Friday, November 20, 2009

Southern Savers

I have started extreme couponing over the past couple on months. Today I went to Bi Lo and spent $71 and saved $134. How awesome is that? Tomorrow morning after I drop the kids off at choir practice, I will head over to Publix and see what I can do there. I don't have too much to get at Publix, only a few things that I just can't pass up! It amazes me that more people don't use coupons. AND, it amazes me that certain people get sooo aggravated with people who do use them. Oh well, I try to go when it isn't very busy, so as not to disturb other people.

So, this is the blog I go to to get all my secret deals! Shhhh, don't tell anyone else!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Festival...come shop

Oh, do I love the fall weather! Which also means that it's time for fall festivals. Which means guess where I will be tomorning? Shell Point Elementary come by and visit! Perfect time to get started with your Christmas shopping!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crucible Journal (Part 10)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.


Dear Journal,

0500. Got up and dressed. Morning chow was good. After we went out on the Parade Deck so the Drill Master could mark the deck with chalk for our Graduation Ceremony. We were all talking about our families yesterday and who was coming up on Thursday. Today we were trading "My Mom on Thursday" stories…"My Mom is gonna cry and hug me for about 30 minutes! ….. "My Mom is gonna run everyone over when we are dismissed." and "My Mom is gonna already be standing at attention next to me!!"

We had noon chow, then started cleaning up the squadbay and our weapons. We have to turn them in on Tuesday. Since we are now Marines, the Drill Instructors treat us like we are FMF (Fleet Marine Force). They expect us to act responsibly and act like Marines (in accordance with all the things they taught us). It is a much nicer atmosphere.

The rest of our short week will be just getting processed for final orders. Monday through Wednesday, everything we do is in preparation for Family Day and Graduation!!

Now that I finished Crucible, the anticipation of seeing my family is growing. I keep asking myself, "How could it have gone by so fast?" And before, it seemed as if this day would never get here!!

…Praise to you Lord for bringing me through this, and I ask that you bring my family safely to me…

The rest of the day we had Liberty, so we basically chilled and hung out most of the day. We got to shop if we wanted. Our DI's told us we had to buy something. They are so cool. I bought a watch because today is the first day I can wear one!

Well, I have to go now…....I'm next in line to make an important phone call!!!"

This is the Last Journal Entry. Thanks to Peggy pginbr Delta Co Marine Mom


Crucible Journal (Part 9)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

Where's My Warrior's Breakfast?

Dear Journal,

We went down to the Warrior's Breakfast. It was a steak and eggs all you can eat feast! My first time through the line, I got steak, eggs with ham & cheese, hashbrowns, biscuit, toast, waffle, orange juice, milk, cereal, a banana, and a cinnamon roll. After eating all that, I went back through the line and got more eggs, French Toast, a bagel, another biscuit, another banana, and a Mountain Dew! We ate so much that our stomach's hurt. The coolest part was we could talk to each other and eat. We could never talk during chow.

Later we stepped out for our barracks at 1000. We spent the rest of the day doing gear inventory, cleaning our weapons, cleaning the squadbay, and packing our seabags for home!! We didn't eat noon chow today…no room! But, the evening chow was awesome…and…we got to strut our stuff around some!! It is good not to have to say "This Recruit…" before every sentence. We can also now call the Drill Instructors "Sergeant" instead of "Sir."

This is a day I will never forget. I wish I could stay awake, but I am so tired…I just want to sleep.

I'll finish up tomorrow…."

Crucible Journal (part 8)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

SATURDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - CRUCIBLE

Dear Journal,

0300. Before we stepped out to conquer our final hump back to the Base, the First Sergeant briefly reviewed the EGA ceremony with the whole Company. At 0330 we stepped out to take on our last challenge… our last obstacle as United States Marine Corps Recruits! The hump back is a good 10-miles long and was NOT easy!! We all limped along with our feet sore to the core. My blisters kept bleeding through my bandages and socks. I changed socks 6 times! The pain was irrelevant now… we continued on, because no one wanted to be dropped this close to the end. We have no watches so we don't really know how long we've been humping. The DI's have been amazingly supportive this morning. They started telling us "That's already two miles down. Not long now men." But I know that was not two whole miles...maybe a little over one at the most. They just want to keep our spirits up.

We stopped for a foot check at the base of the Ceculas Climbing Wall. Since we had not completed this obstacle, it was added to our final hump. We took a few moments to rebandage and regroup. I keep repeating to myself, "You're almost done!" Then, one by one we climbed up and over the wall, falling to the other side as gently on our sore tender feet as possible. Right foot…Left foot…Climb, Climb, Pull, Pull…holding on with all our might to get over. NO WAY any of us wasn't going over that wall!! 'Cause on the other side was our reward. We were almost home! The closer and higher we got to the top, the more it motivated us! When we fell to the other side…we were amazingly energized! One-by-one we fell over and over the top of that huge wall until we were all together.

I watched the last of my platoon go over the wall thinking, "Have I really earned this? Have I worked hard enough? Do I deserve it? Am I ready to be a UNITED STATES MARINE?"

"Not far to go now men…just a couple more miles." The DI's have been saying that for over 4 miles now. I don't think about it anymore, 'cause I am almost to my dream. When the sun was rising we reached the DI Bridge. Once we were across, the DI's started Jody calls and we all joined in! As we got closer to the main base, the Jody calls got louder and louder!! Then, I looked up and what do you think I saw?? The trail back was lined with flags! Our State Flags!! As I passed all the different State Flags, I grew more and more eager to see my………...THERE IT IS!!!! My HOME STATE FLAG! I never felt more proud to see that flag!! And right then, the loyalty of all the folks back home overwhelmed me. I was shaking. I couldn't wait to get to the Parade Deck and hold that pin in my hand!

We proceeded down past the flags, toward the Parade Deck. We put our gear down and formed up around the Iwo Jima Memorial. The Color Guard raised the flag on the memorial. The Chaplain read a prayer specifically written for the finish of the Crucible. It was beautiful. The Company First Sergeant called the Company to attention. After that we were brought to Present Arms (salute) and the National Anthem was played. My heart was pounding out of my chest, so I didn't hear one word until…

"o'er the land of the free…………………
and the HOME……………………………….
of the …………………………………BRAVE!!!!!"

After the National Anthem, the First Sergeant turned us over to our Senior Drill Instructor to carry out the plan of the day. With tears of pride and joy streaming down our faces, we heard the Marine Corp Hymn being played over the loudspeaker…

"From the Halls of Montezuma
To the Shores of Tripoli;"

I tried to mouth the words but just couldn't.

"We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land and sea;"

From the corner of my eye, I saw the DI's on my row.

"First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;"

…I'll never forget when my Drill Instructor stepped in front of me, congratulated me, handed me my emblem, and shook my hand. I will never forget holding that tiny pin that symbolized huge honor. Most of all… I will never forget when he patted me on the shoulder and said… "Congratulations, "MARINE."

"We are proud to claim the title
of United States Marine."

Crucible Journal (part 7)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

FRIDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - CRUCIBLE continued

At about 1800 we arrived back at our huts for the Night Infiltration Course. I can't even think of how to explain this, so to quote my Mom, all I can say is… "Oh…My…GOD!" This was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life! It is the last obstacle of the day and is a 5-mile night hump! The DI's said it was 5 miles but I know it was way more. There was no time limit and everyone had to complete it even if it took all night! One of the Crucible Instructors told us that Lima Company was out here until after midnight.

Anyway, I bandaged my feet as best I could. I kept thinking that last night's hump was only 2.5 miles, and since this one is twice as long…I have to make it work. I am NOT going back now. With only my thoughts to motivate me, I put on my boots and was ready for the course.

I wanted the leads to slow down the pace. My feet are now shot! All the care I took, the moleskins, the tinactin, thorlo socks…I still got blisters! A few have popped and are sore. No scabs yet because my feet stay wet. How I had the strength for this hump is beyond me? Lord, someone must be praying for me back home, because I don't even remember the prayer we said last night. I did dream I think, but I can't remember what it was.

And just so you know, this wasn't even close to last night's hump! We were under siege!! There were rounds being fired at us, bombs going off around us, (simulated of course) but the sounds and all the smoke shocked us never the less. At boot camp I got used to going to bed at 1900 hours. So, here it was after 1800 and we are just into a 5 mile hump! About half-way through it got to a point where I didn't feel the pain. I was running on pure determination. We are all very sore and close to starving now. The sleep deprivation is really getting to us. I don't know how long the hump took us, but we flew through it 'cause most of us didn't want miss any of our 4 hours of sleep!

When we got back to the huts after the Night Infiltration Course, we hygiened, prepped our packs for the next day, and ate the last of our MRE's (if there was any left!) During the day this is what I ate: Late morning I had my Mexican Rice. Then, just before we started the Night Infiltration Course I ate my Tuna with Noodles and my applesauce pak. When we got back to the huts, I finished off the last of my MRE's with the BBQ Pork & Rice and my mixed fruit pouch.

Tonight we hit the rack earlier because we wake up an hour earlier. Oh, I remember the dream now…I was lost and walking around in the dark with my cammies on, carrying all my gear. I kept asking people where my street was. Finally someone showed me. And all I remember is that when I walked up to my house it was completely dark except for one light in my bedroom window.

Tomorrow is the real test. We hit the rack at 2300 with a lot on our minds…

Friday, October 30, 2009

Crucible Journal (Part 6)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.


Dear Journal,

Back again… In case you've been wondering, there are portable toilets set up for us to use around the Crucible site. Earlier, we tied the door shut when one of the guys went in! Funny stuff! For another guy, who was in there WAY TOO LONG (we think he was sleeping), we started beating on the thing and rocking the thing back and forth and front to back to scare him and make him fall off the seat! He flung the door open and with the biggest eyes I've ever seen he goes, "Wha…wha…what happened?" We were all rolling! The DI's just laughed at us. That was so fun. And it was good to share a laugh with those guys after all they've put us through.

To pass the time, we try to guess who has honor platoon. Before we left, they told us the top scoring platoon for Final Drill, but nothing else. So we have all been speculating on who is second, third and so on. But, we know it is our total scores for everything that counts in figuring honor platoon…including crucible. Four other guys and I have a little side bet going on who wins. The bet is one cracker package each. Winner takes all!

We had another 10 or so obstacles that we had to get through by the afternoon! The first one was called Jenkins Pinnacle. We had to break up in 8 teams and cross over these suspended logs tied with cable…with all our gear…carrying additional supplies…and we were timed! The next obstacle was Basilone's Challenge where we had to climb two-by-two over an 8 foot log.

We also finished up the last stations of the Leader Course. In teams of six we strapped 2 long wooden boards to our feet and had to walk together over a "mine field." The walking part was easy, it was getting all six of us strapped in those things that took up the most time. It's funny how the foot pain comes and goes. Believe me every part of my body hurts, but when I am focused on a task the pain seems to go to the back of my mind. Maybe we don't feel it anymore because we are losing our minds with no food and little sleep!

We had another foot check before the next hump to the next station. Just as I thought my blisters are worse. I know they are going to pop any second. I heard one guy scream last night when the medic poured peroxide on his popped blisters. While I was sitting there, I took off my cover (hat) for just a second for some comfort. It is what kept me going each day through boot camp, and this is the first time I had to do it on crucible. It is not the physical comfort of removing the cover from my head, but what I have tucked inside. See, I have a picture of my family back home pressed inside, and they are counting on me to get through this. Even the dog is in this one!

More later…"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crucible Journal (Part 5)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

Dear Journal,

FRIDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - CRUCIBLE:

Got up at 0400. Each platoon's daily schedule is different. 1104 and 1105 may be scheduled for an obstacle that 1106 and 1108 completed yesterday, and 1109 and 1110 may be on their way from re-supply to take the same challenge. With 500 guys out here, there is no way for us to do obstacles at the same time. So last night after Prayer and the Marine Hymn, we talked to each other quietly about the other obstacles we saw. I should have slept more.

We stepped out for our first challenge of the day. The first Station was a good 3-mile hump from our huts. The obstacle was a tire suspended 4' with the side painted red. All members of our squad had to go through the tire without touching the red. We did all make it, but it was hard. The tire was swinging and spinning…guess that was the challenge. After we finished up there, we moved over to the Bayonet Assault Course. This course is exactly the same as the one at the Base. Lots of hooking and jabbing here! Kind of fun actually. But we are all run down.

From there we went to the Day Infiltration Course. We had 25 minutes to go through the whole course dragging with us a real team member (casualty), 2 large ammo cans, 2 small ammo cans, and 2 water jugs… filled with concrete!! God, I wanted to be the one being dragged! But, another Recruit had pulled a muscle, so we took turns pulling him. We are all filthy and covered in dirt now. We stopped for a sock change and foot check. My blisters are filling with fluid now. I put a double layer of moleskin on but it comes right off when my socks get wet.

Then we humped over to the Day Movement Course. And believe me, they don't call it "Movement" for nothing! This course had booby traps all over! And if we tripped them, that team member became a casualty. The more traps we tripped during the course, the more difficult it became because we had to pull the casualties along with all our gear. We are so tired and hungry and sore and aggravated. We are over halfway through. I'll write more later…

Crucible Journal (part 4)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

THURSDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - CRUCIBLE continued

Dear Journal,

One of the Warrior Station obstacles is built around an enemy-mined rope bridge called the "Two Line Bridge." It is just two very long ropes, basically, that wobbles…and impossible to cross when two are on it. So, as a team we determined it was best to cross it one by one. But we are timed…so we had to move quickly. We had to cross with all our gear on, carrying those heavy ammunition boxes! When we were finally forging on and were well on our way, we lost one of the guys.

"If one fails …We all fail."

So, I was the last person on the bridge and I just couldn't leave him there. He was either going to have to start over from the beginning of the rope, or I could help him. So, I let go of the rope with one hand and kept a good strong grip with my other. I extended my hand out towards my fellow Recruit. He grabbed my arm and I pulled with all my might to get his hand back up to the rope. "Lord, I can't pull any harder. I know I'm going to drop him. Please give me strength." And, just when I thought the rest of the team had moved on ahead of us….through my clinched eyes I heard rounds of "Come on Man!… You've got him!… Pull- Pull!… You're almost there!" My team had come back to encourage me! And then…somehow…he was safely holding on to the rope. Everyone was shoulder bumping me after. It felt like this was real-life! Like I really did save someone…Wait! I really did!! My Crucible Leader said, "You did, you saved a Recruit from failing this. Well done!" I tell you NOTHING feels like this. No matter what you do to make yourself happy, new cars, watching a game, hunting… none of what you do for yourself compares to the feeling of helping another human being! NOTHING! Maybe, I CAN do this after all! I WANT to do this!! Man, I know Mom and Dad would be so proud of me! I wonder what they are doing right now?

At another Station called Cpl. Day's Defense, we had to run into firing positions and engage pop-up targets in and around a building with 10-rounds in two magazines. We only had about a minute to fire. That was cool! If I wasn't so tired, I would have wanted to stay there all day! Afterwards, we humped back to the huts and chilled until 2100. At 2100 we stepped out for a re-supply hump. Each squad had to carry 2 large ammo cans and 4 small ammo cans …again filled with concrete for 2.5 miles! I could not believe this! After all we had done today they "told" us that our huts had been stripped so we had to re-supply. That was the last obstacle for the day. So we humped back to the supply station. We are getting grouchy now and short with each other. It was so dark and we couldn't see 2 feet in front of us. The DI's said the last 2 companies did this run in 2.25 and 2.3 hours. I don't know our time yet, but I know we did it in better than 2.0 hours!

I guess you are wondering how I am doing with my 2.5 MRE's! Well, we are responsible for rationing them out ourselves. So, today I ate 2 of my 3 cracker packages with peanut butter and grape jelly. I also ate my peanuts, pound cake, and beverage powder. The beverage powder is like PowerAde. We just had to pour it in our mouth and swish it around inside our mouth with some water. We couldn't put anything into our canteens but water. We also have 2 coffee packets…same deal…pour in mouth…swish with canteen water. My plan was to eat as light as possible today, saving the most of the MRE's for tomorrow. I just made sure I hydrated a lot.

When we got back, we had to sit and wait for 0000 (midnight) to come around… before they would let us go to sleep! I held my eyes open somehow, but inside I was already sleeping.

More tomorrow…"

Crucible Journal (part 3)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

THURSDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - CRUCIBLE continued

Dear Journal, Let's see. I think left off with Pugil Sticks. Each recruit had to compete in 3 consecutive matches. Each round was quick and vicious. We already had 3 matches in Phase II, so we were all talking trash and comparing scores and saying things like…"Dude, I'm 3-0 for Crucible and 6-0 overall!"

After Pugil Sticks we humped back out to where we started this morning. We completed 4 more obstacles: The "Stairway to Heaven" which is a ladder 50' high with rungs 4-5 feet apart! We had to lug 2 ammo cans over it. The "Skyscraper" which is way bigger than the one at Base. The obstacle, there was a wounded Marine at the top of a tower. We had to retrieve him as a team. I guess it started to sink in that…you know that could be me! Do I really want to do this? But as I looked around and followed my team up that tower, I thought, all these guys would do this for me in a heartbeat. I realized that there was probably NOTHING I wouldn't do for them. It kind of energized me.

The "Weaver" was next. This was kind of challenging. We had to climb over logs with ammo and water cans. I am so tired. I have no idea what time it is. And finally we went to the Rope Bridge. Sounds easy…maybe even fun huh? Yea RIGHT! For each of these obstacles we were required to also carry heavy objects… through them, up them, under them or over them… like ammo cans and water jugs all filled with concrete to make them heavier!

Oh, I forgot to mention this important fact, each obstacle station is named for a Marine Hero. At each station, our Crucible Leader made a Recruit read a brief explanation of how the Hero's actions exemplify the Corps and its values. It was my favorite part. The DI's also choose a different leader for each obstacle. That way, we all got to understand what it's like to be a leader, and what your responsibilities are as a follower.I am getting very hungry now.

More later…"

Crucible Journal (part 2)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

THURSDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - CRUCIBLE:

Dear Journal, Up at 0200, staged and ready to roll at 0215. After having to wait for a while, we proceeded to the Parade Deck where we broke up into our squads and humped 6 miles out to Page Airfield (the Crucible site) for our first set of obstacles. Our gear is heavy, but we are in good spirits. Each Platoon has different Drill Instructors for Crucible Leaders. Another Drill Instructor followed behind us in a safety vehicle. We humped to the first Warrior Station and waited until 0600.

Each obstacle is set up at a Warrior station. On our first obstacle the scenario was that our HUMVEE had run out of fuel while carrying supplies. While we were headed back to Motor-T to get fuel, we came across a bridge that had been partially destroyed by the enemy. Our obstacle was to carry (3) 55 gal. drums across a cable from one platform to another. The drums had to remain upright and there are 3 red stripes on the cables 3' long. If you or your equipment (drums) touch the stripes… you are dead and your equipment is lost! It was hard because we were looking to the Crucible Leader to tell us how to get across, but he told us we had to figure it out ourselves. It was just out of habit, because for the last 11 weeks we hadn't made a move without asking permission. It made us feel proud when we made sound decisions and executed a successful plan!

Another station was called the Enhanced Obstacle Course, where we had to maneuver though while carrying a dummy (casualty) and heavy ammo cans. We had to get the casualty and ammo cans over each obstacle, as well! Then there was another station in which we went from tire swing to tire swing (6 swings total) and at each end was a platform. Touch the deck instead of the platform and you're dead! Another obstacle was a 12' pole and we had to get a tire around it and lower it all the way to the deck. We cheered when the first recruit finally hooked the pole and the tire went down! We thought man, this is going to be fun…like throwing rings over the bottles at a fair!! Then the Crucible Leader said we had to take the tire back off too!!! You can imagine the smiles fell right off our faces. Afterwards, we were told we would be starting the Team Shoot and Pugil Sticks shortly.

I will update as soon as I can…"

Crucible Journal (part 1)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

WEDNESDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - Final Drill

Dear Journal,

This morning we had a PT run. The morning run was fun. The Drill Instructor would slow us down into a "Marine Corps Shuffle" until we were a good 50 yds behind the squad in front. Then we would start speeding up until we were sprinting. When we started to speed up we would be whispering "sneak attack, sneak attack" over and over. As we got closer we would get louder until we were 10 yards back and sounding off. Then we would go into the shuffle again. Good times! Then we were broken up into our Crucible squads for some important information..
I can't believe, Final Inspection, Final PFT and the Final Written Test are finally over! We even got to go to the PX to buy our shooting badges and any other items we needed. After we got back we put them on our Alpha Blouse. Those badges look "tight." They were $10 bucks a piece, but worth it!

We had JOB prep this morning (in case you have forgotten, JOB is 'junk on a bunk'.) It is inventory and gear serviceability. We set up our field gear on our racks and then cleaned the squadbay. Each item had certain requirements and had to be in a certain spot on the rack. Some even had to have a piece of tape cut to a certain length with our name on it. The shelter half and poncho both had to be folded 12" X 12". Our wet weather tops and bottoms as well as our woolly "P" bag had to be rolled up 6" wide. Our gear was checked for accountability and serviceability while we were at noon chow.

*We spent all afternoon at the Final Drill Competition! Afterwards, I realized the Crucible is RIGHT THERE waiting for us to fail!! 54 hours, 40 some miles, 2.5 MRE's, and only 8 total hours of sleep (at the absolute most), ending with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor Ceremony…if we are worthy…

After evening chow we started to set up our packs for the Crucible. The scribes and whiskey locker are supposed to start packing their gear as well. When we leave tomorrow after the 0200 wake-up call, we won't come back to the squadbay until Saturday morning. The rest of the time today we spent on Crucible prep and house cleaning. Crucible prep included field stripping our MRE's, (meaning all condiment packets, sides, certain sweets etc. are pulled out!) and last detail packing, LBV prep, etc. We also ironed a decal on our Drill Cammies for when we get back on Saturday. The decal is the EGA ironed onto our left breast pocket! Man, I can't believe I have to iron this on…what if I don't make it?We then packed our seabags, marked and lubed our weapons, and hit the rack at 2000 knowing we would be awakened at 0200 for the Crucible. How am I going to sleep? I NEED to sleep. Please God let me sleep. Mom, are you praying for me too? I am almost there. Don't give up on me now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I pray for the Lord's guidance through all this! Gonna try to sleep now.

More tomorrow.…"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

For My Son

I held you close when you were just a baby,
I snuggled tight, and thought just maybe,
How could I now live up to the honor
Of being your one and only mother.

I tossed the ball around with you,
We did whatever we wanted to do.
I played with bugs and slimy creatures.
I even had to deal with all your teachers.

I prayed for you from day one,
My sweet and precious little son.
And now you are on that journey away from me,
Trying to find your destiny.

As your mother, it is hard to let go,
How to wait and let you grow.
And now as the dawn draws near,
Your time to shine is finally here.

I am now bursting with pride,
As I sit and pray with all I have inside.
I know that you will succeed,
Just like the ones that you may someday lead.

When I sang those sweet lullabys in your ear,
I never thought the time would be here.
And as I kissed your tender head I never dreamed,
That I had kissed the forehead of a United States Marine.

I love you Ry-guy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's a small world after all....

I truly now believe that it's definitely a small world. Lots of Ryan's letters have mentioned a particular recruit as being his best friend at boot. Well, I am now friends with his friend's girlfriend on Facebook. I kinda happened by accident. But Ryan and Dillion are going to be so shocked when they see us all together at the Final Drill next Wednesday. I also invited them over for our welcome home luncheon after graduation. Hopefully they will get to stop by.
Also realized today that Fox Company's Recruits are the senior recruits on PI as of today! No graduation next Friday, the next graduation on PI will be my Ryan's graduation. Woo Hoo! I am really getting very excited, can you tell? Also found out today that I may be able to go over next Sunday, which is Liberty Sunday, and hang out with him! I am trying to verify that now to be sure that I don't get him in trouble! I am just ready to hug my Marine Son!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Carolina vs Clemson

I had to break down and make the Clemson purse, but you know I LoVe my Carolina Gamecocks bestest! Go Cocks! Go here to get you one!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chilly Saturday in the South

Chilly, brisk day here in the the windows up and airing out the house. I just love feel of fall in the air. I have the embroidery machine going and lots of fabric cut and ready to sew together. I get so crazy with ideas in my head that I get so overwhelmed. So, I am trying to focus on the task at hand. So, right now I need to get my new designs done and pictures taken and put up on the website TODAY! I need to get more USMC designs done to take over to PI this week before Family Day on Thursday. They seem to be doing very well over there. They have them in the Visitor's Center and at the Engraving Shop (formerly the Cobbler's Shop). I am very excited about everything going on right now!

Not to mention that in 20 more days I will get to bring my Marine son home for a few days...maybe even 40 days as he may be getting Recruiter's Assistant for 30 days. That would be so awesome. Then he would be here for Thanksgiving and his birthday and maybe Christmas. Oooo, won't that be great?! I am so incredibly proud of Ryan, I just can't say it enough. So, get used to hearing it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Production Progress

Working hard tonight to get some of the newest designs completed so I can add them to the re-vamped website. I am trying a new "production assembly line" tonight to see if I can push more out in a shorter amount of time. The biggest thing is when I get side-tracked and have to sweep the floors or wipe the counters (again) or check Facebook. I am not real good at focusing on the task at hand. But I am getting better...I am working very hard to improve. :)

My real job at Beaufort Rentals is going good too. We moved to a new office this past weekend and have been busy setting up and taking care of business. I just love working there. (On the slower days though I wish I had my fabrics there so I could cut them while I am idle.) I hate being idle!

3 weeks from tomorrow I will get to hug my new Marine son. I am so incredibly proud of him and can't wait to get my arms around him! 2 weeks from today I will get to go over to Parris Island to see him and his platoon in the Final Drill competition. His platoon won Initial Drill and they won on the Rifle Range, so if they win the Final Drill then they will be Honor Platoon! Ooh-Rah! He is very confident that they are going to "rock it out". I am excited that I get to be there to witness it, to see my boy do what he does!

This was after they found out they won Initial Drill. Boy, I have missed that look!
I know he really wanted to blow me a kiss but....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Carolina Rags Website

Well, finally, it's about time! It has taken me 4 days and a couple sleepless nights but here it Carolina Rags website is back up and running! I have been pretty busy the past couple of weeks with a new line of purses and really thought that now was a good time to get this booger back up.

On another note, 23 more days until Ryan graduates a United States Marine. Then found out for sure yesterday that Jackson's class is going to take a field trip to the graduation on November 6th. I talked to Ryan about it and he is very excited about it. He said that he talked to some of his buddies and they all are going to take a picture with Jackson's class. Then he said that he is going to wear his uniform and to go visit Jackson's class the following week and talk to their class about the Marine Corps. Ryan is so pumped up right now...I just love it! I have never seen (actually read) him so excited about anything like he is about the Marine Corps! I continue to pray for him and all of the recruits everyday, especially during this very tough Phase 3. But did I tell you 23 more days, oh, ok, I guess I did...sorry!

Jessica's volleyball season is coming to a close. The have only lost 3 games this season. They are going to hosting the playoffs at Beaufort Middle next week! I am so proud of all of those Lady Gryphons! They have done a phenomenal job this year, not to mention that they have an awesome coach who loves all of those girls like her own!

Jackson continues to do very to well in school this year. His teacher says he is a pleasure to teach! Wow! She also said that he is very good in Math. That's my boy!

Jordan is doing very well in school too. I did blow her away today when I took her Algebra homework and completed one of the problems. She checked it and looked at me and said Whoa, Mom, good job!" I like impressing my kiddos, gotta let 'em know I am not only a fun Mom, but a smart one. Woot Woot!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Life just gets so busy...

So, here it is almost October. Fall is here, hopefully the cool weather will follow soon. Beaufort Middle School volleyball is off and running at full throttle now. They are all doing so good. I have only missed 1 game and that was because it was in Hilton Head and Jackson was sick. I just love watching those girls play....especially my girl, Jess.

Jackson is doing so well in school. He loves his teacher. She is very enthusiastic and he really gets into that! I am just glad that he is doing better this year than the past few weeks. I reckon he just needed some stability at school.

Jordan is my big bad 6th grader...of course she is not bad though. She is my sweet sweet angel! She seems to be adjusting very well to middle school.

And Ryan, he is about half way through boot camp. I actually went over there a couple weeks ago and watched Foxtrot Company compete in there Initial Drill. And yay, Platoon 2072 (Ryan's) won the drill competition. I got some amazing pictures of him and all of the other platoons in his Co. I was just so thankful to be able to see that my boy has indeed turned into a man. He was so incredibly handsome.

Well, this is all for now. All is well in this family!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Could it be?

I found these pictures on the PI message board and I think that that is Ryan hiding behind the tree. What do you think? I'm pretty sure that is his SDI!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


So last night when Tony and I were headed home from our yummy dinner out at Mizu's, we saw a double rainbow. So we went straight to The Sands to get some pictures. When we got to The Sands we saw that it was ending right at Parris Island. I wish I could have gotten a shot of the whole entire thing but it was TOO big! It was so beautiful!

It reminded me of God's promises. It again gave me great comfort to know that He will protect my boy according to His will.

That is Parris Island!
Parris Island from The Sands in Port Royal
We just thought this was cool...kinda looks like mountains in Beaufort!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I finally got my first "form letter" from Ryan today. It was a pre-typed letter with his address and a little bit of other information we need to know. I have already mailed the letter I wrote to him out. I had it all ready to go so I could send it as soon as I got his address. I also printed out the MLB standings for him. I am going to try to send something a few times a week. The letter did say that we could send protein bars and powdered gatorade, so I will be doing that this weekend.

I am very excited that I can now communicate with my boy now!

On another note, Jessica made the Beaufort Middle School Lady Gryphons Volleyball team, I am very proud of her too. She loves playing volleyball and I hope she continues to play all the way through school. Besides the fact that I LOVE to watch her play!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Chapel

Just got a call from my Mom, that my Dad met Ryan's Drill Instructor this morning. My Dad volunteers for Campus Crusade for Christ and preaches at PI to the recruits on Sundays. Today he had DI Lounge so he didn't get to see Ry, but he did meet his DI. Not sure if that is good or not. The DI said he just met him yesterday and that he seems to be adjusting well! I guess that is good to hear. Dad's friend was in Chapel and did see Ryan and he said that he like just like the rest of the recruits..."like a deer caught in the headlights".

I just wanna hug him so badly! I want to tell him how proud I am of him, I want to tell him that everyday! First of all, I am proud that he went to Chapel today! I am sure that he was hoping to see G-Daddy today but now he can look forward to next week.

So school starts tomorrow, I am hoping that when we get into a schedule that time will go by a bit faster. Volleyball games will start in a month and of course homework. Here we go...Jackson starts 4th grade; Jordan starts 6th grade; Jessica starts 8th grade. They are all growing up so fast.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring...

Saturday is here and we now have our first Friday under our belt. 2 months and 3 weeks until Ryan graduates Marine Corps boot camp. I have found this amazing website where moms, dads, wives, etc. can come together and chat. I love it there. It is sometimes hard to find people who can relate to what I am going through. Thye just don't get it. But this site is the best. I have asked silly stupid questions that I learned were really not so stupid.

Today Ryan will meet his drill insrtuctor and be assigned to his platoon. I did find out thanks to Brett and Danny that he did pick up 2 Bn Fox Co. So I am now a 'Foxy Lady'...learned that in the chat room. So hopefully by the end of next week I should have a letter or actually it is a postcard form with his address on it. We plan on writing him very, very often. We are so incredibly proud of him.

It seems like forever until graduation, which will be November 6th. But we will see. It is so nice to have all my friends and family calling to check on us. We are doing great! Just missing our recruit something fierce. As ready as we were to get his lazy behind out of here we are just as anxious to get him out of boot camp. I am really praying that he realizes how much we really care about him and love him.

I plan on documenting my whole experience here on my blog so Ryan can someday go back and read it and truly know how much he is loved.

I wonder what they do when it is raining? They are future Marines so do they go out in the rain to train too? I am sure they do.

So close, yet so far away....

Sunday, August 09, 2009

My Future Marine

This morning at 7am my oldest son, Ryan, left the nest and went to embark on his new life as he becomes a United States Marine at Parris Island Recruit Depot. I am so incredibly proud of him! This is a decision that he made on his own. I believe that it was a very wise decision for him, especially in this economy. He will learn so much about his field of choice as well as about himself.
I said that I wouldn't cry today but as soon as Tony left to take him to meet his recruiter, I realized he was gone. He may never live with us again. He is a grown man, at least he will be come November at graduation. So, how ironic that in the Beaufort Gazette this morning there was an article about Parris Island making Marines. You can go here to read it! It is very touching and moving. I can't wait to see my Marine at graduation. But first I really can't wait to get a letter from him saying that he is OK. Until then, I will keep praying for him and his strength.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Why oh why can't I go to sleep?! I am so tired but when I go to bed I just can't get to sleep! I have checked up on all my facebook friends so now I am getting bored! I've got to get up at 6:30.
Plus, my baby boy will be home tomorrow afternoon from RA camp. I have really missed him. But I am sure he had a blast. Camp McCall is the same camp that Ryan used to go to. He had fun and talked about it for days! Jackson has become a very indepedent kind of kid lately. He has chores that he is responsible for every week. He takes out the trash and cuts the grass and weed eaters on Saturdays! He appreciates hard work, sometimes he doesn't like it but he will do it.
Speaking of Ryan, he will be leaving for Marine Corps Boot Camp on Monday. I am super proud of him for making such a huge decision for his life. I think that he will be an awesome Marine. He will graduate in November. But I will have a huge hole in my heart until he gets back. He won't even be coming back home here to our house but at least I will be able to talk to him regular. 13 weeks with no contact but maybe a phone call toward the end, wow, never gone that long before. But I am gonna pray that he wears his armour everywhere he goes. The Armour of God. I pray that God will protect him in all that he encounters. I am excited that my Dad will be able to see him on some Sundays. He is part of the Campus Crusade for Christ and preaches at Parris Island some Sundays.
Jessica has been in Atlanta for a week now, and I miss her too. She has become such a mature young woman over this summer. She is so beautiful. She will have volleyball tryouts this coming Monday afternoon. She loves volleyball and is really good at it! I am super proud of her too. She will be in the 8th grade this! She has come along way!

And there is my sweet, sweet Jordie Pie! She has come into her own this summer as well! She always has a smile and is willing to help me out whenever I need it. She has developed a little personality of her own. She gets sassy but with Jordan it's in a respectful way! Only she could do that and get away with it. Love her!

And there is Lizzie, she is definately a little firecracker, just like her Daddy. She has been here for the summer. She was goingto stay with us but has know decided to go back home with her Mom. We will miss! She is leaving on Thursday. That will be a tough day for Tony but we will all be fine! I can't believe that the summer is coming to a close already. I has been a good one. We went to Atlanta for a mini vacation with Lori, Brett and Mason. Spent many days and nights at the pool grilling out and havinf quality family time.
I love my life and really would not wish to be anywhere else but here. I am blessed and happy right where I am!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Checking my coupons and clipping them twice!

So I have embarked on a new obssession...saving money! With a family as large as ours then I have got to try to save wherever I can. I am very excited about this! I have started at and they pretty much do all the research and hard work for you!

Right now I am researching online all the different ways to find and use coupons.

The most exciting thing I have found from word of mouth is that Publix accepts all competitor coupons. I mean Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid, BiLo, Food Lion, the list keeps going on! And they will accept a competitor coupon plus a manufacturer coupon on the same item.

Ok, now I am off to find some more deals. In this economy, clipping coupons is the new way to go. Don't let it get you, show them!