My husband barely had a chance to dump his bags in our apartment when he returned from his first deployment before I told him that I was ready to start looking at houses. Our apartment, though large and very well maintained, was not dog friendly, and more than anything I wanted a puppy to keep me company when J.B. deployed next.

I also yearned to live in a space that would allow us to entertain more than four people at a time. I wanted my white picket fence (so the dog could run around the back yard, of course).

J.B. was going to be home for four months, but he still didn't think that would be enough time to find a house. Plus, we were going on our honeymoon in two weeks --10 days in Italy. Getting ready for our trip was the priority, not house hunting, he said.

Did that mean I just dropped it? Absolutely not! In fact, I pushed even harder. Every night I searched the Internet for property listings in our area, and, when I found some houses that had potential, J.B.'s interest was piqued. He started scooting over on the couch to be closer to my laptop and me while we watched TV so he could peek over my shoulder.

It wasn't long before he gave in to my peer pressure.

Click here to keep reading ...

The week before we left on our honeymoon, we must have looked at 30 houses in three days. On our last day of looking we found "the one." It was a two-story house from the 1960s that had been completely renovated by the previous owners. Set on just under a half an acre of land, our future pooch would have plenty of room to run and play.

Within days of leaving for Italy we put an offer on the house. The timing was terrible, but we knew we couldn't wait. The house was our perfect starter home. All of my years of reading Domino magazine had me bursting at the seams to start decorating. In that house, we'd finally be able to host proper dinner parties!

After a couple of back-and-forths with the sellers, our offer was accepted, and we officially closed on our very first house, nearly two months to the day after J.B. returned from his first deployment.

Sadly, a week ago, my husband deployed for the second time. When I dropped him off at the Air Force base, I had all but forgotten what it was like to be alone. Having him home for two extra months spoiled me, but it gave us the opportunity to do things we didn't think we'd have time to do this time around.

Our new house, though wonderful, now felt empty without him. Thankfully, I had a small, white furry friend to keep me company ...