PICAYUNE — Family and loved ones greeted their soldiers at the National Guard Armory in Picayune on Friday as the guardsmen returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. Among those in the crowd were three women holding babies whose husbands had not yet held them because they were deployed. One of these women was Kimberly Touchet, who held her daughter Carissa. Carissa Touchet entered the world on Sept. 26, 2012, at 3:57 p.m., at Ochsner Northshore Hospital in Slidell, La. Her father, Charles Touchet, a member of the 857th Wolfpack that had been deployed to Afghanistan, was the reason for the first Skyped delivery at the Louisiana hospital. “The whole experience has been challenging,” she said. “Carissa is the first child for both of us and we are both very hands on people. I had him with me through most of the pregnancy, so that was great. We had the baby showers early so he could see everything and touch everything before he left. It was wonderful that we got to experience that together. “It was the milestones that seemed to hit us the hardest. When Carissa would roll over or engage me in some small way, a first of any kind, that is when I would miss him the most.” The Touchets tackled the distance through Skype and Facetime calls. Daily photos were constantly sent to Charles. Any firsts for Carissa caught on camera were immediately sent as well. “I sent him pictures every day,” said Kimberly Touchet. “When she did anything new, he got that photo as well. There may be positives in this situation, such as the fact that I believe it has strengthened our relationship. He has had to rely on me to tell him information and details regarding her and that has made us stronger as a couple. But any positive doesn’t detract from the fact that this has been really hard—- especially for him, across the board.” Another goal for Kimberly Touchet was wanting Carissa to have Charles introduced as much as possible through her early months. “She will know his voice,” she said, while waiting for the buses with troops to arrive. “She will know his voice because he was able to talk to her through Facetime. She’ll know his face because I put pictures up over her changing table of him and she was able to see him on our phone. Even though he has been half way across the world, he has been a big part of her life.” Touchet said that the Family Readiness Group (FRG) had been a vital source of support throughout the deployment time. “The FRG is very supportive and it was nice to know that other ladies in the group were going through some of the same things. I didn’t feel like I was the only one going through something. Another blessing was the Soldiers Angels program. They have sent Carissa handmade blankets that are just beautiful. They also sent my husband a care package. He told me that it meant a lot to him and we are just thankful for the support that we have had through this. It has made a huge difference,” she said. Friday afternoon the beginning that had been delayed for eight long months, finally began. Charles was allowed off of his vehicle first, along with the two other fathers who had not seen their newborns yet. He kissed his wife and held his daughter.
Holiday fungi are trimming Arboretum trails for Feature
Recent rains have left behind a few puddles that have been slow to disappear, and have also created ideal conditions for a late fall “blossoming” of mushrooms. Cool days have had little effect in slowing their robust growth. New species are appearing along the pathways every day.
Deluded Diva: Salvaging the Christmas spirit
“... I said what I’ve said every Christmas since I was old enough to speak; ‘This is going to be the best Christmas ever.’ (And it always is.)”
— Emily Jones
Arboretum Paths: Mississippi native plants — for the birds
Would you like to provide some new plants in your landscape that will be attractive to birds? You may be surprised to learn that while birds will feast on the fruits and seeds produced by the native plants in your yard, at certain times of year their diets also will consist of large quantities of the insects that feed on these plants.
The great spice cabinet purge
Erma Bombeck once said, "Once you get a spice in your home, you have
it forever. Women never throw out spices."
Man, I’m a believer.
Arboretum Paths: Mississippi native plants that shine in late fall
Have you noticed that some plants in the local landscape are glowing? One exceptional native shrub that is hard to ignore lately is Elliott’s blueberry (Vaccinium elliottii). Its leaves are turning a gorgeous scarlet red, which makes this shrub easy to spot from your car window on a county ride.
Whitney Miller force to be reckoned with in food world
Since winning the first season of MasterChef, Whitney Miller has been in a whirlwind of new experiences and opportunities.
Valuable native plants of the Piney Woods
As a child, it fascinated me that everything that made up my world had been fashioned of materials that came from the earth. It was great fun to sit among the trees in our heavily forested suburban neighborhood and imagine what this country would have been like in its early years, when each new tree or plant encountered would be eyed for its potential ability to prove useful to families eking out a home life in unfamiliar territory.
CWC Pilgrimage: The Teague home
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Teague home in North Hill Subdivision. The home of Richard and Janet Teague, located at 48 Long Lake will be featured in the Civic Woman’s Club Christmas Pilgrimage to be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 until 7 p.m.
Arboretum Paths: Plant natives – for seasonal flower arranging
When considering incorporating new plants to your landscape, consider its potential uses. Don't just dig that hole for the exercise. There are many more inexpensive ways to get into shape! If you make an investment in the purchase and care of a new specimen, think about how t will provide you with a return. Could your new plant be used as material for flower arrangements?
Coast Orchid Society Show changes venue
For the past 33 years the Gulf Coast Orchid Society has sponsored a free Orchid Show on the Gulf Coast usually at Singing River Mall in Gautier, Miss. on the bye weekend before the Super Bowl. With the ongoing renovations to the mall, the Society has had to relocate.
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