Sunday, October 8, 2017

"They Call Him Flipper, Flipper..."

Anyone remember that show? Or am I dating myself? Our family got a private swim with dolphins on our vacation in Mexico! Before I got into that, I guess I should give y'all a "short" update on my life...

Nick left for Quantico two weeks ago, and I've been flying solo with the kids. I started a new job for a healthcare consulting company as a "contract specialist/administrative assistant to the Executive VP of operations/assistant to the chief financial officer/assistant to the accounting department/random stuff". lol. I'm basically an administrative assistant, but they've entrusted this girl with absolutely ZERO experience in the healthcare industry to write up proposals and contracts for their clients. I am finally getting settled in at work, and I feel like I am not pretending so much anymore as to what actually goes on there 😂. I now know terms like QAPI, ACHC, and CHAP. I'm used to acronyms since that's ALL the military uses, so I'm right in my element! If it weren't for my coworkers, I'd truly be lost. They have all patiently answered all my questions, walked me through contracts, and painstakingly watched me make mistakes and run reports. I love the company I work for, and I love my hours. I specifically requested to work part-time, since I knew Nick was leaving. I wanted to make sure that I could be as present as possible for my kids after school as a parent flying solo.

But of course, as a working mom, I don't have as much time or flexibility to help out at my kids' school. I'm not gonna lie, that kinda sucks because I LOVE being present at their school. BUT, I love working, and being around adults during the day. It's where I am most happy.

Other than that, life is good. I am busy! We have moments and days when we really miss Nick, but knowing that this is only temporary makes it easier. We are excited for our next adventure as a family. I have always dreamed of my kids growing up and traveling the world. My hopes for them are that they become more cultured, well rounded, and more aware of the world around them. We have our fingers crossed that we'll get a chance to live somewhere new again (hopefully overseas this time!), and continue this adventure of a life we have been blessed with.

So now to our dolphin adventure!!! Our kids had their hearts set on swimming with dolphins when they found out we would be vacationing in Mexico. Nick and I decided to splurge and get a private encounter for a full hour...just the Romers and a 4 dolphins! It was absolutely INCREDIBLE!


Family photo before entering the cove!

We each got a shot at letting two dolphins push us up and above the water by pushing on our feet!
The most important thing was that we needed to keep our leg's locked out, otherwise, we'd nose dive into the water.
The staff was reluctant to let Mattis try it because he was so young, but we convinced them that he could do it.
He had his heart set on it, and he ROCKED it!
He got a standing ovation from everyone that was there watching!















Always "gigging"!









Being in the water with these creatures was mesmerizing. 
They can sense when you're nervous, and your heart starts to race through echolocation!


They even got my 200lbs husband out of the water! 
They photographer didn't get a great shot of Nick, but he got all the way up and gave everyone a big "Gig 'em!".

This was truly an amazing experience for our family, and one that we will never forget. We are looking forward to vacationing somewhere new in the near future, and giving our children these types of memorable experiences. I highly recommend vacationing in XCaret! It is only an hour outside of Cancun, but the the nature preserve and the beaches there are absolutely amazing!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Three's Company

Nick left today for TBS (The Basic School). For all you non Marine types, TBS is a 6 month long school that all Marine Officers must attend before getting assigned an MOS and going into the fleet. I chose to stay back in Texas with the kids for several reasons:
1. We LOVE Dannika's school here so much, and we really wanted to make sure she got every she could out of this school before we are permanently assigned somewhere else.

2. For our family, I felt it was best for us to keep Dannika in the same school for her entire 3rd grade year. If we would have gone with Nick, we would have taken her out of school for AT LEAST a week while we moved and settled in, and put her in a brand new school for just 6 months...just to pull her out again when our family got orders.

 3. I will be more lonely at TBS than being here without Nick. I don't know anyone there. Virginia is cold in the winter. Nick will spend many long hours and nights in the field, and I will hardly get to see him anyway.

4. This is my home. A born and raised, proud and true Texan! I have friends and a village here that I am already depressed about having to leave next year. I am willing to sacrifice my husband to TBS as a geobachelor (what they call married Marines who choose to go to a duty station sans family) if I get to be with my friends, family, and my village for just a little while longer.

I'm a little sad, but I am more heartbroken for my kids...especially Dannika. Dannika is our "seasoned" military brat. She has gone through two combat deployments, a year long separation, and countless other separations due to training evolutions. I thought she would be ok. I really thought Mattis would be the one that I would have to worry about.

All day today, I could see the sadness on Dannika's face, and when I asked her how she was doing, she would put on a brave front, and tell me she was ok. I could see her eyes get a little watery and red sometimes as she told me she was fine. Meanwhile, Mattis has no clue, and carried on like he normally does.

Separations are nothing new for our family, but as a MECEP'er, Nick was never away. He was more physically present than he has ever been in our entire marriage. We were "spoiled" as a military family, and at times, I felt guilty. I felt guilty as I watched my friends' spouses deploy to combat and/or go train for extended periods of time....while I got to enjoy having my husband home almost every night.

So I am back in "solo parenting" mode. I never call myself a "single parent". Single parents deal with a whole another list of struggles that I do not need to worry about. But solo parenting sucks too. You have two kids who absolutely love their absent parent (who is normally present on a daily basis)...an absent parent who is devastated to have to leave their perfectly happy home because of the demands of a career....and the "solo parent" who is home raising children, and making sure that they know that their "absent parent" loves them so much...more than anything....and it is not their choice to be gone....

Either way...this is the life I married into. I would not trade it for anything. I would not trade Nick for a man who makes 10 times more than him and is home all the time. Money or time can not buy a man who loves God, leads his family unselfishly, loves people, works hard, and is humble...every. single. day.


 Our cul de sac threw Nick and amazing going away BBQ last night. 
So many people showed up to say goodbye!
This is Nick and his two BFF's from the Cul de Sac.
These two men have been such great friends to Nick, and we are so fortunate that God put them in our family's lives.

On Saturday, we all went to the new trampoline park in town.
Nick had a BLAST (probably more fun than the kids).
I love this photo of my sweaty D, and Nick....

Packing to leave...
It's been a few years since I've sat in the garage with Nick before he deploys or leaves...
I watch him pack up his life......
It's bittersweet.
I know he's excited to move on to the next chapter of his career, but at the same time, he's sad about leaving his family.
He's such a family man....

So the kids and I are fine!
By the time we get into a routine, we'll get into our "groove", and things will be "normal".
Thanks to all my wonderful friends who called, texted, and FB'ed me to let me know y'all were thinking of me. 
I am so grateful for each and every one of you!!!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Viva XCaret!

Dang, I haven't blogged in a hot minute! In my defense, my life has a been a hot beautiful mess since graduating! We went on vacation, Dannika started 3rd grade, Mattis started Pre-K, Nick has been preparing to leave to go to Quantico, and I started a new part-time job! Life's been a little hectic!

Right after graduation, our family took a vacation to Mexico to a place that is an hour outside of Cancun called XCaret. We stayed at a family friendly resort called "The Occidental". It was an absolute blast. This was the first time our family took our kids out of the country. This trip is the beginning of a lifetime of traveling the world for our kids! My fondest memories growing up were all the family vacations we took around the world, and I am a better, more well rounded person because of it. I just thank God that we are able to afford our children the same opportunities.


**WARNING: VACAY PICTURE OVERLOAD**

My children are no strangers to traveling (#militarybratlife).
They're actually pretty decent travelers, and know the ins and outs of going through airport security.
Mattis has it nailed... 

Drinking on an airplane is just fun.
Especially when the flight attendant gives you a free Titos and your husband a free Jack Daniels....I'm assuming because she realized we were a military family.


The Gulf of Mexico

We got a room with two "queen" sized beds....although, I think they were more like full sized bed....maybe in Mexico, things are smaller? 
Either way, our room was amazing, and I recommend the Occidental resort to anyone who is traveling to XCaret.

Our first dinner at our hotel buffet after a full day of traveling!
We were all a little delirious and stinky, but absolutely elated to finally be on vacay!
The banana peel on Nick's head is courtesy of Mattis.


This is my third time in the Cancun area. 
I've been the Jamaica, Hawaii, Okinawa, Key West, Cozumel, Southern California, Cape Cod, and Chejudo Island....
Cancun has, hands down...the most beautiful beaches in the world...
It's prettier than it's neighbor, Cozumel.
 

Dannika, being my California girl has been to the beach many times (whether she remembers it is a different story).
This was Mattis' first time ever (not counting Cape Code, and I don't necessarily call that a "beach").





There were monkeys just hanging out all over our resort! Pretty cool!

Poolside chats


Our resort had put on some pretty awesome shows at night.
Our first night, they did a Disney themed show.
The characters sang songs from their movies in both English and Spanish.
My kids loved it!


This is my FAVORITE. 
Look at the pure joy on his face!


The water was SO CLEAR.
We could see hundred of tropical fish.
They would swim right up to you!

My handsome hubby



Dannika met friends pretty easily on he beach there.
These girls were from England and Canada!

The BEST seafood...










We celebrated both of our boys' birthdays here!
Nick turned 34, and Mattis was 1 week shy of turning 4!


 Entrance to our resort!

This little shopping village (kinda reminds me of the San Antonio Riverwalk was in our resort!)

 View from our hotel lobby. 
The resort was absolutely breathtaking!

Nick and I enjoying a show!

Airport pic!

We had an absolute blast, and our kids got to experience international travel for the first time!
We got to swim with dolphins too, but I decided to save that for a post all on its' own (because it was THAT EPIC).
Like I said before, sorry I've been so MIA!
Life is starting to settle down a bit....yeah right....but for real...I'm starting to get back into a groove, so I hope to be blogging a little more than I have been!