Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Welcome Home, Richie!

Last Tuesday, my brother Richie, arrived safely home in the United States from Iraq. We were so glad to hear from him and know that his feet were safely on American soil. My mom and dad were able to go and be there when he arrived. I talked to him just a couple of hours later and he was having his first meal in the States at the Longhorn Steakhouse. He said it sure beat the freezer burned ones he had over in Iraq!

He had quite a welcome home fanfare. As he neared his hometown, he was escorted to his home by police escorts with their sirens. They had announced it on the radio station. His wife, Missy, was also interviewed for the local news. Many friends and relatives lined the highway and backroads to his house with flags and signs, waving him home. I think it was quite an overwhelming experience for him.

Then this past weekend, we were able to go to Alabama (without Colt again because of his work schedule) to see him and be there for his welcome home cookout. There were about 70 people there for the cookout held outside their home. It was a great evening for a cookout too.

The fence down the side of the driveway was full of handmade signs from kids of their church, friends and relatives.

You can see the cows eyeing me on the other side of the fence....That brings back lots of memories of playing out in the pasture near my grandma's house. I always hated when they stared at me like that! lol!

I just had to get some shots of some of these signs! I love when kids make these! I love their interpretations! Aren't they sweet?

Here's the house with all the yellow ribbons and flags. I love the flagpole in front of the house. It all looked very pretty and very welcoming!

And here's the tree and tire swing welcoming him home with the big yellow ribbon..

Richie taking it easy in the tire swing...I'm sure it felt good to be this carefree swinging in his tire swing in his own front yard. He said he really missed seeing grass (the little things you take for granted). All he saw over there for 4 1/2 months was sand and concrete!

All the chairs were set up around the back yard near the deck and were pretty much full when everyone sat down to eat.

The kids all had a good time too. Here's a few pictures of the kids doing what kids do best....having fun!

They were playing "Army" here (America against Germany she tells me!) Joy is right at home with those guys...It reminds me of Richie and I playing army when we were younger. Richie's son, Kemper, is the one with the hat on.

Here's a picture of Kemper and his dirt bike. He races them.

Joy and Laci. Laci has been sticking pretty close to her dad and not letting him out of her sight very much! She sure was glad to have her daddy home!

Here some of the kids were very intent with a video game.

Now the girls are hanging together (Cousins Joy & Sydney):

Here's some of the "big guys" hanging out in the front yard.

Meanwhile in the house, here's a picture of my Grandma. She is 90 years young!

Later that evening, my cousin, Robbie, serenaded the girls on the guitar. He was singing Lunch Lady Land. I bet you can only imagine the words to that one! Joy just loves Robbie and begged him to play that song for her again!

I realized when I got all my pictures on here that somehow I got home and didn't have a picture of my sister-in-law, Missy, and their oldest son, Trey, and his wife, Shauna. I called my mom and she had one of each on her camera. Now my mom is notorious for cutting off the tops of heads on photos! lol! But she did get most of them! :)

Here's Missy. I'm know she was tired, but very glad to have her husband home.

Here's my nephew, Trey (their oldest son) and his wife, Shauna.

And here's a picture of the old barn on their property. I love this old barn and I love to take photos there. Isn't it the coolest old barn? I bet those walls could tell some stories if they could talk!

I just want everyone to know how grateful I am for the prayers for Richie and his unit while he was gone and I thank the Lord for bringing him back home safely to his family. Please remember still all of those currently serving in our military everyday to secure our freedom. Each and every one is SOMEBODY's husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, dad or mom.

Welcome home, Richie! I love ya bro.! :)


Leslie said...

What a wonderful homecoming! I bet you are all so thrilled to have your brother home safe and sound. Life has to be so different for him after being over there.

My cousin was in Iraq right after the war first broke out. He said that he did the "Bump and Run" missions where they just drove as fast as they could through the dessert to get where they were going. He said he got back and found himself speeding down the highway, ready to bump someone's car when he reminded himself he was home and not in Iraq! How scary!

I'm so happy for you and your family :)


basketsnprims said...

What a blessing that your brother is home. What a horrible thing war is & the troops are in my prayers. What a great homecoming he had.


Anonymous said...

What a great way to spend your weekend. Tell your brother welcome home and thank-you. I loved the fence lined with signs.

Just wondering do you get the Irvin's Catalog? There is a picture of a bowl shelf like yours. It's a mustard color and they actually have splatterware displayed in it. I can scan the picture and email it to you. I remembered you had some splatterware.


Sue said...

I know you are so thankful your brother is back home. The welcome home party showed just how loved he is by many. Your grandmother sure doesn't look 90! LOVE the old barn, too.

Julie said...

I'm so thankful for men like your brother who sacrifice so much so that we can be free. As a family, we pray for the soldiers everyday. So glad he is home safe and sound. Nice to have such a fun time with family--it doesn't get better than that!! julie

Stephanie said...

How awesome!!! It gives me chills just reading this! God Bless your brother!! And Thank him from all of us!

Kindra said...

So glad that you brother is home safe and sound! I'm sure he has some crazy and amazing stories to tell of his journey. Please thank him from all of us on blogland. We appreciate all the troops do for our country.

Andrea said...

Hi Tammy,

I'm glad to hear that your brother is finally back home! Sounds like you all had a truly joyous homecoming celebration!


Anonymous said...

Oh my Tammy, so glad to hear he is home and safe!!! Yay!!! I hope he is home for good now. The party looked liked fun and you family all looks so nice!!

His son Kemper races his dirtbike??? that is what my son does!! Tell your brother that Yamaha is the way to go!! We have a YZ125 (he will know what that means!). How good is Kemper at racing?? My son is getting better every year and is starting to trophy (we have been at this for four years now). In fact we have a race this weekend and only 3 left this season.

Well thanks so much for posting, we love sharing your life with you!! And you were nervous about doing a blog!! LOL

Jill (jbean)

Raggedy Angel said...

What a wonnderful homecoming. I hope I am not oversteping here....but I hope he has someone to open up to. My nephew has a problem with P T S Disorder. God bless him!

Jenn said...

What a wonderful day. So glad your brother is home safe and sound! Amazing photos of the welcome home signs!

Farmchick said...

What a blessing for your family to have your brother home safe and sound. Whenever I hear stories of soldiers leaving or returning I almost always have tears streaming down my face! It is such a sacrifice! I can't imagine my husband leaving for months on end...that would be so hard. Please tell your brother that we appreciate all he does for our country!

Have a wonderful day!!

Dawn said...

Tammy, what a great looking family.Im glad your brothers home safe and sound. Thank him for us for his tour, and for keeping my family safe as well. dawn

Tammy said...

What a great homecoming for your brother. I know that he is happy to be home. I know that it is so hard for families to let their loved ones go, but because of them we have our freedom. May God bless all the troops here, overseas, and where ever they may be.

I am so glad he had a wonderful homecoming.

Julie said...

Oh, Tammy!

I feel as though I am beyond words. I can only say that I am so happy for each of you.
Indeed, Praise our Father that your brother has come home safely.

Many Blessings,

Mel said...

Wow, no matter how many times you see such a welcoming, it still leaves you overwhelmed.

"Thank you Richie" for putting your life on the line to defend us all here in the U.S. Job, well done!
We are retired military ourselves, we know the life and can only say; we are very blessed to have our military families behind us.

Hoorah, Welcome home!

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful homecoming for Richie! I am so glad that he is back home safe and sound with Missy and his family and love ones again! I love the picture of him on the tire swing!

I, too, loved all the signs that lined the fence! The kids did a marvelous job on creating them!

Loved the pic's of Joy and her cousins too, and also Kemper on his dirt bike! How neat it is that he is in bike races! Bet he does great too!

Tell Richie that we said, "Welcome Back Home" & that we say a heartfelt "Thank You" and that we all are so glad that he's back home! I am also so very glad that Richie and Daniel's friend, Brian, got to meet with each other while over in Iraq.

Thank you Tammy for sharing the beautiful photo's of your loving family at Richie's homecoming party! One can see he is dearly blessed and loved a bunch by all...including us here in Okc..

Your grandmother looks so much younger than 90 years old to me too. She looks to be such a sweetheart!

I hope and pray that Richie, Brian and Daniel will be able to be home for awhile now, and won't have to go back over to Iraq any time soon.. Those 6 months Daniel was over there in Iraq seemed like 6 years to this Mom..and to him too really.. He was soo glad to get and be back home.

Take care now Tammy and have a great day! :)

Love & Blessings,

Anonymous said...

I have not yet become a "blogger", but I linked to your blog from the blog of a friend of mine. I don't know if that is good blogger etiquette or not, so forgive me if it is a no-no. I just had to respond and say welcome home to Richie. I viewed the pictures with tears streaming down my face and I'm so thankful for his service and also as a fellow Alabamian I'm proud of your family and his hometown for the much deserved hoemcoming celebration!



Daffodil Hill said...

SO glad to hear that Richie is safely home with those who love him most! Thank you, Richie, for serving our country. I am praying for you and your family as you deal with the "re-entry" process. You are a hero!

Kim~"HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs" said...

Dear Tammy,
So happy to hear that your dear Brother made it home safely!

country gal said...

YAYYYYYYYYYYYY! Uncle Richie is home!!!! YAY! Yep, that cookout was SUPER fun! I know Laci was happy...and Kemper....and Trey! Lunch Lady Land is Funny!!! HEE HEE!!!!

Love, Joy =D

Tammy said...

Oh Tammy...what a beautiful homecoming for your brother! I just loved seeing these pictures!

I still remember as a newlywed, my husband coming home from his 6 month deployment...the longest six months of my life! Because we were living miles from family, I was there by myself...along with thousands of other wives and families! the giant ship pulled in and I still remember the excitement and overwhelming joy of that moment!

Please tell your brother and his family thank you for me...I'm so grateful for people like him and their families who sacrifice for our country.

Also...thank you for your comment on the movie review...I loved hearing your thoughts!


Colleen said...

What a wonderful way to come back home, Tammy! I hope your brother enjoyed himself and all of his well-deserved fanfare.

I know we so appreciate the men and women like him who sacrifice so much so that we can be safe here at home.

Such a wonderful, happy post!

countrygirl3031 said...

Hi Tammy ~ what a cool post! I am so glad your brother is home safe and sound with his family!

Take care and hugz,

ladyjane04-debbie said...

please make sure you tell your brother and his family Thank you for his service and all the sacrifice his family made. God Bless them all and i hope we can bring all the soldiers home soon.debbie

Tomatoe Creek Prims said...

Tell your brother thank you from Stush and I, I'm so glad he is home safe and sound.

Loved seeing your family too and your grandmother who doesn't look 90 at all/


Sandra said...

Loved this post :)

Thank your brother for all that he does for us. As a military family ourselves, we appreciate and completely relate to the happiness of having our soldiers back home :)

Black Sheep Lisa said...

WElcome home Richie! Praise God for his safe return to his family!

carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

What a great day for your family! I am so happy that your brother is back home safe & sound!
I know he was so touched by the show of support and the celebration waiting for him. Looking at all the pics made me cry!

Back in the Day said...

I am so happy for you and your family! The homecoming looked wonderful!

Gettysburg Homestead said...

Welcome Home!!!! Thank you so much for everything you did and the sacrifice you made to leave your family!


Deb said...

Such a great post Tammy! You all had a great time but, I know Richie had the best time of all. This was a great homecomming. Deb

OldGlorySoldiers said...

I bet he was overwhelmed with joy and tears as was the rest of your family when he arrived home!!

Bless him, and your family!