Thursday, January 25, 2007

Boy or Girl??? Belly shot at 20 weeks

And all the u/s pictures:

Baby Dreams...

Having the 20 week ultrasound is always a landmark event! Here is what I had to say about the ultrasound:

Well, [the gender is] still a surprise. I let the tech know right away I didn't want her to look if she didn't have to. She did a great job. It was a little suspicious there for a while as she had to get a measurement of the femur (3 times!!!), and I thought we were getting too much of a view of the crotch, but I didn't notice any bumps either way. You know that with u/s you see lots of shadows of things and it looks odd at times and all she has to do is move the wand a little bit and it either scans deeper or not as deep and things can look sooooo different (like we saw the lens of the eye if she held the wand a certain
way). With all the friendly banter that was going on and the wagers on boy or
girl, I wondered if she didn't try to "peak" to see for herself. Well, if she
found out anything, she did a great job of hiding it from us. I asked dh if he
had any suspicions, but all I got out of him was an "I didn't see anything."
Followed by a "When is your u/s?" arrrrgggghhh. I ended up with both of my
little ones in there, dh and his sister. It was a pretty fast scan.

The baby looked great and so far the doc hasn't called with anything (we saw her
afterwards, but she hadn't received the report yet). The baby was head down, and
laying face down in the placenta (which means that it's on my back wall and it
is at least lower). I didn't have the guts to ask the tech if it's too close to
the cervix. I couldn't handle that news just yet. We got great views of the
spine, but couldn't get a real clear profile view. We saw the kidneys, bladder,
and all four chambers of the heart.

The baby's heartrate was 147 bpm at the u/s and in the office visit it was in the low 150s. Here are how my other children measured about the middle of my pg:
#1 (boy): 140 bpm
#2 (girl): 136 bpm
#3 (boy): 136 bpm
#4 (boy): 144 bpm
#5 (boy): 136 bpm
The baby measured right on for my due date (20 weeks) and is about 14 ounces. :)

I asked the doc about the itchy rash I STILL have on my legs. My mom has a similar rash and just recently discovered it was due to a low thyroid. So the doc had a thyroid test done.

Well I heard back from the doc today and the placenta is indeed low-lying. She did not put me on "pelvic rest" however and said that it is not nearly as bad this time as it was before [in my previous pregnancy]. She wants to check it again by ultrasound in 4 weeks, and they promptly scheduled that appointment. Arrrgghhh...another appt to resist finding out the gender, but always good to see the baby! :) Oh, and the thyroid test came back normal. I guess I will keep up with the lotion, it seems to be the only thing that is helping.

I took some photos but blogger doesn't want to add them for me... :( Keep watching, I'll get them on here somehow!

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Vision

I am aware that having a vision and a business plan are key ingredients to operating a successful business. For a long time, I maintained a very short-term view of the future and avoided a business plan that included long range goals. It seemed too big for me, even though I narrowed it down to two paths. I have spent the past 6 months up to my elbows in a real product line, with a real website, and just touching on the marketing it is very fun. I have not noticed much "growth" since July, but my gross sales are fairly consistent for each month, and that pleases me (better than declining!). I feel I maintained a good balance of reinvesting my profits.

For 2007, I will continue to reinvest a portion of my profits. I have to do that in order to grow at a faster pace. But also to keep my hubby happy, I also have to receive a paycheck, even if it's small at first. I have simplified my product line to include two core products (these have not launched on my site yet). These products will be a streamlined version of the "Cheekies" line of fitted diapers and a new line of One-Size Pocket Diapers. The new pocket diapers have been tested, and I'm here to tell you that these are "a better pocket diaper!" In the future I may also offer a line of Cheekies pocket diapers, but I am going to start with the two lines. I will particularly focus on the Little Cheekies newborn diapers. My simplified line will give you fewer options for instock diapers (custom orders will still be welcome, however). You will see diapers made from Organic Cotton Fleece and Hemp fleece, and occasionally cotton sherpa. There will be a "deluxe" version of the diapers which are lined with cotton velour or stay dry microfleece (both are yummy). The closure options will be side-snapping or front touchtape. The line of One-Size Pocket Diapers will come in solid colors with white microfleece inside. These will all be front-touchtape with a front outside pocket opening. I will have Limited Edition prints available as well.

Soon, when people come to my store to shop, they will find their options much simpler from the instock availability. My reasons for doing this are two-fold. One, it is much easier to maintain a reliable inventory of materials when my materials list is shorter. (And easier to order from a manufacturer when you order in significant quantities) Two, having a simplified product line will allow me to eventually begin wholesaling my products to other online retailers. In doing so, at least on a limited basis, I will drive up my sales to a more consistent level.

In addition to this direction, I am also beginning a local marketing campaign where I will market my diapers to my local community through a variety of outlets. Advertising in this way can be inexpensive, plus it can bring in customers new to the cloth diapering world, where there is no worry about a "saturated" online market.

Once I have increased the demand for the diapers to a level that is uncomfortable for me to operate at, I will have to research options for hiring help. That may be someone to work alongside me, or it may be an independent contractor (which the IRS frowns on). But I already have my eyes on some seamstresses in town...ones that I have trained! ;-)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

10th Anniversary!!

It is our 10th Wedding Anniversary today! Wow, it is amazing to look back over the past 10 years. It has flown by, and things have not always turned out like we expected them to. Well, I'm not going to do any deep reminiscing, only to say that God has been soooooo good to us. He deserves all the praise! Mitch's dad is going to babysit for us tonight so that we can go out. I'm not sure where we will go out, but at least the hard part of lining up a sitter is done.

I saw the doctor yesterday for a regular baby checkup. I am 17 weeks. We decided not to do the AFP or triple screen blood tests. She felt confident that the ultrasound tech would be able to pick up anything that looked abnormal and would schedule us for a more high-def u/s if needed, and I felt confident that I didn't need to see the results of the AFP (it has a very high false positive rate) but was willing to do it if she wanted to see the results. We scheduled that for 20 weeks. I am excited to have the ultrasound, but not as excited as I would normally be. We have decided not to find out what we're having (boy or girl), so there *shouldn't* be any big surprises that day. Mitch almost got in trouble when he asked me, "Is it important to you if I am there for that?" *wink wink* Duh!! This is a new doctor for me (my old doctor stopped delivering babies), and I would like him to meet her at least once. The appointment itself was fine, but crazy. I had taken Zeke and Josh along, thinking it would be fast and they wouldn't be too bad. As soon as I got on the table to listen for the baby's heartbeat, Josh started freaking out. So the dr. put him on the table with me and he just sobbed--poor kid. When the doc picked up the baby's heart beat I guess Zeke started to do a little dance because she asked him if he was getting into the groove. She then picked up both my heartbeat and the baby's together and it was a really funny groove. =) I'm not sure what I'll plan to do with those two for future doctor visits.

This morning I unfolded yard after yard of fabric, counting and refolding, which subsequently gave me a headache. I don't have the grand total yet, but I bet it ain't perty. This for my end of the year inventory for taxes. Ouch. Anyone can look at "the wall" of fabric in my room and tell there's a lot there. However, I frequently finding myself in need of more. Isn't that sort of sick in a way? I hope to have a better handle on inventory in 2007. Maybe streamlined a little bit. I do have some good plans and goals. I can't wait to see how much of the $3,000 gross income I made in 2006 is actual profit. Now THAT will be fun information. I just am not looking forward to the future headaches involved in figuring it out. Mitch bought me a new babylock imagine wave serger back in September. I still love that machine like I got it yesterday. I don't think he'll ever have to buy me another birthday or Christmas present again. I can just go sew something and be happy. Wow. I should take a pic of me and my baby. :) Now if I can clear 2006 in the black counting my serger, plus the wall of fabric, that would truely be something!!

That's about it for now.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

We had a fun-filled New Year's Eve celebrating with friends and playing games. We stayed up way too late!!

The snow didn't really make it in time for Christmas, but it sure did look pretty last night!!