Armucation: Homecoming Ceremonies

I was one of those people who thought that as soon as the soldier got off whatever vehicle transport they came in on, they would be free to go home.

This is a huge misconception. There is a lot more that goes into a homecoming than the banners and hugs.

These are just my observations of the Army and how Ft. Campbell does homecoming. Every branch and post may do their own variation of things.

Bangor, Maine is the first stop in the US for many of our troops. There are a band of greeters who meet the soldiers as they touch US soil for the first time in months. These greeters come to the airport at all hours of the night to welcome home our troops. Tom said this was one of the greatest parts of coming home. It is very touching to watch videos from here.

Bangor Homecoming Greeters

They can come at all hours of the day. I joked that going to a homecoming ceremony during the day is a myth. I have only been to them in the dead of night. The schedules are also unpredictable. When Tom came home, I feel like they changed the time they were supposed to arrive about every hour that week that they were scheduled home. So there is a lot of waiting.

Glinn Photography

Glinn Photography

Once the troops get home they have to line up for a short ceremony.

Glinn Photography

Glinn Photography

From here, they are released for about 20 minutes to meet with their family.

Glinn Photography

Glinn Photography

These are the moments that are inspiring and the ones to live for.

Glinn Photography

Glinn Photography

Glinn Photography

Glinn Photography

After this very little time with family and friends, the soldiers line back up to go back to their company areas. The families go to a waiting room or classroom in the company area to wait for an hour or more. During this time you are not allowed to see your soldier. The soldiers are turning in all of their sensitive items, getting housing assignments, and other various administrative tasks. For me this was the longest couple of hours because I knew Tom was right outside but I couldn’t see him.

After they are finally released after what seems like days, then kind of everything is up for grabs.

The soldiers are not allowed to drive for 24 hours that first day, and many of them don’t have cars anyway because they sold them before the deployment. So they have to make plans for that.

The units will have a reintegration class they have to attend every day for the next week. It is a way for them to have some stability and routine when their whole world just changed.

Then there are the personal things that you have to get use to again which can take time depending on the soldier and family they are coming home to.

So there is much more than what you see on TV for homecomings, and it ends up being a long process of reintegrating back into the country. It is a very interesting and wonderful experience, but it was frustrating at first that I couldn’t just keep my soldier to myself.

I would encourage people to go to a homecoming ceremony once in their lifetime. It is very awesome to witness!

Have you been to a homecoming ceremony for any branch? What things did you notice from the experience that I did not mention here?

As a side note, Tom and I are being featured on “Date Night Is”  for our date nights. Pretty sweet!

Holiday Stats


Glinn Photography

We just resurfaced in Ft. Campbell after 2 weeks on the road. We don’t even know what to do with ourselves.

Here is a recap on how the past two weeks of our travel went.


  • 14 days living out of a suitcase (or two)
  • 1 state (Missouri) 2 cities (Kansas City and Jefferson City)
  • 2 Christmas celebrations in JC
  • 3 Christmas celebrations in KC
  • Drove through the town where our undergrad is and revisited old stomping grounds
  • Rang in 2014
  • 4 family birthdays

We surprised my father-in-law with a 60th birthday party.

The Dogs

  • Crosby got a new nickname of Hammerhead, to go along with his others of Crosbastic and Crosbilicious.
  • Neither dog pooped in the house while we were away. Success.
  • Grace lived up to her name of the Food Ninja by stealing food off the counters.
  • We saw Crosby in the snow for the first time (with us anyway). He is not a fan. Grace however, thinks snow is candy coming from the sky.
  • Crosby demolished a Kong toy in the amount of time it took us to open up Christmas presents.

The unlucky Kong and Crosby.

For Funs

  • We both got to visit with old friends with typical best friend behavior
    • My two best gal pals and I downed Chili’s molten chocolate cake under a couple minutes. As our families watched in awe (or horror) at three grown women fighting over cake and ice cream.
    • Tom played hours of video games with his bestie.
  • I went to my first Christmas Eve service that I can remember. Our family lit the advent candles for the service.

My in-laws at Christmas Eve service.

  • Tom managed to work out every day. He scared a lot of people in the gym with his ranger panties.
  • On a date with my sister in law, I revisited the winery where we had our wedding anniversary.
  • I read 2 books and watched one documentary.
  • The Homemade Christmas items seemed to go over well. More to come on all the crafting that occurred gearing up for the gift exchange!
  • I got to officially meet the Climes whose son inspired me to run my last half. They are too sweet, except the boys let me die in a nerf arrow fight.
  • We watched Clemson and Mizzou win their respective bowl games. It is always a good day to be a Tiger!
  • We gave my parents a Royals neon. So awesome!


    My father-in-law works for Budweiser so sometimes we come across gems like these!
    We were so excited to give this to them!

  • Unfortunately, the Chiefs lost by one point in their playoff game. It was a great year for them though!
  • We only got up before 9am one time. Tomorrow’s 5am alarm is going to be brutal.
  • I got my brother hooked on the show Castle.
  • On both the way to Missouri and the way out, we had to stop in the first 30 minutes to search for an open auto parts store in the middle of no where because Tom’s Jeep was acting up.
  • My dad bought our 3 year old niece a drum set. Bahaha! My poor brother.

Oh grandparents.

  • Tom got a new gun for his birthday.
  • We saw snow, ice, rain, sunshine, and temperatures ranging from 4 degrees to 65 degrees.
  • We told our niece Ava about the Hamburgler, and she went on to talk about the hamburger stealer bad man for the rest of the day. Whoops.
  • The most played song for us was Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball.”
  • I took about 1,000 photos, but there are less than 10 that I am actually in. Most of them were the family photos we took.

My in-laws


One of the Christmases with my mom, brother and his daughter

We had a great time at home. And we can’t wait for the days when we don’t have to travel so far to have family time.

I hope you all had a great holiday season. Here’s to making new memories in 2014!

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad turns 57 today!

I have some pretty awesome memories of this man who raised me.

a daddy’s girl

Growing up, whenever we had to write about “a hero” or the person we wanted to be when we grew up, I always wrote about my dad. He was funny, smart, knew how to swim, played basketball, and sang. This was pretty much every essay I “wrote” in elementary school.

I thought he was so cool. And there wasn’t a subject that my dad didn’t know about. I thought he was the bomb{dot}com.

Year 92-5

Our apple tree…and ranger panties circa the 1990s. Also don’t judge that my brother and I have the same haircut.

I still do (even with the hair halfway down his back).

He taught me how to work hard for everything, and he never seemed to give me a break no matter how much I pouted for it.

He showed us how to be compassionate, encouraging, and care for others. I saw this in how treated our babysitters and his basketball players growing up and how he gave meaningful gifts to our teachers every year.

He was my coach for basketball and science teacher for several classes in high school. He never just let me have it and made me search for answers on my own so I could be independent. (Which at the time, I was so teenage angsty about it, but now I am eternally grateful.)

He was always there for me when I asked him to be, and yet knew when I needed my space to grow up a little bit. Or those times when I didn’t even know that I needed him and he was there. Like my birthday when Tom was at basic training and he and my step-mom drove 3 hours with my favorite ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins in dried ice just so I could have some piece of home.

South Carolina2010_55

Can you tell that I am his daughter?

He never gave us special treatment, but always managed to make us feel special.

He kept us grounded in morals and taking the high road. Like that time in third grade when I ripped my neighbor’s shirt and beat him up at recess after a game of Power Rangers went horribly wrong. He and my step-mom made me go apologize to his mom that night. My one scuffle at school…that apology made me never want to get into trouble again.

(My step-mom, dad, and I)
One of my favorite things growing up was watching sports with my Dad. He loves all things KC, so naturally I am a Royals and Chiefs fan. We have spread out into college teams now with Clemson, Mizzou, and ISU. We text constantly during our favorite teams’ air time with the lows and highs of the game.

He taught me so many things:  how to fish (although I’d much rather do the swimming that he taught me), the Glinn dance, that nothing in life is free, how to drive a bike/boat/car, how to perfect a jumpshot, how to crochet, how to laugh at myself, persevere, forgiveness, and most of all love.

My fondest memories are:

  • reading bedtime stories like “Shepherd of the Hills” and “Anne of Green Gables”
  • going camping
  • making Malt-O-Meal on Christmas and jello and chocolate ice cream whenever we needed a pick me up
  • ice cream on the first day of school
  • anything basketball
  • Chinese food Sundays
  • our trip to the BVI
  • church mission trips

Happity hippity, hopppppyy birthday!

I take on a lot of traits of my dad (other than his head of hair and blue eyes), and I couldn’t be happier about that!

He’s cool, he’s happening, he’s hip, he’s now. (Whenever my dad is trying to emphasize he is not getting older and can still relate to the younger crowd, he says this to himself and anyone who will listen)

Here is to many more birthdays! Happy Birthday Daddio!

And this is a reminder that you are getting old and turning into Grandpa!
(Which I have to say, is not a bad thing in our family!)

Talks with Tom #6

This weekend was tax free weekend here, which apparently in TN is like another Black Friday event. They throw out tons and tons of sales around here to coincide with the tax free time. One of the gals at work went at 5:30am on Friday to hit up some stores for her little tykes to get some of the hottest new school items. I don’t remember this much hoopla in any other state I have lived in.

So Tom and I went to the mall yesterday to take advantage of some of the excitement. We had a great time shopping together.

After Tom selected his new pair of tennis shoes for work, he lingered near the shoelaces display rack.

Tom-“I have a dazzling new pair of shoes, should I get shoelaces to match?” His eyes were sparkling and lit up with glee.

Me-“Really?” (I have married a 5 year old. We might as well have gotten light up shoes.)

Tom-“Yea, I need to branch out from blues, greens, and all the earth tones.”

Me-“I think you will be ok with just the ones the shoes provide.” (which are yellow and black)

Amidst his rugged and sometimes obscene personality, he has his moments as a sweet and endearing hubster. We broke ways so I could go into Maurices while he went to Radio Shack. I like shopping in peace, so this works out in our favor. Moments after perusing some of the new skirts, Tom pops up and says, “You’ll find me at Mr. Bulky’s.” And I am fairly certain he skipped away to find his Jordan Almonds.

Resisting the urge to buy a few items, I left a few minutes after to follow him to see what kind of sugar coma he was about to go under. My heart melted when Tom pulled away from the cashier with an ICEE. He told me I could choose between mint chocolate truffle and the ICEE. The choice was obvious. ICEE all the way! The thought of the mint chocolate was sweet too, since I love most things with mint and chocolate. Love him.

Also, if you have never been to ROSS, you need to hurry up to your nearest store. It must be a southern store though, because I have never seen them back in the Midwest. It is a fantastic place to find some hidden deals for clothes and household items. We have been in desperate need of rugs, but weren’t willing to shell out the ridiculous amount of cash to do so. Our floors are bare no more! We bought two door mats, two long hallway ones, and one large one for our living room. We spent about $75 for all of these! And they aren’t just cheapo rugs either. Elsewhere you could have spent at least $25 for the small ones, and well over one hundred for the large one. Win for us!

Other highlights from the weekend:

  • Our family was in town. Five extra people in the house and another dog for Gracie to play with!
  • BBQing
  • finding the best local pizza place in town by accident (Luigi’s-the crust is delightful)
  • Farmer’s market, even though it was raining-I had the best soft pretzel!
  • My niece, Ava, teaching me how to play My Little Pony’s correctly and everything about the “Elements of Harmony”
  • introducing Ava to Mulan
  • watching the wedding episode of the Office-Love Jim and Pam!
  • people watching at the mall

I got out the fancy camera to practice some of my manual modes. Ava was a great subject! I still need to get a good editing program, so these are all before editing. Even though it was practice, I was able to get some fairly good shots of a few moments.

Grace loved having her cousin in town!

We went to the museum on base. Ava wanted to read to us.

We went to the park right next to our house for the first time.

Playing hide and go seek, she would whistle “youwhoo” if you didn’t find her fast enough or if she got impatient searching.

It was nice to have them visit and not have to do the driving. Someday we will live much closer so there isn’t as much time in between visits!

I have another curtain project for you today. Remember the torn bed sheet?

I decided to dress up this bathroom with it.

DSCF1024 DSCF1025

See how boring and WHITE it is? Again, we don’t want to paint or cover our walls with holes.

So I bought a cheap tension rod you find in the bathroom sections.


Very similar to the other curtains, I had to pin my edges down before I started sewing. This was a little different because I did need to sew all four edges, and the sheet wasn’t exactly straight so I had to work some magic to get it to look the way I wanted to.

Again, this is a great way to start sewing because it is just straight lines.


It has added a lot of depth to this small bathroom. And the nice thing will be that it will be easy to wash.


Sorry the quality of the phone pictures and the angles don’t really give the project justice, but trust me. It looks so much better than before.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Hometown Hero

There have been several stories recently of soldiers who have told lavish stories about deployments and honors/medals they received for their service. They have been regarded as hometown heroes. As time passes and their accolades become bigger and the truth surfaces. These deployments and reasons for honor never occurred. They have tarnished the uniform and made up a story to gain some fame and glory. Unfortunately, this happens and it casts a shadow on those who humbly serve our country without any flashy recognition.

Definition of HERO from Merriam-Webster

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability

b : an illustrious warrior

c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities

d : one who shows great courage

I am sure we all have figures (real or not) who pop in our minds ranging from Superman to our own parents that fit this definition. I wanted to share a real story of one particular soldier. He shows how our soldiers not only fight for our freedoms across the seas, but they do so much stateside to inspire and encourage their fellow man. This soldier shows us the “noble” qualities and illustrates what a warrior can be on a normal day. It is just one example of the stories that go untold but do show how human our soldiers are and that at the core they believe in fighting battles every day to pursue dreams. They may seem like heroes for what they do on deployment, but they also show heroic characteristics and give great strength to those they leave behind. This is a true hometown hero.

This particular story is told from the perspective of a mom of a nine year old boy who has always dreamed of being in the United States Army.
Last Halloween TJ decided he wanted to be an “army guy.” Ever since TJ was able to speak, he has talked of being in the army. Over the past few years, we’ve had an abundance of army decorations, parties, clothing and hundreds (literally) of army toys and figurines. It was no surprise to us when he said he wanted to dress up as what he considers to be the ultimate hero. We went online and as we were looking at costumes, he suddenly got up from the table. He seemed upset and as he walked away, he said “I don’t want a costume now.” I followed him and when I asked him why, he said that it was because he gets too tired to walk around the neighborhood. It broke my heart that something as simple as trick-or-treating was a monumental effort for my son. When other children run around the neighborhood and bound up stairs to homes, my son will usually skip the houses with stairs (which are most) since he knows he can’t reach the door without help. I reminded TJ that we had his new wheelchair (which is army green by the way) and I would push him from house to house when he got too tired to walk. His reply was “No, Mom. Army guys aren’t in wheelchairs.” That was one of those times as a parent, you have to dig deeper than you ever thought possible for that positive attitude, put on a smile and try to come up with a worthy response. I dug deep but hit rock bottom and still had no words of wisdom to give my son. I simply let the subject lie for the time being. He needed to feel and I needed a game plan.I prayed for God to help us guide TJ. Do I push him to accept the wheelchair or do I let him miss out on Halloween? What is the right thing to do? Is there a right thing to do? That night I decided his wheelchair was somehow going to become part of his costume. If we made it cool enough, he’d want to use it. I decided one way or another we were going to make his wheelchair into an army tank. I had no idea how, but Craig and I started planning. My plans started by using a few boxes and a couple cans of spray paint. My husband decided that wasn’t quite enough so before I knew it, wood glue, 2x4s, screws, duct tape and paint (along with crude blueprints) became the new “plan.” When we told TJ our idea he was excited and trick-or-treating was back on our agenda. “The tank” became the new family project.TJ loved Halloween. He went to more houses, stayed out later and (most-importantly) acquired more treats than ever before. After posting the boys Halloween pictures, a teacher at TJ’s school emailed the picture of TJ in his “tank” to her brother, Tom, who was serving in Afghanistan. TJ decided to draw a picture and write a letter to Tom. Since Tom couldn’t receive physical mail, I scanned it and emailed it to him. He responded to TJ and answered his questions and shared more pictures of himself and others serving with him. TJ was thrilled because he officially had an army buddy. TJ was enthralled with the pictures and he was so impressed seeing first-hand what he has always dreamt of becoming. Upon Tom’s safe return home to the states, he visited TJ’s school. He brought pizza for TJ (making TJ a semi-star with his school buddies). He also asked to come to our house one Saturday and visit with TJ. After being away from his wife, family, dog, friends and home for over a year, Tom would have been more than justified to take some time and decompress or take a vacation. Instead, he decided to make that trip and talk to en entire elementary school and pay extra attention to my son….my soldier. Tom was simply doing what he thought in his heart was the right thing to do. By doing so, he was instrumental in helping TJ maintain his hopes and dreams. He helped a 9-year old see that physical abilities don’t limit us – it’s our heart, our drive and our mental state that sets our limitations to life. As we all see the years pass, we realize that we might not be exactly what we planned to be when we were young. Our dreams are either a memory or, if we are lucky, they are slightly skewed from the original goal. This will not be any different for TJ. His dreams will change and adapt just like everyone. Life will always throw us road blocks. But, it’s how we handle those road blocks that make us who we are. We always have to keep dreaming and setting goals. Tom spoke of men and women who served our country that couldn’t walk. He spoke of men and women that might not have the bodies for serving front line, but have the heart to help those that do put their lives on the line for us. He made sure TJ realized that everyone is instrumental in the big picture. Everyone has significant abilities.The majority of his visit, Tom simply sat down and just played with TJ. He listened and talked to both of our boys. He showed them pictures and patiently answered any and all questions two young boys would have about the life of a soldier (and there were plenty). Tom then became a superstar when he showed the boys how to clear a room. (That was definitely one of the highlights!) Before Tom left our home, he said he had a few things for TJ. He gave TJ one of his medals, a boonie hat, his flashlight, a 50 cal shell casing and a 101st airborne patch. Each and every one of those items has a place of pride on TJ’s dresser. Anyone that goes in his room is required to see them.A man that we hardly know has earned a place in our hearts forever. He unwittingly took serving his fellow man to a new level. In turn he became a hero in the flesh to a 9-year old who needed to dream big. There wasn’t anything flashy or showy. There was no press to highlight his selflessness.
Thank you Tom and all of our service men and women who continue to be inspiration humbly camouflaged.
I am fortunate enough to know this particular soldier. A man whose childhood dream, much like T.J., was to be in the Army. There are pictures still around that he drew as a kid depicting himself in a military uniform. Ever since I have known him, he spoke of dreams of following in his grandpa’s military footsteps. He was fortunate to fulfill this dream and fight for our nation, but also have the opportunity to outreach to young men like T.J. He has never wanted the limelight for this experience with T.J. He has always said, “T.J. is a good kid, and I like hanging out with him.” He is just doing what he thinks is right and wanted a young man to remember to never give up and to always fight for what you believe in. This wasn’t an event to be big and flashy, and he didn’t have to wear his uniform or be in a tank to have such a heroic impact. His intent was never to have status himself, and he always made it about the boys. He was just being himself and playing with some kids on a Saturday afternoon.
But that is not where this story of heroism ends for me.
I believe that this family fits the definition of heroes. They have a unifying love that is shown in their support for one another. They have been able to foster their children’s dreams despite circumstances, and one may say because of their circumstances. They have such faith and belief to make each day worthwhile. They have provided a space for their boys to mature into strong, humble, gracious, and encouraging individuals. As we begin to think about starting our own family, I can only hope that we are able to pass down some of these same qualities. They have been role models to show how a family should be there for each other. They are hometown heroes.
We have to remember and be thankful that we get to live out our dreams no matter what our circumstances may be. Things may not go the way that you planned and your dreams may change, but that’s ok. I mean seriously, I wanted to be a choreographer and/or an elephant trainer when I was a kid. So You Think You Can Dance and the Ringling Brothers haven’t knocked on my door recently, but I am still loving my life. Give life a chance, and it may be better than you could have imagined. And it’s still good to have big dreams. They make life fun! Someday I may have that elephant you never know! For now I will settle for a bathroom homage to the animal.
Every day you need to be “humbly camouflaged” and be willing to give back. Thank God for what you are given and show selfless love. He gives you gifts and opportunities to make and fulfill dreams (maybe your own and maybe others). You never know when you may have the chance to help someone fulfill their own aspirations. For me, that can be just as satisfying, if not more. (I must sound unbearably repetitive with this message; you can go to probably ever other post for my soap box rants about service…Sorry folks…)

You don’t have to fake your way to heroism. And I am sure it doesn’t help enrich the lives around you. The stories of these soldiers who cling to fabricated stories, are just sad. It minimizes the time they did spend serving our country justly and honorably. They have wasted an experience and a shot at true greatness for a few seconds of fame. You can be a respected hero without a medal or patch that says so. So choose your actions wisely.

Truth be told, there are many stories that will never be told publicly of what our soldiers do. They are much more than the uniform they put on. They are much more than the guns and tanks we associate them with. They aren’t all anger filled machines. Most are selfless and reserved with their actions, and are just doing what they believe to be true and just. They are giving back to their communities in many ways that are often never recognized. And for that they will always be heroes.
We may never have met this family without the Army theme uniting us. We will forever be impacted by T.J. and his remarkable family. The magnitude of that impact will only be told with time, but I am sure that this is only the beginning of how our families have been intertwined.
If you want to hear more about T.J. and what a courageous young man he is and the experiences he and his family have please visit T.J’s Triumph. I think it is safe to say he is a textbook hero already at 9 years old. We have a lot of living up to do!
My craft spotlight is this family’s ingenuity with some cardboard, duct tape, spray paint, love and persistence. I always loved homemade costumes! And look at this smile!