Archive | TRAVELING WITH KIDS

LITTLE TOURIST: WHAT WE DID IN NY, DAY 1

We’ve been back for almost 2 weeks now but it’s taken me this long to go through all the pics and process everything we did in NY. I was a little intimidated by the thought of navigating the city with kids when I booked the trip but luckily we were staying with my brother and sister-in-law who have been living there for awhile and are total pros! We crammed so much in during our stay that I’m going to break up our trip day by day.

Day 1 started after a red-eye from Seattle which worked out well with my kids at their ages (Espen 10 and Tilly 8). None of us slept much (despite carrying on pillows, blankets and melatonin!) but the excitement kept us going and our exhaustion at the end of the day made the time change no big deal. Here’s a look at what we did…

First up was a drive-by past Lady Liberty. It was no.1 on Tilly’s bucket list but booking a tour costs a lot and took up most of a day and I wasn’t sure it would hold their attention much. So, my brilliant sister in law suggested hopping on the Staten Island ferry (it’s free!) instead. I googled fun facts about the statue while we road by (there and back) and got plenty of pictures which seemed to satisfy everyone. Bonus that it only took about an hour!

After getting off the ferry we walked over to Battery Park to see the Bull (and rub his balls for good luck :). The SHE statue was also still there which I was so excited about. I’m more of a humanist than feminist, but her addition to the bull gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies.

We also stopped for a ride on the sea glass carousel which was so pretty!

Next stop was a late lunch at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park which was no.1 on my bucket list. Johan and I ate there during our last trip and I’ve been craving it ever since.

The last stop of the day was Rockefeller Center and Time Square where we saw Elmo, a totally impressive subway performer, naked painted ladies in thongs, beautiful art installments (the “x” chairs and piano), a unicorn man and a really cool dance group… definitely not my normal scene or vibe but a lot of fun and totally worth it!

All in all, we ended up doing so much more on the first day and literally went until we dropped. The kids actually dozed off on the Subway ride home!

Thanks so much for letting me share our trip with you! If there are any other details you’d like to hear more about let me know and I’ll include it in the follow up posts.

xo, Rae

*Beautiful pictures snapped by my sister in law Alex, who is coming to Seattle in a couple weeks and will be hosting mini sessions for anyone that is interested, DM her on Instagram!!

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MOM + MINI: WHAT WE WORE IN NY

We’re home! Even though we had the time of our lives (Tilly was plotting ways to stay) it always feels so good to be home. I’m excited to share all the things we did and ate, but thought it would be fun to start with what we wore. I know I’m always on the lookout for cute and easy summer outfits for the kids and me that last for full days of exploring!

As far as packing goes, I followed my usual tips (blog post HERE!). It was nice having an extra top layer (either jean jacket, button up shirt, or sweatshirt), a few accessories and extra outfits to choose from. Although, between adventuring in the city and eating on the go, I really thought we would be changing more! The only other thing that surprised me was how often our days involved swimsuits. Most parks, playgrounds and even The Met had water features or a splash pad and it was always a welcome and unexpected treat for the kids!

Here’s a peek and links to what we wore…

RAE | top, jeans, similar sandals here and here (old from J.Crew), sunnies

ESPEN | crew neck (old from PeekKids), tee, shorts, shoes

TILLY similar crew neck (old from PeekKids), tee, similar shorts (old from Target), shoes

RAE | sunnies, dress, similar jean jacket (old from J. Crew), similar sandals here and here (old from J.Crew)

TILLY | dress, sneakers

ESPEN | hat, tee, old swim shorts from J.Crew (he wore these earlier in the day), shoes

RAE | jumpsuit (wearing a size small and had to knot the straps :), similar jean jacket (old from J. Crew), shoes, sunnies

ESPEN | polo, old swim shorts from J.Crew but think these are so cute (!), shoes

TILLY | tee, similar shorts (old from PeekKids), sneakers

RAE | tee, skirt, belt (thrifted), sandals (similar), sunnies

ESPEN | tee, shorts, shoes

TILLY | tee, similar skirt (old by cat and jack), sneakers

This trip was so good for my soul you guys. I need those full days of exploring and being present with my people, but I’m also so excited to (mostly) be home for the rest of summer (just a couple close rode trips!)… Ready to adventure in our own city.

Are you planning any trips this summer or staying close to home?

xo, Rae

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WE’RE COMIN’ FOR YA, NY!

(i heart ny)

Eeek! In about a month, Espen, Tilly, + I will be packing our bags and hopping on a flight to New York to visit my brother, sister (in-law), and nephew! We’ll have 3 full days to adventure and play around the city and since you guys always have the best ideas I thought I’d ask if you have any must do, eat, or see suggestions for us…?

So far Espen wants to go swimming and Tilly wants to see the emoji movie while we’re there (“Are there movie theaters in NY?” she asked. Ha!). These kids are in for the surprise of their lives and I can’t wait to see it all through their eyes!

Johan and I have been chatting about taking the whole fam bam to NY ever since our visit several years ago (you can see the post here!) for my Birthday, yet have had a hard time figure out logistics (i.e. affording the trip without blowing college funds, etc., etc.). Booking a trip for just the three of us seemed like the next best thing even though I hate to leave the rest of the kids and Johan behind — we’ll miss them soooooo much! — but, I’m glad we didn’t wait any longer to make it happen.

Are there any trips you’ve been dreaming of taking!?

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know if you have any NY food or activity suggestions for us! We’ll be staying in Brooklyn.

xo, Rae

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HAPPY FAMILY TRAVEL: A SEAESTA IN SEABROOK

We’re back from our long weekend away with our friends Ryan and Emily and their 4 kids, in Seabrook Washington where we played and ate our way through a self-declared long weekend. Considering Spring (aka sunshine!) hasn’t arrived to the PNW yet, a little break from normal life was just what we needed to recharge. I shared bits and pieces of our getaway on Instagram through posts and stories, but thought I would share some little love notes highlighting my favorite parts of our getaway.

Dear Seabrook, you were the perfect spring sea-esta, complete with a slow pace, storybook town, the cutest cottage to call home for a few days, miles of beach, kite flying winds, community pool, lots to do within walking distance, and the yummiest cinnamon rolls and pizza. Fingers crossed, it won’t be long before we’re back!

Dear bubble bath beards, you never, ever, get old. Especially when you are made in the pretties tub, in the prettiest powder room.

Dear friends, time with you sharing meals, playing games, and talking about life was oh so good for our souls. We miss you already. Can we make this a yearly thing?

Dear mamas of babies and toddlers, it’s hard to compete with those newborn cuddles and slobbery toddler kisses, but life with kids just get’s better and better. As they grow, so do their brains and wittiness, and creativity, and heart and friendships and it’s all just so much fun to be around.

Dear cheap kite from Fred Meyer, you were worth all 800 pennies.

Dear Pacific Northwest beach, I’m more of a swimsuit wearing, warm water beach enthusiast, but you are perfect for my kids who love to run, explore, dig and get dirty. For providing the space and tiring them out, I am beyond grateful.

Dear FaceTime, thank you for making leaving behind our 16 year old behind (for baseball games), just a bit more tolerable for this mama’s heart. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of our love affair.

So many highs over the 4 days… It was hard to leave. If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting Seabrook. We’ve been a couple other times (read about one of the trips here) and still can’t wait to go back!

My stylish and home dec savvy friend Emily shared a few more pics and details of the pretty town and house we stayed in on her blog and instagram and you should defiantly go check it out!

xo, Rae

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HAPPY TRAVELS: PACKING TIPS FOR WEEKEND TRIPS WITH THE FAMILY

The way I see it, traveling with kids is fun and adventurous, but also unpredictable, stressful and the opposite of zen. One of the things I know fo-sho helps with the latter half of that statement is packing well. While I might not be an expert and don’t have all the answers, I do have packing our family up for a trip down to a science and feel like a well packed bag helps balance out the chaos just a little!

Here’s what and how we pack for a typical 3 or 4 day getaway.

PACKING THE KIDS

The Suitcase | Depending on where we’re going and how we’re getting to our destination, I either pack the 4 younger kids into a giant suitcase or 2 separate laundry buckets (Target carries a kind that bends, comes in different colors and has handles that I love but couldn’t find online). After they’ve taken an outfit, jammies, and a few items, such as toiletries and blankies, out of each basket, I combine their stuff and use the empty one for dirty clothes.

Clothes | I pack the 4 younger kids 1 outfit per day, including underwear, socks, and layers, plus 1 or 2 extra outfits depending on our destination and how long we’re staying. Then I throw in pajamas (1 set for every 2 nights), an extra pair of athletic shorts or joggers for the kids to lounge in, and a pair of shoes and either sandals or boots. Best case scenario they put a pair on before climbing in the car too. I’m always amazed at a child’s ability to lose, burry, destroy or forget footwear so packing 3 pairs usually means they will each have 2 wearable pairs for the trip (hahaha!). Oh, and if we’re headed somewhere with a pool then I pack a couple swimsuits for each kid too!

Next addition to their suitcase is accessories which might seem like overpacking but I’ve found that they often double as toys. Little purses (like these!) work great for scavenger hunts and finding treasures, hats are fun to catch things in, scarves make good blindfolds, and sunglasses are just handy to have and look really cute in pictures!

Our oldest, Ozzie (16) packs himself, but often has me participate in the process as he’s laying things out and putting together outfits. Raising mostly self-sufficient kids that still want your input is like the best of both worlds. I love it!

Toiletries | Toothbrushes, tooth paste, travel shampoo/body-wash, bandaids and ointment, children’s ibuprofen, and melatonin all get thrown into a toiletry pouch. I love these carryalls from Ban.do (only $10 for set of 2). The smaller size is perfect for hairbands and clips on trips I remember. Otherwise we’re stuck with whatever hair accessory is floating at the bottom of my purse which surprisingly usually works out just fine :)

Carry On | Each of the kids brings a small backpack with a few items to keep them busy during the ride or after we arrive. You’ll usually find some combination of tech devices, 1 or 2 books, small toys (like hex bugs or shopkins), coloring supplies, small travel games (land of nod has fun ones!) and a stuffed friend. Espen and Tilly are really good at packing up by themselves while Griffin and Poppy need a little more help. On our way out the door  I’ll hand them a snack pack to add to their bags and depending on how long until our next potty break, water bottles too.

PACKING ME :)

The Suitcase | Most 3 or 4 day getaways, I pack my clothes and shoes in a weekend sized duffle bag like this one. If there is a wedding (i.e. fancy shoes and dress) involved or we’re flying I pack in a hanging bag or small roller suitcase.

Clothes | I typically do one of two things when packing clothes for myself 1. pack a mini capsule wardrobe with items that are in the same color palette that mix and match really well or 2. pack the last three or four outfits I’ve worn that I feel cute in. Either way I usually make sure to pack one outfit per day with layers plus one alternate outfit. Then I almost always throw in an extra casual dress (unless it’s freezing out), one or two outfits to lounge/workout in, a swimsuit (if needed) and pajamas. Shoes are the hardest item to narrow down for me and take up the most room. I’m usually wearing sneakers on travel day and then bring whatever else I know will get worn depending on our destination and planned activities.

Toiletries | I throw all my makeup, travel sized lotion, shampoo, etc. and hair products into one of those small lululemon manifesto tote bags that they send when you order on line. It’s probably not practical or efficient but it works and is easy to rummage through and unpack. Actually, I should just splurge on another set of catchall pouches from ban.do for myself!

Carry On | My carry on consists of charging cords, my laptop and card reader, the big camera, my Bible, planner, and a book that rarely get’s read on the car ride or trip, LOL. I also try to remember to include a treat of some kind for when we are in need of a reward, distraction, or something bribe worthy.

Packing for Activities | A few days before our trip I’ll set a basket or tote out downstairs and start filling it with relevant items such as sunscreen, bug spray, towels, a favorite board game, etc.  Johan is really good at gathering and adding recreational equipment such as tennis rackets, kites, etc. too!

I like to think I’ve found my happy place somewhere between minimalist packing and over packing :) Regardless, it takes a lot to keep everyone dressed, playing and comfortable while we’re away but it’s so worth the hassle!

Now if I can just figure out a less daunting and more fun way to unpack, ha! If that is even a thing? No but really, please share any tips or tricks you have for packing or unpacking as we have a few weekend getaways coming up and mom-hacks are always helpful!

xo, Rae

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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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THANKFUL FOR THANKSGIVING

rae-ann-kelly-thanksgiving-2016-3013

Welp, we spent Thanksgiving bunked at our family cabin, gobbled till we wobbled (and not just on Turkey Day), drove 8 hours to see our college team lose the apple cup (but still had fun), walked the festive streets of Leavenworth, mediated an unnerving amount of sibling squabbles, and made lots of new memories. Thanksgiving, for no particular reason, isn’t usually my favorite holiday, but this year was so good it has me reconsidering my holiday rankings. Here’s a few pics from our long weekend –>

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(Thankful for this guy of mine — insert heart emoji.)

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(Taking a cue from my kids who see any and all public floors and grounds as a place to play, snuggle or rest… I think they are onto something!)

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(We packed feathers, googley eyes, and brown bags for any downtime we might have on our trip and love the name tags and headbands Tilly made out of them! Nothing fancy but totally perfect.)

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(The room I used to sleep in as a kid with siblings and friends. So sweet to see my kids in there together.)

rae-ann-kelly-thanksgiving-2016-3165rae-ann-kelly-thanksgiving-2016-3232rae-ann-kelly-thanksgiving-2016-2rae-ann-kelly-thanksgiving-2016-3rae-ann-kelly-thanksgiving-2016-3292

(A quick snap with Papa and Gigi at the cabin on the last day as we cleaned and packed!)

Yep. Thanksgiving is officially moving up on my favorite holidays list… Hope yours was even sweeter! 

Now if we can just get a handle on all the sibling bickering!? 

XO, Rae

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