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Are you ever ‘ready’ to have a baby?

Motherhood isn’t about getting ready. Motherhood makes you ready as you live it.

Are you ever ‘ready’ to have a baby?

$861.48. I do not think I will ever forget that number.


I woke up on a Monday morning, and for the first time since forever, I did not want any coffee. Why would I not want coffee in the morning? I always want coffee. It was a chilly April day, the kind that felt like it couldn’t decide if it was going to be winter or spring, and in the moments of determining whether to wear a jacket, I stopped thinking about the coffee aversion and my husband and I headed out for the day.

Alex called at lunch; he always did. I remember telling him that it had been fairly quiet around the office and then I asked how his classes were going that day. Then I casually mentioned that I had a bit of heartburn, but I couldn’t pinpoint what I ate that would have caused it.

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“Do you think you’re pregnant?” (Ha, ha.)

“Not possible.” (Ha, ha.)

Forty-eight hours later: “Hi, my name is Katie. I’m a patient at the office. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do in circumstances like this, but I took a pregnancy test this morning and I think it’s positive. Well, all five were positive. Should I make an appointment?”

And so began my life as a mom, summed up in that prophetic statement to the sweet medical scheduler: I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do.

Our first baby was not planned. (I want you to understand that everything in my life is planned, which made the shock value of this event rather high.) My husband was not quite halfway through school. I was just over one year into a job that I loved, went to graduate school for, and felt very excited to build a resume on. We had only been married eight months, the infant stages of a lifelong relationship. And we had $861.48 in our checking account. By every measurable factor, we were not ready for a baby.

But babies do not always ask when you are ready.

Sometimes they come early. Sometimes they come far later than our heart would have hoped for. And sometimes they do come right on time, the month after you and your husband checked off the last item from the pre-baby bucket list, pulled the goalie, and got busy baby-making.

Still, in three short years of motherhood I have come to believe firmly that on this journey, very few things happen when are ready.

That first night in the hospital, after the nurse took our vitals, changed my diaper ice pack, said “Get some rest” and left my husband and me there with a newborn, I felt a small sense of panic. She did not give me any instructions, no rules, nothing. Does the baby sleep on me? In that plastic thing over there? Can I over-feed her? What if she cries? My first night with our baby began with the weight of responsibility and the daunting question of What are we supposed to do? I wanted to grab that nurse by the stethoscope and say, “Hey, hey, wait! I’m not ready!”

When it was time to go back to work after maternity leave and walk out the door carrying a breast pump instead of a car seat with my little blondie inside it, I cried for a week to my husband, constantly telling him, “I’m not ready!” And then, when I decided five months later to stay home with her, I felt something similar as I shut my office door and looked at my name on the wall next to it for the last time: “I love this job, and I’m leaving. I’m not ready.”

When my daughter made the transition from sweet, always content baby to has an opinion thankyouverymuch toddler, I wanted to cup her chubby cheeks and tell her to go back to that always-content mode because it’s so much easier for mama, and “I’m not ready!” to watch her change.

I wasn’t ready to explain life and death to a 3-year-old when Grandpa died.

I wasn’t ready for my son to need further medical testing.

We are rarely ready to leave on time.

When I am lying in bed and I hear one of the kids at 4:50 am, all I can think is, “I’m not ready for you yet!”

I’m still 15 years away from this, but recently I watched two close friends kiss the not-so-chubby cheeks of their graduates and send them off to college. And I know they both would say, “How did we get here? I’m not ready!”

Not ready.

Motherhood isn’t about getting ready. That is, at the same time, the hardest and most freeing thing about it.

Motherhood makes you ready as you live it.

Fill your life with good friends, encouraging words, lots of prayer, hand-me-downs, more prayer, and for the love of sanity have a good sense of humor—that is about as ready as we can be.

$861.48. We made it somehow. It took us nine months to pay off the hospital bills, but we did it. Everything we own is secondhand, but we have all we need. Four years ago I never would’ve dreamed that getting pregnant when we did was the best idea for our family. Today I would not change one thing.

The heart of a mother is always ready. Even though we are never ready. Finding a way to live that paradox, well, that’s motherhood.

Coffee + Crumbs is a collection of stories about motherhood, love and the good kind of heartache.

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In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

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

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    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

    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

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $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

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    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

    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

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    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

    Letterboard

    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.

    Mama,

    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

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