This week’s featured blogger is an Air Force wife! I’m always curious how other service branches differ from the Army, and Janelle gives great insight into what their lives as a military family looks like. 🙂 She is very candid and “real”, and I enjoy her light-hearted content! Meet Janelle!
Q: Tell us a little bit about who you are in three sentences or less.
A: Hi, I am Janelle, an Air Force pilot wife, mom to an almost two year old (Annabelle), and expecting Baby #2 this December. I am a middle school English teacher by trade, but I am currently a stay-at-home-mom who is obsessed with Kansas City sports – specifically the Royals and the Chiefs! I currently own a couple Etsy shops to help fuel my creative drive and bring in a little extra income for our family (AnnaKate Paperie and The Heart at Home).
Q: What do you blog about, how often, and who do you think would really enjoy your content?
A: I started this blog in January of 2013 and was extremely active for the first three years. Once my daughter was born, it’s been more difficult to keep up with (she is always on the go). I still try to blog at least once a week, but that doesn’t always happen. People who would enjoy my content are fellow military spouses wanting to connect and other moms of toddlers. I blog about Annabelle’s antics and adventures, along with some fun ideas of things to do with her to keep her busy!
Q: What are your favorite aspects of being an Air Force wife so far?
A: I’ve only been an Air Force wife for three years now, but we’ve been together for 8.5 years, all of which Dan has been in the Air Force. It can definitely have its negatives, but focusing on those does no one any good. I love the sense of community at each base we move to, hosting big holiday meals for friends who aren’t able to go home to see their actual families, getting to explore parts of the country (and potentially the world) that we wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to, and yeah, I’ll say it… I love Tricare. With all the craziness going on in the health insurance industry today, I am so grateful to not have to worry about how I’m going to pay a doctor when I need to see one. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Space A benefits we get as military families. We have traveled via Space A on three different vacations now (five flights), and it’s always a great time – so much better than commercial air travel. We’ve had the opportunity to fly on a C-21, two C-17s, a C-5, and the Rotator!
Q: Where are you all headed next and what are you looking forward to most about your next duty station?
A: We are heading to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida sometime this fall (no official orders yet) for Dan’s B-Course training in the F-2 Raptor! We are so excited to get there. I think I’m most looking forward to having more things to do with Annabelle than we do here at Sheppard AFB, Dan FINALLY getting to the best part of his career yet, and meeting a blog friend turned real friend (shout-out to Katie!) who lives at Tyndall already with her son who is the same age as my daughter… almost to the day.
Q: How did the process work to pick your husband’s aircraft and duty station? It seemed like such a special night full of surprises!
A: In the Air Force, student pilots find out what their assignment is (aircraft and first base) three weeks before the graduate with their wings at an event called Drop Night. After a year of training, including many check rides (evaluations) in two different jets (the T-6 and then the T-38 here at ENJJPT (Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training) at Sheppard AFB – the other three pilot training bases have the T-6 and then either the T-38 OR the T-1 (or even helicopters), depending on which route they’re taking). All of the students in a class (about 20) fill out a “dream sheet”, where they put very single aircraft in the Air Force in order of personal preference – what they want to fly the very most all the way down the very least! Then, they submit those dream sheets, and leadership sees what aircraft are available for the class, and then “rack and stack” the student pilots based on many factors – their overall scores from the year (from check rides, downgrades, etc.), along with flight commander recommendations. The day before drop, aircraft are assigned to each student pilot secretly. Then, at drop night, each class has a different way of showing each student pilot what he or she will be flying for their Air Force career, but it is ALWAYS up in front of hundreds of people in the Sheppard Club on base. For Dan’s class, they were SharkNATO (they picked that and designed a patch for their flight suits based on it – NATO because there are German and Italian pilots in his class as well – other classes have students from various countries, such as Norway, the Netherlands, etc.), so they had someone throw an inflatable shark to each student pilot, one at a time, with their assignment taped to it. Each student pilot pulled the paper off, read it, and yelled out what they received… at the same time as the big screen behind them flashes to the assignment as well so that everyone can see it. Before they read off their assignments, there is a PowerPoint slide on the screen with all of their information – boring, basic stuff like name, hometown, etc. but then the fun stuff like quotes, most likely to, call signs, etc. Some people get an aircraft from the top of their list (Dan thankfully was blessed to do so!), but sometimes, it’s a let-down for others. His class was FULL of great jets, so almost everyone was very happy. It’s such a fun, memorable night!
Q: I know you’re pregnant with your second baby! How has this pregnancy been different than with your daughter?
A: This pregnancy has been different and similar to my first in many ways. I have felt fairly sick all along, and with Annabelle that really only lingered for part of the day. I also just KNEW she was a girl from the moment I saw the positive test last time around… this time, I’m 14+ weeks, and I have ZERO gut feelings on what the sex of this baby is. We’ll be finding out in just a couple weeks, though! And… fingers crossed… I’m hoping this pregnancy is different from my first in that I do NOT end up hospitalized over and over again. Last time, I struggled with chronic kidney stones and even a kidney infection. So far, so good this time around, and I’m trying to stay optimistic!
Q: What can we find you doing for fun?
A: For fun, I enjoy writing (can you tell?), reading (all kinds of books, but I especially love WWII books – both fiction and nonfiction), going on walks with my daughter, and baking. I love baking, but I have to control myself so we aren’t always eating delicious goodies around here!
Q: Where should new readers start on your site?
And just for fun…
- Mashed or baked potatoes? I’m not actually much of a potato person and don’t honestly like either (weird, I know). I do, however, enjoy twice baked potatoes with melted cheese on top!
- Flip flops or tennis shoes? You can almost always find me in a pair of running shoes no matter the season.
- Movie theatre or arcade? Arcade for sure – especially if they have games like skee-ball! So much fun!
- Hang with friends at home or out somewhere? This one totally depends on my mood… but I’ll say out somewhere for now just since I’m already at home a lot with Annabelle.
In case you’re new to Whimsical September…
Hi! I’m Erica! I created the Saturday Sit-Down series in January 2017 as a way to give back to the blogging community and link readers with new bloggers whom they may share similar interests with. Click here to discover more bloggers that have been featured in the Saturday Sit-Down.
Want to be featured in this series?
I have openings starting in late 2017 and would love to feature you! Email me at WHIMSICALSEPTEMBER@YAHOO.COM to get in touch.