Tag Archives: adventures

Sevilla/Seville

We  love living near Sevilla, and I couldn’t wait to take my parents to see the city we love!  It was our first time taking a carriage ride there too!

The architecture in the city is amazing!

We went to the Cathedral and saw where Christopher Columbus is buried… well, at least part of him is buried here!

We took a nice carriage ride around the Plaza de Espana.  It was so beautiful!

Gibraltar

We took a day trip and drove down to Gibraltar.  So much fun and history!!

The first stop we made was to one of the Pillars of Hercules.  Apparently, there were two pillars that Hercules held on to and pushed apart or pulled together the two continents of Europe and Africa.   I can’t remember which one, but this is from the European side, looking across at Africa.   It was really windy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next stop was a cave with beautiful lighting.  I really loved how cool it was in there.  The cave was set up to be used as a hospital during war, but it didn’t have to be used.

 

We drove on up to the “Top of the Rock” and got to hang with the monkeys for a bit.  One of the babies tried to see if Momma had any food in her purse!   They were adorable!

After we left the monkeys… we went to a cave that was used to defend the rock.  Cannons holes are still there.

           

 

 

Morocco

While my parents were visiting, we took a day trip to Tangiers in Morocco.  It was a great day with great people!!

We took a ferry ride to get from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier, Morocco… There were a LOT of people on the ferry because it was Holy Week in Spain (read about our Semana Santa experience if you missed it).   The beginning of a great day!!

The day in Morocco started with a walk through the old part of town.  It was market day, so there were lots of people selling fresh produce, spices, and plenty of trinkets.

Our guide led us to some of his friends who were charming some snakes!  My mother volunteered to have them put one of the snakes on her.

After a huge, wonderful lunch, we went for a drive around the city and out of the city for the funniest camel ride I’ve ever seen in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then went to the Caves of Hercules before making our way back to the ferry for our return trip.

Goodbye Morocco!!!

The real adventure started after we got back to Tarifa and found out our cars had been towed because we parked next to a sign that said we had to move our cars before 6:00pm.  We didn’t make it back in time, so the cars were gone, and Amy and I had to walk to the police station, ride in the back of a police car to get the cars, and drive through horrible traffic to come back and find everyone else to head home.

All in all, a very long and wonderful day!!

 

 

 

PCS: Checklists Galore

This post was originally published on 1 April on the Daily Blog.

This week I was reminded that even though I’m far from my extended family, I’m still surrounded by people who show love to us.  A retired military contractor who works here (he’s leaving Spain this week to move back to the states) found out we were moving to South Dakota and contacted Ron to see if we wanted to meet him for lunch one day to answer any questions we might have.  I’ve never met this man, and all he knows is that we have kids and we’ll be moving to his home town.  He met with us the day before he was scheduled to fly out to move back to the states.  Y’all, he wrote three hand-written pages of things that we should see and do in Rapid City and the surrounding area.  He talked to us for over an hour and went over each one of the 29 points.  It was an incredibly thoughtful thing for him to do for us and I appreciate it so much.  Speaking of checklists…

 

It’s been a couple of weeks since we found out where our next duty station will be.  We are in the middle of my checklist for the move.

  1. Search Facebook for groups.
    1. This turned up more groups than I can keep up with, so now I’m in the process of figuring out which ones I want to be in.
  2. Find out about fostering.
    1. I’ve not been able to contact the county offices because Rapid City is on the edge of two counties. Until we know where we will live, it’s going to be hard to narrow down our county office.  I have written an email to the state-wide foster parenting website, but I’ve not gotten a reply in over a week, so I need to do more follow-up work on this one.
  3. Homeschool Rules.
    1. I quickly found a wonderful Facebook group for homeschoolers and they informed me of the South Dakota homeschooling rules. More lenient that Maryland in some areas, except for mandatory testing for certain grades.  We are all satisfied with the laws except for the one who will have to take standardized tests for the first time in his 13 years of life.  Just another learning experience, right?
  4. Houses to live in.
    1. I’ve just stopped looking. I have found multiple houses that I would love to live in, but I then go down some weird HGTV inspired rabbit hole and realize those houses might not be there in five months when we move in.  So, then I turn it off and sulk.
  5. Jobs and extracurricular activity for children.
    1. Our 18-year-old wants a job, but something with animals, or coffee, or books. It seems she’s open to a lot of jobs, and she has bookmarked nearly every place that has a job opening.  Let’s hope some of them are still hiring in August.
    2. The 13-yr. old wants to take Judo with Ron. He also wants to find a scout troop and find a way to “work with birds” (but only birds of prey… they are the coolest!)
    3. The 10-yr. old wants to “do parkour or gymnastics” and find a cub scout pack for his last year before boy scouts.
  6. History of the area.
    1. Our new friend with all the information also provided some of this. Then a quick google search for a timeline of South Dakota brought up a couple of books that look interesting.  I put in an order for a couple from amazon, so we’ll start reading those as soon as they get here.
  7. Search the house for things to sell.
    1. This is the least fun for everyone except Ron. He loves to throw things away.  We’ve done most of the main parts of the house, but the kids’ rooms haven’t been done at all.  I’m saving that for when my parents visit us in a little over a week!  We have the garage sale date set, so now we’ve got to finish looking through everything so we can be ready.

 

That is only MY checklist for our move.  Things that I’ve been wondering about and wanting to make sure I know all about.

There are quite a few websites that provide comprehensive checklists for PCSing.  I’m not nearly disciplined enough to go through them, but it is nice to have those lists to look at.  One of my favorites is here.  Military.com has tons of information about the military in general, but this is one of my favorites things on their site.  It has different checklists depending on how long you have left before your PCS.  Since we will be moving sometime in August, we are too early for any of their checklists.  However, we are going to be having all of our stuff packed up at the end of May or the beginning of June.  We want to make sure there are NO issues with getting our stuff to South Dakota before we get there.

Overseas bases have furniture that you can borrow until your household goods (HHGs) arrive, and you can borrow them again after your stuff is packed out, but that doesn’t happen in the continental US (CONUS).  We don’t want to find a house and have no furniture.  I’m sure I’ll be missing my bed by then.

The earliest checklist they have is for 3 months before you move.  Since we are packing our stuff in June, I still looked through this checklist to see what I can work on.

It’s safe to say that I’m getting overwhelmed at the number of things on this list.  So, I’ll stick with my small checklist about the things I’m most excited about, and I’ll report back as we get closer to leaving.

Side Note:  We are going to work our way through every item on his list while we are in South Dakota.  I’ll be documenting our “Checklist Journey” on our family blog if you are interested.

PCS: What Happens When We Move

This is the post I wrote here when we first found out where we were going for our next assignment.
It was first published on March 18, 2017.

What Happens When We Move

After months of waiting and waiting, we found out where we are going.  I’ll give you the location later, but if you just can’t wait go ahead and scroll down.  You must also be the people who have to skip ahead in a book to find out if someone gets killed or not.  That’s okay, even weird people need to be loved.

When we are waiting to find out about our assignments we practice a lot of patience.  Not because we are patient people, or because we are great at being patient, but just because we don’t have a choice.  I try to do everything I can to distract myself from what’s coming up.  I know that any day my husband could get an email and I’ll have to run to his office to find out where we will be moving next.

For some jobs in the military, there are only specific places and bases you can work, but as a chaplain, my husband can be used at just about any base.  So, our options are nearly unlimited.  It makes it difficult to narrow down where we might be going.  We thought we had an advantage this time because we know more about PCSing this time than we ever have before.  It turns out that our “knowledge” didn’t really have any effect on it at all.

Our oldest son, Price, turned 13 years old on Wednesday, so it was a pretty momentous day at our house.  We have a tradition where we go out to dinner as a family on the actual birthday of each family member, but he didn’t want to go out on his birthday because it was the same night as the monthly dorm dinner here on base.  The chapel sponsors it and it is a time for the dorm residents to get some home cooked food and hang out with other members of the squadron.  Our son loves to go and run around and play, so he wanted to spend his birthday at the dorm dinner.  I didn’t want to go, so Chyna and I went to meet some friends for our weekly dinner out at a nearby Venta (small community restaurant).  Ron took the boys and they headed out.

The day had been pretty normal up until then.  I went with a friend to Costco in Sevilla, and then did normal everyday things.  I have recently started getting my friend’s kids from school each day and doing homework with them.  They are moving next week back to the states, so this gives them a chance to get everything accomplished before they move, and it eliminates some of the homework issues because it’s easier to do homework with someone who isn’t your parent!

So, our family was in two different places.  Everyone was singing Happy Birthday to Price at the dorm dinner, and Chyna and I were enjoying time with friends at the Venta.  Ron checked his phone, like he’s been doing every 10 minutes since January, and he had an email with our assignment.  He didn’t look at it before calling me.

I answer the phone at the Venta and he asked if Chyna and I were done eating.  I knew immediately what was going on, so we jumped up and left.  Thankfully we were finished eating, so I paid and we drove the 8 minutes back to base excitedly talking about where we were going.  This is the first-time Chyna has been with us while we waited for an assignment, so it’s all brand new to her.  We went to the chapel to meet Ron and the boys and we all gathered around to see the assignment.  He opened the email and everyone leaned in to see.  It said Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

There are a couple of things that went through my mind immediately.  First, I saw Ellsworth and thought Elmondorf.  That is in Alaska, and I was freaking out for a split second before I saw SD after Ellsworth.  I am sure that Alaska is a great place and really beautiful, but y’all, I’m from Arkansas and the idea of being surrounded by that much snow freaks me out.  Bringing me to the only downside of this new assignment.  I have never driven on snowy roads.  I haven’t ever lived anywhere that had snow except Colorado Springs (our first assignment), and I had little babies so I just stayed home anytime it snowed.  This time I can’t do that because I have older kids and they want to be involved in stuff.  After my initial panic of thinking it was Alaska, I was just stunned.  I really thought that we had gone through the list of openings for his job and put all of those places on our “wish list”.  The kids wanted to know basic questions, like how far it was from Arkansas (18 hours), and how far it was from Maryland (23 hours).  We started googling where it was in South Dakota as we began to call our parents.  After telling them and then starting the process of telling all our friends, it began to sink in that I was going to have to learn how to deal with snow.  I could ignore it and hide from it in Colorado, but that won’t be an option in South Dakota.

Now that it’s been a couple of days, my initial surprise has worn off and all the research I’ve done has made me more excited than scared.  The children have all been looking for things they’re interested in doing and finding lots of options there to keep them busy.  The most pressing unknowns right now is where we will live and what Ron’s job will look like.  While we wait to hear about the job and the future of the assignment there, I’ve just been doing some South Dakota research.  The main things I’ve learned so far.

  1. The state capital is Pierre (pronounced peer) apparently the pronunciation part is a huge deal, and since I’ve grown up with people mispronouncing Arkansas (are-kansas), then I will do my best to always pronounce it correctly.
  2. We will learn so much history about the expansion of our country that I can’t even fathom all of it right now. I am a history nerd of all kinds, so I am the most excited about this prospect.  I will probably be super annoying to all the people around me as I continue to research the history of the area and the part our country’s expansion has played in the area.
  3. Everyone loves to be helpful and tell you what they know about an area, so the two most consistent things we hear are about the wind and the cold. We will just have to wait and see how accurate these warnings are.  I’m not really looking forward to finding out.

As we learn about this move and this new area, I will look back at my 10 pros and cons of moving in the military and remember number 10.  No matter where we are, if we are together then we are home. 

To-Do List – South Dakota

I am sometimes amazed by the generosity of people.  Someone here at the base found out we were moving to South Dakota, and he asked if we wanted to have lunch with him and ask any questions we might have about the area.  He grew up there and has family who still live in the area.  He’s still trying to find a job there so he can go home.  His description of everything and the hand-written pages he gave us made me want to go ahead and go there now instead of waiting.  I am so excited to explore our new state, and can’t wait to do every activity he has listed for us.  I took pictures of his list here so I could keep up with them, and use this list for our first adventures in South Dakota.  I can’t wait for our new adventure!  You’re more than welcome to join our family as we explore!