2016 was the year I started this blog! It’s hard to believe I have only been blogging since April. My husband was deployed overseas (his 6th time), and I had been writing some encouraging advice and tips for the other spouses in our unit on the Facebook page. I got so much positive feedback that I decided to start a blog.

The Seasoned Spouse blog collects stories and advice from my past 16 years with my military boyfriend/husband. Over the past few months, the blog has had thousands of visitors, from military bases around the world. I have met some amazing and inspiring bloggers from other military branches. And I have even been paid to write articles for military sites.

Plus, my husband returned from that 6th deployment, and our family got to vacation in Yosemite National Park, Disneyland, and Legoland. It has been an exciting year indeed!

My most popular posts of 2016

#1. Are Military Families Part of an Energy Scam?

This post was, by far, my most popular of the year. In fact, it went viral! The post explores reports on our base about unusually high energy bills. Some military families living on base have reported inconsistent billing issues to the energy provider. However, the energy provider blames the Housing Office, and the Housing Office says only the Energy Provider can make adjustments. Some families living on base are feeling trapped into paying bills of $300 or $400, without any explanation.

Since publishing the article, I have received feedback from military families in multiple branches all over the country. This problem is happening at multiple bases. After thousands of views and shares, this article has gained attention from leaders like the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Congressman Darrell Issa. If your family is fighting unusual energy bills, please contact your chain of command and Congressman Issa’a office to share your story: https://issa.house.gov/

#2. Dimes for Disney

During deployment, my kids earned their allowance money in dimes. We saved them in a 1-liter bottle to be used on our post-deployment vacation to Disneyland. When filled, the bottle held $300 in dimes! We used the military discount tickets to take the Grandparents with us to Disneyland during Christmas, and the kids each got to choose a souvenir with their earned allowance money. It was a great deployment activity for the kids, and kept us motivated and looking forward to the future.

#3. Unusual Things Military Families Get for Free

Some military bases offer interesting free things for military families. Has your family ever received free groceries at a giveaway? What about diapers, art supplies, swim lessons, bikes, or furniture? Check out these great resources and see if they are available in your area!

#4. Why I am a total Deployment Slacker

Everyone starts deployment with huge goals, like losing weight, redecorating the house, or taking college classes. Yet it is pretty common for military spouses who remain behind to become worn out with stress, exhaustion, taking care of children, and financial burdens. So yeah, I don’t always do everything on my Pinterest board. I’m not always the perfect example of a military spouse. And I’m ok with that.

#5. End of Deployment is the Worst

Ugh, this one was hard to write. I expected the last few weeks of deployment to be exciting and exhilarating. Instead, it was the most stressful and challenging time of all. I heard the same from other military spouses in the unit. So if you are feeling like the end of deployment is hard, you are not alone. This article explains what to expect, and how to get through it.

#6. Giving Birth During Deployment

There are many military spouses who have given birth during deployment. Not too many have had a baby during a hurricane. My 3rd child was born when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, and hurricane Isabel struck the East Coast. If you want to hear a ridiculous account of having a baby when your base is shut down and the hospital has lost power, then this is the story for you!

#7. Care Package for the Military Spouse at Home

This is a fun article that explores how you can support and encourage a military wife who stays at home during deployment. There are some things we could all use during deployment. For everything else, there’s wine, right?

#8. Dear New Neighbors in Base Housing

I wrote this after we had new neighbors for the 2nd time in a year. I have been the new neighbor plenty of times, so I know how important it is to feel welcomed in a new neighborhood. You have too, right? This is what we are all thinking when new neighbors move in, whether we say it or not.

#9. The Military Spouse Challenge

I wrote this post on Mother’s Day, as a tribute to my mom. She was not a military spouse. But there are many ways that her life in the country was harder than my life on base. And there were many months when she was a ‘single mom’ during my Dad’s overseas business trips. Military spouses always want to complain about how hard their lives are compared to civilians. So take the ultimate challenge: compare your military life to your parents’!

#10. Why Military Life is NOT Romantic

Are you sick of hearing that marrying a man in a uniform is a sexy, romantic adventure? Military life is sometimes really hard. Like when you are sleeping alone for 7 months in a row. Or waking up at 5 AM to locate random uniform pieces. Or spending your anniversary in different time zones. A military marriage is so much more than an attractive uniform. Read this funny list and tell me if you agree!

So those are my highlights from 2016. I am so excited for 2017 to be the first full year blogging! I will be spending a lot more time blogging this year, since my husband will go on another deployment. I am also working on my first book for military spouses. So I look forward to sharing much more with you in the coming year!

Psst… I finished writing that book, and it was published in 2021! Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses shares the support and inspiration you need to face many common challenges of military life. Inside, you’ll find letters about PCS moves, deployments, military marriages, military kids, and all the ups and downs of military life. Order yours on Amazon, or get an autographed copy here.

author with Open When book

Which of these posts have been your favorite? What would you like to hear more about this year?


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