Week Links [15 August]

So, in the past two weeks, I’ve rushed my cat to the vet thinking she was dying (she’s fine and was just dehydrated), my house caught on fire, and we bought an SUV. And those are just the highlights!

To briefly recap the fire, which is something that you never anticipate will happen to you: We had a plumber in swapping out our old steam radiators with a more modern system (I understand nothing about this, so that’s as specific as I can be). Apparently, when he was soldering the pipes in the basement, he must have singed the surrounding wood, because there was a lingering smoke smell. This wasn’t his first time at our house—he’d started the job months ago and he’d done our plumbing when our addition got built a few years ago—and there’s always a bit of a lingering smell, so I didn’t think much of it. But it hadn’t gone away by morning. Last Friday morning I woke up really early, ate a bagel, watched Ginny & Georgia, did a load of laundry, and outside of the smell, nothing seemed amiss. My washer and dryer are in the basement, where the fire was, and I didn’t notice any smoke. About 20 minutes later, my smoke detector started going off, and I walked into my living room to see smoke billowing up through the heater. I grabbed my husband, explained to him what was going on, called my father-in-law (who is the primary one doing the work on our house) and then, like an IDIOT, I ran down into the smoky basement to see what was going on. At no point did it occur to me to call the fire department, and what’s worse, I LIVE ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE FIRE STATION. I could have just gone outside and gotten help. I learned the very important lesson that I can’t be trusted in a crisis.

My father-in-law raced over in record time and ran straight into the burning basement. He was able to put out the actual flames rather quickly, because the fire was contained in the ceiling and hadn’t yet started to spread. I was banished outside with the cat to protect us both from smoke inhalation. I watched from the porch as he carried out smoldering chunks of wood and insulation with his bare hands. My husband helped clear the area near the fire, and was luckily able to save a ton of our photos and holiday decorations. Only one box of our actual possessions got destroyed, which I’m so grateful for. Once we’d aired out the upstairs sufficiently, I went back inside, grabbed some stuff, and camped out at my in-laws for a few hours to escape the smell and stay out of the way. As fires go, the actual impact was extremely minimal, but on the off-chance we hadn’t been home at the time, the whole house could have gone up with our cat inside. I was an evangelist for work-from-home before the fire, but now I think offices should be abolished entirely, if only to protect cats!

If we hadn’t experienced enough stress on Friday, the next day I decided to knock an item off of my endless baby-preparation to-do list—getting an estimate for my husband’s car. We knew we’d have to sell one of our cars and get something big enough to accommodate our growing family, but I didn’t expect a 10-hour total turnaround. The second I put the info into Carfax, my phone started blowing up with emails, texts, and calls from dealerships offering to appraise and buy the car (a 2005 Camry with 84,000 miles, for reference). Apparently the demand for used cars is insane right now. I made an appointment with a local dealership for 5:30 (the same dealership, incidentally, where my first car was purchased 18 years ago and my husband’s car was initially purchased 16 years ago). The appraisal didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but we were still offered a decent chunk of change for the car. We went to the lot and toured their inventory, but nothing I liked was jumping out at me. I was just about to tell the guy we’d take the cash for the car and come back another time to buy, when the car pulled up right beside us. I don’t know if it was being test-driven, or if it had just come in, but it was a jade green 2019 Toyota Highlander XLE with only 12,000 miles on it. 12,000 miles! Our runner up was a boring gray 2018 with 35,000 miles. The 2019 checked every single one of my boxes. The thing is a tank, but an extremely attractive tank. I hate big cars (I currently drive a 2019 Honda Fit), but between twins, their carseats, and the sheer amount of gear they require, I knew that we’d have to go for something that could grow with us, and the Highlander has a fold-down third row. It’s like a mini-van, without being a mini-van. I still want to absolutely vomit when I think about how expensive it is (last time I bought a car, it was the Fit after a trade-in, so I’m not used to making big, scary purchases), but Toyotas live forever, so we could have it until the kids are in high school.

see the whip pullin’ up i’m like skrrrr

So, basically, after a year and a half of being at home and doing nothing, all of our major life events happened at once, while I was 25 weeks pregnant.

  1. Binged Ginny & Georgia on Netflix. I’m obsessed and can’t wait for the new season.
  2. Treated myself to a total mom purse (the small Landon Carryall) during the Dagne Dover refresh sale. My color (Dune) is out of stock now, but they’re still 25% off! They’re re-releasing their baby bags, so I’m hoping to snag one for when my twins arrive!
  3. Did everyone know that Ulta released a Gilmore Girls-inspired line? I have every single thing in my cart.
  4. Rothy’s started making kids shoes? I’m firmly in the camp of not buying kids anything expensive until they stop growing but these will test my willpower.
  5. Ordered these as prescription sunglasses. I love a cat-eye!
  6. My cribs got put together! We went with the Babyletto Hudson model because it was really highly rated and super stylish. And when I say “we went with,” I mean that my husband’s gorgeous, generous, iconic cousins insisted that they give them to us as a gift. The generosity people have shown me during this pregnancy continues to absolutely blow my mind.
  7. This budget-friendly Mid-Century Play Set Makeover is so inspiring! I know I have to wait so long before my kids are actually old enough to play, but I’m so excited for that season of life.
  8. After hearing Elise on the A Beautiful Mess podcast, I treated myself to a Get to Work Book, a Project Breakdown Notebook, and a Perpetual Calendar Notepad. I have always wanted to become a planner person, so I challenged myself to keep up with a planner for a full month before I invested in a nice one.
  9. I read Kristen Arnett’s With Teeth and it has been a real…journey. I loved Mostly Dead Things, so I jumped at the chance to reserve her new book through my library, but I must warn you…maybe put off reading it if you’re pregnant or a new mom. It’s not a favorable portrayal.
  10. I’m having this animal print and this travel alphabet printed today to hang up in the Nursery. The room is so close to being done–I’m excited to share the finished product! It has truly been a labor of love…pun intended.

Make Mine a Double

Well, the cat is officially out of the bag. I’m pregnant. With twins—a boy and a girl (to be officially confirmed at the anatomy scan). To paraphrase something a friend told me when she found out: getting pregnant with twins on the first try is the most Chelsea thing to ever possibly happen. When I went in for my fancy, formal ultrasound at 9 weeks, the tech immediately asked me if I’d had embryos transferred, and when I said no, asked me what medications I’d taken. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect of, “Nope! This is just…my body!”

Before I got pregnant, I spent like six weeks abusing Dr. Google, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to conceive (even after my actual doctor very kindly ran fertility tests and told me point blank that I wouldn’t have any trouble getting pregnant), and of course I got twins right out of the gate. I definitely didn’t expect to get pregnant on the first try—I assumed it would take several months, which is why we started sooner than my original timetable (I wanted to have a baby at age 30 and ended up conceiving at exactly 29 and a half). I feel so incredibly lucky, and even though I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect of double the babies and double the work, I’m so grateful that they’re happy and healthy in there. I know plenty of people that have had a hell of a time conceiving, and the stress is real.

I’ve been interested in birth and parenthood for years, but since I didn’t know if or when it would happen for me, I ignored the topic for years. I can’t tell if I was punishing myself for not being up front with my husband about how much I wanted a baby, or if I was preserving my feelings until I was truly ready to be a mother. In retrospect, I am so, so glad that I didn’t attempt to do this sooner. Even a month sooner, I wouldn’t have been ready. I needed the time to get in tune with my body and my emotions. I needed to work through my issues and traumas (shout out to therapy!) so that I could show up for my kids as the best version of myself. I thought I would spend the rest of my life on antidepressants, and now I’m not taking anything (other than prenatal vitamins and B6 for nausea). I’m not knocking meds (I’m sure I’ll be back ASAP), but I do feel like a badass for doing this au naturel so far.

sonogram at 11 weeks, 3 days. the top picture is of the lower baby, who’s measuring a WEEK bigger that his/her gestational age, and the bottom picture is of the upper baby, who’s measuring exactly on track. i have a feeling by the time they’re reading to come out, i’ll be carrying around minimum 13 lbs of baby.

I’m sure I’ll have more insightful things to say about this journey moving forward, but I’m honestly still processing. I didn’t have morning sickness (so grateful for that), but the first trimester is still awful. It’s exhausting, and at least if you’re me, you’re constantly worried about miscarriage. And YES, I got my first shot of the COVID vaccine while 14 weeks pregnant. My bubs are swimming in antibodies as we speak.

If any other preggos or aspiring preggos are reading this, this is the stuff that I read/used/bought during my first trimester.

  1. A word to the wise—if you just found out you’re pregnant and haven’t even had an ultrasound or talked to a doctor yet, please do not watch The Business of Being Born. I spent 90 minutes panicking thinking I would literally die during childbirth and that the doctors would go against my will and do a bunch of unnecessary medical interventions. Obviously, I was being completely hysterical (pregnancy hormones will do that to you), and in hindsight, I’m really glad I saw the film. Even though it’s really tough on the medical establishment, I didn’t think the portrayal was unfairly biased. Birth is so shrouded in mystery—women are given basically no information about it until they’re actually pregnant. I considered myself really well-informed before, but I had no grasp on the history of obstetrics.
  2. I’ve been listening to Dr. Elliott Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast non-stop. I especially loved Mandy Moore and Hilary Duff’s episodes, since you know I have stanned both of them for 20+ years #millennialicons. I will admit that it’s making me super bummed out that I can’t have a home water birth, but between insurance, dealing with people’s opinions, and the fact that twins are higher-risk, I kissed that dream goodbye a long time ago. I still want to give birth naturally with no meds, but every time I say that, I kind of feel like that meme of the person painting on their clown makeup. I’ve also been listening to Conscious as a Mother.
  3. I’ve already made my registry because I am a full crazy person. I’m still editing it a lot, and don’t think I’ll actually really share it with anyone until I’m past 20 weeks, but it has been so much fun dreaming of their nursery, gear, and gadgets!
  4. Books in my queue: Bringing Up Bébé, The Danish Way of Parenting, Nurture, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Real Food for Pregnancy. I also have The Bump and the What to Expect apps, so I feel pretty prepared for the physical stuff, if not yet for the actual reality of somehow birthing and raising two babies at once.
  5. I justified a second pair of Birkenstocks because the bulk of this pregnancy will be during the summer and mama is not about to wear proper shoes and socks.
  6. But that being said, I did buy compression socks. I already have huge feet (size 10!), so if they grow and I can’t wear any of my existing 5,000 pairs of shoes, I will throw myself off a cliff.
  7. A neighbor of ours donated a massive pregnancy pillow to me, which has helped a lot with my tossing and turning. I don’t actually know which pillow it is, but it looks just like this one. It’s really huge though, and it takes up more than half of the bed, so I got this one for the time being.
  8. Of course I had to get a maternity set from Girlfriend Collective. I got this bra and these leggings.
  9. I’m taking the Ritual prenatal, which I love, but word to the wise, you’ll need to supplement with extra iron.
  10. This is a random one, but I feel it’s my duty to inform you that Trader Joe’s finally made a potato chip version of its Popcorn in a Pickle and they do not disappoint! I know pickles are SUCH a basic pregnancy craving, but I never said I wasn’t a PSL-loving, Ugg-wearing basic!

Week Links [22 February]

Good morning, America! I can’t tell if COVID Mondays are worse (because the proverbial weekend will never come) or easier because they’re hardly different from any other day. I wish I had anything interesting to report, but I sat around knitting and bingeing Gossip Girl all weekend so I’m even boring myself. The weather where I live is going to inch into the 40s and 50s this week, which may sound horrible to people in most climates, but in New England? It’s a mitzvah after a cold and snowy winter.

Stay warm, stay safe, and as King Diamond would say, stay heavy!

megan on the season premiere of snl
  1. SNL may never top this sketch. She’s got a healthy belt! Rick Beato’s reaction to “drivers license” made me feel extremely justified in my opinion that this song is perfect.
  2. My favorite sweater is on sale. I have it in 2 colors.
  3. Megan Thee Stallion showed her nighttime skincare routine on Instagram and I didn’t think it was possible for me to love her more than I already do.
  4. I just found out that Jenna Lyons has a show and I may need to reconsider my disdain for all reality-based television series.
  5. I bought this bag bundle during their 25% off Valentine’s Day sale because I’m obsessed with jinxing myself. I am truly like two purchases away from becoming a Victorian ghost, haunting the moors while my soul is trapped between earth and the afterworld.
  6. You do have to laugh.
  7. Excited to try these non-alcoholic cocktails.
  8. I caved. In my defense, it took almost a year to get me to crack. And yes, I had a coupon code.
  9. There is no one I stan harder than Deb from Smitten Kitchen, so when I was on a cooking tear on Saturday, I made this macaroni & cheese and these brownies. I slightly burned the brownies because I got distracted after turning the timer off (never do this if you have ADHD!), but overall my kitchen was the place to be this weekend. Don’t worry—I served roasted broccoli to balance out the utter lack of nutritional value.
  10. I just started using this toothbrush. I’ve been using their flat body scrubber for ages, having received it in a subscription box. Loving this anti-microbial eco option! I’m a really vigorous brusher, so I’m skeptical of any toothbrush that boasts a replacement head (quip utterly failed me), but these are actually up to the task! And the best part is that they only need to be replaced twice a year and are recyclable.
  11. I might get a few of these to brighten up a room I’m redecorating. Definitely a different style for me! This one isn’t as much my taste, but goes perfectly with the color scheme.

Week Links [20 February]

Happy (very belated) Valentimes! I’ve never been much for this particular holiday, since I hate candy, cold weather, and obligations generally, but a cozy Valentine’s Day at home this year is just what the doctor ordered. This was my eighth V-Day with my husband, if such a thing is to be said. He shares my general sentiment (he’s even more of a Grinch than I am; he’d forget his birthday and Christmas if I didn’t remind him), but he knocked our first Valentine’s Day out of the park. We saw Nicole Atkins at Brighton Music Hall, and it remains one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Quick tangent: Nicole is one of the finest singer-songwriters on the planet, in addition to being SO NICE in person.

i found this on twitter and have no idea who to credit it with, but it is the best thing i’ve ever seen

In other news, the entire country is frozen. I’m from Massachusetts, so winter storms are par for the course and we have the infrastructure to deal with them. My heart aches for the Southern states who weren’t prepared for this climate catastrophe, and whose leaders are incompetent, hypocritical assholes who don’t care whether their constituents live or die (looking at you, Ted Cruz). One of my favorite comedians, Jen Kirkman, put together an amazing thread of all the ways to help Texas. I feel very, very grateful to be where I am right now, and also to have a husband who does all the shoveling and snow maintenance.

image source

Today (2/20) would also be Kurt Cobain’s 54th birthday. I’m a lifelong Nirvana stan (literally lifelong; Nevermind came out almost exactly a month after I was born), so I always get reflective on this day, as well as on April 5th (the day he passed). He had only just turned 27 when he died (two and a half years younger than I am now!) but in his short life absolutely changed the world. I’m tempted to say he was ahead of his time, but he wasn’t…he was living in the present while the rest of the world languished in the past. Happy birthday, king.

With all that being said, stay warm and safe and listen to some Nirvana today.

  1. Re: the above, I bought myself this t-shirt.
  2. I cannot tell a lie: the Always Pan is worth 100% of the hype. I just bought a second one (although in retrospect, I should have gotten the Dinner for 4 bundle). The pan going to be my new go-to gift for friends. And as soon as the lavender comes back in stock, one of my parents will be #blessed with a hand-me-down.
  3. I’ve been loving In the FLO by Alicia Vitti. My psychiatrist actually recommended it to me, since she knows my ultimate goal is to get in sync with my body and be on as little medication as possible. The term “biohack” makes me want to vomit, but the author makes clear that she doesn’t mean it in the tech bro way. I’d never even heard of the infradian rhythm! Obviously boo biological essentialism and sex ≠ gender, but I’m also sick and fucking tired of the fact that all of our conventional knowledge and medical studies are based on male bodies.
  4. I’m rewatching Gossip Girl on HBO Max because I have zero respect for myself (actually it’s because the girl I tutor was assigned to read the book in her Y.A. Lit class). I watched it for the first time when I about 24, having missed the boat in my teen years, and it’s amazing how much my perspective has changed in the intervening time (I’ll be 30 in 6 months). The show is…VERY CAVALIER about sexual assault in a way that cannot have been healthy for my generation to watch. However, for each troubling moment, there is one equally joyful and iconic, such as the fact that, canonically, Lily van der Woodsen has slept with both Trent Reznor and Slash.
  5. I’m excited to dive into this book. I’ve really enjoyed this one so far, and sorry not sorry, but I’m one of those annoying people that thinks Europeans do everything better than us.
  6. If I’m not careful, I’m just going to replace all the furniture in my house with poufs.
  7. This tweet lives rent-free in my mind.
  8. I searched vintage glassware on Etsy on a complete whim and found this set of floral glasses. They match a juice pitcher that belonged to my husband’s late grandmother almost perfectly! They were extremely close, so I’m excited to be able to display this sweet little trip down memory lane. The rest of the shop has super cute stuff for great prices.
  9. These handmade dolls are so.freaking.cute. I also love these and these. Today’s kids have the coolest stuff.
  10. Definitely getting this rug for my “second bedroom.”