Learning to fight fair…with a Marine.

IMG_1133This post is long overdue.  I don’t know why I wrote this article first.  Maybe because when we woke up, Anthony totally went all men-o-pause and thought I said something I didn’t.  I was like, “whoa, I didn’t call you stupid or think you couldn’t talk to and get your point across to the doc.”  Let’s be clear, I may have been thinking it, and I should’ve just gone and did it myself but I didn’t say it!  Bless his heart.  😉

We all know, men are very simple.  The average man wants two or three things out of daily life and only uses 7,000 words a day but they aren’t counting Marines unless grunts are included.  They use maybe 3,000-4,000 a day.  This is no bullcrap.  I’ve caught Anthony just glazed over eyes, looking at my mouth moving but he ain’t listening to me!  I think sometimes they have so much on their minds they can’t multitask like our Google brains can.  Ohh, those sound like fightin’/challenge to me, men?!  They wouldn’t be able to juggle everything like we do in a million years.  Cue the Lifetime, man hating music.  LOL. Just kidding men.

So after a little “Semper Gumby” moments through our PCS across the country with two teenagers, my husband, two dogs and two guinea pigs (yes, pigs) we all survived yet got to practice what we preach a bit. It could’ve been worse right?  Don’t laugh too hard ok.

So let’s be clear, we’ve found two main points that really help us in positive communication and overall in our Marine Corps family.   I’m no Oprah or Ricki Lake, well maybe since she gave good advice too sometimes and I do accept wine if you somehow get extra attention from your spouse.  IMG_0302

Active Listening. If you’re already thinking of something sarcastic to say before the other person isn’t even done talking, you’re not fighting fair. When we were first married this happened a lot. He would tell me something & I was literally creating an Excel spreadsheet in my head of all the points I could make. Guess I wasn’t “fighting fair” by actively listening & being in the moment to hear what he was actually saying after he said that first sentence because I was creating Excel columns and rows.

No Negative Rebuttals. If constructive criticism is aimed at you and you quickly think of something negative, counterproductive or completely irrelevant to the entire conversation about that other persons flaws, character or habits, you’re not fighting fair. Once, we were discussing where to eat for dinner; which I somehow in my mind flipped his comment around because I know he said I was overweight and need to eat healthier. I told him that MAYBE he shouldn’t use the bathroom with the door open while talking to me. It took us a while to eat Subway again afterwards since it was such a “remember when you went nuts…” moment.  We laugh now. 7 years later.IMG_0329

Both points apply to both spouses.  Now with age and time come maturity for some.  Well this is the Marine Corps so these tips may not work while he’s wasted at a Dining In or the Ball.  In those instances we know they’re all the same age, crazy teenagers. It can also apply to dealing with other people who may not have the same common sense, manners or common courtesy as yourself.  Somehow it can be tougher to keep your calm in these situations so tread lightly…(cough, cough, military spouses…) IMG_1135

When conversations go negative, most people shut down and don’t even listen after a certain point & you start going in circles about the same thing.  Sometimes it’s wise to not even begin or get into it depending on what it’s about.  If its the toilet paper roll on wrong or the toilet seat down, there are worse things in life to holler about so perspective and rationality come into play here.  If he gets whole milk instead of 2%, just send his cute ass back to the commissary and get some chocolate and wine while he’s there.

IMG_0707

My husband aka (his cute little ass I’d send back to the commissary)

Momma always said, if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it at all.  I don’t think everyone got that lesson.  Just saying.  She also had this little plaque in the kitchen that said, “The way to be seen is stand up, the way to be heard is speak up, and the way to be appreciated is shut up.”  I always wondered if my dad gave it to her.  LOLLL.

Marines (men in general) have a short attention span so make your words count (remember they don’t use very many in a day) & get your point across as calmly as possible. Despite wanting to shake the shit out of them and slap them silly, breathe, and even though they probably see the red in our eyes and Lorena Bobbit twitchy hand, maybe respond in your best and calmest “Horse Whisperer voice” and say, “Babe, I’m always thinking of you and what will be best for all of us and I’m only trying to help.”   After all, Bryan Adams says, “When you love someone, you’ll sacrifice. Give it everything you got…” Arguing should be the minimal part of your lives. Your spouse is the best part of this Marine Corps lifestyle and the reason you’re in it. Just eat the damn Subway and keep your possibly overreacting comments to yourself to avoid the awkward stories your family & even strangers will hear over and over.

Love, laughs and hugs to y’all!

-Crystal

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Big Bear Mountain Adventure w/the Doyle’s

Gaby came up with the idea that we should go and see the snow.  It can be challenging to get our schedules to mesh but very thankful that we could make it happen!  We’ve never been to the mountains here before and never saw snow like we were about to see.

Gaby had been to Big Bear Mountain before so we picked a weekend and found a beautiful little cabin that fit all of us.  We crammed all of our stuff into my truck and started on the 3 hour drive!  The sights on the way there are pretty bland.  Not too much to see other than the change of climates by going from the Pacific Ocean to hilly inland to desert to the mountains.  It is true that living in Southern California you can go from Snowboarding to Surfing in one day which is pretty awesome. Big Bear is absolutely gorgeous!  I didn’t know if my old truck was going to get up there since it is older than my oldest child but it was fine, we didn’t get stuck in the snow or on the mountain incline!  This was another intense learning experience as far as driving conditions for me.  My instincts were to just keep the truck in the middle of the road as best as possible.  Gaby’s husband is from the North so he knows how to drive where there is ice and snow probably better than anyone in the truck!  I don’t know why I didn’t have him drive but I hear him tell me from the backseat that I should watch for the ice that builds up on the side of the road which is bad and not always seen.  WHY did he tell me this while I was on my way up and just past an elevation sign of 4500 feet!?!  Anyways, after some white knuckle driving at 10 and 2 we made it safely up this mountain.  Between Sacramento & Big Bear I am becoming jack of all trades with this driving in different climates thing and pretty stoked about it. I wonder if I can use that on my resume or figure out a way to bring it into every important conversation from now on.

We weren’t at the cabin more than 10 minutes before snowballs were being thrown.  All of us were all out there in it and played for quite a while before we wanted to venture out a little bit.  A local bait shop clerk said that there was a hill close enough so the kids could sled for free.  We took them to do that for a little bit and they had a lot of fun!  Anthony even went down the hill!  The Sizzler was for dinner.  Let me tell you they make it seem pretty glamorous and awesome on Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby but it wasn’t as great as we thought it was going to be.  In Texas steak is generally the size of the plate and at this Sizzler it looked more like a slice of bacon!  No seriously it was and immediately knew we weren’t ever going back and definitely weren’t going to be walking billboards for this restaurant.  The salad and my baked potato were the best part of the dinner!  It was highway robbery for us for that small amount that we ate.

The next morning we got up, ate at IHOP then set off to find a place to fish.  Anthony was hell bent on this one activity so I couldn’t withhold him from doing what he loves and tries to share with the kids.  So we find a good spot on the lake that doesn’t looked completely iced over and pretty away from a lot of tourists like ourselves.  We wouldn’t want the loud noises to scare away the fish!  Well let me tell you that I don’t think noise was an issue that day because any fish in that lake are probably frozen for the winter!  Anthony and Josh had to throw rocks on the surface to break the ice so they could cast their lines in the water.  Even when they did they didn’t always hit the spot where the ice was broken up so the lure would glide along the surface until they were able to drag it to the open spot! Hilarious for us wives!  So they’re ice fishing now! LOL!  These men were serious about this fishing situation apparently!

Gaby and I took pictures of the area, she made a snowman and we both got stuck in the deep snow a few times.  It’s very strange because it all looks the same on the top and when you go to step it can be solid or allow you to sink in deep without notice so after about 5 times of sinking all I could do was laugh.  We only stayed one night but it was a fun and event filled weekend.  It is something that I can say we did on the spare of the moment but it wasn’t hectic or stressful or planned really in any way. It was nice to spend time with family and the kids got to do stuff they’ve never done before.  All we have is each other and Gaby is a big part of me being able to be me here.  She is one of the few Marine wives whom I’ve gained a lot of respect and adoration for these past few years and have come to consider like a sister after all we’ve been through together.  The whole point is enjoy the little things in life and make friends along this journey because they’ll always stick with you as best they can.  They are a large part of what keep us motivated to be here and be the best we can be for our families.  Thank goodness for good Marine friends & especially Marine wives like her!

Time marches on….

I can’t help but be a little sad at this time of year. So much change is going on. Some is very good and some is just typical change and it may be good for that family but it’s just once again the Marine Corps way of life. It’s always changing and evolving.
We aren’t going home for Christmas to see our families. It’s simply too hectic, stressful and a lot to have to handle in such a short amount of time.  We do get to see our Marine Corps family which is always awesome!
We recently attended a Christmas party at a local country club honoring Marine Corps families which was very inspiring and emotional. We realize most Americans care about and support our men but seeing it firsthand is always heartwarming and brings tears to my eyes every time. The unit Christmas Party and my friend’s unit Christmas parties were fun! It’s always great to see friends and coworkers we haven’t seen in a quite a while. My friend’s Air Wing Holiday party was absolutely amazing! The beautifully decorated hanger bay with the helicopters all around, kids’ bouncy, toys everywhere and all the different stations for people to do arts and crafts at was perfect! We loved it all!
On my birthday last weekend we threw a Christmas Party and played the White Elephant/Yankee Swap game among others. It was fun and we found out a lot about each other that night! LOL! The San Miguel’s brought games for all of us to play and it was hilarious! I swear we had almost every dessert known to man over here. If I see any more cookie dough in the near future it will be too soon. The pasta and the gumbo were great! I always make too much and even after giving away a lot of cookies we still have a lot at our house! LOL!
So here’s the latest on everyone out here. The good news first is that some of our closest friends the Doyle’s are proud owners of a house and new puppy! We helped them move so we’d know how to get to their house in case they cook dinner or throw a party! LOL! Jk. Thankfully the house isn’t too far away from Camp Pendleton so we can visit often and it is amazing and suits them perfectly! I really do love it and so does Anthony apparently he already picked out a sitting spot on the porch!
The Norris’ have been through a lot of trials and tribulations to say the least here in the past few weeks and I think they are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. There are so many changes that have happened to them and so many more coming up but we just have to roll with the punches. We never know a lot of things that the Marine Corps has in store for us so a lot of things are ‘go with the flow’. This is the sum of their and our life right now and it can be discouraging at times. We have no real control of how our outcome will turn out and even though we want to stay in the Marine Corps may have a different view of our situation.
We went to four different doctor appointments on Monday alone. It has been pretty crazy around here. We may be getting a new brace very soon and going through surgery. If any nerve surgery is going to work we need to do it in the next 8 weeks or so. We are just trying to get transferred to a Wounded Warrior unit who specializes in our situations and recovery which has taken longer than expected. We also need a lot of very important paperwork turned in and situated since its all on a very short time limit so that is pressing right now. If it isn’t one thing it’s another right? On a positive note; Anthony’s foot is twitching when he tries to move it! We didn’t know if that was going to happen before the surgery but it has! YEAH!
To top off all the craziness some of our family is moving! The San Miguel’s are moving in just a few hours and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We didn’t think it was going to bother us and their moving on is just something that we take and deal with like anything else in the Marine Corps. It has bothered us though and we are bummed. Their moving will affect and change almost everything we do around here. We support each other in every way possible not only because the husbands were pretty close friends at work but we genuinely all love hanging out with each other. When Cody had football games or Jackie wanted to have us over or anything; we’d be there. If Anthony had an awards ceremony, when he came home from Afghanistan, when I needed him to coach the wives football team or if any of us needed anything we would all be there to support each other. It’s very sad to see friends go and they are both two very special people to us. They’ve always been there and we always will be as well. We’ll see if I cry my eyes out on Friday when we go see them off. I told Cody today; what are we going to do without Jackie’s jokes and hilarious statements she doesn’t realize are hilarious until after she’s said them?! It won’t be the same around here without them but we’ll always have a room for them if they want to ever make the trip to SoCal to visit! They are both going to be missed greatly!

BYE!

  Merry Christmas ya’ll!

Books about Military Wives…

So I’ve been reading the latest books out there regarding being married to the military and how to cope with our lives in this environment. All I can say is WOW! There are a few pretty good books out there! Most if not all are just very vague as to simply stating ‘military’ or ‘soldier’ and from their point of view being in just their husbands MOS but still vague and sometimes inaccurate pertaining to the masses. If you or someone you know isn’t aware please inform them that our guys are Marines and NOT soldiers! Depending on how moto your Marine is he may rudely correct the unsuspecting individual of how strongly these men feel about going through the toughest boot camp around and a part of the few and the proud. Marines may be the smallest but have been a part of every major war requiring the strongest punch in the face and show of force for the United States or our allies.
I read where one author told her readers if they have a problem with their husbands pay and he is deployed that they should go to the NMCRS or Army equivalent to get money. My problem with this is that if any problems with pay go on for very long it will be a nightmare to unravel and correct so why wait? You can fix this! It happens and sometimes more than once. Your husbands pay is incorrect, off by a few hundred dollars but if you have pre-planned and gotten the POA’s prior to his deployment like the command instructs you to do so then this is a problem you can handle. Typically it’s just a human error and is pretty easily corrected if you’re close to a base. You’d go in, show them your military ID and POA and they’d check his LES and fix it in order for the following pay to be accurate. In case you don’t have a POA your deployed husband can still fix it but it will just take longer and he’d have to hunt down a location to see the admin about the situation.
One author in particular really had some intense conversations going on in my household due to the choice of information she put in her book. She stated that you and your husband can choose his career plan that improve your chances of meeting family needs and goals, such as relocating to specific bases (whether its back home to your family or a spot in Hawaii) or limiting how often your service member is required to deploy. She also said that his career plan will determine the type of job he’ll have when he leaves the service which he will do no matter how often he wears his boots to bed. Also as fun as playing with stuff in the field is; is that infantrymen will not be able to find a variety of civilian jobs once they are no longer in the service and may have to settle for security or law enforcement. This is also the lady who referred to the traditions and abbreviations our husbands use on a daily basis as ‘really stupid acronyms and jargon’.
Well, where do I start with all of THAT? ARGHHHHHH!!! OHHH GOODNESS!!!! First of all, the official definition of a Career Planner for the Marine Corps is that he’s under the directive of the CO of the unit and must be familiar with Marine Corps provisions, associated orders, publications, and directives. As well as they are responsible for accurate completion of all forms pertinent to career planning, to include the reenlisted contract (DD Form 4), Selective Reenlisted Bonus Program (SRBP) forms, the career planning contact record, extension agreement and appropriate Service Record Book (SRB) page 11 entries. He isn’t a miracle worker, he doesn’t answer to your husband and have to do what your husband says. There is no way to determine by any job whether your Marine is going to deploy or not. If he works as a postal or law clerk he pay not deploy as much as a grunt unit but he will eventually deploy. I would never say that your Marine isn’t going to deploy if he does any particular MOS because first and foremost they are all Marines so if they need the men they will take them.
Why would she say that they all leave the Marine Corps? So many Marines have come through and done 20, 30 and many moons ago even 50 years so don’t tell my husband that he’ll eventually get out because ‘they all do’! That’s CRAP! The old man of the Marine Corps who died while still in the Marine Corps at more than 70 years old would roll over in his grave hearing that ridiculousness! I am wondering if her husband was a grunt and wasn’t able to find employment after he got out or if her comments were just hear say and she needed to fill space in her book.
I was completely flabbergasted and kind of pissed off to read her book! Thank goodness it was only for informational purposes only. I don’t understand how she could say that the grunts aren’t able to find work in the civilian world if they choose to get out. Firstly these Marines take countless classes on everything from second languages and intelligence training to financial management so this information and knowledge could lead them anywhere. Not all who get out of the service intend to find work right away and have the option of going to school to better themselves and their employment options are only limited to their imagination! They could teach, instruct others in martial arts or weaponry, they could test weapons and equipment for the government, there are too many programs to mention that work with the military that they could apply for, ect. So come on now be for real and don’t rag on a specific MOS that you apparently aren’t completely involved in or are aware of. I took that one personal! Sorry, I think I am done venting and sticking up for those men and women who may or may not have known about this book and its inaccuracies!
My hope and prayer is to put out more clearly defined information which helps everyone that has anything to do with the Marine Corps a better understanding of why our lives are the way they are. As the Marine Corps have proved time and time again this organization is unique and is set apart from all the rest. So our traditions, views, organizations and ways of life are just as different. We are proud, patriotic, close knit and take care of our own at all costs. I’m off to go and do some more research!

Care Packages during the Holidays

So the time has come to focus on the holidays! Christmas is typically the main event so I wanted to keep it limited to that for now. For my ladies and gentlemen who have loved ones overseas on watch this one is mainly for you. Besides keeping their presents under the tree for months or doing a Christmas in Julys.  What else can you do?

Last two deployments I became known as the ‘Care Package Queen’ because of Gaby.  I sent at least one almost every week or every other week.  It kept me busy, entertained and always thinking of something new to send him. I sent everything from the usual trail mix to specialized items like Covert Thread Socks (www.covertthreads.com) which specializes in every climate kind of socks and undergarments for military and law enforcement imaginable. The thing to do now a days is to completely customize the box inside.  Thanks to websites like Pinterest there is always some new DIY project that would show him how unique and awesomely creative you are!  If you have kiddos don’t forget to get them in on the action! 🙂

The USPS Holiday delivery dates are about to be here so I hope everyone is prepared!

2010 USPS Holiday Timelines
Addressed To                          Express Mail®/ First-Class Mail®/Priority Mail/Parcel Post®
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 090-092  Dec 18/////////////Dec 10/////////////////Dec 10//////////Nov 12
APO/FPO AE ZIP 093           N/A//////////////////Dec 4///////////////////Dec 4////////////Nov 12
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 094-098  Dec 18//////////////Dec 10/////////////////Dec 10//////////Nov 12
APO/FPO AA ZIP 340           Dec 18//////////////Dec 10/////////////////Dec 10//////////Nov 12
APO/FPO AP ZIPs 962-966  Dec 18///////////////Dec 10/////////////////Dec 10//////////Nov 12

This time of year I love MarineParents.com since there is a Care Package Idea for every occasion. Need a way to warm them up, Patriotic theme, Christmas, Birthday, Halloween, Poker Party ideas or anything like that?! Go there! I will put some on here for ideas and I typically brainstorm off of their ideas posted. Some of these items is a given and I sent them more than once and on a pretty regular basis as he needed them. I used an Excel Spreadsheet so I knew what I sent the last time and didn’t send the same thing over and over or if he didn’t need it or like it then I would know not to send it again.

Warm Them Up:
Hot Tamales, flamin’ hot Cheetos, hot sauce, hot nuts, cajun spices, Fritos and Jalapeno Dip, Atomic Fire Balls, Cinnamon Gum, Red Hots, Hot-Flavored Planters Peanuts, Mini bottles of hot sauce, Cinnamon TicTacs, Icy/Hot Sore Muscle Rub, Crystal Lite Iced Tea, Andy Capp Red Hot Fries, Jalapeno Jelly Belly Beans, a Hot Rod magazine and Tums

Cold Season:
some cough drops, kleenex, tea, instant noodle soup, hot chocolate,

Christmas Ideas:
those little Christmas trees that they sell in all of the mail order catalogs (Lillian Vernon, Oriental Trading Company, etc.) that come with their own ornaments, mini Christmas stockings, candy canes, little candy bags of coal (bubble gum ones), the green and red M&Ms for the holidays, an Advent Calendar. There are also little pine trees (about 4″ tall) that have a mineral solution on them. You add water to the little base, and these color mineral salts “grow” on the tree and look like colored snow and decorations. Of course this all depends on where your Marine/Sailor is stationed at because if he is out patrolling in Afghanistan he can’t carry a Christmas tree around with him but if he is on a MEU out in WESTPAC or somewhere then it might be easier for the guys to put up and maintain your holiday decorations.

And my favorite trick of the trade is Cake in a Jar!

CAKE IN A JAR
It’s basically a mini cake inside of a mason jar. It arrives moist and fresh and tasty!
Here’s how to make them: Get wide-mouth canning jars. You can find them at Walmart, other stores, or online. Boil the jars to sterilize.

1 package of cake mix or any cake recipe

1. Make the cake batter according to the instructions or recipe
2. Grease the jar by liberally spraying the inside with cooking spray
3. Fill jar no more than 1/2 way with batter
4. Place jars on cookie sheet on rack in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean @ 400 degrees
5. While baking, boil jar lids in a pan of water
6. When cake is done, take on jar out at a time and cover with hot lid. Screw on jar ring tightening it slightly
7. The lid will seal as it cools. Listen to hear the “ping” as they seal.
8. As the cake cools, it will pull away from the jar slightly. That’s ok; it just means that it will slide out of the jar easily.
9. DO NOT FROST cake in the jar! Send frosting along.
10. Make sure you wrap the jars well (bubble wrap is preferable, but wadded newspaper or clothing and other items will pad it too)

Don’t forget to include a couple of plastic knives for the frosting and some plastic forks.

Even if you don’t have a Marine or Sailor overseas you can still contribute to their holidays at http://www.carepackageproject.com/sponsor.asp for only $22 or the USO at https://www.uso.org/DonateHolBrandCPDD2010.aspx?src=WH10CPDD10 for only $25. There are so many outstanding organizations who help our Marines and Sailors out there and even ones who are here injured like the Wounded Warrior Project and Semper Fi Funds.

I LOVE this time of year since everything cool is during this month! No seriously, my birthday, my kids’ birthdays, my husbands’ birthday, our anniversary and even my dog’s birthday is ALL in this month (Amber’s is 11/29 but still a Sagittarius lol)! Ladies if your husband is home have fun ordering him around for once and having him hang lights on the roof, get tangled up in the inflatable characters and try figuring out where to plug in all of the extenstion cords.  Deck the halls, sing Christmas carols, volunteer for the elderly or needy and just enjoy the family time together.  Hold your family a little tighter this year because as I’ve said before there are many out there who won’t ever get a chance to do so again. Hope I didn’t miss anything on the list above!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Circle of trust friends…Angela, Gaby and Jackie…

 Right after the MEU left, things were coming at a steady and constant pace for me. I felt more confident & acclimated for the most part to my immediate surroundings and even a bit of the San Diego area.  I had attended a (Intro to Marine Wife Life class aka) L.I.N.K.S class, FRA (Family Readiness Assistant) training, FRA-OMBUDSMEN volunteer recognition luncheon, LES Seminar (to enhance leadership skills) and started the girls in school and baseball. I had also made many new friends! 
Angela:
I believe Angela came first. Her husband and I worked together since he was on the RBE (Remain behind Element) which supported the Marines on the MEU from the command post on base here. She is a FRA for her husband’s company and even though I had seen her before in the FRO’s office we hadn’t really hung out just yet. We eventually grew on each other and it came in handy because we could brainstorm on Family Readiness ideas, events, meetings, resources, ect. to help our families before, during and after the deployment. Angela grew on me so much she is now part of our very small group of people we call our family. I know I can go to her for anything and she’ll help me get through it. The same rule goes for her or anyone else in my Marine Corps family. We love learning new things, are both trying to better ourselves through continuing our education and love to volunteer. Angela is a native Northern Californian who has a bloodline a lot like my Heinz 57 version; she’s mixed with a little of everything. LOL! She’s a very beautiful young lady who has a heart of gold, is patient, kind and understanding. We’ve been through so much together and it’s only strengthened our friendship.

miss angela

Gaby:
Before I even got to meet Gaby our husbands had come up with a plan! They got us basically to agree to a food swap. She would provide some homemade tamales for my husband and I would make a homemade cheesecake for hers. Our husbands both love the others cooking! HILARIOUS!  Needless to say our husbands were in the same company and very good friends. Sometimes a similarity doesn’t always mean the wives will get along at all but in this case it did. LOL!  She is another Native Californian who has a big heart, loves to travel and is very wise beyond her years. Sometimes I feel like she’s more of a friend to me than I am for her but I love having her around! She accepted my silly southern ways and analogies for what they are and has always been willing to be there for us. The first day I met her watched New Moon with me on the opening day. We talked for over an hour after the movie and found out we have quite a bit in common because our husbands are a lot alike and so are we. We both love shopping except for clothes for ourselves. During the MEU deployment we became quite close and to the point that we went to lunch regularly, planned dinners to pass the time and discussed the Marine Corps life over wine a time or two. LOL! To this day she still comes to my rescue! By the way if you’re ever looking for a good red wine that’s sweet like a dessert wine it would be Stella Rosa! THANK YOU GABY!

gaby & I

Jackie:
Jackie and I met because our husbands work together as well. They have been together almost from being assigned to their unit and have so many common bonds. Jackie is a uniquely gut busting hilarious lovely young lady who’s from the Hill Country in Texas. She is an international traveler, loves to laugh and is on her way to become a very talented cook!  There are so many Jackie jokes I have to tell on here it is so important. Jackie has a funny way of telling jokes and not knowing they are jokes until we’re laughing at what she said, she’s catching on though now and I told her to have her husband write some down for us to go up on here. She hasn’t been here a year yet but has caught on well and very fast to the lifestyle here.

The San Miguels & us

Best part of this whole crazy situation is we try and get together often for dinner parties which of course includes all 4 families with our kids. Its an exclusive circle not unlike Meet the Fockers circle of trust.  It can be hectic but is always a good time.  We always have good food, lots of laugh and of course good company! I love these ladies to death and couldn’t think of anyone else to have as long time friends! I hope that we will be friends forever and stay in touch no matter where we are in or out of the country.

Jackie, Angela & me