Thursday, March 31, 2016

where were we?

Last week Eric and I got to enjoy another family vacation at... Disneyland! Eric's family planned a trip for spring break and we couldn't resist inviting ourselves along! It was crazy crowded (never going during spring break again!), there were times Eric and I wanted to kill each other (HA!) and it was a totally exhausting trip... but we would do it all over again in a heartbeat! It was so magical for Mia, we had so much fun and loved making those memories with the Brinkerhoff's! I'm actually still recovering from the vacation blue's knowing that we won't be going back to Disneyland for a long time... I hope the magic isn't gone for Mia when we do go back!

Our first day at Disneyland was both a success AND fail! Success: we met all the characters on Mia's list and then some! We met Rapunzel and Flinn Ryder, Tinker Bell and the water fairy, Jasmine and Aladdin, Princess Tiana and best of all, a special meet up with our favorite Ariel! Mia got to hold her hand and walk with her to "her spot" then they hugged, talked and danced together... with more hugging in between all of that! It was just the sweetest and Mia was in heaven! It's funny to think back when Eric and I went to Disneyland when Mia was just 6 months old. I remember having the conversation that people who stood in line for the characters were crazy and we would never waste our time doing that... psych! Totally eating our words now and loving every minute of it! Not the waiting in line part, but watching Mia interact with the characters! Pure magic!
Mia was so excited to meet up with grandma and papa and all of her cousins! It's the first time in well over a year and a half since the whole family has all been together, too long! We didn't stay together very long but Mia was thrilled to know that family was in the park! We ate our way through Disney and rode all Mia and James friendly rides! We have nailed down the perfect time to go on "It's a Small World" so that we literally just walk on and it's amazing (for a ride that we don't love but Mia can't get enough of, ha ha!) We remembered to play at Toon Town as well and Mia had so much fun!

Fail: We cut out early so that I could go to the urgent care... LAME! I sprained my finger a few days before my trip, but the pain and swelling escalated over night before our drive down to California. I just kept praying that it would get better on it's own, but after 2 days of misery I couldn't take it anymore. At that point I was worried I broke my finger and it needed to be set... so I got to spend 3 hours of my night at the urgent care, UGH! Thank heavens we found an urgent care directly across the street from our hotel so I was able to walk over and Eric put the kids to bed! And thank heavens it just turned out to be a severe sprain, but what an expensive diagnosis that took away from our fun, ha ha! From now on I WILL go to the doctor BEFORE driving out of town if there is the slightest question in mind whether I should go or not ;)

Meeting Rapunzel was at the top of Mia's list and we got to do that first thing when we got to Disneyland!
She was so star struck with Tinker Bell and loved her way more than I thought she would! They kept touching foreheads and it was SO sweet! Of course I never caught that on camera :(
Jasmine is playing hide and seek with Pascal (Rapunzel's chameleon) and Mia was totally eating it up, ha ha! She get switching "Pascal" from shoulder to shoulder the rest of the day. So cute!
The sweetest hugs during our special meet with our favorite Ariel!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

a hoppy Easter indeed

We are experiencing a bit of the holiday blues now that Easter is over... the next holiday is just too far away for our liking, ha ha! I'm gonna have to make one up just to keep Mia happy since she bases time off of the next holiday we get to celebrate ;)
Easter Sunday was a perfect day! We enjoyed the most beautiful weather, spent our morning at church and we all got a nap, hallelujah! My sweet cousin hosted an amazing Easter dinner and egg hunt again this year and we had SO much fun! The food was delicious, Mia had a blast playing with cousins and hunting eggs, and we loved being able to spend time with family! We were all sad to have this day come to an end.
I went awol by accident last week so I never blogged about our Easter fun the weekend before the holiday, so for documenting sake, I want to recap the "eggstravaganza" we attended. Our community puts it on each year but we missed it last year so we were super excited to take Mia this year and it did not disappoint! Of course there was an egg hunt that lasted all of 2 minutes, ha ha! Kids are dang fast these days ;) But there were giant bounce houses and slides, vendor booths/food, face painting (which I didn't tell Mia about because we had family pictures shortly after and she never would have forgiven me if I made her wash it off, ha!), a petting zoo and Mia's favorite part?! PONY RIDES! It was such a fun morning and we loved watching Mia soak up the festivities!
Just for fun, take a peak at our Easter celebration last year and see how much Mia has grown since then... and James! I was 14 weeks along last year and announced our exciting news day after Easter :)

Dress c/o FabKids
Of course the best photo was caught on snapchat (weird sizing) follow along @courtneybrink

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

happy 6 months to my little love

I am in denial right now that my baby is SIX months!! Goodness, that went by too fast! Which means the next 6 months will fly by even quicker :( I do admit that it's been a bit less painful this time around to watch James grow. I caused myself some serious grief as each month passed with Mia... so much so that I had a full blown anxiety attack on the day of her first birthday party. BAH! I have loved every minute of having James in our lives, and I know it will only get better as each month passes!

- James is rolling all over the place, and we've even caught him scooting a couple of times! I'm pretty sure he's supposed to be a newborn who stays curled in one spot all day still, not a mobile baby, ha ha! 
- He hasn't mastered sitting up yet, but he wants to! To be fair... mom and dad haven't been practicing with him, like at all, but that's gonna change because he wants it so badly! When he's laying flat on his back, James is constantly lifting his head, shoulders, etc (which looks like he's trying to do a sit up) from the ground as he tries so hard to get into a sitting position, ha! He handles the bumbo like a pro so I think he'll catch on quick once we really start practicing sitting up!
- James is very alert and loves to be involved with everything going on around him. He's happiest when he can "people watch" and never wants to miss out (which has made nursing a joy). 
- He has been SO interested in food the past couple of weeks (months, really!). I've been so tempted to give him bites of my food because he wants it soooo bad, but we were on vacation so I held out because the last thing I wanted was a baby with an upset belly on vacation! But when we were holding him during our meals last week, we had to give him a spoon to play with/suck on just to keep him happy since we weren't sharing the goods, ha ha!
- That being said, he had baby cereal for the first time last night and he LOVED it! I couldn't believe how quickly he caught on! He was a pro with swallowing and even grabbed on to the spoon to help shove it in his mouth :) 
- James is finally getting more hair on his head! In fact, he has enough to get messed up, ha ha! The other day we took his hat off his head and we totally had to smooth down some crazy spots of hair! I'm getting excited to start styling his hair soon :)
- He still has not slept through the night. Each night I keep thinking, hoping, praying that this will be the night that we get to sleep allllll night.... 
- Poor baby HATES when daddy sneezes! Mia never like it either, but it really started bothering James in the last month! His face puckers up into the saddest (and cutest) pout, other times he bursts into tears and screams bloody murder, ha ha!
- James stuck his toes in the ocean for the first time just last week! He had no reaction the first time, he was probably in shock, but the second time he let us know he wasn't a fan of the cold water, ha ha! I'm itching to go down to Mexico to enjoy the warm ocean water now :)
- Mia and James seriously have the sweetest sibling bond! They have loved each other from day 1 but it just melts my heart to watch them interact these days! He is all smiles and belly laughs for his sister!! It's only gonna get better from here on out... and I'm willing to bed they won't fight a day in their lives ;) HA!     
- James is officially wearing 6 month and 6-9 month clothing. His size still blows our minds! Mia wasn't wearing 6 month clothing until she was 12 months, ha ha! She was so tiny and he's so big, and continues growing right before our eyes! I take him in for his 6 month check up next week to see how much he weighs, but at 5 months he was over 17 pounds!
- He's wearing size 3 diapers.
If I could use one word to describe my boy, it would be HAPPY! James is so darn happy and it just melts my heart! His smile is so contagious! It doesn't matter how rotten your day is... one look at his smiling face and all is right in the world again! I count my blessings daily that I was chosen to be his momma!

Friday, March 18, 2016

lipstick magic

So here's the deal- I'm a girly girl who loves all things "cute" such as nails, eyelash extensions, make up, etc. BUT! I'm also lazy. Or maybe I should reword that and say I'm a no fuss kind of girl?! ha ha! But honestly, I had lash extensions for all of 3 months. I absolutely loved them but I grew tired of the upkeep (and this was while working at a salon. Seriously, I'm lazy!) I love having painted nails but hate that they chip in the first 24-48 hours. Once I discovered shellac that changed my world! I could go 3-4 weeks between appointments and never had to deal with chipping! (Oh how I miss my nail girl in Utah! I have yet to find one, not that I've tried ha ha, here in Arizona. I miss having cute nails!) For anyone who's followed my blog for awhile, it comes to no surprise that I don't wear lipstick. 1- I'm scared of it. 2- It's one more thing I would have to keep track of through my day and I'd have to avoid kissing my babies, smudging on clothes, etc. Well guess what people, NOT ANY MORE! Let me introduce you to my girl Ashlyn who sales Lipsense...

Ashlyn reached out to me and explained what Lipsense is and asked if I'd be interested in a review. She told me, "Lipsense is a liquid semi permanent makeup which means it can last anywhere from 4 to 18 hours depending on your skins PH levels. It is waterproof, smudge proof and kiss proof. This means you can kiss away on those cute babies of yours with zero color transfer." Sold! Color still intimidates me but this sounded pretty fool proof and I had to try it. She sent me two gorgeous shades to try and I was hooked after the first day! Referring back to my lazy comments above, I love that I put this on once and I don't have to worry about it the rest of the day! This stuff literally does not come off! I simply put 2-3 coats of color and then a coat of gloss to lock in the color and moisturize my lips. Of course the gloss wears off and I can reapply that through the day if I want, but the color is there to stay! It's been fun to feel a little shocked each time I look in the mirror and notice the color on my lips, and my favorite part is that I don't have to reapply it the rest of the day! I've already purchased two more shades... I love it that much!
You can follow Ashlyn's Facebook page here to make purchases and get the latest scoop on Lipsense! If you do make a purchase, be sure to mention my name (or this blog post) to receive 10% off!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

pinch free zone

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Shirt and Onesie c/o Olive & Birdie
We really hit the jackpot with these two and their sweet, sibling love! Holidays with them are that much more fun ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March, so far

Oh my goodness, once again I am floored by all of your love and support! Thank you so much for your sweet words on my last post! We appreciate you all!!
So March has been a pretty fun month so far and I haven't documented any of it! So today I'm sharing some of our fun along with crappy cell phone pictures because this momma never carries around the big camera these days. Someday I'll master 2 kids, the diaper bag and my camera ;)

Zoo day with friends!

It was either this photo, or the one with her finger in her nose ;) I've been spoiled with kids who usually do really well with smiling at the camera, so I laugh at them  in this photo! 
My parents came to visit during their spring break and we had such a great time! We went to their first ever baseball game! Spring training, it's what you do when you visit Arizona in March! We also took them to Snooze, our favorite place for brunching! We went to the wildlife park another day and enjoyed the most perfect weather! We all had so much fun being spoiled with my parents... I guess that's one good thing about moving away from family. The time we do spend together is even sweeter :)

One evening after Eric got home from work, I packed a picnic dinner and we headed to the park to play! These are the things I daydreamed about doing since we've moved here, but Eric always worked too late to make it happen. It's the little things :)

We've hit up the splash pads (because 90 degrees!) but when one splash pad wasn't turned on, Mia found the next best thing. A muddy puddle instead of the sprinklers, ha ha! Yum ;)

We went hiking with friends and saw that gorgeous view from the hole in the rock! I love how much hiking we've done in the last couple of months!

So far our month has been filled with visitors, friends, adventures, beautiful weather and most importantly, family time! Eric's schedule is pretty dreamy this month so we are taking advantage of him working a normal 40 hour week (only the second time this has happened since we moved here!) and soaking up our time together! The best part? The month is only half over... we have even more fun coming in the next couple weeks and I can't wait to share it all! 
Yesterday a woman randomly stopped me to admire James and told me how much she missed the baby phase. She said, "these truly are the best days of your life!" and I believe her! Each day I feel more and more like myself again, I can handle a bit more on my plate (depending on the day ;)) and I am embracing my roll as a mom of two more than ever before! This month (aside from that crazy work accident) has done wonders for my sanity! March, you've been pretty great so far!

Monday, March 14, 2016

an accident and a miracle

I do my best to be a supportive, understanding wife and give my husband the support he needs (and deserves) while he's out busting his behind to provide for our family, but sometimes I fail. It's common for Eric to work overtime, and a lot of it. It's also common to hear me complaining about it (especially because I try not to complain to Eric, so everyone else hears about it, ha) because of course I miss Eric and would rather have him home... but his job as an electrician at a power plant is dangerous! Throw in some overtime and the exhaustion that accompanies it, and the risk of endangering his life rises.
My worst fear came true Friday when Eric was involved in an accident at work. There was an arc flash/blast that miraculously only left a couple of nasty burns on Eric's hands. Eric has no idea how he walked away with so little damage because that accident truly could have taken his life. He was that close to not coming home to me and the kids. Our hearts are so full of gratitude and we are thanking God for this miracle, and we don't plan on stopping... ever! That moment when Eric walks through the door each night after a long day at work will be even more thrilling to my heart than ever before!
It's so easy to get lost in the never ending to do lists, the stress of work, the pressure of paying the bills and raising children, and the fun moments that must be thrown in to keep sane ;) It's easy to take life for granted as we run around trying to do it all... but my goodness. All of that can be taken away in the blink of an eye! I am grateful to experience all of the crazy with my people by my side! I wish we didn't have to have experiences like that to be reminded of how precious life is and to cherish every. single. moment, but Eric and I won't soon be forgetting it! I am so in love with my hard working, loyal, dedicated, handsome, fun husband and daddy to my babies! The life we share is beautiful miracle and we will be doing everything in our power to slow down, breath, and soak it all in!

Dress c/o Pink Blush

Friday, March 11, 2016

all the foods {Nothin' But!}

Let me start this post with a question, am I the only one craving alllll the foods that one should not be craving in the early morning hours of the day thanks to blogging, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on? It was the worst when I was pregnant, but even now I could go for that burger, shake and fries I just saw you post about even though it's only 6AM, ha ha! Well luckily for you, I'm sharing a delicious, healthy snack that one can crave, or better yet indulge in no matter the time of day ;) Let me introduce you to Nothin' But!

Nothin' But makes Premium Snack Bars and Granola Cookies only from REAL ingredients to create delicious flavors like Chocolate Coconut Almond and Ginger Lemon Cashew. Oh yeah, those flavors are for real. Yum!! Here are some highlights:

- Nothin But snacks are Non GMO, and contain NO gluten, NO fillers, and NO egg, wheat or butter.

- Unlike many snack bar brands, the base of Nothin’ But products is primarily nuts, not oats.

- Only made from natural ingredients that you can actually pronounce!

- Their products include Snack Bars and Granola Cookies, currently available in 4 flavors.

- The real ingredients include their signature blend of honey, organic sugar and olive oil.

- They taste delicious, without sacrificing nutrition!
When my girl, Save This Memory Photography came over to snap a few photos for the blog, I pulled out one of my Nothin' But bars to snack on and Mia straight up deserted her lunch and claimed half of my bar! Good thing she's cute even when she insists on wearing her Ariel nightgown all day long, colors marker on her arm and steals my food ;) In all seriousness, it gave me such peace of mind knowing that I was still filling her body with real ingredients that are good for her body when she refused to eat her lunch until I shared with her!

If you're on the hunt for a delicious snack that can keep you fueled while out running errands, exercising, or just plain need to put something in your mouth since a burger and fries is unrealistic at 6AM, I highly recommend Nothin' But foods! The bonus is that if you have little moochers like I do, kids love these snacks, too! ;)

James doesn't even eat food yet, but he knows the good stuff when he sees it ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Loving: the gorgeous Arizona sunsets. Every night we are gifted with colorful, vibrant sunsets and it's simply incredible! I need to start taking more photos of them (in fact, I think I'll start sharing on snapchat! courtneybrink if you want to follow along!)

Reading/Watching: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I FINALLY finished a book! It took about 4 months, but I finished The Forgotten Garden and I loved it! I'm ready to tackle my next book- any suggestions? Something that can get me through the next four months of life... HA!
I'm watching The Bachelor on hulu when I have time, which means I'm behind. Story of my life ;) Eric and I are re watching all the Star Wars movies (again, a slow process) but I have breaking news, people! ERIC AND I WENT ON A DATE! We finally saw the new Star Wars movie over the weekend! All hail parents who come to visit and let us sneak away on a date! :) I loved the main girl in the movie, what a cute actress!

Trying to: get back into the swing of blogging. I found the perfect balance of busting out 2-3 posts a week (doesn't seem like much but man, I'm still very much in the adjustment phase with this mom of 2 gig.) but now I'm ready to figure out a time each day to read blogs again! I miss knowing what's going on in all of your lives (I'm one of those nosy ones ;) ha!) I know I've said it before, but I'm just so grateful for all of the amazing friendships blogging has brought into my life. The love and support you all show to me and my family is priceless to me! I appreciate you all SO much!

Wishing: we could soak up just a few more weeks of glorious 70 degree weather. After almost a whole month of 90 degree temps, we had a very welcome cool streak of 70 degrees! Of course it only lasted a couple days and we are supposed to hit 90 again tomorrow :( Even just a week straight of 70 degrees would be amazing. One last "cool" hurrah before summer hits, ha ha!

Excited for: upcoming holiday fun! Let me ask you a question... if you have kids, do you measure time by the next upcoming holiday?! I'm afraid that life has no meaning to Mia unless I can assure her that another holiday will be coming after one ends, ha ha! So next up we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Thanks to Olive and Birdie my babies will be celebrating in style, and more importantly to my twinninglovingmommaheart (is that a thing?), they will be MATCHING! All the heart eyessss! Run, don't walk, if you have kids, nieces/nephews, etc that need to be matching cuties during the upcoming holidays! I can't wait to see what comes out in the Easter collection!

Shirt and Onesie c/o Olive & Birdie

Monday, March 7, 2016

Utah getaway

One week ago we escaped to Utah to visit our families and the snow, and it was a glorious getaway! This is the first time since we moved to Arizona that Eric was able to go back with us and we LOVED having him all to ourselves for a few days! We lost track of the days (isn't that the best part of vacation? Not having to worry about time?), took a few photos on my phone and snapped a lot of our silly fun (I'm courtneybrink on snapchat!) then lived in the moment and enjoyed every second of our vacation!

Hats c/o  The Posh Plum
The first half of our trip was spent at a cabin in Brianhead, our annual snowboarding trip with my family! One of my favorite moments was finally meeting my niece, Ella! James doesn't usually show much interest in other babies since he is used to Mia- I think older kids are more exciting to him. But when he saw Ella he went crazy! It's like he missed her since their hangs in heaven ;) Anyway, we were hoping for fresh snow but we were greeted with sun, blue skies and warm weather all weekend. We weren't complaining though! Playing in the snow without getting cold is almost as good as fresh powder ;)

My mom is amazing and watches the babies while we all go off and play! It's the best set up and we are so lucky! I loved going boarding and having that play time with Eric, then feeding the babe throughout the day whenever we wanted/needed! Time with just us is quite rare so we definitely had a lot of fun snowboarding together!

Mia was begging to go outside every chance she could, she LOVED the snow! It was so fun watching her play in it. She couldn't move around fast enough with her snow boots, so she would scale the snow in a way that looked like she was swimming across it, ha ha!
Brianhead offers tubing runs and we thought she would love it! One morning Eric, my mom, Mia and I got tickets and off we went! Mia was SO excited during the lift ride up the hill, but she had to sit in the tube by herself and when they pushed her down, her tube turned so that she went backwards the whole time. Poor Mia did NOT like that :( I felt so bad that it wasn't a good experience for her. I know she couldn't ride with us for safety reasons, but I still feel bummed because I know she would have LOVED that! Next year we will just buy our own tubes/sleds and take her ourselves (we took her sledding last year and she loved it!) and make our own fun! But the adults sure had fun!
When we weren't playing in the snow, we were busy stuffing our faces (non stop) and playing games! It was such a fun weekend and we look forward to it each year!

Blanket c/o Oliver + Kit

The last half of our trip was spent with Eric's family and we loved every second of it. We got to see the whole family and play with cousins, plus some one on one time with grandma and papa! Eric was thrilled to work on his old Jeep (he can't wait to have his projects over flowing our garage, or shop if he has it his way, when we buy a home!) And of course we kept eating more than our fair of good food :) What more can you ask for when going home for a visit?!

Friday, March 4, 2016

our baby wearing experience {Happy Baby Wrap}

I've had so many inquiries on wraps and our experience with baby wearing (which I LOVE! Don't ever hesitate to shoot me an email, ask on Instagram or whatever! If you have questions, please ask away!) that I figured it was time to share our experience with a blog post! Let me introduce my love for Happy Baby Wraps and all the perks we scored with baby wearing!
Hat c/o The Posh Plum

I never wore Mia as a babe unless we went hiking, and even then I used a crappy, cheap carrier that probably wasn't comfortable for her (sorry Mia!) I don't know if wraps were just coming out then or if I was just completely oblivious to the world of baby wearing, but I am sad I missed out on experiencing that with her! To say I was excited to try baby wraps with James is an understatement! I couldn't wait... and our experience did not disappoint!
I first wore James when he was just 5 days old and I immediately fell in love with how cozy and snuggly it was for him! I made it a point to wrap him to me each day, even if it was just for a walk to the mail box, so that we could get used to it quicker! Once our parents went back home and it was all on me to keep both kids alive (while staying sane) it became necessary to wear James almost every day! Wrangling a toddler is no joke and I often feel like I need two pairs of hands to do it... but since that's not possible, keeping both of my hands free is key ;)
My favorite thing about baby wearing in public (besides the obvious- keeping my baby snuggled close) is that people tend to keep their distance when James is strapped to me. We were out and about as a new family of 4 when James was just 2 weeks old and we stopped for a quick lunch. We left James in his car seat with a cover, and some strange lady seriously came over and lifted the cover up, then stuck her head in the car seat. Umm, excuse me?! He was covered for a reason!! Strangers have no problem invading sweet baby's personal space, but an adult? That's a different story. I've never had a stranger (over the age of 10, ha ha! kids are a different story) try to touch James, let alone stick their face in his while I'm wearing him... can I get a hallelujah?! Baby wearing for the win!
When I look back on the first five months of James' life, I just didn't have the time to sit and snuggle him all day the way I did with Mia, unfortunately! That's all I wanted to do because I knew this time around just how quickly the time passes, and it's just not fair! But James isn't my only baby and Mia needs my attention as well! My favorite thing about wearing James at home (or anywhere for that matter) is that he was snuggled close to me and that's all he knew! It didn't matter that I was making dinner, playing with Mia, doing my hair, etc... for all he knew, I was sitting on the couch and doing nothing but snuggling him! We both had that closeness we needed and craved (it was a tad more relaxing on his end ;)) and I was able to tend to my other duties as well! So if you haven't caught on by now... I'm a huge baby wearing lover and recommend it to all momma's! We adore Happy Baby Wraps (we own 4, ha ha!) and definitely recommend the brand!

Wrap c/o Happy Baby Wrap

James is such a big boy (he weighs over 17 pounds now! Holy cow, kid! Slow down!) and I'm sad to see the wrap days come to a close, but I am looking into a carrier for more support. I'm sure I'll still use my wraps when I will only be wearing him for a short time, but I need more support for longer periods of time (hiking, etc) I am totally open to (and would love some) suggestions/recommendations!