Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Your Roots Are in Texas, Child


If you're not from Texas, this phrase probably sounds funny and awkward.
In reality, it's actually not a common phrase anymore in Texas unless you're from my hometown of College Station, Texas (aka Aggieland)!
It's an Aggie tradition to greet everyone with a cheerful "Howdy", and I like to think that when an Aggie tells me "Howdy" when I go back home, it's a term of endearment and makes me feel welcome.
Believe it or not, the beloved state of Texas (that is the butt end of every redneck, farmer, hick joke in the world) is pretty civilized! (insert laugh)

I'm very proud of where I come from, and I'm sure everyone who's ever known or met a Texan can tell you the same.

We are just proud people.

I never truly appreciated "the south" until I joined the Marine Corps, moved to California, and started working with Marines from all over the country.

The words "thank you", "please", "ma'am", and "darlin" became an anomaly.
The idea of "ladies first", "opening doors", and just general southern hospitality became non existent in my world.
I was shocked that the rest of the country hadn't adopted the "good ole" Texas culture.
I guess in a way I was naive.
I'm a woman rooted and raised with traditional, "bible-beltin", southern morals and values.
Moving out the California alone as a wide eyed, 18 year old PFC in the Marine Corps was a challenge in itself, but realizing that people weren't as friendly out here as in my comforting home state was a complete shock to me.

I've been in California for 10 years now, and while I have met people from all walks of life whom I've grown extremely fond of, there's something about a southern gentlemen or a southern girl that will always keep my heart in Texas.
(I married a southern gentleman from Alabama, in fact)

Even though my daughter was born in California, I want her to be raised with the same southern morals and values that I was raised with.
Nick and I eventually plan on settling down in Texas when we are done with this life called the Marine Corps.

In my heart, my daughter was born to southern parents, therefore her roots are in Texas....

You're never a true southern girl without a pair of authentic cowboy boots.
Here are some pics of Miss D with her first pair of Ropers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Texts Between the Romers

I don't care what any of the "nay sayers" say about technology and how it is turning people into socially awkward citizens of society.
I am a firm believer in social media, tweeting, texting, instagramming, and whatever else there is out there to keep us connected.
For me, being in the military and constantly seeing friends EAS, PCS, deploy, go on TAD, or wherever else Uncle Sam sends you, it's rather difficult to constantly keep up with everyone.
Sometimes facebook and text messaging are the greatest (and sometimes only) ways for me to keep in touch with my friends and see what is going on in their lives.
And yes, an occasional phone call is a must (something that I need to work on).
Naturally, with Nick and I being separated, we tend to text a lot throughout the day.
I love texting.
I don't know how I went about life without it. 
I love that you can do it on the go, and I love the simplicity of it.
I love that I can be sitting in a class or a meeting and discreetly communicate with someone without having to step out of the room to make or take a phone call.

There are some things I think should be not be sent via text.
Just a few examples of "texting no no's"
*the first "I love you"
*breaking up
*arguments/disagreements (which I am guilty of)

Usually, the texts between Nick and I are pretty casual and sincere.
We usually throw in an occasional random "I love you", or if something funny or interesting happens, we'll text it to each other.
Most of our serious and deep conversations are done either in person or actual phone call, but I love how we can stay connected throughout the day via text messaging.
It's no secret that communication is a valuable ingredient for any successful marriage (or relationship), and even if it means texting little things to your significant other throughout our hectic and chaotic lives, it lets the other person know that you're on their mind.

There are some conversations that Nick and I have had via texting that when I go back and look at it, it makes me laugh.
I normally take a screen shot of these conversations on my "iPhone5", and post it on my facebook, instagram, and twitter.
People get a kick out of them.

Sometimes, we just send pictures of ourselves to each other.

If you're a "non-Marine" type, you may find this more humorous. Oftentimes, our conversations end in on of us telling the other "Kill", and naturally, the response is "Bodies". Only a Marine couple would do this and find it totally normal.

It's no shocking revelation that our poor daughter's hair is growing rather S-L-O-W-L-Y. She's 3 and it still feels like newborn hair. When she was younger, Nick would hold her in her arms and "graze" over her hair with his lips cause her hair is so soft.

I love little 'love messages' from him. (Ladies, if your man has never said things like this to your face, but does it over a text...theres a problem).

Silly 'love messages' are cute and flirty. 

Now that I am officially out of the Corps, Nick makes it a point to remind me that I am a 'civilian'.

We were having a conversation about Lance Armstrong losing his titles. I told him that I stuck by Lance, and I thought it was cause the French just hate us (lol). Nick was a HUGE Hulk Hogan fan as a child, and when he went to the NWO, it was devastating to little Nick. I guess Lance being stripped of his titles had the same affect on Nick..................even thought he's NEVER watched the Tour de France...silly.

Communication is important whether it's via text, facebook, twitter, or whatever else you choose.
Just don't forget it's just as important if not more to get in the face of someone to have a genuine conversation.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall In Cali

California has been going through a heatwave recently.
The stereotypical, "It's always 75 degrees and sunny in SoCal" was far from true this last month.
I would leave work from the airstation on base, and it would be a "comfortable" 108 degrees.
Yes, you are not reading a typo. 
It was 108.
I'm blessed to have a/c, seeing as how most homes near the ocean here do not have a/c.
It has finally started to cool down these last few days, and we even got a few showers.
It is finally starting to feel a little like Fall....
ok, ok...
Not really FALL, but it's fall enough for me considering I live in sunny southern California.
Nick was telling me about how all the leaves were changing color in Boston, and I'm frankly quite excited to experience all 4 seasons.
 I've never lived anywhere that has all 4 seasons, so it'll be a new experience for me.

I decided to take some photos of Dannika outside in her Fall clothes since it was cool outside and snap some photos.
Ever since I got my new iPhone5, I've been severely neglecting my DSLR.

I lost over 1000 photos from this Summer cause I'm an idiot.
I am thankful for this blog that all my memories aren't completely lost!


Wiggle Your Nose



Friday, October 19, 2012

DD 214

As I signed my name on that final piece of paperwork, I couldn't help but feel my heart skip a beat.
This was it.  It was the moment that was merely a figment of my imagination for the last year.
I looked at the clerk and asked him one more time (just to be sure), "so, that's it?"
"Yes, SSgt. That is it!"
I grabbed my DD214 and walked out feeling like I was missing something.
Literally, I signed a few pieces of paperwork, and that broke the chains off of me that kept me shackled to Uncle Sam for the last 10 years of my existence.
It just seemed too easy. 

I always imagined my last day in the Corps as the happiest day of my life.
I dreamed of skipping my way off the flight line with a giant smile on my face while secretly giving two middle fingers back at a few people I was glad to never see again. (I realize that this is not very "Christianlike" of me, but I am just being honest, and I have come to peace with this thought with God)

In reality, it was quite a bitter sweet, and the day was charged with all sorts of emotions that I wasn't expecting.
I am truly going to miss being around Marines.
The realization that I will never work with a group of individuals like Marines is tough cookie to swallow.
The definition of "hard working" according to a civilian would probably equate to "lazy" by Marine Corps standards.
It's a common trend I hear from Marines who get out and join the civilian work force, and it's not uncommon to hear from a Marine that,  "If we had 3 LCpls and a Cpl, this could get done way faster and more efficiently than what I am accomplishing with 10 civilians who are insisting that they get a lunch break"
Before I make some people mad, let me just explain that I am by no means saying civilians are lazy.
 I am just trying to paint a picture of what it's like for a Marine who is used to a rigorous, structured lifestyle to get "thrown into the woods".

It's an adjustment period, and it's something that Marines have to accept as their new "normal".
What's normal to everyone else is the farthest thing from normal to a Marine.
 They'll never truly understand the intense amount of dedication a young 19-23 year old Marine has.
I said it a million times, and I'll say it again.
"I won't miss the institution, but I'll miss the Marines."

 My sweet parents got me a Congratulatory Edible Arrangements. YUM!

 The "kids" as I like to call them. I really do love them like my own children.

My last day and my going away plaque. These are the SNCO's and the Capt that I worked with. 

Just a funny picture of D. She got stuck trying to put a jumper on over her shirt.

What did I do on my first day as a civilian? I went to the beach to work out. It was so peaceful and serene.

 We're hilarious. I know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Instagramming Away

I have been neglecting this blog due to this little app I downloaded a few weeks ago called Instagram.
My life is chronicled in filtered Instagrammed photos.
It's a cool way to let everyone know what you're up to without speaking, typing, or texting a single word.
So here's my life in Instagram.

 Dannika has become such a ham more of a ham than she already is lately. Every time she sees me pull my IPhone5 out, she's posing and asking me to "take a pictcha". When we move out to Boston, I am putting her in gymnastics and ballet. This girl seriously has some flexibility (due in part to her mild hip dysplasia).

I've been doing a ton of reflecting lately, largely in part due to the fact that I will be completing 10 years of honorable active service in the Marine Corps this year (today is actually my last full working day in the Marine Corps!). I can't believe some of the challenges I faced and overcame! I couldn't have done it without God and Nick. I found these two notes that came with flowers that Nick sent me, and they made me smile. Little notes of encouragement along with a bouquet of beautiful flowers can always make a girl smile.

 My girlfriend, Kim got Dannika a Hello Kitty pancake maker for her birthday this year. It has been a huge hit in our house! It's been such a hit, that it's become a sunday evening tradition. We have "breakfast for dinner". I've come up with a healthier alternative to regular pancakes. I use whole wheat pancake batter, put some corn kernels in it, and I top it with sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, and real maple syrup.

Dannika has also become quite the "fashionista". It's so crazy to me that a 3 year old could care so much about what she's wearing or how her hair is done. I was in a hurry one morning to take her to daycare, and I didn't have time to do her hair. I combed it really quick and tried to hurry her out of the house. That didn't fly. She had a full blown melt down in front of the mirror telling me through her muffled sobs that, "my hair is ugly mommy. I want a ponytail!" I took this picture on a Sunday. The first pic is how her hair looked before walking out the door and going to Sunday school. The second picture is what she did to her hair the minute we got home.  
 Her hair WAS in a cute ponytail. This is what she did to it as soon as we got in the car after picking her up from school.

I've always been a fitness and health FANATIC. In the last year or so, I couldn't really work out as much as I had used to due to my knee surgery. I finally feel "rehab'd" enough to start crossfitting and working out again. I wish I had a before picture, but this is just 3 weeks of starting intense work outs. Crossfit, tons of cardio, core work outs.  

 We officially have a home in Boston. Natick to be exact. It's a small suburb right outside the city. We have a basement!!!! This Texas girl has never had a home with a basement. I'm really excited about it. It's a 4 bedroom 3 1/2 bath home with a HUGE yard. I'm very excited to be moving out there!

 Nick bought me a new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport! I've owned a Jeep in the past, and it is the ONLY vehicle (out of the 7 vehicles I have owned) that I can never stop talking about. Since I will not be able to afford the payments on my Mercedes, I will be getting rid of it, and going "home" to Massachusetts to this beautiful baby. I'm very excited!

Monsieur Dozer. You're a pain in my side.

 I have been extremely impressed by Dannika's motor skills. When she draws me pictures, they actually look like something other than a rainbow colored tornado. The first picture she drew, she told me she drew a "friend". The second picture she drew, she claimed was "daddy". I did not help her with these drawings at all! It's crazy! (Notice she even drew necks on them?!? Such attention to detail)

I do my core work outs in my living room, and Dannika always wants to join in. Fitness is a family affair in the Romer household!

Another "mommy, take a 'pictcha' of me" moment.

Dannika has been learning so much in Sunday school. It's amazing how God works in children. She comes home from church on Sundays talking non-stop about Jesus. Her current favorite songs from Sunday school are "Deep and Wide" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children" (complete with sign language)

My last day of work is TODAY! My official last day of active service is November 29, but I will start my terminal leave tomorrow. My parents sent me a little congratulatory edible arrangements. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Finally Happening

If you've been "oh so lucky" enough to be around me these past few weeks, you're probably extremely annoyed by now. I just can't help but gloat over my happiness. You know that feeling when you're a kid, and your parents surprise you with a trip to Disneyland? Remember the night before? All you did was daydream about Mickey Mouse and Princesses. You tried to go to bed super early so that the night would only be as long as the blink of an eye, but the anticipation kept you up all night (making the night seem like the world would stay dark forever). I feel that exact excitement, except it doesn't last for just one night. I've been feeling that exact feeling for the last 2 weeks....times a gazillion.

I'm scared though.
I have been an independent woman for 10 years.
I supported myself financially, and I made my own money.
At one point, I made more money than Nick when I was on recruiting duty.
With MY money, I bought my first Volkswagen, Volvo, Lexus, and 2 Mercedes Benzs....all brand new without help from anyone.
I was never late on a bill, and I spent my money as I pleased, and even had enough leftover to invest for retirement.
It's so weird to me that I will be relying on Nick to support our family financially.

Let's be real though.
I am going to miss being around Marines. 
I don't know if I will quite miss being an actual active duty working Marine part of this whole ordeal, but I will definitely miss the most hardworking and selfless men and women I have spent the last 10 years with.

This has been my life for TEN solid years.

The ONLY life I have known is one filled with:
  • Government paid "vacations" to far off lands like Iraq
  • Training for those deployments in the "lush and exotic" deserts of Yuma, AZ and 29 Palms, CA
  • Standing in an accountability formation for the REAL accountability formation at "zero dark thirty", even though the "so called" REAL accountability formation wasn't happening until 0800
  • Political Incorrectness and more racist and sexist conversations that would make anyone from the outside listening question if the Civil Rights Movement had actually happened
  • Inappropriate "workplace" conversations (see above statement)
  • Putting on a "sexy" uniform every single day that the ladies drool over (unfortunately for me, that didn't work to my advantage seeing as how I am not into women)
  • Waking up in strange places like the trunk of someone's SUV after a night of entirely too much partying on a work night
  • Ass chewings for having a teeny tiny itsy bitsy chip on your black chevron that are more degrading than having your butt super glued to a toilet seat (true story that I read in the news that happened to some lady in Boston at a public humiliating!)
  • Working ridiculously weird hours
  • Hearing stories of scandalous wives and cheating husbands. They're not your typical "infidelity in a marriage" stories. Maybe it's because we're Marines, but we have to be larger than life. That includes the crazy stories about a wife leaving her garage door open while her husband is deployed on base housing and letting strange men come in and have sex with her (again...TRUE STORY!)
  • Staying at work for absolutely no reason sometimes because "they" said so (everyone in the Marine Corps is always referring to and blaming "they" and "them", but no one can ever tell me who "they" and "them" are)
  • Conversations about life and love sitting in the back of a HMMWV in the desert of a foreign country where everyone speaks "hadji", and no one cares about you except for the Marines to your right and left
  • What happens on deployment, stays on deployment. Marines tend to unleash their inner most beings when away from civilization. I've seen some crazy ass shiz!


I can honestly probably go on for another thousand things, but the point is....

This has been my life.

The farthest thing from normal, but it has been my normal.
I met and fell in love with my husband during my annual qualification on the Rifle Range with my M16.
Who else can honestly say that besides maybe another Marine?!?!
I've spent days building rockets and bombs that could destroy an entire city, fixing and repairing guns that fire at a cyclic rate of 500 rounds per minute out of a flying helicopter.
I've pounded the streets of Mission Viejo, CA in my uniform "selling" my beloved Corps to punks who thought they were going to be pro skateboarders after high school.

All of that won't matter to me in 10 years.
Hell, it doesn't really matter to me right now.

What will matter to me are the Marines.
The Gunny who I bawled my eyes to while going through a nasty divorce.
The SSgt that sat beside me in a hospital bed all night long after rushing me to the ER after being "roofied" at a bar in Carlsbad.
The girlfriends that I spent my days at work with who always knew what I was thinking, and could relate on a level that women who had never experienced the Corps as a Marine could ever understand.
The Corporal who brought back a little bit of passion to me about being a Marine just by his sheer motivation and selfless work ethic.
The Captain who didn't turn his back on me during the darkest times of my life when it would have been easiest to do so.
The SSgt who let me bitch to him about life and the Corps behind closed doors, and when I least expected it (on a day I was having a particularly bad day) called me to just see how I was doing.
The 19 year old wide eyed LCpl who taught me a lesson in humility and brought me back down to their level.
The Marines who selflessly, without hesitation took "my pack" when I got too pregnant to really put 100% into my work.
The Marines who constantly looked out for me while my husband was deployed to Afghanistan...both times.

In the end, it comes down to the Marines.

They're the ones who shaped who I am today, not the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corps is a factory with a set of standards that produces Marines in 13 short weeks, but what the average human does with those set of standards is what becomes THE Marine Corps.

I have no regrets.
No bitter feelings.
Just relief that I finally get to have a different type of "normal" in my life that is not the Marine Corps.