Archive | LIFE

LITTLE CITY GUIDE: ALKI BEACH, SEATTLE

Guess what? It’s still the weekend!

Weekends that are still going strong on a Monday? Count me in please! Can we make this a thing? Ha! I mean, there are all those national donut, puppy, pizza, etc. days now… don’t they deserve a day of observance? Totally kidding, but I could get used to Tuesday being the new Monday.

There is only one thing I like more than having Mondays off… starting the weekend a day early, which is exactly what we got to do this past week. My babes had Friday off of school and even better, Johan had the day off from fighting fires too. Since the sun was shining we headed to the one place I think we’ve all been craving since the end of fall… the beach. Here’s a few pics from our morning.

Like most little sibs, Griffin is always trying to keep up with the big kids. Mostly Espen and Tilly. At home he’s treated more like a third wheel than a play buddy, but when we are out and about it seems to level the playing field a little more. Makes my heart so happy to watch.

Caught shooting an Instagram story. Something I am so very inconsistent with but thoroughly enjoy. Almost too much :)

It might sound kinda cliche, but I love watching them explore and take in their surroundings. Even when we are so close to home.

You can’t end a cold outing at the beach where almost everyone wound up with wet feet (just can’t resist running and jumping in those waves!) without something warm to sip on. We initially saw the Starbucks but then noticed a Top Pot next-door so decided to warm up with donuts too :)

Hope you are able to soak up some extra family time this weekend!!!

XO, Rae

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YAY FRIDAY + A SUPERBOWL CHEAT SHEET

I love, love, LOVE playing sports but when it comes to watching them, keeping track of the score, players, numbers and especially the stats, I’m the absolute worst. My kid’s games, of course, being the main exception. The other one is the Super Bowl. Knowing the backstories, what players to watch for and team names (ha!) makes the big day so much more exciting.

Since my husband is a freaking genius when it comes to knowing teams, players and stats I always bug him for the down-low before game time and this year I thought it would be fun to share with you!

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SUPER BOWL 51

  1. The New England Patriots are playing the Atlanta Falcons
  2. Both QB’s are amazing — Tom Brady for the Patriots vs. Matt Ryan for the Falcons
  3. Matt Ryan will probably be the MVP of the regular season
  4. Both coaches are also amazing — Bill Belichick for the Patriots (this will be his 7th Super Bowl and has a 4-2 record) vs. Dan Quinn for the Falcons (this is only his 2nd year as head coach… an extra tidbit for all my Seattle friends, he used to be the Seahawks defensive coordinator)
  5. Patriots are favored by 3 points
  6. The game is supposed to be one of the highest scoring Super Bowls with a total of 59+ points being predicted.
  7. The game is in Houston. The last time the game was there in 2004 the Patriots won and Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction ;)
  8. This is the Falcon’s 2nd and the Patriot’s 9th appearance at a Super Bowl.
  9. Patriot’s Tight End, #87 Rob Gronkowski would have been one to watch for but has been sidelined due to a back injury… he also has 1.7 million twitter followers.
  10. Tom Brady (Patriots QB) is the oldest player on their team at 39 and Matt Bryant (Falcons kicker) is the oldest in the league at 41

 

No kidding you guys, when we started chatting about the game last night, I didn’t even know what teams were playing, but knew exactly who was performing at halftime ;) Super excited to see what Gaga does, but nervous to see how she uses the platform. So ready to see more unity and less protesting in our country — not that I agree with all the changes being made. Ugh. Sorry for the tangent… I’ll save that rabbit hole for a different post.

Now, I’m super curious… what do you enjoy most about the Super Bowl?

  1. the game
  2. the food
  3. the halftime show (and commercials too)

Happy Friday!

xo, Rae

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FEBRUARY ARROW PROJECT: HOT COCOA STAND

Hey friends, happy February 1st!
We’re kicking this month off with an arrow project that I’m super excited to share. The combination of the state of our country and middle of winter weather (hurry up spring!) is enough to throw anyone into a downward spiral, but there is one thing that always restores sanity… connecting with people and chocolate! They are seriously the best medicine. So for our service project this month  Tilly + Griffin put on a pop-up hot cocoa stand in my parent’s neighborhood. Lemonade stands are one of their favorite summertime activities so I knew they would love it! Although their faces in the pic above suggest otherwise, LOL.
A few more pics from our time serving up cocoa…
Filming their sales pitch on Instagram stories and making a sign!
The secret shopper, director of quality control and social media strategist. Little people doing big things, ha! But seriously, don’t you see it?
Tilly + Griffin’s work relationship was slightly explosive. Both control freaks with easy to push buttons. But we lived, still had fun and met some new friends in the process!! It was really a great way to spend the afternoon.
I read a graphic the other day that said, “There is so much life to be lived in the in-between”. Can’t think of a better way to describe this season and put things into perspective.
Here’s to living a full life in the in-between. And lots of yummy hot cocoa.
XO, Rae
P.S. – You guys have been keeping me so busy with Valentine orders and I’m so very grateful! It really is my favorite project of the year!!!
P.P.S. – Today is the last day to enter the Instagram giveaway. Head HERE for the full details and to share the love!
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MOM PRAYERS

Potty training isn’t the only milestone happening in our home this week. While our 2 year old is learning to tinkle on the toilet, our 16 year old will be getting his license. Eeek! Quite the contrast right?! Over the last month as the topic has come up I’ve been asked by several friends how I’m feeling about it.

Terrified?

Yes!

Happy dancing?

That too!

But honestly more than the butterflies and happy dances, all I can think about when I look at my 16 year old is how faithful God is. So many of the things I asked Him to do in and for Ozzie since he was a baby (I shared our story HERE several years ago) I see in him now. As he steps into a new freedom and further away from my protection though, it would be so easy for me to get consumed with worry instead of trusting God and continuing to pray big things for his future.

While I’ll most definitely be praying for his protection every time the butterflies start fluttering in my stomach, God’s been reminding me lately that there is so much more I can do with my time, thoughts and energy. Just thought I would pass that reminder onto you…

So, pray for the sweet small things — what preschool to send your kids to, for friends to play with at recess, that their cold would pass, for more playing time on the soccer team, etc. God cares about those things.

But pray big, beautiful dreams over them too. That they would know how wonderfully made and fully loved they are. That they would know God’s voice, grace, promises, purposes and presence. That they would recognize and use their talents because of the confidence they have in the one who made them.

And then no matter how small or big the ask, trust that God will give you the ideas, direction and wisdom to do your part because prayer is anything but passive.

I’m far from perfect at this parenting thing… Sure there are moments that go smoothly but we also take frequent rides on the hot mess express. Either way, I’ve found that there is nothing like prayer to keep my mind easy and heart light so I can enjoy rolling with my little homies and be the mom they deserve.

Of course coffee, girlfriends and a cute outfit help too.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday!

XO, Rae

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OH FUDGE: 5 POTTY TRAINING TIPS, A SURVIVAL KIT, + POOP EMOJI CUPCAKES

When it comes to raising babies, there are few things I dread more than potty training and this week we’ll be doing it for the 5th and final time. Never thought I could get sentimental over such a tedious, messy and pain in the butt task but here I am with all the feels about it. Guess I’ve been hanging on for dear life to this sweet toddler stage that Poppy is in and seeing her without her adorable diaper bottom takes us one step closer to being a big kid. Which is so rad too. I love watching my kids grow, but the last one is a hard one.

Like sleep training and just about every other aspect of parenting, we don’t have a system that we’ve used for all of our kids that’s been wildly successful, but I do have a few guidelines that might help.

MY 5 TIPS FOR POTTY TRAINING

  1. ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN: For a couple weeks before you start, make going potty on the toilet a big exciting deal. Talk about it, sing about it, read about it, and generally speaking, build the hype. (My older kids have been doing an amazing job of this for me this time around… I’ll share more below.)
  2. BE PREPARED: Like just about everything else in life, it’s good to be prepared. I’ll share a short list and pic of items we keep on hand and easily accessible while potty training, below.
  3. HAVE A PLAN: Are you going straight to undies, using pull-ups, or a combination of both? What about nap time, bedtime, school carpool, errands and going over to other people’s homes? Do you need to clear your calendar for a few days while getting things started? Thinking about these things will help with consistency which is half the potty training battle.
  4. BE FLEXIBLE: Nothing is worse than putting a bunch of pressure on yourself or your child over saying bye-bye to diapers. You know what you and your babe can handle so listen to your gut and try to have a little fun with it.
  5. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED: There will be good days followed by bad days and then eventually a few good weeks followed by a few horrible days and you’ll wonder when the accidents will end and if you’re doing it wrong and if you’ll ever be able to make it through the grocery store without taking a potty break. The answer is yes. And no. All at once. Just remember, no one goes to kindergarten in a diaper and no preschool teacher is caught off guard by an accident. So, just ride the wave… it’s less exhausting that way.

Remember tip no. 1? The hype has been building in our home since Christmas when Poppy got big girl undies in her stocking (I’ve just been dragging my feet). Her siblings think potty training is like the best, most exciting thing ever and have been doing more than enough hype building. It’s really sweet to watch.

Last week Griffin announced that Poppy wasn’t just potty training, she was POOPY TRAINING! Which everyone thought was hilarious and somehow lead to making poop emoji cupcakes. So, that’s just what we did over the weekend and they actually turned out so incredibly cute.

TO DECORATE THE POOP EMOJI CUPCAKES, I scooped chocolate frosting into a pastry decorating bag without a tip/attachment (a ziplock with big hole cut in the corner would do the trick too) then squeezed a swirl out on top of each cupcake and then added candy eyes (target usually carried them too). Easy peasy!

A peek at what’s in our potty training kit that I keep in or near the downstairs bathroom:

  • wet wipes — disinfectant wipes are a good idea too.
  • juiceboxes — lots of liquids makes potty training so much easier!
  • extra undies and leggings
  • small treats — I love little suckers and smarties because they last the longest but the serving size is still small.
  • stickers
  • bubbles — or other activities. This is super important if you are potty training in the winter!

We’re officially starting Poppy in big girl undies tomorrow so I would love to know what other tips or supplies would you add to the list?!

XO, Rae

 

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MOM HACKS: EATING OUT WITH KIDS

My kids are loud and messy and opinionated and I can’t take them anywhere without something ridiculous happening but they are also so fun and silly and taking them out and about is one of my favorite things to do! When our older kids were little though there was one exception. Eating out. It was takeout and drive-thrus for us thank you very much. Since those days I’ve changed my thinking and approach and it’s made eating in restaurants way more enjoyable — not to be confused with easy — without having to pack up a bag of activities.

Granted my kids and their age gaps are likely different than your’s, but hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful or encouraging anyways!

  1. EXPECT KIDS TO ACT THEIR AGE: I used to have this weird expectation that my kids could pull it together for an hour or so while we ate in public. Turns out there’s only one thing I should expect from them… to be themselves and act their age. So now, during any given eating out experience I expect there to be a spill or two, that someone will decide to take off their shoes, while another thinks its fun to climb under the table and everyone is bound to be starving and act like they’re near death. The good news is that it’s rare for all of these things to happen at one sitting so I usually walk away feeling like they did awesome, ha!
  2. KEEP MY GOAL(s) IN MIND: My hope is that my kids will do their best to be a good guest and considerate of others and especially their server. All of which are learned behaviors and one of the reasons I want to take them out. I also really just enjoy sitting for most of a meal and then not having to clean up afterwards! Usually makes the moments of chaos totally worth it.
  3. DECIDE ON A DINNER WORKFLOW: Having an idea of what and when we’re ordering (are we letting kids get sodas, ordering a basket of fries or other app first, etc.), and how you want to occupy the kids while they wait, before walking in the restaurant is a big help. Something that has worked for us when we have all of the kids is to order drinks, the kid’s meals, side salads for the grownups, and usually a basket of fries or hummus plate right away. While we wait for the food we chat with the kids – go through our highs and lows from the day, etc. Once their food arrives Johan and I order. We continue chatting and micromanaging until the kids are finished and then we let them share tech (usually our phones) while we eat and attempt a conversation. It’s not perfect or peaceful but it works :)
  4. HAPPY HOURS ARE MY BEST FRIEND: kind of a given but going before or after the breakfast, lunch or dinner rush makes a huge difference!
  5. STAY POSITIVE: and if needed switch things up a bit. Taking a kid or two for a bathroom break or to the car to grab something or telling a funny joke (the spoon on the nose trip works every time!) or anything that distracts them from annoying their sibling or throwing a fit is worth a try!

(Received lots of questions about my sweater so shared outfit details with links at the bottom of the post :)

A few pics from our lunch date with Griffin + Poppy yesterday.

There were surprisingly no spills and I don’t think any complaints about being starving to death. Griffin however, did accidentally mistake his thumb as part of his cheese and let out a very loud yelp followed by major tears and Poppy spent a good chunk of time dropping things under the table so she could climb down and pick them up.

But in the end they earned ice cream.

Not really but it seemed like the perfect way to end our outing!

It’s my favorite when Johan can join us for an afternoon adventure in the middle of the week. One of the perks of being married to a firefighter. Lucky kids. Lucky me.

Happy, happy weekend you guys!

Oh, and loved reading all of the comments on my dining room post… thanks for playing along!

XO, Rae

ME | pink + orange stripe sweater, jeans

GRIFFIN | blue gray thermal (for the babes), red coat, shoes

POPPY | sweatshirt (+ for big girls), boots

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HAPPY 2017 + MY MANIFESTO

This year instead of just writing out my resolutions I decided to add the things that have already worked for me in the past and create a manifesto. It’s candid and simple, but filled with things I aspire to be and do. I like that it’s a mix of fun loving and spontaneous actions as well as deeper ambitions. Hoping it will be helpful to have a written list that reminds me of the things that matters most.

A couple thoughts + things that almost made the list was — say yes, but know when to say no too, keep Jesus at the center and set big goals with small steps!

Let me know what you would add to your manifesto in the comments!? I would LOVE to know!

Happy twenty seventeen friends! Here’s to honoring the past, living for today and dreaming for the future.

XO, Rae

PS – The best is yet to come… I really believe that for me and for you too!

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SLEDDING + FOMO

We’ve been soaking up the last bits of Christmas vacay and while I’m feeling ready to start taking down all the decor, I’m far from ready for the kids to go back to school. Ask me in a couple more weeks though, when their shiny new board games (pie face anyone!), legos and baby dolls lose their newness. In the meantime, excitement is high, kids are entertained, and with the exception of a few outings, we’ve mostly been staying in our jammies until noon.

One of our outings was a day trip to play in the snow and sled at Hyak in Cle Elum. The weather was perfect, the snow was falling and Poppy wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of it. Poor girl cried off and on until I strapped her into the ergo.

Now, I’m not one to complain about getting extra kid snuggles but couldn’t help but come down with a serious case of FOMO while everyone else went screaming down the hill. If Poppy had wanted to snuggle with Johan I would have felt just as left out so I guess there’s no perfect solution. Luckily I was able to start a small snowball fight before we left which made up for it!

Love these four and missed Ozzie while he stayed behind for a basketball game (another reason for FOMO). As a mom I hate that the schools schedule sports during vacation time, but as a former athlete, I totally understand.

Tilly Jane on the hot pink sled and the first to head down the hill!

You’ve probably heard before that motherhood can be lonely, but for me it’s more like FOMO. And it comes up a lot during the holidays. So if you are like me, and have been feeling left out because your nursing a baby or can’t have a glass of wine like the other adults, or have other kid centered priorities like snuggles or early bedtimes, you are not alone. And in my 16 years of parenting trust me when I say that the season will one day change and will most likely be treasured and missed.

Cheers to not having to miss out all alone!!!

Hope you enjoy the last few days of 2016!

XO, Rae

 

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THE BEST OF 2016

Happy day after Christmas you guys! I’m currently still in my jammies (at noon), listening to the kids play with their new toys, and have no plans of doing anything but eating leftovers, folding laundry and recovering from the (good) craziness that December brings.

Sorta sad that the holiday season is coming to an end but I’m excited for the fresh possibilities of 2017. It can be so easy for me to think about the past year and come up with a list of things I want to do better in the coming year but have found that it can be equally as inspiring and encouraging to reflect on my favorite parts of the past year and all the things I want to carry into the new one.

That being said, I thought it would be a good time to roundup a list of the most popular posts along with some of my personal favorites from 2016.

LIFE | a day in the life (working on a winter version!) | hook-nook refresh | living with kids (+ their toys) | first week of school | our disney land trip

FREEBIES | paper heart glasses | baby milestone cards | emoji lunchbox stickers | shareable social media graphics

MAKE | book bin diy | easy pom-pom basket | sailor hair bows | flower vases + arrangements

 

KIDS | woodland party + boot driveour favorite kid apps | diy binoculars | brown bag microwave popcorn | tin can herb garden

WEAR | that tied shirt trend | statement coat 3 ways | all things with love | WIW may

EAT | homemade pop tartssmoothie bowls + a meal plan | big batch chocolate chip freezer cookies | frozen yogurt dots

Gosh, what a fun year… that also happened to be soooo full of transition and trying to figure out what’s next for our family and business and I just want to say thank you for meeting me in this space. The online and social media world can be so much about the numbers and while that’s just part of growth and good business, it’s not what this blog is about for me. I appreciate and care about one visitor as much as I would one million. Thank you so much for sharing your time, thoughts, comments and encouragement with me and allowing me to share my family, life and creative endeavors with you. It means the world to me!

Hope your Christmas (and 2016) was everything you hoped for and then some.

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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PRINTABLE ADDRESS TEMPLATE + THE KIDS LATELY

rae-ann-kelly-address-template-3527Soooooo, I have some Christmas goodies for you this week but figured I would kick things off with a useful printable, if you haven’t sent your christmas cards out yet!? Worked on ours both nights over the weekend and I’m still not done! Mostly because our address book needs lots of updating, but the template really helped keep my envelopes looking nice which is not normally the case.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD the ADDRESS STENCIL

To Use: Cut around dashed lines then use an exact-o knife to cutout the 4 rectangles. Lay over your envelope and start address, using the vertical lines to help with spacing!

rae-ann-kelly-address-template-3539

A few random things the kids have been saying or doing lately…

OZZIE (16) | He’s so close to getting his license and has been a model student driver except for asking to drive short distances (like walking distance to a friends house) without an adult. When my answer is no (and it always is) he’s shocked and acts like I’m being super silly about it. Teenagers get a bad wrap and this story isn’t a great example, but they really are the best.

ESPEN (10) | Taught us all a new joke — What has 100 teeth and eats weenies?……………. A zipper! Ha! After the joke he reminisced about the run in he had with a zipper when he was 3-ish and had decided not to put undies on under his footed jammies. Funny how a relatable joke makes it extra hilarious! 

TILLY (8) | After asking Tilly why she and her brothers had come home so hyper she said, “Mom. We’re kids. Try to keep up.” Followed by, “If you can’t keep up then you are off the squad.” I would blame the tween Disney shows but we haven’t had those channels for awhile. Plus I sorta appreciate the sass. It’s just enough not to get in trouble and makes me laugh almost every time. Then on the way home from church yesterday, Baby it’s Cold Outside was playing when she asked, “Why doesn’t she just leave already? That’s what I would do.” LOL. She kills me.

GRIFFIN (5) | Anytime someone says or does something funny lately, Griffin says, “Wait! I’ll do a replay!” And then reenacts the scene. He’s the cutest and has SO much energy.

POPPY (2) | She’s at the age where every other thing that comes out of her mouth is pure gold, but most noteworthy is her current comeback when her siblings are bugging her. She says, “No, yo-da baby!” and the other kids all crack-up laughing. I swear she has everyone wrapped around her pinky.

Hope you all had an extra fun, productive and restful weekend!

XO, Rae

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