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They were someone’s baby

As a mama, I watch reports about Las Vegas with a new kind of empathy for the families who had loved ones stolen.

They were someone’s baby

My eyes were barely open as I groggily checked my phone:


NEWS ALERT: A Las Vegas shooting that has killed at least 50 is the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Here’s what we know so far...

It was too early in the morning for my heart to be shattered into a million pieces. Yet, there I was with my mind immediately rushing to those 50—a number that has since risen to at least 59.

Fifty? Fifty what? Fifty who?

It’s a shame the word was left unsaid in that brief news alert: Those are 50 people. 50 people who were once babies rocked to sleep by their mamas. Perhaps many of them have even sung lullabies to babies of their own.

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Fifty people with an infinite more connected to them.

You see, it’s the burden of a parent to see the world in this way. I got a quick lesson in that: On the day after my first child’s birth, as I cradled him in the hospital and felt like heaven had never been closer to earth, the news of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris broke.

A newly minted mama, I watched and listened to the reports with a new perspective; a new kind of empathy for the families who had their loved ones stolen from them.

Two weeks later, the violence came closer to home: Just miles away from where my baby was sleeping, a gunman killed three and injured nine during a standoff with police at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

My heart shattered even more; fear made me question the safety of the world my son would know.

Since then, grief has overcome me many—far too many—times as I’ve heard of more victims of senseless violence. More grown-up babies who were loved as fiercely as I love my innocent, beautiful child.

But then, a new day dawns, and the narrative seems to shift.

We hear the names and stories of the people killed; people who made differences in their lives, whether on a large-scale or within their own families.

We hear stories of bravery; of people heroically protecting strangers, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.

We hear stories of the helpers; off-duty emergency workers who rushed to the scenes, medical professionals who worked around the clock, civilians who waited in line for hours to donate blood.

Listening to this, my mama heart starts to mend itself back together. This is because I know these are the people we have the power to raise.

For now, they may be babies who know nothing of this violence. Soon enough, it will be hard to shield them from its reality. But it is also more than possible to empower them with love, compassion and relentless levels of kindness that will make them forces of good who can counteract—perhaps even overcome—the hatred out there.

On this day, the victims aren’t just in my thoughts; they are in my actions. I’ll donate where I can, write lawmakers and, most importantly, find fresh motivation for the task that is motherhood.

That’s because my role as a parent isn’t solely to be The Changer of Diapers and Provider of Food, but to think about the person I am fostering who will later go into this world.

As a mama, my heart is still broken when I think about Las Vegas. It remains hard to find comfort in the wake of what’s already occurred.

But, as a mama, it is easier to find hope for the future.

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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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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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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