What is This Love?

I set out to write this blog recapping my first month of motherhood six weeks ago and yet as I cross over into the seventh week of writer’s block, I’ve yet to be anywhere near finishing this post.  I simply cannot find the words to adequately express the transformation I’ve experienced since Asher’s birth.  And, while I’m not quite sure I’ve found them, I do know that I’ve found a new me.. and I like her so much more.

Here are just a few of my recent “a ha” moments….

Love struck.
You see, I am a self-proclaimed lover of love.  Call me a romantic, sentimental type, but when it comes to all things close to my heart… all I need is love.  So, you’d think that since this baby grew inside of my belly for 10 long months… closer to my heart than anything before in my life, LOVE would have been the one thing I would have been prepared for the most.  Wrong.  This love is not like any other love I’ve known.  It’s an earth shattering, spidey-sense connection and complete and utter rapture of my heart not one pregnancy book writes about.  Why is that?!  I told my sister Emily that if I knew being a mom felt so amazing, I wouldn’t have put building my business over building my family for so long.

I have become an overnight expert.  Somehow.
A few weeks before my due date I asked my friend Serena who had just had a baby… “how did you know what to do? Did you read a book?” This just makes me laugh out loud!  I was so worried that I wouldn’t know what to do once I had Asher, but as soon as that boy popped into this world, God turned on the mom switch in my motherboard and I haven’t felt in the dark once.  Weird how that happens.  It’s funny.  Before baby, I used to encounter countless people who would over share parenting advice and child rearing woes to the point that it became annoying. ANNOYING.  I am one of those people now.  It first started with the second-by-second playback of my labor to my two sisters prepping them for their future children (which I’m certain they are now scared for life because of) and continues with each pregnant lady I see in Target.  All I want to do is share with every pregnant girl I see what products worked the best, what I couldn’t live without, what was a waste of money and so on.  Stop. It.  Heather.

Sleepless, Selfless Me.
I have NEVER been a morning person. Never.  So, a few weeks before I had Asher I slept in on a Saturday morning until 11:30a.m.  I remember thinking to myself in disparity “Well, I won’t be able to do this any longer soon, so I’ll enjoy these last few fleeting moments of teenage-like sleep sessions.”  I was actually sad that I wouldn’t have these ridiculously lazy days to waste away. My sleep deprived self is looking back on that conversation with my self in disbelief.  What a selfish, shallow thought. I have more energy now taking care of two human beings (me and Asher) than I ever had just caring for myself.

There is a new boss in town
One of the greatest discoveries being Asher’s mom has shown me is that a life lived for others is a life lived.  Before baby I was a workaholic.  And, while I don’t consider that a bad trait, it somehow became my only trait.  My parents always raised me to keep my eye on completing college and having a successful career so I never stopped to see myself as a mom.  And really, up until the day I found out I was pregnant I still hadn’t put myself in mom shoes.  Relating to other moms has always been a weird thing for me because I couldn’t understand all the women I knew who put their careers aside to raise their kids.  I get it now.  To see my son learn new things everyday and to be the ultimate source of survival for him is the most gratifying feeling in the world….nothing compares.  While I won’t be ditching the board room for the play room anytime soon, I have found a whole new source of joy and responsibility no business could have ever given me.  I know my schedule will never be the same and I’m okay with that.  When I told my parents I was pregnant my mom said “Let the sacrifices begin” and honestly, I’ve never been happier to put my wants and needs aside for someone else before.

This kid is one cool cat isn’t he?  😉 Asher Car seat

 

 

Asher’s Classic Baby Boy Nursery

Now that Baby Vreeland has been officially introduced as Asher Jordan Vreeland, I’m excited to share with you his classic baby boy nursery I’ve put together while anticipating his arrival.

Andrew and I’s personal design style is very neutral and simple so I set out to create a classic boy nursery free of brightly colored characters, patterns and trinkets and focused more on classic boy things and tried to incorporate items with meaning behind them.

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The crib and dresser are from Ikea.  While we frequent Restoration Hardware for our furniture though the house, I was determined not to go bonkers buying expensive nursery furniture.  The dresser used to be in our master bedroom but since we recently moved and are using another piece, I figured it’d be great to double as a changing table too so I just purchased the crib to match.  That crib was less than $300 with the mattress and all!  I did, however spring for a soft sheet set from Restoration Hardware with a simple flax strip and baby blue sheets.  Adore them.

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Those “boy” things I incorporated in the decor all have meaning behind them too.  Andrew is a lover of animals and sailing, great at golf, tennis, surfing and works in aviation so I used him as my inspiration.  Above I found this mobile on Etsy of handmade fabric birds and the colors matched this ABCs print that includes all those “boy” things too.  Perfect color match.

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The eagle is the mascot of Andrew’s alma mater Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.  This print was given to Andrew a few years ago from his mom for his birthday.  And those shoes were Andrew’s when he was a baby.

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The rocker I did splurge on.  I got this from Pottery Barn, but chose to save $500 by buying a poof from Restoration Hardware to rest my feet on instead of getting the matching ottoman.  Win win.  The great thing about this piece is that once Asher grows up we can easily move this piece into the living room and it will match our regular furniture.  You can switch out the legs too to make it a regular chair.

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I have an unhealthy addiction to stuffed animals so I could not pass up this giant teddy bear for my reading corner.  😉

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The cluster of wooden items hung above the dresser is kind of a funny story.  Andrew had accumulated these over time in hopes of using them in some decor in our house but I could never find the right spot for them.  They were piled together in our move and I noticed how the colors worked so well together and all the “boy” things fit perfectly with my theme for a sophisticated baby boy nursery so we screwed them into the wall and bam!  they look great!

But…

co-sleeper set up

…WHO really brings a newborn baby home from the hospital and lets him sleep alone in a nursery?  Not this girl.  For Asher’s first stages of life, we’ve found this little corner in our master bedroom to be the best mini-nursery for him complete with co-sleeper that snugs up to my side of the bed for easy access during the night and I’ve stuff the pockets with every easy-to-dress-him-in outfit for diaper blowouts, blankets, towels for diaper changing and of course… diaper changing supplies and bin.  Simple dimple.

Baby Vreeland is Here!

Exactly one week ago today at 9:17pm Andrew and I welcomed our son, Asher Jordan Vreeland into the world on Christmas Eve.  We are so grateful of all the love and congratulations that have been poured over us from our friends, families and co-workers this past week and wanted to share a bit of our experience and photos with everyone.  It was a life changing expereince and as I told Andrew the other night as we sat and watched him.  I don’t know how I’ve lived 33 years without him.  We are changed for the better.

Asher Jordan Vreeland

My Birth Experience…

I set out to have the most natural birth possible.  The way the good Lord intended it.  At first I was neither here nor there on which option I’d go with because I hadn’t really thought about it.  But after I watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born”  I was pumped to deliver naturally.  Thus the prepping began.  I read every blog, book and watched every natural labor video on Youtube to prep myself.  People.  Nothing can prepare you for labor.  All I have to say is Eve and that damn fruit.

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On the day of, I woke up at 3:08am with my first real contraction and labored at our house with our Doula, Christi Martinez, until about 3pm.  During this time I discovered that I could only labor in one position and that was sitting on an exercise ball.  Christi was an amazing asset during my entire labor.  My labor pains were all throughout my lower back so with every single contraction Christi massaged my lower back while also applying a heating pad to help me bare the pain.  I seriously could not have stuck it out naturally without her. I would have been heading to the hospital at 3am rather than 3pm that day.   I highly recommend hiring a doula!

Once the contractions got so intense it was time to bring this boy home and transition to Flagler Hospital.  I have always been so weirded out by hospitals so I had been poo-pooing the whole hospital part of delivery leading up to this day because… again in my mind I could do this… God made me to bare children… who needs hospitals.  Wrong.  I now love hospitals. Not only for the peace of mind, but the men and women who work in the Labor and Delivery department are amazing.  They were all so comforting, mother-like, reassuring and encouraging through the whole process.  I was sad each day when the nurses shift would change and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my nurse!

When I arrived at the hospital I was 9cm dialated and my bag was “buldging” as they say.  My midwife said okay, it’s time once I break your water, just a few pushes and this guy is going to be here.  At this point I was in so much pain that I had to prep myself through a few more contractions to be able to grasp the idea that the pain was probably going to get worse.  And it did.  Once I began pushing I became paralyzed with pain.  Not literally, but it certainly felt like it.  Whatever position he was in, it was preventing me from being able to be in any type of ideal labor position… let alone move at all.  Not to mention, I could no longer sit on the ball.  Even for my doula to raise my legs, it was excruciating.  I’m a tough girl, but I knew that after 12 hours of labor so far, exhaustion was going to get the best of me.  I didn’t have an ounce of energy left in me to find my focus and push through the toughest parts.  And I was okay with that realization.  So I threw out my code word “Bazinga” which Andrew knew to be my signal that I’m not kidding… I’ll take the epidural now.   I’m so glad I opted for this instead of letting my pride get the best of me because now I could actually calm down a bit, breath and live in the moment of what was happening.

Two hours later after pushing a lot, Baby Vreeland made his arrival at 9:17pm as Asher Jordan Vreeland.  Merry Christmas to us.

Andrew was photographer for the day and he captured these moments beautifully.

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When we relocated to St. Augustine I had to find a new OBGYN.  My friend Vanessa highly recommended Missy Rogero of Ancient City Midwives and I’m so glad she did.  Being treated by Missy is like having your best friend be your healthcare practitioner.  She is so vested in each of every one of her patients (which I’m quite positive might be every woman in St. Augustine because every where I go people tell me.. “Oh she delivered my baby!”).  When I met with her, I learned more about my pregnancy in the 30 minutes during my first appointment than I previously had at a regular OBGYN office for 6 months leading up to the time.

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I don’t have one ounce of regret from my birth experience. All throughout my pregnancy I met two different kinds of woman.  Those were adamantly against intervention and believed only in natural birth…. and those who were deathly afraid of birth and wanted the drugs.  I never met an in between woman who wanted to experience birth but also knew it was okay to have modern medicine intervene when necessary.  So, I’d say to my friends who will have kids in the future.  Try it out, experience what nature intends your body to do and if you can’t handle it, that’s okay.  The experience will be equally as beautiful.  Mine certainly was.

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Thank you just does not feel adequate enough for all the words of advice and encouragement from our friends and family as we awaited Asher’s arrival.  We are surrounded by some of the very best people in the world and feel incredibly blessed because of this.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Maternity Photos with Odalys Mendez Photography

It is Baby Vreeland’s official due date so I figured, what better time to share my maternity photos with Odalys Mendez Photography than today…. as I sit and wait.  😉

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We shot these at the end of September at Serenbe just before Andrew and I moved to St. Augustine.  Odalys actually shot on Fall 2013 cover of Occasions: Weddings Edition and as soon as I saw her images I KNEW I had to have her photograph my pregnancy!  Film photography is so soft and has such amazing emotion.  These images are near and dear to my heart!

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How AT&T and Comcast’s TERRIBLE Communication and Customer Service Cost Me $4,080.42 and a Month of Frustration.

This is an incredibly frustrating post to write, but I am so tired of being suckered by the terrible systems at large telecommunications companies that I cannot NOT share the recent incredibly frustrating experience I had with both AT&T (not my first time being completely raped financially by them) and Comcast, so other consumers will heed caution when selecting their services in the future.  What started with a simple need to set up internet at my new office, ended up with a $4,08.42 cell phone bill.

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Here’s where it all started….

Recently I relocated from Atlanta to St. Augustine, Florida and if moving itself weren’t incredibly frustrating being 8 months pregnant, dealing with the companies we use on a daily basis to function in our daily lives makes moving the ultimate pits.

Two weeks before our move to Florida I called AT&T to transfer our Uverse internet service to our new address in Florida.  I had been pretty happy with the service and have been an AT&T customer since I bought my first Nokia cell phone in a Walmart kiosk in 1999.  I’ve never switched since.   Unfortunately when I called, the customer service rep notified me that Uverse was not available in our neighborhood and that I had to get basic DSL.  I run a magazine and web publishing company and slow internet just isn’t acceptable.  So, I kindly told the rep that I wanted to do research on other options before I opted for DSL and just planned to close our Uverse account.

After seeking recommendations from friends, I called Comcast to find out about their home internet options and was pleased to find much faster options available in our neighborhood.  Winning!  Not so fast.  The customer service rep at Comcast then told me that because our house was new construction it was not in their system and she couldn’t sign us up until they verified our address.  So… she told me she entered a ticket into their system for their tech people (or whoever) to “check my wires” or “verify my address” and that I would hear back from them within 3 to 5 days to sign me up and schedule and installation.  She gave me a case number of #018182308  Five days later… still no call, so I recalled Comcast to check in and a second customer service rep told me that even though both of my neighbors on the right and left of our new house used Comcast, the address had yet to be verified or checked and that…. “I should hear from them in 3 to 5 days.”  So I continued to wait.

Fast forward to moving day as my husband is unpacking our moving van, I find myself on the phone with Comcast yet again to see if I can sign up for their internet.  Today, this customer service rep tells me that our address STILL has not been verified and that she cannot sign me up until it is.  I STRESS to her how important it is that I get internet fast and she tells me that she’s “escalated the case” and sent to her manager to hopefully push through faster.  So, I wait.

And then I get antsy.  I start tweeting @comcastcares on October 3, 2013 and explain the frustration.. I send my case number and get a response that corporate will call me. Corporate calls me twice to follow up on my Twitter complaint but I am never able to connect with the customer rep from Comcast corporate when I call them back and leave messages each time.  I tweet them again on October 7th with an update that I’ve still received no word and again… nothing.

I see Comcast van after Comcast van run through my neighborhood… I stop them, ask if they’re coming to my house… nope.  Nothing.  No word STILL TO DATE from Comcast home internet to follow up on my original case and install new internet. Terrible business practice right?

At this point, I still have no internet and I NEED to start work again!  So, in desperation… I began to tether my internet from my ipad to my computer in my office so I can do basic email work and I call back AT&T to set up basic DSL.  AT&T signs up me and schedules my internet installation for a week later.  During this time I continue to tether my wi-fi internet from my ipad to be able to work.

Our cell phone service is a corporate account where we have 6 cell lines for our company. We have one of those “unlimited” plans they jargon about, but unlimited is a LIMTED term. We actually have unlimited Voice and Text…. not data usage.  An expensive reality I’ve had to come to terms with as you’ll see below.

A week later, AT&T arrives to install our internet, but because the wires they originally buried in our neighborhood that run from our house to the main AT&T box on the street had been damaged, the installation technician cannot connect our house with the original wire….he has to run a new wire along the street to the main AT&T box and submit a request for AT&T to return to our house and rebury the main wire under both ours and our neighbors driveway.  So, he leaves us with internet and a wire running down the street.  Fine.

A week later a new technician that has been assigned to re-run/bury the main wire from our house to the AT&T box on our street (so we no longer have a wire running on the street for kids to trip on and for it to become damaged by cars, lawn mowers, etc) arrives at 9am in the morning and proceeds to connect the wire in our house to the broken wire that is already buried and leaves.  WTF.  That is the complete opposite of what he was supposed to do.  So, as a result of this… I have no internet again! 

I go back to tethering my ipad internet to my computer and call AT&T to explain that now my internet is not working…..for obvious reasons and the customer service rep schedules a repair technician to come out to my house…. one week later.

So, in order to work, I continue to tether my internet from my ipad to my computer.  Do you see a trend here?

One week later another repair technician returns to fix the problem only to tell me the VERY SAME THING the original installation technician told me and that was… “because the wires they originally buried in my neighborhood that run from our house to the main AT&T box on the street have been damaged, the installation technician cannot connect our house with the original wire….he has to run a new wire along the street to the main AT&T box and submit a request for AT&T to return to our house and rebury the main wire under the driveways.”

So…. she does just this, reconnects me to the internet and leaves with a wire across our driveways (ours and our neighbors) and assures me that AT&T will return to bury those wires… the right way.  A few days later the same AT&T tech who connected my wires to the old, damaged wires arrives at my house to do the job correctly now…. only he cannot because it’s garbage day… we’ve just moved so we have A LOT of debris set out by the street and it’s covering where he has to dig to repair the wire.  He explains this to me and tells me he will return tomorrow to complete the fix.

To date…AT&T has STILL NOT RETURNED TO BURY THE WIRE and COMCAST HOME INTERNET HAS YET TO CALL ME TO INSTALL INTERNET ON MY STILL PENDING TICKET.

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During this time, I realize that AT&T DSL internet is NOT fast enough for me to work the way I need to.  My company uses virtual online servers and syncing all of our company data on internet that has only 6mbps of download and 1.5mbps of upload speed is like working in reverse.  So, in frustration, in October 21st I start to research other internet options available to me… and low and hold I come across Comcast Business Internet and Phone services that have speeds up to 100mbps…. so I call them.

AT this point, I am desperate for a better solution so I sign up for the $150 a month packages that gives me the fastest internet possible (works great!) and phone (which I don’t need, but they still give me).  This time the customer service rep tells me again, that my address needs to be verified, but she’s going to send me all the paperwork to sign and then call me back in 3 to 5 days to schedule my installation after my address has been verified.  Here we go again!  But, I guess when you sign up for the mamma – jamma – most – expensive – internet – you’ve – ever – paid – for – in – your – life ….. they bump your request right to the front of the line, because as soon as I signed that paperwork, three days later my address was verified and a week later my new, super fast internet was installed.  That was last Thursday, October 31, 2013.  Over a month after I began the hunt for new internet.

During this entire time, while I was waiting for either Comcast or AT&T to install our internet and while I was waiting for AT&T to repair the new internet they had just installed for us…. I had been using the wireless hotspot on my ipad to access internet on my desktop computer. BIG MISTAKE.

Last monday, I opened up my company AT&T Cell Phone bill to see a grand total of charges for the last month of $4,080.42!!!!!!!!  All the time I had been tethering my internet because of the drama I had between Comcast and AT&T I had racked up $4,000 in data usage charges.  I. Can’t. Win.  I feel defeated after this entire process but I will not back down in my quest to get resolution from all of this.

I acknowledge and accept full responsibility that I used the services provided for me by AT&T Cellular Service to tether my ipad internet to my computer periodically during the month of October 2013…. however I did so because of the negligence of both AT&T and Comcast….. and for that I do not believe I should be responsible for the entire amount. 

It’s companies like these that make it absolutely ridiculous to get anything done because of their ill organization systems and lack of communication across their teams.  Here, I was trying to do my due diligence way in advance of our move and because both AT&T and Comcast have holes in their system… I have to pay $4,000 because of it.  Not to mention the two internet services I now have set up at my house totaling about $200 a month.

I have called AT&T customer service with no success at reducing this bill or even an offer to break up payments!  Here’s something AT&T and Comcast should both know… I will not stop until this is taken care of.  I have been a customer of AT&T since 2001 and will not simply fork over $4,080.42 because of your terrible customer service and systems.  I will tweet, facebook, blog, go to the local newspapers, local tv stations, complain to the FCC and call President Obama himself if I have to until I get the solution I deserve.

My contact information is below….

Phone number is 770-595-6911
AT&T cell phone account number: 287241346489
AT&T DSL Account number: 90481999596370566
Comcast original case number: #018182308

I expect a call from both Comcast and AT&T to resolve this situation.

Status to date… 

11.9.13 – no word from either companies.
11.12.13 – AT&T called and reduced my bill by $500.  The customer service rep said she could not justify any more of a reduction because I received text messages stating that I was nearing my limit and/or went over.  I did NOT receive a text message for every time they added an additional gig to my account for $15 each… furthermore.  AT&T should not be authorized to automatically add gigs to my account.  They should shut my service down and make me call to acknowledge the new charges… especially when they total $4,080.42!!
12.2.13 – AT&T reduced my bill an additional $500 and I paid off the remaining balance… read more on why here:  http://www.heathervreeland.com/2013/12/why-i-chose-to-pay-att-and-not-fight-the-data-overage-charges/