Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Take on Military Life

It's hard to believe almost twenty years ago, two teenage kids were hanging out at a campground park on the edge of a small Midwestern town. One 16, one 15. They were talking about the future. Not their future but the future in general.

The girl asked the boy, "What do you want to do when you graduate high school?"

The boy says, "I want to be a Marine".

And the girl's heart sank. The girl didn't know much about the military, let alone a teeny tiny branch called the Marine Corps. The only thing that girl knew was she was not going to live a military life.

Five years later, the girl married the boy, the Marine. They packed up her green Chevy Beretta and headed West to Nowhereville (Camp Pendleton, California). Not until her foot crossed the threshold of their tiny base apartment did she begin to understand the life of a military wife. The Marine went to work from sun up to sun down. Sometimes, he had to stay all night. He was assigned to working parties on the weekends and holidays and he couldn't just say he had other plans. The Marine Corps was front and center.

Oh the beginnings of a military life!

It was a tough start. But life got easier... then harder... then easier again. The ebb and flow of military life. You adapt to the unpredictable schedules, the overnight duties, the deployments, the PCS orders. Then everything changes...again. So, you start all over... again.

Any reasonable person would probably ask Is it worth it? We've had over 14 years of military family life and I've had those moments of contemplation. At the beginning, I would say No! A loud resounding No! What is the point of valuing another's freedoms and life while sacrificing your own! Why would it be ok to put your life on the line every. single. day for the small possibility that you may or may not make a difference? Now I see things differently. I know military members and their families don't do life looking at the small picture. It's all about the bigger one.

For every military member, there are several who stand behind him or her in support. Whether it's fellow military brothers and sisters or spouses and children or parents and siblings. The extension of service goes to those holding down the homefront. They share stories of selflessness and determination as they patiently wait in the absence. By simple affiliation, those people are asked to serve.

As a spouse, it's easy to have a love-hate relationship with the military. I was pretty accepting of the demands from the beginning. However, my understanding of this lifestyle has been a process. I've learned being a military spouse is an automatic unifier in the crowd. I've learned another military wife can always trump your "bad" experience. I've learned laughter is the best way to cope with the ridiculousness that often comes your way and wine when laughing doesn't work. I've learned consistency is a luxury granted to others and being an observer is a waste of time. I've learned to squeeze every minute out of his time here because chances are he won't be here for the next birthday, anniversary, first day of school, lost tooth, fill-in-the-blank.

Most of all, I've learned that all those things are only small snippets in life when he is doing exactly what he was created to do.

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This is a sponsored post by Outback Steakhouse #bestmates. One of the great companies supporting military families across the nation. All ideas and thoughts are those of the blogger; however, compensation has been provided.

To honor Military Mates, Outback Steakhouse will offer active and retired military 10% off the entire check when they dine at Outback for lunch or dinner, valid from May 27 - July 4, 2013.

Now, go enjoy a night off and eat a Bloomin Onion for me!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Songs That Speak To Me

My daughter is less than a month away from turning 13. I can't even write that without feeling like I am going to cry. Time just goes too fast, yet every year is so embedded in my brain. I think the worst thing about being a parent is knowing each passing year is just one more step away from you and towards something else. Yet, that is the goal of parenting. We are suppose to raise kids who don't need us. Who can operate independently in this world. Although, when you put that in words it looks pretty crumby, huh?

Ok, so I just went way off track! I brought up my daughter because she is at the age where she wants to control the radio. And the music she listens to is silly. We are also at the age when you can't change the silly song because It's Her Favorite. And every song just happens to be her favorite. Well, until two weeks later when you've succumbed to listening to the dumb song and you say, Ky, it's your favorite song! In which she replies, I don't like this song! And you are quickly reminded how much the teen years are gonna suck! I am kidding a little here. I can't help but be amused by her wishy washy attitude lately. One day she can't get enough of something, the next week she acts like she's disliked the same thing her entire life. And you are dead wrong for ever remembering otherwise. And the things she dislikes are unheard of...bananas...rice...jackets...the color green...the sound of wind. Ok, not that extreme but close.

Off on a tangent again...believe it or not, this post is suppose to be about music. Music that speaks to you. Songs that spark a memory. I love music. I'm a big fan of Christian Contemporary, Country, and 70s Rock. Is that not the biggest contrast? I can't say there are a lot of songs that speak to me. Mostly, Christian contemporary because I'm what people call "Born Again" so I suppose I relate to the lyrics.

Rascal Flatts- Changed is one of those songs where I think "I couldn't say it better myself".

Chris Tomlin-Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)- is another song which says is perfectly.

I also have songs which are for each of my kids.

Sara Evans- Suds in the Bucket- is Ky's song.

George Strait- The Best Day of My Life- Zac's song

Brad Paisley- Anything Like Me- Derrick's song. (No, it's not just for the eye candy ladies!)

Honestly, I'm not sure how these songs ever came to be assigned to each child. I guess they just kind of spoke to me. But the songs are pretty fitting, if you know my kids.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May Cara Box Reveal

What a great month for Carabox! I had two great partners and couldn't be more pleased. As always, Wifessionals hits it out of the park with her highly organized monthly themed box swap for bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Think monthly penpals plus loot! Win-win!

This month I sent my box to Leah at Life As A Payne. Cute stuff happening over at this newly married blog. Leah and I exchanged a number of emails about life in Texas and the oil mining business. I did not have a clue about any of it. We also did a Q & A swap which was fun. I just had the best time getting to know her. If you want to see the Carabox I sent, click HERE.

My other partner was Tami from Tami's Eclectic Corner. Another great match for me. I really enjoyed exchanging emails with my partner. We have a lot in common including being a mom to three kids and loving the outdoors. Tami lives in Utah and takes the most beautiful pictures via Instagram. If I only had half her artistic talent!

I got another fantastic box and I admit I'm starting to feel bad about what I send. I hit the requirements but there is no wow factor.  I need to step up my game! Here is my May CaraBox:

Oh the suspense...

All wrapped so pretty and nice...

All my Utah goodies. 

It's a beehive jar because Utah is known as the 'Beehive State'.
Cutest jar ever!

A personal story about overcoming adversity and thriving.
Can't wait to read this one.

Fry sauce? Not sure what to think about this.
I will be trying this one.

Postcards from Utah.

That's my May Carabox.
As much as I love the swap, I'm taking a summer break.
Planning shopping and post office trips with all three kids home...
not happening.

I will see you all in the fall!

More Carabox Fun...

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My Birthday Weekend {in pictures}

Psst...these were my presents from the kids.


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Monday, May 27, 2013

A Letter For You

May 27, 2013

Dear Reader,

Hello! How are you today? I am fine. Today is Memorial Day. As a military family, you better believe we take time to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. It's a personal story for us. We have personally lost Marines in battle and cried with their families. We've attended the services and shed tears. It's a sad day and a proud one.  It's wonderful to be a part of something so meaningful and important.

Today is also my birthday. Yay me! I like birthdays. And it's actually a bit annoying when others blow their day off as 'just another day'. I feel like everyone deserves at least one day to be celebrated. I like to drag it out as long as I can. We usually make a weekend out of it. Mostly because it's a holiday and the unofficial start of summer. You can't help but feel festive. I couldn't imagine if my birthday was at Christmas time. I might have to declare a birthday month! I hope you December babies do that!

As you can see I'm a rambler. I just go off on tangents and talk about random crap no one cares about. It's been brought to my attention several times. To stay on track, I really need to get back to the point of this letter. To thank you.

Thank you for taking time to stop by this blog and read along with this silly life I lead. I'm not sure what brings you back but I hope it's worthwhile. I could never imagine how life changing blogging could be. But I tell you, the person writing this blog today is not the same person who started it. I have found my voice through writing. Thank you for listening.

And thank you for your comments and your interaction. You give this blog dimension. You validate my emotions when I think I'm losing my mind. You laugh with me over my crazy children when I want to scream. I am so lucky to have you all. I hope you stick around for part two (or year two) of this journey. And don't be afraid to throw a comment or two my way! It helps me know I'm not talking to the wall like I feel around here.

Lots of Love,


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Yesterday At San Clemente Beach Trail

Back to the San Clemente Beach Trail.
Not sure if you remember the kids and I walked this trail in January. Posted HERE.
However, we missed all the little unbeaten paths off the main trail.

We spent most of our time in caves. 
The kids loved squeezing into these little spaces to hide.

San Clemente Beach Trails has some pretty amazing viewpoints.
There are always lots of surfers taking advantage of the waves. 
We can't help but sit and watch.
None of us surf or have every tried it.
I think it's make it all the more interesting.

Except for Derrick who would much rather throw rocks in the ocean than sit still.
Good thing the beach was empty and there were plenty of rocks.

Always need a picture of the girls.
We are outnumbered. It's a rough life.
Feel sorry for us.

What a picture. I really lucked out in catching this one. 
I couldn't pose them better myself. 
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Friday, May 24, 2013

The Ugly Side of Me

Today is an exercise in humility. I think the above picture is a good start. Not the most flattering. Plus it's a good illustration of what life is really like when parenting tween-agers.

The Every Day In May prompt: list your 3 worst traits...On your blog. You know, for all the world to see, friend and foe alike. I can just see the people who dislike me nudging their friends whispering "See I told you!"

For someone who struggles with opening up about normal chatty stuff, I am going way outside my comfort zone. I must admit the more I do, the easier it gets. I keep putting myself in a position to be judged and I'm getting to the point where I say "To Hell With It". I think this birthday creeping up next week is giving me attitude. I'm feeling old-er. I'm losing my glossy finish.

Back on topic... here is the dirt...on me.

My biggest character flaw is my cautious approach to life, to people. I am cautious to a fault. It works for me because I don't make hasty decisions I regret. Which also means I can't make spontaneous decisions either.  I keep everyone out of trouble. But I'm also the wet blanket. I make friends slowly. I'm a great acquaintance or friend but rarely the BFF. This is a trait I have tried to work on. I really dislike this about myself.

#2 I have high expectations. I hold myself to a high standard. I hold others to a pretty high standard. It's a lot of pressure for everyone involved. I don't expect anything I'm not willing to give. No double standards. And I am super supportive when everyone is trying their best. But when someone wants to take the easy way out, I'm the first to call them out. Bad bad quality. I will say when it comes to my kids I think am realistic in my 'high expectations'. Nobody is stressed usually. Thank you Ms. Davis for setting me straight all those years ago. I have mellowed out tremendously. 

My third worst trait is my memory. My brain was designed to hold on to all kinds of things. You can probably guess where this is going. My poor husband. Anyone really. Arguing is pointless. I've got a mental log of everything you've ever done, said, or thought about for the past 30 years. And I will bring it up.

There you have it. I'm not perfect. I have flaws. I'm not proud of them. But I have the best of intentions...mostly...except when I argue. Then I usually just want to make the most valid argument.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I couldn't help myself from doing a quick Oh How Pinteresting post. They are one of my faves.
The closer the weekend gets, the more excited I am. 
It's a holiday weekend. The weather is phenomenal. And I'm craving a sweet alcoholic drink. 
Oh and it's my birthday Monday. Small detail, of course.

Back to the idea of a celebratory drink. Here is my list...


I think watermelon could be the winning flavor!
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Love Me Day

There has been a lot of blog love shared here lately. I've told you the bloggers I could imagine as real life friends. I've shared my absolute faves. I could go on and on about all the blogs I love and why. But...

Aint Nobody Got Time For That!

Today I get to love on me. And because that is totally awkward, I'm defaulting to the Everyday In May challenge.  The prompt is favorite posts from your blog. Here they are:

Today Deployment Sucks
A post from the trenches of our most recent deployment. The emotion in the midst of deployment is pretty untouchable when it comes to military life. I'm so glad it's over for now.

We Are Not Rednecks
We Are Not Rednecks... Really!
Tales from my crazy mixed up family. Um..yeah...we're rednecks!

The Story Of A Fluke
The direct link for my most popular Pinterest pin. I'll just call it The Outfit.

This Is Cancer
An emotional post about our lives over the past two months. So glad it's over!

Things That Make Me Go Whoa!
A sneak peek of my crazy side.