Archive | LIFE LATELY

A GRILLED CHEESE FRIDAY AT PIKE PLACE MARKET

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

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

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

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

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

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

… but it was closed. Noooooooo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Pic of Johan and me by Griffin)

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

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

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

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

Happy (grilled cheese) Friday friends!

xo, Rae

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8

SUNDAY AT GREEN LAKE, SEATTLE

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

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

Always on the hunt for a cold treat.

Always finding one.

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

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

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

Happy Monday Friends!!!

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

xo, Rae

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2

LIFE LATELY: OUR 4th OF JULY, 2017

Johan and I spent sometime over our anniversary date a couple weeks ago, chatting about our favorite memories as a couple and family. Most of the things we discussed involved some sort of tradition, trip or outing. At the top of the list was our annual 4th of July celebration at my parent’s lake house. I shared a bit about it HERE last summer so I may be repeating myself, but the day kicks off with neighborhood festivities starting with a fishing derby that leads to relay races and a potluck that included cotton candy.

After that we meet up with friends at the house, play in the lake and eat too much food until it get’s dark enough for fireworks. It’s pretty much the best.

A few snaps from our 4th of July!

A couple photo-ops before heading to the neighborhood lodge where the games are played… and where Johan and I got married!

The sun came out for the games which is amazing but makes taking pictures tricky so please excuse the bad light and editing. Still trying to figure out the best way to deal with harsh light! (Feel free to share tips if you have any!?)

Also, if you’ve ever left or read through the comments on this blog you may have noticed some notes from “papa” (my dad). Well, that’s him to the right of me in the picture above. He’s a professional skydiver, rides a motorcycle, and since retiring almost full-time has added long hair, playing the piano and kick-boxing to his resume. He’s ridiculous and really cool and I think it’s always fun putting a face to a name. Wishing I managed to snap a pic of my mom too who is equally as cool and busy. They make a cute couple.

Heading back to my parent’s after eating our weight in hot dogs and sweets! By this time of the day we’re all a little hyper and scattered and ready to do whatever is next. Like get our swimmers on…

… and guess what? This year I managed to get all three of the boys into the same trunks! Even crazier is that it took zero begging or bribing the older two to make it happen. Just found these great swim shorts in men and mini sizes from Kortni Jeane (my go-to shop for swim suits this season) and the boys were all in!

*For size reference, Oz is in a men’s medium, Espen is in a mini boys 10/11 and Griffin is in a mini boys 4/5 — the younger 2 boys are really skinny so I love that the drawstring works in these shorts and keeps them up.

Look at that bunch of cute kids!  Sad that I didn’t try to snap this earlier when the teenagers and a couple other families were around with their little ones, but it’s still a pretty accurate depiction of the fun that took place later in the day. Thankful for all these munchkins (and the ones not pictured) and their parents… Love them all to pieces.

Hope you all enjoyed a very fun (or relaxing) 4th of July with family and friends!

xo, Rae

2

PANTRY PARTY MIX, GRAPE (CATERPILLAR) KABOBS, A MEAL PLAN, + A FEW PICS FROM OUR WEEKEND

We spent the weekend in our old college town (WSU in Pullman, WA) watching Ozzie play baseball on the same field he used to run bases around along with the college players post-game, as a curly-headed toddler. It was the sweetest most sentimental thing to see him as a player with that same big head of curly hair. Gah! Time is a crazy (biznich) thing but I’ll stop right there before I start crying… :)

Anyway, aside from cheering on big brother, we had a blast swimming at the hotel pool, eating at a couple of our favorite spots, and walking around our old stomping ground. Knowing that we would be spending a majority of our time watching baseball or running around town, I threw a bunch of opened bags of snacks into a tote before we left and stopped by the store once we arrived for yogurt, deli meat and fruit so we weren’t eating out for all meals and snacks. Between all that and a bag of peanut butter m&m’s we threw together a fun snack mix and grape kabobs turned caterpillars that the kids loved. They don’t require a recipe (or much prep hallelujah!) and since snack and meal ideas are always helpful during the summer months, I thought I’d share more diy details and a meal plan below!

PANTRY SNACK MIX – Grab all the half-eaten boxes and bags of snack foods from the pantry (pirate booty, popcorn, pretzels, fish crackers, bunny crackers, etc.), nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and mix together. Divide into bowls or containers and top with something sweet like sprinkles, m&m’s, and/or chocolate chips.

CATERPILLAR GRAPE KABOBS – Slide grapes onto wood skewers and then use icing to add candy eyes! (I linked to amazon so you could see what I’m talking about but usually buy at Target… although those candy eyes look like a good deal!)

MONDAY | Something from Costco because unpacking, and husband at work and really, who wants to start the week with dishes? Ha!

TUESDAY | Turkey lettuce wraps

WEDNESDAYMexi-quinoa buddha bowls

THURSDAY | FIELD DAY at the elementary school so, pulled pork sandwiches in the crock pot with blue slaw and sweet potato fries will be a nice (and easy-ish) way to end the day!

FRIDAY | homemade mac and cheese… kid request!

SATURDAY | pizza picnic or dinner with friends

SUNDAY | Thai green coconut curry so good!  (I use coconut oil and omit the cuttlefish balls and fish sauce)

BREAKKIE, LUNCH + SNACK | It’s the last week of school and only break I’ll be getting from the kitchen for awhile so we will be eating hot lunches, cereal, apples and popcorn for all other meals :)

Always celebrating this hands-on and always entertaining daddy of their’s but especially on Father’s Day. Even though he was the one that brought me coffee in bed Sunday morning (oops!). I blame Poppy who was up at least 6 times the night before. You just never know who is and isn’t going to sleep when away from home!

I think her personality is growing as fast as her little body… I love you Poppy! (her shorts from childhoods and purse from swankaroo in size L, 6-8)

Proof of the sidewalk meltdown I mentioned on instagram yesterday… still have no idea what she was upset about but luckily she bounces back quickly! A friend pointed out that it might have something to do with being the 5th child? You either bounce back or you miss out on the action i guess!?

Also, tell me Espen doesn’t look like he would fit right in with the cast from Sandlot? And I mean that in the best way. He and Tilly are knee deep in that awkward stage that lasts through 6th or 7th grade (right?) and I can’t get enough of it. It reminds me of that newborn stage where they are just too scrumptious not to adore but haven’t totally grown into their features. Ha! I have mom-goggles for sure.

The very first time I met Johan was in this coffee shop. We had both stopped in to say “HI!” to my cousin Erin who worked there. I walked through the door with Oz in a stroller and couldn’t wait to give her a hug after being gone all summer and Johan was sitting at the counter trying to mooch a free peanut butter frost (which he of course did successfully). Erin introduced us but it was almost a year before out paths crossed again. After so many years of marriage, I love thinking about all the details of our relationship and what it took God to get us together!

THE GOOD LIFE ^^^ on the hunt for ice cream!

Of all the sports my kids play, I think the baseball dugout is my favorite part!

Griff patiently waited for the coach to leave the dugout so he could hang with his big brother. He and Poppy for sure treat Oz like a celebrity.

But seriously… I grew that big man-child in my belly 16 years ago when life was hard and scary and so uncertain. The craziness of how far we’ve come never escapes me. God is so good you guys.

Okay, enough of my rambling! Hope you guys have an amazing start to your week!

xo, Rae

P.S. – Thoughts on wide leg jeans? I’m a sucker for a new trend but after seeing them in photos, I can’t decide. Some angles aren’t that flattering, but they are really fun to wear… and breezy for the summer!

 

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6

HOW TO BE A HAPPIER MOM + LIFE LATELY

(Cookie eating + smoothie + coffee drinking at the park.)

With Mother’s Day just a week and a half away, my mind has been spinning with thoughts of motherhood. One of the quotes I read recently and can’t seem to get out of my head is, “In the end, I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life” by, Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard. So true, right? I’d add that it’s also one of the best gifts we can give our kids!

So, I started taking an inventory of the days I’m feeling happier and more myself and why I think that is. Excited to share what I found along with a pics from life lately!

I’M A HAPPIER MOM WHEN…

  1. I’m doing things to take care of myself on a regular basis (getting ready, working out, eating well, etc.)
  2. I’m in community and spending daily time with God (journaling, reading, praying) and people (playdates, coffee, walks, meals, chatting, etc.). Oh, and of course date nights with your hub or friends!
  3. I’m getting enough sleep. I read the other day that getting good sleep makes people more happy than making more money and I totally believe it! I’m so much more playful and fun when well rested. 7 or 8 hours per night is my happy place and allows a buffer for the nights I’m up late working or one of the kids is sick. This of course is tricky with a baby bump or newborn… and sometimes even toddlers, a “sleep walking” 5 year old that climbs into bed with you, or if you have FOMO (like me!) and can’t sleep in!
  4. I’m able to be present! Still need to be better at this because even when my body isn’t multitasking, my mind often is. Keeping a planner where I can jot down lists, ideas, to-do’s and a plan for our day is a huge help! Love these large agendas by Ban.do and this monthly organizational set by JDC. Getting out of the house for a bit each day helps too.
  5. My priorities, values and goals all lineup. If I find myself getting frustrated or losing my mind, it’s usually because one or more of these things are off. On the flip side, when all 3 line up it can be a huge mood booster. For instance, if my goal is to have the kids catch the bus at 8, my priority is to encourage independence, and my value is in my relationship with my kids then letting Tilly pick out her outfit is a no brainer! It saves both of us time and energy and helps our relationship too. Although, you know I’ll be throwing out some suggestions, ha! Just can’t help myself :)

(Yummy Starbucks cookie, but we made these big batch cookies a couple days ago too!)

Made this fish taco with mango salsa recipe last Taco Tuesday and it was so yummy.

(Burning off some energy on the tennis court during Ozzie’s game last week.)

(Shoes on the wrong feet… gosh I’ll miss this stage when it’s over.)

(Weekday errands with daddy… one of the perks of being married to a firefighter :)

(The sun has been out off and on this week so it was time for us to stock our car caddy with a picnic mat, snacks, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles. Makes baseball games + park dates super easy!)

One last thought on being a happier mom… Raising good little humans is a big job. But that sense of purpose and value can often get buried under the mountain of laundry, to-dos, and tantrums and with it the joy too. So for all the mamas that could use a reminder or haven’t been told lately, you have a big, beautiful, important and hard job and your doing better than you think you are… we all are!

How do you keep your heart light and happy amid the demands of momming?

xo, Rae

10

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

8

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)

2

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

0

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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