Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Khaki Ball

Sorry for the poor quality, but I forgot the camera and took all of these with my cell phone.
The Khaki Ball is a dinner party for the Chiefs, held annually at the close of each Selectee Season to celebrate the new additions in particular and all the Chiefs in general.  Ours was a week after the pinning ceremony, though some commands hold theirs the very same weekend.  I was glad for the week's delay, it gave us all a chance to catch our breath.  In addition to dinner, there were several speakers, and all of the new Chiefs were presented again, and awarded with plaques to commemorate the occasion.

Not sure how he was chosen to help cut the cake, but I'm glad he was.  :)
They had a photographer on hand doing prom-night style portraits, which I think was amazing.  Especially for us, since we've been doing photos like this one together for 15 years now.  (zomg, I'm going to have to come back to that one....)  

I am absolutely in love with this photo.  I scanned in our printed copy, but I've contacted the photographer to try to get the full digital image.  She doesn't seem to be too great at communication, though, so we'll see.

We both had a good time, but Brandon in particular was on cloud nine all night.  It was his night, and he spent it reveling in his accomplishment.   The hard part was over, the stress was off, and he had the opportunity to mingle with his new peers in a relaxed, social setting.  The food was good, the drinks were flowing, the company was great...I'm sure he'd have been happy to stay all night long, but there are risks associated with bringing a pregnant lady as your date.  I made it to about 11, and then had to call it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hail to the CHIEF!!

We survived the Selectee Season!  It was a rough 6 weeks, but we survived and now...he's a CHIEF!!  His pinning ceremony was this past Friday.  It was all a little crazy.  He'd had to stay on base the night before for the Final Night, so it was just us girls.  We got up and out of the house with plenty of time to make it to the ceremony on time.  Early, even.  I went right there without making any wrong turns (it's quite a ways away, and I've been there only a few times), and pulled in to the parking lot with 15 minutes to spare.  I was feeling rather pleased with myself, until I realized that the parking lot was packed.  After asking one of the base security personnel, I further realized that I would have to park across the street fully a block away from the chapel.  Suddenly, I had no extra time.  At all.  By the time we walked into the chapel, they were ready to start.  Thank goodness his sponsor had had the foresight to save seats for us; otherwise we would have been standing along the back wall of the chapel.  As it was, the line of Selectees was filing into the chapel singing "Anchors Aweigh" as I was getting us settled into our seats.  Ugh.  I really, really hate feeling rushed and flustered.  But we made it, and that's the important thing.

The Selectees, lined up across the front of the chapel, singing the last bit of "Anchors Aweigh".
The girls had been excited to go see Daddy in theory, but the reality was not at all to their tastes.  Kaylie spent the first bit of the ceremony playing with her mini magnadoodle and wasn't too fidgety, but Elora had left hers in the car and was quite, quite bored.  As she reminded me approximately every 2 minutes, throughout all the speakers, and the pinning of the few people who were ahead of Brandon.

Elora kept saying "Mama, this is too boring."
Brandon was, I think, the fourth of fifth person (of twelve) to be pinned.  I'd assumed that his sponsor, or perhaps his commanding officer would be the one to actually pin the anchors to his collar, but I saw from those first few that it was actually the families of the new Chiefs who did the pinning.  I passed my camera off to  the lady sitting in front of me, with the request that she take pictures for us, right before it was his turn.  But we were to the side and slightly behind where he was standing, and she was unfamiliar with the camera, so we didn't get much in the way of pictures.  

There was a Navy photographer there, though, and we were told that all the families would receive a photo disk with all the pictures from the ceremony.  Let me just tell you, I cannot wait to get my hands on that CD!!

They took pictures not only of the pinning process, but snapped a few family shots immediately after that I am just dying to have.  After the pictures, Brandon's sponsor placed his new cover--the last piece of his new uniform--on his head.

No more white hats for this guy.  :)
After that, both girls had officially lost patience with sitting still and being quiet.  Kaylie had gotten bored with the magnadoodle, and naturally, as soon as she set it down, Elora picked it up.  And just as naturally, as soon as Elora picked it up, Kaylie wanted it back.  I had a little bit of white model magic (it's kind of like a light weight play-dough) in the diaper bag, so I got it out for Kaylie.  But when Elora saw what Kaylie had, she was no longer interested in the magnadoodle either.  I ended up splitting it between the two girls, and it  successfully kept them occupied for the rest of the ceremony.  All I had to do was to keep Elora from trying to appropriate bits from Kaylie's half, and to remind them that they still needed to be quiet.  Oy.   

All in all, they were quite good.  The ceremony last for about an hour, and by the time it was done, neither one wanted anything to do with being still or quiet, or in Elora's case, even remotely cooperative.  We tried to do our own family photo, but well, like I said.  "Still" and "cooperative" were out.  This was the best we got.  Honestly, I kind of like it.  Every time I look at it, I will always remember that Elora wanted to hide and Kaylie wanted to run and I was just so proud that I didn't care.  This picture will always make me smile.  :)