Friday, February 12, 2010

Impromptu Vacation Anyone?

So, here is the deal. On Tuesday (the 2nd) I got an email from Chris' command saying that they have left Haiti, and planned on docking in Mayport. They hinted that the guys would get liberty, and have off the day of the Superbowl, so... what is a wifey to do?

I tried for details, but OPSEC prevented me from knowing anything for sure. All I knew that I was here, in Cleveland, with a little girl that is changing everyday, and a husband who was dying to see her face. What the heck right? I kidnapped my mother, packed the car, and by the 4th was heading to Florida. I was hoping they would have the whole weekend off, and didn't plan on missing a single minute with him. Anyways, I had driven back and forth to VA a ton of times, and Mayport was one 5 hours longer. ;)

I had it in my head that if we left in the evening the kids would sleep in the car, and my job would be easier...right:
We hit the biggest snow storm that I have ever driven in. I mean literally, and I am from Cleveland. Pulling over was obviously a last resort in my world, but we did have to pull off for a while. It took over six hours to drive through NC, which is just ludicrous.

Carter cooperated, and ate in the car. We had to stop enough as it was. This is his face listening to the rain, you wouldn't believe how loud it was. 2010 017

Rain in VA, snow in NC, sleet in SC, windstorm in Northern GA, and torrential downpour in GA and FL:

But finally, after nearly 24 hours later:
Welcome to Mayport! We got in at the Navy Lodge Mayport, and it was beautiful. It was set right on the beach. It wasn't too warm, but good enough for us. We had a Friday to do nothing, it didn't take Carter long to bring on the entertainment.
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Saturday came, but we still didn't know when we would see Chris, or where he was for that matter. But, LUCKY us, we looked out the window, and was able to see his tower sticking up. We ran out to the beach just in time to get some cool pics.
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I think that was really cool for Carter because we have been telling him Chris is on a boat, but he actually watched the boat pull in, and saw Daddy get off, and then get back on for that matter. How do you explain all this to a two year old, right? I think he gets it as best he could. He was so excited on the beach watching that huge ass ship pull in.

I have heard in the past that once the carriers get tugged in, it take a few hours for the them to actually "park it" and for the guys to get off. I have never done this before, but all I knew was I traveled too far to miss him stepping off, or make him wait for us so I packed up the kids, and FLEW over to the docks and waited.

And waited. They kids took naps in the car. 2010 060

And then we waited some more. Five hours later:

(Happy Dance)

The kids and him didn't miss a beat.
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Ellie decided to pick the perfect weekend to start smiling!
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The weekend went way too fast. We only had Saturday evening, Sunday all day, then he had to go into work Monday, and they gave him back to us for a couple hours that evening. I have to tell you, it was damn well worth it. I know he felt great, and I think it was so important to get to see Elle while she is this little. There are so many little things that he will only see in pics. And, Carter of course ate up every minute with his partner in crime.
We did get a chance to check out the base, and I LOVE IT. It is small and the housing is beautiful. I don't know about the summers there, but I enjoyed my visit.
Muah Muah Muah, I love this man.

I woke up early Tuesday morning to try and see the ship pull out in the sunrise. I missed any good pics, but I did catch a glimpse.

It was kind of a cool experience for me, the only person on the whole beach, watching the sunrise over the ocean.

I saw real sea foam for the first time in my life:
And yelled "Hey it's me!"
Then (drumroll please) why head home so soon? DISNEY BABY! I would never plan a trip like that for the kids this little, but we were right there, and we had discount military tickets, and discount hotel. Actually, I didn't know they had a military hotel on the resort, and found it totally on accident while driving to Disney. Lucky me! Shades of Green was lovely. Probably the nicest hotel I have ever been in.

They had a patriotic Mickey there which I thought was so freakin' cute.

First thing Wednesday morning we were off, and these faces say it all:
The random parades were Carter's favorite part (we caught three in one day) and Carter literally danced in the streets for 40 minutes. I don't think i wiped the smile off of my face for at least an hour afterwards.

Check out those moves.
We went on a ride through the jungle.
And of course "It's a small world." This was my only goal for the day, and it was by far his favorite. We actually got stuck in there for about ten minutes, which Chooch didn't mind at all.

Sometimes through out the day, I got random hugs right around my face, just the way I like it. I don't know if he is capable of gratitude, but it sure felt that way to me.
And even though Ellie won't remember it, Carter enjoyed having her there:
It was too cold for baby girl, I had her in the warmest stuff that I packed, but it was unseasonable COLD, Carter lost her hat, and good luck finding something warm to buy for a newborn at a theme park in FL. I improvised.
But, eventually we had to take her back to the hotel. Mom was ready for a break to, and offered to sit at the hotel for her while me and Carter went back.
We got back in the evening and found Main St. lit up in "surprises."
We watched the parade of lights (awesome) and fireworks over the Princess Castle.
We planned on touring for three days, but day one was raining, and day three we woke up and it was 38 degrees.
So we decided to say "Peace out."

We didn't see a whole lot, but if I am being honest I was exhausted by this point, and Carter was too.
The ride home took two FULL days, but the kids did great.
Eight days later, back in Cleveland, tired, but certainly no worse for the wear!

So, what did I learn:
1. I am one tough broad traveling a thousand miles with a two year old and a newborn.
2.That old cliche about positive attitude really does make all the difference in the world. There was plenty I could have complained about from day one, but I was determined, and wanted to have this bring us closer together, but stress us out. Positive attitude= a plus
3. Ellie Mahoney is a hot damn trooper! She rocks my world, and someday when I take her back to Disney, I promise to buy her every princess gown she lays her eyes on.
4. Swarovski Crystals float in mid-air.
5. Traveling with your kids makes you feel like a real life grown-up, then you do something silly like dance in the street with Woody from Toy Story, and you realize just how young you really feel.

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