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To my baby—Being your mother will be my greatest privilege

I promise to show you just how loved you are every single day.

To my baby—Being your mother will be my greatest privilege

Dear baby,

I've dreamed of meeting you for so long that the thought of finally gazing into your sweet face and cradling your tiny body in my arms just a few short months from now is incredibly surreal. In that moment, I know my life will never be the same again.


Twelve years ago, when I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with your daddy, you were just the faintest glimmer of hope.

He and I have supported each other through every significant life stage: graduating from college, losing loved ones, building our careers, celebrating our wedding, and traveling the world. (We went on some amazing adventures together, but something tells me, this is our greatest adventure yet.)

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I realize now that each of the incredible highs and devastating lows along this journey has helped prepare us for our ultimate purpose: Becoming your parents.

Eventually, the head-over-heels newlywed stage was replaced with something quieter and far more profound. We fell even deeper in love. With all the countless little everyday moments between us, our vision of you came further and further into focus, with astounding clarity.

When your father and I cooked a meal together while dancing around the kitchen listening to country music, I could imagine you crooning along with us in your highchair.

When I was having a miserable day at work and would find sweet, encouraging notes that he had hidden for me in my bag, I could envision him tucking a similar scrap of paper into your lunchbox, letting you know what a great job you were doing at school.

When your dad awakened me with a kiss on my forehead and indulged my request to stay in bed "just a little longer" even though we had a million things to do, I could picture the exact spot on his chest where you would nestle your sweet-smelling head up against us. (And eventually, when you’re older, you'll come crashing into our room and leap on top of us in a giggling heap.)

When we got that positive test and discovered that our secret wish had been granted, tears welled up in both of our eyes, and we held each other for a very long time. Afterwards, we went to our favorite breakfast place and had blueberry pancakes in honor of you, our little blueberry. We wanted to shout the news from the rooftops. Waiting to tell everyone was the hardest part.

We eventually made your announcement with a miniature onesie declaring your due date, and I thought your grandma was going to pass out, she was so overcome with emotion. We could never have anticipated how you would touch the lives around us before being born.

With each passing week, as you develop and grow, so does my insatiable curiosity about the miracle I am carrying. Every small piece of information offers a clue to a bigger riddle that's begging to be solved.

The way you smiled, sucked your thumb and waved your tiny hands around in quick succession on the flickering black and white screen during the anatomy scan showed that you might have a flair for the dramatic, like your mama.

If cravings are any indication, then you might have a major sweet tooth like your dad.

Your father and I don't want to find out your gender until your arrival because boy or girl, it doesn't matter—we're already smitten with you.

I constantly lose myself in thought wondering what you will be like.

Will you be outgoing or introverted?

Will you be witty or sensitive?

Will you be creative or analytical?

Will you have my lips or your dad's nose?

Will your eyes be hazel like your parents’ or blue like your grandfather and other relatives?

Will you want to play sports or prefer performing arts and reading or math?

Will you be a doctor, teacher, developer, entrepreneur, or some other profession that hasn't even been invented yet?

I look forward to learning the answers to all of those questions and more, discovering the person who you are meant to become.

As my first child, I know that becoming the best possible mama for you will be a gradual process so I might not always know exactly the right thing to say or do, but we will learn together along the way.

I promise to help guide you and give you the tools you need to succeed (whatever your definition of happiness might be).

I promise to give you the strength to stand by your convictions and to chase your dreams.

I promise to comfort you and be your refuge, from your first skinned knee to your first real heartbreak.

I promise to instill the values of kindness and hard work through leading by example.

I promise to show you the beauty and magic this life has to offer.

I promise to show you just how loved you are every single day.

You've somehow already brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined possible. With every fiber of my being, I know that you were meant to be my child. Thank you for giving me the privilege of being your mama.

I can’t wait to welcome you to the world, little one.

Love,

Mom

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall 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 outside-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.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden 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

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective 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

    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

    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

    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

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    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

    Letterboard

    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.

    Mama,

    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

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    Life