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My child brought the magic back to my life

Sometimes magic is a really great piece of pizza or the sixth ride down the waterslide. It's laughing with abandon and skipping down the sidewalk without caring who sees you.

My child brought the magic back to my life

I can't pinpoint exactly when, but like many of us, somewhere in between adolescence and adulthood, I lost my magic. I can't describe the magic because it is something that can only be felt, but if you've experienced it before, you know.

Maybe it started going away the first time I got teased in fifth grade for loving horses. Or maybe in high school when my dreams for everything I could be in the future became bigger and more important than simply enjoying the present. Or maybe it was a slow deterioration as societal expectations told me how to look, how to eat, how to succeed, how to do more, how to buy more and so on and so on.

And then, on an October day in my 30th year, I held my newborn baby and the magic was back.

I didn't even know it was gone until it came back into my life like a tidal wave, and now I breathe it in as though it's the lifeline connecting me to what really matters in the world. All I can say is thank you, sweet child, for bringing the magic back to me.

Thank you for reminding me of the mystery and magic of searching for the moon each night, and the simple amazement that we live in a beautiful and complex world where some days it is really big, and some days we can't see it all. Your whispered "goodnights" to the moon and the stars show me your faith that it will all be there again tomorrow night, waiting for your wandering eyes to search the skies.

Thank you for reminding me that simple things can be fascinating, like the bump of a tractor or the rumble of a truck. You show me each day that nothing is outside of magic's reach, whether it is a tree turning orange in our front yard or the satisfying sound of leaves crunching under your feet. Things that become overlooked in adulthood or cast aside as inconveniences are big and wonderful in your world and it's slowed me down to show me the beauty I've been missing in the mundane.

Thank you for reminding me that life doesn't need to be complicated to be fulfilling.. Yes, we have many magical moments when we pack up and go to the beach for a week or make a Saturday out of filling our day with elaborate Instagrammable outings, but we feel the magic and sometimes more by simply going for a walk in the neighborhood or picking out our favorite flavors of ice cream. You show me that magic can't be planned or fabricated—it is only felt when we are joyously in the moment.

Thank you for bringing back the magic of my childhood by giving the traditions I once held so dear renewed meaning. You remind me to take a step back and just look at the lights of our Christmas tree and soak in the awe the holidays bring. You remind me that nothing tastes better than a cinnamon roll on Thanksgiving morning and that there is something truly special about wearing a fancy dress to Christmas Eve church. Your happiness on Christmas morning is defined by the belonging you feel in the traditions of the season and not at all by the presents under the tree. The specialness of sharing all of this with you makes me crave time with my own siblings, parents, and grandparents so that I can give this magic to them and also pass on the magic from many generations ago with you.

Thank you for reminding me of the magic of me. When you see me, you don't see shortcomings and a dress size that is more than twice that of who I was before babies. You see your biggest admirer, your protector, your safe place to land, your soft shoulder to fall asleep on. You see the promise of time and fun together and the hand you want to hold when you are crossing the street. You've given me new eyes in which to look at myself, and a new appreciation for a type of magic that has been uniquely created in me.

Sometimes magic is a really great piece of pizza or the sixth ride down the waterslide. It's laughing with abandon and skipping down the sidewalk without caring who sees you. It's appreciating time with friends and family and showing up for those who matter most without agenda or expectation. It's the quiet midnight hours rocking a baby to sleep and the ungodly early mornings when the whole family and two dogs are curled in the same bed while it storms outside.

As mothers, we get the privilege of creating and experiencing the magic all at once. And when we really lean into it, we get the even greater privilege of breathing in and living the magic our children create for us without even trying.

To my daughter, I promise to hold onto this magic for the rest of my life and to help you hold onto yours too. Maybe between my hands and your heart, we won't ever let it go.

As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

Our Partners

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.

Our Partners

A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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