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As we celebrated Thanksgiving as a whole family unit this year, I got to thinking about Thanksgivings past that the military has had a hand in helping making 'memorable'. (Please note---I didn't specify enjoyable, I said memorable. ;) )

I remember when I went to basic, I was in reception over Thanksgiving. It was horrible. I was 18 and had never missed a family holiday before and I remember just standing in line outside the DFAC, freezing my buns off, sobbing because I was so homesick.

I also remember the Thanksgiving that Zac was deployed to Iraq and we went Zac's mom and stepdads. Not a bad holiday, just hard to be gone from him.

The Christmas Zac was in Iraq was hard, but we were able to webcam with him all morning long, so it was almost like he was there on Christmas morning. I remember sobbing in Wal-Mart that year though because his Christmas package had gotten lost in the bowels of the U.S. Postal System (later to be discovered just sitting on a shelf in a back room as if someone had set it down and forgot it??) and I was so sad that he wasn't going to have any presents on Christmas Day. Then I found out they didn't even have a CHristmas Tree....they had made one out of a mortar tube, and bullet casings.

Anyone else have any memorable holidays due to the military?
 

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When my husband was in the military we didn't have the computer like we do now days. We didn't have cell phones either. We celebrated holidays early or late if we had to. I remember the 1 Thanksgiving. Hubby was in the Med. I came home with the kids for Thanksgiving. My sister said she would give my son a hair cut. She didn't check the shaver before she ran it down the middle of his head. One of her boys had it turned alway down. So my son ended up with a shaved head in the cold weather. He also had banged his face on my sisters table. So all the family pictures that year are of a 4 yr old with a black eye and no hair. Dh wasn't to happy about the pictures. LOL!!!
 

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Christmas '06 is one of my favs. J deployed (for what we thought was a 12month deployment, turned into a 15mo) in August and I had Caroline in September. They wouldn't even let him stay the 2 weeks until the Dr. would induce me. But, because of me having a baby they let him basicly have first choice for R&R, thinking he would want to come home right away and no one wants those slots anyway, nope! J picked Christmas! It was wonderful, we have always spent holidays with family members or me cooking for single soilders, but this time, it was just the 4 of us and I enjoyed it sooo much! Less stressful by far.

Last year, '09, was hectic. J was supposed to deploy Dec 11-15 time frame. They called on the 1st at noon and said you're leaving in 15 hours. Thank goodness I had everything ready, but presents weren't wrapped. J still had to work until about 5pm on the 1st (even though he was leaving very early in the am), so I sent the kids to the neighbors and wrapped presents. When J got home from work, he picked the kids up and when the girls got home, I told them Santa had stopped by while they were gone. It was also hectic because on the 2nd (J ended up leaving at 3am) I was the host for a babyshower for 30 at 10am.

This year J has to "babysit" a jr enlisted who was caught coming into Germany from Amsterdam with weed. So, the NCO's have to take turns watching him mop the floors or sweep snow... He works 8-1900 (7pm) on Christmas and then on the 26th he got stuck with staff duty (a 24 hour shift watching the phones) and that starts at 9am. This is also our first year having Haden and he leaves on the 26th for a week for a youth group ski trip. Then J leaves for an Army school on the 3rd of Jan. We are still trying to figure out when to do Christmas. And no, Christmas eve is out...he has to work. I am very thankful he is alive and well to celebrate with us though! It's not the day, it's the spirit!
 

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Last year was pretty rough. Russ deployed in early December and even before then he had pre deployment work that kept him at on the job for long hours. I decided to fly home for Christmas and spend a big chunk of the deployment with family. The trip was so expensive that I told my parents that I'd be coming empty handed. I had a couple presents for the kids, but that was it. They were basically going to handle Christmas for us.

The trip to the airport is more than an hour away. I rented a car because it would be cheaper than parking my own. On the morning of the trip I loaded everyone up and we headed to the airport. Just walking from the rental drop off to the check in was a huge ordeal. I had 3 kids, 3 car seats, 3 carryons, at least 2 suitcases and a large kennel for my dog. When we finally made it to the checkin, they told us it was too cold for the dog to fly. There was nothing they could do for us but to turn us away. I had to drag all this stuff plus 3 kids (2 of them now crying) back down to the rental place and try to get the car back. On the way this tower of crap I had just fell over. I remember trying to pile all of this stuff back on to my cart and the people in the room basically just acting like they didn't see. The drive home was horrible. My kids were so upset and I had to call my mom and tell her I wasn't coming but all I could do was spit it out and hang up because I was on the verge of breaking down.

After the trip, I was basically broke. Even without the tickets, I had to buy a crate for the dog, the rental, luggage since we really didn't have any. I now had just a few days and very little money to buy presents for the kids. My kids are home schooled too, so I never got a chance to shop or wrap presents while they were away. All of it was done with them but super carefully so they wouldn't see. The night before Christmas I was up wrapping everything so late that I didn't even get to sleep.

When my mother in law heard about what happened, she got tickets to come see us on Christmas day so that was wouldn't have to be alone.

The funny thing is I don't remember being that stressed except for the day of the failed trip. I'm thankful that after having done this for awhile I've learned to suck it up and deal with it, but at the same time I look back to some deployments when everything went wrong and I was lonely and stressed and sometimes broke, and I think of all the things I've had to deal with without him like holidays, moving, snow storms that shut us in for a week or two at a time, and it just occurs to me, "Holy crap, I really needed a hug."
 

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Nishu, we homeschool too!
 

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You're in Germany? I was wondering about that, as a matter of fact. My cousin lives there and she says it's not legal to homeschool and that you have to have a very good reason and permission from the government. I the rules don't apply to you? I wondered because I had a bit of a panic moment thinking about the possibility of getting stationed there.
 

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Anyone under the SOFA agreement can homeschool. Germans can not. The laws are sooo easy here for us ( you just have to tell them, the school on base, you homeschool and thats it!). They also can use the schools library, sports, or even to take a class. DS14 takes Phys apps at the high school and will try out for soccer in the spring.

Most of the bases here have a homeschool group. Ours has 2 field trips a month, one of post and one on, PE every week at the SAS gym, a meeting once a month, plus we do potlucks and parties together too. We are talking about doing a co-op for Spanish soon.

We came here from NY, and I hated the HS laws there. We are talking about going to Tenn. next and I'm not looking forward to those laws.
 
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