Monday, October 22, 2012

Playing Catch Up Again! - Road Trip

I feel like I've been in a constant state of motion these last few weeks! But it has been a fantastic few weeks, and I want to share it with you!!! :)

On October 1st, the hubs and I piled our bags into the car and made the 16 hour drive to South Carolina to see Soldier Girl graduate from basic training. We didn't hit the road nearly as early as we would have liked (4:30PM instead of 8AM) which meant we drove through the night, and arrived at our hotel in Columbia at around 9:30AM on the 2nd.
After napping for a few hours, we got up and got ready to go to a meet up with some other army families that I had gotten to know from a Facebook group over the course of eleven long weeks.

While we were getting ready to go, I took a moment to clean my glasses and managed to snap them in half. It was a clean break right on the bridge, too. Am I talented or what? LOL

Gorilla Glue to the rescue - sort of. I got through the evening with them glued, but of course they snapped again when I took them off back at the hotel room. We re-glued again, and I managed to get through the Family Day briefing and a trip to the post optical shop where we found some new frames that my existing lenses sort of fit into. Not a great solution, but we could only do so much 1000 miles from home. At least I could see!

The Family Day briefing was incredible!!! There were speeches and live music, and lots of cheering, and then finally, this.....

Three companies marching onto the field as one.....what a proud moment for me. <3
The music still gives me goosebumps!

Once they released the soldiers to find their families, chaos ensued. Hundreds of parents, grandparents, siblings, wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends all trying to find their soldiers in a sea of camouflage. LOL 
I found my girl soon enough, and managed to sneak up on her and grab her in the biggest bear hug. We both started crying. It was SO good to see her face in person after 11 long weeks!
I noticed when I hugged her that she was all wiry and muscle-y! LOL

Me and my Soldier Girl!
Me and the Soldier Girls. We adopted this gal for Family Day, since her family couldn't make it.

We spent some time doing brief meet-n-greets of her Battle Buddies and their families, and then went to sign the gals out for the day. We were restricted to on-post only, so we hit the PX (and the optical shop) to do some shopping, lunch, and visiting). Then we wandered over to the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum, which was really cool!

Outside the museum.
A piece of one of the World Trade Center buildings from the 9/11 attacks.

After the museum, we did a little more wandering around, but ended up back at the PX, just kicking back at a table and talking. She had to be back at her company by 2030, and we dropped her off a little bit early to make sure she made it on time. Then it was back to the hotel for us to get some sleep, and get ready for Graduation Day!
Sadly the weather did not cooperate, and the graduation ceremonies were moved inside. This meant that these soldiers didn't get to do Pass & Review, but the graduation ceremony was awesome regardless! (Sorry for the crappy video work, but just LISTEN! Again with the goosebumps!)

After the graduation ceremony was over, we went back over to the company area to get Soldier Girl all checked out, get all her orders signed off on, and get her stuff packed into the car, so we could drive her to her AIT post.
This photo cracks me up! She actually said "Really Mom?"
I just wanted a record of her carrying 100lbs of gear without complaining! LOL
She said her first order of business was to hit up a Five Guys, but it was a little early in the day for that so she settled for Waffle House instead. :) After our bellies were full, we went back to the hotel and just hung out for a few hours. She sorted all her gear and re-packed it all. We watched TV and surfed the net (she had to get caught up on Facebook, you know!). We ran out and did a little shopping (which she griped about - she didn't want to put those Class A's back on! LOL) and then got a good night's sleep.
The next morning, we loaded up the car and hit the road for her next post. Within minutes of being in the car, I looked back and saw this:
Apparently, all soldiers fresh out of basic do this. Sleep when you can.
She did it every time we got in the car. LOL

Once we reached her new post (Friday 10/5) , we were sent to three different buildings to get her checked in. But once all the paperwork was done, she was granted a weekend off-post pass (yay for Columbus Day being a federal holiday, right?) So we went and checked into a hotel and proceeded to be lazy for a few hours. We did a little bit of sightseeing, and tried to find a gun range that fit our time schedule, but unfortunately that didn't work out too well. So mostly we just hung out, drove around town so she could see where things were, and did laundry at the hotel.

Laundry guard. And Facebook.
The important stuff, you know!
The hubs and I had to hit the road on Sunday, so we had to take Soldier Girl back to her company early (she had a pass til 1400 on Monday), but that allowed her plenty of time to get all her stuff unpacked and put away, and of course to catch up with Facebook and texting with friends. ;)

When it came time to say good bye, I was ok, until I saw she had tears in her eyes. I told her to knock it off, and then started to cry too. LOL She texted me for the next 6 hours, just talking about random things, until she finally decided to turn in.

We arrived back at home at around 430AM on Monday, and went straight to bed for a few hours.

It was an amazing, wonderful, emotional trip - and worth every single second.
I am so proud of my kid!!! She has really changed, for the better of course. She's polite & respectful, carries a crapload of gear without complaint, answers all questions with "Yes/No ma'am/sir" and cusses like a sailor soldier. :) LOL

She's two weeks into classes at AIT, and she has more freedom than at BCT. Her company seems more like a college campus than the army, except for the road marches and multiple daily formations. Everyone is really laid back - a bunch of self professed geeks. :)
She's getting to know her battle buddies, is very grateful to only have 5 bunk mates instead of 27, and pretty much gets to text/facebook her mama whenever she wants.
She scored a 90 on her first test, which makes me proud, because it's pretty technical stuff (hubs understands it, but it's way over my head!).

Sorry this is so incredibly long.....but I guess when you can't post for so long, that's just how it is!

Next up: the new JOB!!! Look for that soon!


  1. Yay for Soldier Girl and her momma! I'm so excited that you got to spend some time with her.

    1. Thanks GunDiva! It was so great to see her! She hasn't lost her sense of humor either - in fact, she's funnier now than she was before! I can't wait to see her at Christmas! <3

  2. Congrats to your daughter for making it through and to you for not going (too) crazy.

    Our family knows the joy of seeing them at graduation, the realization how short that first day really is. She probably couldn't tell you how much it meant for you both to be there but I hope you realize it. We were blessed to attend the graduation of both ours.

    Will send up a prayer or two for the new job

    1. Thanks Bob! The first few weeks were definitely the hardest. She was homesick, and I missed her SO much!

      She really couldn't express how happy she was to have us there, but we could see it in her face. And I overheard her tell someone else "I thought my parents were strict.....until I met my DS's." LOL!

      New job is going great! Hoping to find some time to write about it in the next few days!