15 Gifts Your Wife Wants for Mother's Day

This year, to take a little bit of the pressure off my husband for mother’s day, I decided to put together a list of things that I would enjoy being given for Mother's Day. Husbands, if you're struggling with ideas for what to give your wife, show her this post and ask what her thoughts are. Wives, if your husband is like mine and thinks too big, stressing himself out, share this list with him and maybe even give him an order of preference. The items below are in no particular order for myself, but I'd enjoy receiving any of them, so my husband should be safe!

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Six Ways to Prepare for a New Baby Together

If and when we have a third, I've joked with Joe that I'm doing everything that we need to do during the first month of pregnancy so I have the upper hand no matter when the baby decides to come. But the more I've thought about it, the more I've realized what is actually important to do before our family grows and what can be done later. Decorating the babies nursery would be great, but Emmy turns two this weekend and her room still has nothing on the walls, but she doesn't mind.

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The Importance of Praising Your Spouse in Front of the Kids

The other day I walked into the kitchen where Bensen was sitting at the table with Joe. A few minutes later, Bensen said, "Dad is a big deal!" Then he and Joe gave each other knuckles. I just laughed because Joe being "a big deal" is a running joke in our household and really with anyone who knows Joe. Later I found myself wishing that instead of laughing, I had agreed with Bensen and in that moment said, "Yes, dad is a pretty big deal." Because Joe is a big deal in my eyes, and the most amazing man I've met. I married him after all, didn't I? He had to be something special to become my closest confidant and my partner in life.

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8 Ways to Foster a Good Relationship Between Your Kids and Your Pet

Howie joined our family two years before any kids came along. He was used to a calm, quiet environment where he had the freedom to enjoy life wherever he pleased. These days he shares attention and living space with two little ones who are anything but calm and quiet. As our little family has grown, it has been our goal to build a happy and safe relationship between our kids and our dog. We know that they will all be the best of friends if we do our part to teach them how to interact well with each other while they're still young. Two and a half years into this parenting thing, we've learned a few important lessons for fostering that healthy, happy relationship.

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Advice for Families in the NICU - from People Who Have Been There

September is NICU Awareness Month, a month designed to inspire hope and to honor families who are currently in this situation as well as the health care professionals caring for their little ones. I wanted to do something to give back this year, because our time in the NICU was trial but it was such a huge blessing at the same time. I wanted a way to provide them with support and hopefully make that time just a little bit easier. I asked other parents who have experienced a NICU stay, as well as nurses who work there, to share their story and offer a few pieces of advice.

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Five Tips for Successful Family Date Nights

Earlier this year I put together a list of fun family activities that I hoped to use for family date night at least once a month. We haven't gone through many of our ideas yet, mostly because it's been cold and we've been trying to keep Emmy healthy and warm. Now that the weather is better and we're able to get out more, we've been doing something fun as a family at least once a week. I take the kids on an outing by myself at least once a week as well. No matter what we choose to do for family fun, going out with two young kids is always an adventure.

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Why I Miss Our Time in the NICU

It has been seven months since we left the NICU but I still think about it often. Is it weird to say that I miss that place? How could someone miss having half of your heart at home with the toddler and the other half in the hospital with your tiny little one? Those three weeks were definitely some of the hardest in our lives but also some of the best. I cried more tears during those weeks than I have at any other time in my life, and while some of them were tears of anger, frustration or sadness, quite a few of them were tears of joy.

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Family Date Night is Important Too - Ideas for Family Fun

Just as date night is important for your marriage and one on one time with your children is important for your parenting relationship, regular family time is important too! Spending time together as a family builds memories and strengthens relationships. In addition to making date night a priority, I try to make family time a priority as well.

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How to Keep the Romance Alive Postpartum

I think every parent out there can agree that the six weeks following the birth of your child are some of the most chaotic, exhausting and rewarding weeks of your life. They are also the weeks when it is easy to let your marriage take the backseat because there is so much going on and your priorities are elsewhere. If you don't make effort to keep your relationship going, before you know it, your kids will be grown and gone and you won't know the person that you are married to as anything more than your partner in parenting. For this reason, I believe that those weeks after you add a new little one to your family are some of the most crucial for your marriage.

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All of Our Most Tender Moments

With a new baby and a toddler who is just starting to recognize his own strength, Joe and I can often be heard using the word gentle and its synonyms. Whenever Bensen gets near his sister or gets too rough when he's playing with Howie, we remind him to be gentle and soft. Our lives this past year have been pretty full of crazy, and I've had to take the time to remember to be gentle with myself as well. And throughout all of the chaos, we've worked really hard to enjoy the tender and peaceful moments that come our way.

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Preparing Our Toddler for the New Baby

I was nervous leading up to Emmy's birth because I wasn't sure how he would react to having a sister and not being the center of attention in our home anymore. Change is always going to come with challenges, especially when it disrupts a child's routine and sense of normal. What we did worked for our situation in particular and I hope that at least one or two of these ideas will help your family as well. Luckily, he seems to really love her a lot, she's the first thing he wants to check on when he wakes up and he's always asking to see her. 

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How We're Working Together to Balance Life at Home with Life in the NICU

For me, the hardest part of having a preemie hasn't been the fact that she is in the NICU. The hardest thing for me those first few days was trying to find a good balance between life at home with Bensen, life in the hospital with Emmy, time with Joe and time spent taking care of myself. There were many tears shed and a lot of guilt while I tried to find that perfect schedule that would allow me to take care of each of the most important people in my life. It still takes a lot of planning and intentionality on a day to day basis to make things work, but for now, we've settled into a really good routine that works for everyone based on our current situation.

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The Gift Basket That All New Parents Really Need

Now that I've had the experience of becoming a new parent twice, I've thought a lot about what I want to gift all of my friends as they welcome new additions to their family in the future. I'm always looking for a present that they'll love and that will make the transition to parenthood go more smoothly. Whether you are gifting to a couple who is welcoming their first little one or a couple who has already experienced the new parent thing once or twice, this is a gift basket that any expectant parent will appreciate and enjoy!

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How to Create a More Consistent Toddler Routine

One of my biggest parenting struggles over the past year has been creating a consistent daily routine for Bensen. This was especially difficult while I was in school because his schedule varied on a day to day basis depending on who was caring for him, how late Joe worked and how late I was in class or at my internship. I'm graduated now and we won't be participating in the back to school ritual with everyone else this fall, but it has been my goal over the last few months to create a solid daily routine. This toddler routine is also perfect for those of you who are already planning to get the kids back in the school routine.

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