Wishes DO come true...our FAMILY in FLORIDA!! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008


January 12, 2008
Camp Ali Al Salem, Iraq
Summary of R&R in Dec 07
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Well, here I am again, back in the Middle East. My R&R is done and now back to work. I am sending this letter out to all to let ya’ll know how my beautiful time back home was with my family and friends.

after much traveling starting from camp bucca to kuwait we waited around for our flight home....But hey, at least I knew I was on my way home to see my wife, the boys, family, and friends.

So, I waited and waited and watched some movies in the theater to pass time. I could not sleep, because I was to excited to see my boys and mamma. Then on the night of the 21st we go through customs. Boy, let me tell you customs was a pain. Once that was done, our bags where put on a truck and all I had was my carry on and what I was wearing. It was a good thing that I decided to bring my jacket with me because that night was the coldest it has been over here in the Middle East. I don’t know exact temperature, but I would have to guess that it was at least about 30 with 10mph winds, plus or minus 5 deg. Once through that they put us in 2 tents for everybody that was going home on R&R. Those tents where freezing like nobodies business. That’s why I was happy to have brought my jacket. I was this close to leaving it in Bucca. Anyway, so we stayed in the tent till morning. Then on the morning of the 22nd we got on the bus and they drove us to Kuwait International Airport. From there we got on the plane and made our way to Germany.

We left there and headed straight for Dallas, Texas. We got in Dallas between 2200-2300hrs. That’s where I had to stay again because it was to late to catch a flight to SA. That was a bummer, because now I am ONLY 3.5 hrs from home. The Army put us in a nice hotel. The next morning I got up super early, like 0400hrs and got ready and went down stairs to have a real glass of milk, milk in the Middle East is not exactly great. We then left the hotel by shuttle to the DFW Airport, and I was on my way home.

Now, the best part of it all. The landing in SA was the best thing ever. I made my way off the plane to see my wife and boys waiting for me right outside the boarding gate. Just to see the looks on my boy’s faces and my wife was just unexplainable. Alex, came at me at a slow running pace not knowing how fast to come to me. I grabbed him and gave him the biggest hug ever with kisses. I then saw Matthew holding his little arms up to me for a hug and kiss as well. I looked over and saw Mamma and Joshua to give them the same. My boys have grown so much in the past few months. Next thing you know I have them all in my arms. There was just so much love and happiness going on. It was great to see my son Joshua for the second time only. Seeing my boys and mamma meant the world to me. My heart was filled with so much love and warmth. Once we got going on our way to go get my bag from baggage claim I come through the gate not only to get my bag but to another surprise, my mom, my brother, my nieces, my nephew, my sister in-laws. my aunt, uncle, cousins, and friends. That was the warmest thing my heart has felt in a long time, knowing that I was missed by all. I was so happy to see all of them and thank them so much for coming to the airport to see me arrive. We stayed there down by the baggage claim area and talked and hugged and kissed. Then Channel 4 showed up to interview me. I came on the 5 & 10 o’clock news. That was pretty cool. And hey guess what, I didn’t cry this time on TV.

From there we went on to eat at Pico de Gallo downtown and I had me some Migas. Boy, they where good. For those that don’t know, that is my favorite dish of all times for breakfast. Once we where done with breakfast, my babydoll, boys, and me went home to a nicely decorated living & dinning room with banners and streamers. The Banner was a U.S. Flag that said “Welcome Home Daddy”. That was cool. Thank you mommy and boys. Thank you my cousin for decorating. We went up stairs to shower to get ready to head out for some more action.

Once done, getting ready at the house we headed on our way to pick up my nieces and nephew to head on out to Santa’s Ranch just south of San Marcos. My boys had been telling mommy that they wanted to go there. We make it a tradition to go see Christmas Lights every year. The boys love it so much and get so excited. We stopped off at McDonalds to get some dinner for the kids and then we went on over to Bill Millers for the grown ups. We had a blast at Santa’s Ranch. I am happy we got to do that for the boys and the kids. Mamma and I where so happy.

The next day, we did some massive last minute Christmas shopping and spent more money than we thought we where going to spend. Next thing you know it is Christmas Eve and we had my nieces and nephew come over to the house so we can celebrate Christmas with them since we would not be see them on Christmas Day. We had a good time. The following where our guest at the house: Grandma, Aunt Inglis, Aunt Indy, Tessa, Marissa, Ian, David, and a few other guests dropped by. We had Tamales with homemade Chile from mamma’s kitchen. Boy it was good. We finished the night off by mamma busting out the cookie making stuff, and we made some cookies for Santa Clause and the kids. That was fun stuff just to watch the boys and kids make and decorate the cookies. Mamma put them in the oven and boy they came out good. Once everybody left, we got some cookies & milk together for Santa and some carrots for the Reindeer. We headed on up stairs and went to bed so Santa can come and do his thing.

The next morning 25 December 2007 was on. We all woke up and put on our slippers to go down stairs to see if Santa came by, sure enough he did. He left a bunch of presents around the Christmas tree! Yeah! The boys where so excited and could not wait to open all the gifts that Santa left. It was a beautiful morning with mamma and the boys. Mamma and I had some coffee together just watching and helping the boys with all the presents. Boy, just to see the look on the boy’s faces was the best thing ever. It was like they hit the lotto or something. Remember that movie called “Christmas Story”? Well, that’s exactly how our living room looked with all the wrapping paper and toys and clothes and all the other nice gifts the boys got. And of course they want to open each box and play with them as they open. They are so silly. I love my boys and mamma like there ain’t no tomorrow. Once we got done, we went upstairs to get ready for Christmas dinner at our house. Everybody came to our house this year for Christmas and we had a great time. Mamma made an awesome turkey. I love turkey. We closed Christmas day off by playing with all the new toys the boys got. It was awesome to spend Christmas at home with my boys and mamma and not in the Middle East. Especially been my son Joshua’s first Christmas.
The rest of the days went real smooth and great. We spent a lot of family time together and did a lot of wrestling, laughing, playing and just being together as a Happy Family! Momma and I even went on a little date. We went to dinner and caught a movie. That was cool. Thanks babe.
I could go on and on about how every day went, but I would need another computer with more fingers to type. To sum it up over all, my whole leave was the best ever and now my heart is full of love and happiness to last till June 2008. That’s when the real vacation begins and my heart becomes full again for a lifetime…SSG Gonzalez signing out till later.

Love, James


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful Christmas story! I found your blog because I set a Google Alert for Camp Buerhring where my son is training at the current time. Your family is very special and your smiles made me smile! I will pray tonight that God brings James home safely in June. Please thank him for being so brave. Hugs and prayers to you all. Sally

Anonymous said...

James -
I am glad you had a good R&R with your family. What a blessing to be able to take your time around the holidays. That being said, as a someone who was at Bucca myself, I need to caution you about the level of detail you are posting about your movements in your blog. As is evidenced from the other anonymous post to your entry, several people have access to your thoughts. Don't compromise your safety or the safety of others by discussing your travel plans, times and procedures. Sorry for the lecture... I just want you to make it back home to be your beautiful family. God's speed.

Maria said...

thanks Anonymous!! i went ahead and updated his travel plans to reflect a better way without the detail!! hope that is better!

thanks and take care and GOD BLESS! THANK YOU for your service too!! :)