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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