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The magic of being a #girlmom ✨

Raising you to be strong is magic. Teaching you to be kind is magic. Encouraging you to rest is magic. Witnessing you embrace who you truly are is magic.

The magic of being a #girlmom ✨

My daughter,

I thought I knew everything there was to know about motherhood.

I had your two brothers, fell in love with them, and imagined the world through their eyes.

I always wanted to have a daughter, but thought that I might not necessarily get the chance. I was profoundly happy to be a mom to our two little boys.

And then we got one of the greatest gifts of our lives: We found out that a little girl was on her way.

Learning that we were going to have a daughter was magic. It meant that we'd have the chance to experience the world anew through the eyes of a little girl.

There is magic in seeing our dreams made into reality. 

And by raising daughters, we experience the magic of taking a broken, unfair world and healing it with a generation of bold women and girls—and men and boys who support them.

Raising you to be strong is magic.

It means that while today you're asserting your rights to your brothers, one day in the future you'll be a woman who knows how to stand up for herself and others—even to people bigger than you, richer than you or more powerful than you.

Teaching you to be kind is magic.

It means that while today we're encouraging you to take turns with toys and consider the other person's feelings, in the future we're helping to put an end to mean girl culture.

Watching you dress yourself is magic.

While today you put on non-matching clothes that might make us cringe, it means you're developing a style of your own and a confidence to be exactly who you are.

Looking at you play with your brothers' toys is magic.

While today you set up train tracks and MagnaTiles, someday soon you'll grow up knowing that there is nothing—toy, job, experience—that you can't do because you're a girl.

Seeing you take care of your stuffed animals is magic.

While today you play pretend with your toy Elmo, some day I imagine you as a fierce, loving mother. And that makes my heart so happy.

Listening when you insist you want to "do it myself!" is magic.

Today it takes us 10 minutes to get out the door while you stubbornly put your shoes on, but one day that independent spirit will help you stand on your own in a new city, or country, or planet (it's happening).

Teaching you to clean up after yourself is magic.

And while today it might mean that I have to pretend that you're actually 'helping,' you're learning what it means to contribute to the greater good of a family, a key life skill for any stage.

Encouraging you to rest is magic.

It means that today we're arguing over naptime, and have a nightly routine that includes bath time, bedtime stories and early bedtimes, but some day you'll learn that taking time to rest is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Seeing you play sports is magic.

Today we watch you chase the soccer ball while the wind pushes your hair back, but someday those sports lessons will remind you of how strong you really are, and how much you can really endure—and conquer.

Witnessing you embrace who you truly are is magic.

Today you like doing things your own way, even if it doesn't make much sense to us (yogurt in your breakfast cereal... okay...), but seeing you break out of the norm in big and small ways brings us joy.

Seeing you take charge is magic.

You negotiate EVERYTHING (nap time, dinner plans, books to read) and while it can be tiring today, it gives us great pride knowing you're growing into a girl and woman who knows what she wants and is willing to advocate for herself.

Being a #girlmom today is magic. It means that we get to help a generation of girls navigate a world of challenge and opportunity with confidence and conviction. It means we help to heal the world, and its social and structural injustices against women, one little girl at time. It means raising a powerful, conscious generation of girls—and boys.

It means we have the power to create magic—transformational change that turns dreams into reality that makes the world more fair for everyone. It means renewing the world one courageous daughter at a time.

So yes, being a #girlmom is magic. And it's the greatest gift on earth to be your mother.

Love,

Mama

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Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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

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

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

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

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

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Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

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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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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