Wednesday, March 31, 2010

t-minus 9 hours

Heaven help me.

Word on the street is that RLP is around 7am tomorrow (0700, if we're being technical). My heart is so fluttery! Every time I think about it, I have to take a gigantic deep breath.

I pray that tomorrow comes and goes quickly for Andrew and his class. I know that it won't be easy, but I pray that it will be successful and that at the end, he'll feel confident and accomplished. I pray that he sleeps tonight and is rested tomorrow. I pray for the Lord to be over him and take over him.

I pray for the moms and wives and girlfriends and fiances (and dads and husbands and boyfriends!) who are feeling the same anxiety as I, wondering how in the world they're ever going to fall asleep tonight. I pray for peace as their mind wanders, wishing they could offer a few last words of encouragement before their loved ones lay their weary heads down tonight. I pray for the right words to say if the news they hear on Saturday isn't what they'd hoped for.

Of course, I pray that all goes well for the next 8 weeks so that he graduates on May 28th. But I pray for peace if he rolls - seeing it as a blessing and a gift, since he'd graduate on my birthday instead :) I pray that I'm not speechless when he calls and that all of the things I've wanted to say and ask for the last four weeks are top of mind. I pray for a full battery and good signal, too.

Oh, I pray.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the thing is...

This may be an extremely long rambling of sorts, but go with it. Rudy only sits still to listen for so long before he decides he'd rather toss his bone around upstairs.

My heart feels heavy today, with many things that I can't quite put my finger on. I miss Andrew with an intensity that I honestly never knew existed. I feel a little impatient and anxious, wondering how he feels about RLP and whether or not I'll hear from him on Thursday or Saturday. Or neither. I feel tired and still a bit sick and on the edge of tears and hungry for peace in my heart. Don't mistake it for sad, because I'm not. I'm actually quite happy (hello, have you seen the 5-day forecast??). I just feel a teensy bit unsettled and alotta bit like the Lord is about to teach me something good. And that's always an uneasy feeling for me.

You know how you take the same route to work every single day, so you zone out when you're driving? But your hand still puts on the turn signal at the right places, even though you really weren't thinking about it being time? You can do other things like listen to the commentary on the radio, or sing along with the song on your iPod, or talk on the phone to your mom without fear of getting distracted and missing a turn. But if you were taking an unfamiliar route, you wouldn't do any of those things and you would turn the radio way down so that you could concentrate. That's how I feel about my faith these days - it is so familiar and comfortable and routine that I don't think about it. I just do it. I don't worry about Andrew getting beat up by his drill instructor, because I just know that he's going to be fine in the end. I don't question the decision we've made, signing ourselves up for more time apart than together, because I just know that the decision was guided by God. I just do it.

But the thing is, I don't want to just do it. Honestly, I don't think it's this crazy unshakeable, Mary-like faith that leaves me feeling this way. I think it might actually be complacency. Maybe it's too much trouble to go about seeking the Lord for faith, when I could just sit back and have it. I feel like you learn yourself and you learn God and you learn what God wants to do in you by having your faith rocked. You're more focused on the drive. Even though you made the left turn, all the while wondering if you took it too soon, you are very much involved in the ride.

That's what it is.

I want to be more involved with the Lord's guidance over my life. Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a calm heart, but I want to feel challenged - like I'm clinging to the Lord for dear life, because I am completely out of control. I just want to grow, that's all. I want to know that during this time, I have become (or am becoming) a woman who is so dependent on the Lord that, naturally, her identity and confidence is tied up in Him.

Is that too much to ask?

So those are my Tuesday night thoughts. A little deep I guess, but it can't always be about really cute dresses, now can it?

Monday, March 29, 2010

rlp on thursday + more letters!

You read right...I got THREE letters from that boy today!

But before I get into that, I wanted to let you all know that RLP (room, locker, personnel) inspection is on Thursday. This is a BIG deal and often results in a lot of roll-outs. This is what the DI put Andrew in charge of preparing his class for, which is a good sign, but nothing is guaranteed. PLEASE keep him in your prayers this week! And me too...I've been so anxious about it. If he doesn't pass on Thursday (which it's rare to do so) he'll get another chance on Saturday. If he fails on Saturday, he will roll into holding, which pushes back his graduation date. We don't want that to happen. Once he passes, he'll transition into a more academic-focused routine.

Regardless of the outcome, I'LL GET A CALL THIS WEEKEND! I can't tell you how excited I am about that. He mentioned in his letter that once Indoc is over, he may get to call a few times a week, but definitely on Sundays. Yay!

Now onto the letters. He went to the doctor on Monday of last week and used the time in the waiting room to write me a three page letter (!!!). I loved it. He had the opportunity to write two others throughout the week/weekend and they just now made it to my mailbox. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there's more where that came from :) A few highlights:
  • What he thought was a sinus infection was actually bronchitis - it wasn't bad enough hold him back at the time and that was a week ago. The fact that I haven't heard from him means all is well, but keep him in your prayers nonetheless.
  • He got 20 minutes of hygiene time (shower, shave, brush teeth, etc) and was SO excited. Apparently, that sort of thing is a luxury.
  • He got his BCGs (birth control glasses). They're military glasses that are so ugly that they're called birth control. Sure can't wait to see those.
  • He's starting to get to know many of the guys in his class and seems to have a lot of respect for them.
  • He still has no regrets. Praise the Lord.
That's that for now. PRAY PRAY PRAY. I mean it, folks.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

another letter!

This time, on purple paper. He said that it was passed out at church for note taking, but he knew that he wanted to save it for me. Sweet thing.

It was dated March 19 (last Friday) and it arrived yesterday. It was postmarked the 23rd, so I think it must take a while for the letters to actually get off the base. One thing worth mentioning is that his DI put him in charge of RLP preparation for his class. RLP is on Thursday and for me, it can't get here fast enough. Regardless of the outcome, I get to talk to him on Saturday. But if he passes the first time on Thursday, I might get to talk to him then. Here's to hoping this week goes by uber fast.

Bottom line: He sounded great again. He even made me laugh a few times! This particularly cracked me up...
I hate that I haven't written you more. Every night I wish that I could but I'm usually busy preparing for the next day and trying not to fall asleep. We've had to write chow hall procedures several times (the choreographed movements and script at dinner) and it's always a fight to stay awake. Several times I've dozed off but kept writing gibberish - one time I started writing about bananas!
One of the letters I wrote a few weeks ago had a list of questions that had been on my mind, so he answered them for me in this letter. One thing I asked was how I could be praying for him and I figured many of you would want to know the answer. He said two things: for his health and that he wouldn't just see this time as something to be survived, but an opportunity to know people and develop relationships. That's my husband, no doubt about it.

The other thing that I really wanted to share was the answer to the question, "Do you miss home?" If you ever wonder why he's doing this, I think this answers it pretty well...
Times like when I'm at church or when we're, for whatever reason, allowed to talk like normal people again, to think and feel, are especially difficult. The other day we were marching somewhere when the flag was being raised so everyone stopped to salute. For about one minute, everything was silent except the national anthem and I noticed birds singing for the first time in a while. As I watched the flag being raised I remembered why I'm doing what I'm doing. And while I know that instance has nothing to do with you, I let my guard down for that brief moment and it took me back to somewhere away from here. I thought about you, the principles that our nation stands for and the men that I'm going to lead, and I got choked up.
How many of you cried when you read that? Because I was a disaster.

I hope that once things settled down after RLP, he'll have the chance to call or at least write more. I told him in my letter last night that it's rejuvenating to hear from him. I can feel myself dragging, but getting his letters make me feel like it's manageable again.

What an honor it is to be married to that man.

Friday, March 26, 2010

extreme makeover: page edition

I don't normally blog during the middle of the day, but I've been sick with a massive ear/sinus infection for the last two days and am spending another day at home. The good news is, I'm able to rest but still get some work done from the comfort of my PJs. The bad news is, some of the other girls started getting mail from their lovies yesterday, which means I get to stare out the window waiting for the mailman and any gifts he might be bringing me. Come on, Mr. Postman (look and see, is there a letter, a letter for me?).

So to pass the time, I think I'll tell you what I'm thinking for my pre-graduation makeover. I need to put together a few outfits for both PIR (a "parade" where they're in their dress uniforms and they pass on their candios to the next class), Hi Mom's and graduation. And I have to be my cutest each time, since it'll be the first time the boy has seen his doting wife in 12 weeks. And I also want to get my hair cut, because it's summer and that's what I like to do during the summer. I may or may not have a few things in the mail that can help me assemble these outfits, but in the meantime, here's what I'm thinking...

For PIR, something cute but casual...
The good news is, I pretty much have the essentials for this outfit, so I don't need to go hunting for anything else.
Now for the Hi Mom's dinner, which I'm the most excited about! It's basically cocktail attire, so I'm looking to jazz it up in honor of Spring:
And for graduation, I want to go more casual, so I have a cute little sundress in mind:
What do you think? Am I on the right track to looking like a Navy wife? Do you have any favorites?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

in sickness or in health

First, let me say that I know I owe the OCS 15-10 ladies a special post, but that's coming once some of my recent orders arrive :) Please hold.

Not having Andrew around makes me realize more and more what a great husband he is. Not that I didn't already know it, but I'm starting to see some of the small things that he did for me that I didn't notice as much before.

Today, I am sickly. Ear ache, throat ache, headache - the whole nine. When I was on my way home from work, the only thing that sounded remotely appealing was chicken noodle soup from Panera. Then I started thinking about having to go out of my way to get it and I felt a little overwhelmed. I went anyway, but you know the feeling I'm talking about.

When I was sitting at the light waiting to turn in, it hit me that if Andrew were here and I told him that I wasn't feeling well and all I wanted was chicken noodle soup, it would be waiting for me when I got home. My PJs would be laid out, with my favorite blanket, and I would get to operate the DVR for the evening. He would wait on me hand and foot.

Spoiled? Maybe a little.

But, oh, it made me miss him...

Monday, March 22, 2010

how to be a navy officer's wife in 66 days or less

Call me crazy, but when I close my eyes and think of a Navy officer's wife, this is what I see...

Now I realize that's not totally realistic. Especially since the hair is way out of style. But the rest of it kind of works, don't you think? So my mission over the next 9.5 weeks is to somehow transfer my wardrobe into one goes timelessly with the boy's new look. Keeping within my allowance, of course.

In addition to the fashion aspect (which makes me more excited that you could know), I've been thinking a lot about how my role as a wife will change just because Andrew is in the military. So much will change about our relationship. I've come to a few conclusions...
  • Be supportive. Even though being a wife demands cooperation and support regardless, there's a new level of flexibility that I need to be comfortable with for the next few years. I need to be understanding when his responsibilities require his attention beyond the typical 9-5. I need to be okay with being told to pick up and move, even though my friends are nearby and I like the house we're in. I need to recognize the greater purpose when selfishness starts to creep in.
  • Be patient. Definitely not one of my strong points. So much of this lifestyle will challenge that and if I don't make a conscious effort to allow the Lord to grow me in that area, I will make difficult situations even harder.
  • Be encouraging. If there is one thing I have learned about my sweet husband, it's that he thrives on my affirmation. I've noticed that while he appreciates that sort of thing from others, he beams when it comes from me. Which is so flattering, by the way. In an environment where he will be charged with demanding tasks, he has to know that I believe in him. Whether that's while he's at OCS or leaving on a submarine for six months. He must know that I'm proud and confident in him.
I'm so excited that he picked me to go on this ride with him. If he had picked someone else and I'd met them on the street, I would have been SUPER jealous. Now I just have to make sure he doesn't regret it :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

spring fever

Spring weather inspires me to be productive, creative, clean and organized, and this weekend, I covered all four! I love that it's almost 7pm and the birds are chirping like the sun just rose. I love that I had my sunroof open ALL weekend. I love my new Vanilla Lime candle. I love that my neighbors gave me daffodils from their garden to liven up my coffee table. And I love that the Lord put joy in my heart this weekend.

Did I ever tell you about my sewing machine? Andrew's parents got it for me for Christmas and though I was afraid of it at first, I have come to adore it. It stirred up Crafty Page and let's just say that I haven't been a stranger to Joann Fabric lately. I've been a bit of a night owl this week and even more so this weekend and I have a few projects to show for it. I played with my sewing machine, my hot glue gun, my paint...I even played in the dirt. Yes, I'm bragging :)

Spring napkins to complete the look in the dining room.

Attempt #1 at making a bible cover failed - so I got a makeup bag instead. Attempt #2 didn't turn out so bad!

My makeshift herb garden! I later added little stakes with different wooden cut-outs at the tip (flowers, birds, etc). Very happy.

I found this little cutie at the flea market with my mom yesterday. It's made out of an old maple syrup can and you can definitely tell by the smell. Now my guests will be greeted my syrup-scented flowers!

Go ahead, nominate me for a Southern Living or Real Simple feature. I know you want to :)

In AWC news, he got a makeover this week and is now sporting this:

Note: that is NOT Andrew. Can you imagine what he would look like with a mustache? Yikes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

not one, but TWO letters!

They came in the same envelope, one dated March 9th and one dated March 14th (last Tuesday and this past Sunday). I have to say that the timing was absolutely perfect. Just last night I was starting to feel like I was running out of...whatever the word is that I'm looking for...but I just kept telling myself that the Lord has ALWAYS delivered when I was at the end of my rope and I would trust he would do the same now. I turned the corner into the neighborhood this evening and let out my prepare-yourself-for-an-empty-mailbox-and-house sigh, telling myself that I was going to be fine. When I opened the mailbox and saw Andrew's handwriting, I almost burst into tears right there, mainly because I couldn't believe how God's provision had landed in my mailbox. Oh me of little faith.

Overall, Andrew sounds good. The first letter was mostly him encouraging me. He let me know that he's starting to believe more and more that this is the right thing and he's seeing the benefit of what we're doing. I'll spare you the mushy details, but it was very thoughtful and sweet. The second letter sounded even better - I can tell that he's getting into a routine and getting better at dealing with the circumstances. This part was probably the best to hear:
This is such an odd experience. It's easy, hard, fun, miserable, flying by and dragging on. We met the DI on Thursday and we've been doing all kinds of crazy exercise since then. I've also been eating three plates of food per day and getting about 5 hours of mediocre at best sleep per night. But surprisingly I'm not tired during the day unless we sit down for an extended period of time and then I could just about fall asleep standing up. But knowing you, that information might make you worry, so please know that I'm really alright and my spirits are fine.

I like our class DI a lot. He's at least as hardcore and intense as in movies, but I'm not scared of him or anything. He's made a few people cry, shake with fear and close to (??) people have rolled into holding class because they couldn't keep up. But the DI really just wants us to learn things and get in shape. I have a lot of respect for him and am looking forward to speaking candidly with him on graduation day.

From what we can tell, things will be like this for about 3-5 more weeks. It won't be easy after that, but it'll transition to more academic work around that time.
I definitely cried the entire time I read these letters. More than anything, it was a relief to hear from him and to know that he's managing. What an answer to a gigantic prayer. Sunday was the first day they were able to send out mail, but he mentioned receiving some of mine, so I'm glad they can at least read mail. I'm secretly hoping that more is on the way :)


Hey folks! I talked about outpost last week, but found out last night through my various inside sources that it was actually today. According to one of the girls whose husband is in another class, it went well! A few people rolled, but as a class they did better than expected. At this point, I'm sure the fact that I haven't heard from Andrew is a good thing. I keep saying to myself: no news is good news!

I'm praying that I'll start receiving his mail soon, but I don't expect to hear from him for a few more weeks. Maybe Easter weekend?

Keep praying...I wish I could say it gets easier, but it definitely doesn't. It sounds like anything could happen at any time that could set him back. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind if I could just sleep through the next 10 weeks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

my own personal book club

Do you ever have 897435 books on your list, but you don't have time to start any of them? I do...all the time. But once I start reading, I'm a machine. I love going to the beach and getting through a stack of books before the week's over. LOVE it. And I definitely go through phases: fiction, Jodi Picoult, mystery, James Patterson, non-fiction/biographical, Nicholas Sparks, etc.

Right now, I'm on a nonfiction kick. Here's my current list:

I've heard this is pretty eye-opening. I'll let you know if it makes me give up my mac and cheese.

This is supposed to be good for understanding and embracing the transitional lifestyle of the military. Maybe I can start packing sooner than I thought!

LOVE LOVE LOVE Donald Miller. This one is going to be good.
"It's true that while ambition creates fear, it also creates the story. But it's a good trade, because as soon as you point toward a horizon, life no longer feels meaningless. And suddenly there is risk in your story and a question about whether you'll make it."
This absolutely sums up my life right now.

Anything I should add to my list?

I'm making an addendum to my weekend to-do list. In additional to maybe strolling the flea market with my mom and definitely seeing if Joann Fabric has anything to offer, I think I see a stint at Barnes and Noble in my future.

Also, 71 days to go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

how to plan when you don't have a plan

All I want to do right now is plan for graduation and life post-OCS. I want to find a place to live in Charleston. I want to buy a plane ticket to Rhode Island. I want to buy furniture for our future guest bedroom. I want to pick out a dress to wear to the Hi Moms Dinner, which is a fancy event the night before graduation. But unfortunately, I have nothing to base my decisions on. And every good planner knows that a plan is nothing without a foundation. So I'm improvising and planning to plan.

Let me explain.

I want to buy a plane ticket = start researching prices
I want to find a place to live = make a list of rental sites in Charleston
I want to start packing = have a yard sale/take stuff to Goodwill

Pick up what I'm puttin' down? Call me crazy, but I've got to do something to keep me busy. I'm going to start by purging and trying to limit the amount of stuff we have. Having a lot means moving a lot. One really big project on my list is to scan all of the paperwork we have filed away onto the computer, dump it onto an external hard drive and GET RID OF ALL THIS PAPER. It's driving me nuts. Fair enough?

Also, I'm definitely going to start shopping for a graduation outfit. Those things take time!

And I just decided that I'm making a trip to the craft store this weekend. Time to rustle up some creativity. Project list:
  • Finish napkins for Spring table setting
  • Make a journal
  • Make a beach bag
  • Buy fabric that I fall in love with and find something to do with it. I know that's against the rules, but I can't help it.
Also, I'm about to start searching for a new hair-do. So, stay tuned for that.

And in other news, word on the street is that the boys earned mail privileges this week so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a gift from the mailman this week.

Was that all over the place and crazy enough for you? Good. My work here is done.

Monday, March 15, 2010

spring is springing

I wish I had an Andrew update, but alas, I do not. No Sunday phone call. I really don't expect to hear from him anytime soon...but I still take my phone with me anywhere :) I did find out via that Outpost, which used to be at the end of the first week, is actually right around week three or four. It looks like Indoc is going to last a while and he's going to be buddies with the DI for a while longer. BUT, we only have 73 days left. That's less than 10.5 weeks! Ah! And since the countdown to OCS graduation sometimes makes me too anxious, I may shift my attention to the countdown to Charleston Girls' weekend and the azaleas waiting for me there. 23 days!

(When graduation will only be 7 weeks away!)

Anyway, to keep me busy this weekend, I put the finishing touches on my spring decorations. If it's happy outside, it should be happy inside. Agreed?

I made this, thank you very much. Happy Easter!

This became my project the day Andrew left.

The flowers I promised Andrew I'd buy. Sweet thing.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

a video about outpost

I forgot to post this yesterday. Again, not sure if we're on time or too early, but just in case...

ocs: day 7

First things first, my entire house is clean and you can't even believe what that does for my spirit. The weather is great, Rudy is still tired from going to doggy camp yesterday (so he's not driving me nuts!) and there's a What Not to Wear marathon on. I even lit what Andrew calls my "it's Spring and she's been cleaning" candle. Good day.

I've read a lot about how the format of OCS has changed over the last few months, but I haven't been able to find any details. It sounds like a majority of it is just timing. The same things are happening, they're just happening during different weeks. I'm still going to post the weekly overviews, because if anything else it gives you an idea of what he's going through. But I'll try to find out what's really going on if I can. One thing I did find out is that Indoc week isn't one week long anymore - it's about three weeks. I'm not sure what will fill their time and whether or not today is really "Black Saturday," but let's pretend that I know what I'm talking about :)
Today will be your last test of Indoc week. Prepare to PT like you never have before. There are any number of ways your DI can decide to put your class through this last test so it's hard to say what will occur. DIs will be circling like sharks and there will be many, many RPT sessions. Keep your bearing, give all you've got, yell loud and it will be over before you know it. Realize one thing: today, no one will do anything right in the eyes of the DI. By the end of the day, you will be exhausted, filthy, your uniform will be drenched in sweat and you will stink beyond comprehension.

In the afternoon, your class DI will normally brief you on your RLP that occurs during the 3rd week. There will usually be examples laid out of how he wants everything folded and stamped. Be prepared to pay close attention and even take notes. You will need to start prepping for this inspection this afternoon even though the inspection is two weeks away. Your DI may also assign class billets: Class President, Class VP, PT Body, RLP Body, Knowledge Body, Drill Body, Watch Bill Coordinator and 1st Lieutenant to name a few. These are positions of leadership within your class and could be a good way to distinguish yourself. However, be careful if you decide to pursue one of these positions. You don't want to over exert yourself and end up causing yourself more heartache in the future.
I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I really, really, really want a phone call tomorrow. I just want to know how things are going and if he has any idea what the next few weeks will bring. Actually, I just want to hear his voice. I can't believe the first week has passed - 75 days to go! It really is getting easier every minute, which is so encouraging. Also, is it bad that I want to start shopping for my graduation outfit? I hope not :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

ocs: day 6

Warning: this is a long one!

Today is what they call Outpost, which is essentially a trial run of RLP (room, locker, personal) which is a crazy intense inspection that can set you back for a loose thread in the seam of your uniform. It's supposed to be one of the toughest things to pass, because you're also expected to recite all of the mission statement of the Navy, the ranking, the code of conduct, etc. The good news is, this week is winding down and it sounds like it may be (mostly) uphill from here.
The Class Officer enters your space and "Attention on Deck" is called. Other Class Officers enter and proceed to gouge you the "Big Three" Knowledge (General Orders of a Sentry, Code of Contact, Chain of Command) and inspect your uniform. Class Officers will not make you push or do any RPT. Simply keep your bearing and do not become frustrated. If you do not know the answer to the question, reply, "Sir/Ma'am this Indoctrination Candidate does not know but will find out." If you make a mistake while answering knowledge questions, keep your bearing and remain confident in your answer. This is an important quality to have throughout OCS with regards to required knowledge. Confidence will often give you a second chance to answer the question correctly.

This is the part of Outpost where you really want to put your best foot forward. You shouldn't be up all night preparing your locker inspection. DIs hardly even look at it. If you stay up the night before, the only things you should be worried about is making sure your uniform is IP free (Irish Pennants - a loose string), and reviewing your knowledge. Do not waste sleep making sure your PT gear is folded to the exact dimensions - that is not what is important now.

Once everyone has been inspected by the Class Officers, they will leave and you will call "Attention on Deck" again followed by the greeting of the day. You will then wait for the room inspectors to enter (both DIs and your Chief Petty Officer). Be as loud as you can. It will be noisy, stressful and just plain ugly; however, it will last for a maximum of 15 minutes. The DIs will immediately have you on the deck pushing. While you and your class are pushing, doing flutter kicks, etc, the rest of the DIs will ransack your locker, finding IPs (which they know you have not had time to remove), clothing not folded to correct specs, etc. Regardless, you are not expected to do well. It is meant to serve as a "welcome to the real world" experience.

After the inspection, you will be instructed to pack your sea bag. Things will still be hectic. Your DI will be yelling out commands for you to return to your locker, grab certain items, return to your spot on line and pack it in your sea bag. By the end of this process, your locker will be completely empty. Be prepared to have your things thrown around and mixed with other candidates' things. The DIs love taking your sea bag and dumping everything out and then yelling at candidates to clean everything up. There isn't time to split things up, so just be prepared to stuff whatever is on the floor in your bag and have your things mixed with others.

You will then march over to Battalion and leave your things in your new space. The remainder of the day will be spent in briefs, unpacking and receiving other issue. What is key at this point is that you recognize the nature of OCS. Every time you complete a difficult and stressful evolution, you will move to something that you have to fight falling asleep in. This is how everything works at OCS.

The evening is basically yours. You will spend it unpacking, cleaning and organizing the mess of clothes the DI made. You will also make a trip back to gather the rest of your things and clean. Try to enjoy this time. Get a good night's sleep and drink plenty of water, as Saturday is a physically demanding day.
Yikes. Doesn't that sound miserable? I don't know about you, but I'm ready for week 1 to be OVER. I'm sure they are, too.

In other news, it's my first weekend alone and I am determined to keep it light. I'm watching movies tonight, cleaning in the morning and having a craft day with a friend. And I plan to spend the day with my parents on Sunday. No downtime = no breakdowns. Maybe I should revisit my list to see what else I can cross off...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ocs: day 5

I can't believe he's nearing the end of Week 1. I pray that today went well for him and that he's not feeling terribly discouraged. Word on the street is that it's pretty intense.

If you have not made your DI's acquaintance by now, today will be the day.
Be prepared. It will be loud, stressful and he will RPT (push, flutter kicks,
bear crawl, curl ups, etc) you a lot. You will do nothing right and you will
never move fast enough. His requests will be impossible. Let there be no
mistake, today will be one of the more unpleasant days at OCS. However, it is a
"weeding out" process implemented to break those who really do not want to be
Naval Officers. Push, be loud and put forth effort and the day will end before
you know it. Just remember that it does get better.

The evening will be spent doing busy work, being yelled at and doing plenty of RPT. Get used to the RPTsessions because it will be a common occurrence at OCS. Also, try not to worry about the RPT sessions because your body will adjust to them over time. Not only will your DI and possibly even your Class Chief Petty Officer RPT you, but you will get RPT'd by other DIs as well. At the risk of sounding redundant, keep your head in the game and take nothing personally. No matter what is said, these people know nothing about you nor are they saying anything different than what they said to the Candidate Officers when they first arrived. Always remember that they will salute you at the end of OCS.

So that's that. I'm aching for a phone call on Sunday. I have so many questions after this first week. I'm worried about him, but only because I don't want him to be uncomfortable (as I'm sure he is).

It's strange, though. I find myself wondering if his strength and his spirit are still in tact, but I never think that he won't get through this. He's so committed to this and the opportunity that it's giving us, that I know he'll follow through. I'm so thankful that the Lord has provided me with husband like him and that He's given me the courage neither doubt Him or Andrew. This would be a completely different story if any of that was missing. God is good in the good and not so good, no?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ocs: day 4

At this point, I'm not sure if this is in order. I think Wake Up Wednesday turned into what they're calling "Throwdown Thursday." In other words, tomorrow is the big day for the drill instructor.

Today, they got fitted for their uniforms.

Also, Andrew confirmed his address when I talked to him last night. If you want to send him something, here it is!

Officer Candidate School
Class 15-10
Officer Training Command Newport
291 Kollmeyer St
Newport, RI 02841-1641

Write away, my friends!

Also, they only have this kind of detail for the first week, so don't get too used to the daily play-by-play. After that, they give an overview of each week. I'm praying that Andrew's call last night is a good sign of things to come and he'll be able to call on Sunday. I'll let you know!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

phone call from Andrew!

I heard from Andrew tonight and there wasn't any bad news! He said he doesn't know why, but they let them call home tonight. Apparently, the CandiOs in charge of his class weren't allowed to call home until week 8, so I wouldn't be surprised if they are taking pity on them.

He sounded good. A little hoarse, but upbeat, which is SUCH A RELIEF! He said that it's different than he expected - harder in some ways, but easier in others. He said that some of the things he didn't have time to memorize beforehand from the gouge book were more important than some of the things he did memorize, but that he has time to study them before it really counts (week 3). He also said that he got in trouble once because his jacket is a little small and he took too long to get it on one day. He also said that while tomorrow is supposed to be Wake Up Wednesday, they're telling them that they won't meet the DIs until Thursday. Then he said that he's not sure if he should believe that.

I made sure to tell him that I'm doing okay. He asked me a few times, "Really? You're really okay?" Once I convinced him that things are getting easier each day, he sounded immediately relieved. Then he apologized for not arranging to send me flowers for our anniversary and he made me promise to buy some for myself tomorrow.

I married a sweet, sweet man.

He sounded different, but the same. He sounded more formal but the way he said things was the same old Andrew. When he was hanging up, he said "well, here I go. I'll see you soon." Which is what he ALWAYS says when he leaves me in person or on the phone.

That was about it. I heard him say, "Aye Sir" and then he told me that he had one minute left. We said our love you's and goodbye's and that was it. Hopefully I'll get another call this weekend, but I'm not counting on anything these days. I'm just happy to have heard from him tonight and to hear that his spirit is still there.

Monday, March 8, 2010

ocs: day 3

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that today goes well! Based on the condition he was in before he left, I'm not super worried. Besides, he's the most determined person I know so even if it doesn't come easy, he'll finish. That's my husband.

The most important evaluation today is your PRT. Other than physical problems
discovered at the Newport Naval Hospital, this is the first evaluation that can
cause you to roll. The PRT consists of three parts: push-ups, sit-ups and the
1.5 mile run. The standards are low, however, you want to do as well as
possible, so put forth as much effort as you can into it. Males should be able
to do at least 50 push-ups and 60 sit-ups in the two minutes allowed, as well as
complete the run in less than 12 minutes. Keep in mind that push-ups and sit-ups
must be done properly or they will not be counted.

The CandiOs will be administering the PRT. Your Class DI and other DIs will be there watching. They will correct you if you are doing the push-ups or sit-ups incorrectly. If you fail to correct your form, they will deduct push ups or sit ups from your count. The DIs may also yell at you or run alongside you during the run to encourage you to run a faster time. This will especially happen if you are one of the slower candidates in your class. It is highly advisable to be ready to perform in the upper portion of your class from day one. That way, the DI will develop a more positive impression of you right of the bat. This may also allow you the
opportunity to gain a leadership position early on.

The rest of the day is spent completing physical evaluations at the hospital for those who didn't complete on day two. The rest of the class will study. Make sure you get plenty of sleep tonight and hydrate. Tomorrow morning will be very intense and you want to make sure you are well rested and hydrated.

By this point in the program, you will have noticed the number of people in your class decreasing. Your entire time at OCS, people will be joining and leaving your class. People will "roll out" of your class for physical problems, academimc and military deficiencies. A standard "roll" is two weeks, into the next class that enters the program. Candidates who have rolled will be kept in what is called H-Class (holding) until they are ready to class up. You are there to complete the program in 12 weeks and not one day longer. It should be your goal not to roll. Keep your
priorities straight and this will not happen.

One of the girls posted on that her uncle lives in RI and saw the new recruits running around base at 6:15 this morning with freshly shaven heads. When I read that, I couldn't decide if I wanted burst with pride or burst into tears! Either way, I'm glad I haven't heard from him because I think that means all is well...

Tomorrow is Wake Up Wednesday, when they meet their drill instructors for the first time (at 4:30am). Pray pray pray, ya'll.

ocs: day 2

Not so bad! Today is supposed to be pretty laid back. Hopefully, Andrew will be able to use the time to study and prepare for the rest of the week, which is supposed to get pretty intense.

You will spend the majority of today at hospital for a physical evaluation. Take advantage of the time to study gouge, more importantly, however, take the time to relax. The day is relatively easy if you keep your head in the game and recognize what is going on around you. Until you complete your physical evaluation and PRT (physical readiness test), no one can make you do any physical activity. However, make sure you regain your military bearing and be locked on when you leave the clinic because it is likely that your Class DI will be watching.

Today is also the day to begin paying close attention to the procedures at chow hall. Once you have met your DI, one of his primary concerns will be your adherence to chow hall procedures. If your class knows these well, you will be more likely to escape very difficult RPT (remedial physical training) sessions right before you eat. The class cannot do RPT within 30 minutes of eating.

At around 1700 (5pm), your class will receive haircuts. No matter how short your hair is when you arrive, you will still receive a haircut today.

Before hitting your rack tonight, it may be advisable to do a short set of pushups and curlups to remind yourself of proper form and to briefly loosen up the muscles. Do not try to max out tonight, just make sure your form is good and that you are good and loose before bed.

He has to pass the PRT tomorrow, so pray that this goes well. Apparently, failing this test is one of the easiest ways to get rolled back so let's hope we don't hear from him tomorrow. No news is good news!

Also, today is our 2nd anniversary. Andrew left me a note that I wasn't to open until today. It was so sweet and encouraging. He's a good fellow!
Happy Anniversary, love. I'm so happy to have found you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

ocs: day 1

I talked to Andrew this morning before he checked in and he sounded a lot better than he did last night. A lot less apprehensive, believe it or not. I, on the other hand, spent the morning crying between shows on the Food Network. Not my proudest moment, but I'm getting better. I just keep telling myself that this is good and it will all be okay. I'll start believing it sooner or later.

So here's what Andrew had waiting for him today (all of this is from the OCS Survival Guide):
On the day you are to check in, it is highly advisable to get enough sleep the night before and get a good breakfast, brunch or any other meal before checking in. Your first encounter will be with the Candidate Officers (CandiOs). These are candidates in their last two or three weeks of training so realize that they have been in your position as well. You will refer to yourself as Indoctrination Candidate for the first week. Emphasis will be placed on military bearing, ballistics (being as loud as possible and teaching you information crucial to your survival. You will check in at the seawall and move all your belongings to a clear trash bag. From there, they will shuttle you and some of your other classmates that have arrived to the Regimental Building, where you will get your poopy suits, war belts, canteens and chrome domes (helmets).

The majority of the first day is spent receiving your first issue (poopy greens, gouge book, locks, etc), unpacking and learning the basics of OCS. You will meet your Class Officer and possibly your Class Chief Petty Officer. Beware, your class Drill Instructor (DI) will be watching, though you will not see him.

By the end of the day, you will feel belittled, filled with doubt and ready to sleep when the time comes. Take advantage of your sleep. You need not fear people entering your space in the middle of the night - sleep is required and you cannot be disturbed between 2200 and 0500 (10pm to 5am).
Not super encouraging is it? I also found this video series from a local Providence, RI newspaper that did a documentary on OCS. Here's their profile of Day 1. Can you imagine? I've been reading a lot lately as a way to get more information and connect with moms and wives who are in the same situation as me (it's been my lifeline this weekend, by the way). Someone posted today that they had talked to their boyfriend earlier this evening who is a CandiO for Andrew's class. She said that she could hear drums and yelling in the background. It made me ache for Andrew, so say a prayer for him if you feel so inclined. I know he's going to need it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

one is the loneliest number

Okay, it's not that bad :) But it has been a rough day. My face is puffy and my eyes are achy from crying all day and I'm exhausted. I'm not looking forward to talking to Andrew in the morning before he hands his cell phone off to the wardens, because I think I might just be right back where I was at 12:30 this afternoon. But we keep on keepin' on, knowing that this is good. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I talked to Andrew a few minutes ago. He had just checked in at the hotel and was getting settled, trying to find somewhere to eat and getting ready to touch base with some family he didn't get to connect with before he left. He sounded good - a little tired - but good. He told me at dinner last night that he feels the same way he did before he left for college: really excited, really scared and with no idea of what to expect. Sounds about right.

There are all kinds of resources on the internet to give these guys an idea of what to expect, and his OCS Survival Guide gives a breakdown of what each day of the first week will be like. Then it outlines the following weeks until graduation. I thought that might be a good thing to share with you all so you know how you can be praying for him throughout his time there.

Thanks so much for the encouraging words/prayers/thoughts/well wishes (and songs!) today. I am certain that we couldn't be moving forward with the confidence we have if it wasn't for you guys.

Ready or not, here we go...

Friday, March 5, 2010

a few of MY favorite things

Lists, obviously fall into that category, so that's what I'll do with this! In preparation for "the day" I've been thinking of things to get excited about doing while Andrew is gone. I'm sure I won't finish some and will add others, but here it is in its current state:
  • Organize/set up/use my craft room:
  • Don't give up on jewelry making, even though Impatient Page wants me to
  • Sew comforter for newly designed Charleston bedroom
  • Sew curtains and headboard cover for newly designed Charleston guest bedroom (taking reservations now for future guests)
  • Also, Jessica: this sounds like a girls’ weekend project, don’t you think? :)
  • Take up journal making (it's looking like I'm going to have enough stuff to get my own table at the market in Charleston!)
  • Learn how to cook for one and enjoy food that Andrew could do without (i.e. pasta salad)Develop some sort of exercise routine using the rowing machine, my pilates mat and TWC exercise on demand channel
  • Study, study, study the Bible - if I don't look at this time as an opportunity to learn and grow, I think I might be missing a major blessing
  • Take some trips and visit some of my favorites:
  • Stay with my precious grandparents in Black Mountain
  • Girls' weekend with Aunt Rita
  • Maybe visit Anne I in DC? I think I may have just invited myself, Aunt Anne!
  • Day trip to the beach with Mom if it gets warmer
  • Lots of day trips to Youngsville so Rudy can play with Uncle Jake
  • Dinner with Grandma C
  • Martha? Meet me half way?
  • Warsaw, so Nanny Johnson can teach me how to make sugar cookies. And biscuits. And creamed corn.
  • Then, it appears I have to go see Sarah and her babies and pass on the biscuit making magic :) Okay!
  • IKEA, duh
  • Concord craft weekend!
  • Girls night/day with some work friends (note: transform living room into craft central; make snacks!)
  • Take Rudy to the dog park
  • Watch A LOT of girl movies - Netflix is going to love me
  • Maybe babysit some sweet cousins in Clayton?
  • Make some oatmeal cookies, just because
  • Watch Dancing with the Stars, 24, What Not to Wear and a lot of Food Network
  • Find a place to live in Charleston - and daydream about it
  • Start looking for a job in Charleston
  • Write my sweetie lots of letters
  • Take care of Rudy, who will be devastated/heartbroken when Andrew leaves
Anything else I should add??

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

these are a few of his favorite things

In preparation for my sweet husband leaving, and having to endure this during meal time, I decided to make his favorite meals all week long. Last night we kicked it off with crabcakes, cheesy grits and butternut squash. Tonight it’s salmon, spinach and risotto (can you tell this kid likes his seafood?). I think we’re going to take a break tomorrow night and snack on some leftovers, because my parents are coming over on Thursday for a farewell dinner. I figured I would save his favorite, favorite for that night: pork tenderloin with roasted red pepper gravy. I made that a few years ago for his birthday and it’s been his request for special occasions ever since. I guess this is special enough to warrant the special dinner.

My motto? Get him good and fattened up before he leaves. He’ll lose it all anyway :)
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