Friday, July 27, 2012

19 weeks

I've had a major growth spurt in the last week:

Just kidding... that's the belly pillow you can use to try on maternity clothes.  As a side note, stretchy, elastic-waist clothing is awesome.  My new duds will serve me well through any further pregnancies and all major holidays.

Here's the real 19-week shot:

Only 6 more days until the 20-week (or 19w6d in our case) sonogram.  I'm beyond excited to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl and be reassured that he/she has all her appropriate parts.  Also, I think maybe I'm starting to feel the baby move...  It's hard to tell, though.  I've felt a few little twitches off and on but nothing conclusive.  

A description of what the baby is up to this week from What to 

Have you ever seen a mango dipped in cheese? [Editor's note: No, I have not].  Well, that's what your baby looks like this week due to a little growth spurt (she's about a half pound in weight and six inches long) and a substance called vernix caseosa. 

Here's the "What your baby looks like" graphic from Babycenter:

I'm thinking the baby looks pretty uncomfortable.  No wonder it's starting to kick around.  I wouldn't want my legs all up in my face like that.  

Between the cheesy mango description and the baby contortionist picture, let's all raise a glass to infantile amnesia!

Friday, July 20, 2012

18 weeks

And growing... 
Check out my massive bicep.
Same dress only 3 weeks ago:

Maybe the two shots don't look much different, but the dress feels a lot shorter now!

I had my 18-week OB appointment yesterday and everything was fine.  I'm up about 3lbs from pre-pregnancy, which is a little on the low end, but the doctor wasn't concerned.  And to be honest (and vain), I'm glad all the weight I've gained so far has been baby-related rather than extra padding.

This week the baby is about 5.5 inches long and weighs about 7 ounces - the size of a bell pepper.  Although I still can't feel anything, we could hear a scratching noise on the Doppler at my appointment yesterday that the doctor explained was the sound of the baby moving around.  18 weeks is the official start of month 5, and I'll be able to feel definite movement by the end the month.  It's exciting to know that in just a couple weeks we'll know the gender, and I'll be able to feel little kicks and punches.  Pretty sure I've already lost my "mother of the year" nomination because I keep calling the baby "it".

I'm still exercising and have found that (at least when it's cool) running has been getting easier and easier.  I'm sure it will only last a few more weeks, but I want to enjoy it while I can.  I'm still doing a little yoga, although  I'm starting to be restricted in what I can actually do, and hope to get to the gym and try to tone up my bingo wings while I'm still feeling good.

I had a huge sigh of relief at work yesterday after giving my presentation.  There was a period of time at the beginning of the week when it seemed impossible to rescue it from disaster (we're talking threat level orange here), but I made a lot of changes, and it seemed like it went over well at the meeting.  I also got the page proofs back from my paper and only have a few changes that I need to make.  The only problem is that they want us to send figures that are at a higher resolution than I think SAS will allow...  More details than you want to know, but it would be nice if something happened without at least a minor headache.  Definitely looking forward to the weekend!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

London calling - part 4

 After two days of traveling out of town, I was ready to spend Wednesday exploring London.  I started the day by visiting the re-created Globe Theater on the south bank of the Thames.  The original Globe (of Shakespeare fame) burned down in 1613 and a second theater of the same name was built in 1614 closed in 1642.  The current theater is a reconstruction that was completed in 1997 using the same materials and building techniques that would have been used during Shakespeare's time.  Plays are still performed here for much of the year, and theater-goers can still buy cheap "groundling" tickets and stand in front of the stage.

There was a docent-led tour of the theater and an exhibition hall that showed what life was like in London when the original Globe was in operation and how the costumes, sets, and special effects (it seems no 17th century play was complete without at least one ghost, one sword fight, and one execution) were designed and built.

These are pictures from the inside of the theater.  

After The Globe, I stopped in at the Tate Modern, which was right next door.  It was... um... strange.  Maybe not quite as strange as the modern art museum in San Francisco (if there was a shopping cart full of popcorn, I missed it), but the featured piece at the museum was a diamond crusted (real) human skull.  And check it out, you can buy a t-shirt:

Then I walked back across the river and, after a stop for lunch, went on a tour of St. Paul's cathedral.  

St. Paul's is the big church in the city of London, while Westminster Abbey is technically not in London but in the city of Westminster.  It also has its fair share of famous people buried there: The Duke of Wellington, Horatio Nelson, Alexander Fleming, Christopher Wren, and John Donne, among many others.  Sadly, but not surprisingly, photography wasn't allowed inside the building.

The highlight (or not, depending on your perspective) is a climb to the top of the dome to look out over the city.  The first stop is the whisper gallery, which is on the inside of the inner dome.  Then you climb up to an outer observation area, which I think is about where the dome changes color.  Then you climb up a terrifying metal grate spiral staircase to the third outside observation level, right under the spire.  Or if you're me, you can decide you've had enough after level two and sneak down the back stair case.      

I was really glad that I took the docent tour rather than getting an audio guide because we were able to go into a few areas that are normally off limits to tourists.  There is a lot to see, and I was probably in the cathedral for at least 2 1/2 hours.  This is the one picture I was able to take.  It's the Juliette staircase in one of the bell tours.

After St. Paul's, I walked down The Strand all the way to Piccadilly Circus, where, exhausted, I decided to take the tube back to our hotel and call it an evening.

Friday, July 13, 2012

17 weeks

My weight is still the same, but my belly is definitely growing!  The baby is becoming less shark-like as its skeleton changes from cartilage to bone.  He or she is about 5 inches long and weights about 5 ounces - the size of a turnip.  I have my next OB appointment on Thursday, and I'm mildly concerned I'm going to get into trouble for not gaining the pound per week allotted to me by the pregnancy syndicate, but it was so hot, and I feel like the baby has made a land grab from my digestive tract, which makes it difficult to eat very much in one sitting.  I'm giving it my best effort, though.  The Ben and Jerry's flavor of the week is What a Cluster (last week's was Key Lime Pie).

Otherwise, I've entered the world of trying to find a good daycare provider for when it's time for me to return to work.  I have appointments lined up to tour several centers, and I need to make some calls to set up times to visit some in-home providers.  Right now I'm working from certification lists provided by the city, but I'm trying to put out feelers to get personal recommendations.  The problem is that most of my friends who have kids either a)stay home or b)live too far south or west of town to have good recommendations for me locally.  The other problem is that I'm starting my search with really high expectations of what I want - basically an amalgamation of Mother Theresa, Bill Cosby and Harvey Karp- who happens to live half way between UW and our new apartment and does not own any large dogs or mean cats.  I'm going to try working with that for awhile and see how far I get, but I realize I may have to relax my expectations somewhat.

Right now the plan is to brave the heat (which hopefully won't actually be that hot) and go to Art Fair on the Square tomorrow after Daniel finishes his parent interviews.  It will be nice to have him home after his three weeks teaching at summer camp.

This week is going to be busy with daycare visits, preparing for company, going up to Beaver Dam for a practice WESDR exam, getting ready to give a talk on Thursday (I really shouldn't have procrastinated on that...), and the like.  I think I may need to institute a "no Netflix on weeknights" rule for the next few weeks until I feel like I have a better handle on everything that needs to be done.  Hopefully I'll get another London post written, but don't hold your breath ;).  Stay cool out there!


Monday, July 9, 2012

London Calling - part 3

On Tuesday, I took my second tour with London Walks.  We started out taking a train ride down to Salisbury, which is southwest of London.  It's a cute little Medieval city with twisty streets and a history that dates back to the Roman occupation.

The oldest part of the city is enclosed within a city wall with heavy doors that can be shut to prevent sacking by Vandal hordes.  You can enter the city center or "close" through one of five main gates.

The cathedral is the highlight.  It has undergone major a restoration in the last several years and was beautiful and scaffold-free inside and out.

It's home to both the best-preserved of the original four copies of the Magna Carta and to the world's oldest working clock.  I did see the Magna Carta (which we were obviously not allowed to photograph) but not the clock.  I didn't realize it was there until I went to Greenwich two days later.  Fun fact about the Magna Carta is that it was sent to Salisbury for safe keeping and promptly lost.  Evidently Brother Gregory of the order of the Filing Cabinet placed it under "C" instead of "M" and there it remained, undiscovered for hundreds of years.

My other favorite part of the cathedral were the Medieval sarcophagi.  Check out this guy reclining with his feet up on his dog.

After lunch in Salisbury, which included a Cadburry egg flavored hot chocolate/milk shake drink, (What?? It was cold and the baby said he/she wanted it.) we took a bus ride out to Stonehenge, first passing Sting's country home.  This was the first of two of Sting's houses I would see on this trip (the other was in London).

If you are unfamiliar with the history of Stonehenge, here's an education video that will catch you up to speed (unfortunately you have to click through and watch it on Youtube).

All joking aside, it's true that no one knows who the builders of Stonehenge were or what they were doing.  What remains of the ancient site shows that they had a fairly good idea about science and architecture- at least how to stack stones together and keep them from falling over and how to track the movement of the sun over the course of the year.  The stones were carved so they fit together like Legos and would form a level circle at the top even though the ground on the site slopes.  The fact that it is a ruin today is not the fault of the original builders but of the many tourists and locals who have made off with parts of it, large and small.    

It's interesting in that it looks very different (again because of the destruction, not the design) from different angles.  

Here's me keeping it classy, wearing my raincoat when it's not raining.  In my defense, it was cold and windy, and because it was England, it could have rained.  

Even though historians now know that Druids had nothing to do with building Stonehenge (there were Druids, but they lived in the area waaaayyy after Stonehenge was built), it's still a magnet for all the crazies who want to come out and party on the solstice.  Although we didn't see anyone dressed up as a Druid, our guide said we were probably just a few days too early.  Stonehenge is actually right off a highway and they were already camping out.

After that we took the bus back to the train station and the train back to London.  After all the driving and train action, I was ready for an in-town day on Wednesday.

On a totally unrelated note, ever since we've had more white noise from running the A/C and the fan at night, I've been having the craziest dreams, and while last night's was not the longest or most complex, it wins the prize for most bizarre.  I was using the restroom in an airport while I was waiting to catch a flight when I was attacked by a bat.  It flew in over the top of the bathroom stall and was biting my head and hands, but I couldn't get away because I was... um... using the bathroom.  Any guesses on what that one means?

Friday, July 6, 2012

16 weeks!

My self-photography skills leave lots of room for improvement
One more month (from yesterday) until we find out the baby's gender!  This week he/she weighs 3-5oz and is  4-5 inches long.  The fruit size of the week is avocado.  You'd think you'd be able to tell if you were storing an avocado in your abdomen, but really... not so much.  My belly is still hovering around "large lunch" size and my weight actually dropped a pound due to a lack of appetite from the heat and random stomach upsets that still creep up from time to time.  I guess that means another pint of Ben and Jerry's is in order for this week - not that I mind one bit.

As I mentioned, it's been terribly hot this week.  I've still been running  jog/walking in increasingly smaller ratios of jog to walk, but at least I'm getting out there 4-5 times per week plus doing yoga.  I hear I should be doing squats to prepare for labor... not sure what that's about... not sure I want to know.

Anyway, I did see two interesting things when I was out yesterday morning.  First, I saw one of the Eagle Heights turkeys with two little baby turkeys.  Here's an artist's rendition:

Does anyone know what the correct name for a baby turkey is?   I'd never seen one before.   They are kind of cute.  Way more so than goslings.  As a side note, if you google "baby turkey" you mostly get pictures of babies that have been dressed up as turkeys - like the Thanksgiving eating kind - which I personally find disturbing.

The second thing I saw was what looked like the taping of an episode of CSI in the Lot 60 parking lot on campus.  Evidently a guy locked himself in his car with a bunch of toxic chemicals and called 911 to say he planned to commit suicide.  Pretty crazy!  I guess I'll have to keep getting out there or I'll miss something good.  

Looking forward to the weekend and some cooler temperatures next week.  Also, we will decide (although we've 90% decided) if we're going to lease the new apartment this weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed that nothing bad happens to make the deal fall through.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

London calling - part 2


It was cold and damp the entire day we were in Cambridge - two feelings I wouldn't mind right now if it wouldn't mean that I was standing in the basement under a leaky pipe.

I met up with the London Walks tour group at King's Cross station to take the train down to Cambridge.  BTW, If you're ever in London, I highly recommend that tour group.  I did several of their guided tours and was very happy with all of them.  

Yeah, that King's Cross...

After a stop at the American WWII cemetery where both Joseph Kennedy (JFK's older brother) and Glen Miller are memorialized and a bus trip through silicon fen we stepped out on to the streets of Cambridge for the walking part of our tour.

Cambridge has a long and interesting religious history.  We walked past a viking church.  Interesting fact - almost all viking churches are named St. Clement's because St. Clement was martyred on an anchor.  

There was also one of the few remaining Norman round churches.

And of course King's college chapel, home of one of the most beautiful examples of Renaissance stained glass that still survives.  Interesting fact about King's College chapel is that the only reason the windows were not destroyed during the revolution is that Oliver Cromwell used the chapel as a stable and didn't want his horses and men to get cold and wet.

The other interesting thing about the chapel is that it was started in the Gothic style - flying buttresses and all that - but it was finished during the Renaissance period so along with all the religious symbolism, there were weird dragon carvings and other imagery you wouldn't expect.

Cambridge is a very old city that still has very old buildings in use - for example, this white one that looks like it's going to avalanche into the street at any moment.

Then there are all the famous colleges where students live and eat.  King's College founded by Henry VI in 1441:

Trinity college founded by the more portly Henry VIII.  He founded the college after he made a huge land grab from the Catholic church during the reformation and Trinity college is - to this day- an incredibly wealthy organization.

Here's the courtyard beside Trinity where Isaac Newton used to putter around, doing chemistry experiments.

As a side note, colleges continue to be added to Cambridge as wealthy people decide to donate money.  The most recent college was founded by a couple that made a fortune renting TVs.

We were actually able to go inside part of Emmanuel College, one of the protestant colleges.  We were told that the reason the American colonies were called "Emmanuel's land" was not for that other guy but because so much of the leadership that set sail were graduates of Emmanuel College.

Cambridge was and still is home to a bunch of smart people who do really nutty stuff.  For example, there is a student group (unofficial and very very banned) called the night climbers that like to climb on top of (and put things on top of) the buildings on campus.

Charles Darwin was there.  Here's his bug collection.

Not pictured is the room where Darwin sat and took pot shots (with blanks) at people walking by wearing top hats while he waited to get a spot in one of the colleges.  Evidently he dropped out of medical school because it was too icky and his father sent him to Cambridge to become a priest or something.

We also saw the lab where Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA and the pub where they made the announcement.

At the end of the day we went "punting down the Cam".  The river that runs through Cambridge is actually called the Granta, but because there's a really old bridge people thought Cambridge sounded like a better name for a town with a bridge over a river called Cam, not Granta, so... you get the idea.

Punting is like taking a gondolier boat ride.

You get some sweet views of the colleges from the river side.  This is where they filmed Harry Potter:

Not really.  It was actually here:

Just kidding.  But it should have been, right?

And that was the end of the trip.  We took the train back to London and arrived in the early evening.  I inhaled some dinner and crashed so I could get ready for another big day at ... Stonehenge.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

If I melt, just mop me up

It's toooooooooo hot.

Ick.  I really shouldn't even complain because other than riding my bike to and from work (the bus declared independence from running today) and doing some laundry (that'll be fun), I don't have to experience outside all that much.  Poor Daniel has to hike all over campus.

I decided to go into work today 1. Because it's air conditioned, 2. Because my bosses will go on vacation for a week and a half on Saturday, and I thought it would good to try to get some extra work done before they leave and 3. I'd rather celebrate the 4th of July by spending a day unpacking after we move.  I guess I could have accomplished #1 by going to the movies to watch Magic Mike, but I was afraid the hot would cancel out the cold.   

Looks like the heat is just as bad across the rest of the country so try to stay cool out there.  Our little window air conditioner that could is chugging away just to keep it below 80 at home.  I guess I'm going get an early taste of what it's like to have a $120 electric bill...  

Happy Independence Day.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

London calling - part 1

Yes, it has taken me forever to post the pictures from London.  No, I don't have a good excuse.  Lots of excuses; none of them good.  Also, we have a lot of pictures, so I'm going to break this up into segments.  This is part 1 of the trip - the first Sunday we arrived.  Hopefully breaking the trip post into manageable segments will make it slightly more likely for me to complete each part. 

After a long day/night of traveling, we arrived in London at about 7am London time (1am Madison time, ick), waited in line at customs with what looked like the attendees of an oil sheik convention, took the tube from Heathrow to our tube stop, managed to find our hotel and walk to it with a minimum of confusion and getting run over, and took advantage of early check in to drop our luggage off and take a shower.  The only time I felt really tired the first day was when we stopped at the hotel in the morning.  Once we got up and started walking around, it was basically fine.  Until we both crashed at 7pm and slept until about 7am the next day.

For our first excursion, we decided to take the tube to the Buckingham Palace/Westminster/Trafalgar square area and then go over to see the Tower of London.  I had no idea what a huge deal Lord Nelson is in England until I took this trip.  It's like if you combined George Washington and Luke Skywalker... but with a navy.  He has an appropriately huge monument to go along with his reputation and (reportedly) ego.  That's Nelson waaaayyyy up on the top there.  He's not holding a spyglass to either eye.  The lions (not pictured) are also impressive.  

Then we wandered down the mall toward Buckingham palace.  The gold thing in the middle is the Queen Victoria memorial and the white building is... you guessed it... Buckingham palace.  There was still a lot of scaffolding and whatnot set up from the jubilee the week before so we actually weren't able to get that close to the front of the palace.  No tours because the queen was in residence.

Then we walked through St. James park, which is home to approximately 1 gagillion well-fed waterfowl.  Evidently there are even pelicans that will eat pigeons.  The swans were pretty surly, too.

After that we went over to see the Tower of London and the crown jewels.  The Tower of London is not particularly photogenic and the guards (called beefeaters, no one knows why) get angry if you try to take a picture of the royal bling, so I don't have anything from that.

Here's a picture of the Tower (NOT London) Bridge.  Evidently there was a guy in Arizona who bought the old, ugly London bridge and moved it to the US thinking he was getting this guy.  Ooops.

Whew... I made it through post #1.  Stay tuned for Cambridge, one of my favorite parts of the trip.