Friday, July 31, 2015

Living with Degenerative Joint Disease

It's been a while since I've blogged about my knee problem (s). 
When I was discharged from the Marine Corps, I was deemed 60% disabled.
I was diagnosed with degenerative joint disease (AKA osteoarthritis) of my right knee.
It is most common in women over 45.

I thought I'd blog about my journey with this debilitating ailment up until this point in my life.

I've had this since I was 26ish and it's progressively gotten worse over the years....
No one said the Marine Corps would be easy on your body, and it definitely did its' number on my knees....
And I'm not even a grunt...I can't imagine those guys bodies!

I had Synvisc injections which is an injectable medication called hyaluronan.
 Synvisc is typically administered as a series of three injections into the knee joint, each injection spaced about one week apart. 
Synvisc has been shown to help alleviate arthritis symptoms for 6 months, and to delay the need for knee replacement surgery.
Unfortunately for me, I had a HORRIBLE allergic type reaction to Synvisc, was hospitalized, and had to have my knee drained several times to alleviate the amount of swelling I had. 
My doctor was stunned when he saw how big my knee had gotten!
I had an arthroscopic surgery prior to getting out of the Corps.
The ortho surgeon was hoping that I had enough cartilage in my knee to where she could shave it down to make it smoother, so it would hurt less.
When I woke up from anesthesia, I could see the look of disappointment on her face.
She told me that I did not have enough cartilage in my knee left that she could work with.
So my knees are clearly "out aging" the rest of my body (thank you Marine Corps!).

So people always say things to me like, "It can't be THAT bad if you're working out every day, and running!"
To those people...
I want to punch in the face. 

Actually, I'm in a constant state of pain every single day.
Parts of my day (like right after my work out), I'm in excruciating pain.
Some days, when I get out of bed, I can't even bend my right knee and am forced to walk around stiff legged for a few minutes before the fluid in my joints allow my knee to bend.
And even takes another few minutes for my knee to bed to a full 90 degree angle.
Don't ever ask me to sit on my knees, cause sitting on my knees is like sitting on a bed of hot nails.
I'm a girly girl, and I love my heels, but I don't wear them nearly as often as I would like because frankly, after a day of walking around in a heel, my knee is usually swollen to the size of a tennis ball.

But I smile, put on my happy face, and work out every day.
Because my knee hurts, but just because my knee hurts does not give me an excuse to let my health go down the drain.
No, I can't go for a 10 mile run like I used to for fun, but I have revamped my work out style to accommodate my old ass knees. 
It's not perfect, and my knees still hurt afterwards, but it's not nearly as bad as running.
I still run (against the wishes of my doctors) because running has always been my "go to" stress reliever.

I deal with the pain because taking care of the rest of my body is important.
I already have bad knees...
I don't need the rest of my body following them.
So to those of you sitting at home making excuses for yourself on why you can't carve out an hour, 30 minutes, or even 20 minutes out of your day to get up and move, I don't know what to tell ya.

I'm a full time mom of two very busy kids, a full time college student, a wife...
My life is hectic, but I find time to make time for my health.

Put on a smile, and suck it up!

Any of you dealing with any chronic ailments?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Things I Love Tuesday

When I say my prayers, the first thing I ALWAYS say is "Thank you for my life."
My life isn't perfect, but it sure is full of great experiences, amazing people, and good health.
I couldn't ask for much more.
As I sat here today thinking about what to blog about, I realized a lot has happened the last few days that I love.

Here are things the things that have happened in my life the last couple days that I love...

Nick and I love working out...
When we get to go to the gym together...I love it even more.
Shameless gym selfie...

After church on Sundays, I like to go the gym and do a light work out.
Nick prefers to stay at home to do yard work and projects around the house.
Miraculously, he agreed to come with this past Sunday!
I was pretty thrilled!

Saturdays for our family are normally spent just hanging out together at home.
Nick suggested that we head to the Franklin Animal Safari Park in Franklin, TX last Saturday.
It's a drive thru animal park where you can feed the animals as you drive through!
They come straight to your window.
We saw zebras, camels, llamas, pigs, hogs, longhorns ostriches, emus, deer, and TONS of other animals.
The kids had an absolute blast, and Nick and I did too!

I love a man who knows his way around a toolbox.
I'm lucky that I married such a handyman.
Ever since we bought our house, I've asked Nick to mount our bedroom TV in our room.
He did it for me this weekend, and even hid all the wires behind the wall!

I spend most of my days yelling phrases like, "NO MATTIS!" or "MATTIS, NO!"
But I can't help but love this cute little trouble maker of mine...
The other day, he got into my flour in the pantry and decided to play in it.
All I could do was scream for Nick because I had stuff all over my hands from preparing dinner.
And...I was afraid to see the inside of my pantry...

And then there was this...
He found my floss....

Having a daughter who is just like me!
Most Sundays, our family is yelling at each other and rushing each other to get out the door in time to make it to the early service at church on time.
Amazingly, last Sunday, we all woke up at a reasonable hour in the morning, took our time getting ready, and even got to enjoy breakfast together.
I even had time to curl Dannika's hair!
She loves getting dressed up and getting her hair "did".

Last night, she asked to do an oatmeal mask with me.
Seriously, she's like my mini me...she's dramatic (I don't deny my dramatic tendencies!), wears her emotions on her sleeve, and loves all things girly.

An amazing vacation bible school program for D!
Our church is still fairly new, and didn't do a VBS this year (they did do summer day camps all through the summer).
Our friend told us about an amazing VBS program at our local Christ United Methodist Church.
I signed up Dannika, and she ended up having an absolute blast!
The theme was "Everest", and they did all sorts of Mt. Everest themed crafts and games that glorified God.
We'll definitely be partaking again next year!

Delicious summer salads with a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio.
We eat a TON of salad during the summer.
It's easy, refreshing, light, and healthy.
With our summer schedule jam packed, it's nice to be able to throw something together in just a few minutes, and have a delicious meal.

What are some things y'all are loving these days?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Choosing Good Neighbors

As a Marine Corps family that moves (on average) every 3 years, we are always thinking about where we're going to be living.
Is the house that we will be moving to bigger or smaller? two stories or one story? have a backyard or no backyard?
There's a thousand questions.
Nick and I have never lived on base, and we've always picked where we lived.
We've lived in everything from an 800 sqft apartment in San Clemente, CA to a 2600 sqft, two story home with a basement in Massachusetts.
But the one thing we can never choose is what neighbors we get.

Or can we?

EVERY SINGLE place we have lived at (6 residences total), Nick and I have been continually blessed with amazing neighbors who have become lifelong friends.
When we moved to Massachusetts, we were once again amongst some AMAZING neighbors.
 We couldn't believe it.
What are the odds?
Then the Romers invaded Texas, and AGAIN....
We ended up having the most amazing neighbors.

The thing is, my mom has always been a praying mom.
She has constantly prayed for us to be blessed with great neighbors every single time we have moved, and God has been extremely faithful to our family.
If y'all remember, I was extremely depressed and miserable when we moved to Massachusetts, and I am truly convinced that I really grew to love some of the things about living there because of the amazing neighbors we had.

Every place we have lived, our neighbors have become lifelong friends.

So, can you choose your neighbors?
But I am a strong believer that, with faith and prayer, God will always place your family right where your family needs to be.
So far, he has been so good to our family and our lifestyle.
It's like HE knows that struggles that our lifestyle can impose on our family, and he has always made sure that we have been surrounded by amazing people.

Our next door neighbors, Greg & Kayla have become some of our best friends.
It was their 1 year wedding anniversary yesterday!
We became instant friends when Kayla came to our house with fresh eggs while we were painting the inside of our home to introduce herself. 
Nick and Greg bonded over Nick's 72 Chevelle. 
Since then, we rarely go a week without hanging out with them at their house or at our house.
Last night, we went over to their house to watch their wedding video with them.
We are so blessed to have made such great friends who live just next door!

 This is Nick and Greg sitting all close and cuddly together last night.

Another blessing has been our neighbors across the street from us!
They have two girls and a boy!
Dannika has become such great friends with them, and we often take turns watching each other's children throughout the week.
Their middle child (and oldest daughter) is our "Mattis whisperer".
She comes over and watches him for me while I get things done around the house.
She helps me bathe him and put jammies on him at night.
She loves on him, and plays with him.
I couldn't ask for a better group of kids on our street!

How have your neighbors been?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Things That Are Annoying Me Today

I want to see pictures of my friend's adorable kids, dogs, homes, etc.
I want to see status updates on what my friends are doing today.
I posted one simple status about my husband half masting our neighborhood flags despite the white house's statement on remaining "neutral" on the tragedy in Chattanooga.
That one post turned into a straight up people posting their political views.
All I wanted to let people know was that this was our way of remembering our fallen service members...
It was in no way politically motivated.

I have very passionate friends. 
I am a passionate person, so it makes sense that the people I call friends are passionate.
However, people shoving their politics down my throat via Facebook is straight up annoying. 
Posting your little "articles" supporting or bashing a political figure isn't going to change MY mind on MY politics, and what I believe in.
I'm an intelligent human being (at least my parents tell me I am, dammit!), and I have very person reasons for my political views.
I don't advertise them, and I only talk about them behind closed doors at my "kitchen table" with close friends that I trust.
Your Facebook post isn't changing my's just annoying me to death.

My Son
I am human, and any parent who has never been annoyed by their child(ren) are LIARS!
He is currently banging on the door to the backyard and screaming bloody murder because I won't let him go outside in the blistering Texas heat.
I am choosing to ignore his negative behavior right now until he calms down.

Young College Girls
Nick had a young college girl whisper in class about how old he was.
"OH MY GAWWWWD!!! LIKE....SERIOUSLY...HOW OLD IS HE?!?! HE MUST BE LIKE 30!!!!!!!!" (dead serious...that's exactly how she said it).
Actually...he's almost 32 little girl.
And while you were taking your SAT's to get into college that your mommy and daddy are probably paying for...he was sitting in a hot ass desert in Afghanistan killing Taliban.
I should have more compassion since she's so young, inexperienced, and just...well...young....
But it just really annoyed me because she sounded like a spoiled and entitled brat. 

Lord help me understand...
That's my prayer for myself today....

Only 4 things in a jam packed day, and the day isn't even over yet...
Not bad, right?
My optimistic self is saying...
"You only have 4 things bothering you today! That's a great day!"

And some things to make you smile and be proud to be an American...

This beautiful Texas night sky I captured on my iPhone the other night...

The freedom to be a woman and go for a run in the middle of the day wearing a tank top and shorts!
There are countries out there where I would be looked at as practically naked for showing so much skin!!!!! The horror!

Dannika's first day at Christ United Methodist's Vacation Bible School!
Nick and I are not Methodists (we are non denominational), but CUMC's VBS was recommended to us by SO many friends!
She had such a blast!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Date Nights & Marriage

Two of my favorite things...
*1* Date nights with my handsome husband...
*2* Wine....chilled Pinot Grigio to be exact.

I'm not a "wine connoisseur", but I know what I like, and I know what I don't like.
I have a palate for expensive reds (Merlot), and cheap to moderately priced Pinot Grigio.
I don't drink red much because the only reds I like are the really good ones, and they're not really good on my bank account.

I've blogged a few times about the local winery (Messina Hof) that is just 15 minutes away from our house that we like to frequent.
I love their Pinot Grigio, the restaurant has pretty great food and wine pairings, and I love the property it sits on.
When we first moved to College Station, my high school Geometry teacher and a friend of his went in on a generous gift card for Nick and I to Messina Hof.
It was a "random act of kindness" gift, which we ended up "paying it forward" in our own way.
We had planned on using it on our Anniversary when Nick got us a room there for a weekend, but we left it at home!
Last night, Dannika was invited to our neighbor's house for a slumber party, and they graciously offered to watch Mattis for a few hours so that Nick and I could go out for a mini date night.
So, off we went!

We shared a bottle of my favorite Pinot Grigio.

Nick sampled a sweet red called "beau". 
He likes the sweet so much.

They have this gorgeous lake on the property filled with hundreds of turtles!
We got some turtle food, and went to feed them.

That big one on the right hand side of this photo is a soft shell turtle.

I've blogged quite a bit about marriage.
Nick and I are normal, and just like every other normal married couple, we hit our ups and downs.
The beginning of last year was particularly rough on our marriage just from all the separations and reintegration catching up to us.
Mixed in with the fact that I was just miserable living in New England, we were a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully, with some outside help through church and marriage counseling, we got ourselves back on track!
I'm not gonna say it was easy...
I'm not gonna say it was fun...
And I'm DEFINITELY not gonna say it happened fast...
But you know what?
It was worth it.
One thing we learned through the process of getting through a difficult time in our marriage was to continually date each other.
When we were sorting out our issues, we had realized that the last time we had gone on a date night was before Mattis was born (almost a year!).
We realized how important date nights were when our counselor pointed out how often Nick and I had been away from each other because of the Marine Corps.
It's like we have to really make the effort to be together alone when he IS home.

The divorce rate in the country is like 50% or something, and the divorce rate in the military is even higher.
This life can suck a person dry, and I truly believe marriage in "this life" takes twice as much effort than a "normal marriage".
But I know lots of military couples who have been married 20-30 years in this life, and are stronger than ever, so it gives me a little hope that all is not lost with marriage in the military.

I can proudly say that for the last year and half, Nick and I have made it a POINT to go out on AT LEAST one date night a month without the kids. 
It's truly made a world of difference in our marriage, and I really can't remember a time when we've been a stronger couple.
Our kids see us loving each other, and realize the importance of "mommy and daddy" getting away for a bit.
Dannika gets giddy with excitement when she sees me getting ready and all dressed up for a date night with her daddy.
So here we are...

My non expert (but awesome) advice....
"Date yo spouse!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer So Far

I can't believe it's already July!
Summer seems to be flying, and yet, it's not even the hottest part of the year in Texas yet!
So far, our summer has been extremely packed with lots of activities, and fun stuff!
So far, Nick and I have done a trip to Boston.
Dannika has done a cheer camp, backyard bible club, and started private lessons in gymnastics once a week on top of her two regular classes.
This week, she started a "Frozen" inspired dance camp.
We've gone to our neighborhood pool every single week.
This photo just cracks me up....sun's in their faces.

Last Friday, Nick and I attended the retirement ceremony for the Colonel in charge of the Navy/Marine Corps NROTC program at Texas A&M.

I got lots of compliments on the dress I chose to wear. 
I bought it at a local boutique here in town called the Collection Boutique.
The dress is "Mystree", the shoes are "Sperry Topsider" espadrille wedges, and the bag is of course my favorite "Louis Vuitton speedy bag".

My handsome date and me.

A kiss from good luck in front of Kyle Field.

Since we were all dressed up and fancy, we came home, grabbed the kids from the sitter, and went out to eat at the Salt Grass (a steakhouse by our house).
To our surprise, Mattis actually behaved through dinner, and we all got to enjoy some really yummy food.

A daddy's girl, always.

Nick and I still have a trip to Cancun next month!

This summer is just jam packed for us!

I don't do "Summer bucket lists". 
I have a lot of friends that do it, and I always admire them for it.
But it puts too much pressure on me.
I'd be really disappointed if we didn't get to do everything on the bucket list, so I choose to just do summer as we go!

Hope y'all are having a great summer!
Anything fun y'all are doing?!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Then She Turned 6

My sweet sweet baby girl turned 6 yesterday!

Every single year, I catch myself saying, "where does the time go?!"
But seriously with every year that passes, it seems to go faster and faster.
Here are some things that have happened since her last birthday...
*Daddy graduated from OCS, and we took a trip to Quantico, VA to watch him graduate
*Started Kindergarten at Memorial Elementary School in Natick, MA in Mrs. Loer's class
*Moved to Texas a month after Kindergarten started (her 3rd move in 6 years of life!)
*Started Kindergarten again at her new school at Forest Ridge Elementary in College Station, TX in Mrs. Weaver's class
*Started her second year of gymnastics at Brazos Valley Gymnastics
*Started her second year of dance at Suzanne's School of Dance
*She "graduated" from Kindergarten

Since she had her big Cinderella party  back in June right after school got out, so we kept it low key this weekend.
"Low Key", however, turned into a birthday weekend for our sweet girl.
On Saturday, our sweet neighbors came by our house with a gift to have a small cake and candles and homemade pizza with us.
In true "Dannika fashion", she dressed to match her Frozen cake.

She got to open gifts, and her favorite gift this year was her new tumbling mat!
She's been wanting one to practice her gymnastics at home :)

Then on Sunday, my parents came to our house to hang out, and take Dannika to dinner at Outback Steakhouse (her choice, of course).
I say it all the time, but I am so thankful for this opportunity to live by my parents, and have them be a part of our special days!

This photo got a TON of likes on Instagram and Facebook.
My mom showed up to our house with her very own "selfie stick".
And insisted on using it even after I offered to snap a photo for them.
Oh're so Asian....

My parents at Outback with the birthday girl!

I'm so proud of the big girl she is becoming.
I know that Nick and I can be hard on her at times, and we catch ourselves reminding each other to "back off" a little and be easier on her. 
She really is the easiest child to parent, and we continually thank God every day for choosing us to be in charge of her life here on earth.

To my Dannika Jane...
Keep smiling that beautiful smile...
Keep twirling and dancing to Taylor Swift...
Keep being the bright shining star in our lives...
And most importantly...
Keep loving God.

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, July 10, 2015

The End of Someone Else's Chapter

Today, I am attending a retirement ceremony for a Marine who is retiring from active duty after 28 years of service.
Not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to.
As a Marine, I have always made my best effort to attend every memorial service, funeral, and retirement ceremonies for fellow Marines.
Every single time one of these events comes up, I hear Marines complaining about the "working parties" to set these events up.
Every single time, I hear Marines complain about the fact that they have to take time out of their precious day to be a part of another Marine's biggest day of their life.
I irks me like no other.

Look, I was a Marine for 10 years.
I get "Marine culture".
Newsflash to those of you who have not been on "the inside" of the Marine Corps....

Marines are the biggest complainers and whiners you'll ever meet (I'm guilty as charged).

Are you surprised? 
Behind the "no nonsense", rough and tough exterior, Marines bask in misery...we're like sadists.
A common phrase heard in the Marine Corps is, "If they're not complaining or miserable, something's wrong."

Anyway, back to the point of this blog post...
It bothers me the most when I hear Marines complaining about having to attend "another retirement ceremony" (or whatever other ceremonies Marines participate in).
It bothers me because, as Marines, we are taught from day 1 of our training that we are one.
We have each others backs no matter what.
We support each other.
So is it really that much of an "inconvenience" for you to take an hour out of your day to celebrate another Marine's accomplishment?
Anyone who survives "the suck" for 20+ years deserves more than just an hour of my time (in my opinion).
But, if all they're asking is that I be a part of their special day to commemorate the end of one life and the beginning of the new life, I'm all over it like "white on rice"! 

I'm looking forward to attending this retirement ceremony today.
This Marine has served 28 years in the Corps, 24 of them married to his wife, had two kids, and has moved 11 times. 
Not to mention the countless deployments he has done.
I'm friends with his wife on Facebook, and I have noticed how much she is truly going to miss being part of the Marine Corps family.
I remember the feeling of loss I had when I got out of the Marine Corps, but that void was filled knowing that my husband was still "in", and I could still sorta be "in" it. 
It's funny because I have been counting down the years until Nick retires from the day we got married.
But I never thought about how I would feel when this crazy life...
The only one I've ever known since graduating from high school...
Comes to a close...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dining Room Decor

Since we bought our house, I've made quite an effort to make it feel "homey" while putting my personality into the decor.
One of my favorite parts of our house is our dining room.
We don't have a formal dining room in our house, so our one dining room is our everything dining room.
I love that Nick built our amazingly chic farmhouse table for me to fit in our space.
I love the floating "dry bar" that Nick also built for me (although, I want to raise the mirror up a little bit...hey, maybe tonight!).
I love the chandelier.
I love the big window that brings in so much natural light into it.
I love it.
I'm also not into "matchy matchy" furniture sets like I used to when I first got married and was furnishing my entire house with matching furniture sets.
Hence the reason why the end chairs are different than the chairs closest to the dry bar, and the reason why the chairs closest to the dry bar don't match the bench.

This week, I went to World Market to just browse, and ended up getting inspiration for an awesome centerpiece for our dining room table.

I bought the tray ($20), the candles (can't remember the price), candle holders ($17 a piece), and the fake white flowers ($5) from World Market.
The turquoise candle in front is from target ($13).
The bottle of wine is an expensive bottle of merlot that Nick got me for our 7th anniversary (we are not drinking it until our 10th anniversary).
The two glass jars next to the turquoise candles are actually gifts from our relatives in England.
They had stilton cheese in it (sort of like blue cheese), and now they're empty.

I love the little bit of elegance it brings into our cozy dining room.
I light the candles when Mattis goes to bed, and just stare at them.

This is our second home we've owned, and our 6th home that we've lived in.
It's by far my favorite...
Probably because we're back in good ole Texas...

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Very Romer 4th

This is the first 4th of July that Nick has been home for in 3 years!
I was excited to celebrate our first 4th of July in my beloved hometown with my family ALL together!
We were invited to go out to our neighbor's family's 4th of July bash, but Nick wanted to stick around the house, smoke some ribs, and enjoy our house and backyard.
We decided to invite our neighbor across the street from us since his wife was out of town for the weekend, and he was alone.
We also invited our friends Rob, Liz, and their two kiddos over for some BBQ, sparklers, and company!

The day before 4th of July!
Our neighbor owns a screenprinting company (All Out Graphics), and made our family these awesome matching shirts!
Shameless plug....If y'all ever need custom tshirts, hats, etc. made, get on their website and give them a call!
They make unit shirts for Marine Corps units ALL over the U.S.!

4th of July!
Mama and son! 
I actually took the time to curl my hair!

The best photo I could get of the two of them
One day...I'll get an awesome photo.

The Romer fam in our 4th of July outfits!
I decided to go with just a "red, white, and blue" theme with our outfits instead of the over the top American flag outfits.

And of course a kiddie pool for the kids! awesome is our grass?!?!
Shout out to my awesome husband for maintaining our lawn!

We did mini fireworks in our back yard since our HOA would frown upon us doing actual fireworks in our subdivison.
They were actually pretty impressive!

 And of course...sparklers...

Dannika was pooped.

The day after the 4th...
Our sweet neighbor Jillian came to play with Dannika while Nick and I watched Team USA beat Japan in the World Cup!

 My 4th of July weekend was amazing!
I am so thankful that Nick was home this year to spend it with us and enjoy the festivities.

I hope y'all had a great 4th of July!!