Thursday, December 6, 2012

the christmas homecoming.

it was the middle of may when my brother came home for a normal weekend and told us that he would be leaving in 45 days for his next deployment. it was one of the first things he said to me when i got to my parents house as he stood there hugging me with his feet on top of mine so i couldnt kick him when he told me. being in the military we always know theres a chance and it can happen rather quickly. last time we got rather lucky since he was stationed on a boat and wasnt in the middle of everything. this time he was headed to afghanistan. 5 days after he got back to base that weekend he headed into a 30 day training in the desert, went back to camp pendleton, then left 2 weeks later.

this whole deployment was different than last time. it almost didnt feel like he was really gone, we hadnt really been talking much before he left for the training so when he left it felt like a continuation of that. it wasnt until just before he got extended (yes that happened!) we really started talking. now for most of the 1st part he was out in the middle of nowhere without power, none of us heard from him. but when he got to camp leatherneck my mom and his gf kelsey heard from him all the time, me not so much, my dad either. once he got extended for another 2 months i really started hearing from him more mostly through text since that was the only way. by the time he was headed home we finally were back to normal. ps my brother and i are super close which is why this was so weird.
we had heard the end of november rumors for awhile but it wasnt until the tuesday before thanksgiving that we got the official date and time of december 2nd. he was really coming home, just in time for the holidays! my parents booked a great resort/spa in dana point for the weekend, we would leave from vegas saturday, he came home sunday, then the 4 of us would all drive back up to vegas together so kyle could take care of a few things here. so for the 3rd weekend in a row my parents and i piled into the car to head back to southern california!

after a detour through pasadena to visit stats (the best christmas store ever!) we got a phone call from kelsey that they werent coming home till monday night. now we had heard from kyle they were delayed because of weather but only by parts of the day, not a whole one! so here we were staying till monday with nothing to do on sunday. as we were driving by knotts berry farm i said outloud wouldnt it be fun if we could just go to disneyland tomorrow instead. just to see what happened. next thing i know im looking up ticket prices and trying to find somewhere for my dad to go golf for the day while my mom and i go to the happiest place on earth during christmas time!! i called my friend nate and his wife katie because they had annual passes and told me anytime i wanted to go just to call. they said they would meet us there in the afternoon, we were really going!

the next morning we had an amazing breakfast at the resort and were kicking my dad out of the car at the second golf course we found so we could head up to anaheim. we got to disneyland sometime around 10a and planned to spend the whole day, so we did!
bring it militray!
we are still gonna have a great weekend:)
she asked if we swam there hehe.
it was misty and dreary but still busy. we got to ride all the rides we always do and had lots of delicious snacks on the way, hello disneyland churros! the christmas parade was so fun then nate and katie joined us for the afternoon. it never really opened up and rained, just misty enough to make you wet. that wasnt going to break our spirit but was enough to cancel the candlelight ceremony mid-way through and prevent it from "snowing" on main street after the fireworks show. we had a blast! i am sooo glad my mom said yes to going:) plus i got to cross something off my bucketlist, visit disneyland at christmas time!
nate and katie:)
oh and my very stylish poncho!
3 of our very favorites!
i love gingerbread men!
especially chocolate-covered mickey ones:)
such a pretty castle!
finally it was monday morning and i was up ready to go for a run when i looked outside to see it pouring outside. so i headed back to bed for another hour before breakfast. we were just finishing up, getting ready to head to base when kelsey called and said we needed to slow down. they hadnt even landed at march air force base yet, let alone start the 2 hour drive south to pendleton. so i headed back upstairs to lounge in my amazingly comfortable king size bed a little longer.
the view from my balcony.
at about 11a we finally couldnt wait any longer and knew that he was at least on the buses headed south to us. so we headed to base and the parade deck already had families there for us to hang out with. pretty soon after we saw the buses go by as they headed to the armory to check their weapons and get room assignments for the barricks. we were pretty good at entertaining ourselves at this point and watching the vehicles rolling in with weapons and bags gave us all stuff to talk about. everyone kept saying the check in process would take 2 hours, but luckily we knew better from the last deployment return. not even an hour later the motorcycle brigade was headed onto deck!
our traditional homecoming pic!
right behind them was our guys marching in for formation. we had to stay behind the flags set up until they were released, we were of course right on that edge. as they marched in we kept trying to find him in the 2nd group but they all look alike! before we knew the commander was calling out platoons and asking all accounted for? with a response as yes sir. then, finally...dismissed. except we still hadnt found my brother yet! luckily he found us and bee-lined right for me. first hug!! he made the rounds to everyone and tears were flowing freely.
after pictures it was time to grab the stuff and get the hell out of there. he had too much to just take on his own so we of course volunteered to help. dang his stuff was heavy!! the bag i took was probably a good 60+ pounds. we didnt care he was home.
one of the best.
food was a must pretty soon after so we headed to el torito for lunch and then the road home fairly quickly after which of course meant margaritas for kyle and i ;) it was cool to have him come home with us and hear all the stories over time. we also found out the real reason he was delayed! the pilot was making a u-turn on the runway and didnt turn fast enough then running them off the runway and into a massive snowbank!! we plan to blame the pilot for quite awhile. he was only home for the night then back to base tuesday night. the 18th-27th though he will be home for christmas leave! we are so thankful he came home safe, god bless our troops near and far.


Jen said...

Welcome home to your brother and please thank him for his service to our country! :)

Megan said...

Love it! I'm so glad he's home for Christmas with you!

Thank him for all he does - I know it's not easy on him or your fam. <3

~*katy beth*~ said...

thanks ladies! we are so glad to have him home:)

Betsy M. said...

Love all the pics and love that he is home! A big thanks to him and your family for the sacrifices you make and for his service!

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