And cue old high school photos:
I graduated the summer of 2003 and was married in November of 2003.
Joey had just finished his basic training and AIT. After our wedding we had a brief week maybe week and a half together before the Army whisked him off to our future home in Germany. Sadly shortly after his arrival he was informed that he would be deploying. After not seeing him for all of basic training and AIT I was not too pleased with the idea of going many more months without him. But alas that is the military life.... I was able to fly over and spend some time with him but it wasn't enough...
So I decided to accept the situation, suck it up, hang out in Louisiana for a little longer, and move to Germany a few months before it was time for him to be back. I figured I could get settled in and have the apartment all ready when he got there. Not so fast there Ashley.
I arrived in a foreign country, pretty much alone, freaked out, and high tailed it back to LA about a 3 weeks later.
I realized it would be much better to just go home and wait until he only had a few weeks left of his deployment and THEN go back to Germany. That plan worked out MUCH better. I made the most amazing friends and had some wonderful experiences.
Then baby season hit! EVERYONE I knew was having a baby. My friends in Germany, my friends in the states, and of course me. It was great to have so many people to ask, "HOW DO I DO THIS?!?" =)
We found out that Joey would be deploying again. Right after our son would be born. It was hard to try to not let that get to me. The thing most people don't know is even when your army man isn't deployed he's still not home all the time. He has training to do for when he is deployed. It can be lonely and I think what I miss most about my time in Germany is having friends that were always there going through exactly what I was.
Noah was born in December. 1 month later Joey had to leave.
That was the hardest goodbye. I don't think I've ever cried that much. I was more sad for Joey than for me...at least I'd still get to hold and snuggle out tiny baby everyday. He'd have to watch him grow up in pictures. It makes me a little teary just thinking about it.
So we kicked that deployments butt and decided that we just couldn't do it again. After Joey's enlistment was over we moved back to Louisiana. "Hurray!", I thought, "No more moving!"
We were there not even 3 months when Joey was offered a job in Naples Italy. Sounds great huh? Not so much. Our car and household items hadn't even reached the states yet and we were talking about moving BACK across the ocean! After everything was said and done we took the position and moved to Italy. I did not enjoy it nearly as much as Germany. They drive like crazy people, the trash doesn't always get picked up...I'm talking for weeks at a time, it just wasn't fun. I did make some awesome friends there too and traveled of course.
We left Italy after the contract was completed and went back home to Louisiana. We purchased a home and got settled in.
DUN DUN DUN...Joey was offered a great job in Houston Texas. We take it and he drives home on his days off while we try and figure out how to sell our just purchased home.
Oh, but wait! A few months into the new job he's offered a position in Louisiana about 3 minutes from our house. I was thrilled that we would now be able to stay in our home. I was not to happy that we had just finished putting a large amount of stuff in storage in preparation to sell the house.
We spent 3 years in Louisiana and this brings us to present day. Joey was offered a job here in Illinois. We took it mostly because it gives us the opportunity to have a baby. I want to be able to stay home with future baby. In LA I had to work...we didn't have a choice. Now I have the option to stay home. Joey grew up about an hour away from here so it wasn't like we were completely blind in making the decision to move yet again.
I like where we live...but I desperately miss Louisiana. I think about it constantly and probably complain a little to much about missing it. It's not just the little things I miss, like the crawfish and the drive through daiquiri places! I really miss seeing my family.
I'm trying to settle in here but all the while also hoping that someday we'll be able to return to Louisiana because that's where my heart is. I love that place! I don't care that it's soupy hot in the summer or that the river is nasty or that they freak out and shut everything down at the slightest chance of snow or ice. It will always be home for me.
Our life has been crazy. We've moved way more than I'd like to but for Louisiana I think I could handle one more crazy move.