TBT: 20 years, really?

So, thanks to a handful of friends from high school who decided to celebrate this milestone publicly yesterday – it has come to my attention that I graduated high school 20 years ago.

OH.MY.LANTA

Let that sink in for a minute – holy crap.  Our class is actually planning our 20th reunion for the fall, to include a family friendly tailgate at a Friday night football game, and then an event on Saturday evening.  I don’t feel “old” – my students may think I’m ancient, because technically speaking I’m old enough to be the mother of some of my incoming freshman (gasp!)..    Working with college kids has a way of making you feel younger – they have a great energy most days, so that helps.

So…here is a lil’ throw back from back in the day!

This was playing putt-putt golf in Myrtle Beach on “beach week” the week after graduation.

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end of an era

In 2002, I started a website for families of recruits going to boot camp at Parris Island.  We were getting ready to move to Beaufort, and be stationed there.  My brother was also in boot camp at the time.  I figured it would last 6 months – tops.

The PI “ezboard” grew from 1 website to 2, one for PI and one for all the “after boot camp stuff”.  Simply, they were the PI ezboard, and the USMC ezboard.  Despite ezboard becoming yuku, and yuku becoming tapatalk – we still call them “the boards”.   It was a simple set up really, a message board system to allow parents, family members, girlfriends, wives, friends to talk with each other and share their experiences.  The “internet” we know today was young and wild back then.  There was no facebook, and myspace was just a blip really.  The boards were set to fill a void, and it worked for so long for so many.  Deployments came, and the boards grew….and grew.  There were times we struggled.  It cost a lot to keep them up, but I knew that they were sorely needed.  The friendships I made there – those are my girls, my people – my go-tos for everything from recipes, and travel to divorce, weddings and fertility.  There is nothing too TMI or crazy for the “board girls” group of wives.

I made the decision earlier this year to explore how to shut both websites down.  There is no action on either, and recently there was a rash of people joining the PI board, and it hurt my heart a little to know there would be no updates or support for them.  It wasn’t fair to those folks, it seemed like false hope to me.  Yesterday, I finally decided to pull the trigger on it.  My heart hasn’t been in it for almost 8 years – it’s hard when you are no longer actively involved in the Marine Corps life as a wife.  Things change, the Corps changed – life moved on.

Here is the email that I sent to all the members (almost 50K strong):

As of 7/9/18 – I have decided to shut down the Parris Island & Marine Corps Yuku boards (originally called the “ezboard”). When I started “the boards” in January 2002, I never imagined that it would last longer than 6 months, tops.  But the friends we would make and the places we would go have blown my mind.  We never imagined that we would guide hundreds (and in reality, thousands) of parents, family and friends through this amazing Marine Corps world, and in turn – have you help us through some rough points in our lives.

Alas, I felt that it was just time to shut things down. After almost 16 years, the internet has changed – access to information is more readily available (even the official PI page takes pics now!). We created “the boards” in a pre-facebook world (who remembers myspace?), where information wasn’t easily available to families. Most everyone who was involved with administering this website have long moved on from the Marine Corps, mostly through retirements, some through divorce, or others through medical or honorable discharge.

We love the community that this was, and we love seeing how friends have been made, tribes formed (ask me about my tribe!), and community groups have thrived. I am proud of this. I looked up some statistics, and we have over 33000 members on the PI board, and 13000 on the USMC board. That is nearly 50000 people. Y’all – that blows my mind.

On a personal note, you all saw me through 2 deployments, 2 pregnancies, 2 moves and a host of other things. Despite the fact that I am no longer married to a Marine, I am still proud of all those years I spent as a Marine wife. I am still involved with the Marine Corps, as my brother is approaching 16 years in the Marine Corps. The board was created shortly after he went to boot camp!

Please feel free to find me on facebook (Lori Carey) or shoot me an email!

The responses I am getting back from parents have me balling.  The most recent two –  “I didn’t know at that time that PI was going to be a piece of cake compared to deployment.  When he was at PI, I was so stressed and worried and I don’t know what I would have done without those boards.” and “Your dedication, sharing of information, and engagement with all of us families has been a great source of comfort to so many.”

I always told the story that I created the boards for my mama…but in reality, I think I did it for me more than anything.   In 16 years some of you have become more than friends, you have become my family – and I am proud of you all.

All my love and thanks – for 16 wonderful years.

Lori

Five for Friday – EO’s!

It is 7pm on a Friday, and what am I doing?  Writing a blog post…because well, I can.   I haven’t’ done a 5 for Friday (5-4-F) in a long time, so I thought I would do a 5 for Friday today all about essential oils.

Here are my top 5 Young Living Essential Oils & EO Products!

Frankincense EO – “frank”, “jesus oil”, “THE oil” – this stuff is amazing.  I use it for so many things!   I sometimes put it in my diffuser at night to help me sleep, I have used it on some acne scars on my face to lighten them – and I have even just put a dab or two on as a perfume.

Stress Away EO – happiness in a bottle – smells like vanilla and lime to me, and it does exactly what the label says!  I diffuse it when my mind won’t stop racing and I need to just “chill”.  We also have this in a roller, and I keep one on my desk at work!

Valor EO – Valor oh Valor, you were my gateway drug….kidding, sort of.  This was the 1st oil I ever got, and my friend gifted me some to see if it would help me relax some during a super stressful & anxiety filled part of my life.  Boy did it ever!  I keep this in a roller on my desk at work too, and I happily allow my graduate students a “swipe or two” on their wrists before big presentations or dissertation defenses!

Sulfurzyme Supplement – This is a new one that I have only been taking for 2 weeks.  It is a supplement, full of amazingness.   I mainly got this because of all the testimonials I have seen from friends in my upline & my downline about how it helps strengthen hair and nails, and can even help regrow hair (I’ve seen photos from friends, it’s amazing!).  In 2 weeks I do feel as if my nails are stronger, as I haven’t broken a single one in 2 weeks!  Before it was a daily “curse” to have one break or split.  Jake also takes this one!

Orange Blossom Face Wash  – I bought a bottle of this 6 months ago and I am just now about to use the last little bit, and I use it everyday in the shower.   I mix it and put it in a foamer bottle, and it lasts forever!   It smells divine and leaves my face clean and soft, especially since I have such an oily “t-zone”!

What are your favorite products?   If you’d like to know more about essential oils and other oils products, let me know – I am happy to discuss any of them.  You can also visit my website at:   https://www.myyl.com/kjnsmom

Life Under Par – he’s doing what?

Someone asked me the other day how everything was going at home.  This person knew of Jake’s job loss, and seemed genuinely concerned about how everything was going.  Since everything happened a month ago, no one seems to believe us when we say we are doing great.   But I promise you we are.  When she asked what he was doing, and I said “he is being a stay at home dad currently, while pursuing a professional golf career.”  I’m not lying, he really is doing this.   She slowly turned to me and gave me this look of concern, fear and maybe a little disbelief.  She said “well that is an interesting job choice.”  I laughed it off, but it still stung a little.   I don’t tell many people what he is up to, because people are so insanely judgmental.  This is his dream, and I told him that he would regret it forever if he didn’t take a chance to pursue it.   Who am I to hold him back from his dream?   He wouldn’t hold me back from mine!

I don’t expect people to understand the journey that Jake and I have decided to take on.  Financially we are fine, and will be fine.  The kids are taken care of, we have health insurance, we have a roof over our heads, vehicles, insurance, etc, etc, etc.  We are good, I promise (although, I wouldn’t turn down a tournament sponsor…LOL).   I do however, ask that people respect the decisions we are making.  Jake is so excited about this possibility, as am I.  We have goals – big, scary, life changing goals – and I am so stoked about them.

We have his first tournament lined up, and he has several more rounds lined up this week to continue to prep.   We have equipment set, we have researched the course he is going to be playing at and I probably have done more research than is possibly needed.  He is the one doing the actual playing, and I’m in the background being the accountant, travel agent, nutritionist, nurse – and my most important role – a supportive wife.

So please do not pity us, or think that our life choices are crazy.  Our choices are just that – OURS.  Life isn’t meant to be boring, it is meant to be crazy, fun, silly and exciting.   So we are going to jump on this, take a chance and hopefully come in under par.

~Lori

Hooks, Adams and Richie

Memorial Day in our home this year will be spent quietly, Jake and I have no real plans, and the kids don’t have school.   However, very close to my heart and in my thoughts will be a few special people I had the honor and privilege to know. While I do not discount the countless other families who were affected by conflict and war, by the loss of a child, a husband, a father, a brother, a sister, a mother, a wife – these two individuals are close to my heart.

Frank (Capt. “Puj” Hooks) – a pilot in our squadron in South Carolina that made the ultimate sacrifice in June 2004.   I have a hard time this year grasping that it has been almost 14 years.  His loss deeply impacted all the Marines of 115.   My best memory of Frank was the DVD that I unexpectedly got in the mail one day during the first deployment Matt (my ex husband) went on.  They had made us a “we are halfway home” DVD full of photos of all the guys from the squadron.  It was a silly DVD, but so special to all the spouses.  Frank was married to my sweet friend Cindy.   I still have that DVD, tucked away in a drawer.  I was able to upload it to YouTube a few years ago to share it with everyone we were with at 115.  If you have about 5 minutes, you can see that video here:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xce7865aKeY      

   Second is Clarence Adams.  Clarence was 3 years ahead of me in school (me a freshman, he a senior) when I decided to run indoor track.  He then decided to take me under his wing and teach me to throw shot put.  So, he taught me and I did it.  I wasn’t that good, and didn’t stick with it, but he was always encouraging.    He always had a smile on his face, and was loved by so many at Varina.   Clarence died in Baghdad, Iraq in September 2004. He was the father of six, and devoted husband.   The school still paints a rock with your number on it before every football season, and the team is always reminded of all you did.

Also on this Memorial day, please remember those whose battle was lost when they returned home.  An average of 22 U.S. Veterans commit suicide everyday.  Fighting the demons that battle them here at home is sometimes harder than the battles they face while deployed.  22 a day is too many, and it has to stop.

While for many it’s a day of picnics, BBQ’s and the unofficial start of summer, it is also a VERY real holiday to remember those who have fought and died for us to have the ability to go to the river or beach, watch a parade in peace and have a picnic.   Please take a moment today, say their names and remember them, their families and their sacrifice.

To Richie – I’m sorry I couldn’t save you from the demons that ravaged you.  I wanted to so badly, I thought I could, and I couldn’t – none of us could.  I sometimes laugh to myself remembering late night phone calls, and the story of “what would everyone at 115 think of us now?”  Oh how I wish you were here now, to laugh with us – to do stupid things on the beach with all the boys at the last 115 reunion. You would have loved it so much.  To run around the yard with everyones kids, to laugh at how ordies always fault with air frames – and your constant reminder of “IYAOYAS”.     To work on my car when something goes wrong and me fussing at you over you driving that old truck from Beaufort to Lexington late at night.   I know that you are in a better place, but it doesn’t make it any easier on my heart knowing that you aren’t here with us anymore. I love you crazy, always have, always will.   #22adayistoomany  #untilValhalla  #22toomany

Note – photo of Frank courtesy of Cindy Hooks, and photo of Clarence courtesy of  Iraqwarheros.org.  This post was originally posted on 5-28-2012 with edits every year since.

and then there are curveballs

When I turned on my Spotify station this morning when I got to work, the first song that came on was “Praise you in this Storm” by Casting Crowns.  This song is special to me, as it was played at the funeral of my sweet friend Anissa.  It also just hits me in my heart.  It is a reminder to praise God in every storm that you face in life, no matter what, no matter what curve ball life throws at you.

Curve balls by definition are a pitch that at pitcher throws with spin to make it swerve downward and usually to the left when thrown from the right hand or to the right when thrown from the left hand.   Life tends to throw curve balls at you when you least expect it to happen, which is why baseball has always been a great metaphor for life.

Last Friday, Jake and I were thrown one giant curve ball in life.  While I wish I could be jumping up and down saying we are pregnant, we aren’t.  That is my kind of curve ball.  Unfortunately this one affects a few more things.  Jake lost his job.

It was something we knew was a possibility, we just didn’t expect it to happen when it did.  However, now – 3 days later the initial shock has worn off and we are working towards solutions.   It is a scary, and overwhelming feeling when you realize that you are now the sole provider for a family of 5 people.  Jake carried our health insurance through his work, so we are now having to switch all that over to my state insurance plan.  We are in the middle of dealing with the major expense of our A/C units (both of them) dying.  We have a home warranty, but it only covers a portion of the cost.   This couldn’t have come at a worse time.   I have always firmly believed that God laughs we we make plans, because it’s his timing, not ours.  And oh boy do Jake and I have all sorts of plans.  We want to redo the flower beds at the front of the house, we want to paint our kitchen cabinets and get new counter-tops.   We have dreams and goals, and things we want for the kids – but those things can wait.   God laughs – and we keep making plans.

I went into full blown survival mode on Saturday morning, similar to how I felt when my ex-husband first left.   I counted out every penny we had between my paycheck, child support and the small check I got for selling oils last month.  This is doable, I got this.  Work at Historic Columbia is slow, but even 1 wedding brings in about $80 for me, which is groceries.  Being able to say “I got this” is such a blessing, and I am so thankful for where I am in life right now that I can look at my husband and say we can do this, it is going to be okay (even if I am secretly sometimes freaking out).  I know deep down “we got this”.

It is going to affect a few things – but they are minor.  We are cutting the cable television off, which is a savings of over $100 a month.   I won’t be getting a new car, we’ll keep patching and putting along with the van.   We may not make it to Michigan in July as planned.  We will be totally bummed, but a vacation is not as important as the roof over our heads and feeding my kids.  I’m not typing this all out for sympathy, or to get anything from it.  I would love prayers and good vibes if you can spare them, but other than that – we are okay.

Life throws you curves, and you learn to swerve – or at best, swing and hit it out of the park.

 

 

 

 

being the coaches wife

As this season of baseball winds down – I am a mix of happy and sad.  I love watching Jonathan play ball, he has worked hard this season and has worked his way out of the outfield to playing 2nd base.  He is doing wonderful!  I love watching Jake coach.  It is something super special to watch your husband work his butt off with these kids, and he loves it.  Jonathan loves having him for a coach, and that bond between them is growing so strong.

But….I digress.  We have had some problems this season, and I’m happy for the season to be ending.   As the coaches wife, it is hard to sit in the stands (or in my chair), and do the score book, while parents all around you complain about coaching decisions.  Being a coach is never a perfect science – someone is always going to be unhappy.  We have more kids than positions, so we have to rotate the kids in and out.  Some weeks some kids will play every inning – it is a balance.  Especially when you have to remember pitch counts in weeks when you have 2 games.

Then you sometimes have to deal with the occasional “crazy mom” – every team has one.  The one who complains if the coach is even 1 minute late to practice (traffic happens, even when we leave in plenty of time), the one who refuses to participate in an anything (ie: working the scoreboard, snacks, etc).  Then there are the bleacher coaches, who despite the fact that we have 3 coaches on the field – they still think they should coach their kid from the bleachers (this actually happened, we had a dad calling pitches from behind the backstop before being called out by the ump).   People always want to complain, but never step up to watch to volunteer – they want someone else to do it.  They are also the ones who are going to complain the loudest.

We have been in this league since Jonathan was in tee-ball. I have been the team mom 5 seasons now, and Jake has coached for 2 seasons.  We want to become more active in the board, and look forward to many more evenings at the ball park – but for now, we are grateful for the summer break.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mama’s out there.  

To my mama Denise who raised me and my brother.  We turned out as stable, hard working adults who are pretty decent humans too.

To my mother in law Marge, who raised the incredible man who became my husband.  Thank you!

To my best friend LJ, your sweet babies are so loved and one day we will get to hold them again.  <3