Feel the Feels

I am not the best subject to work with for any photographer for a number of reasons. I am super uncomfortable in front of the camera. I am no super model or even minor model, for that matter. I have no idea how to pose. I have never had any kind of training for being in front of a camera. I am so utterly awkward that it borders on the inane! Despite all of these idiosyncrasies of mine, my husband is getting pretty good at capturing decent photos of me! Like the ones in this post…But alas, the military has taken him away. Again!

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This time he is only about 5 hours away from us, but it is for 7 weeks with really no days off for us to visit him or him to come home. And let me tell you, these summer days are long with two little boys and no break at the end of the day! But as my five year old said, ” Mommy, we got this. It’s only 40 days and Daddy was in Afghanistan for a hundred million days and we were fine!” Way to keep it in perspective, kid!

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But no matter how many times he leaves, that first day that he is gone I find myself fighting back tears. All. Day. Long. When I set the coffee pot for one, I cry. When I do that last load of laundry that has his clothes from the day before, more tears. When I give the kids dinner that first night in front of the television because I can’t bear to sit at the dinner table minus one, my eyes well up. When I get into bed alone that first night, you guessed it…crying.


But by the next day I have accepted my new routine of single parenting, the tears are in check, and I am stronger than I thought I could be. Then the kids and I generally cruise right through the days and nights like the champions of military life that we are!

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But one thing I have learned through all of the separations and reunions is to feel the feels. No matter how unpleasant they are, especially that first day, I have to just allow my feelings to be my feelings. I need to give them their moment in time. Feelings that are not given their moment tend to turn into really ugly and vengeful emotions. So on day one of separation, I allow myself to mope around, to slack on my responsibilities, and to just try to relax knowing that the sadness will pass. And it will pass quicker if I just feel the feels.


Outfit details:
Tank Top: Old Navy (No longer available, but this Long & Lean V-Neck Crepe Tunic in Dark Red is very similar.)
Jeans: White House Black Market (No longer available, but you can shop their jeans here.)
Kimono: I recently picked up this kimono for a super clearance price (of course), but for the life of me I can’t remember where I got it and there is no brand tag in it. Weird. Another mom brain moment, I suppose.
Sandals: Burlington Coat Factory (Brand: Rampage. From last year.)
Clutch: A gift from my friend, Amy, from Old Navy (No longer available, but they do have this adorable Faux-Leather Zip-Top Clutch which features a tassel zipper pull.)
Necklace: Kohl’s (Brand: Jennifer Lopez. From last year. All Jennifer Lopez necklaces are currently buy one, get one 1/2 off. Check those out here.)

Side note: As I was writing this post, my 3 year old brought a container of yogurt to me and said, “Mommy, we are going to keep this yogurt for Daddy when he comes home. I will put it on the table for him.” It took some convincing on my part to get said yogurt back into the refrigerator along with a lot of scientific explanation about the properties of dairy products and what happens if they are left out of refrigeration for 40 days. Daddy definitely would not want to eat that yogurt!

Feeling the feels and saving the yogurt on the edge,


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I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

60 Responses

  1. This post. Made me tear up. And made me realize how strong you (and I) and all, can be! You got this, and you have the bracelet to prove it 🙂

  2. Ah what a lovely post. Of course it is hard to be alone with your kids for seven weeks. Has he got a long time of when he comes home? I think it will take also a bit of time to adjust to the fact that there is a fourth person in the house when he is home again. And by what you write, are your kids handling it great!

    • Thank you, Nancy! It is unlikely that he will have any time off when he gets home…unless he comes home on a Friday then he will get the weekend off. I think he is due back on a Monday though and will most likely have to be back at work on Tuesday or Wednesday. And yes, the adjustment period is…um…interesting! We are all getting used to this life by now though!


  3. Aww, Shelbee – you are an amazing woman! I have military wives in my family, and I know from seeing up close that it takes a strong woman to be married to a military man. Thank you to your husband and you!! I agree with you 100% that we need to let the feelings come and let them work themselves out. Pushing them back and away only makes things worse. Also, I like to say that you wouldn’t know what joy felt like if you didn’t have the feeling of sorrow to compare it to. i wish the best for you and your family, and hope the time seems to fly by so that y’all can be back together again.

    Your husband did a great job on these photos, I agree :). Love the cute outfit, beautiful!


    • Thank you so much, Jane! I kind of teared up a bit reading your comment. Sometimes we military spouses feel a little isolated from the real world and it’s nice to know that others appreciate our struggle! But it’s a good life and we appreciate all that we have…even if the frustration gets the best of us sometimes!


  4. Love your kimono, so gorgeous! Lovely pattern, Xx


  5. This is great. Feeling the low feels sucks. But feeling the high feels, like the ones you’re gonna feel in 40 days is pretty good! And you are right — NOT feeling the feels leads to very bad things. Much worse than the low feels. Hang in there! And you look great (my 11-year-old and sometimes my six-year-old are usually my photographers — time to start training your Number 1 😉)

    • Thank you so much, Susie! It’s so true…homecoming days are the best! I need to train my 5 year old to take better pictures. He usually cuts my head off! So I rely on a tripod and a blue tooth remote most of the time!


  6. Hi Shellbee, I was deeply touched by this post of yours. I hope you will get through this nicely and your husband will be back in no time. Meanwhile, you have us.

  7. Love those colors together. Never thought of wearing them like that, but I really like it. I wouldn’t have known you were uncomfortable in front of the camera! My prayers are with your husband and your family while he is away 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Candace! I have always preferred deeper, darker, richer colors. Although since blogging and seeing pictures of myself, I am realizing that brighter blues and reds look better on me! But I still go for these color combinations anyway!

      Thank you for reading!


  8. Andrea Nine

    Oh sweetie, you’re so beautiful inside and out!! You got this girl and you let those feelings flow as they need to! Your hubby has the most respected job in this world and we thank him for protecting us, and you for being the strong supportive wife and BEST mama! He’s a lucky man and I hope this time goes fast!!

    • Aw, Andrea, you just made me cry! Thank you so much for overwhelming me with so much kindness. I love being a part of this blogging community where I can keep it real and wear my heart on my sleeve and receive all sorts of encouragement in return! You are the best. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for making my day a little brighter!


  9. Awww hope the time goes by fast. I can’t imagine having to be a single parent randomly throughout the year! Hope you can keep yourself busy with the kids! Love the kimono!


  10. I love this post Shelbee..especially the part about the yogurt really made me want to laugh. I feel a little like this every time I say good bye to my Mum at the airport – it’s really hard living so far apart…especially as they get older.

    Enjoy your 40 days and make some nice plans for when he gets back 😉

    The pictures of you are super cute.

    Yvonne xx

    • Thanks so much, Yvonne! I actually do enjoy the time apart sometimes because it gives me a little bit more time to myself to focus on the things I enjoy selfishly by myself! Especially after the kids go to bed, I can watch what I want on television and just do whatever I want without yet another person wanting my attention! But I do miss that husband attention, too! And the week after he gets home, we have to go to a military ball and my in-laws just called to tell us they have reserved a hotel room for us for the night and they are keeping the children overnight. So I am really looking forward to that little treat! Thanks for stopping by!


  11. I can only imagine how hard it must be to have your partner be in the service. I will keep you and your family in my prayers <3

    Edye | http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

  12. Being a military wife must be hard. I can’t imagine having to go through separations like that. It’s important to feel your feelings.

  13. Thanks for linking up with us on the Blended Blog…love, love, love that kimono!

  14. OMG! This is so sad. I do know how you feel because though I am not married I was away from my boyfriend for 8 months and it just feels lonely. He works on a cruise ship and we have to be apart for 8 months every year and the first day is always the hardest. I cry buckets every time! And then you just get used to it and start counting down the days to when you will see each other again.

    And your boys are so sweet to be there for you when you need to be comforted. Just be strong and hang in there. He will come home soon. 🙂

    The Pink Lemonade Girl

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Jenn! That must be really hard to be separated for 8 months every year. And while I find it to be challenging parenting alone while he is gone, I remember when he was gone before we had kids and I think that was even harder. Because then I had no one to distract me from the loneliness. The children definitely provide a welcome distraction and force me to keep going even if I am feeling down. So, you hang in there, too. I think couples who can withstand the separations and the distance are the strongest couples out there!


  15. I’m a lover of basic outfit and yours is perfect. Love your kimono and his print! Have a nice day, kisses and thank you for your visit,

    Eniwhere Fashion
    Eniwhere Fashion Facebook

  16. What a beautifully written post! I didn’t know you were a military wife and YES at least it is only 5 hours away and not another country far away! My husband has to travel for work sometimes and it is so, so hard. I always seem to do ok in the day, but then in the evening I really start to miss him when he’s gone! It sounds like you’re hanging in there and yes it is important to let yourself have the tears if you need to! That kimono is so pretty, love the colors in it and esp. love those strappy sandals!


    • Thanks so much, Carrie. I know there are lots of other women who have husbands who leave frequently for work. Sometimes I think the shorter leaves are even harder than the longer leaves especially on the kids because it just becomes disruptive and there’s no time to settle into new routines. So I feel your pain, too. We get so used to our routines, it is difficult when they get upset.


  17. God bless you and your family for what you give our country. It is so hard sometimes to just let yourself feel the feels. But you are so right if you do it all is better sooner. Cute look, I love the kimono.

    • Thank you so much! We are about a week into the 7 week separation now and doing quite well. It’s just filling the hours when he would be home from work that can be challenging. But we have already made our adjustments and are into a pretty good routine now!


  18. Ugh Shelbee!! I don’t know how you do it…
    Good luck and at least you have all of us?
    ps…I hate posing for the camera too—-I need a 50’s replacement!!!

    • Thanks, Jodie! I totally have all of my blogging friends! When my husband was first deployed, I started reading fashion blogs late at night after the kids were asleep and it helped pass the time. Then I started commenting and was receiving so much wonderful support and companionship that I decided I wanted to be part of it. I am so glad I made that decision.


  19. I love it Shelbee. Indeed we do need to feel the feels. Your outfit is adorable by the way. My brother is military and my sister is married to military. This doesn’t mean I understand what it’s like, but I know what it looks like. And as far as the camera deal…I’m not all that uncomfortable in front of the camera, but the whole post photos of myself on IG, FB, etc is awkward to me. It feels like self-promotion. And well, I guess it kind of is. However, I have a friend that told me plainly and simply – “Get over it.” Have a fabulous day!

    • Haha! That is great advice from your friend, Chrissy! I guess we should just get over it. No one is analyzing my pictures as much as I am. They just take a quick glance anyway! And thank you for your kind words. It means a lot to know that there are non-military people out there who understand the struggle. But you also know that the benefits are wonderful, too!


  20. Hi Shelbee, I admire you and your family so much for your service to our country. The wives, too, deserve to be honored. It does make you cherish the time that you do have with him. Blogging is a great distraction and hopefully will make the 40 days go by quickly!!


    • Thank you so much, Cherie. I started blogging when he was deployed to help distract me and now I just love the blogging community so much and it really is a great help for keeping some structure while he is away!


  21. These photos are beautiful! You’re so wrong, you look great and comfortable in front of the camera!! Loved reading this post. You’re so strong.


  22. Aww Sorry to hear about your husband on leave again, but boy, how smart was your son at 5 to say “Mom we got this!” Love it. Yes, I am not one to bottle up feelings either. Take care, and BTW, you are a pose in a very natural pose! You have a great smile too. Love the purple and red together with this look!
    Thanks for linking up with My Refined Style!
    jess xx

  23. Your son is very wise! You’re right, you need to feel the feels to get through the lows quicker. Your photos turned out great and you look very relaxed in front of the camera!

    Doused In Pink

  24. You look great in this outfit and if you hadn’t said you were awkward in front of the camera, I never would have believed it! Your smile is gorgeous. Love the sandals. And you are so right to just let yourself feel the feels. If you try and stuff them, they end up coming out somewhere anyway! Beautiful post!

    • Thank you so much, Cathy! That is one of the nicest comments ever! I am just learning as I go…about blogging, photography, and life in general! Have a wonderful weekend.


  25. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style.

  26. What a wonderful and moving post! I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have your husband away for such long periods of time serving in the military. His service to our country is truly appreciated. I think we often forget about how difficult it is for the families of men and women in service when their loved ones are away, but you are absolutely right to let your emotions out instead of bottling them up.

    On a side note, your photos look great! I would not have known that you were shy in front of the camera unless you had written it in this post!


    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Katie! I love the wonderful support I receive from the blogging community and from my community of military friends as well! It definitely takes a village to live this life, but we do it in glorious fashion for sure! Thanks so much for reading! Have a fabulous weekend!


  27. I wore a kimono as a jacket this week too! Don’t they make the perfect jackets for summertime?!


  28. Thank you to your husband for his service and the sacrifices you all make for our country. Your son’s comment is so sweet! Love your pretty kimono.

    Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you soon!


  29. So many military families tell me their kids are the strong ones.

    Love the outfit, btw. Thanks for sharing on #FridayFrivolity.

  30. Shelbee, those sandals are fabulous! I am a little slow getting around to visit the blogs who linked to the July My Refined Style Linkup. Thanks for adding your fabulous style to our over-40 party!


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