Day 3 of our Alabama Trip to see Michael graduate Officer Training School (OTS) brought 3 SURPRISES!

This day proved to be extra exciting, since we had Michael’s Graduation and 3 SURPRISES unfold throughout the day !

I woke up at 0300 to prepare us for the day.  The kids all woke up easily at 0500 because they were so excited.

We had to leave the hotel before the continental breakfast began.  The kids enjoyed a quick breakfast on the way to the Officer Club.  After a quick base tour (since my Dad and I got lost in Officer housing), we found the club and met up with Michael.  Thankfully, I am ALWAYS early places so had plenty of time to spare. IMG_5619.JPG


Michael’s flight had a few last minute uniform inspections in the parking lot.


A room filled with excitement and anticipation by all.


Michael’s pinning ceremony began promptly at 0700.


Michael’s swearing in to become an Officer for The United States Air Force.

Michael’s Dad pinned on Michael’s rank on his right shoulder.  Conner pinned on the rank on Michael’s hat.  I pinned on the rank on Michael’s left shoulder.  This was an emotional event since he’s worked so hard for this moment.IMG_3212.JPG

Congratulations to the new 2nd Lieutenant.  Those butter bars (aka gold bars) on your shoulders look nice!

Michael was asked to pin on the rank for 5 fellow classmates whose families were unable to attend.  This is a huge honor that so many fellow troops respected his knowledge, friendship, and leadership.


Congratulations Class 18-06! You did it!

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Conner and Daddy looked very handsome.

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Delilah Daphney has been a daddy’s girl since birth.


After a 2 hour ceremony, all I wanted was a family picture.  As long as everybody was in it, I was happy.

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We had one and a half hours before we had to be at parade field, for the Pass and Review Ceremony.  Everybody was hungry, so off to IHOP we went.

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Eating pancakes with fruit, chocolate chips, and syrup made the men in blues and me nervous.  Somehow, they kept their uniforms pristine and so did 7 children with their outfits! It was a miracle!

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Our house, we were selling, was suppose to close for the 3rd time a week after the graduation.  However, we had a surprise phone call during breakfast.  The buyers wanted to close that afternoon instead of the following week! We were 3.5 hours away (with a time zone change) and still had an event to attend.  However, we set up the closing to be the last appointment of the day! After all, we thrive under pressure.

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Gideon did not want to miss a moment.

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Michael was chosen to be an element leader and was in the front row for marching in his flight.  A Pass and Review Ceremony is a deep-rooted military tradition.  It is a military tradition that began as a way for a newly assigned commander to inspect his troops. Visiting officers and distinguished guests are also invited to review the troops.  Colors are presented, marching is demonstrated, and many traditional military procedures are formally completed.


The Pass and Review was extended for a Change of Command Ceremony.  A Change of Command ceremony is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding officer to another.  It is done with many traditions, and precision protocols.  This part was hard for the kids. They had been watching Daddy on the field for 2 hours, in the 90+ degree Alabama heat, and wanted to join him.

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Just before the Parade and Review Ceremony started, one of Michael’s really great friend’s and former troop arrived.  Michael had requested he come in uniform, but we were not sure if he would make it.  He flew the day before and was located 6 hours away so he drove down just for Michael.  It meant a lot to both of them for him to get the First Salute and was a nice surprise that he made it.

The First Salute is another military tradition and is also known as, the Silver Dollar Salute.  As the story goes, new officers were assigned an enlisted adviser who showed them the ropes, taught them the regimental history as well as the ins and outs of the military profession. Lieutenants compensated their enlisted adviser with a small sum of money.  This is due to the fact the military did not pay them extra to help the new Officer learn his position.  This relationship is thought to be the basis for this tradition.  By tradition, the silver dollar is the only coin given in exchange for the first salute.  It represents a value far greater than just $1.  To new officers, the coin represents the power found in their new rank and position.  This coin further represents the deep-felt gratitude for the mentor ship and lessons imparted by the Non Commissioned Officer, on his Lieutenant. The knowledge from this mentor ship will take the new Officer into the world and his entire profession of arms. The silver of the coin represents the fidelity to a standard of excellence and valor.  The coin is believed to be a store of value in the memory it creates, its value as a precious metal, and its part in American history and tradition.

He’s a true friend not only for driving down for this important day.  But also, for wearing his uniform.  He is an enlisted member, in a sea of Officers, at this event.  Hence, his hand was basically glued to his hat saluting people.  If anything, I think it motivated him to further his career and rank pursuit even more.  I am glad our children get to be around so many strong, ethical, and positive role models helping to mold them into great people.

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Even with 4+ hours of ceremony’s and hot weather, we had the best looking squadron there.  I’m totally biased though 🙂


We left immediately after the ceremony and headed to the house closing! We can not thank our awesome realtor, Kimberly Hallam of Keller Williams Atlanta North, more.  She sold our house the first day it was on the market, and worked diligently to get it sold after two deals fell through (issues on the buyers end). Plus, she is a twin mom!

After the closing, Michael headed to the old house to fix a few things that were suppose to be touched up by him, before we closed the following week.  We had no time to fix them sooner with the earlier closing date.  Our realtor showed up to our old house.  She surprised us with concert tickets to a Rascal Flatts and Dan + Shay show the following week.  She had even coordinated with my Mom to babysit. It was an amazing date night surprise by both of them!

After this, it was a late dinner, bath time, and bedtime for all.  I do not think there was one sheep to be counted that night in our house.

Adorable video and picture VLOG of the day’s events showing many military traditions:


We have had it asked before if our days are really this long and busy.  Yes, they are.  We try to make the most memories and enjoy life.  We want our children to experience opportunities like families with only one child.  Each of our children just get the added benefit of so many siblings blessing their life.  Yes in some ways, they are a unit.  Five of them were born that way.  However, they are given many experiences to thrive as individuals and fully explore their own unique personalities.  After all, each child brings a special dynamic and is a needed piece to our family.




4 Replies to “Day 3 of our Alabama Trip to see Michael graduate Officer Training School (OTS) brought 3 SURPRISES!”

  1. Congratulations to your beautiful family! Really enjoyed watching every day of your trip, especially the graduation ceremony. So proud to have Michael achieve his goal. The children were so well behaved.

    Liked by 1 person

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