Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Cutest Little Creature

Lately I've been feeling the mom guilt. The guilt that comes when you realize the second child really does not get the attention that your first got. And while most days I realize it's ok, and that's just how it is, some days I can't help but feel bad. Especially because Oliver is about the sweetest baby you have ever met. He is beyond content. You give him 3 toys and he will just lay on the ground and play with them for a good 30 minuts. When he wakes up from his nap he rarely cries, but just sits upright and happily waits for you to walk in, and when you do, he has the biggest grin on his face. Car rides he usually just falls asleep, and when you bring him inside in the infant carrier, he'll he happy to stay put in the carrier another 15 minutes or so. He sleeps 12 hours at night, loves to just sit in your lap, and if you smile at him, he will smile back ever bigger. Goodness I love this boy. And because he is so easy, he is often pushed to the back while his brother the squeaky wheel gets the attention. Harrison is the one that jumps in front of the camera, and demands that we take pictures of him. So in honor of the 2nd born, today will have no pictures of Harrison, just sweet little Ollie.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Shoddy Video

I am no videographer. Had to clear the air on that one. Not that you ever thought I was.... However after you watch this video below you may think I am attempting to be one. I am not. I am just a mom in yoga pants with a camera attempting to document life. This video is not pretty. It is poorly edited. A lot of it is out of focus. And I hope one day I can look back and say "Goodness Britt, your video skills have greatly improved!" But we all need to start somewhere. And it's 4am and I am going on little sleep, so I'm given a little grace, no???

When we bought our new camera one of my main stipulations was that it had to have video. Our last camera did not, because well, 5 years ago not a lot of cameras had video. My how things have changed. But now ours does, and I am hopeful to capture lots of videos in the years to come. Even if they are shaky and poorly edited, because I have probably watched this video 10 times in the last hour and every time it brings a huge smile to my face. 

But a quick back story.... So often I feel like I only capture the fun things in life. The outings, the vacations, the trips, the things that are easy on the eyes. Rarely do I get our typical daily life. However, this video is our life. 1 half day of video put into a shoddy 2 minute video. Enjoy.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Indian Summer

We are soaking in this warm fall weather to the fullest extent. Last year's winter was so long, and so brutal, that I have yet to forget it, and knowing that winter is right around the corner, we are savoring these last days. The days of not needing to bundle in 8 layers. The days of not sprinting across the parking lot from the warm car to a warm building, but just leisurely walking and taking our time. The days of greeting dad outside on the font porch as he pulls in the driveway from a long day at work. Days full of wagon rides, chalk, no shoes (nor clothes for that matter), bubbles and sunshine. Days of perfect Minnesota weather.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Eating Out October

Well, life has been busy. But whose life hasn't been busy these days??! We have been loving the warm fall weather, I had a 19 day stretch off of work which was glorious!!! We cheered Brian's brother on in the Twin Cities Marathon, threw a shower for our soon to be sister-in-law, both Brian and I had some job interviews (however no new jobs), and we have been busy with the day in and day out activities of daily life! Amazing how busy a 2 1/2 year old and 8 month old will keep ya.

Despite the busyness, there is one thing that Brian and I have taken to time slow down and really talk about... budget. Ugh. The dreaded "B" word. Just saying the word out loud makes me cringe. However thanks to the dreaded budget, we officially have no student loans!!! Woo hoo!!!! Almost two years ago, well 20 months to be exact, when I took on a the job as a home health nurse, the whole reason for me working was so we could tackle that debt, and it's officially been tackled. I could sing from the rooftops it's such a wonderful feeling.

However the budget work is not done. Not even close. I'm afraid this budget thing is going to be a lifelong thing. Something I should have probably realized 10 years ago.... But this month Brian and I have been pouring all our attention into how much money we spend on food. It's kind of ridiculous how much we spend. I'm embarrassed to say how much we spend. But it all openness, some months it's over $1,000. Ridiculous no??  Between groceries, eating out, fast food, gas station drink stops, the Life Cafe, the Target cafe, coffee, and all the others odds and ends, it all adds up. And quickly.

So for the month of October, we decided no eating out. Cold turkey, no spending money on any food related item unless it's at the grocery store. That also means I am cooking a whole lot. I am packing a lot of lunches. I am making a lot of breakfasts. A whole lot of meal prep and planning is going on.

And here we are, 1/2 way through, and I thought I'd give a a quick recap of how it  is going.

-Days 1-3: Every Caribou Coffee and Starbucks was calling my name. Every. Single. One. Especially the ones with the drive thru. Somehow I kept driving, but it was not easy.

-Thanks to eMeals, grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking hasn't been bad at all. Usually I make lunches for the next day after the boys go to bed, or early in the morning before Brian heads to work, so it has been nice to not have to worry about lunch during the noon hour while a toddler is melting down and baby needs to be fed.

-I have definitely had to be creative with planning outings. For example, my sister sprung on us that she had an unexpected layover in Minneapolis, and had a few hours to burn. Of course my first suggestion was that we go get something to eat. It was only till about 1/2 hour later that I realized that we weren't eating out for the month.  Whoops. So I had to come up with a different plan and then it was decided that we would instead go to the Mall of America. Probably more fun for Harry anyways! But I packed some apples, grapes, food pouches and granola bars. Turns out, not only is not eating out better on the budget, it's a lot healthier too. So while my sister and her husband ate chinese, Brian and I sat there and salivated. She did throw me a bone and bought me a drink, I'm not above free food gifts. And gave me some of her meal. While it was definitely not fun to sit there and breath in the delicious smelling food, it did feel good to stick to our budget plans.

Now for some numbers. So far we have spent a whopping $230 on groceries this month. That's it!!!! It blows my mind. No $5 here and $5 there. No $4 coffee's, no $5 smoothie after a workout. And we have ate some pretty phenomenal meals these past two weeks!

I can't say I miss eating out all that much.... I'll let you know what I'm thinking when the month wraps up!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Walk To the Mailbox

You can feel it in the air. The touch of fall despite the 80 degree weather. I am certainly not complaining about an indian summer, or fall (as it might be my favorite season), but it's that time when summer is officially over, the school year activities are in full swing, and the lazy pool days are just a memory. 

Almost every day after nap time, I load the boys up in the stroller, and we make the ridiculous 10 minute hike to our mailbox. This time I grabbed the camera and attempted to capture a few of the changes in the surroundings, all while never stopping because stroller stopped=loud wails from the youngest one. I tell ya that Ollie boy is such a peach, just not while in the stroller, especially a parked stroller.
The crackers, the sprinkles, the ipad, and blankies all get brought along for this trek. However clothes, not allowed according to Harry. In his opinion, we should all live in a nudist colony...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Arboretum

Somedays (very few and between) I am super mom. I cook, I clean, no tv is watched, we do a craft, only 2 cups of coffee are consumed, there is no yelling, and the children are happy. Other days, most days, we survive. This was one of the survival days.

My friend Kels and I took the kids to the arboretum, and once again I was reminded of why Minnesota is so great. I've been to the arboretum probably too many times to count, but somehow I seem to forget just how beautiful it is every time. And this day, we also had the most beautiful, perfect fall weather.

We loaded up our double bobs (aka traveling zoo), and made our way along the 3 mile loop. Ollie started screaming so we made a pit stop at the "kid maze" and let the kids run wild while I fed Ollie. And while I thought I was feeding Ollie in a discreet place without a nursing cover, about 2 minutes in a tram ride full of people on a tour pulled up. Perfect.

"And there you will notice the azalea flowers, the rare shrubs, and a mom who clearly had no idea this was not a private area."

 Please disregard Harrison's way too small of clothes and bed head.
About 5 minutes into the maze, Kels and I realized that they kiddos were no where to be seen, so we started in on the maze ourselves. Turns out this was no kids maze at all, rather a full blown maze with some serious twists and turns and dead ends. Thankfully we had a popcorn trail to follow to locate them. And Kels standing on a tower directing me where to go. And two joyfully screaming and running kids doesn't it make it too difficult to find them...
 These two are bound be boyfriend girlfriend, that is if Sam's ok with dating a younger man...
 It's always a little bit of madness with these 3 (4 with Ollie).
After about 1 mile into the loop, my easy baby Ollie who never screams, was still screaming. Apparently he is not much for the stroller. And since I forgot the infant attachment bar, and the Ergo, to the shortcut it was, and back to the main building we went.
 Somehow no kids ended up in the fountain which is a small miracle.
 And this was the attempt at getting a pic of all 3 of them standing.... just chaos.
 But we did manage to get one of the 2 boys.... sort of.
At this point children were hungry, moms were hungry, so in for lunch we went. Although within about 2 seconds of sitting down a drink was spilled, and incessant crying followed. Gotta love eating out with toddlers. But thank you to the wonderful stranger who went and got me a new drink, and a massive stack of napkins. Bless your heart, I must have looked weary that day. So there ya have it. A trip to the arboretum. And would you believe I actually loved it? The choas, and crying, and too small of outfits. Loved it all.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Essential Oils

In the past couple months, my life has been changed. Seriously! You may think that I say that about a lot of things (eMeals, a brazilian wax, a cup of coffee....) but once again, it's been turned upside down for the better. And this time, essential oils are to thank.

A few months ago, my friend Kelsey and I got on the subject that we both would like to learn more about essential oils as we both separately had heard of people who swore by them, however neither of us knew where to start..... so we didn't do anything.

Well fast forward to about a month later, and one of the women in our bible study tells us that she is going to start selling essential oils because she has fallen in love with them. How perfect is that timing?!

So fast forward to a few weeks ago and Kels and I showed up to our friend Kate's house and she filled us in on everything essential oils. We left with our brains on overload with all of our new found information, but excited to get the Family Physican's Starter Kit that we had just purchased delivered to our houses the following week.

Well the kit came this past week, and I am in love. So far I have used the oils for cleaning, clearing up rashes, cuts, help with sleeping, aromatherapy and I'm just getting started! I love that the oils have so many uses, and in the grand scheme are pretty cost effect. And most importantly, I love the idea that I am not using medications that have potentially harmful side effects. As a nurse I am all for medicine when it is needed, and am so grateful for the medical advances that we have, but I also like to use more natural options when I can. Especially when it comes to Harry and Ollie. Anytime I can avoid giving them a medication but still meet their needs, I am one happy momma.

So in these past few months, here are a few ways we have used our essential oils:
-Helping Harry sleep!!! This has probably been the best thing about essential oils so far. Prior to using the oils, Harry had been napping maybe 1 out of every 3 days, and that was just not ok. Both he, and I, need that nap time. And I kid you not, he has napped every single day since we started using the serenity blend! AMAZING!

-And to pony off of that, I have been using it to help me sleep. When I work nights, I usually get really crappy sleep during the day. I have always relied on melatonin, but a lot of times I take it, it can be a hit or miss. The first day that I tried serenity blend after working an overnight, I slept for 8 hours straight! Not waking up once! For my fellow night shift mommas, you know that is next to unheard of. Usually I'll sleep for a few hours, wake up, fall back asleep, wake up, fall half back asleep, then finally give up and call it good that I got 5 really broken hours of sleep. It was so nice to go back to work that next night feeling rested!

-One night Brian came home from work with a stomach ache. While eating he had to take a break because he said his stomach just hurt too bad to eat anymore. I whipped out my Digestzen oil, and made him my guinea pig. I rubbed a couple drops directly onto his stomach, and within about 10 minutes he was no longer complaining of a stomach ache, and back to eating nachos he went!

-Brian also manged to get a sore on his lip, which he ended up biting and peeling away some skin leaving a painful sore on his upper lip. After chapstick wasn't doing the trick, I applied some lavender, and within a few minutes he said it wasn't nearly as sore, and he hardly noticed any pain. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

-Ollie has been a drool monster resulting in him soaking through his onesies, leaving him with a nasty rash on his upper chest/neck because it is always moist. Again, lavendar came to the rescue. I mixed a drop of lavender with coconut oil and rubbed it on his chest a few times throughout the day. The next morning he woke up nearly rash free!

-I would love to get my house to the point where we don't use any harsh chemicals for cleaning, and while we aren't fully there, I was able to mix up a general all purpose cleaner, and a window cleaner. All it took was some distilled white vinegar, water, 15 drops of lemon and 15 drops of lavender. I have been pleasantly surprised with how well it has worked! It has left our granite countertops a little streaky, but I've learned if I take a really hot wet rag to the counters, it clears the streak right up!
-I will be the first to admit I don't take the greatest care of my skin. If I am able to wipe my makeup off at the end of the day with a baby wipe, I call that good. As a result of my poor skin care, I feel like my face looks 26 going on 36. So this past week I have been using coconut oil as a moisturizer with frankincense mixed in, and call me crazy, but I feel like my skin looks better! I wouldn't go so far to say that it's glowing, but I would say it doesn't look nearly as lifeless! And a bonus, I haven't had any breakouts.

-Working nights I feel like my immune system is often a little run down due to lack of sleep, and I'm more susceptible to illness caring for sick patients. Doterras OnGaurd blend is used for immune support, so I gargled a drop of the oil with water and swallowed. Hard to say if this really worked or not, but I do know that I'm not sick!

-After Brian hiked a 14er in Colorado, he was seriously hurting. I put some deep blue in a roller ball, and had him roll it all over his sore muscles. I don't think he would go so far to say it took the pain completely away, but said it definitely took the edge off and made his aches and pains much more manageable.

So I think it is safe to say I am now sold on essential oils! So much to say that I have bought a few more oils to add to my now growing collection, 2 diffusers (one for the car, one for home), roller bottles to mix up some blends and for easily application on the kiddos, and fractionated coconut oil to use as a carrier oil. I am seriously so excited about this! I'm already thinking about upcoming trips we have in the next month and how I am going to bring along the oils and use them on the plane to prevent illness, for motion sickness, for help sleeping in not optimal conditions, for healing the never ending cuts and scrapes that come along with a  2 year old boy.....

Anyone else an essential oil user who has some oils they swear by?? Have I convinced any of you that you should also use oils?? If so, let me know and I'd be happy to get you going!
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