And while we didn't travel to Alabama or Arkansas, we did go to Colorado, California, and New York within the last three weeks. Poor Finn has a little cold now, but I'm not surprised after so much travel. He was a trooper and for the most part, got progressively better on each flight which was awesome.
Ok, here's a brief (ish) recap of each trip.
Easter weekend was spent out in Colorado visiting my sister Kate and "Uncle" Marty (I wouldn't have to use quotes if he'd hurry up and marry my sister already). It was a fun trip and Miles' first time out to Denver. We spent Easter Sunday with Kate's friends who had a baby on June 13, 2011 at 6:35pm. Finn was born June 13th at 6:32pm. Kinda crazy right? Their 3-minute younger son towered over sweet Finn, our little peanut. While there, we went on a brewery tour of the Coors brewery, soaked up the nice weather, went for runs, relaxed and just hung out. It was great - can't wait to go back.
Loving his Aunt Kate
All responsible parents take brewery tours with their children.
Hiking in Red Rocks
California is home (for now) to Miles' older brother Jared and his wife Jenny. The main point of the visit was to meet our nephew Maddox for the first time. And of course to spend time with the rest of the family which includes 2 1/2 year old Carson. Carson is still obsessed with our dog Roscoe and probably would have preferred that he visit instead of us. The first couple of days were met with gloomy, rainy weather which we somehow always seem to bring with us when we visit. We celebrated Miles' birthday (same day as Finn's 10 month birthday) and just enjoyed our time with one another.
Fascinated with cousin Carson
Get used to it boys. There will be more of this in Texas.
A chilly day on the beach. How beautiful is my sister-in-law!?
Brothers, babies, cousins, oh my!
We went to New York as Miles and I were invited to sit on a panel at West Point to discuss Army Family life as part of a conference for the graduating seniors. We first stopped in the city to visit Miles' Aunt, Uncle, and Grandmother on his dad's side. His grandmother, Abuela as she's called, speaks Spanish and very little English. We speak poor Spanish and very little of it, so until the rest of his family arrived, we tried our best to not totally botch conversation. She could not have been more sweet with Finley and while signing to him (en español no less) he started clapping for the first time. Maybe he's got a knack for languages. After our visit we drove up to West Point where we spent this past week. The purpose of the panel was to show cadets different family dynamics and just give them a better idea of Army Family life. Since we are/were a dual military couple we answered questions that some of the cadets had in regards to what it's like being dual military. It was a good panel and I think worthwhile, but what was more impressive to me was another panel for the cadets composed of some wounded Soldiers (all recent grads of the academy). One had limb salvage surgery on his foot, shrapnel in his leg, and very openly and candidly talked about his bout with depression and PTSD. Another is a triple amputee (below the knee on one leg, above the knee on the other, and missing his right hand), and the third guy is a double amputee (both below the knee). These guys were amazing. Their words and stories were amazing. It was humbling to be around them and just incredibly inspiring.
I'm not going to lie, I really enjoyed going back to West Point. It was a total trip down memory lane and reminded me of so many good times there. The best part though was getting to visit Daren. It was the first time we have been back since his funeral and the first time we saw in person his headstone. I really miss Daren. I never dreamed this is how my son would "meet" him. But it felt nice to go spend a little bit of time with him. Miles brought a Yuengling and drank one for him. And it was really wonderful to see that Daren is visited often. In fact, one of the three star generals who was at this same conference had gone to pay his respects. Daren's in a place where he will never be alone and will always be honored and that is an incredible thing. It's what he deserves.
So many cadets came up to us and shared stories of Daren
and told us what a great guy he was.
My sponsor family from when I was a cadet.
Forced to take a trip down memory lane with Mom.
Finn's Great Uncle Lawrence who is a NYC Cop
And now we are finally home. For a couple months anyway and then we're Texas bound (for good).