother, the creator of bluebirdcrafting, has made some of the most adorable bags that are perfect for make-up, baby accessories, travel, jewelery and just about everything!

So anyway, head over to see The Mrs. at Trying Our Best and participate in this awesome giveaway!!
This one is MY favorite.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Out of my slump

Looking around, the house is a mess. The cabinets are empty. Dinner is not on the table. Laundry is piling up. The trashcan is full. The bed is not made. Yesterday's mail remains unopened and sitting on the counter.
And I am laying on the couch.
A million and a half things to do on my to-do list, and I don't have the desire or motivation to do any one of them.
Work is just work. After the news of my big promotion, in theory, now would be the time to be excited and enthusiastic about my workplace endeavors.
I'm not.
I don't even want to get up and go in the morning.
It's been days (possibly weeks) since my last good workout. I haven't really been running, lifting, or much of anything else. And hah... Romeo is starting to notice.
Welcome to my slump.
Anyway, all of this came to a bit of a peak last night. I can honestly say that I know I'm being overly-sensitive, and underly-active in any aspect of my life. I know that I need to step it up and get back into a routine and suck it up and stop being lazy. My slump is now not only effecting me, but Romeo as well. Nonetheless, my trip back up the hill to adulthood has begun.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oh what I would give...

As I sit here slaving (and by slaving, I mean sitting at my desk and blogging) away at work, my wonderful family is basking in the beauty and excitement of the Jersey Shore.

I am glowing green with envy.

Look! You'll be jealous too!

Anyway, back to my being jealous and terribly envious of everyone else sitting in beach chairs, and me in an office chair....

I want to be in SIC!

Nonetheless, I am not. But, I have had some lovely evenings catching up on The Office with Romeo.

I really can't complain.


Thanks to my Momma for the lovely SIC pics.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Inspired by LMC at 'cause I don't know how it gets better than this, and her most intriguing blog post about fate, I've decided to make some of my own connections.

There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.

Fate, an often arguable topic, is the concept of destiny mixed with a touch of preplanning. True to form, it usually is exactly what we did not expect.
And such is life.

After feeling somewhat euphorically reminiscent while reading another blog this morning, I crept back into my memory bank about a few particular conversations that Romeo and I have shared about our own coincidences, and how perhaps there is such thing as fate, or in a more enchanted fashion, meant-to-be.

Here is our story, full of our own moments that were just too perfect not to be fate:

  • The night Romeo and I met, was just before the holidays. I was at a holiday party with friends, when I received an invite to another event that same evening. At first, I kind of disregarded it. I wasn't really up for going to party #2, but I casually mentioned it to a friend, and she wanted to go. So off we went.
  • When we got to the second party, there was this guy (who happens to be Romeo), who at first glance, I immediately wrote off (shallow, I know). Tattoos, a flat-brimmed hat, partially sagging jeans, all-in-all, not my type. Spoiler alert!! Obviously, something must've happened to spark an interest!!
  • During that night, Romeo and I talked a bit, but the things ended rather abruptly. We never exchanged numbers or information. I moreorless chalked it up to a loss. That is until coincidentally enough, there was going to be another get-together with the same crowd the following night. (Win!)
  • The next night, Romeo was convinced that due to some conflicts the night prior, I wasn't entirely fond of him... Well, I was. After all of that drama was cleared up, we immediately exchanged information. Good thing, because shortly, and when I say shortly, I mean within seconds, that night also ended. Eek.
  • The following day, after a few hundred text messages, and a whole lot of belly-butterflies, we met up again. Something was happening.
  • Mind you, during all of this, Romeo was on the last few days of leave. He was set to head back to Fort Somewhere on the day after Christmas. We first met on 20 December. In my head, I'm thinking that this GI Joe was just interested in being friends for the last few days of his time at home. Guess I was wrong!!
  • We met up the next night at a local place, we grabbed a few drinks and then snuck away from our friends for a few moments alone. We sat outside by a fire and talked. It was here that Romeo told me that he was interested in pursuing this new thing between us even after he headed back to Fort Somewhere. Though I thought in my head that he was just saying that, I felt in my heart that there was certainly something there.
  • Following that, I met his family, and spent his last evening at home with him. Even though my heart was going a million miles a minute, I was still preparing myself to never hear from this guy again.
  • I fought my feelings for awhile, but after a few more hours together (and some liquid courage) I gave in and flat-out just told Romeo how I felt. I thought that I was in love. And then I thought I scared him away completely. Little did I know...
  • I didn't. The next morning, off he went on a plane to Fort Somewhere. The next evening, I had my first of many sweet voicemails. He missed me already =)
  • So that's that. After 5 days together, Romeo had my heart, a whole ocean away, and fortunately for us, he held on to it until we could be together again.
  • The next few months, we talked all of the time (which my cell phone bill surely reflected!) and turned our few days together into plans and a future. There were a few rough nights, but never once did either one of us feel anything but right. Even though some people thought we were being ridiculous in even pursuing a long-distance relationship after only knowing each other a short time, we proved them wrong and made it through.
  • Sometime later, there was a big, sparkly ring on my finger, and in just a few months, we were at the end of the aisle saying with a big white dress and quite the audience.

So that is our story. A huge puzzle of moments and events that fit together to create our fairy tale.

After that, how could I not believe in fate?

A real-life fairy tale

For those who are fortunate enough to be able to witness a true happily-ever-after,
you understand what I mean when I say:
what a blessing.

Today, 33 years ago, a boy met a girl in her front yard.
Little did either know that day, 5 years later, they would become man and wife.
Nor did they know that 27 years after that,
they would have 3 (if I may say so myself, AWESOME) children,
and be counting the days down to retirement.

In today's world, a real-life fairy tale, with an honest-to-goodness happily-ever-after
is such a rarity.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being such role models for happiness.
You have given me such hope for what is to come.
I know, by watching you, that marriage is hard work.
I also know how important it is to be a team.
But most of all, I know how amazing it is to not just be in love, but to stay in love with your best friend.

Thank you for being so strong for each other (and for us) through the tough times.
And thank you for sharing all of the wonderful memories that you two have made through the years.
To me, you two are living proof that happily-ever-after truly does exist,
and that even in real-life, fairy tales do come true.

Thank you for your perseverance, your patience, your hope, your prayers
and most of all, your love.

Here's to 27 more!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Monster

Meet Calymonster.

She's a bit of a demon.
She's also the sweetest thing.

See what I mean?