Home Leave Part 1

I have written in a while… of course.
MeMe with Cruze

So in March we went on our annual visit back to the States. We decided to go early so we could attend Hank’s brothers wedding. I was extremely excited to go back home and visit with our friends and family. No one except for my brother and Hank’s mother had met Cruze. Our journey started at at 4am when Papa support came and picked us up. Our first plane ride was from Vienna to Munich, then the long 10 hour flight across the sea to Charlotte. Well the plane ride was terrible but Cruze was surprisingly very good! There were several kids/babies on the flight and out of all, Cruze was most certainly the best. 

My mom picked us up and we spent the next 5 days in between my family and Hank’s family. Luckily they are about a 20 minute drive from each other. Cruze at first cried and screamed around everyone. He wasn’t used to all these people in his face and wanting to kiss him. But by day 3 he was getting better. It was so nice to have family around. I had waited for this moment since July. Seeing my Mom and Dad hold him was the best! We even got to visit my Great Grandmother, Annie on her 101st birthday! My Grandmother Meme ( Pat) flew in from Texas! I hadnt seen her since Marie, Kandace and I went to the Britney Spear concert! All of our family came over for a cookout ( well Olive Garden takeout) haha. The best part was being able to see my best friend Marie and her daughter Rush. They flew out from Colorado. Her and I even got some alone time. Felt like old times when we were in college and working at Durango bagel. Except were MORE awesome and wiser…
My sisters with Cruze
Nicole, Me, Cruze, and Layne

 We had such a great time there and leaving was hard. We (again) left our sweet dogs Marley and Duke. It just wasn’t possible to visit everyone and take them back since we were flying out of Orlando. We rented a car and hit the road to Charleston. We stayed with are newly engaged friends, Nicole and Hampton. I cant thank them enough for letting us stay there. We also got to hit up some of our favorite restaurants, because anyone who knows Charleston knows that eating there is the most important part of the trip! Basil, Momma Brown’s BBQ, HoM, just to name a few. Olen and Stephanie Gifford ( our friends that just moved back from Papa) joined us for dinner a couple of times! We had such a great time and I felt so great just laughing with our best friends. My fondest memory might have been hanging out with Jessie and Nicole trying to pour wine.. it doesn’t sound funny but the videos are hilarious. I was missing my buddy Season who had previously moved to Cali. It definitely wasn’t the same without a “Salad”! Nicole and Hampton even watched Cruze so we could run a few errands. The funniest part was when we got home and Nicole told me that he had done a #2. Of course Hank said’ “ OMG, what did you do!?” Nicole replied, “ I changed it, what did you think I would do!” Hank said, “Well I would have left it until Taylor got home…”. ( I think he was joking. I think…)

After Charleston, we hopped a flight to Melbourne Beach. His mom picked us up and we headed to her house. Not before stopping at Long Doggers for a beer:) The sweet taste of Corona in the sun…
The next day was the day before the wedding so we drove 2 hours to Palm Coast to the amazing Hammock Beach Resort. Ray and Heather were married the next day. Of course, the weather did not cooperate and they ended up getting married on the dance floor. It was literally a monsoon outside. Heather was so graceful about it. She was like “ Oh well!”. (How awesome is that?? )As they said their “I Do’s”, the sun came out and dried up all the rain…
The night was filled with drinks, tears, crazy speeches, and one of the best weddings I have been to! Heather officially was my family now too!
The next day was brunch followed by pool lounging. The resort has amazing pools and poolside service for some beers and food! 
Long Doggers ( Hanks Mom holding Cruze)

That night we went to a restaurant on Flagler Beach and had seafood by the sea. Florida is just beautiful and hopefully one day we will get to move there! The next night we spent at Ray and Heather’s house. They offered to watch Cruze while we drive to Orlando to see the Miami Heat play Orlando Magic. The Heat was on a 26th game winning streak looking to hit a record. They one their 27th game, although the next game was a loss we got to witness history! We drove Ray’s truck downtown and then took his bikes to the Stadium. It was definitely one of the most fun times I have ever had with my husband. It felt great to know Cruze was safe. (Ray is a firefighter and Heather a nurse) We had some $8 beers and got to see Lebron James up close and personal! Back at the house, several people from the wedding gathered at Ray and Heathers. We met some really cool people. I loved listening to Heather’s sister Ashley talk about her travels. Her and Heather grew up in several different places like Vietnam. We also met a dolphin trainer from Hawaii. Leaving the next morning was hard again:(

Next stop, Miami! We stayed with Hank’s grandmother Teresa. She took us to Hank’s favorite place, Pollo Tropical. Its basically a fast food place that gives you a nice portioned dinner like ribs, BBQ, etc. They also have things like fried plantains and Yuca. 
We went to Key Biscayne and South Beach the next day. I am a huge fan of South Beach although the Ora of the place becomes much different when you have a child. We cruised Lincoln Blvd and ate at a place called Yuca that served some really great Cuban food. We lounged in the park and played at the beach. The weather was beautiful! We stayed another night with Teresa and had a last meal together at the Cheesecake Factory (so good!). We headed to chat with Hank’s other Grandmother then headed back to Satellite Beach. The next day we went to Sea World. We got the whole family in for free since Hank is in the military! Score! Otherwise, waiting in that LONG line, then paying would have not been worth it. Cruze had such a great time seeing the dolphins, Shamu, and watching mom and dad ride a roller coaster. I rode it twice, I love them! That next day was sad, we were leaving:( But not before a 3rd trip to Target for any goodies we wanted to take back. Packing was harder because we had accumulated for many new clothes, toys, etc. Luckily we got all the suitcases under 50lbs. The flight back was long but luckily it was at night. A three hour layover on Frankfurt, then to VIenna, then a 2 hour ride back to Papa.

Cruze on the flight to Melbourne

Swimming at Hammock

Loving the hotel

Ray holding Cruze

Judy (Hank’s other mom)

Bride Heather! (sister Ashley in back)

Marie and Cruze
My brother Logan and Cruze

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