Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Homecoming, Recap!

So I am very behind in blogging.  Like a month or two. 

That is okay.  Life happens.

So I came home from deployment, in a rather non-traditional fashion.  We first went to Yorktown, VA..which is obviously NOT our homeport.  I had a busy week there doing my job, but I was lucky to have my big brother and his family come down to visit from their home base. I was in a meeting, and the best part of coming out of that meeting, was seeing this awesome sign that said "Welcome Home!" on my stateroom door.  My brother convinced the customs agent to bring it to my room.  AWESOME!
I finally got to leave the ship, and met my family in the parking lot.  We went and grabbed some food and a beer, and I had to get back to work (duty on Saturday).  Booooo.
Saturday duty was busy, and I was glad to get out of work on Sunday am, which was Easter Sunday.  We had brunch at Cracker Barrel, and then went out and about in Colonial Williamsburg.  We had dinner at a great steakhouse, Aberdeen Barn.  I loved their food.  It was just what I needed!
I had to make my money, so to speak during the week, so I had some long days. I went out the first night with some of the other Officers to Joe and Mimmas.  Holy hidden Italian charm.  This place was incredible! Luckily, I met a friend for dinner at Yorktown Pub one evening, and another good college friend at the Riverwalk. We got underway from Yorktown, and made it to Mayport on the 7th of April.  I was so excited.  My guy was waiting for me on the pier!!
First thing we did was hit up brunch at Casa Marina hotel on the beach.  I changed out of my "monkey suit", or summer whites, into a dress to enjoy my new found freedom.  We had the most amazing brunch, and just relaxed.  We walked around the blues fest, grabbed some beers, and soaked up the sun.  We got to check into our suite at the Casa Marina later that day, and it was nice to nap in a sea side room!
The next day, we drove down to St. Augustine. We stayed at the Penny Farthing Inn, which was the best B&B a girl could ask for.  The room we stayed in was the attic room, complete with a hot tub.  So adorable!  We ate at the Conch House and Meehans on Matanzas, and enjoyed gelato at the Whestone Chocolate factory. 
We flew to Chicago at the end of the week, where Mike had a surprise for me.  Little did I know, that one of my best friends, Ellen, had arranged a special homecoming surprise for me at O'Hare.  I was stunned.  I never had a homecoming like that before.  I wanted to just reconnect with Mike, which is why I didn't invite anyone to Florida.  It was just too much for them to travel.  That night, we went to Hub 51, and to the Hawks Game.  We had such a great time!
The next day, I spent the day with Mike and my older brothers, just hanging out in Downers Grove.  Sunday, I threw a party at Morettis, in Edison Park.  Great pizza.  Seriously, you should try it!
We went to a slew of other places that week, and just hung out with the pups.  This post would go on for days if I listed each restaurant, and each meal.  No worries, more food posts to come!

Just a few pics at first, will add more later!

St. Augustine, Bridge of Lions

Me and my big brother at O'Hare

Me and my guy @ Moretti's

Monday, May 13, 2013

Port Call Series: Menorca, Spain!

Our first port call of the deployment was a visit to a Spanish Island in the Mediterranean, Menorca.  It was a nice break after crossing the Atlantic.  I was able to go out the first evening, July 3rd, grab some tapas and some sangria with the other Department Heads.  There was something about the local food, it was so simple and good!  The second day, (July 4th) I went on a tour of the island, and was able to see some fishing villages, mountains, and an impressive fortress called La Mola.  After the tour, I went to a wardroom function.  We had dinner with some Navy League folks from Madrid, and the Commanding Officer of the Naval Base in Menorca.  It was an amazing dinner of gazpacho and prawns, lobster stew, cod, and assorted chocolates for dessert. I had duty on the 5th.  It was one long day!  We hosted a reception onboard, since this port has such significant history with our ship's name.  Admiral Farragut's family is from Menorca, so there were many activities during this port.  His birthday was July 5th, so yesterday was full of celebrations all around the island.  I also learned that US Naval Academy Midshipmen trained on Menorca for about 40 years during their Plebe summers.  One other fun fact, mayonnaise was invented here.  Who knew that one small island was full of such rich British, American, and Spanish history!

US Navy Cemetary in Menorca. US Navy File Photo 

US and Spanish Color Guard. US Navy File Photo

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I hope all my friends out there in blogland are having a wonderful Mother's Day!  I drove into work today, with a beautiful sunrise, and some coffee in hand. 

I spent last night with a momma whose husband is a good friend of mine, and is deployed.  I was glad to have girl talk/adult talk after the kiddos went to bed! We had pizza, and I had the kids give their momma her gift for the big day.  It was great seeing her face light up, after all the stress she has been under lately.  It really is the little things in life that make people happy. 

Mother's Day is always a tough day if your mother has passed on (as mine has), or if you have been trying to have kids, or have lost a child..the list goes on.  I found this great article today that recognizes all women on this day.  I am not a mom in the literal sense, but my Sailors refer to me as "Momma WEPS", because I am the Weapons Officer-and I take care of them best I can.  I am glad to be on duty today, spending the day with the men and women who sacrifice so much for their country every day. 

Off to work..Happy Mother's Day to all!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Crazy Town

Is what I am referring to my life as right about now.  Between hours and hours at work, looking at houses to buy-life has been a crazy mess.  I am looking forward to this summer, and my future trips to the big city.
I miss my family and friends more than anything,but I really need to explore my new city and make new friends.
Off to explore!