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Darling, thank you for seeing me as a human, too, not just a mom

All the little things that you do for me, for us.

Darling, thank you for seeing me as a human, too, not just a mom

Looking back now, 11 years later, falling in love was so easy. We were attracted to each other, we were both single, we didn't have many serious responsibilities yet, and we had plenty of time. Time to get to know one another and how to care for each other. Time to adventure together and learn who we were both as a couple and as individuals, too.

We now have seven years of marriage under our belts and six years of parenthood. Every day we're learning how to be a stronger team throughout the curveballs life (and our kids) throw at us.

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(And believe me, there are plenty.)

Like a toddler who could most likely climb to the top of the Empire State Building without ropes, Free Solo style. Or the bed wetting. Or the crib escaping. Or all the childcare puzzle pieces. Or the beauty and pain of watching our kids need us less as they become more independent. Or the daily doses of attitudes, whining fits, and meltdowns—all from three children who we created ourselves.

These curveballs can feel like a lot. Some days are so exhausting, I could fall asleep the second you walk through the door.

And some days are so trying, I could drive off into the sunset the second you walk through the door. (I would come back, I promise.)

These years that we've been raising young children together have felt heavy because they're full. Full of twists and turns, of guilt and exhaustion, of happiness and growth.

They've felt heavy because of the weight. The weight of the worries on our minds, the anxiety in our hearts, the stress on our bodies.

And through it all, I see you, and all the many ways you care for me.

The little things are so huge to me, especially after a long day.

Like making a cup of my favorite tea and delivering it to me on the couch. Bringing home Ben & Jerry's when you can tell my texts are short and so, my fuse might be, too.

Giving me a back rub when I complain about my aches. Watching the movies I pick out over and over again without complaining.

Listening to me vent without looking at your phone or brushing my worries off to move onto something else. Sitting with me when I need to cry. Reassuring me when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.

The mornings that start with you delivering me a cup of coffee in bed before you head to work are the BEST. It may seem like a small act of love, but it feels like a big, giant hug from you. (And I love getting those from you, too.)

You're the sole weekend diaper changer because you're at work during most of the weekday changes. You're the laundry master, the middle-of-the-night potty helper, the toy assembler, the hair washer and consequently, the soap-getter-out-of-the-eyer.

You're my partner, my equal. My spouse and my best friend.

All the little things that you do for me, for us, add up to a huge pile of gratefulness, respect, validation and appreciation.

They show me—like I aim to show you by the way I care for you—that you see me as a human. Not just the mother of your children. Not just the family chef. Not just the breastfeeder. Not just the chauffeur. Not just the magic maker, boo-boo healer, or errand-runner.

You see that woman you fell in love with 11 years ago. The woman I've grown into. The woman I'm aspiring to be; always aiming to better myself. You notice the effort I'm putting in and you look me in the eyes to let me know you're proud.

That's the big stuff. And I'm grateful for that too.

You see me trying to dig out from under all this motherhood and find myself again. Did I get lost? I'm not sure exactly. I mostly think I've just evolved. Am evolving. But I do think I've lost touch with myself a little along the way, and you're always encouraging me to find my way back.

Thank you for the little stuff, the big stuff. The invisible stuff, the grandeur stuff. The simple stuff, the complicated stuff. The stuff that comes easy to you, the stuff that you'd probably rather not do but you do anyway because you love me.

Thank you for being in this with me.

Thank you for staying steady when I'm standing on shaky ground.

And thank you for catching those curveballs when I can't.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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