The last thing I was thinking about as we said good bye to our home in the Azores and made our way to Tennessee was taking pictures. But Dad and Mom did a great job documenting some of our final moments with Dad's iPad mini. Okay so there are some fingers in front of the camera lens -- lol -- but still, so thankful to have a few of these final moments on camera.
Lajes has a "tradition" of people coming to the Base airport to greet people upon entrance and say good bye to people on departing. There were a lot of families PCS'ing (leaving) the day we left so there were a ton of people at the airport. This is wonderful but overwhelming as well. Lots of wonderful people to hug for a final time. We were really blessed when the Base Commander Colonel Bargery (pictured in plaid) called a cease in all the good byes and then coined JB and coined me. (Coining is a tradition where someone gives a coin to someone else to tell them they have done a good job.) I wasn't surprised JB got coined. He has been a great doctor for this Base and everyone talks about how awesome a doc he is. He truly was well loved and appreciated by his patients. But I was a little surprised that I got coined. Truly, I didn't feel like I did very much during my two years at Lajes due to my year of sickness and Hannah's birth. But apparently, starting MOPs and running our adoption organization qualified me! Either way, it was a great blessing and something that makes you feel valued. Colonel Bargery truly was an AMAZING Base Commander. He is such an amazing man -- both in the military "kingdom" and in the Lord's kingdom.
Here we are -- lined up and ready to go through security. The kids are each responsible for their own back-pack. They are old pros at navigating security by now.
Love Abigail's little braids and how grown up they all look here as Daddy removes the computer from his bag.
Abigail getting one last look at the lovely island we called home on her Grampa's lap.
Sidge enjoying traveling awesomeness: Pez and electronics!
When you have a baby on the plane, you try anything to keep her quiet. Especially when it is an eight row plane where everyone can hear everything! Here I am feeding her a piece of bread from my meal. Why not?! She had never had bread and never really had chunks of anything. First time for everything!
Isaac catching site of America! Home Sweet Home!
We couldn't take a picture going through Customs -- but let me tell you that hearing, "Welcome Home!" is such an awesome phrase after four years overseas. Next up? Time to find Scrubs and make sure he made the trip okay. Each of the kids was concerned about him and wanted to check on him when he arrived from the plane. It is usually pretty obvious, pretty quickly that he is doing okay but you can hear him barking from about a mile away.
Scrubs was doing a-ok!
Next up? Waiting for our 16 bags to come off the big conveyer belt. So glad we packed our maximum amount of baggage allowance (being as we still haven't received our shipment of stuff.)
One "splurge" this move was that JB packed our desktop computer and kept it with us. He just didn't want it going via movers and us being without for months on end. It made it safe and sound!
Abigail and Hannah -- showing the weariness of the travel day but still in love with each other.
About to take our stuff and head to our friend Stebbins' house! Sixteen bags and approximately 16 carry-ons makes for a lot of stuff. Add four carseats, a stroller, and a dog kennel, and it is a massive undertaking.
A final good bye to the Baltimore airport military section -- this is the airport that greeted us each time we took a trip back to America during our four years overseas. I'll miss the helpful people and the excitement of returning. But man I am glad that these years are completed and we are HOME!