Friday, November 21, 2008

This and That

It's cold and it's beginning to look and feel like Christmas! Christmas always has been my favorite time of year! I look forward to putting the tree up next weekend. I know it will be one more thing to keep Evelyn testing us, but I just love sitting in the glow of Christmas tree lights.

I did some Christmas shopping on Wednesday - Macy's had a great sale. We have a lot of people in our family to buy for - we have 21 IMMEDIATE family members - that is just parents, siblings, and the 4 nieces/nephews (no grandparents included - there are 11 grandparents.) Personally, I would rather skip presents and do just birthday presents throughout the year. Less pressure. Hard to focus on the meaning of Christmas when you're trying to buy gifts on a budget that aren't junk for people who complain they have too much stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love to give and totally understand the joy of giving. But, we all promise to scale back every Christmas and I feel like we do, but then everyone else doesn't, and then I just feel guilty when I realize people spent WAY more than we did. Hope I am not offending too many people with that paragraph... And, who do you buy for? Where do you draw the line? Do you reciprocate with a gift for everyone who gets you something? I have generous aunts and uncles that give to me - do I need to give back?
Punkerdoops Diapers is going well thanks to supportive family and friends. I have yet to drum up any business outside of family and friends, but hopeful that day will be sooner than later. I went to a business networking breakfast yesterday. I know that I need to have word-of-mouth advertising, but the dues are more than I can afford right now. I will have to stick to my current marketing plan which includes distributing fliers at local natural businesses and clinics, and handing out cards to pregnant women and people with babies. Evelyn is a cute little buffer and I think she helps from too many strangers being freaked out when I approach them in stores or at the library to hand them a card.

I also want to try to get the chance to talk at the hospital's Lamaze/birthing classes and fliers at a local birthing center. I also hope to contact the local paper and check out advertising in some local publications. I contacted the local farmer's market about having a booth, but have not heard back yet. The marketing budget is low. And when I say low, I mean really low! I want to drum up business, but I also need to buy stock so people have choices. Advertise to attract customers with my resources, or buy stock to give customers more choices? Decisions, decisions... Did I mention lately that I take forever to make decisions?

I am thankful for the business I have received and for how supportive Jason has been. He sat and cut and adhered tiny stickers with the web address onto 100 business cards in prep for the networking breakfast. What a guy! And, he built me a beautiful shelf and table with storage to display items in my "shop" room. I just sewed up the curtains that hide the storage area - I'll have to post a pic - it turned nicely. I am also proud of how much I have accomplished since starting the business in less than two months. God is great and He has blessed me abundantly. I keep going to Him for wisdom regarding all of the decisions and He is faithful to answer. The Word says He freely gives the gift of wisdom to those who ask! Thank goodness, because I sure ask for wisdom a lot!
Speaking of the Word. I have never loved a Bible study as much as I love Beth Moore's study on Daniel that I am doing! I am sad to only have one week left. The study is on Friday mornings and is full of many neat women - two my age, the rest older mentoring age. Here comes another decision - should I stay in this study group? I love the women, but have issues with the childcare. Evelyn has never liked the nursery much, but has become so frightened of it that she screams and clings for dear life at me setting foot in the door, let alone setting her down. The ladies love her, but I know she is distracting to the other ladies when she fusses. She likes to run around the room - basically run out of the room, which I don't let her, and then the crying begins. I like to think that the ladies are just glad that I am there and that my desire to learn the Word outweighs Evelyn as a distraction. This is how they make me feel. But, I still worry that they are all secretly annoyed! The same issue is affecting our couple's study that we are in on Sunday nights. We want to be in Bible studies, but we also don't want Evelyn to scream for an hour - I can hear the screaming and I can't concentrate on anything else.

I know some of you think I need to just let her get used to it and deal with that she'll be fine. I just can't do it. She doesn't cry on and off or just whimper. She screams bloody murder. Non-stop. Barely breathes. Face turns purple. All-out rage, horror, and terror in her face. I have gone 15 minutes. That is my limit. It is just not worth it. Anyhow, I am thinking about doing a night study, but that cuts into family time. Also considering a study at my house, but I do like the women I am getting to know and will miss dialogues with them. We'll see...maybe Evelyn will have grown out of her separation anxiety issues by January when it starts again?... Lately, Daddy can't even keep her happy for long. Not even long enough for me to run and get the take-out pizza on a Friday night long. She wanders around the house from room to room looking for me saying "Mama! Mama?" Breaks my heart just thinking about it. Her little bottom-lip-pout melts me.

All of this paired with the whole phenomena of "how many things/studies/choirs/committees can I join before I no longer am helpful in any of the roles because I am spread too thin" has me at a point of making lots of decisions.
In attempts to stop the rambling, I leave with two of my favorite Mommy tips. I have been meaning to do them as "Works For Me Wednesday," but who knows when I will do it. But, the tips are worthy - here I go!

1) Baby hair washing. My friend Tessa showed me how she dumped a bucket of water over her daughter's head to rinse her hair in the tub. She told me to brace myself before she did it as some people think it is cruel. I kind of thought it was until I really thought about it and saw her do it. Her daughter totally didn't care and Tessa explained how nice it was that there were no tears at bath time due to getting water in her daughter's eyes. As soon as Evelyn could sit up, dumping water over her head with a cup to rinse tear-free shampoo was implemented. She does great with it! She sometimes gets a little in her mouth and it takes her breath away, but she kind of likes it I think! She has never cried at hair washing time. I was inspired to share this after another bloggy mom showed an adorable pic of her son cuddling after getting his hair washed. He did not like it!

2) What to do with baby while you do your make-up? Put her in the bathroom sink! I set Evelyn on a towel in the sink while I do my make-up. She likes looking in the mirror and playing with the make-up - great practice taking on and off little caps and the like. And, I can totally watch her while I am getting ready.
Have a phenomenal weekend everybody and stay warm! Do lots of cuddling with your favorite people! Mine are playing in the other room!


Tara said...

Have you thought of advertising on DiaperPin's announcement page? I don't know how expensive it is but thought I'd throw that out there since lots of people check it.

Shea had terrible separation anxiety for a while. Luckily we were just leaving her with her grandmother, who has the patience of a saint! There were many times where she would scream the whole time I was gone (so sad! though I had to work and there wasn't a way around it). I know Adam's mom took wonderful care of her (held/sang/bounced/etc the whole time). If it's any consolation, it didn't last that long and now she LOVES going over there. However, I don't know how she'd do in a less familiar situation now. She'd probably be a little wary. Hang in there!

Oh, and I totally dump the cup of water over her head to rinse the shampoo out, too. She doesn't mind!

Madeline said...

Have you considered reaching out to other bloggers to do reviews, giveaways, and offer discounts? That might be one way of drumming up internet business instead of just local business.
Levi comes with me everywhere too. I find that women's bible study groups are really sweet about a little one tagging along.
Thamks for the bath time tip!

Marc and Hannah Harter said...

hey amber! great ideas so far for advertising! Just heard on the radio -- totally can't remember which station - Z100 maybe?? You can advertise free on the radio and their website in exchange for offering gift certificates, etc for your business. It's a trade, so it's free for you. Ugh, totally can't remember which station/company. Maybe was it WWIB?? Maybe you could look at the different station's websites to see if they have anything up about it. If I hear again, I'll let you know!

Kiley said...

Hey Amber..I went to college with Anne ay Stout..not sure if you remember me..anyway I check out your blog and your business site. Have you went to the Family Resource Center? I think there is one in both EC and Chippewa Falls. You could probably hang posters or leave flyers or brochures for their resource library. You could also attend playgroups or workshops and connect with other parents for word of mouth advertising. I was a Family Advocate at the Family Resource Center in Columbia County (Portage, WI) for nearly 4 years. I am also a CIMI.. certified infant massage instructor. I did a series of workshops to teach parents how to massage their baby. Your in home store made me think of that..if you were certified you could host infant massage classes in your home for extra income plus promote your Punkerdoops Diapers. Just some thoughts that I had. Good Luck!!!