Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Best for Last

I say it every year...

"Man, there are a LOT of couples celebrating anniversaries in May....

But the best is always saved for last...."

Happy 72 month anniversary to my guy!

Some oldies from our first year of marriage...

This year has been probably one of the most challenging years in our marriage.
The military life finally caught up to our worn souls, and it was difficult (to say the least).
I just did the math in my head, and we've been apart for almost 6 months in the last year since we celebrated our wedding anniversary (which he wasn't home for...).
I really feel that this is the year that God really tested us as a couple, and I'm sure it will not be his last.

In hindsight though,  I'm really glad that we had some trials and tribulations together...and faced them head on.
I learned some important lessons about marriage, and here are 3...

1) You can't "do marriage" without God in your life first.
Nick and I are Christians, but in all honesty, we thought "our marriage was perfect", and only broken marriages need God.
We were wrong, and we were humbled pretty quickly this year.

2) Negativity festers, and will eventually bite you in the butt.
I learned it's ok to "hate" where the military places you, and it's ok to voice your opinion.
It's not ok to let that negativity consume your life.
For the past almost 2 years, all I did was complain about how much I hated it here, and I just let misery take over my soul.
That directly impacts everyone around you.
God really humbled me, and opened my eyes to a whole new outlook on New England.
The last few months have been nothing short of amazing (minus the few bad weather days).

3) A cup of coffee at 4AM followed by prayer in the morning is the best way to start to your day.
I started getting up at 4AM (it was not easy) every morning to have coffee with Nick before he went to work.
You would be amazed at how much "small talk adult conversation" in the morning helps you connect with your spouse.
We finished our coffee with prayer together....out loud....holding hands...
Those first 15 minutes of my day set the tone for the rest of my day, and it has ALWAYS been positive.

We weathered the storm, and just like seasons, I'm sure we will have many more storms to face in the future.
But I know that what God has shown us through our "storm" this year has better equipped us to handle the next one.
It's been one Texas sized roller coaster of a ride....this marriage of ours...
Being married to you is one of the hardest things I've ever my life...
But loving you is the easiest thing I've ever my life...
I love you, NMR!
This time next year, we'll be celebrating our anniversary together in TEXAS!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Harvard Commissioning

Before I go into this post...
Who told Mother Nature to make it feel like a Texas Winter in New England today?!?
It was like 45 degrees, windy, rainy, and I was cold!!!


Today was Commissioning day for the midshipmen that attend Harvard.
There were only two people getting commissioned (as far as Marines go) that I really knew.
It was an outdoor ceremony, and it was cold, rainy, windy, and just unpleasant.
But no bad weather would have stopped us from watching two amazing people become 2ndLts in the Marine Corps.

As the saying goes in the Corps...
"If it ain't rainin', we ain't trainin'"

Heres a blurry iPhone photo of the 4 Marines being commissioned.
The third Marine from the left has all those medals on his chest because he is a SSgt disguised in an Officers' dress blues coat.
He's a SSgt who has completed MECEP (enlisted to commissioning program) at Harvard, and traded in his enlisted uniform for an Officers' uniform today.
It's the same program that Nick just got accepted for, but Nick will be getting his degree at Texas A&M (whoop!).

But first...
Let me take a selfie.

2ndLt Brown taking her oath of office from Major Giorgis (the MOI)
Just a quick "blurb" on 2ndLt Brown...
When Nick took over as the AMOI in Boston, he kept telling me about this badass female midshipman that he had in the NROTC program.
He had "rave reviews" about her, and he was desperate for me to meet her.
He thought that as a female Marine, I'd be super impressed to meet someone as awesome as me (being totally
As a female Marine myself, it takes a lot for a "girl" to impress me, so I really didn't expect much.
Women in the Marine Corps tend to be "shit hot" or "mediocre"....just from my experience.
After constantly hearing about her accomplishments (both academically and in OCS), her athletic ability, her leadership qualities, and just her personality, I was so excited to see another badass woman choosing to join "MY Marine Corps"
Over the last year (or so), I've gotten to know her better through Nick, and I couldn't say enough great things about her.
She deserves more than anyone to join the ranks of the elite, and I am so proud of her.

Nick giving her first salute.

Yeah...she's vertically challenged...
But don't underestimate the power of her tenacity and her "go getter" attitude.
On the inside, she is a giant, and she can outperform most male Marines I've met on a PFT...and she does 20 pull ups.

 First salute to 2ndLt Evans....aka...former SSgt Evans.
I always have mad respect for "mustang Officers".
A "mustang" is a prior enlisted servic emember that commissions as an Officer.
They tend to be more in touch with the enlisted side of the military, and have experience and knowledge that a 2ndLt with no prior military experience can not contribute.

bro hug

And the new female covers...WAY BETTER LOOKING than the old ones.

CONGRATS to all the new Officers!
So proud of y'all, and I hope that our family runs into you one day in the FLEET!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

9 Months

A day late posting this (cause yesterday was Memorial Day), but my big boy is 9 months old as of yesterday!
He didn't really want to cooperate this month with his monthly photos, so no big smiley faced photos this month.

This is as close to smiling as I got from him...

But in all honesty, if we're going to sum up in a photo what his 9th month of life has been like, this one would be more appropriate...
My sweet happy boy has turned into my sweet cry baby.
We can only blame it on teething for so long, right?
Good thing he's adorable, or this mama woulda clocked out a long time ago.

So this month...

You've been quite "challenging" to say the least. 
We call you our "high maintenance" child, and the phrase, "your sister was NEVER like this, Mattis!" has become second nature to your daddy and I.

HOWEVER, despite the "challenging" times, you've also brought us lots of joy (just as you have every month)...

Some new things this month about you...

*You LOVE bubbles! We blow bubbles at you, and your little shrieks of joy are contagious, and absolutely adorable! You throw your arms up in the air while screaming, trying to catch all the bubbles, and eating them....of course.

*You're totally off baby foods, and eat everything we do.

*You're trying so hard to CRAWL! I'm not sure if I'm ready to have you mobile yet, but it sure is cute to watch you try! You cross your ankles and try and push off with your toes to do a sort of a "modified low crawl". You've attempted to get on all fours, but you just fall on your face.

*You still love being propped up standing. Sometimes, it's the only way we can keep you calm is to prop you up in the standing position.

*You started waving "bye bye" and "hello". Actually, we're not sure if you really know that's what it means, but it's really adorable when you wave your little chubby hand at people.

*We dipped your feet into the Atlantic ocean this month, and YOU LOVED IT! You started kicking your little toes in the water and screaming for joy. 

*You love playing with your sister in her playroom with all her Barbie cars.

*You love sitting in daddy's Chevelle. You're always so content just sitting in the passenger seat while he works on the car. 

It's crazy to think that for the next two months, it's just gonna be you, your big sis, and mommy.
You're gonna be so big and so different when daddy comes home in August!
He's gonna miss your big ole head and gummy smile this summer!
We love you, sweet baby boy!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Adventures at the Cape

Ever since we moved here to Massachusetts, EVERY local person here has told us to never leave here without visiting Cape Cod (or just "the Cape" as the locals call it).
It never intrigued me, and I never really had any desire to check it out.
I lived in Southern California...the land of some of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S. for 10 years.
I figured these "New Englanders" had no idea what a really nice beach actually was.
Our neighbors down the street own a beach bungalow and a beach house on the water at the Cape (along with 2 large boats and a small bass boat).
Ever since we moved onto our street, they have been offering us their bungalow, and encouraging us to go down there to check it.
We've never been able to go because of Nick's hectic work schedule taking him away all the time.
Since this is our last full weekend as a family before Nick leaves for 10 weeks next weekend, he surprised me on Tuesday, and told me he got the bungalow for the weekend down at the Cape.
So on Saturday morning, bright and early, we headed to East Falmouth to spend the weekend.
And man, am I glad that we went!
I am usually a "planner", and I need an agenda when we go on vacation...even short ones.
I want a schedule of things "to do" and "to see".
Thank God for my "go with the flow" husband, and I forced myself to just "let it go" (go ahead and know you're singing the Frozen song).
Once we got down there, we decided all we wanted to do was eat some good seafood, lobster rolls, and just relax at the beach, and that is exactly what we did.

Cape Cod is a totally different type of beach environment compared to California.
It reminded me a little of San Clemente, CA, but with more of an "upper class" feel.
It was a very "beachy" community adorned with adorable little beach cottages and little boutiques every where.

San Clemente is flip flops...Cape Cod is Sperry's. 

The weather was gorgeous and sunny, but it was super windy at the beach which made it a little chilly.
It didn't seem to phase our little "Cali girl".
She was pretty much in her element...sun, sand, and water.

If I had to describe Cape Cod in just one word, it would be quaint.

I jumped in the water for a brief moment....and that was it. lol.

This is the most epic photo ever.

Dannika and I went on "adventures", and we caught a "moon jellyfish"!

Mattis was also baptized into the Atlantic.
I know he looks freaked out in this pic, but he actually loved the water.
Every time we dipped his feet in it, he started splashing and kicking around and screaming in delight!

Chubby baby feet.

This is right after he decided to eat a handful of sand....

Daddy and his girl

Cause who doesn't go to "the Cape" without a big hat?

Family car selfie on the way back home!

And on our way TO the Cape...

The Bourne Bridge...
Just a bridge you drive over before getting there.

Adorable beach bungalow.

View off of the Bourne bridge.

 This is the view from our neighbor's house on the water.

For lunch, we went to the British Beer Company.
It's a small chain restaurant that is native to New England.
Although Nick and I don't really like chain restaurants, we chose to go here because of the amazing view of the ocean.

I had their Newcastle Ale Chili, and it did not disappoint.

View of the Cape.

For dinner, we went to a local restaurant in East Falmouth called "Oysters Too".

They had THE BEST lobster rolls I've ever had, hands down.
If you're not familiar with New England, the lobster roll is a "native food" to this part of the country.
I've tried several different lobster rolls while living here in New England, and this place had the best far at least.
Warren Tavern in Boston is a close second.

Nick enjoyed it too.

And in memory of SSgt Vincent Bell, we both had Coronas (his favorite beer).

"You can't sit with us."
Don't mind the chocolate all over D's face...

Hanging out on the deck while drinking pinot grigio from a dixie cup....vacation mode.

We went bowling one night too....and I sucked.
Apparently, bowling on XBox Kinects is a lot easier than bowling in real life....

We had SO MUCH fun, and we are already planning our next trip down there when Nick gets home in August after OCS!