Being Brickner : June 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Our Anniversary Weekend

Thank you to everyone for your anniversary wishes on my IG over the weekend!!  This year just seemed bigger than any other one yet, five years somehow sounds so official & it's crazy to look back on everything that has happened since then.  Pretty much like parenthood, our wedding day seems like it was forever ago and like it was yesterday, all at the same time.

The girls spent the day with my parents and then the night with my in-laws. Waverly gets so excited for things like these & we have learned the hard way not to tell her until minutes before she leaves. Otherwise she will keep asking us over and over when it is time to go (apparently patience is not a three-year old virtue).  Her beaming happiness to leave us for the night is both sad and the best reminder that Avalon's current "clingy to only mom" phase is certainly short-lived. ;)


The hubs & I had the best day, which included buying a new couch (#adulthood) and both lunch and dinner out without high chairs or sippy cups.  It was glorious, absolutely glorious, and by Sunday morning, we were more than ready to get back to our babies.  So funny how just one day can leave you feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated, we were over the moon excited to reunite with our sweet girls.  We picked them up and headed peach-picking, which was so, so much fun!!!  Activities like these are just my favorite ever, if you have one near you, it's definitely worth the trip.

Avalon's Romper (On-Sale!)
And just like that, we are halfway to another weekend!  Hope you are all having a great week!
XO

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Six Summer Activities for Little Ones

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. This post is sponsored by Huggies Little Swimmers. All opinions are mine alone. #WaterThemDailyCB #CollectiveBias

Summer is definitely the busiest time of the year for us, which is ironic, since it's also the only time that we are not on any kind of schedule now that Waverly is in school.  But my girl loves all things that happen during the warm weather months & doesn't ever want to miss a thing, so if she has anything to do with it, we are doing some sort of activity every single day.  She wakes up each morning with "mom, are we going to the waterpark?  to the beach?  to run with the zebras at the zoo?".  It's both exhausting and exciting all at the same time. :)

So I thought I would round up some of our favorite activities to keep busy during the summer, I try to do at least a few of these every week and then on the other days, cross my fingers that the girls will be entertained by me and the trampoline in the backyard.


One - The waterpark.  Hands down Waverly's favorite thing to do, she even talks about it during the winter months, counting down the days until we can return.  Our waterpark is great, it has a kids area and Waverly is old enough now that I feel comfortable with her running around while I let Avalon sit in the baby swing or at the bottom of the slides while Waverly goes down them.  It also has beer & a bar, so there's that. ;)


Two - The zoo.  Such a great activity for kids, ours also has a splash pad so I let the girls wear their suits and run around in the water after we go through all the exhibits.  This is one of those things that lasts most of the day, so it's a once every couple of weeks kind of thing.

Three - Walks around the neighborhood.  So obviously a no-brainer and something you can do all year, but this has recently become part of our routine every morning before it gets too hot and all three of us love it so much.  Waverly pushes her baby in the stroller and I push Avalon, I've been making smoothies for Avalon to keep her occupied and willing to sit for a bit longer (my kids don't like to sit still).  It's such a great way to break up the day and I am convinced fresh air makes all of us just in a better mood.

Four - Bubbles, Sidewalk Chalk & Paint.  I have a love/hate relationship with these, because I feel like I get it out with visions of an entire afternoon of fun, and within minutes, Waverly pours the entire bottle of bubbles out and Avalon has eaten half a piece of chalk.  But sometimes it works, and it's a great alternative to leaving the house if you just want to stay close to home.

Five - Movies.  This is obviously something just for the older ones, we just took Waverly to see her first movie in the theatre, "Disney∙Pixar Finding Dory" last week.  She did so, so good!!!  I love the idea of this as a date for just me & her or a special treat that only big girls can do, and it's so great to get out of the heat this time of year.

Six - Kids pool at the house.  The cheapest, easiest, and best way for us to still have fun while at home!!  This always works out well for us, we just take bath toys out and even use large buckets instead of the pool. 

For all of our activities that involve water (which is most of them!), I have been using the Huggies Little Swimmers for Avalon.  We love how easy & comfortable they are, the stretchy sides make changes convenient!  Waverly's favorite part, seeing the print with Dory on them! :)  We also love the Huggies Natural Care Wipes, which in addition to changes, are great for cleaning fingers and toes!

Look for these new Huggies Little Swimmers at a retailer near you, and follow this link to download a coupon for $1.50 off your first pack for a limited time.


Do you have any other favorite summer activities for kids?!  Happy halfway through the week!
XO

Monday, June 27, 2016

Snacks For Your Toddler

I feel like I could go on & on about how much better I could do when it comes to feeding my kids.  Our girls, especially the younger one, are both pretty picky and would rather snack all day long than have any sort of a meal plan.  I've tried so many things for Avalon, including every kind of pasta and meat that exists, and yet it never fails - she turns her head to it and would prefer living off of breastmilk and any kind of yogurt.  I'm starting to think this may go on forever.

Yet if there's anything I've learned in my four years of parenting, it's pick your battles.  So if snacking all day is what she needs right now, then it's what she needs.  I try to find what she likes best and then buy stock in it. ;)  And you guys, today I am teaming with Gerber to bring you Lil' Beanies, something our Avalon Elle actually likes!!!


Waverly has been eating the Gerber snacks for years and actually still loves them, so I was really excited to try a new option.  These are made with beans & are baked, so they have the added bonus that they are nutritious and we loved that they come in two flavors, original & white-cheddar broccoli.  Avalon loved them, they have become our new go-to for at home and I've been bringing them with us when we are out as well!


You can get the Lil' Beanies at your local Target, we have already been through both of these packs and will be back soon.  They also come in handy if you need to keep your babe sitting in the cart for the rest of your Target trip, because I am totally that mom who breaks into it before we get to the register.  Please tell me I am not the only one.


I would LOVE to hear if you have any other snack or meal ideas for your little one, please share if you do! :)  And happy one week until the fourth, we are getting very excited over here!
XO

 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fashion Friday & Beach Days

Hello, Friday!!!  Tomorrow marks five whole years of marriage with the love of my life, we are so excited to celebrate all day long!  The grandparents will be taking care of our girls, no huge plans, just a day of relaxing kid-free on the beach and then dinner for two.

Speaking of the beach, we have been trying to make our way there at least once a week to burn off some energy and enjoy some sunshine.  Going to the beach with kids (especially when you are on your own & outnumbered), is hardly relaxing but it's definitely one of our favorite activities in the summer.  Little sissy already loves it just as much as we do, if only we could get her to not eat her weight in sand - we would be golden. ;)

Avalon is wearing the sweetest dress ever from She's So Precious, I absolutely adore it!  White is my favorite color to wear hands-down, for both me & the girls, even though it's super risky for all of us, since it always ends up dirty.  Well worth the cuteness, though!  The dress has the most beautiful embroidery and the tie on the back is just precious!  I love how classic it is, I can see this being passed down to my grandkids one day (whaaaaat?!!), I will definitely keep this one forever.


A special shout-out to my mother-in-law who handmade Avalon's bonnet (in fifteen minutes!), another piece I will cherish forever and ever, without a doubt!

And before I sign off for the weekend, if you follow us on IG, you may have seen the circus that is a beach day for me with two kids.  We got this beach cart at the end of last summer and though it took forever & a day to load it, it was amazing and we definitely won't do a beach day without it ever again.  The wheels go perfectly on the sand, and obviously, you can fit a lot on it.  I'm happy to report that I got all three of us and the cart down to the beach and back, though I'm sure the site wasn't too pretty at all.

Beach Cart - Float - Girls Suits - Beach Bag
Wishing you all the most glorious weekend!
XO

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Best is Yet To Come

I love that the girls have birthdays that are close together, I love that they are both summer babes & I have real visions of them having joint best girlfriend parties later in life (dreams really do come true!).  But these back to back birthdays can also can all kinds of emotional. I mean, how is it even possible that I have a one and (almost!) four year old?  Is is real life that Avalon Elle is a toddler and that Waverly Maye is a year & a half from being in kindergarten?  Yep.  Somehow it sure as hell is.

Motherhood is such a mind trip.  Like so many mamas, I have all the feels over time passing by in what feels like lightning speed.  One look at a picture of Avalon in her first days, or even worse, Waverly in hers, can put one giant lump in my throat and almost bring me to my knees.  But!  New moms, hear me out!!  There's good news too.  More often than not, seconds after an emotional moment like that, I glance at my two daughters, both who are growing into these beautiful little ladies that I can't even believe are mine - and think about how much better it gets.  Sure, baby snuggles & first smiles are everything, but so is your three year old telling you (possibly 100 times in a row) how much she loves you.  Or your one year old coming in for open mouth kisses.  I've been thinking about this for a while now, especially lately with Waverly, and thought I would round up some other things that just makes babies growing up pretty damn great.

1 - The things they say.  I know I mention this all the time, but it seriously is the best.  Starting with the first "maaaaaa maaaaas" that Avalon repeats on the daily (she really knows who I am!), to Waverly's never-ending stories & comments all day long that literally make me laugh out loud.  Today she said "mom, I suppose I should go to my room and relax for a bit because that's what children do".  Where the hell does she get this stuff from?  THE BEST.

2 - They learn to wipe their own ass.  Need I say more?!!!!  We aren't quite there yet, but pretty close and you guys, it's a total game changer.

3 - Another game changer - buckling their own car seat!  Waverly loves to do this, and even though it just takes seconds, it makes the biggest difference when out for a day of errands.  Like to Target.  And back to Target.  Also along with this, your kid likes the car seat more as they grow.  Both my little ladies hated driving when little but came around to it as they grew.  Now it's Waverly's favorite, she loves going on "adventures" all day long!

4 - You don't have to pack the house.  At least for the older kid.  We are at the point with Waverly that I just bring some snacks & a sippy cup, and she is good.  Of course she brings 1267 things in her "purse", including lip gloss & her own three babies, but you take what you can get, right?!

5 - They are easier to rationalize with - MOST of the time.  We definitely still have our moments, but the closer we get to four, the more I feel like I can talk Waverly off the ledge.  Toddler moms, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I can see it! :)

6 - They are just so much fun.  I really love hanging with Waverly these days, she's my little bestie & I love that we can paint our nails together, talk about her best friends at school, and every once in a while, we go on a date just the two of us and it's my favorite.  It makes me think about when the girls (and hopefully another Brickner babe or two!) are older and making all the memories, just like the ones we are now, but different.

7 -  Activities.  I'm not sure there's anything cuter than watching your kid in a dance recital, gymnastics, or soccer.  It's just precious, and might make you feel like the proudest parent on the planet.

8 - You start to see that they have been watching every single thing you do and it's (mostly) adorable.  Especially since we had Avalon, I have noticed that 85% of what Waverly says is something I have said (the other 15% is what Ben & Holly or Peppa Pig say).  She takes care of her babies and says the exact same things that I say to Avalon.  I smile every single time I hear Waverly say to Avalon, "sweetie girl, I just love you so much and am going to take care of you forever".

8 - They tell you they love you.  They give you hugs.  And then come back for one more.  They show up in your bed in the morning with the sweetest cuddles and tell you that they missed you.  They are becoming the most wonderful little people and it's the best reassurance in the world that you are doing something right.  So very right.


Do you have a favorite part of your babe growing?!  Please share, I would love to hear! :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day Weekend

This weekend was such a good one, finally a couple of days to relax after all we've had going on the last few weeks.  We needed it!  The weather was perfect, no rain & lots of sunshine, the girls just love being outside every second lately so we take full advantage.


We got this bike trailer when Waverly was little & are so excited that Avalon is big enough to use it now, we put both girls in for the first time Saturday and rode around our neighborhood and to the park.  They both loved it, of course Avalon got tired & fussy, Waverly kept trying to feed her yogurt bites to keep her happy and when it wasn't working she said "Goodness gracious, sweetie girl, I just very can't take this anymore, you are stressing me out".  The things she says are my favorite.

We were so excited to celebrate Father's Day, we had donuts in bed, daddy went for a golfing trip while we stayed around & cleaned the house, and then went to my grandparents for a cookout.  I can't say enough about my husband, who is raising two little girls who are going to grow up adoring their daddy, just like I did.  It's still surreal to me that this is our life, that we are old enough to have two kids and that they are healthy, happy, and just so beautiful inside & out, which is undoubtedly a testament to the kind of father he is.  He is selfless, hard-working, and exactly the kind of man I hope my girls find one day.

Also, he's mastered an Elsa braid like a boss.  We just love him. 


Lastly, two things!  One, I finally took the plunge on Hanna Anderson jams (that the girls are wearing above) after hearing so many things, and let me just say that they are AMAZING!  Worth every bit of the money.  They are so soft and only have gotten better with each washing.  I know they will last which makes the biggest difference when it comes to kids clothes.

And most importantly, has anyone used the online grocery store ordering service?  I ordered groceries on my computer while the girls played yesterday, they called me a few hours later to let me know that they were ready, so we literally pulled in & someone brought out our bags and even put them in the car for me.  I didn't even get out of my car.  It was amazing and quite possibly the best thing that happened to moms in the history of ever.

Hope you had the best weekend!
XO

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Finn & Emma: Muslin Swaddle Review

Happy Thursday!  I'm super excited to stop in with a fun review of the most adorable muslin swaddle blankets, our friends at Finn & Emma sent these over and we couldn't wait to try them.  We are big fans of a good blanket over here, obviously for those first weeks of a baby's life, but also for well beyond.  Both our girls still use muslin swaddles daily, most often to cuddle with during naps.  Especially during the warmer months, we love the lightweight feel of the muslin!


Waverly also loves to choose one (or a few!) during the day to cuddle up with when we try to have some downtime, she piles them up with some of her favorite books & babies.  Which of course includes her most well-loved baby, her little sister. :)


The Finn & Emma muslin swaddles come in a set, we chose the more feminine version but there is also one for boys.  We love the print of the peach one and also how versatile the hot pink one is.  They are both so soft and only get better after each wash, one of my favorite features of muslin swaddle blankets!  I know these will be used and loved for years to come.

You can find both sets of muslin swaddles here.  There are also so many more adorable options on the site, and we love the fact that everything is 100% organic.  Happy shopping!
XO
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Avalon's First Birthday Garden Party

We celebrated miss Avalon Elle over the weekend with a garden party, a theme I decided on when she was around six months old because it just seemed to fit her so well.  Anyone who knows Avalon knows how sweet she is, there really is no better word to describe her, so a sweet garden party with some of our family & close friends was truly perfect.  I know she won't remember it, but I hope she looks back on these pictures one day & knows how much love was put into such a special day all for her.

I decided on a food table inside, with a few fun decorations and some pictures of Avalon hung into a garland, and then a dessert table outside.  The board was a labor of love, the biggest thanks to Michelle from Design with Elegance for the beautiful flowers & Hooray Everyday for the felt garland. I am definitely keeping them to possibly use in the girls playroom or Avalon's room as a fun memory.


Outside, we had a table with the most beautiful & delicious cake (made by Rachel Bakes, if you are in the area!), as well as macaroons and little pots of dirt cake.  We used the same high chair that we found at a garage sale & painted white for Waverly's first birthday, and around it was the most gorgeous felt garland by Erin from The Grey Rose.  We also had the biggest balloon of all time (not pictured, but seriously, it was huge!), hung with ivy as the string.


Avalon has a major sweet tooth, so I was so excited to see her smash into her cake!  She loved it & probably even loved the strawberries more, I have about 500 more pictures of her just melting us all with those blue eyes while sitting in her chair.  She could have sat there forever!  Afterwards, we changed her and let her open a few presents, by the end of the day she was completely exhausted but still hanging on just as sweet as can be.  The biggest thank you to our family & friends who came out to celebrate such a special day for our baby girl, and to my brother who face-timed in from across the country since he knew how sad I was for him to miss it.  We are so thankful that our girls are surrounded by people who love them just as much as we do!


See a full list of links below, happiest birthday to our littlest lady, you bring us so much joy and we love you so incredibly much!