Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Highlight Reel

I wanted to blog about our family's Christmas in Nashville, but since it's New Year's Eve,  I figured I'd give y'all my 2017 "highlight reel". 2017 was an amazing year for my family and me. It was a year of change, saying goodbye to the "old", and the start of new beginnings. Here are some of my favorite memories of this year!

We rang in the New Year with our wonderful neighbors!

I FINALLY got to order my Aggie ring in the Spring!
It was such an amazing feeling to get to do something I had waited my entire life to do!
It was definitely a day that will stick out in my mind forever.

Dannika chose to be baptized!
It was so special, because SHE chose to get baptized.

Nick won an award from the city of College Station for his work in our neighborhood!

Nick and Dannika went to their second daddy/daughter dance.

We Spring Breaked in Arizona!

D finished 2nd grade!

Our family did a little getaway to San Antonio!

Nick and I found ourselves back in SoCal in Laguna for our friend's wedding!

Dannika (and Addy) turned 8!

We found ourselves back in Southern California (in the inland empire this time) for ANOTHER wedding!

Dannika went to summer camp at Camp Carolina Creek!

Nick was promoted to MSgt!

 My last day of college!

I FINALLY got my Aggie gold!!!!!!

 Nick and I graduated TOGETHER!

Nick commissioned as a 2ndLt in the Marine Corps.

I dunked my Aggie ring in Michelob Ultra in 52 seconds!

 Our family went on vacation to XCaret, Mexico!

 My sweet boy turned 4!

Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, Dannika and Mattis started school a day late.
D started 3rd grade and Mattis started Pre-k!

 Nick and a couple Aggie Marines got to go down to Houston and help out with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts!

My handsome boy's first school photo!

A rainy Halloween!

The Astros won the world series!

Snow in Texas! Crazy!

I got to finally meet my new niece, Zoe.

Ending the year with my main squeeze!

2017 was full of so much change, and I couldn't imagine doing it any other way. Our family got to do a lot of traveling, and got to spend it with the ones we love most. It's hard to believe that this time, next year, we will be living somewhere completely different! We are up for the challenge and new adventures that await us in 2018. I hope everyone had a wonderful year. For those who had a year of hurt and disappointment, I just wanted to leave you with this...
You are not alone. God sees you. As hard as it may be to be optimistic, I am a firm believer that a good attitude and optimism can change the world.

Happy New Year, y'all!

Monday, December 18, 2017

It's The Most...

Stressful time...Of. The. Year. It's not the shopping, or money, or lack of time to get everything done like most people. For me, it's the fact that between both of my kids and me, we have been passing back and forth this sickness. I don't think we have had a clean bill of health in this home for the last two weeks! Praying that we are all healthy and "disease free" before Christmas!

I made a big decision last week to ask my boss to cut back my time at work to be more present for my kids and my family. I missed out on a few trips up to D.C. for "Officer wife" events (sounds so pretentious, doesn't it?), and my kids have expressed to me that they miss seeing me around at their school. I used to volunteer at LOT at Dannika's school, and it was nice to really be involved in her school life. This was a tough decision for me, because I am the type of girl that needs to work outside of the home. I am not meant to be a stay-at-home mom. But I realized with Nick being gone, how much my kids really needed me. I am also grateful to be able to choose to ask to cut back on hours without it affecting our family income drastically. I am INCREDIBLY blessed to have a husband who provides for our family so that I can make small decisions like this without worrying about our finances.

It's strange that at 33 years old, the thought of asking my boss for less days at work gave me so much anxiety. You gotta remember that I spent ten years in the Marines. If I woulda asked my boss to "cut back my time at work" in the Marine Corps, I would have been laughed straight out of the hangar to the flighline. Now that I have the "freedom" to request such things, it's completely foreign to me. I googled, "how to ask your boss for less hours at work" more times than I'd care to admit. The funny thing is, my boss is one of the most approachable people I know, and yet, I was literally a fish out of water when it came to this. **Note to the Marine Corps transitioning class people and the VA: We (us Jarheads) need classes on things like this. Hey, resumé building classes and interview classes are important, but so are classes on things like, "how to ask for less hours" and "how to quit your job"! No one teaches us these things! lol. But in all honesty, I was afraid that he would say something like, "well, I really need you 5 days a week, so if you can't do it, I don't know if you'll be useful to our company." Which, BY THE WAY, I expressed to him a gazillion times when I had "the talk" with him (over the phone) that he did NOT need to feel obligated to keep me because he felt bad putting someone out of a job. Thankfully, he graciously kept me around, and starting in the new year, I will work less days at the office. It's a nice feeling to know that what you've been doing at work is valuable enough that they want to keep you around. It's a huge weight off my chest knowing that I will have this time to be a mom to my kids and a better wife to my husband. It's also a relief to me that I will still get that "adult time" out of the home in a professional setting and working.

I'm truly blessed with the company I work for, as well as the support system I have within it.

So here's some of my life in pics!

I work out...
Every day.
It's the only time I get of "me" time, and I get two free hours of childcare at the gym!

It randomly snowed in Texas...
Like a lot (for Texas)...
It happens like once every 10 years.
It was crazy...and everyone went crazy...

Me and the beautiful ladies at my work!

Miss Rachel came by before she started finals and went home for the holidays to drop of gifts!

My gift was the best (the wine and the socks)...Thanks Rach!

Our annual Gingerbread house....
It kinda sucked and wouldn't stay together.
Things just aren't the same without our master architect...Nick...

Dannika won her classroom spelling bee and advanced to her school spelling bee!!
She made it to the third round!!!!
I was super proud of her!

Matching Christmas PJ photos

Sibling bonding time...watching Christmas movies!

And I leave you with this...
A photo of my cuddle bug and me.
Mattis' love language is "physical touch".
It's uncomfortable for me because I am NOT a physical touch person...
The fact that this tiny human wants to constantly be all up on me is annoying at times...
But every day, I warm up to the idea a little more...
I am reminded that in a few years, neither of my kids are going to want to hug me...
So I take what I can, and cherish every moment....

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Semper Ag!

So, if you haven’t noticed…
The name of my blog has changed! I think this one is here to stay for the rest of my blogging life. I’ll eventually get around to changing the look of the blog. Someone told me, “you should NEVER change the name of your blog!”. Some stuff about search engines and SEO…and a bunch of other blogging jargon that I could care less about. My blog is not something I make money off of. I started my blog to keep my friends and family updated on our life as a military family. Somewhere during that time, I ended up getting a small following of fellow military bloggers and families. So changing the name of my blog…is not blog suicide for me, folks!

I just felt like “Domesticated Combat Boots” was not a right fit for this season of life anymore. Domesticated Combat Boots was for a season in my life when I was leaving a 10-year career to become a stay at home mom/doting Marine wife. Well…we saw how long I lasted as a SAHM! I came up with Semper Ag. It’s a play on the Marine Corps’ motto, “Semper Fi” (which means “Always Faithful” in Latin) and the word “Aggie” (my college alma mater!). These are two things I’ll be for the rest of my life, and I thought it was a fitting “final” blog name change for me.

Other than that, life has been hectic. With Christmas in full swing in our house, I feel like I’m going a little crazy some days! The kids are eager to be out of school, and see Nick, and they remind me just about every day that they are ready for Christmas! I haven’t done any Christmas baking (like I normally do) over the holidays, but I do have all my presents wrapped and under the tree! I call that a small win in my book! Nick has been in the field this week, so we have literally had zero contact with him since Sunday night. It sucks for my kids, because they got so used to FaceTiming him every night before bed. It breaks my heart a little. Especially when your 4-year old asks you questions like, “Does daddy have to go back to Virginia after Christmas? When will we get him back???” These questions are always a stark reminder to me of what military children go through when their parent is away for extended periods of time. I always remind my kids to be grateful that their father is not in harm’s way right now, and we should celebrate and be happy with the fact that we will get to be together for Christmas. To my friends with loved ones deployed, I see you, and I think about you daily.

No photos to post this time. If you follow my Instagram @Semperag_blog , I post daily…mostly of my kids. Peace, love, and Gig ‘em!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Just Another Marine Family Holiday...

Looking back at the last several months, blogging has truly taken a "back seat" in my life. I love blogging, and I really do wish I had a little more time to do it! Between both kids being in school, gymnastics, homework, work, volunteering, my gym time, and Nick being gone, life has been quite hectic! I loved seeing everyone's Thanksgiving posts on social media, and for those who wrote about what they were thankful for, I enjoyed reading those as well! Our Thanksgiving was pretty dang awesome! Nick flew in on Thanksgiving morning, and stayed until Sunday morning. The weekend flew by, and felt entirely too short, but we were thankful to have that bit of time with him. Short visits like this past weekend toy with my emotions so much. I get this initial sense of relief and excitement followed by immediate sadness.

We spent Thanksgiving day with my family in Houston and enjoyed our traditional "Korean American" Thanksgiving. We do a huge "fusion" of Korean BBQ, Korean food, as well as the big turkey with all the sides. It really is as awesome as it sounds. After Thanksgiving, our family came back home to CS, and just chilled all weekend. Nick pulled the Christmas decorations down from the attic for me and hung Christmas lights outside. With Nick gone, I wasn't really in the mood to put a tree up and decorate like I normally do, but he insisted that I decorate. I know I am not the only military wife that doesn't do festive or decorate when spouses are away! It just doesn't feel right sometimes. I'm glad he made me though, because it does make my house feel more like a home (even with my better half missing).  I cooked a meal for him, and we really just enjoyed our time together as a family. It was perfect.

So, I think it is time I change the name of my blog. "Domesticated Combat Boots" fit me when I first got out of the Marine Corps. I hung up my uniforms and put away my combat boots to be a stay at home mom with Dannika. It was fitting for me in that season of my life. That was five years ago. Five years ago was also the day that my contract officially ended with the Marine Corps. As a Marine wife, mother of two, Marine veteran, and working girl...the word "domestic" doesn't quite fit me. Suggestions welcome.

Here are some pics from our weekend together as a family of 4! If you follow me on IG, you've most likely seen all of these.

Nick came in early Thanksgiving morning to Houston!
We were SO excited! 
9 long weeks without seeing him!

When your "baby" cousin shows up to Thanksgiving in her 5 series BMW...

From L to R: My cousin Mark and his NEW FIANCÉ Lisa, cousin Tiffany and her longtime boyfriend Nathan, the glorious me with my Gig 'em thumb, and my handsome hubs,

My Uncle Mike and Mattis.

My grandpa and Mattis (throwing up a "gig 'em"...of course)

We babysat my friend's sweet dog last weekend as well!!!
Sweet Gracie was the BEST houseguest ever!

She helped me wrap gifts...

Me and my guy

This is one of two trees in my house. 
We have a family tree that our whole family gets to decorate, and a "mama tree".
The "mama tree" is one that I get to decorate all on my own with my own ornaments with no help from anyone.

The day that Nick left was the saddest...
After an amazing week together as a complete family, having to send him back to Uncle Sam sucked.
Mattis and Nick's bow (he decided to take his bow to go hunting on weekends we wasn't busy)

We have done this a million times (it feels like).
It never gets easier though.
In fact, it gets harder as our children get older.
My sweet Dannika has gone thorough more separations from her father than any child should have to go through...
But as she's gotten older, it's gotten tougher for her tender heart.
She is a daddy's girl, and watching her say her tearful goodbye to Nick broke my heart.

We are almost at the end of our first week since Nick left, and we are back in the swing of things.
The kids and I are back into a routine again, and we anxiously waiting for Christmas when we can see Nick again.

I hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I pray that all of you have a great holiday season.

Much love from me...