Archive | LIFE

READY TO WEEKEND + COMFORT ZONES

It’s FRIDAY (woot!) and to top it off the sun’s out and a couple of the kids don’t have school so we are feeling ready to start the weekend! If you keep up with my Instagram Stories, you probably saw that Ozzie was accepted to WSU this week which had me feeling allll the feelings (it’s where I attended school when he was a babe!) and getting very nostalgic. Johan and I have been chatting a lot about our own adolescents and college years and I was surprised to learn a couple new things about him and vice versa– even after all these years, lol!

During one of our convos something came up that I had almost forgotten about and I thought it would fun to chat about it with you…

When I was a Senior in High School, I took an acting class — something that as more of an athlete and super shy kid was very out of character for me. Of course, I wasn’t all that good even after 6 months of consistent practice and training, but it was SO GOOD FOR ME. Maybe one of the best things I’ve ever done simply because it got me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to people I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

There’s my random fact for the day :)

Can you think of a situation that was totally outside of your comfort zone but you said “yes” anyways? Or fun facts or talents that most people don’t know about you? Please share!?

xo, Rae

PS – a million thank you’s to everyone for their DM’s and messages about Ozzie’s college news… we are so proud of him and so thankful for all the support!

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LOCATION VS. HOUSE…. (+ OTHER THOUGHTS ON MOVING)


Would you rather… have your dream home in an okay location or an okay home in your dream location?

Asking because we’ve been talking a lot about moving lately and I’m surprised at how undecided I feel on the whole subject. Especially since I never dreamed I’d live in the same state I did most of my growing up and definitely didn’t think when I married Johan who studied abroad in Sweden (in high school) and Australia (in college) and had a degree in international business, that he’d end up in a career that kept him in one spot. So it feels weird to me to be indecisive about where to move…. even when we wouldn’t be moving very far away, lol. BUT there is so much that goes into figuring things out: the budget, location, THE KIDS (especially now that they’re older), friends + family, schools, community, church, commutes, conveniences, etc. And then there’s deciding between a fixer upper or something more move in ready?

Ahhhhh, it’s so hard when what you want and what’s best aren’t the same thing and when the decisions made effects so many people you love! Wishing it was just a bit easier to know what to do!

Have you guys learned any tricks or tips when it comes to moving or making big decisions for your family? Tell me I’m not alone in the overwhelm and indecisiveness…

xo, Rae

PS – can I please just move into that pink lifeguard tower on the beach? That would solve all my problems, lol.

Image source from Sf GIRL… such a great site for interior inspo.

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HELLO FRIDAY + CARTING THE KIDS AROUND

YAY for the weekend! It’s been such a weird week around here so I’m feeling v. ready… Bring on the Birthday parties, get togethers and sports games.

Speaking of weekend festivities and schedules, I’ve had a few convos with other mom friends about how to manage kid activities and how busy things can get and I have to admit that when I signed Ozzie up for a mommy + me swim class at 14 months old, I had no idea that it was just the beginning… We’ve been running around to classes, fields and gymnasiums ever since and it’s seriously the cutest thing… Not so ironically, I’m currently watching Poppy plié her way through ballet class as I write this!

As the kids get older there’s a lot less mommy + me and a lot more after school sports and clubs, practices and games. It’s still so fun and exciting (and even cute sometimes too), but also comes with some juggling and decision making which I’m the worst at, ha!

Should we sign up for this or that or take a break? Should I say no to that thing for this kid because they need more rest or does this child need a push to take that class because they’re always reluctant but also always happy after they go? It’s all so good but also tricky to navigate.

For me the most helpful approach has been to remember that nothing is permanent and it’s all seasonal — literally. “Jesus take the wheel” prayers always help too… ha!

How do you decide how busy (or not busy) to make your kids’ schedules????

xoxo, Rae

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SEATTLE CITY GUIDE: QUEEN ANNE HILL

Last summer I must have gotten almost a dozen DM’s from people who had plans to visit Seattle and were looking for activity and food suggestions, which totally made me geek out, ha! Is there anything better than being able to share all your favorite things about where you live with people!? Anyways, I responded as best I could but at the time was kicking myself for not having a full resource on the blog to refer people to which leads us to today’s blog post. Over the next few months I’ll be sharing our favorite things to do and see in Seattle (both touristy and non-touristy) and then linking them up into one big post before summer arrives. YAY!!!

Queen Anne Hill is one of my favorite spots to visit, it also happens to be where Johan’s sister and brother in law live and would be my pick of neighborhoods to move to if we lived in the city. With the Seattle Center (which includes the Space Needle, Science Center, MoPOP, etc.) just down the street it’s a fun local spot to grab food, walk around and kind of escape from the more touristy things without having to go out of your way or spend all day. Here’s what we like to do when we’re there!

WHAT TO DO IN QUEEN ANNE:

  • QUEEN ANNE AVE| walk, shop and scooter along queen anne ave, preferably with a coffee in hand! And if you need snacks to bring back to your hotel room there’s a Trader Joe’s (can you tell I like my creature comforts when traveling?!).
  • KERRY PARK | has the most amazing view of the city skyline and a playground too! photos above and below were taken there.
  • EAT BREAKFAST, LUNCH + DINNER | you may not want to spend more than a couple hours on the hill, but it’s the perfect place to grab any meal… or all of your meals, ha! especially if you have a packed day at Seattle Center. I’ll share our go-to spots to grub below!

WHAT TO EAT ON QUEEN ANNE:

  • COFFEE | you might want to stop by the original Starbucks at Pike Place during your visit, but the rest of your trip I suggest trying out the million other coffee shops around seattle. our go-to’s on the hill are uptown coffee and storyville.
  • CAFE STYLE | bounty kitchen (pictured below) is where I would pick if I had to eat all my meals at one place for the rest of my life (ha!) and Le Rêve Bakery is a fun spot for sweets, snacks or an easy breakfast stop. my teenage self also wants you to know there’s a dick’s drive-in close by (watch this video around minute 3) and if you’re not in the mood for fast-food style cheeseburgers an order of fries and milkshake will do!
  • CASUAL DINING | a few family friendly spots — for tex-mex fare (or margaritas) laredos grill or mezcaleria oaxaca are yummy options, zeek’s pizza is easy and good, 5 spot has a fun themed menu that changes and is a great spot for breakkie or brunch, ikiiki sushi bar is always a good idea… There are so many options tho and it’s hard to pick a bad one!
  • SWEETS | molly moon’s has THE BEST ICE CREAM EVER, there’s also a menchies or stop for milkshakes at Dick’s

A few pics from our lunch at bounty kitchen… like I said, I could eat all my meals there forever and be happy. So good and fresh and their diverse kids menu and coloring supplies makes it an easy choice!

The streets are lined with beautiful homes, shopping, restaurants, schools and churches so it feels like you’re in the city but also in a little community = my happy place!

G i v e m e a l l l l l l t h e l e f t o v e r s !

But seriously tho, leftovers are my favorite (is that word getting annoying, ha!?) but also polarizing. You either love ’em or hate ’em. Or you think you love ’em and then they rot in the fridge :) That’s me sometimes too. What about you?

Seattle friends, feel free to add more suggestions in the comments!

Where would you like to see next?

xo, Rae

You might also like these Seattle posts | pike place + west seattle, alki beach, green lake, lake union, family night at the M’s game!

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CABIN FEVER CURES + A PRINTABLE

We’re smack dab in the middle of that winter grind that seems to last for-ev-errrr (read in sandlot voice). Some days we leave the house for errands and activities, other days are a welcome break that involve pj’s, cookie baking, forts and movies and the rest seem to be full of bored kids, bickering and screen time negotiations. The latter can sometimes sneak up on me so fast that by the time I notice, I’m also feeling totally drained and in no shape to be scrolling through pinterest for activity ideas. Which is why I started making a list to stick on the fridge or bulletin board and thought I’d share in case you’ve been experiencing the same thing.

We have such a big mix of ages in our family but hopefully it still helps and if you want to make your own list, I included a blank page too… CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Do you guys have little tips and tricks for limiting screen time or do you tend to not worry about it and just go with the flow when it comes to tech and tv? The biggest help for us lately has been changing the passwords to everything so they aren’t sneaking off with devices. Oh and did you guys read about the youtube situation happening?… might want to make sure your kids aren’t around if you click on it! Tilly caught a glimpse and was up twice with nightmares last night. Poor thing.

xo, Rae

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WE WENT SKIING + A LOVE NOTE TO SNOW MOMS

We went skiing as a family last week which has been a dream of mine for the longest time so needless to say I’m an extra happy girl as I scroll through pics and write this post. I grew up skiing/snowboarding and always hoped I would be able to do the same with my kids but up until today, we’d only hit the slopes with portions of the fam and without any consistency. I’m excited to share a few pics but there’s something else on my mind to share first…

Since we’ve had an unusual few weeks of snow in the PNW and then with skiing last week, I’ve been thinking about all you mamas that live in cold and snowy climates because holy crap, it’s a lot of work! Sure it’s magical and fun and makes bedtimes easy (my kids sleep like babies after playing in the snow!) but the gloves and gear and layers and wet clothes and boots and constant hangry-ness and the trying to get everything dry just in time to go outside again and… gosh the list goes on. It’s a lot and I’m guessing that at this point in winter, you might be hitting a wall, so I just wanted to let you know I see you and wish I could give you a big hug and your favorite coffee drink and let you know that it matters and your kids are the luckiest!

That time Pepa Pig went skiing with us (see the windowsill below). Also just never want to forget such a pretty mess made of random but real things that got us through our day — a backpack stocked with advil, hand sanitizer, granola bars, headphones, hair ties (etc.), wet gloves, half sipped on hot cocoa, fountain drinks and skis small enough to bring into the lodge (no ski check line!). And so many other items that wouldn’t fit in the frame.

It’s a tricky thing to be content and grateful for the things you have while also planning, working and dreaming for the future… Days like these always bring a fresh new energy and perspective that make me extra grateful.

What dream goals do you have for your family?

xo, Rae

WEARING | Griffin and Tilly’s star print snow gear and Poppy’s pink jumpsuit are all sold out at hanna andersson but for future reference, they fit amazing and keep them super warm and dry. Griffin’s green coat (fits tts) and his and Poppy’s gloves (size up one) are from Polarn O. Pyret and are also great. Would love to try their rain gear! My coat (on sale!) is from Madewell (wearing a small) and is great for everyday and kept me dry but wasn’t the warmest on the mountain.

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OUR FAVORITE AMAZON PURCHASES IN 2018

One of my goals for 2019 is to be more thoughtful about how I spend money and while I’ve made a few changes lately (baby steps!), I don’t see myself quitting on amazon prime anytime soon. Here are our favorite Amazon purchases of 2018…

  1. favorite moisturizer to put on my face… add 30 drops of frankincense to the bottle to help even skin color and heal blemishes.
  2. this cell phone armband for running + workouts
  3. a couple more workout essentials — medecine ball + jump rope
  4. the kids echo dot — because listening to them ask alexa to play “baby shark” or “tell me a story” is the best!
  5. these headphones are lifesavers (bluetooth, long lasting battery, safe for little + big ears, durable and design friendly) but are also the same price through their web site.
  6. kitchen organizing bins for the fridge and pantry (love!)
  7. pint sized blender bottles are so handy for the kids’ school, games + practices!
  8. monkey string is the perfect activity for kids on the go or traveling. (did you see this post?)
  9. love this tray so much I plan on buying more.
  10. in need of a refill of these… so many pretty colors!
  11. the raffle tickets we use for earning things… more on that in this post.
  12. our party, play date and movie night must-haves: these cups (because lids!) and food trays
  13. speaking of parties, these star balloons and giant diy confetti balloons are evergreen and get used for every special day or random reason to celebrate!
  14. the cutest birthday candles in rainbow or white
  15. love these jammies for sleeping or layering under snow gear. more options here.

Did you guys know you can check the number of orders you’ve made on Amazon by year? We’ve gone up about 10 orders per year since 2013 when we made 2 purchases (lol)… what about you guys!?

xo, Rae

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SCENES FROM OUR WINTER WEEKEND (SO FAR) + A FAMILY UPDATE

(serious dad skills ^^^)

Yay Presidents day! Happy to say we still have a couple days left of the weekend (woot!) but I wanted to stop in with a little family update and a few random pics from Saturday morning. I’ve been doing my best to get the camera out even when the lighting isn’t good (which is most of november to march in Seattle) so these aren’t the best quality pics, but I still treasure them! Here’s what everyone’s been up to…

(Poppy’s leo is from here. Also, we chopped her hair and now it’s super wavy in the back and she wakes up with the most amazing bedhead. It’s the cutest.)

Ozzie | Has been enjoying an off-season from sports but still finds ways to be around sporting events by cheering on his friends (and sibs). He spent Saturday at his bff’s state wrestling meet. So proud of Oz for the kind of buddy and big brother he is. There are few things more important in life than giving others your time and encouragement Oz, so keep it up!

Espen | Got straight A’s on his first middle school report card. I cried when I opened it and yelled to Johan to come peek but then he pointed out that it’s not considered straight A’s if there are A minuses sprinkled in. Can you tell which one of us was an A sudent and which one wasn’t? In other Espen news, he laughs every time someone says “balls” so you know middle school humor is still alive and well regardless of GPA.

Tilly | is currently organizing and producing (aka being a bit bossy about) a youtube channel for her and Griffin. Johan made them promise that they won’t use annoying baby voices in their videos, ha! (anyone else over youtube kids?) Needless to say it’s been an adventure already… get ready for some slime videos coming your way!

Griffin | Lost one of his front teeth (so many heart eyes!) and is working on his other one. He’s also very excited about the youtube channel but is mostly focused on the potential to make money with advertisements, lol.

Poppy | Has grown to love being in the snow, hallelujah! Remember these sledding pics? Well, after our big snow storm and being able to play in the snow 8 days (almost) in a row helped so much. Guess I forget that Poppy (in particular) needs time to adjust and warmup to anything new. We’re celebrating her breakthrough with a family ski day later this week and I cannnnnot wait!

(see that front gap!? ahhhhh, too cute.)

Johan | has been bringing donuts home on Saturday and Sunday mornings after shifts lately so we decided to make it an official tradition. He’s also been making lots of batches of guacamole lately so basically he’s my favorite person eva.

Rae | Gosh, it’s hard thinking of something for myself! I’m mostly looking forward to skiing on Tuesday. Oh and I also recently started taking vitamins (with iron!) regularly and have been sleeping better and feeling better and am blown away at the difference. I’ll definitely be sticking to it through winter and spring!

What’s new with you? Have any habits or projects you’ve started or want to start?

xo, Rae

PS — Sorry for anyone waiting for a meal plan! Since it’s kind of a weird week I decided to skip and just stock the kitchen with our go-to’s. I’ll try and post a running list on Stories tomorrow. Or scroll down for past plans.

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RAISING LOVING SIBLINGS

I feel overly obligated to start by saying I don’t have the whole “loving siblings” thing figured out and that if having 5 kids has taught me anything it’s that they’re all different with varying needs, personalities and relationship dynamics. BUT I do think we’ve done a few things that have helped strengthen bonds between our kids. Whether or not it will payoff in the long run will forever be an open verdict but for now they’ve made our home mostly pleasant and silly with lots of sweet sibling moments sprinkled in. What’s helped more than anything is taking the time to notice what works for each kid — just like love languages and such, each of our kids seem to be influenced differently — so I thought I would break up my tips and ideas based on what works for each of our babes!

HELP OR ENCOURAGE LOVE NOTES + JOURNALS | This is HUGE for Tilly and I think overall there is something so freeing and powerful about being able to jot down your thoughts and sentiments. She’s always slipping notes under doors and crafting mailboxes and envelopes for us to return the favor. This past fall, all the kids wrote letters to Ozzie for his 18th Birthday and I think I cried over all of them. However, it doesn’t have to be fancy — a simple post it note will do!

POINT OUT THE MOMENTS + THE MEMORIES | This is Ozzie all the way. Show him a picture of him and his siblings, remind him of a story, talk about how they’re the same or different, and point out the MOMENTS of bonding that mean so much, like “how awesome is it that you can work together on (fill in the blank)” or “Gosh you guys are such a fun pair!”

FRIENDSHIP OVER SIBLINGSHIP | Swap out “little brother/sister” and “big brother/sister” for “friend” (okay, maybe not all the time!). For example, “gosh your being such a good friend to Poppy!” Griffin (the most high maintenance of the sibs) eats this up! Probably because he’s 4th in the lineup and wants to feel more like part of the crew and less like the “yittle brudder”.

TEACHING CONFLICT RESOLUTION | this is important alllll around, but it also happens to be Poppy’s forte. Girlfriend never backs down from a conflict but always makes sure everyone hugs and makes up. Also not ashamed to say we’ve taken a line from Full House (+ Fuller House, too) — Talk it out, work it out, hug it out!

TEAM BUILDING FTW | Espen shines in this situation but overall, everyone benefits. Anything from playing a game, sharing highs and lows at the dinner table, having them say 3 nice things about each other, organizing a lemonade stand, or giving them a chore to do together, to family nights in, staycations, weekend getaways and longer vacays! And when the kids seem to be at serious odds with each other, organizing a “parents vs. kids” game works like a charm!

Just a bunch of crazies that get to grow up together. (Including us parents.)

Here’s hoping we’re teaching them to appreciate, show up and cheer for each other while being authentic and sincere. Not just forcing them to “get along” — which in my book is totally overrated and should be reserved for coworkers and neighbors. Even if it feels like my sanity might be at risk sometimes, hahahah!

Now it’s your turn… share all your tips! Lord knows I need them!

xo, Rae

Images by Amy Nielson Photography

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THINGS WE LOVE: SUNDAYS SPENT AT HOME + ANIMAL CHAT BY BRIGHTER FUN

Hoping you’re not over all our food and kitchen related posts and images, lol. Guess it’s where and how we spend most of our time during the colder months… working on our winter bods of course! As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been enjoying alllllll the snow days for the last week or so. This past Sunday after Johan came home from the fire station, we whipped up a french toast breakfast (he makes the toast + I prep the toppings!) and played a fun new animal chat game by my friend Betsy with these two while Ozzie and his friends slept in and Espen and Tilly were at a sleepover. Love opportunities to spend Q.T. with one or two of the kids and am thankful that Johan grabbed the camera to snap a few pics. Always impossible to narrow down my favorites!

V. IMPORTANT: Griffin lost a front baby tooth and it’s just too cute to handle. I’m hoping it’s replacement doesn’t come in before his other front tooth wiggles it’s way out!

Aren’t these illustrated cards adorable!? I want to frame them… or request that Betsy makes a big poster that includes all of them!

Here’s the down-low on Animal Chat: it’s a playful game that helps build better understanding of emotions and feelings created by Betsy and her husband who is an educator (yay! love husband-wife teams!). There are three ways to play – or you can create your own directions!

Find tons more info and different ways to purchase on their Kickstarter page (I just purchased another set for a gift)! You can also head here to sign up for emails.

The kids had a blast looking at the cards, acting out their feelings and asking/answering questions. There aren’t any strict rules or keeping track of points so it really is a game that feels more like free-play. Definitely a good time and lots of laughing.

I especially appreciated the range of cards and emotions — mischievous, content, cool, grouchy and goofy were a few of my favorites! Lord knows there are a lot of feelings happening in our home at any given time… how helpful would it be if our kids (and adults!) were able to sort out how they feel beyond happy or mad?!

Griffin’s silly half face expression made me laugh so had to include :)

How did you spend your weekend?

More importantly, after making a sweet treat do you go for the bowl or whisk/spoon?

As friends I’m feeling like this is something I should know. I’m definitely a bowl girl — especially if I’m the one in charge of scraping out the goods as I always leave a little extra!

xo, Rae

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MAKING FITNESS A PRIORITY + WHY I WORKOUT

I used to workout because I wanted to stay a certain size, see a certain number on the scale and flatten out as many lumps and dimples as possible. As I’ve gotten older and had more kids, it simply got to be too much to keep up with and honestly my “WHY” made it difficult to justify making time for it (hello pregnancy and nursing and busy kids and a full schedule and no sleep and things that are actually important!).

Now I workout because I want to be around for and be able to play with my kids for a long time. I want to set a good example for them like my parents did. I want the endorphins (they make me happy) and energy that comes from moving my body. I want to honor God by taking care of what he’s given me. And I want to feel good in my skin not because of how I look but because I’m strong and capable.

Changing my “WHY” has honestly made all the difference.

What helps you prioritize workouts? Has your “why” changed over the years? I would love to hear more from you in the comments!

XO, Rae

PS – Another thing that’s helped me prioritize fitness is having a running list of workouts that I can do in a pinch or when I need a change of pace. I’ll be sharing my favorites over on Instagram Stories later today and will be sure to archive under the “workouts” highlight too. If we aren’t already hanging out over on the gram, click HERE!!!

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