Friday, August 14, 2015

Nothing Says Congrats like Silly String

 Time is precious. We knew we wanted to spend a bit of extra time with our out of town retirement guests: Sathers and Simmons.....and we wanted our family to meet our adopted Spurgeon family....and we wanted to have Daniel and Cynthia over at least one more time before we we invited them all over Friday Night. Judging by the look below - I wonder if it were all a ploy to get to hold Eliana for the first time. LOL
We laughed when the kids kicked Arielle off the kids' table, but allowed Bre to sit with them even though, "You've been to college and all."
Joy, Stacia, Nolan, Daniel, Bre, Nathan, Seth, Zach
 Some of the "adults" present
Krista, Gma, Cynthia, Arielle, Alex, Larissa, Jared, Dakota, Jamin
 This may be one of my favorite photos

John and Nadine
 Nolan - the human jungle gym
Seth, Nolan, Zach

Nathan - just because I won't be able to take pictures of him in a bit
 Seth is SO photogenic - but he seems to have reached the age where he'd rather not have lots of photos taken....look at that sparkle in his left eye. LOL
Nolan and Seth
 It was a DELIGHT to connect with Annette in person!

Matt and Rachel  - truly a blessing to our family 
When I was cleaning out a closet I found a bunch of poppers - we saved them for after dinner on retirement night.....

Michael loves fireworks and this is as close as we can get in CA...."someone" seems to have armed the kids and a few adults with cans of silly string....what could their even intentions be? Nothing says congrats like silly string. 
I think this was the point when he realized he was in for it!

Happy Retirement, hon. It's been a joy to work and minister beside you. I look forward to playing a bit more....and watching to see the next step unfold.

BreAnne - our oldest

It was fun to reconnect and relax with family and friends. I loved hearing the chaplains share their stories....

Unexpected Gift from Kids

I am developing a reputation of gullibility. I could TELL there was a surprise gift for Michael afoot. I thought Cy had developed an odd habit - but you know - anyone living alone could get a bit "odd" - he has taken to making odd sounds - "ca- caw, ca-caw" but I'm a mother so I went with it. Whatever. He's a bit odd. It turns out those were warning sounds as the presentation of "the gift" was prepared.
Our plan after the ceremony was clean the chapel, come home and veg, and then have some friends over in the evening. Instead, Michael spent 2 1/2 hours in a meeting. ::snort:: I could tell the kids wanted him home....and finally, he was home.
They let us know they had a presentation before company arrived.
BreAnne had created a powerpoint presentation. It began with Zippity doo dah.....and quickly went through each assignment and various PWOC pictures from the past 24 years. I was touched and satisfied. 
A Slide popped up saying they had a gift for us but first - "What do all these things have in common?" And it began to show exotic beaches. I love beaches. They had a photo of us on the beach. I was making all sorts of guesses. Michael figured it out quickly. Larissa took a zillion photos of me as I guessed one thing after is the moment when I realized what the gift was! I couldn't believe it. Y'all these kids aren't rich.....

They BOOKED a Carnival Freedom Cruise for us! Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cozumel...BOOKED it. We sail from Galveston.  I looked up and said, "Oh, GOOD. I wanted to go to Galveston this year! It's on my bucket list." Which cracked everyone up.
Josiah explains they all pitched in to book us the cruise. The younger three will stay in Eugene after an early Thanksgiving. Michael and I will take the trailer down to TX. We'll have 7 days. They've paid for excursions. I can't remember all the details but I know we need to log on and figure out what we want to do.  They paid for it and booked it as they knew we'd take forever to decide when we'd actually do it if we were left on our own.

Group Hug

Michael Retires

We went to the base in three waves of cars...great plan. Anything forgotten had two chances to make in. The day began early....

Stacia and Arielle
Creating a banner
 Before the Ceremony
Arielle's kids were happy to see her - Emma says, "hey"
Ed showed up early and finished the transformation of the annex. He had a vision and made it come to life....Ch. Lowe gifted us with the food for the reception. We are blessed.

David Lynn - from our first assignment

Holly & Me

Joy was excited to see me. "Gemma De'Etta can I sit with you." Rachel said no.  When Larissa was going to take a picture she told me, "Gemma De'Etta, my Mom says you have to do this (hand to face) when you take a picture."
Stacia, Joy and Gemma De'Etta

Jared and Alex

Izaak and Bre

Mom and Dd

Dakota and Izaak
Pre-ceremony consultation
Michael & Matt

Ed -  a huge blessing
Then it was TIME. Many emotions as these 24 years come to an end.
Escorted in and it begins

Kenley and Britny sang The National Anthem
 Matt emcee'd the ceremony. There was a glitch with the script when a last minute change was added and he ended up adlibbing much of it. I'm impressed.
 Ch. Sather officiated
Honor Guard enters
Chaplain Lowe gave the invocation
Ch. Sather awards the Meritorious Service Medal

There were letters and certificates of appreciation from various places. Notable to us was a letter from former President George W. Bush.

Ch. Simmons (our endorser) said a few words and read a letter from Randal Bach - Open Bible's President.

I pinned on his retirement pin.

 I received letters from the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Chief Master Sgt of the Air Force
Michael presented the children with a letter of appreciation from Col. Stricklin - Vice Commander of the Base

Ch. Tangen and Sgt. Lehner presented Michael with an amazing Shadowbox from the Chapel Staff.
Michael said a "few" words

Michael gave me some roses

He also gave each of the kids and me a gift - multi tools for the boys and pearls for the girls. A telephoto lens for me. 
Ch. Sather blessed the family

And it was over.

Note Joy between Nolan and Stacia. She wanted to be with the family.
Rachel - my friend - Joy's Mom, Matt's wife along with four other darlings
Arielle gets to hold Eliana for the first time
Krista too
We will sure miss Lee, Nikki and Maria....

Father Kiernan and Michael
Cynthia and Michael

Jennifer and me
Michael and Megan
We cut the cake and discovered it was not chocolate

Elise was watching the photo taking and wanted to be in a picture. We happily agreed, and she pushed me out of the picture....

Dad, Mom, Me and Michael
Cynthia, Me and Michael
Some of our favorite chaplains - Ch. Simmons, Ch. Sather and Ch. Lowe

Obviously, there are many emotions and thoughts about this transition - but that this point - this is all I have.  It's very odd to know that Michael will not have to go to work next week.  I'm sure life will be full of adjustments; big and small. Mostly, we're thrilled to have more time together.  I'm pretty sure Michael will eventually start writing more on the blog.