Monday, June 30, 2014


Due to moving logistics I left with the kids and went to Greenville for two weeks until Ryan joined us and we were able to get into our new house in New Bern.  I hope this is the last time for awhile that we are apart that long and I REALLY hope it's the last time I ever fly alone with these kids!!! 

Selfie at the airport
Flight number 2
So thankful to make it to NC

My mom's homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. Yum! She made us one of these when we left for LA 5 years ago. 
I was super thankful for both of our families during this time of transition. They housed us, took care of us, fed us, and watched the kids a lot.  James got to have several fun sleepovers at Nana and Pop's house.

Harrison continued to love playing on the pool table 

We enjoyed hanging out with Abby and her mom one afternoon 

Just relaxing 
Marianne gave H his first driving lesson 

They delivered my car from LA and James thought it was the coolest thing ever to see it come off that big truck. 
Target run 

Lunch date with my little guy 
Play date with Davis 

He completely took over my ice cream cone 

It was a hard couple of weeks of transition, being out of our routine and missing Ryan but hopefully it will be a long time before we have to move again and it will all be worth it.

June Misc

A few of our June memories in Shreveport before the big move!

Yet another dinner out with these two due to house stuff.  I finally just gave up on cooking for a few weeks. 
On our 8 year anniversary I woke up to a huge collage of pictures all over the house. Ryan had printed various ones from the past 8 years of marriage (and an additional 6 years of dating) and had decorated the house with them. It brought back SO many memories!

He also made me a CD of special songs

How funny is this one? One of our youth group trips back in the day
For our anniversary we decided we would go to dinner and then go get a Cheeburger milkshake. That was our first meal in Shreveport when we moved. Well despite the fact we drive past Cheeburger multiple times a week we didn't realize that it had closed! One thing that made this night extra special is that while we were there I got a text from my brother saying that he and Greer are having a baby girl! Hooray for being an aunt and having a niece!!!!

Our yearly picture so we remember what anniversary it was- 8 years. :) 
I had the fun experience of taking James with me to Harrison's doctor appointment.

While at the doctor's office I bribed James with a trip to Counter Culture after if he behaved.

I couldn't resist a little shopping for my niece...

Typical Sunday shopping trip to Target 
Harrison loves to eat lemons

Play date with Emmy

Every year the hospital has a "Chief's Roast" where first the chiefs make fun of the staff and other residents and then the upcoming 5th years poke fun at the chiefs. It always in the past has been at a really nice restaurant, formal, and honestly a little stuffy. Well this year Ryan was in charge and decided to rent out the outdoor patio of a Mexican restaurant and it was SO much fun.  It was hilarious for me to hear all the things they said about Ryan and I may have teared up a little when he added a little speech to me at the end! It was a great way to spend our last Friday night in Shreveport. 

The chiefs! Ryan and Allison 

And our final few moments in LA.

Father's Day breakfast at Marilyn's. We will miss this place!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Thoughts On Leaving Shreveport

I have thought a lot about how to write this post, about how to summarize my feelings on leaving Shreveport and I just can't quite get it together.  This last weekend here has been such a mix of emotions: anticipation, excitement, sadness, and nostalgia just to name a few.  As I told my mom yesterday, despite all the challenges here, Shreveport is our home.  It's where we had our children, where Ryan received the majority of his medical training, where we both were challenged way more than we expected. As excited as I am to enter this next phase I would be lying if I didn't confess that moving to New Bern also makes me feel a little tired and overwhelmed. Having to unpack and start over. Trying to find friends, a new church, new dentists and doctors. Figuring out where to grocery shop and the best places to buy things.  Trying to convince my kids to sleep in their new rooms.  All things that I was excited about before moving here and realizing how hard it really is to start over in a new place.

I think the word that sums up our time in Shreveport the best is bittersweet.  One definition of the word bittersweet is to be both pleasant and painful.  In many ways our life here has been pleasant.  We have had two precious, amazing little boys.  We have experienced many fun things as a couple, we have traveled, we have shared many laughs together and have gained wisdom.  Our marriage is stronger because we have done it together. Being away from our family gave us a chance to figure out our parenting style on our own and to make a lot of memories with just our little nuclear family.  We have had many special times with our families back in NC and also here in LA along with friends that came to visit and new friends we found here.  All of these experiences are very sweet. But our time here has also been bitter and hard.  The loneliness. I never knew it was possible to be so lonely.  Ryan's job. Times when we barely saw each other. Instances when he worked multiple times for over a month without one single day off. Holidays and celebrations that I spent alone or with just the kids. The fatigue.  James's first year of life- the definition of a bittersweet experience.  Loving a child so much but man he was tough. I can't even recall how many days and hours I held him while he cried and cried and I would just start crying too because there was nothing I could do to get him to stop. His little hair would be soaked with my tears by the time we pulled it together. Yes we have had some tough times here in Shreveport.

The combination of the bitter and sweet times here in Shreveport has morphed into an experience that while I wouldn't have chosen it I also wouldn't change it.  Without this experience I wouldn't be the mother or wife or person that I am.  Our experience here has help define our relationship with each other and with God. We are both leaving as very different people than we were when we came. Our family has doubled in size. A lot has happened. And believe it or not there are things that I am sad about leaving and people that I am very sad to say goodbye to.  It has been an emotional weekend for Ryan and I as we get ready to end this phase of our life.  It has been bittersweet.

Two years after moving here I read the book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist that related a lot to how I have felt about our time here and here is a quote from her book that I will end with.

"Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. 'It's the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul.  Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands.  Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity.  Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy.
'This is what I've come to believe about change: it's good, in the way that childbirth is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it's incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be.
'I've learned the hard way that change is one of God's greatest gifts, and most useful tools.  Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us.  It can show us who we've become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways.  I've learned that it's not something to run away from, as though we could, and that it many cases, change is a function of God's graciousness, not life's cruelty.'

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bittersweet Goodbyes!

Before moving to Shreveport I had never felt lonely.  Well, technically I was lonely the first week of college and for about 2 days when I started my new job but for all of my life I have been blessed with amazing friends. I have lifelong friends that I have known literally since birth, amazing friends from college that I consider my family, co-workers from my first teaching job that made coming to work every day joyful; I have been richly blessed by friendships.  Well call me crazy but I never thought I would have a hard time making friends when we moved here.  The reality was far from what I expected and what ended up happening was months and months of loneliness. Extreme loneliness. Every day I would pray for God to send me just one friend, just one person to hang out with. It ended up taking about 2 1/2 years before someone finally said yes to hanging out with me but He did send me some very special people who ended up helping me keep my sanity here these past few years.  Saying goodbye to all these people this week has made for some tough emotions.  Not just because I love them but because they love my kiddos and have influenced my boys in such positive ways. 

Sweet JeJe. One of the most wonderful people I have ever known.She also works at James's school and we loved having her run the car pool line.  
My co-worker Leah who taught me so much about teaching kindergarten and offered multiple times to babysit James for free that first year so we could go out. Words can not explain what that meant to Ryan and I! 

My friend Jennifer arranged for some of my friends to have brunch together this past Saturday. Each one of these ladies has encouraged me, loved on my children and brought me meals after having my kiddos. Love them all!  

I forgot to take a picture but I also was able to have lunch with my friends Amanda and Piper this week. I will miss these ladies!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Family of Doctors

James frequently tells me that he wants to go with Daddy to work because he is a doctor too.  Apparently when he was 2 and dressed up for Halloween as a doctor he thought that he actually had acquired his MD title.  He also really wanted to go have lunch at Daddy's work so we decided to pick up lunch and bring it to Ryan and the other nurses and doctors that he works with as a thanks for all they have done the past 5 years.  It was definitely not fancy. James and I baked up some brownies, we picked up drinks, chips, and a large Chick-fil-a nugget tray and headed to the hospital. 

James and Harrison both dressed up in their scrubs since they were going to be doctors that day 
Lunch in the conference room
James got to play with some piece of operating equipment. I don't even want to know what that thing does! 

My McSteamy and McCutie :) 

It still kind of blows my mind that Ryan goes to work every day and operates on people.  And it REALLY blows my mind that he is the one in charge now.  I'm so proud of him and all he has learned!

Paging Dr. Holland x 3! 

The sweet clinic nurses offered James a sucker to thank him for his help with the patients 
Love this!  James adores his Daddy!