Author Archive | rae

5 MORNING HACKS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

Whether you’re sending kids back to school or just ready to transition from lazy summer mornings to more structured fall days (hello earlier bedtimes!), getting everyone back onto the same morning routine is key. With 5 kids that have very different morning tendencies I’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that make it easier to get out of the house on time(-ish).

1 | STOCK THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM WITH TOOTHBRUSHES + HAIR SUPPLIES — Unless we have a good 10 minute cushion before heading to school or the bus, sending my kids back upstairs to brush their teeth and style their hair (if they haven’t already) is a terrible decision, because the distraction struggle is real. They find a million other things to do like rough house, find that toy they haven’t seen for a couple weeks, or count the money in their piggy bank. It’s a serious talent and maybe it’s just my kids but storing tooth brushes and hair supplies downstairs keeps everyone moving in the right direction.

2 |ONE + DONE OUTFITS FOR MAMA — It takes me way too long to get ready once the kids get up and I try to use as much of the hour or two before they do so to get some work done so having cute dresses and jumpsuits to throw on is everything. Add a hat or sunnies and some lipstick and 15 minutes is all it takes to be ready for the day! Unless of course it’s a hair washing day :)

At least until the weather starts to freeze in which case I stay in my sweats or jammies as long as possible, and opt for driving the kids instead of walking, LOL.

3 | CONTINENTAL BREAKKIE TO SIT AND EAT OR TAKE + GO — this is key for Tilly who would prefer not to eat breakfast until 10am. She just isn’t hungry, but not eating before going to school is not an option for many reasons but especially because she goes from hungry to hangry in a few short minutes. To make it easy on all of us we’ll be setting up a continental breakfast for the first couple weeks so there will be lots of choices and easy options to grab and go or throw in their bags for snack time later. A few things on our continental breakfast menu: no-bake energy bites, cereal, yogurt, granola, bananas, apples, peanut butter, hardboiled eggs and muffins.

4 | INCENTIVES! — Who doesn’t love a good incentive!? At the top of my kids’ wish list is Starbucks, a special after school snack, family bike rides to school, or “parent pick-up” instead of taking the bus.

5 | CUE THE MUSIC, DANCING + LAUGHTER — There is nothing worse than sending the kids off to school when one or more of us is frustrated or upset. Luckily — joy, cool dance moves and laughter are contagious. It’s also not a bad way to start the day!

I absolutely loved and appreciated all the comments regarding my thoughts on homeschooling. You guys are the best and seriously know how to encourage a girl!!! Instead of rushing into things this year, Johan and I have decided to spend more time thinking about the logistics and looking into co-ops, programs, and other resources that are out there. In the meantime the kids will be going to their usual school (that we love!) down the street and I’ll be scheduling one day a week to volunteer… something I’m sure Poppy will look forward to just as much as me!

Now back to morning routine hacks. Please share any tips you might have in the comments!

xo, Rae

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1

MINI MAKERS: HOMEMADE JELLO PLAY DOUGH

The kids have been on a slime making kick, which has been fun and messy in a good way, but making it seems to be the most entertaining part and trusting it in the hands of the younger ones hasn’t worked out too well (oops!). Let’s just say it’s hard to get out of fabric. To accommodate the kids’ love of mixing and making, and my general need for them to be occupied for a few constructive moments, we decided to make some good ol’ fashioned play dough with a jello twist just for fun, pretty colors and yummy smells. Oh, and lack of food coloring.

There are endless amounts of very similar recipes out there, but scroll down to see how we made ours…

JELLO PLAY DOUGH DIY

You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (veggie or canola)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 oz. (or 6 tablespoons) jello powder (you can sub for food coloring or kool-aid)

Here’s How:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat continuously until the contents “glob” together :) — see pic below.
  2. Scoop “glob” onto a floured work surface and let cool.
  3. Knead flour into play dough until no longer sticking to fingers.
  4. Play and/or store in airtight bag or container for up to a month.

The time between cooking, cooling and kneading was a little long to keep my kids’ attention, so I did all the cooking and they did most of the kneading and flouring which they thoroughly enjoyed and I had a dustpan full of flour after this project to prove it, ha! Flour is kinda like glitter in that every time you think you’re finished cleaning it up, you find more. But the mess is totally worth it or at least that’s what I tell myself (insert laugh-crying emoji)!

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being hive inducing and 10 being totally cool with it!) how do you feel about doing messy projects with the kids? I probably sit somewhere around 7, but definitely have to muster up the energy and patience before starting.

Happy play dough making… or avoiding… mamas!

xo, Rae

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2

A HOMESCHOOLING CONUNDRUM

For my own kids and family, when it comes to the topic of traditional vs. alternative schooling I’ve always leaned towards the side of public school. But as I walked through target the other day and casually grabbed the new school supply list a spontaneous thought crossed my mind…

Maybe we should homeschool?

Aside from not being ready to say goodbye to my kids’ cute faces (Poppy not included) for 7-ish hours a day, something about this summer has made me incredibly aware of how little quality-time we spend together during the school year and how much closer and in sync I feel with them during summer break. I’m more tuned into their heart, desires, needs and hangups than I could ever be during the crazy train that we all board between the hours of 3:30 and bedtime during the school year.

So here’s the conundrum. After hours of thinking, praying and making a pros and cons list a mile long, there doesn’t seem to be a “best” or “perfect” choice. Maybe it’s just not time or maybe God has something else in mind…  like a part-time co-op school program where the kids go to school from 8 to 12pm or 3 days a week from 8 to 2? That would honestly solve all of my problems and probably zero for anyone else’s (LOL) but it sounds pretty amazing!

I know this is a bit deep for a Monday, but do you guys struggle with picking the best kinda schooling for your kids?

And how do you make big decisions when there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer?!!!!

Always love hearing your input so please dish in the comments :)

xo, Rae

ESPEN | top sold-out from j.crew (but this ones cute!), shorts from gap, glasses are nike

POPPY | hoodie and glasses from target, shorts from childhoods, scooter from amazon

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15

A GRILLED CHEESE FRIDAY AT PIKE PLACE MARKET

When a cute new company, based on comfort food and a Friday tradition, reached out to see about sending us some of their tees, I jumped at the chance for 2 reasons, 1.) because I loved their designs and knew my kids would too and B.) because the name of the company alone gave us the perfect excuse to plan a trip to Pike Place Market for our favorite Beecher’s grilled cheese. Our outing didn’t quite go as planned, but we had more than enough fun to make up for it, lots of cute pics to remind us of our day and are currently working on a very yummy plan “B”.

I’ll explain more below but first I want to make sure you don’t miss the link to Grilled Cheese Friday so you can checkout their goodies and maybe snag a couple tees for back to school… I love the “grilled cheese friday” ones for the kids to wear on Fridays, but they are all really cute. Get 20% off your order with coupon code: GRILLEDCHEESE

Now for a ridiculous amount of pics because I love Seattle so much in the summer!

Instead of fighting traffic to get to the middle of Seattle and try to find reasonably priced parking, we headed to West Seattle, parked on the street and took the 6:15 water taxi from Alki Beach to Pike Place. A quick 15 minute ride that was both low stress and a lot of fun!

The jaunt from the pier to the market was a good 20 minutes (with kids anyway) and full of good people watching (did you spot captain america!?) and pretty sight seeing if you count the Great Wheel, water front, and these stairs decorated with lights and flowers along the way.

Our first attempt at a tourist pic of the market sign, wasn’t too successful. Realizing that the kids were probably starving as it’s now 7pm, we decided to head to Beecher’s for some gooey grilled cheeses…

… but it was closed. Noooooooo!

I had never personally visited Pike Place in the evening and it hadn’t occurred to me to check and see what time it closes beforehand, but now I know that things start shutting down at 6pm and Beecher’s closes at 7. :)

Starving, annoyed and a little whiny (and not just the kids) we crossed the street and grabbed our go to bistro boxes and juices from Starbucks. While we snacked, the kids shared their highs and lows from the day… their low being the obvious lack of grilled cheese… and decided we’d make up for it by trying some new grilled cheese recipes at home. Hoping to have something share-worthy for you guys next week!

Now with full bellies we attempted to take more Pike Place pics before heading back to the water taxi.

Outtakes are forever my favorite. Just look at how helpful Espen is being… Poppy loved the tickles he was dishing out and Griffin was super excited about being picked up and carried into frame, LOL. :)

Johan and I kept chatting about how comfortable Griffin looked as he walked around the city. A far cry from his anxious and OCD 4 year old self. A stage that he spent the last year growing out of. I’ll take Griffin anyway we can get him, but love seeing him so confident!

We also couldn’t help but notice how much fun Tilly was having taking pictures with my old iPhone. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

All that chatting and noticing had us loosing track of time tho, an easy thing to do on summer nights regardless, and we ended up having a home alone moment as we raced to catch the water taxi. By this time the kids were getting cold, Poppy was getting tired and we would have had to wait another hour for the next taxi, so running seemed like the only reasonable thing to do and it paid off!

(Pic of Johan and me by Griffin)

A tired and very salty Poppy by the time we made it off the boat, but even with the grilled cheese set back and missing Ozzie who had baseball, a perfect summer night.

I’m still very much in the “summer forever” mindset, but if there is anything that can get me excited for fall it’s comfort food and more specifically grilled cheese sandwiches!

Don’t forget to head to Grilled Cheese Friday and snag a couple tees at 20% off with coupon code: GRILLEDCHEESE

And if you’re feeling inspired by Poppy’s pretzel tee, here’s our favorite recipe to make some at home!

Happy (grilled cheese) Friday friends!

xo, Rae

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8

SUNDAY AT GREEN LAKE, SEATTLE

A few years ago some girlfriends and I rented paddle boards in this cute little neighborhood in Seattle called Green Lake. It ended up not being the best day to be on the water — cold and windy and to top it off, I fell in! Ha! But we laughed a lot, had a great time together and fell in love with the area. It just doesn’t get better than being near water with recreational options, a paved trail for walking, running, or scooting around, and places to eat within walking distance. Ever since that girl date, I’ve been thinking, “Gosh I need to take Johan and the kids there!” and last week I finally got around to it!

The kids swam a little in the lake but we mostly hung out at the wading pool and walked along the trail. It was the the perfect end to a rather hectic weekend. A few pics from our outing…

Always on the hunt for a cold treat.

Always finding one.

Look at Espey jumping off the high dive!!!! And a proud sister sharing some love below.

Love the vibe of this beach with the old school dock and diving boards and lifeguard sign and chairs. Earlier in the day they even had lifeguards rowing around the swim area making sure the kids were safe as they jumped off the diving boards. Places and scenes like this always remind me of the retreat area where Dirty Dancing was filmed. Not sure why it took us so long to plan a visit!?

Are there any places close to home that you’ve been wanting to visit?

Happy Monday Friends!!!

Oh and I wanted to remind you to checkout my meal plan HERE if you’re into that and missed it on Friday?! Personally looking forward to what’s on the menu tonight :) Hope it helps get your week started!

xo, Rae

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2

DECORATED STORE BOUGHT ICE CREAM SANDWICHES + A MEAL PLAN

It’s Friday!!! We’re celebrating with an easy kitchen activity that you can do (and eat ;) with the kids and a meal plan — because getting a jumpstart on next week felt like a really good idea!

You guys know I love anything with googly eyes on it, but aren’t these decorated ice cream sandwiches cute? I had originally planned on making them for Griffin’s party, to match the cake, but ran out of time. So earlier this week, since I had all the supplies on hand, the kids and I threw some together for fun. They hardly require directions, but here’s the DIY details…

DECORATED ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

  • Straight from the freezer, dip the top of your ice cream sandwiches in sprinkles…. you don’t need to wait until they soften or melt for the sprinkles to stick.
  • “Glue” the candy eyes on with icing.
  • Return to the freezer or eat up!

Now for a meal plan… Next week is looking really yummy!

MONDAY | salmon cakes and garden salad

TUESDAY | black bean quinoa salad with chipotle steak

WEDNESDAYone pot chicken + veggies chow mein

THURSDAY | huevos rancheros

FRIDAY | ravioli + a yummy salad… my favorite lately is to toss together the following: arugula, quinoa, grape tomatoes, slivered almonds, whatever protein I have on hand and pesto with a red wine vinaigrette or coconut oil and lime juice

BREAKKIE | chilled summer overnight oats, smoothies + protein shakes, continental breakfast (yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, cereal, hardboiled eggs, peanut butter toast, etc.)

SNACK | frozen yogurt dots, chips + guac, tuna salad + crackers

Have a great weekend friends!

xo, Rae

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3

BACK TO SCHOOL HAIRCUT INSPIRATION

I’m really good at avoiding all things back to school and in theory, I guess it makes sense. I mean, who wants to think about going back to school when there’s still summer to soak up!? The only problem is that once the last week or two of summer rolls around we’re too busy scrambling to buy school supplies, picking out backpacks, running around to appointments, and crossing our fingers that all the first day of school outfits arrive on time, to actually enjoy it.

This year, with 40 something days left of summer, I’m doing my best to spread out the back to school preparations. A box of stylish clothes from Rockets of Awesome  should be arriving in the mail next week, I grabbed school supply sheets from Target last week, and today I plan on booking everyone a haircut. Last night I went a little crazy on Pinterest and pinned a ton of hairstyle inspirations (HERE) for the little and big kids and thought I would share along with a reminder to schedule haircut appointments… if you haven’t already :)

Here’s what I’m hoping my kids pick…!

ESPEN | His hair isn’t quite this long, but it does have that beachy look to it that I love! Definitely a good candidate for long boy hair which I can’t seem to get enough of lately.

TILLY | Last week Tilly was in a hurry to get a bob, but since our usual hairstylist was booked, I took her to someone new and while her freshly cut locks look really cute it’s not quite what she wanted. Wondering if she might like this version of a bob?

GRIFFIN | We usually do an undercut on him (checkout the DIY here!) but his hair has a mind of it’s own and that mind really likes to lay flat on his forehead. LOL. Thinking this cut would look cute and be easy to keep styled!

POPPY | she has a natural layer of bangs that have been growing out lately and I miss them! So thought we’d try and give her official bangs that are a bit thicker. Hoping they won’t be too hard to maintain… anyone have experience with their kids!?

OZZIE | Don’t want to leave out our oldest, but searched high and low for a good inspo pic for him and all I found was little kids or grown men with facial hair and that smoldering look. Neither really seemed appropriate. Luckily he has the most amazing curls and a trim is usually all he needs!

You can find all of the pics and more on my BACK TO SCHOOL Pinterest board. There’s never a shortage of fun ideas and inspiration (hashtag always pinning) so you should also follow me while your over there! ;)

Despite my aversion to starting the back to school prep, I actually love EVERYTHING about it (new clothes, school supplies and hair? Sign me up!) except sending the kids back to school.UGH. Regardless, it does feel good to get started on the checklist… What’s left on your back to school checklist?

xo, Rae

P.S. — A few posts that might make all the prep work easier and/or more fun: BTS checklist, DIY backpack charms, teacher gift, + emoji lunch box stickers

P.P.S. — The last 4 images are from old Zara lookbooks.

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2

GRIFFIN’S FIRE STATION BIRTHDAY PARTY

We’re in Birthday-palooza mode around here — 4 Birthdays in one month! Last week we had our first party celebrating Griffin turning 6 and had a blast. Johan’s fire station was nice enough to let us use the bay (garage area) to host the festivities which allowed for a bouncy house and plenty of room for the kids to run around. Details, links to sources, and lots of pictures below!

FOOD | kept things simple and served PB+J’s and popcorn in these bags, cheese, crackers + salami  in these tulip cups, and watermelon and oreos in these trays. There was also a cooler with la croix, bottled water and honest juices.

Side note: the dimensions in the food tray listing are for the sides, not the bottom. I was originally hoping the food trays would hold everything but the popcorn, but they ended up being too small. However, they are perfect for snacks and the extras will come in handy for picnics!

CAKE | I ordered a basic 8-inch custom cake from our grocery store’s bakery with vanilla frosting. Nothing fancy. After picking it up, I added sprinkles to the top and oreo cookies with m+m candies (“glued” on with icing) as the eyes. Because eyes on everything please!

We actually only used the cake for singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles (ate some the next day of course!) and served ice cream sandwiches as the treat. Hip, hip, hooray candles from Target dollar isle.

DECORATIONS | #BDAY balloon sign from Target dollar isle, a few (wanted to do more but ran out of helium!) random colored balloons I had at home, plastic firefighter hats (these are cute and inexpensive!) added some color and something to play with.

GOODIE BAGS | kazoos, maze game and finger puppet monsters from Target, 2″ poppers, pop bottle candy, twisty balloons, candy buttons, teal striped bags from Amazon.

ACTIVITIES | We had a bouncy house, piñata and a firefighter game where you spray the wiffle ball off a cone to “put out the fire”. We were hoping there would be an extra firetruck there for the kids to climb in, but it didn’t work out (bummer!). I don’t think the birthday boy or his guests even noticed though!

I also set out a bucket of sidewalk chalk and table of crayons and coloring books. Neither got played with much but it’s always nice to have an extra simple activity or two.

THE PARTY THEME | I like a good theme (fire fighting was the obvious choice!) but have a hard time sticking to them. I’m way too random for that (LOL) so try to balance things out with pops of colors, classic accessories (like balloons!), and basic staples when it comes to food, paper goods, etc. I find this approach takes the pressure off and makes it easy to use things I already have around the house too!

All that being said, parties are really all about making it special for the birthday kid and their guests… keeping that in mind makes it that much more fun and easy to put together!

Can’t believe this boy of ours is 6!!!

I treasure the pics from my childhood birthday parties — remembering who was there and how we celebrated is so sweet and nostalgic. So thought I would put all the pics from Griffins party into a chatbook as a belated b-day gift and think he’ll freak about it! Might be a fun new tradition to do for all the kids?

How do you keep Birthday memories alive!?

Also, let me know if I left out any links or details!

xo, Rae

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2

MOM + MINI DATE IDEAS

We got home late Sunday night from our annual camping trip with friends (so much fun!) and jumped right into catching up on work and sleep, unpack the mountain of stuff we brought and cleaning the other mountain of dirty clothes we came home with, party planning prep for Griffin’s b-day celebration that’s happening tomorrow, and our usual schedule and life in general. After a few days of this the kids started to get a little restless (i.e. whinny and fighting with each other and who could blame them!?) so yesterday Johan and I decided it was time to divide and conquer. While he hung with the boys I took the girls on a little date to The Land of Nod for their summer camp craft time and a couple scoops of our favorite Molly Moon’s Ice cream. After that we did some shopping and then walked over to the new Rachel’s Ginger beer for a couple small drinks, before heading to Starbucks for our usual Bistro boxes to snack on while we drive home. As I walked at an incredibly leisurely pace from store to store with my girls, I thought about how much I needed this break from cleaning up the tornado that is our house, the constant beeping that comes from my phone, and the mile long to do list running though my mind, just as much as they did.

In case you could also use a break from being pulled in 10 different directions, picking up the house, and hearing about how hungry everyone is, here’s a list of mom + mini date ideas to help inspire a little quality time!

15 MOM + MINI DATE IDEAS:

  1. go roller skating or bowling
  2. learn something new together — a trick, knitting, dance moves, twisty balloon animals, etc.
  3. go to a skate park
  4. write notes or thanks you’s to friends and family together
  5. boardgames are always good
  6. go to target or the dollar store for some fun shopping (with a budget)… not to be confused with running errands kinda shopping
  7. nail appointment
  8. at home spa or nail night… you might have seen johan’s impromptu spa night on Instagram stories last week. so funny.
  9. campout in the family room or backyard
  10. bake or cook something together that they pick out
  11. do something sweet for a neighbor together
  12. do a craft (a few of our faves 1 /2 /3 /4 / 5 / 6 )
  13. for daughters, do each other’s makeup
  14. wake up early and go fishing
  15. checkout a new to-you neighborhood, restaurant, store, park, or play area

I always feel like the best version of myself when I’m able to be present with my kids, husband, work, friends, and even strangers, but it’s been such a challenging thing for me to do during the summer months (which is going way too quickly, btw!). Wish I could soak up the sweet moments and laughter and just play 24/7, but keeping up with work and order is also good, right?!

How do you find that rhythm between checking things off the to do list and making time to play?

I would also love to hear your favorite kid date ideas too!?

xo, Rae

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15 CREATIVE + EASY SUMMER DATE IDEAS

I might have had to eat salad with my fingers (so romantic!) but earlier this week Johan and I ditched the babes and enjoyed a takeout picnic on the waterfront. My favorite kinda date — no need to change outfits, spend much money, or prep anything but the babysitter :)

Summer is, hands down, my favorite dating season. Still, finding the time, money and energy can be a challenge. So I started a list of summer date ideas that don’t cost much, or require prep-work and that fit into a busy schedule! I’ll share below but first a peek at my date with the man I love so much…

I enjoy cooking and especially cooking with Johan, but takeout has my heart! We called our order in but still had time to share a beer at the bar before grabbing our food and heading to the beach.

His + hers. Not because I’m on a diet but salads have been a favorite food since I was a kid. Could eat one every night! With a side of fries of course. Snagged a few of Johan’s.

His best GQ face. HA!

Which lead to some funny commentary and serious laughter. I love making him laugh and  it’s easy for him to do the same.

A little love note we found. You can also see it in the food pic above.

A quick jaunt on the beach before heading home. But first, selfies!

EASY SUMMER DATE NIGHT IDEAS:

  1. Putt-putt golf or driving range.
  2. Takeout, dessert or wine and cheese plate picnic… setting up in the backyard or front porch after kids are asleep (or watching a movie) counts!
  3. Early morning coffee date. Hire a middle school neighbor (whose mom is home!) to come watch cartoons and eat cereal with the kids while they wake up.
  4. Meet up for lunch.
  5. Go play tennis.
  6. Minor league baseball games are fun, less expensive and totally low-key!
  7. Farmer’s Market dates always include flowers (bonus!).
  8. Trying to recreate your first date is fun and usually pretty inexpensive, LOL.
  9. Go bowling.
  10. Track-down a food truck you’ve been wanting to try.
  11. Make S’mores and play cards around the fire pit… with friends too!
  12. Go somewhere with a view of the city/mountains/water and kiss :)
  13. Play darts at a dive bar.
  14. Movie or music nights at the park in your hood. They often start after bedtime which makes picking a sitter (and paying) a little easier.
  15. Walk/skate/bike along a paved trail or pier.

Two last thoughts…

  1. Take pics! I’m always hesitant to bring the camera or get my phone out, thinking it will ruin the moment but we take pics all day long of our kids because we never want to forget the moments and season of life. I forget how much I’ll miss this season of our marriage too.
  2. An article I read recently said that moms and dads that have semi-regular date nights are happier parents (there was also something about exercising and getting enough sleep, lol). A little incentive for when leaving the little ones feels like more work than fun. There’s a huge payoff!

What’s your favorite thing to do for dates in the summer!?

XO, Rae

A couple other posts you might like: DATE NIGHT IN WINE AND CHEESE TRAY + DATE NIGHT IN FAMILY ROOM FORT

2

MOM TRIBE

Forget the kids. It takes a village to raise a mom… Especially this mom! I’ve been spoiled rotten with an amazing squad of mamas that encourage, help, love and inspire me on a daily basis. A handful of them are lifelong friends I’ve had since my school years. Other’s are connections through friends, college, church, a MOPs group, our neighborhood and so on.

And then there’s the mom village that has been built from blogging here and posting on social media. It’s an amazing thing, the connections that have been made. Thanks for being a part of my village. For loving and encouraging me and letting me share my story with you. I hope I’ve done the same for you in someway. Motherhood really is the BEST HOOD and it wouldn’t be the same without you!

Now enough of me gushing :) Head over to this post and tag all the mamas you want to gush about.

xo, Rae

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