With Christmas just five days away, many people are getting ready for time with the people they love the most. But, for people like Sheila Hipp, her dearest loved one is serving his country in Iraq.
When we visited Sheila Hipp around Thanksgiving, her husband's internet connection in Iraq wasn't letting them connect on Skype but, this time the signal was clear and constant. Corey says, like Thanksgiving day, Christmas will be filled with work. However, he and his comrades have tried to get into the spirit.
"All the guys here at the compound, we did 'Secret Santa,' and we've got a Christmas tree set up in the data room," said Hipp via Skype.
Meanwhile, Corey has missed some big events back home. Just a couple weeks ago, his little daughter, Kayden, became mobile.
"She started crawling, and I was so excited, and I told Corey to get on Skype with us," Sheila said.
"It made me happy, but it made me sad I wasn't there. Watchin' 'em grow up on Skype is not really the best moment, but I guess it's better than not having anything," Corey said.
While he knew some family developments would happen while he was gone, Corey was also absent for one of Sheila's unexpected accidents -- she tore the ligaments between her knee and her ankle after getting thrown from a horse. She got help from a friend, but missed Corey during the worst of it all.
"I'd probably have been able to sleep a little more and get a lot of needed rest and I know he'd take care of her for me," she said.
Corey got some Christmas gifts in the mail -- banana bread from his mom and books from his wife. But the day he's really looking forward to is still a few months away.
"We're all ready and excited for Christmas to come and be over with, plus it's one more day closer to being home," he said.
Corey says there hasn't been much to buy in Iraq to send home as gifts, but he did get Christmas cards out.
He's slated to come home in March. Newschannel 6 will continue to follow the Hipp family in the months leading up to his return, and find out more of what happens when daddy's deployed.