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Thursday, July 31, 2008

By the seat of our pants and THE GARMIN

So I frantically type this as Recruit 6 begins to take down Panera Bread. We have been here long enough for him to check the joint out and now he has assesed their weaknesses. I tried to get a group shot of us. Below is the evidence of how not photogenic we are today. We stopped here after traveling to three movie theatres (we're not in our town). Two of the movie theatres were the same one. My fault not my trusty new friend THE GARMIN. I'll write about the joys of GPS later.
Great, he's hefting a chair....

Okay, Dropped Recruits 3 and 4 off at airport and now am trying to kill time till Saturday when I can retrive Recruit 2 from the strangers who have him. More later
have to save panera bread from Recruit 6.

just looked at pictures. There's bread all in my teeth. Not posting those...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Do Marine Families Have Fun?

Well they try on Kevlar of course! The Marine brought home the newest in flak jackets. It came in 14 parts and he had to put it together after he had A CLASS on it. He dressed us up so we could each feel just how much weight our boys in the sand pack around when on patrol. Let me just say, they all deserve a medal just for wearing this stateside, much less in the sauna like summers in the sand box.

Oh, BTW (that stands for by the way, it's cool blog/text talk)the glasses are just so I can look really cool, AND I don't have any make up on AND I have a sty in my right eye. Go ahead - you can laugh and guffaw... but I think it really makes a statment.
Here I get an adjustment. The helmet was pretty comfy, but if I had to wear it for hours I can see how it might become a stool. Plus, now I'm thinking the thinning hair on my Marine may not all be genetic. Several tours of wearing this stuff may have added to the hair loss...
This is my G.I. Jane pose. I think The Marine likes it. Okay, so he might be guffawing a little bit.
So his purpose in bringing it home other than to provide cheap entertainment for us for the evening was to have me help adjust it. There's different areas to adjust to fit the Marine. Look he stands at attention naturally. Straight stare, stiff posture. I kid you not, the man sleeps like this. Weird.Digging the pointy thing in the front, aren't you? He said it's not his favorite part of the ensemble as far as presentation. I'm sure he would appreciate it given the right circumstances.
Here I demonstrate my vast knowledge of this new gear and have the appropriate studied look on my face. Actually, I have no idea what I'm looking at, something to do with hip stuff. I am just looking appropriately involved so The Marine doesn't frown at me. Recruit 3 continues to be intriqued. Plus, - we turned the TV off.

This is my favorite. The Marine is demonstrating something called "tucking". With ballistic goggles on and the tuck procedure they have a good chance of withstanding injury. We prefer to call it "turtling". There's some movie with Dana Carvey or Harvey or Garvey, something like that, where he says "Tuuuurrrrtle". It's a dumb movie but Recruits 1 & 2 found it hillarious. So of course we all stood around yelling "Tuuuuur-tle".
It's just how we roll.
(I certainly hope if The Marine ever needs to yell out direction to other Marines to "Tuck" we haven't now influenced his brain to yell "TURTLE" instead. Never know what happends under times of great stress. Might need to send a memo to his unit that if he yells turtle he means tuck and they should just roll with it.)

Of course the party wouldn't be complete without everyone taking a turn. Recruit 1 just got in from Band Camp. Bet the other kids aren't haning out in Kevlar.
Recruit 3 got all velcroed in - and seemed to like it...
Recruit 4 said today he didn't want to be a Marine, but I don't now, he seems pretty happy...

Recruit 5 is only grinning because he THOUGHT he was no longer in danger of falling over backwards. Recruit 6 had to be steadied. When The Marine placed this on his tiny shoulders, he was heading to the floor, but The Marine caught him and held him up.
Thanks to whomever ratcheted up the gear a notch. There a few folks who are very very grateful. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mountains + Recruit 2 = Anxiety

So I took my boy to the mountains and left him with people we don't know. They are going to dangle him off a rope, make him maneuver a watercraft through rapids, eat crickets and build a shelter out of banana leaves. Okay, I doubt the cricket and banana leaves will happen, but none the less I'm a little STRESSED! I miss him!

I drove him the 6 hours to the camp location on Thursday. It was just him and I and I have to say we had a great time. He is smart, clever, and has a wicked sense of humor. I woke him up at 0430 because my plan was to rent a car, drive there, kick him out along with his man gear and then high tail it back to our tiny town thus paying for only one day car rental. The best laid plans...
The car rental and cost of gas would be LESS than driving the green beast there and back. Crazy! So I woke him up at 0430 because I wanted to take off at 0500. I woke him again at 0451. He SAID he was awake. Doubt that since I shook him and stripped all the covers off.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints my Marine holds the Priesthood and so the night before had given Recruit 2 a blessing. In the early moring hours I knew I was facing a long day fraught with anxiety and much of it I would face alone on the return trip so I requested a blessing before we took off. It always amazes me how well Father in Heaven knows his children.
I tell you this because I find it interesting and take great comfort that Heavenly Father knows me so well and that my bleary eyed Marine hardly ever remembers what is said in blessings he gives.
During the blessing I was told Recruit 2 would be safe, face challenges etc and something my Marine said started to stress me during the blessing, I could feel my mind start to race with questions like "Oh my gosh, does that mean something scary or dangerous will happen? Will he be injured and recover? Will he be scared? What if he needs me and he can't call me? What if..."

Right about then I tuned back in to my blessing. (Don't tell The Marine my mind was wandering during the blessing, he'll frown at me) I started listening again just in time to hear the words "you have a keen mind and a strong and active imagination, control your emotions and your imagination and temper them. dont' let them control you and know Recruit 2 will not be given more than he can handle".
Talk about being known! Wow!!
I still haven't told The Marine about that because he would know I wasn't listening to him and he doesn't come on the blog often so he won't know and I don't want to be frowned at...
anyway, here is The Marine and Recruit 2 at 0500 right after my blessing.
The goonies, I made them take another one. They were all whiney about the flash being bright blah blah blah...
I wasn't sure this was much better. I tried to energize them and show them how a "ROAD TRIP" begining picture should look like. We got a brief seedling of a smile out of Recruit 2.
So on the road. We stop at a gas station and I wake him up. I had to sing really loud to stay entertained while he completed his beauty rest. Actually I thought he was faking until I saw his mouth hanging open.
Finally he woke up and got into the spirit of the road trip. This is a self portrait. We put the timer on the camera and set it on the dash board. I need lipstick.

We arrive WAY early and so had to kill a couple of hours. We ended up being in 3 different Wal-Marts that day, 2 Goody's clothing stores, 4 Gas stations, 2 McDonalds, and one Hibbets Sport store. Finally it was time to take him to the camp. We were both pretty tired and getting a little punchy. I started to document dropping him off and realized my camera wasn't working! OH NO! MY LIFE FLASHED BEFORE MY EYES!!!

Recruit 2 informed me it was still on the ten second timer from our last picture in the car. I said OOOOHHHH thank goodness, don't move! That would be the expectant "I'm gonna move" look he's giving me as he is trying to unload his gear.

Now we got the giggles. We had been inside and checked in but no one really came up and said:

"Hi, I'm going to be in charge of your son and responsible for his physical, emotional, and mental well being for the next ten days so please don't feel awful about driving back down the mountain away from him and all the way across the state and leaving him in the care of complete and total strangers."

So we managed to have a giggle fit I think to cover up our nerves or we were just punchy and tired. (I know that's not manly to say he giggled, but he did, he just flat out got the giggles with me until we were both crying from laughing and I had to potty.) Recruit 2 calmed down enough for me to get this.

But then we started giggling again when he said they were probably watching us out the window wondering what was wrong with us. So we giggle some more and then we took this:My eyes are glistening, but we stopped short of causing me to have an asthma attack. We go back into the big building in the background and drop his gear and then just stand there. I'm still thinking these folks need to work on their transitions for parents.

So being the meek and mild Marine Wife that I am I announce outloud and to no one in particular that I'm not leaving until I meet at least one counselor in charge of my kid. I know he's bigger than me and all, but he's still my baby and I not leaving until I see someone.

There was a brief pause and then they escorted Recruit 2 and I upstairs where the kids were already gathering with a counselor. I was the only parent. This man/boy comes over who looks the same age as my son but with a beard that would make most men jealous and shakes our hands. Wade and I hug and I walk DOWN THE STAIRS, OUT THE DOOR, GET IN THE RENTAL CAR AND DRIVE AWAY ALL BY MYSELF!

(you should be shocked and awed right now)

This is the road I drove away on:

See it behind those skinny trees across the big ditch/ravine? Yes, I cried. I cried and kept driving. I can't believe I didn't turn around and rush up stairs and demand one more hug.

The only thing that made me not was I saw Army kids getting dropped off and I was not about to embarrass Recruit 2 and spoil the image of the tough Marine Corps family. But I came close! Plus another mom left her son and he didn't even hug her. At least I got a sort of half hug. She turned and I saw her eyes glistening. I asked her how old he was and she said 15. The same as Recruit 2. That was it for me. I couldn't offer her words of comfort or I'd lose it.

So I drove home. I ended up paying an extra day for the rental because I got in about 2300 that evening. I am so excited for my cute boy. I can't wait to hear all his adventures when I pick him up. I'll have Recruits 5 and 6 with me then. THAT will be a story!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things you don't want to hear from a four year old...

The Marine and I were sitting in our office debriefing each other on the day's events when Recruit 6 comes walking slowly into the office looking downtrodden and disillusioned with life. His head hung low and his eyes looked sadly up at me from under his brows. I asked him what was wrong and he said sadly,

"I'm drunk..."

Now if it had been a few years and several children ago we would have both snapped too and rushed off to see what horrible influence had taught our sweet innocent babe such a thing. However, age and experience have tempered us somewhat...

Mom: "Really? Do you know what that is?"

Recruit 6, very sadly: "uh hu"

Marine: "So, what is it?"

Recruit 6: "dizzy"

The Marine and I exchange the all knowing uh oh look. This could be serious.

Before I can get upset The Marine takes charge of the conversation and interjects: "So what were you drinking?"

Recruit 6: "Water"
The Marine sits back and says "Yep, does that to your mother too."

Great. Thanks for the help Marine, now at church on Sunday when someone asks him how he's doing, odds are something awful will come out of his mouth like, "ummm- I'm fine, just a little drunk..." or worse yet someone will ask how I am!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Has my face always been able to do this?

I just love history and visiting places. Louisville turned out to be not what I expected. I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't what I found. What I found was warm friendly people (actually I expected that.) and a city rich in history, cultural diversity and very cool art. I stayed in the famous Seelbach hotel which was innovative and ground breaking for it's time. Louis and Otto Seelbach's story is ideal if you want to site examples of what hard work and high standards can bring you. AND there are ghosts there too. That will be for another entry later. Also in the downtown area is this restaurant and hotel with interesting, beautiful and mostly weird art work. We all had dinner there one night. I work with some really fun people and I had a great time!

However, the subject tonight is about aging and the laxaticity of the human face.

I discovered my face has become more expressive as I've gotten older. I didn't realize quite how much. I only meant to follow directions of the person taking the pictures.

This picture is in the cool artsy restaurant. The 21C is the name of the hotel. I think the restaurant has another name. This family is all made out of clothes. We were directed to try and make the same faces they were making. I was a little surpised at how tweaked my face actually became.

I mean, my eyebrows have never actually manuevered themselves into such perfect diagonals. Or maybe it's just never been captured on film before... My buddy to the left is a funny funny guy and I died laughing when I saw this. My other co-worker is just too sweet to really be able to make a crazy face. I give her a few years and a couple of child births under her belt, then she will be a little more competitive...
Here I've pulled myself out of a group shot. Not sure how everyone would feel about being "blogged". We took two group pictures and I think I smiled very nicely. Then we were directed to do a crazy picture. Well. I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO DID! so the next picture is the same group shot, and every one else has lovely smiles on except right up front is this crazy chic.It still makes me laugh! I had no idea my eyes and mouth could stretch that way. Have I always been able to do this? My El Paso girls need to write in and tell me. I know I was laughed at, and many times I wasn't even trying to be funny. Like now, I was just following directions and all I ended up was looking like I was in the process of being possessed or having a seizure. Well my face anyway...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


We picked up this adorable child on Friday 11 July. I had not spoken to him or seen him since 15 June! We wrote letters some of which are priceless. This was taken in the car waiting for the ferry to cross back over to our side of the river.

The counselors all yelled for him and he came running around from the backside of the cabin and LEAPT over this railing! I'm glad I caught the begining of the leap anyway!

After he hugged me there was this awkwared moment with his brothers.

After encouragement he let Recruit 5 and 6 hug him. They were both excited to see him.

Recruit 6 even said on the way to the camp that his big brother was "so excited to me!" and he pointed his little thumbs at himself.

This is the counselor for cabin #11. Recruit 1 thinks we should have him visit for Sunday dinner! Recruit 4 must have really liked him because he followed him the whole time. According to recruit 4 anyway. While there this cute little fella earned the most land ranks in his cabin!

I thought this next picture was cool of all four boys from the back. Three of them are in step and arms positioned just the same! Recruit 5 is doing his own thing as usual. Foreshadowing??

On the phone with his Dad who was at work.

So we picked the Marine up some lunch and dropped it off to him.
He was tickled to see his number 2 son! (Can Marines be tickled or does it somehow ruin their image?)

Of course while they were talking I had to capture the moment. He ignored me better than Recruit 1 did. Check out the disgusting shirt he's wearing! He had the BEST TIME!

We are all home together for just two days and then I leave and a few days later Recruit 2 and 3 take off. It's good to have this guy home, even if he is in desperate need of a shower, haircut, manicure/pedicure, and general scrubbing!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What Happens at Our House When It Rains?

The rain continues to move through every day now for well over a week. I'm not complaining. My water bill is high enough as it is and I am grateful to not have to water the grass/weed mixture that is our yard. However it is really coming down and you can see the flooding in the ditch and intersection and I need to go to Wal-Mart! I have a work trip this next week and I need something.
Okay, I don't NEED it. I desire a white flat pair of shoes and I'm not even sure if the capris I think I want to wear even fit. Mom sent me a cool little jacket via Recruit 1 and I really want to wear it. I'm going to Kentucky. I have to look good going to Kentucky. It's the law in Kentucky. I already told my Marine I have to abide by all the laws.
Check out the ditch. I'll have to swim to Wal-Mart. (I'm not advertising for Wal-Mart but where we live, it's about all I've got!)

See??? We need to stop shopping at Wal-Mart and buy drainage spouts and gutters!!!!

This is what I asked for as a Mother's day gift. I just bought it this past week. I received present, don't get me wrong. I love you Mr. Marine, You are fabulous, You did a great job! (but this is what i asked for...)

So what do the troops do on a rainy day? Well they watch tv.

Or sleep and watch TV. He will probably wake up knowing the entire dialog to episode 4,753 of Sponge Bob.
What's up with the ghetto recruit 5 and his nakedness? I can't get the boy to keep a shirt on. I think he is channeling my father lately...
OH! Check out Cute Recruit 3 and her new glasses! She picked these out herself! I was a little suprised she went so trendy but she is a super cute little recruit isn't she! (so not a question, it's a fact, just look!) I LOVE HER!!!!

Recruit 2 hides in my room watching television. He actually needs to shave. I'm disturbed by this. Will have to write about my discovery when I have more time.

Recruit 1 and yes, this room was clean when she arrived home. She is getting ready for her date and can't find her shoes.

Looking for shoes and hiding from Camera. This was before hair and make up were done. Please email Recruit 1 and tell her she should clean her room...


Adventures in Mexico, learning to rope steers in Texas, and driving a mule named Ethel in a 4th of July Parade in Wimberley! She did it all! (Pictures and tales coming soon!)Her plane was delayed about an hour because of the storms we've had lollygagging through our area for the past week.

She started recounting her adventures at a sacrificial well the Mayans used. But I was trying to get pictures for the blog!

She pushed on at first, pretending like I wasn't there. (Sorry Recruit 3 for the less than flattering shot, but when the Camera is out you should be on high alert AT ALL TIMES!)

She didn't make it very far into her tale before she had to stop and thwart my photographic efforts.
Now she's being just down right disrespectful. AND stopped telling about the virgins thrown into the well!
I promised I would stop snapping. But my camera is really really a lot of fun. I was a little sad.

But then she brought out presents! I felt obliged to stop pouting. This is recruit 6 in desperate need of a haircut. This is actually recruit 4 and JB's (a character you will soon be introduced to once I select a suitable code name for him) Mayan drums.

My house looks clean in the background. That's the only reason this up. It's a rare photo moment. Let us pause for a moment and look, but not too closely. In fact, use only one eye. It looks better that way. thank you.

Gratuitous mom photo of her oldest. I missed the little twit!!! I'm glad she's home. So are recruits 2 and 3! They are ready to share the load of the housework and little boys again. I just missed HER!!!!


What follows on these posts is true to the best of my knowledge, except what isn't. I only change names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.