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Dear husband: You’ll always be our hero

Like so many heroes, your work often goes largely unpraised―and sometimes unnoticed—especially by our little girls. But I hope you know I see you.

hooray heroes book
Hooray Heroes

The other night, I watched you and our daughter through the window as you played in the backyard. As you swung her through the evening air, inspected bugs and raced through the grass, one thing became increasingly clear to me―you are, in every way, her hero.

Truthfully, you're mine, too.

Watching you made me think of all the things you do, big and small, that help us get through our day. It might be taking out the garbage, it might be waking up with the girls and reading together so I can get an extra hour of sleep, it might be driving an hour to and from work every day to support us.

And, like so many heroes, your work often goes largely unpraised―and sometimes unnoticed—especially by our little girls. But I hope you know I see you. And as our children grow, I see so much of you in them.

You are, and have always been, so kind.

Whether you're rescuing a beetle in the house (that I probably would have just flushed) or stooping down to masterfully pull a splinter from our toddler's heal, everything you do is done with such gentleness. You laugh at our 3-year-old's silly jokes. You teach both girls about loving each other as sisters. And you still find time to thank me for all I do for the family. I know our children will be as kind as you are as adults.

You are, and always have been, so strong.

And I'm not just talking about your ability to carry our baby's car seat four city blocks―though I really appreciate when you do that! You also carry my emotional burdens. You listen to me during the moments when motherhood breaks me down or step in when a tantrum threatens to undo me. You take the responsibilities of fatherhood seriously, and I've never wondered whether or not you would step up to the plate when needed.

You are, and always have been, so fun.

You're the parent who doesn't tell them to "be careful" and thinks there should be no limit to how high they go on the swing. You swirl them in the pool and play "tickle monster" and chase them around the living room as they shriek and giggle and beg for more. You're the one who teaches them about hockey and playing guitar and all the other hobbies where my expertise (or lack thereof) would fail them. When they remember their childhood, I know so many of the happy moments will be forever tied up in you.

hooray heroes book

The best part of seeing all these good things in you is seeing them shine through in our children. Our daughters are so kind, strong and fun―and the older they get, the more I see your favorite things becoming theirs as well.

So, when I thought about what to get you this Father's Day, I wanted to make sure it honored you as the hero of our family. Nothing seemed more perfect than a gift for you and our girls to share a personalized Daddy edition of the When My Child Grows Up book.

I came across a Hooray Heroes video a few days ago on Facebook and was touched by the reactions of dads receiving their own books. I love the idea of personalizing our kids (and even you as their dad!) in a book that captures not only the special relationship you have with our children, but also shows how those dreams you inspire today could become our children's future. No matter which path they choose, I know they will always look to you for inspiration and guidance and this adorable book will remain our family keepsake forever. I can't wait to see you reading this story together, I know our girls will love the personalized illustrations that look just like them.

There are so many dreams I have for our children when they grow up, but regardless of what their profession turns out to be, I know they'll always remember what an incredible father you are and always have been. You'll always be our hero.

This article is sponsored by Hooray Heroes. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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