Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Birthday Fit For A General

I have always gone "all out" when it comes to special celebrations in our family.
It drives Nick insane, but I know deep down inside, he really appreciates it.
I just have this thing about birthdays.
I think it goes back to memories of my own childhood. 
My mom never threw me huge fancy parties (pinterest was not a thing), but my mom always threw me a party.
I have fond memories of them, and I want my kids to have the same.
I'm also a sucker when it comes to a reason for a celebration!
I love making people feel special, and especially when those people are my family!

Mattis' actual birthday was on Friday, but his party was the Saturday after.
I still wanted his actual "birthday day" to be special.

I bribed him with gummy snacks to pose for a few birthday photos on our deck!

Mattis' first birthday celebration started the morning of his birthday.
I forced asked Nick nicely to wake up early to get Mattis a strawberry doughnut (his request) from Shipley's for his birthday breakfast.
I put candles in it, and we all sang happy birthday to him to start his day!

 We received packages all day from Mattis' fan club sending him birthday gifts.
Our nanny's (Rachel) parents sent him this gigantic Mr. Potato Head.
Every time Rachel's mom comes to visit us, she lets him play the Mr. Potatohead game on her iPhone.
So it was just a fitting gift for him from them!
He actually slept with this giant plastic potato that night, and took it with him everywhere the next day while running errands with Nick.

Mattis' SECOND birthday celebration was after dinner on Friday.
We got him a chocolate cupcake, threw candles on it, and sang him Happy birthday (for the second time).
Nick thought it was ridiculous that we were singing and doing candles AGAIN when his party was scheduled for the next day where we would once again sing and have candles on his birthday cake.
He'll never get it.

We ended the day like this....
My brother in law and sister got him this Ninja Turtle hoodie for his birthday!

Onto his party!
Mattis requested a Scooby Doo party!
It was an odd choice, because there are cartoons he is WAY more into than Scooby Doo.
This is what Mattis wanted, so this is what Mattis got!
My plan was to just do cake, drinks, and let the kids run wild in our backyard with water guns and water balloons.
I wasn't in the mood to have all sorts of people inside my house since my parents were here.
Plus, with classes starting for Nick and me on Monday, the last thing I wanted to do was clean up the inside of my house.
But I did do a nice little spread in our dining room for photo

I always make custom water bottle labels for my kids parties.
I use Bottle Your Brand to design my own labels. 
They come in the form of a sticker.
I buy regular water bottles, rip off the label, and throw my own label on them.
It's a cheap way to add a personal touch to your party!

For party favors, I ordered custom decorated sugar cookies from Get Baked Bakery.
Way cheaper than making goody bags, and way more delicious!

I ordered his cake from a local bakery called The Cake Junkie.
They did Dannika's birthday cake this year, and not only was it delicious, but they were super cute!

"Jeepers Juice"
Just sour apple gatorade and gummy worms!

Mattis' birthday invite that I didn't get to pass out to everyone.
We only invited people on our street, so everyone was invited via "word of mouth".

 Since he had already blown candles out twice already, I got sparklers for his cake.

My parents came to celebrate, and we all got to have dinner together.

After the party, and after my parents left, we hung out on our driveway with our neighbors for a little bit...
This is Mattis and his future wife, Kylie..........

At the end of the day, Mattis was EXHAUSTED!
He started dozing off during his bath (which is a rare occurance).
I wrapped him up in a towel, and put him in bed...with NO fighting back.

Mattis had such an amazing 3rd birthday weekend! 
My mom made a comment about how lucky he was to have so many people who love him in his life.
All of our neighbors showed up to wish him a happy birthday and celebrate.

Thanks to everyone who made his birthday so special!
Please say a little prayer for our family as Nick and I start fall semester tomorrow!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The General is 3!

How did this baby...

Turn into this little stud...

In only THREE short years?!

My Massachusetts born, Texas bred "baby" is THREE today!

He is wild.
He is crazy.
He is the best cuddler in the world (ask his nannies!).
He will talk your ear off.
He still loves his "ya-ya" (his paci).
He loves Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, and Scooby Doo.
He loves his "yay-tube" (youtube) videos of people opening shopkins.
He loves the song "Stitches" and "My House".
He is daddy's little sidekick.
He has a giggle that will make YOU giggle.
He can ride a scooter on two wheels like a champ.
He loves chewing gum and ring pops.

Most importantly, he loves him some Jesus!

I can NOT believe you are three already, Mattis Mark Vincent!
You bring so much joy (along with the occasional headache) to our lives.
You're the boy I never wanted, but couldn't live without now.
Your daddy and I are constantly laughing at your antics and blaming eachother's "genes" for them.
We are so grateful God chose US for YOU and entrusted us to raise you to become the amazing man you'll be one day.

We love you Mattis Mark Vincent!
Never change, and keep being your trouble making and goofy self!

And because no good post about Mattis is complete without his "sour puss" face.
 But we STILL love him...

I know Vincent is looking down on you from heaven and giving you a high five every time you cause mischief!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Nick ordered his Aggie ring this week!!

So what's the big deal, and why is there an entire blog post dedicated to him just ordering his ring?

Because it's an AGGIE ring...that's why it's a HUGE deal.

I was gonna post the entire symbolism on the Aggie ring, and why it is such a big deal for Aggie grads, but it is long, boring, and monotonous.
If you're not an Aggie, you won't care, let alone read about it.
If you're really curious about the symbolism behind the ring, you can read about it here.

But a quick Google search on "Aggie rings: What's the big deal?"
Here are some responses I found on a thread:

"Short answer: Same reason Jews wear yamakas." -Ringoffive

" Probably the most significant value of the Aggie ring for former students is to publicly identify yourself as a member of the Aggie family, which is very important to Ags. Getting your ring is a very signiicant event for Aggie students. ~90% of all A&M graduates get rings.

I have only had a ring for 3 years, and have had countless random conversations with other Aggies who noticed my ring." -flyfisher09

"And as others have said, it's the best way to recognize another aggie. I can't tell you how many times I've had an Aggie approach me in an airport, across a conference hall, etc because they can see my ring. It's an instant connection." -AJ02

" To me my ring is more important than even my diploma.... I was WAY more excited to get my ring than walk the stage at graduation.

As others have stated you have to meet the requirements to get one and its a huge event when you do (search for photos of ring day and see the crowds and then the ring dunking party afterwards)." -Jagouar1

"It sets us apart from everyone else. Most schools look at a class ring as just another high school ring. In fact, with a few exceptions, it looks like a high school ring. A little bigger, perhaps, but just a piece of gold with a colored stone on it. Ours is very unique and recognizable from afar. I've had other Aggies come up to me all over the world and introduce themselves once they see my ring. When this happens, it's like seeing an old friend, even though you never met them before.

Aggies look at their ring as a symbol of the most important achievment of their lives. Some will go on and get master's and doctorates at other places, but you can be damn sure that all who love A&M will wear their Aggie ring until they die. I will" -Ag-bq-70

So, as y'all can see based on these responses, our ring is a pretty big deal for our school.
It is one of our most cherished and time honored traditions.
If you just do a quick Google search of "Aggie ring day", you will see countless photos and videos of people receiving their Aggie rings.
I've heard girls say that their Aggie ring day was more important to them than their engagement!

On our way to order his ring!!!

Trying out some different sizes...

Even Mattis got in on the action.

He asked if he could have one.
Made my Aggie mama heart swell up with pride.
I told him he could get his in 2035!

I mean seriously, what school has a giant statue of their school ring?!?!
Texas A&M!
They even give you this cool sign to do a fun photo op with!

 It may not seem like a big deal to a non-Aggie, but it was a pretty big day for our family.
So proud of you, Nick!
Can't wait to order mine!

Thanks and Gig 'em! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Just A Girl In A 2nd Grade World

Remember this photo?

Her last day of 1st grade was just three short months ago.

And this Monday, this same little girl started 2nd grade!!!!!

Still wants to be a teacher, and still rockin' her cowgirl boots.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


 This is a photo of pure vacation bliss.
Chilled pinot grigio looking out onto to Lake Conroe from our vacation home.

Nick and I decided that every other year, we would do a fun vacation with the kids.
Every year in between, we would vacation just the two of us.
This is, of course, until the kids are old enough to take with us on our adventures.
 Of course travelling with our (almost) 3 year old on an airplane just gives me nightmares thinking about it.
So we opted to do a local vacay with our kids this year.
We rented a lake house on Lake Conroe, invited our neighbors, and a friend of mine in Dallas to share our time with.
We brought all of our kids, and all of our stuff, and just had a great time relaxing by the lake.

We had full unlimited access to the country club just walking distance from our place.
Our first night there, we all headed over to have dinner there.

Mattis making himself comfy...

The view from our pretty.

When we were stationed at Camp Pendleton, I met a lovely lady who's husband (at the time) was in the same unit as Nick.
Our girls are just a month and a half apart in age, and have not seen each other since they were two (almost three)!
They reunited, and got along as if they had been BFF's for years!
Here they are...Dannika and Piper!

Nick and I are super morning people/early birds.
While the rest of our crew slept in until 11-noon, we were up at 7 to grab breakfast for the kids (who woke up just an hour after us).
I even got in a workout and a run all before 9!

Playing at the pool by the country club!

Walking back from the pool...

The girls swam in the lake for a little bit.
(photo taken right before Piper felt the "slimy sand" between her toes because the water was shallow)

The boys fished pretty much all day, every day the entire time we were there.
They caught absolutely nothing on the first day.

The girls playing Shopkins on the grass while watching Nick and Greg fish.

Nick took Mattis out on the kayak for a bit to fish.

Piper caught a fish!

By the end of the weekend, the boys managed to catch enough fish for us to have a fish fry!
We had so much fun just relaxing and enjoying the company of our friends.
We couldn't have asked for a better vacation to have with both our kids in tow.

 Afterwards, we headed to Houston, dropped the kids off with my parents, and Nick and I got a hotel room for a night away!
We stayed at the Westin inside the Galleria mall, and I have to give the hotel 5 stars and two thumbs up!

My sister and brother in law got us a gift card to a fancy sushi restaurant in Houston called "Uchi".
We decided to go there for our date night.
We split a six course meal together.
It was heavenly...
Check out the photos of what we ordered!
Don't ask me what it was, because I don't remember!

 Post dinner elevator selfie...because we wanted to...

 Because Nick and I are such exciting people, we came straight back to our hotel room after dinner to watch overpriced movies on the hotel's on demand program.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...

The next morning, we ordered room service, then went for a quick swim in the hotel pool (in the rain).
I decided I was Katie Ledecky...
"Would Katie Ledecky get out of the pool because of rain?! NO!"

Everything bagel with cream cheese, capers, tomato, smoked salmon, and red onion.

What our kids did while we spent the night away...
My parents took them to a trampoline park!

 We always make a pit stop at the Godiva chocolate store when we are at the Houston Galleria.

I get a few truffles, and Nick gets an truffleata (a truffle milkshake)

With Dannika officially back in school, and classes starting up again for the Fall semester for Nick and me, our mini vacay was perfect for us.
After a long summer of summer school, it was the perfect getaway to get us mentally prepared for Fall! 

Oh, and if you're on Instagram and are my friend, you can look up the hashtag #romeringaroundthelake, and you'll see all of our lake vacation photos!