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. Sarah V on January 28, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    I’ve been a longtime reader but don’t think I have ever commented! Wiping my tears away to say how happy I am for your family and to thank your husband and your family for your service! I can’t imagine how happy you and the girls must be. Enjoy. every. second. xo

    • Kat on January 28, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      I was literally just going to write the same thing. Totally crying at work. Been wondering where he was this whole time and figured it was deployment. SO happy he’s home. Gah that hug with Livi. Cant’ even imagine!

      • Donna on January 28, 2019 at 2:57 pm

        DITTO to the above comments. Very long time reader. This post was HUGE and DEEP and I could not be happier for all of you to be home together safely in each other’s arms.

        • Allison on January 29, 2019 at 9:09 am

          Same here! Crying over my keyboard at work. I’m so happy for you and your family, being together again has to be a wonderful feeling. Thank you for your husband and family’s service.

  2. Yvette on January 28, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    This made me cry at work! Thank you for your family’s sacrifice and for his service. I’m sure it never gets easier, but I’m so glad he is home.

  3. Amber on January 28, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Yup definitely in tears!!!!!! I am so happy he is home with you guys <3

  4. Ali on January 28, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Photos and videos of kids and pets seeing their parents after deployment are surefire ways to start the waterworks! So glad you guys are reunited.

  5. Alexandra on January 28, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Ok I am bawling over here! I can’t wait to hear more about this whole experience as it is so amazing to me! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for you and your husbands service to this country! You are all so strong and amazing!

  6. Jessica on January 28, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    I just ugly cried while reading this post. Your family, and all these families, are beautiful and strong and inspiring and a reminder of what really matters. Thank you to the Pilot for his service, and to you for sharing your story! No words to describe my admiration! xoxox.

  7. Christabel on January 28, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Oh man, I was only a little teary until you wrote about Liv running to him, I got really choked up. I’m so glad you are so together again!

  8. Deanna on January 28, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Ahhh my makeup! I knew I should have saved this for later in the day, but I’m so happy for you I couldn’t resist. So proud of you for holding down the fort with two kiddos, and hopefully you’ll do a podcast with tips for getting through a deployment. My husband is in the navy, but we haven’t been through one yet (probably because New Zealand only has 7 ships to staff), but we know one is coming so I’d love to hear how you do it!

  9. Nichole on January 28, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    REUNITED AND IT FEELS SOO GOOOD! Crying at my desk at work. I have been reading your blog since day 1 – so I sorta feel like I know you – haha! It makes my heart to happy to see you all finally reunited! Please tell the Pilot we are so thankful for his service. Hugs and blessings to you and your beautiful family!

  10. Andrea S on January 28, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    So thankful for his, and everyone elses’ safe return. Amazing job doing life with the girls all those months, while worrying about him. Sending you love!!

  11. Erika M. on January 28, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Such sweet photos! Thank you for sharing this and so many other memories with your readers.

  12. Taralynn McNitt on January 28, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I’m in tears! So happy your family is together ?? Thank you for your family’s service! I grew up with my dad deploying for the first ten years of my life, so know how it feels. You are such a strong mama, and I love watching your family grow! xo These photos are incredible.

  13. Janelle on January 28, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    I’m not crying, you’re crying! <3

  14. Tammy on January 28, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    <3 <3 <3 SOOO happy he's back (even though you hadn't officially told us, I had a feeling he was deployed when you said at Christmas you were missing your favorite guy). The part of Livi running to her dad is so priceless. Daddy's little girl forever. Enjoy your time together now!

  15. Michelle on January 28, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you for your service! Hope you are enjoying some family time!

  16. Anne on January 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    You can never be too careful, don’t apologize for keeping your family safe. And thank you for your service to our country!! Glad you guys are reunited again.

  17. shawnessy on January 28, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Samesies. Tears, happy, moved and thrilled for your fam!

  18. Rebekah Miller on January 28, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    So happy for you all to be back together again! Such beautiful pictures of love! Thank you to your husband and all those that serve.

  19. Barb on January 28, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Yeah!!!!! So happy for you!!!! Thank him for his service!

  20. Náthaly @ NathyCure on January 28, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    This post made me shed some tears of happiness?? So glad your beautiful family is back together. Thanks to your husband for his great service.

  21. cristina romero on January 28, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    LOVE this post! Definitely cried some happy tears reading this,

  22. CB on January 28, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Tears shed over here too!! The last few weeks I’ve been clicking through your posts waiting to hear where the Pilot was!!! I was basically waiting ever so patiently for this post LOL So happy for your family!!

  23. Aubrey on January 28, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Ahhhh all the feels, goosebumps and tears! Best post ever. You are an awesome mama keeping it all together – don’t know how you do it!

  24. JenG on January 28, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    This was such an amazing post…as I sit at my desk holding back tears! thank you to your husband for all of his service and thank you to families like yours who allow those brave men and women to keep us all safe!!

  25. Megan @ A Continual Feast on January 28, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    This made me tear up! So happy for you guys!!!

  26. Melissa on January 28, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    This post was AWESOME. These pictures truly captured the utter happiness for you all being reunited again. So happy for you, and please thank the pilot for his service. Its truly an amazing thing these service people do and for the families that have to adjust to being without their loved ones as well. Much love–

  27. Lara on January 28, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    My husband was deployed the first year we were dating, and now I am 8 months pregnant with our second girl, this post brings back so many feelings! Especially the part about the red star balloons! What a great post, thank you!

  28. Amanda on January 28, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Another loyal fan reading this wonderful post at her desk at work… sending you <3

  29. Brittany Griggs on January 28, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    SOOOOOOO happy for your family and that he made it home safely! Man, I’ve been a reader for a long time and suspected that that was the case (and completely understand why you chose to keep it to yourself) but like everyone else, I’m over here crying. I have a 3 and 5 year old and can only imagine their reaction in that situation so I know your girls are over the moon right now. Thank you for his service!!

  30. Tracy on January 28, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    I have chills! Gina! I’m so so so happy for you and your family! You are so brave and strong to endure these commitments. Enjoy your guy <3 Family reunited <3

  31. Becky P on January 28, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Oh I’m so glad he is finally home!!!! I sat here crying as I read this!!!! Thank you for your service Pilot!!!

  32. Alaina on January 28, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    I am ELATED for you ALL! I have told you time and time again how I didn’t know how you could do all you do. Impressive indeed! I look forward to reading all about the deployment and anything else you have to share!!! Enjoy this time! <3

  33. Emily HL on January 28, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    This post got me all choked up. The thought of my husband leaving for that amount of time makes my heart break a little and I give SO much credit to you all of the military families out there. I’m excited to read your deployment posts because it’s so great to learn about things you know nothing about and for me, deployment is certainly one of those things. Thanks for sharing this beautiful moment!

  34. Lily on January 28, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    I was already in tears at the first few photos, and then reading about the red balloons and dads holding their babies for the first time – WOW. Full on crying. So so happy for you all to be together again, and thankful for the safety of everyone who came home. Just….wow. Overwhelming.

  35. Stephanie S. on January 28, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    This post definitely made me tear up a few times!! SO happy that the Pilot is back safe and sound and that you’re all together <3 Thank you for sharing this with us! Can't wait to read more posts about everything you've been going through – you are so strong and an amazing mom!!!

  36. Erika S. on January 28, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Girl…I’m over here getting all emotional! Such a sweet post and the pics are priceless. So happy for your family! Sending you a virtual bottle of bubbly!

  37. Kristen on January 28, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Crying tears of Joy for you and your precious family! I have been a reader for YEARS but this is one of my first comments. This post was amazing?? I can’t imagine to feelings of relief and excitement you are feeling. Have fun and soak it up!

  38. Brianne on January 28, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Deployment is always difficult. I’m glad he’s back! Yay!

  39. Lindsay E. on January 28, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    This is, literally, my most favorite Fitnessista post ever. So glad that he’s home safely, and so grateful for his service. Thank you, Pilot! And thank you, Gina, for being so brave, too. xx

  40. Sally on January 28, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    I am so, so glad your family is all in the same place now, and that he returned safely. God bless you all for your sacrifice. ??

  41. Clare on January 28, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    On man, Gina. Crying reading this in a public restaurant. So happy he’s back and that you guys finally get to stay put in Tucson!!

  42. Bets on January 28, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    So many happy tears for you!

  43. Sarah on January 28, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    So happy for you and the girls that he is back. Major kudos to you for everything you have done and sacrificed over the last 7 months. Enjoy and rest and breathe!

  44. Olviya on January 28, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    What a beautiful post!! THANK YOU + your family for your sacrifices. As a mom of a 2 & 4 year old I can’t even imagine how difficult the past 7 months must have been for you. I am overjoyed for your family being together again. Blessings to you all! <3

  45. Emily on January 28, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    SO happy for your family Gina. I have two small kids and think you are amazing for handling everything for 7 months!! What a sweet moment to see your girls welcome him home!

  46. Brittany V on January 28, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Cue all the happy tears… that picture of Liv running toward the pilot is EVERYTHING! I’m so happy that your family is back together again! I had guessed deployment, but man, I was sort of getting worried about him, lol. Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for your service!

  47. Becca on January 28, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Gah – like so many others, this post brought me to tears. So happy that you are all back together. Thank you all so much for your investment in the safety of our country and our world. Your service means so much.

  48. Harley on January 28, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    All the waterworks! Thank you, Pilot, for your service. Enjoy this much deserved time 🙂

  49. Karen on January 29, 2019 at 12:35 am

    What a beautiful post – it brought tears to my eyes! That was a great idea to have a photographer there to capture the moment for you. It must have been hard having a deployment with 2 young kids, I’m glad you could be back near your family during this time. Thanks for sharing, enjoy being reunited! 🙂

  50. Mari on January 29, 2019 at 12:40 am

    What a beautiful post. So glad he arrived home safely!! I don’t really know anyone who serves our country in the armed forces like your husband does so reading this post makes it feel so so real and I’m so grateful for his service and the service of all others who do similar work. I was praying for your family so I’m glad he got home ok.

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