Fire Couple: The Interview

Today marks the 12th year my husband Josh and I started dating! In honor of that I thought it would be fun to do a little interview with him. Some of the questions were sent in from my social media pages. We will pretty much be covering everything from dating to now, fatherhood, motherhood and of course the fire life. I am sure some of these answers will be relatable for our fire family readers.

Questions for Josh…

Q: How long have you been in the fire service?

A: As a paid professional since 2008 but did an explorer program and volunteered before then.

Q: What helps you the most stay connected to the family when on shift?

A: Daily phone calls or FaceTiming.

Q: How do you handle fatherhood, and being a present husband and dad when you get home from shift and are completely depleted physically and emotionally?

A: It is a weekly battle that varies depending on the shift or what is going on in our personal lives. Routine helps with my decompression, for example…listening to music on the way home, working out, and knowing what is on the schedule when I get home and not being surprised with anything. The hardest part is being open when I’m having a rough day. Most of the time I fail at this, and is the root cause of most conflicts we have as a couple. I am hard headed and believe hard work can fix almost anything, so I usually find my self powering through the day with what the family’s got going on. Doesn’t make sense for my family to sacrifice anymore time away from me. I honestly try to detach from work and consciously tell myself what I need to do, and what person my family needs when I get home…..A weekly struggle, if not daily.

Q: Does it make it easier or harder on you when you get pictures of your wife and kids having fun while you are on shift?

A: Depends on the situation, picture or moment I’m missing. I’m to the point in my career where I don’t feel like the family should miss anything because I am not there. Like with almost anything else it’s situation dependent.

Q: Best marriage advice?

A: Compromise for everything! Try and take your ego out of the equation and be a couple that loves each other. Life’s not perfect (I constantly have to tell myself to not try and make it perfect). Just go with the flow and be thankful.

Questions for me…

Q: Sometimes when my husband is going on shift we get into a really good routine and then dad comes home and that routine is blown to smithereens LOL! How do you do it? Do you just make sure you stay consistent with your routine or do you adjust when dad gets home?

A: For us and our life style routine helps so much! Especially so with kids. I like to know I am giving my children something consistent in their lives because the fire life is anything but that! My husband does a pretty good job at respecting the routine we both established. For example for us, dinner starts getting cooked at 4, every other night is bath night, bedtime is at 7. It makes it nice when he comes home to know what to expect. But I am not above the kids staying up if he is running late and isn’t home until 7:30 to let the kids see him. That’s their dad and he deserves every opportunity to be in their lives especially because he is giving everything for us. So, long answer shorter yes on the routine and yes to being flexible. Relationship over routine.

Q: Best marriage advice?

A: Have a servants heart. I know a lot might not agree but putting my husband and my children’s needs above my own is something I strive to always do. I totally believe in self care as well as being selfless. Most importantly constantly praying over my marriage, be willing to compromise and always keep communication a priority. Learn how you and your husband gives and receives love. And never stop dating.

Q: How do you handle being around other couples when you’re missing your husband?

A: Depends on how hard of a time I am having. Usually I try to surround myself with people who understand and respect our lifestyle. But sometimes I also will avoid those situations because having to explain details about the fire life, husbands schedule, where he is at can be overwhelming sometimes, depending on who is asking. I think it’s okay and healthy though to miss my husband. After all he’s my best friend.

So, there you have it. A short and sweet little interview between us. Life can be hard and get messy especially when you’re living the fire life. But finding what works best for you and your spouse is vital. These are the things that work and don’t work for us, the things we go through and work on as a couple. There will always be amazing days and hard days in any given situation but its how you handle those things that is key. I love my husband more every day and am proud to be able to say that. I have a really good man and if 12 years is only the tip of the ice berg. I hope you continue to journey with us through our fire life. Every season is different and brings new challenges and new victories. Looking forward to sharing them all with you!


Friends and the Fire Life

Last week I was talking to my sister about how when she was in the military and also had been a military wife. It was hard to make friends. Especially in her case where they were constantly moving. She was talking to me about how she was excited about a new friendship. It was good to hear that because it wasn’t long when that was all I wanted. A GOOD friend. And we both talked about how that is something fire wives also face. My sister said, “…you should write about this in your blog.” And she was totally right! So, here I am. Let’s talk about friendship in the fire life.

I remember there was a long period of time when it seemed as if no one understood or seemed to care about this fire wife life I lead. Or at least that’s what I allowed myself to believe. As a fire wife sometimes I have felt the expectation of having to have it all together and not be able to let anyone in enough to say I was struggling. I turned to family a lot to talk to but even then they didn’t fully understand that I just needed an ear and not a solution. I needed someone to not explain to me my husband’s job and that he was just doing what he needed to do. I also, didn’t need someone who was afraid to invite or not invite me because well I may be flying solo. Or a friend who would even want to take the time to truly understand the fire life. I am not going to sugar coat how hard it is to find those friends, those people fire family or not who just get it, understand, and are there for you no questions asked. The friends who truly care. This I have found to be rare and hard to find.

I think about how different yet similar it was when I was working, to now as a stay at home mom. When I was working I had this purpose and adult conversation. I still see some of my customers from time to time and will catch up. After work before kids I could really just do whatever and was able to keep myself busy enough to allow the time to go by faster. But, also looking back there was never that constant friend who stuck it out or I felt fully understood the fire life. I didn’t know too many other fire wives yet either. We were married young. I felt I kind of fell into a different category with people my own age. Around the time of having my first kid, maybe a little before that is when I started to make some good friends, mom friends. I worked part time with my first daughter so a lot of my time I was catching up at home. But, made time to hang out with some other moms. Fast forward to after having my second daughter and being a stay at home mom. It all happened during the time of my husband being gone a lot with his long commute. I have talked about this commute a lot before. I wasn’t only adjusting to the life with two kids but a life where I did not have a job. I had always worked since I was fifteen. I did not realize the difference of having an adult conversation can make and having something that was “my thing” or gave me that sense I was contributing and had a purpose. Both working mom and stay at home mom were not without their hardships. So, for a while I felt like I was figuring out my life again and who I was. Being a stay at home mom is so much harder then I have ever thought it would be but am so very thankful we are able to make it work. I truly was and am thankful for the few friends who really understood. And ironically almost all of them fire wives.

Something I have discovered in making a friend is the ones who seem to be my closest friends are the ones where I put myself out of my comfort zone to make. About a year after moving to my home I am now I met one of my closest friends. Her and her family were outside by the corner of my property fixing a sign. My husband wasn’t home but I was tired of waiting for him to be home and it working out to introduce ourselves to all our neighbors. When I saw this little family I told my girls to get their shoes on and we were going to go out and meet some of our neighbors. I am so glad I did. We have become so close and not just her and I our whole families. Something else that I feel is hard is finding those couples both you and your husband really enjoy spending time with. I know now we were all a little hesitant but I also know we are all thankful for the friendship we have found in each other. And through them we have made a couple of other friends as well.

It is truly a hard thing to get caught up in the no one understands what I am going through thoughts. That feeling of not having someone who says “if you need anything let me know” and actually mean it. The fire wife life can be a lonely one at times and even our fellow fire wives can be hard to always turn to because they may be going through their own trials. I know for me the more time I isolated myself the less friends I was able to hold on to. I encourage you though to not let that discouragement keep you from always trying and meeting new friends. Strike up those random conversations and be yourself. the friends who are meant to be will eventually find their way to you. And don’t be afraid to be the the kind of friend you want. I am thankful for the friendships I have now. These friendships make all the difference. So if that’s something you’re struggling with keep praying. I have faith it will work out. And don’t let fear keep you from finding a new purpose. You are never truly alone that is only something we allow ourselves to believe.

“That’s when I realized what a true friend was. Someone who would always love you-the imperfect you. The confused you, the wrong you-because that is what people are supposed to do.           -r.j.l.

“An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”                        —Ancient Chinese Belief

Fire Daughters: The Interview

As a mom of two girls I often wonder how and what they think of their dad, especially him as a firefighter. So, I decided to construct my own little interview. I will ask them a series of questions pertaining to them as Fire daughter’s. My oldest daughter is six and my youngest is three. So, this is their unfiltered answers. No prompting just straight from the mouths of babes. The answers could be silly or serious depending on their day. I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to know which. Answer 1 will be my six year olds response and Answer 2 will be my three year olds.

Question 1

What does your dad do for work?

A1: “He puts out fires!”

A2: “He puts out fires!”

Question 2

What is the best part about having a dad as a firefighter?

A1: “Because, he helps people.”

A2: “dad a fire firefighter, he put out fires.”

Question 3

What is the hardest part for you having a dad as a firefighter?

Rephrased the question

“What’s hard for you with dad being a firefighter?”

A1: “Nothing’s hard.”

A2: “Uhhhhhh, firefighter!”

Question 4

Tell me and explain something fun about Dad’s job?

A1: “When he climbs the ladder.”

A2: “cones”

Question 5

Is dad gone a lot?

A1: “Uhhhh, yeah.”

A2: “yup, he’s gone mom, he’s at work.”

Question 6

What’s your favorite thing to do when he is home?

A1: “That’s an easy one, play with him.”

A2: “uhhh, snacks.”

Question 7

What is dad’s favorite thing to do when he is home?

A1: “Uhhhh, talk to you and workout with you.”

A2: “uhhhh, be in him’s house.”

Question 8

Tell me about visiting the fire station?

A1: “Uh, it’s kind of cool, it’s fun when we play on the workout thing.”

A2: “eat at the fire station.”

Question 9

Is dad’s job important? And why?

A1: “Yes! Because he has to put out fires.”

A2: “yeah mom, yes. With firefighters”

Question 10

Is there anything you would change about dad’s job? Or is there anything you wish was different?

A1: “Like, less time at work.”

A2: “yeah, he work.”

Question 11

Why is dad’s job so important?

A1: “Because he has to help people.”

A2: “uhhh So he can work.”

So, this was pretty funny and I am sure if I asked them the same questions in a week I would get different answers. Obviously big sister answered more seriously and little sister didn’t quite understand them all. And she was being silly when I was asking her. This may be something I do every year to keep track of what they think about their dad as a firefighter. And see where I am needing to explain more to them. As for them, they don’t know any different kind of life and I am sure these questions were a little weird for them. All and all as a mom I was glad there wasn’t anything too concerning.

Give and Take

Sometimes I get asked about the mom life and how I deal with it as a fire wife. All I know is what I have experienced. Like any parent there are the highs and lows. There are the choices from the very beginning: breastfeeding or formula, when to take a child in when they’re sick and what’s not a big deal. Then there’s the fun things like all the milestones of watching your kids growing up. That first word, tooth, or step can be such a joyful moment. The moments most parents love to see and get to share.

But the main difference I have noticed when looking back at the stages my girls have gone through is trying to remember if my husband was home for it or not. I noticed it the most with our first born. Everything was new for me and all a new learning experience. Looking back there was so much that my husband missed of her first milestones. Like those first couple of weeks when I tried to change her onesie and her umbilical cord had dried and was completely stuck to it. Thankfully my sister who is an experienced mom helped me and kept me calm when I was on the verge of tears. Or another time I woke up to my daughter saying “dada” and no one else was around to hear it. The list goes on from the first rolling over, to her walking, and even now it continues with school events and first dance classes missed. It is always hard and makes me a little sad when he is gone for long periods of time, comes home, and the first thing out of his mouth to the girls is “Oh my, you have gotten so big!” Those moments are hard as a fire wife.

I remember this one time after having our second daughter, it actually happened to be the first time I braved going out with two. I was meeting two girlfriends at the park and felt it was a good first outing, calm, and nice weather, no big deal. But then my oldest went down the slide and was launched into the cement curb leaving the biggest goose egg. I got her home as fast as I could to ice it. And watched her like a hawk for any signs of a concussion. I took her in the next morning and she was good. It was a hard day and my daughter still has some faint scar tissue build up on her forehead as a wonderful reminder. (Insert sarcasm) As a more experienced mom of two I look back and wish I had dealt with the situation different. It all turned out alright though. The biggest point is that I wish my husband would’ve been home.

Don’t get me wrong he has been home for some of the most amazing times as well, when we were lucky. He made our first born laugh for the first time, he was home for both of our girls births, and much more. I love to watch his face light up when he gets to see those firsts and the special moments. There isn’t any remedy for the way things are and we have learned and accept the fact it is just part of our lives. Ive learned it is all about the give and take. I try not to let the stings of guilt when moments are missed linger too long. And try to document it all so he can at least be some part of it. Being a mom isn’t easy and raising fire kids has proved to be even harder. But I take the fact that they get to grow up being part of something bigger then themselves. I mean not every kid gets to get the grand tour of a fire engine every time they visit dad at work. So, even though he has missed a lot, my girls are also learning the very meaning of what it looks like to be completely selfless and to serve others in their most desperate times of need.

(My husband w/our first daughter who he was seeing walk for the first time)

Fire Family

The last few weeks have been a little busy, a good busy. If we weren’t celebrating a birthday we were doing something involving our fire life. My husband put together a send off for his captain and I was able to reconnect with some familiar faces and meet new ones. We also went to a retirement party and I met more fire families then I have ever before. Which made the next event even more fun for me because I felt I knew a few people. When thinking about this all this morning I remembered something that I struggled with for three years while my husband commuted far away. And maybe you have dealt with this too.

Right before my husband promoted and was to start commuting he was at our local helitack base. We got to visit a lot and go to end of the year parties etc. But when he started to commute it stopped. I knew every station and which engine belonged to them. Then, all of a sudden it was I don’t know what my husband’s station looks like and I don’t even know who he is working with. The first promotion took him 4 1/2 hours away. So we were spending even more time apart. I lost that sense of feeling a part of what he was doing. It was hard between our work schedules, being pregnant and having a toddler to find the time to ever make the trip up to his station. It is weird to look back and still not even know what his station looked like or feel like I had a sense of his daily life. I never met a co worker or even any of their fire wives. I would get upset and let my husband know how I was feeling. I felt alone in my struggles but knew deep down I wasn’t. He wasn’t there for too long so by the time we could even visit he was laid off for the winter.

When he then promoted again it was another long commute 2 1/2 hours longer then the one before. This time I was determined to make the trip down. And even though it was the hardest drive ever it was worth that hour at the station. When he talked about what he was doing I could see and know what he was talking about. I was able to connect faces to names. There are still a couple of the families that we stay in touch with and new ones I am learning about because of this blog. I had always planned on making a second visit but never was able to. But it made the two years he was stationed there a lot smoother for me.

It is not easy as a fire wife to feel indirectly excluded from your husband’s life. It just happened with no bad intentions. I am thankful to have that sense of fire community back and feeling completely part of my husband’s life again. Our firemen spend a lot of time at work away from their loved ones and families. And we spend a lot of time alone or doing our own thing, whatever that may look like. For me the solution was simple but that may not always be the case. But making that trip did make it easier. I believe it is important to feel apart of what our husbands are doing. And also just as important as making our fireman feel a part of home as much as possible too. Both are such a huge part of our lives and should not be ever treated as separate. I am thankful for those years of growing because they opened my eyes up more to the importance of what it is like to have the strength of a fire community by your side. And also what it is like without it.

The Not So Dirty Thirty

BURPEES…it’s just one of those things you love to hate or hate to love. In this case the more the more the merrier! Me and Michelle @thesaltyfitfirewife are turning 30 this month!!! And in honor of that we want to give back! We are raising money for @carneystronginitiative and every $1 donated equals a burpee!!! But it’s more then that it’s helping our firefighters, it’s giving back to something more then myself, it’s not just talking the talk but walking it out in any way possible. Turning 30 shouldn’t limit who we are. With the right mind set and heart, I truly believe we can impact the world for the better. Whatever that looks like for you? keep it up, don’t loose heart. And if you want to help impact something bigger then yourself donate for this cause or get out there and make something happen!!! These are a couple of things posted on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

So, what is Carney Strong??? They are a nonprofit dedicated to helping spread awareness and help prevent firefighter cancer in the fire service. Something Lillian had to experience first hand when her husband Josh Carney passed from occupational firefighter cancer. Some things there will never be a way to make it better but there are ways to honor the lives we have lost. This is what Carney Strong is and does. With the last blog I wrote about firefighter cancer, you probably can tell this is something I don’t take lightly. So, for me it was obvious choice which nonprofit to support. If you want to help and donate towards this cause there is a link on my home page of this blog. We will be collecting donations through the end of February 2019. But if this is something you read and didn’t catch this in time. You can still donate towards Carney Strong Initiative their link will be under my links tab.

So here is to turning 30 and making a positive difference. Follow along on our Instagram/Facebook pages for updates.

No Room For Comfortable

At the end of last year I had mentioned that there was going to be a possible promotion for my husband. We kind of knew where that might be but nothing was gaunteed until he got the offer. That offer came in on January 7th and he started his first shift the 23rd. The position he was offered was the one we thought he would be getting, a Captain’s position at the ECC (Emergency Command Center). It is a little funny and kind of unreal to think of him as a Captain. I remember the conversations when he was a seasonal firefighter. He would talk about how a Captain’s position was where he would be happy retiring. And now here we are. Not that he is retiring any time soon but just reminiscing on that feeling of how the position of Captain seemed just so far in the future. I am so proud of him and the work he has put towards getting here. Not only that but the name he has made for himself. I feel like everywhere he has been and everywhere he goes he becomes the guy that everyone wants to stick around and work with. It is a good feeling as his wife knowing that about him. I’m sure we all could brag about our men because we have some of the best ones out there. But, it has been a process to get here. So let me back track a little.

In of 2014 he was on a Helitac crew. It was during that time he was trying to promote. But it wasn’t until 2015 that it happened. He was offered a position that would cause him to commute 4 1/2 hours away. But it was the next step. That same year I became pregnant with our second. I could probably figure out the date since it happened when he was in the academy and only came home one weekend. Haha But anyways it turned into a hard season. He missed almost all of the doctor appointments. And in one of the blogs before I wrote about that pregnancy and the difficulty I had. Now looking back without knowing it, I feel like we went through that season to prepare us for the next. It was Christmas Eve that same year and he was already laid off. That day was also the last day I worked, the bank I was working for had been bought out by another bank. So at eight months pregnant I also was laid off. To say we were a little stressed was an understatement. There wasn’t a way to just know when he would start work. And between his unemployment and my severance pay and disability we made it work. A couple weeks before my due date in January of 2016 he went to interview for an engineer position. I remember just making myself sit down and pray the whole time. Knowing what would happen would be what was supposed to happen. We had our baby eight days later and the next month he got the phone call and was offered a permanent engineer position. The only catch was it was almost seven hours away. We knew this might happen and I agreed I would follow him anywhere and we would make it work. The next month we put our house on the market and he started yet another academy. It was a joke amongst us that ever since we had our second daughter our family hit the ground running. I was having to slowly clean and pack and keep things tidy for potential buyers. It was definitely a crazy time. Me and my girls made the trip down to his new station which took me nine hours. It was rough with a nursing baby who screamed the whole last hour and a half. We planned on staying the week so when he got off shift we could house shop. It was so intimidating yet exciting to be starting that new chapter. Then he came home one day, our house still on the market, and we had a serious conversation about uprooting from all of our friends and family. He chose to commute and felt better about us staying and having the support. A decision I wasn’t sure was the best but I agreed. We decided to keep our house on the market and move into the house we have now. It turned out to be a blessing. But it wasn’t easy. His time away increased and we went through a lot of 2 weeks on 2 days off. If he ever got held on it was pointless for him to come home just to turn around and go back. So, that’s the way it worked for two years. When his two year commitment was up he was able to transfer back in March of 2018. What a difference it made. But our second daughter didn’t really know him and she was two. So him being back and closer to home she would have weeks where she clung to him but then have weeks where she would want nothing to do with him. That same year he took his test for a Captain’s position and passed. He went through the ECC academey. I’m pretty much academied out at this point. Ha! But I knew it was necessary. Which brings us to now.

It has only been a few weeks but this position is something I am excited about. For the most part if his job allows instead of being gone three nights he can come home on his last night. He will be on call but he will be home. With only two shifts in I could just cry at how I have seen a change in our second daughter towards him. She’s three now and understands more too so that helps. But it’s funny how she will tell me “mom, I don’t want you I want dad.” Doesn’t even phase me but makes me happy and laugh. I am still hesitating because there is probably going to be the shift change and summer of course when things get busy. But for now I will take all the time we can get because so much time has been lost. I am proud of him for keeping his head up during this whole time and proud of us for not letting this career come between us. If anything that I have learned from these last few years is, there isn’t such thing as comfortable. There isn’t any room for that in the fire service. But that’s okay I have come to like it that way. It keeps us growing, keeps us stronger and keeps our focus on what is important in our lives.

Firefighter Cancer

This last season as a fire wife has opened my eyes up to something that I strongly believe us fire wives need to know more about. At the same time, I believe it is as equally if not more important for our firefighters to be aware of this subject too. Let’s talk about firefighter cancer. But I don’t want to just talk about it. I want to share another fire wife’s story, I want to provide some companies who are relentless in their journeys to help prevent and reduce the high risk of cancer in the fire service. I want to help bring awareness that there are changes to be made. I have mentioned a little about this subject in other blogs, but it wasn’t until I realized how many of my fellow fire wives were out of the loop on how we can be helping our husbands. There was a lot of talk of “I wish there was something for this or that to help my husband” and “I am worried about the things he is coming into contact with.” That thought process is the first step. It wasn’t long ago when I never really thought about it much. I was throwing a load of laundry in the wash and it wasn’t quite a full load. I saw my husband’s fire clothes sitting there and thought “oh I can wash those too.” My husband happened to see me putting his clothes in the wash with the others and asked, “what I was doing?” I thought “I am doing laundry and your laundry so what’s the problem?” He told me how he didn’t want his clothes mixed with ours because he didn’t know what was on them. Wow, I had never thought of that, but it made total sense. Looking back, it is a little embarrassing to admit but it is the truth, and I was clueless. It’s a memory though that stuck so hard that when I started this blog and started learning about all these companies who are there to help with this, I knew I had to write this blog. Now, it is highly rare that he even brings his clothes home to wash. Over the last year or so I have also witnessed the effects that cancer has on the body while watching my sister in her journey with breast cancer. It is not something I would ever wish on anyone to go through. She had the amazing news of being cancer free and is still going through treatments. It is not until you watch a loved one go through something hard that you feel the desire to really think about your daily choices and take precautions. And think what can I change and how can I help. That’s what this blog is about.

I thought it would be important to bring on someone who has lived the fire wife life and the hard truth of cancer. My neighbor for the past two and a half years has shared her story with me, and I felt it was an important part of this blog. So, let me introduce Carlene. She has been a widow for a little over 23 years. Her husband Larry was had part of his colon taken out and a couple years later at 55 passed from a cancer called Numb Chin Syndrome. He was leaving behind Carlene, a son and a daughter. He was a career firefighter for CDF or what is now called Cal Fire. She recalled during our conversation about different fires her husband went on. One story was how she remembered a drug store in our downtown area that was burning down. Her husband had worked that fire and never wore an apparatus. She talked about how back then they didn’t wear masks or have the equipment that they do now. And an even crazier part of her story was how they used agent orange at the station. Her husband was also a veteran and served in the Air Force during Vietnam. But, part of the reason that they didn’t have equipment was because the department couldn’t afford a lot of it. It was a time in firefighting when things were done a whole different way. Leading up to the days that her husband passed, his department as well as the community was helpful in all the paperwork and just being there for them. Carlene and her son were flown out to see her husband’s name on the memorial wall in Colorado. The one thing she said she thought was so important during her husband’s time as a firefighter was, having other wives to relate to. They really relied on each other when their husbands were gone and it made all the difference for her. Having that conversation with her really opened my eyes up to, the progress that has been made and the progress that still needs to be made. Each company that I will be mentioning next is doing their part in seeing that our firefighters are given a shot to beat their odds of contracting cancer in the fire service.

So, let me introduce you to the first featured company in this blog…Last Line of Cancer Defense, LLC. Joseph started this company with wanting to make a difference and do something more. The products that he has to offer are detox soap made with activated charcoal, a gross decon sprayer kit, overhaul firefighter detox supplements, and clothing items which 10% of proceeds go towards the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. Besides these products they mainly go to stations and different fire departments to teach about cancer awareness and prevention. They also consult with departments on how to help make their policies and procedures, stations, fire trucks, and the fitness and wellness programs better. They do this in order to keep firefighter’s healthy and as cancer free as possible. Joe and his wife are truly very kind and genuine people who care for the wellbeing of others.

Firewipes is the next company I would like to add. I recently did just do a full blog review on this company, so feel free to check that out as well. I would love to do the same for all the other companies I am mentioning today. Firewipes are truly amazing. They are individual packaged wipes to help wipe down after or during a fire. My husband has been able to use these 8×12 wipes and really likes them. The less that the soot and carcinogens sit on our firefighter’s skin the better. They are very clean smelling and work really great. Definitely something I would recommend your firefighter’s having on hand.

While visiting the station you may have noticed this next company in your firefighter’s laundry room. I know I have noticed this brand in a lot of the stations I have visited. CitroSqueeze is the next featured company. They offer detergent and cleaner for turnout gear PPE (personal protective equipment). They also offer an all-purpose cleaner called SC-14 that can be used for anything from the engine to the kitchen. Both products would be great to have on hand at home as well. Each of their products they offer help mitigate carcinogens, sticking to and eliminating the harmful contaminants on the gear when washed. Knowing that there is a product to trust wash our fireman’s clothes and help eliminating those harmful cancer-causing materials is amazing!

Now let’s talk about Toxic Suppression. They offer a way to help our firefighter’s decon. Their ember suds soap bars come in a detox bar and a daily bar. The charcoal in these soap bars help the body detox the harmful chemicals absorbed through the skin. Toxic Suppression offers their soap bars in full and half sizes making it nice to add in an out of county bag, for those big fires. As, well as keeping one at the station. I must say they smell pretty good too. A few other things they offer are hand repair for their hard-working hands, stickers, hats and shirts. This is another great option.

Last but certainly not least, Responder Wipes and the DOT System. I combined these two together because the person who you would contact to get your hands on either one is the same. Tanya is a wealth of knowledge and works hard in different areas concerning firefighter cancer. The responder wipes provide a way to wipe down during and after a fire. They come in different sizes and in single or multi-packs. They also smell really good. The DOT system is an encapsulation system for gear and PPE’s. Firefighters would have a place to take their contaminated gear off and enclose it, while also having their clean clothes right there to change into. After taking the gear off and zipped up in the DOT system this also helps prevent any release of gases or toxins in the engine. They are washable to keep clean and reuse.

Each and every one of these products are unique in their own designs and share a common purpose. They all have big hearts and are striving to better the quality of life for our firefighters. Creating their products to help eliminate the toxic and cancerous situations our firefighters face almost every day. I am very thankful for every one of them. Please go check out the new tab “links” where the websites to each of these companies will be listed. As well as past featured companies. Let us take the initiative and help our firefighters beat their odds and help reduce the risk of firefighter cancer. It is something that should not be taken lightly. Help support these companies who are supporting our firefighters. Besides the link each company can be found on social media to follow and see what they are all about.

Season Future

It is the last part of this three part series and the last day of 2018. I remember last year writing on New Years Eve about hoping that my husband would transfer back home, so he would not have to do the 6 1/2 hour commute. It was the roughest time as a fire wife. But 2018 was good to us and my husband transferred back in March. He spent almost three years commuting long distances and we lost so much time together because of it. So, to see him as much as we did this year was a huge blessing for our little family. But what does this next year look like???

Well my husband is pretty much up for a Captain’s position this year. And the position that he may get will be completely different. But we wont talk about that yet until the offer is official. There is one thing I have learned as a fire wife and that is to not really talk of things until they are on paper. Even to go as far as not saying things like “my husband is coming home today” until he is actually in his vehicle driving. But I promise to let you know about his promotion when it happens and what it is. All I know for sure is that 2019 will be holding some changes. As a fire wife I kind of feel like that is part of the anthem…always changing. It is those changes though that help us and form us into some of the strongest women out there that I know. It may not necessarily be the change, but how we adapt to those changes that makes us who we are. So, I will embrace the changes and hope for the best.

For me personally in this next year I have some dreams that I have high hopes for. I started working towards my degree again this last Fall. I took eight years off of school. But am excited to continue finishing that. There is another thing that I am working on but not really talking about it yet until it is more official. But, I am hoping to be able to talk about that sometime in the next year. Some other things as a mom I am looking forward to in 2019 are potty training my youngest, being more involved in my daughter’s class, and continue guiding them through this fire family life. I also turn THIRTY in February so it is looking to be a fun year! With the blog I hope to bring more feature blogs, some interviews, and posting about the good and bad and everything in between as a fire wife. And looking forward to meeting and hearing from more of you.

As far as all of you who may be reading this I am praying for you. Hoping that somewhere along the line I was able to encourage you and bring you hope. That you know there is someone here willing to help and be relatable. That hopefully you learned a thing or two of what a fire family goes through. To all the fire wives I pray this year will be calmer. That there would be less fires and more time with your firemen. Less explaining of why daddy isn’t home and more understanding and fun times. That you would have wisdom in all circumstances and lots and lots of grace. And that you would have the strength to endure through the hard times. Let’s look into the future of 2019 with an open heart and allow ourselves room for error and forgiveness. That you would say yes to life and all the joy that it is willing to bring. I hope you continue with me on my journey as a fire wife. Have a safe and fun New Year from my family to yours!

“Looking forward into an empty year strikes one with a certain awe, because one finds therein no recognition. The years behind have a friendly aspect, and they are warmed by the fires we have kindled, and all their echoes are the echoes of our own voices.” -Unknown

Season Present

In this second part of this three part series, I will be writing about our current season. In Season Past I wrote about my husband and I’s first season together. So many seasons have passed since and so much in our lives have changed. Since that first season we’ve gotten engaged, married, moved a couple of times, had two kids, went from seasonal to a permanent position, and so much more. Throughout every season there has been extremely hard times and amazing times I wish we had more of. This current season is that of the latter. This present season I wish was how every season would be. A season of more time together.

We have gone through the last two years spending the most time apart then we have in our whole time as a couple. I have written a lot before about how my husband commuted over six hours to work. I also have written how this year he has been able to return to a more local station. The contrast has been so different. Those two years have taught me how fortunate we are to have this season with more time together. A season where his station is just a twenty minute drive. Even with all the extreme fires in California this year we have seen more of each other then those past two years when he was commuting. I know that this can change. We lost so much time together those past two years that we won’t ever get back. Instead of constantly dwelling on that I really try to remember to take what we can get and appreciate the time we do have. There are times I tell myself not to get used to it because I get afraid of loosing time together. Enjoying the time we have together can sometimes be robbed by the fear of the seasons to come.

Fire seasons are so unpredictable as well as a fireman’s shift. There isn’t a rhyme or reason, so we learn to just go with the flow. Celebrate the time we have and hold onto those memories for when we are apart. Those memories are what help us keep going. It’s the fire life balancing act. And in this present season I will celebrate and take every memory I can because there is no telling what the next season will bring.

(We took this photo after a double date)