Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Everyone seems to be doing their "Year in Review" blog posts.
I guess it's my turn, right?

This time, last year, I was sitting here in our home, feeling pregnant, but not even sure if I really was.
I wanted to hold off on a pregnancy test until the New Year. 
Call it denial.
We hadn't found a home church yet, and Massachusetts wasn't feeling so "homey" to us.
I was missing my friends in California terribly, and I was resentful that the Marine Corps had sent our family here of all places.

Fast forward to today, and Massachusetts feels a lot more "homier" than it did last year.
We have a home church that we absolutely LOVE.
And while we still miss our friends in California, it's nothing that a little social media, Facetime, and a phone call hasn't fixed. 
While I don't think Massachusetts will be on the top of our list of places to settle down when we are done with the Corps, we are thankful for the opportunity to get to experience life in this part of the country.
It truly has been an adventure!

God has blessed us incredibly this year with everything.
The biggest blessing being our son.
It's hard to believe that we started the year as a family of 3, and we are ending as a family of 4.
Who woulda thought?!

So with that, I leave you our annual family album.
I make a "year in review" photo album on Shutterfly every year.
Enjoy, and see y'all in 2014!



Click here to view this photo book larger

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Ready, Ready, Ready, Ready...Ready to Run

I love to run.

This is me after a 4 mile run yesterday.
Oh yeah, it was pouring rain.
I was splashed by 2 cars and honked at 4 times (not because I'm hot, but probably because they thought I was crazy).
I started running in high school, but never took it seriously then.
It wasn't until after I joined the Marine Corps that I seriously fell in love with running.
I went through a lot of personal hardships my first few years in the Marine Corps, and running was my outlet.
I went through some pretty low points in my life, and running was my saving grace.
When I was hitting that pavement, nothing else in life mattered.
The natural high I got from running was also something that got me addicted to it.
My very first deployment was to Iwakuni, Japan. 
I was at a rocky place in life, in a terrible relationship, and I wasn't right with God.
Going to a foreign country with nothing familiar to me with new people was scary.
So I ran.
I ran every. single. day.
I ran twice a day.
I ran to work.
I ran back to my barracks from work.
I ran when it was 106 degrees with 98% humidity.
I ran 6-10 miles a day on average.
When I missed a day of running, I got depressed, and ended up getting my aggression out on some random cardio machine at the gym. 
This cycle continued on into my deployment to Iraq.
I found myself using every little bit of free time I had to run in the desert.
If you've ever been to the middle east in the middle of summer, you know it gets HOT...like 140 degrees hot.
It did a number on my knees.
It wasn't until my last deployment to Iraq and after recruiting duty (5 years later) that I finally decided to get my knee checked out because the pain was now starting to become unbearable.
I was in a lot worse shape than I had imagined, and my knee injuries had started to affect my hips as well.

So here I am, 3 years since I finally got my knee looked at.
I ended up having surgery.
I was medically (and honorably) discharged just FOUR short months shy of my actual EAS (End of Active Service) after 10 long years in the Corps.
I guess I'm classified as a disabled vet, but I don't consider myself that.
There are TONS of veterans out there who are REALLY disabled.

And while my days of running 6-10 miles a day are long gone, I have figured out how to hit the pavement knowing the limits of my body.
I'm not running 6:30 minute miles anymore, and I'm not obsessed with it like I used to be.
I've found other things to stay in shape (like Crossfit and Spin).

What's the point of this post?
Those days when I was running endlessly was because I was running away from my problems.
I was running away from my faith.
I was running away from God.
It became an addiction and a high...an unhealthy one that ultimately injured me.

It wasn't until I reconnected with God again that I realized that I was using running as a crutch and not as a form of enjoyment.

Today, I can happily say that I run because I really enjoy it.
I love looking at nature while I run, and it puts me in awe that God created all of it.
What are you using as a crutch?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Another Romer Christmas

I'm finally feeling 100% today, so I can finally share with y'all about our Christmas!
I woke up with a HORRIBLE stomach flu, so after Christmas morning, I was chained to my bed, bathroom, and a trashcan.
I am POSITIVE that it was viral gastroenteritis because EVERYONE seems to have the exact same thing, and now my poor husband has it (and is currently bedridden upstairs).
Prayers for my little family!
Christmas gets more fun for me every year as Dannika gets a little older, and can grasp little concepts a little better than the year before.
I love seeing the magic of Christmas through a 4 year old's eyes, and the excitement that it brings.
Christmas has become more about seeing the joy in my children than anything else (besides Jesus, of course!).
 In our home, we do Santa Claus.
Some of my Christian friends kind of gave me the "side eye" when I told them we do Santa.
To some Christians, the whole idea of Santa Claus is like lying to your kids, and it makes Jesus irrelevant.
The way I see it, Dannika also believes that if she has a magic amulet like Sophia the First, she can talk to animals.
She also believes that there are mermaids in the ocean (thanks to her favorite movie The Little Mermaid).
I feel like imagination and fantasy are what keeps my children innocent, and it's part of being a kid.
With that said, we make Christmas more about Jesus in our house than anything else.
Santa, the presents, and the traditions come second.
In fact, the night before Christmas, I was shocked and humbled when my daughter said,
"Mommy, we can give all my toys to the other boys and girls who don't get to have Christmas. I can't wait till Jesus' birthday tomorrow because I love him SO much! I can't wait to die so I can go meet him in Heaven!"
Are you shocked?
I was.
It amazes me how unafraid of death my 4 year old is because she knows she'll be in the Kingdom of God when her time is done on earth!

So on to our Christmas...

The night before, Nick and Dannika went outside and spread "Reindeer food" all over our front lawn for Santa's reindeer...

 We left milk, cookies, and a note for Santa on the table next to the fireplace...

In our house, Santa ALWAYS gets almond milk (we're looking out for his health), and he ALWAYS gets his milk in a motivated Marine Corps 1st Marine Division glass.

Dannika can actually write now, so she actually got to leave him a little note this year!

She's never been so excited to go to bed! I'm sure my child is not the only one on Christmas Eve.

Dannika has been asking for a Barbie Dreamhouse for as long as I can remember.
We didn't get her one before because we felt she was too young, and it would just end up being destroyed.
When went to go take photos with the mall Santa, Dannika told him that she wanted a Barbie Dreamhouse.
She wrote a letter to Santa asking for a Barbie Dreamhouse.
Everyone that asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she promptly responded with, "A Barbie Dreamhouse."
Needless to say, "Santa" brought her a Barbie Dreamhouse.
Imagine how heartbroken she would have been if she didn't get a Barbie Dreamhouse?!

She was ridiculously excited.

Mattis just kinda laid there all morning, oblivious to what was going on.

Along with her Barbie Dreamhouse came every single Barbie accessory and doll imaginable.
My house looked like Barbie threw up all over it when she was done opening everything.

 Nick started having an obsession with bow hunting after spending the Summer in Quantico with one of his best friends who happened to be an avid bow hunter.
When he returned back to Mass, two guys from our church (who are also avid bow hunters) got him even more hyped up about it.
He started obsessing over bows...just a little bit.
He spent hours on his phone googling bows.
So, he got a bow for Christmas from me!

He was one happy guy!
He actually knew he was getting one, because he got to pick it out, but I have as strict rule on receiving/opening gifts before Christmas, so he had to wait!

My hubby got me an awesome new Canon 60D DSLR, 3 lenses, 6 different lens filters, tripod, etc.
I've had my Canon Rebel for about 3 1/2 years now, and I have severely outgrown its' capabilities.
It was time for a new one.
I'm really excited to play around with it!
I'm still learning the ins and outs of it, and I had to break out my MomTog's "UnManual" again.
If you've got a DSLR, and are shooting on auto, you're really missing out on the capabilities of your camera!
I HIGHLY recommend her book to help you understand the ins and outs of your camera.
It's one of the easiest books out there to understand, and well worth the $95!
It's seriously easier than any photography class you'll take, and definitely easier than the manual that comes with your camera!!!!!!

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas.
Keep posting about your Christmases on social media!!!
I LOVE seeing all the photos!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Just In Case...

You don't get enough pics of my adorable son...

And one that I managed to get my daughter to squeeze in on :)

No...it's not normal for 4 month olds to sit up on their own.
My 4 month old is a 17lbs mutant. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy 4 Months!

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!
Mine, unfortunately, was spent in bed next to a bucket near a bathroom.
I'll be posting about our Christmas when I'm feeling a little better.

I did manage to remember my son's 4 month picture!
I say this every time, but he changes SO much in just those few short weeks in between each month!
I forgot how fast babies grow and change.
Things he can do that he couldn't do last month:
*Sit up on his own with the support of his hands (like the tripod sit)
*Longer stretches of tummy time, while holding entire torso up on his arms!
*Play with a rattle
*Laugh hysterically and uncontrollably when you make farting noises with your mouth.
*Sucking on his entire hand.
*Sucking on his blankie...well any blankie...and anything soft.

I can't believe how much you keep changing, baby boy!
I sometimes look at you while you are sleeping and wonder how I got so lucky.
You are SUCH a mama's boy, and daddy is not ashamed to admit that!
Whenever I walk into a room, as soon as you make eye contact with me, you stay fixated on me until I pick you up.
If you're being fussy, daddy just holds you up so that you can see that I'm in the same room, and you instantly calm down.
You are such a chunker!
You are 17lbs, and the biggest 4 month old that your doctor has in his practice right now!
You have rolls for days, and we LOVE to squish you!
Your sister is in love with you, and she loves to "baby sit" you for mama.
She tells me all the time that she can't wait till you're old enough to play with her.
I'm hoping she'll still be saying that in a few years!
I can't wait to see what the New Year brings!
I know we have lots of new things coming up...like solids!!
I love you, sweet baby boy!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve!

Just some baby giggles to start off your Christmas Eve...
I've watched this video about a million times, and each time, my heart just melts a little bit more.
Nick is seriously the only person that can make him laugh so hard!

We started our Christmas Eve morning with peanut butter and chocolate chip pancakes (made by my awesome hubby!).
We have a tradition of doing our stocking stuffers on Christmas Eve.
I know Dannika was DYING to find out what had been inside of her stocking for a few weeks now.
We usually do a $25 dollar limit per stocking for stocking stuffers, but over the years, it's become more about Dannika than anything else.
I basically grab anything and everything pink and/or Hello Kitty from the Target dollar section, and it's always a big hit with her.

And thanks to "second baby syndrome", Mattis got like 3 things in his stocking.
Seriously though, he's 4 months old!
He doesn't know!

Target dollar store goodies

Do you watch the show Scandal?
If you do, you'll know what I'm talking about when I say I've been obsessing over the "Olivia Pope wine glass".
You know that gigantic wine glass that she drinks red wine out of?
I'm not much of a red wine fan, I prefer whites (chardonnay and pinot grigio...in case you want to buy some for me).
Nick got me a set of the giant white wine glasses from Crate & Barrel for my stocking.
Obviously, only one glass fit in my stocking (for looks). 
I can't wait to drink wine out of it!!!

I got nick a tshirt, some Under Armour running socks, a mini bottle of Gentleman Jack, a mini bottle of Godiva white chocolate liqueur, some post work out supplements, and of course chocolate caramels.

I spent the rest of the morning pre cooking dishes for Christmas dinner tomorrow.
We are having our Indian friends over for a traditional American Christmas dinner!
They've invited us to their house several times for delicious Indian food, and have always been so hospitable to us.
We figured it was our turn, and show them how we celebrate Christmas!

I hope everyone has a beautiful Christmas Eve filled with joy, happiness, blessings, and family. 
I know that for some people, Christmas time isn't the most joyous time of year.
Many people have lost loved ones, lost a job, are experiencing the inability to provide things that you want to for your family, or any other hardships.
I pray that the spirit of God can lift you up during this time, and that he can bring some sort of joy to you.
And while physical gifts are nice to have under the tree, none of those earthly possessions will come with us or matter when we go to heaven to be in the Kingdom of God!
The greatest gift of all was His son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and Christ is too big to put under any Christmas tree!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hello, 1st Day of Winter

It's December 21st.
The OFFICIAL first day of Winter.
So far, we have built our first snowman of the season...
 And by "we", I mean Dannika and Nick, cause EVERYONE knows that this girl doesn't play in snow!


My "punkin" had her last day of school for 2013.
I absolutely can not fathom the fact that this time next year, she will be a Kindergartener.
When did this happen?!

Last night, we put the kids in their Christmas jammies, got hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts, turned on Christmas music on Pandora, and drove around town to different neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights.
 Unfortunately, I can not take credit for this idea, but I'm glad we did it!
On a side note, people in Orange County are so over the top with everything, and I was expecting the same out here (not knowing any better). 
While we did see some gorgeous lights, and Dannika thought ALL of the houses that had any sort of light was "beautiful and amazing", none of them really compared to the lights people put up in Southern California.
I blame the weather.
No one wants to spend hours outside in the freezing cold (like my husband did) to put up lights. 
I get it, New England...I forgive you, cause I sympathize with you and hate the cold too.

 After we got home, we sat in the living room and just hung out as a family watching TV.
 It was a perfect evening.

I find it harder during the holidays to find the motivation to work out daily.
I have managed to get my butt off the couch AT LEAST 5 times a week to crossfit and spin.

So we are renting our home here in Massachusetts, because we have no reason to ever want to move back here once the military takes us away from here again.
I forgot how nice it was to own a house, until we became renters again.
In the home we own in California, we had granite counter tops in every room in the house, and it's a little luxury that we took for granted until we moved to a home without one.
If you've never had the pleasure of having granite...it will seriously change your life...
Ok...maybe not your life, but it is really nice.
Thank God that our landlord wanted granite put into our house.
She let us pick out the granite, the sinks, the fixtures...everything.
She just wrote the check.
Oh, how we've missed you granite.

Lastly, my daughter and I wanted a "mommy/daughter" day.
She packed her little purse with lip gloss, bracelets, toys, and other knick knacks, and she couldn't wait for it to be "just us girls".
We were going to go to Michael's to buy arts and crafts suppies, then head to Ben & Jerry's for milkshakes.
I forgot it's the last weekend before Christmas.
The traffic was crazy....horrendous....
And after 30 minutes sitting still, we turned around and headed home.
Dannika was so heartbroken, and I felt so bad.
So we ended up stopping at the CVS next to our house to get her a candy bar.

And in my best twangy Texas accent...
"People have dang lost their dang minds out there!"

I hope everyone's done with their Christmas shopping, and are getting to enjoy these last few days before the big day!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Legend of Ranger Book Review

I've been blogging since 2009, and I've been asked to do many book reviews for my blog.
I've always kindly turned them down, because to be honest, I don't really have great things to say about a lot of the books I read (when someone else recommends it to me). 
Also, my blog is really more about my personal life as an active duty Marine (and now Marine wife and stay at home mom), and book reviews doesn't really fit into my "niche".

However, when I was contacted to review a children's book, it perked my interest right away.
First of all, I have a four year old who LOVES story time, second, the book is written by a veteran, and last, ALL profits from the sale of the book goes to the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital.

I received "The Legend of Ranger: The Reindeer Who Coundn't Fly" by Alan Salisbury in the mail this week, and couldn't wait to read it!

Did you know that Rudolph has a little brother, and that Santa has more reindeer besides his "famous 8"?!
Neither did I!
This book is an amazing and heartwarming story about one of Santa's "non flying" reindeer, Ranger. Although Ranger does not fly, he has an important job of hauling toys for Santa on the ground.
He dreams of being able to fly like his older brother, Rudolph, and learns from other reindeer and elves that the "secret lies within".
He sets off on a journey to figure out the "secret" to flying.
It isn't until he is faced with a big challenge that he is forced to find his "secret within".

You have to check out the book to see what big challenge he is faced with, and to find out if he learns to fly or not!

I loved this book because I could use it as a learning tool for my kids about important life's lessons.

This is the perfect book for the child who is just beginning to read chapter books because it's not incredibly long, and flows very nicely.
 It's also the perfect book to read to a child over a period of several days.
I read a chapter a day to my 4 year old, and it gave her lots of anticipation for what would happen in the next chapter.
Lastly, the illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and perfect to hold a child's attention. 

This is a book that should be in everyone's "Christmas library" right next to the classics like "The Night Before Christmas" and "the Gingerbread Man".

You can find the book at most major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or on Dr. Salisbury's website!

This book was given to me for free to write this review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions on this book are my own.
Disclosure: I received a sample of a product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided and all views and opinions stated on this post are 100% my own. ...

Read More at www.onesmileymonkey.com/reviews/book-movies-dvds/the-legend-of-ranger-the-reindeer-who-couldnt-fly-book-review/ © OneSmileyMonkey.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Just Dance

I had a long post planned for today about things that were bothering me.
It was mostly about military life and how civilians just didn't get "our life"....
I'm glad I didn't post it.

My family and I blared Texas country music....
I danced with my 4 month old son to Reckless Kelly...
I drank Chardonnay...
I watched my husband teach my daughter to two step...
I thought about Texas...

and after both of our kids were pooped, tired, and ready for bed...

I danced in my living room to George Strait and Alan Jackson...

with my best friend, lover, and husband...

We slow danced while our 4 year old was passed out on the couch...
while our son was swinging in his swing making an occasional fuss...

We ignored it all...

We just danced....

Sometimes...you just gotta dance...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Party Fun

Saturday night was Nick's unit's Christmas party/hail and bail for one of the Lts that is leaving soon.
It was held in Boston at Nick's XO's house.
The one thing I am loving about this duty is that it's a very very VERY small unit, and everyone is pretty tight knit.
Nick and his Major are the ONLY two Marines in the entire NROTC department staff, and the rest of the staff are all Navy Officers.
The party was a lot of fun, and I'm glad that we went!
Because of the little snow storm that was coming in Saturday night, we were contemplating on whether or not we were going to attempt to drive, but Nick insisted that we would not be stranded.
The party was an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party, and Nick and I were total party poopers.
We did not dress up.
I think Dannika had the "ugliest" sweater in our family, and it wasn't even ugly.
It was an adorable holiday colored sweater from the Gap, and a Hello Kitty reindeer shirt from Old Navy....yeah...not ugly...
We just kept telling everyone that the "Romer's don't do ugly cause we're so good looking."
(you can laugh...I just laughed typing that)

Again, we put our son in Christmas reindeer attire....not really ugly....but adorable, right?!

So, I won a game called "Beanboozled".
Basically, there's a bunch of random jelly beans flavored like things like skunk, barf, centipede, etc.
These grossly flavored jelly beans are mixed in with good tasting jelly beans like coconut, chocolate pudding, banana, etc.
You randomly take turns eating these jelly beans out of a box, and you can't drink or eat anything afterwards.
If you eat or drink anything during the game, you are out.
If you've never had a skunk or barf flavored jelly bean, you're seriously missing out! 
But I won two bottles of wine :-)
We also came home with a giant basket of chocolate (just what we need) and a Duck Dynasty lawn gnome from a white elephant gift exchange.

So we survived our drive home in the snow storm, and like any normal person who has never lived anywhere that snows, we decided to do a photoshoot in our driveway.
Wait, what? You don't do that?!?!
Well we did....cause we're ridiculously good looking...and that's just what good looking people do.
(yes...don't feel bad if you're laughing again)

My Jeep Wrangler Unlimited's 4 Wheel drive definitely got some use that night!

I'm finally sitting down and catching up on all of my favorite blogs.
I love reading everyone's posts about what they are doing in different parts of the world during the Christmas season.
I love looking at your kid's art projects, your Christmas parties, the gifts you're buying...I. love. it. all.
As y'all already saw on yesterday's post, we got our first big snow for the season.
That meant that I had an overly eager 4 year old who just couldn't WAIT to go outside and play in it.
I did manage to get outside in the freezing cold with my DSLR to take photos of my adorable kids and hubby.

I had to dust the DSLR off since it's just been sitting in my camera bag!
Poor camera.
Never gets much use anymore thanks to my iPhone5. 

It's ok little guy...you're just like your mama. We don't like snow or the cold.

My lovely family :-) 
I'm the only one that does not own snow pants or snow boots.
Maybe...MAYBE...I'll invest in some this year so I can get out and play with my family....maybe not. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow Fun

Today, I am thankful for a husband, because without him, my driveway would stay covered in 7 inches of snow until it melts.
 I'm also thankful that he decided to invest in a snow blower this year!
Our next door neighbors agreed to go in on one together this year, and it's become the neighborhood snow blower.

And of course Dannika is LOVING the snow.
By the way, all of these photos were taken from the comfort and warmth of my house through the window.
Again...this Texas girl does not do snow and everything else that comes with it!