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Chicago Time

A couple of weeks ago Rob FINALLY had his first week off from work.

Celebrations were in order due to the crazy 19 day, then 14 day work streak that he had been on throughout August and the beginning of September.

The night of his last day of work we dropped off our sweet Lucy girl for the week, and headed to Raleigh for our extremely early morning flight. Our flight left at 6:30am Saturday morning which put us in Chicago by 7:45am with the time change and how fast our captain flew.

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Check in wasn’t until 3pm, so we dropped off our bags and hit the town running to find coffee and breakfast!

Glazed and Infused did not disappoint on breakfast, or the amazingly dense and huge donuts that they provided us for our after breakfast treat.

 

PSA: I want a donut cake for my next birthday, holiday, because it’s Thursday celebration.

We had tickets to go and tour Wrigley field late that morning so we took the public transit system out of the city, and headed North.

Our hopes were to get to see a Cubs game while we were in the city, however they were on the road during the time we were in town. We were bummed initially but then decided that a tour of the stadium would fill our Chicago Cub needs.

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The tour was a lot of fun! We learned so much about the Chicago Cubs, their history, and the history of Wrigley field. It was very cool to sit in the bleachers at all angles of the stadium and see just how good of a view you get no matter where you sit. The tour took us all over the stadium, and in the guest team locker room where so many people have stood, from famous baseball players, to famous entertainers, and many more. Even the great Babe Ruth!

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Even though we are forever Miami Marlins fans, I think we are pulling for the Cubs to win the World Series this year (because let’s be honest, the Marlins are probably not going to make it). Touring the field really made you fall in love with the team.

We were beat after an early flight, walking the city, and the tour of the field so we decided to take a rest in our Airbnb apartment in the late afternoon and enjoy some down time before we set off for dinner.

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Before we set out for Chicago we had family members and friends that had visited the city this summer (Hence, where I got the idea to go.. the $88 round trip flights did a little of convincing as well). They had informed us all of all of the hot spots to visit and restaurants to make reservations at. One of the most highly recommended restaurants was The Girl and The Goat. Supposedly it is Anthony Bourdain’s favorite restaurant in the city. Many rave reviews were given to us about this restaurant but it is a hopping spot and really hard to get reservations at. After our down time, we decided to make reservations for their sister restaurant across the street The Little Goat, a quaint diner type atmosphere and menu.

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It was delicious! We very much enjoyed The Little Goat and were glad that we were able to get a little taste of what the amazing restaurant across the street would have been like.

 


 

Sunday

Sunday we awoke nice and late, Rob was catching up on his month of missed sleep, and we ran our tushie’s to our brunch reservations at The Publican. My Oh My was it GOOD!

From the coffee, to the Bloody Mary, to my amazing avocado toast with eggs on top. It was easily one of the best brunches that I have had in a very long time. The restaurant was communal style seating with long tables and other parties sitting right beside you. It was a neat experience and we were so glad that we decided to partake in their delicious menu. This recommendation was definitely one of the best!

With full bellies, and happy feet after out great night of rest we set off to tour the city of Chicago. Our first stop was The Willis Tower. With a long wait in line, we were ready to get to the top and the views did not disappoint!

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Being afraid of heights as I am, it was woozy and knee-buckling enough just standing at the windows looking down. The views were incredible no matter where you looked or what side of the building you were on. We were lucky enough to catch Chicago right after a beautiful cold front went through and had clear blue skies and lower temperatures. It surely made for great views that allowed us to see for miles across Lake Michigan.

Rob, being the adventure seeker/lover that he is decided that looking out the floor to ceiling windows wasn’t enough. No, no we needed to go into the glass box to hang outside of the building for the full experience.

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Truth be told, I crawled into the box. Looking through the box and stepping onto what felt like nothing was just not happening for this girl. So I crawled in, planted myself on the floor and looked at the camera, and not down. Once Rob came in with me, he pulled me to my feet and I felt the wooziness coming on. What a weird feeling it was knowing you are standing on something and seeing straight down, I can’t even remember how many stories, to the street. Even Rob said it was a trippy feeling. This man of mine surely does make me conquer my fears at every turn!

Once back down on solid ground, we continued walking around the city and strolled to Millenium Park to see The Bean.

 We then decided to do the full tourist sight seeing experience and curved north to walk along Lake Michigan and down Navy Pier.

People were EVERYWHERE in the tourist spots which reminded me a lot of NYC. They were just much friendlier and the city was much cleaner!

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Since we had already walked the majority of the city, we figured why not make the full circle for the day? We walked along the river, ate a quick cheese plate at a river side French cafe which took me back to last summer in France, and walked the miles back to our apartment.

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(Thankfully after 11 years, he doesn’t complain about the 50,000 pictures I take)

It was a LONG day with 20,000 steps completed before I crawled into bed that night. But we couldn’t let the night end without some deep dish Chicago style pizza from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria (Yes, we had to walk there too). I would promise you that I have a picture of the goodness that is Chicago style pizza, but I can’t seem to find it right now so just imagine how deliciously cheesy it was.

We enjoyed our day, or adventures, and our delicious meals while playing tourist in the city. Lucky for us we still had two more days of vacation to go!

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The Last of Summer

At the beginning of August, my beautiful sister Jeanna and her boyfriend Walter made the long drive north to come and visit our new town for an extended weekend.

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We had a great time with them. Their first night in town we took them to Chef and the Farmer down the road so they were able to experience the deliciousness of it. I booked the reservations during our dinner the first time that we were there. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to visit again!

We ate, antique shopped, explored Greenville, took Lucy to the dog park, and explored the greenway along the river. We were lucky enough that Rob had that entire weekend off and was able to spend it with us.

On Sunday of that weekend we decided to jump in the car and explore the coast. We drove to Beaufort and spent a day on the water. Beaufort is a cute little seaside town. Fun fact, it is the town where A Walk to Remember movie was filmed.

We took a ferry out to Shackleford Banks, a 7 mile long island off the coast of Beaufort, NC. There is nothing on the island except for wild horses who have been there since I honestly don’t know when.

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The island was beautiful. Peaceful, quiet and we had the perfect weather for a beach day.

Shackleford Banks  is also known for the best shelling on the east coast.

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When it was time for Jeanna and Walt to head home, Rob encouraged me to jump in the car with them and head home to Florida for a visit before school started.Unfortunately, after Rob had the weekend off when Jeanna was in town he didn’t have another day off for 19 days. I jumped at the opportunity, I said goodbye to my little family and headed south.

My cousin had a baby the weekend prior in Jacksonville, so we made a pit stop on the drive to say hello and meet the precious baby girl, Holly.

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We arrived home that night and I had five beautifully relaxing days spent in South Florida. I was able to spend copious amounts of time with mom and dad, friends, family members, and everyone in between. It was such a fun few days that made me miss the familiarity and comfort of Florida even more.

Beach days, brunch, and time with loved ones. It was a beautiful few days that I made so many memories in. I did not want to go back home to North Carolina, but I really missed my little family who wasn’t with me.

Once back in North Carolina, I only had a few days left of my summer. I ran around getting paper work in for my new job, and soaking in lazy time with my animals.

 

The start of work came with teachers working a two day week. It was a nice ease into the start of the school year with having a weekend come so quickly. I accepted a position outside of the classroom this year which is a completely different experience than what I am used to. The major benefit of this position is that IT IS STRESS FREE. I am loving the freedom from bringing work home with me and always having something hanging over my head. It has been an adjustment that so far I am loving.

After the first full week of teacher planning we had more visitors come.

Our best friends flew in from Miami and made the weekend so much fun. It was Elysia’s birthday the night that they arrived so we celebrated with a yummy dinner, Carvel cake (it is a tradition to buy each other Carvel cakes for EVERY celebration we have in life), and a party hat.

We had so much fun with Jack and Elysia. We played disc golf for the first time one afternoon and ventured out for yummy dinner and drinks on Friday night.

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The next day, Rob finally had a day off, so we drove to the beach to enjoy the day soaking in the sunshine and surfing on the coast with our brother in law, Jeremy, and our niece and nephew.

 

It was a beautiful weekend that ended out August. So many memories were made,  Jack and Elysia’s visit was way to short for my liking but we are so thankful for the time we had with them.

August went by in a flash. But we made it count and made so many memories that I love to look back on.

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Recap of July

I am back! I am determined to venture down memory lane and post about our summer vacation memories before they are too far away and gone. Documenting my life is really why I use this blog and I hope those of you who DO read, get a bit of joy of following our adventures.

July came in full force with Rob starting his 12-13 hour work days. He comes home every night exhausted from the day but manages to spend a few hours with me before he crashes hard into bed each night. While I know he would love to eat dinner and go straight to bed, I am so very thankful for and cherish the couple of hours I do get with him every night and the effort he puts forth to be present.

After Rob’s first weekend of work, he had his first day off three days later on July 4th. We celebrated indoors as much as possible because the temperatures of over 100 degrees were pretty unbearable.

But we did venture out to grab a cup of shaved ice deliciousness in town to cool down a bit.

One thing that God has graciously blessed us with in this new town of ours is built in friends. When Rob came to interview here last year, Rob’s sister Caroline put him in contact with her coworker who lives in Greenville. She and her husband graciously opened up their home to Rob to stay with them. Now that we are living here, we have been blessed with their friendship. They are pretty great people and we have loved getting to know them. The best part is they live about three blocks away from us and attend a church that we have begun to attend with them. Double date nights have become a regular occurrence and we are enjoying every minute of them.

The night of the 4th we went to dinner with our new friends and ventured to the Fourth of July festival in Uptown  for the firework show. I was very impressed with their fireworks and it made our July 4th complete.

We celebrated our third wedding anniversary on July 6th a couple of days later.

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Rob worked all day, but he came home ready to go to dinner and we enjoyed our delicious meal at Startlight Cafe in Uptown Greenville . It was our first experience at Starlight and we enjoyed every bite of our delicious meal.  It was a great time spent together talking about the past three years and the whirlwind that they were.

While they had a delicious looking dessert menu, we decided to take the classy route instead. IMG_3696

That’s right. We swung through the Krispy Kreme drive through on our way home and got HOT FRESH donuts. We have lived without that hot sign for too long and unfortunately KK is way too close to our house now.

Every year for our anniversary Rob and I follow the Traditional Anniversary Gift List . The first year was paper and Rob and I ended up getting each other the same exact thing, a map for our wall to track all of the places that we visit. Last year I don’t remember what we actually got each other that was cotton, but this year was leather. I bought Rob a leather case for his new IPAD, and he gifted me with a new leather bag that I love. He treats me well.

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The day after our anniversary was a pretty great day for me. I had my first interview for a teaching position that morning. I was rusty, nervous, and scared out of my mind since I hadn’t actually interviewed in four+ years. But it went well and I left sweaty and feeling good about how I did.

That night, more adventures were to come with my flying to California for a girls weekend getaway with Jen, my brothers girlfriend.

It was Jen’s birthday weekend and Tommy had to be in Minnesota for a bachelor party. We decided to have our own bachelorette party. We enjoyed our weekend together celebrating and venturing around Los Angeles and venturing up to Santa Barbara for a night.

While in Santa Barbara we did a wine tasting tour all around the city and I officially became a Wine-O.  We had so much fun together that weekend away. I also made sure to send Rob a map of how close he could have been to the beach in Santa Barbara if he had chosen that residency instead of where we are now. Six minutes!

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Santa Barbara was one of the most beautiful places that I have seen. It is a cute little (expensive) town with a beautiful coast line and beaches. Yes, I would have loved to make that city my home. But we enjoyed our visit and our explorations around town.

California is gorgeous. We stopped on our way back down to L.A in Malibu to take pictures and wow!  Driving the PCH definitely made me envy of Californians, mainly Jen and Tommy.

We attempted a paint night my last night in town. Which, let me tell you was extremely stressful. I am not a painter, I need paint by numbers. But we did it. While Jen proudly hung up her painting in her guest bathroom, mine is sitting inside of our entry way closet.

It was a great weekend away. I missed Rob and my fur-babies but it was so good to spend time with Jen and build our friendship.

The rest of July was quiet and relaxing. Rob got his first paycheck. Which was definitely a momentous occasion since he has not received one for our entire marriage.

Beach days, celebrating accepting a teaching position, babysitting my nephew, finding our favorite Spanish restaurant and ice creamery rounded out the month of July.

 

It was a great month full of new adventures and spending time with people that I love.

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The Start of our Summer

Since it is Labor Day weekend and school started back up this week, summer feels officially over. It was a whirlwind of a summer with moving north and getting used to this small town life of ours.

Starting out summer with having mom and dad around for a few days when we first moved was a nice ease into North Carolina. We explored, ate, unpacked, and enjoyed the time together.

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We even ate at Chef and the Farmer ! If you do not know what it is, Chef and the Farmer is featured on the show A Chef’s Life on PBS. It is a documentary series about the restaurant owners and how the restaurant came to be and how they create their menu. They are launching their fourth season sometime this month. I definitely recommend watching it.

Rob and I had watched all of the seasons earlier this year and low and behold it is only 20 miles away from our new home town. Mom got really into the show once we told her about it and wanted to visit while she was in North Carolina. I made reservations a couple of months out to make sure we had a table to experience the deliciousness. It definitely lived up to all of the hype. It was one of the best meals, if not THE best meal that I have ever had. If you are ever in eastern North Carolina a stop at Chef and the Farmer is a must.

Saying goodbye to mom and dad was difficult. It made it real that this was my new home. I wasn’t going with them and didn’t know when I was going to see them again. Thankfully, Rob had some days off before he started full time and we traveled around which made for a good distraction.

 

We spent time at the beach with Rob’s sister along with our niece and nephew then headed to Virginia Beach to visit Rob’s dad for a few days (sadly, we did not take any pictures that weekend). We are only 2.5 hours away from them now which is a big difference from being 5 states away!

The following weekend we adventured to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a early anniversary weekend getaway. I hadn’t ever been to the OBX before and we both fell in love. We stayed in Kill Devil Hills, but took day trips up and down the islands to see all of the lighthouses and beaches that we could.

We ventured to Currituck, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke. While Ocracoke was our very favorite of all the OBX, and now deemed our new vacation spot, it was all beautiful and fun to explore.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Climbing up and down the gigantic sand dunes and watching the sun set from on top of them, was beautiful. We were incredibly sandy after that adventure, especially Lucy, but it was a great experience.

Lucy came along on our anniversary weekend getaway. She does not like the car, however after the trip up from Florida and all around North Carolina, I think we have broken her. She also hadn’t ever experience sand before this trip and I am pretty sure we broke her into enjoying that as well.  She digs her hole in the sand and takes a snooze.

The big sand dunes that line the coast are such a difference from the South Florida beaches that I am used to. Walking on boardwalks to cross the dunes is beautiful. The beaches are quiet, not commercialized with hotels and shops, but residential houses and bed and breakfasts. I loved our beach time together, getting to spend copious amounts of time with Rob before he started his crazy schedule and getting to experience this new home state of mine.

After our weekend away, we returned to our new home and Rob started work.

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He is a real life doctor now. Prescribing meds, scrubbing into and performing surgeries, and rounding on his patients every morning at 5:00am.

The summer was a nice ease into his new schedule. Early to bed and early to rise is his new motto. He comes home every night with stories and excitement about his job. He is loving it which makes my heart so very happy for him. I love watching him live the life he has been working hard for. Being a doctor is his passion and it is shown in his every day and the way he talks about it. I love this man.

That only covers up until the end of June in our life, and we had many more adventures throughout July and August. Hopefully I will keep up this recap of our summer and venture back into the memories that we made.

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Leaving Florida Behind

We are now two months into our new life here in Greenville, North Carolina.

So much has happened in these past few months to lead us where we are today and I am disappointed that I haven’t documented it well at all.

Since I last blogged about our life we were excited, nervous, and every other emotion under the sun that our lives were taking on a new adventure with Rob matching to the general surgery program in Greenville. Now that is Greenville, NORTH CAROLINA. Not South Carolina. You wouldn’t believe how many people have tried to “correct me” since we found out we were headed here.

Before we made the leap and moved ourselves out of Florida there was much to be done to get ready for our new life.

After Match Day we took a week long vacation to visit all of our favorite spots and places we hadn’t ever been before in Florida before we said our goodbye’s.

 

Once back in South Florida we soaked in our time with family, friends, and each other in the couple of months we had left. Going to new places we hadn’t been before and visiting our old favorites one last time.

 

 In May, the best event of all occurred. . . Rob GRADUATED from medical school!!!

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He is now officially Dr. Robert Allman, MD. I couldn’t wait to get new address labels with his new title (just kidding). Oh how proud of him I am. What an accomplishment. It has been so fun walking along side of him throughout his journey and watching him grow. Look out North Carolina, the best doctor is coming to town!

The last month after graduation flew like the wind.

We updated our house, put it on the market, and sold our house in matter of a couple of weeks.  We packed up our stuff, as well as my classroom, and loaded a trailer. `Let’s not talk about how much stuff we (me) had.

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But we did it. We managed to pack it all in and ship it north a week or so before we left. Which meant we had no furniture or anything for a week so we had many dinner dates just like this one

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In the last week of being Floridians, we soaked in as much time with everyone as possible. A week before we moved we had to say goodbye to our best friends and I lost it. I walked away a-hot-mess of tears as this whole “moving thing” became a reality.

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The morning of June 12th, we woke up early, packed the cars with mom and dad in tow and headed North. What a mixture of feelings I had driving away from our house, our city, our friends and family. We made so many memories in South Florida dating, being engaged, and living as newlyweds.

And now, I am no longer a Floridian.

Weird to think about, and weird to say. I am slowly getting used to it. I can’t count the times I that I have told people where I moved from and they say “Did you get lost?” “How in the world did you end up here?” “Good luck finding things to do!”

It has been a double edged sword having the summer to adjust to my new surroundings. I had time to find a job, check out our ‘go-to’ spots, find my way around the city, as well as travel. But it also left way too much time for boredom. Having Rob around for the first couple of weeks helped being able to travel the state, visit family thats close, and explore.

But I am adjusting. . we are adjusting.

I am a North Carolinian! (Hopefully I WILL get used to that)

Julia

The Future is So Bright

This man of mine.

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Yesterday was the most nerve-wrecking of days, and he was my constant.

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When I was sitting nervously in my seat wanting to throw up, he was my cool.
Whispering in my ear that it would all be great, no matter where we were going.

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He read those words aloud ( before I could read the paper) and all the unknown and uncertainty became excitement. I could see the joy and excitement in his eyes and all I could feel was the same.

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OUR dreams are coming true. He has shared this journey WITH me and has always made me feel that every decision, every step is OURS. We are in this together.

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That is why I am so thankful for him.

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When he had pick of 10 different cities across the U.S, he asked me what I wanted.
He listened to me, we prayed over it, and WE made the choices of where WE wanted to be and what was best for our little family’s future together..
That is why I love this man, and why I love our marriage.

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Our dreams are coming true. We are sharing in this joy together. This eight year medical journey that we have been on is continuing into it’s next phase and I couldn’t be more excited to stand by his side.

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So much work so much time has gone in and there is so much more still to come.

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But the best part is there has been so much love and support throughout it all that will continue on into this next phase.

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THAT is why I love us 💜

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We are stronger together.

East Carolina University, here we come!

Julia

We All Knew He Would. .

My main man MATCHED TODAY!!! 

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Not that I am very surprised. I knew that he would, but receiving that email takes one load off of his (and mine) back.

Now we know he is guaranteed a job come July and will pursue his dreams in general surgery. WOOHOO!

He called me while I was teaching and I answered to hear the news. My students shouted “CONGRATULATIONS!” and cheered for him as I danced in my seat. What a start to a great week!

On my way home from work I swung by our favorite gourmet donut shop,                            Mojo Donuts (if you are ever in Ft. Lauderdale, GO!), to pick up a couple of celebratory donuts.

He “MMMM’d” all of the way through them.

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Yay Yay Yay for my best friend matching!

While he says “we matched”, I didn’t do a thing. He will truly be the best doctor, ever!

Now the mystery continues onto where in the U.S will be. Friday is acomin’ and we seriously cannot wait to find out. Talk about the longest week ever.

Lordy, Lordy, patience truly is a virtue.

Julia