Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Year Resolution: Reconnecting With Loved Ones

My family, My Roots
I was born in the 80s! Can you tell from the picture on the left?
I am not sure why my older sister wasn't having it...but there had to be a reason.
I have been away from home since 2003 and it is crazy to think that I haven't spent ONE Christmas with my family in all those years.
We attempted to go in 2013 but it didn't happen because Chris could not get the time off. I am lucky that my family is very understanding to this lifestyle and that they are so supportive. There is ONE regret that I do have since I have left home. I disconnected.
I am the youngest of three siblings and my sister and I are 8 years apart. My brother is 2 yrs older than I am.
When I was born, my brother was super angry. That is what my mom has told me. We got along for the most part until I left home. He missed me a ton and I didn't really respond to it. I chose to disconnect.
My sister and I didn't become close until I had my own children. With 8 years between us, we didn't have too much in common growing up. She has led a tough life and I have learned a lot from her. Now that I have come back from living overseas (2 years or so) we have gotten closer. We talk a lot on the phone and on Facebook. I am glad I have her to vent to or share life experiences. I MISS MY FAMILY.
My Older Sister and Brother
I have a really close bond with my mother and father. They are not perfect but really close to it in my eyes. I admire them because they are hard workers and have provided for us and continue to do so if we need it. My mother has taught me so much about people and life. She and I didn't get along during my teenage years because I thought she was so strict but now I am so thankful for that. I wasn't allowed to spend the night at any slumber parties or stay out past dark even at 16 yrs old! I begged her one time and she did finally cave but I think that was because I was so close to graduating high school. I can remember what my parent's home smells like and every time my mom sends me a card, I sniff it to see if I can smell a hint of her lotion or perfume! I MISS HER! They have lived in their home since 1973!
I have always been daddy's little girl. Well my brother had a girl and she sort of rules that department but I AM IT when she isn't there! LOL!! Can you tell by the smile on my face in the photo that I knew I was the princess? I soaked all of that in! I was spoiled and I admit it. I am spoiled still but now from my husband.
The photo was sent to me today by one of my cousins I reconnected with on Facebook. She lives in Mexico and helps run a bakery in Eagle Pass, TX with my uncle and aunt.
One of my resolutions this year was to RECONNECT. I am tired of being distant and I know this lifestyle often keeps us miles and miles away from our families. This year I want to keep up with everyone, not just my family but my close friends too. I only focus on what I AM doing and that isn't fair. We are not getting any younger. Is that what being in your thirties mean?? You start thinking less of yourself and transition into thinking more about others? I have always been thoughtful of others but didn't quite make the attempt to let them know. This year is different. I want to be CONNECTED.
Chris and I are planning a trip HOME (My Parent's Home) for the Spring. I am crossing my fingers that he gets his leave approved because I want to be there like old times, watching my mother make tortillas and my dad firing up the grill. I want to see my boys play with my niece. I want to treasure each moment as if it were my last and their last. BE PREPARED for lots of pictures and videos in the future. Thank you for listening to me on this post.
If you feel the disconnect with your family and friends...it is perfectly normal. This lifestyle can keep us from them especially if you are across the ocean on another continent. I am several states west of my parent's home...I am either going by plane or car, but whichever it is, I AM GOING HOME!
Thank you for reading. I rambled a lot!!

To Find My Vlogs Click HERE: SofiaAlejandra9

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Real Talk: "FML" (F*&^ My Life)

I have read one too many posts lately stating that this lifestyle isn't what they expected. Or in other words "FML."  This lifestyle is not something you can predict. The difference is whether you make the best of it or do the opposite and hate every day that you are living it. I choose to make the best of it. I hardly ever talk about the negative aspects of having a husband in the military. I still don't want to do that here. I will share some experiences that made me a stronger spouse, mother and friend to those around me.
When Chris and I met, he had already been in the military for five years. Within a year we were married and we received orders to live overseas. We had a newborn son and we moved across the ocean to Belgium. Before I met Chris I felt like my life was already established. I had my own place, a full time job and just finished graduating from college. No worries in the world, then I unexpectedly fell in love. It happens!!!
Chris is a Military Police Officer, dedicated to his job in the Army. He enjoys his job and most of the time he works holidays and odd shifts. Most people think he works the typical 6am-5pm shift, M-F. Not him, he works holidays, Saturdays, Sundays, 24 hour shifts, and overall random hours. I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I am blessed that he is working and can provide for all of us. He doesn't ask for much...ever! The thing is, I should be complaining, but early on I learned to appreciate the time we have together.
The reason why I am writing this post is because I am concerned when I read: "Oh great another day, I hate my life!" It isn't coming from me, it is coming from other women who I share something in common with, the military lifestyle. I get it, we are not always going to be happy whether we are in this or not. I wake up some days wanting to crawl back into my blankets. I also wake up most of the time to a window that appears fogged over because it has either rained or is gloomy again. It is Washington.
When we received orders to Washington, I was beyond happy. I was happy that after three long years, we
were finally moving back to the U.S.  Living overseas taught me so much. "Be happy with what you are given and what is easily accessible!" When we were in Belgium, we drove 40 min to the commissary. If we had forgotten something...oh well...maybe next time. There were stores we could shop at off post but it just wasn't the same. I tried to learn French. That failed and it became frustrating because most often we were expected to rely on French and not English. Brussels was different, we could speak Spanish there and get around! My point is, it was difficult when we lived overseas and I learned a lot of what I took for granted.
Chris deployed last year and although his company returned earlier than expected, it was scary. For the first time in our marriage, I was scared shit-less. I had no idea if I would see him again or how the boys were going to react. I thanked God everyday that I was able to speak to him and know he was okay. It was tough for all of us. The strength that I gained through that experience has benefited me in so many ways. My attitude alone has changed.
I am writing this blog to let you know that you are not alone. We all have bad days but be happy that you are breathing and alive. There are women out there who have lost more than you and I will ever lose in our lives, their husbands. Take advantage of every day that you are given to make the most of your day, spend time with your loved ones. We have it good. It may not be the best lifestyle as things change all the time, but take that as a challenge for yourself. Tell yourself that you can do it. Reach out to others who are struggling or having a worse time.
The thing that has helped me the most is to surround myself with others who share the same views. Unfortunately, if you hang out with those who are always negative, your attitude will start being the same. Surround yourself with others that shine a light on your ideas and thoughts. Those that bring you up and are there when you need them. I am glad to have a great circle of friends, here online and now where we are stationed. It is OKAY to un-friend those on your buddy list too. You know the ones that are there that have zero contact with you. Most of the time when you un-friend them, they don't or haven't noticed it, meaning you weren't on their important list anyway. Sounds bad huh? It is true. Try it.
This year is a time for change as corny or cliche as that sounds, I want to make a difference. I choose to surround myself with positive thinkers, people who laugh, people who share common interests as me, people who care for others and people who strive for better. I have to meet all those requirements too, I have to be accountable for all of it.
I started my blog and Youtube Channel when we lived overseas to help others. I started it to record our experiences while in the military and to offer insight. I stopped making videos about the military lifestyle but hope to return to those soon as there is a whole lot more to discuss. I want to start writing more because I feel like I was given a fresh start. I have met such amazing people through social media and I am so grateful. I love helping others.

I don't want to put a lot of blame on those wives who feel like their lives are not what they expected. It may not ever be how you want it to be or what you pictured it to be, but that is what makes it so unique from anything else. I just want them to realize that they can change their lives if they want to, not for anyone else, but for themselves. Stay positive and stay strong!

Every day I wake up saying "Thank you for another day because I can _____________!"

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What is Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) like?!

I took this photo at Spanaway Lake Park
We moved here in 2012 and it has been a great experience. Moving to a new place can be scary at times but I was ready. Before we PCS'd (moved) to Washington, we lived in Belgium. Belgium was great but we were ready to move back to the United States. The weather isn't that much different!
During fall, winter and into spring, about 3/4 of the year, it rains. For some this could be really hard to get used to. I enjoy the rain and gloomy-ness.
I was raised near Chicago where it snows inches upon inches and Washington has very light snow, I am talking 1-2inches at most near post.
Have you seen the movie "Twilight"? Trees for miles and miles, green everywhere, beautiful lakes, and places to take a relaxing hike, that is Washington. It is by far my most favorite base we have been at (scenery wise).
The joint base is located in the middle of everything. There is easy access to theaters, shopping centers, restaurants, schools, thrift shopping (lol), parks, forests, everything. There are malls in South Hill, Tacoma and Seattle! I am sure I am missing a few others!

I want to live off post, what are the best places to live around post?? I can only speak by what I see and this is in my own opinion. I love the Spanaway/Puyallup area. Graham and Yelm are quiet. Lacey and Olympia I have heard are really beautiful places to live but may be a little bit of a drive. Lakewood we were always told to stay away from but it is very close to post. With every city there is a bad part of town. I won't say stay away from Lakewood because there are nice areas there. I always say, research. There are other close cities too: Steilacoom and University Place.

Chris and I did something we typically wouldn't ever do and that is renting a place before stepping foot in it. We rented a home while we were staying at my parents house on the way here. We paid our deposit over the phone to a management company. Did it work? Yes and No. Yes because we were in what appeared to be in a beautiful home, but no because our rent was too high for what we saw around our neighborhood after moving in. Research all costs, rent, utilities and the gas you will be spending while commuting to post. You also have to figure out where you or your spouse will be working on post. That can make a huge difference when calculating mileage. Chris and I currently own our home and the drive to the nearest gate is between 15-18 min depending on traffic. Once inside JBLM we travel another 7 min or so to main post. AHHH the traffic, one thing I forgot to mention. Find the best routes and shortest routes if you want to avoid the I-5.

JBLM is a large base as it is two bases combined. There are tons of things to do as well. There are a few gyms located on Fort Lewis, CYSS and activity centers for the kids. My kids are in sports on post and they love it. I don't spend much time on post because we do not live there. But in all honesty, if you love the outdoors, you will love it here. Summer time can get pretty hot but not unbearable. Most homes do not have central air and we rely on table fans and open windows. I don't mind that at all. Of course you can find homes with central air or air conditioning if that is what you prefer.

If you live in this area, please leave a comment below on what you love or dislike the most about Joint Base Lewis-McChord. If you have any questions and you have orders to come to this base, please feel free to leave a question and I will answer it the best I can.

Social Media Lovers:
You can find many Facebook Pages that are base specific.
Fort Lewis Spouse Network: https://www.facebook.com/groups/288327527865013/
Fort Lewis Army/AF Wives: https://www.facebook.com/groups/402262236471681/
Let's Kick It in Puyallup, Spanaway, & Graham: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LetschillPuy.Spa.Grah/

If you are looking for a Military Spouse Page (Non-Location Specific) please join me at "More than a Military Spouse!" 

Use keywords such as JBLM, Fort Lewis Wives, Fort Lewis Spouses on FB and you will find so many more!!
Thank you for reading!!