Just Us

A 7th Birthday + Backyard BBQ

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Last weekend we celebrated the baby of our bunch’s birthday. She turned “7”! Yes, 7!! We can’t even believe it. I know I feel like I say that every year, or every time one of my children gets older.. but it’s really how I feel. Time just moves so dang fast. But also kind of not at the same time. While I’m extremely grateful for it, I always linger with a bit of sadness every year this one gets older.

If you’ve followed along for a bit you may already know this, but we don’t do big birthday parties for our children every year. You can read more about how we celebrate birthdays here. But we do try to make the best of everyones birthdays by celebrating THEM by letting the birthday person make most of the choices for dinners, family time and everything in-between for about a week, we call them birthday weeks!

Liliana was lucky this year that her birthday fell on a very long weekend where most of us were off from work and school. We celebrated her right in the middle of it with close friends and family with a casual backyard BBQ and swim party, complete with my grandma’s homemade chocolate cake (made by her brother Aden) “just plain without any frosting on it” just as she requested. It was relaxing, really simple and nothing special. But a perfect way to celebrate our favorite little girl.

Also, could she be any more of a Daddy’s girl…and I think I know who might be his favorite as well 😉

 

Thanks for the photos Samantha Broderick

Incorporating Mindfulness – with Athleta

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Incorporating Mindfulness - Athleta

Permission to Pause - Athleta x Miko Bowen

 

Since recently turning the big 40 I have found that incorporating mindfulness into my life and giving myself Permission to Pause for even just a couple of minutes each day helps me set the tone for a better, more fulfilling life. As a Mom in our busy on the go, always connected world it’s easy to find ourselves somewhat lost mindfully. But finding that moment of calm can not only help you recharge but also inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

For me mindfulness doesn’t need to be hard or complicated. It’s as simple as taking a few moments each morning to just pause and really take in my surroundings and let my mind settle as I’m sipping my morning cup of green tea. Or writing down a few thoughts in my journal. And sometimes just taking a moment to listen to myself breathe is all I need.

Weeding out distractions is key for me to fully invest in my moments of Pause. That includes wearing something comfortable that doesn’t tug or pull at me. Athleta’s new sustainable Restore clothing line is that for me. Made from sustainable fabrics in a neutral palette that’s not only super soft but incredibly comfortable as well. And I really love that Athleta’s mission is to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential.

Mindfulness Athleta Restore Clothing

Meditate Athleta Restore Clothing

Moment of Mindfulness

Incorporating Mindfulness Reading

So my friends, I invite you to give yourself Permission to Pause this month and find your moment of calm and restoration in a way that works for you. xoxo

Worn: Eco Wash Restore Sweatshirt in Lilac // Studio Wrap in Marl Grey Heather // Restore Jogger in Charcoal Grey Heather // With Ease Tank in Bright White

 

Photos by: Tracy Layne Photography

 

**This post was sponsored by Athleta. All opinions are my own.

Our Disneyland Surprise Vacation

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We pulled off our surprise Disneyland trip and couldn’t have done it without all of the help we received from Get Away Today. And it only seemed fitting that I finally blog our Disneyland trip from the spring on the return of our summer visit! Will and I decided to make our little ones first visit to the most magical place on earth a complete surprise. We had told them that Dad had a very, very long business trip (hence him taking 3 suitcases for himself) and since he was going to be gone for so long we were going to have grandma take him to the airport so we could all see him off and then hang out in SLC for a fun play day. Well..our big fib was well played and they never second guessed us. Just watch this video capturing it all.

See! They truly couldn’t believe it or us! Liliana kept thinking her dad was still going on that business trip all the way until she boarded the plane. And Liam just kept saying over and over “Wait. Are we really going to Disneyland? Like right now?” Once we landed though and quickly checked in to our hotel it all became very real for the both of them! And we hit the ground running immediately and headed straight into the park.

We were all so excited on our first day that I hardly grabbed any photos! But thankfully Will captured this photo of Liliana on the very first ride we took, Dumbo!

Our first day at Disneyland park was well spent. We stayed until just about close and hit all the rides that we could. Tip – stay late if possible. All of the lines ie: Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had no waits whatsoever! I think we rode Splash Mountain 3 time in a row back to back! It was so much fun!

For dinner on our first night at the park we ate at the Carnation Cafe. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect as we were sat outside and dined at the perfect time to get front row views for the electric light parade. We ordered all of their known faves – the fried pickles with dipping sauce, the baked potato soup and the homemade meatloaf. Not a single one disappointed. I still dream about those fried pickles if I’m being completely honest 😉

We woke up on day 2 and were completely exhausted, but so excited to head back for more. But first breakfast. We headed to our full complimentary breakfast buffet that the Residence Inn Anaheim Convention Resort offers all of it’s guests. Serious perks and something we always look for when traveling as a family. And then a quick peek at the rooftop pool area and splash pad before we headed off for our day.

We decided we’d spend the first half of our day at California Adventure and the second half back at Disneyland Park since Liliana had a full on princess makeover scheduled at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique later in the day.



After a fun morning at California Adventure we stopped in for lunch at the Storyteller’s Cafe. It was fun to see it hadn’t changed too much since we brought our 4 big kids there over 12 years ago. Will and I spent so much time reminiscing about that trip and talking with our two youngest all about it. Oh! Another quick tip! We feel like to get the best out of your trip you absolutely must download the official Disneyland App. It is so helpful when trying to navigate the park, check line wait times, as well as reserving dining at all of the Disneyland restaurants. Truthfully I don’t know how anyone does Disney without it!

Soon it was time to head to Cinderella’s Castle for Liliana’s appt at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. When we were planning this surprise trip in one of my Disneyland searches I found that your little girl could be turned into a real live princess. I had no idea that Disneyland offered anything like it! After chatting with Will we decided that we would surprise Liliana with an appt. We chose the Castle Package because after having so many children and watching how fast they grow up we know one thing for sure. And that is, that they’re only little once… and for such short time. So if you think you’ll do it later, chances are you won’t. Or maybe you will, but the time where it was pure magic may already be lost. So when we realized that this may be our only chance for Liliana to really enjoy the magic of all of this we jumped! Are we were so glad we did. She more than loved it.

Since our hotel was so conveniently located within walking distance to Disneyland it allowed for us to head back for an afternoon break. Liam + Liliana couldn’t get the visions of the pool from the morning out of their heads and both Will and I felt like a dip in the pool (and possibly a nap) sounded great since it was so hot!

After a good few hours we headed back to Disneyland for dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen. Which we all loved! It was super fun and interactive with songs and dance all while you are dining. Also, if you’ve never experienced Goofy’s macaroni and cheese pizza you haven’t fully experienced life! We all seriously couldn’t get enough of it!

When dinner was over we strolled through downtown Disney where we stopped into a store where Liam constructed and built his very own remote control car! It was such a fun experience for him. We always try to do something special for each of our kids that they will remember. And since Liliana was able to enjoy being made into a princess it seemed that Liam making his own car was a perfect fit for him. We headed back to our room fairly early to get a good nights rest as we knew that the next morning was our early entry day and we were all going to need some serious sleep.

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Our third and final day at Disneyland was our early entry day! We got up at what seemed like the butt crack of dawn and rushed to the park to try to get in all the fun rides we could and that usually have the longest wait times. It was so fun to be in the park when there are hardly any others in there. It was kind of like we had the place to ourselves. While Will ran and took the kids on Hyper Space Mountain, I ran to Indiana Jones and staked our place in the front of the line. It worked out perfectly so they were able to ride both rides within the first half hour of us entering the park. If you have the chance to add early-entry to your park tickets for one of your days we highly suggest it!

We bounced back and forth between both California Adventure and Disneyland for the rest of the day. Enjoyed lunch at Ariels Grotto where we got to dine and meet four of the Disney Princesses. Snacked on some cotton candy and had the best corn dog of our lives from the Corn Dog Castle located on Paradise Pier in California Adventure. I truly haven’t had a corndog in probably over 20 years….but you bet your bottom I ate one and it was incredible! And of course we can’t forget the delectable and famous Dole Whip. Perfect for any hot day at Disneyland!

After a full 3 days, we said goodbye to Disneyland and hello to the beach (blog post coming up). We truly loved every bit of our experience at the most magical place on earth and can’t wait to head back again soon! I never thought I’d, or we would be any sort of crazy Disneyland loving family…but never say never. The magic is real and we all felt it and love it so much that I’m seriously considering season passes! We are only a short 10 hour drive 😉 and again, maybe I’m crazy, but I want to soak up all of the fun magic moments with our little ones before they get too big and it’s lost.

Thanks again to GetAway Today and Disneyland for making our trip the most magical and memorable ever. We can not recommend them enough for help with planning your vacation!

 

Also, thanks to Yanira Calise Photography for coming to Disneyland and capturing some fun photos for us.

 

This post is in partnership with Get Away Today and Disneyland. 

A little Spring around our Home

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miko bowen white kitchen spring home

It’s officially spring and we are welcoming it with big wide open arms over here at our home! As a family who normally loves the winter season to last as long as possible (because skiing) we could not be more happy this year to see all the snow melt and the little purple crocuses pop up all over our lawn. This winter was one of the best as far as snow we’ve had in years, but for some reason both my husband and I just weren’t feeling the “ski every minute we can” vibe this season. In fact it was quite opposite for us. I think we just needed a bit of a break this year and maybe next year the ski vibe will be back for us. But for now give me all the spring!

So in honor of sunshine and little blooming flowers I thought I’d share some cheery spring photos from around our home with you this morning. Happy Spring 2017 friends!

miko bowen kitchen home shelves

Grey Ceramic Bowls + Mugs from Rove Concepts.

miko bowen dining room in spring

Glass vases // Wishbone Chairs // Dining Table // Rug

miko bowen spring home

Marble Tic-Tac-Toe // Marble Pawn Vase

 

Photos by Jessica Kettle Photography

 

 

Love Your Hair, Love Her Hair with Dove

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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