Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jay's Promotion

On August 11, 2009 Jay was promoted to Lt. Col. He has worked incredibly hard and has done extremely well in his career. He is respected by those in authority over him as well as by those he is in authority over. We are so very proud of him. Not only for his dedication and commitment to his job, but for serving our country. Serving in the military is not a "normal" job. His life is not his own. He belongs to the Air Force and will belong to them until the day of his retirement. It's a sacrifice, but without men and women like him, we would not be able to live in freedom as Americans.

On Friday, there was a promotion ceremony on the base to honor Jay, and to allow his family to be present and allow him to thank us for supporting him in his career. It felt a little odd, to be honest....all we wanted to do was honor him, but the purpose of it was more for us. Everything is so structured and very ceremonial and first class all the way. Just to be in the room with all of these individuals in uniform, saying the pledge of allegiance together gives me chills.

Jay's mom and brother and cousin Doug and his wife Joanie drove in from Colby, KS to be there for the ceremony. We also took Kendall out of school early so that she could be there with us as well.

The proceedings started with the pledge of allegiance, followed by a very heartfelt, beautiful prayer. Yes, in the military at events, they still pray and I, for one, am thankful! No one walks out offended, and we get to invite God's presence there with us and honor Him for all He's done for us. It's a great way to begin! After the prayer, Jay's boss spoke about his accomplishments and told some witty stories about him. He hasn't known Jay for very long, but was able to prod some information out of some all-too-willing family members. He had no trouble at all getting Jay's mom and brother and cousins to dish some dirt! After he spoke, Jay's mom and I pinned on Jay's new pins signifying his new rank. Then, Jay was able to speak to each of us. He thanked his family for being there and presented his mom and Kendall and I with flowers and thanked those who could not be there physically - specifically Nicole, who was attending her first day of school, his dad and most of all, God.

It was highly emotional, especially not having Loni there with us. We all felt his presence, but he was missed. He's in a better place now, but that doesn't stop us here on earth from missing his smile and his laughter. Someday we will be together again.

I'm so grateful to be married to such an honorable man. He has integrity, dedication, loyalty, he's romantic and hilarious and I'm just so proud to be Mrs. Ketchum.

Congratulations honey!

After the promotion ceremony, we came back to the house for a champagne/sparkling cider toast and to open presents. Unbeknownst to us, it is customary for the promotee to give gifts to his/her family. Jay got Nicole a gift certificate for some riding equipment (her grandpa got her some riding lessons and she needed some gear) and he got Kendall a Fender electric guitar (complete with amp and all of the accessories) and I got a plane ticket to CA!!!! I am beyond excited!!!! I have never been so excited to go to CA before. I cannot wait to spend time with friends and family, and frolic in the ocean and have some seafood and In-N-Out. It's amazing the things you miss.

My husband is extra special! There was literally no parking in the parking lot and we pulled up right to the front to find these reserved signs. We felt a little like royalty.

Jay's mom and I pinning him on

Saying the oath

Saying things to make all of us cry

Presenting flowers and hugs

We are so in love

I handed Doug the camera to run back and take a photo of the cake before it was gone. One of the wives of a guy Jay works with made the cake and punch for us. It was delicious!

Our dear friends Alicia and Brian. Alicia worked with Jay at Vandenberg and moved to CA just two weeks before us. We're so glad to have her so close.

Jay with his mom and his brother Eric

Cousin Doug and Joanie

Wishing Nicole was with us

I put up just a few decorations. There are stars and some star garland hanging on the chandelier

And some stars on the wall


Opening presents

Red roses for me (mom got pink ones)

Sunflowers for Kendall

I had absolutely no idea what to give Jay for such a special occasion, so I made a collage photo with pictures of his dad

And included a love letter from father to son....I felt Loni give the words to me, it was really very precious. I know he is still with us and we miss him every day

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