Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer babies bring spring showers

Thanks for reading past the cheesy title of this post.  ☺  My initial thought was to write it chronologically ("Spring showers bring summer babies"), but we all know that's not actually how it works.  Thanks, pregnancy brain.  

Anyway, we have been so blessed by sooo many people over the past few months.  This baby boy is already very loved and well-cared for - what a lucky guy to have so many great people in his life!

Because words can't fully express how wonderful these celebrations have been, or how grateful we are, I thought I'd share some pictures of some of the kindnesses shown to us and festivities celebrating our growing family.

These are not chronological, for the record.  Rather, they're in order of my life's path, if you will.  It's such a warm/awesome/encouraging feeling to have people from all stages/places/circles of life continue to come around us and support us in so many ways.

Two wonderful friends from high school threw a shower for us in Topeka!
Such yummy food!
So many cute decorations, thanks to this talented, creative lady!
A special gift from the neighbors who where there for my parents when both my brother and I were born.
They gave Q a big baby bottle bank when he was born, so this was a nostalgic gift.
My brother and sis-in-law know my hubby all too well!  ☺
A most special gift from my jr. high/high school band director's wife.
(Yes, this one evoked a couple tears.)
Of course, my mom found a cat book!
Such a special gift from my BFF - a beautiful handwritten wall-hanging for the nursery.
(It's a Bible verse!  Joshua 1:9)
2/5 of the family I baby-sat for for several years from jr. high - college.  That super-grown-up young lady in the middle was the last true newborn who had been in my care regularly!  So...
...I'm thankful this pretty lady helped provide a newborn refresher course a few months ago! ☺
Love this sweet new mama!
Lovely hostesses!

Our Lincoln(area) family threw us a shower, as well!
I couldn't get over the bow-tie forks.  So cute, right?!
The amazing baker/decorator of the delicious cookies - and a wonderful friend! ☺
"The three best friends..."
This guest book became an adorable wall-hanging!
So fun!
This hand-made decoration got to come home with us to find a spot in the nursery, as well!
Such a sweet, cozy quilt from one of my very-talented aunts!
We were overwhelmed by the generosity shown to us and our son!
(The guests brought books instead of cards!)

Our BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group threw us and a couple engaged to be married a joint shower one night after study.  There were ice cream sundaes, adorable cakes, sweet words of encouragement and prayer, and an outpouring of unexpected gifts.  They sure know how to make a couple feel special!

When I arrived to teach lessons for the last time at the community center where I've volunteered for the past couple of years, there was a sign directing me to the eating area, and this is what was waiting for me!
What a sweet (in every sense of the word) surprise!
One of my students got in on the celebration!
Other students had kind notes for me.

A dinner invitation from our neighbors turned out to be a surprise baby shower with a couple other couples!
We felt so celebrated and supported and are very thankful to live by such wonderful, thoughtful people.
This quilt, made by one of the ladies' mothers, was one of several generous gifts.

Our church family blessed us with an absolutely adorable (and fun!) shower.
Several ladies came together to make it a really enjoyable morning with lots of delicious (and cute) treats!
This was melted were the messes in 7 other diapers.
The goal was to try to guess what candy bar each was!
Little baby leg warmers!
A most perfect outfit!
Homemade hot fudge favors!
(For the record, we'd received some of this for Christmas, as well, and it was definitely something I'd partaken of during pregnancy.  Needless to say, I was very excited to receive a refill! ☺)

Even though we're not right next door, anymore, our former neighbors continue to bless and support us.
What a sweet surprise this hand-knit afghan was!

I'm truly at a loss for words.  We're just so thankful!

Everything has continued to go smoothly with this pregnancy.  We're down to weekly check-ups, now - hard to believe it's gone so fast!  Thank you for all your love and support, whether it be cards, gifts, words of encouragement, helpful hints and advice, and/or prayers!  It takes a village, and we're so glad you're part of ours.  ☺

As usual, thanks for reading.  We'll see if I get any more posts in before this baby makes his entrance! ☺


Favorites of the day:
the nursery!  (pics to come soon, hopefully)
my husband

Friday, May 19, 2017

New(ish) Job Title!

"Home Shopping Clerk"

That's it.  That's my newest job title. ☺

About 10 months ago, I started working at HyVee.  As some of you know, I love grocery shopping.  I had been known to say, "I'd do this for other people...paid or not!"  And now, I'm getting paid to do it...for real!  Dream come true?!  I'd say yes.

The store is about three minutes from our house, so it was the one I shopped at before applying for the position.  I always saw these home shoppers in the store, and thought, "I wonder if that's all they do..."  So, I decided to just ask!  The girl I asked told me that yes, indeed, she was just there to shop for customers' online grocery orders.  She also told me to apply right away, because they were short-staffed and in need of help.  I applied shortly thereafter and was hired about five minutes into my interview.

After some general training, it was official!  My schedule at HyVee is flexible, because they understand this isn't my only job, so I'm able to work some weekday mornings and have afternoons open for teaching lessons, etc.
Least favorite part about the job: the uniform.
At least they spelled my name right.
First Day Flowers from my sweet hubby. ☺
People are always very curious about this, I'm going to assume you might be, too...?  Here are some FAQs and answers:

How do people place their orders?
Everything is done online!  I've not actually taken the time to go through the process of placing an order, myself, but pretty much anything any HyVee carries is available to put on an online order.  Sometimes, customers call to add things they might've forgotten, but that only happens occasionally.

How do you know what is on each order?
Technology.  Haha.  But really - each order is printed out, so there is a hard copy, but we also have scanner "guns" that we use to scan each item as we put it in the cart.  These make for a pretty fool-proof process - not only is there a picture of each item as you go along, but also, the gun won't let you scan the wrong item if you happen to pick up the wrong size, or something.  Sometimes, though, there are more shoppers than there are guns, so there have been times I've had to shop "by hand" using the hard copy list to check UPCs, quantity, etc.

What if you don't have something on the list?
Customers have the option to "allow substitutions" or "no substitutions."  If we are out of (or don't carry) an item on a list, and the customer allows substitutions, we can give them a different size/brand/flavor, as applicable, for the same price as the item they actually ordered (unless the substituted item is cheaper, that is).  For orders not allowing substitutions, items out of stock or unavailable are often "scratched" from the list, and the customer is not charged for these.  There are certain cases where I may substitute a different size or brand, depending on what the item is (i.e. it is evident they'd need it for a recipe, the item they ordered is no longer available, period, etc.).  I will often call customers to double-check these substitutions.

How do you know exactly what they want?
It's amazing to me how many options of everything are available to us, as Americans, anywhere and anytime...but esp. in grocery stores.  There are so many decisions to be made while grocery shopping!  Each customer's list is a starting point, but several judgement calls are left to me, as the shopper.  There is, however, a "comment" section that many customers utilize to make special requests, and these are usually very helpful.  My favorite/most memorable comment, to date, was something like, "3 green and 3 ripe bananas please" - in that moment, I knew for certain I'd been preparing for this job my entire life.  My mom regularly requested we pick out bananas this way when I was growing up, and it was a habit I adopted for myself, as well.  Other examples of customer comments include: requesting items they know we have in our store, but aren't listed online (because not ALL HyVee's carry that particular item); ripeness of avocados; special packaging for meat (i.e. 4 lbs. of ground beef packaged in 1 lb. increments); and one of my favorites (on an order allowing substitutions), "Please do not substitute anything but Fruity Pebbles for the Froot Loops with Marshmallows, or my grown husband will throw a fit."

Do you deliver the groceries?
I do not deliver the groceries; there are delivery drivers who do so.  I do, however, take "pick-up" orders out to customers, sometimes.

Do you receive an employee discount?
Yes!  We have access to a 10% discount coupon every pay period (every 2 weeks).  We also have access to damaged (non-perishable) items that are sold at a discount.  Yes, I love these perks.

How long will you keep working there?
This is a question I've been asked more recently, due to my current, growing "state." The answer: I'm playing it by ear.  I have some great coworkers who have been willing to help with the (literal) heavy lifting part of the job, and so far, I've been up for it's activity level.  I will not be back on a regular basis after our baby is born, but may stop in to help, on occasion - we'll see.  There's been talk of a HyVee opening that will be for online orders, only, so my job at my current store may be liquidated soon...who knows.  Either way, I'll continue to shop there and enjoy knowing/recognizing several employees while I'm there!

This does not fall under the question category, but I want to share it with you, anyway:
You may have seen something about this on Facebook at the time it happened.  HyVee's everywhere had the opportunity to participate in a "Springtime Party" contest, and our store was one of the participants.  The theme (each store chooses it's own) was "Kansas City," and each department was decorated as a well-known KC district/landmark/etc.  I happened to be working on the day of judging, and it happened to be a slow day, so when I arrived that morning, my manager, somewhat guiltily, told me he needed a favor...and really, that he'd volunteered me for something.  He went on to explain that our store would receive bonus points for up to ten different sample stations, and the bakery needed help manning theirs.  So, he was wondering/asking if I'd be willing to be the sample lady.  Of course, I said yes, and he went on to explain I'd be handing out Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake.  I said something like, "Seriously?!"  I think he thought I wasn't thrilled about it, and he said, "Are you sure you don't mind?"  I said, "Of course not - this is a dream come true!  For real."  I've always loved samples and thought it would be fun to be a sample lady for a day...and that day, I got to do just that!  Of course, for only a couple hours starting at 8:00 on a Wednesday morning, I didn't get a lot of traffic, but it was still fun...and yes, I got to partake in a sample...or two.  I was stationed by the donut case, and the most interesting part of the experience was how many people came back for their Wednesday morning "treat" only to be faced with the decision of whether to buy a donut or partake in a bite of free cheesecake.  Some chose the cheesecake, others stuck with their donut...but several (with my encouragement) treated themselves to both.  ☺
My cutting/serving resources were limited, so the pieces were a little unconventional...though, no one complained.  ☺
So, there you have it - another one to add to the always-growing résumé!  ☺  Happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Thank you, as usual, for reading and for your interest!


Favorites of the day:
feeling this wiggly/active baby boy moving inside me on a regular basis, now!
garage sales
being able to use Bed Bath & Beyond coupons at BuyBuyBaby