Archive | LIFE

send someone a happy text.

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a week ago today my sweet friend vanessa, her husband josh and their 8 month old (poppy’s future hubs) hudson went to be with Jesus. it was tragic, sudden and left a lot of people heartbroken. they were seriously amazing. always playing, laughing, encouraging and loving. the best kind of people and they were our people.

here is a blurb from a blog post vanessa wrote that sums up just how encouraging she was: “i want to seize every opportunity to brag excessively about people. i want the words that come from my lips to be so uplifting of the people around me that they can fly high on the things I say. every day and every moment is a chance to celebrate people.”

gives me the good kind of goosebumps.

aside from being poppy’s future mother in law, vanessa was also ozzie’s youth pastor and my lifeline to the teenage years. i’m so thankful for the playdates, text messages, laughter, conversations and time i had with her and her brood. there are no words to describe how much they will be missed.

in honor of vanessa i thought i’d share a freebie for something she was so good at — making people feel awesome about themselves. download these cute images to send with a text message:

// you make my heart HHAAPPYY // OMG you da best // hey GIRL, hey. //

i cannot tell you how often i think something sweet about a loved one, friend or neighbor and never share it with them. while a cute image isn’t necessary it makes it just that much more fun… sorta like emojicons :)

here’s to celebrating people and loving well!

xo . rae

(image by stacy jacobsen)

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hello from spring break.

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all the babes (+ their buds) are home for spring break and i obviously haven’t found anytime to blog this week so i thought i would write a quick note to say hey, hey, friends… i’ll be back in the game on monday.

until then, i hope you have an amazing easter! i’ll be kickin’ it with the littles in our church nursery and then heading home to host a mexican feast… so not traditional, but delicious, fun and easy. what about you?

here’s a few links to past easter freebies and projects if you want to take a peek:

// freebie tags + stickers // stamped eggs // fabric eggs //

ohhhh, and i’ve been adding new designs to the shop that i’m super excited about. they’ve turned out pretty cute and in addition to the instant downloads (for $5) you can now let us do the printing and shipping (for free)!

xo . rae

ps – love this quote for easter, “all our estate of misery & sin Jesus has taken; & all that Jesus has comes to us.” by,  C.H. Spurgeon found on the she reads truth instagram feed. :)

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DATE NIGHT IN // No. 2, family room fort

johan and i have never been that great about getting out of the house sans kids. in fact, even when we were dating we would usually grab brunch after church or head to a sporting event with ozzie (then 4) in-tow. not much has changed except the size of our brood but when a few weeks ago tilly called us out for having “mean chats” (5 kids and sleep deprivation will do that, ha!), johan and i decided we could really use some consistent date nights. to keep things more doable for our budget and babysitters, we thought it would be fun to take turns planning a date night in once a week after the kids are tucked in. we already do this from time to time (example) and love it so i can hardly wait to look forward to it each week.

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since it will naturally turn into a (friendly) competition of who plans the best dates i’ve gone ahead and done some brainstorming. here’s my first idea:

BUILD a fort using sheets and then make it extra cozy with blankets (on sale) + pillows.

WEAR something cute + cozy like these skinny boyfriend jeans and floral sweatshirt (both on sale!).

EAT yummy cupcakes like these butter pecan ones. store-bought definitely works too!

PLAY a fun board game or make up a silly song. neither of us can play an instrument but a rap would be hilarious. (ukulele)

DECORATE with balloons, lights or any banners you have around the house. (lights + little or big balloons)

what do you usually do for date night? do you stay in, or go out?

xo . rae

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that mom life and working from home with kids.

working from home does not happen without it’s fair share of growing pains. in the midst of flu and cold season  (end soon, please!) adjusting to 5 kids in very different age brackets and the constant juggle of coordinating 7 schedules it’s become painfully obvious to me that growing pains are happening and my work from home methods need an upgrade. before i start searching for new tips, tricks and habits i think it’s important to reflect on the things that have been effective over the last several years.

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(top photo: griffin 12 mo., bottom photo: poppy, 6 wks.)

so i though i would share some things that work for me. hopefully they inspire or encourage you even if you don’t work from home because the struggle is real and no matter what your life/kids/work life looks like we’re all in it together!

focus on BETTER because things will never be perfect – there are bound to be frustrations in life especially when it comes to this work/life/family/home/everything-else set up because things just tend to overlap when you have a family. for me right now it’s poppy’s sleep schedule. as in she is still not sleeping through the night at 7 months. not even close. sometimes i daydream about how much more i’ll be able to get done when i finally get a full nights sleep but the truth is that a full nights sleep won’t magically allow me to breeze through my to do list. so instead i try to focus on being better about her bedtime routine and better at how i use the time i do have while she is sleeping.  for you maybe your frustrated about how you ship out your products, your husbands work schedule or wanting a gym membership. instead of focusing on how perfect it will be when…, consider small things that can be done to make the situation a little bit better.

just start – remember those days in high school and college when a giant test or project was due the next day and instead of studying you found yourself cleaning your room all night? i get that same urge when a big design project or my to-list has me feeling totally overwhelmed. instead of giving in (because a clean house does nothing for my to do list) i have found that the best solution for overwhelm is to first pray and then start small (open a file, play with fonts, send that email, etc.). maybe your waiting for all the outer chaos (kids schedules, messy house, non-sleeping baby) to calm down before you start on what you really want to do (open an etsy shop, take a photography workshop //like this everyday one i’m teaming up with stacy to do with you!// , volunteer for a ministry at church…) but the truth is life with kids is busy and full and it always will be. (even when they are grown i think!) but the good news is that baby steps matter. they create momentum and that’s really all you need.

1. rule of thirds, 2. putting things on the calendar and 3. setting a timer – here’s the breakdown.

  1. i used to resist putting only three things on my to-do list each day thinking that surrendering to such a small number meant i wasn’t ambitious. thankfully i have learned that it’s possible to be realistic and ambitious. besides, adding 3 things to my usual responsibilities is a lot. here’s an example 1. write, edit and email blog post, 2. design and send proof to client, 3. upload fabric designs and order samples. for all the other projects and tasks that come up i keep a running list so they don’t distract me and i’m able to pick the next thing when my top 3 are done!
  2. it’s simple really. if it’s important then it belongs on a calendar.  i usually reserve this for personal projects that are easy to postpone. it also adds a little accountability because if i add a three hour block to our family google calendar that says, “take and edit pictures for the design shop” my husband sees it and will ask me why i’m folding laundry instead of taking pictures (see “just start” above).
  3. i should probably use this one more (it would be perfect for writing blog posts!) but it really comes down to the idea that we use as much time as we have. the best example i can think of is running errands. i can easily take 2 hours in target when i only have 6 things on my shopping list or get the same 6 things in 30 minutes if that all the time i have in between preschool carpool and baseball practice. the same thing can often apply to work and creative projects.

own it…. i’m a stay at home mom that happens to work while my kids are sleeping or at school. it sounds so awkward and it was until i started taking myself seriously and owned what i am – a work from home mom. it also allowed everyone else in my life to take me, my office hours, projects and ideas seriously – except maybe the kids. mine still don’t really believe that i “work”, HA! one day when they have money in their college fund, they will thank me. maybe.

but first, pray… i mentioned it above but it’s worth saying again. quite simply, i am more and can do more when i’m doing it with God. when i make Him first and ask for His help and when i look to his word for wisdom. this is so easy to forget unless i start my day this way.

so i’m feeling like i could keep going – like forever – on this topic but really i would love to hear what works for you or what your hangups are? please share in the comments!

i also want to invite you to take a photography and design workshop with me and my photo savvy friend, stacy! we did our best to keep it affordable and useful for everyday life and/or for building a creative business. it’s a great place to “focus on better”, “just starting” and “owning it” and i would LOVE to see your there! head here for all the details. you will not be disappointed!

xo . rae

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LIFE LATELY (in february).

as much as winter seems to be crawwwwling along, i can hardly believe february is almost over. life with kids is often like that don’t you think? here’s a little glimpse into what we’ve been up to lately.

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F O O D  is the new 4-letter word around our house, for a couple different reasons. 1. we’ve been eating lots more of the whole kind and as you can see from tilly’s meal plan on the chalkboard, there is some protesting. more on my approach (don’t worry, it’s totally laid-back) and some resources soon. 2. pop-tart has graduated to baby food which has been fun and entertaining for the entire family. the kids love how messy she gets.

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W O R K  feels more like pleasure these days as i ‘ve been busy with lots of fun projects! i’ve also compiled a list of my services HERE and would love and appreciate if you take a look and forward to any friends you think might be interested in working with me :).

left to right, invites and extras for an indie rock 5th birthday party for stacy’s son, jack. part of a branding project i recently finished. can’t wait to share the full project reveal and introduce you to the client!  just a couple more diys before our entryway refresh is complete (ya!). the interior yellow door has been a big hit… you can see in process details over on emily’s blog here and here. and last but not least is a peek at some birthday swag for tilly’s friend… the jump ropes have been a big hit because the kids can paint their own wood handles so i will share a diy next week. it makes for a very fun spring-ish project!

life-lately-feb-3what do you do when your early birds are spending the night at their grandparent’s house and you find yourself hanging out in bed on a sunday morning all by yourself? go on a pinning spree of course! at least that’s what i did. check out all my new finds here. there are some really cute one.

hope your week is off to a good start friends!

xo . rae

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SAY YES. (kid-cation 2015)

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for the past few years, stacy and i have packed up our kids for a weekend in january or february and headed out of town to try and get over our post christmas blues and cabin fever. usually we stay at my families cabin in the mountains (here’s our trip from last year), but this year we decided to try something a little different and booked a house in seabrook, WA — a new walkable beach town on the coast (just north of ocean shores). bonus, we got a smokin’ deal since our stay was during the off season.

our goal for the weekend is to keep things pretty low-key with lots of fun for the kids that’s also low stress on us. most mornings we spent chillin’ like villains around the house in our jammies. then in the afternoon we would venture into town and find fun things to do…

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… like paint ceramics which doubled as little souvenirs for our trip…

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… and eating delicious food.

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at night (not pictured) we headed to the heated community pool (and hot tub) for more fun and to make sure the kids got all of their energy out for easy bedtimes. since it rained the first two days, which kept us off the beach) the pool was a lifesaver and definitely a highlight for the kids.

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i personally loved the cute little coastal home we stayed in and having a kitchen made the weekend that much easier — because kids are always hungry and easily get hangry.

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(tilly, poppy and espen – oz stayed behind for sports and griffin had a special auntie and uncle weekend planned!)

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on the last day the sun came out to play so naturally we ditched our jackets and grabbed some ice cream.

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(this airstream couldn’t be ignored!)

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(while my kids nursed their ice cream – they take forever to eat treats, like their mama – stacy’s boys fit in a little photo-op)

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(the ceramic creations they painted on our second rainy day)

before heading out of town we spent a couple hours on the beach (also not pictured) digging, splashing and taking in the scenery. it was the perfect way to end our kid-cation, but what i loved most about this trip was how much i was able to say yes. yes to more time in the pool, yes to being silly in public, yes to ordering something not on the kid’s menu, yes to watching their new stunt or silly face (watch, this mom!)… so many yeses.

a little break from being the schedule keeper, organizer and chaos minimizer was just what this mama needed to be filled up and feel more playful again.

xo . rae

ps – speaking of saying yes. stacy and i are planning a shootcamp that’s perfect for anyone wanting to take beautiful pictures of your families (like all the fun pics above), or creatives wanting to build a photography business, etsy shop (or the like) or a blog. i’ll also be sharing a few graphic design tips… you should totally say yes to joining us! (APRIL 25th) more details to come!

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take a (winter) hike.

Y I K E S !

i did not intentionally drop off the blogosphere for so long and although it was needed and much appreciated by the fam, it feels oh so good to be back!

while organizing some of my files over break i stumbled upon these pics of a hike we took with friends last winter. after being indoors so much lately (playing with new toys, getting together with friends, etc.) i’m starting to feel a bit cabin feverish. considering all the sibling bickering that’s going on in my home lately i think my kids are feeling it too!

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(tilly and espen with two of stacy’s boys, gavin and jack – snow lake trail in leavenworth, WA 2014)

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there is something so refreshing and energizing about watching kids adventure in nature. that and the guaranteed, asleep before their head hits the pillow, kind of bedtime makes it worth getting bundled up and braving the cold!

how do you beat cabin fever in the winter!?

xo . rae

(hope your 2015 if off to a fantastic start. i posted a belated christmas and new year note with our family christmas card if you are into that kinda thing :) xoxoox

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merry, merry christmas and happy new year!

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from our family to yours… we hope you had a very merry, fun, relaxing, and altogether lovely christmas! it’s a little late to be sharing our family christmas card, but i was also late mailing them out so just know it’s not you, it’s me (hehe). and my very sad address book that looks like a pile of envelopes, flagged emails and lost text messages… luckily i have an entire year to get my act together! ha!

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as for 2014, thanks for hanging out with me here and being a part of the last 365 days. it’s was a big year with lots of ups and downs but especially growth – in our family and personally for me. looking forward to reaping the harvest in 2015!

cheers to a brand-spankin’-new year, friends! hope it’s everything you are hoping for and more.

xoxo, rae

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life lately…

lately we’ve been…

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…in serious baby heaven, so much so that we’re talking about having a 6th… totally kidding. actually not even an option. but she is out of that colicky stage for the most part and her personality is starting to unfold and i can’t get enough. it does make me wonder if i had a touch of the baby blues with the others. or maybe this is just how you are with the last baby? i don’t know, but whatever it is it’s lovely.

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…trying to make the most of the hour or so yoder and i get together after the kids are in bed by planning little date nights in. nothing fancy. it helps that we’re major nerds so it doesn’t take much more than a round of that hand slapping game and something sweet to eat, to qualify as a “date”.

…added some posters to my etsy shop. including the one’s on the wall above!

//click here to go check it out and use code BLOGLOVE20 for 20% off//

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…working on some guest blog posts for the land of nod, minted and the effortless chic. the DIY instagram place cards above went live over at the effortless chic yesterday if you want to take a peek? can’t wait to share the rest!

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…still trying to decide what wallpaper to put in the family room built-ins and dragging my feet on painting the wall. maybe this weekend? love paint, hate painting.

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…i tried a DIY version of wallpaper and worked on a few different samples, but none of them turned out how i pictured in my head so back at square one. maybe i should just order the swiss-cross one and call it good?

….looking forward to a quiet weekend before thanksgiving and hope yours if full of just what you need!

xo . rae

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3 steps to family photos you’ll love

between all the newborn, family, mini sessions and blog shoots, my family has spent quite a bit of time in front of the camera. while that might not make me an expert i have learned a few tricks along the way that make the process less stressful and the day of way more enjoyable.

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1. think ahead – decide what the main purpose is for your pictures (christmas cards, document, gallery wall, etc.). do you want most pictures to be black and white? portrait style? or lifestyle with outtakes? once you know the answer to those things it’s time to do a little daydreaming. (you’ll also want to communicate those things with your photographer!) hop on pinterest for ideas or look through your photographer’s web site. to keep things looking more organic and less staged think simple – a little goes a long way. make a list of props and outfit ideas and then raid your (and your friends’) closets and pullout anything that will work. order or go shopping for anything you don’t have but still think is necessary.

2. prep the kids – i have yet to meet a child that loves participating in family photo sessions. however, i’ve found (especially for the older kids) that if i give lots of notice and reminders about our appointment they are more likely to be good sports about it. picking a bribe or planning something fun to do after pictures also works like a charm.

3. be yo-selves… and trust your photographer – you really want everyone’s personalities to shine through so as long as the kids are following instructions a little, let them be silly (and throw up duces) or shy and snuggly.  i also find that if i stay upbeat and playful the rest of my crew tends to fallow suit and play along. when all else fails take a deep breath and trust your photographer – it’s not the first time they’ve worked with a child that refused to smile, etc.!

// LAST THOUGHTS // keep personalities and personal style in mind when picking outfits. everyone does better and looks more natural when they feel comfortable in what they are wearing. also if you want the family to look put together without being too matchy, matchy try picking a neutral palette and then adding a couple different pops of color and some texture. lastly, if it’s important to you, book nail and hair appointments in advance so your not running around like crazy the day before!

here’s to beautiful (low-fuss) family photos you’ll love.

if you have more tips please share in the comments!

xo . rae

//all pics by stacy jacobsen//

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the DESIGN shop.

super bummed that i’ve been so MIA this week as i’ve been loving this blogging gig and have lots of fun things planned. however i’ve been tied up for a good and exciting reason…. :)

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yep! i’ve opened an etsy shop and now that all the fine print has been worked out and written it’s time to fill it with products and i would REALLY, REALLY like your help!

if you have any ideas for items you would like to see in the shop, please share in the comments!

already listed is the “HOORAY” flag poster (as seen here and here) if you’ve had your eye on it.

can’t wait to hear your ideas and add more goodies to the shop!

xo . rae

P.S. – i would love to give all my blog friends 20% off with coupon code BLOGLOVE20

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