Being Brickner : 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Summer Days

Here in VB we don't go back to school until the Tuesday after Labor Day (I always think it's so crazy to see pictures of kids in their school outfits in early August!) -- so we are still soaking in all the summer things and making the most out of our last few weeks!  Summer seems to fly by faster every year, I feel like we spend forever counting down to it and then it comes & goes in the blink of an eye.  This time around has been a fun mix of settling into the new house, getting a million projects done, nesting for baby sister, and spending LOTS of time at our new neighborhood pool.  The girls are loving swimming more than ever (they are like little fishes now!), and when they aren't barefoot in bathing suits at the pool, they love to be riding their bikes down the street playing "sister".  Which is just about the cutest thing ever.

The days are long, especially since Avalon has recently dropped her nap (except for the rare occasion she falls asleep on her floor or the couch, which is almost always about five minutes before dinnertime and way too late to let her sleep).  It's hot, like I swear it's the hottest summer ever, all of a sudden I feel like I might be 150 weeks pregnant.  And Waverly is starting a week-long dance camp today because I quickly realized that no group activities or structure for an entire summer was just a little too much for her after being used to full-day kindergarten all year.  But I have said it a million times and think it at least a few times a day, I am FOREVER grateful for my summers at home with my girls.  If you haven't seen this video, you must watch it -- it is so true and makes me tear up just thinking about it.  More than ever, I am determined to make every summer count!

Hope you and your sweet families are having the best summer and if you are back to school (or getting ready to go back!), a smooth start back to the school year!  XO

Friday, August 10, 2018

Baby Essentials // Nuna Mixx2

We have been super busy packing our hospital bags, finalizing the nursery, and getting all the last-minute things for baby sister -- tomorrow I will be 37 WEEKS and technically she could come anytime now!  Baby prep is so much fun, but also can be overwhelming, there are just soooo many products out there to choose from (way more now than even just a few years ago when I was pregnant with Avalon!).  We recently teamed up with Nuna on a new big stroller for the baby, we will be using this in addition to a smaller one for quick trips and also our double one.  We are so excited about the Nuna and have already been testing it out by taking the girls favorite dollies on trips around the block!

I am kind of addicted to reading reviews on products before getting anything, especially something as big as a stroller we will be using all the time, so I read a ton about the Nuna Mixx2 before this partnership.  Almost everyone I read who had it, loved it, and after it arrived I completely understood why.  It is easy to maneuver and glides so well, and also is soooo easy to collapse -- which is something that I have found to be super important over the years.  The basket at the bottom is big enough to carry your bag (as well as 10 million snacks and drink cups for your other kids, plus the purses you have to hoard if you are a girl mom like me!).  I also love how sleek and minimalistic it is!

We also got the Nuna PIPA car seat and will be using that when she is little, the seat pictured is for babies starting at about six months!

If you are in the market for a new stroller or know someone who is, you can find the Nuna Mixx2 here.  Happy Friday, friends!! XO

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Favorite Pregnancy Products // Bloomlife

I am so excited to share about my partnership with Bloomlife, after three pregnancies, their contraction monitor has quickly become one of my favorite pregnancy products and I will forever be recommending it!  It is the world's first clinically validated wearable contraction monitor, so basically, it's like you are at the hospital hooked up to the monitor, but really, you are comfy at home and just checking to see what kind of progress your body is making.  Best idea ever.

The Bloomlife is offered as a rental, I started using it a couple of weeks ago right when I turned 33 weeks.  There are three parts, the sensor & reusable patch (both which are sent to you in the mail) --  and then the app which is super easy to download on your phone, and then use afterwards.  It tracks your contractions with real-time data, shows how far apart they are, how long they last, and even shows a bar to find patterns.  It also allows you to share all your data with friends or family, which I think is so fun! 

  For me, this pregnancy has been just as exciting and magical as the first, and as we near labor and my due date, those anxieties and nervous feelings about actually getting her here all feel like I am going through it for the first time, too.  Maybe even more now, after going through two very long labors and deliveries, and knowing really how much goes into them.  At 35 weeks, I am already questioning every cramp or pain, and trying not to google them immediately to see if it could be a sign that I may actually go into labor on my own.  It's been SO NICE to actually be able to get the information on my own this time, especially being able to do it right from home!

I am so excited to use the Bloomlife for the weeks ahead as we wait for baby girl, I know I will be relying on it even more the farther along I get!  If you are pregnant or know someone who is, use the code AB10 for 10% off your own weekly rental.  Enjoy!!  XO

34 Weeks: Baby B Three

Or actually 35 weeks this past Saturday, but I have been about one week behind this whole pregnancy so I'm just going with it.  Either way, this belly is going to turn into a baby sooooo soon!!!!!  We are getting more crazy excited by the day.

I updated last at 31 weeks, and since then, we had a big ultrasound and were able to get a really good look at baby girl!  She looks so much like Avalon, has the sweetest button nose and little lips -- it is crazy how good these machines are now, I feel like we really saw her!!  The main reason for the ultrasound was to check on her growth, as we are hoping that we won't have to go through a c-section or induction based on Avalon's shoulder distocia during birth.  She measured small, 4.2 pounds & in the 17th percentile, so we hope that is enough to make us all feel comfortable enough to go ahead and wait until she is ready to come on her own.  We will decide in the next couple of weeks and even though I reaaaaally hope I can go into labor on my own for the first time -- our main goal is ultimately a healthy baby girl and I am at peace with whatever way we need to get her here, in our arms!

Her nursery is coming right along, the wallpaper & crib are up and I will be going through our box of newborn clothes this weekend.  One of the things that excites me the most about having three girls is thinking of some of the special outfits that I will be able to put all three of them in, starting with some of the sweetest little newborn things!  We still haven't gotten (or even started looking for) a new car, I honestly love my SUV so much and wish I could just keep it, but when we put three rows up there is no room in the back for a stroller or pretty much anything else.  It's so funny, I am 100% positive that at this point with both big girls I had the car seat installed, and even checked at the fire station -- with Waverly I can remember even going to the car wash every other day to make sure it was cleaned and vacuumed out!!!  Annnnnd this time we don't even have the car yet!  I know we will get there, life is just a little crazier these days. :)

Just like labor, and the first trimester, I had forgotten about allll of the typical third trimester things.  I have the insomnia, the leg pains, am peeing every five seconds, cannot bend over, and the Braxton Hicks have been brutal, especially by the end of the day.  But even with all that, I still love being pregnant and am so thankful for it.  It's always bittersweet and the craziest feeling getting to these last weeks of pregnancy, I already know I will miss having her all to myself in my belly and with me wherever I go, but really I just CANNOT WAIT to meet her and to officially become a family of five.

Keep growing in there sweet angel girl, we love you so much already!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Happy Six, Waverly Maye!

Our big girl turned six Thursday, SIX WHOLE YEARS!!!  This year has been a really big one for her, I feel like she has had so many milestones and probably has changed more than any other year since she was first born. She started & graduated from full-day kindergarten, learned to read, started riding her bike without training wheels, and learned to swim all on her own.  She is such a legit big kid now and reminds me of it all the time -- she also could not wait to turn six-- but every now and then I catch a glimpse of her and she still looks like my little baby.  It's usually when she wants to cuddle or asks me to hold her, which I hope she alwayssss does.

We had her joint birthday party with Avalon a couple weeks ago, and then on her actual day spent the day at the pool per her request and had dinner with family.  The first thing she did when she woke up her birthday morning was put on a glitter purple & pink tutu dress, with a floral crown, to let us know that she was "queen of the day and in charge".  

A little bit about Waverly, on her sixth birthday, just about a month before she starts the first grade and becomes a big sister for the second time!

One of her favorite things to do right now is to write little notes, or lists.  You can always find a piece of paper by her bed at night or in the morning, and she usually redid it at least three time to make sure it looked perfect.  She loves to write sweet cards to all of us, or to draw pictures of our family -- always including her littlest sister and our dog who passed away at Christmas.

She is still our girly-girl, changes throughout the day (by the hour), loves pink & glitter, has names for all her babies, and always has to have all the accessories.  We don't go anywhere without her packing a purse, and lately I have caught her practicing her smile in the mirror at least once a day.

She is so good about meeting people, especially kids, it's one of the things I am proudest of her about and I know it will take her far.  We can be at the pool for five minutes and she has three friends, knows all their names and they are running around like they have been besties forever.

She loves being a big sister so much.  Partly because she gets to be in charge, but also just because she looooooves Avalon and always has.  They are the sweetest playing house (mommy & baby), holding hands randomly all on their own, and laughing in their new shared room together, up way later at night than they should be.

She likes things a certain way and is very good about cleaning up after herself and putting things in EXACTLY the place they should be.  This reminds me so much of me!!!  She sets her pillows down in the same order every night, on the same side of the bench by her bed, and always is the first to make her bed in the morning and clean up her toys after the bath.

She has the biggest imagination.  Like soooo big!  She's had it forever and to this day, she can still sit in a room with a box of dolls and have them all named and talking and on vacation together and it's forever my favorite.

HAPPIEST SIX, Waverly Maye!  May all your wishes come true.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Thank You Cards // Snapfish

We didn't do a traditional invite for the girls birthday party this year, I would like to say it was because I wanted to save the paper or something like that, but it was really because the day crept up on me really fast and I just ran out of time.  Anyone who knows me knows I looooove some good snail mail, pretty cards and invites are some of my favorite things, so I was sad to skip that this time around -- especially when I didn't have them to put in the girls memory boxes like every other year so far.

Then Snapfish contacted me about teaming up on some fun paper products for the summer, and I was so excited to do thank you cards incorporating some pictures of the girls from their fun weekend!!  Waverly & Avalon were so into this, they loved helping pick the pictures and background and were so proud when the final product came in.

I have used (and shared about!) Snapfish before, they are one of my favorite sites for this sort of thing!  There are a ton of options and creative ideas, plus it's really easy and quick to use.  We ordered the cards right after the girls party and had them within a few days, and the quality is always so, so good!  I also did prints of some of my favorite pictures from this summer so far, it was so affordable and the package of prints came first before the cards, within ONE DAY of ordering them.

So now it's your turn!!  Turn some of your favorite photos into something creative (or just take the time to print them, something I sometimes forget ...).  Use the code SUMMERFUN40 for 40% off your order and have fun with it!!!!  XO

Thank you to Snapfish for sponsoring this post.  All opinions are 100% honest and completely my own.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Documenting Childhood // Lifetales App

I know other mamas can relate, I feel like I can never, ever document the girls enough.  They change soooo quickly, way too quickly, it's both amazing & heart-breaking all at the same time.  I never want to forget all the little details -- the freckles on their faces or the way their little curls, the way they say words and sing songs and the stories they tell -- I know one day these memories will be some of the most treasured of my entire life and I want to make sure I have the photos & videos to go along with them.

I obviously take tons of pictures, and document some of their childhood on the blog or through pictures on my Instagram.  But that really is only a very small part of it, I am intentional on what I share mainly since it's not private, which I think about even more as they get older.  I recently was introduced to the Lifetales app and am loving the idea of this as an additional way to document the girls and share with family & friends.  Through Lifetales, you can easily share stories and experiences with anyone that you choose to, and also can easily download these later to save.  Each story starts off private, and then you can choose who you want to send it to!  I also love that each story can incorporate photos, video, text & audio.  This app is FREE!!!! -- and can be accessed here.  I am super excited to start using it and challenge you to do the same!

And what would a post about documenting your kids be without documenting your kids?!!  A couple from the other night, Waverly recently learned to ride her bike without training wheels and Avalon has figured out the balance bike she got for her birthday -- they spend at least an hour a day riding down our new street together and then just love to play on the driveway.  One of things I will forever remember from this summer! 

Wishing you a very happy weekend full of sweet memories. XO

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Waverly & Avalon's Joint Unicorn Party

The girls celebrated their birthdays this past weekend with their second annual joint pool party, this year we went with a unicorn theme and all the pastel rainbow colors to go with it!  We purposefully kept things suuuuper laid-back.  I had initially thought about having it at our new house but opted for our neighborhood pool instead, with house projects still going on and baby girl about seven weeks away it just seemed way more realistic -- and I am so glad we did!  The girls are obsessed with going to our pool as often as possible, they loved having all of their friends there with them and it was probably their favorite party yet, and definitely the easiest one I have planned.  
Funny how that works.

I ordered some fun unicorn plates & napkins online, as well as a couple cake toppers and some sweet little treats for favor bags.  My mom helped with the cake (which we ordered but loved what they came up with!), my sister-in-law made the cutest rainbow cookies ever, and the kids ate fruit and pizza between swimming for the entire two hours of the party.  Also worth noting, this was the first year both girls sat for the entire happy birthday song while we sang to them, we practiced a couple of times that morning and I think having the song together made them not quite as nervous.  Avalon said it was the best part of her day, I just love that they will have this memory together!

Cake Toppers -- Unicorn Plates -- Unicorn Candles -- Heart Float -- Girls Suits

I took all of these pictures that morning before the party, another little hack I have learned over the years to make things so much easier!   I always want to remember the details but also want to be able to be in the moment as well.

HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY to my sweet summertime babies, you truly are my sunshine and there is no one in the world I would rather celebrate than you. XO

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Big Sister Girls & Gifts

Words really cannot even express how EXCITED I am to see my big girls with their baby sister in just a couple months.  I know I have said it before, but the moment Waverly walked down the hospital hall and saw Avalon for the first time, then held her, and talked to her with her sweetest little voice -- forever one of my favorite moments of my entire life.  Watching them together since then is usually my favorite, of course we have lots of challenging moments, but sisterhood really is something incredibly special.  It honestly drives me crazyyy when people assume we were "hoping for a boy" (which I hear  way too often), adding another Brickner sister is truly my dream come true and I love that we get to experience it all times three.

Waverly & the baby will be six years apart, most likely the same week the baby arrives she will be starting FIRST GRADE so this will be way different than the first time around!  She already is so nurturing to Avalon (sometimes bossy), but she is 100% a typical first born and being a big sister is just her thing.  I know she is going to love having another little sister around and will be such a natural, I am excited to be watch them together and equally as excited to have all her help!  Avalon Elle, she is way more hesitant to change and does the little sister role pretty well, so I am super anxious to see how she interacts with the baby.  For the first few months of this pregnancy, whenever we talked about the baby, she always said "sissy will hold baby sis, I will watch".  But the last month or so she has really been into it, constantly talking about her, saying that she can't wait to hold her, and she gives my belly a kiss & a hug at least three times a day.  Avalon is just so loving and sweet by nature, this baby girl is going to be lucky to have her as a big sister.

I teamed up with two of my favorite shops to surprise the girls with early big sister gifts, they were so excited about these and I loved getting them something to make them feel extra special before a major change around here in the next couple of months.

The strollers are from Trio Kid and match the one I will be using (right down to the color!), and we have already used them tons.  The girls love to walk their "babies" down the street and also pack the area underneath with all their bags!  The unicorn dolls are from Cuddle & Kind, they have our faaaavorite dolls ever and we also love, love their mission -- for each doll purchased, they provide ten meals to children in need.  Both sites are linked, they would be such fun gifts for any little ones, any time of year!

Happy halfway through the week! XO

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fourth of July 2018

And just like that, the LAST big holiday before baby sister is here to celebrate with us has come & gone!  We had a jam-packed day, probably our busiest one ever, and it was definitely one of the best Fourth of July's that we have had yet.

Wednesday morning, we headed out early to two parades, the second one was in our new neighborhood and we were so excited to celebrate with our new neighbors and to start a new tradition.  Our favorite part was the firetruck pulling out it's hose for the kids to run through, they loved it and it totally felt like a Fourth of July moment out of a movie!  Afterwards we spent the afternoon at the pool, came home to change, then went to a friends house to cookout and on their boat for fireworks.  We made it home a little after eleven, I am 32 weeks pregnant tomorrow and am tired just reading all of that -- but the excitement the girls had for all of it just made it so worth it.  As were riding on the boat late after the fireworks were done, both girls fell asleep on my lap while our littlest lady was kicking away and that was EVERYTHING.  So much has changed since this day one year ago, none of it we really expected or planned, and it still just overwhelms me with thankfulness.

Hope your holiday was full of all the good things and HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!  It's always good to see another weekend after surviving the 5th of July.  XO