Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Kind Of A Big Deal

   Gilbert is in the bottom row, far right
   I am one proud wife! Last Friday my husband got his third stripe. Most people don't really know what this means. They don't understand the blood, sweat, and tuna fish that went into this.
   The Marines have their own style of martial arts, MCMAP (pronounced mic-map). MCMAP was started by the continental marines in the 1700's. It developed and evolved since then. Along with physical combat skills Marines are taught moral and ethical values, coping mechanisms and self control.
   It's not like other types martial arts. It's not for exercise, mediation or sport. It's not even like boxing or MMA. Both are brutal, but they have rules, and the ultimate goal it to knock out or tap out your opponent. In MCMAP the ultimate goal is to take out your opponent as brutally and efficiently is possible, so that they don't get back up. It is to kill.
   This point was made obvious to me years ago when Gilbert and I were laying in bed talking about the course he was going through. I asked him how I should defend myself if someone broke into the house while I was sleeping. He climbed onto me and showed me how to break a choke hold. Cool. But he wasn't done.
   "Then swing your arm under here, and if you have a knife stab here, while you push him off. Then you can mount him and stab him in the neck."
   I was shocked into silence. I was expecting some female empowering thing were I yell "STOP" while defending myself long enough to get away and call for help. But that wasn't the reason my husband was learning this stuff. He's doing it because if he is ever in a situation that he needs to use it, it's not going to be because of a break in. He'll be doing it because he is fighting to stay alive.

Now that you are slightly horrified, let me explain the process. Just like in karate, MCMAP has different levels, identified by belts. Marines graduate basic training with tan belts. After that they take courses to "upgrade".

   The order of the belts is on the left. On the right the ones with the snazzy tan strips are for instructors. The coveted red stripes are for instructor trainers.
   To upgrade a Marine has to attend an upgrade course. From a purely logistical standpoint these are a nightmare to plan. Marines have to take these courses in conjunction with their normal duties. So find a time when the instructor, and a large enough class are free, and then getting cleared to do it by your unit can take months. It's like waiting for the stars to align.
   Each belt has different skills and moves to learn. Fighting multiple opponents, disarming and using the opponents weapons, killing moves vs. capture and containment. There are also lectures and warrior studies (essays on people, cultures, battles...).

   And each belt level has a certain amount of hours that need to be completed doing MCMAP work. To go from a tan to gray belt it is a minimum of 25 hours. For the higher level belts it is up to 300 hours. These courses are not easy. In the last course Gilbert ran (meaning he was the instructor) he led his Marines on a five mile hump (hike) with a 30 pound ammo can, and a huge jug of water in his pack. That was just the warm up. After that they started the actual training. The point of this was to get then used to fighting when they are already exhausted. In most combat situations they are not going to be fresh as a daisy.

   They learn to fight in mud, water, sand and any other place you can imagine.

   That's just the training to get a belt upgrade. To become an instructor they have to go to a special 3 week school. And to become and IT (Instructor Trainer) they go to Quantico, Virginia and attend an arduous 2 month course. I say arduous because when Gilbert went he called and told me about a guy who got a compound fracture on his leg, on the second day! By the time he was done Gilbert had lost around 10 pounds (he only weighs a buck sixty-three normally) had tendinitis in both arms and legs, blackened both of his eyes, partially torn a ligament in his forearm, and been stabbed by a stick. Not to mention bumps, bruises and muscle fatigue. 

      He was telling me that to upgrade to third degree black belt one afternoon he had to take don his partner 180 times. Then his partner had to turn around and do the same thing to him. Can you imagine getting knocked on your ass 180 time in one afternoon? No wonder he can come home and eat ice cream with brownies, fudge, caramel, and whip cream. And sprinkles. While maintaining like zero percent body fat. Bastard.
   There are around 200,000 men and women in the Marine Corps. Out of those 200,000 less then 20 carry those three red stripes. And Gilbert is one of them.
   I can't properly express how proud I am of him. How in awe I am of his achievements. Good job Devil Dog. Your girls miss you! Only 53 more days until we see you again!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  When I was in high school I made a bucket list. This was before calling it a ‘bucket list’ became cool. Some things were pretty basic; get married (check), have a baby (check, check, check), learn to drive a stick (uncheck). Some were a little more far reaching; travel to every continent, learn to speak all of the romance languages (Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese). But one was something that I’m sure at some point most girls held near and dear to their hearts; go to a ball.
  I’m not talking about prom where a bunch of horny teenagers get dressed up, try to sneak alcohol and hang out in the high school gym. A real ball. Like the annul Marine Corps Ball were a bunch of horny teenage Marines ask strippers to be their dates and then they try to sneak alcohol. No joke, the first ball I went to with my husband half of the dates were found at Toys Topless.
  But the MC Ball is more than young Marines trying to impress chicks with their smokin’ hot dress blues. It’s a night imbued with tradition. And it is kind of a big deal.
  Around this time of year I start seeing posts about the trouble finding the right dress, or complaints about the ticket price. You would be shocked at just how expensive this one night is. Dress, shoes, jewelry, make-up, hair, dry-cleaning his blues, new medals (these things are freaking spendy! You’d think if they earned the medal they wouldn’t have to pay for them.), and of course the tickets themselves. And that’s just the prep work.
  Next you have to find a baby sitter. This part is brutal. Most military wives depended on other wives to act as babysitters for those rare occasions when they can escape their children (and I do mean rare, until my oldest was three years old the only times she was ever away from me were when we visited home and my mom watched her while we caught a movie, or when my mom came to visit and watch her while we went to the ball.) So on a night when all your friends are trying to ditch their kids too, it’s a race to get a dependable babysitter.
  You have a teenager? Can they spell their name? Can they be trusted to get the kids out of the house in case of a fire? Great! What time will they be over? It’s going to cost HOW much? Do you accept kidneys?
  Finally everything is in its place. You’re in your dress, your husband looks like a prince in his uniform, and it’s time to go to the ball. So let’s talk about behavior.
  A friend of mine was annoyed that she had to attend a class on etiquette before this year’s ball. She has been a Marine wife for twenty years so she knows how to conduct herself at a function like this. Unfortunately many wives these days don’t have her class and common sense.
  Instead of looking for a beautiful, romantic gown many now go for a different look. You know the one were the combined weight of their self-tanner and makeup is more than the material of their dress?
  I don’t want to be catty. I truly think women get blasted enough, that we should spend more of our time lifting up other women, not dragging them down with nasty comments, but dang. Really? Yes military life is stressful, and yes this is often a couples only date all year long. It is a cause for celebration and relaxation. But it is still a work function. Not the time or place to audition for girls gone wild.
  This means, in my opinion, that it is not okay wear something that is too small for my five year old to fit into. It is not okay to talk, text and be disruptive through the ceremony portion of the night. It is not okay to make-out over the salad. It is defiantly not okay to get completely shitfaced and knock the CO’s teenage daughter over a chair (yes this really happened).
  Please don’t come up to my husband in a drunken haze asking to get your picture with him, just to spill your drink on his uniform. Please do not chew me out because my husband kept yours working late last week. Don’t be a harpy to the staff.
  Don’t pick a fight, or spend the night barfing in the bathroom. And please, please, please, do not drive drunk. You are smart enough to know it’s dangerous. Not just because of the risk of a wreck, but when you get caught, and my husband gets a call at 3am, he is not going to be a happy man.
  This should be a fun night. You get to dress up, have adult conversations and be a part of something most others will never have a chance to experience.
  Enjoy the location. I’ve been to some pretty cool balls. One held at a beautiful hotel on the Pudget Sound, one on the USS Missouri floating on Pearl Harbor, and the last one was at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
  Offer to buy a drink for your (or your husbands) superiors. Laugh when you hear the youngest Marine in attendance was born in 1993 (Damn, I feel old). Enjoy a meal that you didn’t have to prepare, and don’t have to clean up.
  Stop by the table left empty in honor of all the lost Marines.
  Dance and be happy.
  Just remember when the night is over and your husband goes back to work the next day, each and every one of his coworkers will be talking about the girl who got drunk and booed in the middle of the Commandant’s speech. Don’t be that girl.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Over The Rainbow

   My baby is one! I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. Wasn't I just walking around the halls of Tripler Army Medical center, in a too thin hospital gown, waiting to go into the OR and get this baby out? Now she's a big bad one year old. Okay, she's actually really tiny and super mellow. But still. It's going way to fast!
   At least we had a great party. I know that I only have a few years with each child were I get to make all the decisions for them. Clothing choices, Halloween costumes, and of course birthday party themes. I try to keep into account the child, but honestly, it's my decision. MINE ALL MINE!!! I may not be able to pee alone, but I will damn well choose the cake.
   So for Soph's big day we went with a rainbow theme. It seems to be really popular lately. I can see why. It's easy to find stuff around the house that fits in, so you don't have to spend an arm and a leg on something you'll use once. It has lots of creative food options, and what child doesn't like bright, fun colors?
   I had so much fun getting everything ready. I started with her outfit. I knew a tutu was a must so when the craft store was having a sale on tulle, I stocked up on a spool in every color of the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, don't forget there's purple too. Rainbow colors for me and you! (If your kids are a fan of Micky Mouse Club House you will know this song. I've spent a lot of time this last month singing it.)
   I also got an iron-on "birthday girl" patch, a white onsie, sequin head band, bright flower clip, and some ribbon.
   After a lot of cutting I made my, her, tutu. I think everything turned out ADORABLE!

  Since I was on a roll doing the tutu, I made a skirt for her Bumbo and a wreath using the same method. The tutu, skirt, and wreath cost less than $15 to make. I got the tulle and ribbon on sale. The wreath form was half a length of plumbers piping that I got for $1.99 at the hardware store. It was meant to be a circle, but this stuff was flimsy, so I went with a rectangle instead. The letters I got as is for 99 cents each. I'm sure I could have made them with left over cardboard and some glitter from my girls craft box, but I was running low on time, so they were worth the three dollars.

   Next I worked on the cake. That was an epic fail. Pinterest fans have probably seen pictures of a beautiful layered rainbow cake. This is how mine turned out.

   Not what I had pictured. And the sticks? To keep it from falling over. Again. So with this fail behind me, I tried again. Different battle tactic. Screw layers, we're going mixed. With clean white frosting.

   I think it was a hit. In fact, I am amazed she ate it all. I mean, all! She did offer to share with me though.

   I made cupcakes with the left over batter from her cake. It was a lunch time party, so I didn't think we needed a whole other cake and ice cream. It worked out perfectly. Here's what the insides looked like.

   I wanted to keep the food light, and in the rainbow theme. And of course I wanted a lot of it to be stuff that the birthday girl could eat. So I went with fruit and veggie trays, wraps and a corn salsa we're all fans of. Since I'm trying to watch my girlish figure I also didn't want to get a lot of pop that wouldn't get drunk, so we made an awesome punch with jelly cranberry sauce and ginger ale. (I may have added some vodka to the left overs for a treat after the girls went to bed.)

   After the cake, a quick bath, and a costume change, Sophie opened her presents. We had a great time. She wont remember it, but Sophie will have some great pictures of her big day! Thank you to our wonderful family for such great time!

Getting some loves from Grandma

   And don't forget Daddy! Thanks to Amazon, he did all the shopping for her gifts, and even took this amazing picture. I think the machine guns really scream "Happy First Birthday". He may be half a world away, but he's always involved!

Friday, September 7, 2012



   I love to cook, and I really love to bake. And of course I love to eat! Most of the stuff I make goes straight to my belly. And not in the good digestion way, but  in the, I'm gonna hang out here and jiggle kinda way. So for the most part I try to contain myself.
   This is the recipe I am most famous for in my family. It is also one that I can eat a lot of without feeling guilty. You'll find that I am an extremely precise cook. I'll use lots of technical terms like "some" or "a handful" or even the complex "about". And I promise I wont leave out ingredients so that mine will always taste better, like my grandma does. Or give you the recipe written in Finish. Also like my grandma does. ;)

Erin's Salsa

1 can stewed tomatoes (whatever brand, whatever blend you like)
1 largish onion (I'm fond of Walla Walla's or Maui Sweets, but white is just fine)
2 good sized jalapeños
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2-4 tablespoons hot sauce (start with 2 and keep adding until you like the flavor)
Juice of half a lime
Salt & Pepper to taste

   I've used many ways to make this salsa, with a food processor, blender, most recently with a Pampered Chef food chopper. Sometimes I've hand cut it all with a knife. I'll use whatever is handy.    Hand cutting gets the chunkiest salsa, if you like it more smooth, go with a food processor. I get the most varied results with the blender, but most often it is very smooth, with very little texture. I like this when I plan to eat it with popcorn. 
   I know, it's weird, but it is healthy and sooooo good. Try it. Oh, don't just poor the salsa over the popcorn. That's disgusting. Dip my friends, dip. This is a great mindless TV munchie.

1. Drain the liquid out of the tomatoes into a medium sized bowl. You want that liquid! Dice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
2. Dice the onion and garlic and add to the bowl.
3. Cut off the ends of the jalapeños. It should be shaped like a tube. Using a spoon scoop out the seeds and membrane. Discard. Be careful about touching the jalapeños. And be sure to wash your hands well afterwards. And maybe just keep them to yourself. Don't, you know, clean gubbers out of your six month old's eye, and leave her screaming in agony. Or something stupid like that. Ehem. I now use the little plastic produce bag as a glove.
4. Dice the jalapenos and add them to the bowl.
5. Pick a good sized handful of cilantro leaves. Bunch and roll it into the tightest ball you can. Dice it up, and throw it in the bowl. If 20% of your blood is made up of cilantro, like my hubby, add more. If you're not such a big fan, stick to a small handful of leaves.
   *If your using a blender or food processor, all you really need to do is cut the veggies into manageable pieces and toss them in. Pulse until you get desired consistency. Then add the rest of the ingredients.
6. Add the first two tablespoons of the hot sauce and the juice of half a lime. Add a few good pinches of salt and and one of pepper.
7. Stir it all up and give it a try. If you want to make it taste more fresh, or tomatoey, cut up some fresh tomatoes. If you want to taste more like restaurant, or canned salsa add more hot sauce.

A few more notes:
* This recipe also tastes wonderful with fresh tomatoes. When we lived in Hawaii, the commissary didn't always have the best produce. Weird, huh. So that's when I started to use the canned. And it stuck. If you do want to go fresh, use three large tomatoes, stems cut off.
* If you like it hot, add another jalapeno, or even add a Serrano to the two jalapenos.
* If you aren't a fan of the heat, skip the jalapenos, and go for a Anaheim or two. These taste SO good in this recipe.
* The lime and garlic help preserve this salsa, but not for long. This needs to be eaten within 2 weeks.
* This is a great base recipe. Add a cup of frozen corn, don't even thaw. Drained black beans are also delish.
* Salsa isn't just for chips. I love it on Triscuits. Try it over grilled chicken. Or like I said earlier, with popcorn. My two year old, Alli, eats it with a spoon. No joke, the kid loves salsa.

A final note, please excuse the lack of the tilde over some of the n's in jalapeno. For some reason, my computer automatically put it on some, but wouldn't on others. To be honest, I wasn't feeling the drive to investigate, and fix the irregularity. Carry on.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


   I survived, I mean, she survived her first day of kindergarten! After half an hour of tears, and clinging ,and protests of not being ready, I finally calmed down enough to drive home. How did my little girl do? Great! In fact she kept telling me to leave! "All the other parents are still here, you can't make me go yet!"

   All joking aside, we did great. We have talked about kindergarten all summer, and always talked about how fun it would be, all the exciting activities she would do, and how many friends she would make. Most importantly, we were very careful not to associate anything negative with starting school. This is something to be excited about! Like going to Disneyland!
   I admit, I had worries. My oldest is smart and definitely likes being in charge, but let's face it, the girl likes being taken of care of. When she was a baby, she refused to hold her own bottle. I mean, she would not do it. If it came down to starving or holding her own bottle, she would choose to starve. She was perfectly capable of doing it, just wanted us to hold it for her. Same with feeding herself solids. At the great age of five it's not uncommon to hear her beg one of us to feed her. She's even asked her two year old sister to feed her!
   She's content for me to dress her, and she'll hate me later for saying this, but it took over a year to get her to put her pants back on after she went to the bathroom. She would be fully dressed going in, and I'd see her later rockin her undies, because it was too much work to pull her shorts back up. Thank God we lived in Hawaii and shorts were all we had to worry about! If I had to get that girl to pull a snow suit, or jumper back up, I would have been in for a battle royal!
   So with all this selective dependence, I wondered how she would do when she couldn't ask her teacher to open up her yogurt for her, or take her to the bathroom, and make sure she got back to the classroom okay. And goodness did I stress about her getting to her class each morning! I couldn't just leave her in front of the school, ten minutes before class started, and really expect her to get to the right place could I? She's just a baby! My baby!
   I lost sleep over this stuff. I just had to keep reminding myself, they are professionals! There will be adults to look after her, to tell her were to go, to help her with that tricky yogurt, and to makes sure she doesn't go to the bathroom and just take a trip out to the playground unsupervised.
   After I had wrestled these worries into submission I started worrying about my husband. This was a big moment for Bella, and most likely, he would miss it completely. I mean, he's deployed, so I knew he wasn't going to be there, but I had at least hoped he would call or Facetime. But of course, he would become unavailable, starting, you guessed it, Bella's first day!
    Someone was smiling down on us, and because of the time difference, Gilbert was able to Facetime Bella before she left for school. My wonderful husband forgo sleep to call his oldest child in the middle of his night and wish her well on her big day. He was even there for a picture!

  I love technology!
   It was a busy morning for us. We had to have the traditional 'first day pancakes' (a tradition my mom started). We had to fix the princess hair. Wash, blow dry and flat iron! And we had to have plenty of time for pictures.
   I've spent plenty of time lately perusing Pinterest in search of the perfect 'first day' picture. How was I going to document this momentous day? After all, this is a big decision. I have to live with, and repeat it for the next 12 years. My head might explode if I had to switch themes halfway through her school years. So it had to be perfect, and you know, easy, cause I'm lazy. But I couldn't pick just one, so I kinda went crazy. Here are my favorites:

    Funny story. In preparation of the picture above my family was asking Bella what she wanted to be when she grew up. Did she want to be a doctor, singer, painter or astronaut? A fire fighter, verterinarian, dancer or scientist? All of these awesome options were meet with exsaperated "Mommy's". I was at a loss. Then my mom asked if she wanted to be in managment. Bella looked intrigued. "Do  you want to be the boss, Bella?" That was it. Her eyes lit up. Bless her pointy little head, she wants to be the boss. The perfect job for her. Miss Delegation herself. What makes it even more funny is my parents. My mom workes in management for the city, and my step-dad is part of the city's largest union. So we always joke about my mom working for "the dark side" and trying to recruit people over. Point one for Grandma! Get your dark cape at the door.
   See the cute little printed out paper? I haven't uploaded it yet, but I had her write her name on it. I'm going to keep that, and by keep I mean take a picture of it, put it in a safe place and never see it again. But that's okay, cause I'll have the picture of it. And on her last day of kindergarten I'll print out that picture and have her sign it again. We'll be able to see how her writing changed this year. I'll do this every year and see how her style evolves!
   I hope your "first day" went as fantastic as our did! And wish me luck as I continue to let go of my babies, one white knockled finger at a time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


   I love a good laugh. It's  not hard to get me to smile. From the knock-knock jokes my five year old tells me to the sarcastic memes, and yes often even the offensive jokes told in whispers. I love 'um all! And if you are dumb enough to give me your cell number I'm not shy about sharing.
   Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Like this morning. It's just one of "those" days with my girls. I had high hopes to go do some damage to the gift card my hubs sent me for my birthday (Thanks Babe!) but after the 10th warning, 3rd time out and 2nd meltdown, I was not in the mood to try and keep my heathens happy while I tried on clothes. I was not in the mood for much of anything. Except maybe hunting down a band of gypsies and seeing if they wanted to buy my children.
   I was on a ledge. Look at me wrong and I might have snapped. So I took a time out myself and did one of my favorite things. I got on Pinterest and turned to the "humor" page. I have now put the gun and knife away and am ready to share a smile.
   So lets have some fun! Seeing as it's Sunday, let's keep it  PG. What are your favorite Popsicle stick jokes? Share some, PLEASE. Help a mommy out.
   Some of my favorites:

What did the buffalo say to his kid when he left for collage?
Why did the picture go to jail?
It was framed.
What do lawyers name their daughters?
What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef.
   You laughed, admit it! Thanks to Pinterest, here are some of those memes I was talking about:

   I hope this brightened your day! Remember, we love our children!!! Really!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Before You Marry A Marine


   The divorce rate in the military is astronomical, and it is no surprise. It is a life unlike anything you've ever known, unless you were a military brat. And really there is no way to prepare for it. I can't count how many hours my husband has spent working with Marines and their spouses helping them through their issues. Or how many complaints I've heard at the playground. Let me be clear, there is a difference between venting frustration and being a nagging negative shrew. Some people are just NOT cut out for this life style. There is nothing wrong with thst. Before you marry a Marine think long and hard to make sure this is the life for you. And read this!

 If you plan on marring a Marine you better be independent. You need to be mentally strong, and brave and self sufficient.
   It helps to be out going and thoughtful. And sometimes self sacrificing. And able to bite your tongue.
   Know the difference between seeking help and seeking trouble.
   Be ready for nights alone. Moves alone. Births alone. Be ready for the Marine Time. If your husband says he'll be home at 4pm, be waiting at the door at 8pm. And have the dinner warm.
   Expect the man cold. In the ten years my husband has been in the Marines he has never called in sick. Not once. It's not really an option. But when he finally drags his butt home at the end of the day he is done. He has been a big bad Marine all day, and the second he walks through the door he will warp into the biggest baby on the face of the earth.
   You'll rarely see your family back home. So be prepared for birthdays and Christmases away.
  Plans will change. And change again. Nothing is official until you have it in writing. You will not know where you will be living in two years. You will not know when your husband will get back from deployment until his plane is on the tarmac.
   Get ready to speak Jarhead. I can have an entire conversation with some of my girlfriends speaking in acronyms. The head is the bathroom, the deck is the floor. CO is commanding officer, which means smile and be polite. Brig is the jail, and chow is food.
   Regardless of what Jill from Home Improvement said, military time is not hard to learn. 1am to 9am just add a 0 in front. 0700 (said zero seven hundred) is 7 am. 1100 is 11 am. After 12pm just minus 12 from the number. 1300 would be 1pm. 2000 would be? Let's see. 20-12=8, so 8pm!
   If you are not a person that rolls with the punches you better love your man (or woman) a great deal, because you are going to have a lot to deal with.
   Are you scared yet? Second guessing? Good. Now let me tell you why I wouldn't have it any other way.
   You will not want for help. Your neighbor will take out the trash while your husband is gone. If a Marine sees you trying to get that 30 pound bag of dog food into your cart, he (or she) will jump to your aid. I think I can count on my hand the number of time I have had to open a door myself. It's a little thing, but when you are juggling a screaming two year old and four bags of groceries, it means a lot when that person stands at the door a full twenty extra seconds to hold it open for you.
   Your FRO (family readiness officer) will organize social events and keep you updated. If you're having a baby and are in need of things your husbands friends and coworkers will donate like new gear. The FRO might even arrange a baby shower.
   There are so many wonderful programs. New Mommy Groups, classes for parenting and your marriage. Sports, and fun runs.
   Forget co-pay. Unless you are a special case, medical is 100% covered. Some people have complaints about the service they get on base, but I have NEVER had a problem. It is fairly easy to get appointments and you are rarely kept waiting more then 15 minutes.
   I have never once felt unsafe in my house, even when my husband is gone. It's a comfort to know that at least 10 Marines are within screaming distance. I'm sorry, but if there is something in your house that 10 Marines can't handle, no one can!
   There are parks within walking distance. Everyone you meet is in the same boat as you. It is easy to start up a conversation with a perfect stranger and be talking like old friends in minutes. You will make friends that will last a life time.
You will move. You will move a lot, but the Corps is a small enough community that no matter where you go, you will know at least one person.
   If you want a job, people on base will help you find one. They have amazing child care, at a fraction of the cost you'd find off base. I love the commissary (grocery store), and couldn't live with out the Exchange. The Exchange is like a Target. That has Coach and LV. At massively discounted prices!!
   You get to travel the world and live in place you most likely never could afford otherwise. ITT will have attractions and travel opportunities at special rates.
   You are never lacking a friendly smile, a strong back, or a shoulder to cry on.
   It's a big step marrying a Marine. A brave one. Be a credit to him. And look for the good.

   I'd love to hear more words of wisdom that fellow MC wives have to share!