Before you start kindergarten—here's what I want you to know, baby

Some days will be full of wonder. Some days will be hard. Let the good days fuel your passion for learning but don't let the tough ones take the fun out of it.

Before you start kindergarten—here's what I want you to know, baby

Hey baby,

I know you're busy playing but can you crawl up here on mama's lap for a few minutes so we can talk?

When did you get so big? Not that long ago you were struggling to find steps but this morning you got dressed all by yourself. I beamed as you walked out of your room with a perfectly paired outfit; so proud but secretly relieved to see you struggle with the buttons on your shirt. Did you leave them for me?

Kindergarten starts in a few weeks and to be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it. You're ready. I'm ready. But it feels as though I'll start the motherhood learning curve all over again, with so much to figure out in this new season of life. Be patient with me, baby.

It may take me a while to get used to our new normal but I wouldn't dare keep you from spreading your wings so I'm determined to let go with grace and confidence.

Before I watch you launch into this new season of life and let go of all we've known for the past five years, there's a few things I want you to know.

I will miss our quiet days together.

Just you and me. Reading, playing, even running errands. Those normal, uneventful moments chatting over goldfish and puzzles have made up some of my most favorite days as a mom.

Even though you'll be in kindergarten, I promise to find time we can be together with no big plans or expectations. No schedules or homework. Just you and me, your favorite toys and a bowl of yummy, cheesy fish.

This new adventure may be scary but I know we’ll grow through it.

Change is hard, even when it's exciting. Kindergarten will be a big adjustment for both of us. But if we are patient with each other and we talk about the ups and downs, I know we'll be better for having taken the leap into the great unknown.

Our great big world needs YOU and you are ready to make your mark on it.

You, my sweet child, have wonderfully unique gifts that the world needs. Some of those gifts I've had the privilege of uncovering with you at home and there will be more to come as you enter a beautifully diverse community of teachers, students and knowledge. Don't forget who you are but don't be afraid to grow.

Some days will be full of wonder. Some days will be hard. Let the good days fuel your passion for learning but don’t let the tough ones take the fun out of it.

Kindergarten is going to be so much fun. But it's also going to be hard at times. The more your brain is challenged and your norm is stretched, the more uncomfortable you may feel. Even hard things can be fun if we accept the challenge with a good attitude. I'm here to help you face each one with joy.

You have the opportunity to share love every day.

Pay attention to those who need it most. You are a light, my love. Shine brightly every single day. Look for teachers and friends who need the gift you have to give and share it generously.

Being a part of a learning community is a privilege. Be thankful for your education.

Complaining doesn't help us through hard things. But thanksgiving turns even the toughest situations around. I promise to remain thankful and to help you find the good in every situation.

No matter what happens out there, home will always be your safe place.

When you walk through our door at the end of the day, I will be waiting with arms open wide. Home is your safe place. I am your safe place. No matter what you encounter on any given day, it's going to be okay because you are loved.

It's just about time. We're standing at the edge of all we've ever known and you're almost ready to spread those wings and soar into your future. Nothing will ever be the same, except for the love I have for you. May it carry and sustain you through this great adventure.


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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.


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.


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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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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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