he’s finally home

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After 7 long months, the Pilot is finally back!

He was deployed, which was a huge reason why we came back to Tucson. I’m very sorry I wasn’t able to post more about it in the moment. With past deployments (this was #4!), I’d usually avoid talking about it for as long as possible, and then when I’d have some sort of breakdown, I’d share the news, craving connection and your stories of going through the same thing. In this particular situation, it didn’t feel like a smart idea to shout from the rooftops that we were alone. With the kiddos, I felt so much more protective this time. I really wanted to talk about it and share my thoughts and honestly, get some virtual hugs because man, did I need them, but there were more reasons not to talk about it than to share this on the blog.

Last week, we went back to Valdosta to pick him up, and it was one of the best nights of my life. I feel like a lot of our trip was a blur, especially since we hit some major travel snafus. It also didn’t seem real! After being alone for so long and getting used to taking care of things for the girls and house, it never really felt like it had an end point. Even though the excitement that he was actually coming home kept me from remembering a lot about the week, there are quite a few moments that stand out in my mind:

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– Waiting in the hangar with over 100 other families, holding “Welcome home” signs and balloons. They had jumping castles for all of the kiddos, tons of snacks and drinks, and you could just feel the excited buzz in the air.

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When the plane landed and started taxiing towards the hangar, the entire building erupted into cheers. Everyone was doing at least one of the following things: cheering loudly, waving a sign or flag, or if they were under 4 ft tall, literally jumping up and down with happiness.

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– I noticed a handful of red star balloons in the room. I thought it was cute that a few families had ordered the same balloons, and then I found out the reason behind them: each balloon was for a baby who hadn’t yet met their dad. These men were the first ones off the plane and they got to hold their little one for the first time. Just typing that makes my eyes sting with tears.

– Getting to see my friend Lindsay! I missed her dearly – she took all of my workout pics while we lived in Valdosta and became a close friend –  and it was so amazing to hang out with her in real life and catch up. She captured all of the incredible images in this post and I’m so thankful for her. I also got to meet Damian, who helped me out with some iPhone videos. We’re putting them together now into one video and I can’t wait to share it with you.

– Seeing Liv run towards him is something I’ll never, ever forget. I was holding P – it was cold and she was a little tired/chilly – and when we finally saw Tom, I was like, “Livi! There he is!!” and she TOOK. OFF. She tried to wait patiently while he gave the guys handshakes as he got off the plane, but as soon as he saw her, he bent down to give her the biggest hug, then swooped her up and held her.

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– Being back in his arms. We’ve been back in Tucson since last summer, but it wasn’t until that moment that I felt like I was home. The honeymoon feeling when they come back truly is the best thing in the world. The girls and I have been soaking up this time with him, and I feel so thankful that he made it here safely.

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I have so much to tell you guys and finally feel like I can take a deep breath. I have a few posts that I’ll share this week – I don’t want the blog to feel like deployment overload but I feel like I can finally tell you everything!! – but I just wanted to say thank you for being here this entire time.

For now, I’m off to drop the kiddos at school and enjoying a mimosa with my favorite guy.

Have a happy Monday and I’ll see ya soon!


Thank you again to Lindsay Colson for the photos. We’ll treasure them always. <3

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  1. Lindsey M on January 29, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Soooo happy that your family is back together. Also crying over my coffee as I read this! Thank you so much to Tom for his service and what an amazing rockstar mama your girls have! Lots of love to your family!

  2. Lisa Bailey on January 29, 2019 at 7:24 am

    So so happy for you. Tears of joy! I had been wondering for awhile if he was on a deployment and would send you positive vibes and was thinking of you guys.

  3. Colleen on January 29, 2019 at 9:35 am

    BRB gonna go cry at my desk at work now. <3 Welcome home, Pilot!

  4. Anne on January 29, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Welcome home! And crying over here at this sweetness!

  5. Amy Austin on January 29, 2019 at 9:56 am

    So glad to here he is home! It was so sad thinking something bad had happened…….glad that wasn’t the case……..!

  6. Anne on January 29, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Just crying at my desk at work — so happy for your family!

  7. Reenie on January 29, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Welcome Home….and thank you for your Service.

    What adorable photos.

  8. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run on January 29, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    This post fills me with so much happiness for you and your family (and omg, the pictures of the pilot with Liv and P!). As a fellow USAF girlfriend, this gives me all the feels.. and I truly enjoy this part of your life that you share with us. xx

  9. Jessie R on January 29, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Tearing up ! You can see the joy and love on the Pilots & Livs face! Sending all the good things your way! So glad everyone is back together. <3

  10. Anne on January 29, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I’m so appreciative of his service, and so glad he’s back home!!

  11. Lilly on January 29, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    My 9 month pregnant hormones can’t handle this story… totally not crying at my desk at work 🙂 – so happy for you all!! And thank you all for his service!

  12. Tara on January 29, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    This feels train hit me HARD. My boyfriend is currently deployed and much like you, I’m hesitant to share that with others. It’s not because I’m alone and safety but rather because seeing people’s reaction when I tell them and that “Poor you” face kills me and brings me back to the sheer reality that he is really not here.
    I’m so happy for you and I look forward to reading how you handle when Pilot is gone because I can use all the tips I can get.

  13. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on January 29, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Yup, basically crying again while I read this! You’ve been through so MUCH, Gina! I’m SOOO happy you have your Pilot back home! 🙂 And as always, thanking HIM for his service (and you girls too!).

  14. Stacey Racette on January 29, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Can’t wait to hear the whole story!!

  15. Mary on January 29, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    This is the best thing I have read all day! Super excited for your little family! xoxoxo

  16. Jen on January 29, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    So very happy for your family to be safely reunited with the Pilot at long last! Now hopefully you can exhale and enjoy life even more – you and the girls also completed quite a “tour of duty” so thank you all for your service and sacrifice!!! You all deserve ps Loved loved loved the photos – so beautiful!

  17. Charlene on January 29, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    Really happy for you!

  18. Maria on January 29, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    aghhhh! Goosebumps and tears! I know this feeling all too well but I have yet to do it with kids. I can’t imagine! It’s so nice that you were able to move closer to your family so that they could help you out!

  19. Angie on January 29, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Yayyyy I knew it!! I remember when my hubby would return from our deployments…seeing the kids faces, the comforting welcome home hugs..Still get chills thinking about it!!

    Soooo happy for you all!! Enjoy… Excited for the upcoming blogs but family time right now during R&R is more important!!!

  20. Katherine on January 30, 2019 at 1:09 am

    Congratulations Gina & Pilot! I’m so glad that the deployment is finally over, and he’s home safe!

  21. Pooja on January 30, 2019 at 5:11 am

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  22. Rachel on January 30, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I’m so glad he’s finally home. I really don’t know how you do it. You’re amazing. Enjoy your time together! Go make pancakes! <3

    • Fitnessista on January 30, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Thank you, friend. So so happy he’s back

  23. C. on January 30, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    The smiles just make me so happy and filled with joy. Family…. together. Oh… so happy for all of you.
    Thank you and thank you again for the service and protection we all enjoy due to you and your husband’s sacrifice, and all of those serving in uniform.

  24. SMK on February 4, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    What a post! Thank you for blogging about this and reminding us to be grateful and indebted to your sacrifices and Pilot’s service!Enjoy the time..will go cry some more now.

  25. Michelle Dulansky on February 4, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    I totally understand this. My son was in Bootcamp last year and I shared very little. I am just getting to a place where I can get my thoughts together. Thank you to you and your family for their service.

  26. Lynda K. (Rose) Goff on February 28, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Gina – Haven’t met u but met Tommy before his 7th grade at school. He & my youngest son Kyle were in summer band together. Thank u for posting these pics. Your daughters are precious. Connie is a very dear friend (I live in Roland, OK now) but we keep in touch & she keeps me posted on your family. So glad Tommy is back home with u. Much love to u all. Give Tommy a hug for me.

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