Life

Love Your Hair, Love Her Hair with Dove

12212016

dove-hair

As a mother I believe that it’s not only my job, but my obligation and duty to instill confidence and self love into my daughter. All the way from her sweet hair on her little head down to her cute little toes. Inside and out and all around. There is a narrow depiction of what “beautiful hair” is traditionally thought to look like and earlier this year, Dove Hair found that 8 in 10 women feel pressure to wear their hair a certain way. For many, these pressures began at an early age.

dove-love-her-hair

dove-mother-daughter-hair-love

loveyourhair

love-your-hair-dove

dove-love-your-hair-mother-daughter

Although I grew up without a mother I was fortunate to have a Father who instilled confidence in me and not shame. I’ve never felt pressure to wear my hair a certain way or wished that it looked differently. I’m grateful that my Father taught me to love myself for who I am and what I was given, and hope to instill the in my daughter.

In todays society, where young girls and women face all kinds of societal norms, I want my daughter to feel strong and confident in not only who she is but also how she looks. I want my daughter to love her hair, to know just how unique & beautiful it is and that it can be a source of confidence and not anxiety for her.

Dove Hair believes a positive role model can greatly impact a girls confidence and is empowering mothers to be a leader in their daughter’s hair confidence by teaching them how to love their hair. In fact, a recent Dove study found that 82% of girls learn to care about themselves from their mother. That means it’s mostly up to us Mother’s to speak positively about ourselves in every way so our daughters will too.

dove-love-your-hair-braid

dove-love-her-hair-message

Join myself and Dove in celebrating the beauty of your daughter’s hair today–so she loves her hair tomorrow.

You can tell her why you love her hair and inspire her to do the same by sharing your #LoveYourHair photo on Instagram and tagging @Dove. To add some extra love, visit LoveYourHair.Dove.com to create your own custom animated message and share with your friends & family.

 

This post was sponsored by Dove. All opinions are my own. 

 

Photos by Samantha Broderick Photography

 

A backyard birthday tea party + how we manage birthday parties in our family

10162016

tea-party-birthday

Last month in early September our baby girl turned “6”. SIX you guys. I’m only kind of dying inside every time I acknowledge that she’s completely out of the toddler years and fully into little girl mode. We celebrated her with the party she’d been dreaming of having for this past year. And I’m only a month late, which for me is like technically early. But, here’s a peek (actually way more than a peek) of Liliana’s backyard birthday tea party + pony ride.

tea-party-backyardoutdoor-table-partytea-party-tabletea-party

Thank goodness for friends (particularly ones who own florist shops and others who are photographers, and know how to set up a party), a husband who is super handy (he built these low tables the morning of the party) and willing to do anything for his baby girl (really any of us) at any time, for family who always step in when I need it and IKEA. Seriously, between a quick ikea stop and the target clearance section I was able to find basically everything I needed to make my vision of L’s backyard Tea party come to life.

Liam had a football game the day of L’s party and it really only left me with less than two hours to prep, set-up and make sure everything was ready before her little friends started to arrive. And without all the help from my village this party would not have been ready on time. And thankfully I was able to whip up a quick crown for my girl just minutes before her party started.

simple-flower-crownlittle-birthday-girlflower-crown-birthday

Soon “tea” was getting passed around by the girls and little plates were getting filled with tiny sandwiches, fresh fruit, madeleines and the sweetest most perfect little tea party desserts one could ever dream of from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. It all looked so good that L’s big brother Aden couldn’t help himself and joined in for the tea party along with our kitten, Milo and our pup, Bella. Who are both never far away from Liliana and could quite possibly be the best little pets that any little girl could have.

tea-party-ikea tea-party-madeleines-ikea tea-party-foodfun-tea-party serving-backyard-tea-partylittle-girl-tea-party-ikea-target sweet-tooth-fairy-tea-party-desserts backyard-tea-party-cake tea-party-kitten-cookies tea-party-dress-puppy

Watching Liliana and all of her little friends just simply enjoy themselves around a table snacking, giggling and toasting their tea made me realize again just why we make such a special effort to celebrate our children’s births like this. If you follow me on instagram you may have already heard me touch on our birthday party theory. Being a large family, we only have a few select parties for our children growing up. With 6 kids, it was just completely unrealistic for us to have a birthday party for each of our children every year. So shortly after we came together as a family we realized really quick that we would need to set a precedence with birthday parties, or we’d go broke. And ultimately, I feel like doing fewer parties with more meaning just makes them all the more special.

**If you’d like to hear what’s worked for us as far as birthday party balance is concerned read on to the next paragraph. If not, keep scrolling down to the very last paragraph here before more party pictures.** 


We generally only have a handful of actual parties for our children as they grow up. And I like to start them at an age where they can retain the memories from it for forever. For us that’s usually been around age 5 or 6. The next ones really don’t follow any schedule or pattern, but usually theres another one around age 8-10, followed by one that I think is such a poignant time is children’s lives. Ages 12-13. Our go to for a party for that age has been a fun overnight hotel stay with a manageable amount of friends (around 8).

I think it’s so important for your children to know just how much they mean to you at that crucial junior high age. That can be a rough spot for them. (i mean, do you remember junior high? it was kind of the worst stage of growing up for me) The awkwardness of trying to figure out who you are while you try to not get food stuck in your braces as you’re sitting next to a cute kid at the lunch table, but then you get so nervous because they are actually talking to you that you freak out (out of fear or pure excitement. you can never be sure how to tell what emotion means what, because one minute you’re fine and the next you’re having a full blown melt down because your mom looked at you wrong that morning. you know, that side-eye look where you don’t know if you’re in trouble, or if she just found out that you got the part in the school play. but really she’s just looking at you in pure confusion because she can’t figure out how or why you cry when you can’t find your pants that are hanging out in the pile on the floor in your bedroom that could grow it’s own colony of super funky bacteria or why you get so pissed when you can’t find your band shoes that are literally sitting 5 feet in front of you, but you just can’t seem to find them so you run around blaming everyone else but yourself because you just know that your little brother touched them and did something with them when in all reality you set them right where they are eventually found by that side-eyeing mom who really just wants to tell you that she loves you, but doesn’t really want her head bit off or a cry fest to happen so she just gives you a slight smile and walks away. phew…) and bolt, tripping over your backpack on the way and spill your lunch tray all over them. Yeah, that’ why I think it’s good to do a party at that age 😉

The next age we celebrate is usually 16, and then it’s followed up by the last one of them all while still being your child but straight turning into a full blown legal adult…18. These are just years that seem to work for us and our children. And not all of them have had big parties on all of those birthdays, sometimes we have just celebrated them a bit bigger than we normally would have ;). On years where we don’t have a birthday party we celebrate as a family with a meal & dessert chosen by whoever’s birthday it is. It simple, quiet, and usually just what is needed for them at the time.


From nearly the very first time Liliana saw our backyard at our new home she’s begged to have a horse. Her reasoning is completely valid, as our excuse before was that we didn’t have a yard big enough. So, to make this party more special for Liliana we decided to grant her ultimate wish of having a real live pony in her yard. I mean, I’m pretty sure that was my dream as a little girl too at some point, and since this age seemed best suited for a live pony at her party, her backyard tea party included a pony ride as well.

backyard-girls-tea-party-pony-ride backyard-party-pony-ride backyard-birthday-party-pony-ride tea-party-gifts 6th-birthday-party-opening-gifts

After all the girls had their share of pony rides around the yard, Liliana opened her gifts from her cute friends and then they all ran into the pool house for a swim. And of course these little girls can never not end their swimming time without getting in the hot tub which was the perfect way to end any party.

Again, I can not express again how grateful I am for our family and friends. It was so nice to know that while I was sitting & watching all the girls swim, others were tidying up plates, food, etc. When my big kids were younger I used to feel like I had to do it all when it came to their birthday parties. You know, make the food, cake, cupcakes, decorate, and then run around trying to snap pictures too. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that delegating out things like having someone else cater food, or make the dessert is such huge help. I’m so thankful that The Sweet Tooth Fairy was there to make all of the darling sweets and cake for Liliana’s party. It truly took such a load off of my shoulders knowing that it was not all up to me. Also I can not express how amazing it was to have a photographer at Liliana’s party. It made it so easy for me to just be there and take in everything and not have to worry about capturing the magic that was happening because I knew my girl Sam from Samantha Broderick Photography was capturing it all and more.

Before we knew it is was starting to get dusk and while all of Liliana’s little friends had gone home her family and friends were still here and ready to sing happy birthday to this darling baby girl of ours on her day. She smiled and she blew out her candles and still hasn’t told me what she wished for.

sunset-birthday-tea-party birthday-cake-candle-sweet-tooth-fairy birthday-cake-wish-tea-party sweet-tooth-fairy-cake-kitten-birthday-flowers dreamy-backyard-birthday-partyhappy-birthday-sweet-girl

Happiest 6th birthday sweet Liliana. We hope you had the party you dreamed of and know just how much your mama and daddy love you. xx

 

Sources: The amazing desserts were all made by Megan from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. L’s dress can be found here. The tables were made from two of these table tops. We then added 4×4 in posts cut to 14 inches and attached with L brackets. Most of the party supplies (like everything on & around the tables) are from here. The cutest and paperless party invitations can be found at Paperless Post invitations. And last but not least all of these beautiful photo’s are by Samantha Broderick Photography.

A Father’s Day Shave with Gillette Mach3 SE

06292016

Willandboys

This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint, P&G and Gillette. All opinions are my own.

I’m not really sure when it happened, all I do know is that it IS happening, and it’s happening right now before my eyes…my baby boys are straight becoming men. They’re like man children these days and I guess a part of becoming a full blown man child is learning how to shave all those new hairs that are springing up all over their little baby faces. (insert severe mama crying here).

costco

So, this Father’s Day, the kids and I decided that it was due time that we get the Dad of our home a new razor. I mean, he’s been super kind to share his razor with his boys (and me) thus far, but I’m pretty sure he deserves his very own at this point. 😉

And thank goodness my one stop shop and favorite store ***COSTCO*** always has my back. We were able to pick up the Gillette Mac 3 Signature Edition Razors, which are only available at Costco, for my husband on one of our 19 trips we make their weekly…okay maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But for real we frequent our local Costco nearly 4-5 days a week, no joke. We also picked up some Gillette Fusion ProGlide 2-in-1 Shave Gel while we were there too. My son Mathew pointed out that it was perfect that the shaving gel comes in a pack of 3, which meant that the boys could each have their own as well as give one to their Dad.

gillette_limited_edition

costco_gillette_shaving

As usual with this selfless Dad of ours, the new razor was used as a teaching lesson for our son Aden. Watching my oldest son and husband show Aden all the ropes of shaving the proper way about made my heart burst right there on the spot. And when Aden decided he wasn’t quite ready yet to put the razor to his face, his big brother did instead with Aden watching every move and their dad coaching along the way. When Mathew was finished they all checked out the final result. There was truly NO redness, because with Gillette Mach3 Signature Edition Razors, you can declare victory over redness with a smooth shave that’s up to 100% redness-free (it’s possible with Mach3®).

bw_gillette_shaving

These moments right here are the ones that I never want to forget. Ones that are simple, but also so special. I am so grateful that my children have such a wonderful man to look up to as a Father. One who will drop anything for any of us at any given moment, and even share his razor with all of us too. xo

Afternoon snack time with Annie’s

01222016

View More: http://samanthabroderick.pass.us/annies-x-simple-like-love

You know when your in the thick of raising your kids and you feel like its going to last for forever? Well the hard reality is that, it just doesn’t. One day they’re creating dance shows or making up performances for you, using their little brothers as props, and the next they’re graduated and off on their own living in a city hundreds of miles away. If your lucky they eventually make their way back near home and then if your super lucky they occasionally drop by for an after work/school snack to chat.

View More: http://samanthabroderick.pass.us/annies-x-simple-like-love

And that my friends, is now where we’re at around here. Theres nothing that brings my heart more joy than to hear “Sheila” (our home alarm system named by my 17 yr old Mathew) speak up and say “front mud room door”, followed by “side door” because it means that one of my big kids is dropping by or is home from work or school.

The first thing that’s done after they come in is quickly pair one of their iPhones to the Bluetooth speaker and some sort of music is put on. Most days its like you’ve entered into a European dance club, or sometimes depending on the day and who gets their phone hooked up first you could enter into a hardcore gangsta rap club in downtown LA. And this music that is now playing is not put on just as background noise, it’s put on to straight party.

Next up, they raid the pantry and fridge, usually looking for a quick easy snack. And heres the thing, there comes a time where you’re no longer fixing your children’s meals and snacks and they’re choosing their own. So I like to keep my kitchen stocked up with simple, wholesome snacks, but also ones that are still fun like Annie’s Organic Really Peely Fruit tape!

I love that I know without a doubt when I buy anything that Annie’s makes I can trust what is in their products. No more searching the ingredients for Red40, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors…etc. Because heres the thing. I am admittedly one of “those” moms. You know them. The ones who started banning HFCS back in the late 90’s, who buy organic everywhere they can and ultimately just want to feed their kids healthy food. And not only that, one who wants to instill healthy eating habits into them as much as possible when they are young so they carry those habits over on their own when their older. And Really Peely fits that bill. Its a fun snack that is certified organic and free of all of those ingredients like HFCS, artificial flavors and synthetic colors that kids both old and young can enjoy. As you can see, I think my teenagers love playing with it just as much as they enjoy eating it!

annies-simplelikelove-samanthabroderick

annies-reallypeely-simplelikelove

 

annies-mikobowen

View More: http://samanthabroderick.pass.us/annies-x-simple-like-love

annies-really-peely

View More: http://samanthabroderick.pass.us/annies-x-simple-like-love

annies-liliana

But all too soon the conversation is cut short, the music stops, and one shuffles off to work, another to run errands, another to go grocery shopping for themselves and another to do their homework. And this Mama is left with my cup overflowing usually just enough until the next time I enter into a dance club in my own kitchen.

This post is sponsored by Annie’s, a brand that we have long loved in our home.

 

Photos: Samantha Broderick Photography

 

2015 a New Year + Liam’s Birthday + a little about Faith

01062015

LiamSBP_042life is a funny thing. sometimes we set goals, picture how things will play out and then wham. nothing turns out how we planned. that’s exactly how 2014 went for us. will and i had sat down on the last day of 2013 for a very private dinner and chatted really long and hard about our personal and family goals for 2014. nothing. i repeat, not a single damn thing went as planned or hoped. but that’s okay. 2014 may have been one of our hardest years yet, but also one where i know we grew the most. this year instead of lengthy chats about specific goals we are choosing to continue our life path of simplification. simply put. less stuff (stuff in every form, material, emotional, etc) and more gratitude. we are on a path as a family to simplify our lives and in a perfectly simple way it feels just so right and so, so good.

with the new year also came our sweet baby boy liam’s 8th birthday. he’s been so excited for this birthday because turning eight really signifies growing up in his eyes. it’s the beginning of learning to accept the realities and consequences of your own actions and decisions. and for some silly reason he just couldn’t wait for that. and he couldn’t have been more excited to have all of his family home (a perk having your birthday on a holiday) to celebrate him and witness his choice to be baptized.

LiamSBP_027

LiamSBP_025

LiamSBP_023

i rarely touch on faith or religion. because i truly feel it is such a personal thing. and quite honestly i don’t really feel it can always be explained. but heres just a smidgen about where i am with it and how i got here.

i grew up attending a japanese methodist church, went to a weekly youth group at a presbyterian church until i got baptized into the lds church at 19, fell in love with buddha when i was teaching and heavily into my yoga practice, and can’t get enough of the dali llama. there have been times in my life that i have been rigid about religion and other times where it took the back burner. what i’ve come to realize and be completely at peace with is that what may work for some may not work so well for others. faith is so beyond incredibly personal on a level that absolutely no one but yourself can understand. and it’s something that i’m not sure anyone can be doing wrong, or for that matter perfectly right. as a parent, at the end of the day my only hope is that my children know that they are unconditionally loved now matter what, that they will be outstanding humans who bring quality and value to society. who are kind to strangers, are willing to serve any and all in need and just maybe will know and love god. because he’s my jam, and i couldn’t do it without my daily chats him. oh and jesus too.

liam-liliana-newyear

miko-bowen-family-2015

*that probably could have used it’s own separate post…but meh. happy new year friends xo

 

Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie