June 5, 2011

6 Days: Part I

Between three weeks of training and... 2 months of more training, Dan and I were able to spend 6 days together -- 2 days at a yellow ribbon ceremony, and then a 4 day pass. I was incredibly excited to see him, but was a little apprehensive knowing that these were our last days together for 2 months and the last time he would be at home for a whole year. I knew that the stress of his departure and our time apart would be hanging over us the entire time and I was a little concerned that all the goodbyes would make for a depressing 6 days, but overall we ended up having lots of fun and making the most of the short time. We were able to stuff many happy memories alongside the sad ones, and I took lots of pictures, stole lots of kisses, and tried very hard to forget about the year that was to come.
[To keep my "week-in-review" a manageable size, I decided to split it up into two posts... so if you're not interested, check back in a few days!]

To kick off the beginning of my super long vacation, I relaxed by the pool after work on Wednesday and then went out to dinner with my friend C. Thursday morning I woke up early to go for a quick and extremely hot run before packing up the car and heading off to the yellow ribbon ceremony, which was in a town about an hour away.
As soon as I pulled into the parking garage at the convention center, there was my hubby! We headed inside and I got to meet one of Dan's close friends and his wife, who was so sweet and I'm really hoping to keep in touch with while the guys are gone. We sat through about 3 hours of what felt a lot like a college class... information on Tricare, DEERS, and how to survive a deployment while married. Some of it was interesting, but a lot of it was just common sense, and by the time everyone was done talking I was starving and ready to check into our hotel and actually spend some time with my husband. I should know by now, though, that nothing in the Army is easy or logical. It took us over two hours of standing in line to finally get our room keys, and then we had less than an hour to check in, move our car, get all of our stuff to the room, and head back to the convention center... and did I mention that the hotel had 18 floors, approximately 400 soldiers and their families trying to check in, and only 4 ELEVATORS?! It was a gorgeous hotel, but slightly lacking in architectural planning.
That afternoon, there was a departure ceremony for the entire task force and then Dan and I headed to dinner with several officers and their spouses. We had an excellent meal and a few great beers, and it was really nice to meet some of the guys that hubby will be working with for the next year. When we got back to the hotel we weren't ready to head for bed yet, so we stopped by the hotel restaurant and ordered another drink. It was so great just to hang out and catch up on the last few weeks.
The next morning, we had to get up super early and get all our stuff packed up and in the car again. Dan headed back over to the convention center, and I stopped at Starbucks to grab us drinks before following him. We sat through another several hours of speakers and information and were finally released around noon to begin our long weekend!
We made a much needed stop here:
... before heading back for home. Once we got back to town, we stopped to pick up Dan's shiny, newly re-sized wedding ring and then headed to his parents' house quickly so that he could see his sister and niece and nephews. That night, we escaped for a night at fantastic old local hotel, had a yummy dinner at one of our favorite places, stopped for some ice cream, and generally just enjoyed a night of gorgeous weather and finally being together.
Saturday morning, we ordered room service for breakfast and then packed up yet again (sensing a pattern here) to head back to the apartment. Dan spend a little quality time with a certain furball:

and then our best friends made it to town and we headed out to sample a little local wine! It was a beautiful day and the four of us had such a fantastic time relaxing and enjoying the scenery and the excellent wine:
So much fun! We got to taste anywhere between 5 and 8 wines at each vineyard and enjoyed a few glasses of our favorites. After visiting three vineyards and the brewery where I used to work, we headed back into town and met up with Dan's little brother and his girlfriend K for dinner. The 6 of us had a great time together and I am so grateful that my best friend and her boyfriend came all the way to spend the day with us!
Stay tuned for the next three days...



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