On Friday we kicked off what is sure to be a thrilling and exhausting but hopefully mega rewarding chapter in Jamie’s Army career and our lives in general; Jamie’s officially a company commander!
We kicked off our weekend festivities on Thursday by attending a great lunchtime BBQ thrown by the outgoing commander and his wife. This was my first opportunity to meet the families in our new company, and I left the event feeling 100 times more excited and passionate about tackling the role of FRG leader.
I was so (so so so so) appreciative that the outgoing commander and his wife took the time to throw together a last-minute fundraiser for our FRG so that we’re taking over with a little bit of money in our account.
Such a brilliant idea: They picked up a dozen doughnuts from a popular local shop and placed work-related incentives in each doughnut (i.e. one week off of PT, a four-day pass, a one-day pass to park in the commander’s spot, etc.). They read aloud each of the 12 incentives before they were placed in the doughnuts so that the soldiers knew what they were bidding on. Each doughnut was auctioned off with an incentive inside, and in 15 minutes our FRG raised roughly $700. It was so hilarious to watch everyone try to outbid each other, and it was every more thrilling to watch how much money was being raised.
Our Friday activities thankfully went off without a hitch! Kelsey, one of my closest friends here at Fort Riley (and in general), was my right-hand girl. She was the biggest help! She helped me pick up all of my day-of platters, drove me around while I held the cake, helped set everything up, did all of the cake cutting, and helped clean up. I couldn’t have been an ounce more grateful. Selfless friends like her are hard to come by! Bonus points: She is incredible with my girls, and they both think the world of her!
It’s customary that the new commander and family throw a casual come-and-go reception after the ceremony, and I planned to feed 100 people (about 130ish were invited). The ceremony was at 1 p.m., so I knew that some people might come looking to eat lunch and that other people would come having already eaten lunch. I had to really shoot in the dark when planning how much food to buy, but I knew that having leftover food was better than running out.
Though 100+ people did show up for the ceremony, only about 50 made a plate of food. We had over half of the food leftover, so we had a few soldiers bring nearly all of it back to the barracks for them to eat on over the weekend.
I ordered fruit and sandwich platters from the commissary that turned out really well, tasted great, and were the most cost-efficient.
The outgoing commander’s family suggested sticking with chip bags (instead of chip bowls) and water bottles instead of soda cans. These were GREAT suggestions and worked out really well.
I ordered a cake from Billy Vanilly, a popular local cake, cupcake, and ice cream shop in town. I brought in a picture of Jamie’s company’s guidon flag a few days prior, and they did a fabulous job of recreating it for the reception. I ordered a half-sheet, per the recommendation from the former commander’s wife, and I’m thankful that we stuck with this size instead of a full sheet.
I was originally informed that I would lose a portion of the cake since they would be cutting it in the shape of a flag, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the cut portion salvaged and boxed for us to serve at the reception. Big thanks, Billy Vanilly!
I know a handful of spouses who have personally prepared nearly all of the food for the reception, and while this is typically more my personality than catering, I knew that this entire event would be much less stressful and hectic if I hired out what I could hire out. Besides the 100+ cookies that Jamie’s grandmother and Hadley baked from store-bought dough, everything else was simply scooped up from various stores. 🙂
Jamie’s ceremony was well-rehearsed and was over in about 20 quick minutes.
Jamie was really honored to have his mom and dad drive up from Austin and his grandmother travel over from Indianapolis for this event. They were a huge help getting the girls dressed and bringing them to the ceremony while I ran around getting the reception together. Their helping hands were greatly appreciated!
Hadley was thrilled to death that her best friend Jack showed up to keep her company. We couldn’t get her to smile for family pictures if our lives depended on it, but smiling with Jack was apparently NO issue. PS: I promise that I steamed her dress prior to the ceremony…
And you know if Hadley’s best buddy was at the event that mine was hanging around as well. 🙂 The whole Landers clan showed up to support our family, and we were super appreciative.
Jamie got two thumbs way up for a very well-delivered speech!
We’ve heard from a handful of people that their time in command was the highlight of their Army careers, so I’m prayerful that Jamie will enjoy this experience and leave a positive, lasting impact on his company.
I’m already one heck of a proud wife to call this hunky soldier mine!
PS: More adventures from our right years as an active duty Army family