Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Wetus goes to Washington (DC)

Yesterday we had a lovely visit to Downtown Washington DC. We had lunch with Aunt Mary and then decided to go down by the White House to see if we could spot an Obama. Instead we came up against some awful traffic where we literally moved 4 blocks in 45 minutes. But right when we were going to give up, we found a parking spot within a block and a half of the White House. Very picturesque. As an added bonus we found out what was stopping traffic: a protest against human rights violations aimed at the visiting Columbian President. We had seen some limos & blacked out SUVs go by us when we were trying to get around and then lo & behold just a block away from the White House there was this rally... It was very exciting. And then as we went back toward the White House, I noticed men in black watching from the roof. It must be the snipers! It doesn't get much better than that. After we got our fill of presidential grandeur, we went on a quest for ice cream and found some frozen custard. As always, it was a fabulous visit with Aunt Mary who has lived in DC for over 50 years. She and her family have worked in various parts of the government in DC and she narated which building was what as we drove through town. You can tell the city is getting ready for the 4th of July festivities. Though we will be down in Virginia by then, it looks to be one major party.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

East Coast Bound and Thoughts about Michael Jackson

Clearly the Wetus is getting ready for our trip to the East Coast today and self-adjusting to the time difference because it woke up at 5 am with hiccups and has been active ever since. That's fine I guess because it's so bright outside anyway, so I may as well get up. We are off to the DC, Maryland, Virginia area to do, as I have been calling it, "The Farewell Tour." Farewell, to our transcontinental traveling twosome days. There is a lot of visiting packed in including a stay with the Vaslows who moved from Kirkland to Maryland last year, seeing many of Ken's childhood & school friends and a mini-reunion with Ken's family on the 4th of July.

I am looking forward to getting away and seeing all these fine people. I hope my energy level sustains so that it can be a truly enjoyable time. The weather is forecasted in the 80's with 40-50% humidity. We shall see how I do with that. I'm a little nervous about how many ticks they have over there. An alarming number of Ken's family have Lyme Disease from those little pests so I am coming prepared with some pretreated insect repelling clothing and DEET spray in a concentration safe for pregnancy. But being more of an indoor person myself, it might not be too hard to stay out of the ticks' way. At 27 weeks pregnant and still showing placenta previa, I have also been advised to travel with a copy of my medical records (check), know where all the Level III NICU Hospitals are (check) and not lift, strain or engage in any form of exercise (...) Poor Ken, he's going to be schlepping bags this whole vacation.

One very cool thing about this trip is that Ken, his brothers and cousin are going to rent Harleys and take a multi-day motorcycle road trip to revisit some of the significant places in their childhood. They have been talking about doing this for a few years and the timing is pretty good considering what's coming up. Ken has been helping plan the route and make accommodations.

As for this past week, we celebrated our 4th Anniversary which culminated with a lovely dinner at Waterfront Restaurant. Our booth table had a view of Elliott Bay where there were sailboat races going on. It was spectacular. Ken and I both agreed while we like the look of sailboats and they are a fun challenge, we are so glad we don't have to maintain one.

Ken also gave me a cute card in which he made a list which I will share...

Top 10 Reasons I Love my Prius-- I mean, Wife
  1. Still Shiny
  2. Environmentally Friendly
  3. Unlocks as I Approach
  4. Low Emissions
  5. Sleek Lines/Aerodynamic
  6. Roomy (good for carrying kids)
  7. Great Safety Rating
  8. Saves Me Money Everyday
  9. Quiet "Ninja Mode" Feature
  10. Makes Me Smug

Also on the day of our anniversary, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died so that kicked off a little introspection. Particularly in Michael Jackson's situation as more information comes out that he had been allegedly addicted to pain killers and surrounded by people who enabled access to substances furthering his destructive spiraling. It reminded me of the Anna Nicole Smith train wreck and the nearly identical Britney Spears situation. Britney at least had her family to save her from that fate but it strikes me that these quite famous and seemingly rich & powerful people attract to them the most sinister associates and "yes-people" who separate them from reality and reason. When you add drugs into the mix, the celebrity at the center of it is no longer in control and their miserable lives become a spectacle that the masses consume as entertainment.

Along the same lines, I guess I don't understand the appeal of reality television. It seems worse in a way because it's more an "I want to be famous" motivation and less an "I want to be a professional entertainer". Because once famous, a reality star has to deal with the pitfalls of keeping fame, continual pressure to be outrageous and a misplaced narcissism that comes without ever having to be talented. I don't watch reality TV but just the amount of news coverage that Jon & Kate plus 8 show got--I worry about our culture and what message is conveyed about "what reality is."

So regarding Michael who was so impactful to my 80's childhood, my love of dance and music--I salute you. He became weirder and weirder as time went on so I chose to remember him as he was in the 80's and marvel at that era which seemed so magical. But like many geniuses and mega-celebrities, his early success was at the expense of a normal life & childhood which could have manifested some of the reprehensible behavior he was later accused of. I don't know, but as my dad says, "you can do anything you want if you're willing to pay the price." It seems that Michael paid that price many times over but can now leave it all behind.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

To my husband who always keeps me laughing...
Photo by Brett Jungbluth

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dad, the do-gooder

Here's dad in a PSA about the SW Washington Free Clinic. With the issue of more and more folks not having health care because they can't afford it or don't have jobs that provide it, clinics like these are getting slammed. I am so grateful that there are places like these to help bridge the gap while our government is finally taking this issue head on. Dad volunteers here and this PSA was made as a recruitment tool to attract other healthcare providers. (Dad comes in at 3:25)

I think Shannon told me that 60% of bankruptcies are due to health care costs. It makes no sense to me to be the country with the best health care available that only a fraction of the citizens can access. I think health care needs to be looked at more in terms of a service and less as a business. I'm beginning to think that capitalism isn't all that sustainable especially when it comes to basics like this. The other thing I don't understand is why "socialized medicine" is such a scary prospect. I lived over in England for a year and have English friends. They like their health care system very much thank you. Why are our politicians so afraid of it?

Monday, June 15, 2009

25 Weeks

Me... The Nursery sans Theremin & crib... Crib construction... The Nursery / temporary Theremin practice room... The Fighting Wetus... (Boxing gloves compliments of Daddy who likes to take liberties in Photoshop.)


Ken and I took a fantastical journey to the center of our fine state. It was a welcome car trip, especially as we passed the top of Snoqualmie Pass and the area en route to Wenatchee called Hidden Valley. So picturesque and wide open. I do miss that--how the land opens up before you with no obstacles and the sky & clouds seem bigger than normal. In the hustle bustle of the big city, views like that can seem so foreign.

Our weekend getaway was spent with my elementary school chum Heather, her musical husband Daric and their 2-year-old, Ethan. I visited them down in Phoenix last Mother's Day and they have since relocated to Wenatchee, WA. We are so excited to have them so near. The temps were in the upper 80's/low 90's so this delicate, pregnant flower was wilting a little. But it's almost prime time cherry season and I was hoping to snag some of my favorite fruit from the source. I did come back with some Bings but will have to wait a few more weeks for the Rainiers.

Ken had only met Heather & Daric at our wedding (4 years ago) and of course it was a whirlwind so not much quality time. But on this visit, Daric and Ken got to jam on their guitars, Ken gave a Theremin demonstration, we played and read to their son Ethan who danced, sang & says the most earnest "no" I've ever seen and we got to see Daric play songs from his new CD at a local eatery. Heather & Daric also told us stories about parenthood which we intently absorbed.

Ken and I stayed at a very cute B&B called Huckleberry Haven. It is the most darling place and the hosts provide excellent hospitality and meals. True to it's name, huckleberries are featured in many of the breakfast dishes and beverages served. The huckleberry bread was our favorite and she gave me the recipe. Of course, I have a thing about 99.99999999999999999999% of the beds in this world: they are not mine and therefore I cannot have very restful sleep because I am so spoiled and unadaptable in my old age. But the private 2-person jacuzzi tub, sitting room and beautifully decorated suite were fabulous and the second night was an improvement.

We look forward to seeing them in Wenatchee again--probably post-wetus delivery.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Media NOT Recommended for Pregnancy

Then there's the stuff one should stay away from during pregnancy--and I'm not talking sushi, coffee, lunch meat or blue cheese.

Here are some major offenders:

Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy
Probably the worst book I've encountered regarding pregnancy. Tone is snarky and shallow. I guess the woman who wrote this is a former Playboy Playmate--which may explain the unshakable fixation on appearance and how pregnancy/childbirth affects a swinging gal's mojo. There are a lot of humor books on the topic of pregnancy and a few are listed in my former post. This is in no way "humorous"; it vacillates simultaneously between annoying and sad.

The Fly 2 (first 10 minutes especially)
One of our friends said not just pregnant women but everyone should be warned against this movie. I thought this was a descent movie but the first scene is very horrific if you are pregnant or ever thinking about becoming so.

Battlestar Galactica Episode "The Farm"
From my favorite TV show comes a disturbing episode that showcases the cylons desire to cross-breed with humans and their mechanisms to accomplish that. Makes you think twice about what we do to animals/livestock in the name of science.

Any of the "Alien" movies
One of the best sci-fi story lines ever but does not mix well with pregnancy. Technically this doesn't have anything to do with pregnancy, but NOW the idea of a creature bursting out of your chest/abdomen area--yeah not so cool.

Star Trek 2009 (just the first 10 minutes)
I'm a big ole nerd & I love me some Trek. Wasn't totally on board with Sylar, I mean New Spock but grew to accept it. However, the very first scene involving Kirk's parents and the evacuation of his mom whilst in-labor to an escape pod while his dad stayed on the bridge to detonate the ship manually--I was inconsolably bawling. Surprised the hell out of me too. Hello hormones.

Supernatural, pilot episode
This is probably one of the most frightening TV episodes I've ever seen, ranking right up there with "Home" from the X-files (back when it was good). The flashback scene in the first 15 minutes is so surprising and bloody, describing it doesn't do it justice. There are summaries of the episode online and I was going to link to one but when you see it written out, it doesn't seem that bad. But trust me, don't watch this if you're pregnant or just had a baby.

Overall, I find myself becoming really sensitive to violence in movies and TV now. I don't have the immunity to it that I once did. Also I find myself sort of weepy at the oddest things: pictures of puppies, sentimental music and don't even get me started on the movie UP. Be warned.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Media and Resources for Pregnancy

Parenthood is one of those endeavors that sometimes doesn't get the preparation it deserves. I can't understand why people might think that the physiological changes and responsibility of nurturing a forming human being would require little to no study because it's what "we're meant to do." I guess the assumption is made that the example of one's parents serve as the template and will teach you most of what you need to know. But while I think my parents did a fine job and I will emulate some of what they did, I also believe that learning and applying the skills, tools and knowledge that it takes to be a successful parent (not just getting by) takes discipline and focus. After all, I went to college for 4 years just to form the baseline of my professional aptitude and this seems to fall into a headier endeavor than learning how to produce the news or make a video documentary.

While there are so many great resources out there for pregnancy and childbirth preparation, it can be overwhelming. Personally, though I can't get enough of it. If one were to come to our house right now, they'd find all sorts of media regarding pregnancy & parenting scattered about. Because I love lists, I thought it might be helpful to compile all the books, podcasts, videos and websites that we are looking at.

This is my favorite resource for what changes are going on for me, the growth of the baby and ideas for exercise.
Already mentioned how helpful this is in sorting through establishing the registry and figuring out what baby gear you may need.
We're still working on names but this helped. The book also includes Polynesian and First Nation names if you are seeking them.
This is a collection of stories that showcase the not so pretty but still poignant side of parenthood. It's a good grounding reference.
This is supposedly the quintessential book that almost all expectant parents have. I am not fond of the monthly format (I prefer weekly or even daily) and it seems like this book contains all the bad things that can happen. It's a helpful book to have but not the only one you should read.
Our doula told us that there are only 5 things you need to know from this book and she could tell us these things in 15 minutes. We still have the book for reference though.
This book was given to us by Sue and has lots of pictures/photos of the developing fetus and what mom is going through. It's older but still something cool to track progress with.
A humorous look at pregnancy and childbirth through still photos of posed, plastic chicks.

A comprehensive guide to "attachment parenting" from birth and beyond.
A humorous guide to good and bad ways of dealing with the baby's daily needs plus a "responsibility spinner" to help mom & dad decide who's going to change the next diaper.
A "dry & picture-less" guide to things that Ken says he already knows. But still probably a good reference for most dads to take a look at.

If you're fascinated by all the changes you and baby are going through on a daily basis and you want to keep a journal, this is a book for you.

Honestly, we haven't cracked this one yet. Have no idea if it's good or not.

While it has some great idea cards you can rip out and take with you to entertain antsy children, this is mostly a collection of ads sprinkled with moderately interesting articles about parenthood.

We've watched this twice now. Fascinating chronicle of an English couple's pregnancy with 2-D, 3-D & 4-D images of their baby plus some graphical representations based on those images to show what babies do in the womb. Done by National Geographic. It's awesome.

Laugh and Learn about Childbirth
This came highly recommended by our neighbors and we will watch this soon.

The Gift of Motherhood (Book & DVD)
This came from my medical insurance company and we will watch this soon.

Podcasts (both available on iTunes):
Pea In the Podcast
Great weekly podcast to give you some in-depth discussion on a topic that is relevant to the stage of development you are in. Guest hosted with an OBGYN.
A Massachusetts couple logs their personal journey into parenthood with stories, advice and feedback from listeners.


Any other suggestions?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Pregnant celeb buddies

This is totally irrelevant and ridiculous but hey, what the heck? Ellen Pompeo (age 39), known as Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy,

and Sarah Michelle Gellar (age 32), famous for her role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,

are both due with their first babies around the same time I am. Yay!

(Sarah also has excellent taste in Camelbak water bottles.)