Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas for our military...

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
o tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

I was deeply moved at church yesterday. I visited a church that every week prayers over the list of names of members and friends who are deployed. I was stunned to hear the name of my own Marine spoken in that prayer. I cannot express how grateful I am to know that people are sincerely praying for my Marine and all our military scattered around the globe. As Mark spends his third Christmas apart from us, I know he is in good hands... God's hands. He is safe, protected and guarded by his fellow Marines. He is not alone, but he is with his band of brothers, the largest fraternity in the world, is men... his Marines and I am forever grateful for their dedication to "our God, our Country and our Corps."
Merry Christmas Mark... I love you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

MSgt. Mark Francis

This is the 'Gunny... '

He's now a 'Master'! I am soooo Proud of Him!

I truly am honored to be his wife, it's a privilege everyday to wake up being married to a Marine, to be his bride... his best friend. I love him, I love our life, I love our God, I love our Country and I love our Corps. I couldn't be more proud of him, Congratulations!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Things I never thought I'd say...

When I dreamed of becoming a mom, I never imagined I would say things like...
  • "Stop farting in your sister's room! The next time you do that you'll clean her room!"
  • "No you cannot take the TV remote to the bathroom!"
  • "No, you don't have to do your homework unless you want to repeat 4th grade."
  • "Yes, I know the tooth fairy. Do you want to talk to her?"
  • "I can't wait till your father gets home!" (I only say that one to myself though!)
  • "Who are you?"
  • "Which one are you?"

Do you ever find yourself saying things you never thought you'd say? If so please share... I need a laugh too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

daily life...

It's hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving. A huge milestone for us in the deployment, that means we've put a few months behind us. We've only killed 5 appliances in the house, and sold about half the wood, but hey... it's still early! No more appliances are allowed to die, it's just not allowed. And the wood we want to keep still needs split and stacked in the back... the right way! Anyone wanna help? I'll rent a wood splitter! And I promise his name will not be "Johnny Appleseed" or Paul Bunyan! It shall be known as John Deere! Any takers... awhhh come on! I promise hot cocoa and smores over an open pit fire!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pink Cow Girl Boots

My Life with Katie... no explaination needed!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday USMC!

Happy Birthday Marines!

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to our freedom and security since 1775.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Soccer, Mark's new job and life...

Well, the sad news is that the kids did not make it past the second round in the single elmination tournaments this past weekend. So in our house, soccer is over for the season. I am sad that they didn't go further in the tournaments, but not running to soccer practices 3 nights a week is a much needed break.

Mark, everyone wants to know about Mark. He is doing well, he didn't sleep for 50 hours straight this week. He began a new job on dayshift... YIPPEE! But we all know Mark and he couldn't leave his night crew without guidance and training so abruptly, so he's been training for his new day job (getting turnover briefings/training during the day) and teaching his replacement at night. Thus the 50 hours straight without sleep. He's been eating so that is a wonderful thing, and being on dayshift now he'll get much better meals and will see more friends. He is still going to be averaging 18 hour work days, but at least he's on days and can sleep at night. We were able to Skype with him for about 15 minutes this afternoon. This is how good this man looks for only having 4 hours of sleep in the past 3 days. We all get so excited to see each other's beautiful faces... you can see the love for the kids in his eyes and his smile. I love it! I love him.
I am so excited for the Christmas season! The kids and I are making our lists for Santa and believe it or not I am almost done with all of my shopping. We are ready to get the decorations out and put up the tree. This time of the year is so magical and I hate not having Mark home to share it with us. Never fear Mark the kids are planning your Christmas package... they've got some sneaky surprises for you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

6 Weeks Down...

6 Weeks Down! Mark is doing well. He is averaging 18 hours a day of work. That translates to about 4-5 hours of sleep a day. I mean day b/c he works the night shift. He’s got a lot and I mean A LOT of responsibilities and the work load is rather stressful. He’s mentioned several times that this has been his most stressful of all of his deployments to date. He is on a huge base over there but he still doesn’t get to see many or any of his friends over there (that are in other units) because of his work load and the hours he works. Most people work days over there and since he’s on nights it’s almost impossible to catch up w/ them. He still lives in the “tin can” and works in a “tin can”. He is doing well otherwise, he’s only lost 10 pounds so far. The first time he was over there at 6 weeks he had lost over 18 pounds and last year about 12 pounds. Mark is a strong guy, he knows he has a purpose there and is working hard to finish the job so “everyone” can come home. He misses home, all the soccer games, cub scouts, computer games, butterfly kisses and cuddling w/ Katie in the lazy-boy during football. He’s bummed that he can’t watch Ohio State or the Bengals play but he always wants me to send him the scores! He longs for warm fires in the fireplace, homemade pizza and ice cold Jones Cream Soda.

Here are a few exerts from the emails he’s sent to me in the past few days…

It is pouring rain outside right now, first real rain since I got here. The
thunder and lightning is intense. The wind cutting across the desert has
nothing to slow it down or take its edge away. With every passing minute, the mud is getting deeper and more soupy. We are going to have some serious cleaning to do.

We have regressed to picking people we look like out here and posting their visages by our desks. I have been deemed
Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movie series.
I thought it was funny. We have Drew Carrey (Gamble), Cleveland (off the Family Guy, Williams), Scott Evil from the Austin Powers movies (Curbow)... we are at least taking our minds off of the job for a little while in making fun of ourselves.

He feels horrible that he is not emailing and calling more often and sending info out to you all personally. Please know that he deeply appreciates your prayers, your letters, emails and packages that are being sent over there. He says he certainly doesn’t feel forgotten like many of the other guy and understands the time and sacrifices made by you all to keep in contact and support him. I am personally sincerely grateful for all of you. Thank you for keeping us and Mark in your prayers.

We’ve already had the appliance demon visit us, so that is already done and over (he killed the sump pump for the pool cover, my curling iron and the heating pad! Nothing too big! Yeah!) Things are running rather smoothly around here. Soccer season is almost over, tournaments this weekend. Looking forward to sleeping in on a Saturday!

On a personal note from me, this has been a different deployment so far for us at home too. The kids are getting older and much more knowledgeable of what is going on the world and in their little world. We are beginning the “coming of age” stage of life and I understand and get how to talk to and deal w/ girls, but wow, this boy stuff is strange. So keep all of us in your prayers, pray for Godly friends, good mentors, and courage to do what’s right when no one else is doing it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I read quite a few blogs...

I read/follow about 15-20 blogs a week. Some I ready daily others about once a week. But something crazy is going on in the blog world.

I have to put this out there. I know for many a blog is their escape, their way of venting. But I wonder if the bloggers who write like this realize or remember that their family and often their spouses read their blog. Or even better their spouses co-workers / friends read their blog. I feel like the new "bandwagon" for blogging is Spouse Bashing. I understand people have marital issues, but do you really think your marriage or your problems are gonna get any better by posting your issues all over the internet!

When did people stop thinking?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

D-Day Pictures

The night Daddy left. These pix were taken at around 2:45AM, yes you read that right AM! He left in the middle of the night again. For those of you who are thinkin' crazy thoughts, those are IBC Cream Sodas... not beer. He got several strange looks that night from junior Marines, but once they realized it was cream soda they all laughed. He can't get cream soda in Iraq so he had to drink several bottles before he left. I love you Mark... God Speed and come home safe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

D-Day...and a Give Away!

Today marks the day that Dad left again. So in honor of that a fellow military spouse blogger of mine (I know her in the blogger world only) is having a give away.

Just click on this Trying Our Best, and you can register for this beautiful Give Away on My D-Day! FYI: contest is open until Friday, September 18Th at noon EST!

Here is a picture of what you can win... I love it, and her mother made it! Won't it look beautiful in my home! So if you win, please give it to me.... or not.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The death of an old friend...

I am so sad to report the death of a very close and protective friend. I've had this friend for something like 27 years. He's been through the winds and the rain with me, never failing me... it's my rain suit. Many of you will remember me in my bright blue rain coat and pants set. One time I recall someone nicknaming me the new blue Gumby, "always flexible even in the rain." I got this lovely name probably from life-guarding in the pouring rain wearing my blue suit (with my Speedo underneath!)

We've had a lot of rain in North Carolina this summer (which is very unusual) and one Sunday, I pulled out my trusty rain suit so Mark could stay dry ushering at church. And NO we do not have an outdoor church but the men of the church do "fetch" cars and escort members to their vehicles on rainy days. We've had soooooo many rainy Sundays that Mark was tired of being soaked to the bone, and isn't it obvious that he would NOT be allowed to wear his all weather gear issued by the Corps. Yeah, not so much. So he pulled out my trusty rain suit... sadly it wasn't trusty anymore. He got just as wet wearing my jacket as if he hadn't worn anything at all. He threw it away... do you believe it? Don't worry he got the stink eye, the ugly eye and possibly even "the look!"

So many memories in that suit, I remember kissing a boy (I won't mention any names!) in the rain at camp wearing my Gumby suit. There was the time I built a fire in the pouring rain wearing my suit, gosh darn it if I didn't get that log cabin fire going too. And that time I fell in a hugely gigantically enormous mud puddle in my blue suit, my clothes stayed dry but I still wasn't allowed in the dining hall. And let us not forget the numerous times walking across campus in my blue suit headed to yet another class in the rain! I miss my blue suit. I think I'll buy another one... look what I found! Think they make it in my size? It's PINK! I love it, if I ever get to be a camp counselor again I am buying one... promise!

Good Bye Rain Suit... I'll miss you..... hello stupid umbrella that flies away in the wind!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

one of the hardest decisions ever

Today I am faced with one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I am thankful that Mark is in the states, just not available by phone, to help me make the decision. Please pray for us as a family today for grace and mercy, it's a hard one to make.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America! As we celebrate with you today let us remember the sacrifices of so many before us that have made this day possible... We are the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave because in God We Trust.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Picture of June 2009

I love summer and I love summer pictures even more, seems like personalities really shine through in the summer months. Here are a few of my fav's from June 2009.

The first one is of Katie (she's on the left) and her friend from church on the world's longest slip and slide. The next picture is Mark driving the 4-wheeler pulling the kids down that slip and slide.

Katie was attacked by the Nerf gun... nothing more can be explained in this photo.

Caleb and Seth are riding down one of the water-slides at church during XKidz, wild water day.

This last photo is of my two boys just about too big now to share a chair at the Cub Scout Crossover Campfire. I guess next year I have to buy another chair so they don't have to share.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Mom!

My Mom... she blazes her own trail, goes farther and lives 'richer' than most people ever hope or dream of. Mom is a symbol of strength, intergrity, pure grit, love, passion and sincerity. She has taught me and shown me my entire life to test the limits of my inner spirit and push the button of happiness. I will one day ride with my mom, on my own bike, side by side... it's always been a dream of hers and mine to ride together on a trip... just us girls! And yes Katie will come with us; and I'll post the pictures to prove it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Queen... if only!

Enough Said!
Double click on the cartoon to read it completely!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Mark!

I don't think I could have said it any better Mark!
I sure do love you... Happy Birthday!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Grandma, Grandma Alberta

I recently returned from my home town, Ashtabula Ohio, on a trip no one wants to take, one for a funeral. My maternal grandmother passed away, Alberta Taft. She was quite the woman. I always thought I knew her well, but I learned a whole lot more about this amazing woman after spending time listening to multiple generations and friends tell stories of her life. Grandma was a very godly lady who lived out the walk and was a sincere witness to the lifestyle of Proverbs 31 Woman, but she was never preachy. She lived her life as an example, and isn’t that how we all should be living. Grandma was also very outspoken and blazed her own trail. But here are a few things about my grandma that I learned this weekend (maybe one that I’ve always known) that will explain a lot about who I am and a tiny bit of my great heritage!

  • I always thought I was the special one as far as the grandkids were concerned. Grandma had this old orange cookie jar (literally it was a huge cookie jar shaped as an orange) and whenever I was at their house the first thing I would do was check out the cookie jar. She always had cookies, and I could always sneak one without retribution. But I never took from Grandpa’s jar (it was filled with gingersnaps) he’d always catch me and he didn’t like to share his cookies! I thought I was the only one who got away with “sneakin’ cookies” but come to find out, everyone snuck cookies from the cookie jar, but never Grandpa’s!
  • On family camping trips when my grandma had young children, she would insist on eating ice-cream for lunch at the local ice-cream shops when they left their campsites on their way to their next destination. For some reason though, when I was young going on these huge family camping trips I don’t remember doing this… but today with my young children we do this a lot, on a whim though not just camping, we’ll just eat ice-cream and or popcorn for dinner. In fact, we had ice-cream for lunch one day in Disney World.
  • She could sew and quilt beautifully. I remember her sewing all of my baton twirling uniforms, my aunt’s wedding dress, my prom dresses, even my tiny Barbie doll dresses and outfits. She became very well known as a master quilter, winning numerous prizes and awards for her skill and beauty in her work. I can’t even sew a button on, I regret not taking the time to learn from her and now it’s too late.
  • Grandma went to school to be a nursing assistant (or maybe it was to be a nurse, I can’t remember now). And she never babied us when we got hurt, neither did my mom. Maybe that is where I get that from too! “Ahh, rub some dirt on it, you’ll be fine!”
  • One last thing... Grandma had the best sheets in the world. I loved sleeping at her house. The bed sheets were always crisp and smelled wonderful. I know she didn’t have a clothes dryer and lined dried everything. She claims that’s what made her sheets “so good!”, but mine never smell or feel like hers. I don’t know what she did or how she did it. I’ve tried to replicate the process over the years but could never do it just like her. My line-dried sheets certainly don’t smell like hers, maybe it’s that Ohio air; it’s much richer up there!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Today holds different meaning to many people. It's also one day that America joins together simply to remember and honor those that have gone before us and paid the ulitmate sacrifice for our freedoms we hold true today. Please take a moment today from all of your celebrating, picnics, and family time to just pray and be thankful. Daily I am in awe of the sacrifices that men and women in uniform and their families make for us as a Nation. They do it for me and you, and they ask for nothing in return. Today, simply say "Thank you". Those words will not heal all wounds but they will begin to mend the spirit and the soul.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It's hard to believe that I haven't posted anything in over a month. I am so sorry, but honestly I've rather enjoyed the time with family and friends. We are getting back into the groove only to discover that we have less than 3 weeks of school left. That blows me away just thinking about it. Not that I don't want summer to come, I love summer time and spending hot days and cool nights with my fam, but the school year has flown right by. I must have slept or worked way toooooo much! I will leave you with a few pix of our Disney trip and I promise to share finished layouts and projects once I get them started... NEXT WEEK RIGHT!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The case of the missing egg...

The Easter Bunny was a huge hit this year! Each one of our kiddos had 5 items to hunt for that the E.B. left for them. Mind you this is a new house so we had lots of new places to look for things. Caleb searched for an extra half hour after everyoone else was done for his one last Egg! It was right next to him the entire time! Watching him hunt and hunt for that 'missing' egg was absolutely priceless! These are simply random photos of him hunting for that EGG... do you see it, on the lampshade above his head!

I love you Caleb, you truly keep it real around here and remind us to laugh and embrace life right in the midst of EGGStrodinary situations!

I live with a bunch of Egg Heads!

You may not get the title of this posting until you see the pictures... Just read the below and you'll soon see why Katie and I live with a bunch of Egg Heads!
The Egg Heads!
The Egg Head Family...
The Queen and the Princess!
Seth's Head

Caleb's Head

I love my Boys... especially the Big One!

Caleb shooting Katie... it's the case of the Egg Head and the Princess!