Monday, July 29, 2013

Baby Bump Update & a NAME!!!

We finally came up with the perfect name for our little guy.  

Beckham Andrew. His initials will spell "BAM" which wasn't intentional, but very fitting if any of you know Landon's personality.  We love it and think it fits our family just right!  I can't wait to see what he will look like!  We had our major ultrasound at 22 weeks.  We saw all his little fingers and toes.  Everything looked great, and he is even measuring a week (his head TWO!) ahead of schedule.  I'm thankful for a healthy baby and a very active companion.  During the ultrasound we thought he looked just like Lily!

Here's Lily on the left at 21 weeks.  Beckham on the right at 22 weeks.  I just love technology!

I've been really praying and researching VBAC options.  I have a great doctor who is also a great surgeon, and I was able to recover from my C-Section fairly quickly than I expected (even without pain meds). With three girls and a baby, I really would love to avoid the surgery if possible and talked to my doctor about options at my appointment.  We scheduled a C-Section for 39 weeks.  If I happen to go into labor before then, we will try to pursue the VBAC.  I am finally at peace with the decision, knowing that if God wants me to deliver VBAC He will allow everything to fall into place before the surgery date.  I kept in mind the trauma with Brooke, and almost having to be taken to a C-Section. I want to do what is best for Beckham and I.  I know God is going to take care of us either way and I am trusting Him completely!

I have been SO indecisive this pregnancy.  About everything.  I second guess almost every decision I make, and that's not like me!  After returning two sets of bedding, I finally decided on something that I just LOVE!  It's very neutral, clean and simple.  I am currently working on a bedskirt out of the chevron fabric, and am almost done refinishing a dresser to use as a changing table.  I can't wait to see the room come together in the next couple months!  Of course, I will post some pictures when It's all done!

I'm so thankful for sweet girls that are so excited to meet their baby brother.  There are times where I get overwhelmed and wonder how we will get along with 4 kids.  Then I remember that God never gives us more than we can handle!  I can trust Him to take care of us just as He always has!

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."   -Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why we advertise … and how it’s paid

You have heard it at the end of our radio ads:

“….paid for by the stockholders of Wisconsin Energy Corporation.”

But exactly what does that mean? Who pays for it? Why do we advertise?

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) limits what type of advertising expenses we can recover in customer rates. Typically, the PSCW allows us to recover advertising costs related to safety, conservation, renewable energy and required legal notices. The costs of other types of advertising may not be recovered in rates and is paid for out of company profits – “by the stockholders.”

In 2012, about 60 percent of our advertising expenses were funded by Wisconsin Energy Corporation stockholders, with most of our advertising focused on customer service and safety.

“The content of our advertising is based on feedback from residential and commercial customers, as well as legal requirements,” said Rick White, vice president – corporate communications. “While we do relatively little advertising, we’ve found that paid advertising is a very cost-effective way to share information about a variety of topics.”

Additional facts about our advertising:

Why we advertise
Although your location determines which utility provides your energy, you may not be aware of the services we offer. We also want to keep you safe around our equipment. On a cost-per-thousand basis, radio advertising is one of the more cost-effective ways to inform you and the rest of our customers about energy costs, money-saving tips, energy assistance, budget and paper-free billing options, and energy efficiency programs.

How much advertising costs
Most of our advertising and sponsorship expenses are not part of your rates. Costs that were recovered in rates were less than a penny per customer per month in 2012. That’s about 12 cents per customer per year. The remaining advertising costs were paid for by Wisconsin Energy stockholders.

How sponsorship ads work 
We sponsor events and activities to strengthen the communities we serve. Sometimes, advertising opportunities come with those sponsorships at no additional cost, and we use those opportunities to provide information about our programs and services. The point of sponsorships is not the advertising, though. We provide sponsorships to be a good corporate citizen in the places we call home. Many sponsorships are through the Wisconsin Energy Foundation, which is funded by stockholders, not customers.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Baby Beaux

Isn't he so handsome?  We were so excited to meet our sweet nephew Beaux this last weekend, and I was so honored to take a few photos of him in the hospital.  I wanted to share a few of these special memories with you...

So tiny.  So new. So sweet.

A mother's love.  So amazing.

A sweet and beautiful new family.

Sweet baby feet and fuzz.  It all goes by so quickly, you forget how little they were...

I enjoyed standing back and watching every much love and happiness.  

We are so proud of you Derek & Molly!  Congratulations!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twins at Three

THREE years old.  I still can't believe it!  I never got a chance to take their three year old photos, and these kind of came about as an accident.  I was trying to take a sister pic with Brooke in the middle, but she wasn't in the picture taking mood.  I did get a few of the twins that I absolutely LOVE and wanted to share them with y'all!

Silly.  Only Lauren would pick her nose.  This photo session lasted about five minutes - and all I did was click away while they did their own thing. I love how silly, playful, sweet and fun these two are with each other.

Sweet memories - each their own little person, yet so much alike.  What a gift they have in each other as constant companions and friends!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Be ready to beat heat

Stay cool and stay safe when temperatures soar for extended periods of time:
  • Drink fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate. 
  • Wear lightweight and breathable clothing. 
  • Check on friends and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, especially if they are older. 
  • No air conditioning? Go to basement, schools, libraries or shopping malls to escape the heat. 
  • Avoid working outdoors if possible and take frequent breaks if you must be outside. 
  • Wear sunscreen if going outdoors. 
  • Take a cool shower or bath after working outside or if you feel overheated. 
  • Eat small meals more often to ensure you are getting proper nutrition. 
  • Call 911 if you or someone shows signs of heat stroke and move to a cool place. 
  • Read the Red Cross heat wave preparedness checklist.

Be prepared in case you lose power during hot weather:
  • Have a charged cell phone with you or stay near a hard-wired phone (not cordless). 
  • Have emergency contacts handy, including our power outage number  –  800-662-4797. 
  • Have someone check on you, especially if you are older or have a medical condition. 
  • Consider backup power supply or have a cool place to go when needed. 
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. 
  • Follow Food and Drug Administration guidelines for food safety.

Use these energy-saving tips during hot weather:
  • Increase your thermostat setting. When at home, set it a few degrees higher. When leaving, move the setting even higher -- about 80 degrees. However, if you are older or sensitive to heat, set the thermostat to a comfortable level to avoid heat-related illness. 
  • Turn off any lights not needed. 
  • Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest times of day. 
  • Use a microwave instead of oven – or avoid cooking altogether. 
  • Use fans – even if you have air conditioning – to help circulate the air. 
  • Cool only rooms in use. Close unused rooms. 
  • Close blinds, shades and drapes on sunny side to keep house cooler.
  • Get more energy-saving tips.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Well we made it to the HALFWAY mark!  Every time I feel our sweet baby kick, I smile.  Which is a great thing....the last couple weeks have been a little rocky around here for me physically.  I have also really struggled with worry, fear and discouragement.   God is good ALL the time, and I can definitely say that I have been worse.  I'm really trying to enjoy this last pregnancy, soak in all the happy times, and trust in God to take care of my family.  God has reminded me over and over again how blessed we are.  How He always takes care of His children, and that HIS plans are best.  Those little kicks are a constant reminder to me of how amazing He is. 

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." 
Isaiah 26:3

I have my "big" ultrasound in two weeks....I can't wait to see our little guy in detail!  Of course I will update with pictures!!!

We are excited about preparing for our sweet little boy. Here is a little collage of a few of my favorite things....

My Girls // Summer is hard.  It's hot, we are bored, and I can only do so much physically.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I can't be "super mom" (or even normal mom) to them, but they know that I love them and that's what matters!  I have watched them adapt, and learn to play together.  Brooke is the Mommy, Lauren is the Daddy and Lily is the Baby.  And it's a HOOT.  Whenever the twins see me in pain or sick, they come and put their hand on my belly and tell me they love me.  It just doesn't get any better than that.  

Ralph Lauren // I love when my girls wear their clothes, but I have always gazed longingly into the baby boy section at the store.  It's just my favorite...there was a GREAT sale at the outlet in Texas and I just couldn't resist this cute polo.

Target // I have some pretty sweet friends that are throwing me a little baby shower.  I feel so honored and blessed.  I know this is my FOURTH baby after all.  :)  I registered for a few things at target, and received a great goodie bag with free products and coupons!!!

Boots //  Who knew the North Face made infant booties???  I just couldn't resist...

Diapers // I decided to order some diapers from The Honest Company.  They are plant based, non toxic disposable diapers AND they come in the cutest patterns! I used a 40% off coupon on my first "bundle" and then cancelled my subscription after I received my first shipment.  I'm excited to try them out!

Baby Steals // I'm not sure if any of you sign up to receive alerts from Baby Steals or not, but I LOVE their deals!  They have deals on great products like Aden + Anais, Petunia Pickle Bottom and Ergo!

***name update - we are still debating - this baby will have a name, even if it's after he arrives!***

Friday, July 5, 2013

Flashback Friday: Handwritten bills

Had you been a customer of one of our predecessor companies, The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Co., back around 1900, you would have received a bill in the mail that featured handwritten data and separate pricing for incandescent lamps, motors and arc lamps (used mostly for street lights).

Incandescent lighting at that time was priced at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour -- only about 2 cents less than it is today, more than a century later. Back then, customers also could receive discounts for higher usage and prompt payment.

Today, many of our customers receive no bill in the mail at all. Instead, they receive and pay their bills online. Not yet paying your bill online? Find information about online bill payment on our website.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bricks being placed at memorial

Our brick at the replica Wisconsin pillar of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., is now in place on the former coal dock near our Port Washington Generating Station. The Port Washington pillar will be accessible to the public in September. Meanwhile, workers continue to add bricks to the site.

Bricks are still available for purchase for a short time by calling 262-238-7741. You also can visit the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight website where you will find a link to the brick sales. Prices start at $50. Act quickly to order a brick with your family's name or the name of a veteran you want to honor.

Last November, veterans from Stars and Stripes Honor Flight attended the dedication of the Pillar of Honor at the new Coal Dock Park as a tribute to all Wisconsin veterans who fought in that great war. We sponsored the dedication.

Wisconsin Energy has been a longtime partner of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, helping sponsor flights to Washington, D.C., to take WWII veterans to see their memorial and other historic sights. Wisconsin Energy also sponsored the Field of Honor event held last August at Miller Park.

Employees ensure safety at accident scene

While on their way to work, two of our employees – John Feider, senior operations supervisor, and Erich Wuestenhagen, senior projects supervisor – worked together to secure the scene of a dangerous accident and assure the safety of people caught up in the event.

At approximately 7 a.m., June 28, a truck hauling a poured concrete bridge span more than 100 feet long cut a corner too close turning south onto Hwy. 100 in Greenfield, Wis., off of the exit ramp from eastbound I-94, snapping a power pole and causing energized wires to sag perilously close to the rush hour traffic on the busy thoroughfare below.

Erich Wuestenhagen (left) and John Feider.
Feider witnessed the accident and jumped immediately into action to keep people away from the live power lines. He safely parked his car, called 911, donned his vest and hard hat, and started directing traffic. “I stopped as many people as I could,” said Feider, an 11-year employee with the company.

When a semi-truck contacted the energized wires, Feider ordered the driver to stay in the truck until the lines could be de-energized. He also stopped a county bus that was attempting to drive underneath the wires.

About this time, Wuestenhagen exited onto Hwy. 100 from the east, saw Feider trying to manage the situation, safely parked his car, ran up to Feider and asked what he could do to help. “The first thing I asked was ‘are we safe?’,” said Wuestenhagen. Together, they identified the hazards to themselves and to the public and formulated a plan to make the situation as safe as possible.

“Our biggest concerns were our own safety and how do we keep everyone else safe,” said Wuestenhagen, who’s been with the company approximately seven years. Feider started directing traffic going from south to north and Wuestenhagen took the opposite lane of traffic.

About that time, the energized lines arced three times between the top of the semi and its front left tire. The arcing, smoke and small fire scared the people in the bus. They panicked and started rushing to get off of the bus. Unable to stop them, Feider and Wuestenhagen guided them to a safe place away from the traffic and the downed lines.

Police and sheriff’s deputies arrived to take charge after approximately 10 minutes. Feider explained what had happened, and he and Wuestenhagen departed the scene.

Brian Dobberke, director of customer field operations: “John and Erich did themselves and the company proud today. Their prompt and decisive actions likely prevented some people from being injured or killed. It was an absolutely outstanding response to a dangerous situation.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Climate change plan impact hard to determine

President Obama’s climate change plan announced June 25 directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholders to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for both new and existing power plants. Implementation of the announced new rule for existing power plants is not expected to occur for several years.

The electric power industry has been a leader in reducing emissions over the last two decades, including GHG emissions in recent years.

Electric power sector emission reductions are due largely to fuel switching from coal to natural gas; slower economic growth; record levels of renewable energy generation (e.g., hydro, wind and solar photovoltaic); and increased energy efficiency by consumers.

Our company has demonstrated a dramatic change in environmental performance. From 2000 to 2013, our power plant capacity is up 50 percent, while emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury and particulate matter are down by 80 percent.

We will not be able to estimate the impact of a new rule regarding existing plants until the details of the President’s proposal are fully developed.

We maintain our plants to retain efficiency:
  • For example, the new coal-fueled units at Oak Creek Power Plant are among the most efficient in the U.S. 
  • Even our older units at Oak Creek are in the top 10 percent in efficiency among coal plants in the Midwest. As a result, they are emitting less carbon dioxide per unit of energy because of their efficiency. These units should be among the least impacted by a carbon dioxide rule, which should be good news for our customers.

Any rule regarding existing plants should be based on commercially available, cost-effective technologies. The new rule needs to take into account the potential impact it would have on customer rates. As a leader on reducing emissions, we also believe any new rule should give credit for early actions, such as repowering of Port Washington Generating Station from coal to natural gas, our plan to convert Valley Power Plant from coal to natural gas and our significant investment in renewables – two of the state’s largest wind farms and a biomass plant.

We Energies President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gale Klappa discussed the issue when he appeared on UpFront with Mike Gousha.