June 19th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Warm & Fuzzy

Happy Father's Day to My Husband

MikeI originally thought of blogging about *my* Dad for Father's Day. He has been gone almost four years now (I still miss him everyday) and I never did write about him afer he passed like I had meant to... 

Then I heard yet another giggle and squeal from the other room as my husband Mike horsed around with our two little girls and knew I needed to share with you what a wonderful Daddy my two daughters have.

There isn't a day that goes by that Mike doesn't tell me, after checking on the girls before heading to bed, how much he "loves those two little girls". And they certainly know it as he probably tells them at least ten times a day.

He has taught them all about vegetarianism and nutrition (I am the only carnivore in the house). I have to admit it is pretty impressive listening to Antonia, our six year old, reading nutritional information on packages. She really considers what she eats, sometimes even passing on something sweet because she had a peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch. Not to mention the way she wolfs down her veggies and hums and haws over her french fries "because they are not that good for you".

He has also taught them how important being active is, how they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, the importance of music in our culture and the difference between a Porsche and a BMW. ;-)

My daughters' Daddy is loyal, intelligent, good looking :-), honest and talented...

AAAAAND he drives me crazy most days, but hey, I probably drive him crazy too right?

You want details? Really? OK, twist my rubber arm...

Mike having some skin-to-skin time with Antonia because the nurse said her temp was a bit low.

Mike is the king of corny jokes (G-R-O-A-N), hoards food (he had 14 boxes of cereal when I moved in with him). Actually, I take that back - I don't think he is a hoarder, he is just not that organized in the kitchen cupboard department and so couldn't tell that behind the 32 cans of soup that he actually had petrified Christmas cookies - a gift from a friend five years previous, 12 cans of cranberry sauce and 14 boxes of cereal. I am poking fun here, but be warned, there WAS 14 boxes of cereal.

Then there is his other annoying habit of leaving 1/2 teaspoon of product in shampoo bottles, peanut butter jars, coffee creamer and cereal boxes (yes, the cereal boxes rear their ugly head again). So you go about your routine taking notice of the shampoo/peanut butter/coffee creamer in passing (yes, we have some as I see it in the shower/cupboad/fridge) and then all of a sudden the ka-ka hits the fan because you can't wash your hair, eat breakfast or drink coffee (I don't *do* black coffee). How much effort, I ask you, does it take to put that bottle/jar/tetra pak in the recycling so that I can say, "Hey, we're out of _____.", and write it on the grocery list?

OK, so enough of the teasing. Now comes the gushing part...

Mike is always thinking of me and the girls no matter where he is. He is an amazing provider and is extremely generous of his time which sure comes in handy considering the crazy number of hours I work. After Michaela was born, he picked-up even more duties to help keep this house running. He is always willing to help you out and after he does, a simple thank you will do. There is no keeping score.

Mike is also the most sensitive man I have ever met. He cried at both of our daughters' births, the first time he fed them each expressed breast milk out of a bottle and at our wedding. In fact, the marriage commissioner congratulated him for making it through the ceremony. When we flip through pics of the girls when they were babies, he is often blubbering away. <--- I don't have a hope in hell of having dry eyes once he starts I tell ya!

He is also a total worry wart. It warms my heart to listen to him fret about the girls doing this and that. And he worries about me too. Mike is also passionate about making this world a better place for our children.

Mike, Michaela and myself minutes after she was born. And yes, his eyes are red because he was crying.

Other stuff about Mike that you may not know? He plays both guitar and bass, has a beautiful singing voice, went to recording arts school and has worked as a landscaper, painter and in a pottery studio, at Coca Cola, Happy Planet and StupidStore. Here's a good one - he looks 12 years old when he shaves off his goatee (he has done it once since I've known him and is now forbidden to repeat the offense). He also has an uncanny ability to reproduce animal noises - he doesn't even practice, it just comes out of his mouth "perfect". On that note, he can also reproduce the sound of trains, planes and automobiles, with the latter even distinguishing between diesel, four, six and eight cylinders (no, I'm not kidding). Oh and he is a veritable walking encyclopedia when it comes to cars and motorcycles. You ask him - any make, model or year and he usually knows the answer. This trait, he shares with my Dad. Too bad my Dad was already so sick when they met.

Mike is also one of the luckiest people I've ever met. He won a car at the PNE years ago and then a couple of years ago won a dirt bike at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show. When we were at Fort Langley last summer with friends, he panned for gold and got a nugget in the first pan (and yes it was real gold). I know he has won other things too, but can't recall at the minute. We're still waiting for the lottery though dammit!

He is open-minded, well-spoken, out-going and genuine. Mike Bell - you are an original!

I know I'm missing some things I wanted to say. I had hoped to post this last night, however ran out of time as I was prepping for the course I'm taking in Seattle this week. Therefore, I am going to post this now while Father's Day is still Father's Day (at least in our time zone).

Happy Father's Day Mike. You are loved very much by the three ladies in your house. You make us feel special and loved and for that we thank you.

XOX
Wendy (and Antonia and Michaela too)

June 16th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Jen • Pumping

Pumping While Working Out with Jen from Life with Levi

You remember Jen - she is the lovely mama that began as one of our wonderful PumpEase customers and shortly thereafter evolved into a true PumpEase Ambassador of her own accord. Jen first shared with us, the story of her bumpy road to exclusively pumping and pumping in public (PIP) on Black Friday and now with this post, she shows us how she pumps while working out.

Jen and Levi

This post is the third of TEN (woot!) in the "What Can You Do While Pumping" video series. Please check back regularly to see where Jen sets up the horns next!

There was quite a bit of interest on our Facebook page this morning about this particular "Pumping while..." video. I was chatting to Robyn, our Office Diva, about it and I wondered out loud if it is because it was combining two things that a) we are not that jazzed about doing, b) we procrastinate about and c) we never seem to have time for. I think it is the ultimate in multi-tasking when you can double-up on the "less-than-desirables" in your calendar.

And we should also mention that the handsome man in the picture this post is Jen's rockstar husband Jason, who is also the one behind the camera filming all the vids.

By the way, you can follow Jen on Twitter and "like" her on Facebook if you'd like to catch-up with her one-on-one.

So, would you pump while working out? Do you think combining these two "ugh's" would motivate you?  Chime in below.

{Photo credit: Jen / Life with Levi}

June 1st, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Robyn • Inside Snugabell

Meet the Snugabell Team: Robyn - Our Office Diva

Me and LucyHello everybody! Wendy says it’s time to introduce myself. I’m Robyn, the Snugabell Office Diva.

Who am I? I’m a born and bred Burnaby, BC girl. After I grew up (still working on that), I moved to Langley and raised three wonderful children. I have one boy and two girls, who are all in their 20’s. I breastfed all three of them and had nothing but problems - I had very little milk, no support and an archaic breast pump. My how things have changed!

I look back now and wonder how I managed to make it through the early, middle and teenage years with sanity intact. Maybe I didn’t - you would have to ask my kids.

I’m a firm believer in me; I do things that make me happy, keep me sane, and fulfill me. That may sound selfish but when I’m happy it rubs off on all the people around me. I attribute a large part of who and what I am to my running. I started running when I was forty; it was my BIG present to myself. I refused to give into the age and ageing thing; I wasn’t winding down, I was winding up! I started with 5 km, then 10 km and by the time I was 50 (last year), I had five marathons under my belt - Vancouver, Kelowna, Portland, Boston and New York. A marathon is 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometres. Yes it is a loooong way and the intestinal fortitude it takes to finish is amazing. When life gets tough I imagine myself running across the finish line; if I can do that I can do ANYTHING. Running or any exercise is not just about physical fitness but mental fitness as well.

I've been working with Wendy for over two years, starting with first doing her bookkeeping once a month. When the opportunity to work with her on a regular basis presented itself, I jumped in with both feet. I love working at Snugabell; the environment is casual and fun. I bring my little dog, Lucy, to work with me most days; the meet and greet as Wendy’s children head out the door to school is loud and exciting every time! Wendy and I try to take the time to go for a run most days; it clears both our heads and gives us energy to finish the day.

I read all the tweets, Facebook messages and blogs about pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and parenting. There is so much information out there that I will have lots to share with my kids when they are ready to have babies.

(And I told Wendy I had nothing to say... LOL!)

May 23rd, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Inside Snugabell

Two Countries, Two Breast Pumps, Two Babies and One Great Big Heart... er Lung!

On May 9th an order came in from our website. It looked like any other order that came in that day except that there was a comment from the customer - Rebecca - asking us if it was possible to not send an invoice due to her purchase being a gift.

We sent her a message suggesting that we send her the invoice via email and asking her if she'd like us to include a gift card to the recipient and if so, what she would like it to say.  She wrote back with the following note for the card.

Dear Leah,

I know things are hard right now, but they will get better. I hope this small gift will help you get through this moment and also give you some flexibility when you go back to work. I miss you so much and can't wait to see you this summer. Best wishes to you both for a safe and happy recovery.

Love Rebecca

I responded to Rebecca...

Rebecca,

The note to your cousin is lovely. Kudos to you for reaching out to her in views of helping her establish her breastfeeding relationship with her baby. You just made my day! :-)

And then Rebecca responded back and included two lovely pictures...

Leah, her husband, her son and the nurse.Grandma? and grandson.Thank you Wendy. I'm an American living in France and although the social security system here rents electric pumps for free, they don't think about the fact that it's impossible to use both pumps at the same time without a product like PumpEase. I ordered one and not only can I use both pumps, I can keep in touch with my family on the net. My cousin just had a little boy who was born with a hole in his lungs & caught pneumonia. Since he's going to be in the hospital for a month, she's pumping, so I'm sending this to her to help her get through this rough start. I attached a couple of pictures of the little guy.

... and our correspondence continued:

Wendy: I am in awe of parents who persevere through their infants' illnesses like your cousin has. And my heart just swells when I hear that our product has made a difference!

And then I asked for permission to share Leah's inspiring story and images with all of you, fully expecting a "no" reply.

Rebecca: My cousin said no problem to share her story and put up the picture. She wants to share this with other moms since it's a pretty rare occurrence. Here's what she had to say:

Hi Rebecca,

Yes, go right ahead and let her share. Michael and I have been discussing how we want to try to let others know and be there for other parents who may be experiencing the same thing. Especially since there were no indications that anything would be wrong with him during the pregnancy, he was healthy at every appointment and even during labor. They did say he was in stress the last ten minutes but have ruled that out as a factor. One of his doctors have explained that he had Pulmonary Hypertension (I may not explain the greatest but I will try), he has high blood pressure in his lungs which can be common in newborns. They usually get it for a few days at birth but nothing to be worried about. They also think his lungs may have been a little underdeveloped so when he took his first few breaths and was struggling, he took some deep breaths and put the hole in his lung. He is getting better so amazingly fast, today I went to order flowers for my friend who was helping during the labor and then stayed the first night, and I was explaining to the florist what had happened and I was saying it with a huge smile on my face, like it wasn't anything that bad. I have been feeling a lot better knowing he is getting better and I just need to stay positive. I have made it now almost 24 hours without crying. Thank you for the onesie, Aunt Joyce brought it over yesterday. We were at the hospital last night explaining how he needed to be out of the hospital by Father's Day and I told him that you and Lucas would be arriving at that time and he needed to be ready to meet his Frenchie Cousin. 

Hope all is well.

Love Leah

Wendy: That is wonderful Rebecca. Thank you. Please pass on thanks to Leah as well for her open mindedness about sharing her situation with other people/parents in light of raising awareness.

All the best to you and Leah...

OK, now go dry your eyes and then please share this story. And if you or anyone you know has experienced complications around Pulmonary Hypertension in a newborn, we welcome you to share your story below.

May 18th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Jen • Pumping

Pumping While Walking the Dogs with Jen from Life with Levi

You remember Jen - she is the lovely mama that began as one of our wonderful PumpEase customers and shortly thereafter evolved into a true PumpEase Ambassador of her own accord. Jen first shared with us, the story of her bumpy road to exclusively pumping and pumping in public (PIP) on Black Friday and now with this post, she shows us how she pumps while wallking the dogs.

Jen and Levi

This post is the second of TEN (woot!) in the "What Can You Do While Pumping" video series. Please check back regularly to see where Jen sets up the horns next!

After watching Jen's vid, my mind kept wandering to the rhythmic sounds of Dr Suess-inspired prose... You can pump in the store; you can pump on the floor. You can pump while driving; you can even pump while sky diving! Walk the dogs, read epilogues...  Help me finish it now - leave a comment below!

By the way, you can follow Jen on Twitter and "like" her on Facebook if you'd like to catch-up with her one-on-one.

{Photo credit: Jen / Life with Levi}