Monday, August 21, 2017

An Offical Aggie!

I've been an Aggie all my life, but....

I officially have the coveted Aggie bling and a diploma! Like I'm "officially official"!

Nick got me a Ring Wrap for Mother's Day this year.
I've waited 33 years for an Aggie ring...he figured, he'd go ahead and bling it out for me!
I waited longer for an Aggie ring than I did a husband....seriously.

Husband and wife Aggies!

I have neglected this blog because of school, family, graduation, vacation, and everything else that has been going on in my life the last month! I finally have a moment to sit down and share on my blog about everything that has happened!

First off...
Nick and I GRADUATED from Texas A&M on August 11! We are officially the newest members of the Texas A&M former students' association! I got the sticker on my car to prove it too! Some reasons why this graduation meant so much to us...

1. Nick never got to walk the stage at his high school graduation. He failed math his senior year, and had to take summer school to graduate high school and join the Marine Corps. Getting to (finally) wear a cap and gown and walk the stage was monumental to his life. He had a picture of his mum inside his graduation cap. It was so sweet and sentimental.

2. Nick is the first person in his family to graduate from college! HUGE!

3. My parents immigrated here to the good ole U.S.A. more than 3 decades ago. They had hopes and dreams. One of the biggest reasons why my dad worked so hard in starting his own business was to be able to put my sister and I through college. He truly wanted to invest in our education and our future. My mom and dad never went to college, and they didn't want that same fate for their children. It broke their heart when I chose to skip college upon graduation from high school to join the Marine Corps. Of course now, they are two very proud Marine Corps parents, and have expressed how proud they are of my life choices and how I have turned out. But I know a little part of them still dreamed about having BOTH of their children be college grads. Well, mom and dad....BOTH of your daughters are college grads and so are BOTH of your son in laws!

4. I've dreamed of becoming an Aggie graduate. There's just something different about calling yourself an "Aggie" while wearing an Aggie ring. I've whooped and "gigged" all my life, but having this piece of gold on my finger makes it feel so much more official. Like...I finally became part of the "club".

5. Statistically speaking, children of parents with college degrees are more likely to attend college, and excel in school. Of course, this is just a statistic, and we know many successful people without college degrees with successful children. However, just having a little more security in our children's future is well worth the little piece of paper saying "hey, I went to college!". And isn't for everyone, and a college degree doesn't make you better than anyone. However, there are just so many more doors that open up as far as opportunities go with a degree.

And last...
6. Nick and I finished college while raising a family. Two kids, marriage, a mortgage, bills, etc. We volunteered in our community and stayed active at A&M. It literally took a village (thanks to our nannies, babysitters, friends, and family). But accomplishing college as 30 something year old undergrads with two kids is something that I will cherish forever. I hope that my kids will remember this and takeaway that nothing is impossible if you have the drive and the will.

Mark, me, and Nick! 
Mark is also a Marine veteran that graduated with us. 
All three of us had a class together last semester, and needless to say, it was probably one of the most fun classes I've sat through because of these two!

We were so blessed to have my entire family join us on our special day!
Special shout out to my sister and her family for flying all the way out here from Nashville to celebrate our accomplishment with us!
Oh, and my sister is pregnant with ANOTHER baby girl!!!!
I get to be an aunt again!

I will have to catch y'all up on everything else that has been going on as well in future posts! Nick is officially a Marine 2ndLt, I dunked my Aggie ring (and beat Nick), and our family also just got back from a vacation in Mexico! So much to talk about and so little time! Thanks for all the well wishes and congrats! 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer Lately (and Picture Overload)

A few weeks ago, I made the comment to someone that this summer has been pretty mild (for Texas). I guess mother nature overheard, and decided to "show me up". It has been hot as HAYLL lately! Thank goodness for A/C, popsicles, and pool time. We've been making the best of it and enjoying the heat! After all, I did say that I would never complain about the heat ever again after living in New England for two brutal winters. As Nick and I wrap up college (eek!), our kids have been troopers. They've become experts at entertaining themselves while mama studies, and have been very patient (most of the time) with my school schedule. We do find fun things to do in between classes and studying! We created a "summer bucket" list for our kids, and have been diligently knocking each one off, one by one!

S'mores in our backyard was one of our bucket list items!

So Zima made a comeback!
It's actually a pretty disgusting malt liquor that I enjoyed back in my underage drinking days...
It was more nostalgic than anything.
My goofy husband drinking one with his pinky up!

 Family game night ✅ (another bucket list item)

ice cream for lunch!

Cheer clinic!

Summer reading shopping trip ✅

Who remembers "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"?! 
It's a classic, and I was so excited for Dannika to read it!

Fun 4th of July photos!

Bluebell ice cream on National Ice Cream day!
Who knew that was even a thing?!

Bake cookies ✅

I can hardly believe that it is the end of July and graduation is so close!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

That Time a Stranger Spilled a Coke on Me in White Pants

I like my rather long and catchy title. I'll get into that story in a little bit. This blog post is actually about the 2nd wedding that Nick and I attended this summer. So much summer love! A Marine that I was on recruiting duty with recently got married, and Nick and I were honored to be invited to their wedding! Nick was asked to lead his sword arch (like he has done faithfully for all of our Marine friends' weddings). The wedding was in Pomona, California, an hour and a half east of LA. It was a short, quick getaway for Nick and I, and we were so excited to watch our dear friend marry the love of his life. The wedding was held at the Kellogg House. The Kellogg house is a mansion on Cal State Pomona's campus. It was originally owned by the Kellogg's cereal guy (hence the name of the venue)!  Here are some photos from our fun little trip, and, yes, the story about my white pants and a stranger spilling coke all over them is coming up...

Airport selfie at the bar!
One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to grab a drink before we board our flight.
For whatever reason, drinks taste better at the airport.

So here's the story:
Nick sat in the aisle, I sat in the middle, and this young man sat next to window on the plane.
We all ordered drinks, and the man next to me ordered a coke.
I watched him doze off with his coke in his hand, and for a moment, I thought...
"Huh...that would suck if he spills it on himself while he's asleep."
I glanced back over, and noticed that he had put his coke down on his tray table, had his arms crossed, and had fallen back asleep.
 I started reading my trashy tabloid magazine (like I always do on airplanes), when all of a sudden, the guy had a random reflex while asleep, and he knocked his coke off the tray table....ALL OVER ME AND MY WHITE PANTS!
I was furious. Livid. 
"Seriously, dude?! I'm wearing freaking white pants?!"
Then I glared at him.
He apologized profusely (which still didn't help the situation).
Luckily, I had my carry on in the overhead compartment, and went to the lavatory to change clothes.
The flight attendants gave me a can of seltzer water to soak my pants in.
So that's not the end of the story...
Once I got up to change, Nick looked at the guy and told him (in a completely non confrontational way), "dude, you need to be careful."
The guy took one look at Nick, and begged him not to hit him.
He actually said, "please don't hit me."
Seriously! 😂😂😂😂
I can't make this up!  
He offered to pay for my pants, to which Nick said no.
But either way, the rest of the flight was extremely uncomfortable....for that guy.
He avoided eye contact with us the entire flight.

Airplane selfie before taking off...because we're basic like that.
This was pre "coke all over my white pants" incident.

We stopped at this random fancy restaurant in Pico Rivera, CA on our way to Pomona to have a quick dinner.

My gracious parents watched our kids again for us.
I can always count on my super Korean mom to be hooking up my kids with great skincare.

Photos from the wedding and reception.

I love the expression of the pastor during the first kiss as husband and wife!

wedding cake!

This wedding was the last time Nick would wear his Enlisted dress blues!
Next time he wears blues, he'll be wearing the Officer blues.

I spent the majority of the evening dancing and partying it up with these two handsome men.
Preston (on the left) is the groom's brother, and Whitney (on the right) is his fiance. 
I met so many fun, friendly, and amazing people at this wedding!

The wedding was an absolute blast.
Congrats to our friend Thomas, and our new friend (and his new wife) Roxanne!
Thanks for letting us share your special day with y'all!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

They Say 8 is GREAT

My first baby girl just turned EIGHT this week! I think I've said this a million times, and I've worn the saying out, but "they really do grow up so fast" the blink of an eye. Every year, I end up reminiscing about my baby girl on my blog. I go on and on about how it feels just like yesterday when we brought her home from the hospital, and how I still remember her first birthday party. I'm sure everyone is tired of me saying the same things every year. I'm not gonna do that this time.

Nick posted on his Facebook that I always get sad when our kids turn a year older, because they'll no longer be "babies" (they'll ALWAYS be MY babies...but they won't be little). However, Nick wrote that he is happy that she is a little older because it means there are more things they can do together. 
I love his outlook. He truly enjoys every precious moment he has with our kids, and I am so grateful that our kids have such a strong dad (both physically and emotionally) to look up to. 

As for Dannika, year 7 was full of love. You still have the same positive outlook on life. You see the good in EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. I feel like I am too hard on you sometimes, and ask too much of you. I hope you know that I only do that, because I know that you are capable of so much more than you realize. You still have a sensitive soul, and you wear your heart on your sleeve. Your daddy and I laugh at you when we joke around with you, because you take what we say so literally (when we're just joking). You love people unconditionally. You're an amazing big sister to Mattis, and even though he can really be a pesky little brother, thanks for always stepping up when it counts as his big sister. Thanks for still letting me pick out your clothes, and put ridiculously large bows in your hair (although we have toned it down a bit). You're loyal....fiercely loyal to your close group of friends, and I love that you know the importance of that at such a young age. Thanks for teaching me and reminding me every single day to be a little kinder, be humbler, and see all that is good in everything and everyone....even when it's bad. Never lose your positive energy, and never let anyone steal that from you. I don't care if you're the smartest or the fastest or the best at anything, but I do care that you stay true to yourself. You keep doing you, baby girl! God has AMAZING plans for you, and I can't wait to see that plan unfold.

Last night as a 7 year old!

Morning of her birthday! Shipley's donuts of course!

I had class on her birthday, but my sweet mama friends got cupcakes and gifts for my sweet girl.
As soon as I got done with class, I rushed over to my friend's house where the girls had been swimming all morning, and we had a mini birthday celebration for her!
I am so blessed by "my village".

Dannika's sweet friend Ava came back from Indiana for a short visit.
It was perfect timing with her birthday, and the perfect birthday surprise!

Thanks to everyone who gave Dannika well wishes and "happy birthdays"! 
She is one lucky gal to have all y'all in her life!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Things I Wish I Had Thought About Before Having Kids

There's actually a LOT of things I wish I would have thought about before having kids. But seeing as how neither of my kids were truly planned, I didn't get much time to think about it. But aside from thinking about how much childcare costs, the late nights, the early mornings, or the massive amounts of food a three-year-old can actually consume in a day (seriously, my son is a bottomless pit), there is one thing I wish I could change. I wish I would have planned to have my kids between the months of January-May or Mid September-December. Do you notice that all the summer months are absent from the months? Out of ALL the things that parents think about before having a child, parents don't think about the timing. Both of my kids have summer birthdays. My sweet Dannika was born in July, and my rowdy Mattis was born in August. Why is this a problem? Aside from the fact that I spent both of my third trimesters of pregnancy in the sweltering months of summer dealing with swamp butt and all sorts of other pregnancy unpleasantness, my kids are eternally screwed with birthdays. Ok, maybe I'm being totally dramatic about being "eternally screwed", but it still isn't ideal! Here are my two reasons:

1. Summer birthday kids are always the youngest in the classroom when they start school. At age 5 (when they normally start Kindergarten), summer birthday kids are usually smaller, and slightly developmentally behind some of their peers (some whom are almost a year older than them). There is a HUGE difference between a 5 year old and a 5 and a half year old when it comes to size and development.
Lucky for us, Dannika is actually tall for her age, and developmentally has exceeded many of her peers. Teachers tell us it's a "girl thing". Girls tend to mature faster than little boys (is what we're told at least). Mattis hasn't started school yet, but he is small for his age, and he is definitely not where Dannika was intellectually or developmentally at this age.

2. The most important reason why summer birthdays can stink is BIRTHDAY PARTIES! With Dannika's birthday in July, by the time July rolls around after schools gets out in May, we've lost touch with classmates. Many have gone on vacations, camp, grandma's, etc. Getting a class together after losing touch for almost a month and a half is impossible. As for Mattis, his birthday is at the end of August. When he starts school, his classmates will be foreign to him by August. It also stinks for him, because school usually starts right after his birthday, so even if he wanted to do a party with his new classmates, he has the daunting task of befriending them (in like a week).

Dannika's school has been really great with acknowledging her "inconvenient" summer birthday! Her first grade teacher celebrated half birthdays for her summer kids, and her Kindergarten and 2nd grade teacher let us choose a day the last two weeks of schools to celebrate her birthday at school. We have found a pretty awesome way to celebrate Dannika's birthday as well. We throw her a party in June as soon as school gets out. We send out invites before the last day of school, and we've always had a great turnout! 

So despite the "inconvenience", we have managed to make it work out, and Dannika has celebrated 8 glorious birthdays. The birthday I'm not looking forward to is the year all her friends turn 16 before her. Sorry baby girl, you'll be "the one"...the one that is always bumming rides with her friends because you'll be the last one to get your license. 

But still, if I could have planned when I'd give birth, I would have preferred not to to have babies in the summer...

Dannika recently had her 8th birthday party just last week! Her and her friend had a joint party at a local "water park" (term used loosely). They had a blast, and it was absolutely memorable!

The Birthday gals!

Thanks to everyone who came out to make our girls feel special!