One of the (many) things on our list of house to-do projects was to completely overhaul our backyard.  We felt really lucky to have a good amount of land, but with that land came a backyard that was not very accessible to do much of anything.  Especially with a toddler & a dog.  Our two biggest problems were that it wasn’t level (instead pretty steep) & also, that we didn’t have a fence.    Both have always been things that we didn’t love, but over time (plus a growing girl who loves the outdoors & gets faster everyday), it’s gotten pretty unbearable.
Like this mama may just go crazy if we don’t figure something out ASAP kind of unbearable.

As soon as we decided to have Waverly’s party at our house a few months ago, my husband decided that he was going to put a retaining wall in our backyard to make it level.  As usual, it turned into a much bigger (& more expensive) project than we ever thought it would be.  The bad news is that it wasn’t completely done by Waverly’s party so we actually didn’t go back there at all.  The good news is that he ended up doing a fence with it & this fall, we will be able to go out in our new (enclosed) backyard again!

We are (all four of us) pretty damn excited, it’s kind of a life-changer. 🙂

I really am so proud of my husband for pulling this off, he has worked pretty much everyday after his own workday plus weekends to make this happen for us.  I hate complaining since I know there are single & military moms out there who do this (plus much more) all of the time, but honestly, it was emotionally challenging for all of us.  Waverly really had a hard time understanding why daddy wasn’t around as much & also, had quite a few breakdowns over why she couldn’t go play outside.  Most days, I would just try to find activities somewhere besides the house (for as long as possible), to try to keep everyone’s sanity.
The plan is to seed once the weather gets cooler so that we will have grass, so we do have a little more waiting before it’s completely ready for dog & toddler toes.  It’s basically a big pile of mid right now, but we do see an end in sight & it feels good!!  This week, I decided to let Waverly & Bogger play out there for a “mud-date”, it went against pretty much all of my good mom judgment but I felt that they both deserved it after waiting for so long. 🙂

They both were so excited, running free back & forth from fence to fence.  Waverly kept repeating “daddy work hard!” & “daddy did this!”.  As for me, I just sat back & watched, which was quite possibly the best thing ever.  I’m usually chasing after Waverly from running to the front, unwrapping Bogger’s leash surrounding her from the pole, or most often, freaking out over how many more times she is going to fall down the hill.

So yep, total life-changer & we are feeling the bliss! 🙂

 We hope your week is going well & that you have some lovely “little things” your way, too!  As always, I am looking forward to reading them.  See this post if you need a reminder on how to link-up & also, remember the “little things” logo is on my sidebar if you are interested. 🙂

First, many thanks for your sweet birthday wishes for Waverly Maye, on both the blog & Instagram over the past week.  It really means so much to us!  Also, how much fun is it that once you are a parent, you get to celebrate more than just your own birthday each year?!  I went from loving my birthday as a little girl to kind of not loving it at all, & now, I get to experience it all over again with Waverly! 
The circle of life, nothing better.

Waverly had the best weekend, she loved celebrating, doing many of her favorite activities, eating her favorite treats, & most of all, having all of her “people” over at one time.  It was pretty much her dream come true.  She kept asking us to go through the list of names of who would be coming to her party all day Friday & Saturday morning, then a few times I caught her reciting them herself to all her babies. 🙂

I can’t wait to share pictures later this week, but in the meantime, I had a few from our festivities before the party.  Which obviously included funfetti cupcakes & gold crowns, both which we consider essentials to kick off a birthday weekend!

Waverly’s Dress (Similar) & My Shirt 
We decided to start a Birthday Eve tradition of going to dinner the night before Waverly’s birthday to spend some time with just her.  We went with Mexican since that really is the only place we are brave enough to go to dinner with a toddler, they have chips, dip, & the margarita ice (our last, most faithful go-to) to keep her occupied.  Also, it’s always so loud in there that a little extra noise usually doesn’t seem to bother anyone.

We did have them sing to her, most likely the worst decision ever, she hated it & was scared out of her mind.  I’m thinking it might have caused permanent “happy birthday song” damage, she started crying every time we sang it the next day, too!  I’m hoping she forgets by next year.  She did have fun at dinner though, she finally figured out that it was her birthday & that meant she could get away with way more than usual.  She was even happier than her usual happy self. 🙂

And lastly, I thought it would be fun to share a comparison picture of Waverly from last year to this year!  Waverly wore this crown (pdf pattern) for her first birthday, it came with velcro numbers all the way to age five.  Over the weekend, I am so glad that we finally got Waverly to stay still long enough to sit in her chair to eat her cake (which wasn’t until really late in the party, after two outfit changes & lots of water fun!).  I love looking at the difference & can’t believe we will have five of these one day!

We hope you all had the best weekend!!

Tomorrow, my little lady will be TWO.
Happiest birthday to my sweet, sassy & beautiful baby girl.
Photo Credit:  N.A. Barrett Photography
Waverly Maye,
It really doesn’t feel like an entire year ago that I wrote to you for your first birthday, but alas, here we are.  And now, you are TWO.  It’s definitely a mix of emotions for me.  Since the day you were born you have made life so full that truly, days fly by & it’s hard to grasp how quickly you are actually growing.  There have been so moments this year that I have wanted to stop time just as you are, I never want to forget how amazing this past year has been.
I often think about how many lives you have changed.  You are so loved, by many special people, & one of (the many) things I love about being your mama is watching you light up the faces of so many.  You made my parents grandparents for the first time, are the first niece for my brothers & sister, & get to spend at least one day a week with your great-grandparents.  On your daddy’s side of our family, you had made the best addition to a growing group of cousins, grandparents, aunts & uncles.  They all obviously adore you, just as much as you love them, & it makes my heart so very happy to get to watch it all happen.
And our little family of three.  Words can’t describe how much your daddy & I love you, how happy you have made us, & how you have forever changed us both.  Your happiness is so contagious & somehow, you find a way to make each day brighter than the last.  You amaze us & make us so proud, we constantly talk about you & are both addicted to your vibrant, crazy personality.

I could go on & on about the many things that I love that you do, things I know you won’t do forever but oh, that I wish you would.  The way you laugh so hard that you can see it in your entire body, that you squeeze our noses to get us to say “beep”, & that you “call” your friends & say “what’s up?” throughout the day. You are so very friendly, you say “hi” to every person who walks by us at the store & wave so fiercely to every single car that drives down our street.  You love your babies so much, you kiss them, hug them, & talk to them all day long, it shows your sweet, nurturing side that I know will stay with you forever.  Your vocabulary is insane, we can’t believe how much you understand & the only thing that amazes us more than that is how athletic you are.  You can almost run faster than me already (& try to often) & I’m thinking you already swim better than me, too.  There really isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t stop me & ask how old you are, you are coordinated well beyond your years which keeps me on my toes all of the time. Along with that, you are brave, determined & very, very sassy.  You may be a little thing, but you are so incredibly fierce & while it makes for many trying moments, it really is one of the many things we adore about you.  We know it will make you one strong, extremely successful woman one day.

Waverly, there is nothing more important to me in this world than you.  I love you so much it hurts, & though we definitely have emotional days that challenge me more than I have ever been challenged before, I have never loved my life more than I do now that you are in it.  I am so excited to continue to watch you grow, each day you continue to teach me about what truly matters & make me a better person.
I am forever thankful to be your mama.  HAPPY, happy TWO baby girl.

And to all of you, thank you for your sweet, supportive early birthday wishes this week!  We are so thankful that you are a part of this journey with our family.  If you don’t already, follow along with me on Instagram (ashleywbrickner), to keep up with the birthday fun!

I cannot even get over the fact that we are officially six months until Christmas Eve, something that makes me a little sad & a little excited all at the same time!  To celebrate Christmas in July, I am so excited to be linking-up with some lovely ladies for a fun gift exchange!  Courtney & Jenny were so sweet to set this up between lots of little ones, we are so thankful & love stuff like this!
Waverly Maye & I got the sweetest package from Becky & her sweet little sons.  Our bag was filled with so much summer goodness, including bubbles, a lantern, the cutest water pail, a puzzle, & the sweetest necklace for me. So many of our favorites, we can’t wait to use them over the next couple of months. 🙂
We got to send over some goodies for Keri & her three little ones!  It’s not often that I get to shop for more than one (which can be dangerous), but Waverly & I decided to give them some of our favorite summer activities.  You can read more about what we got them here, I hope they enjoyed it as much as we do!

And I have to share, please tell me crazy things like this happen to other moms besides me.  When shopping for these cuties, my sweet sidekick was actually acting perfect & sitting in the cart (she has been doing better lately, knock on wood!).  She said “potty”, but this was before our three-day bootcamp & she had never, ever (like even at home) used it before.  So I didn’t think much about it, until I looked back down & she had unbuttoned her romper, taken off her diaper & was sitting naked (from the bottom down) in the cart.   I couldn’t even believe it, but we were already in line (a long line, with lots of people, all looking at us) … so I just threw all pride aside (much like usual) & held her bare bum while I waited & then checked-out.
It’s a good thing I love her so much.

AND lastly, I have been busy decorating our downstairs with touches of gold for Waverly’s party on Saturday!  I ordered these pictures from Social Print Media & am obsessed with the quality of them, they make the sweetest garland!  Would it be normal to keep a garland of her face alone all year long?!

Thanks again to all the lovely ladies who were a part of this link-up, hope you are all having a great week!

Other than the fact that I strongly believe the more celebrations, the better (because why not?), it is important to me for Waverly & I to have a few special days just us this week.  I know she is going to love everyone coming over for her party on Saturday, but the reality is that events like those come with lots to do & not nearly enough time to make “little” moments with the birthday girl.  I want as many of those as possible & plus, Waverly is just too much fun to hang out with lately.  She is constantly cracking me up & I’ve decided that she is way cooler than I will ever be.

We kicked off Waverly’s birthday week with the most fun morning date ever, dressed in our gold & white polka dot theme. 🙂  A new donut shop opened down the street from us & Waverly loves to go, she loves to watch them make the donuts almost as much as she loves to eat them.

Waverly is still obsessed with any park, so I took her down to one we have on the beach that is hands down, her favorite.  It is huge so it gives me major anxiety the entire time, but it’s yet another way I fit in a workout while desperately chasing after her.  Another positive, we can go down to the water after & run from the waves.  Too much fun & too much cuteness.
Yesterday morning, I took Waverly to our trampoline park which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a really long time now.  I knew she would be all about it, her favorite part of gymnastics is always the trampoline so an entire room of them is pretty much her dream come true.  Of course she loved it & burned a ton of energy! 🙂

The rest of our week will be finishing details for her party on Saturday, while fitting in a couple more fun activities & yummy treats along the way.  I also plan to keep explaining to Waverly that it’s her birthday on Saturday, my mom’s was a couple weeks ago so now, she is convinced that any birthday belongs to glamma.  Everytime I tell her it’s going to be her birthday, she says “birthday party glamma”!
At least she is sharing.

Again, the biggest thank you to all of you for linking-up with us each week!!  I can’t believe it has been six months since this link-up started, here is the first post if you need details. 🙂