Monday, October 1, 2012

Our Strong Bonds Retreat

Over the weekend, I went to Myrtle Beach, SC with a group of wives from the Company for a Strong Bonds retreat for the families of deployed Soldiers. The five hour drive was totally worth it! The hotel, meals, and childcare were all taken care of for us. The learning session contained great information that I think everyone was able to take something away from. We even had a period of free childcare to just have adult time.

Friday morning I woke up bright and early to drop Caesar off at the vet for boarding. When I got back, Jacquie and I took on the task of installing the extra bench and loading luggage into the Tahoe. One part of the bench was stuck and wouldn't latch in completely. We got to the point where we said "eff it," and were just going to leave it latched half way. Well the great thing about my super safe Tahoe is that if part one isn't connected correctly, then part two won't line up correctly, and if part two isn't lined up and latched correctly, part three wont unfold. Thankfully we got it all situated and no one was forced to sit in a dangerous seat. Three grownups plus four car seats and five hours on the road isn't the most comfortable combination, but we made it and having the added company made the trip feel like it went by a little bit faster.

Around 3:00pm we arrived at Ocean Creek Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC. It was a beautiful location, right on the beach and close to several other attractions. Friday's sessions included solo parenting as well as the emotions faced during deployment. The kids were in childcare the entire time that we were in the sessions which was so useful. Dinner was provided and included rice, mashed potatoes, pork, turkey, and several other things along the lines of Thanksgiving dinner. At the end of the day, the girls and I all snuggled into a big bed. Baby A had a slightly rough night which led to mommy having an even rougher night.

Saturday's sessions went from 9:00am to 2:00pm with breaks every hour and a working lunch. A hot continental breakfast was provided prior to starting and a selection of deli items was laid out for our lunch. The sessions included marriage, communication, and children's emotions. The Chaplain has also collected a bunch of videos from all the Soldiers and he played them for us.

At 2:00pm all of the families from our Company headed down to the beach for some kiddie time. The kids loved the beach! Baby A basically sat there eating sand. From 6:00-10:00pm we had free childcare so that we could all go have mommy time.

My little sand monkey

Mommy time was fantastic! We started out by having dinner at Planet Hollywood. After dinner we decided to go to Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum. With our military IDs it was 75% off, $4.03! In Ripley's we were able to take a ton of fun pictures. From there we headed off to explore the little strip. It was all of ours first time in Myrtle Beach. We decided to get ice cream and then henna tattoos. Real bad asses, I know. We were 15 minutes late to pick up the kids, but it wasn't a huge deal.

Our last day in Myrtle Beach started with a chapel service given by the Chaplain. He was surprised by how many people actually showed up. It was a nice and pretty short. The two sessions following that gave us the opportunity to make cards and craft stuff for our Soldiers. V made a little picture with stickers for daddy too. We also made our "family talking sticks" which were part of a previous session. We were given boxed lunches at around noon, and headed back home.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Strong Bonds retreat. It was the first one that I've been on and hope to be able to attend more. Others who have been to the marriage ones with their spouses, have had nothing but good things to say about them. Since this is a Chaplain program, there is mention of God, but it isn't in a force-religion-on-you type of way. It seemed as though everyone was perfectly comfortable with the way that the program was put on. The Chaplain stated that funding for the programs is being cut so they might not be overnight retreats in the future though. Hubs has never really had interest in attending since we don't need marriage counseling, but it's definitely a good way to help grow your marriage.

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  1. So glad you went on this retreat!!! :) They are amazing and I love Myrtle Beach.

  2. I love the tattoo!! This retreat sounds like a great thing for spouses of deployed soldiers. I came over to visit from Tea on Tuesday. I am now a new follower.
    Patricia @


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