05 August 2013

Introducing Our Family...and a United States Army EOD Technician

"Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100:4 & 5

I cannot think of a better way to open this blog than to tell you of our Family vacation weekend celebrating my Hubs' dedication and graduation from NAVSCOLEOD to become a U.S. Army EOD technician.

My husband has been in one of the most intensive training schools the military offers for the last 12 months. He spent Phase One unaccompanied in Ft Lee, VA from Aug-Oct 2012, followed immediately by Phase Two beginning in Nov until graduation last weekend on July 19, 2013. I was so proud/nervous/excited to watch him work through this process and accomplish such a difficult task.

Our family began filtering in that Thursday. I picked up Hubs’ sister, Kari from the airport in the same minutes my parents and grandparents called to say they had arrived at our house. We ate lunch and drove into Destin to meet his dad at Seascape condos where we stayed. His mom and family friend, Mrs. Jane, as well as my sister, brother, and his wife, all arrived that evening and our vacation was off to an exciting start! Ethan didn’t get there until Friday evening, but we were pumped he was able to be apart of such a special weekend.
{L to R: Mrs. Jane, Lea Anne, Kari, Mike, Hubs, Me Kevin, Lynn, Kelcee, Anthony, Carrie, Maw Maw, and Popey}
The next morning we hurried out for the graduation ceremony. It was much less formal than I thought it would be, but such a fun morning knowing what a long road led to it. I am so thankful that my sweet friend, Victoria, was willing to come snap a few family pics for us. She is one of many answered prayers during our time here.

I was completely shocked that my husband chose me to pin him during the ceremony. Several wives at this graduation did, but it typically isn't done. It's supposed to be bad luck to let anyone other than someone who has been an EOD tech for longer than 6 months do it. But Hubs said he chose me because, "You helped me get through this school more than anyone else did." I was completely honored. I made Hubs practice with me and tell me 10 times what I was supposed to do. Andrew said that when I got up there, I held out my hands and they were visibly shaking. I guess that's why the kind Army gentlemen said, "You don't have to be nervous!" Well, I was, but my brother said I was the second fastest wife-pinner and I didn't drop the backs, so I'd say it was a success! One of my proudest moments.
The rest of that day was spent on the beach with lunch at Pompano Joe’s and a bbq dinner at our condo. I had a cake done by KarabooBakery, and I made oreo balls to look like little bombs. I had an engineer print done at Office Depot (24x48) and printed a small EOD crab on cardstock (8.5x11) for all to sign & frame. I gave him a fun gift and we all went around and expressed our appreciation for Hubs’ hard work, dedication, and persistence. He was slightly embarrassed, but grateful. I am going to put the notecards and cards into a photo album with pics from the weekend for Hubs to keep and remember such a special family celebration.
The next morning was rainy, so some of us went to breakfast and met others at the outlet malls after. I do not have a love of shopping, but the trip ended up being very productive. First, I got a great deal on boots for Alaska and my mother-in-law was so sweet to buy me a second pair! Thank goodness, Kari and I finally have matching sister adventure shoes. I’m especially excited about the next find I’m about to share because, when I was deciding what to get Hubs for his graduation gift, I knew it was one of two things I knew he had been wanting. Well, I gave him the old school shaving kit on Friday. And after fruitless searching for about a year for a brown leather band watch, we found exactly what he wanted the very next day at Fossil.
It was sunny by noon, so we had another fun beach day the rest of Saturday. My sweet and faithful dad called us all together for a devotional that night before a great and late dinner at Cap't Dave’s. We then headed out for solid sibling time in The Village at Baytowne Wharf. We loved getting to get a little QT with them. With the military sending us all over the map since getting married, my sibs in Nashville, and Kari in Denver, that time with them meant more to us than we can say. It was the first time we have all hung out, and even though it was just sitting around talking, it is still one of my favorite "firsts" ever.
My Sisters: Kari, Kelcee, and Carrie
Sunday was goodbye day. Lea Anne and Jane left early that morning. I think I might remember Hubs trying to wake me up to say goodbye. I’m too old for sibling night out! Hubs, Jessie, and I met Mike and Kari on the beach for a while before packing up for check out. They left before noon, and my sibs were close behind. We got to spend the evening with my parents and grandparents before they left the next morning. We talked on the back deck, had pizza, and played a couple of games of Joker’s Rule before heading back to Niceville. We had such an amazing weekend, but it was great to sleep in our own bed!

Congratulations, Hubs! I am so very proud of you and your amazing accomplishment. You made it!

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