Prepping in the kitchen
We had nearly 20 people over from Allen's company Monday night. We were actually expecting more, though some didn't come, and they didn't bring their kids (sigh of relief, that would have been 13 more children.) These were the people from Allen's TAC (he may correct me on spelling and whatever.) Basically, these were the guys that patrolled with him, and, to some extent, kept him alive. We had a good time while they were here, but it was A LOT of work having that many people over. I spent the entire day preparing, while Allen kept Ashlyn entertained (again, loving the dual parenting thing.)
2-1 Infantry (Allen is almost directly behind the battalion commander)
On Tuesday was the Brigade Redeployment Ceremony. The entire brigade was honored, as were the fallen soldiers. Ashlyn decided to start yelling during Roll Call, so we spent most of the ceremony in the back, but, from what I could see, it was very touching, as well as exciting. (They're home! They're finally home.)
Honoring Fallen Soldiers
On Tuesday night, we had a Hail and Farewell. The longest one, ever. Since the brigade was changing colors on Thursday, they basically Farewelled everybody. Then, all of those people gave speeches. Towards the end of the evening, I was going to the bathroom or stabbing Allen with a fork, just to have something to do. I was obviously NOT paying attention to these people who were thanking every NCO they had worked with, (who weren't there.)
Thursday afternoon was the Brigade reflagging. Allen is no longer part of 2-1 Infantry in the 172nd Stryker Brigade. He is now in 1-24 Infantry in the 1-25 SBCT. Every battalion and company in the brigade changed, and I will not even try to learn all of them before we move. Every battalion and the brigade commander also changed command. (I did not take any pictures, but you can pretend that the picture of the battalion from above was from Thursday, because it pretty much looked the same.) Thank goodness they didn't all give speeches, because the general and the brigade commander talked long enough for them all. (Allen said that I would have really thought it was long if I had been standing out there, where they weren't even put at rest.) Ashlyn was great for the first hour, and then started crying during the general's speech. We were done and, again, went to the back so she could walk around. We hurried out of there, because I still had to get ready for the ball that night.
With Heather and Garland
So, Thursday night was the 2-1 Homecoming Ball. I was actually expecting the ball to be a bit of a snooze, since it sounded like we would be doing stuffy Army junk for the whole evening. I haven't had a great time at other balls, though I was looking forward to this one, probably because it was such a celebration of them all coming home. It was really fun! We had a great time and were able to just relax with the battalion. After the formal part of the evening was over, I became Allen's personal photographer, as he had his picture taken with a bunch of guys from his company, plus others in the battalion. We danced for a bit, and then went home. Fun! I'm now looking forward to our next ball, instead of slightly dreading it.
Speaking of the ball, have I mentioned how supportive this community has been? Businesses in the community adopted companies throughout the deployment. They helped out with different things throughout the year, including things like shoveling snow and fixing other stuff throughout the house. Basically, these partners paid for the ball, or asked other businesses to help. Either way, we paid for NOTHING. The food was delicious (halibut, yum!) There was dancing. There was alchohol. The place was decorated. There were door prizes (oh, yeah, we won an overnight stay at the Westmark.) Business partners even helped arrange for airfare for family members of the fallen soldiers to fly up for all of the activities for the week. Awesome welcome home!
Allen with some of the guys from his company
Allen and Jason
I have been waiting for just "one more thing" to send all of my Christmas packages. I decided on Friday that I was sending the packages, whether all of the gifts were in them or not. I waited in line for half an hour (which probably wasn't too bad, since the line was much longer when I left,) paid over $160 in shipping, and the last two things that I had ordered came on Saturday. So, I will be back at the post office on Monday. Oh, well.
Just a few more social functions coming up. Hopefully, we will have some down time, because I have a couple of presents still to make!
(I added a lot of photos to Flickr from the past month, so check them out)