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Love is sweatpants and take-out on the couch, actually

Love isn’t always in the big moments. Most often, it’s in those small, in-between moments.  

Love is sweatpants and take-out on the couch, actually

When my husband and I first started dating, I was one of those hopeless romantic types. You know, the kind that grew up watching Disney movies and rom-coms. Prince Charming, happily ever after, adorable meet-cutes, gigantic, suspenseful, highly emotional grand gestures, perfect lines in the perfect moment, so on, so forth, et cetera.


Ah, that warm fuzzy feeling.

That whole, “oh-my-gosh-that-perfect-guy-is-so-perfect!”. That sense of hope that one day, you might have someone bulldoze through crowds of people at a busy international airport to stop you from getting on that plane so that he can perform a heartbreakingly beautiful soliloquy about why you two belong together. Sigh.

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I still watch rom-coms. And dang, I still love ’em.

But, to be honest, my husband and I rarely do big, romantic gestures. And I used to hold that against him.

I’m going to go ahead and put all my cards on the table with this confession: despite this mutual agreement, I used to get all passive-aggressive at my husband dearest about it. For instance, a holiday like Valentine’s Day would come and go, and we wouldn’t do anything because “we” didn’t believe in it. I’d still feel a little shortchanged. I mean, come on. Poor guy. How’s that for unfair?!

I used to be all about the grand gestures.

The big demonstrations of love. The utterly romantic, perfectly crafted moments that take your breath away.

It’s funny though, because after almost ten years, and two kids, later, I’ve come to see love and romance in a whole different light.

Grand gestures and flowers and chocolates are all well and good, but I’ve recently made a commitment to look out for the little things that happen on a daily basis which show me just what love is.

And when you start looking for these little things—you’ll see love in them. They’re everywhere. Just try it.

Love is in that extra hour of sleep you didn’t even realize he gave you until you woke up feeling that little bit more human.

Love is in that secret look and the stifled laughter you exchange with each other when your toddler says or does something hilarious and maybe borderline inappropriate.

Love is in the fresh bottle of cold water that magically appears by your bedside lamp every night, because he knows you get thirsty when you get up to nurse the baby every two hours.

Love is in the realization that it’s been an entire week and you haven’t washed a single dish because he has just taken care of it.

Love is in putting away the laundry your significant other spent time folding, because you know that folding laundry is no easy feat when you have an assistant that’s under three feet tall and considers “folding” to be synonymous with “throwing.”

Love is in that moment when you’re in separate rooms trying to get the kids to sleep, and you unexpectedly get butterflies in your stomach because you’re excited that you get to hang out with your best friend soon. It’s in that conversation on the couch in your sweatpants eating Pad Thai out of a box while you exchange stories about things your children did and replay videos of them being adorable even though they’ve only been asleep for five minutes.

Love is in those times you irritate each other, and then you realize that being annoyed at each other is really no fun and you miss your buddy, so you suck it up and say you’re sorry.

Love is in the empathy he shows when you both know full well that, in this particular instance, you really are just being hormonal and maybe, possibly, mildly irrational.

Love is in the effect of that text message he sends telling you he’s coming home early.

Love is in the realization that actually, you’re just as excited as your toddler to see him walk through that door at the end of each day. And not just because it means now there are more adults on duty to tackle the troops, but because your person is here and he makes you happy.

Love is in his acceptance of your obsessive hygiene standards, and when he uses your designated kitchen sponges in line with The System without making a fuss.

Love is in that moment when you’re trying to put your child to sleep, and just can’t anymore, and he comes in and takes over the bouncing, the shushing, the comforting. And you sit on the edge of the bed and just watch him love your baby.

Love isn’t always in the big moments.

In fact, more often than not, it’s in those numerous, seemingly inconsequential, in-between moments that punctuate your day. The moments that are prone to pass you by without you noticing them, because you’re too busy waiting for the string instruments to start playing and the fireworks to shoot into the sky.

So take stock of the moments in your day.

I guarantee you’ll be surprised at the number of things you’ll discover are actually the ways in which you both have been showing each other your love. That love has actually become so ingrained in your life together that it infuses so many of your daily actions and decisions. Things you do that you think are no big deal, but when examined closely, stem from your love for each other.

I’d take that over flowers and chocolates any day.


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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

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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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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