Archive | FAMILY

SUNDAY ON CAPITAL HILL + SAVING WHAT YOU LOVE

Aside from Yoder (a.k.a. Johan, my husband) being on shift, this past Sunday was my absolute favorite in awhile. All the kids were with me including Ozzie’s gf (who we adore), the sun was out, we fit in some park hangs, attended the kids’ uncle’s movie premier at SIFF (seattle international film festival) which was amazing, followed by the after party and finally a quick stop at Dick’s Drive-In on our way home.

Almost perfect is almost an understatement. It was a good day so figured it deserved a blog post! More photos and full story!

After being in the car and before sitting in the theater, we walked over to the park to (hopefully) get all the wiggles out. The kids all stuck together at the swing set which made my job of keeping track of everyone way easy so I grabbed the big camera out of my bag and started snapping away… How many pics can one mom take of her kids on the swings? Apparently a lot, lol. Actually, my real problem is narrowing down which ones I want to share in a post. Otherwise they’ll all make it into a chatbook at some point!

This girl (Tilly below) is coming into her own lately and I! AM! HERE! FOR! IT! A reminder that persistence, creativity, prayer and positive parenting is effective and worth all the hard-work even when you aren’t seeing the results yet. KEEP GOING! KEEP LOVING! KEEP ENCOURAGING! + KEEP PURSUING THEIR HEART!

Now if she would just stop growing up so fast, that would be cool ;)

Something about a giant park in the middle of a city full of business and buildings and busy streets makes my heart extra thankful. A little cheesy but true!

Next stop was the movie and I know I’m biased but if the wild film comes to a film festival near you (there are still some screenings happening in Seattle!), you must go and don’t hesitate to bring the kids either. Poppy loved it but she was also watching her uncle (and a little of herself) on the big screen which I’m sure helped. I’d say K or 1st grade and older would enjoy it. Even though the film is about salmon and our environment, it’s also a story of resilience, connection and industry without a spec of political undertone (Praise Jesus) making it so much more appropriate for kids. And as someone that often finds herself frustrated by so many political extremes and conflict, more appropriate for me too, lol.

I have no idea how my brother in law, Mark was able to tell such a relatable story on such a specific issue but he did and I couldn’t be more proud or impressed.

The last film Mark made came out on Netflix for a bit so i’ll let you guys know if that happens again. For anyone interested in seeing it in a theater, I’m guessing the screenings page of the web site will be updated soon!

Nothing like an afterparty to make you feel like a total rockstar and these kids were eating (and drinking) it up along with all the attention from adults and bottomless soda supply. Luckily they were serving dry soda which has half the sugar, ha! Paired with all the yummy food, beautiful view, good music and chill Seattle vibe, it really was a one of a kind event. Bummed I didn’t get a photo of the grub (lots of salmon of course!) or the view from the front of the boat (ugh!), so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

More info on the restored ferry boat venue HERE! Then if someone could please plan another event there and invite me that would make my life :)

Hanging with their auntie! Also, the progression of Poppy in the last two pics is priceless. Girlfriend hit her limit and was ready to go home! Her wild head of hair only added to the dramatic head flop.

But first Dick’s Drive-In on Broadway because my kids will only eat so much salmon before they need fries and a milkshake to round out their meal :)

Thanks for letting me gush all about our Sunday! Would love to know what you would want to do on an almost perfect day?

xo, Rae

1

MOTHER’S DAY + FAMILY VALUES

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend! Still feeling extra grateful that these 5 made me a mama and for the crazy adventure and wild love that comes with motherhood. There is nothing like it.

Of course we all know it’s not all morning snuggles and dance parties. It’s exhausting and challenging and incredibly humbling to raise these kids. I’m thankful though that just as they’re growing and learning, so am I. My perspective has changed over the years which makes everything more enjoyable. My faith has been tested which has made me stronger. And my arsenal of tools and resources has grown, which has made a world of difference.

One of the most applicable tools we’ve used is creating a list of 5 Core Family Values. It’s given so much structure and purpose to how our family operates and makes decision making so much easier too (hooray!). So I thought I would share with you what ours are in case it’s helpful! Keep in mind, this is less a way of measuring how good we are at each value and more a way to keep us focused on what’s most important.

Sharing our list in detail and pics from Mother’s Day at my parent’s house below!

One last “warning” because I had a hard time emphasizing that all of these values are “in progress”. We are in no way, shape or form, perfect at any of them… okay, now you can read :)

OUR 5 CORE FAMILY FALUES

  • WE SET EACHOTHER (+ OTHER’S) UP FOR SUCCESS — My personal favorite because instead of forcing things, it reminds me to do what works! It means we support each other when we’re thriving as well as when we’re struggling. It also makes self care a priority so I know exactly what to do when that “mom guilt” creeps up on me! YAY!
  • WE ARE GENEROUS — That means when a student comes to the door with a fundraiser, we buy something. When we are eating out, we leave big tips and when God gives us an opportunity to give to a charity, we give. It also means we’re generous with intangible things too… like patience, love, encouragement, etc.
  • QUALITY TIME — This is why everything from our morning routine, to tuck-ins, and reading is a big thing at our house, and why we plan outings and activities as a family outside of the house (less distractions!). It’s also what makes making an effort to plan date nights and kid dates worth the effort — no matter our love languages.
  • FUN, FUN, FUN — Even when we’re tired, we’re going to rally. Even when the experience/situation is a dud, we’re going to look for ways to make it fun. And when we’re faced with two choices and one will be more fun than the other, we know which one to choose :)
  • WE LOVE LIKE JESUS — This one is more of a challenge to be less selfish, judgmental and fearful and more prayerful, proactive, inclusive, present and approachable. More than anything it makes people’s hearts our priority and dictates how we show up for them. It also requires us to do the hard things when it comes to setting healthy boundaries and navigating relationships… It’s complicated and simple all at the same time and not to be completely cheesy but I find asking WWJD actually really helpful, ha!

Ohhhh, the chaos of trying to get (almost) everyone in the frame. For the most part our kids appreciate and even enjoy getting their pictures taken but that doesn’t mean the process goes smoothly… one of these days I’m going to set up a video camera so we can document and share the whole process, lol.

Skateboarding is easily one of my favorite childhood pastimes so I love anytime we have one to bring on a walk with us…

… Plus it get’s everyone to hold hands which you all know is my favoritest thing ever. Evidence below!

Bumming hard over something his brother did… Oh how I remember this feeling as a kid!

Also, more hand holding below :)

Have you set values or intentions as a family? If not, what would you want to be on your list?

Either way I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences… you guys have the best insights!

xo, Rae

3

PARENTING HACK: EARLY RISER ACTIVITY BASKET

We all know that in most cases, after having kids, a full nights sleep becomes a rare luxury and a Saturday morning spent in bed isn’t going to happen anytime soon, and personally I’m okay with it. However, when the kids roll outta bed at 5:45am on a Saturday, it’s nice to have something quiet and calm for them to do (so they don’t wake up the rest of the house!) that doesn’t involve a screen. Of course we love a little tech time, especially on the weekends but when Poppy and Griff wake up around 6am and the rest of the crew wakes after 8am it can be hard to keep screen time to a reasonable amount. This is where our activity basket has come in handy… Get the full diy and some ideas for making your own below!


GOOD MORNING ACTIVITY BASKET

A Few Ideas:

  • a snack (fruit leathers or a banana and zbars are usually our go-to)
  • calming blend essential oil roller (ours has 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops tangerine or orange + fractionated coconut oil — the blend promotes feelings of peace and creativity!)
  • coloring supplies (or these water wow books!)
  • favorite picture book (this is our current favorite)
  • pretend and creative play toys (I added a dress-up mask from opposite of far and unicorn horn by brooklyn owl, pipe cleaners + some peppa pig characters… we also have at least one basket of legos in every room of the house which come in handy and also love this chalkboard “laptop”!)
  • a basket or bin for storage
  • HOT TIP: hide the basket when they’re done and then put it out by their bed once they’re asleep at night :)

Meet our two {very} early risers… after hitting the jackpot with three incredibly good sleepers (at least after the first year) and nappers these two non-sleepers came as a bit of a shock to us. Most nights at least one of them crawls into our bed at some point and they both seem to be able to sense when either Johan or I are up and at ’em and then act accordingly, ha! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good snuggle sesh in the morning and am always happy to see their sweet faces but the whole reason I get up early is so I can squeeze in a little work before our day starts. While there’s no shame in Netflix-ing, after a long winter and very rainy April, we’re really trying to cut back on all screens. Having a dedicated basket for them feels special and fun and has been a lifesaver… If you try out an early riser activity basket with your kids, I’d love to know how it goes and do my best to keep up with comments on the blog and DM’s or comments/tags on Instagram so hit me up!!!

These kids and their oils. Obsessed + I don’t blame ’em. I also love that it’s another way to teach them how to pay attention to how they are feeling and then take care of themselves. By the look of these pics, I think Griffin would bathe in oils. Not a coincidence that it’s a calming blend he’s rolling on, lol.

After a few years of using oils and doing all of my own research and sourcing (remember when we used to sell them!?), I finally got smart and signed up for Young Living. Kicking myself for taking so long as it’s saved me time and money and has given me access to products we use daily that I would otherwise have to live without (I see you thieves). I’m still working on setting up a resource page that’s easy to share, but if you’d like to know more, sign up, or ask me alllll the questions you can leave a comment or send me an email at rae(at)raeannkelly(dot)com!

Happy Friday Loves!

xo, Rae

0

10 COMPANIES THAT MAKE IT EASY TO TWIN WITH YOUR MINI

Me in the pic above: Thinking about what to name our pizzeria and when I can match with one of the kids again. For all my fellow matchy-matchy type mamas out there I thought I’d share a roundup of my favorite companies that make mom + mini twinning a no brainer.

Snapped a few pics (because matching must be documented) while Johan and I took Griffin on a quick dinner date… we ordered cheese sticks (G’s fave), salad and drinks all around and then a pizza and salad to bring home for the rest of the crew. We were only out and about for a little over an hour but it was the perfect amount of time to sneak in some Q.T., finish a placemat word search together and give Griff our undivided attention.

More below!

That look on his face! (insert heart emoji)

10 COMPANIES THAT MAKE IT EASY TO “TWIN” WITH YOUR KIDS

  1. Olivia + Ocean, because the best place to match is definitely at the beach or pool!
  2. Did you see this collab between alice + ames and sonnet james?
  3. Shop doen and their kids line, it’s all sooooo dreamy and romantic but still functional.
  4. Anine Bing and bing kids… we’re wearing their sweatshirts here + here (Griff is wearing size 6-8 + it looks cute and oversized on Poppy too).
  5. Whistle & Flute has some seriously cute tees.
  6. Plain Jane usually has items in matching patterns like this buttery soft robe and play gown for your little.
  7. More super cute tees by jean & june.
  8. Albion isn’t super match-y, but they make it easy to coordinate…
  9. Tiny cottons and their newest women’s line. I want it allll!
  10. Bobo Choses is another favorite!

Don’t remember the last time I ate something I didn’t end up sharing with someone but I prefer it that way… and not just with the kids. Johan and I almost always share an app and main dish on date nights, an ice cream cone when we’re out for a treat and a venti coffee when we run through Starbucks. Is that weird? Ha! Maybe it’s the “me too” middle child in me?

Our speed date with Griffin has me thinking that it’s time to schedule more one-on-one (or two) kid dates. Would you guys be interested in date ideas or seeing what we end up planning?

Also, please share your thoughts on matching or shops you know that make it easy!

xo, Rae

8

HAPPY MONDAY + A FAMILY UPDATE

Can’t you just feel the warm pavement in this pic… after such a nice March (by PNW standards anyways), it’s been a rough, cold and rainy April until last week when the sun started making some appearances. Of course chunky sweaters are still a wardrobe staple but they feel more spring-ish when paired with sandals and a camisole. I’ll link outfit details below along with a little family update and a few pics from visiting Johan at the fire station the other day!

OZZIE | Last week Oz asked how I handle the younger kids touching me/my clothing with their sticky fingers. I explained that after you have a newborn that poops, pees and spits up on you, a little chocolate or smeared banana is no big deal… Would you guys agree? I think I scared him out of ever having kids, ha! In WAY bigger news, he’s decided to attend WSU in the fall (YAYYYYY!). We still have a few things to figure out but he’s put in his request for dorms and has a visit scheduled! Meanwhile we’re doing our best to help keep senioritis at bay, meet all the deadline and enjoy all the events that go on during the last few months of high school (did you guys see Johan throw Oz the “first pitch” at his game last week on Stories!? I saved it to the “ozzie” highlight if you want to see)… PSA (in case you were wondering) SENIOR YEAR IS NO JOKE PEOPLE!!!

ESPEN | Has a new mouth full of braces and it’s the cutest thing ever. Especially now that he isn’t as sore and feels like eating something other than smoothies and protein shakes. Poor guy. He’s also started flag football after school along with a new baseball team and basketball camp which has made keeping up with homework a little tricky… Love this age so much because they’re still so young and silly BUT hate how serious school and sports can get (even though I’m v thankful for both!). There’s definitely a learning curve even the second time around as we try to navigate it all. So proud of Espen for being up for the challenge!

TILLY | Also has new hardware in her mouth, lol. She’s been dying to get a retainer ever since Espen got his about a year ago and her dream is finally a reality. Although, having to keep track of a case to put said retainer in while she eats, etc. wasn’t part of that dream and has proven to be a problem that has somehow become everyone’s problem. We love you Matilda and the excitement you bring to all of our days! In other news, her love of slime, baking treats and planning sleepovers is still going strong.

GRIFFIN | Talks a lot about getting an x-box, has become besties with a boy that lives on our street (so fun!), is playing on a new soccer team and is reading like a champ which somehow just makes life so much easier. We just finished the book Double Fudge by Judy Blume. Griff loved it and I have to say, even after reading it with all three of the older kids, it never gets old!

POPPY | Is all registered for her pre-k class for next year, has been practicing her cartwheels (more like monkey jumps) endlessly, and is begging to take another ballet class (hopefully next month!). Every morning she wakes up and asks if the kids have to go to school… needless to say she is counting down the days until summer vacay!

YODER |Is working on getting his realtors license just in time to list our rental property that also happens to need a massive amount of TLC… Yesterday he somehow managed to make lots of progress on the yard with a team of 7 kids (all 5 of ours and 2 of their friends), lol. Never not impressed by his work ethic. Today he recruited my parents to help us paint the interior and then the hard part begins as we’ll have to decide what to upgrade and what to keep as is… and you guys know how indecisive I am so pray for my husband!

ME |Did you guys see the textile I designed for Olivia + Ocean!? Fabric and product design are my absolute favorite kind of design projects to create and collaborate on. Working on a few other projects lately (some collabs and some DIY’s) that I can’t wait to finish and share. Aside from work, I’ve been struggling to get over a terrible case of bronchitis (yuck)… having coughing fits and not being able to breath well is really cramping my style, ha! Prob time to head back to the doctor, huh?

Pickle ball might be the best game ever invented… Johan and I are on the hunt for a doubles league if you know of any??? ha! Just need to work on my backhand and wearing appropriate shoes.

WEARING | camisole (it’s machine wash + on sale… wearing a size 2), sweater, jeans (size down atleast one size!), shoes (bought them last spring and love these too)

POPPY’S WEARING | this tee and jeans from Peek Kids (no longer available), shoes

Daddies are the best. Hero at home and at work. Plus he likes to play so our kids basically hit the jackpot.

Happy Monday-ing friends!

xo, Rae

2

MY TOP 5 FAMILY FRIENDLY SPRING ACTIVITIES (+ a bonus)

Okay you guys, so I could probably come up with close to 100 fun things to do as a family in the spring butttt, sometimes long lists are more of a distraction than they are productive and since I’m trying to be more present + intentional (hey buzz words) as we get into a very busy spring, I thought I’d share a few low stress ideas to add to your calendar.

Here’s our TOP 5 (but actually 6) FAMILY FRIENDLY SPRING ACTIVITIES:

  1. the batting cages and putt-putt — and for kids too young to swing a club or bat, there are usually lots of things to climb on, golf balls to hold onto and holes to hide things in… also be sure to ask for a tee if needed in the batting cages!
  2. the zoo or wildlife reserve — or save money and opt for a nature walk and scavenger hunt.
  3. exploring new parks or beaches + bringing a grocery store picnic — bonus if there’s a place to play soccer, run around, fly kites or ride scooters! This is a fun one to do after church on sundays… throw all the scooters, blankets and balls in the car, head to church, stop at the store, then drive long enough for little ones to take a quick nap before hopping out to play!
  4. a staycation — we aren’t usually able to travel much during the spring but a close to home road trip or overnight at a hotel feels extra special… still trying to finalize plans for spring break next week and am tempted to head to Seabrook again this year.
  5. any spring sporting event — we love going to Mariner’s games but sometimes a minor league game with grass seating, picnic tables and a less crowded kid zone is more relaxing and fun for us parents!
  6. BBQ’s +/or happy hour with friends at home — could become a weekend tradition to host or help plan! Since spring weather is often unpredictable having a backup plan

Just signed up for a family fun run and am hoping it will become a new spring favorite. Also wish “family bike ride” made the cut, but we haven’t had a successful bike ride since before Tilly was born, lol. We’re basically chaos on wheels.

Checked batting cages off our spring activity list Sunday night though… a few pics below!

After sitting through a dozen baseball games and practices for the older boys the past few weeks, I thought the rest of the fam deserved a chance to get some ‘at bats’ and even though they all thought I was crazy and gave me a million reasons why we shouldn’t go, I persisted and eventually got everyone in the car, ha! We ended up hitting until dark and then going out to pizza. It was a school night so you know everyone was having so much fun!

Ozzie and his smart, sweet and incredibly patient gf (you kinda have to be to hang with us!). She’s the youngest of 3 so I’m sure tagging along with Oz as the oldest of 5 has been an adjustment for her. However, she plays it off well and will do fun things for and with the kids… we love having her along for adventures!

Poppy had no interest in getting in the cage while the pitching machine was on but loved hitting off the tee! Thankful that the owner brought it over to us… We’ve been coming here for years and never thought to ask about a tee for younger kids!

Do you have any spring plans you’re excited for! What are your favorite things to do as a family once the weather warms up!?

xo, Rae


0

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!

2

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.

11

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!

4

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.

3

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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