Archive | FAMILY

DAY IN THE LIFE VIDEO: COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY

Happy weekend you guys!!!

One of our favorite things about fall is the start of football season. If you follow along on Instagram Stories, then you know where we are most Friday evenings (Friday Night Lights!) and most Saturday mornings you’ll find Game Day on, followed by games, lots of good food and a bit of chaos :). We don’t always get to spend Saturday mornings at home (hello soccer season), but when we do, it’s my favorite!

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to wake up to five kids (+ a couple extra friends) on a weekend, press play!… also note how slow my brain function is by the end of the day, lol.

Is this what your Saturdays look like? Are there any other days of the week or parts of our life that you’d like to see?

XOXO, Rae

PS – for more videos click over to our youtube channel and be sure to subscribe!

0

A LIST OF OUR FAVORITE FALL FAMILY MOVIES + PICS FROM THE HORSE TRACK

A few weeks ago, after watching Secretariat for Family Movie Night, we decided to plan a trip to see actual horse races and had so much fun! I’ll share more about it and some pics below, but first…

…Our movie inspired outing and the months of cozy weather ahead had me dreaming up a list of fall movies so I thought I would share! I separated younger kid movies from ones to watch on date-night-in or with the older kids, but you might also want to check movie reviews on Common Sense Media (if you don’t already?). Not an ad, just a really good (well rounded) resource for us parents! Takes the guesswork out.

FALL MOVIES FOR FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

  1. hocus pocus
  2. halloweentown
  3. hotel transylvania
  4. e.t.
  5. twitches
  6. bed knobs and broomsticks
  7. it’s the great pumpkin, charlie brown
  8. casper
  9. harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone (save this one for school age kids)
  10. mom’s got a date with a vampire
  11. matilda
  12. a charlie brown thanksgiving
  13. little giants (football season!)
  14. enchanted

FAVORITE FALL MOVIES FOR DATE NIGHT (OR OLDER KIDS)

  1. scream
  2. practical magic
  3. buffy the vampire slayer
  4. ghostbusters (80’s version of a PG movie so more like a PG-13)
  5. gremlins
  6. the addams family
  7. the goonies
  8. stepmom
  9. rudy
  10. marley and me
  11. you’ve got mail
  12. the blind side
  13. good will hunting
  14. ferris bueller’s day off (fun for back to school!)
  15. sweet home alabama
  16. election (because election season!)
  17. meet joe black (might be a good one too!)

A FEW OTHER RANDOM ONES THAT ARE ON OUR MOVIE LIST (not divided by age)

  1. willy wonka
  2. the parent trap
  3. annie
  4. mary poppies
  5. the sandlot (always)
  6. mrs. doubtfire
  7. the princess bride
  8. my girl
  9. father of the bride
  10. alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day.
  11. house of rock
  12. troop beverly hills

For those of you with different ages of movie goers (i.e. little ones that need an earlier bedtime and/or don’t sit through a full movie and older ones that are eager to stay up and watch), something that worked for us is planning a halftime or intermission after 30 minutes or so then taking a break to put the younger ones down and grabbing a snack or treat for the older ones before starting the movie again.

Now, back to our outing to the horse track, which was much more casual and laidback than I imagined. Parking was easy, there was lots of space for the kids to run around and it wasn’t crowded at all. Even better, the prices were reasonable enough to not feel pressure to stay all day (gotta get your moneys worth, ya know!).

A bunch of pics from the afternoon!

A few pics I took with my phone!

The food was bad, but still good if you know what I mean.

Now back to the big camera :)

The horses were so big and strong and the races were fun to watch but I think more than anything the kids enjoyed placing bets — even if all we were betting was $1. Made watching the races extra exciting! After each race you could see the horses being walked back to their stables. So stunning to see them up close!

In the below pics, Johan told the kids to act like their horse just won the race, lol… this is what he got!

The boys were obviously way more into it, ha! Love their enthusiasm.

Love experiencing new things with them! Also love me a good movie night with just Johan or as a family… makes me want to make a bowl of popcorn and turn on a flick right now!

Speaking of popcorn, what’s your go-to snack or treat of choice during a movie?

Something we haven’t done much of, but I remember from family nights during my childhood, is making and drinking milkshakes. We had a fancy milkshake maker and my dad would think up the best combos! Need to add milkshake fixings to my shopping list ASAP :)

XO, Rae

PS – for those that are curious, my jumpsuit is from topshop and poppy’s dress is alice and ames

0

SUNDAY AT LAKE UNION, SEATTLE

Want to hear something crazy? I’ve lived in the Seattle area most of my life and have never been to Lake Union — at least not that I can remember — yet it’s so close to everything. The Center for Wooden Boats (where we spent most of our time exploring on Sunday) in South Lake Union was so fun and charming! We had a great time looking at and touring the boats, walking along the docks and playing in the water. Johan, who’s family is from Norway and Sweden, said it reminded him of his visits there and even smelled like his family summer beach home. Not positive, but I think I was more excited about the connection than he was, lol. Can’t wait to one day take our kids to visit. Can’t you just see them fitting right in?

Now back to our much more local outing… It was a little stressful keeping Poppy and Griffin from falling off the dock. They probably would have been just fine regardless of my reminders and nagging but I think I said, “walk in the middle of the dock or hold my hand” about 100 times while we were there. Not that they wouldn’t have been okay had they fallen in (we were so close!) but who wants to deal with the chaos and trauma and a soaking wet child on a not-so-hot day. Not this mama.

Borderline too many pics from our afternoon below, but couldn’t get enough of the setting and all the lines! Would make a great spot for a family photo sesh.

I am not a boat person, but left really wanting a boat.

On our way to the lake we stopped at the store and grabbed some snack-y picnic-y food. The second we found a good grassy spot near the boats that also had a playground, it also started raining. I should be used to it by now but am always spoiled by our summer weather and forget! Luckily we found a little undercover patio that wasn’t being used so were able to save the food from getting soggy (YAY!). Checkout the set up while I was making the tray of food though (HA!). Tilly with her raincoat trying to cover the grub.

Also checkout the Griffin pic in the window below… he was so excited and proud of his artistic idea and I love it too.

These little paddle boats were a big hit! $3 for 10 minutes of playtime.

We were also able to take a tour of this amazing house boat built in the early 1900’s, called the Lotus. So cool and inspiring. Seriously wanted to move in! Saved some of the videos from the day on the “Seattle” highlight on Instagram if you want to see.

A little peek of the Space Needle so you can see how close we were to the Seattle Center area which is next on our to-do in the city list.

For all the Seattlites and pacific northwesterners, what’s on your “playing tourist” to do list or fall bucket list? For everyone else, you should come visit us in the PNW!!! I just highly suggest booking sometime between July and October :)

XOXO, Rae

2

A FALL BUCKET LIST + SOME CUTE CORDUROY

Happy 3rd day of fall!!!

Still mourning the end of summer (sorry fall, but summer is my boo) but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to fully enjoy all of the fall activities. And of course wear all the sweaters and corduroy. Our schedule is packed with soccer and football on weeknights and weekends already so I’m a little nervous about fitting even half of this in. Definitely up for the challenge tho… we’re going to have to get creative with our scheduling!

OUR FALL BUCKET LIST

DECORATE FOR FALL + HALLOWEEN | this is a no-brainer but deserves a spot on the list…. mostly so I can check it off right away :)

GO FOR A SCENIC DRIVE +/OR ROAD TRIP | and maybe put together a scavenger hunt or eye spy activity for the drive? We have a visit to our family cabin on the calendar in November and I’ve been wanting to spend a day or two in Portland, OR too!

PERFECT OUR APPLE + PUMPKIN RECIPES | this is a no pressure one plus I’ll have lots of willing helpers!

THE PATCH + CORN MAZE | heading to the patch (probably more than a couple times) is a family tradition, but this year the kids are also earning tickets for a corn maze outing and I can’t wait!

CRAFT WITH LEAVES | because is there anything better than fall leaves!? Have you guys seen this bit by Jim Gaffigan? So funny.

GO ON A HIKE OR TRAIL WALK | one of the things we didn’t checkoff our summer bucket list that’s just as easy to do this time of year.

GO APPLE PICKING | or squeeze some cider!

PLAN A TAILGATE BEFORE ONE OF OZZIE’S GAMES | getting the most out of game days over here!

PLAN A HALLOWEEN MOVIE NIGHT FOR THE KIDS + THEIR FRIENDS | can’t you just see a family room full of cozy kids in their jammies snacking on kettle corn and a pumpkin spice milkshake?

    

Already judging my outfits, LOL. Actually I had my hands in my pockets so she was looking for hers and ended up having to twist her skirt around — it was so cute. Made me laugh!

MY OUTFIT | corduroy pants (excuse the pleats, lol), white tee (only $14), bandana (love these), sandals

POPPY’S OUTFIT | corduroy skirt, pink tee, native shoes

What would you add to the list? Also, what are your favorite movies to watch this time of year!?

XO, Rae

PS – stumbled across our fall bucket list from a couple years ago… made me tear up!

7

POSITIVE PARENTING + A TICKET JAR!!!

“Parent your child’s heart, before their behavior” is one of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever received. The sentiment behind it is that our hearts are really the driving force for why we do what we do. For instance, if one of the kids comes home from school and has a meltdown because she can’t find her favorite soccer socks for practice, chances are the root of the problem isn’t the socks… unless they’re two or three. And then it’s probably just the socks. Anyways, maybe not the best example, but hopefully you get the idea. The problem is that while we’re helping our kids sort through their experiences and feelings, we also need them to be active and cooperative participants of the family operations throughout the day. You know, things like getting their shoes on, finishing their food and clearing their plates, doing their bedtime routine within a certain timeframe… can you tell my kids have a tendency to take their sweet time, lol? And it can be so easy to nag them about all of the above which is exhausting and you know they are gifted with selective hearing anyways soooooo we’re fighting a losing battle. What is a mom to do?

Well, I mentioned in this instagram post last week, one thing that’s been working for me is using positive statements and asking questions like, “what else do you need to do before we leave for the bus?” instead of, “I’ve reminded you three times already… BRUSH YOUR HAIR!” Ha! For a younger kid it might sound something like, “how quick can you find your shoes?” or “if you put your shoes on, can I tie them for you?”. It works wonders you guys but there is one other way that we’ve found to motivate our kids towards being sweet, helpful members of the fam bam and that is through an incentive jar.

Here’s how it works: I bought 4 rolls of these carnival tickets (love the smiley faces), one color for each of the younger kids and then set out a glass jar for them to stuff their earned tickets into. Once the jar is full they earn, as a group, a fun family activity. The child with the most tickets get’s to bring a friend along. This way they end up competing (in a friendly way) with each other but also working towards a common goal.

The kids get tickets for things like: making their beds, doing chores, being kind/inclusive/helpful, cleaning up after themselves, making it to the bus on time, getting ready for bed “on time”, getting in the car when I ask, good problem solving, showing leadership, working hard at homework or reading and any other qualities or habits we want to encourage!

They aren’t allowed to request getting a ticket for something, but if they feel like I’m slacking on giving them out then they’re allowed to bring it to my attention in a nice way. They are also allowed to give each other a ticket if they see something their sibling is doing well. So far (thankfully!) we haven’t had any cheaters or scammers.

We recently celebrated their first full jar with a trip to the fair! Our hope in the future is to all go together, but Espen wasn’t able to miss school because of track so we made other plans for him and a friend since he earned the most tickets.

Over the weekend the kids started filling the jar for a second time and are working towards a trip to a corn maze. It’s a much less expensive but time sensitive outing since they only run through October so I’m excited to be extra generous with giving out tickets!

What I love most about this incentive program is that it still works even when we aren’t able to be consistent or it just falls off our radar for a couple days — there’s no need to catch up, find allowance money or keep anything but tickets stocked. We just pick up where we left off.

Although I have been known to pack a few strips of tickets and a ziplock anytime we are gone for a night or two, LOL.

Do you guys have a reward system that works for you?

What is the best parenting advice you ever received?

XO, Rae

1

COTTON CANDY, ROLLER COASTERS + GAMES OH MY!

I might not have gotten their rain boot memo, but I definitely caught their carnival bug. It might be cliche, but there is something extra special about experiencing things with kids. They get excited about the best stuff and everything at the fair, from walking thought the barns of animals to hopping on rides to trying to win a stuffy at a game booth, is such a big deal. Makes it hard not to get lost in the magic.

We usually try to keep our fair outings to a pretty tight budget. This time however, the kids had been working towards a fair trip by earning tickets all summer so we went all out and it felt really good to be able to say yes to just about anything (with the exception of wanting to stay longer, lol).

We took little video clips of our outing on my iPhone and Johan strung them together in a quick video… press play below! Also shared a few budget friendly fair tips and tricks at the bottom of the post… because who wants to drop $100+ at the fair when there’s a cute pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on :)

Tilly really wanted to go on the swing ride but was super nervous about it so I offered to go with and then acted super brave like their was nothing to worry about. I honestly thought she was going to bail on me right before the ride started. However, the second it got going, Tilly was loving it (can you spot her above!?) and I was the one holding on for dear life, lol. At one point Tilly (who had obviously noticed my sudden change of demeanor and stomach turning) yelled over to me, “MOM! If you’re scared, just close your eyes!” Gah! My little girl that used to run-off any chance she got and tackle people during library reading time, was looking out for me… definitely a full circle kinda moment. Gosh I love her!

Thankful that these three were mostly happy with the little kid rides (winninggggg!)! Although, Poppy was not a fan of the mouse rollercoaster… did you spot her expression on the video as they were getting off?

Tilly’s been all about the Instax lately. A great kid gift idea… say cheese!

I’ve been thinking about getting the kids disposable cameras to use for special occasions. Can’t remember the last time I developed film but definitely remember what a fun surprise it was to see how the pictures turned out!

The games were a huge hit this time around. They kept trying to win the giant stuffed animals, but in the end their blow up hammers (a guaranteed win) were their favorite. They are currently banned from the house and have been mostly played with on the trampoline, but I can’t wait until they pop, LOL.

Happy Monday!!!

XO, Rae

PS – I got a few questions about budget friendly fair trips so here are a few tips… 1. spend lots of time with the farm animals. 2. do the research and take advantage of the free play areas AND shows. Any magic or juggling performers are usually a big hit with my kids. 3. eat a big meal before you get to the fair! 4. let the kids know what to expect (i.e. they can pick one treat to share like cotton candy and how many rides/games they get to pick, etc.) — I’ve found when the kids were younger and even poppy now, that you can get away with doing/not doing just about everything (LOL) and their admission is free so it’s actually a really good time to go!

3

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

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

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

0

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

2