Being Brickner : 2017

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!
Stephanie

Friday, August 11, 2017

Our Camping Trip

We celebrated my husband's birthday over the weekend with a family camping trip, this is something that we had been wanting to do forever and I am so glad that we finally were able to make it happen!!  It was my brother-in-law's idea, and even though I might not seem like a typical camper type girl, I'm all about making memories and doing different and fun things with the kids.  I actually ended up loving the whole adventure, and the girls had the best time, they loved being able to spend an entire night with their cousin and especially loved having tons of freedom and no bedtime at all!

Since we had three kids five & under, we decided to stay close to home, just to be on the safe side.  It still was a campground though, and we did all actually stay in tents for the entire night, so I totally count it as legit camping trip -- just with a few added benefits. :)  We had electricity & bathrooms, and the campground also had a pool and jumping pads (that the kids LOVED!).  This will definitely be a new tradition for us, our girls are still talking about it and this is just the sort of thing that I want them to remember about their childhood.


Fun fact, my husband stayed up way too late drinking way too much, and may still be recovering.  Things change when you get old. ;)  Happiest birthday babe, we love you and loved celebrating you!
XO

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Back to School with Mini Boden

We have about three weeks of summer left our way -- and intend to savor every minute, but are also getting pretty excited for the start of school and the return of a normal routine again.  This year, all three of us girls will be at new schools, I will be going back to teaching older grades (which I am super excited about!!!), Waverly Maye will be going to KINDERGARTEN, and Avalon will be at a preschool for the first time, half a day, two days a week.  I am definitely prepping myself for some adjustment time with a couple new milestones all at once, but also think it is going to be such a fun year for all of us -- I can't wait to see our sweet girls each thrive in their own way! :)

One of my favorite parts of going back to school (since I was a little girl!) is going back to school shopping, both for supplies and clothes!  We haven't gotten Waverly's supplies yet, but have been collecting some fun clothes, and most recently teamed up with Mini Boden on back to school looks for both girls.  We have been big fans of Mini Boden forever, I love how their pieces are classic but also keep up with the trends, and are such high quality! 


Each of the girl's looks reflects their personality so much, Waverly's is fun and those glitter high tops are so her, and Avalon's is sweet and innocent.  I know they will get a ton of use out of them in the upcoming year, the biggest thank you to Mini Boden for sending them over!

Now for the really fun part, Mini Boden is giving back to one of you!  One very lucky winner will receive a $1000 Boden shopping spree, you can enter below!  Also be sure to visit the six other bloggers I have teamed up with one this -- The Chirping Moms, Jordan & Co, Hello Erin, Seven Graces, Sweet Southern Prep, and Girl in the Red Shoes.  Good luck, friends and happy week ahead!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Buying & Selling Kids Clothes with Kidizen

I recently teamed up with Kidizen to try out their app, and you guys, it is SO GOOD and I am so excited to share about it!!!  I feel like I have been trying to find a good way to sell the girls clothes for years now, I do keep a lot of their things stored, but also have found that boxes add up really quickly and we really don't need to keep all of it (even if I want to!).  Avalon does wear quite a bit of Waverly's hand-me-downs, but I love to match them and also can't resist getting her some special things of her own, so I know I would feel this way if we ended up having another girl one day as well!

Kidizen is a place for moms to sell (and buy) kids clothes, it's super easy and quick to post your items which is one of the reasons I love it so much.  My favorite part is that once someone buys something, it allows you to purchase a shipping label by just clicking a few buttons, then it emails you the label afterwards.  I've posted items on apps before, but it was always such a hassle to figure out the shipping part, I always gave up on it because - time.  I know other mamas can relate!

I also (of course!) love the buying option, there are so many cute kids pieces to choose from, including a ton that are from some of our favorite small shops.  It's easy - and fun - to search by category, the little shorts the girls are wearing below are by Childhoods, one of our faves, but we got them at a much discounted price!


You can find out more about Kidizen here, and if you download the app before August 4th, you will be entered for a $200 gift card!  Also,  if you are a girl mama and would like to shop through some of our stuff, you can find me at Ashley Brickner.  Hope you guys had the best weekend and have a great week ahead! XO 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Happy Five, Waverly Maye!

Somehow, my baby girl is a five-year old little person who picked out pink sparkly heels paired with a purple fidget spinner for her birthday today and is headed (on an actual school bus!) to kindergarten in just over a month.  I didn't expect it, but I think the combo of both those things happening in just over a few week time span is giving me all the emotions and this birthday is probably the one, of both my girls, that I have struggled with the most.  Yet there is so much to be so happy about, Waverly is my little sidekick, this amazing, beautiful little person with a huge heart and so much imagination.  My heart just bursts thinking of how much joy she has brought to our lives over the past five years. 


Our Waverly Maye.  FULL of emotion from day one, either crazy happy or the complete opposite, and really nothing ever in between.  She is the girliest of girls, cares so much about what she wears and always (always!) has an opinion about it.  She loves baby dolls, jewelry, dance, and shopping, and has literally has never found a store that she doesn't love (or can't find something she wants at!).  She is definitely the most similar to me of our girls, and lately wants to be just like me, asking to have her hair in the same hairstyle or wear something the same color, and her mind was blown the day she realized I got us matching pajamas.

She is shy at first with adults, but is always the first to run up to another kid at the park or the beach and ask if they want to play.  Most of the time when we get somewhere, I have hardly put our stuff down and I look up and she is holding hands, happily running around with someone like they have been best friends forever.  She is definitely a leader, but also a perfectionist, and won't really try something until she knows she can do it, and do it perfectly.  Her imagination has always blown my mind, to this day she can play with a bucket of balls or rocks (anything really) and have them talking to each other like they are little people.  She is such a dreamer, it is one of my favorite things about her and I hope she never loses it.

She loves Avalon so much, always has, and still wants to baby her just as much as when she was first born.  She loves to carry her, to pick out what she is going to wear, and always has to be the first to greet her in the morning.  Her big sister role really is one of things I am proudest of her about, she asks me every single day when we are going to have another baby and wants to know all about how it happens. ;)  She has the biggest interest in knowing what she was like as a baby, one of her favorite things to do is look at her baby books and hear stories about when she was "little", and she also loves to be cuddled or snuggled and pretend like she is a baby again.  Hope that never changes!


Her vibrant, spirited personality still challenges me every single day and there are times that I don't know that we will ever grow out of that, but what I have really found is that in her most emotional moment, there is nothing more that will fix it than a hug and some love.  It's that same personality that I know will take her so very far and I will be right by her side every step of the way.  HAPPIEST FIVE, WAVERLY MAYE!!!!!!  We love you so much, baby girl.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Our Lemonade Stand

The girls had their very first lemonade stand over the weekend, this was the first thing we put on our summer bucket list this year and I was so excited to see what they thought of it!  We ended up deciding we were going to do it just the day before, so we completely threw everything together, Waverly's little bench from her room along with some fun cake platters, straws, lemons, and our letter folk board (which we use ALL the time, similar here).  This weekend just happened to be the hottest weekend ever, so we found the one piece of shade just to the side of our house and set up shop.

Waverly gets so excited about this sort of thing, she loved helping make the lemonade and bring everything out so much.  But both girls most favorite part was definitely waiting for our family members to stop in, they could not wait to see who came first and got so excited when they saw each of their cars pull up over the time that we did it.  Thankfully we also had other customers too, we decided to donate all of their proceeds to the Children's Hospital and plan to make this a new summer tradition.


Beverage Dispenser & Rompers
The biggest thank you to our family who stopped in, and also to Hallmark Baby for sending over the adorable rompers for the girls -- they were perfect for our little stand! :)  Wishing you guys the happiest week! XO

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Vacation 2017

Last week, the girls and I took a little beach vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my parents & younger brother.  We had been looking forward to this forever, actually ever since almost a year ago, when we took this exact trip (to the same resort, this year we stayed just a few rooms away).  We were really hoping to bring my husband this time around, and that was the plan, but we have been working on the girls bathroom remodel and since it's not quite done (and we literally have no bath in the house at the moment), it made the most sense for him to stay and have some time to actually focus on it.  Lesson learned, DIY projects with a two & four year old take much longer than you originally thought.

Waverly was so happy about it, she kept asking when we were leaving on our "field trip", and tried to pack her bag at least three days before we left.  It's about a six hour drive, and we decided on leaving at 1 in the morning so the girls would sleep through it and my dad (who was driving) could get still some sleep before we get there, and of course that totally backfired on us.  The girls were both way too excited to get any sleep, so they pretty much stayed up throughout the night, which in turn meant we did, too! ;)  Thankfully on the way back, when we left at 7pm and tried to do the same thing, they were completely exhausted and were out before we even left the resort parking lot.  I'm convinced we will be feeling the effects of this trip for at least another week, but it was so worth it!!!!  Vacation memories are some of the very best, both girls were just in awe of everything they saw and just high on life that we left any sort of routine back at home.  My most favorite part was watching their excitement and their happiness was contagious -- of course mixed in with a few meltdowns, too.


Last year on this trip Avalon learned to walk and this year, she pretty much started talking in paragraphs, and Waverly mastered going under water across at least half the pool along with a pretty impressive shallow-end handstand.  Can't wait to take them back next year, this time with daddy in tow!!!  The biggest thank you to my parents (and brother) for taking us, and for helping with the craziness.  I definitely wouldn't have survived without them! :)
XO

PS - I haven't read a book in forever, but took this one with me on the trip and got through over half of it, EVERY MOM MUST GET THIS!!!!  It is absolutely amazing, so inspiring, and there is just so much to relate to.  I can't say enough about it, I actually plan to re-read it a few times!