Author Archive | rae

FAMILY TRAVEL: CORVALLIS, OR

I have a few back to school posts I’ve been working on this week, but first wanted to be sure and catch up on sharing summer adventures. Aside from a couple videos we’re still editing, I think our trip to Corvallis, OR for a baseball tournament last month and home to Oregon State University — and was very similar to WSU in Pullman, WA where Johan and I met so naturally we were smitten! Guessing we’ll forever be suckers for small college towns.

The majority of our time was spent at baseball games, but we also found a few local gems… more details below!

In a packing tips post awhile back I suggested packing accessories for the kids (like hats, purses, handkerchiefs, etc.) and you’ll see why in the pictures below… Sometimes they make the best toys or activity starters!

Thankful for a couple DM’s from Instagram friends who suggested we visit tried and true coffee. Such a yummy spot! And that bottom pic is my favorite.

The pizza place we tried (which wasn’t suggested), however was not a win. I rarely share when I have something bad to say about a particular brand or place, but I can’t help myself with this one. American Dream Pizza had everything going for it. The design, cute name, atmosphere… and roof top seating, yes please! But the pizza was bad. Like frozen pizza would have been better. And it’s not like it was a busy night and we were served an overcooked or undercooked pizza – that wasn’t the problem. It was just not very good. The kids didn’t even enjoy it… and they don’t have much of a standard when it comes to pizza pie.

That being said, it was fairly busy and most people eating seemed like locals maybe we are just super picky? Or maybe my expectations have changed since college. The group of girls at the table next to us, celebrating a 21 run didn’t seem to mind :)

I was sold on this place when I saw the picnic tables and read “pizza” on the sign, but then we couldn’t resist eating on the rooftop so moved up there. Wish the pizza was as good as the view!

Johan in his element just taking it all in. Espen being silly.

Can you spot Oz in the bottom two pics? He’s such a man child! It’s impossible for me to watch him play on a big field without thinking about his t-ball and little league days. Sacred stuff mamas! I know it’s a lot to haul kids and their gear and all the siblings around to sporting events or other activities but you will remember all the best parts about it. Trust me.

Finding the farmer’s market and walking trail was a happy surprise!

The only other place we were told to go was Benny’s Donuts which we failed at, lol, but inspired us to DIY the experience at home, HERE!

Stay tuned for BTS goodies next week!

XO, Rae

PS – are we Instagram friends yet?

PPS – shared a bubble recipe video and the secret ingredient is glycerine… who knew?!

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BLUEBERRY PICKING AT THE RUSTY PLOW

We may be going back to school shopping today and tomorrow, but there are still 3 weeks left of summer so we’re also still checking things off that sweet summer bucket list. Feels a bit like a conflict of interest but I’m just not ready to start switching gears yet. Why does summer have to go so fast!?

These pics are from a few weeks ago when we went blueberry picking at a place called the Rusty Plow in Enumclaw, WA. The kids ate as much as they picked and the blueberries were so, so good. There’s something extra sweet and delicious about eating food right off the branch while watching the kids run around a farm. Makes me wish I was good at (slash enjoyed) gardening. Maybe one day!? For now we’ll just enjoy visiting and eating produce from someone else’s garden!

Kinda want to get one of those dancing tube guys to set outside the house before the kids get home from school so they know just how excited I am to see them, ha! He’s also very good at photo bombing… do you see him a few pics up and the one right above?

Definitely something that happens often in our kitchen around snack time or happy hour is throwing food up to catch in our mouths. Usually we’re trying to throw it into the other person’s mouth and it’s always fun and good for a few laughs. Playing in the middle of blueberry bushes was also fun but the clean up was way easier :)

Griffey (below), pre-haircut. Love it trimmed but also love my boys a little shaggy. There’s something carefree and playful about it — two things that I’ve always wanted for their childhood years… that is obviously not dependent on their hairstyle, (LOL) just symbolic to me when I see it. They’ll have their entire adulthood to be clean cut!

A little tangent, if you’ll humor me — Someone (an adult) came up to me the other day while I was holding a very tired and worn out version of Griffin and proceeded to give him a hard time and tease him about “needing his mommy”.  I honestly wanted to smack this particular person. Instead I decided to walk away but then spent the entire next couple of days rethinking the situation, how I would respond next time this happened, why my mothering choice seemed to bother them so much and how people like that just remind me of how important our words are. I bring this story up because had the same person made the same comment to me as a less seasoned mom, say with Ozzie, Espen or even Tilly, I would have really taken it to heart and worked overtime to gain their approval of my parenting choices. Motherhood can be such a vulnerable thing, especially outside of your home — certain people will have critical opinions and will be impossible to please. So don’t let them make you second guess how you love, care for, or discipline your kids. Sure it’s important to seek out wisdom and always be growing as a human let alone a parent, but people like that aren’t mentors. They are haters and haters gonna hate.

So, play on player and do you boo, boo! HA! Whatever reminds you that you’re doing good and on the right track!!! Okay!!!?

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming ;)

Johan had started a conversation with the farm owners about the process of planting, growing and pruning the bushes and the number of people that pick blueberries each week so we had some free time to plat tag and do superman’s….

Sometimes the sweetest part of an outing happens on the way home – when everyones bonded a little and things are winding down. I love these kids… and the two guys that aren’t pictured, so much.

Also definitely think we found a new favorite place to pick blueberries, enough to make it a full family tradition every summer.

Did you adopt any new traditions this summer? Or maybe my story about the grownup that teases my kids resonates with you? Either way, let me know in the comments!

XO, Rae

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WORK + PLAY: WITH CHERRIES BY OLIVIA + OCEAN

The cherry doesn’t fall far from the tree… especially in these matching mommy + me suits from Olivia + Ocean. Textile design is one of my most favorite things to do and design and being able to see this ditsy cherry pattern I created come to life on the cutest suits is definitely a highlight for me this summer. Aside from being a client, I absolutely am a fan and customer of O+O. You guys would love Danielle (the mom boss behind the brand) her swimsuits and her mission.

She’s created the most adorable options for little girls that will have you feeling nostalgic and current at the same time. And for the moms she’s created a swimsuit that hugs you in all the right places, has a flattering silhouette and is super functional.

You can shop the CHERRY COLLECTION HERE!

Because Danielle is in the middle of moving her family to Texas (exciting!) she asked me to help with the photos for the launch and I jumped at the chance! Below are some of my favorites taken by Stacy Jacobsen and a couple thoughts on body image…

BONUS, the mom bod suits double as a really cute camisole! So cute with shorts or a skirt!

Passed the canon ball test with flying colors :)

Whether you have a suits you love or haven’t found a favorite yet, adding one of the Olivia + Ocean MomBod suits to your collection might be the best decision you’ve made all summer, especially if it means you’ll feel free and empowered to play more in the water with your babes. And she has lots of patterns and colors to choose from if cherries aren’t your thing!

For reference, I’m 5’7″, 127 lbs. and wearing a medium.

Now that we’re on the subject, when it comes to body image, what do you struggle with most? It’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately and I would love to chat with you about it more!

XO, Rae

 

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DRESSING BIG BOYS (+ GIRLS TOO)

I’ve gotten a few questions about how and what I buy for the kids’ closets and since back to school is a month away (for us anyway), I’m guessing it’s because BTS shopping is on everyone’s mind. Yes? Well if so, I hope this post helps in someway! Just keep in mind that dressing the kids should be fun (not to be confused with getting a toddler to put on clothes) so if you find yourself overthinking things or fighting with the kids over it – abandon ship! Nothing in parenting is more important than your relationship with your kids. Not even if it looks like a unicorn puked all over them.

Most of the questions also had to do with dressing boys… with all the athletic gear and giant logos, it’s hard to keep them from looking like a walking billboard and I completely understand the frustration. Espen and Griffin (so far) are pretty easy regarding clothes, but Ozzie went through a long stage of only wearing nike or under armour. Now he dresses better than I do. So there is hope.

In the meantime, here’s my strategy!

75% OF THE TIME MY KIDS PICK THEIR OWN OUTFITS — and even on church days or family photo days, they always have the final say because uncomfortable kids are no fun to be around. Poppy prefers dresses and skirts and the older kids know the difference between play clothes and nice clothes so this set up works out pretty good for us. On certain days I’ll give a few suggestions or guidelines, but for the most part it’s all about the choices they have in their closet…. Most of the time you’ll see them in sweats and tees (it’s all about comfort!). Oh, and lots of pink and play dresses for Pop. At the moment, Tilly is our pickiest dresser and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Wrote a little bit about tit HERE.

WHEN IT COMES TO ATHLETIC CLOTHES — they need it for all the sports they play so we’ve got an abundance. I try to buy stuff that fits well (not too baggy and anything more structured is a bonus) and I’m a fan of matching sweatsuits and joggers too. Both options make athletic gear look less frumpy.

BALANCE IT OUT (the sporty or glittery) WITH BASICS — so they might not want to wear a polo shirt, but most boys I know are cool with a plain tee or sweatshirt which is a great way to balance out the basketball shorts and tights! Same goes for girls and over the top tutus (or fill in the blank). I’ve been stocking the kids’ closets with lots of  plain tees lately and it makes things so easy for all of us.

I SHOP SALES!!! — and mostly online too. Makes it easy to throw a few things in my cart and then ask the kids if they approve before buying — they always have the final say!

Speaking of sales, J.Crew Factory is having a 40% off sale right now (ends tonight). I bought a few things for the boys (ringer tees, these sweats (j.crew sweats never disappoint), this striped tee, henley’s in green and red (there’s a striped option too) and a couple plain tees. Also got Poppy this corduroy skirt (I’m very into corduroy lately!) and white bell-sleeve tee.

Other places I shop for the kids | Zara (they don’t do many sales but their prices are reasonable), Hanna Anderson for pjs, denim at the gap, peek kids (their sales are so good!), gymboree, and small shops like hen & co (25% off right now), childhoods, alice & ames or plain jane. Nordstrom and Macy’s are also go-tos for shoes and athletic gear especially. Tilly likes Zella Girl and there are usually good nike and adidas options for everyone too.

Way too cute to hide behind “Just do it” convo tees and frumpy sweats!

Kid approved!

(Pics from a month ago on a ferry ride to Whidbey island for the day — Oz and Tilly had both stayed behind with friends.)

In closing — as a style enthusiast and stylist by trade, I work really hard at trying not to care about what the kids wear or pick out for their back to school supplies (just prepping myself for the inevitable, ha!) and at the end of the day I’m just thankful that we have more than enough clothes and money for back to school shopping.

When I find myself caring too much, another thing that really helps is turning some of that attention towards myself which is the only thing I can really control — what I want to wear! Ha! “Worry about yourself” is something I say to the kids often and for sure need to hear myself sometimes.

What do you struggle most with when it comes to dressing the fam?

HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON (insert crying emoji).

XO, Rae

PS – would you be interested in seeing more links and shopping posts in the future?

PPS – is it just me or when we were younger, was there more of a push to dress nicer for school, church, bday parties, events and outings with the fam? I always remember having “school clothes” and “play clothes” in my closet, but maybe that’s just how I was raised?

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HOW TO LIKE CAMPING, FROM A NON-CAMPER

Did you notice the “LIKE” in the title of this post? “LOVE” would for sure be too strong of a word. Also noted in the title, I’m not a camper. However my family loves it and if I am anything to our family, it’s a team player. Every summer I get a chance to prove it when we get packed up to  go camping on our friend’s amazing beach property on Whidbey Island (don’t you feel sorry for me, LOL?) along with 6 other families. It’s the highlight of the  summer and something the kids look forward to all year long. So many memories are made, good food gets eaten and fun is had during our stay.

Problem is, packing up 7 people for 2 or 3 nights along with tents, coolers, kitchen tools, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, pillows, camp chairs, blankets, food, drinks, flashlights, recreational activities, lifejackets, toiletries, towels, layers of clothing, etc. without overpacking (because it all has to fit somewhere), is sooooo stressful. Then there’s the setting up camp and figuring out where to put all the things you brought. Followed by hangout time which is amazing until it’s time for bed which is my least favorite because we’re out of our normal routine, trying to get everyone to go to sleep while laying under a layer of nylon and then my anxiety kicks in because we’re all spread out (in different tents) and you can’t lock a tent to keep everyone safe and I’m thinking about trees falling (among other things) and whether or not everyone is warm enough (also among other things) so I don’t get much sleep. After that, things are pretty wonderful (aside from the non-sleeping part… and bugs. Ha!). Until it’s time to pack up and pile all the tired, dirty and stinky people into the car :) And don’t get me started on the unpacking process… I’m still trying to catch up on all the laundry. So yeah, the work to fun ration (imo) is about 5 to 1.

But all the in-between time, play time and quality time are sooooo worth it. These are the days and they are so fleeting and camping is a great way to spend time with your babes making memories that are different than staying at a hotel or rental home somewhere. Which is why I wanted to write this post! So if you feel the same as me about camping here are a few things I’ve learned over the years.

5 WAYS TO TO MAKE CAMPING MORE ENJOYABLE:

  1. GET INSPIRED BY OTHERS — Talk to friends that camp often, look up blog posts, watch movies, hop on pinterest, ask the kids what they’re excited for, etc. And maybe even plan a camp trip with friends which also lightens the load… When we camp with our group, we plan and share meals for breakfast and dinner which makes it easier to feed the fam, but it’s also fun seeing and tasting what everyone brings!
  2. GEAR MATTERS — Just like skiing, gear matters. Especially when it comes to a tent, sleeping bags and mats/cushion/air mattress imo. Whatever you can do to make it easier to sleep well at night, the more you’ll enjoy the days. Since we’re not really a camping family we’ve always just gotten by with random hand me downs and a good tent or two. This year we rented a small teardrop trailer through rvshare.com. Having a comfy bed and fan was life changing — at least for Griffin, Poppy and me, LOL. Poor Johan spent most of the nights in a tent with the older kids. Next time I think we’ll for sure spring for a bigger trailer or camper!
  3. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION — it’s fun/nice/convenient to be close enough to a town and grocery store for a little ice cream outing or to replace the toothbrushes you forgot to pack. Oh, and a laundry mat might come in handy too. Comes in handy if it rains which we were lucky enough to not experience this trip but that’s not always the case!
  4. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO — Because there will be sand and dirt and bugs and missed naps and early mornings and _________(fill-in-the-blank)… so know what to expect and just be okay with it.
  5. KNOW YOUR WHY — It’s a lot of work and I will never be cool about bugs in my tent but I can for sure enjoy it for a few nights because I know WHY we’re doing it! The time with our family and friends, and all the adventuring is priceless.

I know I’m being a little dramatic about what I don’t like about camping, and if you haven’t already assumed it, I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world (HA!), but I did grow up hiking, fishing and staying at our family cabin. Always thought I would be cool with camping but turns out I’m a little on the high maintenance side (gimme all the cabins and trailers!)…. Sorry hun.

What about you? Did you grow up camping? Do you enjoy it now?

XO, Rae

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AUGUST MEALS + A DONUT RECIPE

Ever go on a trip, plan on visiting, eating or shopping somewhere, but put it off until the last day only to discover that it’s closed!? That was us last week while in Corvallis where there is this really fun donut shop called Benny’s Donuts that was recommended to us. So bummed that we missed out on a local favorite, but it’s also what inspired todays kitchen concoction which was delicious and fun too so I can’t be too mad about it!

Recipe and details below along with our meal plan for August!

VANILLA BAKED DONUTSmakes 12

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole, skim or anything in-between)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • *a donut pan (mini muffin pan would work too)

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Spoon batter into donut pan, filling 3/4 of the way — Or pour batter into a ziplock and cut the corner to pipe the batter into donut cavities.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then get started on the glaze (details below) and set out the toppings.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. Transfer to a plate or cooling rack.
  6. Once completely cool, dip into glaze (recipe details below) and then toppings. Let glaze set for 30 minutes before storing or stacking.

DONUT GLAZE 3 WAYS

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 drop of food coloring
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • toppings and sprinkles — animal cookies, sprinkles, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, favorite cereal, cookie crumbles, bacon, etc.

Here’s How:

  1. For the glaze whisk together sugar, milk and vanilla extract. If needed, add milk in small amounts until you have desired consistency. Divided into 3 bowls.
  2. For vanilla glaze you can leave as is or add a drop or food coloring.
  3. For chocolate glaze, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of coco powder to taste and mix well.
  4. For maple glaze, add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, to taste.
  5. Follow directions above to glaze and top your donuts!

(Poppy’s cute play gown from Plain Jane… also Jane is my mom’s name and Tilly’s middle name so their dresses are even harder for us to resist!)

Eating, I mean, taste testing as soon as the donuts are topped… no waiting for the glaze to set around here, LOL!

Here’s what’s on our menu this month:

12 DINNERS TO MAKE IN AUGUST

EASY

MAKE AHEAD OR BAKED

30-45 MINS

BREAKFAST, LUNCH + SNACK IDEAS

Hoping to draw summer out until the very end and that includes mealtime :) So, share your favorites in the comments!

XO, Rae

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5 TIPS FOR PLANNING FUN FAMILY ACTIVITIES

I’ve had several conversations with other mamas lately about planning activities to do with the kids and as a family and thought it might be fun and helpful to chat about it in a post. We’ve found a system that works for us (when we do it!) for getting things on the calendar and also making sure there are plenty of days at home because we all need some downtime too. I’ll share my 5 best tips below and would love to know what works for you  and your family too!

5 TIPS FOR PLANNING KID-FRIENDLY OUTINGS |

  1. MAKE A BUCKET LIST – They can seem kind of intimidating (or maybe obnoxious?), but really I find they simplify things for me because A. I don’t have to guess or assume what EVERYONE wants to do and B. it get’s the brainstorming part of planning out of the way all at once — because I can brainstorm all day everyday and would never get anything done beyond that point, LOL!
  2. FIND THE FUN – My favorite ways to find fun events or places to visit is through sites like red tricycle and google searches. Community web sites are especially handy if we have an idea of where we want to go (let’s say Kirkland), then it’s easy to go to the City of Kirkland website and see what’s available on any given day… like free concerts in the park, yay! I also made a “PLACES + OUTINGS” collection on Instagram (using the little flag option below pics) so when I find something that inspires an activity or location close to us, I can save it. Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to ask friends and neighbors for ideas too!
  3. PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR – Things rarely happen if they aren’t added to the google calendar :) We try to schedule a month out but then go over the calendar each week too… things change so much (big family and kids!) that we’re usually rearranging things or swapping activities, but it usually works out. .
  4. THINK AHEAD + PACK SNACKS! – Any prep-work I can do well before it’s time to go is a bonus and makes leaving the house less stressful, because you know there will already be potty breaks, missing shoes (or kids), and children taking their sweet time to get out the door already, LOL. Lately I’ve been leaving a basket by the garage door where I throw in all the essentials — sunscreen, hair ties, picnic blankets, etc. and either throw what we need into a bag or just grab the entire bucket. I will also try and throw everyone’s scooters in the back of my car if I think they’ll come in handy!
  5. KEEP A RUNNING LIST OF “FAN FAVORITES” – Visiting new places is fun and exciting, but during busier weeks, or longer days when you just need to break things up a bit without adding to your stress levels, it’s nice to have a list of favorite activities or places where you know there’s something fun for the kids (hello playground or splash pad), access to bathrooms, and inexpensive food choices too. Can’t lose with that combo!

A few pics from our morning at a kid’s concert to see the Recess Monkeys and a quick snack afterwards in Kirkland…

Tilly and Claira… It’s always fun when friends can join us!

Such a good sport about going to the little kid stuff.

THIS IS MY JOB… To lay in the grass and play tickle monster and listen to silly music and just show them that they are loved and amazing and worth my time and attention (someone pinch me). It’s so easy to forget this when we’re at home and there is a pile (times 10) of laundry, meals to make, e-mails to reply to and the list goes on, which is why I try (<— keyword) to be intentional with our time and planning outings or special activities at home. It doesn’t always work out or even go as planned but it is always worth it. And BONUS, sometimes things go better than we planned!

Do I look like a groupie? ha! I love the Recess Monkeys… their songs are so silly and clever. Checkout their youtube channel to see what I’m talking about.

…Even Griff has to drag me away from the stage.

After the concert and a little bit of playtime at the park, the three bigger kids went over to a friend’s house, while Johan and I took Poppy on a little date to wow wow in Kirkland. Their lemonade is delicious and I’m obsessed with the oatmeal bowls!

Sometimes we call her “pop-tart” and other times just “tart”. Ha! This would be one of those times. She’s usually quick to get out of any funk but I think having all the kids home all the time this summer has really worn her out and trying to keep the house quiet enough for her to nap is impossible most days. A couple weeks ago I started intentionally planing things that involve longer car rides because it always puts her to sleep. The other day she was holding a full conversation with us in the car and after 10 seconds of silence I look back and she is sound asleep. Literally parties ’til she drops.

Eating with a 3 year old, LOL. Also why I love eating outside… can’t get away with this kinda stuff indoors!

How do you guys feel about making Bucket Lists?

Also, don’t forget to share your tips for planning family friendly activities in the comments!

XO, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: PAPER PLATE MONSTER BAG

In between all the summer adventures, we’ve had plenty of days just spent at home. At some point in the afternoon the kids will usually ask to make slime or a baked treat, but last week they asked about getting the craft supplies out and ended up making these really cute paper plate monster bags. The point of them is to be kinda messy, so it’s a good project for just about any age!

Curious to see if they’ll use them to hold their sunnies and ice cream truck money (lol), or if they’ll end up hanging on a hook somewhere as decorations but either way they were worth the craft mess (the best kind of mess) and a nice break from the sun and sprinkler in the backyard.

Supply list and how-to are below!

You’ll Need:

  • paper plates (dessert or dinner size works… we used both)
  • ribbon for straps
  • googly eyes (we used these)
  • pip cleaners (pictured are from target, but love these rainbow colored ones)
  • paint (finger or craft paint)
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun

Here’s How:

  1. Cut paper plates in half and let kids paint the bottom side of the plate (that doesn’t have the wax coating) with their fingers or paint brush. Let dry.
  2. Cut pipe cleaners into smaller pieces. Shape and glue onto painted area. Stick or glue eyes on too.
  3. Cut ribbon to size and hot glue to edge of a plate (see pic). Glue rimplates together and you’re done!

You can count on Poppy to be in a swimmer 75% of the time. 99% of the time if we’re at home :)

    

Happy when she’s making.

Paper plates, brown paper bags and toilet paper tubes are a few of my favorite craft supplies for the kids because we usually have them on hand — which also keeps our craft closet from getting too cluttered!

What do you usually reach for when the kids need to do a little project?

xoxo, Rae

PS – a couple other paper plate projects here and here.

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MADE YOU SMILE WITH THE ALL NEW GYMBOREE!

Having my kids home all summer gives me all the smiles for all the days (even the longer summer days that almost feel like 2 days… wait, did that happen yesterday or this morning? lol). So once we get to that part of summer when back to school becomes part of the conversation, it always bums me out. The silver lining of course is all the back to school shopping that we get to do in preparation, which is why I’m so excited to be partnering with Gymboree. They’ve reimagined their brand and we’re in love with their fresh take on style and kid friendly clothing!!! Since we’ve been shopping at Gymboree since Ozzie was little, seeing all the younger kids in their outfits made me sentimental too.

You really can’t beat a shop that makes it easy to find clothes the kids love and that are also cute, mix and matchable, super comfy and soft and also durable. It definitely makes me smile. Thought it would also be fun to ask the kids what makes them smile too. Here are their answers and a bunch more pics of them breaking in their new Gymboree digs around town!

TILLY | my friends, candy, polka-dots, + you know… funny stuff. like dad jokes.

ESPEN | my bed. (spoken like a true tween)

GRIFFIN | hugging my mom, lemon muffins (lol, if you saw his bday interview), movie night, getting gifts.

POPPY | going on an airplane. my heart blankey.

Can I get everything in my size too, please!? I especially love Griffin’s top, Tilly’s jeans, Poppy’s dress and jacket, and Espen’s sweatshirt.

Poppy didn’t want to take off her headband at the end of the night either which is rare for her and hair accessories so it must have been comfy :)

The bottom pic — when Johan told them to look serious — Griffin’s expression cracks me up!

I so wish scooters could be our main source of transportation. It’s my favorite!

All the best – go with anything – footwear. And no one complained about their feet being sore!

Thank you kids and summer for all the smiles!!! And a big thanks to Gymboree for sponsoring this post and putting together such a fun #madeyousmile campaign!

Hope this post and all the cute new back to school styles made you smile too!

XO, Rae

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DO WHAT SCARES YOU… (+ OTHER THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM WATCHING MY KIDS AT SWIM LESSONS)

I learn so much from my kids.

Sometimes they do or say something that touches my heart and reminds me of things I already know and other times they blow my mind in a way that changes my heart and how I see things. Which is what recently happened as I watched Griffin, who is not a fan of water (understatement of the year), go through swim lessons for two weeks earlier this summer. By the end of it, he had learned to swim and I had learned what it means and looks like to do something that scares you.

It might seem a little dramatic or even like I’m reaching so bear with me… Usually when I think, read or see the phrase “DO WHAT SCARES YOU!” I feel encouraged and empowered to take on the world and make some big courageous change. But as I watched that brown eyed boy above do something that scared him (be in the water!) the process looked very different. It didn’t look like a little boy doing a cannon ball into the deep end to overcome his fear. There was no grand act of courage or big splash… instead, there was a decision. A decision to sit on the stairs in the pool (fighting back tears) when he really wanted to sit with his parents. That lead to the decision to put his face in the pool over and over again even though he would get water up his nose and in his mouth. Which lead to the decision to trust his teacher’s lead and urging to do a little more each time he was in the water. The best part was that he went at his own pace, not worried about the rest of his swim mates or how he measured up (can I get an amen!?). There wasn’t an ounce of comparison!

Do you know what happened by the end of two weeks? He was getting his whole head in the water, diving for rings, jumping off the edge and having the time of his life. The boy that was fighting back tears in the beginning had gained so much confidence and was thriving in a situation that would normally send him into an anxiety attack and had kept him from fully enjoying summer, family vacations and even tubby time at night.

Want to know something else I’ve learned from putting my kids in swim lessons?

Just because you’re not a natural at something (cooking, dancing, public speaking, taking photos, writing, singing, organizing, etc.) at first, doesn’t mean it’s not something you could be great at. When Tilly and Espen first started lessons 4 years ago they were definitely fish out of water. They were both a little awkward — Tilly was wild in the water and Espen was stiff and rigid — but you would never guess that was ever the case if you watched them swim today. They are both, in their own ways, really beautiful to watch move through the water. Of course, as their mama, I’m a bit biased :)

(besties!)

(life at the pool with our piles of stuff and new friends and instagram stories and me reminding the kids to “walk, please!” a million times and snacks. lots of snacks.)

(the bottom two pics were taken by tilly and I have all the heart eyes for them and the beach balls under griff’s shirt :)

So now I can’t stop thinking about those fears that keep me from enjoying life to the fullest and how I can break them down into small decisions…. Like getting my wisdom teeth out, because ow!!! Or signing up for dance classes, because I’m not a natural dancer. Or moving forward with certain parts of my business because it’s outside of my comfort zone.

I also can’t stop thinking about God’s love and faithfulness and thought of a dozen scriptures I could share but then found this one at the last minute. And this one too. They both say so much in so few words.

If you’re up for chatting I would love if you shared one thing that scares you? Or one lesson your kid(s) have taught you lately?

XO, Rae

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GRIFFIN IS 7 + A Q+A

You guys!!!! Griffin turns 7 today. It seems impossible that he’s another year older and as much as I would like to keep him 6 and do kindergarten all over, he’s grown up so much this year that he’s really earned the age upgrade. Remember how much fun it was to be another year older!??? Last night he insisted on sleeping in the clothes he wanted to wear on his Birthday day. Boyfriend knows what he wants sometimes and other times he’s so worried about missing out that making up his mind seems impossible (he get’s that from me)!

We put together this little interview video to celebrate his b-day and I think it really shows his personality! I’ve probably watched it a million times since Johan finished editing.

Griffin William, every minute I spend with you I fall a little more in love with you. So curious to see what you will do with your brains and humor and energy and hardworking attitude and attention to detail and attentiveness for people and sweetness in general. Daddy and I predict entrepreneur or surgeon (hello fine-motor skills), but whatever you end up doing we know you’ll do your very best and always love on people in the process. The world is better with you in it! We love you so much.

Shared a few Birthday moments on Instagram Stories this morning and are currently headed to Whidbey Island to party all day on the beach. Hope you guys are having an amazing Saturday and finding a million reasons (big and small) to celebrate!

XO, Rae

P.S. – Remember Tilly’s interview video?

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