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This is my vow to you, my love—I promise to always be in it with you

Out of all this world, you have been chosen for me. Out of all the hustle, the daily tasks, the long nights, full days, teething toddlers, burned meals, impatient words and life's concerns, I still choose you.

This is my vow to you, my love—I promise to always be in it with you

[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

I was almost shaking with excitement. Heart beating, deep breathing, butterflies ready to flutter and soar in the very deepest part of my soul.

And there, after watching every one of our friends and family walk the way before us, there you stood— steadfast and calm, with your smile bursting from the corners of your lips and that twinkle in your eye that you get right before you do something crazy.

That one moment will forever stand out in my mind.

That very moment defined our wedding day. It wasn't the kiss, or even the "I do"—it was you and me, our eyes locked together, and every promise, every trust and every hope in the very breath held within our lungs at that moment.

Fast forward to today and I sit here next to you, both in our pajamas, eating late-night snacks in bed while you watch British comedy shows on your phone and I write.

There aren't always butterflies, and time has certainly changed both of us. But I still believe in the man who stood at the end of the aisle, steadfast and calm with a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his eye.

I've watched you grow into a father, watched you learn to find your way more as a man, to balance the weight of the responsibilities with your big dreamer heart. I've watched you celebrate the majesty of the wild, backwoods country and take on a love for ancient things, untouched by the complications of modern humanity.

You know me in a way that is beyond frustrating at times.

You push and challenge me to grow deeper when I would rather stay comfortable. Yet your patience is truly unending and you know how to reassure my heart with a gentle sway to the music in our kitchen while the baby sleeps and the dishes fill the sink and the ever growing pile of to-do's sit on the counter waiting for us to return.

The daily life of a married couple with a toddler is hard sometimes. The days are full + the nights lack sleep. Living out these daily vows can easily become nice ideals rather than steadfast pillars.

I know I need to be more patient, more encouraging and kinder some days. I know I need to remember that you are always my partner, even when I can't see you because our days fill up with various commitment that keep us moving but often apart.

I know that little gestures of love, thoughtfulness and appreciation go a long way. But if we are being truthful, some days I am just tired.

Some days the hustle of being a mother leaves me too empty to pour the lavish affection of a wife upon her husband. Some days all you get is a thrown-together midnight quesadilla or a midday text of "I love you" to remind us both of "I love you" when the journey is long.

Some days I am swarmed by the grasp of chubby toddler hands and when evening comes I unconsciously wiggle free of my lover's tender embrace, completely touched out. Needing space, needing to breathe.

Yet it was the beat of our hearts and the breath of our lungs between each word that wove each vow into the pledging symphony that brought our marriage and our family into being. A sacred promise to stay side by side in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, in good times and bad.

Out of all this world, you have been chosen for me. Out of all the hustle, the daily tasks, the long nights, full days, teething toddlers, burned meals, impatient words and life's concerns, I still choose you.

Love is a choice: a daily choice in every moment, in every breath, in every space of my heart. And I choose you.

Dear husband: You are chosen, you are wanted, you are needed in every breath of my womanhood, my mothering, my career and my dreams. I need you and you need me; ours is a partnership based on teamwork, mutual respect and an undying love for the wildness and majesty of life.

I promise to love you without reservation,

comfort you in times of distress,

encourage you to achieve higher goals,

laugh with you and cry with you,

grow with you in mind and spirit,

always be open and honest with you,

and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

A version of this article was originally published on The Village.

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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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