Oh, I am sad to see this weekend go.  It was such a good one, making memories with the little girls who made me a mama & of course, my husband who is the absolute best at making me feel special and loved every single day of the year.  I’m so thankful for the crazy ride of motherhood, for the unconditional love of my babies and the most precious gift of being by their side as they grow.
On Sunday, I woke up to flowers and cards, Waverly had told my husband exactly what to write in mine from her and it said “Happy Mother’s Day Mommy, Welcome to my Heart”.  Avalon’s card said “This is from Avalon and Waverly”.  If it was acceptable, I might just blow those both up and put them above my bed, I just love these girls something fierce. 🙂  
We had brunch and went to the beach, let the girls take naps, went on a long walk, and had both our parents over for dinner.  More than ever before, I am so grateful for my own mom who raised four kids (rock star!), and who now is a grandmother to my girls.  Thank you to all the women in my life who inspire me to be a better mother, and who lift me up when I need it.  It truly takes a village to raise a child and I don’t know what I would do without ours.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend with your loved ones!  There are so many ladies in this community who are some of the best moms around, I always feel so honored to be a part of it.  XO

I think most of my fellow mama friends would agree, it’s always more fun to talk about the good parts of motherhood.  The days where you rock it, your kids are patient, sweet, and smiling, well-fed, clean, looking adorable & even color-coordinated.  The floors are swept and the sink is free of dishes, and crazy enough, the laundry is clean and put away in its correct places.
We have a lot of those, and they are wonderful.  Absolutely 100% wonderful.  And most of the time, we have a lot more of that than the hard stuff.  I’ve said it before, our transition to two has actually been fairly easy, definitely way easier than we ever thought it would be, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at both my daughter’s faces & think that my heart literally may burst.

But sometimes I think it’s okay (and important) to talk about the difficult parts, too.  The moments that you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and overworked.  We all have them, and we all deserve to, without feeling bad about it.  And the entire reason I write that is to remind myself of exactly that.

I had a few difficult days in a row a couple weeks ago, pretty much a string of hard moments that usually aren’t that big of a deal but for whatever reason, they were.  Waverly was being “three”, Avalon was being mobile & shutting her fingers in drawer after drawer, the house was a mess, and I felt like I couldn’t keep up with anything, work or home related.  I found myself counting down the minutes until nap or bedtime and then, feeling the biggest case of mom guilt ever for it.  Which of course made everything worse, until finally, I unraveled.  I officially lost my patience, raised my voice more then I should have with Waverly, sat Avalon in her crib and just walked away to give myself a little time-out of my own.

As horrible as it felt to hit such a low, I look back now & am so glad I did.  Sometimes it takes moments like that to build yourself back up, and while you are at it, to give yourself some grace.  I think as moms that we all put way too much pressure on ourselves (I’m at the front of the line), and that at the end of the day, we need to remind ourselves that there is no reason to be ashamed or feel bad for feeling tired or overwhelmed.  We are human, and most importantly, we are not alone.  For every moment that you feel that way, there’s another mama somewhere feeling exactly the same way, we are all in this together and we will all push through together! 🙂

I’m reminded all of the time of how incredibly resilient children are.  I felt so bad for losing my patience with my girls & was positive that they would remember it forever.  Of course, Waverly came running in within minutes wanting me to play tea party and dolls with her, telling me how much she loved me & saying “mommy, I missded you”.  Avalon was coming in for kisses, her new favorite party trick that seriously melts me every time.  I’m not always perfect, but to them, I am.  And there is no better feeling than that.

My Shoes – Bag C/O Seaport Stitches

Wishing all of the moms out there the happiest Mother’s Day week!  You are strong, beautiful rock stars – and I promise you, your little ones are positive that you hung the moon.  Even on the days that you definitely don’t feel that way about yourself.  Lots of love & hugs from me to you! XO

Over the weekend, we took the girls strawberry picking, one of our favorite traditions of the year!!  Last time we went, I was 36 weeks pregnant, hot as hell, and dreaming of what bringing both our little ladies would be like.  And of course, it was way better than I ever imagined.  These kinds of memories are the absolute best, the ones that make all the craziness so very worth it.
Waverly’s Dress (Similar) – Avalon’s Shirt
We came home with buckets of strawberries, some crushed, and made a steak & salmon dinner with the yummiest strawberry shortcake for dessert.  We have had a crazy start to the new year with my new job & things are finally starting to settle down, this little family outing was exactly what we needed and I enjoyed every single minute.  
Even the random gas station we had to make a pit stop at for an emergency toddler potty break AND the strawberry stains I have been cleaning ever since. 🙂
PS.  One for the memory books, because I’m seriously obsessed with everything Waverly Maye says lately.  On our drive she asked Avalon what she wanted for her birthday (from her), then of course answered for her, “oh, a horse, I’ll get that for you.  Or candy.  Which one?”  Because obviously they are exactly the same sort of thing.
PPS.  Kids hunter boots like the pair Waverly are wearing are on sale!!!  There are three options, these for toddler, little and big kid, and these or these for just little and big kid.  We LOVE Hunter boots, they are some of Waverly’s favorite shoes to wear and they just make everything extra cute.

I know we’re already a few weeks into spring, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the things we have planned to get into over the next couple of months!  Being outside is our favorite & nothing makes me happier than the weather warming up after hibernating inside (or at Target) for what feels like forever.  I’m extra excited this year since I’m not in my third trimester of pregnancy, so I’m a little more mobile, and Avalon is old enough to actually enjoy most of what we do!
1.  Bike Ride.  We bought a bike trailer a few years back when Waverly was little, it fits two and I’m so excited to put both girls in it for some family bike rides!
2.  The Zoo.  One of our favorite activities, we are really looking forward to be able to do this again!  They also have a splash pad when it really warms up.
3.  Homemade Popsicles.  Love this round-up of two ingredient recipes, I know both girls would absolutely love them and I feel like if it’s only two ingredients, it’s realistic that I will do it.  And how cute are these molds?!
4.  Picnic at the Park.  We did this the other night on our back porch and then the following day for lunch, it was such a refreshing change.  Would love to try it at park in our neighborhood as well!
5.  Sidewalk Chalk & Painting Party Outside.  I’ll be the first to admit that our afternoons of painting were few & far between over the winter, it’s just so.much.MESS that the thought of it is sometimes too much.  But outside?!  YES! 🙂  Hope the neighbors don’t mind the sight of two naked girlies outside painting soon.
6.  DIY Projects.  We have quite a few house projects we want to attempt, painting our fence and cleaning out the backyard are two of them.  And an inside project, my husband drove to Ikea last week to get the hemnes coffee table (since we love our dresser so much) and I’m so excited to hack it.
7.  Botanical Gardens.  Can’t wait to do this!!!
8.  Wash our Cars.  We’ve never done this with Waverly & I feel like she would be all about it.
9.  Adventuring.  We’ve already been doing some of this lately, just spending time outside!  Our backyard is great for this, one of my favorite parts of our house.

10.  Beach Trips.  This is one of my favorite times of year to go to the beach, since it’s not quite that busy yet or too hot to really enjoy it.  The girls & I have ventured there just to explore lately and it is so, so much fun, the perfect activity to just let them be free and tire them out for bedtime.


And a couple photos from yesterday, we pulled out our spring dresses for the sunshine and oh, how happy it makes me!  As do they.

What are some of your favorite activities for spring?!  And wishing you all the happiest weekend with WARM weather.  XO

We had some big changes over here at the start of the new year, ones that have definitely been an adjustment for all of us, but that have been exciting and crazy and wonderful all at the same time.  I haven’t shared much until now, as much as I am an open book, I still try to be mindful of what I put out there and I really wanted all four of us to be in a comfortable place first.  Above all else, my husband & girls are my number one supporters and most importantly, my number one priority.  I know all of you can relate to that! 🙂
Right after the holidays, I accepted a position as a bridal stylist and officially put in my resignation to my teaching job.  Craziness!  It all really happened very fast, I never planned on leaving my school in the middle of the year but it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.  Luckily, I was able to work it out to finish the semester with my students, while also working my new job, it was a few weeks of madness but we made it through!  
I’ve always been a creative person, I love style and fashion and all the things that go along with it.  I always have, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve only become more passionate about it, partly from this blog and being inspired by all of you. 😉  I also love the bridal industry, I have been planning weddings on the side since planning my own in 2011 (which is now linked at the top of this blog, look under pages!).  So this new position has really been the perfect fit, it has been so much fun to actually be in the industry I have been teaching about for so long, and even better to combine it with my love of bridal.  The company I am working for is amazing, I adore my owner and have already learned so much, plus have been able to be a part of so many amazing opportunities in fashion that I have always dreamed of.  I am the biggest believer ever in that “things happen for a reason”, this came at a perfect time & has given me the ability to be even more creative at work and also to still be able to be home with my girls more than when I was a full-time teacher.  All of which has been amazing!

With that being said, I don’t want to come off like we are in a perfect world over here. I always want to keep it real, and there are a lot of parts of starting a new job with two little kids (one who is still a baby), plus maintaining a home and being a wife and daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, aunt … that is just plain hard.  Like many of you, most days I feel like I am trying to pull off way too much and sometimes, not any of it very well.  It would have been way easier to stay at my comfortable job, the one I was in for eleven years, but I knew there was more for me and I wanted more for myself and for my family.  And more than anything, I wanted to show that to my girls, who I hope will do the same one day.

AND just add to the crazy, because why not, since working in this job I have gotten the motivation (and courage!) to officially start my own business!  Planning events is something I have always loved to do, it’s the creative & artistic soul in me, and I’m so excited to combine that passion with work.  Ashley Brickner Event Planning & Styling is OFFICIAL!  I already have some weddings coming up in the next few months, I hope to add more, as well as any other kind of events and just styling in general.  I’m so excited about this new chapter, and am thankful to my sweet family who has been so supportive of it.  If you are interested in more information, please email me at abrickner1@gmail.com, I will soon be adding a link to my new website to the blog as well!

And because what post is complete without pictures, a few of my babies because they are the reason behind everything I do, I’m SOOOOO thankful I have been able to be home more with them more during this season of life.  Miss Avalon Elle stood up for the first time Friday morning, it honestly brought tears to my eyes, I was so proud of her & just so happy I was there to see it, which wouldn’t have been the case if I was still at my teaching position.  Also, not for nothing, she has doesn’t done it since which I am 100% ok with. 😉  I love them both with all of my heart, even on the craziest, busiest of days, and hope that they will always know that.
 

Hope you had the best weekend! XO