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An ode to my 20s on the eve of my 30th birthday—thank you

Here’s to tea parties instead of keg parties, and the (sleep) hangovers caused by up-all-night teething children.

An ode to my 20s on the eve of my 30th birthday—thank you

Dear twenties,

It’s been a memorable decade. A ten year quest to find love, fulfillment, and yes—a good time.


You taught me so much about myself, my relationships, and where I want to be in life.

Like how to adult.

You taught me how to do adult things like live by myself, make my own doctor’s appointments (now I make two other tiny people’s appointments, too! #MomStatus), get off my parents cell phone plan, and buy a house (yep―in the ‘burbs.)

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How to have the career I desired.

I rode a long and winding career roller coaster in my twenties. Volunteered for a year, took the obligatory first job out of college job that paid the rent. Started a blog. Worked for a daily deal website startup. Got my masters. Got pregnant. Taught for a year. Stayed home with my daughter. Became a writer.

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How to keep friendships strong.

I have been taught this by friends who are willing to drop everything and meet you at the aquarium to cheer you up and distract the kids. Or the one who shows up with a fully cooked meal days after you’ve given birth making your heart burst with gratitude. The one who stood by you on your wedding day, and the one you made the godmother of your child.

I made new friends, lost touch with old ones, and still have a circle that’ll stick for life.

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How to fall in love (for good.)

My twenties gave me my husband, and made me a wife. He’s the person I know inside and out. My best friend. He knows the different tones of my voice, every curve of my body, and my deepest fears. My twenty-year-old self who worried about finding love didn’t know yet that I’d hit the love jackpot.

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How to take on the role of ‘mother.’

My twenties gave me my daughters, and made me a mama. This transformation has confused me, challenged me and brought me immense joy and pride. It has completed me in a way I didn’t know I needed to feel complete. Being a mother to my children teaches me something new each day and motivates me to be a better person.

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My twenties taught me core values and beliefs.

I’ve learned that no one is perfect (not even your parents).

I’ve learned that that’s okay (perfection is boring).

That you’ll make mistakes (and can recover).

That it’s okay to wear white after Labor Day (but never as a guest at a wedding).

That laughing really is the best medicine (except when Motrin is better, i.e. when you come home from the hospital).

To fake it til you make it (you’ll make it).

And that the best version of yourself is...yourself (take it or leave it, people).

I still believe that yoga pants are real pants (for life), lipstick makes you look more polished (even with a messy bun, and yes, those yoga pants), and to be kind (it’ll get you very far).

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This past decade has been generous to say the least. 

You’ve given me the iPhone, Instagram, and all the emojis ???✊?❤️.

Solo-artist Beyonce, the catchphrase #TreatYoSelf, and the Bravermans.

I couldn’t live without any of these things. (Kidding. Kind of.)

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So, have I fulfilled my quest? Found what I was looking for?

Yes. I can say that I did.

The parties may now involve tea and princess crowns instead of kegs and solo cups, and the up-all-night ragers are caused by teething infants and toddlers climbing out of bed.

The wine may be of the bottled variety instead of the boxed (for the most part #GuiltyPleasure), and date night may often be on the couch with takeout and rarely at the latest hotspot downtown.

But there are still so many possibilities.

Possibilities that involve thinking of three other people’s feelings and not just my own. And I love that.

My twenties gave me my family.

So here’s to my Saturday early morning wake up call—varying between a kick to the head or cries for milk from one of the two little people who often show up in my bedroom unannounced and climb into my bed whether invited or not. So long to the sleeping-until-12-then-moseying-somewhere-for-brunch days of yore. ?

Here’s to the clutter. The craziness. The commotion. And the coffee. (All of the coffee.)

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Here’s to the dance parties that have relocated from the bar to the playroom. With two new characters—my little girls. My world. My new world. My thirty-year-old world.

I am reminded every day that this new world I am in is the best. And it just keeps getting better with age.

Thank you.

Twenties, you were legendary. You were transformative. You were f a b u l o u s. You started with Troubled Britney, and ended with Triumphant Vegas Britney—and for that I am forever grateful.

Now, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I look to my next decade with excitement, determination, and love. Thirty used to sound super old when I watched Friends, but I’m not scared of it anymore.

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Sayonara twenties. It’s been real.

Love,

Thirty-year-old me


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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

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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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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