Tuesday, June 11, 2013

You're Invited!

You are cordially invited to my new blog!
Thank you so much for following me here 
I hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home...

The motto all Army spouses live by!
There is no place like home.  We've been so privileged to make Kansas, Fort Riley, and Quarters One our home and be a small part of the history of the First Infantry Division. As we embark on our 17th move in 30 years I can't help but think of how grateful I am for our many, many blessings.
 I chose to add sunflowers to the traditional red rose bouquet given to the outgoing commander's spouse.
Kansas is truly the heart of America. I’ve never met people quite like those in Junction City, Manhattan and the surrounding towns. These are communities that love their military families and Soldiers.  If others in our nation have let their interest in the military and the war in Afghanistan wane, that is definitely NOT  the case in the Flint Hills. Pride and patriotism are alive and very well in the Sunflower state.

Sweet farewell notes saved in a hat box, thank you! 
My tenure at Fort Riley was made all the more wonderful because of the senior spouses known as the Victory Group.  Beth, Polly, Sherri, Frances, Sandy, Andrea, Sue, and Donna. Your capacity for giving to the community, and to each other, is boundless.  Together you have over 230 years of Army experience and I have been the grateful recipient of your wisdom and knowledge…thank you for being my friends!
One of our many adventures!
Frances, my battle buddy, we’ve literally traversed the country together. We have cursed, cried, and laughed a lot. And then laughed a whole lot more. You are always up for an adventure and I’m glad to have tagged along.
You are true and loyal and there are no words to tell you what you mean to me, my friend. 

Division Change of Command May 22, 2013
 The grand old house known affectionately as Quarters One is empty, the keys no longer in our possession. The farewells have been said and the flags have been passed. We are already on our way to a new adventure in this Army life. I am definitely going to miss Kansas and all of the dear friends I've made.  
But the sun rose over Fort Riley this morning, business as usual.  Life went on without missing a beat despite our absence...
just the way it is supposed to.
When I think of our time at Fort Riley and Quarters One, I am reminded of Charles Dickens who wrote "It was the best of times, it was the...."  oh wait, who am I kidding?
It was just the best of times.
Thanks for sharing this adventure with me, 'Til we meet again...
Duty First!
1 Barry Avenue
Danger 6 (Whiskey)

Monday, March 11, 2013

With Gratitude

A good day....the bed is made!
Wait...how did more than two months go by since I wrote on this blog?! Like so many other "things on my to do list"  this year it was put off for another day.  After many deployments I consider myself somewhat of an expert on goal setting and time management. For some reason, this deployment was different. (Having a child deployed, along with my husband, definitely doubled my anxiety.)  All the goals I set for myself like getting in better shape, brushing up on my Italian, and learning to play the guitar just completely slipped away from me.  (Maybe the guitar was a stretch anyway? )
There were too many days I was proud of myself for making the bed...ok...too many days I was proud of myself for getting out of the bed!
 The deal is, when the division commander deploys there's not an SOP (translation... standard operating procedure) for his or her spouse. In fact, there's not an SOP at all, ever.  No one lays it out and tells you what is expected of you. It's overwhelming. I have no official roll when he is gone (and only an unofficial role when he's here) and whatever role I wanted to play I had to create.  So, after I made the decision to get out of bed every morning, I decided I would just be myself.  That wasn't good enough for some people, and I make no apologies to them, but it worked for me.  I find that if you consistently play yourself you never forget your lines or miss your cues.

Every division commander's spouse feels differently about his or her place in their community. I see my role more like a cheerleader and guidance counselor than the class president. My place is on the sidelines and I let those who are much younger, and have much more energy, lead and make the tough decisions. I've been there and done that so now I choose to play a supporting part and I extend my gratitude to all. And my gratitude is sincere and heartfelt. I truly appreciate everything that is done in this community to make Fort Riley a better place to live...and wait. 
 I love to entertain and share Quarters One with as many people as possible. Any chance I get to open our home to say hello, farewell, or just thank you, I will take.  Hopefully, I have succeeded in making people feel welcome and appreciated. Even as I write this, I realize that there are so many spouses I didn't have a chance to connect with this year. I can only hope that everyone who did visit Quarters One left with a happy heart. 
I suppose if I re-evaluate and make my deployment goal a simpler one (hindsight is 20/20, after all) then it would have been to show my gratitude to everyone possible, whenever possible, and as many times as possible.
In that case, hopefully, I accomplished something after all.

If you want to know more about Quarters One you can follow us at www.Facebook.com/Quartersone.
'Til next time 

Duty First!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wishing You a Peaceful New Year

Happy New Year and Peace on earth from Quarters One!
Military families and Soldiers wish for peace more than anyone else in the world. I'm no exception. As an  Army spouse, and mother of two Soldiers, my fervent wish for the New Year is that there be Peace on Earth.
I truly believe that peace begins at home, in our own backyards and neighborhoods. That's why I am always surprised when I hear military spouses bickering, gossiping, and being generally unsupportive of each other. Our husbands, wives, sons, and daughters are fighting and dying in Afghanistan and still there are those who seem to care more about who passed who without saying hello or who didn't attend a function someone thought important.
"Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me" goes the 1955 song.  Let peace begin with us by thinking before we speak, tweet, post, or write an email criticizing someone. No matter how much we think we know...we can never truly understand the path someone has traveled to bring them to the place they are today. From simple observation, or living in close proximity, there may be no indications as to who might be fighting for their lives, caring for elderly parents, dealing with a death in their family.  We can have no idea who may be bearing financial burdens or dealing with emotional trauma.
We have no idea why someone makes the decisions to be somewhere or do something we don't understand.
I am not immune to the criticism of others. And, truthfully, I'm not innocent of judging others either. But, I have learned a lot from a lifetime as a military spouse and one of the biggest lessons I've learned is this: no matter what we think we know about another person, we can never know everything, and we have absolutely no right to stand in judgement of anyone.
Fortunately, more often than not, I see countless spouses build each other up and support one another.  I see them forgive each other, love each other, and come together as family in this crazy Army life. They are ready with a bottle of wine, a shoulder, whispers of encouragement, or just a hug. I see so many spouses speak kindly and thoughtfully...and lead by quiet, positive example.  These actions do not go unnoticed.
But, if you are one of the few that don't have it, I wish for you a peace that "passes all understanding".
That you may love your neighbor, accept them with all of their faults, and embrace your differences. I wish that you will think twice, and then once more, before you form an opinion of anyone and unleash a judgment that can not be taken back. "Water and words, easy to pour but impossible to recover".

Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin right here with all of us.
'Til next time...
Happy New Year, Duty First!

(You can follow Quarters One on Facebook at www.facebook.com/QuartersOne)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quarters One Christmas Tour of Homes 2012

A Christmas welcome from the Big Red One!
Deck the halls with boughs and boughs of birch and cypress branches! Coming on the heels of a wonderful RandR, and Thanksgiving with all of my children, I was hard pressed to be motivated to decorate for Christmas. I really just wanted to make like Rip Van Winkle and sleep away the rest of the deployment. But...instead of wrapping myself in Christmas lights and drinking vodka while crying to Christmas tunes... I enlisted the help of my friend, Rob and VOILA!  A Christmas decorating miracle! It's amazing what can be done with  birch branches and fresh greenery.  Imagination, along with zip ties, wire, and ribbon held it all together. We used everything fresh outside and fabulous faux greenery inside.  
This sweet reindeer was just passing through but he was a great touch to  our decor!
 The outdoor light fixture was stunning!

Another view of the porch light.
This was really my excuse for not wanting to vacuum on this side...
Everything on the porch got touch of fresh greenery.

 Naughty or Nice, I'm still trying to decide...
Our theme this year was Woodsy Glam.
lots of natural elements mixed in with silver, velvet, and crystal.
 I love to decorate with these old snow shoes.
We had the same Christmas decor on our stairs for the past 7 years, it was time to change it up and we did! The birdhouse added a touch of whimsy and accentuated our outdoor theme.
One of the five fireplaces in Q1...this tile came from Italy and symbolizes our much loved 173d Airborne Brigade.

This fireplace is reserved for Santa!
A little angel reading a "book" we added a few pages of our own to make it a Christmas story.

Italian stockings made by my friend, Aly. The painting is a Rembrandt reproduction found at a market in Italy, he reminds me a little of St. Nick!
A snapshot of our collection of snowmen and Santas from all around the world.

'Tis the season to be Joyful! We decorated both sets of dining room chairs.
 Found these great reindeer candle holders at Tuesday Morning one year.

We staged the dining room table to look like a New Year's Eve buffet!

The dining room sideboard.
An ornament given to me by a German friend.

My very favorite room! An antique corbel makes a great centerpiece and the oyster shells are votive holders.
Over sized sugar bowls serve as mini soup tureens.
We've used the "Duty First" ribbon a lot! It came from StationaryStudio.com.
 More corbels (I love them!) act as bookends for our favorite Christmas books.
This is the island in the kitchen and it is where we always eat when it's just the two of us. The Big Red One glasses belong to Quarters One.
We moved this desk into the kitchen from the living room, it really "cozied" up the big space!
We had over 200 visitors on the Tour of Homes, our Historical Society did a magnificent job!

There goes Leigh, our HASFR president and the head docent for the day at Quarters One. I loved the period costume she wore, it added a great touch to the event. For more Christmas pictures of Quarters One visit us at www.facebook.com/Quartersone!
'Til next time....Merry Christmas!
Duty First!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Simple Fall

Fall comes to Quarters One
I'm so glad Halloween is behind us. It's not that I have anything against it, I've just never been a big fan of spooky decorating.  I prefer uncarved pumpkins and decorations that take us right through Thanksgiving. It's probably a function of my age, of course, there was a day when my children were small and our quarters were bursting with pumpkin guts, candy, and costume frenzy!
These days I choose a simple way of decorating with organic materials and as little fuss as possible. Here are some of my favorite fall photos from Quarters One and the web.

I love unconventional pumpkins...and white dishes!! (From Pinterest)

I can't get enough of white pumpkins this year....if you can't find them try painting the orange version!

I just love snuggling them everywhere!

The front hall mantle, a mixture of textures all done in a neutral palette.
Princess, heirloom, Cinderella pumpkins...whatever you call them they are so vintage looking
You never know where they'll turn up.

Love this from Pinterest, so simple yet it says "Fall"!
 Bittersweet is a beautiful vine...even just a sprig calls out Fall in a big way.

 I just love decorating with ivy, it's quite hardy if you get the right kind. I love this monogrammed pumpkin, it's been part of our decor for about 5 years now.
La Bella Luce's porch is ready for the season.

Of course sunflowers are a must for any fall decor...personally, I have them in Quarters One all year round because they represent two of my favorite assignments, Italy and Kansas. These sunflowers are paired with kale, love the combination.

I'm not a big fan of mums but I love these fall blooming hydrangeas that grow in the garden at Quarters One.

I love a reason to use our dishes from Deruta, the colors are fabulous, but if you can't get to Italy to find them you can also try Home Goods or TJ Maxx...a great source!

Sweet idea from Better Homes and Gardens.
From Pinterest, another version of fall, neutrals, love this too, I am going to try to recreate this for Thanksgiving this year.
Last fall we were privileged to have some of our local mayors and their spouses as guests of Quarters One, we began our afternoon with a tour of post, courtesy of the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard. If you haven't been to visit our historic stables I hope you get the chance to do so.
Happy Fall from Quarters One! 
If you want to know more about what goes on in Quarters One you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/quartersone.
'Til next time...Duty First!