Sunday, April 21, 2013

Join the Movement….Think before your speak

April 21-27th is National Infertility Awareness Week, 7.3 Million Americans are affected by infertility chances are someone you know is affected by infertility.  The theme for this year is Join the Movement and one of the easiest ways is to be supportive of everyone you come in contact with that is affected by infertility is to think before you speak.  

Chances are you have been told to think before you speak at least once in your life.  This is excellent advice for many reasons. I don’t know about you but I am not a fan of the taste of my foot.  So, I do my best to keep it out of my mouth.  Yes, yes I realize that some of you who know me personally are not so sure that my filter works.  Trust me it is fully functional.  It has been my experience that this is not common practice; when you are dealing with infertility some of the most hurtful things are said by people who think that are saying something helpful, funny or simply have no idea what they are saying. For example telling childless married couple in their 30s that your children will be their “birth control for the evening” is more than a little insensitive.  Saying it 4 times in one hour is a written invitation to have a woman on fertility treatments come over the table at you. 

When you meet new people after your married you come to expect to be asked if you have children.  It’s the adults’ in the “real world” equivalent to the college, what’s your major?   Even I admit it can be a good conversation starter.  Please the next time you find yourself in this conversation and the response is no we don’t have children yet, think before you respond.  All too often people with children feel the need to say that it is better to be childless They then feel compelled to explain the difficulties of being a parent sleepless nights, running them here and there, oh and all the time you must have alone with your spouse.  What you may not know is, for years that couple has hoped and prayed every month that they maybe blessed with these challenges.  They have been to more doctor appointments than they can count and at each holding back tears as one pregnant woman after another joined them in the waiting room.  They have undergone tests, procedures and some months celebrated the simple fact that the ovulation test was positive.   The last thing that want to hear is how difficult it is to have children and how they should enjoy not having them.  You may never know that your words were so painful that it was all they could do to hold back the tears or keep themselves from saying something that will inevitably make them look like the bad guy.
If you happen to have a friend or family member who confides in you their troubles conceiving, please don’t confuse this with asking for advice.  Unless you have faced infertility yourself it is impossible to fully understand what they are going through.   Telling them to just relax, have fun trying, or it will happen if it is God’s will.  These statements (and so many more) can make someone with infertility feel as though it is their fault or they are somehow not worthy of having children.  They have doctors to give them advice instead be their shoulder to cry on, their confidant, and their safe place to express how they feel.  I have been very blessed to have a couple of people like this on my journey and they are invaluable.

Most importantly Join The Movement and Think Before You Speak.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Make Ahead Roasted Garlic

We are big garlic fans in this house and we prefer fresh garlic.  However, sometimes I am lazy and don’t want to take the time to chop.  Since I started making roasted garlic in large batches and freezing it I hardly use anything else.  I use it in just about everything that calls for garlic and now that I got my husband on board we are going through it in about 3 weeks.  I will be referring to this as an ingredient in future recipes, so give it a try. 

What you'll need:
12 heads of garlic
Olive oil
Black Pepper
2 sheets of aluminum foil
Baking sheet
Food processor or blinder
Parchment or wax paper
Freezer bag or container

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut each head of garlic in half horizontally divide between the two sheets of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil and pepper. 

Fold foil into packets and bake for one hour.  Your house will smell amazing!! 

Remove from the oven and let cool without opening the packets for at least 20 minutes.  Trust me your fingers with thank you later.  Your roasted garlic will look something like this when it is done. 

Okay now we need to put that wonderful garlic in the food processor; before you start this step you must do one thing.  Except that you will get garlic all over your hands.  There are a couple of ways to do this some less messy than others.  So, you can squeezes the garlic heads so the individual cloves pop out.  I have tried this but I feel it leaves too much garlic goodness behind.  I use a butter knife and scoop the cloves out individually. Yes it takes longer yes it is messier but I find it most effective. 

Once you have all the garlic in the food processor pulse a few times.  Then run on low and drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil.  You want just enough oil to help the garlic form a smoothish paste.  Add just a little oil at a time it will not take much.  You want this to be mostly garlic.  Continue to process on low until it forms a paste, stopping a couple of times to scrape the sides. 

Make sure your baking sheet will fit in your freezer then line it with parchment paper.  (If not find something flat that will.) Place tablespoon size globes of the garlic paste on the parchment.  You can put them as close together as you would like but not touching.  

Place the whole thing in the freezer for several hours. Then remove the globs of garlic goodness and place them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until needed.   They last for quite a while before they start to get frosty, but in our house they normally get used before they reach that point. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Thriving in a Navy World: Realistic Expectations

I decided to talk about realistic expectations first because if you don’t have a handle on this one none of the rest of it really matters.  I thought about a couple of different ways to talk about this one.  The research geek in me wanted to go academic.  There are plenty of social science research articles out there that talk about how expectations effect satisfaction.  Most concluding something like, when expectations are more in line with reality then satisfaction is increased.   Don’t worry I am not going to start quoting theories, adding parenthetical references and there won’t be a works sited page at the end. (Yes, I admit I was on Google Scholar and almost went to look for an article from one of my graduate classes.)  Trust me I would but it would be much more fun for me to write than it would be for you to read. So, I will save that for another forum.

Then I considered the tough love approach.  We all know there are parts of being a Military spouse that suck, and well the Navy ads a whole other level of suck.  Everyone would be doing it if it wasn’t hard, right.   So put on your big girl panties and get over it (to put it nicely).  While that is defiantly good advice from time to time, not really my point here.    The point is it is all about attitude!

If you approach this Navy World with the knowledge that it will be hard and there are lots of things that are less than fun you will be less disappointed when the metaphorical seas get rough.  It makes it easier to except the things that are out of our control and there are a lot.

I met my husband when he had already been in for almost 5 years.  He knew what sea duty was like and gave me fair warning.  So, I had a glimpse of what I was getting into.  That is not always the case, I have several friends that were with their sailors before they joined and were never told about duty days, underways and  all the other things besides the big ‘D’ (deployment of course).

Give yourself time to be upset and disappointed; orders change and deployments are extended, and well anytime on sea duty.  We get warn down and have our moments sometimes we simply need to cry.  Take them, please!  Don’t bottle things up that’s not helpful in the long run.   So, give yourself permission to feel what you feel whatever that means to you vent to a friend, go for a run or my personal favorite blare rock music and sing at the top of your lungs.  Choose to not let those moments consume your life.  This is where the tough love comes in to play, at some point you do need to suck it up.  Then embrace the things you can control and number one is your attitude!

Don’t read this as I want you to be pessimistic there are so many wonderful things about Navy life first and foremost you love your sailor otherwise you would not be here and that makes all the suck worth it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why survive in a Navy World when you can Thrive?

Surviving is great, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?  Why would you want to simply survive Navy life when you can conquer it and leave feeling accomplished?  When I married my sailor I was almost 30; I had my fair share of roommates, jobs, living on my own and traveling.  While my experience was chock-full with less than successful attempts at embracing life I think in a lot of ways they all prepared me for the challenges of being a Navy Spouse.  This is the first in what I intend to be a series of posts on thriving in the Navy world.  Here is a little taste of what has worked for me and what I have learned from being around other spouses.

Realistic Expectations:  I am sure you are familiar with the serenity payer.  Well in navy life it is almost a requirement to except there are very few things that you can control. So, take ownership of the things you can. (But don’t go crazy control freak on me here that defeats the purpose.)  The most important thing you have control over is your point of view and how you choose to react to a situation.

Know your Resources and Benefits:  I am by no means experienced in all things and you don’t have to be either. What you do need to know is how to where to look and educate yourself.  If you’re not your own advocate (and your families) no one will.

Get out of the house!  I have a lot more to add to this one but for now interpret this one as you see fit.

Find your Passion: Find something that makes you happy and give yourself permission to do something for yourself. 
Embrace your Home:  Home is where the Navy sends us.  Make the best of each duty station regardless if it is shore duty in the middle of Missouri or Pearl Harbor.

Each of these points is a post or more on their own so look out there is more to come.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Missouri Girl in a Navy World:The Beginning

I have been thinking about starting a blog (actually two) for quite some time.  I thought there is no better day to launch than on the 5 year anniversary of my husband and I’s first date, mostly because there is no better place to start but from the beginning. Five years ago in a far far away in a land call Missouri…. Just kidding.

 This story is best told by answering a question that I heard a lot five years ago.  “How do you meet a Navy man in Missouri?!”   That answer is simpler than you might think.  Shore Duty! My Sailor was stationed at the ROTC unit at the University of Missouri, and working on his Graduate Degree.  We were in the same program and both part-time students.  In our program part-time was a more than a little outside the norm.   So, when I found out there was another part-time student I had to meet him.  I had very little intel other than he was in my Stat class and he was in the military.  Okay, I’m honest that is actually a lot of information the uniform is a dead giveaway and I saw him in uniform at a department seminar before classes started. So, it was pretty easy to figure out who he was.  The next day in Stats I struck up a conversation about the presentation; I guess I picked a good topic because I barely got another word in before class started.  Luckily for him that didn’t scare me off.  It took him a month of classes and walking me to my car to finally ask me to dinner. That was five years ago today!

  The journey since then has not been easy but it has been an adventurous one that I wouldn’t change.  You might think that five years is not very long but in the Navy World it can feel like a life time.  Consider this in that time we have lived in 3 states, changed orders 4 times, both earned Master’s Degrees,  moved half way across the country by myself with a dog and 3 birds, and traveled to more places than I can count, I started working from home and this is not even begun to cover all our adventures.  I am sure any military spouse would agree 5 years adds up to at least 10 or more in the civilian world.  My sailor has put it a few other more colorful ways; well let’s not start down that road.

Don’t worry this is not going to be a chronicle of every tiny detail of my life nor is it a Navy bashing party (If you are looking for Navy bashing you will have to find it somewhere else.  I may talk about a situation being less than ideal, this life comes with sacrifices and I knew that from the beginning).   As with most things in my life this blog will adapt over time but the goal is to share things that I love or and experiences that may help others.  You will defiantly see some food, some travel and some posts on Navy life.  

Comments: everyone has an opinion and some of the things I will talk about people will probably have some strong feelings about.  Please, be respectful of others.  I reserve the right to delete comments, the military life comes with enough drama and stress I don’t need any more.