Friday, January 13, 2012

In the Navy

Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner's "Show Us Your Life" to talk about our life in the military, and hopefully meet a few new friends. Anyone currently stationed in San Diego? :) I talk in bits and pieces about our being in the military on this blog, and hopefully this post will give a little more insight to our story as well as some of the pros and cons (in this Navy Wife's opinion).

JT, joined the Navy in January 2001. (Before September 2001...so he had no way of knowing we'd be at war.) He was already a dentist, and went to Officer Indoctrination School (OIS) in Newport, RI. Technology wasn't where it is today, so I actually have a collection of calling cards we burned through during his 6 weeks there, as well as lots of snail mail letters. After his graduation, he was stationed in Quantico, VA.
I started college in the fall of 2001, so poor JT did LOTS of traveling down from VA to Clemson to visit me. We were able to keep in touch a lot better with my new cell phone, and via email.
In April 2002, JT got new orders and Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to Whiting Field in Pensacola, FL. The drive was about the same to Clemson (8ish hours). We tried hard to see each other every other weekend as we could. I got a car and was able to make the trip sometimes so that JT wasn't ALWAYS the one driving. After 4 LOOONGGG years of long-distance dating, we were finally married in June 4, 2005.
I was SO happy to finally be together after so much time apart, but would be lying if I didn't say it was a HUGE adjustment! Even though I knew JT was in the Navy, it never really dawned on me when we got married that we would spend a career in the military. (Not sure why looking back? Maybe just caught up in wedding, getting to be together FINALLY, etc.) We lived together in a JT's one bedroom apartment in Pensacola for those couple of months.
We PCS'ed to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii in August 2005. Even though Hawaii is GORGEOUS and wonderful, I had a tough time at first. I had gone from being born and raised in the same town and getting to see my family and friends all the time to moving "halfway around the world" with a 6 hour time difference. That's actually one of my biggest regrets in our marriage, that I was so affected by what I didn't have, that I didn't fully appreciate what I DID have during those first couple of years in Hawaii. Our first house was a typical old house on base. Lots of coats of paint on the walls, lots of ants, no air conditioning but it was less than a quarter mile walk to the beach!
When we finally settled into marriage and a life on Oahu, we really enjoyed it. We went hiking and snorkeling all the time and had the opportunity to visit Maui, Hawaii ("the Big Island") and Kauai and even try surfing!
Our first Navy Ball in October 2005.
In October 2006, JT was promoted from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander. I got to pin on his new rank, and have never been prouder of my Naval Man! :)
In September 2007, JT was deployed to Cambodia on a humanitarian mission.
He was only able to email me 3 times during that month which was hard for me, but they kept him busy!
I know it made him feel so good to have the opportunity to help those people.
In June 2008 we PCS'ed again. We got new orders for JT to do a residency in Operative Dentistry in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. We had our car shipped to San Diego and then did a cross country drive up and over to MI. It is our favorite "vacation" to date getting to see so many beautiful places in our great country as a couple!
Our second house together was a cookie cutter, 2 story house in a nice neighborhood. In hindsight, it was too big for us (a family of 2 hoping to have a baby), but I think we were trying to make up for the less than perfect house we had in Hawaii.
We got to experience lots of new things in Michigan that we wouldn't have elsewhere. We were only about 4 hours away from my relatives and Grandma in PA and got to see them more often than I had my whole life. SNOW, SNOW & MORE SNOW. Mackinaw Island, Traverse City, Lake Michigan, trips to Chicago, trips to Detroit, and football games at U of M!! GO Blue! Our communication with our family and friends far away improved with technology like Skype!
And of course the best thing we did in Michigan was have this sweet boy join our family!
The summer of 2011 brought us our most recent PCS with orders to Miramar in San Diego, CA. We decided to do another cross country trip as a family, and traveled Route 66. It was a much different experience with a toddler than just the two of us. We weren't able to stop and do as much, but I still wouldn't trade those memories we had the chance to make together for anything!
Our new house in San Diego. I LOVE it. By far my favorite house ever! It is the perfect size for our family (and still has a guest room!), and has a great yard! We've only lived here in San Diego for about 6 months, but we are enjoying all the things there are to do around here: zoo, safari park, sea world, beaches, etc.
JT and I went to the Navy Ball in October.
We are looking forward to seeing what else this duty station has in store for us! (in addition to this surprise baby!)
A few pros and cons of the military:

Pros:
  1. The chance to move and see so much of our country (and perhaps the world if we ever get stationed overseas)
  2. Getting to meet so many new people from all walks of life wherever we go, and now having friends all over!
  3. Commissary privileges and saving $ on groceries.
  4. A steady paycheck for our family in a bad economy
  5. As a dentist JT doesn't have to worry about being sued, or paying staff...he just gets to go to work and do his job and come home at night relaxed

Cons:
  1. Having to move so often
  2. Living far away from friends and family
  3. It's a commitment that we cannot break. JT can't just quit his job.
  4. Lack of control...getting orders to deploy or PCS sometimes without any choice.
  5. The scariest of all is risk of the "ultimate sacrifice."

JT anticipates staying in the Navy until 24 years (as long as promotions, and things go well), so we have about another 14 years of this lifestyle. There are more things for us to consider now with the addition of CJ and his little sister (schools, etc.) At first the idea of us doing this that long was a little daunting, but I now I find it exciting, because I know there are so many "unknown" chapters of our life still to come. More places to live/visit, more things to do, more people to meet. It isn't always easy, but it's always an adventure! Home is wherever we are.

9 comments:

splashofstrength said...

Hi!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I enjoyed reading your "military" story...its quite a ride isn't it? We were in Hawaii before Savannah and I loved it, but there definitely was culture shock! Kanohebay is so pretty -- we lived over in Kapolei in Ko Olina. And, I completely agree with your pros and cons, but it sounds like you've made the best of military life!
Becky

Mary said...

Hi
Happened across your blog from Kelly's Korner. We too were stationed in Hawaii as newlyweds (1999-2002). We have been to Quantico twice, Norfolk,and North Carolina. We loved Kbay and are hoping for orders back there this summer. I loved reading your story. I'm sure I'll stop by again sometime. :) Mary

Navy Wife said...

We actually are originally from Hilton Head Island, SC. Crazy how small this world is. Enjoyed reading your post!

Mitch and Erin Owen said...

Hi! I found your blog through Kelly's Korner today and I really enjoyed reading your post. My husband is joining the Navy as a dentist this May upon his graduation. I have been wondering so much what our life will be like. Thanks for sharing so much about your journey... I will be sure to stop back by!
Erin

Mitch and Erin Owen said...

Sorry to post another comment, but I just realized y'all are originally from Beaufort, SC. That is where we are hoping to move to in the coming months as my husband will be stationed at Parris Island. I would really love to know more about it. If you would be willing or would have the time (I know how busy chasing a toddler can be, I have one of my own!), here is my email: erin(dot)owen11(at)gmail(dot)com
Thanks!

AWD said...

I enjoyed reading your story...I stopped by from Kelly's link up. Congratulations on the new baby being added to your family! I like the 'unknown' of the military life as well:-)

coach said...

Although I knew most of this story about you and JT...It is nice to read about it as well and renew memories.

Michelle D. said...

Hi Lacy!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

It really is an interesting journey being a military spouse. One thing I HIGHLY recommend to any military wife is to get involved in spouse groups. They can really help when your spouse is gone. And who else understands what you're going through.

Keep blogging!

Michelle

Beth said...

Hi Lacy! I went to Clemson too! I finished in 2003, so we probably were there at the same time. I went to USC for Law School and was in Columbia until Richard and I got married. We actually have family near Beaufort on Dataw and St. Helena's. Such a small world! Thanks for leaving a comment- I'm glad to find your blog and know someone who's going through a similar experience.