OK, everyone - so sorry it has taken me so long to get these posts finished. Now that the weekend is over, it's taken me four days to recouperate... I was exhuasted! In a good way of course -- the whole weekend was just way too much fun! :-)
Long-time readers of this humble blog will remember my previous posts about one of my Ga. 48th Brigade National Guard Soldier whom I nicknamed "The Outlaw." (That nickname originated due to the fact that one of his favorite historical characters is Jesse James, haha.) Anyway, because Sunday, April 1, 2007, was the official dedication of the Aaron Kincaid Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Garden, and he planned on attending, we invited him down to see our new home and FINALLY take him out to The Blue Willow Inn, like we promised him over a year ago when he was still out there in "The Sandbox" of Iraq. Saturday morning was spent frantically baking cookies for Sunday's dedication ceremony, and cleaning house. Hubby left around 1:45 or so for a surprise birthday party for the Mayor (and to pick up our babysitter on the way home). Around 2:00, the doorbell rang... our guest was here at last!!! Yay!!!!!
This was the first time the kids had gotten to meet him, and they were SO excited... especially my daughter, Kathryn (a/k/a "Squeaky"), now age five (almost six!). When we adopted the Outlaw, she was just then old enough to start to understand what we were doing -- sending letters & goodies to a soldier in a bad, scary place to make him feel better. The fact that we heard from him frequently further enchanted little Squeaky... he quickly became her most favorite soldier ever to that point, haha! She was forever coloring stuff for me to send to him -- even without me saying, "Now let's color stuff for our soldiers!" Nope, she'd do great masterpieces of toddler artwork and bring them to me, saying, "Mommy, this is for 'Outlaw'!" (using his real name - or rather, her nickname based on his real name, of course! haha). I guess you could say he was HER first ever adopted soldier, haha! :) She just could not wait for him to get here and was just bouncing all over the place in anticipation. It just brought tears to my eyes when they finally did meet... as did this picture below! I mean, think about it... a soldier serving in hell (Literally, he was in that lovely "Triangle of Death" for much of the time we wrote to him), getting sweet, cheerful drawings from an angelic little girl back home who represents all that is good and pure in the world... a bit of true innocence in the midst of the horrors of war... OK, I'm gonna cry again, haha -- it was just a beautiful, sweet sight to see those two connect. CLICK HERE!
After eating a bit of lunch, we went outside so the kids could see his motorcycle. Jacob, age 11 (12 in August!) was just dying for a ride... and yes, I let him go! haha! Here's a picture of Jake about to go on his very first ride EVER!
The little guy absolutely LOVED it! He was hooked!!! Seriously, seriously, HOOKED on riding now. Help.. I have a little bitty future biker in my house, haha! :) Luckily for him, I happen to know one or two bikers.... The other kids got their picture taken on the bike, but didn't ride. You can see pics here and here. (Gotta LOVE the one of Jeff, Jr.... the look on his face was priceless!). After that, the kids played in the yard and "the guys" tossed the football around a bit while I called LL and chatted for a minute or two.
Hubby finally arrived home shortly before 4:00, babysitter in tow. Finally, we were headed off to the Blue Willow Inn for dinner! Yay! It was a beautiful day and made for some great picture opportunities, as you can see here, here, here and here. Dinner was, as always, EXCELLENT. Our table was in the "Sun Porch" room which was small, quiet and mostly away from the dinner crowd. Nice & peaceful! Weirdly enough - the waitress that waited on us just happened to be the exact same waitress we had when Sgt. Missick visited us in July, 2005! Is that a freaky coincidence, or what????? Anyway, when all was said & done, it was a very good dinner. We left just as the "serious" dinner rush was beginning.. for the most part, we avoided the worst of the crowds until the very end.
We all got back home about 7:00 or maybe a little after. After the kids went to bed around 8:30 or so (yeah... that was fun... try to make kids sleep when we have COMPANY! HAHA!), the three of us plopped down in the living room and talked & watched tv... the guys with their beer, me with my wine cooler. Poor, tired Hubby, who was so exhausted from staying up extremely late the night before working on various projects around the house, eventually fell asleep there on the loveseat. Me & Outlaw stayed up for quite a while after that, looking at my "Soldier Scrapbooks" where I keep every letter and picture my Heroes send me, watching tv, talking, etc. Finally around 1:30 a.m., I called it a night and went to sleep (even though I wasn't very tired -- too hyper still, haha!).
The next morning, I woke up about 9:00 -- I was the first one awake. I started cooking a huge breakfast for everyone... eggs, bacon, sausage and biscuits... hubby woke up shortly after I did and helped with making coffee, grits, and sausage gravy. It was definitely a feast!!!!!! :-) Hubby was like, "Hey... we need to have soldiers visit more often!!!" HAHAHAHA!
And for now, I'll end here and finish the story with my second post, about the Kincaid Memorial Garden Dedication.