We figured it was about time for a life update from us! We are alive and well … in fact, I’d say we are nigh-on fantastic! It’s been quite a whirlwind as of late, so that is why the blog has been abandoned for the past few months (sorry). But a quick shout out to all of the plebes and plebe girlfriends that reached out to us about the starting their adventures of academy life. It was so wonderful to hear your stories and chat with those that I did! On to business. *Disclaimer: This is going to be a pretty long post!
Graduation & Commissioning Week
What a blast that week was for Sean’s family and I! It is definitely oriented to the family and friends that come in for the festivities, because golly do they keep all the ensigns- and 2nd lieutenants-to-be running like crazy all that week. Annapolis and USNA certainly did put on a show though. What an amazing experience!
Before we headed out for the grand event, Sean’s dad and I had Google documented the heck out of that week and the week following (wedding week of course!), so we were well prepared for all the different goings-on of the week. I’ve attached a link to an edited version of our family schedule that was inspired by a lovely lady in the girlfriends’ group (thank you again!!!) that totally helped us all stay on track and get to the important events of the week!
I want to briefly go over a few of my favorite parts of the week:
Superintendent’s Garden Party
What a fun evening! We felt like royalty being escorted into the Superintendent’s home with all manner of delicious food, drinks and good company. It was one of the first times we were able to meet members of Sean’s company along with their families!
We got all dressed up (hats and all) to shake hands and take a photo with Superintendent Carter and his wife, which was so special! They were so kind and welcoming even after having stood smiling for hours on end meeting endless families of midshipmen. But we were so happy that they did!
I had been so excited to see my first Blue Angels show … probably way too excited! But they did not disappoint! It was my birthday, so of course I claimed they came just for me. :) It was such a fun afternoon watching them conduct all of their stunts. And we were also on the Yard when they arrived in the area the day prior and were rehearsing. So it was like getting two shows! I felt like a little four-year-old kid.
Ladies Brunch/Setting Sail
Many of the women I had gotten to know over the four years of Sean’s time at the academy met one morning for breakfast at the Iron Rooster. It was such a joy seeing everyone in one place! And for some, meeting them in-person for the first time! We all met the morning that our boyfriends/fiances were at graduation rehearsal, so no time was lost with family.
I also took part in the Setting Sail class that was held on the day before graduation. It is so worth getting up early and hitching a ride to the academy! You are given so many resources as a future Navy wife and get to meet so many awesome women that are Navy wives who are open to sharing their experiences. They talked about ranks, different communities, moving, networking, and just generally understanding how the military works. I would 100% recommend that you take advantage of this resource! :) Email me if you have questions about it and I can put you in touch with the ladies or just click the link to their website above!
This ball was open to the graduating firsties, their parents, significant others, and family. It was a lot like the Ring Dance because it was all the Class of 2017 who were celebrating finally reaching a goal they had worked so hard to achieve. It was so fun to watch! I feel like this event was classed up even more than Ring Dance was, maybe it was just the lack of booze spilled on the floor and how it wasn’t as readily available as it was at Ring Dance. Or maybe it was just the diverse music played to reach the parents’ generation that I usually enjoy more? Who knows. :) Regardless, it was so fun to watch everyone cut loose one more time with everyone they had been surrounded by for four whole years.
Last but not least of all:
Graduation & Commissioning
What a moving experience! For those of you who have already graduated, you know what I mean. For those of you working toward that goal, I can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself!
We made it to the Navy & Marine Corps Stadium at least three hours before the ceremony was to begin, and I am sure glad we did. Even at 7 a.m. the roads were already congested with not only us tourists, but morning commuters (I’m sorry for you all). Word of wisdom for the ladies sitting in the bleachers: bring a jacket or sweater or something! I had my summer dress on knowing that it would get super warm *later* that day, but at 7:30 in the morning sitting in the shade side of the stadium, it did not feel like late May! ;) Sean’s parents, grandparents, one of his brothers, his sponsor mom, and I all waited among other excited families for the morning to really begin.
When they all processed in together in their officer uniforms, everyone started excitedly scouring the lines for their (for a little longer) midshipman. I’m glad that I had the nice lens on my camera, so that even though I personally couldn’t pick him out of the crowd, through my camera I could! ;) After everyone filed in, they waited patiently as their heads started to burn in the sunlight. They were waiting for those overseeing the ceremony to be escorted in by security, not least of which was Vice President Mike Pence! Not many people can say they shook the hand of vice president of the United States prior to accepting their diploma.
The thunderous “I DO” of the newly commissioned officers was probably the most exciting part of the ceremony. The scheduled speakers were fantastic, hearing Sean’s name and that of his friends being announced was so amazing, but there is just something about a bellowing sound of those promising to serve their country faithfully that will get you.
Following the ceremony, they all toss their old covers in the air as children wait patiently to collect all the midshipman covers and see if there are any treats waiting in the folds. We then quickly run (meaning wait patiently in pedestrian traffic) to our rendezvous point to find our new ensign and take SO MANY PHOTOS (that may be my fault). Sean’s mom and I got to pin on his ensign shoulder boards, which was so special. He received his first salute from an academy friend at that time, which was so weird and awesome.
If you have any desire to watch any or all of it, here is a link to watch the ceremony on YouTube!
For those of you who know us personally, you know we have been engaged since the Christmas of his Youngster Year (2014)! It was quite a journey, but looking back, I don’t think we would have changed a thing (besides maybe a few more visits haha). So we dated for a little over six years and were engaged for two and a half by the time June 2017 finally came around.
What can I even say? The times we had worked so long for were all arriving within the span of a couple of weeks, and it was such an amazing time!!! As soon as we drove back from Annapolis, we hit the ground running to put the final touches on our wedding back home in Illinois! The wedding was on June 3, the weekend following graduation, and it was so amazing!
Friends and family from far and wide made the hike to be with us that week and we couldn’t be more grateful for them! I am also so grateful to those back home who put out some planning fires while I was gone the week prior for Sean’s graduation. Even though you plan things out down to the hour, there are always things you forget about! :P
But everything went down with only one hitch! (Bad pun, I know.) We were married in the parish Sean grew up in and had the reception at a local hotel … and it was perfect! The anticipation, the waiting, and the joy of ourselves, our families, and our friends was bursting at the seams of that day and will forever leave a lasting impression in my mind.
Following the wedding, we had time for a week-long honeymoon on Lake Michigan which was the absolute best! We ate way too much food, took too many selfies, and rested up for the next chapter of our lives … together!
Sean and I are now in Annapolis waiting for his first training school to begin in October. We will be moving a total of three times before our first wedding anniversary, but being married to your best friend is awesome.
As many of you have noticed, I shut down the store section of this blog. We had a good run, but for many reasons, I made the decision to end the business for now. I don’t have my own equipment, we are going to be moving all over the place, and the business that I was outsourcing it to underwent some sad changes. I’m sorry if I disappointed any of you, but you can email me if you have any other questions about it!
I will continue to post on occasion as I find things that will be of help to girlfriends and families of midshipmen over the years. PLEASE, email me if there is something you would like to know about via personal message or a post that you would like published! I love hearing from you all!
Blessings and know that all of you reading this are in our prayers!