November 26th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & MeJust for FunWarm & Fuzzy

"All About My Mom" (by my soon-to-be 5 year old daughter Michaela)

I don't know about you, but my brain goes a gazillion miles an hour while doing two particular things - showering and driving (by myself); this is of course as opposed to *normal* when it goes only a million miles an hour. ;-) It isn't often that I'm alone outside of working, so in these two situations, the ideas flow FAST - so much so that I'm thinking of picking up some of those bathtub crayons so I can write my ideas down on the shower wall. I already have the car scenario taken care of - a pad of paper that I scribble ideas down on at the 'next red light'.

The other day (in the shower) I was thinking about my youngest Michaela and the fact that she will soon be five (insert cliché phrase about how fast they grow up here). Then I remembered the interview that I did with my elder daughter Antonia when she was about the same age and made a mental note to sit down with Michaela (see, need the crayons!) and do the same.

I was originally inspired by Annie's post over at PhD in Parenting in which she invited us to "interview" our child about their mother and share the responses. Get ready for some "awww's" and some chuckles. Here we go...

Michaela

What are mothers for?

For hugging.

How are mothers made?

You put them underground and make them grow.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

First you go to the hospital and when you grow up a bit you'll be a kid and then you grow more and more and then you're a mommy (or daddy).

Why am I your mommy instead of another woman being your mommy?

Because I was in your tummy.

What kind of little girl was I?

A little kid.

What did I need to know about Daddy before I married him?

Because you got in love.

Why did I choose Daddy to marry?

Because he had a big fat beard and long hair.

Who's the boss at our house?

Daddy and you.

What's the difference between mommies and daddies?

One has different hair and one speaks different.

What do I do in my spare time?

You make us dinner.

What would it take to make me perfect?

Because you are so pretty and I like you and I love you so much.

If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?

Nothing.

It's nice to think that Michaela thinks I'm perfect the way I am - that makes one of us!

Having now done this exercise with both my girls, what stood out for me most was that Antonia's answers flowed quite easily whereas Michaela said, "I don't know" and "Is that right?" quite a few times - I honestly didn't think we would get through all the questions. This rings true to form for their little personalities - not to "label" them per se - however Antonia tends to be more academic and artistic while Michaela is more physical (generally). It is so interesting to witness their characters developing and watch them morph into little individuals!

I welcome you to join in the fun - ask your son or daughter the same list of questions and link back to this post.  You can put the url of your post in the comments.

March 24th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & MeJust for Fun

Have You Met My Two Beautiful Daughters Yet?

OK, so mabye I'm a *little* biased...

So, the other day my friend and colleague, Claire Reid of Claire Reid Photography, sent me this video - a vignette if you will - of all the family sessions we've had with her over the last few years.

I had to get out the Kleenex.

And so did my husband Mike.

Besides our family photo sessions, Claire also does all the photography for Snugabell and PumpEase. Headshots too. She is amazingly talented. When I tell her my vision for a shoot, she is always excited and always bubbling over with harmonious ideas to help bring my vision to life. And when we're in studio, the energy is palpable; we really just connect. (And if you were standing outside the door, you would hear lots of oohs and aaahs and excited giggles.) She is also exceedingly patient with my ahem... attention to detail.

When she is shooting us as a family - something we have done with Claire every year since Michaela, my youngest, was 18 months old or so - she can get the most amazing shots out of the girls. Even an hour into it when they are getting cranky/tired/bored/cold.

Claire is now offering these unique keepsake videos to her customers. These video journals offer a unique way to immortalize a special time in your life, capturing your style and story as only Claire can....

My only regret is that I hadn't met Claire yet when the girls were teeny tiny. :-(  I have pictures, but they are of the generic department store type quality. Not awful, but not great either.

If you're in the lower mainland of British Columbia, look Claire up. You won't regret it. She is blogging now too and doing a bang-up job!

If you're out of town, do you have a favourite photographer that you keep returning to, to capture for all posterity the growth of your family? Go dig out all those photos and look at how much they've grown. Remember the Kleenex. And please share below.

November 24th, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & MeCustomer ServiceInside SnugabellPumping

PumpEase - Not Just Another Pretty Face

PumpEase features a 3-row hook & eye closure

The other day, while in the shower (I do all my best thinking in the shower and the car), I was pondering our slogan (which we love):  "...because women like pretty things EVEN when they're pumping!™" and then I had this horrible thought, "Oh my gosh... I hope people don't think PumpEase is "just another pretty face"!"

You see, we're always talking about how we're the ONLY fashionable hands-free pumping bra (and now of course we're also offering the ONLY organic hands-free pumping bra), but I wondered... do the moms out there realize that when we designed PumpEase, the functionality was right up there in importance with the aesthetic?

After all, if you try on that fabulous Dior dress and it fits like hell, then what's the point? I for one, do not believe in being a "fashion victim". I wear fabulous shoes, but they fit well and are comfortable. Some of them are even pieces of art. (Yes, these shoes do exist!) But I digress...

As you may or may not know, I have over 15 years experience in the apparel and sewn products industries (aka the fashion industry) including designing and manufacturing a women's sportswear line, providing CAD pattern management services (pattern making, grading, marking, technical specificiations) to other manufacturers, custom design and teaching fashion courses at the post secondary level.

This reminded me of something that I used to tell my starry-eyed fashion design students in drafting and construction (sewing) class. Often the "design-oriented" students had no use for drafting and construction class (they thought it was boooooring) and so I found myself saying, "A pattern is like the foundation of a building. If you don't draft a solid foundation, your design will crumble."  In other words, anyone can sketch a glorious dress, amazing suit or other fabulous garment, but if it is impossible to create either via flat pattern drafting or draping, or if it is too expensive to produce for the mass market, then you have nothing. Nothing. Well, you have a sketch...

These students figured they could just hire a pattern maker to execute their designs. Well yes and no. In order for a patternmaker to successfully bring a design to life, the designer needs to have a firm understanding of the fundamentals (and limitations) of pattern making, garment construction and mass production. And honestly, although there are a lot of pattern makers out there, a good pattern maker is hard to find. I can't tell you how many times we've received patterns for grading (that were drafted by someone else) that were just... ummm... BAD. Cringe-worthy even! And believe it or not, many of them came from brand name companies! The lightbulb surely went on the next time we were in a "better" store and we tried something on that just felt weird - the sleeve cap was glued to our upper arm or the pants had "hungry bum" - it all made sense now. It was concrete evidence of bad design and it can happen in any market.

So when it came time to create our hands-free pumping bra, there were a few things that were non-negotiable...

1.  It had to be pretty :: you're already aware of this one. Does it matter you ask? Considering the $9.6 billion US lingerie industry in which over 80% of purchases are made by women, I would say it does! The postpartum period is certainly not the sexiest time of a woman's life, so why not spice it up a bit with something fun?

PumpEase works with all sizes of breast pump flanges

2.  It had to accommodate ALL makes and models of breast pump flanges on the market :: we have yet to find a breast pump that doesn't work with PumpEase. We even tried the larger-than-average Simplisse flanges at the ABC Show in Las Vegas last month and yes, they fit too! Our "no-stitch" horn openings are at the heart of our design. It's simple really. Even if you use a stretch fabric, if you finish the fabric with thread, even stretchy thread, the fabric won't stretch as much anymore. Have you ever inadvertently pulled on a garment and heard the "snap, snap, snap" of threads breaking? Go ahead, hook your hands inside the openings and stretch them. Stretch them hard. They are built to last and will always return to their original shape.

3.  The closure had to be adjustable :: let's face the facts: nursing moms have fuller and less-full days. Aside from our fabulous fabric that is super stretchy and has incredible memory (i.e. it doesn't "bag out" after use like cotton/spandex can), PumpEase has a 3-row hook & eye closure for another 1-1/4" of adjustment.

4.  The closure had to be user-friendly :: it's a no-brainer that we chose hook & eye. I don't know about you, but I can do up my bra in the dark and behind my back, sometimes even with a martini or two under my belt ;-) So when a new mom is hormonal, sleep-deprived and gets up in the middle of the night to pump, she will be able to don and doff a PumpEase with ease.

5.  It had to be of EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY :: our fabric is one of the best technical fabrics out there. Quite frankly, it is expensive and although we could buy cheaper we don't, because YOU are worth it. It is also super-soft, wicks moisture away and is easy to care for and yes, YOU deserve it. PumpEase is Made in Canada and we are so very proud of that. Our manufacturer, that we have worked with since Day 1, is top-notch, however even after the goods come out of the factory, our Quality Control team goes over each and every PumpEase one more time before packaging them. Our return rate for BOTH sizing and warranty issues is less than 1%.PumpEase - quality detail

6.  It had to fit the majority of our market :: via our four sizes - S/M/L/XL - PumpEase fits moms from 32AA to 48H (a size range into which over 90% of women fall into). We developed our sizing using ASTM standards for body measurements, with a strong focus on the bust point measurement, which varies as much from woman to woman as the bust measurement itself. PumpEase fits moms with bust points that measure from about 4 to 11" (that's the measurement from nipple to nipple). Just to put this into context, the very first horizontal line that a pattern maker drafts is based on the bust measurement. In fact the bust point calculation itself is based on the bust measurement, and therefore this is pretty much the foundation of the whole draft. If you make an error at this point, the whole draft will be wrong. So bust point is very important in apparel in general, and even doubly so when you are inserting breast pump flanges into your pumping bra and the openings need to line-up with your nipples.

And then of course, we musn't forget that Dr Sears says that the bold colours and prints of PumpEase are better for your baby. It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover...

Have you ever been skeptical of a product because it looked "too good" for the price?  You thought it wouldn't work/wouldn't fit/would be uncomfortable? Please do tell us about it below...

{Photo credit: Ameda}

October 28th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & MeJust for FunWarm & Fuzzy

"All About My Mom" (by my soon-to-be 5 year old daughter Antonia)


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Today's ramblings are in response to Annie's post over at PhD in Parenting earlier this week in which she invited us to "interview" our child about their mother (that would be me) and share the responses.  So this evening I sat down and asked my daughter the questions below...  She was a little hesitant after about the 3rd or 4th question, asking if this was for school or Sparks (lol).  Anyways, you can now disregard all the info over on my Meet Wendy page as THIS IS THE TRUTH... according to Antonia.Antonia Bell

What are mothers for?

Taking care of kids.

How are mothers made?

With skin.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

Skin, blood, eyes, a nose and a mouth.

Why am I your mommy instead of another woman being your mommy?

Because I love you.

What kind of little girl was I?

You had long, dark brown hair, brown eyes and were wearing a black shirt with blue pants.

What did I need to know about Daddy before I married him?

To know if he was real.

Why did I choose Daddy to marry?

Because you liked him.

Who's the boss at our house?

Daddy.

What's the difference between mommies and daddies?

Girls have earrings.

What do I do in my spare time?

Play.

What would it take to make me perfect?

Wear pretty, long earrings with diamonds and lipstick and have long, pretty eyelashes.

If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?

Your eyes would be green like Daddy's.

So there you have it... she thinks Daddy is the boss!  I am going to have to have a serious talk with that girl!  (where HAVE I gone wrong?)

I welcome you to join in the fun - ask your son or daughter the same list of questions and link back to this post.  You can put the url of your post in the comments.

March 8th, 2008 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & Me

Welcome!

I am always thinking….my brain never stops: in the shower, making the beds, brushing my teeth, doing laundry, getting the kids dressed, driving (I do a LOT of thinking while I’m driving).

Unfortunately, I also have a really bad memory. It never used to be bad, however has steadily declined ever since I went back to school in my late 20’s and started using a DayTimer to keep track of all my assignments. Of course this has now turned into a Palm Pilot and may soon turn into a BlackBerry. My advice to you is to keep using your BRAIN and don’t be tempted by teeth that are blue, berries that are black and phones called “Chocolate” or “i” ….. it’s a conspiracy! I used to be able to retain a list of
20 (yes T-W-E-N-T-Y) tasks in my head and now I can’t remember anything! And then I went and had 2 babies over the course of 3 years just to really make sure my brain was mush!

So while I’m doing the laundry or making the beds or brushing my teeth and all these thoughts and ideas are popping into my head, I have to stop what I’m doing and run out to the kitchen to write them down. Sometimes I find myself running back and forth like a crazy woman! I’m paranoid that if I don’t write my fantastic thought or idea down, that I’ll remember later in the day that I had the fantastic thought or idea, but I won’t remember what the fantastic thought or idea was! Then I stress about the fact that I’ll probably never have that same fantastic thought or idea again!

If I’m in the shower or some other “penless” place, I chant the thoughts or ideas in my head over and over until I can make note of them. I’ve even resorted to keeping a Dictaphone recorder in my car so that when (not if) the ideas come to me while I’m driving, I can record them without causing a 10 car pile-up!

But now I have a blog - a means to record and share my fantastic thoughts and ideas with the whole universe! OK, maybe not the WHOLE universe….but hopefully you will find humour, insight and useful information in these posts. I plan to blog about being a WAHM, mompreneur, wife, parent, consumer, breastfeeding advocate and much, much more “as the mood strikes”. Come to think of it, this blog is pretty much destined to become one of life’s little instruction books because as you now know, “I am always thinking….my brain never stops.”

Welcome inside my mind, er blog. I hope you enjoy the ride!