Monday, December 28, 2015

Homecoming 2015!

After mid-cruise break had come and gone all to quickly, it was time to find some fun to fill our last 7 weeks as we anxiously waited for the deployment to be over. 

Every year around this time there is a week where the wives of each squadron compete in different events and challenges. I had heard about this all summer and being from a very competitive family (yes, I'm talking about the Elkins) I couldn't wait to participate. This very exciting week is called "Badgirl" and the Lady Diamondbacks were ready. 

The week consisted of a field day, a scavenger hunt, and the Lip sync finale. We had the best time and even though we weren't the overall winners, I have some great pictures and memories with some special ladies! 

After a few more girls nights, trips to tokyo, shopping days and baby showers it was time for the first fly ins and for our first deployment to be over. FINALLY! The words I had been waiting to hear...first deployment done. 

Will was still too new to fly off the boat this year so he had to stay behind another week, but I was there to watch all the families be reunited once again! This part will never get old. 

The last week that Will was still on the boat was pretty rough. It was my first Thanksgiving away from home, and without Will around it seemed to be even tougher. I had some other friends that were in the same boat as me being that their husbands weren't home yet either, so a few of us made our own special Thanksgiving dinner and celebrated together. I remember sitting there with them, of course missing Will, but also thinking how lucky and thankful I am to have such amazing women in my life. It would have been so easy for me to be upset or bitter that other women had their husbands home but instead I remembered how thankful I am for so many things in my life like health, love, friends and my family. This experience is teaching me to look at what I do have instead of what I do not. There is so much that I will miss being away from home these 3 years, but there is also so much I will experience and learn at the same time. 

Fast forward to December 3, 2015. 

I woke up feeling like it was Christmas morning. It was finally the day I got to go pick up my husband and be done with 1 out of 3 deployments in Japan. Of course it was a rainy morning with more traffic then you could imagine but the USS Ronald Reagan was finally in my sight. 

Vera Bradley Model

Thank you for your constant support and prayers! We know how loved we are and do not take it for granted. It was a very long year but can't believe the first one is over! 

Next stop...Vietnam and Thailand for a 2 week Christmas Vacation! To say we are excited is an understatement. 

We love you all! 

Caroline and Will 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mid-Cruise Break

I would be lying if I didn't say I was sad once I was back in Japan missing my family back home, but I wasn't sad for long because another special reunion was coming. Every deployment in Japan they do something called a Mid-cruise break when the guys come home for a few weeks. I planned my return back to Japan knowing I would only want about a week to recover before seeing Will again. My excitement, along with every other wife/significant other here in Japan, was overwhelming. We could not wait to hear that jet noise again and see our men! 

The guys come back in waves and since Will didn't come in until the end of the week, I went to the hangar and took pictures for some of my friends. Getting to experience the children seeing their dads again was precious. It really puts in perspective how much these families sacrifice and how strong these moms are out here! 

With Will being one of the newest pilots, he walked off the boat and took a bus to base where we were all waiting! Of course the bus that Will came in on was the absolute last bus, so I was beyond ready to see him! 

Even Tubbs and Lily sent their love from the U.S.

We got 2 weeks together and we spent them very busy! The first weekend he was home we went to dinner with friends, played some golf and relaxed. 

Only in Japan, this is how you do dinner
The next week, Will and I had the most incredible trip planned. The 2015 Presidents Cup happened to fall over the same time Will was home and strangely enough it was in South Korea…a 2 hour flight from where we live. 

How does that happen?

Our sweet friends who I used to babysit for in Virginia Beach, the Leishmans, got us tickets because Marc was playing in the tournament on the International team! We not only got to watch golf everyday but we had the VIP treatment with our guest passes. Marc and Audrey, you will never understand how grateful we are for making this possible. We had the most amazing time and I think for Wills first golf tournament…he is now extremely spoiled. 

We followed Marc the whole tournament

So many people!  
Marc after he beat Jordan Speith!

Try and spot the American

18th Green

After America won! 
We got back on a Monday night and needless to say we were pretty exhausted. Will only had 2 days left before having to get back on the boat and he worked one of those days. Well when I say work, this is a day at the office for him…

Will flying over Mount Fuji
Like it always does, our time quickly came to an end. In Japan it seems to go pretty slow when your waiting to see your husband and then when you are together it flies by. Even though it was short lived, we had the most incredible time together and can now check Presidents Cup in South Korea off our list! This last part of the deployment isn't very long for us either so I am already looking forward to our next adventures…Christmas in Vietnam and Thailand! 

Will, I love you and think of you everyday! Can not wait to be together again soon to make some more memories. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Raleigh Summer!

Now that I am writing this post its very bittersweet to me! It means my time in America for the summer is gone and I am in route back to Japan. The past 2 months were probably the quickest of my life, but also some of the best! I have so many moments and pictures I want to share so bare with me because this one could be long!

I left Japan on July 16 and had a layover at LAX. I bought this flight because it was cleary cheaper then the others posted at the time, and I quickly found out why. After the 9 hour trek to Los Angelos, I had a 10 hour layover. Yes you read that correctly and yes I agree that wasn’t the smartest.  Once I made it to Raleigh it was 6am on July 17 and my sweet mom was at the airport to pick me up! Seeing her for the first time in 7 months was just what I needed and even though it was super early and I hadn’t slept in what felt like days, my second wind kicked in and I was ready to go. Obviously the first stop was Chick fil a for some breakfast and even though I should have gone home to shower and sleep, mom and I headed straight for Elkies to be there when the kids woke up. It felt like the anticipation of Christmas morning with each turn getting us closer to their house. I wasn’t sure how they were going to react, especially Bennett because I left when she was only 8 weeks old but the reunion was perfect.

That weekend we went to the beach and had the best time. The beaches in Japan aren't really used in the same way we do back in the states so it was a very refreshing trip. 

Another very special moment for me was when I finally got to meet my newest nephew Daniel for the first time. FaceTime is the best invention for those of us that live overseas, but getting to hold precious Daniel for the first time was so wonderful. It was love at first sight of course…

One of the biggest reunions I had been looking forward too and knew I was going to get emotional with was with my sweet dog Tubbs. I have the best in laws in the world and they have been keeping him for us while we are in Japan. The plan was for me to bring him back with me after this trip, but after thinking about it Will and I made the hard decision to keep him in the states while we are gone. Tubbs is my buddy and I loved spending as much time as possible with him! 

Tubbs loves to sit on furniture
Since 2 months is a pretty long time to continue paragraphs of information, I am going to post a few pictures to give you an idea of what I did most of the time because it was pretty repetitive with seeing friends and family! 

Wills boat, the USS George Washington, did a boat swap to the USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego. Since I was already in the states we did a last minute trip there and it was amazing. He has always talked about San Diego and I have always wanted to experience it together. Our dear friend Kyle who passed away 2 years ago is buried here so we got to go see him as well. 

After 2 incredibly wonderful and fast months…it was already time to head back to Japan. My last night in the states my family went to dinner at the Angus Barn and it was so much fun! 

Thank you to everyone who made my trip so special. I am blessed beyond measure and will miss you all so much! 

Now its back to Japan!