Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Your grace so free, washes over me."

I heard a song by Northpoint music on the local Christian radio station (Peace 107) this morning on my way home from church, and the lyrics (that I made the title of this blog post) just stood out to me. The song is called "Death was Arrested" (in case any of y'all want to hear it).

I'm a BIG fan of secular music...even the slightly inappropriate stuff. If y'all know me, I am a HUGE Tupac fan. I also am a lover of old school country music, and even the new stuff. I love Florida Georgia Line...even though true country music lovers claim they are an abomination in the country music scene...but I like it. Mattis' current jam is Liam Payne's "Strip That Down". He literally calls it "my jam", and we listen (to the edited version) every morning on our way to school. But I also love worship music. I listen to it in my car when I'm alone sometimes, and it brings me a lot of peace and calmness...especially before a busy day.

Anyway, the lyrics, "Your grace so free, washes over me" really resonated with me today. For those know who me well, know my personal testimony. Lots of really emotional and messed up stuff that has happened in my life from the ages of 16 to 26ish. What really got me back "on track" as far as my relationship with Christ was accepting the fact that His grace was free. There was nothing I needed to do to earn back his forgiveness. Any time I hear something about His amazing grace, I am always reminded of my broken past. It always overwhelms me to think that I serve a God who loved me in the midst of the darkest hours in life...when I was destroying my life and my relationship with Him. He continued to love me.

Anyway, speaking of grace...this mama needed LOTS of grace this past week! 
I mean, y'all...
I know you moms out there get it.
A "themed" dress up day every day.
And if you have a child like mine, your child suffers from FOMO...bad...
So I have to make sure that she has something to wear for every day of the week.

Oh, and Red Ribbon week is not even over!!!!!!!!!!!! This year is like an extended red ribbon week. It goes until Halloween!!

Good Lord...give me some grace...because I have definitely fought with my 8 year old this week about each theme day....

Let's go through this....

 So Monday was the start of Red Ribbon week...
Guess when I found out it was Red Ribbon week?!
I found out MONDAY morning, when my panicked daughter ran into the kitchen waving a red paper with all the info for each dress up day on it...
I simply told her, "it's not my fault you failed to give me this vital, red piece of paper earlier so I could help you prepare. Guess you're not participating!" (then she cried)
It was crazy sock day.
My child has no crazy socks...
And after some tears, she literally emerged from the garage with these Elsa and Anna socks that were shoved inside her roller blades.
I don't ever recall buying her these socks.
I don't think they belong to her.
They were probably left at our house by one of her friends on a playdate.
I don't think know if they were clean...
They probably stunk...
But she was happy she had them...
FOMO was cured...

Day 2.
Favorite team shirt day!
Aggies...duh, and since half her wardrobe is maroon or "Aggie themed"...easy day!
FOMO crisis averted.

Day 3...
Wear red day.
We have ONE red shirt.
It is a shirt she got from cheer camp two summers ago, and it sorta fits.
I was gonna make her wear that, because this mama does not have time to go buy a red shirt for Red Ribbon week,
But praise Jesus for my friend Katy (the mother of Dannika's BFF), who randomly got these adorable shirts made for Dannika and all her besties.
FOMO crisis averted...again...thanks to my super "extra" mom friend...
(And Dannika's eyes look super Asian in this pic...kinda makes me happy because people always tell me she looks more white than Korean)

Day 4...
D told me Wednesday (wear red day) that she wanted turquoise hair.
I told her if I can't find turquoise colored hair spray at Walgreens, she's not having turquoise hair.
I was not about to drive around town to Target and Wal-Mart to look for turquoise hair spray. 
Thankfully, Walgreens had it (in their Halloween aisle).
Then comes Thursday morning....
We're already running late, and D does NOT know how she wants her hair done...
Two pigtail buns?
A "mohawk" braid?
"Well hell child...then i'm just putting your hair up in a ponytail and spraying it turquoise!"
Tear...lots of tears.
Pinterest to the rescue.
We finally agreed on a "bow bun" (Praise Jesus, because it was simple").
We were late for everything that morning (insert eyeroll)

Day 5...
School Spirit day!!! Wear your school shirt!
Simple right?
No...not in this family.
Thursday night, I asked D to get her school shirt out of her dresser and lay it out.
Panicked Dannika claims she can not find it!
Me: Well, then you're not wearing it. I'm not here to keep track of your clothes.
Tears. Lots of tears.
Then she decides that she will just wear "last year's" school shirt (which is purple...this year's is black),
I already know she's gonna suffer from FOMO when she shows up to school in last year's style, while everyone else is in this year's look.
Thankfully, I just happened to be folding laundry, and her current school shirt appeared.
FOMO crisis averted..,one last time for the week.

We still have two more days.
Tomorrow is camo day, and I actually found a Marine marpat cammie blouse in her size.
She'll be representin' all you devildogs tomorrow!
Tuesday is storybook character day, and my "extra" mom friend Katy hooked up all our girls with Dr. Seuss' "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" costumes!
Seriously...she is a lifesaver.
Everyone needs a mom friend like her in their life!
I will share those on my IG page this week (@dcb_blog)

And lastly...

My son's very first school photo. they get ANY cuter?!?!
I'll answer that question for, they don't.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Flying Solo

I am on week 4(ish) of being a "solo parent". I have a solid routine down, and most days seem to fly by. I love routine. I am a creature of habit, and a good routine always makes me happy and less anxious. I feel more in control. People always ask me how I'm doing, and I tell them things are great. I feel like sometimes, they don't believe me when I say that. But seriously, things are great. Are there days when I'm absolutely frustrated because my kids aren't listening to me, and I am desperately wishing my partner in crime were here to "take care of it" for me? Absolutely. But honestly, even if Nick were here, I would still have days like that. I really just miss having another adult in the house most evenings when I am winding down. I miss having a glass of wine, and having someone to talk to. When people ask me how I'm doing, I also always mention that it sucks more for Nick than me. I truly believe that. I have a life here. I have a home, our children, our family and friends, and familiarity. Nick, on the other hand, is living in a barracks room with two other roommates. When he's not training, boredom sets in, and he literally has nothing to do. He's found ways to make himself busy. Marine Corps life has blessed us with friends all over the country, and on weekends, he finds himself in one of the homes of the many friends we have in Virginia. I am so grateful for our friends who have opened up their homes to Nick to feed him home cooked meals, and allow him to relax and hang out outside of the confines of the tiny room he is living in.

Pic of his room...
Quite the adjustment from our modest little home in a nice subdivision here in good ole'
I especially love the luxurious plastic matresses...
Only the best for our Marine Corps Officers!

One of my FAVORITE things about Marine Corps life are the friendships that I have with people all over the world. When you are forced to live far away from home, you're forced to make the people that are around you. You always know which friendships are the most meaningful, because those friends actually come and visit you when you move. 

This weekend, my sweet friend Ashley flew to Texas from Orange County to visit us (just for the weekend). I met her while I was on recruiting duty when I was in the process of trying to put her "then" boyfriend into the Marine Corps. She was only in high school then, and I have watched her grow up from a 17 year old high school girl to a 24 year old woman. She actually complimented my Vince Camuto, patent leather heels....and the rest is history. I texted her right before Nick left, and told her how I'd love for her to come visit once Nick was gone. It's always nice to have visitors to help break up the monotony of solo parenting life, and she did not even hesitate. I am so grateful for her friendship. My kids had SUCH a blast this weekend with her! The weekend was too short, but much needed, and our short time together was priceless.

Our family has an annual pumpkin carving tradition.
We all go to a pumpkin patch, pick out pumpkins and carve them
It's one of Nick's favorite traditions,
Since he's not here this year for the fall, we just went to our local HEB and bought pumpkins.
Instead of carving them, I bought craft supplies and paint, so we could decorate them.
We had such a blast, and it was a perfect way to end our weekend with Ashley!

*Dannika's pumpkin says "Rey", because thats who she's gonna be for Halloween!
(I don't know who Rey is. I just know she's a Star Wars character. I've never seen a single Star Wars movie, but my kids have with Nick.....)

Dannika, Me, and Mattis...

Mattis, Dannika, Me, and Ashley

It's clearly obvious which pumpkin was made by the "OC girl".

Ashley was such a blessing to us this weekend!
With Nick being gone, I really enjoyed having another grown up in the house.
Most importantly, the kids were thrilled to have someone visit them, and give them attention and spend time with them.

True friends pick each other's boogers...

Ashley left early this morning before the kids woke up for school.
Not gonna lie, the house felt a little lonelier this morning, and the mood was a little sad.
That just means that our weekend was full of love and laughter.

Oh, and it's Red Ribbon Week at D's school!
Today was Crazy Sock Day....
We did not prepare....
Thank goodness we just happened to have these random "Elsa/Anna" socks laying around for her!

Life is good. The kids and are I happy, healthy, and busy. We miss Nick terribly, but we are always reminded that we made the right choice to stay put while Nick is at TBS. Our family and friends are so amazing, and have truly been such an amazing support system for us! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

"They Call Him Flipper, Flipper..."

Anyone remember that show? Or am I dating myself? Our family got a private swim with dolphins on our vacation in Mexico! Before I got into that, I guess I should give y'all a "short" update on my life...

Nick left for Quantico two weeks ago, and I've been flying solo with the kids. I started a new job for a healthcare consulting company as a "contract specialist/administrative assistant to the Executive VP of operations/assistant to the chief financial officer/assistant to the accounting department/random stuff". lol. I'm basically an administrative assistant, but they've entrusted this girl with absolutely ZERO experience in the healthcare industry to write up proposals and contracts for their clients. I am finally getting settled in at work, and I feel like I am not pretending so much anymore as to what actually goes on there 😂. I now know terms like QAPI, ACHC, and CHAP. I'm used to acronyms since that's ALL the military uses, so I'm right in my element! If it weren't for my coworkers, I'd truly be lost. They have all patiently answered all my questions, walked me through contracts, and painstakingly watched me make mistakes and run reports. I love the company I work for, and I love my hours. I specifically requested to work part-time, since I knew Nick was leaving. I wanted to make sure that I could be as present as possible for my kids after school as a parent flying solo.

But of course, as a working mom, I don't have as much time or flexibility to help out at my kids' school. I'm not gonna lie, that kinda sucks because I LOVE being present at their school. BUT, I love working, and being around adults during the day. It's where I am most happy.

Other than that, life is good. I am busy! We have moments and days when we really miss Nick, but knowing that this is only temporary makes it easier. We are excited for our next adventure as a family. I have always dreamed of my kids growing up and traveling the world. My hopes for them are that they become more cultured, well rounded, and more aware of the world around them. We have our fingers crossed that we'll get a chance to live somewhere new again (hopefully overseas this time!), and continue this adventure of a life we have been blessed with.

So now to our dolphin adventure!!! Our kids had their hearts set on swimming with dolphins when they found out we would be vacationing in Mexico. Nick and I decided to splurge and get a private encounter for a full hour...just the Romers and a 4 dolphins! It was absolutely INCREDIBLE!

Family photo before entering the cove!

We each got a shot at letting two dolphins push us up and above the water by pushing on our feet!
The most important thing was that we needed to keep our leg's locked out, otherwise, we'd nose dive into the water.
The staff was reluctant to let Mattis try it because he was so young, but we convinced them that he could do it.
He had his heart set on it, and he ROCKED it!
He got a standing ovation from everyone that was there watching!

Always "gigging"!

Being in the water with these creatures was mesmerizing. 
They can sense when you're nervous, and your heart starts to race through echolocation!

They even got my 200lbs husband out of the water! 
They photographer didn't get a great shot of Nick, but he got all the way up and gave everyone a big "Gig 'em!".

This was truly an amazing experience for our family, and one that we will never forget. We are looking forward to vacationing somewhere new in the near future, and giving our children these types of memorable experiences. I highly recommend vacationing in XCaret! It is only an hour outside of Cancun, but the the nature preserve and the beaches there are absolutely amazing!