To my firstborn—thank you for being patient with me as I figure out life with 2 kids

Your yogurt smoothie is questionably balancing on top of your toy truck. It's only a matter of seconds before the whole concoction falls apart and you'll either belly laugh or face plant on the dirty rug in total despair.

My sock is on the mantle, chocolate is smeared all over your chair that I just washed and 9,000 colorful straws are currently decorating the floor. You just recovered from a meltdown because the dog ate the food you gave him (okay, more like shoved at his nose) for the seventh time today.

I stare into space—totally and completely overwhelmed—on the verge of losing it.

You go scurrying through the house, a 2-year-old pantsless ball of energy, as I slowly rock your newborn baby brother. You begin telling me a story, something about snakes, rocket ships, peanut butter sandwiches and lightning—and my mind shifts from the (almost hilarious) mess.

I start to think about how just weeks ago, you and I were two inseparable best friends taking on the world together. We raced, played race cars and made Target runs like it was going out of style.

Then I brought home your baby brother, a tiny and perfect little boy who I was immediately immensely in love with—just as I was you when you were born. But, to you, he's probably more like a screaming alien that just popped into our home and zapped 75% of my attention away from you. And you're still probably trying to figure out why the heck you're supposed to love him.

So I sit and I rock and I let all the guilt creep in as I watch you play alone—something you never used to do. Something you never used to have to do.

Sometimes I feel like all I've said to you lately is, "Hold on, I'm feeding your brother" or "In just a little bit" or "Not right now" or "Maybe later."

These feelings make me feel inadequate—like no matter what I do, I'm neglecting one of you. You see, when your baby brother was born, my heart didn't split in half in order to love you both—it doubled. But my arms, my lap and my time? None of that doubled.

I wish there was a way to clone myself so I could give you each 100% of me all the time.

You crawl in my lap, smothering me, hitting your baby brother in the head with your knee. You both start crying. I breathe in deep and hold you both so close.

Eventually, our day draws to an end, the sun goes down and the world is quiet and dark. I sit in silence feeding your brother, and just like I've always done, I replay our moments together in my mind.

Today might have been long and messy, but it was perfect.

Today I was your "best boy" and when I tried to explain that maybe I could be your "best girl" instead, you cried. So today, I was your best boy.

Today I was your "superhero" and your "best sweetheart."

Today I was your "best friend" and for months now you haven't let 15 minutes go by without making sure I know.

Today, you even told me that I'm your "best pizza." And that's everything.

Today, you loved me in the middle of all the mess—regardless of the lack of attention that I gave you. You loved me when I gave you Goldfish for breakfast, forgot to brush your teeth, made you wait 76 hours for your milk and didn't race around the hall with you like I said I would.

Today, you loved me when I lost my patience, put you to bed at 6:30 pm and failed to take you to the park. Today, just like yesterday, you loved me through my failures as if you didn't even know I'd let you down. Because, to you, maybe I didn't let you down after all. To you, I was still the "best" everything.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your 2-year-old unwavering grace.

And for the record... you're my best pizza, too. Forever.

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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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Because parenthood is challenging, we can sometimes forget how to just be happy in the midst of it all.

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