Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm in in the wonderful and fabulous state of Texas, y'all!
In case you couldn't tell by my Facebook posts and Instagram photos.
I'll be posting soon about my trip, but today is all about Thanksgiving.

I'm so excited because this is the first Thanksgiving in over 6 or 7 (maybe more?) years that I've gotten to spend Thanksgiving with my entire family in Texas!
My family does a traditional Thanksgiving turkey, AND we do Korean BBQ!
It's just one of the cool perks of being from a Korean family who has adopted American traditions since they've lived here for over 35+ years.
I've got many things that I am thankful for.
This last year, God has blessed my family in ways that I could have never imagined.

This month is officially my one year mark since being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.
A year ago today, I was so scared and yet so excited to be leaving the only life I had known for my entire adult life.
I was worried about how our family would deal with losing an entire income, and how it would affect our finances.
I was worried about moving all the way across country to Massachusetts.
I was worried about the home we owned in California and renting it out.
I was worried about my VA benefits.
I got pregnant unexpectedly right after I got out, and it was just added stress on how we were going to support another child after losing my income.
Basically, I wasn't fully prepared to leave the Marine Corps.
But through some rough times, highs and lows, and lots of tearful prayers, God made it all work out.
It's amazes me how he made everything possible.
We seriously have more with one income than we did with two, and I still can't quite figure out HOW?!

And a few other things I'm thankful for (all possible because of God)…

-The most hardworking, loving, compassionate, and God loving husband in the world. 
I seriously have the BEST marriage I could imagine….I didn't say perfect, but it seriously is the best.

-My two beautiful, and healthy children who make me laugh and smile every single day.

-The men and women of our armed services who sacrifice so much to give Americans the life that we don't deserve.
Especially those who have sacrificed all...
This is a photo that SSgt Vincent Bell's sister, London sent me this morning on my Facebook.
We sent his family a birth announcement of our son with a note that Nick wanted to write to them.
We are so incredibly honored that our son gets to share a name with this amazing Marine who sacrificed all, and not a day goes by that we don't think of him and thank God for the time here on earth that Nick got to know him.

-My family.
My dad is the hardest working man I know who doesn't get nearly as much credit as he deserves.
My mom who diligently has stood by my dad's side through all the good and bad times.
My sister, brother in law, and adorable niece who makes us laugh and smile every time we think of them.

These are the most important things in my life, and I'm not thankful for them JUST on Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for everything I have, everyday.
It's just nice to have a date to acknowledge everything.

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving, and gets to spend it with the ones they love.
For my friends who are overseas, I am thankful for your service and sacrifice.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

PT, PT, Every-day...

Build my body the Marine Corps way...

As of now, I have 10 more pounds to lose before I am at pre baby weight!!!
woo hoo!

I run 4-6 miles, 3 times a week.
I spin and Crossfit 4 times a week.
My husband and I have always eaten healthy.
We rarely eat red meat.
We eat lean proteins.
We don't eat carbs after breakfast.

It's all about diet and exercise!

I do a lot of Crossfit....

I do a crap ton of planks...
I want my abs back...
 I've even got my daughter doing them with me. 

yes that is sweat...
This was after my 6 mile run.

I run...
A lot. 
I've been trying to take advantage of what little "snowless" weather we have left here in New England.

My daughter runs the last mile with me at the end of my runs.
She's pretty quick considering she's only 4!

I always hear my mommy friends complaining that they don't have time to stay in shape, or that things hurt so it's hard to exercise.
Listen people...
I had knee surgery a year ago.
My knee is all sorts of whacked out.
I do what I can to work around my injury, and slow down when I need to.
I wrap and tape myself up when running...
It's all possible!
But really, it's all about making time.
I run with BOTH of my kids in a jogging stroller.
I crossfit and spin during my son's nap time, and while my daughter is in school.
Two hours of my day is for me.

 Staying fit is important to me.
I want to be a good example for my kids, and...
I wanna look good for my man!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

How I Got My Baby To Sleep

My son's been a pretty decent night time sleeper.
At around 3 1/2 weeks old, he was sleeping roughly 4-5 hour stretches at night
Now, at 11 weeks old, he's been sleeping 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours through the entire night without waking up!!
I also mentioned several times throughout my blog that my daughter was also a great sleeper. 
In fact, she slept better and she was sleeping through the night sooner than our son.

With our son, I read "The Happiest Baby On the Block" and "Babywise".
I mostly followed the principles in "The Happiest Baby On The Block", and it's worked for us.
The 5 S's are a lifesaver, in my opinion at least (if you care).
Basically the "5 S's" is a method taught in the "Happiest Baby" book.
I'll explain each one, and how we used it to work for us to get Mattis to sleep through the night.

Also, I am not an "attachment parent", so I never co slept with my son.
He was always in a bassinet in our room, and by the time he was 4 weeks old, we put him in his own crib.
I like to establish their crib as "their place to sleep" early on in life.
Again, my opinion, and just what works for our family and me.
And let me just add again that my son is sleeping 8 hours a night at 11 weeks. have to read the book to completely understand each of the "5 S's"
It bothers me when new parents tell me that their babies hate to be swaddled. 
No, they don't hate to be swaddled.
Being swaddled is the most natural state for a newborn.
You are just incorporating the swaddle wrong into your baby's routine.
I am no expert, but this is just what I figured out with my son.
I thought he hated to be swaddled too, but it turns out, it's a lot more than just swaddling the baby.
Also, google the "batwing swaddle". 
It will change your life.

We started swaddling him at night in the "batwing swaddle".

Side/Stomach Position
Obviously, it's not safe to put your baby on his/her stomach to sleep at night, so we chose the side position.
We rolled up a blanket and tucked it behind his back so that he would be on his side (while in the swaddle) to sleep at night.
This also helps your baby from the back of their head getting flat from laying on their back all the time.
Shushing sounds
 We downloaded a white noise app on my iPad called "Sleep Bug", and we keep it on the "white noise" sound all night long in his nursery.

When he's really crazy and fussy, I've turned on my blow dryer, and it instantly calms him down.
I've heard of people turning on vacuum cleaners. 
Read the book.
You'll get it.

For our night time routine, we don't really rock or swing him unless he is really fussy.
If he is having "one of those nights", we rock him in our arms while making "shushing" sounds.
Oh, and he is swaddled while we do so.
It calms him down, and right before he is about to fall asleep, we put him down.
I don't like letting him fall asleep in my arms before I put him down because I wanted him to self soothe himself to sleep.

As soon as we lay him down in his sleep before he is totally asleep, we give him his pacifier.
It soothes him and calms him down.
He falls asleep within minutes.

You really have to read the book to totally understand all these methods.
The book is really amazing, and while reading it, I had a TON of "aha" moments.
These 5 techniques are mostly used for colicky babies, but I used it on my son to sleep at night.
It's worked like a charm for us.

Seriously though...
He really has become "the Happiest Baby on the Block"....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What Grinds My Gears

Yesterday was Veteran's Day.
Our family started the day with a Veteran's Day 5K (which actually turned out to be 4.5miles according to my RunKeeper app, but who's counting?) Run into the Natick town square and ended in front of the Morse Institute library where they had Veteran's Day festivities. 
Yes, my hubby pushed two kids in the double jogger against the wind with that giant Marine Corps flag....gotta represent!
So what "grinds my gears"?
As an official veteran myself (I have my DD214, baby!), I don't like to flaunt it out in public that I used to be a Marine.
If people ask what I've done, I have no problem stating my past life as a Jarhead, and I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments.
I consider myself pretty humble, and I don't ask for hand outs, discounts, or whatever else is offered to veterans when we go places.
In fact, I have yet to step foot into the VA hospital here because I know the lines and wait times are long, and I think there are vets who need to be seen more than me.
If anything, my husband always gets the attention because of his haircut, or because he is in uniform.
I'm always "just the Marine spouse". 
(BTW, how many of my military spouses ever just feel like "the spouse")
My husband is also more relevant to people because:
 A) He's still active duty 
B) He's recently been to Afghanistan. I am an Iraq vet, and I went on recruiting duty right when Afghanistan deployments started happening, and to the American public, Iraq is already a distant memory...kinda sad if you ask me. 
C) He's a man. Female vets don't get the type of "hoopla" that the guys get.
I've come to accept it, but that doesn't mean I'm OK with it. 

The reason for this blog post is because I had so many people come up to me and tell me in the past few days, "to thank my husband for his service".
I just smile, grit my teeth, and say "thanks".
But in my head, I'm saying, "Oh by the way, I know I may just look like a mom to you who popped out two kids, but I popped out one of these kids while being active duty. Oh yeah, did I mention, I've deployed to the middle east? Let me also add that I also raised my daughter alone for the majority of her life while serving active duty and made countless sacrifices at my job to be the best mom to her...because my husband deployed twice, and then got stationed here for a year before I got out."

For whatever reason, it irritated me more than usual.
I mean, we get it ALL THE TIME.
Maybe because this was my first official Marine Corps Birthday and Veteran's Day as a "former Marine", it just hit a little chord inside of me. 

My sister sent me a text yesterday.
It read:
Sister: Happy Veteran's Day vet!!!
Me: Haha. Thanks!
Sister: Veterans aren't just old homeless men anymore!! Lol

It is SO true!
Veterans are everywhere.
It's the girl that works at your child's school.
It's the cable guy that comes to hook up your cable.
It's your boss.
It's your coworker.
It's the small business owner.
It's the mom of two kids struggling with her new life as a stay at home mom and wife while still trying to feel relevant to others.

Just something to think about.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy 238th Birthday, Marine Corps!

Another November 10 has come around, and it's another year that the Marine Corps has lived on.
I love this time of year because even some of the most unmotivated Marines come out of the "moto closet" to celebrate. 

All Marines (regardless of what they tell ya) are really proud of the Marine Corps.

My husband's midshipmen hosted their annual "Semper Fi Society" run.

The money they raise goes to the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund in honor of Marine 1stLt Robert Kelly.
 1stLt Kelly was killed in Afghanistan on November 9, 2010, and he also happened to be the son of Marine General John Kelly.
If you have time, read this article.
It is well worth your time. I promise. 
Oh, and while you're at it, grab some tissues.

Today, we packed up our two kiddos, the double BOB, and headed into Boston this morning to run the 6 mile course (10K) along the Charles River.
It was absolutely beautiful.
 During times when I caught myself slowing down, I thought of 1stLt Kelly and all our brothers and sisters who never made it home alive from war.
It motivated me to push a little faster.

The back of my shirt says, "Where legends are born.", and there is an eagle, globe, and anchor above it :) 
Yes, I slowed down for a photo op cause I wanted a pic of the back of my shirt. 

 There's my handsome devil dog...rah.

Oh snap...who's that sexy Jarhead?!?! Oh wait...that's me. :-)
Did I mention Marines have big egos? 

The Charles River, and that is Boston in the background.

Another view of the Charles River.

6 miles...done sir done. 
Can ya tell this photo was taken by a really short person....perhaps a 4 year old?
(Don't mind the baby just sitting on the ground in his carrier)

I truly felt lucky today to have both my husband and I back on U.S. soil safe and sound with our two babies.
Between the two of us, we have done seven deployments ranging from Iraq, Japan, and Afghanistan.
I know that not all families are as lucky as we are.

So as we celebrate our birthday today, we also remember our fallen comrades.

No better friend, no worse enemy. 
Winning battles for 238 years.
I truly am blessed to be part of such an inspiring, ass kicking, and very sexy organization that is the U.S.M.C.
Happy 238th Birthday, Marine Corps.
Until next year...keep doing what you do.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Boston Marine Corps Ball

Our ball was last night.
As always, we had a great time.
It was a little bit different than most Marine Corps Balls I have attended due to the fact that it was loosely shared with the Navy.
It was also 90% midshipmen (Marine/Navy hopefuls in the ROTC program that are still in college).
I always find it really cool though that out of a sea of Navy sailors and college "kids", the Marines always find one another and stick together.
It's like we have radar, and we tend to flock together.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our Army, Navy, and Air Force counterparts, but there really is something a little bit different when it comes to the bond between a group of Marines.
I was also disappointed that they played the Marine Corps Commandant's Birthday message while everyone was eating dinner, and no one paid attention to it. 
I always find the Commandant's Birthday message extremely moving and motivating, and it always makes me cry.
 It's a shame that no one took the time out of their dinner to give the respect it deserves. 
If you have 15 minutes, check it out below.

Now for some pics.
All of these are super grainy because they were taken with my iPhone5. 
I really should invest in a little point and shoot camera.

So usually, my best friend has always done my make up for the ball. 
She's amazing...
and lives in California....
She didn't want to come to Boston to do my make up.....
Soooo, I decided to head over to the MAC store to get my make up done, and I am SO SO glad that I did!
Erin from the Natick Mall MAC store hooked me up! 
My clutch is a cute little plum colored Louis Vuitton that my husband got me several years ago for Christmas, and I wanted my accessories and make up to match my clutch.

The ball was held at the Hyatt in Cambridge.
Nick got us a room with the most amazing view of the Charles River overlooking Boston.

This is Lt Lueck and Nick. 
Lt Lueck is the assistant professor of Naval Science for the NROTC program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (better known as just plain old M.I.T.)

Capt Benke and Nick.
Capt Benke is the Commanding Officer for the entire NROTC program for pretty much every college in Boston.
Just call him "El Jefe".

Nick and retired Navy Capt Crowe.
I'm not sure who he is or what he does....oops.
He's a retired vet...rah. 

Typical "selfie" during dinner.

This is Dan and Nick smoking a cigar together.
We invited our neighbors Dan and Linda.
It was their first Marine Corps Ball, and they seriously had a blast.
I'm glad that we got to share some of our culture with our civilian friends, and show them how we party.
Maybe now, they'll understand why our family is the way it

This is the "Semper Fi Society" and Republican Senate nominee for MA, Gabriel Gomez.
The Semper Fi society are all the midshipmen in the NROTC program that have hopes of becoming Marine Officers one day.

Gabriel Gomez and the handsome Marines.
Funny story...I ran up to Gabriel Gomez, asked him for a photo, and blurted out, "I have no idea who you are, but I see your political ads on TV all the time!"
Too much wine makes me say things I don't mean to say.  

SSgt Evans and his beautiful wife Stephanie.
SSgt Evans is an active duty Marine attending Harvard doing the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP).
Just google it if you're curious what it is.
I don't want to explain it. 

Sgt Thompkinson and Nick.
Sgt Thompkinson is a former Marine who is currently working on his degree at Tufts University.

Nick and Major Giorgis.
He's the Marine Officer Instructor, and Nick is his minion.

 Retired MSgt McNeely and Nick.
He is still looking sharp in his blues after being retired for a few years. 
He was Nick's old battery gunny/BN field artillery chief when Nick was a Corporal.
So cool of him and his wife to drive all the way up here from Virginia to attend our ball.
Again...only in the Marine Corps would a retired guy drive for half a day, put on an uncomfortable (but very sexy) uniform that he hasn't worn in years, sit in a stuffy room with a bunch of midshipmen, listen to a long winded retired Marine guest speaker talk for entirely too long, and listen to cheesy "wedding dance music" just to see a Marine (Nick) that worked for him almost 8 years ago. 
That's a brotherhood and camaraderie that you can't find in ANY organization.
Was that a run on sentence?
I don't care.
This is my blog.  

One last photo of my handsome guy and I.

Leaving the Hyatt this morning!
We hired a babysitter to watch Mattis in our hotel room while we were enjoying the ball.
Just in case you were wondering how a baby ended up in my Marine Corps Ball post.

Happy 238th Birthday, Marines!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The "Push" Gift

If you have children, did you receive a "push" gift from the father of your child?

What is a "push" gift, you ask?

Here is the Wikipedia definition...
A push present (also known as a push gift, baby mama gift or baby bauble) is a present a father gives to the mother to mark the occasion of her giving birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room. The giving of push presents has supposedly grown in the United States in recent years. A push gift is any type of present loved ones give to a woman who has recently given birth to a child.

Here are my thoughts on this...
I spent nine months of my life carrying a life inside of me.
I spent nine months caring for my body in order to provide the safest and healthy womb for our baby.
I spent nine months gaining all kinds of weight in order to make sure our baby was healthy.
In those nine months, my body did things that I could have never imagined before having children.
My stomach stretched.
My hips widened.
At the end of those nine months, I pushed a 7-8lbs human life out of an area of my body that I would rather not think could expel something so large...

Heck yeah, I deserve a push gift!!!
(Did I mention one of my love languages is receiving gifts?)

Before I start getting "hated" on for being ungrateful, selfish, shallow, and/or whatever other adjective you come up with to judge me, let me give you something to think about.
You don't think it's shallow to receive gifts every year on a day that you were born many, many years ago (also called a birthday)?

Honestly though, I wouldn't have even thought of a push gift if it weren't for my awesome husband.
I'm also not an ungrateful person.
I don't expect anything extravagant or expensive.
I just like the fact that my husband thoughtfully picked something out for me.

When my daughter was born, he got me a ring adorned with tiny rubies (her birthstone) and diamonds....again...I didn't ask for it, he thoughtfully picked it out.

For my son, I had been eyeballing this ring...
And, he got it for me!
If you're a Justin Timberlake fan, it's the same ring in his "Mirrors" video.
I absolutely love it.

I'm also absolutely in love with my husband, and the thought he put into it.
I'm so grateful that he appreciates the work it takes for a woman to bring a child into this world.
I also love that every time I wear my "push" gifts, I think of all I went through to bring my own two children into the world. 
I still smile when I wear my daughter's ring, and it takes me back to that day four years ago, when we welcomed her into this crazy world.

See? There's a lot more meaning to it now than just some "silly gift".

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Snapshots of My Life

As if October wasn't busy enough...
November is even busier!
We have the Marine Corps Ball this Friday.
I'm so excited because I'm going to be wearing a dress in my pre pregnancy size.
Other than that...I've been to so many Marine balls, I'm kind of over it.
Besides that, this ball isn't really ran by Marines.
It's ran by midshipmen (ROTC students in college).
It's going to be a little different than what I'm used to, and I hope that the midshipmen really understand how important this time honored tradition of the Marine Corps Birthday Ball really is. 
I am also running a 5K this Sunday in memorial of Lt. Kelly.
Next weekend, my husband will be in the "field".
I put "field" in quotations because I don't really consider what midshipmen call the "field", the real "field". 
It's more of a camping trip wearing cammies with light packs.
After that, our family will be heading to my fabulous home state of TEXAS to spend Thanksgiving with my family!
This month is going to be so busy for us!

Here are some snapshots from my instagram/iPhone5 from the last week of my life :-)

D wanted to try on daddy's Halloween costume...

The blonde mullet suits her, no?

Some pics of my little guy smiling away in his new Winter hat from Naartjie...

 I've officially been a stay at home mom for almost a year this month.
I couldn't be happier with my new life being a mommy to this little girl...and our son.
People always ask me, "Isn't it so hard going from being a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps to a stay at home mom?!"
My answer is always, "no, because the most important job I've ever had is being a mom. Being a Marine and defending our freedoms and deploying all the time was important at one time in my life, but's all about my beautiful kids."

And seriously...I couldn't imagine leaving this diva to go on a deployment...I'd be missing out on all this divaliciousness...

My hubby and I went on a 6 mile run this past weekend.
It's my longest run in over a year since being prego and having knee surgery.

Poor Mattis...
His sister is so obsessed with him...
 Unfortunately, the feelings are not mutual at this time...

My daughter is a baby wearing fairy...

She is also my work out partner in her free time.

I had a million things to do when this photo was taken...
But how the heck do I wake up such a precious sleeping baby?!
Needless to say, none of my "To Do List" got done...

She's obsessed with him.

Hope y'all are having a fabulous week!
I'm loving all the pics of ball photos!