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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.)

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

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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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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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Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

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