Friday, November 14, 2014

Falling In Love

I think I might be one of the few holding out for Christmas. While it is my favorite Holiday, I am holding out till after Thanksgiving. Come the day after Thanksgiving you can bet the Christmas music will be playing and the tree will be going up, but for now I am still soaking in Fall and trying to be more mindful of everything I have to be thankful for.

That being said, this weekend is Brian's brother's wedding, and a little over a month ago I threw the bride to be a "falling in love" shower. One of my favorite things about the house we are living in, is how great it is for hosting a decent crowd of people, so we used it to its full advantage and invited a house full of women over.

A couple nights before the shower, I made these tissue pom bouquets, and while the picture really doesn't do it justice, this was such a fun piece over the dining room table.
Believe it or not, these hydrangeas are about 2 months old! They have kept their color and their shape so well that I keep rearranging them and using them all over the house.
 The drink station in the living room.
 This strawberry basil lemon water was a huge hit! So much so that we ran out, however I just poured more water in, and within an hour or so we had more diffused water. If you are looking for the recipe, here ya go!
 A few pictures of the bride and groom.
 The night before the shower as Brian an I were watching The Blacklist, we threw together this banner. I took an old book that wasn't worthy of anyone else reading, tore out some pages, free handed the letters, then strung them on some twine. Easy peasy!
 I do have to give Brian 100% credit for the strings of leaves. He cut and hung them all!
 I found this great printable here, however when I went to print it off, my color cartridge was all out of orange.... bummer. However that didn't stop me from using an overly yellow print!
 And lastly some more hydrangea's, because why not.
We can't wait to celebrate with the newest Devane's this Sunday, and I'll hopefully have some pictures of the cutest little ring bearer, fingers crossed, making it down the aisle!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Below Surface Level

This little old blog tends to not go very deep. I do surface level and I do it well. I am good at talking about where we have been, what we have done, I can share pictures of our outings, and I’m real good at telling you what’s has and hasn’t worked for us in the realms of parenting and babies. But sharing my heart. Well that’s just scary. Letting people in the inner depths of my thoughts? I’d rather not. I will keep my heart nowhere near my sleeve.

But then I have this character trait of being extremely sensitive. For so long I was embarrassed of it, but I’ve come to grips with it and I have realized it’s a blessing. And a big reason for the sensitivity is because of empathy. I feel for people. When they hurt, I hurt. When someone cries, I cry too. At dinner last night with two dear friends we were talking about our strengths finder results, and of course my #1 was empathy, only to have my #2 be competition. Now tell me how those two go hand in hand…. Apparently I like to beat people at things, and then feel bad at about it??? I do not know. 

But sensitivity…. Lately I feel like God has just had a grip on my heart lately, and in the best of ways. However if you look me square in the eye, tears well. There is so much going on beneath the surface that it just overflows in the form of tears lately. And not all bad tears. Lot of good tears too, but my heart just bubbles over quite frequently these days.  And my poor Bible Study Fellowship group probably is wondering what’s with the girl that seems to cry nearly every. Single. Week.
So instead of keeping it all in today, I’m letting some of it out, well more like a teeny tiny bit, but scary. Just typing that makes me hold my breath. And since I no longer journal, this is the space that it is being poured out into. Here it goes.

First and foremost, life is good. So good. I look at my boys, and husband, and extended family and friends and just think of how fortunate I am to have them. And then I look at our house, and belongings and realize how truly blessed I am. My life is marked by God’s provision and blessing in so many ways. But that being said, life has just been tough and exhausting lately. Especially when it comes to Brian’s job and mine.

I don’t think I have realized till now, how much a good or bad job effects daily life. While we are so thankful that Brian has a job, it is tough when it is a job that he does not like. At all.  It’s tough when he goes to work every day doing something that he finds no joy or fulfillment in . It’s hard to have interviews for what seem like “dream jobs” only to find out he didn’t get the job and back to square one. It’s hard being the supportive wife all the time, and finding encouragement when I feel like my tank is on empty too.  What to do with a bachelor’s degree in History? Start a completely new line of work? Go back to school? Continue in sales because you are good at it but don’t enjoy it? Continue to seek office jobs even though being in a cubicle is slowly killing you? Can we afford to send him back to school? I don’t want to give up being a staying at home mom, but how selfish. These are the thoughts that go through both of our minds on a daily basis, and we continue to come up empty. Continue on with another day of no decisions being made. It’s exhausting when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.  But then I am hit over the head with God’s truth found in Exodus.

And you’re probably thinking Exodus?? Exodus of all books?? But I continue to be amazed of just how relevant the Old Testament is in my life today. Moses, a man whom God used in great and amazing ways, spent 40 years in the Wilderness, followed by 40 years wandering in the desert. Now that is a long time to seem like there is no end in sight. And here Brian and I are complaining about a job that Brian has been in for 9 months. Ha! Oh how impatient we are. And if you look at nearly everyone in the Bible that God used in great ways, God took awhile to do His work in them, He is in no great rush. Now if only Brian and I could cling to that truth a little more fully, this waiting stage would be a whole lot easier. But we are dumb and thick headed so it is taking us some time….

And then my job. Oof. I wrote about it some time ago that home health is just not my cup of tea. And it continues to not be. However I continue to apply to other jobs, but no offers or even interviews come back. How can this be?? I have perfected my resume and cover letter, I have 3 years of nursing experience, I promise I am not a crazy person (believe what you want), so why is there radio silence on the job front?? I keep coming back to God is either keeping and protecting me from something, has me in my current position for some reason unknown to me, or he has something real good in store for me…. But knowing that doesn’t always make the waiting easier.

And then to pour salt in the wounds, people love to say, “Why don’t you just apply to hospitals? I hear all the time about how there is a need for nurses. And so and so down the street is a nurse and just got hired in the hospital. And my niece just graduated and got a job no problem. And yada yada yada.”  Yah, I know. Now if only you knew that I have probably applied to over 300+ positions in the last 5 years. Yupp. Now that’s just embarrassing to say out loud. So I’ve quit telling people that I’m trying to get a new job because that is a lot easier than admitting you can’t get one.

But then last month, out of the blue, 1 day after Brian received a rejection e-mail from one of these “dream jobs.” I get an e-mail from a hospital saying my application from a RN position I applied to 6 months ago has been reviewed, and they would like to interview me for advanced nurse program they have coming up in January. Wait, what?? I have been on my knees praying about jobs for Brian, so not even thinking about my job situation, and then this comes out of left field.

“God, what are you doing here?? All I want more than anything is for Brian to get a new job, and then you throw me this bone. This type of position is one I have truly dreamed about for 5 years. But why now?? This is supposed to be the time Brian gets a new job. Not me. Maybe you didn’t hear me right in all these prayers, but I’ve been praying for Brian, not Brittaney. I know the names are close and all But B-R-I-A-N.”

Since then, I have had a phone interview, and just this last week received information that I have a second interview coming up in two weeks. And while everything in me wants to be over the moon excited, I feel like I can’t shake this nagging voice in the back of my head that says I am not going to get the job. That now isn’t the right time. That I am no longer a new grad, but a mom and a wife, and do I really want to try and juggle all that plus an intense new job?? What would we do for day care? Would I work day shift? Evening? Nights? Could I still do MOPS and BSF? Would I still be there for my boys like I want to be? What about our vacation we have planned in January? But why am I even worrying about this things when I don’t even have a job offer on the table, nor am I convinced I will even get it???!!!

So these are the questions that plague my mind all day.  What I think about as I lay awake at night.  When someone asks me “How are you? What’s new?” and I reply with “Good! Not much.”  You know what is really behind my answer. So next time you ask me, and I reply with a smile and tear filled eyes, you know what my real answer is.  You know that God is tugging at my heart in about 50 different ways, whispering in my ear “Trust me. Trust my plans. Trust my timing. Stop worrying and trying to take control and just be still.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cousins Visit

Harrison adores all of his cousins. So much so that I probably hear about them on a daily basis. Frequently he asks me to Facetime them or look at pictures on my phone of them. So when my sister and her family stayed with us for a long weekend, Harrison loved it. As his momma I didn't love that they taught him how to jump out of his crib, but that's a different story for another day...

My sister Jess and her family had a wedding to attend in the Twin Cities, so Thursday-Sunday we got to soak up some family time. We didn't do a whole lot other than lounge around, stay up till 1am eating buffalo wild wings and watching HGTV, wrangle the 4 boys, and just spend time catching up (not that we don't talk on a nearly daily basis...) We are so fortunate they are willing to make the drive to Minnesota so often, and hopefully sooner than later we will get to visit them in North Dakota!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Golden Birthday!

This past week was Brian's golden birthday! The big 2-9! And while at one point I had grand plans of really going all out, those dreams got shattered when I realized his birthday had crept up on me, and before I knew it, it was birthday week. Brian unfortunately had to work, so as he headed out the door I tossed him handmade cards from the boys and I, and told him I had nothing planned for the night. Little did he know I had something up my sleeve. It wasn't anything much, but while Brian worked Harry and I made him our family's chocolate cake (recipe is here on my sisters blog) and Harry was in charge of the sprinkles. We also picked up some balloons, and got Brian's gift together. Since it was his golden birthday, we went with a gold theme, and got a whole bunch of gold snacks.
When Brian got home we sang happy birthday, ate cake, and while Brian was ready to wind down for the night I had one more surprise for him. At about 6:00pm Brian's brother showed up ready to watch the kids so we can have a date night! After many recommendations we went to The Freehouse which did not disappoint, and had such a great night just the two of us. When we got home both boys were fast asleep, so we did the logical thing and had one more piece of cake.
Happy 29th Birthday Brian! Hope this year is filled with much joy and you know how truly loved and appreciated you are!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Update on No Eating Out October

We did it! We made it one whole month without eating out. (If you want the back story on this little challenge we gave to ourselves, check out this post) Was it as challenging as I thought it was going to be?? No. Not at all actually. Yes the beginning was rough, but once we got in a pattern of packing food for the road or outings and planning ahead, it wan't all that bad. However I do have to mention the few exceptions we made... We said that if anyone wanted to gift us food, we'd take them up on it, so once my friend Kelsey bought me Dairy Queen. Brian's friend Scott took him out for drinks and dinner for his birthday. My sister bought us Chipotle. Harry mooched off his friend Sam's dinner at Lifetime. I met up with a friend for coffee but used a gift card. And Brian's brother bought an entree at Chili's because we had a free appetizer coupon if an entree was purchased, so Bri got a free appetizer... Oh and we also went out for Brian's birthday. It was his golden birthday so I figured it was justified. So now that I tally that all up we still did eat out a fair amount... maybe that's why we didn't feel that it was that hard. Ha!

But here are my 5 biggest take aways from no eating out October

1. It's really not that hard to plan ahead. So many of our eating out purchases are because we are hungry right now, and since I need to eat within about 5 minutes of realizing I'm hungry, we often purchase food on the go. However by throwing a few granola bars and go go squeezes into my bag that can hold us over till we get home.

2. It's a lot healthier not eating out. This one is pretty obvious, but when you cook at home, you cut out a lot of the unnecessary ingredients. At home I don't douse things in salt, I don't add preservatives, a lot of what we buy is organic, and it's fresh. I certainly can not say that about a lot of restaurants.

3. It's a lot easier on the budget. For the whole month of October, our grocery budget came in right round $600. Not too bad considering we were teetering close to $1,000 a lot of months! That also included hosting a bridal shower and feeding 10 women dinner. And having my sister's family at our house for a long weekend (although they really weren't around for too many meals).

4. It makes you appreciate when you do eat out. When Brian and I went out for his birthday, it felt like such a treat to sit down just the two of us, and have a meal prepared. Maybe that was more so because we didn't have the kids with us... but regardless, it really made us appreciate the luxury of not preparing a meal.

5. It doesn't mean you miss out on all the fun. This is nothing new to parents, but eating out with kids is not all that fun. Someone is bound to spill something, and there will be tears at some point. That being said, we tend to keep restaurants saved for when we meet up with people. However this past month we had friends and family over for numerous meals, and we loved it all. There is something about sharing a meal that you prepared at your table that just warms my heart.

So I'm hoping that after a month hiatus we have hit the reset button on eating out, and when we do, we will do so much more wisely!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our Uneventful Fall

This fall we really did not woop it up. I see (well not really see more so just imagine) everyone's fall bucket list with numerous items crossed off, and ours just falls short. We did not go apple picking. Or go for a hay ride. Or go pumpkin picking. Or carve pumpkins. Or make some halloween inspired craft. We did not go to the corn maze. Nor did we have a bonfire. And despite not doing those things, it was still magical. Imagine that. However one thing we did do was spend a lot of time with family and friends and a lot of time outside. So here's what I think might be my 5th post of us just wandering around outside. Enjoy.

And just to make myself feel a little better I am going to mention that I did bake chocolate pumpkin muffins. We did go to a pumpkin carving party (however we did not carve one) and we did make it out trick or treating. So I guess fall wasn't a total bust.

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.
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