Friday, November 21, 2014

Dannika's Room Tour

Dannika's bedroom is not completely finished yet, but I figured I'd go ahead and give y'all a mini sneak peak.
I'll be sure to post the "final product" of her room once it's exactly how I want it (which may be never at the amount of indecisiveness I am currently having with it).

But enjoy for now!

So we let Dannika choose her paint for her room this time.
She actually originally chose this fuschia type color, and I talked her down into a baby pink (whew!).

She actually has the largest walk in closet in the house....for real....I'm jealous.

See those two photos hanging up on the left side? 
They look a little awkwardly placed right now, but it's because I can't decide on the type of nightstand I want to put there under neath those photos.
Also, that elegant ballerina art piece that is hanging above her bed was given to me by my mom.
It used to hang in Dannika's Aunt Lydi's room.
I also purchased a chandelier to hang above her bed that you can't really see in these photos.

On the other side of her bed, we built a "floating desk" for her.

My plans are to get her a new comforter.
It doesn't really match this room (it matched her last room).
The comforter just makes it feel like pink just straight up threw up in here.
I know she loves pink, but I think a different colored bed spread will tone it down a lot, and make the pink that she has on her walls pop more. 
Right now, I feel like it just kinda gets washed away into the "sea of pinknesss".
I can't help it that I have a daughter obsessed with pink....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another Random Blog

I know I've been posting a ton of random posts with no real topic lately.
I also know I've been majorly slacking on updating my blog.
The only excuse I can come up with is that I've been too busy being happy being back in Texas.
When I was in New England, I blogged A LOT to fill a void.
I blogged a A LOT before I moved to New England because I was apart from Nick, and I was filling a void.
I haven't been this truly happy in so long, and it's been tough for me to find time out of being happy to blog.
But I love blogging, and I told Nick tonight at dinner that I was gonna blog!

So let's start tonight's blog with some randomness and photos....
I promise to have a an actual blog with a topic of some sorts next!!!

We miss our friends in Massachusetts more than anything!
We made great friends there, and they are truly irreplaceable.
One of our friends just happened to be our neighbors, Dan, Linda, and their son David. 
They're the type of neighbors/friends that we could show up at their house uninvited, and be welcomed in with open arms, a glass of wine, and a beer.
They were seriously the best!!
A "tradition" we all started together was a "Friday night pizza night".
Dan (an AMAZING home cook), made homemade grilled pizza every Friday, and we would go over to drink wine/beer, eat pizza, and just hang out.
Our entire family used to look forward to Friday nights EVERY week!
Before we moved, Dan got Nick his very own "pizza peel" so that we could continue the "Friday night" pizza night tradition here in Texas.
So last Friday was our first official "homemade pizza night" in Texas.
Nick was SO excited to be in the kitchen for once, since I do most of the cooking....and I was happy to be able to sit back, enjoy a glass of wine, and let him do all the cooking.

Dannika used to LOVE helping Dan make the pepperoni pizza (he always did one pepperoni pizza for Dannika).
It was a nice treat for her to get to help Nick make pepperoni pizza at our house too!

Linda always had "Flip Flop" pinot grigio for me on "pizza nights", and when I found it here in Texas, I was elated!
It's a screw top wine that tastes absolutely DIVINE!
It's one of my favorite pinot grigios!!!! (Imagine loving a screw top wine!)

Like a lot of children during this time of year, Dannika had her "disguise Tom the Turkey" project.
It was a family project, and Dannika's first official school project.
She wanted her turkey to be a "girl Marine with a bun in her hair and everything 'just like mommy'".
Notice the awesome cammie paint, eyelashes, long dangly earring, and the bronze star/silver star?

 Nick received his official "Welcome Aboard" packet from Texas A&M!!
He's going to be a Fightin' Texas Aggie, Y'all!!! WHOOOOOOP!

Nick and I have been KILLING it at the gym!!!!!
We go every morning after we drop Dannika off at school.
I am SO thankful for this time that we get to spend together.
I know all the women are jealous that a husband and wife get to come work out together at 8AM every morning!

So my life consists of work out clothes, hats, tennis shoes, tshirts.......
I'm the in "fit mom" category in all those "mom stereotype" articles, meaning I'm always the mom showing up in work out clothes...Lululemons....etc...
I decided recently that I'd make more of an effort to "get ready" during the day.
"Get ready" meaning, I wear actual clothes, and do my hair and make up.
I've been good so far, and I think Nick is enjoying seeing me look put together (although, I'm sure he doesn't mind seeing me in my work out gear).

This Gucci bag I have in this photo was a gift my daddy bought me like 10 years ago!!!!
You pay for quality!

Yesterday, I decided it was a "red lipstick" kinda day...

Dannika abandoned Mattis in the laundry in his Tonka truck.
It was a good 5 minutes before we realized that he was stuck because he started whimpering....poor little guy.
And because we are AWESOME parents, we took pictures before we saved him.
If you've ever lived in the south, EVERYTHING is bigger...
EVERYTHING...the include hair bows.
I used to put these giant bows in Dannika's hair in Massachusetts, and people used to give her the strangest looks, and make comments about her "hair accessory".
I love that we are back in Texas where it is just the norm.

I LOVE having a large soaking tub in the master bedroom!
Our kids think it's awesome cause it's so big. 
Dannika thinks it's a pool!
And I'm ending the blog with Mattis' bath time pics.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

10 Year Fallujah Reunion/Cali Vacay

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the famous Battle of Fallujah in the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom).
The first Battle of Fallujah was in April of 2004, and the second Battle of Fallujah was in November of 2004.
Straight from Wikipedia:

The Second Battle of Fallujahcode-named Operation Al-Fajr (Arabic,الفجر "the dawn") and Operation Phantom Fury—was a joint American, Iraqi, and British offensive in November and December 2004, considered the highest point of conflict in Fallujah during the Iraq War. It was led by the U.S. Marine Corps against the Iraqi insurgency stronghold in the city of Fallujah and was authorized by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Interim Government. The U.S. military called it "some of the heaviest urban combat U.S. Marines have been involved in since the Battle of Huế City in Vietnam in 1968."[14][15]
This operation was the second major operation in Fallujah. Earlier, in April 2004, coalition forces fought the First Battle of Fallujah in order to capture or kill insurgent elements considered responsible for the deaths of a Blackwater Security team. When coalition forces fought into the center of the city, the Iraqi government requested that the city's control be transferred to an Iraqi-run local security force, which then began stockpiling weapons and building complex defenses across the city through mid-2004.[16] The second battle was the bloodiest battle of the entire Iraq War, and is notable for being the first major engagement of the Iraq War fought solely against insurgents rather than the forces of the former Ba'athist Iraqi government, which was deposed in 2003.

My husband Nick was part of the second battle (Operation Al-Fajr).
He was with 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, Golf artillery battery turned provisional rifle company.
Along with fighting in this historic battle, he also did security for the Iraq elections that year in Mudayasis, Iraq. 
It's one of the most life changing events in my husband's life, and it's a time that he talks little about.
For as long as we've been married, I've learned bits and pieces about his time in Fallujah through stories from friends, reading warrants for awards he received, and on occasion, he'd tell me a light hearted story about his time there.
I know it's a battle that turned, my then 21 year old husband, into a battle hardened man.
He wears medals on his chest from that battle that Marines do double takes at when he's in uniform.
I know questions burn in their minds on how/where/when he got those awards.
I'm his wife, and I still don't know the full story.
But I do know that I'm proud of him for all he's done up until this point in his career, and I can tell you he is one of the most humble men I know.
He'll never brag or boast about his "time at war" like some Marines do (most of whom have never done anything in war).
In fact, I know he's great because of the stories I hear from the great men that he worked with and fought beside in this battle...they'll brag and boast about Nick all day long...
I guess that's how you know you're respected...
When others want to talk about your accomplishments more than you do.

Nick never attended his 10 year high school reunion, nor did he give it a single thought.
High school was merely a point in his life he had to get through to become a Marine, and he really didn't care to go back to the small town in Alabama that he grew up in.
Small town = Big drama
When he found out that 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton was hosting a 10 year Fallujah reunion, he didn't hesitate to buy two tickets to California so that we could attend.

A perk to being back in Texas is being able to ask my mom to come and watch the kids so that we could go on our little mini vacay to California!!!!

The reunion was well executed and thoughtful.
The guest speaker was General Natonski (ret.) who was the commander of forces during the battle of Fallujah.
He told stories of heroes during that battle, and told stories about what it was like in Fallujah during that time.
He talked about sitting on a roof top in the city and watching a jet drop bombs on a building across the street filled with insurgents and demolishing it.

This is a photo of Nick, me, and General Nicholson.
General Nicholson was originally supposed to be in General Natonski's position in Fallujah, but he was injured by an IED blast in Iraq, and was medevac'd to receive treatment for his wounds.

Col Frasier (ret.) and Nick.
Col Frasier was Nick's Commanding Officer in Iraq.
He also wrote Nick an glowing recommendation letter for his MECEP package, and I can't say that his recommendation letter didn't have something to do with us being here in College Station today.

California will always be my second home. 
The sunshine and beauty of Southern California can't be beat!

I love going to California because we have so many close friends there!!
My best friend Kim, graciously opened the doors to her home to us so that we could crash!
She even let us have her Tahoe for the weekend whenever we needed it!
That's friendship right there!

Nick and Kim's son, Logan cuddling.
Kim's husband is currently in Iraq, so her boys really enjoyed having a dude around the house.

Of course we couldn't leave beautiful California without going for a run in the gorgeous weather!

Kim and I walked through some of the model homes in an new subdivision in Orange County.
I found my perfect OC home!

Lastly, we met up with our good friend Mike to have a drink!
Mike and I were recruiters together, and he took great care of me while I was pregnant!!!!

We're so thankful for him and we love him...if you can't tell by Nick's

We had such an amazing time in California!
Every time I go visit California, I am reminded of just how blessed we are as a family to have gotten to live there for so long.
What's even better is that this time, we got to come home to Texas!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kim Kardashian and a Jumble of Other Stuff

Kim Kardashian has been flooding my newsfeed lately with a photo shoot she did for a magazine.
She's naked.
People are freaking out.
You can just google it and read all the comments that people put on all the articles regarding this photo shoot she did.
When I first saw the photo pop up on my newsfeed, I just scrolled right through it without thinking twice about it. 
Because it's Kim freaking Kardashian! That's why!
She got famous with that famous "leaked" "adult" tape of her and Ray J.
Home girl is famous because....dun. dun. dun.
She took off her clothes!

I'm not condoning this risqué photo shoot she did, but I'm really just shocked at how people are reacting.
Relax people.
It's just another day in the life of Kim Kardashian. 


Winter weather has hit Texas with the whole "arctic blast" deal.
Honestly, to me, it hasn't been THAT cold.
I mean it's chilly, but after spending two winters up north, this weather we are having is just "chilly".
Luckily by next Saturday, we are supposed to back up in the 70's...yay!

I started lifting weights with Nick on his program, and it's been straight up kicking my butt!
But in just the last month, I can see more defined muscle tone in my body, and my knee hurts less!
I've also become quite the lover of gym selfies.

I used to make fun of people who did gym selfies, but as Wendy Williams always says, "I'm a woman, and I'm allowed to change my mind."
You should try it!

We attended Dannika's school's "Fall Sing-A-Long" today.
She got to dress up in 50's attire.
I remember as a kid growing up having 50's dress up day at school.
I always wanted a cute poodle skirt to wear, but my mom never got me one.
In fact, she never dressed me up for special dress up days at school.
(First generation American probs....)
Check out my baby singing away!

And because I can't finish this completely random blog post without some photos of my youngest...
Being completely entertained by....
a water fountain...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's An Honor...

As a veteran, it's always super awkward for me when people thank me for my service.
It's super awkward when people pay for my meals.
It's super awkward.

Especially with today being Veteran's Day....
I get a million texts, facebook messages, and emails from people thanking me for my service.
It's super awkward for me.
Heck...I don't even partake in going to all these restaurants who offer free meals to veterans on Veteran's Day.
I don't like receiving a "hand out" for a job that I volunteered to do.
**Let me just add: I do believe that veterans SHOULD partake in free meals if they choose. Lord knows they deserve it, and it's the LEAST someone can do for them....offer a free meal. It's just uncomfortable for me, and not my style.**

I don't know how to respond to the "thank you for your service" comment.
"You're welcome!" sounds arrogant.
"Thanks!" just is"Oh thank YOU for thanking me for my service..."...weird...

I normally give an awkward shrug, awkwardly smile, and mumble "no problem."
Then I walk away thinking..."did I really just say 'no problem' to the guy who just thanked me for my service?! IDIOT."
"No problem" sounds stupid to my head at least.

We had dinner at a friend's house (whom is an Army vet) this weekend when we were in California (I'll blog that later), and this conversation came up.
He simply stated that he says, "It's an honor."
I seriously thought, "Why didn't I think of that?!?!?!?!"

It's the perfect response, because it's EXACTLY how I feel.
It really was an honor to serve, and I'd do it all over again if I had to.
I loved being a Marine...I love being a former Marine.
I loved my job.
I truly feel extremely blessed to have gotten to serve with the individuals I got to serve with.
I'm positive that the Marines I served with are the reason why I loved being a Marine so much.
I actually feel bad that there are people in this world who will have never had the privilege of servings with the type of men and women I have gotten to work with....because they're THAT amazing. 
If you asked me to do it all over again...

I'd do it in a questions hesitation.

THAT is how much I love the Marine Corps and how much I LOVED serving with Marines.

So to everyone who thanked me for my service today...
1) You really don't have to thank me...because there's no other way I would have rather spent my first 10 years as an adult than as a Marine.
2) It truly was an honor to serve you. It really makes me smile when I see all y'alls facebook posts with your beautiful families, children, and lives. I always think to myself what an awesome country we live in to be able to live so freely.

I posted on my IG and Facebook today...
"I have never looked back and wished I was still in the Marine Corps, but I would...without an ounce of hesitation do it all over again as long as I got to serve with the Marines I had the pleasure of spending the good part of my adult life with. Although I am a veteran, I don't celebrate myself and I'm not gonna go to Chili's to get a free handout (just not my style)...I WILL a celebrate these selfless individuals that have answered our nation's call to duty. Less than 1% of the American population have ever served, and not everyone (regardless of popular belief) can meet the mental and physical requirements to be one of us. So to those of you who selflessly gave your time away from family and friends, and time away from yourself to do a job that 99% of Americans will never do...I am grateful and proud to have been in the same ranks as you. Go get your free meal....that's the LEAST someone can do for you!"

Happy Veteran's Day!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Birthday To Us!

The most feared fighting organization in the world, that is!!!
Happy 239th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

My husband and I did not attend a ball this year because of all the craziness with our move, but you bet 'yer dayum self that we will be celebrating our birthday today!
One thing I love about being a Marine is how seriously we take our traditions (like our birthday).
My husband spent a Marine Corps birthday in Iraq before, and they did a whole ceremony in the middle of war.
They did a cake cutting ceremony (which the "cake" was an MRE pound cake), and did the reading of the Marine Corps birthday message...they did it all.
It may have not been at a fancy ball room, and there was no dancing and drinking (actually, they had TWO beers), but they still managed to find time in the midst of battle to take a moment and celebrate our birthday.
That's dedication, and I've had numerous people from other branches of service tell me how "crazy brainwashed" we are.
You call it brainwashed...
We call it pride.

So today...
Hug a Marine! (no...actually...don' might get punched if you're a random stranger hugging a random Marine)..
But if you know a Marine or see a Marine, give them a "Happy Birthday, devildog!"
Buy 'em a drink!

And in honor of the Marine Corps birthday, I went on my annual 7 mile run...while hacking up my lungs...(ain't nothing gonna stop me!)

Happy 239th Birthday, Devil Dogs!
I'm proud to be part of an organization that has been kicking butt for over 2 centuries now!!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

House Sneak Peek

I finally feel a little more "settled" in our new home.
It's still not completely organized the way I want it, and we still have a few more DIY projects to do.
But I've been getting a ton of people ask me for some pictures of the house.
I've been reluctant, because I was planning on doing one big blog post once our house was just the way I wanted it.
I realized this weekend that it'll be another few months before it's totally how I want it.
So I figured I'd give y'all a little tease.

When we started house hunting, I had a short list of "non negotiables".
Things that I ABSOLUTELY needed in a home, and if a house we looked at was missing any of these, it was automatically a "no go".
Although this is not our "forever home", this was the second home we have purchased together, and I wanted to make sure it was what I wanted to live in for the short 3 years we are here.

I never ever ever would buy a two story house, nor do I ever want to live in a two story house ever again (if we can help it). 
Our home that we rented in Massachusetts was a 2600 square foot, two story home, and I HATED IT.
The upstairs never got much love, and the laundry room was in the basement.
It was just inconvenient for me.

2. Open concept
I wanted a kitchen that opened up to the living room.
The last time we had a kitchen that was open to the living room was when we lived in our teeny tiny 800 square foot apartment in San Clemente (before we had kids).
After having kids, I wanted a kitchen that I could cook at while watching the family hang out in the living room.

3. Larger master bedroom/suite
We ended up with a huge master bedroom with a den (which is our office/moto room) attached to it separately.
It also has a nice little bathroom with his/her sinks, large soaking tub, a shower, and a walk in closet.

4. Indoor laundry room.
Our town house in California that we owned had the washer and dryer out in our garage...I hated it.
Our house in Massachusetts had the washer and dryer in the cold, scary basement...I hated it.
I needed a laundry room inside the house, and I finally got it!

5. Fenced backyard with lots of room for entertainment.
We scored with this.
We have a large backyard with a humongous new deck...perfect for entertaining!

So these were my 5 "non negotiables", and I'm so thankful that our realtor worked with us to find our perfect, temporary, Texas home.

Shameless plug goes to our awesome realtor Jason Handy with Andrea Peters Realtors (Keller Williams)

Here is a small sneak peek...

Remember that GORGEOUS Restoration Hardware knockoff table that Nick and I built together in Massachusetts??
Well that thing seats 8 people, and it didn't fit in our dining room, so Nick built me a new one!
The old one is currently sitting on our nice deck, and being used as a picnic table for outdoor BBQ's and entertaining!
This one seats 6.
I want two beautiful high back end chairs for it, but I haven't found the "perfect" ones yet.
The hunt continues.
Also, we are still in the process of finishing our "floating dry bar" (against the wall under the mirror in the pic).
We are planning on adding a wine rack underneath it, lifting the mirror up, and adding some shelves for "top shelf liquors".

While the kitchen is not very big, it is what "sold" me on this house.
It's so "quaint" and so "perfect" for me...for now.
It's open to the living room...
 It boasts GORGEOUS gray/white granite counter tops with subway tile back splash...
The cabinets are completely custom...
Big pantry...
Large, deep under mount kitchen sink without a divider....(seriously, if you've never owned a sink without that pesky divider, you'll change your life...)
Oh, and check out that sweet gas stove with a DOUBLE OVEN!!!!
I've already gotten some use of that double oven feature.
It's seriously amazing to cook two things at the same time at different temperatures...
I'm I've already become spoiled...
 I have a little coffee bar next to the fridge.
And we purchased our new "smart" fridge...
The previous owners had a similar one, but they decided at the last minute, they wanted to take their fridge with them to their new home.
 bar area...

So there's a little tease for y'all!
As we finish up the rest of the house, I'll start posting more blogs about each room!!!