Sprechen Sie Awesome?

My lovely friend Rell and I have recently reconnected (what’s better than reconnecting with a dear friend? Seriously, nothing!) and out of the goodness of her amazing heart, she decided to send me an awesome German care pack!

Yes, Germany.  One of the fun and wacky aspects of good ole military life is living abroad, and right now Rell and her family live on an Army base in Germany.   Her kids are having an amazing time learning the language and traveling so much, she and her husband have also really liked the experience.  Hearing about the plans for jaunts they have in store, and seeing the pics of how they’ve spent their time there so far: I’m uber jealous.  She’s having the real fun, but there’s still some rollover awesome that affects those she knows.  Having a friend who is stationed abroad comes with fringe benefits – this care pack being a major one.

my friend rell. this pretty lady sent ME a care pack!

when i saw this had arrived, i was downright giddy

You see, I got new doctors here in Western New York.  And the process of doing so was a DOOZY.  It was pretty rough, actually.  All the red tape and paperwork, all the hassle, it was a logistical nightmare.  Then, once I finally got on board with a new doc to manage my porphyria – he did what all new docs on a case loooooove to do: change up all my meds and make my body freak out.  So yeah, there was a period of time that was pretty craptastic.  It was right around this time that my pal Rell and I reconnected, and knowing that I was feeling the stress and dealing with some stuff – she decided to send me a sweet box of pick-me-ups.

When a box from Europe comes for you, and you know there are treats inside: it’s a super exciting time!

And this box of treats did NOT disappoint, neither now.

all mah goodies

Why is it that the German flavor of gummy bears taste so amazing?  They’re ridiculous.  My actual theory is because of the food coloring.  In Europe they’re way more progressive and awesome, and actually aware that food dyes are basically poison – and thus, the foods and candies of European countries usually do not include Red40 or Blue Lake Whatever… they include this crazy stuff, natural flavoring and coloring.  (So weird!).  But seriously, I think it’s the lack of dyes and the clever use of real flavors that enhances the quality.

She also packed in this tea that I certainly can’t get enough of.  I’m actually drinking a nice warm mug right now, but after a looooong day of work I look haggard and am not using a snapshot from this minute.  (Instead I’m using one from yesterday in which I also look really weird and not so cute, but it’s sadly better than now).

the worst ever pic of me, drinking the best ever tea

this tea is to die for

Rell also has beautiful penmanship and the handwritten note she included is so lovely!  I wish I could do cursive that well.  She packed in all kind of thoughtful lovely items, even a blankie for JJ – just… what a SWEET friend she is!  Thank you so much Sherrill, you’re the best.   Here are some more bragging pics of my sweet care pack:

she even included a blanket for jj!

jayjers all snuggled in his soft lil doggie blankie

side one

the b-side

Have you ever gotten an awesome box of goodies?

If you were to get a care pack from Germany, what would you want in it?

And now… what American goodies should I make durn sure to include in a care pack I send over to her?

As always: thanks for reading!!  

XOXO, HHR

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Guest Post from a Veteran: Please Have Fun On Memorial Day

To all of happyhippierose’s readers, Happy Memorial Day!

My wonderful wife Rose has asked me, as a veteran, to write this guest post, and I am both honored and humbled to do so.

our wedding day, april 17 2010

Together, with teachers and missionaries, Blacks from Charleston established a “May Day,” in 1865.  Memorial Day was established following the Civil War in 1866 to honor the fallen soldiers.  It was then known as Decoration Day.  Later on, in the twentieth century, the honor of this day was extended to American veterans of all wars.

Today, I write from my own experience and opinion.  Over the last six years, I have had the luxury of a wonderful support system not limited to, but comprised of family, friends, and my loving wife!

may 12, 2009: leaving for afghan – saying goodbye

afghan homecoming ’09

Having served as a Marine infantryman in Iraq, and twice in Afghanistan, my fellow Marines and I have endured the worst of the worst.  Terrible conditions, and unthinkable losses have been our experience.  The funny thing is that we have all been more than happy to do so.  As service members it is the reason why we decided to sign on the dotted line.  I now understand why “old people” watch their war movies, and silently reminisce.  It has been, overall, a completely life changing and (no matter how much we have all griped at times) positive experience.

echo 2-2, cax 2008

2nd platoon, echo company in iraq: 2008

In the days leading up to this holiday, it has been my observation, that some of my fellow Marines harbor feelings of anger and bitterness towards people who they feel might not fully grasp the meaning of the holiday.  With posts like “*$%& all the people who think it’s just another day off of work,” and “*$%& your bbq’s,” that I have seen on Facebook, I find it disheartening.

this one and many others have been passed around the interwebs this past week – some are nice, some are just negative and miss the point

I say enjoy your time off!  Live, laugh, and love with your friends and families!  Enjoy your BBQs, and drink your drinks!  I sure know that I will.  I will also ensure that I hold Rose a little tighter and kiss her a few more times during the day than usual, for I am grateful.  I am grateful to all veterans who have paid the ultimate price, those who have made that ultimate sacrifice for the precise purpose that we all have the freedom to enjoy our lives and loved ones all the more.  It is the gift that they have given us, and it would be in vain if we did not make the most of it.

smooching on memorial day ’10

afghan homecoming ’11

I hope that all of you out there have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday, and that you are near your friends and families!

….

From Rose: Special thanks to my hubs for all his service, dedication and for writing this post!

It’s with immense gratitude that I want to thank ALL service men and women, past and present for protecting all of the wonderful freedoms we know here in the USA.  Thank you!!  And to all the service families out there too – I know y’all do a lot on your ends, give up a lot, go through a lot too, so thanks to you all too.   To my cousin Chad and his fam, my Great Uncle John, my Aunt Edith, and all my dear friends in the military community: it is with so much love that I say Happy Memorial Day and thank for fun days like today!

Duggs does have a blog of his own, too.  He just hasn’t updated in a long, long time… go check it out and heckle him into posting more often (he’s a great writer, huh?).

I Am Rose’s Keeper is his blog.

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

Aloha to Hawaii, I’ll Miss You So… Saying GoodBye In Photos

Aloha Beautiful Hawaii! 

aloha rainbow state!

good ole wackiness from my first ever trip to hawaii, back in 2009

Saying goodbye to paradise was harder than I thought it was going to be.  This next step of life is so exciting and wonderful, and trust me: I’m blessed, happy to be where I am physically, emotionally, and everything – this point in life is good.

honeymoon at turtle bay, an amazing time

Our life in Hawaii was extreme, we saw great times and faced challenges.  We reunited there after deployments, but it’s also the place from which we had to say good bye.  We spent sun kissed afternoons out on the water, luxurious days at Turtle Bay, fun evenings out and about… it’s where we said “I do,” and it’s where we found the apple of our eye – our sweet pooch JJ Duggan!

our wedding day

exchanging vows on kailua beach, we did our wedding our way and it was so perfect for us

me and the sweet lil’ pooch, oh i’m so glad we found him in hawaii

It’s also where I’ve battled some health issues, it’s where we suffered a great loss when we experienced our miscarriage, coping through a lonely and hard deployment that was tossed at us without much warning.  But through it all, we came out on top, our marriage was bonded tighter and stronger – so we’ll take with us the happy sunny sweet tropical memories and get ready for a clean slate as we wipe away and move past some of life’s tougher trials.

saying goodbye before a deployment

saying hello when he comes back home again! ahhh, the reunion kiss is always the best.

I’m excited to be in New York and starting this next phase of our lives.  We’re literally writing the first page of a new chapter.  Matthew is out of the Marine Corps and he’s now a civilian, we’ve left Hawaii and moved to New York.  We’re setting out on our own, together.  Duggs was already established in the USMC and living in Hawaii when I came out and joined him – this is a step we’re taking together, going through it all hand in hand.

So yes, I’m stoked to be here in New York…

But I’m going to genuinely miss Hawaii.  I just wanted to take a little post to reflect on the gorgeous aina paradise and really say Aloha.

aloha to paradise, i’ll miss the warm pacific oh so much

we had so much fun boating and out in the hawaiian sun – too much fun to be had every hawaiian day

Hawaii is the kind of place where everywhere you go, there’s an epic view and a breath-taking scene to just suck in and fill yourself with.  The lush mountains, rainbows, flowers, the amazing bright blue oceans and the warm buttery sun bathing all of us.  Hawaii really is this vibrant, happy, relaxed paradise and I am so incredibly blessed to have lived there and spent the time there I was able to.

horseback riding on the north shore, romantic and something i’ll never forget. a truly one of a kind experience.

this island is incredible, i could take a million pics and still wish i had more

When family and old friends came out to visit, we were able to have an awesome time with them in Hawaii – showing off our island home.  I made some amazing friends and connections in Hawaii, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay refreshed and renewed my faith and my love of Christ.

sky diving day in the fall of 2010 – duggs, me, anna (my sister), and brian (duggs’ all time bff)

hope chapel women’s retreat 2011 – arise and shine!

L.O.V.E. HCKB Women’s Retreat 2012

me and ashtan and her navy day ball!

haunted lagoon 2011 at the polynesian cultural center, with ashtan + me

girl’s hiking morning at makapuu lighthouse, while all of our hubbies were deployed we made the best of it!

hope chapel k-bay is where i so found my heart for God – this past christmas was so awesome, here i am in between mel and tami!

The military experience is one that we’ll always remember.  Me as a spouse and Duggs as a dutiful member of the United States Marine Corps.  His service is the whole reason we were ever in Hawaii.  Even though the USMC liked to throw wrenches in our plans all the time, I have the utmost respect for the branch and the military in general. I’m grateful for the hard and brave work those dedicated men and women do, and I’m so proud to be married to a man as nobel as a Marine.

our first usmc ball together, in 2010

I tried to pick a couple photos to sum up my amazing Hawaiian experience, the wonderful times I’ve spent in paradise.  And yeah, it was impossible.  So thus… here’s a crazy montage of pics as a way for me to say Aloha!

I’ll miss Hawaii so very much.  I hope that we’ll be able to visit again one day, and hopefully it won’t be too far in the future that we get to go back.  Until then, I’ll take my mainland life one day at a time and find new beautiful sights to oooh and aaah over, I’ll discover new favorite places and I’m sure Duggs and I will forge tons of new memories and create lots of new adventures, all with stories to tell.  But as we do, I take some little pieces of Hawaii with me always – the sea turtle tattoo I got on my first trip to the island, the wedding ring on my hand that will always make me think of Kailua’s soft sandy beach, and the thousands of memories forever etched into my heart.

Aloha Hawaii – I’ll love you always! 

pretty islands (photo credit here)

And to my readers, I thank you (as always) for reading! xoxo, hhr

I’m married…

TO A CIVILIAN!!! 

Duggs is out of the USMC!  Free and clear, baby!

kiss it good bye, duggs!

I’m so proud of my husband for his service to our country, for all he’s given up and all the hard work he’s done.  I admire and respect him so much.

He’s dutifully served as a USMC Grunt, been on three combat deployments, took me with him for some wacky and wonderful years in gorgeous, epic Hawaii…

and now HE IS ALL DONE!

I couldn’t be more happy.  With all of it.  Civilian life, here we come!  This next new chapter is so exciting and one that we’re very ready to kick off.  The military life has been wonderful to us in so many ways, but being out on our own with all the freedoms that entails is very exciting right now.

 

We’re literally in the middle of moving – so more from me later.  Like, why haven’t I been around?  And what’s been going on, etc.

We fly out of Hawaii TODAY!

Next stop: NEW YORK.

as always, xoxo

Moto Friendship Bracelet Making How-To

Dommie, one of my most bestest friendests and I looooove to make friendship bracelets.  It’s a rad craft that I’ve mentioned here a time or two before.  Back in ’09, Dommie and I invented these cute moto bracelets, we posted pics and then all of our forum pals wanted to know how we did them.  The how-to portion isn’t incredible, but it’s enough to get the idea.

I copy and pasted both of my own posts from 2009.  The original content was all mine, so why not re-use?  Go green.  I had to re-vamp the formatting and I used new links, otherwise the content is unchanged (hence the weird punctuation and grammar).

It’s easy-peasy to Google bracelet making instructions, there are even a few links in the second post.  While Dommie and I were missing our deployed boys, we made ourselves “moto bracelets” – some were desert colored, others patriotic (we’re all about the YRN: Yellow Ribbon Nation!) to wear while they were in Afghan.

If you make any of your own, share some pics, will ya?

Moto Wrists (post one):

so dominique and i have gotten a BIT carried away with the friendship bracelets …. we look like 12 year old girls who have been at summer camp for WEEKS.

but, its so awesome! we can’t stop… the ankles are next. what’s rad is we’ve learned and figured out all kinds of wacky stitches and ways to mess around with them. we’re getting pretty good at this.

dommie:

rosie (me):

what started as one deployment bracelet has turned into my MOTO WRIST. i got some USA patriotic action, some yellow ribbon stuff, desert digi, 550cord in woodland camo, and some random regular camo-ish in there too. dommie is trying to catch up on her moto wrist… we’ll see how far she gets.

The How-To (post two):

okay… so lotsa ppl keep asking “how” we (me and dommie) make the camo friendship bracelets. here’s a super detailed how-to thread just on this.

we just make regular kind of friendship bracelets… i found some sites to show you how to tie if you don’t already know. we get the string from crafts stores, and its a REALLY cheap hobby!

links:

http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com/how-to-make-friendship-bracelets.html

http://friendship-bracelets.net/

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Friendship-Bracelet

i used REALLY simple knots/stitches. i use variations of flat or twisting chinese stair cases (the stitch where you make a “4” and tie it around the other strings in your bracelet):

step one: choose a string you want to show. make a “four” on top of the remaining strings (these will get tied in the middle):

feed the end through the loop:

pull it TIGHT. holding tight the strings in the middle:

the only string that will be visible for that stitch is the one you made the four with. if you make the four in the same direction (point to the right for example) the subsequent knots will twist. if you alternate directions (right, tie. left, tie. etc.) the subsequent knots will be flat.

you can also do a double version of this stitch:

the green and the brownish strings on the side will BOTH show on this stitch.

the green is the first “four” on top. then make a four with the brown going under and feeding into the green’s loop:

pull tight and you have a double chinese staircase.

to twist, keep the same SIDE on top (the top string will alternate bw the two you are using, ex: one with green on top, one with brown on top – the result will look like green and brown stripes, one stripe is each stitch, the middle is twisty and harder to see) … to make it flat, use the same STRING on top each time (it will switch sides with every stitch, green on top every time – green will be on the outside of the finished stitch, brown in the middle, its flat so the middle is easy to see).

….

an idea i made up that i am in love with is braiding the string before i make a bracelet. instead of using just individual strings, i make braids and then use them as if a braid was one string.

to make desert digi i made several braids first.

1. tan, tan, brown
2. tan, tan, black
3. tan, tan, creamy beige

bc of the way a braid looks, just little specs of the black, brown and cream show, and the majority of the bracelet looks tan. it seriously looks EXACTLY like desert digi.

i’m pointing to the finished desert digi:

next to that is my red,white, blue and yellow.

for my red, white and blue… i also made a blue and white braid first, 2 blue, 1 white – so the white would be small specs like stars in the flag. then i used solid red and solid white for the stripes of the flag. the yellow is just a single string wrapped around after each “flag.”

for the woodland camo i made four braids first:

1. black, black, cream
2. brown, brown, green
3. green, green, cream
4. black, brown, cream

then i did a mix of flat and double chinese staircase stitches, mixing up the two visible strings all randomly.

finished:

my pic quality is kinda crappy bc its just my webcam that i’m using, but IRL the “camo” effect is pretty awesome.

As always, thanks for reading, and happy crafting!  xoxo, hhr

PS, they original posts were on good ole msos – the mil spouse craziness that i totes owe my life to!  (i should so blog about that someday).

february, eff yeah!

February is hardly here, and it already is so super rad.

1. As of 1-February both Duggs and I saw promotions! 

His was long-in-the-making (he won’t go out a Terminal Lance afterall, woohoo!)… and I saw an hours increase in my part-time writing job.  So rad.  What awesome blessings, we are so happy and grateful and glad!

hooray duggs!!

this dreadfully creepy photo totally encapsulates my experience as a paid writer and marketer. ... (cool it, i'm kidding. this IS so creepy though, yeah? yeah.)

2. I’m thisclose to getting my student loans consolidated.

This is so hardcore awesome, really.  Student loans are both amazing and terrible, great when you’re riding high on ’em and awful when it’s time to repay the man.  Luckily, I think I may be able to get in at a nice interest rate and bundle ’em all together.  This is the month it can finally happen!

3. The January workout goal was MET and SURPASSED!  

I won’t disclose the embarrassingly meager requirements of said goal.  But hey, a goal is a goal, and meeting a goal is awesome.  Goal goal goal.  Did I say GOAL enough?

yeah, i did blur it out. and what? (isn't our workout log cute, btw?)

Goooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaal.

We did it! Eff yeah!

I’ve even lost a couple lbs in the process, which makes me happy.

collar bone says to cheek bone, "don't call it a comeback."

4. Some things are coming together with our move.  

No, we don’t have any details… we have NO CLUE what day or date we’ll be moving on.  But, some of our more personal arrangements and what not are coming together nicely, including a good phone call I got today.  I’m feeling confident, more ready, more okay with it.

5. It just rocks. It’s just awesome! 

Life is just good.  I’m happy and blessed and cheerful, optimistic.  Ole Stinky Duggs is in good spirits too.  We’re happy folks, by nature.  November and December were some stressful times, lots of blah (like so serious blah ick no bueno).  And January, the new year, just breathed some nice fresh life into things.  New goals, new perspective – I have kinda pulled around the bend a bit with my health (which greatly affects our daily lives)… New job, new med routine, new workout – and things are just falling into place nicely.

6. Valentine’s Day Brings out the ROMANCE. 

Nothings says romantic like, “oh hey I got you one of those weird hologram bracelets.”  At least it does in our house.  The Duggs finally caved into my incorrigible insistence that those bracelets are magical and make you awesome.

i've got the power.

So here’s to being stretchier than ever.  Heh.   Interpret that as you will in light of the looming holiday de St. Valentine.

So, Happy February everyone!  

For all of my gals and pals enduring deployment, the turning of the cal page is ALWAYS a big ole deal – one more month down!

It’s Leap Year, which is fun and weird… and it means a spring and summer of campaigns (which has me fired fired fired up already).  And to readers and friends in general: Have Fabulous Fecking February!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

something more important came up… pray for hmh-363

I was going to write a post today about something banal, like my diet or maybe about some silly story.  I don’t know.

Then something way more serious came up.

Pray for HMH-363

It was announced that six Marines dies in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, yesterday. The crash is being investigated and notifications of family are happening now.  (by the time you read this, the families should already know).

The news story, here.

No, this isn’t my husband’s unit.  And no, I’m not personally or directly affected by this tragedy in a way that will shake every minute of my life.  But for so many people – this will.  I’m so sorry for them, and I offer so much respect for the six men who gave their lives.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think about being notified.  Just the fear of being notified is just too awful for words.  I can’t stand the idea of someone knocking on your door or calling you to give you the worst. news. ever.

When it happens in a movie, I can’t watch it.  I’ve been having a hard time even when there’s a military funeral on a TV show or movie, it hurts me.

This story broke BEFORE the families knew.  And that is not okay with me, it’s awful and it’s unfair.  To think of the families and loved ones, riding out this deployment, doing their best to manage day-to-day, they heard that six men from this unit had passed – and they didn’t know which ones yet.

I can’t imagine those minutes and hours.

I don’t even know what to type here.

….

The news of this tragedy makes me want to clobber my husband the minute he walks in the door tonight and thank my God so fiercely for all that I have.  The news of this crash makes me cry, and it makes me think of that ever-looming fear you carry with you during deployment, the one you push to the back of your mind and don’t ever give any thought to.  I refused to give that notion, that terrible fear ANY of my energy, to give it any power.

But even still, it rides with you all the time.

Silently weighing you down.  Subtly stressing you out.

I honestly didn’t even realize it was there.  That’s how good I am at pushing it away and going about my business.

Then, the second I knew my Duggs was home, safe and sound, that weight broke right off me.  It cracked and unleashed itself from me and I turned into jello.  Unbeknownst to me, It had taken so much effort to hold it down that once my husband was home, I felt like I was so out of strength.

It’s the weirdest thing, it’s hard to describe.

Yeah, I turned to mush for a while there.  I felt fragile.  I had used all my glue to hold myself together, to ride out that deployment with grace; so once I didn’t have to anymore, I came undone.

And slowly, you build back up again.

Probably all the stronger for having gone through it.  Probably a better person, now.

With the help of my loving husband and with my focus on so much to be grateful for, a really wonderful life, I build back up again.

But then the news of today’s tragedy knocks me down a peg.  It reminds me of everything we go through in connection to this war and these deployments.  My emotions are stirred up.

And I’m not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, and play this out like I’m a hero or some amazing being.

I assure you I view myself as just a woman, a civilian lady who loves her husband, a U.S Marine.

But today’s news just makes me think, a lot.

There’s a common thread that ties so many of us together.  I know so many spouses, and girlfriends and boyfriends, so many family members, friends, best friends… and even acquaintances to some degree – if you know someone deployed, we all know that creepy little fear thought that has to be smashed down so life can be carried on.

And we’re all united by that feeling, that experience. Our common thread.

And today, that little sick feeling, that heartbreaking sadness ebbs at us – reminding us of its realness.  Reminding us of the preciousness of life and the seriousness of war.

For so many people, today, that fear will come true.  They will get a knock on the door. They will get the call they never wanted to.  And they won’t be able to un-do the minutes and go back to a time when it was okay.

For six men, their lives have ended in a hero’s death. 

To those men, I offer so much gratitude.  So much respect.

And to all the loved ones going through this, I just offer prayers, and love, and my thoughts are with them.

So right now I’m just tugging on that string, the invisible thread that loops through so many of us, and I’m giving it a little pull to ask everyone to just pray, or if you don’t pray to just send some kind thoughts, and as I tug a little … I feel like it somehow brings us all closer.

To everyone in the line of danger for our country, thank you. 

And for everyone who waits for a brave one to come home, thank you too. 

i like balls

I like balls, Military Balls that is!

If you’re still thinking dirty (I mean, my husband is a Marine so I see where you could be going with this):  I’m talking about Military Birthday Balls! 

My hubs and I have had a busy Ball Season, attending a Navy Day Ball last month and his unit’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball this month.  We had a good time at both events, but for very different reasons.

The Navy Day Ball was at Turtle Bay, a beautiful and epic venue with amazing views and such good food.  We were also there with our great friends, the Tanners, and we stayed the night in the resort.  We just let loose and had so much fun.

The USMC Ball was nice, too.  It was our last one, ever, so it was a landmark event.  The venue wasn’t nearly as nice as the Navy Ball… the food not nearly as good, and there wasn’t any birthday cake at all. Ugh.  We didn’t stay all night and dance or party down, we just basically came for the ceremony and the dinner.  But, that said, we still had a nice evening and got all dressed up and enjoyed being out and together.

So here’s a random mishmash of ball pics, enjoy!

 

scams on servicemen/women and their spouses – be aware!

Scamming Military members and their spouses?  Oh no way, not if I can help it.  Let’s pass this word on and help each other be on the look out for terrible scams like these.

Friends: BE AWARE!

(As many of you know) My husband is a US Marine (and a grunt at that, sexy), we live in Hawaii where he’s stationed.  The FRO of his battalion just sent out this email warning of us a couple scams going on, specifically out here in Hawaii.

So heads up to my mil spouse friends, and to any Hawaii military spouses that happen to stumble upon this blog.

Ladies,

1. A company called Epic International, Inc. is selling CLEP/DSST exam prep materials at Pearlridge Shopping Center.

For our active duty service members specifically, this program is a scam.  Usually, these companies simply repackage free materials provided by SOC and DANTES, market to our service members (e.g. “Operation College Education”), and sell them at substantial cost.  It was reported that the company currently selling at Pearlridge charges around $2,000, however, these companies often sell various “packages” ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.  This is not new (see attached).

PLEASE PASS THE WORD: no Marine should pay for CLEP/DSST prep materials!  Between the Education Center and Base Library, our personnel get everything they need free-of-charge!

CLEP — the College Level Education Program — gives students the opportunity to receive college credit for what they already know by earning qualifying scores on any of 33 computer-based exams.  They can earn college credit for knowledge they’ve acquired through independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits, or internships.  DSSTs — DANTES Subject Standardized Tests — are similar in nature to CLEPs.  We offer both CLEPs & DSSTs at MCB Hawaii every Monday and Thursday in Bldg 219, Classroom 5.  Contact the Education Center at 257-2158 for more info.

2. One of our sister battalion’s families was contacted a few days ago by an individual claiming to be a Marine. He stated that the Marine had been wounded in action and he needed the Marines’ social security number to verify everything. He did not provide a call back number or much other information. The Marine was NOT wounded!!!!

I am providing you with a brief overview now so you have an understanding of the process.

a. If your Marine is seriously injured or wounded.  Yes, you will receive a phone call from HQMC(not the FRO or the Battalion Command) however you will NOT be asked to provide his SSN. HQMC will give you as much information as they have at the time and they WILL provide you with a number to call back (usually a form of the 800 number) to get more information or just to confirm that it was them that called.

b. You can call the FRO or the OOD to confirm however we are generally the last to the get the information so we may have to call someone to confirm. We are NOT provided medical information.

Thanks everyone.  Pass this along, keep an eye out, and report any funny business you detect going on to the proper authority.

he’s home!!! -our homecoming 2011 story

HAPPY HOMECOMING!!!

My handsome husband is home from his very very last and final deployment ever!  Could I be any happier? No, not really.  Here’s our lovely deployment-ending story:

He came home in the middle of the night exactly two weeks ago.  The homecoming event went so smoothly: the plane was on time, we had a classic reunion moment, and I had great friends by my side to help me out with the night.  I wore a giant crazy red, white, and blue outfit, and it was all just way too fun and sweet.  Homecomings are such a joyous event, whew!

Even though I had been so sick before he got home, I was able to pull it together and prep for his arrival.  The house was super clean, his presents were all wrapped and ready for him, the fridge got stocked with all his faves, the bathroom has new toothpaste and razors, etc., and I just took care of all those little details that make “home” so comfy, cozy, clean and quiet.  I mean, I even gave the pooch a bath! Well done, right?

the desk i build for him = one present, and all the wrapped boxes on top are the rest!

i went a little nutty with the streamers and decorations, so fun though

My gal pal Nicole (who’s hubby was deployed with mine, but he came home with the first group/advon) came over and she was the bestest.  She helped me do my hair, my make-up and she totally kept my mood light and anxiety-free.

here i am getting ready for the big event!

Yeah, I did my own nails.  They look good, right?  I grew those bad boys out for like two weeks.  I was so fancy.  I even had on tranny lashes for a while (they fell off and it looked like I had caterpillars attacking my face for a min).

eye makeup by *monster baby* - my friend rain's business, she handmakes powder eye makeup and it is amazing stuff!

all dolled up! my friend ariana made the tutu i'm wearing, she has a business *boutique bella* and her products are amazing!

Business shout outs:

I know that Homecoming is all about my hubby.  The focus is on him, his safe return from a combat zone and welcoming him back home after a lot of hard work… and I feel like I tried really hard to make it all about him.  But… well, it’s kinda about me too.  And I hope y’all don’t take that as selfishly as it may sound.  But I’ve had a hard time during deployment too, and I’ve worked it out and held in tough – so it’s a celebratory and exciting event for me as well, one which I think I deserve.  It’s a big deal for us, as a couple.   And since this is our last homecoming ever, I went a lil over the top for it.
We got to the Hangar on base where his plane would be directly landing.  Amazing!  I get to see my hubby’s plane land.  As the Marines and Sailors de-plane they’re given Hawaiian leis, greeted by a buncha Brass, and then they walk through the crowd and find us: their spouses, girlfriends, family members.   The Hangar is decked out with a GIANT American flag, homemade banners and signs, music is playing, and people are waving lil American flags.   There’s just this tangible excitement and anticipation in the air.   Truly a one-of-a-kind feeling and experience.
I picked up my pals The Tanners (Ashley and Jed) on the way so I had even more support with me.  Having good people with me during such a nerve-jingling time is awesome.  They helped make it fun!  And I’m so grateful for all the pics they took, now I’ll have these memories locked down forever and ever.

at the hangar, waiting for that plane!

nicole, me, and ashley - so grateful to have them with me

Our timing was incredible.  Only a few minutes after we got there, the FRO whispered in my ear that the little tiny lights twinkling in the distance weren’t stars, but the headlights of my husband’s plane.  I started pointing excitingly and the understanding that the plane was visible spread through the crowd.  Everyone huddled up against the gate, preening to catching a glimpse of the arriving aircraft.

The plane safely lands and one by one the Marines and Sailors rush out.  The multicolored sea of women and kids has suddenly become a giant camouflage body with hundreds of cropped haircuts bobbing up and down in waves.  Let me tell you, it’s so insane-o.  You’re standing there eyeing each and every guy thinking, is that him?  Nope, close! Oh man, I thought I saw him.  Is he the last one on that plane or what? Why do all Marines look exactly alike?

Finally, I see him.

I get teary-eyed even typing it out.  I see him.  He is home.  He is here.  I can see him.  This craziness called deployment is really over.  HE IS HOME.

there is my man, walking right towards us!

He doesn’t see me.  So I duck down and hide behind the people in front of me.  My friends are going to tell me when to pop up… almost, almost, he’s five feet away, okay, now! 

I jump out and surprise him! His face instantly lights up and we embrace.

first eye contact

our first smooch

Oh what a happy occasion!

Wanna see the video?  Go here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4a5styZ0x0

reunited and it feels so good

After the big homecoming shebang they all have to go the Armory and turn in their weapons.   I went home and picked up JJ and this is where they got to reunite for the first time.  It was so sweet.  Jayjers knew his daddy right away!

the pooch in his patriotic regalia

matthew petting jj for the first time - but it's too dark to really see, doh!

man and pooch at home

awww!

What an epically happy homecoming!  I am just way too blessed and so very grateful.  Now it’s time to get to be a family again, and start to put down our roots and actually get to start our life together.

I just want to thank all of my loved ones for the tremendous amount of support during this deployment.   Matthew and I have had an amazing group of people who have loved us and given us support in so many different ways – be it care packs, emotional support, letting me call the east coast at crazy hours, friends to keep me busy and help me stay positive, just everyone around us who has wished us the best and all of you who have kept us in your prayers: THANK YOU!!  We did it! We all did it together and now Matthew is home, safe and sound… I’m right by his side, sweet and as sane as I can get.

we totally rocked this one out!!!