Parris Island Graduation Day!


May 24, 2013 

Today is the day, the day I watch my son’s dream come true, he becomes a United States Marine.

Today is the end of months of stress, sleepless nights, waiting for letters, and driving my mail carrier crazy.

Today is the culmination of months of hard work, stress, and many accomplishments by my son.

We start graduation day by arriving at MCRD Parris Island all dressed in our son’s platoon colors, RED. My son is in 1st Platoon 1032 Delta Company, their platoon color is red. We arrive early, just after 8:00 in the morning. The first time we would see our Marine would be after the graduation ceremony is over.

There is a Morning Colors Ceremony at the flag pole on the island at 7:45 a.m. on graduation day if you decide to attend that. Graduation begins promptly at 8:50 a.m.

So, we make our way to the parade stands, and we realized that my son’s father and his family were here as well. This was a surprise as we had no idea he was coming to see our son graduate. As we would find out later, neither did my son, what a great graduation surprise for my son.

The graduation ceremony was impressive. The platoons marched in unison across the parade deck and presented themselves to the crowd.  There were great photo ops as the platoons did their marching rounds close to the stands, so that the families could get a good glimpse of their Marines.

Here is a photo of my son and his platoon:


After a long wait my son is finally a full-fledged Marine! Oh happy day! We are finally a family with two Marines!


We could not be more proud of everything our son has accomplished over the last 13 weeks. He has finally made his dream come true.

He is now and forevermore, a United States Marine!



Parris Island photo compliment of a fellow Marine Mom.

Parris Island – Family Day

May 23, 2013

Today is Family Day! Family Day begins before dawn. We arrived on MCRD Parris Island about 4:45 a.m.


I finally get to lay eyes and hands on my Marine for the first time!

How exciting! We are finally here for our son’s graduation from boot camp! It has been a very long journey. The journey has been filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. There were times when I was very worried about my son, but I knew he had it in him to be what he had always dreamed, a United States Marine. Now we are here to watch that very thing become a reality.

Family Day is a day where all of the families get to see their Marines for the very first time in 13 weeks. I cannot begin to describe to you the changes they go through during that timeframe. I was warned that the son I put on the bus, was not the son that would return to me, and they were right. He is now a United States Marine, and has all of the confidence, strength, and poise that position requires.

Family Day begins before dawn. We find our place along the main drive on MCRD Parris Island to await the beginning of the “Moto Run” at 7:30 a.m. This is a motivational run by the graduating platoons, that gives the families their very first glimpse of their recruits, after the very long wait of basic training.

This is the beginning of the Moto run:


Now for those that want to arrive earlier than we did, there is an opportunity to see your Marine earlier than Family Day. The day before Family Day you can go on base, and watch your Marine practice for graduation. We however chose not to do this, as to not spoil the surprise, amazement, and beauty of graduation day.

At 9:30 a.m. there is a Family Day Ceremony. In this ceremony your new Marine and his platoon are presented to the families, and there is a lecture preceding this event.

This was taken right after I got to hug my son for the fist time in months! It was priceless! Isn’t he handsome in that uniform?


This is a picture, that everyone who comes to MCRD Parris Island, takes of their new Marine at one time or another, the portrait in front of the Iwo Jima Monument.


The rest of the day was spent listening to my son talk about his training and his platoon. I could not get enough of his smile, hearing him talk, and just being with him after so many months apart. It was the first time we had been separated that long. Our son took us on a insiders tour of “the island” as the it is so fondly referred to.

There are other activities on Family Day. We sat in on a lecture about becoming part of the Corps. Now, this was not new to me as my oldest is a Marine. There are also opportunities to buy souvenirs, pick up items that have been ordered prior to graduation, and ride around the island and explore.

Here is a list of all of the 3 day schedule for the days leading up to and including Graduation Day:


I hated to say “see ya later” to my new Marine that afternoon but, I would soon realize this would become one of many “see ya laters” in our future. Tomorrow is finally the day we have all been waiting for, Graduation Day!

After a long day on MCRD Parris Island we found a great local pub to have dinner, Okatie’s Ale House, in Okatie, SC. Our hotel was just across the freeway from the pub.


I cannot begin to describe the emotions of that day. Being separated from your child for so many weeks, while they endured so many hardships and accomplishments, is something that can only be experienced, not described.

We anxiously await the setting of the sun, and the arrival of another day, Graduation Day!


Parris Island Bound

After many weeks of hard work, graduation is finally here! We left Birmingham, Alabama headed for Okatie, South Carolina very early on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. We had our base pass in hand, and our excitement was uncontainable.

Parris Island or bust!



We arrived at our hotel, the Fairfield Marriott Inn and Suites, in Okatie, South Carolina, on Wednesday evening May 22, 2013.

When we arrived at our hotel, the Fairfield Mariott Inns and Suites, this is what we saw:


When we arrived at our hotel we had a packet full of graduation information awaiting us upon check-in. After we were settled in our room, we drove to the nearest store to get supplies for our sign for the Moto run, so that our recruit could find us in the crowds on Family Day.

Once we had gathered our supplies, we foud a great restaurant with views of the water for dinner, the Crazy Crab.


We headed back to our hotel to make our sign, we then hit the sack as we had to be on “the island” MCRD Parris Island, before dawn for Family Day! So excited to see our son!

Tomorrow is the day we watch our son’s dream come true, he becomes a United States Marine.

the geekwife

The Journey – Week 11

I sat down today to write our son a letter like I do most Saturday mornings. But, today was different.

Our son has been in boot camp for 11 weeks. He has 19 days left. I began to cry as I was writing my letter to him. Why?

I think it is because I realize several things:

One, I miss him terribly.

Two, the young man I sent off to boot camp will be changed into a United States Marine.

Three, we are down to the final days, the home stretch.

It won’t be long before I can wrap my arms around my son, tell him how very proud of him I am, and how very much I love him. This has been the longest amount of time I have ever been away from my son. It has been hard, but it has been so worth it.

The man that will return to me will be full of discipline, honor, courage and commitment. He will be part of a group, that only a few, the elite, have the honor of being, a member of the United States Marine Corps.

We are looking forward to Graduation Day on May 24th. Please remember our son in your prayers as he moves into the finals phases of exams, and certifications to become a Marine. We are excited as a family to join this new family, and begin this new adventure together.

Semper Fi!



The Journey Begins – Leaving Day

Well, we made it. The day finally came. My son is officially in the hands of the United States Marine Corps.

After spending as much time as possible with him over the last three days, I could tell he was ready to go. Friday night after dinner he became very quiet, and I asked if he was o.k. I could tell his mind was already on Parris Island. I saw him again for dinner Saturday night, and even though we kept the conversation light and upbeat, he was far too quiet.

Then this morning at breakfast he seemed almost himself, like he was finally ready, excited and nervous.

We get to the recruiting station, the other family is already there, with the other recruit from our station. It is interesting to watch the change in him when he is spoken to by a Senior officer in the Corps.

They give us a briefing that went into the do’s and dont’s about basic training, for us not for them. They also gave us his expected graduation date, and instructions for the 13 weeks he will be gone. We then had private family time to say our goodbyes, take pictures, and relax some before the bus came.

Finally, it was time. The bus was an hour late so, it was nice to have the extra time. I promised myself I would not fall apart in front of my son, as other senior staff were present.

I was fine until he was in the bus, and started to pull away, and then the tears began to flow. However, I realized they were not really tears of sadness, but tears of relief.

My son has waited a long time for this, and I was so very happy to see that he was finally on his journey. He was spreading his wings, living his dream, and becoming the man I always knew he could be.

Semper Fi!




Journey to Boot Camp

At my last writing my son was 16 days from leaving for boot camp. Well, he is still here.

Things were changed, timetables rearranged, and yes, even his MOS changed, AGAIN.

He is now leaving next Sunday! Everything is in order, and we are praying this time that everything goes as planned, and he can be on that bus with his other recruits as scheduled.

His new MOS is Construction/Engineering. I am still happy as long as it is not Infantry.

I will write a longer post next week after he on the bus to let you know what happens next.

Next week will be a very busy time of packing, spending time together, and handling all of the last minute details as they come up.

I think I am finally ready to put him on that bus, and watch him begin this new amazing chapter in his life.

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. My son has appreciated them all, and they mean a great deal to him. He will continue to need them as he progresses through basic.

Semper Fi!


Inspirational Blog Award

I was given this prestigious award by a good friend. Her name is Jessica Martin aka @red_writinghood at She is smart, witty, and a great friend to have. The fact that Jessica finds my blog inspiring is an honor, because she speaks from the heart at her blog, whether it is about life, weight loss, or her family.  If you have not had a chance to check out her blog, stop by and take a look! You will be glad you did.

inspiringblogawardSo, to give back to the blogging community, receipt of this award comes with the following tasks:

  • Display the award image on your blog.
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • State 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers and link to their sites.
  • Notify the bloggers that they have been nominated and link to the post.

7 Things About Me………Do you really want to know? 

  1. I am a very independent woman, with a stubborn streak. I can take care of myself.
  2. I holler at talk to traffic when I am in the car. My son says the other drivers can’t hear me, but I do it anyway.
  3. I am a cat lover, and a Cancer on the astrological charts.
  4. I hate to shop! I know, that is strange for a woman to say. I would rather be cleaning, or cooking, which I hate, than shopping.
  5. I have a thing for earrings, some people own tons of shoes, I own too many pair of earrings!
  6. I read 54 books in 2012. I am an avid reader, as reading is my favorite hobby.
  7. Mexico is my home away from home. I love to travel, and I have often, but my heart always returns to Mexico.

And now, for the 15 blogs that I find inspirational:

The Writer Revived
Live from the 205
Grass Stains
Grasping for Objectivity
Upside Down Education
Moving In…
Caroline Abbott
Living the Life Fantastic
Dre’s Ramblings
A Bubbly Life
3 Girls Mom
Blessed By Him
Monica Wants It
My Life as Lucille
Sex and the Suburb

Now, as you can imagine, this list could have gone on and on. There are so many talented bloggers, it was hard choosing just 15! Please stop and visit these blogs, as I am sure you will find yourself enjoying them as much as I do. Thank you to Jessica once again for this wonderful award. I hope I continue to be as much of an inspiration to you as you are to me.






Bad News – Good News

Last night my son called and said, “Mom, can you meet for lunch tomorrow, I have something I want to tell you face to face.”

Well, you can imagine that my mind started going crazy with all of the things it could possibly be. I had several people suggest several possible ideas, most of them I dismissed for one reason or another.

To say the least it was a long night. I have been awake since 4 a.m.

At lunch he said, “I have bad news, and I have good news.”

Basically, it basically boils down to this:

I wrote in my last military update post about the fact that my son had chosen Infantry as his MOS (career). After much soul searching, following wisdom of those already in the Corps, and thankfully, listening to his parents, he had a change of heart.

His new MOS is now Communications. However, this was the hard part. We were prepared for his departure at the end of February. I had prepared myself spiritually, and emotionally for that date. Well, since he changed his MOS, the Marine Corps changed his plans.

He leaves in 16 DAYS! 

Talk about tearing my heart out. I cried, and cried.

I have known since the day he signed his enlistment papers in September that his departure date was flexible. However, this does not make it any easier to let go.

I am now preparing myself, my son and my family for his departure.

I am so very thankful for the family vacation we had in Gatlinburg at New Year’s. That time together truly makes his leaving a little easier to bear. It is important to create memories before a loved one in the military deploys, or leaves for service. It helps with the time of separation.

The next 16 days will be very busy, making sure we have everything in place, and everything is stored until he knows where he will be stationed, which won’t be for a while.

Please say a prayer for my family during this time, we need them all.

Semper Fi!






Reading Goal 2012

Well, I set a goal of 75 books for myself to read last year. How did I do? I came close. I read 54 books! I was making good progress towards finishing my goal, and then I started my new job. I have not read much since then, as I get home too late to read, and I am too tired. However, this is the list of the books I read in 2012:

  1. Ghosts of Varner Creek by Michael Weems
  2. The Hunter by John Lescroart
  3. Death Benefit by Robin Cook
  4. Worth Fighting For by Lisa Swayze
  5. The Rose Garden by Suzanna Kearsley
  6. My Captor, My Love by Leah Matheny
  7. A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer
  8. Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman
  9. The Girl That Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
  10. Constant Hearts by Donna Hatch
  11. The Last Innocent Hour by Barbara Sissel
  12. The Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta
  13. The Trial by Larry Thompson
  14. Stigma by Phillip Hawley Jr.
  15. Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
  16. The Witness by Nora Roberts
  17. Delirious Special Bonus by Daniel Palmer
  18. Delirious by Daniel Palmer
  19. Tanglewood Plantation By Jocelyn Miller
  20. Human Sister by Jim Bainbridge
  21. The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  22. Dead Man’s Walk by Larry McMurtry
  23. Commanche Moon by Larry McMurtry
  24. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  25. Streets of Laredo by Larry McMurtry
  26. Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark
  27. The Hot Flash Club: A Novel by Nancy Thayer
  28. Mr. Darcy’s Secret by Jane Odiwe
  29. The Darcy’s of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow
  30. Between Sisters by Kristen Hannah
  31. Moon Shell Beach by Nancy Thayer
  32. Home Front by Kristin Hannah
  33. Islands by Anne River Siddons
  34. True Colors by Kristin Hannah
  35. Summer of Firefly Memories by Joan Gable
  36. Mountain Woman by Johnny Fowler
  37. Mountain Woman Rides Again by Johnny Fowler
  38. Mountain Woman Bound for Texas by Johnny Fowler
  39. Mountain Woman: Snake River Blizzard by Johnny Fowler
  40. Hardy Texas Ranger: In the Big Thicket by Johnny Fowler
  41. Hardy Texas Ranger: In the Davis Mountains
  42. Hardy Texas Ranger: In Oklahoma Territory
  43. Hardy Texas Ranger: The First Female Texas Ranger
  44. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
  45. Marine Corps Boot Camp Survival Guide by Amber Cabrera
  46. Stay Tuned by Lauren Clark
  47. Love’s Lasting Promise Promise by Donna Oltrogge
  48. A Warrior’s Heart by Donna Oltrogge
  49. Heart of the Hawk by Donna Oltrogge
  50. Spirit Walker by Donna Oltrogge
  51. In the Land of the Long White Cloud by Sarah Lark
  52. Unbridled by Tammy Hinton
  53. Happy Hour by Michele Scott
  54. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jeff Bridges

My Kindle is still overflowing with books to read. I have more than 100 waiting to be read, and over 200 samples of books I would like to check out. So, for 2013 my reading goal will be 50 books since I have a full-time job, and I know my reading time will be limited.

What are you reading this year? What are your reading goals? Have you set one yet? If so, let me know, and let me know what you are reading! I am always on the lookout for a good read.


Weight Loss – Lessons Learned


Well, it has been a year of challenges. A back injury to begin the year, and then two surgeries, followed by a job loss.

However, I have managed to do well with my weight loss regardless of the challenges. All total I have lost 45 lbs. Now, that has been since I began my weight loss journey. This year I only managed to lose 18 lbs with all of the challenges.

What is important to me is that the weight is coming off and staying off. I am progressively losing weight, each month my weight is lower than the next.

I have discovered many things in the course of my challenges about diet and exercise.

First, sodium content is extremely important to monitor when trying to lose weight. The less the better.

Second, that exercise everyday, not just two to three times a week, is crucial to weight loss. Walking is best everyday, then cardio two to three times a week.

Three, weights are necessary for maintaining muscle strength, and tone while dieting.

Four, fruits and vegetables, especially green vegetables can make a huge difference in your diet routine.

Five, lean protein is a necessity when dieting. It not only helps curb your appetite, but give you energy to exercise.

Six, the importance of whole grain cannot be understated. I start my day everyday with some kind of helping of whole grain. Oatmeal is usually what I prefer.

Seven, and I think the most important is portion control! This, I believe, was the hardest lesson for me. Learning that I could have my favorite foods in smaller portions, and not go hungry was a hard lesson. Also, learning what the proper amount of food the body requires to run, was an eye-opener for me too.

Even though my total weight loss was only 45 lbs, it was the inches lost that made the biggest difference for me. I have lost a total of 25 inches! All of my clothes had to be replaced! Let me tell you, I hate shopping, but losing weight is making that not so much of a chore anymore.

My goal for 2013 is very simple. I want to lose the rest of my weight. I have a 30 year class reunion in 2014, and I want to go. Now, if you have read my previous weight loss stories you know I have avoided them due to my weight gain. I want to go to my 30 year, and walk in there with my head held high, and not feel like I have in the past. That is my goal.

If you are on a weight loss journey, take it one day, one pound at a time. The weight will not come off overnight as it did not go on overnight. A hard but true statement. Keep working at it, you will succeed eventually, if you want it bad enough.

Good Luck!