Archive | LIFE

merry christmas & a little surprise

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wishing you and yours lots of christmas cheer and oodles of fun in 2014.

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and guess what? we’ll be adding a new little peanut to the mix this summer (july/august)!!!!

i’m only 8 weeks along, which is a little early to spill the beans but a 5th pregnancy has come with no will power to keep morning sickness and exhaustion a secret, particularly through christmas and new years.

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but it has made me feel hugely sentimental regarding all things family, so here’s a montage of our christmas pics at the tree farm with stacy jacobsen

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don’t let these sweet pictures fool you. it was pure chaos getting everyone out of the house fully dressed and somewhat on time.

and their might have been a fiasco involving dog poop and the blanket we were sitting on, but that was easily forgotten once we broke out the wet wipes, hot cocoa and snacks …

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not to mention our mad marshmallow tossing skills.

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{i mean, 2 mallows?…  like a boss.}

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and these 4. i can hardly get enough of them all together. particularly on a morning like this one when they were too preoccupied with christmasy activities to bicker with each other.

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so i’ll eat it up while the festivities last – and hope you have lots of chances to do the same over break!

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{and one last pic with my boo in buffalo check… dreamy. even with the mo-vember scruff.}

see you january 1st, 2014!

xo . rae

3

happy weekend & the tree farm.

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last weekend we kicked off christmas with a visit to the tree farm for pictures, hot cocoa, lots of shenanigans and to pick out our tree. but the festivities came to a screeching halt when we (but mostly my husband) got home and started laying new floors in our downstairs….(good job honey).

now that our home is mostly put back together, i can hardly wait to catch up on decking the halls and maybe watch a christmas movie or two.

what do you have going on this weekend!?

xo . rae

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easy ways to cozy up the kids’ room for christmas

now that thanksgiving has had it’s moment in the spotlight (hope yours was lovely!) i’m so excited that it is officially christmas season and i can wish you  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

minor disclaimer before i really start this post – i’m not a home dec person. sure, i can style a wall or nook, but an entire room sends me into a tail spin of indecisiveness. so most of the rooms in our home are halfway finished with hand-me-down furniture that is either waiting to be refinished or  replaced…. if i could only make up my mind!

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(NOTE: giveaway details for the tree decal pictured above are at the bottom of this post)

however, what i have gotten savvy at over the years is moving items around the house and finding small ways to spruce things up. so i thought i would share a few ways we added some winter wonderland to espen and  tilly’s room.

my hope is that these small updates inspire creative playtime, cozy reading sessions and sweet (sugar plum’s dancing) kind of sleep… so far it’s done the trick!

here’s what we did:

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COZY LAYERS – to their beds and the floor.

sources: faux fur blanket, plaid blanket, buffalo check pillow case, faux sheepskin, flannel sheets

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PAPER SNOWFLAKES – over espen’s bunk.

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so simple and yet festive.

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not to mention hours of entertainment for busy hands… i’m hoping to add lots more to the ones pictured.

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A FEW KNICKKNACKS – like this snowglobe…

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… this moose antler craft we made for mom.me, here

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…smelly pinecones and these photo props i stumbled upon while cleaning out my craft supplies last week (found here).

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since the kids love taking silly pictures and video on espen’s ipod, they seemed like a perfect addition.

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LIGHTS, lots of lights – an easy way to add a little whimsy.

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some old pictures hung from the lights for a personal touch.

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and of  course more lights above tilly’s lower bunk. the soft light is so inviting… especially for a sleepy daddy.

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A LITTLE TREE – makes any room instantly feel christmassy.

(GIVEAWAY details) the one pictured is a wall decal i designed for spoonflower and guess what!? they are giving one away HERE. you can also read about my design process on their blog HERE.

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now all that’s left is to make a good christmas playlist!

speaking of, do you or your kids have any favorite holiday tunes at the moment? 

the relient k christmas album is always a fave around here…

now, off to do a little christmas shopping!

talk soon . xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

5

a new adventure

today is the first official day of the new adventure that is this blog.

in celebration, i want to give you this usa map poster as a free download!

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simply sign up for emails to access. a link will be provided on the “success” page!

xo . rae

printing details: after downloaded, posters can easily be printed at your local office or print store (kinko’s, staples, costco, etc.) and cost between $3 and $12. files can also be resized by percentage if you would like a smaller map.

 

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new york trip (part uno)

last week my husband whisked me away for my birthday to visit the big apple and my loved ones who live there (little bro, sis-in-law & nephew), & i would like to make it official,

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i’ve always suspected that i am a city girl living in the suburbs, but now i know for sure.

i would gladly trade in my minivan for a subway pass, a backyard for breathtaking parks full of people, and some square footage (not that i have much to spare) for a market, bakery and coffee shop within walking distance. just one questions… where do i sign the papers?

to be fair, visiting NY and living in NY with 4 kids in tow are probably two very different experiences and there were a few other things adding to my love affair with the city, including:

1. fall looked good on NY and the weather was an insanely beautiful 60 to 65 degrees most days. 2. exploring a new place while holding hands with my hunky husband makes me love wherever i am. 3. hugging and hangout with family that i usually see on the other side of face time was absolutely priceless.

…here’s what we did the first 2 days…NY-day-1

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* nephew on hip = happy auntie . stadium tour = happy husband *

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* we hung out in park slope, brooklyn for halloween… the streets were so festive and full of kids & adults in costume! <3 *

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*it was a fun way to celebrate my bday, especially because my husband dressed up like willie from duck dynasty :). (best show ever). after walking the streets for awhile, we stopped into a cute little restaurant for happy hour and watched the parade go by from their patio. when all the trick or treaters went home, johan and i found a busy sports bar (with a gazillion tv’s) and watched some west coast college football (go cougs!) until way too late.*

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* hot dog in front of the metropolitan museum. another reason why i heart ny, food carts*

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*we took a few minutes in central park for family photo shoots – (my brother & his cute family). johan and i obviously have no problem being major dorks in public.*

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*have you heard of shake shack? they are famous for their long lines and the concept is absolutely genius with a simple menu (so you know everything is good) and fresh & fancy meets roadside vibe – i would fly to NY just for one of their burgers and shakes. so yum.*

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*i’m the opposite of a germaphobe and think hand sanitizer is only necessary after using a port-a-potty, but after being in a big city and using public everything, i have a new found appreciation for it!*

we ran around non-stop (baby logan was such a trooper!) and yet we probably only saw a fraction of what new york and the surrounding areas have to offer. there are also quite a few things that i didn’t take pictures of (like time square – so not my thing) but i still have a couple more days to share with you… more later :)

in the meantime, i would love for you to dish about some of your fave spots in NY as i’m already planning my next trip :)

xo . rae

{images from my iphone and my sis-in-law’s too!}

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beauty for ashes.

beauty-for-ashes-1so, i’ve been sharing a little bit more about my family lately but have been feeling like you need to hear the whole story…  how our family began.

there was a time in my life when a big family with a loving husband seemed like a long lost dream.  not even a possibility.  as in never.  going.  to.  happen.

you see….  i got pregnant with ozzie at the age of 20 and the situation was not good.  like a train wreck waiting to happen.  my life (and dreams) unravelled right before my eyes as i got ready to welcome my sweet son into the world.  those nine months and the year that followed consisted of a marriage that was broken before it started, the discovery of another child (not by me, of course), lies, poverty, and a husband struggling with addiction, and abuse.

jack's-3rd-birthday-party-invites-167when i finally mustered up enough courage to leave my marriage and be a single mom to the cutie above in orange stripes, i was completely broken.  a mere shadow of the woman God had created me to be.

then, one evening in september i read these words:

“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes….” (isaiah 61 – here is a link to read the entire scripture)

like white on rice those words stuck to my heart.  oh how i needed beauty.  and a crown didn’t sound too bad either.  so i pondered and questioned and wondered until finally i flat out said, “jesus, if those words are true then take my ashes and make them beautiful.”

at the time, beauty to me looked more like  talking the utilities guy out of turning off our heat, an understanding professor, and a son that would be OK, despite the circumstances.

but God had more in mind.  including a fun-loving young man in a mascot suit….

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who i now get to call my husband.

about us the friis famand three more (beautiful) babes.

although the changes began immediately it was not an overnight process.  there was an in-between time that consisted of  lots of praying and committing and healing and some mess-ups and overcoming and many, many blessings.  even when circumstances looked bad, i could watch my well adjusted, joy filled little boy and know God was at work.  it would be more than OK.

one of the first tangible things that happened was that i got a paid internship with the athletic marketing office at school.  this is a miracle on many levels.  for one, a paid internship at a university is almost unheard of unless you are a grad student.  second, it was with athletics and i love that stuff. and third, i was able to have ozzie with me when i worked at games and it quickly became a little family for us.

i could continue with more examples, but i’m afraid this post would turn into a book!

so i will end with a cliche and say that i wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe a couple things) because it’s made me who i am and brought me to a beautiful place.  but i would also like to note that i don’t believe this was God’s plan.  there was certainly a better way, but He used it for good all the same.

one of my greatest hopes after writing this is that you would look past me on this site and see Him.  His beauty and creativity and goodness.

beauty-for-ashes-print-2i also hope that one way or another my story encourages you or someone you know and as a little reminder i designed an art print using the crown seen at the top of this post to share.  you can click here or the image to download.

i would love for this to be a conversation, so please feel free to leave a note below or send me an email (rae.at.armommy.com).

xo . rae
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griffey is two (cool)

to the (coolest) birthday boy,

i’ve been a mom long enough to know that these toddler days fly by, but this time around it seems more like lightning speed.

(here come the waterworks!)

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a few things i (especially) adore about you at 2…

you are the only one with your daddies eyes and every time you smile, with those front teeth, and big gap, and one dimple, i kinda want to eat you.

you love music and have some rad dance moves that you show off at least a couple times a day.

you have the pickiest palette, (but we are working on it) and recently started glaring at me when we aren’t in agreement.

you only have a few words, but the ones you have, you use well. the day you start speaking in sentences i’m pretty sure we’re all in trouble.

you are greatly loved.

and very good at loving back.

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h a p p y   b i r t h d a y !

xo . mama

PS – what are your thoughts on the year of the 2 year old?  terrible or terrific?  let us know in the comments below!

(images by stacy jacobsen)

(birthday sign can be found on spoonflower with a tutorial here.)
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5 minutes of fame (literally)

if you’ve stopped by any of the armommy homefronts over the last week, you may have heard that we were on a DIY segment for our local Seattle morning show, new day northwest.  if you haven’t seen it yet, the video is below….  (for a special treat – pay close attention to tilly and what she does with the paintbrush in her hands at around minute 4:45.  oh Tilly…)

we had such a great time and i kinda wish it was something we did every week!

of course being on TV was fun, but the best part was having the entire fam bam there, including my husband, mom, kidlets, and brother-in-law, i was also so lucky that my uber-talented chic friend, stacy joined us to take beautiful pictures capturing behind the scenes moments from the show.  i thought it would be fun to share some of the pics with you – so excuse me while i relive all of the fun we had (and post a borderline embarrassing amount of pictures of myself).

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(here is the brood post-segment. it was the last pic taken of the day, but since it so wonderfully encompasses the happy crew, it feels like a good place to start. left to right: gamma jane, espen, griffin, johan, me, ozzie, tilly, and uncle mark.  a fun side note, we took this picture in front of the sound stage for almost live – which was a local comedy show i used to watch as a kid.)

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(the first thing we did upon arrival was set up backstage.  anytime i’ve seen or been apart of a production like this, i’m blown away with how much goes into it. so many people and moving parts!)

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(here i am meeting the host, meeghan black.  she was incredible to work with and made me feel right at home on stage.)

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(ready to get camera ready with tilly…)

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(…then mostly playing instead.)

armommy-new-day-118(and then back to camera readiness…getting makeup done in a director’s chair feels like serious business!)

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(ready on set…  around this time i am relaxing and hoping i don’t have that awkward morning show segment smile some people get.)

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(tilly being tilly.)

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(see some of my handsome guys off to the left? heart melters.)

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(chatting with the audience for a few quick minutes, while my kids hung all over me, was one of my favorite parts.)

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(the armommy gals! thanks mom for being such a great sport and showing off your mad fort building skills!)

so there you have it, a glimpse into our big day!  having a day like this was one of those things i dreamt about doing from the time we started our little company…. it never ceases to amaze me when those seemingly impossible and random dreams come true.

have you ever had a time in your life where you paused and realized that you had made it to a moment you had only dreamed about achieving? was it everything you expected it to be or less/more?

xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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1

date night in

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date nights (around our house) are not usually a weekly occurrence. however they do happen more than they used to. mostly because over the years we’ve expanded the definition to include afternoon coffee dates, home depot trips (sans kids), crash your friends quiet evening down the street date, and more recently, put the kids down early for a night-in date.

on the menu this past month was a wine and cheese pairing. johan and i had such a fun time (especially considering how easy it was to throw together) that i had to share with you.

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                         C L I C K   H E R E   T O   D O W N L O A D   T H E   M E N U   O P T I O N S

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we opted for a fancy-ish (for us) bottle of chardonnay and paired it with brie and berries.

so simple and delicious and perfect – you should definitely give it a whirl.

have any date night secrets? we’d love for you to share in the comments…

hope you enjoy!! happy monday!

xo . rae

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ice cream smiles

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some people scream for ice cream, but around here we just smile.

like this.

especially when toppings are involved.

and did i mention a giveaway!?…

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… a set of the most adorable ice cream bowls from anthropology.

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because it’s way eaiser to get the littles to eat a healthy dinner when there is ice cream (in fun bowls) to look forward to.

to sign up, head over to my girl emily’s blog where she is kicking off a full month (hello july!) of features and giveaways.  i’ve peeked at some of the details and there is a fantastic lineup of goodies and blogs she’ll be sharing.

armommy-ice-cream-giveaway4one last ice cream smile con tilly jane before you go HERE to sign up for the giveaway.  may the force be with you (sorry, couldn’t resist. planning a star wars party for 7 year olds)…  we hope you win!

we’d also like to know what your fave ice cream topping is!? do tell…. we could use some fresh ideas around here!

xo . rae

ps – if you are in the mood for more ice cream, check out these posts: lemonade ice cream recipe, and this fun ice cream party invite printable!

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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our little adventure (traveling with kids)

happy day after father’s day weekend!  hope you were able to spoil the important men in your life.  we facetimed with family on the east coast, made (and devoured) yummy food, and had a couple little adventures at my parent’s house.

i’ve missed you the last couple weeks…  despite my best intentions and a list of fun posts we wanted to publish i had trouble finding time to get them up!  however, tilly and i are back from so-cal, life has settled down and i’m excited to get the belated posts up!

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let’s start with this little travelers map we put together (before leaving for LA) so we can start keeping track of our adventures together as a family.  it’s still hanging up in the kitchen, but will probably be moved upstairs to the hallway outside the kids’ room.

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we cut triangles from patterned scotch tape (washi tape would work) to mark the places we’ve been with the kids.  our map is pretty bare….  looks like we have some traveling to do!

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—-> a little peek inside tilly’s carry-on:  trail mix, string cheese with crumbled tortilla chips to dip them in, ipod touch & headphones, colored pencils & a journal, candy wrappers to make this bracelet, sunnies for when we get off the plane, & some DIY postcards (download below).

—-> not pictured, in my carry-on: blow pops, gum & a copy of the friendship show.

(side note – no matter what kind of outing we go on i find that snacks or treats that take a longer time to eat are always a good idea…  keeps em busy & content longer!)

 i had fun putting together a carry-on for tilly’s first plane ride.  so much fun in fact that i totally failed to prep my little girl for what happens during take off.  she’s so daring and wild by nature and i was so excited to dig into her bag and play that it didn’t even occur to me!  well.  there was a minor freak-out episode involving threats of puking and wanting to get off the plane NOW.  ooops.  luckily she settled down quickly once the plane leveled out and barely acknowledged the takeoff on the way home.

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 a-few nights before our trip i stayed up late making a new messy bag out of drop cloth and this cute peacock fabric.  i fully intended for the body of the bag to be the peacock pattern, but i guess that’s what i get for sewing at 1am.  instead of getting my seam ripper out i opted for some painted polka dots to add some color and like how it turned out with such a pretty lining.

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we included these DIY postcards with the map poster download, but wanted to share them here (for freeeeeeee…. guess that movie?) to use during summer travels.

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speaking of summer travels, do you have any trips planned!?  road trips?  camping?  weekend getaways?  or maybe just lots of trips to fro-yo….  totally counts!

xo . rae

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