Changing the world one white chocolate mocha at a time.

Over the course of  July, guest bloggers from around the world share their good, bad, or ugly customer service experiences. It’s a place to complain, rant, and highlight opportunities for companies to improve. But, this series is also a place to celebrate when companies do well, processes work effectively, service representatives are our advocates, and we leave a situation as stronger believers in the product or service than we started. 
Stacy: Lover of Starbucks and birthday wishes

Stacy: Lover of Starbucks and birthday wishes

Today’s blog comes from Nebraska via Hawaii. Stacy is a good friend from high-school, has the most infectious laugh, and is one of the most positive people I know. I think it also helps  that her older sister is my life-long BFF. 

 

So I am sitting here in my local Maui Starbucks working on my pile of “to-do’s” from work.  As I glance over at my cup, I noticed the barista spelt my name right, which most people don’t since it’s not the most common way of spelling, “Stacy”. There’s something about your name being spelt right that just makes you smile.  It then reminded me of my awesome customer service experiences I have had with this company.  A company which many believe is too corporate or commercialized.

The first goes back to January.  It was my birthday, and my birthday drink didn’t pop up in my Starbucks app yet.  I was looking forward to my drink, along with all the well wishes a birthday usually entails.  Well, the app hadn’t come through and neither did the well wishes.  It was probably the worst birthday I’ve had.  Though I’m not the type to like to be in the spotlight, for some reason, it bothered me that no one remembered.  To top it off, work was stressful and I just wanted to go home and have my free birthday drink.  But it still never popped up.  I went home and my husband told me to call customer service and ask them about my birthday drink.  I was so fed up with the day by that point that I almost didn’t call.  Eventually I called and spoke to a customer service representative (I wish I knew his name).  After explaining the reason for my call he said, “Well first of all, Happy Birthday!”  He was the first person, besides my husband, to tell me happy birthday.  He had just made my day! And to top it off he said he would also load three more drink rewards and $15 as a birthday gift!  I was floored by his kindness and generosity, and quickly exclaimed, “You just made my birthday!  Thank you!”  I’m sure he didn’t fully understand what that meant to me, but it was the kindness of this stranger that turned my whole birthday around.

It's all about the personal touches.

It’s all about the personal touches.

My other experiences have to do with the joy you feel when someone remembers your name or simply spells your name correctly as I shared earlier.  I am a Maui girl transplanted to the land of corn in Nebraska.  I had gone into my local Starbucks in Grand Island and I had another discrepancy in my Starbucks Rewards account.  The date on my drink reward was the previous day, but it still said “available.”  I went in to ask, not expecting much since the date was actually expired, but it doesn’t hurt to ask right?  So they tried using the code, which of course showed up as expired and unavailable, but before I said anything the barista said he would just put the drink order through.  Having originally ordered a hot drink, he asked if I had ever tried the frappuccino version since it was so hot out.  I pondered the offer, but initially declined since he had already written on my cup.  He insisted that if I wanted the frappuccino he could easily change it and that it was no big deal.  So I said okay.  It was almost 95 degrees out, so why not?  After I got my drink I thanked the baristas for being so awesome and friendly.  As I walked out I noticed that they had written my name on my cup, as they usually do, but then realized that he hadn’t even asked for my name!  And to top it off, he spelt it correctly!  It made my day that I was recognized by my local Starbucks baristas (I’m sure your name pops up when they scan your card, but it still makes me feel special), bringing a personal touch to what feels like such a commercial world.

And now that brings me to today.  I’m home on a short vacation, but that can’t take away from my typical routine of finding a Starbucks to sit down and get some work done.  Yes, it is a simple thing to get the spelling of your name correct, but that’s probably the most personal and defining thing about yourself…besides maybe your birthday!  So, I suppose Starbucks has gotten two things right.  They’ve touched me on a personal level through their customer service and I appreciate all they have helped me get through:  from countless all nighters for exams and projects, to my past birthday, one white chocolate mocha at a time.

 

 

Have you experienced such positive and uplifting experiences from a company like Stacy has? What was your experience and how has it reinforced your support of the brand or product?

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

There’s no exchange of moolah behind these blog pages, pro-deals, or freebies with this series. What you see is what you get; real stories from real people who are sharing their experiences to challenge the status quo, inspire companies to take action, and ultimately build a life long customer. Be sure to check back this week!

July 18: A Stranger in a Strange Land by Sandra Boedecker

July 15: I have renamed my WiFi network “TimeWarnerisHorrible” by Chris Miller

July 13: Our love affair with the world’s most hated airline by Kayla Robertson

July 12: Treat others how you would want to be treated. by Kristin

July 10: Where’s the Line? by Kristin McGunnigle

July 8: Do customers dream of electric sheep? by Stephen Ellis

July 5: Nike earns an A+ by Jackie Ostlie

July 3: How to Please the Queen by Katrina Taylor

July 1: Are you kidding me? by Evelyn Wolf

Treat others how you would want to be treated.

Over the course of  July, guest bloggers from around the world share their good, bad, or ugly customer service experiences. It’s a place to complain, rant, and highlight opportunities for companies to improve. But, this series is also a place to celebrate when companies do well, processes work effectively, service representatives are our advocates, and we leave a situation as stronger believers in the product or service than we started.  
My fellow Hawaiian and Nike+ addict.

My fellow Hawaiian and Nike+ addict.

Today’s blog post comes from a fellow Hawaiian. Kristin is more of a tech geek and early adopter than I am, though she’ll never care to admit it. Case in point, the Nike+Fuelband. Her superpowers include wit and mind-reading.  She makes you laugh so hard you’re crying and somehow she always knows when you need a kombucha and a high-five.

When it comes to dealing with customer service, I’ve always focused on the idea to ‘treat others how you would want to be treated.’  It seems pretty logical to me that if you desire good service, you set the stage, be the example – you set the tone of the attitude of the conversation.  About 99.9% of the time, this actually works for me.  The outcome usually is a win/win between me and the company, and it’s all good.

However, that .1% just happened to me, and it got quite ugly.

My family and I had recently moved into a new home and we were going through the painstaking process of mail forwarding, setting up utility accounts, etc. On ‘my’ list was to set up our cable/internet service.  I called our previous service provider, Comcast, and asked for our account services to be moved to the new address.  I was also interested in seeing if I would get a reduced rate (perhaps a new fun bundled package)  on the services since it was a new home.  The agent who answered the phone sold me on a bundle (it was going to save me some money) and also offered their newly established home security package.  The way they ‘sold’ it to me, it was not going to cost us a cent more than what we had previously been paying just for cable and internet.  Since we needed a security system in our home, I agreed to talking through rates and having an installer come out to see what we could do.  They scheduled the date, and we were set to go.

When the installer came, he set up our cable and internet, and then attempted to install all of the security items.  Needless to say, it was a long process and he made a few errors along the way, but I trusted him that he was the expert and gave him the space.  However, even upon instruction, he still was unsure of how it all worked.  Again, I gave him some grace, as perhaps our install was a little more difficult given it was a new home.

Well, the install was not done properly, and essentially, we got a little frustrated with the way it worked, and the next day, attempted to make a ‘return’ on the home security.  The representative did tell me that I a month to try it out, and if it wasn’t working out, I could return it for a full money back guarantee.

Thus begins my ‘journey’ with my motto of ‘treat them as I would like to be treated’.

I made a total of 6 different calls and online chats to Comcast’s customer service department.   I have never experienced a more disjointed series of events with a company, ever.  I had each agent literally promising me things that never came through, and then each time I spoke with them, they were ‘not able to see the transcript of my last chat’.    Having to re-explain everything each time I spoke with them became the true test of my patience.

However, it was between the effort of my 5th and 6th attempt with them that truly skyrocketed my own attitude to orbit.

I was online with an agent, explaining to them that I had not been credited my full amount of money that I fronted to them upon installation of the home security services.  There was a difference of about $400 that was completely missing from their ‘files’ – and I wanted it all back.   I had bank statements open in front of me , dates and receipts –  I had it all and was fully prepared.  The agent online went to check with her supervisor on the status of my account, and assured me that we would be getting a refund in order.  While she was ‘checking’ on it, I got a call.   It was another agent from Comcast, the same company.  So, I was ‘chatting’ with someone online, while another agent actually calls me on the phone.  The second agent on the phone proceeds to tell me that there is nothing they can do with servicing me my money back, while I have the first agent online telling me the complete opposite.

It was a glimmer of hope and despair all at the same time.

What was the result?  Well, according to the agent on the phone, I was not to receive any money back, and that the agent online was misinformed.

Photo Credit: info.hoganassessments.com

Photo Credit: info.hoganassessments.com

My pleasant attitude went out the door in less than 10 seconds.

“Why am I being told two completely different things by the same company AT THE SAME TIME?”

“I’m not sure ma’am, but I am the one with your account open and we do not see any errors”

“Well can you see in your systems that I am chatting with someone online?”

“No”

Round and round.  It went like this for about 15 minutes. 15 long, frustrating, minutes.

Well, how did this all turn out?  A month later, I finally got in touch with an actual, live, local Comcast representative who escalated this to higher management and got me my credit back.  

Oh, and for the record – they WERE able to pull up all of my transcripts and see how I was told 6 different things by each agent…whew!

Did I certainly attempt to keep my attitude pleasant through each interaction?  Yes!  Treat them as you would want to be treated.  But to be treated in the way I was treated by this company – My attitude was sure tested.  I just hope that they realize that my whole intention was to try to understand and be pleasant.

I can’t imagine being as patient as Kristin, especially being $400 poorer and a new homeowner. Actually for a fact I know I’m not, as seen by my experiences with online floral companies here and here. I have no idea what Comcast’s agents were doing or why their transcript screens weren’t working or even why their service responses were inconsistent.  Regardless Kristin challenges us to take the higher road, even when the company doesn’t deserve it and works with the company to identify areas of growth so others don’t have to experience what she did. Have a similar experience to share? Post it in the comments! 

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

There’s no exchange of moolah behind these blog pages, pro-deals, or freebies with this series. What you see is what you get; real stories from real people who are sharing their experiences to challenge the status quo, inspire companies to take action, and ultimately build a life long customer. Be sure to check back this weekend for an upcoming post courtesy of Kayla Robertson who shares her experience with possibly the the worst airline ever.

July 10: Where’s the Line? by Kristin McGunnigle

July 8: Do customers dream of electric sheep? by Stephen Ellis

July 5: Nike earns an A+ by Jackie Ostlie

July 3: How to Please the Queen by Katrina Taylor

July 1: Are you kidding me? by Evelyn Wolf

Top 16 Highlights of June

Honestly, I can’t believe it’s practically July. I feel like we just started June and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But it’s been an eventful, fun-filled month. So eventful in fact, that I had to increase my  highlights from 10 to 16! What can I say, June was a great one. Without further adieu, Here’s the top 16 highlights of the past month.

1.  Life is only better with Minnie in it.  Besides nothing says, “June is going to rock” than a birthday part on June 1st with a piñata and La Palomas.

Lindsey's Birthday Party

The infamous pinata

2.  Father’s Day.  It warmed my heart that dad opened the door with a “Kailua Boys” shirt on.  Thought it was quite fitting since we were looking at his completed ’67 bug for inspiration for Kyle’s bug.

Father's Day 2013

Father’s Day 2013

3. Rachel is getting married. I’ve been blessed to have been ‘adopted’ by her and her family in college.  Holidays and life wouldn’t quite be the same without wheat-thins and cheese ball. I’m thrilled to see her start a new adventure with her soulmate in a few weeks!

Rachel's Bridal Shower

Rachel’s Bridal Shower

4. Survived my first bike ride in the city.  I got into cycling while we were living on the east-side and fell in love with the Sammamish River Trail. Unfortunately, the closest trail is the Burke and I’m trying to build up the courage to get further along in the city on two wheels. I just need to figure out how to avoid getting freaked out by cars and stop signs.

Survived my first bike ride in the city.

Survivor!

5.  The blender that will change your life. And your pocketbook. But seriously, we love our  Vitamix. It’s made us adventurous in our recipes and healthy too! So far, we’ve been on three weeks of green-smoothies!   I can’t wait to share more about how we’re using it in a later post! Be sure to check back!

The Vitamix

The Vitamix

6. Care packages from Hawaii. This box of goodies arrived from back home as a thank you. Nothing says “homesick’ that the good stuff.

Love the Naito's!

Love the Naito’s!

7. Patty’s Eggnest. This breakfast joint is a must-stop experience in Seattle. We only stumbled upon this “classic” when we moved in. I’d say more people commented on Patty’s then our home. But who’s counting? I’m not, especially when you get this grub for $8!

Patty's Eggnest

Patty’s Eggnest

8. New Mattress. It’s a long story. But after not being able to get our boxspring up the stairs, our mattress was  on the hard-floors for nearly 4 months. We finally bit the bullet and invested in a new mattress from Macy’s. Let’s just say this bed has changed my life and my back.

New Mattress!

New Mattress!

9. My new twin. This four year old is amazing. Brilliantly sharp, sweetest heart, obedient, hysterical, and OMG all around awesome. I could go on. We were meant to be soul-mates. I mean, seriously, who plans outfits like this in advance? Need I say more?

My new best friend.

My new best friend.

10.  The Pet we never asked for. Herbert. There’s quite  a funny background to this highlight. Be sure to catch it and his friend, “The Gnome” here.

Speechless.

Speechless.

11. SUP Yoga. This is the second event I survived this month. I’m sure that says something. In all seriousness, Katie and I signed up through Groupon for three sessions. Today was our first session and we made it!  We have SUP boards and love it but let me be honest, adding the yoga element brings a whole new definition to the word, “balance.” We can’t wait for our next classes!

Surf Ballard

Surf Ballard

12. Greenwood Fair and Car Show. This was the first time we’ve ever attended, even after living here for 13 years!  There were so many great cars and people. We even got to hang out some with some locals from Hawaii who have their own VW bug club. I’m secretly wishing that we can get in regardless of the fact that I am Hawaiian but don’t look like it and Kyle is a haloe. Who knows? Maybe I need to bust out by family tree.

Taking "shut the front door" a bit too literal.

Taking “shut the front door” a bit too literal.

14. Surprise reunion! These peeps are some of our faves and they just got back from China. Needless to say, we were shocked to run into each other at Naked City while checking out the Greenwood Car show. I guess great minds think alike when it’s hot and you just need a beer.

The Boedeckers!

The Boedeckers!

15. My surprise office! Kyle is the best at keeping secrets and my office decor was no match for this tight-lipped hubby of mine.  Read the ‘surprise that ends all surprises’ here!

Completed Mur Decal DIY by Kyle.

Completed Mur Decal DIY by Kyle.

16. Friends. It’s great to be back in Seattle and catch up with dear friends. Living on the eastside made it so difficult to maintain and keep up with those closest to us. I know, it was only 45 mins away but you’d be surprised what that extra time does to your relationships!  Times like these are the confirmation that we made the right decision to move back.

Love this girl!

Love this girl!

Finally, I’m excited to share that for the month of July, there will be a series of guest bloggers who will be sharing their customer service experiences here! Stories will range from the good, the bad, and the ugly. But one thing is true, is that it happened and it happened to these people. Be sure to check back over the course of July and comment, like, and give your thoughts on what customer service should be like!

Day 29: Home Sweet Home

The theme for the 29th is quite fitting, especially since we’re in the middle of the entire house-hunting process.  And I’m taking this one literally….oh and a day late.

Home Sweet Home

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com….Home Sweet Home

Whomever said buying a home is easy and fun is lying. It’s not. Easy is planning a month long trip to Europe. Fun is learning a new language. This has been one of the most mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting experiences of our lives. Yes. I speak for the both of us.

I was naive in thinking that all my hours on Pinterest looking up “Inspirational Spaces” or home decorating ideas would be equally as inspiring. Nothing can prepare you for the house hunting, especially when you’re envisioning yourselves “at home” in every single home. Visit eight homes in one afternoon and that’s alot of “envisioning.”  So here’s our top twelve things you need to know before you decide to take the plunge. We wish we had someone to walk us through this process so that we’d be better prepared.

12. Find a great realtor. This will make or break it for you. We love Jamie and Sarah Reece. They’ve been in the business for decades, but aren’t stuffy. They’re honest, transparent and will have our best interests at heart….even if it’s telling me that the townhouse I fell in love with is a total compromise and we shouldn’t buy it. Also, if your realtors knows “Nightime-Daytime” from BBC’s animal voice overs, you know have a winner.

11. Make a list of the Must-Haves for your home. Don’t negotiate or compromise when you start….no matter how beautiful that garden is. If it doesn’t have “your kitchen” don’t settle for it.  Garage? Lots of storage? Location?

10. Make a list of the Nice-to-Haves. These are the negotiables. Covered Parking? Fireplace?

9. Pack your own food. It sounds lame but house hunting is exhausting and time consuming. Oh and you’re investing in something that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. We packed our own snacks and meals while we went on longer house hunting trips. I think I scared away my realtor with a “hangry” meltdown. Also, we knew that we’d have to get back into the habit of being on a budget when we bought our house. Gone are the days of unlimited access to Senor Taco.

Packed Lunches

Photo Credit: Familyfreshcooking.com

8. Downpayments. Unless you have 20% down don’t expect your mortgage payments to be similar to your rent. It won’t be and don’t be surprised.

7. Plan for closing costs. Depending on the home, plan for anywhere between $5000-$8500 in closing costs. This is in addition to your down payment. I realize this will totally vary per situation  or you may be lucky to have the seller pay this but don’t count on it. The point is that someone needs to pay the people pulling together the paperwork, sending the emails, running the figures, and locking in your interest rates. And that person is you! If you don’t have it, it will come out of your down payment which means a higher monthly mortgage payment.

6. Redfin is in, Zillow is out. Use a recognized and updated website. Redfin’s inventory is updated at the same time Windemere’s is which makes working with your realtor that much easier.

5. Compromise. You’re rarely going to find a home that has your entire list of must-haves.  Figure out what you’re going to compromise on.

4. New Home Buyers Part 1. Sock away a few extra thousand dollars for appliances. We’re finding that not all the new homes come with them and it’s not required. For example: One of the homes we were serious about didn’t come with a washer, dryer or refridergator/freezer. It would cost well over $3500 for appliances.  You can go to the laundry mat, but you sure as well need to store your food somewhere.

Smeg Refridgerator

Photo Credit: UKhomeideas.co.uk…Smeg Refridgerator

3. New Home Buyers Part 2: Get a home inspection. Yes, it’s new but you still need to fork over the money and get one. We did and dodged a bullet. At first glance the home was immaculate and drop dead gorgeous. Upon inspection, we learned the builder cut A LOT of corners. The roof wasn’t installed properly and there was  water damage in the ceiling, the siding wasn’t installed correctly and would need to be replaced along with the roof in less than two years, and the list goes on. For $425 we saved ourselves a massive headache and a waste of money.

2. Patience is a virtue. We found that we were creating a deadline for ourselves that didn’t need to be created. Maybe you have one and that’s totally understandable. But if you don’t have one, don’t settle. Ensure your future house is meeting 60-70% of your “Must-Haves.

1. Remember the purpose of your house hunt. It’s about you and your partner finding a home that will be a part of  your family, celebrations and memories. Don’t get caught up in the ancillary stuff and focus on what is most important.

Wherever we are together we are home.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com…Wherever we are together we are home.

Current Homeowners: Have advice for newbie and/or soon-to-be homeowners? What advice have you found to be the most valuable as you’ve experience buying-selling homes?

Disclaimer: We are not realtors. We aren’t experts in the housing market. We don’t pretend to be. This is just a list of things we’ve learned along the way. Good luck! 

Day 1: Surviving your spouse on an international trip
Day 2: Never order flowers online
Day 3: Bucket List
Day 4: Pet Peeves
Day 5: Biggest Fear
Day 8: A little honesty goes a long way
Day 10: A voice from the past
Day 11: Confessions from a wanna-be-cook
Day 13: Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel
Day 14: Hi my name is Jackie and I am addicted to Senor Taco.
Day 17: Daily Life in the Ostlie Household…in Rhyme

Day 19: Superpower = Life without pain
Day 20: The Beautiful Life
Day 22: The Kullbergs
Day 23: Dessert for Breakfast
Day 24: TV Teachers — Five Life lessons from the small screen
Day 27: Debt Regret

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Because January can be boring. Join us for a January Blog-A-Thon. Post a photo, video, sentence, anything that you want to! And if don’t feel inclined to blog, do come back and see what we’re up to. I can guarantee you’ll be entertained.

Day 24: TV Teachers — Five Life lessons from the small screen

I’m excited to have Ben Teoh, all the way from the land down under, guest blog for today’s January-Blog-A-Thon.  Ben has such a creative approach to content and life in general that I was thrilled when we decided to do a blog swap!  And I love this blog already…perhaps because there’s another fellow Jackie (albeit it famous one) mentioned here. Without further adieu….

Over the past thirty years, I’ve learned a lot and from different people – including some who aren’t real… and some who aren’t people.

TV Teachers

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was warned about getting square eyes from watching too much TV. I used to watch a lot. These days I’m a little pickier because I don’t have that much time to stay up-to-date with different series or sometimes I’d rather just put on a favourite movie.

But, over the years, through the lives (fictional or not) and stories that I’ve watched, I’ve taken away a handful of things that will continue to have some sort of impact on how I approach life. Here are five of them.

1) How to cook non-Asian food – Ian Hewitson
Like a lot of Asian families, we have a strong history of food that’s passed down through the generations. It’s fantastic – I love it. However, when you start to deviate from your family’s traditional cuisine, finding people to learn from is a little harder. Breaking out of those cultural boundaries can be tricky.

In my teen years, one of my favourite shows was “Huey’s Cooking Adventures.”  Some days after school, I’d come home, reheat a frozen pizza and sit in front of the TV learning all about Australian food. It was a fairly low-key cooking show and the food was super simple – that’s why I liked it. Huey cooked food like steak and stews instead of charsiew pau and otak otak.

2) Parenting – Bill Cosby
Recently, my wife and I watched the first few seasons of the Cosby Show and I was surprised at how differently I relate to the show now as a husband and a father.

When I was a kid, Theo was the coolest. But now, as an adult, I watch this fictional family and think about some of the values that are represented here from a father’s perspective. Having authority and respect but mixed with love and humor; firm discipline mixed with care and compassion; being slow to anger, quick to forgive.

3) How to be a hero  – Optimus Prime
In my younger years, I craved cartoons – especially on Saturday mornings. The cartoon worlds of He-man, Voltron and MASK seemed so simple. It was good vs evil and good (eventually) triumphed. The heroes were always the epitome of good and none more-so than Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots.

Timeless, hero qualities were displayed of courage, integrity, honor, valor and when we used to play ‘pretend’ I always wanted to be the hero. Even now, those are the values I still hold as important.

4) The importance of being aware – Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan. I love his movies – especially his older work. Back in the day when we had a VCD player (anyone remember those?), one of the first VCDs we bought was Jackie Chan: My Stunts where he gave a really good look into how he does things. One part shows him scouting a location for a movie and how uses as much of the natural environment as he can before introducing props.

Sure, I may not be choreographing any martial arts fights (ok, secretly I am in my head), but there’s real value in being aware of what’s around you and learning to appreciate even the small things. How much do we miss every day because we’re staring at our phones while we walk down the street?

5) The greatest thing I’ve learned – Moulin Rouge

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Ok, I admit it. I don’t mind a decent musical and I enjoyed Moulin Rouge. While I can’t say that I learned this from the movie, it sums up a lot of teaching I’ve had over the years from family, friends, mentors, pastors, teachers – that love trumps all.

To read more of Ben’s posts for January-Blog-A-Thon visit his blog or follow him on Twitter at @HelloBenTeoh

Day 1: Surviving your spouse on an international trip
Day 2: Never order flowers online
Day 3: Bucket List
Day 4: Pet Peeves
Day 5: Biggest Fear
Day 8: A little honesty goes a long way
Day 10: A voice from the past
Day 11: Confessions from a wanna-be-cook
Day 13: Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel
Day 14: Hi my name is Jackie and I am addicted to Senor Taco.
Day 17: Daily Life in the Ostlie Household…in Rhyme

Day 19: Superpower = Life without pain
Day 20: The Beautiful Life
Day 22: The Kullbergs
Day 23: Dessert for Breakfast

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Because January can be boring. Join us for a January Blog-A-Thon. Post a photo, video, sentence, anything that you want to! And if don’t feel inclined to blog, do come back and see what we’re up to. I can guarantee you’ll be entertained.

Day 22: The Kullberg’s

I’ll be honest, when I think of kids my body cringes, I start to have a panic attack, and I immediately start searching for the nearest exit. Obviously, I’m…no, we’re not ready to have kids anytime soon. However, every time I visit my best friend in Portland, I think, “We can do this. They make it look pretty easy.” Besides, how adorable is this face?

Tate

Tate

Tate and Derek are about as close to kids as we get (for now). We love driving down to Portland to visit Ryan, Meeka, and these two awesome dudes. I went to college with Meeka, and she’s become a dear friend of mine…bestie even. Lucky for the both of us, Kyle and Ryan are two peas in a pod; which makes our Portland trips even better.  We’ll probably never have kids (never say never), so we tend to spoil these guys like they were our own.  I just knew  I’d have to write about the Kullberg’s for January-Blog-A-Thon.

I still remember when Tate was first born. He loved me.  I’m not being prideful or gloating. He really did. I’d carry him for hours and we’d just hang out. I’d walk around the house or I’d prop him up on the couch next to me and we’d watch football for hours. Well, he’d watch football, I’d talk to Meeka.  He’d coo and ohh and smile at me. Never cried. Never fussed. Except when Kyle came around. Yup, that’s right. Tate did not like Kyle….at all. Before he could talk, Tate would grunt-groan-scream anytime Kyle came near me. It was hysterical. We’d test it out on numerous situations, all leading to the same outcome. Jackie and Tate would be alone in the living room and Kyle would need to drink his beer in the room on the opposite side of the house.  Poor guy.

Kyle and Derek

Kyle and Derek

And then the day came where the tables turned. It’s still vivid in my mind. The adults had done a day trip out to Timberline to go skiing and snowboarding. We came back home, showered and were busy prepping dinner. Meeka and I were in the kitchen hanging out, Kyle alone on the couch watching sports; when suddenly Tate teeters over to him, crawls into Kyle’s lap with a book and asks him to read to him. WHAT?!? Meeka and I nearly dropped our beer. After that, Tate only hangs out with Kyle…it’s apparently a guy thing and girls aren’t invited.

Kullberg's and Ostlie's

Kullberg’s and Ostlie’s

We adore these kids and their parents as well. If I ever was allowed to give a parenting medal, I’d give it to Ryan and Meeka. They are an amazing team. They back each other up, are an awesome support system, and are the most patient parents I’ve ever met…even after the 52nd “Why?” question. Nothing gets by these two and yet they are hysterical, witty, and humble. They are engaged parents, give meaningful answers (remember that 52nd “why?” question?) and treat them as individuals. Their values and expectations live in and through Tate and Derek. I have never seen kids so well behaved than I do these little dudes. Each and every time we leave Portland, Kyle and I have have something profound that we individually picked up from observing Ryan and Meeka co-parent. It’s inspiring, encouraging, and pretty amazing to watch people parent well. It almost makes us wish we had kids.

Day 1: Surviving your spouse on an international trip
Day 2: Never order flowers online
Day 3: Bucket List
Day 4: Pet Peeves
Day 5: Biggest Fear
Day 8: A little honesty goes a long way
Day 10: A voice from the past
Day 11: Confessions from a wanna-be-cook
Day 13: Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel
Day 14: Hi my name is Jackie and I am addicted to Senor Taco.
Day 17: Daily Life in the Ostlie Household…in Rhyme

Day 19: Superpower = Life without pain
Day 20: The Beautiful Life

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Because January can be boring. Join us for a January Blog-A-Thon. Post a photo, video, sentence, anything that you want to! And if don’t feel inclined to blog, do come back and see what we’re up to. I can guarantee you’ll be entertained.

Day 20: The Beautiful Life

Each year, some dear friends get together for our Annual Hutting Trip. The number of folks who come vary and the time of the season does as well. But I can guarantee you, it’s my favorite part of winter for me.  Ten miles of fresh powder, great friends, gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier (sometimes), awesome food, and three days of Settlers of Catan. Seriously, this is the life. The beautiful life. Nothing gets better than this.

Annual Hutting Trip

Annual Hutting Trip

The Water Line-Up

The Water Line-Up

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

Yummy Trail Mix

Yummy Trail Mix

This is what happens when you're losing at Settlers.

This is what happens when you’re losing at Settlers.

High Hut, Mt. Tahoma

High Hut

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

The Farewell Shot

The Farewell Shot

You just can't enough of her.

You just can’t enough of her.

Day 1: Surviving your spouse on an international trip
Day 2: Never order flowers online
Day 3: Bucket List
Day 4: Pet Peeves
Day 5: Biggest Fear
Day 8: A little honesty goes a long way
Day 10: A voice from the past
Day 11: Confessions from a wanna-be-cook
Day 13: Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel
Day 14: Hi my name is Jackie and I am addicted to Senor Taco.
Day 17: Daily Life in the Ostlie Household…in Rhyme

Day 19: Superpower = Life without pain

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Because January can be boring. Join us for a January Blog-A-Thon. Post a photo, video, sentence, anything that you want to! And if don’t feel inclined to blog, do come back and see what we’re up to. I can guarantee you’ll be entertained.