FIVE YEAR PLAN

Recently, a good friend of mine had to submit a project based on her future plans and it really got me thinking - what are mine? Growing up, we all have goals of what kind of jobs we want, where we want to go to school, the husbands or wives we yearn to have and at the time its exciting to think about the unknown. But what happens when the unknown becomes known, when the life we've always dreamed of becomes a reality, what comes next?


When I was little I always imagined how my life would be and I was so sure I'd have my shit together by the time was I twenty-three. I lived in a paper doll world growing up through high school. My biggest concern was if I had enough gas in my car and if I was going to get caught skipping 7th period Science Research so I could go to the beach with my friends after school. I never wanted to go off to college, heck I didn't even apply. I just figured I'd marry my high school sweet heart and I 'd become a nurse, however I didn't ever really think about the process until after graduation. Looking back it saddens me that I had such a naive expectation of my future, I envisioned that things would just happen and I've live happily ever after. Well - NEWS FLASH! As you can see that LIFE had other plans for me. And I'm perfectly at peace with that while still living happily ever after. 


After graduation, moving out, and a few months of partying in our first apartment, we tanned every waking moment by the pool, while slowly realizing that beauty & booze wasn't going to pay the rent. I enrolled into a nursing program at a local college and eventually met Jimmy through mutual friends. I finished all of my pre-reqs while he was deployed and as our relationship began to grow so did my goals. I now only half heartily believe that our good looks and booze would pay the rent. Progress right?

Things developed quickly between Jimmy and I. We dated less than a year before we got engaged. And even then we were only engaged for 24 hours. 💕 When you know, you know. When Jimmy and I got married we lived apart for almost a year so I could finish up the nursing program here in Florida but with news of him either transferring to another base or deploying again, I decided to take the gamble and leave my program to move to Arizona and wait and see where the Marine Corps would send my husband. Unfortunately it wasn't where I had hoped. Jimmy deployed for another six months and I worked really hard to get back into school and to work as much as I could for us. I met such amazing people through that short time and have made lasting friendships that I still cherish to this day.


When Jimmy came home it wasn't long until our lives changed one more and we found ourselves moving again. This time it was back to my home state. I remained in Arizona a month longer than Jimmy so I could finish out my classes and graduate with my general Associates degree and then I joined him and our pups back in Florida. We rented a house and began rebuilding the foundation to our new journey. It's so hard to believe that in November we've been back here for five years!

We have been so busy with life that it's almost painful to think about where all of the time has gone. But I am so proud to say that in those five years, I have graduated from nursing school with another Associates and in one semester I'll be graduating with my Bachelors. I'm even more proud to say that Jimmy will also be graduating next week with his Bachelors and has successfully enrolled in a Master's program set to start this fall. It has truly been a wild ride so far. To see the growth and development between who we were when we first met to the couple we've grown to be just brings so much emotion to my heart, I honestly can't even put it into words!


To be honest, its taken a really long time to feel comfortable in the place Jimmy & I have found ourselves and just up until recently I haven't really grasped the reigns of life tightly to really feel in control of whats going on. I feel like I've been going to school or moving around for so long, its been hard to actually concentrate on the act of "achieving the American Dream". We've just been chugging full steam ahead, its been extremely difficult to just stop and take it all in. Which got me thinking, what exactly is our American Dream? I've got to working these crazy shifts and paying this mortgage for something right? What do I want out of the next five years for Jimmy and I? And I've come to this conclusion:

I want experiences, unforgettable experiences. I want to live life through different perspectives, through different point of views. I want challenges that only push me to become better for myself and for my husband. I want to go to all points of the earth and find what this world has to offer me. I'd rather invest my time, money and soul into having genuine experiences than feeling stagnant in this repetitive cycle that most of us find ourselves in. Working to live, and living to work. I want to live the next five years without a plan. I want to feel alive and bathe in every moment that Jimmy and I have worked so hard in order to create. As our careers and education has grown, I feel like its become harder and harder to satisfy our soul's hunger. I'm constantly thinking that theres got to be more to life then this? Which is actually pretty ironic because we've worked tirelessly just to 'make it' this far.


Life so far has been a quest. There have been plenty of smiles, laughs and celebrations. I hope that the next five years brings just as much adventure and happiness since moving back to Florida. I hope it brings success and prosperity. And if it does bring sadness, I can only hope that we learn lessons from. I hope that it brings us a baby, maybe two and they're carbon copies of Jimmy & I. And I can only hope that these next five years continue to humble us and to make us thankful for all that we have.



EASTER - 2017

While April has practically come and gone I wanted to take the time to wish you & yours a Happy Easter from me & mines. 💝 Almost a week later, yeahhhhh - but better late than never!

We spent the morning at my parent's house where my nephew hunted for Easter eggs and we all sat down for brunch with some family friends. We stuffed ourselves, napped and afterwards Jimmy & I spent the afternoon pricing out some housing projects we want to get started this summer. Then of course we ended the night with our pups & Netflix on our couch. I couldn't have asked for any better of a Sunday.




While it is no secret to my family and friends, it may come as a shock to some that Jimmy and I are not religious. Easter has become more of a family holiday to us than a recognition of Jesus Christ's resurrection.

I don't know exactly when him or I stopped believing in religion, we just didn't. We both grew up going to church and believing in God and we were raised under those beliefs. While we were dating, the topic of believing wasn't brought up until later on in our relationship. It was just something we never acknowledged seriously until we decided to become husband and wife. We didn't find it necessary to have a wedding, & we eloped two weeks after telling our family and friends we were getting married. We said our vows under God's oath as in traditional vows are written and even though its not something we believe in, it doesn't make our marriage any less valid than others.  We have since talked about religion and I've questioned how we'll decide to approach the topic if our children were to ever ask. I feel that honesty would be the best policy and our kids can decide for themselves if welcoming God & Jesus Christ into their hearts is something they would like to pursue.

As for myself I never experienced anything traumatic that turned me off to religion and I never "found my light" as some others did going to church, I don't know, it just never clicked for me. I'm not anti-religion and I would never force my opinions on the matter on anyone else. While some people might find this odd or even controversial to discuss, and thats fine, talking about religion doesn't bother me. I don't think not believing in God makes me any less of a good person and I don't believe when I die I'm going to hell because of it.

I once had a patient who was nearing death and was being discharged to go home on hospice. Her doctors estimated she had just 2 weeks or so left to live. We had a very long talk during the end of my shift one night and I'll never forget the words she said to me. She talked about her experiences and the life she had lived because her family didn't want to admit that she was dying. She told me she never had kids because she didn't believe she could provide for them in the way she had hoped. I asked her to explain and she told me it was because she didn't believe in God and her in-laws scrutinized her for it for the rest of her marriage. She told me that she gave up children with her husband because of someone else's belief. I went on to ask her if she believed in God now and she told me no. She told me she wasn't afraid to die because if God really did exist he wouldn't send a good person to hell. I hate to admit it but I agreed with her, I still do.
Haruki Murakami
It took her exactly 28 days after I discharged her to pass and I will never forget her or her words. I found her obituary in the paper and I said a prayer. I didn't pray to God, I just prayed to the universe and I let my words go to wherever they went. I prayed that wherever she was, she was at peace and was free from suffering, physically and mentally. I prayed for her family & for their grief. She was the first person I sent home to die.

In light of the Easter holiday, no matter what the holiday stands for or how people choose to celebrate, I want to tell you want I do believe in. I believe in graciousness. I believe in being thoughtful and kind. I believe in helping others to the best of my ability, through my personal life & through my career. I believe in being aware of myself, my family and others at all times. I believe that my choices in life affect everyone else no matter how minute I'm connected with the universe. I believe that we can all co-exist in a world in harmony. I believe in my patient who taught me to stand true to myself. And last but not least, I believe I helped her. I believe I helped her find peace in her own death and peace in mind in passing. I believe that no matter what we believe in, we all end up in the same place, some sooner than others. And I believe thats okay.






JIMMY'S 30TH!

This past week was very special in our household because on Wednesday, drum roll please.....

JIMMY TURNED 30! 😮

I kept saying "I can't believe you're going to be 30!" 

Being that I was working last weekend, and these next few upcoming weekends and his birthday fell on a weekday, we decided a simple dinner celebration and a little "donut cake" since in a couple weeks we're going to Seattle for his graduation. I got the idea from Pinterest because Jimmy and I aren't super crazy about regular cakes. Every birthday, leftovers usually sit in our fridge for about month until one of us decides to do the grown up chore and toss it. I will proudly admit without any guilt, this baby didn't even make it to his actual birthday before Jimmy and I decided we'd only have just one. Well, one turned into two andddddddd now we probably have diabetes. 

Donut Cake
Donuts make the world go round! 🍩

Birthday boy & his favorite girl! 🐄 

Pre-dinner photo! 

Yellow Dog CafeYellow Dog Cafe
Dinner & a view! 🍷🍴

Jimmy's only birthday request was that we have dinner at his favorite restaurant. The food is awesome but the views are honestly even better in my opinion. It sits right on the edge of the river and its such a great time to eat outside while enjoying the weather. With our busy schedules, it was a nice change of pace to actually sit down and have a meal with each other without the dogs jumping all over the table or distractions like our phones. Too often we forget to how to live in the moment and truly enjoy present time. I'm learning that time pities no one, and its starting to speed up the older we get. 😩

I mean Jimmy just turned 30! Where did the time go?! 

It's so hard to imagine that when Jimmy and I first met he was 21 and I was 19. It's even harder to imagine that we've been together for almost 10 years! 10 YEARS! How is that even possible? We were such little babies when we met without a care in the world. Jimmy was still enlisted and I was just doing whatever I decided seemed like a good idea that day. No car payments, no mortgage, no worries. Time has surely been good to us and its crazy to look back and see how much Jimmy has succeeded in such a short amount of time. His twenties are gone but I have a feeling his thirties are only going to bring him better things! 💙

Happy Birthday Jimmy! 



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F.F.O.

It's not everyday you turn seven years old, but when you do its only right that you celebrate by heading for a Fun Family Outing at Gatorland! Accompanied by your grandmother, your mom, dad, aunt and of course friends that might as well be family too! 

My nephew Harden turned 7 this past Saturday and per his request we spent the day gawking at alligators and crocs like true Florida tourists. Unbeknownst to Harden, our definition of a F.F.O. has longgg since changed from Fun Family Outing to (excuse my french - but it rhymes with ducking ⇢) F****** Family Outing. And for quite rational reasonings. 

Oh Harden, you still have lots to learn about these people you call family. 😂

Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

It all started by piling seven of us into my moms SUV. To be the irritating little sister I always have been, I immediately declared my boundary from the rest of the car and my older sister who had the luxury of sitting next to me by stuffing a fleece blanket in between us. Anytime that boundary was crossed I let out a loud hiss letting her know she had violated my personal space. 

When we were little I'd bug the hell out of her and my mom while traveling. Emily would see something like a plane or cow, whatever and be like "Oh did you see that?" And of course I'd play dumb, clearly seeing it while wailing "Wherreeeee?!" She'd retort "Right there!" while shoving my face against the window or in whatever direction I was blatantly ignoring. All the while my mom threatening to pull the car over and get out the wooden spoon. And then my dad who was just silently driving wondering why the heck he even took off work in the first place. Unfortunately for both my mom and my sister, my dad has yet to intervene and I haven't bothered to stop torturing them. I've just evolved my annoying techniques over time. Realllllll mature right?

Gatorland, Orlando, Florida


After the 'hissing' wore off, I began singing the F.F.O. song which sums up our road trips over the past twenty-years to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas. Kinda goes a little something like this:

One the first road trip to Orlando, this F.F.O. gave to me

12 - burps & farts,
11 - have to pees! 
10 - threats to beat someone
9 - horns a honkin'
8 - its too cold in here! 
7 - I'm so hungry! 
6 - road rage incidents
5 - lost car keys
4 - crying fits
3 - off tune singers
2 - attempted smotherings
and a happy little Harden McAloney! 😘

 Luckily, we made it to Gatorland with our minds and all of our limbs attached. 

Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

Gatorland, Orlando, Florida


Despite the craziness that ensued on the trip over, the weather was absolutely perfect and the day did not go to waste! We saw so many different alligators and crocodiles, watched gator wrestling and gator feedings and in all honesty threatened to push each other into the ponds only a handful of times. I'd say progress had been made! My family is chaotic, we're all what my dad calls 'a different breed'. It has always been the running joke that my sister and I spawned directly from my mom and dad. I am my dad's twin and my sister and my mom are so alike its scary. Thats our family dynamic and its chaotic, and hectic and its plain ugly sometimes but its our dynamics. And as ugly as it gets, the ugly means its worth something. 


Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

Families fight for each other and as time goes on I'm learning that fighting isn't necessarily a bad thing. It means that real emotion is coming to the surface and what better people to be real with other than your own blood. Looking through these pictures and the hundreds I took on my phone, I don't see us fighting over turkey dogs, or my mom yelling for us to wait up because we're 'going to fast', or my nephew running my mom over with this stroller that she legit takes everywhere (no matter how embarrassed we get). I see us smiling and laughing, and I see all of us having such a good time while making memories. I see Harden living out his innocence before this world tries to morph him into its own disfunction. Its moments like these that are priceless. Moments like these that make you thankful for family that gives you gray hair before you're thirty. And moments like these that make you forgive your mother for buying a house only four streets down from your own. 

Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

Gatorland, Orlando, Florida




For so long, Jimmy and I have been leading a pretty independent life. It's just been me, him & the pups for the past six years. However, as I'm nearing the end of my twenties (ugh, did that really just come out of my mouth? 😳)  and I'm starting to think about my own family and future little babes possibly making an entrance into our world, I'm beginning to think about the importance of having my family around. I'm thinking about the importance of developing more healthier relationships with them and involvement than what we used to have with each other. 

Family isn't defined completely by blood, its defined by commitment and by choosing to love each other even on those days when its just a struggle to find the ability to like each other, let alone be in the same room. Over the past few years, I feel like I've grown to accept my chaotic family for what it is and for what it isn't and thats completely okay. We aren't the Beaver family who sits down and discusses our picture perfect days. We are nuts. Completely nuts. We argue over Christmas dinner, we forget each others birthday's and we could give Dr. Phil one hell of a sitcom. But at the end of the day, we're family. 

Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

And sometimes with family, its just best to get lost, to forgive and forget and to enjoy the unforgettable moments in life. 



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ONE LIFE

For a very long time I have always had an 'okayishhh' self-image. I have always viewed myself as 'average' person and to me that was good enough. And when I say average, I don't mean in looks but also in personality, in schoolwork, in my job, and in life too. I had always seen myself as just another face in the crowd, blending in without any deviation from anyone else. I used to lay in bed most nights and think to myself 'is this really all life has to offer?'. I felt like everything was so routine - work, school, sleep, wake-up, work, school, sleep - so mundane, but I thought that was adult life was supposed to feel like. I was naive.

About a year ago, I made a decision to change what I could. I couldn't change the world but I could change my perspective towards it. I decided that I would no longer view the world through a looking glass. I needed to view the world from my true feelings instead of how the humanity was telling me to perceive it. I used to think that when people change its always negative but I don't necessarily think thats true anymore. I think people change people their soul needs to. They reach a point in their lives where their soul needs to grow and discover new things, have new experiences and even interact with new people. If thats negative to some, then so be it. This isn't a perfect world.

As you can see under my 'About Me' on my sidebar ⇢ (its quite small at the moment, I'm working on it I promise 😉) I do consider myself a soul searcher. As put by definition, its an honest evaluation of your feelings and motives. Part of my soul searching includes bettering myself. Not for others but for just so, myself.

Melbourne Causeway, Florida

Not only do I strive for a healthy mind, but also a healthy body. I no longer settle for the same routine like existence, I actively participate in my life instead of letting it buckle me into the passenger seat. This little slice of heaven sits in my own backyard and is what I'd like to define as 'free therapy'. I recently started running it and have found peace on many occasions across those waters. To be able to get lost in music (see my current playlist below) as cars pass me on one side and the river on the other is nothing more than pure bliss. Not to mention the views are pretty much to die for. On days like today with the temperatures creeping up into the high 80's, it was still a great run! 

I didn't always run and I am far from an exercise expert. However, I am an expert on how to get my 'average' self off the couch and do something productive. Part of distancing myself from such a negative stigma was concentrating on my health. More so recently in the past two months as I was the heaviest I had ever weighed (blog post to come on that in the future). 😬 With a little bit of research and dedication, I have really buckled down and have started taken my health seriously. And in doing so, my 'okayishhhh' self-image has sky rocketed. I hate to admit that it has taken me almost twenty-seven years to genuinely care about myself but its true. ⇣ And in case you were wondering WEAK | AJR has been my theme song lately! 🙌🙌🙌

2017 Workout Playlist

"Don't ever let your starting point dictate where you finish"

"Don't ever let your starting point dictate where you finish"

Self Love - katiescarlettchronicles

By no means do I think I'm perfect. No. I'm still working out the kinks a little bit at a time. But what I am saying is that we only get this one. life. and we should get everything we can out of it! Unless reincarnation is a real thing, & in that case sign me up for something majestic! Self love is such an alluring way to live without the monotony. 

Get down to the raw, dirty roots that you wouldn't even want your mother to see (only because she loves you unconditionally). Find out what you can't stand about yourself and do what you can to change it. I mean after all, we're the sole individuals who have to live with ourselves. Take care of your body, your mind and just as much take care of others who are in need. 

Because at the end of the day while I'm laying in bed, I'm the only one left with my thoughts. And every day I strive for them to tell me that I've done everything in my power to be a happy, loving and kind person towards the rest of this busy and definitely cruel world. If that isn't a beautiful life, then I don't know what is.