Happy 8th Birthday Living Out Loud!!!

Happy 8th Birthday Living Out Loud!!!

Thank you for carrying me through so many highs and lows and for giving me this platform to express myself and celebrate the progress I have made through the years. There were so many times that I sat with my phone (because I didn’t have a computer at the time) screen blurry as I squinted through my tears trying to say something… Having this safe place to write and share myself with the world gave me so much comfort and hope through the years.

The way that this blog began is a sad story and this year I am not going to go into those details, but I will take you on a journey through the years. So grab a cup of your favorite tea or some hot chocolate and marshmallows or even a glass of wine or a Truly. We are going on an adventure!

Below each year I will include a link to a post in December. Take a look at these posts to read about my trials and tribulations AND celebrations through the years!

2012:

Metamorphosis

It all started here in 2012. It was the year that my heart broke open and allowed me to feel again after being so numb. I started this blog as a way to express myself and share my art and creativity with the world.

Metamorphosis
This was my “coming of age” watercolor painting.

These are some of my favorite memories from 2012 ❤

2013:

Me With No Apologies

2013 was ridiculously rough. I lost people that I loved dearly and felt very abandoned. I also had to embrace so many changes and it felt like this entire year was a constant struggle. Thankfully, I grew more resilient and did my best to face each challenge bravely.

Thank you for all the lessons that you taught me, 2013, even those painful ones.

2014:

Set Yourself Free!

2014, you got a lot worse before you got better, but I’m thankful that we got through that shit together.

This year wasn’t as awful as 2013, but the first half of it was pretty darn close. I was working 3-4 jobs at a time and even took the bus for 6 months (even though I had a car) to save money. In March, my car died and I had to completely change my life. It was such a struggle.

Thankfully, in June I flipped a switch and made rapid changes that transformed my life. Things finally started looking up after years of struggle and adversity.

Can you see how much I changed even within the year? It was a mental and physical shift.

2014 was also my golden year and after my birthday I took off and started chasing my dreams relentlessly. I had an amazingly supportive group of friends and for the 1st time in forever I was happily single.

2015:

My 3 Year Journey

The last 3 months of 2014 were wonderful. I was working at one place full time and had a chance to shine as the head coach of my own swim team. I met a man and we stopped talking after Christmas. I felt pretty crushed heading into the new year, but I spent New Year’s Eve with my friends, Kathy Morris (who is now in heaven) and Mica. Kathy reminded me that the most important thing for a woman to have in or out of a relationship is her independence. I am so thankful that she was there for me when I needed a good friend the most.

Kathy and I ringing in the New Year

Kathy accompanied me to the Polar Bear Plunge at Long Lake on New Year’s Day morning and we got brunch at the Log Cabin. I miss Kathy tremendously and know that she would be proud of how much I have grown through the years. She reminds me of the importance of telling your friends and family that you love them.

I stayed busy with work and getting in shape. When I was not working (which wasn’t often) I immersed myself in dance fitness classes and went for long walks with friends. I am thankful that I had this time to focus on my health, my self, and my goals.

My Grandma Alice is now in heaven, but I am so glad that we have so many beautiful memories together. I miss her so much.

And then on the final day of February of 2015, the guy who disappeared reappeared in my life and we have been together ever since. 4 months later we bought our 1st house together. I remember being so nervous and apprehensive about living with a man. I even consulted Kathy on this matter and she was with me when I made my decision. I was going to go for it. I didn’t even tell my own parents until after Thanksgiving of that year that I had moved into a house with my man.

2015 was a magical year. In May, I got accepted into the local University and I was thrilled to start school once again. My man graduated from college a week after we moved into our new house. That summer I quit my full time job at the athletic club and replaced it with a full-time job at a local high school. I was also a full-time student in college.

We had our house, matching bikes, a porch swing, our cat Oscar, and his new kitten Alleyjandra. Our lives were complete! Our 1st Christmas tree was beautiful and I got to host my very 1st Christmas cookie making party with my dearest friends and my sister. Our 1st Christmas was pretty amazing too ❤

2016:

Happy Birthday “Living Out Loud” Blog!!!

Our lives were hectic, but we were making ends meet. I was so busy being a full-time student and working full-time and my bf was working full-time in Seattle. We had to get an apartment up North so that he wouldn’t have to commute for hours everyday. It felt like a long distance relationship and there were even some weekends that we didn’t get to see each other, but we made it work.

For Valentine’s Day of 2016, C got us a greenhouse and Alleyjandra and I planted our very 1st garden of our dreams. And then a week or two later (after a pug followed me home on a rainy night) C got me a puppy. I was shocked…

I had just gotten into a great routine of work, homework, gym, more homework, bed. I was losing weight and feeling great, but all of a sudden I had a puppy and I was NOT a dog person. I didn’t know the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd thing about dogs!!! Thankfully, my sister and her bf lived with us and she would let Ruby out when she got home from work.

In the spring of 2016, I decided to resign from my job at the highschool so that I could be a full-time student. It was a scary decision that felt like a risk, but it ended up being the best decision ever!

For my birthday that year, C got us 2 tickets to New Zealand. We were going to move there forever and pursue citizenship. We still had our house full of tenants and our cats Alleyjandra and Oscar were still at the house. Ruby stayed with C’s mom and our plan was to have our cats sent to us and for C’s mom to fall in love with Ruby and adopt her.

That September, we headed off to New Zealand! I applied for a leave of absence from Evergreen and was going to take classes online and eventually complete my degree in New Zealand. It was still early in my academic career and I had only just completed my freshman year.

Our trip to New Zealand was our very first time flying together. Sadly, we didn’t have seats together for the longest part of the flight, but it was thrilling to see the city appear through the clouds as we prepared to land.

We spent our time in Auckland, New Zealand and it was a beautiful melting pot of so many cultures. We bought a car after one week and had such a wonderful time. Everyday was an adventure and we enjoyed exploring new cafes, beaches, and towns. After 12 days, we missed our cats so much and talked about visiting home for Christmas to see them. 2 days later we found ourselves back at the airport flying home because we missed our cats so much. We realized on Friday night that if we got on the next early flight we could arrive back in our hometown on Sunday night and then my Computer Science Foundations class would begin the next day.

I asked the college to take me back and they obliged. It was a whirlwind of an adventure and we were happy to be home and reunited with our kitties. We promised that someday we would go back to New Zealand, but I should complete more of my degree first. New Zealand became a dream deferred.

I found my severe anxiety in the midst of that computer science foundation program. the nerds there were teenagers and would roll their eyes at me when I asked questions. They also tried to play mind games and intimidate people during computer labs. I started dreading my classes and would sweat the entire time.

During Thanksgiving, C and I started building our very 1st yurt. It was fun, but a lot of work because I hand tied the individual knots.

We had a non-traditional Christmas that year and on Christmas Eve we bought a motor home!

On Christmas Day we met my Grandma and parents in Vancouver, WA for a fancy dinner and then C got us a room in the Heathman Lodge.

2017:

Happy Birthday Dear: Living Out Loud Blog!!!

2017 was an awful year for me healthwise. It was the year that I finally realized and acknowledged the fact that I wasn’t dealing with stress well. At the end of 2016, I got an awful case of the flu and decided that I would not continue with Computer Science Foundations for another quarter. In fact, I swore off coding for what I thought would be forever.

I soothed myself with retail therapy and snacks and almost adopted a St. Bernard Puppy. Thankfully, I found the perfect kitten for C instead, and his name is Carl.

I’m going to kind of speed through 2017 because it is one of my least favorite years, but definitely was a pivotal time in my life. I decided to pursue my interests and I enrolled in a 2 quarter long program called “Dancing Molecules Dancing Bodies.” This program covered Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, and Dance. I absolutely loved it and made some of my best friends today, in that program.

I struggled with a lot of health issues and most of them were caused by stress. My boyfriend got hired for a full time job in the South Island of New Zealand and I stayed back to manage our household (which still had lots of renters) and take my classes.

The spring quarter at school was nuts. My dad was in the hospital and my mom was in the hospital because she broke her arm. Our dance professor passed away in the middle of the quarter and some school protests got out of control and they had to lockdown the campus and move graduation to another quarter. We got through it all and I earned my credits!

That fall I was going to take Integrated Natural Science program which covered Biology, Chemistry, and Geology, but I got deathly sick after the first week of classes and had to take the rest of the quarter off for health reasons. It was crushing. That winter, I discovered that I loved coding without the pressure of being in class with jerks so I did an independent learning contract. It’s funny how things come full circle.

I think the best thing that happened in 2017 was that my sister and I reconnected after being out of touch for over a year.

2018:

End of an Era

2018 was the year that I knew I needed to lose weight and get healthy. I was going to turn 30 that year and was miserable with my body and the way carrying the extra weight made me feel. At this point I was dangerously close to 200 lbs and I wouldn’t be surprised if I hit the mark without knowing it.

I was coding again and we had shifted to building geodesic domes. We got our very 1st monoprice mini 3D printer that year and went to town. We built our 1st dome in our living room and it sold within the hour that we posted it for sale. We drove all the way to Forks, WA on a frosty, snowy day in March and spent the afternoon dome-building until it got dark.

That spring, I decided that I needed another break from coding so I took the Music Theory Intensive Program. It was a nice break and fun to revisit a passion from my past life. One afternoon while I was waiting to meet my friend, Paige, for coffee, I saw that my friend Diana wanted to adopt a small dog.

My heart leapt for joy because I knew that she and Ruby would be perfect for each other. In fact, in 2016, when we first moved to New Zealand, I remember wishing that Diana liked small dogs because I thought she would be perfect for Ruby. Well, 2 years later, this dream and match made in heaven became a reality!

Diana also invited me to sing at an open Mic while she accompanied me on the harp at the Green Lady. I love how Diana has always inspired me to be creative, ambitious, and pursue my goals, dreams, and hobbies. It was so nice to finally be back in touch.

When Diana and Ruby adopted each other, it set off a positive chain reaction in our lives. We sold our house to the very first family that viewed it and on June 1st we took off on an epic road trip across the country with 2 cats, 2 cars, and my sister.

We had decided that we didn’t want to turn 30 in our home town. We needed to see the world and that is exactly what we did. First, we stopped in Jacksonville, Florida to help our friends set up their gene editing lab, but we decided that Florida was not for us.

so 3 days later we drove North until we got to Portland, Maine. C got a job at Maine Lobster Now as their software engineer and I worked at the Maine Cryospa as a Cryo Technician. We lived in an apartment right in Portland and I made some wonderful friends at work.

We enjoyed our time in the city, but decided that we wanted more space so we found a charming house in Northern Maine and bought it with cash. It was nice to own a house outright.

We call it the Dollhouse because it is so charming. We also bought it fully furnished. I only got to spend a day and a half in our new house and then I had to fly back to WA to take one last academic program on campus.

I was so happy that my former landlord and friend allowed me to rent the room I used to live in for the duration of the quarter. It was hard to leave my little family in Maine, but we all knew that I had to do it to get that degree!

I spent this time focused on school, my fitness, and nutrition. It was so nice to spend time with my family and friends and to focus on my goals. It was a rough quarter because I had to get a cyst removed and I got really sick, but thankfully, I got through it. At the end of the quarter, C flew across the country to spend Christmas with me. We chose each other again and we agree everyday that it was the right decision.

My Bf said that Maine was just too cold and lonely for us to go back to so we should choose some place sunny instead. We chose either Hawaii or Arizona. Both places that neither of us had ever been.

2019:

Good Morning World

This is the year that we started dreaming even bigger then took action to make those big dreams come true. In January, we found ourselves on a plane to Scottsdale, Arizona!!!

Scottsdale was a lot of fun. C got hired shortly before we left and we eventually found a beautiful 3 story townhome that had the whole resort setup with a gym, pool, and grills by the pool. I could see the gym from our house and had no excuses. This is where I started to really embrace my workouts.

I was completing my last two independent learning contracts and in April I took over our online businesses. My partner was actually going to sell them or shut them down, but when he asked me if I wanted to run the businesses I jumped at the opportunity.

In March it started heating up and we realized that with our skills and the money that our online businesses were bringing in that we could live anywhere in the world and work remotely. My partner said that I could choose the next place that we went so I chose, Guam, Hawaii, or California. We decided that it would probably be easiest to import our cats to Hawaii (not as much as California, but Hawaii just sounded more appealing.) I started looking at properties online. At first we were going to start in Oahu or Maui, but then I discovered that you could still affordably buy land on the Big Island.

I had always been drawn to the Big Island. My Grandma Alice was born in Na’alehu and grew up in Kona and I always wanted to visit, but never got the chance to. I remember finding our current property for the first time. It said, “Here is your chance to own 2 permitted houses in Hawaii.” A month later, the seller took our offer! Okay, it wasn’t that easy, in fact there were times we weren’t sure that we would get it, but I am so thankful that we did.

On May 1st, we left Arizona and headed back to Olympia for 2 weeks before flying to Hawaii! Ruby’s Mom, Diana, graciously let us stay in her master sweet while we were in town. It was a hectic time and I was working around the clock processing reports for our business, but we got to enjoy some fun adventures together and even got matching swim suits! Because life is too short to be a torpedo!!!

We arrived in Hawaii at the end of May and have been here ever since. This place really is a dream come true. Neither of us had ever been here before visiting and I am so glad that we took that leap of faith together!

2020:

Let’s Flow

And now here we are! 2020!!! And the end of 2020 which is even better than the beginning… Maybe? idk.

I am so thankful that we have each other, our cats, and this beautiful, beautiful place together. I know that this year has been a little rough for the world, but it has been a great year of growth.

We continued to build domes, started a quail farm, and within 6 months of me running our businesses we were making in a day what we used to make in a week. I also officially completed my undergrad degree this year (I actually completed all of my coursework in 2019, but it took a long time for administration to officially process my evaluations.)

Now we feel ready to dream even BIGGER dreams than before! I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to share more of my world with you through this blog.!

If you are still here reading, God Bless You, and I love you. Thank you for taking some time to flip through the cliff-notes version of the last 8 years of my life.

I have been so busy in my own little world these past few months, but it is time to resurrect my blog! Thank you for your ongoing support. I hope you will all have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

❤ Always,

Alana

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