Thank you all for your wonderful love and support!
Madison and Alex are at a Father/Daughter dance and Hudson is in bed, so I thought I'd take this time to write a quick update on Alex's homecoming! I posted all of the pictures I have right now, on my facebook page. When I get my professional set, I will post a few of my favorites here, and all of them will be on my facebook page as well.
Okay, so on to the day of homecoming:
Friday, March 1, 2013:
We all got up, like normal (the kids did not know that Alex was coming home today). April came over to watch Hudson. I took Madison to school. I volunteered in her classroom that morning. After I was done, I came home real quick and then picked up Alex's car and took it to the car wash.
Hudson and I went to pick up Madison from school and we had our normal Friday night routine, I just started everything a little bit earlier so that the kids would be in bed a little bit earlier. We ordered pizza (didn't want to mess the freshly cleaned kitchen up) and had our movie night. The kids went to bed right after the movie around 6:20/6:30. Once the kids were in bed, I began checking the final things off of my "to do" list. I finally was able to lay down and rest at about 10:30, which gave me about an hour. I slept until 11:30 and then I got up and began prepping our breakfast casserole (which went in the crock pot). If you need something like this, where you prep it the night before...I highly recommend it! My friend Jess, sent me the recipe and it was a huge success. Anyway, so while I was finishing the casserole, I received a phone call from Alex around midnight (he wasn't suppose to even land until 1:30am). When I answered the phone he asked me if I'd received the new itinerary, which I hadn't. I then called my Family Readiness Officer (FRO) and asked her if things were being bumped up. I hadn't even showered yet and still had a 45 min to an hour drive ahead of me, plus I had to get the kids up and get them ready, as well as call everyone who was coming to the homecoming to make sure they were all on the same page. The FRO didn't even know that they had landed yet and so she told me she'd look into it. She called me back about a half hour later and said the time would still remain the same (which was that they'd be arriving at Pendleton at 5:30am). Then about ten minutes later she called back and told me that it was going to be 4:30am since that was the time they'd asked all of the family members to arrive anyway. So, I was operating off of that time frame and was still confident we'd make it. I continued getting ready and attempting to reach everyone that needed the update! Then, at about 1:20am, I received another call from the FRO letting me know that they'd bumped their arrival time up to 3:00am. I was still calm, but knew I needed to get flying. I was just starting to curl my hair and needed to wake Madison up, do her hair, get her in the car, get Hudson up, get him in the car and still try to reach everyone, which had been unsuccessful. I had only been able to reach my parents at this point. So, I finished doing my hair and getting dressed. I then grabbed my phone so that I could record Madison waking up to the news that we were going to get Alex. She was in a dead sleep and a little disoriented, but below is her reaction to finding out Alex was coming home!
As I was finishing getting Madison ready, I finally was able to reach all but one of the people I needed to contact. Hudson woke up, while I was getting Madison ready and he was chipper and ready to go, so he was easy to get dressed and loaded up! We left the house just before 2:00am and headed up to Pendleton. We arrived at about 2:40. My parents were only minutes behind us, so we all went into the air hanger that we were going to be waiting in. They had a lovely breakfast spread that kept the kids entertained. Eventually everyone showed up and the waiting began :) Alex had his phone so he was able to text me updates while we waited. :)
At the ten minute mark the Senior FRO stood up and asked us to all go line up outside to welcome the buses. It was such a magical moment. We could see the Freedom Riders (who had met the plane as it landed at March Air Force Base) come around the corner as they were leading the buses. The band was playing and the freedom riders entered the gates followed by the three buses. The kids were so excited. The buses ended up being much closer than I had anticipated, which made it a little bit harder to find Alex because as everyone was exiting the bus, families were rushing them. I decided to stay put until I saw Alex. I was holding Hudson, so that he wouldn't get lost in the shuffle and Madison was by my side. Brittney spotted Alex and pointed him out (he happened to be blocked in my line of sight do to a lovely family reunion happening right in front of me). I saw him and my heart skipped a beat. He was home. I ran with Hudson in my arms (I thought Madison was right behind me) and he swept me up in his embrace as we enjoyed our first kiss in five months. I realized that I didn't feel Madison next to me, so we turned around and she came running to Alex and jumped in his arms. She was all smiles and then the emotion hit her. She began to sob and when she finally spoke, she told us they were happy tears! It was such a perfect moment. Hudson was glowing at the sight of daddy and kept shouting his name. (In fact, he pretty much does this on a daily basis. If he doesn't see Alex, he'll just keep saying his name until he sees or hears him. He wants to make sure he's still here).
Once the craziness settled down, Alex said hi to everyone who joined us that morning: my parents, his parents, Brittney and Matt and their kiddos, Kami, and Kristine. Then we found all of his gear, loaded up the car, and headed home! Oh, what a glorious feeling!
We arrived home around 5:30am. We worked really hard to keep the kids awake on the way home. Once we were home, both kids were practically falling asleep standing up, so they fell asleep rather quickly once they were in bed. We all ended up sleeping until about 8:45/9:00am. When we woke up, the breakfast casserole was ready and it was glorious to be able to just enjoy breakfast with my handsome prince.
We have had a wonderful week of spending time together as a family and things have picked up right where they left off. Alex and I have had many wonderful conversations and are just in awe of all that God did and continues to do through this deployment. Upon arriving home, Alex found out that he's going to have an awesome new job. As a result of this new job, we'll be able to stay here an extra year on top of the year we already had been extended, which puts us here until at least the summer of 2015. Such a blessing!!!!
Anyway, Alex and Madison are at their father/daughter dance tonight. Then, tomorrow night, Alex and I are going on our first date, since he's been home! We are so excited to spend that time together! Thank you all again for everything!
***Please continue praying for Tori! Pray that God would fully heal her and that He'd give her a way to communicate with her family and doctor's until the healing takes place. Thank you!!!***
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