Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lake Living

When Ben was done with officer training, all he wanted to do was go home, but Tennessee was many hours away! Luckily, Ben grew up about 80 miles east of Montgomery, so we were able to go to his mom's lake house for the night! After just a couple of hours in the car, we arrived at Lake Harding, a place very dear to Ben's heart and home of a lot of wonderful childhood memories. We also spent our one year wedding anniversary there the year before, so it was nice to go back. Not only did we get to spend some wonderful alone time together, but my amazing mother-in-law had left dinner for the night, breakfast for the next morning, wine, and a very sweet note for us! After Ben changed into civilian clothes, we made a quick trip to one of his favorite spots for some boiled peanuts. When we got back to the house we took about a four hour nap :). We woke up, cooked the steaks, and promptly went back to sleep. The next morning we made our breakfast and took our coffee out to the dock for a morning swim. We floated on cushions in the lake and sipped our steaming beverages, it was just heavenly! Before we left to go home to Tennessee, we did go by Ben's mom's and had lunch with her, Jimmy, Ben's sister Lauren, and Lauren's fiance Ken. It was a wonderful weekend filled with great memories! I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful extended family!

Friday, June 27, 2008

US Air Force Commissioned Officer Training Graduation

At the awards ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Ben's cheering section!

Look very closely for the man with the blue flag, that's Ben!
Excuse me, I mean that's Lt. Goins with the "guidon".

Ben and his mom after the parade on Friday, he's done!

Elizabeth picked out the perfect parade outfit for me in Air Force colors!

Me with three of the DCOM students, Joel, Ben, and Anthony.

Lt. Cavalli and Lt. Goins

Ben with his roommate, Lt. Dan.

Ben is home!! We were able to see each other on Wednesday, June 25 (the day after our anniversary) when I arrived in Montgomery. I don't think I realized how much I missed him until I saw him. When we saw each other I let go of everything I had been holding in for a month and completely broke down. In true Ben form, he told me I was "gay". Yep, back to normal! On Thursday I attended a spouse's orientation where I received a tour of base housing, the hospital, and the child care center. We were also basically told that in our spouse's priorities were now 1) Air Force, 2) Family, 3) Physician, in that order. Well, I already knew that, but it was sobering to hear it stated so plainly! Thursday I got to have lunch with Ben in the dining hall where he had been eating his meals and walk around base with him a bit. It was at that point I realized that the Ben I said good-bye to just a month earlier was not the same Ben coming back to me. Watching him walk in uniform and salute those who passed was surreal. When asked to describe how Ben changed, the best I can come up with is that he's still himself, just better. My dad describes it as a "quiet confidence" which is probably more descriptive, not to mention more eloquent.
Friday was the parade which was the culminating event of the training. Ben was a guidon bearer (flag), so his part in the parade was a little more interesting than just marching. It also meant he was in the front so we could all see him! For the parade his mom, step-dad Jimmy, dad, Aunt Susy, Uncle Ronnie, and my dad all drove to Montgomery to see him. My dad (former decorated US Army) actually saluted him when he walked up, but said that was the one and only time and I didn't get the camera out fast enough to capture the moment, darn! At the end of the parade they took the oath of office (again) and right when they said "class dismissed", they threw off their caps and jets flew over, shaking the stands with a deafening sound! It was amazing, I had chill bumps! Of course, the best part was when we drove off base and I took Ben home. Now that we're back together, I don't know how I did it without him. I could not have done it without the support from my family and friends, and God as my constant companion.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two Blessed Years

Today Ben and I celebrate two wonderful years together as husband and wife. Two years ago today was a magical, fairytale of a day and one that we look back on with joy and laughter. The past two years have brought many changes. We both left jobs where we spent the majority of our time after college and moved from our safe little town of Athens, GA to a quite unknown place called New Tazewell, TN. We have loved, supported, and sometimes pushed one another to be brave and to follow our dreams. Ben has begun to fulfill his dream of being a doctor and serving in the military. I'm scheduled to take the GRE in August so I can begin applying to grad schools (why do I keep torturing myself with these standarized tests?). We've realized that in marriage the other person's dreams become your dreams as well, and you triumph in their successes and mourn with them in their defeats. Every wonderful moment in your life is better when you have a partner to share it with, and every sad moment is made easier when you have someone to take some of the load. We both agree that marriage is the hardest and best thing we've ever done. It has its obstacles, but it makes day to day life so much FUN! What could be better than sharing a life with your best friend?
On this day we want to thank you, our friends and family, for all you've done to support us these past two years. Your advice and wisdom have meant the world to us. We know in order to have a successful marriage you have to have a wonderful support system, and we certainly have that in all of you. My mother has been a great source of marital advice. The first few months when I would call her to complain how messy Ben was, she would promptly tell me that I knew he was messy when I married him and that I never should have expected that to change. She also told me that if that was the worst thing about my husband, I should count my blessings and let it go. Mom is very good at keeping things in perspective. If I ever had illusions that I could call her during an argument and ask her to take my side, believe me, those have been shattered. Usually she feels I'm being slightly dramatic (really? me?) and nicely tells me to get over myself. In all seriousness, our parents have helped us learn how to let those little things go and see how good we really have it. My fellow newlywed girlfriends Libby and Elizabeth and I have had numerous conversations about adventures in marriage; and I don't know what I would do without their counsel, advice, and humor! It's nice to have someone to share the experience with!
One thing that Ben and I did not expect was how we would keep falling deeper and deeper in love everyday. What a wonderful surprise that love does not stand still but grows and grows. It gives us so much to look forward to! We're just getting started! We wish everyone was as happy as we are!
I know this has been a long blog, but I suppose this is my way of celebrating the day. It's been four weeks today since Ben left for Officer Training and the only contact we've had today was a text message he sent me at 4:56 a.m. telling me Happy Anniversary. Please pray that I'll get to see him when I get to Montgomery tomorrow night and not have to wait until Thursday. I know it's only one extra day, but right now that feels like an eternity.
Love to you all!
P.S. And to answer the pressing question, no, there are still no children planned for the near future. We're giving ourselves another few years. We have so much fun with just the two of us, we're not sure we want to add in another person quite yet!
P.P.S I'm sure all of you are wearing pink today in honor of our anniversary and our pink wedding, right??

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Little Late...DCOM Spring Gala, Otherwise Known As Med School Prom

So this is quite late and out of order (which is difficult for me and my OCD tendancies) but I thought I would share a picture of Ben and I at the Med School Spring Gala on May 9, 2008. This event took place in the Hilton in Knoxville and consisted of a lovely evening of dinner, cocktails, awards, dancing, and a Casino! Ben took home the award for "Most Likely to Follow the Dress Code", having earned the title of Dress Code Nazi early in the year for his commitment to dressing buisnesslike for class. It was a wonderful time to spend with faculty and students to celebrate the end of the first year of medical school!

Quebec Flight

Here is Ben with his flight! Ben is very tan and has lost several percentages of body fat in the last month, so in case you can't recognize him, he's the one in the front right, kneeling. Otherwise known as the best looking one in the entire group. You would think pictures would comfort me and help me feel connected, but it just makes me miss him more. I'm leaving on Wednesday to go to Montgomery, AL. I have spouses' orientation and graduation on Thursday, and the final parade is Friday and then I get to take him HOME!!! We're not sure if we'll get to see each other on Wednesday night yet or not, it depends on if they achieve 1st class status between now and Wednesday; which means he'll be allowed to leave base on the weekdays after his academic day is done. Each moment this week seems to be crawling by!

Here's Ben's commentary to accompany the picture: This is a picture of the whole flight (small group that we’re separated into) with our guidons (poles with pennants and ornaments on top). The significance of this picture was that we’d just won Athletic Flight and Honor Flight of the Week for both our squadron (we beat 5 other flights) and the class (we beat 18 other flights). We were very proud. The red and green sashes hanging above the blue pennant (the biggest flag) are for the class, while the Falcons pennant (the maroon flag) is for the squadron. Enjoy.