Three deployments, three tags, three ranks.

#thingsyoufindwhenpreparingtoPCS #amateurhoarders

This is what it looks like when you’ve waited three years to start sorting and organizing bins in the basement and now you only have months left. In an hour we got rid of one bag of recyclables and two boxes of garage sale/donation stuff. Now we only need to get rid of about 35x more stuff. :)


It’s a good, good morning.

The plan was for me to go in to Owen’s room as usual and then have Tom come knock on the door. Tom was up super early (before 5) and once I knew he was up and moving around I was paranoid that Owen would hear/see him and ruin the surprise…so I got up and dragged Tom back into the bedroom while we watched Owen on the monitor. Owen dutifully waited until his nightlight turned green at 6:30 before turning his bedroom light on and I went in shortly after.

I thought he would have been much more excited…but it was still sweet. And then people (on Facebook) pointed out his wiggling feet and I guess that’s how he shows excitement. He also sounds a little choked up toward the end. (Facebook only got a snippet. This is the whole thing.)

The Facebook comments were great:

  • I like the wiggly feet…..
  • Awwww. This is priceless. I think he was very excited. His little feet!
  • The wiggly feet give it away!! So sweet!
  • Those feet!!!!!
  • Awww. Those feet! I totally cried. Both times.
  • The boy who emotes with his feet. What an awesome moment.
  • I love the little foot wiggle.


Then first things first—he had to show daddy his Lego book!



And then it was time to surprise Katie. She doesn’t seem to recognize him at first…but don’t worry, she was saying “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” the rest of the day and didn’t want him to leave her sight.


And daddy even did the morning diaper change!


Welcome home, Tom!

He wasn’t scheduled to land at MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Cherry Point until 6:30, at which point they had to unload and do admin stuff and only THEN get bussed an hour to Camp Lejeune. The official ETA was 10:15, so I planned to leave at 9. But it’s the military, so surprise!

The easiest way for me to do this is follow a direct timeline according to my texts and Facebook posts. :)

6:28 Owen tells me he wants daddy to pick him up from school tomorrow and “Mama, you can stay in the car.” He’s going to have such a big surprise in the morning!

6:44 Tom texted: Landed

6:44 I texted back: Woohoo

6:45 I posted to Facebook: The eagle has landed. (It was Liked by 72 people.)

8:01 Tom texted: On the move. (He sent a Glympse so I could follow his progress.)

8:19 Tom texted: I should be ready by 2130.

8:20 I texted back: 9:30?!? I need to leave earlier.

8:24 I texted my next door neighbor (who was coming to stay with the kids) asking if she could come over a bit earlier.

8:40 I pulled out of the driveway.

9:03 & 9:13 Following his progress—if I had left about 10 minutes earlier, I would have likely been following the bus on base:


9:17 I posted this picture on Facebook: So close, yet not quite.


9:21 Tom texted: At armory now.

9:21 I texted back: I’m watching. :) (I could still see him walking around on Glympse.)

9:26 I posted this picture on Facebook: Bags are unloaded from a separate truck first, ahead of the guys.


9:27 I posted this picture on Facebook: This is what the scene looks like.


9:37 Tom texted: We are half way done. 15 minutes. Getting back on bus. Four guys left.

9:40 I posted to Facebook: I was so excited to get out of the house that I forgot it was freezing. I have no hat, gloves, or scarf. I’m frozen.

9:43 Tom posted to Facebook: M4, M9, and NVGs turned into armory. On bus to see Jen and do the Sea Bag Drag.

9:45 I posted this picture on Facebook: Waiting while freezing my fingers off.


9:46 I posted this picture on Facebook: They’ve rearranged the bags three times now.


9:54 A friend took these pictures of our reunion. Not quite as romantic a picture as you’d probably imagined. :)




And of course our traditional selfie (we did them before they were a thing):


9:59 After Tom found his bags, we took this selfie with the iPhone so we could post it on Facebook: He’s home! Better pics later! (It was Liked by 127 people.)


10:04 A buddy of Tom’s helped haul all his gear to the car and then took this picture:


10:48 Maggie welcomes daddy home:



Daddy wanted to go on errands with us.

Tom texted me on Facebook to say good morning and I told him we were headed out on errands. He said he’d like to go with us, so I kept sending pictures. And FYI it’s harder than you’d think to take pictures while you’re shopping…while trying to keep an eye on one and keeping the phone away from the other who wants “Alno.” :)

Waiting for the hair place to open:



Getting ready to get his hairs cut:


Waiting for brother:


At Walmart:


A tempting display:


“I want to push her!”




Showing daddy Owen’s big boy booster seat (he uses the regular seat belt now) and his new hair cut:


Waving to daddy!


Owen noticed what was wrong!

I can’t believe I’ve read this book 5-6 times and never saw it…but in my defense, it’s just a graphic and there’s technically nothing to read on it. And I’m usually reading fast so I don’t start crying.


But then, after he noticed the 7 was missing…I noticed Wednesday was spelled wrong! TWO MISTAKES!

I contacted the company and they couldn’t believe in over 200 printings no one noticed! They thanked me and said they’d send a replacement book (which I declined, though maybe I should have accepted it so each kid could have one as a memento).

(Daddy’s Deployed is a completely customized children’s book for those with a parent deploying. The book features the name, gender, and physical attributes of, not only the child, but the parents as well!)

Owen’s Halloween Party

I walked into controlled bedlam. Or maybe it just felt that way to me, since I am unaccustomed to being in a room full of little kids. :) It was actually quite calm—just noisy. I regret not taking a video so you could fully understand. :)


Katie loves coming in (which she rarely gets to do because I leave her in the car while I run him in or pick him up). She gets into everything. I tried to keep her corralled with cheese and crackers today but it only lasted so long.


Then daddy called so he could see the party.


It didn’t last too long, though, since we couldn’t hear each other due to all the ambient noise. But what was funny is that the teacher saw me holding my phone up and was like “Oh, what do you have there?” I’m guessing she thought I was showing Owen something or taking a video. When I told her it was Owen’s daddy on Skype she was really surprised! And excited! So she got to meet Tom briefly today. (Again, it was loud so it wasn’t much more than “Hi! Nice to meet you!”)


Holy crap! Owen is pretty good at hitting!

Papa wanted to surprise Owen with his own baseball bat so he got it the other day and planned to give it to him after school before his dentist appointment when we’d be at the playground.



Then after a few quick attempts and after getting his grip and stance corrected, he was hitting most of my pitches! We were stunned. They weren’t perfect, of course, but I’d guess he was at least making some sort of contact on 80% of them…and probably good contact on 50% of those! He even smacked me with a ball a few times and had me ducking more than once as a ball whizzed by me.

While we were playing, Tom happened to Skype in, so he could watch Owen! It was awesome! Tom loved it!