Finally Fixed My Style

Fashionable. Stylish. On point. These were not words one would use to describe me or my style. I’m not sure my wardrobe was the kind that would get me reported to the producers at What Not to Wear (is that show still running..?), but they probably weren’t far away. I just relied on years of shopping at Old Navy and Target for most of my clothing purchases, which isn’t terrible in itself, except neither store really caters to my body type all that well.

All of that changed about a year ago when I started my Stitch Fix subscription. Since then, I’ve received my monthly style shipment and have finally starting adding some legit items to my closet. Tops, jeans, shoes/boots and a purse – all work well with my style personality (it must be soft or I won’t wear it!) and fit like they were made for me. Yes!
Stitch Fix is kickin' my footware collection up a notch!Best of all, they come directly to my house, and I send back whatever I don’t want. True shopping heaven for this girl.

Next time you see me out and tell me you really like my top/jeans/shoes/bag, don’t be surprised when I tell you it’s from Stitch Fix. Because it undoubtedly is. And I’m lookin’ (and feelin’) great.

Yellowpages, Seriously… Just Stop

Why do they still send these out?Warning: This post could be perceived as a Millennial rant. Sorry, not sorry. If you don’t want to hear/read my “whining,” feel free to move on.

This came in the mail on Wednesday. It’s the Yellowpages (or YP if you buy into their updated “hip” branding). When I pulled it out of the mailbox, I was caught off guard. I mean, why do they still send these out? Who uses them…? I’m just dumbfounded by the entire situation.

As I consider my irritation with the Yellowpages and why a thick book stuffed full of super thin yellow pages would rouse up such anger, I came up with a few core reasons:

  1. Waste of resources. There was a time and place when the Yellowpages and phone books in general were necessary and useful. It was a decade ago. Now most people carry around the Internet in their pocket. If they need to find local business options, they can Google it. They can go to their social networks to ask their friends (or connections) for recommendations. If they need coupons, guess what, those are on the internet too.
  2. Waste of resources. Again. I work in marketing. I know the ridiculously high prices YP charges businesses to have listings and ads within their various books (there’s one for each region). Seriously. I know the MONTHLY costs for these listings. If these same dollars were invested in paid search listings on Google, they’d be much more effective. I realize there is a small percentage of the population that doesn’t have a smartphone and may still rely on the Yellowpages, but it’s not big enough to justify that level of cost.
  3. Be responsible. If YP feels compelled to distribute these free “resources,” they should at least have the courtesy to be responsible about it. It’s not difficult to get demographic information on true YP users. Layer that with geographical data on where they live and only send books out to those folks. It would cut costs for printing (and save trees), cut costs for shipping, and then allow you to roll out advertising prices that are truly reflective of the viewing audience and fair for the businesses placing listings. Additionally, it would save the rest of us from the irritation and guilt of receiving one.

Currently my YP book is sitting on my kitchen counter as I debate what I will do with it… maybe recycle it? Use the pages as backdrop for my children’s watercolor and marker exploits? Send it back to YP as “Return to Sender” and make them deal with it…? I really don’t know. If you have any suggestions, please share.

My New Normal: The Morning Routine

I’ve been back to work for nearly two weeks now, and I feel like we’re starting to fall into a routine. Things aren’t quite as I had expected, but it seems to be going well, so I’m willing to roll with it.

I start my typical day anywhere between 4 and 5:30 a.m. Technically my alarm is set to go off at 5:15. But if the baby (or Alex) is up earlier than that, and Tony was up at some point for a mid-night feeding, I try to run interference. I want Tony to be able to sleep as late as possible since he has a long drive to and from work each day. If by chance Tony got to sleep all night because my mid-night pumping session lined up with Kate’s mid-night feeding, I’ll let Tony take the first shift and try to get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning.

After the crew is awake, the circus begins… Vitamins for the boys. Milk for Alex. Nurse the baby. Get everyone dressed. Help Leo with breakfast. Find breakfast for Alex that won’t end up all over his shirt/face/pants or in his hair. (You’d be amazed, this kid can make a mess with almost anything.) Tell Leo to brush his teeth and get his shoes on.

All the while, I’m attempting to get ready. The boys are pretty good about playing in the living room as long as one of their cartoons is playing in the background. (Their current favorites are Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Miles from Tomorrowland.)

leo_and_alex_wait_for_the_busAt 6:55, we go outside with Leo to wait for the bus. This is probably the highlight of my morning. I get to talk with Leo about the things he’ll be doing that day and can sense his excitement for school. I also get to witness the love the boys have for each other and their sister as we go through several rounds of hugs and kisses saying our goodbyes.

As the bus nears the house, Leo runs down the driveway. I yell, “Love you, Leo. Have a great day!” And then Alex will follow up with something similar. It never ceases to bring a smile to my face to hear him yell, “lov oo!”

Then Alex, Kate and I head back into the house to finish getting ready. I usually have to do another round of diaper changes and finish getting myself ready. At that point we’re ready to start transitioning to the van. (That process by itself is usually three or four trips between the van and the house.)

If I’m lucky, we’re pulling out of the driveway by 7:30 a.m. (I’d say that’s probably actually only happened three times.) Usually it’s closer to 7:45, which means we’re at daycare just after 8.

Daycare drop off with Kate has been smooth. I carry her carseat and bag in, drop it off and give them the morning briefing.

alex_and_kate_at_daycareAlex on the other hand is like trying to herd a cat into the bathtub. It’s not that he doesn’t want to go to daycare, he’s just not been a big fan of it since he’s moved up to Todd 2. Every single step requires strategy and patience. Somedays I have him hold the keys and unlock the doors as we go into the center. Other days he’s my helper and proudly carries the baby’s bag for me. Every day I have to align myself between him and the day care center’s flower garden so that Alex doesn’t wander through it. And then once we’re inside, I have to stick to his right so he doesn’t take off down the long hallways to other parts of the building or run into the church’s sanctuary.

Ultimately I role into work between 8:15 and 8:30, and I pretty much already feel like I’ve already completed my first major accomplishment for the day.

Goodbye, Maternity Leave

me-and-my-babiesTomorrow marks my first day back to work after my maternity leave with Kate. It’s a bigger deal than when I returned to work after I had Alex, because I know this will be my last maternity leave (at least, that’s the plan).

Part of me is excited to get back. Seeing my friends. Getting back into a routine. (Figuring out what our new routine looks like… .) Diving into client projects. Re-focusing my efforts on taking jhP’s digital to the next level.

But a bigger part of me than I had anticipated is sad.

I didn’t have much trouble taking Kate to her first day of daycare. (She started on Monday.) She’s going to the same daycare the boys have always gone to. I know the staff there so well, it almost feels as though she’s staying with family.

The sadness comes from the thing that’s made me sad the entire maternity leave – knowing that all these are experiences are happening for the last time. Holding a tiny baby close. Watching as they start to wake up and experience the world around them. Their first smiles and sounds. Their first blowouts. It’s the last set of firsts I will get to experience, and it’s been really hard for me to come to terms with. Honestly, I’m not really sure I’m even there yet.

I’d love to have a forth child, I also know I really don’t want to be in my late 60’s as they’re getting married and starting a family. I want to be like my parents and Tony’s parents and be able to help them as they take those first scary steps into parenthood (each time they do it). To help with meals and cleaning and giving them the reassurance that they’re doing a great job. All the things our family has given us over the past few months.

So if you see me tomorrow, and I look a bit down, just remind me I will get to experience this stage again. But it will be doing it through the eyes of my sons and my daughter as they get their turn.

Flying Solo: Part 4

Yesterday and today have been pretty good. I attribute a lot of that to an unanticipated phone call from Tony yesterday. He was checking in to see how we were doing and let us know they were moving campsites because they hadn’t had much luck seeing/hearing any elk yet.

The icing on the cake was the text messages I received last night and earlier today. The new campsite Tony moved to had just enough of a cell signal to send and receive text messages. It seems a bit silly, but it was so nice to be able to have a brief text conversation with my husband.