Sunday, January 28, 2018

Patience of a Saint, my patootie! A nervous Marine Mom freak out!

Our Cookie Rae has done it!  She is a Marine! Now this Momma is gonna go and see her graduate!  Our Cookie Rae has done it!  She is a Marine! Now this Momma is gonna go and see her graduate!  Can’t wait to hold her in my arms again!  All we have to do now is pack up the 15 passenger, rent another 15 passenger because we have all the kids, the girlfriends, boyfriends,  everyone but the SUPER FRIENDS, rent a car for my son, who’s leaving later and pack up a bunch of clothes and I’m freaking out!
We have a film crew showing up today and then they’re filming our morning madness tomorrow.  Getting up at the booty-crack of dawn because there is no way I’m gonna let them film my “get up at normal time” face, sending the kids off to school, cleaning and packing and packing and cleaning.  Getting everything together, then on the road, pick up our extra passengers.  So much to do, not sure even where to start!  I usually can get this together but I’m an emotional wreck!  Can’t wait to see my girl and I know I’m gonna cry like a big old baby, already am at every little thing!  AAAAGH!
Somewhere in the middle of all that, gotta drop Kaylee’s truck, the Trout, at the body shop to get a little dent fixed and haircuts and laundry and more filming and Dave needs some new jeans and there really isn’t enough time to do this and I just know we’re gonna forget something!  I’m so excited to see her and I’m going nuts wondering if I thought of everything and I should be packing but I’m writing a silly blog post.  At least I’m not on Facebook but who am I kidding I’m gonna get on Facebook and post too because I’m doing everything but getting busy packing because, did I mention that I need to pack?  I’d have the kids help but after they “help” I’ll have to spend too much time fixing it all.  Of course they’re helping as much as they can but right now they’re sitting around wondering why mom is busy typing blog posts when she should be packing!!
At least the trip will be good.  We get to see the Carolinas and beautiful Hilton head and the place my baby girl and her dad AND her grandfather earned their eagle, globe and anchors.  Then 2 more days with the whole gang in my dream cabin and I vow that I WILL have coffee while watching the sunrise over the smoky mountains.  It’s on my bucket list!

Did I mention that I have to pack?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Crucible

In just about 2 hours, our Kaylee will begin what is known as the Crucible.  This is the Marine Corps bootcamp final test of the skills that they have learned these last 12 weeks.  This will be a 54 hour test of fire that will include some 48 miles of marching with about 45 lbs of gear and numerous tasks and assault courses where they use their skills and strength to overcome obstacles and solve problems using teamwork and the military tactics they have learned.  When I was there, we had lots of different things we had to do, but no crucible.  Naturally Christi and I are as nervous for her as we are proud of her.  By the time she finishes the Crucible sometime on Saturday, we will be less than a week from seeing our baby girl.  While she will then be a Marine, she will always be my Cookie Rae!  If you are of the praying mind, please include a prayer for Kaylee and all her Parris Island sisters in platoon 4004.  Also in this crucible will be the male recruits and the other female platoons of Golf and November companies.  Pray for them all and pray for the parents who are nervously awaiting word of their kids success in the Crucible.

Semper Fi

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A graduation day surprise!

As many know, our daughter Kaylee is now less than 2 weeks away from completing bootcamp and graduating a United States Marine.  Of course she wants to see us all at the graduation, but she has no idea that we are bringing EVERYBODY!  All 18 kids, 2 grand-kids, one son-in-law, the 3 young men we've taken in who have basically become family and 3 significant others.  We will be renting a second 15 passenger van and hauling a trailer just so that the whole gang can be there.  We have a great trip planned that will be like the ones we used to take, cross-country.  Two days down, staying in 3 great villas in Hilton Head, going to family day and the graduation from there and afterwards, heading north to Gatlinburg to spend 2 nights in a wonderful cabin that can sleep the whole gang!  Not only treating the family to a good time, but crossing off one of Christi’s bucket list items of staying in a cabin in the Smoky mountains.  It will be totally complete when she gets to see the sunrise while having the morning coffee. 

Top that off with a big spaghetti dinner at the cabin (Kaylee’s favorite) and we will have a trip for the books for sure!

Unbeknownst to Kaylee, the whole thing will be filmed for the French TV channel M6 and their show “66 minutes”.  They will be with the family for the whole trip and will capture the whole thing.  It will be part of a special they are doing on large American families.

I can’t give my kids a lot of fancy experiences, but they can always look back to those times when they were on TV and smile.  We always have a good time with the film crews and the kids have a lot of fun trying to out-do each other’s funny.

 I think it will add an extra fun twist to this already awesome event!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What's a little snow between friends?

I used to tell the kids that the old adage about how weathermen were never right was not true.  Apparently, that was only true in southern California, where the weather is sun, hot sun and more sun with a slight chance of partly cloudy with a very brief downpour, which will wash the houses down the Malibu hills since the wildfires burned all the dry vegetation since all they had was sun, sun and sun.
Not the case here in Indiana.  We have had a lovely winter, guessing whether it was going to be in the 50s or start snowing.  The predictions are always 1-3” until it gets here and it’s 5 inches.  

Case in point: This was supposed to be 1-2"...more like 5

Once you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the pretty white snow, they wet it all down with some freezing rain so that you get to slide around a bit when you drive.  That for me is the best part.  Ask my wife, I drift the van on purpose when the road is icy!

Those who know me, know that I used to swear I’d never move to somewhere that has snow more than occasionally, but I really am getting used to it.  And frankly, I don’t miss the 105 degree, no rain, every tree is a desert tree life in southern California.

All in all, I still love it here.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

What we did last summer!

Here is a video from an interview/splash reel we did for Figure 8 productions.  It has some new footage plus some from our old videos, but it is a pretty cool piece and was loads of fun!  Thanks to Wayne Mahon for putting this together and putting up with us and our terrible Skype connections!

CHASIN' THE CASONS 6 min from Wayne Mahon on Vimeo.

Our little Marine!

As some of you know, our Kaylee is currently in bootcamp in Parris Island, SC.  She should just be finishing her swim qualifications this week and moving on to the next phase.  We are so very proud of her.  We have been missing her terribly, as have all our kids, but thanks to some folks who were on Parris Island to see their Marine graduate, we finally got to see her!
Apparently they "pay it forward" by posting these photos on facebook support group pages for parents of recruits to stare at looking for their people.  I admit I stared at them too.  Having been there and knowing what she is going through didn't stop me from searching for her like a complete noob dad.  Lucky I did because I found her!  It gives me more comfort than I thought it would.  
We are anxiously looking forward to seeing her graduate in February.  She did Thanksgiving and will probably have Christmas at the rifle range, not to mention her birthday in January.  We miss her through it all, but will be so proud when she marches her way through the graduation ceremony and we can take her home for her first leave! 
After that it is on to probably MCT and then her MOS school.  I am doubly proud because her MOS, barring unforseen circumstances will be Aviation mechanics which is exactly what her grandpa was when he was in the Corps.  He would be so proud.  Whatever her MOS, we know she will be great!

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Story of US, Conclusion. (of the story, not US!)

When we got back to Christi's apartment in Temecula, we broke the news to Jessica, who was 2, so she had no clue what it all meant, and to her dad, who was stunned to say the least and with that done, we tried to settle in to....married life?  It was still overwhelming for Christi and I and we wondered how to tell her parents.  We eventually jumped that hurdle and although it took about 4 years for her dad to warm up to me, (her mom was a little easier) he is now almost like my own dad (both my parents have been gone for more than 15 years now).  Over the years, even Christi has finally come to understand that we were clearly meant to be together.  

I often wonder how I overcame my normal caution and dropped to my knee in that drive thru.  While I can't say it was just this one thing, what always comes to my mind when I ponder this subject, is our first kiss.  It happened on the evening that I first spent with Christi at Shirley's house.  She and I had talked about so many things, crossing all topics, and had begun to speak about things we hoped for in the future.  She spoke of moving in to her own place, and how she wanted to live and the plans she had for her and the kids.  Something in that moment, I'm not sure if it was the light in her eyes as she spoke, or just the dreamy smile on her face, but something called me to lean in and kiss her.  Despite her faraway gaze, she seemed to come to the same conclusion and we both met halfway in our first kiss.  I can say, without hesitation,or reservation and without even having to compare, that it was the most incredible kiss of my life! (to that point)  I think now, that the moments we shared right there, surrounding that kiss were what cemented Christi and I in what would be the rest of our lives.  We have since had MANY kisses much like that one and she still gives me that thrill, even to this day.  She is the end all and be all of my life.  Simple as that.

It has now been almost 26 years since we said "I do" in that little office in the Clark county, Nevada government building and we are happier every year.  Christi and the kids are my everything, and nothing makes me prouder than what she and I have together.  Make no mistake, I know that it is not the usual situation and we certainly did not get started in the way any of our parents would have approved.  I've told the kids many times that mom and I are an unusual case and we would never recommend that they run out and get married to someone after only knowing them for six weeks!  Christi and I are absolutely not the usual case and we point out examples of what can happen when you jump into things too fast and the repercussions of bad relationships and marriages (especially what can happen to the kids caught in the middle).  Still, when I look back at what Christi and I have done...what we've been through, both the ups and the downs, I realize that I wouldn't change a thing.  Although we're not the typical story of boy meets girl, we are an example of the simple truth that, when it comes to love: