Being Brickner : September 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

Summer Family Photos

Happiest Friday, babes!!!  First, I wanted to extend the most heartfelt thank you for your sweet words & support after my post earlier this week.  Some of the comments I received honestly brought tears to my eyes.  Watching the news and hearing horrible stories all of the time can make you a little scared for your babes to grow up in such a place, but it's moments like those (when you feel so much love!) that remind you that there is SO much good.  I am forever grateful for your positive support, it means so much to me and to our family.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

I'm also super excited to finally share some of my favorite images from a family photo shoot we did about a month ago, these pictures are so special to me and I will treasure them forever.  My husband and I were married at my great aunt and uncle's home five years ago, it is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and it's still so magical to me that we actually got to have our day there.  Sadly, my great uncle passed away earlier this year and my great aunt has decided to sell the house, but was so gracious to allow us to take some pictures there as a family of four before it's on the market.  She is the sweetest lady and their marriage was absolutely an inspiration to us, we are forever thankful to them both.

 My friend Shawna absolutely killed it with these photos, there are so many more and I had the hardest time narrowing it down!  We got some in the backyard where our reception was, the side of the house where we took our engagement photos, the dock where we had our first look, the garden path where I walked down the aisle, and finally, the steps, where we actually got married!!!!!  It's just so crazy to think that's where we were five years ago saying our vows, and now we get to stand there with our two beautiful girls.  We had big dreams when we started our life together that day, this surpasses any of them.

If you live in the VB area, you must check out Shawna's website!!!  She is amazing and just the sweetest person to work with.

Wishing you the happiest weekend!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Life Update

I have been really hesitant to write this post.  Partly because I had some struggles with it, partly because I just haven't had the time to really sit down and think it through, and partly because I just really wasn't sure how much I wanted to share.  But it just didn't feel right not being 100% honest about all of my life.  This blog is about our family and my journey through motherhood, the wonderful, crazy roller coaster that all of that is, and this is just another stage of it.

If you have been following us for a while, you know that I was a fashion marketing teacher at a high school for eleven years.  After having Avalon I went part-time, and then at the beginning of 2016, I resigned completely to accept a position as a part-time bridal stylist and pursue my own wedding planning business.  So starting last January, I would work about three days a week at the bridal salon, usually afternoons/evenings, and pretty much every single weekend.  The other days I stayed home with my girls, while somehow trying to figure out how to be a business owner for the first time in my life.  To market & promote myself, to keep myself organized with the clients I already had, and to attend meetings to coordinate the weddings I was planning.  Plus of course, the weddings.  I also was trying to continue to manage this blog, which has always been such a great outlet for me.  A place that I feel so grateful to have for my kids to look back on one day, where I have made so many great relationships with inspiring ladies and fellow mamas, and also, a place that has turned into a side-business for me (which we really needed when I was no longer working full-time).

I am sure there are tons of people out there that manage all of this (and more), but it didn't take long before everything started piling up & I was left feeling pretty overwhelmed.  Above anything else, the biggest reason that I decided to make the change was to give me more time with my girls and even though I was physically there with them more than before, there is no doubt that I was getting way less quality time with them than I ever had.  I was stressed, I was trying to fit the biggest to-do list ever into an hour naptime, and when that didn't happen, I felt anxious the rest of the day while I was trying to accomplish things when they were awake.  They needed me, all of me, and though I did everything I could to make it work, most days I was stressed and overworked, and trying to manage way more than I could handle.

Ultimately, I found that all of the things I thought I would love about this new schedule were exactly the things that I found the most challenging.  And with that, the things that I thought I didn't like about teaching were exactly the things that I so badly wanted back.  I missed having a set Monday-Friday schedule.  The benefit of always knowing when I was going to work (and that I would always have holidays and summers off!) was something I completely took for granted for so long.  I also really hated working nights, I thought I would rather have the mornings with my girls, but after this experience, I would take getting work out of the way in the morning and then getting to spend each afternoon & night with them ten times over that any day.  I always thought I would love working from home, especially after I became a mom.  I don't know that my personality lends itself to not working at all (though we could probably make it work without my income, we definitely wouldn't be able to give our kids what we want to, to be able to have the freedom to accomplish all we want to, or to grow our family), so before all of this, I truly felt like a job from home was the best of both worlds.  That was definitely not the case for us.  I now have the UPMOST respect for moms who run a business while taking care of their kids, to put it simply, my high-maintenance little divas (love them so much!) need my full attention and I want to give it to them.  We all did better when I could just be with them I was home and then get my work done at a job outside of the house.  And lastly, working weekends was really hard on me and even harder on the four of us.  Spending time as a family is what we value most, and with my husband gone all week at work and then me gone on the weekends, our times together were few and far between.

SO!  Very long story short, after getting down on myself for a couple months for messing up a really good thing that we had, I decided one day out of nowhere to look into going back into teaching, but in a different field.  While I loved teaching fashion when I was younger, as time progressed, I really felt like I needed a change, something that would give me a new challenge and motivation but that would still leave me in education, because I really did love it.  I took a class to get certified to teach something different (while still working at the bridal salon, planning weddings, and blogging to make money!), and somehow, all the stars aligned and I got hired at an elementary school eight minutes from my house teaching early childhood education, PRESCHOOL!  Which was crazy, since that's exactly what I hoped for when I decided to take the class this summer.

I officially started at the beginning of this month, the same day Waverly went back to school, and still can't believe I went from teaching high school juniors and seniors to little ones who are the same age as my own kids (!!!).  It's been absolutely crazy and definitely a huge adjustment to learn everything new again, but it's also been so wonderful.   I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, and though it was a crazy road to get here, I really wouldn't change it.  After having Waverly, there were so many times that it was painful leaving her, and especially after having Avalon, I thought how much better life would be if I could just work from home, or have some sort of different situation.  Well, the grass is not always greener on the other side.  More than any other experience in my life, this taught me to not dwell on the things that you think could be better, but to truly be thankful for what you have.  I have always felt like I am a "glass half full" kind of person, and even on the most challenging days this past year I found so much positive, but the past few weeks have just been some of the absolute best we have ever had.  Even though I obviously still miss them when I'm at school, I have finally been able to have hours upon hours of uninterrupted, stress-free moments with my girls every afternoon, and to appreciate it more than ever before.  We have had our weekends back as a family, including my husband, who is always 150% supportive of everything I do and right by my side. I really love my new position, the people I work with, and of course, the sweet little babes that are now in my class.  I have no doubt that this is exactly where I was supposed to be all along (and I can assure you, there will be no more job updates from me, this is it!). ;)

I will always be supportive of ALL my fellow mamas, whether you have a full-time or part-time job outside the house, are running a business at home, running a household staying at home with your little ones, or at a crossroads trying to figure it all out.  Every situation is different.  We all have our challenges and triumphs, we are all just trying to make the best life for our babes, the best way we know how.  I'm forever thankful for mine. I just couldn't love them one bit more, they are the light of our crazy life!


PS - Obviously I am no longer working at the bridal salon, but I am still planning weddings & styling, just on a much smaller scale!!!  My goal is to take just take one every couple months or so, I will try to share some pictures when I do. :)

PPS - These images are from a session we did with my friend Shawna Bielat recently, can't wait to share the rest!  Happy, happy Tuesday friends! XO

Friday, September 23, 2016

RuffleButts Bloomers

Other than the occasional holiday outfit or a piece to match Waverly, I really try not to buy Avalon that many new clothes.  We really lucked out with two girls close in age, and also that they both have birthdays in the summer, so most of what Waverly wore works perfectly for what size Avalon is during whichever season.  But every once in a while, I come across something that I just can't resist, or something that is special for just Avalon to call all her own.

Like these little beauties.

Bloomers on little girls are just my favorite, I love love love how versatile they are, how you can make them work year-round (with tights!), and of course, how unbelievably precious their little bootie and legs look in them.  Waverly wore rufflebutts until she was at least two, and passed so many pairs down to her sister, but the ones that are actually embroidered for Avalon just make my heart skip a beat.

Our friends at rufflebutts also sent over this adorable peplum top to go with them, I adore it so much.  The fabric is so stretchy and high-quality, it was even better after washing it once.  Both these pieces will definitely be in rotation all fall & winter long, they can be paired with so many other things too!  You can shop the look here.

Wishing you all the most happiest first weekend of FALL!  We are hoping the weather cools down enough to go pick out a couple pumpkins for the front porch. and of course we will be watching lots of football. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Beach Evenings & Soccer Games

Happy first week of fall!!!  The weather hardly feels like September here, it's been rainy, hot & humid, but we have our fall decor up and are brainstorming Halloween costumes, so there's that. :)  Hoping you all had a wonderful weekend!

I'm stopping in to share some recent pictures, these first ones are from the most glorious beach evening ever, it was one of those nights where you miss it before it's even over.  Our girls LOVE exploring down at the ocean, and this is one of our favorite times of year to take them since it's not nearly as busy after all of the tourists go home.  And not for nothing, beach evenings require way less packing than 90 degree beach days, so that's always a plus.  We are going to try to do this at least a couple more times in the next few weeks before all of the craziness of Halloween and the beginning of the holidays hits (!!!!!!).

And soccer.  We signed up Waverly last week.  It was completely last-minute, but she's already more athletic than I ever was, so we thought it would be a good thing for her.  We got her schedule and told her Thursday night, her first game was Saturday, and her only response was "we have to get my costume together".  Love her so much.  She picked out all of her things with my husband at the store, was so freaking excited about it all, and Saturday morning, the first thing she asked about was when she got to go to her game.

Then we got there.  She wanted nothing to do with it, like really nothing, and wouldn't even step near the field.  She's always been nervous about things at first, she is not shy at all but just slow to accept new situations, and that was definitely the case with this.  Part of me felt so bad for her and wanted to just throw in the towel and take her home to put her tutu and leotard on where she feels most comfortable.  And the other part of me just wished she would have gone out on the field with the other 900 kids who were playing.  Ultimately, we decided not to give up and let her try again next week, there's obviously a life lesson in that.  Hoping I can come back here with a good report!

Also, I'm kind of a soccer mom.  That's just crazy.

A couple pictures of our ladies before I sign off, Waverly's little finger pointing at Avalon is my favorite and just so true to how seriously she takes her role as big sister.  A nice lady at the mall the other day was helping Avalon with something and Waverly came over, picked Avalon up and then looked straight at the woman and said "oh thank you so much, you are such a sweetheart".  If I could just bottle up every little thing she says.

Happiest Tuesday, hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fall Fashion Favorites

Happy, happy Friday friends!!!  We are welcoming the weekend with very open arms today, three of the four of us got sick this week so we have been rolling with lots of tissues and very little sleep.  On the upside, Waverly started back to dance class, she looked way too adorable in her tutu & little sister tagged along with a leotard of her own.  Always too, too cute!

Thought I would share a few of my fall fashion favorites at the moment, sometimes I wish everything wasn't so cute!  I am convinced it gets better every single year.

Off The Shoulder Top - Pendant Necklace - Peplum Top - Wedges - Hat - Tutu Dress - Tights - Embroidered Dress - Moccasins

I've had my eye on those wedges, they are perfect for looking halfway put together while running after kids, and they are super affordable!  Target does it again.

Lastly, I wanted to share one last favorite, the bento boxes I shared a picture of earlier this week.  They can be found here and are from Pottery Barn Kids, I have used them so much already and love them!  They are also currently on sale! :)  Wishing you all the happiest weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Back To School Tips & Tricks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishWhatsNext #CollectiveBias

It's the second week of school and we are slowly inching our way towards figuring this whole thing out again.  We thrive on routine and all of us just do better that way, but seriously, getting your babe out the door to school on time (especially when you have two working parents), is just no joke.  The biggest hats off ever to all of you who have more than one kid currently in school - because I'm not sure how I'll ever do it. :)

So although I am far from an expert on the subject, I thought I would share some of the things we do this time of year that make life just a little bit easier.  And please, if you have any of your own, share at the end of the post, I am all ears!!

A planner.  I recently posted about my new favorite planner here, I seriously couldn't live without it all year long, especially during back to school season!  There is just so much going on right now, if I left it up to my jumbled brain or notepads, there is no doubt I would miss half of what I have to do.  For me, I work best with writing events, meetings or due dates on the weekly pages, and then to-do lists for each day.  Those to-do lists are usually written down for at least three days in a row (because I don't get them done the first or second time), but eventually I get to put a check!  It's crazy how many due dates Waverly already has just in pre-k, I know this will be even more important as my kids get older.

Packing & hanging our bags the night before.  SUCH a big thing for us!  We have little hooks by our door and that's where both my bag & Waverly's bag stay.  I try to have everything she needs in there the night before, and I am also trying to get her in the habit of hanging her bag back on the hook when she walks in from school.

Get to bed earlier.  I was nervous about this all summer, as it seemed that Waverly was just going to bed later & later each night.  She very much likes a routine, and had gotten used to playing with her dolls each night in her room before going to sleep, no matter what time we ended up in there.  So we now try to do a bath and books about thirty minutes earlier than usual, and take her to room way before we actually want her to go to sleep.  This is the hardest thing for us, I know it will get easier when it gets dark earlier!

Lay out our clothes the night before.  This is probably Waverly's favorite thing, even in the summer.  I always did this when I was younger (all the way up until college, and even teaching), it must be the fashion lover in me! :)  This also cuts down on the drama of what she is going to wear, which is TOTALLY a thing already, god help us with two little girls!

Meal prep on the weekends.  I say this, but I am really not good at it.  I always have the best intentions of cooking chicken and cutting veggies on Sunday afternoons or evenings, and then Sunday afternoon or evening comes, and I am exhauuuusted! ;)  But when I make it happen, it really makes such a big difference, especially now that Waverly has dance and other activities during evenings in the week.

Give yourself at least ten minutes extra.  If there's one thing I've learned since having kids, everything takes longer than you think it is going to.  Everything.  Even on the days I think I'm super organized and am going to show up early with clean kids and a perfectly packed diaper bag - nope.  So I always try to set my alarm and get out of bed ten minutes before I think I need to.

Make lunch the night before.  This is KEY!  For both me and if I need to pack one for Waverly.  I recently got these bento boxes and they have made packing lunch so much easier, and cuter!!!

I just pick some favorites and try to switch it up day to day, with any snacks, fruit, or leftovers we may have.  One of our current favorite snacks are the Kellogg’s® and Special K® products, they are such an easy snack to throw in the box and not really think about, but are still so healthy for you!!!  We've tried so many, two of my favorites are the Special K® Granola and the Special K® Sea Salt Cracker Chips.  They are so, so good & nutritious, the perfect option to keep you nourished during crazy seasons such as back to school!

You can get the Special K and Kellogg products at your local Kroger, you can find out more information here.  And you can also enter to win a gift card to Kroger, scroll down to the end of the post to enter!  Good luck!

Monday, September 12, 2016

From the Cutting Room Floor: Summer Edition

As ready as we are for fall and all that comes with it, saying farewell to summer 2016 is definitely bittersweet.  The past few months have been so good, I never want to forget the memories we have made and how we have watched our precious girls grow all too quickly, but in the best way possible.  We have spent most of our days with some sort of water activity, even if we had to get creative in our backyard to do it, and ate more popsicles than we could count.  Waverly & Avalon got closer than ever, quite literally at moments, and their ever evolving sisterhood continues to be something I will always cherish.  We wore bathing suits more than clothes, and bare feet more than shoes.  Waverly learned to go under water and Avalon learned to walk.  Then run. :)  We did our weekly dance class, the waterpark at least twice a week, and counted down the moment until daddy came home every single day.  We had tantrums and tears, sometimes from all of us, and then laughs to make up for it ten times over.

Sharing some pictures that I never shared here on the blog, looking at these just makes my heart all kinds of full.  I laughed this weekend when both girls slept until 7:15 and my husband said, "doesn't it feel good to sleep in?".  Yes, quarter after seven is considered sleeping in these days and these little ladies are alllll worth it.  I can never say it enough, these are the days, my friends!

Wishing you and yours a very happy Monday!