Military Wife & Life

Joseph promoted to Captain this week.

As part of his promotion ceremony, I made these (4 dozen of ’em!).

Vegan, but not gluten-free.

strawberry & cream cheese chocolate


strawberry & cream cheese vanilla
(though not pictured)

mint chocolate
(mint frosting w/ a chocolate ganache)

&, straight up chocolate

I thank Isa, & Coleen Patrick-Goudreau for their inspiration. I used their recipes (from this & this* cookbook), tweeked a few things, & had blast concocting, swirling, frosting, & shaving (chocolate, that is). My kitchen was a fury of flour & sugar.

I’m thrilled to have excuses to make cupcakes.

Too bad I couldn’t eat them (darn gluten).

Later in the day I quizzed Joseph about the cupcakes.

Did you taste the strawberries in the cupcakes? (I added pureed strawberries to the batter.)

What did you like most about them? (The frosting, the cake, the shaved chocolate?)

His response: I don’t know, I wasn’t eating a cupcake to try to discern the individual ingredients, I was just eating them because they tasted good. That made me giggle. I’m sorry, but I must know, especially since I don’t actually get to eat this batch, I tell him.

His promotion got me thinking. You know, of the sacrifices that military wives make for our spouses. For our country.

To be clear, I’m not soliciting pity.

I signed up for this, but combine my choice to have a large family, to work towards a life where I could stay at home with them (& actually reach that point, thankfully) & my choice to be a military wife, some days I’m not sure I know exactly what I signed up for.

My day is about supporting him & his career, helping things run smoothly & as seamlessly as possible so that he doesn’t have to worry about home while at work. So at the end of the day, the house is clean & orderly, the kids are bathed, bills have been paid. In essence, all is well (or at least, this is the goal).

And for the record, yes, I aspire for Norman Rockwellian dinners each night (especially after listening to this). I am not ashamed.

I admit, some days I want to claim defeat. It’s often lonely, it’s often mundane.

“How is it possible to get so wasted (tired) from doing such incredibly mundane things all day?” I asked Joseph the other day.

Fortunately, he knows where I’m coming from.

You give & give. At the heart of it, is giving.

Parenting requires a mighty good deal of self-sacrifice. Counter intuitive to the modern culture that embraces self-actualization as the supreme ideal.

The full depth & scope of sacrifice required in being an engaged parent & wife, I know I don’t truly know, yet. We’re just starting out, after all.

But nearly 9 years in, I still believe in that sacrifice. I’m committed to it, even though I can’t quite explain why. Maybe because my parents did it. Maybe because the love that I have for Joseph & each of our children seems to soften reservations about living a life in which my needs come secondary. Who knows?

But let’s focus on the good stuff.

If I can kiss the Captain & call him mine, and make cupcakes, truly,

how can life get any better?


I have recipes! And pictures, pictures, that I want to share. (Time, where art thou, & when will I have more of you?) I am sincerely hoping to get back into regular posting soon, soon. In the mean time, ox. 

*If you purchase anything from these links, I make a few pennies.


  1. Mitchel
    on July 19, 2013 at 2:00 am said:

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  2. Melissa
    on March 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm said:

    Fun to see Joseph in his uniform; we try to picture what life is like for you guys but obviously can’t. Thanks for a little snapshot. Also, when did Sallee get so big???

    It really is amazing how the little mundane things can weary one. It’s hard to motivate yourself to make each day exciting somehow even when the dishes must be washed again, laundry has to be folded and put away again, etc.

  3. Hannah Wetzel
    on March 1, 2013 at 10:19 am said:

    My husband enlisted in the Marine Corps when I was 30 weeks pregnant with our second child. She was born while he was at bootcamp. He was gone a total of 10 months for training and is gone often for several weeks at a time on trips. We live on the other side of the country, far from our family and many of our friends but I knew when we (WE!) joined up as a family what it would mean and I knew in my hear that it was all going to be worth it. And it is worth it.

    I am proud to be a Marine wife. I enjoy being a homemaker and a woman who supports her husband in his career and in his work. Some days are great and some days not so great but we’re happy and that’s what matters.

    And I totally drill my husband about the food I make too. His response is usually, ‘It’s delicious” and nothing more.

    • Janae Wise
      on March 1, 2013 at 10:29 am said:

      The Marines! Way to go. That’s a tough branch, for sure, not like those pansy airmen ;).

      I never realized how much military wives give up in terms of family, career, etc. Like you said, you move around, you rarely live near extended family, & it’s our job to make sure things are good at home so they can focus on their job. But with all of the sacrifice, I don’t know about you, but Joseph & I both feel strongly about the purpose of what we’re doing. In a small way, we’re helping to keep our country strong & free, & that is something we can believe in.

      Don’t you love how easy to please men, are? I love their simple, sweet affirmations.

      • Hannah Wetzel
        on March 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm said:

        The Marines definitely gives a level of awesomeness which is so nice! So I will take that as a compliment.

        I agree absolutely! We prayed really hard about joining up and we both feel that there is something we are supposed to do in the Corps. And on the days when my husband is feeling low I feel very blessed to be with him and help him through it.

        The role of the military wife is vast and all encompassing!

        Love this post. The cupcakes look amazing!

  4. Joy
    on March 1, 2013 at 5:58 am said:

    Janae, I’m so happy to see that you’re all doing well. And I thank you for your honesty about feeling conflicted, sometimes, about being a stay-at-home military wife. On Tom Ashbrook’s “On Point” the other week, he was talking to three generations of women about how feminism has changed over the years since The Feminine Mystique was published. It was interesting to hear the discussion around the idea that women feel compelled, now, to have satisfying full-time jobs but also to be fully engaged wives and mothers. But the woman from our generation pointed out that what we need to understand is that it’s about having the choice to have full-time jobs, or not. To be stay-at-home moms, or not. To get married, or not. So I loved seeing what you had to say about your choices and how, even when you feel completely confident in them, you may sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by them.

    Even as someone without kids who’s on that journey to self-actualization, I put pressure on myself to do things a certain way, to be a certain way. Last night, I was too exhausted to cook a complete, wholesome meal with a salad. I practically thanked the dinner that came out of the freezer as it thawed in the pan on the stove. And you know what? We enjoyed eating it every bit as much as we enjoyed the dinner I spent an hour on the night before. I’m not saying we’ll do this every night — the thought of all those preservatives makes me a little ill — but sometimes I think it’s good to give ourselves a break and to admit when we aren’t in a complete state of bliss.

    In fact, maybe it’s even a little brave to let down your guard once in awhile.

    • Janae Wise
      on March 1, 2013 at 10:40 am said:

      “But the woman from our generation pointed out that what we need to understand is that it’s about having the choice to have full-time jobs, or not. To be stay-at-home moms, or not. To get married, or not.”

      Yes, I see this as a crucial turning point in women rights. We, like men, want choices. And simply because we bear the children, does not mean we ought to shoulder the entire responsibility of nurturing & rearing that child(ren). Although I have chosen to pursue a more traditional role (for the time being), I believe there are many situations where parents can split child-rearing & providing (working) in such a way that enables both mother & father to have a set-up that can be fulfilling for both. And I think when there’s more of a balance, often it is to the advantage of the child(ren) who can develop & deeper bond & relationship with both parents.

      That said, we have a long way to go in terms of family-friendly (not just for women or men, but for both) that enable either sex to participate in both family & work life, as they so choose.