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My love,

There’s no one who knows me like you do. I’m so grateful for that, yet sometimes it actually works against me. (As we both know.) There’s no getting away with just, “I’m fine” when I’m not or a, “Yep, I’m going to bed in five minutes, see you in there!” when five minutes inevitably turns into two hours.


You know my tricks, you know my secrets, you know every bit of realness there is of me.

You, for better or for worse, “get” me.

During the long, busy days of parenting young children, you understand that coming home and cooking burgers for dinner is the way to my heart. (Bonus points: You know exactly how I like my burger cooked and cook it that way without any criticism for wanting it extra well done.)

You know that Ben & Jerry’s will cure any bad day (Cherry Garcia on a bad day, Salted Caramel Core on a really bad day).

You know that waking me up with a hot cup of hazelnut coffee (with the *right* amount of half and half) is key to a smooth sailing kind of day. (That or just letting me sleep in…)

You know that I get annoyed when you forget to turn the windshield wipers off when we drive into a parking garage on a rainy day. (I mean. It’s not raining in the garage...you don’t need them anymore.)

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You know what brand of wine to get if I’m in the mood for red and that if I’m drinking white or champagne it better be chilled pretty hardcore.

You forgive me for stealing the covers and look the other way when I don’t load the dishes in the dishwasher.

You laugh at me when I obsessively check the locks and alarm system before bed. You don’t even remind me that I checked them once already. You just, as they say, “let it go”.

You can see the switch flip when I get angry or uncomfortable about something and you either laugh at me or, again, “let it go.” (So many valuable lessons from Elsa.)

You know doing five loads of laundry (AND folding them and putting them away) is sexier than *literally* anything else in the world (and that, my friend, will serve you well.)

(You also know I just typed the word ‘literally’ in the Chris Traeger voice from Parks and Rec.)

You know you will lose the “what movie should we watch” discussion every. single. time. And you seem to be okay with that (let me know if you’re not...actually, don’t. I like winning).

You let me write about you and our marriage on the interweb for millions of people to see. (I mean, I don’t see you complaining about me calling you my muse…)

You, quirks and all, “get” me.

You know what I look like when I’m ugly crying or throwing up or have dark circles the size of outer space. And you still love me.

You know which specific pair of your sweatpants I love the most and you (mostly) respect that and never wear them.

You know that if I ever met Paul Rudd or Idris Elba, I’m allowed to ask either of them for a kiss on the lips. And I’m pretty sure you know I really would. ?

You typically let things slide when you know you’ve pushed my buttons too far and you walk away (wise decision).

You know that if we’ve run out of plain seltzer, my backup is grapefruit flavor. (Or if I’m desperate, lime.)

You know my look when I’m too tired to deal with life, when I’m at my limit, when I need a laugh.

You know my love language is carbs, cheese and anything Beyoncé.

You know the behind-the-scenes of each Instagram photo that makes its way to my feed.

You know that loud chewing makes my head feel like it's going to propel off of my body. You know I’m 5’11” even when you say I’m 6 feet. And you know I need medicine, cold cloths and the elusive mixture of complete darkness and silence when a migraine strikes.

This season of raising little kids is hard. But the fact that you know me like the back of your hand makes things easier. In the overwhelm of motherhood, the fact that you “get” me brings me comfort, security, and makes me feel loved—deeply, deeply loved.

And even on those wild days when I desperately need that pint of ice cream, I desperately need you, too.

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There are certain moments of parenthood that stay with us forever. The ones that feel a little extra special than the rest. The ones that we always remember, even as time moves forward.

The first day of school will always be one of the most powerful of these experiences.

I love thinking back to my own excitement going through it as a child—the smell of the changing seasons, how excited I was about the new trendy outfit I picked out. And now, I get the joy of watching my children go through the same right of passage.

Keep the memory of this time close with these 10 pictures that you must take on the first day of school so you can remember it forever, mama:

1. Getting on the school bus.

Is there anything more iconic than a school bus when it comes to the first day of school? If your little one is taking the bus, snap a photo of them posed in front of the school bus, walking onto it for the first time, or waving at you through the window as they head off to new adventure.

2. Their feet (and new shoes!)

Getting a new pair of shoes is the quintessential task to prepare for a new school year. These are the shoes that will support them as they learn, play and thrive. Capture the sentimental power of this milestone by taking photos of their shoes. You can get a closeup of your child's feet, or even show them standing next to their previous years of first-day-of-school shoes to show just how much they've grown. If you have multiple children, don't forget to get group shoe photos as well!

3. Posing with their backpack.

Backpacks are a matter of pride for kids so be sure to commemorate the one your child has chosen for the year. Want to get creative? Snap a picture of the backpack leaning against the front door, and then on your child's back as they head out the door.

4. Standing next to a tree or your front door.

Find a place where you can consistently take a photo year after year—a tree, your front door, the school signage—and showcase how much your child is growing by documenting the change each September.

5. Holding a 'first day of school' sign.

Add words to your photo by having your child pose with or next to a sign. Whether it's a creative DIY masterpiece or a simple printout you find online that details their favorites from that year, the beautiful sentiment will be remembered for a lifetime.

6. With their graduating class shirt.

When your child starts school, get a custom-designed shirt with the year your child will graduate high school, or design one yourself with fabric paint (in an 18-year-old size). Have them wear the shirt each year so you can watch them grow into it—and themselves!

Pro tip: Choose a simple color scheme and design that would be easy to recreate if necessary—if your child ends up skipping or repeating a year of school and their graduation date shifts, you can have a new shirt made that can be easily swapped for the original.

7. Post with sidewalk chalk.

Sidewalk chalk never goes out of style and has such a nostalgic quality to it. Let your child draw or write something that represents the start of school, like the date or their teacher, and then have them pose next to (or on top of) their work.

8. In their classroom.

From first letters learned to complicated math concepts mastered, your child's classroom is where the real magic of school happens. Take a few pictures of the space where they'll be spending their time. They will love remembering what everything looked like on the first day, from the decorations on the wall to your child's cubby, locker or desk.

9. With their teacher.

If classrooms are where the magic happens, teachers are the magicians. We wish we remembered every single teach we had, but the truth is that over time, memories fade. Be sure to snap a photo of your child posing with their teacher on the first day of school.

10. With you!

We spend so much time thinking about our children's experience on the first day of school, we forget about the people who have done so much to get them there—us! This is a really big day for you too, mama, so get in that photo! You and your child will treasure it forever.

This article is sponsored by Rack Room Shoes. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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When I was pregnant with my fourth child, my husband and I decided to shell out for a swing set in our backyard. Why? We knew with a new baby, packing up four kids and heading to the park on a daily basis would simply not be feasible. Don't get me wrong, I love a playground. But when you've got multiple kids running in every direction and a toddler refusing to only climb up a slide that big kids are careening down—well, let's just say that the park can go from super fun to incredibly stressful real fast.

Having a play set right in our backyard means that when the baby is napping, my "big" kids can get off their screens and head outside to swing their hearts out or play pirates under the canopy. And I can be inside cooking dinner or folding laundry or answering work emails while they get allllll their energy out. The swing set was one of the best investments we've ever made… and we paid a lot for ours.

Which is why my jaw dropped when I saw that KidKraft is offering its Ainsley Wooden Swing Set right now for just $269 at Walmart today. (FYI: It's a hundred dollar more on Amazon.)

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What does it comes with? Two swings, a high-rail wavy slide, a rock-climbing wall, an upper level "clubhouse" (the perfect spot for summer morning snacks or kids-only meetings), a chalkboard and a sandbox. Yup, that equates to roughly 100,000 hours of kids entertaining themselves over the next year alone. For less than $270.

If you're worried about quality, don't be. I've seen the KidKraft product in person and they're legit—big, beautiful and made of super-sturdy cedar lumber. Really I'm just here to tell ya that this is a purchase you'll never regret, regardless of how many kiddos you've got at home. Your summer (and your backyard) is about to be lit!

KidKraft Ainsley Wooden Swing Set

Sale price: $269

Original price: $399

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Many new parents receive the confusing news that their newborn baby has a tongue-tie. It means the skin attaching their tongues to the bottom of their mouths is longer than normal. And while this condition can cause complications from infancy on, a new study shows that not all newborns need to get surgery to correct it.

The condition is known as ankyloglossia, which occurs in 4-10% of people, usually looks like nothing but an extra strip of skin under the tongue. But because that skin (called the lingual frenulum) acts like a taut rubber band restricting movement, babies with a tongue-tie often have difficulty forming a good latch to nurse. This can mean they don't get enough milk, so they have to nurse for longer. Meanwhile, they're causing their mother a whole lot of pain because their latch is shallower and mostly clamping down on the tip of the nipple.

I speak from experience here: When my son had a tongue-tie, it felt like I was feeding an angry piranha. He was definitely not getting enough to eat, and my milk supply was steadily decreasing.

But this new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery suggests that not all babies diagnosed with ankyloglossia need to undergo a frenotomy—a simple procedure in which a doctor snips the skin with a pair of surgical scissors.

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Infants don't usually need anesthesia, because this tissue doesn't have many nerve endings or blood vessels. Their mother is asked to breastfeed them immediately after the snip, to get the tongue moving properly and reduce the chance of the skin growing back. According to the Mayo Clinic, complications from frenotomies include bleeding, infection and damage to the tongue or salivary glands, but they are rare.

What's not rare is the number of patients getting frenotomies: Referrals for the procedure in the U.S. went up tenfold, from 1,200 in 1997 to 12,400 in 2012.

"We have seen the number of tongue-tie and upper lip tether release surgeries increase dramatically nationwide without any real strong evidence that shows they are effective for breastfeeding," study co-author Christopher J. Hartnick, MD MS, of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, said in a press release.

The researchers looked at 115 infants (between 19-56 days old) who were referred for a frenotomy. Instead of sending them straight into surgery, the babies and their parents met with a pediatric speech-language pathologist for a feeding evaluation. These specialists observed the babies breastfeeding and gave parents feedback and tips to overcome any challenges they were experiencing. After this, 72 (62.6%) patients did not have the frenotomy after all, while 10 (8.7%) had a labial frenotomy (releasing extra tissue from the lips) and 32 (27.8%) had both a labial and lingual frenotomy.

"We don't have a crystal ball that can tell us which infants might benefit most from the surgeries, but this preliminary study provides concrete evidence that this pathway of a multidisciplinary feeding evaluation is helping prevent babies from getting this procedure," Hartnick said.

For now, parents' best bet is to consult more than one specialist to identify the best plan of action. In addition to lactation consultants, children with tongue-ties might need to see speech pathologists later. In some cases, the frenulum loosens over time. In others, they might wind up needing the procedure after all.

Anecdotally, I'll add that I visited with lactation consultants and my son's pediatrician more than once before deciding he should have a frenotomy. It was no fun for me (who wants a strange man sticking scissors in their baby's mouth?), but my kid was fine. It didn't solve all our problems, but feeding was much less painful immediately afterward.

The bottom line here seems to be that not everyone needs to rush into a procedure just because it's easy. Our kiddos deserve more than a one-size-fits-all approach to their health.

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Nearly three weeks after the premature birth of her son, Danielle Fishel delivered the good news to her followers that baby Adler Karp is doing better. The little guy was born four weeks early with excess fluid in his lungs, and it's clear that his parents have been through a trying time since then.

"We're still in the hospital but Adler is getting better and stronger every day," the Girl Meets World actress wrote on Instagram Friday. "@jensenkarp and I keep reminding ourselves that we are extremely lucky — Adler *will* eventually come home with us — and therefore this is nothing but an enormous test of our patience and willingness to relinquish control. Two things I have never been plentiful in but are absolutely necessary in parenthood!"

Just before Adler was born on June 24, an ultrasound revealed the issue with his lungs. Fishel said the doctors didn't know what had caused this condition at the time. Despite the fear and worry they must have been experiencing, both Fishel and husband Jensen Karp have repeatedly thanked their medical providers for their skill and care.

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"He is also receiving the best possible care from the most loving, warm, kind, intelligent nurses and doctors the world has ever known! Literal angels," Fishel said of them. She also thanked her fans for providing messages of support and prayers for Adler's health, adding, "They have comforted us and been such an inspiration when we've felt down."

Ending on a lighter note, Fishel referred to the adorable outfit Adler is wearing in her pic: "Now, I must get back to dressing our baby in all my favorite restaurant onesies," she wrote.

The "I [Heart] Pasta" shirt is from Olive Garden — Fishel even tagged the restaurant in her post. Back in April, the restaurant chain commissioned sneaker artist Mache to customize matching Olive Garden shoes for Fishel, Karp, and baby Adler.

We look forward to pics of him a year from now enjoying his first messy spaghetti meal!

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There's no way around it—back-to-school shopping is inevitable. If you're anything like us, you put it off all summer and the next thing you know, you're racing against the clock trying to find the best deals for classroom necessities. But, we think you should be kind to yourself and stock up on the best items for kids today and tomorrow on Amazon.

And when you're done, we won't judge if you brag to your friends that you finished back-to-school shopping in July. 😉

Here's what we're buying today:

1. Crayola 60th Anniversary 64 Count Crayon Set with Collectible Tin, $7.14 (35% off)

crayola anniversary box

If your kid is creative, chances are they're begging to get a new set of crayons. To make this deal even sweeter, reuse the keepsake container to store toys and other small items.

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2. YUMBOX Original Bento Lunchbox Container, $23.99 ($6 off)

No foods touch! Plus, perfectly portioned sections to make lunchtime easier than ever.

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3. Kidkraft Heart Table and Chair Set, $78.04 (34% off)

kidkraft table and chairs for kids

Nothing says back-to-school louder than a new table and chair set.

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4. Skip Hop Toddler Backpack, $16.00 (20% off)

skip hop backpack

With more than 1,200 five-star reviews, your toddler is sure to love toting this around.

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5. Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cups, $9.03 (30% off)

munchin sippy cups

These cups are perfect for tiny, clumsy hands.

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6. HP DeskJet 2622 All-in-One Compact Printer, $19.00 (68% off)

affordable printer

Kid ready for their first printer? You won't be disappointed with this all-in-one compact printer—and you can't beat the price!

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7. GFU Seersucker Backpack Kindergarten Toddler Backpack, $16.59 (20% off)

backpack for kids

There are all sorts of adorable book bags on the market these days, but we love that the numerous side pockets and compartments in this bag ensures nothing gets left behind.

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8. Crayola Pip Squeaks Kids' Marker Collection, Washable Mini Markers, $12.38 (44% off)

crayola pip squeak marker

Speaking of leaving things behind, we love that the case for this marker collection is uber-colorful and easy to find.

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9. Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet + Lion King Headphones, $74.98 (38% off)

fire kids tablet

This two-for-one is a must-have for for birthdays that roll around in summer months.

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10. Jialeey Plastic Kids Design Safety Art Scissors, $4.95 (20% off)

kids safety scissors

Scissors are oldies but goodies, and so necessary for daycare and school. Keep your little one ahead of the class with these brightly colored cutters.

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11. Thermos Funtainer 10 Ounce Food Jar, $10.88 (27% off)

thermos for kids

Keep foods hot, cold, and stylish in this large thermos.

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12. Firesara Original Owl Pencil Grips, $7.99 (20% off)

pencil grips for kids

These little guys are great for helping little ones have better control when writing and drawing. We also like that, unlike other grips, these so, so colorful.

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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