Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Now THIS is customer service....

I need to share this outstanding customer service experience because I think that all too often we focus on negative experiences. As my mom likes to say, "praise the positive".

I ordered a pair of winter boots for Mollie on Diapers.com

They were too small so exchanged them for a larger size. (which, by the way, was the easiest exchange ever)

We received the new, larger size boots a few days later but they still did not fit her feet well (girlie has big calves like her mama).

I sent an email to Diapers.com customer service to return them because it wasn't allowing me to do it on their website. 

This was the response:

Hi there Kara,

Thank you so much for your email. I'm so sorry to hear that the little Robeez shoes did not work out for your daughter! Online shopping for clothes items can be quite tricky, can't it! No worries on the return Kara. I'm sure that you're exhausted by all of the back and forth so I'm going to ask you to donate them to a local charity. In the meantime I have gone ahead and refunded your credit card which you should see process in just 5-7 business days.

I do hope this helps Kara, and I'm happy we were able to score some good karma points together! Hopefully you will find the perfect pair of shoes for your daughter soon! :) If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at 1800.DIAPERS or via email customercare@diapers.com....yes, we never sleep ;)  We look forward to hearing again from you in the future!

All the best,

Lauren
Customer Care Ninja
Diapers.com, A Familyhood Site



Wow.  What a classy response.  I will do just that.  The boots are on their way to a little girl who needs them. You can be sure I will be a Diapers.com customer for a very long time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday

Today is my baby girl's 1st birthday.  And oh, what a year it has been! Instead of going on and on about how much I love this kid, because really, I really, really love this kid, I'm just going to share a bunch of my favorite pictures from the past year.


Mollie Cate Frank, named for Jeremy's maternal grandmother, Mollie, and my uncle Chuck (Cate).

In labor....forever

Debra was trying to entertain me between contractions

My Auntie kept asking when the baby was going to arrive....yea, we didn't really have an answer
And then they informed us that I would be having a c-section.  A calm but anxious Jeremy suited up for her long awaited arrival.

Jeremy carefully watching the nurse take Mollie's first tests

The new grandparents

A very excited Dad



She still makes this face...but now it happens after we take away a toy

My first time seeing Mollie

The anxious friends and grandparents waiting outside the nursery
Our first family picture.  I have absolutely no idea why we decided to get so dressed up.  We were sleep deprived.

Just chillin on a stool

Mollie and her great grandfather, the day she was born

Mollie and Rachel (aka the mother of her soon to be best friends)

On our way home....holy sh*&, what do we do with her now??

Mollie's first time meeting her BFF/Auntie Steph

Lindsay comes for a visit!

Hey Margot...we're TWINS!

Mollie's 2nd trip to Florida

Hanging out on the beach with Dad

Sometimes this was the only way to get some rest

Best buddies



Cabin weekend with friends....Margot is not sure she likes having Mollie in her bed

Stanley did it

Mollie and cousin Tessa


Another one of our many ways to get her to calm down and rest

Moll and her great grandma
Auntie Robyn with Moll and her future cousins

Baby Boom.  Mollie and our best friend's babies. All 5 of them were born within 3 months of eachother.

Papa is the best napping spot

Play time with her family

Another new friend is born!


Mollie's cousins

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Blogger

As you know, my sister just had twins. Beautiful, sweet, perfect little nugget babies. 
Hannah and Charlotte

My sister's maternity leave was also not quite what she expected as one of the babies had some heath issues when she was born.  After a very long 6 weeks in the hospital, she returned home to join her twin sister. She is doing well now, but my sister's return to work was even more difficult because she did not have 12 uninterrupted weeks at home to get to know her babies.

But, today they are happy and healthy. And my sister is way more sane now that she's back at work. 

I love my sister, but it was time for her to go back to work.



Here are her thoughts on the transition:

Let me start off by saying I admire stay at home moms. 

Our mom stayed at home until my sister was in kindergarten and she is an amazing mom. 

Let me also add that I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mom. Most kids have an imaginary friend when they are little; I had a whole kindergarten class. (side note from Kara...this is true. It was nuts, she had a whole freaking class. Everywhere we went, we had to accommodate her imaginary Kindergarten class.  Don't shut the minivan door too soon or Bobby, Joey and Anne might get stuck in the door)
I was the teacher and they were my students. 

The summer after my freshman of college my friends sent me a mother’s day card and a gift. Like any good mom I still have gift sitting in my basement. However, I could not stay home with my girls. During my maternity leave my husband would get frantic text messages from me informing him that he was NOT allowed to go to Target, the grocery store, the gas station or anywhere else on him way home. He was to come directly home, do no pass go, do not collect $200. 

I have twins so I had tons of help but there were days when it was just the three of us. Like Kara I am a better mom because I go to work each day. I enjoy each precious moment with my girls (well, except when a certain one of my daughters is up for the third time since I put her to bed at 7:00 pm ....and I just want her to sleep...so I can sleep). 
Given all that my first few days and weeks back at work have been tough. I miss my girls like crazy and have filled my desk at work with pictures of my beautiful babies. For those of you going back to work I say you can do it, I have faith in you. 
My sister says it doesn't get better it just gets easier. For those of you staying home, well, frankly, I pass along the same message. 

The thing that’s gotten me through the tough days are that I know I am not the only one feeling this way. I am not the only one who should be focusing on her job but is instead worried that her child may not be eating/sleeping/pooping today. 

And then I try and remember those days during maternity leave when my husband would walk in the door and I would hand him a baby and say please hold her to I go pee. At work I can use the restroom anytime I want. 

And in the end, I think that's the reason I decided to go back to work. I went back for the unlimited bathroom pass.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Going back to work

A couple of people have asked me to talk a little bit about my transition back to work after I had Mollie last year.  As you know, this blog is all about honesty, so I really hope I'm not offending anyone with this post, but these are my opinions.  Which work for me.

I had a tough maternity leave. I was lonely. I was scared. I missed working. I missed adults. But in the end, I really, really adored this little being that we decided to name Mollie. I loved her so much that I didn't want to be away from her for even a moment.  But I also wanted to work. Not just needed, but also wanted to work. And I felt like a terrible mom because I wanted to go back to work.  But I also didn't want to be away from my baby for even a moment.

In the weeks leading up to my return to work I cried every day because I didn't want to let go of Mollie. The day before I went back to work I had an all out breakdown, screaming and crying to my mom and I was about one phone call away from quitting my job.

And then I got this email from my best friend's sister.  And it changed my perspective entirely.

Kara,
I think you’re going back to work this week, and I just wanted to wish you luck.  I remember going back for the first time, and it felt like I had left my heart somewhere else.   Crying on the way to work, still not quite sleeping enough, trying to get out of the house in time, wondering if it would ever get easier, and eating lunch out for the first time sitting down at a normal human pace.

It does get easier…and more rewarding…and more important as the kiddos get older and realize their mom has a life and a brain too.

Take care and let me know if you need anything! 

She nailed it.  She captured everything I was feeling in one short email. I read this email about 762 times. It was like my mantra.  I would repeat to myself...."…and more important as the kiddos get older and realize their mom has a life and a brain too."  

I clung to these words, and I still do. 

At least once a day I want to run out of my office and grab my daughter and hold her and tell her that I will never leave her again. But I do have a life, and a brain, and she's in an amazing daycare, with incredible caregivers, and they are WAY more fun than I would be at home with her.  And I tell you this, there is no better part of my day than the moment I see her face at the end of the day.  Every work stress melts away. 
And I feel like I've got it all. 

For me, working is the right decision (most days). 

And then there are days when I see that she is being "Extra Diva-licious" and want to run right over and pick up my little Diva nugget and play with her. 


And then I wait for the weekends so we can hug and cuddle and play. And it makes those times oh-so-sweet.

Tomorrow...I will share my sister's thoughts on the same topic as she just went back to work after having her twins.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

1 Year Ago

1 Year Ago...

I'm linking up with my friend Kristin's blog today for her baby talk Tuesday. And today, I have to reminisce about my life one year ago.  I was about to have a baby in exactly 1 week (1 week and 5 hours)

Heyo...checkout that massive tummy. I really wasn't uncomfortable but it looks like I would have been.
We look about 10 years younger here even though it was just 1 year ago.  We had a mission to visit all of our favorite places before the baby arrived because we thought we may never leave the house again.

We installed the carseat in the car. We thought this was so scary.  Just wait until there is a real live kid in it and you are taking it home.  And it expects you to know what you are doing. 

These two were about to have their worlds rocked.  Stanley was about to have a new best friend. He was about to find his soulmate in a baby form.  Punky doesn't care about her. 
1 Year ago today I was panicked because we didn't have just the right lamp shade for the nursery.  I should have been sleeping. Instead, I was shopping all around town for just the perfect lamp shade.

1 Year ago today I was about to meet the sweetest, most hilarious and incredible baby.

1 Year ago today. I was so nervous I was shaking. What would she look like? Would she like me? Would she be healthy? Would she eat well? Would she like Jeremy? Would she have any idea how many people loved her?
One lucky little girl was about to be born.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Tips for Maternity Leave

I just read this great blog post that someone had pinned on Pinterest and I thought I would share it here:

13 Tips To Meaningful Maternity Leave

I read these and nodded my head through all of them.  In case you're counting, which you're probably not, one week from tomorrow is Miss Mollie's 1st birthday.  Also known as the 1st day of my maternity leave. Technically.

Also known as the hardest/best/scariest/happiest/loneliest 12 weeks of my life.

I would love to say that this was a glorious time in my life. We just sat and gazed in each others eyes for hours and snuggled on the couch. But that wasn't really the case.

I didn't know how to be a mom.
Mollie appeared to be quite aware that I didn't know what I was doing.
We really had to get to know each other and figure one another out.
I figured her out at approximately week 11.5.
She figured me out at approximately week 12.
And then I went back to work.

I found this quite unfair.

Here are my own personal lessons for Maternity Leave:
1. If someone offers to help you, say yes. I don't care if they offered to open the door for you, or babysit your child. Say yes. To every offer. This is not a test of strength.  Accept help.

2. If people do not offer to help you, ask for it. It is okay to ask for help.  Ask for someone to come over and help you fold laundry. Ask them to stop over and keep you company for an hour. Ask them to hold the baby so you can sleep/eat/pee/sit in peace and quiet.

3. It's okay if a baby cries. They're going to cry. It's a given.  Don't panic. Babies sense fear. They're like bears.  Stay calm, feed them, rock them, swaddle them, cuddle them, walk them around the block, drive them around the neighborhood in the car. Babies will cry. If all else fails, call your husband and tell them to come home from work immediately.  I did that more than a few times.

4. Keep the baby warm.  This may sound dumb, but it's true.  My friend Ali once told me that all you really need to do is keep them fed and warm and they'll be okay. (Note: Ideal temperature for a baby's room for SIDS prevention is between 68-70 degrees)  I figured that if I was comfortable in a tee shirt inside the house, then the baby would be comfortable in that too.  Not true.  I look back at some of our early pictures and the poor child was in a short sleeve onesie inside in November.  I know she was inside, but how dumb was I? Poor thing should have been wrapped in fleece.  I had this fleece one piece outfit that I used to think was her favorite outfit because she was always happy when she wore it.  Finally (I blame the sleep deprivation) I realized that she was probably warmest in that outfit and thus liked it because she was cozy and happy.  

5. Buy a really great coffee pot and really good coffee. It will be your best friend.

6. Don't expect to get anything done. But if you do get things done, feel really proud. Newborns kind of suck the life out of you. You will not have a lot of energy to do other things. Unless you're super woman.  I was not.

7. Find other mamas.  Hang out with those other mamas. You need the other mamas! There is a really amazing place in Minneapolis called the Amma Parenting Center.  It is the greatest place in the world. They have amazing parenting classes and new mama groups.  I participated in one of their new mama groups and it was the best day of my week during maternity leave.  I absolutely don't know what I would have done without these amazing ladies during my maternity leave. And now. They're the best.  Amma is the best.

8. Exercise. As soon as you are physically able, exercise.  Take the baby on walks. It calms the baby, it calms you. It's good for everyone involved.

9. You think the diaper bag is for the baby, but really, it's for you too.  Always pack a fresh shirt for yourself in the diaper bag and a snack (for yourself). This parenting gig is messy and nothing makes you feel out of sorts like having spit up running down your shirt.  Pack a spare tee shirt. And a granola bar.   You'll be happy you did.

10. Know that it gets so much better. 0-3 months was not my favorite time period in my child's life. 3 months to the present....now we're talking! It is hard. It is scary.  Everyone tells you the great parts, nobody tells you the messy details. (and oh, how messy it is)   It gets so so much better. Love up that little one and remember that someday soon they'll look at you, and say "Mama" and wrap their little arms around your neck, give you the biggest hug, and you will melt. And you will forgive them for the first 3 months of their lives.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recipe Friday

So remember like 3 weeks ago how I said I was really trying to bring some structure to my blog? Well, I didn't follow through with that.  But I'm going to rekindle that attempt for today.

Recipe Friday.

This is less of a recipe, more of an concept.  Which I stole from a friend of mine who is a great cook, and who also just started a blog of her own!

It's like a horizontal layered salad. You can put anything in it, my version was Fall themed.  It's particularly good if you have picky people in your midst. You can mix just certain portions for them. Or kids...and you can pick off the portions they can eat.  We fed this salad to Mollie and she ate everything.

And so....Horizontal Salad (I should think of a better name)
My version was....
*Romaine
*Watercress
*Roasted butternut squash
*Avocado
*Apple
*Quinoa
*Candied Walnuts

You could do a summery one that was:
*Spinach
*Grilled peaches
*Mozzarella
*Pistachios
*Grilled bread

Even a Greek Salad prepared this way:
*Feta
*Romaine
*Olives
*Cucumbers
*Tzatziki
*Pita

Lots of varieties!

I hope you all had a good week.  My child got in trouble at school this week for hitting the other kids.  My wise brother in law reminded us that, "Franks don't start fights, we finish fights".  We explained that to Mollie.  I think she understands now. She whacked me in agreement.

Monday, October 14, 2013

She's mine.

Miss Mollie, she's mine.  She's just like me. There's no doubt where this kid comes from.  She looks like her Dad, but her personality, just like me.

When I was in elementary school my teacher called my mom one day to complain about me because I was 'giggling in class'.  My mom laughed and told him to call her back when there was a real concern.  Laughing is not a problem.

And today, I look at baby connect (aka the greatest app ever created) which our daycare now utilizes as well and find the following update:

Mini Kara.  Laughing. Her body won't stop moving.  She's all me! 

Proud mama.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Open letter to my dogs

Dear Punky Lynn and Stanley Benjamin,

I love you very much.  I don't love you any less now that we have a baby.  You drive me a little bit (ok, a lot) crazier than you did before we had a child, but I still love you. Nap time is not an excellent time for a barking contest.  It just is not.

Here's the thing, an incident occurred on Friday and I need to express my sincerest apologies to both of you. Here are the reasons why the incident occurred.
1. We had a showing at our house during the day so you had to go to daycare
2. Work has been so insanely busy
3. The baby was sick half of last week with a double ear infection and that threw me off my game
4. I'm trying to do too many things at one time
5. It's Jeremy's fault because he didn't remind me

Since I haven't told you guys the story, here is what happened.  I took you guys to doggy daycare near my office in the morning because we had a showing our house. (I know, you like the house and see no reason why we should move. And, you are probably correct.  And, we probably won't move)  I was on the phone with your Grandma when I dropped you off and I was in the middle of a discussion about my new cousin who was just born and was in the hospital. I was very focused on this conversation.  I dropped you guys off, signed you in, you ran off to play with your dog buddies, and I literally ran out the door to get to my car, to run to work and get as many things done as possible.  Still talking on the phone.

5:10 rolled around and I realized that I needed to get out of work ASAP because your Dad and I had dinner reservations and tickets to Wicked that evening.

I hopped in my car.  Called your Dad. Chatted about our days at work.  Your Grandma beeped in, so I hung up and talked to her, then called my sister to hear about her first day back at work...and before you know it...I was home.

I walked in the door.

You guys were not there.

Why were you not at home?

Your Dad looked at me, I looked at him, He asked me, "Where are the dogs? Are they in the car?"

And that's when it hit me, I forgot you guys at daycare.  Clear across town.

And we had 20 minutes to make it to our dinner reservation.

I swear I still love you guys.

I promise I will never leave you anywhere again.

We called, they were able to keep you overnight. You probably had more fun there than at home. There were lots of dog butts to sniff and friendly faces to oogle at your adorable ears.

But still, I am your mama. And I left you at daycare.  I suck.  I'm really sorry guys. Try to forgive me. Even though you don't speak English and have a memory that lasts about 35 seconds and therefore you do not remember this incident.  That's probably for the best.

XOXO,

Mama