This will be the everyday page for posts regarding my husband, travel, dog mom life, and everything in between!
23, you’ve been good to me.
When I was 9, I couldn’t wait to be 13. I’d officially be a “tween.” That meant hopefully I’d “become a woman” which is a complete fraud way of saying you get your dreadful period (who came up with that?). And you have to ask your mom for a bra that you clearly don’t need and you have colored strings on your braces.
When I was 13, I couldn’t wait to be 16. That would mean I’d upgrade to a “teen”. I would have my license and could drive anywhere I wanted. I’d be able to pick my friends up, not have to wait for a ride after practice and get a job to support my taco bell and Speedway slushie habits.
When I was 16, I couldn’t wait to be 18. That meant I was officially an adult. I’d be graduating high school and going to my “dream college.” I would try to figure out who I was, what I wanted, where I belonged and who needed to stay in my life and who needed to go.
But when I turned 18, I couldn’t wait to be 23. I calculated that I would graduate college, I’d become a registered nurse, and be on my own completely. However, I didn’t realize at that time, all the other big things that were going to come this year.
My big 23:
-I graduated nursing school with my BSN
-I moved across the country to Tampa, FL, just because
-I passed boards and became a registered nurse
-I became a dog mom for the third time
-I got my dream job in the Emergency Department at a Level One Trauma Center
-I bought the most gorgeous house
-I married my best friend
So now that 23 is gone and past, I started thinking what is this next year going to hold and what are my goals for it. I started feeling sad like what could top this year and I realized that this year I’m going to work on becoming the best possible version of myself that I can be. I feel like this past year, I started taking on new roles: becoming a nurse, becoming a wife, becoming a homeowner, becoming a blogger, becoming a gardener, becoming a dog mom of 3 and now this year the goal is to try to become a master at those roles.
My goals for Chapter 24:
- love myself more and take adequate time for self care and self improvement
- keep promises to myself
- show up for myself
- setting new health and fitness goals
- becoming the best wife I can be
- work on my mindset
- furthering my career and becoming a trauma and pediatric ER nurse
- fully investing myself into my passions, as well as Leonard’s–music, fitness, blogging, gardening
- trying new things and new experiences
- continue to become who I’m meant to be
I saw a quote in a book that said, “You can’t skip chapters, that’s not how life works. You have to read every line, meet every character. You won’t enjoy all of it. Hell, some chapters will make you cry for a week. You will read things you don’t want to read, you will have moments when you don’t want the pages to end. But you have to keep going. Stories keep the world revolving. Live yours, don’t miss out. “
If I had I skipped Chapter 16, I wouldn’t have been able to compare how a boy treated me vs. how I deserve to be treated. If I had skipped Chapter 18, I would have missed out on meeting my future husband. If I had I skipped Chapter 19, I wouldn’t have learned the true value of friendship and learning to put myself first.
Basically, every chapter is a new lesson and one day we will be who we are meant to be because of all the lessons and all the chapters we’ve overcome. Some chapters had heartache, pain, and sadness. Some had let downs and disappointments. But some chapters were filled with so much joy, silver linings, celebrations and true happiness. I’m learning to stop wanting to skip the chapters, read ahead and miss out on the journey and just enjoy the book.
The Untold Tale of Moving to Tampa
One year ago today, we loaded up our uhaul full of everything we own, we said our hardest goodbyes and we hit the road for Tampa without looking back!
A lot of people I’ve met here, ask “what brought you down to Tampa?” And I always say “we were looking for a new adventure.” And a new adventure is exactly what we got.
We always joke around that things are never easy for us. There’s always some crazy ass obstacle that we have to overcome. Honestly, it’s exhausting sometimes but it’s our life. This is a long story but I promise it’s an entertaining one. And maybe one day, it’ll be Chapter One in my future best-selling novel or Episode One of the reality tv that will star on Netflix.
Let me set the stage for you:
It’s April Fool’s Day. Izzy is in heat. Floyd has barely eaten or drank anything in days because he’s too busy crying from outside the door where Izzy is. We are trying to keep them separated because we decided after 2 litters of puppies, we were going to retire Mama Izzy.
This is where the story begins;
SOOOO, we are letting Floyd outside to potty and bringing Izzy inside when Floyd breaks out of Leonard’s grasp and hops on top of Izzy and starts humping her. Leonard shoved all 120lbs of Floyd off of her and as he stumbles to the ground, he continues to hump her (sorry, this is graphic but an important part of the story). We hadn’t planned on breeding anymore because we were moving to an apartment across the country very soon and decided 2 litters was enough because we didn’t get Izzy just to breed her. We sat there in complete shock and dismay as we calculated IF she got pregnant, when she would be due. Dogs are only pregnant for about 63 DAYS! Yes people, I said that right, 63 days! We calculated her due date as June 4th, the same exact day we were suppose to move.
More, TMI. Floyd has an undescended testicle so that means he’s shooting some steriles, so we thought maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t get pregnant but as the days went on, our little skinny athletic Izzy kept getting fatter and fatter.
We take her for an X-ray to see how many little monsters are in there. Sure enough, the vet says 9-10.
At this point we’re stunned. When we actually planned on breeding, we only had 4 the first litter and 6 the second. The one time we don’t plan it and it’s 10 freakin’ puppies! How are we going to hide 10 puppies in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment?!
Did I mention that we already had to make Floyd and Izzy “Support Dogs” because when the apartment we picked switched management they no longer even allowed German shepherds? So now we are bringing 12 German shepherds into the apartment…
At this point, it is what it is. Now we just gotta figure out the details. So we are trying to come up with a game plan. We prayed everyday that she would have the puppies before we left or once we got there. But if you remember what I said earlier about how our luck, it’s a 97% chance she’s going to have them in the car during our 17 hour drive.
My dad was going to drive the uhaul with Leonard’s mustang on the trailer, we were going to drive my Jeep with the dogs and Leonard’s parents were coming next week to visit and to drive his Camaro down. So the plan was we were going to tarp the entire back of the Jeep and if she started having them on the way, one of us would crawl back there and help her.
BUT the devil was lingering around and delivered us our next challenge.
A few days before we leave, we are driving around running errands when a guy hits us in my Jeep and it have to be sent to the shop. They said it wouldn’t be ready until next week but we were leaving in 3 days!!! So now Leonard’s poor Camaro becomes the birthing space if she happens to have them on the way..
So now it’s the big day!
The uhaul is packed and loaded. The plan is to leave at 9pm. Please tell me why the hell at 8:56pm, Izzy decides she’s going to start pushing the puppies out.
One by one, they’re coming out. Floyd is outside the window, nose to the sky, howling (it looked like some scene from National Geographic). 2 black males come out first, I guess our little Gunner was ready to meet us! An about every 15 minutes, another one comes.
I think Leonard’s mom was praying she had them at this time so she could sneak in an extra 2 hours with him! The 9th one finally comes out and we wait another 30 minutes to see if there is 10. Nothing comes.
We hurry and load the newborn puppies into a laundry basket and take Izzy to the Camaro because we have to make it to our apartment before they close to get the key and are already 2 hours behind schedule. It straight up looked like a maternity suite in the back of the camaro. The tarp is back there with her dog bed and a bunch of blankets. We get Izzy in and put all the puppies around her to keep feeding. We don’t even make it to the highway before we hear another Flizzy splash out of there…
I’m Izzy’s midwife so I’m constantly making sure all the puppies are accounted for and making sure she and her squad are all good. You’d think I was lying but it was a peaceful 17 hour trip. Izzy would get out and potty when we got gas and would go right back to feeding them. And whenever there was a little bump in the road, you heard little puppy noises! They sounded like those little green aliens off toy story!
So the GPS says we will arrive at 7:15pm. The apartment management office closes at 7 (of course!). I call and explain how we are headed there from Indiana and on a 17 hour drive and ask if someone could please wait 15 minutes so we can get our keys. She says, “No, we close at 7. You can get a room at the hotel across the street. We open back up at 9am.”
I’m sorry Paola, what the hell did you just say?
I dunno if it was the lack of sleep, Izzy’s estrogen filling the small camaro or what but Kee-kee-monshinika (that’s my bad bitch name for those who don’t know) unleashes. I’m not proud but she did change her story and waited for us.
SOOO we get there…
They need a cashier check with our deposit. They won’t accept the check I have already hand written out to them or wait until tomorrow to bring it to them. So Leonard drives across the street to the gas station to get it but the machine breaks mid-transaction. They have to give him the amount which is a couple thousand in cash. They empty all the cash from the registers and it’s still not enough so he has to wait until enough people come in to the gas station and buys something with cash until he reaches the amount.
Finally, we get the keys to our first ever apartment in Tampa, Florida.
Izzy is nestled into the guest bathroom with the puppies and my dad and Floyd are still on the way in the Uhaul. We are dead exhausted at this point but the excitement is firing our soul. We can’t unload anything since the uhaul isn’t there yet so we run to Walmart to fill up our very own fridge.
We get back home and my dad is still not there. He’s lost. I ask him to send his location and he’s a whopping 7 minutes away lol! I try to explain to him how to set up the GPS but thats a lost cause. So we head out to find him, he’s at Mcdonald’s eating an ice cream cone.
We get back to the apartment and my dad passes out in the guest room on the floor (I later find Floyd laying next to him, which is the sweetest thing. Floyd and my dad are like best buds).
Leonard and I unload the entire 20 foot long truck full of all our stuff THAT night! We were on the 2nd floor so we carry heavy ass furniture up 15 stairs! June in Florida is hot as balls. We are dripping in sweat, my hands are breaking, my legs are burning from the stairs and we are chugging bottles of water and eating twizzlers.
Moving is frustrating. You know when you’re moving, lets say a dresser, and the person leading going up the stairs doesn’t seem like their doing a damn thing and the poor person in back is waiting for the dresser to knock them down the stairs and squish them. I dunno if it’s because we had no fight left in us, or maybe we just need to start our own moving business because we were a freakin’ bomb ass team.
We shower and our aching, tired bodies fall to the mattress on the floor and we can’t help but feel like we finally crossed the finish line.
It seemed like the Devil tried every trick up his sleeve to try to keep us from moving, to try to break our spirits, and to try to mess up this happy time in our lives. But we kept our faith, prayed a lot, communicated with each other and kept each other focused on the prize.
I never would have learned to rely on Leonard and him rely on me, the way we have if we had still remained in our comfort zone and stayed at home. We’ve learned so many important lessons along the way. I’ll never forget when we were so inpatient to get our new couch that instead of waiting for delivery, we rented a uhaul pick up truck, we tied down our new couch with string and watched a piece of it fly off the back of the truck on the highway. Watching poor Leonard drag it down the highway in probably 100 degree weather and us driving 15 miles per hour the entire way home from St. Petersburg. Our couch only had a small knick in the leg of it and I smile every time I see it. Or hiding 10 loud ass, stinky puppies from our landlord and our neighbors! It’s been a roller coaster road like no other but i wouldn’t change it for the world.
God, it’s been the best adventure and everyday I’m thankful for my husband (and our fur babies-even though they didn’t have a choice) for being down to pick up our entire lives and try something completely new.
A year later;
We both have our dream nursing jobs. Leonard works in ICU and I work in the Emergency Department. We bought our dream house. Through serious convincing by Leonard, we kept a Flizzy of our own and I’m forever thankful we did. The dogs are the happiest I’ve ever seen them. And we are truly living our best and happiest life yet. We are trying new hobbies, growing at the old ones, building new friendships, connections, and trying to become the best versions of ourselves.
If you made it this far, I freakin’ applaud you or you’re my parents, mother-in-law or Leonard (in that case- Hey mom and dad, Hey Fran, Hey boo boo!)
Moral of this long ass story…
In one year, your entire life can change. One year from now, make sure you can look back and say you’re growing and changing and allowing yourself to be a little different than you were the year before.
SAY it and DO it! Set big ass goals for yourself and make them happen! No one believed us when we announced we were moving to Tampa. We made our dream a reality. We would stay up late making plans and we would sit in the car in the drive way long after we pulled up, trying to keep each other focused on the goal ahead. Don’t keep putting things off. Make a plan and make it happen.
The devil may be lurking in the shadows waiting to shut down your happiness but keep your faith strong. God is working harder for you. Find the positive in negative situations. Don’t let it discourage you or steal the happiness you’re working so hard for.
Alright ya’ll, thats the untold tale. Feels good to get it off my chest.
Roundtrip: TPA to MDW
You know that feeling when you’re about to go on vacation and you’ve been counting down the days for a good month and the day is finally here!?
You brush the dust off your suitcase and you’re packing it full of all your cutest clothes; those fun wedges you’ve only worn twice, your big beach hat, and the maxi dress that’s been sitting in your closet all winter season.
You know that feeling when you get to the airport and the rush of excitement hits you as you think of all the adventures you’re about to go on, things you’re going to see and relaxation you’re going to do!
As I was packing to go back home this weekend, I felt this sadness that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was our first official trip back home (not including the time we came back for our wedding because that was crazy busy) and I felt guilty for not really wanting to go. I felt sad that I wouldn’t have 7 off days at my house with my hubs and the dogs. We wouldn’t get to spend lazy days in the backyard tending to our garden, trying a new restaurant or taking a trip to the beach.
I noticed Leonard was in a mood too and when I asked him if everything was okay, he told me that he felt sad about leaving, too.
We had a wonderful visit, though! We took a trip to Chicago, just me and him, and walked around the city taking it all in. We ate at all of our favorite restaurants (Giordano’s Pizza, Tate’s, Furin, and Mazamitla’s). We got to see tons of our family which was wonderful! We got to celebrate my mother-in-law graduating nursing school. And we got to see some of our close friends. Overall, we had a great time and were so thankful we went!
It also helped me realize a few things. For starters, I truly feel like we made the best decision for us. Before we left, a year ago, we were filled with a lot of negative energy from people we considered our friends and even our family. It was taking a toll on us mentally. We’re pretty positive people but we were filled with so much negativity. Ever since we moved to Tampa, I feel like my head is much more clear and I truly feel the happiest I’ve ever been. After a few days back at home, we started feeling that negative energy and it started consuming us all over again. I feel like I could never reach my full potential or be who I’m meant to be there. I also realized that people we use to invest our time and energy into, did not even acknowledge we were home. When we moved, it was hard adjusting to meeting new friends and trying to maintain friendships back at home. Sometimes, in life, we need an eye opening experience to help us realize that we’ve grown apart from people and we have to let them go because they were never even holding on to us to begin with.
As we got dropped back off at Midway, I couldn’t help but feel that rush of excitement hit me. I felt like I was going on vacation and then I realized my vacation is the same place I consider home. That’s how I know I’ve found where I’m meant to be.
This week is probably not the best week to rub it in everyone’s face, as our hometown is struck with an artic ambush, about why we picked Florida but it just so happened that this blog was next up.
We come from a small-ish town in Indiana. I lived there my whole life, 22 years to be exact, and Leonard lived there for 8. I learned, I grew, and I bloomed there. I met amazing people (my husband for starters). I have tons of good (and some bad) memories there—sports, school, lake days, Chicago adventures, late night steak-n-shake or denny’s trips because it was the only thing open, cruising in my red Jeep with the top and doors off as well as blizzards in the Jeep (yikes), many hours spent laughing over sushi at furin, the list is endless.
But it was time to experience something new.
When we announced that we decided Tampa, Florida was going to be our new home it conveniently happened around the time hurricane Irma was making its way around. Everyone loved shooting our exciting news down with “Why Florida? What about the hurricane? Hopefully Tampa will be rebuilt by the time you move there. Why Florida? Why Florida? Why Florida?!”
This blog is for anyone who wants to do something that is scary, for anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone, or for anyone who needs that little extra push.
Our response– Why not Florida?
Besides the gorgeous weather and the endless things to do (do I really need to say more?)
We both made huge moves in our careers! Leonard works in the ICU at the #3 hospital in the area and I work in the ER at a level one trauma center.
We go to a gym where top athletes come to train, like Mr. USA! It’s Ben Pakulski’s gym, a superhuman who has calves bigger than my quad, who won Mr. Canada, competed in the Mr. Olympia and the Arnold Classic. We are constantly being pushed, motivated, and educated on fitness and nutrition!
We paid off a lot of debt putting us in a position from renting our first apartment to buying our first home! We set financial goals and we made it happen.
We are constantly trying new things, seeing new things and experiencing new things!
Did I mention the weather? Soft sandy beaches? Gorgeous sunsets? Good food? No snow? Well, all those reasons too!
Was is scary moving 1,000 miles away from everything and everyone you know? Absolutely. Did it hurt leaving people behind who mean the world to you? Excruciating. (I still see my best friend’s big green eyes filled with tears or hear my mother in laws voice as she says goodbye).
But this new adventure has been so good for us. We’ve gotten the chance to learn who we are, step out of our comfort zone, be more outgoing, take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, be adventurous, and learn how to rely solely on each other.
God, it was scary and I spent a lot of time praying and praying on it. But I’m so thankful He sent us in this direction and gave us the courage to take the leap.
Make Yourself Uncomfortable:
It was nice knowing where all the best restaurants were. It was comforting to know if I locked myself out and Leonard was at work, someone could rescue me. It was nice knowing where walmart was. It was easy talking to all my gym friends at Classics. It was simple deciding on Friday between Moods or Cagneys. It was safe feeling my friends were just a drive away.
But sometimes you have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations so you can grow. I don’t know how many sushi restaurants we’ve been to in search of the perfect one and we still haven’t found it but we won’t stop looking. I still only have like 3 gym friends, but it’s made me have to be more outgoing. I have to put pretty much everything into the GPS but I’m getting the hang of it! And sometimes there’s TOO many things to do on a Friday night that we can’t decide on what but that’s the awesome part! We are putting ourselves out there and trying new things. Isn’t that the whole point of life?
I encourage all of you to be brave and break the limits of what you know or what comforts you. Don’t let other people’s fear be what stops you from living your life and experiencing new things. Quit thinking about what you’re giving up and start thinking about what you can gain.
What if we weren’t brave, and we listened to all the people who tried to fill us with fear and doubt? We would have missed out on a lot of awesome opportunities and experiences.
What Can You Do?
I get it, if ya’ll have jobs or family responsibilities that lock you into where you are, that’s totally fine! That doesn’t mean this doesn’t apply to you. That means change situations that you can!
Apply for the job you really want. Join the kickboxing class they have on Wednesday’s! Pick up a new hobbie! (I literally watched a YouTube video how to knit a scarf and headband for myself and then made a business out of it). Have coffee with someone from church. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Let yourself try new things and grow from them.
The minute you let yourself be satisfied with being comfortable is the minute you stop actually living. Don’t let other people’s opinions be what stops you from trying something new, taking a risk, applying for the job, moving across the country, starting a blog, because at the end of the day, if what you’re doing is different from what is “cool”, the norm, or simply different from what others are doing, someone will always say, “Why ______?”