In February we had the mid-cycle picnic.

By this point, our unusual Family Readiness Group (FRG) was in full swing. I say unusual because very few of us actually lived near Ft. Benning. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had somehow volunteered myself to lead the FRG with the girlfriend of one of the other Officer Candidates.

Since in the land of the blind the man with one eye is king, I went online to take the Army Family Team Building Level I course. (Thanks for reminding me about that, Katy!)

There is nothing in Level I that you can’t learn from a book, like The Army Wife Handbook, by Ann Crossley. DH had already purchased that book for me when he enlisted, so the course was mostly a refresher.

I also started Level II, which is mainly team-building, group dynamics-type stuff. If you’ve ever had any sort of management training, that’s basically it.

The nice part about the course is the interactive design and the fact that you get a neat certificate saying you completed the course. So, I was able to mail something to DH to show him how I was preparing for our new life together in the Army.

A few of the ladies and I met up before the picnic at Burger King so that we could find the location together. The picnic was at Uchee Creek a part of Benning where people can rent cabins or camp out. So, it was a little off the beaten path.

Many of the gals had their kids with them and it was really nice to put names with faces.

There was one awkward moment. One of the women was talking about how her husband would not have a pass because he had not been given an opportunity to work off his demerits earned through the normal course of things. Most of us had heard from our husbands/S.O.’s that he had actually lost his privileges through unauthorized use of the phone and some other stupid things. We did not want to say anything, but she is a likeable woman and we felt bad that he was lying to her. Also, he had been taking a lot of his stress out on her during OCS.

After breakfast, we convoyed to the picnic, making several wrong turns along the way.

Perhaps the Army should have an orienteering course for us spouses.

It took a while for the Officer Candidates to arrive but we spent the time meeting the other spouses.

Finally, the highlight of the day–our Officer Candidates!!!

I was excited to show off to DH that I had lost about 15 lbs in his absence (probably because he wasn’t pouring all that wine for me with dinner) but I think he had lost even more. From all of the exercise and the limited time to eat, he had become quite skinny! Although there was less of him to love, I loved him not one drop less, of course.

Even the officer candidates whose families could not make the picnic were so excited to eat barbecue and junk food. The class organized an activities table for the kids and held a raffle fund-raiser. I took lots of photos and sent them to the families via Snapfish so they could see their smiling Officer Candidates.

At the end, the OC’s held final formation. It was very odd because they were wearing khakis and navy OCS polo shirts rather than any sort of Army uniform. Still, I enjoyed seeing part of what DH was doing during his days at OCS.

Then, we had the rest of the weekend together! One night, some of us FRG ladies went out with our guys. The guys were not supposed to drink but, after an initial attempt at solidarity, some of the ladies indulged. DH and I spent the weekend enjoying our usual Columbus, GA haunts and, obviously, each other.

Although I would rather not spend time apart from DH, these absences have really made us appreciate the time we do have together.

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