Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Diaper Bag Essentials

When I was first pregnant, I remember hearing diaper bag and thinking right away, "A bag for diapers, wipes, bottles, and all that other baby stuff." Hm, that other baby stuff. But hey, that is why they call it a diaper bag, right. A bag that is essentially your survival when you decide to leave the comfort of your home and take on the adventures of the world with baby.

That is all true and all, but I have to be honest with you, I didn't use the diaper bag nearly as often as I do now. Except, it's purpose isn't exactly what one may think.

You see, you stuff your bag the most when that baby is little, but you rarely have to actually use the stuff that you put in there; the change of clothes in case the baby decides to have a blow out, the frozen milk in case you are in a situation where someone else needs to feed the baby, the every toy out there for all the screams and baby cries that might ensue in the quietest of places, and of course at least 10 diapers and 100 wipes... just in case.

The great thing about now is that I pack my bags not on a just in case method, but an actual: what will I need. And well, we don't actually need it for the usual baby purposes {hello, two toddlers}, but come October, I will once again be adding on the extra 10 pounds of survival-just-in-case-necessities.

With baby number three on the way, I have to be honest with you: I've just about owned every kind of diaper bag out there in the past 5 years. Certain ones worked better than others, and some only worked well when I had 1 baby on board. As life changes, so do my preferences. And for me, for now, for this stage in our lives, I needed something I could throw on my back and still have both hands free. Hands free is key.

That's where Skip Hop comes in.

It is truly a bag that meets any and all needs possible. From all the compartments to pockets, the size, the ease, and of course the style—it's meets all the expectations I would have for the "Ultimate Hands-Free Diaper Bag." And in my case, I like to call the "Mom bag." Not just for when kids are in diapers, and certainly not just for diapers, but for everything from daily adventures to the park to well visits at the doctor's office.

So what exactly do I put in my diaper bag? What are the "real" needs for a mom with 2 toddlers and a tiny baby {to be}? It may differ from mom to mom, but over the years, I have found a system and definitely essentials from trial and error. And by error, I mean, damn why did I not think to pack this in the current state of crisis. Let's just say we have had to learn to compromise in certain situations.

The breakdown?

You need a nice, sturdy, large {but lightweight} diaper bag with all the essentials for an explosion {wipes, diapers, blanket, and sanitizer}, feeding {bottles, breast, and a receiving blanket if you cover up--you can always get fancy and buy a cover}, an explosion {undies and change of clothes}, and tantrum city {crayons, toys, coloring books, and SNACKS!}. In other words, if you have those 4 categories covered, you will be all set.

Oh, and how could I forget—remember you mom. Don't forget to grab that extra water bottle and snack bar for yourself. It's amazing how quick time passes us by and how our attention can be so focused on meeting our children's' needs that we completely fail to meet our own.

In conclusion, I know that third babies probably along for the ride when they enter this world getting chauffeured around from on activity/play date to the next, but I know one category that they will most definitely be experts in—a prepared diaper bag mama.

Is that a category? I sure made it one.

So, is there anything on your list that you would recommend with new mamas? Let us know!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Father's Day Gift Guide 2015

1. DROID Turbo Sapphire by Motorola: Where to begin. If your husband is a techy guy and loves the latest and the greatest of technology, then he's going to want to get his hands on this phone. It has a 48 battery life, the newest processor out there, and a water-repellent and Corning Gorilla Glass that will help give it a a longer lifespan by protecting it from spill and scratches {something that I wish I had for my phone}. And then there is the charger, a turbo charger at that, that will give your phone an 8 hour battery life in just 15 minutes of being plugged in. 

Some of the cool features that I found included: Moto Voice {get directions, set an alarm, answers questions, etc}, Moto Assist {knows when you cannot be interrupted during sleep or meetings, and will restrict phone calls}, and Moto Display {certain information appears on your screen without having to turn your phone on, such as time and notifications}. 

To top it off, the design is unlike anything I've ever seen with the phone built from unique woven fabrics. I guarantee if my husband had his hands on this, he would never be able to give it back.

2.  Watch case : If your father/significant other is a big watch person, and doesn't have a case, well then they certainly need one.

3. Stack-On PR-23 23-Inch Professional Multi-Purpose Plastic Tool Box, Red: For all their tools in the garage that need a home.

4.  Mantello 100 Cigar Desktop Humidor Glasstop. One of my favorite gifts that Andrew and I got his father one year was a really nice humidor for his cigars. I had never even really heard of them until that year, and now it's one of the first gifts I recommend to people who are shopping for men.

5.  Mr. Bar-B-Q 94001X 18-Piece Stainless-Steel Barbecue Set with Storage Case. Because when I get these for my husband and father.... it means that they will grill more and that only means one thing= everyone is happy.

6. Desktop Electronics Charging Station : A great addition to the office-- home or work.

7. True Fabrications Bottle Hammer Automatic Bottle Cap Remover : The reviews are always terrible on these things, but I gifted this gift to my husband, dad, and father-in-law three years ago and it's still their go-to bottle opener. Mine too.

8.Shaver Electric: For those that know grizzly men... this is it.

9. DEWALT Bare-Tool DCD950B 1/2-Inch 18-Volt XRPHammerdrill/Drill/Driver : There's a deal going on for $20 off $100 purchase of Dewalt tools, and this one is definitely the best {according to my husband}

10. DEWALT DW1361 Titanium Pilot Point Drill Bit Set, 21-Piece : Because you can't have a drill without drill bits.

11. Best Dad Ever 13Oz Coffee Mug:  Because it's true.

12. Personalized My dad is my Hero book: it's a put me in the story book and you get to put dad's picture in it and read it to him with his name all over it. Pretty neat.

13.  Just Me and My Dad (Little Critter): For only $2.50, this book is a steel and would be a great addition to a little cute father's day gift basket from the kids.

14. The Berenstain Bears: We Love Our Dad! Another book for a couple dollars and pocket change that would be a fun read for dad and the kids.

15.  I Love You Dad Coupons: A fun little coupon book {for older kids} that dads would enjoy----sit in quiet time for 3 hours... ha!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cutting hair=no no, Creepy men at park= Weird, Sunshine=HAPPINESS.

Graham is napping, Elliana is reading, and although I should be resting myself before I head out to my first night shift tonight {of 3 in a row}, I've decided to throw my thoughts out on the keyboard. Nothing life changing or important to write about, but yet, so important and memorable all at the same time. Our lives that is. Just our simple, every day lives that are important to no one else but ourselves. Moments that I want to remember, and some just random thoughts in general.

I used to do that on the regular— jot down thoughts sporadically throughout the day. That's why scheduled posts worked so well for me. Now it's like I get these thoughts and unless I write them down right away, then they just never get put into anything.

Not that they are anything.

But alas, here are a few things that I learned today:

1. Cutting hair is not my greatest skill. Look Graham has been to the hairdresser 3 times now, all that were painful and full of horror for all of us. Only 1 time did it actually turn out okay, and the other 2 were just BLEH. So this morning I took it upon myself to do the dirty deed. The problem is, I have never used clippers before {properly} and I probably should have had a better game plan before I started. But, with M&M's in hand {bribery for the win}, and a very unsure toddler in the other, we went to town. And at first I was doing okay. But then I wanted to get all fancy and next thing I knew there was a chunk out here, and a chunk out there, and there was no going back. How can you put hair back exactly? You can't. I think it looks good until you check out the details.... but hair grows up and he's 2 so I see it as this: Best time ever to practice! Plus? NO TEARS!

2. Boy potty training is much different than girl potty training. We have just been "talking" about potty training for the past couple months and even went as far as not wearing diapers 50% off the time, to allow him to understand the process. And for a month now, he really knew when to hold it {he could go up to 8 hours}, but really feared the toilet. Not sure why he was scared, but we just decided not to push it until he was ready {learned my mistake with Elli and realized how easy it was then when she was the one taking the lead}. Well a few days ago, he came up to me and said he wanted to go potty and we had our first success ever—full on cheers, high fives, popsicles, and calling everyone in our phone book to tell them about the greatest thing ever. So since then, he has been successful about 50% of the time, which I thought that he would just automatically get it like his sissy did. I think he really just doesn't care, so we shall see where this journey takes us. I am confident though that even if it does take a while until we are 100% successful all the time, at least I know by the time baby comes he will be fully trained. And those stinky cloth diapers are taking a much needed break.

3. We need to move down south, asap. We went to the park this morning and spent 2 hours at the little beach area. We kicked off our shoes and socks, rolled up our pants, and got dirty from head to toe from splashing in the water to digging big holes and it was by far the greatest feeling in the world. Sunshine is honestly my idea of happiness. I could outside all day just watching my kids play {and joining them when they scream- "HEY MAMA, COME OVER HERE!" Gladly!}. No wonder in the winter we are all just a bunch of grumps— stuck inside and staring at the dreary sky and shivering from the freezing cold temperatures. Then I got to thinking and wondering... why are we still here! We need to move south as soon as possible. If only there was a way to pack up the rest of my family to come with us. A bike ride to the beach. A pool in the backyard. A year long sun-kissed-skin on our bodies. Flip flop and shorts weather. One day it will happen.

4. My radar is up at all times. I've watched too much law and order. After we played on the beach in our neighborhood, we headed to the park to play and about 20 minutes in, a white car pulled up {in the parking spot directly in front of the park, instead of the back} and there was a male in the car and he sat in the car, "on his phone." for the remaining 20 minutes that we were there. It was so weird, so creepy, and I automatically thought of the 20 ways that I was going to fight him off —sharp key in the eye, a swift kick in the nuts, and a large wooden stick laying in front up directly across his head. Thankfully it didn't lead to that, but seriously who comes to the park to just sit in there car? Especially a man during the day.

5. I LOVE taking pictures. Seriously aside from my husband, kids, and family {and sunshine}, nothing makes me happier than being behind the camera. I got to do a senior graduation session {college} and it was so much fun, and the sessions are lining up!

6. I can't believe it's taken me this long to order this monthly subscription. I've been reading so much about it, and the amazing learning opportunities that they come with, and I am absolutely floored. I am so excited to be able to do this monthly with the kids and to have a little surprise show up at our doorstep. If you are interested in trying it out, use my referral link to get $10 off your first month {and it will only be $10 total---a steal!}.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Old Navy Complaint: Please Work on Your Customer Service.

Old Navy, if your supervisor wants to ignore me, than maybe your corporate will actually listen.  I have reached out in all social media outlets to let you know my frustration, as well as email your corporate in hopes that someone will reach out to me to assure me that this sort of thing will never happen again. What happened with my order isn't even the problem, it's the poor customer service that I interacted today that left me utterly speechless.

My email to corporate:

To whom this may concern,

Please forward this below email to corporate. I have attempted to speak to a supervisor already today by the name of "Thomas" who I waited 20 minutes on the phone for but one who refused to actually come to the phone, and instead passed his message along to the service rep, named "Selena," that he "couldn't do anything for me." Without even talking to me, he assumed there was nothing more he could do for me.

I hope that corporate handles their complaints in a much more professional manner, and someone can reach out to me that will not feed me nonsense. I hope you actually read my complaint before assuming you can no longer help me.

So, let us back up here and begin with the actual problem.

My order number {listed in the subject} of approximately $164.00 was shipped out at the end of March in 3 different orders. One of those orders included the tan double strapped sandals in size 7. The tracking number for that order: listed in original email  . It stated that my order should have arrived at the end of March. At the beginning of April, when it still had not arrived, and when the shipping information was still not updated on the tracking number provided to me, I went ahead and emailed customer service. The person I was in contact with was Jill, and this was the email she sent back to me:

{{inserted original email from Jill, Old Navy representative who stated that she would be reshipping the brown sandals to me}}.

There, above in that email, the old navy representative acknowledged  that it was the tan sandals that I was looking for.

Unfortunately, today, when I made sure to be home all day for the UPS guy that I missed yesterday {since it now required a signature}, I opened up the package to find the color of the sandal to not be tan, but pink. A color I already owned.

I proceeded to call customer service, and speak to Selena. She then told me that I would have to send back the wrong sandals to the post office and that they would reship the CORRECT color {for the 3rd time now}. I would have to print a packing label upstairs from my own computer, package this order back up, then drive to the post office to drop off a package that was sent to me incorrectly. I was literally shocked, and thinking to myself that surely they would at least offer to pay for the sandals that they have not yet to get right. When I asked her what exactly she would be offering for my inconvenience, she abruptly offered me 10% off the shoes. I couldn't help but laugh and tell her that comes to 89 CENTS. 89 CENTS for getting my order wrong twice, having me to contact customer service TWICE, having me stay home all day to wait to sign a package for $9 sandals, and then now having to print and send out the WRONG shoes and wait for my new ones. 0.89 CENTS. That is what Old Navy is telling me my time is worth.

Her response?
"Well, they are already cheap shoes."

Good job Selena in selling the product.

My response?

"My point exactly! We are sitting here arguing over $9=8.99 shoes, that you shouldn't even hesitate to credit back to me for all the errors that they have caused. Not to mention, I still don't have them in my hands. "

Now, to top things off, like I started in this email, I told her that wasn't good enough and now I was very upset and I needed to talk to a supervisor. I was on hold for 18 minutes before Selena, not the supervisor, came back on the phone to tell me there was nothing more that she could do for me except resend me the shoes {me still paying for it} for the 3rd time. Again, I pointed out how Old Navy has wasted a lot of my time, and STILL has not offered to pay for the $8.99 sandals that have still not reached my door two times in a row.

Old Navy, you mean to tell me that you are hurting so bad for money that the $8.11 {you offered to pay the 0.89 cents remember} that you were unwilling to credit me with the proper shoes in my hand is worth losing a customer over? One that has invested thousands in your company, and your way of saying THANK YOU is by offering me 89 cents for a mistake {made twice} by YOUR company and inconveniencing me along the way?

I hope that is truly not the case. I hope that if nothing else, you can take this situation and make this a learning experience for your customer service representatives. That arguing with a customer, inconveniencing them, and mistaking their order should be more than enough reason to go out of your way, as a large well-known company, and making them completely satisfied. Not 10% satisfied, but 100% satisfied.

I think my loyalty as a customer is definitely worth more than .89 cents. What you have told me though, is that it's not.

Thank you for your time,

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