At the spouse's orientation that I went to back when we first arrived here, we were told about a free Newcomer Bus Tour. I signed up and today was the day I got to go on it!
It was a hectic morning. I got the girls up early, fed them breakfast, grabbed their bags and paperwork (the paperwork that we filled out when we registered them at CYS on Tuesday), got them in their car seats and we were off!
We got to the Santa Fe Child Development Center (CDC), where I signed the girls in. I had never before taken them to daycare, so I didn't know what to expect...and I guess I thought that they would take the girls at the front and take them to their rooms. Looking back, I realize now that it's obviously more practical to have the parents take the children back to the designated rooms that way they know where to go to pick them up. Also, because there are so many children that come and go and at so many different hours of the day, it only makes sense that the parents would drop them off because it would be way too much for the caretakers to do! Again, I'd never done this before, so I didn't know. :)
I first took Odette back to her room, the "Infant II" room. I met the caretakers and signed her in. Then I led her to some toys, gave her a hug and kiss, told her I'd come pick her up later, and then left. As I was walking away from the closed door, I turned back around to see Odette running over to the door, crying. I felt bad, but I was sure she'd be fine.
Next I took Alegria to the "Toddler" room. The caretaker that welcomed us in had Alegria first disinfect her hands with antibacterial liquid and then led her into the art area. I signed her in, gave her a hug and a kiss, told her I'd come back, and left. It seemed she forgot about me the moment I turned around. :)
I hurried over to the Newcomer Bus Tour meeting area and boarded the bus. On every seat was a bag of free goodies (I took the picture later, so by then, most of the edible goodies were gone...including a yummy granola bar and lots of delicious bubble gum)!
A few minutes later, I was happy to see that Heather was able to come! Shortly after Heather arrived, Amy showed up. I introduced my two new friends to each other, and we were off!
The tour guide was very knowledgeable, energetic, and fun! I had a great time on the tour and would recommend it to anyone and everyone who comes to Fort Benning!
Here are pictures of a few sights that we saw:
Riverside, one of the first homes in this area to have running water indoors and also known for being an engineering feat. Part of it was once a meeting house that was moved from a distance away through a forest and joined to the home. Not a single tree was damaged in that move through the forest!
Doughboy Stadium. “Doughboy” was the slang word for Infantrymen during World War I. Some say the word was first used in the Mexican-American War when US Infantrymen in Northern Mexico stirred up so much dust that they looked like the adobe buildings of that region. “Adobe boys” became “doughboys:”
The Infantry Chapel:
Beyond those containers you would be able to see the railroad tracks of Fort Benning's very own narrow gauge railroad (used from 1921 until 1946), known as the Dinky Line, but also called the Chattahoochee ChooChoo and Old Fuss and Feathers.
The Cuartels, Fort Benning's first permanent barracks, which were in the Guiness Book of World Records for having the longest known undivided porch in the world with its more than 1/2 mile of covered porch!
While driving around, we got a view of the jump towers and got to see some soldiers in the Airborne School practicing their parachute jumps! The first public jump off of these towers was done by Amelia Earhart back in 1935!
Building 4, McGinnis-Wickam Hall, where stands the "Follow Me" Statue, also known as The Infantryman and which is often mistaken for Iron Mike:
Lawson Army Airfield:
If I remember correctly, this was the Fort Benning Station Hospital:
This was General Patton's house for a short time:
The War Dog Memorial:
And of course, some of the Ranger School training areas:
For more information about most of the sights mentioned above and more, go to Fort Benning's Self-Guided Tour.
At the end of our tour, we were taken to the Benning Conference Center for a delicious and FREE lunch. The place settings were beautiful with red linen napkins:
And the entree and side dish were scrumptious:
When they brought out dessert, though, it was so divine that I forgot to take a picture and wolfed it down! It was a rich chocolate cake...mmm...chocolate!!! :) I assure you it was pretty and even more tasty!
The tour was great! I highly recommend it! Not only was it in itself awesome, but we got a bag of free stuff, including a booklet with $300 worth of coupons, and we got vouchers for the childcare, so that was free too. A whole 4.5 hours all to myself with some lady friends, being driven around Fort Benning and being treated to a delicious free lunch at the end? Yes, please! :) If you'd like to book your own tour, take a look at the Fort Benning Facebook Flyer for more information. It's definitely worth it!
Finally it was time to head back to the CDC to get the girls. First, I picked up Odette, who had just woken up from a nap and was VERY happy to see me:
And then we picked up Alegria, who was crying in her cot when I got to her and who told me later that she was sad because she missed me. The caretakers told me she had actually fallen asleep but that she would cry from time to time in her sleep...I don't know if that was what it was or if she was just pretending to sleep the whole time she was down for her nap and was in reality crying and sometimes could be heard. It's good to know I'm loved and missed...
Saying bye to the gerbil before we headed out:
SO HAPPY to be leaving:
Not long after we got home, Daddy came home and together we went to a meet-and-greet party for all of the students of the Captain's Career Course and their families. They had free sandwiches, drinks, and cookies of all kinds...YUM! The girls had fun running around and playing with free tall cups they got:
Finally back home for good, we all relaxed in the backyard:
Later, playing in the playroom, this is what Alegria was feeding her baby elephant:
He must be hungry. :)
And that was our busy and fun day!!!
Good night!!! :)