Monthly Archives: April 2008

Visiting the Pacific Northwest Part 3: Pike Place Market

So we just got back from Pike Place Market and that was a really great experience.

On the way there I was able to snap a picture of the famous Space Needle from the freeway (sometimes a little traffic can be a good thing).

Jenn directed us to a parking garage and after some serious maneuvering by Stephen into a compact spot we were on our way.

There is so much to see in the market. It’s like one really huge bazaar. Also it is like a pregnant woman’s dream with all the snacks and food available along the way. They have every kind of food you could imagine: Thai, Chinese, Italian, seafood, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican, etc.

There are also pastry shops and of course that famous Seattle coffee all over the place. There is this one cheesecake shop that sells little cheesecakes that are like 2-3 inches in diameter. There are so many flavors and it all looked so yummy. They also have these totally amazing cheesecake truffles. It is basically a ball of cheesecake dunked in really delicious chocolate. I had two New York style cheesecake truffles and Stephen had a Mexican chocolate one that had cinnamon and cayenne pepper in it. He said it was the perfect combination of spices and chocolate.

For lunch we went to Pike Place Chowder which has something like nine different kinds of chowder. We all went with traditional New England clam chowder.

We saw the very first Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place:

I didn’t get coffee there. I had a yummy chocolate mint mocha from a non-chain coffee shop called Local Color which also featured tons of art from local artists.

There were so many flower vendors. Flowers were everywhere. Tulips are in bloom right now so we saw a lot of those.

Little Kaela was able to con Jenn into buying her a $5 bouquet because “flowers are for princesses.” Jenn said she’s a sucker for that kind of stuff. I think if I had a little girl I definitely would be too. 🙂

We picked up a couple souvenirs, but nothing too annoying or unuseful. First we got a really great piece of artwork:

It was a little pricey, but it is large and we really need art for our house. We also got a cute onesie for Baby Wuertz:

Then before we left we got some really good, fresh donuts from a donut vendor (so good with my coffee) and some clams for dinner at the fish stand where they yell and throw the big fish.

Oh! We also have a story that illustrates just how laid back this place is. So this woman is driving through the market and getting frustrated at all the pedestrians. She starts honking her horn really loudly and this guy comes out taps on her window and says, “Hey! We don’t do that here.”

I love the metropolitan feel of this area yet the laid back nature of it. It just feels really comfortable. I also love how in the the area that the Halls live all of the houses, and I mean ALL of them, are exactly the style of house that is my favorite. There is so much nature and greenery all around too. I think the Pacific Northwest in general is one of my favorite places we have visited on vacation so far.

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Visiting the Pacific Northwest Part 2: The Oregon Tour

We set off on our tour of Oregon late Monday morning. Our first stop was some historical houses in Salem. We saw the Bush House built in 1877-78. It has a huge amount of property with really pretty gardens all around. Everything was in bloom. It is closed on Mondays though so we didn’t get to go inside.

Then we headed over to the Deepwood Estate which is next door and shares the large property of gardens. The Deepwood Estate was also closed that day.

We stopped off at the state capitol building for a quick picture and then we got on our way with the rest of the trip.

We headed out of town to Silver Falls State Park. We could have gone on a whole hike that would have taken us around the park to see several different waterfalls and behind them. It is a fairly easy hike that is actually paved, but I get out of breath a whole lot easier these days so we just hiked down far enough to get some good pictures of the south falls.

Even from that short amount of hiking I was totally out of breath when we got back up to the top. Dang squashed organs. We were stopping off at the bathroom before heading off to our next destination when we happened upon a small family of deer.

Then we headed towards Portland, stopping in Oregon City to see the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. We just barely missed the closing time by about 15 minutes so we didn’t get to go inside. There was some historical stuff on the grounds though so we checked it out.

Paula wanted us to look like travel weary settlers complete with bonnets. I tried to be a good sport about it, but it was not the picture I wanted so we took one of those too.

I have to say that covered wagons are a whole lot smaller than I expected. It is crazy to think that people actually traveled across the whole United States in one of those. I get uncomfortable in our very comfortable Accord after only a few hours. Yeesh.

Paula really wanted to take a picture with this buck we saw when we came into the park, but there was a sign that said “no climbing” so she settled on standing next to it.

Then we headed into Portland to get something to eat. The original plan had been to go to a lighthouse on the coast afterwards, but we ran out of time. And we were hungry so we decided on Portland.

We found a parking garage. It was really the first parking garage that we came upon. We should have tried a little harder to find one though. It was really, really old. The stairwell smelled like paint and had a rickity wooden staircase that we almost thought we got stuck in. None of the doors opened back. We finally decided to try the door that said “Emergency exit alarm will sound” and made it out onto the street. And that door didn’t open back up from the outside, but we at least figured we could go back around to the car entrance and get back in.

So we pretty much went to the first restaurant we saw which happened to be Jake’s Famous Crawfish. Apparently it is one of the top ten seafood restaurants in the nation and a famous Portland historical landmark.

Our food was delicious and the restaurant is really cool looking and pretty huge inside. We even had the most heavenly mini berry cobbler made with locally grown Oregon berries. It felt even better that instead of eating somewhere like The Cheesecake Factory which you can find in any major metropolitan city, that we ate at a place with history.

So then we headed back to the parking garage and it was closed! We had a total freakout moment and thought we might have to spend the night in Portland. We called the “emergency” number listed outside the parking garage and got the door code then got our car back luckily.

Yesterday we made our way to Bothell to hang out with the Halls and today Jenn is going to take us Pike Place Market. I can’t wait.

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Visiting the Pacific Northwest: Part 1

It is already Monday and we’ve been on our trip since Friday at 6pm so I figured I’d better get to writing before I forget it all.

Friday at 4:30 I had piles of outfits and toiletries everywhere and some stuff still wasn’t done. I was completely exhausted though. I called Stephen and gave him a warning. I then tried to take a short power nap, but it didn’t really help. I got up and started putting all the clothes and stuff into our suitcases. They were so full that the zippers were really hard to close. I struggled with the zipper on the larger of the two suitcases for five minutes before completely breaking down into nearly hysterical crying. It was pretty pathetic and not the way I had planned to start our trip.

I pulled myself together and managed to squish the clothes down to finally get the suitcase closed. Stephen got home and we finished the last bit of tidying up then we were on the road. The day before Stephen had purchased The Chronicles of Narnia unabridged audio book for us to listen to. So we popped in The Magician’s Nephew and became enveloped in the story.

We stopped at a Rally’s in Selma for dinner. It wasn’t very good. No wonder not many of those exist anymore.

Driving to Sacramento wasn’t that exciting. There’s not much to see in the valley and it was mostly dark anyway.

We finally arrived at the Vizcaya at 11pm. After a little confusion at the front door (they close at 10:30) we got in touch with the night clerk and were let in. The very limited parking is a bit of trek around the property so we headed back to get our stuff and then settle into our room.

The Vizcaya is really just like staying in an old house. It kind of smells like an old house. The carpet could use some updating, the doors creak, the sink drips and everything is pink. Well not everything. Stephen was just a little overwhelmed. It was cute and quaint though. I didn’t get any pictures of our room or the hotel though because it was too late. Perhaps on our return stay.

We layed down in the four poster bed and Stephen finally was able to witness the baby moving and feel it too. Then we went to sleep.

The next morning we enjoyed our complimentary breakfast of Belgian waffles, eggs and fruit in the small dining room with some of the other guests. We packed up our stuff and headed towards Oregon. Things began to get progressively greener and more mountainous.

You start to be able to see Mt. Shasta towering above everything before you even get to Redding (which is where we stopped for lunch). Having never been this far north before, I didn’t know if we would get a really good view of Shasta from the I-5. I could see that it was pretty close to the freeway, but it seemed like the mountains surrounding it would keep going and obscurring the view every so often. So when we saw a vista point turnoff south of the giant volcanic mountain we immediately took our opportunity to get a shot of it.

We soon learned though that things do flatten out and the better view actually comes after you get north of it. There wasn’t an official turnoff point though so Stephen wouldn’t stop. I got this shot as we were driving by rolling down my window:

The rest of the drive was really green and beautiful. There are a lot more mountains, trees, greenery, rivers and creeks. We saw hawks and even a family of deer. We finally arrived at my sister’s in Salem at about 7pm that night.

The next morning we got up for church. She’s working here as a youth pastor and it was her first time preaching. I’ve seen her really bomb at speaking in front of people before so it was really neat seeing her actually make it through and do a good job at it.

She was having her small group over that afternoon so we headed out with her boyfriend, Matt and decided to check out The Enchanted Forest theme park. The park is owned and created by a local Salem man. The whole thing is pretty cheesey and I think there are actually quite a few parts that most small kids would get freaked out by. There are a lot of cave structures that are very dark. After being at Disneyland last weekend this was just not up to par.

It did kill most of the time that we had to be away though. After Paula’s small group was done meeting we all went bowling. On the way there we passed this wicked looking building that used to be an insane asylum (officially Oregon State Hospital) and was actually where One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed. I didn’t get any pictures though because we were in the car.

Bowling was tons of fun even if it wasn’t necessarily something touristy.

So that about does it for our first part. Today we’re actually going to go see some Oregon sites.

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20 week bump


So my sister couldn’t get me her wireless network password until just now. That meant I had no Internet access for over 24 hours. I was feeling a little bit of withdrawl.

20 week bump is at the “vista point” turnoff for looking at Mt. Shasta. We discovered that the best view is much further along from more of the northern end of the mountain where it suddenly gets flat. But having never been there we didn’t know so we thought this was our only chance to get a good view and picture time.

So, I want to discuss the topic of pregnant women and their bellies. Now that I actually look pregnant (not just chubby) I have already begun to experience the phenomenon where if you are pregnant people think it is just alright to come touch your belly. I am not OK with this. It is not normal or OK to just walk up to someone and touch their stomach normally, but somehow people think it is OK when you are pregnant. Well let me tell you, it is not OK. Do not just come touch my belly. You should at least ask first.

Stephen is working on strategies for me to teach people that this is OK. His first strategy is for me to slap their hand. The second he suggested is for me do something equally awkward back to them like grab their earlob. Usually I kind of just dodge it or turn away. It’s just so awkward and I am not a touchy feely person usually anyway.

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Freaked out

I recently read The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth and I’m currently reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I already knew before reading these books that I did not want to have an epidural or any other drugs. But now I’m completely afraid of even having my baby in a hospital. I’m freaked out about having drugs administered to me that I don’t want and having an c-section or episiotomy when I don’t want that either.

I thought I really liked my OB. He’s really nice and professional. Has a great bedside manner. He answers all my questions, even the ones that seem dumb. He takes his time with me. I don’t feel like I’m being rushed in and out like cattle when I’m in his office. He has aggressively treated my HG and gestational hyperthyroidism, which I know a lot of doctors don’t do at all (some of the stories on the HG board I’m on make me want to strangle their inept doctors myself!). He answers all of Stephen’s questions too and always makes him feel welcome in the room.

However, saying all that I realized from reading these books that I really don’t know anything important about my doctor. I don’t know his c-section or episiotomy rate. He also just joined up with this huge OB group and I don’t know what the group’s stats are either. I’ve also already had some red flags from the receptionists there that don’t handle things well. Depending on when I go into labor he might not even be the doctor at my birth. At my last appointment I even heard a really bad story about one of the group’s other doctors and her treatment of a patient which led that patient to come to my doctor. I don’t want to wind up with that other awful doctor attending to my birth.

So now I’m feeling totally unprepared. What if his rates are high? What if the group’s rates are high? What am I going to do then? Our insurance only contracts with this specific OB group. When Ruth was here a couple months ago we tried to find someone that did The Bradley Method and a doula and there is no one listed for our city. I know there are midwives because I can specifically think of two acquaintances that did a homebirth with a midwife. But how much does that even cost?

How do I even begin to convince Stephen that if those rates are high that we need to make a major change when he completely trusts medicine to the fullest and even works for the company that manages our health insurance? I just spilled my fears out ten minutes ago and he was like, “Well you need to ask those questions and then just trust the doctor and his staff that they are going to do the best thing for you. You shouldn’t be reading these biased books and getting all worked up.”

Ugh! I don’t know what to do. I just know that I really don’t want to a needle to go anywhere near my spine and into my central nervous system. I know that I am terrified of feeling numb. I know that I do not want to be given a drug to intensify labor just for the convenience of the doctors not having to deal with a longer labor. And I definitely know I do not want to have a c-section. It seems like the common story from people that I’ve talked to about my wishes is also that you shouldn’t even have a specific list of things in your birth plan because you can’t plan birth and it won’t wind up going your way. It makes the whole thing feel like this hopeless wall that I’m up against and there is no way around it. You go into labor, they give you Pit, labor hurts to bad so you agree to an epidural, that slows your labor down so then they get worried about the baby and you have a c-section. And birth plan? Who said anything about a birth plan? You just need to do what the doctors say because they know best despite any evidence to the contrary.

I probably sound like a raving lunatic to most of you right now, but I just don’t care. I don’t like this feeling of helplessness and I just had to get it all out.

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Some notes about the last post

When I was in speech and debate in high school I participated in what was essentially “mock congress” (we just called it Congress). Whenever someone needed to clarify a particular piece of evidence or wording in one of our bills it was called a “point of information.”

Yesterday was a pretty overwhelming day for me in general. I was trying to get our house ready so we could leave for our trip tonight (and I’m almost done with everything!). And I’m pregnant and was particularly hormonal. It was probably not the best time to delve into reading all the birth stories in the Ina May book. Or maybe it was because I was able to connect more. I’m not sure.

Anyway I want to offer a few points of information.

First, this may seem a little out of the ordinary, but I really am more afraid of those proceedures than the birth iteself. After reading all those birth stories yesterday I really think that birth is a natural process that our bodies were designed and equipped to deal with. I first began to think this when my friend Cara wrote this one month after giving birth to her son which she was in labor with for something like three days:

“Giving birth has made me realize that I can do anything. Being in pain and working that hard for that long made any other possible task seem like a piece of cake! I feel so much more confident in myself now. It’s amazing. I’ve never felt like this about myself before.”

I want that feeling. I want to feel victorious and overcome something for once in my life. I especially want that feeling after being so defeated in my first trimester. Cara’s story is definitely not alone either. It was a common thread through all the birth stories I read in the book. I know I can do this and it is really important to me that it is done this way.

Second, I talked to Stephen and he thinks I misinterpreted what he meant. He meant I should ask the questions I need to be able to trust my doctor and if his answers don’t satisfy me then we can go somewhere else. And he wanted me to calm down and stop worrying because my next appointment isn’t for two weeks and there is no point in worrying and getting worked up that whole time. And he thinks I should give my doctors a fair chance to explain themselves and not put all my stock into what I’ve read in these books. Which is fair enough at this point I guess.

So that’s it for now.

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What a weekend!

A lot happend and I think I have a lot to say so this post is probably going to be long. Just a warning.

So on Friday at about four in the afternoon I get a call from Stephen that went something like this…

Stephen: Hey.
Me: Hey.
Stephen: So I have something to tell you that may change our plans for this weekend. I’m sorry.
Me: Okaaay.
Stephen: I was doing this exercise this morning and I did it wrong and completely threw out my right shoulder. I went to the chiropractor first thing this morning and he said it is going to take at least a week to heal. I have no range of motion in my neck and I’m really, really sore. If we go I shouldn’t drive. Yeah I can’t drive.
Me: Well I guess I can drive.
Stephen: Are you sure? You really hate driving.
Me: I know, but I’ll do it. We should still go.

The next hour or so I was still scrambling to get laundry done (I should have just found all my pants and washed them together) and everything packed. Despite making a list and having all day to think about what we needed to take I still managed to forget Stephen’s inhaler and PJs for him to wear to bed.

Prior to leaving though I did get a pleasant little surprise in the mail…

A lovely little card from Cara and a subscription to Mothering. She personally sent me the first issue in which the cover article is all about cloth diapering. Thanks Cara! That really made my day!

Stephen is right. I really do hate to drive. I think I started to get a little stressed out at the thought of actually driving as I was trying to pack which is why I forgot those essential items. Stephen is our main driver on all our trips. I occasionally take the wheel if he’s feeling a little sleepy. This actually only happened one time when we were driving twelve hours to Utah. I don’t mind being a passenger in the car at all. I love going on trips, but driving really stresses me out. I even avoid most driving here in my own city. I think I’ve driven on the infamous LA freeway system maybe five times at the most. I get kind of freaked out when there are a whole bunch of cars clumped around me, especially big trucks. I also really hate the part of the I-5 which narrows down to two lanes right before you get to Orange County and everyone is cutting you off and merging and stuff. My hands sweat like crazy too. Add to that the fact that I’m pregnant and the baby decided that this would be a good time to move around a whole bunch which was totally distracting. I did get a small break when we stopped at In-N-Out in Castaic for some dinner. And I did make it there just fine, it just isn’t my favorite thing to do.

The next day we got up and went to brunch with my aunt and sister Cherie at Dana Point Harbor. My aunt had breakfast while the rest of us had lunch. My tuna melt was delicious, but I had a hard time eating it because I had just made myself an egg sandwich about 2 hours before.

Then we went to the mall where my aunt proceeded to spoil both me and our unborn child. Something she has done for as long as I can remember. She gets serious joy out of doing it I think.

There was Janie and Jack (love that store, so cute!) where we got some very cute nursery rhyme onsies:

We also stopped in at Baby Style which was closing. All maternity wear was 50% off and the baby stuff was at a huge discount too. The maternity wear will be seen in future belly shots, but here’s a look at our baby stuff:

So cute!

I also got some more maternity stuff from GAP maternity. I was really excited about that because we had gone into regular GAP to get Stephen a new shirt (since he had to sleep in one of the t-shirts I brought for wearing) and they had so many cute things that I wanted but knew I couldn’t possibly fit into. So when I found out that this mall had a GAP maternity we went and checked it out and to my delight I found maternity versions of the tops and stuff that I loved in the regular store.

Through a Target gift card earlier this month and this trip, my aunt has essentially purchased about 75% of my maternity wardrobe. I think I have just about every item of clothing I need to make it through this pregnancy.

She also got us this thing for our iPod that actually works to transmit it to the radio. We’ve gone through two of these devices already. It completely blocks out whatever signal there is. I can’t believe it is so clear and that it actually works. It also gives the iPod a nice little stand and is adjustable to both sizes. Driving up and down California and be able to listen to my iPod on the same station without static coming through is sooo nice. I just might be willing to finally give up XM radio.

I didn’t feel naseaus the whole day either which was a relief because Thursday and Friday were not like that.

We went to dinner that night with just my aunt and then went to see Expelled with her. It was an interesting movie and I would recommend it if you are in the mood for that kind of documentary argumentative type movie. My sister went out with some of her friends and stayed with one of them so we didn’t even get to really say goodbye.

The next morning we went to Disneyland as expected. Stephen got some of his range of motion back and was feeling much better so he drove (yes!). I think the thing that saved me while we were there is that the night before we went to the grocery store and got all kinds of snacks. So my purse was stuffed to the brim with Chex Mix Dark Chocolate (mmm… so dangerously good), Sour Patch Kids (my favorite candy right now), and a veggie ranch dip snack pack. Unfortunately, the Doritos didn’t fit so we had to leave them in the car. It was really great having all those snacks though because when we were waiting in line or I felt a little hungry, but not enough to eat a huge meal I could just reach into my purse and eat something before that tiny hunger turned into full blown nausea.

So it was yet another day of not feeling nauseaus. We stayed at the park until about seven that night and went on pretty much everything that I was allowed to go on. I even went on Splash Mountain which the sign doesn’t recommend for pregnant women. Stephen and I really couldn’t figure that one out prior to going on the ride because we couldn’t remember it really jerking or anything. Well, once I was actually on the ride I got a pretty good idea. I think that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for someone in their third trimester to go on that ride. The log does get bumped quite a bit (much more than pirates which we also went on) as it travels through the log jam. I also felt a huge amount of pressure on my bladder during each drop, especially the big one. So I probably won’t be going on that ride the next time we go to Disneyland while I’m pregnant.

Stephen also drove on the way home which was good because I was pretty exhausted. Our doggies were very happy to see us and I was happy to go to bed.

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