Menu

Gifts Galore

Kaity and Jessica reveal what’s under wraps for their inner circle (earmuffs, Scott and Andrew!).

Gifts Galore

Sometimes the best parts of the holidays are the gift-giving rather than the gift-getting. Come on, there’s only so many ways to put on your surprised face when grandma gives you yet another checkbook holder. But when you get good at faking surprised faces, you get good at spotting the fakers too. That’s why we brainstorm all year long to make sure that every holiday gift we give is met with genuine happiness. Because really, she who gives the best gift wins. In life. Right? So now the big reveal -- spoiler alert for our friends and families, stop reading now! -- of a year’s worth of hard work. Here’s what our friends will be unwrapping come Christmas Day. JESSICA'S GIFTS The Toddler: Libby My big girl will be starting her first ballet class in January, so we’ve just started collecting tutus. I know she’ll love Chalk NYC’s modern take on this classic piece ($268), whether she’s dancing or pouring tea from her newest Maileg Cloth Tea Set ($110). The Baby: Elsie My little one just graduated from rompers into two-piece pajamas. I can’t wait to see her adorable rolls peaking out from these super-soft Skylar Luna PJs ($39) while she balances on this futuristic Spherovelo Ride-On ($100). The Husband: Andrew The man that keeps me fed (and in gourmet style at that!), deserves a hand-crafted Prospect 240 utility knife ($575) from Joel Bukiewicz’s Gowanus studio, Cut Brooklyn. The Pregnant Best Friend: Courtney Since she’s already had one baby, she knows those cozy Aden + Anais muslin swaddles can’t be beat. This time around, she’ll love nodding off with this Daydream Blanket ($125), a mama-sized version just as comfy as baby’s. The Nanny: May For the woman that braves the cold NYC streets with my girls in tow, I’ve picked out the coziest Christopher Fischer scarf ($184). And I’ll send her home with a 4 and 20 Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie ($38) to enjoy in the peace and quiet of her own home. The Mom: Thea My mom never shied away from statement pieces -- my childhood living room had an authentic carousel rabbit standing just feet away from a mannequin sporting Mom’s vintage wedding dress. This United Bamboo cat pillow ($58) seems cut from the same -- albeit smaller - cloth. The Partner: Kaity If there’s anyone that can appreciate an amazing Shabd tie-dyed tunic ($330) more than me, it’s my partner in crime at Well Rounded NY. A girl can dream, right? KAITY'S GIFTS The Fiancé: Scott This year Scott and I decided to go treat ourselves to a fancy dinner and drinks in lieu of presents. But I might have to sneak this David Byrne ($24.49) book under the tree for my music obsessed babe. It's been sold out forever! The Toddler: Oliver Time and time again I hear friends say "I don't force *insert gender neutral toys* on him/her it's just in his/her DNA" and it's true here too, sister. My boy loves anything with wheels (even pink strollers). And after seeing his little face pressed up against the glass at the Holiday Train show this weekend at Grand Central Station we realized that it's time he had his first train set ($29.99). The thing is he also loves hanging out in the kitchen too. So this Hape Gourmet Kitchen set ($19.21) is a must too. The Mom: Alba My mom has some seriously awesome taste (not just for a mom), so I love digging into her closet. This Kate Spade Saturdays sweater ($150) will look perfect on me. I mean her. The Babysitter: Danielle I'm lucky that my babysitter is my niece. I want to give her something that is comfy -- since she's running back and forth between nanny'ing gigs and campus -- and cute like these Vans leopard authentics ($55). The Pregger BFF: Julia For as long as I've know her (17 years) Julia's been obsessed with her hair so this is the perfect place to start making her clean up her skincare act. This Nine Naturals shampoo and conditioner ($20) will do the trick. Oh, and her belly too with the new Honest co. Belly Butter ($15). I don't want anything bad near that baby! The Partner: Jess Man, I love tie dye. But you know who reeeaallly loves tie-dye? My partner right here. I guess that's why we're such a good match. Hippie chicks at heart. I know Jess would rock the hell out of this Night Moon Mini Duffel ($135) on Of a Kind.

FEATURED VIDEO

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

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

Shop

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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

Life

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?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play