Thursday, February 16, 2017

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day!

Howdy! I didn't get a chance to blog this past week due to some exams I had to study for! This is the first time in a while I have some "time to kill", so I figured I'd hop on the ole blog and give y'all and update on our Valentine's Day!

For those who know me well, y'all know how much I love a holiday and a reason to do extra special things for my family. I get it...some people hate Valentine's Day. "It's commercial." And my favorite...."I celebrate my love for (so and so) EVERYDAY of the year! I don't need a day to show them." (which if you've been married longer than five years and have children, I'm gonna call BS). Nick and I have been happily married for almost a decade now (whoa), and we've been through many ups and downs. We also have two rowdy, lovable kids that take up most of our attention most days. Usually, I am in bed by 9 while Nick is up till 1AM studying, and I am up by 4AM to study while Nick snoozes away. Our marriage is not all romance and frills every single day. Some days, we irritate the heck out of each other, and other days, we can't get enough of each other. It's called balance...it's called marriage. We do make a point to tell each other I love you every day. When I can actually remember, I tell Nick how much I appreciate it when he cleans the house and does the dishes for me. We haven't been up together in a week and a half to do our bible study, because frankly, between studying for tests and kids, we are exhausted. Balance.

But this is why I love Valentine's Day. It's a day to remind us to just take a break from it all, and really celebrate our love for each other and our kids. I love having a reason to do special things for people and my family. And even with all the exams I have been cramming for, I made it a point to make it special.

The kids had heart pancakes, and pink lemonade in "fancy glasses" for breakfast....

 Pancakes are courtesy of Nick!

I like to take fun Valentine's day photos of the kids every year, and use Tiny Prints to make Valentine's Day cards for Dannika to pass out to her class. 
They always turn out super cute, and adds a personal touch to her Valentines.
They're great little gifts for family and friends as well!

 I had a test the day of Dannika's Valentine's Day party, and she was bummed I wouldn't be able to make it.
Literally the first class party I have ever missed of hers!
Luckily, our sweet nanny (Nicolette) went in my place and joined Dannika for her party. 
THANKS!

Nick and I went out on a long overdue date night last Friday as an early Valentine's Day date.
We checked out a local restaurant (Madden's) in downtown Bryan that we have both been dying to try.
It was DELICIOUS, and I can't wait to go back there!

 The night was young (like 730), so we decided to head to a local, Marine veteran owned bar, West End Elixir to have a drink.

Dripping Springs and soda with extra lime...

We were ready to head home by 9pm (because we are old and don't stay out past 9).


I hope y'all had a fun Valentine's Day, whether it was celebrating with your love, your kids, or your friends!
Have a great week!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Daddy Daughter Dance

I love the idea of a "daddy/daughter" dance. I think it's sweet and endearing to see a little girl go out on a date with her father (or father figure). I am a traditionalist in some ways when it comes to that sorta thing, and I know it makes some feminists cringe. But I honestly love it.

I think Nick is the greatest man on earth (ok, I'm a little biased here). But I truly do believe that Nick is THE example of what a decent man should be. Afterall, I've been happily married to the guy for almost a decade now (wow a decade?!), and I have followed him to the depths of hell (snowy hell....ahem...Massachusetts....). If I got to choose a man for Dannika to one day marry, I'd choose a guy just like Nick, and if I could decide how Mattis turns out when he grows up, I would choose for him to become just like Nick. Of course, I don't get to actually pick who Dannika marries, nor do I get to decide how Mattis turns out, but I can have an influence in showing my children what a decent man is....by Nick's example.


I love the daddy/daughter dance because Dannika gets to experience for herself what I experience when Nick takes me out. She gets a glimpse into how men should treat women. It's not about just how a man is supposed to treat her either. It's teaching her small lessons about how to treat others in general, and to expect to be treated the same...with dignity and respect. She gets to feel what a thoughtful gesture like flowers feel like...


I also sorta love the "fairytale-ness" of it all. We spent the entire day getting ready for her "date". From manicures to hair to jewelry...


As I helped her get ready, we got to chit chat while jamming out to Taylor Swift radio on Pandora. I explained to her that, I don't have to get all dressed up and fancy when I go out with daddy (he honestly wouldn't care). I choose to put some effort into myself when I go out with him, because I want him to know how much I appreciate the time we are going to get to spend together. It's my small way of outwardly showing him that I am genuinely excited (that, and I love a good reason to get dressed up and dolled up!) 




Like any true Aggie, he always finds a way to add a Gig 'em into a photo op!



True Marine brat...noticing the eagles on his buttons are flying upside down.
So naturally, she adjusts them...like she has seen me do a hundred times to Nick on his uniform...

I saw some things floating around Facebook about how the daddy/daughter dance was unfair to single moms, or kids who don't have a father that is present in their lives. I don't get it though. My husband's father was absent most of his life, and is still absent to this day, and yet he can name off the top of his head, at least five different men that have been a mentor and father-like figure to him. In fact, Nick mentioned a lot of the girls had their grandfather's, uncles, and friends escort them. And for single moms, I'm in the same boat. I don't go to the daddy/daughter dance because I'm not a dad or a father figure. Maybe I just opened up a can of worms here, but then again, this is my blog. I write what I want...

Nick and Dannika had an absolute blast by the way. Nick described the evening as "high school prom all over again". Dannika ditched him to go dance with her friends on the dance floor, and he stood off the side watching with all the other "loser dads". I think I died laughing when he said that. When I picture it, however, I picture a proud father, standing on the sides watching his daughter have the time of her life with her friends. And this is why, I support daddy/daughter dances.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

February and Politics

Here we are...February 2, and I haven't blogged since January 22nd. I told y'all once the semester starts, blogging would sporadic (at best). I have some really great classes, but just an "eh" schedule. I actually have a class WITH Nick...like we sit next to each other every class. It's really a lot of fun! The professor is just a few years older than us, so when she makes references to 90's stuff (which she does quite often), I think Nick and I are the only ones laughing because we actually "get it".


We celebrated the Chinese New Year (the Year of the Rooster) with pizza and dumplings ordered from our favorite Chinese place in town. I have a Chinese aunt, and she always sends me a text on the Chinese New Year. As a kid, she used to give me money in these cool red and gold envelopes, but I guess since I'm a grown up now, she's expecting me to give money to my kids in red and gold envelopes?

Our Chinese New Year celebration turned a little sour towards the end. What had happened was.......I rarely talk about politics outside of my own home. I have had some life experiences (both in the Marine Corps and personally) that have altered my views on politics, and it rarely fits any "mold" (conservative? liberal? republican? democrat?). Being in Texas, a lot of the people here are extremely conservative and staunch Republicans. Which is fine. I used to consider myself that before life happened. Now I'm sorta all over the place. A good friend of ours that we hung out with that night is your typical "Texan" when it comes to politics. We agree on a lot, and disagree on a few. But the few things we disagree on, we really disagree on. Well, our discussion turned to politics, and some comments were made (none of which are important today) that really pushed my buttons and sent me over the edge. I'm usually pretty good about being calm, cool, and collected, but I lost it. Like screaming at the top of my lungs and scaring my children lost it. Not my proudest moment, but not ashamed of it either. I had to voice my opinion about some things that I was passionate about. When a man yells at me and belittles me (or makes me feel belittled I should say...he didn't belittle me), you're damn right I am going to make sure my voice is louder and heard. As a woman Marine, I constantly had to battle with "speaking time" against the men. I was always talked over, interrupted, etc. Not always intentionally, but this happens time and time again. So as a Marine, I learned how to "handle" men like that. Unfortunately, you can't "handle" civilian men like that....they're mindset is not the same as a military member. Anyway, to make this already long story short, I was apologized to, and we have moved on. Life is too short, and our friends are our friends...some of our best friends that I would trust with my life and my kids. I think the lesson that can be learned here is that people can be friends after a disagreement, and it took a lot of balls and humility for our friend to apologize to me. I respect that.

The next day, I had a glass of wine on our porch to just reflect on the past evening. I was upset that it came to that and upset that I lost my cool. Hindsight is 20/20 and there are so many other ways I coulda handled that.  The past is the past.

I can't promise y'all I'll be consistent with blogging, but I can promise that I'll be consistent on IG and FB! 
So if you follow me on there, you can keep up with my shenanigans!
Have a wonderful February, and stay positive friends!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Deep Within My Heart Lies a Melody...

"...A song of old San Antone..."
 -Patsy Cline

Apparently, we have a new President? lol. My timeline is filled with all sorts of politics, and as much as I have some strong opinions, I choose to keep that stuff to myself behind closed doors. You know the old saying, "keep politics and religion out of family dinner talk." Well my "Facebook family" happens to be some pretty diverse individuals, some of whom I strongly disagree with and some of whom I strongly agree with. However, I find it easier for my soul and my emotions to just "let it go". I'm sensitive, and I get "riled up" pretty easily.

On to more important things, I really want to blog about our family's mini vacay to San Antonio last weekend! School started back up this week for Nick and me, so I haven't had a chance to jump on the old blog and catch up! Our family had all these awesome plans to travel around Texas for the winter break, but our plans got screwed over when our entire family literally got sick at some point in time during the holidays. I was determined to make ONE trip happen, and on the very last weekend of our break, we booked a hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio and spent two days there. Two days was just perfect for our family, especially with Mattis. I think one more day may have sent Nick over the edge 😂😂. Bless his heart for being such a great dad and putting up with our crazy three year old, so that I could enjoy our trip a little more with Dannika. 

I couldn't wait to take my family and experience San Antonio with them. I have such great fond memories of my parents taking me there as a child, so it was really neat to go back there as an adult!
Enjoy the pics! If you're planning a quick trip to San Antonio anytime soon, I have some great recommendations for a short weekend!

Our nanny is from SA, so we asked her for a lot of recommendations before we left.
Her mom recommended the Westin on the Riverwalk, and so that's where we stayed!
It did not disappoint!
I've stayed at several Westin Hotels, and I have never been disappointed!
Here is my sweet girl at the hotel seeing the Riverwalk for the first time!

In front of the Riverwalk!
The Riverwalk a man made river in San Antonio lined by bars, shops, restaurants, nature, and public art.



And you can't go to San Antonio without eating AMAZING Mexican food.
Seriously...best Mexican food ever....
We had lunch at Casa Rio.
Casa Rio (according to a tour guide) is the pioneer in Riverwalk dining in San Antonio.

We took the Riverwalk cruise around the river.
It's a tour lead by a knowledgeable guide on a river boat. 
The kids loved it! 

Next, we made a stop at the "Cowboy museum" or better known as its' official name, "The Briscoe Western Art Museum".

 A vintage Selena Barbie still in its' box!
If you don't know who Selena is, you are clearly not a true Texan.

The San Antonio Calligrapher's Guild was there making free bookmarks!
It was amazing to see the artistry of free hand calligraphy!


They even let Dannika give it a whirl!

The finished bookmark!
Completely freehanded!

Dannika in front of a display of Spurs...

And Saddles...




We snagged a room with a view of the Riverwalk!
The kids loved sitting out on the balcony and people watching.


We watched a very hard fought Cowboys game....
That caused me to drink....

For dinner, we chose to go to a restaurant recommended to us called Rosarios. 
It was hands down the best Mexican food I have ever had.
I started with a bloody mary...nice and spicy and made with Titos vodka, just how I like it.

I had Pozole and Mexican style Shrimp cocktail.
OMG....it was HEAVENLY.
Nick had their beef and shrimp fajitas and our kids and I split an enchilada plate with white cream sauce.
Seriously...
best Mexican food I've ever had. 



This is Nick and I on "Marriage Island".
According to its' website, Marriage Island holds "360 weddings a year, and the island is now the root ball of a cypress tree that was planted over 100 years ago."

On our last morning, we found a little cafe in "La Villita" (a small shopping district on the Riverwalk) called "Cafe Villita".
They had the most amazing breakfast tacos and pancakes ever.
I highly recommend their brisket taco and chorizo and egg taco.
Another cool thing, the owner of the cafe is an Aggie!
He spotted our family (and Nick's giant Aggie bling), and came to chat with us.
Super friendly!

We found a little shop next to the cafe that sells wax melts for warmers (like a Scentsy warmer).
You can create your own blends.
It smelled so good in there, and we walked out with three boxes of our very own customized blends.




Our last stop in San Antonio was, of course, the world famous Alamo!
"REMEMBER THE ALAMO!"
"COME AND TAKE IT!"
The kids did not appreciate the beauty and history of it (because they were just too young), but it was still cool for Nick and me to see it.
I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and it's just as I remember it.

"Davy Crockett"

On our way home, we stopped at a snake farm and zoo right off the highway in New Braunfels. 
It was a HUGE hit for Mattis.

They have a small zoo behind the snake farm.
The zoo actually made me a little sad. 
The animals had barely any room to really run around and be free in 😕


We had such a blast for our two short days in San Antonio.
It was great to have one last "hoorah" before spring semester, and our family really had an amazing time. 
If y'all are ever planning a trip to San Antonio, definitely check out the restaurants I mentioned!