Thursday, July 31, 2014

AMOI Duty

I woke up today happy, because in exactly 1 week, we'll get to actually physically be in the presence of Nick!
I have been thinking about all the things I want to do with him when he gets home, all the catching up we have to do, and all the preparations we have to make before moving to Texas (hopefully sooner rather than later).
I have written many times on my blog about how fond I have grown of our neighbors and friends here in Massachusetts, and I am eternally grateful that they are in our lives.
I am also IN LOVE with our church here, and it's ONE thing that our family will truly miss when we leave here.

But honestly, I am so over this place and this duty, and I think I can speak on behalf of our family when I say that we are SO OVER IT!
When Nick first put in his request for AMOI duty, we talked at great lengths about it, and decided it was best for his career and our family.
We needed a "break" from "fleet life" (deployments, field, training exercises, etc.).
Every Marine we had spoken to that had done AMOI duty had nothing but awesome things to say about it, and how good it was for family life.
We were thrilled, and Nick put his choices in to go somewhere in Texas so that we could be near family.
Of course that OBVIOUSLY did not happen, and we ended up here in Boston.
We figured we'd make the best of it, because regardless of the fact that we weren't in Texas, at least we got accepted for AMOI duty.

Well, Boston AMOI duty is slightly different than any other school because you're not just in charge of one school like most AMOI's.
You end up in charge of multiple schools that are all on different schedules.
I've never seen my husband spread so thin, and it definitely affected our family life.
Texts and emails all hours of the night from college kids wanting/asking random crap....(which eventually he made a policy that no one could text or email him after 1700).
Ceremonies, parades, community events, balls...
What were we on? Recruiting?!
This duty was supposed to be relaxing with lots of family time.
On top of that, he was sent away every Summer to be an instructor at OCS.
The lack of Marines also made it harder.
Our family has always been around a close knit group of friends who shared the common bond of the Marine Corps, and when we came here, that went away.

Reflecting on our last 2 years here, I'm not going to miss this duty.
When Nick put in his MECEP package, part of his driving force was to get away from this duty as soon as possible (of course there are bigger reasons than this, but it was definitely something he mentioned).
I've never seen my husband burnt out in the entire time I've been married to him until we came here.
He was never burnt out on the drill field, he was never burnt out in the fleet after deployments...

So with that, I am SO excited for our next chapter in our life.
I am SO thrilled to be together as a family for at least 2 consecutive years with no deployments or separations looming. 
I am elated.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Life In Bullets

I haven't had much to blog about lately, because honestly, I'm just slooowly counting down the days until next week when we get to see Nick.
I've been trying my hardest to fill the days with meaningful activities to keep to kids busy, and to help time pass.
I've failed at that.
Monday and Tuesday were the longest days of my life, and I woke up this morning saying to myself, "It's ONLY Wednesday?!"
So here's just a couple bullets on life this week.

*I had a toothache, so I went to the dentist. I found out a root canal I had done by Naval dental is failing, and it looks like the tooth may have to be extracted. Thank God it's my 2nd molars, and no one really needs those anyways.

*I knew having a little boy around the house would be so much more different than having a girl, but it's proving to be much more challenging than I imagined. Mattis is an explorer. He wants to touch, feel, and look at EVERYTHING. My house is not baby proofed...yeah...I need to get on that.
Here he is watching his big sister play outside.
He desperately wants to be able to run around with her...poor guy.

*I get so lazy with doing Dannika's hair in the summer. Most of the time, I comb it, and stick a head band in it. I actually decided to do something with it yesterday.

*I am weaning Mattis off the boob, and hope to be totally done by his 1st birthday. Mama needs her body back to herself. I am actually pretty freaking proud of myself that I lasted a year breastfeeding. I only lasted a month with Dannika. We are down to one feeding in the morning, and one feeding at night. When we cut out the day time feeding, he was one unhappy little dude. He started sucking on anything and everything that resembled a boob....poor kid. He's fine now though, and I don't think he even remembers that he used to get the boob during the day.
He was like this for the first two days...

*I was starting to feel a little sluggish with my work outs at the gym lately. I think I'm so mentally ready for Nick to come home that I can't really focus on anything else. But I can proudly say, I have not missed a day, and on Sunday, when it rained, I didn't let it stop me! I usually run on Sundays, but since it was raining, I did at HIIT work out in the living room, and I am still sore today.
Car selfie before the gym!

So there y'all have it!
Maybe something awesome will happen this week that I can blog about.
But unless that happens, this is what ya get!
Happy hump day!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

11 Months Old

Mattis is officially an 11 month old as of YESTERDAY!!!
I can't believe that he'll be 1 next month!



Some cool new tricks this month..

*You blow kisses!
video
It's the most adorable thing ever, cause you stick one finger in your mouth and pop it out!

*You give high 5's like a BOSS!

*You started the "assisted walk" yesterday!
video
I'm hoping you hold off on walking unassisted until you see daddy (in 12 days!).

*Your new favorite thing to eat in the whole world is blueberries!

*Our neighbors have nicknamed you "the Prince" or "the Royal Highness" because you're a teeny bit high maintenance.
You have to have things your way, or it is the end of the world.

*Your absolute favorite toy in the entire world is a ball.
It can be a medicine ball, a soccer ball, a bouncy ball...any sort of round object can entertain you for hours!
The ladies at the gym daycare always pull out all the balls when you arrive.
We've also discovered you have quite an arm on ya!



I can't believe you'll be 1 next month!!!
I'm so excited that daddy will be here to celebrate it with you!
We love you, our little prince!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Organic Green Tea Matcha Powder

Note: I received a free sample of this product for review. I was not compensated monetarily. All of the opinions stated are mine.

I've seen on Instagram lately, a lot of people post smoothie recipes with "green tea matcha powder".
If you know me, I love a green smoothie packed with tons of veggies.
I've heard of matcha tea powder before, and I'm pretty sure I had a drink at Starbucks that contains it.
That's about as far as my knowledge on it went.
I did some Googling on it, and surprisingly found some pretty awesome health benefits of it.
Just a few:
*Increased energy
*Burns calories
*Detoxifies body
*Improves memory and concentration

So when I was asked by Kiss Me Organics to write a review on their organic green tea matcha powder, I jumped on the opportunity!
They are exclusive to Amazon, and being an Amazon Prime member, I received it within two days with free shipping!
  One bag has 4ozs, and it's recommended that you have 1/2 tsp to 1tsp a day.
If you do the math, this little bag will last you 2-3 months (depending on how much you use)!

It says you can use it in lattes, smoothies, and baking.
I'm not much of a latte person at home, and I don't bake, so I decided to try it in a smoothie.

Here's my smoothie recipe.
The measurements are estimates, since I never measure anything.

2-3 cups of water (depending on how thick or runny you like your smoothies)
1 cup of frozen bananas
1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of frozen cauliflower
handful of spinach
1/2 cup of greek yogurt
1/2 tsp of Kiss Me Organics matcha powder

When you open the bag, the smell is really intense and strong.
It's not an unpleasant smell (it's more like an earthy smell).
 I got the impression that the taste and smell of the powder would overpower my smoothie.
But after blending it with all my other ingredients, you couldn't even tell it was in there.
The powder is extremely fine, so it can be blended into just about anything.
They also send you a FREE recipe guide with different ways to use it!

My smoothie was delicious!

It's a perfect "little something" to add to your everyday smoothie for a boost of added health benefits!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Boston Bucket List

With Nick graduating in less than 2 weeks now, it's starting to really sink in that we are moving soon.
When Nick found out he was coming here, he was in Afghanistan.
I was the one who broke the news to him from my work via my work phone.
I was fortunate enough at the time to be active duty, and my work had a government line I could use to call Nick in Afghanistan...just a small perk of being a dual active duty couple.
I remember his reaction...

"Boston?! What?? No....I didn't even put that as one of my choices! Besides, I'm in Afghanistan, I can't go anyway. They wouldn't send me home early from combat for these orders."

Oh, but they did.
They pulled him away from his unit in the middle of combat operations, so that he could come here to Boston.

Early homecoming photos....


I cringed thinking about it.
I WAS STATIONED IN CALIFORNIA!
How the heck would we be together?!?
Short answer:
We weren't together. We spent nearly a year on separate coasts until I discharged from the Corps.
It sucked.

When I finally got here, we had all these grand plans to make the most of our time in Boston.
We would never get a chance to live here again, so why not make the best of it?!

But then...
We moved here to this...

Talk about depressing.

When all this crazy snow finally ended, we were still recovering from the "winter blues", and before you knew it, Nick was gone for the Summer.
Our family spent so much time being negative about living here, that our "Boston bucket list" never got a single check mark placed in it.

So now that we have just a few short months left here, Nick and I made a pact to do all things "touristy" in Boston before we left.
We had already started checking things off our list starting with our weekend getaway to the Cape.

So here's our Boston Bucket List.
I figured if I blogged about it, I'll be held more accountable to it...
I also know there are TONS of other places to check out in Boston, but we're limited on time!

1. Take a trip to Cape Code
2. Have an authentic "lobstah roll"
(I had one at Warren Tavern in Boston and one at Oysters Too at the Cape...hands down the best lobster rolls i've ever had.
3. Sam Adams brewery tour
4. Boston Duck tour
5. Freedom Trail
6. USS Constitution
7. Spend a day at Quincy market
8. visit Harvard and MIT
9. Go running on the esplanade
10. Have a dinner date night in the South End
11. Dinner cruise on the "ha-bah"
(yes, I'm making fun of your accent Bostonians...)


That's our list!
I'm sure there are a million other places that y'all Bostonians would recommend, but this is really all we want to do!

I'll keep y'all updated on how we do as far as checking things off our list before we leave here!

I did an easy 6 mile run yesterday at an 8:24 pace.
I'm pretty excited to time myself when Nick gets back to see how fast I am without pushing the jogging stroller!
I'm confident I can run a 20 minute PFT (3 miles), and keep a 7:50-8:10 pace for a 7-8 miler!

Indoor playgrounds are my friend cause this little guy can't walk yet.
I can just let him freely crawl around everywhere without having to worry about much!


I've been losing my patience a lot with this girl.
She turned 5, and this whole plethora of attitude and sass came with it.
I'm learning to be more patient and understanding...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2 More Weeks, Life, & Fitness

My day yesterday was...

Honestly, it hasn't been TOO terrible.
Mattis was having a meltdown for no reason at all (cause babies never need reasons for meltdowns sometimes), so I did what any good mom would do...take photos and post them on Instagram.
I had to preserve the memory of this adorable pouty face, even though at the time, I was wishing he'd just go to sleep and let me be.

A former Army wife (who's husband got out a few years ago) found out Nick had been gone all summer when we chatted at a birthday party this weekend.
She immediately asked if I had any help with the kids, and I told her, "no, but it's not too bad cause I'm used to it. I have pretty good kids."
She didn't care though.
She immediately volunteered herself to come pick up Dannika this week to take her off my hands.
So for the last two days, she's picked up Dannika, and has taken her to the lake to play for a few hours with her daughter.
There's just something different about military families...

On another note...
TWO weeks from today, we'll be reunited with this handsome face...
This was a photo a friend sent me from last weekend.
He's gotten SO SKINNY!
I seriously can't wait to bring him home, feed him some good home cooked meals (Texas Chili, anyone?!?), and love on him!!

The last two weeks always drags, but it also means I gotta step it up into high gear with my work outs!
I posted this pic on Instagram/Facebook last night of me...
The pic on the left is of me in 2010 after Nick returned home from Afghanistan (his first time), and the pic on the right is of me yesterday.
It's really hard to tell the difference, but in the left pic, I was just skinny.
I spent the 7 months he was deployed running, spinning, and doing non stop cardio to lose the rest of my baby weight that I gained with Dannika.
In the right pic, I look/feel stronger, more toned, and more defined.
I've always been the "cardio queen", and I stayed away from weights as much as possible for fear of getting "big".
This past year since I had Mattis, I was desperate to add some new stuff to my regular run/spin routine, and I slowly started incorporating little weights here and there to my regimen.
I started with kettlebells, resistance bands, and light dumb bells.
Since May, I've gone full blown into weights on top of doing my normal cardio routine, and I can't believe how much better I feel, and how much leaner my body is.
I actually weight more now than I did in the pic on the left, but wear the same size clothes...actually, my shorts and jeans from 2010 are starting to even feel a little loose.
This is of course on top of a healthy diet.
I've always been a healthy eater, and lucky me, I don't have a sweet tooth.
My weakness is pinot grigio and Tito's vodka, but those are my only two "cheats" when it comes to my diet.

The next two weeks, I'm just focusing on toning more to look hot for my honey, of course! lol.
I know he could care less either way, but there's something about not seeing each other for 10 weeks that makes me want to surprise him, and make his jaw drop :).


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Final Countdown

I think the first two weeks when Nick leaves is the worst, and the last two weeks before we get to see him is the "second worst" part of any type of separation.
The first two weeks, I normally go through an "initial shock" phase of becoming a "solo parent", and it takes me a little bit to find my groove and my routine without him around.
The last two weeks, there's so much anticipation of finally having him back that it literally feels like an eternity.
Throw that into the mix of emotions of having to "reintegrate" our family once again, and the stress of that gives me major anxiety.
I've written before how hard reintegration has been on our family because we've had to do it so often.
The worst part is that right when we find our "sweet spot", Nick is leaving again.
Between the advanced course and OCS this year, we only had 3 months together...between the advanced course and his last trip to OCS (as an instructor) last summer, we only had 4 months together....see a pattern here?

Now that we are on our final stretch of our countdown, I have all this anticipation and excitement.
I can't wait to have someone to sit on the couch with at the end of the day and unwind with.
I can't wait to have an extra set of hands to help out with the kids.
I really just can't wait to have my best friend back home.
But I know that everything won't be automatically "rainbows and unicorns" when he gets home.
I don't want to fall back into our old patterns of reintegrating, because honestly, it was hell.
We didn't do it "right"....which I'm not sure if there's a "right way" to reintegrate...
But I know there's a better way than the way we have been doing it.
Normally, I would just throw him into our lives, and expect him to know how everything's been working....
That caused resentment on his part, because he obviously didn't know how I had been running the household.
That caused anger on my part, because...well...if he hadn't left in the first place, he would know...

The silver lining is the fact that once this is over with, we have AT LEAST the next two years with no separations, and we can find some sort of "normalcy" in our lives for a short while.

Dannika had her 5 year well check appointment yesterday.
She's 43.5 inches tall and exactly 43lbs!
She's gained 5lbs in the last year and grew 3 whole inches!

What a difference a year makes, huh?

My bad knee has been bothering me again, so I only hit the pavement twice a week nowadays.
I get my cardio in on low impact machines at the gym the rest of the days.
I did 7.5 miles on Sunday at a pretty quick pace with the stroller, and I'm still experiencing some pretty excruciating knee pain from that run today! eek!
I have an appointment at the VA in a few weeks for a follow up since my knee surgery in the Marine Corps!

Dannika's gymnastics gym had a Disney theme going on this week, and she insisted that I snap some photos of her with some of her favorite princesses.


This girl can do a pull up all on her own on the rings at gymnastics.
She's now obsessed with doing them!
Good thing we have some rings on the swing set at home!

Here's to the next two weeks!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How Much of Me is Real?

A friend of mine posted this link on Facebook.
It starts with..

 "Everyone on Facebook looks like they're having a great time. Fun adventures, deep romances, amazing jobs. It's enough to make you feel inadequate, but it's also a lie. Nobody is really as happy as their Facebook wall claims"
 
If you don't want to look at it, it's a short video about a guy posting status updates on Facebook embellishing his life to make it seem like something better than what it is.

I started thinking about my own personal activity on social media, and started questioning how much of what I post (which I post daily) is truly what my life is.
I went back and scrolled through my Facebook status updates, and the majority of them are posts about my kids, my husband, and fitness (mostly running).
Rightfully so...
Three passions of mine are my kids, my husband, and running, so it makes sense that most of my statuses on Facebook would be about those 3. 
I would say 90% of my Facebook posts are generally positive posts (the 10% being complaining mostly).
When I look back at my Facebook statuses and photos, my life looks pretty put together.
I'm constantly posting about how proud I am of my husband, how much I love him, how much I miss him, and I brag about him all the time.
I post a gazillion photos of my kids because frankly, I think my kids are freaking adorable.
I like to run, so when I do get a good run in, I like to post my times, a post run sweaty selfie.
But anyone with half a brain knows that no one's life is "perfect", and I have never claimed to have the "perfect life".

When I choose to share something with the world on social media, it's because it's something that makes me happy and I want to share, or something I'm proud of.
 Do I embellish things? Sure. Everyone does does to an extent...even without realizing it.

"OMG! Best husband ever! He got off work early!"
but really...
"Nick got home from work early because I about had a nervous break down with the kids, and this horrible week I've had. We actually argued on the phone because I asked him to take off, and he was mad that I would ask him to do such a thing."

Looking in hindsight, I didn't want to air my dirty laundry out like that, and I chose to post something that made me sound more grateful than the raging "b" word that I actually was.
But at the end of day, I truly was grateful that despite how we got there, he did chose to come home early to give me a break.
I wanted everyone to know that I do, in fact, have a great husband....no one needs to know that he originally didn't want to leave work early for me.

 But does this make me unauthentic and not genuine because I choose to post about the good things about my life?
My life, my marriage, my parenting, my kids, my running...all of it has major flaws.
But there are just some things that I don't think anyone else needs to know about except for my family and me. 
When my marriage is struggling (which it has before), I'm not gonna put it all out there on Facebook for everyone to know because it's a private matter.
You'll notice that I do a lot less bragging about my husband when we are fighting behind the computer though (if you ever want to try and decipher my marriage via social media). 
I've blogged plenty about my marriage, and the ringer it's been put through "no thanks" to military life.
But I don't want to put that all over Facebook.

I know that no one's life is perfect, and I'm sure there are people who post less than true status updates and photos to make themselves feel better, more superior, make others feel jealous, or whatever...
I like to think that most of the people I choose to keep as friends on Facebook are truly genuine people.
I don't accept EVERYONE's friend requests, and I have been known to accept and delete someone faster than FloJo.
 My name on Facebook is even altered so people can't find me (as easily).

The truth is, only a fraction of my life is social media. 
If you know me outside of the internet, you would know that there is so much more to me than pretty pictures of my kids, run times, and husband bragging.

So, if you think someone's life looks "perfect" based on their Facebook page, just know that you're relying on just a small portion of their actual life.


And because I have ridiculously cute kids....
Here's some photos for your viewing pleasure!





Took the kids out to eat at Outback last night, and there was a table full of girls behind us.
This kid spent the entire night turned around staring at them....creeper.

Sunday morning selfie before heading to church!

My favorite part of every weekend....
Getting to Facetime with this handsome guy!
We only have TWO more sundays alone, and he'll be home!!!! yay!!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

TGIF, Y'ALL!

Today was Dannika's last day of dance camp!
I'm not gonna lie, those 7 hours a day of just time with one child were pretty amazing.
I enjoyed it so much, that all these errands I needed to run and chores I needed to do while D was in dance camp this week did not happen.
I ended up going to the gym everyday (and only paying for ONE kid in childcare!), and hanging out with Mattis at home while I watched trashy daytime TV.
We have two more full weeks before we'll be heading down to VA for Nick's graduation from OCS.
I seriously have no idea what I'm gonna do with the kids to make the time pass...
The last two weeks are always the longest, aren't they?

Oh...our water heater broke.
We're going on day 2 with no hot water.
Luckily, we have some guys over here right now replacing our old one with a new one.
I never realized how much I appreciated hot water until we didn't have it.
I took a frigid cold shower today after the gym, and my fingers literally went numb.
I also bathed Dannika in the frigid cold water last night because she absolutely needed a bath.
It was a tearful and very short bath (to say the least).
Oh...and crap like this ONLY happens when Nick is away.
Things run like clock work when he is home, of course.
Hello, Murphy...we meet again.
(Murphy's Law of Military Wife Life...the struggle is real, y'all)

 HOWEVER,
Despite the circumstances of having no hot water, getting letters like this in the mail make me forget the stresses of life...
 Nick always addresses letters to me this way...
SWOON....


Have a great weekend, y'all!
 
 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oh, Good Morning!

To the mosquito who decided I was a delicious snack for you ALL NIGHT LONG...
You are the reason why I've been up since 3am.

I am a freaking mosquito magnet.
No need for citronella candles if you're ever gonna hang out with me outside, folks!
My body's got ya covered because all the mosquitoes will be eating off of me, and you can enjoy your evening.
Mosquitoes love me so much, in fact, that they used to bite me THROUGH my cammies.
If you've ever felt the material of the Marine Corps utility uniform, it's pretty thick.
But apparently, I'm so freaking delicious to these blood sucking nasties that they manage to get their little fangs through cammies to eat me. 

After trying desperately to fall back asleep, the dang mosquito that has been in my bedroom all night kept buzzing around and literally drove me insane.
Not to mention the fact that I was itching all my fresh bites that are now all over my body.
I counted the ones I could, and I have a grand total of 13 mosquito bites...all on the left side of my body since I usually sleep on my right side.

There is no reason for this blog post.
I just needed something to do while I wait for the kids to wake up, and I needed someone to complain to about my miserable evening.

Have a great day, y'all!
I'll be sitting here scratching away at these horrible mosquito bites!

I hope this little guy's in a good mood today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No Boarding School

I got some awesome advice from everyone, and some great words of encouragement yesterday in regards to my post.
I forget how much people love dishing out advice...lol.
Thankfully, this time, it was advice that I asked for, and I got some good feedback (and some really odd feedback)!
**Someone suggested I send my kids away to boarding school...really?!?!?!**

A few people kept mentioning how they would recommend that we stay back in Texas for a little bit while Nick finishes training.

Like I wrote in my post, I don't believe in separating my family for ANY period of time if it can be helped.
While I understand everyone's concerns with the long hours and nights away from home during TBS, I believe that ANY amount of time together as a family is good time.
When Nick and I first got married, we were both on demanding special duty assignments.
We rarely saw each other, we worked long grueling hours, and we were cranky all the time, but we somehow managed to make it work and survived THREE years.
That's why 6 months at TBS seems petty to me.
I always think of Nick first.
While we have suffered a lot of time away from Nick, I look from his perspective that he's spent equally as much time away from us.
 After a grueling period of time out in the field, I want him to be able to come home to a home cooked meal, and a loving family.
As someone who can speak from experience, the worst thing in the world is coming back to a cold barracks room after training and having to eat out because you don't feel like grocery shopping.
Especially since all the food that was in your fridge before you left for training went bad.
I've been there...done that...it sucks.
There's lots of times when I was a young single Marine that I wished to have a family to come home to just for that reason alone.

Two of my favorite pieces of advice I got was homeschooling and a "constant".
I don't have the patience to commit to homeschooling full time (I get extremely frustrated when Dannika mixes up her 9's and her P's), but I have looked into supplemental homeschooling for those periods in between schools when we're moving.
I think it's a great way to keep things fresh in my kid's heads, and to keep them up to date so that they don't fall behind.
And a "constant"...
One of my friend's (who was a military brat herself) told me that her parents always found a good tennis program for her little sister every time they moved.
Tennis became her "constant" no matter where they were at.
I think that's a great idea, and with Dannika so fully involved in gymnastics and dance, I think it'd be something she could look forward to at every new place we move to.
New dance classes, new gym....
She loves new things, and she loves excitement, and it's something that we will definitely be keeping in her life.

Someone mentioned that I was probably the one that would take it harder than my kids would.
I think that's the most accurate statement I got from anyone.
Dannika is one of the most resilient kids I know.
She is so "go with the flow", and is always up for an "adventure".
I can only pray that Mattis develops that same sense of resiliency that she has.

Thanks y'all!

Mattis and I at Dannika's dance studio yesterday!

 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who Wants To Give Me Advice?

 We recently found out that we could be PCS'ing as soon as October, and as excited as I was to be leaving Massachusetts before the dreaded winter, slight panic started to set in.
PCS'ing is never easy on a military family, but when you throw in kids into the whole mess, it becomes a whole different beast.
PCS'ing was SO much easier when Dannika wasn't in school.
She was in day care, but she was too young to really understand goodbyes and moving.
She was just happy to be moving somewhere new to be with daddy again after being apart for a year.
This has been our first duty station where Dannika will probably actually remember living at later on in life.
She's formed close friendships, bonds, and has a familiarity with this place than anywhere else she's been.
It's become "home" to her more than it has to Nick and I.
She's registered for Kindergarten in the Fall, and I'm terrified for her to start school, just to pull her out to move a month and a half later.
To be honest, we don't even know what part of College Station we'll be moving to, so we have no idea what school she'll be at when we get down there!

Another thing I realized is that we'll probably be in Texas for about 3 years (at the most), and Dannika will yet again be pulled out of school (she'll be in 2nd grade) to move to Virginia for 6 months while Nick attends The Basic School (TBS).
Then after he completes TBS, we'll be headed to Lord knows where for his MOS school for just a few short months.
It won't be until after MOS school that we will get orders to an actual permanent duty station, and even then, we won't be there THAT long.

I keep wondering how all this moving is going to affect our children's education, and most importantly emotionally and psychologically.

I've had people tell me to stay in Texas by ourselves until Nick is completely done with training and gets settled in at a duty station.
This is absolutely something that I refuse to do.
I've always told Nick that I'd follow him anywhere and everywhere the Corps sends us.
We are a family, and we stick together.
We are constantly forced apart by the Marine Corps, and there is no way that I could justify not sticking by him when the military allows us to go somewhere with him.
It's unfair to our children to be away from their father, and it's unfair to Nick to force him to go through Marine Corps life alone without his support network...us.

This has been weighing so heavily on my heart lately.
Any advice, thoughts, and/or prayers would be really appreciated!

 And because I have a thing about having photos up on every blog post...

This chicka started dance camp this week!
It's 6 glorious hours a day where I only have to be responsible for one child!
 We went to go pick up big sister yesterday, and this little guy was SO happy to see her and be surrounded by all the pretty girls!

As our Week 6 of our countdown treat, Dannika requested we go to Chuck E. Cheese.
Y'all know I hate Chuck E. Cheese, but seeing her smile and have so much fun was worth it.
 Yes, that is a look of worry on Mattis' face.





Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Essentials

I was asked to write a post by Man Crates about 5 essential items I could not live without!
In case you're wondering, Man Crates is new company that ships awesome gifts for men in custom wooden crates!
If you're ever looking for a cool and different gift idea for the men in your life, look no further!
The crates are tailored to what the recipient's interests are.
Definitely worth a look!


So onto the list...
This was actually a tough list for me to come up with.
I feel like EVERYTHING in my life serves an important purpose, and narrowing it down to just 5 was a daunting task for me!
But I eventually came up with my most important 5, and here they are!

1. My trusty iPhone.
 I feel like this would be on MOST people's list of essential items they could not live without.
Besides the ability to get on the internet and scroll social media, I have MY LIFE on my iPhone.
My kids' appointments, lunch dates, important reminders, grocery lists, music, books, and even my bible!
Also, because of our lifestyle as a military family, my iPhone is my connection to my husband when he is gone or deployed and my family and friends that are spread across the globe.
I feel like with the way the world it these days, it's nearly impossible to stay connected without a smartphone. 

2. Asics Gel Kayano running shoes.
I've been running in Asics running shoes for roughly 9 years now.
I'm a creature of habit, and when I find something I like, I don't like to change it!
Fitness is a huge part of my life, and I've been in places where there are no fancy gyms or gym equipment around.
But I could always find a place to throw on my running shoes and go for a run!

3. 2 Buck Chuck
Pinot Grigio to be exact.
I'm no "wine connoisseur", but I know what wine tastes good to me and what doesn't.
I love Trader Joe's Charles Shaw wines.
It's my absolute favorite.
There's nothing I enjoy more with a nice meal than a glass of 2 buck chuck.
It's one of the favorite things to drink at the end of the day when the kids are in bed, and I am unwinding.
Don't let the price fool you! It tastes just as good if not better than some of the fancy shmancy wines.
4. Coconut oil
 I have a jar of coconut oil in my bedroom, and a jar in my kitchen pantry.
I use coconut oil on my face and body at night in place of moisturizer.
I use it on Mattis' bum before putting his diaper on.
I put it on Dannika's dry skin.
I mix it with my shampoo sometimes.
I even cook with it!
It's so healthy for you, and has so many uses outside of just the kitchen!

5. Black ink stick
That's a black pen for you non Marine types out there...preferably ball point.
Maybe it's my 10 years I spent in the Marine Corps, but the saying "every good Marine carries a black ink stink on them at all times" has just kinda been engrained in my brain as normal.
As a Marine, I used to carry a black pen in my right breast pocket of my cammies and another one in my cargo pocket,
I always had one for me, and for another "turd" Marine who didn't have his own black pen.
As a civilian, I seriously carry a pack of black pens in my purse/diaper bag, I have 3 in my glove box, one in my center console, and I have them scattered throughout random parts of my home.
There have been numerous times when someone wants to write something down for me, I need to sign something, or I need to jot something down really quick while I'm on the phone.
If you've ever found yourself scrambling through your junk drawer and ravaging your house looking for a pen while on the phone with someone to jot something down, you know how frustrating it is!
I couldn't live without my obsession of black ink sticks!


So there y'all have it!
My 5 essential items I couldn't live without!
What are some things you could absolutely not live without?!



*I was not paid any compensation my Man Crates to write this post, and all opinions stated on this post are all my own*

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Another Birthday Down!

It's the day after Dannika's 5th birthday.
I can now stop calling her "birthday girl, Dannika" (like she requested), and we can move on.
I did my best to make her day special, and make her feel special since I knew she'd be a little sad that her daddy wasn't home this year.

Her day started off with a morning wake up from her favorite little brother, and we all sang Happy Birthday to her.

 This was her first birthday outfit...the one she chose to wear to the gym.

Ready to start the day!

 
For lunch, she wanted to go to Uno's. 
They have this "make your own pizza" option on their kid's menu, and she LOVES it.
I personally hate Uno's, but she's the birthday girl...
This is her second outfit...princess crown....and she added an extra piece of "flair" to her outfit.

I took her on a shopping spree at Toys R Us.
I bought her an "InnoTab 3S" (basically a children's ipad), and out of everything in the store, she picked out a "Littlest Pet Shop" toy with a million little pieces...of course...
And of course, she wanted to ride the cheesy 50 cent Dumbo ride....
 

I know I've mentioned many times before on my blog about how awesome my neighbors are.
I am genuinely sad to be leaving them when we move, and an aspect of military life I HATE!
I want to take them all with me....
That's how wonderful, awesome, amazing, spectactular, and fabulous they are.
They welcomed us with such warm open arms when we first moved here, and they've become family to us over the last 2 years.
For Dannika's birthday, I didn't plan any big celebration.
Since we already threw her a big party in May before Nick left, I wanted to just keep it low key.
I was thinking along the lines of just taking her to her favorite restaurant, a little shopping spree at Toys R Us, and a small cake with some candles on it for her to blow out.
I called our neighbors last week and asked if I could bring cake over to their house for her birthday.
I just wanted to sing happy birthday to her and have her blow out candles.
They suggested we also come over for dinner, which we cordially accepted.
Little did I know that they had thrown together a whole little birthday shindig for my Dannika, and had invited ALL the neighbors!

Third outfit change....

Party hat from Mrs. Linda

This is a homemade vanilla bean cake from the Roche Bros. bakery.
This little cake was all I had planned originally for her birthday!

And thanks to technology, Nick got to partake in her blowing out candles via FaceTime.


The food spread....seriously, my neighbors went all out.
Salmon burgers, turkey sausages, brioche buns, salad, and Indian butter chicken.

Fun candles!

Her birthday was absolutely divine!
Dannika was surrounded by such love and amazing people.
We truly are so blessed!


Lastly, Dannika had her VBS performance at church today!


I FaceTimed Nick so that he could watch her perform her songs and dances at church.
She was thrilled he got to watch her, and he was equally as happy to be able to "take part" in little parts of her life.
Thank God for technology these days, huh?!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!
Thank you to everyone who wished my princess a happy birthday whether it was via Facebook, FaceTime, Skype, text, and phone calls!
She truly felt so special, and I hope one day she can look back on this birthday and realize just how much she is loved!