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Your children don’t need perfect baby books or photos. They just need you.

I decided my time and energy are not well spent dwelling in the past or being anxious of the future. My time is best spent being fully present today.

Your children don’t need perfect baby books or photos. They just need you.

Since becoming a mother, I have desperately wanted to keep a record. For years I intended to start keeping a journal. It hasn’t happened yet. I hoped to put together those “easy-to-make” photo books to chronicle these precious times with young children. Yet 16,433 photos sit on my computer waiting to be organized and appreciated.


Between snuggling babies and soaking up life, I can’t seem to find the time.

Maybe the lack of time isn’t truly my problem, perhaps it’s motivation. My motivation to keep records of these busy and beautiful years is fear.

I fear that without a record I won’t be able to taste every drop of sweetness and joy that have filled up my cup since becoming a mother.

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If I don’t write it down or take a photo–how will I remember? Will these years disappear forever? Will I forget the softness of my baby’s cheek? Will I forget how it feels to have a tiny head sleeping on my chest?

I ponder if I should sleep with one eye open so I don’t miss a thing.

On one night in particular, I was attempting this “one-eye-open” type of sleep. It was the eve of my son’s third birthday. I was restless, crying and lamenting about the fact that he would be leaving for college in (a mere) 15 years. Therefore, around 11:30pm I decided to start a long-overdue written journal.

Now is as good of a time as ever, right?

This journal I have been planning and pining for… it was going to help me go back and reminisce about every detail of the past. This journal would help me to relive these special days in all their glory. I wanted to document every memory that I could.

So I jumped on to the Evernote App and fiddled around with starting a new virtual notebook to get everything in order.

Finally, my journal was ready. I started to type. I wrote one character.

Then I heard a voice at the end of my bed. “Mama, can you come hold me?”

This request might be typical for some kids, but this newly 3-year-old boy had never before come into my bedroom at night. However for some reason, on this particular night, at this particular moment, he wandered in and asked me to hold him.

I put down my phone and took him back to his room and held him. I told him the story of how I first met him and then he fell asleep on my chest just as he did in the hospital exactly three years earlier.

Therefore, my journal was an epic failure. I wrote one character before throwing in the towel.

Somewhere in between snuggling my babies and soaking up life I realized I don’t need all those carefully kept stories.

I decided my time and energy are not well spent dwelling in the past or being anxious of the future. My time is best spent being fully present today.

This means the memories of my children’s lives will continue to be mostly undocumented and disorganized.

And that’s OK. Because I am here, today, fully present with my family. Each one of those undocumented memories are drops into my overflowing cup. As my children grow and continue to enrich my life, they will keep adding to my cup.

My cup will stay full regardless of my children’s ages, but I won’t be able to parse out those drops. Part of me is nostalgic because once those drops of memories are added into my cup, they will start to blend and fade into one another. I will never be able to truly taste and feel each one ever again.

But do you know what a cup full of motherhood tastes like?

Pure love and gratitude. As the cup continues to fill, it becomes something greater than those individual memories.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The memories add up together to form the relationship we have with one another. The relationship is going to carry and guide me through the rest of my life, not the individual memories.

I won’t remember it all, photograph it all, or write it all down.

Because in the end, it’s not about the details. “We were together, I forget the rest.”

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school 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 summer-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.

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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective 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

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden 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

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

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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