I haven’t blogged too much lately because things are kind of hectic around here because…
I signed a lease last Wednesday and moved out of the hotel I was staying in. While I’ll miss the hot breakfast, comfy real bed, and housekeeping, I’m glad that we’re one step closer to finishing the move to Kansas. The previous tenants of this house smoked in the garage, so I’ve spent a good chunk of time researching ways to minimize that smell.
I’m only two weeks in, but I’m enjoying my new job so far. We’re still trying to figure out exactly what I’ll be doing as my position is new. I’ll be traveling for my first events this week.
Can we talk about Game of Thrones? This season has been a total roller coaster, but I have honestly loved it. I really don’t know what people were expecting because everyone on Twitter has something to complain about. And I also really don’t know how the show is going to end.
I’m already making a list of things to do and places to explore while we live here. Since we’ll most likely be here a year, I want to make the most of our time. I drove into downtown Kansas City to check out the public library without checking the hours first. #fail. I got there almost an hour before they opened. My plan for this weekend is to get outside and find someplace to hike or just walk around for a bit.
Speaking of Kansas City, I’ve been exploring the main stores in the area. You can quickly forget how expensive moving is until you have to go buy stuff to replace what you didn’t pack. I’m still wrapping my brain around the fact that Missouri sells liquor in grocery stores.
After a bit of soul searching and general questioning what I’m doing with my life, I think I’ve really cornered what I want my “blog niche” to be. My experiences as a military child and spouse have really inspired me to help other people figure out what to do where they live. I dislike when people say, “There’s nothing to do here.” So I’ve been working on ideas for easy and affordable weekend adventures. Because of my life, they’ll mainly be around where the Army send us, but I may branch out and ask for guest posts.
I’m excited to share that I have accepted a position at a local university here in Kansas. I began researching and applying for jobs when Mac made the promotion list in January. After several rounds of interviews for several jobs, I was offered two jobs. The one I decided to accept is close to where we wanted to live (the other was about an hour away). We settled on a start date for this week, so I packed everything of mine up and drove out to Kansas on Sunday. And I can’t say that I recommend driving about 1,000 miles in one day.
I’ve been living in a hotel since I arrived. I researched housing options for several weeks, and we decided to live off-post. We’ve paid a deposit on a rental house, and I’m hoping to move in next week. Mac and the cats are still in Georgia. His report date isn’t until July, so he is going to move in June. We’re planning to move the cats before then. Hopefully, we can schedule pick up for our household goods soon and cross another thing off our list. While living apart for about six weeks isn’t ideal, we decided this was an opportunity that wasn’t worth missing out on.
April has been a pretty slow reading month for me. As much as I enjoy reading, I tend to go through lulls where I can’t really get into a book or I’m not really motivated to read. But I did manage to finish the last book in one of my Instagram book stacks.
Another biography on my favorite American Revolution general. This was a pretty easy and comprehensive read on Nathanael Greene’s life. Life most biographies on him, the focus is on his service during the Revolution. Overall, I enjoyed it.
This book was a struggle for me to read. It’s well-written, and I liked the formatting of highlighting the main events and issues in Elizabeth’s life in a general chronological timeline. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t really sink my teeth into it. I would only read a chapter or two at a time.
This biography looks at the life and legend of John Smith. It compares his own stories of his exploits and adventures to the known historical record. One of the more intriguing chapters of John Smith’s life has to be his service during the wars in eastern Europe against the Ottoman Turks. If you like early American history, you’ll probably enjoy this book.
I grabbed this book in the bargain section of Barnes & Noble a few years ago. It’s formatted as a coffee table book with lots of graphic spreads and textboxes. If you’re a Tudor fan, I would skip this. The general content is fine, but it’s very poorly edited. There are lots of mistakes (like messing up dates and numbers of the monarchs).
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Fun fact: the Augusta Canal is a partner of the National Park Service. The Discovery Center also has a passport stamp not listed in the NPS Passport. I’m really glad I convinced Mac to visit before we moved. I would have been devastated (okay, slight exaggeration) if I had missed out on a stamp so close to home.
Address and Location
The Augusta Canal Discovery Center is located at 1450 Greene Street in Augusta, Georgia. You catch the boat tours there.
You can visit the canal Discovery Center without taking a tour. If you choose that option, admission costs $6 for adults and $4 for seniors, students, and military. The boat tours also include admission to the Discovery Center. The nature and Civil War tours cost $14 for adults and $12 for seniors, students, and military. The music cruises run $25 for adults and $23 for seniors, students, and military. Times for the tours vary and change seasonally.
What to do
The Augusta Canal Discovery Center museum traces the history of Augusta, the canal, and the local industrial revolution. Augusta originally built the canal to power mills and stimulate the local economy. The Discovery Center actually sits in the old Enterprise Mill building. They still have a functioning turbine that helps power the building. Once you finish up in the museum, you can hop on a tour.
I would definitely recommend taking one of the canal boat tours. We opted for the Civil War tour, and I enjoyed it. We had perfect weather, and we enjoyed a smooth cruise down the canal. Sherman didn’t march through Augusta, so it tends to be overlooked in Georgia’s Civil War history. But it served a major producer of gunpowder and munitions. The Confederate Army converted several of the textile mills to produce these. Our tour guide gave us a history of the area and the buildings as we passed by. She also pointed out lots of wildlife along the route.
We’re still making the most of Mac’s work schedule and working our way through shows we’ve wanted to watch. We watched the newest season of Outlander (meh), and we’re keeping up to date with American Housewife. I haven’t read the Outlander books, but I’m fairly certain that the plot is setting up for Jamie to become part of the famous Fraser Highlanders unit of the British Army during the American Revolution. We shall see what happens there. Otherwise, the newest season left me very underwhelmed.
How did I forget this show on my last post? Mac and I love basically anything Andy Samberg does. Hot Rod is the reason we call each other Babe. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is another goofy comedy that I love. It is beyond ridiculous, and I laugh out loud every episode. And how could you not like a show with this scene? I’m glad NBC picked it up and that it hasn’t lost its comedic touch on a new network.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Jake Makes the Criminals Sing (Episode Highlight) - YouTube
I genuinely love Bones. It’s a spinoff of the standard cop drama in that the main character is a forensic anthropologist. Yes, Brennan can be condescending and obnoxious, but the show still works. We’ve been watching it but are taking a break to rewatch Game of Thrones before the last season starts. I’m honestly excited to pick up where we left off and finish the remaining seasons.
Medici: Masters of Florence
We watched the first season of Medici when it came out (I think) in 2017. So we decided to watch the second season after it came out. The new season looks at the life of Lorenzo, grandson of Cosimo de Medici. He is known to history as Lorenzo the Magnificent. Overall, the show is decent, but it’s not one that grabbed and held on to my attention.
Making a Murderer
Y’all, I totally get the hype over this show. I understand why people raved about it. The first episode was pretty interesting, but the next one sucked me right in. We finished the first season in two days, and I spent tons of time researching the case and the facts past that. I do get that the documentary is very one-sided, so I can’t really comment on if Steve Avery is guilty. But I will say that Manitowoc County has some serious issues.
What are y’all watching? Any show recommendations?
South Carolina was the first state where we visited every National Park Service property. We visited each site over the two years we lived in Augusta (the second time). If you are local or are just looking to stop in while on vacation, I grouped the sites by general area in the state. Here’s my guide to explore the South Carolina national parks.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina’s national park, sits just outside Columbia. It’s an easy way to spend a few hours or the day if you’re visiting the state capitol. Be sure to pack bug spray. Ninety Six National Historic Site is a bit off the beaten path from I-20 near the Georgia border, but it’s worth a stop. Ninety-Six was the site of the longest siege during the American Revolution.
Bonus stamp: Visit Camden National Battlefield for a stamp that isn’t listed on the National Park Service website.
Any trip to Charleston and South Carolina’s lowcountry has to include Fort Sumter National Historic Site. You can find Fort Sumter stamps at either Liberty Point (in Charleston) or across the harbor at Patriots’ Point (in Mount Pleasant). After Fort Sumter, continue on to the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. His farm is located near the famous lowcountry plantations about 15 minutes from Charleston, so you can easily squeeze it in.
Bonus stamps: Swing by Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island (across the harbor from Fort Sumter). Fort Moultrie is part of Sumter, but it does have its own stamp. While on Sullivan’s Island, be sure to visit the Charleston Light for another unlisted NPS stamp.
The newest addition to the South Carolina national parks family is the Reconstruction Era National Monument. Created in 2017, this site in Beaufort sits between Charleston and Savannah. The National Park Service visitors’ center is still under construction, but you can find the stamp in the Beaufort History Museum across the street.
Even the National Park Service calls Charles Pinckney a lost Founding Father. While he helped craft the Constitution, his name isn’t as well known as many of the other signers. His country plantation at Snee Farm has been preserved outside Charleston and is a beautiful place to visit. If you plan to explore any of the lowcountry plantations, definitely include the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site on your trip.
Address and location
You can find the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site at 1254 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. It’s about a 15 minute drive down US 17 from downtown Charleston and Fort Sumter, and you’ll see NPS signs directing you where to turn. The entrance to the site sits back along a shady road, so slow down or you’ll miss it.
The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is free.
What to do
Depending on when you go and where you were before, you can either choose to tour the grounds or visit the house. The grounds offer lots of beautiful blooms and a glimpse of what life in colonial South Carolina was like. Pack bug spray! Be sure to walk down to the area where the slave quarters stood. Closer to the house, check out the rice dam and water well. You can also see where the original house foundation has been excavated.
While the actual house owned by Charles no longer exists, the current house was built on top of the original building. Inside, explore the rooms on the first floor. They have a lot of information about the Revolution and Charles Pinckney’s role in drafting the Constitution. You can also view several movies in the theater. The house is air conditioned, so take your time if you’re visiting during the summer.
Happy April, friends! Baseball, warm weather, pollen, and Games of Thrones. Who’s ready for spring?
We celebrated our tenth dating anniversary and Mac’s 33rd birthday over the weekend. The weather was perfect, and we drove down to the Golden Isles on Georgia’s coast. We soaked up lots of sunshine and visited two more of Georgia’s National Park Service properties.
Mac finally received his request for orders late last week, so we can start planning our move to Kansas. Right now, it looks like we’ll be leaving at the beginning of June. We’re planning to apply for on-post housing at Leavenworth, and we’re also checking out the off-post options as a back up. Any neighborhood recommendations for on or off post?
I’d appreciate some thoughts and prayers as I continue with my job search. While we were waiting for official confirmation, I applied for about five jobs. Now that we have a better timeline, I’m going to start looking a bit more intently.
I’m not a huge basketball fan, but our beloved Hokies made the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row. We had a good run and made it to the Sweet 16 (for the first time ever in the current tournament format). I’m really proud of our team, but we’re now expecting Texas A&M to hire our coach (don’t leave us, Buzz!).
Speaking of Game of Thrones, who’s ready for the final season? We signed up for HBO again (we haven’t had it since we ditched DirecTV). So we’re making the most of our free week-long trial and rewatching the show from the start. Our plan is to finish it by the 14th when the new season starts. Any guesses on who winds up on the Iron Throne?
10 years ago, Mac and I started dating. We met about a week before that and had hung out a few times. We hadn’t actually gone on a proper date, but we decided to make things official. Our first date was a few days later on Mac’s 23rd birthday. Mac and I were talking this morning, and he mentioned that it doesn’t feel like it’s been ten years. He said it felt more like we were just getting started.
In the past ten years, we’ve moved five times as a couple (Mac moved two times before that), endured two year-long deployments, dealt with countless weeks and months of Army training, both finished grad school, and adopted two perfect kitties. We’re gearing up for another move this summer and a new adventure in a new home. While our life has been crazy and frustrating at times, I wouldn’t change what’s made us stronger as a couple. So happy ten years, babe. I love you, and thank you for loving me.
We headed back to Charleston over Presidents’ Day weekend and visited Fort Sumter again. I have to say that the weather in February is a lot more pleasant than going in June.
Address and location
Fort Sumter is located on an island in Charleston Harbor. You must purchase a ticket on the NPS-operated ferry to visit. Ferries run from both the Fort Sumter Visitors’ Center at Liberty Point and the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. You will find Fort Moultrie at 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island.
Admission to the Fort Sumter Visitors’ Center and the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum is free. You will have to pay for parking at both sites. Tickets for the Fort Sumter Tours ferry cost $23 for adults, $21 for military and seniors, $15 for children ages 4-11, and free for kids under 3. Fort Moultrie costs $7 per adult (16 and over) and $20 for an annual pass. As always, interagency passes are $80 a year and free for military members.
What to do
Take some time to explore the museum at Liberty Point. It has an interesting exhibit about the run-up to the start of the Civil War. The museum also looks at the troops stationed on the fort. Abner Doubleday, the inventor of baseball, was stationed at Fort Sumter when the Civil War began and is credited with firing the first Union shot of the war.
Once you board the ferry, you can expect a 30 minute ride through Charleston Harbor. Try to grab a seat on the top deck to enjoy the views of the harbor and city skyline. You’ll have 45 minutes to an hour on Fort Sumter. The Rangers onsite offer several programs and guided tours while you are there. The first and last boats of the day can also participate in the flag raising and lowering ceremonies. We were on the first boat of the day, so we watched the flag raising ceremony over the fort. Be sure to walk around the exterior of the fort and see the damage caused by the Civil War. Also check out the museum inside the fort. It examines the actual siege of Fort Sumter that started the Civil War and the fort’s role during the war. You can also view the flag that flew over the fort.