For the past 7 weeks we have been living in South Carolina. Nick has been going to Chaplain school at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. When we found out he would be going to school here we made the decision to travel up here with him. Because we homeschool the kids we are very mobile, and we believed it could be a great experience.
So February 8th we packed up the van; the next day the kids and I headed off on our great adventure. It definitely started with an interesting experience. We had just dropped off Nick when our cat decided to mess his carrier. As the lovely odor began wafting through the van we knew something had to be done. So I stopped the van, cleaned the cat's carrier and we were off, again.
We arrived in South Carolina, got our apartment, and found it furnished with the furniture we had rented. We quickly unpacked the van, unpacked our stuff, and headed out for dinner. Moving to a new city where you know where nothing is can be a challenge. It was dark, but I had trusty Google Maps on the phone so we were able to get to where we were going with no difficulty.
The second day in South Carolina included getting the internet set up, getting Nick from the Columbia Airport and getting lost in Fort Jackson. We eventually got Nick situated where he was suppose to be, and managed to get off base safely. I had to give Nick his phone that had Google Maps on it so I was mapless for the rest of the time here.
Monday brought new adventures. We found the library and tried to get a library card...that was an utter failure. So we found the big library, and we got library cards! Then we explored the library, it was amazing!!!!! It has four floors, the garden level or bottom floor is dedicated to the kids. There are thousands of books and the kids were in heaven! We explored each floor; Aaron's favorite was the periodical section. As we where exploring there we found periodicals from the 1870's. Aaron thought that was amazing. We would visit that section of the library several more times, including once so Hannah could read for a project an article that was published days after Amelia Earhart's disappeared. We even discovered story time and we would return several more Mondays to enjoy some stories and crafts at the library.
Tuesday we went to an amazing kids museum. Admission was only one dollar so we went to the Edventure museum, it was a blast. The kid's favorite part was the "snowy" area. They got to have "snowball" fights, and even ride down a "hill" on a tube. We did have to leave disappointed because one particular area that Bethany really wanted to play in was extremely crowded and she was not able to play there. We did return a month later on the next Tuesday the museum had $1 admission and she got to play to her heart's content in the area she wanted to play.
We started to get into a routine with school and running. Our apartment complex has an exercise room where we spent many hours. I am running a 1/2 marathon on Sunday so it was very important to train. During our time here I ran 172 miles on the treadmill. While I ran the kids would watch TV in the exercise room. We finally figured out that Scooby-Doo was on at 10:30 everyday, so we would do our very best to get there by 10:30 so the kids would be able to see the beginning of the show.
Friday brought daddy to the apartment. We got to pick him up and keep him every weekend! That first Saturday we went to a performance of Frog and Toad at a children's theatre. It was a very good performance and it inspired Bethany to check out and read all the Frog and Toad books at the library. We did some more exploring of Columbia and even found a barber shop that Nick would frequent several more times during our stay so that he could get his hair cut. Hannah and Nick even started a routine of watching Star Trek every Saturday morning. She is a trekkie in training!
Sunday we went to church. As we entered the church we met two other chaplains that were going to school with Nick! That was probably the best part of the day, because the rest of the day did not go well. Hannah cried in her class because she was "church-sick," and Aaron spent the time crying because it was a new experience and he hates new experiences. Bethany loved it-so we got one out of the three. It took Aaron a couple of weeks, but he grew to love church, and Hannah even made a couple friends. They even got to go to Awana on Wednesday nights and they loved it. Well, not the first week they went. Hannah liked it and shockingly Aaron like it, but Bethany hated it! The last Wednesday there was crazy hair night, and they had so much fun getting crazy hair. In the end, church was a great success for the kids and they were very sad then they had to say goodbye. For me, it was wonderful. I have been to the same two churches for my entire life and since I was in high school I had always been busy doing something. For the first time in a very long time I had no responsibilities, and I could just go to church and worship. I loved it, it was like a breath of fresh air. I think I really needed a break from serving for a little while.
Over the course of the seven weeks we have been here some days have been boring some interesting. We have been to an Art museum, we have been to a Three Little Pigs opera, we have played at many playgrounds, we have read many books, we have been to many Build and Grow workshops at Lowes, we have played with Legos at the library, we have shopped, we even swam in the pool in water that should be called ice water, we have all had some emotional breakdowns, but through it all we have had a lot of fun. It has not always been easy, I have gotten lost driving through Columbia a few times, we have had our fights, but overall it has been a great adventure.
The last 2 days I have been going to Chaplain's Spouse Training. For two days the wife of one the chaplains has been teaching us about Navy life. We have learned more about what our husbands do, we have learned about how to handle deployment, how to read a pay statement, how to move, how to help the kids handle life with dad away. It has been a great learning experience. I have enjoyed meeting other women who are in the exact same situation that I am in. We even had an admiral and his wife come in and talk to us about their life in the Navy. I am so excited for the ministry that Nick is in. He has an amazing opportunity to minister to so many people and I can't wait for him to finally get started. We don't know when the next adventure will begin, but we are praying that very soon he will be able to start ministering as an active duty chaplain in the Navy.
Today is graduation, and in a way I am sad to see it because it means that this adventure is over. I love Columbia, and I am very sad to be leaving. I am so proud of Nick, he has overcome many challenges, he has accomplished things that he didn't think he could accomplish. He is a Navy Chaplain! He is following the call the Lord has given him and a dream he has had for a very long time! While this adventure is coming to an end a new one is just around the corner and I can't wait to see what life brings.