Matt did not recieve Airman Below the Zone as we'd hoped he would, but he still ranked up a few months later. He is now a Senior Airman.
He was told that he could test for his next rank up- Staff Sargent and he did that at the begining of May. They base ranking up on several things- his 'resume', awards, time in service, time in rank, and the test scores. His 'resume' is excellent but he has no awards, his time in service and time in rank are pretty short and we don't know how he did on his test. Hopefully we'll find out how he did in August. We suspect that if he does rank up that he'll do so the middle of next year.
We have now been in Guam for a year and a half. We wont recieve orders for another year or so and we've been pondering what bases we really want to move to. Sometimes it seems perfect to go overseas again and we imagine all the educational opportunities our kids could have. But then we realize that having a lot of kids and living overseas is difficult (expenses, small houses, etc). We consider living stateside and I get frustrated because there is no 'ideal' location for us to put on a dream sheet. Everywhere we consider is too far away from some portion of the family, or the weather sucks, or the location leaves something to be desired in some way. I keep telling myself that I'll learn to love where ever we are sent.
Matt did get a really good score on his last PT test so he doesn't have to test again for a year (that'll be next Feburary I think). He is regularly training to get new and different vehicles on his lisence (I didn't know there were that many...). We are no longer haivng him go to school though because the stress levels were way too high. Somehow we have to keep working toward his degree, we just aren't sure how/when that'll happen.
Life in the military has its ups and its downs, its mostly just like a normal job, sometimes is awesome (all the extra days off!) and sometimes it sucks (12 hour shifts for two weeks straight...). Overall, I'm still very glad we made the decision to join the military. And Matt is thriving in this setting. I hope that we'll be able to continue with the military for many more years.