Setting Sail at the Academy

Setting Sail 2014

Chaplain Siemer teaches healthy communication skills to fiancées of Naval Academy Midshipmen.

FamilyLine held it’s annual Setting Sail session at the Naval Academy last week. Setting Sail is a three-hour introduction to the full COMPASS Program. The participants received a handbook including instructions on how to obtain a military ID card and information on the many benefits and services available to military spouses. Volunteer mentors also shared information on deployments, moving, and adapting to a new duty station.

Supporting FamilyLine with AmazonSmile

Amazon Smile

Supporting sea service families has never been easier! Through “Smile” Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Support sea service families by starting your shopping at and selecting “Naval Services FamilyLine.”

Down a Parent

The following has been reposted, with permission, from "They Call Me Dependent" by writer, author, and military spouse, Marie Angela.

To say I’m learning a lot is an understatement. I felt that since I have been through so many deployments and underways, returning to sea duty with older kids wouldn't be hard (er). I expected things to be different, but not any more difficult than before. That was until we transitioned and I realized how much my husband was contributing while on shore duty. It’s hard to explain, but I took the convenience factor for granted, not the husband. I knew having him home was an asset, a gift. I was more than thankful for his time, his ability to “be there” and the flexibility it gave me. Now, I’m realizing it’s back to sticky notes, calendars, lists, and remembering it’s ok to ask for help.( <–that last one is still a hard one for me.)

My brain *remembers* what it was like before, but I prefer to live in the moment. Some may call that having major denial issues, I call it being present without worry. It sounds ‘prettier’ my way, doesn't it? So, when my husband started disappearing from the dinner table and not coming home for nights in a row, the bugging feeling from the back of my head started inching toward my acceptance of our new reality. At first I thought, no biggie. I can drive both kids to their functions, I've done it over and over before. I can mow the lawn, take out the trash, and all that jazz. That womanly, “I can do anything” feeling kicks in and I’m playing my favorite playlist in the house while multitasking, getting things done. *Oh, pay the bills… add that to the list. Make the kids doctor appointments, check! Messages are left from the dentist needing to reschedule cleanings…sure! I’ll call them back. Kids come home and make the comment, “the dogs nails are really long, mom!” I add ‘take dogs to groomers’ to my list. Before long, it’s 7pm and I just realized dinner might be a good idea. It would have been a better idea to realize this earlier and had gone to the store. Ooops. The days were getting away from me.

For most military careers, change is inevitable. You can look at it however you want, but I try to see the good in it. I see it as a chance to reevaluate prior choices, the opportunity to try new things, and most importantly, I see a fresh start.

None of this is earth moving or anything more than what other families deal with. Really, it’s not a big deal. Balancing jobs, home life, kids…it’s what we create and choose to do. Most of these “to-do’s” are choices. The only difference for us is that we exists in one life style long enough to get really comfortable and *bam* it’s switches. I apparently forgot to hit the switch. My bad. We know as long as our spouses choose this career, we must choose to deal with the “revamping” of our own life. For most military careers, change is inevitable. You can look at it however you want, but I try to see the good in it. I see it as a chance to reevaluate prior choices, the opportunity to try new things, and most importantly, I see a fresh start. Do I always do it gracefully with color coded lists? Ha. No. I call it organized chaos. It takes me a few weeks of running late, forgetting things (and possibly a kid), and making mistakes. Life has changed since the last time we have done this and it clearly shows through my frantic adjustments.

Today I’m celebrating what some may consider a small accomplishment. I was able to register my daughter for the exact dance classes she wanted to take and make them somewhat coincide with my son’s preexisting soccer schedule. Doesn't seem huge, does it? To me, it’s worth the happy dance I did. It means they can continue what took both my husband and I participating in, even though we are now ‘down a parent’. At 11 1/2 and 15 years old, my kids are finding their “passions.” They are becoming good at things and want to take their interest to a more serious level. This requires time, lots and lots of time. The feeling of making it ‘work’ is comforting.

The most important thing for me as a mother is family. Yes, my husband has a meaningful career that he is succeeding in and I can’t tell you how proud I am of him and his service. He and I agree though, that there is a balancing act between family and serving our country. We ask our children to give so much (mostly without choice). They move schools and leave friends. They live thousands of miles from family. They live for months (sometimes over a year), without their Dad. They didn't ask for this. So, when we transition from shore duty back to sea duty aka, from a two parent household to a one parent household, it is extremely important to me that they don’t have to give up their, “loves.” Today, when I was able to mesh their schedules and pretty much be in two places at once, that means the world to me and will thrill them. They’re each encouraged to pick one thing and I do my best to make it work. It doesn't always end well, but today it did. It means that the transition will be easier. Do things stay exactly the same for my children? No. I wish I really could be divided into two and they carry on just the same, but the reality is I am one person and I will do my best, but we are a team and we all compromise to bring balance to our family.

So, today I celebrate “the small stuff.” I’m celebrating my full, but organized calendar, and more importantly, the ability to find balance in this crazy military life.

Cheers to the parents out there, “making it happen!” Civilian, Military, I raise my glass to you!

Microsoft Office Military Discount


The Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP) is an option for Military and Government Employees to purchase Microsoft Office at a reduced rate and is authorized for personal use on a home computer. To get started, eligible service members must visit / and enter in their work email address. Next, click the link that says “Don’t Know Your Program Code? Click Here.” and follow the instructions. The cost to download Microsoft® Office Professional Plus 2013 or Office Home and Business 2011 for Mac is $9.95 plus tax.

Military OneSource Tax Services

Military OneSource provides access to an online tax filing service at no cost to you. The service allows you to complete and electronically file your federal and up to three state tax returns or filings. Your calculations are guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate or the online tax service provider will pay the penalties and interest.

To learn more - and take advantage of this free service - visit

2014 All Hands Owners and Operators Manual

All Hands O and OThe 2014 edition of the All Hands Owners and Operators Manual is available for download at This guide is a resource for Sailors and their families to better understand pay, benefits and the structure of the Navy. It includes information on housing, family support, and healthcare and is a great complement to Sea Legs: A Handbook for Navy Life and Service.

Budget for Baby

NMCRSThe Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) has been serving Sailors, Marines, and their families for 110 years and is probably the first organization you think of when faced with an emergency financial situation. But they also provide free workshops to help new parents plan for the financial impact of a baby. In the “Budget for Baby” workshop, parents will learn about the expenses they should prepare for and where to find the best prices on supplies and necessities, like diapers and formula.

At the workshop, you’ll receive a Junior Sea Bag, which includes layette items like crib sheets, onesies, and a baby blanket handmade by a Society volunteer. The free gift has an $80 value.

Parents will also learn how to develop a family budget and will have the opportunity to sign up for free one-on-one financial assistance and counseling. This class is a great way to meet other expectant Navy and Marine Corps parents.

In the workshop, you’ll also learn how you may receive a visit from a Society nurse after your baby comes home. The nurse can answer any questions you might have about caring for your baby.

Budget for Baby workshops are open to:

  • Active duty or retired Sailors and Marines
  • Eligible family members with a military ID card
  • Surviving spouses
  • Reservist on extended active duty of 30 days or more

Visit for more information.

TRICARE - Emergency Care

TRICAREOne common misconception among military families is that they need approval from TRICARE to seek emergency care. You do not need authorization for emergency care before receiving treatment. If you are enrolled in TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Prime Remote, TRICARE Prime Overseas, TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas or the TRICARE Young Adult-Prime Option, you must contact your primary care manager within 24 hours or the next business day after you receive emergency care.

If you or a family member experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 or go to the ER immediately:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Sudden or severe pain
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or changes in vision
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Changes in mental status, such as confusion

Urgent care, however, is not the same as emergency care. Urgent Care is used to treat a condition that doesn’t threaten life, limb or eyesight, but needs attention before it becomes a serious risk to health. (i.e. high fever, sprained ankle). In that case you should make a “same day” appointment with your primary care physician, family doctor or urgent care clinic for urgent care services.

TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Prime Remote, TRICARE Prime Overseas, TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas, TRICARE Young Adult-Prime enrollees should visit your primary care manager (PCM) for all urgent care. If you can’t see your PCM, you must have a referral for urgent care. If you get urgent care from another provider without a referral from your PCM, you’ll be using the point-of-service option.

You can learn more about covered services, including emergency and urgent care, at

Navigate the Military Lifestyle with COMPASS

Want to learn more about our COMPASS Program? Watch this video created by our talented team in Guam.

Commissary Policy Changes

The Defense Commissary Agency used their Facebook page to announce a policy change regarding coupons and special orders. This change will limit special orders for large quantities and limit returns of “unreasonable” quantities to discourage patrons from purchasing items for resale or excessive monetary refunds. The change will also prohibit shoppers from having multiple or split transactions with coupon “overage.”

According to the DECA website commissaries “redeemed nearly 100 million coupons in fiscal 2013 for a customer savings of about $91 million. DeCA ranked sixth among U.S. retailers in coupon redemptions in fiscal 2012.”

Visit the DECA Facebook page for more information at

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