January 17, 2009

352 hours

That's how long we were on vacation from Honolulu airport to Honolulu airport. It was a rough start but once we got in Kansas City everything was good despite the 7 degree temperature. Brenna learned quickly that she doesn't like being cold or confined by a bunch of clothes. Everytime we'd get the in the car and the heater would get warm she'd take her coat, socks, and shoes off. We may have slight issues with her when we move back there next fall and winter. Gillian on the other hand loves the cold. Even just the little bit of snow that she saw she was in love with. Grandma and Poppa bought them all the equipment they needed to go play in the snow. Snow pants, snow boots, gloves, stocking caps, a sled....they didn't get to use anything but the boots and gloves...and that was just because I think they were new shoes.

It was such a whurlwind trip and we felt like we were pulled in fifty million directions all the time. We didn't get really any "Kansas City" time in, but we squeezed it in when we could. My mom and I ran the kids down to Crown Center on Christmas Eve to see Santa Claus and just to have the Crown Center experience. The kids couldn't wait to go back and I really wanted to get back down there with them to go ice skating, but it didn't happen. Just like with the exception of Christmas shopping I only made it to Target once.

We did have slight tragedy while we were home. On New Year's Eve I got a phone call from my grandma looking for my mom. She said that the hospice nurse had just left and had given my grandpa 2 to 24 hours to live. Not five minutes later I got another phone call from my grandma hysterical that he had already passed. I was good and held it together until I had to call my mom at work and tell her. I think I freaked the kids out a little. And how appropriate that we had just had explained what a cemetary was to them the day before (you have to drive passed one to get to my parents house, Gillian wanted to know what all the flowers were for). So of course the first thing Gillian asks me is if Poppa is in the ground now.

We didn't get to stay for the funeral with Richard needing to come back to Hawaii to clear for OCS. As of today I have less than two weeks with him. I've heard from several military friends that you fight like cats and dogs before they leave, I'm guessing because it makes the separation a little easier. I'm a little mixed up on that. I'd hate to have him leave us on a bad note. Right now we are making the most of our time together, and more than ever I don't want him to leave. Seriously, like a few months ago I probably could've helped push him out the door. Not now, I'm just trying to soak him all in. It's what we have to do though to make out lives what we want, and I know we have be very lucky through the last three years that we need to let him get through school and deploy. It's our duty and I'm comfortable with it.

Several of our family members and one friend pulled me to the side and told me they didn't know how I do this whole military wife thing, and I do it with a smile on my face. I can be honest and say there was a point in time about four years ago that I cried and screamed for a month straight before he left for boot camp. I hated him for joining the military, I hated him for making our family go through this. I had a lot of ignorance about what the military pertains back then. I love the military, I love what it's done for us and given us. It's also given me a better sense of pride in our country that I never had before. I know even if my husband is just a little link in the chain, what he is doing is making a difference for more than just my kids and I. And in the end it's what makes him happy. He loves what he does, so how could one be bitter about that?

Anyway, just a few random pictures from our trip. I think I took over 300, but about 250 of them were of Gillian's tongue and Brenna's just a blur.

The Diva and I...look! Long sleeves and pants!
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The chicks with Santa Claus and the rest of Crown Center. The actual Santa picture came framed and is super cute. I'll have to take a picture of it and post it. Better than anything we've ever gotten at Pearlridge.
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The chicks with their Uncle Luke and Aunt Monique on Christmas
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The chicks with Grandma and Poppa by the big ball outside of Jack Stack and the Plaza from a dirty window in a moving car.
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We took the girls to Rainforest Cafe. Gillian asked me if the animals were dead, so I had to explain about them being robots which ruined the fun for Richard. He did have Brenna convinced though that the monkeys were going to come steal her banana. She didn't want to stand in front of the elephants either. It's a bad picture, but it's the only one I could get.
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What I woke up to on New Year's. The love of my life...can you see why I'm going to miss him?
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And finally the day we were orginally supposed to leave my brother and Monique drove back to Kansas City from St. Louis for a second time to see us and check on my mom. We went down to the Power and Light district. If you EVER get to Kansas City or come see me at Fort Riley you need to go here. I will drag you if I have to! We went to the Lucky Strike to bowl with the kids and my parents to start the night out. After a certain time everyone 21 and under has to leave so my mom and dad took the chicks home and put them in bed so the four of us could go and have some fun and bonding time. We went to the Flying Saucer first which made Richard declare my brother the prince of beer. Then we went to Angel's Rock Bar where I got to see one of my best friends from elementary school Akeisha. I wish I would've gotten a picture with her! I was too busy chasing my husband around. He kept trying to sneak up to the VIP tables (he actually succeeded!). Then we went to Howl at the Moon, a piano bar. We had a lot of fun there too. It was standing room only, but once again my husband somehow weasled his way to a table front and center. I didn't really get any good pictures of that night, but the memories will do for me.
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Four drunk people being photographed by a drunk person on the street. You should always expect this situation not to turn out the best!
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P.S. - I'm sorry my blogs sometimes get so windy...do you see now why it took me so long to sit down and do this????