Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carson's Birthday Party

The worst part about living in Germany.... we can't be with family when we want to be! This weekend, my entire family got together to celebrate my nephew's first birthday! I was kind of sad I wasn't able to be with all of them, but the next best thing..... SKYPE! My sister brought her laptop to the party and hooked us up! We got to "walk" around the house, talk to everyone, and watch Carson dig into his farm smash cake. The only thing we didn't get to do.... eat mamma's delicious cake!!

Hopefully next year by this time, we'll be back in the states. We'll be able to see everyone more often and celebrate important dates with them! Until then... I sure am thankful for Skype!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

HE'S HOME!!!!!!!!

Finally.... after 350 days ..... Jay's back in town!! He arrived this morning, with about 40 other guys. It was a long night of no sleep waiting for him! I'm SO GLAD to have him back!! Instead of writing, I'll just put up a few (or a lot) pictures from his welcome home ceremony!!
With Chaplain Martindale. She's been wonderful to have around this deployment.

My photographer for the morning! Thanks Angie for taking all the pictures! We really appreciated it!

Here they come... walking in. Jay's in the middle

The guys in formation.... I'm anxious to get out on the floor!

They've been dismissed.... so I'm going to find him!

 Our wonderful reunion!! So glad to have him back!

Our friend Dan came to welcome Jay... and brought him gummies, Jay's favorite!

Jon and the boys! These two will be working together in a few months, for Garrison.

LTC Spain.... Jay's new boss in February.

I just couldn't give him enough hugs!!

Now that we're home.... this is how we're spending our afternoon.... doing nothing! Just simply staying home and enjoying being back together!

This is what Jay walked into when he got home!! These are all the letters that our friends and family sent to him. Thanks for all those that did! Jay was really surprised to see them. He's read a few, but it will take him awhile to read them all.
 A flag made out of all your emails!

Thank you God.... for bring him home safe and sound!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Visiting the Dufners

I haven't seen my sister or her family since Jay and I got married. They came home from China to be in our wedding and we haven't crossed paths yet. When I knew I was going to Washington D.C. I looked into going to Illinois for a couple days before coming back to Germany. It wasn't too much more and I really wanted to see Andrea and the kids, so I decided to go for it!

I loved seeing the kids and spending time with them! Jacquelyn and Jacob have grown up so much!! And I got to see Alex and Carter for the first time. Alex is two years old already, so it was about time that I meet the lil guy! And Carter, I just couldn't get enough of him. He is such a sweet little baby! I held him as much as I could! Here are all my cute little nephews and niece!!

While visiting, we did some work too. Andrea and her family are moving into a new house. They are in the process of getting the house ready to be moved into. Between emptying boxes and painting walls, we had a busy few days. My main job was to keep the kids busy, and I had fun doing that!

I flew out at noon on Friday. That morning we had nothing planned, so we took it easy at the hotel. The kids were all awake by 6:30 and I was already up, so I did my best to keep them quiet....

This is my way of babysitting in a hotel room. We let mommy sleep in since she doesn't get to do that much. After I got everyone dressed and ready, we went down for breakfast. By the time we came back up, mommy was up and ready. We brought her breakfast, so she enjoyed that in the room.

It was really hard to leave them all. It will be at least another year before we get to see them again. They grow up so fast at that age!! I said goodbye to them and started walking into my terminal. I heard Jacob ask where I went and Andrea told him I had to get on the plane. If I would have turned around to say goodbye again, I would have lost it. But then as I was waiting in line to go through security, they all yelled goodbye to me. That's when the tears started! I sure am going to miss all of them!

Thanks, Dufners, for letting me crash your motel room for awhile! I'm so glad I got to see you all!!

Army Ten Miler

Last weekend I traveled to Washington D.C. to run the Army Ten Miler. On Sunday morning, I gathered with 29,999 other people to run ten miles through the city. The course was absolutely beautiful, passing by the monuments, Smithsonian museums, and most impressive the Capitol building. Five ladies from the 173rd traveled across the ocean to do this race together. We figured since our husbands were deployed, it would give us something to work toward. We had a fantastic time together. The ladies I were with were so great and made the trip even more enjoyable. Some of the things we did...

FRIDAY: Tour the White House.... very cool to see..... the sad part was I compared it to the castles over here and it hardly stands up to them!! Went to Arlington National Cemetary. We visited the graves of all our 173rd fallen sky soldiers from the past three deployments. Unfortunately we have a few there from this deployment, so it was quite a tug on the heart. The best part of that visit...

This is my great uncle's site. He was quite a military man. My dad went out to his funeral early in the year, but never got to see the stone. I'm glad I was able to stop, sit, and take it all in.

SATURDAY: In the morning, we went to pick up our race packets. There were thousands of people in line, so thankfully we were early. There was also an expo there, so we walked through the hundreds of vendors and bought some fun things. The rest of the day we decided we needed to relax.... so that meant shopping!

SUNDAY: We were up and out before the sun was up. The excitement was just brewing in the air. We found our spots in the back of the crowd, about a mile behind the start line. It took us about 25 minutes after the canon went off before we reached the start line. Then we were off. Two hours later I finally finished. By the end, I was not doing too hot. I was barely standing and throwing up. Not really from running, but because I had some sort of a bug. It started on Thursday as I was flying, and still wasn't feeling well yet. On Sunday afternoon, we all got pedicures and relaxed the rest of the day. Our legs couldn't handle much more than that!

Before the race, excited to be there...

After the race, barely standing...

MONDAY: The 173rd commander's wife and I went to Walter Reed Hospital to visit our 173rd wounded soldiers. There were three guys there from Jay's old troop, so I really wanted to visit them. I think they were happy to see us. Any company is good company for them. We also went to donate blood. But unfortunately, I was denied, like usual. Not enough iron! Bummer!

TUESDAY: I flew out early Tuesday morning to head to Illinois. Details on that trip will be in the next post!

Overall this was a fantastic trip! I'm so glad I went, even if running isn't my favorite thing.