i feel like i am branding my little girl…

It is the new age…the new digital age. I spend so much time teaching my college students and entrepreneurial clients about personal brands. Identifying their brand, securing digital URL’s on all the social outlets, and creating an awareness online that supports and reinforces a consistent brand message.

Here I am…a new daddy. Well, 20 weeks away from the birth of my little girl. It was just last week that we found out we are having a little girl. The big hoopla was surrounded by the idea that we were going to forego finding out if it is a boy or a girl during the 20 week ultrasound. Instead, ask the doctor’s office to put the sex of the baby in an envelope to be opened that evening with the rest of the family. Oh well, too bad the ultrasound technician forgot to hold back the image that said “female” during the ultrasound. This was just the beginning of what was not going to be easy…deciding a name for the little one!

Deciding a name is like a branding exercise. This one name represents so many things. So much legacy. So many stories of what is to come. This name is more than a name, it is the beginning of her own special family tree. Did you know that little infant girls, by the time they are born, have one million eggs in their little womb. Yes…one million little pieces of DNA that are a lifetime of legacy. How do we find a name to encapsulate a lifetime of stories and what is to come.

How do major brands come to the conclusion that one name represents so much. How do parents come to that one conclusion that one little name represents the family tree of the past, present, and future. Most major brands have wonderful, creative copy writers and researchers. They try to understand audiences, vision, mission statements, products, services, and legacy. But the little name of a little girl is so much more.

Well…we figure it out, I think, I hope. We researched all the past female names on both sides of the family….dating back hundreds of years. We looked at the meanings of names. We looked at whether to step away from family names and branch out to something new. We were waiting on that feeling, that “ah-ha” moment when it feels right. Because we know…that all the research, analysis, copy writing, and discussion is void to that one moment in time when that perfect name just makes sense.

Deciding a little girls name is, was, and will continue to be bigger than any messaging/branding project I have ever tackled. It is my little girl’s legacy. Yes…she is Rose Frances Rettew.

And her name is….

Yes…she has a name! After a week of tossing around names, we have finally come to the conclusion. Rose Frances Rettew. Kind of has a nice ring to it. We found out last week she is a girl during our 20 week ultrasound. If you watch above, you can see her playing around. She was kind of quiet during the ultrasound…the technician had to resort to some interesting measures to get her to move around. Just like a “Weathers” girl…she was a bit stubborn. Sarah’s maiden name is “Weathers”.

But this all began with the day of the ultrasound. We wanted to share the gender with the family the same time we would find out. Meaning, we wanted the ultrasound technician to put the gender in an envelope for us to open later. Well, she made a little error…leaving the screen grab with the sex identification out on the table. Sarah accidentally picked up the images to thumb through and noticed the one that said “Female” and an arrow to point to the “area in question.”

So, as you can see in the video immediately above, we held our secret to make it more natural for the announcement that evening. If you watch, you can see all of the family’s reactions including some funny off-color comments. My mom’s husband Steve has dry sense of humor. It was surreal all day, after we found out that she was a girl. Sarah and I immediately sat and chatted about it. We both thought if was going to be a boy, we really did. Our whole family thought it was going to be a boy…we just had a feeling. So when the ultrasound said she was a girl, it took us back for a second.

Obviously, Sarah was so excited to have a little girl. With two nieces ages close to 4 and 2, the family already has lots of girl things purchased. A boy would have been a whole new concept in the family. I think I was speechless for a while. I think deep down, all guys want a boy. I was not upset…I had just come to the realization that this was for real. Yes. I am not the one who is carrying this child everyday during the pregnancy. I am not dealing with an achy back and sore feet. I am not the one who looks in the mirror to see my stomach area growing with a “little one” inside. I am not the one who lays on the table for the ultrasound machine to go across my belly to see what is inside. I am the guy watching from afar.

***Note…I had my first pregnant request yesterday. A text at 8:30 in the morning that the A/C in the SUV was acting up and spitting out warmer air. Translation…GET YOUR BUTT OVER HERE AND FIGURE THIS OUT. I AM A PREGNANT WOMAN AND ANY COLD AIR THAT IS ANYTHING LESS THAN SUB-POLAR TEMPERATURES IS UNACCEPTABLE. I write this as I know I will be in the dog house when Sarah reads my translation, knowing I am using the voice I use to interpret how she is saying things. HEHE…I write in jest. The car is fine, she was sitting at a stoplight a little longer than normal and the temperature rose 3 degrees from 60 to 63 degrees. The summer has not even begun.

Back the topic at hand. Sarah had a feeling about the name “Rose” and wanted her middle name to be carried on “Frances”. I had a few names in mind but nothing I felt strong about. But saying her name meant it was real. Not the ultrasound, but actually giving her a name and saying out loud meant it was for real.  Yes…that this 37 year man who is stuck in his ways is going to have to change it all. It was kind of a scary moment having to articulate a name, because in 4 months this self-employed guy is going to be a Daddy.

Writing this post is a big one for me…being able to share and articulate her name. Saying her name has been an awakening, that she is for real. That she is going to be here soon. She is my responsibility. She will be one of the single most important responsibilities I will ever have in my life. Kind of crazy, kind of humbling, kind of anxious, kind of excited, and kind of relived that I can say her name…Rose Frances Rettew.

The big announcement!

So yes…the big announcement. The anticipation to speak freely about this announcement comes with the anxiousness of talking too freely. Yes…we are pregnant, as you can see in the little video above. We are 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant and we are so scared to get excited, fearful that something might happen to take this little bundle of joy away. But this anxious is soon to move to relief…it is finally our turn.

After 3 years and 3 miscarriages, Z4 has overcome all the odds. This is the furthest along we have ever made it. The 4 in Z4 stands for number four. Well…the Z comes from starting out as what clinical terms would call the little bundle of joy a Zygote. We are past the Zygote stage…but Z4 kind of has a ring to it. Ole Z4 is just keeps on growing, giving us more reasons each day to have faith…faith to see this little bundle of happiness bless us with his/her presence on September 13th. Yes…we have a due date.

Where did it all begin, well on our way home from our Christmas Vacation…January 1st to be exact, Sarah peed on the stick. For some crazy reason, Sarah has been peeing on sticks for three months previous like a mad woman. We could now invest in this technology. Do you know how expensive those little jokers are? She just happened to have one, and when we stopped on the way through Atlanta…the McDonalds bathroom provided the perfect venue to let us know that 2011 is going to be a good one.

For the next two months, we have been visiting a Reproductive Endocrinologist every two weeks, watching ultrasound after ultrasound. The little booger was growing and I recorded each one on my iPhone, sharing the video with close family. I missed the first one because the doc was so efficient, he did not give me time to get the phone out and capture the moment. He had us mesmerized with ultrasound technology and the thumping of a little heart. Sarah made me swear to never miss a video capture opportunity again. My close friend Patti wrote me after watching one of the videos stating that this little one will be the most video’d child she has ever seen.

So here we are…and we finally want to share. We are still a bit anxious, praying nothing happens. The little one has us attached, excited…it is our hope that you will share in our excitement. Z4’s heart rate is 154 b/m…my brother-in-law is making fun of me…saying it will be a girl. “Ole Wives Tales”…who believes in them. Especially since a fast heart rate by 12 weeks indicating a girl cannot be an “Old Wives Tale.” Why? Well, ultrasound technology has only been around scanning pregnancies since 1987. That is not old!

Anyways…not that I am opposed to a girl, but Sarah is one of three girls and her sister has two girls herself. Five women in this family, other than me and my brother-in-law…we need some testosterone in this family. But, if Z4 proves to be a stubborn little lady…well, I am just fine with her being daddy’s little girl.

So life is changing. Here I am…37 years old. My first child on the way. Self employed, entrepreneur, getting ready to be a sole supporter. Life is crazy, fun, exciting, and I love it. To my clients, get ready…might have a business meeting with my little one. Z4 is proving to be a college football child…gonna be born in the heart of Clemson Football season. Happy Birthday to myself…today is my birthday, and this day marks the beginning of the 2nd trimester. Apparently for couples like Sarah and I, that is a big step.

It is time for a TRIP, a little Christmas Cabin Trip.

So we are off…off to enjoy some time with family. It is Christmas and it’s that time of year when we take some time to enjoy a cabin out in the middle of NOWHERE. Well actually, the mountains of Georgia. For the fourth year, Sarah and I, along with Sarah’s two sisters (Jennifer and Susanna), and Jennifer’s husband Tom & their two kids (Maggie and Sadie), take to the the holiday travel and enjoy the mountains of Georgia. Sometimes, Sarah’s father Marty tags along…but it is sporadic. BTW, Sarah’s birthday is the day after Christmas…so this is also a birthday weekend as well!

So bottomline…I am out of pocket from Christmas Day until Monday, January 3rd of the new year. Yes, can you believe it is almost 2011, close to 20 years since I graduated from good ole Daniel High School. So this little note is to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I will not be seeing you until my return…no offense. Do not worry, my family is watching the house and my awesome assistant and partner in crime is monitoring everything. Thanks Wendi…she ROCKS!

I will be enjoying the get away of a log cabin and nothing but woods. My job…make sure the fire in the fireplace does not die. That is it! Oh, yes I will be watching tons of football.

So bottom-line, I am not sure if I will have good/any cell phone reception and I will have an auto-responder set-up on my email. I will monitor just in-case of an emergency.  If you like to mess around on Facebook and Twitter, well I will be Tweeting and updating Facebook. Here is my updated contact information:

Bobby Rettew
864-209-1467
http://twitter.com/bobbyrettew
http://Facebook.com/bobbyrettew (personal page)
http://Facebook.com/brllc (business page – “Like Me” if you like!)

So…Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and GO TIGERS!
Bobby

Thankful for my mentor, my business mentor…my Pop!


This is me on graduation in 1997 from Clemson. From left to right, my mom – Linda, my Nana – Judy, me, my sister – Jennifer, and my Pop – Joe. My Pop the business man…the only thing that is not seen in this picture is my Pop’s cell phone, which he had close to him all the time. I remember he had the first mobile phone in his car in the 1980’s and it was a rotary phone…he was an innovative business man. He was the first realtor in Anderson to have a mobile phone. He and I have lots in common. We love technology and gadgets.

Today…on this Thanksgiving, I went up and sat for about an hour with my Pop. This is my grandfather…my mother’s father. He is in a rehabilitation home after a few trips to the hospital. I am the oldest grandchild and my mother is the oldest of her siblings. In a way, I am like a son to him.

As a business man, it is good to find someone whom you can call a mentor. One that you can sit down, share honest thoughts, and receive honest feedback. But when the talk is over, that positive feedback makes you want to get up and keep on moving ahead.  My Pop was a self-employed business man..for most of his adult life. He grew-up in Spartanburg, son to a police officer who died when my Pop was a teenager. It was my Pop and his mother (my Granny) trudging through life for years. He went into the Marines and afterwards met my Mimi, my grandmother. She died when I was only four years old. He became a medical sales guy…then stepped away to tackle the world of real estate. My grandfather sold real estate here in the Anderson, SC area most of his adult life. He has probably sold the same house numerous times. His photographic memory of each house combined with his relationship building skills made him successful leader in this Anderson community.

Now during the later years of his life, I think he is beginning to reflect and share his wisdom. He has seen recessions, he has seen the real estate market flourish. He has had to balance an entrepreneur’s life with the life of a family that encompassed  four children and tons of grandchildren. My oldest memories of Pop is going on a house showing with him, sitting in the car, then watching him guide the people (his clients)  through the contractual process. He loved what he did. I am sure he loved selling real estate because the of the financial benefit of a sale, but most of all he loved dealing with people. He loved building relationships. He loved hearing stories from his clients, connection with people from different backgrounds, sharing relationships which led to sharing business. Relationships led to strong economic development in his opinion.

Each time I get to sit with Pop, we share stories. He loves to hear my stories of a new client, a new person I met, new ideas, and my vision for my business of tomorrow. He also wants to hear the struggles, the fear, the disappointments, and the challenges. He wants to keep it real, because business is not always about the pluses…it is about weathering the storms and finding positives in the challenges. He has had to endure the downswings, so he sees the value in sharing both sides…but finding ways to understand and move forward to a brighter tomorrow.

My Pop loves to be called my mentor. He is…in so many ways. I seek his wisdom, his advice, his thoughts, his laughs, his positive thinking…but most of all his approval. I want to do it right in his eyes.

Mentors are necessary in this world of business. Mentors bring perspective, bring wisdom, en-still positive thinking, and prepare us to move thoughtfully for a brighter tomorrow. Mentors are awesome…but they are even better when they are your grandfather! One who has found success in his passion…not just selling real estate but building wonderful relationships.

On this Thanksgiving 2010, I am thankful for my mentor…my Pop.

The average household has 5 TV’s, hmm? Reason for thankfulness?


So I was sitting in the board meeting for the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce and the closing remarks from board chairman Bill Manson has me thinking. He told us that the average American home has five televisions. Think about that for a second, five televisions. He goes on to reflect that we Americans live in the richest nation in the world. We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. Now I am not using the television as a barometer to measure wealth in totality here in America…I am looking at it as a small fact that makes you sit back and think.

One year ago this month, I decided to break away from another company and start my own business. For the past year, Sarah and I have been able to achieve more in one year than we have in the last four years of marriage. We have rid ourselves of all our medical debt, we have really started focusing on saving, we have spent more time thinking about giving not only money but time to causes we believe, we have helped our sister-in-law get through college, and we are closer than ever to starting a family. My little business is only a small part of this freedom of choice, but it has been more about empowering our future. Taking an active role in where we want to be tomorrow. So, I am thankful.

This past year, my mother has finally found her mate…one she can spend the rest of her life with; and I do not have to worry any longer. My sister has found someone who makes her day happy, and it is our hope that this relationship will flourish. Sarah has began to find the new her, after loosing her best friend…her mother to breast cancer three years ago and suffering three miscarriages over the last two years. Grief is a tough road.

I am not sure where business will take me next year? I have a good plan in place and focus on growth and continue to find the right people to work with…ones who want to do some fun stuff. I am looking forward to continuing teaching at Clemson…this is one area that I find the most joy. There is nothing better than walking in a room of tomorrow’s leaders and knowing that one day they will be taking care of me, in some capacity…why not help them along the way. For this I am thankful.

What do I want the most next year…not the gadgets that everyone knows I love, not the new car, not some crazy trip for vacation…I want to start a family. If it is our place to be able to have our own child this year…I think I will write about it every day on this blog. If it is our place to adopt, I will open my house with joy. I am 36 years old, turning 37 next March. If we have a child next year, I will be 57 when they turn 20 and in college. I will be 67 when they have kids…if they do so by 30. I want the opportunity to see my legacy. I want to see my tomorrow. I want to be able to support my family and do it with the passion I have for everything I put my heart into.  I want to be able to tell the story of my family just as much as telling stories for my clients. I want to start teaching my legacy just as much as I teach our legacy in Clemson’s classroom.

So I am humbled and thankful. This is not some cliche blog post where I am going to sell you a bunch of thankful stuff about turkey and world peace. I am thankful that I can get up in the morning, in the house I pay for everyday, working with the clients I love, next to the woman I adore, and share life with the family and friends that make breathing air so complete. We should be so thankful to be able to freely express our opinions, fight for our passion, share our values and ethics, and do it in a country…a place we can call home regardless how many televisions sit in our households. Thankfulness is contextual and this is my little thankful thought for the day.

Thanks Bill for helping me think and articulate why I am thankful this holiday season! We should be so thankful.

What is your story? What is your legacy? How are you sharing it with your tomorrow?

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