Thursday, November 28, 2013

Goodbye to my sweetest friend

Tuesday was the day my hero left us.
Warren Freeman Handley was his name. 
He was an unwavering disciple of Jesus Christ, an endlessly devoted husband, strong and faithful father and grandfather, and a genuine friend.
He was my Superman, and he completely stole my heart. 
He welcomed me at every visit with a huge smile, a quick kiss and and hugged me as if it had been ages. He had a way of making you feel like you were one of his oldest and most cherished friends.
He served the Lord unfailingly first, and then devoted all of his energy to his family. He loved all of us so completely, but not as perfectly as he loved wife, his beloved best friend, and he cherished her entirely.  
And that love consumed us. 
I am overwhelmed by how much I miss him and the sorrow I feel constantly that I will have to walk the rest of my life without him, but I am surprised most by how full my heart is with gratitude. It wasn't by chance that he was sent to be my grandfather and I sent to be his granddaughter and I am indebted to him for every moment, every kiss, and every ounce of himself that he gave to me. He shamelessly, simply, and nobly embraced the call every time to be one of a few good men, and the world lost one of its greatest. 

I know with a complete surety that he is basking in a vast reunion of loved ones and greeted by the numerous others he served so purely in this life. There are so many that he welcomed and embraced in his home as one of his own. 

His legacy will continue on with my children. They will know their great-grandfather by the way they are taught to live their lives and love others. And as they love and serve the Lord, give every loyalty and love to their family without reserve, and be fierce friends, they will come to know the person I have loved and adored so fondly my entire life and just why it is that we will always celebrate his life and mourn his passing. 

I thank the Lord everyday I was blessed to be this great man's granddaughter. 

I love you, Grandpa. Goodbye for now, and I will see you again. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

An honest nurse

Since I have a new career specialty, I think it's time to be totally honest. 

To be totally honest...
-Is it really that shocking to find out that the only snacks we carry on the floor are graham crackers and jello? I don't know what people told you, but this isn't Costco on a Saturday. 
-If you're a hot sleeper year-round and your roommate is emaciated and dying, don't be a douche and tell me I can't turn on the heat when they're freezing to death. 
-No, I can't put vodka in your IV. For the millionth time. That joke's not funny. 
-If your blood sugar is high and I tell you it's because you shouldn't have eaten that chocolate donut, go ahead and dare me not to think less of you when you tell me it's okay because I can just give you more insulin. 
-When you're sitting in your room laughing and flirting with a party of male visitors and tell me you're in 10/10 pain, I won't believe you. 
-If you feel like you're going to throw up, just tell me. No one benefits when you beat-around-the-bush and puke on my shoes. 
-It's amazing how awesome you think you look at the beginning of a shift, only to look at yourself when it's over and wonder at what point in the night that part of you died. 
-After working three nights in a row, I never have the faintest idea of where I parked. 
-That moment when you walk onto night shift and tell everyone "good morning."
-Also, when you catch up on your work and tell everyone you're going on lunh...breakf...? Seriously, what do you call that pre-breakfast meal at 3AM? Prekfast? 
-When you're eating solid food, peeing and taking one Percocet a day, don't get all hung up when it took me half an hour to see you to change your lightly soiled dressing. 
-Thanks, but no thanks, for your MRSA-covered chocolate pretzels.
-Sorry you thought you were going to get the best sleep of your life here. This isn't Jamaica and this wasn't your weekend getaway. 
-I don't know if I should be proud of my subconscious for retaining new knowledge or concerned when I dream all night that I'm still at work. 
-To the sweet old man who told me I was the prettiest nurse in the whole world: you're alright. 

Okay, now be totally honest with me while peaking at some pictures I should have posted two months ago. 

We made it

We made it to New Jersey. 
Oh my freaking holy mother cow. 
My life is a hot mess that I'm still trying to wade my way through, and I could totally go the dramatic rout and say that I'm dragging the men in my life behind me, but they're totally on board. How? Bagels. 
Can I just tell everyone of the world something?
Bagels aren't bagels unless they're hard on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. And they're slathered with chive cream cheese. And completely rock-hard and inedible by morning.  
And as my Instagram has already made overly obvious, the carb-consumption since arrival to the land of Italians and Italian-wannabes has reached a new level of shameful and I'm also coming to the realization that unless I'm either wearing scrubs or something leather and tight I find myself feeling totally out of place. 

But to recap: Our drive across the country was beautiful, inspiring, and suspiciously easy. Jude was a rockstar, I memorized Pitch Perfect in case anyone wants a play-by-play, and Adam drove afar off into the distance ahead of us because we're just not cool enough to be seen driving side-by-side I guess. We also made so many precious memories with family members along the way and wish we could have spent more time together. Soon upon arrival, I started work with 2 weeks of classroom orientation Monday-Friday and after commuting 3 hours a day from the east edge of NJ to good old PA, I was about ready to die--and then we moved into our lovely place in Montclair and things started looking way up. We Stevens' love to hurry making important life decisions--like what areas to live in--because for some reason we love the adrenaline rush year-after-year of wondering whether our last-minute decision just plopped us into a beautiful, towny paradise or welcomed us at gunpoint into a small, polluted ghetto. In this situation, we moved into the first and we have loved making our wallets skinny and our hips fat while getting to know this amazing town. 

In all honestly, we feel so blessed. We have been welcomed with open arms into this area and the blessings have been too great to go unnoticed. We are truly humbled and grateful for the inspiration to move here and to pursue this new adventure and we can't thank all of you who have been so supportive and helpful enough. 
Where would we be without you??
Probably at gunpoint in some polluted ghetto. 

We miss all of our friends and family out west terribly and hope to see you very soon. Come visit! We can guarantee you a couch, warm bagels in the morning, and that at least one of your taillights will be smashed into by morning.
Welcome to New Jersey, the state where driving a Beamer automatically qualifies you to be a terrifying driver. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our last weekend

Welp, this week has been so sad it's becoming a little ridiculous.
We sold most of our furniture downstairs--including Jude's favorite (very large) toys, and held back tears as the little guy fumed all morning over his table and chairs being sold last night.
No one said how emotional it is to get rid of your stuff.
Why can't this just be easy?
So anyways, today, because it's our last weekend in Portland, we let Jude eat his weight in bananas to calm the heck down, took our millionth trip to Goodwill drop-off, and then drowned our sorrow in New York pizza, of all things, on our favorite street in Portland.
And then went to Salt and Straw for ice cream.
But that's to be expected. 

He's even more of an emotional eater than I am. 

Dancing to Katy Perry's "Firework." And steeling 12-year-old hearts doing it. 

And right now--I'm drunk on carbs. And it feels good.
Except that I have to somehow fit into a dress tomorrow. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Let me explain myself..

So, let me, ahem, explain ourselves.
Adam, Jude and I are moving to New Jersey in two weeks. 
Before I started nursing school and before Adam and I were even dating, I was taken on a tour of Hackensack University Medical Center by a dear friend of mine who works there.
Coming from working in a small ER home in PA, I was blown away the size, innovation, and camaraderie of the employees that worked there. The place just screamed, "We love what we do. And we're good at." 
Since then it's been my dream to work there, but since it's the #1 hospital in NJ and ranking nationally, in the Top 3 Metro Hospitals in the NYC area, and a pioneering magnet hospital, I thought, "That's a nice thought, Brit, but it'll never happen." 
I got a job for an assisted living community while I finished my bachelors because the Portland area is so saturated with nurses that us new grads have hospital doors shut in our faces--for how long?-- until we get hospital jobs. Makes sense, right? 
So, I finished my bachelors and thought things would happen. But, although I started a new job that was a definite step up, I wasn't getting the experience I wanted and needed to be the nurse I wanted to be and to make it so I could have a flexible career while raising a family.  
All the while praying for a miracle. 
And then it happened: my good friend opened her mouth. Like the beautiful angel she is. She told me if I wanted to work for HUMC the opportunity was mine for the taking.
And it took me quite awhile. Awhile. I blew it off and threw it to the side.
"We love Portland. Let's just stay here."
But then one day, it clicked, and I knew I couldn't deny the fact that the best opportunity I'll ever get was starring me in the face and if I didn't take advantage of it now--while my kid isn't in school and we don't have a house, and things are as uncomplicated as they'll ever be--that it would be gone and I'll have lost my chance. 

Now, Adam is the awesome designer and insanely supportive husband that he is and is staying on with his stellar company remotely for a few months while he starts freelancing in NYC.  

So, here we go. Don't screw it up.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Trip and a Surprise :)

All pictures aside, we made a short video of our fun day trip to NYC after the crazy wedding week last month. 
It's mostly just a video of us eating (yeah, we went to Pinkberry twice), but I love it.
Also, there's a surprise ending to some really exciting news of ours :). 

NYC Video from Adam Stevens on Vimeo.

Specifically, New Jersey :) 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trip to nyc

After the crazy wedding-week festivities while visiting my family, we decided to take a trip up to NYC to go spend a day with the city we love, the food we die for, and our awesome Aunt Briana. :)
Did we eat our way through?
Bagels, Pinkberry, pizza, arepa, ice cream, and Pinkberry again.
And then we rolled out of Harlem and returned to our beloved PA country. With lots of mud. And mosquitos. And farmer's tans. 

The MET after bagels. Carb-coma was an understatement.

Adam totally geeked out when he saw this Van Gogh. :) 

Our beloved Pinkberry that we probably worship way too much. People, it's all about the original tart with fruit. Stop getting other flavors and drowning them in caramel. 

This kid was in total heaven on the subway. :) 

Big Gay Ice Cream is everything they said it would be! Including how gay it was. There were unicorns and glitter everywhere...
Pinkberry x2. Like I said: addicted. Also, I'm a total hypocrite and got the cookies and cream and chocolate dots. And it was delicious. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


We've been on vacation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and a little New York! It's been wonderful, but I've missed my blog. I've missed writing and reminiscing and rambling and laughing at how funny I think I am in the wee hours of the night--all but to realize in the morning that I was totally crazy. And although I haven't posted in awhile, rest-assured, my loves, I've been watching you. 

More like keeping up with your own blogs. But why not be creepy? 

BTW, in case you didn't know, these are the serious faces you get when you're waiting for Shake Shack after you've taken a 5 mile exodus to evade hunger in what you thought were comfy-cute sandals, while taking each step in uncomfortably sweaty clothes. Walking into that crisp, burger-lased a/c was sent from artery-clogging heaven. 
Glad to see you, D.C.--but seriously, stop being so awfully muggy. 
Your air feels like a community steam room bathed in everyone's sweaty patriotism. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Here's just a couple pictures from over the past week. When I'm not working we're soaking up as much sun as possible and coming inside exhausted. When the sun comes out in the pacific northwest we abnormally pale people become a little overwhelmed. But we still love it. 
We beat the heat by going Salt and Straw probably far too many times, living at the splash pad, stuffing ourselves with watermelon, and getting some pretty wicked farmer tans. 

Definitely rethinking adding sprinkles next time. They cemented themselves to his face. For later. 

This was the least blurry picture I could get. I threw this on him from Nana's princess party supplies and it was just as hilarious as it was bemoaned by his father. He even twirled in it--hence the blurry picture. :-P. 

Today we ate lunch outside and kicked his "baw" around. Never was there a sadder kid to come back inside. Or a happier mom to take a nap. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The 4th

This 4th of July was spent with the Stevens! 
We drove up to Battle Ground Lake together and enjoyed an afternoon picnic and watching Jude get his white shorts as dirty as possible (what was I thinking??). Being in such a beautiful and scenic area of the Northwest made me so grateful for this incredible country we live in and how truly God-blessed it is. Jude was still getting over a cold and by the end of the day my back was totally jacked up, but what's celebrating the birth of our country without a little discomfort ;). 

What's funny is that he didn't even really notice Grandpa Stevens bullying him :-P
The women. Always a pleasure to spend time with my incredible mother-in-law!

The men. So nice to know we can still get them to do whatever we want.


Jude hated the fireworks and protested by promptly falling asleep. 

And there you have it: Our completely and painfully normal 4th--but that just-so-happens to be the way we like it. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Burgers and Ice Cream

When life has been busy for us for several weeks in a row and the weather turns cold and rainy again, we tend to lock ourselves inside during any free moments, eat omelets for dinner and watch re-runs of Greys Anatomy (ok..maybe that's just me). Regardless, today was another cloudy day, but mild in temperature and we decided to peel ourselves out of our place and drive into Portland. Our favorite go-to spot is 23rd Street. It's this perfectly quaint street lined with independently owned boutiques and shops--not to mention delicious food and a real taste of the city's unique culture. If we've ever taken pictures of us eating in Portland, chances are it was a place on 23rd street. 
Our main intention in going out was to visit our favorite, Salt and Straw, for ice cream--his favorite: strawberry honey balsamic and pepper. My favorite: almond bark. Jude's favorite: vanilla. 
But we noticed that Little Big Burger just opened a spot right next door and who couldn't use a killer burger and fries before a gallon of ice cream? Perfect product placement, if you ask me.

We've learned from our mistakes and made sure Jude was able to enjoy his own ice cream cone. 

Now that we've had our fill, we can go back to being hermits until the sun comes back, right?

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