Thursday, June 30, 2011

Memphis Day 1

Matt had to report for duty in Memphis when he got done with Basic Training for a few days and then he had drill the next weekend there. The kids and I had planned to go down and be with him once school was over but we had a small change in plans. Matt's return flight was accidently booked to Knoxville but he still had to report to Memphis Tuesday morning so Madison and I accompanied him to Memphis and the other 2 stayed here to finish school. My parents brought them to Memphis on Friday.

While in Memphis we had planned to do some fun things with one of my childhood friends, Jennifer. She happens to have 2 kids that are almost the same age as Taylor and Caleb. Our kids only see each other every now and then but they always pick right up and are the best of friends in just a matter of minutes! Our plans included going to the Memphis Zoo (something I really wanted to do b/c they have an awesome zoo), going to the Pink Palace (something I grew up doing) and exploring Mud Island! We also just planned on spending time hanging out at Luke's house (Jennifer's brother in law). And the kids got to attend the church I grew up and I was able to see lots of people I haven't seen in a long time.

Monday was Memorial Day and we spent the whole day at Luke's house and the kids enjoyed swimming, playing basketball and taking rides on the tractor while the adults enjoyed talking and eating!

Some of the boys playing basketball

Going for a tractor ride


Monday, June 27, 2011

Caleb and Madison's 1st Plane Ride

This post should have been before the San Antonio one but I forgot so I am posting it at the end. This was Caleb and Madison's 1st plane ride and they were so excited. The talked about it for weeks. In fact most times Madison wouldn't even mentioning that she was going to be seeing her dad she just talked about getting to ride in a plane. We flew out of Nashville on Southwest b/c they had the best deals and it was a wonderful experience. The kids all got new carry-on's before we left and we were armed with IPOD's, laptops, DS's and new coloring books! The kids were great though.

The Nashville airport before going through security

The kids had all gotten new carry-on's before the trip and were so excited about being responsible for their luggage. Taylor ended up having to help a little b/c Madison's carry-on was a little heavy for her since she was also carrying her backpack and I was lugging Madison's carseat with us as well as my luggage. I almost forgot the little detail of a seat for Madison for our rental car. Carseats or strollers don't count as baggage on southwest. Also we had "checked-in" and printed our boarding passes online so were able to save quite a bit of standing in line (that is the coolest feature and I will use it everytime). Security was a breeze to go through for me and the kids however Matt's mom and dad who were traveling with us both got patted down! The kids thought that was too funny :) The kids enjoyed watching the planes come and go while waiting for our flight. I didn't think to get any pictures of this though.

Finally we were ready to board. We got on and got a seat right on the wing. Taylor, Nona and Peepaw sat in front of Caleb, Madison and me. Caleb got to sit by the window going to TX and he loved it! They were so well behaved and everyone kept commenting on how good they were. They loved the in-flight snack.

The flight back was just as great. Madison got the window seat on the way home and we choose to sit at the back.

Nobody had to use the bathroom on the way down but Caleb had to go on the way home. He loved the tiny bathroom! I on the other hand was a little claustrophbic while in there. About 60 miles outside of Nashville we experience some turblence and had to buckle back up. The kids said it felt like a roller coaster (that wasn't what I was thinking). I love to fly but hate it when it is rough. Over all I couldn't have asked that the kids behave any better than they did. We all can't wait to fly again. Hopefully soon :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Matt had an all day town pass on Saturday so his parents picked him up from the base and brought him to the resort. The kids were able to sleep in which was good since we had to get up so early both Thursday and Friday. When they woke up their dad was there....a very nice surprise!

We decided to spend the morning sight seeing before it got too hot since Matt was in full uniform (the cool spell we had the previous 2 days had ended). There were lots of other airmen out and about. Matt introduced us to a few of them. It was so funny to hear them called by their last names...Matt said he didn't even know most of their first names.

Our 1st stop was The Alamo (there are no pics of us in there b/c you aren't allowed to take pictures inside)

The next stop was The Riverwalk. We started on one end and walked down about halfway before finding the place to buy tickets to ride the boats down the Riverwalk.

These fountains were at one end of the Riverwalk..good picture op!

Cool sculpture made of glass bowls

The Riverwalk

The kids on our boat

Alfred, our boat guide...he was hilarious :)

A cool mosaic mural that was donated to the city years ago

A beautiful old church

This band was playing on one end of the Riverwalk

After our boat ride we enjoyed dinner at Chili's right there on the water. We all really enjoyed the day even with it being close to 100 degrees. I would love to go back sometime w/o the kids (or when they are older) and explore more of San Antonio. It is such a neat city full of history (and I am a history nerd)! We really enjoyed our 1st family outing in 9 weeks!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

San Antonio Day 2

Our 2nd day at Lackland was Matt's graduation ceremony and parade. It was such a neat thing to see all the flights march and all the guys/girls take the official was very emotional. The parade grounds were surrounded by old planes...Caleb enjoyed looking at all of them. It was really hard to pick Matt out of the group again...this time he was in the middle instead of near the front.

All the flights at the beginning of the ceremony

Our friend Michelle was easy to spot b/c she was on the end

This is Matt's flight between the two flags

After the ceremony was over we again were allowed to "tap our Airmen out" and then they were allowed to take us to the barracks and show us around. The kids enjoyed seeing where Matt had lived (and ate and studied). The accommodations were sparse but boy were they clean. The kids thought it was so cool.

Matt's home for 9 weeks.

Matt's looked so uncomfortable

Everything was organized and had to be done a certain way...if not there were consequences

The shower...the kids couldn't believe it was just a room with 8 shower heads in the wall. Caleb said "you had to shower with a bunch of strangers!"

After touring the dorms Matt was released for a half day in town. We went back to our resort and enjoyed just hanging out. Matt enjoyed taking a real shower for the first time in 9 weeks...he said they were only given a short time to take a shower and that the water pressure and temp was pitiful. Matt asked for steak for dinner so we enjoyed a wonderful meal at Longhorn Steakhouse before dropping him back at the base for then evening. It was a wonderful day. I didn't get any pictures of our afternoon off base b/c I was busy enjoying spending time with Matt.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

San Antonio Day 1

Our 1st day in San Antonio was spent on base as Matt wasn't allowed to leave the base that day. We got up pretty early to attend the Airmen's Run...where all the flights run by in formation. Let me tell you it is really hard to pick out someone you know when they run by wearing the same outfit and having the same haircut as 50 other guys! Here is Matt's flight..they were wearing tan shirts. I couldn't find him but turns out Taylor picked him out (he is in the middle of the bunch of guys).

The kids waiting for daddy to run by

Matt's flight running by

There was lots of waiting time between activities....the kids did great having to wait. The weather was perfect too! It wasn't too hot and it actually clouded over and sprinkled for a few minutes..we didn't get wet though since we were under an awning.

Then it was time for the Coin Ceremony. This was great b/c we were actually able to see Matt really good. He was just the 3rd guy back in line. Seeing him for the 1st time in 8 1/2 weeks was very emotional. I didn't think it would affect me as much as it did. I just sat there with tears running down my face. The kids kept asking me what was wrong and I just kept saying "I'm happy" which made no sense to Madison and Caleb.

The instructors getting the coins set up for the ceremony

Flight 357 marching in (again Matt was in the middle so it was hard to get a pic)

Matt is the the 3rd guy back in the middle row

After the ceremony we were allowed to "tap Matt out". The guys had to stand there at attention until there family member came up to them. I didn't think I could get to Matt fast enough. The kids were so glad to see him...Taylor and Caleb both cried. Even Matt had tears in his eyes :) It was wonderful to wrap my arms around him (though there was lots less of him to hug).

Our 1st family picture in 9 weeks

There was lots of hugging!

We enjoyed just having lunch with him on base at Burger King (a first for him since he had gotten there) and then walking around. We also got to meet some of the other guys in his flight.

Walking around the base...the kids wouldn't let go of his hands!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Are we home yet?

I haven't spent more than 48 hrs at my house since May 18th! Our life has been a whirl-wind over the last few weeks. After spending a few days in San Antonio for Matt's graduation (post to come) I rushed home to do a little laundry and re-pack a family of 5 for a 2 1/2 week trip to Memphis. That wasn't what I had planned on doing though.

While in TX for graduation Matt informed me that his flight had been booked wrong...he was supposed to fly into Memphis for out-processing since his unit is stationed (which means all his paper work has to be done from there) there however the person booking the flights just looked at his hometown and booked him to there. I was excited I would get to greet him at the airport but not excited that we had to get him to Memphis by 8 AM Tuesday (about 15 hrs after he arrived in Knoxville). He tried to get an extension on his orders but wasn't able to. Did I mention the older 2 still had a day and 1/2 of school as well as tennis lessons. Oh yeah, and my almost 90 yr old Grandmother was going to be going with us to Memphis b/c she had a couple of dr appointments. Luckily, I have the best parents...they offered to let me, Matt and Madison go on to Memphis Monday evening and bring the other 2 kids and my Grandmother down on Friday. We had planned on being there for about a week originally though and did plan to see some childhood friends there and enjoy doing some fun things (more posts to come on that as well).

It was lots of fun though. Now we are back home for about 24 hrs to do more laundry, re-pack for the beach, love on Quinn and squeeze in an eye dr appointment and Bunko for me before leaving for the beach. I can't wait to relax and do nothing for 5 glorious days!

Then we come home to a whirl-wind of VBS, tennis and swim lessons! I am very glad to have Matt home for awhile to help out is wonderful to be a family of 5 again :)