Thursday, September 17, 2015

Intake Stats, Google Analytics, and Me

Every month our agency posts stats on the intakes, matches and placements.  Most of the waiting couples look over them to get an idea if our letters went out and to where.  The system for reporting it is anonymous but it’s great to see how things change from month to month. August wasn’t the best month in terms of intakes and matches which can be a bummer to see especially when compared to our Google Analytics for the month of August. We then get our actual numbers from our counselor once they have them telling us how many times our letters went out.

I am a bit obsessed when it comes to the stats and visits to our page and our blog.  It’s more about the comfort found in being seen rather than not.  Since we are in the middle of our agency’s website for families we’re viewed less often as a general rule of thumb. It also tells me where the traffic is coming from to our site so it’s good to know if I’m getting direct traffic versus say Twitter, Facebook or this blog. It is a great tool to use in terms of how to focus your efforts on the most seen places.  Since Pinterest doesn’t really drive anyone to our sites it’s fair to say I don’t spend much time or energy on trying to keep our daily lives updated there. I also tend to have more personal stuff on our Instagram account rather than adoption related specific things so it doesn’t drive much traffic either but it’s so easy to use I regularly post. All the different pages that link to our profile are but just a few ways to get to know us better and I like knowing which are working for us.

We also have Google Ads with our agency and another website we’re on.  While I can’t track the other website directly they do have their own tracking on the site. The problem with the tracking for that site is after 30 days after the person viewed it they fall off so you can never reliably check on what state the view came from. Something changed in the system earlier this year because it didn’t used to do that but for the most part we can see where the views come from and how long someone looks at the page on average.
One of the ads they run for us
So why am I so into where people view us? I’m just a researcher by nature.  I love knowing what is going on or not as the case may be.  While waiting to adopt the not knowing can drive you bonkers because you never know when or where that call, text, or email will come in. I like that on any given day I can see how many bots viewed our blog or how many people clicked that Google Ad or viewed our agency page directly. It helps me feel better in the zero control situation that adoption is. I know others don’t ever look at their analytics because they don’t want to become driven to check it all the time but for me and my needs it works.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Home Improvements

Summer is coming to a close and our construction in the basement will soon be completed.  We have walls again which is great because the open staircase was honestly frightening.  The cats were quite upset though as they discovered the under floor as a great hiding place during the two weeks the walls were open.
 Oscar with cobwebs on his face after his first exploration of the under floor

 Oscar made the gated stairwell his personal space

The drywall taper will be here tomorrow to tape and plaster and then again probably Monday for finishing the walls.  After that it’s a quick coat of paint then flooring, baseboards, and the custom cabinets will be installed. New living and entertainment room will be complete in about 2 weeks. I can’t wait to finally get the room we’ve always wanted in that space.

Looks great with the dry wall back up

Once that’s done however we aren’t finished with the home improvements. We will go back into the craft room and paint it, put in shelving and move all the stuff back in.  Eventually we will paint the back room next to ours, which will be the nursery someday. I’m hoping that’s sooner rather than later but we aren’t setting it up until we are matched so time will tell. At least for now we have projects to keep us busy and improve our home while we wait.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our Yearly Vacation to Atlanta

Dragon con was a blast this year! It’s always fun to go and hang out with friend’s but this year we both dressed up both Friday and Saturday and while HOT, especially Friday’s costumes, was a lot of fun.  Don and I had planned on the Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope Von Shweetz costumes for Friday. We even ran into a Fix it Felix. Lara and someone else we know were going to the Archer shoot as Kreiger and Kreiger's virtual girlfriend so Lara met us in our room for us to all go to the shoot together.

While shopping on Saturday I decided I’d go ahead and buy things for the steampunk costume for next year. Don was taking a large box back to our room so I headed off with our friend’s Corey and
Carol to look around.  Corey was looking for a few things for his costume while Carol waited with me to try on Corset’s.  The second one was perfect, so now to find the rest of the outfit, which I did at the fourth shop minus the hat.  I didn’t have time to pick up a bunch of accessories after the hat shop so I figured it was ok because I was going to wear my Nightmare Before Christmas dress that night anyway.  That idea didn’t last long as Carol and Katrina talked me into using the steampunk stuff anyway.  As we were talking Don mentioned he didn’t have a costume for the night and our friend’s said hey we have 2 cloaks you should be Red Riding Hood and he could use my black wig from the Vanellope costume, and then they dared him to do it. Corey and Don went back into the shopping area in search for a t-shirt that would work for the costume. They came back with a perfect one. We went back to our separate hotels to change and Don went into the store there looking for a basket.  He got lucky and borrowed a picnic basket which had been used in a display.

 pictured with another Red Riding Hood

It was time to get me into the corset, which sounds simple but for people who’ve never done it, it was a bit tougher.  Thankfully You Tube had videos on how to lace your corset by yourself.   Don redid the corset and then we went to our friend’s hotel to meet up and get Don and Kevin their cloaks. Four of our friend’s were at the same hotel so we took pictures in the courtyard before going out to get dinner and head off to the hotels. We had planned on getting Lara or someone else to take our picture together but by the time we met up it was all but forgotten.  We went to the Marriott Marquis and outside it was a giant dance party which was a blast. I figured out who the guys were walking around with the speakers on their shoulders and it was Future Beat.  After a while we left and 5 of us went to get food while the other 4 went back to their rooms.

  Selfie with Lara unicorn

 Waiting in line for a midnight show

Sunday was rough for all of us.  We stayed out way too late so it was rough having to get up, pack, and check out.  We still had 4 hours to kill before going to the airport so we met up for lunch with everyone to say good-bye. After Lunch we split up Corey and Carol went back to their room, Kevin and Don went shopping, Lara and Shannon went to her group photo shoot, and Chris, Katrina, and I went to the autograph room.
Say Hi to Richard Hatch

Now here’s the fun part – Landing in Seattle 6 hours later only to realize I had left stuff in the drawer of the bedside table, like the car and house keys and my headphones. OUCH! I’ve never ever done something like that but here we were and we had to figure out what to do.  Our Brother in law drove out and brought us keys. We are lucky that our friend’s stayed through Monday so they could swing by and get my stuff, which is now being overnight shipped to me.  Moral of the story, ALWAYS check the drawers before leaving (which we normally do but for some reason didn’t this time).

Outside that snafu we had a fantastic time and are planning to meet up with everyone again next year, maybe even extending the trip to a full week. Can't wait to see what costumes everyone does.