I dyed my hair black! I attempted purple before our fancy schmancy dinner celebration (more on that below) and HATED it, so I just went back to black. And I love it.
I definitely did not plan on irregular posting over these last six weeks or so, but I'll tell you what...it was nice to not HAVE to blog to get some sort of adult interaction. I started blogging again because I just felt so lonely on the days Brandon was at work (For those of you who don't know, my husband cooks for the guys who work out at the missile fields surrounding our base. The site he typically goes to is about two hours away from the base, so he stays there for four days and then comes home for five. Usually.). I feel so alone when he's gone...of course I have my kids and my crazy dog and my friends, but it's not the same. Those 3-4 hours between the kids' bedtime and mine can be eerily quiet and I just needed some way to talk about whatever was on my mind. With Brandon home, I spent those 3-4 hours with him usually, so blogging was put on the back burner. Sorry, blog. My husband comes first.
But! He left today for his first shift back, so I'll be back blogging regularly now probably. I thought I'd do a little recap to explain WHY he was able to stay home for so long.
So, in the military, after your first few promotions, you have to test for the next ones. Brandon has actually promoted really quickly; he's only been in the Air Force for 4.5 years and is already on his 4th stripe. He entered Basic Training as an Airman Basic, was able to put on his second stripe (Airman First Class) right after Tech School (where they learn how to do their specific job field) since he had over 30 college credits. He then was promoted to Senior Airman (three stripes) early because he was chosen for Below The Zone (his supervisors put him up for this award; only two of all of the airman in that promotion cycle (I believe) from the entire base were chosen to receive their promotion early). The next rank, Staff Sergeant, is the first one you have to test for. He tested early (because of his early promotion) while we were in Alaska still and missed it by five points, which we were super bummed about because he hadn't really studied very much. But! He tried again last year and made it!
Staff Sergeant is an important rank. It's the rank where you are no longer an airman; you are a non-commissioned officer. Each rank brings more responsibilities and pay raises, but Staff Sergeants actually are responsible for other airmen. Brandon is now a supervisor and is responsible for two airmen. Once you make Staff, you have to go to Airman Leadership School (ALS). It's a six-week long course that basically teaches you how to be a leader. There were papers to write, speeches to give, counseling sessions to practice. Luckily, they have an ALS here at the base, so Brandon was able to be home for the entire class. We both agreed that he probably would have done better if he had had to go to another base for the class; the kids aren't exactly conducive to excellent study habits. But, we were grateful for the time as a family and I definitely enjoyed having him home.
Once ALS is over, they throw a big graduation ceremony/dinner to celebrate everyone's accomplishments. We got to get all dressed up and have a night out without the munchkins! It was so fun. Here's a few pictures from the night:
Brandon's name in the program :)
Coming back to the table after getting his certificate (that's his commander standing on the left, ready to congratulate him).
We had a great time, the food was good, the company was awesome, and I am just so very proud of my husband it's ridiculous. He's such an amazing husband and father, and I couldn't be more happy about his career. I'm so, so, so happy I moved to West Jordan, Utah that summer way back in 2005 and got a job at Pizza Hut...because I can't imagine where I'd be without my Brandon.