Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reenlistment, the Fourth of July, and a Time-Warp

Back at the beginning of July, Brandon signed on for another 6 years with the US Navy, which is a pretty big deal.  Since they're drawing down the military, they're being really choosy about the people that they allow to reenlist.  The fact that they not only re-upped his contract, but that they signed him for another 6 years (the maximum, by the way), really speaks to how awesome he is.  I, for one, really just could not be any more proud of him for doing what he does, and for doing it so incredibly well.

The girls and I drove out to the command for the little reenlistment ceremony.  It was very quick--the drive down there took longer than the ceremony did.  But not only was it a major thing for his career, but it's a big deal for our family.  On the one hand, the Navy kind of owns us for another 6 years.  We'll be moving soon, because he's up for new orders, and he'll be going back to a boat for the first time in 6 years, for the first time since we had children.  It's inevitable that he's going to have to go out to sea, and I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that I'm not terrified of being left alone.  But, to balance that, the Navy has been very, very good to us and it's reassuring to know that we are going to have a steady income and health care for the next 6 years.  So yes, it was good to be there, to witness this commitment being made, and to show our support.

They also gave me an award, which I was definitely not expecting.  It 's an achievement award,  recognizing and thanking me for my support as the one standing behind Brandon and his work in the Navy.  I was pleasantly surprised, though I also felt a little put on the spot...there were actually a lot of people there, and I'd met only a handful of them a handful of times.  Still, I thought it was pretty cool.  :)

So, that was July third.  I thought it was an appropriate way to celebrate the Fourth, especially since we didn't actually do any celebrating on the Fourth.  Saturday we went out to Virginia Beach for some Fourth of July family fun.  We tried out one of the local seafood places for dinner, then headed on over to the strip to have some old time photos done.  This was not done on a whim.  I've actually been planning that very photo session, at that very location, for a year or two.  You see, Brandon was stationed here back in 2003 for his C-school training, and he flew me up to see him a couple of times.  One of those times was over the July 4th holiday weekend, and while wandering around in Virginia Beach, we had some old time photos done then.  So how could we not go back and do it again, exactly 10 years later?  I couldn't resist, and even Brandon said that it pretty much had to be done.
 I didn't want to take the original photos with us, since we have only the one copy, so we snapped a picture of it with Brandon's phone, to show it to the people at the studio.  Of course they were all over it, and perfectly happy to help us try to recreate the original:

How awesome is that?  10 years, 3 duty stations, and 2 kids later, and neither of has changed much at all.  How's that for a time warp?  Here's the rest of the shoot (because of course I had to have the CD with all the digital images on it...) :

The girls LOVED getting all dressed up, and playing with the props.  Heck, so did I, for that matter.

Elora looks unhappy in the first one, because the photographer had handed her a gun, and told her to hold it up for the picture.  "But, guns are dangerous!"  And she continued to look worried until he took away the gun, and handed her the fan.  She was much more comfortable with the fan.  Kaylie, on the other hand, was in 100% dress-up-loving-toddler heaven.

We got done with the photos just before 10, when the fireworks were supposed to start, so we just headed across the street to the beach walk. We waited patiently there by the beach, but I couldn't help noticing that there wasn't anyone else standing around, looking expectantly at the sky out over the water.  Sure enough, there were no fireworks that night.  As it turns out, I'd misread the schedule.  They weren't Saturday night at 10, but Sunday night at 10.  Oops.  Thank goodness for smartphones!  Since Brandon was able to double check the schedule, we didn't wait around too long, but got the girls loaded up and headed home.  Poor Elora was heartbroken.  She'd been so excited to see the fire works!  We kept telling her that we'd go back the next night, that she would still get to see them, but she was so tired and so disappointed that she whimpered the whole way home.

We did go back, and she did get to see them.  Elora loved them.  This is the only picture I was able to get of her once they started, because she was so excited that she kept jumping up and down.  Apparently, holding still also meant that she had to stop grinning, but at least I got a picture!

Kaylie was not so impressed.  She didn't like the noise, but kept peeking through her fingers to watch them anyway.  She spent part of the show in the stroller, and part of it with Brandon.

I hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July!


  1. Great Job, Congratulations!! Only the best to you.

    PS Love the gangster pics ;)

  2. Loved this post, so many great things.

    I like that they gave you an award too, you totally deserve it for holding down the forth.

    That time warp comparison picture is crazy similar. You guys have barely changed in the last 10 years. Bran does look a little young in the first pic but that's probably because he doesn't have facial hair like the second one.

    Neil and I did one of those 6 years ago, maybe I'll convince him to do another one in a few years to see how much we've changed.

    The girls look like they were having a ball with the photoshoot. Elora is such a smart girl not wanting to play with guns. She is all smiles on the next pictures.

    I can't believe how big the girls are, it's crazy.

  3. Your hair is sooo long! Are you going to keep going? It looks healthy as can be in the pictures! I just got all caught up on your posts, it's been to long since I checked out your blog!