Saturday, September 24, 2016

Dear Aggie Football

Let me start off by first saying that I LOVE Texas A&M and Aggie football. 
Texas A&M has been a dream school of mine since I was young girl growing up here in College Station.
The university offers one of the best educations that one can receive, the research and research opportunities are remarkable (hello...we ARE the pioneers when it comes to cloning animals), and the rich traditions and history within this place is absolutely mind-blowing!
There is no other university I could EVER see myself attending, and people think I am joking when I say how utterly crushed I would be if my kids do not choose to come to school here too.
I love being an Aggie, and I am damn proud of it.

Texas A&M's veterans services program has been recognized nationally as one of the best.
Our veterans services is amazing, and I have nothing but amazing things to say about it.
I also believe that the university is making a HUGE investment into their future when they accept veterans to attend Texas A&M (which they accept a LOT of).
Aggie veterans are ground breakers, self-starters, self-motivators, focused, disciplined, wise beyond their years, and extremely intelligent. 
They bring their wealth of knowledge and experience from service to our country that positively impacts the college experience for the traditional student.
Texas A&M has been recognized as one of the most pro military colleges in the United States, and as a student veteran, I can attest to that.

On November 12, Texas A&M is scheduled to host Ole Miss at Kyle Field for the military appreciation football game.
They're offering discounted tickets for veterans and active duty service members for that game.
From my past experience, the tickets they offer at discounted prices are still expensive, and the seats available to purchase are in Kyle Field's nosebleed section.
Student veterans were also asked to volunteer before kickoff to unfurl a giant American flag across the field.
Awesome opportunity!
Nick and I volunteered without hesitation.
I found out yesterday that they are short about 100 student veterans and active duty Aggies to unfurl the flag, and they have gone to desperate measures by opening it up to former Aggie veterans as well.
I found it odd that they were having such problems, so I posed the question, "do they get to stay for the game?"
My source from the student veteran organization told me "No. I was told it is too big of a game that is guaranteed to sell out for them to offer free tickets for the veterans and servicemembers who are volunteering to unfurl the flag."
That is right.
I'm just going to add that Nick and I do not need free tickets.
Unlike the average veteran attending school here on the GI Bill, Nick is getting paid active duty pay to attend school, and our family is financially secure.
We purchase tickets to the games we want to attend, and every once in a while a generous friend will donate their tickets to us.
For the average veteran that is attending school here, this is not the case.
A lot of veterans attending school here have families and children. 
Yes, the GI Bill covers tuition, but as far as supporting a family, the small stipend the Post 9/11 GI Bill offers for housing is NOT enough to support a family and children.
Most veterans are working, not for extra spending money or just for rent and bills, but to support their families.
The last thing they have money to spend on is Aggie football tickets.
The average cost to attend a football game as a family of 4 (in crappy seats) is about $400.
Let's be real here, most veterans have a bad back, broke ass knees, and a myriad of other health issues to be standing tall with the 12th man in the student section for four quarters.
And NO veteran is going to force their children to stand with belligerent 18-22 year olds (who are wasted) for four quarters of a game either.
Our family buys the student sports passes, and we always upgrade our seats by paying the difference in price so that our old broke bodies can actually sit down and enjoy a game with our kids. 
For many veterans, it is just way too expensive to do so.

So with that said, I want to know why it is ok to ask over 200 veterans and servicemembers to unfurl a flag for publicity at a "military appreciation" game, then kick them out of the stadium if they do not have tickets.
Does that even make sense to you?

It is ONE game.
The ONE game that is a military APPRECIATION game.
Is it really going to make a university go broke to give free tickets for veterans/servicemembers who are volunteering to be on the field to unfurl the flag?
I'm not even asking for us.
Our family will happily feed the money machine that is Aggie football because we do understand how much money Aggie football brings into our university, and we are in a unique situation as a military family to be able to afford those tickets. 
 Texas A&M receives HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars from alumni every year.

Makes me wonder.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday Woes Turned Happy

Tuesdays and Thursdays are two of the busiest days of the week for our family.
I dread going to bed on Mondays because Tuesday is lurking around the corner.
Nick leaves for ROTC PT at like 0430-0500(ish), showers and changes on campus, and spends the rest of the day in class until 545 in the evening when his last lab ends.
Then he rushes home (where we barely have time to exchance a quick hello/goodbye), picks up Dannika, and takes her straight to gymnastics by 630 and coaches until 730. 
He's not officially home until 8.

I am up with the kids morning routine, packing lunches, refereeing sibling wars, arguing with a 7 year old who thinks she is 16 about how to do her hair, making breakfast while scarfing down something edible myself.
We are out the door by 725(ish) to drop off the big at school, then Mattis and I head straight for the gym where I get a quick hour of cardio (no time for weights).
I'm home by 915(ish), shower, make myself look presentable, hand off Mattis to our nanny, and I am on campus from 1030 until 1430 (230PM for you non military types).
I grab Dannika from school by 1505 (305PM), relieve our second half of the day nanny (sometime between all this madness, our nannies do a hand off of Mattis....sorta like divorced parents do! haha!).

I mean I can go on and day is just plain exhausting!

But, instead of dreading today, I am choosing to be happy.
Happy that I get to attend my dream college, finally....(14 years in the making)...WHOOP!
Happy that my husband has a job that he loves that allows our family to be a "one income" family.
Happy my kids are healthy.
Happy my kids love each other (most of the time).

Just happy for these small moments...

Like random car selfies after a crazy, busy day...

When they want to wear matching sneaks...

My future Aggie in her Aggie gear...

Random family outings to the Chicken for burgers and live music...
 (Photo of a flag Nick made for them on their wall!)

 When this handsome guy asks me to take a picture of him...

And two of the sweetest Aggie girls who love on our baby every week....

What are you choosing to be happy about today?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Prairie View Game

There are a TON of photos on this post.
Playing "blog catch up" is tricky!

I really have zero time to blog these days. 
I thought I would get a chance to this weekend since we had an away game.
But it was "Aggie Ring Day" weekend (more on that soon!), and our family had SO many commitments to help friends celebrate!
I'm taking less classes, and yet I have less time than ever before.
Still trying to figure out how that happened?

Anyway, Nick and I made the decision that we would take our kids with us to ONE Aggie home football game per season.
Mainly because Mattis can be quite the "diva", and his attention span is non-existent.
We got some awesome club access tickets from a friend to the A&M vs. Prairie View A&M game.
Basically, we had expensive tickets that gave us awesome seats with access to an indoor food and beverage area of Kyle Field.
We figured this was the game to bring our kids too so that they wouldn't be subject to the heat.
Also, the game was going to be a shut out since PVAMU is a much smaller school than A&M, but all the hype was about the halftime show.
PVAMU is a historically black university, and their marching band (called the Storm) is SO entertaining.
PVAMU is actually part of the Texas A&M University school system.
 This was the first time TAMU and PVAMU have played each other. 
TAMU and PVAMU are the 2 oldest public institutions in Texas established in 1876.
Prairie View was established during the reconstruction period & in the Texas constitution of 1876 which stated that separate schools should be provided for the whites and blacks.
There is just so much history associated with the schools, and it was really neat to be a part of this whole experience. 


Watching Prairie View A&M's drill team (the Black Foxes) walking out of Kyle Field!

He slept the the majority of the halftime show!
He missed the best part!

The teams warming up before the game started (hence the empty seats!). 
The stadium got pretty full by the time kickoff happened.

The game was a blast, and our family was WORN out!
I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing University with so much tradition and history!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Howdy Y'all, Remember Me?

The last post I wrote was about how I survived Syllabus week.
Now I am here just trying to survive Fall semester.
Between one writing intensive class, two classes that require a CRAP TON of reading, my internship, keeping two little humans alive and well, and being a wife, I am SO SPREAD THIN!
I feel like I have no time for anything!
I am also hating juggling my demanding course load with college football season.
The struggle is real, y'all.
We had two home games in a row, and with Nick being the President of A&M's Semper Fi Society, he is in charge of all the home football game tailgates. 
This means home game Saturdays mean NO time for studying, reading, or homework.
It has been crazy!
Here are some pics from our first tailgate!

Our very first tailgate was against UCLA (An Aggie win!)
SEC Nation was live broadcasting at Spence Park (right outside of Kyle Field), so I got to be 10 feet away from Tim Tebow!

My two little Ags all dressed and ready to tailgate!

One of our favorite things to do is watching the Corps of Cadets march onto Kyle Field for the game!

Official Aggie mascot, Reveille!

Our sweet nanny Rachel and her roommate Amanda stopped by our tent to say hi!


I need prayers that I'll be able to maintain schooling and all my other "mom and wife commitments"!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Syllabus Week Down!

First week of classes is down, and our first fightin' Texas Aggie home game is THIS Saturday!
I am dreaming about tailgates, and boots, and cute outfits, and most importantly, watching the Aggies BTHO UCLA this weekend (Whoop!)!

Classes have been pretty good this week.

Here's my first day of school photo!
"When I grow up, I want to shower without interrupting children, and go #2 in peace."

Syllabus week tends to be a drag, but most of my professors jumped right into lecture on the first day!
 And someone explain to me why my professor feels the need to have a 21 page syllabus?!?!

One of the classes I am taking is Military War & Society.
It is a sociology class (for those who don't know, I am minoring in sociology and psychology).
I didn't choose this class because I wanted to, or because of my military background.
I needed a sociology class, and this was the only class that was open and fit with my schedule.
It turns out, the majority of the students in this class are members of Texas A&M's ROTC (or better known as our Corps of Cadets). 

It's already a challenge being a non-traditional, older student.
I find it hard to relate sometimes to the "young kids".
Ironically, I find it even harder to relate to young cadets.
There is a sense of arrogance (not always in a bad way) that comes with the territory of being a cadet at TAMU, and I know a lot of veterans who have expressed this same sentiment with me.
Being in the Corps of Cadets at TAMU is a really big deal.
They are called our University's keepers of the "Aggie spirit", and rightfully so.
All of A&M's beginnings and history begins with the Corps of Cadets.
But there is a disconnect between being in ROTC, and being an actual military member or veteran.
Veterans take so much pride in their military service, so it's tough to see these kids marching around and "playing soldier" when you've experienced it in real life. 

With that said, I have an immense amount of respect for our Corps of Cadets.
Compared to the the average college kid on campus, the members of the Corps of Cadets are some of the most disciplined and professional students I have met.
They always call professors sir or ma'am, and they don't shuffle around before a lecture is over.
They're just all around a great group, and another reason why I believe Texas A&M is by far, the greatest damn university in the world! 

Marching into Kyle Field for a home football game! (last season)

Dannika and some cadets last year at a tailgate!

In this class, we have been discussing war and how people experience war.
I am usually pretty good about staying quiet and letting the young students speak their piece on differing subjects.
Most of their opinions, I shake my head (to myself) and think, "If you only knew in real life..."
Experiencing academia at 32, and watching these kids minds at work is fascinating to me. 
The "kids" I served in the Marine Corps with at 18-23 years old had such different mindsets than the average 18-23 year old college kid. 

Either way, I'm super excited for this semester!
Graduation next summer!!!
I. can. hardly. wait.

My view on my walk to class.
That big dome thing you see behind those trees is our academic building.

Random selfie?
I went out for dinner and drinks with some of my fellow Forest Ridge Elementary moms.
Much needed mom night.
This was my outfit, makeup, hairstyle of choice. lol

Since today is college colors day, our family is reppin' our Ags!

Our nanny had our kids yesterday afternoon for a bit, and sent me this absolutely adorable picture of them on the steps at Evans Library. 
Hopefully, they will spend lots of time in there in the future studying for tests and finals.