I am continually amazed at the strength of the military-spouse! This week's 'Face Behind the Hero' is another wonderful example of wit and wisdom; spice and life; juggler of so many hats! What a wonderful opportunity she has given us to see just a glimpse of her thoughts as a navy-wife. Thank you, Ally. Thank you to all of the military-spouses out there holding up the homefront.
How long has he been in? 11 years
How long have you been married? It will be 6 years in April!
What is your favorite wedding-day memory? There are so many to chose from! I guess the memory that stands out the most (besides the passionate "seal the deal" kiss) is the Best Man Toast. His Best Man was his best friend, Bryan. There wasn't a dry eye in the room after his speech.
Do you have children? We have two awesome kids! A 3 1/2 year old boy and a 5 month old girl. (OMG I can't believe she's 5 months old already!)
How do you help them cope with military-life? Well, my husband is currently deployed and this is our first deployment with two children. Our youngest copes just fine since she was only 2 months old when he left. It certainly gets harder the older they get. Our son tells me regularly that he misses his daddy, but I've found some ways to make sure daddy is still a part of our daily lives. My son has a "Flat Daddy" in his room, which is essentially a poster of my husband. We also made sure to make a video of my husband reading some of our son's favorite stories before he deployed. Our son also enjoys coloring pictures for daddy and choosing things to send him in his care packages.
How many deployments have you been through? This is our 4th deployment. He did two deployments on board the USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), a year long IA tour in Iraq, and now he is deployed with the USS Nicholas (FFG-47). He also did two deployments on board the USS Gettysburg (CG-64), one before I met him and we did one together.
What do you do to stay busy during deployment? Well, as if being a mom doesn't keep me busy enough, I have quite a few things I do. My hobby is designing military pride shirts and gifts for Cafepress. I started designing when my husband made chief, but didn't set up shop until he deployed as an IA and I couldn't find any IA support items at the NEX. You can become a fan of my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usnchic1 or visit my shop at http://www.usnchic.com/. I enjoy blogging as well. Writing is very therapeutic! (Leanne: I so agree with writing being therapeutic! I found it helped me through my husband's deployment and strengthens me even today as I look back and see how I have grown.)
I also try to be active in local military spouse groups. I'm currently the Vice President of my husband's ship's Family Readiness Group (FRG). It keeps me busy and I love that I'm helping the other families get through the deployment. I highly recommend participating in your spouse's command's FRG or finding a local group on Facebook or Meetup.com to participate in. It's a great way to make new friends and get the support you need.
How many PCSs? Two; one from Mayport, FL to Great Lakes, IL and the other from Great Lakes, IL to Norfolk, VA.
What has been your proudest moment as a military spouse? My proudest moment was the day that my husband was commissioned. He made Chief in 8 years and was selected for commissioning via the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) program at 10 years. He is great at his job and works very hard, so words can't describe how exciting it was to see him receive such a large promotion. He is very deserving and I am so very proud of him!
What branch of service were you in? I served in the Navy as an Operations Specialist (OS).
For how long? 4 years
Why did you get out? To start our family and take advantage of my G.I. Bill benefits. I had our son and earned my Associates Degree (with high honors) within a year and a half of getting out of the Navy. :)
What do you miss about being in the service, as opposed to being ‘a dependent’ now? The thing I miss most is the travel. The best part of being in the Navy is all of the amazing places you get to visit. In four short years the Navy took me to the Bahamas, Cuba, Bahrain, Dubai, Italy, Spain, England, Scotland, Curacao and Panama. (My husband actually proposed to me in Rome, Italy!)
Where has your favorite base been? Why? They've all had their ups and downs. I suppose Mayport was our fave. A. It's in sunny Florida. B. There's a million things to do in Florida, and it's all within driving distance. C. Did I mention the sunshine?
Where do you find the support you need when you need it? Usually in the freezer. That's where my good friends Ben and Jerry reside. I also call my mom whenever I'm feeling down or just bored. She's always been there for me. And then there are my friends who always know how to make me laugh or offer me good advice.
What do you miss most about “civilian life"? I miss my family the most. I don't get to see my parents and other relatives nearly as often as I would like to. :(
What do you love most about “military life”? I recently blogged about this. :) It's always hard to move on to a new duty station, but each new duty station brings on new opportunities and new friendships. I have so many great friends spread all over the world and feel very fortunate to have so many amazing, hilarious, generous people in my life!
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about three things; my family, cheese, and the Green Bay Packers.
What is your favorite color and why? My favorite color is blue [insert corny line about my love for the deep blue sea here].
Do you have a favorite quote? What is it? "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Vince Lombardi
When you move to a new base what is one of the first things you do? I try to get involved in a local spouse group and/or the command FRG.
Has anyone in the community (business, church, neighbor off base, etc etc) ever gone out of their way to help you, as the spouse of a military-member? Who? What did they do? I'm fortunate to have extremely awesome neighbors! They are not in the military, but we clicked with them immediately since they are about the same age as us and have children the same age as ours. If I need anything at all they are there for me, whether it be help with the kids, dog sitting, or just keeping me busy to pass the time while my husband is deployed. I am so incredibly greatful to have them!
Do you use on base facilities? Commissary? MCSS? MWR? Child Care? Services of that nature. Why would you recommend one of these services in specific? I get my groceries at the Commissary. You really can't beat the prices and the fact that it's tax free, just try to avoid the place right after pay day. :)
The Fleet and Family Support Center is also full of excellent resources. If you've never been, you should definitely go and check it out, especially if you're gearing up for a deployment.
What are your goals for the future? I'm currently taking a year off school with the new baby, but my hope is to return to school and get my Bachelors in Earth Science Education. I'd like to teach Earth Science at the high school level.
Want to learn more about Ally? Check out her blogs! She has a GREAT story to tell!
- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com