Monday, September 30, 2013

Never. Again. (Pampered Chef Review)

Have I talked about home parties on here before? If no, just know that I'm not a fan generally. I've been to a few good ones, but for the most part it's overpriced stuff in a catalog that you pay overpriced shipping on and end up selling at a yard sale for $1 a few years after you realize you never even used it. I think the concept is okay, and I know there are some brands that do really well (Mary Kay for one) with this sales tactic but the market is beyond saturated at this point in my opinion.

But, I do really really like Pampered Chef stuff. (Funny thing though: several of my Pampered Chef things I actually HAVE gotten at a yard sale for $1, so obviously the sentiment is not shared by everyone.) Anyways, remember when I wrote this post last September? From it I received a free Pampered Chef can opener, and this is where it all started.

The girl that sent it to me went to high school with me. I had met up with her a couple of times to let Charley play with her son. We weren't close friends, but she was nice and was a Pampered Chef consultant that had just given me something for free, so I told her whenever we finally were settled in our house I'd have a Pampered Chef party. I even shared some of our texts here when we were trying to pick a date.

The date finally came and it was August 17. I had a small party of just about 9 guests and we all placed orders with her then. Today's date is September 30, and not one of us has received anything from the party. But it's not that I had forgotten about it. Because I have six weeks of text messages to back me up. I have been lied to again and again, and today, myself and a couple guests have realized that we have also had our credit card information used fraudulently. Which brings me back to my point: I had never had a home party of my own before this, and I will absolutely never have one again. If you can't trust a consultant that you know, who can you trust? I'm not 100% opposed to going to a party at someone else's house, but I just can't be responsible for something like this again.

I think the easiest way to do this is to show you all of the text messages. It's a lot. But I feel like I have been more than accommodating for this long.

    image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image
Blurred part included her kid's name and was about Charley's birthday party.


image

image
She contacted my guest Stephanie herself and wanted Stephanie to meet her somewhere so she could give her her order. Stephanie, along with the rest of us, paid for shipping so I wasn't cool with her having to do that so I told Stephanie I'd take care of it.

image

image

image

image

image

image


image

image

image
Surprise, surprise. I never received an email OR any tracking information.

image

image

Okay. Since then, John has gotten involved and called her himself, and he's even going to pick up the stuff that she DOES claim to have so we don't have to go through with refunds and all that mess. I guess I'm never going to get my steak knives and that makes me sad. Yes, I'm sad over some darn steak knives. But it was a great deal and I was really looking forward to having 4 less empty slots in my knife block. And my colanders. Darn it I was looking forward to those too....

Anyways, I'm sure all of it doesn't make sense to an outsider. But I'm sure from what you were able to read you can tell that 1) I'm way too nice and 2) I was lied to quite a few times. I mean, how many times was it "shipped" and yet I never even saw a delivery notification at my house.

When I called corporate today they told me there was never a party submitted for me and that each person that was charged (those guests whose things were "accidentally" shipped to her house instead) each have to contact Pampered Chef themselves to request refunds. Talk about me feeling guilty! My first ever home party and I put all my guests through a lot of unnecessary headache.

Then, I started thinking how I wasn't comfortable with her just collecting all of our credit card numbers and never receiving anything from them and went to check my credit card statement to make sure all the charges were legit. And I was reminded that last month sometime John and I noticed a bogus Paypal charge that neither of us made with our personal Paypal accounts and we had the credit card company refund us that charge. Which is when I put two and two together. The amount was similar to the amount I was told was my total for my Pampered Chef items (P.S. None of us ever received receipts either), but I did not authorize a Paypal transaction, so of course I disputed it. I was expecting a charge from Pampered Chef! So I asked my other guests if they too got a similar charge and what do you know - they did too. Apparently she transferred money to herself from our cards so she could pay the total on her credit card which makes absolutely zero sense to me. She probably had her reasons and I am hoping they weren't fraudulent, but WHY wouldn't you tell someone that's the kind of charge we'd see on our credit card statements? And if she did do all of that and put the order on her card, WHERE IS MY STUFF? It just doesn't add up.

Anyways, if you made it through all of that I'll give you a cookie. I once got the Pampered Chef cookie press at a yard sale for $3 and have yet to use it. Imagine that.

I'm not typically one to put a bad customer service experience out there for the world to see. But you know what? I feel really responsible for wasting a lot of people's time today and over the last 6 weeks. And if it IS fraudulent, I don't want to just sweep it under the rug. What do you think? Am I extra grumpy because of everything else I'm going through or did I show a whole lotta patience for these 6 weeks?

ETA:

Here's a couple of follow-up posts regarding this situation which Pampered Chef failed on making good with me - first follow-up post here, and then the conclusion here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Just Listen

I may be having another miscarriage. I'm in limbo for two weeks while I wait to see if it's true or not.

Oh yeah, I'm pregnant. By my calculations I was 7 weeks and 2 days at my doctor's appointment on Wednesday. By the doctor's calculation (based on an ultrasound) the baby is measuring 6 weeks and 1 day. I know 8 days doesn't sound like a big difference and I could Google and read a thousand stories of people saying their dates were off and blah blah blah and now they have a healthy 6 year old or whatever. I don't care to read stories like that because I know my story, and the facts just don't add up.

Here they are.

John and I were trying to get pregnant. I used a ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor which gives me my most fertile days with a 99% accuracy rating. The days with a peak rating were August 18 & 19.

I took a pregnancy test on Thursday, August 29 and saw a very slight line.

image

And then took another test the next day that didn't require as much squinting.

image


We told my parents and siblings that same day. We'd been through this before (once with not so great results, once with perfect results and her name is Charley) and I knew no matter what I'd want them to know whichever way this went. 

I scheduled my first doctor's appointment for September 25 and I was happy. I felt like crap, was tired all of the time, but happy. Whatever happened with my first miscarriage wouldn't happen again. I'd had a healthy pregnancy since then and kicked my body into shape. My body knew what to do this time.

September 25
The ultrasound technician had me climb up on the table. I had to pee like crazy due to chugging water before I came - I'd had a hard time drinking water so far this pregnancy. She had me pull me shirt up and pants down a bit, and she squirted the warm goo on my belly. "WOW! Your bladder is so full!" she said. Baby was too squished to see with a bladder that full so she had me wipe off the goo and go pee. 

I came back, got back up on the table. More goo. "Ugh! You have a retroverted uterus! I can't see anything. We'll have to do it the other way instead" the technician told me. Oh yeah. I forgot about that. Guess I should have mentioned it. Wiped the goo off a second time while she got the transvaginal ultrasound ready. 

She then said "Hope this isn't a sign of things to come!" And I laughed "yeah me too". 

Take three. Not even two seconds into the ultrasound "Oh wow that's a small baby. You definitely are not 8 weeks." No, I wasn't. I was 7 weeks and 2 days by my calculations. But then she measured that little blob. 6 weeks 1 day. I immediately said "That's not good."

The technician tried to explain pregnancy dating to me like I was clueless about my body. "You are two weeks pregnant at ovulation, we count from the first day of your LMP, blah blah blah." I knew this. I tuned her out and tried to do the math in my head. It just wasn't adding up. If I had ovulated 8 days after I thought I did, I was in NYC and John was in Bristol, TN. We weren't even together 8 days later. She found the heart beating. 102 beats per minute. Gave me my new due date of May 20th instead of the May 12th I had in the back of my head.

Moved on to see the doctor. Before she comes in John and I argue over whether or not we just received bad news. I say it is. He says it isn't; be positive; wait for the doctor. I am normally a very positive person - to the point of annoyance - but it just couldn't be. No one was listening to me.

We tell the doctor what we know. There's no way that I would have gotten a positive pregnancy test that soon if the baby was in fact conceived 8 days later than we thought. That would put me at 2 weeks 2 days pregnant when I got the positive test instead of the 3 weeks and 3 days that I thought I was. The earliest you can possibly get a positive test would be 3 weeks 1 or 2 days. Based on the size of the baby and the day I got that positive test I just know it's impossible. The doctor smiles and says "yeah..." 

She changes the subject and the appointment goes on. The doctor tells me all about the new hospital they are now delivering at, about the frequency of appointments throughout the pregnancy and so on and so on. I've semi-tuned her out. No one is listening to me. Why are they all still so hopeful? I didn't go to medical school but I can read a calendar and do simple math. 

No matter who I tell, no one seems to want to listen to me tell them how it just can't be. I get sick of talking about it. I put it at the back of my mind. I wish to see blood on the toilet paper, after 6 weeks of wishing to not see blood. I want this baby out so I can move on and try again. I feel guilty for these thoughts. What if there is some small chance that this baby is viable and I just had these awful thoughts about it? 

The average person has no idea about pregnancy dating and ovulation dating etc. I don't hold it against them, but it does make me irrationally angry when they just don't get it when I try to explain it. It's like math to me. I honestly just can NOT understand when people don't understand math. It's so logical it just doesn't make sense to me that people don't get it. It's a good thing I didn't become a teacher.

And now we wait. October 10th I'll go back for another ultrasound to see if the baby has grown or not. My first miscarriage was a missed miscarriage where, for whatever reason, the baby just stops growing. But your body doesn't recognize that and often times it takes medical intervention to empty your uterus. That baby also stopped growing at 6 weeks and also still had a heartbeat at it's first appointment. It seems eerily familiar, but at the same time, I also want to be clueless like everyone else and forget about the math and logic of it all. I want to be wrong. I do.

So that's where I'm at. It feels good to just write it out. It feels like I finally got someone to listen to me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Perfect Day

Saturday, September 14, 2013

6:30 a.m. Alarm goes off. (Okay, this one little smidgent of the day wasn't so perfect.)

7:00 a.m. Sneak out of my house while my baby and my husband sleep. Wander down to my parent's house. It's time to go to yard sales. Weather is the slightest bit chilly, but perfect.

7:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Collect more junk treasures than you can imagine. At one point we have to unload everything from the car onto the curb to rearrange it all to fit in back in the car. Oh, and for breakfast we swing by Bojangles in between yard sales and have the most amazingly delicious biscuit ever.

11:40 a.m. - Get home. See Charley and John in the yard pulling weeds together. Heart melts into a puddle.

11:50 a.m. - After a marathon find-Charley-something-to-wear-find-myself-something-to-wear-and-throw-my-hair-into-a-ponytail-oh-and-add-some-earrings-too, Charley, myself, my mom and sister are off to my nephew Wyatt's birthday party.

12:05 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Wyatt's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party! Charley has a blast sliding and swinging and playing.

1175560_10153237585920257_1764566244_n

3:30 p.m. - Home again. Charley SHOULD nap since she missed her nap time (12-2 or 3ish) but she wants to go outside. It's beautiful outside so off we go.

3:40 p.m. - We walk back down to my parent's house because I bought a couple of things for Charley at yard sales that I hadn't brought home yet. One was a $5 Cozy Coupe I knew she'd love. She does love it and drives it all around. I take a few minutes to check Facebook and see a great friend of mine had her baby boy this morning. Awwwww squishy baby!

4:00 p.m. -ish - Make our way back to our house with Cozy Coupe. We play outside for a while. Charley swings in her swing underneath our deck until John finishes cooking dinner.

6:00 p.m. Dinner!

6:45 p.m. My little country girl wants to go back outside to look for frogs. (Sidenote: at her birthday party last weekend one of the little girls caught a tiny hoppy toad and Charley has been talking about holding a frog ever since. Only, every time we find one and I ask her if she wants to hold it she gives me a very stern NO.)

7:15 p.m. There are no frogs in their usual spots tonight at our house. Charley says "look frogs Gaga Grandaddy's house?" so we make our way back down there. They meet us outside and we look at fish in their pond and finally find some frogs with the help of Grandaddy's flashlight. Every time we see one she asks for "more frogs?"

8:00 p.m. It's bedtime and it's dark. Charley gives double hugs and even voluntary kisses to my parents and we make our way home. I love love love how much she loves my parents.

8:10 p.m. It's past bedtime, and she could use a bath, but instead we read a couple of books, play for a few minutes in her room and Charley hoards some toys for her crib. As I try to leave her room, she constantly calls me back. "Mama! Can I hold that? (pointing to another toy in her floor) "Mama! Read that book?" "Mama!" "Mama!" "Mama!"

And I finally sneak out.

She doesn't want our perfect day to end just as much as I don't want it to. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Birthday Party: The Procrastinating, Busy, Working Mom Edition

Last Saturday I was able to pull off the Not-So-Elmo 2nd birthday party for Charley. If you  remember, I was out of town for both of the two weekends prior to the party so my party planning time was few and far between. It ended up being more Elmo than I'd hoped for, but when you are up against the wall and running out of time you sort of just go with it. I threw it all together in 3 days: Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, a marathon decorating fest Friday evening and finished up at 2:55 p.m. Saturday when the party started at 3:00.

Here's what I did.

Fullscreen capture 9122013 15404 PM.bmp

I sent out invitations from Cardstore.com one month in advance. That website is ingenious. Sure, I bet I could have gotten a better deal on invitations on another site using a coupon or a daily deal type thing, but I went with cardstore.com for our Christmas cards and they not only SAVE your address book on their site, but they will even stamp them and mail them straight to the recipients for you. Sold.

The next thing I did ended up being sort of a bust. I posted this picture on Instagram and here as a preview to what I was going to do with the balloons. They resembled Elmo, but they weren't SO Elmo. 

  Untitled

But, what ended up happening was the giant red balloons got strung on fishing line and hung up at the ceiling in the living room. The little orange balloons were supposed to be on their own line in front of the red balloons but it ended up being too much trouble and too time consuming. So all the little orange balloons just floated around the living room. The kids actually like that though, so it came out okay in the end. Also, I have no picture of the balloons we hung up. Which was another failure of mine: most of my pictures stink and there weren't enough of them. Enough about my failures - let's talk about the stuff that I liked!

On Wednesday night I decided to draw Mr. Noodle on a piece of foam board. You do know Mr. Noodle, don't you? Charley loves him.

Untitled

The theme of my food this year was Mr. Noodle's noodles. When I came up with this idea I expected to find a slew of other people on Pinterest that had already done this because it really wasn't all that creative. You know what though? NOT A ONE. Which seems to be the case when I plan birthday parties.

Untitled
I bought fuzzy red fabric and cut them into table runners. Know what happens when you cut fuzzy red fabric? Fuzzies go EVERYWHERE. YAY FOR HAVING TO ADD RE-VACUUMING TO THE LIST OF TASKS TO DO BEFORE THE PARTY.

So I chose to do the following menu: 

Mac and Cheese bites (omg so good!)
Pasta Salad 
Noodles in Alfredo Sauce
(that's the end of the noodles)
Cheese cubes

1175243_10152186956379325_1354967864_n 

It was a 3:00 party so I felt like that was plenty to snack on for a non mealtime party. The only food I personally prepared was the Elmo fruit tray and I also managed to dump the cheese cubes onto a plate. The rest was done by John, my sister, and my super bestest friend. Thank you, thank you! I hadn't PLANNED on outsourcing those items, but I seriously ran out of time and they all helped me save the day.

The only activities I had for the kiddies were an Elmo bean bag toss (which I made with a piece of poster board and a basket! go me!)

1174989_10152186956364325_221013229_n

and a coloring table (I had a low table that I covered in craft paper and stuck a bowl of crayons on. The end.) You can't really corral two year olds into playing party games and having these two things on top of all of the toys in her room kept all of the kiddies from ages 1-9 entertained.

1280834_10152186957524325_352391025_n1240486_10152186957359325_993620867_n1235399_10152186956569325_21210617_n

I did redecorate the mantel for the party too, as you might have seen on Instagram.


Untitled

I happened to own some red and orange decor things already, so I just threw those up there along with the banner I made:

1186321_10152186958009325_1225140509_n
No, I do not own a Cricut. Everything you see here was hand cut. I couldn't justify the cost of buying one of these banners on Etsy or buying a Cricut machine. It really didn't take that long to make it all.

and the #2 I cut out of cardboard and wrapped in yarn:

1001121_10152186958049325_823948641_n
These pictures are terrible, sorry. I didn't even bother to get them in focus or REMOVE THE DARN SCISSORS FROM THE MANTEL before taking it. Sigh.
I mentioned up there^^ (in a caption - do you guys read the captions?) that I bought fuzzy red fabric for table runners. I also used the leftover fabric to wrap a wreath leftover from my baby shower to make an Elmo wreath.

Untitled
Woohoo iPhone photography!

I hung this on my garage door which is where I wanted people to enter since we still don't have a sidewalk leading up to our front door. I also made a pretty cool entryway with crepe paper so people knew where to go, but someone ::notnamingnamesbutmylovelyhusbandJohn:: tore it down before I could get a picture.

That was about it really. We ate, we opened presents (it's customary for us to do this AT the birthday party, not afterwards. What do you do?) we had cake (DARN IT I FORGOT TO SERVE THE ICE CREAM IN MY FREEZER!) and we played. And it was a great time. Charley, most importantly, had a great time.


1185507_10152186957049325_2065735997_n
Woo hoo Wal-Mart cupcakes! I never ordered a cake or anything so I just walked in and purchased what they had.  They were so good too!
1000010_10152186957024325_1206166373_n 1237649_10152186956799325_298741914_n 1176244_10152186956459325_1162057859_n

And she's had so much fun with her gifts too. Some early favorites (though she loves them all!): the bubble machine and the Minnie Mouse dress-up dress. 

1174912_10152186958159325_1852944409_n546976_10152186957919325_1048657599_n

Thanks to everyone who came and a huge thanks to those that came early and saved my booty. I know I claimed that I wasn't going to do the big birthday parties back before I had kids, but -as long as Charley lets me - I'm keeping this up. They are definitely worth it and I have a teensy tiny bit of fun myself planning and creating it all. Just a teensy bit. ;)

But next year, darn it, NO CHARACTERS. No Dora, or Barney, or Mickey Mouse. And that's final. (wink wink)

Monday, September 9, 2013

TWO

Charley is two today. I've had many nostalgic moments today ("Right now two years ago I was pushing!" "Two years ago right now I probably had a 6 pound warm & tiny baby on my chest." and so on and so on) and will likely do that every September 4th for the rest of my life, no? Only I'm sure the details will become more and more vague as time goes on, but I just remember it being such a happy day. Happy birthday to my sweet Charley!

  124

On top of being really excited to give her some presents from us tonight (crap. I still need to wrap those.) (crap! I need to buy some wrapping paper!) and let her have her very own cupcake (and I get one too!) I am most excited about what a joy my little girl is. She is smart and funny and spunky and beautiful. Here are some of my favorite things about her right now.

*****I wrote all of that above last Wednesday on her actual birthday but never finished the post. Whoops! *****
  • When Charley asks to do something that we try to limit (TV time, iPad time, having more than one gummy vitamin in one day) and we tell her no, she instantly replies so sweetly with "Tomorrow?" and then I instantly feel guilty for always telling her that she may have xyz tomorrow and end up giving her whatever she wants then instead. Except for the vitamins. One a day! No vitamin overdoses over here!
  • I can ask her about her day now. She'll tell me that she went to the church (child care) and played with two other babies and what she had for lunch and that she got to watch Barney twice. It's my favorite thing to do on our drives home. 
  • When we are playing in her room just before bedtime and she senses that we are about to put her to bed, she starts hoarding all of the toys she can get her hands on and dumps them into her crib as quickly as possible so she can play all night long. Too bad she usually conks out within minutes, leaving me to try and empty her crib quietly a couple hours later while trying not to push the buttons that make Elmo talk or the frog croak or the penguin snore.
  • Untitled
  • She gets SO excited about things. I don't think I was ever the type of child to freak out over a coveted Christmas present or anything, so it's such a fun thing to see. I can't wait to give her her American Girl Bitty Baby tonight for her birthday. (Again, wrote this on her actual birthday and am now 5 days later finishing this post up. But the good news is now that I'm posting this late I have a picture to share of her opening her baby doll from Wednesday)
  • 1236383_10152175208219325_1777366012_n
  • Charley is the most polite baby ever. She really has such good manners and uses 'yes, please' and 'no thank you' to everything. Lately she has tried to take her manners one step further and is now saying 'no thank you Dutch', which I can only assume is the combination of 'thanks so much' and 'no thank you' to be: no thank you much. Or maybe she has an imaginary friend from Holland who she's thanking.
  • 1236310_10152175191419325_1219442284_n
  • Charley rules our roost right now. (Don't worry, I don't plan on letting that continue forever!) And, on top of that she has my parents wrapped around her finger too. She's pretty bossy - telling us very sweetly to sit or come or go outside or whatever. Hey! She clearly thinks we are dogs with those commands!
    Anyways, little miss bossypants was ruling the landscaping projects that my dad and John were working on recently. Hands on hips and totally in control.
Untitled Untitled

  • But things aren't all puppies and rainbows over here. Charley is very prompt, and to the very day that she turned two, she also started her terrible twoness. Fake whines and tantrums galore. They are quite amusing though so far. Remind me of that the next time they strike in the middle of a grocery store.
In an effort to post this within the same week as I originally intended, I'm cutting this off and pushing publish. My baby is two, I'm a puddle of goo, and this is through. The end.


Untitled