family style

What Makes My Family Smile

Motherhood evokes all sorts of smiles: There’s the pure amusement at the latest silly thing your kid’s done, belly laughs from tickle fights, even the occasional smile through tears when you’re so proud of your children and the little people they’re becoming.

My kids make me smile all the time, but the biggest one I can remember of late was when my younger son, Shep, gave me a painting he’d done in art class at school. I encourage my kids to explore their passions—to truly be independent and authentically their own people—so whenever one of them brings me something they’ve created with their own two hands, I’m floored. It’s the coolest thing to see life through their eyes and to experience their worlds. Plus, an unexpected, handmade gift is always going to make me happy!

As for what makes my kids bust out their biggest grins, it might be the time they spend outdoors. We’re big on getting fresh air, especially during the summer. That’s why I’m in love with Gymboree’s new line of clothes: Their kids’ jeans are super comfortable and durable, so it’s easy for Tom and Shep to stretch out and do some of their favorite things outside—climb trees, perch on fences, do a little bit of rough-housing with each other (not too much!), and just generally run around in our yard. Even the baby, Odette, can get in on the fun, with colorful patterns and ridiculously soft fabrics so she’s happy and comfy playing with the boys.

Even as summer winds down and we start to think about going back to school, I know the Gymboree pieces will easily transition, with lots of sweaters and hoodies to layer for dressier or more casual looks. I let the kids pick out what they’re wearing here, and I love how each of their personalities shine through: Tom looking put-together in his smart “A-Okay” pull-over and checked button-down, Shep ready for laughs in his “Fun Times Always” tee and jeans, and Odette ready for anything in her striped hoodie. I think it’s important to let kids express themselves through clothing.

As we head outdoors for another afternoon in the sun, I’m excited to see what kind of smiles the day brings. I hope your day is full them, too!


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  • Sarah

    Your kids are so cute ?

  • Mo

    I love a good day in the sun as well and I like the idea of letting the kids show their personality through clothes.
    P. S: you’ve got beautiful kids and they look so happy. ?

  • Mo

    Hi, I was hoping if you could check out my website. You the reason I finally decided to take the plunge and start my blog. Thank you for that and I hope you are able to check it out and maybe you might like it. Thank you. ??
    This the site:

  • Bri Remy

    This is honestly a question rather than a reply and I completely understand if you don’t get back to me. You’re a very busy woman, which is easy to see. I just had a little boy and I was just wondering if you had any tips for being a first time mom of boys. However, like I said, I completely understand if you can’t get back to me.
    Hopefully you get the chance to read this though because I would like to point out that while I don’t personally know you, you seem like you’re a great and hardworking mother who really loves her children. I wish there were more people like that in the world. I love reading your posts.

  • Jessica Lozano

    Hi Gen! Thank you for the great inspiration and sharing your world. Children are truly a gift!! The best entertainment is watching and listening to kids lol. I don’t have any of my own unfortunately, but I spend as much time as I can with my nieces and nephews. What a blast I have with each of them. From 19 years old to 8 months, 4 boys and 2 girls. You are a wonderful, Mother and person 🙂 I can tell by the happiness in your family’s faces!

  • Vanessa Ramos

    Hi Gen, I’m from Brazil and I’ve to say that you’re an inspiration to me, to be a better human being, woman and other things. I always read your posts and them always inspire me. The way you live your life is so beautiful, simple and clean. Thank you so much for the tips and for being a strong and wise woman, and pass on all this knowledge to your beautiful children, family, friends and followers. Kisses, hugs and light from brazil 🙂 You deserve the better grl power

  • Fatima

    Hi Gen,
    Your kids are adorable, as always 🙂 I just found your blog, so sad I missed out on the first year of your blogging, I’ll be catching up now! I was wondering, how did you come up with your blog name? It reminds me of “Now and again” but I’m not sure if it was a play on that?


  • michaela

    After following you on instagram and reading your now and gen page I have to truly thank you for your realness. I feel I can relate to your words so much and to see how your life has such richness ie- family, it makes me want to strive to be better. I have been alone 15 years after a very broken heart and I am at an age with no significant other or a child, that I have yearned for years. I am a teacher and a hardworking one at that but I want to find the confidence to find something for me. You are truly helping me find my path, thank you gen and god bless your spirit ???

  • michaela kilbride

    Hi gen, I left a comment but it didnt show for some reason. I wanted to leave it again. I dont usually leave comments but I had to thank you on your blogs and congrats on 1 million instagram followers. You have truly made me consider everything around me in a different light and to try and find the joy in everything around me. Being alone at my age and no kids I find myself wishing I am able to experience that one day. Reading your powerful words, seeing your realness and seeing the beautiful family your have created it gives me hope. Thank you so much xo

  • Aurore

    Good evening. I’m a bit disappointed that despite Shep’s love for Mr. T., you’re not vegetarian and that you’re just boasting about buying nuggets back from the vet ?. I think that vegetarianism could be a good cause you could defend. Maybe you could find plenty of dietary information and dietary advice? Could you think about this and question and talk about it on your blog? Sincerely, Aurore from France ?? ?

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