Monday, April 2, 2012

Why do all of the tasks I take on seem so daunting?!

So, since my husband's last deployment, I have been brainstorming, plotting and planning. While he and all the other sailors are away, they let us do special little things like send mail drops and little things like that. Also, if we wives so please, we can send these things called Halfway Night boxes along with our sailors when they leave. The idea behind them is for them to have something special to open to commemorate making it mid-way through the patrol. They are generally shoe boxes or similar boxes filled with goodies and various little special things to surprise the guys and give them something to look forward to and to help break up the monotony a little bit. Last patrol, I went by what other wives suggested and played it safe since it was my first time and everything. Since my husband got home, I have been thinking of new, fresh ideas for his surprises so that next time around, I am going to be able to go all out with the creativity and thoughtfulness. After all, what is the point in sending him anything "special" if it is exactly the same as everyone else's?:)

The first change I instated {which I also did last time} was to do a second box. This one is sent with him as well, but is meant to be opened at the beginning of the patrol. I like to call it his "First Night" box:) In this one, I like to put several photos, little sentimental or funny things, various {extremely well-sealed} favorite snacks and candy, and odd little things to make his life on deployment just a little bit easier. I also like to include cards and individually wrapped gifts for any holidays or occasions that will come while he's gone. My husband is VERY particular about some things, and it makes me feel a little better knowing that he is taken care of:) My list for the next "First Night" box includes:

  • The box itself...I picked up one of the cute, decorative photo boxes on clearance at Michael's for a few dollars in a pale blue color. By the way, anything feminine is appreciated while they are down there with nothing but nasty manliness all around them for months at a time. That makes me feel completely okay with using the super adorable blue box with white dandelions on it:)
  • A handmade pillowcase to go on the travel size pillow I got him awhile back...He prefers to sleep with a pillow between his knees so I got him the small one in the hope that it would be easier to manage in his tiny rack. I already found some lovely yellow canvas to make it with, I'm just not sure whether I want to embellish it yet or not. I am considering putting our doggy's paw prints and my hand prints on it:)
  • A Scentsy Baby Buddy...These adorable little stuffed animals from Scentsy are small enough to be practical on the boat {as practical as a plushie can be for a full-grown man lol} and hold interchangeable Scent Paks that smell amazing and will help keep his rack smelling amazing while also giving him something to cuddle with:) I chose "Penny the Pig" because she is bright pink and cute as can be, and I got a Scent Pak to put in her for the "First Night" box. Also, the Scent Paks can be used in place of fabric softener while doing laundry without undoing the fire-retarding of the uniforms or coveralls:)
  • Lots of other Scentsy stuff...My husband loves the way our favorite scents smell and is crazy about Scentsy because he prefers for his surroundings to smell nice! So, I got him Travel Tins, Scent Circles, Room Sprays...all kinds of stuff! I chose fresh, somewhat feminine scents since they are down there suffocating in a giant cloud of man stink and Axe body spray, plus the extremely pungent odor that can only be described as "boat smell" lol
  • Clif Bars are a must...Justin just loves them and I have to oblige since not only are they one of his favorites, but he also works out a lot while he's gone since there isn't much else to do other than sleep and stand watch.
  • Photos, of course! I also got him these gel super stickies that I prefer to send over magnets because then the pictures won't fall if you bump them accidently or anything like that. He hangs his favorites in his rack so that he can look at me and Kairi as he falls asleep at "night" {aka, whenever he has to go to sleep in order to be up and rested for watch, which can and will be any time}:)
  • Cards and presents wrapped up just in case there isn't a mail drop in time for whatever occasions he may be missing. For instance, if he won't be here for his birthday or Christmas or Valentine's, then I will send a little something witty to make him smile marked for that day so that he has something to open and all that fun stuff:) I went ahead and bought the cutest little chocolate bar just in case that has cake batter and sprinkles and everything, and is wrapped up in pretty paper x)
  • Letters, marked for different "purposes"...I want to send him several. The ones I've thought about so far are "Cheer up, buttercup," "A hug from home," "100 reasons why I love you," and one for when he has had it with everyone that I haven't quite come up with a name for yet:)
  • Toys. Lots of toys. Like I said earlier, there isn't much to do on patrol for the guys if they aren't standing watch. My husband is a huge geek {me too, I must admit!} and so I like to find little toys like Pokemon, Star Wars, Marvel and such as. I also like to throw less constructive stuff in there. Justin loves to mess with people, so I figured that he might find some use for a bunch of ping pong balls and some silly string:) Nerf and small squirt guns usually serve similar purposes on the boat as well:)
  • Girly stuff. Bottles of NICE body wash! Last time, it was oodles of Victoria's Secret. This time, he is getting Bath & Body Works, Spa H2O and Philosophy. Anything shower-wise that goes with him needs to be moisturizing since they have controlled humidity and it is always as cold as possible. I also like to put in at least 5 or so lip balms. Justin hates chapped lips more than he hates taking the trash out, and that  is definitely saying something. And don't skimp on things like that if you can help it. The better quality that you send, the longer it will last and better it will work, and will thus make for a very content sailor. Also, remember that lotions/moisturizers are going to be much appreciated because of the lack of humidity. Body sprays are a favorite as well and you can never send too many:)
  • STAMPS AND ENVELOPES! Even if you are "pretty sure" that your sailor already has that covered, it can't hurt to be extra safe just in case. These are very important since they occasionally get the chance to get mail out, and it would not feel great to know that other wives got letters while you didn't. And try to include enough stamps for several letters so your sailor may share with those who may have forgotten {or didn't know, like us last patrol}...If it weren't for the guy who was nice enough to give Justin stamps last time, then I wouldn't have received my anniversary letter:)
  • Notebooks...Boys are smart sometimes, and like to write their ideas down. It's also a good idea to include one for your sailor to write to you in, since on subs there are times when they cannot email or would like to share things that can't go through the email system. Plus, they can use it as a journal and a kind of release, and if you do the same while he's away, you can switch when he gets home and you will both have great reading material for a good while:) We both like Moleskin Journals because they look nice and are very resilient to the kind of abuse they will most likely suffer in Justin's rack or in my purse:)
  • Anything that you can find or think of that he might need can fit inside the box. I have found several neat little things that I think he will love and use a ton while he's gone. There are these amazing little mini-bungees that I found at Target that I'm sure will have endless uses for him. Justin also gets extras of his favorite pens. Possibly an extra pair of headphones since Justin has a knack for losing them. A thermos or coffee cup because he loves his coffee and cannot have enough cups...Anything, really:) {to get the most of my space, I stuff the cups with smaller things}
  • If your sailor may be up for a promotion or anything during the next deployment, try to include patches for whatever he is getting. And since the uniform shop sells them with unfinished edges, it's best to finish them up so that he can just sew them right on:)
So, I have a lot of work cut out for me, and that is only one of the things I am taking on this time. Next post, I will write about my ideas for the actual Halfway Night box, some tips for mail drops, and maybe even my super special secret project that I am working on for my dear Justin! And I will post plenty of photos once I start getting everything together as well, so don't fret!:)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The many things I've learned from Pinterest

Yeah....I've got about 15 boards on pinterest, all which are pretty developed. Not only am I borderline-addicted to pinterest, but I'm also to the point where I feel like my life would be incomplete without all of the knowledge it yields. For instance, how would I ever live a proper life without knowing every use for WD-40? Granted, a lot of the things are pretty silly and I would probably never use them, but there are also many things that I could really use to make my day-to-day life of being a "housewife" easier. I'll share a couple of things that I've learned and can/will actually put to use in my own home that I think all of you may benefit from too:) {click on the pictures below the descriptions to get to the good stuff!}

This is a great little printable from the blog Life's a Journal by Danielle Bruflodt:

Here's another one that I found via the pin-monster: some great [and easy!] cleaning solutions from Martha Stewart's website that I am definitely going to use for the impending spring cleaning!

A great [and natural!] alternative to shampooing your entire carpet for a single spill from Elizabeth Bryant's blog Lizzy Writes:

Another thing I'd never thought about and would love to try in our new house, courtesy of Alicia Parsons via Atypical Type A is Scrabble magnets...What a cute and kitschy way to organize your to-dos on the fridge!

I always need good budgeting advice to keep myself [and my husband] on track, and I found a great little idea from Today's Nest:

Another great thing I've learned from being directed to Martha Stewart's site via Pinterest is that those things we keep in our kitchen cabinets aren't just for cooking...:

Who doesn't need an organic and eco-friendly alternative to cleaning wipes? I know I do, and thanks to the Pin-monster and its knack for directing me to amazing sites like Hubpages!

I've also learned that the hardware store is a great place to accessorize, thanks to Soccer Mom Style:)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Better than the Little Engine That Could...because I know I can!

Firstly, I would like to warn you all that I have no earthly idea what I would like to "blog" about. This is my first one (ever! I can't believe it either!) and I honestly couldn't draw a more spotless blank. I guess this is where I just start writing and hope some lightning strikes or some magic happens...

Assuming that anyone's reading, introductions are in order. My name is Britten, but I usually only get called down by that. It's much more preferred if you call me Britt (or family split down the middle about the number of t's around the same time as my parents' divorce) or Bee. Until now, only my closest friends and family have called me Bee, but if that's what you prefer then I have no problem sharing that little tidbit with you:) I literally just turned twenty (yes, twenty whole years old!) yesterday, I think....It's been a rough week so the days are starting to run together. My husband, whom I fell madly and deeply in love with at the age of eighteen and married shortly thereafter--without the coercion of getting "knocked-up" or desperately needing the money or whatever other considerably more "normal" reasons there are out there for someone my age to get married--is my Hero. Yes, Justin's military, but he's MY hero for a million more reasons than that he serves our country. If there ever was a more amazing person, I honestly feel the world would be in [good] trouble:) We are obsessed with our dog, Kairi. Kairi Piper, the Siberian Husky from Hell, is as adorable and loving as they get with more personality than a lot of humans. Together, we make up our teensy weensy little family, of which I am personally very proud.:)

So, intro is always supposed to be the hardest part, or at least that's what my English teachers always told me... So why exactly is it that I made it through that just fine until I actually had to start writing the "easy part?" Well, I'll try my damnedest to get through the rest, and I'm sorry if I get sidetracked. It's really been forever since I've been able to write anything (aka mustered the resolve and sat down to do so). That being said, hopefully I'll manage to stick to whatever my topic ends up being....

There really isn't ever any time to do anything when you're married. Sure, I'm childless. Sure, I don't work and I'm still taking time off from school. Yes, my husband goes to work almost every day which gives me about ten hours to get things done while he's gone. But I just can't seem to get things done. I prefer to do housework and run errands and all that kind of housewife-y stuff while my husband isn't home, mainly because he's impatient and would prefer to have me sit and relax with him as opposed to scuttling about our apartment like Jacques from Finding Nemo. It just seems like no matter how hard I try, no headway is ever made even if I get a week of twelve hour workdays all to myself for as much cleaning and scurrying as my heart desires. Even if I manage to remove myself from my most recent obsessions (Pinterest, Facebook "yardsales," and the ever-important Etsy) I still feel like nothing is actually accomplished. Our home has been a wreck since we took vacation back home during the holidays, which is driving me borderline crazy. It's to the point where I'm considering taking on a maid for at least two or three days a week. And the Pacific Northwest is not one of the regions where you can skimp on cleaning.

The worst part of it all is that I had honestly planned to get so much done this week, but most of the days I had scheduled out revolved around running errands and finishing projects to fill orders for the small business venture (aka glorified hobby) I have going. And this is where my main grievance of the week comes in: we are a single car family, and our single car is currently out of commission. Why, might you ask, is my car sitting with a broken windshield and no driver-side window? Well, that would be because there is no way to plan on having the glass company come out to replace it when Justin's schedule is so unpredictable, like it is right now. He's currently only getting about ten hours at home every other day, which he's spending trying to sleep off his exhaustion. I don't blame him in the least, but it's just not convenient when he's only home after the glass repair company is closed and neither of us feel comfortable having me supervise them alone while they have free reign over our car and personal belongings within. It's bad enough that someone broke into and vandalized our poor little MINI Cooper (seriously, who steals an old GPS, some Polo hats and mixed cds?!)...I would just hate for something like that to happen again. So we've been waiting to be able to drive our own car since last weekend since the glass repair guys moved our appointment back twice to when we couldn't commit to a time. So now, we wait.

But those aren't the issues. The issues I'm having are all within and having to do with my recent lack of resolve to do anything. I didn't even have the resolve to come up with a New Year's resolution by the time the ball dropped...Over a month later and I'm still putting off committing to one I find worthy enough of my trial and tribulations. Not only can I not decide on anything, I can't even decide to do anything. I have this terrible tendency to put plans off and make excuses for myself so that I don't have to live up or work toward my potential. This is where the interesting part comes in: I've decided (and this is about the only thing I've decided on) that this week deserves a resolution. Not one for the whole year yet, but something to help me work toward that. My goal for the next week is to quit making excuses for myself. My husband is too tired to listen to them, my family has been hearing them for too long, and the general public is surely tired of listening to those excuses I'm so apt at making for myself. The next week is reserved only for thoughts of "I know I can." (And yes, I realize how ridiculously cheesy that sounds) The next seven days of the rest of my life are going to be the turning point, regardless of how hard I have to try to make sure I stay on top of making that turning point happen. No more sitting and pining over my seemingly endless Facebook notifications that I use as a reason to stay on the computer for "five more minutes." No more "I'll do it when I'm done with my pinboard"-esque thoughts. No more convincing myself and the people around me that I would have gotten so much more done this week "if only my car hadn't been struck by the MINI Vandal." Right now--not tomorrow, or the next day, or next week--is the time that I have to make this change in my life, before I keep bringing myself down and drag my perfectly imperfect little family down in this rut with me.

That's what I've got to say for tonight... Now time to cuddle up with my husband and puppy so that I can wake up at a decent hour tomorrow, which always seems to be the hardest part of starting my day. I can--and will--do it!

PS. If any of my Facebook friends see me online for more than five minutes tomorrow, please message me a slap in the face:)