• The Box

    by Reruns blogger | Nov 15, 2012

    I came home to find one of the largest boxes I’ve ever received on my front porch. My middle son, full of excitement, immediately asked to have the box.  He waited as patiently as a four year old possibly can as I unpacked all the items from within this ridiculously huge box.

    Just to get an idea of the massiveness of this box, all three kids and the dog could fit comfortably inside it. They had to put the box against the couch and jump in from there, because it was too tall to step inside easily. The box started as a simple jack-in-the-box with kids popping out and saying ‘boo’, then it became a cave. The kids even took in flashlights to find the buried treasure. They read books in their box, created a little house for their stuffed animals and even let our little Rat Terrier dog join them for cuddle time.  When dad came home, he rolled the box with the kids safely inside, all around the living room.  They loved it, but soon their box was really taken a beating.

    As the box started to break, I panicked. This new toy has created an entire day of fun, imaginative play and it was breaking! What would I do now? I mean, the kids have tons of fun, educational toys that cost lots of money, but nothing has entertained them like this simple box.  My sanity NEEDS this box!

    Luckily, my innovative six-year old daughter re-worked the broken side of the box and made it the new door. She drew on a window and furniture inside. It was now a functional little house that they colored inside and out for several hours. It pains me to think how much I paid last year for a cardboard house that was designed to color. I could have saved a ton of money and just stuck with a plain box.

    The poor box is now on day three and it has lost two sides and is now a little nook with a pillow. My kids sit inside this colorful, broken, piece of cardboard box and read their books or play with other toys. I know it will have to eventually fall apart completely, but I am grateful for the hours of play it created.

    The beauty of this simple box is that something that I consider plain and boring has created hours of entertainment for my children. I realize that they don’t need fancy and expensive toys; they just need something that allows them to use their creativity.  Because this box was so versatile, the kids were able to use their imagination and make it what they wanted it to be at that time. It provided so many more options than many other toys my children have and it didn’t need batteries. I loved watching the evolution of the box and will never again see a box as just a box. It is hours of entertainment and fun for my children.  Oh, and the few hours of quiet time for mom to get dinner on the table is just a bonus.

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 6, 4 and 2.  She teaches coupon, meal planning and freebies classes and blogs at www.momsavesmoney.net.

  • What to Expect When Expecting

    by Reruns blogger | Nov 15, 2012

    When I was expecting I had no idea what to expect! I read numerous of blogs and forums about what to expect but nothing made me feel prepared. I was constantly stressing myself out about the pain I’d feel during labor and delivery and worrying myself about all the “what if’s”. The truth is your going to worry. There isn’t a single blog you’re going to read that will prepare you for what is to come with becoming a new parent. With each and every doctor appointment you attend throughout your pregnancy you’re going to leave with a million and one new questions. You’re going to place your hands on your stomach and rub it and talk to it from the minute you find out. As your stomach grows and stretches you’re going to feel stares from all around. If your hormones are like what mine were you’re going to snap at each person that stares at you! I was scared beginning to end, I hated my insane headaches, I lived off Tums and Milk the entire 39 weeks and 6 days of my pregnancy, I hated that brushing my teeth made me gag and puke and I cried when it was time to go to bed because my back hurt so much. In the same breathe though I loved feeling a kick from inside me, I loved going to my appointments and seeing my weight go up, I loved seeing my son bounce around inside of me on the monitor, hearing his heart beat was the greatest sound I had ever heard. Even me saying this won’t stop your worry but just embrace every minute of your pregnancy and appreciate your discomforts.

    There are so many families that do not have the opportunity of having the joys and pains of pregnancy; at one point we were told we were one of those families. Finding out we were expecting was a huge surprise because we were told I would have an extremely hard time conceiving and I’d most likely not be able to carry full-term. From finally learning to accept the fact that we were going to have long road with starting our family to proving the doctors wrong, I feel so blessed! If you’re told you can’t conceive; keep faith and get a second opinion, doctors aren’t always right! If you’re told your high risk don’t stress yourself out! I was high risk as well and I got to see my son at every appointment through an ultrasound! Yes, being told I was high risk was scary but it’s better to have the extra precautions to prevent the “what ifs!” Some may not agree with this but the worst thing you can is your own research. When I had to do my GBS (Group B Streptococcus) screening I had to do it 3 times before the results finally came back. The lab kept messing the specimen sample up but I of course thought it meant something was wrong and drove myself bonkers educating myself on all the “what ifs” if I was a carrier of GBS. There was one site that I found extremely helpful that gives you just the facts but doesn’t scare you; I still refer to this site for my son as he grows so I can learn about different milestones. Baby Center, is the only site I’d recommend to expecting mothers or new parents. The site provides a lot of helpful information about each new trimester during pregnancy and new developments of your baby birth week by week and month by month.

    Regardless if you have the most supportive husband and family; get in touch with moms as well! Get into mommy groups such as prenatal yoga for example, grow and connect with other expecting mothers. I’ve created a great circle of mothers through social networks but I wish I had that same connection with mothers that were local to me. When you see another pregnant women or another new mom with their baby you automatically feel a connection, so create a bond with new moms! If you have a smart phone there are some helpful apps as well. I know they are available on the iPhone, The Wonder Weeks and AmazingBaby. The Wonder Weeks gives you insight when your baby is hitting growth spurts and when to expect him/her to be fussier than usual. AmazingBaby gives good advice on what activities to play with your child at certain ages to help with his/her developments! It all passes SO quickly. I NEVER realized the meaning behind the statement “they grow so fast” until I had my son, Jordan. I love watching him hit milestones but I also miss being pregnant. So Embrace the journey; embrace the before, during and after!

    Shawna Seaman is a work at home mom with one child who is passionate about remembering what she went through yesterday while getting to today.

    Follow her on Instagram @its_shawna, Twitter @its__shawna and you can visit her Blog.