As a reservist that has deployed Mike and I were able to take a weekend long trip courtesy of Yellow Ribbon. The weekend was set up like a mini conference for veterans and their families. This was our first time and it was an amazing program!
There is a new city every month where veterans can choose to go on the trip. We were so excited to get to go to Denver. We left on Friday, early with a layover in Las Vegas.
Mike is a craps player but I like to keep my money in my closet where I can constantly enjoy it. We played penny slots during out layover and agreed only to spend $20 and have fun. First Mike played then I wanted a turn. That’s when things got fun! I won $170!!! On pennies! I was SO excited! It was a fun way to spend our layover and will be something we always remember. We agreed to use the winnings on a nice dinner in Denver.
We stayed at the Sheraton Downtown. The hotel was really nice and was also where the conference was held. The only complaint I would have is that our room had two double beds instead of one King. We were looking forward to a bigger bed than we have at home.
We capped off Friday night by going to dinner at Yard House, an upscale sports bar attached to the hotel. We met another couple and the four of us had a good time resting after a day of travel. Mike had a huge burger and I had a salad with Ahi tuna. The food was just okay but the atmosphere was fun. There was a net and mini hockey sticks for people to play and have shoot outs.
I wore a new jumpsuit that looked great and was like wearing jammies! I threw on some heels and it was easy peasy.
We completely crashed after dinner because we had to be up bright and early for the conference.
Saturday morning we arrived in the grand ballroom for our introduction. I had no idea what to expect. There were 8,000 veterans and their families there. We stayed with the Niagara Falls crew, mostly another load master and his girlfriend and a pilot and his wife.
We had a delish buffet breakfast and then the program opened up with vendors such as Tricare (insurance), Military One Source, therapy dogs and their handlers, financial services, etc. It was a great way to gather all the information I would soon need as a military wife.
The guest speaker was a Chaplin from Dover Air Force Base. This Chaplin was in charge of the morgue where all fallen soldiers come home to. He was very funny and managed to make us all laugh while discussing how even as a Chaplin the things he sees had a great impact on him personally. A common thread throughout the weekend was veteran health, specifically mental health.
After the Chaplin we got a security briefing. Now this was simple but so cool to me. A police officer outlined the precautions we should take in the city, crime rates, and taking off our lanyards so we are not a target as veterans and families. It was something that is just taken for granted as a civilian. I know how to be cautious but the fact that safety is laid out like this for Mike where ever he travels is comforting.
The weekend was broken up into sessions. We decided to follow our group and first hit the nutrition seminar. Nothing revolutionary was said but military members do have PT tests each year and the benefit of a healthy diet and exercise for mental health was emphasized.
Next we went to hear about the benefits of the GI Bill. The fact that my childrens’ education can be taken care of is one of the greatest blessings. The amount of assistance the military is willing to give people is not taken for granted. This was by far my favorite session because I felt like I really understood the path we need to take as a military family.
After our sessions were done for the day we were ready for dinner out. The evenings were our only free time and we like to spend all our free time eating. 🙂
Saturday night was going to be our fancy dinner with our Vegas winnings so Mike yelped his heart out and found the restaurant, 3 Forks, an upscale steakhouse.
So often (every single day) Mike sees me in leggings and his old wrestling t shirts so I wanted to get fancy and I even threw on some lipstick!
It was shocking. I wore a long sleeve, black ruffle dress from Old Navy. I can’t find it on the website anymore.
We got a bone marrow and beef cheek appetizer because we had saw both on Food Network. They were great! I especially loved this pepper jelly that you spread on bread before adding the beef cheek. I love that Mike and I experiment and try new things like that.
For dinner, Mike got the bone in rib eye and it was AMAZING. The flavor was out of this world. I had a 6oz filet and it was equally as good. The biggest flop of the evening was the fact that we ordered fried brussel sprouts as a side and we ate maybe 4 of them. We were just so stuffed from everything else.
After the meal we went back to the hotel room and napped. I really didn’t think I was going to be able to wake up from my beef coma to meet out the pilot and his wife. Some how I managed and we had fun just having a couple drinks before calling it a night.
I am so thankful for the military and the brothers it has given Mike. I so enjoy spending time with the men and women that are apart of his military family. The bond is so strong and a beautiful thing to be apart of, even as a partner. There were multiple people that gave me their numbers before Mike deployed, just in case a pipe bursts, a tire goes flat, anything. By extension I am apart of the family as well.
Let’s leave post 1 at that! Next is Sunday, our final day in Denver!