In all reality, it is not often that we take a step back to count our blessings. We are busy wiping runny noses, doing laundry, running businesses, driving our kids to and from school...grocery shopping, dance class, dinner, phone calls...where do we find all of the time?? I have written here on the RuffleBlog for a few years now. I have shared and exposed the good, the bad and the ugly of my life as an entrepreneur, a wife and a first-time mom. Many days when I sit down to write, I am overwhelmed, run-down, and dealing one fire or another here in the office. Sound familiar? That has never taken away the fact that I LOVE my job, our customers, and our creations. I love the fact that I get to do something that makes me happy, makes our employees happy, makes our customers happy, and that we get to pay it all forward.
I have always been extremely grateful for my situation in life, for my family and this business, but it wasn't until Layla Grace made her footprint on my life, that I truly realized life's incredible blessings. Aubrey is growing up so quickly and I am treasuring every moment. When she decides to turn the roll of toilet paper into a river of white through our entire house, instead of getting frustrated, I get out my camera and laugh. When she dumps her food all over the rug, we play the pick up game and sing. I am far from the perfect parent, but certainly Layla has made me a better parent. Layla gave us all such an incredible blessing, the gift of appreciating our every day. Our every day moments with our children, our every day moments with our husbands, with our parents...at work, at home...life is so short and goes by so quickly.
I have said it before, and I will say it again and again...thank you. Thank you to our incredible customers. I am in complete awe of the way that you came together in support. I knew that I worked with amazing people on a daily basis, but you guys really blew me away. I feel so incredibly fortunate to create frilly little designs to decorate the bums of your children, your grandchildren. I am honored that you choose our products and even more so that you take the time to share your positive experiences. Thank you to our RuffleButts team, for making my daily work life so fun! I could not do it without each and every one of you. Thank you to Mark, my hubby and our RuffleButts COO. I can't even begin to imagine doing this without him. Thank you to my friends and family for putting up with my crazy and chaotic life. For loving me anyway!
I am so excited for what's in store for RuffleButts this year. We have fun new prints, new styles on the way. A photo shoot scheduled for next weekend and lots of surprises in store! I am thrilled to share this journey with you, and honored that you want to be a part of it. I am so very grateful!
Let me warn you, this is not my typical entrepreneurial story or advice, nor is it fun RuffleButts information. If you choose to read on, I will probably stray from my typical P.C. and positive personality, as this story was one that I will not soon forget...
It was a Sunday, late morning, as Bridget and I made our way to the O'Hare airport in Chicago. I will be sure to write more about the trip here over the next day or two, as that story is a lot more fun (we went Oprah Show!!)...don't get too excited here, we went to the show, not on the show =) Anyway, we had just enjoyed such a fabulous girls' weekend in Chicago with our other friend Elizabeth...lots of wine, shopping, laughing, and best of all, relaxing!! As we made our way to the Blue Line, of course we passed the regular "special" people in the station, and made our way to the first row of seats. We settled in for our 45-minute ride. I have always considered myself a "big city girl", even though I was born and raised in KY, I have always had a special appreciation for both NYC and Chicago. My mom is originally from the Windy City and tons of our friends currently call it home. Until now, I have never really felt in any way unsafe when visiting. I have to wonder, is this experience normal??
So, on goes the story that has now convinced me that I will raise Aubrey in a bubble...We are seated in the front row, with one gentleman sitting behind us. Well, he turns out not so "gentlemanly"!! I get that uneasy gut feeling, but found myself in a mental discipline, as I never ever want to be one to stereotype or judge. I thought maybe my recent months of living in this peaceful small-town had started to cloud my judgement, but I soon came to realize that us women should ALWAYS listen to our gut.
I continued with this uneasy feeling for about twenty minutes, but finally just convinced myself to relax and enjoy the ride. I felt the guy staring at us, but there's usually no harm in a little staring. It was then that I noticed a very "look at me" up and down motion behind us. I tried to ignore this guy who obviously needed a little attention and continue in my conversation. I noticed that Bridget didn't seem very interested in what I had to say, but then again, she had been stuck with me for three days straight by this time! Then, my phone buzzes and I open my email to find a picture of Aubrey atop our kitchen table (a whole other story to this one!!). As I show Bridget the picture, our little "gentleman friend" inquires into my daughter's age. It was then that I realized that this up and down motion came with a very large erection...one that was blatantly out and about (and I mean really OUT) just one row behind us. What in the heck??!!! Seriously, what is wrong with some people! I really didn't know what would come next...was he going to cover us in something that would haunt me for years to come? Was he about to pull a knife and put it to my throat? I didn't want to over-react, but I also needed to keep Aubrey's mommy in one piece. So, I type a text message and turn my phone to Bridget. It is then that I notice that she won't even look at me...she is shocked out of her mind, as she has been aware of our little situation for the past 15 minutes or so. She had been counting down the exits out load...but again I just thought she was ready to get home! She was, but for a reason that I never would have anticipated.
So, we decide to move to different seats at the next stop and search the billboards for some type of "help" #. I was really shocked that there really isn't a lot of security in place. If things had taken a turn for the worse, I truly wasn't sure how to even react. As we made our move, the guy then decided to turn around in his seat to stare at us eye to eye. It was this that took us from scared to pissed. Who did this guy think that he was?! I picked up my phone and started to dial looking him right in the eye, while Bridget mouthed to him "enough"...go tough mamma!! It was with this that he decided to step off the train at the next stop...thank goodness!
It took us a good twenty minutes to start to relax and find a little humor in the situation, but I have to say that I have not felt so violated in quite a long time. As we finally sat at our gate, we really couldn't stop laughing!! Not that this was a typical funny experience, but we found humor in the fact that this was the ending to our relaxing and fairly uneventful girls' weekend. I know I will quickly move past this little experience, but it really made me think about raising Aubrey in this crazy world. We really have to prepare our children for the inevitable experiences that will color their rainbow world, but to be honest, for the time being, I just want to raise her in a pretty pink little bubble!
It has been a bit of a journey on these...we worked with a new factory, we found the perfect swimwear fabrics, developed them, shipped them to the factory, and then poof, everything was gone, just days before we were supposed to receive the entire shipment of production. Well, lesson learned and doors opened. Everything happens for a reason, right! Well, I am so excited to introduce a wardrobe essential for every little cute patootie...
And yes, Aubrey was roped into being our official "Bikini model" since we were on such a tight time-frame! I'm a proud little mama =)