Friday, July 31, 2009

Daddy Doll

I should have left the light on, but the room didn't look that dark when I was filming. :(

"My Daddy's Home!"

This was just about 30 minutes after he arrived. We just walked in the BOQ and he was unloading gear from the car into the room.

Together at last!

I can't get enough of these two faces!

And more gear!

That gear is extremely heavy - even the lightest piece of it. He made carrying it look easy, so back at the BOQ I tried to lift it. BAD IDEA. I could barely pick it up. I was actually surprised at how much it weighed.

Getting the Gear

I love it - the only Marine carrying a backpack, a little girl and a pink blanket!

Pure Hotness!

I sure did miss that man!!!!!!!!!!

Birthday Party

I love this one also, because that particular smiling expression is so unusual to see. She is just so happy to see him and yet bashful at the same time.

Shy, Happy and Excited

I took this right after she ran to him and he picked her up... I love that look on her face; it's one I hardly ever see.

"Daddy have a present for me!"

This can't top the first one I posted, but it is still cute. He just told her he brought back a present for her. It's only a minute or two after he came home.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


This video says it better than I could.


You can see the buses starting to come down the road. There were 3 of them all together, he was in the first one. Amelia and I had actually gone to the car and called my mom to pass the time when we heard a loud roar and cheering begin from the crowd. I hung up and ran out with Amelia as quickly as I could - poor thing, she fell and I had to scoop her up and carry her the rest of the way.

The Gear is Here!

This was a beautiful sight - rows of gear, just waiting to be claimed.

Amelia and I started strolling by it to see if we could read the tags.

Is that....???

IT IS!!!!
This is when it finally started to feel real;
that it was actually going to come to an end and he would be with us soon.

Still waiting...

She had two flags she wanted to wave for Daddy...
This one made the cut

Getting a little restless

Finally!! Signs of life!
Their gear arrives!!

Forlorn and starting to get a bit sad

And Waiting...

The night kept fading as we waited. It seemed like forever, with frequent updates on when they were showing up - usually with different times.

Waiting on the Marines...

This was the group of people already waiting when we arrived at 4 am. We headed that direction, only to smell heavy cigarette smoking!! I was actually surprized because who wants to smell like a cigarette after not seeing their husband for a year if they are non-smokers? I figured the group would be separated into smokers and non smokers. Rafe hates that smell so we ended up waiting by ourselves in a nearby building that had the "work party" Marines in it. They gave Amelia a doughnut and all was well.

A "Working Party" is a group of Marines who gather for a specific work purpose - in this case, unloading the gear for the returning Marines. So they wait until the gear arrives. This room was quite... odiferous. Like lots of men camping. :)

After the doughnut, back to the car for a nap.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preparing for the Homecoming

11:00 pm Tuesday - after we finally hit the BOQ, unloaded the car and got her in her jammies. I put her on the bed for a minute to get her a drink and she passed out, poor thing.
3:00 am - 6 months pregnant, up for an hour and getting ready to wake Amelia up

3:05 am - trying to get a better picture. Soon after that, I received a phone call that said the guys were coming in at 4 am and not 4:30 am and to hoof it to the arrival place.

3:50 am - Amelia in the parking lot right after we get there, getting ready to watch for Daddy. She's very excited right now.

4:15 am - We're told they just left Cherry Point and won't be there until 5 or 5:30 am.
(Isn't she beautiful?!?!? It broke my heart to see that little sad face). If I'd been more awake I would have remembered that Cherry Point was more than an hour away.

Back Online!

I have no idea why my laptop works at home now and not at the BOQ. Neither does anyone else who tried to get it to work there. But now we're up and running again, so expect regular posts.

This is the left corner of the room at the BOQ. I am taking that picture from the far right corner, opposite side. Yes, the room was THAT small. What a way to spend two weeks after living apart for over 17 months, eh? If that doesn't test your relationship, I don't know what will! :)

Directly behind where I was taking the picture was the desk/breakfast table. To the left is the bed and a nightstand. The chair was directly at the left end of the bed. On the far right corner was a kitchenette and on the wall to my right was the tv on top of another dresser. As you can see, it was cramped quarters. The bathroom and closet was through a doorway.

I packed most of our things in clear plastic shoeboxes - one of the smartest packing jobs I've ever done. After I took this picture, I simply took the lids off, put them underneath the boxes and slid them into the drawers. VOILA! Everything organized and seperated within a few minutes.

The packing at the end of the trip to go home to Beaufort and unpacking at home was just as easy. Put the lids back on, take to the car. Once home, I just took the boxes to the right bedroom and emptied them back into the drawers. I was almost finished unpacking and putting things away by the time Rafe finished bringing stuff up out of the cars! He was both shocked and delighted that it went so quickly. In the past, packing and traveling with Amelia was quite a messy affair for me. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pictures late this evening

I've had several people try to get internet access on my laptop from here, so far no good. So I'm transferring pictures from my laptop to Rafe's later today and then trying to post. So aggravated! I was planning on showing him in real time what was going on.

Right now he is... you guessed it... sleeping. :) With his sweet baby daughter right next to him.

She is loving having daddy home, and doesn't want to sleep in her own bed right now. She can't stand to be too far away from him. Yesterday we went to the store and she told me she wanted to go back to Daddy (he wasn't with us) because "I missing him SO much". It was so sweet.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rafe's Homecoming

Rafe is HOME! Well, at least as "home" as we can get for now. We're staying at the BOQ on Camp Lejeune until the 20th for the debriefing/after action stuff. All three of us in an efficiency room. YIKES. But it was the only room available; 72 IA's were coming back this trip I was told - all from different teams.

I have tons of pictures and some video, but having trouble getting my laptop to find the wireless internet here. Hopefully I won't have to wait until the 20th to post them.

We drove down here Tuesday; got here around 830 pm and went to bed at 11 after hauling our gear up to the second floor (no elevators) and unpacking, eating, and showering. Amelia passed out on the bed before I could even get her to her crib. I was up again at 2 am to get ready to pick him up at 4 am.

We showed up at 4, only to be told they had not even left Cherry Point yet! Amelia and I walked around for a while, slept in the car for a little bit, walked around some more, had early morning doughnuts and slept a bit more in the car. We kept getting updates that they were "leaving soon" "On their way" ... but each time the arrival time was pushed back farther and farther - from 5 to 530 to 630.

The buses finally showed up around 7 am as I was talking to Mom with a giant roar from the crowd and people loudly cheering.

Rafe was in the first bus, facing our side, about 3 or 4 seats back. Although the windows were tinted, we could see his face up against the window and a giant grin on his face. We saw him and we were screaming and waving, watching him wave back to us. I was trying really hard not to cry so his first look at me wasn't red and blotchy! :)

Amelia was SO SO SO good waiting for Daddy. Not fussy or whiny at all. She was excited and so obedient, even with no sleep and no breakfast and the smile on her face when she was finally in her daddy's arms was worth all the lost sleep.

More later; Rafe is sleeping and I've got to go get them both up (it's 555 pm here).