To begin, N and I were blessed to be able to go back to the states to visit family in January. Long story short, we flew with Jason on our way there and then we traveled back just the two of us due to his work schedule. We flew Space-Available (Space-A), which is essentially a military version of flying stand-by based on your category. The higher the category, the more likely you are to be chosen for a flight. There are good and bad times to try to fly Space-A. We chose a good time. :)
The states were great--COLD--but great. Iowa proved to be fantastic with lot of family. We wish we could have seen more, but visiting while the school year is in session doesn't work so well for a family full of teachers. I'm grateful so many were able to come see us at all.
We got a couple of wonderful pictures in, including four-generation pictures taken on both sides of the family. It's pretty amazing for N to have great-grandparents still alive and I'm again, so thankful, we were able to bring her to meet them.
My sister escaped the Wisconsin cold for our balmy weather (ha!) to meet N. We got a great shot of N sitting next to her cousin, due in August! Aunt Kelly also sang "What does the fox say?" about 100 times to N. If you know my sister, you know this was hilarious!
It was said to leave, but twenty days is a long time to be away from your home and routine, especially for an infant. N handled it like a champ, but I won't be putting her through all of that again any time soon.
Which brings me to my military family. On the way to the states and back we HAD to stop in Hawaii. Bummer, right? I have two friends from our Biloxi days who are stationed there and I got to catch up with them a bit. One of them, Sarah, actually turned into our chauffeur on very short notice. She even brought us food at our lodging. I was/am forever grateful for her friendship and kindness.
Jeanne met us at lodging to visit that night, but then she came and hung out with us at the airport the next day for a least two hours. Not only was it nice to have someone to talk with, but I was able to use the restroom! Traveling alone with an infant suddenly means simple things like using the restroom are no longer simple. Enough said.
I was struck by how wonderful it is to have friends who are your family away from home. There are very few people who you can Facebook message or call on a moments notice who will drive you around, bring you food, or lend you an umbrella stroller. Never underestimate your military family.