Category Archives: Military

weekend & Steve’s homecoming recap

Hi all! I’m stealing some time on the computer while Steve is at the gym to update before we head out to dinner tonight :o)

Saturday, I made my way up to the Dallas area to see Angela canadagirl, Chris punisher1373, Tyler and their family while they were in the state. Ang asked if I would mind doing some family shots and I said, “of course!” I never turn down an opportunity to learn. I had packed up my studio Friday night and also purchased an umbrella to try and diffuse light into with my external flash so this was going to be my first time using all of this stuff. And instead of buying a $100 reflector set, I bought some silver car sunshades for the car and spray painted a side gold.

The 3 hours went by really fast and I made it to Ang’s in-laws house. I got to see Tyler who had gotten so big since last time I saw him! I set up my gear and between Angela, her FIL and I ironing that 10’x20′ muslin background, it took almost 2 hours! But then we were set up and ready. We first did Valentine’s Day pictures of Ty before some father/son pictures since Chris is deployong to Afghanistan next month. Then, we had the entire family along with some family shots. In between shootings, Chris’ niece loved to take jumping shots and was a great assistant…lol.

Afterwards, everyone went to a bar/grill close to the house to get some food and just hang out. I had to jet by 5pm since I had the dogs and it was a 3 hour drive to get back home. I said my goodbyes to everyone and made it home to relax for a bit and edit some pictures.

The next day, I woke up and went to see my friend Tina who cuts my hair. She opened her salon extra early to squeeze me in and was giving me the scoop at my former place of work. People are crazy there! After I got my hair done, I went to Verizon to do a contact book transfer with Steve’s old phone to his new phone before getting some take out for lunch. It was a chilly day and pho just sounded so good right then.

Veronica came over shortly afterwards to help me set up the decorations and banners outside of the house. We got everything set up in about an hour before she had to leave so after that, I focused on vacuuming, dishes, laundry and cleaning the bathrooms. The day was going by really fast and then I got the call that the ceremony was postponed an hour from 11:30pm to 12:30am. I let the photographer from Project Love Reunited know and he was still ok with coming so yay!

Originally, I wasn’t sure if I was going to have time to made a sign like I usually did, but now with that extra hour, I could! So, with markers and posterboard, I made my magic. The next thing I knew, it was 10pm! My plan was to leave the house by 10:45pm since it takes about an hour to get to Fort Hood so I raced to shower, blow dry/style my hair and do my make up. I left 5 mins later than I had anticipated so I got there around midnight.

I parked and walked onto the field with my sign and was instantly drawn to a crowd surrounded by 2 big TVs. They were showing the soldiers getting off of the planes so I was getting excited! I met my photographer and we went over to the heating tent where I found my in-laws. By 12:25am, I said I was going to make my way over to the field so Steve’s mom came along with the photographer while Steve’s dad stayed in the tent since he was not a fan of the cold.

While on the field, I saw my former FRSA and rear d commander (this was before Steve changed companies) so we chatted and I got the word that the buses just left the airport so they should be here within 20 mins. When the photographer left to add more layers (it was chilly that night…30’s), I got a text from Bill spuzzlightyear who told me to walk to the webcam since the ceremony was being broadcasted. So, I non-chalantly walked in front of the camera and was texting…my fingers were frozen so my typing skills weren’t all that great, but apparently Christine krizteen and Lori nurse2k were also watching so I got a few screenshots of myself….lol. And just to note, there were a LOT of people there, they were just sitting at the bleachers and not on the field where I was…lol.

me via webcam at Steve's homecoming
haha, me texting at Cooper Field with my sign under my armpit

I secured a spot at the left side of the field since that’s where Steve and I agreed to meet. Before we knew it, the buses were coming! Everything just happened so fast. I was cheering, waving my sign, and the soldiers were living up in formation. They marched onto the field where the chaplain said a quick prayer before they were released.

I held my sign up walking and probably in 30 seconds, I spotted Steve. I ran over to him and immediately started crying. I had some streaks fall, but no snot face, luckily! His parents came to hug him and the photographer got us in one big group hug…lol. I tried wiping the tears away, but it’s not really effective with leather gloves so we’ll see how the pictures turn out.

Steve is home!
This was the only picture I took that night! I will have to wait for the photographer pics.

By now, it was some time past 1am and Steve’s parents were tired so they said they would let us go home and we’d catch up later. We thanked the photographer once again for coming and then we made our way towards home. On the way, we stopped by IHOP for some food where the first thing Steve wanted was mozzarella sticks…lol.

When we got home, I had Steve wait in the laundry room so I could get my camera ready and record the dogs’ reaction to him. Salado was SOOOOOOOOO excited that Steve was back! Coco and Cody–not so much…lol. They greeted him and then were like, “hmm…I think I’ll get some water now” lol. But Salado was jumping and sprawling his arms out to Steve.

Dogs’ reaction to Steve’s homecoming

We didn’t sleep until 4am or so and then woke up around 8am where we were chatting in bed until 9:30am. When I peered over, all the dogs were leaning or snuggling with Steve and/or his legs. I was like chopped liver! They totally have forgotten who took care of them for the past year!

We got out of bed, had brownies for breakfast and my mom called so she talked with Steve for a bit. We had plans to see Avatar, but my mom said we had to see it at an IMAX theater. We had a quick lunch at 5 Guys which Steve has been craving for MONTHS before making our way over to the TX State Musuem where the IMAX theater is. The movie and the whole 3D and IMAX experience was incredible. The technology that went into this movie was an awesome experience in itself and definitely worth seeing at an IMAX over a regular movie theater for sure. The movie itself was pretty good, too. It’s not a new theme, but it still made me laugh, cry and sit at the edge of my seat.

After that, we went home and crashed. We napped up until our reservations for dinner at the Melting Pot which was generously paid by the gift card we received from the Falcones (thanks again, guys). We had the usual Big Night Out and the manager came by with champagne since it was our 2nd time celebrating a homecoming there (MP and their tracking software…lol). Everything was great, but the icing on the cake was tha they still gave us the military discount! We didn’t even ask for it since I already knew they had switched it to Sundays only, but I guess this was an exception. Sweet!

Tuesday, I went to work while Steve took care of some things including shopping for ingredients for a dinner he was going to cook that night :o) When I got home, I changed and we went over to the park by our house and ran 3 miles. This is the first time he’s ever seen me run which is true because I started March of last year, just after he deployed. Since then, I had run 3 5ks, 1 10k and a 5 miler. After our run, we went home–Steve showered and got dinner ready :o)

While cooking, his friend, Ash, FINALLY calls and after the usual “welcome home” notions, he finally drops the bomb that he’s getting married and wants Steve to be his best man. Steve was sooo happy! I played dumb and was all, “oh? what’s awesome?” lol. After the call, I showed him my emails back and forth with Ash. I was like, “I had to keep my mouth shut for 11 days!!!!!” lol. But in any case, everyone is happy.

Steve made me a spicey turkey cassoulet which was really tasty! I gave him a haircut and we snuggled on the couch with all 3 dogs to watch all 3 hours of LOST. Who knows what the heck is going on now!?!? lol. It’s so nice to have my husband back home.

Today was Steve’s first day back at work. He’ll have to work until Friday and then he’s got a month off. His first project will be to tackle the garage–he’s got 4 boxes of stuff he shipped over from Iraq and no room in our garage so he’s gotta go through the Army junk we have there now and make room–otherwise, his car will be parked in the driveway because I’m not giving up my garage space…lol.

Anyway, that’s the word on the street! Thanks to everyone for thinking of us :o) I hope to get our homecoming pictures soon. I emailed the photographer and he said he’d be sending them out on a DVD soon. I know he shot a wedding and an engagement session shortly before the homecoming so I’m sure those take precedence over my pics. As soon as I get them, I will be posting them!!!

Homecoming – postponed

For Steve!
flowers & a note from Hina & Asif, a Melting Pot gift card from the Chris chrisfalcone00 & Lisa lkf03 & brownies made by yours truely for Steve!

Thank you so much, everyone, for keeping Steve in your thoughts and giving home a welcome home!

I received a call from the redeployment hotline stating that the homecoming has been postponed an hour so it’s now at 12:30am. I can’t say I’m surprised because the other 2 were late, too.

I’m not bitter though! I’ve been so busy with trying to tidy everything up that I thought I would have to forgo making a homecoming poster, but since I have that extra hour, now I can :o) See, there is always good with the bad. I contacted our photographer to let him know of the delay and he’s still coming! I’m soo grateful because I keep thinking he’s going to back out because it is late, but he said he would be there. So excited!!

Everything is pretty much ready now. I’m going to work on my poster, then shower and get ready :o)

If anyone is going to be up and is interested, they will be broadcasting the homecoming over the web starting around midnight (CST). If you do, let me know if you see us! We’ll be meeting on the left side of the field (facing the soldiers, other wise the right side of the field if facing the audience). Link is here!

6 more hours until homecoming!

The hours are passing by quickly until Steve’s homecoming :o) I got a call this morning at 7am that confirmed that his homecoming would be tonight at 11:30pm. I slept in before going for my haircut (every 2 months on the dot) from my friend, Tina. I then stopped by Verizon to get the contacts on Steve’s old phone to his Droid before stopping for pho for lunch because I was hungry and it was so cold outside!

Veronica came over and helped me decorate the outside of the house. We hung all 3 banners with one over the garage and 2 on the fence. We blew up balloons for the bannner, I made my yard sign, we hung streamers on the fence and also wrapped streamers around my one tree.

V-lo helped me decorate for Steve's homecoming!
the front of the house and the side fence with V-lo

In the end, it certainly didn’t look like $175 worth of stuff and I wanted to do more, but wasn’t sure how to. After a while, our hands went numb so we called it a day since all the major components were out. Veronica left and I went to make brownies per Steve’s request using my Baker’s Edge brownie pan that Kimmy got me for my birthday :o) I’m trying to resist the urge to steam clean my carpets–I have to put away laundry, do one last vacuum, shower, attempt to recreated my beautifully blow dried hair and then I’m off :o)

brownies for Steve!
For Steve–his favorite!

Ok, off to finish other housework and then I’m off :o)

Pictures to describe my day…

Steve's bronze star award
Steve got awarded his 2nd bronze star :o) He’ll be flying out of Iraq soon to Kuwait and everything is locked in for Sunday night. I just need to know what time! I also ordered his Droid Eris from Verizon and it’s being delivered to my work tomorrow since it requires a signature. We emailed back and forth as usual, but he is packing up his computer so emails may become more sparse as the days pass. I went to Party City after work today and spent $75 on decorations–this is not counting the $100 I already spent on banners–this is going to be awesome!

new Droid skin
I got skins for my Droid today! I got them from 3acp and they are great! It was super easy to apply and looks really cute. I got 3 designs so whenever I get sick of this one, I’ll have 2 more waiting in its place. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my cases now….lol.

fotonovela for spanish class 96/97
Rachel, a classmate from high school, mailed me a “fotonovela” (it’s like a Spanish comic book) from Spanish class either freshman or sophomore year of high school. We had the BEST story line! Rachel and I played Margarita and Maria with a guy in the class playing Paco. The story was Paco was a truck driver and cheating on one with the other. He writes letters from the road and sent a letter for Margarita to Maria by accident which is how we find out about the affair. We team up, kill Paco and eat him. The last line of the book was, “yo quiero Paco Bell.” lol. Is that not genius or what?! I laughed all over again.

the happy couple

As I mentioned previously, there were 2 pairs of mating sea monkeys in my tank. One couple is really mellow and will actually come towards the front of the tank when I come to check them out. They stay relatively still for me to take pictures which is why their pics are so clear–see below. The other couple swam around like crazy and “divorced” after a day so the female is on her own with her egg sac. You can imagine my surprise to see the other couple still together–swimming, eating, etc. I wonder if the male feels like he has to protect his woman and children?

the happy couple
The 1st pair separated after a day–this is the 2nd couple still together on day 3.

As far as human happy couples, I will be reunited with my other half next week! Steve emailed saying he should be here either laaaate Sunday night or eaaaarly Monday morning (which would ironically mark the 1 year mark TO THE DAY). I have a photographer lined up from Project Love Reunited who is driving from Austin to Fort Hood to take pictures :o) I’m so happy and can’t wait–7 more days!

I’ve convinced Steve to get a Droid. I gave him the choice between the Motorola Droid (which is what I have) or the HTC Droid Eris. I sent him pictures, comparisons and specs and in the end, he wants to go with the latter. Tomorrow, I’m going to activate his phone since he’s up for a $50 credit (not bad considering his account’s been inactive for a year) and then order his phone. I also have to change our plan, but I can do all of that online.

7 more days!

working on my list

I ♥ this song! Some of you might have heard it in the Rhapsody commercials on TV, but it was also in 500 Days of Summer which I ordered on-demand last night. The weather was just pouring down rain and became one of those nights where you were definitely not going out. The movie was pretty cute even with the twist at the end.

I crossed off my 1st item 101 in 1001 item from my list last night which was to organize my digital photos. I finally emptied out all my memory cards onto my external hard drive which has folders organized by occassion in each year starting from 2003 :o) I actually stumbled across some pictures I had totally forgotten about when Steve and I drove from TX to MA with a stop in DC after his homecoming some 4 1/2 years ago. Ahh, the memories! A few are in progress now such as ripping all of my CDs (I did about 20 last night), ordering just water when going out to eat for 3 months, and flossing/Waterpiking my teeth everyday for a month.

I called it a night around 10ish since the past 2 nights, I went to bed past midnight the past few days and woke up early for work so I was feeling pretty tired. I stayed up to read some more of The Lovely Bones. I’m almost done and I hope to finish it this morning since V-lo and I are going to see the movie today :o) We’ll see how that goes since book–>movie usually disappoints. I’m keeping an open mind though.

Last night, I also fed my beta fish some sea monkeys! Well, I know he ate one for sure, but as for the other 2, I have no idea where they went once I dropped them in his tank and I dont even know if he noticed them. I caught the 2nd attempt on video because it was the biggest sea monkey and I actually saw him chase and eat it down.

Sam enjoying a big ol’ sea monkey

In phone news, my Droid is definitely in Austin, but not scheduled to be delivered until Monday. I called trying to see if I could pick it up instead, but the rep told me it most likely won’t be unpacked until Monday morning. I find that kind of hard to believe so I will probably call back a few hours later to ask again since it’s at the destination facility already, but I did put in the request to pick it up Monday since I have the day off and they require a signature anyway. I can’t wait to get that bad boy in my hands!

Steve emailed me saying that there is a slight chance that he could be home at the end of this month! Before, it was definitely going to be in February, but I guess things have changed–so now I only have 2 weekends left to get the house in order! Things could change again, but we’ll see–I’m trying to stay positive! The poor guy is SO ready to come home and I don’t blame him one bit.

Homecoming preparations have begun…

First things first. With Steve’s homecoming approaching either the end of this month or the beginning of the next month, I only have a handful of weekends left to get everything in order. So, the first order of business were the carpets. The Kirby officially died (not that I’d miss it–thing weighs a TON) which was also my carpet shampooer so I went out to buy Hoover SteamVac after reviewing a few other models (MUST HAVE ROTATING BRUSHES). This thing is AWESOME and I totally recommend it to anyone looking for one.

LOVE this Steamvac
Even the doggies were excited over the carpet cleaner!

As soon as I got home, I assembled it and got to work on the carpet on the 1st floor. The water was brown and I just reveled in the fact that dirt was being extracted from the carpets. I was SO surprised at how BROWN the water was when I shampooed my rugs–YUCKO! It’s the place where the dogs hang out, chew their rawhide and is the closest to the back door so on rainy days, mud and crap gets on the rug. Now it’s nice and clean–also looks so much better! I hope to tackle the stairs and 2nd floor next weekend.

I also designed and ordered Steve’s homecoming banner. For the first 2 deployments, I ordered banners from the same company, but I can’t find it anymore! So, I went to the website where I have ordered huge banners for the FRG and made one for Steve there. This will hang above the garage like they have in the past, but since this is his last homecoming for a few years, I really want to make it BIG! So, I’m thinking of decorating the outside of the house and fence for when he comes home. I want to get a looooooooooog piece of muslin to write a message and hang over our fence, maybe do balloons, streamers, flags, the works! I didn’t decorate for Christmas so I guess I will make it up here.

Steve's homecoming banner
Steve’s homecoming banner!

On another note, Steve gets his early look for promotion to Major this year! Isn’t that crazy? He doesn’t think he’ll get promoted until next year, but still. Major Schwab–I could think up of a number of ways to make jokes from that :oP

Project 365, Day 333

Day 333 - napping with the pooches
Snuggling with my girls–sometimes Salado made an appearance.

This is the main reason why I can get through yet another deployment. This is Steve’s 37th (soon to be 38th) month in Iraq and these dogs get me through each and every day (even though sometimes they drive me nuts). Weekends now include nap time on the couch and everyone assumes their position. Coco is nestled between my legs, Cody is either next to me or on my stomach and Salado is usually at the other side of the couch or right beside me. When I wake up and see their sweet sleeping faces, it just warms my heart.

P.S. Happy 4 1/2 year wedding anniversary to my hubby! Luckily, we’ll be together for our 5th anniversay–hopefully, celebrating in China!!