swoondle society review

here it is.  the good, the bad, and the really cute dresses but questionable business execution.

i saw a Facebook ad about 2 months ago for swoondle society and i was sucked in immediately.  kids grow out of their clothes in the blink of an eye!  and i love to dress B like she’s my little doll, but hate the hassle of reselling items on the BST pages when i’m really busy.  swoondle society seemed to have the answer to this.  here’s how it works:

  1. they send you a pre-paid bag to fill with your child’s excellent used condition clothing, shoes, and accessories.
  2. you put it in the mail and wait for an email confirming receipt of items.
  3. later, an email arrives in your inbox stating which items they have decided to keep and which they will be donating on your behalf.  this process took about 2 weeks from shipment date for us.
  4. your items are categorized and you are then allowed to “spend” your trades within your categories.  *catch* you cannot combine lower category items together to purchase higher level items. *extra catch* only your first FIVE trades are free.  that means if you sent 12 items like i did, you can only redeem 5 of them without paying the company.  BIG FROWN.  i had the option of paying $5 per extra item (which didn’t really make sense to me because i could go to a local thrift store and pay that and not have to trade B’s clothing in for them as well… but my fault for not initially reading the fine print, they have to make money somehow too, etc. etc.), or you can purchase a membership ($39 for 10 trades and the additional options went up from there).
  5. once you have carted all of your kid’s new duds, simply check out and pay for Priority shipping (this was the only shipping option available).

okay.  let’s be real here.  i love start up companies and everything they stand for.  but, a level of service is expected in the business world.  i paid $10.80 in “Priority shipping” for 5 items that easily fit into a bubble wrap envelope.  i thought i would definitely receive tracking within two days since it was a priority package.  i reached out and was told my items would ship monday.  on monday i received my tracking (woohoo!), i checked on wednesday and the usps website stated they were still awaiting acceptance of my package.  swoondle society said they would look into it on thursday morning, bringing the transaction to a week (not counting the initial processing and photography of my items).  not very happy.  my items finally arrived 9 business days after my order…. with a parcel select label on it.

the dresses were packaged nicely in individual plastic bags.

the quality of each item was as described on the website.

would I order from swoondle society again?

in short, no.  i was disappointed by the overall business model, the misleading cost and speed of shipping, and lack of customer service.  i would highly recommend that they change their website wording at checkout since the shipping method is not true to what they are utilizing.

have you tried swoondle society before and if so, what are your thoughts?  until next time…!


Earth Day Fairy Garden

I have been promising B for weeks that we would put together her fairy garden in the backyard and we finally had time to do it for Earth Day this weekend.

We grabbed this super sweet book at the library to go along with our activity.  It was the perfect little read and B got really excited over the idea of sneaky fairies visiting the garden she was about to build for them!

We planted the yellow and orange marigolds and lavender daisies B had picked out, in a shallow terra cotta pot.

She did an excellent job of building a little fairy town with these pieces that I found at the DOLLAR STORE!  Such a steal!  You can also check out this cute little fairy garden set as another option.

Miss. Sassy Pants was certainly pleased with the results of her garden!

Outfit: Jumpsuit, Sandals, Bow.

For the finishing touch, we added fairy lights for nighttime (so the fairies wouldn’t get lost) and added smaller terra cotta pots with flower bulbs planted in them.

Both B and I are thrilled with the end result.  A garden this cute is sure to attract some friendly fairies for a visit!

How To Care For Your Daughter’s Curly Hair

When B was born, I was so certain that her bald baby head would produce stick straight locks… or at the very most, minimally wavy.  But, alas she proved me wrong and developed ringlets that threw me for a loop and had to learn to care for.

Today I’m going to share our curly hair routine.  B woke with a birds nest of a mess this morning.  Challenge accepted.  Here’s where we started.

Pro Tip 1: Don’t Overwash

I wash B’s hair twice a week at most unless it is absolutely necessary (she gets food in it, high pollen count, etc.)  This is crucial with curly hair!  You don’t want it to dry out.

Wash Routine:

We use Curly Wurly from Lush as her shampoo and this Hask Argan Oil conditioner.

  1. Massage quarter size dollop of shampoo starting at roots and very lightly working through to the ends.  No scrubbing or rough handling!  Since B had a lot of knots going on today, I tried my best to separate and flatten that area.
  2. Let shampoo sit for about 2 minutes.  Curly Wurly is coconut based, so it contains a lot of moisturizing properties that other shampoos do not.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and be sure to get all coconut chunks out!
  4. Apply conditioner generously from roots to end (I use about two quarter size dollops in B’s hair).
  5. Using a wide tooth comb (here’s our favorite), gently comb through hair.  This part is usually not popular with the toddlers… but it’s only twice a week and worth the hassle.
  6. Let conditioner sit for 2 more minutes and rinse thoroughly.

Now for after shower steps!

  1. Apply a small bit of Argan Oil from where the hair begins at ears down to ends.  Don’t over do it.
  2. Spray detangler and let it soak for awhile.
  3. For this next step, I tell B it’s her “beauty salon” time, which usually works.  Comb through again with the wide tooth comb from roots to ends.

Pro Tip: If your kiddo did not have super knotted hair at the start of this routine, you can skip the brushing and just let their curls air dry.  It usually produces a better texture/ringlets.

We did this wash in the morning before preschool.  But, if it has been in the evening, I always put her hair in a loose braid for bed time to prevent tangles.

And ta-da… manageable curly hair!

Pro Tip: Over the past 3 years, I’ve learned that the occasional trim with added long layers really works for B’s hair.

preschooler fun: troll haircut activity

sometimes i truly struggle with keeping B occupied on our free days where we don’t have something planned. one day i realized that i had been hoarding too many toilet and paper towel tubes for some unknown crafting purpose (because i do that). so, i decided to put together the easiest activity ever for B… a troll hair cutting station.

here’s what you need:

  • multiple empty toilet paper/paper towel tubes
  • colored pencils
  • adult scissors
  • child safe scissors

simply draw “troll faces” on each tube with various expressions, use the “grown up scissors” to cut hair on each tube, flatten out the hair so it’s easy to cut….and voila!

B was entertained for a good 30 minutes giving each troll a new do.  it then evolved into her cooking her new troll friends dinner in her play kitchen.  such a simple activity sparked her creativity and my little lefty received some cutting practice as well!

what other fun activities have you come up with using old toilet paper rolls or other random items in your home?  let me know below!



B’s birth story (three years later).

i’ve recounted B’s birth many times to a handful of friends and fellow mother’s.  but, it has always been doled out in chunks.  never from beginning to the whole end.

the reason is because as many births can be- it was overwhelming and emotional.  because i know people judge hard (and have), unless they’ve experienced the same thing themselves.

so as B approaches the big 3, i thought i would sit and write out the details… before i forget them all.

3 weeks before B was born.

on june 12, 2014, i was at work like any other thursday.  36 weeks pregnant and as i sat at my desk, i noticed that B was not moving as she usually did every morning.  i told one of my co-workers and she suggested i try some juice, so we went to the cafeteria where i downed a cup of juice, waited and still- nothing.  i decided to call the maternity ward to see what the nurses might suggest.  it had been far too long at this point, and i was worried.  they told me to come in for monitoring.

i drove myself to the hospital thinking i would be back to work shortly after.  i tried calling N, but i knew he was in a job interview and would be unreachable for a few hours.  i called my father in law to let him know where i was headed.  my sister in law was also pregnant at the time and scheduled for an induction that upcoming weekend.

a few of my mom friends in my birth club had joked the day before saying that friday the 13th and the full honey moon were coming up.  who would take one for the team and give birth on that day?

at the hospital, i was taken back right away and hooked up to the monitors.  this was at 11:30am.  the nurse asked me if i knew that i was having a contractions once a minute, and asked “don’t you feel them?”

“yes”, i responded, “i’ve been feeling them for about two weeks now… isn’t that normal?”  ah- first time motherhood and all of its naivety.  i drank more juice.  i waited.  some tests.  an ultrasound to check fluid levels.  then finally she kicked!  three hours of being hooked up, N finally arrived at the hospital and they said they were gathering my discharge papers and to hang tight.

i distinctly remember N asking me if i wanted one of the cookies he was eating.  i told him, no- we could just go get something to eat once we left there because i wanted “real” food.  that was one of the big mistakes i made that day.  not five minutes later, nurses and doctors came rushing into the triage room.  i was still hooked up to the fetal monitor.  they told me that B’s heart rate was continuously dropping and to roll over on my side because they were going to break my water.  i wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until i had this baby. this was around 2:00pm.

i was in fact in such shock because even though i knew i would be having a baby within the next 4-5 weeks… i didn’t think i would be having a baby that very weekend.  i had a birthday party planned for N in two days.  my sister in law was supposed to be the one giving birth on sunday.  being the virgo that i am- i had of course already packed my hospital bag, which was waiting by the door at home along with my neatly typed up birth plan (which LOL to that because the dr practically did laugh out loud when i presented it).

“you’re really calm.  why are you so calm?” asked the nurse (i actually totally adored this nurse because she was the most real with me through the experience).  i really had no answer.  when something shocking or bad happens to me, i just typically don’t panic and try to process and plan my next steps instead.  all i honestly remember at this point was A LOT of warm gushing water and saying hello to really big contractions immediately.

i was taken to a labor and delivery room and everything was cool as far as laboring went for the first 2 hours.  i was able to get up and move around which helped so much.  B was face up which meant incredibly intense back labor (and has anyone seen the size of that kid’s head… no joke, my friends).  and then they came and told me that B’s heart rate kept dropping and i needed to stay in bed and not move around so they could monitor her properly.  ugh.  pure and utter crap.  okay- not really, but it sucked for me as i could not get any relief at all by just staying in one position.

time continued to press on and i was progressing really well.  they say labor pain is incredibly bad and that you forget it as time passes.  honestly, i have experienced worse pain (like two dry sockets after having my wisdom teeth pulled… labor was much better than that for me).  however, it was not easy.  that sh** sucked and i was so thirsty.  i remember telling everyone in sight that all i wanted after this was a white powerade once this was done.  my body was craving sodium like crazy.  5cm, 6cm… did i want an epidural?  no.  more time passed.  N was tired and passed out.  again i was offered an epidural.  no…  finally at 7cm a nurse came in and said to me, “i know you don’t want an epidural and i know you want to do this naturally.  i’m really worried you might end up having a c-section and if you don’t get the epidural now, they will put you under completely to do the c-section.”  at first, i was taken aback and felt bullied by her statement.  but, then i looked at my situation.  decreased fetal heart rate.  prior placenta previa with the placenta still very close to the opening which could potentially complicate things.  i agreed to the epidural and found sweet, sweet relief.  for a few hours.  this was at 8:00pm.

i stopped progressing all through the night and was stuck at 7cm.  around midnight i realized that i was feeling every single contraction again.  not just a little bit, but just like normal contractions.  the anesthesiologist came in and added more medication.  great for another hour and then the contractions hit me again.

per the norm, my nurse came in to check vitals and they discovered i was running a fever.  hooray!  tylenol, cold cloths, anesthesiologist gave more meds to my epidural.  my fever was not messing around and i was burning the epidural meds off like they were nothing.  at one point the anesthesiologist said, “i think i’ve given you enough to put an elephant down.”  this is when angry pregnant lady emerged.  i was tired, hungry, thirsty (although they let me have ice chips for a bit), in pain and pissed off.

finally, they decided that since i was running said fever and not progressing, they would start me on a light dose of pitocin to help push me to 10cm.  not like i had much say in the matter.  pitocin makes labor so so SO much worse and at this point i had said screw it to the epidural since all it was doing was giving me 10 minutes of relief at a time and making me shake like crazy.

then, it was time to push.  this was at 11:50am.  the anesthesiologist asked if i wanted another hit of medication before i started pushing.  i (probably rudely) declined as it was much easier to have full control of my legs and all i really freaking wanted to do was push.  i pushed and pushed… and pushed.  B was still sunny side up.  B’s heart rate continued to drop with each contraction.  i was put on oxygen in between contractions which was far more annoying than it sounds.  they tried turning her and she would just flip right back around.  finally i had part of her head almost out (still sunny side up- that stubborn child…), but they told me she just wouldn’t slip under my pubic bone.  that was super cool.

the doctor told me maybe they could use forceps?  but, my fever was continuing to rise.  the doctor was pro-forceps.  three of the nurses came to me and highly recommended a c-section… they told me they didn’t believe the forceps would be right decision and we needed to decide right then because of all of the factors between myself and the baby.  i know a doctor knows more, but i trusted these nurses.  this was at 1:40pm.

so, off to the OR i was pushed.  i remember continuing to have contractions as they were getting the room ready and they kept telling me, “don’t push”… but hello- having to push during a contraction and resisting is nearly impossible without pain relief… so i continued to push as discreetly as i could.   i was incredibly worried about anesthesia since it wasn’t working before, but whatever they gave me when we got in there was some serious stuff because by the time i was all set up, i felt nothing.  at this point, N informed me that they were shoving B back up my vagina/birth canal (sorry for the visual), so she would be back up high enough to take out of my stomach.

the rest of it was a blur.  i didn’t feel tugging or pain.  i don’t even remember her crying because i was just so tired and doped up on the heavy pain meds.  once she was out i told N to go over and see her and bring me back photos while they weighed her and made sure she was healthy.  i remember crying and our admittedly cool anesthesiologist snapped photos for us (and he asked if i was crying from happiness or pain- which was kind of funny to me, considering the circumstances).

finally here!

Baby BAM, as she was so fondly referred to throughout my pregnancy, was born June 13, 2014 at 2:07pm.  5 lb 11 oz, 18.5 inches long… head in the 99th+ percentile (which is where it stayed until she was 18 months old, when it finally dropped to the 98th percentile).

holding daddy’s finger

in recovery, the nurses told me that i had contracted Chorioamnionitis during labor.  It’s an intra-amniotic infection which is what was causing my fever.  My placenta was not salvageable for encapsulation and was to be sent to the lab instead… and i would have to be on IV antibiotics for the next 3 days to fight the infection.  it was like the sad, sad cherry on top of the whole crazy experience.  i had to wait an hour while B was in the NICU for breathing issues (and then ongoing issues with jaundice through our stay).  and then she was brought to me.  it felt perfect and foreign at the same time to have her in my arms- finally, yet too soon.  i know mother’s who have given birth earlier and i am lucky she came out so perfect and with such mild issues from being born pre-term.  but, i would’ve given anything to let her grow those last few weeks in my stomach to develop more.  those are stories for another time though!

newborn photo

in the end, we left with a perfect baby who will now suddenly be 3 in the blink of an eye.

B and I- just a few weeks before she turns 3.