marine corps, military life, recruiting duty, twins, Uncategorized

Update on our military life

Well ladies and gentleman, it’s been a chaotic last 2 years since I’ve updated this blog!

Our Marine life

We survived recruiting duty!

Yup, we are a success story out of the tons you hear about it being such a horrible duty. Yes it was lonely and it had it’s hardships but overall it wasn’t terrible. I’m not sure if it’s because of my attitude about it all or the fact that we just were civil with eachother heh. Anyhow, we did it. He did great on recruiting, he was able to pick up GySgt and got the Navy Commendation Medal because of recruiting! So to me, it was a successful, learning experience during our first 3 years of marriage and surviving with 3 kids. We learned a lot about each other and it strengthened our relationship. Would we go back to recruiting? NOPE, he says “No way in hell.” but we do know of many people who did go back and make a career out of it because picking up nowadays in the Marine Corps is pretty difficult. If you haven’t seen my older post you can read it here  about recruiting duty. So, if you’re just venturing out on your recruiting duty journey keep these 3 things in mind.

  1. Don’t take his being away from you personal, literally, it’s all business. They are essentially SUCKED IN this world and it takes a lot of their time so don’t think he doesn’t want to be with you. Trust me, they’d rather be home with you!
  2. Don’t dwell on the negativity of it all. There are LOTS of downsides to this duty but if you can survive recruiting duty, you can survive all sorts of things with your spouse or family.

The fleet

We got here and he was being bounced around a lot but finally settled into his new home/unit. BTW, he’s an Artilleryman so he loves to be outside and shoot his big guns. Anyways, once that was squared away they lay it on us that he’s deploying, GREAT! As a military wife, you brace yourself for the deployment, especially after coming off of RD, so that was no big surprise. When I met Dan he deployed shortly afterwards so I was familiar with the training that would take part before. He would be gone on and off training during the next year, then tack on the real thing after that’s all done. We tried to explain what was going on to the kids as much as possible but Claire was still fairly young, one years old. The boys did ok with him being gone, honestly it wasn’t too bad on them because they were so used to him being gone already with the RD schedule. In reality, he hadn’t been around much at all during those 3 years and now with him being around in between the work ups, that was the most he had been around the kids in general. The training was going smoothly, we were coming down to the end of things, starting to realize that reality was setting in and what happens? Yup, I found out I was pregnant!!! (that story will follow in another post)  Come October of 2016 he went on a MEU and we said goodbye to daddy and headed into the next 8+ months of our lives.



For the most part the MEU was uneventful but knowing what I knew, I had my worries. Of course, he always calmed my fears and told me he wasn’t worried and everything was going to be ok! Military wives are prepared for these things, we know the dangers and the consequences of deploying but, we can’t help worrying about the “what if’s”.  My mom came to stay with me for a couple of months after the baby was born, I was just living life in our new routine.  March 2016, while washing dishes, I get the most gut wrenching call of my life.

I’m just calling to let you know I’m ok. I got to go. I love you.”

To me, that’s about the second worst call you can receive as a spouse. I was confused by the words but hearing his voice, I knew that something had happened. You don’t just get a call like that for fun, that’s the kind of call they tell you to make. Knowing that, I hopped on the computer and started looking up articles.

I had some other wives trying to get ahold of me when the news hit but they were unable to reach me. Being our first deployment as a family, as a spouse, I really understood why it’s so important to share phone numbers and information with other spouses your husband is deployed with. Looking back now, it was something I remember seeing on Army Wives, the way they came together, prayed and just comforted each other with words. We were all bonded at that moment, all waiting, talking and trying to get our minds off of it. Thank goodness Dan was safe, most of the Marines were safe but unfortunately there were injuries and a casualty. I didn’t have the pleasure to meet him in person but my husband knew him and it was an event that rocked our small arty family. RIP SSgt Cardin, you are loved and missed by many.

After that phone call the rest of the deployment dragged on but he made it home safe. We are so proud of our Marine. We are thankful everyday that we have with him and we thank god he granted us more time with him.

It has been 3 years since we’ve been here so that means our time is up and we’re moving back to California! I’m so happy we’ll be around family and for the kids to get to be around them as well. This move will be interesting and I’ll keep y’all updated on the traveling.

Our Family Life

So we made our move to NC from VA and wooooo, let me tell you that a drive with 3 young toddlers is a battle!!! What should have taken only a few hours took WAY longer because of tantrums and well, just having toddlers. No joke, we dealt with Claire screaming and crying for 5 hours because of the crying ping pong game. If you want to travel with toddlers, I highly advise otherwise! Unless of course, you’re drinking (not while YOU’RE driving 😉 ) but it’s definitely an experience for the books! Once we got here I realized that this base/town isn’t as family oriented as I though it would be. I mean, I haven’t seen this many strip clubs and bars so closely grouped together since Vegas haha. This place has grown on me a bit but I just wish this city would get with the program and please, FINISH PINEY GREEN!! If you’ve lived on Lejeune in the past 10 years, you know what I’m talking about!! So before Dan deployed I got pregnant. I literally, bawled when I took the test, even though I knew it was going to be positive. Not because I didn’t want another child (we had been tossing the idea back and forth for a while) but because I knew it was going to happen while he was gone. I found out in April 2016 and was due on Dan’s birthday so, there was another clumping of birthdays together right there because we have three in August and now three in January! Again, I’ll do another detailed post about baby #4 later. As if life wasn’t chaotic enough, we added on another and honestly, it hasn’t been too bad. The juggling part is the hardest, plus the no sleep and the lack of time for myself now but overall, it hasn’t been horrible. The kids adore him and I have to say it pulls at those heart strings of mine inside when I see them all play together and enjoy each other’s company. Having four kids under the age of five is crazy, tiring and just crazy but I love that they’ll all grow up together and they’re close in age.





So that’s basically the last 2 years summed up!


cook, food, kitchen, military life, recruiting duty, SAHM, Uncategorized

Pictures and tacos

My almost 8 month handsome boys!

Last Friday we had their “6 month” (we did them late due to her schedule, but they are almost 8 months now) done! I’m so excited/anxious to see how they turned out, I hope they turned out ok. It was sunny, which was great, but it got colder towards sunset and then it was a bit windy. I had the cutest outfits for them to wear and was sort of bummed it was chilly/windy out so I didn’t get to put their shoes on because I didn’t want to make them more miserable. They were fine in the beginning but started getting cranky when their noses were red and runny, plus, they were cold. We had to take a couple breaks to keep them warm so everything was a bit rushed, I didn’t want to chance them getting sick since they haven’t been yet. This is the same photographer that we’ve been using and she is great. She is seriously sweet and we are going with her “baby’s first year” package she has so we did a maternity, newborn, 6 months and will do their 1 year later on. I’m so excited to put together a little collage with all the pictures we’ve gotten. If you’re in the northern Virginia area check her out! Her name is Marian Lozano and she does wonderful work, I love that she does simple photos and captures people wonderfully.

One of the outfits for picture day

Gosh, I can’t believe they’ll be 8 months old already, the time has gone by at an ok pace but it’s really been a blur. I can hardly remember my pregnancy or the first 6 months really and that’s something to say because when I usually say things like that, i’m drunk ;). Overall they’ve been great an now that my BC pills are regulating my hormones now, I can really enjoy them which is fantastic.

So, speaking of feeling better, i’ve realized that I haven’t really cooked lately, which is odd because I love to cook and i’ve been wanting Mexican food. So while we shopped at a new supermarket, Food Lion (new to us since we’re new to the area) I saw some pork and decided that we haven’t had carnitas for a while. I picked up the ingredients: boston butt, cilantro, corn tortillas, jalapenos and we headed home. They’ve been kinda fussy the past couple of days so it was really a 2 day process to make. I cooked the carnitas on Monday night and put everything together today for dinner. I’ll post the recipe below on what I did with the carnitas. I went a little out for this because I didn’t like the flavor of the tortillas, they tasted a bit sweet and it just didn’t taste right to me. Now, i’ve been wanting to make corn tortillas for a while but usually forget or get lazy so this was a perfect opportunity to do it! So all in all, for dinner tonight it’s carnita tacos with homemade salsa roja and corn tortillas, oh, and also some flan since I haven’t had that for a while either. I gotta say too, that fresh corn tortillas make ALL the difference and now, will never go back to store bought corn tortillas! I also think next time, to get a prettier red color, i’ll toast a guajillo chile to add more umph to the redness.


Carnitas braised in milk

3 1/2-4lb boston butt or pork shoulder

1 ceylon cinnamon stick (not as strong a flavor as regular) or cinnamon stick broken into small pieces

3 garlic whole garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 white onion cut into chunks

1/4 cup orange juice or juice of 1 orange

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

2 tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2-1 tsp mexican oregano (1/2 if using regular oregano)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

  1. Cut the pork into big chunks and place into a bowl. Add all spices to the meat and toss to coat evenly. Brown pork in a pot and place into a large dish into one even layer.
  2. Place garlic, cinnamon and onion into the cracks of the meat.
  3. Pour liquids over meat.
  4. Drizzle a little oil over the tops of the meat that stick above the liquid to avoid drying it out then cover dish with foil.
  5. Place into a 350 degree oven and cook for 3-4 hours until tender then shred meat.
  6. Strain liquid and skim off the fat. Place 1/2 of the juice back into the dish, pour shredded meat into it and toss.
  7. Place into fridge overnight so the flavors can meld.
  8. Turn broiler on and place under until meat is heated through.
  9. When you’re ready to serve meat place a little bit of oil in a pan then fry meat until crispy, enjoy!


Salsa roja- Makes only a little, just enough for the tacos

3 roma tomatoes cut into chunks (I used 4 canned whole tomatoes)

3 garlic cloves

1 heaping handful of chile de arbol, remove stems


1 tsp kosher salt

  1. Place about 1 tbsp of oil into a pan and fry garlic and chiles. Make sure to open a window or turn your vent on!!! Fry until golden and add to blender.
  2. Add in chopped tomatoes and fry for about 2 minutes, then add in 1/4 cup water and let boil for about 2 minutes.
  3. Place everything into blender, add water or if you’re using canned then add some of the juice until everything is combined. Add more salt if needed.
marine corps, military life, recruiting duty, SAHM

The military side of my life- surviving recruiting duty


I haven’t done a post about the military side of our life so here it goes. We got married on February 12, 2012 so I don’t have too much experience as a Marine wife yet, but I do have a lot of experience with the duty we’re on now, which is recruiting duty. This post will mainly explain what this duty entails and might help anyone who has stumbled upon this for informational purposes.

Not sure how many of you reading this have dated a military man, married one or are in the military yourself but this duty is, how would I put this…….Shitty.

That’s it, it’s just plain shitty! Do you remember going to your school on career day, seeing the guys in their uniforms, walking around or having a booth set up with the military branch they’re representing? Well, that’s what my husband is doing now. They become a salesman and their pitch is selling the Marine Corps. Yup, your husband or wife is now a salesman! The market is vast, the territory is sometimes large and you can sell to any income bracket. If your husband or wife has a silver tongue, is charismatic and enjoys a challenge then this is their duty!  It involves lots of high school kids, college kids and most of all, parents. Someone may say,  “It should be easy because of the economy!” “1351605039.jpgWho doesn’t want free college?” “Graduate high school and go sign up!”  Well, that’s where it’s tricky. Since the cut backs and downsizing the military, getting in is more strict than ever. In the past people were flocking to join, it was a lot easier to get in but there are so many restrictions now. More thorough screenings and requirements that it makes it harder to get in now. Granted, you can still get in but you just have to meet all those requirements….a lot more people get turned away than you think. I’ve heard of many young kids wanting to join only to be turned away because they didn’t score high enough on the ASVAB or just weren’t qualified medically, plus the many other reasons. In certain states and areas there are many that want to join but just sadly, can’t answer the simplest of questions on the test so they’re turned away because the education minimum wasn’t met.

We started this duty on June 1st, 2011 are over halfway through! We’ll be done next June and I cannot wait to have my husband back to myself, he feels like a ghost in this house.

Why do I say this duty is shitty? Well, the hours, the hours that he spends away from us is just insane. I will see him for a total of about 2 hours a day, at night, after they’re in bed, Monday through Friday. On the weekends I see him, hopefully after 2pm on Saturday but usually not until after 5. If he doesn’t have to drive or go to an event (makes appearances at random locations to help set up a table) then we get to see him all day Sunday. Awesome right? So, let that just be a little schedule for those who are about to start recruiting duty. Usually, they get the weekends off, unless it’s their turn to drive their guys to MEPS on Sundays but they’re usually home by 3. Unless they haven’t made mission, then they get to work Saturday too. My husband falls into both those categories and has been on the 6-7 days a week the whole time we’ve started.

I will say, your recruiting duty experience will depend heavily on a few factors:

  1. Where he/she is recruiting out of– The area will really determine how hard of a time they have. Some areas are easier than others and we are in a hard to recruit area.
  2. Their boss– If their boss is an ass, works them all the time and is lazy or, just an ass, then that’ll mean long hours and them being ridden hard like the cheap $2 an hour burro you would rent down in TJ.
  3. If they make mission– If they’re scrambling around to put in guys at the last minute, that usually means all hands on deck, even if they’ve put in their people for the month.
  4. The kind of RS they’re with– Some RS’s will grant holidays off and usually that will be on down the RSSs but, #2 or #3 will override that.
  5. The other recruiters in the office– If they get stuck with lazy recruiters, then they’ll be picking up the slack and that usually means, your guy is stuck late, again. Also refer to #3.

This duty has a lot of stressors in it. Not only are they constantly working to put write up contracts, they are just always working towards the next month. #1 can really make the whole experience stressful in itself. There are stations out there that are known for being real shitty because they can’t get any quality people in. The areas can be great or a living hell. Scraping at the bottom of the barrel is hard enough but it’s worse when you have to find quality scraps down there to write up. Going in the opposite direction is if you get a good area they think they’re too good for the military and the parents/community have the same mindset. Then there’s also the ones who know someone who’s dad or uncle or whatever is up the chain and you have to get them in. So it can go all sorts of ways depending on the area you’re in. To expand on #4 there are well known RS’s out there, some people gravitate towards certain districts to get into the RS they want. Dan wanted a certain district to go to a certain RS. There are ways you can up your chances of getting where you want to go while in school by making phone calls and getting your name in there. You’re sent to where your needed, pretty much based on that Marine’s background and where he’d fit best at. If there’s an opening at a station you want to go to, make those phone calls and talk to the SNOIC and the CO, play your cards right and they’ll put your name in to get you there.

With all that said, it’s hard on the recruiters and their families with this duty and will no doubt, test things at times. Before we started, I told him that no matter what stress he had at work, he needed to leave it there and we wouldn’t have any problems. For the most part that has worked out and we haven’t any problems. Taking care of the kids alone is hard but it’s one of those things you just learn to deal with on this duty. It is what it is and you just need to push through those rough times and focus on the end. Luckily for us they’re still babies so they don’t really notice it and this is going to sound bad but, they don’t even really miss him because he hasn’t been around much. Tough to hear, I know, but it’s the truth. This job takes them away from family and can be rough on older kids who are aware of what’s going on so just brace yourself for that. On top of you missing your husband, your kids will too and may have a hard time coping. He hasn’t taken any time off since we’ve started because if he does, he’ll be behind and it’ll put more stress on him, just thinking of taking leave stresses him out. Heck, when the boys were born he was on his phone working because his boss was blowing it up asking all sorts of questions!  This duty has changed my happy, sweet, caring, funny, polite, helpful Dan into a bitter, cranky, lazy Dan. Being alone sucks, especially when your husband is right there, but you can’t see him, spend time with him or enjoy him to much because you can see the stress of the duty weigh him down . We’ve had our challenges, but I like to think we’re doing pretty darn good.

*Edit 2/21/13- I found this link and thought she did a way better job than I could have to describe this duty!

*Edit 2/23/13- Someone was asking about the different wording and terms in a group and I came upon this list. Just for those curious about the lingo you’re going to hear all about!

Besides the shitty part of it all, yes, you can get through it and that’s what we’re doing. I’ll share some of my own tips/thoughts on how to survive. You’ll both need to get on the same page but it can be done and you can get through it.

  • Enjoy what time you have with him/her– Sometimes they may be tired and just don’t want to do anything. Sometimes it can be frustrating that they just want to stay home but soak that up. Snuggle together, enjoy the quiet, get the kids in on it. Plan activities you can do at home together, anything just to enjoy time with your spouse.
  • Quality time/romance– The little time you have together is precious so make the most of it. Get a date in, re-kindle that flame, talk about things besides recruiting, anything to get that quality time in together. I will say though, for most, their sex life tends to go downhill because of the stress!
  • Be empathetic– As I’ve explained in this post, this duty can be very hard on them. It’s a constant 12+ hour a day job and they might be cranky because a kid changed his mind, might have to go to a last minute event, or has to cancel plans with you because he has to drive a kid up to MEPs late.
  • Find time for yourself– Yes, you might not see them a lot but that doesn’t mean that should stop you from doing what you want to. Face it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time alone so if you can find something that occupies your time then go for it. Keeping busy is better than sitting there, watching the clock, upset that he’ll miss dinner/cancel plans again because of work.
  • Sometimes they won’t talk– You know, some days he used to come home and just be silent. I used to think I did something wrong….all sorts of thoughts went through my mind but after talking to him I calmed down. They talk all day long on the phone, in person, argue with another recruiter, talking to strangers……it gets to them. Just resting their voice box is what they want.
  • Have stuff for them to do– As military wives, you’ll have to do a lot of stuff on your own sometimes but that doesn’t mean they can just sit around and do nothing. Give them weekly jobs! For instance, he knows to take out the trash every Monday/Thursday and take the dog out in the morning. Being understanding of the duty is key but hey, that doesn’t allow them a free pass on helping around the house!
  • Visit if you can– Some wives I know will go to the office to visit their husbands. Ask him tell you his schedule for the day and sneak in a lunch/early dinner if you can, even bring the kids if that’s ok. Get in that time to see him when he has a moment to spare.
  • Help out when you can– Like I said, this duty is very demanding but help out where you can. I’ve made breakfast sandwiches for him to take every morning that sit in the freezer, or I will sometimes pack up his lunch/dinner, buy him snacks and have him keep them at the office or buy him a pack of red bull. They practically live out of their office and govy so having things nearby cuts time from getting food or things somewhere else.
  • Get to know other wives in the office– Ask him if the other recruiters are married and make friends! I’ve met the wives at his old office and talk to one of them, the other I don’t have her info but i’ve hung out with them at the balls and they’re both great. If they lived closer I’d do play dates or just hang out.
  • Find an online group if you can– I actually met two other ladies off of a FB group from our RS. It was great because at my first ball, I met up with them and now we talk often.
  • Socialize at the balls– The recruiting balls are based on each RS so you’ll meet all the recruiters and their wives/husbands there. Each table is based on each RSS so you’ll get a chance to meet everyone there.
  • Talk to your FRO– There are usually retreats and activities going on that the FRO will know about so go to some of those! I’ve been to a L.I.N.K.S class while on this duty and met some other wives there.
  • If you can, work some– If you can’t find something to occupy your time working full or part time is great. Seriously. I say that because you’ll be spending lots of time by yourself and working, even if its not full time, will help you get to know other people and the area. Plus, a little extra money is great if it goes towards your budget or just your own spending account ;). I’ve made some friends from the job I used to have, I had to quit because of the boys.
  • Get involved locally– Can’t work or have kids? Finding local mom groups or volunteering in the community is great. It helps keep you busy and you may make some friends! Also, it can’t hurt to pass your husband’s business card to someone whose interested ;).
  • There is opportunity for advancement on this duty– You can get meritoriously promoted, lots pick up by becoming an 8412 and many choose to run their own station. Dan took over as the SNOIC of a station because he wanted to have a leg up come promotion boards.

Those are the main ones I think of when it comes to getting through this duty. Dan just recently became SNOIC of his own station so we’ll see how the hours go from here, they should get better, right? lol. If you have any other suggestions, go ahead and comment with them!

*BTW the hours don’t really change! He got his weekends back so that was a bonus! He didn’t work as late, unless they were behind on mission, but he just ended up dealing more with the higher ups.


Out of all the memes I’ve come across for recruiting duty, this is my favorite!



*2/11/17- WOW so I didn’t think that this would be the most viewed post! I’m glad that this has been a source of some insight for people. I know when we started this duty there was hardly any information out there. Sure there was the technical stuff but no real insight to the experience . This has been viewed lots of times so I really do hope it’s been helpful to those out there. I just had a conversation with a MGySgt last night about the whole recruiting experience. There really is that classic, silent head nod given to other Marines when they see the recruiting ribbon. He was a drill instructor before and then did another b billet as a recruiter and he even said “I’d rather do  DI again than do another round of recruiting.”