Author Archive | rae

LIVING IN LOUNGEWEAR + WHY I BLOG + GRAM

This post was originally supposed to be about cute loungewear and how to wear it out of the house without feeling frumpy (tip: a structured jacket works wonders) but my mind is on something else right now and I’m feeling compelled to share with ya.

Recently someone asked (with a strong tone of disapproval) why I blog and post to social media and while I honestly understand their negative perception — because I do love documenting my family, cute clothes and good design. All things that are easy to label “superficial” or “braggy” — there is truly so much more behind my reason, purpose and intention for being in this online space. So if you are interested in the longer, deeper and more drawn-out “why” behind rae ann kelly, keep reading…. (I’ll be sure to link outfit sources below too, lol.)

I share because I’ve been a single, working, stay at home and work from home mom at different points in my life and guess what? It’s all hard. Like, so hard.

I share because we are in this together and can do more together.

I share in hopes of pointing to Jesus and His unwavering grace and love in my life. I am who I am and do what I do because of Him.

I share because I believe as moms (no matter our child’s age) we have incredible influence and the power to contribute SO MUCH good into our world, communities and culture.

I share because I know all too well how quickly it goes. (Stop growing kids!!!)

I share links and companies I love because providing, stocking up on and purchasing things for our families is part of the job description. And besides, it’s so much more fun (and less overwhelming) to “shop” with friends.

I hope my ideas and sources add heaps of function, fun and style to your day-to-day… because, YOLO.

I hope what I share helps you feel free to love and take care of yourself more so you can love and take care of your loved ones more.

I hope my posts and photos inspire you to play more, dance more, celebrate more, love more, giggle more, say yes more and be present more because it’s truly life giving and sanity saving — especially on those never ending days.

I hope my content reminds you that you are enough times 1,000 (because you are!).

I hope my chats about life and family and love and clothes and free printable helps you pursue what you want most in this crazy, beautiful, exhausting, and sacred journey of motherhood.

I hope you know that you have the power to create the kind of life you want, to raise amazing humans and to leave the mom-guilt and the haters behind so you can do you (boo-boo)!

So really, I’m here to help. Like a big sister or spirit guide (lol! watched 17 again earlier this week!). Sure I love having a place to document my family and the sponsored posts, paid content and growing online community is amazing. I don’t take a single outing, new project, follower or work opportunity for granted and am endlessly appreciative for your encouragement and presence in this space. I just want to make sure you know, my heart is to serve, encourage and love on you. Always.

XOXO, Rae

MY OUTFIT | sweat set, jacket (similar), tote (in brown), shoes

16

A MONTH OF SCHOOL LUNCHBOX IDEAS + PRINTABLE NOTE CARDS

YOU GUYS!!! It’s the first TGIF of the bts season and it honestly feels so amazing. Lots of emotions and excitement around our home since the kids started on Wednesday. Espen and Tilly basically poured themselves into bed last night around 8:30PM and fell asleep before Johan + I made it to their bed for prayers and back tickles. They are also the two kids who have experienced the most change this year and that seems to be overwhelming and exhausting. So hard to watch them feel “out of place” but I also know that it’s going to be such a great year for both of them!!!

In other news, there are some really cute and simple lunchbox notes (that can also be used for just about anything!) I made for the kids that you can download below AND this morning I kicked off a “what’s in the lunchbox” or “WITL” (ha!) post on Instagram Stories. I’ll be sharing what the kids are taking to school for lunch on the daily (minus wednesdays) in hopes that it’ll encourage me to be better about not wasting food while also keeping things stocked to make packing easier. I’m sure there will be many basic lunch days and some that look more like cafeteria money, but nonetheless, I think it’s going to be fun! Already got lots of messages back about it (you can see my intro here — will also add to a “lunchbox” highlight) so I’m thinking it might even turn into a thing and we can do it together!

(YESTERDAY’S LUNCH | TJ’s meatballs, carrots + ranch, string cheese, apricots, TJ’s spud crunchies (Griffin loves these… they look like french fries), TJ’s sparkling apple juice (sparkling water + juice mix = less sugar!).

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD, LUNCHBOX NOTES PDF | the cards are 3.5″ x 5″, download and print onto card stock or text weight paper, cut along dashed lines, add your message and slip into a backpack or lunchbox! Could also be used for thank you or teacher notes.

How do you feel about packing lunch!? Aside from mornings that we’re short on time, I really enjoy packing lunches!!! It’s the grocery list making and shopping that I dread (save me)… Wondering if I’m in the minority?

XO, Rae

4

5 MOM HACKS FOR WINNING BACK TO SCHOOL MORNINGS

My kids are heading back to school TODAY (ahhhh!) and while there is so much to love about summer break, one of the things I’m really going to miss is our slow mornings. Not sure we left the house or had to be ready before 10am more than half a dozen times all summer long and with 6am wake up call happening this morning, I’m realizing just how spoiled we were, LOL. Because my kids have varied sleep and waking habits and because this isn’t our first back to school experience, I’ve been prepping myself for some challenging mornings and thought I’d share a few things that have worked for us in the past in case you have a non-morning person or just want to have a little more fun in the mornings. I tried to keep them all really simple too since the last thing anyone needs in the morning is a longer to do list!

5 TIPS FOR A HAPPIER (BACK TO) SCHOOL MORNING

  1. For a special treat, add sprinkles to (almost) everything. Waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. It’s the perfect pick-me-up on the first day or  after a long week of early mornings!
  2. Outfits they can easily layer and that are comfortable too. Like these dresses from plain jane for the girls (BONUS: we’re teaming up with them for a giveaway today on Instagram!) and these joggers and tees for the boys.
  3. Share morning affirmations! We started doing this last spring randomly in an effort to calm some anxiety one of the kids was dealing with and it was so helpful for all of us. Planning to do it more consistently this year.
  4. Put a little surprise in their backpacks or lunch boxes… a piece of gum, a little note, or an activity for the bus ride will do the trick and is a great motivator for getting out the door so they can take a peek :)
  5. Make sure to add enough time in your morning routine to include a snuggle sesh, dance party, chit-chat or anything else that de-stresses and reconnects you… it has after all (God willing) been a lot of hours since you’ve been together so kids often need their buckets filled once they wake up!

  

The girls are wearing the sweetest, comfiest and most versatile play and sleep dresses by Plain Jane… giving away shop credit to on Instagram today! See details below!

  

Music is also usually on in the mornings and is also one of my favorite parts of starting the day (other than coffee of course!) — sometimes we blast worship music and other times rap, hip-hop or country!

What’s your favorite part of early mornings?

Let me know in the comments and then head to my instagram account, click on the pic that looks most like an image from above, follow the directions in the caption (promise it’s easy) and be entered to win shop credit to Plain Jane for you and one of your friends!!!!

XO, Rae

2

BOYS SHARED ROOM REVEAL (WITH LOTS OF LINKS + DIY’S)

The boys room has been a work in progress for the last several months after we moved both of the bunk beds out, replaced them with twin beds and painted the walls in a fun color block blue-green and white. As I’ve shared little peeks of the rooms I’ve gotten lots of questions and thought it would be a good idea to share all the details and sources here. A lot of the decorative items have been collected over the last few years so I don’t have links to everything (sorry), but did my best.

Keep scrolling for links and let me know if I missed anything!

WALL COLOR | The blue is distant valley by Valspar and was inspired by light blue no. 22 by  farrow and ball. The white is simply white by benjamin moore.

COLOR BLOCK PAINTING | I saved a little DIY tutorial on Instagram Stories when we painted the room and saved it under “home projects”. Johan (my hubby) is so good at painting straight lines… you’ll love his tips!

Everyone loves this space, but especially the boys so that’s a win in my book! There are a few updates I’d still like to do (like a bigger rug and some more framed baby and family pics) but otherwise happy with how it turned out… feels put together but not overly decorated if you know what I mean? Also can’t wait to layer their bed up with cozy throw blankets and maybe a few floor pillows too.

ROOM SOURCES | vintage flag is 5×3 ft. found on etsy | red lock box from IKEA (old) | duvet covers from IKEA (old) | bed frame from IKEA (couldn’t find online) | lion head from Target | navy striped bin from Target | cute sheets (sold out but love these stars!), pillow cases + eye pillow (similar) from crate & kids | rug is old from crate & kids | drum light shade from color cord company | wanderer pillow isn’t available yet (but I’ll keep you posted), by a new company I’ve been  working with | truth pennant from she reads truth (sold out but they have cute prints) | arrow hooks are old but love these | dinosaur photo by Jenny’s Print Shop and printed at Costco | frames are ribba from ikea

BARN DOOR | hardware from amazon | door from home depot | still need to buy a handle (I like this one for $10) | HERE’S a helpful youtube tutorial that Johan referenced

We spent under $100 (we had paint already) which I was happy and surprised by, but it took a few days to finish the steps which also surprised me… just a fair warning, it was a process.

A FEW NOTES FROM JOHAN:

1. We bought a door at home depot that would cover the entire opening width wise.  I think we went with 32″.  The door was obviously too short as it was designed to fit into the original space height wise.  So we needed to add a few inches.  We added 1.5″ to the top and bottom.  If you don’t have access to a table saw, they should be able to rip a 2×4 according to size.  Just find out the depth and width of your door so each piece if flush to the top and bottom.  Once you have the header and footer cut to exact measure, place the pieces and door on a smooth flat surface and use wood glue to secure them together.  Let them sit over night.  I even placed a couple of screws in each piece for added strength.  Before painting the door, I used a little drywall mud to smooth out the cracks so you wouldn’t notice the lines.  Let that dry for several hours and then you are ready to paint.
2. Install the headboard above the trim.  Use a nice smooth piece of wood long enough to cover the distance of the track which is 6 1/2 feet.  We chose a piece that looked just like out trim.  When adding this trim you will need to adjust the brackets on the door.  I added to pieces of trim that were cut to the size of the brackets.  These pieces were roughly the same depth of the trim above the door and will help keep the door from sticking out too far.  We also glued these pieces to the door, make sure they sit overnight.
3.  Follow the instructions that come with the barn door hardware for installation.  See the images from the amazon website or follow on youtube.  This is also a useful video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hhrBgLhFB4

DIY BASKETBALL HOOP | we had a hoop rim from an old set but here’s a foldable plastic rim and a metal one that doesn’t fold up

THE DIY FROM JOHAN: Purchase a basketball hoop for rim and hardware and create your own backboard.  cut a piece of wood to your desired size.  We went with 18 x 24″.  Paint the backboard with chalkboard paint.  Tape a border around the edge.  We went 1 inch inside.  Re-paint same color to seal line.  Then paint your desired color for the border.   Mount the hoop on the lower middle of board.  Install the same way it was installed to orignal back board.  The mount entire unit to wall.  Use drywall screws.  Use 1 screw in each corner.  Remove screws and take down backboard.  Now inert wall anchors in the 4 holes you created.  Re-fasten and enjoy.

BOOK BIN DIY | We made this years ago and love it. Shared the DIY HERE!

Hoping the barn door will soon have some photos, notes and kid art taped to it!

Most of the boys toys are hidden under their beds (we have 4 big “under bed” bins) and in the closet. Most of the “put together” lego sets are displayed in the closet on the top shelf… I’ll be doing a tour of everyone’s closets next week once school starts so if your curious to see and we aren’t Instagram friends yet, head here to join the fun!

Also shared a behind the scenes look and before and after of the boys room before taking these pics for the post today on Stories and saved to “home projects” in the meantime… just have to skip through the room painting DIY to see it :)

Let me know what you think, if you have any questions or other input! If you’re refreshing kid rooms in your home right now, THIS POST might be helpful. Loads of good ideas in the comments too!

Happy weekend!

XO, Rae

3

3 WAYS TO WEAR YOUR SUMMER DRESSES + ROMPERS THIS FALL

Whether you’re not ready to say goodbye to your summer wardrobe or there’s a summery dress or romper on sale that you can’t pass up but don’t want to wait until next year to wear, here are three ways to style them as the weather cools off!

DENIM + SNEAKERS | denim jacket is old from J. Crew (love this one and this one too), dress is from J.Crew (love this one!), sneakers are vans from madewell

A no-brainer combo and casual enough for errands, school drop offs, coffee dates, the park and cleaning up spilled milk!

LONG CARDI (DUSTER) + BOOTS | cardigan is old from topshop (love this one similar from nordstromrack for $26 or nordstrom for $49), dress is from J.Crew (love this one!), boots are old from zara (similar)

I’ve had these boots forever and think they add the perfect amount of edge to balance out a long floral dress and cardigan.

SWEATER + BOOTIES | sweater is from free people (similar option — wore it weekly last winter and spring and want this one in black), hat is from target, booties are old from madewell (similar), dress is from J.Crew (love this one!)

My personal favorite outfit of the three. Also wore this combo with a romper last Sunday and loved it even more (I’ll post it on my stories today and then save to the #ootd highlight!). A couple notes… a longer tunic type sweater works better with a shorter dress or romper and I would opt for a more cropped or fitted sweater with a longer dress. I kept having to bunch/fluff/fold under for the pics to give me a waist.

Which one is your favorite?

Are you ready for fall layers?

XO, Rae

4

5 THINGS EVERY KID’S PARTY NEEDS + POPPY’S 4TH BIRTHDAY BASH

My goal with this online space is to always keep things functional and doable with a heaping side of style and fun. I believe it’s important to celebrate motherhood and family (the big and small things) but not at the sake of my sanity or relationships. A stressed out mom is no fun for anyone! Even if it’s all for a good cause, like say, Birthday parties. Considering the endless amount of pinterest-y photos, it can be easy to feel completely inspired to throw a picture perfect party and I so admire the mamas that can pull it off and enjoy the process (teach me your ways!), but in my experience attempting to do so is not very practical for my bank account or my life and only makes everyone cranky. In an effort to keep things simple but also special, here’s my short list of kid party must-haves that make the day of festivities so much easier along with a few pics from Poppy’s 4th Birthday party a couple weeks ago!

I would also really love to know what would make your must have kid-party list!

MY 5 KID PARTY MUST-HAVES

  1. BALLOONS | any and all balloons welcome because they add instant party vibes and are an inexpensive way to decorate. Sometimes I make a bundle of helium filled balloons and other times we grab a few packages from Target to blow up and throw around the party space for the kids to kick, hit and play with. Love these letter and word foil hanging balloons (here’s a gold version – party city also carries them) we used for Poppy’s party that don’t require helium (saves money) and doubled as a good photo backdrop…. festive, decorative and personalized! Rainbow pom-pom garland is from Target and will get used over and over again!
  2. ACTIVITIES | I mean, what good are decorations if the party goers aren’t having fun!? We were lucky to have the beach and water for endless entertainment but since the weather wasn’t that good we also put together a slime making station (Tilly’s idea and it was a huge hit!) and a “pin the sprinkles on the POP-TART” game (using a big chalkboard and paper ‘sprinkles’) which I forgot to snap a pic of and didn’t get played with, lol. There are lots of good games out there and you can’t go wrong with activity tables (so kids can participate when they feel like it). I’m a sucker for all the old school ones such as scavenger hunts, relays, duck-duck-goose, bobbing for apples, musical chairs, and anything that involves freezing :)
  3. SIMPLE BUT YUMMY FOOD | same goes with food as activities… if kids (or their parents) are hungry or you’re stressing out in the kitchen, does anything else even matter? I like to have a variety of finger foods and kid friendly snacks and then plan a crowd pleasing meal that I can either make or prep ahead of time (i.e. hamburgers + hot dogs, or anything that bakes in the oven or crockpot) or order (i.e. pizza) and for sides, anything that comes from a bag (i.e. salad and chips!). Bonus if I can get ALL OF IT at Costco which is how it worked out for Poppy’s party. Even the cake and drinks.
  4. ANYTHING THAT IS A BIG DEAL TO THE BIRTHDAY KID | maybe it’s a special theme or activity, but whatever it is I try to make it happen. Poppy didn’t have any requests this year but for Tilly it’s usually a cake request and special party favors, Ozzie was always about having his favorite foods, Espen wants to make sure certain friends can make it and Griffin LOVES a piñata.
  5. PARTY FAVORS | I usually go overboard with this because I love goodie bags and containers and helping the kids pick things out! But really a wand of bubbles and hand drawn signs are all you need to say “THANK YOU FOR COMING!”

(SOURCES | blue berry basket for the favors, kraft food boat, 1/2 lb size pictured)

Look at all these cute party animals!!! So thankful for all the sweet faces in this pic and their parents. We had so much fun celebrating Poppy!

Now, please spill all your tips, tricks and must haves for making birthday party magic… What would make your list?

XO, Rae

3

FAMILY UPDATE (AUGUST EDITION)

Welcome to my favorite time of year — SUMMALL!

That transition between summer and fall where we get to mix things up. Shorts on the bottom, long sleeves on top. Sipping on a PSL with the sunroof open. Cooler mornings and nights which makes it safe to turn the oven on and bake cookies or climb under the covers and watch netflix. It’s a sweet spot for sure.

Next week I’m going to share 3 ways to style your summer dresses and rompers for fall (sign up for emails so you don’t miss out!) but this week I thought I’d do a random little life and family update. Here’s a few tidbits…

OZZIE | has been busy with football practices and eating alllll the things. Earlier this week I brought him half of a giant watermelon and a starbucks bag full of food to snack on in-between practices and he said it was the perfect amount, lol. I’m afraid for our costco bill this month but it’s all for a good cause. Deff want my boy big, strong and healthy when he steps onto that field for games! Speaking of which, his first scrimmage is tonight and I can’t wait to be back in bleachers watching him play! It’s my happy place. (hashtag sports mom)

ESPEN | just shared his birthday interview if you missed it! We’re finishing up his back to school clothes shopping on Sunday along with Oz and his adorable girlfriend and I’m excited to see  what else he picks out. Having help from two high schoolers I think will help. He’s also feeling so ready and excited to start middle school which makes me so proud but also want to cry like a baby, ha!

TILLY | has never been into dolls or playing house but recently became obsessed with the idea of babysitting and I’ve loved seeing her nurturing side come out a little when we are around little ones as well as with Poppy this summer. She also started soccer a couple weeks ago with Johan and me as her coaches… we’ve only had one practice because of bad air quality from wildfires but it should be an interesting season!

GRIFFIN | has been busy building legos. Just bought him this book and he loves it! Makes it so easy to build cool things without having to buy a $50 set :) He’s also looking forward to starting soccer in September and suits up every time the older kids have a practice or skills training sesh. It’s amazing.

POPPY | shared a pic on Instagram of her the other day while simultaneously helping her look for a toy I donated last week… DID YOU SEE IT? She’s been full of personality and funny sayings (wish I was better about writing them down) and is talking non-stop about taking a ballet class, wearing ballet outfits and shoes and doing her “practice moves”. She’s also been climbing into bed with us EVERY NIGHT for the last month. It doesn’t make for the best sleep but I secretly love it.

JOHAN | has been working so, so hard on his mental health and it seriously has been a game changer for our marriage and family. So insanely proud at how far he’s come and have been loving every minute with the sweet man I married. Takes everything in me not to make out with him 24/7. Our friend Collin Henderson has been a huge resource and inspiration (checkout his web site!) and we recently found the Rise Together Podcast and can’t get enough!

ME, RAE! | getting ready to send a new senior, middle schooler (6th grade!), 4h grader and 1st grader to school has literally been giving me anxiety over the weirdest things. Guess I don’t love change (the forced kind) and I see it coming so quickly…. You can just call me EMO for the next month or so. On the flip side I’m excited to start working on my fall bod (read: regular workouts so I can consume allll the PSL’s). I’ve been using the SWEAT app for awhile now (although inconsistently this summer) and cannot recommend it enough. Also, listening to Zoe Worship on repeat! Just what we need for the morning hustle once school starts.

  

OUTFIT | top from madewell (the prettiest pattern and is on sale but size down at least 1 size! usually wear a small in tops but am wearing an xs and could prob do a xxs), shorts from nordstrom or shopbop, shoes from madewell, hat from nordstrom, bag from asos (love this one)

If you guys would be interested in seeing more of the up close and personal parts of our blended family, marriage, having teenagers, and parenting, please let me know in the comments!

Happy Fridayyyyyyyyy.

XO, Rae

PS – I’m in the process of putting together mommy and me morning affirmations for BTS or Back to fall — stay tuned… and sign up for emails!

 

8

ESPEN IS 12 + A Q&A

A few days ago upon arriving at the spash pad in a neighboring town, I overheard a girl say, “What is Espen doing here!?” to her friends — and then they all grabbed towels and huddled in a spot where they could observe and chat and giggle. So I think it’s safe to say we’ve arrived at the awkward, innocent and still so, so sweet stage of middle-school-hood. Or tweenager as it’s often referred to where their world is getting big but they are still very much young. I’ve learned by now not to say it’s my favorite stage – because they’re really all my favorite — but I love it, for it’s highs and lows and purpose — it makes me tear up how each stage of childhood weaves together – none any more or less important. Just wish it didn’t all fly by so fast!

It’s been so much fun doing our interview video series the last few months and I’m excited to share Espen’s below! Feels a little bit like we are bottling them up at these specific ages each time I watch them. This interview surprised Johan and me the most… it’s always the quiet ones, LOL!!! Press play to find out what Espen (the introvert of the fam) likes and dislikes about being 1 of 5 kids, who he get’s along with most, and what some of his favorite things are.

Love so much that our very consistent and predictable child was so unpredictable with his answers. You may also notice my question about his favorite sport and needing to know his runner up too… Johan and I have a quiet competition going – both of us sneakily wanting our kids to love our favorite sport. So far Johan is blowing me out of the water with our two older boys being diehard baseball players, but I’m holding out hope for Tilly and Griff, lol! Truthfully we don’t really care, but it is fun to tease each other about it.

You can watch Tilly’s video HERE and Griffin’s HERE. Next up is Poppy and then Ozzie! Should probably do ones for Johan and me too. Let me know if the comments if you have any question requests or ideas!!!

A few pics from Espen’s birthday morning and our traditional breakfast in bed…

Birthday breakkies in bed are a big deal around here (because is there anything better than eating in bed?!). The kids almost always ask for crepes or donuts but this year Espen requested dutch babies with a side of fruit and scrambled eggs and I loved being able to make something different than our norm!

Almost as good as the B-day kids excitement for their special morning is seeing how excited their siblings get to make the morning special for them too. It’s definitely a family affair and the sweetest thing to watch! Hope it’s something they continue as the littlest ones get older and the bigger ones become young adults… I imagine them sneaking into each others apartments with balloons and donuts or showing up at their school with a fun treat. No pressure kids, LOL!

Espen, we love you to the moon and back times 100 and are so incredibly proud of who you are and how you love, lead and serve others. It’s pure magic to watch.

Do you guys ever daydream about your kids 10 or more years down the road!?

XOXO, Rae

2

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PRINTABLE SIGNS + PHOTOGRAPHY TIP (A FREEBIE)

There are two things that get me through the back to school season 1. all the fun prep, shopping and planning that goes into starting a new school year (read: I love new clothes, lunch food and planners) and 2. football season. So I merged the two and made some festive but simple pennant flags for all the first day of school pics or daytime celebrations! There’s a link to download below along with the DIY and a BIG tip for taking first day pics too!!!!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FLAGS, DIY

You’ll Need:

  • THIS PRINTABLE TEMPLATE
  • dowels from the craft store or man store (they’ll cut them for ya!), ours are  18-inches
  • tape
  • OPTIONAL: tassels or other decorations (found some in a party bin I keep attached to a confetti balloon I bought from target :)

Here’s How:

Download, print onto card stock and cut the template along dashed lines. Tape to dowel and decorate. That’s it!

In my experience fanfare and celebration makes transition easier so whether you’re dreading BTS or ready for a little more structure, but aren’t sure how to get everyone up and moving in the morning, my best piece of advice is to make it fun and playful — blast the music, put sprinkles in their cereal, make time for extra snuggles, shake off the little setbacks (i.e. tantrums or missing shoes) and overflow with encouragement and no matter what, the morning will be a win — even if you’re late. Ha!

I find it’s best to let the kids’ teachers know what to expect every once in awhile anyways. (Love you so much teachers!!!)

MY BEST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTO TIP: I rarely get a good first day pic with all the kids in it. There’s just so much going on and everyone is going at their own pace and feeling differently about starting a new year (some excited, some grumpy/anxious… so many feelings!) and the light isn’t very good by our front door in the morning either. Sooooo I usually find another time during the week to snap a few pics — maybe outside of the school or at the bus stop — I think sometimes when we see alllll the BTS pics and they allllllll mostly look the same we create a weird rule for ourself that our pics need to also look a certain way, so I just want to remind you that there is no perfect BTS pic! Use what you have, do what’s easy, wait for the dust to settle, take the pressure off to get it at a certain time or even a certain day :) and have fun!

Remember these snapshots are not just for Instagram or facebook even though you might be posting there, they are for you and your family to enjoy, keep and cherish and maybe even add to your chatbooks!!!!

Speaking of chatbooks, are you guys avid fans of the little photo albums or new to the club?

XO, Rae

7

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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