A Sad Goodbye to the Birth and Women’s Center

A final photo of the Birth and Women's Center of Topeka, at least as I know it.September 30th marks the end of an era in Topeka as the Birth and Women’s Center (BWC) will be closing. I’ve known it was coming for a few months, but it’s been difficult for me to wrap my brain around. When I think about it, more often than not, I have to fight to hold back tears.

The obvious source of my emotion for this place is that I delivered all three of my babies there. Leo in 2009. Alex in 2013. Kate in 2015. All three births were assisted by different midwives, all of which felt like surrogate mothers/grandmothers to me. Each birthing experience was unique, and great, and totally perfect.

So of course that’s why I get sad about BWC closing…right?

When I think about it, even that doesn’t completely make sense. I know Tony and I are not having more children, so it’s not like I’m personally losing an opportunity.

Yet still I’m sad… And so I’ve thought about it, and thought about it.

There is more to those baby-having experiences than just producing small humans. Every time I came out of that old Victorian house, I emerged as a stronger, more empowered version of myself. There’s something about the confidence you gain from in being in total control, yet also completely surrendering to your body and letting mother nature do what it’s supposed to do. It’s like you’re a vessel for awesome superhuman powers. It’s one time you can truly see that you’re fully capable of completely amazing things.

So in the end, maybe that’s it. I’m sad because this place that’s meant so much to me won’t exist to serve that role for other women. And I think every woman should have the opportunity to experience that type of empowerment.

Thank you Birth & Women’s Center (and all of the nurses and midwives that have worked there through the years). I cannot adequately express my gratitude or explain what you have meant to me. You will always be one of my favorite places, even if it’s only in my memories.


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 First Crossfit Games is in the Books

I’ve been going to Sunflower Strength & Conditioning (SSC) off-and-on for more than a year now. I have to say “off-and-on” – not because my attendance has been irregular – but because I’ve had some extended leaves due to my knee injury and Tony’s work travel.

I love this gym, not just the workouts (which are ass-kickin’ and push you), but also the people. They’re my kind of people. They like the work hard. They’re fun. They’re supportive. They get me.

This year I decided to participate in their version of the Crossfit Games. While I’ve been working out for awhile, I’m not strong. Not even close. But I thought the Games would be a good challenge, so I enrolled in SSC’s local competition doing the scaled version of the official Crossfit Games 17 Workouts and competing against other women in my age bracket.

Overall I’ve been pretty happy with how I’ve competed. I definitely won’t be at the top of my age group, but I won’t be at the bottom either. Each week I’ve found myself pushing harder than I have before and accomplishing things I didn’t know I could.

Ultimately, the Games have made me hungry for more. I’ve decided I’m going to double-down and really work hard at trying to get stronger. I’ve set some fitness goals (doing legit, good pushups and at least one strict pull-up) that I’m hoping to accomplish by the end of the year, and I’m going to do everything I can to make them happen.

Kate As of Late – March 2017

Like most moms, the documentation of my youngest child’s growth and development is greatly lacking as compared to her older siblings. I have tons of photos of her, but there’s been no nicely bound book printed (to be fair, I’m 1+ years behind on that for all the kids). I started one of those baby milestone calendars (actually, two), but I don’t think any stickers were added after the first few months as the calendars got lost into the piles of papers that comprise our life (important tax receipts, school/daycare notes, bills to pay, etc.).

The more I’ve thought about this, the more my mommy guilt has grown. I know it’s not reasonable to think that I’m going to get caught up on my printed photo books (I mean I hope I will, but let’s be realistic, it’s not happening in the next month or two). So I’m setting a new goal; one that I can apply equally to all my kids and is hopefully more in line with my available resources. I’m going to schedule time on my calendar each quarter to write a blog post about each of the kids spotlighting the great (and not so great) happenings of the past few months. Hopefully that will allow me at some point to look back, and in better clarity, remember these moments and attribute them to the right kid (because sometimes even that’s a bit tricky!). And since Kate’s not had one of these posts written about her yet, she’s where I shall start.

  • My meatball. Kate’s in Toddler One class at daycare and is well liked by both her classmates and her teachers. So well liked, that they’ve given her a nickname – Meatball. I’m not 100% sure how this name came up. It’s possible that it’s due to her adorable chubbiness, but it may also be that she loves meatballs…? I don’t honestly know, but never the less, it’s stuck. I had considered dressing her as a meatball for Halloween this past year but thought maybe that was taking it too far. I don’t want her to look back as a teenager and have a complex about it.
  • The tides are starting to shift. Loveable, go-with-the-flow Kate is beginning to develop her own personality. We’re starting to see a bit of her temper flair as she’s playing with the boys. She’s not quick to cry, but she’s a fast draw with a slap and isn’t afraid to hit anyone that she thinks deserves it. When Kate does cry, you know she’s super pissed. And it’s not exactly a cry, it’s an all out, hold-my-breath-so-long-people-start-to-get-concerned blow up. She’ll turn bright red and throw herself backwards as she’s having her melt down. Even if it means she’s throwing herself into a wall, or back onto a concrete floor. I’m sure this one will get even worse before we get through this fun little phase.
  • Kate’s talkative. But at the same time, not exactly talking. She knows several words and uses them when she wants to. Mostly what you hear from her is babbling. She’s just talking away, but it’s not understandable. Yet. At this point her vocabulary is pretty large: mom, dad, brother, Alex, Leo, dog, cat, ball, milk, more, yeah, no, cracker, sit, etc. She’s able to repeat almost anything you ask her to say.
  • A tomboy, sort of. I can’t really tell if Kate’s really going to be a tomboy, or if she just doesn’t realize there’s so much girlie stuff out. I wouldn’t say we’re actively keeping her from girlie things (well, except the whole Disney princess concept), but with older brothers around, she’s just naturally surrounded by their toys and watches cartoons that I’d consider to be gender-neutral (Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse Club are mainstays in our household). Kate loves her baby dolls, and can be seen carrying one around the house by the neck on a pretty regular basis. But she’s also quick to play with one of the hundreds of balls or grab a big handful of dirt from the back porch.
  • Hat girl. Well, bucket hat girl. Well, bucket girl, really. Kate simply loves to wear the Mr. Potato Head bucket around like a hat. She’ll put it on and walk around the house all morning/evening without a care in the world. I’m just glad she hasn’t insisted we wear it to daycare. Yet.