Friday, March 27, 2015

PCC Battle Buddies

This group of ladies provided much laughter, comfort, advice, and friendship throughout our week together at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  We gathered to learn more about our upcoming volunteer roles in the Army and came away with all that and much, much more.  Thank you for a wonderful week ... and for wonderful new friendships!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brand New Kickapoo

We spent some time driving around Fort Leavenworth today and let me just say ... this isn't the post I remember. There are familiar sights, of course, but our housing area has been completely razed, cleared, and built again. And wow, is it an improvement. I remember my sweet husband checking into our housing a week before the boys and me ... and calling him to see how it was. He is life's eternal optimist and when he said, "It's ... [long pause] ... livable," I knew we were in trouble.

It. was. terrible. The housing was tiny, old, moldy, creaky, and dirty. Totally unacceptable, totally below standard ... and we loved our year in it.  Sure, we had to pay monthly for a rent-a-fence that was likely installed in the WWII era and yes, I could hear my neighbor open her kitchen cabinets from my sofa ... and okay, there was a full pink Starburst wrapper encased in layers of yellow wax in my front foyer surrounded by dust and hair that was perfectly preserved under the tiles, but we had the very best neighbors ever created and loved every minute of our time in Kickapoo.

The absolute absence of any counter space, an ice maker, a dishwasher, a garage or a carport, or any indoor storage was challenging yet somehow didn't overshadow the weekly Bible studies, the folk art painting class, and the hours spent outside with our young children.  It was a year I will always remember fondly and driving around the post all these years later was quite nostalgic for us.

The new Kickapoo Village has replaced our sad little octo-plexes with beautiful duplex homes complete with garages, yards, and adequate square footage.  I'm happy for these Soldiers and their families. Their time at CGSC will be even more enhanced and I'm grateful that the Army has worked to make these improvements.  Plus, I still adore my friends who began as neighbors in our little dilapidated homes.

I don't have a great reference photo from 2005 but here's a glimpse at some of our Soldiers outside our homes way back then ...

Note the wiring stapled across the front of our homes ... and just out of frame are the air conditioning units right at the front door to each home.  Bless.  It was lovely.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kids at PCC

Gather a bunch of Army Colonels and their spouses in one place ... and you might be surprised at how very young and spry they are. When we first entered the Army long, long ago, COLs were really old. Wise, but really, really old. By some miracle, that is no longer the case. My husband and his colleagues are so very young yet retain the wisdom so graciously granted their predecessors. It's quite amazing. So the week we spent together at Fort Leavenworth felt a lot like high school at times. Our boyfriends were all in one class while we were in another. I was oh-so-tempted to pass him a note in the hallway, all folded up with the "Open Here" tab ... 

I did sneak by and take a photo of him on my iPhone and text it to him (which I really think is the new note-passing anyway) ... and he proceeded to return the favor the next day. So yes, we're basically a bunch of kids learning new stuff together.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Neighbors and Friends

So first of all, shame on me. Shame on me and my husband AND shame on our fun new friends. We spent this week with some new friends who have been our neighbors since last summer. We've had a few casual chats with them but have never taken the time to get to know them or schedule a dinner or date ... and shame on us for that. 

After spending time with them this week at another post far, far away, we discovered that we love them. They are funny and fun and have a lot of the same thoughts and beliefs as we do. We went to dinner one night and closed the restaurant down, not even noticing that we were alone in the building until the poor waitress began mopping by our feet.

We so enjoyed getting to know them and hope we can bridge the gap of, I don't know, about 10 yards between our house and theirs to continue building the friendship before we move in June. Such is the Army life, but I look forward to keeping up with new forever friends.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

My teenager requested actual Shepherd's Pie for our Saint Patrick's Day dinner this year. I'm still learning to cook outside my comfort zone (which consists of a standard rotation of about 8 different meals) and usually chalk up thematic success to food-coloring something green on this particular holiday. But I was willing to give it a try. I was able to search online and find a pretty simple recipe -- How did anyone cook before Pinterest? -- and the results, while maybe not aesthetically beautiful, did satisfy all the hungry boys in my house. It may not make the rotation, but will definitely be on the list for next March.

For dessert, I made an Irish trifle which was not at all Irish, but was listed under "Irish desserts" on Pinterest and did include my handy green food coloring, so it fit the bill for us. Plus also, it only asked for five ingredients and was quick and easy. My boys devoured this and the huge trifle dish that I thought would last all week was completely licked clean in just three days. Score two for mom on Saint Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

NYC Trip: Breakfast, then Tiffanys

Nate and I enjoyed our final morning in NYC by eating a wonderful breakfast at Junior's Bakery then strolling over to Tiffany & Co. in the rain.  Is anything more romantic?

Friday, March 13, 2015

NYC Trip: Rockettes Spring Spectacular

Neither my hubby nor I had ever been to Radio City Music Hall so when we found out that The Rockettes were opening up their Spring Spectacular while we were in NYC, we were eager to go. In the funny way things happen sometime, I got a Facebook note from a friend of mine from college that her nephew was in the show! Her parents are good friends with my parents-in-law and we attended church with them for several years while we were stationed at Fort Hood. I tried to get some good photos of the little star, but no flash photography was allowed so I could only get a few iPhone quick pics. He was absolutely adorable, though!

The show itself was very entertaining. The Rockettes are always amazing and they certainly did not disappoint in this show. Laura Benanti (whom I ADORED in "Go On" and cried actual tears when it was cancelled) was just fantastic. She sang and dance and acted and was beautiful and graceful, funny and energetic. She even held her own in the famous Rockettes kick-line. Impressive. Derek Hough was wonderful as well. One of my favorite parts of the show was when he tap danced in actual rain on the stage.

The show delivered all that you would expect it would ... glitz, glamour, energy, fun, and the amazing world-famous Rockettes dance routines. The storyline itself was a love letter to the city of New York and included lots of great facts and tourist information, all presented in a beautiful show. It was the perfect way to wrap up our week in the city.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

NYC Trip: Sardi's and Broadway

One of the absolute highlights of our trip to NYC was getting to see our dear friends and former neighbors from Fort Hood days. They are currently assigned to a War College in Boston and I was thrilled that they made the trip! We enjoyed a very fun dinner at Sardi's catching up on careers and kids and life in general. We saw "Honeymoon in Vegas" on Broadway, thoroughly enjoying Tony Danza's character and had some good laughs. It was a fabulous evening with some equally fabulous friends.

NYC Trip: Visiting Ernst and Young

Our second trip of the day was to visit Ernst and Young, known to locals as "EY."  This company was impressive from the very beginning, brining in some of their military veteran hires and really focusing on supporting our military members.  They engaged us in conversation about how to better reach military spouses looking for a career and how to connect with those leaving the military as well.  They are impressed with our veterans' skill sets and seem to have a genuine desire to show their support ... while gaining excellent employees in the process, of course. =)

NYC Trip: Visiting NBC Universal

Our first visit of the day was to NBC Universal which was a simply fascinating experience.  We met in a conference room where we were able to hear from some top executives about leadership challenges and solutions and were able to visit briefly with Willie Geist and Tamron Hall, whom I adore! Every single person we encountered at NBC -- to include some top-notch pages -- was sharp, professional, friendly, and focused.

We toured some of the studios in the building including the Tonight Show and the Meredith Vieira Show. We learned that it was a "dark" week as several shows were not filming that week, including Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show.  I left there feeling positive about NBC and impressed with their beautiful building and excellent employees.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NYC Trip: Times Square

I'm not sure how many visits to NYC I will need before I get out of my total-geeky-tourist mode, but it's more than what I've encountered so far. I love this city. The lights, the sounds, the people, the energy ... it's absolutely breath-taking and awe-inspiring. One night during our NYC Trip, my hubby and I just walked around Times Square, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. It was fun, lively, and yet romantic, being there with my love. It's a favorite memory of mine and made me all the more anxious to visit the city again before we move too far away to drive. I'm in a New York state of mind ...