//Tell us about yourself and your blog
//What branch of military are you affiliated with
//What is one thing you enjoy about the military lifestyle
In all seriousness, there are SO many things I enjoy - making friends, exploring new places, and that UNREAL feeling you get when you're about to see your spouse after a long time apart.
Those are all great perks, but the MOST valuable thing military life has taught me, is just how strong I really am. When Riley was first born, leaving the house alone with her seemed like the most daunting task imaginable. I would nervously race through the grocery store, trying to get everything I needed without waking the sleeping baby. When he deployed, I ultimately had no choice. If I wanted to get things done, I had to do it alone. If Riley was sick, I mostly had to figure it out by myself. Help is great - and I have been so lucky to have so much support from family - but there is simply nothing like the help from the other person who created the child with you. I'm really proud that we've gotten through this deployment with sanity in tact, AND having a ton of fun along the way. I never thought I could be this strong, but I'm happy I was thrown to the wolves to find out it was indeed possible!
//What advice would you give other spouses who are new
Okay, seriously now. My best advice is this: Do not let yourself get lost in the lifestyle. I know, easier said than done. However, it is extremely important to cultivate a life outside of the military, and/or to nurture the one you had before. The reality is - your time as a military spouse will one day end, and the best you can do is pray and hope that it's a happy ending (no, not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter). Seriously though, I'm not trying to be morbid - but your spouse's career is never a guarantee. The famous saying, "You can love the military, but it will never love you back", is pretty damn accurate. You just never know. I don't mean this to say you shouldn't make friends with other spouses, get involved with your FRG, or have fun romanticizing about the next duty station. Enjoy the fun perks of military life! I'm just saying to have a "back-up" plan of sorts. Whatever this means for you - going to school to get your degree, maintaining friendships with friends back home, staying close with your family, or simply having a very honest "what-if" conversation with your spouse - just do it.
My military spouse friends will always have a place in my heart unlike anything I've ever experienced. I love this lifestyle despite its often-difficult and emotionally taxing nature. I thrive moving often and learning about new places. But I also know that before this, we were just Casey and Greg and not 1LT Gregory and his dependent. And one day, we will be again. So until then, I'll continue to nurture both Casey the military spouse, and Casey the crazy girl from Brooklyn who fell in love with a strange dude from Seattle.
//Where have you been stationed
Anyway, back to the original question: where have we been stationed? When Greg first became an officer, we lived at Fort Benning, GA during his follow-up training (IBOLC, Bradley Leader's, etc). We were there almost a full year and we truly loved it. Fort Benning doesn't always have the best reputation - but we lived on post in the most awesome little community and I think it made all the difference. We loved our house, enjoyed our neighbors, and made lifelong friends that I will always cherish - the photo above is from a baby shower our friends threw us, that ended up being 95% male. Talk about a funny experience! Most importantly, we welcomed our first baby at Fort Benning together and really got to start our life as a family.
After Fort Benning, we got orders to Fort Riley in Kansas. Again, another underrated duty station. To be fair, we haven't spent a ton of time there together as Greg deployed a month after we arrived, and I moved back home with Riley until his return. However, we completely lucked out as we have family an hour away from the base! Greg's father is from Kansas and his Uncle Bob and his family still live there - and best part: they're seriously awesome. Total Army jackpot. So, that alone has me very optimistic that we will truly enjoy our time there. I know it's annoying to some people to constantly be so positive about everything (and trust me, I'm not), but our family is just genuinely happy being together - we don't need much. Although I'd really appreciate a Trader Joe's, please and thanks.
//Do you work, go to school, volunteer, or stay home?
ANYWHO, I've rambled on far more than I ever should have, but if you're still here - thanks for reading! I hope you'll stick around and comment with a link to your blog or Instagram or whatever platform you enjoy sharing your life on!