Feeling cooped up and need to get the kids out of the house, but exhausted all your outing ideas? The simplest places sometimes hold the greatest wonder for little ones, and a backyard might be the only thing you need for your next adventure. Here are 15 places your toddler will be thrilled to explore—and none of them require tickets or a suitcase.
Midwest born and raised, preacher’s kid, escapee of fundamentalism but lover of God and good, Kelle Hampton is today a wife, mother to three and step-mother to two. Residing in Naples, Florida with a bit of her heart still in Michigan, she is a writer, photographer, speaker and celebrant of life’s large little things. Her heartfelt blog post relating to the birth of her daughter Nella and her surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome led to the writing of Bloom, a New York Times best-selling memoir.
Kelle has contributed to Parents, Parenting, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, Good Housekeeping and NPR’s All Things Considered. She shares photography and weekly journals about life and motherhood on her blog Enjoying the Small Things
If there ever was a kryptonite to the peace of motherhood, it would be Things to Do. The mind tally of so many projects and our miraculous ability to subconsciously remember them all usurps our patience, weakens our enthusiasm and distracts our ability to be present.
Let’s face it. There are some crazy adorable styles out there for little tykes, and miniature fashion has a way of wooing mama shoppers. Stretch your dollar with these complete hip baby looks for spring and summer, each offering a number of current styles while keeping your tab below $50.
It wasn’t until two years after my second baby that I found a practical quality stroller that really worked for us. I didn’t know what to look for before having kids and bought our original stroller based only on the most important criteria—price range (reasonable) and how many cool people I saw pushing it (ridiculous). A couple years later, I did a photography trade for a fancy-shmancy stroller upgrade but still didn’t find it practical for our needs. Oddly enough, the stroller on which I relied the most ended up being a pink $20 umbrella stroller we bought for travel backup—a light-weight junky little thing that fit nicely in the trunk of our car and garnered a collection of jibes from friends. Pink Panther and Crap on Wheels is, I recall, how it was referenced. When it came time for a three-week family road trip two years ago, we packed our pink Crap on Wheels between suitcases and coolers, hoping it would suffice for the trip.
At the halfway point, we landed in the heart of Chicago—also known as Land of the Cadillac Stroller. Trekking along State Street, surrounded by city fashion, I watched my husband guide our rickety stroller—its cheap stained canvas sinking from the weight of a kid plus baggage—between other moms’ Bugaboos and Orbits—strollers that rolled where you wanted them to go without straining your wrist, strollers that had baskets to hold purses and bags, strollers that reclined for sleeping children instead of containing them to neck-straining huddles, strollers that didn’t look like they had been rescued from a street alley dumpster.
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day, internationally recognized as a day to celebrate individuals with three copies of the 21st chromosome. There are more than 400,000 individuals with Down syndrome in the United States alone, and their families celebrate this day and continue to make efforts to make the world a more accepting place for individuals with special needs. Joining that celebration, here are 10 things parents have learned through raising a child with Down syndrome.
Is it “siblings who play together stay together”? Well, maybe, but close sibling relationships rely on far more than just playing together. Brothers and sisters are immeasurable gifts. So, how do we start fostering close sibling relationships from day one? Here are 18 tips to encourage your kids to stick together.
Parenting needs its own glossary. We’re constantly developing new phrases in our home, prompted by baby-related situations that beg for their own dictionary entries. Do you relate to any of these situations? Feel free to borrow our vocabulary if you do.
Parenting is Hard.
You can cross-stitch it on a pillow, stencil it in swirly letters on a plaque, print it on a yellow t-shirt with a unicorn logo, but the truth still remains: parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have.
It’s also the most rewarding, beautiful, soul-twisting, hilarious, feel-good job you’ll ever have, and that truth itself makes the hard part so much better. Another way of dealing with the low points in parenting is recognizing what our greatest challenges are and having some stand-by tools for facing those challenges. While there are numerous times in raising my children where I simply feel, “I don’t know how to deal with this,” I also have trustworthy go-to strategies that help me trudge through the trenches and a few mantras I repeat to ease my stresses.
My hardest parenting challenges land in six different areas, and thankfully there’s a community of moms around me from which I’ve gathered inspiration to face these challenges.
In the far left corner of my daughter Nella’s brilliant smile is a silver tooth—a shiny little nugget that only appears when she tips her head at the right angle with her widest smile. I’d like to say that little tooth only cost us $10.95—eBay’s going rate for a silver cap (yes, I checked)—but unfortunately we paid upward, the most significant hit—a nice dose of parental guilt. When you take your three-year-old to the dentist and are told she needs a root canal, you feel the clarity of what you’ve suspected many times before: We. Are. Horrible. Parents.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then parenting’s worth a million “I love yous.” While it can be challenging to think of different ways to let our friends and family know we love them, babies are pretty easy to please. Here are sixteen simple ways to say “I love you” to your baby today.