Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Friend-zy at Mountain View

Every year, Mountain View Elementary School hosts a Fall Carnival on a Friday in October after school. It's always a lot of fun and the kids really look forward to going. There were some new fun things this year and we all had a great time. We really love this school!

Welcome to the Fall Friend-zy at Mountain View!
I don't normally cheer against my kids, but "Look, Mom!  You can win a LIVE fish!" certainly made it tempting.  =)  I know the fish all went home with loving families, I just was not in the market for another pet.
Trey getting spray glittered.
Trey with red and orange glitter hair.
Our school principal, Mrs. Varljen, braves the dunking booth.
There were lots of totally fun, original games to play.
Joshua picked out a handmade Angry Birds hat at the Craft Vendor booths.
Joshua is read to chuck a chicken!
The Chuck a Chicken game made me laugh.  So cute!
Joshua at Buggin' Out
I love that the school PE coaches teach tons of fun dances to the kids.  They're great at a party!
Time for my 3rd grader to grab a snack.
The school hosted a silent auction with a contribution from each class.  This is Mrs. Cameron's classes' work.  So cute!  At last glance, it was going for $60.00.  Great idea!
Trey is ready for the Human Velcro Run!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Red Dragon Trunk or Treat 2011

Our battalion hosted a Trunk or Treat this year, and even though Mother Nature fought against us, we still had a really great time.  We moved the events from the open area of the Motor Pool into one of the bay areas and it worked out well.  A group of FABULOUS volunteers helped turn the area into a spook-tacular party place.  It became a little chillier as the night went on, but was comfortably cool most of the event.  Lots of fun activities, candy from the FRGs, and a yummy chili dog dinner made for a really fun night.  I am so thankful for this amazing group of people and so happy to be on this deployment ride with such a supportive bunch.  Red Dragons!

Haunted HMMWV
Write a letter to your Soldier hero!
And add a "Hurry Home, Red Dragon Soldier!" sticker!
Letters to Heroes
Make a foam photo frame.
Princess at the Photo Frames
Decorate a pumpkin, too!
Me with Zach-enstein, a friend and unit sponsor.
Trey with his Witch Hat cookie.
Joshua making his Witch Hat cookie.
FRG Leaders with the Mad Scientist lab.
The Alpha Gator
Complete with carved pumpkin!
Some cute kiddos with their cookies.
Golf Gladiators!
Me with our CSM's wife, Elena.  Love this lady!
Whose kid is this?  Oh, wait, he's mine.  =)
Joshua is just about Trunk or Treated out.
HHB Hellraiser Families
Alpha Gator Families
Bravo Thunder Families
Golf Gladiator Families
Our cute kiddos after the Costume Parade
The Chili Cook-Off was super yummy!
Awarding the 1st Place Spoon to our Chili Cook-Off Winner
Dinner Time!
Some happy helpers
How cute is she!?!?!
The Mad Scientist herself!
Enjoying a hot dog dinner.
Super cute boys with their fabulous mom.
Soldier helping out.
Two cute girls and a Frito Chili Pie!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Senior FRG Advisor/FRSA Relationship

Elena, Debbie, and me after a grueling session organizing the FRG Closet.
I know there is a lot of debate about the Family Readiness Support Assistants in the Army.  For a fairly new program, it certainly has sparked strong emotions on both sides.  Some feel that they are the best things since cannons and we could never live without them ... others feel they are a red-tape nightmare, full of drama and lists of "things I cannot do for you."

For me, I have seen some of the best and worst of FRSA traits and believe that each unit should be responsible for integrating their FRSA into their Family programs in the way that makes the most sense for them.  Clearly, that does not always happen, but when it does, it is a beautiful thing.

Our unit currently has an absolutely fantastic FRSA.  She is professional, efficient, friendly, and committed to the Soldiers and Families of our battalion.  Because she has been so beneficial in our Family program, I honestly cannot imagine how we could have endured this deployment without her.  I clearly remember the days before FRSAs, but I am very happy I didn't have to go without one during our time in this battalion.

As the senior FRG Advisor, I work closely with our FRSA and we have established a solid working relationship.  I suppose it doesn't hurt that our personalities mesh well together and we actually like each other, but we've always managed to work together to achieve the FRG goals set for our unit.

One of the strengths of our relationship is that we complement each other's skill sets.  We're able to talk about and delineate the various tasks, each taking the ones that we can do best.  We also learn from each other.  She has taught me a lot about procedures, rules, and regulations needed for a functioning FRG.  She says I've taught her to be more diplomatic and gracious under pressure.

One of the biggest factors in our working relationship, however, is mutual respect.  I respect her position as a staff member in the unit and she, in turn, respects my opinions about FRG matters.  Neither of us outranks the other or feels the need to be "in charge" of the decisions being made.  We both focus on the needs of our Soldiers and their Families and in the end, it all works out well.

Please don't think we have the perfect FRG program ... I'm not sure such a thing exists.  We have our fair share of Family issues, personality conflicts and the like, but we also have a solid group of volunteers who truly care about Soldiers and Families and an FRSA who stands ready to help however she can.  That is more than I could have ever hoped for and something I will always cherish whenever I think back on this chapter in our Army lives.

October Town Hall and VTC

We had a great Town Hall meeting tonight with the battalion commander, battalion CSM, and all battery commanders and 1SGs, plus a few staff members, who gave us an updated on what is happening in Iraq and answered all of our questions.

Kids made "You are my HERO" letters, decorated a banner, and participated in some other fun crafts with our fabulous volunteers while grown-ups listened to the updates on the big screen.
Red Dragon Families!

Fabulous Volunteers working with Red Dragon kids.

"I'm proud to be a military kid!"

Kids decorated "You are me HERO" letters for their Soldiers.

Fun crafts for kids.

Working on a banner for the Soldiers.

Attendees take advantage of a break in connection with Iraq to check their emails and texts.  =)

We had a couple of 'breaks' when the connection broke with our Soldiers in Iraq, but they were short and few.