Suddenly, I’m remembering the old me—I’ve missed her

When snippets of the old you appear, remember she is still part of you, and that it’s good to make time to be her.

Suddenly, I’m remembering the old me—I’ve missed her

The full-throated laughter from the people gathered in my living room startled me. Did someone just say something funny? I scanned the crowd. Who was the last person talking?

Then I remembered. It was me.

That's right. I'm funny.

I'd forgotten.

Adults—real, thinking grownups—responding to me, often comes as a surprise. My days are measured in sing-throughs of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider." In Sandra Boynton books. In noses wiped; Cheerios swept; tickle fights. I know who I am at home with my twin girls.

I'm the one who makes the food, the one who kisses necks, the one they want in the middle of the night. But before all that, I was someone else.

I have vague recollections of another life. In this life, I put on real clothes and makeup every day and went to an office. I saw other grownups. I'd pop into their cubicles and chat—sometimes for 20, 30 minutes at a time. We'd play pranks on one another, have bits of dumb fun throughout our day. People would laugh at my jokes and ask me for book recommendations.


My co-workers and I made liberal use of our lunch hour and patronized every decent restaurant in a five-mile radius. I recall lots of chips, salsa, jokes, and hurried drives back to the office when we realized our absences had most likely become conspicuous.

Where did that person go?

I pampered myself in this other life. I got massages. I got my hair done. I shopped for clothes in real brick and mortar stores, not just on Amazon. There were lots of yoga classes. I went to movies—several a month. One time around Oscar season, my husband and I went to a boutique theater for back-to-back showings of every Academy Award-nominated short film. (The frivolity. The luxury. The free time.) In this other life there were regular trips downtown for operas, ballets, symphonies, plays. I spent a good portion of each week scouring the Internet for whatever cultural happenings sounded like they'd be interesting additions to my weekend.

Where did that person go?

That other girl from the other life was a good friend; a person who kept up with girlfriends face-to-face—not through screens—in real time, without several weeks or months slipping by between contacts. We'd sit and talk in local coffee shops for hours. I'd show up for things; spur-of-the-moment nights on the town, board game evenings, book clubs, writing groups. Heck—I started half of those things. I was the organizer, the one who got us all together to connect over something interesting, to have meaningful conversations about our lives. I would shout out an idea; people would ask me for the time and place, and we'd make it happen.

Where did that person go?

In this life, I'm elbows deep in a trash bin reserved for diapers. I've probably got Auntie Anne's crackers stuck to my sock. I'm all caught up on the latest Sofia the First episode, but don't ask me my pick for Best Picture at the Oscars. I'll save you time—I haven't seen any of them.

When snatches of my old life appear—a whiff of a margarita, a concert invite that makes my toes curl, but which, I'm sure, I'll be unable to accept—it's like being knocked in the head with a brick. Oh yes, I think. These are things that other woman would do. That other woman—me. The me I was before. The me who is still in there, somewhere, despite all the visual evidence to the contrary provided by my stretch marks, stained mom-leggings and blank social calendar.

Hi, Former Me.

Hello, you funny, hip girl with the golden afternoons that stretched before you, unscheduled, like the sea stretching to the horizon. I'd like to take you out sometime. Get to know you again. Remember this amazing modern invention called “Happy Hour?" You used to love it. It's great; there are chips and guac and cheap margaritas. And great music—remember how much you loved that? Come with me and have a drink; we can groove together.

I'll buy.

Original article by Jennifer Locke for Moms & Stories.

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.


I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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