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Three years of STA-21

Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball 2012

Whew! My husband just finished the fall semester of his senior year. I can't believe that we are wrapping up semesters of college-- only two more left. It was around this time in 2009 when we found out that he was picked up for the STA-21 program. It was such a stressful whirlwind getting the last minute paperwork together (acceptance letters, etc) for college and preparing ourselves to move again.

I can't help but feel anxious thinking about the uncertainty of the coming year. We need to set a date for his commissioning over the summer, which will mean invitations and hotels for out of town guests. I also need to figure out what I need to plan for this commissioning-- reception? Next year our oldest starts kindergarten. This will be our first school-age move. This will also be our first PCS with more than one child (our oldest has PCS'd twice). The bigger question will be when this move actually happens. We've been hearing that power school and prototype are really backed up. Our first choice class-up date is October 2013, second December 2013, and third February 2014. If the schools are really backed up, we could be moving even later than those dates. Since I met my husband after he had been in the Navy for two years, this is my first go around with power school and prototype. I had assumed that we would be living in South Carolina for about a year while he completed the two schools. I am anxious now thinking that there is a chance that we could do power school in South Carolina (6 months) and prototype in New York (6 months), and SOBC in Connecticut thrown in there somewhere (12 weeks). As a wife who fully unpacks at every move (okay, save for the back-of-the-closet boxes), knowingly moving to a home for 6 months only to be preparing for another 6 month home is even pushing my limits of hanging pictures on the wall. I'm dreading the idea of that... but I know my OCD will kick in and all our HHG's will most likely end up unpacked.

All my hubby has left of school is spring semester 2013 and summer 1 of 2013-- two semesters left. STA-21 has been much more challenging than I anticipated. This semester was exceptionally busy, the hardest so far. It was very stressful for all of us and made me question our chosen path. Now there is an end in sight and we feel like we are almost there. We grew together so much these past three years. We had to discuss money way more times than we wanted to; it has been tight being in this program with three young children. But there have been wonderful things. First and foremost, he is getting a college degree. We also recognize this opportunity in his career. On a smaller scale, I love we can text and call each other. During dead week, I called him and we met for lunch. I know it sounds like such a small thing; maybe you have to be married to a submariner to know how big of a deal being able to text each other in real time is. Home every night... absolutely huge. Even on the weeks where he was slammed with group projects and getting home after the kids were in bed, I knew that he would be home that night. It feels like we make our own schedule. While his schedule is full, he isn't mustering on a boat.

I am so extremely proud of him. He has maintained an excellent GPA, even more impressive knowing we had our twins during finals week of 2011. A mechanical engineering degree in under 3 years is no small feat. As our oldest told me this morning, "Momma, did you know Daddy works very hard? He has a big job. He protects America." I don't know how crazy his schedule will be going through power school, prototype, or SOBC. I don't know if I'm ready to move again in a year; I really like it in North Carolina and love the friends I've made here. I don't know if I'm ready to go back to boat life, especially now that we have three kids (it was hard with one!). But I love the journey. I love supporting my man. At the end of the day, it is worth it.

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