Category Archives: Friendship

Gratituesday – Coastie Chicks

Today’s post is two things: a simple “thanks for being there” and a little plug for one of my favorite websites.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is in the Coast Guard. He’s an AMT2, which means he’s a second-class Aviation Maintenance Technician. Though it might sound like he’s basically a mechanic, he does many things. From getting dirty in the maintenance shop, to being the watch captain (shift supervisor), to hopping on one of the planes and going on a search-and-rescue mission down here in the Gulf of Mexico, to standing the occasional duty night where he sleeps at work instead of home just in case they need him.

I love my husband so very much and we as his family are willing to follow him anywhere that the Coast Guard decides to relocate him. However, following him means leaving behind friends and family and plunking ourselves down in a new city amongst a bunch of people we’ve never met. Jason can quickly acclimate to the new work scene because the Coast Guard does things almost exactly the same at every base. Families don’t have it as easy. Sure, there are wonderful spouses clubs which often times set up play groups and the bases sponsor family days and picnics throughout the year, but what do I do on a day-to-day basis when I can’t just call up my mom or best buddies to chat because they are many time zones away and for them it’s not even dawn yet?

For those times I have my Coastie Chicks.

Our PCS (permanent change of station) together last summer was the first time I had moved a significant distance from everyone I knew. I’ve always lived within 30 miles of my family and friends. We’re now about 2,700 miles and three time zones from them. I was excited for this adventure in the South, but nervous. I’ve never been very outgoing and wondered what I’d do for friends for me and friends for my children. Sure, I can relish in my newfound love of being a stay-at-home mom, but we can’t possibly remain inside and keeping to ourselves all the time! I figured I would eventually wander out and find some people to befriend. But then we’d just end up leaving them too when we PCS again in a few years.

Then Jason came home from work one day during his first week at work and told me about Coastie Chicks. Another new guy heard about this site from his wife (**Hi Tracy!**), passed the word on to Jason, who then passed it on to me. Wow, was I ever grateful! Patty Wilson (“Mama Chick” as we often call her) runs it; the base site is incredibly informative and there is a discussion forum where I have found lovely friends, neighbors, and an amazing wealth of BTDT (been there, done that) advice. I can go on there and find answers to any question I could possibly have about not only life as a Coast Guard spouse, but also information about any base we could be stationed at, neighborhoods, new rules, etcetera. One of my favorite sections is the Local Events area for our district. This is where we post goings-on and such. Last October I saw a posting there from a local spouse (**Hi Melissia!**) offering a bar-be-que at her house. I had never met most of the people attending and normally I wouldn’t go to a party with a bunch of folks I don’t know. But we went, and we had a great time. Since then I have befriended many more Coastie Chicks, our kids are friends, our spouses are friends, and we get together all the time.

Without my Coastie Chicks (both the website and the ladies who are members) I’d be quite lost in this new place. This past year has been absolutely wonderful when it could have been quite lonely. I love ya’ll and while I am sad about someday leaving the fantastic Chicks here in the Mobile area, I look forward to meeting so many more in all of the other cities we may move to in the future.

If you are a spouse of a Coastie or know someone who is, please pass this link on to them. The Coast Guard is the smallest of the American armed forces and we often get lost in the shuffle. Many CG bases no longer offer housing to families and you may not be lucky enough to find a neighborhood out in the city where many Coastie families live. Pop on over to Coastie Chicks and join the fun!

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Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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Supportive Friends & Family

Today (and all the time) I am very thankful for the supportive friends and family we have. When Jason and I moved our family across the country last summer I was excited but really nervous about whether we would be able to “make it” on our own in an unfamiliar place. Until last summer I had never lived more than 30 miles from my mom, entire family, and friends.

In moving we left everyone we knew back in California and didn’t know a soul here in Alabama. I’m so happy to be able to say that we were able to make friends here really fast. Though I miss our California friends and family each and every day, it’s been nice to have people local that we have become close with that we can count on.

When my water broke at almost 2:00 am two weeks ago we had my mother-in-law here to stay with Jeremy so we could get over to the hospital quicker and not have to drag Jeremy out of bed. A very good friend of ours, Kim, came over later that day, picked up Jeremy, and let him hang out with her and her three kids for two days until baby Jesse and I were discharged from the hospital. Having Kim willing and knowing her well enough to trust her with my son was such a blessing so that Jason could focus on the baby and I while we were in the hospital instead of having to chase a bored and anxious 3-year old around the room. It afforded Jason the ability to bond with his newborn son and let me completely rest for a couple of days.

Also, I’m a member of a fabulous local Military Spouses’ Club which has a group of volunteers who bring meals over to the homes of people with new babies. While Jason has been absolutely wonderful in taking over the lion’s share of the kitchen duties since we’ve been home with our new little one, it’s definitely a blessing to have total strangers and dear friends bring over a meal so that we can have more family time (and a nap or two). We received two home-cooked meals last week and are looking forward to three this week. How wonderful is that?

Lastly, all of the rest of our local friends who have come over to visit us and made us feel so welcome and loved. Even though we haven’t known any of our local folks very long, I couldn’t imagine being without them just as I can’t fathom our old life in CA without our friends and family there. We’ll be visiting often guys and returning someday! Thank goodness for the internet so we don’t lose touch!

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This post is linked to Heavenly Homemaker’s Gratituesday. What are you grateful for this week? Share over at Laura’s blog.

Whirlwind and Wonderful Visit

Last week I had my long-awaited opportunity to visit my newly minted 3-year old Jeremy back in California. After Jason and I moved to Alabama at the end of July, Jeremy stayed behind to spend 2 1/2 months with his dad before joining us in our new home from mid-October through New Years Eve. The parenting plan that my ex-husband and I came up with included a provision for the parent that Jeremy isn’t living with can visit him for at least three days during the time that Jeremy’s with the other parent. My ex and I have come a long way since we first broke up and we’re making things work for Jeremy’s benefit. In one day we worked out a fantastic bi-coastal co-parenting plan to include shared homeschooling when he’s of school age.

 

Anyhow, I’ve taken a nearly two-week break from blogging because I was spending a really wonderful birthday week with my little boy and then, visiting family and friends, flying home to Alabama with Jason’s great uncle Frank, and getting my house back in order after a week away. Well, I’m back and ready to share some clips from my treasured few days with my first born who I’d missed so badly for seven weeks.

 

My friends Donna and Gabe picked me up from the airport on Saturday and took me to Chipotle for lunch. Aside from craving time with my little boy, I’ve been going crazy craving Chipotle (the closest one is 200 miles from my house in Alabama). We spent a nice afternoon and evening at their house and I crashed on their couch.

On Sunday morning I picked up Jeremy from his dad’s house bright and early at 7 am. He helped me pick out donuts and chocolate milk to take back to Donna and Gabe.

There were a couple pairs of cool 3-D glasses on the floor of Donnas car, Jeremy decided we needed to wear them.

There were a couple pairs of cool 3-D glasses on the floor of Donna's car, Jeremy decided we needed to wear them.

After eating his donut from top to bottom (yes, pink icing and rainbow sprinkles first, then the cake), he held Donna’s gecko and watched some Phineas & Ferb.

Buddies: Jeremy and Cosmo

Buddies: Jeremy and Cosmo

A little while later, my little sister Samantha came over and picked up Jeremy and I to take us to our mom’s house for Jeremy’s birthday party with the family.

Opening presents with help from Aunt Sam.

Opening presents with help from Aunt Sam.

 It was really wonderful to have my grandparents (Nana and Papa) at their great-grandson’s birthday party. I was blessed as a child and young adult to have my great-grandparents as major influences in my life. I have so many memories with them and I am so happy that my grandparents are young enough to build those same memories with Jeremy.

More presents with Nana, Papa, and Uncle Tim in the background.

More presents with Uncle Tim, Papa, and Nana in the background.

Blowing out the candles.

Blowing out the candles.

 Uncle Tim (well, he’s my cousin, but we grew up as close as brother & sister) brought out the cake and Jeremy barely waited for the cake to be set down before he started blowing at the candles. We sang, but the candles were long out before the song was over. 

A very happy birthday boy.

A very happy birthday boy.

There’s my aunt Diane clapping her hands. Her son David just came home from Iraq about a week ago – we are SO glad to have him home and safe. He’s got a baby daughter just five months old that he’d never met, so he was understandably home with his girls. I couldn’t get a good photo of my mom all day, but that’s most of her standing behind Diane.

After a long day of gecko-ing and partying, my newly minted 3-year old passed out pretty hard at Aunt Shannon’s house.

Such a tired boy, that blanket covered more of him when he was a baby.

Such a tired boy, that blanket covered more of him when he was a baby.

 

On Monday we lazed around with Aunt Shannon for a while before hitting the road to visit the Irvine Park Railroad and Orange County Zoo.

Barely tall enough to reach his face into the railroad engineer cut-out.

Barely tall enough to reach his face into the railroad engineer cut-out.

First thing we needed to do was take a ride on the 7/8 scale train.

First thing we needed to do was take a ride on the 7/8 scale train.

We got to see some really beautiful parts of Irvine Regional Park while riding the train, but two of our favorite things were the pond with all the ducks and the peacocks.

Pond at Irvine Regional Park.

Pond at Irvine Regional Park.

These peacocks let you get right up close to them, just a couple feet away before they wander away.

These peacocks let you get right up close to them, just a couple feet away before they wander away.

Jeremy loved the train so much we had to go thank the conductor.

Jeremy loved the train so much we had to go thank the conductor.

I won’t post all the pictures from the zoo. It’s a rescue zoo that rehabilitates local wildlife. Very neat animals, but I’m sure you’ve all seen goats, coyotes, mountain lions, bears and hawks before. However, it was really awesome that the zoo had a special permit to house an endangered bald eagle. Apparently it was so drastically injured that it would never be able to fend for itself in the wild. It’s wings were so bad that it could only fly as well as a chicken, fluttering from the ground to a tree stump, but it couldn’t get up into a tree for all it tried.

Its good of the zoo to keep the eagle safe and allow the public to enjoy a beautiful endangered animal up close.

It's good of the zoo to keep the eagle safe and allow the public to enjoy a beautiful endangered animal up close.

 

On Tuesday Jeremy, Aunt Shannon (my sister-in-law), Uncle Frank and I all headed off to the museum of retired planes at March Air Reserve Base in Perris, CA. Here’s a quick video I took of Shannon and Jeremy zooming around between planes:

Again, I won’t post all the photos from the plane museum, but just a few won’t hurt. 😀

One really big helicopter.

One really big helicopter.

One very shiny plane for Jeremy to pretend to repel from.

One very shiny plane for Jeremy to pretend to repel from.

Have no idea what this is, but it had lots of buttons and switches.

Have no idea what this is, but it had lots of buttons and switches.

This one was way too cool not to share.

This one was way too cool not to share.

They had tons of Air Force, Army, and Navy planes, but just one lonely old Coast Guard sea plane.

They had tons of Air Force, Army, and Navy planes, but just one lonely old Coast Guard sea plane.

Spying Mommy through the landing gear.

Spying Mommy through the landing gear.

We had a blast checking out all the planes and helicopters, but after running around in the desert heat for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, Mommy was quite tired and Jeremy started having a bit of a melt-down. We got lunch and headed back to Aunt Shannon’s house for a nap. Later in the afternoon we went to Jeremy’s first gymnastics class. He did really well with the tumbling, skipping, and everything, but the backward crab-walking had him stumped. He’ll get it in time.

 

Getting help with a somersault.

Getting help with a somersault.

 

 

We only had a half day together on Wednesday so we spent a calm and easy-going morning hanging out reading the new books he got for his birthday, raking pine needles, and whacking the pine tree in the backyard with the rake. I told him that was dangerous, then he decided that he needed a helmet. Not finding one, he chose a bucket.

 

Who am I to argue with his ingenuity?

Who am I to argue with his ingenuity?

 

After I dropped off Jeremy, I spent Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and half of Friday back at Donna and Gabe’s. In those few days we had fun catching up and I was able to run off for a short evening to have dinner and girl talk with my maid of honor Stephanie. I’ve missed her a lot, as with all of our friends, and those couple of hours together really helped fill the space.

On Friday I headed back to Shannon’s, did some laundry and helped pack up Uncle Frank’s clothes so that he and I could fly together back to Alabama. While it wasn’t fun at all to wake up at 4:30 the next morning, it was wonderful to be home with my husband early Saturday evening. We went home to relax a bit and then took the family out to dinner (needless to say, I was not up to cooking that night).

 

That’s the long story of my week long trip to California. Most of it was spent with my little boy, we made some good memories with family, and I caught up with close friends. Hopefully when we head out there again for Christmas we’ll be able to see more people.

I’ve been home from my trip for almost a week now and have just under three weeks to wait until Jeremy comes home to me at our new house. I’ve got lots of fun things planned for us!

Friends for Dinner… Help!!

Jason informed me just this afternoon that we are having friends for dinner on Saturday. I haven’t met Jason’s work friend or his wife, but I’ve heard nice things about them. Apparently the guys worked together in San Diego (my husband’s last unit which we just moved from) and the couple are still newlyweds (though longer than us).

I’m very excited to have people over to our new home. Also, as I told Jason, this was probably one of the best things he could have done for me in order to get me to finish unpacking our house. I’ve gotta get busy tomorrow to whip my front room and dining room into shape.

How convenient is it that the awesome dinner I had planned for tonight didn’t work out for today? I had forgotten to defrost the pork and the recipe takes 18 hours in the crock pot, so I mentally switched today’s planned meal with tomorrow’s (cheese enchiladas). As I was getting busy preparing the enchiladas, Jason came home and told me about our guests for the weekend. Well, I couldn’t very well serve them the Saturday-planned hamburgers and fries, so that got switched to Sunday, we’re taking my mother-in-law out to dinner for her birthday tomorrow, and Saturday is going to be our super awesome dinner that I had planned for today and forgot to get set up ahead of time.

Now that I’ve led you to the edge of your seat, what are we having?

The only thing I need help with is deciding on dessert. I’ve got a lot of fresh fruit hanging out in my kitchen, so there are lots of options:

  • Apple Blueberry Cobbler
  • Homemade Sweet Biscuits with Strawberries
  • Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes (with Strawberry garnishes)
  • Lemon Pie
  • Homemade Strawberry or Blueberry or Chocolate Ice Cream (in our brand new ice cream maker)

Given my barbeque menu above, does anyone have suggestions for dessert, or votes for anything listed above?

Friendship is a terrible thing to waste.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law sent this to me via email. I normally just archive these chain letters, but I really wanted to share it because it reminded me of someone I once knew.

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey, thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.

He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said. As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began…

“Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.
Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach… but mostly your friends…
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.
I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.

“Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse.

God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for God in others.

You now have two choices, you can:
1) Pass this on to your friends or
2) Ignore it and act like it didn’t touch your heart.
As you can see, I took choice number 1.

Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

There is no beginning or end.. Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift.


This post is linked to Heavenly Homemaker’s Gratituesday

Thank you Shannon, for sending this to me at an incredibly opportune time. This simple chain letter gave me a lot of food for thought in looking back on some of the friendships I’ve had in the past and those I am blessed with right now.