Thursday, October 21, 2010

Visiting Derek, part 4: The rest of the weekend

After graduation from basic training, the soldiers then go head off to AIT (advanced individual training). Because the post that Derek was being transferred to was within a certain amount of miles, we were given the opportunity to drive him there instead of taking government transportation. This meant that instead of Derek having to check back in that night at 8pm, like he did on Family Day, he had until noon the next day to get him from Fort Benning to Fort Gordon.

Before we headed out of town, we made sure to visit the National Infantry Museum. You should really check out the website as I will fail horribly at making it sound as cool as it really is. Jackson behaved so well for a little guy. Having lots of things to touch and look at really helped! But, I'd like to go back to visit someday to spend more time.

Not only is it cool on the inside, but it really is a beautiful structure on the outside too!

Down in the kid section, they had a cool room with all parts of the ACU uniform to try on!
For kids of *all* ages, not just the little guys!

The rest of Thursday was spent driving up to Atlanta to drop Forrest off at the airport and then driving over to Augusta. It was a long day in the car! Linda and Julie were taking Jackson for the night and Derek and I were able to have a date night! It was nice to spend alone time together, though it would have been nicer if I hadn't spent a majority of the time crying because I wasn't ready to say good-bye again. We had only just saw him for the first time the day before!

Friday morning we made a quick run to Wal-Mart to get a few last minute things and drove him over to Fort Gordon to check in at lunchtime. I did finally pull myself together so the commanding officers and fellow soldiers wouldn't think Derek was married to a psychotic mess! We were told that we could wait around for orientation, so we did and I witnessed the most interesting orientation speech I have ever heard. More time was spent discussing STDs, condoms, alcohol, and sexual harassment than any other topic. But more importantly, we found out that because it was Columbus Day weekend that Derek could leave the post and wouldn't have to check back in until Monday.


It was a total God-thing how we had planned the rest of our trip ahead of time to perfectly work out this special blessing! Unlike other families who had booked flights for later that afternoon or the next day who couldn't spend extra time with their soldier, we had booked our flight for late Sunday night!! Our hotel was already booked in Atlanta, so we hopped back in the car and drove the two and a half hours back to Atlanta. I booked another room not even caring how much it'd cost! 

The next morning, we headed out to the Atlanta Zoo. Derek's aunt Judy drove down from North Carolina to join us.

Julie may be smiling in this picture, but she was freaking out.

Unlike Jackson, who loved petting the goats and the pigs.

Taking a break to sit down at the zoo! I love this girl.

We stopped by Chuck-E-Cheese's later that afternoon, to get out of the hotel for awhile (while Jackson was thoroughly entertained by going up and down in the lobby elevator, we really needed him to get out!). Saturday night at Chuck-E-Cheese = bad idea. We stayed for a little bit but it was waaaay too crowded.

Julie showed us some of her basketball moves

And it was Julie's first experience with Skee Ball!!!! (Derek tried adamantly to beat her score, but couldn't do it-- and so he pouted about being beat by a girl).

Per our friends demand suggestion, we were sure to stop by for a meal at The Varsity.
Derek enjoys an Orange Cream Slush, which Jackson drank some chocolate milk that I shared!  (this was after Jackson made "watches" out of tomatoes- where does he come up with this stuff?)

We checked out of our hotel around 9am to start our drive over to Augusta/Fort Gordon. The goal was to keep Jackson awake, so that he would in turn sleep on our drive back to Atlanta later that afternoon. Once we got to Augusta, we grabbed some sandwiches from Subway and enjoyed a nice picnic at a park before it was time to drop Derek off so we could make it back in time for our flight. We said our good-byes (with really minimal tears this time!). Derek went to get settled into his room and we started our long journey home. 

It was a fabulous (albeit exhausting) trip. Spending the extra two days with Derek was simply wonderful. There was time just to hang out, for him to play with Jackson, and every moment wasn't scheduled! I will be forever grateful of Christopher Columbus and the fact that we have a national holiday to celebrate him!

(I know this was soooo long, but I wanted to fit in all in one post! I'm all done with lengthy vacation posts now.)



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  2. Looks like fun!

    I'm now a follower from Friday Blog Hop and would love it if you could follow me back :)


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