Being Brickner : 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Strawberry Picking 2018

Aaaah, strawberry picking, forever one of my favorite activities!  I remember back when Joe & I were first engaged, driving out one day to the farm to pick, just the two of us!  Crazy to think that next year we will bring all three of our girls, who will be six, three, and about nine months.  Cannot believe it!

This time around my mom & brother came with me, strawberry season came right in them middle of the biggest renovations on our house so my husband was of course spending all of his extra time there, getting it ready for us as fast as he could.  Waverly loved it as much as every other year, she always takes it pretty seriously and works really hard to get as many as she can.  Avalon does not like strawberries, or really any foods that are not dessert at the moment, so she really could have cared less about the whole thing until we got bowls of ice cream at the end. 

Today is the last day of school and we are all so, so excited!!!  Bring on the summer adventures, hope yours is off to the best start! XO

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Waverly Maye's Dance Recital

It is officially the LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL and we are sooooo excited to officially kick off summer in just a few short days.  This time of year is always pretty chaotic, I looked in my planner yesterday to find approximately 1496 things we have going on this week, but felt a whole lot less stressed when I turned to next week and it was mostly blank.  I don't think I have ever been more ready for some slow, non-scheduled summer days than I am right now!

Waverly had her third dance recital over the weekend, it was seriously the cutest thing ever and I wanted to take a minute to document how sweet it was because we really are so incredibly proud of her.  We started Waverly in dance when she was two & a half, I was actually in the hospital after having Avalon on the day of her first rehearsal three years ago, and it's crazy how far she has come since then!  She has now moved up to the 6-8 class and does an hour & a half of tap, ballet, & jazz each week -- I was nervous that after a full day of school she would be too exhausted for all that, but she loves it and it's one of her favorite days of the week!  She was crazy excited for her recital this year, she kept counting down to her "big day" and must have practiced each of her dances 100 times.  Watching her on stage was the best, she was so into it and you could just tell how happy it made her, which of course made me so happy.  And emotional, I feel like I blinked and she went from being one of the babies in the show to one of the big girls, hanging out in the back between dances looking at her yearbook.

She told me yesterday, the day after her recital, "mama, I just wish I could stay on stage and dance forever and ever".

Also worth noting, for the memory book, Avalon has zero interest in joining dance.  When I asked her for the tenth time last week, she responded with the longest, most drawn-out story ever -- "mom, if I did dance I would have to twirl, and then I would fall, and then I would get boo boo's.  And mom, I don't want anymore boo boo's.  So that's why I don't want to do dance."  Not sure how I argue with that.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Avalon Elle is Three!

Our Avalon girl turned an entire THREE years old yesterday, I am not sure where the time has gone but goodness I am loving this age with her!  She was so adorable about her birthday, we had been working on holding up three fingers for a couple weeks now and she keeps asking "now that I'm free, I can do the monkey bars, right?!".  The girls will be having another joint birthday party this year at the beginning of July, so we celebrated with a laid-back birthday brunch at one of our favorite restaurants over the weekend and then yesterday with an afternoon at the pool.  Simple and sweet, just like her!

Some things I always want to always remember about Avalon Elle from this age.

She has the biggest heart and is just THE sweetest.  She never lets anyone leave without a hug, and if she knows someone is upset, will get to close to them to sure they know that she is there.  She especially does this with Waverly, she will go give her hugs and say "it's ok, sissy".  She already loves her baby sister and gives my belly multiple kisses every day, I cannot wait to watch her become a big sister soon.

She talks a mile a minute, once she is comfortable where she is, and has a northern accent that is so random but is seriously the cutest thing in the world.  She tells the most detailed & long, drawn-out stories and also finds a way to convince you to let her do most of anything, she's so dang cute when she asks that it's nearly impossible to say no.

Of all the places we go, she probably likes being home the best.  She will play in her playroom for hours, mostly with trucks and balls and anything Peppa Pig.  The first thing she asks when I pick her up in the afternoon is when we are going home, she gets so excited to put on her favorite pajamas and just lounge around with her family.

She looks up to Waverly so much, is always thinking of her and wants to do everything just like her.  The other night the girls were supposed to be sleeping in their joint room, we could hear Avalon talking so we went in there and she was sitting on Waverly's bed, right next to her under the blankets, reading her a book while Waverly was sleeping soundly.  Sweetest thing everrrrr, and so true to her little personality.

She is so silly and loves to make others laugh.  If she knows that we think whatever she is doing is funny, she will do it forever.  At the same time, she is super shy at first and very careful about what she chooses to do, but always remembers everything about anywhere we are at, and tells us all about it later.

I still remember the day she was born three years ago so well, after another crazy long induction and labor, she came out with the face of a little angel, looking just like her daddy and with the sweetest demeanor.  So much has changed, but so much of that is still the very same.  Happiest birthday, Avalon Elle, we love you to the moon and are forever thankful you are ours!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Summer Bucket List

Yesterday marked exactly two more weeks until all three of us girls are done with school for the SUMMERRRR!!  Gosh this is the most wonderful feeling every year, this time around is probably the best yet since most likely (unless she is really late), the next time any of us are back in school baby sister will officially be here with us!  Also my break will be super long, with summer plus maternity leave added on, I am going back to teaching next year but will take off until around Thanksgiving.  My due date fell within a few days of school starting, which obviously worked out nicely to get a long break, everyone asks if we planned it that way but she is our surprise baby & the timing was just complete luck!

With tons of house renovations still going on and a baby arriving in three months, I am going into this summer with plans to not make that many plans.  The girls are honestly just so excited to be in our new house and I know it's still going to take a while to get settled, so I am prepared to spend lots of days at home and that is exactly where I want to be. We have let some of our memberships go for this summer, spending multiple days in the heat at the zoo or aquarium or water park just really doesn't seem realistic for us right now - BUT our new house has a pool within walking distance so we just got a family membership there last week, which I am sooooo excited about!  It has a kids area and snack bar and does all sorts of socials throughout the summer, it's basically perfect for an incredibly pregnant mama and her two kids to post up at every day to take a break between nesting.  The only person who might be more excited about it than me is Waverly, she has been talking about it nonstop since we first went and when we asked her what she wanted to add to the summer bucket list this year, going to the pool was literally the only thing she wanted to do.

For all the reasons above, our list is super short this year but we couldn't go without one completely, can't wait to make these memories as a family before adding another little lady to the mix!

1.  Fishing with daddy.
2.  Our second annual lemonade stand (in our new neighborhood this time!).
3.  Camping in the backyard.
4.  Painting on canvases outside.
5.  Peach picking.
6.  Babymoon for the two adults only (most likely waaay laid-back, not too far away!).

Avalon really wanted to add "snow" to our list, and I really wanted to add about 5398 house projects, but we thought we would stop at six.

Happy June friends, and happy summer ahead! XO

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Second Trimester: Baby Three

Sharing some about this baby girl bump today, two more weeks until the third trimester officially hits!  That sweet middle spot of the second trimester is always my favorite, right before you are huge & uncomfortable (and peeing literally every thirty minutes throughout the night), but getting here also means we are closer to meeting her which still feels so, so surreal!

We had our fourth ultrasound of this pregnancy a couple weeks ago, this one was a follow-up to the anatomy scan since she covered her face the entire time and we also couldn't get a good look at her heart.  This time I was determined to get her moving and ate a pack of pink starburst the hour before, which worked, we were able to see everything (she measured perfectly!) and also her sweet face!  She looks so much like Avalon, at least from the images we got, and was just precious with her little hands on the top of her forehead.  She is measuring a little small, in the 25% percentile, both of the other girls did as well and I'm completely good with that since I am two for two on being very overdue and induced, and am really hoping to go into labor on my own this time.  I know there will be less chance they will want to induce me if she isn't measuring big, and am also 100% prepared to hold out for as long as I can (and that is safe for the baby), no matter how ready I am to meet her by the end! 

She still has no name, we have a few that we like but none that we have completely agreed on quite yet.  We didn't officially decide on Waverly's name until we met her, and knew Avalon's name the minute we found out she was a girl but waited until she was born to tell anyone.  This time around we also plan to keep it a surprise, even from the girls (who would tell everyone!).  I really love having one surprise since I'm too much of a planner to do the gender that way, and we also honestly don't want to hear anyone's opinions or thoughts on the name and know they won't do that once she's here. ;)  We haven't started her nursery yet, but plan to in the next few weeks, we have the prettiest wallpaper ready for the wall where her crib will be and I cannot wait to start putting it up!  The two big girls will be sharing a room and then hers will be the room closest to theirs, even though it's not even close to being started yet I love walking by it and seeing her sweet tiny baby things ready to be organized.

I am currently 26 weeks and have gotten the "any day now?!" comment twice in the past week.  Umm, actually no, 14 more weeks to go.  I really love my belly, bringing her everywhere with me and feeling her move all the time is just the absolute best and being pregnant will forever be one on the greatest joys of my life.  I mentioned in my last post though, this pregnancy has been hard on my body.  I struggle with how much to share without sounding like a complainer or ungrateful, but I also want to keep it real.  Pretty much every side effect that I could have, but didn't in either pregnancy before, I have had this time, including most recently some major sciatic pain that has been debilitating at times.  It got really bad about a week ago, so much so that my husband literally had to lift me out of bed & up the stairs because I could not do it on my own.  Since then I have been seeing a chiropractor and wearing back support while at home, which has helped so much, I am already feeling way better!  Ultimately I am just super thankful that she is healthy & growing perfectly in there, I would obviously pick me to have the issues instead of her ten times over.

Bag C/O Sage & Harper (Perfect for Packing Light for the Babes!)
Our next big milestone will be the start of the third trimester, looking forward to sharing more as we spend our last few months before we are officially a family of FIVE!  XO

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Baby Three Things

I was at my monthly check-up for baby girl last week and realized we only have one more appointment before I come every other week until the end, and oh my goodness, we are having another baby!!  We still have so much to do before she comes, but now that we have moved into our house she officially has a room and I have also been able to finally pull out some of the things we have been collecting for her which is always so much fun!  Tiny baby things have my heart forever & ever.

She is due September first, and if she's anything like her big sisters will come sometime (most likely a long time) after that, so I am loving shades of mustard & greens for her during that time of year.  Soft, lightweight muslins are such a must-have for us, we use them for everything, bonus points if they are extra pretty and can be used for decor as well!  I've rounded up all the other items pictured below, these will all be new to us this time around and I am so excited to use them for our littlest sister.

Dock-A-Tot -- We started using this for Avalon when she was about a year & a half (we used the Grand, found here, and you can read about our experience here).  When I started thinking about things we would want for baby three, the smaller version of the one we had before was one of the first things I put on the list, this products is just so good.  It really does have a huge impact on sleep, which is obviously life-changing!  We also used this on a few different trips and when the girls would stay overnight with the grandparents, which was so helpful as well.  It's really worth the money, I cannot say enough good things about it and it will forever be one of my first recommendations for anyone expecting!

Ollie Swaddle -- This will be our first time using this swaddle and I am so, so excited about it!  I remember having about 1567 different kind of swaddles (and sleep suits and everything else) when Waverly was a newborn and honestly didn't really love any of them, most likely because I couldn't figure most of them out.  The reviews on this are amazing and I also love that it's designed to transition the baby when she is ready to have her hands out and starting to learn to self-soothe.  I chose the prettiest shade of grey, it's super neutral and so soft.

Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock -- I have been eyeing this forever, it's completely one of those products that I wish I would have thought of myself, best idea ever!  I already have a hard time fitting groceries into the cart with two kids, I don't know how I ever would have done it with three.  The idea behind the hammock is that it easily clips into most carts, and then hangs elevated so that you can fit your groceries underneath.  There are a ton of prints & colors to choose from, we got a floral pattern and I can't wait to put her in it!

Lorena Canal Basket -- We have worked with Lorena Canal before on a rug for Avalon's nursery and this time around, got the prettiest basket for baby girl's room!  I love all of their items so much, everything is so versatile and well-thought out to use in a space for kids.  I chose the rose & natural basket, which honestly could be used in any room in the house, I plan to put some of her blankets, books & little dollies in it (if her big sissies don't try to take it first!).

Hope this was helpful to anyone else expecting, cannot wait to share more about our plans to prep for our littlest lady soon!  Just THREE months to go!  XO

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mother's Day & Move-in Weekend

Over the weekend, we celebrated Mother's Day and we finally MOVED INTO OUR HOUSE!  I really cannot even put into words how much of a relief it was to finally get to call it home, or even better, to have all four of us under the same roof again.  We had closed on our first house at the beginning of April, and since then, had been living between both our parents houses, while my husband spent most of his time in between working his full-time job doing work on the renovation.  

It was hard.  Since they don't have kids there anymore, both my parents & in-laws have downsized quite a bit and just didn't have room for both girls.  We lived out of tote boxes and I would keep one girl with me each night and pack for the other, who would go stay with my husband at his parents.  I hated that so much, the girls missed each other and us, we missed them and each other, and I have never craved routine and normalcy so much in my life.  BUT we made it through, and are forever thankful for our parents putting their life on hold for five weeks to help us and to embrace all the craziness we bring.  I've said it so many times, it takes a village and we literally wouldn't have made it out of this one without ours.

We still have a ton of work to do, we definitely aren't out of the woods yet but everyday it feels like we are a little bit closer to what we had envisioned for our family at this house.  The floors have been refinished and walls are put back in, as well as electrical work complete, so it's livable enough that we can stay there while everything else is getting done.  Doing all of this with two kids, pregnant, is no joke, and there have been times that I seriously questioned what the hell we were thinking, but overall I know this is exactly this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing right now and exactly where we are supposed to be.  We took a walk on our street the other night, as a family, looking around at the beautiful area our girls get to grow up in and the only thing I could feel was so, so thankful.

A few pictures of the girls over Mother's Day weekend, we were moving (or at Lowe's) during most of it but stopped to attend a fun event in Richmond and also for brunch at one of the places right down the street from our new house!  Three things I always want to remember from this Mother's Day:  (1) waking up in our new bedroom for the first time ever, next to my husband for the first time in five weeks, with my big belly, (2) the girls running down the hall from their brand new shared room, they had slept on mattresses on the floor but made it through the night without escaping, something I was worried about, and (3) Waverly's pure excitement and joy to read me all the cards and gifts she had gotten me, including an old red striped pen she had found and wrapped from my mother-in-law's house and was so proud of.

Girls Outfits
Hope your Mother's Day was absolutely wonderful, and wishing you the happiest weekend ahead!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Marvel Micropopz

We are so excited to share about our recent experience with Marvel Micropopz, the girls and I attended a event at Kroger celebrating the launch of these a couple weeks back and had the best time!  The Marvel Micropopz are collectible little toys, they have rubber suction at the bottom that makes them stick to almost anything.  My kids LOVE little toys, like to a fault, so these were a huge hit with them and they were even more excited since the characters were superheros (Waverly has been obsessed with superheroes forever, mostly Wonder Woman since she has a W just like her!).

The event also marked the release of the Micropopz app, which enables customers to see which micropopz they have collected and search for others in Kroger.  I love this idea so much, any fun distractions at the grocery store to help me get through my trip are solid gold.  We downloaded the app at the event and were able to walk through the store and find different locations that had micropopz for sale.  The girls also loved getting to color pictures with different superheroes, make shields out of paper plates, and decorate little home little goodies as a souvenir! 

To learn more about the Marvel Micropopz (and to find out more on how to collect all 24!!), you can visit this website.  And happy week ahead, friends! XO

Thank you to Kroger for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. #sponsored

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

End of the Year Teacher Gifts

It's that time of year again, we are in summer countdown mode -- 23 more days and all three (& a half!) of us girls are out of school until next fall!!  It's honestly a little bittersweet this time around, the next time Waverly is in school she will be in FIRST GRADE and Avalon had such a sweet first year of preschool, part of me feels sad to say goodbye to such a special time for them both.  But of course, we are so excited, having summers off with my girls is obviously one of the best parts of being a teacher and at the very end of this one, we get to welcome baby sister!

Snapfish contacted me a little while back about teaming up for end of the year teacher gifts, and I was so excited to work with them!  I love their products and also loved the idea of getting that item checked off the to-do list early, the end of the school year always gets so crazy and I am positive I was at Target at 8pm last June, with two kids, trying to come up with something at the last minute.  This experience was so much more fun (and way less stressful!), everything is so unique, beautiful, and personalized to make something special for the teachers who take such good care of our babies each day.

Waverly loved helping me pick everything out, we went for notebooks with each of the teacher's names on them and even got to design our own fun pattern to put on them as well.  We also created a fun personalized thank you card for each, I love the idea of this so that it's something that they can keep to look back on (I keep a file of cards and pictures from my old students and love looking at it when I need some motivation after a hard day of teaching!).  I added a Starbucks gift card in each and we tied it all up with twine, such a super easy gift but one that I think they will both love!

There is still time to order from Snapfish for the special teachers in your life, and using the discount code YAYGRAD you can go 40% sitewide.  Happy shopping and happy ALMOST summer friends, we have almost made it there!  XO

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

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mother's Day Week & Event!

Oh, the well-deserved holiday celebrating all the mamas, I think I might like this one a little more every single year!  I was looking back and reflecting on old posts (something I always like to do around holidays the following year), and had to smile when I read what I wrote around this time last year.  It's so funny, because even though things have changed a lot since then, there is really so much that is exactly the same.  I still feel like I am winging this whole motherhood thing at least 50% of the time, am exhausted 99% of the time, but there is never a moment that I am not completely sure that being a mom makes me the happiest I have ever been.  The girls have been through a lot lately with moving out of our first home, and in transition over the past month as we renovate, but ultimately they are still such happy, thriving little girls and that is the best (and most reassuring!) feeling ever.

I cannot wait to celebrate this weekend, we are finally moving into our new house, best Mother's Day gift EVER!!!!!!  Our plans are super laid-back, since our priority really is getting all of our stuff out of storage and into the house, but I'm hoping to take a break for brunch and some time to enjoy the weather.  The girls & I are also planning on attending a fun Mother's Day event at Kroger while my husband moves all the big stuff in, we are so excited for this!  The event will be held from 10-12 this upcoming Saturday (we are going to the Henrico location in Richmond) and is all about celebrating mamas with their little ones.  There will be stations for moms & kids to decorate cookies and to create floral bouquets, what mama doesn't love all the flowers?!!!!!  Definitely one of my favorite gifts from my girls.

Wishing you all the happiest Mother's Day week and weekend with your sweet families! You deserve it!  XO

Thank you to Kroger for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. #sponsored

Friday, May 4, 2018

Brickner Sister Update

Excited to share an update on my two sweet girls, I cannot believe that in just four short months, there will be three Brickner sisters to share about!  I hope I will still have time to write updates then, these posts are some of my favorite to look back on and I hope the girls will love to read them as much one day, too.

Waverly Maye, five years & nine months.  The girliest of girls, I have said this forever but I swear she gets a little bit more of it in her all the time.  She changes outfits by the hour and can never have enough accessories, I will drop her off at school in the morning with one simple bow in her hair and pick her back up that afternoon to find two purple crowns on her head and a line of stickers down her leg that she stashed in her bookbag (this totally scares me for high school!).  She loves performing for us, playing mommy & baby with Avalon, and most recently has started writing in a journal about three to four times a day.  I will find her hidden in a corner doing this and it is the sweetest!!!  She is still challenging, I am constantly taking one million deep breaths and just hoping that I am doing the right thing and being exactly the kind of mama she needs and deserves.  She tests her limits all the time and somehow gets more dramatic by the day, but it's that same passionate personality that I love so much about her.  All it takes is one look at the sweetest little freckles that surround her nose, especially when she is really into whatever she is talking about and squints her eyes to get real serious -- all the chaos before is instantly forgotten.  I've said it so many times before, to know her is to love her, and once she feels comfortable with you she will love you back forever & ever.

Avalon Elle, two years & 11 months.  Funny, silly, sweet -- overall such a little character and so much fun to be around.  She talks a mile a minute, especially in the mornings, and somehow picked up a northern accent that is one of my favorite things in the entire world.  She has zero interest in doing dance or gymnastics like her big sister, but loves trucks and balls.  And digging in the dirt.  Her favorite color is blue and she will remind you all the time of it, and also is really into saying "no boys allowed" right now, it's so funny!  We are starting to see a little bit of the terrible two's, she is super opinionated on things like having a specific sippy cup or bowl, and is definitely at that stage of wanting to do everything herself, but can come out of being upset pretty quickly.  She LOVES to joke around and make us laugh, does little dances to be silly with her eyes closed, and when she is trying to convince me that she should do something I have already said no to, will come up with a way around it and say, "how 'bout that, mama?".  I just cannot believe she is going to be a big sister soon, she is still so tiny and feels like such a baby to me, maybe because she still isn't potty trained, but mostly because she is so delicious and lovable.

The girls relationship is stronger than ever, of course they have their moments (a lot of them), but it's so amazing to see how quickly they go from arguing to laughing and holding hands, true sisterhood!  With our house renovation going on there have been lots of nights where they have had to be split up as we stay with family, and every single morning, one calls my phone and immediately asks to talk to the other.  There really is nothing sweeter in the world, watching their love is one of my most favorite parts of being a mom and I am forever grateful I get to be a part of it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

20 Weeks: Baby B Three

We are halfway there, baby girl!!!!  Most of the time I still cannot even believe this little lady is real, I am starting to think that it probably won't hit me until she is born and especially when I see all three of our girls together.  20 weeks still feels like forever away, but the way life moves these days, I know I will blink and she will be in my arms -- goodness I am so, so excited for that!

Some updates on the second trimester of this pregnancy, you can find my first trimester update here!  Just like the other two girls, I am feeling waaaay better now, most of my energy came back by about week 14, thank goodness.  I'm almost already forgetting how nauseous and sick I was for the first couple of months, funny how that works!  In general though, physically this is definitely my hardest pregnancy so far.  Both the first two were pretty much free of anything out of the ordinary and this time, I had a subchorionic hemorrhage around week six (which is common, but can be serious) that put me on light rest and then last week got some major swelling in one of my legs that was super painful and made it pretty much impossible to walk.  I was sent immediately to the hospital and tested for a blood clot, thankfully I did not have one, but was put on light rest again since the swelling only got worse.  I am seeing a vein doctor later this week and am hoping that it's just caused by some varicose veins, which I did get a few of with Avalon near the end, but they just are here earlier and worse this time.  Guess that's what happens on your third pregnancy.  Either way, I am feeling optimistic about it already as it seems to be improving, and of course so thankful that it's issues with me rather than the baby.  This is also such a good reminder that you should never compare pregnancies (which I find hard to do!), they really are so different, just like the babies they bring at the end!

Baby girl is growing and moving around more everyday, hands down my favorite part of pregnancy!!  I started feeling flutters here & there around week 15, but just the past couple of weeks have been able to make out distinct movements.  We had our big anatomy ultrasound last week and she looked perfect, but was shy and covered her face the entire time so we did not even get a glimpse.  I cannot wait to see which of the girls she looks more like, we talk about that all the time, along with which personality she will favor more!  The girls are soooooo excited, Waverly shrieked with joy when I picked her up from school the other day with the ultrasound pictures (and said she looked like Mickey Mouse), and Avalon's preschool teachers tell us that she talks about her baby sister all the time and even "made" our family out of play dough the other day and included the baby.  They are constantly giving my belly kisses and talking about her, most often what we will name her (which at this point, we have NO IDEA!!!).  Experiencing it with both of them is really the sweetest and that part of this pregnancy has been so special, completely making all the physical hard stuff completely worth it.

I really do love being pregnant, the miracle or beauty of it all really never gets lost on me and even with everything else going on, I am making it the biggest point to soak every little part of it in.  She may be the baby that we are least prepared for, at least so far, but goodness she is sooooo loved already!  Our sweet surprise, September baby girl.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Car Seats // Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0

Somehow, I am 20 WEEKS pregnant, halfway to meeting our newest baby girl!!  I'm pretty sure at this point with Waverly, I had a good amount of her nursery done, registry complete, and was spending most of my free time righting down baby to-do lists before her due date.  So not the case this time around, especially since we aren't even currently living in our house.  But I have been collecting some fun things for her, she already has quite the collection all stacked up in the trunk of my car along with a couple boxes in our storage unit! :)  Including this car seat, the Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 from Cybex, big sissies might even be more excited about this than I am (or maybe just the thought of her actually being here & in it!).

This car seat is sooooo good, by far my favorite part is how safe it is.  It uses new technology developed to both prevent the rising number of infant deaths from hot cars and also to continuously monitor the child while the car is in motion.  If a child is either left in the car or unbuckles herself, an alert will go off through both the vehicle receiver and through an app your cell phone.  The app is actually not required to receive alerts, so it is also promoting safe driving, especially important when our babies are in the car!  I still can't even believe I am going to have THREE of them piled up back there, so every bit of piece of mind I can have I love and appreciate.

The car seat is so pretty too, I love the grey color and how streamlined it is!

To read more about the Sirona M with Sensor Safe 2.0, you can visit the Cybex website here.  Happy driving, friends! XO

Thank you to Cybex for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Our New Home // Before Pictures

It's been a little over two weeks since we closed on our new house and even though we are very still much in the trenches of renovations (and won't even be moving in for at least a couple more weeks), we are finally starting to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and it feels sooooooo good!  I thought I would share some before pictures, I did a really bad job documenting the progress we made on our last house and want to be able to remember how far we come this time around!

First some background on our house search, which started back in October and lasted SEVEN MONTHS, until we made the offer on our house mid-March!  The entire reason that we started looking for a new home was for a better school district, we had just done a ton of work on our house and honestly loved it more than ever, but our priority was getting our girls to some of the best schools in the area (which especially as a teacher, is so important to me!).  This narrowed our options way down, some other things that I really wanted in a house were natural light, hardwood floors, four bedrooms, and if possible, a house that was unique & had some charm.  Especially after looking at so many houses, they all started to look alike to me and I hated that!  My husband's non-negotiable was a garage, and we both agreed that we wanted a big yard for the kids and somewhere that we could make our own, that needed some work but not too much work, if that makes sense.  We both love old homes and the idea of making them beautiful again, but we also didn't have the time to do a complete gut job with three kids.

Turns out those requirements were a lot to ask for.  We walked in house after house and almost every one we knew pretty much immediately, it just didn't feel like home.  We came across a lot of houses that had recently been flipped by investors (which we hated the idea of!), some houses that we knew the layout would never work, and other houses that were in neighborhoods that we just didn't love.  Right around Christmas, we found a major fixer upper in a really good neighborhood, made an offer and it was accepted, and then decided to decline the following week after finding out it was way more work than we thought.  We were so discouraged at this point, especially after selling our house and realizing we would be homeless within a couple months.  But also knew we did not want to settle on anything we didn't love, so we planned to look for a little bit longer and then find a rental until the perfect house came along.

And thankfully, just a few days later, it did!  Funny enough, the house had been listed for a while and we never went to see it because it was a little more than we wanted to spend and also because it only had a one-car garage (my husband really wanted a bigger one).  But after we finally decided to go and  saw it in person, we both immediately could envision making it our own and how much potential it had.  The house is definitely a fixer upper, which is kind of crazy starting back at square one after we just finished our other one, but we love the bones and are so, so excited about the neighborhood, school district, and huge yard for our little girls to grow up in!

A few before pictures taken right after we closed, so everything is pictured how we bought it, including paint and floors -- things look completely different now!  We have hit quite a few road blocks, which has been stressful and we still have a long ways to go, BUT we know it's all going to be worth it!  I am already dreaming of summer days here with the big girls, with most of the big work behind us and doing all the nesting for their baby sister on the way.

And the progress pictures, taken late last week, after we uncovered this brick wall (best surprise!) and knocked two walls down to open up the downstairs.  Cannot wait to share more soon!

Happy weekend! XO