Pre Memorial Day

I wish Memorial Day weren't so personal to me. I wish it weren't my husband who had a memorial. I wish I could just be reverant but still fancy-free tomorrow like I once was before I realized the reality of what Memorial Day is. Or better yet, I wish we didn't need Memorial Day because there were no wars and no fallen heroes.

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't always an avid celebrater of Memorial Day. It was an extra day off school and the mark of the beginning of summer. We usually had a cookout and spent time with family and friends. I am not stupid and I know there are sooo many people in America who still have that thought, and I don't blame them, not at all. Not everyone realizes what this day really signifies. Like I said, I didn't give it much of a thought years ago. I always had what I hope was a little more reverance than "average" because of my dad being a Vietnam Veteran and knowing so many people who have fallen, but never did it mean to me what it does to me now. I guess my goal is to spread awareness. That while you're enjoying your picnics, outdoor activities, beers and family time, (none of which are bad!) take just one second to look at those stars and stripes and say thank you.

Yesterday was the FUNdraiser. It turned out great. We had so much fun, I overly enjoyed free beers, people won raffles and silent auctions, and lots of money was raised for Ariana to make sure she is taken care of. It blows my mind how generous people are and how much people care, as well as how much Jonny touched so many people's lives. Really blows my mind (in a good way).

Today was pretty relaxing. Went to my sister in law's for dinner which was delicious and then just spent time with the family. It's good to spend time with them and see them with Ari since we don't get to see them very often.

Tomorrow it is off to Bay Pines, where Jonny's funeral was held, for the Memorial Day ceremony. (Yes, for all those commenters on my post a couple back - I am FULLY aware that Arlington is not the only place where veterans are buried...) I am sure it will be a great ceremony but I am a little nervous. The last time I was there I was being handed a folded flag... it hasn't been that long and is still fresh, but I know that I have the strength to do it and I know it is something I need to do. I won't be visiting Jonny, he's on my living room table at home, (I tried to bring him with us but carrying Ariana onto the plane as well as his heavy box was just a task I wasn't up to) but I do feel I need to visit with some of his fallen comrades, as they are all important.

I hope you all have a great Memorial Day and remember to take a minute and look at those colors and be proud to be American, thankful for the freedoms we have and those who died to give us those freedoms.

"Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for what we have,
Memorial Day is a day to be thankful for those who died for what we have"

Florida Fundraiser This Weekend

A few of you have asked for some details on the Memorial Day fundraiser in Florida. Here it is, and thank you all for your interest!!

It's uploading pretty small, if you click it, it might get bigger. If not the details are:

Saturday, May 29 6-9pm
Paddy Burkes
100 4th St S. St Pete

Hope to see some of you there!

My Disgust

I usually don't get into politics. I try to keep my opinions to myself, as I've sad before. But this one, well, I can't let this one lie.

First, there was a post on the Voices Washington Post thread, about how the First Lady can relate to Military Spouses. I highly, highly disagree, as I left in a comment on the particular post. Go check out the article, check out my comment, and leave your own. Many of my readers here are milspouses - how do you feel? Do you get to jet set off on vacations? Do you have your own personal wait staff? DOES YOUR HUSBAND GET BODY GUARDS ON DEPLOYMENT?? I'm not saying the First Lady's job is easy - it's a job that I have never walked in and can not imagine, just as SHE can NOT imagine walking in the shoes we walk in every single day.

Anyway, the particular reason for bringing this up, is because, once again the president is taking a (much deserved??? ha) vacay! Instead of going to Arlington National cemetery for the wreath laying ceremony, he is heading to his hometown, Chicago, where as the Washington Post says "they will visit with friends and participate in private events." Now granted, it states he will be giving "remarks" at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary, but I must ask, is he doing this because he really cares or because it's CONVENIENTLY located near Chicago where he will be partying it up with friends and family and knows the wrath he will get from the American people if he does nothing??

Showing you care for the fallen of the country, and the Armed Forces in which you are the Commander-in-Chief of, as the president, should be top priority. TOP.

And I also must ask, where is my invitation to the Gold Star breakfast (lol, kinda butt hurt about that one).

I also have one last thing to post, because tonight, I'm pissed. This girl commented on my angry Obama facebook status, and I need to document it because it's unbelievable,

Obama Supporter: Wow is all I am going to say,
I disagree with that
but I tend to get
blasted on here about my
beliefs and understand
the rights to free speech,
I proud to say that
I voted for obama, we wouldn't be in this war
If it wasn't for that dumb ass George W Bush.
(*check out that sweet grammar, by the way)

My Response: [Girl]
, your Free Speech is not appreciated on MY Facebook. Until you've walked in my shoes, I don't care what your thoughts on the president and his ditching the Arlington ceremony are, not at all. Sorry.
Me again:Oh and another response to the "George W Bush got us into this war comment" ... I guess that wasn't the Al Quaeda guys that crashed into the twin towers and the pentagon and a field in PA killing SO MANY AMERICANS on 9/11, was it? No, that wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with it. How people just FORGET that, I will never know.

Her: I'm sorry for your loss rachel, but seriously if that's the case just delete me. I'm done!

And my last response to that discussion:
Then be done, I recall you added me. I never asked for your input on my status. Actually, you didn't need to read it, comment on it, or anything. So deleted you shall be, if it's that is the case.
(*Clearly, I was mad and not making much sense at the end of that one HAHA)

REALLY?? And to any of you out there who want to tell me how wonderful he is and how wrong I am, the same responses go to you. As one commenter on my facebook status and fellow blogger Amanda, also said: "I have NEVER been involved in an Obama debate where the Obama supporter didn't revert to "look at George Bush". If Obama is so fucking great why can't you argue him on his own merits? When will he stand on his own two feet and take responsibility for his decisions and actions? When will his administration stop being a reaction to "what Bush did"?"

This isn't a discussion on whether I think the president is doing a good job, I am pissed about this incident and I am just sick of people defending him all of the time. I'm sick of the lack of support we, military and milfamilies, get from our MILITARY LEADER. I'm not going to talk on whether or not I think he's doing a good job (or whether or not I like him - that part is pretty obvious), I'm not educated in those areas enough, and I won't pretend to be and start a big debate, but this incident just boiled my blood.

And with this I leave you with a quote from our commandant when he spoke in Okinawa recently, "He may be the president, but the Marines are MINE." (Thanks, Maria)

And a big, fat, fucking OOOOORRRRAAAAHHHHHH

New Ink

I don't really have much to say tonight. Shocker for one of the most wordy people on the planet, yes? I've been pretty MIA because my mom and dad came down to NC for the week. They rented a condo on Emerald Isle and we enjoyed time together. I probably already told you all this... Anyway, there was barely any internet connection and crap cell service out there so I was even out of facebook and email world for a while - WOAH. You'd think after all this time, I'd have a lot to say but I just don't. At least not right this minute. I probably will when I get to thinking about it and will do a "real" post but right now, deal with what ya get, mmk?? Haha. Anyway, I finally got my "Jonny tattoo." You may be thinking, well Mrs. P, wasn't that your ribbon?? Well yes, in essence, but I wanted a more of a remembrance one as well. Hold on a sec, it dropped below 70 degrees tonight and I am FREEZING, let me run in and get a sweater. Ah, much better - I love writing on my front porch but I really don't enjoy shivering - when did I become such a southerner??

Ok so, the tatty... I'm not big on names or the typical "remembrance" tattoos, I like my tattoos to be unique and to tell a story. I like them each to have meaning. SO without further ado:
Please ignore the weird angle-age of my foot, it was up on the tattoo "bench" thing still and it's red because, well, a bunch of needles had been pumping in it only minutes before.

On to the explanation.. first the Button. Jonny called the baby "Buttons," when you say it, you have to pronounce the t's like t's... not the way normal people say bu-ins or however it is you strange people call it. Butt-ins. He said it like that because, if you can't already tell, I say it that way, and he thought it was cute. The first time he saw her on ultrasound he said she was cute as a button and Buttons, the name, stuck.

The Button is blue white and red, which is the French flag. Jonny, on his mom's side, was French, as am I. I also like that it is ALSO Red white and blue, American, he is an American hero. Works out perfectly.

The wording is in Italian, on his dad's side (and if you ask me, the more visible side - all the dark features... although he does look a lot like his mom, hmm) is the Italian. It means "For Eternity."

You may notice the font is very unique. It is my handwriting. I was trying to pick a font and the artist as well as some friends suggested just keeping it in my handwriting, to keep it more personal (and because I've got really neat handwriting). I loved it because not only will it make this tattoo one of a kind, but it also represents all the letters I wrote him while he was gone.

There ya have it, my tatt for my husband, as well as the relationship between my husband and our daughter. Like I said, ignore how weird my foot looks and the button looks a little oblong because of the way my foot is bent and the skin is stretched. It looks so sweet when I'm not all bendy. And check out the sweet flip flop tan I've got goin' on - true beach bum right there!

If you're wondering if it hurt, in my opinion - not that bad. The worst part was the button down on the side, the top wasn't bad at all. My ribbon on my thigh/hip area hurt the most, to me.

Since we're talking about tattoos, I'll just tell you the stories of my other 3, in chronological order.

My first one is on my left wrist. It's 3 pink stars. It is for my sorority, Phi Mu. The 3 stars are on our badge and they also represent for me Love Honor Truth - our open motto and something I strive to live by each day. I got it after our 3D ceremony, the one where we turn from active sisters to alumnae. It was pretty much a whim thing, my big and I went together and did it at the last second!

My second is on my ribs, right side. "Ceci Passera Aussi" in script. It means "This too shall pass" in French. My mom always told me growing up This too shall pass, when things were rough or I didn't want to deal with something. My mom's side of the family has a lot of French in it (I just don't like English phrases for tattoos, they're always prettier in other languages and then give a chance to explain the actual tattoo when someone asks what it says). I got this one when Jonny went to get his side piece. He was getting this big ol elaborate thing on his ribs and I decided, once again on a whim, that I wanted one as well. Lo and behold they had an open artist that day and I decided last second what I would get. Brad was with us and let me squeeze his hand while Jonny was getting his worked on.

The third one is my yellow ribbon (support the troops ribbon) which I posted about before. It's on my left hip/thigh area and I had them draw it up like it was tattered to resemble all the struggles us MilSpouses go through, (especially on deployments) but still remain intact. I got this with a fellow Marine wife Caitlin. She and I met because we were about a week apart in our pregnancy and grew very close over our time at CL. We had such similar struggles being the same amount in our pregnancies and both being our first deployment, etc etc. We got the same one in the same place. It turns out I got this one Saturday March 13, the day before Jonny died (2 days before I was notified).

Now you know more about my body than you probably ever wanted to, but hey what's life without a little sharing? And of course, what was meant to be a quick "Hey here's my tattoo" post turned into a freakin' book...

A Little Sweaty

I am NOT a runner. Not in the slightest. However, I FINISHED! I did it, I ran 3.1 miles, a complete 5k. I did not enjoy it, but, I did it! It took me 48 minutes and some odd seconds. It was a decent time though, not as miserable as I make it sound. We had such a huge turnout for our team and we raised so much money. I raised over $1,700 as an individual and we raised over $13,000 as a team! All for our wounded warriors, fighters of freedom!! Ooorah, Team 1/6 RP - so proud!!

After completing the run, I had a bit of an emotional moment. I wished I could tell Jonny what I'd done, even though he may have seen it from his spot in Heaven (and probably been giggling at me, or maybe even slightly embarassed - sorry babe) I wished that I could tell him. I wished that he could tell me Good job, baby! But instead, I could only hear it from my heart. I shed a few tears wishing that I wouldn't have had the reason to do this. Yes, maybe if this all hadn't have happened I still would have ran with my friends and raised money and made Jonny proud, but my reason for really running was to honor my fallen husband and frankly and honestly, I wish beyond wishes that I didn't have that reason. But no matter how hard I wish, nothing will change what has happened, so I just do what I can, have meltdowns and pull myself together and go on as best as I can.

After that, we've been enjoying lots of time at the beach. My mom and dad and the dogs are visiting for the week and they rented a condo at Emerald Isle. We have been soaking up the rays and just enjoying everyone's company. Good weather, and good company! We enjoyed the weekend relaxing, being a little ridiculous, and creating good memories. Because when it all comes down to it, when all is said and done, memories are all you've got to live by.

Yesterday, my CACO brought Jonny's stuff that had come back from Afghanistan. It was extremely, extremely hard. I don't think I'm quite ready to really talk about it just yet... soon, though. One of Jonny's best friends in the Marine Corps, Brad (my friend Tamara's husband) came home this weekend. He wasn't ready to see me at first, which I understand, but he came over last night. After we'd inventoried Jonny's stuff. It was good to see him. He kept apologizing and of course was upset and he said sorry for bringing back so many memories and I just was thankful he was there. Frankly, I wasn't sure if I was ready to see him either. The day of his homecoming I was pretty torn apart. I was happy he was coming home but all I could think was that I would never get this homecoming, I will never know what it's like to welcome my Jonny home and hug and kiss him after all this time. Maybe I was a little jealous, but mostly just so sad. And as he wasn't sure he was ready to see me, I wasn't sure I was ready to see him either. You see, I met Brad the same night I met Jonny, and much of Jonny and I's time together was spent also with Brad. We all always hung out together. And when I saw him last night, it's almost like there was a tiny piece of Jonny with him. Like Jonny was standing there right beside him as he always was. The memories that came back were not bad ones, they're ones I am thankful to have, and I'm thankful to have Brad to say "Hey remember that time in Aberdeen when..." because I'd been struggling lately with remembering things. I always wish I could ask Jonny if something happened a particular way, and of course there are still things that only Jonny would be able to answer, but now Brad being back home there's one more connection to Jonny, one more person who knew us together, one more person that can remind us of this story and that memory and just of us in general.

For now, I'm going to try to relax. I'm still a little emotionally drained after the events of last night and I think laying out and soaking up the rays is just what my heart is calling for.


Hello everyone, I am bugging, begging for last minute donations to the run!!! I am literally posting on facebook walls galore to remind everyone to get their last donations in. Sooo, here I am on blogger, begging for your last minute donations as well. I will just copy and paste my facebook message:

Friends and family, tomorrow is RACE DAY! I'd really appreciate any last donations you can put forth to this wonderful cause. Remember these injured and fallen guys we're running for fought for your freedom, the least you can do is donate even just $1!! Thank you to all who have donated, our team appreciates your support!!! CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Also, please put a quick prayer in that my lungs hold up through the race and I can finish as quickly and gracefully as possible!!

My Mother's Day

One year ago, today (I'm noticing this habit of beginning my stories this way, ahh memories), we found out that there would be a very high possibility of me celebrating mother's day for me the following year. That's right, we found out we were expecting! We were still on our honeymoon, having been married just 9 days before, when I was one (just one!) day late for my "crimson flow." I remember I'd been cooking some steaks and the meat just smelled nasty. I thought it had gone bad and I asked Jonny to smell it, really smell it. "I don't usually smell meat this close babe, it smells fine," I looked at him and I knew.... "I'm pregnant." He obviously didn't think that's what it was, just that I was having a crazy moment. We'd only stopped my birth control 3 weeks before (2 weeks before the wedding) and neither of us thought it could happen 'so quick.' But I, knowing my body, had a strong feeling that's what the cause of this smell-tastrophe was. So, I took out one of the handy-dandy pregnancy tests I'd been given as a wedding gift (my friends don't know me well at all, do they?! ha) and gave it a little tinkle and patiently waited for the full 3 minutes. And I swore I saw a change. I showed Jonny. He didn't see anything! 'Come on babe, look, it turned into a plus, can't you see it, that faint line?' 'Baby, you just want to be pregnant so you think you see something.' He did not believe me! So even though it was later in the evening (maybe 8 or 9?) and Walmart was a good 30 minutes away from Onslow Beach (little did I know the C-Store right on Mainside was open 24 hours and carries preggo tests), we headed straight to Walmart where I picked up a Clear Blue Easy and a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting (like I'm sayin', I knew). Got back to the cabin and did the little tinkle tinkle action again and what did the clear blue easy say? ...

And Jonny's response? "...silence as I shove Doritos in my face."
Of course then I was like, babe you're not excited? We're pregnant! Why aren't you excited and I learned then that he was excited but pretty much in shock (like I said, we didn't expect it to happen that quickly) and a bit on the 'scared shitless' side. After the news finally sunk in for him, though, he got so excited. He was super excited to be a dad, he told everyone. He called his family, he told the guys he worked with (and he was still on leave), his friends at home, everyone! His excitement of becoming a dad continued throughout the entire pregnancy. Even if he may have been less-than-thrilled about my killer mood swings he was soo soo excited to meet his baby (and for me to not be pregnant anymore hahaha) and to be a daddy. And when she finally arrived I think his excitement grew even more, the guys tell me about how he told everyone about his baby and showed off her pictures to everyone he met. There wasn't a guy more excited and happy to come home to his baby girl.

My first mother's day was pretty great! My daughter has wonderful taste and picked out a gorgeous bracelet while shopping with gramma the other day (haha gramma miiight have been a great helper). We relaxed much of the day and then went to Red Lobster for an early dinner and chowed down on some delicious lobster, crab legs, and shrimp (holla Ultimate Feast!) and just enjoyed a couple generations of moms and daughters hangin out (oh, and my dad too!)
I hope everyone's Mother's Day was lovely and you all enjoyed time with your kids and your hubby's showed you their greatest appreciation!

Today brings about a very busy day, stopping in to see my sorority sisters at the annual Teeter-Totter-a-thon held to raise money for CMN. Then I'm going to get my hairs did, my friend Tina offered to do it for me and I'm pretty excited! And then I'm meeting up with another Gold Star wife who is just fabulous and I'm pretty excited to finally get to meet her. Hope everyone has a fantastic day!

A Writer!

I officially have become a 'writer' for the Washington Post. Ok, so it may be a one (possibly two?) time thing, but still, I wrote for the Post and that's pretty exciting in my opinion. Check out the story, as well as all the other great stories in the series here. Full Mother's Day recap and actual post later.


Yesterday was pretty emotional. I had talked to some people in the morning and I realized that I needed to sit down and have a discussion with my husband. I talk to him all the time, but I think I let him know too often how angry I still am at the situation. So I sat and I talked with him. I really opened up my heart and reminded him how much I do love him and that no matter what, that will never, ever change. I laid on the floor and just talked and talked, and it felt so good to be openly communicating the way we once did. I then needed some music so I put on the playlist I had made for him and recorded on to a tape to send him to Afghanistan. I found that I needed more of him, I wanted to hear him too, so I did it... I listened to the tape. It was difficult, I cried through much of it. He talked about being so excited to come home and hold us and hearing those things after the fact is so hard. I had somehow forgotten how funny he was and found myself laughing through my tears. It was great hearing his voice, as emotional and difficult as it was, I enjoyed it. I am so thankful my mom had that idea to send tapes and we have this (albeit, old) piece of technology to keep him, and his voice, alive.

After spending the day talking with husband and holding our daughter, I decided that it'd be nice to have a little Cinco de Mayo action. A good friend of mine watched Ari and a group of friends and I went to Chili's (we tried one of the more authentic Mexican places in town but they were all so packed) and had Mexican food and margaritas. One of Jonny's very good friends has come home from deployment early after getting in an accident. The vehicle he was in was hit by an IED and he, like Jonny, was in the turret. Luckily enough for him, he came home, wearing a back brace, but he's home. It was very good seeing him, but it was also difficult. Some of my friends and him got into discussions about "over there" and I found myself blocking much of it out - too much when I'm trying to relax and unwind. This friend did say, though, that he would love to sit and talk with me about some things over there, which I am looking forward to, some details I don't yet understand he is willing to share with me. I know it will be hard but it is just things I've been aching to know. As well as stories from over there, I'm sure there will be lots of funny ones as well - Jonny was such a goofball.

Today I am just chillin' out for the most part. I need to clean and pack up to get ready for my MD visit, which I am getting excited about, finally. I was a little confusing in my post about this at first, I am not moving back (yet - who knows as far as that goes) I am just visiting for a week. Then back here to JVegas for the 5k (ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT, check it out, leave a small donation - it all adds up for our warriors!!) then a visit to FL for the fundraiser I mentioned in my last post (that I still can't get the flier to work, gr), in case you wanted to know my life agenda... ha.

Also, I wanted to share something with you, oh great blog friends. Many of you may have seen the "Welcoming Home" videos on YouTube (google Jonathan Porto, it's a 3 part video of his escort from MacDill AFB to St. Pete presented by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department). First, here is a video a lovely woman made for me and his family. There is also Trust Fund information at the end of it for those who were asking about that,

Cpl. Jonathan D. Porto - "Bringing Him Home" from DiamondFilms on Vimeo.

And lastly, I wanted to share the video from Jonny's funeral. You friends have been so supportive and wonderful (did I mention that already - ha) that I want to include you on this.
Follow this link, the password is porto.

It may be tough, but I wanted to share it with anyone who wanted to see it.


A little blog business...
First, I met my first real-life blog friend! It was great. Amber at Goodnight Moon (and Willis, Party of 5), had us over for dinner the other night. It was wonderful, she is a great person and cooked yummmmmy spaghetti and meatballs (I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch yesterday AND today). Her kids are a riot and we got to really chat. And she spoiled me with some awesome bath stuff and a massage gift card - such a wonderful person (and not just cuz of the gifts, but really who doesn't love gifts?? haha) I am thankful for all my blog friends and the support I've gained through the virtual connection of the interwebs and turning one of those into a real-life friend was awesome. So, thanks Amber, we love ya!!

Next, I wanted to share my acceptance of my milbloggy award. I couldn't make the conference, because I'd procrastinated too long, and am pretty sad about that, buuut I did get the opportunity to write a lil thank you speech (it was kind of ridiculous, I even said I voted for myself - what was I thinking, why am I always so silly? hahaha) and they had Mrs. G read it. I received a standing ovation, something really profound to me. Like I always say, the support from the blog community - you guys have been amazing.

2010 Milbloggie Winner-Foreign Military Blogger and Spouse from You Served Radio & Blog on Vimeo.

And lastly, for this blog about blogging... check out my new siggie!! Mad thanks to Mrs. Muffins for this fantabulous new sig, as well as my awesome blog design aaaand just being a kick-ass friend.

And speaking of Mrs. Muffins, she's hosting a super cute giveaway, featuring Piggy Paint! It reminds me of the time I tried to paint Ari's toes and got it ALL over her foot so I quit because I didn't think it was good for her, I didn't wanna use remover because it's so... acidic... so I tried to wipe it off and that failed. Well eventually the polish wore off her foot but it's still on her toes but I only pained one foot. I'd like to win this giveaway so I can paint both her feet haha.

I promise my next post will be more substantial, I just had to put some props out there to my bloggy friends, especially since I never comment anymore, I'm sorry guys... but I do still love you all - lots and lots!

The Sun is Shining

Ok maybe not so literally today. It's actually quite over-cast and was raining this morning and there is clearly more rain coming... buuut it was this weekend and it is today for me in my little cloud of the world. This post is probably going to be a lengthy one, so if you stick it out to the end, mad props to you.

I'm going to start with a slight weekend recap. I wanted to blog quite a few times this weekend but it was just so busy that I didn't really get a chance. After the last post, this one should be a bit more on a happy note and some of you might think I'm a little nuts how much my mood shifts but that's 1. Part of grieving and 2. Part of being a woman in general. So, just bare with me, mmk?
After the memorial, I hung out with Rachel (Jonny's mom) for a little bit at the house. We talked a lot and she had some really good insight and perspective that really helped me come to terms with things, including the "why's." No words, obviously, will take the pain and sadness away, nor will we, as humans, be able to answer those questions, but some of the things Rachel touched on really helped my heart. Especially with the reasons Jonny is not coming home. There may be a greater and more profound reason that he had to leave this Earth that we, as humans (again) can not yet know. Later that evening, we had dinner with Rachel and Brian (Jonny's step dad) as well as my friend/Marine wife (and practically sister) Aura. It was a nice relaxing dinner at Applebee's. I came home and had a bit of a breakdown on the way (hence the last post) and sat and talked to my husband for a little while. I pulled out of the breakdown and enjoyed Family Feud on facebook (I'm sooo addicted) and just relaxed.

Saturday Rachel and Brian came by the house and I took them on base. They wanted to pick up a few things for Brian's nephew that they were visiting on the way back to FL. I was pretty disappointed at the lack of "Gold Star" items at the exchange, though. No, I don't need to plaster everywhere that I'm a Gold Star, and luckily friends and family have been able to find me everything I've wanted as far as public displays go (flags, magnets, decals) somewhere, be it on the internet or at the Marine Corps Museum; I was just a little disappointed for people who come there after a memorial who can't really find much to honor their fallen Marine. I wonder if this is because it's one thing people don't want to think about, even while shopping at the exchange, or if it's simply economic - not as much demand for the Gold Star magnets as the Blue Star ones. Either way, I think our base needs to carry a little more items for those who want to honor someone who has fallen. Then we went to lunch at Andy's Cheesesteaks on base. I was a little frightened about this part. Jonny and I used to eat there all the time. We were both suckers for a good Philly (although he often was disappointed in the lack of CheezWiz - "the real Philly way") and we always took people who visited us there. It was ok though. It's just a place. A place we used to go, but alas only a place. And the subs are delicious so I made it ok ;-)

Sunday was May 2. May 2, 2010. One year from May 2, 2009. One year since we said "I do." I decided that we were going to celebrate the one year anniversary of our marriage in true Mr. and Mrs. P style. Beach day! A large group of friends came out to Onslow Beach and we spent the day layin' in the sun soaking up the rays (getting burnt in REALLY weird patterns) and enjoying each others' company. It was really nice. We loved the beach so much and I often feel happiest when the sand is beneath me and the water in front of me. Ari did well on the beach this time, it wasn't too windy like the last time we went and she spent a good amount of time snoozing. That evening, I had people over and we indulged in some adult beverages. I may have indulged a little more than normal, but it was my anniversary and I wanted to, so there. It was over all a very fun time, lots of laughs. Toward the end of the night I let the sadness in (by accident). I wasn't feeling well and just wanted to talk to Jonny because "He makes everything all better." Lucky for me, I've got amazing friends and they took care of it. Held me when I was sad and rubbed my hair (like your mom does when you don't feel good!) until I fell asleep, whispering to my hubsand on the way to dream land.

I spent much of the day thinking about the same day a year before - our wedding day - and our entire relationship in general. It was a nice day of reflection. On our wedding day, Jonathan was not nervous. I remember my mom telling me after how she asked him if he was nervous and he held out his hand - completely steady, no shaking - and he told her "I'm not nervous, momma, I'm ready. I know exactly what I'm doing." My dad, doing the dad thing, asked me repeatedly if I was sure I wanted to do this. I just remember smiling and telling him I was SO ready. The only thing I was nervous about was tripping down the aisle - I'm not so good at walking in heels and the straps wouldn't stay up. Thank God I bought white flip flops for the reception and could dance the night away comfortably. We had so much fun that day. I got to hang out with Jonny's family that I hadn't really gotten to know and we all got along so well. We laughed so much and Jonny was a sucker for the dips, and I ate them up. We smashed cake and of course he licked it off my face. We had a little after party and enjoyed "indulging in adult beverages" and after that he even invited people to come up and hang out in our room - on his wedding night! When I asked him later about that, he said, "Well I know you like spending time with your friends and just having fun and I just wanted you to be happy. And I really liked everyone and just wanted to keep hangin' out." That's the kind of couple we were - always having fun - laughing, dancing, singing, joking... Did we fight? Oh hell yeah, we did. We were intense, passionate people, and there were nights we would yell and scream at each other - but we loved even more intensely than we fought. We always made up within hours of the beginning of the argument - we knew each other so well we knew exactly which buttons to press and then when to stop pressing buttons and just be together. The love Jonny and I shared was like no other. While we could make each other mad at times it never got in the way of how much we loved. I'd still wake up in the morning to a note, a kiss. He'd still wake up in the morning his lunch ready, a note written. It didn't matter - nothing did as long as we were together. And even when we were apart.

I was thinking, as I was driving down to North Carolina from my visit in Maryland (about a week before the notification) that the majority of our relationship, we spent apart. Thanks to the Marine Corps (and I'm not complaining here, it's just a matter of fact), we only spent about 9 months of our one and a half year relationship physically together. Thanks to technology and an extremely strong bond though, we were never apart. We always knew when something was up. He would call or email from Afghanistan and I would tell him that I was just really in need of hearing from him and thank him and he would tell me that he had a feeling I needed him and did what he could to contact me as soon as he could. The day that he died, I didn't feel right. You will hear many military widows say this, and I believe it whole-heartedly. Now, at the time I didn't know something was up, I'd just been feeling off all day. My friends had asked if I wanted to go to the beach and I turned them down (!!!) because I just felt... icky. And the night I found out there was an accident I knew in my heart that something was just not right. I am thankful for this bond. I am thankful for having been loved and for loving a man who knew me, inside and out, even from thousands of miles away. I am thankful, that in my heart, this bond is still present. I will probably touch on these subjects again (and maybe again and again) because they are important and fall into many facets of our life together as well as my life now, but I have just been thinking about them so much especially with having just celebrated our anniversary.

Ok, now that I have recapped and touched on some thoughts surrounding my anniversary, a little business.

Anyone in the Tampa Bay area, St. Pete's H.O.T. (Helping Our Troops) is holding a fundraiser in honor of Jonny (going to Ariana's Trust Fund) memorial day weekend. It will be at Paddy Burkes in St. Pete on 29 May 2010 from 6-9 pm. I am trying to upload the flier but blogger isn't working with me so I'll get it up as soon as I figure out how. There will be all kinds of raffles and auctions and 1 free draft or rail drink for people with MilIDs and $1 Bud Select. Oh and I'll be there with Ari and my mom as well as Jonny's mom and I'm sure several other family members!! So if you're going to be in the Tampa Bay area for Memorial Day weekend, stop by and see us!!

Many thanks to all my bloggy friends and your wonderful comments, to Soldier's Angels OTK and St. Pete's H.O.T. for all their help and support, and everyone's well wishes and happy thoughts. Hope you all continue to have a wonderful week.

Semper Fi,

In case you needed to be reminded of how freakin' cute our daughter is...

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