Monday, January 2, 2012


We (Dave really) received a present for Christmas that neither of us ordered.  We knew this present would arrive before too long as time passes regardless of whether we recognize it or not.  Time passes a little quicker than we thought and the day arrived.  He received his Honorable Discharge certificate from the USMC.  Many of you saw this picture posted on my facebook, but here it is once again in case you'd like a closer look.

When we arrived at my in laws house after Christmas Eve service my mother in law let me know that there were two pieces of mail for Dave.  I looked at them, momentarily puzzled, and then I knew.  I knew it was the official end to his time with the USMC.  I smiled, but it was a bittersweet moment.  I waited until after we ate dinner before showing it to Dave.  He opened it with a grin, but I know we both felt the tug of sadness too.  It signifies the end of some of the greatest years of our life.  We both have memories, stories, and friendships that will last us a lifetime.  Thankfully, we're part of the USMC family forever now.  I'm terribly proud of his service.  I'm thankful I was blessed with so many great friends during his service, but especially during his deployment.  The BLT 3/8 wives I met were amongst the best and I will forever cherish them.  I don't think I realized how special they were at the time, I just knew I loved them.  Life beyond the Marine Corps is good too, but I miss being an active part of the USMC family.  Now we get to figure out how to support our fellow family members beyond the realm of active and inactive duty. 

Some of my favorite USMC memories:
1. Bootcamp Graduation.  I had no idea at the time I would be married to a Marine just a year later.  I marvel at the fact I was able to see my future husband graduate boot camp even though I didn't know his name at the time.  I met him after graduation when he was headed back to his family, and just barely remember the meeting.  Two months later I would be spending hours on the phone with him.

2. Iwo Sunset Parade & Friday Night Parades.  I only saw the sunset parade once, but my darling husband (fiance then) was part of the firing party.  A Marine doing what he loves to do is a fine thing to see.  The Friday Night Parades were so much fun as well.  You simply must see one.  Seriously.  

3.Marine Barracks Washington.  Thanks to this wonderful duty station.  I had so much fun living in DC for 9 months.  Days spent walking along the National Mall with my husband.  Public transportation so I didn't have to drive, thank you DC metro & Fairfax Connector buses.  Close proximity to pretty much anything.  Safeway grocery stores, you are a goddess among grocers.  Pentagon City Bath & Bodyworks ladies circa 2006, you made me feel welcome and gave me girlfriends when I was constantly surrounded by boys.

4.Camp Lejeune, NC aka Marine Corps Land.  You gave me close proximity to the beach.  Introduced me to Duplin County Wine, the wine of the gods.  You showed me just how awesome the USMC family really is-from the Battalion Commander's wife on down the ranks I was welcomed with open arms.  You introduced me to the hardships of deployment, while sparing me the worry of combat deployments.  I had one year of teaching that was hellish and one year of teaching that was truly a blessing through some very long days.  Did I mention close proximity to the beach?

5. Life beyond active duty USMC.  It has shown me the pure joy of encountering a fellow member of the USMC family.  It has shown me my deepest desire is to do all I can to support those still in the active duty realm, as well as those beyond it.  I just have to figure out exactly what that looks like...
Thank you so much for the memories USMC!  You'll always hold a special place in my heart.

A Beautiful Day at the Range

We have been experiencing some wonderfully mild winter weather here in Alabama so far.  I'm not bragging, I'm just saying it has been nice-even if it seems odd to have a Christmas tree up in 60 degree weather.  Saturday was a gorgeous day, making it perfect range weather.  I'm very blessed in the fact that I am included in the "boys club" at my house.  What probably began from necessity has grown into something I enjoy a lot.  My husband and his friends have always accepted my presence during their boy time.  It began in DC when I was far from my friends and family in Ohio and by the time we reached NC I wouldn't trade hanging out with the boys for anything.  They make me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt, they make my heart swell with pride, and they torment me relentlessly at times-but always show me respect as well.  I feel honored to be part of their group.  I accept the privilege and recognize it as such.

Saturday I was able to enjoy an afternoon at the range with two of my favorite Marines.  (Ok, so I really don't think I've spent time with a Marine I wouldn't consider a favorite of mine.)  My darling husband and Jordan let me use of some of their range time.  I was looking forward to range day all week.  Seriously.   It might have something to do with the fact that for Christmas my husband gave me something he knew I would love, a CZ, and a pink pistol bag to cart it to and from the range.  Be still my heart, that man knows how to spoil a girl.  (Who is this girl, right?)  His friend Matt, who was missed at range day, gave me the second best present-M frame Oakley glasses!  I think we should have recorded my reaction to opening those on Christmas Day.  I was extremely excited.  Why? Because when you have to wear ear protection for hours at the range along with ballistic eye protection you can get a headache when the ear pieces of the glasses are thick and smashed against your head.  I borrowed Dave's M frames the last time we went to the range and they made my range experience so much better.  Then to top off the range day anticipation my husband gave me a .22 rifle for my birthday.  Wooooohoooo!!  Like most things in my life I learned the art of shooting backwards from the typical shooter.  Most shooters learn to shoot .22 rifles or pistols first and then move on to shooter higher calibers.  I learned how to shoot 9mm first and just recently learned how to shoot a .22 rifle.  I enjoyed it so much that Dave decided he would continue the spoiling streak and buy me one for my birthday.  Here is a pic of me and my newest love...

Out of a box of 525 rounds I shot probably 250 of them.  It was a nice workout for my weak muscled arms.  The only reason I put the rifle down was because we ran out of ammo about the time my arms were feeling wobbly.  Doesn't this look like fun?

I also had a conversation shortly after Christmas with Dave as we were wandering the aisles of the Piggly Wiggly one evening.  (I live in Alabama, ok?  I've grown to enjoy shooting and I shop at the Piggly Wiggly when necessary.)  He asked me if I had named my CZ yet, because it wasn't mine until I named it.  I love the CZ and quickly said "Pearl."  He just laughed and said, "really?"  I said "sure, why not?  I mean I could think up something else..."  He said "No, you should go with the first thing that comes to mind.  I just think of an old southern lady with a big hat on and an umbrella, the kind used to shade you from the sun not for rain.  The kind of old southern lady that will beat you with her umbrella."  I said "perfect."  (Doesn't she sound intimidating?)  He then asked if I had named my conceal & carry weapon.  I said "how about Minnie?"  Dave said "why didn't you just leave the tags on them, Minnie Pearl?"  I just giglged.  I like Minnie and Pearl.  Minnie is pink by the way so I think it suites her.  Fast forward a few days to receiving the .22 rifle for my early birthday present.  Dave asks me what I'm going to name the .22.  Mom says I should name it Buck Owens and stay with the Hee Haw theme.  I decided to name it Roger.  It sounds great.  So I am the proud owner of Minne, Pearl, and Roger.  Together, we had a wonderful day at the range.

I can hardly wait to get back to the range and shoot some more.  Unfortunately, we're experiencing some colder temps this know 30's and 40's, which is a little more seasonably appropriate.  Not terribly cold, but it doesn't make for as much fun on the range.  So instead I'll find other things to do.  Not sure exactly what...maybe take down the tree, organize my room/closet, or maybe just waste the day reading a good book.