Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Why I Love Routines, and My Morning Routine

I've been posting a lot on my Instastories (@semperag_blog) about my morning routines lately, and I've had a few people ask me about it. By few people, I mean like 3 people. REGARDLESS, I figured I'd just put it out there on the old blog for everyone to read. I'm trying not to neglect this little piece of the Internet that is mine.

If you know me well enough, you know how much I love routine in my life. You would think I'd be the type of person that can easily "roll with the punches". After being in the Marines for 10 years, and being married to a Marine, it should come natural, right? Oddly, that is so far from the truth. When my routine gets messed up, I start to stress out, and my anxiety really starts to creep in. I think that my craving for routine comes from being a military spouse. I've been apart from Nick for most of our marriage. When he's gone, I tend to get into a strict schedule day by day, hour by hour (sometimes minute by minute!) to help ease the burden of doing things alone. This has really helped me cope with the loneliness, but at the same time, it has hindered relationships I have with the outside world.

It's a little selfish of me, because I expect all my friends to fit into my schedule when I need them to, but won't adjust my schedule for their own busy schedules. 

I've gotten better at it though, but I am still a work in progress...with like a long ways to

One thing that I CAN control without affecting others (or feeling selfish) is my morning routine. I choose to get up an hour before the rest of my family wakes up, so that I can have my "me time". There is something serene about the quietness of a home when everyone else is still asleep, and it is still dark outside.

I don't do coffee. I'm not one of those people who say, "I NEVER drink coffee", but it's really not for me. I normally chug 16 ozs of water as soon as I wake up. Next, I dilute a shot of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water, throw a scoop of Vital Proteins collagen peptides in it, and down it like a college frat guy taking his first Irish car bomb (because ACV tastes like crap). Although I don't drink coffee, my body does crave something warm to sip on, so I usually heat up a glass of water, squeeze half a lemon in it, and sip on it while I listen to the news ("Alexa, what's today's news?"), read my bible, and catch up on social media. Right before everyone starts to wake up, I make myself an egg and 2 egg whites, and douse it in Sriracha. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS! This has been my routine for years, and it's my favorite part of my day.

This past week, I have added drinking celery juice every morning on an empty stomach. If you follow "Medical Medium" on Instagram, he sorta started this craze about the benefits of celery juice on an empty stomach every morning. I still do my Bragg's ACV, collagen, and hot lemon water, but I wait 20 minutes after having my glass of celery juice do drink the rest of my morning's concoctions. You can read in detail about the benefits here. I'm all about any new health fads (as long as they seem legit), and am willing to try it out. I don't think it's feasible to be doing this every single day (that's a lot of dang celery you have to buy). I plan on doing it for about 2 weeks, then tapering off to drinking it 2 or 3 times a week. I definitely can feel its' affects on my body. I deal with a lot of inflammation in my joints (thanks Marine Corps!), and just in the past 3 days, my inflammation seems to not be so bad.

So there y'all go. Currently, my routine in the morning is:
-Celery juice
-listen to the news
-read my bible
-scroll social media
-sip hot lemon water
-take a diluted shot of ACV with collagen
-1 egg, 2 egg whites, Sriracha

Oh, it's cold and flu season around here, and there are sick kids everywhere. My son has been sniffly and coughing for a few days now, so I have also added a shot of elderberry syrup to everyone's morning routine in my Nick calls me a hippie while rolling his eyes in his head. Whatever! Here is an article  on the benefits of elderberry syrup if you've never heard of it! I started to feel sick yesterday, and felt my body coming down with something. I loaded up on my lemon water (vitamin C) all day yesterday and drank my elderberry, and I feel 200 times better today!

It's been abnormally cold (for Yuma) lately, but I have't been complaining. After barely surviving 2 brutal winters in Massachusetts, this little "winter" we are having in Yuma is nothing. I hope all you beautiful people are having a great 2019 so far! It's almost March soon (my birthday month!).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

When Your Own Expectations of Parenting are Too High

As sat in my kitchen, painstakingly assembling 24 "gumball machine" Valentines for Mattis' class, I began to wonder...

"I wonder if he'll appreciate all this time and energy I am putting into his class Valentines."

I could have easily just gone to the grocery store, and bought some cute Superhero Valentines for him to pass out to his class. You know, the ones that come in packs of 24 where you have to tear along the perforated edges to separate each card. But no, he asked if I could find him "gumball Valentines". If you haven't been in the "Valentines Day" aisle at your local grocery store, there is no such thing as "gumball Valentines". I had to scour the Internet, and finally found some Pinterest-worthy Valentines for Mattis to pass out to his classmates. Little did I know that these little suckers were the IKEA furniture of Valentines. It took me over an hour to assemble 24 Valentines.

I know they look pretty simple, but I assure you, THEY. WERE. NOT. I carefully counted out 10 gumballs a piece into the little clear plastic cellophane bags...then had to twist the open end to stick into a tiny hole at the bottom of the "gumball machine"...tape the part of the bag that was poking through the back down to the back of the Valentine so that it wouldn't slip out...and then taped down the top of the bag with a cute little heart sticker to give the Valentine the illusion of a gumball machine with actual gumballs inside of it. 

I kept thinking to myself, "I hope that one day, when Mattis is Dr. Romer or General Romer (or whatever his little heart desires to be) that he will tell someone the story about that one time his mom spent HOURS making gumball Valentines for his class."

Truth is, who knows if he'll even remember.

But as a mom, I struggle constantly with trying to make every. single. little. detail. of my children's lives special. My husband constantly rolls his eyes at me and my craziness when it comes to the things I "celebrate" for my kids. (I married a superstar though, and he always goes along with it)

"What?? It's President's Day?!? let's break out the red, white, and blue streamers, and have George Washington shaped pancakes!!!" (Just kidding. I have never celebrated President's day with my kids, nor have I made GW shaped pancakes.). But I do make each and every "major" holiday a big fiesta in our home to the point where I stress out sometimes. 

I just want my kids to have memorable childhoods. One of my biggest fears is that my children will grow older and say things like, "so and so's parents did this for them." Or even worse..."my childhood was just ok...nothing memorable." I would be devastated if my kids ever thought that!

I had a wonderful childhood. My parents worked. A LOT. But when they did take time off from work, we went on extravagant vacations. My passport was pretty full by the time I was 18. My dad took us on road trips all over the United States. We even took a random road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas once...just because. So random. But we went. I think about those memories often.

Because both of my parents worked, they also missed out on things. My mom was never a "room mom", and she never volunteered at my school. As a little kid, I remember being jealous of the kids whose parents helped out in the classroom all the time. So because of this memory, I literally tire myself out trying to volunteer as much as possible at both my childrens' schools while simultaneously
trying to run a household...oftentimes alone because my husband is a Marine. I have a hard time saying "no" when my kid's teachers ask for my help. I literally will reconfigure my entire schedule and my life to be at their school. It sucks.

This is why I am the way I am. As a Christian woman, I know that my parenting should be solely focused on Him. Leading my children to Him. Teaching my children about HIS never ending and unconditional love. 

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, but the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit." -Titus 3:4-5

I'm human though, and I find myself trying to selfishly please myself by trying to throw myself into every aspect of my children's lives hoping that one day, they'll think I was worthy enough to be their mom. When in reality, I should be spending more energy showing my children of how worthy they are because of God. 

Parenting is tough. It's so cliché, but it's the truth. Everyone wouldn't be saying it, if it weren't. We as parents all have a fear of failing our children and/or raising children that don't meet our own expectations. 

I constantly have to stop and tell myself, "am I doing this to my kids so they meet MY expectations? Does this glorify God?"

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and Mattis has 24 adorable "gumball Valentines" just like he requested. He is so excited to pass them out. Who knows...maybe one day at the office, he'll tell a coworker about "that one time" when his mom assembled the coolest Valentines for him. Most likely not. But I'm ok with that. As much as I complained to myself as I put those gumball machines together, seeing the joy on his face when he came home and saw them laying on the counter made my heart burst....

So I'll keep being over the top and ridiculous with the things I do for my kids (while silently complaining at times), because the joy I see on their faces in that moment is what I live for. I'll just have to be ok with the fact that they won't remember every single little thing I did for them when they are older. And I pray every single night after I've put them to bed...that I was a "good enough" example to them of what it truly means to be a Christ follower. 

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day tomorrow, friends!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Being a Military Spouse on Social Media

Several months ago, I chose to change my Instagram account (@SemperAg_blog) from private to public. It was a decision I pondered over for weeks. I'm not a paranoid person, but my Instagram was set to private after a news story broke several years ago about how terrorists were targeting military families through social media. That seemingly shut my life off from the rest of the world. I am a very open and honest person. I do choose to highlight the good and funny parts of my life like most people do on social media. I don't get TOO political, and I have no problem sharing my thoughts, feelings, my kids, and my family for the world to see. Shutting my life off with the exception of the friends, family, and acquaintances that I "accepted" into my private page kinda sucked for me.

I have met a community of military spouses that are beautiful, smart, funny, and empowering through blogging and Instagram. Most of them, I have never met face to face, but I feel like I know them. We all share this mutual bond of being married to someone serving our country, and many times, I have found myself reaching out to these complete "strangers" to vent about my issues (hey, it's easier to vent to someone who really doesn't know you). When I made my Instagram private, I quit connecting with new military spouses who were seeking advice, friendship, validation, and whatever else that comes with this life. Since my profile was private, I think it deterred a lot of people from "requesting" to follow me, because they thought I would think they were being nosy. By making it public again, it was almost like giving the world an open invitation into my life. Once again, I began to meet a ton of new people who are sharing the same experiences of this life with me.

Of course by allowing people to have an "open invitation" into my Instalife, there comes a handful of critics (or "trolls" as you people under 30 call them). Most of those people don't follow me, but they do occasionally browse my page, and always seem to have some sort of negative remark or snide comment about just about anything I post. I literally posted an Instastory once of my morning concoction of warm lemon water, ACV, and collagen, and someone slid into my DM's to say, "you're wasting your time and money with all that stuff you're putting in your body. just eat a balanced diet!"

Ok, Susan. Thanks for your unsolicited advice. (not her actual name)

Last night, I complained a little about the fact that Nick was heading back to 29 Palms for training again (after he just got back a week ago). I was upset he was missing Valentine's Day, after I had my hopes up of finally getting to spend a Valentine's Day with him. We are long overdue for a date night, so I was really looking forward to it. Well, good old "Susan" wants to comment...

"You should be grateful your husband is not in Afghanistan right now."

Thanks Susan. Oh by the way, I've been there, and done that.

These random shots at me sometimes hurt my feelings. I get my feelings hurt easily. I have to constantly remind myself that these are the consequences of making my life so public on social media. It's not like I have a TON of followers, but by keeping everything public, a TON of random strangers get a glimpse into my life. And strangers behind a keyboard are the bravest with their jabs.

But even with the occasional rude comment, I really enjoy keeping up with the lives of other military spouses who choose to keep their lives open to me as well. I have a sense of community when I feel lonely (because trust me, this life can be lonely at times). They always make me laugh and remind me not to take life too seriously. They remind me that we are all in this life together and all going through our own internal struggles. So because of that, I'll just continue to keep my life open on the internet.

Anyway...those are just my thoughts on that...
As for now...

It's 8am on Tuesday morning, and my house is quiet. A rare occurrence for me at 8am. I'm usually on the road by now dropping my kids off at school and getting ready to head to the gym. But not today. I am here in my quiet house, typing away at this blog that has been neglected while basking in the silence of the morning.

Mornings are no different in my home than most people who have children that go to school, and adults that need to get ready for the day. My trophy husband, Nick, has taken it upon himself to start taking the kids to school every Tuesday morning. He usually has to be at work by 7:30 (unless he chooses to go PT with his Marines...then it's like 5am). He announced last week that his work would not miss him if he comes in 30 minutes later than usual, one day a week, so that he could take his kids to school. It's amazing how much a simple task like having dad take you to school is such a big deal to two little ones (well, D is not so little anymore....more on that in another blog post). I cherish these small moments. Because of the nature of Nick's profession, these moments are few and far between, and we never know when he'll be whisked off to a faraway land to serve our country...away from us. So a seemingly insignificant task like "dad taking the kids to school" is a pretty big deal around here. I'm thankful. I'm blessed. I'm good.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Texas Hill Country Wedding

Hey y'all! It's been a minute. I am failing miserably at my goal of keeping this blog updated more often. I have been meaning to blog about the last wedding we went to sooner, but life happened. Nick left for training, and I've been here pulling mom/dad duty for going on 2 weeks now. You'd think that I'd be a pro at this (for those new to my blog, Nick and I spent a year apart last year), but I'm not.

I guess it's almost been 3 weeks since Mattis and I attended the beautiful marriage of two very dear people to us, Nicolette and Joseph. Nicolette was an integral part of "the Romer tribe" while Nick and I attended college. As if being a full time college student wasn't time consuming (and stressful) enough, we were also actively trying to raise two kids and nurture a marriage through it all. Needless to say, we needed a lot of help, and Nicolette helped us a lot with our kids (a LOT). She was everything from a nanny to a date night baby sitter for us. I actually hate the term "nanny". It sounds overly pretentious, and something that only the rich can afford. Lord knows, as a military family, we are anything but rich. But she was so much more than just a "baby sitter" for our kids and our family. She had her own carseat. She picked them up from school when I needed, picked them up from gymnastics or dropped them off at gymnastics when I couldn't, she fed them Chick Fil A, loved on them, and did everything in between. She became an extension of our family.

So when she asked us if Mattis would be her ring bearer for her wedding, we said YES without hesitation!

Then we found out our family was heading to Okinawa, Japan. One of the first things I thought of when we found out about Japan was her wedding. I told Nick that there was no way that I was going to miss her wedding. I made plans to fly back to the United States so that Mattis could walk down the aisle for her! But we all know Okinawa never happened, and we ended up in Yuma, AZ. This made travel plans a whole heck of a lot easier for us! So Mattis and I headed to San Antonio, TX earlier this month for the long anticipated wedding of our girl! We made it into a fun mother/son trip, and I am so glad that we did it that way!

First class...just because.

The rehearsal dinner was at a local pizza joint called Fralo's.

Familiar faces that Mattis spent lots of time with when he was with Nicolette.

The groom and the ring bearer with an obligatory Gig 'em photo! Joseph is currently in medical school in Galveston!

I think this was the only photo we got of us together that evening.
No kid looks better in a bowtie than Mattis.

First time seeing the bride!

He fit in pretty well with all the guys!

Mattis and the father of the bride!

The wedding was held at the Kendall Plantation right outside of San Antonio in Boerne, TX.
It was clear skies, sunny, and absolutely breathtaking.
It was a perfect day in for January in Texas!

I loved the little details...

The reception area was also beautiful. 
The venue was an antebellum style home converted into reception area.
It was the perfect Texas wedding in the hill country.

I. can't. get. over. Mattis. in. a. tuxedo.

Always a ladies man.

Because Gig 'em...

Mattis was the flossing king at this wedding.
He was a pretty big hit with everyone.

 Mattis and sweet Carlye! 
Carlye is Nicolette's little sister who is now attending Texas A&M.
We got to have her as a babysitter for our kids for just a few months before we moved away!

One last photo with all the pretty girls.

The wedding was beautiful, and I cried. We are so thrilled for Nicolette and Joseph, and we were so honored to be present on their big day! Cheers to love and happiness!