Being Brickner : 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas 2017

This Christmas was by far our best and most special yet. The girls are at the absolute perfect ages for all the magic, still obviously young enough to believe in everything and be really into it, but also old enough to understand.  Waverly did not miss a thing, loved every little part, and Avalon was beyond precious.  It was the first year she actually wanted to open her own presents and her little eyes were just wide open the entire time.

Christmas Eve was really busy for us, we spent most of the morning at brunch with family and then afterwards spent some time at home wrapping last-minute gifts, baking cookies for Santa, and letting the girls watch marathons of Christmas movies.  We had an early dinner at my grandparents, exchanged some more presents, and then headed back home to get the girls ready for bed.  This is always one of my favorite parts, I love watching them set out the cookies for Santa and throw out the reindeer food, this year more than ever I kept thinking about how sad it will be when one day they don't believe in it anymore!!  After they finally made it to sleep, we played Santa for the sixth year now!  This time definitely took the longest to set up (note to self for the future, set up the toys that have a lot of steps the week before and hide them!), we were exhausted by the time we were finally done, but going to sleep knowing how much the girls have to look forward to in the morning is always well worth it.


Christmas morning was everything, there is always so much anticipation to it but it also never disappoints.  Waverly got up first, per usual, and waited for Avalon, and then we all ran downstairs to find that Santa had came!!!  Waverly had asked for all things Shimmer & Shine, and Avalon wanted all Peppa Pig, so they were both excited to find a bunch of that, along with a new dollhouse and easel for their joint presents that have already been used a ton.  We also got them both jump ropes and hula hoops, Waverly had asked for them but of course we knew that they would fight over them if we didn't get two of each.  Avalon calls them "hul-ee hoops" and it is my favorite!

The trade-off for a busy Christmas Eve is that we get a Christmas day spent entirely at home, which is really important to us.  We had family stop by through out the day and hosted a dinner that night, the absolute best way to end a beautiful holiday. 


My brother has been in town from Colorado this week so we are soaking up some extra family time and looking forward to ringing in the New Year in a few days.  Merry Christmas, friends, hope it was perfect!!!! XO

Friday, December 22, 2017

A December To Remember

December, you are our forever favorite.  And we cannot believe you are already almost over!!  Before this month started, I made it my mission to really try to spend as much time at home slowing down and soaking in the season this time around, and though things were crazy our way, I really think we accomplished that.  The girls spent endless hours in their favorite holiday jammies, watching Christmas movies and baking and coloring and just being kids, and we also were able to make it out to enjoy some of our annual holiday traditions.  Before I sign off for the weekend and my winter break, I thought I would share some pictures from our December, and document some of the things I never want to forget from this year's Christmas season.

The girls running down the stairs each morning to find our elf, get their treat from the advent calender, and piece of chocolate from our Trader Joe's countdown.  Waverly almost always wakes up before Avalon, asks me 249 times if she can go wake up her sister (the answer is always a hard no), paces the hallway outside of her room, while secretly trying to be REALLY loud to "accidentally" wake her up.  They never missed a morning of pure joy running downstairs to find him, though we most definitely missed a couple mornings of actually moving him to a new place.

This was the first year that threatening calling Santa actually worked really, really, really well -- and it was amazing.  We have been using the app where you can actually call him and his face pops up, and I swear you even mention it and both girls freak.  Waverly even went running and hid one time, I am really going to miss this in the new year.

The ornaments coming on and off the tree daily, or maybe even hourly.  This one actually drives me CRAZY.  Watching your kids put ornaments on the tree while sweet holiday music is playing is simply magical, watching your favorite glass ornament fall to the ground and break because your kid was playing with it for the hundredth time is not.

Listening to holiday music in the car, at the house, and watching the girls dance to it on repeat.  Waverly's favorite is Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Avalon's is Jingle Bells, the only time they don't ask for me to play them is when they are asking to watch Home Alone or the Trolls Holiday Edition.

Avalon's little voice saying "Santa a little scary, mama", and asking me to hold her every single time we even talk about him.  Both my girls do not like dressed-up characters, this was only the second year that Waverly even agreed to get near him, and that lasted about 2.5 seconds.

The holiday season with little ones is just the best, I never thought I could love Christmas more than when I was a kid, and this definitely tops it.  We are three days away and I am tired, but my heart is full.


From our family to yours, we hope you have the happiest, merriest Christmas EVER!!!!!!!  XO

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Paying It Forward

Today is the last day of school before winter break for all three of us girls, and goodness we are READY.  Life has a funny way of bringing you highs & lows all at once, this week we got some really exciting and wonderful news about a job offer for my husband and then just a few hours later, learned that we needed to put our yellow lab to sleep.  I got our dog, Bogger, for my husband as a Christmas present about a year before we were even engaged, and ironically here we are fourteen years later, losing him a week before Christmas and trying it explain it to our two little girls who absolutely adore him and have never known a life without him.  It's been heartbreaking, to say the least, but we know that he lived the happiest life and is in a much better place.

Yesterday morning, I was completely struggling after saying goodbye to him and watching the girls give him hugs for the last time.  I dropped Waverly off to school and before heading to school myself, made my morning Starbucks run (bad habit!).  There was a huge line, and once I finally made it to the front, the sweet lady who helps me each morning let me know that the car in front of me had treated me, she handed me coffee and told me to have a wonderful day.  And it seriously brought me to tears.  Of all the cars, and all the mornings, fate just worked out that it was me getting the sweetest gesture at exactly the time I needed it most.  The person in that car didn't know anything about my day or how I was feeling, and will never know, but that small act of kindness meant the world to me.

So today, I plan to pay it forward in my own way.  And I challenge you to do the same.  Life sure has it's hard moments, but it has really beautiful ones, too.  Finally, sharing some pictures of our little ladies, their outfits are by Jojo Maman Bebe and I adore them so much.  Such sweet, classic & timeless looks -- you can find their website here.  


XOXO

Monday, December 18, 2017

Big Kid Life.

Most of the time I still consider myself a new mom, it's totally cliche, but I really can remember those first days bringing home a newborn Waverly Maye from the hospital like they were yesterday.  Feeling so freaking overwhelmed but also so in love, going on dreamy, magical little family walks around the neighborhood where our rented condo was, and then spending hours during the night crying and completely helpless because I didn't know why she wouldn't go to sleep.  The time since then kind of all blends together but somehow, here we are, five (& and a half) years later with a kindergartener and her two-year old little sister.  And in all actuality, I'm not a new mom at all.

So I thought I would take a break from my regularly scheduled holiday programming today to document our life lately with a legit "big kid".  Though I will forever call her my baby, she is far from it and I was reminded of just that this weekend when we went to her school for a holiday craft night and book fair.  We really try to stay connected to her school as much as possible, one of the hardest transitions from preschool to kindergarten (for me!) has been not really feeling a part of it as much.  So every time we can sign up to volunteer, attend an event at her school, or have a family member come visit her for lunch, we always try to make it happen.  It's so fun to see her in her element, and it's a reality check of how mature & grown-up she is. 

The night of her event, we walked into the gym and I pointed to all the booths we could go visit and also showed her that Santa was there, and about FELL OVER when she responded, "ummm mom, I have eyes, I can see".  She waved to about fifteen different kids, most of them older than her.  She didn't hesitate to walk over to them and say hi, and they all knew her name just like she knew theirs.  Her top pick from the book fair was a Shimmer & Shine diary, that even came with a key, and the next morning I found her hiding in the bathroom writing in it.  That was right before she requested a shower rather than a bath, closed the curtain because she "needed her privacy", and then made her own lunch.

All this to say, we have officially entered the phase of parenting a kid.  If you would have asked me a year ago if I was ready for it, I would have said hell no (and that I never would be), but I'm kind of loving everything that comes with it.  She's turned into a little BFF, someone I can shop with and watch Fixer Upper with (she can even last through the entire thing without being distracted!) -- she loves to hear stories about "when she was little" and literally cannot wait to lose her first tooth.  She's started reading books to me and likes to brush my hair, and the sweetest ever, she begs every night to hold Avalon and sing to her, just like I have done for both girls since they were born.  I will forever cherish my time with my kids as actual "babies", but this stage has its own magic, just in a different kind of way.  Love them both forever and ever.


And on a side note, SEVEN more days until Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!  Not that we are counting or anything! XO

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stocking Stuffers for Little Girls

Does anyone else feel like the Christmas season has flown by this year, more than ever before?  One minute it just turned December first and we had all the time in the world, and the next I'm getting emails that there is still time for last-minute gifts.  Seriously, don't blink.  I can't even think about the fact that 2018 is just a few weeks away.

With that being said, I definitely still have quite a few gifts to buy -- but thankfully am pretty much done with the girls and I cannot wait to see their little faces Christmas morning!!!  Waverly's list is rather extensive, she's totally my child and a true shopper at heart.  She can find something she wants anywhere (like even the gas station), so she's been adding to her list since early summer and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.  Avalon Elle, give that sweet girl a bouncy ball and a bag of candy and she is GOOD.  So funny how different they are!  We decided to get them a couple big joint presents this year, a dollhouse and an easel, and then a few little toys that fit with each of their favorite things right now (Waverly is all Shimmer & Shine and Avalon is Peppa Pig!!).  One of my favorite parts is also filling their stockings, I thought I would share some of what we have planned so far. 


Hat -- Book -- Dolls -- Necklaces -- Crayons


I remember always loving to open my stocking as a little girl, my mom always put so much thought into things that really fit our personalities at the time and I hope my own kids will love it just as much.  It really is the most magical morning of the year.

Lastly, I also always love to put a few fun bows in their stockings, with two little girls it's just a must, and this year teamed up with Sandy at Zozu Baby on the cutest, most festive bows & socks for the season.  If you are still in need of some holiday goodness, you must check out her shop, everything is adorable!!


Merry December, friends! XO

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Tree Farm & Our Holiday Bucket List

Happiest DECEMBER!!!  The holiday season has always been my absolute favorite time of the year, since I was a little girl, and it's only gotten better since having two little girls of my own!  We kicked off all the festive fun a couple weeks back by going to get our Christmas tree, I thought I would share some photos today as well as a list of things we hope to check off before the 25th.


The girls are at such fun ages for all the Christmas fun right now (maybe I say that every year?), and I can't wait to do all the things, but I'm also trying to keep our list a little light to save some time to enjoy the season at our house as well.  I have noticed more than ever lately that both girls really are happiest at home, and goodness I know those days are limited, so I really want to soak it up while I can.  We recently got Home Alone and Waverly's been wanting to watch it on repeat (while wearing 12 layered princess costumes), and Avalon is perfectly content relaxing on the couch in her daddy's old tee-shirt staring at the ornaments on the tree.  They get so excited to run down the stairs each morning to find the elf and get their next little treat from our advent calendar, both of which take us hardly any time to set up, but make the BIGGEST difference to them.  So my motto for this holiday season, stress (and plan) less, love more.  It's so much easier said than done, but I am determined to it happen.

With that being said, FIVE things we want to do over the next few weeks.

1 -- Christmastown.  One of our favorite traditions each year, it's literal magic right before your eyes and I swear I will never ever miss one year, even after my kids are over it and I have to drag them to  come with me.  If you are in the area, it is an absolute must-do, worth every penny.

2 -- Ceramic Christmas Trees.  Waverly and I will be joining my mom & sister to actually make our own next weekend, can't wait for this!

3 -- Make Festive Chocolate Pretzels.  Both my girls hate hot chocolate (crazy!), but they both love pretzels dipped in chocolate so we will be stocking up on these and making for family and friends. 

4 -- Holiday Date Night.  It's been forever (and ever, the summer), since my husband & I have actually been on a date.  We are long overdue!  Making it happen this holiday season.

5 -- Paint Pictures for Grandparents.  Our girls love, love, LOVE to paint (in fact Avalon Elle went missing over Thanksgiving dinner and was found upstairs knee deep in paint), so I know they will love to do this.  Planning to find some fun holiday themed pictures online and let them have fun with it.

Sending some holiday cheer from our family to yours! XO

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Our 2017 Holiday Card

*This post is in partnership with Minted.

Tis' the season for holiday cards, one of my faaaavorite times of the year!!  I'm pretty sure I will still be sending cards when our kids are out of the house and in college (and maybe even married with their own little families!) -- I just love it so much.  In a world where everything is so technology-driven, there is something so special about some good old-fashioned snail mail.  Especially when it involves some sweet pictures of my babies! :)

We teamed up with our favorite people at Minted again this year, I adore their company so much and have gotten some of my most-loved pieces (including art & kitchenware) from them.  Their cards are just the best, so many creative and beautiful ones to choose from and every single one is such high-quality.  We had family photos done a few weeks back, and went with a bit of a romantic, bohemian vibe, so I wanted to choose a card that had the same sort of feel.  The one we ended up going with (found here) is one of their foil-pressed cards, we used a rose gold finish and I am so happy with the final result!!!  Per usual, I loved it when I ordered it but it was even ten times more beautiful in person, I cannot say enough about the quality or beauty of their cards.


Ordering these cards was so easy, the Minted website gives you the option to the choose the photo you want and then it will place it in all the cards so you can get a better idea of the option that you like the best.  It also lets you "heart" ones that are your favorites which I find helpful every year, there are pages & pages of card options so it makes it way easier and less overwhelming.  I always choose my favorites and then go back and compare to find the one I really think is the right fit.

They also have a (free!) design service, after you have submitted your card a designer will look over it and make any changes that either you request or that they think will enhance the card.  It's your choice to use it, but I always do, I love the idea of someone else looking over it besides me! 

Finally, there are tons of options for add-ons to make your card more fun, which I always go for and can never resist!  I added the rounded corners on our cards, which give it a more feminine look, I loved it paired with the rose gold!  I also chose to add a matching envelope, of course the Kraft, which reminded me of our wedding invites six years ago.  For the first time, I also did an envelope liner, and I loved how it added something fun when you first open the envelope.  And quite possibly my favorite part, the printed addresses for both the return address and the recipient's address (a mom's dream come true, because time).  This really is the best mom hack ever, I don't even have to retype the addresses in each year since they are automatically saved.  I also ended up getting my stamps at Minted this time around, they match the design we used and saved me a trip to the post office afterwards.

The shipping was super fast and once they arrived, I only had to place the card in the envelope, add the liner, and put the stamp on.  Which is literally the only reason we had our cards out before December 1st this year!  It's such a good feeling and another check off that Christmas list.


If you need to order your cards, Minted has extended their Cyber Monday until this morning at 9am PT -- you can use the code CM17.  Their ordering process is super quick and their customer service is the best at working with -- I know you will love them as much as we do. Happy shopping, friends, and happy start to the holiday season!!!!  XO

PS -- I also wanted to share some of my favorite holiday gift ideas from Minted, I love to give our family members (especially the grandparents) photo gifts each year.  These calendars are so beautiful, I love how timeless they are and how they really are so versatile for anyone on your list.  I also love this sweet photo art, it's so original and would also be great for any members of the family! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Our first ever Thanksgiving dinner at our house is in the books, we had so much fun hosting some of our family and getting to spend some much-needed downtime relaxing and eating lots of delicious food.  My husband made the turkey, we divided the appetizers & sides up between members of my family, and my contribution was the tablescape (which was so much fun to do, thanks to the Magnolia line at Target!).  Everything was so yummy and beautiful, but the best part was definitely getting to see the table my husband worked so hard on a few years back, filled with so many family members we love around it, and afterwards getting to visit with my sweet grandparents at the hospital.  Thankful, indeed.

Candle Holder --  Black Bowls --  Girls Fringe Boots -- My Jacket
We went around the dinner table to share what everyone was thankful for, Waverly Maye had a list with at least one thousand things, including Shimmer & Shine, and Avalon Elle was a little too shy to share (but politely shared with me later when we were on our own).  So true to both of their little personalities, we are of course so very thankful for our little girls.  Happiest Thanksgiving from our family to yours, and now, let the MOST WONDERFUL time of the year officially begin! XO

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday Favorites

Hope you had the most amazing Thanksgiving with your loved ones!!  We had a such a sweet day, and are looking forward to a few more lazy days at home before returning to work next week.


Sharing five of my favorite deals for today, mostly for kids, it's no secret that I love shopping for my girls and they are usually who I buy for first!  

1.  June & January -- One of my FAVORITE small shops for kids, they have the cutest stuff for both boys and girls and all of it is super comfy!  Their sale starts this morning at 7 ET, there are tons of items on sale (including our favorite knee highs!) and it is also $10 off all weekend.

2.  Hunter Boots -- You know my love for Hunter books runs deep, we wear them rain or shine and definitely more than any other pair of shoes we have for the girls!  These are on sale and are an extra 20% off, there are also tons of other options that you can find on their site here.

3.  The Land of Nod -- The entire site is 20% off & free shipping this weekend!  We got both this carry dollhouse and this adorable play food set on Black Friday last year, and love both so much! Both the girls rugs for their rooms are also from there, you can find them here and here.

4.  BlaBla Kids -- Some of our favorite dolls are the BlaBla ones, soft, cuddly, and adorable!  We have had our eye on this rainbow pillow and this deer for the holidays, use the code Twinkle for 20% off.

5.  Gap -- The entire site is 50% off everything, no exclusions (use code BLCKFRIDAY)!!!!!  This would be the perfect time for these adorable duck boots or this down jacket for winter. 

Happy shopping, friends! XO

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Christmas Books for Kids

Two more days until Thanksgiving and we are celebrating by sharing some of our favorite Christmas books!!!  This year I have been wanting to bring out alllllll the Christmas things earlier more than ever before, but have held back mostly, since we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner.  We do have a few mini trees here & there, as well as some things in the girls room, including our collection of holiday books!  Bringing out books for each holiday is one of my favorite parts, the book ledge in the girls playroom is one of the most loved places in our home and I hope it always stays that way.  Here are some current faves!

The Little Reindeer -- Pick A Pine Tree -- Tallulah's Nutcracker -- A Christmas Carol -- The Night Before Christmas --
S is for Santa
A few of these are ones I recently added for this season, which I love to do every year, but this year wanted to find a couple that were at a little higher level since we do have a kindergartner now!  Waverly is really into reading and following along, pointing out the words she recognizes and knows, she is so proud and it's the sweetest thing.


If you (or your kids) have a favorite, I would love to hear!!!  Happy Tuesday, friends! XO

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thanksgiving Favorites & Plans

Aaaah, less than ONE WEEK until Thanksgiving!!!  I almost don't want the holiday season to officially kick off because I know we will blink and it will all be over, but whichever way, we are so ready for all the fun to come.  Our Thanksgiving plans have been a little up in the air with my grandfather still in the hospital, but we decided last-minute to host dinner for both Thanksgiving and our annual Friendsgiving this weekend, and are up for the challenge!  This will actually be our first time doing Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and maybe our last, because we are putting our house on the market in the next few weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's been in the works for a little while, and we are super excited about it (also anxious and a little bit nervous!), but feel like the timing is right.  In the meantime, we are planning to spend as much as time as possible in our house over the holiday season, soaking up this special time with our family in the house we have made a home over the last five years.

Sharing a few favorites, starting with ALL THINGS Hearth & Hand, the Magnolia line at Target -- I could literally buy the entire thing.  I got the girls this dollhouse for Christmas (and also love this wooden bench for a little boy), and the print on these napkins is so good!   Our go-to dresses at Old Navy have the cutest velvet version out right now, and this wreath from Anthro is so good!  This time of year is oh so good and so tempting.

And lastly, sharing some pictures of the girls having the most fun in the leaves over last weekend.  Playing in the leaves in the fall at my grandparents house is forever one of my favorite childhood memories, there is something just so innocent and sweet about it and I love that my own girls love it just as much.  Their happy is truly my happy, not all our moments look as joyful as this (I promise!), but it's these ones that make all the others completely worth it.


Wishing you and yours the happiest weekend! XO

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November.

We are eight days into November but it kind of feels like eighty-four.  Waverly got sick for the third time this year already (hello, kindergarten!), and had to stay out of school for four days, we've been battling some time restraints on trying to complete some big projects at the house, and by far most importantly, my family has been focusing on the recovery of my grandfather since his heart surgery on Halloween day.   The surgery didn't go quite as planned, and we had a few scary days afterwards, but I've never been happier to report anything (just about ever!!) than that he is finally awake and on the mend.  We are currently feeling like we witnessed a miracle and certainly have a lot to be thankful for this season.

  The girls have a couple days off school this week, and then it's only one more full school week before one of our favorite weeks of the year -- Thanksgiving!!!!  As a teacher, I have always loved this time of year so much, that half-day on Wednesday is full of so much excitement and anticipation for all the fun (and days off!) that are near.  I have to laugh this time around though, Waverly loves school so much that she gets sad on Sunday mornings when I tell her that the bus isn't coming to pick her up for the second day in a row, so I know she is going to have a hard time with all the breaks over the next couple of months.  Oh sweet girl, how that will change one day.

Sharing some pictures from a few weeks back, when the weather was much warmer and pumpkin patches were still acceptable every weekend.  We have now moved on from sleeveless floral dresses to sweaters and boots and are LOVING IT! 

 

Happy November to you and yours!!!! XO

PS -- You know we are BIG Hunter boots fans over here, there a few kids pairs currently on sale on their site, you can find them here!