Loss

Sometimes it doesn’t feel real, my “loss”.

Sometimes it feels all too real that I lost my father.

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that he is gone. That I don’t get to see him, hear him, hug him, or even get annoyed by him again.

As I sit here in his living room, I wait for him to come out of his shop in the garage. I wait for him to wake up after his long slumber of sleeping in until the afternoon of his retirement years. I want to look over and see him in “his chair” snacking and watching whatever is on the history or military channel.

Instead I sit here and ache. My heart aches and longs for him day after day. I long to hear him say “Hi, baby” as I walk into the room. Give me kisses on the cheek and head as he walks past me. To drive with him to dinner or just to run an errand. I want to know that when I call home I will hear his voice again.

I ache.

I found these words saved on my computer from when I started to write about my feelings early on this past summer. I never felt that I could get my true feelings out and written, which is why I never finished this post, but as I look back on these words today. . . they are exactly how I still feel.

In around a week it will be 4 months since our “loss”. Four months since I talked to my father on the phone and heard him call me “Baby”. Four months since I heard him say I love you or “later” as we got off the phone because he wouldn’t ever say goodbye. Four months since I had to tell him goodbye for the final time.

 

I came across his pictures today while cleaning my house and the tears were instantly running down my cheeks. I don’t live near him and I never spoke to him on a day-to-day basis. It’s easy for me to get lost in my life and not have it in my face that he is gone. When I saw his face in those pictures I was starkly reminded and I broke down with ugly tears.

I sit and cry and feel the pain of his death as though it was just yesterday. Time may dull it at some point but that time hasn’t come for me yet. This pain of not having my father in this life with me is so strange. I feel as though I am living a nightmare again and again. A world without him in it, is such a weird world to live in.

This past week I have been re-living the day of his death. Reliving the phone call, the wailing and the tears as my husband was on the phone and told me how serious the situation was. The late night packing, early morning flights in which I cried for hours on. Crying through TSA as we almost missed our flight and I had to say the words for the first time “My father is dying”.  The walking into his hospital room and seeing him flatline as soon as we touched him. Watching as the doctors worked on him for what felt like hours and Rob holding me as I sobbed knowing that he wasn’t coming back to us. Sitting with my siblings as we surrounded my mom through the signing of the DNR. Surrounding him at his bedside as we watched his heartbeat fade on the monitor and we cried as we said goodbye. Holding his hands in mine for the final time memorizing the way they held mine for so many years. Putting one foot in front of the other and walking through the hospital doors to continue on with my life not knowing how in the world that would ever happen.

The worst day of my life.

I don’t know why I have been reliving it this week. Why every detail is coming back to me. The pain that is ensuing on a daily basis with no way to fix or heal it. I just cry, and I pray, and I thank God for every moment and year that I did get with him instead of dwelling on all of the regrets that I have.

I know he is still with me. I know that through every day and year of my life that passes, he is in my heart. The sayings that I have, the way that I am detail oriented and a perfectionist, it’s him living in me. I just wish beyond wishes that he was living with me too.

I miss you, Daddy.

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Our First NC Hurricane

 

While the hurricane hit our family back home in Florida, we were able to get one last outdoor outing in before Matthew came for us. Rob’s schedule was a bit off this weekend and he ended up having Thursday and Friday night off instead of Saturday.

Our friends text on Thursday afternoon asking if we wanted to go to the stadium down the street for a free Brad Paisley concert that night. While the sleeping giant slept the afternoon away I creeped in and asked if he would like to join them.

First things first, Rob DOES NOT like country music. He grew up in the south and has always disliked it. If there ever is country on in my car, his first task is to change the station when getting in. Despite this fact, he agreed to join and this country music-loving girl was ecstatic!

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It was the easiest concert I have ever attended. No traffic, no cost, we parked less than a half of a mile away, and stood less than 100 feet from the stage. I am pretty sure people pay upwards of $200 to see Brad Paisley play that close to them.

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The music brought me back to high school when I listened to country on repeat. My inner high school girl self was swooning. I loved every minute of it.

 

As for my anti-country loving man? He put up with it for me, even in the pouring rain. I am so thankful that he loves me enough to do so. In all honesty, he said he enjoyed himself and that he was impressed with Brad’s guitar skills. 🙂

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A night to remember, topped off with Krispy Kreme donuts on the way home.


 

After our night in the rain Matthew came to town. He is now gone and hopefully  dissipating into nothing somewhere in the ocean.

We count ourselves blessed to only have had Matthew as a category 1 when it finally hit our region, we only had tropical storm force winds where we are. The weather deteriorated quickly from Friday night on until Sunday morning.

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Rob unfortunately is on night shift and had to ride out the storm at the hospital in the ER. Since the city was pretty flooded and the winds were at 50mph the ambulances and helicopters were not able to run and therefore the ER was pretty quiet for him.

Our first hurricane in 10 years, we are outside of Florida AND I rode it out all by myself. What an experience!

I watched movies, drank wine, baked pumpkin bread, and curled up on the couch with my animals for most of the day while the weather drastically got worse as the night came. Around 9:30pm as I was happily watching Bridesmaids and sipping my glass of wine the house went black. Total bummer.

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Thankfully I had prepped the flashlights with fresh new batteries and scattered candles around the house so I could quickly light them. The wind blowing outside was cold and the house stayed nice and cool.

I read by flashlight, and tried (keyword) to play solitaire with a deck of cards I managed to scrounge up. Let’s just say it’s been a LONG time since I have played solitaire and don’t quite remember the rules. Therefore, it became my own version of the game. It passed the time until I fell asleep with Lucy cuddled up beside me. I awoke some time during the night to the power kicking back on, Woohoo!

This morning Rob was able to make it home despite the flooding and saw some pretty bad roads that detoured him. The only damage that we had to our home was a down tree in our backyard that also brought down part of the fence. We count ourselves blessed.

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Now that Matthew is gone, our fall weather is finally here. Today is breezy, 60 degrees, with bright blue sunny skies. The windows are open, the birds are chirping, the fall candles are burning, and we are thankful that the night is over and the morning has brought this.  I am also thankful that there is no school tomorrow 😉

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His mercies are new every morning, great is his faithfulness – Lamentations 3:23

 

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October Time

I wish that I could tell you that the beginning of fall and October came and all was right in our state. That it turned the most magical of colors, the crisp fall air fell into the town and every reason for moving north was now right in front of me.

Unfortunately, that is not the case it seems. Early October has brought rain, rain, and more rain. Along with a hurricane that seems to be barreling towards us and will hopefully cancel school. Ok, thats not anything to joke about, but this Florida girl is ready for a hurricane day.

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On a good note, we WILL get some gorgeous fall weather once Matthew leaves his mark. Highs in the low seventies and lows in the low fifties sounds like great weather to me. Now if only Matthew would move on through and stop traveling so slow.


 

The beginning of October has also brought on Rob working nights. Not my favorite schedule that he has had thus far. Due to the fact that I work days it isn’t all too conducive to us seeing each other or spending time together. In reality, we see each other for an hour a day, if I leave school right on time, and getting one whole day together (Saturday) for the past two weeks. While this isn’t the worst thing and could be 10,000 times worse, I do enjoy my husband something fierce and really love spending time with him. Needless to say I am not a fan of night shift.

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While it does lead to many many cuddling sessions with my dear Lucy girl, which she is loving, she doesn’t talk back  when I want to have a conversation. 😉

It just isn’t the same as having my handsome man around

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A sickly, crippled cat had also decided to pop up towards the end of last month in which we are having to frequent the vet too many times for my liking.

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Poor Ripley man had an ingrown claw that was badly infecting his foot which in turn led to him hobbling around the house like a three legged cat. Thankfully, he is healing and getting better after having surgery last week to remove the claw and drain the abscess on his paw. Even in all the pain that he must have been in he was acting normal and didn’t cry. A week later he is chasing bugs around the house and tearing around corners like nothing happened.

If I worry about my animals this much, I am sure I am not ready to worry about children too.


 

The first of October did bring in some fun for us in which Rob was able to join in on.

The University of Central Florida, Rob’s alma mater, was on the road playing East Carolina University right down the street from us in their home stadium. It was our first college football game of the season, my second in my entire life, and we had so much fun.

While the day had no fall feel to it whatsoever with high 80 temperatures, direct sunlight that left us both looking like lobsters, and humidity that made us sweat in literally every place possible, we cheered on our knights in a sea of purple across the stadium.

In the section we sat we were 2 out of 3 UCF fans. We stood up, cheered on our team, and got stared down over and over again as our team took the win back home to Florida. What fun it was to spend a Saturday with my man and friends. Have I mentioned I love spending time with him?


 

That is the beginning of our month so far. Not the most exciting of times up here in North Carolina but they have definitely been eventful. We are so looking forward to having fall weather begin to touch our little town so we can open up windows, wear cozy scarves and sweaters and love every minute of the season. Oh fall, please join us soon!

Until then, we will hold up through the rain coming our way. We will pray our hearts out for those hurt by this storm in Haiti and the Caribbean Islands and pray that it doesn’t do any further damage to our home state and up the east coast.

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The Windy City

Our Chicago vacation was so much fun! Looking back on the pictures makes me so happy. Reminiscing of the days that I was able to spend hours and hours with my favorite person. I really can’t wait for our next week off together.

Monday

We slept in again Monday morning enjoying our slumber and soaking in the feeling of vacation. We had a mid-morning architecture boat tour planned and grabbed some breakfast on our way to the boat.

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With coffee in hand we arrived for our boat tour to find out that we were an hour late 😉 Oh vacation you mess with my head. Thankfully, they were kind enough to reschedule us for the next hour tour and we ventured up and down the river until it arrived.

It was a gorgeous day in the city and the tour was the perfect way to spend it. As the tour guide stood up with the microphone she announced that the next two hours would be loaded with more information and history about Chicago then you’d ever known before. I quietly heard Rob say “Yes!” under his breath in appreciation. My history lover was in heaven.

The tour was extremely detailed and so much fun to see angles of the city that you couldn’t without being on the water. Our ride up and down the river channels was jam packed with information on when buildings were built, who built them, and what they were originally used for. We learned all about the Chicago fire, The Worlds Fair, and everything else in between. It was a beautifully relaxing time spent outside on the water. We were so glad that we chose to book the tour. Definitely a recommend.

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After our tour we headed towards Millennium Park once again to meet up with one of Rob’s family members who lives just outside of the city. He was kind enough to make the drive in to see us for the afternoon. We ate at Brown Bag Seafood Co just off the perimeter of the park and enjoyed every bite of our lunch and minute of our company.

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We ventured through the park across the street with Doug once we finished up our meals. The weather was so beautiful, we couldn’t have asked for it to be better and we wanted to soak in every minute.

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We ended up walking all of the way to The Buckingham Fountain, since it was one land mark we hadn’t ventured down to yet. It was gorgeous, complete with a rainbow in the background. From that location in the park we were able to see the aquarium, planetarium and The Field Museum sitting right on Lake Michigan.

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We said our goodbye’s and decided to start making the trek back to our cozy apartment. It had been a long day of walking and our feet were ready for a rest. We had a location we were going to walk to and then Uber back the rest of the way, but that didn’t seem to fit into the plans and we ended up walking the entire way back. My feet were done!

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On the way, we did get a little pick me up from Eataly full of gelato, cappuccino, and chocolates. I was living through my parents who were in Italy at that time and sending me amazing pictures of the gelato and coffees that they were having. 😉

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After our rest back at the apartment we got dolled up once again and headed to The Second City comedy club for our comedy show that night. This was one thing we really wanted to do when talking about visiting Chicago. It was so much fun and we are so glad that we were able to make it.

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Rob even got on stage during our comedy show. “The Whitest Male in the Room” was the contest that they were going for. After this picture was taken, they asked for those to sit down if they hadn’t ever Google boat prices. You can bet that my man HAS done that, so he was the last of two guys on stage. So proud 🙂

Tuesday

Tuesday was our last day in the city. Thankfully we had a full day to venture around and enjoy the city before our flight left in the late afternoon. Since Chicago has some of the best shopping, we decided that buying our winter coats for the season sounded like a fun idea. So we shopped until we dropped and came out ahead with two coats to keep these Floridians warm for their first winter. Now that we bought them I am sure it won’t even get cold here.

Off we went back home that night with a quick direct flight into Raleigh. Unfortunately, it was late once we got back home since we had another hour drive back home from the airport. My handsome Mr. offered to drive us back since he was still on vacation for the rest of the week and this girl had to wake up for work bright and early the next morning. What a saint 🙂

Vacation with my best friend was a blast. I am so glad that we were able to enjoy every minute of it, relax, see new things and have new adventures together. He is simply the best.

ANNDDDD if Chicago had that weather through all of the fall and winter that we were able to experience, I would live there in heartbeat.

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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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