It has been a busy couple of exciting and fun filled weeks.
Lloyd got home on November 19 for keeps and forever. We have decided that we are going to name this as a family holiday. From now on, 11/19 will be on our calendar as "Home Day," and we intend to celebrate it every year to remind us of all that "home" means to us. It's especially cool that Home Day is 11/19 since that was the address of the house where the Braatz family grew up in West Allis, WI. (Extra hugs and such go out to Mamaw, Uncle Dave, Uncle Richard, and Mom.)
Since then we had a fantastic Thanksgiving at the Rose home eating delicious food, enjoying time with family, and celebrating a Packer victory. It was amazing to have Lloyd home for this as we knew without a doubt what we were thankful for that day.
The following weekend, we headed to LaCrosse for the traditional Blakeley Fake Family Christmas get together. We had a great time just relaxing with family and friends, and Lloyd got to experience Exploratory Surgery at Pizza Doctors for the first time ever. As an added bonus, we also got a lesson on how to use a cast iron waffle maker, so we should be able to make them now without making a mess. We'll see how it works out the next time that we try to make them.
Since then, most of our time has been spent with work, putting the apartment together, and getting used to being able to actually live together. Lloyd has been tracking down leads for a job and enjoying the whole "being a civilian" thing. (He grew a beard. :) He plans to shave it for job interviews but is having fun with the idea until then.) We did make a trip down to the VA regional office in Milwaukee to start the claim process for Lloyd last Thursday. The expectation for the trip was that we would drive down there to get an appointment for him to start filing paperwork at a later date, but he did bring all of his medical and service records with him just in case they could do a bit more than that. It turns out that we got a pretty amazing surprise.....he was not only able to meet with someone about the claim - because he had such complete records with him, he was able to submit a fully developed claim last Thursday. According to the guy at the VA, the process should take around 3 months instead of the 6 months to a year that we had been anticipating. We're pretty happy about that news.
Right now, our major project is to finish moving into the apartment and getting everything set in it. We're looking forward to being able to have friends and family come to visit us soon.