Daily Life of a Marine Mom

A Piece of My Heart is home from Iraq


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

In honor of our men and women serving in the Armed Forces, I want to pass on the link to a beautiful and touching tribute done for our servicemen and women.

May you all honor and pray for our troops and our fallen heroes during this Memorial Day weekend.

Click here to view "The Amercian Flame".

And may God be with all our Armed Forces and bless us all.

Semper Fi.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

I'm surprised and very pleased that all my kids remembered me for Mother's Day this year! I think that is a first hehe.

I want to share a funny little video with you all that was created by a group of very talented Army fellows in Ramadi, Iraq which is where Eric spent his 7-month tour recently. I'll play this for a few days in honor of all our soldiers that in the Al Anbar provience, the most dangerous place in Iraq. I am praying for you all daily. I have a special place in my heart from these soldiers since the two SSgt.s that made the video are both from Indiana!

Just click the play button on the media player directly above the blog area (have to visit my Spaces blog for this one ... go here http://spaces.msn.com/faefyre). This one rivals the Kosovo Video!! Enjoy!

Semper Fi and God Bless you all.

Cool! These Hoosier soldiers are becoming stars in Indiana hehe. Check out the article about them in the Indy star. Way to go guys!

Hoosier soldiers rap about 'Lazy Ramadi'

Inspired by parodies of SNL short film, guardsmen post their ode to Iraq online
By Jon Murray

Armed with their rifles and a digital camera, two Indiana National Guardsmen have captured a three-minute ode to Iraq that riffs on the insurgency, daily life in the desert and pizza back home. Click here to read the rest of the article!


Monday, May 15, 2006

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the faithful mothers out there. This is for you.

Semper Fi and God Bless you.

"Why God made moms" answers given by elementary school age children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.

2. Mostly to clean the house.

3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.

2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.

3. God made my Mom just the same like! he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.

2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom?

1. We're related.

2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your Mom?

1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.

2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.

3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?

1. His last name.

2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?

3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your dad?

1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.

2. She got too old to do anything else with him.

3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.

2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.

3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?

1. Moms work at work & work at home, & dads just go to work at work.

2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.

3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.

4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time.

2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.

2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.

2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.

3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back.


I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.

"Why?" my daughter asked.

"Because it's been laying outside, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs" I replied.

At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked,

"Wow! How do you know all this stuff?"

"Uh,"..I was thinking quickly, "All moms know this stuff. It's on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy."

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information. "OH...I get it!" she beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy."

"Exactly" I replied back with a big smile on my face and joy in my heart.

When you're finished laughing, send this to a Mom.


"Dear Lord," the preacher began with arms extended and a rapturous look on his upturned face, "without you we are but dust..." He would have continued, but at that moment one very obedient little girl (who was listening carefully) leaned over to her mother and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mommy, WHAT is butt dust?" Church was pretty much over at that point.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sorry no blogs lately ... only got time for a quick update now. Eric left for his base in California Saturday and it took him till late Sunday night to get there! That is a long story in itself and I promise I will post it soon. Let's just say that someone didn't do what they said they would do and he ended up in Las Vegas with no ride and no telephone numbers of the few people he does know there! But being a resourceful Marine he did finally make it back to base!

But .. my biggest and happy news revolves around Ben Hardgrove! You HAVE to go and read the latest updates on him that his mom has posted at (link is FIXED) CaringBridge (click here to visit Ben there)! Thank you God, one day after they Ben there where his family could be with him .. THEY HAD HIM OUT OF BED AND WALKING A FEW STEPS WITH SUPPORT!! OORAH Ben! I knew you could do it!!

Ben still has a long road ahead ... but he is starting to get better and I will continue to keep you updated on his progress!

For now its time for me to head to work. Have a wonderful day and God Bless you all!

Semper Fi


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Well, Eric heads back out to his home base in California on Saturday and my heart is already breaking. The past few weeks having him at home has spoiled me rotten! Right now he has spent the last four days over in Ohio with his father and I miss him a lot. Hopefully he will be home tonight so we can spend a little more time together before he leaves again. At least he won't be going back to Iraq anytime soon so I can breathe a little easier. Although according to him ... he likes being over there doing his job! Makes me want to smack him as well as cheer him on! Such conflicting emotions envelope the mothers of dedicated Marines all over the world I am sure. For now I want to pass on a little info that I think all military families should know.

For one .. a fellow blogger has sent me a link to an award winning story that I think everyone should read. I have to warn you, it took me so long to post it because it is so heartbreaking, especially for those of us that feel like the Marine Corps are our families. I have posted a link to it under Tributes (see the list to the right ... coming soon) but here is a link here also: Final Salute

As the mother of a Marine I run acoss (and receive in email) a lot of information that is important to know if you are immediate family of a member of the military. The inofrmation below definitely falls into that category!

Armed Forces Emergency Services (important info for Military families)

The American Red Cross is chartered by Congress to relay messages between the military and family members. When you contact the American Red Cross try to contact the Red Cross chapter nearest to where the death/emergency happened or your local Red Cross chapter. Many recruiters and the military give parents/spouses the 800 number. When you call the 800 number they have to call the local chapter to have the local chapter verify the emergency. The caseworkers at the 800 number will not verify the emergency themselves. The message will be sent quicker if the local chapter receives the call first.

Time is always a factor, especially when a family is trying to plan a funeral and trying to get their military personnel home for a funeral. So the next thing you need to know is the time factor when sending an AFES message. This is how long it may take your military service person to receive an emergency message.

If your military service person is:

in the U.S. -- up to 24 hours (possibly longer)is aboard a ship -- 24 to 48 hours (possibly longer)is stationed overseas or in a combat zone -- 24 to 72 hours (possibly longer)

***Special note for National Guard and Reserve units activated and deployed --- Please try to have an emergency contact phone number for the unit available when contacting the Red Cross. If the Red Cross AFES caseworker has to track down a unit contact number it can add hours to how long it takes the message to reach the service person.***
It is possible that you will receive a call from your military service person in less than two hours. It all depends on where they are and how easy it is to locate the service person. This is what happens when you call the Red Cross:

1) You will be asked for your name, address and phone number and your relationship to the service person.

2) You will be asked the nature of the emergency.

3) You will be asked for the name of the person involved in the emergency or the name of he person who died. You will be asked what that persons relationship to the service person is. If the person involved in the emergency or person who died has helped in the upbringing of the service person or the service member has lived with the person be sure to tell this to the Red Cross AFES caseworker. Also, if the service person has a close relationship with the person please tell the AFES caseworker. This can make a difference in if a service person gets emergency leave or not.

4) If it is an emergency you will be asked the name of the hospital and the name of the attending physician. If it is a death you will be asked the place of death and the cause of death. You will need either the name of the attending physician or the funeral home and funeral director. If the person died in a hospital the name of the hospital is sometimes enough, the nursing supervisor can verify a death. If it is a large hospital be sure to state which part of the hospital the death occurred in (ICU, surgical recovery, emergency room, hospice). You will be asked if the funeral arrangements have been made or if they are pending. Please have phone numbers available if you have them (if not the local Red Cross chapter should be able to find the phone numbers).

5) You will be asked your service person's name, rank, social security number, birth date and unit address.

6) You will be asked if your service person is aware of the situation. You may be asked if you request the presence of a chaplain when your service person is notified. (If you are not asked and you think it would be best to have a chaplain present, please tell the AFES caseworker you want a chaplain to be there when your service person is notified)

Some other things you should know:

Emergency leave cannot be guaranteed by the Red Cross. It is up to your service person to request leave. It is up to the commanding officer to grant leave. Commanding officers do not have to grant emergency leave and in some cases will not grant emergency leave. If a unit is deployed overseas or is in a combat zone leave may not be granted. All emergency messages to the American Red Cross must be verified. This may sound intrusive but a message will not be sent until it is verified. Please let the attending physician or funeral director know that you have military personnel in the family. They will then be prepared to provide verification when the American Red Cross calls.

Because of new privacy laws you may have to sign a release form before a physician, nurse, hospital or funeral director will speak to an AFES caseworker. Please sign release forms as soon as possible.

The American Red Cross does not provide money for transportation nor do they loan money to military personnel. However, the Red Cross will help military personnel obtain loans for travel expenses through the military relief societies. The loans are repaid to the relief societies through payroll deduction. AFES can send good messages too. The American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services is there to help the families and the military personnel.

***Note for expectant mothers -

1) Currently AFES can send messages concerning births up to one month before the estimated date of delivery. The military is making an effort to grant leave to servicemen deployed to Iraq so that they can be home for the births of their children. The serviceman's command may request a verification of estimated date of delivery from an OB. The verification is obtained though the American Red Cross AFES. You may have to sign a release form so that AFES can verify this information. If there is a chance of C-section or there are complications your OB or nurse practitioner needs to tell the Red Cross when the caseworker calls to verify. Please ask your OB/Nurse practitioner's office about privacy release forms well before your estimated date of delivery. ********

Armed Forces Emergency Services are available 24 hours a day. Most Red Cross chapters have caseworkers on call after regular business hours. Call the Red Cross immediately. The sooner your call is received the sooner your military service person will get the message. If you have questions about AFES please feel free to contact me at: usnbratz@aol.com

Julie Callahan
Volunteer AFES Caseworker
American Red Cross of the Heartland
Bloomington, Illinois

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