Dear husband: It's the things we *don't* say that prove how powerful our love is

Perhaps the most powerful moments of our marriage so far have been in those quiet moments.

Dear husband: It's the things we *don't* say that prove how powerful our love is

[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

Dear husband,

I could easily say I love you, which is true, but somehow that doesn't feel like enough. I could tell you you're my best friend, which you are, but that doesn't quite capture what I'm feeling after five years of marriage—after 12 years on each others' team.

It is not often that I am at a loss for words, so I've been trying to think about why I'm so stumped here.

Instead of telling you about all of the things I could say, let me tell you about all of the things that go unsaid. Let me tell you about the silence—because perhaps the most powerful moments of our marriage so far have been in those quiet moments.

Silence—when our friends and family bowed their heads to pray for us before we said, "I do." There were hundreds of people on the beach that day, but somehow it all faded away at that moment.

Silence—when we sat on a beach in Maui on the last night of our honeymoon. I had just drawn my new last name in the sand. We sat in chairs we had carried from our rental and watched the sun set and the waves roll slowly over my sandy cursive.

Silence—when we tried for eight months to have our first baby. Each month I prayed for that little line on the stick and felt my heart drop when it wasn't there. I didn't know how to find the words to tell you that it hadn't happened yet.

Silence—when you squeezed my hand during my emergency C-section and while we waited to hear our first baby girl cry. The delivery hadn't gone as planned, but maybe that was our first lesson into parenthood.

Silence—when you began quietly heading to work at 11 pm. Your transition to the overnight shift has been difficult in many ways, but you've done what you've needed to do to provide for your family.

Silence—when Netflix stopped playing. The screen read, "Are you still watching, Sophia the First'? Yes, Netflix. Yes, we are.

Silence—when after almost 15 months, our first baby started sleeping through the night. Yes. 15. months.

Silence—when we waited for the ultrasound tech to tell us the gender of our second baby. You were right—another girl!

Silence—when we waited 28 ½ hours for our second baby girl to come out of the special care unit. In the wee hours of the morning, we snuck into hold her and watched the monitors as her oxygen rate increased while she was in our arms.

Silence—when you stayed up all night with our sick toddler so I could take care of our infant.

Silence—when our 2-year-old and 8-month-old finally fell asleep after hours of screaming in the car. Yes, we were the ones who took our two young babes on a road trip to follow the Red Sox to Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Silence —when I battled with some pretty serious anxiety this year. You quietly learned my triggers and adjusted to help avoid them.

Silence—when you lost someone who was like a father to you. I rubbed your knee as we sat side by side in the pew before you delivered the eulogy.

Silence—when we've argued over little things—like getting house projects done or making sure that "cheese" makes it on the grocery list when one of us finishes it.

Silence—when we've argued over big things—like how to balance our hectic lives or how to best raise our children.

Silence—when we've argued over something big or small and you turn over to reach for my hand in bed anyway.

To me, that's what matters.

I know I have a lot to say. I know it might seem like I've always got something we need to talk about. I know our lives are moving at 100 miles per hour—the work grind, the girls, the coaching, the classes—it's a constant buzz.

I know that sometimes the silence isn't even our choice. Sometimes it's a quick kiss as I come in the door and you head out. Sometimes it's after both girls fall asleep and we're too tired for anything else.

Sometimes the silence is hard—loaded and heavy. Sometimes it's freeing and light. And sometimes it's even lonely. But please know the power I've felt in these quiet moments.

What's most important is that I can sit with you in complete silence and be content. Because there are a million little understandings between us. Because sometimes, nothing can be said. Because sometimes, nothing needs to be said.

Love,

Your wife

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    Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

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    Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


    Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


    Belly oil

    HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Oil

    Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

    $58

    Belly mask

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    Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

    $42

    Nipple + lip ointment 

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    Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

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    Belly tattoos

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    A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

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    This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

    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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    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

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    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

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    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

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    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

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    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

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    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

    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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    BABYBJÖRN

    This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are 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 indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

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    Wooden doll stroller

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    Sand play set

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    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.

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    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.

    $19.95

    Vintage scooter balance bike

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    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.

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    Foam pogo stick

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    Dumptruck 

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    Pull-along ducks

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    Rocking chair seesaw

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    Baby forest fox ride-on

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    Meadow ring toss game

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    15 vegetarian school lunch ideas kids will gobble up

    Need some plant-free lunch ideas to take to school? We got you, mama.

    Tom Werner / Getty

    Have your kids stopped eating meat? Is your family just trying to cut back? One trend I'm intrigued by is eating vegetarian on the weekdays, then going omnivore Saturday through Sunday. For health, happiness and environmental reasons, more and more families are simply opting out of anything that's not grown from the ground—and that includes two of my daughters.

    With school starting back up, you may be needing some more school lunch ideas for kids that don't include meat to keep those cute lunch boxes—and little bellies—full!

    Here are our favorite ways to pack lunch boxes that are hearty, satisfying, full of protein yet vegetarian all the way through.

    Simplified Focaccia Bread

    When we lived in Italy, we learned that focaccia bread was originally made for fishermen who needed a fast lunch that would stick with them until dinner. Olive oil not only packs a flavorful punch but adds enough (good) fats to keep fishermen full. Turns out, it works for kids at school too and this easy recipe is the best way to make it!

    Cheddar Cheese and Apple Muffins

    Think of these savory baked goods as a twist on a biscuit--one that's packed with tart apples and creamy, salty cheddar cheese.

    Whole-Wheat Mini Tomato Galettes

    Start with pie crust (use our easy recipe or take a shortcut with something from the store) then layer on the freshly sliced tomatoes (or potatoes!), sprinkle with cheese and bake. These make-ahead lunches will be the hit of your bento boxes (Tip: measure the size of your container and adjust your galettes before baking!)

    Spicy Black Bean Enchilada Cups

    Of all the ways to eat enchiladas, I bet you've never thought of this one. Fold tortillas into muffin pans and fill with all the gorgeous flavors of enchiladas. If your kids aren't into spicy, simply skip the adobe sauce and use mild enchilada sauce instead. (P.S. If you like the idea of using your muffin pan for another lunch special, try lasagna cups too.)

    Veggie Nuggets

    Served at room temp, this vegetarian spin on every kid's favorite food is a tasty treat. Don't forget to pack dipping sauce! (Bonus: Make a big batch and store in the freezer to simply pull out when you're ready to pack lunches.)

    Fruit & Nut Butter Wraps

    Begin with a tortilla or wrap, then slather on a thick layer of your chosen nut butter and top with freshly sliced fruit: strawberries, peaches, blueberries… Almost any combination works deliciously.

    Puff Pastry Pizza

    Talk about a happy meal. This one combines pizza with the buttery, flaky texture of puff pastry. Add any toppings your kids love, from plain cheese to tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and more.

    Crispy Tofu Nuggets

    If you've got an air fryer and a vegetarian kid, these tofu nuggets are your new best dish. Their perfectly crisp texture will remind you of a popular dish served in packs of six at a restaurant that rhymes with Schmic-donalds.

    Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

    "But how do you get enough protein?" For every parent of a vegetarian has heard this about a zillion times too many, here's your one-word reply: quinoa! This golden grain is packed with the stuff, plus fiber to keep kids full. Fill a colorful pepper with quinoa, plus a handful of other tasty flavors, and you've got a protein-rich lunch to send to school on repeat.

    Tiny Tomato Pies

    My daughter asks me to make these pies for her birthday every year. And when her friends come over for dinner. And when it's her turn to choose a meal. There's something about a flaky crust topped with cheese and fresh tomato slices all grilled together that even elementary school kids can't resist. (Psst: Since it starts with store-bought biscuit dough, these tiny pies come together in a snap.)

    Quiche Cups

    One of the best things about quiche is how versatile it is: add cheese, grilled veggies, roasted broccoli, fresh herbs...or none of the above. Since you use a muffin pan to make a dozen at a time, you can even change up the combinations to suit your kids' tastes.

    Simple Sushi Rolls

    Don't let the name fool you. Making sushi is not only easier than you think, but a fun way for kids to try their hand in the kitchen with you.

    Toasted Bagel Bites with Hummus

    Slice up a store-bought bagel and give it a minute under the broiler and you'll have the crispy bites kids devour at lunch. My kids like a little hummus, marinara sauce or nut butter and jelly for dipping.

    Very Pickle-y Egg Salad

    The secret to this egg salad is simple: tons of dill pickles. The salty, sweet and crunchy texture makes the perfect bite with all those rich and creamy boiled eggs. (Tip: Save time with dill pickle relish.)

    Taco Pop Tarts

    What started as a cheeky way to use up taco filling has turned into one of my kids' most-requested lunches. Just fill pie crust with your favorite taco filling (using beans or a veggie substitute for ground beef) and bake. Again, word to the wise, do measure your lunch box compartment ahead of time so you don't make mammoth pop tarts like someone I know. Me, it's me. Of course it's me.

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