Karma, Don’t Fail Me Now

If you know me, or have been reading my blog for awhile, you probably know that for the past 2.5+ years KC and I have been renting a little green house at the top of a hill in Oakland.
our houseDespite the fact that we’re just renters, we’ve actually done quite a bit of work to fix up the house.

For example, KC landscaped the small piece of land between the street and sidewalk by installing some steps and planting a few things:IMG_1480

We painted the laundry room and installed carpeting over the concrete floors:
IMG_2853room 3I painted the stairs:

IMG_3145And the closet doors in the dining room:dining room finished 1And of course, for little P’s nursery, we painted the walls and installed plank flooring over the crappy painted wood floors:

floor 3IMG_4660 IMG_4665In the 2.5+ years that we’ve been living here, we’ve made a total of two (yep, TWO) maintenance requests. The first was when we had a squirrel living in our attic (it was actually building a nest which was coming through the beams of our ceiling in the living room.)

I notified our landlord of the issue last October when I first noticed the squirrel. He at first thought I was lying for some reason, until I sent him this picture:


Yes, that’s an actual picture of the actual squirrel who took up residence in our attic. Even after sending the picture, I had to send him a picture of our house as well to assure him that, “No, that wasn’t just an ‘example’ picture.” (Which… seriously?)

Anyway, our landlord opted to “wait it out” with the squirrel, and the squirrel did leave for a couple months, but then returned. I contacted him about it again after KC got up on an insanely high ladder and stapled chicken wire over the holes where the squirrel was getting in, and the squirrel then still managed to find his way back into the attic.

Despite the fact that he’d been on notice about the squirrel for 5 or 6 months at this point, his proposed solution was to “split” the cost of removal, since, according to him, it wasn’t something that he had to cover the cost of as a landlord. (Um, I looked at the laws — that’s so f-ing far from the truth it’s not even funny.) It was only after I told him that I was 7 months pregnant and didn’t really have $400+ dollars to remove a squirrel from a house I didn’t own that he agreed to pay for the removal. Y’know, out of the goodness of his heart.

Wow. Thanks.

The second maintenance request we made was very recent. Our kitchen sink had been leaking, and despite all our attempts to fix it on our own, we determined we needed a plumber to fix it. (Please note that we do not pay the water bill here — the landlord does. So really, we could have just let the stupid thing leak and leak because, who cares right? But because there’s a drought and we’re not monsters, I got in touch with him.) My specific request was a referral for a plumber — because, yes, we were actually willing to pay to have the faucet fixed ourselves (rather than get into another stupid argument about what a landlord is supposed to cover the cost of by law.) Much to our surprise, he actually said he would have his handyman come out and fix it, and, surprise! he was going to come visit too.


He came out the week before last and looked around the house. KC showed him the work we’d been doing and how we, along with our duplex neighbors, had been attempting to keep the yard alive while still conserving water.

We’ve literally had basically zero interaction with this guy since we moved in. (In fact, he once hired people to remove a tree in our backyard and had them come out without telling us. I got a text from our neighbor while I was at work one day, saying “There’s a giant truck in your driveway and a bunch of random dudes in your backyard — do you know about this?” Uhhh, no, no I don’t.)

So yeah, that’s the kind of guy he is.

But despite that, we loved where we live and so continued to be good tenants and even sent him a birth announcement when this little peanut arrived:


So why the title? Why do I hope karma exists?

Well, because on Friday, we found out that he’s evicting us.

Yep, he’s kicking me, KC and our TWO MONTH OLD BABY out of our house so his son can move in. Not because we’ve been bad tenants or did anything wrong. Just because.

Because he can.

Because he’s a terrible human being.

Because he owns a bunch of other properties as well, so why would he want his son to move into one of those?

Because his son is a grown adult, but why should he have to find housing on his own like the rest of us?

Because we have a brand-new baby, so of course we should be asked to move. (And I really haven’t been through enough this year.)

So, thanks, terrible landlord. I hope your son really enjoys it here. I’m sure he’ll get a super warm welcome from all the neighbors. We’ve become good friends with all of them and they are now well-aware of the situation (and were already annoyed with our landlord to begin with since he does $%^& to keep up the property.)

So if you’re out there, Karma, do me a solid, will you?

Thanks in advance,


Relationship, Post-Baby

There are a lot of things that change after you have a baby; and no matter what anyone tells you beforehand, there’s really no way to prepare for it. Your relationship, for example, undergoes a huge change.  And people actually do talk about this one — plenty of people told me bits and pieces about how their own relationships had changed after baby. But as much as people told me, I still remember thinking, “I don’t really think that’s going to be our relationship.”

Your relationship after a baby is sort of weird. Having a baby is like the ultimate stressor on your marriage. It’s like the world is throwing everything it’s got at you and you have to work really hard just to stay afloat, and everything above the water is like the best ever, but everything below the water is really difficult. It’s the strangest combination of really high highs and super low lows.

So here’s what happened after we had a baby (that I was kind of but not really at all prepared for):


1. I’m so focused on the baby all the time that focusing on anything else is really challenging. The only thing I can equate having a baby to that I’ve experienced is studying for the BAR exam. It’s so all-consuming all the time. I’m 24/7 thinking about and taking care of Prim, and frankly, it’s a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best thing I’ve ever, ever done, but it’s also a lot of energy all the time, which can get stressful. So when KC tries to pull my energy or attention elsewhere? Some of that stress can come out, because I feel like I have zero resources left to deal with anything besides the baby a lot of the time.


2. I get touched-out. Having a newborn is just about the sweetest thing ever. Their tiny little body and their sweet milky breath… there’s nothing like it. And the fact that they need and want you all the time is like the ultimate payback for the 9 months of pregnancy. But at the same time, all that contact can be exhausting. Prim is much like any other newborn in that she likes being held most of the day, and I believe in giving babies that physical contact they crave whenever they want it. (I mean, heck, they spent 9+ months literally attached to you, it makes sense that they come out of the womb wanting to be on you all day long.) But after hours of carrying, nursing, and calming Prim, when I finally get her to sleep and am able to put her down for a few minutes, all I want to do is sit down and decompress — not interact or touch anyone else. This can be tough for KC, who has been waiting all day to get my attention (and often tries to interact through touch). I am working on remembering that KC needs physical interaction as well, and he’s working on not touching me immediately after I put the baby down.


3. I expect KC to read my mind. KC has been on paternity leave since Prim was born, which has been awesome, but since P has arrived, I have this unrealistic expectation that KC should do what I would do around the house were I not fully consumed with caring for a new baby. And I expect him to just know what these tasks are all. the. time. Anyone who’s been in a functional relationship for awhile knows that this sort of expectation just spells disaster — because your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together, can’t read your mind. Luckily, KC is a very patient man, and reminds me to communicate what I want (and he tries to help me in the ways I need when I do remember to ask.)


4. It’s hard, but so nice to take a break. Having a newborn is weird in that it’s stressful and exhausting at times, but you still don’t want to leave them. I’ve discovered over the last 8 weeks, though, that these little breaks are helpful (and probably necessary.) KC watches Prim while I go to Bar Method 3-4 times a week; and even though it’s an hour and ten minutes that I’m out of the house, the effect on my mood is amazing. And finding time for KC and I to connect has been important as well. So far we’ve only left Prim once to go on a date together (and much of it was spent talking about Prim and our new life as parents), but we do find little bits and pieces of time to connect. For example, we love taking walks around the neighborhood with Prim and Penny. Prim usually sleeps in the stroller, and it gives us a chance to talk and catch up without having one of us be fully engaged with Prim (and get outside!) So even when I’m tired and don’t feel like leaving the house, having KC convince me to go on a walk has done wonders for my own peace of mind and our relationship post-baby.


5. I love KC so much more than I ever thought I could since he became a dad. Even though KC and I had been together over 10 years when Prim was born, there was nothing that could prepare me for the rush of emotions that came along with seeing KC as a dad. There’s just nothing that compares to seeing your partner hold your child and rock her to sleep, or catching him cuddling her and singing “You Are My Sunshine” to calm her down. Or having him text you late at night when he’s out of town about what we should name our next child. Seeing how much KC loves Prim just reinforces how much I love him, and what a good move marrying him was. (Kace: I can’t wait to have so many more babies with you. I love you. ;) ) 

Favorite Things for Breastfeeding


As I mentioned before, I didn’t have the easiest start breastfeeding Prim. However, I’m now a fairly competent (and confident!) breastfeeder, so I thought it might be helpful to share the things that helped me when I was starting to breastfeed.

A lot of these items I still use (though there are a couple things which were really just for the first weeks when I was still getting the hang of breastfeeding). So if you’re planning on breastfeeding and are wondering what you might want to add to your baby registry, here’s what I recommend:

  1. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: The name is horrendous and most of the patterns look like some middle schooler obsessed with Lisa Frank designed them, but the pillow itself is so, so helpful when breastfeeding a newborn. The fact that you can actually secure the pillow around you is key, because it means it won’t slip around while you’re feeding, resulting in the baby slipping between you and the pillow. I stopped using the pillow after about 2 weeks, when I finally got comfortable with feeding and Prim got a little less… floppy.  So if you don’t want to shell out the $45 for the pillow, see if you can borrow a friend’s for the first few weeks.
  2. Breast Pump: You should be able to get a pump for free through your insurance now (which is awesome because the good ones are not cheap). I got the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, which works great and I totally recommend. Also, know that you can request a breast pump to use while in the hospital — it’s great for getting your milk production up, or supplementing if you’re having latch issues. Plus, most hospitals use Medela pumps, so take home all the extra pieces when you leave the hospital if you have a Medela pump at home, because the hospital can’t re-use them (extra breast shields, collection containers, etc.)
  3. Medela Tender Care Lanolin: There are a lot of creams out there to aid in breastfeeding, but most doctors recommend 100% lanolin. I use the Medela cream religiously and it really helps to keep things comfortable. (And no, you don’t have to wipe it off before each feeding — it’s totally safe for the baby.)
  4. Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads: These are weirdly pricey, and may be unnecessary if you don’t experience sensitivity or latch issues, but if you have some trouble like I did in the beginning, these are a freaking God-send. Get your moneys worth by cutting each pad into fourths and reusing the quarters until they lose their stickiness.
  5. Nursing Pads: These are more personal preference, but I like that these are organic cotton and washable. (And if you are blessed with an oversupply of milk like I am, get multiple packs. You’re gonna need them.)
  6. Nursing Bras: This is personal preference, obviously, but this one is my favorite because it’s lightweight, stretchy and soft (and inexpensive!)
  7. Breast Milk Storage Bags: If you’re planning on pumping and/or returning to work while breastfeeding, make sure you pick up some milk storage bags. I have these Medela ones, which are fine. My sister has Ziplock brand ones, which are cheaper and seem to work just as well. Either way, these are great for labeling and freezing breast milk (because who’s got space to keep a bunch of tiny bottles in the freezer? I sure don’t.)
  8. Hands-free Pumping Bra: Again, if you’re planning on pumping and/or returning to work while breastfeeding, this is kind of a necessity. I didn’t have one for the first few weeks (not realizing that I’d be pumping then), and quickly realized what a pain pumping is without one — um, yeah, you can’t use your hands for 20 minutes. Awesome. I ordered one online which works fine, but I recommend just cutting holes in an old sports bra — cheaper and easier. 


If you’re a nursing mama with any additional recommendations, feel free to leave a comment!

Little Letters


Dear Solly Wrap: You made last weekend’s wedding totally manageable — Prim was snug as a bug all night in the wrap.  So amazing!

Dear Penny: That new citronella collar we got you to control your barking is simultaneously so sad and sweet. (It’s completely painless, it just lets out a little spray whenever she barks which surprises her.)

Dear Bar Method: Slowly but surely my strength is starting to come back, and the return to abs this week wasn’t quite as terrible as I was expecting. I guess taking class all the way up to my due date really was a good idea.

Dear Mamas: Does the whole “touched out” thing end? Once I get Prim to sleep all I want to do is sit alone and not interact with anyone for awhile.

Dear Food: You are so, so delicious. I blame breastfeeding.

Dear 3am: I wonder how long you and I will be meeting up.

Dear KC: It’s kind of amazing how much I love you since you became a dad (but also how annoyed I can get while you sleep soundly through all the nighttime and early morning feedings. ;) )

Dear Freezer: You are stuffed to the gills. I can’t even deal with opening you right now.

Dear Internet: I barely see you these days. I have no idea what’s happening in the outside world.

Dear Prim: You take all my time and energy these days, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Love, Chelsea

Diaper Bag Essentials


In case you’re curious (or in case you’re a mama-to-be trying to plan for your registry), here’s what I keep in my diaper bag (with links!):


  1. Skip Hop mobile changer (which acts as an on-the-go changing pad and houses wipes and a travel size diaper cream)
  2. Solly wrap
  3. Two wet bags — one houses clean diapers (either disposables or extra cloth + a spare cover) and a change of clothes for P (because you never know when the next blowout will be — and you better believe it will happen as soon as you’re out of the house without a change of clothes).  I like keeping two wet bags in the diaper bag so that I have one for dirty diapers and the other for clean diapers and clothes, or for soiled clothes in the event that there’s a major blowout (because you don’t want to be throwing a dirty outfit in with a dirty cloth diaper — it’s just more work when you get home!)
  4. A burp cloth — usually I just use a cloth diaper as a burp cloth, but I have a couple handmade ones which are a little more portable (and cuter!) so I stashed one of those in the bag
  5. Pacifiers in a case to keep them clean (the case came with these pacifiers — Prim hated the pacifiers, but the case has really come in handy!)
  6. Aden and Anais muslin blanket — I like keeping this one in the diaper bag because it came with it’s own carrying bag, and the Aden and Anais swaddles are perfect for draping over the stroller or carseat or wrapping up P when we’re out and about
  7. And last but not least my diaper bag — it’s not technically a diaper bag (and the fact that it doesn’t have dividers like a classic diaper bag can occasionally be a pain), but I love that it’s light and flexible and doesn’t look so much like, “Oh hey, that girl is a MOM.”

Postpartum Surprises


Now that Prim is 6+ weeks, I feel like I’ve fully settled in to being a mama. The other day I was reflecting on my pregnancy and the first weeks with little P, and I thought it would make a good blog post to talk about some of the things that have happened that I wasn’t expecting (y’know, aside from accidentally losing like 1/3 of the blood in my body).

1. I get nostalgic about pregnancy. Pregnancy is long, and physically (and at times, mentally) exhausting.  Especially by the end, it really takes a toll and you reach this point of feeling ready to give birth. Oddly though, I miss being pregnant sometimes now, and get excited about the prospect of being pregnant again and having a second kiddo (don’t worry — I’m not going to be getting pregnant anytime soon.  I’m not that insane.)

2. Post-baby weight loss isn’t as easy as I hoped it would be. There are people who lose all the baby weight in 2 seconds with zero effort, but this is not the case for me (unfortunately).  I had heard stories about the weight just “falling off” while breastfeeding, which it certainly did the first two weeks, but since then it has stubbornly been stuck at the same number. For some reason my body feels the need to cling to 18 pounds, despite the fact that I exclusively breastfeed, eat healthy, take walks and do Bar Method. I’m trying to be positive and focus on “feeling” healthy and not worry too much about the weight (assuming that it will come off eventually), but sometimes it can be a little tough — especially because basically nothing fits at the end of pregnancy and I dreamed about being able to finally wear the rest of my clothes after giving birth. Um, not so much.

3. Breastfeeding is more complicated (and emotional) than I was expecting. I exclusively breastfeed Prim, and feel very lucky that I’m able to do so. I am lucky that I come from good breastfeeding genes (my mom, sister and I all have a pretty insane milk supply — I basically am one in a long line of dairymaids). So while I don’t have a supply issue (my biggest problem right now is that everything I own ends up covered in breastmilk — I basically leak all over everything all the time), getting the hang of breastfeeding was anything but easy. Prim had latch issues from the beginning — because she was early and has a small mouth and high palette, breastfeeding was very difficult and painful. I ended up scabbed due to Prim’s bad latch, and she ended up losing too much weight while we were in the hospital due to the breastfeeding issues. I was determined to continue breastfeeding (though I totally see why people give up on it — especially in the beginning), and so with a combination of pumping, a lot of lactation support and a fair amount of tears (mine, not Prim’s), I got Prim’s weight back up — but breastfeeding hurt almost every single time for the first two weeks. Luckily it turned a corner two weeks in, and it’s now (mostly) easy and painless.

4. There’s a lot I didn’t know about pumping. Did you know that pumping is not always a good indicator of your actual milk supply? It actually takes practice to get “good” at pumping. In fact, some people can breastfeed but can’t pump, because their body just doesn’t respond to the pump, or they can’t relax enough to get their their let-down reflex to kick in. And even if you’re practiced at pumping, you can totally have an “off” day. (I really wish I had known this when I came home from the hospital after my hemorrhage — I pumped and had a complete meltdown because I thought my milk supply was drying up. In reality, I think I was just so stressed and physically worn out from the whole ordeal that my body couldn’t relax enough to get a good output while pumping that night.)

5. Being a mom is so much better than I ever imagined. I’ve always known that I wanted kids, but even so, I had a lot of moments during pregnancy where I worried that I wouldn’t take to being a mom. I feared I wouldn’t be able to calm my baby if she was crying, or that I would be stressed and exhausted all the time, and even worried that I wouldn’t like being a mom and would miss my old life. Luckily these fears were totally unfounded. I was surprised by how calm and confident I felt with Prim right from the beginning. I feel like I know what she needs and can interpret her cries and signals, and the connection I feel with her is just indescribable. I love being her mama in a way I’ve never loved anything else, and now can’t imagine a life without children. (I keep telling KC that I’m going to have as many babies as he’ll let me. He likes to pretend I’m joking. ;) )


Baby Post: Favorite Things for the First Weeks

As you can imagine, we’re quite consumed with the newest member of our household, so posting is likely going to remain sporadic for awhile. I am in the thick of the newborn cliche of getting to the end of a day and not knowing where the time went. Somehow taking care of this tiny human has become so all-consuming that I find myself reaching the end of the day having not really accomplished anything. Or I’ll start five different tasks (small ones, mind you) and not finish any of them. Right now finding time to just feed myself feels like a victory.

But, given that I’ve got lots of help right now (KC is still on paternity leave and our families have been more than willing to come over and help us), I managed to score a moment to myself to put this post together.

So, with that rambling start, let’s get down to it.  Here are the things I’ve been loving for these first few weeks home with the baby:


1. The Solly Wrap: This wrap is a little pricier than some of the others like the Boba and Moby, but I think it’s totally worth the price.  The wrap is so soft and Prim just loves it. I carry her around everywhere in the Solly — it’s so much easier than lugging the carseat around. (For example, I constantly see people lugging their babies into the doctor’s office in the carseat, but I think it’s so much easier and nicer to bring Prim in in the wrap — she stays calm and warm, and it keeps all the nosy well-wishers and their germs at arm’s length.)

IMG_4830 IMG_4893

2. Aden and Anais swaddles: I received a couple packs of the Aden and Anais swaddles before Prim was born, and now that she’s here we use them like crazy. They’re soft and lightweight, perfect for wrapping up P. And the designs are so adorable — we have the Make Believe and Vintage Circus sets, and the Radiant Red classic swaddle.


3. Wubbanub pacifiers: We recently introduced a pacifier to Prim, and while she hated the Chicco NaturalFit, she took to the Avent soothie right away. The Wubbanub pacifiers attach the soothie to a plush animal, which is both adorable and practical (it’s harder to lose than a regular pacifier and P loves to hang on to the attached stuffed animal).


4. Bugaboo Cameleon stroller: This stroller was our big splurge on our registry (luckily we had a lot of gift cards!) and even though this costs an arm and a leg, so far it’s been totally worth the money for us. We use it everyday with the bassinet attachment as a place for Prim to rest downstairs so we can keep an eye on her, and we have started using it for walks around the neighborhood with the carseat attachment for our Chicco KeyFit 30. It’s nicely compact and easy to maneuver. And, I love that it’s light enough that I can fold it up and lift it myself, even with my crazy lifting restrictions due to my crappy back.


5. Ubbi diaper pail: This is kind of a weird item to “love” — but it works great, contains the smell, and uses regular trash bags, which makes it’s $80 price tag totally worth it in my book even though it’s more expensive than most other diaper pails. (I’d rather pay $80 up front than half that and have to spend almost $8 for every refill bag. Barf.)


6. Cloth diaper service: We have started using cloth diapers on Prim, and so far I absolutely love them. Newborns require a million diaper changes a day, so it’s nice to know that we’re not tossing tons and tons of diapers into the trash every week. Cloth diapering is surprisingly easy, and the diaper service is a nice luxury. I love that we don’t have to think about running out of diapers — they just get delivered right to our door every week. (We use Real Nappies diaper covers in the newborn size with the Tiny Tots cotton diapers with snappi fasteners.)

IMG_4813 IMG_4871 IMG_47747. BabyGap clothes: I’m probably a little bit biased, but so far BabyGap is my favorite spot for clothing for Prim. They have so many adorable options, and the clothing is good quality and fits well (it runs a little long and thin, which is good for this baby who is all limbs!)

Little Letters


Dear Primrose: You are the best thing that’s happened to me (besides finding and marrying your daddy).  I’m pretty sure I was made to be your mama.

Dear Breastfeeding:  It’s like I’ll never be full again.  I will eat all the things.

Dear Friends and Neighbors:  All of you have been so nice, bringing over food and offering support.  We are so lucky to have you in our lives.

Dear KC:  Just when I thought I couldn’t love you any more, you became a dad and my whole heart exploded.

Dear Blood Pressure:  Umm, ok, it’s been almost 2 weeks now.  Feel free to get back to normal anytime you want (ideally sooner rather than later).

Dear Cuyana:  Ordered my new bag!  I can’t wait.  (And it’s not totally frivolous — I’m using it as an everyday diaper bag.)

Dear Solly Wrap:  You are absolutely one of the best baby items for the first weeks so far.  (Seriously, how do people lug around the carseat everywhere?  It’s so dang heavy!  I’d much rather just throw P into the wrap and carry her around that way.)

Dear Friends:  Thanks for all your kind words about P’s birth and the little complication that followed.  I’m glad that everything worked out ok (though I do suspect I’m going to have to do some convincing to get KC on board for the next baby…)

Dear Beer:  I had a dream I drank one of you and was so wasted.  Probably pretty accurate at this point.

Dear Sleep:  Well, I’d certainly like to be meeting up with you more, but I know this part isn’t forever.  I’ll sleep when she’s older. ;)

Love, Chelsea