I’ll admit my guilty pleasure Facebook group is Dear Dependa II. It’s so crude, but yet so funny. But let’s face it. In all technicality, I am a dependa too! I depend on my husband to be the main bread winner and of our household. I depend on him for strength and confidence. And, I depend on him for his love and sacrifice. So yeah, I guess I’m just the biggest dependa of them all!
Okay, I’m totally joking. I know the term “dependa” means a wife who depends on their husband for everything and has no life goals other than bank on military benefits and sling their husband’s rank around like a proud boy scout and his new badge. I personally don't mind the 'milso' title because that is what I am. We often joke about me being a dependa and I think making light of a bad name is the kind of attitude + outlook you need in this life anyways!
I know it may come off as harsh, but I’m not quite sure where the expectation that military life is easy comes from. And I really don’t know who told them that you will be making bank and living this luxurious life of new cars every promotion, more money per kid you have, and Coach purses galore! The real military life is a bit of a rude awakening if you have that expectation.
I have picked up and left my family and friends, moving to places we would plant our roots, even if temporarily. I’ve learned to pack my life away in boxes, and be okay with leaving it in a storage container. Life as a ‘dependa’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and I think no amount of mental preparation will prepare you for this life. This isn't a woe is me, it's just how life is.
I don’t think any amount of advice, tips, and personal experiences can prepare you for that first night alone when he leaves for deployment. No amount of creativity or money you put in a care package, will make sending things overseas feel absolutely normal. You may have a little one and realize that time that is being missed, your spouse will never get back.
It is hard and remains difficult for a long time. Some wives can transition easier than others and that’s okay. This life can make you feel so lonely, and other times you will feel completely surrounded by an amazing community of others going through the same experiences.
Here is the thing about life as a dependa: we chose our life partners on factors completely separate from what they do as a career (most of us). We would love our husbands and wives and support them in whatever job they were in. But, let’s not forget being in the military isn’t really your typical job.
I have no shame in showing pride in my husband, because what he in particular does for our country and other people, is something to truly thank him for. Their jobs are dangerous, they go to the other side of the earth to defend our Homefront, and they do it all without the expectation of being thanked: it’s just their job. I don't mind putting my experiences and stories out there, because I know how many other spouses relate to them. It doesn't bother me one bit to be labeled dependa, as I know what I am truly and feel only pride and love for my husband; not his rank.
Living the military life has taught me valuable life lessons and personal growth. Being married to someone in the military takes a lot of patience, courage, and strength and while it is definitely not the "toughest job in the military to be a ___ wife", it isn't for the weak.
It is like any relationship, but you have added strains that most normal relationships hopefully don't endure. Extended separation, having to be responsible for your spouse when they have little connection/communication, and learning how to be alone while you are technically not alone are all hardships faced. But, you can do it. Don't let negativity trouble you and focus on what is most important in your life, and you'll survive and thrive in this military life just fine.
What is the most distinctive "life as a dependa" moment for you?
Those of us who struggled to get pregnant, know the overwhelming disappointment of a negative test. You over evaluate every little potential “symptom” and think: this is it. This will be the month I get pregnant.
Then it doesn’t happen. Your monthly cycle shows up, or even worse you test and you know the answer before it comes and the three minutes are up. (This happened twice to me, not kidding) Seeing only one line on a test seems like the silliest thing to cry over, but in that moment it feels like you lost something. Like this was supposed to be the month, and that chance is gone now.
After trying for about 10 months, I decided I was no longer going to test, track my days, or put any excess energy into it. I was trying to feel content with life being just me and my husband and focusing on buying a home. We had also finally planned our belated honeymoon for our 2 year anniversary, and were getting so excited for it! It was the week before Christmas and I started getting my usual period symptoms, so I prepared for it to come in the next few days as usual. When it never came, and I had a week of those symptoms, I tried to push any glimmer of hope out of my mind. I didn’t want to have that feeling again, especially with Christmas coming up so soon.
We enjoyed our Christmas weekend and that following Monday my family came up to celebrate with us. That Monday morning, something in me just had the urge to take the dang test. I slipped out of the bed quietly, unwrapped a test as quietly as I could as to not wake up J, and took it.
I set it down on the counter and before it even left my hand, I saw a line immediately as the dye ran across. My first thought was it was the test line, but the test key shows the test line as the second. I just stood there in utter shock as tears filled my eyes.
J and I had always planned to test together, I wasn’t in to the whole idea of doing it alone and surprising him after, but honestly I was just expecting the usual negative result. I finished up in the bathroom and walked to the bed and said his name and woke him up. I was standing there shaking, test in one hand, and he probably thought I was a crazy woman! I showed him and started tearing up even more and you know what his response was? “About time”.
That’s exactly how I felt too, but of course decorated with more gushy, emotional words per usual. I got back in bed and cuddled up with him, just beaming that it had finally happened: our prayers had been answered, this was the day we prayed for. I am still in shock that we are having a baby, and I don’t think it really sunk in until I saw our baby on the ultrasound screen. The nurse put the wand on my belly and immediately on the screen, we saw our baby for the first time. She played its little heartbeat (a fast 175), and I could not believe my ears. I am finally carrying another life, something that seemed like such a distant hopeful dream at one point, was now a reality. I was pretty composed seeing the baby, just in utter awe that we made that. Then, the baby started moving around and moving all of its limbs and that’s when I snapped back to reality and teared up.
For those still waiting for that day, my heart goes out to you. While we tried for a year, J pointed out that we shouldn’t look at it that way. It happened exactly when it was supposed to. The day we prayed for couldn’t have been as perfect if it happened any other day. I feel like I have appreciated this pregnancy so much more than I would if we got pregnant as soon as we started trying. It made me appreciate my time with J, focus on improving myself, and getting the most out of life.
I hope to change the direction of our blog a little bit, because as you know, this is The Strattons. I created this blog to document our lives together, and now our family is growing by one more! I will actively be sharing this pregnancy journey, doing week updates when major things are changing, and I just sharing the overall joy of motherhood that I so heavily prayed for.
After a long and eventful year, I can finally say that I'M PREGNANT. I'm 12 weeks along and I still can't fully believe it. As most of you know, my husband and I have been patiently praying and trying for the past year, to no avail. The day after Christmas I got the surprise of a lifetime and realized God had finally answered our many prayers.
I still get daily traffic, emails, and messages from other women on the fertility journey. Some tell me about their miracle babies and how they were once in my shoes, and some tell me how they are still walking down that long and difficult path. What I've learned in this past year, is as woman we are not alone. I know when I first started trying and saw announcement after announcement, it broke me. Little did I know, there is a whole community of woman just like me praying for the day they can be mothers.
In a weird way I am grateful we had to wait so long to have a baby. Personally, I think it helped me appreciate every little thing more. It helped me value my time with my husband and grow closer together, it helped me focus on other areas of my life that I had put on the back burner because of this one golden dream, and it also helped me appreciate what a true, raw blessing a baby really is.
I have been lucky enough to not have any morning sickness, and have really only been feeling drained + the effects of a small bladder. All little things that I couldn't be happier to feel, because it means God finally chose me to be a mother. I have a favorite quote and it is what I refer back to often.
While I don't want to dwell so much on the journey it took to get here, I want to just express that for those still on it, I am praying for you. It's not easy and I know the feeling of seeing pregnancy announcements popping up all around you. But like I said in my last post, "any new life coming onto this earth is a joyous occasion".
I cannot wait to share more of this pregnancy journey with you all! I am due late August and just announced the big news publicly yesterday. I wanted to keep the announcement simple, because I have seen one too many posts that are a little over the top. Below is how we announced! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and reached out to me. It truly means so much and I'm grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people. J + I are overjoyed to be parents and I am looking forward to documenting it all on our blog.
We went to our first appointment at 9 weeks and I was so nervous! The nurse was so nice and made me feel comfortable! I was afraid they would have to do the internal ultrasound and that I wouldn't be able to tell what our baby was... Wrong and wrong! She talked to us for a little bit on our backgrounds and genetics, gave me a quick exam, and then it was time for the ultrasound. She put the ultrasound wand on my belly and instantly on the screen our little baby was there: head, body, little arms and legs. I couldn't believe how human it looked, because I've heard woman say it looks alien-like. We then heard the heartbeat, which is the sweetest sound I've ever heard, and I just laid there in awe looking at the screen showing me our baby. We were both pretty quiet and more so just in amazement as the whole thing played out. We go for our next appointment at 13 weeks which is next Monday so I can't wait to share more then!
For now, here is the first bump update that I filmed at 8 weeks.
I feel refreshed, well rested, and just a little bit more tan! J and I returned home from our honeymoon and we had a blast! Okay, not the whole time (we got super sick for a few days!). We really enjoyed catching up on some sleep, seeing beautiful destinations, and had a great time on the cruise ship!
We decided to go on a 10 day cruise to the caribbean. We used Princess Cruises and I highly recommend! We ported out of Ft. Lauderdale and they were sweet enough to shuttle us from the Miami airport to the port, leaving us with less to stress about. But, we pulled an all nighter and flew to Miami at 11 pm, arrived about 5 am there and had to wait for the shuttle which didn't leave till noon. We ended up getting very acquainted with the Miami airport, and if you have ever been there it's literally the worst airport we have ever been to! (but that's a whole other story!)
The cruise ship was fun, and we participated in several games and 'Princess Live!' shows and James ended up winning one of them which was so fun! haha Since it was live, it ended up being a show on our tv and we watched it that night and it was so cool to see him on there! We also won bingo twice in a row which was super fun and we decided to end on a good note and not play again.
As for the actual islands, we opted out of doing excursions. I haven't really been feeling up to strenuous activity and we more so wanted to just relax and do our own thing on our vacation! We did get off on every island though, and had a fun time seeing the different buildings and exploring. In this post I'll be showcasing my two favorite spots we went to.
Princess Cays is an island owned by Princess Cruises. You would think this would be the most boring since it's the most uncultured, but it had the nicest beach and we enjoyed relaxing in the chairs and eating burgers! It was a common theme for the rest of the islands we visited that the beaches were not nearby and you had to take a taxi to them which was kind of a bummer! But Princess Cays was all beach and we had a great time there.
Curacao was one of the last spots to dock at, and it was by far our favorite! It has such a rich history and it was a beautiful island! It was also one of the few that didn't have people berating you to buy things as soon as you got off the ship. Curacao has the largest pontoon bridge and when a ship needs to go by, it will swing itself to the other side of the water. It was the coolest thing to watch, but be prepared to wait for a long time to get back to the other side! haha They have a ferry to transport people while its moved, but we decided to wait it out and the ferry really didn't save a ton of time.
Here is the Queen Emma bridge swinging back, it is seriously so cool! We went down the shopping center shown above and it was a dream. Cobblestone roads, nice people, and I found a MAC store and treated myself haha!
When we were on our way back to the ship, I realized out loud to J that we had yet to see any animals! I was bummed and right after I finished that sentence we saw this huge guy scurrying by! It was so hilarious and I'm so glad we got to see one cool animal before leaving.
I hope y'all enjoyed our vacation pics and lived vicariously through them! We had so much fun celebrating our two year anniversary and having a honeymoon! I cannot wait to go on more vacations like this and share it with you all!
Where was your favorite place to vacation?
Thank you to Irresistible Me for sending me this product for review. These are my 100% honest opinions and I hope you enjoy this post!
I posted a few weeks ago a hair tutorial using my Irresistible Me hair extensions and I am finally getting around to sharing a review on them! I have hair extensions that I got back in high school, and they are in my natural brunette hair color. Ever since dying my hair blonde, I have been on the lookout for hair extensions I could wear with my new hair change. I wanted quality human hair extensions, that wouldn't break the bank, but that would still look fabulous!
I know you are probably thinking that it may be harder to order hair extensions online and have them match, but honestly knowing what color my hair was and reading the descriptions, I knew right away that honey blonde would be a perfect match. And it was!
A great thing that Irresistible Me offers, is a sample piece of the hair color. When you receive your package, you can remove the sample and compare it to your hair color. If it matches, great and you can open up the hair extension pack and get to styling! If not, you can return it with the simple instructions they add in the box for no charge! It can take 6-8 weeks to create, ship, and arrive, but that is reassuring to me because that means they are putting out a quality product and take their time to perfect it.
I am in love with the quality of these extensions, but my favorite part is how natural they look and feel. I've seen hair extensions that look very fake, shiny, and plastic-y, but these truly match real hair texture. Also I love the lowlights and highlights blended seamlessly throughout, which helps overall blend your hair color efficiently. So far, I have left my extensions in the natural straight/slightly wavy texture because they have been perfect when adding into braids or when my hair is straight! I did a post a few weeks ago of a hair tutorial and seriously, you can't even tell what's my real hair and my extensions.
Because the Silky Touch clip in extensions are 100% human remy hair, you can cut, curl, straighten, blow dry, and wash them! I usually only wash my extensions afterwards I am styling it, that way I don't feel like I'm damaging the hair with a back to back straighten and curl.
The extensions I have are the Silky Touch style in "honey blonde" and I got them in 20 inches. I love having length and a great thing about these is I can put them all in for full volume, or just add in half if I am looking for length! I am obsessed with the four clip weft, because it is so full and makes a huge difference.
Also, I feel that the prices are way more reasonable, and I wish I knew about Irresistible Me before buying my first brunette extensions! For those I paid $150+, and my Irresistible Me pair are currently on sale for $62. You are definitely not sacrificing quality, and if you are looking to buy new clip in extensions, I highly recommend this brand! I would love to know if you use hair extensions and if you like them more for volume or length! I love the versatility of clip ins because you can have both or one or the other! Thank you for reading!
Thank you for stopping by The Strattons blog! This is where I share snippets of my life as a new mom to be, beauty + fashion lover, and overall lover of life's tender mercies!