Archive | LIFE LATELY

A DAY IN THE LIFE (WINTER EDITION)

Having lots of kids at different ages and a husband who’s career is firefighting means that our schedule is always changing. However, we seem to be in a pretty predictable rhythm these days and it’s such a good feeling. Since I know one day I’ll wonder what life was like way back in 2017 and because I’m always so curious what other people’s routines are I thought I would follow up this day in the (summer) life post with a winter edition!

As I mentioned, our schedules are kinda all over the place depending on the kids’ activities and commitments and Johan’s work, but for the most part our mornings are the same so I’ll start there.

Oh, but before I do, if you are pregnant or have a newborn, ignore my morning routine — it looked so much more haphazard during the baby growing and nursing seasons in my life. My advice for those of you that are in it? Do whatever you need to feel human. That might look like getting extra sleep, making it to the gym, taking a shower, planning date nights or working on a business. You will never regret taking care of yourself so you can give the best to your little (and big!) ones. Just one of the things I’ve learned the hard way.

MORNING ROUTINE | My goal is to be up at 5 for a garage workout with Johan (on mornings he is home) or to catch up/get ahead of work as well as a good 20 minutes or so of quiet time and a shower before the kids are up. Even as a non-morning person, this is my favorite and most productive time of day due to the lack of distraction and totally worth the early wakeup call. However, there are nights when kids are up sick or with bad dreams or Johan and I decide to catch up on a show, in which case,  getting an extra hour of sleep is way more valuable. When that happens, I’m up sometime between 6 and 6:30, hop in the shower and meet Ozzie downstairs for breakfast. The older he get’s, the fuller his calendar gets with homework, sports and friends so I cherish this time so much.

After he leaves around 7, I pour another cup of coffee and start round 2 with the other kids! I slowly wake them up and help pick out clothes, remind them to make their beds, etc., etc…. It’s usually a good time to throw in a load of laundry and maybe fold or put away a few things too, while they moan and groan, lol. Eventually we head downstairs for breakfast. They all eat and Espen and Tilly finish up their morning routine while I make lunches, empty the dishwasher and wipe spills and faces. Then around 8 it’s off to school for Espen and Tilly. Once they are gone Griffin, Poppy and I (but mostly I) tidy up the downstairs and kitchen… no matter how clean it is when we wake it’s always amazing to me how messy it gets by this time. Then I turn on a kid show for Griffin and Poppy while I do my hair and makeup. Somedays it holds their attention, other days they follow me into the bathroom to hang on me/rummage through bathroom drawers/drive me bonkers. #momlife

If Johan is getting off shift, then he arrives sometime around 8:30. We chat, hug and debrief about our last 24+ hours while Griffin and Poppy either climb all over us or get into mischief since mom + dad are preoccupied.

This is where things get less predictable, but for the most part our late morning and afternoons can be broken down into 3 parts — M+F, W, + TU+TH.

M +F | Griffin has Pre-K these mornings (and Wednesdays too). If Johan is home he usually takes drop-off duty while I squeeze in an hour of work. After that we either head out for an outing, run errands or work around the house until nap time.

W | Is a little crazy but also my absolute favorite. The three oldest kids have late start which means they get an extra hour and half before school starts. These mornings are more laid-back and conducive for a pancake breakfast. The kids do their normal routines and then we ALL :) leave the house around 9, drop Oz off first, then take Griffin to Pre-K, and finally zip through the Starbuck’s drive-thru on our way to drop Espen + Tilly off. It’s like a school carpool dream come true for me. I wish everyday was late start and what’s funny is I’m one of the only school age mom I know that likes Wednesdays… might have something to do with working from home instead of an office. Or maybe I just have a thing for lazier mornings.

T + TH | Are right up there with Wednesdays because Griffin is home! After the three big kids head off to school Griffin, Poppy and I (and Johan too when we are lucky!) find something fun to do until nap time. Sometimes we tryout a new coffee shop, or park. Other times we do something a little more familiar like meet up with friends, visit the children’s museum or wander around Target. Once Poppy is down, I tidy up again and then spend time with Griffin. It’s his last year home before starting Kindergarten (which is full-time here) so these days feel almost sacred and I do my best to keep this time work-free.  Every once in awhile tho, I spend an hour or less answering emails or taking pictures for a post while he plays legos.

Wow, that all feels like a lot of information and our afternoons are even more random so maybe I’ll stop there and cover our afternoon, evening and bedtime schedule in another post!? Let me know if you have any questions that I didn’t answer in this post about our mornings or anything you would like to know in a follow up post.

Oh, and two things that are worth mentioning…

1.) Once a week our totally amazing family friend comes and cleans our home. It was something Johan and I decided to splurge on during the end of my pregnancy with Poppy and only intended on continuing for the first few months after she was born but couldn’t bring ourselves to give-up! It’s seriously life changing and allows me to focus on other things like the laundry, inviting people over, and of course the kids!

2.) One morning a week while Johan is on shift and Griffin is at school, I have hired a friend’s daughter who is homeschooled to come play with Poppy for a couple hours while I work in my office. She’s only come 3 or 4 times so far but Poppy loves the big kid attention and adding an extra 2 hours to my 12 hour workweek has been such a relief. It’s a win-win!

Obviously most days don’t run quite as smoothly as it might look on “paper”. Negotiations, tantrums, spills and scavenger hunts for lost shoes/homework/library books are also a part of our mornings. What keeps me sane in a house full of kids though is not doing it all, all the time and remembering that a little bit of help might not solve all my problems but it does go a long way.

So, now I’m curious… If you could get help on a daily or weekly basis would you hire a nanny, cook, chauffeur, or house cleaner?

Can’t wait to read your answers!

XO, Rae

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SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN + MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Not sure how we are so close to Dec. 25th, but Happy Christmas Eve, Eve!!! A couple weekends ago we took the kids to see Santa and have been running non-stop ever since, just trying to cram in all the festivities, cookie baking, get togethers and gift buying. These full days are my very favorite but they are not without exhaustion, stress, and giant messes. Part of me can’t wait to wake up on Christmas morning to see it all come together while the other part never wants it to end. It all goes by way too fast! Thankful for the memories but even more thankful for the pictures to remind me :)

Here’s a look at how our Santa photos turned out this year…

Griffin has warmed up to Santa and was okay with the big guy as long as he didn’t have to sit on his lap (makes sense). 2 years ago we had to ask Santa to photobomb so Griffin wouldn’t lose it and last year he wouldn’t even take a candy cane from him while Johan was holding him. Poppy is still not a fan.

GRIFFIN’S JACKET | ESPEN’S FLANNEL | POPPY’S SWEATSHIRT | TILLY’s TEE

The jolliest bunch of elves… Love this time of year with them.

I hope Espen is never too cool for Santa :)

The big guy and my guy giving me a hard time for being on my phone but then wanting in on a selfie… typical :)

Thankful for this season where we get to celebrate in the waiting. In the preparation. And in the moment. In the little, big, magical, and imperfect things. Thankful for baby Jesus and a God who’s love is so big and wide and deep that he would send his son. Right before our Santa pics Tilly asked me, “How good do I have to be to be on the NICE list?” And I replied, “Oh sweetie, it doesn’t matter because you are always on Jesus’.”

Santa is such a fun part of the holidays, but Jesus is soooooo much better.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas that is so full of love you could burst.

XOXO, Rae

(Pics by the always amazing, Stacy Jacobsen)

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OH CHRISTMAS TREE + OUR SIMPLE HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST

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I cannot believe it, but happy DECEMBER! We kicked off the month yesterday by starting our service advent calendar, stacking up a pile of books to donate, and celebrating our elf, Sven the loving elf’s, arrival. I just know this month is going to flyby — it always does. Since our un-fancy fall bucket list worked so well, I figured we would do the same for the Holiday Season. Here’s what’s on everyone’s list: 

ME | Mail our Christmas cards next week, plan a fancy date night with ma boo, see the Nutcracker, Narnia (at the Seattle Children’s Theater), or go on a Polar Express ride.

JOHAN | Lots of Christmas movie nights!

OZZIE | Go sledding.

ESPEN | Gingerbread houses and visit with his buddies that moved a little while ago.

TILLY | Make my friends Christmas gifts and see Santa.

GRIFFIN | Do a hot cocoa stand and zoo lights!

POPPY | Run away from santa (just kidding! – by Tilly).

This time of year (dark and cold) it’s easy for me to be a homebody without a list of things to do! Looking forward to checking things off over the next several weeks.

What’s on your bucket list for the Holidays!?

Now for a few pics from the tree hunting excursion we went of after church last Sunday.  

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The opposite of the Mannequin challenge, HA! A few snaps before this, Espen had jumped into the shot and photobombed. It wasn’t long before they all wanted a picture of them doing the same. Love these kids.

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(Poppy must have tooted?)

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Totally impressed with the tree wrapping machine…

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…And the little train ride they got to go on.

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And a few posed pics with the oldest because it’s hard to get him in front of the camera most of the time. Realizing how far we are moving from the making babies stage of our family but so thankful for healthy, thriving kids that entertain and impress me daily. It’s bittersweet but mostly sweet.

XO, Rae

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ME | buffalo check coat (on sale!), jeans (on double sale), black boot (also on sale)

ESPEN | sweatshirt (similar), check shirt (similar), jeans, black rain boots

TILLY | black coat, dress and boots (similar) from Boden and on sale

GRIFFIN | jeans, shoes

POPPY | jean jacket (same one in a darker wash), boots

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THANKFUL FOR THANKSGIVING

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Welp, we spent Thanksgiving bunked at our family cabin, gobbled till we wobbled (and not just on Turkey Day), drove 8 hours to see our college team lose the apple cup (but still had fun), walked the festive streets of Leavenworth, mediated an unnerving amount of sibling squabbles, and made lots of new memories. Thanksgiving, for no particular reason, isn’t usually my favorite holiday, but this year was so good it has me reconsidering my holiday rankings. Here’s a few pics from our long weekend –>

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(Thankful for this guy of mine — insert heart emoji.)

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(Taking a cue from my kids who see any and all public floors and grounds as a place to play, snuggle or rest… I think they are onto something!)

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(We packed feathers, googley eyes, and brown bags for any downtime we might have on our trip and love the name tags and headbands Tilly made out of them! Nothing fancy but totally perfect.)

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(The room I used to sleep in as a kid with siblings and friends. So sweet to see my kids in there together.)

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(A quick snap with Papa and Gigi at the cabin on the last day as we cleaned and packed!)

Yep. Thanksgiving is officially moving up on my favorite holidays list… Hope yours was even sweeter! 

Now if we can just get a handle on all the sibling bickering!? 

XO, Rae

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FALL S’MORES + LONG WEEKENDS

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Not sure how the long weekend managed to go by faster than a normal one, but it did and I was far from being ready for Monday (hence a Tuesday post :). Trying to remember everything we actually did to fill the time, but assume it must have been good :)

One of the best parts was the bonfire and s’mores date we threw together on Veteran’s Day (thank you, thank you to our brave military and their families!) and then dinner with friends afterwards. Instead of staying home, where we most likely would have filled much of our extra family time with yard work and laundry, we took off for my parent’s house to use their fire pit and pretty backyard. And of course check the mail since they were out of town… You know, just doin’ our part! Here’s a few pics from our time around the fire…

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Dumped all the s’mores ingredients out in this tiered tray and it made it so much easier to assemble our treats! 

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My “spirited” kids searching for (but mostly playing with) the perfect roasting sticks. I was sure someone was going to lose an eye during this process and tried not to follow them around, nagging them to be careful every 10 seconds. A timeless mom dilemma, but seriously, what is it with sticks, rocks and kids!? 

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(My happy place! Also, mad for plaid.)

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The three middle kids prefer a scorched mallow over a gooey golden brown one. Initially I thought they just liked the taste but now I’m thinking it has more to do with blowing out the fire and not having to wait as long to eat their s’more!

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Oh, that first bite!

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Even though Ozzie was traveling for football and Poppy was down for a nap, it felt good to have some dedicated family time while also checking s’mores off of our fall bucket list. Something I had been dying to do!!

Bringing things back to my first thought of the post, do you ever have someone ask you on a Monday, “How was your weekend?” and your like, “Ummmm, I know it was good but not exactly sure what we did!?”

That’s me everyday lately, which makes me extra appreciative of the times we grab our phones or big camera to take a few shots of these fleeting moments. Now I just need to make more photo albums (a.k.a. chatbooks) out of them!

What is your favorite way to document memories?

XO, Rae

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ME | buffalo check sweater, jeans, booties (similar), beanie from Target (similar)

TILLY | black coat, jeans, sneakers

GRIFFIN | buffalo check henley (similar-ish), jeans

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TILLY’S 8TH BDAY + EMOJI PARTY

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The last week of October is full of Birthdays in our home with Tilly going first, then Ozzie, and finally myself on Halloween. I usually try and squeeze a party in for Tilly early but our Disney Land trip made me think a belated celebration for her might be best. Of course we had festivities and family get togethers in between, but last weekend we ended her very long Birthday week with an emoji party with her friends at a gymnastics center. Tilly helped a ton with all the party planning, designs and decisions (so proud of her!) and was very happy with how everything turned out.

Sharing more details and party sources below!

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CAKE: Tilly had been dreaming up (and bugging me) for a tiered cake since before her last Birthday. I have zero cake baking or decorating skills and didn’t necessarily want to splurge on a custom cake, but her persistence and excitement about the possibility could not be ignored. So Tilly and I spent a few minutes on Pinterest getting ideas and then reached out to Christina of 4kids Cakes to see if she could whip up something delicious and adorable (and of course tiered) with sprinkles on one layer and hearts on another. Thankfully she agreed and then blew us away with how it turned out and the chocolate “8” topper she added. It seriously made Tilly’s day! That and her friends of course. (*Served with wooden spoons.)

BALLOONS + CONFETTI: Since we were partying at a gymnastics center, there wasn’t much point in spending time or money on decorations, so we kept it simple and ordered emoji and a number 8 balloon.

PARTY FAVORS: We filled glassine bags with confetti, and emoji stickers and gum balls. Then sealed them with washi tape and #YAY stickers you can click to download HERE.

SNACKS + DRINKS: Our party started at 3pm so we grabbed some favorite kid snacks from Costco, filled 8oz. beverage bottle (or here!) with milk, bottled waters, and LaCroix for the mamas and papas. Click to download “#DRINKS” and “#SNACKS” signs HERE

TILLY’S OUTFIT: Sweatshirt (50% off!) and leggings from Peek and boots from Target.

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T w i n n i n g (! ! !) with a bestie.

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There wasn’t much of a chance to take pictures before or during the party with the entire crew of kids and parents. But, you know those people that just don’t want to leave a good party? That’s how we roll and these are our friends who do the same thing. And I’m so grateful they did so we could get a few pics to remember the day with! Of course we love and missed the ones that had to scoot out earlier.

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(Johan sneaking in one of the older brothers :)

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Oh my goodness how I love celebrating my people. Just look at that face! 

All in all, her big day went smoothly and I’m not sure who had more fun — the kids or parents — which is always a good sign! Let me know if I missed any details.

Happiest hump-day!

XOXO, Rae 

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THESE ARE MY MOMFESSIONS

I’ve mentioned more than once that I’m a sucker for outtakes. Even after the credits of an amazing movie, I appreciate the funny clips of mess-ups, mishaps, and couldn’t have planned it if they tried moments, just as much. Whether during the filming of a movie, clicking of a camera, or in everyday life it’s the unscripted, and unpolished moments that (happen a lot when there are kids involved) remind me not to take myself too seriously — and keeps me laughing until I cry sometimes.

Here are a few outtakes from our life lately. They may not be LOL funny, but they do make things a little more interesting around here!

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  • The day debit cards became popular should have been the day the tooth fairy died because I literally never have cash and when I do it’s definitely not in the form of one dollar bills (the baristas in my life get all of those). My kids are convinced their tooth fairy is too busy and, depending on their moods, ask me to file a complaint or help her get an assistant (which I think is a great idea, ha!). After three or seven mornings of no money under their pillow, she finally shows up and leaves $10 because she feels so guilty and awful about being late. We’ve had so many lost teeth lately that the tooth fairy is currently experiencing budget cuts.
  • Last Wednesday’s school carpool, by the numbers – SIX: the number of passenger seats in my mini van. EIGHT: the number of kids I had to transport to school. TWO: the number of high schoolers that got dropped off first. ONE: the number of toots said high schoolers squeaked out before exiting the mini (also worth noting that the tooter almost fell on their face while exiting… karma!). FOUR: the number of windows that were rolled down immediately to save lives of remaining passengers while also  unintentionally sharing their laughter and screaming with onlookers . TWENTY-FIVE: estimated number of teenage onlookers. THIRTY: the number of preschoolers that we were scheduled to provide snack for that morning. SEVEN: the number of funny looks or comments I received for bringing 6 kids into Target with me to buy said snacks. THREE: the number of meltdowns diffused during our outing. INFINITY: the number of times I reminded the kids to use walking feet ONE: the number of pumpkin spice lattes and cake-pops Poppy and I treated ourselves to after carpool…. :)
  • Over the weekend, when the kids were full and had snuck upstairs to entertain themselves (i.e. video games), Poppy included, I snuck into my office. Against my better judgement of course. 15 minutes later when I went to go check on them I discovered that Poppy had eaten THREE suckers. Not a clue where she even found them. When I asked her older siblings if they saw her they replied, “Yeah, but she was happy and quiet. So?” I guess we all appreciate when the needy toddler is entertained. Even if it means sharing suckers or cleaning up sticky messes.
  • Clowns were hiding in the woods around my kid’s elementary school last week. CLOWNS!!! I almost yanked them and started homeschooling until I realized it’s some sort of national trend. Halloween really brings out all the sickos.

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In my opinion, comic relief is one of the better parts of life. Luckily there aren’t many things more ridiculously funny than kids and motherhood!

Have any stories or confessions that come to mind?

XO, Rae

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