Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everyone has a Story....

I've been asked to write a monthly blog for a truly great website: www.wondermoms.ca , founder Tamara is a wonderful person which I am very fortunate to have crossed paths with; and even more flattered that she thought I worthy of including on her site. I'm going to be a 'Wonder Blogger!' .. hmm, I wonder what my uniform will look like?!!!

What is your story? ... Here is mine: juggling being a parent, wife, daughter, sister, friend, business owner and well I'm sure I've left many things out!! This is just the beginning....

The decision to become a parent was an easy one .. Brent and I knew early on in our relationship that we wanted to have children and when we got married in April 2004 we wasted no time (heck, we went to Cabo for our honeymoon, then Greece a month an a half later for work ...pretty hard NOT to feel inspired in such beautiful locales!!) so when we discovered that I had a bun in the oven that June we were elated! We told everyone .. and when I say 'everyone' I really do mean everyone.....even if they didn't care to know, they heard our great news anyways!

As a first time mom-to-be, I am sure you can imagine how erratic my behaviour was. If you are single and want to become a parent, and are male, please read and take notes: yes your partner WILL go back to normal (whatever normal was)..somewhat.. but you need to tread very carefully and know that everything being done is 'for the sake of the baby... YOUR baby!!' heehee .. I bought books, I bought clothes, I bought food ... lots of it - but couldn't eat it sadly.. Then one day I felt different. Couldn't place my finger on it, but I knew that something wasn't right. I read all those books I bought for signs of what was normal .. what wasn't .. and then I went..gasp..online! This will prove to be a source of many sleepless nights as I will, no doubt, continue to read any and everything I can 'online' ...

I was nearing the end of my first trimester when I started to have this feeling, so when I started to bleed I started to freak out. We went to the ER and were able to bypass the waiting room crowd (I was crying pretty hard at this point and the intake nurse took pity on me, being a woman and perhaps a mom herself....) where we waited for 7 hours .. yes 7 hours to be seen by the ER Doctor.... Poor Brent, if you think I am a witch (hey, I've gotta keep this PG!) at times .. you really didn't want to cross my path then. There were no prenatal exam rooms available this night, so I was moved into the supply cupboard room, on an ambulance stretcher - apparently no beds were available either - for my 'exam' ... yes I was bleeding, no there was nothing they could do, please go home and if it gets worse, well come back. Thanks for nothing.....

This part of the story does go on, and unfortunately it doesn't get better.. I had a miscarriage and we lost the baby. To take some words from Ann Douglas and her 'mother of all pregnancy book' I felt like I was kicked out of this special club - only to be granted membership into a new one, one that you really do not want to be part of.

Having gone through this awful experience - and let's face it, it sucks. No amount of pretty words or cliche phrases 'it was meant to be....' made either of us feel better... but we did move forward, heal and grew closer as a couple. Brent is pretty amazing, and I am so grateful that it is him that I am on this journey with; I couldn't imagine it any other way.

After our hearts had time to heal we decided to 'try again' .. and were blessed to discover I was pregnant that December...Abby was born on August 9th, 2005 - and things have not been the same since! She is incredible - and one of the (3) best things that either of us have created...and I'm pretty crafty I'll have all of you know!!!

We thought that we were busy - you know, how everyone that has their first child thinks they are... HA! We decided that Abby should have a brother or sister.. because 'that would be really great.....' So when I was 20.5 weeks pregnant (yes, that is 1/2 way through my pregnancy...) we went for our first ultrasound .... to discover that 'there are two babies in there.....' Yup .. TWO! We were having TWINS.. a boy and a girl.. pretty amazing isn't it?!!.... (or if you are one of the many strangers that felt the need to offer your comment(s): 'oh no, poor you .. well better you then me...' Yes, I do have to agree, better ME then you - clearly...) Brent and I started to laugh... to say we were in shock .. well that was a huge understatement!!! That part of the story is actually pretty funny - but it's long - so I will save that for if you want to ask me all the wonderful details yourself !! We left the ultrasound in a daze.. and now more than 20 months later, I still feel like most of my time is in a daze!

There were some complications with their birth ... it was down right scary if you really want to know... after being on bed rest since just after Christmas I started to hemorrhage and had a placenta abruption which resulted in an emergency C-Section at 36 weeks - I delivered Ashlan weighing 5lbs9oz and Reid weighing 6lbs1oz on February 26, 2008. The following 6 months are a blur, not just because we were adjusting to life with a 2.5 year old and newborn twins, but also because both were in the hospital for 3 weeks - when Ashlan was released - then another 2 for Reid when he was transferred to McMaster Children's Hospital. All in all, there were so many things that were going on - during those first 5 weeks, and then next 5 months afterwards of out-patient treatment .. that first year is a write off... Yeah I am bitter - but I look at him now and I am so grateful that he is healthy, his heart condition is manageable and that for the most part I am just exhausted due to managing life with a 4 year old, 20 month twins and growing my business. Yeah I have to cook and clean sometimes too.....

So my story is far from over - and it's a good one; well we think so anyways! and I can hardly wait to get more of it in print!! Yes I'm busy, and yes I juggle many hats - and yes, I love my Starbucks and Wine and Wabo's .... you will soon have a better understanding as to why!

Everyone has a Story.... thanks for reading part of mine! ...... What is yours?

Amanda
Inspire marketing

Monday, October 19, 2009

Great Customer Service...

No joke - 'Great Customer Service' - or Good Business Practice.... yes, it does still exist! Albeit scarce and often non-existent, I want to spread the word about a few businesses that truly know what this is all about - and could give some pointers to many others out there...

You are all aware of my love affair with Starbucks....and sad to say I really haven't been there that much lately - tragic, I know... So to find out that ** I ** was the lucky recipient of a $25 Starbucks gift card (yeay - that's a whole month's 'budget' for me!!) all because I spread the word about a business (group of very talented people) that I am truly happy and perhaps secretly (not any longer!) envious of - that are doing what they love - Kitestring Creative Marketing + Design ... I was very excited. They have this cool contest going on "What was I thinking" - which I expect everyone's vote in the next little bit on my behalf! - that marked their 2nd Anniversary and I 're-tweeted it' ... how cool is that? Very I'd say!!

From my favourite drink .. to my favourite food: The Keg

Yes, you read right The Keg. I love steak - heck I LOVE food period, but give me a good steak, nice wine and goat cheese - and I will do pretty much anything you want me to (but that's a different post on a different blog!...no, not really...) but when you have a life-threatening food allergy eating out is really difficult - and depressing... I'm allergic to shellfish - sad, but true..and it really stinks..so I have to be very careful and conscious of where I eat because unfortunately, not all restaurants care that I could die if they don't adhere to the health and safety guidelines they are suppose to. Brent and I went out for dinner Saturday night - yes, we had a 'kid-free' night! - and The Keg was the restaurant of choice. Anywhere we go, we always tell the server of my allergy, and sometimes they acknowledge it .. but Saturday night the Chef came out to my table...and the Manager (who brought out his ingredient binder just to be sure as they've added a few new items to their menu) ..and the Kitchen Manager...perhaps they even sent the dishwasher over too, but by this point I was enjoying another glass of Pino Grigo to catch his title - and well, this was great! I really do love the Keg (steak, wine, cheese....) and we always have great service there - but Saturday night was fantastic.

And back to business: Mabels Labels. If you haven't checked out their website, you need to .. if you have kids or clothes or bags or (you get my point..) - you need to. These are the.best.labels.ever. Yes, I said that with my best 'like ya' accent. I had some cards printed through them - 'mama cards' they call them .. only I really liked their design so I had my business information printed on it, and have given them all away - only to remember I have an event on Thursday - and I need business cards... So I sent an SOS out to Julie Cole, co-founder and fellow mama-of-many (ok, she has 3 more then I do .. so I'd say she is REALLY busy compared to me!) but, also someone that I admire and have started to talk more to (thanks twitter!) she responded within a 1/2 hour with the awesome news that Martha on her team was waiting for my call to help me out..... And she did - my business cards will be ready tomorrow - and they are 'on the house' ... yes - no charge to me... WOW .. now that is Great Customer Service. Have a look at their website - and place an order; you will NOT be disappointed. Oh yeah, did I mention that they have been named finalists for the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards: http://tinyurl.com/yhv3a6k - THAT is what Great Customer Service will get you!

While I am sure I could, no doubt, fill pages and pages detailing all the rotten Customer Service out there - I wanted to point all of you in the direction of some really great businesses that offer exceptional service - and I hope you too take the time to acknowledge people that deserve to be.

Amanda
www.inspiremarketing.ca


Friday, October 9, 2009

What are you Thankful for?

Turkey weekend is here! Are you thankful for that?! An extra day off work, a full belly, time with family and good friends? Yes, that is certainly something(s) to be thankful for....

I've been feeling under the weather this week...'under the weather' .. nice way of saying 'downright miserable' really... so I am thankful that my Mom asked to host our family Thanksgiving Dinner this year; even though at first I wasn't impressed - you know, because I really do love cleaning, prepping and cooking for apx 35 people (I really do!!) but Brent is heading out of town for work next week..ALL WEEK..so her having dinner was a way to help me out - and now because I am sick, I am especially thankful...

I spent last weekend with some of really great friends; women who I know that if I needed them I could pick up the phone and say 'come.right.now' - and they would... Just like the "SOS" I sent out yesterday for some homemade Chicken Noodle sooth my soul, make my miserable cold go away-Soup, Dan answered that call - now THAT is a friend. Just knowing that - makes my heart swell - friends ... really, truly, amazing Friends ... yes, I am thankful.

I look at my beautiful children and I am so thankful they are happy, healthy and {{good}} .. well when they aren't busy 'building their character' that is! .. and know that things could certainly be a whole lot different...

...An extra day off work...A full belly....time with family and good friends.... 3 things that might seem insignificant, but looking at the big picture these 3 things are the most important... I am thankful for the extra time I can spend with Brent and to be able to work from home and enjoy my beautiful family.... to put on a dinner for 35 people and to have them to share it with...and to have amazing, true friends that I know would do anything should I ask....

I could write a list as long as my block for all the things that I am thankful for - can you?

Happy Thanksgiving,
Amanda
www.inspiremarketing.ca