Being Brickner

Friday, September 15, 2017

Waverly's Little Corner

One of my goals for the start of the school year was to give Waverly's closet and dresser a much needed clean-out and update.  She had a ton of clothes in there that she had outgrown, along with a lot of summer stuff that I knew wouldn't be appropriate for school -- and that I also knew she would try to wear, so I was basically just avoiding some wardrobe battles and saving some of my sanity.  So far it's going really well, and I love this new corner of her room!

We decided to replace a huge armoire we previously had in her room with a smaller dresser, because it just seemed more functional and it allowed for more space in the middle of the room to her to play.  This room always seems to be where the girls want to spend most of their time, and we also plan to move Avalon in here when we move her out of her crib and into a big girl bed.  You know, when she is eight. ;)

We were going to buy a new dresser, then changed our minds and were going to buy an old one and refinish it, and then changed our minds again when we decided to use my husband's sister's dresser from when she was little, and refinished that.  The dresser was originally white, so after sanding it my husband painted it grey (and actually just used old paint we had left from painting Avalon's nursery a few years ago), then replaced the knobs with pink ones we found at Hobby Lobby.  I actually love the final product so much more than if we had bought a new one, it has history and meaning behind it, and brings some sweet character to her room.

      Rug - Bookcase - Madeline Book -- The Wonderful Things You Will Be -- Flora The Flamingo -- Wolfie The Bunny -- Gaston -- Florabelle -- Alice in Wonderland -- I Had A Favorite Dress -- Emma

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

School Survival Tips & A Giveaway

We are officially one week into the new school year over here and are slowly settling into a routine, so I thought I would share some of the things that have made our day to day just a little bit easier!  We are no experts at all, and I know so many of you have many years (and kids!) on me when it comes to this, but it's our first year with all three of us girls in school so surviving week one with mostly all smiles seems nothing short of a pretty big win.

1.  For us, consistency is key.  We thrive on routine, as do our girls, and returning to a good routine was honestly one of the things I was looking forward to most about fall.  We have tried to move our bedtimes up some, because we can with it getting dark earlier, but also because Waverly really needs some extra rest with full day kindergarten.  Also it takes at least thirty minutes for our kids to fall asleep once they are in their room at night, so there's that too.

2.  All hands on deck.  I think it's so important to have everyone involved, and since I work full-time, there's no doubt I couldn't do it without the help of my husband.  He usually makes all three of us breakfast while I pack Waverly's lunch and get us ready, and I take care of all the paperwork/packing their bags and he cleans up after dinner at night.  Waverly loves to have all four of us all walk her out to the bus stop in the morning, and with it being such a big year for her, we are going to try and make that work as often as possible.

3.  Just say no. ;)  I am the worst when it comes to this, but I am really trying to be selective about what we commit to, especially during the week, because before long it just gets so overwhelming.  Waverly will be doing dance once a week again this year, it's one of her favorite things, and I am going back & forth about putting both girls in gymnastics.  I really love our lazy late afternoons catching up after busy school days, they are what keep me going during the week!

4.  A "school corner".  I have two hooks for the girls backpacks (found here) and they really do help when it comes to organization.  I'm trying to teach them to hang them when they walk in at the end of the day, and especially to get Waverly in the habit of putting her papers from school in a little drawer next to it so they don't get lost in the chaos.

5.  School Work Folders.  I am in the process of creating one of these for both girls, I love the idea of this SO much!!  We already have so many papers from just part-time preschool, so I think this will be a great way to keep some special pieces and keep them organized -- without having papers everywhere.

6.  And lastly, daily outfits.  Probably our biggest challenge when it comes to getting out of the house.  If you know Waverly, you know she is extremely opinionated when it comes to her wardrobe, especially when it comes to something she is going to wear to school.  We ALWAYS set out all our clothes the night before, and especially make sure that both Waverly & Avalon's outfits are comfy enough to run around in.  We teamed up with Keen shoes on a pair of shoes for each little lady, and my girls are big fans!!!!   They have already worn them to school a few times over the past week and the fact that they are bright purple (and easy to move in), it pretty much just blew their little minds.  We recently tested them out before school started with a girls ice cream date, one of our favorite things to do!

Keen shoes is giving back to you all this school season, TEN lucky winners will each recieve a pair of free shoes each (you must choose from new arrivals).  To enter, scroll to the bottom of this post and click the link.  Good luck!  Also be sure to check out the other bloggers I have teamed up with on this, they also have great back to school tips on their blogs today!  Enjoy, friends! XO

The Chirping Moms -- Wanderlust Crew -- Simple, Like Love -- Suburban Wife, City Life -- Marino Bambinos -- The Love Designed Life -- Momfessionals -- Munchkins and Moms -- Thrifty Nifty Mommy

<a id="rcwidget_p2s64677" class="rcptr" href="" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="ce369154361" data-theme="classic" data-template="">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

Friday, September 8, 2017

First Day of School 2017

Well friends, we made it! :)  Both our girls had huge milestones this week, Waverly Maye on her first day of kindergarten and little Avalon Elle on her first day of preschool!  I still can hardly believe it, overall they both did SO WELL and we really couldn't be any prouder.  I spent the weekend before pretty nervous about how things would go (and am honestly pretty relieved that the chaos of the first day is behind us), but their smiles that afternoon made everything so much easier on my mama heart.

Waverly was the first to wake up Tuesday morning, she loves getting all dressed up for the day more than anything (as long as it's something she wants to wear!), so she was completely ready before she even came into my room.  All four of us went to wait at her bus step together, where she just held my hand and patiently waited for the bus to get there.  It pulled up and she gave us a hug & walked right to the steps, without even looking back, and got right on.  I thought I would be able to keep it together until that moment, I will never forget the sight of her little five-year old self walking towards the big yellow school bus with her backpack on, it was the sweetest thing and also the saddest thing all at once.  So I did want any sane mama would do - drove right behind her bus all the way to the school, and watched from the window while she walked into the building in a single-file line like SUCH a brave little girl.  The day felt like it lasted a million years, but when she finally came home, she was beyond excited -- her favorite subject was PE and she loved the lunch I packed for her.  That night when I put her to bed, she said, "mom seriously, I bet you are really going to cry when I turn 40".

My husband took Avalon to her preschool since I had to be at work, where it did not go as well. ;)  There were lots of tears and clinging and "daddy, DON'T LEAVE", pretty much the same thing that happened when we dropped off Waverly to her first day of preschool a couple years ago.  The good news though, my mom picked her up and she was happy as ever, the teachers said that she told them a million stories while she was there and that singing at chapel was her favorite part.  Which is SO her!!  She only goes for a few hours a couple days a week, so she has only been back once, but she seems to be getting (a little) better about drop-off and was still happy at pick-up, so we are counting the positives on that.  It's also pretty damn cute when she says later, "mommy, I cried today to go to school".  We know.

Hope everyone else's babies had the best transition back to school!!!  I'm excited to celebrate making it through with some much-needed downtime (and extra sissy snuggles!) this weekend.  Wishing the same for you!  XO

PS - The girls shoes can be found here, we love them so much and they are perfect for when you need to gets kids ready quickly in the morning!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!!  This week was a really busy one, it was the first week back for teachers, my birthday, and both the girls had their open houses at school!  They are both so excited for next week, but also a little nervous.  Avalon shocked me the other day when she said (out of nowhere) "mama, I'm a little scared for pee-school", and Waverly keeps trying to figure out how she will do the monkey bars without me there to help her.  Umm, how do moms survive this?! ;)  Luckily though, they both loved their teachers and Avalon actually got upset when the open house was over & she had to leave, so it gave me just the encouragement I needed to be the strong mama bear on Tuesday.  Also, on a side note, if your kids haven't gone back yet and you are looking for some fun things to do for the first back back, this article I came across has so many cute ideas!

I thought I would kick off the three-day weekend with some of the things I am loving right now.  Fall is such a fun time of year for ALL THE THINGS! :)

I just ordered these loafers for school and can't wait for them to get here.  They will go with everything and most of the reviews on them are so good (I am obsessed with reading all the reviews)!  These leopard ones are equally as amazing, I had such a hard time deciding!

I love this rug so much, as a fun accent over a rug you already have placed or in any space really.  We have another jute rug and it doesn't show dirt from kids, so that's a plus as well.

We are ALMOST done with the girls bathroom remodel and I can't wait to share it soon.  My husband gutted the entire thing and did it all himself, it has been a huge project and I just can't even explain how good it feels to be able to give the girls a bath again.  Now that most of the big work is done, we are in the decorating phase -- I got these stools and love them for any room in the house.

I am having such a hard time finding the girls good shoes for school.  They both (especially Waverly) would rather wear some sort of high heeled dress-up shoes than the kind of easy-to-walk in shoes I know teachers want them to wear.  I just got them each a pair of Mini Melissa's (so cute for little girls!) and also think a pair of these would be so easy for the mornings.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a sweet tooth.  And both my girls have inherited it as well, most days we are lucky to get Avalon to eat anything but sweets!  Halo Top recently sent us some coupons to get some of their ice cream, it is SO GOOD, and good for you!  Our favorite kind was cookies & cream, there are a ton more to choose from as well.

And lastly, a few pictures from our week.  My brother who lives in Colorado surprised the girls by sending them an Elsa kite to our house -- sweetest thing ever -- so we took advantage of the cooler weather, and also a picture with the girls for my birthday.  Don't ask me how old I am, mainly because I swear I can't keep up my actual age anymore.

Wishing you a very happy weekend and also sending our love to all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. XO

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Farewell, Summer.

This morning I go back to school for my teacher in-service before the kids come the following week, which means officially, our carefree, no schedule summer days are over.  This will be the fifth time I have returned to school after summer break as a mom, and I am convinced more than ever, the transition just never gets easier. I am so incredibly grateful for my summers at home with my kids, it's one of the reasons I decided to return to teaching, but it's also so bittersweet and one huge emotional roller coaster once a year.  It always gets easier, and we make it work just fine, but I know any working mom can relate.  It's pretty much the same feeling I felt that time I started bawling crying in front of the ziplock bags (I was getting to pack my lunch the next day) at the grocery store the afternoon before I was returning to school after maternity leave with baby Waverly. ;)

I am at a new school (which I am super excited about!) and will have a new schedule this year, basically going in a little later and finishing a little later in the afternoon as well.  This means that I will get to spend the mornings with the girls, help them get ready and put Waverly on the bus, but also that I will not be able to get her off the bus each afternoon.  This was hard for me, especially since it's such a big year for her, but I am counting the positives, and am super thankful I get to see her off each day and that we have family & close friends who are able to be with her for the little bit until I get there.  With that being said, I am preparing myself for a crazy day the first day of school, I am not quite sure how I will ever logistically -- and emotionally -- get all three of us girls ready, get Avalon to her preschool (for the first time ever!), get Waverly on the bus (for the first time ever!), and then get myself to my own new school and not one big hot mess.  I know I will make it work though, because I am a mom, and isn't that what we do?  And then I know it will take time, but we will find our way right back into a routine and all too quickly, another year will have passed and it will be summer break once again.

Sharing some more summer pictures, it's been lots of barefeet and bathing suits and ice cream and late bedtimes and allll the summer things.  These truly are the days, the exhausting, long, beautiful and magical days, and I never want to forget them.

I hope that all of you (whether working, full or part time, or staying at home with your babies), are having a good transition this time of year.  I forever support us all! XO

Friday, August 18, 2017

Peach Picking

Happy Friday, hope you had the most wonderful week!!  We are making every effort to soak in these last days of summer over here, one more week until I am back to school and the girls have one more after that.  It's really been such a fun few months, it turns out ages 5 & 2 are much more able to do all the things than when the girls were younger (which is so much fun), but also, they can - and want - to do all the things.  I attempted to have a chill day at home the other day and about twenty minutes in, I walked into Waverly painting Avalon's toes and having a tea party with actual water all over the playroom.  The chill day at home wasn't so chill. 

With that being said, for what I think is the first time ever, we have actually crossed off our entire bucket list!  When we originally wrote our list back at the end of spring, we each got to contribute one thing that we wanted to do and mine (hands down!) was peach picking.  My love for watching my babies run through a field runs deep and the fact that we get to come home afterwards with bags of fresh fruit always makes it that much better.  We did this last year as well (post is here), but this year we went to a different place and we liked it even more.  They were SO many peaches and the entire place was just so beautiful, plus we got to have the best homemade ice cream after we picked.  If you are local, we went here and I am pretty sure they still have peaches left to pick!

Wishing you a very happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Guest Post: Honestly Mommy

Happy halfway through the week!!  I'm stopping in to share a favorite post from another mommy blogger, Stephanie from Honestly Mommy.  Her post is about taking pictures with your kids, something I know we all can relate to, we all want good pictures of our kids!  Enjoy! XO

10 Tips for Taking Pictures with Kids!

How to get the shot and keep your head while doing it.

Being a Social Media Mom is hard; taking pictures with kids can be one of the hardest parts of the job. But obviously, since you're a mom, people kind of expect to see pictures of your kids on your feed...Makes sense right? But how do you get the little buggers to cooperate long enough to snap that coveted photo?
If you've ever tried taking pictures with kids then you probably know it can be frustrating for all parties involved. I used to find myself up tight and stressed during photo shoots because I was never sure how to get my kids to cooperate and make sure I got a nice photo. The more I incorporated my kids into my photos, the more I began to learn and after each shoot that went well, I'd catalogue another tip or trick to try the next time around.
Luckily for you I've learned a few Tips and Tricks for Better Photos during my journey into Social Media Motherhood, and I'm willing to share my secrets for taking pictures with kids! I hope these tips will help you get the shot you're looking for!

10 Tips for Taking pictures with Kids

#1 Don't push them to do something they don't want to do. If they're not in the mood it's easier to just wait until later, trust me. I've done way too many photo shoots that I've insisted on when my kids are crabby and it just ends up with all of us being grumpy and frustrated; and usually doesn't result in very good photos.
#2 Always be ready! How often to you set your kids up, they flash you that prize winning smile, but you missed it because you're fiddling with your camera of trying to swipe left on your phone to open your camera app? Something I learned awhile ago is to have your camera on/open and ready to go as you're setting your kids up. Kids have a very short attention span so don't waste time prepping while they're already posing.
#3 Invest in a tripod and remote shutter. This has revolutionized my picture taking! I used to have a camera with a self timer and spent many a photo shoot running back and forth to hit the button only to realize later that I wasn't in focus because I joined the photo after the camera had already focused on the group -double ugh. About 8 months ago I invested in a tripod that holds my iPhone and a remote shutter that links via blue tooth, now I just stand in front of the camera and click away.  
#4 Don't be afraid to bribe or reward. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with telling your child you'll get them a small treat if they agree to take a few photos with you. I don't do this for every shoot, but I like my son to know that when he does the things mom wants to do (i.e. taking photos or going shopping) I'll do the things he wants to do like go play at the park.
# 5 Always praise your kids for a job well done! My son is 3, and he fully understands when he's being a bit of a stinker or cooperating well. He beams with pride after every shoot when I tell him how fantastic of a job he did. I have even started showing him a photo or two and saying things like "wow Zeke! Look at your smile!" or "look how nicely you kissed Cici!" I think when you bring attention to the way that you want them to pose and how well they did, they're more likely to do it again in the next shot.
#6 Plan your photo shoots with your other outings. Very rarely now days do we get all dressed up just to take photos; I plan ahead on church days or other similar outings when I know we'll be dressed cute and just take a 5 minute pit stop on the way to where we're going. This has made it so much easier to sneak in photo shoots without taking extra time out of my day!
#7 Tell your kids ahead of time. If I know I'm planning on taking photos that day, I usually talk it through with my son at the breakfast table. "So today we're going to take a bath after breakfast, get dressed, and then on the way to grandma's house we're going to stop and take a few photos, does that sound good?" To which I usually get a peppy little "yep!" I have found that when I give my son a heads up and don't just spring photos on him he's a lot more willing to cooperate.
#8 Know when to quit. (This is a big one!) Again, kids have a short attention span, so when they're done, they're done. Don't push photos too long or you'll end up with crabby kids who start to hate photos. Also, even if you've just started a shoot and it's not going well, know when to quit! I am playing the long term game and want my kids to like our photo shoots, so if it's just not working that day I'm quick to say "that's alright, let's be done."
#9 Another bonus of having a remote shutter is that you'll get countless candid shots and it helps with tip number 2; I start clicking before I am ever in front of the camera or have the kids set up. Sometimes it's fun to get those in between shots of us talking, laughing, or me prepping the kids. More often than not I end up using the "candids" over the straight on smile and click photos.
#10 My biggest tip for taking pictures with kids is to just go with it; whatever mood you find them in, see if you can capitalize on it. Sometimes my daughter is pulling out all the sass and instead of trying to get her to calm down, I tickle her, tease her, and actually try to bring out the sass a bit more. When my son is grumpy and doesn't want to take part in photos, sometimes I'll try to capture the grumpy face too because it can be just as cute as a smiling photo! Also, usually I hold my daughter and let my son stand, but during one photo shoot we did recently he was begging to be held and she wanted to be down, so I let them orchestrate the photos and I did what they wanted.

Taking pictures with kids can be easy and fun when they start to get used to them and know that they will potentially be rewarded for a job well done.

My one year old daughter is so accustomed to photo shoots that when I ask her if I can take her picture she goes and stands up against a wall to "pose" -it's the cutest! My son also has started to love our little photo adventures and has begun asking me if he can take the photos now too.
Incorporating my kids into my life work has been so fun and rewarding and I have endless amounts of cute photos to add to their baby books! With just a little bit of forethought, taking pictures with kids can be easy and fun for everyone involved! No more stress wondering if you'll get the shot, just confidence that if it doesn't work out this time, there's always tomorrow!
If this article helped you, please share it with others through Pinterest of Facebook (simply click the appropriate link at the top of the page)! Other mommies (or daddies) might enjoy these tips also, and of course it would be greatly appreciated by yours truly ;)

Happy Picture Snapping!