Being Brickner : 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas is over, can you even believe it???  I am convinced that it just keeps going by faster & faster every year (and also that I am a little bit more exhausted at the end of it every year, too).  We had the most magical couple of days, and by the morning after Christmas had very full hearts, full bellies, and LOTS of new toys for the girls to play with for at least the entire new year! ;) 

I always look forward to Christmas Eve, so much excitement and anticipation!  We go to my grandparents each year, I have since I was a little girl, and it's just so much fun being able to bring my own two girls there now and watch them have the same joy that I always did.  My very favorite part of the night was on our drive home, we had been talking about Santa with Waverly for weeks (as well as tracking him on our phones and face-timing him on an app), and she just could not wait to get to bed to make sure he didn't skip our house, since she had heard that so many times before.  When we got home we were able to talk her into reading "The Night Before Christmas" & throwing our reindeer food on the lawn, but then she immediately really wanted to go to bed.  She told Avalon to not make a sound, asked us if "Santa will still come if Avalon cries, because he knows babies cry, right?", and then pointed at my husband & I and told us not to leave our room.  As soon as her head hit the pillow she was immediately asleep, it was the craziest thing ever and I wish we had that magic every night. ;)  I just loved how sweet it was and I know I will never forget it.

I've never been able to sleep well on Christmas Eve night, and this year was absolutely no different, I could not wait to see the girls faces when they came down the stairs.  We loved playing Santa and creating a fun little scene for them to see once they turned the corner!!  I ended up getting a dress rack for them to share for their playroom and filling it with some fun accessories and play clothes, which I know they will love, but I was most excited for Waverly to see her Trolls bike.  It was the only thing that she asked Santa for when she sat on his lap (even though she had previously asked for a Shopkins bike which my mom had already bought then later returned), so we just knew we had to have it Christmas morning for her.  Avalon loved going through everything so much, her favorite of all was probably the Elmo toothpaste in her stocking. ;)  Their joy was contagious and I wish I could do it a thousand more times!!!  Afterwards, we went outside and let Waverly ride her bike, it's so her, full of purple and glitter and the girly things! :)  We had brunch with family and then spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for dinner while Avalon took a nap, and loved hosting my side of the family for the evening.  Such a busy and memorable day!

Hope your Christmas was absolutely wonderful!!!!!  And happiest almost New Year, so close!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Our Christmas Week

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve, friends!!!!!  We are full of mixed emotions over here, soooooo freaking excited for the next couple of days, and just a little bit sad that the holiday season is so close to being over.  Waverly keeps asking what the next holiday is after this one, and I think I am going to have to take the pink glitter tinsel tree off the dresser in her room when she is either sleeping or not home to prevent a meltdown.  Sweet girl gets it from her mama.

 This week has been busy, scrolling through social media has me convinced that we are the only school system in the country who goes to school until the day before Christmas Eve, and fitting in everything while still getting me to work & Waverly to school has been a little crazy.  I had my class party with my preschoolers on Tuesday, and then we did Waverly's the following day, which was so precious!!  As bittersweet as it is to watch her grow, I absolutely love seeing her in her element, giggling and holding hands with her best little girlfriends in her class.  She had about a million Christmas crafts in her book bag to bring home, the sweetest plate with her handprints on it, and a letter to Santa where she asked for a "turtle, a kite, and roller skates".  None of which she has ever, ever mentioned before. ;)  Waverly also had her dance class holiday performance (which I loved watching, while simultaneously attempting to keep Avalon from storming the stage with her).

Big news, Avalon learned how to say Santa!!!!  Favorite parts of Christmas for her so far include any activity that involves sugar or sweets and looking at any lights (she says "liiiiiiiights"), she could care less about unwrapping presents and would rather her big sister do that work for her.  She has been rocking this red hat with poms for most of the month and I never want to forget how sweet her little face looks in it, with her bright blue eyes and chunky cheeks.

We took the girls to Christmastown, probably our favorite tradition of the holiday season each year!  Both girls loved it for different reasons, Waverly got to ride a roller coaster for the first time (one for kids) and was OBSESSED.  She was jumping up & down saying "this is the best day ever", and definitely would have gone on one of the bigger ones too if she was tall enough.  Avalon loved the Elmo part of the park, Sesame Street is her favorite thing right now, so seeing all of thecharacters life-sized completely blew her mind.  It was just the best day, chaotic, cold, and crowded, but absolutely wonderful! :)

I want to wish you all the most happy, warm, joyous holiday!!!!!  Thank you for the support of our family and this blog each year!  XO

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shop Small

One of my favorite parts of blogging has been meeting and working with so many inspiring, talented women who own & run their own businesses, most of who are fellow mamas and who are killing the whole mom boss thing.  I have so much respect for them, from first-hand experience, I know how amazing that really is, and I LOVE being able to support them in even my small little way.  I recently hosted two giveaways on my Instagram with some of my favorite small shops, and wanted to share each of them here as well!!!  I know it may be a little late to get any of this ordered and shipped in time for Christmas, but how fun would it be the kick off the new year with some of this cuteness?!

1 - MonPetit Shoes - I love these shoes so much, Avalon has been rocking a blush colored pair since the beginning of fall and we have gotten so much use out of them.  They are easy to put on, comfy for her little feet, and I just think the vibe of the t-strap is the sweetest!  There are also options for little boys and tons of colors to choose from.

2 - Modern Burlap - Swaddle and lightweight blankets are a favorite around here, for when my babies are babies but even as they grow.  Waverly likes to wrap her dolls in them and of course we still use them for snuggling or for bedtime when they don't need a heavy blanket.  Modern Burlap's prints are the cutest ever, black & white is just so versatile and classic, we love them all!!!  They also have crib sheets, bibs, changing pad covers, and other products that are perfect for baby, kids, and for decorating! :)

3 - KB Cute Designs - Another small business with the cutest swaddles, hats, blankets, knotted gowns ... all with such fun colors and prints!  We got a new set of sheets recently in the most beautiful floral print from here, it has totally changed the look of the girls rooms!  Such a fun update!

4 - Beckaloo Fashions - One of my favorite things to dress the girls in has always been bloomers, during summer & spring but also in the cooler months paired with tights. it's just too cute!  Beckaloo Fashions has the cutest options, we recently got this dotty for Avalon and it's been on repeat for weeks.  I also LOVE the chambray pair pictured above, just so versatile year-round!

5 - A Little Lady Shop - You know we love a good bow around here!!!! :)  These bows are so well-made and adorable, and she also offers a subscription service to get bows year round.  I love the idea of this, it would be such a fun gift for a new girl mom or even possibly for a birthday.

6 - Gathre - I can't say enough good things about these mats, we got one a little over a year ago and we use it ALL the time.  They are wipeable, portable, and compact, and come in so many different sizes.  Well worth the money!

Hope you all are having the most amazing CHRISTMAS week!!!!  Can't believe how close it already is! XO

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Tree Hunting

I'm pretty sure that this is the first time I have ever blogged on a Friday night, but somehow, we are just eight days until Christmas Eve and I am officially losing time to document all the fun we have been having!!!  Going to pick out a Christmas tree has been one of my favorite traditions since I was a little girl.  We always made a big night of it, went to get dinner afterwards, and then drew names to get each other ornaments to exchange the week before Christmas.  It's so much fun to look back on those ornaments now, ones like the year I started driving, my first year in college, when I became a teacher, the year we got married, and (two) pink bumps! :)

We took our annual trip with my entire family the weekend of Thanksgiving before my brother went back to Colorado.  The girls LOVED it, running endlessly just tops the list of their favorite things to do, so I know this will be one tradition they treasure just as much as I do.  I love these pictures so much, they just capture the girls fun personalities and their close bond so well, they continue to hold hands most places they go lately and it's just the sweetest thing ever.

Girls Jackets
The "elves" started visiting our house a couple days ago, my mom used to have them visit for the entire month of December but I settled on what I thought I could handle, the 12 days before Christmas. ;)  They get to open one present each morning, Avalon really doesn't understand the concept yet so Waverly has been doing it for her (happily!).  Can't wait to see their little faces on the real day just a little over a week away!

Wishing you all a warm, happy, magical weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pajama Party Link-Up

I'm teaming up with some of my favorite ladies this afternoon to share some pictures of my little girlfriends in their best holiday jams!!!!  We are big fans of pajamas over here, especially matching ones, Waverly actually has a meltdown if she isn't wearing the same ones as her sister every single night.  Which I can only blame myself for.  So I buy all of their pajamas times two!  At the end of each holiday I try to buy for the next year on sale, both of their Christmas pairs this year I bought last January, and I actually already have theirs for next year, bought on a Black Friday sale! :)  Every little bit counts, right?  And gives you an excuse to buy more.

My husband took off early last night and we took the girls to their first ever polar express ride!  They loved it, there is just nothing as magical as beautiful holiday lights, Christmas music, and lollipops to keep them sitting. ;)  This is a new tradition for us for sure.

We would love for you to link-up with us, just dress your babes in their jams and post away!  It starts today and goes until December 26th!  And happy Thursday, friends! XO

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Around Here

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy, trying to keep up with normal life stuff but also do all the magical holiday things, I am 100% positive that most of the time I don't even know what day it is.  But the girls absolute love and joy for Christmas completely makes up for it, this is definitely our best December yet!!  I thought I would share some pictures and a little update on our month so far, 11 days to go until our sweet babes are running down those steps to see if Santa came! :)

Waverly is definitely my daughter, she loves all things holiday and is constantly asking what fun Christmas thing we are going to do next (followed by making sure she knows what holiday comes after this one).  Possibly one of my favorite things we have done so far, my mom, grandmother & I took her to see The Nutcracker a couple of weekends ago and it was the sweetest!  Just walking in and seeing all the little girls with their moms their made me feel all sorts of lucky to start this tradition, I can't wait until Avalon is old enough to come with us as well.  I wasn't sure if she would last to the end, but she made it up until the last act when she fell asleep, she kept asking us when they were going to "turn the page". ;)  She also went on a field trip with her class to see a holiday play, had her own Christmas program at school, is obsessed with ornaments and all of our decor, and still LOVES to check and see where the elf is every single morning.

If I could bottle up Avalon pointing and saying "ball" to the tree every day or waving to the elf each morning, I totally would, she is at the absolute sweetest age and seeing Christmas through her eyes is just pure magic.  She is always up for any adventure, she could have ran around the tree lot picking out our tree all day long, loves to drive around and look at lights or point out fun decorations, and shopping at the mall is one of her most favorite activities, as long as she doesn't have to sit in the stroller and can run around endlessly.  I am already so excited to see her sweet little face Christmas morning, I just know it is going to blow her mind!

And lastly, our Santa trip.  Because you know every family with young kids has a Santa story.

Every year we go to Bass Pro Shops for both Christmas & Easter, it's our favorite!  They have all sorts of activities for kids while you wait, and it's always fun to make a day of it and really make it special for the girls.  Waverly had been telling me for weeks that she was not going to sit on Santa's lap, which I was fine with, so I fully expected Avalon (who is usually not shy at all and could care less about anything), to be happy & smiling, looking like an only child on Santa's lap.  We waited FOUR HOURS, and the entire time Waverly kept glancing over at him looking very nervous, while reminding me that she wanted Avalon to deliver her letter for her.  Our turn finally came, and I absolutely couldn't believe it, Waverly walked right up and sat on his lap (with this sweet, I'm scared out of my mind but being so brave smile) and Avalon lost her mind.  Completely the opposite of what I thought would happen!  As soon as they got off his lap Waverly said "Avalon, what was that all about?  He is SO nice", and then stared at her picture with him all the way home.  It definitely gets on the list of my most favorite parenting moments ever, I was so proud of her and so completely shocked, we have been talking about it ever since.  And of course I still got a crying Santa picture, three years & counting!!!

Hope you all are having the most special and memorable December with your sweet families!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Our 2016 Holiday Card

So excited to finally share our holiday card today!!!  We took these pictures back at the beginning of September, which already feels like years ago, the girls have positively grown at least a couple of inches since then!  Getting them done early was completely by default, my friend Brooke was in town and she has taken our Christmas card photos since the year I was pregnant with Avalon, so I just can't imagine anyone else doing them, ever!  It was still so warm out, so we were able to go barefoot and really be ourselves & have fun outdoors, which was such a nice change from being freezing every other year.

My romper is from H&M, and it's majorly on sale now, I've linked it here but there are only a couple sizes left!  I loved the color combo of the maroon & Waverly's light pink dress, a little twist on the more traditional holiday colors.  Avalon's dress is linked here and both girls have been wearing these on repeat this fall!

It was so hard narrowing down our favorites, Brooke is the best about taking a million photos (which is totally my jam), so there are so many more to share.  Another day! ;) There are way too many for one post!!!!!

We teamed up with Minted for our cards, we are big Minted fans for so many things, and there cards are just the best!  High-quality, innovative, creative, and so beautiful.  My favorite part is the option to write your addresses in and have them printed for you, completely perfect for a busy, working mom of two like me!  The card design I chose can be found here, it was so much fun playing with all the cards and figuring out which one went best with the two photos we went with.

The biggest thank you to my friend Brooke for capturing another sweet memory with our little family and to Minted for our cards!!!!  And wishing you all the happiest holiday weekend!

PS - The winner of the Uncommon Goods giveaway will be announced on Monday, thank you to those who entered!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Avalon Elle: Eighteen Months

I'm taking a break from regularly scheduled holiday programming today to wish my baby a happy one year & a half birthday!!!!  Ah, I can't even believe it.  I was rocking her to sleep tonight thinking how from here on out, she is closer to two than one and it just doesn't even seem possible.  She still seems like such a baby (maybe wishful thinking?), but we all consider her that, especially Waverly who will say "can someone get this baby to listen to me?", if Avalon isn't falling in line with exactly what her bossy big sister has to say. ;)  She is still so tiny, is sprouting some strawberry-blonde hair (exactly the same color as Waverly's), and her blue eyes are as bright as ever.  I will randomly get a comment that she looks just like me, but it is always when my husband isn't around, they are pretty much twins, especially when you look at his baby pictures!  She loves to pucker her lips whenever we ask and also has this crooked smile that I hope she never, ever loses.

I have said from the time that she was born that Avalon was my easy baby, and that's still pretty much the case.  She is way more sensitive than Waverly ever was and can definitely get just as sassy as the rest of us (she has recently learned the word "no" and has no problem practicing it often), but overall, she just goes with the flow.  She is a good sleeper, a good eater, loves the car seat, is not shy at all, and it takes a whole lot to make her cry.  She is generally happy as ever and so much fun to be around, her little faces & mannerisms are the cutest and I love to just sit and watch her do her thing.

She has recently had the biggest word explosion, going from only a few words to probably over 20.  Some of her favorites are yes, no, Elmo, ball, book, mama, dada, and sis.  She loves to point out her eyes, nose, and mouth, to touch everyone's ears, and has the best dance moves.  She is usually on the go, but when she finally stops she will snuggle and give kisses, or request Sesame Street, which is by far her very favorite show.  She loves to dress-up, and will steal Waverly's purses, princess crowns, or necklaces when she isn't looking.  The cutest!  And even though she is all girl, she is a climber just like her daddy was at that age, I can literally blink my eyes and she is on top of something.  She has three favorite stuffed bunnies, she was obsessed with this one bunny forever and so I found two others just like it and now they are her squad, she literally goes nowhere without them.  It's precious! :)

She adores Waverly so much, they are closer than ever and usually wherever one is, the other is not far behind.  They are always walking around the house holding hands, finding things to get into that they really shouldn't be, but laughing and just being so cute that it really makes it hard to be mad for long.  If you would have asked me when I was pregnant with Avalon if we hoped for a boy or girl we really would have been thrilled with either, but I am forever so thankful that they get to experience sisterhood and that have each other.  Their relationship is so special and getting to be a part of it will always be one of my greatest joys in life.

Sweet Avalon Elle, we adore you!!!!  It's bittersweet to watch you grow so fast, but we couldn't love the little person you are turning into one little bit more.  Happiest half-birthday!