Monday, February 28, 2011

Marine Corps Mondays....Week 4

Wow, my month worth of Marine Corps Mondays sure went quick! I bet I could make this a more regular thing but it was nice to be reminded of the random, often forgotten aspects of why I love the lifestyle that I live.  

This week, I am thankful for my Marine Corps friends...and for acquiring the ability to come out of my shell and make those friends!

I'm really shy when I first meet people, actually it takes a good 3-5 times being together before I feel really comfortable having an actual conversation with people.  You see, my two best friends and I met when we were 3, starting a friendship was as easy as "you like Barbie?" "me too" "lets be friends!". I had those same friends that I met in preschool all through high school.  Our Catholic elementary school wasn't too far from our Catholic high school so most of my entire class went to the same school.  It wasn't until college that I realized, I don't know how to go about actually meeting and making friends.  Ive just always HAD friends.  
(My 2 best friends- Ashley and Dani at Dani's wedding! They were both in my wedding as well!)

Obviously, I did make friends in college and had a great group that I hung out with (Hi Emma...I know you're stalking my blog now!) They got me through my first deployment and I have told them on a regular basis that I cant believe how annoying and nutty I was during that time and I cant believe they were still friends with me...I totally would have dropped me as a friend if I were them! We got so close in the year that we knew each other, but there was somewhere else I needed to be...
(Emma, Tim, and I on Topsail Island...the day after Tim took his iPhone "swimming" in the ocean- oops!)

When I moved down here to Camp Lejeune, I was once again left without friends.  Kale had a group of friends but most didn't have their spouse living down in NC at the time so I only knew 1 other spouse.  Kale also left for a 4 week training exercise about 3 days after I moved down to be with him.  Nothing like saying "Welcome to the Marine Corps lifestyle!" right after I move down then my fiance leaving for training and me to unpack and organize my first apartment! 
(Day after we got everything unloaded, Kale had to pack his gear while I had to actually unpack and organize our new apartment!)

It was sometime during that 4 weeks he was gone that I got the reality check that if I don't go actively do something to make friends, my time down in NC would be miserable.  I started going with the one girl that I knew (who turned in my best friend- Ive talked about her a ton of here- LeShea) to our unit events and meeting other ladies.  The "Weapons Company" wives were amazing and we really enjoyed each others company.  We all knew what each other was going through and were always there for each other during the Afghanistan deployment (2nd deployment)

Then some Marine wives that I know from online (Hi to all my CW loves!) starting having get togethers and I started going to them...before I knew it, not only did I have some great groups of friends, but I was quickly realizing that these ladies will be more then my friends, they will be my family! I contribute 95% of my sanity to them during my miscarriage and the following months.

So thank you Marine Corps, without you, I wouldn't know some of the most amazing women on this planet! You've taught me how to reach out to make friends, and boy, I found some great ones!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Today's annoyance...

You know what irritates me? 

Improperly put together Girl Scout cookies...

Yep, that's right...I didn't say it was a legitimate thing that irritates me, I just said it was something that irritates me...I don't know why!

My Peanut Butter Cookie has one of the cookies the wrong way.  The rounded side should be facing up, while the flat side should be the one that is touching the peanut butter in the middle but no....the round side is touching the peanut butter!

See the difference????....ANNOYING!!

Clearly- Ive reached that point in the deployment where I need to be taken to the loony bin for being way too over analytical, and I'm okay with that!

Today is also 6 months done with deployment....HOLLA!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Picking the perfect homecoming outfit Part 1: A look back....

The outfit that Kale sees me in for the first time since he left is ALWAYS near impossible for me to find! I mean, you want to look amazing, but it still be appropriate for the event. 

I find it so weird when I see people wearing formal-ish dresses to homecomings.  Its almost like they were wearing their high school homecoming dresses- you know, the satin ones.  They would be great for date night at a real pricey restaurant...not so great for standing around in for hours waiting for your Marine to finally be home! 

1st deployment send-off was in August but it was REALLY early in the morning, we had to be there at 3am.  Since the sun wasn't up yet (nor was any sane person....), it wasn't super hot and muggy yet.  I was able to get away with wearing capris and a V-neck and being perfectly comfortable- not too hot, not too cold.
1st homecoming was the last day in January so it was a tad chilly.  Not super cold but I was able to wear jeans and a sweater and didn't entirely freeze my butt off. 

2nd deployment send-off, I was an ice cube.  We got there around 6pm for an 8-9pm send off...well, 1am rolls around and the buses finally show up! I would have loved all that extra time with Kale way more if it wasn't in the 30's and windy.  I will say, when we left the house it was in the 50's so had the temperature not dropped so much, I would have been fine!I was in jeans, and a long sleeve shirt, with my fleece jacket over it. The progression of how zipped up I am makes me laugh, It started just zipped up a little, then zipped all the way, then clutching together for extra warmth! 
2nd homecoming was June 1st- so it was hot.  It was also in the middle of the day which meant super sunny, super humid, and overall just grossly hot! I found a dress the day before that wasn't going to cling to my body since I didn't want to feel super gross once I started sweating, it was patterned so if it sweat soaked through, you wouldn't be able to notice as well as a solid color dress, and the color made my eyes really pop! The only thing was that it was a little short because I had to get it in petite since they didn't have my size in regular.  I knew I wouldn't be jumping on Kale but I didn't think of how much "lift" my dress would do when he hugged me tight...I probably only had about 2-3 inches of fabric past my toosh so thankfully Kale didn't squeeze too hard or else some folks would have got a little show!
See what I mean? Almost a peep show!! Thankfully, I can say "almost" and not have an embarrassing story to tell y'all!

So, this homecoming, I feel like I'm leaning toward another dress but I'm worried about length, I feel like if I went longer then this dress, that anytime he wasn't hugging me and causing the dress to lift up a little, that it will hit me in a weird place...I want patterned again but I think I want to lean toward pink this time since I noticed I wore blue to both previous homecomings...I want to wear these cute summery wedge heels that I bought YEARS ago and don't think Ive ever worn.  They are a medium tan color so I think they will go with whatever dress I get.  My hair will be down, and hopefully depending on the time of homecoming, I will be able to go to the spa and get a "Wash and Style", I did that last time and it helped me stay calm and the day to go by quicker!

Part Two will be showcasing dresses that Ive found online that I think may work, or if I have time to go to an actual mall, then Ill take pictures of ones that I find that I like. I have a few months to figure it out but not too far away that I seem crazy for thinking about it already! Yay!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Marine Corps Monday...Week 3

I really love that this lifestyle allows us to...

get to use the gyms on base for free!

With all this working out I have been doing in order to get ready for homecoming, I really appreciate the free gyms that we can use on the  Marine Corps bases!! 

The cost of gym memberships range but if I were in Erie, I would be paying 20-35 bucks a month and that is a pretty good price! Its the little things that we get that help save money!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What is your dream duty station?

I was asked that question during our L.I.N.K.S class that I took and it was really hard for me to come up with an answer. I feel like there are so many factors that would go into determining where our "dream duty station" would be that it would be impossible for me to decide! 

Currently, I can say that my "Dream RIGHT NOW Duty Station" would be here at Camp Lejeune. Hold on, before you completely think I'm nuts, hear me out...

Reasons why Lejeune is my dream duty station:
1. We own our house- we want to live in it.  We picked this house because I loved it from the second I saw it (Kale was deployed, he didn't see pictures until after our offer was submitted!), and once Kale came home, he loved it too! We want to live in it a little longer before we are forced to sell or rent it out. 
2. Kale hates to fly- he would rather drive 12 hours each way to Erie, stay for 24 hours, then drive 12 hours back to NC then fly up for the same amount of money. 
If we get stationed out at one of the bases in California, that is going to be one long car ride- over 36 hours! 

3. Cost of Living- its expensive to live around where the other bases are- Virginia, California, Hawaii, and Japan, um no thanks! Its much cheaper being stationed in North Carolina, and frankly- I'm super cheap! 

4. We both have great groups of friends here, and although everyone will move eventually, they aren't moving we don't want to either!

5.When we have kids, I want family close by in case of an emergency.  I have a cousin who lives 3 hours away and my Aunt and Uncle live an hour and a half away from us.  They would be on the road the second we called either of them to come to where we needed them to be.  The other options, we don't have family close by. 

6. We live less than 5 miles from the beach, can you say "Awesome!"

So, my answer was Camp Lejeune, and although some people really hate this area, I love it.  Camp Lejeune may not be "Mr. Right" for us, it definitely is "Mr. Right Now"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just call me Betty Crocker!

So, over on Our Best Bites they have a recipe for Color burst cupcakes.  They look super cute and delicious. I had to make them but I didn't have any event to make them for.  Then I got invited to a baby shower and I offered to bring the cupcakes.  My friend Emma came down for close to a week and I forced asked her to help! We were both skeptical, we thought the colors would mush to make ugly brown color cupcakes but they didn't...they turned out cute!! 

They don't look exactly like how it did on the tutorial but I like how our version doesn't have super straight lines and the colors sort of blend. 

What you need:
- cake batter (we used boxed, the assembling is kind of involved so I didn't want to go the extra mile and make homemade batter)
-food coloring (we used red, yellow, green, and blue)
-frosting, we made the Perfect Cupcake Frosting, Ill probably blog about that- it was an interesting experience. 
1. Divide the batter into 4 even amounts (since we used 4 colors)

2. Scoop one-two tablespoons of a color into the muffin tins, add another color on top and repeat until all the colors are used.  

3. Bake based off what the recipe for the batter calls for.  

4. Let cool then frost- or if you are Emma and I, bust one open the second you can to see how cool it is! 

5. Enjoy- we made about 2 dozen and ate them for the next 4 days.  So worth the calories!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How was your Valentines Day?

I didn't do too much on Valentine's Day that actually revolved around the holiday...but, when the holiday is all about love and your love isn't around, there isn't much to do.  

I went to Zumba, got sushi with my friends Holly and Malorie.  After a delicious sushi lunch, we went to the mall and I got some new workout shoes.  I got the Nike Free- I am so excited to go on a run with them!! Ive heard great things about them! 

Once I got home from spending the day with the girls, the puppies and I enjoyed some time in the backyard.  Cujo and I played fetch for like 30 minutes, while Coop just sat and watched.  They are currently curled up on either side of me as I type- they were such awesome Valentines! They are a great alternative to not having the hubs home!! 

In addition to having lots of snuggles and kisses from the puppies, a few days before Valentine's Day a package came to my door step.  I knew it wouldn't be from Kale since they cant send out boxes where he is in Afghanistan so my next guess was my Mom.  When I was in college, she always sent the cutest packages! 

To my surprise, the return address says "Coop and Cujo"....yep my dogs sent me a care package (with help from Mom of course!).  I open the package and discover lots of goodies!! It brought the biggest smile to my face!!

I got a big bag of Twizlers, runts, pistachios, peanut M&Ms, chocolate, a painting magazine, heart shaped plates...and they included dog toys for themselves! 

All and all, I had a great relaxing day! How was your day? What did you do?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Marine Corps Monday...Week 2

My Marine Corps ID says "Dependent" but one thing that I love about the Marine Corps lifestyle is that it has made me be Independent! 

Throughout my life, I was always relying on others- for everything.  This lifestyle though makes you become independent very quick.

For the first time in my life, I was in charge of how I ran things- I had responsibilities- I needed to cook, clean, do laundry. I need to make decisions and couldn't have someone else do it for me.  

Now, Im sure you all are thinking "um, Colleen, you have your husband!" Yes, I do! I love him more then life, he is my support, my everything.  I also credit him to helping me become the independent person I am today as well! 

This lifestyle leaves me to "fend for myself" a lot. In becoming independent, Ive learned just how strong I really am.  I know what I look for in friends and dont settle just to be "part of the IN crowd".  I dont care what people say about me, or how I dress, or my actions- I do what is best for me and my husband, I dont care what other people think! I dont settle in life- Im going to try to reach all of our goals no matter how difficult! I am myself- I dont pretend to be someone I am not.  My husband, and my friends love me because Im me- not because I am a fake version of what I think they want me to be!

So all you Marine Corps wives, heck- all my military wives- embrace your independance that being a military spouse forces you become!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love his voice!

I got a phone call last weekend.  I'm not gonna lie- I had an internal freak out for the first minute because I wasn't expecting to hear from him for quite a while and it had only been 2 weeks.  My immediate thought was "OMG, something happened..." because last deployment the CO (Commanding Officer) would say that if a Marine was injured, if he was able to tell you what happened then he would be the one to notify you.  Once I realized he wasn't hurt, I was so excited to talk to him! 

It was a quick call- the SAT phone seemed to be a "traveling" phone that was going around to the different areas where the guys were so it was a long line so we talked for 3 minutes.  He just melts my heart- his opening line (after hello) "wow, you sound awful"! I couldn't help but giggle, then told him how I had strep throat- he was shocked that I actually went to the doctor and just didn't self diagnose myself (I really hate the doctor!) and he was also concerned with who was taking care of me.  I assured him the dogs were doing a great job at cuddling with me all day! 

He also asked how my Pampered Chef business was going.  The last time I talked to him I had a minor freak out and thinking I would be horrible at it so him asking made me feel really great! 

Kale sounded great, he said he was taking lots of pictures!! He also said that last deployment but magically "lost" the memory card so I am not holding my breath to see pictures but who knows! 

The 3 minutes felt like 3 seconds and he had to pass the phone off to the next person! It totally made my day, week, heck even month!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The most memorable people in life will be the friends....

"The most memorable people in life will be the friends who loved you when you weren't very lovable."

I saw this quote on someone's facebook and it just spoke to me...I had copied it down and put it in my drafts right before deployment began and had full intentions on coming back later that week to write about it...but I got busy and forgot.  Then all my recent posts pushed this draft onto another page so "out of sight, out of mind". 

I found it though and Im so glad I did! It was just the lil snippet that I needed to see today.  I have thought a lot about friendships lately.  There are so many facets of friends that its impossible for me to define what I view as a friend. 

Sometimes I feel that what I want out of friends might be too much to ask for but then I will look around at the people who I really consider great friends and realize they are all that I need, I don't need people who are only friends when it is convenient for them.  I am notorious for befriending people and having them completely screw me over...I think it might date back to grade school and high school when I wanted lots of people around me all the time because that meant I was popular.  It didn't matter if they only liked me sometimes, I was cool, and that was all that matters.

Ive always valued other people's opinions...and sometimes I take those opinions and internalize them mainly without noticing.  I spent many years trying to be who I thought others would want me to be but in the last 2 years I have really focused on what and who I want to be. 

In those 2 years, Ive made such strong relationships with people who have stuck by me through lots of times that I wouldn't have expected them too.  After the miscarriage, I had multiple friends texting me on a regular basis just checking in to see how I was feeling or letting me know that they were thinking of me (I was still in Erie PA during that time), that small gesture just meant the world to me...during that time I also realized the friends that were blatantly missing in action.  Lets just say, I was able to cut off a few "friends" from my life after that experience.

During that 1st month after the miscarriage, I was very focused on myself.  I had a lot of pain and anger in me that I was working through and during that time of working on me, I didnt reach out and be the friend to others that I should be but I still had a great group of girls who still supported and were there for me even though I wasnt being the greatest friend back to them.

So to all my friends who have stood by me even when I wasn't my most "lovable", thank you so much! I really appreciate you more then any of you know!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Marine Corps Monday...Week 1

One random reason why I love the Marine Corps this week is...


As you can probably tell, I did taxes this week.  I usually just go online and do it (if you are military, you can get it done by H&R Block through Military One Source for free) and that always works well for me since we don't have too complicated of taxes.

So I can do mine online, completely free, from the comfort of my bed! If you don't want to do it online, you can also go to one of the free tax centers on base...that's right, for FREE! There will be a wait, but if you don't want to pay money to get YOUR tax money back then this is such a great way to get them done! 

I'm fully aware this is not just *Marine Corps*, its all military but is a privilege that I get that I am thankful for! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ive been kind of MIA...

Oh man, this week, its been rough! I feel like Mr. Yuck...well, I guess Mrs. Yuck is the correct title for me! 

I ended up with a severe case of strep throat and I'm pretty positive I also had the flu at the exact same time.  Ive been hauled up in bed until today and I still don't even feel all that great.  My glands are still jumbo but hopefully those will go down ASAP!

I was going to write about the Superbowl and how I love the Superbowl because I love throwing parties but I don't have the energy to write up my recipes to my favorites and post pictures so instead...

Ill just complain about being sick and still tired...Ill share those recipes some other time!

Oh a way better note- I got a phone call from the hubby! I hadn't heard from him in a little over 2 weeks and I wasn't really expecting to hear from him until April so it was a great surprise!! He made sure the puppies were taking good care of me! He melts my heart....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Its a weird word, most people outside of the military have no idea what it stands for or what it means...but the more time I spend in the military lifestyle, I find that Marines and their spouses still have no clue what it means either! 

I find there are 3 groups when it comes to dealing with stuff regarding OPSEC (Operational Security- aka not disclosing where the service member is, dates and times of movements, you know...stuff to help keep them safe!)

Group 1- "Oblivious" This group is the group that has no idea about OPSEC, they will post facebook statuses that say "My Marines will be home from deployment in 3 weeks, 2 days, 5 hours!", or "Oh no, my husband is leaving from Camp Lejeune to go to Afghanistan tomorrow at 4pm!"...There are two categories within this group that I have found.  This first "sub group" are the ones that really have no idea what OPSEC is, its often their first time dealing with a deployment or someone in the military, they truly don't know that they are not allowed to post when their boyfriend is coming home.  That sub-group is way more tolerable then the second sub-group.  The other category from "oblivious" is when they KNOW the rules, but they chose not to follow them because their profile is "private" or they saw it on someone else's facebook so it was okay for her to post it to.  They just don't think the rules apply to them, and don't see the harm in telling the world when their Marine will be coming home.  News flash- it matters!!

Group 2- "The good ones" This group knows the rules and follows them.  They are awesome, and amazing, and are often the ones who nicely message those in group 1 to tell them about OPSEC and have their delete their statuses that break the rules. Everyone in the group- give yourself a pat on the back! 

Group 3- "OPSEC Police" This group thinks that anything regarding the military is breaking OPSEC...I have seen people try to say that OPSEC doesn't allow you to say where your husband is at all (as in "Saying your husband is in Afghanistan is against OPSEC", um nope- its not!), or some even go really radical and say that you shouldn't even discuss that he is in the military or his job that he does...News flash- not everything related to the military is breaking OPSEC!

Moral of this story- if you are in a relationship with a service member- read up on OPSEC, know what you CAN and CANNOT say in public.  Strive to be in group 1 and 3 are annoying!