Last weekend we took the five hour road trip up I-95 and picked up our Marine from the barracks for a whole 24 hours! It was only for a night, but it certainly broke up the almost-month trip the Marine Corps scheduled him right between Thanksgiving and Christmas! It almost felt like we were dating again, parking in the barracks parking lot and waiting for him to come out and meet me in the car… minus his two little spitting images in carseats! 😉 The funny part is that my dad is going to the same place for some work related training in January. They only missed each other by a few weeks – they could have eaten together at the chow hall! How funny would that have been?!
We were anything but exciting and planned for a pizza/movie night in the hotel room in Christmas pajamas. I still wasn’t feeling 100% after a little stomach bug going around the daycare/neighborhood, and date nights are a little more challenging with ages one and three in tow. Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 were conveniently playing back-to-back for the kids, and we rented Whiskey Tango Foxtrot on the computer and snuggled up in our full-sized bed that was advertised as a queen, ha! I’m reaching the pregnancy stage where things that I normally wouldn’t even think about are uncomfortable. Never enough pillows or room for this growing belly! We were cracking up when Julia woke up asking me to put her hair bow in that she pulled out in her sleep, in the complete dark. Of all things I thought she would wake us for, that certainly wasn’t on the list. Ha! We stayed in the hotel on base, caught a yummy breakfast there, and hit up the PX. Like I said, anything but exciting, but oh-so-nice to do some normal things with Steve again. We miss having him around!
It was c.o.l.d. in Quantico! We were glad we brought extra layers and fuzzy hats. After being locked up in a hotel room all night, we had to find a park. Even though it was only for a little bit and it was literally freezing outside. These kids bottle up energy and just have to run around! After we walked around the PX, we found a park around the corner in base housing that would do the trick. It’s fun to see what housing looks like on other bases, especially since there is always a chance we could end up living here in a year!
After the park, we headed somewhere warm. The Marine Corps Museum always seems to make our list of things to do while we’re in Quantico! If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. Plus, it’s extremely kid-friendly and free! It’s also right off I-95, so if you’re traveling south, you can see it off the highway and it’s a perfect place to stretch your legs and learn a little bit about the Marine Corps! We are excitedly awaiting the opening of the Iraq/Afghanistan section, since a lot of this will be about what our Marine has done! Nothing like being married to a piece of history!
After a pitstop for lunch at Mission BBQ, we bid our farewells and punched the address to IKEA into our GPS. I knew what I was getting into with two kids that hadn’t napped yet, but with the closest IKEA four hours away, it was now or never. I have a love-hate relationship with IKEA. They force you to walk through the whole store pushing kids in those silly carts that spin in circles before you can even get to what you’re buying. I can’t go in that place without a list, because I end up leaving with absolutely nothing, and when I remember what I needed at the car, there is no way I’m walking back through the maze to get anything! They have so many employees working in the display rooms (where you can’t buy anything) and none working where they can help you load up a cart. By the end of it, all I wanted was a giant coke to go with my leftover pizza I was saving for the drive home, and they have their own brand of “cola” and there was no coke in sight! I just needed some caffeine! It only took four timeout breaks to load up what we came for, one crib, one crib mattress, and drinking glasses to complete our dish ware set (after six years of marriage) so I can look somewhat adult when we host our parents for Christmas dinner! We finally got the car loaded up (we got front row – I took FULL advantage of the pregnant lady parking!!), made a bathroom pitstop and bought five bottles of water, because after that we drove straight through from Quantico to Camp Lejeune. With 41 miles of gas in the tank to spare, yay!
Thankfully Monday was a day off work. It was the rainiest day and we did last minute prep work to get ready for Christmas. And put the crib together, thanks to Julia! A few minutes later, this girl managed to give herself her very first goose egg, thanks to a headfirst dive off of her cushy chair into the not-so-cushy dining room chair. One of the ones that swells up immediately with a huge lump and turns blue and makes you check on them during their nap 15 times an hour.
So there you have it! A whirlwind trip to Quantico. We have so many friends in the area that we wanted to see, but we just couldn’t fit any social time in on this trip. We can’t wait to get our Marine back home for the next month, because time with him will be few and far between once the new year hits. But, he’s doing big things, and as always we’re so proud of him!