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Jumping on the NatureBox Train

2014 April 10
by Katie

DISCLAIMER: NatureBox sponsored this post.  All statements are true.  Especially the one about me being able to read minds.   

This week marks four years.

Over 1400 days with one of the most special people I have ever met.  He’s sweet and funny and serious and silly and everything I never knew that I always wanted.  My Will.  My firstborn.  My little Baby.

And for his fourth birthday, we wanted to do something really special that HE picked.

We asked him…to which he said that he wanted to eat cupcakes.  And drink orange soda.  Ten minutes of clarifying later, we decided that he had no idea what we were asking and that we should just ask him simply if he wanted to go on a train ride.  He of course said yes very emphatically. (there was shrieking)  We knew that would happen because he asks to go on a train ride pretty much every other day…and because we have that special Parent Mindreading ability.  The good news is that Stone Mountain is nearby and has a five mile train ride.

We love these type of activities…family fun days filled with local attractions.

Weston came along for the ride…ya know…because he’s a little too short to drive the train just yet.

Despite his face…it was really fun.  He was in take-it-all-in mode.  This might be one of my favorite photos of him for this year…absorbing the ride, the scene, the sounds and speed and everything in between.

It was going well…the pointing…the oohs and awwws…LJ wasn’t crying or pooping…my boobs weren’t exploding #postpartumproblems

The boys started asking for treats so I grabbed the snack bags I had jammed in my purse.  The responsible mom in me likes offering more than fruit snacks or Cheez-Its.  I like having fun and creative (and nutritious) options for them…to expand their snacking horizons and to cut off the impending toddler/preschool breakdown before it begins.

So I pulled out a bag of our favorites.  The greatest thing about these snacks is that they are from NatureBox…a subscription snack service.  Ya know those expensive snacks that are like $5 for a handful of tasty snacks at the grocery store?  Think yummier and more interesting.  And they send them to your house.  And they are not your normal grocery store snacks….they are nutritionist approved, and they have no high fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no trans fats, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors.

Basically these are the JLaw of the snack world….everybody loves them.

Since their smallest box comes with a set of five different bags, I have found that the snacks fall into two categories…perfect by themselves or perfect for combos (like a topping on top of a salad or with yogurt or with fruit).  These honey macadamia pretzel pops?  Perfect solo.  Their french toast granola?  combo with vanilla yogurt and strawberries.

Needless to say the full meltdown was thwarted.  We made it all the way around the mountain…seeing a whole lot of rock and trees.  #mostinterestingrideever

And Will LOVED the entire thing.  He actually told us that he wanted to ride the train again….immediately.  But there was more on our birthday agenda :)

The best part about birthdays is the presents, right?

Well, NatureBox has a gift just for someone special….


Here’s what is up for grabs….

  • PRIZE : 6 Month Subscription to the Deluxe Snacker NatureBox
  • TO ENTER : Enter by commenting on this post with “Celebrate everyday with NatureBox!” and click here to see what different items Nature Box has to offer and then tell me what snack you would like to try.  The blueberry almonds…trust me :)
  • PRIZE SHIPS : Continental US
  • NITTY GRITTY : This giveaway closes on Friday, April 18th at 8pm EDT. Only one contest entry per email address. The winner will be chosen using and will be announced in an update to this post the following Monday morning. We will email the winner directly, so please make sure you use your regular everyday email address.

***Discount for everyone: 50% off first box of any size. (valid only 1st month’s box to new customers only) – code BOWER50 



DISCLAIMER: NatureBox has provided this prize to give to our readers. We hope your day is happy…like a birthday…with yummy snacks :)  

Baseball & Family

2014 April 9
by Katie

Sports are part of who I am.  They are in my very fibers.  Not born there…but adopted into my own being out of pure survival…a side effect of being part of a family of natural athletes.

When I was 11 months old, I was enrolled into an early intervention program for being moderately delayed in gross motor development (among other things).  I basically did not walk until I was close to three.  So when I was little, we would walk my brother to school every morning…and when I say ‘walk’, I mean, I would ride in the stroller while my sister (who is almost three years younger) would run.  At Christmas time, my mother would always sneak that one gift in there…a yoga mat, a weight set, a jump rope…just for me.  ya know…to help build up my ridiculously low muscle tone.  She never had to do that with my siblings…they were those kids that walked at three days old…while catching a ball…with both eyes closed.

My parents also encouraged us to play a musical instrument (I think I have tried seven different ones all of which have bit the dust), and to play a sport every year.  I was never great at either of those tasks…but in my family I always felt like I had something to prove…like I was strong enough or big enough or good enough.  Out of a tremendous sense of competition was born a passion for sports.

When I say that it shocks me that both my boys have walked at 8 and 9 months respectively….yeah…SHOCKED is a great understatement.

I fully expected them to be late bloomers.  But they aren’t.  They are themselves…they are early walkers…they are brave and unhindered.  And they are naturally drawn to sports.

Because I was such a late bloomer, I had to work really hard to even be decent at sports.  There wasn’t anything natural about any sport skill I had…it was just stubbornness….and dedication to try again even after I failed…OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER (repeat 1000X).

Right before LJ arrived, we went to see my nephew Braden play baseball.  Will was so excited that he sat quietly the entire two hour drive to the field.

I figured that he didn’t really watch much of the game  because every time I saw him, he was running full speed but later he told me little details…like how the boys would hit the home plate with the bat, or how they would stand in the outfield with their hands on their knees, or how the coaches would spit in the dirt.  These are the things that I forget…the little details that my little guys are seeing, picking up, and filing away in their ‘how to play baseball’ box in their brain.

We always joke that Will is a natural born pitcher…the kid just has to throw.  And Weston is our little catcher…he has to be, otherwise he doesn’t get to touch a ball in our house.  It makes me wonder…what will LJ be?  Maybe he will be a Katie-baby…a late bloomer…a cuddler and a whole lot of lazy.  Or maybe he will be like his brothers…sure footed and aggressive.

Either way, I think my parents were smart to encourage both the arts and sports and I think now that we are on the cusp of starting all those extra curricular activities, I want to follow that same method.  They never told us that we had to be the best or pushed us too hard….they just showed up and told us what we did right…in some cases, that meant “Katie!  You didn’t fall today!  Great job!” or “Well, it was so surprising how you modified that song in the middle of the recital!”.

Side note…I love this photo.  It’s just so my dad.  Calling for the ball.  With his crazy hair hat on and his upside down glasses.  He’s still an athlete.  Still passionate….now about golf instead of basketball or baseball or football.  But that athlete’s heart…it’s still there.

After the game, my brother brought Will out on the field and let him run the bases.  He showed him the proper way to stomp on home plate.  Will came over incredibly proud of himself…and promptly told me that “I’m gonna play baseball someday”.  And he said that he was gonna hit a home run.  And I wanted to tell him that even if he strikes out, that there will always be another game.  There will always be another day with another way to try hard.

I wanted to tell him that it doesn’t matter if it’s a home run or a single or a swing and a miss.  It’s that he showed up.  that he didn’t give up.  that he tries hard and is supportive of others even when they didn’t rise to the top.  that he finds the things in life to dig into…even when its not natural…or when its difficult…that he fights for the spot on the team and when the season is done, he celebrates even the littlest of accomplishments.

I wanted to tell him all that…but then I realized he was still three years old and most of that would fly over his head like a line drive :)

When we got home, my mom asked for a family photo.

I got everyone to stand still for three seconds.  Of course, Will is grabbing his crotch.  Something I am sure he picked up from the baseball game :)

We thought this one was a winner…until we saw Norn.

The crotch one will have to work.  Because that is about as far as we got.  My parents got a lot right….but standing still for photos?  not a skill they encouraged enough :)